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Be angry …

It seems that in today’s world of reality shows filled with fights and arguments giving full vent to your anger is something to be praised.  But if you are a child and follower of the most high then you believe otherwise. Unfortunately, allowing anger to rule your spirit many times breaks trust, ruins relationships and worse case scenario can end a life.

In my life, I have grown to the point where the desire to know what the word of God says about issues when they present themselves is of the utmost importance, especially if they are destructive and detrimental.  When I was younger, I got angry quickly and since I was prone to holding things in, it was wrathful when I did get angry because I exploded.  While Anger is a natural human response to an emotion, giving full vent to our anger dictates a level of immaturity and lack of self-control.  The bible tells us to ‘be angry and do not sin’.  Sinning in anger or giving full vent to our anger (wrath) can have repercussions in both the physical and spiritual realm.  James tells us that the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God, so we already see that anger is unproductive and even counterproductive to our walks as children of God.

Here are three other things the bible say’s about how wrath or giving full vent to your anger affects you and those around you!  There are also good reflective journaling questions you can answer for yourself.  Many times we have ‘a ha’ moments when writing things down and quietly thinking about our inner workings, so give it a try!

  1. Makes you a fool:  Basically, if you give full vent to your anger you are acting like a fool.  That’s kind of harsh right?  But if you think about it, it’s true!  I can remember the times when I blew my top,  screaming, cursing and throwing things basically made me look a little crazy.  On top of that once I had time to calm down and look back on the mess I’d made, I usually feel quite foolish. (Proverbs 29:11 & Ecclesiastes 7:9).  Unfortunately, while you may be apologetic and truly repentant many times people won’t forgive easily or may continue to throw it in your face for years to come. (I talk a little about how to deal with someone that won’t let your past stay in the past.)  Have you ever been in a situation where you just ‘went off’ and felt horrible about it later?  Why do you think this happened, what in your past made this particular situation one where wrath was your response? How do you think you can prevent this from occurring in the future? 
  2. Makes you a troublemaker: According to Galatians 5, fits of anger is a fruit of the flesh and we know that it produces unrighteousness, but it also produces dissension and chaos.  Proverbs 29:22 tells us that a man of wrath stirs up strife and one given to anger causes much transgression and Proverbs 15:1 says that a harsh word stirs up anger.  I don’t know about you, but when in an argument with someone, especially a significant other, I used to fight as dirty as they come verbally.  This usually did not deescalate the argument, but created more anger between us.  I’ve always said that anger is something you can catch if you allow it into your spirit, it can spread and soon both people are on a horrible path to wrath!  Can you think of a time when your words have stirred up anger recently?  How could you have spoken in love and gentleness to prevent this from happening (go over the scenario in your head with a different reaction and guess how the other person may have reacted differently)? How in your life has wrath been contagious?  Can you remember  a time when you attempted to keep your cool, but allowed the anger of someone else to take you out of that mindset?  What could you have done to prevent ‘catching wrath’?
  3. A horrible friend: The bible says that you shouldn’t make friends with someone given to anger or a wrathful person.  But this bible verse speaks to the fact that a someone quick to anger usually pushes people away, either out of fear, lack of tolerance for the behavior or uncertainty because they never know what will set you off.  But what if you are a spouse or parent and given to wrath, separating yourself from your family long-term is usually not a viable option.  I would start with being as open and honest as possible and let them know that you are attempting to be better (I talk a little bit about how to deal with that here). I myself have noticed where my tendency to fly off the handle has caused friends to look at me differently and many times those relationships have not been fully mended.  People often distance themselves from dangerous things that have a tendency to hurt or feel unpleasant, in this case it would be your anger.  Have you noticed your anger coming between you and those that you love, family relationships, friendships, partnerships etc.?   How can you go to them now, laying all pride aside and be open and honest?  Write a letter (even a paragraph) letting them know how you feel as this may be an easy way to get the conversation started.
  4. Distant from God: The bible is pretty harsh on those that give full vent to their anger and it’s possibly because it is one sin that can so easily creep in and tear relationships apart if not kept in check.  If you are prone to giving full vent to your anger not only are you considered a fool and troublemaker, but you are distancing yourself from God through sin.  Those that are given to fits of anger are lumped together with those that practice sexual immorality, idolatry and orgies!  Wrath is that serious to God and we can not inherit the kingdom of and since it is a sin to give full vent to your anger as it cuts us off from God (Galatians 5:20).  I challenge you to read a proverb a day and highlight what it says about anger, it is full of wisdom!

There is much to be said in the bible about anger, just read through the book of Proverbs!  But ultimately it leads to strife and death if given to wrath.  Read here on ways to control your anger and keep those feelings in check when they arise.

God Bless on your journey to wholeness!

Court

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Life, perseverance & yoga

IMG_9486Droplets of sweat dripped steadily down my face & onto the black mat before me. How long is she going to make us hold this pose?  I grimaced as I struggled to stay in an uttanasana, in otherwords I was bent over attempting to touch my nose to my knees quite unsuccessfully.  The instructor continued speaking in her soft voice, which at the beginning of class I had found to be quite soothing; But after 45 minutes had become more of an annoyace than an assurance.  I didnt want to hear about softening my body to flow with the movements or how my breathing should bring me into a state of knowing.  Can we please just shavasana already I screamed in my head!  I was wobbly, unbalanced, my breathing was more of a deep pant refusing to coincide with any movements & Im quite sure I resembled a new born calf trying to hold poses that in my mind my body was never meant to attempt. My hands, feet, legs & arms all felt like they were on fire & I had no idea you could be so sore from yoga!  The embarrassment of gathering my belongings & limping out of the room was becoming less of a deterrent by the minute.

The thing is, I had put myself through this torture, I had paid $15 to participate in hot yoga & be tortured for an hour and fifteen minutes.  I berated myself, knowing that the word hot preceding anything would probably feel slightly like a dialed down hell.  Also, since the class was 15 minutes longer than most I should have opted for something that was appropriate for a woman that hadnt laid eyes on a yoga mat in over a year except to toss it into the trunk of her car.

When we finally reached my favorite pose, shavasana, I melted slowly onto my mat with a deep satisfied exhale & closed my eyes.   The room was silent aside from the steady beat of low music & periodic snores of a man that was obviously more spent than I had been, but my mind was blaring.  Thoughts flooded my mind & I eventually settled on thinking of how this class was much like my life.  You see, I have this vision of being a super bendy, impromptu split doing, yoga guru but In order to reach my goal I have to make the practice of perseverance in adversity a way of life.  I struggled through the pain of lotus position & wanted to stop at navasana but I eventually came to the realization that I had to push through or refuse to grow.

The urge to bypass the painful parts of growth in leui of quick relief is a universal human trait.  We want to be strong enough to hold ourselves up in an awe inspiring hand stand dont want to do the work to strengthen our arms.   We run from the hard work that will catapult us to the next level, seek refugee in partying or dead end dating instead of identifying the cause of & working through lonliness, or we put off tedious tasks opting for the much more pleaurable lure of procrastination.  I believe that we have so many options that can pull us away from the focus of our daily ‘practices’.  The pull of distraction & ease of giving up is something that can easily deter or delay success.  But if you keep your thoughts on your end goal, eventually you will get there.  You may be tired, sweaty & sore but you will arrive!

As we exited the class the instructor stopped me as the new girl in class & told me cheerfully that she hoped to see me again in class & guess what she did!

Love you lots & much success in all you endeavors!

Court

Burn the highlight reel

This morning as I scrolled through my facebook feed I ran across a post that threw me, one of my friends announced her decision to file for divorce from her husband of over thirteen years.  There are two things that caught me off guard, one was the fact that she had the guts to blast the news all over social media because as a semi-private person that is just getting comfortable with opening up to the world, I don’t think I would have had the desire to allow people into my business on that level, but different strokes.  The second and real thing that shocked me was that just days before I ran across another post of she and her husband in what looked like an extremely joyous situation.  They were out on a date night, celebrating the brief freedom from daily responsibilities, taking cuddly, kissy selfies and posting it all for the world to see.  I had never seen anything on her newsfeed that would remotely point to an unhappy situation.  We aren’t that close and in real life we’re maybe distant associates so I didn’t feel comfortable asking about the situation or even commenting on the status, but I did want to know how and why it happened?  Partially because I’m nosey but mostly because I used to long for a successful marriage and family of my own based off of the glimpses of happiness portrayed in her and a couple others feeds.  I didn’t want to see another marriage bite the dust, especially one that I looked up to from a far.

Unfortunately, it’s the tragedy of the highlight reel.  We get to edit, Photoshop and tweak our lives into our personal perfection even if we aren’t truly living it.  I honestly don’t even think many of us do it consciously as I can’t see too may people stopping in the middle of a heated argument to announce, we should take a selfie!  Most of us try to keep the lowlights of our lives locked tightly behind closed doors and definitely off of social media (although I have seen a couple of pretty comical FB fights). If we lose sight of this key fact, we can find ourselves in the dreaded comparison trap where we are pitting our blooper reel against someone elses highlight reel.  I’m guilty of it and fell prey easily because I pined for a family of my own, so when I looked at photos or videos of my friends sharing the brightest moments with their significant others and kids it would at times make me unhappy with where I was in my life. That’s the biggest problem with comparing your life to someone else’s, it becomes easy to be unsatisfied with the blessings God has given you.  In turn you choose to be unhappy and unappreciative based off of a perception that your life would be so much better ‘if’.

To be happy with our true authentic selves we must burn the highlight reel (as one of my favorite speakers would say) and stop comparing our lives whether it’s to gain a sense of superiority or to wallow in what we don’t have.  Always keep in mind that there are so many facets to human beings that no one can possibly get every aspect of that across on a social media network and that these are just glimpses of imperfect people leading imperfect lives. And even if they truly are living their highlight reels try to set aside thoughts of  jealousy or envy, pray that their blessings continue to overflow, embrace your own journey and keep it moving because you are needed as the star in your own movie, no one else can play that part.

Be Blessed
Court

8 dating rules mature christian women live by


If I compare my views on dating over the past three decades I can truly say that they have shifted tremendously with age and maturity.  I wanted to share some ideals that have changed in my thinking of dating over the years.  These are things that I feel most mature Christian women keep in mind when dating and rules I’ve grown to live by.  Let me know if you agree or have more to add!

1. FOMO is a disease worth preventing:  By this I mean fear of missing out on meeting the man of your dreams! You no longer feel the need to drag yourself to the club every weekend or attend social events when you’d much rather be comfy in bed simply because you’re afraid of missing that chance encounter with Mr. Perfect for you. You are able to rest in the fact that when the time comes for you to meet it will happen no matter where you are, if God wanted to he could bring him right to your door.  It’s just not that serious and your purpose for going out has less to do with meeting a man and more about the personal experience of having a great time.  Besides, most of us have been to the club a gazillion times and have  met Mr. Horrible breath, Mr. Much too pushy and Mr. Stalk you all night but never Mr. Right!

2. Resist emotional attachment:  At least until his representative exits stage left and you’re sure you can deal with his crazy, because let’s face it everyone has a touch.  You may feel the flutter of butterflies in your stomach, your words may get jumbled somewhere between your tongue and lips from nervousness when he’s around but somehow you still manage to remain planted in reality.   Your desire to take it slow, guard your heart and refusal to get caught up in the what if’s is a very intelligent move.  You realize that some relationships are sizzling hot one day and fizzle out the next so you are able to keep your emotions in check and remain observant of his actions and words. Of course after dating someone for a while thoughts of white poufy dresses, last name changes and babies may begin to infiltrate your daydreams but you definitely don’t have your wedding planned after the first few dates.

3. Date around: You get that there’s no need to become attached at the hip to a guy after only a couple of dates.  You have no problem keeping your options open as you find out where his head is and get to know him and you’re okay with him doing the same.  Of course being open and honest about the fact that there is no exclusivity until the time comes to take a more serious step is a necessity.  Granted there are people that get married after a couple of dates and it works out well for them, so if this is where God is leading you then hallelujah you’ve been blessed!

4. Make big life decisions like a boss: Waiting on someone to enter your life before you can start living it only hinders your progress as a person and possibly as a mate.  Going it alone with decisions like purchasing a home or moving to a new city can be scary, but worth it.  Although you may be fearful or nervous making a huge move alone you still do it scared, sometimes shaking in your boots scared!   The thought that you need a significant other to make a big leap in life is in my view a grave misnomer.    I’ve moved more than 1000 miles from home twice and last year took the leap into homeownership.  One of the comments I got from an older woman in my family was that the purchase was too permanent and what about marriage.  This type of thinking is fear based and I refuse to live my reality based on someone else’s and while I’ve learned a few things that I dislike (mowing the lawn being primary) I truly enjoy my humble abode.  I would encourage anyone that has the funds, desire and plans to make a giant life altering leap to go ahead and jump you will most likely soar and flying solo is actually pretty empowering.

5. Know when to opt out of dating drama:  While dating is fine, you realize that you don’t have to go out with someone simply because they ask or throw some affection your way.  While a man findeth a wife, the woman decideth to deny or accept his advances. Some times you just need a break from the entire scene or men in general and decide to take a much needed respite from dating.  Although slightly forced due to a break up, I recently gave up dating for months and grew tremendously from doing so.  I highly recommend it for anyone that has recently parted ways with a significant other or would like to make some beneficial life or character changes without the pressure of dating.

6.  You never have to prove yourself:  I can recall the countless times that I’ve met a man and before asking me about my spiritual beliefs, my background or goals he bee lines straight for what is apparently the most significant question of them all, ‘can you cook’ usually followed by ‘what you gone cook for me’.  As if being able to throw down in the kitchen automatically turned you into suzie homemaker.  The old adage tells us that a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, and many times a man will want you to prove that you are ‘wifey material’ prior to moving into a more serious status.  As I’ve matured in my dating style I don’t have the desire to prove much to any man and the answer that goes through my head when asked if I can cook is, yes I can cook, but why would I cook for you?  Mature women know that proving you can whip up a quick meal in a pinch or are good with money, kids etc is reserved for the man that is worthy of receiving those gifts not some random that may not be around after the third date.

7. Always remain focused:  Many times our purpose for dating is marriage as Christians, I include myself in that category as well.  I no longer date for the fun of simply going out because I don’t have the time to waste on men who aren’t marriage material.  Even if marriage isn’t your end goal, as you grow more mature you come to know what you want out of dating.  You know that time is valuable and tremendously more precious than a free meal, so you opt out of possibly unequally yoked partnerships to focus on more important things.

8. Dating does not mean sex:  As a Christian woman I have been walking the road of abstinence since my last relationship.  It’s pretty easy to do while not dating, but I know it may become a bit more difficult when I enter into another serious relationship as the temptations will surely come.  But I also know that I don’t desire to move too fast with anyone and that goes for any physical contact including hugging and kissing.  The world sells us a view of dating that goes hand in hand with sex, as Christians living for a God that calls fornication a sin, we don’t buy the hype.  I know for me l almost instantly grow more attached to the person after sex and in an effort to guard my heart chose to reserve my body for the man I marry.

God Bless
Court

Six signs you aren’t ready to be the queen to his king…

There are some signs in a person’s character that exhibit emotional immaturity and many of them don’t do well to preserve a healthy relationship.  How do I know?  Because I’m basically an expert on what not to do in a relationship as I have caught myself doing most of the things listed below.   Getting past these issues means being mindful of their presence and  consistently doing the difficult work to better yourself.  There are eighty year olds I know who aren’t ready to be in a committed healthy relationship (I’m so serious)  so maturity has little to do with age.  We can catch ourselves acting out or using some of the ploys I list below at any age and many times to a mature godly man they will serve as red flags to hit the road and never look back!  If you notice them in yourself or are trying to better yourself, don’t berate yourself just make a conscious effort to do better and with time you will.

1.  Temper tantrums:  Need I say more, if you still pout, whine, throw things and cry etc when you don’t get your way then you are basically employing the tactics of a two-year old to shift the odds in your favor.   Temper tantrums aren’t cute on a 5-year-old, let alone a 25 or 35 year-old woman.  Instead they are sure signs of mental and spiritual immaturity and that you’ve got some growing up to do before entering an adult relationship.Weeping Woman On Floor  

2. Manipulative tactics: it’s all about you and what you want and you’ll use whatever tricks are necessary to get it.   Using sex, tears or withholding affection to get your desired outcome are all manipulation tactics. Trying to get over on someone who cares for you is unfair, will cause a lack of trust and is seriously just plain trifling.  If he is a mature man he will likely grow tired of your games and leave you to play with the boys. fake tears

3. Unfair fighting:  If you use your words as weapons during arguments to inflict as much pain as possible without actually coming to blows then you don’t argue fairly.  Do you make snide remarks or throw other men in his face when he doesn’t do things your way? Do you kick him when he’s down, can’t find work or makes mistakes? A man needs respect and honor (which is basically a fancy word for more respect) from his mate. It’s sometimes easier to be mean than to choose support, gentleness or kindness but think about the long-term damage as opposed to trying to get back at them in that moment.  As women, we can sometimes have a quick tongue that can shoot venom fire balls at will and since we usually know exactly what buttons to push it’s easy to hurt a man’s pride.  Even if you’re angry always remember that sometimes the tude is unnecessary and you and your partner are on the same team! beyonce tude

4. Unwillingness to compromise:  You won’t take no for an answer, everything has to be your way or the highway & the word compromise has no place in your vocabulary.  Everyone wants what they want when they want it, but most mature adults know (and accept) the fact that they won’t always get everything in their timing.  I speak from experience because I can be as spoiled as they come and have to keep watch on this part of my character.  It’s a very selfish and self-centered way to go about life and relationships of any kind, especially a marriage as they are all about giving and taking and giving some more.  Getting to a point of being okay with compromise or actually not getting your way takes growth and loads of it, but it’s worth it to have a happy, healthy relationship. tamar gif

5. Uncontrollable emotions:  Have you ever watched the show Bridezillas and wondered how some of these women were able to date and marry someone?  Although a lot of their actions are extreme (and hopefully for the cameras), I’ve found myself thinking just that; and my next thought is usually ‘at least I’m not that bad’.  But the truth is I could very much resemble some of the women just to a lesser extent.  Yes, hormones are real but if you can’t (or won’t) try to purposefully control your emotions and consequently your actions, you’re basically like a ticking time ball and no one is going to want to be around when you explode.  The bible put’s it this way: He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.  It compares a person that can’t control themselves to a broken down city without protection, you have no barriers against thieves and looters, mainly the devil who comes to steal, kill and destroy.  In this case you are letting him steal, kill and destroy your partnership. tyra melt down

6. You don’t speak life:  I was raised in a house full of women, I also grew up with an awesome dad in my life but saw him mainly on the weekends and didn’t really get a chance to see what a positive, thriving relationship looked like.  Fast forward to today and I still struggle with not picking out the negatives and things I don’t like a bout a mate in lieu of focusing on the positives and uplifting him for those qualities.  As I’m a grown woman I can no longer use what I didn’t learn during childhood as an excuse for not building up the man in my life  today.  It takes a very conscious effort to focus on the positives and although I haven’t reached Barnabus status yet, I have learned that it is important to speak life into your relationships and situations, he’ll love you all the more for it. jerk

God bless and here’s to a purposeFULL life! Court 🙂

A Silent Savior

If you were on trial for a murder you didn’t commit, do you think you would speak up and proclaim your innocence?  I believe the majority of us would, but during a bible study of Mark (15:3-5) I saw an instance where Jesus did just the opposite. While people viciously hurled false accusations his way and deemed him worthy of a crime punishable by death, Jesus remained silent.  We see three times when Jesus was questioned and gave no reply.  The high priest Caiaphas – Matthew 26:62&63-And the high priest arose and said unto him, Answerest thou nothin  what is it which these witness against thee?  (63)  But Jesus held his peace.  When Herod questioned him in Luke 23:9 – Then he questioned with him in many words; but he answered him nothing.  As a result Herod and the other men mocked Jesus for what they thought to be stupidity or weakness.  But the instance that intrigued me the most was when Pilate asked if he had heard all of the things people were accusing him of doing, I believe in an attempt to get him to speak out on his incorruptibility.  Mattthew 27:14 – And he answered him to never a word; insomuch that the governor marveled greatly.

The fact that Pilate marveled greatly at Jesus’ response or lack there of was so perfectly human and Jesus’ silence was so utterly perfect.  To me it exhibits Jesus’ strength in connection with God and the spirit world in contrast with the carnal angst of fleshly death that was Pilates focus.  While Pilate only saw the mythical world in front of him, Jesus looked beyond this life, this flesh, his crucifixion and saw eternal life.

It brought to mind a few things, the first is that far too often I am a Pilate in this world, afraid to speak out on what I know is truth and wasting my time focused only on futile human carnalities.  The second is that there can be such awesome power in our use of silence, so much so that it can leave others speechless and in awe, I speak on that here.  The third is that it is necessary for my spiritual growth to embrace and regularly put into practice the qualities and confidences that Jesus must have held to be the type of man that could remain silent at a time like this.  These are five qualities that I hope to develop within myself.

Jesus knew who he was and his purpose for being here on earth:  Jesus was all ‘about his fathers business’ and since the start of His ministry he focused on his purpose, being a savior.  You may not know exactly what your gift(s) here on earth is just yet, but you do know your purpose.  We are laborers with God (1 Corinthians 3:9) and we are to teach all nations to observe all things whatsoever Jesus commanded of us and to baptize them in the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Ghost (Matthew 28:18-20).  Many times we make excuses for not doing what God called us to do even though it is clearly stated.  I will confess that I include myself in the realm of passive Christianity, going to church when I can, not being a servant, reading the bible when I remember and rarely speaking to others about God unless they introduce Him into the conversation. My main excuses are fear of going up and talking to people cold turkey and making time to serve.  I can’t afford to wait any longer to be about my father’s business and I ask that God gives me the opportunity to do so.  I pray that all excuses, barriers and road blocks for not doing God’s will are removed from our lives and that God reveals our gifts when the time is right.

Jesus already knew how the story would play out: The bible tells us that all things work together for the good of those that love him (Romans 8:28) and we also know that in the end God win’s!  Jesus knew his fathers plan and as children of God so should we.  Although, we may not always be secure in this fact as concerns of this earth boggle us down and disrupt our faith.  It is imperative that we keep in mind that everything is working together for our good.  I honestly wish I could be as assured as Jesus, but I worry and doubt about things all the time.  I’m challenging myself and you to recite Romans 8:28 whenever thoughts of doubt, fear or worry about a situation fill our heads to remind us that if we are on God’s team, we have already won.  I pray for knowledge and wisdom from above to remain focused on things eternal.

Jesus trusted his father:  How many times in your life have you questioned God?  Have you ever wondered if you were meant to be in the situation or place you are currently?  I find myself doing this, especially when things aren’t going right in my limited view.  But in the heat of the moment, before his death, Jesus trusted God because he knew that no matter what his father loved and would be there for him, just as he will for you.  Trust can be hard to maintain, especially when we often desire a tangible proof before totally giving it. But if I’m taking notes from Jesus he went along with God’s plan even in the most difficult of times, even when he thought God had forsaken him.  Having trust is paramount to growing as a child of God and I pray that we place our trust in God and surrender to his plan for our life.

Jesus did what God told him to do:  As stated before Jesus knew God’s plan and although it didn’t always seem like a pleasant journey he still walked the path God gave him, no questions asked.  When God tells us to do something it’s guraranteed to be for our good.  Oftentimes, I find myself being more of a Jonah than a Jesus in life.  If I have an urge to write, give up a relationship or do something that I feel like God may be directing me to do, I can’t always say that I do it right away.  Usually what happens when I don’t follow God’s plan is that I go the painful circuitous route, am swallowed up and spit out by the jaws of life and wind up having to do what I was trying to avoid initially.  I pray against the spirit of procrastination, confusion and wrong relationships and replace them with a spirit of love and willingness to move when God calls us to move.

Jesus wasn’t going to allow anyone to stop him from accomplishing his Goal:  When Peter was so over taken at the thought of Jesus’ death that he begins to rebuke the plan, Jesus knows it’s the devil attempting to stop him (Matthew 16:23).  Just as the jeering, criticizing and mocking of the people prior to and during his crucifiction is no match for the power of his desire to do God’s will.  Nothing and no one could stop him.  When we set out to accomplish something, be it completing a bible study or starting a business there will be distractions to be put at bay so we can do the work set before us.  Recognizing when the devil is trying to knock us off the path God has placed before us is critical to reaching God’s goal for our life.  I pray for freedom from people and discernment to know when the devil is a distraction in our lives and to rebuke any and all attempts to pull us away from our work and callings.

God bless & here’s to a purposeFULL life!
Court😉