Good morning? Good morning!

Mornings in my house are nothing short of ridiculous.  From the moment the alarm rudely jars me awake, the breakneck race towards the day begins.  If there is ever a time that Murphy’s Law is at its strongest in my home, it is in the mornings.  If it can go wrong, it usually does.  Spilled coffee, missing shoes, the cat escaping when we let the dog out, make up mishaps, grouchy children, and even grouchier parents.  Where is your back pack? Where are your shoes? Did anyone feed the dog? What do you mean you need poster board and Styrofoam balls for a project at school TODAY? Let’s go! Hurry up! Don’t look at me with that tone of voice, just move it!  Get in the car…get in the car…GET-IN-THE-CAR!

After the miracle of making it out of the house in a reasonable amount of time, there is the reoccurring nightmare of Northern Virginia traffic.   A continuous snarl of cars, frantically jockeying for position.  Anxiety poured over the streets in the stops and starts, the push and pull, the white-knuckle steering to avoid the ever-present hazard of ego maniacal drivers who navigate as if they are the only ones on the road.  Its enough to make the muscles in my neck bunch up, the breath catch in my lungs, and my head   pound to the rhythm of frustration.

Mornings. Are. Tough.


But not this morning…

This morning, my son needed to be at church by zero dark thirty.  (Bless the hearts of all Tech Team and Praise Team members that arrive before even God has had coffee on Sunday mornings!)  I drew the short straw and had to pull my carcass out of bed at a totally unreasonable hour just to get him there on time, only to race home again to ready myself and make the return trip to church.  After the typical early morning mom makeover of sweat pants, a swipe of the hairbrush, and a to-go cup of coffee, I drug myself to the car to make the way-too-early-in-the-morning drive.  My son, ever the conversationalist, stuck his earphones in his ears, retreating into his own world, leaving me to my thoughts in the silence.  As the sun had not even considered the possibility of peeking over the horizon, the darkness encased everything in stillness.  Morning fog lay heavy on the tops of the road and cocooned our trip in peace.  It was if the entire world was taking a collective expectant breath before the break of day, and the continued dizzy spin on its axis.

There was peace.

There was quiet.

There was stillness.

And I was reminded once again that God’s mercy flows in the mornings!  Here was a flawless day on which I could write any story I choose.  A new day to try again.  A new day to pursue peace.  A new day to speak love.  A new day to sing praises and seek HIS face.  It all lay before me in tranquil newness and silent expectation.

What an amazing gift from God; the chance to begin again.  In his wisdom he knew we would need to renew ourselves each day.  He knew that we would need to lay down the frenzied hours of our lives, restore our bodies with sleep, and raise our spirits to the new dawn over and over again.  Long before I filled my mornings with busyness and hectic routines, God planned it as a purposeful time of renewal.

So, this morning my first breath will not be held in frustration, but released on a song of praise.  This morning, the weight of yesterday does not have to be carried any further, but is covered in undeserved mercy.  This morning I will open my heart and attune my ears to the one who offers me JOY in the mornings.  This morning I will thank God for the grace that covers me once again.  This morning, I will rise and say, as planned by my Father all along…

Good Morning!

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Temporary Fan

This past weekend was the Super Bowl. As my team, the Dallas Cowboys, cannot seem to figure out how to get themselves together in the post-season, I didn’t have a dog in the fight in this contest between the Eagles and the Patriots. Even though I had planned to watch the spectacle simply for the commercials and the half-time show, I felt compelled to become a TEMPORARY fan of one team or the other.

I took a very scientific approach in determining which team to temporarily support and developed a short list of questions to guide my decision making.

  1. Was this the first trip to the Super Bowl for either team? (I do love an underdog.)
  2. Had either team never won a Super Bowl before? (Again, that underdog thing.)
  3. Which team has the best “stories”? (Like a quarterback who almost quit 2 years ago and now stands poised to lead his team into the Super Bowl.)
  4. And last, but certainly never least, which team has the better-looking uniforms? (Fashion is ALWAYS important!)

Using these specific calculations, I determined that for one night, and one night only, I would become a temporary fan of the Philadelphia Eagles.

As a good fan, I committed to cheering on my team; celebrating amazing plays and venting my frustration at missed opportunities. I argued with the officials about calls that went against my team and talked about the smart play calling of our coach. I urged them on with every first down and agonized at every heart stopping fourth down. I chewed my nails as I watched the time fairly fly off the clock as we painstakingly inched the ball towards the end zone in the fourth quarter, and then lamented the eons of time that we left on the clock for the Patriots. I cheered, I clapped, I gave high- fives to other fans around me, and rolled my eyes and threw serious shade at the Patriots fans in the room.

I was all in…

Sort of.

For that one game I had given it all I had, but in the light of Monday morning, my commitment to the Eagles was hardly more than lip-service about the highlights from the game around the water cooler. I certainly was not running out to buy Eagles merchandise, or converting my basement into a team shrine to the pride of Philly. Even though I had been all in for the big game, it was just for a moment.

It was temporary.

Did you know that God is a fan of YOURS? Not a temporary fan. Not a tepid fan. Not an “only for the big events” fan. A true, dedicated, sold-out, season after season fan! I mean if God wore novelty shirts he would have one with your face on it; and a big foam finger to help him celebrate that you-are-number-one!

I believe that God proudly points out “his team” to the angels and reviews the “great plays” of our day with all the hosts of heaven. I know that he is entirely delighted by our victories and deeply burdened by our defeats. I can almost see him standing on the edge of heaven cheering us on play after play; often shaking his head in exasperation as we miss clear opportunities to score. But no matter what, win, lose, or draw, he is our truest fan.

But I wonder…

I wonder if God ever feels like WE are just TEMPORARY fans of his? I wonder if he sees us show up for the big game on Sunday mornings; giving it our all in praise and worship, only to be tepid at best on Monday? I wonder if God feels like we are only temporary fans when we praise him in the light, but fail to speak his name into the dark? Does he wonder at our commitment when we only seem to “root” for him when all is well, and it is easy to do?

God wants us to be all in. He wants us to be super fans, totally focused on his awesome grace and all-consuming power. He wants us to buy the jersey and convert the room! He wants nothing less than complete devotion and praise with each breath of our lives. He is after all, the most winning coach of all time.

So, let’s be all in!

Let’s keep the fervor of God’s victories alive in our thoughts and actions each day.

Let’s cheer loudly from the bleachers, not only on Sundays, but every day of the week.

Let’s share with everyone around us all about our amazing team and recruit as many new fans to the winning side as we can.

Let’s remember that God is worthy of our Praise. Worthy of our devotion. Worthy of our worship. Steadfast in his love and devoted in his grace.

We have so much to celebrate.

Let’s not be TEMPORARY fans.


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Undeserved Gifts!

I love my youngest son; I really do. He is a great young man and usually a lot of fun to be around, but lately he has been plucking my last good nerve!! The boy is thirteen years old and along with being incredibly gangly, he is obviously outside of his ever-loving mind!

I am not sure when he developed the dreaded laundry-blindness disorder, but he clearly has an extreme case of it that keeps him from seeing the mounds of laundry in the middle of his floor. There is also his battle with extremity weakness that causes him to be entirely too fragile to carry the heavy weight of an empty container all the way out to the recycling bin.

Honestly, “I am going to KILL THAT BOY”, has become my almost daily mantra! I swear on two angels and a wise man, he is just about to make me lose my Christmas spirit!

Good thing I bought most of his Christmas gifts when I wasn’t so irritated with him! Bless his heart, If I were just starting my Christmas shopping today, that boy would have gotten a bunch of nothing…or maybe a pile of coal! Fortunately for him however, most of his gifts were purchased on one of his less frustrating days so he has a nice pile of gifts under the tree. Some are gifts he wanted and a few are gifts he needs, but right now he really doesn’t DESEVE any of them. Not one single one!

Christmas gifts…

Christmas is a celebration of the greatest gift ever given. The gift of restoration and salvation, sent to us by our Heavenly Father; wrapped in the form of a babe in a manger.

We certainly did not DESERVE this priceless gift. I am sure OUR constant sin must pluck the Father’s last good nerve, but in his mercy and unfailing love for us, he gave us what we needed, and not what we deserved. He delights in giving this gift to us, and I believe it gives him great joy when we recognize and accept this gift from his heart.

The amazing thing about this gift is that it is just right for everyone! There is no wrong size, no wrong color, no “it doesn’t fit”, nothing but EXACTLY what we need! It is the perfect gift, and it provides ALL we need; redemption, mercy, love, grace, hope and a direct relationship with the Father.

Unlike Christmas presents that are opened and quickly forgotten, God’s great gift is accessible and valuable all year round! All we need to do is fully accept this gift and then unwrap it in our hearts anew each day.

It is truly the gift that keeps on giving!

May this Christmas season find you waiting with open arms and an expectant heart to receive this most precious of gifts from our Heavenly Father.

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great JOY for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.

Luke 2: 10-12


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Call Home!

Something awful has happened.

I think that my son has had a tragic accident rendering his thumbs completely useless!

Yes, that must be it.

He must have had a horrible accident and he is just afraid to tell me because he knows how I worry. That would explain his lack of ability to text his mom, or return any of my texts or calls; right?!

I mean, why else would he ignore my calls and texts? Bless his heart! He is injured…I just know it!


The truth is that my son is very busy with a fast-paced career and a brand-new baby. I really don’t blame him for not calling home very often, but I sure do miss talking to him. I miss hearing about his day and how things are going in his life. I miss having the opportunity to tell him how proud I am of him and how deeply I love him!

Thank goodness, he has a wonderful wife! Without her I might NEVER know how he is doing!

In direct contrast to my son’s obvious inability to dial a phone, I call MY parents almost every day! I am so fortunate that I can still call them and tell them about all the craziness of my day, and hear about the things going on in their lives.

My mom is my partner in crime, and can always be counted on to be righteously indignant about anything upsetting me, while offering encouragement and support. My daddy is my fountain of knowledge and ever listening ear; and reminds me often that no matter how old I get, I will always be his little girl.

Yes, there is something deeply comforting in the ability to call home. In the ability to stay connected and have your spirit bolstered while being reminded firmly of who you are and whose you are! No matter that I am a grown woman with a grandchild of my own (It is my first grand-baby, so of course there must be a shameless plug), it is always good to call home.

I know another parent that loves to have his children call home!

Our heavenly Father anxiously waits to hear from us!

Oh, how he misses talking to us when we get consumed in our business and forget to take a moment to “call home” and chat.

He misses hearing about our day; about our worries and our concerns. He is ready and waiting to be our perfect sounding board and listening ear.

Each and every day, he listens eagerly and expectantly for us to call on him so he can remind us of how deeply he loves us, and how very proud he is that we are his children. To embed in us once more who we are and whose we are.

He has plans for our lives that he wants to share with us. He has encouragement for our weary days and a heart of celebration for our days of joy. He knows our burdens; and wants to lighten our loads and give us direction and guidance.

But he is too polite to impose…

So he waits…

He waits and he longs for us…

He waits…

For us to call home.



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Water Cat

We have a very strange cat.

When we rescued him from the animal shelter a few years ago, we knew he was more personable than most cats, as he loves to be right where we are; constantly seeking a good scratching and a lap snuggle. What we didn’t know about our new-found pet was that he loves water! That’s right, water! I am not talking about water in a bowl, I am talking about running water! I was under the impression that cats didn’t like water. Have I been mistaken all these years? All I know is that Ricco, our crazy cat, loves, loves, loves running water! If I am washing dishes, Ricco hops up on the counter and puts his head in the sink, and bats at the water running out of the faucet. If I am taking a shower, Ricco will paw at the shower door because he wants in, and when denied entry will curl up on the bath mat, waiting for the moment the door opens so he can jump into the still steaming shower stall; lapping up water from the shower floor. When my daughter showers and all that separates her and Ricco is a shower curtain, Ricco just hops right on into the shower with her! He is one ridiculous cat!

One of the more unnerving things that Ricco does around water is that he insists on chaperoning me every time I take a bath. (Finally got my children grown enough to let me bathe in peace and now I must contend with a cat chaperone!) Just about the time I ease back into the scalding water, and release a breath of relaxation, I hear insistent purring in my ear as Ricco is perched right on the edge of the tub! He then proceeds to put his paws in the water one at a time and then licks the water from them. Let’s just say that the sound of a cat continuously licking its paws is not exactly conducive to peace or relaxation! He also loves to walk along the edge of the tub, around and around; occasionally popping a paw into the water, and trying to discern if he could possibly maneuver his way into my lap while I am in the tub! One day this is going to end VERY BADLY! All I can think about, as he circles the tub, is that he has very sharp claws and my only defense is wet skin and a prayer! The day he falls in off the side it is going to be a scrambling race to see which one of us can evacuate the tub first! Lord help us all!

Now before you assume that my poor cat is seeking water because he doesn’t have a water bowl or fresh water to drink; let me assure you that his water bowl is kept filled to the rim with the hopes that he will get his water fix there. To no avail however, as the ONLY bowl that Ricco will drink from is the dog’s water bowl!
Sweet goodness; I give up! Why is it that my cat is constantly seeking water from the wrong sources?

For that matter; why do WE continue to seek water from the wrong sources?

There is only one source of living water. One source of water that will completely quench our thirst and ease our striving; but we consistently seek this source of purity, this source of life giving sustenance, from an imperfect and sinful world.
Jesus has invited us to bring our thirst, our desire for fulfillment to him; the source of living water, flowing from the very heart of God. We have only but to accept him and allow the Spirit to pour forth into our lives.

There IS a perfect source of LIVING water. Life giving, life sustaining water.
No need to search in all the wrong places.

But whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life. John 4:14

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A Wait Problem

My children have a wait problem.

No, that is not a typo…they have a W-A-I-T problem.

Like most children, for that matter like most people, my children want what they want right this minute. They are not spoiled and they are never overtly rude, as that would only negate any request that they were putting forward, but they are incredibly persistent when they have their hearts and minds set on something.

This was most clearly exemplified in the events surrounding our getting a dog a few years ago. Our daughter Chloe determined that it was high time that our family had a dog. She had all sorts of research and reasoning. She had outlines and plans. She verbalized a willingness to provide care for any dog we brought into our home. She had a detailed response to any scenario that I would propose in opposition to having a dog. She was READY for a dog.

Only…she wasn’t.

Having a broader picture of what our lives were really like at the time, I was keenly aware that we were not ready as a family to have a pet that required more than cursory care. It is not that I was opposed to having a dog, it was just that I knew that even though she thought she was ready for pet ownership; she just wasn’t. She most certainly said all the right things, and heavens knows that she was creative in her ability to work the word DOG into each and every conversation; but as her mom, I knew that with our crazy schedules and with her involvement in so many activities, it was just not the right time. So, I had to say WAIT. Not now. WAIT.

A funny thing happens in my home when you use the word wait. For some reason, my children interpret this word to mean one of two things; Yes or No. Trust me when I tell you that my children have a very good grasp on English vocabulary, but somehow anytime the word “wait” is used, they hear something completely different. Sometimes they take the “wait” to mean, “Yes, but please provide me more information on why you want this on your time frame and if you could pester me constantly about it in the meantime that would be great!” At other times, they take the “wait” to mean, “No and you are never getting this thing you want.” This leads to pouting and a temporary breach in our relationship while they work through their anger stemming from their perception of being told no.

Here’s the thing; wait doesn’t mean either of those things. It just means W-A-I-T.   It means that through my broader view of what is happening in your world, in my deeper understanding of your readiness for this event, you need to wait. There are some things that need to be addressed. Take a breath. You need to wait.

I would love to tell you that my children do not come by this trait honestly…but they do. I myself have a W-A-I-T problem. (I also have a bit of weight problem, but that is another blog entirely!) If I set my mind to something, I want it to happen right NOW. I am a planner and an organizer. I will research and plot out a course to conquer the goal that is before me; and once I have turned my face to the task I want to jump in and start right this very minute! Sometimes however, my heavenly Father, who has a much broader perspective of my life and the good and perfect plans that he has for me, says, “Wait…just wait.”

“What was that you said, Lord?”   “Wait?”

“What do you mean, wait?” “Don’t you see the timeline I have set for myself?”  “Isn’t this a worthy goal? Don’t you want the best for me?”

Around and around and around I will go with God, because surely, he meant yes or no…surely, he didn’t really mean WAIT!

And here, in my questioning and my attempts at manipulating the situation, Satan slithers his way into the self-inflicted turmoil and begins to whisper viscous venom into my ear, “You are not worthy.” “He doesn’t really mean wait…he means no.” “If he loved you he would want this for you.” “Your plan is better than God’s plan.”

So, I plead more for my own flawed cause.

Striving, pushing, arguing, crying…

Putting a temporary breach in my relationship with my Father…

All because I don’t understand WAIT.

Just… Wait.

Yes, sweet friends, I have a WAIT problem.

Maybe you do, too.

As I ponder on this, I can’t help but wonder, WHY is it so hard for us to WAIT on the Lord?

I believe that it comes down to two things; misinterpretation of what it means to wait and lack of trust.

It seems that we continuously misinterpret the word WAIT; so, what does it really mean? If we dig into the scripture we find that the words most often translated from the Hebrew to mean “wait” are:

Qavah – to look patiently

Yachal – to hope, to wait expectantly

Prosdechomai – to receive in expectation, to look for

Apecdechomai – to await eagerly, to await in confidence

In each of these words we hear a connection to waiting and hope; waiting and expectation. God doesn’t mean for us to hear the word “wait” and jump straight to the negative conclusion. Rather, he wants us to look patiently, wait expectantly, wait eagerly and most importantly wait in confidence. Confident and focused on who God is and in what he is doing.

We also misconstrue the word WAIT to mean inaction. In our world of break neck pace, instant connection, fast food, overnight deliveries, and pressures that push us to do things NOW, we have been hard wired to believe that waiting is a terrible thing. We have been tricked into believing that waiting is simply inaction in disguise. But this is just not true! Wait is a verb! Purposeful waiting is action! It is SEEKING God’s face, it is LISTENING for HIS voice, it is PRESSING in close and LEANING into HIS word. It is preparing ourselves for what is to come by addressing the now in our lives. And mainly it is TRUSTING.

And there, at its deepest root, is another reason that we have such trouble waiting. We have trouble waiting, because we have trouble trusting. If we are going to wait when God instructs us to wait then we must TRUST that God is who he says he is. We must fully believe that he is the author and creator of our story, and that the plans he has for us are far greater than any we could dream for ourselves. Moreover, we must unwaveringly recognize God’s ultimate sovereignty and his passion and compassion for us as his children. My own children won’t wait with expectation if they don’t truly believe that I can see the bigger picture and that I have their best interest in heart. We are no different in our relationship with our heavenly Father. We must trust that our Father, who holds all time in his hands, the one to whom a day is a thousand years and a thousand years is a day, is keenly aware of the span of our lives and the perfect time line that will bring about his specific plan for us.

How can we say we trust God if we rail against his admonishment to wait?   Do we really believe he knows what is best for our lives when we insist on OUR plan and OUR timeline to be met? Do we demonstrate that we know, in our inmost beings, that God is exactly who he says he is when we question if he loves us enough to know what we need? Do we really trust God?

I have a wait problem.

It is not easy to share this failing with you; but it is the truth of my experience. For the last few weeks I have wrestled with God about his obvious command for me to WAIT on him in a specific area of my life. Like a petulant child I have railed against this. I have resisted his embrace and stubbornly crossed my arms and closed my heart in my refusal to accept that HE knows what is best. And in this bitter battle, where I have pummeled God with reasons why I am more than ready for what I want, where I have worked MY plan into every stilted conversation we have had, where I have taken his command to wait and misconstrued it to mean no; ushering in opportunity for Satan to fill me with fear and dread, HE has asked me again and again to trust him, to be still and know that he is God.

So here I am, spent and broken by my own foolish reluctance to simply wait upon the Lord. And like a child who has been thoroughly chastised by a parent, who has been reminded once again that they do not always know what is best for themselves, I find myself curled up in the lap of my Father, sniffling and snubbing through the last of my tears, ever grateful that he can love a wretch like me.

God is exactly who he says he is.

He has never failed me yet.

His love for me is beyond comprehension.

He knew me before my first breath, will witness my last earthly breath and has a plan for every single breath in between.

I don’t like to wait. I most likely never will. But I know, that I know, that I know that God draws near to those that WAIT upon him.

I am learning to wait.

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Forged in Fire

My youngest son, Aidan, is obsessed with the TV show, Forged in Fire. He refuses to miss a single episode and has programmed the DVR to record EVERY show. Then he binge watches episodes for hours on end! Recently, I began watching a few episodes with him, just so I would have something to talk with him about. (If you have ever tried to pull conversation out of a teenage boy then you understand my plan!) To my amazement, I am actually quite enthralled with this show. Honestly, I am as shocked about this as you are as bladesmithing is not exactly in my wheel house of interests.

Forged in Fire chronicles four bladesmiths competing against one another to create the best usable knife. They are given ten minutes to draw out a design and then three hours to take a lump of metal and turn it into a beautiful and effective tool. You ought to see these guys (and gals) as they run around heating the metal in the forge, then pounding out the shape that they want with blow after blow of the shaping hammer. Then reheating and reshaping, on and on until they get the blade just the way they want it. It is painstaking, back breaking work that takes total concentration and enormous patience as they fight to mold and shape the lifeless lump of steal through precisely timed exposure to the fire and meticulous shaping.

Once they have the size and shape of the blade hammered out and they are ready to “set the metal”, they pop the blade back into the forge one more time; heating the metal to a blazing 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit. Then comes the trickiest part of all, they must pull the glowing orange-red blade from the forge and quickly plunge it into a vat of oil. This causes a fire ball to shoot up from the vat and at the same time instantly hardens the steal. I honestly do not know how they keep from setting themselves on fire when they do this. It is amazing and frightening to watch! If I were to ever try this (and I won’t as I have difficulty even lighting a gas grill) I would no doubt burn my eyebrows off within the first five minutes!

After the oil bath, the bladesmiths closely inspect their blades for straightness of edge, and hardness of metal. If they detect the slightest roll or dull edge, or if they realize that the metal did not harden completely, they will start the process over again; forging the blade in the fire and hammering out the shape…again and again and again until they have just the blade they had planned.

While watching yet another episode with my son last week, I begin to think about how my life, on more than one occasion, has been “forged in fire”. It is painful to admit, but there have been many times when I have been held to the relentless flame of difficulty and trouble. Some of these fires I made for myself; heaping sin upon sin on the open flame, raising the heat to insufferable temperatures. Some were made by people and circumstances around me; bringing intense sorrow and agony. At times, there have even been flames of righteousness that God has stoked in my life.

Yes, there have been some fires.

Thank goodness my heavenly father is a master bladesmith! You see, in every fire, he has known just how long to keep me there. Always long enough to make my spirit pliable and ready for shaping, but never so long that the fire rendered me useless. He has again and again pulled me from the flames at just the right time, and then applied his hammer of mercy, grace, and righteousness to shape and reshape, work and re-work, until the outline of the life he had intended for me began to form.

Don’t get me wrong, I would have preferred for there to have been another way for God to mold me to the purpose and plan he has for my life; but I am ultimately a pretty hard (stubborn) lump of metal. However, I know for sure that each time I have faced the forge, God used it to mold me anew and harden the steal within.

Do you feel as if you are being forged by fire right now?

Do you despair of the flames that are raging around you?

Fear not! God never allows us to face the fires of life, the forging of our spirits, alone. I believe that it causes him great pain to see his children in the blaze of their own making, but he never turns his eye away. He is vigilant; watching all the while. Deliberate in his desire to turn the despair of the flame into the victory of a purposeful life. What unfathomable love he has for us that he plucks us from our rightful hopelessness and plunges us into the vat of his mercy. Stealing within us the ability to be a purposeful tool for his kingdom.

At the end of the day a knife, no matter how beautifully crafted, is a useless instrument until wielded in the hand of a master. I pray that as we become the creation that God planned for us to be that we will allow ourselves to be wielded in his mighty hand. Useful and focused on bringing glory and honor to our Father; the master bladesmith.




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