Saturday, October 30, 2010

A Hummingbird In The Dark

Our High School football game last night was awesome. We won, thanks to some amazing plays and a beautiful touchdown. The big guy with the ball (forgive my lack of technical terms) caught the thing in mid air and raced it from one end of the field clear to the other! There was a quick, collective gasp throughout the stadium, then people in the stands bolted to their feet with voices raised and hands waving; cheering and screaming! It was a beautiful thing. The music pounded excitement throughout, and I think even the opposition couldn’t help but be slightly amazed.

I thought about how incredible that kid must have felt having a couple thousand people on their feet cheering him on, having full confidence in what he was doing as he raced toward the end zone (aha – a real, live football term).

I wonder how he feels this morning as the memory of last night’s game replays again and again in his mind.

I think that sometimes we feel like a team of one when we’re in the middle of our game. The end zone seems so far off and out of reach. We’re certain no one sees our efforts or our sacrifice. They don’t know our anguish, our frustrations or our pain. And we definitely don’t hear the supportive crowd believing in us or understanding how desperately we desire to reach that goal.

But they’re there.

Like the football player, you, too must continue on. You have to keep going, believing, striving and running toward the end zone. Even when you’re out of breath and ready to give in, you can’t let exhaustion overpower you. You might be physically and mentally spent, but just when you begin to stumble, look to the stands and you’ll see them - the angels! And they’re on their feet cheering and calling your name!

"You can do it! We’re with you to the end!"

You’re in this game for a reason. You’re not watching from the sidelines. God put you in the game because with Him, you’ve already won.

As I write this post, the sun has not yet shed its light on the morning. It’s very early but something out the window catches my eye and there, just above my fuchsia plant is a tiny hummingbird. It’s nearly dark out, but she doesn’t care – she has work to do, so she flutters her wings and continues on – a team of one.

Friday, October 29, 2010

In the Darkest Places

My office phone rings and I reach across the desk to answer it. My husband, working around the house on his day off, is on the other end of the line out of breath and frustrated because he can’t find the machete.

“You’re always taking my tools,” he spouts. “You move them and you never put them back.”

“It should be on your work bench,” I stammer, then quickly try to remember where I saw it last.

“Oh, I know! It’s on the shelf of the barbecue beneath the cover. I remember seeing it there when I covered it during our last rain.”

Stomp, stomp, stomp to the barbecue and whoosh. Up with the cover…

“How in the world did you know that was there? I NEVER would have thought to look there,” he concedes.

“Actually, YOU left it there when you sliced up kindling wood for our fire pit, and YOU didn’t put it away!” I smile.

I’m so glad that God knows just where to find me. He sees me and somehow still manages to love me on my grumpiest of days when I’d love to pull the covers up over my head and hide out from the rest of the world…just for a little while. He finds me in the darkest of places and in the brightest, riding this roller coaster of life from one day to the next. There’s no hiding from the Lord. No place where I can’t be found. No valley too deep for Him to pluck me out and bring me to the light of His embrace.

He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. (Psalm 40:2) NIV

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Encouraging Rejection?

Just when I’d settled myself into thinking I was in for a long wait to hear back from the book publisher to which I’ve submitted my middle-grade fiction query, I awake this morning to a very encouraging rejection, if there is such a thing.
Apparently, my writing showed strength and I was told I “would do well” if I could find a publisher accepting fiction these days! Woo-Hoo!
Of course, immediately following the few words of praise came the “I’m sorry….”
But that’s okay. I’m totally good with it when I think of how much worse it could have been.
I could have been sitting here for weeks or even months waiting for a response only to receive some photocopied, impersonal form rejection in the mail.
As a writer/wannabe book author, a few encouraging words from someone in the business goes a lloooonnnnnggggg way! I’m excited and motivated to finish, polish and submit only my best stuff not only because of these few precious words, but because this is what I’m supposed to do. I think God uses the encouragement from others to keep my fire lit and fuel my passion.
Being a writer is the dream that God won’t let me brush aside. He planted the seed many, many years ago, but it’s taken life experience and a growing relationship with Him to learn how to formulate my thoughts into something potentially God glorifying. He has been SO good to me, and sharing the light of His blessings through the written word is what I’ve been called to do.
Woo-Hoo! Write-On!

The LORD directs the steps of the godly.
He delights in every detail of their lives.
Though they stumble, they will never fall,
for the LORD holds them by the hand.
(Psalm 37:23-24) NLT

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Speak To Your Mountain

Maybe you can’t see it with your eyes.

You feel it deep down, and that’s enough.

You can’t reach out and touch it, but it’s real.

You know it’s there.

It’s your mountain, and it’s cleverly disguised as worry,

fear, loneliness or self doubt; maybe even

anxiety, sadness or depression.

You may not recognize its face

but God knows it well.

He’s protected you from it before.

It may stand tall and intimidating

there in the shadows

but it’s going to be all right.

It’s your mountain, and it’s no match for God.

I’ve taken on the mountain before

and won because I wasn’t alone.

God was on my side.

He’s on yours too.

Don’t let it rob you of what God

has already given.

Speak it away with His Word

and put the mountain behind you

once and for all.

"I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him.” (Mark 11:23) NIV

Leave a comment, if you’d like, so we can pray away your mountain together.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Pushing Square Wheels

I woke up this morning to one of “those” days; a morning packed with little annoyances and self-imposed pressures. The clock kept ticking, yet it seemed everyone moved about the house at a sleepy snail’s pace while my mental to-do list for the day ahead quickly filled to over flowing.

But…God is good! He has a wonderful, gentle way of getting through my thick head when no one else can. When I’m so caught up in my own agenda, He has a way of letting me know that it’s MY agenda that brings on ridiculous amounts of stress and anxiety. Why? Because it’s not in line with HIS plan!

Stress! A sure sign of misalignment. When I try to rely on my own know-how (which doesn’t get me far these days) and disregard the abundance that Jesus offers, it’s like pushing a square wheel up a muddy slope! It’s exhausting and fruitless.

There’s a reason why we sometimes spin our wheels – why we can’t seem to gain traction. We waste precious time trying to beat the clock and meet OUR own expected outcome when the Lord tells us to be still and know that He is God (Psalm 46:10).

It’s almost like He’s saying, “Hold on! You’re working against me – you’ve prayed about your situation and I’ve heard you, so let me take it from here. Let me show you the other path; the one much easier to tread. The special one I’ve layed out for only you.”

So, which path are you taking today?

“Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” (Jeremiah 33:3) NIV

Friday, October 22, 2010

Spots On the Floor

I definitely have a busy weekend ahead of me. I’ve been sick, so you could say I’ve slipped a bit on the housework. Plus, thanks to our wet weather, I have about two weeks of muddy family mayhem tracked in through every door and all over my floors. Luckily, it’s all tile and only requires a mop and some muscle. But still, it’s a lot of tile and quite a lot of “mayhem”.

So, this morning I took a look around surveying the damage, and I couldn’t help but smile. In between all the little spills of apple juice, hot cocoa and parrot “mishap” are paw prints, both large and small. Sure signs that our yellow lab and mini-Dachshund have been brought in out of the rain to enjoy the warmth and love of being indoors. It was sort of like seeing tiny handprints smudged across the fridge when the kids were little – you want to complain, but also take a mental snapshot when you realize those tiny handprints will soon be the size of your own.

Then there was the occasional pumpkin seed; visible aftermath from last weekend’s birthday party for my daughter, and solid proof that high schoolers still enjoy a good, old-fashioned pumpkin decorating party completely void of gaming systems and all things electronic!

And there on the kitchen floor lay a small shred of onion skin right next to a shriveled half of macaroni. I quickly thanked the Lord for His provision and for allowing me to make the kids’ favorite casserole for dinner the other night.

I thanked Him again when I swept up the bits of tree bark and pine needles from the firewood that warms our house.

And over there by the door, the largest set of shoe prints; those of my husband who works so hard at a job he’s thankful to have so he can provide for the family he loves so much.

So I thank you, God for the spots on my floor - they represent a full, happy life. Thank you for showing me that life isn’t about the spots. It’s about being thankful for the living that goes into making the memories.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Give Your Tongue a Makeover

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (Ephesians 4:29) NIV

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if every little word that rolled off your tongue brought a smile to the Lord? Each day blessed you with rainbows and butterflies. Life would be pleasant and calm, free of stress and worry and crazy drivers AND you had children who always listened and minded your instruction…

Wake up! That’s not our world. You certainly don’t need me telling you that life is challenging and imperfect, but I do believe it’s possible to tame the tongue, so to speak and exercise a certain amount of control over our words as well as our motives behind them.

Have you thought about some of the things you’ve said that may be considered less than wholesome? I’m not just talking about profanity – what about negativity, criticism, judgmental comments or words spoken out of worry when you could be professing your faith in your living God instead. Is your faith in the One who still claims you as His own? Then speak it. Know in your heart of hearts that your hope lies with Him, and in Him, there is no need for worry or doubt. Believe me, I know how easy it is to enter into a conversation that contains nothing positive. It’s complaining or fidgeting or maybe even gossiping cleverly disguised as “sharing,” but who stands to benefit from such talk? Satan! Somehow, I can’t picture Jesus smiling at His children while they’re discussing another’s misfortune, bad decisions or immoral behavior.

In fact, just this morning I nearly started a conversation with someone, but then realized I’d only be spreading hurtful information I’d received, and there was absolutely nothing that could be considered God-glorifying by doing so. It would only prove to make the enemy happy.

So, I kept silent….this time!


Help me to remember that you hear and record each word uttered from my mouth (“But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken.” Matthew 12:36 NIV). I ask that you be Lord over ALL I do and say that I may live a life and speak of life in a way that glorifies only You. Amen.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Surviving the Storm

Good morning. So glad you could stop by on this damp, autumn day (with more rain expected).

So, tell me. How are you today? Do you feel sort of caught in the storm and swept up in the current - like floating along in a boat on turbulent waters with no oar? Then please, take a moment, just a minute or two just for you. The voice of calm is waiting to comfort you.

You can hear Him between the cloud bursts, amid the downpour, even in the flood of emotion and chaos. It’s His voice you hear whispering through the brokenness and uncertainty speaking words of truth and hope to your soul. Even when the waves come crashing down at every turn. The lightening strikes. The Heavens rumble, the rain pours in, and you may even begin to lose your grip. But just when you can’t hold on anymore, you see His hand outstretched through the clouds. Yes, it’s there – it’s always there. Grasp it. Take hold of it and He alone will guide you to peaceful waters.

That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, "Let us go over to the other side. "Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, "Teacher, don't you care if we drown?"

He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, "Quiet! Be still!" Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.

He said to his disciples, "Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?"

They were terrified and asked each other, "Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!" (Mark 4:35-41) NIV

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Son In My Eyes Sundays

Good Morning to you.

Is the Son in your eyes today?

Thank the Lord for another beautiful Sunday! I am so excited to get to church and worship the Lord! Whatever you’ve been through this week, and whatever you anticipate for the week ahead, bring it with you and leave it at the cross. Nothing is too big for our God!

"Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and joy in his dwelling place. Ascribe to the LORD, O families of nations, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength, ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name. Bring an offering and come before him; worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness".

(I Chron 16:27-29)

"Untitled Hymn" Chris Rice

Saturday, October 16, 2010

What Is Your Mission?

Don’t touch that dial! You’re not experiencing technical difficulties – instead, I’m expressing the many moods of me! I’ve just changed my bloggy mind again, and did a little remodeling of the cafe choosing yet another look…again.
I was recently asked why I chose to create a blog in the first place. For me, the answer was simple. Blogging provides an opportunity to encourage others by assuring them that our great big wonderful God is truly at work in our everyday lives. As we sometimes yo-yo between happy and sad, serious and silly, the Lord consistently calls us his own. He takes us, mixed up and all, just as we are. He comforts. He consoles. He listens. He cares. We don’t have to wait for sunny skies or for things to go our way for the Lord to notice us or for us to notice him. He’s there through the tears and the triumphs, cheering us on not from the sidelines, but from within.
Gosh, wouldn’t you want to write about that?
What could be more important than to write my faith out loud to a hurting, broken world for the Lord to use?
So…what is your mission in life? What is that certain something burning from deep within begging for wings so that it may be shared with the world?
When we know what we know, it’s a lot like holding that missing ingredient for the recipe everyone wants to make and you just know that if people would only take hold of it, they too would experience peace that transcends all understanding. They already have the best friend who comforts, consoles, listens and cares…and his name is Jesus!

Praise the LORD, all you nations; extol him, all you peoples.
For great is his love toward us, and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever. Praise the LORD. (Psalm 117:1-2) NIV

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Touching Up the Roots

It’s that time again. I’ve put it off a couple weeks, but now that there’s quite a bit more “salt” added to my “pepper,” especially at the temples, it’s time to treat my roots before I cross that fine line from sophisticated to outright haggard looking.If you think I’m going to turn this into a God-thing, you’re absolutely right. Besides, I feel a confession coming on….Last week, the Lord revealed that I’d been neglecting the roots of an important relationship. As difficult as it was to accept, there was no one else to blame but the gal in the mirror (yes, the one on the brink of haggard with all that gray showing).
After the initial sting of guilt subsided, I went to prayer. After all, only a loving, forgiving, merciful God could take the mess I’d made of things and show me how to make it right.
I’d been so caught up in marking items off of my mental to-do list that I’d managed to bury the hurt and disappointment I’d created beneath a pile of gotta-dos, gotta-hurries, and laters.
I love that God cares so deeply about our relationships, and He seems to give our requests concerning them immediate attention. All we have to do is ask.
He is so good!

Heavenly Father,
I pray and ask that you would come into the homes of each person who reads this message today and pour your spirit upon them. Touch up the roots of damaged relationships with your love and understanding. Bring about reconciliation and forgiveness and in so doing, may each one find renewed strength, appreciation and love.
In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Take Care of Yourself

Sometimes it takes an illness to knock you off your feet and force you into your fuzzy slippers and a blanket.
Your energy’s gone.
You feel like (and look like) some lifeless creature your cat proudly displays on the back porch.
When your engine sputters to a stop, it’s trying to tell you something.
Stop and rest.
Hand the reins over to someone else for a bit. I know; it’s hard to imagine that the world will continue to spin while you take the necessary time to return to your old self.
But, it’s okay to take a break from the game.
I have to believe that God is the creator and designer of rest – what a wonderful gift, especially when you surrender yourself to the fact that you are officially out of commission for awhile. But how long?
As long as it takes.
Usually, it’s your body that wins the coin toss when your mind is still determined to go at life full speed ahead.
So, listen to your body. It’s fighting a battle against the enemy over your good health.
Give yourself permission to heal and gain strength by receiving the rest God offers.
There’s only one you.
So, take care of yourself.

28"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-30) NIV

Thursday, October 7, 2010

That Certain Someone

I’m so thankful that God not only gives us WHAT we need when we need it, but WHO we need, as well.
Have you ever found yourself in sort of a slump?
You feel it. You sort of know why it’s there, but you push it to the back burner trying to focus on the positive instead and just keep smiling?
Then, when you least expect it, the phone rings or maybe the doorbell, or maybe even something appears in your inbox and you just know it’s of the Lord.
It’s that special someone who knows you inside and out. The one who knows where you’ve been and where you want to go. They know of all the ups and downs that have shaped you over the years.
The one you’re happy to confide in. The one you laugh with. Cry with. Share your dreams with. It’s that one person who gets the excited “I-wanted-to-call-you-first” call when you have something new to share.
Sometimes, they’re the only one who can hear the sadness and the worry deep down when others can’t. Somehow, magically they know just how to bring it to the surface.
And you do – together.
And once again, you laugh together.
Cry together.
And sigh.

“Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2) NIV

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

When I Grow Up...

When I grow up, I want to own my very own chocolate shop. No, make that a book store with a fireplace and a Starbuck’s AND a chocolate shop – all under one roof! Wouldn’t that be amazing?

Actually, my husband and I happened across a similar place on our way back from vacation years ago before the kids were born. I remember standing with my nose pressed to the glass (because it was closed) dreaming of owning such a wonderful place, such a refuge for fellow book lovers.

It had a welcoming fireplace, overstuffed leather couches and chairs surrounding a chunky, rustic coffee table, and a big beautiful area rug spread over dark wood floors. I’ve dreamed about it ever since, and imagined the opportunity to welcome those who share my passion for the cozy and the quiet; a place where I could create an environment pleasing to all 5 senses for others to enjoy.

I’d pipe in soft, soothing piano and guitar music. The heavenly aroma of coffee and chocolate truffles would mingle with scented candles. Various coffees and teas would warm and comfort the soul, comfy pillows and throws would spill over the furniture and the fireplace would wrap up my guests in the perfect calming ambiance.


I believe there’s a reason God allows us to remember our dreams, even when they seem impossible to attain. Jeremiah 29:11 tells us “For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” That tells me that there’s still so much more the Lord wants for me if I would learn to live with my eyes open to his direction. He is our hope for the future and the One in charge of our dreams. Most of the limitations and barriers that stand in the way of attaining our goals have been created by us. They’re nonexistent to the Lord. He sees beyond all the “what ifs,” and “I can’t do that because…”

He’s God! All things ARE possible through him.

So, what is your big super-sized dream today? Do you believe it’s already yours to have despite the barriers? Have you prayed about it?

"Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and

unsearchable things you do not know." Jeremiah 33:3 (NIV)

With the Lord on your side, you’ve been given the license to fast forward over all the common roadblocks like lack of confidence, lack of finances in an uncertain economy, and fear of failure. Our God is SO much bigger than all that!

God isn’t focused on your stumbling blocks, so why should you be?

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress. And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from start to finish." (Hebrews 12:1-3) NLT.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Spiritual House Cleaning

“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10) NIV

So, I’ve decided to stop procrastinating and tackle some serious fall house cleaning. But where to start? With me, it’s always the kitchen. I hit the sinks and fridge (including the inch of dust that accumulates on top), then move on to the floors, polish the counters, clean the ovens and cook top and vacuum the narrow little tracks and grooves in my windows.
Then it’s time for the ceiling fans and light fixtures, clean the carpets and rugs, and just give each room the mother-in-law treatment – I like to imagine someone like, oh I don’t know, perhaps the photographer from Romantic Homes magazine is on their way over to photograph the place, and I only have one day to prepare. Yikes!
But why should our homes get all the attention? Why not take an honest assessment of our spiritual health too? When you stop and think about it, what are some of the things that might be a little dingey or stand out as needing improvement in your life? I’m sure many of us could use a little spiritual clean-up; a little polishing and prioritizing.
We can start by taking a look at our relationships; how we interact with our loved ones. What about our finances? Our personal habits? How we choose to spend our free time? What about vices and personal struggles? Sure, it all sounds good, but much like tackling our fall house cleaning, spiritual cleaning can also be overwhelming and intimidating. So, why not apply the same rules of organization as we take a look at ourselves and our lives, and establish 3 basic “piles”. When assessing your spiritual health, ask yourself,

What do I want to keep? You can stack hope and faith at the top of this pile and watch it grow!
What do I want to throw away? This is the stuff you want to give to God, never to be seen or heard from again. Be happy to see it leave because it has only proved to hold you back and weigh you down.
What do I want to donate or pass on to someone else? This pile will be all the things that you have experienced and you know would be of benefit to others; not just things like love, compassion and forgiveness, but answers to prayer and situations where you witnesses the hand of God.

Heavenly Father,
Help me to see the things in myself that you want me to see. Speak to my heart and show me what I need to clean up, where I need to improve so that I may live a life pleasing to you. Thank you for allowing the U-turns in life, and for giving us, your children, the opportunity to repent and change for the better. And thank you for loving us through it all. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

“…let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.” (Hebrews 10:22) NIV

Monday, October 4, 2010

Enjoy the New Season

Can you believe we’re already into October? Gotta admit, I’m pretty happy to wave good-bye to the summer and welcome the shifting breeze of fall; that wonderful time of year when we think twice about heading out the door in the morning without an umbrella or a sweater. (Never mind that I’m writing this today in 80 degree weather, but I can dream!) We keep a supply of wood handy by the fireplace, just in case. And we start scoping out Christmas presents, ornaments, new holiday recipes and build up our supply of baking essentials. I love to cook and bake, and I do a lot more of it as we approach the holidays.

To share my love of cooking with you all, I’ve included a Recipe of the Day feature from Taste of Home. Hopefully, you’ll be inspired to try some of their fantastic temptations (or attend one of their Cooking Schools). Check their web site at for their Cooking School schedule to see when they’ll be in your area.

One of the things I really want to make absolute certain of this year is to truly enjoy the season. The stress of last year’s holiday season sort of robbed me of the Christmas spirit. Thanksgiving and Christmas came and went and I spent New Year’s Day feeling very cheated, but I only had myself to blame. Once again, I’d let myself get too caught up in the hurry, the gotta-dos, the donning of my Super-Mom cape to even enjoy the holidays. I never really “got into” the Christmas spirit, and believe me, I tried. I brought out the Christmas DVDs and CDs about mid-October but I still couldn’t find that satisfying warm-fuzzy feeling.

In preparation for a more relaxing time ahead, I’ve already said “no” to a few things that would compromise my time in the coming months, and already I feel better. It’s a wonderful word – no. It’s liberating. Freeing. Keeps me in charge of my brain cells and the family a little happier when Mom isn’t so stressed out.

So, I plan to linger a little longer over a good book or magazine article on those chilly afternoons. I’ll admire the changing leaves and approaching clouds with awe and appreciation. And when my daughter suggests we bake something yummy on a Saturday afternoon, I’ll try to remember how precious few those moments are becoming and take her up on her offer.

I hope to embrace the new season with a heart open to spontaneous opportunities, to capture precious moments with pen and paper but also to breathe deeply the gift of yet another passing year and abundant hope for the one to come.

And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. (Mark 6:31) ESV

Sunday, October 3, 2010

It's a Son-In-Your-Eyes Sunday!

Good Morning to you.

Is the Son in your eyes today?

Thank the Lord for another beautiful Sunday! I am so excited to get to church and worship the Lord! Whatever you’ve been through this week, and whatever you anticipate for the week ahead, bring it with you and leave it at the cross. Nothing is too big for our God!

"Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and joy in his dwelling place. Ascribe to the LORD, O families of nations, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength, ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name. Bring an offering and come before him; worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness".

I Chron 16:27-29

"How Great Is Our God!"


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