Sunday, January 31, 2016

Resignation--part 2

Today was a special kind of hell on earth. Decades of trying to raise children to be responsible, thoughtful, kind human beings, against their will, has finally taken me down.

Parenting is difficult under the best of circumstances. My circumstances are less than ideal. I'm completely burned out after four decades of constant child rearing (two of those filled with the added burden of being told I'm to blame for everything wrong in the world). My husband and I agree on only one thing---our hopes and dreams for our granddaughters. We differ greatly on what we think it takes to get them there. And there are outside influences that go beyond the usual things parents are forced to deal with. I'm not sure we're getting anywhere. Or at least nowhere I want to go.

So I'm faced with this choice: Continue the struggle for another five+ years with the hope that in the end the kids turn out okay, and when the hardest part is over (parenting never really ends), if we're lucky and we live that long, maybe my husband and I can find our way back to each other. Or do I give in to defeat, knowing I gave all I had to give but it was never going to be enough?

The kids already hate me. My husband is getting there. And I'm tired. So very tired.

Is this all there is? Being mocked, laughed at, disrespected and judged incessantly by the children I sacrificed my best years to raise? And all because instead of taking the easy way out and giving them whatever they wanted to keep them happy, this tired old lady rolled up her sleeves and tried to teach kindness, responsibility and the difference between right and wrong.

I've been told I'm doing a horrible job. So I can only assume they will be glad to see me go.

Monday, January 25, 2016


I've written before about the major detour my life has taken and the toll that detour has taken on my psyche.  Before I get down to business, here's a brief recap:

My husband and I planned our lives carefully.  We had started married life as a family of three since I already had a five-year-old child, and we added another daughter soon after. From the beginning our lives revolved around the needs of our children (which was, of course, as it should be). But as we approached the dreaded milestone of turning 30 (in hindsight, it wasn't the big number we thought it was), we decided our little family was complete. And truthfully, we were already envisioning entering mid-life with only ourselves to take care of, and the freedom to do what we wanted for a change. Maybe we were already tired.

But before we had a chance to catch our breath, we found ourselves raising our two granddaughters. To say I haven't always been happy about the decades of added responsibilities is a major understatement, but contrary to popular belief I've always loved these girls beyond measure. I just had a lot of resentment regarding the circumstances that required this change in plans.

As the saying goes, we make plans and God laughs.

Of course, we now see that His plans are, indeed, better than anything we could dream up in our tiny human brains.  Our granddaughters seem to be on the right track. They're smart and funny and capable of having bright futures if they continue to make good choices. Most importantly, they've chosen to follow Jesus. Hopefully, they'll always look to Him when the darkness of this world tries to overtake them.

But back to the purpose of this post.

God is clearly using this Titanic-sized alteration of my life plans to teach me a thing or two.  I'm learning to think in terms of what God placed me here to do, not what I want out of this life.  I'm learning to turn to Him when life gets too difficult or my insecurities threaten to consume me.  I'm learning to forgive...slowly.  And I'm learning to embrace joy even when happiness eludes me.

I've been trying to explain this last concept to my husband for a while now.  I haven't felt that I was getting through.  Or maybe he wasn't listening.  Either one is possible.  And I was beginning to wonder if I had lost my marbles.  I mean, really, can a person be unhappy yet filled with joy???

Yes. A thousand times yes.

And today, I heard this idea clearly stated on the radio station K-LOVE, so it's no longer just my own delusion. Someone else thinks the same thing.  And from past experience I know that as soon as someone else says something I've been saying for years, all of a sudden my husband thinks it's a valid point.

Here's a link to the article, just in case you, like my husband, need to see it written by someone else before you're ready to believe it's possible:  How to Get Joy and Keep It

Yes, a Christian can be sad, depressed, and disappointed yet still feel immense joy deep within.  Jesus can do that for you.  I'm hoping that eventually, as I learn to let go of my will and accept His, I'll start to find true contentment even in the midst of disappointment. And maybe my life can reflect just a tiny bit of the love that God has shone down on me.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Whimsical Lovebird Wedding Card

I combined a few different ideas from Pinterest to create this wedding card.  The birds and heart were cut using my Cricut Explore.  I created the wreath by cutting a large number of branches from a Martha Stewart punch, then gluing them into the shape of a heart.  The white background was embossed using my Sizzix Big Shot and a folder from the Cuttlebug Decorative Tile set. I tied some sheer white ribbon around the bottom before attaching the completed card front to a kraft paper card base.

Thanks for visiting!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Masculine Birthday Card using Cricut Explore Writing Feature

I've been a mess lately.

Raising teenage girls will do that to you. Raising kids for decades without a break will definitely do that to you. But God continues to carry me through from one crazy moment to the next, so here I am to share something I made when I wasn't busy sharing my angry thoughts on the World Wide Web.

I love the Cricut cartridge Chalkboard Fonts, especially the font called Extended because to me it's exactly what I picture when I think of a fancy chalkboard font (and the primary reason I bought this cartridge). However, trying to piece those tiny bits together from cardstock is not my idea of chalkboard font fun.  So for this masculine birthday card, I decided it would be the perfect time to let my Cricut Explore write the sentiment with a pen instead of cutting it.

After the Explore had cut a rectangular card front and written "Happy Birthday!" (yes, just like that all by itself like magic), I punched a design across the bottom with a Martha Stewart border punch. I then added a couple of layers of washi tape above the punched edge and tied black twine around the middle of the card front. I cut a slightly larger rectangle from black Core'dinations cardstock to create a mat, ran it through my Sizzix Big Shot inside an embossing folder, then sanded it to reveal the blue core. Finally, I adhered the card front to the mat and attached the finished front to a black note card.

I'm sure tomorrow will bring a new set of challenges, but for now I'll try to be thankful for the good things God has provided.  (Although He didn't bless me with massive amounts of creativity, He did provide me a little time during my day to pretend I'm creative, and for that I am truly grateful.)

Thanks for visiting!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Masculine 50th Birthday Card

Here's a quick and easy masculine birthday card. To add a little interest to an otherwise simple background, I used patterned paper with a starburst design. The "50" was cut with my Cricut Explore from the Cricut cartridge Something to Celebrate, and I added gold glitter glue to the candle flame (because what man wouldn't love a little sparkle on his 50th birthday?)

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, December 27, 2015


There are no words to describe what I'm feeling.  I'm surrounded by fools making idiotic decisions and leaving me to clean up the mess.  I'm exhausted.  My life is out of my control and I'm simply exhausted.  I have no idea how I'll get the break I need from this chaos, but it is no longer optional.

Monday, December 14, 2015


Every day that I make it through, I think this must be the worst of it. Surely tomorrow will be better. But it usually isn't.

Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting a different result.

For those who angrily tell me I'm insane, maybe you're right. After all, I keep getting out of bed.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Recipe for Disaster

Take one lonely, depressed, exhausted post-menopausal woman; combine with two not-always-truthful, always argumentative, know-it-all teens; mix in an oblivious, less-than-understanding husband; add normal life problems to taste; shake vigorously; bake in an overheated environment; then stand back because the final product is unpredictable.

Sometimes it's just best to get out of the kitchen.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Masculine Birthday Card

This simple masculine card was made using an embossing folder and my Cricut machine.

I used a wood grain embossing folder for the background.  I cut the word "happy" from a piece of kraft cardstock and used the negative space for my card.  I also used a pen in my Cricut to write "birthday" just below "happy", then cut around the entire sentiment to form a rectangle with a zigzag pattern across the bottom.  I finished the card by wrapping jute around the front panel.

Thanks for visiting!

Ordinary Days

For the most part, today looked like any other day in my life.

I started the day hopeful, but by early afternoon one or both girls had done something to put me in a mood. Then my husband ignored me a few times, lied about it, then had the nerve to disagree with me about parenting. Before I knew what hit me I was screaming like a lunatic about everything wrong with today, this week, the past two decades, and my entire life.

It was brutal.

I was brutal.

After I calmed down and decided to actually speak to my husband again, he said something that reminded me of what is truly important in this life. It isn't that the things that had upset me aren't important. It's just that there really are more important things than those I spend far too much time worrying about.

I ended the day feeling enormously blessed.

I didn't win the lottery. My face cream didn't live up to its promise to reverse the signs of aging. Neither granddaughter did a single thing to help around the house. And my husband still only pretended to listen to me.

But God proved once again that He can move mountains...if we'll just spend our time talking to Him about the obstacle instead of trying to figure out for ourselves how to get around it.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Making Christmas Magic

I just ran across an article hinting at a pick-me-up for the holiday-weary mom, which also mentioned something about moms having to "make the magic happen".  I didn't read what the author had to say on the subject (in part because I'm too tired to even read these days), but it reminded me of a conversation my husband and I had earlier today.

I love Christmas. And I love my family. But I don't love the responsibility of making Christmas "happen" for my family.

It seems I've spent my entire life trying to make everyone around me happy...and failing miserably. Sometimes the harder I try, the worse the outcome. And in spite of what my children think, their happiness matters more to me than almost anything else in this life.

But it's a heavy burden to bear.

When your children are young and everything is new and shiny, there's nothing more fun than bringing the magic of Christmas alive for them. As the years pass and the kids get older, you don't really mind that they no longer want to get up before dawn to see what Santa left under the tree. And you're perfectly okay with replacing at least a few gifts with what they want most---hard, cold cash. Because, let's face it, Christmas can be stressful and exhausting.

I've been trying to make the magic happen for 38 years. That's a long, long time. Thirty eight years. That's one heck of a lot of stress. (And a lot of money---Santa doesn't come cheap.)

If I have to get old anyway (and I have), it would be nice to finally relax a little during Christmas. Maybe have time to actually enjoy the season and take time to remember why we celebrate. Take a break from "magic-making".

I still want to make my children happy. I just want to reach a point where I no longer feel that their happiness depends on me.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Cricut Cat and Cake Birthday Card


This birthday card was made with some really old paper and a Cricut machine.

All images are from the Cricut cartridge Birthday Bash. I stamped a sentiment onto the flag, then heat embossed it using white embossing powder.

I was feeling pretty guilty about my minimal efforts in making my granddaughter's card until her older sister let me know she thought it was adorable and that she expected something equally adorable for her birthday the following month.

Where children are concerned, everything is a competition.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Sometimes all you can do is pray:

"God, You can't possibly think I'm this strong!" and you don't really know what the answer will be, but you're so afraid it will be exactly as you expect.

And you know God is there, but you still don't know how to go on.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Fall Shaker Card

I had heard about a new craft tool designed to fuse plastic sheets to form photo sleeves, but I didn't really think it was something I needed. Then I stumbled upon a video showing how to use this tool to create shaker cards and I was intrigued. I'm somewhat addicted to making these, and since I often mail them I found the idea of a less-bulky version very appealing.

But did I really need another tool? After all, I have quite a few that I've used very little...or not at all. Then I remembered I had a never-used tool that seemed similar to this new one in that it gets hot and has a thin tip. Could I maybe use what I already own to achieve the same result?

I also have a huge stash of laminating pouches that are meant to be used with heat, so I decided that would be the safest material to try with this technique. I cut one down to fit my card, then using a metal ruler to keep my lines straight, I ran my heated tool down one side to form a pocket.  Success!

Since this was an autumn-themed card, I used a variety of punches to cut leaf shapes from cardstock, then inserted them, along with some sequins and chunky glitter, into the pouch.

When I was satisfied with the contents of the pocket, I sealed the fourth side with my tool.  I then glued it between the card base and a patterned card front into which I had cut a window, and finished the card with a few wooden embellishments that had been colored with ink and embossing powder.

I thought I was really clever and creative to improvise in this way, and was excited to blog about it...until I realized this technique isn't new at all. Oh, well. I still feel accomplished, if for no reason than having actually made something.

I bought my tool quite a while back on clearance, but I've seen similar multi-purpose tools in craft stores recently. They often come with attachments that can be used for wood burning, stencil cutting, and heat embossing.

Do you have tools you thought you had to have...but never use?  Are you tempted to give them away, or do you like to hang on to them "just in case"?

Monday, November 16, 2015

Truly Golden Years

This weekend, I cried.   But they were tears of joy.  Every single one.

We'll start with the smallest moments of happiness and work up to the biggest.

The "smallest" moment wasn't really small at all.  It's just that it involved my tiny little grandchildren. (Don't be fooled--they might be small in stature, but they occupy a huge place in my heart.)  The joy came not only in that I would get to spend a few hours with them, but also in knowing that they actually wanted to see me.  Well, mostly it was my tiny little granddaughter, a mini version of her mama, who was excited to see her Nana.  But since I've raised four other girls who quite frequently can't stand the sight of me (and often feel the need to express those feelings), you can't imagine the joy I feel in having one who doesn't yet hate me. And since I won't be raising her, there's a real possibility that she might actually love me forever.

I'll take a "small" victory any day.

The reason I was able to see my youngest granddaughter and grandson was because we were all attending my niece's wedding on Saturday.  My niece is such a beautiful, kind person, and I was so happy to see her marry the love of her life.  He seems like a fine young man, and although I don't know him very well, I can clearly see that he makes her happy. And that makes me happy.  And even though this marriage seemed to happen in a whirlwind, I know from my own personal experience that when God sends you the right person, you just know.  I hope she and her husband will have at least as many years together as my husband and I have had, and I pray they will all be very happy ones.  Even though I cried yesterday, they were tears of absolute joy.

And this morning in church I stood beside my younger grand/daughter as she was baptized to show her faith in Jesus and her willingness to follow Him as the Lord of her life.  I (mostly) choked back my tears (13-year-old girls are extremely embarrassed by sobbing grand/mothers), but the joy I felt was overwhelming.  Both grand/daughters have now committed their lives to following Jesus, and I can clearly see exactly why I had to sacrifice my "golden years".

It wasn't really a sacrifice at all.  It was a gift from God. These truly are my golden years.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Cricut Cowboy Card

My husband was starting a new job, and at the last minute I decided to make a card to let him know I was praying for him. Since the idea didn't dawn on me until...well, nearly dawn, I decided to use this little cowboy I had previously cut from the Cricut cartridge A Child's Year. 

Just to clarify a couple of things: My husband isn't a cowboy and his new job isn't in the rodeo.  But he did wear a cowboy-style shirt in his favorite elementary school picture, which was enough of a connection for me at 3 a.m.  And the card was supposed to say, "Howdy, cowboy!", but that didn't happen.

Back to the card...

I wanted to play around with some reactive foil and my new toner pen, so I added foil to the cowboy's spurs. I tried writing a sentiment with the toner pen and adding foil, but that was a total failure. (Why do I always think it's a good idea to try new techniques at the last minute???)  Anyway, since I had already glued the cowboy to my card, I had to cut the sentiment away and work with what remained. I grabbed a new blank card, mounted what was left of my cowboy card on silver shimmer cardstock, then added some snakeskin washi tape and silver star sequins.

It's the thought that counts, after all. Even if that thought comes just before sunrise.

Thanks for visiting!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

The Golden Girls - Words of Wisdom

"I don't want to send him back to an unhappy home. But we're grandmothers. It wouldn't be fair to be this old and have to raise children."      
                                                                -  Rose Nylund, The Golden Girls

I won't even try to explain.  You'll either understand or you won't.

The end.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Happy Birthday to Me!

Today was my birthday.

There was no elaborate party.  For the most part, it was just another day.  But I'm okay with that.

Over the past year, I've wondered if I would even make it this far.  There were days I wasn't sure I could survive to another birthday, and others when I wasn't sure I wanted to.

But here I am, by the grace of God.

Life hasn't been easy.  I have struggles that most people know nothing about.  But God has carried me through them with lots of love, mercy, and the gift of an amazing husband.

At church this morning we celebrated The Lord's Supper.  Nothing touches my soul more than a tangible reminder of what Jesus did for me.  For you.  For all of us.  To experience this on my birthday was truly a beautiful gift.

Thank you Jesus for another year of life, and most of all, for giving Your life to save a sinner like me. A truly happy birthday, indeed.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

How it Should Be

Today was a fun day. It was, for the most part, the kind of day I've been longing for. My husband and I went for a nice long hike, then went out for a simple dinner together. Just the two of us. Of course there was a little teenage drama thrown in (to remind us that our work isn't yet over, I suppose). But it was still a great day spent in the company of my best friend, enjoying the beauty of our Creator.

I really thought about removing my post from last night...the one where I complained about being tired, stressed, and just a little bit sleep-deprived. Today put me in a completely different frame of mind and gave me a glimpse into the peaceful life my husband and I might someday enjoy--if we can only live long enough. And I'm ashamed that I sometimes get caught up in my disappointment over the turn my life took instead of thanking God every day for all He has given me, including His never ending grace and mercy.

But if my blog is anything, it is brutally honest. It wouldn't be an accurate depiction of my life, and me, if I started removing posts because my feelings have changed. Some days my moods seem to shift with the wind, thanks in large part to menopause and teenage grand/daughters, so if I started removing posts after a change of heart I'd soon have a blank page.

My blog is a hodgepodge of my good days, my bad days, my thankfulness for God's forgiveness, and a few craft projects thrown in here and there. And I think that's how it should remain.

After all, life can be a little messy.

Saturday, October 31, 2015


I'm beyond exhausted. Forget the nearly four decades I've spent raising children. I'm just talking about this week.

I don't know how many hours of sleep I've averaged, but with The Princess working about four nights a week, sometimes until 4 a.m. (I HATE late-night drive-throughs!), I am more sleep-deprived than a mom of newborn triplets (and a heck of a lot older). Last night I slept a maximum of four hours, and that was probably one of my more restful nights.

It's 12:36 a.m. and here I sit, waiting, waiting, waiting.

And it isn't just the lack of sleep that's taking a toll...the stress is killing me. I'm drained physically, mentally, emotionally and any other way possible. And that's just from the kids who live with me. I won't even address the other factors.

This weekend I will "celebrate" my birthday. Already my modest plans have been changed several times, and without enough sleep, I seriously doubt I will feel like hiking tomorrow. Is a short hike in the mountains really too much for an old lady to expect for her birthday???!!! 

It's turning out to be the fabulous weekend I've been told I deserve. Happy birthday to me.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Numbered Birthday Shaker Card

My granddaughter was celebrating her 13th birthday (yes, I would now have two teenage girls under my roof...again), so I felt her card needed to reflect that milestone.  And since I'm still working on my shaker card skills, I thought I'd give that another try.

Using my Cricut Explore and the Design Space software, I designed a rectangular card front, then sliced the number "13" from it using the Cricut cartridge Hello Kitty Font. I backed the cutout with a piece of acetate to make a window, then adhered foam tape to the backside of the paper around the number to form the border of the shaker area. I put a generous amount of chunky glitter and microbeads within the foam tape border, then sealed it by attaching the solid pink background paper. I glued the constructed shaker front to a standard card blank, then finished by decorating the front with a strip of patterned paper topped with a single small cupcake.. The number "13" that I had previously cut from the card front was used to dress up the outside of the envelope. After all, turning 13 is a pretty big deal!

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Driving Miss Crazy


As I pulled into my driveway at 12:30 a.m. tonight (this morning?) after dropping Chatty Cathy off at a sleepover (long story), it occurred to me that I might be close to losing what's left of my mind.

A week ago The Princess was in an accident that totaled her car. Luckily she wasn't hurt and it wasn't her fault.  She finally got a rental car on Thursday.  On Friday she was rear-ended by another student after leaving school.  Again, I feel fortunate that no one was injured and that it was the other driver's fault.

But dang.

And since my husband and I aren't looking to start chauffering her around again, we spent Saturday desperately looking for a reliable, inexpensive car that wouldn't require one of us to sell a kidney. (I doubt there's much of a market for body parts with this much wear and tear.)

Today (yesterday?) was spent driving Chatty Cathy around.  The chauffering started immediately after church and didn't end until the day was over. Literally.

I'm tired.  Raising children is exhausting. And apparently neverending. My husband and I no longer even pretend to be anything other than two ships passing in the night. It's sad really. I thought we planned our lives a little better than that.

Unrelenting stress is driving me insane, and I'm pretty sure it's a short trip from here.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Human Emotions

In defense of loving mothers everywhere, myself included...

Frequently I use my blog as an outlet to express my frustrations with life, especially motherhood. I forget that occasionally my blog is actually read by somebody. The primary reason I don't use my full name, or link my blog to other social media outlets, is to avoid embarrassing or hurting someone I know. But I am a human being with real human feelings (although it often seems that moms aren't considered "real" people), and I do sometimes say things that are very real. A person, even a mother, can only take so much.

Mothers are human beings, first and foremost. We don't stop feeling once we have children. As a matter of fact, our feelings become much more intense when we have children we love more than life itself, and nothing hurts more than giving all we have to those children only to receive hateful comments, disrespect, thoughtlessness, and never-ending blame in return.

There isn't a derogatory name that hasn't been hurled my way at one time or another in my 37 years of child rearing. It hurts, especially when I've tried to give my best to my children. I'm sorry if my best wasn't everything they thought they needed, but it was all I had to give. I had a childhood, too, and it made me who I am, for better or worse. Mothers aren't robots, created solely for the purpose of handing out wishes and rainbows and problem-free childhoods. We come into the job carrying the weight of our own baggage. Some loads are heavier than others.

I have been accused of thinking I'm perfect, usually in response to correcting one of my children or when using my own experiences to teach life lessons. I have never once thought I was perfect. I am actually quite hard on myself, always wishing I had done one thing or another differently and being painfully aware of my shortcomings.

I have always loved my children, even in moments when I didn't like them very much. But even mothers are allowed to hold their children accountable for their own actions and choices. Actually, I'm pretty sure that's one of the most important aspects of the job.

God made me, loves me, and gave me the same human emotions He gave every other person He ever created. Becoming a mother didn't remove my ability to feel pain. A mother's heart doesn't just break when her children suffer; sometimes our hearts break when our children inflict suffering on us.

I try my best to observe the Golden Rule---to treat others as I would like to be treated---but in my humanity I sometimes fail. As a mother, I have an obligation to do my best to raise the children with whom I've been entrusted so that they will hopefully become kind, responsible, mature adults. Almost no one gets through childhood without a few bumps and bruises. Parents receive on-the-job training. Children don't come with instruction manuals, probably because no two children are exactly the same.  Most parents do the best they can with what they know, what they've experienced, and what they think each child needs.

Life isn't perfect.  Not for children, not for parents. We can take our childhood experiences and learn from them, or we can use them as weapons against those who raised us. Only one of those choices will make you a better person. The choices you make as an adult are what define you. You alone are responsible for what you make of the life you were given, even if you feel you deserved more. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Never Alone

Have you ever felt alone?  I think we all have at one time or another, even when surrounded by people.  Sometimes I think that's when we feel it most.  Right now I feel completely forgotten, hurt, unloved...very much alone.

But we will never be abandoned by God.  He cares.  He's there for us, day or night, every single day.

Other people will let us down.  And we will disappoint others.  But that's because we're all human and imperfect.

God is perfect.  And no matter how much or how often we fail, God won't fail us. Maybe He won't give us what we want, but He'll carry us through anything we face. All we have to do is ask.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Birthday Card Money Holder

My granddaughter needed a last-minute gift for a friend (do children ever plan in advance?), so we ended up with that most personal of all gifts---cash.  Luckily, most children are perfectly okay with receiving money to buy something they really want.  I love those kids.

I thought it would be nice to at least make a card to hold the money, so I had my granddaughter choose paper and the sentiment. I had recently purchased a cool die from Papertrey Ink, the Zipper Border Die, and thought this would be a good opportunity to try it out.

The card base was made from a piece of cardstock folded into a matchbook shape. I figured out the height and width I wanted, and cut it after doubling the height (for a top-fold card) and adding a couple of inches to fold up across the bottom.  

The "happy birthday" sentiment is from the Cricut cartridge Martha Stewart Birthday Cake Art. I cut a decorative border across the bottom using a Fiskars border punch, which I then backed with a small strip of white cardstock.  I used my Martha Stewart Custom Stamp Setting Kit to create the "pull" stamp for the tab area of the tear strip.  

After I assembled the card elements I had my granddaughter write a message inside.  I enclosed the cash, then used my ATG gun to seal it up so that the money could only be accessed by pulling the tear strip.

I never heard, "You ruined my life!" after my granddaughter returned home, so I can only assume everything functioned as expected.

Thanks for stopping by!