A Lyric Medley


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I have a diverse taste in music; my cousin recently asked me what my favorite type of music was and I couldn’t even answer as I didn’t know where to start. I like a bit of everything–well, I’m not really into country or bubble gum pop…but I will listen to pretty much everything else if the song grabs me. So, this lyric/music tag should be really fun to do!

Thank you, Tara, for tagging me with this. I’m so sorry it took me so long to get it finished. :)

A song that describes me perfectly.

Roar by Katy Perry. This song resonated with my past when I first heard it, and it’s been my unofficial theme song ever since. “You held me down but I got up/Already brushing off the dust/You hear my voice, you hear that sound/Like thunder, gonna shake the ground.”

The happiest song I know.

Is it too cliche to say Happy by Pharrell Williams? It’s literally called happy. I walked the dogs to this song for weeks because it was so upbeat (and repeated well). “Because I’m happy/ Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof/Because I’m happy/Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth.” Hee-hee, the lyrics sometimes feel a bit odd but it’s still a really bouncy song.

A song that makes me want to dance.

Flyers by Bradio. I want to jump along the rooftop when I hear this song. It’s still one of the best songs I’ve ever heard, especially when paired with the Death Parade animation. “Everybody, put your hands up!” (Also Shake It Off by Taylor Swift should be mentioned, because that’s the perfect dancing song.)

A song that makes me feel rebellious.

Shatter Me by Lindsey Stirling. This song makes me want to break barriers, smash walls, leave my shell. Violin and dubstep has never sounded so amazing together. Lzzy Hale has a great voice! (Also the music video is incredible.) “Somebody shine a light/I’m frozen by the fear in me/Somebody make me feel alive/And shatter me.”

A song about a story.

This is an unconventional answer, but Lazy Scranton (which, I’m sure, Michael Scott once again plagiarized from a different song) is such a fun rap from The Office–I think of the story of The Office when I think of Michael and Dwight’s incredibly cheesy music video. That show is boss.

“They call it Scranton/What?/The Electric City/Scranton/What?/The Electric City.”

A song that would play during the apocalypse.

The Regulator by Clutch. Maybe it’s because I originally heard it on The Walking Dead, but I see this song playing over an apocalypse in slow motion. I really like how it starts off fairly slow and then builds. “Dream with the feathers of angels stuffed beneath your head/The regulator’s swinging pendulum//Come with me and walk the longest mile.”  (I used to go for runs with this song and pretend zombies were after me. I tell you those were my best workouts.)

A “I can’t even” song.

Don’t Stay by Linkin Park. I can’t even about this song because I detected the voice of my longest running main character singing it when I first hear it–I could hear him sing to his nemesis, his best friend, and himself–bitter, scarred, resentful…the song itself seems like a breakup song, but that’s never how I hear it. “Sometimes I feel I trusted you too well/ Sometimes I feel like screaming at myself/Sometimes I’m in disbelief I didn’t know/Somehow I need to be alone.”

A song that gives me chills every time I hear it.

Chandelier by Sia. I resonated a lot with the hopeless-sounding emotion that this sound resonates. It’s an old, familiar feeling from a few years back, only more beautiful-sounding. “I’m gonna swing from the chandelier, from the chandelier/I’m gonna live like tomorrow doesn’t exist/Like it doesn’t exist/I’m gonna fly like a bird through the night, feel my tears as they dry.”

A song of hope.

The Lost Get Found by Britt Nicole. This was one of the first Christian pop songs I heard as a teenager, and the beat and lyrics struck me and have stayed like a pin with me ever since. “Don’t let your lights go down/Don’t let your fire burn out/’Cause somewhere, somebody needs a reason to believe.”

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I’m going to tag: Faith, Emily, Maribeth, S, and Grace. Here are the tag rules for anyone else who’d like to do it–I didn’t follow it very closely to be honest, lol.

The rules:

1. Thank and link back to the person who tagged you.
2. Make a collage that represents your taste in music to go along with your tag post.

3. List a song for each of the 10 questions (or make up your own!) and include your favorite lyrics from that song, if you’d like. If you want to explain why you chose that song, that’s cool too – go crazy with it!

4. Tag at least 5 bloggers

~Jamie

My Small City Bus Adventure


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Monday through Wednesday, I attend a GED preparation school; within the past few of weeks, I’ve ridden home on the bus by myself twice. My first bus ride was an experience to say the least, from which I learned a variety of small lessons. Now I’m sure people have had worst experiences then this on the bus, but for being my first bus ride alone, it was an experience enough for me.

Of course it doesn’t help that my school is not in a nice part of town. However, in a big place like Phoenix, bad neighborhoods twist like veins throughout the entire city–there’s almost no avoiding that problem anyway. City life is not as glamorous as one might think.

When I’m by myself, I naturally walk very fast–mostly from walking the neighbor dogs. So, I was briskly trotting along down the street with my heavy school folder pack in my arms. It was quite warm (yes, it was a warm week for an AZ February), and I had several blocks to walk the right bus stop (a five to seven minute walk from the school to the stop, if you walk really fast).

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An African American guy on his phone passed me, then doubled back calling after me. He spoke in smooth compliments and huffed along to keep up with me. Then he tried to give me the tiniest fold of paper square you’d ever seen–he called it a souvenir but I was pretty sure it concealed a phone number for drugs. I said no thank you and he immediately stopped following me, which made me feel relieved but uneasy at the same time.

I skidded up to the bus stop and sat down on the shaded bench. In a laundromat parking lot behind me, about twenty Hispanic gentleman mulled about waiting for work, which did not make me very comfortable. Already at the stop was a man sitting on his bike, enthusiastically speaking Spanish to his phone but he didn’t bother me.

I fished about in my pack for a book but a Hispanic homeless-looking man, who appeared about seventy, came roaming up the sidewalk. He sat himself next to me, not close but still right there in my company. Between bits of silence, he told me his name, that he could understand what the man on the bike was saying and that I was pretty. I responded as naturally as I could but I turned my attention to my book so he would get the message that I wanted to read.

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About ten minutes later a guy in a khakis and button up shirt came huffing up the sidewalk, the stop obviously his destination. He loudly asked if I had two dollars he could borrow for the bus fare (he swore profusely for his boss calling him in on overtime). He asked the bike guy then darted around to the parking lot to ask the people in the parking lot.

The old homeless man, Pueblo, said “Why give him money? I wouldn’t give him money. You won’t see it again!” And I nodded in agreement while flattening open my library book with frustration and checked to see if the bus was in sight. The guy soon came with two dollars and continued to swear up and down the sidewalk in front of me about how unhappy he was (he literally did not stop talking about it even after the bus came some time later).

For the thirty-five minute wait  my reading was disturbed by small remarks by Pueblo and the F word. I felt both uneasy and serenely calm at the same time–not sure how, exactly. The bus AT LAST pulled down the street and stopped. Pueblo said goodbye to me as I nearly pounced on the bus steps. I scrambled into the bus, double checked with the driver that it would pass my stop, and sat down as fast as I could near the closest woman.

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The bus took off and I stared holes out the window to watch for my stop, even though it was ten minute drive down the road. I yanked the cord just before my stop and jumped out too fast.

As I began my trek into my neighborhood, my frustration began to emerge, now that I was alone. By this time, the uptight wait for the bus combined with the heat (and the stress I was dealing with over my computer issues), had worn me down. By the time I reached home my arms were exhausted from my heavy load and I was very hungry and hot (as I’d walked too fast downhill).

My mom let me complain at the kitchen table. Getting home is usually a quick process when she picks me up. Having missed the bus at noon and then the bus being late, coupled with the walking: It had taken me a full hour to get home on my own, while avoiding a drug dealer, busy traffic, homeless people, and a very germy bus ride in a heat that had come too early even for Phoenix.

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The moral of this story is that if things are bad the first time, they probably won’t be so bad the second–you just have to try again. Nowhere to go but up, right? My sister, who is a bus veteran, informed me that if I wore headphones, people would be more likely to leave me alone–apparently she’d never had my experience in any of her bus taking trips.

So, the second time I took the bus, I carried things in a backpack; what a help that was. The weather had cooled and there was a breeze. I wore my ear buds and played an unabridged audio book of Winnie-the-Pooh; the trashy street was a little less scary with Pooh and Piglet trying to catch a Hefflalump in my ear. While all the Hispanic men were still there looking for work, the homeless guy waiting there left me alone and stood about eight feet away.

Plus, I only waited ten minutes before the bus arrived on time!

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The bus ride was also better now that I’d had an experience using it. Pooh and Company were now preparing to form an “Expetition” to the North Pole but sadly they weren’t able to make the bus feel more clean. I jumped out at my stop and bathed in hand sanitizer I’d remembered to bring. Roo fell into a stream while I, more slowly, walked into my neighborhood. Pooh discovered the North Pole by the time I got home.

That experience was so much nicer than the first one.

The lessons I learned? Experiences are always going to be different, even if you end up at the same bus stop with the same bus and bus driver. Life is full of people, from all walks of life, who we’re just going to bump into along the way. Winnie-the-Pooh makes things a lot better. A backpack makes a heavy load easier to carry. Ear buds keep drug dealers away from you (well, I’ll test theory again the next time). Walking slowly downhill won’t leave you huffing and puffing (and a breeze always helps).

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But really, Pooh helped a lot. “After all, it’s more friendly with two.”

~Jamie

Regrets


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Regrets are an odd thing, because people end up regretting a lot of things in their life and then they often end up regretting all the time they spent regretting. Go figure. I deal with regret like everyone else, and I’ve processed a lot of it very recently.

For context: my laptop hard drive recently crashed for unknown reasons, and I lost a 60,000 word novel I’d recently written (among other things.) As any fellow writer will know, this is pure devastation anyway, but that particular book was very personal and meant to be written only once. I’ve really regretted loosing that book.

However, through the last two weeks I’ve worked through the emotion called regret and I want to share how I handled it with you today.

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And of course before I move forward I want to say this: feeling regret is not a bad thing.

Regret is a legitimate emotion that signals to your soul that there is something to be mourned, forgiven, learned from and released as best you can. Everyone deals with regret in their own time and way; so it’s important to know that the emotion itself is not bad. Now, choosing to live in regret for weeks, months, or years is when regret becomes bad. 

How I Deal With Regret

Mourn your losses. I’ve learned that when I feel regret, or any type of sadness, to not smother the feeling. I don’t think causing humongous scenes wherever you go is good, but with family or friends, it’s okay to talk out your sadness and cry if you can. Crying allows the negative emotion of anxiety to escape the body and soul–it’s natural, it’s cleansing, and it’s healthy.

The evening I was told my hard drive was gone, I cried for hours in my room and was very sad for the rest of the night; the guilt and pain dwindled by morning enough for me to work like normal. I don’t care what type of regrets you have–relationships, words, preventable issues or things that weren’t even your fault–if you lose something, mourn it until you feel some relief.

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Forgive yourself. Make room for mistakes in your life by forgiving yourself (or whomever might need to be forgiven, if you have regrets over a broken relationship of any sort.) I was still very mad at myself for not backing up my work, or emailing it to my sister, even after all my crying. After several days of frustration, I finally said, “That was a mistake on my part, that I now recognize and can fix.”

If I can’t make room for mistakes in my life, how will I ever grow as a person?

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You can’t change the past. I believe God uses “cause and effect” to guide lives to touch other lives that touch other lives in ways we don’t even understand. Things happen for a reason and things happen in the past, where we can’t touch them. What happened, has happened; now I gotta deal with it. Look at it however you want, but regretting the past does not fix the problem, or the heartache, or make you feel better.

Loosing my book was devastating and agonizing but it happened. Am I now going to just sit here and be resentful? What good would that do me to regret something that can’t be reversed? From what I see, this where a lot of people get stuck; they want to change what can’t be undone, while neglecting the future. That’s very sad and it’s a cycle that will continue unless one faces the front again.

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Don’t live in regret, but do learn from it. The thing about the past is that it’s what you do in the present. So, take regret as signal that something went wrong last time and learn from it. You messed up in that relationship by doing this and such. Well, now you know what not to do now. You should have turned left instead of right. Well, now you know what to do now. I lost my book because I was not proactive and should have saved it on a USB and a secondary hard drive. Well, now I know what to do now.

We need to stop looking out the back window and face the oncoming road. Grip that steering wheel with both hands.

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Try to find positives; the “if it hadn’t”s. Finding the good in the bad is the key putting regret to sleep–this ties in a bit with the point I made just above. Sometimes its really hard to look at regrets and find positive things, but they’re always at least one. If you can’t find one, that means it’s coming. You will see it one day.

I should have saved my story as soon as it was finished but now I know I should do that from now on: a positive thing! Thank God the laptop was under warranty; a positive. Most of my stuff was saved; a positive. Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

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This is not a cure-all, “gone forever” way for getting rid of Mr. Regret, sadly. I’ve gotten through these steps personally, and I still feel regret over my story, in small ways, every once and while. But if we forgot our regrets, we would simply make the same mistake over and over.

Besides, there will always be something to regret in our lives. We are humans who make mistakes, after all. Once we figure out one area of life, another area will soon fall apart and we’ll have to deal with that problem. Again.

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But please, don’t live in regret forever. You don’t want to regret that either.

~Jamie

I’m Back to Blogging


 

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Well, my computer is not fixed but I know what the problem is: a bad hard drive. Everything I didn’t last back up I lost, which ended up including everything for my most recent book and my 2014 NaNoWriMo novel. Thankfully, my laptop is still under warranty; I’m borrowing my Mom’s spare laptop to work as a replacement while it goes to the depot and comes back. So, I’m back to blogging!

The computer issue has been a heavy burden this past week for me and I’m exhausted emotionally. I had a near panic attack the first night and then after I found out I’d lost my book I was a corpse on my floor for an un-exaggerated two hours. Crying and worrying takes it out of you. Writers, go back up your work now. Like, stop reading this and save your work, email it to someone trustworthy or stick ‘em on a thumb drive. Do not make the mistake I did and assume it can’t happen to you. Assume it will all be lost tomorrow and go save it. Yes, Happy Valentine’s Day to you too.

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Lol I’m being quite dark, mostly to reflect my past week, but I’m doing a lot better now due to hunting for pros in a gallon of cons. Currently I’m grateful for the warranty and that my mom is so wonderful and that I’m single this year.

Self-discovery has revealed that to I would be in an awful fix if I was in a serious relationship right now. I’m still learning how I tick and how to function without becoming co-dependent or overly responsible. I’d like to stay single for a few more years! XD I’m not lonely today; I have a book date from the library this year and my little brother is my Valentine, so all is well. Hopefully in a few more years I’ll be more mature and there will be room in my heart for a relationship. :D

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Besides being dragged over coals this past week, I visited the library, went mini-golfing, and even managed to make my favorite dessert. I even briefly saw an old friend, which made me very happy. I hope this upcoming week will be a lot more relaxing, but grandparents are coming into town, so who knows. ;)

I’m going to end this here. Please pray that I’ll keep finding the positives in the negatives and that the people at Toshiba aren’t able to find an excuse to not cover my laptop. Now, go make sure your stuff is backed up and safe!

~Jamie

3 Things I Thought Difficult but Actually Aren’t


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Making my bed.

Most of my life I never made my bed; A) because I slept on the top of a bunk bed, and B) I wasn’t expected to make it. When I was eighteen I started sleeping on a twin by myself– it became more central to my room, influencing how the rest of it felt. At first, straightening blankets and pillows felt so hard, but when I actually attempted to do it, I found it made my room feel so much cleaner all by itself. And it’s not actually difficult! Surprise! (It’s the same when I open my window curtains! What a world of difference!)

Drinking enough water.

I’ve almost always liked water anyway, but it always seemed very hard to drink as much as you need every day. However, I started making time to drink right before bed and as soon as I got out of bed. It’s not actually difficult at all! I feel a world’s difference too! (Plus, drinking right before bed ensures no sleeping in! XD )

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Making time to write.

I’ve always loved writing, and had lots of time for it growing up. On top of a year or so when I was either tired emotionally or mentally OR I just couldn’t click on the word document button, my time seemed to get gobbled up more quickly by other things. However, this past NaNoWriMo, I exceeded the 50k word count by 10k in a month– a record for me! I realized the deadline had forced me to find time without being brutal. I’d determined, “I will make this word count, and no one is going to stop me from fulfilling it, not even myself.” It turns out, it’s not hard to make time to write: you just need to want it bad enough.

How about you? Are there things you thought were hard and then discovered they weren’t? Has someone cracked it for washing dishes?!?!?!? (I have not, and probably never will, because the activity of washing dishes is my mortal enemy for life. XD )

~Jame

The First Ups and Downs of ’15


Well, my new year has started off strange and different, full of ups and downs.

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My Neighbor Totoro is technically the first film I viewed in 2015! <3

On the 2nd of ’15, we had to put our family cat Patience to sleep. It was so unexpected and I cried on and off for most of the day. She’d been with out family for ten years (she adopted us by appearing in our yard one day and not leaving.) It was really sad to say goodbye.

The next day, I got to see Battle of the Five Armies by myself. I think it’s my favorite of the three Hobbit films. It was nice to finally see one of Peter Jackson’s films on the big screen, too. That same day, I bought Splat hair dye and set the date of hair change for Thursday.

School opened and I attended Monday through Wednesday as usual–it was pretty uneventful, outside seeming to blow everyone away in writing class with my assignment–that felt pretty good. :D

On Wednesday, I got tired of the suspense, so I spontaneously threw newspaper down in the bathroom and poured dye into my hair. Rinsing it out turned out to be the adventurous part, IMG_2852_Fotor_Collage as I decided to do it the shower (SO BAD, NEXT TIME I’M RINSING IN THE KITCHEN SINK) and I got blue splattered everywhere and on myself (in my defense, in the instructions they show a person under a shower head when they talk about rinsing, lol.) Nothing stained permanently, thanks to hard scrubbing and baking soda, and my hair came out a deep blue; it looks almost black at night! I love have an unnatural hair color and it is the first thing I’ve checked off my 2015 bucket list as “completed”!

Thursday, Friday, and Saturday was spent marveling at my new hair color when I passed a mirror, watching Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, and having a slow weekend with my little brother.

I hope you’re new year has interesting as mine, although I hope none of your pets of died! :( Overall, the first of the new year was simply unexpected adventurous mixed with falling backing life’s habits after Christmas. It will be interesting to see what else happens this year!

~Jamie

Beautiful People: Author Edition


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One of the things I didn’t include on my bucket list but want to do, is to be more active on the blogosphere. This includes joining blog parties and link ups of interest; its such a great way to find more people with similar interests!

So, today I’m joining the Beautiful People: Author Edition by Cait and Sky!

How many years have you been writing? When did you officially consider yourself a ‘writer’?

I’m 20 years old, and I wrote my first story when I was 7! I considered myself a ‘writer’ a little after that, with my mom’s encouragement—so I’ve considered myself a ‘writer’ since the beginning!

How/why did you start writing?

I started writing stories because I was learning how to type properly at the same time, so it was good practice for my little hands. I loved writing fiction so much that I just kept doing it!

What’s your favorite part of writing?

The story-telling, the adventure of giving a character an exciting life. I didn’t do that many exciting things as a kid, so I’d compensate by making up ridiculous stories for my characters, and live through them. Now that I’m older, another favorite part is the challenge of writing because writing actually isn’t always a walk in the park! It takes diligence, self-control, and oftentimes hard work to write a good story. I like to look back at challenges and know that I was able to meet them!

What’s your biggest writing struggle?

Editing and plot flow. So hard. Must fix. Soon.

Do you write best at night or day?

Usually I do better during the evening and night… not sure why. I guess I’m a bit of a night owl. :P

What does your writing space look like? (Feel free to show us pictures!)

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Here it is! I have a small desk in my room where I do most of my writing/blogging/online reading. I’m about to get a new computer chair but otherwise, this is how it usually looks! I like putting up fun things up on my white board–magnets, Disney trading cards, stuff from friends! I write reminders there, too, so I don’t forget things, Lol!

How long does it typically take you to write a complete draft?

Oh, honey, it totally depends on the project. It’s different every single time, so I can’t even give you a guess!

How many projects do you work on at once?

It depends; I’m usually spontaneous and random, so sometimes I can have three different stories started at once. Other times, I will zone in one particular project and only work on it for a year. It really depends on what type of story it is, what mood I’m in, and if the words are flowing or not.

Do you prefer writing happy endings, sad ones, or somewhere in between?

I can do ‘happy endings’ to ‘somewhere in between’. I’m a pretty chirpy person, so I like my stories and characters to have chirpy endings too. I think of all the books I’ve written, I’ve only ended one sadly, and it affected me so much that I dropped that series for four years! True story!

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List a few authors who’ve influenced your writing journey.

Donald J. Sobol, Arthur Conan Doyle, Roald Dahl, Robert Louis Stevenson. Thank you so much, sirs.

Do you let people read your writing? Why or why not?

I’ve almost always had my writings read by somebody; the past two years have been the first where I’ve kept my work pretty private. When I was younger, I would read my stories aloud to my sister, and she still reminisces them, which makes me so happy (and surprised, because I didn’t think they made that much of an impact on her, but she talks about my characters like they are old companions! *fuzzy feelings*) I need to get back to letting someone I trust read my work, though!

What’s your ultimate writing goal or dream?

That my published books be well-known and well-loved by many people!

If you didn’t write, what would you want to do?

This is actually a really scary question! I can’t imagine my life without my writing! What the heck would I be doing now???? I honestly have no answer to this question.

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Do you have a book you’d like to write one day but don’t feel you’re ready to attempt it yet? 

Yes; one day I want to write a self-help book that talks about recovering from spiritual and emotional abuse for fellow Christians. My life’s story has so far been about the struggle of leaving behind poisonous thinking masked as “Biblical” and “Godly”. I’d love to tell my family’s journey that hopefully could help others who trapped in spiritual abuse. I am not at all ready to write it though, I’m still learning myself, but maybe one day in the future I will be!

Which story has your heart and won’t let go?

Probably my Tiger Series I started when I was 12, which followed a group of teenagers’ wild adventures as detectives. After 8 years, I made a noble attempt of putting the story to rest during 2014 NaNoWriMo with an alternate fantasy ending; however, the characters and their symbolic Tiger name are so tattooed on my heart that I’m sure they’ll stay alive in my head for the rest of my life. They are my best friends and I’m so glad writing gave them to me. <3

~Jamie