Monthly Archives: February 2012

The one going Evolution of a family’s eating

It started in April of 2010 when Daddy and I decided to try the Feingold diet  with the boys (see blog post here).  Big Brother was the main motivator, but the Big Three aren’t good for either boy (Artificial Colors, Artificial Sweeteners and Preservatives.).  We have been more so less strict about this; adding items and removing other items that we see a reaction (behavior) from.  As it stands now we avoid The Big Three; but we have added some “not allowed foods” back into his diet.  Almonds and oranges are two of the big ones we have allowed back in; he loves them both and I do not see any behavior reaction from them.  With the new limits we are planning and starting to “impose” having been able to add back in to his diet some real foods that we avoided at first is a real help – gives us more real food options.  However, there are still some 100% real foods that we avoid, apples being the biggest (and you’d be surprised how many things have APPLE JUICE in them).  Here is a full list of other posts about eating and our family.

A few months ago we removed all dairy from Big Brother’s diet.  This is a work in progress as I suspect he is still getting some hidden Dairy but Momma is learning.  We did this after medical tests revealed he has a milk allergy.  We are luck we have been able to add almonds back to his diet (over a year ago) with no reaction; because I am able to use almond milk for his bedtime hot cocoa.  That has made the transition easier.  There has been no behavior change, sadly momma was hoping for a little calming, but we know he has an allergy so the removal was necessary, even without any perceivable change in him.  He never ate cheese; but he is still missing yogurt.  In fact, we have not explicitly told him he can’t have dairy – you tell him that and all you are going to have are fights; he is just now getting good at accepting NO to the Big Three and still complains about THAT.  We have simply removed it without discussing it.

Now in 2012 Daddy and I have again had a meeting of the minds and decided we want to evolve our food choices even further for the family.  This is currently “in process”.  We plan to remove all HFCS from our diet (yes should done it long ago); eat only whole grain (Momma is now GF); and try to eat as whole food as possible.  Real food, whole foods.  We are doing this by attrition; as the more processed foods (crackers for example) are eaten up they are not being replaces.  We have decided we simply should not be eating things made of chemicals.  Pretty simple.  We want the boys to grow up with good eating habits.  It is hard; a lot of the junk (like pop tarts, which Big hasn’t had in years) is really yummy.   Momma struggles with this too – no more Mac and Cheese??  We are going to push veggies and fruit as snacks and simply stop buying things if we can’t read the ingredients out loud.  I know I am behind some of my friends in this, but I have resisted allowing diet and food to take up THAT much of my active thought (not like I don’t have anything else to occupy my mind); but it is time to bite the bullet; clean up their diet (our diets) and get them on a path to good eating as adults.  This time I do not have any hope of behavior changes or improvements this time, but it just needs to be done.  (I do admit, as I change our diet again and again, I’d love to see a ‘miracle’ change in the over-the-top energy and silliness levels around here – it happens for others, so why not us?).

I have found a source for safe candy that the boys like.  I will be more diligent about carrying safe candy and gummies  so that the boys are less tempted by vending machines and “treats” on long days of travel or errands.  We now have a Trader Joe’s; so that helps a little one the few special items we’ll need to buy (got safe jelly beans there last year).  In reality the biggest “need” is for momma to stop being lazy and to actually cook and tow a hard line about what she will and won’t allow.  I have always has a hard time with this due to Big Brother self limiting regarding food – both in items eaten and amount.  Nevertheless this needs to be done.  There is a chance, if his eating does not improve, I might go back to our Pediatrician once our diet adjustment is done.  Also when we move this summer any food not fitting the bill will be trashed.  The biggest thing is momma has to tow a harder line about treats and buying food when we are out.

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Random Photos 2.2012

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first thoughts on first grade

First Grade, thinking about YES first grade …. Big Brother will be in First Grade this fall, though honestly his math already is.  I will not be using a “boxed” curriculum; but I will be using and stabled “open and go” curriculum for each individual subject (much like I have this year, but more structures and goal directed).  I do not feel confident in my ablity to “build it” all alone, but I have also not found one that fits all our needs.  I am really excited about a number of the resources I have picked out.

 

*** Before a title means that choice has been made and I do not anticipate it being changed.

 

All others are a rough frame, more or less under consideration, seeing how things shape up.  Some of it I am sure of, some of it I am still up in the air about.  This is mainly the shape I want for First Grade.  I am getting really excited about a number of our resources; we going to be reading a ton and doing some really cool stuff.   I am praying for a little more maturity is the student to makje things so smoothly too.

 

Little Brother maybe be doing a formal Kindy in the fall also, he has spent a lot of time following along this year.  Either way he’ll be a part of all the read-a-louds and woill always be following along with us, like this year.  Kindy or not, will depend on his writing ability and his interest level.  I’d say it is a 50/50 chance.  I will likely let him do Kindy work as he asks, but I won’t ask him.  Then in 2013 he can officially do Kindy and if some, or most, of his work is 1st grade level, well that is the joy of home school.  It is very important to us, as a family, not to push early academics, so I’ll not be officially enrolling him, till fall of 2013, right before he is 6.

 

PHONICS /READING:
***Explore the Code (example http://www.amazon.com/Explode-Code-Book-Nancy-Hall/dp/0838814611/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1327688086&sr=1-2)
Supplements:
Literature
***Read-a-louds: at MUCH FASTER PACE THAN SO FAR UNDERTAKEN. Adding narration and retelling activities to challenge comprehension and “take away” from the readings.  (see My Draft of Read-A-Louds)
AND
Core Virtues: A Literature-Based Program in Character Education
OR
Teaching Character thought Literature from Barefoot Books: 
Spelling:
Spelling Workout: Level A, Student Edition
GRAMMAR:
***The Complete Writer: Writing with Ease
***The Complete Writer: Level 1 Workbook for Writing with Ease  
***First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind: Level 1
Considering Language Smarts™ Level B (Color) as travel ‘fun to take with us’ workbook supplement.
Handwriting
I am hoping his frustration level will have decreased and we can begin copy work.
ART / MUSIC
***Introduction to the Orchestra
***Introduction to Classical Music 
Also considering:
13 American Artists Children Should Know 
13 Artists Children Should Know 
SCIENCE –
still undecided really leaning towards:  Sonlight publishing level A  Biology, Botany, and Physics
Considering Supplementing with Developing Critical Thinking through Science Book 1 
Also considering:
Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding: A Science Curriculum for K-2  (may hold this off till 2nd)
OR
Christian Kids Explore Earth And Space (concerned there is no clear age level)
SOCIAL STUDIES – studyingAmerica
***Truthquest History Guide: American History for Young Students Volume 1
***Introduction to U.S. Composers Foster, Sousa, and Gershwin
***How to Raise an American: 1776 Fun and Easy Tools, Tips, and Activities to Help Your Child Love This Country 
***Cooking Up U.S.History: Recipes and Research to Share with Children 
HISTORY
***The Story of the World: History for the Classical Child: Volume 1: Ancient Times: From the Earliest Nomads to the Last Roman Emperor, Revised Edition  and activity books 
And
***BiblioPlan.  Family Guide (teacher’s guide) and Cool Hisistory (activity Guide).  BibliPlan dove tails with The Story of the World and is created to go together.  In First grade most of history is going to be reading stories and doing crafts or maps or other activates; as opposed to dry reading of names and dates and testing.
Geography:
***The Ancient World of the Bible 
And
? something modern…
BIBLE / FAITH:
***Read though the entire Bible hitting all the major stories:
 ***Bible Study series continued from Kindy – the You Want Me to Do What series.
 ***Awanas
 Symbols of Faith: Teaching the Images of the Christian Faith 
LOGIC
Building Thinking Skills® Primary
Mind Benders® Book 2 (did book 1 this year)
Hands-On Thinking Skills 
MATH:
***   Mammath Math
and
***Mathematics Enhancement Programme   (year 2, doing year 1 as Kindy)

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Thinking about Lent

I’ve been thinking about Lent.  Not real original I know.  Each year as I pass my birthday I think about Lent.  Today is Ash Wednesday.  I am by no means a teacher, preacher or Biblical scholar much less a theologian; but I’ll share my thoughts anyway.  They maybe wrong, but they could be right.

Lent.  Sacrifice.  What are you giving up this year?  The same old story.  Conventional Wisdom holds that we sacrifice a beloved vice for the 40 days of Lent (actually 46 days, Sundays do not count) as a personal reminder of Christ’s sacrifice for us.  Really?  I give up coke or chocolate for 40-some days and THAT is a sacrifice?  What a life we lead in 2012 is this Fist World Nation (an idea I touched on here also).  Isn’t our idea of sacrifice almost an insult to Christ’s death on the cross?  An insult to the martyrs that died for their faith; an insult to people today in other nations that risk life and liberty to practice their faith?  I fully acknowledge and respect the practice of Morning Offering  and in fact, should disciple my life in this way more.  It is a wonderful attitude to live your life in.  I also am challenging myself to more fully live a life of, and come to a better place of understanding about “offering my trial up to the Lord” .  Again that is such a better attitude to live in than many that people do live in, including me.  I know my life and Walk will benefit as a disciple myself more in these attitudes towards life and the daily challenges we all face.

However, I fear Lent has become nothing more than a 2nd set of New Years resolutions.  Personal sacrifice, self discipline, is a foundation of any Walk with God or any fellowship with Christ.  But it must be authentic, it must be genuine – and that happens, or doesn’t, at the heart level.

I have seen a number of blogs and articles this season echoing my thoughts (see ) .  Seeking a deeper experience of Lent, a more serious approach.  Simply put I can never sacrifice enough, the martyrs and saints did not sacrifice enough, Christ’s gift of his life is the only ‘good enough’ sacrifice.  We do well to offer a personal devotion or to refuse ourselves a favored vice only in that it forces us, or should, to think about Christ and our relationship with God.  Nevertheless, we do ourselves a grave disservice and mock Christ when we lazily assume that giving up candy or coke is the true gift we bring to the Cross this season.  The gift is our desire, or thoughts, our efforts at self disciple, out desire to be closer to Him; not the simple lack of a habit.

I used to work with a Sister from the Sisters of Loretto  and she talked about ADDING for Lent, not subtracting.  Adding pray, adding disciple, adding God Time, adding to your walk in a meaningful way.  This is what I have been thinking about.  Adding to and completing my relationship with God, my walk of faith; where I stand on the march to maturity as a flower.  Am I consistently chewing meat or am I simply, occasionally, gulping milk on the run?

So this Lent I am not giving up soda, or TV or candy.  What I will be doing is spend the Lenten Season thinking and praying about where I am on the path, as an individual and as a parent responsible for the upbringing and education of two more souls.  Where do I stand on the path god has laid out for me?  I’ll give you a hint, as a 40 year old cradle Christian I am not where I belong, and I fear as the mother of a 4 year old and 6 year old boy I we are not where we belong.  I pray this Season that I grow in God, not that I break my soda habit.

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It’s a wonderful life

I have a wonderful life.  I have found myself too focused on the many challenges and stressors of raising two boys (speech therapy, doctors’ appt, and diet restrictions) and I fear I might loose the joy of my life and children.  I have a wonderful life.  It is an oft repeated phrase but while the days are long, the years are painfully short.  Both my boys are weaned, and fully potty trained now.  They sleep most of the night (and some times the entire night) in their own room.  Big Brother is reading and Little Brother is sounding out CVC words even!

I am reading, Home By Choice.   It is a great inspirational, based on the Science of Attachment and the long term effects of infant attachment, read.  I am being reminded that as I race though the days of read-a-louds and crayons I am having a real impact on not only boy boys’ adult lives; but their marriages and their children in turn.  It is easy to get lost in the long days and forget how short the years really are.  As the days speed by with army men invading the kitchen, super hero throwing super villains into walls, snipers hiding under tables ready to ambush the unsuspecting, couch back jousting matches; it is hard to think about more than getting though school each day and keeping everyone alive.  That is when reminders like Home By Choice is so important.  I am not just dogging the boys, again, to pick up the army men in the kitchen after I step on my 5th one; I am teaching something much bigger: respect for others, care for personal belonging, kitchen safety and responsibility; those are the things if you don’t make yourself stop and think, you’ll loose sight of.

Parenting is not what I expected; I suppose everyone says that.  There are some challenges with our two boys that I did not anticipate as I planned to welcome and raise your typical child.  But that is not what I mean.  I mean things like: I expected to be making cute faces with fruit and veggies for lunch, but I have one boy that panics at food and another that is just as happy to walk off with my plate.  I mean things like: I envisioned keeling down, looking my son in the face and saying “I don’t like that behavior, it is rude” and that “taking care of that” (hey that is what all the Gentle Discipline, Positive Parenting and Attachment books say, right?) and really some day I feel more like a NHL referee than Donna Reed.

It is too easy to get lost in chicken nuggets and craft projects and forget about the very real life long impact that our choices, our words and our behaviors have on our children’s lives.  We build them up, or tear them down; and up or down they remain for the rest of their life.  More so up or down they then tear their wives and children.

Night after night as I lay between them in bed for them to fall asleep a feeling of peace settles over us.  They both cuddle in as close as they can be, secure that their “base” is there and they can relax.  It is the only time they are still and quiet.  Many times I lay there, after they are asleep, pray over them, stroke their hair, listen to the breath, and just soak in the peace.  I have a wonderful life.

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Proverbs 31:30 ~ Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.

Many in this world would promote a general understanding that to be equal to a man in daily matters once must act like a man.  Unfortunately many Christian will spout the same misguided silliness.  As believers we know, or should know, this to be a lie of the devil, but sadly too often allow ourselves to be dragged down in to worldly mud slinging between the genders.

I saw this quote recently, and loved it, it really resounded with me.  “Egalitarianism has tried to convince women that dressing like a sloppy man is a compliment and a privilege” .

Thus motivated, I am picking up my old saga of musings about modesty and head covering and their relation to faith and application in daily functional life.  This is an area I feel God’s call on me; I freely admit I am not where I feel God wants me on this topic, but I am struggling to get there (and dragging you, dear reader, along for the bumpy ride).

I’ll state again that I am in no way a teacher, nor a Biblical scholar.  I am a believer, a Daughter of the King.  I share my thoughts and that is all I have to offer.

If you’d like to see the back-story – here is a collection of my previous posts, and one amazing guest post https://scribinglife.wordpress.com/tag/modesty-covering/.

As I have stated before I am frustrated by how often Christian writings about modesty and personal appearance are met with hostility, even from other believers.  It is deeply saddening to see so many Children of the King used as pawns of the devil.  The Jewish writing that I have read seem about to address questions of personal accountably to God and modesty in a much more honest and simply manner.   They seem much more able to address God’s commandments regarding modesty without the destructive and worldly, baggage about gender.  We need to stand against the world and the devil, and not against each other.

Ephesians 6:12 for our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

I am fully confident of my equality in life and before God.  I do not need to argue or protest or ‘fight’ for my equal footing with other believers.  I do not have to dress like another, act like another or “fight”.  There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 38.  God said it is so, it is so.  I have reason to achieve what is simple fact.  I stand as an equal heir to the Kingdom of God, my Father with all other believes.  As Christians, God wants us to view both male and female as equally important, not inferior and superior.  Remember we are charged not to be unequally yoke; if men and women were not intrinsically equivalent all yoking would inherent be unequal; God’s command would not be possible, and we all know God’s commandments for us are possible, by the very nature of God.

Merriam – Webster dictionary defines equal:  (1) : of the same measure, quantity, amount, or number as another Also:  equivalent b : like in quality, nature, or status c : like for each member of a group, class, or society <provide equal employment opportunities>  Also : regarding or affecting all objects in the same way

Equal is not indistinguishable or ‘the same’; read the definition again – equivalent not identical.  I stand equal to all men as God’s creation and as a female believer.  However I am not identical or interchangeable with any male; I am not a duplicate of my husband or father.

As women of Yahuweh, we have a very special dignity and glory that we should treasure and protect.  We have a royal status to uphold.  Our glory and dignity that is growing inwardly, needs to begin to show forth outwardly, by the way we dress.  The clothes we wear have far more importance than many of us realize.   … As women, we have the great honor and unique privilege of displaying many of the qualities of the Bride of Messiah.  http://www.thewayprepared.com/studies/kings-daughter.html

I am a daughter of the King, I am woman and I am given roles and responsibilities, challenges and gifts that are unique to my gender.  I also have been given command for living my life that are relevant only to me as a female; and they are part of my relationship with God Himself, not any other person.  Our differences are fundamental, intentional and by design. In like manner also, that woman adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold or pearls, or costly array; but (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.  1 Timothy 2.9-10

G.K. Chesterton:  “I WOULD give woman, not more rights, but more privileges. Instead of sending her to seek such freedom as notoriously prevails in banks and factories, I would design especially a house in which she can be free.” ~GKC: ‘What’s Wrong With the World.’

I am angered that too many believers follow the world and accept as true that somehow following God’s commands for her life; that makes her less of a person.  It is a distraction of the Evil One to make us fight and deny or true selves thus preventing us reaching the levels of glory God has for us.   I am supposed to believe that; somehow I am on a more equal footing with a man that is staring down my tight low cut shirt rather than engaging with me in real conservation.  These old arguments (that we must be interchangeable with men to be equal or that there is freedom in flaunting your body like a room for rent) do not promote equitable gender relations; they are tools of the devil to distract and divide.  What could we achieve with we chose not to listen to the lies of evil and set ourselves to walking rightly with the Lord and accomplishing all He has for us.

Titus 2:4-5 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.

 

 

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“The King’s Daughter is all glorious within: her clothing is of wrought gold” Psalm 45:13

Yes, I am back at it again.  I note, again, I am far from perfect and will remain far from perfect until I meet The One that is Perfect.  I write, not to preach from on high, but what I need to read most of the time; I write what is on my mind, what I am think about regarding my life.  I am on a “rabbit trial” of reading about modesty again.  I admit, freely, I am trying to challenge myself to a better relationship with God and myself.

We, as believers, are called to set ourselves apart from the world, to be in it as a shining light, but not to be of it.
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 willRomans 12:1-3  how much more clearly can it be stated.  God wants you to minister to the lady next door, but not necessarily to be like the lady next door.

We are challenged to set ourselves apart and shine as a light to the world around us in ever aspect of our lives; not just our Sunday morning activities.  We all know the old saying “who you are speaks so loud I can not hear what you are saying” this is frequently applied to parents, but I believe it applies even more strongly to our Christian Walk.  It is not what you preach, it is how you live.  How you live in the quick and simple moments like running back to the store again for the 3rd thing you forgot.  As a Christian woman, you and I are showing the watching world a bit of who Jesus is.  We show who we are in Christ, we show Christ though us.

Our bodies are precious because they are a gift from God. They are attractive because God made us in His image for His pleasure (and if we are married, to please our mates as well).  However, God never intended us to flaunt ourselves or exhibit our bodies in an immodest way.  He wants our bodies consecrated to him. “I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.” (Rom. 12:1)

Worldly dress is quite revealing.  It revels much more than skin and shape: first and foremost it reveals a worldly heart.  It clearly shows to who you are looking for guidance, God or the latest red carpet appearances.  It also reveals wrong priorities and areas that are not yielded to God.   What you wear, or don’t wear clearly reveals who you are dressing for; who’s opinion you value.  It is evidence of what you think of your self, what you value about yourself.  Our speech, vocation, dress must be submitted to what God’s will is for us in this life.  If you worry more about your makeup than your heart, that shows.  More than showing to the public we have to enter into it; it shows to our children.

Reading more about a call to modesty I found this (it is written by and regarding Orthodox Jewish women, but the fundamental concept I feel applies to all believes; and that is our relationship with God and how our lives demonstrate that relationship).  I should note that the Jewish faith seems to address questions of personal accountably to God and modesty in a much more honest and simply manner.  Jewish reading doesn’t seem to be wrought with this same conflict and is able to address modest, head covering, and dress without the weight and baggage about gender abuse inherent in most Christian writings (be it author or critic).

A mitzvah (commandment) is a communication between the ‘Metzvave,’ the Commander (God), and the person who has wisely chosen to observe His expressed will, thereby forging a personal relationship with the Master of the universe. Society and the people around us are merely incidental and peripheral to the process…Bottom line, the concept of Tzniut cautions us that to get seduced by a culture that is obsessed with externalities is to abandon our very core and essence…..The hair, which is a woman’s ‘crowning beauty,’ is covered when a woman leaves the confines of her home. In a sense, her full beauty is reserved exclusively for her husband. The foreign object, be it a hat or wig, no matter how attractive, is foreign, nonetheless, and constantly reminds a woman to focus on the inner beauty inside of her.

http://www.aish.com/f/rf/48944771.html (an amazing read that I wish I had written)

and this comment … The first note of clarification needs to be that the objective of God’s commandments is not the betterment of society as a whole or how we might appear to others, but rather how the mitzvot (commandments) speak to us personally, and how they enhance and promote the requisite spiritual growth of the individual who observes them. … is a very apt one as well. …… We are not called or challenged to compare ourselves to others on this earth merely to His Call on our lives.  Not everyone is a preacher, or a teacher; but that doesn’t mean God has not ordained Bankers and Police.  Our accountability and relationship are with Our Father.

Like I have said before a covered or modestly dressed woman reminds herself of God and her relationship with, and accountability to Him, constantly.  She shows the people she meets that she is not looking to the check-out-stand tabloids to order her life, but to God Himself.  If she stops and stands still for a moment she can feel God holding her.  She speaks this to those around her in her action and her deed, leaving words unnecessary.  This commentary portrays living a modest life as evidence of a personal connection to God; an aspect of your self, a reflection of your heart and your personal relationship with God.  It reflects what is of matter to you, God and your relationship with Him; not what is of matter to the world

On the level of theory few seek to argue these faccts.  Philosophically, we all acknowledge a fundamental struggle between focusing on the external things in life or the internal dimensions.  Day to day life vs God.  We have to live in the world, but we do not have to judge ourselves by its standards.

Too often we make small compromises; in the books we read, in the TV we allow the kids to see, in the playmates we permit, in the clothing we wear, in our actions and activities.  It is too much of a fight to NOT allow our child to play a certain game; it is all too easy to go to the store in a pair of jean intended for house cleaning. But little choices because big habits.

It is a simple fact:  compromise in beliefs in one area leads to compromise in other areas of Scriptural commands as well.  Maybe that strikes you as unnecessarily harsh; does letting your kids play ONE game, or wearing that holes pair of jeans one time, really matter?  It does.  Our life is made up of small choices.  Each choice matters.  Each choice sets us on a path.  It human nature; human as lazy; we are sinful creatures programmed to seek the easy route.  We are programmed to look for the easy, for the mostly pleasing to our physical body.  Sin is real, evil is real, and human nature is flawed.  Think about this:  you skip the gym today because of a late meeting at work; what happens tomorrow, do you site “extra tired of that late meeting last night?” and skip the gym again?  Then what:  we both know, the more you skip the gym, the easier it gets to skip the gym.  Ah yes; human nature.

God doesn’t call you to compromise; God calls you to stand; to fight and to run the good race.  2 Timothy 4:7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  (Not I have picked my battles, I have mode it most of the race and I have kept the faith in the important issues).   Only perseverance will please God.  Glations 6:7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.

What is God calling you to today; what are you sowing in the choices you make today?

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