Smitten

Introducing my new grandson Carter Jacob Fontaine

I am smitten. This little guy showed up in our world May 15th at 11:00 pm weighing 9 pounds 11 ounces. He’s as cute as a button plus more. There is nothing like this feeling. It is hard to describe. My first grand baby. Pure Joy, overload on the heart, and just so peaceful! Our hearts are so grateful he’s healthy, eating well and taking on his own personality already. The plans God has for him are already written, plans to prosper him and bring him hope and a great future. A new beginning with no flaws, priceless.

When looking at our lives, living in a broken world where sin and darkness could literally choke the life out of us, I’m so grateful God gives us these moments of complete pureness; a time to catch our breath and live in the moment of newness and wonder. A newborn baby represents a new start. A complete individual with their own personality and style. No one will be just like them. They are unique. One of a kind. Fresh. New. And nothing in all the world can stop them from being someone different. Set aside. An individual who will grow and become like no other in the world. God designs us perfectly like that. Made in His image, if we allow Him, we are shaped and molded to be individuals who are destined to do great things with our lives.

Because Jesus went to a cross and died for our sins, God gives each of us this fresh new start every time we ask for forgiveness. Does it give us permission to keep sinning? Absolutely not. For once you have experienced true forgiveness and you are given a fresh new start, you will want to protect yourself from sin. What is even more awesome, is that God gives each of us the opportunity to be filled with His Spirit and it is the Spirit that protects our soul and gives us the chance to start fresh and new. Do you want a fresh start? A new beginning? A new slate that is completely white and pure? God wants to give us this fresh start. Just like a newborn baby has the chance to live in the beauty of pureness and newness, we have that same chance every time we come before him and ask for his forgiveness. This is a daily routine for me and when I’m done asking for forgiveness there is nothing like that warm inspiration from the Spirit cleansing and making me whole again.

Just like my grandson Carter Jacob living out his first few weeks of life, fresh and new, God wants the same for you. He loves fresh new beginnings because it is then that our hearts our open and He can transplant us to new places of growth and maturity, giving us the chance to start fresh and new and do something great with our lives.. He wants that for you and it is the most refreshing fulfilling experience you can have. Filled fresh with His spirit, forgiven and cleansed from all unrighteousness. Let God do that for you and watch as His perfect plan explodes in your life, giving you a fresh new start!

The Elephant is on the Table

Sitting down for dinner as a family is one of my life favorite things to do. Especially when we start on a topic of discussion we are all participating in even if I may be the target. That’s how we grow and learn more about ourself. It happened one night. It was one of those wonderful moments when all five us were present. We were enjoying light joyful conversation when suddenly the atmosphere began to change and a bit of tension starting beaming through our time together. Voices started raising a little. We were disagreeing about how I was spending time at the gym. My husband was adding his two cents about how he felt I should be using a particular machine, feeling it would help me lose more weight. It’s a given, you never bring up this topic, especially in mixed company…but he did. Everyone starting chiming in except for my son-in-law who has wisdom beyond his years. Finally, I spoke up and said to the silent, more non-confrontational one in the group, who when he speaks, we all listen. I looked at him and said, “I think the Elephant is in the Room”, we chuckled and then he said, “I think the Elephant is on the Table.” It was. We all laughed and I knew my next book title was born.

In scripture we all love to read about the Fruit of the Spirit. It gives us that warm fuzzy feeling that if we would all embrace them, our lives would be lived peaceful and beautiful. After all, love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness and goodness are all areas every Christian should be striving for, to live this way. But when we look at them through the lens of Christ, it may be how we all desire to live but what do they really look like? It certainly is absent of selfish motives and desires that the flesh would like to say is the way. Loving these attributes should be the desire of all of us if we want to live effective lives, touching souls for eternity, and living above and beyond what our flesh could ever do.

I’ll never forget the first time I felt true love. You see, loving the Jesus way can look like enduring a lot of hurtful emotions and pain. I remember so vividly my dad sitting on the side of the bed, explaining to me why I was getting ready to be whipped and he said the words, “I don’t want to do this, it hurts me worse than it will hurt you, but my reason is to show you that when you don’t respect your mother, brother’s or sisters, there will be a punishment for it.” I eventually learned the lesson, that discipline will come until I got it right. That’s true love. Being willing to have the hard conversations and then being able to endure the proper discipline is essential if we are going to grow into the developed Christ like Christians God desires for us to be. Our walk will not be free from trouble but will be filled with it until we eventually get it right. We all know that is a lifelong process but we do grow and eventually become the vessels God is using time and time again to lead others closer to the heart of God.

The Elephant on the Table, when embraced through the lens of the fruit of the Spirit, will find us producing fruit and leading many to Christ. Let’s embrace those moments of hard conversation and disciplines we receive from God to enhance our lives, so that we can be the effective Christians we should all be wanting to be. Have those hard conversations. Keep your heart open, put aside defensiveness and come to the realization we will never grow until the Elephant on the table is dealt with through the eyes of Christ.

Spring into a New Season

Spring amazes me with its stunning spender of yellow, pink, purple and white colors. It’s the moment God brightens the earth with yet another masterpiece of His glorious beauty. Spring air, accompanied by rain, produces bright green hues everywhere which provides the perfect backdrop for His kaleidoscope of color. With sunlight making its way through the cloud covering, I stand in awe of the miraculous creation of color God makes for us. He thinks out every process of this majestic canvas and He does this simply for us to enjoy. Winter can be cold and barren, bitter and stagnant. And then, Spring, with its glorious colors, reminds us of His desire to make things new and fresh. Often Spring is a time when God starts something fresh and new in us. It’s a time of new beginnings. As you venture through this Spring, allow God to form something miraculous in your life. Take the time to take in the beauty around you. Let Spring remind us that we too are a canvas of God, and we have the potential to produce beauty and growth. Growth that can change the world for someone else needing hope. Before you know it, these incredible colors will be gone. The blooms will blow away and new growth will turn to leaves. So, enjoy Spring, the time for growth and new beginnings, and ask God to begin something new and beautiful in you!

The Dreaded Belt

In Matthew 5:7 it is quoted, “Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy.” It is compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm. Mercy. We’ve all needed it. I remember as a young girl I was about to be disciplined by my father for acting out. Just as the discipline was coming down in the form of a belt, my brother stepped in and took the discipline for me. I’ll never forget the act of mercy Paul showed me that day and the relief of escaping the dreaded belt. Mercy isn’t always easy to come by, but we have been taught through the word of God that if we show mercy, we will obtain mercy. How many of you have escaped punishment for your wrong because someone was gracious enough to extend mercy to you?

To be truly merciful we must first see the misery through the eyes of Jesus Christ. We must see the drunk or the mental abuser from the lens of a past filled with hurt that may have provoked this lifestyle. Without this view of mercy of HIs mercy towards us, how can we extend mercy to others? Without first seeing the misery of someone and having compassion for them we cannot be the hands and feet of Jesus. We must be willing to look at others from God’s perspective. God provided the ultimate amount of mercy on the cross being sacrificed for the sins of the world. When we look through the lens of God’s loving compassion, we can see the hurting who need mercy in a whole different light.

There is a saying that says something like this, “never judge a person’s actions, or mood, we have no idea what they may be going through in their own life.” So many difficulties can be made more bearable when we don’t take offense to actions that are hurtful towards. Mercy offers forgiveness; it offers forgiveness by replacing hurt and resentment with compassion.

In dealing with the elephant in the room mercy will go a long way. So many are afraid to confront huge issues because of pride and how they may respond or what the response will be. Let mercy pour our of your heart and see the miraculous things that will happen because of it.

A lack of mercy and forgiveness keeps you from living out God’s divine and perfect plan for your life. Live in moments of extreme joy and peace when you learn to release bitterness, pride and anger. You can exchange it for a life of receiving and giving mercy.

13 Homemade Pies

Food is my weakness. I love just about anything, but I especially love anything baked. Whether it’s fresh snickerdoodle cookies straight out of the oven, a hot cherry pie topped with vanilla ice-cream, or a fresh baked chocolate cake loaded with from scratch, chocolate frosting. I crave the best. My mother created everything from scratch out of necessity. She raised 11 children and it was cheaper to bake or cook from scratch rather than buying store bought entrees or desserts. We did not complain, she simply knew how to bake and made the best of everything. One Thanksgiving she decided she was going to bake all of eleven of us our own favorite pie from scratch. So, the baking began. She made cherry pies, pumpkin pies and my personal favorite, pecan pie. My mouth waters just thinking about it. What a great memory she created for all of us that year. It’s something I’ll pass down to my kids, grandchildren and their children, a love for baking from scratch and making simply the best.

But there is something far greater than good baked food that I want to pass down. Something that I hope everyone who is reading this will crave and hunger for. As good as homemade food is, it leaves you hungering for something more later, a quick fix that leaves you craving later again. It never completely satisfies you. But God’s word promises that those who hunger and thirst for righteousness will be filled. Pursuing a hunger for God and His righteousness is the greatest thing we an ever do. A genuine thirst for the things that please the Lord will lead you to a life of joy and completeness. You’ll never search again for anything else because a pursuit for Him will satisfy your soul. Far too many people spend their life aimlessly searching for something else to fulfill the “God-shaped void” in their lives. All of us are hungry, all of us thirst; the problem is that we aimlessly try to fulfill that emptiness, that hunger, with things other than the righteousness of God.

In Mathew, it says, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.” John Calvin said it well when he said, “We should never be clothed with the righteousness of Christ except we first know assuredly that we have no righteousness of our own.

Nothing in all the world satisfies the soul like Jesus. Pursing a life pleasing to him, being kind, loving, joyful, thankful and filled with long-suffering and gentleness guarantees a life that will please God. Pursue His righteousness and He will fill you. Thank you Mom for making those Thanksgiving pies and creating memories to last forever and thank you Lord for giving us all a desire for those things, that will please you, for it will carry us into eternity.

Friends and Forever

We were in the second grade and it just happened naturally, I’m not sure when we “first” met, but it was an innocent kindred friendship that just formed naturally and it has lasted for over 45 years now. Michelle always had my back. I remember in High School she warned me about a guy that wouldn’t be good for me, she warned me to stay clear from him. He had wrong intentions and I knew he wasn’t a good guy but sometimes your just vulnerable and she was looking out for me like any good friend would. We spent time in each others homes and it was in Michelle’s home that her mom introduced me to my first try at Kibosa and sauerkraut and it was awesome. I remember when Michelle’s home had a house fire, and they lost most of their belongings and how sad that was, but she was happy that the figurines she collected at the time made it through the fire and one was an elephant that I had purchased for her. In the fifth grade we built a gingerbread house together in our classroom and it turned out amazing! We got in a disagreement one day on the playground and I thought it may be the end of our friendship but it wasn’t. Years later, after I moved away to Indiana, her family traveled to see me after I had breast cancer and we both still talk about that trip and the profound effect it had on us. For my 50th birthday my family flew me out to see her for a few days, and she made those days the most special time of our friendship! It meant the world to me! When my mom passed, she was there at her funeral, forging another reason why this friendship is so dear to my heart.

So it seems like forever ago now that we first met and the years have proven that true friendships last, and they have a profound effect on our lives. We don’t talk much at all, maybe just a handful of times during our friendship, but we know that at any moment, if a crisis comes up, we would be there for each other.

But there is a forever friendship that I want to talk about that changed my life forever. I was walking out of a prayer meeting, early on a foggy California morning, grieving still the passing of my dad at such a young age and it was like an audible voice spoke to me, I heard the whisper of God’s voice as he gently took me by the hand (in my mind) and said, “I’ve got this, for the rest of your life we are going to do life together.” He has been a father to me, a good, good father and my best friend.

He was there when I walked down the isle on my wedding day and his anointing filled our ceremony. He was there when both of my kids were born filling our room with joy and blessings I’ll forever be grateful. He was there when we purchased our first home, started a church, and through every high and low there has ever been. He’s been there.

He was the father and friend I needed when I got my cancer diagnosis, the peace I felt throughout the whole trial was amazing and then the miraculous phone call came and I heard the doctor’s astounded voice say, “You have no cancer, you won’t need chemo or radiation, you won’t need to take medicine, you have no cancer.” He was so faithful to give me the gift of a better life.

He walked with me through the entire time my mom was passing away, he pushed away anxiety when it was tempting to take over my mind. His peace filled the room many times as my mom and I would enjoy an afternoon or morning together. He was there as we shared a favorite book, a cup of coffee, and talked about life and scripture. When others may not of understood what I was going through at this time, He did. And that’s all that mattered.

When I walked through a severe depression and a midnight I wasn’t sure I’d make it through, He was there promising me I would. When my mind was choking from anxiety and fear, and not knowing what tomorrow held, he was there.

He’s not only my friend but one that will be there forever and throughout eternity. He’s my forever friend and he wants to be yours too, He’s got you, holding your hand and saying, “we’ve got this” and trust me…he does forever!

Keep Eating Avocado Toast

Real, I’ve always been drawn to it. Homemade pie made from scratch with “real” ingredients, or a genuine authentic heart that flows with pure beauty and honesty, I love it. There is, however, a risk in being transparent. Sometimes it can taste different and sometimes authenticity hurts and crushes us; at other times, it leaves us moments of pure beauty and awe. Nothing can be compared to real, it’s refreshing and most of the time, we welcome it, if we have an open heart. Whether it hurts us or whether it refreshes us, being genuine is always good. “Real” always comes with a risk worth taking but you end up with something of great worth.

The first time I really enjoyed avocado toast, I couldn’t believe the amazing flavor and the instant gratification it gave me. I do enjoy avocado but it’s not necessarily on my top ten list of favorite foods. When I chose “avocado toast” off the menu and decided to give it a try, it was truly amazing. It was refreshing, tasty and most of all, it felt healthy. My taste buds were completely satisfied, so the smile I had covering my face, depicted all the above. I dealt with the doubt that I had that it could even be slightly enjoyable, but I was willing to try it. It went beyond my expectations and more. The flavor melted in my mouth and before I knew it, I had wiped out the entire entree. I can easily talk about my experience because I gave it a chance and loved it.

For a lot of us, like trying avocado toast, “the elephant” in the room isn’t easy to talk about but it’s in choosing to talk about it, that the real comes out, clearing our perspective on someone else’s viewpoint. And it’s invigorating. What can add flavor is when tension about the elephant starts rising. Our face may turn all shades of red, but we can get through the conversation, with a right attitude and spirit if we take the risk of being honest. Unfortunately, I’ve seen both sides throughout my life. By both sides I mean a battle always has two sides. The winning side and the losing side. You may forfeit friendships and relationships over being real, but you win by realizing that a particular relationship wasn’t meant for you. Not because who we lose is a bad person but because they be hindering you from becoming who you are meant to be.

To read more on this article, you can read it in my newly released book “The Elephant Has left the Room”. It can be purchased here on my blog or on Amazon.

Authentic Revival

It was just a simple invitation and the altar was flooded with hungry hearts, needing a fresh touch from God. I’m not sure I’ve ever witnessed how quickly an altar filled up this particular Sunday but they came ready for refreshing and answers. I wanted God’s spirit to just take over, I didn’t want the feeling to leave. It was real and it was what we’ve been praying for. It was just a glimpse of what God wants to do again and again around the globe, in every church, in every nation and crossing all denominational ties. Our church is on the brink of something explosive. I don’t want to miss a service, We come expecting and ready, open and focused.

I’ve been drawn with hunger to true authentic Revival for many years. If I see the word revival on the headlines of an article, book, blog, youtube or the paper, I’m intrigued and anxious to read it. I can’t get away from it, God has been in Revival since he left the earth when He promised to send His spirit and pour it out. I’ve told my family in jest that I want to be buried with the book “Another Wave of Revival.” God has always had Revival brimming, and just like those gathered in the Upper Room and those gathered at Azusa, Asbury, Pensacola, and The Great Awakening, He has something for this generation that is just as powerful and effective. I’m hungry for it. What will it look like in this generation? Only God truly knows that answer but He wants to sweep our world again with it!

I’ve been asking myself lately, am I just intrigued with it and love to read about or do I really want to see it happen? I came to the conclusion, that yes, I really want it, there is no feeling like being in the presence of God, fully present, weeping, hungering, interceding, and being surrounded by his beautiful presence, but only God can bring this and he does it through those hungering for nothing more than Him!

In the Azusa revival it is recorded that those attending could be found for hours laid out on the floor sometimes weeping and interceding and at other times there was a quiet sacred hush that came over the whole congregation and people would give up any time restraints just to sit and soak in the awesome presence of God happening. People hungered and they came from around the globe to experience what was happening. Many gave up any time constraints and responsibilities at home or on their jobs to travel to California and experience the authentic global transformation that was happening. It spread to many places globally. People from all races, religious backgrounds and manmade systems left their ties to what was familiar to them to come and experience this grand authentic move. You had to be there, present, to know the feeling of being completely lost in Him.

So what does this authentic move of Revival look like for us today a hundred years past the time of Azusa? Or 50 years removed from the Asbury revival? Or from the Great Awakening at the turn of the century? What does it look like in 2022? Life seems to be careening forward at record breaking speed. Our lives are busier than ever before with the quick speed of computers, cell phones that can get us information in just seconds, our curiosity is distracted and torn in so many different directions that our focus on Him has suffered like never before. We have to be intentional in spending time with God every day. When we pray and seek God with all of our heart ask him to remove distractions, time restraints and the pressure to keep up with the latest and greatest causing us to work unreasonable hours and neglecting our time with him in the process. When the church offers open doors for prayer and they make time in services for the move of the spirit, take full advantage of that. Put away your cell phones, clear your mind and fully engage in the moment. Don’t miss church, be faithful to the house of God every time the doors are open. Be a praiser and help usher in an atmosphere where God can move in and change the whole dynamic of the service.. When our hearts stay hungry, when our minds are steadfast and focused, when we give up all time traps and let our hearts and minds fully engage, there is no telling what God will do for us. I don’t want to miss what I feel brimming in my Spirit, a Revival that will change our world as we know it. He promised to do greater things than he even ever experienced and I am fully confident he will do it. Are you ready? If not, get ready, you don’t want to miss the Revival coming that will change our world!

My Book is now Available

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The Elephant Has Left the Room
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The Elephant Has Left the Room

If you are tired of living in darkness of unresolved tensions there is a way out… the Jesus way. The Elephant has left the room is your personal invitation into the Holy place where you can finally discover authentic intimacy with the real Jesus! Chester Mitchell Pastor, Capital Community Church

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Being Real

Being Real

How you were made.”

“For I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful,I know that full well.” Psalm 139:14 [1]

It is the most beautiful thing you can ever become. Real. All of us want it. The real thing, to be purely authentic, to be honest, to be true to yourself. It is a natural instinct to want the very best and to feel good about it. The interesting part is this, all of us have a different perspective of what “real” may look like. One of the most genuine things we can come to grips with is to recognize that every single one of us is different. Our thumb print is evidence of that, every snowflake is proof that God made zero duplicates. Zero. I love that about humanity and how God precisely formed us individually. Therefore, keeping an open mind to true authenticity from each individual perspective is important.

In Psalm 139:16 it says, “Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.” [2]

This verse alone is proof that the Great Master of the universe is concerned and loves each of us individually. He loves us so much that His desire is for us to be exactly what He created us to be. The answer is evident but getting there can be a challenge. The answer is “be the real you”, not a cookie cutter of someone else. I want this book to be a tool for you to become more of who God meant for you to be and less of what everyone else may expect you to become.

The Velveteen Rabbit has always been my favorite childhood story book.  It tells you, in a real way, when you actually become real. There are so many quotes that could be chosen to explain real but here is one quoted from the Skin Horse in the story, that makes a great point:

Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.” “Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit. “Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “But, when you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”

He said, “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen too often to people who break easily, or who have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”[3]

“When you are real, you don’t mind being hurt.” [4]That’s a huge statement. Who likes to be hurt? Crushed. Left broken. Left bleeding. Left a mess. Who likes that? But what if you understood that it is what hurts you that makes you real? Authenticity takes on a whole new meaning and understanding. Real gives you worth. Real, may even save the soul you’re talking to but most importantly, save you. Real comes with a great price but the problem is that most of us don’t want to bother with becoming pure and authentic for that reason. We accept the mundane, the way of the gossip, the way of the coward, the crowd, we accept being cool instead of being real. We choose to follow in footprints that don’t belong to us and instead we take the beaten path, while we should be creating an original unbeaten path that God specifically designed for us.

A great depiction that has no comparison to anything or anyone, is Jesus Christ. He knew He would need to be real, to hurt, to bleed, to die, in order to save the world. He went all in. He came down to earth, robed Himself in flesh and dwelt among us, humanity. He paid the ultimate sacrifice for us. He is the greatest example of being real that we will ever find throughout history and the history to come but He did not let coming to earth be in vain, He gave us the choice as well:  to follow in His footsteps and become Christlike, to become pure in heart or not.  He left us the choice to leave everything else behind, follow Him and become real too, so we can change the world. But I feel that so few picks this up. That may be the reason He says in Mathew 7:14:“Because straight is the gate and narrow is the way but few there be that find it.”

The few that do find it, have the treasure of great price. All of us can have it. He made an all-inclusive invitation for everyone to receive and achieve. Let’s strive for real in everything we do and say, let’s be the honest, authentic people God wants us to be. Let’s change our world by being real.


 

 

 

 

Don’t Let it Go Missing

There is only one book that I ever remember my dad reading. I’d see it open on the kitchen table during his devotion or laying open on his lap as he was preparing for his next sermon. In pictures you’d see it proudly tucked under his arm. The Bible was his strength. It was priceless to him. His Bible is etched in my memory, and it’s left a profound impression on my life.

With Father’s Day approaching I began to think abut his Bible. I began the search to find out which one of my eleven brother’s and sister’s had inherited his brown, leather Bible, worn from many hours of reading, teaching and preaching from it. Most thought my oldest brother was the lucky recipient. It wasn’t him. We went down the line from the oldest to the youngest; all eleven of us were questioned, I was devastated to find out no one knew what had happened to his Bible nor did any of them have it in their possession. I was anxious to see how marked up it was and to look at the worn pages. I wanted to see if he had written along the margins, or left messages for his kids to reflect on. Unfortunately, his Bible is gone. Unless a miracle happens, we will never see it again, except for in pictures.

As we celebrate this Father’s Day, if you were asked, what is your favorite book, what would your answer be? With all the amazing books out there, let it always be said that your Bible is your most treasured asset. Don’t let it go missing. You will never regret it and hopefully your kids will treasure it when your life is ended and say, “my dad loved this book the most.” To my hero, my dad, thank you for leaving an example of loving the bible, and leaving memories that will last the rest of my life.

Authentic Reality

Her spirit spoke the moment our eyes connected, she was real. Her soul and heart were beautiful. And it was refreshing. Instant peace and soul spoken contentment. The kind of real you feel when your eyes tear up and from your heart and deepest emotion you feel it. You know what I’m talking about because all of us are given the chance to experience it; sometimes we have to search and stretch but we won’t settle until we find those priceless souls. I’m honestly tired of fake and the problem is, if I’m honest, “I can smell it a mile away” as the saying goes; my entire being resents and convulses at the thought of having to side-step around fake so I don’t have to face letting my facial expression show my disappointment. I hate it. Why? Because we don’t have to be fake. Its ridiculous. God created us, every single one of us, beautiful. What you have inside of you is priceless. Someone out there would give their arm and leg to have what you have and likewise you would give yours to have what they have. When will we settle into the reality of this amazing thought…we are all priceless, God gave each of us a gift or multiple gifts to light this world up. He gave His life for us to live life to the fullest, to have joy so you can know what it feels like to experience heaven on earth through His creation and all He has provided for you to live beyond your wildest dreams. Your life matters, every single day. Don’t ever forget it.