My review of the excellent “Sharing God’s Big Love with Little Lives” ~ and you can enter to win! (ends 5/31/22)

#sponsor #partner

One of the joys of my life has been teaching little ones in Sunday school, in art enrichment classes, and in our own homeschool. So I was thrilled to have the opportunity to enjoy Jean Thomason’s Sharing God’s Big Love with Little Lives, provided to me by Momentum Influencer Network. What a wonderful experience listening was–and what an awesome resource for equipping parents, grandparents, and those who work with children!

About the audiobook

Jean’s exceptional, loving book is designed to help parents (and grandparents or caregivers) understand how to teach little ones about God and to build a foundation for children’s faith. It’s divided into seven chapters, the titles of which form the acronym “PRAISE!” Each letter stands for a thought or principle which is then expanded throughout its chapter. Here’s what they stand for:

  • P – Placed and Privileged to Parent
  • R – Rare Window of Opportunity
  • A – All-Access Pass to God
  • I – Infancy
  • S – Seven Ways to Practice Praise
  • E – Enthusiastic Enjoyment
  • ! – Imperative with Exclamation Point

Jean Thomason’s book provides an exceptional, Biblically-based toolbox that parents can utilize to love, teach, and extend God’s invitation to their kids to build and create their own faith, even though they are children. She brings years of experience of children’s ministry and her own parenting to create these vital tools, which will encourage and equip moms and dads.

My impressions

Beautiful. Joyful. Insightful. And exactly what a parent is looking for!

Sharing God’s Big Love with Little Lives was just a joy. In the audiobook version, it’s read by its author, Jean Thomason, and both her voice and her years of experience in the field of performing arts make the recording shine. Her joyful voice, and delight in sharing Christ with children, are evident in every word.

I love how each chapter is packed full of Scriptures that will encourage moms (and other caregivers) as they are reminded again and again of the importance of the spiritual formation of the precious children entrusted to their care. I’ve heard many times the quote, “the days are long but the years are short.” That’s a sad one, isn’t it? But while Jean communicates a similar message, hers falls more on the side of “Seize this day! Pour out love on these babies! Teach them about God’s huge love for them, that Jesus died and rose again for them, and God the Holy Spirit will be with them!”

This is a book that (as you can tell in the photo above), as I listened, I found myself scribbling a ton of notes. Again and again I heard Bible verses, insightful words and research, and reminders to me, a mother and teacher myself, of the momentous responsibility of training up my own child in “the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). The nurture (the nourishment, the protection, the embrace) and admonition (counsel, advice, gentle reproof) of the God who loved them so much that He gave His one and only Son for them. And doing these with joy, enthusiasm, exuberance, and love!

I am delighted to recommend Sharing God’s Big Love with Little Lives to everyone who is raising, teaching, or caring for children. Jean’s great care and compassion for children, and teaching them about God, is just what each of us moms (and dads!) needs to receive and share. You will love this book–and meanwhile, you’ll also be equipped, strengthened, sustained, and absolutely blessed to hear (or read) this.

And…some of my favorites!

I can’t let you go without sharing some of my favorite quotes from this fantastic book. Here they are; I believe they’ll give you a lovely taste of what you’ll experience when you read or listen to Sharing God’s Big Love with Little Lives!

  • Jean’s words on Eunice and Lois, the mother and grandmother of Timothy, and how their teachings and example prepared him for eventual faith and leadership (2 Timothy) by creating a firm foundation in his life
  • “…today is my day with my children. There are no unimportant moments. May I know that no other work is so important, no other career so precious, no other task so urgent. May I not defer it or neglect it but by the Spirit accept it gladly, joyously, and by Thy grace…”
  • George Barna said, “…Ministry to children is the single most important work in the kingdom of God. And more to the point: the most significant part of each person’s life is his or her spiritual health. Every dimension of a person’s experience hinges on his or her moral and spiritual condition.”
  • “We are responsible for our children’s spiritual formation–so we must do nothing to hinder them, as Jesus said.”
  • “Make it a point to be happy when you see your children…Let your love and attention show on your face as you greet your children.”

How you can download the first chapter, free of charge!

Jean Thomason has provided the first chapter of Sharing God’s Big Love with Little Lives for you to listen to at absolutely no cost to you. Just visit the Miss Patty Cake website by clicking on the link below, and follow the directions.

First chapter, free for you

More about the author, Jean Thomason

Jean Thomason has more than 30 years of experience as a musical performer, worship leader, author, and conference speaker to parents, grandparents, teachers, and children’s ministers. She is the living embodiment of the joyful children’s musical character, “Miss PattyCake”. Through this brightly costumed character, Jean plants biblical truths, served in fun toddler-size pieces, while helping equip parents to lay a spiritual foundation for their children. Her live “Miss PattyCake” family events are performed throughout  God’s great big world. In her latest book “Sharing God’s BIG LOVE with Little Lives”, Jean shares her insight gleaned from her 20+ years in children’s ministry. Using scripture, humorous anecdotes, and insightful research, Jean equips you with fresh ideas and enthusiastic encouragement to help you guide your little ones as they grow into all that God has created them to be. This book is a fun and powerful resource for parents, grandparents, and caregivers.

Watch Jean’s video about the book here!

Purchase Sharing God’s Big Love with Little Lives here!

You can purchase this lovely book here! Just click on the link below.

Buy here

Enter to win an audiobook of “Sharing God’s Big Love with Little Lives”

One person will win “Sharing God’s Big Love with Little Lives” in audiobook form! To enter, simply click on the pink link below that says “Enter here!” That will take you to a Giveaway Tools entry form, where you’ll be able to enter in a variety of ways. Giveaway closes on 5/31/22. Best wishes!

Enter here!

Enjoy! –Wren

Disclosure: Many thanks to Jean Thomason for providing a sample of the product for this review. Opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.

“Empty Nest, Full Life” – a review

#sponsor #partner

I had the enormous privilege of experiencing Jill Savage’s wisdom for life in her exceptional new book for empty nesters. The Blog About Blogger Network sent me a copy of Empty Nest, Full Life and I’ve loved every moment of reading this book. If you are in, or are preparing for the time of life when your children are grown and have entered their own adult lives, you will want to grab a copy of this book!

About Empty Nest, Full Life

Being the mom of kids who range from the ages of infant to high school graduate tends to create a full, busy life. Eventually, those kids are going to go off to college (or other educational institutions), pursue careers, and move out of the homes they’ve grown up in. Making that transition can feel overwhelming, sad, and without a clear path to follow. How can moms, and dads, step into such a different life with grace, courage, and wisdom, while not trying to hang onto or control their adult children? Empty Nest, Full Life is subtitled “Discovering God’s Best for Your Next,” and that sums up a fantastic perspective outlined in this book for parents as they step into the new chapter of their lives without kids at home.

Author Jill Savage covers a lot of ground in this 277-page softcover book. Suddenly, our full houses can feel very empty. How is our thought life coping with all that empty space in our physical home and our schedules? It’s so important that we are thinking truthfully as we move through this transition. Right away, in the first chapter, Jill offers help for moms in this process, including lies we might believe and truths to replace them, and a questionnaire to help readers assess what we’ve experienced and learned over the years. This powerful chapter assists readers to begin to step into what Jill calls the “encore” years on a solid foundation.

Much of this book deals with relationships. How do we learn to interact with our grown children as they begin their own adult life journeys? Our roles will change, but much of the success of those parent/adult child relationships lies with the parents’ expectations and willingness to release control and authority as their kids are stepping out into their own marriages, careers, and parenting. Jill divides the book into two major sections: “Let Go” and “Hold On.” For us to move successfully into this new segment of our lives, there are habits, thought patterns, and traditions or opinions that, if we choose to lay them aside, will enable us (and our kids!) to move on in a beautiful and healthy way. There may also be idols that we have set up that would try to drag us down. Wouldn’t it be amazing to identify those and kick them out?

Jill’s picture of the lives empty nesters can lead is full of wonder and excitement. We may not feel wonderful nor excited when our kids move out! But we can embrace, or as the author says, “Hold On,” to what God has for us. Just because a particular (and important) season of our lives is past, doesn’t mean that God is finished with us! He may have a new career, or mission field, ahead for us. We may have had a list of things that we’d like to do “someday.” What if “someday” has suddenly become now? This season is also a time where we can pursue new friendships as well as new paths in our marriages, if we are married. And God is still there, desiring to continue or have a rich and loving relationship with us! Truly, there can be many adventures ahead.

My favorite moments in Empty Nest, Full Life

You can see from the banner above, if you look very closely to the right of the book, all the little flags and sticky notes I used to mark important things I wanted to practice or remember. My highlighter pens got quite a workout as well! You see, I’ve been out on this empty nest journey myself for almost an entire school year while our son has been in his college dorm. I’ve personally experienced so many changes myself! From learning to release him so that he can grow in confidence and authority; to keeping my (often very strong) opinions to myself when they won’t really add much to our conversations; to starting out to learn what God has for me in this next season of my life. So I’d say that, while I’ve learned many things over the last 8 months, there is still much for me to learn and walk into, and Jill’s wonderful book has opened my eyes to many things I’d never considered. Here are some of the most memorable quotes for me:

  • “As you adjust your expectations to better match reality or let go of expectations of others completely, you’ll find your contentment will increase, your love will expand, and your relationship with your…kids will be strengthened.” (p. 47)
  • “Galatians 5:22-23 (ESV) tell us we experience “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” The fruits we particularly need as we fight the temptation to share our opinions when they’re not requested are love, patience, kindness, gentleness, and self-control.” (p. 65)
  • “It’s being a safe person to be honest with–one who listens, shows compassion and empathy, and leads with love…It’s not about lecturing or telling them what to do.” (p. 105)
  • “He is a good God with good plans for us. He wants what’s best for us. His plans are hope-filled and yet-to-come. This means we have something to anticipate.” (p.136)
  • “You and I have to steward this body God has given us. Take care of it. Keep it healthy.” (p. 227)

And that’s just a tiny sampling of the richness moms can find as they are preparing for and entering God’s next steps in their journey.

In closing

My life this year, since our son has stepped out on his college adventure, has been quite a learning experience! I have seen God bring so many books to my attention that have helped me to heal, to grow, and to work with Him as He leads our family as a whole and individually. I have to say that Jill Savage’s Empty Nest, Full Life has been an incredible encouragement and instruction manual for me! As a wife and mom of 5 who have grown to adulthood and left her home, Jill has an enormous bounty of wisdom and helps for those on their own similar journey. It has been a wise and beautiful help for me.

I recommend Empty Nest, Full Life to you if you’re on your own empty nest path, or if you’re approaching it. You’ll find Jill to be a wonderful friend and guide to you, with God’s help, as you walk out this new season. Do get yourself a copy!

Where you can find Jill Savage

Jill is active on social media so you can connect with her there!

Jill Savage blog

Facebook: @jillsavage.author

Twitter: @jillsavage

Instagram: @jillsavage.author

Empty Nest, Full Life website

Enjoy! –Wren

DISCLOSURE: From time to time, FINCHNWREN may receive a free product or service, for which we share our honest opinions on our blog. We are not required to write a positive or glowing review, nor are we additionally compensated for these reviews. We share our own opinions, and our family’s opinion, of these products. We’re disclosing this in accordance with FTC regulations.

Kari Kampakis’ LOVE HER WELL – A JustReads Blog Tour (plus giveaway, ending 8/24/19!)

 

 

Welcome to the Blog Tour & Giveaway for Love Her Well by Kari Kampakis, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

 

Love Her WellTitle: Love Her Well

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

Title: Love Her Well
Author: Kari Kampakis
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Release Date:
August 18, 2020
Genre: Christian Living/Parenting

Moms are eager for tips and wisdom to help them build strong relationships with their daughters, and Kari Kampakis’s Love Her Well gives them ten practical ways to do so, not by changing their daughters but by changing their own thoughts, actions, and mind-set.

For many women, having a baby girl is a dream come true. Yet as girls grow up, the narrative of innocence and joy changes to gloom and doom as moms are told, “Just wait until she’s a teenager!” and handed a disheartening script that treats a teenage girl’s final years at home as solely a season to survive.

Author and blogger Kari Kampakis suggests it’s time to change the narrative and mind-set that lead moms to parent teen girls with a spirit of defeat, not strength. By improving the foundation, habits, and dynamics of the relationship, mothers can connect with their teen daughters and earn a voice in their lives that allows moms to offer guidance, love, wisdom, and emotional support.

As a mom of four daughters (three of whom are teenagers), Kari has learned the hard way that as girls grow up, mothers must grow up too. In Love Her Well, Kari shares ten ways that moms can better connect with their daughters in a challenging season, including:

  • choosing their words and timing carefully,
  • listening and empathizing with her teen’s world,
  • seeing the good and loving her for who she is,
  • taking care of themselves and having a support system, and more.

This book isn’t a guide to help mothers “fix” their daughters or make them behave. Rather, it’s about a mom’s journey, doing the heart work and legwork necessary to love a teenager while still being a strong, steady parent. Kari explores how every relationship consists of two imperfect sinners, and teenagers gain more respect for their parents when they admit (and learn from) their mistakes, apologize, listen, give grace, and try to understand their teens’ point of view. Yes, teenagers need rules and consequences, but without a connected relationship, parents may never gain a significant voice in their lives or be a safe place they long to return to.

By admitting her personal failures and prideful mistakes that have hurt her relationships with her teenage daughters, Kari gives mothers hope and reminds them all things are possible through God. By leaning on him, mothers gain the wisdom, guidance, protection, and clarity they need to grow strong relationships with their daughters at every age, especially during the critical teen years.

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Christianbook

 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kari Kampakis

Kari Kubiszyn Kampakis is an author, blogger, and national speaker from Birmingham, Alabama. Her books for teen girls, 10 Ultimate Truths Girls Should Know and Liked: Whose Approval Are You Living For?, have been used widely across the country by teen youth groups and church groups to empower girls through faith.

Kari’s work has been featured on the TODAY Show, TODAY Parents,Yahoo! News, EWTN, Proverbs 31, Ann Voskamp’s blog, The Huffington Post, and other national outlets. She and her husband, Harry, have four daughters and a dog named Lola. Learn more by visiting http://www.karikampakis.com or finding Kari on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter.

CONNECT WITH KARI: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter


TOUR GIVEAWAY

(2) winners will receive a print copy of Love Her Well by Kari Kampakis!

Love Her Well JustRead Giveaway

Be sure to check out each stop on the tour for more chances to win. Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway will begin at midnight August 17, 2020 and last through 11:59 PM EST on August 24, 2020. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE
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Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

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*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

 

 

My review and recommendations for Love Her Well

So, I must admit to y’all. I am not the mom of a teenage girl. I’m the mom of a teen boy. But I am a woman, and once upon a time I was a teenage girl.

However, ever since I learned about Love Her Well I was captivated by both the title and the book’s summary. Which of us, as a teen girl, didn’t long to be loved and loved deeply, whether it was by our family or by a future boyfriend or spouse? I know that we moms (former teen girls) also desire to love our kids well. I felt that reading this book would enable me not only to learn how to love my own teen better but that it might also be a source of understanding for me, as I look back on my own teen years. And, I found that those hopes were realized as I read, with so much more that I hadn’t imagined I’d learn.

Kampakis writes as a beloved coach or mentor who’s been there, who’s ready and willing to help you to take steps to improve your relationship with your daughter (although, as I said, this is information I can apply to my own relationship with my son). She breaks down potential areas of conflict between moms and daughters. She pulls back the curtain and shows us what our teens are really dealing with out in a world that praises them for their beauty and denigrates them for their weight. I know that when I was a teen I felt the pressures society and peers placed on us. But as I compare my own experiences with the ones teens face today, I believe that mine (and my peers’s) are only a fraction of the challenges encountered by this generation.

For example, here is just a short list:

  • Social media
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Loneliness and depression
  • Not enough true downtime
  • Bullying and cyberbullying
  • Sexting, promiscuity, and a hook-up culture

And that is just a partial list. The rest of it is just as heartbreaking. How on earth do we help our teens navigate this?

We can live with our daughters (and yes, our sons too) with empathy. With understanding. We can seek to listen in such a way that we truly HEAR them and what they are saying. We can, as Christians, live differently than the culture; we can help them to know that their value is not just in what society sees, but their actual value as individually created humans with special callings and purposes.

A key job we carry out is moms is to prepare our kiddos to live well in the outside world. They won’t be in our homes forever; and even more, WE won’t be on this planet forever! Our darling teens are entrusted to us for a time. But we’re not the moms of teens to be their best friends. Rather, we’re to be their mentors, coaches, advisors, truth-tellers, and parents. I’m so very aware of this truth because just this past weekend, we took our son to his college dorm! I spent last week (as we prepared and did some final shopping) realizing I hadn’t taught him “everything” I’d intended to. We have short crucial years to pour into our children’s lives and to help them to mature. Then we must entrust them to the One who made them in the first place.

One of the most beautiful ideas of this book focused on making our relationships with our teens a priority. It is SO easy to fill up our schedules with “good” things. Volunteering. Hobbies. Cleaning the home. Working. But do our teens KNOW that they are one of our most important priorities? I so want my child to know that he was more important than my “responsibilities.” What a key goal for us all as moms.

I am a list-maker myself. And Kampakis includes some fantastic lists in Love Her Well! Keep an eye out for: 20 Ways to Grow a Relationship with Your Daughter; 35 Ways to Speak Life to Your Daughter; 10 Ways to See the Good in Your Daughter; Twenty Truths of Friendship; and more. These lists have great ideas, plans, activities, and perspectives. And funny stories. They will bless you AND help you be a better mom.

I also enjoyed the reflection questions included by the author at the end of each chapter. They really enable the reader to pause, to reflect, and to pray and ask God for His help and assistance. He knows us and He knows our teens, and He can create the connection points we’re all longing for.

I received a digital copy of Love Her Well but I can tell you that if I had received a print copy, I would have had notes scribbled all over the place, Post-It flags marking important passages, and colored highlights on favorite paragraphs. Since I read the ebook version, I journaled (a lot) about the ideas and actions that I believed could change my mothering for the better. I could tell that Kampakis truly had journeyed into the lives of her teen girls and the often-harsh world they, and all teen girls, live in. (And as a side note, a wonderful thing about having received the ebook is that I have it on my Kindle now forever! Which is amazing because there is much in this book I wish to revisit, pray through, and take to heart.)

I so, so recommend this book to you. (Even if you are a boy mom and not a girl mom.) There are beautiful, meaningful truths here that really can transform your relationships with your teens; and set them up for lives that are very, very good.

 

Enjoy! –Wren

DISCLAIMER: I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.

Signed Book Giveaway! “Your Child’s Inner Drive” (ends 4/15/20)

#sponsored, #partner

 

Have you ever struggled to understand your child? What drives them, motivates them, moves them, and irks them? Have you ever wished you could see things from their perspective?

 

 

Recently, I received a book by Wendy Gossett M.Ed. from The BlogAbout Blogger Network that has become the single-most helpful book on understanding my son’s temperament, and successfully engaging with my family, that I have ever found! It is my pleasure to share my review of Your Child’s Inner Drive with you today, and also to bless one reader with a copy.

Years ago, my husband and I both took the Myers-Briggs Personality Indicator and discovered that our results effectively described the way we interacted with people, tasks, and information. But we recently rediscovered what an amazing tool the Myers-Briggs can be in understanding our son and relating to him.

In Your Child’s Inner Drive, Gossett provides a fascinating and readable reference book that will help you to understand your children’s hearts, drives, and operating systems…and give you tools to help them grow and bless your family relationships as well.

 

So what is “temperament,” anyway?

Dictionary.com defines it this way: “the combination of mental, physical, and emotional traits of a person; natural predisposition.” In the nature vs. nurture debate, it’s the nature portion. The Myers-Briggs Personality Indicator breaks this down into 16 different temperament types, measuring test-takers on their preferences in interacting with the world, and assigns those preferences a 4-letter designation indicating those preferences:

  • Extraversion (E) or Introversion (I)
  • Sensing (S) or Intuitive (N)
  • Thinking (T) or Feeling (F)
  • Judging (J) or Perceiving (P)

 

People’s test responses show them their tendencies in these areas, such as ESFP or INTJ. Here, Gossett defines each of these descriptors and provides charts as well, which summarize the tendencies and operating preferences of each type. She develops these ideas further with type descriptors from the familiar film, “The Wizard of Oz.” These connect with 4 Myers-Briggs preferences apiece:

  • Dorothy (values home and security)
  • Lion (values courage, freedom, expression)
  • Scarecrow (values intelligence)
  • Tin Man (values relationships and meaning)

 

 

Why would we want to know all this?

Sometimes truly understanding another person–specifically here, our child–smooths out a relationship, gives us compassion for them, and allows us to see that differences are just differences, not right or wrong. Sometimes conflict between us and our kids isn’t rooted in disobedience or irresponsible choices, but is a reflection of the fact that WE ARE JUST DIFFERENT temperaments!

When our son took the Myers-Briggs test and we learned the results, I felt as though a curtain had been drawn back so that I could really see his true self. And while we have so much in common, our temperament differences sometimes created conflict and a lack of understanding in our conversations and relating. We weren’t really that different after all; we just saw and experienced life from perspectives that were utterly foreign to each other. What an incredible difference that made for me as a parent, and, when I remember it, it helps our relationship to run so much more smoothly.

True understanding is a tool I’ll never regret learning; and it was understanding temperaments that really gave me what I needed as the parent of my teen.

 

 

 

What will Your Child’s Inner Drive do for you?

 

First, you will learn from Wendy Gossett what all these components of temperament are, and how they work together.

Second, she explains how different types work together (or how they don’t!).

Third, she gives a clear description of each type (you can see the first pages of her ENTJ description below). What would their vanity plate say? What are their observable strengths and weaknesses? What is life like for them? What are their needs? How do they perceive themselves and the world? What challenges will this temperament type create for you as a parent, and how can you improve those?

 

 

Gossett also gives many, many tips on how parents can help their children to navigate life and their future well. She explains what kids need from their parents and their environment to feel secure and successful. And again, she gives so much information on how parents can understand their children. I found that the chapter on my own type rang entirely true. And I learned even more about my husband’s type, as well as our son’s. It reminded me to really listen and watch during our conversations, and to recognize that our relational needs there were almost as different as night and day. What a fantastic reminder for me! And what lovely benefits just remembering that brings in our relationships.

 

 

Our tendencies as parents can be to assume that our kiddos will be like us in our reactions and goals. Well…if there are 16 personality types, there are 15 different ways that that will not be the case! But if we can learn about our kids, and the way that God designed them Himself, using these tools for understanding…our homes can really become different and more beautiful. And our children can really feel loved and understood.

WHAT a Godsend.

I can’t recommend this book enough. Whether your child is an infant and you’re just starting our on your own parenting journey; or if your child is an elementary student, a tween, or a teen, you will find so much in Your Child’s Inner Drive to help you and your family.

You’ll also love Wendy Gossett’s friendly, encouraging voice. She teaches about temperament so well, but she also encourages you as you read.

Get a copy of this book! I believe it will be as amazing for you as it has been for me.

 

And now…you can enter to win your own copy!

I have one copy of Your Child’s Inner Drive that The BlogAbout Blogger Network provided for me to give to one FINCHNWREN reader. And, it’s signed by Wendy Gossett herself!

To enter, click on the link below that says “Enter here!” That will take you to a Giveaway Tools entry form, where you’ll be able to enter to win in a variety of ways. Giveaway closes 4/15/20. Best wishes!

Enter here!

 

 

Enjoy! –Wren

 

DISCLOSURE: From time to time, FINCHNWREN may receive a free product or service to tell our readers about. We provide our honest opinions on those in our blog. We are not required to write a positive or glowing review, nor are we additionally compensated for these reviews. We share our own opinions, and our family’s opinion, of these products. We’re disclosing this in accordance with FTC regulations.