Wednesday, April 28, 2010

ATL Weekend '10 - Part 2 of 2 - Pics!

Thank you so much for your incredibly sweet comments on my last post. I know it was a long one, but it was me and I thank you for reading, understanding, and I'm so glad to know that we're all in this "putting off our old selves" of insecurity, together. And securely by the grace of God "putting on our new selves" full of confidence in Him, with full knowledge that this world is not about us and our insecurities, but it is about doing God's work, and everything for His glory. :) I seriously cannot tell you how appreciative I am, and to call each of you friends. And those of you who are new to our blog as well, welcome! :)

I know you also came for the pics, hehe, so here is the trip in pics! :-) And as I tweeted one of my girls, don't laugh at me in any of these pics!... I mean, I embrace (I'm doin' it Mrs. Beth Moore) my goofyness, I am secure! You can even laugh if you want!

Friday
All of my amazing boys drove me down to the airport on Friday afternoon. After we all hugged, I walked through part of the airport with my sunglasses on to cover my wet puffy eyes :) and met up with my ATL roomie and flying buddy, Rachel from In No Simple Language! We talked the entire flight both ways, it seemed like we had just taken off and then landed. :)

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Erin from Blue Eyed Bride picked up Megan from Tales of the Trees (who had arrived a couple hours before us), Rachel, and I from the airport and the weekend was off! This was my first time meeting Megan and it was so wonderful to meet her! She is just as funny, real, and cute as she is on her blog! Rachel and I have gotten to go on a couple GNOs together and have so much fun. I'm looking forward to our next gettogether! And it was so wonderful to see Erin again. We have so much in common and she is such a beautiful and fun person and so sweet and down to earth! I was so glad that we got to know each other even better this weekend and can't wait to get together again soon! It was like we had all been friends for years already. We shared so many laughs, fun and real conversations. It was wonderful!

We checked into the hotel and then met up with Amy, Lianna, and Becca for dinner at Zucca! It was my first time meeting these girls as well. I've been following Amy for a long time now and she is such an inspiring woman. She and her Hubby have a sweet and beautiful marriage, it is such a blessing to witness through reading her blog. She is so real, sweet, and I am so glad we finally got to meet. And I've been following Lianna for a while now too. It was so wonderful to meet her. She is a strong believer and woman of God and so sweet! They are just as they are on their blogs but even more fun and gorgeous in person! And I look forward to following Becca along her journey with her cute little girl and the amazing ministry her and her husband are doing! It was a great night of conversation and laughs!

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(Rachel, me, Becca, Megan, Erin, Amy, Lianna)

After dinner we went back to the hotel and met up with Jenna, Trina, and Jennifer, and chatted until it was time for bed. :) These girls were sweet, beautiful, and so much fun to hang out with!

Saturday
Saturday morning we went to Cracker Barrel for breakfast and met up with more new friends! Many of us have read each other's blogs for a long time now and chat all the time on twitter so it was soo wonderful to finally meet everybody!

Lyndsey and I have been following each other's blogs for so long now, and tweeting, and I was so excited about meeting her! It was instant friends! I was hoping that would be true and it was. :) She is beautiful, hilarious, honest, and so sweet! I even emailed her the night before with a pic of me in my outfit to make sure I wasn't going to look like a goof (we had been talking outfits, and I knew she's be honest with me :)). I've been following Kelly's blog and we've been chatting on twitter, so it was so wonderful to meet her in person as well. She is sweet and I had so much fun chatting with her at breakfast.

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Kim, Jennifer, Natalie, Megan, Erin, Lyndsey, Lianna, Amy, Rachel, Kelly, me, and Rachel.

Then we headed over for the conference! It was great. As others have said it was such a sweet and powerful experience worshipping with thousands and thousands of women.

This is a such a fabulous group of girls! We shared so many laughs, some tears (I was glad to know some of my girls cry while singing some worship songs as well, In Christ Alone, so much of the song including "...from life's first cry..." I just think about our babies and the babies that we're praying for, for all our friends who are waiting on God for a little one), and a commission (in which Erin and I got married :-) or we felt like it, haha) to live and walk as strong, secure, woman of God (we can do it :)). I met a few other great girls too and was sad to miss meeting a few more as well. And I wish I could have gotten pics with everybody :)

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After the conference Amy took us to a d-licious local comfort food spot where we also got to meet up with PinkSass, who was so fun and sweet and beautiful. It was SO yummy! And cupcakes or cookies were had by all :) This is one fun group of girls!

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We were so sad to say goodbye to some of the girls that night as the rest of our crew went back to the hotel, changed into our sleepy clothes and talked again until it was time to say goodnight and goodbye.

Sunday
Becca was so sweet and took Rachel, Megan, and I to the airport in the morning. We all had so much fun and were so excited to be reunited with our families! I know that I just talked and talked telling Hubby everything about the weekend. He kept telling me he was so glad I was able to go. He is SO supportive! And an amazing husband and Daddy!

I still get butterflies in my tummy when I look at these pictures and just think about how incredible this weekend was. I not only got to meet such wonderful friends but hear a fantastic message from Mrs. Beth Moore. I truly love each of these girls, and I don't just throw the "L" word around! :) We missed so many of you girls who wanted to go but couldn't. We keep saying we need to make plans for another trip!

Monday, April 26, 2010

ATL Weekend '10 - Part 1 of 2 :)

This weekend, I went on an adventure to Atlanta to attend the Beth Moore, So Long Insecurity conference with some fabulous friends. It was so hard to leave all my cute boys! Although, I cannot even begin to explain what an incredible blessing this weekend was. I got to meet up with so many new friends and a couple I had already met, who were just the sweetest, most gorgeous, and fun girls!

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I learned to walk a little taller (while wearing flats :)), let some more insecure thoughts go, and gain so much more perspective on the insecurity that is trying to wrap me up and make me immobile to live as the best woman of God that He has called me to be.

I don't know about you, but I am one insecure woman.

I think that we all share that although each our major insecurities maybe differ. My closest friends and my close family know this about me but I am going to share it with you as well because I know we are all in this together.

Besides being an overthinker, an overanalyzer, and an overplayer of situations in my head until I'm sick, here are some of the thoughts that the evil one tries to plague my mind with... but by grace God has been slowly loosening the grasp of Satan on each of these aspects of my mind...

1. Rejection - Nobody Likes Me
These are the thoughts that ruminate in my head. I've said something to offend someone, I've said something wrong, I talked too much, I didn't talk enough, I talked too much about myself, I'm not as funny as she is, I'm not as witty as she is, I should have said something different, I shouldn't talk to her because she won't think I'm cool enough...

It's even silly things that I take personally like, nobody responded to my question on twitter, they must not like me... not many commented on my last post and I know they're bloggy active, they must not like me, they didn't invite me or didn't attend a string of my events, they don't like me enough to make the effort.

I love meeting new friends and becoming great friends. I open myself up quickly and I get hurt quickly. I have some great friends, who are real, honest, non-judgmental, and just plain wonderful. :) And I got to hang out with some of them this weekend!!

2. Outward Appearance
"I am not as pretty as she is." Which, for me, really ends up being pretty much every woman that walks by or of course is in the media. :) I compare myself to these women saying, my nose is too big, I weigh too much, I'm not toned enough, my smile looks funny, my makeup doesn't look as good as hers, I am not photogenic, and my hair isn't nearly as pretty as her hair is.

My husband will attest to these although he has been working on me for the past 10 years :) he is my knight in shining armour. I cannot even imagine how I would have continued to feel if my Hubby didn't address me as "Gorgeous," "Beautiful," "Hebrew Hottie," "Hottie Hots," (as he texted me during the conference, "how's it goin' hottie hots," haha I love him.), "Miss Tiny Tiny," (from years ago :)), "Weenst," (which morphed from tiny tiny, to teensy weensy, to weenst, haha, which is the name that comes up on his cell when I call him :)).

3. Inadequate/Inferior
I shouldn't do that because so and so does it better. I'm not good enough for that job. What if I fail. I don't want to do that because someone might not think I do a good enough job. She is such a good mom, she does all of "these things" with her little ones. I don't do exactly what she does, as many things as she does, involved in as many things as she is, she is better than me. I dwell too much on my weaknesses.

This is how I thought before I went for the super competitive high school orchestra director position that I went for years ago. I thought I am not qualified. I say to this day, that it was God and people that He sent around me to convince me to go for it, I got it, and I loved it. I still felt like I could have done more, but we could always feel like that.


Here are the main points that I walked away with to combat every single insecurity from above. Not that I am automatically "fixed" and I will never have one of those thoughts again. But if or when I do, I can stop much more quickly and and remember this...

1. Insecurity is an idolatrous sense of pride.
What? I pride myself on not being prideful, haha, just kidding :) When I am insecure and thinking about myself - turning almost every situation back on myself - it is not only self indulgent, narcissism, but it takes time away from thinking about what I can do for others for God. If I let go and stop giving so much energy to analyzing myself in every situation, I will have so much more time to do God's work and focus on those that need the focus even more! And nobody cares as much about me as I do in those situations where I am analyzing myself, haha. Why waste the energy and time, when it doesn't do one good thing. Energy saved!

2. Live an exceptional life.
This didn't mean what I thought it did. Mrs. Beth Moore spoke on being the exception. The one. That you can be THE ONE, the exception, to do something when you think that nobody could do it. This was so powerful, and I have not heard it put this well before. "Nobody would go back to that place after what they did... except her." "Everybody is treating that person with disrespect... well... except her." "All women are intimidated by other women... except her." "Noone could pick themselves up after that... except that one." "Nobody could be happy in that situation... except for her." Be the one.

I know God is working in so many of our lives. And he can work in your life too. It is not an overnight transformation but it is a wonderful one. I hope you were blessed this weekend if you went to the conference and I hope that if you didn't get to go that you are blessed too! I can't wait to finish So Long, Insecurity and you should definitely pick up a copy if you haven't already :)

Coming in Part 2, pics, fun, and fabulous friends!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

On Our Nightstand

Books! Well a few little trinkets, clocks, a yummy scented candle, but I'm talking about the books.

I love to read. I've gone through times of reading a lot and then busy times where I've just been too tired to keep my eyes open and I read one paragraph (or if I'm really tired, one sentence) over and over again and then don't remember what it said in the morning, haha. Have you done that?? :)

I admit that in high school, I didn't like being forced to read. :) I still remained an honor roll student but I might not have completed every book assigned. ;) So I thought it would be great to go back and read a lot of the classics. And how much more would we get out of reading them now (and hopefully have a better understanding as well :)). I love reading about history, knowing how things got to where they are, about the honor and hardworking spirit present throughout history, intruiging people and stories. I have been stuck in non-fiction or fiction based on true stories, around the late 1770s, American History, presidents. I keep hearing so many great reviews of some fun chick lit out there, so I started with a highly recommended one.

My Nightstand:

A Classic: Last week I finally finished: The Grapes of Wrath

Mini Review: 4 out of 5 cups of yummy coffee with lowfat vanilla creamer: Took me about 60-70 pages to really get into, but loved the story of the adventure and struggles of a tight-knit, hardworking, family, and the history throughout. Well written, most chapters went between the family's adventure and the struggles/adventure of the state or nation as a whole to give more insight into the story of the Joad's.

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A Chick Lit: Currently reading, just started last weekend :) : Something Borrowed: I don't remember the last time I read a chick lit, but I wanted a light fun read and went with a highly recommended one.


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A Non-fiction Bible based book for us ladies: So Long Insecurity: I have to see how far I can get by the conference this weekend! I already know I am going to get so much out of this book and the conference, whatwhat ATL ladies! :)


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Hubby's Nightstand

Currently Reading: Tender Warrior: Non-fiction book for the men: About men being real men, committing and sticking to those committments, and living as a strong man of God. Hubs recently joined a group of guys to start a men's accountability group and this is the book they chose to read along with our new church (our new church and old church out west have a focus on men and it is awesome). (My Hubby is an amazing man and I love that he constantly strives to be an even better man of God. :))


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To read: David Warrior King: A historical novel.


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Our Nightstand

Love and Respect: we're starting a marriage study with our small group and this book (and workbook) was highly recommended by so many friends, most of whom have done it, and one friend's church does this study for their couples churchwide.

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After these I want to read The Help, Of Mice and Men, another recommended book The Little Lady Agency (anyone read it?) or Something Blue. What's on your nightstand? Or what book is on your list to read soon?

*I just posted about my giveaway today too! Go enter :) You could win $25 (actually $50 because they double your order) of great products! Great way to try some new products out if you win, for free! :)

It's Giveaway Time!! $25 GC Giveaway and a Review!

I was contacted by the folks at Ecostore USA to do a review and giveaway! The first thing I did was research before I accepted, as I always do. My first go to, was a great friend who knows all about product ingredients (thank you LL!). I am always looking for products (that are also affordable) that have good, safe, ingredients that I can pronounce :), to use on or for our family. Ecostore USA prides itself on No Nasty Chemicals that are safe for the environment.

Review Time

After researching Ecostore's products and remembering that I live in a house full of (cute) boys, I am bound to do a lot of laundry and need to whiten some clothes! :) And I'm excited about products with No Nasty Chemicals to use that will touch our and our babies' (or pets') skin! So these are the two products I chose to review...



Pros: Safe ingredients for the family, nice scent, left clothes nice and clean!
Cons: As a powder, for me it is a little tedious to get into the box, untie the bag, scoop, retie the bag, close it up, rather than a liquid where you just open pour in then close the cap. That could just be me :). Otherwise great.


Pros: 1. When used to soak - Got rid of a water stain in a table cloth that another liquid stain remover left (ha). Once you mix the powder and water, toss in items and grab a cup of coffee while it soaks. Left clothes brighter. 2. When used added to detergent in machine - Hubby's t-shirts, white towels, etc. were definitely whiter. I laid out two of each item, one washed with Ecostore detergent w/ Ecostore whitener added and one with "old detergent" without telling Hubby which was which, and he chose the Ecostore washed items as being whiter! I did too! And I have to say I was pleasantly surprised :)
Cons: It was a bit bulky to me to find and use a bucket, measure the powder and warm water, wait for the powder to dissolve and then put my items in to use as a soak but worth it. Can you tell, I don't do this much. But since this is a No Nasty Chemicals way to do it, I'll be doing it more! :)

Conclusion

I would buy both products again and I would like try some of the other cleaning products as well based on my research! Since my friend doesn’t make and sell her own products anymore I’ve been wanting to find other No Nasty Chemicals cleaners! I love that it’s safe for the babies (and us), is all-natural, and has a nice scent. Seriously, you need to check out the ingredients.

Giveaway Time!!

Now you have a chance to win a $25 Gift Certificate to Ecostore USA! $25 worth of environmentally safe, no harsh chemical ingredient, products! They are also running a free shipping special with a $25 purchase, perfect! AND in celebrating Earth Month (April) they will be doubling your order! You entire order!

Here's How To Enter:

  • Visit Ecostore USA and leave a comment with what product you’d love to try!
  • For Extra Entries:

  • Blog about this giveaway and link to this post. Leave your link in your comment.
  • Tweet about this giveaway and link to this post. Leave the link to your tweet in your comment.
  • [to do this go to your twitter dot com home, click on the time you tweeted underneath your tweet, that will bring you to a page with that tweet, now click on the url, hit ctrl C, then paste (crtl V) it into your comment! let me know if you have any questions!]
  • Subscribe to the No Nasty Chemicals newsletter via Ecostore's blog.
  • Follow Ecostore on twitter: @ecostoreusa.
  • Friend Ecostore on Facebook: Facebook.com/ecostoreusa.

  • Leave an additional comment for each extra entry and comments must be complete for them to count. Giveaway will close on Thursday May 13, 2010 at midnight EST. Winner will be selected using Random.org.

    Good luck!! Happy and healthy cleaning!

    *Ecostore USA provided me with the products to review and the giveaway prize. The opinions expressed are my own.

    Thursday, April 15, 2010

    I Entered a New Decade!

    As of April 10th, I entered a new decade. I am now... 30 years. old. ahhh :)

    Thank you SO much for all of the tweets, texts, and phone calls on my bday! You all are so sweet and I am SO blessed by you. :) As I tweeted, I still love all you 20s and can I get a whatwhat from all of my now fellow 30s (or older :))?? Are you out there? :)

    I don't think of 30 sounding old on anybody else but for some reason it sounds so old on me. haha. I am no longer getting carded. We haven't gotten quite as many "whoa they look so young," as we walk around shops or eat at a restaurant. And when we would get they look so young looks, Hubby would look at me at some point and throw out, "I can't wait 'till we get to go to prom." ha! I'd hit him on the arm and then we'd laugh. I have inherited young looking (oily :)) skin from my Mom (Hubby too :)) so it is said that will keep you looking young. :) Not a fan when I was in school, but if I look as beautiful and young as my Mom, when am her young mid 50s age, then I'll be a happy camper. :) (she gets mistaken for my sister sometimes! :))

    Celebrations... so blessed!
    This has seriously turned into a birthday month. :) Hubby took me out for a fabulous sushi dinner date before we left for our (Hubby's business trip and semi-working) vacay and then...

    Hubby took me out on a date to one of my favorite places last week!! A Japanese Steakhouse. We always get the filet and chicken combo whenever we go and it is YUMMY! The miso soup, the salad with ginger dressing, the veggies, the meat, the sauces. Y.u.m.m.y.! The cook was hilarious this time and the waiter was great too. We had so much fun! We even got to have some sushi and wine (at the happy hour price :)) before our table was ready. This restaurant was Benihana and they take your pic at the end of the meal (hence no makeup left :)) or maybe they only do that for birthdays, we've only gone there for two birthdays :).

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    Then, this amazing guy and these sweet babies surprised me with breakfast in bed on Saturday morning.

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    And then my Aunt took us out for a SUPER yummy lunch. White garlic pizza (Hubby and BabyBoy got regular, very yummy too!), steak and cheese subs, fried zuchinni and mushrooms! This pic was us, clothes thrown on, not made up, going to get massages last week! Love you Aunt Dottie! Isn't she beautiful even without makeup! :) The second pic she is telling me she loves me even though we're taking a pic of her even though she wasn't picture ready :) hehe. Love her!

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    And then Hubby wanted to take me and the boys out for a family dinner at PF Changs and there was a BIG surprise waiting there! The rest of my family! I might have cried err teared :) as Hubby walked me to our table, I spotted them, and they started singing Happy Birthday. hehe. They all lied to me but I love them, haha. I was so glad to get to spend my birthday with them! (my other Uncle was there but his house alarm (falsely) went off and he had to go home :( ) Thank you Aunt Dottie and Uncle Paul for treating us to a WONDERFUL birthday dinner!

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    [from left to right Hubby, BabyBoy, my Dad, new cousin-to-be :), cousin Dave, Aunt Dottie and Uncle Paul, me and Next Edition :)]


    Hubby was wonderful and thoughtful and got me a new laptop for my birthday. My old laptop was on the fritz, so I'm excited for getting my new one all set up soon! And blog a lot more quickly too :)

    Tuesday, April 6, 2010

    Jesus Paid it All (Easter '10 :))

    As BabyBoy has been saying he's learning in Sunday school, "Jesus is alive!" (said in cute lil two year old voice :)) What a great summary, the only one in history to rise from the dead. That's something big and powerful! :)

    We're out west this year so we visited our old church, hung out with my fam, and had fun playing outside. These are pics from my Aunt's house! :) And below is one of the wonderful songs we sang on Sunday, Jesus Paid It All.

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    I hear the Savior say,
    "Thy strength indeed is small;
    Child of weakness, watch and pray,
    Find in Me thine all in all."

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    Jesus paid it all,
    All to Him I owe;
    Sin had left a crimson stain,
    He washed it white as snow.

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    Lord, now indeed I find
    Thy power and Thine alone,
    Can change the leper's spots
    And melt the heart of stone.

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    O Praise the one who paid my debt
    And raised this life up from the dead
    O Praise the one who paid my debt
    And raised this life up from the dead


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    And when before the throne
    I stand in Him complete,
    I'll lay my trophies down
    All down at Jesus' feet.

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    Jesus paid it all,
    All to Him I owe;
    Sin had left a crimson stain,
    He washed it white as snow.

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    We hope you had a wonderful Easter! He is Risen!

    Thursday, April 1, 2010

    busy busy fun... in pics :)

    We have been busy busy, hence no blogging or blog reading for soooo looong. :) Here's what we've been up to!

    Pulling up and cruising on anything (and crawling everywhere :))! This little guy is on his feet and moving all the time. :) Have him in your lap and he wants to get down, set him down and he wants to climb up, haha. He is a sweet determined little'un!

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    And getting a little bonk because of it sometimes :) Which doesn't bother him at all, haha!

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    Some bonks for sweet big too but they don't get him down either!

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    Playing the keyboard! and singing :)

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    Sweet sweet times with Daddy! Showing them all sorts of fun adventurous things!

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    A GNO! I love Girl's Nights Out. Such a fun time to catch up, laugh, accidentally embarrass the waitress/waiters with girl talk whenever they come to the table, ha! Missed you LL and Reb! (hope to see you next time Renee :))

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    Fun trips to the mall with friends! I snapped some pics from the trip last week with an old friend and her little ones :) We were standing in line for lunch (Subway, trying to be healthy :)) and I looked down and BabyBoy had reached over for Next Edition's hand to hold. I might have said, "Awwwww" outloud, put my hand up on my chest, then grabbed my phone to take a pic, right in line, haha. SWEET brothers! :) I love it!!!

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    A wedding. First pic, closer up for the dress detail :-). Second pic, Hubby and his "little" bro. He's a good boy! :)

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    And remember the potential trip #4 to tagalong with Hubby to California? It's happening! I ended up finding a great plane fare and Hubby's ticket and rental car are always paid for! I meant to add to that post, that all of that luxurious looking spa goodness... was just a fun thought, because the little sweets will be us too, haha. We LOVE visiting my family and always have such a wonderful time with them! :) Hubby is going to work some and take some time off too! We're SO excited it's happening!

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