Emotional wellness is an important part of our overall health equation. The thoughts we choose to ruminate on will ultimately impact or physical vitality. Emotional Wellness Coach Caroline Brown says the words are like nutrition for our souls. Just as we should consume good food for our bodies, we should feed our souls with good words and thoughts.
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If you're new to the show, I want you to know that I believe that we maximize our health potential when we align our lives more fully with God's natural design for spirit, mind and body. And that encompasses a lot but what we're going to be talking about today is our thought lives and how we process the our emotional intelligence and how we handle our emotions in a positive way, especially in this these midlife years. So it's an important part of really maximizing who we are who we are created to be, is not being handicapped by emotions that plague us and keep us from living the full life that we're supposed to be living
Caroline Brown 0:39
Words are made to feed your soul. And so like food be particularly generous, and thoughtful about the words you choose to feed yourself each day, and each moment.
David Sandstrom 0:51
Welcome to the Natural Health Matters podcast where it's all about maximizing your health potential, so that you can look and feel your best at any age. I'm your host, David Sandstrom, Naturopathic Doctor and Biblical Health Coach, and this is episode number 113.
David Sandstrom 1:11
Today we have in the show Caroline Brown. Caroline is a mompreneur living in London. She's an author, and emotional wellness coach. And as a clinical trauma professional, she offers individual and group coaching services, Caroline holds a BA in social work and a master's in forensic psychology. And she hosts the crazy over 40s Life podcast, Caroline, Welcome to Natural Health Matters.
Caroline Brown 1:34
Thank you so much, David, for having me on your podcast. I'm really excited to be here and to obviously share what I know with your listeners.
David Sandstrom 1:43
Yeah, it's a pleasure to have you, Caroline, you had me on your show a couple of months ago. And we had the holidays and took a little break. But I'm glad to have it too. To get together with you. Again, it's always a pleasure talking with you.
Caroline Brown 1:55
It's always nice to kind of reconnect, isn't it? And I think what's really important in the podcasting world is to kind of build on your network and kind of make it a one man can have a one time experience. It's good to build on it, isn't it?
David Sandstrom 2:10
Yeah, podcasting can be a little bit of a lonely business when you're when you're in the studio by yourself.
Caroline Brown 2:15
Oh, God. Yes, definitely. Definitely. Yeah. And the the life.
David Sandstrom 2:19
So tell the natural nation what it is that you do today. Okay, so
Caroline Brown 2:22
as you mentioned, before I do coaching or coaching over 40s. That is a separate part to the work that I do. Also, my integrative therapists, and I do specialize in trauma work. And those are neuro-diverse as well. So yes, I work in private practice. But as I said, I'm here to kind of promote the over 40s. I think we are the forgotten kind of developmental stage, it does go up all the way up to 60. So when I say over 40s, anyone over 40, essentially,
David Sandstrom 2:55
is a stage that goes to 60. Because they just turned 60 couple months ago.
Caroline Brown 2:59
It does. Yes. Because I'm going on there, Erickson. Well, congratulations. Thank you. That's a part of the Will this for you. Oh, wonderful. Yeah, I mean, like Erickson said, There's a famous psychologist, he goes all the way up to 60. Class. So this is important stage, because it's a stage where we want to continue to move through life, we stagnation is not really healthy for us. And that's what creates the crazy over 40s, or the midlife crisis, as I said, or the rebirth of adolescence. That's how I like to describe it. Yeah,
David Sandstrom 3:38
That's pretty cool. Well, if you're new to the show, I want you to know that I believe that we maximize our health potential when we align our lives more fully with God's natural design for spirit, mind and body. And that encompasses a lot. But what we're going to be talking about today is our thought lives and how we process the our emotional intelligence and how we handle our emotions in a positive way, especially in this these midlife years. So it's an important part of really maximizing who we are, who we are created to be, is not being handicapped by emotions that plague us and keep us from living the full life that we're supposed to be living. So, Caroline, was there a an event in your life that led you into this line of work? Or did you have any defining moments that brought you to where you are today?
Caroline Brown 4:30
Hmm, good question. Well, my beginnings of my career was in social work. So I've also, as you mentioned that I have a master's and I also have a therapeutic qualifications as well, in therapy, counseling work. So yes, all my life it's always been dedicated to emotional wellness and being a mum and being a wife at one point in my life to also encourage me to be emotionally aware. I had to be. But one thing that I must say is that sometimes we do neglect ourselves, you know, we have different roles in our life. And as we go through the stages of life, we don't we have different roles and require it each time. And sometimes we drop roles as well. And that needs adjusting as well. And so with that, we need to adjust our emotional wellness. And it's quite interesting to talk about spiritual beliefs. And what does that all mean? I believe the midlife crisis comes into question, or we kind of wrestle with our over 40s is when we ask questions about that, what are spiritual beliefs? What are we passionate about? What are our values? Those are the things I feel that holds our stead. It's that is our core. And that helps us with our energy to navigate through life.
David Sandstrom 5:52
Yeah. Well, you know, I've, I've heard it said, and I've repeated this in the past, but you know, you've reached midlife when you stop looking at life as how many years you have behind you. But you look at it as how many years you have left. Once you agree with that statement?
Caroline Brown 6:09
Yeah, I do agree. The very important thing with with midlife is that we can do all over again, you know, once we get to 40, we can have it we live in a lot longer. Thanks to technology and medical advancement, healthy eating? Well, yeah, we can choose what we don't. Genetics, genetics is a huge part of playing as well, I think we're more aware of what it takes to keep our body healthy and our mind and spirituality, and why. But yeah, absolutely. I do agree with that.
David Sandstrom 6:41
Of course, it's my contention that, you know, we have a mind body connection, it's well documented in the medical literature, that what the thoughts and the beliefs that we hold and the thoughts that we choose to ruminate on throughout the day, they will have an impact on our physical well being and our vitality as well. So that's the word that I want to dive into today. Now I know you've got a book, and it's called, let's see, it's called the five step challenge to understanding the crazy over 40s life.
Caroline Brown 7:09
There we go. So, yeah, let's
David Sandstrom 7:11
see it. Okay. Fantastic.
Caroline Brown 7:13
Yeah, it's, it's a book that I created, because I going through my over 40s, still, and obviously, I wanted something to kind of help me through it. And I wanted something I can kind of refer to very quickly. So I started to put notes together. And before I knew I actually created a very simple, but back to basics kind of book, really, things that we overlook, and day to day life. And I thought this was very important. I mean, there are five steps that are more other chapters in the book, but fundamentally around five steps, and one of them is honor how I feel. And it's about getting over your crazy over 40s Life fear. You know, we all have a fear of going into that next step of our development. You know, I call it the rebirth of adolescence, we get to that state. And as I mentioned before, the questions that we tend to ask ourselves is, what are we passionate about? What are our values? spiritual beliefs, we question these things, because up until then, all we have acquired may not have been all of ours, you know, but it's our family's values, spiritual beliefs, passions that we've inherited from family merit, members, societal expectation, all those things. And also we have roles outside of our roles outside of the home. So for, say, for banker say, and some of your beliefs or values may be centered around money, perhaps. And maybe that you've inherited an expectation where you're going to medicine, but then you're kind of values are centered around creativity, which is very different. But you're going through these expectations and picking up the baton of someone else's values and beliefs just to make them happy. But then you get to a certain point in your life with all these things are question and things fall apart quite quickly. And that's what I talked about. Kind of confronting your fear, the fear to accept that things are just not going right. Fear, talking about the fear of understanding that fear shouldn't stop you from kind of being honest, honest and authentic about your journey. It's very important to be authentic about your journey, or try to kind of suppress some of the things that you want to do and say, if this is the time to do it, this is the time to do it. I can't see any other time to do it to be honest, and over 40 is a good benchmark. Yeah.
David Sandstrom 10:00
So how would you advise somebody who was at that point in their life, let's say, let's say it's a, let's say there's a mid 40s, mid to late 40s Mom listening, and she's raised her kids, and they're going to be empty nesters a few years. And she's asking herself some of those big questions. What does that process look like? And how would you How could you encourage that person? To to really figure out answers solid answers to those big life questions?
Caroline Brown 10:31
Yeah, thanks for asking me that was I was that person? Yeah, I was in that role. Or as I say, mentioned, I'm now divorced, I have two children. And I do go for that process. The process of trying to find out exactly where what is your role. And some of some people are afraid to kind of say, well, you know, I have a role outside of what I'm doing, which is the role of taking care of myself. And sometimes it may be seen to be quite selfish, some of the things that they someone wants to do, the process looks like this. Think about what makes you happy. What makes you happy? So if a kind of a crazy if you like writing, say just for instance, you like to write, and you say, I can't write, I don't have that much time to write. I mean, I'm so busy doing what I'm doing. But then you have to ask a question yourself that question, this question, does it make you happy? What harm is it doing? If the question is around someone else's expectations? Or you're taking away from the time from them? Then you've got to ask, well, you know, but what time do I have for myself, I dedicate most of my time to the family asked what makes you the most happiest? And if you don't know the answer to that, then I'll go back to this. What are your values? You know, what are your values? What are your beliefs,
David Sandstrom 12:03
You know, as a follower of Jesus Christ, it's my contention that we've experienced more happiness and more lasting joy, when we do things God's way. Because he has our best interest in mind. And, and he knows us better than anybody, he probably knows us even better than we know ourselves, and even knows the future. So it's kind of like having having a relationship with God is kind of like having a jungle safari guide in life. And we would do well on a jungle safari to stick near to our guide, because he knows the way he knows where the where the snakes are, he knows where the the dangerous areas are the cliffs and, you know, helps us stay away from danger. Well, in the same way, when we do things God's way, when we when he gives us an instruction, and we follow that it's for our benefit. And if he gives us a prohibition or an admonition that says, you know, avoid something, it's for our protection. So that it will be my contention, that that's how we experience maximum joy. And of course, if if our spirit is right, then our desires are going to line up with God's desires, even though it might not feel like it at the moment in the long run. We'll we'll never regret doing things God's way. So and I think we're, I think we're saying the same thing, Caroline, but it was different words. So talk to that a little bit in your book about finding true joy lasting happiness.
Caroline Brown 13:32
Well, I told her about honor how you feel, you know, and I'll talk about that, in in broader sense. So I talked about sort of some of the things that we suppress because of shame, guilt, criticism, all the things that allow us to become authentic in our and as what you're referring to, is that sometimes we do need some guidance. And I think that we kind of lose our way where we don't listen to the inner voice really. It gets it gets hidden, it gets suppressed, it gets pushed down, because we to raise about what other people think, what's all what's expected from us. And I do believe that there is something bigger than us that we need to lean into. And whatever that may be, people may not be religious, but if you feel a spiritual, spiritual kind of relief for when energy you know, some people are drawn to energy, and that's that's important too, to lean into that when things just don't feel right. Sometimes it is good to sit back and find peace and surround yourself with silence at times, silences is a good place to be for you to gather your thoughts. And I feel all those things are really important and I am a spiritual person. I am a Christian. And but over the time, you know, that has been questioned for myself a little bit. So I described myself as being more spiritual, and then being religious, but I believe that people should lean into something bigger, higher, higher purpose or a higher energy.
David Sandstrom 15:19
Yeah, not everybody listening is going to have the same type of beliefs that I do, or, or the, you know, the same type of faith in God. But I think we can all agree that there is something outside of ourselves, there is a higher power out there in the universe, that that is out there to guide us and direct us. And that's kind of what we're talking about here is I think we all have a built in desire to be a part of something larger than ourselves. You know, there's a lot of research being done, and a lot in the published medical literature about the the health benefits of benevolence, of serving other people of giving, donating your money and your time. It's actually good for your health. And of course, the Bible says it's more blessed to give than to receive. And, you know, it's refreshing to me to see modern science catching up with what the Bible has been teaching for 1000s of years. So it kind of goes full circle back to what I was saying, you know, when we do things God's way, in the short run, it might, it might feel like pain, it might feel like limits, it might feel like restrictions, short leash. But in the long run, we're gonna be happy with those choices.
Caroline Brown 16:30
Yes, and I also I believe that some given allow you to see the kindness and being having self compassion. So I think that's one of the things that we don't do enough is, is seeing how others get a joy from people being kind and given time, and spending a moment moment from moment to moment, and just being there just being present, sometimes things don't need to be said, you know, just time. Right. And I think that sometimes that we don't do that for ourselves. And that's one of the other things I like to kind of shout about, if I can say that is self awareness includes that it is very important to nurture and nourish your mind to be compassionate, self compassionate. And what does that actually mean? Because some of the messages that we've been taught is that sometimes that when you're asked of compassionate, you kind of been self absorbed, or selfish. And I think we need to kind of take that out a little bit, you know, the self selfish portal, kind of look at it and kind of turn it around a little bit. It's okay, I agree totally is bigger to that it's not good. If you're not good for yourself, you're not good to anyone else.
David Sandstrom 17:49
Well, you know, I spent 35 years as a professional airline pilot. And, you know, I've no, I know, the the preflight briefing well, and it says in the event of an unexpected change in cabin pressure, oxygen masks above, your head will drop. If you're traveling with a child or someone who needs assistance, put on your mask first, and then assist the child. And the reason for those instructions is you're no, you're of no use to the child, if you're unconscious. And the same thing is true in life. If we are spent emotionally, if we have no energy, and we're carrying around 75 extra pounds of weight and we're exhausted at the end of the day, we're not going to be much use to those that we love, the people that we love, we're going to have a hard time serving, even though we have a heart's desire to serve them. We're too busy dealing with our own issues. And we'd be by necessity become a little more self absorbed with dealing with this baggage that we're carrying. And we have less margin to serve others with. And of course, you know, relationships are a big part of the health equation, right? We want if there's all kinds of research coming out, and especially here a post COVID That social isolation and relational disconnect is extraordinarily bad for our health. So we need to work on relationships, don't we?
Caroline Brown 19:11
We do definitely. And that's my journey, my book relationships with me and myself and I, I discussed that and the importance of having a wonderful relationship with yourself and not just go back to what you said you're talking about, you know, making sure you're there for yourself so you're there for others. You there's something called compassionate fatigue, you know, compassion, fatigue, and some people are almost over compassionate to others. In hope somehow it kind of was self soothe them. You know, some people journey through life, wanting to do well for others to avoid or to somehow address to cleanse to purify their own Journey, you know, and so the motive behind that becomes quite dishonest really, in many ways, because the reasons why you're doing it. So having a relationship with yourself is very important understanding, you know, who are you? What do you want to become, you know, who do you see yourself as? What are your values?
David Sandstrom 20:25
You know, I think what you're talking about here, Caroline is being genuine, be genuine with yourself starts with yourself first. And then of course, genuine with others. But one of the things that gets in the way, and you mentioned it earlier, is childhood trauma. Yes, you know, events, traumatic events that happened to us in childhood, that cause scars, and woundedness. And young child, particularly 7-8-9-10 years old, they don't have the capacity, the emotional capacity to process a lot of life's difficult situations, you know, a parent leaving, or maybe someone in the family dying, or, you know, or might be bullied at school, you know, there's a lot of ways these this can happen. And being you know, being basically the bottom line is being mistreated, not being loved the way we deserve to be loved, as a young person, we can make some false conclusions about the way the world works, and about our position in the world. And we can take those beliefs into adulthood, and it can really, significantly impact our, our ability to relate with one another, to to the people that we love. So have you seen that in your work, if you see no childhood trauma being being impactful in into adulthood?
Caroline Brown 21:41
Definitely, and impacts people very differently, I must say. There are people going through life who are very successful in their work, say, and it's driven by their childhood scars, you know, proving to themselves, you know, I am good enough, I am laughs You see, you know, I've got all these people kind of around me, especially entrepreneurs, yeah, I've got people around me, helping me to build my empire, or must be loved. You know, there are people who may, by the way into gaining affection to their people who are involved in risky behavior, but they're people who actually do really good stuff from their childhood trauma. And that's for them as part of their recovery. But as you mentioned before, in order to kind of be your authentic self, you need to kind of address some of the kind of the adversities that you have experience. And not to kind of suppress them, they are very important part of you. Eventually, there will become beauty scars, okay, because we can see, in the public eye, there are many people who've done great work, who have come from traumatic backgrounds, right? That eventually they do go through a stage where they do go through a recovery, it doesn't go away. And that's the whole point is that sometimes the process is a long road. But it's important to integrate your journey. Even though it's an unkind and an unfortunate journey, it needs to be integrated. So you can carry it harmony and peace with your memories, to suppress their meaning suppressing who you are, you know, how genuine you are, because most of the responses, what I find is that some people respond from their childhood wounds. So for instance, they may be quite avoidant in their relationships, or they may kind of be become people pleasers, you know, because they feel that they are not going to be wanted, if they're just be themselves. There are a lot of insecurities that come from childhood wounds, but it's very important to understand is that there can become beauty scars, if you get the right support. And that's why, you know, I do my work and part of our work is around neuro diversity as well and how vulnerable you can be when you are neuro diverse. You can it can lead you to experience traumatic experiences. And when I talk about neurodiverse I'm talking about people with ADHD say or was cruel on the autism spectrum. But those people because sometimes they feel that there may not get things right all the time. You know, socially they may find themselves slightly awkward. It puts a lot of pressure on especially academic work, relationships, behavior. It puts a lot of pressure on parenting and so the parenting may not always be the best kind of in parenting because parents are quite stressed out with the the the obviously the parenting of a child who's new adult who see the world very differently and don't know how to deal with it themselves. And so that can lead them to be quite vulnerable from the, the parent. And that's not really the best parenting for a child who's neurodiverse. But also that it leaves people with new divers into very vulnerable situations like risk taking, and people pleasing because the fine gaining friendships quite difficult. So they're kind of overcompensate in that area, or because of the symptoms they're experiencing from their new diversity. Sometimes they may go into numbing, self soothing, whether it's illegal kind of substances and stuff like that. So So that's some of the work that I deal with so is kind of bringing them through kind of, like mindfulness meditation, how ADHD, or autism spectrum, coaching as well helps as well as looking at what led to the vulnerabilities. And, you know, what are the symptoms they're dealing with, not only from the neurodiversity symptoms that they're finding quite challenging, but also the trauma symptoms as a result of their experiences of being vulnerable.
David Sandstrom 26:29
Forgive me for not understanding, but I've heard you use the word. You're saying neuro di neuro diversity.
Caroline Brown 26:35
Yeah, no. Yeah. Well, yes, neuro diversity. Why diverse or neuro divergent? Those are people who have ADHD. Who are autism spectrum. Their brains go Yeah, absolutely. See the world? So yeah.
David Sandstrom 26:52
So let's get into a little bit of the specifics without making this a real long episode. So what types of therapy do you do with your clients? Do you encourage them to meditate? What are their some techniques that you use with your clients to help bring them more whole more wholeness into their lives?
Caroline Brown 27:10
Yeah, and I advise anyone to do this really mindfulness meditation, taking time to kind of balance yourself again, you know, if you need, if you're rushing around, if thoughts coming racing through your mind, you become overwhelmed, you become stuck, I will say use the method call stop. So it stop. Take a breath. So for me mindful meditation helps. So breathe in four, breathe out four you breathe in four breathe out five. If you do repeat that. And kind of find a space of
David Sandstrom 27:48
Five seconds that is. Yeah, in four seconds out five seconds, right?
Caroline Brown 27:51
Even though people say for, you know, whatever, you find the rhythm of right, because you want. Now some people need to take longer breaths in, okay. And just find a quiet space, obviously, then you kind of observed if your opportunity to observe what happening. So inside what what's coming up for you, uh, where is it located? Where? Where are you feeling some of the stress of your feelings? And, and then look around you What's you seen outside of this, you know? And poor as it proceeds, you know, what's your next step in Don't rush into things? Sometimes you need to say it right? You know, I need to take a much I take, for instance, your environment, someone says something. And it's really triggered, do I say, use a stop method? And that buys you some time. You can say a lot, you know, I just need to take a moment. And I'll come back to you with this. Yeah. and process things. Absolutely. Give yourself time. Don't fall Ross that you need to experience something that you can't think what, what I'm trying to say is that don't experience something that you can't take back or you thought, Oh, I wish I hadn't done that. You know,
David Sandstrom 29:07
we've all been there. Right or done.
Caroline Brown 29:10
You know, we just need to be gracious. You know, they say like, I need to take a moment. Okay, I have a small office, they take a moment then say something that you just kind of I wish I hadn't said that sort of thing. Yeah.
David Sandstrom 29:23
Yeah, very good. Well, you know, I've got I'll make this resource available in the show notes page. But I've got a method that I put together, it's called the ABCDE method of dealing with these activating events. And A stands for the activating event, something that pushes your buttons, right, something that you react to and you know, you're overreacting, you know, that this, you know, just send your emotions into us into a whirlwind when this happens. So that's the activity event. And then B stands for the beliefs or the self talk that surrounds that activating event. What do you say to yourself when this happen? But, and then C would be the consequences of continuing to believe that way. If I if I continue on this path, where's that going to take me? You know, how's that going to impact my relationships with my kids? How's that going to impact our relationship with my wife or my boss at work or my subordinates at work? That's, that's also very insightful. And then D is disputing that self talk and saying, Is there a better way? Can I can I react to this little Can I respond, rather than react to these events a little bit better in a more healthy fashion. And then E stands for enjoying the energy shift of having a more or more healthy, productive response, thoughtful response to the these events, and it's going to feel a little awkward at first. So I put together a one page PDF, it's pretty pretty quick, I made it one page by design. So it'd be simple. And it's a good way to some very, very powerful by writing this stuff down. You know, when it's just in your head, it's kind of nebulous, just kind of hard to put a handle on it sometimes. But if you can write it down, you experienced that kinesthetic aspect of writing in especially, especially if you're a kinesthetic learner, and then reading it out loud and hearing it yourself. Some of that self talk that's been going on in your mind, maybe for decades. Now all of a sudden, you're speaking it out loud it can be it can be very impactful to do it that way. So that's what I recommend people do. And we've moved working with people in our marriage groups for the last 11 years. And and people have used this and put it to good use. It's a very, very powerful tool. I'll make it available in the show notes.
Caroline Brown 31:45
Yeah, thank you for sharing that with me. I'll overuse it myself. But journaling is very important. Yeah. Yes. There's part of my book that says, Let the reflection I see being me. And it's all about journaling. And being using that as a marker really, to mark your journey. You know, we don't get opportunity to look back on all of the wonderful things that we've been doing. And so journaling is
David Sandstrom 32:17
very good. So once again, what's the name of your book?
Caroline Brown 32:21
The five step challenge to understanding or praise over 40? Is life.
David Sandstrom 32:25
Very good. And your podcast?
Caroline Brown 32:27
Yes. The crazy over 40s life? Yes, it's available on all platforms. And my coaching is for the over 40s live. I mean, I am in private practice for more kind of trauma work and stuff like that. But this is for the over 40s. So over 40s coaching everything over 40's.
David Sandstrom 32:47
Yeah. And what's the best way to get a hold you Caroline,
Caroline Brown 32:50
Well I'm on all the social media for my ills? Instagram, Facebook? Yeah, take Twitter. Yeah. So just look for the crazy over forces life and I'm there.
David Sandstrom 33:05
That's your handle on all of them. Yeah, ciliates. Very good. Yes. All right. Caroline, if you could sum up the most important part of the conversation we had today. What would it be?
Caroline Brown 33:17
Well, at this moment, I would like to take some notes on my, my, my, my book that I like to please do Yeah, like to read out for all of you here. So here we go.
David Sandstrom 33:30
That's great. And I do the same thing once in a while, you know, I had a 325 page book The Christians guide to holistic health. But you know, it was probably over five years ago, and I don't remember every word I wrote. You know? Well,
Caroline Brown 33:43
okay for the medicals. I don't know what happened 10 minutes ago. Honestly, well, perimenopause. Actually, too much information. I'm sure for my listeners, your listeners, but anyway. But anyway, one must embrace the authenticity of oneself. So that's what I've just shared with you. Okay, so, like I said, like, Words are made to feed your soul. And so like food be particularly generous and thoughtful about the words you choose to feed yourself each day. And each moment.
David Sandstrom 34:15
I love it. Yeah, that's really good. That's a great place to end, I think. Thank you, Caroline. I appreciate you sharing your time today.
Caroline Brown 34:23
Oh, I appreciate you having me on. David. Thank you. Take care listeners.
David Sandstrom 34:29
Bye. For more, go to the show notes page at davidsandstrom.com/113. There you can find an audio as well as a video version of the podcast. And this episode's content upgrade is the A B C D E method for identifying and correcting unhealthy thinking patterns. I highly encourage you to go and download yourself a free copy. It's well worth the time. If you enjoy the show, I sure would appreciate you telling somebody about it. Health and wellness from a faith based perspective is relatively hard to Find in if you're enjoying the show you may have a friend that would enjoy it as well so I would appreciate you sharing it with them I think they'll thank you too That's it for now I'll talk with you next time be blessed