Spreading positivity one post at a time!

Ezra One: A Call Home

Ezra

Hey guys! Today we dive into Ezra chapter one.

You can read the chapter right here

So let’s discuss.

One of the things I find most exciting about this chapter is that this very moment was prophesized decades earlier.

In Jeremiah 25:12 and 29:10 we learn there would be 70 years of captivity in Babylon, but God would bring his people home again.

Guess what? It happened.

Remember Sunday school class when you learned about Daniel and the lions den, or Shadrach, Meshach, and Abendego?

Yeah- all things that happened during this 70 year period, as well as many others.

I should also mention when King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon invaded, and took the Israelites captive, God’s temple was completely plundered.

When those 70 years came to a close, like straight clockwork and in accordance with prophecy, the Israelites were free to go.

Not only that, but chapter one tells us God made great provisions for them. He didn’t send them home empty handed. King Cyrus decreed they should go home with plenty of goods.

What!?

Is this real life?

I’m not a history scholar, but I’m willing to bet there aren’t too many times in the ancient world a king happily sent off part of his workforce to go home and restore a temple to a God he didn’t worship, and decreed they should be sent with “silver and gold, supplies for the journey, livestock, as well as a voluntary offering for the Temple of God in Jerusalem.”

Pretty spectacular.

That’s our God.

Our spectacular God.

In what universe does this happen? Talk about a beautiful miracle unfolding before our eyes.

So let’s dig a little deeper.

Here are some things we can take away from today’s passage.

God does what he says he’s going to do. He’s a promise keeper and always on time.

It wasn’t the 71st year, and it wasn’t the 35th year. The Israelites could return home during the 70th year, just as God said would happen.

Sometimes it feels like we have to wait on things way too long, but The Lord is not slack in keeping his promises. He is faithful to do what he says he will do.

We may feel like we are in a situation with no hope, but know God is a rescuer for us, and will always come through.

God intervenes on our behalf.

Do you think Cyrus woke one day and simply decided to let the Israelites go?

Not likely. Verse one says God “stirred the heart of Cyrus.”

God made a way in an unlikely place with an unlikely person.

His ways are higher than ours.

Don’t be surprised if He wows you and makes a stream in a desert. Be obedient to what He asks, and he’ll make a way.

When he makes a way, he makes provisions.

God equips us with the tools we need to accomplish whatever he asks. He could have sent the Israelites home “as is,” but our God is such a good God and does more than we can ever ask.

He didn’t just set them free, he sent them home with an abundance of resources.

If God moves your heart to do something, he’s not going to leave you empty handed. He will give you the love, grace, patience, and whatever else you need to get the job done.

The Bible tells us God works in us to give us the desire and power to do what pleases Him. It’s not something we have to figure out. He equips us perfectly and abundantly.

We can be set free from captivity.

This is the biggest of all. He will free us from captivity.

I have been held captive- of my own choosing. I was a slave to sin and so far from God. Yet, when I called out to Him and turned from my waywardness, he set me free and brought me home.

He lavished his love on me and made his child.

Just like he called the Israelites home, he calls us too. Choose to turn to Him today and let him lavish you with his love and grace.

Sometimes it’s hard for me to believe all we can glean from a single chapter in the Bible!

I pray this first week brought encouragement and truth to your heart. Is there anything that spoke to you in this passage? Id love to hear it.

Thursday Things 18 Sept 14

Not a new love by any stretch (as you can see, this mug has been very, very loved), but I love my big half gallon mug.

Loving

Incase you’re wondering, yes I get asked if coffee is in there all.the.time.

I used to feel ridiculous carrying this thing around all the time. Now it’s attached to me and I don’t care. If im going somewhere, chances are the mugs going with me.

That’s just how it’s gotta be.

The cutest little football player you ever did see.

It’s, um, never that you will hear me say I want to pick up a football player and carry him in my pocket, but guyssss check out the accidental glitch the new Madden had for one of the Tennessee Titans players.

Ahh I know the word “adorable” doesn’t typically come to mind when discussing football- but seriously, isn’t this adorable?

Loving

image

The best part yet is that his size doesn’t matter for the game. He can still break tackles, make tackles, and everything in between. Sweet!

iPhone...5

Yeah, I realize everyone’s going mad for the new iPhone 6 gear, but truth is- I’m just thankful they’re recalling the battery on my 5 so I can get it replaced for free!

It’s the small things.

116 by Trip Lee

116

It’s no secret I love hip hop, but over the last year God had touched my heart about the things I listen to and watch.

The good news is that Christian music these days is actually enjoyable. Not only does it praise my God, but it’s actually uplifting and positive too.

Trust me. It’s hard to cut someone off In traffic listening to AirOne radio. smile

Anyway, if you like Lecrae, you’ll like Trip Lee, whose part of his label.

My dad’s drum set Tuesday night

Girls, my dad killed it Tuesday! While he did not win, I was so proud that he entered and tried.

Plus his set totally rocked. I also loved that everyone else were kids and my dad was the only “old guy” and totally crushed it.

For your listening pleasure...

My September Ipsy
Expect to see a review soon. I got lots of pretties!

This throwback Thursday pic

Britt-8 yrs old in polka dots

So.much.hair.  So.many.polkadots

Check in tomorrow for chapter one of our Ezra study! Woo hoo!

WIOW: Fall Football Fitness Goals!

Wiow

Alright friends, I’m gonna put it all out there today.

My diet the last few weeks has been straight up poor.

Straight.Up.Poor.

Sure I’ve had lots of daily healthy choice moments, but I’m sure you can tell I’ve also been living it up by all the recent pictures I’ve posted.

Sleepover party

From cake, to pie, to free dessert, to delicious pizza, and football food, I had to give myself a reality check last weekend.

I was so proud I had the willpower not to order cheesecake. Aaaand then they took a long time and I was super nice about it and they threw in an extra piece for my kindness. Dead.

Real life.

I think it happens to many of us.

For some, it’s the holidays, others the bitter cold hibernation months.

For me it’s fall.

Football season ushers in a whole season of junky foods and unhealthy options.

After all these years, I’ve learned to plan ahead and conquer the game. However, I got off to a slow start the last couple weeks and I’ve had to mentally grab myself by the shoulders and give myself the game winning coaches speech.

Which brings me to today.

Today I’m sharing my fall football fitness goals.

What a mouthful.

Let’s just go with it.

A few are new, but most are things I’ve always done in the past but have been slow to do this season.

Perhaps some of these will inspire you to forge your own fall fitness goals.

If anything, posting these will help me meet mine!

Without further ado, here’s my plan to stay on track this football season.

Fall Football Fitness Goals

Stay consistent with my usual 5 workouts per week, but also add in 2-3 cardio sessions of 20-30 minutes each depending on my work schedule.

I typically only do weights in the gym, so adding in some cardio will do me good and fend off football fatty food gain.

I need more cardio, and football season gives me more motivation.

Keep diet, calories, & macros in check

I always plan meals in advance, but I’m liable to snack or indulge more during football season.

I want to stay consistent withy my usual routine, placing appropriate emphasis on carbs, protein, and far. That takes more planning and intentionality during football season.

The key is planning ahead, planning for unexpected temptations, and picking and choosing.

With that said, I gotta live my life, which leads to the next goal.

Allow flex calories throughout the week.

Sooo- confession time.

While I definitely do not recommend this for everyone, I often give myself flex calories each week during various times of the year.

Again, that isn’t for everyone, but I find it’s done huge things for me mentally in trying to eat healthy full-time.

I find I binge less and eat less super indulgent cheat meals when I give myself the leeway to treat myself in tiny ways throughout the whole week versus one giant junky meal during the weekend.

Dribble

I rarely ever do big “cheat meals” once a week when I flex because I’ve found that, for me, it works better to disperse those set aside calories across a few different days during the week during seasons of indulgence.

Again- not for everyone, but it definitely helps my psyche and prevents junk food nightmares.

Whew. Sorry for the long explanation. I felt like I had to explain a little.

Perhaps I can go into greater depth in a future post.

Anyway, instead of having a greasy 900 calorie meal in one sitting, I’m instituting a predetermined amount of flex calories throughout the week to disperse at my discretion depending on what’s going on.

Whether it’s Monday night football, or college game day, giving myself a little flexibility helps keep me honest and realistic.

Plus it also allows me to enjoy my favorite football foods without overdoing it all at once.

Aaand factoring these in ahead of time also helps me to plan ahead and still achieve my calorie/macro goals.

Eat fair food and not feel guilty

During the fair, I usually bring my own food and choose one treat to enjoy rather than a smorgasbord of junk.

Same this year.

I’ll bring my own food but pick one treat and have no food guilt after.

Incorporate at least two strolls around the block each week

I realize two walks seem pathetic. I could say more, but I would be lying to both of us.

My new work schedule makes for short and busy, evenings and early mornings. I’m good just to stay on track with my usual workouts.

Two extra walks are achievable and a good bonus exercise.  The fresh fall air will be wonderful, and will give me the chance to unwind, pray, and clear my mind at the end of each day.

So there you have it, my fit friends. This was a long post!

What are your current fitness goals? Is there a certain time that’s more challenging than others? Are you interested in hearing more about my crazy diet flexing briefly mentioned above?

Let me know what you think, and here’s to both of us staying on track this fall.

It felt good to get these out and “on paper.” I feel better already. Here’s to a successful and healthy football season! 

Tuesday Things, 16 Sept 14

Last Friday I got all Laura Ingalls Wilder and made my own homemade fabric softener.

Only, unlike my Little House on the Prairie kindred spirit, I didn’t wash my clothes over a wash board,

outside,

in 100 degree heat.

But still.

Laura Ingalls over here, y’all.

Here’s a quick and easy recipe that makes 12 cups of fabric softener, and it only cost me $3.50 (!!!).

Real life.

My dad kills the drums, guys.

After two years of watching others play in a local drum-off, he finally entered the contest and I’m so excited for him! I can’t wait to watch his set, and am hoping for a win!

The Sooners are on the road this week for their first big road test.

I’m looking forward to an evening on the couch eating healthy football fare and cheering from home.

I love home games, but an away game every now and then is a treat.

I can tell autumn is just around the corner.

Not because of the cooler temps or changing leaves, but because I’m craving my pumpkin protein bars and limited time coffees.

Happening. 

Aaaand I got the first scratches on the car last week.

True story.

I was sick, and Will was sicker.

If you’re wondering, yes, I spent some time in the doghouse.

Sooo, in a complete subject change, I missed the Miss America pageant Sunday but can’t stop hearing about Miss New York’s talent act.

I fully understand the hubbub about it, but I’m not gonna lie, finding out she won with that suddenly made me want to dust off my old kazoo and give it a go.

Anything’s possible.

That’s it for today! Check in tomorrow for fall football fitness goals. smile

The Birthday, Tennessee Defeat & Look Ahead

Thanks for checking in! Today is all about last weekend, and what’s up ahead this week.

Let’s get moving!

I was off Friday, so in addition to working out and grocery shopping, I did lots of laundry and even made my own homemade fabric softener. Woo hoo!

Homemade fabric softener

My dad’s birthday was Friday, so we got to spend some time with my family.

Dad's birthday!

(and also had birthday cake smile )

Dad's birthday!

It was a homemade ice cream cake and so very good.

I know I say it all the time, but I’m thankful they live so close!

Saturday morning I hit the gym and worked legs. I also ran jogged trotted intervals on the treadmill.

I want to tell you I ran, but yeah, what I did could not be called running. smile

Saturday was all about game day!

Ah girls I can’t tell you how much I enjoy big games at OU. There’s so much energy everywhere you turn!

The weather was beautiful, which was an extra bonus. We striped the stadium (except the students, who all wore red) and came loud. The game was super fun, and the win was better.

OU-Tennessee striped stadium

Will started feeling badly during the game, so we left early.

Which means he really didn’t feel well! He hates leaving big games.

We still got home late, and slept in yesterday morning. Will was still under the weather so we did church online and he rested all day.

I managed to get my food prep done for the day, workout (including the aforementioned cardio), and a few other things around the house.

I also managed to watch some football with Will.

Another Monday starts, and we are kicking off another long week, but I have some fun things on the horizon.


Here’s a look at what’s ahead this week:

-Tuesday things (and a fabric softener recipe!)
-Fall workout goals
-Things I’m Loving Thursday
-Ezra chapter one

It’s gearing up to be a busy week, but I’m looking forward to fun things here. Off and away we go, Monday!

Check in tomorrow!

An Intro to Ezra

Ezra

Today kicks off an 11 week look at the book of Ezra!

Woo hoo!

When I felt The Lord tugging at my heart about walking through this book on the blog I thought, “Really? Ezra? Couldn’t we ease into something a little less… Ezra-y?”

For some reason, when I thought about kicking off a study, Ezra didn’t exactly come to mind.

However the more I thought about it, the more excited I got because I know this is from Him and for Him.

I expect to learn a lot over these next 11 posts, and pray you do too.

Oh, and just so you know, at this time I don’t plan on Fridays forever being weekly book studies through the Bible. I anticipate going back to the topical posts like I usually share each week.

However, for the next 11 weeks (including this one), I plan to share my heart on one chapter each Friday until the book is complete.

I’d love for you to join me!

Today is simply an introduction to Ezra. Hopefully it helps us set the stage for all that’s to come as we dig into the message.

So what’s Ezra about anyway?

As an overview, Ezra is all about the Israelites return to Jerusalem after 70 years captivity in Babylon under King Nebuchadnezzar.

This event is super exciting because it was a fulfillment of earlier prophecy, but we’ll get to that next week.

Ezra is all about the Israelites going home and restoring the temple that was destroyed when they were taken to Babylon (another fulfillment of prophecy).

It’s about new beginnings, fulfillment, obedience, and so much more.

Who wrote it?

Without getting into the weeds on the connection between the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, most scholars believe Ezra himself wrote the book.

Ezra was a Jewish priest who, like his fellow Israelites, returned to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple and restore worship. Based on Ezra 7:8, we know Ezra arrived in Jerusalem during the seventh year of King Artaxerxes I.

When was Ezra written?

We have a good idea as to when Ezra arrived in Jerusalem, but as far as when he wrote his memoiors, timespans vary. Most researchers believe Ezra was canonized in the early 430s BC.

Why Ezra?

Really, because I felt a tug in my heart.

The good news for both of us is that God’s word does not return void and we’ll definitely get something out if we trust Him.

A major theme of Ezra is that God does what he says he will do. He restored his people and worship, and we get a front row seat to see it unfold.

So hop in and let’s get moving. We have 10 more weeks to go and lots of ground to cover!

Things I’m Loving Thursday, 11 Sept 14

This shirt

Things I'm loving Thursday

Hilarious.

These healthy bowl recipes

The weekend forecast

Things I'm loving Thursday
Hello beautiful fall weather! The temperature for the OU game will be fantastic!

Surprise calls
Layla had been savvy with the iPhone since she was a baby. Now, however, she also knows how to get into P’s contacts and make calls based on the pictures stored next to the name.

I was quite surprised when Layla called me Monday. We had a deep conversation about blankies and stuffed ducks.

Real life.

Messengers by Lecrae featuring For King & Country

Things I'm loving Thursday

This throwback pic

I wish I could say this was the only time I had my eyes closed right when they took the pic

I wish I could tell you the days of getting the shot with my eyes accidentally closed were over, but, yeah…

Suave Moroccan Oil Conditioner

Things I'm loving Thursday

Im a fan of most Suave products, and this stuff is no different. I was shocked with just how soft this conditioner left my hair. A little dab will do ya, so keep that in mind!

Alrighty lovelies, that’s it for me! Anything you’re loving this week?

WIOW: Everything Works, Nothing Works Forever

Wiow

On Monday you get up, hop on the treadmill for 30 minutes with the same incline, get off, and start your day.

On Tuesday you get up, hop on the treadmill for 30 minutes with the same incline, get off, and start your day.

On Wednesday you get up, hop on the treadmill for 30 minutes with the same incline, get off, and start your day.

On Thursday… well you get the idea.

How’s that working for you?

Hopefully it’s keeping your heart healthy and has helped you meet some goals, but today I want to talk about the importance of changing it up.

That goes for whether all you do is hit the weights (ahem: guilty!), only bounce around on the elliptical, or never change up reps, sets, and intensity.

Basically- today’s post is for all of us.

It is important to keep things fresh and keep your body guessing.

Think about relationships.

If Will and I never surprised each other or occasionally threw out a humdinger, things sure get stagnant.

Same with fitness goals.

I like bodybuilder Dr. Jim Stoppani’s training motto, “Everything works, but nothing works forever”.

I find lots of truth to this statement. Basically, whatever you’re doing now may meet some goals, but for long term fitness success you gotta mix up your training techniques frequently.

Why?

I’m glad you asked!

Let’s talk the SAID concept.

SAID stands for

Specific
Adaptation
Of
Imposed
Demands

(My college health teacher would be so proud!)

Wondering what this means?

Don’t worry, I got this.

The SAID concept basically means your body will respond and adapt to whatever challenges places before it.

For example, if I were to run three miles without stopping today, I would probably want to die afterward.

Because I don’t run.

However, if I ran three miles everyday for a month straight, I’d probably be raring to go and able to go even further at the end of those 30 days.

Think about the first time you tried anything new, really. The first few times it’s really tough but eventually you become a whiz and it felt natural.

At some point, those three miles aren’t a challenge. My body is used to it and change will become static.

Make sense?

So now that we have a better idea about how our body responds, let’s talk about how to keep thing a fresh.

The good news is that changing it up that isn’t rocket science.

Sure you can do a complete exercise overhaul, but even these few small changes below will go a long way to keeping you on track to meet your goals.

Change Duration
If you hop on the elliptical and do 30 minutes everyday without fail, add an extra five minutes to your session.

Better yet, after your 30 minutes of cardio, take 15 minutes to hit some weights.

Similarly, if all your time is devoted to weights, use the last 10 minutes of your workout to intervals on the treadmill.

Just a few small 5-10 minute tweaks can help change things up and keep forward progress.

Add Intensity!
If you’re constantly doing steady state cardio and seeing zero results, add in some intensity! Consider a HIIT exercise class, a boot camp, or simply incorporating sprints into your running routine.

I’ve mentioned it here before, HIIT is incredibly beneficial in fat loss and serious calorie burn.

For weights, consider drop sets or super sets.

Increase/Decrease Reps or Weight

Depending on your goals and what you’re already doing, increasing or decreasing your rep range and adding or decreasing weight can be a simple stimulus that can help facilitate change.

If you always curl 15 pounds and can easily do 10 reps, move on up to 20 pounders and see what you can do, or keep those 15s and give 15 reps a try instead.

Our muscles have very good memories and SAID is most definitely applicable! To see change, you have to change.

Change Up the Order
If you hit the treadmill and then do weights, change it up for a month and see how it feels.

If you’re always in the weight room and never do any cardio, hit the elliptical for 20 minutes to get it knocked out before you start your squat session.

Another big and easy change is simply switching up the order you so your exercises.

If you always without fail do every single exercise in the same succession without changing, mix it up!

Reverse the order or move a few around. This one simple change can seriously help.

Personally, I used to do the same exercises and would be tired when I got to the end of my session. I would miss working out a muscle group as well as the others because I wasn’t as fresh.

Switching the order and rotating around every few weeks is a quick and easy way to real benefits without reinventing your entire program.

So there you have it! Just a few ideas to keep SAID at bay this fall. smile

Don’t be afraid to change it up and try something new!

Tuesday Things, 9 Sept 14

-I’m pretty pumped about this Saturday’s game.

We have a home and home scheduled with Tennessee, and they’ll be here this week to take on the Sooners. Should be a fun one!

Speaking of, I think know technology has made Will’s fantasy football football obsession worse.

Way worse.

When we first got together you’d have to go to your desktop computer and put in your lineup.

Then you’d watch the games broadcasted on the main networks.

And you’d only check your scores every so often. After all, you’d have to be near your desktop computer.

Now not only does he have Sunday Ticket and every app and mobile device known to man, but he can watch on his phone.

I’m dead.

I was lucky enough to get to sample Skintimate’s Mandarin Burst shave gel.
Confession- when it comes to shaving, I am usually a soap and water gal.

Don’t judge, I already know.

Sample

Anyway, I gotta say I loved getting to try this stuff out. It smells amazing and yes, as we already know, Skintimate is far better than plain old soap and water. Lesson learned.

Oh my goodness sake.

Have you seen this video of the tarantula dog that’s gone viral?

I don’t know if it’s the fact that I have dogs or that I hate spiders, but oh my goodness guys I was cackling when I watched this video. Tears were streaming down my face, and I couldn’t catch my breath.

It’s not that funny, but I just couldn’t stop laughing.

Okay guys, do you know about the Walmart Savings Catcher?

Do it.

That’s pretty much the only place I buy groceries and I’ve used it three times and already have almost $3 accumulated on a gift card.

I realize that’s peanuts, but considering I did absolutely nothing for it and shop there all the time, I figure I might as well make some money if they’re going to do the work. Win.

Speaking of gift cards, we had a gift card to the Cheesecake Factory that was set to expire last night so we placed a to-go order to use it up.

Seriously- why is that place so great?

Or so terrible?

I suppose they’re one in the same.

I got one if their lightened up salads and skipped getting dessert.

I was so proud of myself.

Only, when I went to pick it up they took a little longer than anticipated. I was super nice about it and chatted the staff up and when I got to leave they threw in an extra piece for being so nice.

I was so proud I had the willpower not to order cheesecake. Aaaand then they took a long time and I was super nice about it and they threw in an extra piece for my kindness. Dead.

Dead.

I ate the gut bombs and am going to let Will eat my non vegan cheesecake...though I might eat the chocolatey bits?

So dead.

Since we’re talking food, the Oklahoma State Fair starts this weekend.

One of the newly debuted foods is fried gummy bears.

I’m not sure I’m down? I mean, fried anything is good I suppose. However, given the choice, if I’m going to cheat on my macros, just shut up and give me a fried Snickers. smile

Check in tomorrow to talk about why we need to change up our routine

The Sleepover One & Look Ahead

Hey sweets!

How is it already Monday?!

Seriously!

This weekend flew by, and I’m beginning today wondering just where the heck it went!

Before we get to Friday night, can we please laugh at how many beverages I have handy on any given Friday!?

Drinking problem

Camel.

I think there’s literally about 100 ounces of liquid between all these cups.

Moving on…

Friday night Will’s dad came to stay with us! He and Will went to the OU-Tulsa game Saturday, so he stayed with us so they could leave out together early the next morning.

We ate dinner and talked about his days growing up in Tulsa. He has lots of good stories.

Saturday morning started early. I hit the gym while Will and his dad headed to Tulsa.

Later that morning I went to Life Church to gather together with hundreds of other women for SISTERS! It’s a yearly event where women gather together for a time of worship and teaching.

This year Amy Groeschel spoke, and I was so blessed. She had such a gentle demeanor, yet is still able to command a crowd. I love her and I love her heart!

She spoke about standing firm in this day and time. To yield to God daily, and resist the devil.

Afterward I came home and got some stuff done and then headed to P’s for a sleepover party! Woo hoo!

We had such a fun time. We didn’t so anything exciting but it was just fun hanging out and not having anywhere to be afterward.

We are pizza, watched The Wiggles, contemplated the YouTuber “Disney Collector” (who is this chick and is anyone else creeped out?), and explored bizarre beauty rituals. Real life.

Girls night

Far different than our Chicago sleepovers, but still so fun in their own right.

Oh- and we had the most delicious pie EVER for breakfast. It was like a team of grandmas got together and created the most heavenly version of every berry pie imaginable, combined it, and tripled the butter and sugar.

Best.pie.ever

Dead.

Thankfully (?) we shared the piece so I didn’t feel as terribly afterward.

I am so glad we hung out and I can’t wait until we can again!

I came home to a house full of men. Will’s dad stayed Saturday night too, and wasn’t feeling the greatest so he ended up sleeping a little longer and having breakfast with us.

He got on the road late morning and Will and I kicked off the afternoon watching football and prepping for the week ahead.

I also managed to do Insanity. I will say pie isn’t the best pre-workout fuel. smile

Another long week ahead, but thankfully I have some fun stuff coming up!


Let’s take a look at what’s coming up this week:

-Tuesday Things
-Everything Works, Nothing Works Forever
-Things I’m Loving Thursday
-An intro to Ezra

That’s all my friends! Check in tomorrow! 

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About

brittny I'm B-Love. Lover of God, my husband Will, my doggies, OU football, weight training, plyometrics, veganism (mostly!), peanut butter, and all things health related. Buckle up and get ready for my constant embarrassing moments, health and fitness tips,and my effort to rely on Christ while living life in the real world. Follow me on Feedly! Sign up for monthly emails at blove@theblovelife.com!


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