Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Stuck at the Recital

Luke finished playing the theme to James Bond, then to the crowd's delight, he transitioned into the jazz rendition he had created. The crowd clapped, cheering him onward as he stood from the piano and returned to his chair.

I was thrilled for him. He had worked hard on his music, honed his gift over the months and seen the results of an excellent performance. A piano recital can be stressful for young pianists as well as a teacher. I was proud of Luke for his example of excellence. I knew his performance would inspire and encourage my younger students.

Later in the program, Luke returned to the piano for his final performance of the afternoon. He had learned to play the music from "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" through diligent work. I had heard him play it flawlessly several times during rehearsals, but midway through the music his mind went blank. His eyes widened with surprise and he glanced at me for help.

I smiled and gave an encouraging nod. My students know what to do when they stumble or feel lost. I knew Luke would hear my unspoken words.   "Go to where you know what to play. You can always start over."

For seconds in the silence, Luke's hands were still, paused over the piano keys. Then his trained fingers played the beautiful music he was able to remember, the last few measures. He grinned at me. It was only the ending, but it was played with excellence. He had remembered what to do when he gets stuck and he had finished by giving his best effort.

More important than the learning of music, I want my students to grasp hold of the life skills I am able to teach them along the way. Perhaps nothing I teach Luke will ever be as important as the lesson he has learned this week:

It doesn't matter what happened in the past, how you started out. You can always start over. It only matters that you finish well.

Well done, my good and faithful student.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Jigsaw Puzzle

A puzzle starts out a jumbled mess of pieces that don't make sense.You try the pieces one by one. Sometimes they fit together, but most of the choices in the beginning don't fit.You learn to work one section at a time. The picture unfolds slowly, painstakingly.

At least once a day you almost convince yourself this puzzle is simply too difficult to accomplish. If the puzzle goes back into the box and is returned to the shelf, a sense of failure and disappointment linger. You might decide to give up on puzzles altogether.

During winter my mother would dump a jigsaw puzzle on a card table. Every evening she worked on the puzzle.

In the beginning, she would put in lots of time on the puzzle, working long and diligently on it. As the picture began to unfold, she didn't have to work as hard. The pleasure grew and the puzzle became more fun, more rewarding.

Frequency increased her productivity. The more she'd get sidetracked and pulled away from the puzzle, the more times she had to begin again and refocus on the pile of pieces. It wasn't as fun. It wasn't as fruitful. But she stuck with it, and little bit by little bit the puzzle picture unfolded, each piece adding to what would be the completed work.

By the last pieces of the puzzle, she could see where she was going, see to the end of the challenge. She worked faster, joy building toward victory.

When the puzzle was almost finished, the last pieces were put in place by her children. I remember seeing her sitting there smiling, knowing it was almost finished as she watched us complete her work, sometimes guiding our hands so we would find success.

Frequency increases productivity. Consistency, diligence, will reap victory.

Consider that One Thing Resolution you're working to change in 2015. Did you decide it was too difficult and stick it back on the shelf? Did you become sidetracked and forget about the project until hope was gone and frustration with your same old problem took its place?

Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things. Diligently, daily, show up to focus on your goal, to piece together, however painstakingly those changes that need to be made in your life.  Little bit by little bit you'll see a picture unfold that will bring you pleasure and victory at the end of your challenge. As momentum builds, you'll see results more quickly and joy will build.

You may feel like a jumbled mess of pieces that don't seem to make sense, don't seem to fit with purpose. Remember you are wondrously and lovingly made by God, the Author and Finisher of your faith.  Frequency increases productivity. Consistency will reap victory.

As the picture begins to unfold,  the pleasure for both you and your Creator will grow. Your life will become more fun, more rewarding as the picture of your life unfolds. The Father has already done the hard part of putting the pieces of your life together to make sense. Know that He sees the final picture and can guide your hands.

When the puzzle is almost finished, the last pieces are put in place by His child. Can't you see Him sitting there, smiling with pride and joy as the finished work is revealed?

Well done, Soldier-Princess. Well done.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

5 Things Soldier-Princesses Forget

Moving into action moves us into change. Rouse, then, Soldier-Princess. Remember who called you into battle.

Soldier Up.  We are ready to get up in the mornings if we have enough rest. Preparation for a new day begins the night before. Good decisions come from good rest. A soldier who has dressed for work and fueled her body for strength moves into action efficiently and quickly. She has a clear mind that will take every thought captive and make godly decisions. 

Power Up.  Meetings for the colonial Minutemen with their commanders was imperative.  So is our meeting with God.  Schedule time with Him as if your life depends on it.  It does. Choosing to neglect time with Him will deprive you of knowing changes in your marching orders. Strategy planning prepares you for unexpected battles in your day. Be tuned into His will so you are ready to act with a "minutes notice."

Regroup. The Minutemen knew their lives and honor depended on their comrades as well as themselves. The soldier-princesses who encourage you, mentor you and pray for you are your first line of defense. You must be transparent and honest with them about your struggles, failures and concerns. When you battle and when you train in the trenches, your life and honor depend on the soldier-princesses who know you intimately and stand the gap with you.

Reload.  Frequently through your day step back from earthly things to reset your focus on things above. Remind yourself of that Bible verse you're memorizing, say a prayer to reconnect with God, welcome an interruption to love someone.  Exchange a quick email or text with a comrade to encourage one another. Recharge your energy. Refocus your mind and heart so that you keep in step with the Spirit rather than running ahead of Him.

Refresh.  Life is hard. It's full of battles with people, circumstances, negativity and temptations. A soldier-princess knows her marching orders include time for the rest of God. Schedule time to relax, not to vacate your life, but to enjoy it and rest in green pastures by still waters. Joy comes when we take the time to seek peace so it can rule our hearts. God invites you to Sabbath rest, not because your work is done, but because His work is done.

You may also want to read:  The King Who Never Quits

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Child Adopted!

Our son sat wide-eyed, mesmerized by the mysterious legal proceedings. He was all of 6 years old, dressed in his first suit and tie, a toy soldier in one pocket and a Hot Wheels car in the other. Adoption Day.

"Hear ye! Hear Ye! All rise! This court is now in session. The honorable judge presiding."

Long before the earth's foundation was created, before the first day, the earth was formless and void. Darkness was over the deep and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.

Even then, God had His people in mind.  He had settled on people as the focus of His love.  He would create them to be whole, blameless and holy before Him, a people of His own possession.

When people chose lives of sin rather than relationship with God, He decided to adopt us into His family through Jesus. It is an open invitation to sinners, to everyone,. When we were still sinning, Jesus died for the ungodly.

A gavel sounded three times. The courtroom was silent. The judge smiled at my husband and me, then looked straight into the eyes of a child.

"You are now their child, their son, with all the rights and privileges thereof."

Hear ye! Hear ye! All rise."

Court was adjourned. It was finished.

According to the paperwork, a sealed legal document, the adoption was complete and final. His old life was over. His new life had begun. A new birth certificate was sealed and delivered as proof of identity. Hopes soared. And then there was rejoicing.

Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, He had His eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose He is working out in everything and everyone. (The Message, Ephesians 1:11, 12)

 What pleasure a person takes in preparing the way for adoption! What celebration and lavish gift giving!

Hear ye! Hear ye! All rise!

All heaven is silent.  The King is coming! Angels watch, mesmerized by this mysterious legally binding contract; this mystery, grace; they long to understand.

One soul is redeemed, bought back from sin, adopted into the family of God. 

Where once a person stood alone, rejected, destined for grief, now stands a person who is in the family of God, forgiven, accepted, destined for joy. The Holy Spirit, the Life breath of God, is sealed and delivered as proof of identity, 

Amazing grace! I once was lost, but now am found! Redeemed. Redeemed. His child, and forever, I am!

I am the adopted child of the King of Kings. I am His princess.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Cake With Frosting

Creamy, sweet batter dripped from the beaters as my mother turned off the mixer and pushed the button to release them. Laying them aside on the counter, she poured the rich batter into the baking pan, then returned the beaters to the empty bowl. 

"Can I lick the bowl?" I asked my mother as she slid the cake into the oven.

I doubt that in all my childhood there was ever a cake made when some child didn't lick the bowl. Swirling the last sweet bites onto a finger and sliding it across your tongue is a treasured childhood memory for many of us.

"Can I have the biggest piece?" is often the request when a child looks wide-eyed at the freshly frosted cake waiting to be served.

The mother of James and John requested of Jesus special preference to be given to her sons in Heaven. Can one son sit on Your right and one sit on Your left? The other disciples murmured, appalled at such boldness. We all want to be "the disciple whom Jesus loved."

Like that wonderful frosted cake, there's enough grace and love for everyone. God passes out grace upon grace, and there is enough for everyone to be completely satisfied. One person may get more grace and love because he deserves more or needs more, but we all are satisfied.

Enough joy. Enough love. Enough grace. Enough.

As Mary Poppins says, "Enough is as good as a feast."
Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done. I am the  Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city.
- Revelation 22:12-14
You may also want to read:  A Pie for Lynette, The Making of a Woman and The Happy Kitchen

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Comfort Zone

The elderly man paused in the aisle of the market. Leaning on his cane, he spoke into his cell phone, English phrases, Chinese phrases. He was obviously weary and confused.

Our eyes met and we both left our comfort zones to smile. How hard it can be to cross barriers of gender, nationality, language and cultures. It's so much more natural to ignore a stranger than to risk embarrassment saying the wrong thing.

"Good morning," he said. "I have problem."

"I am a Christian," I said encouragingly. "I will help you. What is the problem?"

"Jesus-person? Yes?"

I smiled, relaxing, back in my comfort zone. "Yes. I am Jesus-person."

"Not Jesus-person," he replied. "Old person. Lost old person."

I helped him find his way to the front of the store where he could rest on a bench while he phoned his son for a ride home. He was back in his comfort zone, back in the familiar.

I shared a little bit about Jesus, but the barriers were too wide. There wasn't enough time, enough common language, enough opportunity to introduce him to Jesus.

While we were still lost, when we were "not Jesus-people", Jesus died for us. Now we are Jesus-people, and we find our comfort zone in His presence, singing and shouting our praises.

Shouldn't talking about Jesus with those who are still lost be our comfort zone?

Leaving this man in his lost state of "not a Jesus-person" was more uncomfortable than it ever could be to leave my comfort zone and say hello to a stranger.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Show Up

Whether it was a concert, a new restaurant or a trip to the hospital to visit the sick, my dad used to say it was always worth the trip. He knew people regret more the things they didn't do than the things they did do.

You may show up for an adventure and be disappointed, but something valuable can always be achieved. Sometimes we win by being delighted in our adventure.  Sometimes we win by learning a lesson. Either way, when we show up, we move forward in life.

A soldier-princess shows up every morning to take on whatever new adventure of mercy the King has promised for today. She shows up to represent Him along the way, to be His hands and feet, His voice and heart.

Show up every day to walk alongside Jesus in rhythms of grace. Watch Him to see what He does when He shows up to love the brokenhearted and weary. See a need, meet the need. The soldier-princess who refreshes others, will herself be refreshed.

"I have loved you with an everlasting love," the King says to the soldier-princess. "I satisfy the weary ones and refresh everyone who languishes."

We don't always want to satisfy the weary ones and refresh others. Quite often we would prefer to stay in our pajama pants and an old tee-shirt. We want extra coffee and more donuts. We want to let our work slide, doing just enough to get by. We prefer to languish. We prefer to not show up. 

Prepare your mind for battle and your heart for action, soldier-princess. It's always worth the trip.

What does showing up to love in your life look like?

Thursday, February 12, 2015

The King Never Quits

"I feel like a train wreck," I told my friend Lynn. "I'm completely tired."

She smiled. She, also, is a soldier-princess and she has been walking alongside me for years. She encourages me as only a close friend can do. She sends meals and gives me flowers. She sends texts and prays diligently for me.

As she coached me through our Pilates workout, I gained the surge of energy that would carry me through the rest of my schedule. No soldier-princess would fail to fight for her comrade, and Lynn faithfully spurred me on so I could continue to show up for love and good works.

A soldier is trained to hear the voice of truth and to obey marching orders without questioning, without doubting what the King is able to do. She has her sword, the Word of God, at the ready, her shield of faith is lifted against enemy attack and she continues to do the next right thing over and over again. The mind of a soldier stays focused on God during battles and there is peace.

A soldier-princess never quits. She continues showing up to love alongside her King in enemy territory, in the trenches of the daily hard and in the unfamiliar dark wilderness where she feels afraid and inadequate. She keeps pouring herself out, laying her all on the altar of service to the King and she considers it an honor. A soldier-princess never quits.

When the energy gauge is on empty, when physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually she is poured out for the King, it is the King who recognizes the need for a soldier to rest.

When a soldier-princess "feels like a train wreck", defeated and exhausted, she learns to wait for the familiar voice of the King. She knows her King never quits. Though a soldier cannot always leave her battlefield, the King is able to lift her soul away for awhile. He carries His exhausted and broken princess in arms of love where only He can heal, sustain and pamper her.

After the whirlwind, a still, small Voice. "Come away to a quiet place."

Away from the noise and the fray, deep in the innermost being of the soldier-princess, pain and fatigue, brokenness and confusion, prisons and disappointments are left behind.

One fist lifted warns the enemy, "Back off. She's mine." One glance at the angel army and the battle is finished. One smoothing of His hand over her and the princess rests. He sings over her, a song no other will ever hear. He quiets her with His love, calls her by a special name only she will hear through all eternity.

"You look like you're running out of steam," a neighbor called as I was limping past her house. "Are you okay?" Most mornings I am happily jogging or running when she sees me. I call out and wave, but I am unwavering in my training and discipline. Today my heart and body were aching from the inside out so I stopped to visit a few minutes.

"You need to go to a movie or even take a vacation. Or do what I do. Shut the bathroom door and have a good wailing session. Then take a hot bath and read a good book. Sometimes we just have to crash."

She's not a soldier-princess and she wouldn't understand. I may feel like a train wreck, but I'm not. I am a child of the one true King and He would never let me crash. My name is engraved on the palm of His hand. I am the apple of His eye, His protected and treasured soldier-princess. I am my Beloved's and He is mine.

 A soldier-princess never quits, but neither does her King.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Sunlight on a Cloudy Day

As I was leaving the store one December, I paused to encourage an elderly gentleman who was ringing a bell for the Salvation Army donation bucket. >

A small boy dropped some pennies into the bucket, then handed me a paper snowflake he had made.

"Thank you so much," I told the boy. "What a kind thing you are doing to give both your money and a snowflake to help other children."

"My mom gave me the money, but I made the snowflake," he said softly. "Do you think some kid would like to have it?"

I smiled at his "widow's mite" and nodded. "Very much. Snowflakes make everything better, don't you think?"

He agreed and reached into his pocket. Sprinkles of glitter fluttered around us, a snow fall in a rainbow of colors as he pulled out a stack of paper snowflakes. "Would these help, too?"

I glanced up and noticed tears in the eyes of the old gentleman still faithfully ringing the bell. I looked back into the bright, hopeful eyes of the young boy. With my hands full of paper snowflakes I began to sing, "Away in a Manger."

The little boy grinned and began to sing along. The older gentleman joined in with a strong, cheerful bass voice. Then an elderly woman, waiting beside her cart for a ride, began to sing along. In moments, a crowd of strangers was smiling and singing Christmas carols one after another.

The Christmas season has been left behind.  February winds have blown in swirling, sparkling snow. Focus on giving has turned to complaints about the weather, a longing for spring as beautiful snow becomes dirty and tiresome.

Sabbath heart, a heart set on things above, not on earthly things, is a heart with steadfast peace.  Goodness and faithfulness are my focus. A Sabbath heart does not brood over circumstances, does not spread negativity. We are the sunlight on a gray, dreary day. We share the God-colors and God-light in a dark weary world.

Let your light shine in such a way that others will see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. 

One small boy believed a paper snowflake could change his world...and it did.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Magenta Words

My mother taught me to write words before I was old enough for school. With a treasured box of Crayola Crayons beside me, I grasped my favorite magenta crayon in awkward, eager fingers. I drew each letter carefully, writing "I love you", my first sentence, on a paper heart.

My mother encouraged me as I created one valentine after another. A plain white heart covered with magenta words became a thing of beauty to treasure, something precious to share.

I remember running up the steps and flinging wide the back door of my grandmother's house. Grandma knelt to hold me close as I showed off my words.

"She wrote this?" Grandma asked my mother, obviously pleased with my treasure.

My mother nodded. "She made it for you."

I smiled. My words had the power to change my world and bring happiness. Heady stuff for a preschooler.

God wrote "I love you" with His own blood on my ordinary heart. I am beautiful because I am His treasure. I am His special something to share. So are you.

On the front of my Bible is stamped in gold, "The Word of God". God's Words have the power to change my world and bring happiness. Heady stuff for an ordinary heart.

He brought us to life using the true Word, showing us off as the crown of all His creatures. And I will treasure His words in my heart so that I will not sin against Him.

Monday, January 19, 2015

The To-Do List

"A to-do list?" laughed Stephanie, "I always have one, but never finish it! Motherhood steps in and everything falls apart. I can't balance everything."

Is there any among us who hasn't looked at our to-do list and wanted to stamp it: "Impossible. Going back to bed."

"Life isn't meant to be this hard, is it?" Stephanie asked.  "My goals shouldn't be foes to conquer! They're supposed to bring joy, right?"

When life is full of joy, the heart is restful.  Joy propels us forward. It pushes away thoughts of defeat and failure. The joy of the Lord is our strength. He is the great joyride with a never ending supply. When joy is flowing, we build momentum and motivation. We feel happy about who we are and what God is doing through us, in us. The to-do list looks possible.

"Nobody ever tells you how hard it is to maintain joy and peace with four children underfoot," Stephanie confesses. "My life is one giant interruption.  I want to be strong. But I'm not. I'm just not."

Jesus had a to-do list:
      1. Spend time with the Father.
      2. Show up to love.
People clamored and shouted and made demands for His attention. Joy spurred Him on to love and good works. But He, too, got tired, frustrated and stressed. He needed to get away just like you and I do. Oh, how He understands the mothers of young children!

The needs and interruptions were opportunities for love and grace. His life bore much fruit because of His habit to get away to a quiet place with the Father. His mind was set on things above.

Pull out that festive paper you bought for your to-do lists. 
        1.  Spend time with the Father.
        2.  Show up to love.

Like a shepherd He will tend His flock.  In His arm He will gather the lambs, and carry them in His bosom;  He will gently lead the nursing ewes. -Isaiah 40:11

Who better than the Good Shepherd to show you how to care for your young? Ask and it will be given to you.  Seek and you will find. 

Friday, January 16, 2015

Soldier-Princess: Thanks Giving

Burrowing into my soft robe, I snuggled under a quilt before the fire, a steaming cup of tea warming my hands. Soft jazz soothed my weary spirit. As I breathed in the lingering sweetness of gingerbread and glanced around at the photos of my healthy loved ones, I smiled. 

The cheerful surroundings called me to a thankful heart with relaxed ease. My heart, fueled by thanks giving, frequently bursts forth into song.

But am I truly thankful or am I reacting to creature comforts and happy thoughts? Am I thankful only when life is going my way?

An avalanche of misery and suffering in the world can so quickly overwhelm us. Burrowing into a robe of complacency and snuggling under a quilt of happiness is a mistake, however cozy we can make ourselves feel. That sort of thanks giving is temporary and accomplishes little. We cannot sustain happy feelings in a world where life is hard.

There is a giving of thanks that is more powerful and steadfast available to us. It goes deeper than transient feelings because it comes from praising God's gifts rather than our own perception of circumstances.

Faith that moves mountains starts with being truly thankful in all seasons of life. The me I want to be is beckoning me toward a life of deeper faith, a faith fueled by thanks giving no matter what my circumstances. 

Am I thankful when disease exhausts and disappoints?  Am I thankful when my heart is broken? Does my thanks giving fade away when my hardship surpasses my strength? In my weakness, am I thankful for the opportunity to prove God's strength? 

A soldier-princess is not surprised to find herself called into battle. She serves at the pleasure of The King and considers it an honor. She doesn't quit and she doesn't fall back until circumstances are easier. 

When life gets tough, the soldier-princess turns into a warrior of thanks giving. She sees with The King's eyes and loves with The King's heart. Confident that joy will come through thanks giving, she picks up her sword, the Word of God, lifts her shield of faith, and follows The King into battle. 

Monday, January 12, 2015

Oatmeal Moments

Kate Ware, Flickr
Who taught you how to make oatmeal?" Katherynn asks. "Are we going to have walnuts and raisins in it? I like brown sugar in mine. I don't think I want apples in it today. Is that cinnamon? Because I like cinnamon. Do you like stirring oatmeal? It looks fun."

She watches as I stir oatmeal, memorizing my motions as if I were creating a gourmet meal rather than a simple breakfast.

 A child is a sponge, soaking in love and savoring life, one moment at a time.

I smile and hug Katherynn close. "I do like stirring oatmeal. Making breakfast for a little girl is one of the most fun things I get to do."

She grins as she spoons hot oatmeal into green bowls. "It's pretty, isn't it? And we can decorate it now!"

Decorating oatmeal? Yes. I want to be a person who decorates oatmeal.

Seeing the beautiful in the simple, the extraordinary in the ordinary, turns my heart toward the God whose strength sustains me with joy when my own strength is spent.  A heart trained to ponder what is good, what is worthy of praise, especially in the ordinary, is a heart that will more easily endure pain and suffering.

I don't know if Jesus decorated his oatmeal with honey and figs, but I know he was a little boy sharing life with a mother who treasured little moments with him. She surely trained him to be thankful for simple, ordinary blessings.

And, because she did, He had much to ponder that was good and worthy of praise when He had to endure pain and suffering, when he was exhausted by the noise and fray around him.

"Let the little children come unto Me," Jesus said.  "For of such is the kingdom of heaven."

Monday, January 5, 2015

Hoarding and the Inmate

"There's so much to clean out of this house. Truckloads!" Shelby moaned. "I'm not exaggerating. How can we move? How will we ever get past the piles of...stuff?"

Hoarders. We see them on the television and our eyes widen. How do they live like that? How can they not see their clutter is holding them back from a well lived life?

I have a neighbor who cleans out her garage about once a month. She says she is determined to live a better life. She pulls everything out of her garage, rearranges it, then returns nearly all of it to the garage. If something doesn't fit her new arrangement, she piles it by her front door or has a garage sale. Most of it slowly returns to the garage until the next time.

In prison you don't have a lot of stuff. There may be a few possessions you have collected during your stay, but, your job income of 75 cents an hour in the prison only allows for  necessities.

Hoarding is still a problem. Even in the prison. Not the hoarding of physical stuff, but the hoarding of sins.

Inmates do not have the luxury of ignoring their sins. They are offenders and their sins must be punished. A prisoner who longs for a better life must not only do the time, but redeem the time. Change that results from sorting through the clutter of sin is their only hope.

Many of us are in prisons of our own making. We make an effort to get rid of sins, to clean out the garage of the heart. But sin clutter mostly gets moved around, hidden behind walls or disguised with pretty words.  If we can laugh about the sin, we lessen its importance. In the end, like my neighbor in her garage ,most sins receive a little more time to continue cluttering our lives.

It's easier to consider sin by the truckload. "I'm just out of shape" is somehow acceptable clutter so that we don't have to exercise or take good care of the body, God's dwelling place. Hiding anger, pride or laziness behind words like "I'm just tired" or "All moms yell sometimes" somehow makes it easier to walk past the sins rather than removing them.

Some hoarders recognize the problem, but, like my neighbor, merely rearrange their possessions. The possessions look valuable, helpful. It makes them feel prepared for a future day.

Pride can seem valuable. Greed can seem helpful. Selfishness can make us feel prepared for a future day. The rich young ruler walked away sad because he had many possessions. His "stuff" kept him from living by faith not sight. He had much but did not live well because his choices kept him from giving God first place in his heart.

Less of me and my stuff opens up room for more of Him.

"Just tell me what to do and where to start," a young prisoner said to me. She has seven children and one on the way. She's a new Christian and ready to rid herself of piles of sin clutter. We start the same way I unload my own truckload of junk. One sin at a time.