Archives for posts with tag: waiting

DSCN2239So, my son and I went to Verizon today. I usually dread it because of the wait time, but it was only a 15-minute wait tonight, so I just walked around and looked at the oh-so-upgraded phones that dwarf my little iPhone 4s (which I am a proud carrier of by the way.) Anyway, as I looked at one of the phones, it was kind of in the case catty-corner and so I tried to straighten it, to fix it….

Wrong move.

I soon saw flashing lights and heard an awful alarm sound.  Oops.  Big oops. And then I saw a man running around the store looking for the turn-off-the-alarm-key.  And then I raised my hand and smiled and said that this phone over here was the one ‘ringing’. Ha. He waved back and did not look in the least bit concerned that I was a threat to his phone or to him. (Maybe I should be offended by that, but I so was not…)

Now years ago, I would have been ultra-embarrassed and possibly mortified by setting off an alarm in the store. The running-around-man finally found the key and he smiled and said, “No worries. It happens all the time.”  And maybe, that’s part of the reason why I wasn’t embarrassed. (Well, I was a little embarrassed, but not totally mortified.)  Maybe it was partly because I have made enough mistakes  (they ‘happen all the time’) to know what are those mistakes to stress over and what are those to just laugh at myself about and move on.  We all got a good laugh (yes, at my expense), and thankfully within about 3 minutes, we moved on.

But after the fact, I did decide that I would no longer browse the phones, but would rather choose to sit with my hands to myself  and wait. I think it was a good choice, as no other alarms went off in the meantime. (That’s the beauty of making mistakes…learning from them!)  But as I was sitting there I kept thinking about the whole propensity to fix things.  Sometimes we moms get in that mode of ‘fixing’. Fixing collars, fixing hair, fixing this, fixing that, (even catty-corner phones).  Sometimes we wives do as well. Trying to fix an unwilling ‘fixee’ might turn out to be a dangerous path. Depending on who is or is not wanting to be fixed, it can really backfire. A lot. I can remember a dear mentor of mine joking (sort of)  with her husband in her strong New York accent  “You’re not my Holy Spirit…” And that’s the bottom line. There’s a readiness factor in being fixed. Sometimes pre-mature fixing only slows the process and builds resistance.

So here’s my two cents. Sometimes, it’s so not my place to fix things or people. It’s my place to observe, to see, to pray through, but to not try to wade into the waters of fixing things that aren’t mine to fix. It can create lots more chaos. Sometimes that chaos might involve damaged relationships or enablement of wrong patterns, or heeding off natural consequences that would be the best teacher.  And sometimes trying to fix things might create chaos that comes with alarms and bells and people running around crazy trying to undo the ‘fixing’.

So, my two cents says, that fixing things that I am responsible for…am all for it.  But when it comes to fixing things that other people are responsible for, well, maybe it’s best to sit back, pray, and keep my hands to myself. We all have our own paths to walk…and our own mistakes to learn from. Take it from me and my little trip to Verizon.



P.S.  There may be some of you who were concerned about Tanner’s embarrassment or mortification factor. He handled it just fine. Am thinking he’s had some practice with not being embarrassed by his mom’s blunders (although this was the first one involving flashing lights and alarms. oops…I mean it was only the second one involving alarms and lights …there was that speeding ticket…). My little blunders have helped teach my teenagers to let it roll…and Grace abounds 🙂

P.P.S. And of course, there are definite times of helping, fixing, and aiding…but one thing I always need to remember is to make sure I’m working on fixing the stuff in myself before I try to fix the same issue in someone else. Walking alongside and mutual encouragement /accountability is a lot different than “fixing”.  Like Jesus said in Matthew 7, we’ve gotta make sure we have the plank out of our own eye before we try to take a speck out of another’s. Humility can be a huge advantage when the time for fixing does arise. My two (more) cents.





Sometimes there are seasons of waiting.  Waiting when you see no signs of what you’re waiting for, but choosing to hope that it’s coming and that things are going on below the surface.

Here’s a visual for ya–This bench won’t be empty for long…and the field will be full of cleat-clad baseball players giving it all they’ve got.  But it’s still now.  Quiet. But the players are all out there…somewhere, and when the time is right, they’ll convene and practice and their friends and families will rally and shout and cheer them to victories and comfort them in defeat.  Yes, they are out there, but there’s a little more waiting, a little more orchestration of events that need to occur before it’s time….baseball season.

I’ve seen it time and time again, how we wait and wait and wonder if God is hearing our prayers…let alone answering.  But then, after a period of time, it’s as though all variables come together and series of events are interwoven to bring about the perfect scenario of answered prayer that is bigger than what we can imagine.  He’s kind of like that master mind coach working out all the details when all the spectators see is a snow-covered empty field. (We rarely see the things a coach does…Assembling a team, getting uniforms, try outs, setting up a schedule, getting coaches, refs, etc. etc. etc., but we trust that these things will get done.)   Yes, things are going on that we can’t see for sure.  Funny how we think we should see things that are just not ours to see or understand.

I love the verse that says, “For the vision awaits the appointed time, it hastens toward the end and it will not fail. Though it linger, wait for it.  It will certainly come and not delay.” Habakkuk 2:3   God knows the what and how of answered prayer.  It is ours to will to wait…to rest, to know that though all we may see is a snow-covered field, that in time, the snow will melt, the people will convene and what God ordains best will happen.  Just a few rambling thoughts on the season of waiting for this weekly photo challenge.

silent sunday 6


Birds Waiting for spring

When I was a little girl I knew the names of all of the birds in the backyard.  Not just birds.  Trees as well.  And fish in the nearby ponds and rivers.  You see,  my Dad is a teacher at heart.  We spent a lot of time outside and there were always a lot of teachable moments that he took advantage of.  I’m thankful for that.

I’m not sure whether it was my Dad or my mom, or both or neither, but as a child, when I saw a robin in the winter, it was said to be a sign of Spring.  So when I saw this robin perched on the branch with it’s little head facing toward the sun, all I could think of was that this little guy looked like it was waiting for Spring.  (Me, too!)

And that brings me to the topic of ……………………….waiting. It’s not an easy topic at all.  I learned that firsthand today as I tried to get some photos of birds. You see, birds can be a bit camera shy for sure.  Especially chickadees.  And the chickadee was the one that I thought was so cute so I really wanted to get a few shots of these little creatures that flit all about.  So, I’d wait.  And wait some more.  And then, there would come a little chickadee landing right at a spot for a great photograph, almost posing, for Heaven’s sake, but by the time I’d find the little guy in the lens and then focus, he’d flit off in the wild blue yonder.  And I’d wait some more.

Well, after a lot of those unsuccessful moments of trying to capture a photo of some birds, I learned something. If I’d anticipate where the birds were landing (all near the birdseed of course), and focus my camera on that area and wait for the birds to fly on into my range of vision instead of trying to point the camera all over creation as it came in, well, I was a lot more successful.

birds dinnertime

And I started to think about waiting, and how we can make things so much harder on ourselves in the waiting.  There’s a verse that says, “Those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint…” (Isaiah 40:31)   T

Life is full of lots of waiting. Sometimes we can be like the chickadee flitting around trying to busy ourselves to fill the time until whatever we’re waiting for finally shows up.  Or, we can be like the blue jay that bulldozes it’s way and takes over the situation and tries to control what it can’t control.  Meanwhile, all the rest of the little birds have made sure to steer clear of this disruptive fellow. 

birds little chickadee

Or, we can be like the bird that pouts a bit and lets everyone know that he indeed is waiting and how incredibly difficult it is.  We can complain with the waiting. And complain and complain and grumble some more.

Birds who's looking at you

Or we can be proud and pretend.  We can pretend that we aren’t waiting and we don’t have a care in the world.  We are just fine and no we are fully in control of ourselves and our surroundings thank you very much.  Proud Bubble. About to pop when the waiting goes a little bit too long…

birds wren 2

Or we can take it to a whole other level and just not be satisfied with anything or anybody until the waiting is over.  We can challenge people to get things going or ….or …..or we don’t know what we’ll do, but it’s so not going to be good!  (The cardinal’s face says it all!)

birds cardinal 6

Or, we can learn to focus on the tasks at hand.  Not looking to and fro, trying to make things happen quicker.  I’m all for hard work, but right now, the waiting I’m referring to has to do with waiting for things that are out of our control, not in our control.  We can be resolved to enjoy the moment.  Do the task at hand and notice our surroundings and the ones who are around us.  Be all in where we are rather than focusing on the next thing.  Funny how it’s easy to always be looking forward to the next thing in a way that makes us not even enjoy the moment we’re in.  I don’t want to look back and think on missed opportunities because I was always focused on the next thing.

birds portrait

This photo sums up for me the waiting process that I think is pleasing to God.  No matter how busy we are, if we can find that place of solitude of knowing that God has it all in control and we can trust Him, the waiting looks a lot different.  It’s the “Be still and know that I am God” kind of waiting demeanor.  Not like the bulldozing blue jay, or flitting about chickadee, or confrontative cardinal.  It’s  the ‘I’m going to fly on wings of eagles’ kind of waiting.  Because why?

birds be still and know

Because….I know who holds me in the shadow of His wings. Right before the verse that says, “those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength….”, the verses say, “Do you not know?  Have you not heard?The Lord is the Everlasting God, the Creator of the Ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom.”  (Isaiah 40:28)

In those times in my life when I’ve been able to be still like the above bird, rather than being the cardinal or blue jay, or chickadee, there’s been a resolve of knowing a few things.  God is in control.  I am not. ( I mean, there are just some things …a lot of them…that are not in our hands!)  And last, God is good.  Put them all together, and it’s just trust.  Trust.  Trusting God and His perfect timing can make the waiting for the answered prayers and relational breakthroughs and desire for direction a joy rather than a wrenching of the heart and a wringing of the hands.  God’s got this…

Oh, and I hope I can get a memo out to my little (metaphorical) bird friends. His eye isn’t just on the sparrow….  He’s non discriminatory when it comes to caring for “birds” of any feathers.  Confrontative Cardinals.  Flitting Chickadees, Bull dozing blue jays.  He knows us well and He loves us well.   He gives.  It is ours but to receive.

Matthew 6:25 says, “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”

Take heart, little cardinal.  His eye is on you, too.


angles hospital


In looking back over some of my favorite “angular” shots, I realized that some of my favorite photos in this category were taken during hospital stays.  There are lots of clean fine lines, straight edges, squares and rectangles and neatly designed orderly boxes.  Maybe the order and fine lines of the surroundings grant a little comfort for those who find themselves at crisis points in their lives when things are anything but orderly and planned out.  I know there are some positive hospital stays,…like having a baby, or going through a planned surgery for one’s health and betterment.  But, often times, these straight, tall, well-planned hospitals  are full of people whose lives have been turned upside down by an incident, a tragedy, an illness that blindsided them and makes their lives feel anything but ordered.

Here are a few of my favorite shots for the weekly photo challenge of angles…

angles clock


The Clock on the Wall

slowly tick, tick, ticks as the shadows gradually inch across the wall.

ticks of the clock, shadows and light…..quietly remind that things are always changing

even when it feels like it stands still within the hospital walls.



Sights and Sounds

If there were audio to this photo, you’d hear the loud rhythmic sounds of

the propellers of a helicopter rushing in for a landing on the roof…

the same roof where my son had landed a few days prior to this photo being taken.



Morning…or is it?

Days and nights get a little confused sometimes

But one thing is certain.

A warm soft blanket, some sunshine, and a little rest

sure are good medicine for those who are doing their best to care

for their loved ones in the hospital bed.


…the sun rises still.

After a long restless night of beeping machines, nurses rushing in, endless pleading prayers,

this sight felt like rays of Hope streaming into the room that  morning.



I know the photo challenge is “angular”, so I’m stretching it a bit….

but these next photos are taken from “angles”, or points of view.

this was the mom’s eye view

after all of the wires and pumps and IVs and gadgets were slowly taken away

there was just a 13 year old boy

resting, rejuvenating, recuperating.



and here’s that 13 year old boy

and a view of his view

up on the roof of the hospital

gaining strength,

gaining perspective,

branching out of the four walls of his room.

I’m thankful we’ve had very few hospital stays and visits.  I’m also strangely thankful for the time spent there.  Sure makes me appreciate the days outside of the walls of the hospital, and all that those who are within the walls go through on a daily, monthly, etc. basis.


The Lesson of the Shamrocks continues for me. Awhile back, I blogged about these precious plants that my grandmother had given to me years ago. To make a long story short, I thought they had died, and was so very thankful to realize that they hadn’t died. When they emerged from the soil, they were healthier, fuller, and more beautiful than ever.

Well, that was then. A few weeks ago, we had a new saga with the Shamrocks. The story included a 14 year old boy with a dog on a leash. They were on the deck and the boy (who will remain nameless to protect the not so innocent) gets distracted and wants to go inside, attaches leash to table with pot of shamrocks on it. Dog tries to run to follow boy inside, and moves the table quickly which results in the ceramic pot of shamrocks flying through the air only to land with a loud crash on the cement deck. Voila, soil and shamrocks spilled out in a mix of broken pottery and bulbs.

The mom (me) comes out and sees the whole deal and recognizes the fact that often 14 year old boys do not totally engage the brain and gives him grace and a free pass on this one. But the shamrocks are all over the place. And even though it’s just a plant, it again brings up the sense of nostalgia and loss for the grandmother who had given me these shamrocks so many years ago.

I don’t cry over spilled milk or dropped pots. I’ve so learned by experience that gets you nowhere. So,I gathered up the bulbs, and proceeded to plant them in not one, but three pots. Now, only a few short weeks later, the bulbs are quickly blooming and filling the pots, and I’ll have more shamrocks to share, and more to enjoy. The pots that were mostly dirt with scattered shamrocks are now filling in with beautiful blooms of deep purple. Instead of being cramped into one pot, the beauty is being multiplied.

So here’s the thing. I was so enjoying the fullness of those shamrocks that they probably would’ve stayed in the same pot for years unless they had been disrupted. Sometimes the very things that we see as disruptions in our lives end up being the opportunities for growth. Sometimes we miss out because we like the status quo more than the unfinished product that takes time, patience, and process to come to fruition. We’d rather have the seemingly behaved child who is momentarily pacified than go through the painstaking process of training that brings up conflict for a moment, but peace for the long haul.Or we’d rather have a diet that takes the momentary disciplines away, but breeds only short term results.

I don’t like looking at a pot of straggly plants as much as I do a full pot of shamrocks. But good things take time. They just do. And often the “quick fix” is just a temporary short cut that breeds mediocre results. Sometimes the inconvenient ugliness of process leads to beauty that far exceeds the quick result. Just some more ramblings that I need to take to heart. Discipline and growth often walk hand in hand, and vision allows both to flourish. But the road to results is full of imperfect, unlocked potential that is not yet visible to the human eye. Vision that motivates and inspires is not the kind that is seen with the eyes, but felt with the heart, and formed in the crucible of will, determination and patience.

It’s the kind of vision that God must have with us. I’m so thankful He is willing to take time with this “unfinished, at times broken product”, and patiently draw me near and grow me up as His child. He sees us where we are, but encourages, refines, sculpts, and disciplines us to move to where and who we were created to be. We may feel like a broken pot, spilled all over the ground, but God sees the potential, the beauty in the midst. It is but ours to surrender to the process…and bloom.

Philippians 1:6 “Being confident of this…He who began a good work in you will be faithful to bring it to completion…”

Shamrocks bloom in sun

Over a decade ago, I was given a precious gift from my “Grannie”. She was always sending fun little care packages. It started when I was in college, and continued even after I became a mom until the year before she passed away. The packages were always such a bright spot in my day, and the gifts were always simple reminders of the beauty that she was thinking of me, and wanted to tangibly let me know it! Macadamia nuts were one of my favorites that she would send. Oh, and holiday napkins. She sent fun things that I most likely wouldn’t buy on my own. Things that were a splurge, but would be used as well.Her care packages were always such a treat!

One March, I received a gift of Shamrocks from Grannie. She celebrated all holidays with enthusiasm, but seemed to especially enjoy St. Patrick’s Day. She had actually sent me Shamrocks before, but this time, they were of the deep purple variety. They were beautiful, just beautiful. Through the years, I have repotted these shamrocks, planted them outside, and shared them with friends and family. My grandmother passed away years ago, but the shamrocks have so flourished through the years. Just the sight of them has been an encouragement.

About six weeks ago, I went to the deck and was watering my plants. When I came to the Shamrocks, the plants looked pathetic. They were drying out. I watered them. Later that week, the pot was merely a pot of soil. The beautiful Shamrocks were gone.

Now, I know enough about plants to know that they go through periods of dormancy. Sometimes,like us, they just need a break. Bulbs need to lay dormant for awhile and rest, and take in the nutrients of the soil. They go unseen, buried deep in the soil. Even though I knew that these bulbs were most likely just in that period, part of me just really worried that somehow, these precious Shamrocks that my grandmother had given me nearly 15 years ago, would not return. Maybe this time, they just wouldn’t bounce back. I felt a sense of loss over more than the plant, for they were such a reminder of a great lady and the wonderful encouragement that her words, actions, and life gave to me.

Well, weeks went by, and there were no signs of growth. There was nothing I could do to make the process go any faster. It was just about waiting. I watered them, left them in the sun. And waited.

But…one day, a tiny shamrock broke through the soil. And then there was another, and another. And now, the plant is full and more beautiful than it has been in years! The leaves are large and deep purple. The white flowers are also larger than I ever remember them being. It is beautiful and fills the entire pot that only a few weeks ago seemed a barren pot of soil.

So here’s the thing. Waiting is tough. It can be really tough because no matter how much we know, there are always the unknowns. No matter how much we can control, there are always things that we can’t. I can water and put the plants in the sun, but I can’t control much more than that. I can fertilize the plant and ‘Google’ info and read up on all the procedures of growing plants, but bottom line, I can’t make a bulb start to sprout. The potential growth in a bulb, the ‘magic’ of something growing, that’s outside of my domain of control.

The beauty of the Shamrock story? That even when it appeared that nothing was happening, lots was going on! Beyond my scope of vision, deep in the soil, those bulbs were resting, taking in what they needed, and then slowly reaching toward the surface of the soil. If I had tried to dig them up during that time, I would have merely slowed the process. Things take time. I don’t want to hinder that process because of my doubts and insecurities. I want to wait with confidence knowing that God’s timing is perfect. I need to do what I can to control what I can, and leave the rest with God.

Some things are easier to wait for than others. Waiting in line at the store or in traffic on the highway is one thing. Waiting for a loved one’s medical prognosis, a financial reprieve, or a family member struggles to ease up are a whole different story. We come face to face with the fact that there are things we just can’t control. That’s when those disciplines of prayer and patience get real. But overall, knowing that there’s grace for the moment can make all the difference in the world. Grace not for the week, not for the day, but for this moment, right here, right now. It’s like spiritual manna…we don’t need to store up bread for the week when we’re given our daily portion. We can’t store up grace for the future…but we can tap in to God’s grace to live, thrive, and trust in this minute.

And maybe, as we focus on the “now” and live in this minute, we’ll be like those bulbs, in the dark, resting. We’ll be taking in what we need during the waiting, rejuvenated and prepared for what’s to come. And in due time, we’ll break the surface of the dark soil, and see the growth that resulted from the dormant period, (which really wasn’t so “dormant” after all!) We’ll break free from the darkness of the earth and bask in the light of seeing the results that were once unseen. God has a way of creating beautiful results from not such beautiful circumstances! It’s all about what we do with them in the process, in the waiting. And then, like my beautiful pot of Shamrocks, we might just be a display more beautiful than ever before.

P.S. A note on those shamrocks. We now rent out the house where I had once planted the shamrocks. Most of my perennials have died. But recently I went to the house because our renters had moved out. The home had not been well cared for nor the yard. Weeds had overtaken the flower beds. But when I looked closely, the only remnant of my garden was….2 tiny purple shamrocks in a sea of green weeds. They had survived there as well! Seeing these two shamrocks encouraged me so much. There were only two of them, but I’ll do what I can to see them flourishing again! Who knows, maybe there are some shamrocks just under the surface of the soil waiting to break through.

“For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.” Habakkuk 2:3

feet stuck in mud

I know he feels like he’s stuck.

And honestly, he is.

There are No apparent options, only consequences of his actions, his choices. And the walls feel like they are closing in on him. And the mire of his existence seems to be getting deeper, and thicker like mud that is slowly hardening to cement.
And then, he will be stuck forever. That is the fear that is fast becoming the reality.

I am on the outside looking in, crying out that there is hope. There is a way to become unstuck.

I throw him a lifeline, and he refuses it. When he finally reaches for it, those who are designated to help are swallowed up in rules. The bureaucracy of this world majors on minutiae and turns him away. THEY TURN HIM AWAY. This young man then drops the lifeline that he had, finally, after years of sinking, reached for.

I search for other modes of loosening the fast-hardening cement, but find no answers. I despair and feel stuck with him.

I cry out to the God of Psalm 40, the God who rescues from the pit. And I wait.

We are waiting. Stuck, not knowing whether to move to the left or the right, for like quicksand, the earth seems to swallow us up deeper with each wrong choice made. Fear of making a wrong move brings on a paralysis of body, mind, and spirit.

Psalm 40 is my only solace along with the unwavering belief that this is not the end of the story. That the God of Psalm 40 will somehow show up and show us a way through and out.

He is the lifter of my head. He is my comfort. He is the One who can Deliver from the depths of despair.

But I know that there are some steps that this 21 year old must make alone, for parts of this process are for a journey of one. And the liquid poison which he turns to for solace in his despair only intensifies his cloudiness of mind and drains him of his will and ability to fight.

Praying that this man whose name means “God is my salvation” will do as the Psalmist does in the beginning of the Psalm and cry out to God, and that God will not delay. And that as I painfully watch the process, I will know when to speak and when to be silent, when to act with swift resolution and when to be still. I refuse to believe that he will be stuck forever. I absolutely refuse. I refuse and I fill my heart with the Truth that has been passed down through the ages. It is a prayer that so many have cried out for deliverance to the God who will deliver. And now, they are free.

With every ounce of my being I will cry out and seek a way out, and remind him that he is worth fighting for. That he is not abandoned, and that he must dig deep to fight. Praying that he will find the will to fight and the hope to see that there is a way out, for his life indeed is a gift. It is an amazing gift worth fighting for. His life was an incredible gift to me, an incredible life-changing gift.

I am his mother.

So here’s the thing. Being stuck cannot be the end of the story. It just cannot. For he was made to live and breathe and contribute. And I will cry out on his behalf until I see him free and on Solid Ground. I will pray that he find the will to cry out and believe that one day, like the Psalmist, my son will say  with passion and conviction…

“1 I waited patiently for the Lord;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
3 He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear the Lord
and put their trust in him.
4 Blessed is the one
who trusts in the Lord,
who does not look to the proud,
to those who turn aside to false gods.
5 Many, Lord my God,
are the wonders you have done,
the things you planned for us.
None can compare with you;
were I to speak and tell of your deeds,
they would be too many to declare.
6 Sacrifice and offering you did not desire—
but my ears you have opened
burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not require.
7 Then I said, “Here I am, I have come—
it is written about me in the scroll.
8 I desire to do your will, my God;
your law is within my heart.”
9 I proclaim your saving acts in the great assembly;
I do not seal my lips, Lord,
as you know.
10 I do not hide your righteousness in my heart;
I speak of your faithfulness and your saving help.
I do not conceal your love and your faithfulness
from the great assembly.
11 Do not withhold your mercy from me, Lord;
may your love and faithfulness always protect me.
12 For troubles without number surround me;
my sins have overtaken me, and I cannot see.
They are more than the hairs of my head,
and my heart fails within me.
13 Be pleased to save me, Lord;
come quickly, Lord, to help me.
14 May all who want to take my life
be put to shame and confusion;
may all who desire my ruin
be turned back in disgrace.
15 May those who say to me, “Aha! Aha!”
be appalled at their own shame.
16 But may all who seek you
rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who long for your saving help always say,
“The Lord is great!”
17 But as for me, I am poor and needy;
may the Lord think of me.
You are my help and my deliverer;
you are my God, do not delay.”

Psalm 40, New International Version

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