The unexpected things are often the best things.

Darryl and I each have our own story in which our years of singleness did much work in us. That time prepared us for each other today - to see each other at the right time, to move him to pursue me and moved me to say I’d give him a chance when as he asked for “an undeserved, disproportionate amount of consideration”. And here we are about to enter into marriage in a month!
How I love this man and how I could not have fathomed or planned this but the unexpected often becomes the best things and I am so grateful and in awe of how God does more than we could have imagined.

from here
Tim Keller says "Your future self will always see your present self as unwise and immature. That means you are currently unwise and immature." So this present unwise and immature self has learned a lot through this time of dating Darryl and now engaged to him. What started as a "No no no" to the thought of dating Darryl, changed to saying "Yes yes yes!" when he proposed. I have watched God refine and reshape the way I date and view marriage and still have an endless amount to learn so here are some lessons learned along our time together and whether you are married, single or dating, I hope it encourages you and fosters an eternal perspective as to what really matters.
What is God's priority? For you to be made like Him, to love Him, to know him, and to make Him known. So what matters in a person? What matters in the dating process?
Whether it be Hollywood, Disney, fake reality shows or even the church, this pressure and expectation exist to find the one person in all the universe for you and for you to make sure you have your list and specifics for your type of person so you don’t miss the one and stay picky so you don’t pick the wrong one.
For a believer, there is a right type of a person and wrong type of person - someone who is a faithful follower of Jesus and someone who is not. That’s what really matters in the end.

Let Go of "Your" Type
After ten years of singleness that followed from a long relationship, I finally began to humbly realize I don’t really know what I “need” in someone. I thought I knew what would be good for me, what I needed, what someone should be in light of my gifts, passions and desires, and what others told me I should end up with. All these skewed and narrowed my thinking of what God would have for me in a spouse. Rather than really letting the values in God’s Word about the purpose of marriage lead the way I was trying to figure it all out from all the voices and examples I saw. And from the ugly drive of perfectionism and legalism I wanted to make sure I did not mess this up. Talk about pressure.
There are character qualities that matter and should be observed over time but what I often see is the specific mental list (or written out list) hinders you from seeing someone or something who is right in front of you who may not meet all your criteria but could end up being even more and better for you than you knew possible. I was letting go of my usual attempts of strategically “placing” myself in front of someone who I thought was the right “type” for me to only be disappointed and then this guy is placed in my path that I was not interested in and did not expect to be. God often uses the unlikely to surprise you!
Darryl wrote me a few letters while we were dating and in his first letter he wrote about how rather than starting with asking “Why this person?” he was starting with the question of  “Why am I here at all in the dating scene and process? Why pursuing this?” before even considering “Why Ashley?” Consider your motive, desire and perspective of marriage. Is your desire for a specific person greater than your desire for a God-honoring marriage? Is it for self in hopes to fulfill some desire or seemingly missing element, identity or loneliness? Or is it to pursue marriage with someone who you want to seek and serve God’s glory with and you see that about their life already?
It is true what has been said for ages - instead of looking for the right person, focus on becoming the right kind of person. You will begin to see the people around you not as potentials or non-potentials to cross off your mental list but will begin to see what really matters about a person and what endures about a person to get past the temporary external things you see and can get fixated on.
The Lord your God and Creator is the keeper of your heart and soul forever. A spouse is for this earthly life preparing you for eternity. Darryl also told me early on that he did not want to flirt with me in order to try and win my heart as my heart was not for his keeping but to be a witness to it and to care for it. So consider humbly and wisely what you think “your" type is.
Good fit
Consider your past, your personalities, your wiring and see whether the other person may be a good fit for those areas. We both had experienced heartache and disappointment from past relationships that left different wounds on each of us. We found that the way the other person was wired, or from what they had walked through in their past, they seemed to speak into those wounds and areas in such a caring sensitive way that I often found myself seeing of Darryl and saying about him "that he seems to be so well fitted for me". Not because he's perfect, not because he is the same as me, not because he is the one person God created in the universe for me and I was lucky to not mess up the cosmic order and find him, but because he loves me in a way that builds me up, where my insecurities find a safe place in him and is tangibly God’s specific love to me.
A partner in life, a good fit, is someone who encourages alongside you in your God given abilities and gifts to flourish. They don’t make your gifts. They don’t create your relationship with God but encourage it, inspire and spur it on. Rather than asking and having the perspective of  “How do you fit into my life?” consider “Do our lives together make each other better, stronger, more into the future version that God sees for us?”
Tony Evans says “unity is oneness of purpose, not sameness of persons.” Our differences often complement and strengthen the other and also bring potential conflict.
Conflict, Differences and Forgiveness
We are two different people with two different upbringings, two different perspectives, feelings, perceptions, both sinful people. We continue to grow in learning to slow down in conflict and make an effort to hear and understand the other first, fighting the urge to be the one heard and understood first.
Growing in understanding should lead to increased love and respect of the other person and if not, then they may not be a good fit for you or the right type of person at all. Darryl and I are very different in some ways yet very similar in others. Our differences had people never picturing us together until they saw how well we fit even in the ways we are different. This isn’t because we are some super couple but it’s because we have worked hard at communication and growing in understanding of each other that has led to a great love and respect for each other. And takes setting aside an agenda to try and change someone to make them what you think they ought to be, but learning who they already are and if that does not increase your love and respect of them, then they may not be a right person for you. Proverbs 24:3-4 says “by wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.” Understanding is how we have established this relationship and one way we can continue to deepen it.
Our differences can add strength to each other and enrich the other where they may be lacking. I can get eyes downward on details and specifics while he lifts my perspective up as he sees the big picture. I often am a “dreamer” and he often is an “if” person - if God brings us to such-and-such we will then walk through that. We want to grow and help the other grow, and differences often will be a way towards growth as you work through the differences and conflict in an understanding way that also brings about forgiveness when we’ve wronged the other.
The way Darryl follows the Lord in his everyday looks different than the way I follow the Lord in my everyday. What I thought a faithful follower of Jesus should look like was more influenced by my own wiring and “Christianese” expectations. The way another person faithfully follows Jesus may look differently than it does in my life and that does not mean they are disqualified from my consideration nor that their faith is not genuine. It should be observed overtime but not discounted if fleshed out differently than my life. We are all broken sinful people carrying our sin, hurts and wounds with us. As followers of Jesus we are all in process, progressively being made more like Jesus but that means what we will be is not what we are yet and some things still are ugly in us and through us. We also have lived separate single independent lives for many years and working towards merging our lives together naturally brings conflict. Work towards understanding and oneness rather than working to change the other.
Exposing - Choose your weapon of choice young padawan
All our days God is doing major open heart surgery on us repairing the ugly places of our hearts that are in desperate need of His repairing work and He lets us choose the scalpel in His hand that will cut us open. The Bible does not lay out specific instructions in choosing a spouse. He tells us the purpose of marriage, how we are to love, respect and serve the other, reflecting Christ and the Church, the Gospel, through our marriage. But He does not give dating steps and how to know he or she is “the one”. He gives us the ability and freedom to choose a spouse that should be aligned with His heart and values and the principle of not being unequally yoked with a non-believer. Relationships expose our ugliness. Choosing a spouse is choosing the scalpel that will cut open and expose the ugliness of your heart that needs repairing. It’s frustrating and humiliating at times but opens you to the greatest work in your life. So when considering who you marry - why this person? Why them to be the one to cut you open and expose what is really underneath? Is this someone you want and trust to cut open the ugly with great love, grace, care and forgiveness because they want you to be all God has for you to be and will walk alongside you and encourage you in all things? Or will they ruthlessly cut you open to feel better about themselves, to shame, to control? Your selfishness and pride continues to be exposed more and more - who will be the scalpel in the hand of God cutting you open to His repairing and restoring work?
What it means to be loved by another person as God intended us to be loved is not always how you think it would look from all our false ideals from culture. It is in being truly loved we are exposed to our ugliness to be made more into the image of God, who we were intended to be.
I have often been asked what is too much to share when dating. What’s too intimate, what crosses emotional boundaries? That can be tricky as we all are triggered emotionally differently and also should safeguard the things we share that are appropriate and in safe keeping in the dating process to not emotional manipulate or cross boundaries. Darryl and I shared a lot about our past, life lessons and desires for the future. We shared more specifics of our hurts, fears, and desires as we built trust with each other. We also talked often about life issues around us in our jobs, friendships, church, culture and world. We got to see the other person's take on issues and their perspective. You want to get to know them and this means learning how they perceive life and how they respond to what life throws at them. Talk through these things more because you are in a culture and world immersed in sin and darkness and you need to be able to navigate through them together and it is a good time while dating to see their worldview. You can’t predict all that is coming but talk about culture, what you see, where you see it heading, how you will respond, what you want to be about, what you’re concerned about and what you’re encouraged about from all that you see. This was something early on, maybe on our third date that really drew me to Darryl more and more. Not only will you influence each other but together you will be an influence in your home, neighborhood, community, and city. There is much about him and his way of thinking that is counter culture and I loved that because I did not feel alone in my thinking and wanted to think more like him – unattached from worldly things and pursuits.

Building blocks - What it means to build a life together
Being older in our 30’s I figured we should have life figured out, well established in careers and in all areas of our lives. I mean I wasn’t but he should right? I found myself needing to shift and let go of my thinking about what it means to have a life together but that you don’t have a life together without first building a life together. We get to walk through this life together, taking on what the world throws at us together and build our values together as a couple. You build a life one day at a time as you take on the everyday grind and demands of life.
“God did not give you your spouse to be the grind; He gave you your spouse to be a companion through the grind.” Ted Cunningham
Christ. Commitment. Communication. Forgiveness. Fun. Jesus is at the center of who we are and how we can love another imperfect person and not look to another person to fulfill our needs. We commit to being there and working through conflict. We both value meaningful, honest and deep communication so we work towards that. We extend grace and forgiveness to each other. We both are intense, deep thinkers and know we need and both love to have fun and laugh. 

We also did not start with feelings and chemistry. We built great feelings and chemistry from sharing our hearts with each other, from growing in understanding, grace and forgiveness as we learned about each other, building great love, respect and fun with each other. We also don’t take ourselves too seriously and laugh often which fosters great fun and companionship. Sexual compatibility, as expressed in this article, is not a prerequisite to explore but something that you build through a “deepening and growing marriage by the love, commitment, trust, respect over the years ” and I am looking forward to our years ahead building a marriage and life together in the Lord.
"Attraction is a feeling, love is an action, marriage is a covenant. Feelings are wonderful and inevitable byproduct of a loving covenant."
Forsaking all others and Oneness
I found myself thinking about those words often in vows, “forsaking all others”, and oneness while dating. What does this look like in dating, in marriage? Who and what gets priority? In the dating stage this looks like doing more everyday life together and also finding ways to blend more of friendships, passions and hobbies together. It does not mean you forsake all other relationships completely and disappear from them. It is in comparison, your spouse is priority over other friends and relationship. Your friends, family and the world could turn their back on you but your spouse is to be there, forsaking all others to remain with each other.
And oneness is a goal of marriage, but what does this look like in dating to move toward that when we are not married yet? Gary Thomas says to “ask in everything - how do we do this, resolve this as one? Desires compete; seek humility and oneness over anything else.” In the dating stage we can work at considering the other in our plans, time, decision making and resolve any conflict between us or with others that seeks unity not discord. And we get to move towards the forsaking all others and oneness in marriage here pretty soon.
“The most remarkable thing about marriage today is not that it can be troubled but that we still have this privilege at all. When God justly expelled us from the garden of Eden, He did not take this gift back. He let us keep His priceless gift, though we sometimes misuse it. But what every married couple needs to know is that their marriage is a remnant of Eden. This is why every marriage is worth working at, worth fighting for. A marriage filled with hope in God is nothing less than an afterglow of the garden of Eden, radiant with hope until perfection is finally restored.” Ray Ortlund

"No Room For Christ in the Inn" Spurgeon

"And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn." Luke 2:7.

Reasons Christ would be laid in a manger

To show forth His humiliation
Would it not have been inappropriate that the Redeemer who was to be buried in a borrowed tomb should be born anywhere but in the humblest shed, and housed anywhere but in the most ignoble manner? The manger and the cross standing at the two extremities of the Savior's earthly life seem most fit and congruous the one to the other. He is to wear through life a peasaut's garb; he is to associate with fishermen; the lowly are to be his disciples; the cold mountains are often to be his only bed; he is to say, "Foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man hath not where to lay his head;" nothing, therefore, could he more fitting than that in his season of humiliation, when he laid aside all his glory, and took upon himself the form of a servant, and condescended even to the meanest estate, he should be laid in a manger.

To be declared the King of the poor
In the eyes of the poor, imperial robes excite no affection, a man in their own garb attracts their confidence...The things which are not, under him shall bring to nought the things that are, and the things that are despised which God hath chosen, shall under his leadership break in pieces the might, and pride, and majesty of human grandeur.

To give an invitation to the most humble to come to him as the manger was free to all
We might tremble to approach a throne, but we cannot fear to approach a manger.  Class exclusions are unknown here, and the prerogatives of caste are not acknowledged. No forms of etiquette are required in entering a stable; it cannot be an offense to enter the stable of a public caravanserai. So, if you desire to come to Christ you may come to him just as you are; you may come now. Whosoever among you hath the desire in his heart to trust Christ is free to do it. Jesus is free to you; he will receive you; he will welcome you with gladness, and to show this, I think, the young child was cradled in a manger.

To show that even beast-like men may come to him and live
I believe our Lord was laid in the manger where the beasts were fed, to show that even beast-like men may come to him and live. No creature can be so degraded that Christ cannot lift it up. Believe on him and he will make thee a new creature.

The inn itself had no room for Him but there were other places besides the inn which had no room for Christ.

The palaces of emperors and the halls of kings afforded the royal stranger no refuge
How could kings accept the humble Savior? They love grandeur and pomp, and he is all simplicity and meekness. He is a carpenter's son, and the fisherman's companion...O great ones of the earth, I am but little astonished that amid your glories, and pleasures, and wars, and councils, ye forget the Anointed, and cast out the Lord of All. There is no room for Christ with the kings.

Senators, forums of political discussion, the places where the representatives of the people make the laws
One or two will give him a good word, but if it be put to the vote whether the Lord Jesus should be obeyed or no, it will be many a day before the ayes have it. Parties, policies, place-hunters, and pleasure-seekers exclude the Representative of Heaven from a place among representatives of Earth.

Good society”
There is room for all the silly little forms by which men choose to trammel themselves; room for the vain niceties of etiquette; room for frivolous conversation; room for the adoration of the body, there is room for the setting up of this and that as the idol of the hour, but there is too little room for Christ, and it is far from fashionable to follow the Lord fully.

The schools of the philosophers
Too often learning is the forge where the nails are made for Christ's crucifixion; too often human wit has become the artificer who has pointed the spear and made the shaft with which his heart should be pierced. We must say it, that philosophy, falsely so called. (for true philosophy, if it were handled aright, must ever be Christ's friend) philosophy, falsely so called, hath done mischief to Christ, but seldom hath it served his cause.

In general conversation
We talk about many things; a man may now-a-days talk of any subject he pleases...Speech is very free in this land; but, ah! how little room is there for Christ in general talk! Even on Sunday afternoon how little room there is for Christ in some professed Christian's houses.

In the workshop
There is room there for everything else; there is room for swearing; there is room for drunkenness; there is room for lewd conversation; there is room for politics, slanders, or infidelities, but there is no room for Christ. Too many of our working men think religion would be an incumbrance, a chain, a miserable prison to them. They can frequent the theater, or listen in a lecture-hall, but the house of God is too dreary for them. I wish I were not compelled to say so, but truly in our factories, workshops, and foundries, there is no room for Christ. The world is elbowing and pushing for more room, till there is scarce a corner left where the Babe of Bethlehem can be laid.

Have you room for Christ?
Never mind what the past has been; he can forget and forgive. It mattereth not what even the present state may be if thou mournest it. If thou hast but room for Christ he will come and be thy guest. Will he come indeed! Do you but set the door of your heart open, do but say, "Jesus, Master, all unworthy and unclean I look to thee; come, lodge within my heart," and he will come to thee, and he will cleanse the manger of thy heart, nay, will transform it into a golden throne, and there he will sit and reign for ever and for ever.

The world will have no room for you if you are truly His
The world has no room for you -  The world, I say, has no room for the man who has room for Christ. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. There is no room for you to take your ease; no, you are to be a soldier of the cross, and you will find no ease in all your life-warfare. There is no room for you to sit down contented with your own attainments, for you are a traveler, and you are to forget the things that are behind, and press forward to that which is before; no room for you to hide your treasure in, for here the moth and rust doth corrupt; no room for you to put your confidence, for "Cursed is he that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm." From this day there will be no room for you in the world's good opinion—they will count you to be an offscouring; no room for you in the world's polite society—you must go without the camp, bearing his reproach.

"Jesus, I thy cross have taken,
All to leave and follow thee;
Naked, poor, despised, forsaken,
Thou from hence my all shall be."

The Lord help you to do so, and to him shall be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Information vs. Wisdom and the Book of Proverbs

"We are drowning in information while starving for wisdom"
I passed that sign one day this summer and have not been able to stop thinking about it. We have more information more technology and greater connectivity than ever yet we are more lonely, divided and indecisive than ever.

This project wall has become a recent favorite. Yet I look at all these books, not quite the collection Belle got in Beauty in the Beast (oh Disney how you tease - only in fairytales), and wonder what good has all this information been in my life.  These pages have mentored, shaped, guided, inspired, and challenged me. But it's not in the information and the words on the pages alone that changes you, it's what is done with them. The difference of information and wisdom.

Once a year I like to spend 31 days in the 31 chapters of Proverbs. This year in May a group of ladies did this together and talked through the chapters each week. Most weeks we felt pretty beat up, seeing ourselves in the foolish unrighteous one, being exposed to the ugliness of our sin and shortcomings and walking away from 7 chapters each week feeling... well "whoof" was our usual sentiment.

There is a danger to take these wise sayings of Solomon as simply moralistic teaching - live this way and it well go well for you - as qualifying efforts for the Gospel. The lessons and characteristics in Proverbs ultimately point to Jesus as the wisest man, the Son perfectly attuned to the Father, the true husband, the faithful son, the true and loyal friend,  the perfect worker, the good steward who knew how to handle wealth, and the man who followed God’s plans.  This is not a book of virtues but of redemption in Jesus. He redeems our morals and character to His likeness when we abide, when we live out the wisdom of God and not the wisdom of the day.  

Proverbs 1:20-22 says wisdom is calling out:
"Wisdom cries aloud in the street, in the markets she raises her voice; at the head of the noisy streets she cries out; at the entrance of the city gates she speaks:" How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple?"
Wisdom is crying out in the everyday place of life -  in the hustle and bustle of the noisy streets, in the markets, and at the city gates. What do you envision? An old wise woman? Gandolf? Walking around crying out for their attention, to be listened to. Why? Because much calls for our attention, drowning truth and wisdom out if we aren't attuned and listening for it, to it. And lesser things can disguise themselves as the good eternal things.
There are two voices compared in parts of Proverbs. Lady Folly and Lady Wisdom. They both call out to be heard. They cry out saying the same thing in Proverbs 9:4,16 "Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!" Who will you listen to, follow, and how will you discern if the voice is wisdom or the voice of folly?
Where is Wisdom found?
  • The very Word of God, The bible is God's revelation to us, His wisdom, counsel, way for life. Psalm 19 says His word is perfect, reviving the soul; sure, making wise the simple; right rejoicing the heart; and pure, enlightening the eyes.

  • The Spirit of God reveals, searches, illuminates, gives understanding, instructs and gives Christians the very mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:6-16)

  • Those living ahead of us and have gone before us. Those saints of old who have scribed their life lessons with pen and paper - read their pages. The people around you, seasons ahead of you with grey hairs and lines on their faces marking the years of their lives and the lessons learned - seek them out.

  • Suffering - frees you, detaches your hold on temporary things,  teaches you what matters, gives birth to eternal perspective and new values. Don't let suffering slip through your days without letting it refine and grow you in wisdom.

"Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom." Psalm 90:12

In Proverbs 8 wisdom is there again, calling out, in the coming and going places of our day.
  • At the "height beside the way" -  along your way, above your steps - wisdom is there.
  • At the "crossroads she takes her stand"  - where choices are made between two things, two ways: this or that, here or there - wisdom is there.
  • "Beside the gates" - where cultural decisions are made, in your leadership, in your influence - wisdom is there.
  • At the "entrance of the portals" - in your coming and going, when you are changing places, choosing the places you’ll go to - wisdom is there.

The steps we take, the decisions we make, the people we encounter, all need to be covered by His grace and wisdom, not by mere information.

We are overloaded with information coming at us in every direction and every media avenue. Information may "inform" you what you "should" be getting, what you should demand for, what you are entitled to, who you should vote for. But that information alone is not leading us to actually consider and think through the implications, how those things work themselves out, it does not think long term, does not look within ourselves but points out to say you can do all and be all with facts. Wisdom however sees through the "data" that disguises itself as power and wants to humble teach as we go about our way through life.

"There is a difference between healthy learning and information gluttony: one is about being fully human, and the other is about craving limitlessness...unmeasured consumption of information brings us not increased peace of mind, as we had hoped, but increased dissonance...information overload ... affects our cognition, and thereby our productivity, shortening our attention spans and diminishing our ability to concentrate...paralysis by analysis... God help us if the church succumbs to inaction and indifference in the face of human suffering." Jen Wilkin

“The words of the wise are like goads, and like nails firmly fixed are the collected sayings; they are given by one Shepherd. My son, beware of anything beyond these. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness to the flesh.” Ecclesiastes 12:12

I just finished another semester of seminary and already deep into the next and goodness do I feel those words, that often much study is weariness to the flesh when not applied and engaged to the heart for transformation of heart, mind and will.

Information says this should be your opinion and make sure everyone knows.
Wisdom leads you to think, consider, evaluate your opinion but also how you share that opinion with others.  
Information and data say "werk werk werk werk werk" (or maybe that's Rhianna), work more for more success.
Wisdom says rest and your work will be more fruitful. Rest from your work and striving, and then work out of an overflow of your rest.
Information says do more, learn more, be more - for your own personal success
Wisdom says, say no so you can say yes to what matters most, do less and give more to meaningful places -  for the sake of healthy relationships because people matter.
Information says the cross killed a man.
But wisdom says that which was meant to kill brought victory.

Proverbs says to seek out, take hold, do not let go of and guard the wisdom of God for it is life. What are some practical ways to lessen the information binge and sink deeply into truthful wisdom?

  • Choose a few wisely - choose less to listen to/read and dive into those well.

Years ago I found myself trying to read 4 books at once, listening to 6 podcast and reading every blog post I came across. I could not keep track of all I was listening to and reading nor my own thoughts. This also led me to live second handly through others. I wanted first-hand relationship with the Lord and to soak in well, little, rather than not really retain and engage from overload. When choosing ask such questions that Jen Wilkin’s poses:

Will the time and attention I give this made me more like Christ? Will it make me better able to serve God and serve others? Am I feeding my intellect in a way that enables me to love the Lord my God with all my mind, or in a way that causes information overload? Does what I'm learning cause me to worship myself, or cause me to marvel at "the wondrous works of him who is perfect in knowledge" (Job 37:16)?

  • Discuss with others - Share what you are listening to, reading, your thoughts, criticisms, spur each other on and challenge each other, challenge the norm, the values of culture.

  • Choose your Bible - it is not merely information but "alive and active' (Heb. 4:12). God's Words are identical to His actions. When He speaks He does. His words and actions are one in the same. Consider Psalm 119  to read King David’s love letter to the very Word of God - oh that we would value, cherish, and live by His words.

I need to be in the Word because with all that I know (or think I know) I need to be reminder of Who is actually all-knowing, all-powerful, ever present, in control and sovereign and stop thinking it's up to me to make all the things happen. Abiding in His pages are full of reminders that He is all these things and more. To quite trying muster up all of my own efforts, knowledge, experience and find true wisdom power and life in the One who wrote life itself.

For He “is over all and through all and in all” (Ephesians 4:6), “He is before all things, and in him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:17), “in Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28), “for from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be glory forever. Amen” (Romans 11:36)!

When the garden of your life is planted in the soil of God's wisdom, you can't help but produce good fruit.