Pardon My French

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Somewhere between getting my bones out of bed today, slogging into the kitchen for coffee, and making my way to the Lazygirl for my morning visit with myself, I had an epiphany.  Since the confines of the pandemic, my life has morphed from an outer one to inner, and my days begin and end in the Lazygirl.  The in-between is anybody’s guess, but the one thing I know for sure is that the beginnings and the endings are my favorite times of day.

I really covet the safety of my morning and evening sits, but sometimes the in-betweens can present some really tricky situations, some related to my membership on the board of directors of the condo where I live.  Many folks ensconced in the world of spiritual growth call such challenges AFGO’s.  Another Effing Growth Opportunity.  Oh great!  Another AFGO!  Pardon my French.  (Why do we always blame the French for the use of vulgarity?)

We’re all faced with AFGO’s from time to time, some simple, some whipdoozies.  The question becomes, what do we do when one comes our way?  How do we deal with them?   If you’ve been following along, you know that one of my favorite techniques for handling tricky challenges is the trusty head-in-the-sand trick.  You also know that there’s a pony hiding somewhere amidst the manure.  Somewhere between the ostrich and pony, there is buried treasure.

In my experience as a board member, we are often presented with conflicts that wander around amidst the wants of the people, the needs of the property, and the vagaries of personalities.  It gives new meaning to “You can’t please all of the people all of the time.”  It’s a conundrum of the highest order.

My experience is that whatever the size, shape, or form, an AFGO presents an unparalleled opportunity for personal growth if one has the courage and willingness to extract the head from the sand and dig through the manure long enough to find it.  The reward of the search is healing, renewed vision, restoration of sanity, and an opportunity to choose love over fear.  If we find common ground and agree that we’re all in it together, then in the end rough edges are smoothed out and peace is restored to mind, heart, and home.  Well, one can only hope, right?

As I sit all nestled in the safety of my inner sanctuary and comfort of the lone Lazygirl, I know that every AFGO strewn across my path, both past, present, and undoubtedly future, has provided a life lesson that has pushed me one step closer to the achievement of my life’s purpose.  Is it easy?  No.  Is it worth it?  Yes.  Is it fun?  Not always, but once in a while it’s downright hilarious.  It helps to know that the Universe is equipped with a wonderful sense of humor that brings comic relief when the going gets tough.  And by the way, if you decide to stick your toe in the water and pan for the gold, you should know that you will never walk alone.  The hand of one who has gone before will reach out to help you along the way, while another will reach out to welcome you to your destiny.

Note:  The photo above is courtesy of New Waves of Light, a website designed by anonymous individuals around the world who share the intention of bringing light and love to a world of darkness and chaos. (newwavesoflight.org or NWOL.us).

The Soul of Service

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Hmm.…no blog yesterday.  That’s twice in one week.  What’s up with that?  Am I slipping?  Am I copping out on my commitment?  Good question.  I have no idea.  It does give me pause to wonder, though.

Amidst my ponderings about commitment, I keep hearing the words, “Be true to yourself” in my head.  What does that mean, exactly?  Again, no idea.  Sigh.  It looks as if this is shaping up to be one of those all-questions, no-answers kind of a morning.  Out with the journal.  Start writing.

Twice this month there were five blog readers.  Five!  Is it worth spending whatever time it takes to crank out a blog every day if I am writing in a vacuum?  Might it be that readership is waning as a reflection of my own questionable commitment?   Is it time to alter my writing plan and downsize to every other day?  Is my commitment actually in question?  Or is it simply that I have lost sight of my vision, mission, purpose?  If I crank up my enthusiasm and recommit to my writing plan, will readership increase?  And by the way—who am I writing for, and just who is it that is making this commitment, anyway?  Who decides?

I recently went to a small family celebration in honor of a newly-minted doctor of pharmacology, who just completed a grueling internship at a hospital.  One of her friends, a nurse, wowed us with her party planning skills—cupcakes topped with red and white capsules, pills, band-aids, and all things medical; there were personalized face masks for all, and a glittery gold banner adorning the wall.  It was obvious from the expression on her face that sharing her party planning skills brought great joy to others as well as herself.

She was a reminder that every one of us is born with some sort of special skill, gift, or talent, sometimes buried, sometimes obvious.   We are not fully alive unless and until we discover it within ourselves and find a way to express it, not just for our own enjoyment, but for the joy of others as well.  Whether it is expressed as a hobby, vocation, or avocation is irrelevant; what matters is that creativity be expressed.  As we use our talents, they grow.  If we ignore them, they will disappear.

Was it worth it to the nurse wannabe-party planner to spend her time and energy doing something to make someone else happy?  Judging by the glow on her face, I would say so.  Is it worth it for me to spend my time and energy doing something for five people or a hundred or just one, even if the just one is myself?  If it makes only me happy, if it brings me joy, is it worth it?  The sharing of a gift is a service to the soul of others, sometimes in ways that we may neither know nor understand.  What matters is only our willingness to share it.

Well, so there you have it—the answer to my commitment question all tied up in a neat little package with a pretty bow and some icing band-aids and pills on top.  I’m writing for myself as an expression of my own creativity.  Is it worth it?  Yes.  Does it make me happy?  Yes.  Is being happy being true to myself?  Yes.  Ah.  Good to know.  The world won’t end if I miss a day here or there, so long as I keep the goal in sight, and my eye upon the donut and not upon the hole.  See you tomorrow folks.  Or maybe the day after . . .

Note:  The photo above is courtesy of New Waves of Light, a website designed by anonymous individuals around the world who share the intention of bringing light and love to a world of darkness and chaos. (newwavesoflight.org or NWOL.us).

The Feeding of Bodies and Minds

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I’m not a big fan of having do anything that I don’t want to do. Maybe you know the feeling?  Anyway, when I was invited to attend a seminar about nutrition and healthy eating, I balked because I didn’t want to hear somebody tell me what I already knew and refuse to do, but lunch was included, so how could I resist?  I figured that I might be choking down some miso and bean sprouts, but oh well.

Much to my surprise and delight, there was a fabulously delicious healthy meal, and nobody stood in my face lecturing me about what I had to stop doing that was wrong, or what I had to start doing that was right.   Instead, there was just Elizabeth, handing me a piece of chocolate and teaching me how to eat it mindfully.   I liked it (both the chocolate and mindful parts).  I expected a lecture; instead, I got candy.  What a deal!  That says a little about expectations, doesn’t it?  Now, when I receive a newsletter from Elizabeth, I open it up, enjoy it, and sometimes even try a recipe.  I particularly enjoyed the pumpkin laced spaghetti sauce.

Today I am inspired to share a newsletter that I just received from Elizabeth because it perfectly echoes my philosophy of life, and says in someone else’s words what I’ve been babbling every day since mid-April.  Positive thinking and good news always bear repeating, and sometimes it’s helpful to hear it from a new perspective.  The topic is nutrition, but the premise reaches beyond the boundaries of healthy eating habits and can be shifted from what we feed our bodies to what we feed our minds.  Elizabeth says it well:

“This is one of the most important pieces of advice I can give you to help you reach your nutrition goals:

There is no failure when it comes to nourishing your body—only FEEDBACK.

You simply can’t fail with your healthy eating goals when you adopt this outlook. One bad meal, day, week, or more does not dictate your entire nutrition journey. You cannot give up because you think you “messed up” using this approach.

The true measure of success—along with genuine transformation and lasting results—comes from the ability to get CURIOUS NOT CRITICAL.

The #1 most helpful thing you can do when you feel like you’ve gotten off track, overeaten, made poor food selections, skipped too many workouts, or whatever else your perceived “misstep” may be …is to ditch the crappy self-talk and defeatist thinking in favor of adopting a growth (instead of a fixed) mindset.

This means you need to learn how to ask the right questions… how to listen for the most helpful feedback… and know how to use the information you gather to inform your future food choices.

… go crush your goals!

You’ve got this.”

Yes.  You do.  Go for it!  Thanks Elizabeth.

See more from Elizabeth here.

Note:  The photo above is courtesy of New Waves of Light, a website designed by anonymous individuals around the world who share the intention of bringing light and love to a world of darkness and chaos. (newwavesoflight.org or NWOL.us).

Seeing What I Do Not See

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Do you remember the old adage, “If you want to make God laugh, tell Him about your plans.”?  God must have had a good chuckle on me today.  You’re welcome, God.

It shaped up to be a crooked sort of a day, with unscheduled twists and turns that jiggled whatever vague plans I may have had right out of the picture, including this morning’s blog.  For starters, I logged in about five minutes on the meditation bench by the lake before I was jiggled out of my reverie by a phone call announcing a plumbing emergency on the home front.  Back home I go to handle said water spout emergency.

Then just as I was ready to hunker down in blog mode with my computer, I was again sidetracked by a phone call from a favorite long-distance friend who found enough time to swing by with her precious jumbo labradoodle for a quick visit and walk.  Said labradoodle arrived with a crippling paw problem that frazzled her owner and hobbled the pooch, and so much for the walk.  Happily, before they left, we got it all worked out to everyone’s satisfaction in time to have a short visit.

Recently I’ve been reading a lot about unseen helpers—guides, guardian angels, archangels, angels in general, and such—mysterious entities hidden beyond the veil away from the view of mere mortal eyes.  I find it all so fascinating that I’ve signed myself up for a course in learning how to develop better communication and connection with spirit guides.  The more I read and practice, the more convinced I am that spirit helpers are everywhere.  We’re surrounded by them, living in the midst of them, protected by an army of them.

Today, all of my plans and intentions went awry, everything went whacky on all fronts, and yet miraculously, somehow in the end, all of the rough edges were smoothed away and everything worked out perfectly.  I guess it doesn’t matter if I have plans or not—apparently whatever plans God has for me are far better than whatever plans I can conjure up on my own.  It has turned me into a believer.  We have help, we have hope.

Another old adage is the one about a body at rest stays at rest; a body in motion stays in motion; to which I will add, a day amuck stays amuck.  I proved me wrong on that last one.  The muck disappeared, the water spout ceased spouting, the labradoodle miraculously walked again, and a blog was written.

My most current spirit-guide lesson suggests that I try to increase my awareness of the presence of helpers to see if I can discern the ways in which they assist.  Judging by the outcome of today’s jiggles, I think that maybe there really is something to the possibility that Divine Helpers are alive, well, active, and busily at work smoothing out the ragged edges of my days, and indeed, my life.

Often, their work is obvious and clearly, miraculous.  It makes me wonder—how much of their work do I not see or know about?  How many times have they saved my bacon unbeknownst to me, while I go blithely along my way, utterly ignorant of their behind-the-scenes work on my behalf?   I have absolutely no idea, but this much I do know: I’m going to make it my mission to get to know them better and thank them for all miracles both seen and unseen, starting now.  So to you, my dear Divine Helpers, angels, guides, guardians, friends, teachers, and masters, my sincere and undying gratitude.  Thank you.

Note:  The photo above is courtesy of New Waves of Light, a website designed by anonymous individuals around the world who share the intention of bringing light and love to a world of darkness and chaos. (newwavesoflight.org or NWOL.us).

The Cocoon of the Soul

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I frittered away most of my writing time this morning, but oh well—there’s always later with lunch in between.  One of the things that I’m learning in my time-out is to quit picking on myself about petty stuff.  No, wait.  Make that quit picking on myself about any stuff.  It’s not good for the psyche.  In a world where criticism about one thing or another is wildly abundant, what’s the point of adding an unhealthy heap of it upon myself?  The rest of the world will be happy to do it for me.

Running away to solitude is a lovely temporary solution to remove myself from the world stage, but unless I’m prepared to repair to the wilderness for 40 days as Jesus did, or take the Buddha approach to enlightenment under the Bodhi tree, or cart myself off to an isolated mountaintop somewhere, eventually, I’ll need to return to the outside world.  Do I want to?  Well, not really.  Not yet.  I kind of like it here in the cozy container of my own home talking to myself and enjoying my own company.  It’s a lovely little vacation away from anything that makes me cranky and it brings me peace.   It parks me in a place where I am learning that the only judgment in my corner of the world at the moment is my own.

Sooner or later I will need to emerge from my cocoon, but until then, I’m hanging in here until I’m fully cooked.  Or at least until my wings are strong enough to carry me through whatever storm might be brewing in the outer world once I decide to make a break for it.  I don’t know what’s coming, but I know that I’m going to need all the strength I can muster to make it safely to a space of quiet calm.

What a great process.  What a great opportunity to be in the world but not of it, to be able to sit back and watch the show without being a part of it, exempt from the drama, judgment, and the need to find a safe haven from the voices of personal opinion that separate and divide one from another, that perpetuate fear rather than love.

What a joyous vacation.  What a sanctuary for the soul.  What a gift of Spirit.  How blessed I am to be able to enjoy it.  My wish for humanity is that we all find the safety within the quiet of our hearts and rest there in gentle stillness for a while.

Note:  The photo above is courtesy of New Waves of Light, a website designed by anonymous individuals around the world who share the intention of bringing light and love to a world of darkness and chaos. (newwavesoflight.org or NWOL.us).

 

Feasts and Fasts

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A couple of days ago—oops—I forgot to write a blog.  Yesterday’s was published very late in the day instead of at the beginning, and amazingly enough, I didn’t die from it—I’m still here to tell the tale.  Wahoo!   In fact, it was rather refreshing to allow myself the luxury of getting up and out of my self-created hot seat to wander around in the sunshine and breathe a little.  I successfully said no thank you to the finger-wagging shame-on-you guilt trip that my ego tried to lay on me about copping out on my commitment and away I went.  That’s progress, I’d say.

A little aimless meandering once in a while is good for the soul.  It is like opening the windows in a dark and stuffy room to allow fresh air and light to flood in and evaporate the gloom, to cleanse, refresh and restore old, worn out thinking that doesn’t’ work anymore, to make room for the new.  Sometimes when I’m stuck somewhere in the middle of a conundrum, I take a little time out.  When it’s just a writing quagmire, it might be a quick trip to the loo for some bathroom wisdom.  A bigger issue, on the other hand, may require an extended period of time that includes complete radio silence.

What I love about a good time out is that it frees me from hearing the noisy voices and opinions of others and provides a moment in which I can hear the quiet wisdom of my own.  It gives me precious time to sit, sift and sort through confusion and complexity and decide what is worth keeping, what should be expelled.  When the mind and heart are cleared of the dross that clogs insight, resolution springs forth, mental clarity shines through, and peace returns.  It’s a place to rest, stop, look, listen, reevaluate, and invite inner wisdom to be the guide.  It’s both a spiritual fast and feast all at once.  Answers reside in the silence.

Hmm.  When I first started writing, I thought that there might be something related to the subjects of compassion, empathy, and sensitivity to others, but for some reason, that thought evaporated along with the gloom that disappears in the light of an open window.  Well, maybe tomorrow.

So that’s it for today, folks.  For now, I’m going back inside to continue my time out, enjoy the view from my soul, and hang out in radio silence for a while longer.  See you tomorrow.  I think.

Note:  The photo above is courtesy of New Waves of Light, a website designed by anonymous individuals around the world who share the intention of bringing light and love to a world of darkness and chaos. (newwavesoflight.org or NWOL.us).

Where’s the Pony?

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Have you ever acted on an idea that seemed like a perfect solution to a dilemma only to watch it crash and burn before it ever got off the ground?  It seemed like an inspired idea at the time, but perhaps I was delusional, or maybe I was listening to that sneaky voice of the ego that loves to have me think that it’s a whole lot smarter than the part of me that is really smart.

What would be really smart would be making the sincere effort to find out more about who the really smart one is and pay more attention to it.  The thing is, I really thought that I had.

I suppose I could consider that I lost the battle, but in retrospect, I can see that nothing is ever lost.  Every apparent defeat brings with it the inherent opportunity to review the situation and find the benefit within it.  On one hand, it may be tempting to consider rejection as a failure and allow it to be the spark that ignites the flame of self-doubt, extinguishing any hope of a happy ending.  On the other, it offers an opportunity to seek and find another path to accomplish the same end, perhaps one that is even better than the first.  There’s always good news, even amidst what seems to be the bad.  Rejection is just a divine spark that lights the fire of renewed effort.

When caught in the middle of a battlefield of opinion, sometimes the best that one can do is observe the fray and hold the vision that at some point, opponents will see the light of day, put down their weapons, and enjoy a peaceful resolution that is for the common good to all.

I am reminded of the enthusiastic kid waist deep in horse manure digging through the muck looking for the pony.  I love that kid.  He just goes for it, doesn’t care how messy it gets, and hangs on to the idea that in the end he’s going to find what he wants the most.  I want to be just like him when I grow up.

In a world full of manure, I’m going for the ponies.

There is a way.  There is always a way.  We just need to find it.

Note:  The photo above is courtesy of New Waves of Light, a website designed by anonymous individuals around the world who share the intention of bringing light and love to a world of darkness and chaos. (newwavesoflight.org or NWOL.us).

In the Soup

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When I woke up today I felt as if my mind was swimming around in a bowl of alphabet soup in desperate search of a way to line the letters up in correct order.  So much going on, so much to do, so much to think about, plan for, deal with.   The soup is swallowing me.  It’s supposed to be the other way around.

I park my buns in the Lazygirl and prepare to tackle it all, but I can’t figure out where to start.  The pen wins and I pick up my journal to try to sort through the soup.  I begin with a little chat with my muse.  “I want it to be easy.  I want it to be quick.  I have things to do.  I don’t want to sit here for half a day slogging my way through a blog.  I’m drowning in the soup.  Can you make it easy today please?”

And my muse responds.  “Yes, we can.  We anticipated your wish and are well prepared with an answer BUT, we already hear doubt creep into in your head.  “Really?  Are you sure?  Am I going to have to sit here until lunchtime before I’m finished?”

I watch myself as I pick up my phone to do a quick text unrelated to anything.  I watch as I take a minute to check the weather to see if it’s a good day for a walk.  I watch as my mind wanders off into next week’s agenda; I’m still in the soup.

I reach for the laptop to begin the blog du jour and hesitate.  Wait.  Maybe I should meditate first.  I should meditate first before I do anything.  Meditation lines up the letters in the soup.  But why do I keep forgetting that?  Why do I not do it every morning?  Because meditation is on the do list, like exercise, eat healthier, and get organized.  It’s a whole lot harder to do than it is to not do, like not smoke, not drink wine, not watch TV.

So I put down the pen, leave the computer where it is, and opt for meditation.   I close my eyes and watch my mind as impatience tries to lure me into further distraction.  The soup swirls around in my mind, catawampus letters threaten to choke the life out of me, until finally, I see that I can order the letters to settle down and get themselves together.  Ah.  Quiet stillness and the return of sanity.  I can relax into the day, because the race for completion within the confines of time is unnecessary.  Everything will be done.  Everything is in good order, including my mind.

When will I get it?  When will I remember to quit diving headfirst into the soup before taking the time to float gently in stillness of my Soul for a while?

Thank you my Muse for proving me wrong, for showing me that when I am willing to sit still long enough to listen, all that I need will be provided, all I ask for will be given.  Wonder of wonders—it’s 8:30 am.  Today it was easy.  What more proof do I need than that?

Note:  The photo above is courtesy of New Waves of Light, a website designed by anonymous individuals around the world who share the intention of bringing light and love to a world of darkness and chaos. (newwavesoflight.org or NWOL.us).

The Activist Hat – Again

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After a lengthy discussion with a 50-something friend who is mightily concerned about the state of the world, I see that it’s time to don my activist hat again.  The depth of her fear about the future sent me into a depth of my own fear about the power of fear, and how much of it there in the world.  It was an eye opener, a reminder that the best I can do for the world right now is to keep my head on straight, not allow darkness to take over my life, and urge one and all to wake up and see the light.  On with the hat.

When I sit all smug and cozy with coffee in hand and feet up in my Lazygirl, it’s easy to believe that all is well in the world.  But what about everyone else?  What about the heartbreaking closed sign on the doors of my favorite Nordstrom where I worked when I was 50-something?  What about the folks who wonder how they will feed their families, or if their kids will be shot in their beds, or if they’ll be done in by a virus?

In yesterday’s conversation, my friend expressed her deep concern about the future of our economy and about what would happen after the election.   From her perspective, I could see that things indeed looked very dark, very depressing, and very bleak.  Seeing the depth of her fear was what sparked my own.  If her thinking is representative of a large majority of the population—and I think that it may be— we are in big trouble.

Our chat reminded me to remind myself and anyone else within reading distance or earshot that we must change our vision, we must change our minds, we must rearrange our thinking, we must change our focus, because if we don’t, the power of our own minds will indeed create the very thing that we fear the most.

To build a new and better world, we need to shift our thinking away from the horrific “what if” possibilities of decay and destruction and adopt a new belief system, one that embodies everything that we want, and nothing that we don’t.   Yes, this is easier said than done, particularly when we face so much negativity on a daily basis, when we are forcefed nasty news by the media, and when it appears for all the world that there is no hope.  It heightens the need for us to work harder.

There is hope.  It lies within the heart and soul of each and every single one of us.  We each bear the responsibility for snatching our world away from the clutches of the evil dark forces of the powerful and greedy, and put the power back where it belongs—into our own hands.  But it requires all hands to do the job.

Yes, our world is in a miserable state of decay.  But it is a necessary part of the evolutionary process that will make space for us to recreate something better, a hospitable, sustainable environment.  It is all part of a Divinely orchestrated plan that is for our benefit.  Together, we can do it—and we need all hands, all hearts, all minds, all souls on deck.  A future built on fear is destined to collapse, but love will sustain us for eternity.  Build on love, not fear.

Note:  The photo above is courtesy of New Waves of Light, a website designed by anonymous individuals around the world who share the intention of bringing light and love to a world of darkness and chaos. (newwavesoflight.org or NWOL.us).

Dissecting the Voices

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Today is a start-stop-stuck blog writing day, definitely not one of my more shining moments.  In truth, I’m making myself crazy.  It may have to do with my latest mission of trying to enhance my communication skills with spiritual guidance.  I’ve had lots of practice, but apparently there is still much to be learned, because messages are garbled.  Especially today.

My current assignment is to speak to my guides out loud.  I’m working on it, though I must admit, it’s a strange sort feeling, one that is a whole lot different from hiding out in my head speaking in whispers.  It feels weird, like emerging from a dark closet buck naked into the spotlight on the stage of an auditorium full of people.  Whoa.  It gives new meaning to coming out into the light.

The morning is marching on by while today’s blogs sits on stall.  A myriad of thoughts pass through my head—I want to quit now, why is this so hard, what am I supposed to be writing, why isn’t it easy, I want it to be easy, where is the clarity, why am I doing this, when can I stop?

Jumbled confusion reigns in my head and expresses itself in words on my screen.   It occurs to me that this muddle presents the perfect picture of what it’s like to try to sort through the myriad of voices that float around in my mind.  I have just spent the last hour presiding over a plethora of unproductive thoughts.  In desperation, I finally gave up and headed for the kitchen for some breakfast and a little clarity.  What is the matter with me, I ask myself.  Why can’t I sit down, focus, write, and finish something that I really, really want to finish?

That’s when it hit me.  I’ve just wasted an hour of precious time in ego mode allowing self-doubt to stop me in my tracks.  I’m too hard on myself.  When I’m too hard on myself, joy goes out the window.  When joy goes out the window, it takes inspiration with it.  Ah.  A bit of fresh air wafting in through the window of my soul, a bit of kitchen clarity to redirect my thinking back to sanity.

Well now, there you have it.  The stark contrast between the screaming voice of the ego and the gentle, small Voice of the Soul.

Is there a point here, and if so, did I get it across?  Maybe, maybe not.  Maybe it’s not for me to judge, but rather to allow myself the luxury of learning to place my faith and trust in the wisdom and gentle guidance that comes when I am willing to apply myself to the task of listening to a Voice that knows more than I do, that unfailingly has my best interest at heart.

Note:  The photo above is courtesy of New Waves of Light, a website designed by anonymous individuals around the world who share the intention of bringing light and love to a world of darkness and chaos. (newwavesoflight.org or NWOL.us).