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Massage vs. Body Image

“I’d really like to get a massage, but I am overweight and embarrassed to have anyone see my body.”

As my massage practice is growing I am beginning to hear this from several different directions quite frequently. It is a subject that is very sensitive to talk about, yet so very important to discuss. It is one that doesn’t lend itself well to humor or sarcasm, which are quite difficult to exclude in my writings, yet I will do my best and trust that this post will be received in the love and compassion with which it is written.

Many people, especially women, seem to have body image issues on some level. We are our own worst critics noticing every imperfection, every dimple, jiggle, sag, and roll. It doesn’t matter that others do not see us with the same critical lens through which we see ourselves. It is what it is, and for each of us in our way, it is extremely embarrassing to us.

Unfortunately, once the struggle with body image has begun, it can quickly spiral downhill to a place which contributes to the root cause of our body image issues. We don’t go swimming anymore because it is too embarrassing to put on a swimsuit. That becomes a great form of exercise lost. We don’t get out and walk or jog, because putting on a sweatsuit exaggerates the fluffiness we hate. More lost exercise. We don’t go shopping for nice clothes that flatter our bodies because finding something that feels good and helps us to feel beautiful is exhausting and frustrating. I get that. Believe me, I do.

And, of course, we don’t nurture ourselves because doing so would require revealing our hidden secret. It would require exposing what we perceive as the ultimate ugliness in front of another human being and subjecting ourselves to the negative thoughts and remarks (real or imagined) of some perky little hard bodied therapist.

I’m not going to lie to you and suggest all therapists will love and respect overweight clients. I have met at least one therapist who said she avoided the subject of her career around overweight people because she does  not want them calling her. She’s got her reasons, not the least of which is it is much more strenuous for a therapist to work on a larger body. Bottom line, she had no interest in working that hard. Good for her. She’s got clarity.

That’s not the case with all therapists. There are those out there who specialize in working with overweight and even obese clients. They treat them with respect, and together, the therapist and client work toward giving and receiving a massage that meets the needs of both. It’s also worth keeping in mind that therapists come in all shapes and sizes.

So  how does a person muster up the courage to lay their ego on the line (or the table in this case) for the sake of taking care of their body? First and foremost, talk to several massage therapists and get their take on working with overweight clients. Can they accommodate an overweight client? If they have the smallest, narrowest table, I can assure you an overweight client will be miserable. Do they speak from a place of love and compassion? Have they worked with overweight clients before? You may not want to be the first one. Do they have a sense of humor that doesn’t belittle?

Then comes the real challenge. You have to decide whether it is worth it to you or not. Some things simply aren’t worth it. Remember the first time you went to see the OB/GYN? Admittedly, not a good example for guys, but you get the idea. The benefits finally outweighed the potential for total humiliation. Hopefully you found someone who was courteous, professional, and compassionate. You were kept completely covered except where you HAD to be exposed for the procedure.

Getting a massage is much less traumatic. Your therapist will be courteous, professional, and compassionate. You will be fully draped with only the body part currently being massaged undraped at any given time. Private parts and breasts are always covered.

Your first massage may be a bit stressful because of not being familiar. The therapist will give you a full explanation of how things work, and you should be encouraged to give feedback about what feels best and what you expect from your massage. Don’t ever assume the therapist knows best, even if they suggest they do. It is your massage and you are paying for it. Tell your therapist what is important to you. You have mustered every ounce of courage and sacrificed your ego to take care of yourself. You deserve the very best the therapist has to offer. Enjoy the safety and security of the therapeutic space knowing that you will not be judged, ratted out, or otherwise humiliated. Your self-esteem is safe with your therapist.

Worrying Makes It Better, Right?

Yesterday, 32 baby chicks arrived at the post office with my name and address attached. I love baby chicks. Sometimes we order an assortment of breeds, which allows us ample opportunity to speculate as to what breeds we have while enjoying their different colorings and personalities. This particular assortment is called the Rainbow Layers collection. That means I get a smidgen of everything from seven pound brown egg laying giants to four pound floofy-headed princesses, all hens — we think.

Apparently that also means I have to separate out the little princesses who need their frequent naps so the big bullies won’t trample them. Ugh! That wasn’t in the manual. Now I have three dead chickies (one of which arrived like that–it happens) twenty one bruisers toasting their tootsies in the “planned for” chickie condo, and eight little princesses getting royal treatment in somewhat cramped quarters INSIDE the Wellness Center. Those little princesses cost me about $40 extra in un-planned-for equipment.

And so yesterday afternoon was spent babysitting chickie-princesses. I made sure they had occasional drinks of water by dipping their little beaks in it throughout the afternoon. I watched their breathing. I tested the warmth of the heat lamp to make sure I wasn’t toasting chickie squab for dinner. Basically, I fretted over these two- and three-dollar fluffballs of downy feathers and tiny bones.

And then I went home.

And then I began to worry.

What if the lamp is too hot and they can’t escape the heat? What if I show up this morning and they are all dead? What if one of the little geniuses decides to fall asleep in the make-shift waterer and drowns herself? What if that heat lamp catches the wellness center on fire? And on and on and on.

And then I said to myself, “Stop it.” I was working myself into a tizzy of stress over things that are more or less out of my control. I was giving my attention and energy to all the horrible things that COULD happen rather than thinking about how they are toasty warm little princesses that get to nap in peace and strengthen their little bodies without being trampled by the massive masses. Wouldn’t my time be better spent thinking about how cool it is that I have a space to give them respite and the resources to buy or invent the needed supplies and equipment? It’s called law of attraction, but it’s also called Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount in the Bible.

Worry = Fear = Opposite of Peace & Love = Stress.

The cure for worry = peace & love.

So why do we do this to ourselves? Why do allow our minds to think the worst when the worst hasn’t happened? And if the worst does happen, what did our worrying about it do to keep it from happening? NOTHING. It zaps our energies, negatively affects our health and wellness, and doesn’t change the outcome one bit. Or does it? What if worrying and the mind-racing scenarios of horror we invent actually contribute to the manifestation of that which we most fear?

Fortunately God’s cool universe doesn’t operate quite that fast. We have plenty of time to think the worrisome thought, recognize it as not what we desire, and then change that thought to one that supports and encourages our desires. After all, that which we fear, which is usually some sort of death or tragedy, cannot be made any less likely to happen by worrying about it. Instead, why not send visions and thoughts of blessings, success, safety, and life, instead?  Sounds like a much better plan to me.

Okay, little princess chickies. I’m sending you the energies of strength, light, perfect warmth, and full little tummies (or in this case “crop” –pronounced like “craw”) so that when I greet you later this morning, I am pleasantly surprised at how you are thriving. If by chance one or more of you has chosen not to remain here to be a part of our little farm, then so be it. Maybe I’ll catch you next time around, but I am NOT gonna worry about it. Blessings my little ones.

Shifting Energy with a Friend

Yesterday I discovered that I am not the only one moving in the direction of living my dream.  On the one hand, a comment like that almost deserves a “duh” response. On the other hand, this is someone that I know, who lives close by, and with whom I occasionally communicate: someone who has chosen to take a huge risk to do something about which he has dreamed for years. Who would guess that we would both be stepping out in faith at the same time?

I was given the opportunity to help him with his dream with a small financial donation, which would also advertise my new business. His job was to put on the sales hat and show me what my options were. This is someone with whom I have had many relaxed interactions. He’s typically a very laid back, easy-going guy in my presence. As he shared the information with me, I realized that he was noticeably uptight and not at all his usually relaxed self.

Finally I asked him, “Are you nervous?” He indicated that in fact he was more than a little bit jittery. I asked if he would be willing to let me show him some things that would help settle the nervous feeling. He agreed.

We started with some basic BrainGym movements. I gave him some water to drink, then I taught him Brain Buttons, Cross Crawls, and Hook Ups. Next I demonstrated muscle checking and had him walk forward. He muscle checked as being “switched off” when walking forward and “on” for walking backwards. That indicates energies running backwards, which isn’t the best thing for someone pursuing a dream like his.

We checked a few other things and did what was necessary to get them to shift. It was fun to watch his body relax, his posture straighten, and his true personality shine through. Even more fun was his ability to perceive what was happening within himself. The thing is, I couldn’t help myself. It’s the passion I feel about this cool stuff I know. I saw the need, he was receptive, and maybe in some small way, I have given him something that will help make his dream easier to attain. At the very least, he’s got a funny story to tell about his visit with the Wellness Lady who wouldn’t let him leave.

Who knows, maybe that experience will be something shared with others when the time is right. Maybe my helping him achieve his dream will somehow end up helping me achieve mine.

It would be just like God to pull a stunt like that.

A New Year A New Way to Eat

A friend of mine just ask for some advice on simple things that could be done to modify eating habits without breaking the bank. After I responded, I thought to myself, “What a great blog post to end 2009 and begin 2010.” I don’t know that all are simple, but if a person were to choose even a few, I believe the results would be very positive. Of course, the disclaimer…always check with your doctor…..then do whatever it is you are going to do.

Believe me, I feel this pain. I’m setting a few intentions quite similar to those of my friend because this year has found me abandoning healthy practices my body craves. First and foremost, we have to change our thinking. We aren’t losing 30 lbs, because we tend to seek and find that which is lost. :-) We are acquiring a new healthy body that is an ideal weight for you.

The best luck I have ever had is something called The Maker’s Diet by Jordan Rubin. It is a diet based on the Jewish eating practices. Most people read it and freak out thinking there is no way they can do it. If you try to swallow that whole elephant at once, you will choke on it very quickly. However, a few simple basics taken from it will go a long ways toward helping you reach your goals.

1. Drink pure filtered water. Even a Britta or Pur pitcher can help you with this. Coffee isn’t a deal breaker and actually has benefits, but the sugar and creamer that some use in it can kill you. Herbal teas with raw honey are a good substitute. If you are gonna drink coffee, try to go with the organic stuff, and skip the decaf. That process is often quite toxic.

2. Yeppers on the release of the soda fettish. For that matter, you will be amazed at what will happen if you remove sugar and high fructose corn syrup from your diet completely. That is probably a very tough thing to do, but oh so effective. Reading labels is quite educational. HFCS is in almost everything. WARNING: If you cut sugar cold turkey, you may feel like crap for anywhere from five days to two weeks while you detox. It will take about two weeks of total abstinence from anything resembling sugar (including fruit) to break the addiction.

3. Whatever you do, don’t resort to artificial sweeteners. They are worse for you than sugar and have been shown to increase the appetite as well as cause seizures. Don’t even think about suggesting sucralose (Splenda) as an exception. The whole purpose of The Maker’s Diet is to eat foods God created and intended, not some man made derivative.

4. Eat something raw with every meal: A salad with only olive oil and vinegar dressing for example. Berries are excellent and very low in sugar content.

5. Don’t be afraid of healthy fats: avacados, olives and olive oil, coconut milk and coconut oil, real butter….all good for you contrary to popular belief. Healthy fats (in moderation, of course) will help you feel full and satisfied thus reducing cravings. If you can eliminate the canola oil from the house and replace it with coconut oil, your entire family will be healthier.

6. Along with turning your back on sugar and HFCS, turn your back on grains of all kinds…at least for awhile. If you think about it, white bread in your gut is akin to a flour/water mixture that we like to call homemade glue. :-) Plus, breads advertised as whole grain rarely are anything more than white bread with a bit of whole wheat flour added. Beans like lentils are okay, but the other types of beans need to wait for about 6 weeks and then only in moderation.

7. Go easy on the meats. I didn’t say stop eating meat…just go easy on it. Try to find a rancher nearby that has pasture fed livestock, esp. beef. It is much higher in omega 3 fats than grain fed feedlot beef. Not as tender, but healthier.

8. Eggs—try to find someone who raises “free-range” chickens…best option. Second choice….let this be your grocery splurge and go for the omega 3 eggs or the free range. Organic is good, but over-rated in the commercial industry. Of course their definition of free-range is a chicken that has access to something other than cage wire, even if it only means a few square inches of dirt each day. Option 1 is by far the best. Eggs cooked in coconut oil, esp virgin coconut oil are VERY healthy.

9. Smoothie—Here is a great smoothie recipe from his book:
Basic recipe
1 c Coconut milk (Thai Kitchen is a good brand) or plain yogurt
1 T melted virgin coconut oil
1 T flax oil
1 raw free-range egg (ask me about raw eggs sometime)
1 T raw honey
Add to that your choice of berries, raw almond butter/unsweet cocoa pwdr, bananas (higher calories), orange juice, peaches, organic roasted coffee beans (for a mocha flavor)

10. My best advice is eat single ingredient foods as much as possible, or if you eat combination foods (like soups) make sure you can identify (and pronounce) the individual ingredients. Some soups are good, but others have so much soy this and MSG that so as to send you on a fast track to meet Jesus.

11. The bonus—-avoid a fast food (or slow food) restaurant at all costs. They are devastating on a quest for health.

12. Afterthought….corn is not a vegetable. Skip it. Green peas are okay in moderation.

Best wishes for great success in discovering and keeping your new body. As for the costs to adopt this way of eating, it makes me so sad that junk food is cheaper than healthy food, but that is too often the reality. However, with a little good planning and a spring/summer garden, you can do wonders on a budget. You may even find ways to save money. Buy organic (better yet–locally grown) when you can, esp in season. Apples during the holidays are always a good buy, even organic, and the organic apples taste SOOOOO much better and are way healthier.

I know you can do it!


I’ve never been stellar at keeping clutter to a minimum. It seems to creep up on me until suddenly I feel like I am suffocating in stuff. Cleaning is not high on my list of to dos although one look at my personal space would suggest maybe moving it up the list a bit would be beneficial. Eventually I’ll go through and clean out/throw out, but until I do, there is that overwhelming feeling of crap taking over my life.
Interestingly enough, I’ve been thinking about some mental clutter that I feel needs sorting, analyzing, and even boxing up. It is stuff that I seem to stumble over occasionally. I am not sure I want to get rid of it forever, yet I need to stash it out of my way….sort of out of sight-out of mind if you will until such time as I don’t even remember it is there and can forever let it go. This is stuff that reminds me of past hurts. It’s the sort of stuff that triggers thoughts of grief, guilt, self pity, and even some hostility. Yep, time to sort through it, pluck out the good memories, and release the rest.
I am not entirely sure how to make this work. Some of my mental clutter is akin to Aunt Josie’s hand painted tea pots. What happens when friends or family come around asking about that particular bit of “clutter” I decided to pack away and forget about?
I think the answer lies in choosing my response while I am sorting and putting away those thought patterns and memories. What would my response be? Maybe it could be something about my choice to put old experiences away for safe keeping and move forward with new ideas and new ways of thinking….sort of a “don’t even go there with me” response. Wonder how that would go over. I really do need to find a way to release and not continually go dig through the boxes of put-away stuff. I am very good at that, you know…re-opening the box, climbing in and wallering, then dragging the old stuff back out. Makes for a very messy lifestyle and a constant need to lick old wounds.
Geez….maybe the only good option is the give-away-throw-away approach. Ouch. Letting go. Feels a bit like constipation. Lovely metaphor, don’t you think?

Healing Wisdom

A “rediscovered” college friend was so sweet and sent this quote to me. He said he saw it and thought of me. Yet another sign to move me into a new way of life:

…“Healing may not be so much about getting better, as about letting go of everything that isn’t you – all of the expectations, all of the beliefs – and becoming who you are.” —– Rachel Naomi Remen

Thanks, Kevin!

Football Thoughts

It has been months since I last blogged. However, recent issues seem to have rekindled my desire to put thought to paper, so to speak. The following is my response to the various posts that have appeared in the Amarillo paper regarding Tulia’s football program.

Tulia has been the center of controversy for 10 years. The first instance was related to drug busts. As the daughter of the Texas sheriff who oversaw and endured that process, I feel Kameron Lingor’s pain in so many ways. It is very frustrating to watch outsiders pass judgment on the actions of good men when they (the outsiders) have no idea what all was involved in the decisions that were made. It is very easy to be critical of those decisions when you are not the one responsible for the health, well-being, safety, and futures of people’s lives.

The latest controversy is another example of people who don’t have all the facts passing judgment. Their time would be much better spent helping to create a vision of what we desire for our community, focusing on what is working, and praising those kids who are out there working their tails off making our community proud, because there are several of those kids. What we give attention and energy to grows. Many have spent countless hours and loads of time and energy fighting against something. How about sending all that energy toward supporting something positive instead? We might all be amazed at how the negative fades as the positive grows and blossoms. Words are in fact prophetic and by lumping all of the students in Tulia schools as quitters, drunks, and druggies, as some have suggested, we create a self-fulfilling prophecy. Our kids have enough baggage and self-esteem issues without the rest of the world telling them how pathetic they are.  Yes, some have shown a frustrating lack of commitment, but again, the focus should be on the successful kids and not the slackers.

As a mother of girls, this particular “battle” isn’t mine to fight, and I have made a conscious choice not to be against anyone or anything in this situation. However, the mom in me appreciates and respects the decision not to tie 14 year old boys to the railroad tracks in front of a freight train (Muleshoe) which would subject them to a high potential for life altering injuries. There is much wisdom in focusing on the bigger picture, the one that looks beyond the current season toward a successful future with strong healthy kids who are ready to play at the varsity level in years to come.  It would be senseless and selfish to throw young boys into a varsity jersey in order to save face with the great Friday night football gods.  That takes a tremendous amount of courage and sacrificing one’s own pride for the greater good. Muleshoe, I am sorry that your precious stats and your homecoming were inconvenienced. Have a little decency and congratulate yourselves for your tolerance and contribution to the future growth of a struggling program.  As an aside, if this were cross country or volleyball canceling the remainder of the season, it wouldn’t even be noteworthy. There is definitely a double standard.  

As for the comment referencing the Christian lady that some believe has been a thorn in the side of TISD administration, I do have an opinion. I choose not to have an opinion about her agenda, but I do respect the fact that she chooses to stand strongly and courageously for what she believes in, which is basically equity among boys’ and girls’ sports and strong leadership. Girls’ sports are required by law to receive equal funding and services. While I recognize that football is an expensive sport, the law is the law. Title IX is what it is. I do not fault a person for insisting that the numbers should line up on paper. Schools are accountable to whomever pays the bills. Bottom line, my kids have greatly benefitted from her stance, whether or not I agree with her methods.

Her insistence that the current situation is a reflection of leadership is certainly something that should get the attention of our leaders, if for no other reason than an opportunity to self-evaluate. Our human nature tends to throw us into defensive mode when we feel we are being attacked.  Enlightened leaders are those who can rise above the perceived personal attack and recognize it for what it is: an opportunity to show true wisdom and loving leadership or angry arrogance and defiance. I’m not sure I would be a very enlightened leader at this point in my life. My feelings hang out on my shoulders more than I would like. I hope and trust our school leadership is much more enlightened than I am and will take seriously the concerns expressed with an open and objective mind. People have a reason for their opinions and feelings. Either they are mis-informed, or they are right. It is up to leadership to take an unbiased look at the facts and determine which is the case, making corrections if necessary.

On a related note, Swisher County has been the champion of another dubious honor for decades. Our community is known as the cancer capital of Texas with an extremely high per capita incidence of cancer. Cancer is the body attacking and consuming itself. It is stale and stagnant energy that has become toxic. Eastern medicine suggests that the physical body is a reflection of our emotions, our environment, and even the world in which we live. Christians hold to the concept that we are all one body with many parts. If one part is not healthy, the entire body is weakened.

 Folks, this particular part of the Big Body is very sick. Western medicine provides only three options for any hope of healing: cut out, burn out, or poison the problem, and deal with the residual effects of scarring and disfigurement in the process. Eastern and alternative medicine offers some other options that are much more appealing: treat the body as a whole giving it clean air, healthy nourishing foods, pure water, sunshine, and a healthy dose of laughter. Purge that which is toxic by replacing it with that which is supportive.  I don’t know about you, but I for one would like to give the “healing from within” option a chance. I challenge each of you to identify one way you might help with the healing of our community. Post your ideas as a comment on this blog so we can support each other in this endeavor. Remember it is YOUR body—OUR body—that is sick, because we are all one.  You have the power to heal THIS body.

Detoxing & Movement

This post by Coach Vanessa was extremely appropriate for a BrainGym blog. Check out what she has to say about detoxing and movement.

Superior Goals

Goal setting is a funny thing. It seems like everyone has an idea of how you should do it. People who write grants and coordinate long range planning know that there are goals, objectives, strategies, and activities. The goal is “The Big Guy”. Everything else breaks it down into steps until you get to the “whatcha gonna do about it” activities.

BrainGym takes that process of creating goals and makes them very simple.

  1. Identify something in your life that you wish were better, easier, simpler, more relaxed, etc. Ex. I wish I could make this decision without agonizing over it.
  2. Answer this question in a complete sentence: “If it were ideal, how would it be?” Use “I” statements, and keep that naughty little word “NOT” out of your answer. To continue with the example above, “I easily decide which way to go.” This is “The Big Guy” mentioned above.
  3. Notice where in your body you experience the stress of brain-body disagreement. Even though your brain thinks it, your mouth says it, and your hand writes it, your body is tightening up as if to get ready for a sucker punch in the gut. That’s the stress that we feel when what we want is different from our perceived reality.
  4. Calm the stress response with a few BrainGym movements, maybe some nice soothing music, and notice the stress response settling down. (This would be the “whatcha gonna do about it” activities.)
  5. Restate your goal–the “if it were ideal, how would it be” statement.
  6. Notice how you feel now. Most likely, you will feel more at ease.

Easy breezy. In a classroom setting, it can be even simpler. Notice the chaos, lead the kids in some BrainGym activities, then notice the improvement.

Give it a try and let me know how it works for you. What? You don’t know the BrainGym movements? Seems like you have a couple of options. Check out my Powerful Reads  page and get a book, or better yet, spend a few days with us in March and get some first hand, real-life experience with these Superior methods.

Movies & Seeds

The movie rating system in the US is an interesting thing. There are all these levels of okay-ness based on how much language, violence, and sex are portrayed in a movie. G Ratings are the ones that we take the little kids to see. They are the warm and fuzzy feel good movies with happy endings. PG ratings may have less than ideal and innocent content, but are still fairly mild. 
There’s the PG-13 rating. These have some rough language, inuendo, maybe a sex scene or two, possibly a few instances of violence. The R ratings indicate grotesque bloodshed, intense emotion-invoking scenes, heated and steamy sex, and language that spews obscenities in every sentence. Okay, I’m sure you recognize a little bit of personal bias in those descriptions, yet I think most will agree that I am on track for the most part. 
So what? What does this have to do with Superior Performance? Everything. We all have movies that play in our heads. We create them. We write the dialogue. We are usually in the starring role. What is your movie rated? Are you playing the G rated movie? The one in which things are warm and fuzzy and there is always a happy ending? The one where the language is courteous and supportive and the princess always gets her prince? Are you playing the “Dreams Do Come True” movie?
Or…is yours a little more PG: A decent movie with a few more ups and downs, an occasional derrogatory comment to yourself or about someone else, a cutdown here or there, but basically on the up and up. 
Is it a PG-13? Is the movie in your head playing scenes of you having to do battle or fight against some force? Does it show the darker side of life? Is the star (you) constantly criticising yourself or others for actions or inactions? 
Is it R-rated? Would you take your children to see a movie where the characters talked to each other the way you speak to yourself inside your head? Is it angry and violent? Do you call yourself stupid? Do you think things about other people that you would never say outloud? 
If we expect superior performance, we must practice superior thinking. This isn’t always easy since many of us are in the habit of being critical of ourselves. Here are a few steps to get started down the road to superior thinking:
  • Begin to notice what you say to yourself about yourself. If your kids said that to each other, would you tolerate it or would someone land in time-out? Is it downright mean? (“You idiot! How could you be so stupid?”) Does it seethe with sarcasm? (“Way to go, Genius. That was just brilliant. NOT!”)
  • Correct yourself when you realize what you have done. (“Uh-oh. Let me try that again. I could have handled that better if I had….”) or (“Next time I will do it this way and I will get better results.”) Yes, it sounds very hoaky and forced at first, but I promise it gets better with practice, and as you become nicer to yourself, you won’t need to rephrase things as often.
  • Notice your thoughts about others and reframe when necessary. If Susie is truly “…as dumb as a doorknob”, how can you reframe that feeling to serve you both a little better? Maybe Susie “…hasn’t been as blessed with enough educational experiences to produce a correct response” or maybe she “….doesn’t see things in same way I do.”
Yes, I know, very goofy. Nevertheless, it’s like planting seeds. We are always planting seeds everywhere we go, in everything we do, and everything we think, every minute of every day. Do we want to plant weed seeds that are easy because they stick to the bottom of our shoes and take no effort to plant and grow? Or would it be better to take little bit of extra time and effort to pluck the weeds and plant useful and pretty things that will grow and blossom into nourishing food for the soul?
What’s playing in your theater right now? Franken-Slasher or The Master Gardener?
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