The Judging Room : Elsik High School Design Competition 2015


Abby Rey -Elsik High School Design Teacher, Rosalind Gaither – Sew Much Fabric

Yay! I’m on the news.  Okay, a speck of the back of my shoulder got on the news;)  lol!  Really, this was such a fun event for me.  There was fashion, youth, and community…how much more can I ask for?

At this time, I just want to thank two awesome ladies who made this happen — Rosalind with Sew Much Fabric and Abby, Elsik High School’s Design Teacher.  Because of their partnership, they were able to open doors and help support teens in the community that may not have been able to afford basic sewing supplies.  They are the people taking action and making a difference in our community.  I am so honored to be a part of this in some small way.  Feel free to watch a clip about Rosalind and Abby on channel 13 (and look out for my shoulder at 1:47 lol!):


The Judging Room

I thought I would share a little about the Judges’ roles in the Design Competition.  I believe most of the audience attending the “Lights Camera Fashion Show” was curious as to how we came up with the winners.  All they saw were 3 ladies sitting at the front of the stage and at the end of the show, in a matter of 5 minutes, came up with the winners.  There is definitely more to it:)  Let me share my wonderful experience of being a Judge….


The Judges {Photo courtesy of Mollie Vu Cagulada}

On the day of the show, I arrived at Elsik High School around 11am.  I had a reserved parking spot just for me — talk about feeling special:)


Next, I checked into the school and was led up to the Judging Room where all the dresses were laid out.  This is where the Judges study and analyze the designer’s portfolio and garment construction.  We would check seam finishes, machine stitching, closures, hems, and overall construction.  This would take a couple of hours to view and study all the dresses.


During this time, the Judges were well taken care of.  If there was anything we needed, Ms. Jeni took care of it.  Thank you Jeni!!!!!  Then around 2:45 we started interviewing each Designer one by one to learn more about them and their “Hollywood” themed inspiration.  This is my favorite part of the whole event – when we get to speak to the teens directly about their hopes and dreams for their future:)  After meeting with all the Designers, the Judges got together to discuss the top scores for the portfolio, garment construction, and interview.  Sitting in the room all day can turn you a little silly so here’s our silly selfie:)


Michelle Barnes – Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Community Artists’ Collective, Rahill Raheem – Handbag Designer, Jeni Daniel – Natural Path , Ann Ngo (me:)

The audience starts to arrive around 6:30pm to enjoy the Mocktails and the “Lights Camera Fashion” Show officially starts at 7pm.

In order to choose the winning garments, we check the fit and look of the garment on the runway.  Then once again, the judges come together at the end of the show to discuss who should be the winners by summing up all the points for Portfolio, Construction, Interview, and Runway.


The Judges discuss the winners {photo courtesy of Mollie Vu-Cagulada}

And there you have it, the winners are chosen:)


First Place Winner {photo courtesy of Mollie Vu-Cagulada}

Fashion Show Winners

5th Place – Long Red Dress, 4th Place – Red & Black Lace Dress, 3rd Place – Black Fringe Pleather Dress, 2nd Place – Black Sequins Dress, 1st Place – Lilac Dress {photo courtesy of Mollie Vu-Cagulada}

Here are the special highlights from the night:)

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Thank you for visiting and have a wonderful day:)


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You are a Princess : Girls Ministry

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You are a Princess. Photo from Pinterest.

It was quite eventful this past weekend.  I got to be a judge for a High School Design Competition on Friday (which I will share more later this week) and on Saturday, I got to speak to 27 beautiful young ladies about the importance of self acceptance and self love.  I know I mentioned this before, but I just love the Youth!  I love their energy, what they have to offer, and I see so much hope in them.  If possible, can I ask anyone who reads this to keep the teens in your thoughts and prayers?  Pray that they will accept their own unique self, their gifts and talents, and how they are meant to use their gifts to serve others.  I feel that if each of them realizes how special they truly are, they can make our world a better place.

Well, I got to share my challenging journey of self acceptance this weekend.  If I could share my story of faith and self love through music, it will be through my playlist below.  Feel free to listen:

If you know any teen(s) or young adults in need of prayers, please list their first name below in the comment section.  I would love to have our community keep them in our prayers.

To the beautiful young ladies this past weekend and to those reading this post, remember, you are perfect just as you are, you are loved, and you are the daughter to the One True King.  And to this, I bow down to you my lovely Princess.



Sneak Peek : Be Your Own Valentine too:)

Near the turn of the New Year, I went birthday gift shopping for a couple of my friends and family.  As I was paying for the gifts, the sales person behind the counter asked, “What are your New Year’s Resolutions?”  I was caught off guard because one, I never had a sales person ask me that before, and two, I didn’t have any….yet.  I replied that I didn’t make any resolutions.  He was quite shocked.  At that very moment in my head, I quickly asked myself , “what would it be if I did?”  The song “Try” by Colbie Caillat came to mind.  I responded to him, “If I had one, I would like to just be comfortable in my own skin.  I want to stop comparing myself and accept myself as I am.”  He actually loved that response.  And you know, I did too:) I want to be comfortable in my own skin.

You will find that I randomly post songs on my blog.  They are songs that speak to me during that period of my life.  So I posted “Try” in the past.  You see, I went through a phase where I felt “less than.”  Social media and the internet world has been a love hate relationship for me.   In one moment, I can get inspired by the world of Pinterest and Youtube.  And in the next moment, I can feel that my work is not good enough or I am not good enough.

If you are anything like me, I love Pinterest.  I can search and pin away the alluring world of bridal and couture.  And let me tell you, it is a GORGEOUS world! I can get lost in it for hours.  The dreamy photos, the beautiful lighting, the gorgeous models, the details of a dress, and even the feel of the image is just breath taking.  I was so lost into it that it started making me feel “less than”:(   I began to tell myself that I needed a new camera to record, I needed better lighting, I needed this, I needed that…to the point where I found myself blocked from any creativity or from going forward with a project.  On top of that, I started receiving a wave of mean comments on Youtube.  Don’t get me wrong, I receive many lovely messages as well but for some reason, when you read a mean one, it tends to stay on your heart a little longer.  At first I was hurt (since I’m a people pleaser and highly sensitive), then it got to a point where I received so many that it became a joke.  I know this may sound strange, but now, I am thankful for the mean ones.  It made me look into myself and to the core of my existence.  It made me again ask myself why I am creating and producing tutorials.  And to be honest, I love what I do and I simply want to help others.

So even if my work does not meet others’ standards, I know I gave each project my heart and soul and no mean comment can hurt the core of my spirit.  It may sting a little but I’ll get over it:)  So although I am still on this journey of self love, I learned that I need to stop comparing, stop feeling “less than”, and that “I am enough.”  I need to love myself (not in the context of vanity), but in the context of appreciating and accepting my imperfect self.  Although there is always room to grow and improve, I need to know that “I am enough today” and that sometimes, I need to be my own Valentine too:)

So may you find self love in the healthiest sense and appreciate all that you are.   And if you are not there yet, know that “I love you.”

Happy Valentine’s Day!



ps. Here’s a sneak peek of the next project:)

double tier veil

I hope you meet an Eva P. and a Hang D.

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{Hang, me, Eva}    Ladies, if you are reading this, we need an updated photo:)

Greetings Everyone!

It’s that time of year again.  It is usually the time when I sit and reminisce about my life, about the year, what I accomplished, what I didn’t accomplish, what I could do better, and of course the people who has influenced it.  I have sooooo many people I am grateful for but today I would like to thank two of my dearest friends Eva P. and Hang D.  If it wasn’t for them, Youtique Bridal probably would not exist.

I am a dreamer and often not a very practical one.  I constantly have ideas coming out of my ears and when I hear myself speak, I can actually sound “out there”.  But thank God, really, thank God for these two ladies, who have prayed with me and taught me to discern.  When I presented one of my crazy ideas of starting a “wedding business” about 13 years ago, Eva and Hang actually supported it.  Hang introduced me to my first bride and also gave me the opportunity to design her wedding gown.  And over the years, Eva encouraged me to open my private studio. She helped me find my studio space and officially made my dream of starting a business come true.  And can I admit this to the world?  I get scared…a lot!  My fear has always been….what if I fail? what if I don’t live up to others’ standards? what if I just plain suck at what I do?

Well everyone, the honest truth is….I have failed (many times), I won’t always live up to other’s standards and according to some others’ opinion, I suck (I learned that from some of the Youtube comments:).  And that’s OKAY! All I know is that I gave it my all in each of my projects, had fun in the process, and learned from it so I can improve…that is what counts.

So I just wanted to thank Eva P. and Hang D. for believing in me even when I didn’t believe in myself, for always showing me the power of prayer, and for guiding me through my fears.  So, if you have a crazy idea or planning to start something new for 2015, I truly hope you have or meet an Eva P. and a Hang D.  They will be the people who will help you dream big-GER:)

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pinned from Pinterest


Let’s start this New Year out right…DREAM BIG! PLAY HARD! WORK HARD!



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By the way, I named one of my first videos after Eva and two of my tutorials after Hang’s daughters.  Eva and I recently laughed hard about the clicking noises in my early videos.  You probably will too…well, we all have to start somewhere:)  Enjoy!

Merry Christmas 2012! : Don’t sweat the small stuff


christmas 2012 watermark

Our Christmas Tree in 2012

Yes you read that right – Merry Christmas 2012!  As a Christmas gift this year, my husband Mr. T upgraded my phone and somehow old photos from 2012 showed up on the camera.  My husband presented the new phone with our practice session of the photo above as the screen saver.  Don’t worry, no children were hurt during the session 🙂  Well, this photo brought back a lot of memories…2012 was the year we moved to our new cozy house in the burbs, the year my husband went back to school full time and worked his job the hours he wasn’t in school (he barely slept), the year we first celebrated Christmas in the house (hence the bare tree), and the year we decided together as a family to live simply so I can comfortably stay home with our three young children (and take the leap of faith to slowly build Youtique Bridal online)…! How much can change in 2 years.


Our Christmas Tree in 2014

Well, I recently broke out in hives around my neck and face and also pulled a back muscle:(  Don’t ask me what happened because I honestly do not know.  Friends and family are speculating different things — holiday stress (although I didn’t feel stressed this year), change in weather maybe? Allergic reaction to a certain food (I’m not allergic to anything that I know of), getting older and my body reacting to different things in the air?  Well, whatever it was, it left me in bed for several days.  While in bed, I tried to convince my body that I was still young….lol! I know I sound pathetic:(  But anyhow, I couldn’t wait to get better and just celebrate the holiday season.  Thank goodness I healed just in time to attend my friend Mollie’s bridal shower.  I couldn’t be more appreciative of my health, of my husband and children, and quality time with family and friends.  O!  And I can’t forget…quality time with Mr. & Mrs. Santa Claus thanks to the Scarlatella Family:)

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Scarlatella Family Christmas 2014

Yes, that is truly what is important…spending quality time with friends and family.  No, I didn’t get to send out Christmas cards this year…but I am not going to sweat the small stuff:)

Merry Christmas 2014 to all and many many hugs!

With lots of love,


Mollie's Bridal Shower at the Mad Potter

Mollie at her Mad Potter Bridal Shower

Below is the mug I designed at Mollie’s Bridal Shower.  Since it has to be placed in the kiln, I won’t be able to see it until after the New Year…hoping it turns out nicely:)



Guest Gentleman : Eddie Ngo, 39 from Guadalajara, Mexico

photo by James Nguyen

Hope everyone had a fabulous Thanksgiving:)  Since November was dedicated to the gentlemen, I thought I would introduce a friend very dear to me.  Since we are transitioning from November into the “CHRIST”mas holidays, I thought this would be the perfect time to introduce him.  You will understand why in a little bit:)  Eddie Ngo does not wear fancy tie styles like the Eldredge or Trinity Knot but he wears a special collar for his fashion statement.  And in case you are wondering about the same last names, we have no relations beside the fact that he is my brother in Christ.

I knew Eddie before he became a medical doctor and before he decided to become a priest.  Yes, you read that right — a priest!  He and I met while searching for a deeper meaning to life and for a faith.  He had a Buddhist background and me, well I had ran away from any type of religion during my college days.  Somehow we crossed paths and discovered, or for me- rediscovered, our faith together.

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photo by Eric Nguyen

I remember the day Eddie gathered a few friends together at Thuy’s house to make a special announcement.  He announced that he had quit his job at the hospital (as a medical doctor) to join the Jesuit priest order.  I was like “WHAAAAAAAAAAT!?!?!?!”  Honestly, I was excited for him but at the same time, I knew he had a challenging road ahead of him.  I have to say, I am proud of you Eddie🙂

Eddie recently took his vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience this past August.  He is currently serving in Mexico right now.  Till this day, I find it so hard to grasp or understand how he can leave his extremely comfortable doctor salary and take on these vows.  For that, I want to introduce you to a special gentleman, Eddie Ngo.  Here are some questions I asked him.  This is one of my ways to keep him, those called to religious vocation, and all those called to missionary work in my prayers.

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photo by James Nguyen

YB: What inspired you to become a medical doctor? EN: I did not love the study of medicine itself or even the practice of it when I first started.  But as I continued, I realized that I loved my relationship I had with my patients and the care that I gave to them and the trust in that.  I loved my patients really. That is what kept me going.

YB: What inspired you to become a priest? EN: For a year in high school, I knew what it was like to be without friends and to be without family, to feel on the margins.  Or at least, to feel that way because I always had friends or family.  That left a profound impact on me.

 And I know what it is like to feel ashamed, down, and out.  And I also feel that I have been loved by a God that made me and did so design and wants me to be surrounded with people that love me.
 As a priest, I get to be a representative of the community and of a God that accepts other people as they are, to tell them they are good, they are valued, and they have a place amongst others in this world.

YB: What are your hopes and dreams for yourself?  EN: The same hopes and dreams as I have for others… to be happy.

YB: What are your hobbies? EN: I am big time TV show junkie. Love “Walking Dead.” Finishing up the “Breaking Bad” series on DVD.  And I am a Dallas Mavericks fan. I just recently changed my bucket list from playing a one-on-one game with Michael Jordan to Dirk Nowitzki.

YB: What makes you happy?   What makes me happy… is being in community really.  Being with a group of people that share their lives that help bring each other up and supports one another.  Every place I have been I have needed the support of people to help me be who I am.  Meaningful, deep relationships give me life.  Hobbies, music, especially meaningful music for me, it is songs that speak of relationships.  

YB: Why did you give up becoming a full time M.D.? EN: In life, I think there are some risks you take.  People who marry, they have a hope, I think that the next step in marriage leads them to be better people, leads them deeper to enjoy life, to see themselves with a family they can envision together.  

And I felt like the time was right to take the next step to figure out if I was being called to the priesthood or not.  I had made money.  I had received a certain amount of love from friends and family.  I needed to see if this next step, with the hope that it could make me happy would work out.

After I stopped my practice to discern priesthood more fully with the Jesuits, I had a chance to practice medicine again.  For a period of 5 months, I helped with migrants across the border.  And again I would say it was the relationships that I made with my patients that mattered to me. I guess that is why I chose family medicine as a specialty.

YB: What would you want others to know about your faith? EN: I think sometimes people do not feel like they can be themselves and be loved by God,  like God does not love everything about them or that they have to behave in a certain way or do things in a certain way to be loved by God.  God loves you. Period. Nothing more. Nothing less.

 YB: In your opinion, what does it take to be a gentleman? EN: I think if it is a lesson I know, it does not apply just to being a gentleman to a woman but to all people.  I think it is about accompanying people, to be there, to know what another is going through without judgment, with compassion.  To be there, you get a sense of the person.  There is no judgment because you understand what the other is going through and to be strong in that you do not have to solve another person`s problems but to provide that sense of security that you are there with them. And that means a lot I think. 
Well, thank you Eddie for being such a gentleman and answering all the questions.  Below is a special song written by Eddie and Tracy Vo.  They wrote it a few years ago while on a retreat leading music for young adults.  The video is produced by the talented husband and wife team, Landy and Nick of Red Sole Studios.

Happy Thanksgiving!

November has been dedicated to the gentlemen this year.  I wish I knew who this little gentleman is in the video below…he knew how to tug at my heart.  May we always be appreciative of EVERYTHING.  Happy Thanksgiving Day!



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Celebrate Life : DIY Pomander Tree

Final pomander tree

The Flower Pomander Tree I made for Cat’s Birthday Party: Video Tutorial Below

Greetings Everyone!

I hope you are all doing very well.  For those of you who have been following me, I know it felt like I disappeared this Summer but I’m still here.  For the guests who are visiting for the first time…Hello and Welcome:)

This is going to be a little personal post.  If you are here for the tutorials, you can skip right on over to my Youtique Bridal Youtube Channel by clicking “here” or feel free to skim over my blog posts.  For those who are deciding to move forward with the post….I hope you enjoy.  Either way, thank you:)

With 1 or 2 words, how would you describe or sum up your 2014 Summer?  Please don’t be shy, leave it in the comment section below.  Mine would be “Celebrate Life.”  My 2014 Summer has been filled with ups and downs — thank goodness for more ups:) As some of you may know, I lost a friend to cancer early this Summer.  Although I did not make it in time to say goodbye in person, I had the opportunity to visit Thuy-Anh at the funeral home and say it with my heart.  I left Canada with a reminder of how fragile life is and how time is precious.  So when Birthdays came along this Summer, it was the perfect time to spend it with friends and family to celebrate life.

This 2014 Summer was full of opportunities to celebrate life…

*My nephew Noah (Sister’s Son) and Timothy (Mr.T’s Brother’s Son) both turned one.  They are the most ADORABLE curious and fearless little boys.  Did I mention they are ADORABLE?

*Quality time with my niece Theresa for her birthday.  She is now a beautiful young lady trying to find her way in this world.  You will make it Theresa!  Hang in there and don’t sacrifice your integrity:)

*Mr. T turned a year older and we kept it simple by counting the number of white hairs he grew instead of counting candles.  Just kidding!  He got to cut his birthday cake at my parents:) On the same weekend, we celebrated my nephew Evan’s birthday.  He turned 5 and will start kindergarten this year.  I can’t believe it!

*We did miss a birthday celebration cause I had to leave for Canada:(…Happy Birthday Mark!  He turned 8 years old this year.  It would have been fun to play laser tag.  Maybe next year?

*My God daughter Sweet & Sassy Serena turned 4.  Her mommy wanted to keep it simple so we sang Happy Birthday to her on a Play Date.  I enjoyed this small intimate weekday gathering cause there was no pressure to decorate and plan…it was really nice:)  However, her 5th is going to be an all out party:)

*My good friend Fabulous Phoebe celebrated her 40th with a belly dancing class….so much fun!  I have to admit, my flabby belly was already dancing before this class.  lol!

*My best friend in the whole wide world, Cat (Cathy), celebrated her 40th pool side, nice and relaxing—exactly what I needed.  Btw, I’ve known this gorgeous girl since the 2nd grade.  We spent the whole party listening to 80’s music and reminiscing about our childhood and youth from loooooooong ago.  Great memories!  Here are a few photos of the Flower Pomander Tree I made for her Pool Party, you can also check out the video tutorial that inspired the tree at the end of the post:

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*My Brother Phil’s birthday is on the same day as my best friend’s…he celebrated in Cancun — missed him lots but can’t blame him for not being here:)

*And Uncle Thong (my brother-in-law)…he got caked in the face for his birthday celebration.  That was awesome!

*My Coach Okwui who whipped me into shape this year also celebrated his birthday.  He helped me rebuild my physical and mental health.  He’s a tough coach!  Check him out on Instagram Fitness Lab 101:

Besides birthday parties, my family and I spent a large portion of our Summer hanging out at the library, swimming at a pool (I like to hide under a big hat so my freckles won’t get darker), gardening (yes, I now enjoy gardening), and chewing a lot of gum (I’ll share more on this later:) gum I did get to start on a few quick personal sewing projects and I’ll share those with you in the future.  This past June, I was invited to teach a “fun” class at Francesca’s Corporate Office.  I really enjoyed the experience.  I’ll be sharing that with you along with my new video tutorial coming out next week…stay tuned!

Summer 2014 is now coming to an end…what I’ve learned: It does not matter how long or short your life may be, all that matters is how you lived your dash:)  Well, here’s a little poem to leave you with: Dash by Linda Ellis:

I read of a man who stood to speak
at the funeral of a friend.
He referred to the dates on the tombstone
from the beginning…to the end.

He noted that first came the date of birth
and spoke the following date with tears,
but he said what mattered most of all
was the dash between those years.

For that dash represents all the time
that they spent alive on earth.
And now only those who loved them
know what that little line is worth.

For it matters not, how much we own,
the cars…the house…the cash.
What matters is how we live and love
and how we spend our dash.

So, think about this long and hard.
Are there things you’d like to change?
For you never know how much time is left
that can still be rearranged.

If we could just slow down enough
to consider what’s true and real
and always try to understand
​the way other people feel.

And be less quick to anger
and show appreciation more
and love the people in our lives
like we’ve never loved before. 

If we treat each other with respect
and more often wear a smile,
remembering that this special dash
might only last a little while.

​So, when your eulogy is being read,
with your life’s actions to rehash…
would you be proud of the things they say
about how you spent YOUR dash?

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If you would like to learn how to make the Flower Pomander Ball, feel free to view the Flower Girl Pomander Ball tutorial featuring Guest Florist Tracy.  For Cat’s Flower Pomander tree, I used several different size styrofoam balls for visual interest.  Enjoy!

Rest in Peace Thuy-Anh Bui Abramson {Simply TABA}

What an amazing life filled with talent, faith, love, courage, and strength.  You are greatly missed Thuy-Anh {Saint name Maria Goretti}.

Simply TABA Instagram :

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TABA Obituary:

Let’s be “Present” : Prayers for Thuy-Anh

Morning Everyone,

Hope you have been doing well during this Summer season.  I had some fun projects and also have the privilege of 3 little children being home with me (4, 6, 8 year olds).  If you asked me a couple of weeks ago, I would have had something to complain about trying to manage 3 curious and active little kids — but I don’t.  Recently I received news that my friend Thuy-Anh had been admitted to the Emergency Room.  She had fought and was clear of breast cancer last September, but during her 6 month follow up, the cancer had metastasized to her bones.  Before she can even come back for her MRI due to complaints of headaches, she went to the ER early this week.

The day I received news, I couldn’t help but be sad and cry throughout the day.  All I could think about were the memories we shared.  We had gone to college together and after college, we served in Youth Ministry for many years.  She was always that person who organized events to keep the Youth Leaders connected.  I specifically remember her teaching us how to make and paint clay figurines, I remember her first apartment near Briar Forest, meeting her family, all the late night prayer meetings.  And together, we lost a close friend, Mimi, to cancer.  Well, she eventually met and married a wonderful man and moved to Canada.  When she would come home to visit her family in Houston, she made time to visit us.  She would schedule play dates with our children and showed up with fun books and baby toys for the kids.  Somewhere in between our 2nd and 3rd child, life got busy and we haven’t been able to keep in touch.  That was about 5+ years ago.

I will be leaving for Canada to visit her this Saturday…

Everyone, go and pick up your phone to call someone you love and care for today, it could be a friend you are thinking about or a family member that is on the other side of the world — don’t wait.  Let’s make sure we take some time to connect with those we love and care for by phone/skype.  Let’s make sure we pour some more love and peace into the world.  I know it’s easy to get caught up  in “life” but let’s take some time and just be “Present”  for one another.

Besides prayer, there is nothing I can say or do to make anything better, but I do want to be “PRESENT” for Thuy-Anh and her family this weekend.  Please pray for her, her family (husband and 3 children) and all families battling cancer.

Much Love,


Happy Easter

Happy Good Friday!

It is a day of Great Love and Ultimate Sacrifice so that we can experience the joy of Easter Sunday.


This is my daughter’s artwork and our Old Mr. Bunny wishing you a Happy Easter:)



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