Too Much and Never Enough

too much not enough

The what if’s got me this past week. Every time I sat down to write, I waged war within. The cursor blinked, I stared. Tapped out a sentence or two then hit the delete button. The cursor blinked, I stared. Hands on the keys, at the ready, to knock the socks off my readers.

Crickets.

It’s not that I don’t have plenty of thoughts. I always have blogs in the queue that I’m working on. I tried different ones on different days. I tried funny but funny falls flat when funky is the feeling. Moving to morose was, well, gloomy. I wrote and erased an entire novel. Or so it seemed.

After a few days of that I decided that I needed a change of scenery. I cleaned. I mowed. I walked around outside (and took more pics of fall wildflowers.) That’s what I do when I need to do some figuring out of things.

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Here’s what I came up with:

Nothing crushes creativity quicker than comparison.

 The thing of it is I wasn’t comparing myself to other people. I was comparing myself to the last few posts I’d written. The Wildflower Warrior concept has resonated with so many of you! I’ve loved every message, text, note and art design. You all get it! We were made for more!

This may sound weird but I began to put so much pressure on myself to perform perfectly, to give you, my readers whom I adore, exactly what you needed to read, to resonate with ALL of you EVERY time, to watch the number of reads, shares and likes beat the previous post. I froze.

Pressure to perform perfectly paralyzes productivity.

While I want to continually hone the craft and sharpen the skill of writing, always improving, I cannot compare what resonated with my audience yesterday to what I’m working on today. It kills creativity quickly.

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I will be too much for some.

My style isn’t for everyone. For some I’m over the top. I’m too simple or hippy or farmy. I mean who compares women to wildflowers and warriors? Lessons from nature and chickens and weeds? Seriously? And the whole Jesus thing? Enough already. Is that really how you think? You are too much.

So when I sat down to write this past week, I found myself wanting to water it down, making sure I wasn’t too much of anything for anyone. But being something for everyone leaves me left with nothing for no one because I’m exhausted trying to fit in a mold I wasn’t made for.

Yes. I will be too much for some. It’s okay. I’m hoeing my own row. The seeds planted there will produce the harvest I was meant to grow.

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For others I will never be quite enough.

Sigh. Oh the words that whirl around in my head on this one!

Who do you think you are? You’re seriously going to push publish on that? No one will like it. No one will get it. You’ll never be a real writer.

 There’s more but you get the picture.

Does anything crush creativity faster than trying to measure up to the critics and complainers, the killjoys and commentators that have nothing nice to say?

Sometimes this is me in my own head. Sometimes this is me speaking for you before you’ve had a chance to read what I’ve written. Sometimes it really is people to whom I will never be enough.

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As I’m typing this, I am reminded of an excerpt from Teddy Roosevelt’s speech on April 23, 1910….

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. (bold is mine)

While I may never be enough for some, I want to be brave enough to get in the arena anyhow.

Maybe you get it, this too much and never enough. Maybe you wrestle with it as well. Let’s dare greatly and keep creating, even if we’re too much for some and not enough for others.

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Me being me…no makeup, outside, taking pictures with Macey because she needed to go to my thoughtful spot too. 🙂

Be you. It’s what Wildflower Warriors do.

Fiercely for you!

kw

When You End Up in the Ditch

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The Cup Plant known to collect rain water in her “cups” that can be used for drinking water in emergencies. She can be found in ditches along roadsides, offering us a cool drink perhaps?

I had been asking Mom for gas money for several days. While I had been watching the needle move towards E, it didn’t really dawn on me that I would run out of gas…oh to be 16 again…until my car sputtered to a halt on my way to school one morning. My sister and I were able to push it off the country road enough to not get hit.

Fortunately for my siblings and me, my then boyfriend, now husband (awww…insert heart emoji’s here) took the same route to school, saw us stranded and pulled over to pick us up. There’s nothing quite like piling in to a ’67 VW with rusted floorboards. But at least his tank was full.

Later that day, I got scolded pretty good by my stepfather for parking in the ditch at the wrong angle. Wait. What? I guess gas couldn’t get to the carburetor because of the angle of the car….or something like that. (To this day I have no knowledge of any of this…I couldn’t even spell carburetor just now!)

I wish I could tell you this was the last time I ended up in a ditch. But, well, life happens, tanks run out, and there you are, parked at a wonky angle in the ditch. I’ve learned a few things through the years….

When you’re running towards E you have to go to a resource that can help you. The logical place to go for gas money was my Mom. This is usually true. What I didn’t know is she couldn’t give me what she herself didn’t have…money for gas. I kept waiting. She kept putting it off. I ended up in the ditch.

Sometimes the actions (or inaction) of others are what put you in the ditch. Had I realized there was no money for gas, I could have caught a ride to school with said hunk of a boy mentioned above.

How many times have I gone to someone who simply did not have the know- how or wherewithal to give me what I needed to prevent me from ending up in the ditch.

I just kept driving.

When you’re running towards E you have to pay attention to the signs. It was naïve (foolish?) of me to think I could just keep going and going and never run out of gas. There were red flags…like the needle that kept creeping closer to empty. My truck today has a signal that lets me know when I’m 50 miles or less to empty. (And believe me, I head to the nearest gas station because that beep makes me panic a little!)

How many times have I ignored signs and red flags and beeps and just kept going? Oh, hello, Mr. Ditch. We must stop meeting like this. I had no clue we’d be together again so soon. Oh wait. Yes I did. I chose to ignore them!

 I just kept driving.

When you’re running on E you don’t get to choose where you park, you just land where you run out of gas. It’s almost always not in a convenient spot…

Sometimes it’s in the hospital because you’ve ignored your body’s symptoms. Sometimes it’s with a counselor because you’ve ignored your feelings and thoughts. Sometimes it’s in divorce court because you’ve ignored warning signs in your marriage. Sometimes it’s because of someone else’s actions or lack thereof. Sometimes it’s in the middle of a store and you start crying for not any one thing but a million.  And you can’t stop.

We just keep driving.

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The Bull Thistle…completely dried up…just like us when we “bull” our way through and keep driving.

No matter the reason, no matter the how, no matter the why, we have a Rescuer. He doesn’t look at us and think You idiot. (Though he may shake his head on occasion…) He looks at his children with compassion. He doesn’t ignore our cries from the ditch…no matter how we ran out of gas, no matter what angle we “parked” the car…he hears us…

I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry.

He lifted me out of the slimy pit,

out of the mud and mire;

he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.

He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.

Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord. (Psalm 40:1-3)

 Oh. My. Soul!

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Chicory coming up THROUGH a crack in the road. 

He is the Resource that never runs out. He is the One with all the answers. He is the Fuel that fills my tank. He is the Nemesis to my enemy. He is the Light that shows the way. He is Breath when I cannot breathe. He is.

He is the Lifter of my head when I’m weary. He is the Hearer of my heart. He is the collector of my tears. He is the Helper in times of trouble. He is Firmness under my feet. He is the Rock on which I stand. He is.

He Rescues. Redeems. Restores. Amen.

#ezerstrong

kw

 

 

Crying Harder Than It Hurt

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Ironweed closeup.

I’m not sure what happened. One minute I was reaching to turn the garage light on and the next minute I’m bouncing my way down the wooden steps, making sure to hit all four of them with my rear before landing on the concrete floor.

I sat there in disbelief for a few seconds. After doing a quick inventory to make sure everything was still connected and not broken, I curled up in the fetal position on the dirty garage floor and cried. Sobbed really.

I was crying way harder than it hurt. Oh sure, my butt was going to have some serious bruises but for a woman who has gone through natural childbirth not once but four (out of five) times this seemed a bit extreme.

Yet I laid there. In the dark. On the cold floor. All alone. And I wailed.

It wasn’t the bruises on my bum but the hurt in my heart that was causing this wave of emotion. The previous 18 months had demanded that I be brave. Commanded some colossal courage. Life can take you through those seasons sometimes, can’t it?

So often during that year and a half, I had held back tears and choked back any real emotion because there simply was no time for it. They came out that day…spilling over into the dust of the garage floor….

Job change, a renegade kid, death, loss of friendships, moves, being alone, loneliness, grieving what was, facing the unknown…bullying me, taunting me, daring me to give up. Whispering to me that only the weak cry uncle, only the weak cry at all.

Such a lie.

Somewhere along the way we (Wildflower Warriors) have convinced ourselves that we are invincible. Until we’re not. Then we wonder where it went wrong.

King David was a slayer of lions, bears and giants. He fought battles like a boss, killing tens of thousands of his enemy. He was confidently courageous, powerfully potent, gallantly gritty, undaunted, unafraid and handsome to boot.

Until you read the Psalms….

Answer me when I call to you, O my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; be merciful to me and hear my prayer. (Psalm 4:1)

The daring distress.

Give ear to my words, O Lord, consider my sighing. Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God, for to you I pray. (Psalm 5:1-2)

Sighing: to let out one’s breath audibly, as from sorrow, weariness or relief.

Warriors weary.

I am worn out from groaning; all night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears. (Psalm 6:6)

 Warriors weep.

How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart? (Psalm 13:1-2)

 Warriors feel forgotten.

When I am afraid, I will trust in you. (Psalm 56:3)

 Warriors feel fear.

That’s just five verses from five different chapters. All throughout the Psalms David emotes. Unabashedly. And it’s okay. In fact it’s more than okay. It’s necessary! Otherwise you end up crying harder than it hurt.

In those times of demanding distress, weariness and weeping, feeling forgotten and being afraid, David is honest about how he’s feeling. He goes to the One who can make a difference. That’s what fierce warriors do.

Courage can be found when I cry out to God from a cold concrete floor. He can take the mud I made from the dust and the tears and give me eyes to see healing in the hurt, goodness in the grief and hope in my heart. (John 9)

Fiercely for you!

kw

 

 

It Starts With Me

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Are you okay? I asked the woman as I approached her.

Yeah! I was already having a bad day. Then THIS happened!

My man and me were headed out for a matinee when we rounded a curve to find a woman standing in the ditch crying, her hoopty of a car obviously broken with the tire pointing 90 degrees in the opposite direction of which she was headed.

She was beside herself sobbing so I did the only thing I knew to do in the moment…I asked her her name then gave her a hug.

I pieced bits of Nikki’s story together in between the Lucille Ball like sobs and stutter breathing. I began to see that her car wasn’t the only thing broken. She had just dropped her boyfriend off at work when she got a call from her daughter that the daughters boyfriend had stranded her in a parking lot in Sharonville with her one year old who hadn’t eaten yet and was crying because he was hungry. Mom can you please come pick us up?

She didn’t have the money for gas to drive all the way over there but you can’t let your kid be stranded. What else could she do but go pick her up and try to figure out how to get some food for the baby. And then this happened. She started sobbing again.

 She had called her Dad who was mad that she was driving to Sharonville. She called her brother who was trying to get over to help but wasn’t sure when he could leave work. She couldn’t call her boyfriend because he would go back to jail…(I didn’t ask because I didn’t want to know.)

Her husband had left her nine months ago for another woman and had accused her of doing drugs. She assured me she wasn’t and even showed me her arms…see, I don’t have any needle marks.

 She didn’t know where they would stay tonight because not only was this her mode of transportation, it was her home when work was scarce and dresser for all she owned.

My man was standing in the background, taking it all in, letting me do what I do…listen and soothe, comfort and calm. He is a fixer of things not necessarily people so his mind went immediately to what it would take to get her car fixed.

I know what some of you are thinking. I had those thoughts too. This woman was a hot mess of broken down and busted up. Her life was a domino of poor choices. She fit such stereotypical molds that it would have been easy to tell her to get her act together and walk away shaking my head in disgust. To say, You made this bed…

 As her story continued, I prayed Lord let me see her as you do…. made in Your image.

 It’s easy isn’t it? It’s easy to let skepticism replace compassion, to let animosity blind our humanity. Cynicism crowds out sympathy. Indifference becomes our go to instead of grace. This world is wearying with want. It’s easy to allow our hearts to harden.

Compassion…a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering…has to start somewhere.

I could get on my soapbox and get all up in your grill here…guilting you…I mean…

We could talk about how many times Jesus was moved with compassion when he saw people hungry and sick. How he fed and healed them without asking how in the heck they got there.

We could talk about how Jesus met the woman at the well and saw more than someone who had been married five times plus a live in. Or how Jesus stood in the middle of the circle of Pharisees with the woman caught in adultery daring the elites to throw the first stone.

We could talk about Jesus explaining to the disciples that when you feed, clothe, care for and visit the least of these, you are feeding, clothing, caring for and visiting Jesus himself.

We could. But I don’t want to sound preachy and I sure as heck don’t have my act all together. Compassion is a condition of the heart and Lord knows my heart is deceitful on the best of days.

It IS hard. We AREN’T Jesus. People ARE a mess. This world IS broken.

But it has to start somewhere.

I believe the timing was divine. We were given an opportunity to choose: the gavel of judge and jury or the cloak of care and compassion. We may not always get it right but we chose the latter this time.

Todd looked at me and I at him, knowing we were supposed to help her get her car fixed. So he did what he does best and started making calls to some of his connections (my man knows people…)

I gave her another hug and whispered in her ear, We may not be able to fix everything that’s broken but we can at least help you get your car fixed.

The look of disbelief and relief was worth the cost of the repair. I have no idea what will happen to Nikki, if she will continue to tip over the domino of poor decisions. But I do know this, she needed someone to cut her a break not cut her down.

No. I can’t fix everything but I can do this one thing. I can show compassion.

It starts with me.

Fiercely for you!

kw

PS Ironically we missed the movie we were supposed to see. The Glass Castle is a true story about a family who moved often because of bill collectors, lived in their car when necessary and struggled to survive. We traded reel life for real life that day.

We Were Made for More (Part 2: Warriors)

Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” (Genesis 2:18)

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I turned 52 this month. If you’re 32 that seems old and if you’re 72 it seems pretty young. It makes me reflect. With the average age of a woman’s life expectancy in America being 82 (ish) I have 30 more years. Morbid? Maybe. But that reality is what drives me to want to live as was originally intended.

The word God uses when he creates woman is often translated helper or helpmeet, giving it more of a domesticated flair like hamburger helper or homework helper or meet-your-man-at-the-door-with-dinner-ready-helper. While there is nothing wrong with marriage and managing a household, if we leave it here we leave out a whole slew of women.

What of those who never marry, never have children, are now widowed? They are still women. Did God leave them out? Make them less than? Has their value dried up with age?

Not at all.

The original word for helper is Ezer…

The word ezer appears in the Old Testament twenty-one times—twice for the woman in Genesis 2:18 and 20, three times for nations Israel turned to for military assistance when they were under attack, and sixteen times for God. Whenever ezer appeared—for the three nations, obviously, but also for God—it was always within a military context. God is His people’s helper, defender, deliverer, sword and shield.

God’s daughter’s were named after his very own nature and character….a strong helper, defender with sword and shield. God didn’t create woman to be an assistant. She was created from the get go to be an equal, strong and powerful force, an ally to man. A warrior.

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Sadly, however, we went from badass warrior to just plain bad with the crisp crunch of an apple (or so it’s portrayed in all the pictures.)

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We’ve been living in the shadow of that tree ever since.

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We were made for more.

It’s time for fierce Ezer’s to rise up to our original intent. To be what we were meant to be…strong and powerful women who fight for the good of the kingdom, who battle beside our brother’s for good. To be an ally. It’s time to step out of the shadow and into your calling as a warrior.

The shadow of that tree brings with it words like: insecure, gossips, illogical, emotional, afraid, can’t be trusted, high maintenance, catty, victim, damaged, not worthy, unseen, unlovable, unheard, hateful, mean, terrible friend, loud, too emotional, too fat, too thin, too ignorant, too strong, too weak, too pretty, too ugly, too soft. Too much and yet never enough.

We were made for more.

Being an ezer is more of an ethos then it is a vocation. It’s more about knowing who you are because of Whose you are in whatever role you are. It’s about understanding that you are made in the image of Almighty God who sees you, loves you and hears you. You are a woman of valor, strong and powerful not because of anything you do but because of who you were created to be.

Ezer women are:

Leaders like Deborah who led Israel to victory over the Canaanites when no one else would. (Judges 4-5) Many of you are leading your families, providing for, nurturing and loving your people because no one else would. Many of you are leaders in your workplaces, ministries and as volunteers.

Fighters like Jael who destroyed a great warrior with nothing more than a tent peg through the temple because he meant to harm her people. (Judges 4) Many of you are fighters, doing what you must do in order to survive, in order to save your people from harm. You are capable, creative, and clever.

Risk takers like Rahab the prostitute who agreed to hide men of God with the assurance they would save her and her family from destruction. She left her life of prostitution and would later become the mother of Boaz who married Ruth (another Ezer) who became a part of the lineage of Jesus found in Matthew 1. Many of you leave a life of less than to become something more. Risking everything you’ve known for something different, better.

Ezer women are:

Tender like Mary the mother of Jesus who spent her time rearing and nurturing the very Son of God. Loving, praying for, feeding, disciplining, training. Many of you are staying home to raise up the next generation of difference makers.

Tough like Esther who had the courage and grit to go up against the evil ways of a man who would see her people destroyed. Many of you are doing all you can to look evil in the eye and not flinch. You stand strong, unwavering in the face of ugly to save your brothers and sisters.

Doers like Tabitha in Acts 9:36 who was always doing good and helping the poor. Many of you work tirelessly for the least of these…those who are hungry, naked, or in trouble…often quietly and without fanfare. You just do.

Faithful like Anna who spent years looking for the coming Messiah. Widowed at a young age she never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. (Luke 2:37) Many of you have spent countless hours praying for your prodigal friends, spouses, kids, for answers to hard questions. Worshiping even in the unknown and unanswered.

All Ezer women.

Powerful.

Strong.

Warriors.

May we know them.

May we be them.

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Leave the shadow of that dang tree because…

We were made for more.

Fiercely for YOU!

kw

 

 

 

 

 

 

We Are Made For More (Part 1 Wildflowers)

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I was walking a country road by my house earlier this month, praying through some things and thinking about some of my girlfriends and the things they were experiencing…fun things like new babies and grandbabies, a booming business, retirement, a new job, a quiet season of life. Hard things like a cancer diagnosis, aging parents, prodigal kids, divorce, accidents, worry….

As I was rounding a bend in the road I began to notice all the flowers blooming. They were in the fields, along side the road, beside a creek bed. They were blooming everywhere. It didn’t matter the terrain or the circumstance, there they were, standing tall and strong, flowers blooming with beauty, just simply being.

There’s the lovely grace of this one…

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…called Queen Ann’s Lace. You will notice these on roadsides and in fields. From a distance they all look the same but upon further observation each one has its own distinctness, a delicate uniqueness.

Queen Ann’s Lace is actually from the carrot family and has a long edible root. When we are each being our distinct selves, bringing our varying looks, gifts, talents, personalities to the table we can not only feed off each other, we can feed others as well.

Imagine a world where women aren’t competing to be like each other, comparing and envying, backstabbing and putting each other down, gossiping and ganging up on each other, insecure and unsure. Instead of feeding others we devour each other. No.

We were made for more.

Women were meant to come together, bringing with us our unique selves so others can see fields of beauty and grace, the same but different and after having spent time with us, people walk away hungry no more.

We are like the wildflowers….full of beauty and grace.

Then there’s this gorgeousness tucked in here and there among fields of weeds…

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…Tall Ironweed…the name is descriptive of her height and stem…tall and strong so she can rise up above the weeds and bask in the glory of the sun bringing the beauty of her color to the area around her.

We were made for more.

Imagine a world where women rise above, bringing beauty among the weeds. Imagine a world where women grow strong in the Word so they are confident in who they are and Whose they are so they no longer compare themselves to each other but bask in the beauty of who they were created to be bringing color to a dank, dark world.

We are like the wildflowers…full of strength and dignity.

This little blue flower can be found almost exclusively beside the road…

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…Chicory blooms in the morning but wilts by noon, losing all her color. Not to worry she’s back the next morning blooming as bright as ever. Her roots can be roasted, ground and used to flavor coffee or as coffee itself. Cars pass her by without nary a glance.

You see, often times we (women) have days that make us wilt by noon (or sooner, yes?), having lost all color and feeling as if we blend into the background of dishes, diapers and daily grind.

We were made for more.

Even on our wilt-iest of days, we know that morning will come and with it new mercies and new blooms. We know that when life is hectic and busy and everyone is passing us by…we are not unseen. Our Father sees us and even when our blooms are wilted he will use our roots. Roots that are grounded in Christ bring the best flavor to a world who needs to taste grace and truth, mercy and love, wholeness and healing.

We are like the wildflowers…full of hope and flavor.

I was walking our property when I spotted this gem…

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…the Orange Jewelweed who at first glance seems to be hanging from nothing. Looking closer you can see the delicacy of the connection it has to the main stem of the plant. Juice from the stem of this plant will relieve the burning sensation you get from a Stinging Nettle plant.

Everyone has gotten burned by a “Stinging Nettle.” Our connection to the stem…ahem…Vine (John 15)…is crucial for healing. You may feel like you are dangling dangerously close to losing your grip…it’s ok…don’t let go, that tiny connection is all you need to remain in Him and connected to the One who brings relief to the burn. Staying connected allows healing, healing allows growth, growth allows fruit, fruit allows others to see Who it was that applied the juice that healed the burn.

We are like the wildflowers…delicately connected to the One who heals.

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So many of you who will read this are like these wildflowers: full of grace, rising above, tall and strong among the weeds, feeling the wilt that life can bring but you keep getting up the next day blooming, and staying delicately connected to the Vine.

Just like the wildflower, you have no idea of the true beauty you exude by simply being you…you just are. The world could use more Wildflower Women like you….with grace in her heart and flowers in her hair. (Mumford and Sons)

Fiercely for YOU!

kw

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