Sunday, October 31, 2010

An Update from the "wash-hands-room"

Before I moved to Asia and learned the local language, I remember someone telling me how fun it was to find interesting phrases that express ideas in the new language with delicate politeness. For me, the local language word for "bathroom" is one of those. It literally means "wash hands room" and is the more polite alternative to another local language phrase which literally means "get on the toilet." I just think it's nicer to use the more polite phrase!
That being said, that phrase accurately expresses some of this culture's habit of washing hands, especially in public places before you sit down to eat. Many restaurants have their hand-washing sinks separate from their bathrooms, since more people just want to wash their hands before eating. When we first arrived here almost 7 years ago, we spent a lot of time the first few weeks with a young college student. He took us all around town and we ate many meals together, and at every one, as soon as we had found a seat, we all got up and went to wash our hands. Part of this is because the environment here is just dirty. If you've taken public transportation, been out shopping, or whatever, trust me, your hands are dirty. Our family habit upon arriving home from anywhere is: 1. shoes off and in the "shoe closet" (a small cupboard near our front door), 2. Go to the bathroom and 3. Wash your hands with soap!
To finally get to the point of this post, Christin's progress in the "wash hands room" has been quite remarkable! I think I had extremely low expectations since it took Chloe more than a year to be fully trained...she did great with daytime dryness but naptimes and nighttime were harder for her. Also, whenever the family routine was disrupted significantly (there were many significant disruptions that year including several long trips, a new baby in the family, and a move to a different apartment) Chloe seemed to regress a little. So it's been a wonderful blessing to me that Christin has learned so quickly!
All that to say, Christin seems to do fine if we're out and about, if we're at someone else's home, and even at night. She was dry through the night very soon after starting training. PTL! I am so thankful for this blessing from the Lord since I had no idea when we started how it would go for her. It certainly helps that she has two older sisters and sees them use the wash-hands-room everyday. She is also quite verbal and so can tell us quickly if she needs help to use the bathroom.
Isn't that picture of Christin just too cute? It may be one of those that comes back to embarrass her when she's older, but right now I sure am proud of her for being such a big girl! She doesn't need the potty seat or anything anymore, just sometimes uses a stool to get up and down. Big girl Christin! Way to go!
PS Does anyone know why my paragraphs won't break? It seems to have something to do with the picture, (like when I add them picture it messes up the formatting) but the paragraph breaks are visible in the non-preview form, but when I preview it they disappear! Argh!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Friday (The Week in Review)

It's just after 9pm in our corner of the world, and the house is dark and quiet. Little girls have been settled in their beds, with cozy blankets and freshly-brushed teeth, clutching treasured items. The bedtime routine was followed precisely, down to the order in which kisses were given, the way the prayers were said, and the final words whispered before the door was closed. As I sit in my comfy chair, the clock, its sound loud in the stillness, is ticking with reassuring regularity, marking the passage of time. Another day, at the end of another week, is almost done.

It's been a good week at our home, though we have all been struggling with some sickness. Fall tends to bring congestion and cold symptoms with it as the weather changes. Everybody has been coughing and blowing noses this week! Thankfully though, no one has been seriously ill and so we've been drinking plenty of water and orange juice, getting extra rest, and taking things just a bit easy.

Home schooling was a real highlight this week for us. More and more, we are finding a good rhythm as a home school family. We are figuring out how to keep everyone involved when they are supposed to be involved and separating children/activities when they need to be separated. We did two very fun fall crafts this week: decorating pumpkins with glitter swirly designs (could there be anything more fun than glue and glitter on a pumpkin!), and making caramel apples today. We had a lovely time with both activities and I am thankful for the freedom and flexibility that home schooling allows me--even as we get established in a good rhythm it's great to be able to add in activities where we like!

The girls also seem to be enjoying school more. That is a wonderful blessing for me since that means their motivation to "do school" is higher and there are less struggles to get going in the morning. Chloe and Christin seem to want to participate in a lot of Clara Anne's activities, so I do my best to help them feel part of things in an age-appropriate way.

This past Tuesday, my friend Becky and I threw a baby shower for a friend who is about to welcome her baby into the world. My living room was packed full and definitely met the Asian standard of "hot and noisy." (It's their ideal when it comes to parties, celebrations, even dinner--if there's lots of people and they're all talking loudly, so much the better! Means everyone's having fun!) We ate cake, oohed and ahhed over a cute diaper cake Becky made, and had so much fun playing some games. The party was a big hit! Several friends said they had never been to such a fun party. It was a special blessing to share this with our friend and pray for her as she gets ready to have her baby.

Thursday morning I had to take Clara Anne and Christin to have a blood test done. Our American doctor, in looking at the results of their tests done last February, was concerned that both of them were borderline anemic. So he wanted us to do iron supplements for awhile and then retest. Though I wasn't sure exactly what I was doing, I managed to communicate what we needed and were in and out of the clinic in 30 minutes. Hopefully the results will show that there are no issues that need dealing with now.

We've had cool temperatures all week but the skies have been mostly sunny, what a huge blessing that is! I never take blue sky for granted any more! It's a blessing that we've seen so much of it this week.

Highlight of the week from Clara Anne: Christin was coughing and coughing one night so Clara Anne came into my room with Christin in tow to wake me and have me take care of her. I thought that was a very mature, big-sisterly thing to do! Clara Anne has also been leading the way in Scripture memory these days. She usually has hers down by the second day of practicing it!

from Chloe: Chloe is leading the "Blessing Points" chart that we have on the wall. Whenever a child does something remarkably wonderful--whether it be thoughtfully helping Mama without asking, being particularly diligent at a task, or having a cheerful heart in a difficult circumstance, that child gets a point. The points can be redeemed for such things as staying up 30 minutes late, choosing a special dessert, going with Mommy to get fingernails painted, those kinds of things. Chloe's been in the lead now for numerous weeks and keeps on getting more points, particularly for diligence in cleaning up toys. This used to be an area of struggle for her, so we praise the Lord for growth and change!

from Christin: Christin's word this week has been "really." For example: "I really want to play with the dolls, Mommy. " Or, "Mama, I really need you." She's so intent and serious when she says it, too! Lou managed to french braid her extremely fine hair today, it's darling. She's growing so quickly! Someone took my baby and replaced her with a little girl!

Speaking of those little girls, they are sleeping peacefully and it's time for me to do the same. Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Monday, October 25, 2010


After literally years of rumors, it is finally coming true...Starbucks is coming to our city! I didn't believe it until I saw the actual construction site and the poster with the oh-so-familiar logo and the blessedly fluent English across the bottom. But it's true! It's really happening!
We give this news the thumbs up! There had even been something in the newspaper lately about FIVE new Starbucks in our city, but I put no stock in it, figuring that I'd believe it when I saw it. Well, I've seen it now, at least one of them. The location is great, right in the downtown area, which happens to be only about a 15 minute bike ride away from our apartment. The word on the street is that it will open some time next month. We hope they'll make a city mug, too. Woo-hoo! Fun times!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Family, October 2010

This picture was taken during our staycation, on an outing to the zoo. The zoo in our city has had some improvements made in the last year or two and was surprisingly nice to visit this time! Several of the animal areas were newly redone and there is a lot of green space, walking paths, and open areas. Here, the girls had fun pretending they were riding Aslan! October 2010: Clara Anne, 5 years 9 months, Chloe, 4 years 3 months, and Christin, 2 years 6 months.

Conversations with Christin

As you might imagine, with three little girls around and a Mommy who likes to talk, sometimes it can be hard for us to all patiently wait our turn to speak what's on our minds. Christin is particularly frustrated with this because her verbal processing skills are as quick as her sisters', and they often have more to say. But she still wants her turn!

Sometimes when everyone is trying to talk at once, Christin will give an quick, emphatic, "SHH!" while pointing at the person who is speaking while she wants to speak. This is usually met with some laughter, though it's on the verge of being rude. We'll have to be careful about that! But it expresses her thoughts accurately..."please be quiet! It's my turn!"

Recently after a nap, instead of just getting up and making her way out of her room, I heard Christin crying a bit and talking to herself in her bed. I went to see what was the matter. Here's how the conversation went:

Me: Christin, did you wake up? You don't need to cry! [hugs]

Christin: [snuffles and smiles]

Me: Do you want to keep on sleeping or do you want to get up and play?

Christin: I want to talk!

Me: Really? What do you want to talk about?

Christin: I want to tell a story.

Me: Ok, tell Mommy your story and I will listen. What is the story about?

At that point she launched into a long story which had to with her waking up because Chloe got off the bed and left the room, so when the door opened she saw light out in the hall, and that woke her up, but she was glad that the pictures didn't fall off the wall (previously we had trouble with some framed cross-stitched pieces falling and breaking, very startling for everyone!), and on and on she went. I was so surprised that she could sustain her train of thought for this long!

Isn't it funny that talking was more important to Christin in that moment than sleeping or playing? She's my verbal girl! It's been so precious to see her using those verbal skills also for Scripture memory...she's keeping even with Clara Anne and Chloe in number of verses memorized (we work on them all together). How sweet it is to hear her little voice saying things like "The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul. The testimonies of the Lord are sure, making wise the simple. Psalm 19:7."

Christin makes us laugh almost every day with her funny sayings. Now if only everyone else would quiet down enough to hear them--it's her turn to talk!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Lakeside Fun and the Little Boat that Couldn't

During our staycation, high on our list of Out-n-About activities was a trip to the lake. There is a lake in the center of our city; the city has grown up around it, so to speak. It has recently been expanded and really has some lovely landscaping, pretty paths, and of course the traditional asian chintzy amusement park type rides. Instead of Six Flags, it's more like One Flag. Or maybe a half.
Anyway, we had this great idea. "Let's pack a picnic, go to the lake, rent a boat for an hour, then go out and eat our lunch on the boat! We'll have privacy, it'll be fun to be out on the water, and it'll be restful and relaxing!"
Not so fast! We arrived at the lake and went directly to the boat rental place, only to discover that we weren't allowed to rent a boat that day. "What? Why?" we asked. The best answer we got (after much discussion) was that the leader in charge of boat rentals called and said, "Don't rent any boats." And that was that. They had no idea when, if ever, boat rentals would again be allowed. We tried to protest: "but we see other boats already on the lake!" "Yes, but we cannot rent you a boat. We don't know why." Argh!

So, on to plan B. (There hadn't been a plan B until that moment.) We made the rounds to all of the "exciting" rides, and as is typical when we are out as a family on a day off, had a fun time anyway. Skip over this first picture and look at some highlights of our day out below. . . Just a perk of living where we pictures with the stone lion 10x our size; he was one of a pair "guarding" the entrance to the lake. Cute Chloe!

Just inside the front entrance, there was a huge flower display celebrating the national holiday. This feat was accomplished all with potted plants! I think the girls are pretty, too. :)
Following the path down to the lake. . .
Christin had fun hopping her way down.
If you can believe it, this was an average day of pollution. The sun was still shining (albeit dimly) through the haze, but as you look in the distance, it's obvious how much pollution is in the air. Exhibit A: (There is a large downtown area with many tall buildings and mountains behind that that should be visible; obviously on this day you can only see the first row of closest buildings.)
Having fun climbing on the "ancient" architecture. (Most, if not all, of the buildings at the lake have been remodeled to look old. They are beautiful!)

This mom and daughter were having fun watching my girls play. I just had to snap a picture of this fun hairstyle!
Yes! The Carousel! It may not be Disneyland's Cinderella Carousel, but don't tell my girls. They think it's great! And it is pretty fun. There are no lines and the girls get a nice long ride!

Even Christin had fun. . . as long as Daddy was right next to her!

Clara Anne convinced me to go on this tilt-n-spin ride; it was fun to do that with her! For balance purposes (I assume, no explanation was given) that huge stuffed teddy bear was put in behind me. Fun times!

For the first time, we stopped to see a seal show. No one else was around, but as we paid the fee and entered the seal was pretty excited to see us. A performance for him meant lots of tasty fish to eat! The seal trainer, on the other hand, seemed pretty bored and was merely going through the motions. The facility wasn't so great either, take a look at this ceiling:
But, nothing collapsed around us so we settled in to enjoy the show which was put on for just our family. Here's the performance area:
The audience, doing its best to cheer on the seal. I especially love Christin's expression. She dutifully clapped her hands with the rest of us!

Way to go, seal! Nice work! Have some raw fish!

So that was a glimpse at the fun we had while waiting to see if the boat-renting-boss would call back and say it was ok for them to rent out boats again. No go still, so we found a place to sit down and enjoy our picnic lunch. I had packed crackers and a cheese ball, slices of salami, apple slices and even some Jelly Bellys for a little treat. It was yummy, the weather was pleasant, the only thing better would have been to be out on the water. Then, just as we were finishing eating, a man came running up to us and said that we could rent a boat now! Woo-hoo! We made our way over to the rental area, noticing that the park had cleared out noticably. See those little specks of pink and blue in the picture below? That's my kids, running free! There were no crowds! In our city of 6 million people, that almost never happens. How refreshing!

Of course, the day wouldn't have been complete without some mangling of the English language. "For safety, please don't across the cordon.!" But then there was no cordon there!

We finally got in a boat which the manager said was one of the faster ones (they were all electric motors), and headed out for the other side of the lake. The picture at the top of the post is the only one I took of us on the boat itself. We had a lovely time, floating quietly through pretty channels, under bridges, admiring the landscaping and design and feeling relaxed out on the water. But, we only had the boat for an hour and so soon it was time to head back. As we were trying to head back, John kept commenting how it seemed like the boat was going slower and slower. At first I thought he was overreacting, but then even I started to notice that we were hardly getting anywhere. Thankfully by this time we were almost back, but it really seemed like the motor had almost no power! As we finally got towards the dock, the manager turned on some other boats to move them over and make room for us to park, and our boat could not overcome that little bit of wake in order to get to the dock! We shouted to him what the problem was, and he seemed irritated and skeptical, perhaps thinking that we just didn't know how to drive.
Finally, though, even he could see that we truly could not get the boat to the dock, and came out on another boat. He pulled up alongside us, helped us transfer to the new boat, then he took the old (now almost completely non-functioning) boat and tried to bring it into the docking area. No success! He then turned and offered for us to take this boat out for another half hour or so, and as we began to move away I threw one more glance over my shoulder. The last thing I saw was the manager trying to use a metal pole to row his way into the docks! Oh my! It was the funniest thing I'd seen in quite some time!
So, despite the little boat that actually couldn't, we had a lovely time at the lake. We're just thankful that we were almost back when the problem happened! I am not sure what we would have done if we were out in the middle of the lake when it conked out on us. But all's well that ends well, and we had a fun day. Lots of fresh air (well, relatively, anyway) and exercise meant that everyone slept well that night!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Thoughts on Hospitality

Hospitality is a big part of our work here in Asia. Today I read a post over at on the topic of hospitality, and it prompted some thoughts in me. I thought the author did a wonderful job of sharing not only practical tips when it comes to hospitality, but also reminding us of the heart that is behind hospitality. In welcoming people into our home, we want them to see our heart for Jesus, our love for our family, and our care and concern for them as our guests.

Living here has really taught me a lot about hospitality. We have been the recipients of it many, many, many times. I have had to learn how to graciously accept others' efforts to welcome me, even if it meant the menu wasn't to my liking (I've been served eel, cicadas, and all sorts of seafood) or the setting wasn't comfortable for me personally. I have also sought to make others feel welcome in my home. While it's wonderful to welcome guests into a neat, clean, fragrant, well-kept home, it is also wonderful to learn to welcome the friend that stops by when I'm in the middle of homeschooling and there is STUFF everywhere, or the neighbor upstairs who came by when I was still in my bathrobe in the morning!

My goal in hospitality is ultimately to bring glory to the Lord. I want others to feel His love and His care when they walk through my door. In our context, that means several things. Culturally, we change our shoes when entering someone's home. (Usually. I have been in homes where they have insisted that I didn't need to change my shoes. But unless the floor was concrete, I still changed my shoes. :)) This just has to do with the fact that the outside streets are dirty. So, it's nice to have some slippers available for guests, especially during the wintertime when the floors are cold.

As well, many people who visit are coming from public transportation or bike riding where your hands truly get dirty, so the first thing many people do upon arriving in a home (after changing your shoes) is to wash your hands. I always try to make sure there is a fresh towel and plenty of handsoap available, as well as turn on the bathroom light since our lightswitch is located in a strange place. As well in the bathroom, it's helpful to have the waste basket in an obvious location (many toilets in this country cannot handle paper being flushed down them) and the toilet paper in plain view. (Believe me, I have been in bathrooms where this was not the case! There's nothing worse than having a need for some toilet paper and there is absolutely NONE in sight!!)

Third, in this culture you will be offered something to drink (usually something as simple as hot water) as soon as you arrive in someone's home. I really appreciate this cultural habit and have made a practice of it with my guests as well. Again, many people have come by foot, bike, or bus, and often may be honestly thirsty upon arrival but are too embarassed to say so. So I try to offer a beverage as soon as possible. I keep a drawer stocked with coffee (including the instant Nestle stuff that I don't drink unless it's an emergency, but keep on hand for guests), black, green, and herbal tea. It's fun to have a variety to offer. I also usually keep a few baked goods (cookies or bars) in my freezer; it is easy to pull out a dozen or so, place them on a pretty platter or tray, and within 15 minutes they are ready to eat.

Practicing hospitality does take some extra work and thought on my part, especially in regards to the food and preparation of it. Many "convenience" foods are not available here. For example, if I want to serve Mexican food, I must make the tortillas and salsa from scratch. I need to grate the cheese, make the sour cream by combining vinegar and heavy cream, and chop the bell peppers, onions, and meat. Thankfully, I have a house helper, who can do much of that prep work for me, but I still need to direct and lead her. I also need to think about practical realities like "how will I serve this to x-number of people? Will everything be hot? How long will it take me to get it all on the table?" All of this should be thought through beforehand. I have found that better pre-planning makes me a more gracious hostess, since I'm not thinking about a thousand things the moment all of my guests arrive!

Many people are shy to have others in their home because they're concerned about the neatness/messiness of their homes, feeling embarassed about clutter, dust, or whatever. One resource that helped me get into a good daily routine for cleaning and organizing is Actually I haven't looked at her site for a few years but just after I had Clara Anne, I was following her routines more specifically and it helped me get a handle on what needed to be done when in order to keep my home "company-ready." One of her main philosophies was that a little bit of cleaning, every day, was better than one all-out "I'm going to get this bathroom clean if it takes me all day" sort of attitude. Staying caught up on the dishes, a quick swipe of the bathroom every day, sweeping "the middles"; ideas like that really helped me. Maybe it will be helpful to you too!

One final resource I must mention is a book: Practicing Hospitality by Pat Ennis and Lisa Tatlock. I have only just begun reading this book, but the authors really do a great job of examining the biblical mandate for practicing hospitality and giving lots of practical suggestions for how to do it. I recommend it highly!

Since my main ministry is in and through our home, and I have three daughters, the art of hospitality is something that I want to not only do well but teach the girls how to do well. On Tuesday nights when we host other moms for a study, and they bring their kids who invariably destroy the girls' room by taking out every toy and tossing it around the room, it can be a challenge to remember our goals in hospitality! By the time everyone leaves it is often 9:30pm or later, and then to have to spend 45-60 minutes putting the house back together is a task that no one particularly enjoys. But in those moments I try to remind the girls (even as I check my own attitude) that we are trying to show Jesus' love to these moms. A little clean-up time is a small thing compared to the impact that we are hoping will be happening in their hearts. Cleaning up with a cheerful heart, and continuing to invite them back week after week, is a very practical way to show hospitality!

The article I read tonight was entitled "Humble Hospitality." I think that's what it really comes down to. . . being humble and learning to think of others above myself. Being willing to put for the extra effort and energy to show others God's love through my home. Learning to anticipate their needs, showing care and concern by asking them questions, reaching out in Jesus' name, these are some of my goals in practicing hospitality.

How about you? Do you enjoy hospitality? (Or are you learning to enjoy it?) Do you have any practical tips to share?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Let's Go Fly a Kite!

One of the activities we wanted to do on our staycation was to go fly a kite! We had bought a kite when we were in a nearby city waiting for Christin to be born, 2.5 years ago, and I don't know if we've flown it since then! So it was time to try it again. We took the kite to an open city square in order to have plenty of space. It was a regular workweek for most people, so the space was delightfully empty! Christin insisted on wearing her sunglasses. I remember when the outfit she's wearing fit Clara Anne! Oh my, where does the time go! John is unfurling the kite behind her.
We're hip! And cool! . . . well, sort of. I sort of think Christin looks like a Mary Kay consultant in that pink "suit." Funny girl!
There was great anticipation as Daddy got it all ready to go.

Hold on, girls! Get ready, get set. . .

The day was a bit smoggy, as you can see from this picture, though by our standards this is a fairly clear day. But, the wind didn't cooperate! Every time John got the kite up, it would only stay up if he ran around with it. The breeze just wasn't quite strong enough. But that was fine, since it's the getting it up that's the fun part!
Running after the kite as it floats up into the sky was great fun and good exercise! The girls ran all over and had a great time. It's fun to fly a kite!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Thoughts about the Shred

"Train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come." I Timothy 4:7b-8

Tonight I finished the 30 day Shred. I didn't finish it in 30 days, but pretty close--I got derailed a bit by a combination of a bad cold and a trip out of town. But, I picked it back up again and finally finished it tonight!

As the time went by as I was exercising, I had lots of thoughts and questions about it, that ranged from "why am I doing this crazy thing?!" to "Wow, this is really hard. Is it worth it?" to "I really feel stronger and more fit! It's great!" So I thought I'd share a few thoughts about it tonight.

First of all, it must be acknowledged right up front that the worldview of the people leading this video and my worldview couldn't be more different. I am not concerned with impressing others, having a "hot" dent in the back of my bum, or attaining some supposed standard of physical beauty. (Or, at least, I shouldn't be concerned with those things!) I am, however, concerned with maintaining my physical health for the glory of God and the good of my family, having energy for my husband and kids, being a good steward of my physical body, and ultimately trusting the Lord for health and strength.

Because, guess what? Eventually we are all going to grow old and die, unless Jesus returns first. All of us, no matter how physically fit and strong, (Even miss Jillian herself!) will one day weaken, sag, wrinkle, and so on. However, that's not an excuse to be lazy or eat junk food. It's just the reality of life in this world. My brother Dan was in excellent physical health when he discovered he was in stage four melanoma in December of 2001. He was always very active, a physical education major in college, and even to the end of his battle with cancer his heart was beating strong and in very good shape. But finally the Lord called him home on his 33rd birthday, March 20, 2003. All of his physical fitness could not "save" him, but praise the Lord the blood of Jesus could, and did!

So, as I've been exercising, I've been mulling over these things. Why did I start it in the first place? Well, my friend Becky had done it and enjoyed it. I thought it sounded like a good challenge, and wanted to give my system a bit of a boost. Lately I've also been aware of the years creeping up on seems as I get older I can practically feel my metabolism slowing. I thought the combination of strength training, cardio, and ab work sounded great. And, to top it all off, it was only a 20 minute workout! What a plus!

Initially I was surprised at the intensity of the workouts. I thought I was in pretty good shape from all my bike riding and the other workout dvd I had been using. Not quite! The first day I got up and did it at 6am without any breakfast or even a drink of water first, that was a mistake! It took me several hours to feel normal again, whew. But as the workouts progressed, I did start to see how my endurance was building and felt like I was doing better. I also didn't do any more early morning workouts! In fact, my usual time was in the evening, after the girls went to bed. If I knew my evening was busy, I tried to get it in during the late afternoon.

Though the workout was only 20 minutes, I found I needed about an hour each day to get it done--by the time I set up the computer, my mat and weights, and changed my clothes beforehand, and then afterwards putting things away and taking a shower (definitely needed, I was always dripping with sweat after the workouts!). So, that's not an insignificant time committment but I found I was able to do it.

I did find that discipline in that area of my life--exercise--led to discipline in other areas as well. I was less likely to overeat, I was more likely to protect my morning times with the Lord...just living a more disciplined life was helpful. Maybe you all have experienced this too!

Though I didn't really lose weight during the 30 days, that was not my goal. I do feel like I got stronger and toned up some, and I did enjoy the challenge of it and may even continue it in the future as a good workout routine. I do want to honor the Lord with my physical body and do what I can to stay healthy and well. I am thankful for the Lord's strength to persevere and finish the program!

How about you all? Have any of you done the shred? (I still think it's a silly name. For me it conjures up images of torn, bloody muscles...or fingers accidently rubbed across the grater...or....ick!) What have been your experiences? Leave a comment and share!