Do you want a great family? Solid friendships? Unlimited travel? Career happiness? High net-worth networks? You can have what I have, right here.

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Once in awhile, I get messages from friends and internet peeps, asking me how I have so many friends, influential contacts, free holidays and travel, cool experiences, vip access, awesome loved ones, and usually why I’m always so positive and deliriously happy…

Thank you for living vicariously through me – I worry that I’m not a good role-model at times to people who may dislike or misunderstand certain parts of my life. Of course, I’m not perfect so be prepared for my mistakes as well. I don’t want to inspire your envy, but instead, I want you to know that you can actually have what I have (seriously).

Let me start from the beginning.

On Christmas Day, sometime long ago and far away, a baby was born from a virgin. Say what? Yes you heard it, born from a virgin, not from lust. This baby was a pure and perfect man – different from any of us. He was holy, sent into this earth to walk among the evil, the sick, and the broken. We all know how f-ed up the world can be. If you have a horrible boss or deal with awful people, you know this already.

GOD almighty in all his glaring glory is too great for any of us earthlings to ever reach, there is no bridge – but His Son Jesus actually came right here, to walk among us sinners. He made HISTORY healing people, I see miracles everyday in the PRESENT, and the bible has proven and clearly documented the events of the FUTURE – some have already happened, other things will.

Jesus died with nails in his bloody hands, pierced by the same people who knew of his eternal glory and power – but were too scared of the selfish consequences from admitting it. He came back to life after death, because after all, He was God’s Son. Life is created from God’s breath.

“Oh this is all just a story,” Some people tell me. And I ask them, “then why is God so real to me?”

Once a year, the world looks for a joyful father figure that gives gifts freely and generously. You’re looking at the wrong man – it’s not Santa. Jesus Christ is this meaning of Christmas, but His love overflows in my life not just on this day, but everyday. It’s such an amazing gift I would even wish it on my worst enemy. It’s life-changing, hey look at me. There was always something missing in my life, until God found me. (I will never forget January 2013, the day I encountered God for the first time.)

Life is basically just incomplete without God (in fact it can even be awful), because HE is the one who breathed life into you. How can you doubt all the awesome things that he wants to do?

He knows the differences between what you want and what you need, the thoughts in your head, and the secrets in your heart. He also knows better than you, because He created you.

I’m not promising things will be perfect, but God promised good things to those who truly love and follow Him. Do I get stressed? Sure. Do I worry about things sometimes? I guess I do. Do I have challenges that stumble me? Wa lau eh of course lah. But I’m quite possibly, living the happiest and fulfilling life – I may not be the richest kid around, but I know I have riches far beyond (and better than) money.

“ALL, GOOD things come from The Lord” – This means, nothing bad is from God. Everything good is from God. It’s totally none of my business if you don’t believe, but hey it just means that you’re blocking yourself from the blessings that he wants to pour on your life. Why refuse something good that someone wants to give you?

Life is good not because I was good enough to deserve it, but because God is great. I’m just an ordinary girl living an extraordinary life.

Ask me or a Christian friend about Jesus. I’m not hard to find online, visit New Creation Church sometime, or you can even just Google “Jesus”. Give some meaning to your Christmas. Give God a chance to show you His love today. The sooner you realize it, you actually receive it.

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Merry Christmas everyone. What an incredible 2013 I’ve had since I decided to pursue God first and all other good things have started to chase me. Thanks to everyone who has brought joy to my life. May you all have a blessed 2014!

 

– CHRISTMAS 2013 –

Christmas has always been undisputedly my favourite time of the year. I countdown the months to this very day, but this year’s Christmas celebrations has been the stuff of sweet dreams. Maybe I’m just in high(er) spirits. It was a month filled with family, good friends, excellent food, lots of catch ups and the obligatory hugs and laughs.

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2013 has significantly been the first year that I’ve ever been officially unemployed and ventured out into starting my own business. It’s really bewildering that this has also been the first year where I’ve been able to afford brand name gifts for loved ones, and have also likewise received some really incredible, undeservedly amazing gifts. (Most of the time, I’m already happy to receive gifts like iPhone pouches and coffee mugs.)

I’m not very brand-conscious and wouldn’t care less, but for a new and struggling entrepreneur, this is really quite ironical?! I feel blessed to bless, I guess.

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I’m very thankful to my Mom and Dad who always give me a Christmas with a meaning – we went to St Andrews Community Hospital this year on Christmas Eve with their church group, spreading some joy to the sick, young, and elderly.

I hope the patients liked our red-themed team love, as I try to croon out some rusty Christmas carols!

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What a heartbreaking but amazing day, don’t think I will forget this Christmas Eve for a while. Sometimes, Singapore gets so comfortable that it’s easy to forget how many under privileged and less fortunate people there are around us. Everyone could do with a bit of love and a whole lot of Jesus. Grateful to my parents who continually remind me of compassion, especially this Christmas. Where do we start? With the elderly and sick who were so thrilled to see us, that they couldn’t stop clapping? The young girl in pink who followed us in her wheelchair all around the wards, squealing with excitement everytime we sing? The 5 year old who spasmed or couldn’t look at me straight, and yet she’s so beautiful?

Loving people is tiring, but I’m glad we did it. Thanks to Mom and her amazing church peeps.

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That’s a wrap! Couldn’t wait to unwrap presents with some of my dearest friends, and some much needed turkey time to total up my Christmas celebration coma.

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Thank you, Christmas 2013. Looking forward to the next.

Child-like happiness and family time bubbles

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To be a child, is a lovely thing.

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How incredible it must be, to be able to rest in the knowledge, knowing that you are provided for? Not having to worry about what lies ahead, for your every step is watched?

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A child is never bored of the same toys, and she finds delight in exploring simple things.

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Every day springs forth a freshness. Curiosity begets experiences.

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A child can teach you more about happiness than what you can imagine.

I hope to always have a child-like sense of wonder, for there is so much to learn from children.

(A tribute to the young ones around me, my beautiful niece Keira Rose and our ever-loving family, the stars in my life).

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“Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.” —Henri Nouwen

“Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” -Abraham Lincoln

“At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
~Matthew 18: 1-4

A Love Letter from God to a Single Singaporean Christian Girl

It’s been a while. My future husband must be lost, and he must be too stubborn to ask for directions.

The more I love God, the more my perspective of romance and relationships change. I wouldn’t date some of the guys I used to date, and I definitely don’t look for the same qualities that I looked for 5 years ago. Morals and maturity are more important than money, men with holy hearts suddenly appear on the attractiveness scale more than handsome ones, BMWs and bottle-popping have a much lower importance than biblical values… Please don’t faint, I don’t think anyone ever expected a Singaporean girl to talk like that!

#gonearethestereotypes

Will other real Jesus girls please stand up so I don’t feel so alien and strange?

Keeping my first love for God is hard, but most days I couldn’t be happier at the emotional space and time I have to spend with family, helping out friends, playing with other people’s kids, traveling, sorting out my business projects, trying to be a blessing and all-round making myself a better person. Sometimes I’m sharing so much on Facebook that it looks like my social media is on steroids. I have gone a bit crazy on Instagram (@estellekiora)!

A few of the days though, it feels unfair and lonely. The world is cold and cruel without someone to cuddle you. You flick through your Facebook feed and it looks like your friends have got a nicer car or cooler boyfriend. You wish you had more money and shiny things. You watch some stupid movie’s ridiculous love story and you feel vulnerable and inedequate.

“What do they deserve that I don’t? When is it my turn?”

“Matthew 6:19-21 – Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
It’s only human of us to compare, envy, and look at others when we should just really be looking at God. Don’t look down on yourself – look UP.

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In need of some encouragement, I spent some time with God and wrote a letter to myself. If God sent snail mails/emails/Tweets/Facebook messages, this would be it. This is what I imagine God would say to me – and to you – if you’re a single Jesus girl like me.

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Dear child,

It is so great to hear from you. I’ve missed you so much. I love you and I am saddened to see that you feel alone. It breaks my heart that you miss having someone hold, or even to stroke your hair. I understand that while I am with you always, but you may not feel my presence. I assure you that I am with you always – I was with you while you were rushing around Raffles Place yesterday, while you grabbed that coffee at Starbucks, and even when you were sleeping on that plane to Hong Kong. When you quiet the things around you, you will hear my voice. Talk to me often, for I always want to hear from you.

It makes me glad that you are spending your time in worthy and wise ways, in your quest to become stronger, sweeter, smarter, and everything else that I have laid out in Proverbs 31. I have a wonderful man that I am preparing for you, the same way you are preparing yourself for him. He will be attracted to you not for your body, but because you are beautiful inside out. “Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the LORD will be praised. Proverbs 31:30.” He will pursue you with a passion, as I loved the church. Chivalry is not dead and he will be a gentleman, romancing you the way you desire in your heart. He will challenge you, travel with you, grow with you and he will most certainly make you laugh.

“Proverbs 4:23 – Guard your heart with all diligence, for from it flows the wellsprings of life. ”
Your heart is the wellbeing of your life. How you treat your heart, will translate into everything in your life. So keep guarding your heart, so that someone would have to come to me for it. I created you and I want the best for you, please don’t throw your purity and values away. You are far too precious to waste it, and such fleeting situations will not give you the happiness and satisfaction that you seek – only I can. I know you crave physical intimacy, and fear that you will not find something emotionally deeper. Come to me first to fill you up with love, because I am the only one who will never run dry or disappoint you. You feel something or someone missing in your heart, but it’s not what – or whom – you think.

It has taken you and your future husband time to learn these things.

He is not ready for you yet, but he will be. He will be the best man he can, but are you ready to compromise some things to be the ideal partner for him, too?

My princess, you may not presently understand my plan for you, but trust me for it. I have died and rose again for you. I sit with my angels in the heavens and watch you. Your heart is so precious to me, and only a man who treasures it will be worthy of it. I know you are in a haste, but I do not work within the constraint of time, so you are still young and you still have plenty. Don’t forget to enjoy your freedom now, I want you to have fun and fill your life with fulfilling things. Singleness is a desirable gift (1 Corinthians 7), so enjoy and embrace it. Remember Ruth, and I will give to you as I have given her Boaz.

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Don’t give up on me yet. I’m here and I love you.

LOVE,
GOD

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Singlehood doesn’t have to suck – let’s all try to enjoy the Jesus journey we are on.

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My instagram appeal – Devastated, Deprived and Disabled after Haiyan wrecks Letye, Tacloban and Ormoc


I met a local Filipino man yesterday and his story triumphs all others. After being stranded overnight in Ormoc on Letye island, we were hanging around waiting for our boat back to Cebu in the morning, when this man limped past us in crutches. There was something about his feet that weren’t quite right – they flopped around lifelessly as he dragged his feet around absolutely painfully. He heaved most of his body weight onto his armpits and pleaded to us for food – Kinny, Meaghan, Yennie and I jumped up to help. We asked him if he was from this area, and we’re shocked to find out how far he had come. Despite being a cripple, he hitched his way here from his hometown in Isabela Letye, almost an hour and a half of travel from where we presently are!

No one had come yet to help his devastated area, and in desperation, he left his family and baby behind to seek food and supplies in the nearest big city. His disability, the destruction from the typhoon and lack of time all were huge odds against him but he still pressed on. We filled his bag with as much food and water as we had, sleeping mats and some money but somehow, it still feels like it’s not enough.

This man was blessed to have stumbled across a group of international volunteers, but others may not find such aid.

My name is Estelle and this is my Instagram appeal. (We are a small private group of civilians from Singapore, Australia, Indonesia and beyond, helping a small team in Philippines #styleyoursoul and #bangonormoc to provide relief aid across as many small areas as we can.) To date, we have bought, packed and distributed 8,000 food and water relief goods, 800 hygiene kits, 400 bags for children, and 300 sleeping mats/blankets/mosquito nets in Letye, Ormoc and Northern Cebu. Some clearly need more help than others, and so many more need help.

>> For enquiries, please email loveyouwrongtime@gmail.com
>> Any amount of donations are appreciated. PayPal link: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/588169/emal/5357393
>> Visit my blog for more information and updates of our mission in Philippines for Haiyan’s disaster relief:
https://loveyouwrongtime.wordpress.com/2013/11/15/singaporeans-go-to-typhoon-haiyan-affected-areas-help-us-to-help-philippines/

No matter how you contribute or help to spread this message, it will go a long way in helping us help Philippines through the biggest disaster in Asia since 2005’s tsunami. Thank you and God bless!

DAY 1 OF TYPHOON HAIYAN DISASTER RELIEF TRIP TO PHILIPPINES CEBU – Live updates from Singapore volunteers

DAY 1 OF TYPHOON HAIYAN DISASTER RELIEF TRIP TO PHILIPPINES CEBU – FRIDAY, 15 NOV 6AM

***I will update with more pictures from my camera when I get back to civilization! Please share this post with as many people as you know and WE HOPE YOU WILL HELP US TO HELP PHILIPPINES. Full details at the bottom.***


The first batch of warrior friends – getting onto our Cebu flight now after exchanging some donations. Keep me and the team I’m with in your prayers please? This whole thing is hitting is pretty hard now. Our schedule may include sanitizing people and helping to clear dead bodies, along with any other work needed at the evacuation centre around Philippines. People are desperately messaging me to help find their husbands, sons, loved ones who are all missing. It’s quite overwhelming really. Don’t know how ready we are.


Team Singapore has landed in Cebu, and with our total group check in of 190kg + 110kg (there was a lot is squeezing, begging and bag bursting!), it’s time to send off some of the relief goods that we have flown over. Toothpaste, vitamins and more are immediately dispatched with one of our local contacts – thanks Aaron! You the man!


Next stop off is checking into the place we’re staying in, and it’s bumper to bumper traffic all the way into Cebu suburbs.

I was prepared for the worst – sleeping on floors with no air con and hopefully no cockroaches – but the group’s organizer had set up an awesome host family for us to stay with.

“This is not a holiday,” I have to keep reminding myself, but this was a lovely start to what I otherwise expected. A delicious local Filipino spread fills us up every morning and night – Tita’s cooking is a fine example of Cebuano hospitality. Salamat Tita!

After lunch, we headed to another local’s house, and the labour begins. Trucks filled with relief goods are already pulling out of the porch, and we swap out with sweaty Filipino boys who are tired out from days of helping out with Typhoon Haiyan related aid.


Everyone warmly greets us and welcomes us, and I’m quickly instructed that each relief bag needs 3 and a half cups of rice and a 1litre bottle of water. Along with tinned goods, this properly feeds a family for only about 2 days, but it’ll have to do.


We quickly form a factory line of splitting and sacking rice, bagging, and packing. Groups of locals come and go, some are friends of the family and some are just fresh-faced volunteers like me. The younger ones are 100% efficient and 200% dedicated – they worked so much faster than our white collar fingers!


“Imagine Singaporean kids doing this,” one of our group members posed to me. “No f**king way.” It’s true. I’m disappointed that Singapore didn’t give much – a $200,000 calamity donation from a country that spends millions on fireworks each year is questionable. I discovered that I’m the only Singaporean in the relief team from Singapore, but there are plenty of small communities in Singapore and big-hearted individuals I know who have helped in other ways.


Some of the other members of our crew came in on the evening flight, and we continued to work late into the night. They invited along a Wall Street journalist who was on their flight to join us – to join amusingly enough, she actually did! She was lovely and it was so interesting exchanging opinions with her on our current mission and what we thought of the situation.

One of the Titas received a call and after 15 minutes of listening to her emoting in Filipino, she starts to cry. “My brother called,” she explained to me. “He and some other people have travelled for a long time to send thousands of packs of relief goods yesterday, but it wasn’t enough. So many people were left without any food or water, and they cried. He was crying watching them cry. We are so tired doing so many things, but there are just so many people who have starved for seven days and still don’t have nothing.”


Across 12 hours, almost 4 fresh deliveries of rice arrived – so much rice to sack and unpack but it’s still not enough. We pack in sweaty heat until 2am and wait for others to arrive. A last operation meeting is done and we’re back home in Cebu at 230am.

Tomorrow is a new day, with new purpose.

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>>> We are a small private group from Singapore (with leaders Lotte Edwards, Kinny Johnston and me Estelle Kiora as the only Singaporean) who are now in Cebu Philippines, and furiously working with some organizations to help smaller affected areas of Typhoon Haiyan that are not getting much help. Please email loveyouwrongtime@gmail.com if you would like to help or visit my blog for more information and schedule updates of our mission:
https://loveyouwrongtime.wordpress.com/2013/11/15/singaporeans-go-to-typhoon-haiyan-affected-areas-help-us-to-help-philippines/

@philippinestar #styleyoursoul
#typhoon #haiyan #yolandaph #travel #purpose #philippines #charity #volunteer #mission #girlfriends #cebu #thoughts #ontheroad #disaster #instahub #pictureoftheday #bestoftheday #sgig #bloggers #helpphilippines
#reliefPH #sg #banganormoc #bangantacloban #banganvisayas #ormoc #letye #tacloban #gugmasaguiuan

Singaporeans go to Typhoon Haiyan affected areas – help us to help Philippines!

My friends packing food and water supplies this week for urgent dispatch to the organizations they are working with. It's a start but not enough.

My friends packing food and water supplies this week for urgent dispatch to the organizations they are working with. It’s a start but not enough.

Hello friends, family, Facebookers and searchers, a small private group and I are going to disaster sites in the Philippines TOMORROW onwards to help for 1 week.

SITES WE ARE GOING TO:
ORMOC, LETYE, and there are other smaller areas affected by Typhoon Haiyan (known locally as Yolanda) that are NOT receiving help from bigger organizations and official charities. Ask any of your friends in Philippines – a lot of people are dying from hunger and every bit you can do counts.

A few of my awesome friends have organized a small group and we are going to CEBU TOMORROW MORNING and doing day trips out by boat, van and bus to the lesser known but heavily affected areas that desperately need help. We have a huge schedule planned with transport, cleaning people, sanitizing, and urgently packing food and water – 700 packs have been sent out yesterday but we still need help to raise money so they can arrange more packs over the next weeks.

We are in coordination with 3 organizations in 3 different cities that were greatly affected by Yolanda – Bangor Ormoc, Gugma sa Guiuan which is handled by the Mayor’s chief of staff, Bangon Bohol.

***If there are any of you who would like to help or contribute to our mission, please let me know and anything at all is much appreciated. We need all your help possible.***

MY EMAIL FOR ENQUIRIES ON THIS PRIVATE MISSION: LOVEYOUWRONGTIME@GMAIL.COM
If I don’t respond to enquiries before I leave, I will respond when I am back – Philippines will need help for a long time more.

MORE INFO:
Since this is an emergency and my friends felt the need to help and share the blessing asap, we are not connected with any official charity.

THINGS THAT THE DISASTER SITES NEED THAT WE ARE BUYING:
Rice, water, canned goods in easy open can, candles and matches (no electricity there), sleeping mats, blankets, mosquito nets, baby formulas for the infants in the evacuation centers, hygiene kits which will include soap and toothbrushes.

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This is the plan – please share the news, keep us in your prayers, contribute where possible and anything you can do is much appreciated. I will update more frequently on my instagram @estellekiora wherever I can, mostly to let my Mom know that I am alive…

People who inspire me: Nadia Bolz Weber

Meet my new favorite inspiration – Pastor Nadia Bolz Weber.

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What, this woman is a Pastor? I know, I know.

“She doesn’t look like a Christian, much less a Pastor.” You are probably definitely thinking.

Well, what’s a Christian supposed to look like? Boring?

A heavily female tattoo-ed female with a background in alcoholism, drug addiction, promiscuity, lying and more should not deserve to educate and encourage tens of thousands of people right? But God is unfair and gives us more (grace, love, forgiveness, and blessings) than we deserve, and Nadia Bolz Weber is a living testimony and inspiration of that.

Your flaws and failures are fertile grounds for God’s forgiveness. If you have a capacity to be destructive, God can and will very well turn it into kindness. As much as you have a capacity to be a sinner, you have a part of you that is a saint (and vice versa).

Don’t try and make sense of God. This is my perfect God who always uses and loves imperfect people.

Excerpts from an interview with her:

(Nadia Bolz Weber talking about the Bible’s Mary Magdalene)

“Being raised in a Christian tradition where women were not even permitted to pray out loud in front of men, much less be an usher or a preacher, there was a process for me of sort of claiming my authority as a preacher. The more I studied the gospels the more intrigued I was by Mary Magdalene and how she seemed to always be around. I called her “the patron saint of just showing up,” because she’s always there.

I love that—this woman, who had been delivered from so much, is chosen by Jesus to be the first witness to the resurrection. It could have been somebody else, but Mary Magdalene was chosen to be the one to tell the men of the resurrection.

I love that text in John 20 where she doesn’t recognize him. She thinks he’s the gardener—which I suspect she never lived down. I’m sure her friends, for the rest of her life, when they’d be drinking, they’d be like, “Hey, Mary, remember when you thought Jesus was a gardener?” I absolutely love the fact that she didn’t recognize him until he spoke her name. I relate to that. I don’t think I recognized Jesus until it seemed like he was speaking my name. When that happens, we turn at the sound of the voice.

That’s my story of being confused and hearing my name and turning over and over again. Not just like it happened once, this is a daily thing for me. That’s the life of death and resurrection that I end up undergoing on a regular basis.”

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Listen to other sermons by Nadia Bolz Weber, buy her book or read her amazing blogposts HERE.
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My favourite blogpost she has written so far –

“When I was working as a chaplain at the hospital, I noticed that the family and friends of those who had suddenly or unexpectedly died would in a grief so thick it sucked the oxygen out of the room, they’d gaze off and say “Just this morning we were eating breakfast and talking about baseball” or “We were just walking the dog, laughing about the kids” The life changing seems always bracketed by the mundane. The quotidian wrapped around the profound like plain brown paper concealing either a bar of gold or an improvised explosive devise or sometimes both. In a slice of a moment we discover the gold beneath the paper or the bomb and then absolutely everything changes, but when we recall it in our now forever changed life, from this side of the event we start with the plain brown wrapping, it looked like every other package, every other morning every other walk. We were just eating dinner upstairs in some guy’s house, when …everything changed.* …………” (Full blogpost link HERE)