Blog Archives

Head On

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Head On

On Friday, my chores included riding the lawn tractor around the property picking up limbs, leaves, trash and other debris. I was finishing up just as it was getting dark. There were a couple of pieces of trash on the corner end of our yard which is next to the road. I stopped, picked them up, threw them in the trailer attached to the mower, checked both ways and drove the lawn tractor up and on the road. I had the headlights on and as soon as I made it on the road a semi-truck turned and began driving toward me. I was a spot where I couldn’t stop or pull back in the yard because of a steep grade and tried to figure out how far I had to go before me and the large truck would be at an impasse. I was going as fast as I dared and the semi didn’t seem to be slowing down. With my limited headlights on, while being blinded by the brightness of his, I searched for a location to pull back into the yard. Looking, longing, becoming anxious at the thought of being flattened by the truck I found a safe place to get off the road and avoid anymore; “playing chicken with motor vehicle” scenarios.

After breathing a sigh of relief I reflected on my; “Fast and Furious” moment. There are times, on the road of life, where there is little light by which to see. We are blinded by what’s coming our way and helpless to stop it. We do everything we can to find a safe place but disaster, danger, difficulties are looming and we don’t know if we’ll make it. Sometimes, at the last moment, we discover a safe spot a place out of danger. Other times we keep going, hoping, praying, there’s more strength, power, and courage in us than we’d ever imagine.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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In Time

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In Time

I was talking with a friend the other day about getting older. She’s in her fifties and I’m in my middle forties. We were comparing grunts, groans, aches, pains, hurts, everyday stiffness and general uncomfortableness. I remember being told when in my thirties that once you hit 40; “It’s all downhill from there!” Admittedly forties have been rougher on my body than ever before but the fifty-year-olds are telling me; “Wait until you’re 50! It’s all downhill from there!” Just when I’m about to get to the top of the hill and ready to roll down the other side they keep adding more hill to climb.

I heard someone say the other day; “You just get used to some hurts and pains and learn to live with them. It’s life.” I believe there is a lot of truth in this statement. We all walk different paths, have dissimilar experiences and what we go through at a particular point in our lives doesn’t necessarily mean we can predict what others will encounter at the same point in their lives.

Wisdom tells us the aches and pains, joys and blessings of life are unpredictable and our only real choice is to accept or fight when and what the path brings us.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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To Trust, To Share

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To Trust, To Share

This afternoon I was in Lewisburg, Tennessee for a meeting. I arrived early along with several other people and we were sharing with each other big and small life events which have happened recently. There were several birthdays which happened in January, someone had gotten married, another person was recently engaged and other good news passed along to the group.

We know deep down that other people have lives we know nothing about. We understand that friends, acquaintances, even family members are experiencing things on the road of life that we may never know unless they choose to share.

Too often we are absorbed in our own worlds and forget about the countless worlds of others which surround us.  Sometimes this focus on ourselves isn’t selfishness but survival. We are going through challenges, fighting battles and just trying to stay alive. Sometimes we are myopic and consumed with whatever is happening in our lives there’s not room for others.

Life is sharing, connecting, enjoying and struggling with those with whom we share the road of life. Good and bad, negative and positive or somewhere in between when we open our stories to others and they, in turn, trust us with theirs relationships happen.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Memories and a Christmas Cactus

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Memories and a Christmas Cactus

My riend Mary, before she passed away, gave us a Christmas cactus. This year it’s finally bloomed. The simple beauty reminds me of her. My Facebook places memories on my start page and two days ago they were of the winter we brought Mary up to our house in Pennsylvania and she stayed with us for the winter. Mary, it seems, is making her presence known to us this Christmas season.

My wife had a birthday yesterday and we had a fun time joking she was rolling down the hill to a big age milestone. We also talked seriously of life and its quick passing. Death, whenever it comes, is closer than ever.

Wisdom teaches us to number our days. This is not a morbid discipline but a joyous one. Each day is precious, not one is to be taken for granted. We are to enjoy and embrace every day as a gift, like the Christmas cactus blooms and pictures which seem from a lifetime ago.

blessings,
@BrianLoging
thewannabesaint.com

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Warmth

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Warmth

The struggle is real! This morning it was 7 degrees outside. 7! Being Sunday this morning also means community worship at church. The blankets pulled up as I sat on the couch, the heating pad on high, a cup of coffee and the thought; “It’s too cold to go anywhere!” was running through my mind.

Beth, however, got up, began to get ready and this meant; “Up and at em!” So, on this frigid morn, we made our way over still partially snow-covered roads to church. We were running a little late but as we walked into the sanctuary we were right on time for communion. The pastor was quoting the familiar phrases and verses to prepare our souls for this sacred moment as we found our seats.

The elements (small pieces of unleavened bread and grape juice) were passed around to everyone and together we celebrated the; “The Lord’s Supper.  (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eucharist).” As we digested the tiny morsel of bread and the taste of the grape juice was dancing on my tongue I felt, as John Wesley famously said; “My heart strangely warmed. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aldersgate_Day)” and was thankful to be among the people of God this cold, wintry morning.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Going

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Going

The sight and sounds of it are everywhere. Even though it has been cold today with temps staying in the low 20’s, the sun has shone most of the day and the melting of the snow we received Thursday and Friday has begun. Each time I take the dog outside, more and more of it has retreated from the rooftops, tree limbs, sidewalks, and grass. The frigid air cannot stop the heat from the light of the sun, cannot stop the snow from going.

There’s wisdom in the mud and leftover, soon to be gone, snow. Nothing lasts. Whether beauty or ugliness it all will pass and soon there’ll be no trace of it. It’s the same with the storms and seasons which we encounter on the path of life. Whether attractive like the snow or repulsive as the mud, all must be accepted and allowed to endure for their time.

Life is nothing if not always transitioning. Each moment, season, lifetime, is fleeting. Welcome with open hand and do not grasp as it goes away.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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The End

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The End

Today is the end of 2016. Fittingly it is a rainy, messy, lazy, stay inside type of day. 2016 has seemed to be filled with more bad than good, negative than positive, a seismic movement towards evil leaving good behind. Even as I write the last sentence images of natural disaster, murders, political theater in the absurd, and the death of people everyone knew and those who impacted lives on a less grand scale but no less important to the ones who still mourn their loss.

Also, as I blog this post it is my understanding that not everyone sees 2016 the same way. Some people had a worse year than what I’m describing and others a wonderful year full of blessings, answers to prayer and enjoyment.

My feeling of the year which has passed is a general feeling of woe for our country and world. Myopically 2016 wasn’t a bad year. Personally, I am still blessed with the most wonderful wife a man could be married to, a job that has seen a lot of changes but an enormous amount of good done for others, a house far from perfect but feels more like home each day, and cast of good people I consider my family and friends.

I continue to pray, hope and seek help for my Major Depressive Disorder and Anxiety Disorder. For the first time, I feel my meds, therapy, and personal recovery are headed in the right direction. The diseases I fight are not and will never be easy but having people who care enough to keep fighting with you makes the battles less scary and victory more likely.

So, here’s to 2016, may it rest in peace.  2017? Here’s hoping you’re better than I’m expecting.

blessings,
BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Small

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Small

Last night a front of mighty thunderstorms came roaring into our area. They were complete with strong winds, many lightning strikes, hail and a couple of hours worth of a drenching rain.

There are not too many other things which can make you feel small like a thunderstorm. The sheer power puts you in a state of awe. The four elder trees on our property which are at least 40 feet tall were shaking as though they were saplings. The water which fell made a stream where there had been only dry land. The wind blowing loosened and felled many branches while shaking the house.

Beth and I could only watch, listen and hope nothing would be damaged by the storm. We were safe as possible and everything else in our lives is replaceable. After a while, the storms passed and this morning I walked out to survey any lasting impact from the night before. Nothing more than a few limbs downed and dirt from the driveway moved about.

Wisdom teaches us that storms come into the lives of the “good” and the “bad”. They blow us around and seem to shake the very foundations of where we place our faith and hope. Storms make us feel small, insignificant and powerless. Wisdom tells us that’s one of the benefits of experiencing storms. Too often we forget how weak we truly are and storms bring; humility, silence, and teach us appreciation for what we should value and a thankful spirit when what we love most isn’t swept away.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
http://www.thewannabesaint.com

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Using Your Head

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Using Your Head

It’s 70 degrees today! Almost January and balmy. Beth and I decided to take advantage of the day by working outside. Perfect weather with a little sun, a few clouds and a nice breeze. Everything was going smoothly until walking off the side of the porch I misjudged the sloped roof and whacked my head on a beam. “OUCH!” After rubbing the area which was throbbing and walking around a bit I decided to nail up a piece of material to mark where the beam was so I wouldn’t repeat the experience.

Wisdom teaches us that sometimes we are going to make mistakes, poor judgments, take a step in the wrong direction, not use our heads for what they were made for; thinking and making wise decisions. However, this isn’t the end of the journey. It’s a time for evaluation, choosing a different course, using the experience as a lesson learned and, hopefully, not repeated.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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A Strange Season

A Strange Season

When I was growing up Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were filled with family, food and gifts. We were at one grandmother’s house on Christmas Eve and the other on Christmas Day. In between was the opening of gifts followed by a big breakfast with my parents. It was a special time and for me never to be repeated.

People say the magic of Christmas is lost as you enter your teens and twenties but can be recaptured when you have children and eventually grandchildren. The joy, excitement, anticipation in a child’s eyes can reignite the ember within. Christmas can also transform into a time of being with family and friends. Instead of gifts you open your hearts to others and allow relationships to be renewed.

Beth and I don’t have any children so recapturing the Christmas Spirit this way isn’t an option. We live near Beth’s family and she loves spending time with them. Her Christmas Spirit is almost always burning brightly. She comes from a large family who welcome me with plenty of love and open arms but the amount of people in a confined location triggers my social anxiety. I’ve tried a few times in different settings to be a part but it’s difficult to be comfortable while fighting a real battle on the inside.

So, Christmas has become a strange time for me. I have not given up hope for the return of the Christmas Spirit. I am thankful for it being on a Sunday this year and the chance to celebrate it with others. I’m also thankful for a wonderful wife who supports me and the challenges I try to overcome each day. Knowing when to push, when to hold, attempting to understand what I have a hard time describing. She is my greatest gift.

Blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Where there’s Smoke…

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Where there’s Smoke…

Our little old farmhouse doesn’t have central heat and air. We hope to add it one day but there are several other home improvements we’d like to make before investing in a unit and duct work. During the summer we use window air conditioner units and in the winter we have a few space heaters plus a Kerosene heater for the main front rooms. It works well enough for now and does a good job keeping the cool at bay.

Last night, after we finished sitting around the fire-pit for a while we came inside and I lit the Kerosene heater. I went into another room and it wasn’t long before Beth was yelling my name; “Brian! There’s smoke, lots of smoke, everywhere!” I came running into the living room and she was right, the heater was putting out black smoke which was filling the room. I quickly took the heater outside, we opened all the windows in the three rooms the smoke was residing and put fans in them to help draw out the unwanted ash cloud. It didn’t take long to clear and for our hearts to begin beating at a normal rhythm again.

Though we like the Kerosene heater, the trick is getting the wick lit and the container which fits around and over it set just right. If you aren’t careful you can end up with rooms full of black smoke or worse. It was a good lesson in paying attention and making sure something which needed to be done specifically and correctly was done so.

As the fans hummed drawing out the smoke and soot last night I thought about how careless we are in other areas of life. There are times when we don’t handle things rightly, correctly, carefully and making sure what we do doesn’t end up making a big mess.

Wisdom, mindfulness, tells us to focus on what we are doing, presently, in the now. Lesson learned, again, yesterday.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Zap!

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Zap!

Several weeks ago, before our first cold weather of the season, we brought in the flowers which aren’t made to withstand winter’s wrath. Unfortunately, we forgot to bring in several Aloe vera plants (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aloe_vera). They look terrible; drooped over, a brownish green, with no signs of vitality or health. The question is; “Did the winter weather zap these plants with enough cold that there is no hope for revitalization?”  We’re going to put them on a counter in the kitchen that gets plenty of sun for the rest of the winter to find out. Hopefully, with care and attention, they’ll bounce back.

Wisdom teaches us that life and its harsh seasons can zap us too! In one we’re thriving then another comes full of challenges and difficulties and the vitality and health seem to be drained from us. We may wonder; “Is there any hope? Will we bounce back? How much can we take before it’s too much?

Like the Aloe vera plants, wisdom tells us to find a place to recuperate. We are to care for ourselves paying attention to the damaged places and let time, rest and the warmth of love and grace help us recover.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Seeing Clearly

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Seeing Clearly

Yesterday morning, between sessions with a couple and an individual, I walked out to my truck to get some face lotion. During the winter months, my face has severe dry spots which require lotion every day. However, I usually forget when getting ready so I have an extra container of lotion in the cab of my truck. I opened the door, took off my glasses, grabbed the lotion container and began to apply it to my face.

It was cold standing out in the parking lot so I thought I’d finish inside. The difficulty was that I couldn’t put my glasses on until the lotion was fully absorbed. Everything was blurry as I locked and closed the truck door, and began walking back to my office. It didn’t take long for my limited peripheral vision to notice a car pulling into a nearby spot. It startled me because I couldn’t tell how close or far I was from being run over! Fortunately for me, the driver saw me and was sure not to knock me across the parking lot.

After I finished applying the lotion to my face I thought about times in life when we don’t see clearly. We are stumbling, bumbling around and bound to get into trouble if someone doesn’t watch out for and help us. Not being able to see clearly is difficult and dangerous. Hopefully, others will help guide us along life’s path and we’ll be on the look out for those whom we can do the same.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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All that’s Left

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All that’s Left

A nasty cold front moved through our area last night and it is cold outside today! The temps haven’t ventured out of the 20’s with a stiff wind and layer of ice covering the places rain fell as the temperatures plummeted.

As the arctic blast forced its way through Tennessee mighty winds shook the big Oak tree just outside our front door. For several hours we’d hear crashes on the tin covering our front porch or in the yard. Each time we’d grab the flashlight, peek outside and see another dead limb had fallen. Our Oak tree for all its beauty, has many branches, big and small, no longer alive that need to come down and the storm, for all its ferocity, did a good job at shaking these limbs from their place among the live ones.

As I stood outside today, letting the dog run, sniff and explore the patches of ice that litters the ground, I thought about life and the storms we face. Most often we do not welcome storms, we do not ask to be shaken, blown back and forth. We like stillness, security and the sense our lives are not in danger of being knocked over. However, if we are self-aware we also recognize that many times it takes these unwanted storms to rid us of the dead, unneeded things of life. The winds may threaten to topple us but they also dislodge places in which we’re stuck.

All that’s left from the storm last night is picking up the branches in the yard. May it also be this way in our lives.

blessings,
@BrianLoging
thewannabesaint.com

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Reckless

Culpeper Reckless Driving Lawyer

Reckless

Yesterday, on my way to the county recycling and refuse collection center with a truck full of yard debris and household trash, I was descended upon by a small blue four-door sedan. I was going slow because of the junk in the back of the truck and then slowed down again when the speed limit was reduced to thirty miles per hour.  The car behind me was in a hurry and even though we were on a small, two-lane, curvy double lined road and there was a car approaching from the opposite direction the sedan began to pass me! He didn’t have room to pass and no reason to put us all in jeopardy so I sped up a bit to hopefully give him pause to resume his position behind me. This didn’t work, I put on the brakes, he flew past me with not much room to spare from a head-on collision with the car in the adjacent lane. I was more than agitated and honked the horn while giving him a; “What was the reason for that kind of recklessness” gesture?

I arrived at the refuse and recycle center, unloaded the truck and on my way back to the house I thought about the sheer ridiculousness of the driver. He put his life, the life of the driver of the other vehicle, and mine in danger to arrive mere seconds ahead of when he would have arrived if he’d chosen to drive safer acknowledging the value of his life and those around him.

What if there had been a wreck? How many people, family, and friends, would’ve been impacted because of his impatience? Too often, we are only concerned with our agenda, our list, what we “have to” get done. Driven by our busyness, our over packed, over-stuffed schedules we lose sight of others and ourselves. The eventual result is wrecked lives, a loss of what’s most important and the love and grace we should have for one another.

blessings,
@BrianLoging
thewannabesaint.com

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Upside Down

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Upside Down

Today, I cleaned out our garden boxes in which we grow fruits and veggies during the summer. We are going to recycle the soil and the dried out vines and stalks were placed in the burn barrel. As I was placing some of the soil into my lawn tractor’s trailer I saw spied something light-colored against the dark brown of the dirt. I looked closer, wiping away the soil and discovered it was a Salamander (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salamander). At first, I thought it was dead but while removing the rest of the debris it began to move. I held it as gently as I could and took it to another place where there was ample space to find a new home.

Returning to my work I thought about the Salamander and how, like it,  there have been times in my life where my whole world was turned upside down. Snuggled in the normal rhythm of everyday life, minding my own business when someone or something turned all I knew, trusted, relied upon on its head and before I knew it, home was neither home nor sweet.

It takes time to get used to the “new” normal. There’s a grieving process when we accept that what once was will never be again…ever. Wisdom tells us that life passes, changes, transitions, grows, dies, moves, is never stagnant. In spite of this, we still take for granted so many people and things which are fragile and destined not to last.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Helping Those Who Hurt

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Helping Those Who Hurt –

I have a friend who did something nice for someone last week and instead of being thanked was criticized for not doing it the way the person who needed assistance wanted it done.

We live in a world that is more divided every day. People are scared and worried about the political climate, climate change, terrorism, being harmed by one of more of the countless painful and hurtful things which exist in our world.

The only way to combat the darkness of our world is with the light of kindness, grace, presence and giving. Humility, gracefully receiving another’s selfless gift, is key to our life’s candle being lit so we can, in turn, light another.

We cannot do this if we are critical of the way our needs are met. This is like blowing out a candle being offered in the darkness.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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No Escape

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No Escape

This morning, on my way into the worship center, I was greeted by a gentleman I’ve talked to many times. He’s a nice guy and does a lot for the church and community. However, he can also be described as a “close talker” (http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Close%20talker).

A close talker is someone who has a small personal space. They don’t mind getting real near when they are speaking. I, on the other hand, have a social anxiety disorder, along with being claustrophobic. My personal space is huge and as this guy pushed in, I pulled away. I try to be aware that my personal space is bigger than others and do my best to compensate but I felt like we were dancing. He stepped toward me, I stepped back. We repeated this process until I was almost out of the worship center doors. I am still unsure whether he ever picked up on my uncomfortableness with him invading what is sacred to me.

There was/is no animosity towards this man. He was asking for some assistance and I was glad to help. It was, however, a good reminder that when we seek to connect with one another we must be aware of ourselves and the other so both can benefit from being together.

blessings,
@BrianLoging
thewannabesaint.com

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Flies and Sweet Tea

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Flies and Sweet Tea

On Friday, midway through raking and mowing the front lawn, I stopped and went inside, fixed myself a ham sandwich, a large cup with a lid, of iced tea, and went outside to have lunch on the porch. After finishing the sandwich I still had some tea and let it sit while wrapping up the chores for the day. Heading back inside I grabbed the cup of tea, took a big swig of drink satisfied with the accomplishments of the day.

Inside I took a shower, went back into the kitchen and refilled my cup with ice and more tea. For the next hour or so drank, worked on my blog and other things waiting for Beth to come home from work. When she arrived we discussed what to have for dinner, decided on something easy and fast, cooked it and was ready to eat. Before heading into the living room with my dinner plate I took the lid off of my cup of tea to add some ice and that’s when I saw it! A fly had somehow gotten into it, I assume by crawling through the straw when I had left it on the porch. From then until I spied it I had been drinking while the fly, and all that came with it was drowning. At least I didn’t swallow it!

I showed it to Beth and she was grossed out. I thought it was funny. We both thought I should get a new cup. I’ve thought about that insect several times over the last few days. What’s interesting is I didn’t know the fly was in there and so it didn’t bother me having a drinking buddy. However, when I finally did see it, something needed to be done.

Wisdom teaches us that we are learning, absorbing like a sponge, whatever we come in contact with, surround ourselves with every moment of each day. I often tell my clients; “WHAT you do, think, choose today is WHO you’ll be tomorrow.” Self-awareness comes when we are humble enough to take the lid off of our closed lives and look inside. What we find there will be good and not so good. True self-awareness is doing what we do well and improving upon what we could do better.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Cleaning

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Cleaning

Today was a wasted day or a restful day depending on how you look at it. It was cloudy, cool, started raining a few hours ago and hasn’t stopped. As someone who struggles with Major Depressive Disorder, a day when not much gets done is also a day filled with battling thoughts of worthlessness and not living life to the fullest. There is the worry that a depressive episode is around the next corner which is why you didn’t get anything done which causes my anxiety disorder to kick in which is exhausting and overwhelming. These days are when I’m at the greatest risk of spiraling into the black hole of depression.

All that to say I felt something had to be accomplished today so I vacuumed, folded clothes, washed dishes, got rid of the trash while Beth was grocery shopping. It’ll help her out but it was for me more than her.

One of the most difficult things to do, when you suffer from a mental illness, is keeping your thoughts free of the dark and dirty ones which lead to no place good. It’s not easy to always stay busy or struggle with your self-worth when things don’t get accomplished. There is a middle ground, a place of balance and order but some days it’s harder to find than others.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Handle with Care

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Handle with Care

I gave myself a concussion today! Well, probably not an officially medically diagnosed concussion but I whacked my head pretty bad with a rake handle. We’ve had some much-needed rain this week and as has been my ritual the last several weeks I went out today and raked. The leaves were wet which made them heavier and there was a large collection I was moving and pushing with the rake when it snapped at the end and pressure I was exerting on the leaves reversed itself and cracked me on the head and ear. It was painful enough I dropped to my knees and if saying; “OWWWWWW!” counts as a prayer I did a lot of praying. After the pain subsided I began looking for a replacement handle. Finding one I removed the broken handle and attached one from another garden tool. My head, and especially the ear, continued to hurt the rest of the afternoon but the replacement handle worked fine and I was able to finish the job.

Wisdom teaches us that life comes with pain and brokenness. There is no secret prayer, acquired knowledge, or anything one can do to have a life free of suffering. What we can do, however, is accept what comes, fix and heal when we can, and keep going.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannebsaint.com

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