Thursday, November 30, 2006
Next, my ticker now says 14 months! How can this be???? And I still have absolutely no idea when our agency might get their lisence renewed. I've given up all hopes of having Yosef and Mihret with us this Christmas and am now just praying that the agency will have received a lisence by Christmas. As much as my heart is broken for myself, it's also so broken for my kids. They've now lived in an orphanage for 18 months, which will obviously have an affect on them and how they develop emotionally, not to mention physically. But all I can do is trust God to hold them in the palm of His hand. I'm completely helpless to help my children. My job is to love them and to point them to Jesus so that they'll know where to go to get their broken hearts healed. But they need to get here first!
We were fingerprinted earlier this week, so at least that's taken care of. We had to drive 4 1/2 hours one way. Once we got there, we waited for 3 hours. Then had a 4 1/2 hour drive home! Let's just say that we're still exhausted! But it was a really nice day too though. It was nice to have so much time just to talk with Avery about something other than our miserably depressing adoption saga! We also got to see one of Avery's cousins who attends college just down the road from the fingerprinting facility. It was a good day.
We will be picking up our van within the next day or two! It's a 95 Dodge Grand Caravan SE with 192,000 miles, but it's free! And they just did $900 worth of work, so hopefully it will last us until we can replace it with something better. This is God's provision for us though, so I'm not so worried about it. Now, we can take the money we've been saving up for a van and use it to replace the roof on our house! We're going to wait until we have a courtdate though because the fostercare for our kids is pretty expensive and we don't want to spend our van/roof money if we're going to end up needing it. Also, we need to keep it set aside in case we end up having to redo our CIS approval for the adoption as well. That doesn't expire until May, but at this point, who knows?!?!?!
So, I've been doing pretty good with staying so busy that I can't have time to be sad about our adoption. Until last night when I was in the car with Kaitlyn and she wanted to hear some Christmas music. So I turned on the radio just in time to hear Steven Curtis Chapman singing "Al I want for Christmas is a family". That was it. I started to cry. It is a really cool song though, so please do check it out. The Chapmans are very near to our hearts anyway because the Shaohannah's Hope Grant we received was just enough to finish paying for our adoption. And it was very timely.
Okay. That's my random thoughts for the day. Oh yea, I also wanted to write that I am truly overwhelmed by the prayers that are being prayed for our family. I can feel them in my heart. People were praying for us before we even realized our adoption was going to have so many problems. That's amazing to me. Prayers were being offered up for this very thing before we even had any idea that we needed to be praying along these lines. God is hearing your prayers and holding us in His hand during this very sad holiday season. He's making it not so sad. He's helping me to find comfort in the two amazing kids I already have. Please continue to pray for Yosef and Mihret so that they will maybe be with us for next Christmas. Maybe for Mihret's birthday on January 15. Maybe before Yosef turns 10 in May. Soon...
Monday, November 27, 2006
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Because I know I'm not the only emaye (mommy) out there who knows nothing about sourdough starters, I'm going to explain this really simply. So if you already know about sourdough, don't feel insulted! Lots of us are clueless!
YOU WILL NEED LOTS OF PATIENCE TO MAKE THIS WORK!!!!!
What You Will Need:
One 1-gallon plastic, ceramic, or glass container with a lid
flour (white unbleached works great. Others are fine)
Wash everything that will come into contact with the starter so that you don't have any little unwanted bacteria trying to get in and mess up your starter!
4 cups lukewarm water, 78 degrees- Water that's too hot will kill your starter.
3 3/4 cups flour
You can mix using a spatula or your hands. I recommend using your hands so that you can get to "know" your starter. This will make sense to you much later after you've experimented a lot.
The point of the starter is for the natural yeasts and bacteria in the air to form a sybiotic relationship with each other in the starter, thus keeping it alive. In order to give your starter a little help, you can use 1 pound pesticide free red or black grapes, a couple of potatoes cut up into smaller pieces, or a couple of fresh peaches. You tie the fruit or potatoes up into a cheese cloth and put the cheesecloth into the starter. If it's a juicy fruit, squeeze the cheese cloth to release the juices into the starter. When I made my starter a few months ago, I used cut up potatoes. This is supposedly not necesary, but I don't know. I figured I needed all the help I could get!
Let your starter sit on your counter covered with a lid.
Do nothing. Keep starter on counter covered with lid.
Do nothing. Keep starter on counter covered with lid.
Some bubbles may have started to form in the starter. This is good. If it's really frothy, this is good too. The cheese cloth may have inflated with gas and floated to the top. This is good. If you smell it, it should smell "yeasty" like fresh baking bread. This is good. If it looks gross, this is good too. If it's moldy, this is NOT good. Remove the mold as soon as you see it using a spoon. As long as you remove the mold, this is good!
Add 1 cup flour and 1 cup warm water.
Mix with your hands. Cover with lid and keep it on the counter.
You can technically make injera at this point, but it's not as easy or as tasty as if will be if you wait a little longer.
The starter will start to smell like alcohol soon. This is good.
Do nothing. Let it sit on the counter. If you see mold, remove it right away. Then, only if there was mold, you can add 1 cup warm water and 1 cup flour. Stir.
Unless there was mold, you don't need to stir the starter. Just leave it alone. At some point, the alcohol smell will be replaced by a nice yeasty smell again. This is good.
You will begin your starter's regular feedings on Day 10. Remove cheese cloth and throw away. Stir your starter very well. Set aside 2 cups of the starter. Throw the rest away. Put the starter back into your 1 gallon container. But clean the container first. For the best injera results, feed your starter 3 times a day. Feeding this often makes it so that you have lots of ain ("eyes" - this is what Ethiopians call the bubbles in the injera).
1 cup warm water
1 1/4 cups flour
Stir thoroughly with hands. Put lid back on.
I try to space out my three feedings. Ideally, it would be fed every 8 hours. But you have to sleep at some point! I feed my injera first thing in the morning, again in the early afternoon, and again right before I go to bed. Space the three feedings out the best you can given your daily schedule.
For feeding #2, add:
2 cups water
2 1/2 cups flour
By the time I need to do feeding #3, I usually throw away all but 2 cups of the starter and start all over again with the feeding amounts. In other words, for each feeding, you double the amount of flour and water that you used the previous time. But, as you'll soon figure out, doing this will create A LOT of starter! So, once you throw away all but two cups, you'll start again with adding 1 cup water and 1 1/4 cups flour.
Days 11, 12, 13, 14, 15
Continue with the 3 times a day feeding schedule. By Day 15, the starter might be ready for injera. Mine was not. Mine took almost three weeks before it was ready to make nice injera. The way you know it's ready is to try it. If it makes injera with lots of bubbles, it's ready. If not, keep feeding it a few more days and try again.
Day 15 And Beyond
As long as your starter isn't in the refrigerater, you need to feed it regularly. I have found that feeding it just once or twice a day will keep it from dying. But any fewer than three feedings each day produces injera with not so many bubbles for me. Because the amount of wild yeast in your house is not the same as my house, each person's results will vary slightly. Temperature also has an affect on how quickly the starter develops. Once your starter is very strong and healthy you can put it in the refrigerater.
You should pull your starter out of the refrigerater, let it sit until it's room temperature, and give it 1-3 feedings about once a week. It is possible to get away with once a month, but you're risking letting it die if you wait so long. Mine is at the one month point right now. So, when I pull it out to feed it today, I sincerely hope it's not dead!
Converting Your Starter To A Teff Starter
Once your starter is very strong and consistently bubbly, you can then convert it to a teff starter in order to obtain the proper sour teff flavor of injera. This part is easy. You just feed it as detailed above. It only takes 2-3 feedings before the teff has become the dominant flavor in the injera.
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Well, yesterday, layla teru and negar (something else good) happened for us! Our homestudy expires the first week of January, and while we had previously thought this wouldn't be a problem, we're now cutting it close even if we were to by some miracle get a courtdate this week or next. So, we finally bit the bullet and called our homestudy agency to find out what we would need to do in order to get our homestudy updated and therefore, keep it current. Initially, it was going to cost us nearly $1,000 by the time we paid for the services of the agency and all of the new documentation we would need to get. The woman on the phone was incredibly nice to me and explained why they have the policy and fees regarding the update. I truly did understand and let her know that I wasn't upset with her and that I would probably have the same policy in her shoes. She then indicated that she was under the assumption that we were needing an update for a second adoption. That's when I started to cry. I couldn't help it. I told her that we're still working on our first adoption. She must have had a lot of compassion on us in that moment because she said she'd talk to the finance department and call me back. In less than an hour, I got a phone call saying that given our situation, they would do our homestudy update for $350! We will only need to get physicals and criminal checks from our county.
God is very faithful. When we finally resigned ourselves to the fact that we needed to get our homestudy updated, we also knew that God, knowing the timeframe we would be on from the beginning, would provide the money to pay for it. Instead of giving us the money, He gave us a homestudy agency that would have compassion for us. Faithful. Always faithful.
Sunday, November 19, 2006
First, DON'T NAG!!!!!
Second, DON'T NAG!!!!
Third, DON'T NAG!!!!!!!!!
Fourth, PRAY, PRAY, PRAY, PRAY, PRAY, PRAY, PRAY
There. That's my two cents.
Seriously, I'll share a bit of our backstory with my readers today. I don't remember a time that I didn't want to adopt kids from the third world. I don't remember a time when I didn't want to be a mother. (Well, that's not entirely true. When I spent 20 hours non-stop picking lice eggs out of Kaitlyn's hair recently, I stopped wanting to be a mother around 4:00AM as she slept on my lap and I was still picking them out!! After a few hours of sleep, I wanted to be a mom again after that! :) )
I really wanted to adopt right after Kaitlyn was born. For several reasons, we did not persue adoption at that time, but one of the reasons is because while Avery supported the idea, he wasn't quite there yet as far as the two of us actually adopting. I could be wrong, but I think that one of his biggest reasons was the enormous cost. He just wouldn't consider it and always told me "no" when I brought it up.
So, I just accepted that if this was really something that God wanted for our family that He would speak to Avery's heart about the issue too. Honestly, has nagging ever gotten a wife anywhere. Well, alright, sometimes husbands do what the wife wants just so she'll stop nagging. But his heart isn't in it. And you definitely don't want to adopt a kid just to shut the wife up! Both hearts need to be 110% in it for the long haul! So, I resisted the urge to bring it up every week. Every so often, when I was really feeling the desire to adopt, I would ask him where he was on the issue. And when he wasn't there yet, I accepted that and let it drop for the time being. In December 2004 I started to feel very burdened for the child(ren) that would someday be mine. I felt like God was speaking to my heart that their mother had died and that I really needed to start praying for them in a new way. As crazy as I felt, I figured that it certainly couldn't hurt anything to pray along these lines. So, that's what I did.
In March 2005, I went to a Rita Springer conference. There, I saw Rita Springer speaking to a group of women, toting her very dark brown 3-month-old newly adopted son, Justice. It was one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen. The conference wasn't about adoption. She discussed Justice's adoption regarding how it impacted her music. But her speech wasn't about his adoption. Yet, watching Rita Springer talk about "the colors of worship" while she, a white woman, toted around this little Zimbabwean baby who was so very much HERS, changed me. I had lunch with a friend that day. I didn't say a word about it to her, but she just looked at me and asked, "So, when are you going to adopt?" My response, "When God tells Avery it's time, I'm already there."
I went home that day, told Avery yet again that I wanted to adopt a baby, and to my surprise, he said, "Yes." But it was conditional. He said that we could adopt, but we absolutely couldn't afford to go into debt for it. Now, we had just spent almost our entire tax return on paying off our car. There was less than $1,000 in our savings account. I am a stay-at-home mom. Avery is a good provider for our family. But we sure didn't have any conceivable means of affording an adoption on our own. Yet, I thought that if God was really in this, God would show us how to come up with the money. More on that in a future post.
Much later, Avery did tell me that he had really started to feel the pull to adopt around Dec. of 2004- the same time at which I felt that God was prompting me that the kids' mother had died. Their mother, Denkenesh (You are wonderful) had died in Sept 2004 and in Dec. 2004, our adoption agency was busy taking their first video of Yosef and Mihret in the hopes of finding them a family. But, afraid of the cost, he thought he'd wait for me to bring it up.
Now, wives, I certainly don't want to mislead you into thinking that Avery was instantly 100% on board. Now, he's 200% on board. But it was a process. In the beginning stages of our adoption, I was the one who did the research on agencies. I was the one who gathered the documents for our dossier. Five months later, in July 2005, we submitted our completed dossier to our agency. We spent the next several months raising money. As we went to various churches to make our presentation about the need for Christians to care for the orphans of the world, Avery began to do research for his part of the presentation. I doing reserach, his heart began to really break for these kids.
Now, we had wanted to adopt one girl under the age of five. Secretly, I also wanted to adopt a son, but we still hadn't come close to raising the money we need for just one kid. Much less two. Not to mention the fact that we would need a larger vehicle if we adopted two kids. So, I again figured that if God wanted us to do it that He would have to be the one to tell Avery. Lucas had been asking for a brother for a year at this point, and we just kept telling him to ask God for a brother. (Really our way of telling him no!). I'll never forget the night that I heard Avery upstairs praying for Lucas as he tucked him in. As always, Lucas asked Avery for a brother, insisting that his Ethiopian sister also had a brother whose parents had died. To my surprise, Avery said, "Okay, you can have a brother too." WHAT???????!!!!!!!!!
So, in Sept. 2005 we received our referral for Mihret and Yosef. One look at their pictures, and Avery's heart was 100% captured. These were our kids!
Oh yea, God has also provided 100% of the money we needed for BOTH kids. Not to mention Avery's trip to visit the kids this past July.
So, ladies, please don't be discouraged if hubby isn't on board just yet. Don't give up. Truthfully, he might never be on the same page. And that's okay because God's responsible for telling hubby what to do anyway. God understands your desire to adopt, as He's the One who gave you that desire! So, instead of nagging hubby about your desire, talk to God about it. Ask God why hubby isn't on the same page. Is there something else that God wants you to do with this desire? Is it just not the right time yet? Talk to God. And then, listen to what He wants to say back to you. Keep an open dialogue with hubby. Try to understand the reasons behind his, "no." And don't feel crazy to start praying for the kids that you don't know if you'll ever even adopt! Crazy or not, they need people to be praying for them. And to those of you who have sent me emails, know that I've taken time to pray for you as I've read your emails and continue to pray for you as you come to mind. I hope to oneday soon read many new emails and blogs from families starting this process.
Saturday, November 18, 2006
Anyway, as I was watching these videos, I was reminded once again of the amazing women who take care of them for me. Asaddagi enatochun must be women of steel! To take care of that many kids day in and day out and never appear frazzled! I'm amazed! I can tell by the way they always have a kid hanging on them, yet never seem irritated by it, that they are very special people indeed. As I watched the video, I wondered if they even realized how special they are. It means so much to me to know that my kids are being cared for by these women in my absence. Mind you, I firmly believe that there is nobody on the face of this planet who can love them and care for them like Avery and I, nobody who wants to see them come to our family as much as us, (well, I do have a few people in my life who might be almost as upset about the delays as us- but only almost!) but while we wait, I'm so thankful that asaddagi enatochun are there for my Yosef and Mihret. Good news coming soon...
Thursday, November 16, 2006
Christa Leis and Bruce Ellis
Even though I can't see the sun through these clouds
I know it still shines
Even though I can't feel Your love through this pain
I know You're alive
Even though I can't see the way up ahead
I know that You lead
Even though I can't feel Your presence now
I know I believe
Even though I can't understand why this storm still blows
Even though I can't hear Your voice...
I love Your rain
Matthew 16 (The Message Bible)
"...Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You're not in the driver's seat; I am. Don't run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I'll show you how..."I definitely feel as though I've been sitting out a storm for a long time now. We started this journey in March 2005. It's been a while and I'm not one who is easily given over to patience! :) The very first time I flew in an airplane, we were riding high above the clouds and the sun was shining. But as we made our descent, the clouds got darker and darker. On the ground, the sun was nowhere to be found and it was raining cats and dogs. Yet because I had seen it first-hand, I knew that the sun was still shining. We just couldn't see it.
This song reminded me that though my heart breaks terribly right now for Yosef and Mihret, 10,000 miles away from my embrace, God is still here. More and more, I struggle to see the sun through this storm, but that doesn't negate the fact that it is still shining. My inability to see what God is doing doesn't negate the fact that He is doing much. And we're not called to run from suffering. We're called to embrace it. That's what He did for us. He embraced suffering so that we might realize His great love for us. How can I do any less for my children? How can I do any less for God? I don't always know how to embrace suffering, but I do believe that He's faithful and that's enough. I don't care for this storm. But I do love the rain.
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Saturday, November 11, 2006
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
The word yesterday was "koy." Wait some more. But, at least it wasn't "no." The government official that our agency needed to see was not in the office yesterday. I believe the agency is going to try to see this official again today. The director of our agency is traveling today and tomorrow though, so it is not likely that we will get any news until Friday at the earliest.
After waiting for so long to bring Yosef and Mihret home, it's hard to not lose hope at times. These past two weeks, it's only been through spending lots of time with God that I've been able to maintain hope. And God has been happy to spend time with me too. He's not challenged by how quickly a human heart can lose hope. Rather, He is moved with compassion for us.
I grew up in Pennsylvania where the winters are very long and the snow seems to last forever. My favorite flower is the daphadill because even while the snow is still thick on the ground, their yellow heads appear to remind us that the winter won't last forever and that the joy of spring is coming. Hope. Daphadills represent hope to me.
Well, this past January of February, we were being told that our kids weren't getting a courtdate because they had come from an orphanage whose director was under investigation. (Haregowein for those who have read "There's No Me Without You"). We now know that our kids did not come from Haregowein's orphanage, but still, that was a pretty hopeless time in this adoption. We had just discovered that much of what we had believed to be true was not as it appeared. I wondered if my kids would ever come home. Then, I had a dream one night that I had taken Kaitlyn to school on a cold morning and when I came back home, I noticed that my daphadills had sprung up during the night. I thought, 'but it's too early for the daphadills to come up!' I believe that God is still in the business of speaking to people through dreams, through pictures He puts in our minds, by making our hearts just seem to know certain things, through other people, and however else He so desires. Well, when I woke up from that dream, I immediately knew in my heart that God had given me that dream in order to assure me that just as the daphadills spring up to give hope of what is to come, He wanted me to have hope that He would indeed bring my kids home to me. Well, wouldn't you know it- that morning when I came home from taking Kaitlyn to school, I noticed that my daphadills had sprung up in the night, a good month before it was time for this to have happened. My heart smiled, knowing that God was faithfully giving me added assurance that all hope was not lost. That there is hope in trusting Him.
This has been a very long year for our family. That dream seems like it happened a decade ago. I hadn't thought about it for a long time. Last week, our pastor said to me, "Heather, I hate to even tell you this because you're going to think I'm crazy. But when I was praying for you, God put a picture of a daphadill in my mind. I don't know what it means, but I didn't want to NOT share it just in case it's important." Well, I immediately knew that God was reminding me yet again through something very personal to me that He is faithful when the winter has been so long and we feel like the snow will never melt. He's challenging me to seek Him in the darkness before dawn. Sure, this is a dark time for us, but the darkness gives way to dawn every single day. It's been that way since the beginning of the world. He is faithful to a thousand generations. And He is faithful to THIS generation. He is faithful to my Yosef and Mihret. Because before they were mine, before they belonged to their mother, Denkenesh, they were HIS.
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Seriously, going to this church is such a good taste of what it will be like for our little ones when they come to America. For two hours we're immersed in a culture that is not our own. We're the only ones who are "different." We're the only ones who don't laugh at the jokes. And we always have to look around to see what everybody else is doing first, just to make sure it's okay. The entire service is conducted in Amharic. Aside from a few Americanisms, there isn't a word of English spoken... Alright, that's not entirely true. When everybody turned around to look expectantly at our family and we did nothing, the pastor finally addressed us in English, asking us to stand up and say a few things about ourselves. I told them in Amharic about our family, where we are from, and our adoption. Evidently it was really impressive when the ferenj (what Ethiopians call foreigners, usually white people) spoke Amharic because they all clapped for me as though I had done something very wonderful! I'd be lying if I didn't admit that I felt pretty proud of myself! :)
Today is the day that our agency was supposed to check back with the government to see if they had been issued a renewed liscence to operate in Ethiopia. I'm hoping that this is what happened today and that we will quickly get our courtdate for Yosef and Mihret. The days since their first courtdate was delayed have felt very, very long to this mother's heart. And yet I can honestly say that God has still been faithful to me. In those first few days, I wondered if I'd come to the end of my energy reserve. And yet God has given me just a little bit more. He's giving me the grace to forgive the absolute lack of information that we've become accustomed to. He's put the fight back in my spirit. He's faithful.
Monday, November 06, 2006
In the spirit of U2, Delirious? confronts us with the horrendous state of the world in their song, "Our God Reigns." Listen to the entire song for free. It took about 1 1/2 hours to download on our dial-up connection at home. But it was worth every minute it took. It's a very startling wake-up call to those of us who name Jesus as our Savior.
Our God Reigns
40 million babies lost to Gods great orphanage,
It’s a modern day genocide and a modern day disgrace
If this is a human right then why aren’t we free?
The only freedom we have is in a man nailed to a tree.
100 million faces, staring at the sky,
Wondering if this HIV will ever pass us by.
The devil stole the rain and hope trickles down the plug,
But still my Chinese take away could pay for someone’s drugs.
Our God reigns, Our God reigns,
Forever your kingdom reigns.
The west has found a gun and it’s loaded with ‘unsure’
Nip and tuck if you have the bucks in a race to find a cure.
Psalm one hundred and thirty nine is the conscience to our selfish crime,
God didn’t screw up when he made you,
He’s a father who loves to parade you.
Yes he reigns, yes you reign, yes you reign,
For there is only one true God,
But we’ve lost the reins on this world,
Forgive us all, forgive us please,
As we fight for this broken world on our knees.
Thursday, November 02, 2006
Amasegenalo (Thank you) to all who fasted and prayed for our kids yesterday. Our agency was told by the government to check back next Tuesday to see if the liscence had come through yet. The director for our agency is going to Ethiopia today and won't be back until next Thursday. So, we may not get any news until after she returns.
Also, Amasegenalo to my dear friend Rosa. There's nothing like a gift to cheer a weary, sad heart. Yesterday the mailman delivered a package to me containing green unroasted Ethiopian coffee beans, a container full of spices for making Chai (Ethiopian Tea) that look and smell out of this world, and a chart to hang up with all of the Amharic letters, numbers, and the American letters and numbers. For anybody who has never made bunna (Ethiopian coffee) by roasting your own beans, I highly recommend that you try this at least once. It will be the most delicious, rich cup of coffee you have ever tasted. It's so rich that there is a film of oil on the top of the coffee. The oil is good, as it makes the flavor so rich and smooth. And I don't even like coffee, yet this is my recommendation!
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
Yesterday started out particularly bad. Like when you work in customer service and people you don't even know call you up and yell at you as though their problems with their new toaster are actually your fault! (All of my customer service readers know exactly what I'm talking about and a few of you "yellers" are also understanding!) I don't work in customer service...actually, being a mommy is a little like customer service...but my day yesterday sure did feel like it!
But, then I decided that though I can't control what others do and say, I can control my reaction. Not that harsh words don't hurt, but I decided that I didn't really want to have a bad day. So, I didn't. Instead, I took Lucas to the library dressed as Batman. I helped out at Kaitlyn's party at school. Then we had so much fun in the evening taking the kids trick or treating. My only regret is that today is the day we're fasting and I can't even sneak into their candy stash! :) I guess the peanutbutter cups will still be there tomorrow though!
Unfortunately, none of the pics of the kids in their costumes turned out, so I'm including some cute pics from our trip to the North Carolina Zoo this past Saturday. Now, that was fun! There was a huge wall with pictures of people from various African countries. The Ethiopian picture featured an entire family with all of their earthly possessions. We didn't see it right away and Lucas heard Avery and me trying to find one from Ethiopia. He pointed right at the picture and said, "those people are from "Efffiopia" Mommy." Not knowing how he'd picked the Ethiopians out of the 25+ pictures of Africans, I asked him. He replied, "I knew they were Efffiopians because there were so many black people in that picture!" ??????? I guess he didn't notice the dark dark dark brown Sudanese guy, or the Nigerians, or the Kenyans surrounding the Ethiopian picture! The kid keeps me laughing all the time.
How blessed I am that even on a really bad day like yesterday, I have this little comedian who likes nothing more than to entertain Mommy! It's hard to be sad for too long with Lucas around.
Kaitlyn with her friend who came to the zoo with us- Adorable!!!