He Was Taken Up Before Their Very Eyes

Happy Easter!

So I don’t typically talk about an image on Easter, but this year I felt like adding one in again. This image is from Hagia Sophia or Church of Holy Wisdom. The Hagia Sophia was the most beautiful church in the world, when it was finished Justinian exclaimed:

‘’Glory to God who has deemed me worthy of accomplishing such a work! O Solomon! I have vanquished thee’’

It was so beautiful that when the Ottoman Empire took over, they didn’t destroy the church but chose to instead convert it into a mosque. What is most interesting is that during this conversion different Christian imagery was destroyed but many mosaics weren’t. This is extremely unusual as pictures of faces weren’t allowed in religious spaces in the Muslim faith. But thanks to Sultan Mehmed II for, whatever reason, choosing to preserve these pieces we have our image for today:

Christos Panto Krator or the Deesis Mosiac

This is a huge image of Christ, created to illustrate God’s presence and him watching over us. It is in the traditional style of the Byzantine art as it is flat and 2-D, a throwback to separate the Christian art from the Greeks and Romans.

Jesus is depicted with a halo, something that would continue to be a part of Christ images, and is older in this mosaic-stern, serious, more of the judgement of Christ to come in Revelations.

What also makes this image striking and noteworthy is that in his hand he holds the bible-showing the importance of the Gospel and his teachings. To me, looking at it reminds me of The Great Commission, Christ rising into heaven and urging his disciples to share his message.

Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”

He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.

10 They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” Acts 1:6-11

For more paintings of Christ, go to With That, He Bowed His Head and Gave Up His Spirit

For more Byzantine art, go to Entry into Jerusalem

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Book Club Picks: Sandcastle Kings

So in my book club, we read a book for a month, then discuss it. There is no theme, other than with each month, a different member gets to pick a book, whichever one they want. I went first, so this next month was someone else’s turn. They choose:

Sandcastle Kings: Meeting Jesus in a Spiritually Bankrupt World by Rich Wilkerson Jr.

This book is part memoir about Pastor Wilkerson’s life, while mostly instructing how we can stop being sandcastle kings but connect better with God.

Sandcastle Kings, is the term Pastor Wilkerson uses to describe how we are when we try to control our lives instead of allowing God to have the control. We try and build and do all we can, but is like building out of sand; it is only temporary and too easily destroyed by everything. It make me think of the Doughnut Man song about the wise man and the foolish man.

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” Matthew 7:24-27

In his book Pastor Wilkerson analyzes four different interactions with Jesus Christ in the New Testament:

  1. The Faith of the Centurion, Luke 7: 1-10
  2. Jesus Raises a Widow’s Son, Luke 7: 11-17
  3. Jesus and John the Baptist, Luke 7: 18-35
  4. Jesus Anointed by a Sinful Woman, Luke 7: 36-50

I thought the book was excellent and two stories really stood out to me:

The first was his interpretation of The Faith of the Centurion. 

When Jesus had finished saying all this to the people who were listening, he entered Capernaum. There a centurion’s servant, whom his master valued highly, was sick and about to die. The centurion heard of Jesus and sent some elders of the Jews to him, asking him to come and heal his servant. When they came to Jesus, they pleaded earnestly with him, “This man deserves to have you do this,because he loves our nation and has built our synagogue.” So Jesus went with them.

He was not far from the house when the centurion sent friends to say to him: “Lord, don’t trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof.That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”

When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, “I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel.”10 Then the men who had been sent returned to the house and found the servant well.

First we see that the Centurion respected the culture of others and instead of going straight to Jesus, he instead spoke to the Jewish leaders to have them request on his behalf. Then the Centurion sends a servant to tell him that he is unworthy to have him, unworthy to make such a request; this powerful man humbling himself before Christ, asking only for Jesus to say the word and knowing that his servant will be healed.

This spoke to me as how often to we have a cavalier attitude around Jesus and God. Often we don’t humble ourselves or treat Christ with respect, demanding, whining, sometimes only doing things if we will get something out of it. Here he, the Centurion, recognizes the power of God and also that the mercy He gives is not because of anything we do, but because God wants to. We need to remember that too, that God’s love is nothing because of what we do but because of His Love.

“This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” 1 John 4:10

In another part, Pastor Wilkerson, shares a story about how people treat things that don’t belong to them. For instance, when one stays in a motel they throw their wet towel on the ground, they don’t make their bed, they make messes, etc. People don’t treat things they don’t own or borrow very well. I’ve talked about that before-

With this it made me think of how we treat ourselves. God created us and we belong to him, but sometimes we forget our worth and treat ourselves horribly.

I thought it was a good, quick read, and of you are interested in developing a better relationship with God, or looking to read at Luke chapter seven in a new way, than this book is for you.

For more on my book club, go to Book Club Picks: The Secret Of Chimneys

For more on Jesus, go to He Has Risen

For more C.S. Lewis quotes, go to Perfectea, A Perfect Cup of Tea or Tea for Two

So Sandcastle Kings is not the only King I am going to talk about. We are going to discuss the King of Kings as today is Palm Sunday.

Just kidding, the Palm Sunday:

We are starting off with the Triumphal Entry of Christ into Jerusalem from the Florence Baptistery by Lorenzo Ghiberti.

“As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and just as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here shortly.’”

They went and found a colt outside in the street, tied at a doorway. As they untied it, some people standing there asked, “What are you doing, untying that colt?” They answered as Jesus had told them to, and the people let them go.When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it.Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted,

‘Hosanna!’

‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’

10 ‘Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!’

‘Hosanna in the highest heaven!’

11 Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the temple courts. He looked around at everything, but since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve.” Mark 11:1-11

This piece was only created because of a contest. In 1401, Arte di Calimala (Cloth Importers Guild) proposed a contest to create gates for the Florence Baptistry. Originally the doors were going to depict scenes from the old testament, the challenge to show the sacrifice of Isaac (Genesis 22:1-18). There were seven finalists which included Lorenzo Ghiberti, Filippo Brunelleschi, Donatello and Jacopo della Quercia. Out of them Ghiberti won the commission, although later art historians found Brunelleschi’s work to be more impressive with his use of perspective.

They later changed the doors to being from the New Testament and it took Ghiberti twenty-one years to complete the twenty panels of the life of Christ and eight on the saints. He was forty-two when he finished.

Ghiberti, like Duccio, tended to cram his space with figures trying to showcase every one involved. In the center is Christ seated on the donkey mentioned in the text, surrounded by his disciples and the Jewish people praising him. We can see one laying his coat down for Christ to walk over.

In the middle background you can see the temple and to the far right, the fig tree that occurs in the next section of the bible, (Mark 11:12-26)

While this scene is crammed with figures , not as realistic as we would see in later artwork, it still is a beautiful piece that evokes movement (although squeezed) and full of amazing details. Look at the beards and hair on the figures heads, the leaves on the fig trees, the faces, etc. Ghiberti doesn’t have a whole lot of space to work with, as each panel is limited by size, but he creates some amazing pieces.

I also like how the donkey looks out at you, reminding and almost challenging you with the question “what would you do for the son of God?”. Well, what would you?

For more depictions of Jesus’ entry, go to Entry into Jerusalem

For more depictions of Christ, go to The Death of Christ

What If God Was One of Us?

Jesus

So the next portrayal of Christ on our list to cover is The Last Supper. Now for the past few years I have been reviewing classical paintings, such as Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper; but this year I decided to shake it up. I was looking online trying to decide which painting to do next when I came across this photograph by Freddy Fabris.

Jesus

Fabris has been recreating famous Renaissance paintings, this one being based on Philippe de Champaigne’s Last Supper.

I liked this photograph because it tries to set Jesus and his disciples up as people ordinary people. Which is what God did when he sent him down to become a man and live on the Earth with us. Jesus wasn’t wealthy or born as a king or prince; instead he was the son of a carpenter, becoming one himself. Carpentry wasn’t as wealthy as tax collecting, but was a solid profession.

I liked the update of Jesus and the disciples being mechanics, as carpentry and fishing are done differently today, and the mechanical work and the strength needed are similar.

I also like how Jesus and the group are eating ramen and cheap cheeseburger & fries; even though it isn’t the wine and bread in the scripture, it does seem like something constantly traveling and moving people would eat.

The only thing I don’t like is that there are not enough disciples in the photo, there should be three more around the table. I also don’t like how Jesus looks. Who picked out that t-shirt?

But most of all I enjoy this photograph because it is a great take on Jesus being one of us.

“On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, when it was customary to sacrifice the Passover lamb, Jesus’ disciples asked him, ‘Where do you want us to go and make preparations for you to eat the Passover?’ So he sent two of his disciples, telling them, ‘Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him. Say to the owner of the house he enters, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ He will show you a large room upstairs, furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there.’ The disciples left, went into the city and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover. When evening came, Jesus arrived with the Twelve.”–Mark 14: 12-17

“Jesus was troubled in spirit and testified, ‘Very truly I tell you, one of you is going to betray me.’ His disciples stared at one another, at a loss to know which of them he meant. One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to him. Simon Peter motioned to this disciple and said, ‘Ask him which one he means.’ Leaning back against Jesus, he asked him, ‘Lord, who is it?’ Jesus answered, ‘It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.’ Then, dipping the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him. So Jesus told him, ‘What you are about to do, do quickly.’ But no one at the meal understood why Jesus said this to him.  Since Judas had charge of the money, some thought Jesus was telling him to buy what was needed for the festival, or to give something to the poor.  As soon as Judas had taken the bread, he went out.”–John 13: 21-30

“While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, ‘Take and eat; this is my body.’ Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”–Matt 26: 26-29

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For more Last Suppers, go to Take and Eat, This is My Body

For more portrayals of Christ, go to Entry Into Jerusalem

Mawwiage. Mawwiage is What Bwings us Togethew Today

So what do I look for in a potential life mate?

QuotePrincessBride

No I’m just kidding. That’s not what defines marriage for me. This is:

Star Wars

Just kidding. Marriage is more than shared interests. There is so much more than needs to be a part of it.

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And of course, being a Christian, I’m also looking for this:

PickedbyGod

Yep, eventually I’ll find the right guy.

SomedayPrinceWillComeMostLikelyLost

And I believe when I do find him, we’ll stay together forever.

FirsttMarriage

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For more on relationships, go to It’s Not Old…It’s Vintage

For more on The Princess Bride, go to A Pirate’s Life is the Life for Me

For more on Star Wars, go to A Very Merry Star Wars Christmas

For more Relationship Rules, go to Growing Up is Hard to Do

For more quotes, go to These Shoes Were Made for Walking

To Win a Part of My Heart

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27) Five Ways to Win Your Heart

Now winning a heart is a long, and laborious thing. There is much it involves, but I say this five things put you ahead of everyone else. 🙂

And these are in no particular order.

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QuotePrinBride

1) Be a Movie Fan

I’m sure all of you are aware of how much I love movies. And all movies. I watch every genre, from the 1920s to the present time.

So to me it is important that you not only love watching films (I know some people who don’t and I think that is cra-A-zy!), but you have to be appreciative of those made in the past.

Now do we have to feel the same way about every film? No. As long as you are willing to view my favorites with an open mind, I’m good. SaneMovie

Except for Star Wars, if you don’t like that then forget it.

In my case Boy

In my case Boy

Now in my case as I love films, you know I quote them ALL the time. You don’t have to do it, but you have to love me doing it.

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For more on my film obsession, go to She’s Still Preoccupied With 1985

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guysread

2) Read

I love to read, I read all the time. I love talking about books, I love being with books, and I have a horrible addiction to buying them.

WantAlltheBooks

I need someone who is not only able to understand this, but just as obsessed.

WatchyouShop Gilmore Girls

🙂 Dreaming of that.

For more of my love of books, go to One of Many

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Italian job kiss

3) Listen

I couldn’t find a good picture of listening that I liked so I chose this gif from The Italian Job. Before he kisses her, Charlie listens to everything Stella has to say about her dad. Her anger at him for not quitting his thieving lifestyle; her guilt in not being nicer or having a more loving relationship; and her belief that her father never loved her. Charlie listens to everything and then tells her what her father told him, that he regretted not being a better father to her. He then comforts her, giving her a friendly kiss on the forehead.

I want someone like that, who will sense I’m upset and really listen to everything I’m saying. Not trying to justify it, fix it, but just give comfort in their presence.

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EverydayHalloweenHorrorfanOctober

4) Get in to the Holiday Spirit

So you all know I love holidays. Every year I do 14 of my favorite Romantic Moments for Valentine’s Day, list of favorite characters that match with the animal from that year’s Chinese New Year, 17 of my favorite Irish characters for Saint Patrick’s Day, my favorite paintings of Christ for Easter, a celebration of May 4th, 31 days of horror films for Halloween, a thankful post for Thanksgiving, and 25 films of Christmas.

I have also done a post in celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. B-day, Memorial DayFather’s Day, the 4th of July, the day time travel was thought of by Doc Brown, remembering the 5th of November, and Veterans’ Day,

So while you don’t have to be big on the holiday spirit, you do need to be willing to come along for the ride. Whether it is eating heart-shaped pizza, baking soda bread, dying eggs, having a Star Wars marathon, going trick-or-treating, dressing up, watching horror films, baking pies, watching Christmas movies, singing Christmas carols, cutting down a Christmas tree, baking cookies, etc; you need be in the passenger seat of my holiday express train ride.

For more on my favorite holidays, go to It’s a Jolly Holiday

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AManwhowillleadyoutogod

5) Be a Christian

I’m a Christian, as I have stated before, and I want a Christian guy. My faith is very important to me, and I want someone who understands this. Someone, who when I’m struggling or hurting, will instantly pray for me.

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To start the 30 Day Challenge from the beginning, go to Musical Madness

For the previous post, go to Hunk-a-Thon

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For more on my idea of the perfect guy, go to How to Meet the Perfect Guy

 

Considering Lily

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9) Something That Has Inspired You

Something that has really inspired me is the book Consider Lily, by Anne Dayton and May Vanderbilt.

The story is of an Californian, Christian girl, Lily Traywick, who is the daughter of true fashionistas and owners of the humongous department store Traywicks. Lily didn’t inherit this fashion gene, as she hardly knows what goes together, and also is bemoaning her lack of ever being on a real date. She starts writing a blog and becomes famous as her pseudonym “Fashion Victim”;  starts a bet with one of her best friends Lily promising to get a makeover and follow everything to the letter, while her friend promises to come to three Sunday services; and sets out to try and win the man of her dreams. Of course nothing is perfect as the guy she originally likes is not her, the fame from her blog gets her a real job writing but her editor turns out to be horrible, the cute Christian boyfriend she lands ends up dumping her, and everything she has ever ranted gets spilled in the San Francisco Chronicle. What’s girl to do?

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Trust in the Lord.

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And everything turns out alright.

Now I have loved this book because the main character is a lot like me. We have had trouble in not having a date either because the guy sees us as too much of a friend:

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Doesn’t want to date us once they find out we are a Christian and plan on waiting for sex along with our other beliefs:

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Or wants the whole marriage and tons of kids thing instantly

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We both had a love of sports, writing, and are fashion-challenged. Although she is worse than me.

We also had a similarity in dating, although her guy turned out alright in the end, while mine was a rotter. But ah that is fiction versus reality.

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I loved the idea of her blogging, and  this book really inspired me to start my own blog and share me thoughts on the internet with others who would be receptive.

Gotcha!

I mean it’s not that my friends or family don’t like listening to me, but if you have been following you know that when I like something, I really like it and love to talk about it. Sometimes making it annoying for those who don’t care about it as much as me, or who really don’t care about it at all.

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So having a blog is a great way of releasing all that, without making those close to me bored.

Bones David Bored I;m bored boring

This book also taught me that it is probably best to keep the topics away from friends and family, just in case they ever read it or you were exposed. I try to not talk about them, or if I do I have given them all fake names so I can deny it was them I was talking about.

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And it made me kind of want to be a writer too. Too bad I don’t have a friend who can fix me up with a great job like she does in the book. But once again, that’s fiction versus reality.

Reality Sucks

But I loved this book, and it inspired me to create this blog, of which I have had a lot of fun these last few years. Thank you Anne & May, as without you’re lovely character Lily, janeaustenrunsmylife.wordpress.com would not exist.

psych thank you

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To start the 30 Day Challenge from the beginning, go to Musical Madness

For the previous post, go to GISHWHES Girl

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For more on May Vanderbilt, go to Fashionably Postworthy

For more bookish posts, go to Going on a Treasure Hunt

Credit Where Credit is Due

Have you ever taken credit for something you didn’t do or was out of your hands to create?

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It’s not to say that you were trying to steal someone else’s thoughts, creation, or work. It’s just you are trying to take full credit for something you really had no true control over.

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Well then you are just like Emma when she believes she is the one who brought Miss Taylor and Mr. Weston together.

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Now a lot of people laugh at how conceited Emma is in this scene, but this is actually something a lot of people fall into.

Say What

For all you sports fans, think about the last game you saw in which your team won because “you wore a special shirt or socks”. Or how about the fact you won a prize because you chose your “lucky number”? Or the time you won a game because you “blew luck into the dice”? Or getting a certain space in Monopoly because you “claimed” it? Or the time you passed a test because you wore a “lucky” piece of clothing? Yep, we humans love to claim that some act we did caused a realignment in the cosmos and brought about something we desired.

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In reality, none of our little “lucky” things or claims did anything to affect it. It was out of our control the whole time, but we feel better having done “something”. It makes us feel in control.

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In Emma, Emma Woodhouse’s governess and best friend has just married the widower Mr. Weston. Emma is convinced that she is the one who made it all happen, as four years ago when everyone said Mr. Weston would never marry, she was determined to prove them all wrong.

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However, there is a huge problem with this thought. In thinking that she did everything, Emma is totally disregarding the feelings of her mentor and Mr. Weston. Because she was lucky in her guess, she believes she is the one who made all the decisions, a true puppet master.

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I don't think so

Sorry Emma, that’s not how it works. People are like cats, they don’t do something because you want them to. They do what they want to do.

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If they want to be together, they will try to get together. But if they don’t want to get together, then it’s not going to work out.

No thank you

As Mr. Knightley says it:

“I do not understand what you mean by ‘success’, said Mr Knightley. “Success supposes endeavor…But if, which I rather imagine, your making the match, as you call it, means only your planning it, your saying to yourself one idle day, ‘I think it would be a very good thing for Miss Taylor if Mr. Weston were to marry her,’ and saying it again to yourself every now and then afterwards, why do you talk of success? Where is your merit? You made a lucky guess; and that is all that can be said.”

Unfortunately, like most people, Emma won’t listen to him as she is adamant that her thoughts and suppositions had a true effect on the real world.

Game of thrones jon Snow kit harrington I know how

And is now determined to set her sights on someone else, fixing them up and proving to Mr. Knightley that she is in control.

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And how will this turn out for Emma? Keep following to find out!

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For more on Emma, go to All By Myself