Bigger “Picture”

Every so often we have people who aren’t 7F Brides ask about taking photos on our property- either of their family, to promote their business, or just for fun! Of course we love when people in our community want to take advantage of 7F’s beauty to capture their special moments, on just one condition- that they donate $100 to Scotty’s House. (All of our photo shoots must be approved and are by appointment only so that we can pick a suitable date and time and coordinate the wonderful donation!)

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What is Scotty’s House and why do we support them?

Scotty’s House is the Child Advocacy Center of the Brazos Valley. It is an amazing organization, founded in 1995, whose mission is to provide safety, healing and justice for children victimized by abuse through professional counseling and education. It provides a compassionate, supportive, and nurturing environment where child victims can be assessed and get closer to normalcy. These child advocacy centers are so important because there are over a quarter of a million cases of child abuse in Texas alone each year.
Kids like Scotty, who gave Scotty’s House its name, are the reason why this place means so much to so many. He was abducted from his daycare and abused by his father in 1982. Children like him have come in and out of Scotty’s House seeking and gaining comfort, restoration, and love.

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7F is happy to play even a small part in what this organization is doing for the B/CS community.

I think Scotty’s House, just like 7F, displays just how much love really does save lives.

-Katie Morris

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The Power of Words

After working at 7F for a while, I have begun to notice what I would call “inspirational messages” scattered throughout the property. From floorboards to walls to door frames to support beams, these words are written anywhere Carol (the original owner) could think of. Not only do these phrases embody what 7F is about, but to me they also embody what life is about. I wanted to share a little about what some of the ones I found mean to me:

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“Love is a verb. It requires action.”- When I think about this phrase, it reminds me of the way people have shown their love for me, whether through a kind text, act of service, or just being present. It is one thing to say “I love you” but a much more powerful thing to express that love with your actions. I don’t think love is ever stationary- it is always being conveyed in different ways through different people. What a great reminder to love the people who have been placed in our lives well.

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“Return with honor.”- I found this saying a couple times at 7F- above the door at the Pavilion and above the door in the office. This quote makes me think of the story behind 7F (on our website) and how Carol’s father and uncles returned home after fighting in World War II. They sought companionship in each other upon coming home and were honorable friends, Aggies, and fathers. Instead of the war making them more bitter or resentful, they chose to return and be even better men- loving each other and lifting each others’ burdens, despite the horrors they had witnessed and the grief they all shared. I think that is a beautiful picture of what it looks like to return with honor.

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“Simplify your life.”- Written above the mirror in the Pavilion, this phrase reminds me to take time to get away from all of the clutter and busyness and noise that so easily seems to take over, and just enjoy the simple things that life offers- whether that is friendship or nature or family. I think this is what makes 7F such a captivating and wonderful place- it takes people out of the chaos and craziness that can sometimes overwhelm them, and helps them rest in the peacefulness and stillness of nature.

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“Love Saves Lives.”- Of course this saying is etched all over 7F- on signs and floorboards and walls and brochures. It captures all that 7F represents, and what’s really important- love. Working at a place that was built on a foundation of this quote has reminded me often of the power love has to heal, inspire, guide, and restore. Being loved and loving others is what makes life worth living and what helps us when we are getting through life’s storms and trials. Just like Carol and her father, I really do believe that love saves lives.

 

Maybe this will motivate you to write your own messages to help you be inspired and encouraged. Whether you write it on your wall, or just on a sticky note or your hand, I think we could all use reminders every once in while of what life’s really about.

-Katie Morris

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Outside the Box

Everybody enjoys the moment at a wedding where the bride and groom walk through an aisle made by friends and family and are whisked away in a car to spend their honeymoon together. It has been a long standing tradition for guests to participate in this post ceremony practice by throwing things at the bride and groom as they leave the reception.

Originally this custom was carried out using rice or other grains to symbolize the showering of fertility and abundance on the bride and groom. Today, couples get way more creative with their send-offs. In Italy, people toss candy and other sugary treats to wish the couple “sweetness” in marriage. And in France, they toss wheat as a symbol of richness.

Over the years, 7F has also seen its fair share of unique send offs. I asked Donna and Laura (our manager) what some of their favorites were, and wanted to share them with you:

  1. One 7F couple was high school sweethearts, so they decided to run through a decorated banner for their send off, like football players usually go through during high school football games. Not only was this one of a kind, but it also represented their history together!
  2. Because we are located in College Station, we have some very proud Aggie couples, who carry their love of A&M over to their weddings. A few couples have incorporated this into their send off by having their guests wave 12th Man towels as they walk through. We’ll “whoop” to that!tamu
  3. Another couple decided to have Styrofoam airplanes at their send off, an especially sentimental choice because the groom was a military airman.

 

 

Those have been some of the most unique, but here’s a quick list of some of the other ones I really like:

  • Glow Sticks
  • Ribbons

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  • Flower Petals
  • Bubbles

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  • Hand Clappers
  • Lavender

 

Whether you are getting married in a couple months, or a couple years, you can keep these ideas in your back pocket to make your special day even more memorable!

-Katie Morris

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Around the World and Back

If you have ever heard the story behind 7F or read about it on our website, you know why our little white chapel was built. You know that it is was constructed by a loving man for his future bride, and that this couple, who were the first to share their vows here, were also the original owners of this place that means so much to so many. I absolutely love hearing the story of how the chapel was built and of the love and attention that went into it. But what I didn’t know was that just as much attention and love was put into the items inside of the chapel’s walls as well.

Carol, 7F’s original owner (and 7F’s first bride) made sure that each religious item in her chapel was unique, beautiful, and had a story of its own. And she searched all over the world to find them. So here’s some of the history behind the pieces that make up the chapel where hundreds of brides since Carol have chosen to get married as well:

 

This crucifix was hand carved in Obergamerbaugh, Germany. It was hand picked and ordered by Carol while she was over there in 1999.

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This cross hung above the door is a crib cross from Mexican Indian folklore.

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This beautiful piece of art is of Christ in the garden, and is from France.

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According to Carol, this unique candle tray was from a “Mexcio City fella.”

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And finally, the “Love Saves Lives” sign was a wedding gift to Carol from when she was married.

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I love seeing how completely different items from opposite sides of the world can be brought together to make such a beautiful room even more unique and special. What an extraordinary place to say “I do.”

 

-Katie Morris

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(Don’t) Bang Your Head

This may bring to mind the lyrics to a heavy metal song from the 80’s (before my time, but there are plenty of you out there right now hearing those lyrics in your head).  Well, there is truth to that phrase at our beloved Sugar Shack cabin.  You see, it was originally two sharecropper family homes that were moved from the Brazos River bottom and converted to one 7F romantic cabin.  So, the door opening to the bedroom is the original opening between the two homes.  And, it’s the source of many a laugh at 7F.
If you have ever stayed in Sugar Shack before, you know that the entrance into the bedroom may be a little short for people who are above average height. So it is not a surprise that many guests (mainly unassuming husbands) have taken a blow to the head while walking through the doorway leading to the bedroom- even with the phrase “Watch Your Head” written in bold right above it. Needless to say, the wives had no problem writing about (and laughing about) their husband’s clumsiness. Here are a few of their stories:

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“We had another great stay at 7F, this time in the Sugar Shack! It is always so much fun, and needed time to spend together. P.S. They mean it when they say “watch your head.” Thanks for the band-aid!” – 7F Lodge Guest

“I got a real laugh out of the low doorway to the bedroom and all of the others’ comments. (My husband only received a mild concussion!)” -7F Lodge Guest

“By the way-the doorway to the bedroom was the best and the cause of a lot of my laughter. My husband whacked his head so hard!!” -7F Lodge Guest

“We really enjoyed our stay here. Everything was wonderful! As I was reading about the doorway to the bedroom my husband came through and hit his head. All I could do was laugh. Can’t wait to come back!” -7F Lodge Guest

“Absolutely amazing! It was the perfect room! As I read this book I laughed at all the women laughing at the men for hitting their heads thinking to myself “I’m so surprised he hasn’t hit his head yet!” He was actually surprised himself! Well needless to say…..at least 6 times now! I just laughed. Thank you for this experience!” -7F Lodge Guest

“My husband and I celebrated our second anniversary just how we wanted…..we hope to come back again and again. Thank you!! P.S. My husband may hold the record for times hitting his head on the doorway…up to 5 now, with 2 hours to go!” -7F Lodge Guest

 

Sometimes being short isn’t a bad thing……

“We love the Sugar Shack! My husband thinks he can play the guitar! P.S. My husband never hit his head (he’s 5’4’’) J” –7F Lodge Guest

“P.S. My husband hit his head 4 times….I guess that’s what happens when you’re 6’4’’!”  -7F Lodge Guest

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Hopefully you got as much of a kick out of these stories as I did! And if you ever plan a romantic weekend away at the Sugar Shack, don’t forget to WATCH YOUR HEAD.

-Katie Morris

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“A Little Birdie Once Told Me”- The Legend of Charlie

Hidden in the tall oaks surrounding our romantic French Chateau is a sweet reminder that we share our property with some feathery neighbors. The France cardinal has been mentioned in journals for over 10 years. Given the name “Charlie” by many of our guests, this red bird has made its presence known over the years to visitors, newly wed couples, and unsuspecting housekeepers. But more than just being a frequent visitor, Charlie has provided comfort to mourning guests, been a sign of renewed love, and stood as a reminder of God’s presence. I have collected some of my favorite stories about our treasured French cardinal to share with you all:

 

“It was wedding day for a dear 7F bride.  Over the prior few months I had come to know the bride’s mother.  She stayed in France the night before the wedding.  On the morning of the wedding, she stepped outside the back porch and sat at the table in the woods.  She had lost a son recently and wanted to speak to him in the quiet of the 7F morning.  She missed him and wished he could’ve lived to see his sister’s wedding.  As she sat down, the red bird flew to the table within inches of her and looked at her.  As she started to speak to her son in heaven, the bird remained, looking at her intently.  She knew at that moment that she was indeed speaking to her son and the cardinal was representing him.  She was overjoyed with the calmness and love she felt that morning, represented by the 7F cardinal.  What a treasure it was for me to hear that story.” –Donna Garrett, 7F Lodge owner

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“With the rising cost of gas, we decided to settle for a staycation to celebrate our second wedding anniversary. It was better than we could have imagined! This gorgeous cabin, beautiful grounds, and the excellent yet unseen hospitality that we found here provided us with the perfect chance to reconnect. Charlie the cardinal came knocking at least half a dozen times. We loved reading about him in the previous entries and watching his antics. He really is one of the most romantic aspects of the cabin since whenever one cardinal is near, the second half of the life-mated pair is never far behind. Charlie did not disappoint and in the morning introduced us to his wife, whom we have dubbed Charlotte.” 7/27/11, 7F Lodge guest

“We were married on Friday at 5pm. Weather was perfect! God is so good, even when you’re not aware. We spent every moment enjoying our room, hot tub, bed, back porch, and took a walk in our robes of course. On Saturday morning God sent a beautiful red bird to wake us by running into the windows. He did the same on Sunday morning…no need for an alarm clock.” 11/25/11, 7F Lodge guest

 “Everything was perfect. We are, however, concerned about Charlie (he’s the red bird making that tapping sound you hear.) We found mention of him as far back as ’05! The poor little guy must wake up every morning thinking ‘Today is the day I drive that other guy away!’ We hope you find him as amusing as we did and we hope you enjoy the peace here as much as we do.” 3/14/13, 7F Lodge guest

“For my dear husband: the road has not always been steady and smooth and we have been faced with many trials. But our love has always endured, even in the face of the greatest trials. I love you and I am looking forward to the rest of our lives together. P.S. We did see the red cardinal, a sign of love renewed!” 2/17/09, 7F Lodge guest

“This place is so peaceful and refreshing. I loved how the cardinal came and perched on the passenger side mirror of our car after we got here-just as he did 2 years ago! Now he is checking us out as we sit on the back porch. Cardinals remind us to bear witness to God- to shine in this world and not be afraid to catch people’s attention!” 4/6/09, 7F Lodge guest
“We enjoyed the time together, the hot baths, and sleeping in! Well, I should say sleeping in until our friendly little bird started pecking at the window! He was fun to watch!” 1/20/14, 7F Lodge guest

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I hope these memories of the little red bird make you smile like they did for me. While we haven’t seen Charlie wandering around France in the last few months, maybe if you come and stay here you will hear him tapping on your window early one morning and get a chance to say hello to our old friend.

-Katie Morris

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Now That’s an OPEN DOOR Policy

At some point in your life, you have probably heard the saying “open door policy” or someone has told you that their “door is always open”.  That’s pretty comforting to know someone is always there for you.  But, there’s another “open door policy” that is just as comforting.  A door that is truly left open to let nature in, to let the world in, to let you be a part of the grandness and beauty of the outdoors while still being inside….now, that’s an Open Door Policy.

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When you are driving down the road to 7F, the first building you will see is the office. It is hard to miss this quaint wooden building, especially with the sign hanging off the front entrance. On the front porch you will see a set of rocking chairs (where I sat the first time I ever met with Donna, one of 7F’s owners), and an antiquated “welcome” sign nailed on to the door that ushers you in.

But if you find yourself at 7F from early Spring to late Fall, you might not need the sign to guide you in, because you will most likely find the door already propped open. So much of what I enjoy about 7F involves the nature that surrounds it, from the gentle breeze to the rustling of the squirrels playing to the songs the birds sing every afternoon. And sitting in the office with the sun shining in and door swung open, it almost feels like the building has become part of the nature itself, blending beautifully in with the landscape around it.

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And I’m far from the only one who enjoys this open door policy. Donna loves the reminder it brings of simpler times, when nature was more a part of our lives. She said she can’t even count the number of times someone has walked into the 7F office and said “wow, I’d love to work here!” Sometimes I’ll even find Laura, our manager, sitting on the front porch with papers and the phone in hand, using the porch as an extension of the office, with the door open so she can run inside whenever she needs to. And, although they can’t actually speak to confirm, I think the biggest advocates of the open door policy are our two cats, Sadie and Tiger. They come in and out of the office more than anyone, and while we use it to get work done, they claim it as their dining room, their preferred napping spot, and their favorite place to welcome guests. (of course, they are the only 7F “staff” that get to take naps whenever they want).

 

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So, whatever your office may be, try your own “open door policy” every once in a while, or all the time – we highly recommend it!

 

-Katie Morris

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Heart to Heart

So my goal is to write a blog post every week for 7F.  Most of the time, I can’t think of a topic right away, so the staff and I sit around and toss out ideas for the blog.  Of course, the fact that it is Valentine’s Week, made it the obvious choice. But, we didn’t want to go with the normal Valentine’s topic, you know, like “50 Ideas for making your Valentine’s Day Perfect” or something like that. This isn’t about suggestions for Valentine’s Day.  You can find those everywhere and get advice from just about anyone on that.  But at the end of the day you know what really matters is if it comes from THE HEART.

It is crazy to me how often the heart is represented at 7F. It seems like almost everywhere you turn you can find something with a heart on it. It is on furniture, thresholds, signs, and even part of the décor in cabins.  And to us, it means a lot more than just a symbol. Love is behind everything we do here at 7F, something that was made very obvious to me when I started working here a few weeks ago.

Of course, it is in our motto, “Love Saves Lives.” If you want to read the story behind this amazing saying, check out the “About 7F” tab on our website, it explains the story much more beautifully than I ever could. Overall, this motto represents the importance of opening yourself up to love and sharing it with the people around you, such as through marriage, family, celebrations, or anything in between. The heart signifies so much at 7F, whether it be our support of local charities, the many proposals that have been given and received, the vows that have been exchanged, or just the love that permeates every single person who visits or works here.

This is personally my favorite heart at 7F, mostly because it has a story behind it!

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It is a painting sitting in our office that one of the original 7F owners, Carol Frierson-Conlee painted herself. She titled it “Happy Love Saves Lives Heart.” I love getting to look at it everyday while I work! What a beautiful reminder of how this place started and what it is all about!

 

After finding a few hearts around the office, I was encouraged by staff to go on a heart hunt all around 7F.  And here are a few I found.  Hope you find something special in one of our HEARTS like I did.

Here’s one etched in the front office porch bench.

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Here’s one of our heart-shaped rocks from our collection we keep in the office.  So, if you ever find a heart-shaped rock, send it our way.  It has a home here for many to enjoy.  I was told we once found a heart-shaped potato, but only kept that for a few days – lol!  Maybe we’ll find other objects shaped like hearts one day- hopefully ones that don’t expire!

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The office also has hearts as part of a message

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As you step out of the office, you can see our motto sign, with hearts of course.

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But there are others, like this art that now resides in Spain which was left by a guest..

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Or the heart-shaped word magnet message on the Hill Country Lodge Fridge.  Sometimes guests pull some special words and leave a message back to us.

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The Spa gets into the act with this paperweight.

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Sully’s leaves a heart message on a pillow.

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And, if you take your own HEART-hunt at 7F Lodge, see if you can spot these.

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So, need ideas on how to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year – you don’t have to look on cheesy advice columns or spend big bucks- just let it come from THE HEART! Really, all you need to do is remember that “love saves lives!”

-Katie Morris

 

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All Shapes and Sizes

If you’ve ever been to 7F before, you know that it is nothing short of unique. Everything, from the cabins to the chapel to the pavilion, has its fair share of quirks and distinctive touches. So of course, the hot tubs are no exception. Each one of 7F’s cabins has a hot tub, and no two are alike. Heart, circle, or triangle, and red, white, or navy, each one gives 7F guests a place to relax, get cozy, and warm up from the cold weather. Here’s a little peak at the special hot tubs in each of our beautiful cabins:

 

Hill Country: Our Hill Country cabin is one of the only two with an outdoor hot tub, the perfect steamy getaway for a cold winter day.

 

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Spain: Spain’s hot tub is especially unique because it is in the shape of a triangle. There is even a rumor that this is the most comfortable style for two people to sit in! Is it true? Why don’t you come find out for yourself!

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Mexico: The Mexico cabin’s hot tub is great for a romantic weekend. With the heart shape and red color, what better place to spend a night with a loved one?

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Batts Ferry: This white circular hot tub set in the middle of a wooden water cistern goes perfectly with Batts Ferry’s charming design. I think it is the perfect addition to this modern log cabin!

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Sugar Shack: Sugar Shack’s oversized black Jacuzzi tub makes a great resting spot after jamming out on the Blues guitar.

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Sully’s Place: After dancing the night away on the dance floor in Sully’s cabin, guests can step out on the porch and relax in this beautiful outdoor heart-shaped hot tub.

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France: France’s hot tub is truly magical. It may not look like it from the picture, but spend a night here and you’ll see that this elegant tub is positioned in an alcove with a gorgeous star-studded ceiling above it. What better way to spend a night than under the stars?

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The Barn: Lastly, there’s the Barn, whose distinct hot tub is set behind burlap drapes, fitting for this western-themed cabin. But this isn’t the only place for bathing in this cabin! Step onto the porch and there is also a private outdoor shower, secluded of course!

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Whether you call it a jacuzzi, hot tub, bathtub, or whirpool, 7F Lodge has its fair share of unique tubs to help guests relax and rejuvenate. Just add some chocolate covered strawberries and champagne, and you’ve got the perfect date!

-Katie Morris

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My Welcome to 7F

Hi fans and followers of 7F! My name is Katie Morris and I am the new social media intern this spring! Here’s a few quick facts about me:

-I’m a senior marketing major at Texas A&M (whoop!)

-I’m a triplet (no, we don’t look alike!)

-I love Mexican food

-I’m from Katy, Texas

I cannot tell you how excited I was when I learned that I would be the new social media intern for 7F. I had an event here last spring and immediately fell in love with the beauty and magic of this place. Coming back here as an actual employee is such a blessing, and I’m so excited to continue sharing my experiences with you all! I cannot believe I have been working at 7F for a week now. It has already been such a fun learning experience.

Here are a few of my favorite things so far:

-Getting a tour around the property by Donna. Every inch of this place is so beautiful and each of the cabins has its own story and personality.

-Reading through journals of past guests in each cabin. All of the cabins have a special journal where guests share about their unique experiences at 7F. Some of the stories are truly remarkable.

-Meeting the staff. Every single person I’ve met so far who works at 7F has been so welcoming and kind. They all love what they do and I’m excited to get to know them more during my time here.

-Putting together posts and slideshows. I love being creative, so getting to do that at such a wonderful place with such wonderful people is the biggest blessing.

Be sure look out for more posts from me every week this spring!

-Katie Morris

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