Weird: Because Normal Isn't Working [NOOK Book]

Overview

“When people describe my lifestyle or family as weird, I find comfort,” writes author Craig Groeschel. Who then shares a Christ-centered philosophy, on everything from money to scheduling to purity, to help you break out of the normal rut and live according to the rhythms of God’s grace and truth of his word. Normal people are stressed, overwhelmed, and exhausted. Many of their relationships are, at best, strained and, in most cases, just surviving. Even though we live in one of the most prosperous places on earth, normal is still living paycheck ...

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Weird: Because Normal Isn't Working

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Overview

“When people describe my lifestyle or family as weird, I find comfort,” writes author Craig Groeschel. Who then shares a Christ-centered philosophy, on everything from money to scheduling to purity, to help you break out of the normal rut and live according to the rhythms of God’s grace and truth of his word. Normal people are stressed, overwhelmed, and exhausted. Many of their relationships are, at best, strained and, in most cases, just surviving. Even though we live in one of the most prosperous places on earth, normal is still living paycheck to paycheck and never getting ahead. In our oversexed world, lust, premarital sex, guilt, and shame are far more common than purity, virginity, and a healthy married sex life. And when it comes to God, the majority believe in him, but the teachings of scripture rarely make it into their everyday lives. Simply put, normal isn’t working. Groeschel’s WEIRD views will help you break free from the norm to lead a radically abnormal (and endlessly more fulfilling) life.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

LifeChurch.tv senior pastor Craig Groeschel insists that "normalcy" is ruining us. We're money-hungry, addicted to objects, oversexed, yet guilty; and our religion is a vague, once-a-week regimen of good intentions. To rise up from the mainstream we dying of, he charts a weird, yet completely fulfilling way out.

Publishers Weekly
In 1989, theologians Stanley Hauerwas and William Willimon shook the American church with a provocative book, Resident Aliens: Life in the Christian Colony, in which they argued that Christians ought to be different from the prevailing culture. Twenty-two years later, Groeschel, senior pastor of Oklahoma's LifeChurch.tv, has reduced the argument of that previous work into a breezy advice tract for people searching for an alternative to today's social pressures. In chapters devoted to time, money, relationships, sex, and values, he offers the evangelical antithesis to what he perceives as the social order. It's unclear that people would want to become Christians because their lives are too stressed or they've taken on too much debt, yet Groeschel offers faith as the answer to all these conditions. Of course, becoming weird, according to Groeschel, "isn't the bad-weird, freak-show, annoying, carnival-barking, somewhat uncomfortable, weird-for-no-reason weird." In his typology, weird is cool; weird is a state Jesus might emulate. Fans of Groeschel may appreciate this volume for its no-nonsense approach to practical issues. Others may find his approach simplistic. (May)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780310597438
  • Publisher: Zondervan
  • Publication date: 4/19/2011
  • Sold by: Zondervan Publishing
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 94,092
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

New York Times bestselling author Craig Groeschel is the founding and senior pastor of LifeChurch.tv, a pacesetting multicampus church and creators of the popular and free YouVersion Bible App. He is the author of several books, including Fight, Altar Ego, Soul Detox, Weird, The Christian Atheist, and It. Craig, his wife, Amy, and their six children live in Edmond, Oklahoma.

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Table of Contents

Contents

Acknowledgments....................9
Introduction: Why I Love Being Weird....................11
1. Killing Time....................23
2. No Time like the Present....................37
3. The Rest is Up to You....................49
4. Rich Relatives....................63
5. The Best Money Can't Buy....................77
6. A Generous Eye....................89
7. Love Is ... Weird....................103
8. Aiming at the Wrong Target....................117
9. If You Please....................131
10. An Affair to Remember....................145
11. Sex Cymbals....................161
12. A Different Kind of Education....................175
13. Get My Drift....................189
14. A Weird Blessing....................203
15. Just One Thing....................217
Conclusion: Weirder Than Normal....................229
Notes....................239
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First Chapter

Weird

Because Normal Isn't Working
By Craig Groeschel

Zondervan

Copyright © 2011 Craig Groeschel
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-310-32790-5


Chapter One

KILLING TIME

When you kill time, remember that it has no resurrection. — A. W. Tozer

Just before Christmas, my whole family piled into our kid-moving vehicle and rushed to the nearest mall to grab some last-minute Christmas presents before dashing to a holiday party. As usual, we were running late and were slightly on edge.

Entering the mall parking lot, I was overwhelmed by the traffic. Cars crawled bumper to bumper, inching along like a million ants trapped in a puddle of honey. Instinctively I prayed one of those selfish "God, please get me a parking space" prayers (as if God wants me to get one before all the other ants). Out of the corner of my eye, I spotted an old pickup truck near the mall entrance, leaving its space. God is so good. I punched the accelerator and sped toward my answered prayer, hoping to gain a few precious extra seconds.

I immediately staked my spot with eye-lock. (Eye-lock is the ancient practice of claiming a spot by looking directly at it. As long as you don't look away, the spot is yours.) Relieved that I might actually avoid the tedium of trolling up and down each aisle, I kept my eyes deadlocked on the spot and prepared for entry. Out of nowhere, a red sports car whipped in front of me — breaking my honorable eye-lock — and stole my parking space.

Unbelievable.

Frustrated beyond words, with the pressure mounting because of our tight schedule, I did something that I'm not proud of doing. While my wife pleaded with me and my kids prayed loudly, I backed up my vehicle, pointed it directly at the red sports car, shifted to neutral, then revved my engine.

The driver of the sports car glanced into his rearview mirror, only to see me glaring at him. Like a drag racer leaving the gate, I popped from neutral to drive, peeled out, and shot straight toward the rear of the enemy car.

It's hard to know what happened next. Maybe it was my wife threatening me. Perhaps God answered my kids' prayers. Maybe I realized that I was still in our minivan and not in a NASCAR race. Whatever the reason, right before impact, I slammed on the brakes and stopped just short of his car. With all the Christian love I had, I rolled down the window and shouted at the top of my lungs, "What do you think you're doing? You know I had eye-lock, you idiot! Now you're going to make me really late, you red-sports-car-driving loser!"

After rejoining the other ants, we searched for another twenty minutes and finally found a parking spot somewhere near the state line. Thanks to me, no one in my family had the Christmas spirit as we entered the mall (my wife barely speaking to me), running even more behind schedule. We dashed from store to store, breathing heavy in our rush. As we entered JC Penney, who should approach us but my old friend — the driver of the red car.

Just great. Images of my picture with the headline "Local Pastor Assaults Man over Parking Space" flashed through my mind.

"I can tell you're in a big hurry," he said, as my blood pressure continued to rise. "But it appears you have more going on in your life than you can handle." My wife gave me the remember-you're-a-pastor-and-better-behave look as the driver continued. "I'd like to tell you about someone who could really help — Jesus. I really believe you need him, and he could change your life."

Ouch.

WHEN MORE ISN'T BETTER

I can't blame my lack of self-control on our culture, but it surely doesn't help any of us manage our time well. We live in a time-starved society that relentlessly pushes us to the limits — and not just at the holidays. Buy more, do more, accomplish more, conquer more. Rush, rush. Hurry, hurry. More productive, more efficient, more expedient — more, more, more. It's insane what passes for the norm today. Most people work far more hours than they used to (who works only forty hours anymore?), trying to get ahead or simply survive. Our evenings or off times are crammed with activities — the kids' sports, music lessons, and, yes, church. Many families rarely have time to eat together. A typical family dinner now includes a round of Happy Meals from the drive-through in the fifteen minutes between dance and soccer practice.

Even kids are overwhelmed today. I know many families with seven- and eight-year-old kids who, on top of homework and school, are out four or five nights a week doing extracurriculars (not to mention the schedule they have to keep on the weekends). And in our culture this is normal — or even expected. We all want our kids to be well-rounded, don't we? We wouldn't want to deprive them of the lifestyle necessities that their friends have, would we?

For many of us, the schedules we impose on our children end up consuming us. If someone asked, "Are you really enjoying your life?" most of us would have to say, "No ... and I don't have time to talk about it!"

We're always rushed, always on the move, never having enough time. Almost everyone I know has little room for error in their schedule. Tragically, most people have little time for the things in life that they would say are the most important to them. When we overschedule ourselves in the belief that we can do everything, we stop being human and try to become godlike — not only impossible but also incredibly arrogant. Most of us are living at a pace that is not only unsustainable; it's also unbiblical.

Instead of our typical conclusion that we simply don't have enough time, what if we embraced the truth — no matter how weird or counterintuitive it might seem?

You have enough time to do everything God wants you to do.

God has given you everything you need to accomplish all that he wants you to do, including enough time (see 2 Peter 1:3). We don't need more time. We need to use the time we already have differently. You have time for what you choose to invest your time in. Every day most of us say, "I just don't have time to work out ... to read the Bible ... to go to church this week ... to meet for lunch ... to add one more thing." But the truth is, we find time for what's important to us. If golf is really a priority to us, we find time to play golf. If going to dinner with our friends matters, we make it happen. If tanning, working out, or getting our hair cut is a priority, we seem to find time. Catch yourself the next time you're about to say, "I don't have time" for something. Tell yourself the truth: either it's not a priority and you're guarding your time for good reason, or you simply aren't willing to choose to spend your time on it.

Normal people do normal things at a normal — breakneck — pace and never have enough time to do the most important things. This is why we are called to buck the trend of accelerating busyness and reset our race engines to God's speed. Fueled by faith and passion for our true priorities, we're going to drive against traffic in order to find rest, refreshment, and time for what matters most in life.

A TALE OF TWO SISTERS

Our constant busyness is causing us to miss more than just rest and refreshment. I'm convinced normal people miss the majority of God's blessings because they're too busy to notice them. Nowhere is this more apparent than in a scene of two women at odds over how they're each spending their time. One is convinced she doesn't have enough time; her sister, however, accepts an opportunity for a unique encounter and, as a result, receives a gift with literally eternal payoff: "As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made" (Luke 10:38—40).

Here's what's interesting: Mary and Martha are both presented with the same opportunity. Jesus, the very Son of God, has come to Martha's home. What would you do if you knew Jesus was coming over? Now, Mary probably had other things she needed to do, just like the rest of us. Maybe she had laundry that wasn't done. She might have needed to go buy some groceries (or kill the fatted calf — talk about a time drainer). Certainly she could have swept, cleaned, and tidied up. But she chose to create a moment instead. She said, "Right now, while we have this time, I'm not going to do any of that other stuff. I'm going to seize this moment and simply enjoy being with Jesus while I can."

Mary made a deliberate choice. She wasn't being lazy and using company as an excuse to get out of helping her sister with chores. She was choosing to focus on what mattered the most.

When's the last time you stopped long enough to embrace a matters-the-most moment?

If you're like me, it takes a few reminders. Just last night I was sitting in my home office replying to emails. My youngest daughter, Joy, bounced in to see me. With her long hair pulled back in pigtails and her mouth smudged with Oreo crumbs, she asked, "Dad, can we play a game?"

Lost in my work, I mumbled the Busy Parent's Creed: "In a minute, honey ... I'm doing something important ... Let me finish my work ... We'll see ... Maybe later."

Without missing a beat, Joy blurted out, "Daddy, look at me and never forget this. I'm only going to be six years old once! You don't want to miss it!"

I smiled at her negotiation tactic — kid guilt works every time. Nonetheless, my all-important work didn't seem so urgent anymore. I gladly closed the computer, stuffed an Oreo in my mouth, and sat down for an epic game of Go Fish.

It's so tempting to let these moments pass us by because we're overwhelmed by everything clamoring for our attention. The task-driven Martha knew this too well. While Mary embraced the moment, Martha, on the other hand, was like many of us: preoccupied, distracted, busy being busy. Martha was wigging out, she was freaking, she was losing it.

And here's the kicker: the distractions consuming Martha weren't bad things. She wasn't bent on doing evil. She wasn't enticed by the pursuit of something sinful. In fact, we might even say that her priorities were good and necessary. In all fairness to Martha, we might be thinking along the same lines if we were in her place: "Okay, I gotta think this through. This is Jesus coming over. The Jesus. Everybody's saying he's the Son of God, the Christ! I'd better get out the pretty Pottery Barn china with the little sparrows and fig leaves. I'm going to need new candles. I've got to make sure the toilet paper matches the shower curtain. I certainly want the Lord to have a good impression of our home and family — God forbid that we look like a bunch of pagans!"

Sound familiar? Just like Martha, we fall into the trap of being busy instead of being bigger than the tyranny of the urgent. I've heard it said, "If the Devil can't make us really bad, then he'll try to make us really busy." Absolutely true. What's most important is often not what seems most urgent. When something small loudly demands all our attention, its noise often drowns out the whisper of what's enormously important.

Martha becomes so intent on her mission that she can't imagine why anyone else wouldn't be doing the same things. Consider the urgency in her voice: "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!" (Luke 10:40). However, she's not hearing her own message. Martha tells Jesus with her lips that he's the most important thing ("Lord"), even as she's absolutely convinced that all this activity is the right thing to do. " Jesus, I'm doing all this work — making drinks with the little umbrellas, preparing special hors d'oeuvres (gluten free, with no bacon), unloading the dishwasher, staging the dinner table — and Mary's just lying around shooting the breeze! Are you kidding me?" Martha not only misses the opportunity before her; she feels more than justified in missing it.

Mary and Martha's dilemma is the challenge for all of us. Most of us are convinced that the way we're already living is absolutely necessary ... and right. Our culture, the world we live in, has brainwashed us: "This is the way we have to live! Being really busy means you're successful, important, and significant." We become convinced that this standard — lots of "important" activity, the business of busyness — is what truly matters, an indication of our talent, worth, and value. Anybody worth anything will always be busy, right?

In the introduction, I mentioned the eye-opening effect that Matthew 7:13 had on me at a crucial time in my life. Let's look at it again, from a different version of the Bible. "The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way" (NLT). Everybody's doing it! Well, if it seems like everybody's doing it, then clearly they're on a broad path. They're going through a wide gate. Many are choosing that way, because the bandwagon requires a huge exit ramp to accommodate all its passengers.

Notice that these verses start with "You can enter God's Kingdom only through the narrow gate," then continues, "The gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it" (Matt. 7:13 — 14 NLT). So if it seems like you're doing something different from what everyone else is doing, and if sometimes that feels hard, this is a good thing, not a bad thing.

When I compare the pace of my life with the rhythm of God's Word, it quickly becomes apparent I'm doing something wrong. Just because everyone else is doing something doesn't make it right. (Wow, I just said something my mom told me for years.) In fact, when everyone else is doing it, it begs for scrutiny. Instead of just naturally following the herd instinct and doing what everyone else is doing, what if we automatically questioned the majority rule? Again, like Martha wanting to present Jesus with a lovely meal in a beautiful setting, there may be nothing inherently wrong with popular behavior. It may even be a good thing. But is it the best thing?

Normal people allow good things to become the enemy of the best things.

Too many good (or acceptable) things quickly overwhelm the most important things in life. Too often our desire to fit in, to belong, to conform and be considered normal eclipses our desire to follow God and do what's best. We choose popular standards instead of the habits that lead to holiness.

In his letter to the Romans, Paul tells us exactly how we can counter this: "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind" (Rom. 12:2). What makes us think that public opinion knows what's best? What gives the majority the authority to determine what's right?

If we follow Christ, we're not supposed to be like everyone else. The whole point of sanctification is to become more like him instead of who we are when left to our own devices and desires. So how do we discern the difference between a good choice and the best one?

Paul provides the answer with the second part of this verse. "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will" (emphasis mine).

YOUR TO-DON'T LIST

Imagine meeting someone for the first time, and after making small talk, you politely ask, "What kind of work do you do?" Your new acquaintance replies, "I don't do much at all; I usually just hang out at home and wait for friends to drop by." What would you think? Most of us tend to look down on people who don't produce visible results and demonstrate their accomplishments. Why? Because we usually equate busyness with importance. This isn't just about worldly accomplishments; it's about spiritual worth as well.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Weird by Craig Groeschel Copyright © 2011 by Craig Groeschel . Excerpted by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 56 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 56 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 22, 2011

    Getting WEirDeR everyday!!

    This book is such practical insight for how to live life "out-of-the-box." Challenging the norm and the results of normal living, Pastor Craig, with his awesome story-telling style and powerful truth-telling gift, shares reasons why we should also consider looking at every area of our life through a different set of lenses. Applying biblical principles to how we spend our time, how we spend our money, how we build relationships, how we look at sex and purity, and how we shape our values...I couldn't put this book down as I wanted to be more and more WEIRD every time I picked it up! This book challenges me to be a pioneer, a leader, different from the crowd...and most of all, different for the right reason...different like Jesus...different because conforming just doesn't work!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 5, 2011

    Real life application for real life change

    This is the first book by Craig that I have read and it makes me want to dig deep into the others. I have heard that his style is compelling and it is true with WEiRd. I have spent years trying to describe who I am and why I do what I do and now I have an owner's manual. Weird describes the lifestyle of life change and brings great considerations to having a God-weird attitude. The section on time is right on cue with so many people my age and makes a case to change biblically. I am especially caught in the "generous eye" and looking to make that the lenses for my life even more now. Great read for any age and season of life you may find yourself.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 5, 2011

    Phenomenal Book

    This book is amazing. We are God's chosen but it's time we acted like it! It's time we got Weird. We are meant to be in the world but not of the world. Be weird...be God weird!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 12, 2011

    Loved it!

    I did this book for my small group bible study! We loved how Craig out lined each aspect of our life. This is a book I will pass along to others and read again!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 13, 2011

    A Christian must read

    Good read with lots of practical application. Made me think about my daily walk and the direction headed. It is to easy to get caught up in the "normal" world.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 29, 2011

    Groeschel nails it! Christians should not be normal, GET WEIRD!

    This book is a wake- up call to the church; to all of us who call ourselves Christian. We should be concerned if we are normal Christians. Normal does not work because being a normal is being lukewarm. It is time for Christians to GET WEIRD, a radical, life changing, Jesus centered WEIRD. It's one thing to consider yourself Christian; it's quite another thing to get WEIRD about your faith. This book may be bothersome or challenging to you in a WEIRD way, and it will challenge your current perspective. This book will challenge your walk in faith, to get real, and to change your walk in faith. Change for many Christians is not normal, it is WEIRD. Are you ready to move out of your comfort zone and get WEIRD?

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2014

    Tyler

    Walked in. He was a 12 year kid again. He could shift into a kitten again. He was a son of hephaestus. But he was still figuring out the power of fire. This had happened because he defeated mysterion.

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2014

    Loved it

    Craig is an amazing pastor and i love his books!!!

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  • Posted April 9, 2014

    I loved this book. As a parent, I felt it had a lot of good adv

    I loved this book. As a parent, I felt it had a lot of good advice.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 9, 2013

    Weird is Christians

    Weird does a great job of making you want to be a better Christian. I love the idea of being Weird and letting others see it. Do your best to be holy in all you do.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2013

    Great Book and Hilarious

    This book is one of the most honest books I've read besides the Bible. I highly recommend it to anyone that just needs to hear the truth.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 24, 2012

    Love it!

    I haven't yet finished this book but so far I am loving it! We have been called by God to stand out from the norm, to be set apart from what we're used to... to be Weird! What a great thought and a great read! I love Groeschel's writing and his stories.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 10, 2012

    great book

    I am not yet finished with the book. But it is a must. Craig teaches that God should be our number one priority, we should have a personal study time with HIM, spend time with our kids. Take a break to get refocused, Where ever you are, be all there. Stay with the task on hand, create family time and enjoy it, invest your time in what matters, rest, being rich does not mean wealth. all this in just a few short chapters. you will enjoy this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2012

    To riddle

    A riddle.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 1, 2012

    Scavenger hunt

    You won this phase. Post "riddles" in riddles to get the next phase.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 22, 2012

    Amazing!!!

    This book will cause u to look in the mirror and become weird. Definitly not a book to read if you want to stay “in the dark" because once you read this you HAVE to make changes. I am proud to be weird! Praise God!

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  • Posted January 28, 2012

    A book that can change your direction

    This book is just what I needed at this time of year. Craig hits us where we live! His use of humor makes this book an enjoyable read, I have recommended it to everyone that I talk to...read it if YOU need to slow down and regroup.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 24, 2011

    Be weird

    Awesome book, really makes one think!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2011

    Great book

    There is a sermon series that was based off this book by the author. Check it out on the website LifeChurch(.tv)for a preview of what to expect from it!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 56 Customer Reviews

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