It’s Merry Christmas!

*sorry, friends, for being absent during the Christmas week. I was spending time with out of town family, and just didn’t find the time to get online. I’ve been blogging during the time; so, you may get a little overflow the next few days! ūüėČ

Written 2 days before Christmas…

Okay, so, I’m gonna rant for just a moment. If you’d prefer to not read, I completely understand, but if you’ll indulge me, it won’t take but a minute…

IT IS MERRY CHRISTMAS!! It’s not just another holiday. It’s not just Happy Holidays (even though it IS very happy), and I am totally over this politically correct statement. This remark was begun by those who hated Christmas being celebrated by Christians and their desire to push a political agenda to avoid Christianity and anything that might remotely infers it. I don’t see these groups, those who make a big fuss about nativity scenes, Christmas carols and saying “Merry Christmas,” making a big fuss over someone saying Happy Hanukkah or Happy Ramandah. (Only stating two for sale of space and time, no other reason!) They don’t attack the display of candlesticks nor the fasting of certain foods by other religions; yet, most of these who attack state they are trying to achieve “a freedom from religion.” Well, if you were truly trying to achieve this, wouldn’t you attack more religions than simply Christianity? I’d like to say to them, “Either be fair in your assessments, or leave me alone! I don’t care if others want to celebrate their given religious feasts, celebrations and special days; so, why single mine out and attack them alone? I’m not going to be angry with you if you’d like to tell me “Happy Hannukkah, Ramandah” or whatever else “Happy/Merry” you’d like to give! So, why do they have to seem so vindictive toward my chosen celebration?

Yet, then again, I have come to the realization that absolute truth has always been attacked, and my Savior has always been hated by those who disagree with Him. Those who disliked Him when He was here on earth eventually killed Him because of their disdain toward Him. This hatred toward Christianity is nothing new; so, it really ought not surprise me when people are forced on their jobs to tell me, “Happy Holidays.” It should not frustrate me that so many have stopped telling me, “Merry Christmas,” when I leave their stores. I suppose, I should actually smile, even laugh, knowing this agenda is being pushed down our throats and throughout our world today, because the devil hates God, and he always will, because he has already lost! His fury will not last, and the end of the story has already been told: Jesus wins. (Just read the back of the Book!)

So, I will just continue to respond with a smile and say cheerfully, “Merry Christmas!” I will keep my Christmas joyful, regardless of the war being raged upon my religion. I will embrace those around me with the love that He has birthed within my heart, and I will repeat to all those who will hear, MERRY CHRISTMAS to all for Unto us is born a Savior, and His name is called Emmanuel, which means God with us! (Isaiah 9:6-7)

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Purpose in the Mundane

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The other day, I was sweeping the hardwoods…I hate to sweep, but it’s something that must be done, or crumbs and filth will build up, and then we’ll have nastiness, filth, and even bugs. I hate bugs in the house. I hate bugs in the house more than I hate sweeping! …So, I was sweeping and thinking of all the stuff I needed to do around the house. The end tables needed dusting, the carpet needed vacuuming, the blinds needed wiping, the sheets needed washing and changing, etc.

All of sudden, JMan said, “Mom, come here quick!” I walked into the office, a little begrudgingly, because I had so much to do, and he was simply calling me over to the computer. He said, “Look at the house I’ve built!” Then, he proceeded to show me the house, with all its rooms, and a “treasure chest” in one of them. He said, “Mom, look what this is,” and he proceeded to show me a “Bible” that he had created himself, complete with the whole chapter of Matthew 4, or least most of it, all of which he had typed from memory.

I stood amazed as he showed me his masterpiece, and it was as if I had an epiphany that very moment: We, as adults, should be more like our children who have a heart after God. If my nine year old son can create a place for the Almighty right there within the walls of the house he created in his computerized building game, why can I not create a place for Him right there in the middle of my mundane routine of cleaning house? That’s what I should do, and I am well aware of this fact; yet, too often, I find myself heavily burdened by the cares of this world and over-consumed by all the “thankless jobs” and mundane rituals which fill my everyday that I tend to often forget for Whom I’m doing this!

Oh sure, I remember when I’m doing my morning devotions and when I’m tucking my sweet boys in for the night. I remember when I’m using an object lesson to teach those same young men this very principle. I remember when everything is going my way, and the sun is shining bright in the sky, but, oh, how quickly I forget when our boys don’t want to follow the rules, when my husband and I can’t seem to see eye to eye, and the clock just seems to be running faster than before. How quickly my memory fades when the sun won’t shine, the rain won’t stop, and it seems my prayers won’t reach beyond the brass ceiling above my head.

Those are the moments when I tend to forget to grasp that beautiful wonder of a child. Those are the moments the simple and, often, the most important things, seem to fade to gray as the expectations and demands of this life scream ever louder in a war for my complete attention. Those are the moments when I desperately need to remember this sweet moment of truth: God is wherever we are, and He just wants to be a part of whatever we are doing, even if it is simply creating a “Bible,” complete with Matthew 4, inside a treasure chest, within a beautiful “block” house being created by a 9 yr old, and even if it is simply sweeping the hardwood floors and keeping a clean house for my husband and boys to enjoy…and eventually mess up again! (Ha! Ha!)

Lord, help me to find You in everything I put my hands to do. Help me to see You in the simplest of things. Help me to find Your purpose for me even in the mundane.

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.” Colossians 3:23

“Do everything in love.” 1 Corinthians 16:14

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It’s Tradition, Again

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The other night, my youngest and I continued a tradition that hasn’t really been an annual, very consistent, tradition; however, I’ll call it a tradition, nonetheless. We made sugar cookies together…complete with the rolling out of dough, cookie cutter figures, making our own icing (for the very first time!), and sprinkles and nonpareils. It was messy, but it was, oh, so fun!!

We had the movie, Home Alone 2, playing in the background as we floured the countertop and rolling pin, flattened the dough and prepared it for the cookie cutters. We pressed the cutters into the dough, making snowmen, Christmas holly, stars, and trains. We baked them, painted them and let them dry. We ate a few and stood back to admire our handiwork. He did an awesome job! …Mine looked more like a four year old’s creation (no offense to the four year olds out there! Haha).

Never letting him know, I, personally, was very disappointed that my “creations” didn’t turn out much better than they did, and it really turned into quite a bit of work detail to finish the extra dozen after he was just simply “done” and didn’t care to finish! However, to see the joy on my little boy’s face when he had decorated his “big bear” and to realize that memory would be sealed in each of our hearts forever, it was all worth it! ūüôā

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I’m so glad I took the time tonight to make a memory. There were so many other needs and responsibilities pulling for my attention, but that little nine year old won’t always be pulling for my attention. These days are so fleeting. I’m so glad I ignored the other things that were screaming my name. I’m so glad I made the moment last just one more time.

So, even if the sugar cookie making is not a tradition like the others we have, which are more consistent through the years, I believe we will keep this one each year, or every other year, or maybe just when we “spontaneously” want to keep it. Spontaneity and tradition can go hand in hand, sometimes! The memories that are etched on our hearts at that moment may even last longer, sometimes, than those traditions which we tend to do more out of routine and expectancy.

So, make a point to keep those traditions, create some new ones, and strive for those spontaneous “together-moments” whether you do them bi-annually, or simply, when you think of it from one child to the next! You’ll love the memories you’ll gather, the fun times that will be had, and one day, your children will thank you!

MAKE a new tradition, or keep an old tradition…again!
JUST MAKE A MEMORY!! ūüôā

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A Season For Tears…A Season For Cheer

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Yesterday, I was so emotional all day, I felt I had to hold back the tears with all my might. It all began when I read a Facebook status update from a friend and relative who has lost her grandmother and grandfather within almost a month of each other and how she is struggling with the grief while trying to maintain a cheerful home for her children during the holidays. The feelings just washed over me like a tidal wave of how much I miss my own grandfather, even though, he’s been gone for over 12 years now. So much changed within my family after his death, and without him here, it will never be the same. Christmas has never been the same without him.

Several times throughout the day, I thought of him, and I began thinking of so many who have lost a mom, a dad, a child, or another loved one during this past year and even those who have lost someone during the past several years. I, also,¬†thought of so many families I know who are facing divorce, or have already divorced, and even though their significant other hasn’t died physically, their love has died, and that is as painful as the reality of death. Losing a precious family member or friend makes the holidays a little tougher to handle. It makes the cheer and the joy of the season seem a little less festive, and sometimes, it makes it a lot less festive, maybe not even worth celebrating at all. Often, losing a loved one, especially those who filled such a huge part of our heart and our home, makes the Christmas season almost unbearable. Everyone else is cheerful, excited and filled with joy for all the wonderful things that bring the love of Christmas, and our world has just turned a little more gray from the loss of color with which our loved one took away.

If you are one whose world is a little more gray today, there is hope! It’s not a fairy tale, and it’s not a fallacy. It’s not a plastic mask which you wear just to convince your family that you’re okay. It’s, also, not a “snap of the finger and you’re perfect” solution, and it’s not a formula nor is it a potion or a thought. It’s not even an “it.” It’s a person, a Messiah, a Savior and a King.

His name is Jesus. He can comfort your heart and encourage your soul. He can give you peace which surpasses understanding. He can consume your mind with good thoughts, and He can give you a reason to get up one more day. He is HOPE. He is LOVE. He is LIFE, and He can give you all this and more. All you have to do is call on His name, and He will answer. He will wrap you in His arms of love, and He will give you purpose again. All you have to do is just trust Him.

For all of us who have learned to cope with the deep scars of loss, and for those who have yet to experience this heart-wrenching pain, maybe we can be a little kinder to those who are hurting this Christmas season. Maybe we can be a little more attentive to those who may not feel as festive as we expect them to be. Maybe we can share a little more love, a little more encouragement, a little more hope. Those of us who have found this One Hope who helps us survive through the darkest of nights, we must share Him with those around us. We must share this Hope with a hurting and desperate world. We must share why our Christmas is so Merry.

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“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”¬† Isaiah 9:6

 

It’s Tradition

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Christmas is my most favorite holiday of the year. There are so many reasons for my loving it. I love the warmth and love I feel while surrounded by family. I love the heightened feelings of joy, generosity and kindness that seems to resonate in most everyone’s heart. I love the wonder of a child who is anxiously awaiting Christmas morn. They can hardly go to sleep on Christmas Eve, as they strain to hear sleigh bells and reindeer hoofs upon the roof, and they run to the living room early the next morning to see if, just maybe, a midnight visitor has nibbled on their gift of¬†milk and cookies. I love to see the twinkle in my sons’ eyes when they receive that special gift from their list which¬†they weren’t quite sure if we’d be able to fulfill.

I love looking forward to the¬†snow that might fall, and I love to wrap up in layers of cozy attire and walk around in the winter wonderland. I love to sit by the warm fire, drinking hot cocoa, while cuddled up with my sweet boys and my love, watching a Christmas special on TV, even though, we’ve seen it every year for the last 10! I love playing endless Christmas carols on the radio and singing till my voice¬†almost disappears. I love making little goodie bags for the boys’ classes at school or for those in our neighborhood¬†that includes¬†a special little note of God’s love and hope for this broken world. I love picking out¬†an “angel”¬†ornament off the tree in our church foyer and supplying Christmas¬†for a child whom, otherwise, might not have gotten anything¬†underneath his tree. I love going in the stores and seeing all the¬†lights, the decorations and hearing all the cheer. I love saying, “Merry Christmas!” when a sales person is required to say, “Happy Holidays,” and watching their eyes light up, because that is what they’d rather be saying to me. I love making someone smile who is feeling weary, doubtful or fearful and reminding them there is a wonderful reason we celebrate this season, and there is hope for their¬†life.¬†I¬†just love Christmas time!

One of the things I look forward to the most at Christmas is putting up our¬†pre-lit tree and taking part in, once again, the family traditions which we began so many¬†years ago. When I was just a babe, my mom began collecting ornaments for me each year, and we have continued the tradition with our boys. We have a little nativity scene, which is presented with a storybook of, “What God wants for Christmas,” with which we commemorate Christ in the season, and this year, we began an “It’s All About Christmas” jar, in which we write a little note of¬†gratefulness or what the season means to us, and we will read on Christmas Eve to celebrate the day. These are the traditions¬†which cause us to remember the importance and the “reason for the season.” These are the traditions that bring us together as a family and remind us that love is at the center of that reason.

Does your family do something special during this time of year? What are YOUR Christmas traditions? I’d love to hear about them! Please feel free to add them in the comments below. ūüôā

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The 4 Most Common Relationship Problems ‚ÄĒ and How to Fix Them

Really good stuff here. Just had to reshare…

TIME

Relationship problems. Everybody has them. And sometimes you have them over and over and over.

Most of the people giving advice don’t know the research. So where are the real answers?

I decided to call an expert: Dr. John Gottman.

You might remember him as the researcher in Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink who, after just a few minutes, could predict whether a couple would end up divorced.

John is a professor emeritus at the University of Washington and co-founder of the Gottman Institute. He’s published over 190 papers and authored more than 40 books, including:

He‚Äôs also a really cool guy. John‚Äôs gained powerful insights from studying couples that thrive (who he calls ‚ÄúMasters‚ÄĚ) and couples that don‚Äôt (who he calls‚Ķ

View original post 1,937 more words

Virtual Blog Tour Award Nomination

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Hello there!

I was nominated last week for this award, and I am just simply honored and humbled to receive it. Thanks to Wanderlust for thinking of me and nominating my blog. This is not a normal nomination post, for it asks questions which are about the writer and not so much the blogger – you’ll see as you keep reading. The other difference in this nomination than the others in which I’ve participated is¬†I must nominate only up to 4 other blogs…this may be a most difficult decision, especially since decision making isn’t always my fortitude! LOL. I follow so many wonderful blogs; so, I will weigh my nominations on those bloggers who have also shown great support since the beginning of my blog just 4 1/2 short months ago. I may also nominate those who are a little more “in the background,” and maybe as new as I am to this blogging life, and¬†about whom I would love to learn more. ūüôā

Here are the rules:

1. Pass the tour on to up to four other bloggers. Give them the rules and a specific Monday to post.

2. Answer four questions about your creative process which lets other bloggers and visitors know what inspires you to do what you do.

  • What am I working on at the moment?
  • How does my work differ to others in my genre?
  • Why do I write/create what I do?
  • How does my writings/creative process work?

3. Compose a one-time post which is posted on a specific Monday (date given from your nominator).

Four bloggers whom I nominate:  

If you accept this nomination, please respond by posting your own on Monday, December 15th!

1.  Family, peace, travel & fiction

2.  joyofnine9

3.  From My Plan To His

4.  sappyasatree

 

Q & A Moment:

1. What am I working on at the moment?

This question almost strikes me as comical, because “working on it,” so many times,¬†feels like the “motto” of my LIFE. My brain’s first response to this question is, “What am I¬†not working on?” I’m always working on something…Presently, I am working on being a¬†better mom-a little more patient and kind, a loving wife-a little more giving and forgiving, a caring pastor’s wife-a little more prayerful and aware, a devoted friend-a little more thoughtful and gracious, and a faithful seeker of Truth-a little more grateful and focused. I am an incredible perfectionist and, often, I am too critical of myself; so, I constantly feel I fall so short of who I need to be or whom I believe I should be. I am learning more and more how to accurately assess my strengths and weaknesses; so, I guess you could say, I’m working on that, too! (another smiley insert here)

I’m sure the originator of this question probably meant this as a blogging question; so, to fulfill that interest, I’d have to say that my “projects” consist of poetry, thoughts of the day, and notes of inspiration, meaning, I have several things going, and it really just depends on which area I am drawn to on that particular day that will determine what I¬†write about. I just try to “keep it real,” and let the events, thoughts, challenges¬†or the adventures of life which I am facing, guide where my blog ends up on a given day. Being relatively new to the blogging world, my main focus right now is to blog consistently and to stick to the goals I set here, and then, in mid January, to reassess and set some new goals to “work on.” ūüėČ

2. How does my work differ to others in my genre?

My genre…I was¬†a little stumped by this question, I suppose. After looking up types of blogs and finding this, I’m not sure mine is a particular genre, or maybe, it’s too general to be specified into a one, or maybe, I’m just too new to this that I don’t know how to¬†properly evaluate. I suppose I can answer this more accurately by stating, first, what it is not…

My genre is not fitness, diets nor health driven. It’s not photography, poetry or fiction specific, and it’s not particularly theology-, politically-, nor sociologically-driven; even though, you may find a post here or there alighting on any of these given subjects from time to time. It’s not about fashion or trends, travels or foods. It’s not even about the weather, history or the ever changing culture, although, I may mention one of these here and there. I suppose some¬†could call my¬†genre¬†instructional, informational, self-profile, inspirational and even maybe a rant¬†every now and then, but I guess, because I just share about my life, the thoughts are rather random at times; however, I do just share my heart…If¬†I could make up my own name for it, I¬†suppose,¬†I might call my genre: “LIFE and all it entails;” you might call it self-help, or even self-assessing.

I suppose my work differs from some, in that, I have a solid¬†foundation of hope, joy and love. Daily, I struggle to keep a stable thought life, speech, modes of action and perspectives, and believe me, that’s not always easy while being a perfectionist-type,¬†yet also, a¬†more laidback mother of two very lively boys, each with¬†a strong personality and mind. (…Did I mention their daddy is a very strong personality/leader type, too? haha.)¬†This foundation of mine doesn’t come from my circumstances, nor does it come from dogmatic arguments of relativism or culturalism. This foundation also doesn’t come from seeking out all the loudest and most popular voices of our times.¬†This foundation comes from within, from the One who has been my Hope, my Joy and my Love and who has stood¬†the test of time: Jesus. Without Him, I would be lost. I would have no hope. I would not know how to find joy, and I definitely would not be able to love beyond a shallow concept of those¬†“sweet-bubbly-feel-good heart palpitations” that come when life is easy and every things is grand. No, this foundation carries me through the good times and the bad, the sunshine and the rain. So, I guess, you could say, my work differs from many others in my genre due to the Source from which it comes.

I¬†don’t consider my work to be any better or any worse than those around me. I simply consider it to have some value, because I believe He gives me the inspiration for it, and I believe that there is a hope to be shared with those who venture across my little corner of the blogging world. I hope my simple words will, somehow, breathe the hope¬†which I have found¬†into the¬†lives of the readers who stop by here and cause them to hunger for a little more.

3. Why do I write/create what I do?

I simply love to write, and I love to give encouragement or simply try to help someone along this journey called life. I keep a journal almost daily (well, honestly, a little less than daily now, since, I find myself blogging my journal entries these days), and I try to write at least 3-5 encouragement notes weekly, sending many of them out anonymously or at least from a given group name rather than my own.

I suppose you could say, writing¬†is a release for me. I’ve¬†kept journals, written poetry and been a letter writer since I was very young. I’ve always loved to read, write and edit things. One of my grandmothers was an English teacher for most of her life, and I tend to wonder if it might just¬†be “in my genes.”¬†I love to take snapshots of my life’s adventures and share them with those around me and¬†post my musings and ponderings of the day. (yes, I am definitely a social media kind of girl! ha)¬†I’ve never really considered myself a “writer,” per se, just simply someone who loves to write, but my husband calls me that all the time. I have dreams of writing a book one day, but I often question my ability and wonder¬†if someone would actually want to read it…that would be another one of those¬†“works in progress” in my life, and I will perfect it…someday. ūüôā

4. How does my writing/creative process work?

Sometimes, my writing/creative process comes from the scenery around me. Sometimes, it will “bubble up” from a scenario or circumstance in which I find myself. Sometimes, it will come from something I’ve read, a note of¬†brilliance or heartfelt confession¬†coming from the mouths of my children or a simply¬†new found discovery or thought.

I am always using my “notes” app in my phone to pen my thoughts, and I’ve even been known to send myself an email of my latest ponderings or inspirations. I just try to capture the thoughts when they come, for if I do not, they will often “fly away” never to be grasped again. Often, I blame that on my age and having kids, but I suppose the old¬†vantage of A.E. Housman¬†is still true: “‚ÄúThe thoughts of others were light and fleeting, of lovers’ meeting or luck or fame. Mine were of trouble, and mine were steady; so I was ready when trouble came.‚ÄĚ

Well, there it is. That’s a little more about me, my creative side, and why I do what I do. I hope I gave enough on my answers (I know, maybe too much detail!), and I want to thank Hagen, again, for thinking enough of my blog to give me this Virtual Blog Tour Award. Sharing specifics about myself to so many, especially¬†whom I don’t know personally, always stretches me a little more out of my comfort zone, and for that, I am grateful. It helps me to grow, learn and develop more skills daily. It helps me to live, breathe and be more than I am today.¬†It helps me to live life to the fullest!

Thank you to all those who take time to drop by here and walk along this journey with me. It is an incredible,¬†wonderful, comforting and exciting¬†adventure! ūüôā

 

*I could not find an image for the Virtual Blog Award; so, I just “borrowed” this one from google here. I do not own nor did I create this image.

I Wonder

People come and go.
They walk here. They walk there.
They ride. They run. They jump.
They stop.

Who are these beings?
Where are they going?
What are they thinking?
What have their eyes seen?

These things, I wonder as I walked by.

Will I wonder beyond?

Will I question?

Will I care?

Will I dare to make a bond?

Will I cry when they scream?
What are they doing?
Where are they going?
What does it all mean?

Will I confront their blues?
Will I smile at them?
Will I weep?
Will I share the good news?

Will I ponder better times?
What are they saying?
Why are they lost?
Will I give to them He who is Mine?

Penned – MG – 12/3/14

“Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'”
John 14:6

It’s the Little Things

It’s the Little Things that Make Me Smile.

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I opened my phone app today to check the notifications, and this is what I saw. Thank you so much to everyone who would take the time to drop by here and read my little blog. This has been a fun journey, and you have made it worthwhile. I look forward to many more adventures with you! I am blessed and grateful today. Thanks. ūüôā

Random Thoughts…

Wrote this on Thanksgiving morning but failed to post until today.

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I wasn’t going to post today, not because I’m not thankful, but rather, because I posted my “thankful blog” yesterday, and today, we’re going to spend the whole day with family. However, presently, we are in the car, in our way to the family gathering, and we’re late! We’re almost always late, and I hate it.

I know I should be thankful today, and I am, I really am (If you don’t believe me, just look at my LONG grateful list from yesterday)!¬† However, I guess, I just get so frustrated at myself when I am late to a family event, or any other event for that matter. When you’re late, everyone that was there on time, or even early, has to wait on you, and it is an incredible waste of their time. I wish that I did not have late in my “make-up,” and I could blame it on my upbringing (my mom is notoriously late). I could blame it on my kids. I could blame it on the weather, but it wasn’t raining today, and really, it just comes back to me. I simply try to pack too many things into a small window of time, and I should just step back, prioritize and focus on the main thing: to be on time!

So, for this Thanksgiving Day, I will say I’m thankful that I have the opportunity to recognize my faults, and I have the opportunity to change. I am thankful I have a loving husband and family who love regardless of tardiness. I am thankful I have a family with whom to gather today, to eat till my tummy is stuffed, and a warm home to enjoy the festivities. I am thankful for a Savior who loves me and refuses to leave me where I am…He is always challenging my heart to be more like Him day after day.

So, I say, “Happy Thanksgiving” to all who are celebrating today, and “Happy Day” to those who are not! I hope you have a very blessed one! ūüôā

…random thoughts from a thankful heart…