Thank you. Thank you for showing me that I could be seen, that I was something more than a walking ghost filled with other people’s stories but my own dreams. Thank you for telling me you loved me when neither of us knew what that even meant. If it weren’t for you, I’d never know […]

via To The Men Who’ve Left — quirrk

I don’t think this blogger has ever written anything I didn’t like but somehow I fell in absolute love with this piece, poignantly straight from the heart.  One of the kindest souls I know eloquently reflects that everyone is in our life for a reason, even those who are here to teach us lessons are very much a blessing. Relationships are always an opportunity to learn and grow. It’s especially grand when we recognize the lessons and are able to reinvent pain into grace and gratitude.

Lissa Rankin had a fantastic Facebook post this morning. It smacked me upside the head. The kind of smack that makes you sit up and take notice.

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I often get asked how you know when it’s time to take a leap of faith, and I say, “When the pain of staying put exceeds your fear of the unknown, you leap.” But you don’t have to wait that long. It’s not necessary to wait until the pain is extreme. You have the option to cave early- but most people won’t leap when the pain is just a twinge. We wait until we’re in agony, and then it doesn’t feel like a choice- it feels like survival. Ultimately, we get to the point where we know we’re being guided to do something scary, and we have faith that when we follow these kinds of Divine instructions, things go well, whereas when we ignore the signs, it hurts. That’s why they call it a leap of faith. Faith is not just finding comfort in the unknown but actually taking refuge there. That’s when it gets easier to leap- and leap- and keep leaping into love and trust. – Lisa Rankin

I know this is very true for me. Without a doubt I usually wait until I’m in agony before I leap. I know this about myself. I recognized this trait many years ago when I began scuba diving and I was literally standing on the edge of the swimming pool in the 4 foot end. I was totally geared up and all I had to do was step of the edge into the water. My dive master was right in front of me. So was my husband. My husband kept saying, “Just jump already, it’s only 4 feet deep and you can swim! You’ve got a BC vest on, just jump already!”  My dive master, on the other hand, kept smiling at me and saying, “It’s ok, take your time. You’ll jump when you’re ready. And you will be ready. And then you’ll just step off like it’s nothing at all.”

And he was right. However, in the probably ten minute, yes, ten minutes, that I stood there, sweating, feeling silly, feeling ridiculous actually, heart racing, mouth dry, trying to feel “comfortable” in all this strange feeling gear I FINALLY took a deep breath and I stepped out. I felt completely awkward and my stomach lurched and somewhere I was sure I was going to die.

And then as it almost always does, it all went away, disappeared. I hyperventilated for a second, the water closed over my head and I was in heaven! Not because I’d died either. But because it was as good if not better than I’d dreamed it would be. I’d wanted to scuba dive all my life but waited until I was in my 30’s to try. Go figure. That was a leap in itself, just to sign up for classes. And then the real leap happened, right into the pool. I didn’t want to ever get out.

To be honest, stepping off the edge of the pool, or doing a back roll off the side of a rocking boat has never, and will likely never be, my favourite part. But I can do it without too much effort because I KNOW that what happens right after I take that leap is more than worth the twinge, even the agony. It is beyond heavenly.

So I’ve spent a lot of years using that metaphor with myself to make leaping easier. Still working on that. It works really well in my head. But my sympathetic nervous system isn’t having any of it. That system is flawless, sort of, in what it does. It is very good at “keeping me safe” but it’s also incredibly good at making me miss out on life, things I shouldn’t miss out on, don’t want to miss out on.

Working on getting my parasympathetic nervous system working a little better. The one that helps you relax, rest, rejuvenate, have a little fun. The one that tells you hey, all is well, relax a little.

We are all going to experience many things in life that require us to take a leap if we really want to live the life we are meant to live, deserve to live. What’s that saying?

I never said it would be easy. I just said it would be worth it.

I think that pretty much sums it up. So go on, take a deep breath

And LEAP!

In that moment where you are sure you’re about to die, you will find what being alive really feels like.

©2016 JFries/Rise Like Air

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Some days are better. Some days are worse. Some days just are.

But somehow, I knew this day had some good in it when I sat in a hammock overlooking a lake, gazing into a blue sky with a white fluffy heart shaped cloud right above me. Somehow, you just know it when stuff like that happens. Even if recognizing that experience is all the good you can muster. It’s pretty good.

 

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Interesting thing, I’ve learned that every single day has something good in it, just sometimes I don’t seem able to expend the necessary effort looking for it.  Now that I’ve recognized it and stopped arguing it I’m expending the effort and energy.

I’ve discovered it is very easy to see that not so good, the negative, the problems… and then to “happily” cling to them. The day can be beautifully bright, our kids remembered to pick up their toys, our spouses remembered to appreciate us and then that idiot cuts us off in traffic. Well there goes the hole dang day! We focus on that one thing that went wrong, a cloud appears over our head, our shoulders sag, our jaw sets and we do the exact opposite of what Alice Herz-Sommer advises. Instead of “seeing the bad but looking where it is good.”  we decide, usually quite unconsciously, to forget about the good and cling desperately to that one little annoyance. And like a cancer…. it grows until the blackness surrounds us.

And the weirdest part…. really, it’s up to us to choose. We choose everyday all day and way too often our choices don’t serve us or others.

So I’m taking this sign as a reminder to see the love and wonder in the world, even in the clouds.

Have a great day, find your own sign and remember – the choice is yours. Choose to look to the good, even when there’s bad knocking on your front door. May there always be a heart cloud above you showering you with mother nature’s love and a blue sky filling your own heart with hope.

 

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Just finished my morning pick me up with The Daily Kind , #74 to be exact, from Life Vest Inside. If you want a little more kindness in your life and a great start to your day….. sign up!  Ok, sales pitch over.

The first thing I read was

“As long as we are persistence in our pursuit of our deepest destiny, we will continue to grow. We cannot choose the day or time when we will fully bloom. It happens in its own time.”
– Denis Waitley

Yep, totally resonated with me.  We never know for sure when we will fully bloom. And that’s why it’s so important to keep going, to push through, to take time to rest, to live, to love, to think, to plan, to be patient, to hope and to dream. Because that’s the one thing… we never truly know. We can guess, we can speculate and sometimes we are right on, but other times… it’s simply a waiting game. But there’s also a little catch – you have to stay present, because you might just miss the fact that you bloomed!
I went on to read the Act of Kindness and the Positive Affirmation which was another positive addition to my day. I like positive, because like so many others, I can forget myself and tend to focus on the negatives. It’s a choice, but I have to be conscious about it otherwise I slip into old habits. I’m human, go figure. Who knew?  Ok, I guess it’s rather obvious.
And then I got to the Kindness Media section. I admit that sometimes I don’t take the opportunity to watch the videos every day. Sometimes I just feel “too busy” even though I know that LVI always makes good choices that are actually worth taking the time for. So today, even though I’m busy busy busy, I took the few minutes (and then as you can see took a few more to write this blog)
I’ve always liked the Dude Be Nice crew, and today, LVI featured one of their videos. For me, the best one to date. I love teachers that help their students grow, the teachers who don’t just “teach” but guide and inspire. Actually I like those special kind of people period, because really, we are all teachers in life.
The DUDE. be nice project is a platform to inspire people to build a positive community by recognizing a person or group in a fun, creative and meaningful way. We’re all for making people feel appreciated.
This project is fantastic at showing support and appreciation. They have been part of surprising a lot of worthy people. The kind of people who never seem to expect it, they just are who they are, worthy ,wonderful, kind and caring people. In this case a teacher brought the project to her school and her students decided that SHE was the deserving recipient. Of course, they weren’t about to let her know that. A great way to perk up your day whether it needs perking up or not.
Today, go out there and be kind to someone, anyone, and let those around you who are generous and kind, make sure you let them know how much they mean to you. They might not do it for recognition, but we all know they deserve it, and appreciate it too.

©2016 JFries/Rise Like Air

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It’s Monday incase anyone needed reminding. However,

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So I did!  Started my day with Yoga for the first time in a long time and I feel so much better for it, going to make it routine again.  Because here’s a little secret, I like feeling better. It’s a good thing.

It’s also summer solstice – and full moon!!! Love this time of year and having both come together is like an extra special gift. Monday just keeps getting better if you let it. Now there’s a lesson we should all take to heart, Monday and every other day too.

I m working at holding onto hope and passing out as much of it as I can to others who may be a bit short. Rips me up to see how much hopelessness there is swirling around me. It truly truly is about perspective, but perspective is sometimes this elusive, slippery concept that seems just out of our grasp. My life mission truly is to be a catalyst for hope, for change and I keep feeling like messages are coming to me to get on with it. So ok already! … I am!

Your deepest heart knows what your soul purpose is. It is connected with the you that you wish to be.  It is embedded in the place of joy within you.  Its expression creates a sense of fulfillment and meaning.  It is the reason for you being on the Earth at this time. Julie Redstone

And the biggest thing I’m learning as I move through all of this messy thing called “Life” is that mindfulness is key (ya really working on that) and that to truly be what I want to be and where I want to be I have to accept change, I have to accept the messiness of life and what changing life means. I am truly a butterfly – delicate but capable of flying through a hurricane, and sometimes in the end you just can’t go around the storm, you have to go through it, even if it means battered wings.

Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment, and without judgment.  Jon Kabat-Zinn

I have been releasing so much crap lately, internally and externally and the process continues. Somedays I see it all so clearly and other days the fog is impenetrable. Today is just hazy, forecast is for clearing skies – shining my light – and sparkling, as brightly as I possibly can because the world needs shiny people who sparkle. (Seriously, it does…. did you miss the memo?)

What is ringing clear as a bell is that I can do what I want, I can be who I want to be – if I’m willing to

BE

BELIEVE

DO

… I’m the only thing truly standing in my way. All other things will move or dissolve if I MOVE. Even if I move just al little. I’m moving, I’m moving, I’m moving!! No regrets right? Keep on keeping on.  That is what I am doing. I am recreating myself yet again because if I’m honest, that’s what we do every day. Its what we should be doing everyday.

Be careful how you talk to yourself, because you are listening….  – Lisa M Hayes

I am not giving up on me. I am not giving upon those around me and I most certainly am not giving up on this glorious potential and opportunity filled thing we call LIFE! I am embracing uncertainty, fear and discomfort. I am using these as my catalyst to be all I can be, to be all I want to be. And I am using it to fuel not only myself but others. I am healthy whole and complete. I am the manifestation of clarity of purpose, purity of intent and courage in action as I willingly and gratefully step out of my comfort zone (Yikes! repeat that one again). Sure, there is a huge knot in the pit of my stomach, but it will not stop me, it will propel me forward. I will be gentle with myself and others, but I will always be true to myself because only through that process will I really be true to others.

Taking care of yourself is the most powerful way to begin to take care of others. Bryant McGill

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So Rock your Monday, and Roll over anything that gets in your way. But remember to be gentle, even speed bumps have a purpose.

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©2016 JFries/Rise Like Air

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Our hearts break for all the people who have experienced tragedy and there has been far too much to even begin to bear lately. The stories that we know and even the many stories that we don’t (since plenty of tragedy happens that isn’t quite tragic enough to make the front page), bring us to our knees today in grief and horror at what we as humans can do to each other for absolutely no reason. And I mean absolutely no reason. We can pretend there are reasons. We can choose to take sides, believe one is right, just and good while the other one is wrong, unjust and bad. But in reality it is truly unreasonable, and in honesty unfathomable, the lengths we achieve, to cause harm in the name of reason.

Instead, may tragedy serve to bring us closer together, treat each other with kind compassion as we continue to work tirelessly and fearlessly to make our world a better place in spite of the hatred and intolerance that rears it’s ugly head.

I only have to choose how events like these will affect me. Will I use them to feel defeated or use them to propel myself forward, to action, to making a difference?  The choice is mine. The choice is yours. We all need to choose, and choose wisely.

I will make sense of the senseless by my choices. I will not hate – I will love, I will not give up – I will persevere. I will soften my heart and I will simply strive to do all I can, where I am, all the time, every day.

IF WE WANT THERE TO BE PEACE IN THE WORLD, WE HAVE TO BE BRAVE ENOUGH TO SOFTEN WHAT IS RIGID IN OUR HEARTS, TO FIND THE SOFT SPOT AND STAY WITH IT. WE HAVE TO HAVE THAT KIND OF COURAGE AND TAKE THAT KIND OF RESPONSIBILITY. THAT’S THE TRUE PRACTICE OF PEACE. – Pema Chodron from Practising Peace In Times Of War

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I hope yours is too.

©2016 JFries/Rise Like Air

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When I saw this photo on Facebook yesterday it resonated with me and took me right back to a defining moment in my childhood.

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I was a daddy’s girl. I loved hanging out with him and he willingly let me do so. Thanks Dad!  I was quiet and shy. As I grew up I began to notice that I seemed to be referred to most often as “Alf’s daughter” or “Alf’s girl”

“Hey, it’s Alf’s daughter” or “Just ask Alf’s girl” or “Send it with Alf’s daughter” It began to dawn on me that was how people thought of me.  Not as an individual but as Alf’s daughter.

As a teenager I was working on the farm catching chickens.  My girlfriend and I were a bit of an anomaly being the only girls working amongst a group of males.  Her dad’s name was Joe and my dad’s was Alf.  We became known as Little Joe and Little Alf.

At first it was sort of cute. But after awhile it became annoying. I couldn’t quite put my finger on why but each time I heard it I got a little more frustrated until one night I said quite matter of factly “My name is Jewel, not Little Alf”.

Maybe it had to do with the fact that I was a teenager and finally trying to figure out who I was and how I fit into what seemed like a rather large and somewhat scary world. I was starting to think for myself and I wasn’t quite daddy’s “little” girl anymore. As a matter of fact I was beginning to push limits and disagree with my parents about as much as I agreed with them. I needed to be an individual. I needed to be recognized and acknowledged as one.

They laughed, most of them still called me Little Alf. It was a defining moment for me. I knew that I would have to work to step out of the shadow of my father. So I did. For years it defined me, the decisions I made, the things I did, the places I lived.

Yet it stuck with me. To this day I feel like I’m still working at it. I’ve made my place in the world, I am my own person, yet I always feel there is a shadow, not necessarily my dad anymore, but an undefined shadow that could overtake me, engulf my individuality and make me disappear into a something else.

Sure, I know it’s “all in my head” but it doesn’t make it any less real.

So seeing this picture posted yesterday really helped to remind me that I am someone, and I’m not the only one who knows it.  We are all “someone”. So be the someone you want to be. Be all you can be. Start defining yourself right now, your way. It’s never too late. It’s always the right time.

I AM someone. My connection to others doesn’t determine my value.

If this speaks to you, don’t hesitate. If you really want to start do something right now, within the next 5 seconds to start the process. If you don’t, you probably won’t.  Why  5 seconds? Because that’s apparently how our brains work. If you are sparked and do something to make it real within 5 seconds you are far more likely to carry on.  If you hesitate and wait beyond the 5 seconds you won’t do it at all. Want to know more? Watch Mel Robbins explain it all in her TEDx talk.

 

©2016 JFries/Rise Like Air

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Sometimes things just come to you, and they make sense.  And then you have to stop what you’re doing and write it down.  That’s what happened to me yesterday when I was feeding the chickens.  Yes, feeding the chickens, all 25 of them. And the duck.

My brain tends to work in metaphor and analogy a lot. Apparently yesterday was no different.  When the boat is rocking you have to find your sea legs and sometimes what we need to do seems to be counter intuitive to everything we think we know.  But sometimes…. that’s exactly what we have to do.

 

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Depression and anxiety are like being on a ship in rough seas.  All of a sudden your whole world, literally the deck beneath your feet is lurching to and fro, throwing you around mercilessly.  Unable to keep your footing, you’re getting drenched by the crashing waves. Your stomach matches the lurch of the deck as you slip and slide, feeling like you have lost complete control over everything including yourself. All you want to do is make it to the head and die but here’s the thing…

While every fibre of your being is screaming get below deck to the head… any sailor will tell you the solution is actually to

  • Stay above deck
  • Stay in the fresh air
  • Take deep breaths
  • Keep your eye on the horizon where you want to go
  • Don’t fight the lurch Rock and Roll with it
  • Vomit over the rail but not into the wind

It probably won’t be fun or easy, but when the sun comes out, which it will, and the waves recede, which they will, you’ll walk the deck sure-footed again in warm gentle breezes with  a grin upon your face.

©2016 JFries/Rise Like Air

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I want to share a most amazing tribute I received a few days ago from my wonderful fellow blogger and wordsmith Soumya Rose John

Ten months ago I had the honour of speaking to a kindred soul from all the way across the globe. Her name was Jewel Fries. 
When I was first asked to become a blogger for Life Vest Inside alongside Jewel, I was a little nervous. Would we have the same vision, the same kind of drive, would we want the same things? After all, I thought, we were quite literally the definition of worlds apart.
However after my very first Skype call with her, I found my fears quickly taking a backseat to awe and admiration. 
Quite frankly, I have never come across another woman as talented, genuine, wise and humble as Jewel. I realised that not only was Jewel’s writing so incredibly eloquent, powerful and close to my heart, but she never made me feel like a silly child floundering about life (that let’s be honest, we all know is pretty much my definition!) trying to get things right. 
It isn’t every day that you come across a writer whose heart is as beautiful as the words they so skilfully string together, but then there are those few like Jewel who really restore your faith in believing that a writer can be as amazing as everything you read of theirs that you think reverberates your very soul. 
Jewel runs a crazy inspiring blog called Rise Like Air which is filled with uplifting, moving, motivating content and there is no time like now to check it out, I promise it will be worth your minutes! 


https://riselikeair.wordpress.com/
https://www.facebook.com/RiseLikeAir/?fref=ts


To a woman who has endlessly supported me over the past year and helped me immensely along my personal journey as a writer, kindness ambassador and a human being, this one’s a MASSIVE shoutout to you for being the light that you are in this world, even when you sometimes don’t realise how strong that beam is! 
P.S. You need to tell me how to pronounce Saskatchewan someday 

Soumya’s smile, attitude, writing and love for life and people inspires me every day. I love working with her and we manage to keep each other afloat on a regular basis in the crazy busy world that we share from literally thousands of miles apart (One day we should figure out how far it really is!)

I’ve said many times that words are one of the most powerful items at our disposal. They can inspire, motivate and build a person up but they can just as easily destroy self esteem, hope and joy. They can kill the will to even try.

Soumya knows exactly how to use her words to spread love and kindness, tackle tough subjects while always leaving me with a smile on my face and hope in my heart.

She writes a great blog at Quirrk – Isn’t Life Just A Candid Lil’ Quirk?
I hope you’ll take the time to check out her writing. I think you will be happy you did.

Soumya, thank you for making me cry, laugh and believe. I really do appreciate you lending me your eyes to see myself, because the truth is, mine often don’t see the same thing. It’s nice to know when I don’t believe in myself I have others around to help me get back to that place again. I am honoured and humbled to not only have the pleasure of working with you but of calling you friend. You help me strive to become a better person every day. For all of that and more, Thank you.

 

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I AM FREE

It’s taken me a long, long time to realize this.  And even longer to actually believe it.  And some days are harder than others.  But ….

 

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“But still, like air, I’ll Rise” – Maya Angelou

 

Yes, I am.

And I will remain free.

I realized there is only one thing that determines whether I am truly free or not.

My THOUGHTS and thereby,  what I BELIEVE.

It took a lot of realizing OTHER people were trapped in a “less than”, “shackled” mentality.  A lot of time spent trying to help them realize how awesome and important they are.  Convincing them they not only have hope but tonnes of unrealized potential.

And then, one day I looked in the mirror and I realized that I was carrying the same heavy burden as all those other people.

I saw their potential, their amazingly awesome greatness but I had been overlooking my own.  I had been overlooking what I can do, who I can be…. who I truly am.  ME!

And there is nothing wrong with me.  I am me.  Just the way I am supposed to be:

A beautifully wonderful masterpiece, and a work in progress all at once. And that is what I will always be, because that is exactly what we all are.  And what we are all supposed to be.

I realized it is time to embrace myself, my potential and all that I am.  No matter what other people think I am or who I am, my freedom comes from embracing me for who I am and learning to love myself just the way I am.

Broken, sometimes smashed to bits. Healed, sometimes with bold scars. A little wild and crazy.  A little bit of everything.  A wonderful eclectic mix of awesome.

 I am learning to live my life for me, because only then do I live my life well enough to be all I can be.  And only when I am all I can be, can I do what I am meant to do in this world.

Some people see it and allow me to shine easily.  Some people don’t understand me and try to change me to fit into their mold.  Some people stay, some people walk away.  Sometimes it feels good and sometimes it hurts.  Sometimes it hurts a lot. Sometimes doubt creeps in.  Sometimes a lot of doubt, almost too much doubt.  But every time that happens something else amazing eventually happens too. From somewhere there is always a message that arrives in some unexpected form that reminds me with complete certainty.

I AM A MASTERPIECE AND I AM FREE.   ALL I HAVE TO DO IS BELIEVE.

It really is that simple, but as we all know simple doesn’t mean it’s easy.  Sometimes it’s hard work and takes time.  But I do guarantee, that when you come to the epiphany, you too will realize it is worth it.

You see, you really are already completely free.  You just have to realize it and believe it. And then you can feel it. And you will never want to feel any other way again.  You will cherish your freedom and you will do the work to keep it. You will become strong enough to walk tall and with purpose and you will wonder how you never realized you were already free before.

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oh rise and show your power (rise up rise up)

we’re dancing into the sun (rise up rise up)

it’s time for celebration (rise up rise up)

spirits time has come

We want loving’ we want laughter again

we want heartbeat we want madness to end

we want dancin’ we wanna run in the streets

we want freedom to live in this peace

we want power we want to make it ok

want to be singin’ at the end of the day children

to breathe a new life we want freedom to love who we please *(rise up rise up)

oh rise and show your power(rise up rise up)

everybody dance into the sun (rise up rise up)

it’s time for celebration (rise up rise up)

the spirits time has come

Talkin’ ’bout  the right time to be workin’ for peace

wantin’ all the tension in the world to ease

this tightrope’s gotta learn how to bend

we’re makin’ new plans gonna start it again

rise up now It’s time, it’s time, it’s time (rise up rise up)

(part lyrics – RISE UP by The Parachute Club, released 1981

 

©2016 JFries/Rise Like Air

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