Fat Fridays: Non Food Rewards

I am almost at the end of my fourth week of this new diet and exercise program. One of the first things I talked about during week one with my trainer was Non Food Rewards. I was explaining that on my nights off, or when I suddenly found myself with some alone time, my first instinct was to eat something special. It’s my night off, I’m going to go get some takeout! I just managed to get an hour to myself, I think I’ll eat some dessert! I just survived a really hard day, definitely deserve some chocolate! 

It is a pattern that is deeply ingrained in who I am. 

Obviously, eating every time you want to reward yourself is not a healthy pattern. It has led to one of my biggest problems, Comfort Eating. No, I’m not hungry, just bored, angry, uptight, tired….I think I’ll eat something. 

So, I have been trying to come up with some Non Food Rewards. It’s been hard. This is what I’ve come up with so far. 

Long Hot Showers

Buying New Exercise Clothes

Watching the Lord of the Ring Movies again.

Taking a walk solo around the neighborhood. 

I have thought about getting a foot soaking tub and sitting and soaking my feet, but that hasn’t happened yet. 

Reading a book (I don’t know if that counts though, I am always reading a book)

Sitting by my fire

I am just getting started on this list. I need more. 

In the meantime, I am also trying to tone down the food rewards. Like drinking a hot cup of tea or sucking on a sugar free hard candy, or munching on carrots and hummus instead of snack food. 

As a parent I am also realizing how I am training my kids to turn to food as a reward. It is such a big part of our culture. You did good today, have a piece of candy! It’s Friday night, let’s eat pizza and ice cream! You’re really sad, want to have a treat to cheer you up? I am not sure how to change this. I think I need a list of Go-To rewards for kids. And then I need to have it posted all over my house, because this is a deeply ingrained habit. 

Last week I lost another three pounds. Today I did thirty minutes on my elliptical, 40 seconds as fast as I could go, 20 seconds slow. I did not think I would make it thirty minutes, but I did! I am definitely seeing some positive changes. I am also noticing that I don’t have an urge to eat all the time like before. I eat, I get full, and then I don’t eat again till I feel hungry again. Yay! 

I’ll see you all next week! 

The Power of Worship

I started off this morning feeling off-balance. Unresolved conflicts. In the middle of a battle with myself as I try to adopt healthier habits. Children not as happy as I’d like to see them. The overwhelming amount of projects I need to do in my house. A dull February morning, the sunrise trying to push away the gray, but not quite managing to do so. The feeling of not having it all together. 

Then my fifteen year old came downstairs, dressed in cheerful pink, and turned on some worship music on her phone. I found myself singing along. And almost right away, I felt Hope returning. Jesus is good. He is on his throne. My life is in his hands. 

There is something about worship that recenters your perspective. As I write, the sunshine suddenly gets brighter, I can see more blue peeking around the clouds. My little boys are playing cheerfully. I feel a bit more confident that I can handle whatever this day hands me. 

The kids are memorizing Psalm 100. Every morning on the way to school, we practice our verses. It’s a good way to start the day. Though sometimes, I’m not paying enough attention to the words we are saying. 

Psalm 100

A psalm. For giving grateful praise.

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.

    Worship the Lord with gladness;

    come before him with joyful songs.

Know that the Lord is God.

    It is he who made us, and we are his[a];

    we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving

    and his courts with praise;

    give thanks to him and praise his name.

For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;

    his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Worship does not change your circumstances, but it shrinks them back into perspective. Instead of me standing alone in a pit, it’s me holding the hand of my Father God as we navigate a bumpy road together. 

Come, Let Us Worship our God, Let us kneel Before the God our Maker, For He is Good and his Love Endures Forever. 

Silly Things that Bother Me

Ok. I promise this is not a whine fest. Just silliness. Stay with me here. 

Several times a week, as in more than five times, I drive down i75 heading towards Knoxville. When you are coming down i75, and you pass the Merchant’s exit and you look ahead, there is a little pass through the hills and in between these hills you see a big mountain looming.

 Then you keep driving and when you get through the little pass, “POOF!” the mountain is gone!

Now, I have figured out that this mountain is actually way beyond Knoxville. I just want to know why on earth it looks so close when I am right at that spot on the highway. Why??? This bothers me. 

The other day I was also driving down a road in Knoxville that I had been on countless times. Suddenly, I noticed a really cool building. Wow! Look at that! Is that new? As I craned my neck to see it, I could tell that this building had been there a long time. Not new. Why have I never noticed this building before? Why am I so unobservant??? This also bothers me. 

At Walmart they have all the face masks in big bins on the walkway that leads you out of the store. You don’t pass these bins until you have gone through a checkout line and are heading towards the door. Every time I pass these bins I think, Oh shoot, we could do with some more masks. And then I think, I’ve already gone through the line, there is no way I’m going to do that again right now. And I leave, without masks. Why on earth has Walmart put the masks in such an inconvenient place??? Also a bothering thing. 

I have a linen shelf in our upstairs hallway. Every day I find a pile of blankets, sheets, and pillowcases on the floor. Every day. Why? Which child/children has decided that this needs to be part of their daily routine? Do they have a mental checklist, Eat, Play, Sleep, Pull things off the linen shelf?? Very Bothersome. 

If a ceiling fan is on all the time, how does it get dusty? How come starting a fire in the woodstove is so hard? I thought wood and paper and cardboard were flammable? How come cereal bags are so hard to open? 

Every two weeks the city comes and picks up our recycling that we put out by the road. Why is it so hard to remember which week they are coming? Every week I’m standing on the sidewalk looking down the road to see if my neighbors have put their recycling bins out. And sometimes, they put their bins out, so I copy them, and then, THEY WERE WRONG!  And we all look foolish. 

Bother, Bother, Bother. 

These, of course, fall under “First World Problems” that are really not problems at all. But they are bothersome. I’m sure you’ve got your own list of bothers too. 🙂

Fat Fridays Return

So, I just checked, and the last time I posted a Fat Friday was in September of 2019. It’s been a while. I’m pretty sure that it’s been that long since I’ve done anything concrete to tackle my weight problems. (For those of you that have joined since September of 2019, Fat Friday is my once-a-week blog devoted to all things “weight loss”.) A lot has happened during that time. I’m not going to beat myself up for putting weight loss on the back burner. But, I will celebrate that it is finally taking Center Stage again. 

Right now my main motivation for losing weight is health. I am prediabetic and my blood sugar hasn’t been great. I haven’t been sleeping well. I’ve been tired all the time. No energy. And I really want to be healthy so I can do things with my family, especially hiking and camping, which our family enjoys doing. 

January of course is THE TIME to start a new diet or exercise program. I did not WANT to start a new diet or exercise progam, but I knew it was time. So, I got on the internet and started doing searches, and quite by accident found the KickOff App. You pay a monthly fee and are assigned a personal trainer/health coach. You get the app and then every day you log either by writing or by photo, all the food that you eat. Every day you are given a new workout to do that comes with detailed instructions, pictures, videos to show you how to do it. They also give you a daily menu of recipes you can make, but you don’t have to follow those. Your personal trainer texts you at least twice a day to talk about your food choices and see how things are going etc. 

They ask you a bunch of questions at the beginning to see what you are looking for as far as exercise and diet are concerned. They have different levels you can pay for (I’m doing the basic level which is $95/month) and they can help you with different goals besides weight loss. 

I am almost at the end of week three and I feel like it’s a great fit for me. I asked to do five workouts a week, and while each workout has been challenging, it has not been SO challenging that I’ve been overly sore or hurt myself. But, this week she upped how much I am doing and I can tell that I’m getting stronger. This is a new thing for me to be doing so much exercise, and I am enjoying it. It is helping with dealing with stress and I’m sleeping better, feeling a little more energy. 

The diet part has also been really good. I decided at the beginning that since I’m paying for this, I’m not going to cheat. I’m going to record EVERYTHING that I eat. If I feel like not being honest, then I might as well stop doing the program. So, imagine having to take a picture of everything that you eat and show it to someone everyday. Yeah. It’s a great motivator to not grab a handful of chips, or eat that One chocolate, or just eat that One package of cheese crackers. And over three weeks my food choices have gotten better and better and my serving sizes are slowly going down as well. 

Now, if you are looking for someone to dictate what you eat, and how much, and what kind, this probably is not a good fit for you. While they do offer a menu plan, my trainer has been willing to just offer daily suggestions based off of what I’m eating, like, maybe try brown rice or a sweet potato instead of white rice, or maybe next time, try to fill your plate half full of vegetables…This is a good fit for me because I’ve already spent years researching diet and nutrition. I already know what my body likes. Lots of lean protein. Lots of vegetables. Lots of berries. Whole grain carbs in small servings. Some fat, but not a ton. That works for me. (When I am actually trying to be healthy that is!) And having to keep track of everything I eat has really helped me get back to what my body likes and wants. 

I think the number one reason this program is a good fit for me is because it tells me what to do every day and then keeps me accountable. I thrive on that kind of system. Just give me a list, I love checking things off, and the knowledge that someone is looking at what I’m doing with some encouragement thrown in, I’m all set. 

Well, I’ll let you know how it’s going next week. 

Here’s a link to their website www.trainwithkickoff.com if you just want some info.

If you’re really interested in signing up you can click on this one to get to my trainer and give me a discount on my plan. 🙂

https://www.trainwithkickoff.com/coaches/ChelseaDenlinger?ref=5vfjoplbefx

I am Unsinkable

The other day someone asked me how I was doing and an image came into my mind. Me as a rubber ducky out on the big ocean in the middle of a storm. Waves crashed over me and I bobbed in and out of the water, raced up and down monstrous waves, tossed every which direction. But I was still floating. I couldn’t sink. I was made to float and while I got dunked a lot, I always came back to the surface.  We recently watched the movie EndGame again. Thanos, the villain, has a line where he says, “I’m Inevitable”. And I find myself saying, with the same confidence, “I’m Unsinkable”. 

I can also tell you with certainty, that my confidence does not come from myself. It comes from a lifetime of following Jesus, and seeing time and time again, that he never fails me. It is being faced with crisis after crisis, hardship after hardship, and having the Holy Spirit fill me with His power so that I can press through. Survive. Thrive. It is standing up at Testimony time and saying, my testimony is that I don’t have any dramatic stories of how I fell to the depths and then God lifted me up. My testimony is that he kept me. Kept me from looking for love in the wrong places. Kept me from dangerous addictions. Kept me from being on the wrong side of the law. My testimony is saying, Look what God can do when you give him your life from a very young age. 

We were talking at our housechurch this past Sunday about hindrances people have that keep them from wanting to follow Jesus. I personally know people who feel like becoming a Christian is too big a sacrifice. There are too many things to give up. I would say the problem with this mindset is that they aren’t seeing the big picture. The following is an often-quoted excerpt from C.S. Lewis.

“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

― C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory, and Other Addresses

I think about the richness of my life. I am not wealthy in worldly riches, but my treasures are uncountable. Eleven beautiful, amazing children who add worth to our world. Extended family and friends who love me. A husband who is 100% committed to our marriage and our family. A warm, peaceful home. A meaningful life that is full of purpose. A job that is so varied and complex that I can never grow bored and only rarely feels like drudgery. A church family that comforts, encourages, and constantly pushes me to grow. I am blessed beyond measure. 

There is no sacrifice in following Jesus. I have given up nothing of worth to walk this path. I have in fact gained unimaginable riches. My prayer, my hope, my longing, is that those who don’t have this confidence would be able to take hold of this truth. Jesus is the Way and the Truth and the Life. 

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.

Ephesians1:18-19b

Come join me. You too can be Unsinkable. 

For more information, here is a great article you can click on. https://www.faithward.org/how-do-you-become-a-christian/

Always Failing at Something

Do you have that One Thing that is always ready to jump out of the corner and condemn you? Like, you’re walking along, thinking that you are actually an Ok human being. You are handling life pretty good. In fact, you might even be doing well. And then that One Thing jumps out with it’s jeering face and says, Oh yeah? What about this??? And you hang your head in shame. Oh yeah. I forgot about that. I guess I’m not really doing that great. 

For me it tends to be a messy house. I’ll be assessing how the day is going. Ok, lets see. We homeschooled today, that went well. I’ve cooked all the meals. Had some good quality time reading aloud to the kids. I made a lunch for my husband. I’ve eaten healthy today. Got in my workout. Had my devotions. Yep. I’m doing ok. Then here comes the voice. 

Oh yeah? Have you looked at your house?? It’s a mess! You’re behind with the laundry! Those pots have been “soaking” for a really long time. The kids can’t find anything on their school shelf, it’s such a cluttered mess. We won’t even bring up subjects like mopping and dusting! 

And my little ego deflates. Oh yeah. I actually kinda suck. 

Of course, this is a glimpse into just how performance-oriented my self-esteem is. If I am doing good things then I must be good and have worth. If I am failing in any area then I must be bad. Not really worthy at all. 

And unfortunately, there is always something or some area where I am failing. And this means that my default attitude towards myself tends to be rather negative. 

It makes me think about my spiritual walk. Jesus is all about grace. But my default position, when I think about God, is that he is all about law. If you fail these commandments, this is the list of punishments you will get. If you aren’t careful, you will be burned up in God’s wrath. 

I have heard the sermons, I’ve read the scriptures. I know, in my head, that I am forgiven. That Jesus’ goodness covers over all my badness and cancels it out. I know that the Holy Spirit is living inside of me, slowly changing my heart to be more like Jesus. I know that he sees me through eyes of love and grace. But I still wrestle. My default is still law and punishment. Condemnation. 

I’m a work in progress. I have to constantly remind myself that I am loved, forgiven, a daughter of the King. 

So, today, as my brain started beating me up about what a horrible housekeeper I am, I tried to exercise some grace. Yes. The house is rather messy right now. So what? There’s a lot of good reasons why it’s in that state. Is the world going to end if it doesn’t get cleaned today? Nope. Does a messy house mean I am a horrible person? Not really. Are you ever going to get your house clean? Sure, I’m planning on getting it done this weekend! Ok. Then you are fine. You have permission to ignore the mean voice whispering in your ear. 

Romans 3: 20-24

Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin. But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

Kid Fashion

Let’s talk kid fashion. I first want to go on the record and let you know that I am a hands-off parent when it comes to fashion. I have some really loose standards, kind of my line-in-the-sand rules, but that’s it. These rules have evolved as the situations have demanded.

  1. Don’t wear pajamas to school.
  2. You must have two shoes on your feet, not one.
  3. I should not be able to see your underwear or feel like I’m about to see your underwear. 
  4. If your low-cut shirt is making you uncomfortable or me uncomfortable, it’s probably too low. 
  5. Please wear nicer clothes to church. (as in no sweat pants, ripped, stained etc). 
  6. Please dress for the weather. 

And that’s about it. 

I have a highschooler who walks to the beat of a different drum. She makes really interesting clothing choices. I have learned to appreciate her uniqueness and be proud of her complete disinterest in what other people think of her. 

I have a preteen who is starting to walk in his older sister’s footsteps. Yesterday for church he was sporting a straw hat, ray ban style sunglasses, black button-up shirt, black bow tie, sweat pants and red and white stripe Dr. Suess socks. Since we were going to church I told him No sweat pants. So he exchanged them for elastic waisted khakis. He wants me to buy him a fanny pack so he can accessorize. 

I guess my feeling is that fashion is a journey. Each person has to decide for themselves what they like. I am in no way a fashion expert of any kind, so I just keep my mouth shut, and make the occasional suggestion. 

I have some kids that are strict blue jeans and hoodies only. Some who hate jeans. Some who think that pajama pants are a viable daily option. 

Occasionally, a small child will come up with a color combination that is just painful to behold. I might speak up. Depends on how nitpicky I’m feeling that day. 

I have one child who hates putting on shoes. He owns a pair of velcro Avengers shoes and a pair of lace-up Nikes from the thrift store. So, yesterday, when he was dressed very nicely for church in khakis and a collar shirt, guess what shoes he put on? His rubber mud boots. Yep. this is the same kid who made me create the rule that you have to have two shoes on your feet, after he showed up to church with one shoe, cause he couldn’t find the other one. 

One of my little girls is blind to stains and rips. She comes down in an old fancy dress that is covered in stains and half the lace torn off. The only reason I have kept this dress is because it used to be fancy, and I thought they could use it in their dress up games. Uh No. You can’t wear that to go out. It’s covered in stains, and look at that big rip. BUT IT”S MY FAVORITE DRESS!!! YOU’RE SO MEAN!!!

Hair is also interesting. I have a six year old girl who likes to do her own hair. Uh…Would you like me to help you with that? NO! I”m doing it MYSELF! Ok. I ponder whether her teachers think she’s some poor child who has to do her own hair cause no one will help her. Ah well. 

This is not to say that I don’t try to teach my kids that we look neat and respectable when we go out in public. There’s just such a wide spectrum to “neat and respectable”. 

So, this is kind of my Public Disclaimer notice. If you are impressed or amused by my children’s clothing choices, just know that I really had nothing to do with it. It’s my way of teaching independence and individuality.  

Breathe

Sometimes I am shockingly disconnected to my body and what it’s going through. And then my body responds to a situation in a very normal physical way, and I’m like, What’s going on?? What is wrong with you?? 

The past two days I have been so tired, any time I sit down, I start falling asleep.

Crazy.

Am I sick? Vitamin deficient? Coming down with something? 

And then I stop and try to assess the situation.

Ok. I had to surrender my dog to a shelter on Monday. On Monday I also started a new diet/exercise program that I am sure is a shock to my system. On Tuesday I had an important meeting at the kid’s school, had to put myself forward and stand in the gap for a child that needs some special help. Everyone was nice, but any time I have to speak my mind in front of strangers, I get stressed. Last week my teenager was walking home from school and shooting broke out, half a block behind her. Now I am feeling hyper-vigilant as I listen to all the sirens throughout the day. It’s not been a tranquil month for relationships. In short, while I have decided to pump up on vitamins, stay hydrated, etc. I am also just trying to be kind to myself and acknowledge that maybe my body is trying to tell me something. 

Like,

You are Tired. 

The following are the words to the final chorus in the song  Breathe put out by Jonny Diaz.

When it starts to fall apart in my heart I hear you say just

Breathe, just breathe

Come and rest at my feet

And be, just be

Chaos calls but all you really need

Is to take it in, fill your lungs

The peace of God that overcomes

Just breathe (just breathe)

let your weary spirit rest

Lay down what’s good and find what’s best

Just breathe (just breathe)

Just breathe, just breathe

Come and rest at my feet

And be, just be

Chaos calls but all you really need

Is to just breathe

Just breathe

Source: LyricFind

Songwriters: Jonathan Smith / Jonny Diaz / Tony Wood

Breathe lyrics © Songtrust Ave

And that’s where I’m at right now. Needing to acknowledge my body’s efforts to slow me down. Needing to rest. I’m not up for solving any of life’s mysteries or thinking really deeply, or being anything amazing. I just need to rest at Jesus’ feet and breathe for a while. 

Sometimes Life is not Fun

Back in October we got a new puppy. He was sweet and cuddly and we all loved him. He got along well with our other pets and seemed to love all the attention from the kids. We quickly discovered that he was deaf. Ok. Well, we can overcome that. We did some research. Started trying to teach him hand signals. 

The only problem with this puppy was that he bit the kids sometimes. Well, he’s a puppy. Puppies do that. His breed is known for being nippy. We worked with the kids more about respecting his space, not bothering him when he was asleep, not teasing him in any way. 

And then he bit two of our kids really badly. Ok. Step back. Reassess. Maybe this puppy is not going to work out after all. My husband started asking around if anyone was interested in rehoming him. No takers. I didn’t want to rehome him, he saw us as his family. 

Then he started attacking anyone that came close to our yard. Not good. My kids have neighborhood friends who like to come over and play. We started having to be hyper-vigilant about the dog and anyone who wasn’t in our family. I looked up on the internet how to deal with aggressive dogs. There are a lot of good training programs out there. They all cost a lot more money than I have available. I called our vet, she said not to keep him. If he’s having this problem now, it isn’t going to get better. But, maybe we weren’t reading the situation correctly? Surely we couldn’t just give up on him? 

Then at the end of last week he bit one of my kids in the face. Completely unprovoked. I saw the whole thing. Child was innocent. Ok. What do we do???? A couple days later a relative who has spent lots of time with the puppy, in and out of our house, came to visit. The dog bolted out our door and attacked them, bit them, hurt them. 

Yesterday I called our local shelter and they said that they do have a program for aggressive dogs. We would have to surrender him and they would keep him isolated and then have a professional behavior specialist work with him until he was adoptable. I had to tell the kids and then take him to the shelter and leave him there. 

I left him in his cage and then walked out, got into my car, and sobbed my heart out. 

I hate it. 

I came home, took the kids away from the house for the day. While we were gone my husband removed the dog kennel from the hall. 

This morning the house feels empty and quiet without all his pent up energy wiggling around. My dog Todd looks sad. The kids asked to see pictures of him before they went to school. 

Sometimes life is not fun. 

What is Your Calling?

Today is cleaning day, and shopping day, and laundry day, and remodel the upstairs bathroom day. It’s busy. I am pacing myself. Or at least that’s what I told my husband when he walked into our room and caught me reading a book. Pacing! Honest! 

I have found in this marathon called life, I have to go slow and steady. So, I had already cooked breakfast for the family, cleared the table, taken two daughters with me and done a week’s worth of grocery shopping, came home, unloaded the car, supervised groceries being put away, checked to make sure that the kids’ bedrooms got cleaned…it was time for a break. And eventually, I put the book down, supervised lunch, got that cleaned up, set everyone to work on cleaning their “zones” (everyone gets a room or area that they have to clean), checked progress on that, and now, it’s time for a break again. 

This kind of leads into what I’ve been thinking about. How should we let the chaos in our country affect our everyday lives? 

I’ve been observing on social media the different ways that people have been responding to the recent chaos. Some people have completely withdrawn. Deleted their accounts, either to set up in a new place or be done with it once and for all. Some people are ignoring the situation completely, posting fun memes and things designed to uplift the soul. (I appreciate these posts!) Some people are sharing intelligent articles or essays that explain their positions in well thought-out prose. And some people are just very angry and it leaks out in everything that they say and post. 

In the last couple years, I have made it a point to tell my kids that it’s ok to be angry. Being angry is normal. Sometimes things happen that deserve our anger. But, you have to be careful what you do with your anger. You need to find a safe way to vent your anger that doesn’t hurt other people. Mockery, derision, name-calling, screaming, hurting…these are not appropriate ways to deal with your anger. Or at least, that’s what I tell my kids. I sometimes kind of want to tell other people that too. 

All of us are different. We all have different callings on our lives. I think this is a really good time to have an understanding of what God has called you to do. Are you a protector, an educator, a prophet, a nurturer, a peacemaker? A politician? We all have our callings. Me? My day job is a homemaker. I am a peacemaker by nature. I seem to have an inclination towards interceding through prayer. I try to encourage people through my blog. I keep an eye on what’s happening on the political scene. I write letters to my representatives about issues that are important to me. 

I have come to the conclusion that the things that are happening in Washington DC are not in my sphere of influence. While I continue to pray for our country, LORD! Your kingdom come! Your will be done! I have not felt led to join a political party or try to convince other people to join my way of thinking. I have not been put in a position to affect the federal government in any way except through prayer and my vote, and an occasional letter to my Senator or Representative. That’s me. Everyone is different. 

My sphere of influence includes my family of eleven children. My husband. My home. The social workers and various therapists and lawyers I have met on our fostering journey. The teachers and staff at my kids’ schools. My church family. My blogging audience. My social media friends. This is the circle God has put me in. This particular circle does not need to hear my views on Trump and Biden. They need to hear that I love them, respect them, care for them. They need to hear that Jesus is always the answer. They need to hear that I am present in their lives and that I hope that I can help them in some way. 

This is my calling. 

So, how do I let the chaos in government affect my life? More time in prayer, and then focus on doing my calling to the best of my ability. It’s all I can do.