Health, Healthcare, parenting, Politics, school shootings, Uncategorized

If we can’t take your guns can you at least give us health-care.

I have spoken before about the misinformation about the right to bear arms and how it’s been skewed to fit certain individuals and/or groups needs, but the misinformation of healthcare absolutely takes the cake. “Why should I have to pay for other people’s healthcare?” is the biggest argument made. Well, guess what? You already are… and more.

The way private healthcare is set up one pays a premium to have health insurance download (13)whether they use it or not. All of the money goes to the health insurance company which puts it into a fund and pays out everyone’s healthcare bills… OK, so at least your money is only paying for those who have also paid into healthcare, so that’s OK. Guess again. Hospitals know that the chances of them being paid by individuals that don’t have insurance is extremely low so they jack up the prices of everything they do so that those who have insurance will pay a high enough bill that it will cover those that aren’t covered. That’s how hospitals stay open. Ever wonder about that $15 Tylenol tablet you took?

So that’s just the costs that actually go to the hospital, doctors, Ambulances, and so forth. Now.. here’s a big secret that I know most people haven’t discovered. Insurance companies are NOT non-profit. In fact they make huge profits. The CEO’s make millions for their salaries, never mind the bonuses they get for “saving” the company money… in other words comes up with reasons they shouldn’t give their customers the coverage that they pay for.

Then there are all of the other people who work for these giant companies. The executives, the marketing, advertising, financial services, sales… customer service…. even down to the buildings they are housed in and those paid to clean them are all paid.. with your policies. Now obviously with universal healthcare there would still be people in charge of making sure that bills are paid, and taking care of customers, but there wouldn’t be billions going to executives and sales.

Then there is the fact that, yes, there are some poor people who, because they don’t make enough money, would get free healthcare. That’s kind of a given, but as we established earlier, they’re not paying those bills anyway, and the price gauging is covering that. Then there are all those who are just choosing to not pay. All those who make a decent wage, but feel that they’re healthy enough to not have to worry about it. They don’t think about the accidents that can cripple them, or the unexpected flu that can put them in the hospital. They just expected to be taken care of, and maybe they pay, maybe they don’t. Maybe, even after all the doctor’s do they can’t be saved.. or they are left disabled and unable to work anymore. Guess who eats their bills. With Universal Healthcare everyone making enough money will be paying their fair share.

Finally there’s all the things that most Private Insurance carriers aren’t guaranteed to even cover. Dental, nope, mental health, nope, specialists, nope. So you pay 100s and 1000s on health insurance only to have deductibles, co-pays.. and denials.

People and politicians complain about it not being their problem to take care of others… yet it kind of is. The population at large is definitely the politicians problem. It’s their job to keep us alive. It’s their job to keep the economy running. Part of keeping us alive, aside from making bigger and bigger guns, is making sure that we have access to doctors and medicine and.. even better.. preventative care. Part of keeping the economy running is making sure that people are healthy enough to work, and not losing their jobs over long term illnesses or injuries or losing their houses to overwhelming dept due to both.

Their most important job is making sure that the future generations are alive, or the US stops here. Two of the biggest concerns to youth today are being killed in school and the opioid epidemic (but that’s for another day) both of which could truly be helped by a good mental health system. The first thing politicians that oppose gun control say is that it’s not guns that kill people, it’s the people that kill people. And since they’ve made it very clear that they’re not willing to keep guns away from those people, why not create a health reform that gets ALL individuals the mental health support that they need. I know many people who are unable to see therapists or psychiatrists because, even with the private insurance that they have it’s either not covered or the deductible is so high they can’t afford to start treatment.. especially paying it every year.

I agree, the people who commit these horrendous crimes are mentally unstable. I c72bcc58-0abb-49e8-a915-354153bc942fpersonally thinks that means they shouldn’t be allowed access to guns, but aside from that, why can no one in power now see that means that they do require help BEFORE they shoot up 17 people in a school?

The last shooter was a classic case. He bounced from home to home. Lost 2 sets of parents. He had a really crappy life and many people could see that he was a threat to himself and others, yet nothing stopped him. No one helped him. People who shoot babies, and church goers, and movie theater attendees aren’t right in the head. That’s an absolute fact that everyone seems to agree on. These shootings occur way too often, another fact that no one questions. So why is there a debate about making sure every American has the right to stay alive? Why can’t these people get the help they need so they don’t kill 100s of people a year? This is the whole country’s problem, and only one of when it comes to the health of this nation.

coaching, Health, Uncategorized, Wellness, women

How one roadtrip snack could ruin my weekend.

We’ve all heard the expression that we are what we eat, but never have I experienced such an obvious example of this as I did this past weekend. I admit, during the holiday season my eating was way off track and I was feeling like a lazy, lumpy sloth. So, a few weeks ago I got myself back on track, no more leftover pie for breakfast. It only took a couple of days and I my energy level was back; my heartburn was gone and I was feeling good. I had the actual desire to exercise not just forcing my way through it.

Then this last weekend I went on a little getaway. I stayed at my brother’s place in the mountains that I have been to at least once a year for almost two decades. Usually it’s a great chance to me to reset my brain. I get out into the fresh air. I see the gorgeous view. I have very few distractions. I usually get so much accomplished.

This time on the drive up the fog was horrible. I could barely see three feet in front of me. I had to crank the heat to keep the windshield clear, and I was getting very drowse.images (1) After about 1.5 hours my son had to pee so we stopped at a gas station/convenient store and we grabbed snacks. It was one of those things that I talked myself into being ok. I had to do something to keep me awake and munching on snacks and coffee always does the trick. I was right. We got to the house with no incident and things seemed good… till I laid down. Suddenly I felt like I was going to be sick. I had severe heartburn and even the next day I had very little energy. I ate the left-over donuts we had and I felt even worse.

The weekend of fun, adventure, and even a little work, turned into my son watching TV while I crashed out on the couch. Thankfully after all the time I’ve spent with my food diary I recognized the signs. Later in the day I ran to the store and stocked up on fruits, veggies, and organic soups… it’s really cold here and it hit the spot… and my energy levels were back up the next day.

We always think that it takes years for crap food to do any real damage, but the truth is the garbage we put in our body is poison. It starts hurting us the moment it hits our lips and it doesn’t stop till we clean it from our lives. Don’t get me wrong, an occasional “treat” is one thing… a lifestyle of trash is something else. Everything in moderation… but our bodies are vehicles and need the proper fuel to make it work smoothly.

coaching, Giving, Health, Healthcare, Homeless, Love, Motivation, parenting, Politics, religion, Uncategorized, Veterans, Wellness, Women's movement

The season of giving

The season of giving is over. Thanksgiving is long forgotten, except by our pants. Christmas is a lovely memory. We are all in the process of throwing dead trees and left over wrapping away. We are ready for our New Year/New Me. We are planning all of the things that we want to do to make our lives better.

We’re going to lose weight, quit smoking, go back to school, get a new job, get a better relationship… we are going to make our lives perfect!

thBut what about all of those who are just hoping to get through the bitterly cold nights? The food pantries and soup kitchens don’t just have “guests for the holiday”. We all talk about the things we want to get and achieve, but what about the things that we want to give.

At the time of Holy Days we all talk about how “it’s better to give than to receive” and how “giving is its own reward”, then the new year starts and we suddenly forget that there are poor people. We have battles online with strangers about all of the people leaching off the system.. as if anyone is choosing to be poor and/or starving and homeless.

I understand more than most that people make their own reality… but this doesn’t mean that they do it by choice. Some aren’t strong enough to make better choices. Some have mental illnesses that prevent them… not everyone has a well-built support system in place to deal with things like childcare, or even a place to shower and get mail so they may apply for a job.

Most of all I think of the children. In the past I have volunteered for a program called “Horizon’s for Homeless Children” a program in which adults volunteer to hang out with children in homeless shelters. This gives parents a chance to work, and children a larger support system in which to depend. I have also been a Big Sister through the Big Brother/Big Sister program, and have given many a present to a giving tree or tows for tots. This past winter I found myself taking tags for boys my son’s age because the thought of him waking up on Christmas with nothing was heart breaking.

I’m amazed when I read comments online about how poor people shouldn’t have children… yet, those are the same people opposed to birth control being covered by insurance… or insurance being covered at all. I’m amazed when I read that everyone who’s on food stamps are just lazy. I’m amazed when I read from the same people about “Pro-Life!”… it seems to me that you’re just pro-rich-life.

Now this is not an abortion debate. I, myself, have issues with abortion and it has nothing to do with my religion and more to do with the science that has come about and the understanding of when babies can feel and think and so on..  This is a humanity rant (for lack of a better word). I am completely PRO LIVING. I am pro helping those who need help. I am Pro feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, healing and hopefully preventing sickness. I am not only for this depending on which job you have had in the past, or what color or country that you are born. I am for LIFE.

The season for giving is every season.

coaching, Health, Law of Attraction, Love, Motivation, Uncategorized, Wellness

How do you resolve to make the world better?


We have officially started our new lives. We all have our resolutions stated, our diets, our business plans, our ideas for what ever our dreams may be. I have heard a lot of talk on radio stations, and of course the memes are in full swing, but you know what I mostly noticed. It’s all negative, self deprecating, designed to fail talk.

I don’t know what it is about the human ego, but we seem to be fundamentally designed th (4)to accept failure. Most people are much more comfortable with self deprecation than we are accepting a compliment. If someone says, “wow, you look great, have you lost weight?”. The receiver automatically feels uncomfortable and makes up some excuse about being sick, or “maybe a little”, or brushes it off as if it’s no big deal. But it is a big deal. Anything that you work hard at is.

For some reason, especially with Americans, there is something innately in us to underachieve. It’s actually the opposite of what the American Dream is all about so I don’t really get it. People are proud of how little they do and/or accomplish. As if being sick and broke is a mark of freedom. They are free from the rat race, or free from the socialized ideals of what’s important. They’re not going to be one of those people who eat healthy, or God forbid RUN. They aren’t going to be one of those people who works to get the promotion or start their own companies.. those people clearly have an ego problem.

I don’t know if it’s all the old 80s-90s movies that made the bad guy the person with an unhealthy need to win the poster-person for ambition so now anyone that wants to make themselves better must clearly be the jerk who thinks they’re better than everyone else.

And there’s a certain amount of outside sabotage that goes along with it. Those who are trying to “better themselves” are being told that it’s OK to be fat… it’s OK to be you… no being fat will kill you. It doesn’t make you less of a person, but it’s not OK. Or it’s OK to be minimum wage worker.. if you try for that promotion then you’re trying to somehow leave other’s behind.

th (3)Even those who are successful in whatever aspect of their lives still feel the need to put down anyone who wants start. Slim, healthy people make fun of overweight people who are beginning to exercise. As if “who does that person think they’re fooling?”. Why do they have to be fooling anyone? Why does their life choices to try to be better at something automatically put others on the defensive.

I saw an article about a woman who spent 100 days facing her fears. She later did a TEDtalk about it. I was amazed when I saw the comments how many people put her down  because they didn’t agree that her fears were important enough. That her doing things that others do all the time shouldn’t make her important. Why not? Why can’t she be important just by being important? To quote The Doctor (Who) “In 900 year of time and space, I’ve never met anyone who wasn’t important”.

Why is life more about keeping other’s down than helping each other up? Perhaps everyone resolution should be to be more inviting and supportive of others, bringing up the status quo instead of bringing everyone down. Just a thought.

coaching, Health, Law of Attraction, Love, Motivation, parenting, Uncategorized, Wellness

Try something new…. anything!

I have a friend who has been stuck in a rut for some time now. He took some advice from another life coach that he talked to. (It’s not good to coach your own friends…. they’ll get mad at you for calling them on their crap) This person gave him a list of different things to do for two weeks to “cleanse his bad luck” or karma or what have you.

This person uses modes that I don’t use myself, things like lighting certain colored change-your-thoughtscandles and pouring salt, it’s all very pagan traditions… which is fine, just not my cup ‘a. Anyway… the whole point is to get the person to try new things and to spend more time in their own head. There is a lot of sitting in silence and meditating.. which I do believe in.

One of the days he had to eat as a vegan. No animal products. No meats, no cheese, no butter. He had no idea what was left. He was at my house for the evening, kind enough to watch my son while I had to go out for a bit. I told him that I had some pasta that he could have. His response… “Sauce has meat”…. um… not all sauce. Not my tomato and basil sauce… and “Why is the spaghetti different colors?”. It’s a tri-colored, veggie based pasta….. Nope… he wasn’t going to try it.

Now the whole point of this exercise is to try new things. To get out of your own head. To believe that things can be done differently. Not eating animal products for one day is not going to change your health or do anything for you except… get you to think outside the box and try something new. That’s how we change.

Now I love my friend, and this is not written to knock him.. as I said, never coach a friend, they will take criticism as an insult, but it is to point out that you only get out of coaching what you put into it. You can only change your life as much as you’re willing to change yourself. I have had this problem myself for years. I had spent over a decade denying my habits and my weight issues. I spent many years in crappy relationships hoping the other person would change. I am in no way perfect, but since losing my father I have learned that you get from life what you put into it. I want my son to learn the good habits and the best self thoughts.

If you want to be healthy.. you have to BE HEALTHY. If you want to be rich, you have to do the work.. you have to find your niche, you have to take a chance. If you want a fabulous relationship.. you have to let go of the old ones. You can’t change other people.. and you can’t change your life without… CHANGING YOUR LIFE.

bullying, coaching, Health, Law of Attraction, Motivation, Uncategorized, Wellness, women

Friends are not always the most encouraging when it’s time for a change.

Have you ever known someone whom lost a boat load of weight, I’m not talking like 10-20 lbs. I mean like 50-100 lbs, and managed to keep it off? The first question people always ask is how they did it, and they are always disappointed when they are told the person changed their eating habits and/or exercised. No one wants to do that.

imagesEveryone wants to change.. without actually changing. These same people will see the new and improved, healthier person out at dinner or a party and say, “oh, you can have some cake”.. or the drink.. or what have you, “you have to live a little” or “a little won’t kill you” or something along those lines.

I have always found this extremely disparaging. It is a way of completely undermining the work the person has done. It’s not easy to “stick” to a healthy diet. It takes A LOT of work. Most people have to over come addictions, and other mental health coping mechanisms to get there. It really does take changing.

I couldn’t imagine someone saying the same thing to an alcoholic. “Oh, wow, you haven’t had a drink in a year! That’s amazing! Let’s celebrate with shots. One won’t kill you”. It’s a slippery slope. Now that’s not to say that someone who has lost weight can never have a piece of birthday cake again. I mean… maybe the person does decide that their addiction is too strong and it’s best not to, or maybe they feel that they have dealt with their habits enough that they can indulge on an occasion, but the point is that it’s the healthy person’s decision on how they handle their food intake. They know what is and isn’t OK for them.

I don’t think that most people who try to encourage the healthier person to “Live a little” downloadis trying to bully them or sabotage them. I think most people are just trying to include their friends.  I think that most people just want to act like the food is not a big deal, but it is.. to some people, and pretending that it’s not doesn’t help anyone. That being said, there are some that go the other way. There are those “friends” that don’t want you to succeed because they haven’t. You know the old saying, “Misery loves company”.

If you are on your path to a healthier you. Whether it’s weight-loss, substance abuse, or weight-loss-kratomeven getting a better job, be careful of your peers. Be careful of those who seem to always lead you down the path of the dark side… with those cookies. You know the voices that you hear in your head that say it’s ok… you can just have one… well, they are hard enough to ignore. When you hear them from those who love you it’s even more challenging.

If you want to change your life, that mean you have to CHANGE your life. It won’t be easy. There is no magic pill. You can’t half-ass it. But you can become what ever you imagine yourself to be… you just have to do the work.

coaching, Health, Law of Attraction, Motivation, Prayer, religion, Uncategorized, Wellness, women

You are who you think you are

It amazes me how many people that I speak to who say that they believe in science don’t actually believe in possibility… They only believe in the science that has been proven thus far. Which includes many “theories” that have just as much evidence as others but doesn’t sound woowoo and therefore is more believable.

For instance, my favourite topic, Quantum Physics. There are certain elements that are completely acceptable now that even Einstein thought were completely ridiculous. We now KNOW that matter can be both waves and particles, this has been proven in a series of experiments. It has been proven that matter characteristics change depending on whether or not it is being observed and that there is a certain amount of human consciousness that goes into the experiment when a person watches it. This, again has been proven by blind experiments. Yet, when someone says that humans have the ability to change or create their own reality this is considered crazy.

It has been proven that our thoughts create chemical reactions in our brain. If we think thoughts that stress us out our glands secrete cortisol… also known as the “fight or flight” hormone. If we think sad, depressing thoughts that stress us out our hormone levels spike and we physically feel all of the symptoms that correlate.

Then, of course what do we do? We listen to sad music, sit in the dark and eat crap food. This creates more cortisol, the darkness creates melatonin (a hormone that helps us sleep) and our insulin level spike and crash… all of which makes us more stressed out and the cycle continues. Some think that eating chocolate will help as it “mimics the feeling of love”, which is true to an extent. There is a chemical in chocolate called phenethylamine which stimulates the nervous system activating endorphins and creating a euphoric feeling… do you know what else does that? Exercise, and thinking happy thoughts… neither of which leave you with a sugar (insulin) crash later.

There is a huge epidemic going around now with opioids. I remember the first time that I was prescribed one. I had impacted wisdom teeth one of which cracked a tooth in front of it and caused excruciating pain. When the doctor gave me the script he told me that “it won’t kill the pain, but you just won’t care anymore” and that’s it.. that’s how it works. Opioids trigger a release of dopamine that just makes one feel happy.

After I had my son via C-section the nurses were adamant that I needed something.. Vicodin, Perks, Oxy… anything to help with the pain. I told them that the Motrin was just fine. I wasn’t in a hurry to fuzzy my brain with a newborn and except for the actual movement of standing and sitting when ab muscles were strained the most I really didn’t feel much discomfort. As it turns out holding a baby, feeling the love, and bonding by breastfeeding actually releases oxytocin into the system. The thoughts alone create the hormones that amplify the feelings. This is a fact.

Now I’m not saying that there is no need for pain killers. I do understand that some people have severe chronic pain and that it makes it very difficult to do things like exercise and think happy thoughts and that their bodies can’t make enough endorphins to counteract the pain. I also know that this can be both physical and psychological pain, but that doesn’t mean that you stop trying or that you let the darkness take over.

I read an article the other day about how “thinking positive” actually hurts and is counter productive because lying to ones self can actually cause more harm and people need to feel their pain. Well, I half agree. I agree that lying to yourself will cause more problems.. and I agree that people need to deal with their issues head on. What I don’t agree with is the author’s idea of thinking positive.

Positive thinking is NOT pretending everything is great when it sucks. If you have a crappy job, are in an abusive relationship, or just lost someone or something dear to you then you can just think, “Oh, everything is so wonderful”. That’s not positive thinking.. that’s delusional thinking. Positive thinking is acknowledging whatever bad thing is or has happened and understanding that it is not the end and that it can get better and spending your time and energy on thinking about the good things. Either remembering the lost loved one and the good that person has done.. or thinking about your next option with a job or relationship.. but never giving up.

The more that a person thinks about their future and their life the way they want it, the more “Happy Hormones” their brain produces. The more happy hormones a person has the more likely they are to DO something.. anything. They will start to believe that they deserve more. This brings us back to the Quantum Physics. Your consciousness creates your reality. The world is as you perceive it. If you only see the bad things the world is bad. If you only see the good the world is good. The more good you see.. the more good you’ll do.. and so on.


bullying, coaching, Healthcare, Politics, Uncategorized, Wellness, women, Women's movement

Let’s lay blame where blame belongs

Don’t get me wrong. I am the first to say that not every claim of rape or sexual assault is true. I have actually lost friends over this. I believe that any accusations should be investigated, and there are lots of women who just cry rape when they regret what happened… however… when something like the Harvey Weinstein or Bill Cosby or Donald Trump controversy come out this is not one woman regretting her behavior or wanting a pay out.

download (46)Most of these women have a life of their own at this point and have nothing to gain and everything to lose by making these accusations. People often ask, “why didn’t they come forward sooner?” and I can understand that question, but I can also understand the answer. I can understand why a women wants to keep her mouth shut because her career is on the line. I can understand that someone, without the power, doesn’t have the overwhelming urge to give up everything no matter how right they may be.

The interesting thing that I have found is that men have no problem using the excuse that “That’s how things were back then”. It was normal for women to be abused and have absolutely no power to fight back and everyone was ok with that, but when women say that’s why they didn’t come forward they get called liars and laughed at.

So which was it? Either men have this as an excuse and, therefore, so do women.. or men don’t have this.. and none of their behavior is OK. I was raised by a man.. with a big brother and now I have a son. I have been surrounded by men my whole life. I remember watching my dad watch women walk by and his girlfriend laughing about it. I was raised to know that I have the right to stick up for myself. I was raised that I was a strong, powerful woman. And I was raised to know that not everyone was.

So, how about we stop blaming victims.. and start listening to facts. No matter which finger is pointed.. or when.

bullying, coaching, Health, parenting, Politics, Uncategorized, Wellness

Healthcare needs to be a conversation.

Can we please have a conversation about mental health? Another attack… shocking! Should guns be banned? Maybe… Should there be more regulations… definitely, but let’s talk about the real issue. Mental Health. Depression is behind almost every door. Bullying is inside every phone and every computer. This is not the same world it once was. We can’t treat it as is was.

download (43)I have a friend that is currently struggling with addiction and looking desperately for a long-term care center… but of course health insurance doesn’t cover it. If he has $22k/ month he is all set… but the average person?

This is not a rarity. I do not believe that addiction itself is an disease as “they” say.. what I do believe is that most addicts have severe mental health problems.. usually depression or anxiety and that they use drugs to self medicate.. and just cause a spiral. So why are we not talking about mental health MORE? Why are we not making sure that EVERY American has access to help?

We treat drug addicts like criminals.. and believe that even criminals should be allowed guns… and yet.. no one wants to help any of these people. I’m not even talking about politicians. They are a small part of what this country is made up of. We need to start making changes ourselves. We need to start thinking about ALL of our citizens. We need to think about addicts… and the school children who have to practice safety measures in case of shootings. We need to think about the lives that we are leaving our children.

I don’t know how to fix the healthcare system.. and I am not a politician. What I do know is that we need to talk about it… and not just bully and blame.. but understand.. and empathize. We need to help.

coaching, Health, Law of Attraction, Love, Motivation, parenting, Prayer, religion, Uncategorized, Wellness, women

Your beliefs are all you have

Beliefs are a very powerful thing. Our entire existence resonates around the things that we believe. We believe we are beautiful or ugly… we believe we are smart or stupid.. we believe we deserve good things or that bad things will always happen to us.

“I think therefore I am”. One of the most famous philosophical understandings of all times. If we are capable of thinking then we must exist, and the things that we think must make us who we are. If we think that things can only get better, then we will keep trying till they do. If we think that things can only get worse, then we’ll give up. Seems pretty simple.

Well, what about bigger beliefs? What about religious and  spiritual beliefs? They too make us who we are and affect how we deal with things. Before my  father died I was a bit more agnostic. I acknowledged something was out there, but I didn’t really know what.  I’m still not sure, but I have turned my belief a little more towards religion. My son started Catholic school, and we started to attend Mass on Sundays and I like and appreciate the idea of the afterlife. I like and appreciate the idea that my father is looking down on us… or checking in on us in some way and seeing how we are doing and is proud of us.

th (1)I had an interesting experience this past weekend in which we had gone to a party with some of my son’s father’s old high school friends. It was mentioned that our son goes to Catholic school and I later heard one of the women talking to my son’s father about it. He was saying how he hated it and that he thought the whole idea was stupid, but kept his mouth shut around my son. That is fine, he doesn’t have to believe the things that we do. My brother is a complete atheist and feels much more comfort KNOWING that when we die our bodies get eaten by worms and that’s it… no mystery.

I was raised to understand that everyone has their own ideas, and their own beliefs, and that no one really knows for sure.. it’s what resonates with you best that works. What bothered me about the conversation between the woman and my ex, was the tone of disapproval.  I don’t want my son growing up feeling that way.

The next day my  son, who is 4, and I were putting together a puzzle. I had found it under a stack of books and told him that I had forgotten about it. That “Papa” had bought it for him  when he was a little baby and was too young to use it at the time.. but it was perfect for him now. After we finished the puzzle he looked at it somberly and I asked him what he was thinking. “I wish Papa was here to see us do this”. That little sentence broke my heart… but thankfully he has been learning about God and Heaven and I was able to say, “I think Papa is watching us from Heaven and is very proud of you”.

Now, I don’t KNOW that’s true. I don’t KNOW that my father isn’t just the pile of ashes in the urn on my piano and that’s all that’s left… but I do know.. that doesn’t comfort me, and it doesn’t comfort my 4 year old…. and doesn’t hurt anyone to for us to believe that Papa is watching and proud of us.