Cliché but True, “New Year, New Me”

Timelines of my life in the last… gosh… two weeks-ish? Seems like so much more than two weeks…

Mid December:

Found out that the house I was living in (which was on the market) had a contract on it and was due to close on Feb. 3rd.

Dec. 28th-Jan. 1rst:

Went to Faithwalkers East, which was AMAZING. Later, on a night when I have more time, I intend to type up some of my notes from the seminars I went to and post them. So stay tuned! But until then, let me just say… Wow. So awesome to spend several days just seeking God, having Godly fellowship with other believers, and having hours upon hours of time away from the stress, temptations and weight of the world. I went hiking up a crazy steep North Carolina mountain, and we spend New Years Eve night into New Years Day dancing swing, shag, and line dances, finishing up with praying in the new year!! I don’t have enough words to in my vocabulary to properly express how much I enjoyed it. I highly recommend it.

Jan. 2nd-6th:

Found out that the closing date of the house was moved up to Jan. 23rd, AND the only bathroom with a functional shower had to be ripped out and replaced prior to Jan. 23rd. Time to move out. Now.

Jan. 6th-present:

Moved out successfully over the weekend. Still working on organization and feeling settled. But so far, so good. I’m pleased with how things have turned out.

Currently, my area is having a cold spike. It was 19 degrees this morning on my way to work. Windchill made it feel like 13…. I live in the south, we aren’t used to this. I don’t even really own winter clothes. I’m frozen.

Anyway, just though I would give you all an update on my life. It’s crazy. But it’s good. Looking forward to seeing what this new year has in store for me. Or, more accurately, what God has in store for this new year. 🙂

 

I did it!

Apologies for taking such huge breaks between posts. I have had a lot going on! Such as:

  • Ever present possibility that I have to move suddenly (I live alone, but it’s my dad’s house, and it is on the market).
  • Going through some difficult times relationally.
  • Full-time job
  • Studying for my COA (Certified Ophthalmic Assistant) exam.

BUT I HAVE GOOD NEWS! I PASSED MY COA TEST! I am officially, Moriah, COA, OSC.

I am super excited about it. I wanted to share something interesting that happened while I was preparing for the test.

One afternoon, I was studying and feeling very overwhelmed. So, I prayed, and I asked God to please help me stay calm, remember what I was studying, and help me pass the test.
And he gently nudged my heart and says;

“You ask for an awful lot from someone you never spend time with. How about you put Me first, make spending time in My word priority, and then, we’ll see.”

I felt kinda convicted. So, I began reading at least one chapter of scripture and spending time in prayer daily before I would allow myself to study. I still studied, but devoted time to both studying ophthalmology and the bible. And I passed my test. 🙂 God is awesome.

Prayer request for you all! My best friend has to move on Dec. 20th. He still does not know where he will be moving to, but so far his only option is 45+ minutes farther away from his jobs (he has four jobs… yeah…), and farther from me (super-sad face emoji). Please pray that God will provide him a place that is closer, more convenient, and in a good price range. Preferably with a roommate that can split the costs with him.

Anyway, I’m off to do some reading before bed! TTFN!

~TQG

Time Changes Much

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Sometimes each little cut on my heart, all the wounds from the past, just ache at once. Even the healed ones light up with phantom pains as the newest still bleed and throb.

“It’s difficult to keep a soft heart when you get hurt. The tendency is to withdraw. Press on. Soft hearts are easily bruised, but survive, while hard hearts crack and crack completely.”

~Eric Wilson, Author

Now I’m A Warrior

It’s been a rough week. I’ve been living the “fake it till you feel it” motto and for the sake of patients and coworkers, trying to be my usual self. And boy, am I tired…

Wednesday night I went to the house of a truly awesome family, some folks my Dad used to work with long ago, when their three boys and I were just little munchkins. The husband is an elder at my church, and his wife is such an amazing woman. I’ve adopted her as my “second” mom, she is Godly, wise, and an incredible listener. Knows all the right questions to ask to get to the bottom of what I’m dealing with, and follows it up with truthful, biblical advice and hugs. She’s also raised three sons who are all 1-3 years older than I, and understands how male minds work much better than I do because of this.

She shed some light on my situation, gave me some very encouraging words and helped me see what exactly my role is now, as a friend. I’m stubborn. I can never truly be ditched, I just refuse to give up on people I care about. So, no matter the personal cost to myself, I remain.

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I will let people walk away, but I never close the door behind them. If they slam it shut, I refuse to lock it. I’ve mentioned in past posts that I’ve had many people leave me, in various ways, some more painful than others, but one thing remains true about all of them thus far; they always come back.

But y’know what… Even if this time is different, I refuse to stop loving someone who has been so dear to my heart for so long. I will relent, I will take a few steps back, but you better believe they will be covered in prayer every day that I breathe. I don’t believe in temporary friendship, and I can’t find a place in scripture where it says follow your heart or love when you feel like it, but I do see this:

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

~Jeremiah 17:9

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails.

~1 Corinthians 13: 1-8

No matter what I feel, no matter the pain that’s been inflicted, no matter how long it takes, I will pray for healing, for reconciliation, for restored friendship. 

Maybe I won’t see it until we meet again when Christ returns, but I know that heartfelt prayer does not go unheard. Even if I don’t get to see the effects of it on this side of Heaven, it will be worth it.

My prayers are more powerful than my presence. And now, I’m a Prayer Warrior.

So if by chance, you’re reading this, Tiger, you will always be my favorite weirdo, and I’ll always be here for you. You have my word.

~TQG

Job 13:15

Little Life Lessons

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Have you ever held a hermit crab? If you’re like me, you may have been too grossed out by their spider-like qualities to particularly enjoy them, but I have held one, and there is something interesting to be learned from their behavior. (Just totally ignoring that they occasionally pinch the living daylights out of you.)

When you hold a hermit crab, they initially withdraw into their shells, protecting their soft bodies by using the hard exoskeleton on their legs to block the little door of their mobile homes. But, if you hold them gently, are quiet, and don’t make fast or sudden movements, they will slowly come out, poke their little heads out and become curious. After they’ve started to explore, you can then move more and be less careful of scaring them. They’ve learned to trust the ground (your hand) that they’re standing on and aren’t afraid to check you out and see what you’re made.

As much as hermit crabs kinda freak me out, I can relate to them a lot. When I meet people for the first time, I tend to withdraw, barely participating in the small talk they offer me, often feeling a bit claustrophobic if they try too hard too fast to get to know me. But occasionally I meet people who sense my hesitation and back off a little. Still engaging me in conversation, but doing so more calmly, less demandingly, and sometimes even literally giving me space by going and talking to other people before coming back to me. And I love it when I meet people who do that. It seriously makes me feel so respected and understood.

At work, I can fake extrovert like a pro. I increase my volume, I start lots of pointless small talk conversations, I use witty comebacks and ignore when people invade my space. But it wears me out so much. By the time the end of the week comes, when I do most of my social activities with other Christians and people I would like to be friends with, I’m just out of it. I don’t have enough energy left to be a fake-tro-vert. And really, if I have to fake being SUPER outgoing just to make friends, what kind of friends am I really making?

Please don’t misunderstand, I’m not trying to say “Look, I’m antisocial and rude and I don’t like talking but you should love me even though I refuse to talk to you.”
Heck. No. I’m very social, I love talking, I love people, I love being in social situations. I feel very badly when I have those days when it’s next to impossible for me to be truly myself with people, those days when people try to talk to me and I just don’t respond in a way that shows them how much I really do want to get to know them. It kills me. I lay awake in bed at night sometimes just angry with myself for being that way. I pray regularly that on days when I’m just emotionally drained, that He would sustain me and help me be that kind hearted person He’s made me to be.

I don’t want people to have to cater to my “social needs”. I want to be flexible and easy to communicate with. I want to be accessible. And sometimes, I’m not. And on those days, when God brings into my life those understanding people who can see through my hard, cold shell and say to themselves “I bet she’s a really cool person, she just needs some space and TLC.” Gah. I just love those people. I need friends like that. They rock. See, I want to be my best for everyone. But I’m way too human for that. I need people in my life who understand that I have days when they’re like “HEY, how are you!!!” and I’ll just say “Oh, good!” and don’t even ask how they are, not because I don’t care, I always care. But because I’m struggling, I’ve got ten thousand things going on in my head, my reply was an auto-response. Deep down I thought “I should ask how they’re doing too”, but I know that I’ve got too much going on to listen in a way that they deserve, so I don’t ask.

I don’t ask people how they’re doing to hear “Good, you?”. I ask only when I want to know how. they. are. doing. I don’t want an auto-response, I want a look into their life. So why would I ask you how you’re doing when I’m passing you in a hallway, with maybe 50 seconds of time to converse? What a waste of speech! I’d much rather smile and say “Good morning!”, a friendly greeting, but no obligation to express anything about what’s going on in your life when neither of us has time for that at the moment. Make sense?

Back to people who give me space… Sometimes, in that group, they may not see much result from the totally awesome respect they invest in me. But I remember them. Always. And next time, I will seek them out. Having shown me they are safe, that they aren’t going to try and pry me out into the open, I will seek them out in a crowd. They unwittingly become my anchor into the group. No matter how loud and demanding that group becomes, I know I can seek them out for a moment of peace. And if they spend one-on-one time with me, I will open up and talk and be social. I like to invest in conversations, and it’s really hard to do that in group settings. I don’t start conversations that I don’t intend to finish, but in groups, often times the topic will get lost as more people join in and make other remarks and it’s just… I can’t follow it. It’s annoying. Or someone will make a comment that make me curious as to why they feel that way, but before I can get a chance to inquire, the whole topic has evolved and moved on and it’s no longer applicable, so I just file it away for later. I think I freak people out a little, because sometimes I’ll send a text to someone, or come up to them and be like “So, this comment you made like two weeks ago during this group conversation, tell me more.” I’m not a stalker I promise… I just… I’m curious.. *toothy grin*

Anyway. That’s my piece on how I relate to hermit crabs. (I made hermit crabs way deeper than they actually are. 😀 ) Summary: I like real conversations, not small talk. I like one-on-one time best, but in groups I do enjoy listening and learning about people by observation. I’m not a hermit, I’m an tenderhearted person who genuinely wants to know you, but feels attacked when you try and force me out into the open. And lastly, to those of you who treat people like me with the kindness and genuine respect that makes us want to be ourselves, thank you. You make us feel like we can shine. It’s people like you who help us grow. You are the answer to our prayers.

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~TQG

One Good Conversation

All it takes is one good conversation.

Today at work, I found myself in a rarely seen or found place. My comfort zone! Alone in a room with an adult, married, Christian man whilst we both enjoyed our lunch hour. This coworker and I had not previously had an actual conversation, but I have overheard him talk about his wife quite lovingly, and we’re friends on Facebook, which was, combined, enough to make me feel quite comfortable.

Not sure how we got there, but eventually we got to talking about what we had studied in scripture, and he shared what he had been learning about how we are to handle grief and death, which lead to me talking about my mom.

I worked exceptionally hard to keep from crying, and managed, but just barely, as I talked about her and how she passed. But what really struck me what his reaction. He too was working hard not to cry, and I could see the tears welling in his eyes as he just sat and listened. Not many people take time to sit and listen these days. And when they do, it stands out to me. But even more than listen, he was feeling my words as I spoke them. That is a rare and often burdensome gift to bare. I know, because I share it, and it’s one of the reasons I literally can’t get very close with more than a few people at once. I just can’t handle it. I feel what they feel, and I can only feel so much before I burst.

Back to this coworker of mine. Our lunch hour ended, and we both gathered up our emotions and laughed a bit, and went our separate ways to the opposite sides of the building where we work. But the whole thing shed light on a struggle I’ve had just recently as I try to integrate myself into this new church group I’m in.

I’m not actually as bad at communicating as I keep making myself out to be. See, at this last group event I went to, I was the only girl on the speed boat (be jealous. Of the speed boat, not of me being out numbered by attractive guys, because that’s actually just overwhelming and exhausting) and though conversation is not readily required when going 35-60 mph over water dragging people on skis, wake boards or tubes, there are still plenty of moments when it’s really a good idea to say….something…. anything…. like, seriously. And I DID. Several times!! And I did, indeed, speak loud enough to be heard and somewhat acknowledged for having said something. But a conversation is a two way street. I can say as much as I want, but if no one picks up the topic and runs with it, it’s just gunna lay there on the ground and die a slow, awkward death. And my introverted self only has energy for a few well place conversation starters before it’s really up to them to come up with a new one. Don’t get me wrong, in a group setting, I can kill a conversation without even trying! It’s like a super power! I’m speaking of one-on-one conversations here, where I prefer to live.

Now, I did talk to people, and have good conversations. With a girl who later joined the boat, and her husband. I’m noticing that married men seem to be much more capable of conversation… Single guys however… at least, the ones in this group… man.

It only takes one good conversation, just one time when I feel like they are actually interested in talking and listening, and I’ll talk to them pretty easily from that point on. Not totally absent of awkward, but at least halfway capable of forming cohesive sentences. If someone would just take that 10, 15, maybe 20 minutes to get past that initial awkward, I promise, I have something to offer. It may be walled away, but behind the gate is a garden. And the greatest treasure is planted at the very center of that garden– my heart. I don’t mean this just from a romantic standpoint, my heart is who I am, and you don’t really get to see it until you take the time to try. Not saying it’s easy to get to, but it’s totally worth the trouble, and the path through the garden is actually quite nice.

I talked about this to my Dad recently, and he said to me, “The right guy will see that, and he will take the time to get to know you whether you’re awkward or not, he’ll see what’s hidden behind it and want to seek it out.” Man, I sure hope that’s true. Cause right now, it sure doesn’t feel that way.

~TQG

Please also enjoy this: “Introverts and the inner flame“, a very good little article that relates to mine quite well.

Awkward Silence

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Disclaimer: this is from Pinterest. I didn’t make it, I know nothing about the dude who said it, and I don’t have a tumblr nor to I visit the site. I just like this quote.

Today I had a moment of “awkward silence” with someone, and after I got home I saw this quote. It made me feel better about myself and my social foibles. Why do we feel awkward about a moment of silence? Must every moment of time spent with someone be filled with speech? And really, if someone avoids you because you’re sometimes “awkward”, are they really the kind of person you want to be around? After all, a friend that you have to be interesting around just to keep their attention, isn’t a real friend. We’re all boring, guys. I mean, really. We’re all very interesting too, if you take the time to appreciate each person’s own unique qualities and interests. We’re all awkward in our own way, we’re all awesome in our own way.

Anyway, I’m sort of preaching to myself here. Don’t think that all my “don’t be ashamed of your social problems” talk is me speaking from a point of confidence. It’s a huge weakness in my life, but I’m working really really hard to heal it, with God’s help. Getting there slowly but surely. Sometimes I just need to type up a little pep talk to myself. Maybe one of you needed one too. 🙂

The Science Behind the Trials of Introversion

I recently found this website called Introvert, Dear, and they posted this blog post today that helped me understand my brain so much. At risk of “stealing” their audience, please don’t just read the quoted portion here, but also click on the link and visit their site, even for a little while. Thanks!!

A co-worker appears out of the blue and asks me a question. Her eyes and tone of voice say she wants an answer now. Her request is easy, but my mind is momentarily paralyzed.

I start sentences then stop them. I hesitate. I say words that are close to what I mean, but not exactly. I backtrack.

My co-worker — an extrovert who always seems to express herself effortlessly — looks at me like, come on, spit it out. I think, if only my brain would cooperate.

Why introverts struggle with word retrieval

When we’re speaking out loud, we introverts may have trouble with word retrieval, meaning, we struggle to find just the right words we want. We may come off sounding like we don’t know what we’re talking about, even though we do. In social situations, we may have trouble keeping up with fast-talking extroverts.

Our brains use many different areas for speaking and writing, writes Dr. Marti Olsen Laney in her book, The Introvert Advantage: How to Thrive in an Extrovert World, and when talking out loud, information needs to flow between the separate regions. One reason why introverts struggle with speaking is that we process information deeply, which means information moves slowly between areas of our brain.

Another reason has to do with introverts relying more on long-term memory than working memory. Information stored in long-term memory is mostly outside of our conscious awareness. Like the name sounds, long-term memory contains information that is retained for long periods of time — in theory, information is saved indefinitely. Some of this information is fairly easy to access, while other memories are more difficult to recall. Contrast this with working memory (sometimes referred to as short-term or active memory), which is limited and retains information for mere seconds.

Again, like the name sounds, it takes longer to reach into long-term memory and pull out just the right word or piece of information. The right key or association is needed, which is something that reminds us of what we’re trying to recall. This, of course, slows down us introverts when we’re speaking.

If we’re anxious — which is how I felt when my intimidating co-worker approached me — it may be even more difficult to locate and articulate the right words.

Why it’s easier to express ourselves in writing

Introverts “often feel as if they express themselves better in writing than in conversation,” writes Susan Cain in her book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.

Introverts may prefer text messages and emails to phone calls. Many of us keep journals or compose lyrics, poems, or stories, and some of us make careers out of writing.

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The reason for this preference once again has to do with how our brains are wired: written words use different pathways in the brain, which seem to flow fluently for many introverts, writes Laney.

What to do when your mind goes blank

Memory is complex, and it uses many different areas of the brain. Our brains store memories in several locations and create links between them, called associations.

To yank something out of long-term memory, we need to locate an association. The good thing is, most pieces of information in long-term memory were stored with several associations or keys for unlocking them.

“If we find just one key, we can retrieve the whole memory,” writes Laney.

When you struggle to remember a word, a piece of information, or even what you did over the weekend (because that question often comes up in small talk!), try these things:

Be still and relax.
Give yourself permission to be quiet for a few moments. Don’t let the other person rush you.
Buy yourself time to process things by saying something like, “Let me think about that,” or “Hmm, let me see…” Or, give a nonverbal signal that shows you’re thinking, like looking away and furrowing your brow slightly.
Let your mind wander for a moment and go where it wants. One thought may lead to another, and one of those thoughts may hold the “key” to unlocking the words you want from your long-term memory.
If all else fails, and words escape you, don’t feel embarrassed — your brain is doing what comes naturally to it, and that is to pause and reflect. If you’re being quiet, you’re in good company with other deep-thinking introverts: Stephen Hawking once said, “Quiet people have the loudest minds.”

Then, try breezing over any awkwardness in the conversation by using humor to make light of your tongue-tied state, or say you’re a little distracted right now, and you’ll get back to the other person later — by sending an email or text.

When an introvert is quiet, don’t assume he is depressed, snobbish or socially deficient. Laurie Helgoe, Introvert Power: Why Your Inner Life Is Your Hidden Strength
Image credit: Deviant Art (Ezgi Polat)

VISIT THE SOURCE POST HERE!

Disclaimer: I have not read ALL their posts, nor have I read ANY of the books they recommend. Please don’t take this post as an endorsement of the books or of the content on their site, but merely an appreciation of this particular post. Thanks!!

A Mild Presence

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The world’s got enough “wild child” personalities.

What’s so wrong with being mild? A soothing presence in a world of tumult.

What’s wrong with being the one who leaves the party first? The one who listens more than speaks?

Maybe the mild ones get forgotten in a crowd, left behind by the thrill seekers and drowned out by the latest scandal,

but we anchor the world to reality.

All I want is to be a place to rest for those who are weary of the brutal tide of this world.

A warm ray of sunshine on a cool Fall afternoon.

A cool breeze before a refreshing Summer storm.

Just as I rest in the presence of God, I pray that others can rest in my presence.

Lord, please teach me to shine Your spirit into the lives of others.

You created me to be daring, Elyon. And being gentle and calm in a world such as this requires a fierceness of spirit that only You can provide. Give me a fiery passion for Your people, Lord, and grant me the gift of a mild presence.

Attractions

As I think back over the recent months, I am struck by the superficial nature of our attractions today. In many ways some adults reflect the same level of understanding about relationships as the kids I worked with. The girls are impressed by the boy’s athletic abilities or looks or car, the guys by her physical appearance, her hair or body and all of them seem to value a sarcastic or perverse “wit” or rebellious attitude. As I was thinking back on this Proverbs 31:29-31 came to mind;

“Many daughters have done nobly, but you excel them all.” Charm is deceitful and beauty is fleeting but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.

This led to other passages;

Proverbs 11:16 A kind hearted woman gains honor, a ruthless man only wealth

Proverbs 31:31 Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gates

What struck me was how off kilter we are when evaluating others as men and women, friends and potential spouses and how these verses need to be applied from both the male and female perspectives.

Too often we see the surface appearance, the facade. What we should be looking at is the person on the inside. The beauty will fade, the body will change, gravity will take its toll and age will add lines of character where there was once smooth skin. What will be the same, indeed what will grow is who we are on the inside.

Ladies and gentlemen will you still be happy when you are left with an aging shell of the person you once “loved” and find yourself the focus of the sarcasm you found so amusing when it was aimed at others.

Guys, that girl you think is so hot, is she beautiful on the inside? That guy who is so cool, will his heart be warm and tender to you when your beauty fades and his six pack turns into a keg? If they were struck by debilitating disease or scarred by fire or accident would you still love them? I like this bit of advice given to a young man though I don’t know its origin;

“Marry the most spiritually beautiful woman you can convince to have you”

Good advice but I think it needs a second half, it should continue – Then spend the rest of your life running after Christ so you are able to lead and care for her as Christ loves and cares for us.

Guys spend your time examining the young ladies around you for their inner qualities, kindness, patience, gentleness, tenderness of spirit, a Christ centered heart. One day when you see a woman who possesses these you will be amazed. You’ll blink and when your eyes open you’ll see her for the true beauty that she is, a pearl of great price for which you would give all that you have.

Ladies look to the inside, for a heart that seeks to follow Jesus, a forgiving spirit, a servant’s heart. That strength never fades, it grows.

Fall in love with the inner beauty, the kind and noble heart that follows after God and you will be blessed for life, not just satisfied for a season.

~My Dad 🙂

He wrote this as a post on his Facebook, and it hasn’t gotten nearly enough attention. I see plenty of “hot” guys, and I’m frequently asked why I don’t “go after” them. I’ve even been told “Y’know, if you really wanted a boyfriend it wouldn’t be that hard for you to get one, you’re just too picky.” Well you know what? A guy that is spiritually “hot” will last a lifetime. Being on fire for Christ truly is the sexiest quality a person can have. I’m willing to wait for that.

About a week ago, I brought an apple to work with me. I love apples, and this one was a HUGE, organic, fuji apple. One of my favorites. I was sitting in a park near my work when I took my first bite. I nearly threw up. Though it was bright and firm and gorgeous on the outside, the core had rotted, and the flesh was bitter and blackened. Any thoughts of the sweetness the exterior had implied were totally gone, and all I wanted to do was find something to get the horrible taste out of my mouth.

Why would I seek to marry and become one flesh with someone who’s rotten on the inside? Of the few men that I’ve actually been interested in, rarely was I struck with their looks when I first met them, but their gentleness, kindness,  strength, and desire for God. Their looks grew more and more appealing the longer I knew them, the deeper my knowledge of their faith, until I could see nothing but who they are in their features. And it was beautiful.

And the guys that have caught my eye with their looks, most have shown to be hollow on the inside. Consumed with themselves and their wants….

Not to say all attractive people are selfish, but that looks should be a secondary qualification when evaluating if they’re someone you want to pursue a relationship with. I have indeed met a good number of extremely attractive men who were also awesome, Godly men. But sadly for my sake they’ve so far all been married. ^_^

Anyway… that’s my little mini rant of the evening. It’s 12am and I’m dead tired and very sore, so I’ll be off now. TTFN! 🙂

~TQG