About Tami

Tami Romani left her job as a syndicated radio producer nearly three decades ago to raise her family and hone her voiceover craft. She never looked back. Her joy of telling stories through a microphone has kept her happily busy ever since, and she has now added the title of Brand Voice Strategist to her resume, helping folks unlock their authentic voice and be heard in a very noisy world. In her free time, Tami loves to network and write, helps her husband promote his construction company, and pretends to offer helpful advice to her adult kids. Her personal website is www.tamiromani.com

I Have Fought the Good Fight…

There’s something about celebrating the life of one who’s gone to heaven before us that makes us evaluate EVERYTHING. Am I right?

I find myself mulling over the questions: Will I be missed? Will people cry? Will my life be worth celebrating? Will my legacy live on? What is my legacy, anyway?

Our family suffered a loss last week when our cousin Steve went home to heaven. It wasn’t unexpected, Steve had suffered the ravaging effects of Muscular Dystrophy for nearly 40 years. But oh, the hole that is left by his passing.

I was fortunate to travel to Oregon to be with family at this time, and witness the great outpouring of love for my cousin. The family had beautiful tributes to share, but it was the comments made by his ham radio buddies that really got to me.

After being diagnosed at age 13, Steve immersed himself in the ham radio world. Before the internet was even a glimmer, he had acquaintances around the world. Ever friendly, ever helpful, Steve became a bright light in the community, even going on to win awards for his skills too numerous to count. He shared recipes for his favorite foods and “traveled” the world by talking with friends and strangers on his radio, and looking at photos on his computer. He was noted for being the first ham radio operator to make contact with the Space Shuttle, among so many other accomplishments.

Steven Richard Kelly ~ March 13, 1964 - August 4, 2016

Steven Richard Kelly ~ March 13, 1964 – August 4, 2016

This was a man who hadn’t left the house for probably more than a decade, and now I’m hearing story after story of how he had helped design landscaping, a radio tower, and even a kitchen or two. In the midst of his own pain and what appeared to outsiders to be isolation, Steve pushed past the limits of his diagnosis and used technology to reach out and make a difference in the lives of others. He lived the life he was given to the fullest he was able.

As I sat there listening to his friend’s tearful tribute, I was in awe of this man and felt very sorry I hadn’t made a point to spend more time with him each time I came to town. Obviously this is my loss.

Which brings me back to the task at hand… taking inventory of my life.

If I had a diagnosis rendering me housebound, would I proceed to make such a difference in the lives of others that they would pack the house for my memorial service? My thought right now is that I would waste an awful lot of time feeling sorry for myself and searching for a way out of my predicament.

Steve never did that. He knew where he was going, and he knew where his strength for each day came from. He didn’t complain about his lot in life, he made the most of it.

I believe God gives us glimpses like this to snap us out of our own complacency. We all can remember those who have risen above their circumstances with such a force of character it’s impossible to ignore. And impossible to avoid. Take a moment to think back on that person you know, and use their inspiration to go and change your world… and just maybe that world will say they are better for having known you.

Live the life you are given to the fullest you are able.

Thanks for the reminder, Steve. Tell everyone hi for us and keep that heavenly party jammin’ until we get there!

” I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.” 

2 Timothy 4:7-8 (NKJV)

 

 

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The Walking Wounded

I can’t remember another time in my life when so many people around me are living in a constant state of pain. It’s debilitating. Yes, we can say it’s a choice to react to adversity by accepting the pain. And yes, we can choose joy… but we are human and we are tender and we are WOUNDED.

Our loved ones are in trouble, and we ache for their freedom.

Flags are flying perpetually at half staff these days, in response to the horror of the rash of terrorist attacks on innocent people. We cringe at the news of a new attack almost daily, and we mourn with those who’ve lost loved ones. The air is electric with emotion right now, and it is spilling over into our everyday lives.

The news shows images of death daily. Even if it’s not directly affecting us or someone dear, we still absorb the intensity of a world in mourning. So many in the mainstream population of the world right now are walking through their days in a state of uncertainty. They are traumatized, they are burdened, and they are afraid. A perpetual state of being the walking wounded.

There are days I feel like we are all living in a surreal movie setting. It’s as if reality has been suspended and this horrible new sequence of events has ushered in a new era of fear.

I’ve heard about the last days my whole life. Read depictions of it in books like the Left Behind series, marveled at how movies about the future were always so dark and depressing. And now, here we are in a moment of reality that rivals those fictional depictions. Today, I actually had the thought that I’m fearful of the future my grandson will be facing.

Should I be surprised? I’m not a theologian, and am certainly not here to discuss the biblical evidence of what to look for. That’s what we have Strong’s Concordance and Google for. But it goes without saying that there are some signs we can’t avoid.

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.  

2 Timothy 3:1-5

Yes, all those who are brutal and abusive have left in their wake a people who are shell-shocked and hurting, and need to know that Jesus was wounded even as they are wounded. He sent the Holy Spirit to comfort us in our pain, and bring us hope.

Remembering the promises in Psalms made me lift up my face to the heavens and thank God for today. In spite of everything going on, we do have hope. And perhaps those of us who are able to carry more hope than others are tasked with the job of lifting up those who are still the walking wounded.

Photo: AdobeStock

Photo: AdobeStock

For those who are evil will be destroyed, but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land.  Psalm 37:9

 

Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him.

Psalm 62:5

 

Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. Psalm 42:11

 

but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31

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What Legacy Will You Leave?

LEGACY.

I’ve honestly not given that word much thought, nor have I had any use for it. Deep down I knew my own mother left us a legacy. She will be remembered for her love of people, her fun-loving nature, her laugh, and of course her sermons, which God has used to change the lives of thousands, even several generations.

I guess I just didn’t think I would have the opportunity to leave a legacy. I was wrong.

How we treat people on this earth leaves a lasting imprint into eternity. Yes, what we do here matters.

Being content to sit in the corner and watch the world go by doesn’t seem to be an option. God wants more. He wants action. Action brings change. Change brings renewal. And renewal creates a legacy that reaches across generations with stories and memories. Many people think of an earthly inheritance when they hear the word legacy, but it is so much more than that.

Hand writing the text: Whats Your Legacy?

I have a little grandson who is almost 2 years old. The idea of a legacy did not hit me until recently, when God began asking me to step out of my comfort zone, and take action where I previously had been complacent. Little Luca’s face is ever before me now, as I ponder what kind of a world will I leave for him?

I heard a sermon recently that illustrated how a life of legacy looks, using the story of Daniel in the lion’s den. (Daniel 6:1-23) Go ahead and read it, then ask yourself: What are the qualities of someone who leaves a legacy?

  •  When it comes to leaving a legacy, God looks for men and women of character.  In verse 3 of this story we see that Daniel had distinguished himself among the administrators by his exceptional qualities. Daniel lived a life of excellence, even though he was living in exile and was a visitor. I’d say this would be the ultimate illustration of how to Bloom Where You Are Planted, am I right?
  • When it comes to leaving a legacy, God looks for men and women of conviction. Verse 10 of this story tells us that when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home and prayed beside a window opened toward Jerusalem three times a day anyway. Daniel knew the penalty was death for praying to any other god or human besides King Darius. He did it anyway. That’s conviction.

“Daniel knew that the lion’s den of conviction is a far safer place than the royal palace of compromise” Pastor Chuck Olson

 

  • When it comes to leaving a legacy, God looks for men and women of confidence. And, I might add, not confidence in themselves. We hear a lot to talk about self-confidence, but what if we operated in God-confidence instead? Surely we could move mountains. Daniel faced death, but he went about his day doing what he believed in without concern for the consequences. I’m sure he knew the bogus decree was specifically intended to trap him. He could have whined about how unfair life is. He could have begged the king for mercy and asked for a special dispensation to disobey the law. He was very close to the king, after all. What Daniel had was an unwavering faith in God even when life’s circumstances don’t make sense. Verse 23 tells us that when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God. 

Don’t you want that kind of unwavering Character, Conviction, and Confidence? That’s what I’m talking about. A legacy of money is fine, but what people will talk about for generations is how you made a difference in this world.

What will be your legacy?

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We Don’t Fight this War Alone

I can hear them coming. World War II era airplanes fly over our house on approach to the local municipal airport for the annual Memorial Day air show. It’s a great display of patriotism, but I get a catch in my throat every year as I think of what it must’ve been like to hear that sound during a time of war.

Imagine the tension of being set on edge by the drone of approaching engines. 

Friend or foe? It wasn’t always evident. 

War is an impossible realm of uncertainty and danger. Now our ability to see what’s going on around the world at a moment’s notice gives us a glimpse into the horrors of war. Can you imagine what it was like to feel isolated from the world when communication was cut off?

This morning God used the sound of those airplanes to remind me of another war that is waging. The constant tension of battles in the spiritual realm requires a diligent heart, always ready to fight. But unlike those in wartime who heard the planes approaching and were helpless in their defense of the outcome, we do not sit helpless.


Have you felt blindsided by the enemy lately? Even if you saw the attack coming, were you unprepared for the intensity of the battle? Were you left feeling hopeless? Helplessly wandering in the rubble that was left after the dust cleared?


We have all been there. I have been there, and I know how easy it is to think I am alone in the fight. Like any good warrior, though, I took inventory of my strategy and found this:

“But you will not leave in haste or go in flight; for the Lord will go before you, the God of Israel will be your rear guard.” Isaiah‬ ‭52:12‬ ‭NIV

And this:

“The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Exodus‬ ‭14:14‬ ‭NIV‬‬ 

Aaaand this:

“But be assured today that the Lord your God is the one who goes across ahead of you like a devouring fire. He will destroy them; he will subdue them before you. And you will drive them out and annihilate them quickly, as the Lord has promised you.” Deuteronomy‬ ‭9:3‬ ‭NIV‬‬

The battle, no not just the battle, the entire WAR belongs to the Lord. He will fight for you, and he will prepare you for battle when he wants you to fight alongside him.  This promise I know to be true: God will never leave us to fight this enemy alone.

Never. Never. Never.

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Enjoying God, the Artist

I’m in Yosemite National Park this week. Or church, as I like to call it.

Yosemite Valley – Photo by Tami Romani

Isn’t it amazing how we feel closer to God when we are in His majestic creation? I hear this a lot from my friends, “being at the ocean is so calming to me,” and “when I’m in the mountains I feel like I’m being restored” – these are common themes in conversations lately. A friend told me the other day, “The reason people feel closest to God in nature is because nature is not trying to be anything other than what God created it to be.”

God’s creation isn’t trying to show off. It doesn’t need to. God created it to be what it is – an expression of His handiwork. We could learn a lot from God’s beautiful creation.

In his hand are the depths of the earth,
    and the mountain peaks belong to him.
 The sea is his, for he made it,
    and his hands formed the dry land.

Psalm 95:4-5

My yearly pilgrimage to Yosemite has become a necessity. It fills me up & gets me ready to tackle the rest of the year. The serenity of a bike ride whenever I want, the reading a book just because, the laughing and lingering with friends over a morning cup of coffee without a meeting to rush off to… these are the things that make being in this place extra special.

Yosemite Bike Path - Photo by Tami Romani

Yosemite Bike Path – Photo by Tami Romani

Not only is it wonderful to be away from the busyness of life sometimes, there’s an awe that takes over when I’m in such a place. I’m reminded that in the mundane of my life, there is majesty all around if I take the time to experience it. I believe it’s no accident there is very limited cell phone service and excruciatingly slow internet in the few places you can pick up a signal here. This place is meant for unplugging. And if you won’t do it on your own, it’s kind of forced upon you. It’s a good kind of coercion. For if I don’t worship Him in the midst of His glorious artwork, the rocks will surely cry out.

Yosemite Falls - Photo by Tami Romani

Yosemite Falls – Photo by Tami Romani

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad;
    let the sea resound, and all that is in it.
Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them;
    let all the trees of the forest sing for joy.

Psalm 96:11-12

But you don’t have to trek to your nearest National Park to find this kind of peace. Sit outside during your next lunch break and listen to the birds sing their melody. When the sun begins to set, turn off your electronics and watch the miracle of the dance as the light fades from the sky.

What Yosemite reminds me of every year, is the importance of being in God’s presence in the moment. It’s kind of a shame that I need this reminder, but I am so very grateful it’s there.

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Give Voice to Change

I love springtime. It brings the promise of new life and change. At any given moment, the new songs of birds and vibrant colors of budding flowers saturate the senses. I was granted life in springtime, which may be why I love it so much.

Seasons come and go in life. Like the coming of spring, a new season has been brewing in me for awhile now and just when I’m reaching the age when many women slow down, I’m feeling a desire to ramp things up.

Life. Isn’t it funny? Change is inevitable, and we can either embrace it, or fight it. We can grow with it, or stunt our growth by kicking and screaming our way to oblivion. Okay, that might be a bit dramatic. Think about it, though… don’t you know that person who just wants to quit on life? To just sit and vegetate for the rest of his or her days? I do.

But that’s not me. And if you’re reading this, I suspect that’s not you either.

We know we need to change and grow. It’s a strong desire we think about. A lot. What I’ve found though, is a chasm of disconnect between the knowing and the doing. I know I need to lose a few pounds. I know I need to organize my life. I know I need to allow for some down time to relax and recharge. But do I DO it? Nope. Not whole-heartedly, anyway.

It’s nice to think about changing myself. I envision what it would be like to be my ideal (for me) weight and shop for clothes without disgust. I think about how efficient I would be if my office was tidy. I love the idea of how much my mind would be cleared if I got rid of some of the clutter in my home. I fantasize about taking a day off to play with my grandson without feeling like I have a ton of things that need to be accomplished.

A month later, I’m still thinking. There is no doing. And in all of this thinking and not doing, I’ve learned something very important: I have to speak the change I want to happen. It must have a voice. Thinking about it to myself gets me absolutely nowhere. Goals and visions for my future must be written down and spoken to allow for my  brain to actually get it, and begin moving towards the changes I seek. I need to speak to Jesus about all of it, and ask him for direction.

Jesus said, “The thief enters only to steal, kill, and destroy. I came so that they could have life—indeed, so that they could live life to the fullest.” (John 10:10)

Maybe your life is busy but not full. Does that make sense? Jesus promised a full life. Actually, He promised the fullest life, but we so often choose to just think about it and not take the action he requires for that to happen.

Okay, so let’s make a deal: I’m in if you are. I turned 57 years old yesterday and I’ve got big dreams and plans that I believe have been planted in me by God himself. We’re talking BIG, setting captives free kind of dreams. Even so, nothing will happen unless I take the leap of giving a voice to those things that must change in order to reach those dreams. I’d like a fuller life, but there’s some stuff in the way. How about we work together on voicing change to a fuller life?

That sounds pretty good.

I just had a birthday and it’s time for a change. I’m giving it a voice. You can follow along on my personal blog, Voicing Change. Let’s do this!

voicing change - 1200x900

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Sitting with God in the Silence

It’s been a silent week.

Not in the sense that I haven’t interacted with people or done work or spent time with friends. It’s more like I know God’s there, but he’s not speaking. And that’s OK. We are sitting in the silence together.

Last Sunday, as we were celebrating Christ’s resurrection, he chose to take a precious little life from this earth to be with him in Glory. Tori was the 19 month old daughter of some friends, and I was just one of thousands who had fallen in love with her. Before she was even born and her mama would share the ultrasound photos, we were oohing and aahing over her beauty. When she was born, we oohed and aahed some more over her stunning eyes and rosebud mouth. Ever the photographer, her mama would grace the internet with her precious image so that much more than just family could gaze upon her beauty. Even before that awful genetic disorder reared its ugly head, Tori’s tribe was gathering.

Tori Photo by Lesa Brackbill

Tori
Photo by Lesa Brackbill

Then, just when Tori should have been learning to roll over and pull herself up to the cheers of her many admirers, her responsive little face stopped responding. The smile had gone. Her cooing had stopped. Her big beautiful eyes remained, but her once animated expression was fading. Within a matter of days her parents learned their precious daughter was dying.

Over the next year, I witnessed the most awful, terrible, beautiful thing. As her health began to deteriorate, Tori’s parents were not bitter. They were not angry. They were filled with grace and trust in a God who had let them down. Yes, they must have had overwhelming sad moments. They are human, after all. But we watched as they now embarked on a journey of grace, filled with happy times and even joy.

Where does this come from?

When God doesn’t obey our commands (i.e. prayer requests), what are we left with? We are left with the silence. But in the silence, he is still there.

In the silence, God is still there. He is.

Tori is healed and whole now and most likely sitting on Jesus’ lap, telling all the other kids about how she did more things on her bucket list before she was two years old than most people do in a lifetime.

We are left with the silence. When I say, “but God, what about that dream you gave me that Tori was healed?”

Silence.

When I look at my sweet grandson who came into the world just a month after Tori did, I see a whole, healthy child and ask, “why them, God? How did you see fit to spare our family this heartache?”

Silence.

But somehow, the silence is filled with peace. The kind of peace we will never understand. In those moments, God is silent. But he is present.

He sits with us in the silence.

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:7

I had the honor of meeting Tori in person, when she was with her sweet mama, Lesa, to fulfill her bucket list item of visiting her mom's Alma Mater (Azusa Pacific University)

I had the honor of meeting Tori in person, when she was with her sweet mama, Lesa, to fulfill her bucket list item of visiting her mom’s Alma Mater (Azusa Pacific University)

Holding sweet Tori's hand while she slept.

Holding sweet Tori’s hand while she slept.

Tori’s story is far from over. Her parents are committed to keeping her memory alive and raising awareness for newborn screening for Krabbe disease. Follow their journey at thebrackbills.com

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What Does Praising God Smell Like?

Walking through my neighborhood this time of year, I am often caught off guard by the intoxicating scent of citrus trees in bloom. It happens when I least expect it. I turn a corner and wham! I’m hit with the most luscious smell on the planet. Instantly, I’m taken back to childhood days of spending spring break in Palm Springs with friends and family from Portland where we lived. When you’re from the Pacific Northwest and have endured months without sun, the annual pilgrimage south to The Land of the Sun is a very special thing. The memories I have from those weeks spent in the sunshine & splashing in the pool with dear friends could fill a book.

Catching that scent always causes me to linger, to walk a little slower. I want to savor each breath. Sometimes I’ll even pick a blossom from the tree and carry it close to my nose for the rest of my walk.

I’m so grateful to be able to stand in my back yard with my neighbor’s orange tree just over the fence. Photo: Tami Romani

It’s hard to describe the feelings this scent evokes in me. Happy memories of beautiful smiles and laughter. Walking with my daddy to get a sweet roll in the morning. Falling asleep to the hum of the adults talking, laughing and playing games into the night. Those were happy, happy times for me. The scent of citrus trees in bloom takes me back with a joyful giddiness normally reserved for the splendor of Christmas morning.

I’ve always heard our praise is like sweet incense to God; that he inhabits the praises of his people. Think back to something that makes you feel like I do when I catch the scent of a citrus blossom. It’s amazing for me to think this is how God feels when I offer praise to him. Can you imagine?

I find myself seeking out that scent every day during spring, and longing for it the rest of the year. What if this is how God feels about us? When we offer up our praises to him, is he grinning with a joyful giddiness that we have given him something really special? When we neglect to praise him, does he long for that sweet scent to gently inhabit his senses?

Each time I smell that glorious fragrance, God gently reminds me that’s how he feels when I praise him.

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The Choice

There’s something about waiting for an appliance repairman to show up that has me feeling captive. I spent the better part of the day today wondering exactly when during the 10am to 2pm window he would arrive. He finally called at 1:55 informing me he’d be there in about a half hour. Oh well. Day lost. Or was it?

Usually, I spend this time frustrated that I can’t leave the house, or trying not to start something big because I may have to run to answer the door. There was plenty to do. Laundry & the ever present tidying up beckoned for my attention. But today I heard a still, small voice inviting me to quiet myself and spend the time in Bible study and prayer. I’m a bit embarrassed to admit I struggle with calming myself long enough to hear from God. With 3 business ventures to pursue, I am BUSY. But you know what? Today was different. Today was good. So good.

“Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, O Lord.” Psalm 89:15

It’s so easy to forget that God longs to spend time with us. There’s nothing he’d love more than to have us seek his presence in our lives. In this journey towards more intimacy with God, I’m learning that sometimes he boldly provides that time and waits to see if we will use it to pursue a deeper relationship with him. It’s still our choice.

“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” Colossians 4:2

Today, I had a few hours of what could have been limbo, but instead I made the choice for spending time with Jesus & the rest of my day has gone well. There’s a peace in knowing God is in control and he’s got my back. A cup of coffee, a good Bible study book and some quiet time while chatting about the future and handing over the reigns for my business and family needs is so refreshing.

I highly recommend it.

Books and a coffee cup on a wooden table

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There’s That Word Again

I don’t know about you, but at the beginning of the year I take inventory of my life. Last year was good, but I had little focus and follow through. It seemed the success I had was haphazard, at best. Lucky me, I did fairly well in spite of myself, but there was something missing.

I’ve been thinking and praying a lot lately about having a theme word for 2016. I did this in 2014 and the word was DEEPER. That year, I went deeper in all areas of my life – my walk with the Lord became more resolute and He brought me to new places because of my commitment to going deeper.

Have you ever asked God for a word to set the tone for your year? It’s quite eye-opening. I chuckle at the fact that God has such different ideas about what needs to be accomplished than I do. I was inspired by Nikki’s choice of the word SIMPLICITY, because who DOESN’T need to pare down and remove all the distractions? Kristin’s choice of CONSISTENCY spoke volumes to me as well – I could use some consistency in my life, for sure.

I filled 3 pages with words I was hoping might inspire me to move beyond my sluggish vision for myself. They were all great words. Any one of them would have been appropriate. Perfect, even. Words like

MOMENTUM * FORWARD * EMPOWER * GROWTH * RESOLVE * ACTION * INTENTIONAL * CONSISTENT * SAVOR * IGNITE * COMMIT * FOCUS * DILIGENCE * SOAR * PERSISTENCE * YES * DISCIPLINE* BALANCE

You get the idea.

But God doesn’t see what I see. So I asked Him to show me a word to adopt as my theme for 2016. On those 3 pages, I first highlighted all the words that jumped out at me, or “spoke” to me. Now I’m left with about 25 words. Funny thing, I had written the word Intentional about 4 times and highlighted it each time. But I still wasn’t convinced.

Now, instead of SEEING the word “intentional” periodically, I began HEARING it. I’m not kidding. A couple weeks ago on a Saturday I attended a business training class where the speaker emphasized the need to be INTENTIONAL in our business. Emphasized is not even a strong enough word – she must have said it at least 20 times. The very next day, my pastor preached about beginning again in the new year. As he spoke about not settling for being comfortable, about how God has called us move out of our comfort so he can speak to us and through us. This requires being INTENTIONAL about how we use our time and resources. He added, “Don’t you dare set your agenda for the year. Give God the pen and let HIM write your plan.”

Okay, got it. My foray into being intentional needs to include hearing from God for each step.

In 2015  I neglected to choose a word and I was floundering. Busy without being productive. I felt a sense of disconnect between my calling and my reality. Nothing seemed to move forward. It was okay, but certainly not good, and most certainly not great. And not even close to being spectacular or even fabulous. I believe God has placed spectacular gifts inside of us, and it is up to us to use those gifts.

I want the best God has for me. So this year I know the word I need to focus on is INTENTIONAL. I know beyond a doubt that God has called me to great things, as I believe He has called each one of us. The key is, will we answer that call? Will we look toward intentional living so that we are effective for the gospel? Daily that word is before me, and daily I am taking steps to live a life of INTENTION.

I want the best God has for me. So this year I know the word I need to focus on is INTENTIONAL.

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