Category Archives: Women

Abort!

Abort!

Panic sets in. Fear takes control. Rational thought abandons ship and ‘ABORT MISSION’ becomes the primary goal. In crisis situations people tend not to think through their options. Emergency responses kick in: “Fight!”, “Flight!”, “Act now!”, “Run and hide!” Our greatest fears become the focus of our reality. Survival instincts can betray us when we’re in this mode. We get so caught up in the moment. We may solve an instantaneous problem; however, we may also cause long term issues we regret.

Unlike most teen pregnancies, I planned my daughter. I was 15 when I got “knocked-up.” I was not under duress. This was not an accident. Nor was I ignorant of the consequences of unprotected sex. With full understanding of my actions, I sought out becoming pregnant. It took me a whole three tries, and ‘voila!’ – I was with child.

My boyfriend of a couple years was also a willing participant. He and I were “in-love”. We were going to be the exception to the rule. We were going to stick in there, make this relationship last, and we were going to defy the odds. All this except…. we were not doing anything different than anyone else. We did not have some amazing skills and relationship tools. We did not listen to wisdom and healthy advice. We were independent.

We were arrogant, self-sufficient, and cut off from genuine accountability. Like most teenagers, we thought we “knew it all”. However, in our culture today, even adults act like this. We have become so good at telling others what to do, how they should live their life, and pointing out their shortcomings. Yet, we isolate ourselves. We walk in pride, thinking we do not need others who have knowledge, wisdom, and expertise in any area.

We then reproduce dysfunction. We cultivate and perpetuate the need for right and wrong, fear and punishment, living in secret and walking in ignorance. We demand respect, but do not give it. We want freedom and independence without responsibility and covenant relationships. We do not want to be bothered and burdened. Most certainly we do not want the stress of learning how to have self-control and deal with conflict.

We want all the pleasures and no difficulties. We act like self-centered toddlers demanding our way. We are perpetually in the “mine” stage. As essentially very large children ourselves, we consequently view having our own children as an inconvenience, as an annoyance, and as a noose around our neck, like some necessary evil. They get in the way of the “mine” and the “me time.”

Even those children who are wanted can be strenuous. They can (and will) expose our core beliefs, our insecurities, our unpreparedness, and our own immaturity. Why then are they called a blessing? Why then desire to have them? Why bring one into this horrific and broken world in the first place?

You see those cute little faces and your heart melts. Something inside softens. Most people want babies, and most people have an intense fear of teenagers. Yet, even with babies, we get afraid. What about the cost? What about “my dreams”? What if I suck at parenting and I ruin their life? The “What if’s…” screw us every-time!

We don’t think about solutions. We don’t problem solve. We simply respond to our fear and trample faith beneath our feet. We dig a hole deep down and we bury possibility. We cover it with the dust of the ground and live within the rot of hope and the loss of joy.

My high school sweet heart and I did not make it. After many years of a co-dependent relationship we separated. In our wake, two amazing, devastated children. It would be over a decade later their father would pass away, leaving more heartache and trauma. I learned, as most of us do, no matter how much as we plan life isn’t always smooth sailing. At times we have to batten the hatches, but no matter what storms we weather the most important thing is that we remain true to our destination.

My beautiful daughter grew up, and at the age of sixteen she surprised me. It was not exciting. It was not bliss. And it was not welcomed with happiness. As we stood together in the bathroom, her body fell to the floor. She began crying in emotional agony. She felt she had made the biggest mistake of her life. With two blues lines on a pee stick, I was now going to be a grandmother and she a mom to an unwanted, very unplanned pregnancy.

It was all I could do not to carry her shame. Riddled with guilt, she clung to my body all night long. Being passionate about life I encouraged her to believe in herself. I held her hand and whispered in her ear. Though I was disappointed, it was not in her. I felt I myself had failed as a parent. I came to terms with being a young grandmother, but she could not get over the fears of raising this child “alone.”

Her dreams were so big. Her imagination so wild. And her better judgement did not get control of her. She entertained all the truths that are subject to interpretation. “It’s going to be harder to date.” “It is going to be harder to finish school.” “It is going to be harder to pay for things.” Suddenly, all she could hear was, “Life is going to get really HARD!”

Several weeks into her pregnancy she made a decision. A decision she later regretted. A decision she can never take back. We had already been shopping, preparing, going to classes, etc. I was so proud of how she was handling herself and the predicament she was in. I had embraced becoming a grandma. I was even going to be known as Glam-ma. I had gone to all her doctors appointments and had even been talking to her belly.

All the while she was dying inside…

She never got past her fears. One mistake and everything changed. But two wrongs don’t make a right.

Quietly, she laid in a clinic convinced she was doing what was best. Behind my back she got rid of this ‘tissue’ as if was some cancer growing inside of her. She justified her actions as morally responsible. Knowing I would be grieved, she hid her secret from me. Trying to save me from pain, her from condemnation, and us from from conflict, she fabricated the loss of her child to my face.

Betrayal was beyond what I was feeling. My daughter was engrossed with sadness. She felt alone. She gave up her baby for the sake of the greater good. Why then did we both feel so bad? I bonded with my grandchild. I was mad at my daughter. I was trying to be sensitive to her pain without condoning her actions.

We sat in our driveway as she explained her heart the best she could, while I mourned the loss of my grand baby. It was such a helpless feeling. I wanted so badly to reach into her situation and change things. Her life was going up in flames. My power was in maintaining self-control and by not adding more fuel to her flaming, crumbling infrastructure.

I watched as my little girl drive off in my car. She had kicked me in the gut with her words and was now leaving because she did not know how to deal with the intense pain we were both enduring. I prayed for peace. I prayed for comfort. And I prayed for wisdom.

With the impression that the baby was going to be a girl, Trinity Honor was going to be her name. This precious human being that now resides in heaven with her grandfather has never left my heart. More-so, she has haunted her mother ever since she departed.

It took over a year for my daughter to attempt to get over what she had done. She turned to substance abuse to drowned out the noises in her head. She shut out everyone she loved and was close to. She abandoned the dreams she sacrificed her daughter for. And she herself no longer lived but simply existed waiting for time to pass her by…

I am not saying planning a child when you are a teenager is a good thing. I am not supporting nor am I condoning my own behavior in that area. I love being a mother and I adore all of my children. I also do not support or condone abortions. I know many people who have had one and I still love those people.

In life we make mistakes. Hopefully we learn and grow from them. I do not expect people to be perphect, nor do I demand perphection out myself. It is not my place to judge others actions. I do not have to, nor do I get to live their lives. What I can say is:

Most people’s consequences for their own actions condemn and shame them enough.

When we pull others from their self imposed guilt, we empower them to walk in their destiny. People are pretty amazing. Given the opportunity, most will choose to walk in the light.

How can we impose our values and beliefs on others when we ourselves do not view children as a blessing? How do we “make” them believe they should want their children when we do not “like” our own? How do we show people that generations are to be enjoyed when we ourselves avoid the vulnerability of messy relationships?

Today my remarkable daughter started beauty college. I am so proud of her. She has gotten healthy. She has forgiven herself and she is pursuing her dreams. Though she is learning how to let go and how to manage her emotional pain, she holds dear a little girl who is forever apart of this world.

May we never give up on our dreams, and may we never ABORT our blessings even if they do come by accident.

Resources:

CareNet Pregnancy Center

Moral Revolution

Loving Our Kids On Purpose

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Lover

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Fear welled up inside of me as I heard him say, “open your eyes.” It was the same kind I get due to my fear of heights. My stomach started to churn, my imagination ran wild, my body began to tingle, and my world began to spin. It was the largest, most frightening roller-coaster I had ever went on. All I wanted to do was keep my eyes shut. I figured as long as I could not see the distance between me and the ground the safer I would feel, or, should I say, the less scared I would be.

But, this was not a ride, and death was not my concern. It was far worse than that. What if I opened my eyes and I did not like what I saw?! More so, what if what I saw was a disappointed look staring back at me? What wouldn’t kill me would destroy me.

I had a choice to make. I could keep my eyes closed, protect my fear, and live in denial; or, I could open my eyes, face reality, and let come what may. Things I knew for sure and for certain: he had NO false expectations of who I am, I was not under duress to perform any certain way, and he had continually been a refuge and a safe place.

What I had to find was my heart. I had become so numb, so robotic, so inoculated. I wasn’t sure what true love looked like… even when it was looking back at me. I had so carefully tucked my heart under the clutter of duty. I hid it so perfectly beneath mounds of hurt. I covered it beautifully behind a mask of independence.

Yet through patience, diligence, and determination, he sought it out. He nurtured it to health. He removed it’s rough calluses. Over time he tore down the fortified walls I built due to the assaults my heart had previously endured.

Why then such intense irrational fear???

He was the man I wanted all of my life. He was the one I dreamed of, but did not truly believe existed. He was the man I was told was worth waiting for, and he was right in front of me. Yet, I was the one who doubted my emotional security.

Such cruelty haunted me. As long as I did not have to face the danger I was in, I was fine with my situation. However, the danger I was facing was the prospect of loving like I had never been hurt. I was getting ready to take the biggest risk of my life. I had to face a fear greater than my fear of heights. I was getting ready to jump from a perfectly good plane and had to trust him to be a well-crafted parachute.

In my head, I heard myself say, “love is a safe place to land, first I must fall.” It was from a poem I had wrote years ago, just after we first met. I had to admit, I did so enjoy the way I felt in his arms. His voice was gentle and pleasing to my soul. His smile made me radiate with happiness. He had drawn me in, and with every part of my being I wanted to answer his call.

I pondered a little longer. I had never before seen lust linger behind his pupils. There was no darkness when I had previously peered through the windows into the depth of his person. It was not him that I feared. Instantaneously, I was swept up into self-consciousness. I was overwhelmed by my inadequacies. All I could do was view my exaggerated flaws as in a fun house mirror. My short comings were suddenly thrust into the forefront of my mind.

What could he see in me that he would find desirable? What would he find in me if I opened my eyes? I was covered in shame. What could I offer him beyond my pain?

Still I found myself trapped in this moment… caught by these words, “Open your eyes.”

I knew what they meant. I knew what they would cost. This was not so much about me opening my eyes as it was about me opening my heart.

Suggested reading:
Captivating by John & Stasi Eldredge
Moral Revolution by Kris and Jason Vallotton


Inside

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“Inside”

She may dance and sing and twirl inside.
She may laugh and giggle and not be shy inside.
She is silly, frilly, and smiley inside.
She is wild and free and delighted inside.
She is comfort, warm, and mild inside.
She is love, innocence, and pretty inside.
She is adventurous, ambitious, and a fighter inside.
She is protective, fearless, and exciting inside.
She is hope,
she is joy,
she is life inside.
Her hair is down, her arms arms are open, her eyes are bright inside.
She is glory and humor, she is splendor and cheer, she is elegant and clear,
Inside.
She is beauty, she is desire, she is mystery inside.
Soft as satin, and smooth like silk,
Her face is glowing, and her skin like milk…inside.

She is passion, she is sweet, she is stubborn, she is meek.
She can roar like thunder and pour like rain.
She can light up a room and dye like stain.
She is tender, she is wise, she’s a fun-filled surprise.
She is radiant, courageous, and fire…inside.

She has wings to fly…inside.

She is time in a bottle and make moments last forever inside.
She is fanciful, dainty, and quiet inside.
She is a walking contradiction and simple as a clear blue sky;
She is spontaneous, outrageous, and committed inside.
She is thoughtful, thought provoking, and thought of inside.
She is daring, risk-taking, and calculative inside.
She embodies grace, displays poise, and excels at posture,
Inside.
She is strong, she is rested, she is exuberant inside.
She is observant, careful, and trusting inside.
She’s a dreamer, a seeker, and a climber inside.
She is smart, intelligent, educated inside.
She’s a rainbow, a cloud, a pot of gold inside.
She is faithful, stable, and devoted inside.
She is the world’s best story ever told inside.

She is me and I am her, but to truly live
I must let her out and no longer hide her…
Inside.


Pretty Woman

     “She’s so pretty,” the words every girl wants to hear about herself. However, it is what she believes about herself that is more important. It is where she defines her beauty that actually makes her attractive. Beauty goes beyond skin deep. It goes into the depths of a woman’s soul. The most radiant women light up a room when they exude confidence. They shine when they operate from the inside out and they leave you wanting.

The woman who is average in the looks department or even less than, may hide her beauty. She willingly betrays her feminine side as she puts in little to no effort to accentuate her God given allure. She down plays her appearance as it has become an evil bane to be avoided. Rejection stings like a blistering sunburn. She covers herself up or avoids light altogether. While she protects herself from such hurt she also squelches her free spirit.

Why is that so many strong women come across as closed off, uptight, and pretentious? She may be well dressed, up-kept, organized, and assertive, yet she is intimidating. She can put off an aura of invulnerability. A vast majority of men find her intimidating and thereby avoid her. This woman lives under an umbrella even when the sun is out, not being admired and adored for their strengths. She may even begin to pretend she is ugly.

Other females who are educated and have intellectual thoughts can become torn and even annoyed with those who live at a superficial level. The overemphasized outward beauty and the under appreciated inward development causes us to question our world’s priorities. Pink’s song “Stupid girls” is a prime example, “She’s so pretty, that just ain’t me.”

We all know these women. The cute girl with a pretty face and a gorgeous, hot body. She is easy to be envious of. She emanates sex appeal. She has desirability. She’s been endowed with the art of seduction without trying. Life seems to come easy for her. She acts carefree, happy, silly, and innocent as boys linger at her every word… or so it appears. However, her beauty is fleeting and her charm is deceptive. Her insecurities are endless and her fears overwhelming. Her identity is based on something temporal, therefore it is only a matter of time before her value depreciates quicker than the US dollar.

But being acknowledged for her physical appearance has brought her a long way.  Many like the Kim Kardashians of the world are beautiful and even business minded, yet the remain shallow. With no depth of person, she has no deep well in which to draw from. She may be moved with compassion by the latest “social justice” fads, but she herself is starving for truth. Though she is gorgeous with a mind of her own, often times she simply does not develop it. She overcompensates with materialism as her looks have become her primary facet. Her world crumbles as she ages. Like the queen in Snow White she grasps for potions and seeks the fountain of youth.

On the other hand, the Jenny McCarthys use their beauty as a platform. Though she may flaunt her outward beauty, it has become a vehicle to gain the attention of her real worth of being an articulate educator. In this juxtaposition, she develops an “I don’t give a F**k attitude” which tends to sting like a slap in the face if one payed her a genuine compliment. They fall to the floor as she has no container in which to hold them. She utterly believes her beauty is not a virtue to be extolled, but a weakness to be exploited. It is often her knee jerk reaction to a cruel life of abuse where she does what she has to to survive. She plays the part, but struggles with love. As in Jon Mclaughlin’s song, She feels “…there is no difference betweens the lies and compliments if everyone leaves her.”

It is the Marilyn Monroes of society who have become the most self-destructive. Her desire to “belong”, to be “wonderful”, to be loved for “herself” are her driving motivations. Her self inflicted torment and torture engrosses her being. It only takes a simple read through Marilyn’s famous quotes to hear the longings of her heart. We find the root of her pain in her statement – “No one ever told me I was pretty when I was a little girl. All little girls should be told they’re pretty, even if they aren’t.”

What is in her mind has become her reality. Similar to the movie Inception she can no longer distinguish fantasy from reality. Unless she chooses to believe the truth, not her presuppositions and reasonings, but the true truth, she will be consumed by the lies she accepts to sleep with. Riddled with shame and filled with unbridled pain she has no place for her heart to call home.
She sell her priceless treasures for mere money, or gives them away for free simply because she does not know her worth. She is not willing to wait for someone to pay the cost. She believes there is no one who will put in the effort to pursue her heart. She desires respect and appreciation, yet she opens the door to thieves. She acts desperate and violates her own heart by not holding out for an offer of real love.

She is the girl who lives in constant comparison to others. She lives in lack and hurts the most believing she will always fall short. She can try and try to the best of her ability but she will never be good enough to be genuinely wanted. She may have wisps  of affection, echoes of love, and muddy reflections of respect, but in the end she dies alone.

Are we as women destined to do one of these things? Do we quit before we start, saving ourselves from a world of hurt? Do we preemptively decide there is no hope for us and simply forfeit? Or do we strive for unattainable perfection thereby validating our inadequacies and ultimately throwing out any all real beauty we possess? How is it we live with no hope, no attainable aspirations, and no trust in the truth? How has our beauty become our own worst enemy?

In my all time favorite movie Pretty Woman eventually the girl finally gets it. She reminds me much of myself: red hair, big smile, loves cars, and independent. She doesn’t use drugs and has a head full of dreams. She, like the me of the past, also did not know her worth. Through the process of experiencing love and letting go of fears, she realizes she is destined to be more than a call girl. She wants it all, and finally, when she discovers who she is, she is willing to wait for someone who will give her everything. Her time has come to be seen, to be heard, and to be known.

Though there may have been abuses in our lives, we can not live in blame of others. More precisely, we cannot live in blame of men. Though we have been neglected, overlooked, or under appreciated, ultimately we are responsible for our own actions. What we do in life is a direct response to what we believe. If we seek approval from the outside in we will continually be working on our outsides. If our certainty is from a strong internal foundation from the inside out, we then glow simply because of who we are.


SuperMom

SuperMom

Just call it like it is… from my breastfeeding cape to my sliding doors minivan, I am a mom. My reputation as a stylish, fun, and outgoing woman always came with a side of drool, diapers, whining, and now, as my girls advance into teen years, boyfriends.
At the age of fifteen I planned my first pregnancy. Craziness right?!? Not as outlandish as some might think. It was my way to make sense of this disjointed planet we live on. As many young girls do, I struggled with my identity, my purpose, and my ability to accomplish my dreams. I sought solace in motherhood, hoping to ease the discomfort I could not understand. Without all the tools in my box I started on a journey to build a household.
Eighteen years later my oldest daughter is now a young lady. She is b-e-a-u-tiful. She is smart, talented, and thoughtful. I look back at all the things I did right and the many things I could have done better. All in all, I am most proud that through trail, pain, and happiness, she and I have a strong connection. No matter what that girl goes through, she knows without a shadow of a doubt, she has a momma who loves her; not one who always agrees with her; not one who always condones all of her behavior; not one who placates her; but one who wants the best for her and will never give up on bringing about wholeness.
Beyond her I have raised my severely disabled son who has been the delight of my life. His happy go lucky smile and his loving spirit brightens everyones day. Most of the time he does not have a care in the world. He trusts that he is going to be well taken care of. He provides life, hope, strength, and love to all who come in contact with him. After fourteen years of diapers, seizures, and throw up, I still would not trade him for all the money in the world.
Then along came her. This little girl who thinks so far outside the box I can’t even fit her on my grid. After taking years of parenting classes, reading books on the subject, and inquiring from matured parents, she has challenged my very being to grow. I love her with all my heart and soul, this girl who can make me think more than my brain has capacity. She understands computer science, mathematics, and pokemon, all the while my internal mother board struggles to upgrade. With an outgoing personality, the word stranger isn’t even apart of her vocabulary. This fun, imaginative, and cute girl has captured my affections as well as my attention.
As my nurturing side consumed my being, I began to love those who struggled with their parental figures. I opened my arms and my home to many kids through the years. Some of these young people are now adults and even have their own families. One lady in particular has blended with our family to point we think of her as our own. She is sister, daughter, and friend. I have dedicated my life to her success in every way including financial, physical, and emotional. The love she reciprocates is unparalleled and I am honored to know such an amazing human being.
It was when I became a step-mother that I truly knew what it was to lay down my life for others. My children are easy to love. They are mine. Flesh and blood unites through anything, however those we love out of choice can be changed. I imagine this love to be much like those of adoptive parents. I get to on purpose care for others I did not bring into this world. I get to carve out a special place in my heart for them to call home. I look at them with the same affection I do the others. Not because I have to, but because I have given them power over my love. They have my devotion, my commitment, and my love which never waivers. When It comes time to share them with their mother, I do not find myself thinking out of sight out of mind. On the contrary I feel a hole, a loss, and a longing to have them in my presence.
Both are girls. The oldest has a strong personality. She is compassionate, friendly, and opinionated. She has a great sense of style, good taste in food, and a heart of gold. Though she, like most children from broken homes, wishes her parents were still together, she still loves, honors, and respects both of them and their new counterparts. Through sharing homes, sharing attention, and sharing lifestyles, this girl puts in her all and comes out on top.
Her younger sister is equally fantastic. She is creative in every way. She looks at the world full of black and white, but carefully adds subtle shades of grey. Yet, it is when she adds color she truly astonishes with articulate, artistic thoughts. She is full of wit, full of knowledge, and full of determination. She is not the social butterfly her older sister is. She craves one-on-one time which requires intentionality. She flourishes the most when she is given the attention she needs to express herself.
Now that I am much older than when I began, I find myself delightfully happy to have started the process all over again. With yet another girl, my life feels complete. I find myself with sensations of euphoria as I look into my baby’s eyes and see such wonder. I feel confident in my skills as a mother. I enjoy and embrace the ups and downs life brings my way. As I hold this tiny creature, bliss fills my being. She was hard fought for. After conquering my fears of raising any more children, we saved for a vasectomy reversal. Next came miscarriage after miscarriage after miscarriage. Finally, my cup was full only after enduring the nine months of pregnancy’s glows and hormonal blows. Consequently, for the last four months I have been suffering with enormous amounts of postpartum joy.
Through it all, my carefree, spontaneous, thrill seeking side still exists. I did not surrender my dreams, my ambitions, or my goals for my children. They are not a burden or a dead weight around my ankle. They are right there with me. Through thick and thin, through fire and storm, my children – all of them – teach me, love me, and give me courage. We do family well. We support each other, lift up each other, and seek the best for each other. We celebrate individuality, praise each other’s giftings, and strive for unity. Out of humility we serve each other and forgive shortcomings.
I am not afraid I will not arrive. I already have, and I am bring my entourage with me.


Mommy, why does it hurt so bad?

I call it my mommy heart. My desire for all of my children to feel loved drives me. I want the best for each of them. I want them to feel special. I want them to know how important they are. I want to nourish and encourage their strengths. I want to guide them through their weaknesses. My mommy heart desires each child be free from the pressures of perphection. I want them to view mistakes as opportunities to learn and grow. I earnestly seek ways to draw the best in each of them to the surface like a gold miner panning for gold. I want them to live life to the fullest, reach their destinies, and pursue their dreams.

It is when bad things happen that my mommy heart kicks in to overdrive. I want to stick my children in a bubble, and keep them from any and all pain. I see it in their eyes; the feeling of loss, a deep indescribable sadness, and a sense of helplessness. I wish to swoop in and save the day. I wish to comfort them and take all of their pain away. I wish to protect them and help them avoid hurt in every way. I learned years ago, this is not only impossible, it is unhealthy. It teaches our children bad coping mechanisms. It also sets them up for failure.

Unfortunately, in life bad things happen; some parents get divorced; some of our closest pets die; sometimes we move away from our friends and family… the list goes on and on. Bad things simply happen. When they do, the hurt can feel overwhelming. The pain can be intense. Our greatest fears can surface and the world can feel unsafe. So many of us have endured great hardships. To act as if we haven’t sets up a false reality for our children to live in. To dwell on our hardships causes us to live impaired. To walk out our hurt with our eyes focused in gratitude teaches victory.

Showing empathy in the middle of our child’s pain is vital. Being compassionate as we listen to them process their hurt will bring healing. Not always knowing the answers is okay. Often times sacrificing our desire to provide understanding can liberate us all from false perceptions and dogma. Allowing our children to walk through their pain leaves less emotional scars, like ointment on an open wound.

Medicating our children’s emotional pain covers it up. Things rarely get resolved like a broken bone that never got reset and cast properly. This often times leads to addictions whether it be shopping, eating disorders (including overeating), alcoholism, drug abuse, etc.. Teaching our children to avoid pain can lead to seclusion, isolation, and loneliness. Fretting about the unknown can lead to irrational fears, wild imaginations, and lofty thoughts. Things that don’t kill us can make us stronger. However, they can make us callus, bitter, angry, or passive as well.

We don’t have to be our children’s savior either. They already have one. He promised to send a comforter. He said, He will never leave us, nor forsake us. As we look to Him as our source, we show them how to do the same. By this we can give our children the tools to have more self-control so they will not try to constantly live on artificially stimulated emotional highs. It takes courage to hold our children’s hand, look them in the eye, and say you can do this; I will be right here with you; I will coach you through to manage your pain; I am sorry it hurts so bad, but you are not alone. I know, because I too have endured pain. Like the sunshine behind the clouds, joy will come in the morning.


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