Top Social

Now Choose Life

Choose to Live Your Life in Abundance in the after--- after the spouse dies, after the marriage ends, after the kids leave. Join me on my journey of CHOOSING LIFE in my after. This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live- Deut 30:19

Image Slider

December 23, 2015

Merry Christmas- Really!!

I find myself in a weird place this Christmas.  My kids are grown and for the first time ever, I will not be spending Christmas Day with them.  M is in Chicago with her bf's family.  C will be spending the day with his dad's family.  I will be with my new life... my new husband and his family.  I told Dr. T the other day that I am really just ready for our drive home FROM all the celebrations.

I feel such a void in my life.  I know that part of it is widowhood... it will always be there even if I am remarried.  But also-  I have had a setback in my life- my new life.  The past that I thought I knew of someone isn't exactly what I thought it was and it has thrown me for a loop.  That is as much detail as I choose to get into, but when you find out that what you thought-is not really the reality of how things were/ are, it can be a bit unnerving.  And so, that is where I find myself.  I am better than I was when I first learned of the discrepancy in what I thought and what the reality of the situation really was.  But, I'm still hurt and it will take me a while to get my groove back in this situation.

So that brings me to Christmas.  I feel guilty that I'm not more excited about it.  I thought today- God takes us where we are.  He understands disappointment; He understands pain; He understands grief; He understands feeling betrayed.  And because He understands all of those things, I think me meets me where I am this holiday season and will take the praise that I can muster to give for what He did for me all those years ago in sending His son for me.

The more that I concentrate on that thought, the more I realize that I have so many blessings in my life, the more I praise Him just because and no matter my circumstances, the better I feel.  It is my prayer that I take my eyes off of myself and my circumstances of the moment- because those change by the day, and concentrate solely on Him and what this season really means.  That is the gift that I want to give myself this Christmas.  It makes me think of the song that I have always said that I want sung at my funeral... and because of that it was sung at R's service.  Blessed Be Your Name
Blessed be your name on the road marked with suffereing
Though There's pain in the offering
Blessed Be Your Name!!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PnWKehsOXu8    

I know that this isn't a typical Christmas song, but this is my song for the season this year.  I know in my heart that this holiday is just one that is in this season of my life.  They won't all be like this.  I pray that I gain great wisdom from this year and grow closer to Him!!!

We have had some great snow where I live now.  I hope you enjoy these pictures- hopefully while you listen to Blessed Be Your Name!!



I wonder as I post this the ratio between people who are sad to the happy people out there.  I think we would all be surprised if we truly knew.
Merry Christmas!!!
December 01, 2015

My Thanksgiving 2015

Thanksgiving was a mixed bag of emotions, but thank goodness is was filled with more positive emotions than negative.  Grief has a way of showing up at times that I don't expect.  Those are the times that I hate the most.  So I guess I'll start with that... Daughter M and I called R's parents in the late afternoon of Thanksgiving.  They had both been sick.  M hasn't seen them since the Christmas after R passed away.  That is a long time to go without seeing someone, but since she now lives in NYC and I don't live close to them- that is just the way it is.  It was a very pleasant phone call, but when we hung up, we looked at each other and started crying.  It was unexpected by me to feel the emotions that I felt- but such is my life now.  It was the emotions that wash over you and you think, "How did I get to this place?".  I think M and I even asked each other that!!  Dr. T had a bit of melancholy too as he told me it was hard to sit there and enjoy what he knew R was missing.  But as I told him-  that is the reality of our lives.  I hate what has happened in my life, but I now can't imagine my life without Dr T in it!!!  And,  thank you God,  I am happy!!

Views from our Thanksgiving and getting ready for Christmas!
 Dr. T and Mr. T
 M with her boyfriend and new puppy!!
 My sister, her husband, and their new puppy!
Some of my friends have grandkids-  I love my granddog!!
November 11, 2015

Back In Texas

I'm back in Texas until after Thanksgiving. My son's best friend is getting married this Saturday.  This summer when I planned my trip to the wedding, I thought it would be a great idea to visit my parents before the wedding for a week, visit my son at my home in Texas the next week, and have Dr. T fly to Texas to meet me for Thanksgiving.  As the time approached for me to leave, I was a bit anxious.  I have been very dependent on Dr. T since we started emailing each other after R passed away.  He just seems to ground me... plus, I am happy in my new life!!

So- here I am at my parents' house, which is wonderful.  We have been busy, and it is so nice to be with them.  My sister is here so we are really having a good visit.  I got up yesterday morning and ran in the pasture on the farm where their house is.  It is only a little over 2 miles, but it is beautiful and I love to run here.  The year after I lost R, while training for the New Orleans Marathon, I ran in this pasture every time I visited my parents.  I also ran the streets of the little town where they live in Central Texas.  I ran up the hill on their property and looked off in the horizon-- I prayed and thanked God for my life.  I would never have wanted to lose R the way that I have, but this is what has happened in my life.  I hope to make R proud my how I live the rest of my life and honor him in some way.

The farm:



R is buried right by my wonderful grandfather.  Two wonderful men who loved each other very much!!  My grandfather was a veteran so the boy scouts put a flag on his grave today.


November 02, 2015

End of Fall?

Since I'm used to living by the gulf coast and not the mountains, the whole idea of winter here has me a bit nervous.  I tend to freeze at the mildest of temperatures.  There have been a few time the past month that the weather has cooled here.  Each time, I've thought to myself-- Is this it?  Is this where it gets cold and stays cold until May????  This morning as I watched the weather, I had the same thought.  It is supposed to get much colder by the end of the week.  I made myself get outside for a run.  I ended up going to a nearby trail.  I'm very proud of myself for doing that.  I usually run on the streets when I'm by myself.  But today, I just had the urge to go onto the trail and enjoy this beautiful weather.  I'm so glad I did.  I ran/ walked/ and prayed for most of the hike!!  It was such a good feeling to be out in nature.

One song that I love to run to is Fleetwood Mac's "Landslide."  I love the words... they are so fitting for my life.

Well, I've been afraid of changing
'Cause I've built my life around you
But time makes you bolder
Even children get older
And I'm getting older too


I love to run to that song.  It had a bit of a new meaning this morning when I heard it.  I was lucky enough to get to spend the weekend with my parents.  Dr. T went to Fort Worth to meet up with friends for the weekend.  On the way, he dropped me off at my parents' house.  My dad looked at me Saturday afternoon and asked, "Sharon, are you happy?"  What a sweet question.  I assured him that I am.  We talked about what a huge move this has been for me.  And even though I don't have any friends here and I've left a home and job that I loved... I am very happy.  

Oh, mirror in the sky, what is love?
Can the child within my heart rise above?
Can I sail through the changing ocean tides?
Can I handle the seasons of my life?

I hope that R would be proud of how I'm handling the seasons of my life.  I think he would be.  


Scenes from my hike:






October 06, 2015

Living Above The Clouds

I want to live above the clouds.  I aspire to view life from above the clouds.

One year when my kids were young, my parents graciously treated the entire family to a trip to Hawaii.  We loved it.  We stayed on Maui and swam, surfed, and had a great time.  We drove up to the top of the volcano on the island one day.  I will never forget that experience as long as I live.  It was raining when we started our drive up.  Part way up, I started to notice that we were even with the clouds.  Then before I knew it, we were above the clouds, and it was absolutely beautiful up there.  The sun was shining where it had been hidden below by all of the clouds.  I can truly say that that trip to the volcano crater was one of the most spiritual experiences that I have ever had.  God spoke to me that day and made me realize that the trip up was a picture of my life.  Most of the time, I live below the clouds.  I live in the rain, mist, muck, and dreary aspects of life, but what I need to remember is that no matter what is going on, the sun (Son)
is still shining above those clouds.  God is on his thrown every day of my life- why to I not acknowledge that every day?

This morning Dr T called when he got to work.  He said, "You need to get in your car and drive to the end of the Mesa and look off because we are living above the clouds right now.  The town down below us is covered in clouds and can't see the sun.  But the sun is shining for us.  We can look down on the clouds."  I went out and took these pictures and remembered that experience all those years ago at the crater on Maui.  It was a beautiful experience then, and I had a beautiful experience today.

 I want to live my life above the clouds- to have God's perspective every day!!  It shouldn't really be that hard.  Why do I make it be?
September 14, 2015

AWWWWW Being 50ish

I really love being 50ish.  I have heard from "older women" all my life that when you make it to your fifties, you don't care what others think.  You feel a freedom that allows you to live your life just as you want to live it.  I really wish I would have felt this way when I was a younger woman.  If I could pass this on to my daughter, that would be a wonderful thing.
I met a woman today who drained me of all energy that I had.  She asked me all kinds of questions about my husband's job.  She wanted to know his "position."  She wanted to know where my children went to college.  She let me know that there was no way her kids would have gone to college in Texas-  after she found out that mine both graduated from Texas A&M.  She tried to find out where I live, but I wouldn't give that up easily.  I told her a general area and was going to make her ask specifically-- luckily she didn't go that far.  I thought to myself, "I don't f___ing care what graduate degree your husband has."  "I don't f___ing care where your husband travels for work."
Is it because I have experienced the death of my husband?- which totally changed my perspective on everything in life.  Or is it because I'm 51?  Death does change what one cares about.  I don't care about the clothes that you wear anymore-  I care about your heart.

Ha ha- but I do still care about clothes!!!  My wonderful husband took me to Aspen, Co for the weekend this past weekend.  We had so much fun.  Neither one of us had ever been so it was a great way to create a new memory!!!  I loved Aspen.  I bought a coat at Burberry where I was treated like a queen by the sales woman.  I love to be treated like that!!!

I also love being 50ish and not caring what anyone thinks of me.  I am going to live my life how I want.  Life is way too short not to.

September 05, 2015

Latest Run- I hope this is the beginning of my "training"

I have been trying to decide if I am going to train for a 1/2 marathon to run with my friends in San Antonio, Texas in January.  I have had such a hard time adjusting to the altitude here that I was really doubting if I would be able to do it.  Doubting is I can do it on my own... Do I have the discipline that it will take to train correctly and be able to keep up with my friends.

I had a good trail run with the group that I have joined to run with on Wednesday evenings.  The women in the group are such better runners than me, but joining this group has shown me several different trails in the area.  Gives me something to look forward to AND is my mid week run.  It also makes me realize that I have to run at least two other days during the week to be able to do anything on Wednesday evening!!!

I'm happy to say that I ran 5 miles today!!!  And it didn't almost kill me.  I'm still walking the big hills, but today, I ran the small ones.  I felt so good when it was over!!!!  Dr. T and I took some recycle items to the recycle area in town and on the way home, he stopped and bought me a donut for breakfast.  I have always had my best runs when my friends and I stopped at Krispy Kreme for a donut the night before a run.  I guess this one this morning helped me too!!  That may have to be a regular occurrence.

My goal is to set up a good training calendar!!!  Keep running and adding miles on my Saturday runs!!!  I hope I have the discipline to do this!!!

I don't pretend to be proud of the time, but I am not a fast runner.  I'm just proud that I did it!!!



August 31, 2015

Losing Hemingway

     We lost our family cat over the weekend.  Hemingway wasn't just any cat-- He was a special cat to me because every time I looked at him, I thought of R.

     I was having an especially rough day about a month after R passed away.  I was working with other librarians in our school district at a small rural campus that the school district was closing.  This was a K-2 campus so I was working with children's books all day.  Every time I saw a book that I remembered reading to my own children, my grief would be compounded thinking that when I took those children's books that I had read to my kids and boxed up out of their boxes to read to my grandkids, R would not be there to share it with me.  I had so many thoughts going through my mind on that day.  My friend Claire took me outside to get some fresh air.

     While standing there a cat walked by me and put its front paws on my legs for me to pet him.  When he got back on all fours, I saw his paws and gasped!!  He was a six toed cat.  I had wanted a six toed cat for about a year.  R and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary the year before.  We went to Key West.  While there we toured the Hemingway House.  The property is full of decedents of the six toed cats that Ernest Hemingway loved.  About that time, the principal walked by and said that she needed to find that cat a home.  He had lived on their campus, but with it closing, he couldn't stay there.  I told her that I had to have him.

     My son helped me pick him up and take him to our house.  Hemingway never left our property.  He was the most docile cat.  And he, along with being six toed, was just a strange cat. He stared at me in a way that I've never experienced.  He was just always a bit odd.

     I read more into ordinary circumstances than a lot of people do.  I have had odd things happen after losing R. Things for which there is no rational explanation.  Hemingway finding me was just another odd occurrence in a long line of oddities.

     R passed away on Dr. T's late wife's birthday.  Hemingway passed away on Friday which was the 6th year anniversary of Dr. T's late wife's passing.   There have been so many other odd "coincidences" of important dates. I don't know what any of the things that have happened mean, but I know that it is just part of the woven tapestry that is my life. And, I know that I don't believe in "coincidence." There are just too many to ignore.
   

As my daughter told me.  Hemingway served a huge purpose in my life.  He brought me hope and joy just through his existence.  I have moved forward ( not moved on... I'll never move on)  and I am very happy in my new life.  He served his purpose and now he is gone.  I am so thankful that I had him in my life!!
August 27, 2015

2nd Trail Run

I met up with the group of women who do trail running in the area.  They are so far out of my league that I probably should just stay home, but I went back for a second run with them.  I pretty much run by myself.  The first night we ran, I met a young woman who was about my speed.  I had to miss the next week and I saw on Facebook that she went.  She didn't make it last night so hopefully next week we can run together again.
The actual trail was just under 4 miles.  By the time I walked to and from my house to the trail, it ended up being right at 5  total miles.  I was wiped out afterward, but felt good this morning and made it to my weight lifting class this morning!!

Here are some pictures from last night.



August 26, 2015

My Opinion

I've read a couple of items about Kathie Lee Gifford being judged for going back to work so soon after her husband passing away.  I certainly have some opinions on this.  I want to start by saying that no one should judge her choices!!  That is first and foremost.  But here are some of my thoughts on the subject.

1.  She married a much older man.  She has had years to process the fact that he would more than likely die well before she did.  Not that it makes it any easier to lose him, but I think when you have had time to process it, it would help on some level.

2.  She has grown children.  My children were 22 and 20 when we lost their dad.  They were not small, but were certainly too young to lose their father.  But that is what life dealt us.  I knew that how I reacted would deeply affect how they reacted.  They were watching me to see "how to do this."  I could not fall apart because they were at very critical times in their lives- finishing college and starting their adult lives.  I didn't want either of them to not go on with their plans.  I had to show them that I was going to be OK, and I tried to do that from the beginning.

3.  She has a job to do.  I know that work doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things, and I'm sure NBC would have given her all the time off she wanted/ needed.  But she has a job that she take seriously.  I had a job too.  Although not as high profile as hers, it was still a job.  I was a school librarian.  I had worked really hard over the years to save days to have to take off.  I thought that I might need them to help with my parents some day.  Because I wanted to keep as many days as possible and I didn't want to just sit home and cry, I went back after about a week and 1/2.  I completely understand her wanting to get back to something that was "normal."

4.  She has a strong faith.  Her faith has always carried her through.  And, she has the personality where she is not afraid to tell people about it.  I too have a strong Christian faith.  We buried R about 41/2 hours away from where we had the funeral service.  The kids and I made the drive- just the three of us in the car.  On the drive, I said to them.  "You know, we are going to have a lot of people watch how we handle what has happened to us.  We have a choice to make here-  are we going to grieve as Christians or are we going to fall apart.  Are we going to live our faith or not?"  Both of them told me that they had already thought of that and were making the choice to grieve in their faith.

So my opinion is that Kathie Lee is doing what she feels is best for her family and for her faith.  She always tried to live her faith-  she is going to grieve in her faith!!  That affects every decision she makes.
August 25, 2015

Wow!!

All I can say is wow!!  Who knew that by commenting on Hungry Runner Girl's blog, I would have so many people read my little blog!!
I commented on her blog one day and had more people read my blog in one day than I have ever had read it in a month!!!  ha ha  I'd really love to start having a lot of people follow me, but don't really know how except to have the discipline to keep writing everyday...
If you read my blog from HRG and are reading this today I just say "Thank You."  I hope to really start writing more.  It is cathartic and I love to do it!!!
August 20, 2015

New Beginning

I really started a new beginning today.  I left a job as librarian at my middle school campus when I left Texas.  I had been there almost 20 years.  Today I started a new beginning.  I did a 2 hour observation at the middle school here.  It is quite different from the school I came from.  I observed a classical languages class as well as an intro to Latin!!  Everyone I met was extremely nice.  I have an elementary observation and a high school one left to do so I can start subbing at the schools here.

It is a strange feeling to be a new person.  I feel the same on the inside, but have to remember to say my new last name!!!  ha ha-- just a strange feeling.

My daughter is doing well and will begin looking for new apartments this afternoon.  I feel better about her and know that she will be fine.  I was just hoping that she would be settled for another year and not have to worry with a move.

I'm sorry to say that I didn't end up running yesterday!  I was really thrown for a loop by my mood and just stayed inside all day.  Grief is a weird companion and it was with me all day yesterday.  I just gave in and gave myself a break to stay home.  It is a toss up as to what is the best way to handle grief.  I always believe that getting out and running- or any type of exercise- is better than doing nothing, but sometimes you just need to rest.  I think that is what I needed yesterday.  I've promised myself that I'll get back!!
August 19, 2015

Falling into Fall

I guess it isn't officially fall, but it feels like a fall day here in Northern New Mexico.  There is a difference in the air.  A "bite" in the coolness of the breeze that has picked up this morning.  As I sit at my window and watch the flutter of the leaves in the Aspen trees, there is a slight unsettling in my stomach.  The main reason for the unsettling feeling is that my daughter is not settled right now.  Because of roommate issues, she is having to move for the 3rd time in her two years of living in NYC.  It is an added stress in her life which adds stress to mine because I worry about her.  I hate it that she is having to look for a new place to live, and I really hate the added expense that she will have to go through.  Since my move, I have lost a huge part of my income and won't be able to help her as much as I would like-  not that I have had to help her a huge amount, but I have had the income to help when I could.

My other reason for the unsettling feeling is that every fall since R died has brought an unsettling feeling to my life.  In the early days it was just more of the terrible grief.  That first year I was scared to death for the season to change and the days to get shorter and colder.  I didn't know if I could face it.  As I approach my 4th fall without him, it isn't the horrible grief and fear that I am experiencing, but an unsettled feeling.  I am thankful that I have a new life, but this new life is just that SO NEW.  A new husband, a new name, a new town- which means a new identity.  No one here knows my old life.  In some ways that is refreshing, but on this day it isn't.  It is just weird.
So, I leave you today with Happy Fall Y'all.  That is all I can muster today.
June 30, 2015

Getting Back To Running

I really haven't run consistently since I had the weird incident with the man following me in his truck at 5am.  I was going to a cycling class at 5am since I didn't have to worry about being out on the street by myself.

Now that I have moved, I am trying to get back into running.  I went to the local YMCA yesterday and got on a treadmill.  My goal is to be able to run 3 miles on the treadmill before I go outside to run.  I lived at almost sea level before.  Now that I have moved I'm at about 7,300 feet with mountains all around!!  I need to let myself acclimate to this new climate.

My problem is that I am not competitive and I have a hard time pushing myself.  But yesterday I went 5K on the treadmill.  I walked a lot of it, but that is OK.  I will go to a weight lifting class this morning and a PiYo class this afternoon- isn't summer wonderful!!!

When I can run a 5K on the treadmill, I am planning on meeting a women's running group here in town who does trail running.  I have liked them on Facebook so I can see what they are doing.  I run so slowly that I just want to make sure I can keep up with them if they let me join in.

I prayed on the treadmill yesterday for God to just place ONE friend in my path!!  ha ha  I would just like to have one friend to meet for a glass of wine, to talk about mascara etc!!!  I know it will all take time.  AND- I know God will honor my prayer!!
June 29, 2015

M X 2

MX2= Married and Moved!!

Well- I'm married and I've moved to a new town.  I have spent quite a bit of time in this new town over the past 2 years, but now that I know I'm here "for reals" it has hit me that EVERYTHING is very different from what I'm used to.

Living in Texas was wonderful, but a new state in a small town with people from all over the world living here has been an experience.  I know that it will all be fine.  Dr. T is wonderful to me.  He knows that this isn't easy on me, but I still need to find my own way.  I can't put a burden on him to feel he is responsible for me and my happiness.

Right now, I'm happy putting things away and making plans for things to do around the house to make it "ours."  He is excited about that too!!

So for now- I have had some of the biggest stress that anyone can have thrown at them... I need to be patient with myself and realize that it all takes time!!
June 14, 2015

Holy

I have befriended a rabbi.  He is a Messianic Jew- which means that he believes that Jesus is the messiah and also follows Jewish traditions.  There is much more to it than that, but that is it in a nutshell.  He sent me an email the other day explaining the word "holy."

The Hebrew that is translated "holy" is "kadosh"
And holy does not mean "good"
The meaning of holy is "set apart"
Therefore,
The opposite of holy is not "bad"
The opposite of holy is "common"

I really liked this notion of the opposite of holy being common-  As I told him in my reply-- no one wants to be common in anything that we do.  I certainly don't want to just be common in my faith or in my life.  

That leads to something that over three years out, I've been processing.  I have decided that I will never have another completely happy day.  I don't mean to sound dramatic, but that is just the simple truth of my life.  Without Randy here to share the special day- like a child's wedding etc.  There will not be another completely happy day.  I certainly won't dwell on it, but there will be a void.  Grief Share explains it that joy and sadness can coexist- and that is what happens when happy events occur after a death of someone we love.

As I get closer to my wedding day and the emotions are so raw-  I think I've cried every day for the past 2 weeks.  I was thinking about the happiness thing and thinking to myself-  In a way having the sadness there sets the day apart from others-  it adds a meaning and level to the day that others might not experience...And I've processed it in a way that I'm OK with that.  In fact, I almost welcome it.  That is the price that I pay now for having loved a wonderful man who was a wonderful father and husband.  I will take the sadness because it shows that there was something strong there that is now gone. So this day will be different for me than for others because my life experience is different-  therefore the day is set apart from what others experience

 And it dawns on me--- It sets it apart... it makes it "holy" in a sense.  It is not a common day like others have experienced.  It is a day set apart because on this wonderful day (whatever it is) someone is missing who should be here--- there is a holiness to that in itself.  The day is set apart from any others.  As I get married on Saturday- many other brides will be getting married as well... most much younger than me.  But not many will have the same holiness of the day- as my and Dr. T's day will be "set apart."  There will be 2 others there in memory who should be on this earth, but who are not.  

It will be a holy day!!!


June 13, 2015

I'm getting married!!

Yes- I'm getting married.  Dr. T asked me to marry him over Thanksgiving.  It was something we both knew we needed and wanted!!

In the midst of all the excitement, there is still sadness.  I can't really put in to words what I am feeling.  Is it just another way of saying good-bye to R?  Is it that I am leaving my job and friends to move and leave the support that I have had these past three years?  --- I guess it is all of that.  It is just a weird feeling.

But I am going to move forward and keep going- and yes- I will look back because I want to look back.  I don't want to move forward and never look back... I had a good past.  I know it is hard for some people to see me make this move-- they have been vocal about it.  But there are many who have done nothing but encourage me.  I will forever be grateful for those people.

I will face next Saturday with excitement and happiness- but it will be a strange day.  I know when I get on the other side of it that all will be fine!!

I follow One Fit Widow and her post today was about going with the flow... you can't swim against the flow forever-  that is what I plan to do!
January 14, 2015

The Importance of the Daily...

I was talking to a young woman at school today whom I admire very much.  She was telling me about being teary after a funeral and telling her husband to not let her ever get caught up in the insignificant things of life, but to always remember what is really important.  She talked about feeling like she was always wishing for the next stage in life and how she knew when she got to the "next stage" she would be wishing for the next.

I told her about a woman who spoke once at my church who started off her talk with the sentence "Life is so daily."  It was marvelous.  It was such a profound statement....  Life certainly is daily.  It truly is those daily things that make up our life.  Of course we have holidays and vacations--- but  real life are our daily things that we do.

This idea led us to talking about Oprah and how she says she makes a ritual out of making her tea in the morning.  It brings her joy to make that tea.  My friend shared how she enjoys making her cup of coffee in the morning.... It was weird because I could so relate.  I've started noticing within the past few months how much I enjoy making my cup of coffee---  I need just the right amount of cream and just the right amount of honey for my perfect cup.  I look forward to that first taste to see if it is just the way I want it.

We talked about the word ritual.  How we need to make more things in our life a ritual-  make it special.  At the end of the day... at the end of our lives, it is going to be those daily rituals that determine the kind of life we have led.

What are some daily rituals that you life to enjoy?
Do you believe daily rituals are important?