Source: Too Hard
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I’m so excited to be sharing a blog hop with y’all today! As some of you know, I’ve been so fortunate to be a part of Kristen Welch’s (We are THAT family) new book launch team for #RaisingGratefulKids and some of us have joined up to put all of our thoughts on gratefulness in to one huge blog hop so you can “hop” from one blog to the next.
These ladies are amazing wives, moms, writers, givers and doers…The links are at the bottom of this post. Don’t forget to use #RaisingGratefulKids when you visit the blog hop!
If you had told me a year ago today I would soon be purposely choosing to be grateful in the midst of the struggle 2015 was…and if looks really could kill…well, you probably wouldn’t be reading this right now.
A year ago today I had dropped Rob off at rehab and given up on any of the dreams I’d had for 2015.
A year ago today I tried to be grateful that we found a place that didn’t have a waiting list…that was long term…that Rob agreed to go to.
It was not a situation I was grateful for. It was not how I would have chosen to spend the last 12 months…My husband in rehab for alcoholism, 10 minute phone calls a few times a month…monthly weekend visits…two trips to bring him home for a few days…solo parenting our girls…struggling to pay bills…struggling to function some days…
I didn’t try very hard, but I tried.
Fast forward a month…Valentines Day…spent making 60 treat bags, picking up a cake, driving to take it all to rehab…By chance getting to see him, talk to him.
This is where my journey of choosing gratitude began.
It was easy to be angry…hurt…resentful…
Those feelings seemed acceptable and expected.
I could have spent 2015 allowing those emotions to control me. I don’t think many would have blamed me.
I would have missed out on so many beautiful things.
Unscheduled visits with my husband…words I never let myself dream he would ever say…shattered faith restored…a renewing of our marriage…reconciliations…stronger relationships…
Choosing gratitude isn’t easy…not for me at least. I know others who do it so well.
I used to want whatever it was they have that makes it easy for them to be grateful in spite of their circumstances.
Now I know what they have. What I have. What we all have.
The choice to be grateful. Making the decision each day to choose gratitude. Not to let situations, relationships, struggles…define and destroy our joy.
I fail at choosing gratitude daily. Just this weekend I failed in a big way.
Things happen that overwhelm us and instead of stopping to realize we can still choose gratitude in the middle of the hard, we give in to the negative.
People disappoint us. Situations out of our control worry us. Bills seem to grow monthly. We lose people we love. Friendships dissipate. Work stresses us. Husbands relapse.
Deciding to choose gratitude does not make any of these things not happen.
Some days, it doesn’t even make dealing with the unexpected easier.
Some days though, it does.
Some days, when it’s Valentines Day and you miss your husband and you’re mad at him for relapsing and maybe you’re mad at God…
And maybe you haven’t quite chosen to be grateful yet because you can’t see a single thing to be grateful for…
Some days God gives you some really beautiful, unexpected joys…
An unexpected visit with your husband…where he tells you he loves you and he’s sorry and he’s doing everything he can to make sure this is the last time you have to go through this.
60 treat bags and a cake that you didn’t really have money for, but you did it anyway and then worried these grown men would think it was all silly…but they didn’t think it was silly at all. And it made a difference to some people who felt thrown away and forgotten by the world.
A box of chocolates from friends who didn’t want you to feel forgotten on Valentines day.
And in the middle of all this, you make a decision. You decide to choose gratitude. For the good things…for the hard things…for the everyday, mundane things…
You decide because the best way to teach your kids to be grateful is to model choosing to be grateful when it’s hard and honestly, it’s the last thing you want to choose.
You still forget and give in to the old feelings sometimes…but it doesn’t take you as long anymore to bounce back and remember that while it may be easier to hold on to anger and injustice and hurt…it’s not who you are anymore.
You made a choice to be grateful…in the good…in the beautiful…in the hard…
And that, my friend, will make all the difference. In you, in your family, in your kids, in the world…
Have you pre-ordered Raising Grateful Kids yet? Launch date is January 26th, so hurry and pre-order from http://www.raisinggratefulkids.com or Amazon, Barnes and Noble or any of your favorite book retailers. You’ll love the truth you find in this book!
Hop over to these #RaisingGratefulKids blogs and show some love ❤
Inspiring an Attitude of Gratitude – by Alison
Rasisng Grateful Kids – by amanda
Why You Can’t Buy Gratitude At The Dollar Store – by Andrea
Missing – Gratefulness in our home – by Ange
Choosing Gratitude – by Angela
Gratefullness – by chaley
5 Steps to Gratitude-Fille Family – by Christa
Practicing Grateful Parenting – by Dana
Sing a Song – by Hannah
Cultivating gratitude in our family – by Jamie
Gratefulness In Our Home – by Jana
Gratefulness In Our Home – by Jana
Let It Begin With Me – by Jen
Choosing Gratefulness – by Jennifer
Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World – The Book – by jeri
Eradicating Entitlement – What are you rooted in? – by Jessica
Gratefulness in our home – by Kate
The Problem With Entitlement is that it begins with us – by Katelyn
7 Unusual Ways I Know How to Be Grateful – by Kathryn
Raising Grateful Kids – by Keri
How My Children Remind Me to Pray with Gratitude – by Kishona
Grateful – by Kristy
Entitlement: The Ugly Truth of a Beautiful Lie – by Leigha
The Most Important Thing You Can Do To Raise Grateful Kids – by Lindsey
Dear Son: How Do I Teach You To Be Grateful Without Guilt? – by Marie Osborne
Gratitude, A Practical Definition – by Mia
Cultivating Gratitude in Our Home – by Nancy
Learning Gratitude through Chronic Illness – by Rachel
Being Grateful – by Rebecca
I’ve Found Something I Can’t Live Without – by Sarah
The Power of Naming our Gifts – by Sarah
Outfitted – by Sarah Jo
Growing Gratitude in our Family – by Sondra
Teaching Gratefulness – by Stephanie
How Grateful Looks From Here – by Alison
Fighting Entitlement in Children and All of us – by Leah
Entitlement Problem – by Karrie
Grateful Today – by Krystal
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference
~The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
I’ve listened to countless opinions about my marriage. Rob’s drinking. Recovery. Relapse. Our family. Our girls. My parenting.
I’ve learned to finally say without apology that you don’t really know what you’ll do until you’re living through it. You can think you know, just as I thought I knew what I would do if Rob relapsed again, but until you’re faced with trying to survive your world falling apart…again…you don’t know.
You can make plans and threats and promises and run through every what if scenario – in your head, with your spouse, with your best friend, a counselor…But until your heart is shattered and you have to choose daily which road to walk down, you don’t know.
Friends and family and even counselors can tell you what they think you should do…what they’d do…
Friend, please hear me. They aren’t living in your home…in your marriage…in your heart.
Being married to an addict is hard. Raising children with a husband you no longer recognize because he has become his addiction and you don’t know how to separate the addict from the addiction is hard…unbearable…
If you stay, you will be judged.
If you leave, you will be judged.
Even by people who love you, because they can’t understand.
Friend, please hear me. They aren’t living in your home…in your marriage…in your heart.
Your decisions may look like mine.
Your decisions may be the opposite of mine.
Your decisions may change daily until your decision becomes an action.
And even then. Your decisions may still change.
You’ll question every choice you make. Especially when the choice is not to do anything…yet.
People who mean well will offer you advice, opinions and prayer.
Accept the prayer.
Listen, if you choose, to the advice of those you know to have your best interest at heart or who have walked or are walking the road you are on.
Friend, please hear me. Even those walking this same road aren’t living in your home…in your marriage…in your heart.
I don’t know what road you will take.
Perhaps you’ll turn down one road that seems to bring you the peace you so desperately need.
Perhaps you’ll pick one road today and make a U-Turn a week later.
Perhaps you’ll stop and rest right where you are until you find the strength to take the right road for you.
Perhaps you’ll run with renewed faith down the road you know to be winding and full of thorns and disappointment.
Whatever road you choose…wherever that road leads…however that journey looks…
My prayer for you is that your road is filled with peace, love, forgiveness, renewal, hope…and that you never forget that whatever road you choose, you aren’t walking it alone.
You are loved, friend.
A year ago today, I had gotten home from leaving Rob at the hospital, slept for two hours, showered, changed and headed back to the hospital.
Left Alex and Savannah sleeping, because I was too tired to deal with getting them to school.
Spent most of the day at the hospital, coming home only when Rob moved floors and I couldn’t stay anymore. I assume I got the girls lunch…at some point. Realized it was Alex’s 13th birthday and asked Tori to take her and Sav out for a birthday dinner so I could go back to the hospital for evening visiting hours.
Because I didn’t trust Rob to stay if I wasn’t there every minute the hospital allowed.
And after he was there, I suddenly realized him coming home wasn’t an option.
Almost all of what I remember from that week is being at the hospital…packing his bags…taking him to rehab.
It was all I could do that week to be a wife.
I had nothing to give as a mom. No time. Energy. Strength. Ability.
If I’m honest, no desire.
I made a choice, sitting in our pastors office that Sunday when he asked if I was done. When he so kindly (towards me) and so matter of factly (towards Rob) told Rob he had lost me. And our marriage. And our girls.
Told Rob very bluntly that he had no idea why I was still there.
That even though I may not have left physically, our marriage was over.
Minutes later, with Rob out of the room, asking me if I was done or if Rob agreed to go to the hospital that night to be medically detoxed, if I would support him if he agreed to go straight to a long term rehab after he got out of the hospital.
I hesitated. Not because I had considered leaving. But because I had refused to let myself see how bad things were.
When I agreed he needed to go, I made a choice. I was going to support him however I had to, no matter what it cost…no matter who it cost.
Saying yes cost me a lot.
It cost our girls more.
The week he was in the hospital they lost their dad…and their mom…We were both physically gone…We were both emotionally gone…
The day I took him from the hospital to rehab and then I came home…I was physically there after not seeing them more than an hour a day for most of the week.
Emotionally, it took a lot longer for me to come back.
It’s been a year now since Rob decided he was ready to get help. Again.
I’ve been a mess for the last couple of weeks.
I didn’t realize until today how hard this “anniversary” was…how much I would relive this week that happened a year ago. How many hard memories and feelings and anger and resentments and regrets and deep sorrows would resurface.
I wasn’t prepared for the overwhelming emotions that have hit me recently.
Anger I thought I’d worked through. Forgiveness I still haven’t given myself. Sorrow for the weeks I missed being a mom because it was more than I could do to just be a wife. Moments stolen from our girls by addiction and the shock waves it creates in everyone else’s life.
But with all of this reliving…resurfacing…I did remember one thing.
We don’t get do overs.
I can’t go back and give the girls back the weeks they lost. The weeks we lost.
I can’t jump in a time machine and celebrate Alex’s 13th birthday and choose to be there.
I can’t take back my choice to be a wife and my inability to be a mom.
All I can do is choose to eat dinner, at the table, as a family, Monday night. And to play Tenzi and be loud and irritate Buddy for an hour because he’s not a fan of the sound of dice being rolled over and over. I can do that on the anniversary of leaving the girls at home to take Rob to the hospital and fight to get him admitted.
All I can do is spend Alex’s 14th birthday being present, running errands with her, wrapping her gifts with Tori and Sav, going out for her birthday dinner and watching her put 14 candles on a brownie, singing quietly while she blows out the candles and then hurriedly try to wave the smoke from the candles away. Hand the phone to her when Rob calls to tell her happy birthday and smile so big and be able to agree with him when they’re done talking and he says she sounded really happy. I can do that a year after I barely acknowledged her 13th birthday.
We don’t get do overs.
We do get more days. Different moments. Second chances.
We get to have more family dinners and loud game nights. In a few short weeks we get to have those with Rob.
We get to have 14th birthdays. And soon we’ll get to celebrate birthdays where Rob doesn’t have to call to say happy birthday because he’ll be here.
We don’t get do overs.
We do get to do life together for the rest of our lives and while we can’t make up for the time we’ve lost, we can make new memories, focus on new moments and eventually the “anniversaries” we struggle through will be replaced with different anniversaries we celebrate.
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I’m linking up over at Tell it to me Tuesdays!
For a while when Savannah was little, her most used word was “mine”. Being the youngest of three girls, she became the proud owner of lots of hand-me-downs. She was constantly reminding Alex that things that used to be hers were now “mine!” and it mattered zero that Alex had loved that Dora dress and had worn it until it was a Dora shirt…it had been passed down and was now “mine!”…
A few years ago, when this blog was born, God placed a verse on my heart. It was a hard time, dealing with yet another of Rob’s relapses and I was tired. I couldn’t understand why I had to deal with this again.
“And I am certain that God, who began the good work in you, will continue His work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” Philippians 1:6 NLT
A gentle reminder, laid on my heart, that He will not leave me…He is continually working on me…I am not a finished product…my current circumstances do not define my life…
A year or so later, I was reading a book about a couple with a similar story to mine and Rob’s…Their verse immediately caught my attention…
“I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten…” Joel 2:25
THIS…This is my verse…After all, how many years of my life…my marriage…have been eaten away by locusts…THIS is God’s promise to me. This is mine. This is ours.
I decided what God’s plan for my life and my marriage was and it mattered not that I had to quiet God’s voice by shouting over Him…
Rob was sober by now after all…These were going to be the best years of our lives…We deserved good years to make up for all of the bad. God wanted that for us…
Then, he relapsed again. And I was so angry. Still holding on to “my” verse though…I just needed Rob to stop drinking again and get back to those good years…this was just a speed bump in the road…not even a detour…
So he quit drinking again…and I was ready. Waiting. Excited to see all of the good things. Because surely God was going to make up double for all of these relapses.
I could go back and recount the relapses/sober times…how many…how frequent…how long lasting…
I have gone back and recounted…
Wondering when the locusts would stop eating away all of the years of my marriage.
Until a few weeks ago.
I knew…although I didn’t hear it audibly…but it was a knowing that God wanted me to go back to the verse He gave me…to go back to His plan…to give up all of the “mine” I had let overtake my life.
(I didn’t know how to explain this until I started reading “Coming Clean” by Seth Haines a few nights ago…He says “It is less of a hearing, more of a knowing.” That is exactly how I feel about God’s voice, His words to me…I just never knew how to put it in to words…)
I started reading His verse for me…over and over…
“Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6 NIV
Being confident of this…
I wanted to be repaid for the years the locusts had taken from us…
I wanted God to heal Rob. To take away this need he has to drink. I wanted a guarantee that there will be no more relapses. I wanted to find safety in Rob’s sobriety. I wanted this to be the last time…sometimes I wanted it to be the last time so much that I started wondering…if it isn’t…if this keeps happening…how many times do I have to stay? When is it okay to say, this is it…I’ve fought the good fight and I cannot do it One. More. Time.
“There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the day Christ Jesus appears.” Philippians 1:6 MSG
There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind…
God promised me He would keep working in me and on me…He would never stop…He would never give up on me…I will never be a lost cause for Him…Never too far gone for Him to find me worthy. He will keep at it…No matter how long it takes…no matter how many times I mess up…no matter how many times I doubt His plan…
I know that there is a possibility that this may not be the last time. That Rob may have spent the last year away from us only to relapse again in a year…or 10 years…
I also know that sometimes your husband is your mission field. Sometimes God doesn’t call you to Africa…sometimes He calls you to stay. In your home. In your marriage. When staying is harder than leaving. This calling is no less worthy, no less sacrificial.
So my hope doesn’t lie in Rob staying sober. My commitment to him doesn’t depend on him not relapsing. Because more than this being my verse, this is our marriage’s verse. This is God’s promise to us.
Yes…it is less of a hearing and more of a knowing…God is working on both of us…and He will keep working on both of us…and even if it takes until the day Christ Jesus returns, He will not give up on us.
And neither will I…
I’m linking up over at A Kreative Whim
So remember last week when I sliced my toe open but worked out anyway?
Apparently I misjudged how much blood I lost and my tennis shoe ended up becoming a chew toy for my fur baby, Buddy.
I am currently still not even talking to him.
When I stopped by to see my husband last week and told him, he was less than compassionate and may have said some such nonsense like “I didn’t think you would ever get rid of those things. Good job, Buddy!”
So my tennis shoes are 10 years old and cost $26 at Walmart. Ten years ago. Whatever.
It’s a good thing he’s my favorite or he’d probably be getting the Buddy treatment too.
A week later and I still haven’t replaced my shoes. Also my toe has mostly healed, so no more excuses for staying off the treadmill.
Except. No shoes.
Which is why, if you had happened to stop by our house an hour ago, you would have seen this.
Living on the edge y’all.
P.S. Let’s not talk about how many days I’ve missed in this whole 31 day blogging challenge. K?
I’m linking up over at What to Read – go check out some more great blogs!
I know. There are so many things you want to know about my toes.
I want to tell you everything.
But I’ll stick to the most important things tonight.
I hate my left little toe. I mean. I must. It obviously did something to offend me at some point in my life.
I don’t even know how else to explain it.
Savannah stepped on it over and over for about two years straight. During her iwearbootseveryday phase.
It was awesome.
Earlier this year, because I practice ninja kicks in the shower, I broke it while shaving.
My gracefulness leaves you in awe, I know.
Which brings us to tonight.
I started working out October 1st. I have actually been consistent for 15 days in a row. I’m only doing a mile on the treadmill but I’m now up to 60 squats a night.
I love working out now. Except not.
But I do love how I feel after.
I got home from work about 730 tonight and decided to go ahead and get it over with.
I know. I am like the poster child for motivation.
Somehow, while walking from the side of my bed to the foot of my bed, on my way to put my socks and shoes on, my little toe ran in to the bottom of the treadmill.
It just has a mind of its own and apparently loves bandages.
I somehow managed to get my socks and shoes on inspite of the dibilitating pain I was in.
What happened next is nothing short of a miracle. I would compare it to Jesus walking on water, but I don’t think His toe was pouring out blood.
I got on the the treadmill and beat my best time yet. And did my squats when I finished that.
I’m pretty sure I should go ahead and ask for time off for the 2016 Olympics because as soon as people hear about this I’m going to be in high demand.
Because who even still works out after getting hurt while getting ready to work out?
Ninjas. Ninjas do that.
After my workout I somehow was able to tear off my shoes and socks only to find the blood had soaked through my sock and now covered half my foot.
I don’t do things small. Go big or go home y’all.
I weakly hobbled out to the living room where my loving daughters cleaned, then bandaged my little toe with gentleness and concern and absolutely no laughing at how coordinated I am 😒😒😒
My poor little toe…
This post is linked with Grace and Truth – go share the love!
I remember the first time our pastor said that there may be times in our lives when we are the ones who will need to be ministered to.
He was talking about the different ministry opportunities in our church and how vital it is to our spiritual growth to minister to others…to give our time, our support, our experience, our love…
But if you are in a place in your life where you are the one who needs ministering to, that is vital to your spiritual growth too and it does not make you any less than.
Don’t live there forever, but if that’s where you are right now, it’s okay to be in that place while you heal.
Whether you’re healing physically, emotionally or spiritually…it is not just okay to let others minister to you, it is necessary.
Have you ever thought badly of someone, who is dealing with cancer, hit pause on their ministry involvement in order to take time to care for their physical health?
So why do we judge others who are dealing with emotional or spiritual hurts? Is it because we can’t see those? Or because we think those kinds of hurts are not as deserving of time to heal? Could it possibly be because we ourselves are dealing with emotional or spiritual hurts but we aren’t asking anyone to give us a break so why should someone else get one?
My husband has been in rehab since January. Not for the first time. He is away from our family, our church, our lives. He is taking care of himself so he can begin this recovery journey from alcoholism …again.
It would be great if I could say I’m taking the time I need to start my journey to healing too…but I’m not. I am here, in the weeds, managing family, work, church,
I would be less than honest if I said I haven’t had to work through some pretty heavy resentment.
A sweet friend told me I needed to give myself time to grieve. Permission to go through those stages.
Grieving is not a word I would have used to describe this year. But sometimes, you need to let someone minister to you.
Once I started thinking about it, I realized I was grieving. Grieving the loss of my husband to alcohol again…even though it wasn’t permanent, it was a loss.
A real, heartbreaking loss.
Denial – I went months denying he was drinking again…and later, denying he really needed to be gone to stop drinking.
Anger – I mean, this is pretty self explanatory, right? I was angry…I still struggle with anger, like when I realized last night that I’ll miss Parent/Teacher conferences again this year and now he won’t be here either…
Bargaining – I was
grudgingly agreeable to perfectly fine with Rob going to rehab if that’s what he really needed – for 90 days or so. 14 months? Can we talk about this? Because. No. I can do 6 months, but that’s about the extent of my patience, so let’s just decide now that he doesn’t need to stay the whole time.
Depression – Y’all. I stayed here. This wasn’t a stage for me. It was where I lived. For months. There are still times I am there. It’s more infrequent, but I think maybe this stage, like anger, is one of those feelings that are harder to move on from and then they pop up again just as soon as you think you’ve passed it.
Acceptance – This summer, Rob and I talked about him coming home early. I was done with him being gone. And. I wasn’t ready for him to come home yet. It’s not a great place to be. Two weeks and some counseling later…it was decided. He was going to finish.
February 25th please come quickly..and also…take your time so I can really be ready for him to come home and he can be really ready to come home.
Why did it take someone else not only telling me I was grieving but also giving me permission to grieve? More than that, insistence to let myself go through all of these stages, in whatever order, however many times it took, with no guilt?
Because when your husband relapses again and your world falls apart, it is not just okay to let others minister to you, it is necessary.
I feel like saying this twice isn’t even enough.
I want you to hear this, not just in your mind, but deep in your heart.
It is not just okay, it is necessary.
If you are in that place where you need ministering to, will you give yourself permission to receive without guilt?
If you are in that place where you see someone who needs ministering to, will you be that for them with no expectations of reciprocation?
Whatever season of life you’re in, it is a valid season and God is there with you. He is surrounding you with the right people to walk with you.
If you feel alone, if you need someone to walk beside you, encouraging and lifting you up, just ask. It’s hard…to ask. I know…I know so much…
Pray about it. Sit quietly and think about the people in your circle. That quiet friend who texts you prayers instead of posting them on Facebook. That social friend who always invites you for coffee, no matter how many times you say no. That outside circle friend who is always encouraging others.
Whatever your need looks like, whatever type of person you need, look around you. God has placed that exact person in your life.
And when you are ready, maybe you won’t even have to ask. Maybe someone will walk up beside you. Maybe someone already has.
Because when this season passes and you have made it through to the other side, someone who needs exactly what you can give will be in the middle of their season and it will be your time to minister to them.
And you can tell them….
It is not just okay, it is necessary…
It’s definitely been a Monday! Work is busy, home is busy and my DVR is so full I would love to do nothing but binge watch Bones for the next 3 days.
Also. It’s 10:15pm and I had really given up on writing a Day 12 post.
Then. My friend who blogs over at Plaidfuzz posted such a sweet comment on yesterday’s post.
Just a few words, just in time…
We all need encouragement. We all want to be told we are seen…heard…that the time we spend writing…or speaking…or teaching…or whatever you pour your heart into…that it matters.
Not just in a general sense. But in a specific, personal sense.
We all need this kind of encouragement, but how often do we stop thinking about the encouragement we need long enough to be the encourager?
I think most of us are probably good encouragers in the big life moments. When a friend is sick…when a co-worker gets a promotion…We do big well.
I also think we need encouragers most in the everyday. In those parenting moments when we aren’t sure if we made the right decision. When we invite a neighbor in and hope they don’t notice the dishes in the sink.
Encouraging someone takes just a moment. So why don’t we do it more often?
Is it because we think encouraging someone else takes something away from us?
Or maybe we aren’t getting the encouragement we need?
What if we were intentional about speaking those words into others lives in the areas we need encouragement in?
How would that change their lives? How would it change our lives?
Let’s try it – the only thing you have to lose is some kind words!!!