Making a Mockery of who God is.

This is definitely the title; no getting around that. I’m finally coming out of my self induced me-fest that seems appropriate to blame on pregnancy, gestational diabetes, and hormones, but let me tell you– THAT is no excuse for the way I’ve made a mockery about God and his image. It’s the image He’s bore onto me from the moment I was conceived. You see, I’m dreadfully embarrassed by how I’ve behaved, more than anything, in front of my own impressionable children. It’s almost laughable now, but I do take it with seriousness. I owe Matt a big fat apology for my poor choices. I need to swallow some more of my pride and admit I was NOT in the right for the last week no matter how much I think I was somewhere in my fleshly self. God has been talking to me and letting me know how disappointed He’s been. Me, too, God. I’m not strong enough without you. How do I get back to your heart when mine is taking over? My self control was gone gone gone. My temper flared as hot as the Florida sun. (and add humidity to boot)

I have to ask myself,  “Do I want/need to be justified, or do I want to live an abundant life?” Both really can’t exist. On Friday, we leave. We were past Petersburg, VA and Matt realizes that he doesn’t have the key for the condo in Florida. Immediately, this goes right under my skin. I grumble about the fact that if I had not asked him questions, we could very well have gotten 14 hours away from home to find we didn’t have the key. He turned to me and said, “I assumed you would have gotten it, since it was right by the computer when you were booking the hotel.” I was doubly bugged that now it seemed like the problem was deflected on me, with no responsibility taken for the key. It was the start of many bone-headed moves, and let me be the first to tell you that not one went unnoticed. I punished, I crabbed, I complained, I name-called, I whined, I pitied myself, I got self righteous, and I was just plain ugly. It doesn’t even matter all the things that happened over the week, but what does matter is how poorly I’ve set an example and how I need to repent for the way I’ve been and turn from that pattern of behavior.

A hot Florida sun and a baby brewing in my belly cannot be the reason I love less and respect Matt even less–even when I deem he doesn’t deserve it. God tells me he deserves it. He tells me I deserve God’s love anyway, too. God, you could hold me in condemnation and I’d deserve it. What an example I could have been, had I chosen what Robert Frost might coin, the road less traveled by.

Monday morning, the first real day we were back in real life mode, I felt a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. It is somewhat like that feeling when you were a kid and you did something wrong, but your parents didn’t yell at you. Instead, they shook their head slowly and quietly said, “I’m just so disappointed in you.” As I got ready for bible study, I came to a screeching halt in a particular section regarding God’s image.

From reading a beautiful book (that I think every woman should read), Captivating by Stasi and John Eldredge, I had already felt the undulating tone and crescendo of the work that God started in Genesis and came to a high point in creating woman. I had finally accepted that God saw us not as the feminists would have us believe as an oppressed, flawed creation, only able to be brought about by the rib of Adam, but instead, God saw us as a beautiful capstone of his wonderful works and a undeniable need for humankind. God’s image on earth was not complete without a woman to bear it.

The bible study book is “Tune In” by Jen Hatmaker. If you follow me into the book, my point of conviction was found in week 3, day 1. (page 81) Some questions that really hit home, I’ll list…maybe they’ll speak into you as well…

1. List several of God’s characteristics that you see stamped into the human race.

2. Open your ears. What has God communicated to you through people, made in His image?

3. How does your self-image honor or dishonor God? Remember, you are His handiwork.

—she goes on to list scriptures that we can claim because of this:

-every human being is worthy of honor and respect; he shouldn’t be murdered nor cursed (Gen. 9:6 & James 3:9)

-We have God-given authority to exercise; we aren’t to be His ambivalent puppets. (Gen 1:26)

-We have an amazing capacity for spiritual knowledge. (Col. 3:10)

-Eternity is set within our hearts, as it is in God’s (Eccl. 3:11)

-We are individually called, justified, and glorified as we are conformed to the likeness of God’s own Son. (Romans 8: 29-30)

I believe hearing every human is worthy of honor and respect really sent a pang to my heart about how I’ve treated my husband. Also, hearing that my own justification is not within my own ability to claim it for myself and make judgements, but on my own path to being more of an image bearer myself. I cannot be righteous on my own accord. Righteousness comes from God’s decree. It takes a lot of the weight off my shoulders, really. He was gently telling me that I didn’t need to be right. I didn’t need for everything to even run smoothly. I needed a lesson on grace giving, holding my tongue, patience, and honor.

Perhaps it was the last question that sent me into a journalling frenzy:

4.  Through mankind–the image of God– what is He communicating to you about you?

You see, not all of what God told me that day was about how I had messed up. In this question, God reminded me that through me, He tells me that He’s funny, and he gets my humor. There’s value in my transparency and my heart matters. He tells me to stay faithful to the things He calls me to do and speaks to me when I do so. God through me, tells me that being a woman is as much about God as being a man, never less. He often tells me that I am a good mom and able to do much more than I can even think, even when I feel like a failure or giving up. He writes desire on my heart.

I still learned something from Disney, even though it came at a hefty price. (both literally and figuratively)

Going through Disney really made me think about vision, creation, art and innocence– all of Disney made by us, but by an imagination only God could have crafted. It all matters. Seeing the kids’ faces made every long hot line, overpriced drink, and even a torrential rainstorm disappear. That speaks to me about who God is. It also speaks to me about who I am called to be. More of a child in wonderment, than a woman scorn over conditional states of being and the irkings of her husband.

Don’t count me a failure, but a work in progress!

taken from LIFE pictures, Pirates of the Carribean ride at Disney



I ran away.

Have I ever told you about the time I ran away from home? Ok, it sounds worse than it is. I promise I was not looking to really run away, but I did wander off at the ripe old age of 5 in hopes of a haircut. Now, I just sound dumb. 😛

My neighbor June and I were playing in my backyard. My dad and my older brother came out from the house and told me that they were off to the haircutters and that if I wanted to come along I needed to say goodbye to June. I was having fun and I declined. At that time, June and I started to play pretend hair cut and watched the car roll backwards down the driveway and off to most likely the Brainerd Mall (Fantastic Sams). I could totally be wrong about that, though. I never did find where they went…

When June was pretend cutting my hair, I soon started to feel like I missed out on an opportunity. June calmed my nerves by sweetly informing me that she knew exactly where the haircutters were and it was most definitely walking distance. Keep in mind we’re both 5. I was gullible to say the least.

Without saying a word to anyone, we set off to find the haircut I was sure I was missing out on.

We went to Little Farm Market first. June said they had a place there you could get your haircut. I started to realize that June had no idea what she was talking about. This was a homespun convenience store with a farm fresh produce section in it. It always smelled like dirt and potatoes in there. I had been there a million times to get a treat with my mom and brothers.

We went on to the next place, and the next….and so forth and so on. Our last stop was Red Owl (S. 6th & Maple). If you are from Brainerd, MN, you know what I’m talking about. It’s a grocery store that no longer exists. They used to have these plastic carts for kids to push. I loved that. We wandered the aisles, and June said we should go beg for a cookie from the bakery. Of course, we got them. By this time, it was dark outside.

Things didn’t seem to be so cheery anymore and I was ready to go home. We decided we should probably walk home. I wasn’t sure how exactly to do that. So, we started the walk and found ourselves walking near the old water tower (at 6th and Washington). We were right up to the lion water fountain. We were not quite to the busy intersection at Washington Street when my babysitter in her car found us. She told us that our parents were SOOOOOO worried. In all that time, I had not even conceded the thought that perhaps my parents would be upset. All of a sudden a lump formed in my throat. How would I be received when I got home?

When I came inside, commotion was everywhere. There were police cars outside. People had been looking. The first thing my mom asked me was, “Did you count how many police cars were out there?” I sheepishly said no. She said, “How old are you? FIVE. There are 5 police cars.” For a little girl with a penchant for gab, I was as quiet as a mouse. I figured counting the cars was akin to how many spankings I was going to get. When my dad stepped in the house, I can remember 2 things. I remember his hands being ice cold and his face as pale as a blank sheet of paper. The only other time in my life I’ve seen him that color was when he went through surgery for an aneurism in his aorta. My parents no doubt wanted me to know how much I had worried them. They said they thought I must be hiding somewhere in the house. After searching and to no avail, their panic set in.

They brought me to the front porch to listen for a moment. From across the street and inside the house, I could hear June get the spanking of a lifetime. Spanking doesn’t sound quite right, maybe it was more of a whoopin’ or a beating to be more accurate. My parents told me they wanted to do the same, but couldn’t bring themselves to do it. I knew I deserved it. (and I was incredibly thankful I didn’t get what June got).

I look at my own kids and wonder how I would have felt if one of them went missing- at that tender old age of 5. Even looking at Adrianna, as she’s 3 and a half… off and into the world in a mere 18 months? How would I survive the moments in between discovering a child has gone missing and finding them? IF they were to be found ever again.

I was awake this morning at 4, thinking about all this. I don’t know why it came to the forefront of my mind. The image of my dad’s face and the feel of his cold clammy hands haunted me for a moment. Hot tears rolled down my cheeks, just imagining it all. As I wiped them away, I asked myself how I became such a blubber baby and thanked God that my kids haven’t given me that kind of grief… yet. from stock.xchng's photo


Beat Up.

Last night, I had a dream that I went swimming in the ocean. My dad was there, my husband was there, too. I’m not sure who all else was there, but I think there were a couple of others out swimming with us. We started in the water and quickly it got deeper and the waves started to rise higher and higher. The sky was turning black, and we soon realized that we were being taken quickly out away from the shore. No one else seemed very worried about it, but I soon felt the looming darkness swelling all around. There was a tingle up my spine as I was swimming, still under some control, but wavering on when it would soon end. I think having both my husband there and dad made me feel like they would never let anything happen to me. We’d be ok.

Much to my own disappointment, I never got to the end of the dream. Morning always comes too soon. And is it any wonder my bladder was screaming in pain when I awoke? It laid a sort of foundation for my day, though. I feel like I’ve been carried past the point of my own control and I’m swimming wondering when it’ll be too much for me to take. I feel beat up. By my own nature, I’m not much of a crier. I will when brought right on to it, but in general, I buck it up. Yesterday I sat and put my head in my hands and had me a good cry. It’s more likely to happen when I can get myself alone and the kids aren’t around to wonder why mom is a wreck. I felt so misunderstood. I felt so hurt. Not so much angry, but I was really disappointed. I clung to my bible all day, asking God for a word. He gave me some friends instead.

A few conversations yesterday began to stitch my heart back together, after what felt like a battle and a wounding. True friends. I smirk about it because I think I bring it on myself at times. I don’t regret taking a stand on how I truly feel, though. A lot of true colors came flying at me the other day, and I was not ready. Can anyone be ready for the extreme left field? I am left wishing I could explain better, but I realize that my justification is not needed. I’ve already done what I could, I apologized that my thoughts were impeding theirs and it was never my intent to be hurtful.

It’s another day later and I am feeling slightly crushed still. God’s giving me a word today. I must be more receptive to take it in. Lord, keep teaching me. Lord, show me your ways, they are always higher than my own. Joseph was a fantastic role model. The sift of pages lead me into Genesis and a story about a boy with dreams, brothers that could not love like brothers ought to, and God’s will in a situation that seemed impossible.

Joseph Reassures His Brothers- Genesis 50

15 When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “What if Joseph holds a grudge against us and pays us back for all the wrongs we did to him?” 16 So they sent word to Joseph, saying, “Your father left these instructions before he died: 17‘This is what you are to say to Joseph: I ask you to forgive your brothers the sins and the wrongs they committed in treating you so badly.’ Now please forgive the sins of the servants of the God of your father.” When their message came to him, Joseph wept.

18 His brothers then came and threw themselves down before him. “We are your slaves,” they said.

19 But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? 20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. 21 So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.

Joseph had it absolutely right. Forgive like he’s been forgiven. Bless like he’s been blessed. While his brothers didn’t love like they should, it didn’t keep him from loving them. He didn’t let their sin make him falter. He didn’t make them gravel or say they were sorry. (part of me loves that the brothers threw themselves down, though) He gave them the truth in love and shared with them God’s provision.

While feeling a bit tender today, I’m bit by another problem. It shakes me to the core, but I refuse to give it power over me. There’s never a coincidence when it all hits the fan at once. The attack is on. Satan wants me to throw a fit, he wants me to tell off everyone that’s been making me crazy, and he wants me to wallow in self pity. I refuse to do it. But I do feel beat up.

The dream about the ocean is quite fitting. While I may swim out in dark waters with waves cresting and crashing all around me, I might tempt myself to feel like nothing can go wrong as long as I’m swimming with my dad and my husband. I’m wrong, though. My husband is flesh and so is my dad. The only one who can calm the waves and keep me from being a sinking stone is God. The only one to restore my wounded soul is a merciful Jesus, who wants nothing more than to hold my face and tell me how loved I really am.

Let all the trials in my life work for good, Lord. I trust in this, and I am doing my best to remain faithful to do what you’d have me do and not what this world would have me do. While I want to curl up in my bed, or drown out my feelings with comfort food, I know I’m called to a stand again and keep going. Keep loving even when it’s dangerous water.

The snake.

Have you ever had a story that you felt like you couldn’t share publicly because it involves other people? You know, the other people that would be hurt or offended by sharing an ugly story? Well, that is where I stand on quite a few stories because I don’t want to out someone. For the sake of keeping relationships intact and healthy, sometimes the details will have to remain a bit on the vague side. The people who are close to me know those details and I hold dear that the Lord knows the truth about every situation… even the ones I think I know it all and I really don’t. I can’t because I just plain can’t get inside of other people’s brains and thought lives. Would I really even want to?

At any rate, I was reminded about a situation years ago and what God showed me.

You might think this is totally a “duh” thing. To me it was profound. Sometimes in the midst of a problem we forget the “duh” stuff we should just know anyway. I needed the reminder.

Forgiveness is not a one time deal. When I choose to forgive someone, that forgiveness has to breathe in and out for the rest of my life. I have to practice it, and keep choosing it. There was a time that I thought I had forgiven someone in totality, when the truth was… I forgot some vital steps along the way. I just figured if I loved them honestly, still, after being hurt, it meant that I forgave them and I was done with it.

I wondered how I was struggling with forgiveness with other people who haven’t hurt me as much, yet I was done with this particular person. I sort of half laughed, musing over the fact that I had forgiven such a considerable amount.

This brings me to a scripture that hit me in the FACE.

It was Matthew 12: 43-45

43 “When an evil[b] spirit leaves a person, it goes into the desert, seeking rest but finding none. 44 Then it says, ‘I will return to the person I came from.’ So it returns and finds its former home empty, swept, and in order. 45 Then the spirit finds seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they all enter the person and live there. And so that person is worse off than before. That will be the experience of this evil generation.”

Here lies the problem I was facing. I swept “house.” I cleaned it big time. I dealt with thoughts, emotions, bitterness, anger, depression…name it, I faced it. I slowly swept my house completely clean. This was why I felt like I had forgiven for good. I was freely loving again. I was able to put my head on straight about healthy boundaries and how to love safely. By all means, I had no idea what was going to rear it’s ugly head next.

Those 7 spirits may have well been a hundred. Attack was sky high and I could not control the situation I was in. While I remained diligent to continue to behave as a Christ Follower, I found myself resentful, angry, upset, and unfeeling. Where had my forgiveness gone? I was face to face with my Forgiven, and found myself battling a fight within myself to claim it as the truth!

This takes me to a moment that God showed me a little something. He needs to get my attention sometimes when I am wallowing in my own self pity. It’s an easy thing to do when he uses something as vile as a snake. Have you ever been to the Richmond Zoo? They have one of those caged areas you can walk through. They have ducks, a fish stream, and quite a few other birds in there. It’s a cool little path you walk through and get right up near the wildlife. They have a very small waterfall that goes through the area, with a path that bridges over the water. I sat and watched the water and lo and behold, a snake was there. It was a small snake. I am not the type to get near a snake EVER. I felt like God said, “stay here and just watch, there’s something I’d like you to see…” So, I ignored my flight response to see what it was. The snake was in the water. I hadn’t seen that before. I mused over a snake being so scary to  me. It’s essentially a head on a stick. It doesn’t even have arms. Funny how it seems so scary. The next part is what God wanted me to see.

The snake swam right up to the waterfall.

He proceeded to swim UP the waterfall.

I was taken aback by it’s strength to go against the current, this stupid head on a stick.

I saw what it took for it to swim up the waterfall.

It would twist it’s body and release, twist even tighter and then release again. The more it coiled up, the stronger it got.


It was an “Ah HA!” moment for me. The more the snake, Satan (so easy and aprapos for representing Satan)- twisted things up, the stronger he was going to get. He was powerful when he could twist and turn everything, enough to go up against a current.

I started to see more clearly from that moment. When I could identify Satan’s scheme, it no longer had me sobbing into my pillow, wondering why I was going through such anguish for the millionth time. I guess I needed to see what needed the fight to be able to combat it. Part of it, was me. The other part was the father of lies wheeling his deals once again.

My problem with cleaning house was that the spirit came back to find it empty. I hadn’t filled it after I cleaned it. I hadn’t placed Christ in the center of it. I hadn’t claimed his truth fully in this particular area. I left a piece of my fence to crumble and let a roaring lion into my backyard.

What is perhaps the best part of it all was that it wasn’t going to be my fight. I didn’t have to solve all the problems I was having with said Forgiven person. Christ was going to work them all out, if I remained willing to let him do it. He promises us that. 1 Thessalonians 5: 24  While the situation is not perfect, and sometimes I am still hurt by this person, I am not defeated, and I love them. Not because of what I’m able to do, but what Christ is able to do. If I let Christ be my source of love and forgiveness, I no longer have to search to find it within myself. I emptied that bank LONG ago. I had to make those spaces that I clean into His house.

At any rate. It’s a cool thing when God tells you to watch and listen…

even when it involves a nasty snake.



Undercover Boss

Have you seen the show Undercover Boss?

It’s on Sunday nights and I finally caught a full episode. I watched 80% of another episode (about Subway) a couple weeks ago via the ‘net, until it decided to crash.

So the premise of the show is that the CEO of the company goes undercover to work with their bottom line–the people that essentially run the business and are the working hands of the company. From what I’ve seen, it works best if they are “training” the CEO.

This past episode was about ABM, which is a janitorial (and other branches such as shuttle service) company. They do office cleaning to window washing to elevator maintenance.

It was a great show to watch. I was intrigued at watching this very very rich man humble himself down to clean the first toilet he’s ever cleaned in his life. He did it without being a total priss, but it was sorta hilarious how very slow moving he was about it. I love the feelings I get seeing the top dog in a company really see what the bottom line does for them. I’ve worked quite a few bottom line sort of jobs in my life. I’ve seen some adults in those type of jobs, too… and they don’t get paid for the amount of sheer work they do. Not all the people in the world who don’t have a lot of money are lazy. Point in case.

It’s a story of putting someone else’s shoes on. I love that.

One thing amazed me about the show. It also evoked a few questions.

The amazing thing? The people whom trained the CEO were amazing workers. They love their work. They do their utmost and care about the details. They’ve streamlined their job into efficiency and productivity.

The questions that come from all of this?

How did they pick these people to train the CEO? Was it a random sampling? Was it whom they knew would do a great job?

What motivates a person to do their job with honor, integrity, and dedication?


The thing is…

I’ve worked the bottom line and I know there are a LOT of people who don’t do a great job. They don’t even do a mediocre job. I’ve seen full grown adults have difficulty being trained to do simple tasks. They really don’t seem to care all that much. You also see a few shining stars, and as soon as their dream unfolds… they are gone. They seems to have found the ladder from the bottom line or they have found new opportunities elsewhere. These individuals have worked for ABM for many years. Some for over 20! One man, Kenny, was working his way through school. The CEO, after the reveal, offered to get him into the ranks of management at ABM. (and to also pay all his schooling) Being reduced to tears (both me AND Kenny), he thankfully and humbly cannot believe how he is being blessed with opportunity. He’s given a ladder…nay, he’s given an escalator out from the bottom line.

Is it something we can do for our kids to build into them this exit from apathy?

Is a work ethic really noticed in the world?

Is the goal to always rise in rank?

Or is satisfaction a matter of knowing each day you did your job to the fullest?

How come more people don’t adhere to this?

Why do I see a constant stream of ho-hum workers? Is it the almighty dollar sign?

Watching a show like that makes my heart full and my head swim. How is success measured? How do you define failure?

The only local scrapbooking store in the area is closing it’s doors this month. It’s a dismal prospect: that big box stores have taken over and the little guy is working his tail off for a dream. I suppose it’s finding the things you offer that a large corporation just cannot. There has to be a cap on what you can make as a small business, when being a big box is almost limitless.(just open another store, expand) So when you’re a small business, is the goal to make beaucoup bucks or is it to find the sweet spot in life and live in it? Is the goal to eventually turn the small business into a big box? Doesn’t that kill the grassroots effort in how it began? How can a company survive without that goal? How can you get people to pay more for something they can get at walmart?

In the end, after shedding tears over the generosity of the CEO, granting each of the people who he “worked for” a dream, I got the feel good fuzzies of a show I enjoyed watching. (BTW, the CEO failed at ALL the jobs he did) I suppose that was the bottom line of the show, but it really has me pondering some things this Monday morning.

If only everyone was passionate about the job they have, no matter how seemingly menial. Boy, how things would change.

Check the show out on CBS, Sunday nights. 🙂


September is working it’s way into October and it doesn’t seem to want to slow down. The boys have been in school for 3 weeks and are doing very well. They need haircuts. We’ve been busy. That is sort of an understatement.

Adrianna is a different girl without her brothers here. I find that she is less ridiculous and more…. just curious (without the crazy attached). She is very imaginative and often sings and makes up stories. I think in the thick of things, with the boys home, she tries to be more like them so she can play along. Instead, it sort of makes her crazy because she isn’t 5 or 6. She can physically do a lot of things and keep up running, but cognitively, she is a follower and quite the dare devil.

I started to watch an 8 week old baby during the day. She’s a delightful baby, who smiles a ton, eats like a champ, and sleeps hard enough to not wake up during a playdate with another 2 year old and 9 month old here. Even though she isn’t a lot of work to take care of, I find myself absolutely out of energy at the end of the day. Matt and I need a date night pretty badly about now. It’s been long enough that I can’t remember the last date we were out on.

I am in a study called Here and Now by Beth Moore at church. It’s about Revelation. I’m fascinated by it and can’t wait to understand it more. I keep asking God to give me a word with it! Show me something. Open my mind further. I am also co-leading a study with my friend, Holly. It makes me chuckle to admit that, yes, it’s another Beth Moore study. We are going through the book So Long Insecurity. It’s been awesome to meet with such amazing women weekly. They are a huge source of encouragement to my life. I hope they all feel the same way. GEMS (Godly Encouragement for Mothers) started up this week, too. I once said that Matt and I felt like we were on an island. I can’t imagine if I still lived on that island, with no real connections to people. I sometimes feel like I am cut down the middle, 50% introvert 50% extrovert. Sometimes I almost crave being alone. (3 kids can drive me to that place, haha) Anyway, in all these places I learn, I connect, and I most definitely wonder. Friendship is a magnificent gift.

A friend of mine’s mother died this week. It’s a bittersweet thing. When someone is in pain, you want to take it away. It’s hard to come to grips with… that ending the pain might take saying goodbye. It’s opened my heart up to feeling that sense of urgency for lost souls. It’s made me think about how fragile our lives really are and how often I take life for granted.

I got upset the other day. Over things I would never have thought I’d get upset about. I’m not mad at people, I’m mad that I can’t make them see or feel what I do. I get upset that they sell themselves and others hell. I hang my head in disgust over all the arguments that I’ve had opposing God, opposing religion. How many people did I sell to hell? I can’t lay in shame over it, but it gets me fired up and I ache over them. I am jealous for them to feel what true Redemption feels like.


I still work at All Fired Up. I love the artistic outlet that it is for people. Art offers to it’s partakers a journey and process. It creates an atmosphere of open streaming thoughts. It’s a challenge to balance time away from home. I think that may be it’s only downfall. I’ve said it before… I think I am allergic to work. Before I leave, I feel a protest. As soon as I’m there, working, I’m happy as can be. Maybe my psyche still thinks I’m headed to a call center. I never felt so chained as when I worked at a call center for directory assistance.

Somewhere in the midst of all this I am still attempting to exercise. No real results yet, but I have been working on it. It feels good when I know that I have been practicing obedience, at least to an extent. I need some videos to do at home. The wii fit is fun, but I need something with more cardio in it.

So, there you have it. Adri is in need of a nap and I am in dire need of a shower.

Just an update on what I’ve been up to.