Everyday is an Adventure. Embrace it

Posts tagged ‘friends’

Holidays, ODD & family visits

This article is part 11 of a series. If you have not read part 1, part2, part 3, and part 4, part 5, part 6, part 7, part 8, part 9 , part 10 – I urge you to do so if you are searching for help on this subject. If you’ve read along with me already, I want to welcome you into the next weeks of our journey and Knight’s recovery.

In the last article I shared Knight’s journey up to week 26. He was not doing the best with authority figures (especially in school) but I didn’t mention his grades yet. Before he came to live with us, he was a low C to high F student. He had failed many of his classes in the other schools he’d attended. Now, he was doing better. The average grades he was bringing in were high B’s. Occasionally his grades would slip to low C’s or high D’s if he got lazy about turning in his work. We would issue reminders about his grades, offered him weekly updates on his progress and coax him into catching-up. By the end of his courses though, he would finish with a low A or high B. He really was doing better in this new environment.

Jumping forward to weeks 28 & 29, Knight completed 2 weeks without getting into trouble at school. I was extremely happy for him and attempted to shower him in praise. He was continuing his attempt to join the football team, but we didn’t have his paperwork complete at that point. He was pretty much benched to the side lines. His coach carried continued discipline into each practice and game if he’d been disciplined at school.  Football was good for him and in a few more weeks,  he would be cleared to officially join the team.

Knight was still hanging out with his friends and going to church regularly. He had attended Church camps, outings, retreats, and other special events  (which were all incredibly expensive). He would often speak about the Lord after these events and about how God was touching his heart. His friends were also encouraging him to stop cursing and doing the vulgar things which he had grown accustomed to in his previous life. Let’s face it, our kids will act one way around us and then another way around their friends. It happens. It’s just the way teenagers are. I was not blind to this. I was happy however that the friends he had picked were good enough to also issue him gentle reminders when he got out of hand in these areas.

Skipping ahead to week 32, this was the last week of the first semester for him in his new school. He had made it 4 weeks without acting out at school, but continued to tell me everyday that 2 of his teachers “hated him” and “had it out for him”. He was doing well in those classes though. On the last day of school, we all received a surprise visit from his mother. She drove in from out-of-state and said she wanted to take him for the Christmas break. He wasn’t ready to go just yet. She was traveling to another state also to pick up her daughter and agreed to swing by in a few days and pick him up on her way back through.

Knight left with her 2 days later, early in week 33. We allowed him to open some of his Christmas presents early since he would not be with us until after the New Year. We were all sad to see him go. Both of my boys kind of moped around while he was gone. They really did miss him. It was a realization for me that they truly had accepted him as part of our family now. Maybe they had done so much earlier than I realized? I don’t know. I couldn’t tell through all the arguments, disagreements, complaints from one boy to the next about each other. I was seeing obvious evidence of this now though.

Knight called often while he was away. He would give me an update on how he was doing (if he was being good to his mother and sister), and would tell me if he successfully avoided an outburst of anger. He also called to say that he missed us. By the end of the first week, he called to ask when he could come “home”. I reassured him he was not being punished and that his mother would be bringing him back soon – because school would start back soon. He said he wanted to be home by New Year’s Day so he could celebrate with us. I cried after our conversation. I’m not sure why I cried though. Maybe because I missed him too?

On the last day in week 34, Knight returned home. It was New Year’s Eve! He would get to be with us for New Year’s Day after all 🙂 A few days after Knight came home, Knight’s father received a call from Knight’s grandmother. Knight stayed at her house while he spent time with his mother and family. She remarked about the significant change in Knight. Actually, she was amazed that he was not the same boy at all! She said, “I’m not sure what you are doing with him, but keep it up. He was the most respectful child! He was a pleasure to have and he’s practically unrecognizable. You’re doing a good job. I’m proud of that boy!”

Even though this was not told to me, I found encouragement in her words. We were doing something right if others could identify a significant difference in him. I was happy for Knight and especially happy to have our family all back together again. 🙂

You let your kids do what?!

There are many things to write about on  my mind and we have had adventures that still have not made their way to this blog yet. There is one thing that’s just weighing heavy on my mind now though – Friends & their Mothers.

The boys (all 3 of them) go to friend’s homes and their friends  come here to ours to spend the night or hang out. I love to meet new people and I have a strict policy about meeting people first before my children go off to someone’s house. Maybe it’s how I was raised that has rubbed off on me, but I like to make sure that no one is making meth in their bathtub before I send the kids off packing to stay an evening with them.

I don’t judge, condemn or compare myself to the other parents I meet, but I have met some parents over the past school year that do. Everyone is different. Some of these meetings leave me scratching my head as I left totally speechless.

If you have any children maybe you can relate. If your children are very young, just wait…you’re in for it too.  (No child or parent’s names will be listed and these are in no certain order.) All conversations begin the same way: “Can X spend the night mom?” I reply, “yes, but I need to speak with their mom or dad or whoever they live with first”. Then I usually hear, “Okay, I’ll send you their #. ” I usually start, “Hi, I’m X’s Mom. He asked me if your son could spend the night and I said that was fine, but wanted to speak with you to make sure you knew and it’s alright.”

Random Kid #1 Experience:  “Uhm, okay. Yeah, thank you for calling. I already told him he could. The boys have already decided everything and made plans between themselves”, is the answer I received.

“So, you’re fine with it?” I ask.

“Yeah”, she replies.

“Do you want to know where we live?” I ask.

As the phone clicks to signify the hang-up, I hear, “No, the boys will work it out.”

**End result: The child was relatively well-behaved. I had to make several phone calls to find the mom to take him back home.

Random Kid #2 Experience: “I am so glad you called. I wanted to meet you before sending X over to your house and make plans to pick him up tomorrow.I feel more comfortable talking to you first, seeing if we know any mutual people and such.” (This parent spoke to me for over an hour.)

This child was a handful, but is welcome any time to come back!

So, sometimes the roles are reversed and I am the one calling because my son is asking me to be able to spend the night at another kid’s house. These conversations always start with, “Hi, my name is Chrissy. I am X’s mom. He has asked me if he could spend the night with your son and I wanted to speak to you, make sure you are aware and okay with it, and will be home with the boys.”

Random Kid #3 Experience:  “Oh yeah, X asked me and I said it was okay.”  Long pause…”Do you know where we live?”

I get the address and then ask what time she would like for me to pick up my son the next day.

“Just …whenever…is …fine …I …guess”,  she answers. “They’ll be shooting each other in the yard most of the day, so just any time should be fine.”

“What!? Did you say they’ll be shooting each other?” I clarify.

“Oh yeah”, she says as she huffs into the phone. “X’s big brother will be there with them overseeing everything to make sure no one gets hurt. They do it all the time. We have extra guns if your son needs to borrow one. Do you need my son’s phone number so you can text him and get all the details?”

“What?! I think I must be hearing you wrong. Did you say they are going to be shooting each other?” I ask again.

“Yes,” she said through a giggle. “They do it all the time. We live on a farm and have several acres. The boys make obstacle courses, wear extra clothing and shoot each other.”

😦 Geez…she wasn’t kidding either!! 😦

Random Kid #4 Experience: “Oh hi! It’s fine for X to come over! I’ve met him and love him! He can stay as long as he likes and I’ll be here with the kids the entire time. They may shoot some basketball, play video games, and watch movies. Does that sound good?”

🙂 I reply, “Yes!!!  That sounds great!! I can pick him up any time you’d like tomorrow. I can’t wait to meet you when I drop him off!”

So come on moms, chime in! Am I alone in this crazy world we live in? Would you let your child go to some of these homes? Some were great, some where not.  Do you call and speak to the parents of the children before your kids go to another’s house? Would you allow your teenager to go to another kid’s house to be shot with or without supervision? Am I paranoid?

Chataloochee Village Farm Recreation

I just wanted to take a few minutes and share with you some pictures from our trip to North Carolina. This was my favorite spot we visited.  The Chataloochee Village Farm is a recreation site. It was so peaceful and historic. It touched my heart as it brought back many fond memories of my childhood 🙂 I hope you enjoy these pictures as much as I did taking them 🙂

🙂 Blessings

He said, “Follow Me”

We had a great adventurous weekend!

Nick, the boys and I had a weekend with our new friends Shawn and Kimbra. Shawn being a long lost relative of the great outdoors, he offered to merge some outdoor time into our weekend. Nick booked hotel rooms for us at Harrah’s Cherokee and we were off!

We packed Friday night and encouraged the kids to go to bed early. We got up early and were still late leaving out to meet up with our Road trip tour guides Shawn & Kimbra. 😦 Oops!

So…it started! We started off on Interstate 40 going East and our first pull off was in Hartford Tennessee.       He said, “Follow me.”      Hartford had a post office, an outdoor adventure place, and a stream for white water rafting. That’s pretty much it 🙂 We checked out the tiny little place and then we were back on the interstate again.      He said, “Follow me.”

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Another pull off  adventure popped up, so off we went on a back road towards the beautiful country side.
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We saw a cool let-in place where Shawn said he lets in his rafts, boats, canoes, or other floating types devices for white water rafting.
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(I would love to do that sometime!) Shawn mentions a park up ahead and says, “Follow me.”
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We saw beautiful mountain streams, creeks, and found some cool rocks. At one point, we found ourselves at a tiny little zoo type establishment along side the road. image

There were llamas, a donkey, and I think I saw a pig – but I’m not sure really 🙂   There was also a cute little out building shack that posed an awesome photo opp.

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We took in a bit of local history (read signs) and hoped back in the vehicles and were on to the next sight.

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As we were leaving Shawn says, “Follow me.”

I think at some point we were given the option of getting back on the interstate or going the back roads. We chose back roads, and let me tell ya, they didn’t get much more “back roads” than this! 🙂
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Cosby highway went from  normal state highway size (2 car- painted lines) with guard rails and edges of shoulders, all the way down to almost less than 1 car with no painted lines without guard rails mid-mountain height, to gravel with giant pot holes and drop-offs, to plain ole dirt roads hugging the edge of the mountain as it curled all the way to the top.
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Signs posted “No Passing”, “One lane road”, “Beware of Drop offs” (2400ft elevation).  We drove about 10 miles on the top of the mountain through twists and turns where the tree roots were the only traction under our tires and if a bird landed on our car, we’d have just tilted and plunged down the mountain.
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After about 15 miles, we were all feeling a bit sickly in our stomachs. We did however, pick up an inside joke that the kids will probably discuss the rest of their lives. On our way to the top of the mountain, we encountered a cyclist trying to make it up the 2350 ft elevation of the mountain. He peddled his little heart out and could not grasp the concept that our big truck needed around him and he peddled at a 10th of a mile an hour with a banana sticking out of the back of his pants. We couldn’t pass him and he wasn’t letting us around him. We eventually had to ask the cyclist with the banana to stop and move over so we could pass. If we hadn’t…we would still be on that mountain right now! It wasn’t the biggest mountain we’ve ever driven, but it definitely was extremely fun!
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Once we reached a decently elevation, we got back on the Interstate and made our way into Maggie Valley, North Carolina. We’d been here before, but we stopped a few times so our friends could snap some pictures and then we were off to Cherokee as they said, “Follow me!”
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We grabbed a bite to eat, checked into our rooms at Harrah’s, then left again to go out toward the Smokey Mountains National Park.
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After a bit of exploring, we had dinner and went back to the hotel. We finished the night in the casino .

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The boys explored the large hotel, pool, exercise rooms, arcade, etc while we played. Kimbra had a brilliant spa idea, but when we checked with them, they were booked solid 😦

We did much more than this on the trip and had many great memorable moments 🙂

I think Shawn and Kimbra were fun to follow. As Shawn said most of the trip: “Follow me.”

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Give me some feedback :)

Southern Prospective – soap box time!

Recently, I’ve been engaged in conversations about the “north & south”.  I don’t like this subject, but will politely answer & comment. Well…it starts off politely anyway.  What makes these conversations intense is usually the opinions that are thrown into the mix. Very few people can carry on a conversation on the subject of differences of northern and southern people and produce only facts.

I’m from Tennessee – born & bred. I (like other people) am proud to be from the south. I would never say the south is the best, the end all-be all, or even the most preferred place to live, but it’s home. I love it here, even though I can’t breathe through my nose for the mass amounts of pollen and my car is constantly covered in a yellow film. Even though we have high taxes and very few people correctly pronounce most of the English language. I still love it!!

East TN has become a melting pot of people from all over. Many folks from the western and northern states have moved here as well as people from other countries.  I’d venture to guess that the population is half native and half  “visitors”. Many native folks here have never been too far from home and are not able to travel or are afraid to leave these mountains. I personally haven’t travelled much, but I’ve been out of the state a few times. I’ve been very blessed to have met, worked with, and made friends a great deal of folks from all over the world while right here in Knoxville.

So, back to the “north & south” conversations…I commonly hear that:

  • Southern people are backwards.           Hmm, I try to visualize this so I don’t take offense.

I can honestly reply that I’ve never seen a southerner with their head screwed on backwards. They usually walk in a forward moving motion and many have not only been successful in life, but have led this country as presidents, congressmen, and senators.

  • Southern people are close minded.        Really? …all southerners?? I am open to discovering why we are close minded. My rebuttal is that there are closed minded people everywhere, not just in the south. Some people here are incorrectly labeled as close minded because they are hesitant to repeat mistakes. What just happened there? Did I just present an open mind?
  • Southern people speak funny.           People from all over the world speak with different dialects and there are places where you will hear a very think southern draw. Southern draws vary also. The southern draw of a Texan will vary from a Tennessean, just as a Georgia draw will vary from a Carolina draw.  Don’t at make us special?
  • Southern people are uneducated.         This may be true with a passing generation of miners, farmers, and people that physically worked their fingers to the bone from youth through adulthood many years past, but school is not an option in the South. But somehow, we have several of the best schools in the country according to the president of the US. Besides, if we are so uneducated, why did you move your whole family here? You must be a bad parent if you truly thought that and enrolled your children in our schools!!
  • Southern people are racist/prejudice.        There are racist people everywhere, not just in the south. Not everyone in the south is a racist.  I’m not!! Racism is not just white against black or black against white. People are prejudice in all forms everywhere on this planet! People that claim to be above reproach on the subject, accepting all people are prejudice in some form. Okay…I’ll admit. I have one prejudice: People from Ohio driving their RV through TN, changing lanes on the main Interstates right on top of other drivers, without looking or signally burn me up! But that’s pretty much it 🙂 I don’t dislike people from Ohio and actually have Ohio on my bucket list. One day, I’m going there with MY RV and I dare any of them to say anything or blow their horns, hee hee…not!

Rich against Poor

Sinners against Saints

Poor against Rich

Saints against Sinners

Baptist against Methodist 

Methodist against Baptist

Women against Men

Men against Women

Believer against Believer

Geeks against Goth

Skaters against Nerds

White against Mexicans

Mexicans against Whites

Black against Whites

White against Black

 Republican against Democrats

Democrats against Republicans

Non Alcoholics against Alcoholics

Drug addicts against the World

Lower Management against Upper Management

Upper Management against Lower Management

Customer Service against the Customers

Customers against the Stock Clerks

People against Mosquitoes – They just want to suck your blood 😦

Northern drivers against Southern Roadways

Southern drivers against more than 5 lanes of traffic

There are so many prejudices that they cannot all be listed. People harbor prejudices against one another for countless reasons and because a prejudice is chalked up to “opinion” it’s acceptable in some circles to have those opinions. That doesn’t make it right though. Let’s move on now.

  • People from the South are Hillbillies.       Well, we do live in the mountains and hills. I don’t care anymore, call us hillbilly if it makes your life better 🙂
  • Southerners are stubborn.        Isn’t that true everywhere you go? Surely this does not only apply to southerners.
  • People in the South walk around shirtless and barefoot.         Try to walk on asphalt barefoot and tell me how your feet feel. Kind of hot huh? Now, take off your shoes and walk on grass. Nice and cool huh? If you don’t leave your yard, why do you need shoes? Men do work with their shirts off, but don’t men in warmer climates do this? I saw people at the beach that were barefoot and shirtless. I even saw women that were topless and barefoot!  A person must wear shirt and shoes when in public though 🙂
  • Southern men spit.        Northern men do too!
  • Southern women need to be rescued.          Really? You’ve watched waaaay too many daytime talk shows. There are women everywhere that dream of  being “rescued in life”, not just in the South. There are also a great deal of women everywhere, not just in the south, that are hard-working and  independent, raising their family! They wouldn’t dream of being rescued.
  • Southern people are rude.          This one blows me away, seriously.  Why do people come from all over to be in the heart of our “southern hospitality” if we are so rude? Why did people in the north and western states label us with “southern hospitality?” Why did they start saying that?  Who coined that phrase? 
  • Southern women lie.         I’m pretty sure women and men every where lie. Not all women lie. I am sorry that you have that opinion. It’s sad.
  • Southern men don’t take responsibility for their children, stick around to raise them, or pay child support.              I searched on-line and discovered the 9 states that have the largest percentages of deadbeat dads with the largest arrears are: Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas. Out of these 9 states, only 2 of those are southern states. Click here for the case study analysis.
There are more statements about southern people I have heard lately.  I’ve not spoken to just one westerner or northerner.  Sadly, I have spoken to many. I don’t bring the subject up, but somehow, it always ends up being brought into a conversation.
My thoughts are: People will always judge others by their own standards. If their opinions are that low of others, their opinions of themselves must be pretty low also.  It’s sad 😦
No matter where you are from, have you had a short positive or negative experience you can share about people from the northern, western, or southern states? Personally, I have had wonderful experiences in every state I’ve ventured into 🙂 People have great hearts everywhere I’ve been and I have thoroughly enjoyed meeting new people 🙂

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Adventure in the Chincoteague Bay

While on the Island, a popular question asked by tourists is “what is there to do on this small island?”  The answer to this question literally cracked me up: Catch crabs! What? The good news is antibiotics or other medications are not needed if you catch crabs here. 🙂

On the bay side of the Island there are docks available for public use & a fishing license is not needed. Many forms of life thrive in the bay. There are crabs, birds, frogs, turtles, fish, billions of variations of snails, and much more.
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A couple of mornings/evenings Nick & I watched the fiddler crabs perform their mating dance rituals. These dances are composed of the male, with his one oversized claw, waving it wildly in the air. He pranced back & forth waving this club claw to show his manhood for the females delight. Once he’s caught the eye of that special female, he hopes she’ll pick him over the hundreds of other males dancing. Childish delight swallowed me & I asked playfully, “Could I take one home?”
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In Memorial Park on Chincoteague Island, fishing is bountiful and no license is required also. We bought a net, some raw chicken, a crab line and off to the park we went 🙂 This is where we went crabbing. While there, a boy came to us and asked us if we were trying to catch crabs just before the sun began to set. Nick answered him that we were & this young man wished us luck. He said he’d been trying to crab there for years & had not done well. He took his fishing pole and walked away from us along the small dock.
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Within 30 minutes, the dock began to clear out. The other fishers began to leave and take their catches with them. Some people were drinking beer, some people were sharing a moment with each other, and other people were teaching their kids how to crab or fish. Steadily, they all left the dock except the boy we met and his 2 friends.
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After dangling our chicken leg in the bay for a few minutes, the crabs started to swim by us. Even though daylight was leaving us, we could still see the crabs skimming the water nearby. We caught a few small crabs here and there.  It was peaceful and quiet. (Our boys did not go with us. They had other agendas for the evening. I think they were looking the island for girls.) There was one blue crab that we caught over and over again. We would admire him, take pictures, then send him back home to the ocean water in the bay. This little booger kept coming back to us. He was like an attention needy child wanting to be admired. Perhaps we flattered him? 🙂
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After all daylight had disappeared, the moonlight brought out the more unique and larger sea life. We saw a beautiful blue/green light in the water.  several times when bringing our net in, we had caught cute little jellyfish. They had no color when out of the water, but when the net was submerged again, the jellyfish began to light up. They were small and graceful. I was thankful I had not seen any of them while in the ocean. I knew they were out there, but not seeing them made the ocean water more enjoyable. I decided Jellyfish are show-offs. They wanted to be admired. The way they lit up for us, danced, and would not leave our area said it all…either that or they like chicken 🙂 image

Nick called to me, “Chrissy!  You have to come see this!!” He was standing over near teenage boys. They had caught something very large. Through teamwork, they managed to bring the large thing across the water line of the dock and they were coming straight at me. I looked over. It was a gorgeous sting ray! Her underside was white and her top was a deep brown color. Her tail whipped and swung from side to side. The boy’s rod was bent under the weight of such a large creature. They handed the pole from one boy to another as they made their way across the dock to the boat landing. She was too heavy to pull straight up out of the water.  Once she was docked, one boy stood on her tail/barb while the other boy gently removed the fishing hook from her back. They turned her over, checking to make sure she was okay and poured water from the bay into her breathing holes. We snapped some pictures and touched her. Then the sweet boy petted her and encouraged her back into the water safely.  I asked the boy his name: Jess.
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“Jess, you did a great job with  that beautiful sting ray!!”, I bragged.
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Shortly after the stingray had been released, the boys were all calling out to me. “Hey, Hey lady. Wanna see?” They brought me an eel to admire that they caught on their line. It looked like a huge slimy earthworm snake thingy.  I took pictures and gave them another pat on the back. We ended our crabbing adventure not long after that. image

It was a wonderful bay adventure!

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Sunshine Award

Wow, I won a Sunshine Blogger  award!

My blog was nominated for this award by Looser or Not “The art of staying Alive”.

Sunshine Blogger Award2

Sunshine Blogger Award

Here’s how it works:

  • Add the Award to your blog
  • Acknowledge the giver of the award and thank them
  • Answer a few questions about yourself
  • Nominate a few fellow bloggers with outstanding blogs for the award and include links to their sites 🙂

Questions:

  1. What is your favorite color?  Blue
  2. What is next on your bucket list? Explore Chincoteague Island and see the wild ponies! (Thank you Tracey Angelbeck!!)
  3. What is your favorite number? 4
  4. What is your favorite non-alcoholic drink? Coffee
  5. Do you prefer Facebook or Twitter? Facebook…but Twitter is fast on its heels!
  6. What is your passion? Living everyday as an adventure while praising my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
  7. Do you prefer getting or giving presents? Giving
  8. What is your favorite time of day? Dawn
    Feb 2010 Sunrise

    Feb 2010 Sunrise


  9. What is your favorite day of the week? Sunday
  10. Favorite flower? Chickory

    Mountain Chickory

    Mountain Chickory

Now, I would like to nominate some wonderful bloggers for their awesomeness! Please do check out these other great blogs that bring Sunshine into my life!!

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