Monday, August 30

The Kind of Fast God's After

I read these words last week, and they resonated, considering we're on a spending fast (or trying, anyway).
This is from Isiah 58:6-9, in The Message translation

"This is the kind of fast day I'm after:
   to break the chains of injustice,
   get rid of exploitation in the workplace,
   free the oppressed,
   cancel debts.
What I'm interested in seeing you do is:
   sharing your food with the hungry,
   inviting the homeless poor into your homes,
   putting clothes on the shivering ill-clad,
   being available to your own families.
Do this and the lights will turn on,
   and your lives will turn around at once.
Your righteousness will pave your way.
   The God of glory will secure your passage.
Then when you pray, God will answer.
   You'll call out for help and I'll say, 'Here I am.'

Our fast wasn't started for spiritual reasons, really.  We weren't doing it as a way to pious exercise to please God, or try to look good.  Our intentions were mostly about being disciplined with our own finances, learning to be happy with what we have, and take a chunk out of our debt (which are all things that do please God, I think).  That being said, these words struck a cord.

I've been feeling lately like I'm not involved enough in things that matter, issues of social justice.  I want to do something, but it`s hard to figure out what that something is.  James and I have decided we`ll volunteer with Hamilton`s Out of the Cold program when it starts up again, and that`s ok, that`s good, but I still struggle.

See, God asks us here to give our bread.  God asks us to invite people into our homes.  Ya, it`s ok to participate in a cause that is meeting real needs, but it is a whole `nother ball game to develop relationships with people - which is what it would look like to be sharing my bread, my home.  That`s a relationship.

I have no idea how to do that.

That`s uncomfortable.  Embarassing, maybe. Frustrating, likely.  Dangerous, could be. Hard, certainly.
I can just hear people saying  "Is that a good decision?", " Is that wise?", "You have a family to think about...", "It's not your responsibility..."

But I still think that God meant it.  I think it's how change happens, in relationship.

And so, I need to figure out what it looks like, for me, here in Hamilton, to do it.  I need to figure out how to share my food with the hungry, invite the homeless poor into my home.

Jesus, show me how you want me to do this.  And give me the courage and wisdom to do it, actually do it, with your love and grace.

Friday, August 27

Experiment Update

So, we're trying not to buy stuff.  Unnecessary stuff.  Stuff other than gas, groceries or necessities for our growing boy.

...'cept, that's kinda hard, ya know?

It's been going ok, but, I wouldn't call this week a success.  I have bought things.  There are also things I didn't buy.  And there are things that I learned.

So, I bought some shoes for my kiddo.  'Cause I'm not good at keeping track of little baby things, and I misplaced his other ones, and he's actually starting to stand, so it's a good thing to have.  And, when I was there, there was a really cute pair of boots, and well, he'll be walking as winter gets here so that made sense too.  Both were consignment items from (where else!?) Little Bird.

And then a friend invited me to browse Ottawa St. with her.  And then we met at Poco Loco, and I hadn't had lunch yet, and it was yummy.  James and I have both always had allowances - a small sum of money that we can spend on whatever and not have to justify it to the other person, so my lunch came out of that, but I'm still not sure how I feel about it.  He thinks we should each maintain our allowance through out the fast...I think that, well, it's a fast, and you don't really experience it unless you do it fully.  Although, the difficult thing is, meeting people over food is a great way to connect, and something that happens really often in our culture, and it feels weird to say "Well, you see, we're committed to not spending any money right now..." (although it does open up conversations - we're so tight-lipped about finances in our society!)

Anyway, as we were browsing, we went into Allsorts Gallery, an artists' co-op which is full of beautiful things.  And here I learned something about myself: gift giving is one of my love languages.  One of my friends was having a bad day, and I had already justified to myself buying her flowers, but then I saw this and decided to go with it instead.

So.  It hasn't been a spending-free week.  But, let me tell you, there are things that I didn't buy or spend money on.
- We didn't buy football tickets to the Labour Day classic happening next week, which would've been really fun.
- I didn't buy a whole bunch more really really cute baby clothes at that darned den of temptation Little Bird
- I think there was something else that I remember exercising restraint on but I can't remember.

Anyway, it's a good activity, and one that we'll see through to December.  I'm sure some weeks will be worse, and some better.  And I'm still not decided on whether or not it should include meeting friends over food or gifts.  What do you think?

Thursday, August 26


Hahaha, no, this is not an announcement.

Saw this lovely doc at my favourite store tonight.  SO cute!  I'd highly recommend it.

Thankful Thursdays


That's all I got right now.

Tuesday, August 24


I like wrapping presents.

A lot.

I don't even know these people.  


So, remember that job interview I had on Thursday afternoon, the one in which they said "You'll hear from us shortly."?  Yeah, it's Tuesday.  Does that qualify as shortly?  I'm getting a little panicky...last time I heard from them an hour after my interview, and they called by 9:15am the day that applications were due to set up my initial the fact that it's been four days leaves me worried.  And then there's the question about when it's appropriate to call...If they wanted me to work for them, surely they'd tell me that.  But, what if it's some sort of test?  Does she follow up?  What if in a personal planning meeting a parent or care provider say they sill get back to you and you don't hear from them...when do you contact them?  Maybe they're waiting to see how I work?  Oh I don't know!  But I am starting to worry.  James is done work in 6 days.  This job starts in 6 days.  But if I want my old job back I need to give 30 days notice...and EI doesn't ever get sorted out right away...gah.

Bought stuff yesterday...2 packs of drawer/cupboard latches, a book of stamps, and wrote a cheque for the deposit for our anniversary get-away.

Sunday, August 22

The Impulse Buy

I'm not spending money 'til December, 'member?

Except for yesterday.

Mom and I went to Once Upon A Child to look for some stuff for her house - play pen, high chair, gates, etc.  We found a nice play pen.

We also found a BEAUTIFUL set of bedding and curtains.

Here's the problem:  Bumper pads had been on the list of stuff that was exempt from the spending fast.  Lately every time I walk into Haydon's room, if he's not sitting up, he's screaming with one of his chunky thighs stuck between the crib rails.

And this is why one should be intentional about purchases.  See, if I had gone out looking for bumper pads, I would likely have come home with one of those breathable things that can weave through the rails so your kid doesn't get stuck.  Or maybe I would've kijiji'd for something inexpensive.  Or even said something on facebook to see if anyone had any that they're not using.

But no.  I went wandering through Once Upon A Child.

And saw this:

Isn't it pretty!?  Now I not only have bumper pads, but curtains, a comforter, goofy pillows and a bunch of weird hangy things that I wasn't really sure what to do with, and don't need.  I like it, I think, although it's a bit busy.  I feel like the crib could be entered in a parade.  But it feels nice in his room now - we hadn't really done any decorating other than paint it, so now it actually feels like a baby boy's room.

And I've had a LOT of time to enjoy looking at it tonight...
(stop reading here if you're sick of the sleep-whining)

I don't know what to do with that kid!  Lately he'll go to bed ok, then 45 minutes to an hour later, he wakes up and he's up until 10, 11, even midnight one night.  He's just up and ready to go!  He giggles at us, babbles, talks to his stuffed animals, practices his standing.  He's just not tired!  I'll try nursing, we'll try walking with him or rocking, rubbing his back, just sitting in the room while he's in his crib, and nothing works.  Last night, it was 11:00 before we were able to get to bed, and he didn't sleep longer than two hours between wakings all night long.

Anyway.  He's asleep right now.  James just came out of there.

In the interest of full disclosure with the spending stuff, I also bought gas yesterday.  Tomorrow it's groceries and some babyproofing stuff - we need some drawer and cupboard clasps.

Goodnight (I hope!)

Saturday, August 21


It's been a great day so far!

Haydon  had a decent nap this morning, and I was able to catch up on my out-of-control house.  As in, I did Thursday's supper dishes.  Feels good to be caught up!

Yesterday, I finally locked Haydon and I in his room and did some much-needed organizing.  There was a huge pile that hadn't been dealt with since we got back from the cottage, 'cause he was sleeping when we got home and unpacked, so I just kind of set stuff in his room and there it stayed.  Also, his closet was being overtaken by a large pile of clothes he's outgrown.  I organized and sorted, and this morning was able to give back some stuff we'd borrowed, lend out a box to an expecting friend, and take some stuff to my beloved Little Bird.  Feels good to have less stuff hanging around!

Then we went on to a Hamilton Babywearers meeting (you can check them out on facebook).  I learned a new back carry, which I think I may be able to do by myself...that's the tricky part of wrapping, is getting them IN there!    Enjoyed chatting with other like-minded mamas.  And, James had some time to kill in between jobs and errands, so he stopped by and played with Haydon at the park with one of the other dads. Then we had lunch together - the first meal we've eaten together in AGES 'cause I was out volunteering at our church's VBS every night this week.
Anj and I sporting our matching wraps...and sandals...

And now, Haydon is napping AGAIN (gloryhallelujah!), and I am munching away on peanut butter M&Ms 'cause St. James is a sugar daddy (literally) so when I say "I really want some chocolate..." he magically has some in his bag in the car.  Yum.  This afternoon I'm headed to Brantford to have some reflexology done (no idea what that will be like!?) and chill with my fam.  Mom and I are going to look for a play pen and high chair for their house...I am looking forward to vicarious shopping.

Hope you're having a great Saturday too!

Friday, August 20


I'm going to whine.

I know my life is not that bad.

I'm still going to complain.

That kid was up 5 times last night.

Yesterday I was hanging onto the fact that he was still napping well.  He decided not to today, so I haven't got much left to hang onto.  He usually has a good morning nap; he goes down sometime between 7:30-8:30.  Maybe 9 if he slept a little later.

It was 10:45 today, and only after a good long walk in the wrap before he went to sleep.

And I have a headache, a sore throat, a job application to submit today, a line full of clothes to bring in 'cause there are no men around to do that today, and a disgustingly messy kitchen.  and bathroom.  and baby's room.  And I still haven't heard about the job I was interviewing for yesterday, and every other time that agency has been in touch with me within an hour, so I'm starting to worry...

There are still good things.

Like egg salad.

And potted mums.  I saw potted mums outside a convenience store.  My favourite season is coming!!!

Thursday, August 19

Buying Stuff

We bought stuff today.

Just thought you should know.

2 baby gates (off kijiji), and some gripe water to try to help the Anti-Sleep.

And because I'm such a great parent, I left the baby gates leaning against a door frame.  And then had to go out, so, I set up the stroller.  I carried the stroller past Haydon, who was heading toward the gates and muttered under my breath "Pull those down on yourself, why don't ya."  Shocking.  That's exactly what he was doing when I came back in.  He was fine, just startled.

Ya, and the gripe water.  James bought that tonight, on a walk, with our little man, at about 8:30.  Why?  BECAUSE HE WON'T GO TO SLEEP DAGNABBIT!  He was doing SO well while we were on holidays...and now.  He's still napping well.  I'm hanging on to that.  But seriously, it was midnight last night when the 3 of us finally got to bed.  Tonight he went to sleep at about 9, but has been up twice since then, and it's only 10:30.

Anywhoooooo.  It's bedtime.  Gotta get it while the gettin's good.

Thankful Thursdays

I've had a lot on my mind this week.  Which job is best?  What should I do?

But you know what?  While I don't love the stress that has come of it, I can't overlook the fact that I am pretty blessed to have choices.  I have options.  I have a number of opportunities to choose from.

So that's what I'm thankful for.  I'm thankful that I have choices.

I can choose to stay home with my boy.

I can choose to go to work.

I can choose where I want to work.

And even in the midst of trying to discern which of the jobs I'm applying for would be best, the fact remains that even if I don't get any of them, right now I have a job to go back to if I want it.

That is a real blessing.

Also in the thankfulness vein, I have some great men in my life.  
The manager from my current job, who was interviewing me for one of the other positions I was considering (and turned down yesterday, which, may have been nuts, but, it's done), invited me to have a frank discussion about what options I might have.  He didn't have to do that at all, and he did it at the end of a pretty busy and emotional day for him, and I am so grateful for the way he has worked hard to make sure I have a job that works well for me.  
When I got home from that meeting, James was outside hanging diapers on the line.  I plopped down in a chair and tried to process some of my options with him, as he continued to hang dipes.  The sweet old Italian lady nextdoor was outside.  She waved to me, pointed at James, and said "Good husband!  Hanging clothes!"  It never occured to me - both generationally, and culturally, this would be a big deal to her!
Today my parents came over for lunch, and Mom stayed with Haydon while I went for a second interview (at the job I've decided I want...waiting to hear...).  I made an off-hand comment that it's tricky to get much done with Haydon so mobile now and mentioned that I had laundry that needed to come in, and be hung.  Before I know it my dad was taking off the diapers, hung out my laundry, and then finished putting away the food that had been left out from lunch.  
Lots to be thankful for.  Like the baby that's sleeping, the clothes that are drying, the food that I have to make for supper.

Wednesday, August 18

Think on THESE Things

I'm trying to sort out my life.  It's a bit tricky.

I've had interviews this week for two different jobs.  They each have pros and cons.  I haven't been offered either, but am trying to figure out which would be best for us right now.  A complicating factor is that the second interview for one is tomorrow, and the manager for the other asked to have a meeting with me this afternoon to "discuss opportunities."  Not sure how to proceed in the meeting considering I'm not sure if I want the other job, or if it's even an option.

As I think about all of this, this scripture keeps coming to mind.  I'm keeping my Bible open to it on the dining room table to remind me throughout the day as I start to get anxious about what to do.

This is Matthew 6:24-34, from The Message

You can't worship two gods at once. Loving one god, you'll end up hating the other. Adoration of one feeds contempt for the other. You can't worship God and Money both.

If you decide for God, living a life of God-worship, it follows that you don't fuss about what's on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds.
 27-29"Has anyone by fussing in front of the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? All this time and money wasted on fashion—do you think it makes that much difference? Instead of looking at the fashions, walk out into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They never primp or shop, but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them.
 30-33"If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don't you think he'll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I'm trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God's giving. People who don't know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don't worry about missing out. You'll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.
 34"Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.

Ahhh... "Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions.  Don't worry about missing out.  You'll find all your everyday human concerns will be met...don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow."

That's what I need to think on.

That, and this, our marriage "theme song"

"All I have needed thy hand has provided."

This has been our reality throughout our marriage!

So, if it's true that "As Thou has been, thou forever will be."  Then we've got nothing to worry about.

Tuesday, August 17

Waupoos Island

We had an absolutely lovely vacation.

We shared a beautiful cottage on Waupoos Island with St. James' family.  It was one lovely week.  Waupoos Island is this neat little island in Prince Edward County (I know!  Twice in as many weeks!  We had scheduled this vacay a long time ago - it was just a fluke that we ended up visiting my parents there a couple of weeks ago).  The island is small; it has maybe 15 cottages on it, no stores, no paved roads, no phone service.  It's home to a giant herd of sheep, and about 10 goats.  I have to confess I was a little leary at the idea of spending a week on an island with my in-laws, but it turned out to be great.  We had a little boat to shuttle us back and forth to the mainland, which was about 5 minutes away.  We spent some days just chilling on the island, and went across to check out some of the beautiful tastes and sights of Prince Edward County.

It was everything a vacation should be.  I rested, I played, I ate good food, I enjoyed good company.  There was no phone, no TV, no internet (although there was a computer - St. James brought his laptop to play some games on, his chosen way to relax).  There were people to share meal-making and child care.  There was water nearby (I went for a couple good long swims - so nice not to have to turn around at the end of a lane!).  And there was time. Time spent evaluating life and thinking about what's important.

And here are some of the things I thought about and decided.

Less internet is a good thing.  
I walked into this beautiful cottage, and immediately started thinking about how I could blog about it.  What pictures I could take to showcase the beautiful decorating.  Instead, I journaled that night.  And I didn't even have to think about who might be reading and how I was presenting myself.  And I was able to reflect without being on a stage.  And that's a good thing (apparently this is a Martha Stewart phrase, which I was unaware of - I say it all the time.  There was a book of hers at the cottage titled "Good Things" that was full of, well, you can guess...good things one can make).  Anyway, I have resolved to spend less time on facebook.  I'm going to aim to try to only check in the morning, maybe at lunch, and once around supper time, then put it away and not check in the evening.  I'm also going to stop charging my iPhone in the bedroom so that I'm not looking at it in bed.  James and I often are sitting in bed, each staring at our own little screen, and that is ridiculous.

Less stuff is a good thing.
It was good to be in a nice, open space that wasn't cluttered.  It was good to know that we got by comfortably with the things we had taken with us.  I am going to start getting rid of stuff, left, right and centre.  If we borrowed something from you, you're getting it back.  If I don't need it, or it's not beautiful, it's not staying.

Less spending is a good thing.
Ok, so this is not something that we practiced while on vacation, but something we decided to do.  We have toyed with the idea of doing a spending fast a couple of times before, but never actually done it.  We're going to do it this time.  Between now and Christmas, we are not going to purchase anything other than food, hygiene necessities, and any baby essentials that come up.  There are a few things that we've decided we do need to buy (closet doors and baby gates now that that kid is on the move, a carrier that James is comfortable with - he's decided he'll babywear!, I may need some clothes if I start a new job).  We'll eat out twice a month, as that is something that our friends often do after church, and time with friends is important to us.  It's going to be tough!  James and I are both pretty bad at justifying purchases with "It was a really good deal!" or "We'll use it in the future!".  I'm also horrible at not planning meals carefully, and then buying prepared food or eating out 'cause it's easier.  I'll blog about the challenge - and I'm going to "confess" everything we buy in the next few months.  By not spending, we are hoping to take a significant chunk out of our debt, and move one step closer to the dream kitchen that is percolating in my mind.

More sleep is GREAT thing!
We slept!  Haydon slept!  He's figured out going to bed - FINALLY!  He had some great naps, and went to bed easily so that we could enjoy playing games with other adults in the evenings - THANK GOD!  He's still getting up twice in the night - although, there was one night, when he only got up at 2, and slept until 6 after that, and I thought I'd died and gone to heaven.  And he's also getting up pretttty early (like, 5?).  But, it's getting MUCH better.

And now we're back to life, back to reality.  My house feels cluttered and disorganized.  I have decisions to make about jobs that are overwhelming.  I have all these things that I want to do to make life full and more enjoyable - like decluttering and all that jazz, but they take time.  Trying to balance the desire to do my best with giving myself grace in the areas I can't always excel at is tricky.  But I am inspired and motivated to tackle life in a new way, and am excited to see what's to come.  

...and looking forward to our next vacation.  St. James and I booked a B&B in Stratford for our fifth anniversary.  Bring on October 15!

Saturday, August 14


We just got from an absolutely FANTASTIC vacation at a cottage on Waupoos Island with James' family.  I was going to write a big long blog post about it and add all kinds of lovely pictures.  Except, sorting through all those pictures takes time, and I wanna go to bed.

So, instead, here's a peak at my boy, just in case you forgot how cute my kid is.

In the wrap on one of our many early morning walks so that everyone else could sleep.

Examining some grass.

Um, seriously?  Does it get much better?

Thursday, August 5

Thankful Thursdays

There's a reason I refer to my husband as 
"St." James

My man minutes before our wedding.

Ok, really, many reasons.

Thanks for helping me through school - and letting me finish first!

James is WAY better at organizing birthdays and making DELICIOUS cakes.
That look nice.
My attempts at a cake for him this year looked like a grade two science project.
(PS - it looks like that says "29" on there...let me assure you, it does not)

He still looks more like me, even though you're both bald.

This guy is the best husband and father to us we could dream off.  As I think about going back to work in the fall, and think about what the days will look like, coming home after being at work, nursing, having dinner together, making bedtime happen, trying to figure out how to include an evening or two out during the week to go to a Bible study or volunteer at church, and I'm exhausted already.  This guy's been doing that for almost eight months (minus the nursing).  He's up just as often as I am at night, he tries to make sure I have as much time for myself as possible, he does MORE than his fair share around the house.  

He's a Saint.

James, thanks for being you!  Thanks for being an incredible friend and partner as we do life together.  Thanks for the way you care for me, and the way you care for our son.  Thanks for the way you enable me to be a good mom, and the way you give SO much of yourself without complaining.

I will try to be as supportive of you as you take on school and being the at-home parent.  I won't do as good job as you do, I know it.  But I'll try.

I love you!

Wednesday, August 4

The Anti-Sleep

I haven't complained about sleep yet this week.

I have requested a couple of books from the library.

(Haydon is currently finger painting with a puddle of puke he just produced.  Gross.)

That kid just won't nap!  Which would be ok, if he would let us sleep at night, but I NEED some sleep at some point!  And to make it worse it's not like he appears to be tired.  He's ridiculously happy. It's like he's taunting me as he giggles away in his crib. He doesn't have melt downs.  He doesn't fuss.  I on the other hand, do fuss, and have melt downs.

Last night he was up constantly.  His tummy bothers him.  We go pick him up, and as soon as he's upright, he burps (or pukes on me) , and is ready to go back to sleep.  Except for the times he's not ready to go back to sleep and takes an hour to go back to sleep.  I think I'm gonna make a doctor's appointment, 'cause I think if his tummy wasn't bugging him he'd sleep better.  Or at least that's what I like to tell myself.

Today he hasn't napped at all, except for about 20 minutes in the stroller.  And not for lack of trying.

He's developing sleep-related nick names.  Like The Anti-Sleep.  Mr. No-Nap.

But enough of that.

I've just come up with a delicious gourmet Kraft Dinner recipe.

No, this is not one of those mommy-blogs where you will find wonderful and nutritious organic meals to feed your children who sleep well while mama spends time doing meaningful things like read or pray.  Here, you will find one sleep deprived mama who doesn't always do a very good job of caring for herself (or her home lately) and loves KD.

But, I realize that lately I've been eating a lot of carbs and not much veggies or protein.

So, I've added to my KD chopped up wieners and broccoli.  Yum.

Maybe that's how I should make my fortunes.  A Gourmet Kraft Dinner Recipes blog.

Hey, Mom

Came across this great breastfeeding site today, and figured I'd share it since it's World Breastfeeding Week, after all.

My favourite part is the song that plays - it's a cute little ditty, touting all the benefits of nursing.  Give it a listen.

Tuesday, August 3


I was just thinking that I should clean this up and send it back to it's rightful owner since my little man isn't into jumping much anymore.  

And then I get up and see this.

Apparently we've found new ways of enjoying it. 

Sunday, August 1


Life feels good again.


I just spent a few days with my family (of origin) in Prince Edward County, and it was lovely.  My parents had their RV parked near Picton for the week, and my sister and I drove up on Wednesday to join them for a bit, and that was a good thing!  It was just good to be with more people to spread out the baby-care load, and it was good to be away from the chores of home, and it was good to spend some time looking at some of the beautiful art Prince Edward County has to offer.

My favourite studio was Armstrong Glassworks, and there was some BEAUTIFUL blown glass there.  I lovedLOVED his coloured pears.

And I want every colour.

I'm also just really excited about life in general right now.  Being away gave me some time to think about what's important to me, and what I want to happen in life, and I have enjoyed thinking about those things, and how I'll make them happen.  I had a bunch of things that were in my head as "someday I'd like to..." and just realized that if I don't actually name them and make a plan for them to happen, they won't.

And so, in the next five years, and before we have our next baby, we will...

- go away for a weekend to celebrate our 5th anniversary (this October)
- pay off all of our school debt
- redo our kitchen
- go to Europe

I'm excited.  I've got the kitchen all planned out in my head.  And that excitement will fuel my fiscal responsibility, so that the school debt actually gets all paid off, and we can save up to make this beautiful dream kitchen a reality.

Finally, if you're a pray-er, I'm sitting down tomorrow to polish up my resume and write some cover letters.  The plan is that I will be our breadwinner starting in September.  Since I've started praying about and looking for jobs, I've come across three opportunities, all of which are really good fits in various ways.  Pray that my resumes will be well received, that I will get interview opportunities, and that the right doors are opened (and shut) to have me in the job that will be best for me, and for us, in September.
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