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My friend Chris Laseter is a runner! He was one of the mentors the year I was training for my 1/2 marathon to raise awareness and money for the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation. He is an inspiration to everyone who meets him. BTW…I am not a runner! If a pack of wolves were chasing me I could not run – it’s just a fact!

I’m so very proud of Chris and the adventure he will be embarking on in January 2013. He is a dog trainer and he is a dog lover. The love he shows to animals is undeniable. And today I’d like to share his story with you…

Chris Laseter –


To chase away k9 cancer


To summarize my Run (

I will be running from Atlanta to Portland, OR beginning in Jan. of 2013.

A journey of 2800 miles!!!
I am doing this in honor/memory of my six year old Yellow Lab, Zeke, who I lost to canine cancer on April 21, 2011. I am running to raise awareness to the prevalence of canine cancer (1 in 3 dogs develop cancer), to teach people across the country how to check their pets to detect any unusual lumps or bumps early and to raise money for    Chase Away K9 Cancer ( That money will be used only to fund canine cancer research grants through the National Canine Cancer Foundation (

I will be running in honor/memory of all those “best friends” across the country that were taken too early because of canine cancer, for those fighting the battle with cancer now, and for those that don’t yet see it coming.


Why I am running across the country…..

There are several dates and times that stick out in one’s memories of their life; birthdays, graduations, anniversaries, and other memorable events. However, an unfortunate memory has now been etched in mine. On February 8, 2011, four days before his 6th birthday, my yellow Labrador, Zeke, was diagnosed with Canine Lymphoma. My heart sank!

The day of the diagnosis, I brought Zeke home and sank into the darkness of my bedroom and spent several hours mourning his prognosis. I let him rest in the bed beside me the rest of the evening. His doctor, Dr. Leathers, gave me several treatment options, none of them seemed to give him a good chance for a longer, more comfortable life. Based on everything she told me and what I researched, I could not make the decision for him to endure chemo for six months with the chance he may not even make it through treatment. I had to consider and ask myself who was I trying to prolonging his life for…him or me?

It was at that moment that I decided to make the best of what time we had left. I needed to have faith that he would be strong enough, with the help of a drug called Prednisone, to enjoy what time we had left. His energy and happy spirit returned to normal as soon as we started the Prednisone just like Dr. Leathers said it would. She surgically removed his swollen Lymph node to be sent off to the lab at The University of Georgia for further testing and confirmation that Canine Lymphoma was indeed the enemy.

All was back to normal until April, 21, 2011. I got up that morning to let the dogs out and Zeke couldn’t even get off the floor. I coaxed him up and helped him outside. I could see he needed to get to the veterinary office. He was lethargic and limping on a swollen front right leg. With in 20 minutes we were at Dr. Leathers’ office and one of her technicians took his temperature. It was 106. When I was told 101.5 was normal, I realized he was in trouble. The technicians rushed him into the back, wrapped him in cold, wet towel, and put fans on him in hopes of bringing his temperature down. A large dose of antibiotics and pain medications were given in hopes of treating a possible infection. Blood work was done and proved the worst, the Lymphoma was flaring up and even with extreme treatment (and expense) there was no guarantee that he would survive any more than a few days. The time had come for me to make the decision I had tried to put off as long as I could.

The day had a good note, Dr. Leathers and her team,  were able to stabilize him by bringing his temperature down closer to normal and I was able to take Zeke home. I knew it was temporary so he and I spent the day together doing all the things he loved to do. We rode the four-wheeler and played a short game of fetch. We went into the swamp where we had spent endless hours hunting and watched the remaining Wood Ducks and Canada Geese fly around (I am sure he was wondering why I didn’t shoot anything). Then we sat in the grass overlooking the property and he just rested his head on my leg.

I wanted to be selfish and keep him at home with me that night. His fever was down and he seemed to be feeling better, but if anything had happened to him during the night that I could not manage, I would have never forgiven myself. Once back at the veterinarian’s office, I asked Dr. Leathers if she thought I could take him home for one more night, but I did not get the answer that I wanted to hear. So Zeke and I went for our last walk. I called several friends to help me through this difficult decision. I just did NOT want to let him go. With the help of some good friends, advice from Dr. Leathers, and my own knowledge, the decision was made to let him go and end his pain. I sat in the field behind the vet’s office, held him in my lap and stared into his eyes. I could tell he didn’t feel good. As Dr. Leathers gave him an injection to sedate him, I repeated WHAT A GOOD BOY until the sedative took effect. Before I knew it, he was asleep and his pain was gone.

A very good friend told me that “I took the hurt and pain so he didn’t have to.”

I truly miss my Zeke!!!



The death of Zeke took the wind out of my sails. I was having a terrible time and I had to do something to bring myself out of this grief. One night, while at dinner with Mona Landry, a good friend and former running coach, I asked her if she had any ideas. She knew I was reading a book, “Running on Empty” by Marshall Ulrich (about his attempted world record run across America) so she suggested organizing a run in Zeke’s honor with the funds going to canine cancer research. So I blurted out “How about a run across the US for Chase Away Canine Cancer?” “That’s it,” she said and the idea stuck. So I started researching and planning.

In late January or early February of 2013 I will set out from Atlanta Georgia on a 2800 mile journey to Portland Oregon. I will run an average of 28 miles a day.

My goal is not just to run the distance but to raise awareness to the prevalence of canine cancer. I hope to raise money for funding to enhance diagnosis and treatments options for other pets like Zeke. I want to help educate people how to assess their dog from snout to tail to check for unusual lumps and bumps so that a diagnosis can be made early which can lead to a better prognosis for their pet. I know that none of this will ever bring Zeke back, but maybe through this run, Zeke’s memory will have a positive impact on the lives of many other people and their pets.

I need sponsors, help spreading the word (media, social media, etc.), donations and support (come out and run with me with the dog) to make this happen and to get this VERY important information out there.

 I want people from across the country to tell me their dog’s story and send me pictures of their dogs. All of the pictures will be part of the artwork on the RV that supports me on the run and all the stories will also make the journey in the RV.


This run is for them!!!  

How can you look at Zeke’s face and not want to help??


I have so many mixed emotions about everything in the news these days.  I’ve always considered myself a Christian, but when so many Christians are judging people and being down right disrespectful of others I find it hard to publicly announce my beliefs.

Let’s start with anything political…I have a firm belief that politicians should never (ever) run on the basis of religion of any kind.  Do not talk about what people “should” or “should not” do.  Do not talk about whether or not you believe in abortion or whether it is right or wrong.  Do not talk about stem cell research.  Do not talk about affairs.  Do not talk about gun legislation. And do not talk about legality of drugs.  (For the record…I do not think abortion is “right” for ME, but I cannot and will not speak for others.  I think stem cell research is extremely important in order for us to advance medicine.  What politician actually hasn’t had an affair?  Guns should be legal in order for people to protect themselves. And I think marijuana should be legalized and taxed.)

And absolutely, positively stop this war on same-sex marriages.  Why do you really care if people of the same-sex are getting married?  Here are a few thoughts that I have on the subject.  I’ve known many LGBT people through the years and count many of them among my most trusted and loving friends!  I know that through the years there has been talk of the LGBT community being a promiscuous group – often dating the exes of current partners.  But…have you EVEN seen the news or anything on TV over the past 20 years?  promiscuity is rampant in the high schools among young girls and heterosexual couples.  It’s clearly an issue with politicians and others who hold themselves in high regard.  There have been countless news stories of high schools with abundance of teen pregnancies.  There’s even a show about teenage mothers.  The divorce rates are outrageously high, and yet I know many same-sex couples who have longer lasting relationships than heterosexual couples.  The devotion they show each other is beyond comprehension in many cases.  A big problem I have is the inability for same-sex couples to act on each other’s behalf simply because they do NOT have a piece of paper stating so.  In an emergency they are unable to speak for the other at the hospital – even if it’s life or death.  This does not make any sense to me!  I have been following the most awesome blog for a while now called Raising my Rainbow – it is about a little boy who does not relate to being a boy.  He likes Disney princesses, pink, ballet, and all things girly.  Someone posted a link on Facebook and I read one post and fell in love with this little boy and his loving family.  The little boy may outgrow this, and it may just be a phase, but it could very possibly be his life (forever).  I find it impossible that a child so young would make this decision unless he was “born this way” (thank you Lady Gaga).  All I’ve ever heard through my years in and out of church has been that God does not make mistakes.  He is deliberate in his actions and he knows everything about us before we are born.  People would not choose a way of life that would be the brunt of such ridicule and hate!

My friend Lindsay posted this yesterday on Facebook (she and I used to attend the same church where her mother taught a Sunday School class I attended)…There’s a lot of attention on Christianity right now, and all I’m going to say on the matter is this:  Jesus said we are supposed to be the light of the world, set apart by His unconditional, selfless love.  No matter what else, we are commanded to show that same love to others, to everyone.  Note the use of the word EVERYONE!  We should love everyone.  I know many LGBT people who love God, and I’m quite sure he loves them too.

This takes me to the Chick-fil-a controversy.  I love me some CFA chicken and lemonade.  I’m not one to quickly jump on any bandwagon and follow the crowd.  I am such a picky eater and so I am currently torn between boycotting and enjoying some chicken nuggets.  I have many friends who have immediately boycotted them.  I have other friends, LGBT included, who still eat there.  I saw a post somewhere (probably Facebook as I seem to spend a lot of time there) that stated something to the effect – “You eat at a Christian establishment, knowing they have always been Christian and are closed on Sundays and yet you are surprised at their announcement against same-sex marriage.”  Hmmm…that’s an interesting point of view.  But then I see this girl post a long video on YouTube titled Chick-fil-a and Proverbs 25:21 and she also got me thinking.  When she started talking about the “biblical  explanation” for marriage it made me think we’ve evolved so much and yet so little.  If we strictly follow the biblical explanation women would have so few rights today – and I would NOT stand for that. I think we need to understand that when the Old Testament was written it was a very different time, which is why things changed in the New Testament.  Where there once was no music (musical instruments) there are now.  There are churches today that still follow the Old Testament and do not use instruments in their churches.  Yet, many, like those that I typically attend have full bands – guitars, drums, cymbals, you name it!  What would the Bible be like if it was written today?  How would the Old Testament read?  What about the New Testament?  My parents recently stopped going to their church because every time they stepped into their Sunday School class there was a discussion about “gays” – and quite frankly they were over it.  Enough with judging and bashing everyone!  Can we all just have our beliefs without being hateful to others?

We all have the right to fight for what we believe in, contribute money to where we feel it is best put to use, but I think it can be done respectfully and without slinging hate around.  I honestly haven’t looked up the organizations that Dan Cathy (or the Cathy/Chick-fil-a family) is donating to.  I just haven’t had the time in the past few days.  If they are Christian organizations about “saving the sanctity of marriage” – marriage as they believe it to be true – then I cannot fault them for that.  HOWEVER, if they are donating to organizations that brutalize and kill “gays” then I have a big issue with it.  One other thing that I thought of about the CFA controversy – why just discriminate against the LGBT community?  If God believes that all sin is equal than I think that CFA should not serve people who have committed crimes or any other sin (coveting thy neighbor’s house, or covet they neighbor’s wife, thou shalt not steal…and the list goes on.  There are 10 Commandments if you were unsure.)

Please…it’s 2012 and we need to find ways to be more tolerant and accepting of everyone. We should all be able to live our lives without shoving it down each other’s throats.  I have never encountered a LGBT who has tried to convert me or tell me my way of living is wrong.  So why would I do that to them?  It is not my place to determine they are wrong for following their hearts.

I will leave you with this that I saw on Facebook (yes, again…Facebook).

Acknowledge we are all different and strive to be a decent and loving human being.

A new chapter…

It’s hardly a secret that I closed my salon in April 2008 and have missed having my own business each day since.  I am an entrepreneur at heart – I love everything about business ownership (even the tough times) and hope to be in a position to try it again some day.

The toughest part for me has been the fact that I frequently (like at least once a week or more) drive by my old place.  And every time I would see my old sign (that I designed) still on the street corner.  My space has been empty since I moved out.  I wonder if it would have been easier to see a new name and business in my place right away – I don’t think any of it has really been easy and I think I would have had some problems no matter what happened, but seeing my sign on a weekly basis for 4 years has been tough.

The last few weeks I’ve seen some signs of work being done in the old space.  And yesterday, I saw the street sign down.  It was weird – my breath actually caught in my throat for a second.  It was an unexpected and odd response to the change.  Luckily it was a fleeting moment and soon after I found myself wondering what would be filling the space and what the sign will look like.  I wonder if the people who will be there are nice.  Why didn’t they like my beautiful chocolate brown painted walls and have them torn down?

Here is what now is on the corner…(and I’m sad because I cannot find anywhere in my photos a picture of what it used to look like).

Here’s to waiting to see what will be there next!

And cheers to me and the next chapter with the last “visual” signs of my salon finally going away.


Zero to Fifty in 1 second

I made my annual drive to and from Connecticut with my mom and the dog to go visit my 90-year old grandmother, other family members and friends.  We drive (meaning I drive) from Georgia to Virginia and sleep over and then finish the route from Virginia to Connecticut.  We spend 4 days and do the same trip in reverse.  It’s so much fun I can hardly stand it!

Don’t get me wrong – I love seeing my family and friends and I miss them all immensely when not there, but I know that living in Georgia is what’s right for me (even if snow in CT was not an issue).

The fun part of being at my grandmother’s is our life on and off mute.  The volume of the TV literally goes from Zero to Fifty in 1 second.  Unlike the average person who simply turns down the volume on the TV during the commercials, my grandmother actually completely mutes the commercials and so when she “un” mutes the TV it’s like you need earplugs.  And then when the TV is on she is usually watching shows that she is always yelling at…court shows where she is calling everyone crazy, telling the judges that they are too mean or loud.  Or watching a full day of game shows and carrying on about how this one host kisses everyone and it’s disgusting or the other one has a big mouth, but really is a sharp dresser (it was a day long marathon of Family Feud with just about every host they’ve ever had).

I think it took me a week to get my hearing back in sync.  I typically have my TV volume on 7 or 8.  I understand that all TVs have different scales, but I hear quite well and even sometimes 7 or 8 seems loud to me.

My grandmother and I are too much alike, as my mother keeps reminding me, and therefore my mother has informed me that she is glad she will not be around when I turn 90.  I’m thinking it’s a good time for God to perform one of his miracles and allow my mother to live a little longer… 🙂  I’m sure she’d just love to live to be well over 100!!

We arrived back in GA on Friday night, July 6th and I decided the best way to get back in the swing of things was to paint one wall in my sewing room.  Why not get all the pain (of driving for too many days) and painting out-of-the-way all at once.  I’m happy to say that it’s now the 17th and I think I finally feel better from all that.

We’ve talked about next year’s trip already…oh my!  I think it might be too soon to think about that!


I love great quotes!

I have always been a “collector” of quotes.  There are so many great ones out there – from the very famous to the not so well-known.  Whenever I come across one that really makes me think or reflect on anything I copy it down on paper or save it to a growing list on my computer.  I have not signed up for one of the many “Quote of the Day” e-mails because I’m afraid that I would want to save them all.  So for now I will just keep an eye out for things that stand out and have some personal meaning to me and save them.  Today I’d like to share them with you because I know there are a lot of people going through things in their lives and maybe one of these will help you or a friend or family member who needs some words of wisdom!

Life is 10% what happens to you, and 90% how you respond to it.

A cheerful heart is good medicine. Prov 17:22a

An expert is someone who knows more and more about less and less, until eventually he knows everything about nothing”

Success is not something you obtain, it’s something you attract by the person you become.

The major difference between a dog and a man is that if you take in a starving dog, feed him and make him prosperous, he will not bite you.~Mark Twain

Many people approach risk as if it is the enemy when it is really good fortune’s accomplice. ~Sting

Never blame circumstances for your lack of results. Instead, accept responsibility and commit to the necessary actions to produce the intended results.

If you truly expect to realize your dreams, abandon the need to be liked by all.  Conforming to everyone else’s expectations sacrifices your uniqueness and, therefore, your excellence.

Insanity is doing the same exact thing over and over and expecting different results. ~Albert Einstein

Have Faith, Uphold Your Standards, and Patiently Wait.

The day you can be grateful for every single trifle in your life,

For the moving train, for the water that runs down a tap when you open it, For the light that comes on when you press a switch, for clean sheets on your bed…your heart will be filled with deep contentment and with almost continuous joy. The secret of being always joyful is to be always grateful. ~Anthony De Mello

Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted…

You can get everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want. ~Zig Ziglar

As long as we have hope, we have direction, the energy to move and the map to move by, we have a hundred alternatives, a thousand paths, and an infinity of dreams. Author Unknown

The greatest talent in the world is not using 2 words to say what can be said in one ~Thomas Jefferson

FEAR = False Evidence Appearing Real

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. ~Mark Twain

I’d rather be hated for who I am then loved for who I’m not

Success is not the key to happiness….Happiness is the key to success.

I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no ‘brief candle’ to me; it is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible. ~George Bernard Shaw.

All that we are is the result of what we have thought.  What we think we become ~Buddha

Insults should be written in sand, compliments should be carved in stone ~Arabic proverb

The two things that matter the most to me:  emotional resonance and rocket launchers. ~Joss Whedon

Don’t cry because it’s over.  Smile because it happened. ~Ted Geisel (Dr. Seuss)

When you talk, you repeat what you already know; when you listen, you often learn something. ~Jared Sparks

Courage is the power to let go of the familiar. ~Raymond Lindquist

Differences were meant by God not to divide but to enrich. ~J.H. Oldham

I would sooner live in a cottage and wonder at everything than live in a castle and wonder at nothing. ~Joan Winmill Brown

Love and respect are the most important aspects of parenting, and of all relationships. ~Jodie Foster

Minds are like parachutes; they only function when open. ~Thomas Dewar

Everywhere is walking distance if you have time. ~Steven Wright

There’s something in a simple hug that always warms the heart; it welcomes us back home and makes it easier to part. ~ Jill Wolf

One of the secrets of life is to make stepping stones out of stumbling blocks. ~Jack Penn

Wisdom is knowing what to do next; virtue is doing it. ~David Starr Jordan

Friends are those rare people who ask how we are and then wait to hear an answer. ~Ed Cunningham

Knowledge of what is possible is the beginning of happiness. ~George Santayana

If you are going through hell, keep going. ~ Winston Churchill

If you don’t go after what you want, you’ll never have it. If you don’t ask, the answer is always no. If you don’t step forward, you’re always in the same place. ~ Nora Roberts

Obstacles are things people see when they lose sight of their goals. (Sean Selders)

Choice NOT chance determines your destiny.

If you don’t determine your destiny someone else will.

When you put faith, hope and love together, you can raise positive kids in a negative world. ~ Zig Ziglar

Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor. ~Truman Capote

There is no failure, only delays on the road to success

As Mark Twain once said, Grief can take care of itself, but to get the full value of a joy you must have somebody to divide it with.

There is no patent. Could you patent the sun? ~Jonas Salk

A little philosophy inclineth man’s mind to atheism, but depth in philosophy bringeth men’s minds about to religion. ~Francis Bacon

If you ask anyone on the street if they like music, they’ll tell you, “Oh, I can’t live without music.” But if you look at their record collections…it’s crap. ~Elisabeth Esselink

My grandmother always told me; beauty fades, but dumb is forever! ~Judge Judith Scheindlin

Sir don’t pee on my leg and tell me it’s raining. ~Judge Judith Scheindlin

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results ~Albert Einstein

Don’t compromise yourself. You’re all you’ve got. ~Janis Joplin

Work out your own salvation. Do not depend on others. ~Buddha

Make somebody happy today. Mind your own business. ~Ann Landers

It’s all right letting yourself go as long as you can let yourself back. ~Mick Jagger

I’ve developed a new philosophy – I only dread one day at a time. ~Charlie Brown

What makes it possible for people who might seem ordinary to achieve great things? The answer is passion. Passion makes the impossible possible!” unknown author

For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone. (from Lydia Tant)

The irony of life is that, by the time You’re old enough to know your way Around, you’re not going anywhere. (from Lana Brewer)

Remember, people will judge you by your actions, not your intentions.

History will be kind to me, for i intend to write it  ~Winston Churchill

What would you do with your life if you knew you could not fail

If all else fails,stop using all else

Do yourself a favor and make someone feel better about themselves

With everything you’ve been through in your life, You didn’t get to where you’re at because you fell down. But because you got up

Sometimes I lay under the moon and thank God I’m breathing then I pray don’t take me soon cause I’m here for a reason…

Courage does not always roar. Sometimes it is a quiet voice at the end of the day, saying…”I will try again tomorrow.” ~Mary Anne Radmacher

The best and most beautiful things cannot be seen or touched – they must be felt with the heart. ~Helen Keller

Those who do not read good books have no advantage over those who cannot read them. ~Mark Twain

…So have a heart

and save my soul.

Better yet, just let me go.

But if you keep me

take me while I lie sleeping… ~”Gardens of Ice”, Scott Faerchild

The reason people find it so hard to be happy is that they always see the past better than it was, the present worse than it is, and the future less resolved than it will be ~Marcel Pagnol

Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense. ~Buddha

A group becomes a team when each member is sure enough of himself and his contribution to praise the skills of the others. ~Norman Shidle

You don’t really understand human nature unless you know why a child on a merry-go-round will wave at his parents every time around – and why his parents will always wave back. ~William D. Tammeus

I love people who make me laugh. I honestly think it’s the thing I like most, to laugh. It cures a multitude of ills. It’s probably the most important thing in a person. ~Audrey Hepburn

There is so much good in the worst of us,

And so much bad in the best of us,

That it hardly becomes any of us

To talk about the rest of us.

We have no right to ask when sorrow comes, “Why did this happen to me?” unless we ask the same question for every moment of happiness that comes our way. ~Author Unknown

There should be one of those warning stickers in our date books, like the one on the passenger’s side-view mirror: Warning: Dates in calender are closer than they may appear. ~Elizabeth Lesser

I’m selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best. ~Marilyn Monroe

I found my “inner child” – but put that brat up for adoption!

Confidence comes not from always being right but from not fearing to be wrong.  ~Peter T. Mcintyre

All our dreams can come true – if you have the courage to pursue them. ~Walt Disney

Today is just a good day in disguise. ~Paul Venghaus

Everyone is better looking when they are smiling ~Joe Harsel

Smile when it hurts most. ~unknown

Who, being loved, is poor? ~Oscar Wilde

We cannot direct the wind but we can adjust the sails. ~Dolly Parton

Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does. ~William James

Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right. ~Henry Ford

Every artist was first an amateur. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. ~Wayne Gretzky

Someone’s opinion of you does not have to become your reality. ~Les Brown

A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out. ~Walter Winchell

Believe you can and you’re halfway there. ~Theodore Roosevelt

I think the girl who is able to earn her own living and pay her own way should be as happy as anybody on earth. The sense of independence and security is very sweet. ~ Susan B. Anthony

The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe. ~Gustave Flaubert

Easy reading is damn hard writing. ~Nathaniel Hawthorne

The scariest moment is always just before you start. ~Stephen King

Entrepreneurship is the pursuit of opportunity without regard to resources currently controlled. – inc magazine

The best way to become acquainted with a subject is to write a book about it. ~Benjamin Disraeli

And this is a sign I saw recently on Facebook that really struck a nerve with me.  At 42 I’ve found it easy to be judgemental when considering dating people.  I’ve become set in my ways and I feel that I’ve “earned” the right to seek out perfection in whomever I finally settle down with (if it is meant to be).  That said – I know that I have a lot of things I expect this person to accept from me – the good, the bad, and the very ugly!  So I found this inspirational.  As I am seeking someone to accept these things from me, I too, should accept them from someone else and offer to help them “unpack.”