Amazed

Reflecting on God’s mysterious ways. This week, I was helping my youngest, who is how a freshman in High school, with her History homework. The assignment was to write about the story behind the song “Amazing Grace”. She had to research the life story of John Newton, all his trials, and the emotion behind the song, and then pick a stanza from the song and analyze it using examples from his life. God took three of my favorite things, Music, History, and my child, and put them together to speak to my heart.

We learned about how after his mother died when he was 7 years old,  Newton turned from the faith of his mother and rebelled, running from God, drinking heavily, and how he was enslaved, beaten, betrayed, and then became a captain of a slave trade ship. We learned how through the course of his life, Newton faced death multiple times, be it due to storms at sea, or sickness, and how God used these extreme trials to draw Newton back to his faith. We saw how Newton’s life was redirected as he went from slave trade captain to minister, and a voice against slavery in the abolition movement.

The stanza my daughter chose to analyze was this….

Amazing grace!

How sweet the sound That saved a wretch like me! 

I once was lost, but now am found; 

Was blind, but now I see.”

and here is her analysis….

Amazing grace, what is so amazing about grace? To me, grace is mercy, or kindness that is undeserved or unearned. Grace is amazing we do not deserve it, and we can’t earn it because God gives it freely. How sweet the sound; grace that we do not deserve and cannot earn is like music to a hurting soul.

         That saved a wretch like me! A wretch is a bad or very unpleasant person. John Newton was an excellent example of a wretch. He was punished for desertion. He was so terrible as a crew member that one of the crews he served with chained him up, starved him, and sold him into slavery. After he was rescued from slavery, instead of trying to stop the slave trade, Newton became part of the slave trade. Despite the fact that he did so many terrible things in his life, God still heard his cry, and saved him.

     I once was lost, but now am found; In the early years of Newton’s life, he was lost. He was running from the faith he had learned as a child before his mother died. In the later years of newton’s life he became a minister, sharing his story of how God found him and saved him. Was blind, but now I see. Newton spent many years as an active part of the slave trade, transporting slaves and supporting the industry. He came to see how evil slavery was and started to speak out against it, describing how horrible the conditions on the slave ships were, and worked to help stop slavery.”

As I reflected on all of this, I began to look back over my own life. In my teen years, I rebelled against my parents, and ran from the faith of my youth. I started drinking heavily in college, found myself in an abusive relationship with no hope of escape, gave in to all sorts of temptations, and for a long time, ignored the still small voice in my heart. Through all of this, God never once abandoned or gave up on me. He sent two dear friends to show me a way out of the abusive relationship. I joined the Marines , and while at Boot Camp, I cried out to God for strength as I tried to recover from deep emotional abuse scars at the same time I was going through Boot Camp. It all became too big for me, and at one point, I actually told my Senior Drill instructor ” I quit, I want to go home”. I am forever thankful that instead of letting me quit, she pushed me harder. I hit bottom and I cried out, and God met me.

After Boot camp, I went through a period where I returned to my wild side. My young, renewed faith was still there, and I heard the still small voice, but I was not completely ready to stop drinking, and to give up my wild ways. In this time in my life, broken, damaged, recovering from abuse, God brought a young man into my life who would forever change my world. This young Marine would become my husband. He didn’t run from my scars, but promised to stand by me, to hold me through the nightmares, to love me through my fear, to patiently wait as my trust was restored, for when we met, I no longer trusted anyone in the male gender except my daddy.

Grace is truly an amazing thing. As I look back over everything from my past, all the trials and snares that God has brought me through, I find myself in complete awe and wonder that God never once gave up or abandoned a wretch like me.

It wasn’t until after my husband and I were married, that I once again hit bottom. I sank into a deep depression, to the point I intended to end it all, to take my own life. A phone call to my unit from my husband landed me on suicide watch, and forced me to cry out once more to God, to turn back to my faith rather than ending my life. This was the point at which I found my faith, and never again turned away from it. Sure, I have moments when it wavers, when doubts and fears creep in, but I was no longer lost.

Since that moment, I have grown as Trials and storms continue to come. Two of my children diagnosed on the autism spectrum has depend my reliance on God for strength, wisdom, patience, and so much more. Mountains and struggles in my marriage has taught me how to pray for my husband, and more importantly, how to pray that God change ME. I stopped praying ” Lord, Fix HIM”, and started praying that God make ME the wife I need to be.

I am starting to realize that much like God used Newton’s time in the slave trade industry, He is using my abusive past. He has given me opportunities to help other women break free. He is using my stories to help my own daughters navigate the dating world, to help teach them what red flags to be aware of. I have watched my girls grow into strong, self confident young women who love deeply, and who are years ahead of where I was at their age in the ” I am happy with who God made me to be” aspect. This is a concept I didn’t grasp until well into my 30’s. I listened to my youngest thank me for sharing my stories with her and teaching her that her value comes from God, not from some boy.

I once was blind, running scared, broken and damaged….

but now, I am found, loved, beautiful….

I once was lost and alone, but now I am found. I am not perfect by any means. I still have days when the scars of my past haunt me, when I struggle and doubt. The difference is, Now I know how to combat those negative voices. Amazing Grace indeed, that pulled me from my darkest hours and carried me through the trials and snares, even when I was unaware, unwilling, and rebelling.

I will never look at this song the same way again…..It was written by the former Captain of a Slave ship, and God used it in my own life to remind me how He rescued me from the slavery and captivity of abuse.

**I went to You Tube, to find a video of Amazing Grace to end this post with, and found this one….and as I watched it, I got chills, and also learned some amazing interesting facts about the melody that goes with the Lyrics, and So, I will leave You with this….**

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A Legacy of Love, a Lifetime of Prayer

*Note , This may seem scattered and random, and should have been posted in April. For reasons hinted at in “Regaining Strength” , i never finished it, but am posting it now, because…even in it’s raw, scattered form, needs to be said. and besides, since when is grief ever “neat and organized” anyway?*
There is a group of people in my life who never gave up on me…
even through my wild rebellious years as a teenager,
no matter how angry I got, or how far out of control I spun,
They never stopped loving me, never stopped praying for me….
This is for them….
My Grandparents,
My Godparents,
my Mom and Dad ,
my siblings
The entire Jones/ Handy Family ( in my heart my 2nd Family).
I know that without all the love and non stop prayers,
my life would be totally different than what it is today,
and I thank God daily for blessing me with so many people who made sure I had firmly grounded roots,
but still gave me wings so I could soar….
The adults gave me roots and wings…
The kids filled my childhood with Friendship,
LOTS of memories,
They say there are people who leave footprints on your heart…
These are people who have left more than footprints…
This IS my Family, and I am Forever Blessed and Thankful….
Thankful for the Love,
the Laughter,
The memories,
the Friendship,
the Prayers and so much more…

Ok, this is for all you people who avoid the Camera,or hide behind it instead of putting yourself IN photos….
myself included…
There are people who love You who will want Photos of you to look back on when You are gone.
Don’t make them wish they had more Photos to cherish.
Finding myself wishing i had more of two special people in my life, both of whom has already left this earth.
This Photo is the only one I have, that I KNOW of….
0410131609
My Goal from this point on is to put ME in more photos with my kids….with the people I love.
This week has been one of reflecting, remembering, rejoicing, and mourning.  On Thursday (April 11,2013), I wrote this on Facebook ” As The Lord prepares to call a Precious Very Special Lady home, My heart cries, and rejoices at the same time. You see this dear Lady is my Godmother, and played a HUGE Role in my life. Her Love and Prayers, even when I was being unlovable are part of why I am the woman I am today……I Can’t help wondering if she knows how deeply she impacted my life. I regret not telling her often enough…and though I can’t make it to NY, I want to say THANK YOU, I Love You, and will never forget you!”
April 13,2013: At approximately 12:30 this morning my Godmother, Janice Handy went home to be with the LORD. She was a wonderful, gracious lady and taught us all very well how to survive in the world, but mostly how to live a life of faith. She fought the good fight, she won the race. She sees Jesus face to face. She was one of the Most Influential women in my Life and I am Thankful and blessed that my Parents chose her and her husband as my Godparents.
She leaves behind 25 grandchildren and 48 great grandchildren, three who predeceased her. She leaves behind a legacy of faith.
My Godfather went to be with the Lord my Senior Year of High school. At approximately 12:30 this morning My Godmother Joined him. When I think about the legacy they left, the Impact they had on my life, I count myself Very Blessed.
To Quote My Friend, Their Granddaughter, Jennifer: “My grandfather once felt that he was going to leave nothing behind for his family when it was his time to pass away. In reading all the posts here today, it is obvious that money cannot buy what he & my grandmother left behind. In the 65 years since the day they married, they had 6 children, who in turn had 25, who in turn have had 48. 3 of these met Jesus before they did. Most of these know Jesus as their Savior. Keith & Janice Handy were successful in passing on their faith and their love of family. What could be better than a legacy like this? I should be so blessed to do the same. “
They Truly Built a Household of Faith.

Peace be still…

The Past few months I have been doing quite a bit of thinking, reflecting, re-directing. My son turned 13 in September, in the middle of a stretch of REALLY rocky road on this journey with Autism. School had started in August, and one month in, He still had not settled back into routine, and it was clear from almost day one, something was wrong. He protested that school was bad, and cried daily, BEGGING to stay home. He started running from class, his behavior went downhill FAST, and He started trying to hurt himself at school, all so He could come home. He was not sleeping at night…which of course meant, I was not sleeping at night.

All the no sleep gave me plenty of time to think, to cry, and to pray. I looked back at when the journey began. I thought about how long I had been fighting…with Doctors, insurance companies, schools. I realized I was Exhausted, I longed for a break from the “front lines”.  I lost sight of just how far we have come, the progress made. My focus was off. I spent more time focusing on how tired I was, on the storms raging around me than on my source of Hope. Exhaustion took over, and I started to get angry. I felt lost and alone.  I felt helpless. The worse things seemed to get for my son at school, the more helpless I felt. I was sinking, and I knew it. What I didn’t know, was how to turn my focus back to where it needed to be.

One night I was talking to a friend about it all, venting and crying, and she said to me “Stop. It’s time for you to remember you are not alone. It’s time for you to stop focusing on how hard it is, and focus on what you need to do. Your kids need you to not fall apart.” My mom listened to me day in and day out, crying on the phone sometimes for hours, she never stopped praying, never stopped encouraging.

One Sunday in Sunday school, my Sunday School teacher said ” I don’t know why but before we start I feel I need to read a passage of scripture that is totally unrelated to what we are studying.” He read Habakkuk 3:17-18 which reads as follows:

Though the fig tree does not bud
    and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
    and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
    and no cattle in the stalls,
 yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
    I will be joyful in God my Savior.

It was a wake up call for me, a Reminder that I need to give thanks to God NO MATTER WHAT.  That even in the darkest hours, I should be praising God, in the Midst of the storm. My Focus should be on HIM and not on the waves crashing around me. I was reminded of a Psalm that My Dad used to read to us all the time when I was Growing Up:

Psalms 34

I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.

My soul shall make her boast in the Lord: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad.

O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together.

I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.

They looked unto him, and were lightened: and their faces were not ashamed.

This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.

The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.

O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.

O fear the Lord, ye his saints: for there is no want to them that fear him.

10 The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing.

11 Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the Lord.

12 What man is he that desireth life, and loveth many days, that he may see good?

13 Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile.

14 Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.

15 The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry.

16 The face of the Lord is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.

17 The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles.

18 The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.

19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all.

20 He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken.

21 Evil shall slay the wicked: and they that hate the righteous shall be desolate.

22 The Lord redeemeth the soul of his servants: and none of them that trust in him shall be desolate.

I realized that I needed to start making a Conscious choice, every day, to give Thanks…to put my focus on God, and not on how big the storm was. God Knows what my son needs, even if Dak can’t tell me what is wrong. God goes with Dak to school, even if I Can’t. I started turning it all over, one step at a time, releasing control BACK to God. I did not realize I had been trying to handle it all on my own. Autism is TOO big for me. I Can’t do it. I don’t understand it. I started making the CHOICE to let go of each worry….My son’s fear of school…My Youngest Daughter’s grief over losing her closest friend to Cancer the end of August….Financial stresses…..As each doubt or worry or fear crept in, I fought it. Verses I have known all my life came back to my mind….

Matthew 6:25-34

 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear.

Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 

Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 

 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 

If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 

So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 

For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 

 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

All the worrying I do was dragging me down. God has NEVER let me down. He has ALWAYS kept his word, so WHY was I wearing myself out stressing about every little bump in the road. Like Peter when He stepped out of the boat, I had taken my eyes off Jesus and put my focus on the water, and was sinking. (Matthew 14:22-33 ). I began to pray for help re-directing my focus OFF of how hard things are and back onto the one who gave His life for me. As I cried night after sleepless night, HE gave me a song…one I have known since childhood, but had forgotten….

You said you’d come and share all my sorrows
You said you’d be there for all my tomorrows
I came so close to sending you away,
But just like you promised, you came there to stay
I just had to pray

And Jesus said 
“Come to the water, stand by my side
I know you are thirsty, you won’t be denied
I felt every tear drop, when in darkness you
cried, and I strove to remind you,
That for those tears I died”

We have been studying Saul and David in Sunday school, and This week we were looking at 1 Samuel 13 and Israel’s fear of the Philistine Army. The root of Israel’s fear was that they forgot their Identity in God ( they are God’s Chosen People) and they lost their Hope in God. They forgot about all the times before when God had rescued them from overwhelming Odds, because God IS Bigger. This Hit me like a ton of bricks. How often have I forgotten all the times God has Provided, heard my cry, answered my prayers, come to my rescue when all seemed hopeless. I realized I was letting Fear into my day to day, and when Fear takes over, darkness sets in. I was reminded that Perfect Love Casts out Fear. (1 John 4:18) God has not given me a spirit of fear, but of Power, Love and a sound Mind. (2 Timothy 1:7). I continued to look deeper into this, seeking God’s help to overcome my struggle with worry, fear and anxiety and He reminded me of my Identity in HIM. He reminded me I am Bought with a Price, and when He looks at my life he does not see all the bad I have done, He sees what Jesus did for me when He died on the cross.

I cried again, asking the question once again that I have asked SO many times in the past 10 years since we heard the words “Your son has Autism”…I asked “WHY?” The answer I got was the same one I got all the times before…..

2 Corinthians 12:7-10

…Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 

Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 

 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 

Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

WOW…lets hear that again…“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  I need to Daily remember that..NO Matter what comes my way, HIS Grace IS enough. I am not perfect, and I struggle with this daily. I am learning to turn my focus OFF the storms in my life, and to look TO Jesus…My Hope, My Refuge, my deliverer, my Peace. I am thankful for the Blessings he gave me when He gave me my three children. I am thankful for the lessons that autism continues to teach me about love, about patience, about peace and hope and joy. Sure, the road is hard, and the tears often fall, sleep is often …well non existent, but HIS GRACE IS ENOUGH!

Of Knights and Dragons

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

here are a few facts:
it is not rare – 1 in 330 children develop cancer before the age of 19
• 1 in 5 children diagnosed with cancer dies as a result of the disease
• Childhood Cancer is the #1 disease killer of children – more than asthma, cystic fibrosis, diabetes, & pediatric AIDS combined

You may think “what does this have to do with Autism?” and I would have to say “very little” but, I am writing this post about a Precious little boy who took my world and turned it upside down, who stole my heart, and who was a HUGE part of my children’s lives….

“How lucky I am to have known someone who was so hard to say goodbye to” ~Unknown~

Some friendships leave such a HUGE Print on Our Hearts…

The Photo above is of my youngest Daughter and her Cherished Friend Barrett, who she affectionately claimed as her little brother 5 years ago. This Precious child stole my heart instantly when they moved in across the street from us. For 5 years I watched as a friendship blossomed and grew. I Took TONS of Photos through the years. Little did I know JUST how precious those Photos would become to my daughter, and to me.

In 2010 Barrett was Diagnosed with Cancer. For two years He fought, Bravely, never once complaining. He was always more concerned with how those around Him were doing.  This sweet boy Lived Life to the fullest, Jumping in Leaves, Riding His Bike, Laughing, Playing as Hard as He could. In November of 2011 the news came that the tumor had returned and that it was most likely terminal this time.  I remember sitting my daughter down and talking with her then about death, and trying to prepare her for the day when she may have to say goodbye. It was one of the hardest conversations I have EVER had to have.  We Prayed hard, and even though by this point, we had moved to a new house, we made sure to make the moments count. We continued making memories, and learned to cherish EVERY Moment.  August 2012, My heart shattered. The news came that there was nothing more the Doctors could do. As I struggled to find the words to have another conversation with my children, we made arrangements for a play date, and my princess spent an afternoon with Barrett. It was to be their Last day together, and It was a Good day. A Week Later, On August 26,2012 Barrett went to Heaven.  My Heart was shattered, and I can’t even BEGIN to imagine the pain His Mother is going through. My thoughts though, IMMEDIATELY went to the kids. Including my own three, there is a group of kids that Love Barrett deeply….

Let’s Call them the Knights of Honeysuckle.

As The Leaves begin to fall, My Mind drifts back to the days on Honeysuckle, my yard full of kids and laughter. Whether they were jumping in Piles of Leaves, or playing Kickball, Fighting Dragons, or playing Tag, This group of kids always found a way to include everyone, regardless of Age, disability, color. The Memories Made in the time we lived there will be forever cherished, imprinted on my heart.

There is a Very Precious thing that happens when Children’s Laughter, and Imagination rules…

When a clump of trees becomes a Fort….

When Dragons and Robots appear and the Castle must be defended…

When the Older kids drop everything to Teach a Younger child how to Ride a scooter….

I am SO Very Blessed and Thankful for each and every Precious Moment we had with Barrett

For the Memories Made

For the Once in a Lifetime Friendship my Youngest child and Barrett have ( yes I say HAVE, because she will NEVER forget Him)

For the Smiles and Laughter….

For The Hugs….

For the Beauty of Childhood…

For the Delight in the simple things Like Digging a Hole….

I Could Keep Going, But My Point here is…

Cherish EVERY Moment with those You Love.

Take time to enjoy the simple things….

Hug Your Children Often…

Make time to Play WITH them….

and Let them Be Little!

Priceless

This weekend was Memorial Day Weekend, and for me it was an emotional one. Memories of childhood raced back to my mind, and I longed for simpler days…for Community Parades, and BBQ’s, Memorial wreath Ceremonies, small town USA celebrating our Nation’s True heros in a BIG way. There are other Factors in place that added to my rollercoaster of emotions this weekend…..Autism, Chaos of the school year winding to a close, kids routines all out of whack, and much more. Lets Face it, I was a MESS this weekend, and the tears flowed freely.

Yesterday, in the middle of all the tears, the ups and downs, the storms raging around me, God gave me a Beautiful Priceless Gift…..

My Youngest wanted to go outside and play in the sprinkler, so outside we went. She was having fun, but was sad that her older two siblings did not want to play with her. This was par for the course, as they are both on the spectrum and are usually content in their own worlds. The next thing I knew, my son came flying out the door in his swim suit, and for the next two hours I watched Him interact with his little sister. I got lost in teh harmony of thier laughter, and relished in the beauty of my youngest two children enjoying the day…together, without fighting, or whining, and of course, I took a Bazillion Photos….cause, well Like my husband likes to say, my camera is my 3rd eye!

When I pulled the Pictures off my Camera late last night, exhausted and ready to go to bed, I found one that captured the priceless beauty of the day perfectly….

There is SO Much I love about this Photo…
the fact that My Princess got QUALITY time with her Big Brother…
who is usually in his own world…
It’s Moments like this that melt my heart,
 that make all my tears worthwhile,
 that remind me that no matter how hard it gets,
 it IS worth every struggle,
 every fight,
every tear,
every sleepless night….
The Giggles and HOURS of Laughter that led to this Photo…
It reminded me that while we may be poor by the worlds standards,
We are rich and blessed beyond measure with priceless treasures that no money can buy.
 I am SO thankful that even in the midst of life’s darkest storms,
God blesses me with moments like this…
a reminder of what is truly important.

Autism Awareness~30 Days of Snapshots 2012: Day 14

Author Note: This should have been published yesterday, but I had to finish the Photos before I could post it

My Facebook Status after Baseball Today: “Home from Dak’s Miracle League Baseball Game. LOVE Saturdays for SO many reasons! I Get to watch My boy play Baseball, I get to spend time with other Parents who Understand the roller Coaster that is raising a Special Needs Child, AND I get to watch my Girls interact with thier Friends who understand thier Roles as Siblings….Miracle League is Truly one of the Biggest Blessings in my Life.”

Miracle League Baseball because “Every Child Deserves A Chance to Play Baseball.”

As a Mom of Special needs children, This truly is one of the Biggest Blessings in My Life.

It has become more than just watching my son get a chance to play baseball…

 it has become something more….

a chance for me to talk to other moms who know what it is like to love a child with special needs….

 it has become a way for my husband to connect with his son…

 to watch them do something we thought they may never get to do together….

It has become a way for my “NT” child to connect with other “NT” siblings who understand what she faces with special needs siblings….

It has become more than just a game, it’s a community, a family, and I am blessed to be a part of it….

♥I will leave you with this Photo…

one of my favorite moments…

Dakota steals home so He can go sit down in the dug out and get a drink

( He used to just walk off the feild, so This is progress  :P) ♥

♥ and In Closing…The Miracle League Song…

I simply do not have the words to Thank all of the people who work so hard every year to make this happen…

The Buddies who volunteer to help the kids who need help…

the coaches…

The Businesses and churches who sponsor teams….

The amazing woman who handles all the coordinating, organizing…

Thank you each and every one for giving parents like me one of the greatest Gifts in the world…

Autism Awareness~30 Days of Snapshots 2012: Day 2

The Special Bond between Siblings….

2 with Autism, one “NT”…

and yet, they love each other….

Look Out for each other…

enjoy spending time with each other ( MOST of the time!!)

 

 *Spinning in circles and Laughing together*

*In thier Safe Place during a Tornado Warning…Keeping each other Calm*

*Splashing in Mud Puddles*

*She is His Little sister…

She is His Baseball Buddy…

She is His Friend”*

♥ They fight often, but they also share Precious Sister Moments ♥

I truly hope that As they Grow they will remember the lessons learned growing up together…

That their friendship will grow stronger….

That they will continue to look after each other and cherish the bonds they have that only brothers and sisters share….

That the compassion and awareness gained by growing up in the “Special Needs” community will stick with them forever…