Tuesday, November 29, 2011

How to Be More like Scrooge This Christmas


Seasons Greetings! or... Bah Humbug!  I have to admit sometimes I feel a bit like Scrooge.. ha! Not only during the holiday season, but at times throughout the year as well.  The following article examines the character of Ebenezer Scrooge from the classic Charles Dickens novel "A Christmas Carol"... Many of the clients I see come to me from various walks of faith and beliefs... Whatever road you are on while on this spiritual journey ... It is important to allow God to guide your way. Open your heart and spirit to this holiday classic and learn "How to" or "Not to" be more like Scrooge!

How to Be More like Scrooge This Christmas
David DeWitt, Yahoo! Contributor Network
Nov 19, 2009



"Ebenezer Scrooge is one of the classic characters from the Charles Dickens novel: A Christmas Carol. Scrooge is an elderly miser who hates everything to do with Christmas and is completely self absorbed with his greed. If any character could be considered the villain of the story, it would have to be Scrooge.

Sadly, there are more and more people who act like Scrooge during the holidays and fail to embrace and enjoy the season of Christmas. For whatever reason, these people never experience the power and the spirit of Christmas. Remember, Scrooge made the choice to hate Christmas and embracing the Christmas season is a choice every person has to make for themselves. How are people making the choice to be like Scrooge?

Throughout the book, Scrooge is visited by a four spirits that confront him on his behavior and attitude. The first is Jacob Marley, his business partner, and the rest are spirits of Christmas Past, Christmas Present and Christmas Future. There are four major traits revealed about the character of Ebenezer Scrooge throughout the book.

Greed

Scrooge has always been absorbed with money and his possessions. The obsession with material things had been part of the cause of his personal misery. At one point in the story, Scrooge refuses to give aid to the poor. Scrooge reveals an attitude that is selfish and has no compassion for anyone.

Whenever people get fixated on material things the outcome can never be good. There are many who are focused on what they have and what they can gain this Christmas. These kinds of attitudes are often thought to be associated with children. Sadly, there are many adults who are just as guilty.

Resentment

Scrooge resents those who seem to get a sense of enjoyment from Christmas. Some would completely eliminate the celebration of Christmas. Some refuse to celebrate in any meaningful way at all. The celebration of Christmas has become commercialized and has moved far from its original intent. For some, this is their actual reasoning. However, there are many meaningful ways to celebrate Christmas without giving in to commercialism.

There seems to be a genuine spirit of resentment among those who choose not to celebrate Christmas. Resentment often flows from a wounded heart. Scrooge had been hurt in years gone by and was unwilling to release those hurts. The longer people hold on to their wounds, the deeper they entrenched in their pain.

Regret

During the visit of the various ghosts, Scrooge is confronted with the many regrets that fill his life. One of the major issues that Scrooge must face is the lack of relationships that he has created. Scrooge had wasted his opportunities in the past, refused his opportunities in the present and would lose all opportunity in the future. The reality is seen in the way Scrooge dies in the future, alone with no one who cares.

Regret can be a powerful motivator that keeps people bound to their negative circumstances. Instead of living in the shadow of regrets, break the cycle and make the choice to change. People become so focused on lost opportunities that they miss the new opportunities that present themselves on a daily basis.


There is one additional character trait that we see in Ebenezer Scrooge, redemption. Scrooge makes the decision to change and embrace the season and spirit of Christmas. Scrooge allows the wonder of Christmas to penetrate his heart. The choice of being a Scrooge is individual. The choice to change is individual as well. The question remains for those who are Scrooge-like; are you willing to be changed by the spirit of Christmas?"


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Meaningful Thanksgiving



A Meaningful Thanksgiving

Add Depth to You Thanksgiving Celebration or Service


Wendy Dawn, Yahoo! Contributor Network
Nov 8, 2008




There are many pithy and profound comments from which to choose to celebrate the season of Thanksgiving. I have chosen quotes that will offer insight into the true meaning and purpose of the Thanksgiving holiday. I hope that these quotes will enrich your perspective of the holiday, as well as draw upon the common spirit of thankfulness among your family and friends.


Thanksgiving Quote: Measure of our Blessings

I don't believe there is a more poignant Thanksgiving quote than the one offered by W.T. Purchaser, which serves to direct us all toward the spirit of the holiday. It is true in so many aspects, but I'm left to wonder how many of us actually live out the truth that is imparted in his statement.

"Not what we say about our blessings but how we use them is the true measure of our thankfulness." ~W.T. Purchaser

Will you live out your thankfulness this holiday season by sharing your gifts, talents, and resources?


Thanksgiving Quote: Take a look around

Robert Louis Stevenson stated it another way...

"The man who forgets to be grateful has fallen asleep in life."

~Robert Louis Stevenson


How true this must be. In order to overlook the things for which we have to be thankful, we must be walking in our sleep. Our challenge this holiday season is to open our eyes to the bountiful blessings that we have been given.


Thanksgiving Quote: Thanksgiving, Our Duty

If you cannot place your finger on a blessing, nor can you find it in your heart to be thankful, perhaps the words of C.M. Ward will bring you to your senses.

"Whenever a man finds nothing to be thankful for, that man has to reach up to touch bottom. Thanksgiving is a duty before it is a feeling."

~C.M. Ward

Based on Ward's observation, then feeling should follow the act of Thanksgiving. Modern psychology supports the theory that sometimes feelings follow actions. Determine in your heart to be thankful, it is a duty. Then the warm feelings associated with Thanksgiving and fellowship may follow to warm your heart.


Thanksgiving Quote: Blessings are not all About the Material

It is easy to get up in a spirit of thankfulness for material blessings, especially during hard times. It is not, however, the spiritual blessings that add richness and depth to our life, that make life worth living.

Dag Hammarskjold summed it up this way...

"Measuring god's love by material blessings alone is like trying to drive a car with nothing but dirty water in the gas tank. Praise which extends only from prosperity is closer to idolatry than thankfulness.

For all that has been -thanks! To all that shall be - yes!"

~Dag Hammarskjöld
  

We like Hammarskjold must adopt a positive spirit of praise regardless of material circumstances that affirms our faith in God to care for us and bring new adventures and blessings around every corner.


 

Thanksgiving Quote: Profound Thanksgiving

In conclusion, Matthew Henry, a great theologian and preacher of the 18th century had this to say when he was robbed...

"I thank Thee first because I was never robbed before; second, because although they took my purse they did not take my life; third, although they took my all, it was not much; and fourth, because it was I who was robbed and not I who robbed."

~Matthew Henry

I am not sure I could have risen from a robbery with such a spirit of thankfulness. It is a good indication of the life of thanksgiving after which I should model my own.


May this Thanksgiving, more than any other, be the beginning of a lifestyle of thanksgiving not jus reserved for the holidays. Happy Thanksgiving and God Bless."

Source for quotes:

Albert M.Well,s ed, "Baker's Pocket Book of Religious Quotes. 1976, Grand Rapids, MI: Baker House Books.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

What is God?


Hello Once Again!  As a Spiritual Advisor I get many questions about the existence of God and His purpose for our life. People want to know about God and if there is a God. Many of my clients who come seeking for guidance are from various walks of  faiths, religious and spiritual beliefs. I simply listen to God and ask for direction through the Spirit for answers. It is from my experience that I have learned to stand strong in my faith and personal belief in God... Yet at the same time I depend on  God's leading on how I approach those who are seeking. The following is an article and personal viewpoint by Robin Landry exploring the theory of "What is God?". Open your heart and mind today and continue search. It is good to seek answers to the unknown.  Knowledge is power! 

What is God?
Robin Landry, Yahoo! Contributor Network
Dec 20, 2009



"
What is God? Like so many of life's "big questions", the answer to this one seems to be, "It depends upon whom you ask." Atheists reject the idea that God even exists, but even among those who consider themselves "religious" or "spiritual" in some way, there is also significant disagreement about the nature of God.

To Christians, God is usually viewed as a Supreme Being. He knows everything, He is all powerful and He is everywhere. Christians also believe in God's purity or His undefiled, holy nature. God is viewed as eternal and immortal; He has always existed and will never cease to exist. Many, but not all Christians, believe in the concept of the Trinity. God is depicted as three distinct persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit which are both separate and distinct from one another but at the same time one. Christians also experience God as a living being who takes a personal and loving interest in our lives, but who exists in the spiritual realm. He does not require a physical body to interact with us, although He can voluntarily take on physical form, as Jesus did, in order to connect and interact with us if He chooses.


Judaism shares similar views about God except that Jews do not support the concept of the Trinity. The concept of the "one, true God" appears to be an important factor in the Jewish tradition.

Islam also appears to honor the tradition of Allah being the "one true God." But aside from that many of the concepts about Allah seem similar as well. I have read that Muslims believe that Allah is "compassionate and merciful...kind, loving and wise...a creator, a sustainer; one who guides, protects, and forgives."


Buddhism, by contrast offers a completely different view. Buddhists reject the notion of a Creator God or a "cosmic scorekeeper" who will hand out rewards and punishments on Judgment Day. Buddhism seems to place greater responsibilities on the believer to take an active rather than a passive role during his time on Earth.

The idea of a "Savior" coming down to rescue the "good" and punish the "bad" seems to be foreign in Buddhism. Buddha might serve as a guide on the believer's personal journey toward greater wisdom and enlightenment, but the follower of Buddhism would not take the passive approach to attaining "salvation" from a higher being that Christians often do.
 
 

In Hinduism, there are many gods and goddesses; although three major deities seem to suggest similarities with the Christian concept of the Trinity. Brahma, the Creator would appear to correlate with God the Father; Vishnu, with the Son or Savior, and Shiva, the Destroyer and Restorer as the counterpart to the Christian concept of the Holy Spirit.

The debates concerning the true nature of God among those with differing religious philosophies as well as between believers and non-believers are sometimes fascinating, sometime discouraging, but never, ever dull.
 

One favorite argument of Atheists seems to be, "If God is real, then why doesn't He just appear? He could prove us all wrong just by simply showing Himself. Why doesn't He?" I'll admit that even though I have been a Christian for most of my life, I used to wonder this very thing myself when I was growing up. Couldn't he just pull out some of those miracles that he used in order to get the Egyptian Pharaoh to let the Israelites go? Part an ocean? Turn a river into blood? Something? Anything? Wouldn't that just settle it once and for all so people could stop arguing about whose faith is right and whose is wrong? Wouldn't that be much simpler than keeping the big mystery going until we die?

Now, however, I have a different view. I really think God is right in not revealing everything. For I believe it is in the seeking and questioning about God and His Ways that we achieve the greatest growth. I'm always disconcerted by people on either side of the argument who have simply closed their minds and stopped questioning.


I feel genuine sorrow for the Atheist who is convinced, "There is simply no God, no where, no way, now how...period." As a Christian my belief tells me that this is the person most likely to eventually suffer the most throughout eternity and that, quite honestly is almost too horrifying to contemplate. But I'm also worried about believers, especially fundamentalist Christians who take an equally steadfast view at the opposite end of the spectrum. Those who say, "The Bible is true, it is literal and I know everything I need to know from my cursory reading of it. I will not question. I will follow blindly. I will not try to analyze the things I read or think them through." In my mind that is almost as sad as the total unbeliever.




If there is never anything new to learn about someone with whom we share a relationship things can quickly become stale and we eventually lose interest. You can see it in marriages all the time. Couples fall into a rut; there is no mystery anymore. They know everything there is to know about each other and often they will start to look elsewhere for fulfillment. Perhaps this is why God doesn't reveal His total nature to us all at once.

I have heard Atheists express frustration because there are things about God that Christians cannot answer. They complain that we cannot "prove" that God exists with scientific facts or that we fall back on the old standby, "Well, you just have to have faith." But I'm actually glad that I don't know all the answers about God. It is that unknown that prompts me to continue seeking, to continue learning and in the process to continue growing closer in my relationship with Him.
 
 

The Christians who profess to have all the answers, pretend to know exactly how to interpret the Bible and who spend all their time lecturing other people on "what God wants" or "what God said to them" scare me a little. I wouldn't ever presume that I know all there is to know about God. More importantly, why would anyone want to know everything that there is to know about anything? It always seems to me that it is the people who "have everything" who most often seem to live the most empty and tragic lives. Judy Garland, Howard Hughes and most recently, Michael Jackson come to mind.

When I was a kid I always used to rummage through the house in the weeks before Christmas in an attempt to locate where my mother had hidden the gifts. One year, when I was about twelve years old or so, I found my gifts. At first it felt as though I had hit the jackpot. But then, on Christmas morning I felt nothing but disappointment when there were no surprises. After that, I never tried to locate my presents ahead of time ever again.



I think that the mysteries of earth and God and the universe are a lot like that. If we solve all the riddles surrounding God: Who is He? Why doesn't He end hunger and suffering? Why doesn't he prevent earthquakes and hurricanes and hunger? What does God look like? If we answer all of those questions on this side, then what? If Christians could really provide concrete "proof" on the existence of a higher power to our non-believing friends what would that mean? Would it change them? Would it make the world a better place? Or would it simply make people more bored with life, less curious about the world and spiritual matters and less likely to try to get closer to each other and to God?

I'm not sure that knowing all of the answers early would be an entirely good thing."



References:

"Allah in Islam." http://islam.about.com/od/godallah/a/god.htm

http://www.biblestudy.org/question/why-does-god-not-reveal-himself-more-to-man.html

"Brahmanic Hinduism." http://godquest.org/brahmanic% 20hinduism.htm

"Buddhism: Major Differences." http://www.buddhanet.net/e-lea rning/snapshot01.htm

http://www.jewfaq.org/g-d.htm

http://www.watchtower.org/e/bh/article_01.htm

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thanks for Thanksgiving


Greetings to each of you!  Thanksgiving 2011 is upon us.  As the holidays approach keep the spirit of gratitude alive... Be thankful for what God has given you... Know that you are blessed... Open your heart and mind to those who are in need.  Give of yourself without expectations and God in return will bless you with a feast of the spirit! Treasure your life, friends and family... Material processions will pass, but spiritual heirlooms will last an eternity... Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and Holiday Season! Sincere Peace!


Thanks for Thanksgiving




The Joys of Thanksgiving

Kathyb53, Yahoo! Contributor Network
Oct 5, 2006




"I guess that Thanksgiving is not really one of those holidays which children anticipate and think about for months in advance.In fact, I know for a positive fact that sitting around eating turkey is not their idea of an exciting occasion. There is no glorious extortion for candy to think about, no visit from a mythi-cal giant bunny nor benevolent red-suited fat man to anticipate. So be it. I don't think this fourth Thursday in November was numberone on my own list as a kid, either. Now, I know better.





Thanksgiving, to my adult way of looking at it, is not just atime to think about the blessings we have in our lives, but it is a blessing in itself. After all, Halloween is only a month earlier, give or take a day or so, and when there are children still young enough to trick-or-treat, this is often a rather exhausting experience for parents. Invariably, it is a shivery evening, as well, and the resulting colds which follow only wear everybody out even further. (Yes, I know that, contrary to what our mothers told us, colds are not brought on by getting chilled, but it IS a proven fact that such things lower one's resistence to viruses and so you can ALMOST say that chills cause colds. De-tails!)





Then you have the real "biggie" holiday of the year looming scarcely a month away. Granted, I love Christmas as much as the next person. I love the decorating. I love the baking. I even love the shopping when I have the funds available to be able to be as generous as I like to be. It's just that because I do love it all so much, I want everyone else to enjoy it and, therefore, I tend to over do it all just a smidge. I know this to be true, but knowing it does nothing to prevent it from becoming a yearly fact.





Thanksgiving, then, is my "breathing space". It is an oppor- tunity to take stock of the year behind and the month ahead. It is a very family-oriented-but-not-frantic sort of holiday when everyone is off work or school and can savor the chance to simply feed themselves.





Maybe the real nourishment of Thanksgiving Day, however, is not that which it gives to the stomach, but the sort that replenishes the spirit. That is probably the part that makes me the most thankful at this time every year. Thank you Pilgrims. Thank you Indians. Thank you to whoever designated this a feasting day. It is truly a feast for the body, mind, and spirit. I know I am going to need all the replenishment I can get for December 25th!"


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

It's that Time of Year Again- People Are SAD


Greetings! Here we go again! =0 As the the holidays rapidly approach many people suffer from a very real and serious disorder... SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). I know from first hand experience how important it to understand this seasonal mood change. How it can effect every aspect of your life and those loved ones who surround you. Throughout the holiday season I will be posting three different articles that deal with the subject of SAD... As you experience the beauty and wonder of the fall and upcoming winter months... open your heart and mind.  The "Grinch" or "Scrooge" in your life may be SAD.  Trust in God and be sensitive to the Spirit's leading this season!



It's that Time of Year Again- People Are SAD

Eliza Lynn Taylor, Yahoo! Contributor Network
Dec 18, 2006



"It's that time of year again. No I don't mean Christmas, although the holiday season does not make it any easier. I'm talking about Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD.



Seasonal Affective Disorder is just that- seasonal. It comes and goes with the seasons. Although the winter months when the light is the least and it is colder is the most associated with SAD, people can actually get it in the Spring and Summer months as well. They are overly euphoric and happy beyond what is reasonable to a situation. I however relish the warm, well lit months of the year. Hitting mostly after adulthood, the SAD most people identify with is the kind that hits during the winter months.



I can already tell I am in for a long winter. I used to enjoy the holiday season. I looked forward to it. Holidays can make people depressed as they are overwhelmed with activities, gift buying, traditions they think must be upheld, etc. Now I just think it is too cold, too dark, and too busy. I'd rather sleep. On the opposite end of the spectrum are those who have no family to do anything with, no traditions, and no activities. This can be equally depressing with the stress and lack of sunlight.

Symptoms of wintertime SAD include social withdrawal, increased need for sleep, anxiety, weight gain, lack of energy, no longer being interested in things you once enjoyed (including sex!), difficulty concentrating. Summertime SAD can include some of the same symptoms, but also may include opposite symptoms such as insomnia, weight loss, and an increased sex drive.



Scientists are mixed in the reasons for SAD, but the availability of sunlight and factors regarding our body make-up seem to be the main culprits. Scientists believe that sunlight stimulates serotonin (a brain chemical) and a lack of it causes depression. Melatonin, the hormone that regulates when we sleep and when we wake is also thrown out of balance by a lack of sunlight. People in northern areas, such as Alaska, where nights are longer in the wintertime have higher rates of depression. Women seem to suffer from SAD the most, but certainly are not the only ones who suffer.

Diagnosing SAD is not easy since its symptoms can mimic other types of depression. Doctors generally follow whether someone suffers from depression for at least two years in a row and then get better at the change of seasons, and are followed by seasons where one is not depressed. They also have to make sure there is no other explanation for the depression such as an illness or loss in the family.



Treatments for SAD include light therapy where one sits in front of an intensely bright light for at least 30 minutes a day, every day, until spring. It is not recommended to use tanning beds since the ultra-violet light is dangerous to the skin. Most patients have relief from symptoms soon after the start of light therapy and about half of the patients are completely better with the use of the light. However some do still have to take medication along with the light therapy or instead of the light therapy if light is not solving the problem. Talking with a psychiatrist or psychologist is also recommended to help deal with the ways one can reduce stress and deal with their depression.

Some other ways of dealing with SAD are to put more bright lights in your house (open those drapes and let the sun shine in), go to a sunnier, warmer climate during the winter months if possible, watch the amount of alcohol consumed as alcohol can worsen depression, exercise, go outside and enjoy some fresh air, even in the cold.



We are covered more in the wintertime due to the cold so the sun has a hard time getting through, I'm no different., I far prefer being warm to being cold. I do, however, sit by our big sliding-glass deck doors which are on the south side of the house so that I can get more light. Wintertime here is often marked by many months of cold, cloudy days, so when I get one that isn't so dark I try to go outside for a little while (at least until something gets numb and I have to go inside.)



It has been said that suicides increase over the winter and during the holiday season and it has been linked to SAD, so if you know someone who has difficulty dealing with the winter, please check on them and see if you can get them out of the house for a little while (or out of the office at lunch). If you are feeling depressed or have thoughts of suicide, seek help immediately. It is out there.



For more information on SAD you can visit the Mayo Clinic Website: www.mayoclinic.com or the website for Cedar-Sinai Medical Center at: www.cedar-sinai.edu/ or you can obtain information from the National Mental Health Association at: www.nmha.org. The NMHA can also help you find treatment and support."

Friday, November 11, 2011

Is it Possible to Live Without Regrets?


Is it Possible to Live Without Regrets?

King Leonidas, Yahoo! Contributor Network
Jan 22, 2010


"Living without regrets is possible, but unlikely. It really depends on the kind of person you want to be and whether or not you have a conscious death. What I mean by having a conscious death is being aware that your time here on earth is at an end. In a moment like that, you can reflect on your life and either come to terms with the way you have lived, be grateful and have no regrets, or you can feel self pity and have regrets. You may regret the way you handled a certain situation or feel your life is not what you want it to be, but in the end you can die without regrets.



Now, living without regrets is a little different than dying without regrets. In order to live without regret, you have to have an outlook on life that would compliment this theory. It would first off require that you are satisfied with the way you live your life. Secondly, you would need to be secure in your relationship with yourself. Finally, you would have to have a strong character and not take criticism to heart.



Often times, we let others opinions influence the way we see things or even the way we feel about things. If you would want to live without regret, you would have to have confidence in yourself, and hold fast to your convictions and beliefs. Therein lays another problem creating the possibility of having regret. You may develop regret for not being open-minded by holding fast to your beliefs and finding out in the end that you were wrong. Forgiveness is the solution to this issue.



Being able to forgive yourself as well as others is crucial if you want to live without regret. We are often are most harsh critics and tend to punish ourselves foolishly. All human beings will make many mistakes, though if we can learn to forgive ourselves, we don't have to have regret. Also, we must realize that many people who cross our path in life will offend us, and only by forgiving them can we truly achieve a life without regret.



In the end, living without regret depends on the individual. I am sure there are criminals who feel they are living the life they are destined for and will probably not have regret (though, I would think this is not likely the case for most). Then, there will be others who live a life of service but have regret because they feel they could have done more. It all comes down to individual perspective and interpretation."

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Healing and the Spiritual Journey


Greetings Again! There are moments while on our spiritual walk when we need to take the time to allow our spirit to heal. While each of us take different paths to follow the light... there are times when we may find our self exhausted.  The battles that we encounter and the wounds we may receive impact us greatly....  It is important to stop and allow your spirit, mind and body to recover and regain its strength... In order for us to experience true joy and fulfillment we must be willing to understand and let God heal all aspects of our life.... Not only our physical scars, but our spiritual ones as well. 

Healing and the Spiritual Journey


Robyn M Speed, Yahoo! Contributor Network
Apr 20, 2010


"Learn how to find true happiness."
"You deserve to be happy."
"How to attract more happiness into your life."

How many of us have seen these phrases bandied about like a rubber ball?
Happiness cannot be treated as one ingredient in life, because it cannot be separated from that which is all around it. No more could you remove the vanilla essence from a fruit cake.

How do we find happiness? We tend to the WHOLE of our life. This is why the spiritual journey is so rewarding, because the further we walk, the more we understand and along the journey we are able to heal issues that arise. We may not be in a position to heal problem Z today, but as we continue our path we may be able to heal it in a year. We may not even know that problem X exists until we reach a point along our path where we can recognise it and thus, heal it. We may not realise that problem Y is even a problem, until we reach a point along our path where our understandings have evolved enough to give us a clearer picture.
 
This changing perspective is demonstrated clearly when we are able to listen to one person talking about embracing their ego as a part of themselves, and then listen to someone else saying they live as their Soul, and their ego is silent. The understandings of each comes from different positions along the path of understanding. Neither is wrong, they are each true for that person. It is hopeful that both people would continue to walk their path and gain a greater and greater degree of understanding, for the one thing that is sure is: the more we know the more we realise we don't know.
 

Knowing and understanding are necessary before we gain experiential understanding. For example, it is one thing to say 'Yes, I can live like Sananda every day', and it is another to do that with full feeling, with full energetic divinity. And yet, that understanding can only be grasped when you reach that stage of your spiritual evolution. To reach such experiential understanding is like suddenly being able to turn on a light. It changes everything. But that is also why we should always respect where another person is coming from, respect that their understandings are the pinnacle of their path thus far. It is also a reason to continue to strive for greater understanding.
 

Happiness is a by product of the path walked and the healing achieved. The same can be said of inner peace, or serenity, these are by products of the spiritual path. They are a part of the cake.

The spiritual journey can be challenging, as you will face things you would rather leave buried...but healing involves understanding and understanding achieves healing.
The spiritual journey is the most amazing journey you will ever take. "