Friday, December 9, 2011

Savings on savings

Okay, I NEVER use my blog to promote anything except what I share BUT, with Christmas around the corner and the dollar being stretched till it's practically see through I wanted to offer this website to others as I've been enjoying the benefit of purchasing gift cards at half the price. The fine print is that you will not get it as quickly as they say ( that's been my experience) but they have made good on my orders and I have used my giftcards already  so I can "safely" share this with you. The website is they have National Deals as well as "local" deals. I just bought a Papa Johns Gift card for half the price and we order from there frequently(especially since my son works there!) Here is my referral link I do get credit if you order but I've not used my credit yet so that is one area I'm not so sure about. Anyways, Merry Christmas and I hope this information helps!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Table for 20

(image respectfully from

A couple of weeks ago I had planned on going to California to visit with a Tia who was diagnosed with cancer and who would soon be reaching the end of her journey. To my surprise (along with the rest of the family) she passed away sooner than we'd anticipated. That led to me making the trip in honor of her funeral ( not my first choice, I'd rather see the person and talk with them!) It was bitter sweet, I was so glad to be with the family and loved the opportunity to reconnect with family members I'd not seen for several years. After the service we all gathered at a restaurant to spend more time together. We took several photos and I savored each moment. In the back of my mind I wished my mom , along with my other Tia's who have passed away, could have all been there. They would have truly enjoyed the sight of five tables being pushed together and the noise that came from such a crowd. I enjoyed the amount of space we all collectively held for that time. The next day I asked my husband to take me back to that same restaurant ( hey the food was very good) The tables and chairs had all been returned to their respectable places. I looked at that space and felt it to be  empty compared to the night before. We too have all returned back to our respectable places to continue functioning in our places yet,the beauty of being able to come together as a family and inhabit that time was a gift.  Thanksgiving is soon coming and as we host that day we'll be adding an extra table for those coming together. These tables hold a space for each one of us and as some of us leave our seats ( like my mom, my aunts..) others join (through marriages ,babies....) From the "kids table" to the " too cool teen table." I look forward to sharing my little space with those around me for however long God permits.
Psalm 23:5 " You prepare a table before me........" is participating in pour out your heart wednesdays graciously hosted by thingsicantsay!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

What is a christian? Please Respond!

The Christian Experiment...

With recently re-entering the workforce I personally challenged myself not to share my beliefs or my faith with anyone at my job. I do this with the purpose that I'm hoping people will see a difference based on my work performance and attitude. I want to be a light (or as I tell my 7 yrs old ...a flashlight) and a light is something you see with your eyes and not necessarily "hear with your ears." Although I do believe if the door is open for a discussion, there is an appropriate time and approach to any topic. I am usually comfortable sharing what I believe in and why I believe it but, this approach for me was a challenge where I was able to really ask myself " Will people know I am a Christian without me having to say anything?" I take that train of thought with a quote from Billy Graham who said "share your faith, and if necessary use words". I really wanted to share it first by my actions and then (and only then) if there is an open door share with my words. So, I propose the question to all. What does it mean to be a Christian? I know a question like this can spur on some intense emotions and all I ask is that whatever your opinion is , you share it constructively. Please respond in the comment section. Thank you!  (participating in Pour out Your heart through thingsicantsay!)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Walking through the walls of water

Lately I’ve been pondering the escape route the people of God took when they left Egypt. It wasn’t a quick thing that took place when they left. I imagine a weary people clutching to whatever they had as they stepped in fear and exhaustion. After all,the days prior to their leaving their work was doubled and the things they saw must have put them in such a state of stupor. All of this is reflective of course yet when we decide to leave our lives representation of Egypt we experience perhaps those same fears and exhaustion. I imagine as they began crossing the sea with their captors behind them yet the unknown before them that they did it in silence. They walked away from the impossible, through the impossible, into the impossible. At one point though their silence did turn into praise perhaps there when Moses began singing they understood that they were truly free. What joy must have befallen them to know that neither they nor their children would have to mortar another stone for Pharaoh. I sit here this morning beginning my own song, I’m seeing that God is still the God who works on our behalf and in my own version of Egypt (I have many) He has brought me through. I’m grateful this morning and end with the lyrics from Moses song. “The LORD is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God…”  Exodus 15:2

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

is all really all?

This past weekend I attended a women's retreat. It had been at least 4 years since I attended a retreat(excluding my WWGG retreat,but that's a different story all together). I was in a cabin where I didn't know most of the women which can make you a little nervous but, by the end of the weekend I had truly felt like I got to know more of them than had I simply seen them every Sunday. Anyways, the theme of the retreat was ,seasons and how each season applies to a relationship with God. The first night the focus of the study was how He makes all things beautiful in it's time, I've heard that verse quite often and it was even the verse we had for our wedding !(yeah) But in previous times my focus on that verse was the word "beautiful" and was caught up in the romance of how God makes things beautiful and isn't this wonderful, blah blah blah. Not that those things are not true ,but again for our wedding that was the verse and even the song I walked down the aisle to. Yet here I found myself sitting at the retreat rehearing this verse and finding myself asking God "really?, really Lord can you make ALL things beautiful?"  The word "all" is well ALL of it! I have alot of "all" in my life that needs some serious beautifying. Is it possible really? I sat there and felt that pinch in my heart because I doubt that ALL of the ugly in my life can be made not just different, but beautiful still. I in my head "know" the answer is yes but, confess that in my heart the fear of hoping for it causes me to be wary! And yet, I know I need to trust Him for the "all" after all, He is the all in all!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

My First Day

(wrote this almost two weeks ago but just now am posting!!)
My first day

I’m getting ready for my first day of work. I’ve got my clothes ready, I’ve got my directions, I’ve got everything set up as much as possible.
I’m in a new place, starting a new job entering a new season. With all these “new” things I hope to leave the old things behind and pray that they can truly be passed away. I’m a little nervous about all these changes but I keep my focus that these “new” things are for the purpose of something specific being made new. So, with this new season I have my own personal anthem,  I know I’ll be getting ready for work with this song playing to remind myself that this isn’t my final destination nor is it my final purpose, I have not “made it” by any means but, I am on my way.

There's a better version of me
That I can't quite see
But things are gonna change
Right now I'm a total mess and
Right now I'm completely incomplete
But things are gonna change
'Cause you're not through with me yet

This is a redemption's story
With every step that I'm taking
Every day, you're chipping away
What I don't need
This is me under construction
This is my pride being broken
And every day I'm closer to who I'm meant to be
I'm a change in the making

Wish I could live more patiently
Wish I could give a little more of me
Without stopping to think twice
Wish I had faith like a little child
Wish I could walk a single mile
Without tripping on my own feet

This is a redemption's story
With every step that I'm taking
Every day, you're chipping away
What I don't need

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The cat and I

So today was freedom day for the cat! We’ve had her for a week and the poor thing has spent the majority of that time in the garage (by her own choosing) I figured she liked the garage better because it was cooler in there than the house and with all the stuff in there she could hide herself if she felt the need.  So today we slid open the back door and prayed as she walked out that she would not run away. My son and I decided to grab a blanket and make an evening of it so as the day set into the evening we enjoyed the coolness of the night. It was intriguing to watch the cat explore the back yard, especially since she’s been crying every night to get out. She slowly stepped out and began her inspection of the space. She once in a while would look at us and then she would proceed. We sat out in the back for about 40 minutes with her and  laughed at her silliness, we especially thought it  was funny when she heard the next door neighbors horse I mean dog ( it’s a marmaduke dog!) bark. Her back arched so high and she became stone still, it was too funny. Eventually she relaxed and proceeded with her inspection of the place. I was amazed at the difference from the last time she went outside (she escaped on the first night) I remember trying to coax her out of the neighbors shrub and her only response was a hiss! She is an all together different cat today, so relaxed and comfortable in this new environment. It took her a whole week which in people time would be ummm…scientifically, made-up about 2 months in people time. Of course this observation hits me because I’m still in the “hiding out in the garage phase.” But, I hope just as the cat felt secure enough to explore that I too will eventually be ready to proceed (with caution of course). Anyways back to the cat, after watching her for a while we felt pretty sure that she would not run and decided to go inside the house. She reappeared in the house about an hour after us meowing at me because I had moved her food bowl to the backyard!  I got the message and moved the bowl back into the garage, once I did that she sprinted towards it. Who does she think she is anyway! She’s not the boss of me (or is she????)  I chuckled as I heard her “crunch, crunch, crunch” through her meal and closed the back door. Two hours of exploration was good for her first time out there and I figure tomorrow we’ll let her out again especially now that we know this truly is her home!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

From the wire to the ground

I have officially walked the high-wire and I am glad to say that I made it safely across! I am gently stepping onto the platform and a thought comes to mind I now need to take the steps to get back to solid ground. I prepare to take my first few steps down and freeze for a moment. Questions fill my mind about what is to come, what will be required of me, and more importantly what will happen when I get there? I try to look down to get a glimpse of whats next but, see only the step in front of me and nothing more. Perhaps that is best, as it puts in place natural blinders which keep me from looking to the right or the left. It keeps me from running as I don't know which direction to take except for that one step, and if I could see the end result I would surely try and find a shortcut to it rather than walk the course I need to walk. So here I go step by step and I remember it says "He directs my steps "and not "He shows me the whole picture and tells me everything!" (I wish it did) I'm thankful, very thankful in fact that I'm not alone and that He has brought me through thus far!

( you can read my first entry about this high-wire here)

Monday, March 7, 2011

The weeded heart

Recently, I was in the backyard pulling weeds, actually we all were.  While we were pulling weeds our handyman was also in the backyard busy fixing the back window. After a while of pulling weeds he walked over and said “you know if you wet the soil it will soften so that the weeds will glide out instead of you having to yank them out.”  I realized what he was saying was  true because as I was pulling weeds I noticed that areas where the soil was softened the weeds were very easy to pull and came out all the way down to the root. In contrast areas where the soil was hard the weeds were almost impossible to pull.  As I continued pulling the roots out I started thinking about the roots the Bible warns against, root of unforgiveness, root of bitterness, root of fear, and so on. I know the Bible says “do not let any root of bitterness ….. But today I realized that these roots the Bible speaks of grow as naturally in our own hearts as they do in the earth. Like the weeds in my backyard they must be pulled out yet, in my heart God is the one who pulls the roots out.  Like the soil, it is easier when our hearts are softened. Which got  me thinking even more because when I would tug on one of the weeds and it wouldn’t give way I would simply move on to the next. Especially when I know all I have to do is water and wait for that soil to be softened. I wonder, does God wait just the same?  Does He patiently wait till our hearts are softened so that our hearts can give way to the process? I know the answer is yes; God not only waits for my heart to be softened, but takes the time to water me as well. I go back to pulling the weeds and ponder these things in my heart.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

right as rain

I have been going through the ringer ( yes even after making it across that high-wire!) BUT I listen to this and it soothes my soul in so many ways and Not just because this is my birthson ( although I am very proud of Evan). So, take a moment and listen to him pour out his heart through his music!

Great job Evan!

* check out shell for the pour out your heart wednesday blog!

Monday, February 21, 2011

tissue paper thin

This past weekend I began experimenting with tissue paper. I was at my cousin's house the week before and saw that their son Josh had made something similar to this,with the use of tissue paper and stamps. (Josh did an awesome job!) I made three pieces this past weekend, but this last one was for me. I put it right at the entrance to my bedroom. When I walk by and see it on my wall I'm encouraged because I feel as if my strength is about as strong as the tissue paper I used to make this and yet here is this completed picture. Last week I wrote about walking on a tight rope and I am smack dab in the middle of this high wire act. Fear and peace ensue every step. I literally have to remind myself to breathe through it, which is in part why I created this piece. So, this morning I saw my friend Robin had posted on Inspiration Avenue's weekly challenge and decided to join in especially when the theme is hitting me so personally!

A special thanks to graphicsfairy which is where I found the majority of my clip art!  
You can visit her site today to see all the submissions for Brag Monday!

"In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind." Job 12:10

Thursday, February 17, 2011

It's a high wire act.

It's a high wire act folks and she doesn't have a net! Let's watch as she steps foot on this wire and did we mention she's afraid of heights ha ha ha ha!!

Yes that is me right at this moment. Only those who know that I'm walking on the high wire know to watch, most are hopeful for me that I will not fall. Others walk on without so much as a hint to this daring act taking place. That's me alright, up there doing something I fear to do, doing something that may render me down to the ground. Or I may make it across, look at the onlookers and smile as I see what I just made it through. But, for now I'm holding on to the balancing beam while feeling the pressure under my foot from the wire. Is it too late to climb down and forget this whole thing? OR even worse is it too late to try and walk across? I glance down ,see no net under me yet know that I must take this next step. Those watching however see the net is so big that they fear not for my life. I not seeing how far and wide the net spreads out to, misinterpret it for the floor. I close my eyes, grip the beam and walk.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

no baby for Valentine's Day

Okay so Friday evening my step-daughter came over ( for her weekend home) and brought with her a baby. Her home EC class was given the assignment of being parents to a baby. This baby would cry, required a bottle, diaper changes, and being held. If she didn't do these things the baby would just wail ( like at 2 and 3 in the morning hee hee hee) I am so glad she had this assignment, not because I'm worried about the choices she may make (not worried as in just normal worried like any sane parent). She even had to bring the baby to a birthday party with her which she was not happy about. Now, my SD is really great with children, she has stated that she wants to have a big family one day but after this weekend, she isn't so sure. There were moments that I'm so glad she experienced for example; I asked her to go to the store with me(hello she loves shopping) but she said it was too much hassle to leave the house with the "baby" (I concur!). Even better was when she was playing Wii and the baby began wailing, she was mad that it interrupted her game! This assignment is one of those "there should be a law" type of things because I'm telling you this was a great experience for her. I remember teaching an abstinence class the week after a group of students did the "baby" assignment and these kids were so eager to hear about how to NOT have sex! Yesterday around 5 a.m. I heard a cry and thought it was my 7 yrs. old, well when I got up I saw my SD feeding the baby for the last time, Needless to say I wasn't able to go back to bed!(grrr bad baby, bad baby) So, I stayed up with her and just watched as she got herself ready in pink in honor of Valentine's Day. We chatted and she was so excited because for Valentine's Day she didn't have to take care of a baby anymore. I think being able to turn in her homework assignment was probably the best Valentine's Day gift she received!.....

For Valentine's Day I dropped off a big Valentine's bear balloon with a gift, I just think it's important to have that public display of love from us.  I remember being in Jr High and High School and some Valentine's Days I had a boyfriend who would give me presents and some years I walked around empty handed. I'd rather her hands be filled with our love rather than some random boys version of his!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

follow the follower?

participating in pouroutyourheart
sponsored by thingsican'

I accidentally “ followed” myself on blogger the other day. I was trying to follow someone else and next thing I knew it said I was following platanosandmangoes. I sat there and thought only me would me follow me. I broke down and messaged my (expert) friend Robin on the matter. At first I laughed at my own crazy mistake but, as I e-mailed the question to her (hey robin, how I do stop following myself?)... just then it really hit me deep. Suddenly this silly thing I did took on a whole new meaning and I began to ask myself the very same question I had just asked her. How do I stop following myself? How do I stop following the old emily who has become more fearful than fearless? How do I stop following in the footsteps of places I’ve already treaded because I’m too afraid to make new prints? It knocked me off my feet(no pun intended, OK well maybe a small one). When and why did I give up the freedom to be who I was intended to me? How do I get back to that once free girl who did things like move to Mexico for 5 months to go serve at a school for deaf children. Where is that girl who truly believed that where God guides He provides? After all, I say that I am a follower of Jesus and that I trust Him. But for sometime now I find that the footprints in the sand are more mine than His. I sit with this revelation and pray...because truly I want to walk not only where I dare to walk, but where God dares me to walk!"

Thursday, February 3, 2011

a spoonful of tunnel

photo by:platanosandmangoes! 2010

(I'm supposed to be doing taxes but, needed a blogging break!)

Ever feel like you're digging your way out of a tunnel with a spoon? Not even a sturdy spoon, but one of those plastic spoons that can't have too much pressure on them or else they'll break! I'm facing a time in my life right now where I feel like I should have a shovel and instead I have this spoon. It forces me to slow down and have patience because this will not be a feat easily overcome. In fact, I'm not sure what this tunnel will lead to, perhaps another tunnel? (smile,cringe) If that's the case I hope I'll find a shovel or better yet a bulldozer!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


(participating in Pour out your heart, thanks shell! )

When life gives you lemons make lemonade. I agree make a situation bittersweet instead of just bitter.

This past weekend my cousin, his wife (love her!) and I headed down to CA because our aunt is in the hospital.  We know the inevitable is coming and we wanted to make the trip before not after.  When I walked into the  I was taken aback by how different my Tia appeared from the last time I saw her.  Upon second glance though her big brown eyes were exactly the same. Her eyes are similar to my mothers eyes.  With Alzheimer’s beginning to set in she had to ask me a few times who I was and asked who my mother was as well.  When I would tell her, each time she responded the same “aye mi hermana, she’s in heaven waiting for me.”  I don’t know how it happened but the last time I was with my aunt was about 4 years ago.  So, here we were together once again. I held her fragile hand and just marveled at how these hands once fed our family. She is  known for making the best nacatamales (Nicaraguan tamales)   Due to the uncertainty of the circumstance a lot of our family is beginning to pour in and visit.  I saw cousins who I hadn’t seen in a few years, Uncles and Aunts as well. One aunt I hadn’t seen in over 15 years, it was amazing!  Sunday I went and said good bye to my Tia because we had to get back home. Without saying it I think we both knew that this may be the last time we would see eachother. I’m sad, but I’m also heading back home with joy over seeing my family and being able to spend time with them.  From the up and coming younger ones to the older ones. This experience I take and drink in, like a tall glass of lemonade not too sweet, not too bitter, and just right.

Memorable moments of this past weekend:
1.       Acutely reminded how blunt our family is, most of their greetings were “ Emily, oh hija and then quickly followed by..estas gorda!”  ( it’s meant in love , it really is)
2.       Spending time with just us cousins, because we wanted to  and being able to reminisce of days gone by.
3.       My cousin Silvio telling me that our Tia’s were greeting him the same way ( Silvio!...hugs….estas gordo)  Gotta love them for their consistency!
4.       My cousin Johan recalling a time when his grandma (another one of my aunts whose passed on) once picked him up from school for getting in trouble and didn’t “discipline” him until after she let him play video games, gave him dinner and kissed him goodnite. Then, she closed the door and a few moments later she re-opened the door only to spank him. We laughed so hard.
5.       Singing childhood lullabies with my Tia  in the hospital. I hadn’t heard some of those songs since I was little! (That moment there I will cherish for the rest of my life)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

From Birthmom to Birthfriend

Yesterday I wrote about Oprah's show where she introduced her half-sister (who was secretly placed for adoption). On the heels of that this morning I am realizing that yes I am a birth mom ,but am slowly becoming a birth friend to Evan.  If he composes a song or posts a poem I'm one of the first to click the "like" button on his fb page. It's funny because facebook has allowed us to be a part of each others lives in a way that we've never been before. I've always stayed in touch with his mom and she's been really good about sending me photos ,Christmas letters, etc.  Within the last two years we both joined facebook and have interacted with each other more than we ever did before. I do believe it's in part to the fact that he's getting older and thankfully he wants his birth family to be a part of his life. So, the transition begins and I hope the same happens with my other boys. As they grow older and mature the role of mom will lessen and the role of friend will increase.  You can read more about my adoption story here!( It's the beginning of my 3 part blogeries!)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

oprah and samuel

I don't often watch the Oprah show BUT, this morning I began to google,YouTube,and yahoo my way through yesterdays episode. Many have heard that Oprah has a sister who was secretly placed for adoption. When I heard the word adoption my ears naturally perked up. At first I had the "say what!" reaction that most would have but then, I immediately felt an emotional tie to the story. I found the clip where Oprah met her sister for the first time on Thanksgiving Day. I got weepy because two years ago Samuel met his brother for the first time on my birthday and we all celebrated Thanksgiving together! Samuel has always known he had a brother and Evan had met Samuel when he was a baby. At the time though Evan was not very interested in any baby and Samuel was too little to remember. So, when we went to visit them it was really the first time they would hang out and get to know each other. Samuel doesn't fully understand why Evan lives where he lives or why he has a different family and he doesn't ask. He takes it at face value that he has a brother and he's content with that. Samuel loves Evan and even wants to learn how to play piano because Evan plays piano (actually he wants Evan to teach him!). I knew that placing Evan for adoption meant that he and Emmanuel would not grow up together. But, when I had Samuel I wasn't sure how their relationship would be. Emmanuel and Evan have had that opportunity to get to know each other and have been around each other but, here was a whole new person to get to know. Samuel and Evan have a big age difference but, whenever they have been around each other it's been really sweet to see them develop their own relationship in this unique situation. I can't help but love even those moments when Samuel was annoying Evan or that Andrew ( Evan's older brother) loved how Evan now had someone to annoy him.(Andrew called it payback time)  I finished watching all the clips I could find and got how Oprah felt about having her sister in her life now. It's a blessing and I feel that way about being a part of Evan's life. It's that" it could have turned out another way, but here it is this way" and I love it!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Self-inflicted wounds are still wounds

A few months ago I stopped blogging due to personal family issues. The last post I wrote was titled "until the smoke clears" and I didn't begin writing again until the smoke cleared enough for me to see the keyboard. It was during this time that we allowed my son to go stay with grandma. He has recently returned for a visit and all was going well until it wasn't. He decided to veer off the road a bit and we found ourselves sitting in the car this morning needing to talk about his off-road "excursion". Once we said all that needed to be said I wrapped my arms around him and just held him. I flashed back to the day he was born and remembered how little he was (he only weighed 6.4 lbs!). As I hugged him I realized that my little baby sure has grown yet, isn't it funny how little big can feel? He's a good kid, he really is but, I worry because I'm not sure which direction he will go.  I worry because I know the freedom to make choices goes hand in hand with feeling the repercussions of those choices. I hug him tightly knowing that how I handle this moment right here is defining our relationship in the future. I accept his apology, I hope for his future, and I pray for his well-being.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

So that's why they call it "hitting" the pavement

(Today I am starting a new thing, which is taking part in thingsicantsay's  (a.k.a #5) Wednesday's blogging exercise. )

Today I went to a Job Fair and though not as fun as a state fair, they both carried similar attributes. For example, there were plenty of booths there with people enticing you to come and see what they were offering. The job opportunities hung in the air like those ginormous teddy bears that can be won. Some of the "job descriptions" gave you a sense of ease. Like the ease you get when you buy a dozen red plastic rings for $1.00 with anticipation that you'll at least get 6 of those rings on the glass bottles. And just as you're about to toss one of those rings, bam! you overhear someone say " last year we had over 20,000 applicants and only hired 400". Just then at that moment you realize that it will be as easy to land a job as it is landing that red plastic ring around the coke bottle. (Let's hope I'm better at getting a job than I am at the latter) I left with my imaginary Rolodex full of possibilities and and my hope tank pointing more to the E. So, I pray and refocus. I go home and change my heels for my converse. Thank God His mercies are new every morning, I think I've used all mine up today!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Holding a sign while changing your life

Did you hear the one about the homeless guy who wrote out on cardboard and had his life changed? If you haven't heard about Ted Williams go here and then come back. Okay so I read the story about this gentleman who was homeless,jobless, and well lifeless. He, for whatever reason, had enough belief in the gift he was given to write it on a piece of cardboard and the rest I hope will be history. It got me thinking though I mean here this guy was past the "prime of his life", had made many wrong turns and was at what we would consider a major dead end. Yet, if he had not written those words on that sign, if he had completely given up on the idea of his worth we wouldn't be talking about him today. It encourages me not to give up on the understanding that God has a plan and that it's never too late to step into that plan. I definitely ponder at my life and see wrong turns taken and opportunities missed.  The more I think about it the more I relate to Ted Williams after all, keeping a blog is not much different than holding a sign. It's publicly putting yourself out there not sure which passerby will stop for a moment and read what you've written. Often times I don't know who is reading what I write, I technically have "4 followers" ( hi ladies) but for me it's the knowing that I am writing and sharing pieces of my life that makes writing and sharing worth while. So, here's to you Ted and the rest of us silent cardboard sign holders!

Take a moment to watch the cardboard testimony
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