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#200: Life Is For Living

Friday, January 15, 2010

Several years ago, within 2 1/2 months, we lost three members of our small family.

First, on October 29, nineteen-year-old Ryan was killed in Indiana when an impaired driver crossed the road and hit Ryan's car. Those of us here in Florida couldn't go to his funeral because Mom was severely ill and in the hospital.

On December 21, Mom passed away. Relatives in Indiana couldn't come here for her funeral because her brother, my last uncle, Bud, Ryan's grandfather, was gravely ill. He died on January 13.

It was, and is, a sad time of year for us.

But now, since that period has passed on for another year, I can focus on living a life they would have been proud of:

Volunteering to help others, rescuing stray dogs and cats, trying to uplift as many people as I can through SparkPeople and overall being a responsible, mostly mature adult.

If it's true that life is for the living, then let's make the most of our time left on earth.

Why spend it in depression? Yes, times are tough, but we can still be happy for what we do have.

Anger? Bitterness? Hatred? Why bother with negative emotions? As we found out -- Dad died at 48, sister Diane at 51, two uncles at 42 and 44 -- life often comes to an unexpected and early end.

Yes, they are all in a better place without pain and misery and those of us remaining recall them with love.

But to honor them, and your lost ones, we need to be upbeat and positive and follow what the Boy Scouts taught me so many decades ago:

A Scout is:

Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean and Reverent.

Leading this kind of life may be the highest honor we can bestow on loved ones who have passed on.

Won't you try?

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LESLIES537 12/11/2010 12:03PM

    emoticon

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LADYNETTIE 1/18/2010 1:37AM

    What an uplifting and refreshing blog. I love your positive attitude, even in the face of grief. It is true that life is short and very unpredictable, and it is best to keep moving forward, do the best you can for as many God's creatures as possible. You are very wise to stay busy and positive at this time, but also make sure you cry when you feel like crying. I am really proud of you, what a great role model for others who are dealing with personal issues. Thank you for sharing.
Annette

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YATMAMA 1/16/2010 10:41PM

    Oh, Lou, what a difficult time for your entire family. I truly understand that kind of grief avalanche. My oldest niece, Jenie, died at 27. Mama died 11 months later. Daddy died 18 months after Mama. It just leaves you reeling. You are SO right. Life is meant to be LIVED.

Mama was a Cub and then Boy Scout den mother. When my youngest brother joined the older two in joining the Navy in 1963, there was an article in the New Orleans Picayune about all three of them being in the Navy and all three having been Eagle Scouts. Those are values we hold very dear in our family. Thank you for proclaiming them. They are most important. My brothers recently attended the 50 year birthday of their troop. It's amazing how many of their old pals are still local and attended. What fun for them!

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TIME4ANEWME47 1/16/2010 11:55AM

    I got goosebumps reading this. First my condolences for the sorrow you have experienced. And than a thank you for sparking your light to show me how to live when things touch me that are unexpected. And, a big YES to living my life as a Scout!!!

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LOSTINLOVE1226 1/16/2010 9:43AM

    lou you are so right. i had a pretty similar scenario a few years back, three in a row, with no way to go, and it did lead to a depression. one that i believe left me worried, full of anxiety, and eating my way through my fears. i am now trying to regroup from that, hopefully your positive words keep someone from going through what i went through...

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PEPPERLEAH 1/16/2010 12:30AM

    I enjoyed this blog, Lou. I know there are chemical/physical reasons some people suffer from depression, and I do not diminish that in any way. I also know there ae a lot of people who want to hang on to their sadness, anger, bitterness, etc. And life is just too short to do that.

Our way of thinking makes all the difference. Of course, when something happens (loss of a loved one, natural disaster, loss of job, etc.) it is upsetting. We just don't have to let it keep us in a negative frame of mind. We always have choices to make, and yes, I choose to be Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean and Reverent.

Thanks for a great blog.


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NEWLIBRARIAN 1/15/2010 10:28PM

    This is a good post but you need to remember that sometimes depression trul is a chemical and physical disease, not just a choice.

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CARRIEANNE1027 1/15/2010 8:21PM

    Thank you for this post, it was a tough week for me with the anniversary of the death of my son..
Sorry for your losses.. emoticon

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GABY1948 1/15/2010 7:10PM

    How awful that was to lose 3 close family members in such a short time. I am sorry for the pain it caused you and the memory that still causes pain. You are definitely correct that you did focus on and achieve living a life they would have been proud of! You are definitely a personthat I am proud I know and thankful to God for connecting us on this great site!
Gaye

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#199: Guidelines for Life

Thursday, January 14, 2010

I received this in an email and thought it important enough to pass along:

HANDBOOK 2010

HEALTH:

1. Drink plenty of water.
2. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a beggar.
3. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less food that is manufactured in plants.
4. Live with the 3 E's -- Energy, Enthusiasm and Empathy.
5. Make time to pray.
6. Play more games.
7. Read more books than you did in 2009 .
8. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day.
9. Sleep for 7 hours daily.
10. Take a 10-30 minutes walk daily. And while you walk, smile.

PERSONALITY:

11. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
12. Don't have negative thoughts over things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.
13. Don't overdo. Keep your limits.
14. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
15. Don't waste your precious energy on gossip.
16. Dream more while you are awake.
17. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need..
18. Forget issues of the past. Don't remind your partner of his/her past mistakes. That will ruin your present happiness.
19. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
20. Make peace with your past so it won't spoil the present.
21. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
22. Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn. Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.
23. Smile and laugh more.
24. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

SOCIETY:

25. Call your family often!
26. Each day give something good to others.
27. Forgive everyone for everything.
28. Spend time with people over the age of 70 & under the age of 6.
29. Try to make at least three people smile each day.
30. What other people think of you is none of your business.
31. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.

LIFE:

32. Do the right thing!
33. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.
34. GOD heals everything.
35. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
36. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
37. The best is yet to come.
38. When you awake alive in the morning, thank GOD for it.
39. Your inner most being is always happy. So, be happy.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DEBRITA01 1/22/2010 2:12PM

    emoticon These are definitely words to live by.Life gets too hectic and the important things get overlooked in the process. I am keeping a copy of this to remind me. Thanks for sharing!
emoticonDeb

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LOSTINLOVE1226 1/15/2010 10:12AM

    thanks lou... I kept this too. I was already making a list like this to carry around and review daily. this just makes it better! And I do need to call family more often! even if I have nothing to say but I love you.

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GABY1948 1/15/2010 6:00AM

    I am SAVING this one, Lou. This is AWESOME! emoticon emoticon

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PEPPERLEAH 1/14/2010 11:14PM

    Wonderful blog, Lou. What a great list! I am printing it out and hanging it near my desk.

God bless you;
Leah

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TEDYBEAR2838 1/14/2010 9:30PM

    Well, if I read more books than I did in 2009 I won't have to read much. I wish I enjoyed reading more. But I am enjoying the Spark. It's just going slow. Time is just not there.

Have a great week and thanks for the list

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BUSSMOM 1/14/2010 9:25PM

  I love this blog! Thanks for sharing.

-Maribeth

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#198: Who Took the Fun Out of Life?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A few evenings ago I watched a young boy, perhaps 4 years old, at a restaurant. He had such a fun time with everything he did, especially when he ordered a cheeseburger without the cheese.

"So you want a hamburger?" the waitress asked.

"No," he giggled, "I want a cheeseburger without the cheese," and he burst out laughing. "Pleeeeaaassseee," he quickly added.

The server and those seated nearby also burst out with smiles and laughter.

As I watched this young man, I noticed that he enjoyed absolutely everything about being in the restaurant -- the balloon he was given, the coloring book and crayons, the French fries that he marched like soldiers through the ketchup.

But it was the look of pure fun on his face that made the night special.

Then I began to wonder -- who took the fun out of our lives?

If we, as adults, were to order a cheeseburger without the cheese, the server would likely think we were bring smart-alecky. So why is it a cute event when a youngster does it but an act of immaturity if done by an adult?

And, if we, as adults, were to ask for a balloon and coloring book? Better call out the straitjackets and take us away for we would be viewed as abnormal.

How many times do you walk past plants outside of a business and reach out to touch the leaves, simply to feel their texture and marvel at their color?

How much time do you spend in your yard watching the clouds pass by? Or any of the other things we did as children to pleasantly while away the hours?

No, can't do those things now. We're adults. We're grown up. People will think we are immature and acting silly and not acting our age if we do silly things.

So sad when you think about it, isn't it? Random moments for fun run through our daily lives and we refuse to take advantage of them because of what other people might think.

Well, I do reach out to stroke the plants and still sit outside to watch the clouds and even play chase with the dogs. Pure, innocent enjoyable times. I refuse to let others take the fun out of my life. Even it is watching the world through the eyes of a four year old.

How about you?

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KATIE4KIDS 1/17/2010 3:09PM

    Lou - you're great!

You remind me a lot of my Dad. He doesn't care one bit about what others think of him. He bought a bike for my son (when my son was turning 2, so a small bike) and rode it through the store on the way to the check-out stand. When I got engaged, he asked, "Do I have to wear a monkey suit to give you away?" I said yes, but quickly reminded myself that he probably would find a monkey suit and show up to my wedding in it. I told him not to do that. Well - come rehearsal dinner...my Dad showed up in the church parking lot in a full out monkey suit on his motorcycle. (Keep in mind, he is 6'2" and it was 98 degrees outside!) LOL I just adore watching my Dad explore the world and have the best time he can.

Keep up the positive attitude, Lou! God sure did make something special in you, didn't he?

emoticon

Comment edited on: 1/17/2010 3:09:48 PM

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CARRIEANNE1027 1/14/2010 6:42PM

    Actually, that was my New Year's Resolution, to do something fun once a month. I think as adults we've allowed ourselves to become so over burdened with the responsibilities of life that all of the joy has disappeared. Well, I for one want that joy back! Maybe I'll go to the local diner and order a cheeseburger without the cheese... lol

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WALEB1002 1/14/2010 2:45PM

    Great blog!!! I know exactly what you mean. i have two boys...a 3 year old and a 7 month old,and i stay home with them, so i act silly and child-like constantly...and i love it! my 3 year old likes to sit out on the porch at night and look at the stars and see how high he can get counting them before they mix together and he has to start all over...but we love to play hide n seek in the house, wrestling on floor, make silly faces and talk in silly voices! Im much happier acting like a 3 year old, then i am adult! :)

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BUSSMOM 1/14/2010 9:38AM

  I retired from a job where I worked with children ages 0 - 12/13. One thing I learned is to enjoy every moment you can. Take it all in.

Sometimes I can be walking down the sidewalk but I am skipping in my heart with a smile on my face and people will sometimes just give me a look for smiling....others will smile back. (I am looking forward to the day that I can actually skip again, hee,hee.)

I too, stop by a beautiful tree or flower to take in it's beauty. Living in Colorado, I have been known to pull off the road just to look at the mountains when they are having a particularly beautiful day.

I like to chew bubble gum and blow bubbles. I like to smile at strangers and say hi to them....it really is interesting some of the responses or looks you can get. I don't stand still while waiting in line. If I am at a playground, you may see me swinging or sliding down the slide.

Having worked so many years with children.....thankfully.....I am still in touch with my child inside.....she likes to have fun!

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JOYATLAST 1/14/2010 8:08AM

    We've always had a house full of kids. That was easy.

Now there are none, but we still race through the house hollering "Come see this caterpillar!" We still go to the park to eat lunch. The good thing about being a grown up is that you can race a child to the swings and win. (But you also know how to take turns!!!)

I've noticed sideways glances from the adults when our antics go public. I hope we remain forever a child at heart.

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LOSTINLOVE1226 1/14/2010 7:57AM

    i am thankful i have kids, it makes it easier to color, or play on the playground or go sledding, but it does make me wonder when the merriment will end. i am such a goof off and get in tickle fights with my husband at least once a month,and playfully tease with friends regularly. maybe i am lucky, my friends are like kids we are forever stuck as 16 years old in our heads but work like adults, this weekend we are going to an indoor water facility for a little slides and water basketball. exercise and fun. good luck!

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GABY1948 1/14/2010 6:56AM

    Yep, I am right there with you, Lou. I also enjoy the clouds outside and the stars at night on a clear night AND I LOVE to color (glad to see I am not alone), it is so relaxing even though I don't have anyone that will color with me anymore.

It is always great how your blogs make us think. Thanks,
Gaye

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LAURIES_PLACE 1/13/2010 11:42PM

  Ooh, how right you are! but I still color, and even have my own color books. It is therapeutic, stress relieving to just lie on my tummy and color.

And yes, I do reach out and feel the leaves and flowers. Perhaps that is because I am a gardener, and I love plants. Maybe it is because I enjoy nature, the beautiful, wondrous gifts G-d has given us. In my family, I am always the one to notice the change in the leaves, the clouds, the temperature. It is all glorious!

On top of all that, I like it when people do not treat me like an "old lady." That "Miss Laurie" thing has got to go!!! Even if all the physical things I do at work don't help me to be seen as a person rather than "older," perhaps I should bring a color book to the break room at lunch.

How are you feeling, Lou?

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LAURIES_PLACE 1/13/2010 11:42PM

  Good grief--sorry, Lou!

Comment edited on: 1/13/2010 11:52:06 PM

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LAURIES_PLACE 1/13/2010 11:42PM

  Oops

Comment edited on: 1/13/2010 11:51:21 PM

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LAURIES_PLACE 1/13/2010 11:42PM

  Uh oh!

Comment edited on: 1/13/2010 11:47:03 PM

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PEPPERLEAH 1/13/2010 11:13PM

    It is a wonderful thing to keep the wonder and amusement of childhood alive within us! Such a sad thing that the world doesn't see it that way. Great blog, Lou.

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YATMAMA 1/13/2010 10:44PM

    Even the year before my mother died, she would get on the floor and color with my oldest, who was a toddler at the time. My brother, now in his sixties, still gets down on the floor and plays cars with his grandsons. At the family Christmas party, I spent a portion of my time at the table playing Connect Four with my great-niece, Katie, who is three. I pray we always have children in our family so we never lose the joy of playfulness. Even Jesus recognized the importance of being childlike when He admonished us to come as little children. Such wisdom from our Beloved. Thank you again for another fine blog.

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TEDYBEAR2838 1/13/2010 9:15PM

    Yup, you don't stop laughing because you grow old, you grow old, because you stop laughing!

emoticon

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FIGHT2SURVIVE 1/13/2010 8:37PM

    The innocence f children is magical. I'm glad you got to see it.
Erin

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#197: Insanity Thinking

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

There is nothing that is a more certain sign of insanity than to do the same thing over and over and expect the results to be different." Albert Einstein

* * * * *

Have you noticed how innovative young children are? A simple cardboard box becomes an invincible fortress. A sawed-off broom handle turns into a magic sword. A towel tied around the neck and spread over the shoulders allows a child to fly, even if only in his or her imagination.

But then the child becomes an adult and is afraid of being embarrassed by such innovative thinking. Except for companies that thrive on new ideas such as computer and cellphone firms, many businesses and, consequently, their employees, are stifled and taught overtly and subtly that being different is frowned upon.

We are trained to obey rules. At home, at school at work and in society in general. Often this is good, such as with laws and rules of the road.

However, doing things as they have always been done simply for the sake of continuing the status quo is stifling, restrictive and boring.

What's wrong with eating a sandwich or spaghetti for breakfast or cereal for lunch?

What's wrong with doing our circuit training in the gym in a different rotation than usual?

Nothing, except for our fear of not doing things the "right" way.

Who's to say, though, what the right way is?

Take the simple game of tic-tac-toe. Winning often seems impossible. But winning at this game is easy if you use innovative strategies such a "wild-card" where you can use your opponent's symbol to create your three-in-a-row winning pattern. So what if you have two "X"s and a "O"? Who says the game can't be played that way?

Many people play Monopoly by putting fines in the center of the board and paying it out to whomever lands on Free Parking. But, that's breaking the rules, isn't it? Makes the game more fun, though.

So, when it comes to eating and exercise and life, think like a child and don't be afraid of breaking the "rules."

Often, it's good to be innovative.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BUSSMOM 1/13/2010 5:34PM

  Lou,

You are AWESOME!

I used to work with kids and loved the way they would look at the world. Since retiring, that's what I try to do. I don't care what other people think about me as a person. I care about representing Christ in the best possible way and to take advantage of the joy He has out there for me and for others.

I subscribed to your blog and look forward to more of your inspirational thoughts.

-Maribeth

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NBLNBL 1/13/2010 3:51PM

    Lou,

Your suggestions are a great way to boost creativity. Thanks for posting!

Nancy

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LOSTINLOVE1226 1/13/2010 12:04PM

    emoticon

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LOSTINLOVE1226 1/13/2010 12:04PM

    Your so right Lou, and I often come across these issues myself. When the kids want a waffle for dinner, I am quick to say no, but when they've already got all the nutrients they need why not? Your so on about this! And i have got to get more innovative myself.

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CARRIEANNE1027 1/13/2010 10:42AM

    My mom always used to say to me when growing up, "You know? There's the right way, the wrong way, and then there's your way. I don't understand it but your way always seems to work!" Never quite understood if that was a compliment or not, but, here's to doing things differently! emoticon

Comment edited on: 1/13/2010 10:44:04 AM

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JOYATLAST 1/13/2010 2:00AM

    You are speaking to me, again. My plan is to break some rules AND lose weight doing it! My heart is soaring and this blog just confirmed the direction I am heading.

I Love It!

Thanks, Lou.

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YATMAMA 1/12/2010 11:06PM

    I need to think about this some more, Lou. Thank you for stirring my thoughts, as ever, and even when you are not feeling well. You rock, my friend.

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#196: Patience

Monday, January 11, 2010

"All great achievements require time." David Schwartz

* * * * *

Are you a patient person? Or do you want results, NOW? Are you disappointed when a week's worth of workouts and eating sensibly only results in a small weight loss and clothes that are still too tight?

Remember that it takes time. The end results do not always follow the effort we expend. Haven't you had those days or weeks where you felt you had pigged out with your eating and slacked off on your exercise and the scale went DOWN?

How to explain it? Likely an accumulation of positive effort that's finally caught up with you.

"Success consists of a series of little daily victories." Laddie Hutar

It is too bad that results do not follow lock-step in proportion to our effort, but day by day, exercise by exercise, meal by meal, success is built.

Keep the big, long-term picture in mind. Don't hope for instant success like in the scam ads when they tout "Lose 14 pounds in a week without dieting or exercise."

Sorry, it doesn't work that way. We must put forth the work, often causing sore muscles, and we must control our eating, and we must do this constantly throughout every day and then, when we least expect it, results will appear. On the scale, in looser fitting clothes, from a compliment paid by a co-worker or friend.

Patience.

As Saint Francis de Sales said, "Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself.

"Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections, but instantly start remedying them - every day begin the task anew."

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

YATMAMA 1/12/2010 8:55PM

    Weary not in well doing. In due season you will reap if you faint not. Hard words but God's promise just the same. Weariness is an enemy I've faced so far this year and I think patience is a big part of it. Thank you for that reminder.

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PEPPERLEAH 1/12/2010 1:05AM

    Patience is such an important virtue! Thanks for this great blog!

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CARRIEANNE1027 1/11/2010 8:47PM

    I've been told over and over that I have "the patience of a saint". Seems like I have patience with everyone EXCEPT myself. Guess that's something I have to work on still.. Thanks for the post!

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THEADMIRAL 1/11/2010 7:57PM

    Thank you! Another timely message that I needed!

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GABY1948 1/11/2010 7:54PM

    A simple word but so true...PATIENCE. It is basically the answer to everything. Thanks, Lou.

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