Category Archives: Daily living

I Am Apathetic, But I Don’t Care

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I think apathy is a major problem in our society that is producing to a culture that is impotent in meaning. We are so wrapped up in nothingness that we are producing nothing more than a vain existence. What is it that we are living for? What is the meaning for our existence? You probably don’t know or care, but why not? Where did the lack of caring come from, and our neutered vigor for life and the pursuit for the furtherance of our betterment?

When I read some authors of old, in the 18th and 19th century they seemed to have a greater veraciousness for life and a deeper understanding for you they were and how they fit into this world. They had direction, conviction, and the resolve to see things through. What if our founding fathers were born in this century, would be have a free country? Is this in part because they didn’t have mundane distractions like we have know to occupy their time. We spend so much time watching T.V., surfing the internet, and spend hours playing or watching sports. Where does that lead us?

Is Technology to Blame?

I used to work with a guy who blamed MTV for all the ills of our society. I can’t say I agree with him, but I agree with where he was coming from. With shows like Jersey Shore, Housewives of “name your state”, or any host of  “reality” shows leads us to a degraded outlook in life. It lowers our desire for greatness. We are also living in a time where there are a ton of other distractions. Video games are at a all time high for kids and adults as well. Males average 23 hours a week playing video games and the average age for gamers is not 13 like you might think, but rather 35. If you add that to 19 hours a week on average we Americans spend watching T.V., that adds up to 42 hours a week or 6 hours a day. This does not even include the time surfing the web or updating our Facebook status.

This fills our time and our thoughts with mediocrity at best and a lower standard of living with degraded morals at worst. We are being dragged into a life of complacency, and diverted from any real meaning. We no longer think of the deeper things of life, but are spending time thinking about what is going to happen in the next episode of some fictitious show or how can I get to the next level of some game that leads nowhere.

Are We Running in Circles?

Picture a person running on a treadmill, isn’t that our lives sometimes, both figuratively and literally?  We are running, running, running, but going nowhere. I think another thing that leads to apathy or maybe an outcome of it, is our tirelessness activities. We fill our time with hobbies, exercise, and leisure that it also consumes so much of our time and energies, that it keeps us from caring about the greater more pressing things in life. Now I am not trying to be a downer here, or say any of these things are bad. Activities and exercising are definitely beneficial to our well being. I am actually thinking about writing  a post about depression and mountain biking, but that’s another topic for another day. What I am getting at is that we fill too much of our time with things that have little impact on meaning, invention, poverty alleviation, raising kids to make greater differences in their circle of influence.

This constant busyness and submersion into such prosaic pastimes feed into our apathies and can keep us there for a life time. We need to break out of the commonplace distractions and strive for betterment, strive for finding our place in this world. In the Bible it says “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Eph. 2:10.  You see, we are made for a purpose, but how are you going to realize what that purpose is unless you start living with a purpose in mind? Instead of life just happening around you with your head stuck in the ground, realize you were created by a maker. This maker has a plan for you to do good works, not watching T.V. or countless hours on the internet, gaming and working out. Life is more than that. The Bible also says “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ”. Php 1:6

Let us spend more time learning what it is God has planned for our lives, what good work were we created for, knowing that He will bring it to completion. Let us live our lives intentionally, filled with the purpose we were made for.

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Filed under Daily living, Intentional living

I’ve Been Nominated for the Sunshine Blog Award

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I’d like to thank His Reflections for nominating me for the Sunshine Blog Award, which is given to “bloggers who positively and creatively inspire others in the blogosphere.”I am very thankful towards Him for his recognition and would like to do the same for others. Below are 10 bloggers I feel are worthy of the same and more so.

Rules to Accept the Award:

1)  Include the award logo in a post or somewhere on your blog.

2) Answer 10 questions about yourself.

3) Nominate 10 to 12 other fabulous bloggers.

4)  Link your nominees to the post and comment on their blog, letting them know about the award.

5)  Share the love and link the person who nominated you.

The 10 Questionsand Answers:

1)   What is your favorite color? I like colonial blue

2)   What is your favorite animal?  Brown bear

3)   What is your favorite non-alcoholic drink?  mighty mango by Naked

4)  Do you prefer Facebook or Twitter? Facebook

5)   What is your passion?  teaching the word by any means and missions work in Nicaragua

6)  What is your favorite pattern?  don’t say I have one?

7) Do you prefer giving or getting presents?  giving is so much better

8) What is your favorite number? 8

9)  What is your favorite day of the week? Sunday

10) What is your favorite flower? umm, Krocus

Here are my nominees

1) Chief of the Least

2) The Ink Slinger

3) Good News

4) Revelations in Writing

5) Attempts at Honesty

6) Settled in Heaven

7) The Berean Way

8) The Purpose Class

9) This is What I Have to Say

10) Just My Faith Talking

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Life Is Not Fair

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Life is not fair! Have you ever uttered those words before?  You probably have, because I think everyone has at one point or another. Are you going through a struggle or hardship right now, and wondering why is my life so hard? Why don’t things ever work out for me? I can tell you one thing, you are not alone. In the past week I have encountered my own struggles and heard other peoples hardships that seem there is no easy answer to. So how do we overcome these monumental difficulties in life without giving up, or going into a depression or becoming hardened?

We feel life is not fair when things don’t go the way we want them to go. But how do we know that the way we want them to go is the right way or the fair way? Isn’t this when we become bitter and resentful, when we don’t get our way? Our way can seem very fair, we can pray for a family member with cancer to be healed. Or we can pray for our children to be healthy or a marriage to be reconciled only to have the family member die of cancer, children to be sick and  marriages fall apart. And we say or think, this is not fair. But what are we comparing fair to? Are we all to always be healthy and live to 100, never get into an accident, never have an argument with our spouse, never have parents with health issues? But what are we basing these assumptions on? I think it continues to fall on the fact that we don’t want these things to happen and when they do we say it is not fair based on our expected outcome.  So what do we do when things don’t go our way, how do we overcome it?

“For the Arrows of The Almighty are in Me” Job 6:4

Let’s look at the Bible and some situations people fell into that we would call unfair. Let us first look at Job. He had lost his sons and daughters in a horrific accident, he lost all of his money(livestock) by fires and thieves, and then to top it off he was inflicted with excruciating boils from his feet to his head. What did he do to deserve this you ask? Nothing, he was a very good upstanding citizen who loved God and didn’t seem to have a bad bone in his body. It was during this time when his own wife told to curse God and die, nice wife right? I would say this would fall in the not fair scenario. So how does Job respond to all of this? I am not going to say he was giddy over it by any means, at one point he wished that he had never been born. But he never lost perspective of who he was and who God is. He said in Job 13:15 “Though he slay me I will hope in him” (referring to God).And in Job 19:25-26 “For I know my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth” Even though Job was going through hell on earth he never lost sight of who God is or lost his hope in him.

Another great example of an unfair life is the life of Paul. Paul turned into a very godly man who went on to be a great missionary preaching the good news of the gospel everywhere he went. Therefore God must have blessed him beyond measure for being such a faithful servant right? I will let Paul respond to that question. 2Cor 11:23-28 “…with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death. Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from the gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst often without food, in cold and exposure. And apart from other things there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches”. Because of this Paul shouted out to God and said “this in not fair, why are you doing this to me. I am a good person doing your work, why are you punishing me like this, why are you not answering my prayers” Actually he never said that, but he probably had every right to. Isn’t that what we would say and do say when afflictions come our way? But what does Paul really say?  Written in the same letter  we find Paul saying this about his hardships, 2 Cor. 4:17 “For this light and momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison”. WHAT!! a light and momentary affliction? I think after the one imprisonment I would have given up and started with the why me’s. How are Job and Paul able to have these responses to such horrible calamity?

Having the Right Perspective.

I believe Job and Paul were able to overcome there difficulties because the had a right perspective on life. Both Job and Paul kept their focus on God and not themselves. Job remembered Who God is and Paul remembered what Jesus had done for him. What is more important to us will determine what rules us. What is bigger to you in your life; your problems or God? What are you focusing on more? When Paul was in prison he wrote the book of Philippians which is known as the book of joy. If I wrote that book it would be called be book of woe is me. Paul goes on to write words like everything is trash compared to the surpassing worth of knowing Christ. We have a choice we can either be self centered or Christ centered. One leads to into a spiral of self pity and despair filled with depression. The other leads to life, joy, peace, and ultimately to our salvation. We need to keep our eyes on the author and perfecter of our faith and take them off of ourselves. Life is not fair, but not in the way you are thinking. It is not fair because we deserve death for or sins and turning our back to God, but Jesus gave up his life so that we may have eternal life, Jesus took our place on the cross taking on the full wrath of God so that we never have too. I am sure Jesus easily could have said this is not fair. I never did anything wrong yet I am being punished for everyone else.  It is with this knowledge that we may say like David did in Ps 40:16 But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who love your salvation say continually. “Great is the Lord”.

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You Are Going to Die

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You may not know when it will happen, where it will happen, or how, but either way, you are going to die. This is one thing that you can be sure of 100% unless you think you will be raptured, but for the sake of the argument let’s say not in your lifetime. If this is the one thing that you can have no doubt about, why do we not discuss it more? We will spend time talking about politics, work, sports, hobbies, vacations ad nauseam, but not what happens to us when we die?

I work at a cancer center so maybe this topic comes up with me more than others, but it is still a topic of taboo. When the topic of death does comes up, it is usually followed by a God forbid, or someone knocking on wood. We will venture to discuss death about other people occasionally, but rarely if ever about ourselves. Well let me be the one to tell you, you are going to die. How does that make you feel? Does the thought scare you? If so, what are you scared of? Is it the fear of the unknown or the fear of what you are leaving behind, such as children, a spouse or loved ones? Is this what keeps us from talking about it, fear?

A more pressing question would be, if you ARE going to die why do we not spend more time trying to find out what happens to us when we die?

I know many people who when asked what happens when we die they respond, I have no idea, or say I don’t like to think about it. When I was in my late teens into my early twenties I was searching every religion to try and make sure I was on the right path. I am not saying I am better, or smarter than anyone, rather it does freak me out therefore I searched, studied, examined, prayed to whoever would listen for the truth to ensure peace about my eternal resting place. So it doesn’t make any sense to me and confounds me that more people don’t also agonize over their death and where there soul goes and what are the requirements to enter into a heaven if there is one.

Are we just turned back into dirt when we die and that’s that?

I have heard it from atheists who say there is nothing more to this life then what we are living, and when we die that’s it. Our bodies will turn into dust, we have no soul, there is no heaven, no hell, just nothingness. I have a hard time believing people actually believe that, because if this were true I think they would be living their lives differently. Why live a moral life? Why not step over everyone and take  what you want and live with a more reckless abandon. Although I guess if I did believe that, I wouldn’t want to think about death either.

If there is a Heaven and Hell are you 100% sure you are going to the right place?

I  will ask people who believe there is a heaven and hell, how do you know you are going to heaven?  Many will respond “hopefully I was good enough”.  I think hopefully? hopefully? Again, why is it that if we know we are going to die we don’t make sure we know where we are going and how to get there. Why is not our every waking hour consumed with making sure you are going to heaven especially if you think hell exists. The results are final and eternal. But instead we just hope we might be right and continue going about our daily routines like it is never going to happen.

Fortunately or not, you can not be good enough to get into heaven, so you don’t have to hope about being good enough or not. It says in the bible in Ephesians 2:8-9  For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,  not a result of works, so that no one may boast. But rather we need to follow Jesus, and accept his free gift of salvation that he offers to all who call upon him.

Act 2:21 And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved…
Act 2:28 You have made known to me the paths of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence…
Act 2:38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins…
For “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 Jn 1:9

How Can I Be Sure I am Going to Heaven?

Well if it is God’s heaven He makes up the rules and He gives us promises in His word. Like in Ephesians 1:13-14  In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,  who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. And similarly founnd in 1Peter 1:3-4 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,  to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you,

So you can be sure of your final resting place, and not fear death, but rather curiously anticipate it with hope. So you too can say with confidence, “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.
But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1Cor 15:55-57

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Worried About Anxiety

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I am about to start a new job after having worked at the same place for 18 years. I am beginning to have feelings of inadequacy, can I even do what they want me to? Is it going to be harder than I first expected? Did I make the right decision? How can I say goodbye to all the friendships I created over that time? This has created the opportunity to ponder what is anxiety and how can we overcome it?

What Is Anxiety?

Anxiety is a displeasing feeling of fear and concern. But over what? We are also told that there in nothing to fear but fear itself. So are we just anxious about anxiousness? What is the root cause of worry, fear, anxiety? I think  it is the lack of control that we have over a situation. We are afraid of things we can’t control  like cancer, a plane crashing, paying bills, our health, our children’s health , and  our parents health. When you are pregnant the whole time the child is in the womb you are worried about 1000 different things. Is the heart beating right, does she have all her fingers, Is he going to be healthy? We worry because we can’t control the outcome.

How do we respond to our anxiety?

How do we overcome our fears and worries when they are out of our control. A lot of us will try to control things that we can control to compensate for this. For example, I work at a cancer center, and I have seen it time and time again when a patient will absolutely demand a specific time they want receive  their treatment. Even though they have no other appointments during the day, they will vehemently demand 10:00 a.m. and that’s that. Why? Because they can’t control their cancer, so they control something else instead. Since so many of us are worried about health  we do everything we can to control that. Every calorie is counted, every rep at the gym accounted for and every exercise well thought out for maximum results. Maybe your controlling comes out in different ways, such as the way your house has to be immaculate, or maybe you are a workaholic or you have your whole life written out on your day planner. This of course does not have any affect on what our anxiety is over, it just gives us a false sense of control over our life.

So then, how do we really overcome anxiety then?  We need to understand we are not in control, but we have a God who is. When we worry we say we need to have control, and if we don’t something bad might happen. We are saying God cannot handle my child’s sickness. God cannot handle how I am going to get money to pay the mortgage. God cannot deal handle cancer, our jobs, our travel, our parent’s sickness. I am the one who needs to handle these things, and if I can’t this is when anxiety strikes.

What does God say about our anxieties? 1) He says in Philippians 4:6-7  “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Here we are told instead of worrying, come to God in prayer and then the peace of God will guard us against being anxious. There is however a caveat. In order to have the peace OF God we need to have peace WITH God. It says in Romans 5:1 “Therefore since we have been justified by faith we have peace WITH God through our Lord Jesus Christ”  Jesus says you are either for me or against me, there in no in between. But if you are for Him and believe in Him you are then His child, and he will give you this peace that surpasses all understanding even in your worst circumstances.

2) Jesus says in Matt 6:25  “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?
Mat 6:26  Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
Mat 6:27  And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 
Jesus is telling us that the Father will take care of our needs so do not worry about them. Even if you did, He says, what will that help it will not add a single hour to your life.

3) 1Peter 5:7  casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.  Not only will He give us this peace that surpasses all understanding and give us what we need, But here we are reminded that He cares for us. It says in Matthew 7:9-11  Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone?  Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent?   If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!  God loves us and wants to give us what we need, we just need to come to Him and ask.

We need to come to the realization that we are not in control. Rather we have a loving Creator who is in control over all things and promises to give us peace over whatever situation we are going through. It doesn’t mean that we will always get what we want or things will work out the way we want. But we know He loves us, and He has a plan for us and He is in control.

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Busy Doing Nothing

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I think I may be going through a mid-life crisis , and I started a blog during this period or maybe because of it. Either way, you may have to go through it with me. I have been thinking a lot lately about what I am doing and to what end I am doing it.  I feel like I am so busy doing things yet going nowhere at the same time, kind of like a hamster wheel of life. What is it about ourselves that causes us to live like this, being constantly busy, but achieving so little?

We fill our days with mundane tasks of mediocrity, tediously crossing off our checklists just to be rewritten next week.  We busy ourselves with running errands, taxing our kids from event to event, spending countless hours completing to-do lists around the house. We spend hours shaping our bodies in gyms, running on treadmills, riding our bikes in circles.  These are even considered the productive activities. But how much of our time do we spend watching T.V., or playing video games, or browsing the internet with no destination in mind? We just fill our time with nothingness.

Of course what I view as nothingness or worthless, you may give defense to. If I say working out is meaningless you may retort with all the benefits it has of how we will live longer, healthier lives, or by working harder at our jobs will give us greater success in life. But I guess my thought comes from a quote I read recently from Francis Chan. “Our greatest fear should not be of failure, but at succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter.” With all this stuff we do, what does it mean in the scheme of life as we know it? How are we adding to society, how are we creating our legacy? Do I want people to think of me as the guy who knew a lot of movie or T.V. quotes, or be remembered by my internet browsing prowess? For that matter, would it be better if I was remembered as being successful at my job and earned enough money to retire early and move to Florida and start a seashell collection?  Is the American dream really just that? Make a lot a money to live an easier life to fulfill self satisfying motives? Along the way to this dream we watch sports on T.V.,or  Dancing With the Stars, or Jersey Shore in the interim. We fill our lives with empty pursuits to achieve an empty goal.

In the Bible it says, in Mat 6:19 -20, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal,  but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.”  I think we need to start living with eternity in mind with eternal goals. I am continually reminded of verses like Jas1:27,  “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”

Isa 58:7,  “Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?”

Isa 58:10, “If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday.”

Mat 6:2-4,  “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.  But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,  so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”

These are some examples of living with eternity in mind, creating eternal consequences. This, however, doesn’t mean some of the ordinary mundane tasks in life cannot incorporate these ideas. When you are the taxi driver for your children you can be using that time to build relationships with them and teach them. Deu 11:19, “You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise,” for example. So the nothingness can turn into something-ness if we live with a greater purpose in mind, and more intentionally. Don’t let life just pass you by filled with times of empty living, rather live extra-ordinary making an impact on those around you with eternal goals with eternal consequences and not temporary materialistic ones which will blow away like sand in the winds of time.

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Words Left Unsaid

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My grandmother (Nana) passed away earlier this year, leaving us, yet joining her loved ones in heaven. She is someone who you would say lived her life to the fullest, living one month shy of her ninetieth birthday. She  became ill approximately a month leading up to the time she passed away. This gave time for the family to come together, including my brother and his family from British Colombia, to traverse all the way to Pennsylvania to say our goodbyes. One of the sweetest moments in my life is when my dad,my brother and I sat around her  hospital bed one night. We spent this time letting her know how much we loved her, how much she meant to us and how blessed  our families were to have her in their lives. We then preceded  to pray with her as tears streamed down our faces, knowing this would be one of the last times we would spend with her this side of heaven. It was a sad but peaceful moment which brought closure to our hearts.

This was especially sweet to have this opportunity because earlier in the year, I had a friend pass away suddenly at the age of 51. I was  therefore robbed of telling him what he mean to me and what a special person he was in my life. At his funeral a microphone was passed around as person after person told their stories of how he affected their lives in amazing ways. They would tell how he would always make them feel special, and no matter what was going on he would always make time for you. One guy stood up and revealed that he had received a phone call from him the day before, but wasn’t able to answer it because he was in the middle of work. He mentioned how horrible he felt that he wasn’t there for him when he needed him and how he will never have that conversation with him.

The  passing of these two got me thinking of how precious life is and how important it is to tell people how you feel about them.  Why is it that many times we wait until after people die to tell them how much we love them and how important they are to us? I was fortunate with my Nana to know her time was coming to a close. But life doesn’t always work like this, and many times loved ones are taken from us in an instant, leaving us with words unsaid. I am sure that everyone reading this has lost a loved one that they were not able to tell them how much they meant in their lives, how they influenced you, made you better, or made you feel special in some way. During my grandmother’s funeral my Aunt had an idea to say our last words to those who didn’t have such an opportunity. During the funeral we were all handed a helium balloon and a permanent marker. We then wrote a message to her on the balloon conveying our goodbyes or penning some message that was special between us and her. We then went outside and let the balloon go to send her our goodbyes. I first thought this was a corny idea, because the realist side in me thought, “she is not going to really see this, what’s the point?” But as I looked around everyone was really enjoying it, and it seemed like a great cathartic tool to gain some closure if you had words left unsaid.

Let this be a call to action, let us not find ourselves in the predicament of regret of not  speaking our hearts to those around us who we find special. Take the time to tell them now what they mean to you, how the make you a better person, or how they could always make you smile or forget your worries no matter what was going on in your life. Don’t let them leave you with words left unsaid.

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