In Memory of Mahlon Eash, Jr.

Life took a crazy sudden turn again. Sentences spoken in passing now are precious last words. Moments that were the daily norm, now can only be called memories. No words can be spoken that will ease the pain. Nothing can be given that eases the ache. Along with this fresh hurt and pain comes all the past memories of going through this before. A feeling of deja vu infiltrates within us as we all deal with the shock and grief in our own way. Some bury the feelings deep, never letting anyone know they’re even there. Some continue on but with a hint of fixated sorrow on their face. Some grieve by solitude. Solitude that gives you a chance to cry without anyone seeing. Solitude that gives you a chance to try to sort your feelings out and yet, somehow, they still feel like a jumbled mess. Some cling to each other, letting tears flow, and just craving that one thing that is still stable in their lives, a family member, a friend, someone who has always been there and you know is a constant. And, just when you think all the tears have been cried, somehow, a few more squeak out and run down your cheek. Some work it off–staying busy is the key and keeping active numbs the pain–if only for a little while.

Our body craves normality. When normal is ripped away, we yearn to fill it with something that seems even halfway right. And yet, every forced laugh at some stupid punny joke brings up a shred of guilt because of what someone else is going through. But laughter is also healing, and you begin to wonder what is even proper and decent in this time? Every hour you spend at work reminds you of all that might never get done. You begin to realize that you never want to live with regrets, because…….What if??

Slowly, but surely, you begin to find your place. Slowly, but surely, life seems to return to a halfway decent place. Nothing will ever be the same, nothing will ever seem to go the way it was before, some days you may wonder if you can even go on. Days will come when we celebrate, and we gather together as a family, but, only with a missing piece. Each person you know adds a piece to this puzzle called life, and when the piece is missing, the picture just isn’t quite right.

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Mahlon Eash Jr. (Jr. as I knew him), you had a determination in you that took you far in life. As a young boy, you were one of the smaller ones in stature, but as stated by one of your brothers, what you lacked in size, you made up for in determination.

You had a goofy side about you, a sense of humor. Cracking jokes and wanting to make people laugh.

You loved your family so much. You were SO proud of them all. Your grandchildren were the apple of your eye, and you would do most anything for your family. One memory I have— was often (or what seemed often 🙂 ), while going about my duties, I’d see your truck at the Martinsburg Dairy Isle, eating lunch with Erma. Those, I’m sure, are special times for her, and memories that will not soon be forgotten. Not every man would want to spend all his work hours working with his wife, but you did, and those are precious moments that will never be regretted!

You had a legacy that you wanted to pass on to your family. The business that had been in the Eash family for years and years….you took it upon yourself to keep it up and running, and you were proud to bear the name of Foundations Plus. That legacy of hard work and determination can be passed on through your family. Yes, there will be hard days, and there will be moments of discouragement. But you taught them to be strong, they WILL get through it.

So, yes, you will be missed. Days will not always be easy. Grief may come and go. But, know your family is strong. And on days it seems to them that they can’t keep going, they can be lifted up on the wings of prayer.

 

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December Busyness

Ok, really, this could’ve been named 2017 Summer and Fall busyness, but nah, I’ll leave it the way it is. 🙂 This will be a random conglomeration of pictures with some random details. You’re brave if you follow along, and if you make it to the end, you have an amazing resilient brain that can keep up with the most random ramblings. 🙂

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I had another niece born to me. Well, to our family, but she’s still mine 🙂 Kari Rebecca surprised us all when she entered this world almost 2 weeks early. I’m not complaining! 😀

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One day this summer/fall, we got a lot of rain. Our small creek flooded. By the end of the day, it was down to a more normal size again. We didn’t float away. The End.

Who knew you could change the look of a wallet this much. It’s not perfect, and I don’t claim to be a perfectionist, or a DIY-er, but the updated version suits me SO. MUCH. BETTER!!

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Pills, pills, pills. Find more of the updated health journey here. If I’d never have to see another one of these orange bottles, it would be pretty amazing! 🙂 Seriously, though, you’d think they could at least get some ‘pleasing to the eye’ colors!

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One day, we baked lots of cookies. Well, I kinda held the baby and drove to and from the office to take care of random office things that people needed, with just a slight hand in the cookie dough. The others did great, though, don’t you think!? 🙂

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If you’ve never had an ice cream party, I highly encourage you to get a group of besties together and dig in!! I won’t tell you how much was left by the time we were done.

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Did you know guys can do dishes too? This was apparently not supposed to be posted online…oopsies! 🙂 I like starting most new traditions, but especially if they’re this kind! (Who knows if it’ll last?)

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Unfortunately, there was one girl missing when I took these pictures. Sunday school for a year with them is____________ (I’ll let you fill in the blank)

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Silly…

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and just (mostly) happy!

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Just look at the expressions on this girl! She was in the midst of intently saying something, and I wish I could remember what it was!! 🙂

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It’s been a year that Grandma left this earth. I’m so glad I have this beautiful handiwork of hers in my room. It’s amazing and took a skill I don’t think I have!

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Our youth had an ugly Christmas sweater party. The pictures say a lot. A lot more than I could! 🙂

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My office I work in got moved. New location is great! Nothing fell apart, and I still have a building to do work in. Thumbs up!

How was your summer/fall/winter 2017? Anything exciting happen? Share a picture and keep your favorite memories alive!

 

How the Las Vegas Tragedy Affects Me

Dear God, our hearts are wondering. They are wondering ‘why’? Why could this happen? How could You let it happen? You are Sovereign. You could’ve stopped it. And yet, through it all, we know that You. Are. Sovereign. That means so much more than just all powerful. Father, that means that through it all, you have an all-knowing mind, and even above that, you have an all-wise plan. Today doesn’t even seem real. It seems like something like this should only happen in the movies. I mean, 50+ people killed and 500+ wounded and many probably fighting for their life. But, as much as this saddens and shocks us, I can’t imagine how much more it saddens and shocks You. It doesn’t shock You with surprise like it does us. Nothing takes You by surprise. Rather, it shocks and saddens You because of all the effort and love you have put into creating each and every life. You created with love, formed every inch of those 550 victims. More than that, you even formed with caring love, the one who decided to make the sad decision to harm these innocent people. Jesus, I believe You are saddened and shocked, not by the surprise of the unknown, but because of how Your love got thrown back in Your face. How, when it seemed as if this world couldn’t get more wicked than it is, this happens. Father, we’ve all been betrayed by people, and it hurts, but never have we poured that much love into someone’s life, only to have it rejected so harshly.

The reactions of people will be mixed, but I wonder if they will even think of You. People will wonder how a God who claims to love, who claims to be merciful, how He can even allow it to happen. I don’t profess to even begin to understand how big and huge your character is, and why You allow this or that to happen, but I do know this…..In this tragedy in Las Vegas, You are there. In the middle of the devastation with the hurricanes, earthquakes, and flooding in the many different places,

You. Are. There.

If people truly seek You, they will find You. They will find You in the hospital room, through the Dr.’s sympathetic and caring touch. They will find You present with the efficient capabilities of the medics and emergency personnel, never knowing the whispered prayers that are breathed over them. They will find You in the middle of the night, when it seems all they can do  is sob with pain–there is where they’ll find You. They will find You while being lifted up in prayer by the whole family of God. They will find You while in the middle of the turmoil inside their hearts, while working at their seemingly endless job, when they will feel that they just can’t do this one more day, but silently, You are giving them strength.

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They can see You with each new sunrise and sunset You give them. They can feel Your presence in the soft breezes that blow. They can find You in the center of a flower–where else could that intense beauty lead them? Their nurse on duty, that quiet, almost ‘too shy’ one…Do they realize that this morning’s Bible study with fellow Christian nurses is making her pause for only a second before she timidly asks, “Do you know my Jesus?” The hurting and confused children, the fatherless and motherless. You are there in the ones holding them close, cuddling them, hoping they can give these little ones just a tiny feeling of safety.

God, You are there.

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But, You are also here, with us, the ones who are supposedly ‘unaffected’ by these tragedies. We feel slightly sheltered and safe, and yet our heart aches for those who are ‘out there’. That ache is You speaking to us. The tears that come to our eyes when hearing of the devastation, that’s You, reminding us to pray. That lump in our throat is just a way to shut our mouths from all the cliche sayings, and instead take the time to whisper a prayer to our heavenly Father. You are also here in our freedom to come and go. That freedom is a gift from You to us, to allow us to share Your Good News. When day in and day out, I reject that gift or use it all selfishly for myself, I wonder if that’s just as much shock and sadness to You as the tragedy of Las Vegas. You are here with us, in the middle of our everyday life, waiting, watching with eagerness to see how soon we’ll see You revealing Yourself to us, and when we don’t take notice, I’m wonder if that rejection is just like being thrown in Your face as well.

Father, I wonder how the nation of the U.S. would become if we could all just open our eyes to You. I wonder, if we could actually, truly recognize You in all the places You are, how would that make a difference in our nation?

Jesus, I know I can’t change the nation–only You can do that, BUT I can allow You to change me, and then maybe the change in me will light a spark in someone else’s life. Also, I can pray. We forget the power of prayer, but prayer has such a healing benefit, and our nation is so broken, in desperate need of the healing only You can give.

Help our nation to willingly open our eyes to be able to see You wherever You are. Open our hearts to the change that only You can give.

God, please heal this land!!

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Tiny Treasures

The other day, week, or sometime in the past month or two, I cleaned my room. It was the good, “curiosity satisfying, going through old papers and stacks of things” cleaning. Ok, so maybe I’m the only one who lets it get that bad, but either way, I found something I had written back in my school teaching days, and I thought I’d share it on here, along with some changes/add-ons to make it sound better. Follow along if you dare! 🙂

“With a heavy sigh, I sank in my chair wishing with all my might for more dedicated students. Another failed quiz here, more studying of spelling words there. You see, today was a rough day. One particular student had to be worked with continuously on keeping the work up to total ability and had to be prodded so laziness didn’t become habitual.

This student was one I pushed hard, especially today. I made this one find all the answers, write and correct them all, and then study again to make sure he/she grasped the concepts. This student was the one who sighed (loudly), but was taught to obey, and, knowing I was the authority at school, went and ‘did’.

Recess came and went, and I was discouraged. Discouraged with the day, with the student, with everything that went wrong that day. If I were completely honest, I would say I was discouraged with myself. Was I too harsh? Am I expecting too much or not enough? What is a way I could have handled it better? How can I prepare myself if and when it happens again?

Story-time was soon upon us, and I soon became lost in the story as I read it aloud. After story, the student I’d treated so ‘harshly’ came up to my desk, and with a sweet smile said, ‘This is for you, Katie’, shyly laying a note on my desk. Listening as the numerous, unrecognizable misspelled words were explained, (still need to work on that spelling!) it settled in what was happening. I was humbled. Oh, to have the resiliency of a child. The note was simple, but it’s meaning was clear. ‘Katie, you’re a good teacher, and you make us happy and you give us prizes and you give us candy and you’re a good teacher and you give crafts for us, and you give us ideas and you’re perfect.’ (run-on sentences, too 🙂 )

My worst fears were unfounded. I hadn’t estranged this student. If anything, it built our relationship stronger. At dismissal, she/he asked, ‘Did you like the note?’ And in all honesty, I could say, ‘Yes, I liked it!!’, when in truth, my heart was overflowing with love!

You see, God has given me 13 ‘tiny treasures’ to teach and instruct in more than knowledge of Math, English, and Reading. He gave me them to teach important life lessons. That day, I believe I learned more than they did. That day, one of my tiny treasures gave of themselves in complete honesty a part of who they are. This tiny treasure, a child and a note, puts a smile on my face, as I think about the time God said, ‘Katie let me teach you a thing or two about Tiny Treasures’.”

God still gives us Tiny Treasures daily. Are our eyes open to them? (And, yes, I still have a picture of that note) 🙂

 

Hard Work and Moving On

Last Saturday was the day. The day all the hard work came together and actually happened. The day that was a turning point for the Eash family. The day that was filled with probably some of the most mixed emotions ever.

It was the day when history as we’ve known it, and ‘the way it’s always been’ ended. It was the day that new beginnings began. It was a day filled with excitement and uncertainty. A day that, when it was all over, a sigh of relief could be heard throughout the small town of Martinsburg.

It was a day full of memories. Memories of Grandpa and Grandma and the life they had created for their family. It was a day of recollecting. Recollecting on days gone past. Days of cleaning flower-beds, crashing the golf-cart into stuff, playing with Grandma’s many dolls, and the many meals and gatherings we’ve had together on the farm.

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It was a day we could feel the support and love through the community. A day that made us (or maybe it was just me) realize we had NO IDEA how many people would show up for the turning of a new era. It was a day of catching up with family and friends. In my mind’s view, I can still see Grandpa and how tickled pink he would’ve been to see all his friends show up for this. I can see how he would’ve been proudly showing off his tractors and toys for all to see. They really were his pride and joy, and there was not much he liked better than spending a day in the field sitting proudly on his ‘green machines.’ And I can see Grandma making sure everyone has enough food and is satisfied, making sure every detail goes exactly as she planned, while we just smile and wonder if she’ll ever calm down. 🙂

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It was a day filled with pride. Pride to be a part of this family. Pride to be able to carry on the legacy that Grandpa and Grandma Eash started. Pride to be able to have an ‘Eash Family Farm’ shirt in our possession. Yes, you can label us as ‘one of those’, but until you’ve been in that situation yourself, don’t judge! 🙂

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It was also a day that was exhausting!! I wonder how many grown-ups wished they could take a nap in the middle of it all! 🙂

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It was a day of laughter, stress, inward tears, and the over-powering sense of reality. For so long, this day was talked about and planned. Now, it’s finally happening!!

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Cousin time… How many more can the golf cart hold? 🙂

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All-in-all, it was a day to remember. Not only the day itself, but the memories that came flooding back as we reminisced throughout the whole ordeal. Cleaning out the house, the shops, the barns, made for lots of good stories, I’m sure.

To all you siblings….Make your mom and dad proud. Continue the legacy they started so long ago. The Eash’s are known for their hard-working and ‘go-get-em’ attitude. Keep it alive. Don’t let this turning of a page in your book be the last of the ‘Eash Family Chronicles’.  Continue it well with your children and grandchildren. Keep Christ first and live to make them proud!

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Your hard work paid off! Great job, you all!

*All photos (except the last one, I’m not sure where/who it came from) used with permission and credited to TyNicolePhotography. Head on over to her blog  and check out her work!

Field Trips and Things

When you take a field trip with kids, you wind up with a lot of fun, adventure, and random, fleeting moments of questioning whether your sanity will remain with you through to the end of the day.

This week, I had the delightful privilege of going along to Kentucky to the Ark Encounter with our school. Vanessa and I were given this group of girls into our charge and I can’t tell you how many times I counted…1-2-3-4-5-6-7, to make sure the heads were all there.

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Well-behaved to be sure, and old enough to kinda take care of themselves, we waded through the waves of the 156,659,123,678,257 people. Seriously, for the introvert like me, the crowds were exhausting!! It. Was. Overwhelming. We talked to one staff member who told us their record day they had about 9,000 people. Yeah, see what I mean? That’s why by the end of the day, I looked slightly bewildered and exhausted (or maybe even on the verge of going crazy)

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We walked and walked…..Over 6 football fields we were told, we took cool selfies, we had funny moments, we saw some pretty awesome things, we touched a scaly reptile, we traveled long distances and lived to tell about it, we corralled 40+ kids through a pizza buffet, we entered the gift shop, and most walked out with nothing!, we drank some fresh lemonade, and the pictures can tell the rest…….Enjoy!

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Crazy Girls…

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Do we look tired?? Cause I definitely was!! 🙂

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Resting and eating food after going through the Ark

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Bus rides can make us crazy…

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See what I mean?? 🙂

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He honestly wasn’t as grumpy as he looks 🙂

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Petting a skink is seriously going to be one of the coolest/weirdest things you will ever experience!!

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All-in-all, it was a very fun and enjoyable experience. From the moments of stomach-ache (thankfully, no throwing up!), to the giggles of a small one who told me the hand sanitizer fell in the bus bathroom toilet. (umm, yeah, not much I’m gonna do about that!), to the constant noise and chatter of little ones needing this or that. Filling our faces with pizza and then playing in the arcade game room afterward. Being ‘oh, so borrrreeeddd’ on the trip, and playing games with your friends. These are the moments we treasure and these are the memories we make. I’m so glad for the moments like this that I can share with these kiddos…I miss them more than I ever dreamed! (this got suddenly sentimental). A great day indeed!

Big Happenings in a Small-Town

You remember last post, I mentioned nothing exciting ever happens to me. Well today, that was a little bit of a lie (or rather a lot of a lie 🙂 ) Read on for the full story (facts will be as best as I can remember from having such an adrenaline rush, but may have some of my slightly dramatic/exaggerating flair to it….hmmmm 🙂 )

It’s not every day you get held at gun-point and patted down by the police. While leaving one of my jobs and on my way to the other, I was driving (quite rapidly, like usual, so I’m not late, leaning down and changing my socks as I drive out the long lane). I noticed a mass of police cars and thought about how I had seen one pulled over when I got there……at which time it seemed just like a routine traffic stop. But then I realized they seem to be pretty excited to see me…..several coming close to the beginning of the driveway and waving/motioning to me, while others are lining up and keep coming. They didn’t seem to stop coming and lining up! I slowed down/stop and in my adrenaline-infused body, I remembered to open my window to seem as less of a threat. Soon, I heard them shouting at me, something that I can’t understand. I remember feeling some of the warning signs that something’s about to happen to my body (the passing out, etc.) and thinking that ‘oh, shoot, here I go!’ and realizing there’s nothing I can do about it, and they’ll just have to take care of me…Needless to say, I think I calmed myself down by assuring myself I didn’t do anything wrong, and I ask them what their shouted command had been. (miraculously the symptoms kinda stopped…..Thank-you Jesus, and it just kinda re-affirms to me that the symptoms I’ve been having have to do with heart/adrenaline/blood pressure issues) They repeated to, “Put your hands in the air, get out of the car and walk slowly towards us.” By this time, I had one sock and shoe off so I quickly grabbed the shoe and put it on, and began walking, while thinking to myself, “I hope no one sees me that I know. What are all those cars lined up thinking about this Mennonite woman walking towards the police?” 🙂 (Yes, my mind wonders funny things sometimes) Sometime on my way over, my mind realized they were pointing a gun at me, but I knew if I cooperated and did just as they said, I shouldn’t have a problem. I got to the group of roughly 5-7 policemen, and one asked me to step over there, asked if I had any weapons on me…(hmmm, nope!) He put his gun away, and asked if he could pat me down. I knew I had nothing to hide, so I told him ‘sure.’ He told me to put my hands behind my back, while assuring me, I was not under arrest, and he would explain in a minute. (By this time, I almost felt like bursting into tears, and the thought had crossed my mind to ask what was going on…..my emotions were oh, so wild) So after a quick assurance to make sure I was unarmed, I was told that there is an escaped felon on the run, last seen running in the field right beside where I worked, and wondered if I had seen any suspicious activity. I was told his name, shown a picture, and asked if I had seen anyone lurking around, or anything out of the ordinary. I told them different times that “no, I was there to do work. I’m kinda secluded from everything that happens and I don’t see or hear a whole lot that goes on.” I was asked questions, and they had my full cooperation, because I had a job to get to, AND I really wanted to know all of what was going on. “Who owns the house back there?” “Can you give us a layout of the buildings, etc.?” “Is there anyone in the car with you?” (No, not that I know of) “Do you mind if we check?” (No, it would make me feel better if you did…as thoughts raced about how he could be hiding in my trunk unknown to me.) “Does the owner of the house own alot of firearms?” (ummm, I don’t really know. What do you consider alot?) “Is there anyone else in the house or on the property?” (No, not that I know of) So, I waited, they asked more questions, I waited some more, I was assured this was not meant to scare me, (I’m pretty sure my adrenaline was still high at this point), I watched as they searched my vehicle, all the while trying to be on my best behavior so they would trust me and let me leave, so I could go to work. At one point, I looked down, and then realized/remembered I have one shoe with a sock, and one shoe without a sock, that’s how crazy this morning was! One unit came with a dog, and they just kept watching the house/property. (It was kinda cool hearing something about the vehicle coming out of the driveway is clear…knowing they were talking about me 🙂 ) After giving them all the information they needed, I shook one’s hand, said ‘thank-you’ to them and after changing my shoes and socks back to the normal way they should’ve been, I left, knowing that if I’d be late to work, I’d REALLY have a valid excuse!! 🙂

After I calmed down a little more, I began thinking about how this could’ve been much worse. My emotions were high, and it wouldn’t have taken much to make me cry….yes, for no reason. I was by myself, back in a secluded area. He could’ve been watching me, with all the places to hide around there, and I would not know it. He could’ve crawled in my car, or been watching me leave. I’m thankful today, for God’s protection, and his watch and care over His children.

I also am thankful for the ones on duty today. While it terrified me at first, they were first of all concerned about doing their job. When an unidentified vehicle came out of the driveway (me), they were on it, and they were watching, ready to take action. They were professional and to the point, making me feel safe and secure, and assuring me they didn’t mean to scare me. Men in blue risk so much each day, never knowing what they’ll get into on their next shift, yet I want you to know, they passed the test with flying colors today. Our little town is not meant to have crime and runaway felons, it’s meant to be safe, and so we thank them for all their hard work today.

Policemen, EMTs, paramedics, fire-fighters, nurses, doctors…..all emergency workers….These are the un-sung heroes of our day. It’s never a place I’d want to put myself in, and yet, I’m so glad someone enjoys it and takes the challenge. Take a moment and say ‘thank-you’ the next time you see one of them. I assure you, it will NOT be rejected!