Moved to a new blog site!

I really appreciate all the encouraging comments and so forth from you all and the fact that you’re checking out my blog. So much so that I created a new blog site that is more customizable for me and has more features.

The one thing I can’t do is “automagically” move everyone that is following me over to the new site. So, I would really appreciate if you all would check out the new site at:

http://thethirdthoughts.com/”

Please subscribe by email if you’re interested by using the “Subscribe to Blog via Email” box in the right column. This current site will no longer be updated.

I would love for you to continue this journey with me!

Trey

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2 Foods to Avoid

First let me say that I HATE to waste food. It even makes me feel guilty due to people who don’t have food in this world. So, even when something is not very good, I usually eat it anyway.

Well, I have eaten 2 products in the last 2 days that I must strongly suggest that you avoid. I would think you’d only be trying these if you were on a Vegan diet or doing something like the Daniel Fast. If you can eat anything and you try these things, I would question your sanity. 🙂

The first product to avoid is the Food For Life’s “Wheat & Gluten Free Brown Rice Tortillas.” I just wanted a simple snack of tortilla, natural peanut butter, and a little honey. I do this all the time on bread when not on a fast. I was pretty hungry so I made two. I first noticed that the tortillas were shiny like plastic and broke when folded like a wrap. So I had honey and peanut butter spilling out all over the place. But the big problem began when I took a bite. Yuck! The texture was tough and it kind of tasted like wood. Not like nuts, grains, or brown rice. Wood. Due to my hate for wasting food, I proceeded to chew down a few more bites. And I mean CHEW. It takes a while to eat a bite of this tortilla with natural peanut butter. I think it would take me an hour to finish one. I got half way through and finally came to my senses and threw them away, package and all. Plus the tortillas are huge so it took the rest of the jar of peanut butter. What a waste of peanut butter. Avoid!

The second product to avoid is Lightlife’s “Smart Dogs.” There’s nothing smart about them except they are smart in tricking people to buy these. I have a good friend that never says a negative word about anything. Seriously. He had the luck of getting the first “dumb” dog and took a bite plain wanting to see what it taste like. The look on his face was as if he threw down the “stupid” dog immediately and cussed it out. That’s what it said to me even though he never said a negative word about it. These “ignorant” dogs  are skin tone color and they are pretty soft and limp. Not appetizing at all. They came from a mold so one of the corners is actually sharp, not round. While grilling, the skin actually bubbles up all around and that’s what turns dark brownish or black after a little while. I took my first bite plain as well. It was a dry crispy, crunchy bite with nothing inside. The spongy inside had shrunk away from the ends. Quite strange and nasty. I was starving though and proceeded to add a ton of sauerkraut, mustard and jalapeños on it and forced it down. I was still hungry so do you know what I did? I got another tortilla (whole wheat, not brown rice) and put a ton of sauerkraut, mustard and jalapeños on it. With no “dunce” dog. Avoid!

Be a “smart dog” and avoid these two foods.

Trey

Guidelines for Male Friendship Conversations

I have subscribed to Pete Wilson’s “Without Wax” blog here (yes, it’s a strange name). He’s the pastor of Cross Point Church in Nashville, TN. It’s pretty good so far but I ran across this post that I wanted to share. I like it.
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Friendships That Matter

I recently read an article by John Ortberg entitled, “Higher Stakes Friendships.” He talked about these so called “five rules of friendship” this group of guys used as guidelines for their conversations. The “five rules” were…

1. We can ask anything, no holds barred.
2. If you answer, you must tell the truth, as much as you know it.
3. If you don’t answer, you must say why you won’t or can’t answer.
4. Everything that is said to each other will be held in absolute confidence.
5. We will make absolutely no judgments of each other.

I like these “five rules.” The only thing I might add is to number 5. While we won’t make any judgments of each other we will speak truth into one another’s lives.

You know, I’m humbled and thankful to be able to say that I actually have a handful of people in my life that I can and do have these kind of conversations with.

Having someone you can call at 3am….matters.

Having someone that can look you in the eye and tell you you’ve absolutely lost your flippin’ mind…matters.

Having someone who’s there on your way up and they’re just as close on the way down…matters.

So my encouragement to you is don’t settle for anything less than deep relationships that…matter.

Something different this way comes

(Pardon the length, just felt the need to share)

Some that follow this blog know my current life situation but most probably don’t. I wanted to write a little about it so that all will “be in the know.” It’s a long, winding tale but I’ll eventually get to the bottom line in relation to what’s going on right now.

I work in the Information Technology arena. I have basically worked for the same company for over 18 years. ALLTEL was my former employer. They were bought out by a private equity firm that then sold the ALLTEL assets to Verizon Wireless in 2010. For the last 2 years I have been on a divestiture transition type team knowing that my job would eventually come to an end as all systems were transitioned over to Verizon or shut down. That happened for me at the beginning of February, 2012.

The last two years have really been very gloomy due to knowing the writing on the wall and really not having much to do. It’s not a very fulfilling position to be in. I was a slave to the money since they paid so well and had great benefits plus we are in a tough economy and decent I.T. jobs are hard to come by, especially when you live in a state like Arkansas. So, it became more and more depressing as the months went by.

When this 2 year period started, my family was not in church. My wife and I grew up in the same church since the 70’s and even started dating on a youth ski trip in January of ’86. She was 15 and I was 17. Over the years we drifted away from church and were just turned off by it for some reason. I blamed the church and certain people there but over time I’ve realized that it was my own fault due to a lack of a personal relationship with God. And I mean this. We grew up in a wonderful, God-fearing church with wonderful people. I was to blame for how I perceived it. But it took a while to get to that recognition. God then stepped up His pursuit of us.

In the late summer or early fall of 2010, my wife was asked by a work colleague to visit her church (she is the pastor’s wife no less and I love her greatly now). I was a little hesitant at first, of course, but after reading the pastor’s bio on their website, I was amazed at some of the things he listed as hobbies, likes, etc. as being very similar to mine. This was completely different from what I grew up knowing with a couple of pastors that were very formal, non-approachable (at least in my opinion), and so forth. Based on what Laura was telling me, this pastor was completely different. He was real. Another thing that was different was that this church was a lot smaller, with less amenities than we were used to (shallow, I know now). Our church growing up was one of the biggest around.

With that said, we still decided to visit because God seemed to be pushing us to go back to church, especially with a 13-year-old son and 12-year-old daughter. My kids were against it because they had friends at the other church. We visited anyway. The first time was alright, nothing out of the ordinary except that the main church service was a little less formal, starchy, and it was more laid back. And the preacher was the same way with humor thrown in. I kind of liked that.

We were asked to attend a 101 class that taught us about the church history, what they believed, their structure and a few other things. The pastor taught it. This was another opportunity to get to see his personality and get to know him better. For some reason, he and I seemed to hit it off right away. Wow. This was new territory for me. I better be on my best behavior.  Ha. His motto is “love people where they are” and it’s the church’s as well. They really demonstrate this in my opinion.

Something I noticed over the next few weeks that turned into a couple of months was that I wasn’t nervous about going to church and feeling awkward, concerned about how I’m dressed, what I’m gonna say during “small talk,” being judged, and probably a few other insecurities. I felt more and more comfortable every time I stepped through the doorways. Could this be? Is this the type of church I’ve been desiring all along but had no idea it existed? Or is God really working on me and changing my desires? I now believe it was both. I feel at home at my new church. I praise the LORD for that!

He has been doing big things in me during the last year and a half in His church. I had mentioned that I was interested in helping elderly folks that are not really computer literate. I wanted to help them configure, set up, resolve, fix all things that they were too technologically challenged to do. The very nice lady on staff that is responsible for all the different ministries involved with the church said that she’d let everyone know about this for me. I thought, “Cool, they’ll be beating my door down and it will give me something to do instead of being bored and depressed at work all the time.”

Well, I basically heard “crickets.” After about 8-10 or so months, no one had taken me up on my offer to help. I was disappointed needless to say. But, I wasn’t really discouraged. We just kept going to Bible study class and church (and joined a community group) every week. It has gotten to the point that if the doors are open, I want to be there. If you knew me growing up or even up to 1.5 years ago, this it totally a GOD thing. He has completely made my heart towards the church do a 180 degree turn (mainly towards Him, that’s the key). He has really blessed me with that. Over time, my kids have even seemed to feel that same way. There is no, “Dad, can we just sleep in? I don’t want to go today.” They are disappointed if they miss. That’s an even greater blessing to me. Awesome.

I think God wanted me to take my time, get to know folks, learn some patience and He wanted to work on my heart more. Then, I had my first call. A wonderful lady asked me to help her with her computer. I couldn’t believe it. “Of course I will!” God must have been working through me because I seemed to make a good impression. It helped that He gave me the knowledge to actually do some good on the computer, that’s for sure. Then another month or so went by. I wondered if that would be it. Then I get another call from another great lady in our church. She was told by the first lady how good a job I did and asked me to help her out. God was willing, and I was able to help her too. Then a short time later, the first lady called me back. And then another lady, then a couple, another lady, a gentleman, etc. Word has seemed to spread like wild-fire. It’s great to be able to help them. I think it’s probably a bigger blessing for me than it is for them. I feel God is using me which makes me feel worth something. That’s a great feeling by the way.

Well, I’m now back to being laid off in February like I previously mentioned. I had semi-joked and semi-seriously told my pastor that when I’m laid off, I’d like to do volunteer work at the church until I found a job, but I’d need my own office to do so (that’s the joke part). Well a few days later on a Wednesday, he told me he has an office for me. I thought he was joking this time. That night while meeting in the church conference room, I saw a piece of paper taped to the door of the little office next to the room (see picture on right). That was awesome and I wasn’t going to wait until he said, “I’m just kidding.” I started coming into church each day like it was my new job. Since then, I’ve been made to feel like I’m one of the staff while helping out here or there with all kinds of I.T. related tasks and even some non-I.T. tasks. Another great blessing for me that has made me feel needed. I’ve actually been so busy doing it that it was seriously cutting into my time to actually look for a “paying” job. So, I’m trying to stick with a Tuesday through Thursday schedule. The other two days are taken up with helping others with their computer issues. Just joking. That’s just some of the time. 😉

Ok, back around to the job (finally). This is the first time in my life that I’m putting this decision in God’s hands. For real. God has been “working” on me hard, over the last 6 months to a year and I’m finally understanding some things and know that I need to follow Him where ever that leads. So with that said, I don’t just need, but I expect an answer from Him about these jobs I’m considering, interviewing for, etc. I expect a peace and desire if it’s His will or questions and concerns if it’s not. I’m not sitting around thinking He’s going to talk directly to me like Moses or something but He can speak to us in different ways (but He could if He wanted). If I stay focused on Him, spend time daily in His Word and prayer, He will “speak” to me about this. And whether I’m getting an I.T. job like I’m used to or He somehow calls me to Indonesia (for example), I hope I’m ready to obey because only He knows what’s best for us in our current lives on earth and to experience ultimate joy, we must follow. I’m not sure what I want to do “when I grow up,” but I’m darn sure God knows what He wants me to do. It’s just a matter of me being patient, seeking Him, and getting an answer.

And finally, God has truly blessed us with a decent financial situation giving me time to wait on Him. But in my “human-ness,” I’d prefer it to be sooner than later. Can you relate?

If you’re the praying sort, please pray that I’ll recognize God’s answer and will have the wisdom, desire, and courage to respond in the affirmative. Thanks a bunch.

In Christ,

Trey

Quick “what I ate yesterday” post

Fruit smoothie with frozen blueberries and strawberries, fresh banana, soy protein, and some soy milk. Good stuff.

I decided to have some of my wife’s favorite: steel cut oats. The problem is, one serving isn’t enough. So, I doubled it. Well, it’s not a 1 to 1 ratio. There is WAY too much water when you double it. Normally it takes 5-6 minutes in the microwave in a medium to large mixing bowl. Well, was taking a lot longer and I finally had to move it to a huge mixing bowl so it wouldn’t spill over. I cooked it at least 12 minutes trying to “cook away” some of the water. Well, I just had soupy oatmeal with some added blueberries and a little maple syrup (like honey, right?). It tasted good, was just too runny. So in the future, the best thing is to just make 2 separate servings if you’re still hungry after the first.

For supper, I took the family to Chipotle Restaurant for dinner. Someone told me they have brown rice even though they don’t advertise this. It was a yummy change up getting a nice vegetarian brown rice bowl with  black beans, pico de gallo, corn, lettuce, onions and peppers, guacamole, and hot salsa.

We’ll see if today’s lunch is any more pleasant. It better be!  Ha.

Trey

Hungry and not Hungry

Yesterday, I definitely had a “hunger” for God’s Word and His message to me. I spent a lot of time reading and also had our Perspectives class last night that was a 3 hour fire hose of great things God wanted to say through John Zumwalt. He has written a really good book called, “Passion for the Heart of God.” Check it out.

Regarding the fast, I was not real hungry yesterday and didn’t feel tired. Maybe the “Energy Breakfast Wrap” IS full of energy.  Ha. For lunch I just had some Daniel-Fast friendly pita chips and humus. For dinner I had a bowl of pinto beans and hot sauce. When I got home from the class, I had a banana. All was good.

Trey

Woo Hoo and Yikes!

The Lord just blessed us to the tune of around $800! Thank you God!

Recently I’ve had a problem with my truck, part of our home A/C went out, and our hot water tank was leaking. Or so we thought! The plumber just came out to replace the water tank and when we went under the house, the water that was under the tank was dried up and gone. Wow. There must have been some seepage from ground water or something. I’d much rather pay for a $90 visit from the plumber than the $850 it was going to cost to get the tank. Woo hoo!

On a side note, when looking at the water meter up by the street, there was a baby snake under the manhole cover. Yikes! The plumber said it was a Copperhead or Cottonmouth (I’m not sure though). It was mostly a solid lightish gray in color. He then hit it with the edge of a shovel.It still went underground. Hopefully it won’t survive the blow. Now I’ll be extra cautious when turning on the water to my sprinkler system.

Trey

Never had berries and peanut butter before

This morning I had the “Breakfast Energy Wrap” listed on our church’s blog here. It was better than I expected except for one thing. The Ezekiel whole wheat tortilla I used really didn’t go well with it and it’s not very flexible. Actually, I wouldn’t recommend that brand of tortillas for anything. Not very good.

But with that said, the inside ingredients were very good. I didn’t have any nuts for it but the wrap was “nutty” enough. It’s the first time I’ve tried Agave Syrup and it is surprisingly good. I don’t know if it’s due to my lack of sugar intake or if it’s just good. I recommend it as well as the wrap (with a good natural, whole wheat tortilla though).

Trey

Hmm, what did I eat today?

Today started off with a bowl of whole wheat bran type cereal with unsweetened soy milk.

We had a treat for lunch. My parents wanted us to go to lunch with them and they suggested the Genghis Grill. This was a good idea since you can choose your ingredients. I had a bunch of vegetables and some tofu to go with my brown rice. It was yummy, and a good time with Mom and Dad.

For supper, Laura made a huge pot of pinto beans preparing for this week’s lunches. She also made some brown rice. So, we had beans and rice with some hot sauce. Fortunately I love beans and rice. It’s cheap and healthy.

I’ll probably have a pear or something in a little while and then I’m done. Thank you Lord for the food you’ve provided!

Trey

How do you see a miracle and forget??

I’m reading through Mark and today was chapter 8. It starts off with Jesus feeding a multitude of 4,000 people (Mk 8:1-10). This is the second time that Jesus did this (or at least that we know of). He fed the 5,000 in Mark 6:30-44.

I mention both instances because at the beginning of the second one, the disciples don’t know how they are going to feed the crowd. Really?? I did not understand how they couldn’t remember. I actually stopped reading and wrote a note in my Bible asking “why” they didn’t remember and trust Jesus to feed them. I thanked God for being patient with us during our times of lacking in faith. But what I didn’t remember in reading Mark a long time ago, that there is a third instance of lack of faith or understanding that occurs in Mark 8:14 where they all get into a boat soon after the feeding of the 4,000 and the disciples are concerned with not having but one loaf of bread. Hellloooo! Did you not recall what Jesus just did? Then lo and behold, Jesus goes on to say:

And Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why are you discussing the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Having eyes do you not see, and having ears do you not hear? And do you not remember? When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?” They said to him, “Twelve.” “And the seven for the four thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?” And they said to him, “Seven.” And he said to them, “Do you not yet understand?”
(Mark 8:17-21 ESV)

Exactly what I was thinking! So, I went on wondering why. Why did they not remember or understand? Why does God have this in the Bible for us? I was discussing this with Laura and she made a good point. How many times in our lives has God “provided” something we need and then later down the road when we have another need, we’re worried about how it will be met? That was a great word from her and I can totally relate. That somewhat answered my question of why God has this in the Bible for us.

But, it did not answer my question about these literal men who existed back then, witnessed these things and did not remember or understand. My ESV Study Bible helped me a little here. I had been wondering if God had hardened their hearts or closed their minds on purpose. The commentary pointed me towards this scripture:

I am the LORD your God,
who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.
Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it.
“But my people did not listen to my voice;
Israel would not submit to me.
So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts,
to follow their own counsels.
Oh, that my people would listen to me,
that Israel would walk in my ways!
(Psalm 81:10-13 ESV)

And I also remember this scripture that may not be totally related but may very well be:

Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures,
(Luke 24:45 ESV)

That was at the end of Luke where Jesus says his final words to the disciples. So, apparently their minds were closed to an understanding of the scriptures. I wonder if this also included seeing miracles and not remembering or understanding them. I’m so thankful that we have the actual Word of God and also have the Holy Spirit living within us so that we won’t “always” be so blind to the obvious. Thank you Lord!

Trey

Shout Out…

I’ve got to give a “shout out” to my man Darrell. He stepped in for our pastor who is in Israel right now and delivered a great sermon. He said he was only going to be teaching, not preaching but he was definitely preachin’! I prayed that God would use him as an instrument and He did. Praise the Lord!

Trey

First Mow of the Year!

Louie Watching Jacob Mow in 2011

The yard is mowed for the first time this year! And it was exhausting work….oh, not by me, but by my teenage son Jacob. Isn’t that what teenagers are for?  Ha!

Today has been a very good day. I had a good quiet time. I got to take Jacob to get his hair cut, looks good. I then went with Laura and Sarah and drove around a few neighborhoods we haven’t seen before (including one with a scripture from Proverbs on their neighborhood sign, interesting) before dropping Sarah off at a friend’s to go to a movie, “The Hunger Games.

Then Laura and I drove to a nice older section of town with shops and galleries that we could stroll around and look through. It was a beautiful day! Then we came home and I helped my “mower” get started and we’ve been reading and listening to music the rest of the evening. I’m reading the final chapter in David Platt’s book “Radical.” It has been a very good experience and gives you some actual steps to take in the end (Radical Experiment) that can change your life if you do them. I pray for a change in those of us in our Bible Study class that are reading this book together. That would be awesome and I’d love to see it as it happens.

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The menu for today has been a hodgepodge affair. To start with, I had some whole wheat cereal that had 2 total ingredients: whole wheat and vitamin E as a preservative. Well, it sure takes some getting used to. It’s healthy I guess. 🙂 Then for lunch I had some Bush’s Purple Hull Peas with some cut up, very hot & spicy FrogRanch pickles. I loved mixing them. I usually use hot sauce but those pickles worked great.

In the afternoon we had some hummus snacks and I’m currently heating up a vegan, non-diary black bean and vegetable burrito in the oven. I hope it’s good.

Well, see you in church tomorrow (you know who “you” are).

Trey

“Nibbling on the Busyness”

This post was written late last night but I got so tired, I could hardly read the words and double check them so I went to sleep before posting.

I think Laura and I both woke up on the wrong side of the bed. Let us just say that she and I were a little grumpy this morning.

This morning was a morning of “nibbling on the busyness.” I’m not sure where I heard this analogy, maybe in Perspectives class. But it basically means that I was so into the busyness of all the things I had to do today that when it came down to the important things like my quiet time of praying and reading the Word, I wasn’t as focused like I should have been. I was so “nibbling on all the busyness” that when it came time for the “feast,” I was full. I did manage to get in a quiet time, it just wasn’t as fruitful because I was too distracted. Can anyone relate?

I had a late breakfast of natural, whole wheat cereal and only had some hummus and baked, natural corn chips for lunch. Not a lot but I was ok. I then had to run errands with Jacob, get lunch for him and Sarah and go to the grocery store for Laura and myself. In the mean time, I was to meet our TV guy around the same time as our airconditioner guy at the house. They took our TV but the A/C guy fixed the issue with the air conditioner. Good thing we’ve given up TV for now. I was a good time for getting it fixed (under warranty) since it was bugging me.

For supper time, we had a boca burger tortilla wrap with pickles, mustard and lettuce. They were alright as filler. Nothing real special. I preferred the Morningstar Farms brand with black bean burgers better from the other evening. After dinner, we went to the big health food mecca at Drug Emporium. It has a ton of stuff for less. I can’t believe how long we spent in there and why we’d go anywhere else for these type of products.

We headed home after grabbing a pack of cards at Walgreens. And then we proceeded to teach the kids the wonderful game of Spades. It was fun and they  picked up on it pretty quickly. I continually got bad cards and tried to go Nil with my partner Jacob almost every time. We got whipped by Laura and Sarah. It was fun and the day ended on a great family time. Thank you Lord!

Trey

What happened today…March 22, 2012

Today was a good day. It started with a good quiet time through the end of Deuteronomy and the beginning of Joshua. I also continued my journey through Mark. I love using my new ESV Study Bible while reading through Mark. It takes a lot longer to read a chapter by reading through all the notes and commentary but I’m learning some interesting things.

Mid-morning, we decided to go for a walk across the new pedestrian bridge across the Arkansas river next to the I-430 bridge. It was surprisingly crowded. Many Spring Breakers had similar ideas on such a pretty day. Laura, Sarah, and I went with our dog Louie. Louie is a very social, 80 lb. dog. This sometime poses an issue. He’s so excited to see other people or dogs, he loves to jump up on everyone. Fortunately we have a chest type collar that helps keep this under control, somewhat. He’s still big and strong so there are times he gets up in the air. After a little while walking, he at least got used to all the people and didn’t try to go to them. But whenever a dog came by, he really wanted to play. It was a good walk anyway.

For lunch, I met a good friend of mine at Jason’s Deli. I figured that would be as good a place as any to stay on my fasting diet. So I just got water and ordered the salad bar. It was alright. I’m not real big on “cold” lunches or dinners for some reason. I prefer hot meals. A salad bar is just not my favorite for sure. Regardless, it was a good lunch get together any way.

While we were in Petit Jean the last few days, we came home to a dead refrigerator in our garage. This is our drink and “overflow” fridge. Well, it apparently died and there was water leaking from under it. So I was adding this to our list of things that have gone bad over the last 2 weeks (A/C, water heater, truck, now fridge). Laura and I were cleaning it out after lunch and she had the GREAT idea to check the power socket in the wall away from the fridge to see if the circuit had been reset for some reason. Lo and behold, it was! She pushed it back in and the fridge works. Praise the Lord!

This afternoon, I took our family to see a movie. We saw the Disney film “John Carter.” It was in 3D and ended up being a good time with the kids. Afterwards, we went by Whole Foods to find some baked, natural corn chips that we could use with hummus and guacamole. We found some along with a few other items. My friend Beverly Parker will be glad to know they have “Vegenaise” there that she can try.  🙂

We came home to some Whole Foods hummus and cooked pinto beans (with a lot of hot sauce of course). Now we’re watching a PBS video series I purchased at Sam’s Club called “Walking the Bible.” It’s based on Bruce Feiler’s book where he walks in the places of the first five books of the Bible. It’s very neat to see all these areas as they are today but the show is a little slow and not real exciting. But, it’s still interesting to me (maybe not to the rest of my family though, ha).

That’s all that’s going on today. Hope your day was as good as mine.

Trey

Lunch and Dinner from today

Whole grain spaghetti, tomato and basil sauce, and roasted vegetables - zucchini, tomatoes, broccoli, carrots, onions, and sweet peppers, in case you couldn't tell 🙂





My mother-in-law threw together all she had that would fit Laura and my dietary requirements today at lunch. And it turned out pretty good too! We had brown rice, edamame, sweet potatoes, greens with Srirachi sauce, and navy beans.

Here’s a picture of what I had for dinner: