Wednesday, December 18, 2013


For those of you who have been checking this blog time and again with no updates, I apologize. I really will try to do better. I never realized that people really read this thing until I got to church last Sunday and someone saw me and said that they've been checking for updates and haven't seen any lately! So, thank you to those of you who are reading and following along with us on this crazy journey! 

Also, some of you were asking what ever happened with Celine and her family and their house. I'm so thankful that I can tell you all that in just four days, God provided the money for her family - through YOU - to move into their new place. Morgan and I went over to see their new home and they were so proud to show us. They went from a huge place on the beach to a small one room home, but they couldn't be happier.  The joy in their eyes was so apparent.  When I asked Celine if she liked her new home, she said, "Wi! Mwen domi byen kounye a." (Yes! I sleep well now.) She was so crippled by fear at the old place that it was really taking a toll on her physically, emotionally and spiritually. To see their joy with such was humbling. I just want to say thank you again, from the bottom of my heart. I know that Celine would say the same. We all just said - "Mesi Jezi!" (Thank you Jesus!!)

So, a couple weeks ago, Craig found out that he would need to return to Indiana for a couple weeks for work. We were not expecting to be coming back to Indiana quite so soon, but I was very happy for the unexpected blessing!  We arrived in Indiana last Thursday night to a VERY cold 1 degree. MUCH different than the 93 degrees we left earlier that day! Needless to say, it was a shock to our system and we were all dry and chapped within 24 hours. The kids have both already gotten colds and Morgan has managed to pick up pink eye. Along with all these negatives come the positives. We have been able to spend time with family and have also been able to welcome a new little cousin/nephew into the world!! What a blessing!!! 

Meet Jackson Robert Lash!!

We are planning to be heading back home in another week or so. We are missing the warmth and our friends and all of the kids at the orphanage. We are also missing our slower pace of life and having daddy home every day :) I think we've been spoiled!

For those of you who check back pretty regularly, I'm also updating a blog with the Co-op that we're working with. If you would like to follow more of what is going on with the Children's Village, you can visit that site directly at -

Also, I update facebook a lot more frequently and add pictures regularly. Please feel free to add us as a friend if we aren't already!

Thank you so much for all of your love and support!  We appreciate you!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

One Month Already?!?

It's crazy to think that we've been here in Haiti for almost 5 weeks already!  The longest stretch of time our family has spent here is two months. Last summer, we felt like 8 weeks was a long time!  As we passed our 4th week, we couldn't believe how quickly the time had passed.  Each day we are settling in and adjusting a little more.  I haven't been quite as good at keeping this up to date, so I'll start with our first couple weeks here.

When we first arrived in Haiti, we spent our first week shopping for our furniture and appliances in Port au Prince. We stayed at a guesthouse called Heartline and met some WONDERFUL new friends who run the place. It's always a blessing to have contacts here in Haiti!

This store is called Valerio Canez. It is full of furniture, fans, generators, appliances, etc. We do not have anything like this on the island, so we shopped in Port au Prince for these things.

At the Valerio Canez loading many Haitians does it take to load our stuff? Apparently at least 7! ;-) 

We also spent a lot of time at MSC. This is like the "Home Depot" of Haiti. Here, we were able to buy our stove, refrigerator, washing machine, generator, solar panels, cable wire, etc. 

 BelMart quickly became our favorite place to get a sandwich for lunch. We went out for two days  just looking at different stores and pricing things and then made all of our purchases on day three. The kids were troopers! I'm sure it wasn't very fun for them.

 Our little monkeys :) This is the Canter that we used to load up all of our purchases and luggage that we brought from the states. I wasn't sure that it was all going to fit!!

You just never know what you're going to see going down the roads in Haiti! You can see three, but this truck had about 8 cows in it!

We made it to the guest house at the Wesleyan Wharf with just a little time before dinner was ready so the kids got to go for a quick swim. Their bathing suits were packed in space saver air sealed bags somewhere in the pile of craziness so they were excited to swim in their clothes. 

This is seriously one of the most beautiful places. I think that people forget that Haiti is FULL of God's beauty. Yes, there is sickness. Yes, we hear crazy things in the news about Haiti. But so many times we miss out on seeing and hearing the good things...not only about Haiti...but even in America. It is my goal to see beauty in ashes. It's there. God has created. His creation is beautiful. Land and people. We just have to be willing to see through His eyes.  

 Loading onto the boat to head to the island! On goes the refrigerator!!

Even though we had so much stuff, Craig and I were saying to each other - This is the smallest move we've ever made!  However, pulling into our house on the island with ALL of this was a bit awkward while the local people were watching. When we were loading, I felt like - this is it? Then as we got to the house and realized how much MORE we had then almost everyone around us, I felt a bit uncomfortable. 

Morgan and Jaron sat with Bena and Timet on the way to the island. They were singing and learning Creole on the way over.

 When we arrived, we were overwhelmed with the amount of help that we received! Everyone just dropped everything and came to help us set up house. They put furniture together, hooked up our inverter and batteries, helped with the generator, shared meals, gave fresh bread and offered loads of support.  It was truly a blessing!!

 The guys taking a break and getting out of our STIFLING house. We didn't have electricity hooked up yet, so there were no fans. It's an understatement to say it was hot. We were all dripping sweat. 

 That night, our family went up on our roof and just sat and talked. It was a bit surreal that we were finally here. In our new home. And look where God placed us...right across from a soccer field. Jaron was thrilled :-)

In some ways, we do feel like our world has been turned upside down. But in others, we feel like we're just doing life somewhere else. The hardest thing for us to get used to this past month (besides the heat) was simply the different pace of life. Before we left, Craig was coming out of a (crazy doesn't even start to explain it) time at work. The kids were in school and I was packing our home, selling our things, preparing to move out of the country...we were all just...busy.  Then we arrived in Haiti. Craig had taken a month off to get settled here. We decided to wait to start school up until we were settled. So we went from 100mph to 5mph in a week. It was tough. We are wired to be busy. I had guilt if I wasn't active. When people back home would ask what we were doing - I didn't really have anything to tell them. I wanted everything to be finished...right now. But things are different here. Things take more time. You find that you don't have the simple thing that you need to finish a what should be simple project. God has just been teaching us the importance of space. Space for HIM. Space for our family. Space for rest. During our Creole lessons, one of the first things we learned was the word "poze." (p-oh-zay)  This is a Creole word that people will use on the streets when someone asks how you're doing. It literally means, PEACE...chill...calm.  It's a good place to be. It's a good lesson to learn. I'm not so sure that God meant for us to be so busy. We were made to worship. Let's not forget to take time for poze. 

 "Li di: -Rete la! Sispann goumen! Konnen se mwen menm ki Bondye. Se mwen k'ap dominen sou tout nasyon yo. Se mwen k'ap dominen sou tout latè."

"He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth.” "

Psalm 46:10

Thursday, October 24, 2013

A Shopping Trip in (mostly) Pictures

Since so many people have questions about grocery shopping while we're in Haiti, I thought I'd give you all a little glimpse into a "normal" shopping trip!

Our morning started at 5:00 am. I drove the quad to the Wesleyan Station to meet up with the others who were making the trip. Streets were not busy at that hour, but there were some up and about!

At the Wesleyan Station, we loaded our coolers into a truck and headed to the boat dock.

This morning it was still a bit drizzly as it had been raining all night. Here, they're getting the boat ready to board.

Part of our 1.5 hour trip across to the mainland - one highlight (of many) is seeing the sunrise :)

Then we load up into another truck and drive the 1.5 hours into Port au Prince.

Don't forget the coolers!! (Very important for keeping our frozen and cold food from spoiling on the journey home!)

This is a supermarket called Giant. There are two main, bigger supermarkets. One is Giant and the other is Caribbean. You are able to buy almost everything that you would buy in the States. However, to give you an idea - most name brand cereal will cost you around 300 goudes which is about $7 for a small box.  Everything is a bit more expensive than in the states. There are also a lot of little grocery stores - DeliMart, BelMart, etc. that you can get most of what you need, but they are much smaller.

All of our purchases are then boxed up and marked with our names so we know whose house to deliver which box to. Then we loaded them onto a TapTap - Haitian Taxi. The TapTap then took our groceries to the boat dock and waited for us to arrive. (We just prayed that everything would make it!)

All of our "goods" loaded up and ready to go!! (Minus a couple coolers that we kept for our second stop)

This is the entrance to Caribbean Supermarket. Nice and air conditioned and they even have a fantastic French Deli where we had lunch. I had the most amazing turkey pesto sandwich!

Just a glimpse of our 1.5 hour drive back to the boat dock. :)

Back at the wharf, we load all the groceries back onto the boat and then get ready for our 1.5 hour ride back to the island - which usually includes a few minutes of sleep if you're lucky :)

The groceries all covered up for the trip to the island.

What I didn't document with pictures is what happens from here. When we arrive to the island, there is a truck (or two) waiting to help unload the boat. Then we drive to the Wesleyan Station, unload their groceries (sorting through all the boxes to find the right names) and then take the truck to our house and unload the boxes.

We made GREAT time! From start to finish, it only took us about 10 hours!!

Whew. Good thing that only happens once every month :)

Thursday, October 17, 2013


Well, we're moved in but we're definitely not settled.  This has been harder on me than I expected. Before coming I knew that it would take a while to get things organized and finished in the new house, but now that we're here, I just want everything to be done now.  The pace is so much slower in Haiti and if you get a couple things accomplished in a day, you feel like you had a good day. The heat really zaps a lot of energy out of you.  I feel guilty if I don't keep moving and doing since it feels like there's so much to do.

Today I washed my first load of laundry in my new washing machine. Our water was so slow that I had to haul buckets of water to fill up the machine. Then, we watched the batteries and ran the generator while it washed making sure that we wouldn't suck all our power with one load of laundry!  One of the things I love about our neighborhood is that there is music everywhere all throughout the day. Our neighbors across the street have been very friendly and have welcomed us into their home to get to know them and learn more Creole.  Morgan and Jaron quickly became friends with the children there and many times a day they'll come knocking on our gate to see if they can play. We've also been invited to church with them. I'm excited to see what it's like.

The kids are ready and asking to start school, but we're just not quite ready with everything to get up and going. I want to be able to just jump right in and get into our routine but this is a process and it takes time. God is teaching me a lot about patience right now.

We've been out to the orphanage to see the children and they had all heard that we were staying for two years. We won't really start all of our duties until November so that we'll have time to get settled. The current in country rep will be here through December.

Please pray that we'll continue to settle in and that we'll all have patience and grace for each other as we're trying to adjust to so many new ways of life. These first days have really stretched us emotionally, socially, financially and so many other ways. We have learned even more to trust God to provide for all of our needs. Also pray for Morgan and Jaron - the mosquitoes just seem to love them. They don't complain (and yes, they're taking their malaria medicine mom and dad :-) ) but I know it's not comfortable to be so itchy.  Plus they get heat rash that can be uncomfortable too.  I'm very thankful that the ex-pat (non-Haitian) ladies here on the island meet up on Sunday nights for a little women's time. I have been so blessed with such an awesome group of ladies back home who have supported me and prayed with me for the past two and a half years and I'm feeling that void.

Well, I need to start getting dinner ready and Craig is getting ready to play in his first neighborhood soccer game! Don't want to miss this!! :-D

Saturday, October 5, 2013

God is so so Good!

I'm sitting here...the night before we pack up and head to Haiti and I'm just overwhelmed with the love and provision of the Lord.  I wanted to give an update since so many of you have been praying and supporting us!  

About 6 weeks ago, we figured out that our start up costs would be somewhere around $12,000.  That would include our airfare, transportation in country, lodging while in Port au Prince, our furniture and appliances for our new (empty) home, generator, solar panels/batteries and our first 6 months rent of our new house in Haiti.  We were so overwhelmed and thought that there was NO way that we would ever be able to come up with that amount of money in that amount of time and we considered pushing our moving date back.  Well, to make a long story short, we were able to keep our moving date and we have our $12,000 AND we were able to put $1000 in our emergency fund!! GOD IS GOOD!  We needed to sell our Toyota 4Runner and we priced it fair, but since we needed to sell it quickly, we were willing to drop our price. Today, only two days before leaving, we sold it...for our ASKING PRICE.

As far as housing, we have signed a lease for a house in Haiti that has security and water and possibility of electricity once we hook up a generator or solar panel/battery system. That is a story in itself...but to make this a bit shorter and still give God credit - we were thinking that what we paid last summer for our two months at the Wesleyan station would be our cheapest  option at $600/month.  Well, we secured a house for $4500 for the year!! ($375/month!)  

We also, just this week, signed a lease for our house here in Indiana. We now have a young married couple who are working at Indiana Wesleyan University who will be renting our home for the next year (maybe two).  You can still pray about our one bedroom rental property that is still empty.

Also, just this past week, Craig was offered a second part time job that should completely cover (to the best of our "guesstimate" budget) our monthly costs!

We are so so thankful for all of the prayers that have been sent our way. We know that God is faithful and we can trust Him, even if it seems like He's waiting until the very last minute :)  Just like in Exodus when Moses was leading the Israelites through the desert and they had gone without water for three days...the longest you can humanly survive without water...before God provided water. He knows us best. And He loves us and we can trust Him. It has been so much fun being a part of what He is doing! What a blessing to trust God completely and see Him do things that ONLY He can!  

We continue to ask for your prayers. These next few weeks will be difficult as we are saying goodbye, adjusting to our new home and way of life. The kids are very excited but they still have their moments where they will break down and cry because they think about missing their friends and family.  I've also learned that God even cares about the small things that matter to us, so I'll ask that you pray for the kids as we fly. We'll be flying Monday morning 6:45 and arriving in Port au Prince at 3:00 that afternoon.  They both always have trouble with their ears really hurting when we're in the plane - and they even hurt for days after we fly. They are really not looking forward to the flight. I have some "home remedies" that I've researched that we'll try.

Thank you so much for your support of our family!! It is such a blessing to know that we have people back home lifting us up in prayer (and giving our parents a hug now and then :) ).

Craig, Renee, Morgan & Jaron

Friday, September 27, 2013


As I type this, I'm sitting in my garage on the last day of our rummage sale. I'm overwhelmed.

Overwhelmed at God's goodness.
His provision.
Overwhelmed at the love of friends who stop by to help, bring dinner and snacks.
Overwhelmed with the amount of STUFF we have.
Overwhelmed with what is still left to accomplish in the next week and a half.
Overwhelmed at the peace that we still feel.

Yesterday was Jaron's last day of preschool and today is Morgan's last day of 2nd grade here in Indiana.  This is becoming a reality. Our house is empty, our hearts are full. This is such a bitter sweet time.

It's hard to put into words all that is going through our heads right now, but we do appreciate your prayers as we transition. Even though we have peace knowing that we are making the right decision for our family, God doesn't promise that right decisions won't be difficult.  Along with the excitement comes difficulty and along with the joy comes tears.

If you are interested in joining our Google Group to receive alerts about updates while we're in Haiti, please leave your email in the comments so that I can send you and invitation to the group. This is how we'll be able to keep everyone up to date!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

One Month and Counting...

It's crazy to think about the peace I am feeling with only one month left!  Things are starting to fall in place as we're wrapping things up here and planning more and more in Haiti. God has definitely been proving Philippians 4:7 to both Craig and myself.

"And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hears and your minds in Christ Jesus."

In July, we found out that we would not be living the same place that we lived last summer. We were thrown for a little surprise, but we did not once question if we were still supposed to be moving. God has made it very clear to us that we would be moving - we just didn't know the exact timing of that move.

Over the past couple of weeks, we have secured housing in Haiti! Thank you to all of you who have been praying! We are so thankful that God opened doors for us and is actually providing more space at less cost than our original housing situation! The only thing is that we will need to fully furnish (furniture & appliances) the entire house. However, our God is a God of abundance and we are excited to see how He is going to show His provision!

Craig is busy at work training his replacement and trying to wrap up lose ends. We are selling furniture and other odds and ends and our house is beginning to look a little sparse :)  We had secured a family to rent our current home, but they found a house to buy and are no longer needing our house. So, we're praying that we find a family quickly to rent our house so that we eliminate that monthly expense. We are also praying that we are able to sell our rental house so that we will not have that as a liability while we're gone.

Thank you for continued prayers. Our main prayer request is still regarding our housing. Finding someone for our houses here and also finding the finances to furnish our Haiti home. :)

We would LOVE to have you visit our new home!!
The gate to our home (and our friend and translator, Mr. Bee)

Front porch and door

Car port (for our moto & quad) and side yard

Saturday, August 10, 2013

11 Years...

11 years ago today, I woke up young, excited and nervous. I was going to marry my best friend. Looking back, I can't believe that my parents let me get married at EIGHTEEN...well, I was a month away from 19 ;) Crazy to think that I've been married for over a third of my life!

I'm so thankful for the ways we have grown and the things we have learned. I can't imagine living life with anyone else. Happy Anniversary!!

Cut me some slack on these pictures...we got married BEFORE digital ;) So I took some digital pictures of our film printed pictures.

Our wedding party

Craig with his parents

Dad and me

The ceremony

Cutting the cake - I think this picture dates our wedding! We were so pumped about our awesome cake...hhahah :) Look at those FLOWERS!

Cheers to the YOUNG couple!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

So...What are you going to be doing???

Weirdly enough, when we started telling family and friends that we were moving to Haiti, no one was surprised. I guess everyone EXCEPT us "knew" this was going to happen. As we're getting closer and closer to moving day, we are getting more questions about what we're actually going to be doing when we move. Why are we leaving everything we know, a steady, wonderful job of 10 years, comfortable home, family, friends, and taking our two young kids to a third world country to live for a minimum of two years? Sometimes we ask ourselves that same question. But then we look back and know without a doubt that God has called our family and has been preparing us for the past three years for this decision.

After we returned from our two month stay last summer, we would be driving in the van and in the quiet of the drive, Jaron, then four, would say, "You know what I wish?" No what Jaron? "I wish we lived in Haiti." We never gave it much thought. Then, in January, we were asked to consider taking this position and moving to Haiti. We said no and that the timing was all wrong. Then, in February, I found our seven year old daughter Morgan's journal. Her entry read like this:

"Dear Jesus, Would you please open the doors for our family to live in Haiti? Even if it's just for a little bit?"

She had NO idea that we had been asked to consider this position. God was using our kids and preparing and exciting their hearts for this next phase in our life. So, long story shorter, we said yes. So what does that mean? Hopefully this will answer a few questions you may have!

When will you be leaving? - 
Our plan is to leave this October 2013. There are a lot of things that need to fall in place for that to happen, but we're trusting God with the perfect timing. We still need to figure out our housing situation in Haiti, decide what we'll do with our two houses here and raise the rest of our funds. 

How will you raise support? - 
We are so thankful for Craig's job. They have asked him to stay on part time while we're in Haiti. So, a HUGE chunk of our budget will come directly from them. However, we are still a bit short. We are looking for a few families to partner with us monthly to reach that budget. We also need a few people who will donate to our initial start up and moving costs. So, if you're interested in partnering with our family, please send me an email and we can get you more information!!

How long will you be gone? - 
Our initial agreement is to live in Haiti under the role of Okipe Country Representative for two years. After that, we'll see what God has in mind. Some of our dreams would take much longer than two years and we realize that it takes two years just to learn the language, culture and set roots in order to really make some traction. We're not sure if we're just laying the ground work or if we're in this for the long haul. Only God knows and we don't want to be anywhere except where He wants us to be.

Where will Morgan and Jaron go to school? - 
For at least the first 4-6 months, I, Renee, will be homeschooling. I told Craig he would be teaching some too :)  There is a Global Partners missionary who lives on the island to teach Global Partners Missionary kids. She has her hands full at this time, but in January, some of the families are leaving and we're not sure who is replacing them. So, she might take the kids at that point. We'll see :)

Where will you be living? - 
This is our biggest question mark right now.  La Gonave is an island off the main island of Haiti (about 37-ish long and 9-ish miles wide) . The island was once used as a base for pirates, but in the 60's the Haitian government, in an effort to "clean up" the mainland, sent most of their mentally ill, homeless and elderly to live on this island. One website said, "If Haiti is the country that the world forgot, La Gonave is the island that Haiti forgot." This is the island that houses the orphanage that has stolen our hearts! This site has some interesting facts about La Gonave:  Please be praying about our living arrangements. In order to have basic needs such as water, plumbing, electricity and a kitchen (luxuries in Haiti) it can be difficult and very expensive.  

What will you do? - 
Craig will be handling all things "money." He will coordinate donations for the orphanage and help Mme. Soliette track her expenses and income. He will also be working on vocational/transition plans for those children who will be "aging out" of the orphanage in the next couple years. This is a huge new phase for the village. We don't want to just send the kids out without support and a plan. We have many ideas on the table and we're discussing Mme. Soliette's dreams and visions in this area so that we can try to come up with resources to help her achieve those dreams. He will also be exploring options and dreaming with Mme. Soliette about how the orphanage can become self-sustaining...or at least bring in some income.

I, Renee will be communicating and coordinating travel and accommodations with visiting Okipe teams. Along with teaching Morgan and Jaron, Mme. Soliette has asked me to have some literacy classes with the house moms. A lot of them are not able to read or write. I will also be teaching English classes at the Children's Village and the local National School periodically.  

Along with these roles, God has put some other dreams and visions in our hearts as a family. We'll see if those doors open over the next couple years, or if we're just laying groundwork. But...this post is already long enough...I'll save that for another day :)

Do you have any other questions? Please feel free to leave them in the comments and I will do my best to answer them!

(Thanks to Matt Smith and for some of the above pictures!)

Monday, July 29, 2013

Weekly Grocery Shopping

As I'm sitting here planning meals for my family and making out my grocery list for the week, I came across this post from Okipe. This is the orphanage that our family is moving to Haiti to help.

How much do you spend on food shopping for your family weekly?

One "study found feeding four a healthy diet can run between $146 dollars a week on the low end, to $289 on the high end." 

That's an average of $868 (£566) PER MONTH to feed just 4 people.

Imagine you had to feed a family of 80!

Mme Soliette does.

If she spent the U.S average on food that would cost her $17,360 (£11,315) per month just on FOOD.

Guess how much Mme Soliette spends to feed over 80 mouths per MONTH?

$4,200 (£2,740).

In fact, Mme Soliette could feed, clothe, educate and efficiently run an entire village for over 80 orphans for just $12,000 per month.

Unfortunately, she has to do it on just $9,000 per month just now because we do not have enough sponsors yet.

Mme Soliette's goal is not just to feed and look after 80 orphans. Her dream is to equip them with a great education and upbringing to enable them to be the leaders of tomorrow.

Today you can help her achieve her dream for all these precious children.

From as little as $10 per month you can Join the Village and help ensure all these children have a better today and brighter tomorrow. Mme Soliette is committed to her children but she needs your help now.

For the price of a Cafe Latte per week you can influence some of the poorest and neediest children on the earth today. Please consider and act now, giving any amount you can afford. Please click this link for simple and quick instructions on how to Join the Village right now:

Thank you for caring and for making a difference. )

Saturday, July 13, 2013

To Haiti, Michigan and Back

A couple weeks ago, my sister and I had the once in a lifetime (hopefully not) opportunity to get away just the two of us and head to Haiti!  It was such a special time for the two of us to spend together. I was so thankful that she could be there and see in person where we'll be and meet the people who are so close to our hearts. 

I'm so sad that we didn't get one picture (besides a crazy one in the airport) of the two of us. Either she or I were taking the pictures the whole time. :(

So far July has been pretty crazy. I've tried to cut back on many of my responsibilities so that we'll have more time to travel to see family and friends before we leave.  I am so thankful for Craig's job for the past 10 years, but man, to say it's been a CRAZY six months would be an understatement.  We were very thankful to have a little bit of time over the holiday weekend to get away and spend some quality time with family.  We headed up to Michigan and got to spend time with ALL of my siblings! It's been over a year since we've all been together. I love that Jaron is making a silly face in him :)  I am so thankful for my family and will miss them BUNCHES while we're in Haiti.

I love taking this picture as often as I can when I see my grandma. She is so special to me and I cherish these memories!

On the Haiti front...We're still making arrangements for our big move. If you wouldn't mind, we would really appreciate prayers right now regarding housing. Both here and in Haiti.  We have a rental house that we will most likely try to sell and we are still trying to figure out what to do with our current house and all of our belongings.  We also found out a couple weeks ago that we will not be staying on the Wesleyan Campus where we originally thought we would be living for at least the first 6 months. Housing on La Gonave is not cheap. It's not expensive to live in a third world country if you live like most of the locals. However, if you have electricity, even limited, and running water, the price of housing is very pricey, especially when they see that "white people" are the ones looking.  So please just pray that God would open doors and give us direction and wisdom while we're making some of these decisions!