Astonishingly Honest #WhyIStayed graphics & shocking Domestic Violence statistics

posted on: October 9, 2018

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and the focus is on making America aware of this nightmare. Awareness plus Action creates change so I am willing to do my part, however small that might be. Please contact me via lauraaranda@owlofhope.com to come to your school, church, book club and host a workshop concerning human trafficking in America and how it affects our American runaways.

The number of American troops killed in Afghanistan and Iraq between 2001 and 2012 was 6,488. The number of American women who were murdered by current or ex male partners during that time was 11,766. 

A woman is beaten every nine seconds in America.

 

#WhyIStayed

 

10,000,000

That is the number of minor children exposed to domestic violence every single year. Just let that heartbreaking number sink in for a moment. These are your Sunday school kids, your classroom students, your neighborhood kids playing in the streets. We have to do something! 

 

 

Need help?

In the U.S., call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) for the National Domestic Violence Hotline or visit the National Sexual Assault Online Hotline operated by RAINN.

https://hotline.rainn.org/online/

For more resources, visit the National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s website. https://www.nsvrc.org

 

 

Between 55 percent and 98 percent of child sex-trafficking cases involved children who had prior involvement in the child welfare system.

Runaway and homeless youth are at particularly high risk for exploitation
by traffickers: A survey of youth in a homeless shelter in Salt Lake City, Utah, found that 50 percent of homeless youth reported having been solicited for sex by an adult.

Reports have also indicated that one out of every three runaways will be “lured toward” prostitution within 48 hours of leaving home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While we may not know exactly how many young people are being sexually exploited and abused by traffickers in the United States, it is clear that the sex trafficking of children and teenagers is a significant problem that deserves concerted attention. The challenges presented by these cases are not insurmountable, and there is a growing coalition of lawmakers from both parties who are committed to strengthening state and federal laws to better protect young people from this devastating form of abuse. There is also a strong community of anti-trafficking advocates committed to raising awareness about sex trafficking of minors and developing policy proposals and best practices for identifying and apprehending traffickers and providing supportive services to victims.

 

above notes taken from:

https://cdn.americanprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/HumanTrafficking-brief.pdf

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is one thing you can do to improve all areas of your life at the same time – invest in yourself. The most famous investor of all time, Warren Buffett, says: “The best investment you can make is in yourself.” Go do something, become proud of yourself, get a career, go back to school, pick up a hobby, gain self confidence so you do not have to be subject to the opinions of another partner. 

 

 

🌟 Laura’s Daily Intention🌟

An *accountability partner* is great to have when we’re tackling big goals. Today, think about someone you can have in your corner as your work to get productive.

World Day against Trafficking in Persons

posted on: July 27, 2018

I’ve met so many wonderful people along the way on this journey including the SWLA Abolitionists group, and other authors doing their part in spreading awareness. 

Human trafficking is a crime that exploits women, children and men for numerous purposes including forced labour and sex. The International Labour Organization estimates that 21 million people are victims of forced labour globally. This estimate also includes victims of human trafficking for labour and sexual exploitation. While it is not known how many of these victims were trafficked, the estimate implies that currently, there are millions of trafficking in persons victims in the world.

The United Nations has declared July 30th to be World Day against Trafficking in Persons. Use this Day to spread awareness in your area. Do podcasts, youtube videos or social media posts. I’d love to help! lauraaranda@owlofhope.com 

#HumanTrafficking #EndHumanTrafficking #pushingbackthedarkness

If you need someone to speak to your homeschool group, church or book club contact me! lauraaranda@owlofhope.com

 

Share our hashtags and create those difficult conversations this month so others can be aware. 

 

 

America, What Nicaragua needs you to know and share

posted on: May 31, 2018

The below interview is from a man we met while in Nicaragua. His name has been excluded as well as the church he attends. I created this interview with him in a desperate attempt to get America’s attention.

Though he primarily speaks Spanish and responded to me in Spanish, all of his answers will be translated into English for our readers.

The strong Nicaraguan people are resilient but as they march on their Mother’s Day holiday this year they did not celebrate. The people declared it a day of mourning for the fallen as the death toll as reached over 80 people. Right now they are in what they call, “The Mother of all Marches”! This is a march for their freedom, for their liberties and for the future generations who don’t have a clue what terror Communism brings. You will see real photos here, however, I chose not to share some of the more graphic pictures he sent over. They were gruesome and worse than anything movies could portray. This is real. 

READ the interview and SHARE SHARE SHARE the interview to get the news out. These are real time events. Most importantly, PRAY!

More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of

Tennyson

 

 

¿Dónde vives en Nicaragua?

Where do you live in Nicaragua? 

In a Managua neighborhood in an old mansion

 

¿Puedes decirle a América la línea de tiempo de los eventos nicaragüenses?

Can you tell America the timeline of the Nicaraguan events?

There has been up to three marches per week due to suspension of the dialogue.

 

¿Alguno de su familia ha estado involucrado?

Has any of your family been involved? 

Two of my innocent cousins were hurt just for the pleasure. On Wednesday, they took them and my aunt to the place where they are tortured and forced to beg them not to kill them. The police are murderous and corrupt.

¿Hay ‘chicos buenos’ y ‘chicos malos’ en Nicargua?

Are there ‘good guys’ and ‘bad guys’ in Nicargua? 

The ‘good ones’ are the students and the ‘bad ones’ are the JS: Sandinista youth.

 

*Laura: The aggressive Sandinista Youth run about armed with iron pipes into the crowds of protestors with police protection. Vicious and cruel. 

 

¿Qué debe cambiar?

What needs to change? 

The government because it is very corrupt.

 

¿Qué debe suceder para que Nicargua sea pacífico?

What needs to happen to make Nicargua peaceful? 

Nicaragua has been peaceful, but because of the situation the country has worsened and there are many armed people.

 

¿Qué quieres que América sepa?

What do you want America to know? 

Let him know that we want a new change of government.

 

¿Cómo puede ayudar América?

How can America help? 

America can help if they will intervene in removing the corrupt from power.

 

¿Hay algo que Estados Unidos pueda hacer para ayudar a Nicaragua?

Is there anything America can do to help Nicaragua? 

Removing the corrupt from power helps the country improve the situation of Nicaragua since the president refuses to resign.

 

Comparta cualquier historia que desee que América sepa sobre Nicaragua.

Gracias.

¡Mantenerse a salvo! Que Dios bendiga a tu familia.

Share any story you want America to know about Nicaragua. 

Thank you. 

Stay safe! God bless your family. 

 

The story that needs to be told is that Nicaragua is repeating the same story for the second time when it is in shambles.

 

There is so much more I could add. There is constantly new information coming out but I just wanted to send out this plea from a citizen there. PRAY for them! Share this blog post and interview so it can open people’s eyes to the devastation going on right now. Find me on Facebook:

You should be able to see the album here: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10155839692111185.1073742148.734416184&type=1&l=eb5c2edc49

and you can see an album full of more pictures of Nicaragua and our trip there recently.

 

 

 

America, this is what the beautiful people of Nicaragua need you to know.

According to Wikipedia: On 18 April 2018, demonstrators in several cities of Nicaragua began protests against President Daniel Ortega‘s decree of social security reforms that increased taxes and decreased benefits. After five days of unrest in which nearly 30 people were killed, Ortega announced the cancellation of the reforms. However, the opposition has grown to denounce Ortega and demand his resignation, becoming one of the largest protests in his government’s history and the deadliest civil conflict since the end of the Nicaraguan Revolution.

Amazon.com: Pushing Back the Darkness eBook:Laura Aranda: Kindle Store.99

posted on: March 23, 2018

Amazon.com: Pushing Back the Darkness eBook: Laura Aranda: Kindle Store
— Read on www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B071146W2D/ref=tmm_kin_title_0

 

 

My book is.99 download today. I’m busy gardening. Enjoy your weekend with my book! Please don’t forget to leave an Amazon review!!

 

 


 

Interview with Abigail Howard, CEO of Project Micah 6:8

posted on: February 27, 2018

Micah 6:8 

He has told you, O man, what is good;
    and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
    and to walk humbly with your God?

23798866_1387461181362876_1851329248_o   Abigail Howard is currently a college student attending Florida Atlantic University. She agreed to do an interview with me.

I love highlighting women who are out to help change the world and impact their community in positive ways. She is so awesome!

Abigail is the CEO of a 501 © (3) organization called Project Micah 6:8 that works with safe houses for human trafficking victims. 

pexels-photo-840810.jpeg

What do you study?

I am studying criminal justice in order to join the FBI.

 

What are your greatest professional strengths?

My greatest strengths are determination, drive, passion, and diligence.

Greatest Weaknesses?

Never giving up.

Do you have a nonprofit organization you admire or contribute to?

I am the CEO of a 501 © (3) organization called Project Micah 6:8 that works with safe houses and human sex trafficking survivors all while spreading awareness of this dilemma.

What do you think you overcome to be who you are today?

I had to overcome finding my place in this world and listening to God’s still small voice.

What is the last book that has made you cry?

The last book that I read that made me cry was Stolen by Katariina Rosenblatt. This was her story in how she escaped human sex trafficking and how she found God through it.

What’s your dream job?

My dream job would be working with the FBI in fighting the horrific crimes of human sex trafficking.

What is your definition of success?

Success to me can be anything you put your mind to. But most importantly, you are following God’s plan for your life.

Would you say you are successful and in what ways?

I am successful because I have God on my side. Without Him, this organization would not be possible.

What is your greatest professional achievement?

My greatest professional achievement would be creating a nonprofit organization at the age of 18. I had multiple opinions of how I should run my own life, but I defied those opinions and continued on God’s path.

Do you have long-term goals that you can share with the readers?

Looking into the future for Project Micah 6:8, God put in my heart to be able to fund even more safe houses around the world that rescue and care for each survivor.

3 main trafficking hubs- Los Angeles, New York City, and Miami.jpg

 

If a young person walked up asking for your advice and you only had a few minutes to give them your best tip, what would it be?

I would tell them to live in the moment.

Life goes by so fast and most of us just wish for tomorrow to come.

All it takes is to look down and see where your feet are planted, because there is a reason why you are there so just embrace it.

I created my first vision board this year. It hangs by my bed. Have you ever created a vision board?

I live by my vision board! I look forward to what God will do with it, and love when I cross out things that were accomplished!

Do you have a favorite motto that you live by?

Be Kind. Because you never know how much a simple hello can mean to somebody.

Micah 6-8

If anyone is interested in contacting you further what’s the easiest way(s) to reach you?

I would love to answer any questions that comes to someone’s mind!

You can email be at projectmicahsixeight@gmail.com

And like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/projectmicah68

 

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Craft a Community, Interview with Kate Guerrero

posted on: February 22, 2018

Kate Guerrero is one of those people we all need in our life. We busy ourselves with stuff and lose out of valuable friendship and relationship building moments. She is working to solve that problem. Check out her interview and think about reaching out to her to help your circle of influence as well. 

A poem on her Facebook Page couldn’t be passed up. I wanted to share that here as well:

“With one invitation, we can take someone
From outsider to insider
From outcast to beloved member
From unknown neighbor to coffee companion
From wallflower to life-of-the-party
From shortened life expectancy to 80 years of joy.”

We know we need more connection and community, but we can’t worry about that right now, because all the other work of parenting is just so exhausting.

Kate decided to fix that.

What is your passion?

I am passionate about helping women connect and build real, life-giving relationships.

You mentioned one of your passions is helping women connect and develop real relationships. Can you explain that more? 

In my experience, women (particularly mothers) are often incredibly isolated and lonely. I believe that so much of what we face as women requires support! In a time when we’ve build high walls around our lives, we need in-person connection more than ever. Though online relationships with other women can be great and supportive, we need women who are physically in our lives to go with us to that funeral, make us lasagna after we have a baby, and encourage us as we take that new job.


What does a real Friendship/relationship look like?

It’s being able to talk honestly and openly without judgement, being able to see one another regularly, sharing the burden of work and family in practical ways, and offering support to each other in practical ways. How often do we assume things about the women around us, and then “filter” them out as a result? Have you ever sensed people making assumptions about you?? Are they true? Think about that a moment. 

Explain your craft kits. 

My kits are a reason to gather and make friends on purpose! I send a complete set of all supplies to create something pretty – no artistic ability required! You gather the women, order the kit, and I’ll send you the rest! The kit for January was Painted Rocks – super simple, super gorgeous, and a great invitation to bring women together. I’m so excited to present the craft for February! It’s super simple, super gorgeous, and easy enough for literally ANYONE  Perfect for gathering a few friends or neighbors, a mom’s night out, a MOPS table get-together, a book club activity, or the kick-off for your very own Craft Group! (Heart Magnets)

What gave you the idea to do this?
I taught some art classes in my house and was amazing at how quickly and easily the women started connecting – even though some had just met for the first time. Having something to do with your hands makes the small talk process SO much easier and less awkward. Also – I’m personally always looking for reasons to invite women to gather – and this seemed like a natural fit!

“As women, particularly if we’re moms, the effort required to plan an activity, schedule it in, and then coordinate it with other people just seems…insane. Never gonna happen. I know that sinking feeling you get when you see those cutie posts with smiling women, arms wrapped around each other, going on about how they ‘are so grateful for their sisterhood.’ It seems like a mountain you’ll just never get the energy to climb.”

 

26731636_166031010692722_7017530381522567872_nWhat action step would you suggest  to begin TODAY that would help a woman start on her Journey to create a life time Friendship?

Choose one woman in your life and schedule a time to see her in the next week. Think of some questions before you see her that will help deepen your connection – I love these: “How did you meet your SO?”

“Where are you from?”

“Do you think you’ll stay doing your job (or staying home) forever? Why?”

Building relationships takes time and patience, but the process is beautiful.

Can you explain what made you decide to follow your career path?

I started out as a middle and high school English teacher! Though I love teaching, managing a classroom of adolescents was not my best thing – and completely drained me. When I realized that parent/teacher conferences were my favorite part of the year, I realized that working with adults was much more my strength! When I became a mom, I came home to be with my kids most of the time, and I’ve become increasingly aware of how isolated, lonely, and anxious so many of the women around me seemed. I started praying and thinking about my next step at that point.

What is there to be said of difficult life experiences and how can we transform them?

I think whatever difficulties we go through can be used to connect us to those who face the same – and teach us empathy for the struggles that everyone goes through! Your pain can become your path to fulfillment if you learn through it and find a way to help others who are in the same spot.

When was the last time you were out of your comfort zone?

Working on this business has me out of my comfort zone every day! I am used to being hired or recruited for jobs – and having a boss who guided, directed, and validated what I’m doing. This time, it’s just me! No one asked me to do this; it’s scary to stand up and declare that I have something to say!

What is your favorite quote or mantra?

You don’t find your village – you make it!

 

If you could change one thing in your business, what would it be and why?

I’d love to skip some of the initial stages of building my business and hop right to the part where I’m speaking, writing, and creating and making a living from it!

What advice would you give someone concerning Who they need to become in order to accomplish their wish/dream/goal?

First – determine if this is actually what you’re called to do, or if it’s just a wish/dream/goal that you’ve been told is “right.” Then, take steps to move forward while you’re still scared!

When do you feel like your true self?

When I’m speaking, teaching, writing, creating, and connecting with other women.

If you were the bravest version of yourself today, what would you be doing?

I’d be speaking out on what I believe without fear of what others think! So often I’m held back by the fear that I am too intense, too forceful, or too loud.

What is keeping people from living their best life?

A lack of clarity on what that “best life” is. I think we’re handed a playbook – particularly in America – that outlines what a “best life” includes, and we often start to pursue these things without actually evaluating if we share these values. I think this often includes an amount of money, amount of material possessions, level of career success, or level of fame – all of which are more or less valuable to different people. Don’t pick someone else’s best life – go after your own!

 

How can individuals achieve goals without sacrificing their values?

First – figure out what your values are! Then, regularly run your “goals” past these values to make sure they’re still making sense. I find that having a close friend talk through this with you is super helpful.

How do we make our values a reality?

Make big long term goals, but then make small, daily action steps. Lots of women love the idea of having a sisterhood of women around them, but they don’t take the small, important steps along the way. Send a text to check in, set up a “standing date,” order pizza for her when she’s had a hard week, remember to ask about how the important meeting went.

What are a few of your new year goals? 

This year, I have a goal to help at least 10 women start ongoing craft groups designed to gather and connect women in life-giving community.  

Do you have a nonprofit organization you admire or contribute to? 

I support Fellowship Housing – a nonprofit in my neighborhood that supports and empowers single moms on the brink of homelessness. They are an INCREDIBLE organization, and I love that they are local to me!

How can people know more about that nonprofit? 

Check out their website! https://www.fhcmoms.org/

I know current and former staff members personally, so it’s fully vetted.

If anyone is interested in contacting you further what’s the easiest way(s) to reach you???

Facebook: Craft a Community

Instagram: @CraftACommunity

Email: craftacommunity@gmail.com

Website: www.craftacommunity.com

 

 

Thank you so much!!! 

 

 

Interview with Tom Schutle, Author of Spiritual Ambitions, Public Speaker & Red Cross Volunteer

posted on: February 20, 2018

SPIRITUAL AMBITIONS

Our ambitions determine the kind of person we become, and the kind of person we become determines what we will do in life. And since what we do in life can have lasting—even eternal—results, it’s no surprise that many of us strive to reach our ambitions. Yet while we can be consumed with pursuing worldly, secular ambitions for career and family, our spiritual ambitions are too often left to chance as we drift through life.

Tom agreed to an interview. Enjoy! Let’s begin. Please tell the readers a little about yourself. 

My name is Tom Schutle. People have told me I am a deep thinker over a wide range of topics, and an observer.

You are an author. When did you publish your first work?  

What is the Title?

Spiritual Ambitions, (How rich Do You Want to be in Eternity) is my first book, published in January of 2018.

 

What do you do? 

 I was the environmental steward for an incinerator. I am currently retired, spending my time volunteering for the Red Cross, working in a jail and prison ministry, and writing.

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 Start off with the 2-3 specific accomplishments or experiences.

I am absolutely not athletic, but  rode in the BP MS-150 bicycle ride, and successfully rode from Houston to Austin (172 miles).

I also won the District 68 toastmaster evaluation contest in 2016

 What are your greatest professional strengths?

I bring a creative focus to every problem, looking to the basis to resolve them. I am also very eclectic, being well read in my field, and able to bring greatly different subjects to solve seemingly unrelated problems. I also have a high level of integrity, which has put me in interesting situations.

 

Greatest Weaknesses?

I get so focused on what I am working on that I tend to come across as aloof and intimidating.

 

Do you have a nonprofit organization you admire or contribute to?

The organization I support the most is the Gideons International, because their mission is to put the Word of God in as many places as possible where people are hungry.

 

What do you think you have had to overcome to be who you are today?

Tough question. I grew up in a place where I had to work fields all day. As a result, I have trouble socializing at most levels.

 

What is the last book that has made you cry? 

If a fictional book is such that I would cry, I generally put it down. I am touched by true stories of people who gain success in spite of terrible circumstances and the huge cost they incur.

I just finished “Hope for the Caregiver” by Peter Rosenberger, published by Worthy Inspired. I recommend it for those that are either a primary caregiver, or soon will be.

I’m working through a book by Donald Frazier, “Greek Nuggets” published by Tate publishing.

 

What’s your dream job? 

Since I am retired, I can choose my job without worrying about hours or pay. I am getting close to living my dream job, with my efforts in prisons, and writing.

 

What is your definition of success?  

After I die, hearing Jesus say “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

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Would you say, while on earth now, you are successful and if so, in what ways? 

 I can never say I am 100% aligned with my definition of success. But, I am more so today than yesterday, and plan on being less today than tomorrow.

 

What are a few of your greatest professional achievements?

I have a bachelor’s in Chemical Engineering from Case Western Reserve, and a Masters in Engineering from the University of Louisville. More important than my degrees is the life-long attitude of continually learning. I have completed the creative writing specialization – Wesleyan University, through Coursera. As an engineer, I was once the president of an associated trade association. My writing will far eclipse that, and hopefully, will be more impactful.

 

Thank you for that! Do you have long-term goals that you can share with the readers?

Spiritual ambitions really are goals that are moving targets. No matter how close you come, the target is always just out of reach and still a viable goal. 

In many ways, Spiritual Ambitions describe my overarching life goals. I believe that our spirituality determines almost the rest of our life. Because of this, concentrating on my relationship with Jesus will positively impact the lessor parts of my life.

In a more specific sense, A second book, The Last Leaf, will be released in two months.

I have four more projects scheduled for 2018, which are:

  • “The fire in my belly,” about the journey of an immigrant family told from the perspective of his furnace, which is in polish edit
  • “Is the Holy Spirit a Liar,” discussing why we don’t see more changed lives after salvation and what we should, individually, do about it, is about half-finished
  • “Examples of Sin,” This tentative title addresses examples of sin from scripture, with the objective of putting a mirror to ourselves, is about a quarter finished
  • “Why doesn’t God hear me?” This tentative tile addresses, scriptural, reasons why God doesn’t answer prayer, is in outline form

In 2019, I’m planning another book, “The Lazy Man’s Way to a Successful Marriage,” which is at the conceptual stage.

I work best by working on the first one, then, when stuck, switching to the second, and so forth.

I have other goals (the typical lose weight, exercise, blah blah), along with reading the Bible through, participate in two exhaustive Bible studies.

 

 That’s very good! So, if a youth walked up to asking for your advice and you only had a few minutes to give them your best tip, what would it be?

 God has created you for a purpose that only you can accomplish. If you don’t, that purpose won’t get done. No one else can take your place. Your challenge is to discover that purpose, which starts with a practical relationship with Jesus. After that, He will guide in that purpose.  I have observed many situations where people have a good concept, but somewhere, fall down in the execution. If it really is a good goal then one should research that goal, asking for advice from those that have done the same thing or similar. 

Typically, people don’t seem to reach their goals because they haven’t “counted the cost” or in other  words, have not determined the resources (time, skills, and money) to accomplish the goal.

Using my book as an example, I soon found out I don’t have a lot of the needed skills to bring it to market. I could have learned the skill, settled for a lessor goal, or hire the work. I don’t want to learn the skill nor settle for an inferior product, so I chose the third option. My belief is these decisions will give me the best chance for my goal to be successful.

It is very hard to create. I am unable to do more than about two hours of creative thinking at one time. Much of the writing effort is “grunt” type work, such as reviewing for grammar, sentence flow, etc.

I am currently frustrated by how the seasons flow in “the Fire in my Belly.” It is important that certain things happen when there is snow, and others in summer, yet the way people age makes this extremely difficult to get correct. The difference is minor to the reader, most might not notice the issue, but I am striving to do the best I can and I know when it isn’t my best.

Finally, be very careful whom you admire. You begin to become like those you admire.

How do you go about reaching goals?

We make time for those things important to us. The key is to monitor progress and make adjustments as needed. I personally like the acronym SMART when setting Goals

S – Specific

M- Measureable

A – Attainable

R- Reasonable

T- Time goal will be accomplished.

It sounds like I am very organized, but I am not. Reaching goals is a major struggle for me, which was one of the reasons behind developing “Spiritual Ambitions.”

I want to point out that I have written a detailed, twelve-page plan for “Spiritual Ambitions.” As I move through the process and learn more, I continually revise this plan.

A quote I like is “Plans are worthless, planning is invaluable.”

It is important to write goals down, and then look at them. Goals that you don’t keep and set before you to see are monuments for good thinking, not practical living.

Monuments belong in cemeteries. 

I have learned one major fact from my writing effort. The amount of resources – my time, energy, cost, and the time to bring the book to market – is far, far more than I anticipated.

 

Have you ever created a vision board? 

No. However, I use other  tools which accomplish similar objectives, such as mind maps, etc.

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I love quotes! Do you have a favorite motto that you live by?

I have two

1)      Seek first the kingdom of God

2)      If everyone agrees with you, you are probably wrong.

By the way, the kingdom of God is His complete governing rule in my life.

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If anyone is interested in contacting you further what’s the easiest way(s) to reach you???

 

The book’s web site is www.ThomasVictorSchutle.com

Through email –daydreamsfromthelastpew@gmail.com