When all is lost, I am found.

“Staying together for the kids will not do them any favors when they have to live in a home filled with negative energy and lack of love.”

I saw this quote on FB the other day, and it really resonated with me and my life right now. Divorce sucks. Separation of parents sucks. Doesn’t matter who did what or whose fault it is, it always comes with hurt feelings and guilt (even if only a small part) for everyone. I think the hardest part for the couple involved is stripping away the layers of hurt, anger, and pain and really looking at the core of the relationship and why it didn’t work. This calls for each person to examine themselves on an uncomfortable level and admit what their role in the demise of a relationship was. It’s not easy, and most people just cut their losses and move on or completely point the finger at the other person and hold themselves blameless. Me personally, as an emotional creature with oversharing tendencies and a penchant for self analysis – I know exactly what happened in my relationship with my ex-husband.

There is such a mix of feelings and ideals now a days in our culture, that it’s hard to fall to one side or the other but the grey area can be confusing. What I mean is, there is such a stigma to getting a divorce (especially when children are involved) if you have any sort of moral or Godly convictions. The result is people staying together for the children or because they believe that God does not want them to divorce and he can fix anything. The flip side to that is people rushing into relationships and marriages, not taking the time to get to know their partners well enough before making a commitment and then entering into a marriage always holding the door open for divorce. Marriage does not seem like the commitment that it once was, like when my grandparents were married. And mainstream society seems to push the idea that staying with one person for the rest of your life is a thing of the past. There is such a thing as being with the WRONG person though. And to commit to the wrong person for the rest of your life is how people end up miserable and hating each other and life. Maybe I’m saying all of this to justify to myself the reason for getting a divorce… maybe I don’t need to justify it because my happiness is enough justification.

I belong to the other scenario…. the one where I was irresponsible in my younger years and did not consider the consequences of my actions until it was too late. I got pregnant before really getting to know the man and then I felt obligated to stay with him for the sake of the child and because I was too scared to attempt it alone. I met my child’s father while I was trying to move out of an unhealthy living situation with a companion. There was no love or attraction between me and the man I was living with, and after 1 1/2 years of no love, I had enough. The attraction between myself and my child’s father was just that – a physical attraction. He came at a time when I needed the attention and to feel something other than complacent… I did not seek out a relationship, he actually pursued me quite a bit before I gave in. Our courtship was not so much a courtship of getting to know each other, but a series of meeting and physical encounters. It was lust, plain and simple. Roughly 3 months after I gave in to his pursuit, I got pregnant. I knew, I KNEW before I got pregnant that it was not going to work as a long term relationship with this guy. 15 year age difference, different stages in life, culture difference, nothing in common – not music or movies or basic interests. We were simply what each other needed at that time in our lives and our actions resulted in a child.

I will NEVER regret getting pregnant with Ayden, he truly saved my life and I consider him the greatest gift. I do however, regret the decision to stay with his father for as long as I did. I will not rehash every detail and if you have read any of my other posts then you would know that I have been unhappy for a long time. I kept convincing myself that I had to make it work for the sake of Ayden, so he didn’t have to come from a broken home like I did. I had condemned myself to a loveless relationship and a life of misery because I thought that was the sacrifice I was supposed to make for my son. Then, in 2015 after trying therapy and everything I could have, I realized that it was never going to get any better. I did not love the father of my child, and in fact I never had. I was so unhappy that I was angry all the time and it was starting to affect my son.

No I am not happy about all of the decisions I have made that led up to this point, but I am happy about the decision to finally consider that I deserve to be happy and I don’t have to stay with the father of my child, due to some warped sense of obligation. I am getting back to myself, a better version, and I cannot and will not regret. that. I do not want my son to grow up in a house of negativity and no love. I did, and it was a detriment to my well being.

There are still some rough days, but I am happy now and I know my son sees the difference. I can only pray that I am able to help him through the pain that my decisions have caused him. I hope he doesn’t ever find himself in the same position because I don’t want to hear him say “now I know what you went through”.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

Restless – Poem by Amy

I feel like a leaf

hanging in a tree.

Waiting and waiting for the wind

to set me free.

I twist and turn

restless with wait.

Anxious so anxious

unsure of my fate.

I long for the warmth

and light of the sun.

And still I ache

for a chance to run.

Hanging there in that tree

I wonder and ponder life to be.

Any moment the wind will come

will I wish then, to be undone?

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The innocence sees though me…

I find myself here again… here on my blog.  I wonder why but then I already know that it’s because I need to purge my over-charged emotions and I don’t have anywhere else to do it.  I know that there are certain people that I need to purge to, as they should be the recipients of hearing about my feelings, but right now I do not have the emotional courage it takes to do that.  So as mentioned in a previous post, my thoughts will tumble around in my mind all dryer-like until I open the door and let them out.  I am such an emotional creature, and I know it.  I need to tell people how I feel, either right when I am feeling it, or after a period of calming down and collecting, or I will emostress (new word, just made up, combination of emotional stress) myself into depression.  Sometimes talking to other people about who or what is bothering me helps and does the trick, and sometimes not.  Not, being the case when the intended recipient refuses to hear that they cause any sort of emotional, mental, or physical stress in another person.  Mostly my husband and my mother are this way.  My mother is another story, perhaps another blog altogether.  I guess what I am getting around to is that I have been trying to figure out a way that I can deal with being with my husband when he does not reciprocate things in a relationship that I think are important for longevity, and..well.. that are important to me.  There I said it… I am beginning to question myself and my strength… can I continue on like this or not?

Recently, as recent as New Years Day, my husband lashed out at me at the breakfast table and said something deliberately to hurt me (yes that was the intended purpose).  It hurt me, not because of what he said but because of why he said it.  I had been talking to him about my thoughts on other members of my family becoming more like my Mother, in a way that is alienating them from other members of their family.  Basically, seeing that he is my husband and life partner, I was sharing my feelings and emotions and being venerable.  At the first opportunity, he used what I had shared with him as a weapon against me.  And for what?  Because I made him feel some kind of way about something, that made it ok?  Why would someone that loves me, want to deliberately hurt me that way?  I know why, because he has a narcissistic personality and he felt like I was attacking his character, so he needed to redeem himself by putting me in my place.  Now not only can I not confide in my husband, he has pushed me farther away.  Normally in a relationship that is even somewhat healthy, I would be able to say to my partner “It really hurt me when you did this…” and most normal people would respond with, “I’m sorry…”  Not my husband though.. he is never sorry, not to me anyway.  There is always something that I did that justified HIS behavior.  Or, he just flat out dismisses it with “I didn’t do that” or “Why are you making a big deal of it, it’s over and done with and there is nothing that can be done about it now.”

This is one of the many times that my husband has hurt me and I have not been able to communicate it with him because he just won’t hear it and as always will try to make it my fault in some way.  I tell myself, and my very close friends, that I can deal with it and I am dealing with it (if I tell them at all) but my son put a chink in my faux armor when he asked me twice recently “what’s wrong with you Mommy?  Are you sick?  Why are you so sad?  You seem so sad lately”.  I can’t lie to myself anymore when the innocence sees through me…


Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment


I usually have alot of thoughts going at once in my head and it’s sometimes hard to concentrate and focus on one thought or idea.  With everything going on right now and me being so emotionally charged, I feel like my thoughts are being tumbled around in a dryer.  It would be so much easier if my thoughts could go straight from my head to paper or computer without me having to speak, write, or type them…. maybe in another lifetime.

I just can’t stop thinking about my Mom and my husband.. my husband and my Mom.  Both relationships are not good right now and ironically, they have similar personalities which happen to be totally opposite of mine.  It’s almost as if I don’t have room for both of their difficult personalities in my life right now.. I only have enough emotions to deal with one… and as of right now, I don’t have a relationship with my Mother.  I have tried, believe me, I have tried.  But at this point in my life, I don’t have the energy or emotional stamina it takes to have her in my life in any real way.  I just really have a hard time accepting that she doesn’t take responsibility for anything in her life, for where she is in her life right now.  Everyone and everything else is to blame.  She has let bitterness, anger, sadness, and negativity define her life and her character.  Her whole being is negatively charged and if you are not careful, you can get sucked into the negative energy when you are around her.. or even just from talking to her.

She visited 2 weeks ago, to pick up my nephew and take him back to Michigan with her.  ?While she was here, she gave me the book that she wrote and had published through one of those self-edit companies where you make money the more books you sell.  I could only get through the first few chapters because even for a good reader such as myself, it was a hard read.  What jumped out at me in those first chapters though, is that my Mom is the main character of the book, and she is still the exact same way now that she was in the 60’s.  She still pushes people away and she still, almost obsessively, craves some sort of recognition or justification for her life and her decisions….

Ah, my thoughts are taking another tumble around and I have lost the object of this rambling…

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Is it me or is it you?

I have been going through a rough time in my marriage, though I am sure that for my husband it does not seem as rough because he is not on the receiving end of the pain (seems to be the norm in this relationship).  I prayed and prayed and asked God to put realization in my husbands’ heart.  I prayed that he would realize what he does and why and what he has and what he stands to lose.  God answered my prayers, just not in the way that I wanted… (seems to be the norm with God! 😉  Anyway, not long after that I stumbled (was not looking) accross some disturbing text messages from another woman to my husband… Once again, my heart broke and I thought I was going to have to go to the hospital for an anxiety attack.  I had let myself trust my husband, again, believing that once we were married he had everything that he wanted and did not need to go elsewhere.  I convinced myself that my husband would not do anything that might result in the end of our marriage and ultimately his son growing up without his daddy being present for everything.  Turns out I was wrong.  Wrong because he doesn’t think that his behavior warrents the ending of the marriage, or wrong becuase his needs override any doubts that what he is doing is hurtful to me?  That remains to be seen..

God answered my prayers by giving me the realization.  I realize now, having gone through this with my husband yet again, that what we have here is a personality conflict.  We have personalities that are at complete opposite ends of the spectrum.  My husband has what I would catogorize as a “narcassitic personality” and having that, he needs constant adoration and attention.  This is a problem for us, because it is not part of my personality to give constant adoration and attention.. or so it would seem.  I question whether it is just not my nature, or it is not my nature just with him?  Am I capable of giving more adoration and attention under different circumstances?  Another one of my husbands’ personality traits is that he doesn’t seem to care about how anyone else feels or what they think, especially if it interferes with what he wants for himself.  I always say that at the end of the day, he is going to do what he wants to do no matter what anyone else thinks or feels about it.  And, this is true.  It doesn’t matter so much except when it affects me and our family.  I don’t like having someone make decisions for me, based on what they want, without at least asking me what I think or how I feel about it.  I think that is one of our biggest relationship issues, at least it is for me.  He interprets asking someone else what they think or how they would feel about something as “someone telling me what to do” – his words exactly.  I think that in a relationship it is VERY important to discuss making a big decision with your partner instead of just doing what you want.  If your partner doesn’t like or agree with your decision, then you have an aguement and discontent.  It is really frustratingly difficult to try and have a conversation with someone who doesn’t take responsibilty for anything.. ever.

I bring this up becuase I have asked myself, am I unable to give him what he needs (adoration and attention) becuase he is unable to give me what I need (consideration and respect as a partner) and that makes me bitter?  Is this something that can be amended or do we just say we are too different to move forward?

Unfortuneately for me, his need for adoration and attention has led him to some dishonorable and questionable relationships with other women.  This hurts and I am just not ok with his behavior no matter how much I try to act like or convince myself that I am.  When we first met, he told me that he had alot of female “friends” and that alot of other women that he had been in relationships with had a problem with it.  At that time, when we were dating, I didn’t have a problem with it becuase I had alot of male friends.  But once I found out that I was pregnant and made the decision to move forward with our relationship, I realized that it wasn’t healthy for me to have so many men in my life.  As long as I had other men to turn to and talk to, I wouldn’t be talking to him.  I guess it was just wishful thinking on my part that he would have the same feelings and thoughts about having relationships with other women.  At the end of the day, although I may be able to act the part, everytime he hurts me I move farther and farther away from him and our relationship.  A true crab at heart, I am forced to protect myself by retreating and snapping my claws.  I feel like I have sacrificed so much and made so many concessions in our relationship for him, and he gives me nothing in return.  Am I bitter about that?  Probably. 

Although I want to forgive him for his latest indiscretion, it is hard to forgive a lie.  And I believe that he is lying to himself and to me, still.  I am not so confident that he is capable of change, even if he wanted to.  I want to believe that he will let his desire for a family override his desire for adoration and attention, but it hasn’t thus far and he has been this way his whole life.  I want more than anything to move forward for our son, but is that what I want for me??

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Thoughts To Ponder

You know what?  The things that I pray for come into my life, in one way or another.  It may not seem like it at first and sometimes the answer seems more like a punch to the gut.  But when it’s all said and done, my prayers are answered.  Some people expect that when they pray for something, it will happen – just like that and just in the way that they want it to.  But it doesn’t work that way.. remember, “Thy will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven”.  Not my will or your will.. HIS will.  I feel pity for those who think that people who believe in Jesus and have faith, will live these perfect lives that are free from sin and pain.  This is not the case.  The Devil targets those with faith moreso than those without.. why?  Why shoot an animal that is already dead?  Why does the Devil need to win those that are already disbelievers?  Living for God, living a life pleasing to God is not easy.  It’s much easier living in sin and on the surface may seem more fun.  But what about the eternal rewards?  Does the temporary satisfaction of this world seem worth losing a place in with Jesus in eternity?  Isn’t there ever some small part of you that thinks that there is something missing in your life and you are trying to fill it with momentary or monetary things?


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Doing Right Continued…

So after God told me what I needed to do, I discussed it with my husband (my then boyfriend) who tried to convince me that living in sin had nothing to do with our situation and that God would bless anyway. When I wasn’t convinced, he agreed to the celibate part – I think just to get me to stop talking about it, as it became apparent later on that he didn’t think that I was serious. Not sleeping together after already having a child together and forcing him to make a decision regarding his marriage was hard on both of us. Anyone that I told (and there were very few) that we were going to be celibate, had the same reaction – but you already have a kid together.. you have already slept together so why stop now? And my response was, if you steal it doesn’t mean that you have to continue stealing because you are already screwed and its too late to change anything. You can stop sinning anytime you want and do the right thing, no matter what you have already done. My husband took the seriousness of my actions the hardest. After all, it put the ball in his court. If he wanted to stay with me and together as a family, then he had to get it together and file for divorce no matter how difficult it was going to be. Or, he could leave and find someone else to give him the milk for free (cheesy analogy, but it’s true.. he didn’t buy the cow until I stopped giving him the milk for free.) I stood firm in what God had told me to do even though people tried to convince me that God didn’t care that he was married on paper when he wasn’t in his heart. I stood fast to my decision and it put a terrible strain on our relationship and family. I was miserable and resentful and angry. I offered no affection whatsoever, only bitterness. And not getting the attention he was used to, he sought it elsewhere. It was a really rough time.
It would have been easier to give in to lust and desire and not do Gods will, but I wanted to be blessed. I wanted to please God. And so I held fast to my decision, even when things came to a head and exploded in an emotional mess around February 14, 2012. But, when the smoke cleared, guess what? He was divorced.. He had lost all of my trust and I had to decide if I even wanted to be with him anymore, but he was finally divorced. After that, slowly but surely, things started to get better. I got a good job that still allows me to be a Mom and he started to get steady work and found a really good deal on a truck. We were able to find another place to live and it was such a burden off of our shoulders to be out of the house and neighborhood we were in. Things are still going great and every day they get better. Why? Because we are living our lives better, in a way that is more pleasing to God. We got married in 2012. We give Him the Glory, and not other things or people.
I shared this story because I want you (anyone that happens to read this) that I know from my own experience that following the will of God is not always easy. It takes effort and sacrifice and it means not putting yourself and your agenda first. You have to surrender those things. But the rewards far outweigh the struggle. To be in God’s favor and be truly blessed is how you can start to feel some small bit of peace in your life.
That is all for this topic for now… until I am directed to write on another topic. Be blessed!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Doing The Right Thing

The thought for today is, doing the right thing (obeying God and doing what he tells you to do), even when you know it will be hard and it will hurt. My thoughts jump around so much and there is so much that I want to share but I know that when I can’t stop thinking about one thing, that means that it should be my topic for today. And yes, it really is that easy if you let it be.
I will share my story about my struggle with obeying God, in the hopes that it may help someone else that wants to do the right thing but just doesn’t know if they have the strength to do it.

I know now that God wanted me to be a mother, but I didn’t always know. And I know now that I was meant to have a child with my husband, though I didn’t know that then either. When we starting dating, I was searching for something but I didn’t know what it was. It was like my life was a series of trying to find a shirt that fit. I would try on different ones and each one would satisfy one thing that I was looking for, but not all. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was searching for God. I was trying to find him without actually turning to him, which is why none of the shirts fit. When I started dating my husband, I was anxious to get out of the shirt I was in because it was very itchy and confining and not really what I would choose for myself to wear. The point is, that I didn’t do things the way I should have, in a way that was pleasing to God and I ended up dating a married man. Yes that’s right, he was married when we met. Once I found this out, I should have walked away and said, come back when you are single – but the change he brought to my life was something that I was so desperate for, I acted recklessly. And, for his part, he had himself convinced that it was okay to be with someone else because it was “over” with his wife. She had cheated on him, and in his mind that was enough to walk away from the marriage and do as he pleased. To him, there were shades of sin….
Things were ok for awhile and it was alot of fun… or so I had convinced myself. Then, I got pregnant and freaked out. I started to really worry about the consequences of my actions, not just on earth, but in heaven. I worried that I had really done it this time and I would never be accepted into the kingdom of Heaven. Committing adultry, getting pregnant out of wed-lock. I saw no hope. That was also the start of the “bad luck”. My husband (not my husband at the time) moved in with me and we continued to live in sin… Two weeks after giving birth, I got laid off from a job that told me that hoped I didn’t want to be a stay at home Mom and that I would come back to work. My husband couldn’t get his truck on the road and work was scarce. The job he was working, kept him away from home for days at a time and it still didn’t pay the bills. When we were late on the rent, the landlord was on the doorstep threatening eviction the next day. We finally moved out of the apartment we were living in and moved into the tiny house that I had rented once before, when I was single. It was small and cramped and ended up having so many problems. Bad neighbors, mold, spiders, mice, electrical problems.. We tried and tried to make things work, but the tension and resentment between the two of us got worse and we struggled to stay together. During this whole time my husband was still married.. to this day he cannot tell me why it took him 3 years to get a divorce. During this time I was miserable. I cried most every night and I prayed alot.. I kept asking God what to do.. I kept asking him if this was what my life was to be. I begged him to tell me what I should do and where I should go. I asked and prayed and begged him to give us another house, to give my husband more work, to give me some peace so that I could stop worrying about our son and our life and our future. I was so unhappy that I doubted everything, every decision. I was ready to walk away from everything.. Then, God answered me. He said, “Stop sinning and live a life that is pleasing to me. I am very displeased with the life you are living. There are no degrees of sin, you are living in sin. When you live a life that is pleasing to me, then I will bless you.” I heard him say this to me, really and truly I did. And he also led me to a job at a local bank where I met a girl who had more faith in her little finger than I did in my whole life. And with that, I knew what I had to do… I had to stop sleeping with my husband and remain celebate until marriage…

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Time to turn the page…

I have been doing alot of thinking lately – this is not unusual for me – however, my thinking has been of the spiritual nature. I started reading this book, The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren, and it got me thinking about Gods purpose for me and my life. I don’t know exactly what that is yet, but I do know that I have this overwhelming desire for the loved ones in my life to experience what I have over the last several years. I feel guilty that at this time in my spiritual journey, I do not have the knowledge of His word to back up what I am feeling and what I am trying to convey. But, while thinking about how I can convince others of the peace that I feel in my life now, now that I am working on my relationship with God, I realized that I can use my blog to share my experiences. My testimonies. So, instead of using this blog to complain about my life, the people in it, and all of the things I am lacking, I am going to turn this into a spiritual blog. This would be the point where anyone who isn’t interested in hearing about my spiritual journey can click off. If you read on and join with me, then maybe you will be inspired to take your own journey – to walk with Jesus!

I don’t know exactly where to start and I doubt that I can cram all of my exciting thoughts into one entry, so I will just type what comes to me at this moment. Let me first say that I did not always care about my relationship with God. I did not always have room for him in my life and I most certainly did not surrender myself to him. But ever-loving, as God is, he was always in my life, laying a path for me to come to Him. I think back at how many times He has held me in His hand because He had better things planned for my life. The times in my life that I turned away from God or didn’t care enough to work on my relationship with Him, those were the worst times in my life and those are the times that still haunt me and that Satan constantly reminds me of, trying to get me to forget that I am forgiven. Yes, having a relationship with God takes effort and sacrifice and it means that you can’t continue to do things and not care about the consequences. That’s where I was in my life.. I didn’t want to take the time to get to know God because I knew it would take away from my own agenda. I didn’t care about the consequences of my actions, either here on earth or in heaven. This is so important because there are people in my life, one in particular, that I see struggling. This one person, she constantly talks about her “bad luck” and how bad things are always happening to her. She is lonely and wants so much more for her life than she has right now but doesn’t think that she deserves it. I have been her friend for over 10yrs and I didn’t see it before.. I see it now. I see that it used to be me. That used to be the way that I felt. Everything was always a struggle for me. Relationships, money, jobs, family… something good might happen and it would give me hope, but it was always so fleeting and any glimpse of happiness was shrouded with negative thoughts and doubts. This my friends, is what the Devil wants for us! This is not what God wants or has planned for us! I had no idea at the time that the struggles in my life had anything to do with my relationship (or lack thereof) with God. And do you know why? Because I was not living a life that was pleasing to God. He kept giving me direction and I kept turning the other way, believing that I could make my own direction and I would be fine. But, I never was. I so much wish that I could convince my friend that her life is not riddled with ‘bad luck”, that she deserves good things and she would have them if she would just let go and let God. If she unburdened herself and laid her worries at the feet of Jesus, she would come to know peace. Things in her life would start to change for the better. Good things would happen for her and it wouldn’t be because her luck had changed..

That is all for now… definitely more later, as I have so much to say about what has happened in my life and how things came about. My parting thought for today is, do you think your life is riddled with bad luck?

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Bah Valentines Day Humbug…

Yeah, that’s right.  I don’t like Valentines Day and I choose not to participate.  Debbie Downer?  Maybe, but if you were in my shoes you might not want to bust out with the heart chocolates and schmoopy cards either.  I refuse to spend my money on this commercialized “holiday” that pressures us to spend money on frivolous things so that we can express how much we love our special someone.  C’mon people…really?  I believe that I say how much I love my husband everyday with my actions.  Like a home cooked meal and clean clothes.  A clean house and always having body wash and shave cream when he steps into the shower.  Do you really think that all of these things are part of my “job” as a wife?  Well maybe if I didn’t have a job also and contribute to paying the household bills, then I would buy him some pointless little stuffed animal that will collect dust after a week on his dresser.  Or maybe buy him a box of chocolates that he would only eat part of and then leave laying around and I would end up eating the rest of, just so I wouldn’t have to look at them anymore (and because I am addicted to sugar).  Well why not just get him a card (that now costs $5) and let some cheesy writer for Hallmark express how I feel for me?  I will tell you why.. becuase I am jaded.. yeah that’s right – jaded.  And I will freely admit it.  Last year, around Valentines Day, I found out that I was not his only Valentine.. so there!  I said it!  So I refuse to spend money on all of this stupid Valentines Day crap. 

Are we so bored with our lives that we have to create this “spending holidays” where we are put under pressure to tell someone with tangible things just how much we love or care for them?  I mean, what if you are a kid and all of your friends get Valentines from the other kids and you don’t get any?  Or your friend gets 10 and you only get 2?  How does that make a kid feel?  Then what if you get one from a boy that you are friends with and he implies that he wants to be more… but you don’t?  Or you are hoping that someone you really care about does something special for you and they don’t… It’s not like I have never celebrated Valentines Day, ever.  One year I booked a surprise dinner on a train for the evening for my boyfriend (at the time) and myself.  I thought that was the coolest, most romantic gesture ever.  And then when it was all over, he said.. we should have just stayed home.  OUCH.  Then there was the time when one of the guys at work gave all of the women in the office a rose and a box of chocolates for Valentines Day.  When I got home, my boyfriend got all mad and threw the flower away and threw the chocolates outside…

They ought to call it the “Spend Money to Disappoint Day”…  just sayin….

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment