Saturday, February 27, 2016

What Kind of Family...

What Kind of Family...

What kind of family despises all those things that make you unique?

What kind of family makes fun of who you are and the things you love?

What kind of family finds fault in you at every turn?

What kind of family belittles you in front of others? Takes pride in humiliating you?

What kind of family gossips about you behind your back when you're not around?

What kind of family revels in bragging to as many people as they can, how awful of a person they think you are?

What kind of family gets angry when you share your words and stories in a public forum and gain a following?

What kind of family gets disgusted when your friends say nice things about you on Facebook? That are furious when people laugh at the funny statuses you write?

What kind of family mocks the people who think highly of you?

What kind of family reports you to the authorities with their lies, in an attempt to have your kids taken away? Twice?

What kind of family that lives on the other side of the country, who has seen you a handful of times in the nearly two decades you've been married, thinks they know you better than your husband?

What kind of family tells your husband he doesn't really know you? That once he finds out who you really are, he will leave you?

What kind of family thinks you deserve to lose your husband and have your children taken away?

What kind of family attends the funeral of your childhood friend, only to use it as a forum to slander you to as many people as they can?

What kind of family views you through shit-colored glasses?

What kind of family? My family. No longer my family. Never again my family. 

What kind of person survives the ultimate betrayal of their family and transforms into a stronger person?  


post signature
post signature

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Where On Earth Have I Been?

Some of you may have wondered if I dropped off the edge of the earth. I have not. Unfortunately I've had some serious personal family issues with extended family and also an internet stalker. As a result of both of those, I can no longer blog about our life or post pictures of our family, especially our kids for their protection.  We have disabled the YouTube links that included our children. I have also had to change the way I use Facebook, if you are wondering why the lack of posts.  I can tell you that the 5 of us are all doing very well and Marshall and I have just celebrated our 19th wedding anniversary.  

I'm really not sure where to go with this blog. I hate the idea of just dropping it since I started this in 2006 and I met so many good friends through it, but without being able to share our life and pictures, what do I blog about?  Purple?  

Perhaps. I'm still deciding.  After taking such a long break from blogging, it's hard to just jump right back in.  The shame of it is that it is not my wish to stop sharing my life with you all, but it's a necessary step to protect our children. 

If you would like to contact me, my email is still provided, though my other links have been disabled. 

post signature
post signature

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

If You Have Something Nice To Say... SAY IT.

This is Judy. Judy and I have been going to the same hair salon for 12 years.  For the first 10 years, I noticed Judy coming to get her hair done.  I knew she was disabled by her gait and her cane.  But despite her disability, she always dressed very stylishly, has multiple colored canes, has a hip hairstyle and a nose ring.  She even used to have a bright red streak in her hair. For ten years I watched Judy come and go, progressively becoming more disabled, but never failing to dress nicely (often in purple) and silently I admired her from afar.  In fact Judy is the person who inspired me to get my nose piercing.  I had wanted to get my nose pierced for years, but 5 or so years ago I finally had it done, in large part due to Judy.  I figured if she could rock a nose piercing, I could too.

Two years ago while I was silently watching Judy, I mentioned to one of the nail technicians, Mindy, that I admired her greatly and she was the reason I got a nose piercing.  Mindy encouraged me to tell Judy, so I did.  Mindy said she thought it would mean a lot to Judy to hear what I thought of her. So I walked up to her and introduced myself.  I told her how I have been watching her and admiring her for 10 years.  I told her that I noticed she is disabled but that she doesn't let it stop her from dressing stylishly, smiling, and rocking her nose piercing.  I told her she inspired my own nose piercing.  She grasped my hand in hers and we became friends as she told me her story.

You see, when Judy was 7 years old, her parents volunteered her to be part of a trial for the new polio vaccines, and she was one of the children who contracted Polio FROM the vaccine. I can't imagine the struggles Judy has had as a result during her life, what resentments she may or may not have as I've watched her steadily decline over the years due to her disability.  She used to walk in to the Salon by herself, though now her husband assists her walking through the Salon as she is much unsteadier on her feet.  As I talked with Judy and shared my admiration of her, her eyes filled with tears and she hugged me. She told me she'd never forget my name and she never has.  I told her I admire her spunk and when I mentioned her nose piercing, she said if she was about 10 years younger, she'd get a lip piercing as well.

In the last year, Judy came up to me in the Salon and told me she had been having a particularly hard time emotionally, struggling with her degenerative disability.  But then she remembered my "kind words" to her and it helped her get through that time.  I was so honored that by approaching her and sharing my admiration of her, I was able to help her through a hard time down the road.  After that, we exchanged contact information so that she could reach out to me any time she wanted to.

And to think, I just admired Judy from afar for ten years and would have continued to do so, had Mindy not encouraged me to talk to her.

I learned a very valuable lesson through that experience.  By introducing myself to Judy and telling her what I had been thinking of her all these years, I not only made a friend but I managed to encourage Judy at a later time when she had been home, struggling with depression over her increasing lack of mobility.

I haven't made this mistake again.  Now when I admire someone, I go up to them and tell them.  They may think I'm some crazy stranger for approaching them, but maybe just maybe I am giving them the encouragement they may need at that moment.

So next time you admire someone, don't worry about what they may think of you. Tell them. You might just make their day.

post signature
post signature

Monday, September 29, 2014

Haven's Mission Trip To Brazil

Hey, this is Haven, Julie's oldest son.  I've hijacked my mom's blog to share with you this awesome experience I had over the summer during my Mission Trip to Brazil. Enjoy!

Spring of 2014, my youth group leader Tom was talking to me at church. He told me of an upcoming Mission Trip during the summer, to Brazil. He said it would be really fun, that I'd get to help people, but that this trip would be about helping others and not about me. It sounded like something pretty awesome so I told my parents and asked them if I could go. My mom had gone on a lot of mission trips when she was about my age to different places and my dad wanted to go when he was young but didn't have the chance, so they both said they would do whatever it took to make it happen.

I started to attend the high school meetings for the Brazil Mission Trip, so I began to get really interested and excited for the trip. I wrote a letter asking for support and/or prayers and sent it to a bunch of people.  I got a lot of donations because so many people wanted me to go and have the time of my life.  I raised all the money I needed and then it was time for me to get all of the supplies for the trip. The most important items I needed to get were: shoes that could survive a rainforest, bug spray and 100SPF sunscreen since I burn really easily.

My parents dropped me off at LAX at 5:30am. I was so tired.  At the airport it was a lot of paperwork and checking to make sure we had everything. Very stressful. It was the first time I had ever gotten to use my passport, which was cool. Everybody helped me out which I'm very grateful for.

First we flew to Miami. Not my favorite airport. Right when we got outside the plane it was so humid. My mom is from Florida so she grew up with humidity but I'm from L.A. so it was new to me. I'm not a fan of humidity. The flight was delayed two hours and we had to play games to keep us busy while we waited. My favorite card game we played is called Mafia. Tom was leading it and it was so funny. All those lumps. (Tom calls everyone who's dead a "lump")

The flight to Brazil was very long. I didn't sleep much and was very tired when we landed. We landed in Manaus and their airport was very different than ours.  Getting out of the plane, I had my first encounter with a local Brazilian. She kept asking me what "pai" (sounded like pie) was. I answered, "3.14??" She rolled her eyes and let me pass. I still don't know what pai is.

sidenote: After I wrote this, Tia (pronounced Chia), which means "aunt" in Portuguese, talked to my mom on the phone and told us that "pai" meant the lady at the airport was asking me where my parents were. Pai = father/parents. Tia and my mom have been very close friends since they were 16, after she moved to America from Brazil, and she has been my "Tia" since I was born. She is the reason my mom was able to teach me some Portuguese phrases before the trip, which I completely forgot the minute I arrived.

At the pick-up lobby, there was a line of Brazilians waiting to greet us and congratulate us for arriving into their country. It was mind blowing because everyone was so nice. And when we walked outside, it was even MORE humid than it was in Miami, which I couldn't believe. It also smelled weird. Then we got onto a bus for about 30 minutes and we went to the docks where our boat was. It looked small at first glance but when it became our home for the next six days, it seemed plenty big. It had more than enough room for everyone. Our group was made up of high schoolers, leaders, a doctor, a dentist, cooks, the captain, five translators and crew members. There was a lot of us.

On the boat our room smelled odd but we got used to it. We settled in for the night and slept. We had to get up at 7am, which was 5am L.A. time. I'm used to getting up at 9:30am so that was rough. When we would wake up in the morning, the boat was still moving on the Amazon River. Breakfast was at 8am. They gave us loaves of bread, fruit, yogurt and other breakfast stuff to eat. That first day was mostly about getting ready for the next day so I got to meet a lot of the the other high schoolers. It was the summer after my 8th grade year so I didn't yet know anybody. I was still kind of shy. We sang songs with everyone else on the boat. There was a lot of exotic food for lunch and dinner. Well, exotic for me. I'm not usually adventurous with food. Midday we could see the first village so we docked in the marsh for the night. There are a LOT of bugs in the marsh.

The next morning it was time to get to work. Before the trip, at one of the meetings, RO (one of our leaders) assigned each of us to a "pod". Pods consist of 6-7 people and we had 5 pods. I was in RO's pod which was really cool and I got to bond with everyone in it.  Each one of our pods would have a different job to do in the villages. There were: VBS (Vacation Bible School type activities with the children), painting houses, and evangelism. With evangelism, we would go to people's houses and pray for them and share our testimonies. Being that there were 5 pods and only 3 jobs, meant that 2 pods would work with the children, 2 pods would paint the houses and the last pod would do evangelism.

(here's me and my pod)

In the villages it was very hot and surprising to me on how much the villagers had technology-wise.  Before the trip, I pictured the villagers as maybe wearing clothes, maybe not and definitely no TVs or phones. But these villagers had TVs, phones, and some even had satellite dishes for their TVs. I don't know how they got that in the middle of the rainforest, on the Amazon River. And yes, everyone was wearing clothes. As you can see in these pictures, the villages were kind of flooded.

We had to walk on these thin planks over the water. Luckily I didn't fall in, because I have watched the show "River Monsters" and I did NOT want to swim in the Amazon River.  The other high schoolers were more brave than I was because by the end of the trip most of them had gone swimming. It was so hot I kind of wanted to swim but didn't because I was sure I'd get eaten by piranhas, even if they weren't eating anyone else. It would be just my luck for piranhas to have a taste for redheaded boys.

These boys enjoyed climbing up this tree, just to jump into the river again and again.

When it was time for our pod to paint houses, which I did two different days, I learned that I suck at painting. I kept rolling the paint roller in the same spot saying to myself, "This isn't working! This isn't working!" And I got more paint on myself than I did on the house, but I did have a lot of fun with everyone and that's what matters. The boy who lived there fixed my spot and I think he was only about 6 years old. He also drew lines on our faces and arms with paint. One of the girls painted a heart on my shirt. Next to one of the houses we were painting, there was a mud trench filled with fire ants. We had to stomp our feet constantly, like we were marching in place, to keep the fire ants from getting on us. There was also a bunch of mosquitos and other flying, stinging bugs we had to watch out for.

(that's me in the red shirt)

In the middle of the painting session, my friend Kate had a great idea.  She wanted to go to the boat to get yarn to make friendship bracelets.  Since I suck at painting, I offered to go with her. It sounded exciting since I had never made friendships bracelets and Kate showed me how to make one. She's really good at it and me... not so much. My friendship bracelet didn't look as good as hers, but I did give it to a villager boy who liked it. At least I think he liked it. Maybe he was just being polite.

When it was our turn for evangelism, we would go with the boat captain/preacher. He would tell them about Jesus and the translator would tell us what he was saying so we could keep up. Then at the end we would all pray for that family.  That day we visited four separate houses. The first one had a family in it and we were praying for their newly born son. He was so cute! The second house we went to, the guy was building his house. We prayed that he would have the strength to complete it. It was amazing to see how well he did with no power tools. The third house we went to had a couple with a new baby and we prayed for the mother and child to have a good life. The last house was the most moving of all. There was an old couple with a disabled child that was blind, and had difficulty speaking and walking. We prayed for them and her as well and it brought everyone to tears. We hugged the people and it was very moving to have been a part of that.

When it was our turn to do VBS, where we worked with the children, we were in the gymnasium.

(the gymnasium)

It was fun and exhausting. That was the most I've ever sweat in my life. I feel sorry for the people around me because my deodorant wasn't "Rainforest Rated".  We played musical chairs, the hot/cold game (which we had to memorize the Portuguese words for "hot" and "cold"), soccer... lots of soccer, Shark Attack (a running/tagging game), and many other games I can't remember. It was so hot, I think it affected my memory.  It was fun playing with the kids and fun to learn from their culture. It was cool that we could play the same game and understand each other even though we spoke different languages.  One of the older kids was out hunting/fishing for food for his family.  That blew my mind. Where we live, all we have to do is go to the grocery store and pick out what we want, pay for it and eat it later. If we hunt or fish, it's for fun because you get the joy out of hunting or fishing, though I don't really see how you get any joy from fishing. It's just waiting and waiting all day long. Sounds pretty boring to me.

This is one of the boats the villagers used for fishing.

After we were finished visiting all three villages, our boat headed back to Manaus.  On the way there, there was a lot of fascinating things. It was dark so you could see more stars than I had ever seen in my life. Also, every couple of seconds you could see red lightning. It was jaw-dropping awesomeness. Before I went to sleep that night, I lay awake as long as I could just watching the lightning in awe. It was majestic.

The next morning we had to pack up all of our stuff and take it to the bus.  The bus took us to the hotel in Manaus. During the bus ride, it was cool to see what it was like in the city vs. how it had been on the Amazon River. We got settled in our hotel rooms, and I took a shower for the first time since we arrived in Brazil. We were able to take showers on the boat but I didn't because the water was all rusty looking. I don't think anyone noticed I hadn't showered on the boat since we all smelled bad. The shower in the hotel was glorious. After that we went to the city center to watch the World Cup. That was the day the Brazil team was playing in Manaus. The streets were full of people and what looked like the National Guard, complete with automatic weapons, watch towers and armored trucks.

It was really cool to be in a crowd that big and have everyone gasping or cheering when a player would miss or score.  I'm so glad Brazil won that game. We couldn't stay for the whole game because we had to get back to the hotel, but we watched the rest of the game on the TVs in our rooms. When Brazil won, everyone in the hotel ran out of their rooms cheering and there were fireworks going on outside. It was really cool to be a part of that because that kind of thing wouldn't happen in America. Americans don't cheer in unison as an entire country with the enthusiasm that the Brazilians have. There really is no comparison to how Brazilians feel about soccer/fĂștbol.

The next day we were had to go to the airport but we didn't have to be there until midnight, so we got to do a lot of stuff that day. I shared my testimony at the Manaus Presbyterian Church, which was very nerve wracking. I'm glad no one could see me shaking.  A "testimony" means the story of how you became close to God or a hard time in your life that God has helped you get through. It was hard for me to share about my personal life with everyone on the high school trip, let alone the people at Manaus Presbyterian. We've had a really hard year as a family and I shared about that in my testimony. Thank you to everyone who supported me in that, including Matt Jones.

Later that night we went to a large gathering of about 500 people at a warehouse.  We sang on stage and one kid in our group shared his testimony in front of the entire audience. I'm so glad I wasn't him!

After that we went to the airport. Everyone was so tired. The flight to Miami wasn't that bad and most of us slept during the 7 hour layover in Miami.

Thanks to everyone that came on this Brazil Mission Trip and thank you to everyone who helped me by donating money and/or committing to pray for me so that I was able to go. I am so grateful that I have such a great family, church and friends.


Thank you to all the high schoolers and leaders that welcomed me into the group and helped me through this experience. This trip changed my life. I feel like I've changed a lot in a good way and I have bonded with most of the high schoolers and leaders.  I'm much more outgoing and excitable after this trip. This Brazil trip happens every two years. I'm already planning to go on the next Brazil trip in 2016 and I highly encourage everyone that can make the trip, to go with me.

*Special thanks to Matt Pickart, and RO and Mindy Smith for all the pictures they let me use for this post.


post signature

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Fergus the Scottish Fold!

I'm sure many of you out there were thinking, "Julie, you don't have enough cats. You should get another one."  No? Well, no matter. We went ahead and did that anyway. Enter cat #8, Fergus the Scottish Fold kitty.  He is the cutest kitty ever. Don't agree? Show me a picture of a cuter cat. Scottish Fold cats have ears that fold over.  Well, 1/2 of Scottish Fold kittens do, and the other half have regular ears. Straight eared Scottish Folds have the same wonderful personality as their folded ear siblings, but look more like regular cats.  Have you heard of the internet cat star named, Maru? Maru is a straight eared Scottish Fold.  How did we come up with the name Fergus?  Well, we picked a Scottish name since he's a Scottish Fold.  You can't name a Scottish Fold cat George. Well you can, but why would you do that when there are so many fun Scottish names to choose from?

See? Cutest. Kitty. Ever.

Fergus' breeder is located near Lake Tahoe, CA. We had never been there before, so we decided to make a little vacation out of it.  The severe altitude sickness I got upon arrival put a little damper on our time there, but we still enjoyed it as much as we were able. I'd love to return again, next time with medicine to prevent altitude sickness!

We drove around Lake Tahoe, which part of it is located in the state of California and the other part is located in Nevada.  Anyone who visits, should definitely take the 72 mile drive.  Many of the views are breathtaking.  Here are a few of the pictures I took on our drive....

Our hotel was located 15 minutes away from Lake Tahoe, in a town called Truckee.  Truckee is a historic town that was named after a Paiute Native American Chief. They have several buildings and houses that were built in the 1800's which are now historical monuments. Truckee receives an average of 203 inches of snow annually, making it the 5th most snowy city in the United States.  That brings up what Truckee is most famous for... for it was in Truckee in 1846 where a wagon train of settlers from Illinois, known as the Donner Party, got stuck in what is now called the Donner Pass.  Of the original 87 settlers, 48 survived the ordeal after many had resorted to cannibalism as a means of survival.  The Donner Memorial State Park is dedicated to the settlers and is located on the East End of the Donner Lake. 

(Donner Lake)

Here are our boys at the Donner Party Memorial on the site where the Donner Party was stranded and made up their own type of cuisine, which is largely frowned upon in our society.  

But you can't visit the Memorial without acting out that historical event. Oh wait, are we the only ones who did that?  Seamus is looking mighty hungry in that picture. 

So... back to Fergus. This kitty is so incredibly sweet and loves to cuddle. Did you know that Scottish Folds sit up like humans in what they call a "Buddha Position"? Kind of like this...

They also stand up like a meerkat and can walk on their two back legs like that. We've observed Fergus doing that, and even walking backward like that, but I have yet to get a picture of it. So here's a picture of another Scottish Fold doing this. Just picture Fergus in this position.  See? I even found one that kind of looks like him.

Everyone loves Fergus. Here's a picture of him snuggled in my hunky hubby's arms. Seriously... a shirtless man cuddling a sleeping, baby kitteh?!!  Ladies, you can't have either one of them. They're MINE, ALL MINE!!!  

Back to the "everyone loves Fergus" bit.  It's true. We have 7 cats inside (one lives outside) and we all fight over who gets to hold Fergus. Every. Day.  And the other cats? Lupin has decided he's Fergus' daddy. He plays with him, cleans his ears, grooms him and sleeps with him.  When Fergus is not with Lupin, Lupin keeps a watchful eye on him to make sure he's okay.  Fergus has also accepted Lupin as his daddy and now follows Lupin around.  Here they are cuddling together...

And when I said everyone loves Fergus, I mean EVERYONE. All of our cats love him. When he joined the family, there was not one single hiss from another cat. They accepted him from day one.  Our cat pack has always accepted new cats fairly quickly, but Fergus broke records when he joined our family. 

I'll leave you with this last picture of a sleeping Fergus. He is the softest, sweetest kitteh around. His personality makes him even more ridiculously cute. Haven said just this week he thinks Heaven should be full of little Ferguses running around, and Seamus describes holding Fergus as "holding a soft, fluffly cloud".  Simply put, he's just the cutest kitty ever. EVER. 

post signature
post signature

Monday, August 12, 2013

The Love Of My Life

Oh wait... you thought I was talking about purple, right?  No, I'm talking about my husband, Marshall. The guy who told his parents (when he was 19 years old) he met the girl he was going to marry one month after meeting me, then proposed to me a few months later.  The guy who never pressured me when I said I was going to remain a virgin until my wedding night. The guy who married me when he was 20 years old, seventeen years ago this month.

I think I am married to one of the most romantic husbands on this earth.  Seriously, if there was an award for the most romantic husband, he'd totally win. Was he romantic before the wedding? Sure. He'd give me thoughtful gifts on my birthday, Christmas and Valentine's Day.  Since the day we met until the day we married (a year and 3 months), we only spent 3 months in the same town.  During our months apart, he wrote me lovely romantic letters.

Then we got married. Our first Valentine's Day together, I was so excited.  I got him a card and a couple of gifts.  He got me... NOTHING.  Yep. Nothing, Nada, Zilch.  You see he was under the impression that celebrating Valentine's Day was something you did when you were dating, but you didn't celebrate when you were married.  I didn't throw a hissy fit or anything, but I couldn't hide the hurt in my eyes when I handed him my gifts and card when we both knew he didn't have anything for me.

He says that was a turning point for him.  He never wanted to see the hurt on my face again.  He has spent the rest of our marriage making me feel like the most important woman in the world to him, and treating me like a queen.

Being romantic doesn't always mean you need to spend a lot of money.  It can mean picking up your wife's favorite magazine from the grocery store while you are there, simply to tell her you were thinking of her.  Or you can go all out, like Marshall did for our 15th wedding anniversary, where he booked a surprise vacation for us (I knew we were going somewhere... just didn't know the location) to Maui for 8 days, via first class.  He even booked our activities, including spa treatments for me. THAT was amazing!

There was the time my 30th birthday was coming up.  I was lamenting the end of my 20's.  I was mopey for the months prior to my birthday.  Planning on wearing black on my birthday.  (I know, I know... what I wouldn't give to be turning 30 this year. *sigh*)  Marshall told me he had to run out and get something.  Then he walked in with someone.  I heard footsteps behind me and saw Marshall walk in with my college best friend, who I had not seen since our wedding 9 years prior.  He flew her in, booked us both at this exclusive spa for the entire day of my birthday, including having lunch delivered to us from Cheesecake Factory while we sat in our robes, between treatments.  Obviously that knocked all the wind out of my mopey sail.

And this past birthday he had my breast friend Jamie show up at my door in the morning, only to announce to me that Marshall had booked us treatments at the spa, and then she was taking me out to eat, and then to a movie at the Fancy iPic Theater while Marshall watched the kids.  That was an amazing day!  Okay, much of the fun Jamie can take credit for, but Marshall giving me up & watching the kids so I could spend the day with Jamie? Priceless.

There was the day my very favorite show, that had run 7 seasons, was airing it's final episode.  I couldn't wait to see the finale but was sad it was ending. (If you MUST know, it was Buffy the Vampire Slayer)  About 5 minutes prior to the show starting, Marshall lit candles all over the room so that we were surrounded by candle light and turned off all the other lights. Then he cuddled with me under a blanket while we watched the last episode.  That didn't cost a thing, yet it was an amazingly romantic thing for him to do.

There was another birthday where Marshall surprised me by driving to Torrance, CA to see the house they used for where Buffy the Vampire Slayer lived and the school they used for her high school.

One year I had grown very close to three other women over the internet and we were in contact with each other daily, providing friendship, support and many laughs with each other.  He arranged to have them fly out and show up at my door at the same time.  They stayed across the street at my in-laws' vacation house and we had the time of our lives, despite us all meeting each other for the first time in person.

There has been a lot of jewelry and Coach purses and flowers he's surprised me with over the years. They have always been MUCH appreciated, but many of the romantic things my husband has done has not cost a thing.

After having a stressful month, the doorbell rang and one of my good friends stood there, ready to take me out for drinks for the evening.  Marshall called her and arranged it.  Another surprise for me, but one that said how special I am to this man, who cares about me getting to spend some time to unwind with a great friend.

So you see, I am married to one of the most romantic men on this earth.  One who often tells me he loves me. One who often shows me he loves me.  One who reminds me I am first in his life.  One who makes me think the sun rises and sets on my shoulders for him.  One who makes me feel like the most beautiful girl in the world.  One who will run out late at night and get chocolate for me during my period. (That's almost more important than jewelry. Almost.)  One who let me paint the house purple!  And add glitter to the stucco! One who has supported me in everything I've done, and in everything I've ever wanted to do.  One who has given me every single thing I've asked for, except for a chicken or a pig.  That's okay, I don't need a chicken or a pig, when I have this amazing, romantic man that is my own.

Thank you to Matt from Life in the Fishbowl who challenged us to write about romantic things our husbands have done for us and inspired me to write this post!

post signature
post signature