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How do I show love?

I love to ‘love on’ the people I love and who ‘love on’ me. For my husband, Bryan, and our kids, they get the full extension of my love. I love cooking them delicious meals. To me, feeding someone with a delicious and nutritious meal is the ultimate way to show love because I’m using my time to create nourishment and enjoyment. It’s a personal gift.

While on a grocery run, I’ll pick up my family’s favorite foods to eat, including treats and drinks. I generally like to do things that make their life a little easier, like picking up after them. I will initiate a big hug with Bryan even though he isn’t the ‘huggie’ type, and neither are our kids, but I’ll make them hug me on occasion.🤗

I also spend time with the person I love ❤️. I spend lots of time with Bryan, especially since the pandemic. My kids are at the stage where they spend a lot of time with their friends, but we still have family time and it usually involves eating.

Although living in different states, my siblings and I check in with each other often…even more often since our mom passed away. We group text all the time. I also make time to check in on my nephew, nieces, and cousins.

The pandemic has changed lots of things so we haven’t had too many visits to our house since then, but I generally show friends and family I love them by inviting them to our home, making them comfortable, and cooking for them. Even while on visits to Chicago in 2021 and 2022, I cooked several times.

I also enjoy capturing memories in photos and love sending them as gifts to the people I love.

Life is short, and as I get older, it’s more important to me than ever to make sure I’m showing love to the people who love me.❤️

Bloganuary Day 24 prompt!

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The happiest day of my life

Thankfully, I’ve had many happy days in my life. One in particular popped into my mind immediately upon reading today’s Bloganuary prompt (Day 17) – describe the happiest day of your life. The birth of my first child, my baby boy, was one of the happiest days of my life.

Bryan and I wanted to be sure we were ready before we had kids. On our wedding day, we started our lives together by moving to Texas. He was offered a job out of state and had been living in Texas since the summer while I stayed in Chicago, planning our wedding and getting my affairs in order for the move.

As newlyweds, we enjoyed the time exploring our new city and state and learning to live as a couple. By the time we were ready to have kids, I talked to my doctor about how long it would take for me to get pregnant after I stopped taking birth control. He said it would take about a month.

I don’t know why I didn’t believe him because it certainly did take only a month. While pregnant with my son, I often imagined what he would be like and what I would be like as a mom. I read books, decorated and prepped his room, and immersed myself in all things “baby”.

I had an uncomfortable pregnancy – back pain, sciatica, excessive sleepiness, nausea, and insomnia, but I continued to exercise and ate relatively healthy. I was also in good spirits.

My mom flew down to be with us for 2 weeks to help me with the baby. My delivery was dramatic and life threatening, but when I saw my 12.2 pound little “Sumo Wrestler”, I was overjoyed! I finally got to meet my sweet baby.

He was the biggest baby in the nursery, and nurses would randomly stop by my room to see the lady (me) who delivered this little giant. They had the nerve to lay him next to a couple of preemies. I didn’t live up to what they imagined because of my size. It was not typical for women my size to have large babies like that, but there I was breaking records in the hospital.😄

Caleb was the sweetest baby, though in his first year, he didn’t like for others besides me and his dad to pick him up. He was a great nurser (unlike my daughter, Elise – each child is different).

I’ve been sorting through old photos lately, and Elise pointed out that we barely have pictures with just her. It’s true. We have so many pictures of, and with, Caleb. He was the first and I had more time for “all the things”. By the time we had Elise 4.5 years later, I was definitely more tired. The “woahs” of the second child…

I learned so much about myself and what I could do by being Caleb’s mom. Happy day and time indeed.

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My early memory linked to smell

Growing up in Chicago, public transportation was the mode of commute for my family for many years. As I understood it, we used to live on the west side of Chicago before we moved to the south side. I will confirm this with my siblings later.

We lived on the West side until I was about 5. I don’t remember our street name or anything, but I do remember sometimes catching the train with my mom. My favorite part about the train station was the different stores with treats. The aromas were so enticing. I don’t remember exactly what the products were (imagine bakeries, candy carts/shops, and food carts, etc.) The train station was so full of life with people scurrying around.

Years later, probably my late teens to early twenties, I found myself in the vicinity of that train station again. I think I was meeting a friend. That’s the only reason I could think to be there. I was greeted with the same enticing aromas, of which I hadn’t smelled in years. Deja vu hit the pit of my stomach like a bomb. The smells conjured up so many cloudy memories and emotions.

It was smaller than I remembered. The shops and general area were older and worn. I had mixed emotions because this was a part of my history, yet I barely remembered it visually. That train station had seen thousands of people pass through, no doubt, including my mom and me. And life passes by so quickly. I wish to smell that place again someday.

Bloganuary: Day 16 prompt

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My preferred mode of travel

By far, traveling by car is my preferred mode of travel. Road trips nowadays are a totally different experience than road trips growing up. Back then, wearing a seat belt was not the law, and I remember being packed in a car, even sitting on someone’s lap or on the floor. There weren’t a ridiculous amount of McDonald’s or other restaurants to choose for food or if you had to use the restroom. We packed sandwiches and peed on the side of the road if we couldn’t wait to get to a proper place.

By the time we were traveling with our kids, I took advantage quite a bit and traveling became more fun. On one trip to Chicago with our kids when they were little, all restroom breaks were at hotels because I knew all hotels had restrooms in the lobby, and they were always clean. We stopped a lot along the ride. It was brilliant!

In 2021 and 2022, we were fortunate enough to drive to Chicago to see our families. It’s approximately 16 hours from Austin to Chicago. I enjoyed not having to deal with the airport and all it entails. And our comfortable vehicle made all the difference. We (mostly Bryan) paced ourselves and drove 8 hours during the day, stayed overnight at a hotel, and left out from the hotel early to complete the drive. We did that going and returning home. The road trips forced me to slow down and enjoy the ride….BLISSFUL indeed.

The cover photo is a picture I took with my phone in our car in Chicago. We miss our families, but don’t miss that cold.

Bloganuary: Day 14 prompt

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The most memorable gift

This is Day 9 of Bloganuary, and I’m enjoying this experience. Today’s prompt is to write about the most memorable gift you’ve received. A few weeks after I completed my last radiation treatment for breast cancer in early 2017, a dear friend of mine surprised me with a spa weekend. She drove from where she lives in Houston (about 2 hours from me) to pick me up, and we were off for a weekend of pampering.

I felt the care of that place from the beautiful surroundings, the delicious, responsibly sourced food, the pampering facial, manicure and pedicure, the dance activity, and our therapeutic time with the horses. It was the absolute best weekend (2 night stay) and just what I needed after a jarring 5 months of cancer diagnosis, many doctor’s appointments, 2 surgeries, and radiation treatment.

The time we spent catching up was special. We were both very busy, so I immensely enjoyed the time we shared. This post reminds me that I’m missing my friend. What are the odds that we both were born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, and we both now live in Texas. We’ve known each other since elementary school and became friends in freshman year of high school. Life ebbs and flows and some friendships do the same. Hopefully, we’ll get to see each other this year.

Here are some photos I took to memorialize the amazing experience.

Me falling in love with Pete at the Equine Encounter
After a movement exercise with a small group, we each picked cards, and the facilitator provided insight on each card. The back has information on what the card represents. I don’t know where my card is.
A beautiful view from the pool. Though it was warm here in Texas right before spring, it was not warm enough to get into the pool.
This is the note the staff had waiting for us upon our arrival to the room. Life certainly is a beautiful mess.

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Earliest Memories

The earliest memories I have are laying in a crib watching my surroundings and wondering where I was. I remember hearing the song Ben by Michael Jackson played occasionally. When the music wasn’t playing, the house was quiet. This song, which I’ve heard endlessly and loved, was released in 1972. I was born in 1973. These memories used to pop up often, but not so much as my life became filled with my own responsibilities like working and raising my own children with my husband.

It wasn’t until years later, when I was an adult that my mummy told me something that shocked me. I was absolutely SHOOK (in todays vernacular)! Mummy feared a whole lot and was very strict with me. I don’t recall what prompted the conversation, but she revealed to me that one day while she was on the bus with me as a baby in Chicago, this lady, who mummy didn’t know (a stranger), commented on how beautiful I was. The lady offered to care for me during the week while my mummy worked. Mummy accepted the offer, so I spent my days at this lady’s house. Mummy would meet the lady somewhere at the beginning of the week and hand me to her. I don’t recall if it was for weeks or months.

This definitely speaks to the different time we live in now (or even 20 years ago) because no matter how nice a person appears, I would never let a stranger who is not a child care provider and I’m paying, or who just offers because she is kind, babysit my children. If I did that when my kids were growing up, I would never hear the end of it, especially from mummy. I was shocked she would allow this.

I have empathy for her and the choices she had to make as an immigrant woman who came to this country to make a better life for herself and her children. She didn’t know she would face this life without her abusive husband, my father. She had limited education and was the single parent to 4 children living in the big city of Chicago. She did what she had to do.

In those early memories, I don’t recall being unhappy. I just lay there, watched, and listened. I was fine. Later on in the eighties, I was one of those latchkey kids who knew how to take care of myself.

God’s grace and covering were on us.

I’m so thankful for mummy’s sacrifices and her putting me on the path to do better for my children.

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Merry Christmas

I’m taking a moment to send holiday cheer into the world. For my household, Christmas is a time to celebrate Jesus’s birth and to also spend time with family, to let our loved ones know how much they mean to us, to be extra gracious and kind, and to just experience the joy of the season.

We started our day early. My 21-year old son, Caleb, who tries to play it cool with his emotions, woke us up from a deep sleep early in the morning. My husband, Bryan, later told me it was about 5:00 am. He asked if we were ready to open the gifts. We both shouted out, “No, a little later!” We knew he was excited, but we were too sleepy and soon dozed back to sleep.

When I was growing up, we opened Christmas gifts at midnight on Christmas Eve. Bryan’s family opened gifts in the morning, but sometimes they would open one gift at midnight. With our kids, we’ve mostly opened gifts first thing in the morning. I’m usually still wrapping gifts at midnight, but not this time. I had help. I asked my daughter, Elise, to wrap a few of her brother’s gifts. I had gift bags for some of the gifts and wrapped the rest. I completed my wrapping at about 8:00pm on Saturday.

Elise creatively wrapped her brother’s gifts to give him clues what they were.

I spent Christmas 2022 in my pajamas all day. My family is happy with their gifts so I’m happy. We tend to provide extra gifts to our kids since most of our families on both sides live in the Chicago, Illinois area. My heart is especially full because it’s the one time of year where I can get hugs from my kids. We’re not the most “physically expressive with our emotions” family. I’ve grown to be more of a hugger as I’ve gotten older, and as the universe would have it, my kids prefer otherwise.

Not only did Caleb gift me with a beautiful necklace, he reciprocated my hug, and told me he loved me. Elise also reciprocated my big suffocating hug. Perhaps other parents hear the “I love yous” and get hugs from their kids all the time. As my kids have gotten older, they do it much less, which makes it all the more special.

This is the first Christmas without my mother in law. I asked Bryan how he was doing and he said it’s been different. He’s been talking to his mom off and on today. He’s spent the past 2 days talking to family members. I can tell he had a great day. I’ve been communicating with family and friends through phone calls, texts, and social media. I enjoyed the connection, even if for a few minutes.

We’ve had some unusually cold weather in Texas for this time of year, so for the first time in a long time, we didn’t attend the church concert or Christmas Eve service. Thankfully, we didn’t have extreme weather like we did in February 2021, when the power went out and water stopped working for about a week for most people. Some people died which was heart breaking and incomprehensible, especially since I’ve experienced colder winters than that growing up in Chicago. I blogged about my experience in the posts Is This Texas? and Is This Texas Part Deux?

This time with the cold, we had no precipitation which makes it much more bearable. I can deal with cold, but it’s darn near life altering to deal with cold with rain, snow, or ice. It gets too dangerous to drive in the Texas terrain with drivers who do not know how to drive under those conditions. The temperatures were as low as the teens, but it has been steadily increasing. I enjoyed the nostalgia of having a colder Christmas week.

As I sit in my recliner couch typing and watching Bryan reclining on the other couch with his boozy beverage in hand, I can tell you, it’s been a SPLENDID day.

More than anything right now, I want more kindness, grace, and love for us all. It’s not cliché that life is so precious and short. One of my biggest light lessons for 2022 is instead of worrying about losses (such as in relationships, time, health, etc.), I’m paying more attention to the people who make room for me and who love me and the time and health I do have. If I don’t reach a goal as planned, I won’t stop living until the goal is achieved. I’ll continue living in the moment, appreciating where I am and knowing I’ll eventually achieve it. Sometimes, we get caught up in what’s missing rather than what’s here, right now in front of us.

With that, I say cheers to Christmas 2022 knowing that it can be an especially difficult time for many people for various reasons, including the loss of loved ones and loneliness. Give the gift of kindness, grace, and love to others and especially yourself this season and every day.

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Giving Thanks

My Thanksgiving plate: smoked turkey, green beans, macaroni and cheese, mashed sweet potatoes, dressing, mixed greens (collard, mustard, turnip), potato salad, and cranberry sauce. I made all the sides, except for the greens beans (made by our friends). My husband smoked the turkey and a pork butt. Everything was delicious!

Last week we celebrated Thanksgiving in the U.S. and I’m carrying the gratitude with me into this week. It’s true there is something to be thankful for every single day, even every moment, no matter how small. The Thanksgiving holiday reminds me to slow down and count my blessings. Thanksgiving kicks off my favorite holiday season.

Last year we drove to Chicago and spent the time with our family. That was so special because our time together is precious especially after my mom passed away. I think we all sense our time on this earth is limited and so we’re more intentional about making the time for each other. I like to say that I’ve been fueled up (with love) after those visits.

My nieces, siblings, and kids. Thanksgiving 2021
My daughter, Elise, and I Thanksgiving Day 2022

This year, we celebrated the holiday with friends. So many people have moved to Texas from other places so it’s not uncommon to not have family near. I was excited about cooking for friends. And it dawned on me this would actually be the first Thanksgiving in our new home. Being in a new home is and of itself something to be thankful for. We moved into our freshly built home about a year and 8 months ago so I’m not sure how long I can call it new. Whatever the case, since the pandemic we haven’t really had people over.

I made things easier on myself by keeping the menu simple. My husband, Bryan, decided to smoke the meats (turkey breast, turkey legs, and pork butt), which means I was responsible for cooking the sides.

The PREP

We began prepping the weekend before Thanksgiving by taking the meats out of the freezer to defrost in the fridge. On Tuesday, Bryan seasoned the pork and brined the turkey parts. I chopped up all my vegetables for each dish and put them in baggies that I labeled. I also made a big pot of liquid gold aka turkey broth. I also roasted about 10 sweet potatoes for my mashed sweet potatoes and sweet potato pies. In my grocery shopping, I purchased some time saving items like preboiled eggs, herb croutons for the dressing, and cornbread mix. And something I’ve never done for previous Thanksgivings most likely because I didn’t have the space was use my CROCK POT. I had her set up on the island.

This Ninja cooked up my greens and smoked turkey like a charm.

It was certainly a blessing to serve a bounty of food and be surrounded with loved ones and friends. Growing up in poverty, I’m reminded of how far my family has come to make a better life for ourselves and our children. What we didn’t have in financial means, we were rich in faith, hope, and love. The part of Thanksgiving that I will take with me everyday is to often show appreciation to the people who love and show up for me, to extend extra care and grace to others, to be encouraging, to demonstrate compassion to myself (first) and others, to help where I can, and to reflect more on what I do have rather than what I don’t.

What are you thankful for?

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Legacy

Last week my family got on the road from Texas to Illnois to say our final goodbyes to my beautiful mother in law (MIL)…my husband, Bryan’s, mom. Though it was a sad occassion, we were excited about seeing our families.

When I think about my 25+ year relationship with Carol as my MIL, the word that first comes to mind is easy. I know people who have had, or cuurently have, strained and contentious relationships with their MILs or in laws. I’ve never had that with Carol. It’s been an easy relationship.

What I’ve loved about Carol since I met her is she enjoyed sharing family stories of how Bryan grew up. In fact, she was always sharing information. I appreciated that very much because it helped me with perspective on why Byran was the way he was, especially earlier on in our marriage.

Carol was also very warm and nurturing. She was the epitome of the family matriarch. Like my mom, Solange, who passed away in 2017, Carol was a worrier and it seemed to get worse the older she got. I wished both of them could be free of all that worrying.

Carol loved her family and I know she loved me. Though it was sad we all gathered for her homegoing, this weekend was one of the most enriching experiences I’ve had with Bryan’s side of the family in a long time. We gathered at an aunt’s house after the funeral on Friday for the repass and again on Saturday at an uncle’s house.

I thoroughly enjoyed watching my children playing with their cousins, especially my son, Caleb. It was too many cousins to keep count, especially the little ones. They were all over Caleb. They were fighting over who was next to ride on his back. They also enjoyed toppling over him.

On Saturday evening, we spent time over my second oldest sister, Gina’s house with my other sinblings and our children, helping celebrate niece’s birthday (Gina’s youngest daughter). Since my mom passed away, my siblings and I have been intentional about seeing each other more and staying connected.

My other niece (my oldest sister, Mylene’s daughter) had her first baby, Serenity, a month ago. I fell in love with that little tiny angel. Serenity would be my mom’s first great grand baby.

I’m still processing the beauty and genuine positive vibes of spending time with both sides of our family on this short trip. Bryan and I have experienced both of our parent’s passing away. We were talking about being orphans in a way. Our parents’ loss reminds us of how crucial it is for us to remain connected to our families because life is so short.

Like my mom, Solange, Carol’s grand children and great grand children are the legacy she left here on earth. She passed on her love for family, taking care of people, and actually being loving. She didn’t judge. She just loved and sometimes that may have been to a fault because she never put herself first. And all of her family benefited from her selflessness.

As Carol’s daughter in law, I was a recipient of her love and of the love she poured into raising Bryan. I want the love to keep flowing and growing so my children can have that love fill them up, especially on days where they may feel alone, sad, or whatever.

I will work on being an even better nurturer because of Carol’s example. I will do my part to ensure her legacy makes her proud.

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My assignment

God has put an assignment on my life and it is time I let go of the guilt for choices I make to honor my assignment. My assignment is this: CARING FOR MY FAMILY. That’s it. Several years ago, I attended a church service where a pastor first introduced me to the idea of God giving us assignments. Assignments can be people or causes or whatever God has called you to do. You can also have more than one assignment though I’m not sure if it would be feasible to manage multiple assignments simultaneously. I’ve known since I had children, my family is my main assignment. I love this beautiful family of mine, who God entrusted me with, and I am going to do whatever I can to make them feel loved, nurtured, and cared and provided for.

The Carrs on a bike riding adventure at the Veloway, Austin, Texas

When my husband, Bryan, had brain surgery due to hydrocephalus in 2016, we thought we had passed the worst of it, not knowing he would decompensate the following year, which entailed even more hospitalizations and treatment. I knew with my background in mental health and working directly with clients and helping them navigate through life (including medical appointments), it prepared me to attend to Bryan. It is difficult for the average person to navigate the medical care system, let alone experienced professionals. Even with my training and experience, I would get frustrated with the process of it all. Bryan is doing so much better and I have been grateful to be his advocate, case manager, and caretaker. I feel sorry for those who do not have this level of support.

Lucrece and Bryan in Corpus Christi, Texas


My son, Caleb, started struggling in middle school due to difficulty focusing. I made sure I attended all the school meetings regarding his learning and attempted to implement protocols at home to keep him organized. I typed “attempted” because they didn’t always work, especially if Caleb didn’t keep up with them. Bryan was the homework parent, and I was the organizer, scheduler, and shopper. In addition to emotional support, it was also important to me that my children had healthy, homecooked meals because I wanted to provide them with this type of nurturing. Therefore, I made sure I purchased healthy food options and I spent my weekends cooking.

Steak tacos…YUM!


For years, I have mentally tortured myself for spending most of my weekends prepping meals, cooking, attending to my family and home, playing with my children (when they were little), and doing some self-care activities instead of catching up on my never-ending work to-do list. I cannot pinpoint when, but I came to the realization I was deliberately choosing to focus on caring for my family, my assignment, rather than doing work activities. And this realization occurred over a period of time. Why would I feel guilty about that? It would have made more sense for me to be give myself some grace for all I was doing. However, internal and external forces made me feel like I wasn’t doing enough.


Since teleworking for over 2 years now due to the pandemic, I continued to bear this guilt. The lines between work and home are even more blurred working from home. I would spend my weekends attending to my assignment, all the while with the anxiety of “work” looming in my head. It was like background noise I could not turn off. Then Sunday night would inevitably arrive, and I realized I did not have time for work. But interestingly, that is when I would let it go and proclaim, “tomorrow is a new day”. Why can’t I start my weekend consciously saying I am devoting my weekend to my family (aka my assignment) and myself and be satisfied with that?

I wrote this on the dry erase board outside of my office in March 2020. I thought I was going to be back in the office on Monday, but we’ve been teleworking every since.


Earlier in the summer, a pastor at my current church preached about people being so stressed today and how we need to go back to some basic principles such as recognizing Sunday as being a day of rest. I knew that message was for me. I felt convicted as I listened. He did say to work hard Monday through Saturday. I left church promising to adopt this in my life. In honesty, I have slipped a few Sundays by doing some work, but the same degree as in the past. And for clarification, the commitment I made was not to do work for my place of employment on Sunday and to do most of my weekend cleaning and tiding up on Friday and Saturday. I don’t necessarily view cooking as work.


Another aspect where I find myself feeling guilty is when it comes to maintaining friendships. My life is plenty full, even with my children growing up. I have prioritized caring for my assignment. There are some people I stay connected with, but I realize there are many people of whom I do not due to the extra effort it takes. Aside from attending to my assignment, I value my peace, so I set boundaries which usually means less people around me. Plus, I am an introvert at heart so I am energized in small groups such as the size of my household (4) and in solitude. I will also add that long term friendships ebb and flow because we all have our assignments and things going on in our lives.


If you struggle with any of this, I hope you take what you need from my post, but mainly allow yourself some grace. The main thing I am doing is changing my mindset. I have already been practicing this. Rather than focus on what I don’t accomplish, I focus on the conscious choices I’ve made to attend to my assignment, what I did accomplish as a result of my choices, and then I give myself a mental high five for following the commitment to my assignment. That’s it.


For example, I started Saturday morning with attending a Zumba fitness class which was super fun and checked the self-care box. Afterwards, I went to the grocery store to pick up a few items for the household and it was nice to get there early. Then at home, I prepared a delicious lunch of leftovers. I then cleaned my bathroom and was pleased that a new product I tried removed the soap scum and hard water marks. I changed my bed sheets, did some laundry, dusted two ceiling fans. swept the floor in the main areas, wrote two work ideas down on my dry erase board in my office, watered, pruned, sprayed my indoor and outdoor plants, washed my hair, and polished my nails. I started this post before midnight on Saturday, which is another score for me. It was a very productive day for sure. Great job, Lucrece!

What is there to feel guilty about? If anything, I need to process more deeply what about my work environment causes me to feel guilty when I’m unable to work on my off days. What is it about me that requires me to believe I SHOULD be able to do it all when in reality, it is not feasible. And I’m working on removing the word “should” from my vocabulary because it’s like setting limits on yourself. Prioritizing my family (and my self-care) when I’m not scheduled to work is what I need to be attending to on my off hands. For limited time work projects that require a little extra work on my off days, I’m willing to accommodate, but not like I used to. This is coming from a recovering workaholic.


The light lessons for this post are: 1) deliberately change how I view the situation by acknowledging the choices I am making; 2) committing myself to those choices; and 2) praising myself with positive self-talk. If I go even further, I could maintain a journal or phone log of choices/accomplishments I’ve made for the day. I did try this for a few weeks and didn’t keep up with it. I just might pick it up again.

If you struggle with work guilt, mom guilt, friend guilt or just general guilt, I’d love to hear how you handle this. Drop a comment if you feel so inclined. Until next time.