Highs and Lows

I love our life in the Army. Anyone who meets me knows this and some say i’m too “obsessed” with the whole supporting my husband. I grew up in the Army and, other than my single years following my own career, this life is all that I have ever known. I am so thankful that God gave me such a strong, dedicated, hero of a man to share my life with and I wouldn’t change this for anything in the world. I also think that this life would be even harder if I didn’t love it so much.

That being said, I still have my days that I really don’t like the Army. I have days that I daydream of what it must be like to live the “civilian life” and be able to count how many nights I’ve spent away from my husband…on one hand. There are days that I just want to fight for a little time with my husband at home.

This week I’ve seen some of the lows of being married to a soldier and we’ve been hit by some of the negatives of the Army. As always, that stupid “Murphy’s Law” definitely hates me. Everything seems to have gone wrong (even by my own doing) and I received some bad/scary news earlier. There are days that I am so burned out on always being away from my husband or awaiting the next time he’ll come home with the “good news and the bad news”. There are days that I am so envious of the families that never have to be separated. And sometimes I just want to wallow in my self pity for awhile without someone trying to put a positive spin on it or make me realize how it “could be worse”. Yes, it can ALWAYS be worse…but does that make my pain any less?

I also don’t think it’s a bad thing that I literally feel like a piece of my heart is missing every time my husband is gone. I spent 27 years of my life being single and we’ve been apart for over 60% of our relationship…that wears on you…no matter who you are. I always thought i’d get married and not have to be the fifth wheel at family functions and still be the one there without a spouse. Sometimes it gets old going to unit functions alone or taking care of the house on your own. I know that there are couples out there who function better apart or joke that it’s “good” for their marriage. We are not those people. Even when we were dating he spent almost every free minute of his first tour in Afghanistan writing/talking/skyping with me. This is what works for our relationship. We are insanely, crazy in love with each other and we like it that way. I know that some people don’t get this and that’s okay for us to be different. I know that this will grow and change as we add children to our family, but our marriage will always be this important and special to us. It’s not easy to be away from your soulmate. However, we will always make that sacrifice for his service.

I also know that I feel so much better when I have Army wife friends that vent with me and share in some of my frustrations and love/hate for this life. I think it’s okay to admit that we are not always super heroes. I know that i’m not the only wife who has felt this way. Instead of tearing each other down or trying to compete with each other we should lending a hand and helping each other up. How much worse would a new wife feel if people were constantly telling her to “suck it up” or pretend like it never gets to them? I’ve actually had older wives laugh at me and say things like “better get used to it” or “you have no idea” (mind you, this was after his 12 month deployment so I had a little idea). This was my reason for volunteering with the FRG. I know that not all units have an amazing group like ours, but I have been blessed to work with some really great women. Don’t always count them out because of one or two bad experiences.

Now to go back and pull myself out of the funk. Sometimes it definitely feels like we’re on a roller coaster, but for all of the lows…there are AMAZING highs! This life is worth it to be with the man that I love. I am proud of what he does for America and for our family’s future. Most of all, i’m thankful that we will always have each other to get through the highs and lows together. I’m also thankful for our relationship with God and the fact that He is ALWAYS there for us…no matter the hour. 🙂

~Melissa Grim, Venting Army Wife

The little things…

It’s so easy sometimes to get weighed down by all of the stresses that life throws our way. This can be especially true in the military. However, all of the little moments and treasures in life can be easy missed while we’re worrying about something else. This is something that I am trying to remind myself lately…to take time “embracing the journey” and to appreciate the little things.

Lately I have been stressing about how much my husband has to be away from me. It’s hard to not be jealous of civilians and those in jobs that allow them to be near their spouses. It’s also very difficult to learn how to bite your tongue when people joke about or make fun of their spouses or tell you that “you knew what you were getting into”. I adore my husband. Anyone who has met me or befriended me on facebook can tell you that in less than 5 minutes. I can’t stand to be away from him and I waited 29 years to have the family that I have now. I want him there for every little thing (big or small) that happens in my world and this makes it especially hard when he has to leave. All of those letters and little tiny love notes that we leave for each other can be lost in the pain of the moment.

We have a few advantages being in the military, however (and i’m not talking about our “lavish lifestyle” and “tremendous benefits”). We are afforded so many wonderful little moments that one can’t even begin to imagine without having experienced. Yes, goodbyes (especially before a deployment) cut you to your core and the stress and worry that you feel can’t be measured. However, the feeling you get when you finally receive that text that says “I’m here and i’m safe” literally makes your whole week! The countdown is difficult, but every day is one day closer than before and the excitement of homecoming just builds and builds until you finally wrap your arms around their neck and have that “first kiss” all over again!! NOTHING can compare to the feeling of knowing that your soldier is home safe again and back where he belongs! Even those little goodbyes with a TDY give you a small homecoming to be treasured. I am trying to remember to take the time to appreciate all of those little moments that I have the pleasure of experiencing with my soldier. Those military balls are a wonderful opportunity to make him look all handsome in his dress blues (aka monkey suit). 😉 I love the traditions and the honors that most never get to experience. We are so much closer than we would be if we didn’t experience so much pain and heartache with each other. We don’t have family near us and our friends rotate in and out of our lives every few years. This only brings our little family even closer and makes us cling harder to our love for each other. Soon our future kiddos will learn to appreciate this world as well and see how great their advantages will be even with the extra heartaches. I know my heart is going to overflow with even more love when I see him tuck our babies into bed or sing to them. I am so very blessed!

Family pictures in downtown Savannah, GA (Spring 2014)

Family pictures in downtown Savannah, GA (Spring 2014)

Whenever I see him in his uniform or hear from his brothers in arms (especially his superiors) what a great soldier he is my heart just bursts with pride. Whenever someone thanks him for his service they have no idea how much they make all of those goodbyes worth it. Everyone wants to feel appreciated for what they do…no matter their role in life. My husband is a true American hero…and not just because of the fact that he serves but in the way that he does. And he does look so amazing while doing so! 😉

So remember to take the time to appreciate the special moments that we are afforded in the military. If you’re not a military family, find your own special moments. Take the time to thank a service member and his family for the sacrifices they make on a DAILY basis so that you don’t have to. Those are the little things that make what we do seem worth it!

Proud ARMY WIFE
~Melissa G

One Year of Marriage…but always Newlyweds!

Last weekend, Ryan and I celebrated our 1 Year Wedding Anniversary!  Even with all of the crazy business of the past 12 months it still did not seem real to either of us that that much time had passed!  Sometimes I still can’t believe that we have been so blessed in our relationship.  This first year threw a LOT of difficulties our way but through clinging to each other and our faith in God, we have only grown closer.

In true Ryan and Melissa fashion, we had to be extremely unordinary with our celebration.  We started the weekend on Friday by driving to Atlanta to run our first Spartan Race (Spartan Sprint)!!  Our road trips are always a blast and we got in lots of singing, dancing, laughing and just quality time with each other followed by camping out at the edge of the parking lot for the race.  (Like I said, we never do anything normal.)  The next morning we packed everything up and headed into the “Danger Zone”. 😉  Our “heat” wasn’t until 9:45 so that gave the weather a little time to warm up from a steamy 37 degrees (didn’t have much effect on the freezing mud puddles though)!  We ran almost 5 miles with 18ish obstacles through mud, over/under walls, and over fire!  Our race was fun, exhausting, challenging and extremely rewarding!  For my spec ops soldier, it was a walk in the park; For me, it was the most difficult thing I have ever done.  We both came out caked in mud, tired and pumped, and with a new thirst for more adventure!  This was only the start and now we’re on the “Trail to Trifecta”!  I have a ways to go to even come close to my husband, but I plan on being WAY more ready for our “Super” in August!

We are officially SPARTANS!!! AROO!!!

We are officially SPARTANS!!! AROO!!!

Almost immediately after getting cleaned up, partaking in our free drink and Core Power (crack protein shake), we got on the road to Fayetteville to celebrate the rest of our anniversary.  We arrived in Fayetteville just in time to catch the DUKE game with the fam.  We have so missed watching the big sporting moments with my sports obsessed family so it was awesome to get that time as well.  Plus, DUKE beat unc (cryolina) just like our wedding night!  Perfect intro into our actual anniversary day!

Ryan handled all of the planning for our wonderful weekend so a few things were surprises for me.  We spent the 9th at Barrington House, the B&B where we were married and spent our wedding night.  It was great to relive the day with the staff and enjoy some of the same food that was served to us and our guests.  We even had the top layer of our wedding cake that was every bit as delicious as last year!  As hopeless romantics and sentimental nuts like we are, we couldn’t be happier that we got to spend our 1 year back where we became one.  Barrington is filled with so many sweet memories and a lot of the sights, smells and moments came back to us.  The Barrington staff cooked us up a yummy breakfast with delicious coffee in our “favor” mugs and then we were on our way to our 2nd year of Wedded Bliss as Mr. and Mrs. Ryan Grim!!

1 Year later and even more in love!

~Still MRS. Melissa Grim ❤

11 Months in…

Today is our 11 Month-iversary and we can’t believe we’re only 4 weeks from a year!!!  This first 11 months has just flown by!

This past month has been an exciting month for us…especially the last week.  I was able to visit my sister’s family in Tennessee to meet our sweet new niece (Kinsey) and celebrate the twins’ birthday (Josh & Savannah).  I also got to see my parents and hang out with my friend Noel who recently moved to Nashville.  It was a nice weekend and was so great to see some of our family: a rarity when we are all so spread out now.

Sunday we adopted our sweet 9 week old Boston Terrier and named him Yawkey.  For our non-New England friends, Yawkey Way is where Fenway Park and the Boston Red Sox are located.  Yawkey is the sweetest and smartest little puppy I’ve ever seen.  He’s the runt of the litter so he hasn’t even broken 2 lbs.!  Can’t wait to have him fully trained and have lots of fun playing with this little guy.

Ryan, Melissa and Yawkey!

Ryan, Melissa and Yawkey!

Ryan also finished up his 5 week NCO (Non Commissioned Officer) training down at Ft. Stewart, GA.  WLC (Warrior Leadership Course) was kind of a pain, but easy for him compared to all of his other training he’s done in the past year.  I love getting to see him accomplish things in his career…and dress up in his dress blues.  I’m such a proud wifey!  Plus, it’s good to have my husband home for a few weeks!

Ft Stewart WLC Class 03-14

Ft Stewart WLC Class 03-14

I love being able to stand by him in these moments!

I love being able to stand by him in these moments!

Lots of fun coming up in the next month as well as we finish out our first year as a married couple.  Here’s to many more blissful years as Mr. and Mrs. Ryan Grim!

~Melissa G.

Thankful for Life and Balancing Carefully

There is a saying I’ve heard my whole life: “There just aren’t enough hours in a day!”  This is so true for me at the moment (and i’m sure for everyone at one point or another), and we don’t even have children yet.  I’m taking a total of 15 credit hours this semester toward my Master’s degree, and i’m beginning to think that I had WAY too much faith in myself.  After reviewing all of the courses that I must take prior to my Practicum/Internship next Spring, I had to up my course load.  While I am loving my classes and counseling/psychology is so interesting to me, everything is a bit overwhelming at times.  I have so much self-doubt and it takes much encouragement from my husband to not want to run away crying at times!  I am praying that God is able to use all of this in the future and that I can make a difference in the lives of our military and their families.

This month has been slightly overwhelming in and of itself.  My sister gave birth to our beautiful new niece earlier this month and developed complications in the delivery.  I am so thankful that God answered our prayers (and MUCH begging) and she has made a miraculous recovery, but it was one of the scariest things we all have ever experienced.  The following week we had a Blackhawk helicopter at Ryan’s unit make a hard landing in which two were injured and we lost a hero.  My heart still goes out to the family and friends of this hero and it hits so close to home that our guys are NEVER safe…even when they are not deployed.

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely adore life in the military and I barely know a life outside of it since this is how I grew up.  We have a community like no other (and that is WAY more true in the Spec Ops family) and no one else truly understands the pressures that each other faces.  I would not trade our life for anything.  However, sometimes it is so very exhausting.  Ryan and I were talking this weekend about how our entire relationship has been one big countdown from the time we first started dating.  By the time we have been married 1 year he will have been gone for 5 1/2 months of that…and that is with no deployments!  That does not bode well for the next few years.  Again, I’m trying hard not to complain, but I almost miss the 1 year deployments because at least he was guaranteed to be home for at least 9 months after completing a tour.  He has had 3 training schools and 2 TDY’s trips since we got married.  As we said this weekend, it can be tiring trying to fit your “life” into a few short week blocks of time.  I know there are people who have it worse, and I know I should appreciate what I get…but sometimes it just stinks.

All of these experiences have reminded me to appreciate every day that we are given.  Life is one day at a time and we shouldn’t get too far ahead of ourselves or take a single moment for granted.  I say it all the time, but family is everything!  You definitely learn in times of crisis who is truly by your side and who loves you the most!  Sometimes your blood family leaves you and there is only so much you can do…establish family around you.  Let go of the little things.  Apologize when necessary and let go of your pride.  Make every effort to be there for those who are important to you.  Cherish every moment.

“Embrace the Journey”

~Melissa

Life is too short not to be happy…

As I write this, i’m sitting next to the window at my parents’ camp in Maine. Everything is blissfully quiet; the lake/pond is frozen and life is beautifully serene and snow covered. My wonderful husband was able to be home with me and we got to visit with my parents and many members of our family on this visit home. Life is so full and happy at the moment. When you’re newlyweds and members of an Army family that is frequently separated, you learn to appreciate every little small joy that life gives you and save it in the memory bank.

I came upon a blog this morning on Huffington Post talking about habits of happy couples and they all ring true to me. Recently I have seen friends of mine on Facebook posting about how people shouldn’t show their joy online and there should be no sign of a happy relationship. Ummm, what? Why would you want to hide your happiness? I’ve turned this over and over in my mind since these first started popping up and I’ve seen nothing of the sort backed up by reputable psychologists or marriage counselors. These people that post these pictures/articles are the very same who told me that “Marriage isn’t all it’s cracked up to be”. This makes me so sad that they’re still misguided in their views on the most important relationship they’ll ever enjoy.

Ryan and I are almost 10 months into our marriage and blissfully happy. Yes, we are still in the newlywed phase and we plan on dragging that out for the first 70 years or so of our marriage. 🙂 We have been blessed to know many friends who have had long, happy marriages and are still as in love as we are…if not more so. They all say the same things to us: Be happy. Be a positive light for marriage. Never hide your happiness and never believe all of the negativity. On the same token, we have had friends who were struggling in bad relationships that have said that they now see that there can be happiness and that that is not what marriage is supposed to be.

My personal, unprofessional opinion (at least until I graduate and am a true counselor) is that there is way too much negativity about marriage and not enough positivity. We have become a society where it is okay to tease and make fun of our spouses on social media, to their faces and behind their backs but we tell others that they can’t be mushy. How much sense does this make? I say show young people that marriage is a blessing and not a curse and that the dating part of your relationship never has to end. We are much happier now then when we were dating or engaged and I refuse to hide that.

Finally, as my Aunt and Uncle reminded us last night: You will never please everyone, so focus on your own happiness.

~Melissa Grim, Blissfully Happy Wife

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/07/happy-couples-how-to-be-happy-in-marriage_n_2807589.html#slide=2179740

Lessons Learned

Getting married is such an amazing and overwhelming life event. Yes, i’m pretty sure everyone knows that, but it’s totally different than what I expected. Just as with any other major life event I always expected the union of two people to have many more bumps in the road with each other. Surprisingly enough, we skipped right over the whole “Put the toilet seat down” or “pick up your socks” portion. Maybe because we’re still newlyweds in the honeymoon phase, but we have adjusted pretty well to each other and that’s a great thing! 🙂

I am sure that each person’s experience is a little different, but here are a few of the things that I have learned:

1) Nothing could have prepared me for how intense my love for someone could grow to become. I was crazy in love with Ryan before we were married, but there is no way to describe how intense that bond became once we stated our vows before God and our loved ones. The security that comes from knowing that you are one with someone else that loves you more than anyone else on this earth is so overwhelming. One of the amazing pastors that we have had the pleasure of worshipping with told us prior to the wedding that there is no Heavenly way to get out of a marriage. He warned us to know what we were getting into, because once you make that vow before God there is no way to break it. (I am no theologian, but I know how that can be complicated and a little more in-depth.) That is powerful and a LOT to take in. Everyone asks “Does it feel different?” after the wedding and our response has always been “YES!! In a great, indescribable way.”

2) You will never know everything about each other, but it’s great to try! One of the things that we try to do is read about how to be a good husband/wife and do our devotions. This allows for GREAT discussions and sometimes reminds us of things that we could be doing to tear the other down, hurt them, or just not lift each other up like we should. I love hearing Ryan read these and i’m so thankful to have him as the spiritual head of our home.

3) There will be battles! I believe that each person’s situation is different, but thankfully for us these have not been with each other. Even with all of the stress with the Army, PCS’ing, the many separations already…we have adjusted quite well. We have been attacked by outside influences, but through prayer and diligence these have only brought us closer together. Yes, we’ve had our frustrations, tears (primarily me), and difficult trials, but things that are designed to cause strife in our marriage haven’t succeeded. Prayer does wonders when you hand your marriage over to God and ask for His hedge of protection. We should always have our spouse’s “back” to outsiders, other family members, and even our kids one day. Marriages take a lot of work and we can never become complacent. I hope to always remember the pieces of advice I’ve received from those slightly older and MUCH wiser than I and apply it to our life.

4) My love for God has grown. If you have spent any time in Church you know that God uses marriage to describe our relationship with Him. We know that the church is the Bride of Christ, but it rings truer to me now. If we can feel this unified through our new family unit and love each other this much, how much greater is the love between us and Christ?! I love that our devotions bring us closer to God!

Please do not take any of this to mean that we are perfect or our marriage is perfect. We are two very imperfect people, but I believe that when God brings two people together…the union of the 3 of us is perfect. I have a few marriages of friends and family that I have looked at over the years and thought, “One day I want to be just like them!” My prayer is that people will look to us like that and we will be an example of what a godly marriage looks like. ❤

~Melissa Grim, Sappy Army Wife
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6 Months in…forever to go!

We’re 6 months into our marriage and finally beginning to feel like we’re “settled” (if there is a such thing in the military). We’ve already been living in our new home in Savannah/HAAF, GA for over 3 months and so far we are loving it. We didn’t know much about it before we moved to the area except that everyone said “you’ll love it”. The best part of that was it left LOTS of room for exploration and accidental discoveries. That is the beauty of moving to a new place is watching it slowly become “home”.

This fall I began taking my first Master’s class from Liberty Online and am working toward my degree in Marriage & Family Therapy (Counseling). I am loving my classes and it helps to keep me busy when Ryan is gone/working his crazy hours. I am still working as a security consultant on the side, which is amazing because it allows plenty of time for outside activities. PWOC started back up for the fall and, even though we’re only 2 weeks in, I am so thankful for my mom telling me to check it out. The ladies of the group are so caring and have such a heart for sharing the love of Christ. I think I am really going to be blessed by this wonderful group! I’m finally starting to get involved in the FRG for Ryan’s unit so that’s pretty exciting!

Ryan is doing great and definitely hit the ground running with his new unit. He’s already been TDY, sent to training and did awesome (no shock there!). We have our first annual ball with the unit coming up next month and we’ve met some pretty cool people. Hopefully he’ll be getting a pretty awesome change in his job, but more to come on that later! He even met the Under Secretary of the Army and got coined. Did I mention i’m pretty proud of him and all that he has accomplished in less than 4 years in the Army?!

This coming weekend we’re headed to our first PATRIOTS game (my first NFL game) with my parents in Atlanta. We’re super stoked and can’t wait to cheer them on in person and take a ton of pictures.

~Mrs. Melissa Grim

The Marriage Covenant

Let me start by saying that I do not look down on those who are divorced and I fully understand that for some people there was no other option or it was completely one sided. I am in no way judging you if you have been there. My point of this is for the people who have no respect for marriage as a whole:

More and more I see people who do not respect marriage or the divine union it creates. I have seen so many friends/family members post on social media how excited they are that their divorce is final and that they are free and it is so heartbreaking. Some have emailed me for prayer for a friend or family member whose spouse doesn’t want to be married anymore and wants the single life and they don’t know what they can do to fix it. I also see people excited when they get time away from their spouse or family and it makes me so sad. That is not what God intended for us.

I have seen people struggle in their marriages and go on to have the most amazing marriage and true happiness. This makes me cry everytime I think about it. How awesome it is when they beat the odds and hold tight to that person and to the promises of God and are able to come out better on the other side!!

Even more so I see people who have not been taught God’s desires for the marriage union. I don’t pretend to know everything and we are only 5 months into our marriage ourselves, but I can tell you it is the most amazing relationship you can ever imagine! For the longest time I thought i’d be single forever and that there were no decent guys out there. I knew that my parents prayed very often that God would work in the life of my future husband and deliver him to me in His timing, but I stopped believing it was true except for a small part of me. Ryan and I started dating at the most inopportune time in our lives per human standards. I had just lost my job and no idea what I would do and he was in training to head to Afghanistan for a year. We took everything very slow and both prayed from the beginning for God’s blessings. I can never put into words what a miracle our relationship is. God put His blessings on it from the get go and it keeps getting better everyday. Every little thing I ever prayed for in my future soulmate, He is and so much more that I didn’t think of to pray for!

Marriage is God’s gift to us as a representative of our relationship to God. It is the strongest union/bond that exists on this earth. I think one of the worst things society could have ever done was to even create divorce…it was never in God’s plan and there is no earthly way to break a Heavenly covenant. It makes me sad that some people have even openly admitted to trying to break up someone’s marriage or “praying” for its end. How can you pray that God will do something which he has said he detests? (Malachi 2:16) My parents always put each other first no matter what even when it came to us kids…they always had a united front. In the end, your kids grow up and begin their own lives and that should be the time of strengthening your marriage even more…of traveling and enjoying “retirement”. My prayer is that everyone can be as happy as us or even more so. It makes me so sad when I see people who don’t understand what it means when people get married and start their own family unit. I’ve even heard people say that a sister/mother/father should be the most important person in someone’s life…even people who are married themselves. Your spouse should ALWAYS be the most important person in your life…no matter what. I’m so thankful for how our relationship has already changed and grown even closer through our marriage. It is an amazing, indescribable feeling to know that I am one with him and I have someone who loves and supports me and has my back no matter what or who comes against us.

Okay, enough rambling…just another day deep in thought.

Put on the full armor of God

I was blessed enough to go to a Christian High School and attend an awesome youth group that strongly believed in spiritual warfare. However, often times we forget that we “wrestle not against flesh and blood” and that the things we battle are not of this world. For the last two weeks at our local church, our pastor has been teaching about spiritual warfare and putting on the full armor of God.

My husband and I have had a lot that has come against us since before we were even married. There are the usual things that people face: fighting with companies, getting our finances/taxes/property joined for our marriage and the normal stresses. Add to that the Army lifestyle and a PCS within a month of getting married as well as a month of separation (would have been longer if my sister and her family had not been awesome enough to take us in!) and it’s a lot to overcome. There will be a LOT of separations with the new unit he is with…and I fear we’ll be apart more than we’re together. However, as stressful as all of that can be, MOST of the time we take it all in stride. The separations are the hardest, but i’m hoping those get a little easier to handle. You can handle a lot when you both grew up as Army Brats! 🙂

Pastor talked about how the devil tries different tactics against each of us until he finds something that works. What works on me may not work so well on you and vice versa. I am extremely close to my family and friends and my relationships with them mean the world to me. They are what I will do anything for to keep in tact and healthy. Now I also have a marriage that I guard above all else as I was raised to. 🙂 However, it breaks my heart when relationships fall apart or you feel like there is nothing in your power that will heal the problem. This is even more difficult for me being that I always want to fix things and don’t like it when problems are outside of my control! It is easy to allow this hurt and pain to turn into bitterness. It’s also very easy to forget that even when we fight with each other or get annoyed at that car that just cut us off, it’s not the person with whom we are angry. I need to remember in my own life that the devil will try anything to get to me and I have to not let him.

I often want or need other peoples approval and all that I should care about is God’s (and my husband’s of course). It makes me sad when people don’t respect our marriage: mostly because they have not been witness to good marriages in their own lives. I can’t take it personally any longer when people try to devalue our marriage. We entered into a covenant with each other and God and NO person can break that (not even the courts)…it’s a pretty awesome feeling. If others don’t value that, it doesn’t devalue our marriage covenant and I know where we stand so why should it matter?

I am in NO way a perfect person (anyone who knows me will tell you that!). However, I am truly trying to do better in my life. The only person I can “control” is myself and I just need to make sure that I am doing the right thing in God’s eyes. Sometimes all you can do is pray and “let go and let God”. I have to have faith that God will heal the situation…and heal Ryan’s and my hearts.