Fists and Fear Don’t Solve Problems

Susan slumped over the tub as she sobbed and mourned. She clutched the bottle of pills more tightly wondering how she could go through with it. Susan didn’t want to die, but Rick’s had said, “Our family would be better off if you were just dead. Your damn attitude keeps us from enjoying any happiness.”

Susan’s mother had caused the same issues in Susan’s family, so she yielded to Rick by taking on responsibility for all the family problems. She thought her mother’s problems had been inherited. Maybe the family was better off with her dead. She decided she would not torment her children as her mom did. She hoped these pills would stop the cycle, but the act of taking one’s life felt immoral.

Susan is a victim, and Rick used manipulation and deception to abuse her. Both are aware of serious problems in their marriage, but neither may realize there could be a health issue. Mental health is equally important to physical health. If Susan’s foot feels painful enough to want to cut it off, she would go to a doctor. Does Susan, in the bathroom considering suicide, consider going to a doctor, a licensed psychologist, or a counselor? Does Rick, who told his wife he wishes she were dead, think about getting mental health? Couples or individuals who have serious thoughts of harming themselves, or one they love, should seek mental health services. There are places to go, even if one does not have insurance.

I lived this life! I was raised by a mom and dad who loved me dearly, and they loved each other for fifty years. They had problems, though. Those problems created problems for my brothers and me. I did seek help beginning at age 18, and I have now learned that the reason I went to licensed counselors on and off throughout my life. I was not taught appropriate skills for mental and emotional problem-solving. The fact that I have a heavy background receiving counseling is something I am proud to acknowledge. I learned skills from the experience.

I married young and fifteen years later we divorced. My first husband, also a victim of childhood family conflict solved his anger problems fists, and unfortunately, I found myself thinking of suicide on several occasions because I was afraid. Fists and fear do solve problems. Facing the problem and finding an appropriate solution do help.

Step 1: Call someone and tell them what is going on. Just make sure you get help from one licensed to assess mental health.

Step 2: Stick with some plan to get help. Do not give up, or fall back into the same cycle.

Step 3: Adjust the plan as needed to get the outcome you need to learn better strategies for your life.

Step 4: Continue to work on YOU. Nothing will change in your future if you continue a cycle of behavior from your past. I had not been taught correct skills.

I told a friend, and she made me promise to call the police if he hurt me again. I did call 911 because nothing else I had tried had worked. Unfortunately, it did not help my husband, nor did he seek help. I put my self on the road to recovery that night.

I didn’t have a plan, but a plan was made for me. The police told me to go to a shelter that night with my children. The shelter helped me figure out a plan that would give my husband a chance to get help, too.

I loved that man, so I bailed him out hoping for remorse. He only wanted revenge. I altered my plan; a Protective Order was needed, so I filed for divorce. Judges restricted P.O.s. to those who file for divorce.

The FSS counselor was a good start. I needed more help because I realized I had modeled bad living skills for my kids. We found an independent counselor and stuck with her for years. When I’d recognize something wasn’t good, I’d go back in and talk to her for a few sessions. I read books she recommended and tried strategies for change. Things slowly got better.


Don’t wait! If you have insurance, get busy. If you do not have insurance, call ocal organizations. I went to Al Anon for a long time because they helped me understand how serious problems develop from incorrect thinking. Counseling is learning a new way to think about events and a new way to act in our daily lives. I have managed to change my thinking into a positive self-nurturing quality. Life is wonderful, but I ( did you read who?) I had to change. If you believe that your life will become better if someone else will change, YOU ARE WRONG. You must change.

I did change in my first marriage and I believed that my changes would make a difference to the marriage, but a marriage is an entity comprised of two. To salvation a broken relationship, both must change, AND they must change in the same direction if they are to stay married.

I hope that my article helps at least one person to make an effort to get help. Drop a comment if you feel strongly about the article; even if you disagree. Thanks readers!

You are Worthy to be Forgiven

Thinking about where I began brought me home to a relationship with my creator, one who is called by many names. My parents conceived me, of course, but is there something within me that came from someone or somewhere else? Paul Young’s portrayal of Papa in his book, The Shack, inspired me to continue my odyssey toward finding God.

I was given a name and a blessing at church by my father in front of the congregation. I learned about God at church several days a week. I married in the church, and followed the same pattern taught to me by my parents. For forty-six years, I testified that my church was the only true church upon the earth. Ingrained with this belief so deeply, I accepted as a fact the concept that after death, I would not attain the place where God lives if I left that church.

I learned many good things there, and I enjoyed countless experiences in that building for more than half my life. My family was all part of the church, and most of my friends were members. Leaving the church was certain spiritual death for me, but I felt alarmingly conflicted when I attended. The disturbance ebbed into every crevice of my life, and I struggled with several serious matters.

I was forty-seven when I permitted myself to trust my sense of discernment. The precepts from church leadership were absolutely duplicitous! I suffered devastation when I recognized the fabrications. I had believed the doctrine to be true. Yet, this doctrine was used by deceitful people to beat me down.

Today, I live peacefully believing that when I die, my life is complete. The freedom from dogmatic rules lifts me to enjoyment of life. No longer do I allow anyone from anywhere to manipulate me with lies.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Accepting pain and heartache from someone asserting control over you is not okay. You have the right choose for yourself.                          Wanda LaPlount   April 2021   

For nine years I wandered in my private desert like the Israelites. I sought answers. As I wandered, the sand embedded in my teeth and left me thirsting. Why were they unusually heartless? Why did they disregard my children? Answers never came. With time, I learned that I was asking the wrong questions. The answers I sought would have left me in more pain. Fortunately, I connected with praiseworthy people who led me toward joyfulness. I discovered questions with answers that brought more light.

Reading everything I could find concerning living an enjoyable life helped me purpose my thinking. Meeting new people led to discussions about infinite love, and I listened to their ideas, beliefs, customs, and religions. The highlight of my path taught me to love and accept myself.

In the book, The Shack, Papa allows Mac to slowly open his eyes to the peace and love we feel when we can forgive another. At the same time, Papa wants us to know we are loved and that we are forgiven. The line from the Lord’s prayer is so simple.

12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

Matthew 6:12-14 Authorized King James Version

I am the one who obstructs my way when I cannot forgive myself. Forgiveness may be expected by some without so much as a hasty, mumbled: “I’m sorry.” We feel indignation in those circumstances because we do not think they deserve our amnesty. However, we must understand that forgiveness is NOT about letting someone off of the hook. That foul man who killed Mac’s daughter did not get a free pass. He cannot feel peace and love. When you turn your heart toward love, compassion, and sincerity; you enter an emotional state of calmness. More fulfillment will come to each of us as we seek to share our peace with those around us.  

When we forgive someone for the pain they inflicted upon us, we begin to feel worthy to be forgiven of our own mistakes. We begin to build the relationship talked about in Paul Young’s book! As it happens, we acknowledge our mistakes, and we forgive ourselves. There lies the truth about God being in us. In my opinion, a system of belief, or a million-dollar building is not where I can feel God. It does not offer me the serenity I now have.

I find God everywhere I go because I am loved. In my worst behavior, God is there because a good Papa never abandons a lost child. The child, however, has to lift up her hands for God to carry her.

Gratitude Will Bring You Joy

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

James 1:17 ESV
https://bible.com/bible/59/jas.1.17.ESV
Peace starts with a seed

Sunday afternoon my husband and I loaded two of our grandchildren into the car to go to Wendy’s for a late lunch. We picked up our garage sale signs along the way. At the intersection of our neighborhood and the highway, I turned right onto the busy road. I switched lanes and BAM! An 18-wheeler surged around the left side of my car and swerved right around the front of my car. What was left of the car rested in the turning lane. There were pieces of it scattered over the road.

I had been clipped by an fully loaded truck headed to Colorado. Ken looked at me strangely and asked if I was hurt. We checked the children. They were not hurt, but they were scared. We watched the truck veer back and forth as he came to a stop about 800 ft. down the road. Ken exited the car to go check on him and his well being. The kids and I remained in the car for safety reasons because the road was unusually busy, and I feared we might get hit walking to the side.

Four hours later, I sat at home decompressing.  From the moment of impact, I simply felt gratitude. My grandchildren survived without injury. My husband reclined next to me unharmed. Amazed, I could only feel grateful. The wrecker had towed my car to our driveway. It rested on the broken wheel of the driver’s side, and the front end lay in pieces in the back of our pickup. I loved that car, but I felt no grief for it’s condition, only gratitude that it had been strong enough to protect my family and me.

The Father of lights gave us good gifts that Sunday! I believe it, and His main gift was His light. Feeling gratitude was a blessing that I did not always possess. The ability to stay positive during stressful times had evaded me. I had to grow my capacity for positive emotions much like a seed. The light James talked about is given by a loving God, and it feeds and nutures the seed.

The seed of positivity has been growing within me for thirty years. I wanted a better life, so I did what I could to help myself become someone better. With no idea what I needed to do, or how to do it, I did something!  Remarkably, it my efforts worked.  The following list are practices that helped me become a happier person. Try some of them. Maybe they will work for you.

  • Everyday, self talk to a mirror. Say, “Self, you are beautiful.” “Self, you are smart.” etc.
  • Read books that teach you positive thinking skills.
  • Listen more than you plan to talk.
  • Take notes. If someone is happy, how do other react.
  • Be gracious. Tell others thank you for their efforts, even if they only did something small.
  • Treat your family as if they are guests everyday. They could be gone tomorrow.
  • List 10 things a day you feel grateful for.
  • Pet an animal, save an animal.
  • Exercise. This helps a lot!
  • Remind yourself who you are each day; a child of the Father of light.
  • Find that light in something each day. Did you notice the dandelion seeds picture above?
  • Even a noxious weed is beautiful in the light!

    

Should Churches Serve People, or People Serve Churches

Photo by Dan Whitfield on Pexels.com

Where are you most likely to speak with God? Is it even possible to talk with Him? From an experience of deep pain I want to explore reasons for the decline in religious affiliation in recent decades. I will discuss how we can strengthen our self-worth, and feel more satisfied with life. The book titled, The Shack by William P. Young was a powerful tool to help me begin to understand my relationship with God.

Photo by Zukiman Mohamad on Pexels.com

As I walked out to the garage to tell John lunch is on the table, I noticed he turned his back to me. I glimpsed the dark tinted glasses instead of his contacts. “Of course! He’s high.” I thought. As my eyes swept the room, I saw the partially stashed bundle of cash and his suede pouch. Weeks ago, he had promised the chaplain and me to stop selling and using. Again, he lied. Anger surged within me, and I spoke. “You promised you weren’t doing this anymore.”

“I’m not. I just found some stuff out here while I was cleaning, and I’m going to trash it.” Again, a lie. An argument ensued. Within minutes, I was shoved against the cold, concrete, garage wall, and muscular hands squeezed my throat while the man I used to love screamed obscenities and spit in my face.

Fifteen years with my dear John destroyed my faith. We prayed as a family each day morning and night. We attended church every Sunday and Wednesday. He and the boys wore white shirts and ties, while my daughter and I dressed in our best dresses. Each of us served as we were asked. Our only activities outside of the church were the kid’s sports. We appeared to be a devout church family who chose to serve God just as the biblical leader Joshua said.

Joshua 24:15 KJV

Choose you this day whom ye will serve; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

Various church officials counseled us through the years. They encouraged us to put God first, repent, and forgive. Our marriage did not survive. I finally escaped with the children and entered a domestic violence shelter. At last, we received excellent therapy, and I divorced John.

I continued membership in the same church, as did John. The kids and I continued to pray together, attend church, study the bible, and serve as needed with one change. I piloted our lives as I determined our needs instead of relying on laymen of the church to guide me.

In the women’s shelter, I learned that I had replied on people in my church who had no training nor licensing for helping me. They were serving their own interests and that of the church. I needed police officers, licensed professional counselors, lawyers, judges, and safe houses to stop my suffering. I was married to a drug dealer/family abuser.

Churches want to help, but many times individual do-gooders take on too much responsibility. I witnessed people leaving churches for the following reasons:

When Fathers’ Rights are Restricted, Children Suffer

There are situations in which courts must protect a parent and child. This article does not apply to circumstances in which abuse or threat of abuse jeopardizes the safety of a child or parent.

Daddy was my champion. We were bonded tightly, as he was the stabilizer in my family. My earliest, remarkable memories were shared with him. He sat at his tiny desk in the family room once a week to reconcile the checkbook. It was the 60’s, and no apps existed for instant access to the bank account. I’d squeeze my tiny self between him and the wall to sit on the bookshelf and watch.

“You are doing your checks, Daddy?” I asked. He noticed my quizzical disposition, and carefully explained check reconciliation to a three-year-old. It was the same with all his responsibilities; auto repair, carpentry, home improvement, and church work. Observing him while listening to his explanations built a foundation for me that has become generational. My children are parents, now. I frequently hear Daddy’s tone and instruction coming from them.

Fathers must insist that they get an equal presence in children’s lives for to them to thrive. Studies indicate that infant weights are higher at check-ups, school-age kids achieve higher grades, and fewer teens drop out of school when fathers succeed in sharing the role of parenting. I read numerous articles stating how the father effect is equal to that of the mother but under-researched.

Interestingly, children with actively involved fathers have stronger empathy and become better at reading the emotions of other children. Roughhousing is commonly a dad’s favorite activity, and it is known to strengthen childrens’ social competence. Active involvement denotes Dad is doing an activity with his child beyond watching television. For example, my dad explained check reconciliation to me as a toddler. Did I comprehend it? Probably not; however, it is a fond memory from which I developed confidence, trust, and patience.

When two people create a life, they both have the right and the responsibility to parent that child. Women and men must share equality in parent-child relationships. When fathers are unfairly stripped from their child’s life, society suffers. Standard visitation offers fathers 30% of a given year with their children, and that is only if he lives less than one hundred miles from the child. He pays 20%-40% of his income to the mother for support of the child. Also, he must furnish his own support for the 30% of the child’s time in his possession: food, clothing, furniture, toys, books, etc. Most courts do not look at the mother’s income. She might make more money than the father, but he is still ordered to pay.

The laws we currently adhere to came about in the mid 1900’s when mothers did not typically work outside the home, and fathers worked 40 to 60 hours a week. Then there existed a need for child support payments and weekend visitation schedules. It is not a popular vision, but I believe our society should look into revising laws that are antiquated. Divorce decrees, visitation schedules, and child support should become shared for the benefit of the child. Divorced parents should be able to put their children first and make decisions without malice.

Strength of Generations

The history of the world is created by events, and those happenings are recorded by people as stories are orally passed from one generation to the next. As I wrote 2021 on a paper recently, I thought about the fact that I am a second-generation descendant of history that occurred a hundred years ago! My parents were born in the nineteen twenties, and they told me so many stories. I came along in the sixties with the attitude that the nineteen twenties were ancient.

My dad and mom were babies in 1929 when the stock market crashed and the Great Depression began. Self reliance was their only means of survival. My grandparents were farmers and grew their own food, but then came the Dirty Thirties when the wind literally blew the soil right off the land. Mechanical tractors replaced horse drawn plows, and Mom’s parents lost their land because they were unable to afford a tractor. Dad’s parents had been share croppers his whole life. The forties arrived. World War II commenced, so my parents’ older brothers left home too fight the war.

My parents suffered years of hard living as children; yet, they became thriving adults. I am fortunate to have their fortitude. They instilled in me a desire for self reliance. I learned to figure things out for myself, and prepare for hard times in the best way possible.

My world has been full of hard times as well; but, I have strength from their teachings and examples. Gratitude is what I feel for the life lessons they gave me through the stories of their lives. Now, I am becoming history as my grandchildren listen to my stories. I only hope that what I pass down will be as beneficial as what I received.

Believe in Yourself, Even in the 9th Hour

One day, my husband and I engaged in a mild dispute about something unimportant. In my mind, I blamed him for our miscommunication. His thoughts remain unspoken, but he turned away and rolled his eyes. Anyone ever experienced a moment like this? All marriages have two people, so differences are unavoidable and not a big deal, as long as the partners are emotionally healthy. However, a strong person can have bouts of self-doubt. I wasn’t my best self because of health issues, social isolation, and a job status change. Without awareness, my state of mind transitioned to old patterns. Mike, the bully voice in my head, began hammering at my self-worth. His name stems from one of the first bullies I encountered in childhood. “You are stupid. You do not know how to talk. Everyone despises you because your ideas are dumb. You have no abilities. You should not have been born.” 

Years ago, I would have acted the same as when I was a child. I would have sat in my closet, in the dark crying because I felt unworthy and forsaken. No more, I believe in myself, and I am infinitely worthy of love. I am intelligent. I communicate quite well, and my ideas are often creative. Mike, the bully, can shrink his way back into his closet!

After the moment of discord with my beloved partner, I put on my headphones and started a playlist. My music tastes are random and oddly diverse. Justin Furstenfeld’s lilting voice began to sing “Fear” from his SWAY album, and I focused in on the lyrics. He artistically composed the words to explain the metamorphosis from a broken person into a stronger man. He personified fear breaking him. One of his stanzas show how he began to believe in himself and God helps when we need Him.

The beauty is…I’m learning how to face my beast, Starting now to find some peace. Set myself free… Ask him to help you carry on.

Blue October. “Fear.” Sway, Up/Down-Brando Records, ©2013.

The last line of Justin’s song, “Ask him to help you carry on.”, triggered my thoughts toward God. One of His last acts provided an example of the struggle human beings experience: desertion, abandonment, isolation, love ones ignoring us, being an outcast, or forsaken at times. Jesus cried out at the ninth hour as he was struggled to breathe on the cross, “My God, why hast thou forsaken me?” He knew that he had not forsaken himself, and I know I am not those things Mike, the Bully, said I am.

God allowed himself to show us the human side of Him. I think he wanted us to understand that the negative feelings we experience are normal, but the truth is that if we love ourselves as He loves us, we can become strong and healthy.

In my thinking, the ninth hour represents a time of intense suffering. It isn’t about an actual time, but more like falling in the Blue October song. We will fail, but we can get up again. Jesus loves us and he reaches out to us though many sources to help us believe in ourselves and seek to love ourselves.

Anciently, in Jewish custom, dawn occurred at the twelfth hour, and the first hour followed at 7:00 a.m. in today’s time. Therefore, the ninth hour was 3:00 p.m. using our clocks.

Wanda Laplount

And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying,    Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

King James Version, Matthew. 27:46

And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out   in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

New International Version,  Mark. 15:34

February 14th: Whom Do You Love?

Flowers, candy, cards, plush stuffed animals, chocolate-dipped strawberries, are traditional gifts on this day to demonstrate love between people. Most people desire love, and during this holiday millions of dollars are spent on professing our love for one another.

I propose a challenge. I ask you to look within yourself and commit to loving yourself most. It sounds crazy and selfish, but it is actually what God wants us to do. All translations of the Bible contain at least thirteen scriptures in which God commands us to love ourselves. It might feel strange to look in the mirror and say, “I love you.” to yourself, but it helps those of us who struggle with self-worth.

Loving yourself means the following:

  • Accept the fact that you often succeed, but sometimes you fail.
  • Forgive yourself for mistakes you made, and celebrate the triumphs.
  • Take care of your physical needs, so you will be strong to care for others.
  • Give generously to people in need, and encourage them to pay it forward.
  • Find joy and share it because it grows each time it is shared.
  • Live each day as if it is your last, for the more you accomplish in a day, the stronger you feel.
  • Look in the mirror and believe you are beautiful. You were created by God for glory.
  • Gift yourself love every day because you cannot give what you have not.

We Get What We Give: A Plan to Flourish

Life is truly a classroom.

From the moment of birth until the final act of death, people are in a state of education. The teachers are those with whom we interact. The lessons are uniquely individualized plans that lead us toward the development of character traits. Each one of us independently differentiates the instruction by the choices we make.

When we attended elementary school, we were taught math, science, history, reading, and writing. We were given a set of rules and most kids discovered that following the rules was desirable. Actions have consequences; such as in the following examples.

  • Mary carefully follows instructions and completes her writing assignment on time. The teacher smiles and gives her feedback to help her grow as a writer.
  • Nancy touches every student’s items, and pockets a pretty eraser as she walks from her seat to the restroom. She misses five minutes of recess while the teacher gives her feedback regarding the rule to keep hands and feet to herself.
  • Joe explains the math lesson to Mark during group time, and Mark asks Joe to watch while Mark works on two or three problems and guide him if he makes an error. The teacher conferences with both boys and commends them for the awesome collaboration.

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica, Sir Isaac Newton. 1687. https://www.britannica.com/science/equation-of-motion ©2021 Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

Probably Sir Newton had no use for his third law of motion to be used as a psychological idiom. However, it works well as a catchy phrase to help us improve our behavior. I use a few tools when I am in a group.

First Tool: Establish a Purpose

Before I go somewhere public, I think about why I am there. Do I want to socialize, or am I working? If I am socializing, what is the type of occasion? If I am working, my goal is to expand my network or to seek ideas. For illustration, if I attend a family holiday gathering, I want to enjoy time with my children and grandchildren. However, if I were attending a seminar about writing fiction, my focus is to collaborate with successful fiction writers and learn from their success. Remember, as you set a purpose, keep it focused on what you want to achieve at the event.

Second Tool: Set Protocols

I usually talk with my husband and state aloud a few worries I have about the engagement, and then we formulate three specific ideas to help me stay on track with my purpose for that activity.

The family gathering sounds like an easy event, but often families feel stress during holidays. I might worry about one adult child discussing an uncomfortable issue for another one. Sometimes, I feel nervous if the kids ask about my health because it is difficult to get old and suffer. Many times, family members are a bit uneasy around a sibling’s or parent’s partner. The distressful thoughts will help you create the three ideas to stay focused. The following three statements are the ones I use for the family situation:

  1. Respond to each person with a pleasant reply aimed at centering the activities for the day on enjoyment.
  2. Spend time with each adult creating an atmosphere of acceptance and love.
  3. If a family member appears cornered, move into that circle and suggest he or she check out the appetizers. (or some other thing)

Lastly, I must remember that I am only one person, and I cannot control others, so DON’T TRY!

A fiction writing seminar is a different event. My worries at this place center upon me saying or doing things that raise feelings of inadequacy. My perception of myself is usually unfavorable. I talk too much, I do not feel comfortable in my clothes, and my voice annoys me when I hear it on video. My three protocols in this atmosphere are a little different:

  1. Dress comfortably in my favorite clothing that I have worn before.
  2. Always plan to listen as long as I plan to talk; and ask engaging questions to get the more advanced people talking.
  3. Lower my voice about three half steps, mostly so that I will feel comfortable.

Lastly, I must remember that I am only one person, and I cannot control others, so DON’T TRY!

Third Tool: Plan a Salvage Strategy

If someone jeopardizes your purpose, don’t fret. Think before you act, and only proceed with actions that continue to agree with your purpose. You can exit from this with dignity and pride, knowing that you satisfied your goals. A person can salvage a holiday, and the majority of people present will gladly follow someone who has any idea to change the temperature. Whatever happened, offer a diversion. Bring everyone to the table, if the problem occurred somewhere else. You can serve a drink or dessert; start a card game, begin a sentimental circle in which you start by briefly sharing your greatest joy. Then proceed to the left or right around the table. Allow people to skip if they are not ready or simply do not wish to join. Gather somewhere else if the problem happened at the table! Have a tenacious family member calm the offenders if they cannot resolve the issue. You do not need to be the “bad guy”.

The seminar will not usually have people in turmoil, but if you become dissatisfied with the progress, reinvent your purpose. Self-talk and learn from your situation. Of course, you do this in your head silently. “I came to collaborate with successful fiction writers. I look good, my voice is pleasing, and I have not taken over the conversation. What is the problem?” If the problem is with the class itself, you cannot solve the issue. It simply isn’t you. For example, maybe all the attendees are beginners, perhaps the teacher wasn’t prepared. Think about what you can do. Could you start a group to help all of you move forward in your writing? Each person might have a strength from which all of you could learn.

Essentially, I learned to make lemonade from lemons. Early in my life, I felt inadequate, incompetent, and undeserving. In seeking to become confident, desirable, and engaging, I learned that I already had the essentials for those qualities. The problem was within my mind. My thinking had to change for me to understand my connection to others.

Positive thoughts generate positive outcomes. Newton’s 3rd Law of Motion relates to human behavior in the same way.