Making New Year Resolutions that Stick.

Olympic mountain view

Olympic mountain view

It is the beginning of a new year with incredible potential. We have enjoyed the excitement of fireworks and New Year parties. All of us have hopes and expectations for the months that lie ahead. We eagerly make resolutions about what to eat, when to pray and how to live, knowing that most of these will be discarded before the month is out. Sitting here looking out my office window at the beautiful snow covered Olympic mountains, it is not hard for me to believe that this year holds incredible new possibilities. But I know that by the end of summer the snow will be gone and the hope and promise they offered may be gone too. So how do we make resolutions that stick?

For Tom and I, our refocusing prayer retreats which we take every three months are an important part of our yearly rhythm which helps keep us on the path we believe God wants us to follow. The end of year retreat we have just returned from was no exception.

Retreats are not just important for us as individuals, they are also important for us as an organization. Taking a retreat with your staff or ministry team is something I would highly encourage at this season. Over the years,  our MSA staff retreats have totally reshaped the ways we function as an organization. They led us to develop a rule of life, helped us to reimagine ourselves as a community that discerns together the will of God for our organization and pointed us towards the discernment process we use each week in our team meetings. As you can imagine, how we prepare for the new year is a common theme for me at this time of the year. Next week I will share some of the insights I have gained from reading Parker Palmer’s book A Hidden Wholeness but today wanted to repost a revised version of the spiritual audit I have used for years to help me rethink my spiritual journey.

Look back over the last week or month

  • Consolations: what has life gaining and deepened your sense of connection to God?
  • Desolations: what has been life draining and made you lose that sense of intimacy with God?
  • How is God speaking to you through this?
  • What are the major pressures in your life?  Where do you think the pressure comes from and what are the underlying causes?
  • How do these affect your spiritual well being?
  • In what ways could they be harnessed so that your heart could be broken open to new possibilities for a better future?
  • What daily and weekly events set the rhythm for your life?  Which of these contribute to your spiritual well being and which distract from it?

How well are you maintaining your spiritual life:

  • What gives you joy in your spiritual journey at present?
  • Where do you sense God is currently at work in your transformation?  What would give God the most opportunity to continue that work?
  • What do you do on a regular basis to nurture your spiritual life?
  • What are the major distractions that interfere with regular spiritual disciplines?

How has God spoken to you in the last week:

  1. through prayer
  2. through scripture
  3. through the needs of others
  4. through the words of others
  5. through other means

What changes is God prompting  you to make in order to further your spiritual growth:

  1. In your daily or weekly commitments and rhythms?
  2. In your spiritual routines?

How will you ensure that these changes are adhered to?

  1. What is one new practice you would like to institute to help maintain your new resolutions?
  2. What is one relationship you could nurture to provide accountability and encouragement as you walk this journey?

You may also like to revisit some of the other posts I have written in past years that address some of these issues.

Leading Spiritually – A Series on Leading with Discernment

Welcoming the New Year – What Do We Expect?

Tools for Prayer – Moving Beyond Chronic Randomness to Intentionality

Did Jesus Lead a Balanced Life?

The Spirituality of Rhythm


The Art of Leading Spiritually – Discerning a Shared Rhythm of Life Together

Supper at Emmaus - Roy de Maistre

Discern together - Supper at Emmaus by Roy de Maistre

The following post is part of a series on Leading Spiritually, which at the rate I am going is likely to become a book before I am finished. Thanks for those who have commented and encouraged the continuation of this series.

Check out the other posts:

The Art of Leading Spiritually – An Invitation to a Journey

The Art of Leading Spiritually – Why Are We Leading?

The Art of Leading Spiritually – Where Are We Heading?

The Art of Leading Spiritually – How Do We Do It?

The Art of Leading Spiritually – Discerning Together

The Art of Leading Spiritually – Discerning on Your Own

Discerning a Shared Rhythm of Life Together

Rules and rhythms of life have become very fashionable in the last few years. They are being adopted both by individuals wanting a more intentional structure for their faith practices and by churches and communities encouraging their leadership and staff to deeper levels of shared commitment.

Most of us however, still tend to associate a rule of life with monastic or neo-monastic communities that are on the fringes of church and society. We don’t really understand what value a commitment to a common rhythm or rule could possibly have especially in the context of leadership.  Some of us think it sounds a bit legalistic. I find however that a rule of life is very freeing. It reminds us of who we are, what God has called us to do and how God has called us to live. It can provide wonderful guidelines for enabling us to come together and stay together in unity.

What is a Rule of Life?

A rule of life is a set of practices we commit to that enable us to continue growing closer to God, to each other and to the mission God calls us to. In the words of St Benedict it is:  ‘simply a handbook to make the radical demands of the gospel a practical reality in daily life‘”

Celtic monasteries centred around the formation of communities in which members followed a certain lifestyle and maintained a regular discipline of prayer and worship.  Monks mixed manual, intellectual and spiritual labour, maintaining a balance between engagement in the world and withdrawal from it.  These communities provided a focus for the life of the surrounding non monastic community whose members made different forms of commitment and adhered to a variety of rules that acknowledged and affirmed their gifts and ministry.

A number of contemporary churches and organizations have rediscovered the value of a rhythm of life.  Ian Mobsby in his book The Becoming of G_d explains:  “As people encounter Christians living out profound expressions of the faith through God’s love, they encounter the depth of a loving Christian community and experience God as their ‘ground of being’ through worship, mission and community… It is in these participative and loving Christian communities that people can encounter the reality of the Christian story of the Holy Trinity not as a hypothetical truth but as a profound reality clueing us in to how we should live.”

A Rule of Life for Mustard Seed Associates

In Mustard Seed Associates we see a need to foster a sense of shared spirituality and commitment to accomplish what God has called us to be and do. Our times of discernment helped us established the shared values we want to undergird our practices. This in turn encouraged us to establish and adhere to practices that enable us to live into God’s new world of wholeness and abundance as a leadership community.  Out of this process came not only or rhythm of life, but also our first MSA publication Light for the Journey: Morning and Evening Prayers for Living Into God’s World.

We want to encourage ourselves and others to develop a rhythm of life in which prayer intertwines through every aspect of life so that we can keep God and God’s purposes at the centre of all we are and do.

As a result we want to encourage followers of Jesus to live into:

  1. A redeemed (restored) relationship to God, seeking intimacy with God through:
    1. Regular individual prayer & scripture study
    2. Regular corporate worship balanced with times of listening in solitude – (meditative and contemplative prayer)
    3. Repentance and confession of sins both personal and societal
    4. Commitment to personal healing of wounds from the past that create barriers between us and God
    5. Development of disciplines that encourage a balance between spiritual and secular, community and solitude, work and rest.  “Learn the unforced rhythms of grace” (Matt 11:28 The Message)
  1. A redeemed (restored) relationship to God’s worldwide community through
    1. Intentionally sharing life with others – recognizing that God comes to us in community and that community is essential for Christian faith, actively seeking support and accountability.
    2. Hospitality and celebration – “let everyone be received as Christ” celebrating the in-breaking of God’s resurrection world with others,
    3. Simple living – uncluttering our lives to focus on participating in God’s resurrection life in both local and global community – give me neither poverty nor riches (Prov 30)
    4. Solidarity with the marginalized – “act justly, love mercy” (Micah 6:8)
    5. Recognizing all we have belongs to God becoming whole life stewards who practice generosity that encourages mutual care – “where your treasure is there your heart will be also” (Matt 6:24)
    6. Humbly examining the ways culture and history have shaped our values discarding those that are counter to God’s kingdom values and embracing and celebrating those that reflect God’s kingdom values
    7. Service in the broader community – not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others (Phil 2:4)
  1. A redeemed relationship with God’s creation through
    1. Responsible ecological stewardship – responding to the fact that “the earth is the Lord’s & the fullness there of” (Ps 24:1)
    2. Connection to the God revealed through creation
    3. Enjoyment of God’s creation and creatures

Work in the Spirit – Becoming the Change our World Needs

As many of you know the MSA has spent the last two days in planning meetings working towards a three year strategic plan.  I wrote yesterday that one of our challenges has been that the usual strategic planning methods do not apply to an organization like ours.  As we have grappled with that I realize that the challenge is bigger than that.  Our real challenge is that the ways of God and the ways of the world are really meant to be very different when it comes to our work.

First our goals are meant to be different.  Whereas the bottom line for a secular business is its economic profitability, I believe that the bottom line for Christian ministries and businesses is how well do we model and enable others to grow into God’s kingdom ways.  In his helpful book Work in the Spirit, Miroslav Volf comments:

Human work properly understood theologically is related to the goal of all history, which will bring God, human beings and the nonhuman creation into ‘shalomic’ harmony.

Often our most effective work from God’s perspective brings no economic profit, in fact it may do the exact opposite as when we work for justice amongst the poor and the marginalized who are penniless.  And work in this context cannot be isolated from the rest of life.  We are recognizing this more and more in the ways we work here at MSA.  Our spiritual disciplines, our personal joys and struggles, our financial challenges and provisions, our health and physical fitness all impact the ways we work. So we need to take all of these into account as we discern together, plan and work towards God’s shalomic harmony.  Our work is a part of our lives that is meant to be interwoven through all else we are and do.

Second, our way of working is meant to be different.  In his book Whole Life Transformation, Keith Meyer talks about the fact that churches should have spiritual formation at the centre.  I believe Christian ministries and business should too.  I am more and more convinced that one of the important roles of a Christian leader is akin to that of a spiritual director.  Spiritual direction is a contemplative practice in which we help others look and listen for the mystery of God in all of life, and enable them to respond to that discovery in a growing relationship of freedom and commitment.

Even in the secular business world there is a growing recognition that effective leadership is not meant to be a hierarchical authoritarian position.  There is a growing understanding of leadership as a process in which we mobilize others around a shared vision and work together for societal and personal change in a way that meets people’s enduring needs.  From a Christian perspective, leaders are servants, those who encourage, nurture and enable others to become all that God intends them to be and in the process we often discover who God intends us to be as well.

This form of leadership frees Christian leaders from the need to know everything and be everything to their co workers.  It also hopefully frees us from feelings of superiority and prestige.  It frees us to recognize that we are merely part of a community in which God can speak through any and all members.  This also places tremendous responsibility on us as leaders to nurture and grow our own spiritual lives.  We cannot be effective Christian leaders if we do not have good spiritual disciplines, or if we are not open with others about our struggles and shortcomings.  We grow together as a community not as isolated individuals.

Keith Meyer encourages the development of a corporate rule of life in which together as a community we develop guidelines and practices that grow both their individual and corporate spiritual maturity.  Here at MSA the Quaker discernment process has enabled us to accomplish that.  It takes our focus away from us as the ones who accomplish the work to God.  It enables us to relax because we are more aware of the fact that God is in control.  Every success or failure becomes an opportunity to listen to God and learn from God.

It is not surprising therefore that we have become a very organic organization, more a community of like minded believers who God has brought together to accomplish common goals.  We truly are aware that in sharing our dreams together and listening to God together we are all empowered to co-create with God.  And it is my hope that as we do so others will be enabled to become co-creators with God too.

As a result we all left our planning meetings yesterday inspired, energized and excited about the future.  It was not anything I as the executive director of MSA said or did.  It was more the sense that in our place of planning we had been in the presence of God.  And as we listened to God speak through other members of the team, through the changes and challenges of our society and through the serendipitous encounters and activities that have come our way we became more aware that God is leading us together towards something that bears the fingerprints of God.

What has become clearer for us is that MSA is becoming a birthing centre that reflects something of God’s loving purposes for our world.  As we see our world changing at lightning speed, we want to use our imaginations, and encourage others to use theirs, to develop new ways to live, serve and celebrate into the future that God is bringing into being.

We can easily feel threatened by the changes occurring in our world, which usually results in insecurity, anger and violence.  Or we see these changes as a design opportunity to work together with our Creator God to bring glimpses of God’s shalom eternal world into existence.

A Year in the Life of MSA

Every year, we devote one issue of the MSA ezine, the Seed Sampler to the happenings at MSA. The other issues are all about what other people are doing to address the urgent challenges of our times.

Some great stuff has been happening here: a fantastic Celtic Prayer Retreat, hands-on gardening workshops, putting an East coast intern to work, planning a monastic village on Camano Island, the development of a Rule of Life, and the list goes on. This Seed Sampler reports on most of these events and brings you up to speed on the lives of our board members and staff. There is also a list at the end of every MSA resource you might want to know about—books, articles, curriculums, mp3s, videos, etc.

My contribution is A Year in the Life of MSA. As I worked on this I was amazed at how much our small team of 5 people plus numerous volunteers have accomplished in the last year.

When I wrote our annual MSA update a year ago, I wrote about the discernment process that we had embarked on to reimagine MSA more as a network of communities and individuals with a common purpose rather than as a program-based organization. We have now completed the work on the MSA rule of life and developed a foundational document that explains the MSAvision, goals, and pillars as well as the discernment process we continue to use for decision-making.  Read the article here

Because we are such a small team we are always looking for volunteers to help not just here in Seattle at the Mustard Seed office but in researching, writing for the Seed Sampler and dare I mention it in financially supporting our efforts.  Much of what we do can be done from anywhere in the world.  So check out the different ways that you can be involved If you are just learning about MSA I suggest that you at least sign up for the Seed Sampler (its free) and discover some of the ways that your mustard seed can make a difference in God’s world

Discernment at the Mustard Seed House

Sunday night we started a series of discernment sessions with the Mustard Seed House community to work out how we can put our MSA rule of life into practice.  Over the next few months we plan to use this process to flesh out the shape of not just our community life but our personal disciplines too.  The idea is not  to dictate how each person practices their faith but to provide a framework of accountability for the practices that each person wants to commit to.  I am a great fan of British theologian John Stott.  One of his great comments from a lecture of his is

“The answers we get depend on the questions we ask.  Our job is not to give people answers but to help them ask the right questions

Part of what we are discovering is that this discernment process enables us to ask the right questions that move us towards a more intimate walk with God and a life in which God’s presence is more deeply connected to everything that we do.

The first half hour of our meeting was spent checking in – reflecting on what we are looking forward to and what we have experienced in the last week.  This provided a wonderful foundation for our discussions.  We then asked other the question:

What personal prayer and Bible study practices would you like others to hold you accountable for?

As we shared we realized that we are all had very different ideas of how much time we should spend in prayer and Bible study.  Some of us were struggling with the very idea of daily prayer times because these had become rote routines that seemed to do little to strengthen our faith.  After a very open time of sharing we started to grapple with what is probably a much more important question for us.

What makes us feel closest to God?

As we discussed this question we realized that most of us draw closer to God through a variety of avenues that often have very little to do with Bible study and traditional forms of prayer.  However these practices often then draw us into prayer and Bible study as a way to go deeper into the revelation of God that we are already experiencing.  Some of us connected to God through nature, another person through walking on the beach or reading and yet another through encountering the divine presence of God in the mundane everyday things of life. Someone else encountered God through talking to friends and strangers.

Out of this discussion we have shaped our question for next week

Out of knowing how we experience God, what practices should we encourage in each other in order to help us experience God more deeply?

Advert For Those Seriously Interested in Community

Peter and Anneke Geel will be leaving the Mustard Seed House in August. Peter has been accepted into the doctoral program at Georgetown University and for some reason they aren’t very keen on commuting to Washington DC each week. We are looking for a couple who are interested in joining our small community here in Seattle and moving into our 1 bedroom basement apartment.

The Mustard Seed House is an intentional, intergenerational Christian community with 3 families, 2 dogs, numerous bird feeders and a worm bin. We are little like a large extended family – kids and dogs are full participants in all our activities. We are keen organic gardeners, and are particularly concerned about creation care, sustainable lifestyles and spiritual rhythms for life. Our present shared practices include a weekly dinner and check in time, weekly prayer, and a monthly garden day. As a community we offer generous hospitality to people from around the world and provide an opportunity for visitors to explore a regular rhythm of prayer and worship as well as other aspects of kingdom living being modelled by the community.

The Mustard Seed House is part of Mustard Seed Associates though not everyone in the community works for MSA. The community often hosts MSA gatherings and provides a central place to gather to discuss issues facing us now and in the future and to develop creative models that reflect something of God’s kingdom values. We are in the process of developing a rule of life that will provide guidelines for shared practices not just for those in the Mustard Seed House but for others associated with MSA as well.

If this hasn’t scared you off and you are still interested we would love to hear from you.

Time for Retreat

The MSA team has just been on a 2 day retreat. It was wonderful to get away to relax, refresh and to refocus our lives. The main purpose of the retreat was to brainstorm about developing an MSA rule of life. Here are some of our thoughts on where we are at in the process. I would appreciate any comments that you might have. We recognize that this will always be a rather fluid document that is still very much in its infancy so it will continue to change and develop over the next few months.

Why a rule of life you might ask? We sense that God’s spirit is currently speaking through many voices about the need for a more embodied, incarnational faith and we want to join in what God is doing. Developing a rule of life seems to be an important step in that process. According to the Northumbria Community, “a Rule of life expresses ‘who we are, this is our story’ and reminds us of those things God has put on our heart, and calls us back to the story that God has written as foundational.”

We began by reading excerpts from N.T. Wright’s new book Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church, which I reported on in my last post.

At the core of Mustard Seed Associates is our belief in this dream of God for the redemption and restoration to wholeness of all the dimensions of life that were distorted and corrupted by the Fall. We will be redeemed within ourselves, in our relationship to God, to each other and to God’s creation. Through the redemptive work of Christ, one day together with sisters and brothers of every culture, from every age we will be made whole and live together in the love, joy and mutual concern of God’s original creation.

Because of our conviction that we are called to reflect, albeit very inadequately, the image of our loving God and to model something of God’s new world of restoration and wholeness, and because we are concerned about the growing needs in our changing world we believe God calls us in MSA to be Easter (or shalom) people, living a life that celebrates the wild hope of the resurrection and focuses on God’s redemptive work in the world. We see MSA as a network of communities of the followers of Jesus that seek to live as redemptive, celebrative people who embody something of the aspirations and values of the dream of God in both modern and post modern culture. Though everyone involved in MSA will never live in residential communities, we recognize that there is a need to foster a sense of shared spirituality and commitment in order to accomplish what God has called us to be and do.

As a result we want to encourage followers of Jesus to work towards

1. A redeemed (restored) relationship to God through

a. Regular individual prayer

b. Scripture study

c. Times of listening in solitude (meditative prayer)

d. Regular corporate worship

2. A redeemed (restored) relationship to God’s community through

a. The practice of a common life with other followers of Christ

b. Service in the broader community

c. Hospitality and celebration

d. Solidarity with the marginalized

e. Economic stewardship that encourages mutual concern

3. A redeemed relationship with our own inner being through

a. Meditation and contemplation

b. Confession of sins

c. Spiritual formation

4. A redeemed relationship with God’s creation through

a. Responsible ecological stewardship

b. Connection to the God revealed through creation

Monks, Community & Rule of Life

Yesterday the Boston Globe printed a great article The Unexpected Monks, on the move towards monasticism by many evangelicals.  It is something that resonates very deeply with me personally as well as with all of us at MSA.  In fact we are in the process of reimagining MSA as a network of communities with a common rule of life.  We believe that God calls all of us to embody an incarnational faith in all aspects of our lives but we all need spiritual disciplines that enable us to live that out.

After the New Conspirators conference we plan to spend a extended time fleshing out what our rule of life should look like.   Below is an outline I wrote for our Board meeting last Saturday that outlines some of our reasoning on Why Community?    Even though we have been working on this for years we feel we are still very much in the early stages and would appreciate your prayers and comments as we move forward.  Tomorrow I will post some thoughts on Why a Rule of Life?  Lent – the season for reflection and self examination seems a good time to grapple with these issues.


In the standard non-profit organizational model, staff are expected to fulfill a professional role with clearly defined job expectations but rarely are they expected to also embody the values of God’s kingdom in their entire lives.  We know of numbers of Christian professionals who don’t go to church or maintain regular spiritual disciplines.   Increasingly however we find Christians want to see a more authentic incarnational faith modelled by those they work and live with. 

 Why Community?

 Early Christians believed that God comes to us in community – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – a perfect harmony of relationship.  They reasoned that as the essential nature of God is love and because it is impossible to practice love in isolation, God the Trinity must be a model of perfect community.   Augustine believed that living together with others is necessary for the cultivation of spiritual formation and maturity especially for the discipline of love. “Perfection in the spiritual life is impossible to attain as long as a person lives alone, for how can that person learn how to love?”[1]   The purpose of monastic communities became not just to establish a regimen of discipline but to nurture spiritual growth and so “help facilitate the restoration of the image of God in sinful humans.” [2]  As well as this, the Celtic monasteries were “colonies of heaven, planted on earth to point as a sign and harbinger of the Kingdom that was yet to come.”[3] They offered hospitality and provided a sacred space in which visitors could develop a regular rhythm of prayer and worship in the midst of their everyday activities.  They also became educational and resource centres and the centres out of which mission was accomplished. 

 Thinking of God as community that embraces not just the Godhead but also the international community of God’s people forces us to rethink everything:

1.      To become a disciple today does not necessarily mean that we all need to live together in a residential community but it does mean reorienting our thinking to more of a community world view.  In this world view discipleship is not about giving assent to a set of spiritual laws but rather means we are drawn into this community of mutual love and relationship. We become part of God’s international community with sisters and brothers from every tribe and nation, with the rich and the poor, the young and the old, the sick, the lonely, the disabled, the homeless, the marginalized and the abandoned.  If God comes to us in community then it is impossible to reflect the image of God unless we too are willing to share life with others in God’s community. “The people of God are privileged to belong to this community through the redemptive work of Christ and the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit.  Such an experience of love inspired early Christians to share it with others…they believed that Jesus Christ came to redeem and reclaim the fallen world, which involved even the most ordinary and routine matters of life, such as marriage and family, stewardship of money, treatment of friends and enemies and daily conduct. ”[4]

2.      To do mission is no longer seen as wanting to provide for the spiritual and physical needs of others.  Rather it is about learning to “love our neighbours as we do ourselves”.  It is a recognition of the fact that we cannot share life with other members of God’s international family as God intended unless we are in loving relationships willing to enter into the life journeys of others – to share their pain and their sorrows, to celebrate their joys and their triumphs

3.      Spiritual disciplines become those shared practices that renew our faith in God and God’s kingdom vision for an eternal shalom world in which there will no longer be any pain or suffering or oppression or disease – as well as reconnecting us to others that hold the same beliefs.  A rule of life then becomes the vehicle through which we are able to develop practices that connect us to God, to God’s world wide community and to God’s world.  

 It is because of our conviction that we are called to reflect, albeit very inadequately, the image of our loving God and to model something of God’s shalom kingdom vision that we believe we need to become a community rather than a programme based organization.   Though everyone involved in MSA does not and never will live in residential communities, we recognize that there is a need to foster a sense of shared spirituality and commitment in order to accomplish our MSA goals. 

[1] Gerald L Sittser, Water from a Deep Well, (Downer’s Grove, Il, Intervarsity Press, 2007) p105

[2] Ibid p103

[3] Ian Bradley, Colonies of Heaven: Celtic Christian Communities Live the Tradition, (Kelowna, BC Canada, Northstone Publishing, 2000) p18

[4]Sittzer  p60

Tall Skinny Kiwi & Monastic Orders

Andrew Jones aka Tall Skinny Kiwi, has just spent stayed overnight with us. It was wonderful to catch up on what he is doing from his base up in the Orkney Islands. As he reported on his blog we fed him almost entirely out of the garden – leek, mushroom and potato soup, garden salad (last of the year’s tomatoes) and apple berry cobbler for dessert.

Eugene & John enjoying cobbler

Tom dishing out his famous mushroom soup

Cheese on fresh baked bread

Like us Andrew is struggling to live out something of God’s kingdom values in his life and community. He is here for a conference this week with Alan Roxborough and Allelon discussing rules of life. What was interesting is that we too are struggling with what a rule of life could look like for us in Mustard Seed Associates. This morning we reviewed the rules we are most familiar with – St Benedict, 3rd Order Franciscan, Nothumbrian, Iona Community, The Simple Way and others. Andrew shared his experience with The Order of the Mustard Seed which comes out of the 24-7 prayer network, and the Church Mission Society, a 200 year old mission society that is in the process of reinventing itself more as a monastic order.

There are certainly a plethora of possibilities to look at out there so why invent something else? At this point we are not sure if we will. We are revisiting our Mustard Seed Affirmations which we developed some years ago to provide a framework for our lives. This could be the basis for our rule but we are grappling with how to interpret this for people from different church traditions, different ages and different cultures, some of whom live in community and some of whom don’t. So your prayers and comments are appreciated. What we are really grappling with is how to authentically live out our faith in today’s world. Prayers appreciated and I am sure there will be much more to share in the coming weeks.