Friday Flashback

This post was a very difficult and painful one to write. I wrote it three days after Robin Williams died.

It is one of the most open, honest posts I’ve ever written. If by sharing my experience, I help someone else, it will have been worth it.

Thursday’s Thoughts

Raw, tender and agonizing are just a few words to describe how I feel right now. For many years, I have suffered from depression and recent news has stirred up innumerable feelings.

I haven’t had access to the internet for several days now, and though I had heard about Robin Williams’ death, I had not read or seen any reports. I know there have been countless stories, blogs and remembrances almost everywhere, and I know too, that this is late, but I feel led to share my story.

This won’t be easy for me because the memories are painful, but they are invading virtually every thought.

Quite a few years ago, my husband and I were going through some growing pains in our marriage. He was a career soldier, and I worked and cared for our three young children. I was managing a large apartment community at the time that had some pretty significant perks. Things were becoming tenuous at best and indescribable at worst. Due to my very dysfunctional childhood, fear, imprudence and immaturity, I decided I could care for our three children and myself and asked him to leave. He decided to request and received, an overseas tour.

I continued to work for the property management company until several months later when I was offered a job with a great deal more pay in another city. So, I packed up myself and three little ones, and we took off on a grand adventure. Little did I know.

Fortunately, I was able to enroll my little ones in a before and after school care that included evening hours. I began working 10-14 hours a day 6 days a week with little to no time to rest, much less make friends and become part of the community. Initially loved my new job, but things started slowly unraveling.

Work became a haven as I could handle what was going on there easier than I could handle home and all its demands, not to mention the loneliness and isolation I felt.

The company I worked for started laying people off and in true last hired fashion, I was laid off. I received a decent severance package, to include continuation of insurance for a short period of time.

Without realizing what was happening, I spiraled into SEVERE depression. As time went on, I was less and less able to handle even the smallest of day-to-day tasks. The kids were still going to before and after school care, and I was just trying to make it through the next 10 seconds without feeling like I was drowning a very slow and very painful death.

And then one day, I seemed to have clarity of thought and action. I decided life wasn’t worth living and in a bizarre (though typical ideation) I began to systematically prepare everything for my death. Insurance was checked to see if it covered suicide (it did), I found a sweet, older Christian couple to care for the kids long-term, contacted Red Cross to find out what they would need to notify my husband and went to see a friend I made where I had worked.

My friend and I talked for a little while and then, for reasons unknown to me at the time, they asked me to go home and stay there until they came by later that day. I agreed and went home.

I know now that my friend, although not a Christian, was being led by God. This friend had a sister who had committed suicide and was able to recognize in me, through their heartbreaking experience, what I was doing, even though I didn’t. I was saying, “Good-bye.”

Later in the day, my friend came by to see me and was able to talk me into getting help.

I wish I could say this experience worked a miracle. I wish I could say I had not tried to commit suicide before (first time I was 13). I wish I could say I am free of depression. Unfortunately, I can’t. I continued and still continue with debilitating depression. I did learn one thing though-how to recognize when the depression is getting out of hand and to seek help right away.

I also learned, even when fleeing from myself and the Lord, the Lord is still there just waiting for me to return.

I cling to certain verses now.

John 16:33b King James Version (KJV) 33b In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

Philippians 4:19 King James Version (KJV) 19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Jeremiah 29:11 New International Version (NIV) 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Romans 15:13 King James Version (KJV) 13 Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.

Psalm 31:24 King James Version (KJV) 24 Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord.

Psalm 30:5b King James Version (KJV) 5b  weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.

And so many more, I can’t even begin to list them all.

There’s a lot more to my story, but I leave you with this: If you are hurting, lost in sadness, overwhelmed by life, feel like you can’t go on or a million other things that leave you feeling hopeless or helpless-get help. Don’t let anything or anyone stop you-GET HELPI cannot stress this enoughPlease, oh, please GET HELP!

http://www.nimh.nih.gov/index.shtml

http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression/index.shtml

http://www.healthcentral.com/depression/c/84292/70431/money-insurance?ic=506011

http://www.healthcentral.com/depression/cf/slideshows/what-to-do-when-you-are-depressed?ic=obnetwork

http://www.healthyplace.com/other-info/resources/mental-health-hotline-numbers-and-referral-resources/#Hotline

National Suicide Hopeline
Phone: 800.784.2433

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Phone: 800.273.8255

Posted in musings on life | 14 Comments

A God of All Seasons by TH Meyer and Amy Breitmann

Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Book

Book title: A God of All Seasons

Author: TH Meyer & Amy Breitmann

Release date: August 28, 2017

Genre: Non-fiction

What if your spiritual life landed in the grip of a wintered soul? How does one’s faith survive?

Discover the beauty and challenge of spiritual seasons as Tammy & Amy remember parts of their stories in order to draw out your own. Learn to perceive God’s companionship even when you don’t sense His nearness. And unearth, not only a God who created the seasons, but one who also walks with you through them.”

Book Trailer Video: https://youtu.be/fWupS5gTRoc

My Review

A God of All Seasons reminds us that God is with us in every season of our life. Autumn, just as autumn leaves let go, is the time of letting go, perhaps even painfully.  Winter is the time of darkness, as the authors say, “Winter can be unpleasant, but it can also be refining.” Spring is the time of awakening, hope and promise. Summer is the time of rest and leisure.

The book, divided into the four seasons, begins each chapter with a Bible verse and ends with questions for personal reflection.

I like how the authors, Amy Breitmann and Tammy “T. H.” Meyers, alternate their stories in each chapter. They share the Biblical lessons they have learned in their lives, along with their conflicts and tough spells, thus making the book come alive for us the readers.

The format of A God of All Seasons lends itself to being ideal for a daily devotional and/or a Bible Study.

I received this book from Celebrate Lit and the authors. However, I was under no obligation to write a review.

About the Authors

After living in Asia and Europe, T.H. Meyer’s family planted roots on their Texas farm in 2008 where they live among fields of Rye and Bermuda. Tammy is a writer and creative strategist who also moonlights as a social media specialist. She’s the mother to three children and author of, A Life of Creative Purpose: Embrace Uniqueness, Explore Boldness, Encourage Faith and Social Media Strategies: Discovering Powerful Tools of the Trade without Losing Your Soul for Christian entrepreneurs maneuvering the daunting and soul-sucking world of online marketing.

Join Tammy on her website: The Art of Fear Not: An Adventurous Life of Faith http://www.tammy-h-meyer.com/.

Or stay in touch with her at:

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/hendricksmeyer/pins/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tammy.h.meyer/ for personal photos and thoughts from home.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tammy.hendricksmeyer

Or Twitter: https://twitter.com/tammy_h_meyer/lists & find out what’s on her Twitter “Lists.”

Amy’s (Amy Breitmann) bio: Amy weaves together ministry and writing alongside her husband and two children in Augusta, GA. She is a writer, speaker, and founder of “The Lydia Project,” a national ministry for women facing cancer and is a storyteller for ViBella Jewelry, an international company that employs artisans in Haiti and Mexico. Her published works include pieces in Chicken Soup of the Soul, Mosaic: Sojourners of Faith, and Guideposts Magazine.

Blog Stops

August 10: Book Reviews From an Avid Reader

August 11: A Baker’s Perspective

August 12: Just Jo’Anne

August 13: Avid Reader Book Reviews

August 13: Splashes of Joy

August 13: Rockin’ My Mom Jeans

August 14: A Reader’s Brain

August 15: autism mom

August 16: Captive Dreams Window

August 16: autismchristianmom

August 17: Karen Sue Hadley

August 18: Moments Dipped in Ink

August 19: Bigreadersite

August 20: Eat,Read,Teach,Blog

August 21: Margaret Kazmierczak

August 22: Breaking Ordinary

August 23: Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses

August 23: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, T.H. Meyer is giving away a  Kindle Fire, a $50 Amazon gift card and a $25 Amazon gift card!! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/bd4e

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The Blessing (Book 2 of the Amish Cooking Class Series) by Wanda E. Brunstetter

My Review

Heidi and Lyle Troyer, unable to conceive a much-wanted child, are given an opportunity to adopt a baby. Like all things in life, circumstances begin to pile up, and Heidi needs an outlet, so once again she opens her home to six strangers wanting to learn more about Amish food.

Each person in the story is as different from one another as possible. The cooking class consists of three men and three women. The men include a food critic hiding his true identity, an avid hunter and a school janitor. The women include a mother of two small children, a woman wanting ideas for her catering business and a teenager stressed out from having to keep her family together after her mom walks out on them.

I enjoyed finding out about Heidi’s previous students, whom we met in book one, The Seekers (The Amish Cooking Class Series). I felt like I was catching up with old friends.

Wanda Brunstetter’s ability to portray her characters makes you feel as if they are your next-door neighbors. However, one aspect of her writing that is a little off-putting is the way she jumps from one character to another in each chapter. Sometimes focusing on several characters helps show readers how the different individuals interact, but sometimes it is hard to determine which individual the author is referencing.

The Blessing is the second book in the series; however, it works well as a standalone.

There are two bonuses in the back of the novel. First, Miss Brunstetter includes the Amish recipes Heidi taught her students. Second, she lists discussion questions.

I received this book from NetGalley and Barbour Publishing. However, I was under no obligation to post a review.

Publisher’s Summary

Return to the Troyer farm where Heidi welcomes six new cooking class students who experience the healing hand of God.

Despite stressful changes occurring in their lives, Lyle and Heidi once again open their Ohio home up to those seeking to learn about Amish cooking. This time a teenager helping her divorced dad cook for the family, a caterer needing new recipes, a food critic, a hunter looking to impress his buddies, a wife given the class as an unwanted gift, and a mailman lured in by the aroma of good cooking gather around Heidi’s table.

During each class, Heidi teaches culinary skills, but it is her words of wisdom that have a profound effect on her students—though, this time Heidi’s own hurting heart will need some healing nourishment.

Posted in Book reviews | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

We Have A Winner!!

 

ANNOUNCING OUR WINNER!!!!!

PLUS ANOTHER GIVEAWAY COMING UP!!

Savurbks

Congratulations! You won the random drawing!!

I will get in touch with you, to get your information, later today.

I am doing a different giveaway next week. I will attempt to use Rafflecopter. Apparently, WP makes it hard for someone that is not a part of WP (WordPress) to make comments. I was unaware of this problem and apologize to anyone that tried to comment and was unable to, due to needing to make a WP profile.

Posted in Books, reviews and more. | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Gathering the Threads (The Amish of Summer Grove) by Cindy Woodsmall AND GIVEAWAY

My Review

Gathering the Threads is third and the final book in The Amish of Summer Grove Series by Cindy Woodsmall. Because of a brief synopsis of books one and two at the beginning, you could read it as a stand-alone. However, I feel you would lose a lot if you did not read the other two first.

Arianna is back in her Amish home. However, she has experienced so many new and stimulating things while living with her biological parents; she has a hard time adapting to her former Amish lifestyle. Yet, she’s right where she wanted and fought so hard to be.

The book opens with the Arianna battling in her mind, hearing the voices of everyone she knows and loves plus all she’s heard while away from the Amish. Each voice is vying for her attention and acceptance. The first two paragraphs so poignantly express her plight that I could have cried for her and the dilemmas she faces.

Adding to the confusion, Skylar decides to stay with her Amish family indefinitely instead of returning back to her Englisch family, leaving life in flux for Arianna.

Ms. Woodsmall has crafted a well written, fascinating tale for the finale of the trilogy. There are so many loose ends that are brought together in a very compelling way. Everyone’s life changes due to being forced to make significant concessions to protect the Amish midwife. The characters are well developed, and you feel their hurt, confusion and questioning as you read. Gathering the Threads is not a typical Amish story of love, romance and eventual marriage. There are hard-hitting situations that are difficult to deal with for the characters. However, the tale resonates with faith, hope and forgiveness, creating a satisfactory ending to a story you hate to see come to an end.

I received both books from Waterbrook Press through Cindy Woodsmall’s Launch Team. However, I was under no obligation to post a review.

Publisher’s Summary

Finally back in the Old Order Amish world she loves,
Will Ariana’s new perspectives draw her family closer together—
or completely rip them apart?

After months away in the Englisch world, Ariana Brenneman is overjoyed to be in the Old Order Amish home where she was raised. Yet her excitement is mixed with an unexpected apprehension as she reconciles all she’s learned from her biological parents with the uncompromising teachings of her Plain community. Although her childhood friend, ex-Amish Quill Schlabach, hopes to help her navigate her new role amongst her people, Ariana’s Daed doesn’t understand why his sweet daughter is suddenly questioning his authority. What will happen if she sows seeds of unrest and rebellion in the entire family?

Meanwhile, Skylar Nash has finally found her place among the large Brenneman family, but Ariana’s arrival threatens to unravel Skylar’s new identity—and her sobriety. Both Ariana and Skylar must discover the true cords that bind a family and community together and grasp tight the One who holds their authentic identities close to His heart.

Gathering the Threads is the third and final novel in The Amish of Summer Grove series.

 

*********GIVEAWAY CLOSED**********

Leave a comment to enter the drawing.

Drawing will be open August 9th to August 13th.

One name will be randomly drawn as winner.

Check back on Monday, August 14th  to see if you won!

GOOD LUCK!

 This giveaway is open to U.S. only, it is void where prohibited by law and you must be at least 18 to enter. The odds of winning depend on the number of comments received.

Blessings to everyone~

Posted in Book reviews | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

Fraying at the Edge (The Amish of Summer Grove) by Cindy Woodsmall AND GIVEAWAY!!!

My Review

Fraying at the Edge by Cindy Woodsmall continues where Ties that Bind left off. Unlike some series, these books do not work as stand-alones.

Arianna, an Amish girl, discovers she was switched at birth, when her biological mother, an Englisher, was forced to seek a midwife when she went into labor far from home. Skyler, an Englisher, discovers she is the baby switched with Arianna. The switch occurred when their midwife’s home burned down while the mothers were giving birth.

Arianna is forced to live with her biological parents, both of whom are married to people other than each other. Her father can only be labeled a tyrant, and that’s putting it mildly, while her mother shows her care and concern much more kindly. Still, for Arianna, life is not happy.

Skylar receives an ultimatum to go into rehab or live with her biological parents. The ultimatum leaves her reeling. She must give up her drug providing boyfriend and all modern conveniences.

My heart ached for both girls as I read Fraying at the Edge. Both Arianna and Skylar have the rugs jerked out from beneath them with little to no warning. I cannot imagine how I would handle the same situation!

Ms. Woodsmall has written a compelling, faith filled book. We experience both Amish and Englischer lifestyles through the eyes of Arianna and Skylar. We see faith questioned through the eyes of Arianna’s biological father’s professed atheism, and we see faith in action through Skylar’s biological families’ care and concern for her. Arianna and Skylar’s plights are not your typical Amish stories. However, they are well written with a gripping, thought-provoking and stimulating premise.

Fraying at the Edge is book two of the Amish of Summer Grove series.

I received both books from Waterbrook Press through Cindy Woodsmall’s Launch Team. However, I was under no obligation to post a review.

Publisher’s Summary

Family, community, faith, and love.
These “quilt blocks” sewn together made Ariana’s beautiful life.
When they are pulled to pieces,
will anything familiar remain?

The Old Order Amish life Ariana Brenneman loved vanished virtually overnight with the discovery that she was switched at birth twenty years ago. Now she’s immersed in the Englischer world, getting to know her mother and under the authority of her biological father, an atheist intellectual with resolute plans to expand Ariana’s worldview. Only Quill Schlabach, a childhood friend living Englisch, can steady the tilting ground between Ariana’s two worlds, but can she trust him after so many betrayals?

At the same time, Skylar Nash is forced to choose rehab or spend several months with her true relatives, the large Brenneman family and their seemingly backward life—no electricity, no technology, no fun. What the young woman can’t leave behind is her addiction to illegal prescription drugs and a deep emptiness from the belief that she doesn’t belong in either family.

New ties are binding Ariana and Skylar to the lives they were meant to have. Can they find the wisdom and strength they’ll need to follow God’s threads into unexpected futures?

*********GIVEAWAY CLOSED**********

Leave a comment to enter the drawing.

Drawing will be open August 9th to August 13th.

One name will be randomly drawn as winner.

Check back on Monday, August 14th  to see if you won!

GOOD LUCK!

 This giveaway is open to U.S. only, it is void where prohibited by law and you must be at least 18 to enter. The odds of winning depend on the number of comments received.

Blessings to everyone~

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Ties That Bind (The Amish of Summer Grove) by Cindy Woodsmall AND GIVEAWAY!!!

My Review

Arianna and Quill were childhood buddies. But, Quill left the Amish with Arianna’s best friend, hurting her more than she thought possible. However, Arianna may be hurt deeper and more anguished than anyone can predict.

Cindy Woodsmall’s first story in the Amish of Summer Grove is full of surprises. The tension holds you spellbound as the suspense begins to mount. This is truly not your typical Amish story.

There are several threads sewn together in Ties that Bind leaving many of the characters at a loss as to what is and isn’t true or real. The mystery pulls you in and doesn’t let go.

I really came to care for the people in the story. I cried on many occasions as I read it, especially the ending. If I had any complaint, it would be that the ending was a HUGE cliffhanger. Fortunately, I had the next book in the series and could begin reading it immediately.

I received Ties that Bind and Fraying at the Edge from Waterbrook Press through Cindy Woodsmall’s Launch Team. However, I was under no obligation to post a review.

Guess what? I received an extra copy of both Ties that Bind and Fraying at the Edge, so I’m having a giveaway! Plus, if you win, you won’t have to wait like I did for the second novel, and can relish the next book in the series.

Publisher’s Summary

Ariana’s comfortable Old Order Amish world is about to unravel. Will holding tightly to the cords of family keep them together—or simply tear them apart?

Twenty-year-old Ariana Brenneman loves her family and the Old Ways. She has two aspirations: open a café in historic Summer Grove to help support her family’s ever-expanding brood and to keep any other Amish from being lured into the Englisch life by Quill Schlabach.

Five years ago Quill, along with her dear friend Frieda, ran off together, and Ariana still carries the wounds of that betrayal. When she unexpectedly encounters him, she soon realizes he has plans to help someone else she loves leave the Amish.

Despite how things look, Quill’s goal has always been to protect Ariana from anything that may hurt her, including the reasons he left. After returning to Summer Grove on another matter, he unearths secrets about Ariana and her family that she is unaware of. His love and loyalty to her beckons him to try to win her trust and help her find a way to buy the café—because when she learns the truth that connects her and a stranger named Skylar Nash, Quill knows it may upend her life forever.

Ties That Bind is the first novel in the Amish of Summer Grove series.

*********GIVEAWAY CLOSED**********

Leave a comment to enter the drawing.

Drawing will be open August 9th to August 13th.

One name will be randomly drawn as winner.

Check back on Monday, August 14th  to see if you won!

GOOD LUCK!

I’m sorry I forgot to add this: This giveaway is open to U.S. only, it is void where prohibited by law and you must be at least 18 to enter. The odds of winning depend on the number of comments received.

Blessings to everyone~

Posted in Book reviews | Tagged , , , , | 16 Comments

Spur of the Moment Bride by Anne Greene

My Review

After being labeled as a tease by her father, and being told to find a husband within 30 days, or lose her inheritance, Abby Hollister sets out to comply.

I enjoyed Abby’s pluckiness in setting out to find a husband. Her experiences on the stagecoach leave you feeling as if you were there with her, feeling cramped, gawked at and made uncomfortable. Also, the dangers of stagecoach rides are aptly illustrated in the portrayal of bad guys, rough terrain and consequences from harsh elements.

Anne Greene is a new author to me and this is the first of her stories I have read. Overall, I enjoyed the story and its uniqueness. However, there were a couple of incidents where Abby’s reference to another character’s personal attributes that possibly could not be helped and a couple of items on her list, were not kind. (I feel it gave me a small insight into the author’s thoughts on other people.)

Spur of the Moment Bride by Anne Greene is a short story, quick and easy to read.

I received the book from the author through The Book Club Network. However, I was not required to write a review.

Publisher’s Summary

Heiress Abby Hollister’s Papa demands she stop toying with young men’s hearts and marry within a month or be disinherited. After reading an ad for a mail-order bride in untamed Laramie, Wyoming, Abby makes a list of characteristics she expects for her husband and sets off to claim the perfect mate and secure her personal fortune.

Stage coach driver, Zach Tyler likes his exciting job where he outsmarts robbers and Indians and keeps the stage running regardless of weather, break-downs, and ornery passengers. But passenger Abby Hollister proves to be an unusual challenge. He protects her on the journey to Laramie, but in that town women are as scarce as a bird’s nest in a cuckoo clock, and men go crazy when the beauty arrives.

GIVEAWAY STARTS TOMORROW CHECK BACK FOR DETAILS

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To Wager Her Heart by Tamera Alexander

My Review

Tamera Alexander’s To Wager Her Heart’s historical novel is replete with real characters and events. With slight literary license, she brings to life the stories of Belle Meade Plantation, Fisk University, Jubilee Singers, Philip Paul Bliss (composer and author of hymns), the Ashtabula River rail disaster and the Dutchman’s Curve train wreck.

The tapestry of the tale is woven so well, the lines between your real life and fiction become indistinct and blurred, causing you to wonder if you have stepped into the narrative or the characters have stepped out of it.

To Wager Her Heart is the third and final installment of the Belle Meade Plantation Novels. However, you will not miss anything as it can very easily be read as a stand-alone.

I received To Wager Her Heart from Zondervan Publishers and the author, Tamera Alexander. However, I was not obligated to write a review.

Publisher’s Summary

Set against the real history of Nashville’s Belle Meade Plantation and the original Fisk University Jubilee Singers ensemble, To Wager Her Heart is a powerful love story about seeking justice and restoring honor at a time in American history when both were tenuous and hard-won.  

Sylas Rutledge, the new owner of the Northeast Line Railroad, invests everything he has into this venture, partly for the sake of the challenge. But mostly to clear his father’s name. One man holds the key to Sy’s success–General William Giles Harding of Nashville’s Belle Meade Plantation. But Harding is champagne and thoroughbreds, and Sy Rutledge is beer and bullocks.

Seeking justice . . .

Sy needs someone to help him maneuver his way through Nashville’s society, and when he meets Alexandra Jamison, he quickly decides he’s found his tutor. Only, he soon discovers that the very train accident his father is blamed for causing is what killed Alexandra Jamison’s fiancé–and has shattered her world.

Struggling to restore honor . . .    

Spurning an arranged marriage by her father, Alexandra instead pursues her passion for teaching at Fisk University, the first freedmen’s university in the United States. But family–and Nashville society–do not approve, and she soon finds herself cast out from both.

Through connections with the Harding family, Alexandra and Sy become unlikely allies. And despite her first impressions, Alexandra gradually finds herself coming to respect, and even care for this man. But how can she, when her heart is still spoken for? And when Sy’s roguish qualities and adventuresome spirit smack more of recklessness than responsibility and honor?

Sylas Rutledge will risk everything to win over the woman he loves. What he doesn’t count on is having to wager her heart to do it.

With fates bound by a shared tragedy, a reformed gambler from the Colorado Territory and a Southern Belle bent on breaking free from society’s expectations must work together to achieve their dreams – provided the truth doesn’t tear them apart first.

 

Posted in Book reviews | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Busy Week Ahead!

I will be posting a review every day this week! I apologize in advance, as I know last week was the same. I also know, I’m adding to everyone’s TBR. However, I’m on several authors’ street teams, and a lot of the books are being released very close together!

I also am having a giveaway this week! Stay tuned!!

(Pixabay images-TBR Pile!)
Posted in Books, reviews and more. | Tagged , | 13 Comments