Life's Little Lessons

"If you ask me what I came into this life to do, I will tell you: I came to live out loud." – Emile Zola



Wait It Out

I woke up on New Years morning and told my kids this story:

I laid in bed a few hour’s after the ball dropped only to discover that a bat was flying around my room. It was about 2:00 AM and the only thing I could think to do was pull the covers up over top my head because my Golden Retriever laid beside me oblivious and was obviously of no help. As I listened to it fly above my head, hitting the walls with its wings, I thought of what I should do and nothing was all I could think of. Eventually it would settle and find its way somewhere else or it would make a nest in my hair in the middle of the night. Whatever. I was done figuring things out for the day and wasn’t interested in creating a household pandemonium in the early morning hours. I decided to wait it out. After a few minutes, I no longer heard it so I came out of hiding too exhausted to care. Hours later I got up to use the bathroom only to discover the bat had drowned itself in my toilet.

I will forever be scarred and I’m sure you will understand why.

I don’t ever remember having a bat in this old house, but there I was, heading into the New Year with a bat overhead while laying beside the most unaware dog on the planet. I gave up looking for signs and wonders from God a few years ago, but I still pay attention. I listen differently than I used to and am slower and more hesitant for attach His name to random things, but all day, the story I told the kids, the very one I just told you, kept getting whispered back to me from a voice inside myself that was known and familiar and trusted.

2020 is about as big of a year as they come in my book as I’m on the cusp of major transition and change. Most days, I wake up worried and wondering. Fear has become my friend because there is much yet I do not know, more than that that I cannot fix.

The bat experience was a representation of how my year is most likely going to go. It’s going to scare the hell out of me. It’s loud and whipping wings are going to lap vivaciously around my head making feel as if I will be eaten alive, but it’s going to be ok. I don’t need to do much but stay the course and rest. I’ll keep trusting and hiding myself in God and if anything or anyone wants to find me, they’ll have to go through Him to get to me. In the end, everything’s going to come together and my worst fears will end up drowning themselves in the toilet, much like that bat.

I can’t tell you how much I needed that visual, but I can tell you that I didn’t ask for a sign or some supernatural experience. To be honest, I’ve kind of given up on that type of encounter because my belief system is a little shaken. I am thankful I have a God who chooses for see me, even the me who puts her faith on the back burner most days.

He is good.

The Power of Presence

The other night I was sick, as in violently ill. I’m pretty confident I had food poisoning, but whatever. I am better now so it doesn’t matter, but what does is this:

Most times when I am sick *read ALL times* I just want to be left alone. I just want my tired and worn body to heave intermittently and sporadically on its own, without an audience. Because who really needs to see all that and really, what can anyone do? If I am going to suffer, I don’t want it being a show.

The ticket booth is closed for business.

But this dog. This dog took a front row seat and actually bought out the house. She held diligent watch over me all night long. Each time I got up from my bed and hightailed it to the bathroom, she quickly paced behind me and laid on the floor with me. The Golden Retriever on the other hand, didn’t move. She was like “Godspeed woman. Get well so you can feed me in the morning.”


The point is, I was shown the power of presence. It’s what I call withness. Just being WITH someone wherever they are at, whatever they are in. It’s the place where you don’t need someone to FIX you or SAY anything magical or fluffy. You just need them to BE, right where you are at.

This dog was God in fur form. It’s an odd likening but it’s what I believe because I know His ways are not mine and I don’t always have to have it or Him all figured out. I just need to accept that is how He works. He shows up in tangible ways I’d understand or accept in the moment and says, “Hey. I’m here. You are not alone. No matter what you are going through right now, I’m present and I am with you.

So if someday you find yourself on the floor withering in pain or in a puddle of your own tears, He will be there for you too. It’s what He does and who He is. He might show up and look like someone you’d least expect, but it is His good nature to always be present.

And if like me, you needed a reminder of His faithfulness, this is it.


I think back, even back recently, to the times where I’ve stepped outside myself and walked in my emotions and said things and did things that quite frankly were all out of whack and sync with who I am, with even who God is. It felt right at the time, a zillion times justified and now only looking back, I wish Jesus would have just slapped me around a bit in love but nope. He just left me make my choices and reap my consequences.

Regret is a consequence.

Self-control is something I have wained in for almost ever. Not entirely true but as an highly emotional person, I often allow my emotions to lead and before I know it, my soul is running the show and my true self, you know, the real one, takes a back seat and rides it out…


You know that story in scripture about Pharaoh and God hardening Pharaohs heart? That one. It has always baffled me as to why God would do that. Why He would harden someone’s heart. So if He can harden it, He can also soften it too. Right?

Kind of.

He can. He has choices, just like me. But God, in His infinite love and wisdom, wants to empower us and gives the gift of free will. He allows us to choose.

Will YOU open your heart?

Because having an open heart is a choice just as much as having a closed heart is an option.

Walking in WHO I was created to be and allowing my spirit to lead me is just as much a choice as allowing my emotions to lead and saying crap I later regret.


Now that’s love.

Love that says, “Choose me. Choose my heart. Choose to know what’s on it.”

And if we know what’s on God’s heart and we say, “Yeah that nice but another day. Right now I am justified and don’t care. It sounds right, feels good. Tomorrow I’ll try again, but for now…”


Sometimes the very best things you can do or say is this:


Absolutely positively nothing.

For as long as you need to until you regain proper perspective, HIS. Until the emotions fade and the raging thoughts are lulled back to a sound, perhaps dead sleep.


It is a choice.

A most powerful one.


“Is there anything you want to talk about?” 


And with that I go to bed.


My daily communication attempts trying to delve past talk of kids and business fail. It is glaringly obvious, it is our only common ground. I long for deep and healing here in this place, this vast ocean that looks consuming and my continued asking feels like nagging and drudgery.

Maybe he is right. Maybe there is nothing more to talk about. Maybe this is as good as it gets. And with that, I walk up the stairs and step into the bath, delving below the surface of my life.

The water has become a drug to me. The heat is calming and soothing and numbs out my raw and achy parts.

I’m basing the whole of who I am and my happiness on this marriage. I forgave quickly. I thought I’d never mention our latest snag again. I immediately became a busy little bee who opened up her heart wide. I thought I’d work and he’d work and we would meet somewhere in the middle and this could potentially be THAT happy ending. The ending we all hope for and dream is possible and maybe for some it is, but it takes more than one to dream, maybe more than that to hope.

A mustard seed…and I had it.

But there needs to be communication and not just for a day. Not just for two. We need to cultivate intimacy and by default, I’ve been crowned conversation initiator and my initiator is tired and worn out.

I no longer volunteer as tribute.

My brain tells me all sorts of good and needed truths and I know I am full and overflowing with knowledge of WHO I am but my heart tells me another story. My heart tells me I don’t feel valued or loved, that I’m sitting around waiting for scraps and someone else’s left overs. My heart tells me if I was more important things would change and go another direction. My heart tells me a lot of things…

And if I stay here, stuck in a place that continually perpetuates these lies, that is exactly where I’ll stay.

An orphan.

Actions or lack thereof speak pretty loudly.

I’ve got to get myself healthy, for indeed I am sick. I hear the voice of my counselor in my head, “Your heart is broken. You need to heal,” and I know he is right. It is broken and I need to give it time and trying to help someone else mend who perhaps isn’t quite ready is not helping…me. I am pouring way more into this then he is and I’m beginning to feel the strain of my expenditures. I just don’t have it in me to ask one more time, “Is there anything you want to talk about?”

Because essentially my tired refusal comes from a deep and hidden heart cry, “Would someone please pour into me first. I am empty. I no longer want to fix.”

And under the covering of the hot water that fills the tub, it becomes obvious.

The last time I turned someone over to the Lord with such resolve, my oldest son was six years old and was about to be airlifted to Hershey Medical Center for a skid loader accident. I remember standing over him as he was screaming, a mother whose heart was torn between what she could and couldn’t do, realizing, “There is nothing here I can. My very best works won’t help. But Jesus, if you exist, if you are alive and real, I believe you can help. He is yours.”

So I say it again, just the same.

“He is yours.”

I refuse to settle for anything less than what I know is possible.

Make Room 

The perfect morning to me is a cup of coffee, the couch and a book and time void of hustle and rush. Slow. Slow makes it truly, truly perfect and as Chief Hopper says in the very first episode of Stranger Things


And this morning I found myself having it all. The coffee, the couch and book…with plenty of time to get lost in some thought or some conversation and they walk right past, stuck in their morning routine, just the same.

“Come sit with me for a bit,” I say and I make room on the couch. I want more than just the normal Sunday Morning. I want their presence.

I’ve been thinking a lot this week about PEOPLE. Isn’t that what we’re supposed to do? Isn’t that Christmas? I think of people in particular…their role in my life, my role in theirs and our influence on one another. I’ve been asking a lot of questions, gleaning a few answers and in between doing a lot of soul-searching.

There is more to life then living from here to there. There is a place in between.

In the past few days I’ve sat with people when it wasn’t convenient or easy and through it, I’ve realized once more how important it is to give each other our presence. We all want to be seen and heard and sometimes, most times, I liken all of humanity to the old stainless steel tea-pot that sits on my gas stove: We take time to warm up. We don’t want hurried along like we are an appointment on someone’s calendar or an errand they are running that can eventually be crossed off their list.

But sadly, most times, that is what we get.  Remnants of someone’s leftovers, their seconds, their hurry, their less than best.

Looking back now, I can see where that rush has caused more than a problem or two. Lack of presence places Constance where intact should be forged and before you know it, it’s easy to feel like distrusting strangers.

I think it’s the people in my every day crazy, when things aren’t calm and slow, that I’ve needed to pay closest attention to. The ones I’m most likely to whiz right by or take for granted have needed my solid and sturdy legs to remain strong yet bendy so I could ask simple and basic questions.


“How are you?”

How many times do we dig our heels in and wade through the awkward silence for their answer? Their REAL answer.

Not many enough.

Conversely, last night as I was putting on my shoes, a random thought popped into my head. I thought of one person in particular, one I’ve been giving too much time and attention to though they havn’t been anywhere in my travels, no where in my circles but they indeed have been taking up space in the thoughts inside my head. As I laced up my last shoe, I didn’t think but more RESOLVED that they were a common denominator in too many of my here-and-now-life-problems. Too much of what I have rolling on the inside of me has their name attached and just like that… I made the decision to take them out of my equation.

And I realized I can do that.

Just. Like. That.

I’ve been giving them too much space through no fault of their own and in the big picture, it’s been frustrating. I’ve allowed their influence to tip some scale inside my life in a less than life-giving way and I refuse to carry them with me into the New Year.

I choose to no longer give them a seat on the couch that is housed in a room within my head. I stood tall after tying my shoes and within moments, showed them to the door. I don’t need to think about them or talk about them because to do so, places an unhealthy, unbalanced importance where it shouldn’t and afterwards, I’ve wondered WHY I’ve ever given away such a powerful choice.

And the sad but wonderful thing about this moment, in the midst of shoes and laces is this…

My resolve has nothing to do with an actual person as first assumed. Sure there’s a name but in the grand scheme of things, it could be a hundred names. They were merely just a representation of a festering wound and I think I needed someone, essentially anyone, to blame.

And since blaming does no good.

Here’s the door.

Be free.

What they represented to me has to go. I need to make room in my heart for vision and hope and joy and laughter and I don’t want to make time for the incessant chatter things past try to hold me to.

We need to free up space friends for real people. Not for the stupid things people do or our assumptions about them. Not for past hurts that keep replaying like a broken record. Not for our offenses or the sordid scenarios that we play and then rewind again and again in our head. Sometimes it IS as simple as refusing to give those thoughts an audience and if it means for a while that the name that’s attached goes unmentioned so you can quit your bad habit, then let it be so. Go cold turkey. Do whatever you can to think favorably again.

It’s not about cutting our losses. We need to look at the rooms within our homes and examine what is filling them. Sometimes it gets a little crowded with stuff and I don’t know about you, but if I’m going to have a full house, I’d rather have it packed with presence. People presence. Not poor thinking OF people presence because at the end of the day, negative attention is STILL attention and takes up space. An awful lot of it.

Friends I’m short on time and like you, I want to make my time count. I want my presence count. If I have any resolutions this year it is this:

want the person standing in front of me to walk away knowing they were heard and seen **THAT THEY WERE LOVED** and I want my thoughts to count.

I don’t have people to waste. I don’t have thoughts OF people to waste.

Neither do you.

 Upside Down


I think I’ve battled it since the womb and I’ve wondered if it’s the first thing people see when they looked at me. Has it been something I’ve hidden behind or has it been a shiny little pin I’ve worn on my lapel and I’ve used it as an excuse for the things I’ve done?

Probably both.

My parents dated in high school and my mother was a year older than my father which made him a Senior when she announced she was pregnant with me. He was honorable and gave her a little ring, which I store in a little wooden box in a chest in my room since their divorce, and I choose to believe they went in, full of hope, that a baby would save them.

But rejection was rooted deep in my family and everyone had their own baggage long before I was born. Unfortunately, as much as I love them both, their baggage became mine and sooner or later I had my own and before I knew it, everything was jumbled and it became very difficult to sort what was theirs, what was mine and what was ours.

I took it all.

Fast forward to my own marriage and here we are, all jumbled. Maybe we are normal. Maybe jumbling takes place in every marriage. Maybe every couple has their share of heart aches and breaks. Maybe it’s part of being human and being in human relationships. I am not really sure but one thing I am sure of is this:

I have continually allowed myself to feel rejected based off other people’s responses TO me. If it’s not what I had hoped for or what I had envisioned it would be…if their words did not match their actions and I found myself in the presence of a good talker rather than a good walker, I’d allow the perceived lack **of whatever** to pretty much obliterate my identity. I become worthless and not enough. Not valued. Not really liked or loved. I essentially allowed man to take the place of God and I’d worship the opinion and the approval of flesh and blood rather than The One who already says I am…

And I tell myself it’s easy. Too easy. “Anybody who has been through what I’ve been through within the span of my short life would be looking through the same clouded and muddled lens.” As soon as I have that thought, I realize I’m double-minded and rejection IS the shiny pin I wear on my lapel. I use it as an excuse. Rejection has been an old friend and as much as I loathe it, I don’t know how to live without it.

So over the last two weeks, I’ve been waking up each day choosing to intentionally posture myself to see how God sees.

How God sees me.

“Who am I?”

I need reminded because I’ve obviously forgotten.

I think of Jesus and I think of one of my favorite verses in scripture:

Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

This is WHO HE is. This is ME.

I read further and know I’ve been thinking like a child. I looked up the scripture “Do unto others and they do unto you,” and all I find is this: 

“Treat others the same way you want them to treat you.” Luke 6:31


I think again of Jesus. My thoughts always go back to Him and I realize that deep within me, what I’m really longing for is to become Love. Not just a little bit here or there. Not just in pieces and parts or to have characteristics of but to BE…

So I give up my childish ways and I show up and it hurts. It hurts more than I thought it would.  It makes me feel naked and exposed. It feels all upside down. It sears my flesh and feels like salt on an open wound and it is not always reciprocated and as much as I want to adjust myself and alter WHO I AM based off of how someone responds to me, I do not. I choose to believe I’m worth someone’s time and attention because I know that I am and that knowing allows me to give freely without strings.

Until I stop reacting to my circumstances and start responding to the love of Jesus, my circumstances will not change.

And I know it.

Don’t stop showing up and being you based off of how people respond to you. How you love anything is how you love everything for love is a quality of relationship more than a statement about the worthiness or deservedness of the object loved. -Richard Rohr

Plant the Seed

In 1995 I graduated college and within months, I rented my first house. Now in my good opinion, you can’t have a house without flowers so off to the store I went. My eyes drifted to all sorts of beautifully potted plants, so colorful and bright. There were so many to choose from but my eyes drifted further down the aisle to a row of seeds, tiny and small.

And expensive.

Now this is over 20 years ago and for a college graduate with a baby in tow on her hip, seeds packets seemed like a risk. “Just buy the potted plants that are already in bloom and be done with it,” said the woman behind the counter when I questioned the in’s and out’s of seeds. I obviously looked a little unknowledgeable and she obviously looked a little annoyed and we both needed more joy in our lives so I bought the seed packets and called it a day.

And to home I went.

I remember holding those tiny seeds in my hands and debated where to plant and when. Which side of the house? Is now the time? BECAUSE I SPENT MONEY ON FRIVOLOUS SEEDS…

I don’t remember much else but I do know that some came up and some didn’t. I dropped them all in the dirt the same and covered them with darkness and the ones that struggled to find the light found it, big and bright and became these big and beautiful blooms on teeny tiny stems of plants I chose to grow rather than buy.

John 12:24-25 says “Listen carefully: Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over. In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let go, reckless in your love, you’ll have it forever, real and eternal.”

It is easy to stand with tiny, precious seeds in your hands…contemplating decisions of what is best, how to and why. This world can leave you puzzled, confused and torn with fear. “Dear God, what if I let this seed go, whatever shall become of it? It it is dear to me. It cost me…”

And just the same, it is easy to feel covered by darkness, chilled to the core by damp days. Should you fight your way out of the pit or just wait to be rescued? Surely if you were loved, you would be plucked up and out, right? Should you wriggle in faith and trust that the light above is out there somewhere waiting, even if you don’t see it, even if you don’t feel it? Should you believe that it’s cheering you on to do the hard work so you can bust out of the shell that longer serves a purpose so you can grow, grow, grow?

Here’s the thing about light…it believes  that life can happen underneath what is seen, in the cold and the dark and the damp. It does not compromise itself. It doesn’t give up nor go away. It doesn’t turn itself on or off based on the seeds response. It stays true and steady regardless wether the little seed underneath the earth wakes up and decides the fight is a good one. The light is indeed reckless in its love, for the light is ALL in. It doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t abandon. It is relentlessly FOR. It wakes up, it shows up…

We are continually in the position of choosing, which is one of the greatest of all gifts. Free will. We either choose to hold tight or we choose to let go. We either choose to take risk or we choose play it safe. We either choose to stay dormant and small or we choose to fight hard and grow. Father God in His infinite goodness is surrounding us, within us…steady and sure. He is there when we wonder and when we doubt and our heart aches in uncertainty and our hands our heavy and tired from holding on. He is there when we feel alone and forgotten and scared, when our will fades and we think giving in to the darkness would relinquish our struggle.

He is reckless in His love for us. He was willing to give all. Jesus lost His life so we could have it.

Looking back, it may seem like a small and pointless memory but I am glad I planted those seeds all those years ago. Who knew that 22 years later the thought of them would pop back into my conscious heart as I sat on my couch on a early morning contemplating the struggle and the fight. Is it worth it?

Can I be reckless in my love for Him?


Even in the dirt and the darkness, we can choose to emerge anew and full of life.

If you are pushing you way through the darkness, keep growing. 

A Sobering Thought

It’s Valentine’s Day, so of course my husband has popped into my mind a time or two. As I write this, I know that at some point I will be confronted with this thought and may secretly wish I never had it. If that’s the case, I hope I allow myself to be challenged enough to sit in it.

“The relationships we have, especially our closest, act as a barometer. Our thought life and the manner in which we interact with those closest to us is a good indicator of our how we view ourselves…and how we view ourselves is a direct result (in my opinion) of our relationship with God.” End thought.

THAT responsibility is a weighty one, but one I believe in my heart we are to bear. It is easier to complain about what someone else is doing than to own up to OUR part and let him or her bear their own. It would be easier to shift the weight from one side of the scale to the other instead of looking at OUR contribution, but easy is never the answer.

When we do the hard work and bear our own weight, even when blame is rightly assigned, we are more compassionate towards one another, more understanding, more grace-filled. I know for ME, I have a really hard time pointing fingers after I’ve taken a long and honest assessment of myself. It is only then I realize, I have a lot of discovery and maturing within me to do.

There is an order to things, even if I wish there wasn’t. Jesus was asked over and over, “Teacher, which is the greatest…” and the answer was always the same.

Love God.
Love others AS yourself.

You know what that means, right? Look at yourself BEFORE you look at others. Love there.

It’s where I’ll start.
It’s where I’ll end too.


Thanksgiving hits every year and I begin. I purge. I think it started years ago when the reality of Christmas continually hit me. One child, two child, three child, five. Christmas and all its stuff overwhelmed me so every year, every Thanksgiving Day weekend, I begin.

The back of my Jeep has been full of boxes and bags and I have a room in my home that continually collects the stuff I’d rather not have but just haven’t figured out what to do with, stuff that is easily discarded because I JUST WANT IT OUT. So this year I asked myself WHY?

WHY can I so easily toss out those shirts and shoes, those plates and cups?

WHY can my kids so easily discard what was once a favorite toy?

For me it comes down to one thing and one thing alone.

I NEVER really wanted it.

It is easy to discard what never really held any value. Maybe a thought pops in my head of the money that I spent but at the end of the day, meh. I really can do without it because it never really added anything TO me. In fact, I am learning the more stuff I have in my life that I never really wanted, the more the well within me deepens to collect even more. It’s like some ravenous pit, never fulfilling or fully satisfying.

I wish when I was younger someone would have sat me down and asked, “What is it that you really want?” Perhaps they did and I was rebellious and stubborn and their questioning made me more determined to go after what I thought I SHOULD instead of honing in on what I wanted. Perhaps I never even knew that was a question that could be asked. “What do you mean, “What is it that you really want? I want the same things as you. To be happy, healthy. To have a great job maybe some kids, find true love…blah blah blah.””

I had no idea HOW to dig deeper to find out what I wanted in life. I did not know how to sit with myself and discover what was really IN me and because I never took the time. I was like some butterfly fluttering along, filling my life with things (and at times people) that I could easily discard. Instead of waiting for what and who I REALLY wanted, I took what was available. What was quick. What was easy.


Frustration is a friend when you know you are settling. Anger, bitter resentment… constant companions. When you know that you hold in your hands something you’d really rather not have or you’re stepping into doing something that you know is really not for you, it strips a part of YOU away. It dulls your senses a bit each time you say YES when you should have said NO or NOT NOW because you know it’s not where you are to BE and if you’re not careful, you can go from one thing to the next searching.

One job to the next. One church to the next. One relationship to the next…

Tired and worn.

As a mother of five, I have encouraged my children to WAIT. WAIT for the ONE because the last thing I want for them is to give away their time, their feelings or their bodies to someone who does not see their value and identity and will not commit to them relationaly. I don’t want them giving pieces of themselves away flippantly to anyone and everyone. WHY? Because I know. I know the cost attached to doing so and it is steep. I want my children to VALUE WHO THEY ARE, so I encourage waiting.

As an adult, I am NO different.

I am finding that whenever there is a lack within myself, I quickly try to fix it by adding something or someone to my life. I bring in another outfit. I volunteer with another organization. I find another friendship. None of these things are wrong or bad. Clothes are needed as naked people have little to no influence in society…I am sure you get my point.

Things, doings and relationships can be used to fulfill deeper longings within us if we are not careful. Places where God Himself wants to reside. Places where He wants to takes us deeper. Places where HE want to fulfill.

In order to know what it is that we WANT, we first have to know WHO we are.

If there is anything I have discovered over the last two-years, it is this: Take the time, MAKE the time, to discover WHO you are. What is on the inside of YOU? What are you passionate about and WHY? Why do you do the things that you do? Why do you respond the way that you do? I could go on and on…the point is, ask yourself questions that go far beyond the “What you want to do when you grow up?” Try instead, “WHO do you want to be?” When you take time to ask yourself questions that you never knew to ask yourself because you were just too busy living everyone else’s version of you, you will begin to HONE IN and embody YOUR identity. You will gravitate towards HAVING things DOING things that support and encourage your real identity to shine bright. You will be drawn to the right people…YOUR people.

So friends, take the time. Ask yourself the hard questions. Don’t sell yourself short and fill your life with things that really never had value TO YOU and don’t VALUE YOU. Emptiness will overwhelm you, it is a mere distraction. Stay focused and intentional on what is on the inside of you; your goals and your dreams. What is on your heart? Steps are necessary but those steps should always line up with what is already on the inside of you. Don’t waste any more time going after what it is not…

Discover what it is you are truly longing for. It will tak you back to WHO you are.

Much Love-



Round Table Discussion:

Look at the stuff in your house, your weekly calendar and where/who you spend your time with.

Now ask yourself the hard questions. You’ll know the ones…


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