dazzling tree.

[dazzle]: transitive verb: to overpower with light; to inspire inspiration & wonder. noun: a herd of zebra.

[tree]: noun: a woody plant that is tall, has main stem or trunk & typically lives for a long time.

This sweaty, spirit-infused summer brought me a new name.

Dazzling tree.

While it sounds like a name straight from the 70’s, it runs a bit deeper than that. It has real roots.

God spoke it to me just last week, on the tail end of The Experience, the 2-month discipleship program with Forge, a ministry based here in Aurora. Our team had a day in one of my favorite corners of the mountains. I was exploring around a still lake, grey clouds gathering in clusters, a peaceful breeze guiding the trail. It was quiet, and still God whispered who I was to Him.

Dazzling captures the word I had longed looked for to describe the sparkling sunshine above the trunks and leaves and branches of trees. Gorgeous, right?IMG_9159

Before one of my teammates used the word in a devotional time one morning in Mexico, I had hardly heard of it at all. It refers to an overpowering light, yet it also can be defined as a unified and unshakable group of zebras.

As for tree, well, I have always loved trees. There were moments – multiple of them – this summer where I would pray and ask God, “Who are you to me?” In multiple circumstances, late-nights, and through Scripture, I was consistently pointed back to John 15: 1-4,

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.”

Just so you know, I’m not kidding about “God as a Gardener” or John 15 coming up many, many times. For one, the first time I heard God’s voice was on a log. Later in our summer, in my sleeping bag one late night in a remote Mexican village, I was reading a small book called, The Deity Formerly Known as God, with the author explaining different conceptions that 21st century believers have had in Him. One chapter, nearly verbatim, recounted a conversation I had with farmers earlier in the day about growth, faith, and God’s patience represented through trees. In July, on a hike in Winter Park, I found more logs and trees that God used to explain Himself and though it sounds crazy, I believe that all this time trees have been God’s way of reaching, protecting, and showing me just how He knows and cares for us.


The Experience is intense. The team and staff joke that we eat, pray, and cry. We chuckle about that, but it’s kind of true.

I looked closely at those words, however, eat, pray, cry on my porch as the morning sky was a reaching early afternoon. I was quickly reminded that this was a lot of what Jesus’ ministry was all about: submission, fellowship, & truth.

Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself [submission] and take up his cross and follow me [fellowship]. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it [truth].” (Mark 8:34-35)

Forge is committed to building up laborers to share truth about Jesus so others can know the freedom of following Him. If you have read my blog before, or perhaps spoken with me a time or two, you might be like,

…what? This girl…what is she talking about? She already was a Christian.”

Well, maybe. But I can assure, I wasn’t following Jesus solely, purely, and with everything that I had.

I used to believe that God was a God of action and good works: live a moral life and you get a solid “A” in your spiritual walk. Holla. I thought that being nice to people equated a relationship with Jesus. I also felt that people just needed to be happy all the time and that we would all be just fine. I had basically boiled my faith down to a simple truth:

Obedience – Identity – God.

We find God from everything we do for Him.

It’s not really like that. Try it this way,

God – Identity – Obedience.

We desire to follow God and be obedient because of the identity we are given by Him. He’s far bigger, greater, more glorious, and incredible than we could even begin to imagine.

One of the many speakers at Forge taught us this simple diagram and I found it life-changing.

Christian life goes much, much deeper. It’s a changing of your heart – only done by Him – and an act of submission for His will, not yours. It’s not legalistic doctrine; it’s about passionately loving Jesus. Because really, here’s the thing – when you start loving Him, He will change you.

During The Experience, much of what happens is between God and the individual, though often using our teammates and teams to learn and grow too. In May, I walked through a process of healing from past guilt, relationships, and brokenness. I confessed openly. I learned and embraced forgiveness. I felt the gospel. We learned, and if you know anything about me, rest assured that I love learning.

By June, I continued to know God and the Holy Spirit very intimately. He showed up in Mexico (we traveled to several states for a mission’s trip), at a family camp in the Colorado mountains, in a missionary training simulation, on the inner-city streets of Denver, and as I processed my own purpose and vision in life. It was a special time. Painful, difficult, but oh so sweet. I genuinely am a new person; I feel healthy, whole, and beautiful. Not because of anything I reaIMG_8455lly did. But because of Jesus.


The best part is that our walks in faith aren’t only for ourselves; they are for us to share. So, I’m excited to be back, digging deeper, and processing much of what I have just dived into.

God’s always been adventurous to me, and so it was still Him when I ate a snake heart a couple of months ago in the wilderness (true story) and when we sang ‘This Little Light of Mine’ with a genuine woman of God, Betty, on Denver’s public transit system. When we realize that God is always along for the ride, life begins to be experienced in very different, radical, and surprising ways. Towards the end, I was even able to discern a life purpose (what God has created me for) that I have previously spent years trying to articulate:

I exist to share love by encouraging reconciliation and connecting cultures with written stories, testimonies, laughter, and intentional relationships.

It’s good to be back, typing and writing and sharing with a whole, new, imperfect but healed heart.


Psalm 34:5: Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.



Hooker, Oklahoma

Hooker United Methodist Church (one of many Methodist churches along the corridors across lone highways of mid-Western America) is a beige-bricked building not far from Hooker Elementary (where bikes for them youngins’ are left unlocked!) and town center. With a population of around 2,000 people, Hooker is a small, small rural town in the Oklahoma panhandle (Texas County, to be exact). Texas is a thirty minute, corn-filled drive south, and New Mexico and Kansas are not far either. I saw a small picture in the local newspaper for last week that longingly referred to the counties in the panhandle as “no man’s land.” However, Hooker has been recently featured on the Travel Channel, so there’s certainly something to it. See link below. And no, no “hookers” were involved with the spotlight.

What’s So Great About Hooker

This is also my grandparent’s land too, as they have lived in their white house, under the most supreme maple tree for over 20 years. Lance and I came out for many summers when we were growing up. We ran through sprinklers, observed Glenda work beautifully in the kitchen, and went swimming – if good behavior allowed. I stood in the church hall a couple of days ago and realized my feet hadn’t touched this part of earth and soil for around 4 years.

That’s just too long.


We – my bubbly and sweet Aunt Noelle and I – were helping my step-grandmother, Glenda, and her team of women put together the salad bar lunches for local school teachers. They order a customized salad once per month, have it delivered, and the proceeds go to the work of the church. Once the olives, French fried onions, and cauliflower (among many others) finished, I briefed a couple of the women and my family on Rwanda with Facebook photos and stories. It’s relatively easy now at this point to develop an unplanned presentation on my experiences abroad; in 20 minutes I can cover a quick history of the country, the training program of Peace Corps, my living situation, the food, and teaching.

After, I went to take a stab in my vegetable – balsamic salad when Grandpa’s nearly 80-year old neighbor from across the street complimented my service in Rwanda by saying thank you.

What? How often has anyone actually said thank you following an explanation of the time I spent there?

She said my explanation made her more appreciative of what she has today. As a small girl, she grew up in a farmhouse complete with an outhouse, no electricity, and no running water. “Stinky” as I would discover was the nickname given to her by her late husband (as a joke, of course), has some of those amenities today but was quick to follow-up and say that that she has never forgotten life’s previous difficulties. Humbled, I just listened. I asked more questions and she gave more answers, ending with a passionate appreciation for Hooker United Methodist Church.

“I’m just so lucky to have this church community.”

Her husband having had passed 10 years ago, “Stinky” lives alone near the county’s golf course and hasn’t seen her Indiana-residing daughter in 5 years. The church loves her, supports her, and fills her. Small town or big city, it doesn’t really matter – this is the power, impact, and positive capability of CHURCH that should inspire us.


Fully realizing the continuous gifts of service that my grandparents provide to their church and community (they had at least 1-2 events or community projects to address daily), I also knew they had boundless knowledge of how to really work in the kitchen. Perhaps this is growing up: actually acknowledging that adults and our elders are wise well beyond our years. So wise, in fact, that’s it is so much better for us to be humbled in our lack of knowing and instead yearn to learn.

Glenda handed me “Fannie Farmer’s Country Cookbook” and I started to squeal with delight at the innate differences in milk, in cooking terms (broiled versus barbequed), and all the kinds of desserts you can feasibly create. Turns out Fannie is kind of awesome.

Who is Fannie Farmer?

For some reason, something in me just “lit up” and I began to imagine the possibility of learning to really spend some time in the kitchen. I have always loved food, and even have enjoyed cooking, but really, I just move too dang fast in life and need to slow it down a bit. Slow it down, and cooking, baking, whatever it might be – that can get it’s full due.

A few versions of the classic cookbook from Mrs. Fannie Farmer.

A few versions of the classic cookbook from Mrs. Fannie Farmer.

Glenda spent a day teaching us exactly how to prepare (and can!) blueberry jam and peach butter while Grandpa explained and demonstrated precisely how to can tomatoes. They grow their own, and believe me, you’d want to save those savory red pieces of greatness for as long as possible.

Our 4-day stay included meals and foods such as the following:

*blueberry waffles (with apple butter syrup!!)

*crab sandwiches


*shrimp avocado salad

*fried zucchini

*blackberry iced tea

*corn on the cob

We sat down at the table together several times each day and had this delicious food along with small-town small-talk, Oklahoma’s place in the Southern contingency, and of course, their beloved kitty-cats.

New memories made with my aunt, long roads of country terrain seen, and home-cooked meals every day, I was truly in a joyful place while visiting little Hooker, Oklahoma. That’s how your grandparent’s house should feel. I slept better than I had in months, gained at least 5 pounds, and have a nice, healthy sunshine glow on my skin. That’s family time in the summer, y’all – or at least that’s what I would hope it would be for me. God, I’m glad I’m back.

Really. Fully. Finally.



see you soon.

On paper it looks exactly the same.

In August 2013, I made the difficult decision to not extend my Peace Corps service in Rwanda for a third year. America, I was coming home!

I made a similar choice recently, once again as the summer months came winding to a close, turning back on an almost irrefutable offer to stick around for another year working at an upcoming rural Rwandan social enterprise. Instead of working on the ground with women to develop leadership systems, a for-profit approach within a small bakery, and empowerment strategies, I opted for a one-way ticket to Denver. I accepted the post, originally, and was beyond excited. But, God has a way of making His way known – if you listen. I can’t really explain it, but after a few weeks I knew I had to give up my own desires, wants, and goals, and give in to something greater than myself. I had to rid myself in order to do the right thing.

I’m not back at “square one”, though, not at all.

Yeah, a year later I am still unemployed, leaving Rwanda, and not sure what the heck I am going to do once I finish the long journey in the air. But, really, the similarities end there.


Unlike a year ago, I am far more grounded in my reach and love for Rwanda. Having had had the intense connections here, I was previously determined to allow all of my professional inclinations take root here. In a way, they do, as much of my skill set and deeper inspirations come from here. And to be sure, I am an adventurer-live-life-in-the-moment kind of girl. I think I’ve proven I can do the “alternative” sort of thing by living abroad in a couple of different contexts.

Yet, like I carefully explained to Divine as we walked around the curves of Lake Kivu and Bukavu, the nearby Congolese town, a professional life in Rwanda means signing up for contract after contract after contract. Short term stints in development are incredible opportunities but in their very nature, do not breed stability. If I stay much longer, I know I will settle here. As a young 25 year old that has spent much of the last 7 years away from home, I feel strongly that I can’t do this. I just can’t.

My connection to this country does not need to be hindered by this; as I have worked in Kigali, mingling will all kinds of development, I can take a moment and be honest: I like mine best. I’m not being facetious or absorbed or self-righteousness. Quite literally, as I have explored employment opportunities to do women’s empowerment I have finally realized that HELLO I AM ALREADY DOING WHAT I LOVE TO DO. HEATHER- YOU ARE ALREADY FULFILLING THIS DEEP PASSION FOR WOMEN’S EMPOWERMENT; I have about 4-5 young women that I have connected with over the past three years – in GLOW club, in travel, and in long-distance skype calls – that are being enabled to continue to study and really begin to fathom the kind of life they can build for themselves. I’m doing it. Not because I’m awesome, or great, or some holier-than-thou woman. It’s just what I am meant to do. Period.

I saw this special kind of encouragement in Divine’s eyes when she absorbed Kigali, Nyanza, and Rusizi during our recent week-long travels. The kind of life she can build for herself is possible. If you knew the kind of life that she comes from, this statement is perhaps a miraculous declaration of the reach we can have, should God allow it. Those girls, those young women, they are passionately discerning their goals of education and a promising future. There is no job for me in Rwanda that can “top” this. This is exactly what I should be doing. Sometimes we become confused, thinking everything we do professionally contains all of our interests and deep passions. Actually, it’s how we live our lives that speaks to what makes our heart turn – and this is it. I have big dreams that have nothing to do with what kind of job I have. I want to see the girls graduate. I want Divine to one day visit America. I hope one day they can give back to their own families – and ideally other women who have the same capabilities they do. I can maintain these hopes this alongside these young women, and simultaneously be at home. Talk about being lucky.

My family needs me. I need to be there. It’s as simple as that. I’ve watched Rwandans intensely commit, devote, and give to their families. As I’ve watched how a communal society like this functions, I have been slowly understanding that I must do the same. In a funny way, the familial commitment you can often find in Rwandan society has actually encouraged me to find closure here. Closure was greatly needed, and without this summer I never would have found it.

God’s worked in my heart in new ways the last three months and I can say this much: obedience is hard work. But we must follow. If we do, we will be saved. The negativity, the doubt, the voices, and the evil of this world has the potential to swarm you. The only way to overcome is to follow Jesus. Laying down my own goals, my own objectives for life, and my adamant persistence that I control everything has been the best decision I have ever made. I’ve been a Christian for about 10 years. I’ve been a true follower for about a month.

When I came home from Rwanda last year, I didn’t feel like this. I had tried letting God control that decision, but it was still a decision rooted in my own motivations. I was bogged with fear and uncertainty because of this; I couldn’t trust myself. Now, I don’t have to. Y’all, this isn’t really about me anymore.

This summer was intense.

Professionally. Emotionally. Spiritually.

I am much more honest with myself about who I am. Start removing some of your burdens, short-comings, and lies and you can really find out who you are. I like myself more than I would, honestly.

I grew a much deeper understanding of what it means to advocate for someone. This a major reason why I actually realized why my vocation doesn’t necessarily call me to live in Rwanda. I don’t feel comfortable working in the development world – not here in Kigali. I have my reasons. I do. I have my girls, my friendships, and my grassroots preferences. I stand by them. Working in education finance was informative, interesting, and completely frustrating at times. But hey, I learned a lot. Both internally and externally, and if I had a choice, I would do it all over again.

I know what it feels like to feel utterly alone, completely in the dark. I also was reminded of the immense blessings I have found here, particularly with God’s provisions of the people in your life. Nothing is for accident. And a lot of times, just when we think God wouldn’t do something, He does. Satan will tell us we are disgusting, awful, and unworthy people. He’s wrong. Those are lies. That’s all Satan is. Lies. Once you are able to pick them out – and I finally could do that in the last month – you will be free.

I’m on a plane home today, including one 17-hour leg of the journey from Ethiopia to Toronto.

I suppose these paragraphs of ramblings and realizations is a bit all over the place. That’s okay. I recently read,

Our original shimmering self gets buried so deep we hardly live out of it at all…rather, we learn to live out of all the other selves which we are constantly putting on and taking off like coats and hats against the world’s weather. “

Frederick Buechner, Telling Secrets.

If you take anything away from this at all, you can know that sometimes taking unpaid, three-month stints abroad actually clears your mind more than you would even imagine. Sometimes going back helps you find closure. Come to find out, bringing closure to life experiences is the very thing that helps you move forward. Most of all, obtaining this closure allows you to stop lying to yourself, to the world about the different selves we put on. No longer can there be a Rwandan, village, Colorado, college, or mid-20’s version of myself. I just want to be me. And that’s what I am going to start taking a lot more seriously. I carry this place – and home – wherever I find myself. And as always, I truly believe that even those who wander aren’t really lost. I think we are just finding the best version (that’s singular) of who we are. Without question, mine lies with Jesus.

Rwanda, I love you, and I always will. Divine and I have forgone any notion of “goodbyes” anyway. It’s see you soon now, always.

America, I’m coming home. For real this time.









eyes to see


If you catch a girl walking to the bus-stop with perfectly ironed black dress pants, 3-inch heels, and beautifully placed hair, you can be sure of one thing:

it isn’t me.

Look further. Yeah, you will have to peruse further than the nearby bus stop.

Most days, at least as of last week, I have taken to “going on walks” before I head into work. For some wild reason it helps me start the day right. Feel relaxed. Get some fresh air. Really, it’s probably a need to move since I’m currently on a running hiatus. And I sit at a desk a large portion of my day.

Yep. I’m the sweaty girl with a heavy, unnecessarily large backpack walking in converse (officially my new favorite pair of shoes) on the Kigali pedestrian sidewalks. Don’t worry, I bring my dress shoes into work (sometimes).

On one of my walks last week, I decided it would be cool to walk all the way from my house to work. No big deal…right? Well. According to google maps, I did this:


It was about an 8 km walk (or around 5 miles). To be honest, it felt like a lot more, but let’s be real. It’s probably those Kigali hills. If you have been here, you know what I am talking about. The steep inclines are no joke.

Here’s another reason I’m enjoying these little adventures, y’all. Well, first of all, when I was living in the village, it was a social necessity. It was how you met people. So, perhaps it’s a bit of a habit. But also, I want to see Kigali.

Behind those towering Beverly-Hill like monsters of homes (one of which I happen to rent a room from) there are significantly poorer residences tucked away – they are actually in the same neighborhood. Though, rumor has it that eventually the city organizers are looking to move these residents out and convert this particular area into an “upper income area only.” Who knows.

As you walk along Kigali sidewalks you realize just how clean everything is, for the most part. I see parents holding the hands of their uniformed children as they take them to school. They are sure are a hell of a lot better groomed than I am at this point. If you see litter, which I doubt you will, it’s very little. I will never forget the smells and sights of roads back in Ghana when I was studying abroad; people drink water from small baggies, called sachets, and they are absolutely everywhere. Mountains of them, even. In Kigali, you will instead see hired women dressed in blue or green uniforms that are either sweeping dust or picking up even the smallest pieces of left behind paper. Knowing Rwanda how I do, this doesn’t really surprise me, though. Most Rwandans highly value cleanliness.

I pass incredibly manicured lawns of colleges and vocational schools. KIM, the Kigali Insititute of Management, for example, has red brick reminiscent of my own Hendrix College and an assortment of flowers that nearly every color can be found. These are the institutions and students that I will be interacting with for a large chunk of my time as a fellow with Urwego Opportunity Bank – once I pump out the manual, anyway. Entering my third week, I have been quite swamped putting together the PPM (Procedures and Policy Manual) for the Education Finance Program. Trust me when I tell you that it is significantly more fascinating than it sounds. For the past couple of weeks, I have used my work day to extensively research Education in Rwanda, the history of education financing in this country, and what this means for Urwego’s social approach. What can work here? What can’t? Why?

I have learned a lot. In between my research, I have developed surveys for staff in the Education program, re-constructed and tailored a financial literacy curriculum for children to air on the radio, and completed some site visits. I’ve been busy. It’s made me think a lot. And so, it’s become these morning walks that really gear me up for the day ahead and give me the time and space I need to consider the things I have learned, what I have experienced before, and what I am experiencing now. And also, where I want to go with all of this.


See that tree over to the left?

note papaya tree. a great place for a great conversation.

note the papaya tree. a great place for a great conversation.

It’s adjacent to the clothes drying in the sun and behind Divine’s neighbor waiting for her close-up.

That tree.

It’s a papaya tree. Last Sunday, I sat on a tattered mat for two hours, under its thin branches, and really talked with Divine. I firmly believe that in the end, no amount of Skype credit, WhatsApp messages, or video calls can replace the feeling of being able to discuss things without any time limit. It’s a rare gem in our world.

We talked about a lot of stuff.

In the past, so much of my writing has been triggered by things or nuggets of wisdom that Divine has shared with me. Apparently that continues.

We were talking about some of the work I was doing in Kigali, with the bank, and soon the conversation shifted to some broader experiences I was seeing in the city. Namely, the blatant concentration of wealth. As I tried to explain some of these observations carefully and delicately, Divine continued to scrub dust-ridden clothes between the crevices of her hands. She remarked,

“…poverty is not only about money.”

I looked up. She wasn’t looking at me. Instead, she was intensely focused on my blue jeans she had been soaking in suds to remove the stains from beans the previous day. Yeah, okay, I’m a messy eater. She went on,

“Heather, poverty is a lack of something. In the heart….in the mind….you can find the poor everywhere.”

Of course she was telling me this, of course. She has always been one of the more practically insightful people I have known; she’ll just start spewing out really interesting observations about how the world works as if she’s just having a regular conversation about tea or something.

I told her that ironically, the bank I am working for takes the very same approach to constructing their idea of poverty and what they are fighting against. Taking directly from Urwego Opportunity Bank’s official beliefs:

UOB views poverty as a multifaceted, interconnected, and dis-empowering system that is the result of the fall of the four foundational relationships that God established for each person (i.e. relationships with God, self, others, and creation).  When defined in this way, all people are fundamentally poor in the sense of not experiencing the fullness that God intended for each of these relationships.  For the economically poor, these broken relationships often include shame, a marred identity, and social isolation.  For the economically rich, these broken relationships manifest themselves into pride, selfishness, workaholic tendencies, materialism, etc., which result into a variety of individual and social ills.


I didn’t tell Divine this, but it was hard for me to sit there, considering how I have been moving in between two worlds that are quite different yet very much in the same country.


By Monday morning I am working alongside educated, university-attended Rwandans. I have sat at roundtables and lectures and presentations that highlight researchers’ and experts’ newest ideas about how to decrease poverty in this country. It might be from the financial world, from a context of charity, or from the basis of education. In the city there’s a lot of ideas. Some are really good. And for others, I feel like the roots of poverty itself are hidden deep behind the rhetoric. Buzz words appear often when you speak with people in development: the rural poor, girls, access, indicators, outcomes, projects, impact analysis….I could go on.

These things aren’t bad, they really aren’t. And you know what? I like talking about this kind of stuff more than anyone. And to be quite frank, Rwanda is an exemplary example of development. It really, really is. There are goals here (the health care scheme, universal primary education, ICT, and increased agricultural productivity) that have become realities. A simple ‘google’ search of Rwandan development will provide plenty of reading material to prove it so. Perhaps that’s why so many people come to work here; something is going right.

However, I suppose as I was laying under that papaya tree discussing poverty with someone right there, experiencing extraordinary financial limitations right in front of me, I felt a disconnect between those words and the lives being lived.

So much of the need is decided by people who have risen above. Is it good? Is it bad? I don’t know. I’ll tell you this much. Living in Rwanda in a different context certainly makes you consider these sort of dynamics.


And later that evening, when the sun had set and the stars came alive (along with a fresh brew of that old-time banana beer – some things really never change) I had a conversation that rocked me a bit.

I don’t feel comfortable posting exact details but I will say that it highlighted poverty – and the major wealth gap that exists in this country. This person commented on some obvious dissension with “power structures” in Kigali and it took me by surprise. They expressed a dissatisfaction that I haven’t seen so obviously from most Rwandans I have met; most of the time, Rwandans are pretty guarded about personal opinions or ideas. So when I heard what I did, my eyes widened a bit. Woah. There’s something going on here.

I had been sharing some of my stories of what some people had to say about “the village” while living in Kigali. A few people I have talked to seem to lump “the village” together as one entity. It’s as if Rwanda is two things: Kigali and the village. And in terms of a rural and urban breakdown, that can be true, but don’t be mistaken to think that “the village” is the same in the East as it is in the North as it is in the South. Even in a country quite homogenous like Rwanda, at least with some traditional values, language, and religion, places are different. And like Divine pointed out, poverty is different too. Whether you’re in Kigali, near Tanzania, or living volcano-side in the North.


Going back to those walks I love taking, I went on another long one yesterday on my way to work. I was thinking about all of this. I was praying one thing over and over again,

“Lord, let me see what you want me to see here.”

I think it’s begun.

I don’t think it’s going to be easy at times. In fact, I think as the next couple of month’s progress, I will be challenged to reconcile differences and disparities. I’m working, sure. I’m having fun in the city. I’m enjoying weekend visits to old friends. But, I’m also being directed, educated, and presented with things I have yet to ever consider.

That’s a summer worth having.