Stay at Home Dad!

Stay at Home Dad! | By Eric Loper

I never thought I’d be where I am now as a father and husband.  But here I am.  As my wife, Christine and I rolled with the punches of life, we ended up not so textbook.  I guess I would say it began when we moved back to San Diego from Las Vegas.  In Vegas, I IMG_0255worked full time in a casino, while Christine had a part time gig in Human Resources.  But you see, I wasn’t going to start over in the casinos and Christine found a reputable, full time job in HR once we moved back to San Diego.  I tried the whole starting my own business thing, but having not put much heart and thought into it, that got thrown into the “never mind” pile.

While still searching for what it was I was going to do, Christine worked the 9-5, Monday through Friday.  We did not want to send our kids to day care, so I watched them while Christine was at work.  This didn’t seem permanent as I was looking for where and what I was supposed to be.  My foot landed in the door of a restaurant/brewery as a delivery driver with the intention of working my way up to bartending while I went back to school.  While bartending, I was given an amazing opportunity to take over as the brewer.  This was perfect!  A job that I had a heaping truckload of passion for, and was flexible.  IMG_0267I could get to work early, in order to be finished in time to pick up the kids from school.  Meanwhile, Christine was tearing up HR.  Her experience and pay kept increasing.  Eventually we made the decision to homeschool the kids.  With my job being the flexible one, naturally I would take on schooling. While this works, it’s definitely not the easiest way of doing things.

On days the kids are homeschooled, if I have to work, I get up at 2am to start working before the word “early” is even awake.  Christine then drops them off at my work on her IMG_2458way into the office.  This way I am usually done around 10am and we have time to go home and hit the books.  Normally, we hit history and literature by noon.  That’s about when I feel the increasing weight on my eyelids, “OK kids, after history you two can have a recess while dad takes a nap.”  These naps justify the 2am alarm clock.  It’s like 30 minutes of heavy heaven.

Now, while this works, it’s not what we had planned.  I mean I never imaged that I would be working part-time, as well as part-time homeschooling my kids, while Christine worked a full time gig,  Monday through Friday.  I did not expect to be the one texting my wife to see if she was going to be home on time, or making sure the house was clean before Christine got home from work so we could all relax and hang as a family.  We just kind of fell into this.

 

As time went on, this path became more cemented.  There was a bit of panic as the cement hardened.  We felt trapped.  Christine began to struggle with the idea of being a IMG_0165working mom when so many of the people that she looked up to were stay at home moms.  As relatively new Christians, this situation didn’t seem to fit what we thought the Christian family should look like.  As Christine was crafting ideas of how she could make a career for herself at home, her career in HR continued to excel.  She received more and more favor and provision, which was a huge blessing to our family.  At the same time things were going well with my work.  I was also able to be involved with coaching my kids’ sports.  We had time for ministry and the right balance of family time.  Things were actually pretty good.  You’d think we would have seen God’s hand in all this goodness, yet we were searching for a way out.

 

Thankfully, God showed us what we couldn’t see even though it was right in front of our faces.  Christine attended a women’s retreat where Pastor Tracy was teaching on a woman’s identity.  In that, she spoke that the focus isn’t whether a woman works inside IMG_1503or outside her home, but rather where her heart is aimed.  The Holy Spirit showed us this is exactly where we needed to be.  Since then everything seems so settled.  Christine is still amazing at work and just the mom that our kids need.  Sure I don’t get to have the kids yell “Dad!” when I walk in the door from work.  That’s reserved for mom in our house.  But hey, I get to work part time at a job that I love, help my kids learn, coach their sports team, and lead our family.

We’ve learned that marriage is a partnership and “roles” are what you make of it.  I’m pretty darn good at cooking and I love to do it; Christine is great at cleaning.  I’m more of the disciplinarian while Christine is the peacekeeper.  I like to play and be rough with the kids, while Christine is the one they want when they need the tenderness of a mom.  Although some of our roles might seem like they are turned around, it’s very much God’s handiwork at play here in this house.  We love, trust and serve God; He leads, we follow.

 


IMG_0699Eric Loper is 39 years old and has been married to Christine Loper for 14 years and together; they have a 13-year-old son Keith and an 11-year-old daughter Jade. He works at Oggi’s Pizza and Brewing in Carmel Mountain Ranch as the brewer. He also homeschools his kids and helps with their sports by coaching. He loves sports, cooking, and gardening.

I Want You to Submit! by Jamie Humphrey

i-want-you-giwy“I WANT YOU TO SUBMIT!” These words give me a mental picture of Uncle Sam with his beady eyes staring at me and pointing his gnarled finger in my face. The word “submit” or “submission” is a loaded word that brings a sigh or maybe even a shudder to women in the Western world. For some women submission is all they know. Submission is a topic that cannot be simplified into a short blog post. But I want to write out some ideas and ask questions for you to respond to. I would love for you to actually email me your thoughts and answers. I will be able to put together all of our thoughts in a later blog.

I looked up the word “submit” in the dictionary.

Submit: verb, accept or yield to a superior force or to the authority or will of another person.

The word “submit” is a verb which signifies an action. No one can make you submit to their will. God gave us a free will to have the opportunity to voluntarily submit. God does not force us to obey or to love Him. If someone forces you to do what they want, it is something other than submission. Submission is always voluntary.

After I learned the definition of submit I then went to the Bible to see what it says concerning submission. Oh boy. Here we go (emphasis added is mine…the translation I used is NLT for the Scripture references below).

Job 22:21 “Submit to God, and you will have peace; then things will go well for you.”

Romans 13:1 “Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God.”

Also, 1Peter 2:13 “For the Lord’s sake, submit to all human authority – whether the king as head of state, or the officials he has appointed…”

Ephesians 5:21-22 “Instructions for Christian Households: Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord.”

1Peter 2:18-19 “You who are slaves must submit to your masters with all respect. Do what they tell you – not only if they are kind and reasonable, but even if they are cruel. For God is pleased when, conscious of his will, you patiently endure unjust treatment.”

These are a few of the verses that stuck out to me. The Scriptures are telling us to submit to God, the government, husbands and wives to each other, wives to their husbands as their authority, and to our “masters” aka our bosses. Even if the person in authority is unjust we are supposed to submit. That is really unfair. That makes me mad. We should be able to buck the system if it does not line up with what we believe in and what we think is right. I can totally relate to the frustration that these scriptures create. But what is God getting at with His instruction for submission?

Do you want to know the epitome of submission? Look at the life of our Savior, Jesus. He knew He would be tortured to death. For something He did not do. How UNJUST is that?! How unfair and cruel? In Matthew 26:39 (NLT) it says, “He went on a little farther and bowed his face to the ground praying, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” And it says in Hebrews 5:7-9 (NIV) “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.”

Jesus submitted to a temporary suffering for an eternal purpose. What more can I say on the subject?

I would appreciate if you would email me your thoughts on any of the following questions:

  1. What was a time you chose to submit to your authority even though you thought it was unfair and wrong? What was the outcome?
  2. Where do we draw the line in submission? When is it okay not to submit?
  3. To whom is it hard for you to submit to?

SUBMIT your thoughts on SUBMISSION to jamiebhumphrey@gmail.com by 7/1/17.

I cannot wait to hear from you!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jamie
Jamie Humphrey has been married to Eli for almost 10 years, and together they have two children, Serenity (8) and Justice (6). Every single day Jamie is trying to grow in her relationship with God and with her husband and kids. It is not easy but it is worth it.

A Father’s Day Guide

A Father’s [Dad. Daddy. Daddio. Pops.] Day Guide | by Stacy and Lacey Brown

Dad. Daddy. Daddio. Pops. What is it about the love of a father that makes us feel so covered and protected? Similar to how our Heavenly Father unconditionally loves and cares for us, His children, our fathers here on Earth are entrusted with nurturing and New Photoguiding us from the time we’re born, all the way through adulthood. As tiny humans, we typically know our dad as the leader and provider for our household. Dad is the one who teaches you how to ride a bike, start saving your money early, and to not take “no” for an answer when pursuing your dreams. As I’ve grown older, I’ve come to realize that my own dad is not only my biggest fan, but also one of my best friends. A father’s role is all-encompassing and for this, he truly deserves all of the respect and admiration from his family. Proverbs 20:7 tells us,

The righteous who walks in his integrity—blessed are his children after him!”

Yes, and amen! I can certainly attest to the integrity of both my dad and my father-in-law, and feel deeply privileged to have been raised by men of such virtue.

Lace and DadIf you’re like me (Lacey), maybe you’ve struggled with knowing how to honor your dad on Father’s Day. It’s hard when you want to give him something that will let him know how much you appreciate him, while simultaneously being too old for crafts, and having no desire to search for another tie (sigh). Or perhaps you’re like my brilliant mama-in-love, Stacy, who somehow manages to always to give the most amazing, meaningful gifts—usually something that’s way better than what you could have picked out for yourself (#notkidding #sorrynotsorry). As Father’s Day approaches, we thought we’d team up to compile a rather practical “gift guide” for the day in which we let our dads know just how much they mean to us. As we began searching for some of the more “materialistic” gifts, we pondered the way in which we shop for our own dads and/or spouses. How does my husband, dad, grandpa, (you fill in the blank), feel loved and acknowledged?

We couldn’t think of a better way to explore this than by incorporating The 5 Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman. This book provides insight on each of the different languages in which people share/receive love, which include: Physical Touch, Quality Time, Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, and Receiving Gifts. You see, not only are love languages something to examine in terms of your significant other, but they are equally as important in any relationship. The following are some specific examples of ways to bless your dad on Father’s Day.

 

Receiving Gifts [For Dads from young children]

Does your dad or husband share/receive love via gift-giving? Moms, think about giving your child a budget and let them pick whatever they want as a gift for their dad. Note that this is where self-control comes in (☺). The kids know the budget, and they get to pick the gift. Something homemade is always a good idea too! (Macaroni necklaces from 5-year-olds never get old).

Quality Time (For Dads from adult children)

As many parents do, I know my own father receives love by spending some “QT” together. Why not take him to a Padres game or other sporting event? Stacy recently took her father to Spiritivity, a local “paint and sip” art studio, which turned out to be an outing they both thoroughly enjoyed. Not very artsy? How about a homemade picnic on the beach? Moms, maybe you can help facilitate lunch with your teenage child, but let them go alone for some one-on-one time.

Encouraging Words [For Dads from children of any age]

We can’t think of a more sentimental way to express your love than by writing it out for your dad to cherish forever! Creativity is encouraged, but remember, specificity is best with these types of gifts. Try writing out ten things you admire about your dad, or a classic acrostic poem (great for kids). Go the extra mile and frame it for him to keep in his office.

brown wedding

Acts of Service [For Dads from children of any age]

Who wouldn’t love a getting good book of coupons for chores/errands nobody likes to do? Mow the lawn, get his car’s oil changed, clean the rain gutters, the list could go on. Scratch a few things off your dad’s “honey-do” list. You’d be surprised by how taking care of simple, very practical things can be super helpful— especially for dads who are older. Remember, it’s easy to give this kind of gift, but execution is crucial!

Physical Touch [For Dads from the wifey]

A good foot or shoulder rub for your dad is a nice gesture, but who are we kidding? Moms, it’s all you for this one!

Although many of these ideas seem pretty fundamental, it’s often simple actions that end up having the most significance. We hope this is helpful as you reflect on your relationship with your own dad this Father’s Day!


About the Authors

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Stacy and Lacey Brown are a dynamic mother and daughter-in-law duo, established in 2010, when Lacey married Stacy’s oldest son, Zac. Stacy is wife to her honey of thirty years, Tom Brown, and mama to four children; Zac, Gabe, Jake, and Megan. Lacey and Zac were high school sweeties and married after nearly six years of dating. They reside in Escondido with their fur-child, Charlie Brown.

 

 

 

The Joy in Waiting by Valerie Hatcher

Although none of my flesh wants to believe that there is joy in waiting, I know that there most certainly is | by Valerie Hatcher

As Christians, we hear this hundreds of times, have probably even attempted to remind ourselves daily that God is working while we wait for “X” event, or for an answer, or for some sort of change. All the while, we are supposed to be joyful in the process. But the truth is, waiting sucks! At least for the Flesh it does, and guess what? That is entirely what we are!

Growing up, I was as broken as they come. Although I had no clue of this; I thought I was amazing. Throughout middle school, and well into high school, I always surrounded myself with a big group of friends, and even more so, male friends. I always had a crush on someone, and I usually prevailed when it came to having them fall for me. It was a game, a way to see how I could get what I want, but all the while running far away from the one thing I truly did want: Love.

It was my Senior year of high school when God began a work in me to truly transform me from the inside out, and he used the most perfect tool: a boy. I was introduced to this boy through a mutual friend, and he couldn’t have been more different than me. I was starving for love and attention, from anyone or anything. But he was filled with Jesus, the greatest love of all. I was so naïve. “No big deal,” I thought to myself, “I Believe in God too.” But boy was I wrong. From the minute my best friend asked not to try to make him like me, because he was a “good boy,” I was determined to do the contrary. I thought it would be easy, as it had been in the past. I had a way with words, and I had perfected the art of flirting. I was going to like this boy anyways, but even more so, I would make him like me too. Easy enough, right? Except for the fact that he really was DIFFERENT. We talked for months, and to me, it felt like years. Typically, I was over a boy by then, and had found a new crush and was onto the next. Why was this taking so long?! He liked me–that was clear. Although he absolutely hated dancing, I convinced him to go to Homecoming with me. We talked non-stop, and I drove to his house nearly every day after work just to sit in my car with him for 10 minutes to talk. But still, nothing. He would tell me over and over that dating was a serious thing to him, because you should only date to find who you will marry. This concept, though not completely foreign to me, felt awkward. It made me start a deeper evaluation of myself and ask what my reasons were for dating. More and more, God was showing me the value in waiting. The longer I waited, the more I began to fall in love with this boy’s values. He had a different outlook on life than I had–that was clear–but why?

It was after months when I finally worked up the courage to tell this boy that if he was  not going to ask me out, then there was no point in investing all this time. That alone was not like me because I rarely gave up but then again, I also rarely had to wait for months for a boy to turn around. I was not prepared for his answer either, because it was a clear, hard,  “No, I still do not want a girlfriend.” To say I was in shock would be an understatement. Through a night full of tears, I began to question what was wrong with me. I wondered if he did not think that I was good enough. What was it that I was missing?

Maybe it was the tears, or maybe it was the fact that I tried my hardest to ignore him all day at school the next day, but again he did the unthinkable and finally asked me out (and the crowd said hooray)! Here is where the real waiting began…

Now that we were officially a couple, I started to realize even more that this boy really was different from others I had previously pursued. He told me shortly after we had been dating that he was saving himself until marriage. This was something I had honestly never planned for myself. I actually assumed that he would change his mind. But at the same time, I knew right away that this was the boy I was supposed to be with forever! As time went on, I found myself wanting to be this “good girl” that he would eventually want to marry. That alone was a process in which I found myself waiting. I began going to youth group with him, and before I knew it, I was no longer striving to be a better me for him, but a better me for the one true love that was there for me all along: Jesus.

We have now been dating for eight years and four months. Saying that aloud brings a multitude of emotions; I am sure many can imagine why, but frustrated is at the top of the list. Don’t get me wrong, it is a complete joy that I have found the absolute love of my life and the man I know I want to marry. Our relationship and walk with God, together and apart, has seen so many breakthroughs after all this time, that I know it has been a blessing that we are still waiting to be married. However, I am human. A woman in my mid-twenties human, who has become the absolute highest amount of impatient that one can get!

Not only has it been challenging to not have the title of wife after all these years, but we are still in fact adamant that we do not want to act as if we are married. Put more simply, we are still abstaining from premarital relations. This, to be honest, is NOT easy. We have been together for as long as most married couples in our church, crying out loud! But yet, we are to be joyful while we wait. This is something that my flesh screams CRAZY! But my heart has, in fact, found joy.

The reasons why are quite simple, actually; one being that it is written over and over again throughout Scripture that we are to wait on the Lord, but also due to my own interactions with the Holy Spirit in which I have heard God say to me, “It’s not your timing, but mine.” These specific verses are ones that I feel God has perfectly illustrated to us;

  • Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all ways submit to him, and he will make your path straight.”
  • Lamentations 3:25 “The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.”
  • Romans 12:12 “ Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”

These past years have been far from a cake-walk, and that has become my biggest testament as to God moving in this relationship. That may seem a little backwards to some, but to me it makes perfect sense. The Lord has promised us both that we are to eventually be together, if we indeed wait on him. It seems crazy to our Christian friends who cannot believe we have waited this long, and even crazier to our non-Christian friends who cannot grasp the idea of “waiting” at all. It’s frustrating to both of us, and we have failed at times and have threatened to give up. Every time, we are met with the Lord’s precious grace and reminded of his promises. It is because of this that I have been able to wait with a smile, because every time I want to cry out to the Lord, “How dare you make me wait when I’m trying to do everything right by you,” I am quickly reminded of the works he has done. He has transformed this once-little girl, who starved for any worldly love she could get her hands on, into a woman who is running only after Christ’s heart. He has taught both my boyfriend and me the value of a Godly relationship, and has shown us, in many circumstances, how glad we are that we are not yet married. He has also allowed us to be a light to so many people through our experiences.  And, He has undeniably reminded us both that though the world may look at us funny for waiting on the word he spoke to our hearts, that He will be good to those who seek Him. Although none of my flesh wants to believe that there is joy in waiting, I know that there most certainly is.


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My name is Valerie Hatcher and I am 26 years old. I live in San Marcos and have recently taken on the responsibility of raising my 12-year-old brother, Keanu. I grew up always believing in God and occasionally would attend Catholic Church with my family, but I would consider myself to have been saved in 2009. I began to attend The Father’s House regularly along with the high school group The Bridge with my boyfriend, Simon, when I was abruptly met with the Holy Spirit one morning at work. From that moment on, I knew I wanted to live my life for Jesus. Growing up with the furthest from a “normal” family, I was finally at peace to know I had the best father anyone could ask for in Jesus.

My Child Would Never…

My Child Would Never… | By Lauren Stark and Chrissy Grissom

A Mother & Daughter Co-Write on their Story. 

Lauren Stark: When I look back on my life some parts seem like a lifetime ago. I’m currently 32, married to an amazing man, I have three beautiful girls and a job that I love. I love Jesus, my church, my family and my friends. I’m genuinely joy-filled and excited about my future, but it wasn’t always like this. I wasn’t always perusing Jesus and going to church. I wasn’t always happy with my life.

I grew up in a Christian home, attended a church my whole life and even went to a Christian school from kindergarten through eighth grade. My parents provided what they could and did their best to raise a Christian kid. But as much as they wanted me to have their Jesus, it was exactly that: their Jesus. I had to come to him on my own and unfortunately that meant walking through some drug problems.

I went to Orange Glen high school from 1999-2003 and tried to fit in and be one of the cool kids. I went to parties and started hanging out with the wrong crowd, desperately trying to fit in and be accepted and wanted. I look back and think “why”? Why did I so seek their approval? I dabbled around with alcohol and I got pregnant right out of high school. 18 and a new mom. When things fell apart with Aliyah’s biological dad, I began a five-year chase to make something work. I needed a husband, I needed to get out of my parents’ house, I needed someone to help me through this way-too-expensive southern California life. I was seeking friendships and relationships to fill the void deep within my heart. A single mother knows loneliness like no other.

Sometimes I drank … a lot. I turned 21 and got a DUI. What a loser! You can only imagine how the enemy played on me. I looked to drugs and more alcohol to satisfy me and they did but only for a moment. The thing is, no matter how high you get you will ALWAYS come down. The biblical principle is true: you reap what you sow; and if you chase after drugs, you will reap destruction. The wages of sin is death! But you’re not thinking in biblical terms when you are using drugs. All you care about is yourself and how you can feel better. Your better judgement is gone entirely.

LaurenI feel lucky with my story since my run with drugs wasn’t that long. I ended up with a broken repentant heart that was met with forgiveness and mercy. Mercy is undeserved favor. Undeserved. I didn’t deserve mercy when I was disobedient to my parents in high school. I didn’t deserve mercy when I had sex before marriage. I didn’t deserve mercy when I wasn’t being the best mom I could be. I didn’t deserve mercy when I was using drugs. But that’s the God I found when I hit my rock bottom, a God of mercy. I wasn’t in trouble, I wasn’t grounded. He didn’t say “Well if you get better then I will let my work on the cross work for you.” He died and forgave me when I was my ugliest. He was whipped while I stole money from my parents. He took a crown of thorns stuck in his head while I took some crystal meth and smoked it in abandoned parking lots. He carried a heavy cross that dug into his bleeding back while I cooked heroine and shot it up.

Oh, the risk I took! But the risk Jesus took! He went to the cross for me but what if I never got to know him? What if I never “got right”? What if I never repented? God took a huge risk on me sending his only son to die on the cross for my drug addiction. Wow! I’m forever grateful he did because I did come to know him. In 2008, I finally hit my rock bottom. I was so broken and humbled that I went home and told my family the truth. I ended up in a Christian rehab in Huntington beach. My life changed. I realized that all I had been missing was my relationship with Jesus. My true daddy, my savior, my restorer of life, my healer and my provider!

Looking back, I see God’s patient love for me. His grace and mercy over my drug deals. Over my shady scary police encounters. It is amazing that all I have are some fractured relationships and embarrassment to clean up. I should be dead, in jail, without my kids Lauren Familybut God spared me. Today I love Jesus with every fiber of my being. I seek him for my approval and acceptance, the God of the universe, the maker of heaven and earth who holds the stars in place knows every detail in my life and his thoughts of me are more numerous than the grains of sand at the beach. What the enemy was trying to kill, steal and destroy all those years the Lord has renewed and traded it with abundant life. I don’t share my story to brag about some dangerous things I’ve done but to boast in my weakness since there the lord has shown his strength.  

Walking with Jesus on “this side” of my story is so much better than before. I can list at least 5-10 people just like that who are struggling with addictions. I know it is hard for parents or loved ones to draw the line between tough love and grace but I will say this: when I was truly sorry and repentant and humbled to my core, my dad showered me with grace and forgiveness like the prodigal daughter I was. He reflected our heavenly father and that’s when I met Jesus.

 

Chrissy Grissom: As parents we often feel our children are an extension of ourselves. When they do good and great things it must be because of our sweet parenting skills. So it stands to reason when they don’t make good decisions, it must be our fault. Did I not love enough? Did I love too much? Not enough discipline? Too much? What did I do wrong?

The hardest thing we a parents witness is our kids making bad choices – knowing what consequences await them. The enemy is out to steal, kill and destroy but I didn’t think he would be after one of my own. Or at least I never thought one of MY kids would EVER do any dangerous drug. MY child? No way.

Pride.

I was in denial. My husband wasn’t. He knew something was way wrong. But he also knew if she ever wanted help and wanted to come home, he would help her. What an awesome example of our heavenly father he was at that time.

Lauren & dadAfter a lot of praying and fasting I came to the realization she isn’t really my daughter, sort of. She is our Lord’s daughter. I had to give her over completely to God. God loves her more than I possible could ever love her. I am so grateful. God is all about redemption and reconciliation. Even though I didn’t know exactly what she was doing at the time, I had a strange peace knowing she is God’s child.

The best day ever came on a cold Sunday morning looking out my window, squinting and seeing…is that Lauren? Walking towards out house? Is that really her?

Thank you Jesus that her time in that world was relatively short lived. I want to say to any parent out there: trust in God. He loves your child more than you do. Fast and pray.

I want to add a warning. I hope you never think (like I did) “My child (young or grown) would never do anything like that.” Or any other harmful thing. Our enemy is good at what he does. But the good news is God is greater.  


Lauren & Crissy

 

Lauren Stark is a happily married mother of three beautiful girls. She works full time at Henson’s Fix Auto. Chris (Chrissy) Grissom is Lauren’s mom. Chrissy also has three children. She is the school secretary at Escondido Christian School, where she has worked for twenty-five years.