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The Way of the Fearless Writer is now out in the US/Canada! (includes an exclusive bonus Q&A)

The Way of the Fearless Writer is now out in the US and Canada and it might just change your writing life…

As it says on the back…

Join author and Japanologist Beth Kempton on a sacred journey to uncover the secrets of fearless writing which have lain buried in Eastern philosophy for two thousand years.

In a radical departure from standard advice and widely-held assumptions about the effort and suffering required for creative success, The Way of the Fearless Writer will show you there is another way to thrive – a path of trust, ease, freedom and joy.

Learn how to free your mind so your body can create, transform your relationship with fear, dissolve self-doubt, shift writer’s block, access your true voice and bravely share your words with the world.

This profound book reveals the deep connections between mind, body, spirit, breath and words. Offering a rare insight into the writing life and a host of fresh and original exercises, it will open your eyes to writing as a direct connection to life itself.

I hope you will read it and love it, and that it inspires many words to flow from deep within. You are a writer and the world needs your medicine.

Beth Xx

PS You can hear me reading a snippet of it here.

Lyrics for The River by Danni Nicholls & Beth Kempton

By popular demand, here are the lyrics for our brand new song THE RIVER, out now! (Spotify / iTunes / Youtube). All credits below. Hope you love it and add it to your Instagram reels! (To find out more about how this came about read this post)

The River by Danni Nicholls and Beth Kempton, sung by Danni Nicholls (Spotify / iTunes / Youtube)

Just when I think I’m doing okay
It starts raining
Just when I think I’m finally on my way
The way starts changing.
I’m on a quest to find
The reason and rhyme
Life’s a mystery
How d’ya do it right?

There’s a river running through you
And it’ll flow ‘til the end of time
You’ve gotta trust in
The way it’s going
Let the river lead you home.

I spend my time worrying that
Time’s running out
My greatest fear is having regrets
So I’m frozen in doubt
I’m on a quest to find
A way out of my mind.
Life’s a mystery
How d’ya do it right?

There’s a river running through you
And it’ll flow ‘til the end of time
You’ve gotta trust in
The way it’s going
Let the river lead you home.

Every moment’s a chance to change your world

Every moment’s a chance to change…
Change your world

There’s a river running through you
And it’ll flow ‘til the end of time
You’ve gotta trust in
The way it’s going
Let the river lead you home.

You’ve gotta trust in…
Let the river lead you home.

(Spotify / iTunes / Youtube)

I did the thing I thought I couldn’t do, and here’s how it turned out… ❤️ (Hint: It involves songwriting!)

I can’t quite believe this day is here. I did the thing I thought I couldn’t do, and ‘The River’ – the song that I co-wrote with awardwinning singer-songwriter Danni Nicholls – is out in the world today! (Listen now on iTunes / Spotify / Youtube etc). Read on if you want to find out what this extraordinary experience felt like.

‘So what do you want to write a song about?’ Danni’s face beamed out of my laptop. ‘I’m not sure really. Life. Time. The detail and the vastness. The not knowing. The wanting to know. The not needing to know.’ Danni Nicholls is a professional singer–songwriter who generously agreed to co-write a song with me, as a fearless writing test. When I began to think about this book, I pondered what would be the most challenging writing experience I could imagine, and that was it. I love music, but I am not musical, so songwriting seemed out of reach, and co- writing sounded even harder, because it would involve spilling unpolished liquid words onto the ground in front of another human being.

‘And how do you feel about doing this?’ Danni asked.

‘I’m terrified,’ I answered, before I had the time to check in with myself and see how I was really feeling. When I did that I realised that actually, I wasn’t terrified at all. I was unsure of how it would work out, so I was a little nervous. I felt vulnerable knowing that I would have no room to edit the words that came out of my mouth before Danni caught them and wove them in with her own. But the overriding feeling was actually one of excitement.

During those three hours of co- writing The River with Danni, I had a strange sense that the song was materialising in the space between us, as if our separateness had dissolved at the edges to make room for it. We often talk of writing as a solitary pursuit, but actually, whether our co- creator is a singer–songwriter with Americana vibes or the creative energy of the universe itself, we are never alone in our work.

This reminds me of a commentary on the collaborative Japanese poetry genre, renga, in which alternating verses are linked by successive poets. Writing about this poetry form, Kyoto University professor Tadashi Ogawa said:

The essential basics of renga lie in both self-abandonment and the participation in za, which is ‘the opening place’ belonging neither to one’s self nor to that of the others. In short, what matters most is to abandon the ‘funk hole’ or ‘dugout’ of the self and enter into the ocean of a shared life with others.3

This was exactly what we had to do in order to co- write the song, and what we have to do as individual writers in order to co- create with the energy of the universe.

The River is OUT TODAY! You can listen on iTunes / Spotify / YouTube etc. If you like it, please share it with your friends!

And if you want to write the things you thought you could not write, I really encourage you to get a copy of my brand new book The Way of the Fearless Writer which is OUT ON THURSDAY! Remember, if you pre-order your copy, you can get FREE access to my brand new writing class Autumn Light which starts on October 17. Just order from any retailer, then fill in this short form. (If you have already done this, thank you! I will be in touch on publication day with details of how to access the class.

Be fearless! The world needs your medicine, my friend.

Beth Xx

PS This was sent out as my personal newsletter. If you’d like to get inspiration into your inbox from time to time, just hop on the list!

How I juggle all the things (hint: I don’t do all the things)

And just like that autumn arrived. Rain, wind, pumpkin spice lattes, poetry in the afternoon… What a gorgeous cosy time of year this is, all the better when you have leftover apple crumble to eat… I hope this finds you well and easing yourself back into your routine if you had a long break over the summer, or no break at all but children off school. Over here there has been so much on and I am making some big decisions about what to drop or postpone so I can get some proper rest. Summer was lovely, but not exactly relaxing this year! Which leads me to the thing I wanted to talk about today. The fact that just because we could, it doesn’t mean we should…
Of all the things I get asked, one of the most common questions is about how I manage to juggle family, writing, business and ‘all the things’. Here are a couple of thoughts:​​​​​​​​
(1) I don’t do all the things. I prioritise, and check in, and reprioritise, over and over again, making sure I keep choosing the things that really matter to me.​​​​​​​​ And sometimes I get knackered, and realise I had stopped prioritising the right things, or not allocated them enough time, and I move things around again.
(2) I have become really good at saying yes… and really good at saying no. See (1) above.​​​​​​​​
(3) I go with the ebb and flow of my energy, particularly in line with the seasons of the year. In my case I am very inward focused in winter which is when I tend to write my books. Spring is about new ideas, summer is outward facing and autumn is a time for releasing new things and preparing for hibernation as winter returns.​​​​​​​​
(4) I ask for help. We have almost no childcare where we live, but Mr K and I work as a team to make space for the things we each want to do and the things we want to do together.​​​​​​​​
(5) I don’t buy into the myth that creativity only happens in chaos. Creativity IS chaos, but in my experience it flourishes within the constraints of a container – an organised working space, a structured schedule (with lots of space in it), a calm and clear mind. ​​​​​​​​
Some food for thought! ​​​​​​​​may your September be organised and calm, so your chaotic creativity can flourish!
Beth Xx​​​​​​​​

PS On Monday we begin the 2022 edition of Make It Happen, a brilliant online course I co-teach with Rachael Taylor and Make It In Design. It guides you through a structured 12-week methodology for bringing any project to life. Last year I created an entire new e-course during the class.
This year I am toying with focusing on the creation of another new e-course or a stationery pitch.
I’ll be doing this alongside the class and you’ll get to witness the behind-the-scenes while working on your own project, which you will have launched before the end of class!

The song line by Jewel that stopped me in my tracks, and had me singing in a field

No longer lend your strength to that which you wish to be free from.

– from Life Uncommon by Jewel

Wow. Read that again my friend.

Hello there,

I hope you are enjoying the full flush of summer. Over here I have been dreaming up things to make with the interesting combination of delicious fruit and vegetables I was gifted from my dad’s allotment over the weekend – any ideas for beetroot and blackberries?

I have also been pondering a song line that I first heard several years ago, but which returned to me with a vengeance this year and has been hitching a ride in my head for a few months now. It is from the song Life Uncommon on Jewel’s album Spirit, and it goes like this:

No longer lend your strength to that which you wish to be free from…

I love this song so much. (Listen to it here). The other day I sang it as loud as I could in an empty field and that felt GOOD, and it made me really think about what that particular line means. It made me reflect on the things which I continue to lend strength to even though I want to be free from them, ask myself why I do that, and make the decision not to keep on doing it. It has been a complete revelation. Music is so powerful, don’t you think?

So here’s a question to ponder as you go about days this week:

What are you lending your strength to that you actually want to be free from? And what might happen if you stopped doing that, and lent your strength to other things? What might those things be?

You never know, you might just have a revelation too.

Have a lovely week!

PS My book giveaways are back on Instagram. Scroll down or go to @bethkempton to find out more!

PPS I am so thrilled that so many of you are going to be joining me for the Summer Writing Sanctuary. I can tell from the messages I have received already that the class is going to have an amazing community of writers of all levels from around the world, and it is going to be such a gorgeous way to quench our creative thirst this summer. If you haven’t registered yet you can sign up for FREE here. It runs online for two weeks from August 15-28. If you are going to be away during that time don’t worry, you can catch up afterwards, but you need to register now because it won’t be available once the course is over. Hope to see you in class!

How to cope with the guilt that comes with doing what you love

A few days ago I got a Direct Message on Instagram from someone asking me an interesting question which is relevant to so many of us, so I thought I’d share my response here in case it is of interest to you, too. The DM said, “I feel like I have wondered into another chapter of my life that I didn’t know was waiting for me. I am trying to make space for myself but all of the space I create by necessity, takes me away from the family I decided to have, the job I wanted etc, so it gives me a huge amount of guilt. A large part of what you do also has to be on your own or in quiet places or with contemplative people. Do you struggle with time being split between your family and partner and the things you perhaps need and enjoy or allow you space? And if so how do you balance that?”

This question is essentially, “Don’t you feel guilty about doing what you love, and if you do, how do you cope with it?” I have a lot of thoughts about this – here are a few of them:

(1) A lot of my quiet time is not separate from my job, it’s necessary for my job – both in terms of my writing and the businesses I run. For me ‘doing what you love’ is a lot about how you spend each day, both in work and outside of work, and the work I choose requires quiet time which I love, hence my choice to do it. In theory I should no more feel guilty for it than anyone should feel guilty for going to work in a more conventional job. No-one ever asks a plumber if they feel guilty going to work, but our societal conditioning somehow makes us think that if we love it, and it’s creative, it can’t be real work which is sad and ridiculous, but also the state of things. Having said that, because it often doesn’t feel like ‘work’ in the way we are conditioned to think about work, the truth is I do feel guilty sometimes, so this is a fantastic question.

(2) I have worked on this parental guilt a lot, and talk about it in my new book The Way of the Fearless Writer because it can be a huge obstacle for getting to the page, and doing anything creative. Here’s the thing: I have come to understand that I am a better everything (mum, wife, friend etc) for having written or spent time with the ideas calling to me. By better I mean more present, patient, and awake to my life. My family knows this and we talk about it. Me doing my thing is good for all of us in many ways, and it might be the same for you. Recognising this can be a game changer in terms of getting the support you need to make time and space, and not feel bad about it.

(3) I make sacrifices. I often choose to spend time with my ideas instead of with friends in real life. Not always, but often. The truth is that these past few years I have put more effort into writing new books than making new friendships. I rarely meet up with people for coffee in the middle of the day because I’d rather be on a long walk in the hills or by the sea figuring out the idea for my next book. This doesn’t mean I think less of friends, I just don’t hang out with them all the time. I am sure this means I miss out on things, but a book (like art, or a new business) is the result of hundreds of tiny decisions to work on it, rather than something else. That’s a personal choice. It has not always been this way, and it might not always be this way, but it’s how I feel at this point in my life, so I’m going with it.

(4) I get up really early most days. Mr K gets up early too. We do our own thing for a couple of hours – me writing, yoga, walking etc and him pilates or running – and our children don’t even notice because they are sleeping. It’s bliss.

(5) Outside of ‘work’ I make room for creative time with a few choices – I don’t iron clothes (sorry Mum). I almost never watch TV (except for Grey’s Anatomy, currently still on season 13, no spoilers please). I batch cook food in winter and eat a lot of salad in summer. I don’t spend much time consuming social media (even when I am active on my own accounts). These simple things free up a lot of time.

(6) I encourage my husband to do stuff he loves too, away from me and the girls. He loves to go on long runs, sometimes to the pub, sometimes paddleboarding etc. He teaches pilates and doesn’t feel guilty about the time spent doing that, which reminds me not to feel guilty about the time I spend doing things I love.

(7) I think I am sending our girls an important message doing what I love, and turning formless ideas into food on the table, not to mention teaching them that quiet time and space matters for our well-being.

(8) There is a season for everything. I often write my books in winter which requires big chunks of time away from others. At other times I am much more available to everyone and it helps us all to know that.

(9) Sometimes it helps to work backwards. What’s your ideal day and how can you reconfigure your life to make that support your work and family as well as your own health and creativity? It’s just possible that in the end everyone will be grateful that you did.

(10) Life is short. You might as well do what you love, not just in the big scheme of things but inside every day. Just sayin’

If you have questions like this about doing what you love I’m always open to them. I love pondering them and might share in a future post so feel free to drop me a DM on Instagram @bethkempton.

Beth Xx

PS This post was originally sent as a newsletter to my community. If you’d like to get love letters and inspiration like this direct into your inbox just hop on the list for free here.

PPS It has been a big week for my Book Proposal Masterclass graduates over here – one graduate is deciding between multiple agents wanting to represent her, Emma S just landed an agent for a book idea I adore, and Ann Garcia’s How to Pay for College was published. We have just opened registration for the next class (February 2023) with an early bird discount of 30% off and an instalment plan, because I know some of you wanted to spread payments over several months. If you want to join me to get your non-fiction book proposal done in February, you can book your spot here.


Love writing? Spare 10 minutes to complete my research questionnaire and you might win a prize worth £500

I need your help! If you love writing, or love the idea of writing, I would be so grateful if you could you please spare 10 minutes for research for my next book. As a token of my gratitude, I am offering a giveaway prize worth over £500, for one person who completes this short research questionnaire.

The book is called ‘The Way of the Fearless Writer: Ancient Eastern wisdom for a flourishing writing life and it will offer a unique approach to writing fearlessly, rooted in ideas from centuries-old Japanese and Chinese philosophy.

I am interested in collecting a broad range of views from people with all kinds of writing experience (or none at all, but a yearning to write), to make sure the book is of benefit to as many people as possible. I would be so grateful if you could spare a few minutes to complete this short questionnaire about writing. Anyone who completes it by midnight UK time on Wednesday 26 January 2022 will be entered into a draw to win the prize.

Thank you for your time!

Beth Xx

Prize (worth over £500)
– Access to the Do What You Love course of your choice (this could be the Book Proposal Masterclass or any other writing or personal development course) to be taken in 2022.
– A beautiful journal and an inspiring book of poetry
– A personalised signed copy of The Way of the Fearless Writer when it is published

Small print

  • This giveaway is open to anyone over the age of 18 based anywhere in the world.
  • To enter you must complete the questionnaire and give your contact details in response to question 1 of the questionnaire by midnight UK time on Wednesday 26 January, 2022.. Your email address will not be used for anything other than to contact you about the giveaway and the book, and will not be passed on to any third parties.
  • The winner will be picked at random and emailed directly. The choice of winner is final and no correspondence will be entered into.
  • There is no cash alternative.

What I learned taking one of the longest train journeys in the world… (Hint: writing can pay for your adventures)

Earlier this summer I spent some time at my parents’ house. They have a large shed in the garden which my dad has turned into a creative den. The walls are covered with old photos of us as children, and while I was perusing them this time I noticed this on the wall. It’s a framed copy of an article I wrote for The Daily Echo back in 1997, my second ever piece of professional writing. (Bless my parents for still having this, encased in a clip frame no less!)

My first was a commission from Wanderlust Magazine, to write about Kyoto where I was living as student at the time. I took the money from that article, and cashed in my return airline ticket, and traded the lot for a one-way train ticket home, from Beijing through Mongolia and Siberia, all the way to Moscow, and from there onwards home to England with an Interrail pass. I think I aged about five years on that trip, after being attacked by bandits, having the train stormed by Russian police, and seeing someone have their foot amputated by the moving train…

When I got back to England I wrote the piece that still hangs on the wall in my parents’ shed. I remember the very last leg on a stopping train to my local train station, so excited to see my family after my year abroad. Looking at the stinky dirty rucksack on my lap, the old lady in the seat opposite asked, “Where have you come from with a bag that size?” “Umm, Beijing.” “Oh really?” she replied. “I thought this train came from Portsmouth…”

As I looked at the fading brown crispy newspaper pages from more than twenty years ago, I saw how it was that trip which made me realise what words can do. Never believe anyone who tells you that you can’t make a living from writing. You just need to be creative, flexible and willing to put the work in.

Have a lovely week,


PS If you want to write a book, don’t miss my Book Proposal Masterclass, which starts on Monday! Last session this year – let’s get that proposal done and done! Use the coupon code NOWISTHETIME to get 15% off when you register HERE. Last few places available! Not sure if it’s right for you? See below for course testimonials from previous students!

Metamorphosis, in front of my eyes.

A month ago the postman knocked at the door. “You’d better open this one soon,” he winked, handing a brown box to our six-year old birthday girl. “Are they dead, mummy?” she asked wide-eyed, carefully lifting the clear pot out of the box and staring at the five motionless hairy caterpillars inside, sprawled across some pale brown gunk. “Erm, I think they are sleeping,” I hoped, quietly wondering whether it was legal to send living things in the post.

A week later those caterpillars had eaten all the gunk at the bottom of the jar, quadrupled in size and crawled up to the underside of the lid, to dangle like a showoff doing one-handed tricks on monkey bars. Over the next couple of days they seemed to grow a cocoon, as if it was their own body thickening up, rather than spinning a web around themselves as I had always imagined. When those chrysalides hardened, we carefully lifted the lid off the pot, creatures still attached, and transferred it to the pop-up net habitat that had arrived with our unusual package. Over the next few days the chrysalides darkened and texturized into charcoal grey beads flecked with gold.

I became obsessed with them, watching for the slightest changes in their outer layer, imagining I could see the imprint of folded wings pushing against the hard casing. One sunny morning we went to the beach for a couple of hours, and piled back into the house all noisy and sandy before someone cried, “Look!” Three butterflies had emerged, and were clinging to the wall of their net home. Their shed skins remained attached to the lid at one end, the other end burst through in that moment of emergence.

They began as caterpillars and emerged as butterflies. I knew it was likely to happen. Of course I did. I had learnt about it in primary school forty years ago. But still I’m not sure I believed it would actually work. It seemed unfathomable. How did the caterpillars know what to do? How was that brown gunk enough to create something so beautiful? Where were their wings hidden? Surely they didn’t just spin them like fairy fabric in a matter of days? And how on earth did three of them emerge within an hour or so of each other, after all that time? (The other two had been disturbed when we moved them to their habitat and had fidgeted for a while. That must have taken some of their energy reserves, and they were the last to emerge a couple of days later)

Perhaps what amazed me the most was the realization that the caterpillar doesn’t actually turn into the butterfly, changing its whole body and so on. Rather it simply grows wings. I don’t think I knew that before, but having studied them so closely before they became chrysalides, I recognized their caterpillar faces as butterflies. Close up they were the essentially the same. From a distance they were completely new. When we released them, they instinctively knew what to do.

Their period of retreat had been an intense period of growth, away from the world, still and silent yet intensely fertile as they spun potential from their own bodies. What emerged was not another creature, but the same one, changed. The same face, but with the courage and confidence that wings can bring – wings they didn’t have to think to grow, but rather wings that grew on them, when they surrendered to the process, and trusted. Metamorphosis, just like that.

I am sending this to you from a short writing retreat where I too am surrendering to the process. It isn’t easy, or comfortable, but my winged friends reminded me that I don’t have to work so hard at it. Instead I just need to get quiet and wait. Then I’ll know what to write, or I perhaps will be written.

Have a good week friends,
Beth Xx

PS Did you know I have a brand new course starting on Monday? It’s called Excavate Your Life: writing towards clarity and direction. This extraordinarily rich five week life-exploration/personal development/writing course is a unique opportunity to discover what you really want from life. And as a special treat to celebrate its launch you can get 30% off with the code DIGDEEP if you register here by Monday.

(Butterfly images: Holly Bobbins Photography. Lotus image: Unsplash/Zoltan Tasi)

Excavate Your Life (brand new personal development + writing course!)

For months now I have been working on a brand new course which combines personal development and writing, as a way to navigate life. Excavate Your Life is a rich online course which offers a unique opportunity to explore what you really want from life, while honing your writing skills. Join me, bestselling self-help author Beth Kempton as I guide you on a wild and beautiful journey towards clarity and direction. Each weekday for five weeks you will get a juicy lesson (audio, video, journaling worksheet and writing challenge) to help you go deep and stretch your writing. By the end of the course, the alchemical nature of it all will ensure you have a stronger sense of what really matters to you, and a clearer idea of where to focus your time, energy and attention. Not to mention having much more confidence in your writing after all that practice…

This is a very special hybrid writing and personal growth course which I have designed to help you find clarity and direction, both in your writing and in your life. I have spent more than a decade helping people to navigate change and reconfigure their lives to do what they love. I have also written a series of self-help books, all connected by a thread of making the most of this precious life.

It’s so easy in the rush of the modern world to go through the motions of each day without stopping to think what it’s all about, whether we are actually awake to our experience, and how we want to make the most of whatever is left, without knowing how long that will be. Personally I find journaling and writing incredibly powerful tools to help me tune in to the world, to my life, to other people, and to myself. I have brought all of this together in this course, with the aim that by the end of it you will be inspired, motivated and ready for whatever might be next.

To celebrate the launch of this brand new course you are invited to join with a 30% discount – just use the coupon code DIGDEEP when you register here by Monday August 23 (when class begins). Sign up now and start excavating your life. You never know what goodness you might find.

Beth Xx

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Who’s it for?

This is for you if any of the following are true:

  • You want to make a major change in life
  • You are wondering ‘What should I do with my life?’
  • You need help figuring out what you really want
  • You want to shake things up and get out of a rut
  • You want to mine your life for its most valuable lessons
  • You are looking for a sense of meaning and purpose OR
  • You want to write a memoir or a book that explores the human experience

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What’s included?

The course has been designed as a five-week intensive class, and includes:

  • Daily Spark audios to get your creative juices flowing
  • Daily video lessons, each guiding you to excavate your life from a different perspective
  • Daily journaling worksheets to guide you gently through the excavation process, seeking out clues and patterns to help you envision what kind of life you want to create
  • Daily writing challenges to push you out of your writing comfort zone and explore what you are really capable of
  • PLUS Along the way I include a host of insights into my experience helping thousands of people to navigate change, and writing five self-help books

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About your tutor

Beth Kempton has spent the last decade helping tens of thousands of people find creative ways to live well doing what they love, through powerful online courses and workshops as founder of Do What You Love. Beth writes self-help books which have been translated into 24 languages.

Her bestselling book ‘Wabi Sabi: Japanese wisdom for a perfectly imperfect lifehas been recommended by TIME Magazine, British Vogue, The Telegraph, and Psychologies Magazine, described as ‘a truly transformational read’ by Sunday Times Style. She is also the author of Freedom Seeker: Live more. Worry less. Do what you love., Calm Christmas and a Happy New Year and most recently, We Are in This Together: Finding hope and opportunity in the depths of adversity’ (Piatkus) which she wrote in sixteen days in the middle of the COVID-19 crisis. Mother of two adorable girls, she lives a slow-ish life in Devon, UK.

Important note

Please be aware that this is not a replacement for clinical therapy. Please seek professional clinical advice if you need it. Please also note that this class does not include specific advice on writing technique or any feedback on individual writing samples. It is a self-paced course so there is no direct interaction with Beth. It is also designed as a very personal experience so there is no private community with this course.

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Do I have to be online at a certain time to join in?

The classroom will open on August 23, 2021, and content will be released from that date. You do not have to log on at a certain time – you can follow the course at whatever pace suits you. You will have classroom access until January 31 2023 and most of the content is downloadable anyway.

Can I join if I live outside of the UK?

Yes you can join from anywhere.

Any other questions?

Drop the team a line at [email protected] and we’ll be happy to help.