Eros, Phileo, Agape…We need ‘em All

I have heard this many times- Love cannot be defined it can only be described. True that! Isn’t it amazing that many times when we try to describe love, we tend to feel that the words we use are not exactly adequate? I think it is because the English language is limited in scope/coverage, unlike the Greek Language. For instance, the word “love” in Greek is described as Eros, Phileo, Storge and Agape. I am not sure if there’s more…after all we are talking about the Greek language –  it is extremely rich and robust.

Eros – has been described as the Erotic love, in fact Eros is the root word for the word Erotic. My Pastor says this kind of love is very appealing to the women folk. Lol! Women are said to be very given to romance, adventure, pleasant surprises, flowers, hugs, kisses…and all that mushy stuff. Yeah women are perceived as mushier than men. There is nothing wrong with this kind of love. As a matter of fact, it is an essential element in every relationship, especially every marital relationship. It is important that we are attracted (sexually and otherwise) to our partners. Even if our spouses are unattractive to the whole world, they must be attractive to us – now that’s some Deep Stuff! Lol!

Eros is a love felt particularly within the body (trembling excitement, elation, joy), coloured and underpinned by deep and beautiful procreative urges. C.S. Lewis distinguishes Eros from natural sexual urges and lusts, because Eros is a state of the heart and while it is intimately related to sex, sex can exist, and often does exist, without Eros enlivening it. It leads to children, family, joy and laughter. It is good and right, but it is usually not enough to sustain a relationship long term. Eros is an exulted and beautifully idealistic love, usually between a man and woman, but can also be “platonic” and extend to deeply intimate friendships.

Phileo – Has been described as the kind of love between friends. Phileo has graduated from feelings to understanding, my Pastor says, men are more amenable to Phileo. A man understands friendship and the Loyalty that friendship demands. For example, if he has a friend that always comes late (like my friend haluol), rather than get overly upset about this bad behaviour, he would just plan around his friend…probably resort to telling him a meeting is 2 hours earlier that it is scheduled – understanding! Rather than get worked up and whine and complain about his friend’s seeming tardiness, he would typically just- in most cases – make alternative arrangements to cater to his friends’ weakness – that right there, is Phileo –  the Buddy kind of love. It’s about the friendship you feel towards people like you, with the same interests, social graces, and style. In the scriptures, this kind of friendship love is used to describe many relationships. In fact, it is used to understand the type of love the older women should advise younger women, to have towards their husbands.

Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love (Phileo) their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. Titus 2: 3 – 5 (NIV)

My Pastor suggests, that if you are friends with your husband and attempt to love the things that he loves, he is more likely to want to spend time with you – because hanging out with you will begin to feel like hanging out with his buddies -Fun! Contrary to what you may be feeling right now, it is not a shallow love, but rich in emotion and feeling, like when your heart beams towards your child when they do something wonderful. However, it is also described as a negative shallow love, natural, exclusive and conditional. Phileo is soul love, and its strength and value will depend on the elevation of the soul of the bearer.

The highest form of love though is AGAPE! O my God! Agape is hard to describe! It is the ability to love someone who is unlovable. Agape is loving even when it is not convenient. It is the sacrificial kind of love.

The Thayer Lexicon describes agape beautifully when it says:

“to take pleasure in the thing, prize it above all other things, be unwilling to abandon it or do without it.”

Some say it is as idealistic as Eros, in that it is a crazy love that will not let go. Agape loves, usually at cost to the bearer. Agape puts the beloved first and sacrifices pride, self-interest and possessions for the sake of that beloved. This, right here, is the love that God has for us which inspired Him to sacrifice His son and for His son to obey and sacrifice himself.

Eros, Phileo & Agape…We need ‘em all…all three of them in our relationships – this Valentine and always – please show some love! Happy Valentine’s day!

PERSPECTIVE

Perspective! A very interesting word.

“Men make more sacrifices in marriage than women” Nite said, without fear of contradiction. Oyok was very quick to respond to that – “You can’t be serious, you must be joking – your mother is upstairs maybe we should ask her – how can you even say that?”

Every time I think about Nite’s argument with Oyok, 2 things come to mind:

The First thing is the danger of making categorical statements, especially when they are not backed by data or statistics. Very easily the statement can be rendered untrue, just by discovering one situation that is different from the assertion. I think in law, this is referred to as Hasty Generalisation. Statements like, all men are Liars; all women love shopping; employers are slave drivers; Fat people are dirty… the list is endless. Many times we fall into the trap of making these assertions, that more often limit us, expose our lack of exposure (no pun intended) or hurt people around us…hmmm.

The second is the fallacy referred to in law as Biased Statistics. This is when the results of an experiment are skewed in a particular direction, because of the predisposition of the persons whose opinions are being sampled. This is particularly dangerous because, people are generally a product of their environment and their experiences. Nite’s statement clearly is either from his personal experience, or his understanding of the concept of sacrifice. Oyok on the other hand, a vibrant, African, independent woman cannot even begin to relate to Nite’s statement as it is extremely different from her experience or orientation.

Every time, I think about the argument that night – trust me, quite an argument it was, lasting late into the night; I remember saying…”what if you’re both right? What if the issue is not the sacrifice made, but what sacrifice means to different people?” – Perspective! To the mother that has to give up her career to be a stay-at-home mum – Staying at home, giving up that career is the ultimate sacrifice. To the father who has to go to work and spend the more productive part of his day in an office, instead of bonding with his child, his family – going to work, time away from his family, is a huge sacrifice.

I think we are called to make different sacrifices, just by virtue of who we are. The key to living peaceably with oneself and with all men, I think, would be, not to esteem one sacrifice higher than the other, simply because, we are unable to adequately measure the cost to that person. I think for example, that a man can almost never begin to appreciate the sacrifice a woman is called to make and vice versa.

What I find most interesting though, is how different our roles as people are and the fact that, father, mother, husband, wife, employer, employee, business person – who/whatever we are, there is grace available to make the sacrifice that our role demands of us. I would suggest that we draw on that grace and focus on playing our role effectively without despising the role/sacrifice of another – what do you think?

WHILE YOU WAIT – HOLY RESTRAINT

Someone very special shared this with me and it was so apt:
Have you ever had the experience of the Holy Spirit preventing you from saying something that would have been extremely hurtful, destructive, or unwise? If you have, you’ll know that there is great wisdom in thinking before you speak, and sometimes in not speaking at all!
As our Father trains us in his wisdom, we will develop godly discipline in this area. We will learn over time when to speak and when not to speak, what to say and what not to say. In short, we will cultivate holy restraint, remembering that it is sometimes better to listen than to speak.
There are those, according to Proverbs 10:8, who do not position themselves to listen to and learn from correction. They do all the talking so no one can get a word in. Such people are unwise. Their lack of restraint will lead to them stumbling into the mess they’ve created.
There are also those, according to verse 14, who exhibit wisdom by not saying everything, even when it’s their turn to speak. They divulge just enough, while the fool blurts everything out. In this, the wise man or woman shows that they have learned the art of holy restraint.
Thus, one of wisdom’s life lessons in this passage is this: be as brief in your speech as Solomon is in his proverbs. If you go on talking, you’ll end up saying something wrong, something you’ll regret. So prove you’re wise by holding your tongue and saying only what needs to be said.
The Holy Spirit is ever present to help us. Ask him to show you how you can become wiser in how you speak. Write your reflections about what you feel he says to you.
So apt indeed!

WHILE YOU WAIT – LISTEN & OBEY

A school mate of mine shared a story with me and I thought “O Wow! This is uncanny because, I was going to blog about obeying the instructions of faith –  or at least that’s what I call them; while waiting for our change to come. Here’s the story:

“Mr Luis, we are sending your children home, they haven’t paid their school fees and we will not allow them to take the exams” Luis began to plead but the principal wouldn’t budge. Just as he dropped the phone another call came in, it was from his landlord, he had been given an ultimatum of one week to pay the house rent or he would be forced out of the apartment. Immediately after his landlord’s call, he received a text message indicating that a business partner he was owing money was on his way to arrest him. Luis began to cry “Jesus I am in trouble, I need you to show up for me, the world is caving in on me, I need Your help”. Just then he heard a voice so clear as though the person was standing next to him and the voice said “dance”. It sounded crazy but Luis was desperate, he would do anything at that moment.

Luis put in a Frank Edwards CD and he began to dance, so much joy and peace filled his heart, he forgot about all his troubles and just danced before God. Suddenly he got a text message, it was a bank alert for N10million Naira. It was the outstanding payment for a contract he did a long time ago. God had impressed it upon his debtor to pay at that instant. Luis could not believe it, he put on his clothes and rushed to his bank to check that he wasn’t dreaming, it was real.

Luis immediately removed his tithe and made three transfers; one to the school, one to the landlord and the last to his business partner. Luis began to scream “Thank You Jesus” in the bank, they all thought he was crazy but he just couldn’t control himself, Jesus had saved him from shame.”

Last week I shared that the first thing to do while waiting for our change to come, is to get intimate with God. The beautiful thing about intimacy is that, in the place of intimacy, God begins to give us instructions on what to do that will bring about our change. I grew up realizing that God is not a magician, He is miracle worker. This means that, God will not drop the change on you, He will work it out through you, in you and with you!

I admit that sometimes, the instructions seem silly or even difficult, like “dance” as illustrated in Luis’ story or “forgive” – especially when in our minds, some things are just unforgivable. However, when you spend time getting to know God, you also learn to trust Him, which in turn gives you the confidence to follow the instructions and like that – your change will come.

It could be anything. I remember God told Abraham in the Bible, to pack up and go to a land that He would show him. At that time, I suspect it did not make any sense to pack up and leave the familiar for the unfamiliar; to leave certainty for uncertainty – but for those of us that know the story, it turned out to be the best decision. God wanted to part the red sea, He asked Moses to stretch out his rod and his hand, God wanted to bring down the walls of Jericho which were so thick that there were roads in the walls, He asked the children of Israel to shout! Jesus wanted to turn water to wine, He asked the servants at the marriage feast to fill a bowl with water and serve it!

These miracles happened because of INSTRUCTIONS, instructions that were obeyed promptly!

People, the sea doesn’t part because a man stretched out a rod – try it at a beach and kindly communicate your findings. Walls don’t crumble because a group of people shouted, water doesn’t turn to wine because you filled a bowl and served it!

While you wait, God could be urging you to “spend the next month learning about courtesy”. Truth be told, I am yet to meet someone who does not think that they are courteous, until they read about it and it’s like a light bulb lit up in their heads. That, right there, may be the secret to the next job, the desired wife/husband, contract, a new house, etc.

While you wait, Get Intimate, Listen for your instructions and Obey.

 

WHILE WE WAIT – GET INTIMATE

Waiting – “O how I hate waiting” I have often heard people say – to be honest, I say it  too. Anytime I travel and I have to have someone pick me up from the airport, I find myself reminding them of how I hate waiting and how it is imperative, extremely important, that they are there just in time. To be fair to me, each time I have to pick someone up, I ensure that I am there on time, it is probably because I know how waiting makes me feel and I definitely don’t want anyone feeling like that.

However, like I indicated last week, there is nothing wrong with waiting. God actually rewards, even for the time we have waited. So what do we do with the “wait time”? How am I supposed to be, or act while I wait for my change to come. Before my dream car comes, do I buy a key holder in faith and in anticipation of the car; while I wait for my new job, should I buy new clothes reflective of the office I am hoping to work in some day; while I am waiting for a suitor, do I start learning how to cook in anticipation of the times when I will be cooking for my home; so many questions that revolve around what to do or what to have before our change comes.

While all these questions/actions may be good, I think the first thing is to do BE! Yup! I once read – not sure I read it, I probably heard it somewhere, but I have never forgotten it – “Work on Being and Not on Having, for with what You Are, You will Have”. It was so profound. I remember meditating on it over and over again. Amazing! Essentially who I am will determine what/who I attract.

Many times we focus on doing – I need to do up the nursery in anticipation of having a baby; I need to buy a house in preparation for marrying a wife, I need  to make this contact, so that I can get this business deal. Many times we opt to follow the instructions of Faith, rather than spend time with the Author of faith. The Bible talks about the fact that, the more time we spend with God, the more we are changed into His image…from glory to glory, by His Spirit.  I say it without fear of contradiction, that I am defined by God, that means that I draw my definition, the essence of my being from who God is, who He says I am. If this is true (and I know it is) It means I NEED to spend time getting to know Him, so that I can know Me. Selah (Pause and think). Then with what I know of Me, I will become the Me He intended for me to Be from the foundations of the earth and with that I will attract what I should have, what He has promised.

This is so profound and if we catch this, if we apprehend this early, it will make the difference between an awe inspiring 31st December 2018 and an ordinary 31st December 2018. We can determine the end from the beginning, we can choose how we want this script to end – while you wait, Get Intimate – get intimate with God, know Him so that you can know You, that You may attract what He has the capacity to attract.

 

WHILE WE WAIT – IT IS OKAY

It is okay to wait.

Today, I thought I was going to write about what to do and how to be while waiting for change to come, but this past week I learnt something new…that it is okay to wait.

I have found that it is quite difficult to be still. I often feel the need to do something. I feel like if we are not moving or taking action, we cannot achieve much. Well that is not all together true. I believe, that there is a time for everything under the sun and that includes a time to move and a time to refrain from moving; a time to wait and a time to act.

There is a possibility that if we move when we are meant to be waiting, we may end up in a bigger mess than when we first began. Taking a step, any step, before the right time, has the capacity to ruin the expected/anticipated change.

Parents often look at their children, and are overwhelmed by the thought of how they would love to give them everything in the world. I am aware however, that even if we could, certain things are not necessary for now – somethings don’t even make sense to do, even if we could. Imagine giving a 2-year-old the keys to a brand new sports car??? Yup, doesn’t make sense. They need to spend TIME waiting before accessing certain things or even making the moves to access them.

I learnt this past week that occasionally TIME really is the difference between right and wrong, proper and improper, appropriate and inappropriate…the list is endless. Time generally is of the essence! I once heard an analogy that spoke to time being everything.

A man and his wife paid a visit to his in-laws and when it was time to go to bed, his parents in-law bade him goodnight as they escorted him and his wife to their room – the same room. He said, before they got married, it would have been unheard of for them to be in the same room over-night, much less in the house of their parents. A major difference between the before (marriage) and the after (marriage) is Time. Before the marriage it would have been perceived as inappropriate for him and his girl (now wife) to spend the night together, but after marriage it would have been absurd to expect them to do otherwise.

I remember in the Book of Job 14:14, Job declaring,

“If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come.” KJV

Not an easy thing to do but, almost always worth it, especially if that’s all you are meant to be doing at the time – Waiting. Do not despise your days of waiting, instead make the best of it, because as strange as this may come across, when your change comes…you are likely to wish, you could borrow a day or two from the days you are so eager to change.

Finally, did you know that God rewards people for waiting. The Bible, in the book of Hebrews 11: 35-36 indicates:

“Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. 36 For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised”. ESV

Also, in Habakkuk 2:3, God says to the writer:

“For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.” NIV

I used to think that God rewarded people for what they did ONLY, but clearly, he also rewards waiting…so He emphasizes the need to remain confident and trust that He’s got you (spoken like Yvy SIL).

Remember that God does not live in Time, He is the Beginning and the Ending of all things – but in His time He makes ALL things beautiful. The time may not seem appropriate according to our timetable, but I have found that when we align with His time table, often we are grateful that we did not get what we wanted when we wanted it.

See you next week – While You wait!

HAPPY NEW YEAR

Happy New Year! I am glad that we all made it to 2018. Is it just me or did 2017 move by really quickly? I think it did. I was looking through my journal entry in 2017, particularly my entry on 1st January 2017….Wow. I started off thanking God for 2016 and the amazing things he did for me and in me. I also thanked him for the people that He placed in my life at specific periods/milestones – it all seemed so scripted, so carefully and thoughtfully planned…He (God) was/is truly amazing!

Of particular interest though, is what I declared concerning my 2017:

“For 2017, we will delight ourselves in the Lord and He will grant us our heart’s desires; We will take the lessons from the past and move on to the house of Jesse and we will not hold on to heart aches, disappointments…cause they lead nowhere. It is a new day, a blank page, we will start with the Lord and finish strong. Ameze welcome to 2017, My year of intimacy and confidence in the Lord, full of pleasant surprises and everyone that sees me will say, “of a truth….You are a living Miracle!”

It was an awesome year indeed and looking back, I think that I delighted myself in the Lord and He fulfilled all my heart desires in line with his WILL for me. I let go of offences really quickly (I think) and I suspect that I finished strong…that was 2017. For 2018 though, my word for the year is that I will be Rewarded in FULL! – With the goodness of the Lord. I don’t know why, but there is some form of trepidation – like a “how can these things be?” type of unease. Thankfully I am reminded that when Mary (the mother of Jesus),  asked the angel that appeared to her, how possible it was for a virgin to conceive a child without knowing a man, the angel told her that – With God nothing shall be impossible. 2018 is a year I perceive in my spirit that, we will do BIG things…and it takes a big God to help one achieve BIG things…so if I have a BIG GOD…why the trepidation, why the unease? Do I believe, like I say I do? Lord, help my unbelief!

GOALS, the distance between them and the achievement of them…BIG THINGS…the distance between conception and actualization…waiting, waiting for actualization…What do you do while you wait? How do you wait until your change comes?

In the next couple of posts, I will be sharing my thoughts on what to do, while you wait, what I did while i waited for different things in my life, what people I know, shared with me about what they did while they waited…I hope as I share them, it will help somebody. This is January a month of Jump-starting plans discussed at various strategy sessions held with people or even oneself; for some a month to strategise… but what do you do when you are waiting for actualization? How do you wait for your change to come?

See you next week & Happy New Year!

MERRY CHRISTMAS

Merry Christmas! I love saying that. I really love saying “merry Christmas”. For some it is reality (Christmas is merry); for some it is a prophesy (doesn’t feel quite like it, but o well we’re hopeful).

It was a busy day, i spent the whole day being merry and trying to bring some merriment to my family and friends. It was a time of laughter, love and shared experiences…it was an amazing time.

In all of this, i am aware that some don’t feel like being merry, trust me i get it. However whatever the excuse for the gloom or doom, i would just like to say…’tis the season to be jolly’.  Do not let anything or anyone stop you from being jolly. My Pastor says, Christmas is and amazing time in God’s calendar; Angels are on assignment – making the impossible possible. I get it though, about this time over 2000 years ago, a virgin conceived a child…how possible is that?..But the Angel told her “with God nothing shall be impossible.

I encourage you to take delivery of your miracle, put your Angels to work, do not use your words to truncate your miracle  – say the right things. Be expectant, Be excited, Be merry…because God says you should and you can.

Just in case, you weren’t merry today, tomorrow is another day; as a matter of fact, you have the whole season to celebrate. Plan to rejoice, plan to rejoice the way you would,when your story changes. Notice that i wrote ‘when’ and not ‘If’. Sure thing – for as surely as night follows day, God’s word will come to pass. God’s word works 100%, 100% of the time.

Rejoice my people…Have yourself a very Merry Christmas!

 

CHRISTMAS – GIVING, LOVE, JESUS; THAT’S ALL NOW?

Some time last week, I was honoured to be a guest writer for the Just Us Girls Naija Blog…and i sincerely appreciate the privilege i was given. Please visit the Blog @justusgirlsnaija ; https://justusgirlsnaija.com/2017/12/12/is-that-all/

I have also taken the liberty to repost (i hope that is what it is called) what i wrote right here @theamazinglifeng.com.

Hope you enjoy reading.

Is it? Is that all?

I had a conversation with my friend about the concept of Christmas, not particularly as the event that changed the course of history, but as a season every year and in her opinion, “Giving, Love, Jesus, that’s all now”. In the statement, I perceived a question…Is that it? Is that really all there is to Christmas? I remember arriving at the Washington Dulles Airport, during the Christmas season last year and hearing airport staff say to me “Happy Holidays”! Is it just that, a holiday? One more day to stay at home and enjoy a semblance of paid leave?

I suspect that many times we get carried away by the craze of the season, such that we fail to capture the essence and the spirit of the season. We are consumed by the smell of Christmas (which, by the way, is really the smell of harmattan, at least in Nigeria); the sales in our favourite shops and the variety of meals we will enjoy as we visit our family, friends and loved ones. On the one hand, this may not be so bad, because it tends to distract from what people typically refer to as December blues – were depression looms, as a result of unaccomplished goals and a general state of dissatisfaction. On the other hand, we lose so much when we fail to catch the essence of the season.

Christmas is Giving – that sacrificial gift of the son of God, a gift that was not without a purpose, but must have hurt so much. The purpose was to redeem man and eventually gain more children, but that didn’t make the decision any easier. To grasp the spirit of the season, would be to give, even when it hurts. Give your time to that sister/brother that’s on the verge of imploding and just needs to let it out. To share your food with that neighbour, even when it is clearly not enough. To give out that favourite outfit, that you have not had a reason to wear. To give your life, all of it, to the one who gave His son of for you.

Christmas is Love, the expression of God’s love. For the love that God had for man, he paid the ultimate price – the sacrifice of life, the life of his son. This he did, to ensure that man would not die, but reign in this life and live the very life of God, here on earth. To capture the spirit of this Love, would be for me, to love like I have never loved this season, to consciously love the unloveable. Love even when it is not convenient…trust me, after watching Passion of the Christ, I am convinced that there is nothing convenient about death on the cross.

Christmas is Jesus, the birth of Jesus, an event that changed for ever, the way God would hence forth relate with man. To capture the essence and the spirit of this event, would be to recognise and to be deliberate about my gratitude to a Hero, my Hero, who chose to save me, in spite of me. To recognise that my life was marked for destruction, but He came and changed my story, and not just mine, but anyone who would accept His love.

Christmas – Giving, Love, Jesus; that’s all now? Yes, it is and in grasping the essence, is so much more!

WITCHES, REALLY?

I grew up hearing tales by moon light (pun intended) about in-laws, especially mothers- in-law and Sisters-in-Law (“SIL”). In fact, stories are often told of how awful these species are – diabolic, inconsiderate, discourteous, the list is endless – some call them monsters, others call them witches.

I however, am a very fortunate person, in fact, I am the most fortunate woman on earth! One of the reasons, (amongst many) why I call myself the most fortunate woman on earth is because of her- “who?” Her – “her who?” My Sister-in-Law – Yvy SIL!

Referred to most fondly by mother as “My asset”, she truly has lived up to her name. Extremely supportive and loyal, our relationship has been every bit the opposite of what many SIL relations are notorious for. I can never forget that night in March 2017…Oh what a night…baby announced to the whole house that she was on her way. That night Yvy SIL, my brother and hubby rushed me to the hospital at about 8pm – the pain was unbearable! Hmmm… Labour…that’s a story for another day. As I was being wheeled into the hospital, tears pouring down my eyes and longing for epidural, like melody in the midst of a storm, I heard Yvy SIL’s voice, ever so gentle – “you will be fine” she said ”You’re almost there”.

After the epidural was administered, I fell asleep. When I woke up, I was informed that Baby will be making her debut on that day and as I was being prepped by a nurse, I could see from the corner of my eye, Hubby, muttering words of prayer under his breadth – funny, I have never asked him what he was saying to God. Then came Yvy SIL, charging through the door of the delivery room “I’m here Sis, I got you”.

Even though the Epidural, had been administered, I still felt the pain that came from the pressure and the exhaustion that came from the act of pushing…but Yvy was right there cheering me on “You can do it, I see her hair, just give it one last push and I assure you, she will be out”. As I heard Baby cry, I heard Yvy SIL’s tear filled voice as she said, “She’s here, Baby is here, you did it Sis, you did it”. We cried together, as Hubby cut the cord and my younger brother, Yvy SIL’s husband, observed from behind the curtain, as he thanked God for the miracle we had all just witnessed.

I am thankful that my sister-in-law experience, especially with Yvy SIL, has been blissful. That night in March 2017, Yvy SIL was my Angel, a God-send, in every way. She is evidence, that God places people in your life and causes them to arise when you need them the most. I am not sure what that day would have been without her – no joke.

I am certain that we can be, as well as, have the best SIL relationships – we just need to pray and try…that’s pretty much the formula – Pray and Try. I believe we have what we say and get what we see. I believe we should rid ourselves of negative mindsets, as they tend to work against us for the most part.

This is dedicated to you Yvy SIL, for being a major part of the most phenomenal day of my life. Thank you & Happy Birthday! Salute!