OUR HEART’S DESIRE

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.

Deuteronomy 6:5  (NIV)

What do we desire more than anything else? What is our heart’s desire? Most of us would probably say to love and be loved. We can be talented, attractive, intelligent and wealthy, but that’s not the same as receiving (or giving) the true love and fellowship that makes us all happy.

I just started reading a little booklet called “Is God Speaking to Me?”

It explains the five ‘D’s necessary to grow into a closer relationship with our heavenly Father. The first of those ‘D’s is DESIRE to truly want God above anything else in our lives.

Above  our spouse? Our children? Our parents? Our friends? What about our career? Our physical and mental attributes? Our financial security?

The answer is a resounding ‘YES’…remembering that He is a God of love. He IS love. He wants all of these things for His children! He creates opportunities for us to obtain and then savor the rewards of seeing our desires become realities.

Along with DESIRE, the other ‘D’s needed for growing closer to God are DISCIPLINE to always put Him first in our lives; DISCERNMENT to know the difference between our own thoughts and God’s voice; DIRECTION to know His will at every crossroad or decision in our lives; and  finally, a sheer DELIGHT in our relationship with God…not just a sense of duty.

Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Psalm 37:4  (NIV)

God truly is our heart’s desire. It takes many of us a long time to come to that conclusion. For some, like myself…it takes the loss of something held dear…that we THOUGHT was our heart’s desire.

I THOUGHT my heart’s desire was to be the best wife, mom, friend, runner and business professional. After my Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), all of those desires needed to be altered to go with my new physical challenges. Some heart’s desires…running, for example, had to be eliminated. Others had to be reinvented to fit my new life circumstances.

That’s when God innately became my heart’s desire. I cried out to Him from a hospital bed when I thought things couldn’t get any worse. That began for me daily, (sometimes hourly) conversations with our God. I’m happy to report that much of my ‘crying out’ has been replaced with lots and lots of ‘Thank You’s.

Just like the title of my blog (Life Happens), especially as we get older… we can continue to expect corrections in our life direction. They could be good and positive. They could also be challenging and just plain tough.

I’ve found the best way to navigate any interruptions in our life is to stay hopeful and lean into our heart’s desire. Pay attention to the nudges He gives us when it’s time to make a course correction. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. WE WILL!

Mistakes are inevitable as we try to go forward with God’s plan. We need to rely on His grace to bring us to the place He wants us to be.

 

Dear Lord,

Please continually remind us to keep You first and foremost as our heat’s desire.

With You by our side, all things are possible.

Things may not happen exactly as we planned…but we are not You! Help us to trust that You have the very best in store for each of us. Let us trust Your lead on the best course for us to go.

With You as our heart’s desire…our other goals and desires become secondary…whether they come to pass or not.

 

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THE RESURRECTION LIFE

We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. 

Romans 6:4  NIV

The chocolate bunnies have been eaten. The Easter baskets have been stored away for next year. Yet the church is still in the middle of the Easter season.

We are celebrating Jesus the Christ being raised from the dead after a horrific, painful and humiliating death on the cross. He allowed this to happen in order to defeat our enemy (Satan) and open the way for all believers to share eternity with Him in His heavenly kingdom.

In one specific way…celebrating Easter is kind of like celebrating the New Year. We get to start all over! God gives everyone a second chance. We have a new life…a resurrection life.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

1 Peter 1:3  (NIV)

We will all live the resurrection life once we leave this world if we’ve put our faith in Christ. How can we share in that life on this side of heaven? We can do that as we continue to live as an image of God….not to become gods ourselves, but by living a Godly life.

There was nothing negative or pessimistic in Jesus Christ. He came to show us how to live with hope and encouragement and purpose. He calls us all to be a light…and to shine that light in our often-times DARK surroundings.

I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,

Philippians 3:10  (NIV)

 

We will not have a glorious, resurrection body like Jesus until we are joined with Him in heaven.

In the meantime, we can become more like Jesus by getting to know Him through His word, and by imitating His actions and reactions to others. By doing this, we can have our own resurrection life right here on earth!

Dear Lord,

You tell us that if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!   (2 Corinthians 5:17  NIV)

 Jesus died so that one day we could all join Him in eternity.

As we celebrate this Easter season of new life, show us all how to live in a way that brings glory to our risen Lord!

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HE’S GOT YOUR BACK!

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33   NIV

Jesus continuously told others to be confident…to be of good cheer…to not be afraid. He did this up to the very moment He was betrayed and handed over to be persecuted.

Even then…even as He suffered, He knew that God had His back. In the midst of being beaten and ridiculed…He knew there would be a happy ending.

And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” ).

Mark 15:34   (NIV)

Jesus spoke those words in his humble humanity. But our savior and Lord knew that His Father would not abandon Him. He knew that this was the reason He was born into our world. He also knew He had to die (the ultimate sacrifice) to redeem us from Satan’s power over us.

Because of His close and intimate relationship with His Father, Jesus knew that regardless of the suffering He would endure… God (His dad) would work all things out in a way that would glorify both the Father AND the Son!

Just like His son, God has our back as we try to lead a life pleasing to Him! I know He’s protected me countless times from bodily harm as I unknowingly (and sometimes knowingly) do something that jeopardizes my physical safety.

 

I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,

Philippians 3:10  (NIV)

I like to think though, that I’m able to identify more with Jesus’ suffering and death because of my disabilities. Yet that’s what we all do when we face tremendous challenges…when life gives us more than we can handle. It’s then that we need to remember that God always has our back.

On Good Friday, we commemorate the crucifixion and death of God’s Son. At this special and holy time of year…may we ALL deeply identify and testify to the RISEN Christ who died for us to conquer all the evil that Satan throws our way. In doing that, He ensures that we all can have a resurrection life.

Have a blessed Easter!

 

Dear Lord,

We celebrate Easter every year as a reminder that You sacrificed Your Son so that we could all spend our eternity in Your presence.

Jesus’ death and resurrection is a constant testimony for us that You have the ability to bring us all to new life as we put our faith and confidence in Your Son.

 

 

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THERE WAS JESUS

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

Deuteronomy 31:8  NIV

No matter the size of the obstacle or challenge we are facing…Jesus is with us step-by-step. We may not even feel Him with us, but He is there. SO DON’T FREAK OUT! DON’T THROW IN THE TOWEL EITHER!

Sometimes the blessings the Lord is trying to get to us are hidden in the very struggles He allows to come our way.

HE IS ALWAYS THERE TO HELP US… TO GUIDE OUR JOURNEY.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 15:13  NIV

This blog post, I’m sending you a song that a friend gave to me, performed by Zach Williams and Dolly Parton. They sing about how we should look (expect?) God to give us buried blessings in our broken pieces.

Enjoy as you look for His blessings hidden in the hard times.

 

Dear Lord,

Help us to turn first to You…and remember that You are the one to help us as we try to navigate the broken pieces of our life.

May You equip us with everything good for doing Your will, and may You work in us what is pleasing to You, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Hebrews 13:21  (NIV)… paraphrased

 

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BIG DREAMS/BIG PLANS

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.

Philippians 3:12  (NIV)

Here is a short blog post for a short month!

Life goes forward whether we make plans or not. Ever found yourself at a crossroad in life? Which would be the best way to go???  Sometimes the way to go is obvious…a way that would not cause harm to others…a way that would benefit others, including us! Other times the answer is not obviously clear to us.

We have to set goals and make specific plans. Anything in life worth having has to begin with a plan to achieve it!

We can take NO CREDIT for anything worthy and excellent in life just because we wished for a desired outcome.

Plans and goals are our way of setting God’s design for us in motion. So dream and plan BIG! That means trusting God to bring our goals to fruition!

Count on a BIG God for BIG dreams and plans.

 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,

Ephesians 3:20  (NIV)

When we trust God with our plans…we’re not just relying on our strengths and abilities. We are trusting Him for the right outcome.

When we’ve prayed asking the Father for His direction…we know we’re not just wishing it. Now we can feel confident taking steps to make that desire a reality.

Here’s a simple example. Want to help with a cause? Then join the group…attend the meetings…get to know other members. Offer to assist with projects. Then we can actually know what IS being done…How & WHY.

Don’t want to get involved? Don’t think there’s enough hours in the day? That’s understandable. Just stay open to opportunities. It’s ok to say ‘No’…but always be looking for what God is putting His “Yes” on.

 

Dear Lord,

We know You have big plans and dreams for us. We don’t make things happen just by thinking or talking about it. That just gives us an ‘opinion’.

Remind us to turn to You when we’re ready to invest the energy in making a difference in our life outcomes or the outcomes of others.

 

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DO-OVERS

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.

Isaiah 43:19  (NIV)

 

It’s time for some movie GIFs!

Billy Crystal’s friend, Norm, in the movie, City Slickers is having a bad time with his marriage and career. Crystal declares that it’s time for a ‘Do-over’! A whole different life!

In a scene from the movie, Forrest Gump, one of the ladies in the bar (one of Lieutenant Dan’s entourage) says to Forrest…”Don’t you just love New Year’s? You get to start all over. Everybody gets a second chance!”

It’s not New Years Eve anymore…but it’s still the beginning of a new year. All of us get to start over.  ALL OF US GET A ‘DO-OVER’. We don’t even need a new year to do that.

Isn’t that how we feel when life isn’t going as we expected? We can get depressed or frustrated. We can feel stuck. We can even give up!

That’s NOT how our heavenly Father wants us to react. He wants us to find (or create!) a new way of going forward. If we feel defeated from trying the same actions over and over again…perhaps it’s time to try something NEW! Maybe something totally different.

All it takes is a new mindset

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Romans 12:2  NIV

 

When searching for a new mindset, prayer is the best starting point. We all know how to petition, asking the Lord for things. We need to develop the skill of LISTENING in our prayer time. That means staying still and not speaking or thinking. Easier said than done! It takes practice to keep thoughts (bad or good) from coming. Don’t plan to hear anything immediately, but….

EXPECT to hear from God. Sometimes it’s just a ‘knowing’ in our heart. Sometimes we read something (i.e. the Bible? Something else?) that confirms our thinking or course of action.

It could be that someone else’s action leads us to what we should do. God doesn’t just speak through His word. Sometimes He will speak through other people or circumstances. Although it’s best to make sure our plan of action lines up with what the Bible says about it. Our job is to listen for that thought/idea that surely came from God. Then test it with what the Bible says on the subject.

My 2024 New Year resolution was to accept help and reach out more to others. My inability to move quickly and effortlessly often leaves me feeling an inconvenience for others…unless I’m teaching an exercise class. So once home from work, it’s easier to just stay put and not reach out to others. T.V., exercise, reading/writing and prayer time easily fill my evenings.

My son Andrew is currently living & working in Louisville. He practices his culinary skills at my home usually at least 3 times/week. That gives me wonderful company, an excellent meal and a trip to Kroger each time Andrew visits. Unlike many, I really enjoy going to the grocery. Shoppong is shopping! 

But that’s not prompting me to reach out to others more. It’s just making my life more satisfying. I know more than some that circumstances can change on a dime!

When we reach out to help or encourage others though…it seems to have ripple effects that others can remember us for.. It gives new meaning to our life…to those we are encouraging. Then we feel so satisfied, we want to do more! Could that be hearing from God?

It can be so simple! Try texting a different friend everyday to let them know you are thinking of them. No requests…just a ‘thinking of you’. Don’t we all love to get those messages? They require NOTHING!

Once we feel we’ve heard from God, then act on it! A new way of thinking about something is uncomfortable. It’s not what we’re used to. When we start to put that new mindset into action, it starts to become real for us. Then it will become second nature.

Getting a new beginning  will require us to try new things. Let’s be sure to inquire of God before we go running off in a new direction!

I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

Philippians 4:13  (NIV)

Once we feel confident that God is in our corner, a do-over is possible for any of us!

Dear Lord,

You are the Father of NEW BEGINNINGS. Remind us to go to You first before we start any new adventure.

With You as our guide, help us to discover new ways of doing things that will make an impact on others and help us to DO-OVER any wrong mindsets that we have held onto.

 

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A SHINING LIGHT

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.

2 Corinthians 4:6   NIV

 

Christmas is often called the season of lights. We see the twinkling lights all around us. Lights illuminate all that is around it…a tree…a wreath…and always the darkness.

During this holy season, we celebrate the birth of God’s only begotten son. Jesus is known as the light of all mankind.

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

John 8:12   NIV

 

Let’s try this Christmas season and all throughout the year to be a light for others who cross our path. The ways we can do this are countless…

  • Pay them a heartfelt compliment.
  • Acknowledge their efforts on a project…and then participate in helping them make it a reality.
  • Broadcast their good works to others.
  • Ask for their help on an issue. Others need to feel their opinions matter.
  • Lend a hand on a problem they are facing.

We are behaving like Christ would when we do these things.

 

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Matthew 5:16   NIV

 

Being a light for someone, we are a shining example of treating others’ needs above our own. In this selfish world we live in…that is not always easy. Human nature makes us think of ourselves first.

As we celebrate the birth of our Lord…let’s try to act as He would act toward our brothers and sisters. We know God loves us all. Let’s make Him pleased that we are His children!

Merry Christmas! May the light of Christ brighten your holiday season!

 

Dear Lord,

May we all bask in the light of Your love for us this Christmas!


The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.  John 1:14  NIV

 

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MAKE IT A HABIT

Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain.

Psalm 127:1  (NIV)

 

We do most everything in our life by habit… when we rise, when we sleep, what we eat, who we spend our time with….the list goes on! It can include both good and bad habits.

One good habit we make is how much of our time we spend with God. We can start our day, end our day or include Him in every area of our life. I bet we can all think of ‘God moments’ that will occur any time in our day… sort of like ‘divine reminders’.

I am always looking for new ideas to talk about in my blog. My friend, Kim suggested I write about worship as something we can & should do 24/7. She had many practical ideas on how we can do this.

Just as we care for our bodies around the clock through exercise and diet and rest, we need to care for relationship with God 24 hours a day in Prayer, Praise and Thanksgiving.

Try parking your car at the furthest end of the parking lot and using that longer walk to praise God. Thank God that you can drive. And He’s given you an automobile and the ability to drive. Thank God for the mobility.

Be humbled, knowing that at any moment, it could all be taken away. Make time to give God the reverence He deserves as our creator and Lord. Just like anything else it all can become a habit. 

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5-18  (NIV)

There are so many ways to bring the Lord into our daily lives.If we’re daily Bible readers…wonderful! Just be sure to bring God’s word into the normal, every day aspects of living. Many of us read daily devotions that point us to where to see God working in our life and the lives of others. I read a daily devotional called Jesus 365. It helps me to see where He may be presenting himself each day!

Many Catholics attend daily Mass or pray the rosary honoring Jesus’ mother, Mary as Mother of God.

Is  daily formal prayer not a part of your routine? We’ve all heard the saying…pray constantly… and if necessary, use words. God is much more concerned with how we treat each other and look out for each other than any repetitive prayer we recite. As long as we acknowledge that He is the source from where our actions come from.

Make it a habit to always ask, ‘What would Jesus do in this situation?’

If we make the Lord part of our daily routine, He will show up in ways we never imagined.

Just make it a habit through continuous repetition!

 

Dear Lord,

Help us to make acknowledging You a habit in our lives. Your word tells us You will never leave us or forsake us. Thank You for understanding our fallen human nature. We DO forget You sometimes!

Remind us to use the holy Bible, devotionals as well as how we behave in this world to always point to You as the source of our continued joy.

 

If you have any topics you would like me to address in a future blog…please email me at [email protected].

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DON’T IGNORE THE SIGNS

With your own eyes you saw those great trials, those signs and great wonders

Deuteronomy 29:3  (NIV)

 

God DOES speak to us…not in an audible voice, but in very specific circumstances in our lives. We need to be consistently looking for the signs God sends us…or He’ll just keep showing us the same lesson over and over again.

I learned this lesson the hard way a few weeks ago! I rode my TRIKE up to the UPS store to drop off a package. I don’t have the balance for a regular bike. Unfortunately, I also don’t have the balance to correct a falling TRIKE.

One of my back wheels caught the curb as I was riding up the little ramp going to the shopping center. Over I went! I was wise to protect my head with a helmet AND my hips. So I threw my arm out to stop the fall and snapped my clavicle (collar bone). I suppose that could’ve happened to anyone, BUT…

That was NOT the first fall off my bike. Two years ago, I hit a pothole as I entered a shopping center. I went over quickly. My sunglasses scraped my scalp just over my ear. That’s when I learned that scalp scrapes REALLY bleed. I was ok…but all the blood scared me. So I secured a PROPERLY -FITTING  helmet from the Brain Injury Alliance of Kentucky.

My next fall was a year later in the same shopping center…same uneven pavement. This time my head was protected as I landed on my face. The scrapes & bruises changed my appearance for several weeks.

My first fall just scared me. The second fall beat my face up. The 3rd fall landed me in the hospital for 3 weeks with a broken clavicle.

I chuckled as the EMS got me settled in the ambulance. Wow! I’ve always wondered what the inside of these things look like. The only other time I’ve been in one, I was unconscious!

Unfortunately, this was not the first time I had caused my family grave concern about my wellbeing. My sister, Julie was my immediate savior this time. She lived close, so was able to get to me even before the ambulance did. Then Julie spent several hours in the Emergency Department as I waited for a room.

My TRIKE fall changed my ability to move independently; scared my family and temporarily ended my passion in life… which was teaching seniors how to be fit & move correctly. I sure could not move correctly with a broken collar bone!

Was God asking me to stay out of shopping centers? I KNOW He was telling me to stay off of uneven payment. I loved riding that TRIKE! I think I’m being taught a lesson here. The endorphin high of riding is NOT worth the cost of falling. Lesson learned Lord!

This is just an example of how the Lord may send us a warning. He also loves to send us GOOD signs!

A much more PLEASANT sign God gave me is just how much others care for me! I was astonished with the cards, flowers, gifts & food I received from friends, students & family. I believe that even in this horrible incident God was showing me just how much others care and how many lives I have touched.

The Lord sends us signs all the time. Are we listening? More importantly, are we following His lead?

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28  (NIV)

Maybe the Lord was giving me a repeated warning to stay off the TRIKE. He was also showing me the impact of my actions on other people’s lives. When I was finally able to start teaching again…I think my classes were as excited as I was.

We never know how our actions and behaviors are impacting others’ lives. Our desire should always be to improve their lives and NOT just to have them think better of us.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,

Colossians 3:23 (NIV)

The dearest lesson the Lord showed me was the love and support of my son, Andrew. He has lived in a different city than me since he was 4 years old. Since January he has been living and working here in Louisville.

Andrew was at the hospital the night I arrived. He came to see me every night I was there. He filled me in on work news, family news…and he brought the AV chord from my DVD player at home to hook up movies from my laptop to the big screen in my hospital room! I am not that technologically advanced!  It sure made for a more entertaining visit though!

Then Andrew moved in with me for two weeks after I returned home. I thought everyone was being overly cautious…but I sure was glad he was there! I never realized how much we cannot do without full use of one arm.

God’s signs and wonders are all around us. Sometimes He will bring us outside of our routines and comfort zones. We might be missing valuable lessons is we try to ignore His promptings!

 

Dear Lord,

Thank You for saving me from breaking more than my collarbone! I’ve been a fall-risk for over 25 years. Thank You for all the other falls You’ve protected me from.

Thank You also for showing me through this accident just how much others want me to have a functioning, independent life. I am truly humbled by others’ concern for me. Thank You for giving me so many signs!

I promise to not ever give up. Because of Your signs & promptings though, I also promise to slow down a little. Please prompt us to always look for Your hand in our lives.

Thanks for always having my back!

 

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DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK!

So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.

Luke 11:9  (NIV)

 

This is actually more of a request than a blog post.

It’s uncomfortable to ask others for favors. We don’t want to put them on the spot. We don’t want to seem needy or incompetent. It would be easier to just do it ourselves!

How do we feel when others ask us for something? I am personally very flattered when someone asks me for something…even if they’re just seeking my opinion. I’m sure that’s because others rarely do…other than my son 

 “Mary has enough on her plate. Don’t bother her with this.”  Like all of us, I like feeling needed by others. Don’t we all like feeling useful? So don’t be afraid to ask! We make others feel important when we do.

For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

Luke 11:10  (NIV)

Now I want to do some asking, seeking and knocking myself. We never know where the greatest ideas will come from!

Below is a link to a 4-minute video created for me to publicize my fitness business, SilverStrength®. It’s made up of excerpts from a video shown every Fall at the Brain Ball to explain my brain injury and what I’ve been able to do to live a fuller life. 

 

I’m asking my blog subscribers if you have a parent or friend who attends a senior club or senior center that might be interested in a weekly exercise class. The name of my class is Strength & Balance. We all need more of both of these attributes as we age to stay active and independent!

If you have any ideas for me please contact me at [email protected]. That email is also at the end of the video.

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.

John 15:16  (NIV)

 

Remember that one of the finest and choicest ways to honor God is to help His children.

Those children can be seniors too!

Dear Lord,

Your holy Word tells us that You actually order our steps. We also know that You work through other people. If we believe this…then why is it so hard to ask others?

No man is an island unto himself. We NEED each other. That’s the way You designed us.

After consulting You…please give us the courage to ASK, SEEK, and KNOCK.

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