Friday, July 25, 2014


In one week we will be heading back here for vacation.  Battle Lake, Minnesota.....absolutely cannot wait for all of this again this year.  One week.  

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

...and family

Jellyfish.  Beautiful, mysterious, complex and other-worldly.  There are so many things I don't understand in this life.  Jellyfish among them.  They sting ya know, if you swim by them.  They zap you.  What the heck?  So beautiful and yet so dangerous.  

God has created many wonderful, living things that are beautiful, mysterious and complex.  For me, families are the most so.  Families are all of this and more....I see mommies and babies every day and learn their stories and wonder at their journey to be where they are.  Teen moms, women with severe mental illness, kids with disabilities....typical families and families with more going on....and like my own family....I find them beautiful, mysterious and complex....and sometimes other-worldly.

In about 10 days I get to go on vacation with my family.  I can't get lost in social media or work or extra stuff.  I will be with my people for a week.  I can't wait, really.  I can't wait to marvel at the beauty of the jellyfish among them....and I am bracing for the moments I get stung by the talons....because in family it just happens.  I know I will be freshly inspired and awed by them, by how the Lord created us.....and I know that I will be better because we swam in the fish tank together.  Family.  Good and bad and always together.  I would love to be invisible and snap photos of all the things that matter most but I probably cannot be I will hope to just remember those moments and savor them and be thankful to God for them.  

Vacation will be awesome.  It will allow me to connect with my family, my people....and with myself....and like the jellyfish.....I expect it to be beautiful.

Saturday, July 19, 2014


Well, we sent her.  2 of my friends who are deeply connected to me in spiritual ways asked me today how I was.  I am good.  I am great, actually.  My firstborn got on a plane today to go serve the poor and needy in inner-city Ancorage, Alaska today.  She was excited and ready.  I am proud of her, and excited for what God will show her and how she will advance His kingdom.

Back home, things were kinda rocky.  That's how these things go when God is thrilled and the devil is unhappy with our choices.  It just is.  It's how it has always been for me.  Last night Isaac got hurt at a park near the church.  Jeremiah came running into our meeting breathless...."Isaac is hurt!  You have to come!" the past, that meant bones almost poking through skin so I dashed out and ran/walked/ran to my son because I am so, so, so out of shape.  doggon it.  I got to him about the same time Roger did via car, and we ran to him....he was sitting up but very pale and grey and crying.  Isaac doesn't cry.  It was his knee......but thank goodness and thank you Lord, it wasn't broken.  Bruised.  Hurting for sure, but he could move his legs and he could bear weight.  No trip to the ER.  Phew.  We met up with our friends in Sioux Falls whose daughter Micah was going to Alaska with Claire.  (It's actually their fault.  Their church youth group was going and Micah invited Claire.)  I'm thinking they should have paid for the frozen yogurt snack....but anyway.....we all went for fro-yo...   and then Claire went home with them and we did a bit of Target  shopping.  We didn't leave Sioux Falls until after 9:30 and by then I was is just plain miserable to get my littles home that late.

20 minutes into our drive, Josiah began his siren wail for mom.  I was driving cuz dad was tired.  I knew it would just get worse and worse as the miles went on and my ears were already ringing.....little man wants mama at night.  I stopped in a little town and we switched drivers.  I got him milk and snuggled him  out of the car seat.  sh.  because it was late.  sh.  and we were all emotionally and physically exhausted.  SH!

Shortly thereafter, Josiah decided to vomit.....multiple times....all over me in the back seat of our expedition.  And the seat.  And the floor.  Multiple times.  Multiple.          Times.     We got home after 10:30 and I needed to shower and I put little sleeping man on a towel in his bed.

Today, Precious had a bad, bad, bad......bad, bad day in her head and her behavior and her coping.  That is just how these days go.  Josiah was whiney for awhile but then straightened out.  We did a lot of backyard weeding and cleaning.....and dad and the boys went golfing tonight.

Claire is in Alaska, hopefully sleeping and getting ready to be a blessing.  I'm sure she will be blessed...but please, Lord, let her be a blessing.  Let her pray for people and love on children and impart the love of Jesus for the coming week  I'm not worried about her or anxious for her to come home.  I'm excited for her and very proud of her.  You go, Claire.

For now, my mission is here at home.   At 275 8th St. NE Sioux Center Iowa.  There is much to do here.  

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

she is going on a trip

Mission Trips.  I am learning that is is easier to go than to send.  When I went to India, there were tears and there was worry.  There was "why".....There was alot of sacrifice for me and for all of my loved ones.....and I was just in that place of feeling excited to go.  The Lord called me to go and so I knew I would be ok.....but all who loved me were left home with the long list of what if and why and when.....

The Lord Himself sent me for many reasons....and then he sent my mama next time to go along.....and those two mission trips intentionally prepare me for this.  My daughter is going.  I have to send her.  My mama has to help me make sure I can send her and not grab hold of her at the last minute and say "no".  My mom also went and she is in full support of sending Claire.  Because she knows that the Lord is smiling on on Saturday, after Claire has gone, and I'm a mess.....maybe my mom and I can look at pictures like this one and remember when we went.  Sending is harder than going.  

Going is full of the blessing of God, and His protection and His provision and lots of little winks and smiles and yes' along the way.  That is what He does when you go on a mission trip.  Sending is just faith.  Yielding.  Releasing.  Hoping.  Praying.  Waiting in expectation.  

Going is about growing in the ways of the Lord.  Sending is about growing deeper in faith and wisdom.  So she is going....and I am growing.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Josiah....checking in.

Hi.  My name is Josiah Christian.  I am a year and a half old.  I am so smart that my old parents, who have already had 4 kids before me, bust a gut at the things I say.  They are in awe of me.  I am a marvel.  I love to be outside and throw huge fits when someone makes me go in the house.  I hate to eat healthy food and only want sweets and sippies of almond milk.  I am fiercely persistent....and passionate about getting my way.  I give really good kisses and my dimples win me most of the daily battles.  I am a child of the living God and I matter.  I mattered before I was born and from every breath I took I mattered more and more.  My birth mom loved me with all she had and then she moved me to my forever family......who love me just as much.  and more.  (p.s.   I have all 6 of them wrapped around my cute, stubby little finger....and the grandparents and friends and neighbors too.  My forever family thinks I walk on water.  They really do).  Sigh.  I'm pretty happy.  Except when I have to go in the house.  Then I scream really loud and everyone needs to find motrin for their headaches.  I don't sleep very well.  I tend to yelp and thrash around all night long.  Lately, its mom who has to deal with me.  I just prefer to slam on her these nights.  Poor lady.  Pray for her.  I do love her though.  She makes me feel so loved.  We sing alot, especially when its diaper time.  She taught me to sing Jesus Loves Me and the ABC's and I rock at singing.  I can throw a fast ball when I pitch.....with perfect form.  I can slam dunk a basketball in my 3 foot hoop.  I can "hut hut" my football and tackle and score.....and I kick a soccer ball with precision and technique far beyond my years.  Did I mention that I am a marvel?  I really am.  Everyone says so.  I seem to make them all pretty I'm glad I get to have this life.  I can't wait to see what is still to come.


My mom bought this flower for my back yard.  Hibiscus I think.  Maybe not.  But I think it is.  What I know is that she told me that the flowers only bloom for one day and then they close up and die.  Beautiful....and sad.  Why would something this lovely only be allowed one day to fulfill its destiny?  Since she told me, I have tried to be attentive to each bloom.  I notice each one and gaze at it and marvel at it....until evening comes and it closes up and says good-bye.

Better is one day in your courts, better is one day in your house.....better is one day in your courts than thousands elsewhere.......

One perfect day of worship and communion with the Lord is better than a lifetime of days spent living for self and the world.....and maybe one perfect season in tune with Him is worth months of suffering in a human body.  I'm thinking of my neighbor who has battled cancer for a year and a half....and for today....cancer is winning.  Today, she is striving for that one day in His courts.....and trying not to consider the thousand elsewhere.....praying for her.

Psalm 84:10 says this.  Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.

Amen.  enjoy the bloom.  cut down the weeds.  Savor the moments in the glory of the Sun/Son.......

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Tuck. the turtle

Claire is out back finishing up a fun night with school friends.  They played sand volleyball, then came here to swim and do a bonfire.  It's a boy/girl thing.  Shhhhhhhh.  They are all just friends and really nice kids, but its still the first one here for us.  I am so thrilled to be in this place.....where my beautiful teen daughter can invite kids over to enjoy the home we I'm trying to be cool and available but aloof......but still stalk every move and nuance out there.  Its what moms do.

I actually had to break away from my loose supervision to put the toddler to bed.  Seriously.  Who has a teen backyard party going at the same time they are parenting babies.  Ugh.  13 year span is too big a span for siblings,  people.  It just is.  So once Joe is snoring soundly, I must go out and make sure all the teenagers have jumped back on their bicycles or called their parents for a ride home.....and make sure the fire is contained and the pool is still..... before I can retire for the day.  Tomorrow is a busy work day again,

Isaac and Jeremiah are home.  They spent about 3 extra days with the grands after we left....and they fished and biked and played board games and shot a gun.  And caught a turtle.  A big turtle.  They took him home.  Yes.  Grandpa Kredit put that daggum thing in a COOLER with water and took it 3 hours home in the back of his van today.  Jeremiah proudly presented the turtle to me- a big 10 inch turtle....not a wee thing....and asked if they could keep it in their room at  night.  They want to keep it as a pet.  They have named him Tuck.


So.  How's your summer going?  :)  Mine is just plain awesome.  It really is.  Couldn't find a fiction version half as good.  I love this summer.  I don't ever want it to end.  Turtle and all.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

summer stretch

Hm.  I didn't go to baseball tonight.  Or soccer.  Or any other event.  I came home from work and started dinner....and my mom came over and we had wine.....and I could have folded laundry and cleaned up and pulled weeds.....but I just sat in my air-conditioned living room and sipped wine and watched the DVD of the dance recital this spring.  It came in the mail today.  It was awesome to watch my daughters on the stage dancing.....and watch my daughters snuggle on the couch to watch it with me.  10 years separate them.  dance joins them.

Baseball is done.  Crazy, manic scheduling is hopefully done for a couple of months.  It's time.  I need a break from it.  I am learning to say no once in awhile, and to not say yes every time a need presents.....and sometimes in weak moments I say yes and have to come back and  I have been advised to scale back and not take on take care of me....and that is wisdom.  I can only care for others if I am I'm taking some time this summer to re-learn that.

Our little kids don't sleep well at night.  I can't fix that.  I can try to build in rest outside of nighttime....because God chooses to not cause them to sleep.  Someday they will be older and not need us at night.  Then we will sleep.  I hope.  We may be too old to even be able to sleep all night by then.  Oh, the irony.  Sigh.

We have about 6 weeks left of summer laziness....don't tell my kids.  I've convinced them there is 2 months left because they want it to be true.....I don't want school to start.  I don't want to have to juggle the activities and music lessons and homework.....I want summer to last forever with lazy days and long evenings and deep breaths......

I'm glad baseball is done.  I bet I can make 6 weeks last a long time if I put my mind to it......

Sunday, July 6, 2014


Say what you mean and mean what you say....that is the phrase on my heart tonight.  We returned from our holiday weekend with the Kredit grands just before 5 tonight and we are tired and sun-burned and grateful for a shady back yard pool....minus Isaac and Jeremiah who stayed with the grandparents for a few days.  Hopefully they can repeat the fun of last summer and fish and shoot Grandpa's gun and relax and enjoy this amazing couple.  In their 80s and still enjoying life to the fullest.  I am inspired and challenged by Ken and Dee Kredit.....and very happy to have them.

While in Platte, SD, I was able to connect with another mama who has read my blog and shared my feelings.  She also has adopted and bio kids, and even more challenges to face in a day than I do....and we stood together in the sun after church and we talked and we hugged and we shared in the fellowship of The Lord.  His suffering, His grace, His fellowship.  Because I say what I mean and I mean what I say, she resonated with my words and our friendship was born.....on a sunny Sunday in the park.

Say what you mean and mean what you say.....Precious asked for a sucker and I said she could buy it but had to wait until tomorrow to eat it because she had enough junk food today.  Once home....she whined and begged and I let her have it.  fail, fail, fail......she puts no weight in the fact that I may or may not say what I mean and mean what I say.  Conversely....there are times I say things I don't mean, especially to her....and maybe don't always mean what I say.  Maybe she and I get a disclaimer on this phrase.

Say what you mean and mean what you say......lets not hide behind "fine" and "ok".  Lets say what we mean and lets mean what we say when we have to be real and weak and fragile, or convicting and honest......whichever.  Words change thing.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014


oohy, these busy days!  This week is full of the last week of baseball and work.  Once baseball is finished (tomorrow afternoon) I will be relieved, because then the lazy days of summer can take hold....but I will also be a bit sad.  I have loved watching my boys play ball outside in small town fields near and far....and my little kids playing on park equipment and coming home filthy, needing a bath at 9:30pm.  It feels so all-American to sit at baseball for the first weeks of summer.....and we are definitely that family.  All-american.....

As we move into the July 4th weekend, I can smile and hold my head high because I am all-American.  I celebrate America.  I applaud America.  This country is not perfect and we have far to go to even be admirable....but this country is mine.  I am American.  Flawed, but free.  Tested and tried and still trying to reach for better things.  Democratic.....wanting to be fair even when it is not.  The Stars and Stripes matter.  The red, white and blue matters.  Putting my hand over my heart for the Star-Spangled Banner matters......and freedom most of all....freedom matters.

I am free to travel where I want and to worship as I choose and to speak my mind.  I can have whatever size family makes sense to me.  I can change jobs or stay in the same job....I can choose where I want to live and where my children will get their education.  I am free.  America is the land of the free....and sometimes the brave.

America.....we could maybe grow in being brave.  lets try to be more brave about our beliefs, our convictions, our truths, our foundations....and while we are being brave, lets also forsake our pride and prejudice and teach grace and love and mercy.  America, lets use the bible to guide us again, ok?  because the bible does hold true to all that we profess.  I promise.  It is not compromised there.

America has much to ask forgiveness for, but only if we are asking the One who can and will make wrong things right.  America needs a spiritual awakening, a revival, a return to The Lord.  I bet America can do it because I needed it once and I reached for God and he met me half way and the awakening and revival and return came like a rushing wind.  America.....let's reach for The Lord.

We plan to go to Roger's home town for the holiday weekend and blow off fireworks and enjoy family and small-town life.  His dad is a Korean War vet and takes American patriotism very seriously.  I enjoy spending these kinds of holidays there.  My children learn a lot from the Kredit patriotism.  As we eat summer food and enjoy fireworks and maybe go boating on the river, I may be quietly praying for spiritual revolution in America in the days to come.  God bless that I love.  Stand beside her, and guide her,,.......

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Where the light shines on me....

You guys are all so lucky.  I probably have 10-15 blog posts in my head that are awesome....and relevant....but because its late and I'm tired.....I just don't want to rehash them all to "catch up".  You get the short post instead of the long novel.  Lucky ducks.....someday I will write the novel and then you are all obligated to buy it because of your fast forward on days like today.

I returned last night from a get-away.  For three days I was with two internet friends (proof that not all internet friendships are corrupt).  We talked a lot and prayed even more....and we ate really good food....and sat in the sunshine....and I re-learned how to just sit in silence and breathe.  It was kind of a mental health retreat for me.  I was pretty exhausted and burned out from family and work demands.....and just hours into our first day, I was sharing and crying and venting and purging.....and they were smiling and praying and loving me.

God showed me many things, these past three days.  Many, many things.  I hope I can remember them.  One thing he showed me that helped me understand my feelings and my state of desperation.....he showed me that my heart has been broken this past year.  Being denied the permission to adopt Vijju, our little one from India was hard.  A week later, Josiah came, because his mama couldn't keep him....and the stressful year that followed as we worked to adopt him....and then say good-bye to his birth mama....I expected Precious to be "better" as a 3/4 year old and instead her behaviors got worse....and I wasn't prepared for that.  For any of it.  It has been a hard year for me.  I have been working hard to keep things going and it just came to a point where I felt......broken-hearted.  I'm glad I know this.  I am thankful that the sweet Lord showed me.

He showed me this, and also gave me hope.  The answer and treatment for my broken heart is in His Holy Word.  The Bible will heal my heart.  That is what He said.  Call me crazy if you want, but before you 5 hours south to inner city Kansas City, and spend time with people of prayer who love Jesus desperately and have devoted their LIVES to care for the poor and needy......and sit quietly before the author of the Universe and ask Him what he thinks.


Lots of folks have said, "I don't know how you do it" to me in the past year.....and the truth is I haven't done it very well most of the time....but at least I am doing it.  God will continue to help me and bless me and because he is Healer, and Restorer, Redeemer and Friend.....and these past three days he has shown me that he has lots of secret gifts and surprises and helps planned for the journey.  This journey is worth it, even in the days and months and years that are hard.  He is just so good at providing and rescuing and revealing himself!  It's worth it.

From where I sit tonight, looking back at the past year, I can easily say I would do it all again and not change a thing.  Not one thing.  Heartbreak and all.  Looking forward from here......the future is bright.  His Word will be my guide.....and His Spirit will lead the way.  How did I ever get to be so blessed?

Friday, June 20, 2014


Sand-bagging.  This is a popular term in our community this week.  Early summer rains have caused massive flooding around the county, and the community has mobilized to help.  Sand-bagging means filling bags with gravel to stack up against property and hopefully prevent further damage to property from flood waters.  Flood waters are unpredictable.  Many people, including Josiah's bio grandparents, have lost their homes to these flood waters....and it is devastating.  Sand-bagging is the only way to actively help prevent further damage.

I didn't go to the towns affected by floods this week to fill bags with sand and stack them against residential property.  I did, however, sandbag. I went to a chiropractor twice, to work on my back issue...and the sandbagging is helping.  I have lest pain.   I sandbagged my experience parenting Precious, and I went to our adoption therapist in tears and asked for help.  She helped me fill my bags with the weighted gravel I need to hold back the floods and damage.  I sandbagged at home by just keeping up with food and laundry and let the bathroom get even dirtier.....and I sandbagged at work.

Twice today, a young mama in tears was in my home, feeling desperate and hopeless, and we made a plan to get from here to the next step.....not fixing anything, but preventing further damage from the flood waters of life.  Filling the sand bags is very tiring.....and you wonder if it matters, but it is better than doing nothing.  I will fill bags with sand tomorrow again, if it seems relevant.

Flooding is destructive and filled with despair and I don't want to any aspect of life.  Sand-bags help until God and Mother Nature step in to heal and to fix and restore....and God and Mother Nature will, as they always do, and then the sandbags will not be necessary any more.

When the sky has more sun than rain, and the days have more joy than pain....the sandbags can go away.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

late ten lists.

Things I don't like.  At all:
1.  Drivers Ed....3 weeks of a crabby teen who needs help with homework and is stressed.
2.  Practice driving with the 14 year old teen.
3.  Belly fat.
4.  Muggy days in a car with AC that doesn't work well....and mosquitos.
5.  Fixing meals that half the family doesn't eat.
6.  Tantrums.
7.  Making my children read in the summertime.
8.  Bad canteloupe.
9.  A nap for Precious at 5:15pm.  (its 11:30pm and she's still awake)
10. Allergy cough and allergy snot.

Things I do like.  Quite a bit:
1.  Seeing the freedom of summertime build relationships in my family....siblings connecting, parents enjoying kiddos, etc.
2.  Baseball.  *who knew?*
3.  Conversations at the dining room table with my teenage daughter....laughing and sharing and growing.
4.  The backyard pool getting closer and closer to perfect.
5.  Cardinals and butterflies and baby bunnies....all just outside my back door.
6.  Neighbors who love my boys.
7.  Nana Barb coming every week to care for my kids, plant flowers and bake things in my home one day a week.
8.  Seeing my husband go golfing and enjoy summer.
9.  Big white billowy clouds floating across the blue sky.  Nothing beats the mid-west.
10.  Thunderstorms....and screens on my windows.....messy as it is.

Things I am waiting for.  Expectantly:
1.  Fireflies
2.  Fourth of July fireworks in South Dakota with the grands
3.  Time at Lake Okoboji with more grands
4.  Vacation in Minnesota with even more grands
5.  Claire's first mission trip to Alaska in July.  (sigh)
6.  A visit with my India Sarah and my Kansas City Sarah next kids for 3 days....feel free to help my husband (no hash tag but love the run on thing.....).  Between the 3 of us ladies we have 16 children and we are excusing ourselves from them all for 3 days of prayer, worship and togetherness....waiting expectantly...for Monday.
7.  Sleep for Precious....because then I, too, can sleep.  Until Joe wakes up screaming "mama!  mama!" and that means me.
8.  A third chiro appointment tomorrow because my back mobility and pain is improving daily.
9.  Lunch with my husband.
10.  Morning.  Cuz joy always the morning.  No matter what.  Every day.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Father's day is comin.....

Tonight after playing patty-cake with Joe....after cheering Isaac and Jeremiah on at baseball...after a full day of work and trying to keep up with the demands and rigors of busy family life....and helping Claire get her password secured for her debit card, and checking in on Precious.....this dear dad, who I love so much, is finally in bed.  We are approaching Father's Day weekend and we could easily go visit my dad or his dad and celebrate that way, but these 5 kids requested that we just celebrate Roger this year.  Sunday, we will do that....and just enjoy that he is here with us and he is important.  He matters.  He is steadfast and reliable and present and available at all times.  He has answers and he has opinions about all 5 of his children.  He is invested in their lives.  They have no idea how lucky they are that they have this dad.  

Tonight, I was rocking Joe to sleep and P was crashed out on the couch.  It was Roger's job to lift her up and take her to bed....still our bed because she won't sleep in her own....and we are ready to have her out of our bed, believe me.  We try.  We know all the techniques.  This isn't our first trip down the block with kids and bedtime.  Precious is just hard.  He looked me in the eye, with a tired, happy smirk.  He stretched his back and forearms....she is really heavy to lift when she's sleeping....and he braced himself for the mega-lift and shift to the shoulder to transport her across the house to the bed....

And I said to him....."Hunny.....just as you are taking her to bed and daily being a dad, because you are doing this very hard thing with these very special children.....please know that we are in this world but we are not of it.  We are living here but we were created for something more...and Jesus is preparing a place for you....even in the presence of your enemies here on Earth.....he is preparing your reward in heaven for your earthly life.  You will be rewarded in Heaven even if you are never rewarded on Earth....because you agreed to be father here to these 5.".....or something like that anyway.  His reward will be great for his investment here on Earth with these children.  He is a good dad.  

He is not a perfect dad.  He is a good dad.  Our children will dare to trust in a loving Heavenly Father because their earthly daddy was Roger.  That's the thing.  That's the best thing....and that is the Father's Day thing we will celebrate and enjoy this weekend.  He won't get a vacation or a spa day or a break....because we need him.....he is getting his place prepared for him in Heaven and on Earth, well, he is relevant.  happy father's day, babe.  I wouldn't want to do this thing with anyone else.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

where are the pictures?

Pictures are better than words, I think.  I have a hard time getting photos on the blog these days.  I don't do technology well.  Maybe I do words better.

Picture my 12 year old son tonight at baseball in his jersey and hat and sunglasses....working hard to have a spot on a team he has never played with before.  We attend a private school that  he doesn't want to pursue in high school, and a church that doesn't feed our christian education....and he is mostly just wanting to play baseball this summer with the public school boys.  Tonight the sun was bright, the air was clear and my Isaac got to play first base and to bat and to pitch.  Some nights he sits the game in the dug-out.  Not tonight.  He played well.  I am so proud of him.  Once home, he warmed up some food and Josiah mauled him with love and affection.  Isaac is his idol....a boy with a ball in hand always.

We only ended up with one Brittish (Irish) soccer coach sleeping here for the week....but the other 2 coaches have been around and tomorrow we will fix lunch for them, and the local dozen plus a few.....and I will try to work.  Thank you nana Barb for being here with the masses for tacos and swimming.

Picture me, with some back spasms that have been harassing me for about 5 days, trying to manage the kids, drivers ed, soccer camp, mega-lunch and my work load....with a smile and joy and looking put together.  Today,  Jeremiah asked me if I was having a bad hair day.  Well yes, Jeremiah, I am.  I'm in pain and I had to get 5 kids plus a coach out the door on time....and I'm in pain....and I decided to not fix my hair.  Apparently, at 5pm, it is quite noticeable.  Ok...on second thought....don't picture me that way.  Phew.  Glad this is metaphorical and not literal with pictures.