Friday, September 29, 2006

Saturday Photo Scavenger Hunt - Comfy

This week's picture is totally the brain-child of my 14 year old daughter, Sweetanlo. When she heard that this week's theme was "comfy", she said we should all go to the mall and take a picture of the gang while sitting atop on of the huge seats at the Lovesac Store...."because they're just the comfy-est!" she said.

So that's what we did. This afternoon we dropped off Pastormac at the church to catch a ride to a meeting in Colorado, and then the six of us headed to the mall, where I took this picture.

Don't they look so comfy?!

Of course, our afternoon of window shopping took us by Cinnabon where we stopped in and shared one of these

Not exactly comfy, but certainly comfort food!!


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What my daughter says

I've been tagged! I can hardly believe it! A first!

Ok...well, it wasn't me daughter actually....but at least we're related!

Shalee over at Shalee's Diner tagged my oldest daughter.
(Now I'll have to let my other daughter answer the questions and post her answers too, just to be fair! We all know how important fairness is, don't we parents?)

Here are my Sweetanlo's answers. She's 14. (Your can read about that here and here.

  • 1. Something I do well: Sing. Read.

  • 2. Something I’d like to improve on: Being patient while doing math. Being nicer to my sister.

  • 3. My favorite food: New Mexican food.

  • 4. Three words that describe me best: Happy. Friendly. Musical.

  • 5. My happiest moment: Haven’t had it yet. It will be when my mom and dad bring home our babies from Ethiopia.

  • 6. Most important thing in my life right now. God. Friends. Family.

  • Then to the moms:
  • 7. Where you surprised by any of the answers?
    For #1, I'm glad that she had to choose and not me. I think that she does so many things well, my list would have gone on and on. Not surprised, but pleased with #2. She gave the second part after I asked her if there was anything else. #3. YUM! Girl after my own heart and the only one of my kids who would choose this. #4 - See my answer for #1. She needed a little help with #5, too many happy moments in her life to choose one. And #6 - I'm seeing that at 14, her friends have become so important in her life; so glad that she's chosen good ones. She can't go wrong listing God 1st., though; He'll help her keep her priorities straight!

So I'm tagging Carmen's Allegra, Mary's 18 yr. old beauty, Anne's Britta, and Michelle's Emma.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Love Thursday #4

Glad I stopped by Mom to the Screaming Masses. I might have forgotten Love Thursday altogether. (And her pictures were so cute!)

Here's my picture for today.

Yesterday afternoon while I was suffering with the stomach crud - again for the 3rd time in 2 weeks! (What's up with that?!), I was feeling a little chilled. So I wrapped myself in a cozy afghan and laid down for a nap. I felt comfortable and warm and as I looked at myself all wrapped up, I thought to myself, I love these blankets.

I love my afghans. Each one is special. Each has it's own story and personality. Each one was crocheted or knitted together with loving hands and warm thoughts of love and sometimes prayers. Joe Cool has been know to say that sleeping under one is like a hug from Lo (our friend who made it). I have to agree.

Go on over to Chookooloonks for Love Thursday. You should consider joining yourself.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Works-For-Me Wednesday - The Classics

Shannon over at Rocks in My Dryer is doing a Works-For-Me - Classics Edition today. So we were encouraged to search through our WFMW's for our best entry. I don't know how "classic" something can be when I've only been blogging since June, but this idea seemed to draw posiitve comments and it really does work for me, so I'll re-post it here.

Gotta love Wednesday, when you can head over to Rocks in My Dryer and find hundreds of great ideas, tips & advice to make life easier.

Here's my WFMW for this week. It has to do with laundry, since we're always doing laundry. Always, always, always.

There are five children in our family; five dirty clothes generators - that's works out to be a lot of underwear and socks! My two girls are close in age (13 & 11) and my guys are 9, almost 7 & 4 1/2. Here's how I make sorting clean laundry easier.

For my girls: I try to buy different brands of underwear & socks for each one. Not just different styles or colors, but different brands. For instance, one of the girls wears Hanes and the other, Fruit of the Loom. So constantly checking the tags or holding them up to see which is bigger isn't necessary. Just one look at the brand and put them in the right pile.

For the guys: Just so happens my older two guys are essentially the same size, so to avoid undue laundry-sorting stress I have them wear totally different styles of underwear and socks. For instance, one guy wears regular briefs and the other one wears boxer-briefs; one guy wears ankle socks and the other wears crew - all different at a glance. (The littlest guy still has underwear with superheroes, cartoons or cars on them so they're easy to pick out.)

That's my tip. Many of you probably figured this out long ago. I'm still a little slow with these things, but this works for me!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Fall Reading Challenge

Katrina, over at Callapidderdays, is challenging us to Fall into Reading. Maybe I'll even be the lucky winner of the $10 gift certificate prize she's giving away.

I'm happy to play along, even without the gift certificate motivation. I enjoy reading but don't always make time to do it as much as I'd like. Pastormac and I have enjoyed reading to each other since we were just an engaged couple, although with each family addition our time to do it has diminished.

This list is a combination of the books that I'm reading for a book club I belong to and also a few that I've added.

Here's my list.

  • If You Will Ask by Oswald Chambers

  • A Voice in the Wind by Francine Rivers

  • What Happens When Women Walk in Faith by Lysa Terfeurst

  • Ann of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

  • Black by Ted Dekker

  • I'm Chocolate, You're Vanilla: Raising Healthy Black and Biracial Children in a Race-Conscious World by Marguerite Wright

  • Attaching in Adoption: Practical Tools for Today's Parents by Deborah D. Gray

  • Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser

  • Christ in Concrete by Piertro di Donato

  • The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith

  • Scorpia (Alex Rider Adventure) by Anthony Horowitz

  • Populuxe by Thomas Hine

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Saturday Photo Scavenger Hunt - Eyes

#1 Son took this video of himself. But I painstakingly flipped frame by frame through it in order to capture this picture. The color doesn't do his eyes justice though. These beauties are an amazing shade of stormy hazel green.


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Friday, September 22, 2006

A Sweetanlo Happy Birthday!

Happy 14th Birthday Sweetanlo!

Today you are fourteen! Wow. Can it be that 14 years have past since your arrival ushered me into this wonderful adventure called Motherhood?

It's been a wonderful year. What joy, witnessing you maturing, stretching your individuality and becoming your own person, making more important decisions for yourself. You've chosen your friends well (or maybe they've chosen you); no matter as long as they stay. While you do have "it's all about me" moments, they don't monopolize your life and you are usually pleasantly focused on others. So brilliant, so beautiful, so friendly, a little self-conscience and fearful, so tenderhearted, so much to offer, so much to give, so much to experience and learn, so much more life to live.

It's been an interesting year. I'd have to say that it was a little unreal having my first born outgrow me. I know that you secretly enjoy putting your hands on my shoulders and looking down into my face. (Admit it!) I'm torn between awe & wonder at the amazing young lady you're becoming and sadness & melancholy at the realization that my baby is gone and our time together is fleeting. Someday soon, in a blink it seems, you'll be off on your own adventure. Will you be ready? I think so....I hope so....I pray so. (Lord, show me how I can help.)

It's been a year of intense feelings and sometime frustrations. You've boarded the emotional rollercoaster we call Womanhood. Welcome! Somedays is can be a bumpy ride. "I don't even know why I'm feeling like this." Ah yes dear. It can be puzzling at times. Chocolate can be helpful. You and your dad are more alike than either one of you know. Perhaps that why you two have your "moments." Try to remember in those times that he loves you more than life itself and only has your best in mind. I appreciate that you don't hang onto things. You let them go and seek to reconcile quickly. It's always been your nature and I'm so pleased that it's hasn't been something that you've "outgrown."

And so we face the upcoming year of life, love and learning. It will no doubt be busy and full of joys and sorrows.

But today we'll pause and revel in the wonder that is you.

Happy, blessed birthday, my precious first born, my Sweetanlo. And "many happy return of the day" as Eyeore has been know to say.

I love you.

15 Facts about Lo at 14

Note to readers: Today brings not only the first day of Fall, but the 14th anniversary of the birth of Sweetanlo, my firstborn. So today she's posting 15 facts about herself. One for every year and one to grown on.

Sweetanlo's 15 Facts at 14.

  • 1. I'm an obsessive reader.

  • 2. I get to drive next winter. YAY!

  • 3. I love to travel.

  • 4. I love to watch old musicals.

  • 5. I'm taller than everyone in my family except my dad.

  • 6. I would rather stay up late than get up early any day.

  • 7. I own all 12 of Lemony Snicket's Series of Unfortunate Events, and will be getting number 13, The End on the day it comes out October 13th which is a Friday. Ooh Spooky!

  • 8. 22 is my favorite number. Guess why!

  • 9. I love to eat New Mexican food.

  • 10. I've been playing the flute for 3 years, and I love to sing.

  • 11. One of my favorite bands is Casting Crowns.

  • 12. I have three best friends, we've known each other for 10 or 11 years. I love spending time with them.

  • 13. I call flip-flops slippers, because one of my best friends, Nan, is from Hawaii and she taught us to call them that.

  • 14. Nan is going to take me and our other friends to Hawaii in a couple years.

  • And one to grow on.
  • 15. I'm a total spendthrift and money tends to burn a hole in my pocket, so I love to shop.

See ya next year! (You can check out my blog, Sweetanlo's Soliloquy. Just email my dad at for the password. )

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Love Thursday #3

Love Thursday here again already? I can't believe how fast the time goes.

Today I'm being a little unconventional. Here's today's picture.

I know I know. It's my washing machine.

What's love got to do with a washing machine?

Well it was broken for several days and the amount of laundry that piled up around while we were waiting for the repairman was mind-boggling. Truly astounding really. And everyone keeps asking me if this is clean, or if their favorite that is clean. Ah, no, the washing machine is broken, remember?

It's fixed now and I'm making my way through all those dirty clothes....I love my washing machine.

Today, why don't you consider joining us over at Chookooloonks for Love Thursday?

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

A Works-For-Me Wednesday Recipe

Looking for something delicious and easy to take to your next potluck or party, or just something to whip up for your friends who are stopping by? Here is a recipe that I found in our church cookbook and modified just a little. Now when my friends know I'm coming to a party, they always ask, "Can you bring the Sausage Dip?"

Here you go.

Super Sausage Dip

1 lb. bulk sausage (as spicy or mild as you like it)
1 can Ro-Tel diced tomatoes with green chiles (again as spicy or mild as you like) Do not drain.
16 oz. cream cheese
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

Brown sausage until crisp. Drain fat. Add Ro-Tel, and bring up heat to a simmer. Add cream cheese and stir over medium heat until it has melted. Stir in beans. Turn down and let simmer about 5 minutes or until the mixture thickens to a dipping consistency. Serve with tortillas chips. Use microwave for reheating leftovers (if you have any). You can also use it as a baked potato topper.

It's quick and easy and yummy. I have made it using "light" sausage and "light" cream cheese with good results.

Just make sure you have some friends or family to share it with, or you might find yourself eating the whole pot! (Yup, it's that good.) Works for me!

Over at Rocks in My Dryer there are other recipes for making life simplier.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Good-bye Aunt Ga.

My Aunt Ga., whom I talked about in this post, died this morning. She was 84 years old. (She took all her secrets with her, if you're wondering.)

We will miss her.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Saturday Photo Scavenger Hunt-Looking Up

Mount Zion National Park, Utah


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Thursday, September 14, 2006

Does your blog need a new look?

Susie over at Bluebird Blogs is welcoming Autumn with a contest! Two lucky winners will receive completely customized blogs by Bluebird Blogs. Just send an email with your name and blog address to She's accepting entries from 7:00pm EST on Thursday 9/14/06 until 11:59pm EST on Friday 9/22/06. And if you mention the contest on your blog you get 5 extra entries!

People have great things to say about working with her. Check out these great designs Life in a Shoe, and baby makes three, Raising Five, and Living to tell the Story. Or stop by her website and view her gallery. This gal is talented!

I like her stuff so much I took the plunge and hired her to design a blog for me (her prices are incredibly reasonable) and I'm just waiting in line behind the long line of other bloggers who had the same great idea. And I wouldn't complain if I won and so it was free! Either way I can't wait to see what she comes up with.

So enter! You've got nothing to lose and a beautiful blog to gain!

Love Thursday #2

I was actually looking forward to Thursday this week and not only because it's the day before Friday. I've been thinking about a picture for Love Thursday. Over at Chookooloonks you'll find other pictures and stories (family friendly, of course) depicting love. Hence the title, Love Thursday. Get it?! Good! Now play along!

Now my picture of the week.

Newlywed love. Love 17 years later. Love between friends.
There's a lot of love in this picture.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Works-For-Me Wednesday

I was having terrible trouble misplacing my wallet once I arrived home. I would come into the house and lay it down wherever - sometimes the kitchen or maybe the office, on the piano or the school table or my bed. And so the next time I was heading out the door I was always frantically searching and stressing. I also didn't like that nervous feeling of worry about whether I had lost it. And I think that Pastormac was getting a little tired of hearing, "Do you know where my wallet is?" and of having to help with a panicked search.

So I decided that the first thing I would do when I walk in the door is go straight to my dresser and put my wallet away where it belongs. It takes a little self-discipline especially when I get rushed at the door by kids and dog and husband. But now that I've made it a habit, it's no problem to make that the first thing I do. And lo and behold! When I'm leaving the next time - it's right where I put it! No trouble, no stress, no worry! Works for me!

Check out Rocks in My Dryer for more helpful hints. Really gives the week a lift!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Sanford M. Stoller - A Tribute

Sanford "Sandy" Stoller worked as a System Analist for Accenture and was working in the World Trade Center on 9/11/01. He was only 54 years old.

He was husband to Trudy for 31 years; and father to two sons, Eric & Glenn, who were the light of his life and a source of great pride.

He was a husband, a father, a son, a neighbor, a friend, a co-worker. He was valued, appreciated and loved. He will be missed, always.

I feel inadequate to pay tribute to a man I never knew but haved vowed to never forget. I don't have words to adequately express my sorrow to his family and friends for their loss. I feel helpless to do so.

Perhaps it's best to let those who knew "Sandy" honor him.

  • His neighbor says he was friendly with a laughing smile that was "like the sunshine."

  • A co-worker remembered him as kind and considerate, a joy to work with and a person who would go out of his way to help others.

  • A childhood friend said he was like a big brother.

  • A friend describes him as "sunshine when he entered a room" with a great laugh and a great personality.

  • His wife and sons think of him everyday.

Thank you and September 11, 2001 Victims.

Honor the lives lost on September 11, 2001. Go to 2996 to read more tributes.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

I Remember 9-11-01.

On September 11, 2001, America was attacked on her own soil. Over 3000 people lost their lives and our nation was changed forever. Monday marks the 5th anniversary of this heinous act. Shannon over at Rocks in My Dryer is encouraging us to post our recollections of that day, to grab that piece of personal history and record it for ourselves and for the generations to follow - so that we will never forget.

It was early.

It was not yet seven o'clock yet. Early for a pregnant momma of four kids. But Joe Cool, an early riser even then, had gotten me up. He was not yet two years old. The other kids were still asleep and I wanted to keep it that way; he and I were still both sleepy, so we turned on the TV to check out PBS.

It wasn't Barney or Sesame Street though. What we saw was Breaking News on every channel. The first plane had already crashed, the news cameras were fixed on the smoking 1st Tower. They were reporting that a small airplane had perhaps accidentally crashed into the tower. And then as we sat there watching the live-feed of smoke billowing from the 1st Tower, the second plane hit Tower 2.

What was that??!!

Moments later it became all too clear, this was no accident.

What in the world is going on?

Then there was news from the Pentagon and the news that perhaps the White House and Capital Hill might not be safe. And news of Flight 93. The United States of America was under attack.

It was scary. The day seemed gray and somehow cold. And I felt vunerable even though we were miles and miles away from the attack. I wanted to talk to Pastomac, to hear his voice. But he was already at work. I would have to wait until he called me on his break.

I was transfixed, glued to the TV. I couldn't stop watching, couldn't wrap my mind around the magnitude of the events that were taking place right before my eyes.

How could this be happening?

I sat there bewildered, watching. And as I watched...unbelieveably the towers fell. In moments there was nothing left but smoke and dust and disbelief.

I was stunned. I couldn't believe it.

All those people...gone.

I don't remember the other children waking up. I know I got them breakfast and did other Motherly things, but I don't remember doing them.

Pastormac had gone to work that day at 4AM that morning, and because he was working at McDonalds (don't ask) I would just have to wait for him to call me when he had a break. It was almost unbearable waiting for his call. I wanted to talk to him. I needed to talk to him. I had to hear his voice, to ask him if he'd heard what had happened, to tell him to hurry home when his shift was over.

And it was a relief when he did come home several hours later. Someone with whom to share the anger, the horror, the terror and the sadness. When he came in he looked tired, weary not just because he had been up since the middle of the night, he was wearing the sadness on his shoulders like a heavy coat.

Even now, when I think about what happened, it boggles my mind. It burdens my soul. It weighs heavy on my heart. How can this be real? But it is.

Our lives, our nation, the world, would never be the same.

Saturday Photo Scavenger Hunt - Food

It was crunchy and sweet and when he finished this one he asked for another.


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Thursday, September 07, 2006

Love Thursday

I'm joining the Love Thursday crowd over at Chookooloonks. It's easy, you should think about doing it too. Just post of picture of or story about something that depicts love (G-rated, of course) and then head over there to post that you did.

I found Chookooloonks via Mary at Owlhaven. You should surf over to both these blogs and check them out. (Warning: you'll probably get addicted.)

This is my first time playing Love Thursday. Here's my pic.

My girls.

A picture of love and a prayer perhaps.

They really do love each other. I know that they do. But at this age (14 & amost 12) they're still working out what that means, daily. Sometimes moment by moment. I'm praying that God would really knit their heart together even now; that they would see what a treasure they have in each other, and would value and care for their relationship like the jewel that it is.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Works-For-Me Wednesday

Works-For-Me Wednesday is here again. That three-day weekend thing really messed me up, since today felt like Monday instead of Tuesday. Alas, mid-week is here already.

Here's my WFMW tip.

I got so tired of walking into our entertainment room and finding DVDs sitting around all over outside of their cases. I'd find it nearly as frustrating as trying to watch them after they've been carelessly left out and therefore badly scratched. Skip, skip, skip, freeze. Arrrggghh!

So this is what I did. I told my 4 oldest kids, ages 13, 11, 9 & 6, that for every DVD I found not put away properly I would be charging them each a quarter. Oh, yes I did. (As BooMama has been known to say.)

That's right, for every DVD that I find out of its case, I get a dollar. "I wasn't the last one to leave it out!" doesn't work with me anymore. I don't care who was the last one to watch it or whose fault it is, everyone is paying me! This way, each of them makes it his/her responsibility to make sure all DVDs are safely put away in their cases. If they walk into the room and see a DVD out, they're motivated to put it away. Also, each of them knows if he/she leaves that DVD out, his/her siblings will all suffer. (Not a great way to win the admiration of your siblings.) Works for me!

Now, don't you get mixed up! It's Wednesday, not Tuesday! So head over to Rocks in My Dryer for more help at making it through the week!

Monday, September 04, 2006

Some Gave All - Ryan Anthony Beaupre

I’m pausing during my Labor Day holiday, a holiday to celebrate working men & women, (and we do so by not working) to remember and honor our United States Soldiers (today isn’t a holiday for them), the men and women who are fighting to protect the freedoms we enjoy, including doing nothing today. They are fighting on our behalf and are willing to lose their lives for our country. And some of them do; some give all.

Here is my tribute to one such soldier.

An American Hero:
Captain Ryan Anthony Beaupre

268, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron.

Capt. Beaupre was a graduate of Illinois Wesleyan University but instead of a life in accounting, he chose to join the Marines in 1995 to fulfill his dream of becoming a pilot.

Captain Beaupre was known for his unruly red hair and easy smile. He was the type to surrender his turn on the phone to other Marines with wives and children back home.

He was killed in a helicopter crash in Kuwait Thursday, March 20, thereby becoming one of the first U.S. casualties of the war in Iraq. He was the pilot of the CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter that crashed, killing eight British and three other Marines. The helicopter assigned to the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force crashed at 6:37 p.m. CST (Friday morning in Kuwait), about nine miles away from the border with Iraq, military officials said.

He was laid to rest on in his hometown of St. Anne, Ill. and is survived by his parents, Mark and Nicky Beaupre, & two sisters and a brother.

Here are some reflections of Capt. Beaupre from those who knew him.

from a fellow Marine, Capt. Arthur Anzalone:

All throughout the ordeal [of Officer Candidate School] Ryan plowed ahead, making us all laugh, leading us through the rough times, and setting the example for all of us to follow. There were many nights when his reassurance got me through. He finished near the top, with his quiet but sensible leadership style ensuring his success. His professionalism carried on into the fleet...Ryan was a great man, a good friend, and an awesome Marine officer. If he had one flaw as a Marine, it was that he didn't have one mean bone in his body. Friendly, ever the quiet professional, that was Ryan.

from a classmate at Illinois Wesleyan, Tom Kohl:

...Ryan exuded a quiet confidence that did not require high doses of attention or social affirmation. Ryan was a contributor, period. Ryan contributed to his friendships, Ryan contributed in the classroom, Ryan contibuted to the brotherhood, Ryan was solid as nails. In the end, Ryan gave his life.

from the Registrar at Illinois Wesleyan and Adviser to Sigma Pi fraternity, Jack Fields:

Ryan was "one of the best. He is one of the kids who really stands out in my memory. He was confident but not arrogant. The calm certainty about him inspired confidence. I would think that he would have made an excellent officer. He would inspire men to follow him. "When I think of Ryan, I am reminded of the opening of the old Andy Griffith show where Opie is going fishing with the fishing pole in his hand. That is the perfect caricature of Ryan — this all-American kid with a shock of red hair and a happy gait, not that he was carefree and happy-go-lucky. He had this presence about him that made you feel good to be around him."

And here is the letter that Capt. Beaupre wrote to his parents in the event of his death in Iraq.

11 Mar, 2003

Mom & Dad,

Well if you are reading this, then things didn’t go well for me over in Iraq. I’m sorry for the pain that I have caused you because of this. Please do not be upset with the Marine Corps, the military, the government, or the President. It was my choice to go into the military. The President and my higher commanders were just doing what they thought was best. Realize that I died doing something that I truly love, and for a purpose greater than myself. There is a paragraph that I read from time to time when I lose focus.

“War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself” - John Stewart Mill

Now there is a little Marine Corps bravado in there, but I do believe in the basic premise.

I want you to know that I could not have asked for better parents, or a better family. Alyse, Kari, Chris and I never wanted for anything … most of all love. I cannot think of a time when you two were not there for us. I’ll never forget that one of my friends in elementary school said that if he could trade places with one person, he’d trade places with me because of my parents and home life. I truly feel that I’ve had a blessed life thanks to you two. Please give my love to Alyse & Ryan, Kari & Matt & and the girls, Chris & Brandy, and everyone else in the family.

All my love,


As an American citizen I thank you, Captain Beaupre, for your courage and your sacrifice. I thank your family for all they have given. I will teach my children that we are forever in debt to you and others like you, who have given all in the name of our freedom.

We will never forget that a hero lies here:

Information and photos courtesy:
Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom
Illinois Wesleyan
In Remembrance
Sister Toldijah

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Saturday Photo Scavenger Hunt - On the Road

This was taken not too far from Lake Powel, Utah. And the signs said this wasn't the scenic route!


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