Monday, August 27, 2012

Don't Sink!



Swimming--it's something most of us enjoy during the hot summer months.  My son particularly likes splashing people, especially me, during his swim time.

This morning, hubby and I trekked to the local YMCA for an hour of exercise in the swimming pool.  Hubby has some medical issues that deter him from doing a higher impact exercise, so we both thought swimming would be a good way to get some of those aching muscles loosened up again. 

Oh how nice and warm the water felt, so soothing to aching joints!  Soon hubby was walking the width of the pool doing well.  I tried general swimming and completely forgot it had been a year since I'd done that.  It obviously was not a good time to be heading to the 12 foot end of the pool.  I had a minor fit when I couldn't find the bottom and my arms were getting very tired. 

I fought and flapped and started sinking.  It was only a few seconds, but more than enough to grab my attention.

Mind you, I learned to swim amongst the cotton mouths and snapping turtles of the Red River at the border of Oklahoma and Texas.  In my years I've spent more time in muddy river and pond water than I'd care to think about.  Dad taught me young to get out in the water and be prepared to hold my own if he capsized his john boat (with me in it), and he loved hitting waters 30 to 50 feet deep and with a nice current.  I'm by no means an Olympic swimmer, and I'll never get awards for form, but I can handle the function. 

And, for a couple of seconds, I completely forgot the most important rule, besides don't inhale water...don't fight.  I also learned that the saying "fat floats" isn't necessarily true--this fat didn't float for a few seconds.

After a quick grounding on the side of the pool, I was doing laps and enjoying the deep end, and all was well.  That one moment did get me thinking on some things that are pretty important.

In our lives, we are taught how to swim, not necessarily in water, but in different circumstances.  We navigate through school, home life, public life.  Sometimes a rough wave comes along and capsizes us, tries to take us under.  When we fight on our own and try hard to keep afloat, we sink farther and farther down.  The harder we fight the lower we go.  It is in letting go, not fighting anymore, that we stay at the top of the water. 

When we come to Jesus, giving Him our burdens and having Him put them under His blood, accepting His payment for our sins, we can let go.  We are given peace, and we don't have to fight the currents, the waves, the obstacles (snakes, turtles, whatever life throws at you).  We have a life preserver (Jesus) to keep our heads above water so that we may breathe.   

As you go about your day today, don't fight to stay floating.  Do as Peter did, trust Jesus and get out and walk ON the water (yes, Peter did sink after a while when he took his eyes off Jesus, but you notice he DID step out and trust Jesus and walk on top of the water).  Let go, and you'll find that the waves of life won't take you under. 

Let Jesus be your life preserver!

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Joyfully shared at:


Growing Home

Saturday, August 25, 2012

God is Good

Early Morning Joy





Morning comes way too early in our home.  The alarm goes off at 6am, and we start our daily routine of getting kids ready for school.  We're usually finished by 7am, then have a bible study that ends around 7:15.  Saturdays are a bit more relaxed, and Sundays are still early but not quite as rushed for 10am Sunday School. 

How do we find joy in the midst of weekday rushing and drowsy weekends?

Each morning I keep our radio on, listening to KVCY out of Ft. Scott, KS.  It is a part of the VCY America organization, which plays Christian information (like talk/news programs), Bible studies (like Adrian Rogers, Charles Stanley, John MacArthur, Tony Evans, J. Vernon McGee), solid Christian music, and when necessary pertinent information directed to our region. 

Saturday mornings are the most fun!  The day begins with music, and then children's programming.  Uncle Charlie begins with Keys for Kids.  I find it such a joy to hear the archived shows, with young children singing hymns.  Today, a 3 year old performed a hymn, and it was such a joy to hear. Then there's Kid's Talk, Fables of Faith, Ranger Bill, Sailor Sam, and more.  The latter two shows are produced at Moody's in Chicago!

 Later in the morning, we have Jonathan Park adventures in creation science.  In the afternoon there's music and programs for us adults, such as Crosstalk.  In the afternoon there's Unshackled, produced and performed by the Pacific Garden Mission in Chicago. 

 Later in the day, Monday through Friday, there's the Sugarcreek Gang

If you're interested in Bible reading, you've come to the right place!  Max McLaine's audio version of the KJV is on at 9pm Monday through Friday!

A program schedules for VCY programing is available here.

You don't have a local VCY America station?  You can listen to them online all around the world!  Simply choose from dial up or broad band! 

This station is a ministry that started over 50 years ago, and also has a tv station in Milwaukee.  Why not let this ministry be a blessing to you as well?  When you have a spare moment, why not tune them in by radio, tv, or on your computer or phone (they have apps for your various phones).  You won't regret it!


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Joyfully shared at:


Consider the Lilies

Growing Home

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Friday, August 24, 2012

When A Friend Is Dying

Death, that's a subject we don't like discussing.  It is that hush hush subject that gets swept to the side, yet it's something that happens every day, and all of us experience loss of a friend or loved one at some point in our lives.  And, we'll be experiencing death ourselves if we're not raptured out of this ol' earth.

Our family, as well as church family, is losing a friend.  She's a senior saint, a lovely woman who's been an asset to Jesus and a headache to Satan.  She is near the end of her battle with cancer that's affecting her blood as well as other areas.

This brings up some ideas to encourage those going through loss.

In the case of our sweet friend, her husband and grown children and grandchildren come along side her.  Her church family is drawing near as well. 

What can you do to be of encouragement to a friend/family who is leaving this earth?

Offer to sit with the friend or family member.  Often, as in the case of many cancers, the person is likely bed bound and needing round the clock care or simply someone to be close by in case they need a drink or a snack or someone to talk to.

Offer to help with routine housekeeping needs.  Families get overwhelmed with duties and emotions, and sometimes the routine things are left undone.  Most families are grateful for the assistance.  If they do say "no thank you", just let them know you're available to help if they need you.  Sometimes the assurance of someone willing to help means just as much.

Bring a meal (ask first of course!) to help tend to the family.  A year or so ago, our church scheduled meals so that someone took a day each week and created meals to accomodate X amount of people and delivered to the family who was in this situation.  On my particular day, I made sure to either buy or make extra sweets to pamper.  I made sure to ask what each family member liked, and tried to keep to those items. 

When/if the person/family is at the hospital, visit.  I've sat with one lovely friend, slept on cold hard floors in the waiting area overnight so she wouldn't be alone as her mother went through a time of trial and was close to death.  Her mother made a miraculous recovery and shocked the doctors!  The trials were rough on my friend and her family, but it did help her to have someone with her in the waiting room/family area at all times. 

Don't be afraid to let them talk to you.  The person dying and their family need a shoulder.  This isn't the time to back away, not knowing what to say.  You don't have to say anything.  Just be there.

Oh, I know there's more that can be done, but this is a good start.  Each person and family is different and will have differing needs. 

Let your light shine, show the love of Jesus as you minister to them.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Keeping Your Energy

The checkout lines at the grocery stores have all kinds of magazines geared toward women.  You've seen them (admit it).  You may have even purchased one or two of them.  (Hand raised--I'm guilty too!)  They all scream headlines of gaining more energy, having a better romantic life, how to lose 50 pounds in 3 days, so on and so forth.

Do you really want an easy way to maintain energy in your day as you work around the house and tend children?

Pray.

Exercise--intentionally.

Get a good night's sleep.  Or at least attempt to.

Get into you Bible!

Pray  (notice it's on the list 2x?)

Eat healthily. 

Pray (notice a theme here?)

These sound so simple, but how often do we actually DO them? 

Take care of yourself, so that you can be able to take care of your home and family, seving the Lord as He desires!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

When God Gives You Something You Least Expect

For most of my 35 years, I've been carrying around extra padding.

Lots of extra padding.






I really hate thinking that I've carried lots and lots of that yellow stuff around for most of 3 1/2 decades!  Oh, there was a time in my younger years that I was fit and such, when I worked in the maximum security prison system as an officer and had to be in shape in order to do my duties.  But that seems at times a lifetime ago (really, it's only been 13 years).

This year, the Lord has taken over and said "enough!"  Not I, but Him.

Now, I know you're probably thinking I've done lost my last marble.  Not to worry--I lost that marble years ago.  :)

Late this spring, through no effort on my part, the weight started dropping off.  Inches disappeared.  I didn't quit eating.  I didn't go work out.  It started falling off anyway.

The Lord had tightened our budget to where we must eat almost all from scratch or homemade foods, as well as what we've grown.  Oh, we have an occasional treat of ice cream or a soda, but in between, little fat and lots of healthy choices.  I occasionally make a cake or other sweet treat from scratch, and it's still limited in fat and sugars. 

Our limited budget also started me doing more manual work instead of depending on machines to do things for me.  Don't get me wrong, I lament doing away with some of the machines.

So, since the spring, the Lord has blessed me with a significant drop in size.  I started out at a whopping 5/6X (yes, you read right) in skirts, 4X in tops.  Today, I've measured and tallied up a 14 inch drop in bust, 15 inches off the waist, and 18 off the hips.  I am sewing 1X dresses for myself now!  Skirts are a slightly bit larger.

Oh, I'm still a plus sized fluffy housewife.  I still make my own dresses and skirts as well, even though I can find a good fit much easier now.  There's much more to reduce, a long ways to go to an ideal size. 

Why do I not mention pounds lost?  I'm of a muscular build.  Lifting weights comes easily, moving heavy objects is a simple task.  I build muscle very fast with little effort.  In my younger years, I built lots of it, with ability of bench pressing up to 200 pounds and pushing 600 pounds on a leg press.  Muscle weighs much more than fat.  Before the spring, I weighed over 400 pounds.  Just a short time ago, I still maxed out the scale at the YMCA that stops at 350 pounds (as in, it didn't register me).  So, that leaves me somewhere between 350 and 400 pounds AFTER dropping that much size.  At this weight, my ribs are starting to be visible. 

In the past days I've been blessed as well with trips to our YMCA with a lovely friend, who has joyfully agreed to join me in some exercise. 

Sometimes God gives you something you didn't think could happen.  He can do anything He pleases, and I'm very blessed that He has given me something I've wanted for a long while--weight/size loss! 

I Chronicles 16:34:

O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.

Do you have something that the Lord has done or given to you that you thought would never happen this side of Heaven?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Everyday Hero




Housewives are a special breed.  Really!  How many folks can juggle working from the moment they wake up til they crash on the pillow at night, raising all ages of children, cook meals, do laundry, clean house, run errands, some even teach school at home, then add in sports practices, church, and even make time for friends and family, and possibly a work at home job?

Only those dedicated housewives (or homemakers--whatever you prefer). 

You are an every day hero!

You can wipe away a little child's tear with a single tissue.  You can change a poopy diaper in seconds.  You can whip up a meal for 15 in minutes (even if it does mean calling up the local take out restaurant!) 

What is the source of your super hero strength?

The Lord, Jesus Christ.

No, housewives don't go around wearing capes with a big S, but each is a hero in someone's eyes.  You teach your little ones how to pray, how to draw strength from Jesus.  You are there for your children and husband when they need you.  You have the answers your family needs (or at least they think so, or else they wouldn't run to you asking for the missing toy/sock/boot/shoe/book/etc).  To them, you are special.  You are a hero.

Did you know that Supermom is even in the bible? 

Take a look at Proverbs 31 for starters.

Pro 31:10 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.

Pro 31:11 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.

Pro 31:12 She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.

Pro 31:13 She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.

Pro 31:14 She is like the merchants' ships; she bringeth her food from afar.

Pro 31:15 She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.

Pro 31:16 She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.

Pro 31:17 She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.

Pro 31:18 She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.

Pro 31:19 She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.

Pro 31:20 She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.

Pro 31:21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.

Pro 31:22 She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.

Pro 31:23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.

Pro 31:24 She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant
.
Pro 31:25 Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.

Pro 31:26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.

Pro 31:27 She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.

Pro 31:28 Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.

Pro 31:29 Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.

Pro 31:30 Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.

Pro 31:31 Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.


This lady can do a lot, and she is a Godly woman--her strength comes from the Lord. 

Another Supermom can be found in Exodus 2.  Rather than giving her son to die, this woman used the strength God gave her to give him over to another.  In turn for her sacrifice, her son grew up to be a leader who is one of the fathers of faith.

Exo 2:1 And there went a man of the house of Levi, and took to wife a daughter of Levi.

Exo 2:2 And the woman conceived, and bare a son: and when she saw him that he was a goodly child, she hid him three
months.

Exo 2:3 And when she could not longer hide him, she took for him an ark of bulrushes, and daubed it with slime and with pitch, and put the child therein; and she laid it in the flags by the river's brink.

Exo 2:4 And his sister stood afar off, to wit what would be done to him.

Exo 2:5 And the daughter of Pharaoh came down to wash herself at the river; and her maidens walked along by the river's side; and when she saw the ark among the flags, she sent her maid to fetch it.

Exo 2:6 And when she had opened it, she saw the child: and, behold, the babe wept. And she had compassion on him, and said, This is one of the Hebrews' children.

Exo 2:7 Then said his sister to Pharaoh's daughter, Shall I go and call to thee a nurse of the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for thee?

Exo 2:8 And Pharaoh's daughter said to her, Go. And the maid went and called the child's mother.

Exo 2:9 And Pharaoh's daughter said unto her, Take this child away, and nurse it for me, and I will give thee thy wages. And the woman took the child, and nursed it.
Exo 2:10
And the child grew, and she brought him unto Pharaoh's daughter, and he became her son. And she called his name Moses: and she said, Because I drew him out of the water.


Moses' mother not only kept her home, raised children (Moses' brother Aaron and his sister), but was also a slave in Egypt.  Can you imagine how it felt during that time when Moses would have otherwise been killed with the other baby boys?  Moses' mother gave him a chance at life by giving him away, and he came back to her to raise.  She had to trust in God. 

These are only 2 examples of many in the Bible of women who can easily be considered heroes.  They didn't wear capes, but what they left behind in a legacy has been known to billions of people.  They were everyday heroes to their families during their lives.  They are Women of Faith to us in our day.  Granted, the duties and methods of doing tasks have changed throughout the years, but the heart is still the same.  Serve the Lord.  Serve the family. 


Whatever you do throughout your day as Supermom, don't forget to draw upon the only true source of strength--Christ Jesus.  Thank Him, praise Him, sing to Him, ask Him when you need help.  He's right there waiting!




Monday, August 20, 2012

Who Do You Trust?






Proverbs 3:5-6 says, "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding."

Reading this today, I had to stop and ask....who do we trust?

Hubby?

Friends?

Mom and/or Dad?

Other family?

Pastor/Pastor's wife?

I know a lot of you will say "well, God, of course!"  Good answer! 

But was God the first name that came to mind? 

As you go about your day today, put God first in your mind.  He'll be an encourager to you as you think on Him!


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Joyfully sharing at:

Growing Home
 
 

I Am A Strong Person...But...

Sunday, August 19, 2012

For Everything There Is A Season



Looking at this picture of my pretty zinnias from the late spring and early summer, I yearn for those days again, when the heat wasn't in triple digits for weeks on end (yet), the rain hadn't taken a vacation and left us high and way too dry. 

The book of Ecclesiastes tells us for everything there is a season, a time to be born, a time to die, a time to sow, a time to reap, and so on.  The picture above, was our season of sowing and life here in our little home.

Time marched on, and the triple digit heat and scorching heat indeces came.  Weeks of relentless heat, with not a drop of rain for weeks as well, took it's toll.


The pretty pots of flowers are all dried up.  Watering daily didn't keep them from withering and dying.  The yards around us turned brown.  Look closely and you'll see the leaves on the trees ever so slightly withering and beginning to curl. 

neighbor's yard across from us, my tomatoes and withering sunflowers in the way



My pride and joy, the mammoth sunflowers, took the heat hard as well.  Sure, the grass is much greener in our front yard, but only from the watering we have given our small garden plot (tomatoes are peeking on the right hand side of the picture).  The mammoth sunflowers are the joy of our yard each year, as they grow up to 12 feet or more, produce beautifully large heads and lots of tasty gray striped seeds.  This season, with the lack of rain, there are no seeds.  Of the 22 sunflowers, not one produced mature seed.  The heads of most are under 6 inches across, very very small in comparison to other years.  For them, this is the season of dying.  Soon, I will be cutting them down. 

Our seasons here in the Midwest, or Kansas anyway, are very much out of the ordinary this year.  Our growing season started almost 2 months early.  Our family's June bearing strawberries finished their rounds by late April to early May.  My family has various pumpkins already coming to maturity.  The rain stopped months earlier than normal.  Farmers are harvesting what's left of corn crops already.  It is cooling down and the feeling of fall is coming upon us.  It's mid August. 

God knows our personal seasons as well.  He knows when we're going through dry spells spiritually, or when we're overflowing.  He knows when our seasons come and go, nothing is a surprise for Him.  The record heat and drought we have experienced so far this year is no surprise to Him. 

When we look around us, seeing what is there, whether it be brown yards and fields, or green from a bit more watering than those around us, we would do well to remember that God already knows.  He knows our needs, our wants, our feelings, our fears and doubts, our joys, our weaknesses. 

Cast them all upon Jesus.  He already knows about them. 

For everything there is a season.  We've experienced the season of death and drought.

Let's go into the season of life!


Saturday, August 18, 2012

Christ Alone

I ran across a song a while back called "Christ Alone", by Eden's Edge.  I'd like to share this with you!

The harmony on this is very pretty, and the lyrics are inspirational!




Lyrics are:

When I fly off this mortal earth
And I'm measured up by depth and girth
The Father says now what's he worth
May he see Jesus death and birth

Don't measure me by dollar signs
Or bricks and mortar you may find
By Christ alone will I be found
Worthy of that golden crown
Worthy of that golden crown

The value of this life I've lived
How did I love, did I forgive
Where did my treasure truly lay
How did I start and end each day

Don't measure me by battles won
Or some good deed that I have done
By Christ alone will I be found
Worthy of that golden crown
Worthy of that golden crown

May be a pauper or a king
Have nothing or have everything
The question begs, do you belong
Do you sing a resurrection song

Measured by the master's hand
On only one truth can we stand
By Christ alone will we be found
Worthy of that golden crown
Worthy of that golden crown

Encouragement for the Downhearted Homemaker


Have you had days when you felt like you needed a few more arms to do all you needed to do, more shoulders for carrying the load, more time, more..well...everything?

*Raising my hand here too*

As a homemaker, we have a lot to do.  There's no doubting the amount of work we can do in a day's time, most of it going unnoticed until it DOESN'T get done.  There's children to tend to and teach, whether in homeschooling or in the pre-school years, there's dishes to do, meals to cook, rooms to clean, laundry to do, and much more.  Then, when the afternoon or evening comes, more often than not we're ready for the day to slow down, and our spouse returns home, and it's time to tend to his needs as well as to things that must be done during the rest of the evening.  Then there's preparing for the day to come.

Sounds like a lot doesn't it?  The above is only a small part, each homemaker has her duties, her own arrangements.  Some of us must work outside the home as well to support the family, some of us do not.  Some of us work within the home to generate extra income.  Some of us work side by side with our husbands in ministry.  Some take care of even more duties so hubby can work the night shift. 

A lot is placed on us as homemakers. 

We don't have to go through the days alone.  We don't have to feel bogged down in the daily routines and chaos that some areas of our lives bring--you who have had small children at home at any part of your adult life understand. 

We haven't even addressed the day to day lives of homemakers with special needs children!

Regardless of our situations, we don't need to feel downhearted, overwhelmed, stressed beyond all measure. 

Quit grumbling--I hear you out there!  I'm writing this to me too, as I'm like any other homemaker, who can easily become downhearted, overwhelmed, stressed, when the right circumstances arise. 

In fact, just this past weekend, I had to seek some counselling from my pastor's wife, Lucinda, as well as my friend Jennifer, in whom I can confide.  One knew I needed the cry, the other sent me to Scripture and prayed with me.  I needed both.  I was most definitely downhearted, sitting in tears through most of Sunday School and Morning Worship.  Lucinda pointed me to some verses, and reminded me to give Jesus my burdens and take His instead. 

During the Sunday School session, I pictured myself burdened down with an oxen yoke, pulling a full cart, with Jesus next to me in another yoke pulling an empty cart.  Then I asked Him to take my burden and exchange it for His yoke, and pictured an exchange of yokes.  Of course this wasn't outloud, and there was more prayer involved.  Afterward, the feeling of all the burdens was lifted, and I felt so light.  I couldn't change certain areas of my life, but I could decide whether to keep ahold of that burden or cast it to Jesus.  Lucinda reminded me that if Jesus is faithful to save me, He is faithful to take care of my sorrows and pain if I'll give them to him.

If you're a downhearted homemaker, don't carry that burden around.  Picture that yoke on your shoulders, with a heavy cart behind you.  Picture yourself exchanging your burden for Jesus', pray and ask Him to take your sorrows and pain, your stress and anxieties, and let it go.  His yoke is easy, His burden is light.

If you're rushing around like the lady in the picture above, slow down.  Remember how Jesus admonished Martha?  He scolded her for that very thing, rushing around and expecting Mary to leave His feet to join her.  The work will be there.  Ok, feed the kids, change the diapers, but slow down.  Take a moment to pray.  Trust the Lord to take whatever is on your heart that you need to let go of.

He is faithful.

He will answer.

Simply trust Him.

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Joyfully shared at:


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Friday, August 17, 2012

All Things Work

How Can You Help The Struggling Homemaker?


Do you know of a fellow homemaker who is struggling at home?  You most likely do, even if she's hiding her struggles as best as she can. 

Seldom do you see a fellow homemaker come out and say "HELP ME!"  Most likely when you do find one that's at that point, that "help me" is accompanying tears, frustration, guilt, stress, you name it. 

You've most likely been there at some point in your life.  I sure have, on more than one occasion.

So what can we do to help this struggling homemaker?

First, let's come along side her.  This doesn't necessarily mean barge in and take over cleaning her home and doing the laundry and so on--the home IS her domain and this can easily send her to retreating.  Instead, offer her a cup of tea, coffee, or soda at a local restaurant, or at your own home.  This takes down her stress level a bit, to get away and be around another homemaker like her. 

Second, listen to her.  Let her speak about what's brought her to the point of frustration, why she's struggling.  You may find she has some issues you've already handled or are currently dealing with yourself.  You may have insight to help guide her.

Third, point her to Scripture.  Jesus is the only one who can bring peace, so it seems only natural to take her to Him.  If she doesn't know Him yet, this is an excellent time to show her HOW to find peace in Christ.  Show her your favorite verses that you lean on in times of struggle.  Point her to what the Lord shows you. 

Pray with her.

It may not seem like a lot of effort on your part, but those few little things can make a world of difference to the struggling homemaker.  Just a few moments to show you care makes a difference.

If you don't believe me...

Try it!

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Joyfully shared at:

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