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What Brand Are You?

As children we tend to absorb labels. Our parents should be the ones who brand us with good words, calling us up into our destinies. In many cases our parents carried negative labels themselves and had no clue how to brand us or that it was even part of their job description.

Some common labels are:

  • scatterbrained

  • shy

  • dumb

  • lazy

  • below average

  • dramatic

  • stubborn

  • clumsy

  • accident prone

Maybe a doctor or other "professional" labeled you with:

  • ADHD

  • DID

  • PTSD or some other series of letters

These labels do not have the power to define you forever unless you let them.

  • You can move beyond your childhood and be a powerful adult.

  • You were a child then. You are not now. You are an adult.

  • You really can throw off all of those old labels from when you were a child and embrace new labels.

  • You have generations of ancestors cheering you on!

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.  (Hebrews 12:1 NASB)

Key idea: You do not have to be who you have always been.

Key strategy: Who do you need to be in order to do what you want to do? Put it into one sentence. Put it in your reminders in your phone and set the alarm to go off at a certain time each day. Read it out loud each day. Do it until it feels true and natural.

When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.  (1 Corinthians 13:11)

How I Got Past the Pain from our Failed Adoption

Do you ever feel like your head is fractured?  Like the plates of your skull are literally pulling apart. That's the picture that comes into my head when I think back to the most painful holiday season I ever went through.

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A few years ago our family went through a very difficult season when we experienced a failed adoption. We had a toddler foster son living with us for over six months, and just before the adoption was due to go through, everything fell apart.

That season was one of the hardest times of my life. Parenting that precious boy felt to me like it must feel to parent a terminally ill child.

To some that may sound too dramatic or even insensitive to those who have lost biological children. All I can tell you is that is how I felt. There was so much uncertainty.  

Uncertainty is very hard for me. I like to "make a plan and work the plan!" Hourly we were waiting for word to confirm or deny that this baby would be ours forever. I guess I always had a sinking feeling that things weren't going to go the way we hoped.

I remember having days where I would literally daydream about escaping. I would imagine how wonderful it would be to just sit all alone in a dark, silent room for hours. It was like there was just too much noise and uncertainty spinning all around me, and I needed peace.

After we got the news that the little guy would be moving on, I spent the next few months just recovering and resting. The grief process just takes some time.

It was extremely painful because the authorities involved had told us to bond with him and get him to bond with us because he was going to be ours. I have a clear memory of him lying his head on my lap while I patted his back and called him my baby. He would repeat it back to me in such a sweet secure little voice: "my baby."

Having to send him off from our home when there was no way on earth we could explain to him what was happening felt like such a betrayal. It broke my heart. Our final days with him were right between Christmas and New Years.

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Looking back I can see how much the Lord held us during those devastating moments. He sent some wonderful people into our lives who loved us well when we really needed it. Though I felt like everything was falling apart, God was actually building strength deep inside of me. That incredibly hard time built perseverance. I cannot say that I lived in perfect peace, but I can say that I fought hard to stay in perfect peace, and it was worth the fight!

After a couple years of grieving,  I attended a church service with a guest minister. He shared about peace and took us through an exercise to let go of pain. That night was a turning point for me. In a matter of minutes I was able to let go of the deep pain that had been trying to swallow me alive.

A friend of mine wrote a book with the basics of the model that I learned that night. The book is written to kids and teens, but it definitely is usable for adults as well. This book can help you move past any kind of pain and grief.

TRUE PEACE ONLY COMES THROUGH JESUS.

Stayed Upon Jehovah,

Hearts are Fully Blest,

Finding as He Promised,

Perfect Peace and Rest.

-Francis R. Havergal

When Wisdom Turns Into Fear

I like to research and thoroughly think things through before moving forward or making a decision. While this habit is wise, if taken too far it indicates a problem.

The problem comes in when we get so worried about making a wrong choice, that we can't bring ourselves to make a choice at all. This is what the Bible calls being double-minded.

But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. James 1:5-8

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God has all of the wisdom you need to make a good choice. You do not need to be bound by the fear of making the wrong choice. Ask God to help you, then make a choice grounded in peace and move forward knowing that you can readjust if you need to.

Key Idea: A confident person is not paralyzed by the fear of making a mistake, because they realize they can recover from a mistake.

How To Avoid Falling Into A Messiah Complex

Having a messiah complex (living as though it is your job to make sure everyone in your life is happy) is a sure way to live your life completely stressed out. But not falling into this behavior can be a real challenge when you really care about people. It’s so hard to watch people we care about self-sabotage, and sometimes we just really want to swoop in and try to "fix" other people's lives since they don't seem to be able to do it for themselves.

The bottom line is: each person is responsible for their own heart and life.

You can lead by example and encourage others to follow, but when it’s all said and done, people have to make their own choices.

This truth is really important for parents and leaders. We can easily get caught up in the idea that it is our job to fix everyone and everything. The problem is, though we are to be like Jesus, we are not Him.

  1. You cannot control anyone besides yourself, and if you try to, you will make yourself crazy.
  2. Don’t try to do the work of the Holy Spirit. Take time to be filled up with Him, then partner with HIm to help others by letting Him flow through you to do the work that only He can do.

Key Idea: It’s time to present the people you care about to the Lord, and leave them there. If you notice yourself starting to move into worry and codependency again, just hand them back over to God as many times as you have to.

This is not unloving; it is actually obedience to Jesus. He commands us not worry, and He knows what’s best.

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The Best Way to Wait

We’re all waiting for something. There is a real emphasis today about being present, but as much as we may want to live in the moment, we will always have to keep the tension of leaning into what’s coming next.

While you’re waiting, be joyful. Don’t mope around watching the calendar or clock. Choose to have a positive outlook along your journey.

Even when things aren’t going your way, you can live in joy. You can either live in hope about your future or dread. A powerful person of peace looks at the future with hope.

Laughter is such great medicine, but when we’re feeling blue it can feel like so much work to laugh. It’s important to find a way to kick start the laughter. Personally I love to watch an old comedy. Those old black and white shows can really help me shift into joy.

You may not like that style of comedy, but it is important for you to find something to help get your laughter flowing.

If you’re feeling unwell or are lacking joy, ask Holy Spirit to help you. Ask Him to show you any lie that you’re believing and what the key is to unlocking the joy. After all, joy is one of His gifts.

Be joyful in hope,

patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

Romans 12:12 NIV


As always, don't forget to share this post to help spread the word about living in peace.

HAVE A GREAT, PEACE FILLED WEEK! - BETH :)

3 Steps to Living in Peace

How are you doing today? Have you stopped to take your internal peace temperature? I really want you to know that true, lasting peace is available to you, no matter who you are or what your circumstances may be.

John 14:27 says, "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."

Peace is a gift, and it is a responsibility. Jesus gives the peace to us, then He tells us it is our job to make sure we stay in it.

There is only one pathway to true peace: absolute obedience to Jesus Christ. This is the starting point to true freedom.

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Once you start to live in peace, abundant joy is right around the corner!

JOY HAPPENS WHEN YOU HAVE SO MUCH PEACE

THAT YOU CAN'T HOLD IT INSIDE ANYMORE!

John 15:10-11 goes on to say, "If you keep My commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in His love. I have told you this so that My joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete."

  1. Keep His commands
  2. Stay in His love
  3. Thrive in His perfect peace & joy

KEY IDEA: IT IS COMPLETELY POSSIBLE FOR YOU 

TO LIVE IN ABSOLUTE PEACE AND JOY!

What To Do When You're Stuck In a Holding Pattern

If you've done everything you know to do and aren't getting the breakthrough that you're feeling is supposed to come, you may be in a holding pattern.

Possible reasons for a holding pattern:

  • the people you are supposed to connect with aren't ready yet
  • the systems and tools you need haven't been invented or released yet
  • the season needs to shift and only the passing of time can shift it
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It reminds me of the feeling I get when winter lasts a couple months longer than normal. There comes a point when all I want is to see a little bit of green come back into the grass or the tips of the green daffodil shoots popping out of the ground. It can seem like spring time will never come.

When you're stuck in a holding pattern it can be so easy to get discouraged. We really have to choose to fight off the urge to give into apathy.

It's good to stay encouraged by keeping an ongoing list of everything you're thankful for. Thankfulness is a really great way to shift your outlook.

Our family takes time every day to say one thing we are thankful for. Sometimes it can feel like just a simple routine, but it is so much more. Thankfulness is a habit that once ingrained, has the power to make your whole life feel full of hope.

If thankfulness doesn't come natural to you, try setting a thankfulness reminder on your phone to go off each day.

Key Idea: Let thankfulness pull you out of apathy and into your next season!

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe.

Hebrews 12:28 NIV

What To Do When You Can't Decide...

Sometimes it can be really hard to make a choice. It's especially hard if you're the type of person who really wants to get it right. The higher the stakes, the harder the choice.

I recently had to make a hard choice in parenting. It was so difficult because parenting my kids is one the most important things to me. I went back and forth between a couple of options, back and forth, back and forth.

Here's how I landed on my decision:

  • I prayed about it
  • I got into unity with my husband about it
  • I bounced it off the people in my inner circle
  • I fought off fear
  • I finally picked the "scary but exciting option"

You see, I felt the Lord speak to me that the "scary but exciting option" was actually His provision for our family. I chose to let go of all of the "what if's" and move forward. As soon as I made the choice, I felt peace and relief. I know that if at some point the peace leaves, I can choose to make another change.

Sometimes it's hard to make a choice when we really value doing the right thing. As long as we aren't choosing to do something in violation of God's ways or our conscience, we can move forward with courage and confidence. Even if we choose "wrong", God is able to make everything work out for our best.

Key Idea: pray, get in peace, submit to God,

and choose the "scary but exciting" choice!

Does Being Worried Really Mean You're A Good Parent?

It seems to be socially acceptable to worry about our kids or family members. I hear people say all the time, "I only worry because I care" or "your worry just shows that you're a good mom." The problem is that this line of thinking is just not healthy.

Fear and worry are evil spirits that we can choose to agree with or stand against. Living in mental peace is a battle. We need to see the battle for what it is and fight. Let’s not agree with the enemy and let him mess with our heads.

 
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Did you know that you can live in perfect peace? Did you know that fear and worry are some of the most common tools of the enemy to keep you from your destiny? I am so tired of the enemy tricking us into thinking that fear and worry are some kind of normal emotions.

Ok, where to begin: we have to be aware of our self talk…. the voices in our head. Every single thought you have is not your own. The devil whispers lies constantly, and we have to practice recognizing them and not agreeing with them.

It is great to have a healthy friend or mentor to tell your thoughts to. They should be able to help you see where the thought is coming from. When we agree with God’s thoughts towards us, we grow in peace and joy. When we agree with the enemy, we open the door for him to come in and destroy our peace.

Holy Spirit is our Friend and Helper. We need Him so much. As we take time to value Him and soak in His presence, the worries fall away. Quieting the heart does not come natural to everyone. Living in peace is a skill that you can practice.

As children of God it is our nature to love. It is not our nature to live in fear.

Key Idea: Practice until peace and joy are your natural default.

What's one fear that you are choosing to let go of today?

Have You Checked Your Filter Lately?

I have a short video for you today (1 min. 50 sec.) I have taken the time to include subtitles for those of you who don't want to turn up the volume.


If you liked this video, you might like to follow me on Periscope.


Check out this awesome song (video below) by my friends Aaron & Jade Lotzow

I'll be happy if I win the lottery...happy if I get my degree....

How To Respond When Life Isn't Fair

Our culture seems to be obsessed with equality, but really fairness evaluations are just bizarre. They are all about comparison and self-pity and low self-esteem. If you've ever seen kids fighting over whose portion is bigger or better, you know what I'm talking about. You might even have been that kid.

As a mom I am convinced that it is good to parent each child individually according to their own needs. Life is not fair. Period. We do our kids a disservice when we help them to think otherwise. 

I'm so thankful that life isn't fair, because if it were I would have to have all the same skill sets as everyone else on the planet.  Can you imagine if you had to go to college to get every single type of degree available to be had. Or what if there was only one degree type, and every person had to get it so that no one else felt left out? That would be really boring.

I have been to a country where the end goal was to have everything be completely equal. The thought is that no one should rise above the rest, but that everyone should contribute equally. It simply doesn't work out well. The end result is the government deciding every person's career path so they can assure that society is evenly provided for. This means that if the government decides you should be a teacher, you don't have any choice in the matter. You just have to do it for the good and overall "fairness" of the whole.

Each person is unique. We each have a specific personality with a gift mix all our own.  We each have unique needs with different love languages to give and receive love.

God is the best Father and He is really good at giving each of us exactly what we need at just the right time. We can rest in Him.

Key Idea: Everyone ends up poor and losing when we make equality our highest goal.

"Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." John 12:1-3

We really do not need to worry about if someone else is getting more than we are. We have a really good Father who really loves us, and that makes it completely normal for us to be filled with peace and contentment instead of striving and comparison.


I was a guest on DOVETALES Radio Show yesterday. Check it out!

3 Ways to Shift Your Mood

It is totally possible to live in peace and joy even in undesirable circumstances. When you find your heart drifting towards negativity, you can make a choice to redirect it.

  1. Sometimes just changing your physical activity or location is all it takes to shift your attitude. This is one reason why physical exercise is so important. I really enjoy walking. When I get moving either on the treadmill or on my favorite path, my mind kicks into positive mode. I can literally fight off mental attacks and get into agreement with God’s promises if I walk long enough. It usually only takes ten or fifteen minutes for the shift to kick in.
  2. Watching a good comedy can be very spiritual. Laughing is so good for you. I particularly enjoy watching old sitcoms. They tend to be very wholesome and really get me laughing. 
  3. Cloudy weather can start to negatively affect my mood after a couple days. There are special kinds of lighting you can get to help with this. I find that closing all of the curtains and turning on all the lights helps me a lot.

The Bible tells us that the joy of the Lord is our strength. We need to stay in joy so that we can be strong to live out our lives as shining lights in our families and communities. It is impossible to represent Jesus well if we walk around frowning the majority of the time.

If you are living with a lack of joy, determine to do what it takes to get into peace so that it can overflow into joy that spills over everywhere you go.


Now may the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance.

2 Thessalonians 3:16

Do You Think It's Ever Ok To Judge?

When you hear the phrase, "You are different than everyone else," what tone do you hear it in? Is it a positive thing or a negative one?

If you hear it from the loving voice of your Father, you will be strengthened to stand firm in your arena.

If you hear it through the lens of your own insecurities, you will be tempted to agree with the accuser and back off from taking your place in the world. Don't let your internal disqualifications hold you back.

Have you ever heard anyone say that comparison is bad?

Look at these two glasses. One is a mug, and the other a glass....obviously. Oops! We just compared them!

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Did our comparing them make one of them better or more valuable than the other? Of course not. They were each made for a different purpose. If you are craving a cup of coffee you will want the mug, but if iced tea is your heart's desire you will go for the glass.

If we never compare ourselves to each other, how will we recognize and honor the unique gift mix that each person carries?

I would like to propose the idea that comparison is not bad at all. Where we get into trouble is when we turn our comparison into unrighteous judgement.

  • When we judge other people's weaknesses against our strengths we side with the accuser and fall into pride.
  • When we judge our weaknesses against other people's strengths we also side with the accuser and fall into condemnation and insecurity.

People talk about not judging, the fact is we judge all the time. Judging in and of itself isn’t bad. People don’t get upset when you judge them positively. It’s when you confront their sin that they get tend to say, "Don't judge me!"

How can you compare without judging ?

  • Believe the best.
  • Recognize the need for diversity in the body of Christ
  • Celebrate the fact that we all have different gifts, styles, and anointings
  • Remember that every position has value and importance

The word diversity has come to mean a lot of things in our culture today. Sadly people use it to affirm sinful lifestyles, but God really is a God of diversity. He doesn’t approve of sin, but He is the author of different personalities and gift mixes.

We are all different, and that's a good thing. God is not looking for clones.

For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot says, “Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body? 1 Cor 12:14-15

Which part of the body are YOU?

This post was co-written with my husband, Christopher Olson. An audio version is now available.

How To Pray Against Terrorism

It seems like almost every day we are bombarded with images and stories of brutal attacks by terrorists. I think that we can tend to either get really scared or become numb. What if we were to avoid both of those options and pray powerful prayers instead?

Let's start by reading what Jesus had to say about it:

In fact, the time is coming when anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to God. They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me. John 16:2b-3

It really all boils down to a lack of love. People who have hateful, murder filled hearts have not yet received the love of God. They go through life thinking that they have to prove something to God, not knowing that they can turn to Jesus and have a good Father who loves them so deeply. They live like orphans, fighting for every scrap, when they actually could have a relationship with a Father who wants to bless them with every good thing.... They just don't know it yet.

Let's start to pray faith filled prayers that God would visit terror minded people with His great love. Let's pray that He would visit them in their dreams or in any other way He sees fit, not just to protect ourselves from attacks, but so that these orphan ones can experience true love and freedom.

Jesus died because they too were valuable to the Father. Let's value what He values, and pray that the lost ones will come home!

Your Daily Drink

Do you ever feel tired or unmotivated? It turns out that Jesus offers a very simple solution to this common problem. He instructs us to simply come to Him and drink.

Now on the last day, the great day of the feast,

Jesus stood and cried out, saying,

“If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink.”

John 7:37

In case this sounds too mystical, let’s look at some practical ways to “come and drink.”

It’s really nice when we feel a sweet longing to spend time with Jesus, but even when the feeling is absent, the coming to Him is still powerful.

When you do feel a stirring to “come” to Him, drop what you are doing and go with it. As you respond to the smallest nudge of His presence, you will be filled with His love and peace.

Discipline yourself to come to Him daily whether you feel anything or not. You might want to set a daily reminder on your phone to pause to talk to Jesus and meditate on His Word.

As you read the Bible, don’t rush. When a verse stands out to you, stop and chew on it. Don’t worry about getting through a certain amount of reading. Focus on mediating on the Lord and the verses He is highlighting to you.

Close your eyes and take a deep breath as you let His Word go deep inside. This is a great way to “drink.”

He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said,

“From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.”

John 7:38

The more you spend time letting the truth of Jesus go deep into your heart and mind, the more powerful you will become. Let God take you through a process of mind renewal until you truly believe that you are one with Him.

This is the place that powerful ministry stems from. Ask Holy Spirit to come more and more until your entire being is saturated with His presence. Be aware of the fact that you are a spiritual being at your core.

Release the rivers of living water within you by opening your mouth and letting the naturally resulting praise and prayer flow.

When you take time to cultivate God’s presence in your own life, you can begin to release His Kingdom everywhere you go.

As you go to work, school, or shopping be aware of what you are carrying. You truly are a supernatural being who has the power to shift the atmosphere simply by showing up and releasing love.

A very practical step is to practice looking people in the eyes, smiling, and making small talk. This does not come easily to all of us, but it is the pathway to deeper conversation and connection.

You can do it! You are not alone; You are powerfully connected to Love!

Is Someone Undermining Your Leadership?

I am concerned that a lot of leaders lose their platform of trust by not following through on their promises. It's kind of like shooting yourself in the foot when you don't mean what you say.

Can the people in your life really trust you? Do your spouse, kids, and friends believe you when you talk to them?

Let your yes be yes, and your no be no. Don't leave room for confusion. When you say something, mean it, and follow through.

Remember what the Centurion in Luke 7 said? It was amazing enough that it impressed Jesus!

For I also am a man placed under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to this one, ‘Go!’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come!’ and he comes, and to my slave, ‘Do this!’ and he does it.” Luke 7:8

When the people under your care trust you, it makes it much easier for them to follow your instructions.

Sticking to your word means that you will need to take a moment to think before you speak. Don't let words and promises just fly out of your mouth, or your promises will be empty.

Empty words are a sure way to undermine your influence.

Action Point: Make a choice today to strengthen your influence by being a person of your word.

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How to Move Forward

I really want you to step fully into the call of God on your life. If you are in Christ, you have access to all kinds of heavenly wisdom and power. Here are some steps to help you move forward.

  • Sometimes the first step is sitting quietly, waiting on the Lord.
  • Sometimes it is a matter of meeting with a life coach to work through issues and make a plan.
  • Sometimes it's a matter of having a hard conversation with someone or setting some healthy boundaries.

If you ask the Holy Spirit, He will clearly show you.

  1. Make sure your connection to God is firm.
  2. Ask Him for wisdom and power.
  3. Do something with what He gives you.

For Jesus' perspective on this, read: Matthew 25:14-30

Don't Spew On the Ones You Love

I bet that if you had a stomach virus, you would never intentionally walk up to your loved ones and puke in their faces. Gross! Who would ever do that to anyone, much less than to the people who really matter to them.

Reasonable people try to stay away from others when they're sick. They do it out of mercy and kindness. They stay away until they are well, and no longer contagious. If the sickness doesn't seem to be passing, they get to a doctor to do their best to resolve the situation. Being sick is no fun for the one who is sick or for the rest of the family.

Why is it that we let emotional issues go unsorted for years and years? When the emotional pain buttons in our lives get pushed, the fallout hurts the people around us at least as much it hurts us.

You know the secret areas of pain that you keep hidden and hope that no one ever finds out about? I have news for you, people may not know the specifics, but they certainly feel the painful symptoms.

If you aren't willing to get healthy for your sake, at least do the hard work of getting yourself sorted out for the sake of the people you love. You really don't want people around you to feel like they have to spend their whole lives walking on eggshells.

Don't delay. Get the help you need. Make an appointment with a counselor or reach out to get with a mature, trusted mentor.

Action point: I recommend you follow Danny Silk - Loving on Purpose

If you don't deal with your issues, everyone around you will have to.


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Get a copy here

Moving From an Idea to a Plan

Whatever God is calling you to do, He will always provide everything you need in order to follow through on it. He is a good Father, and He will not ask you do something, then leave you to do it on your own. Here's where to start...

  1. Get clear on your mission. What problem in the world makes your blood boil? What is your dream testimonial?
  2. Make a short term plan with a few things you can start on right away to get you headed in the right direction.
  3. Imagine what you want your life to look like in five or ten years. Are you putting the right things in place to get there?

It's not enough to get a vision; we need to ask Holy Spirit to help us walk it out. Feeling overwhelmed? You can do this! It's time to cooperate with God.

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. James 1:22


Would you do me a huge favor and take this one minute survey about where you are on the journey to your destiny? This will help me know how to help you.