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Heart (and Mohs) Surgery- and a real life update

Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.

Which is simultaneously comforting and terrifying.

After all, we are reminded in Jeremiah that the heart is deceitful above all things, and the Lord searches and examines its depths.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what God sees when He looks at my heart.

Do I spend as much time on the inside of the cup as I do the outside?

Verse

I had Mohs surgery on my face to remove some potentially cancerous cells this past Wednesday.

MOHs surgery day one. Glamorous.

I was a wreck the week after my pre-op and as I googled the surgery.

A word to the wise- don’t google worrisome things you’re facing in life.

Seriously.

You will lose sleep.

It’s pretty much a guarantee the most extreme cases or situations will be the first to come up in the search and will ruin you.

I was a wreck because I’m a woman in my 30s. While my best years are yet to be, let’s face it, I’m not shiny faced and 20 anymore. Makeup is a necessity these days and wrinkles continue to appear out of nowhere.

And now I have to worry about basal cells so early!?

The night after my pre-op (which was over two months before the surgery!) I googled and cried and googled and cried some more.

This went on for about a week each evening.

Will, dear Will, was no help.

He’s a guy.

To him there was a problem (possible basal cells) and a solution (the removal of said cells).

Yes, he’s right, but any woman knows there’s more that meets the eye. The worry of all the new spots they’ll probably find in the coming years (a result of my stupid decision to tan during my teens). A giant scar on my face.

One of my dear friends and prayer warriors completely got it. We cried together a lot that week and prayed even more. Her prayers were completely beautiful, true, and anointed. She reminded me of my value in Christ and that He bottles my tears and works for good no matter what.

Verse

Her godly prayers strengthened me so very much and the holy spirit used them to bring such peace during the painfully long time between my pre-op and surgery.

Surgery encouragement 💗🙏

I had a of of time to think about my heart condition during the two months leading up to surgery.

There’s so much gunk and yuckiness deep in the depths.

Pride, jealousy, worry, entitlement.

Ugh.

Untitled

Not only was I going to battle surgery and a scar on the outside, but I also needed some heart surgery on the inside too.

I’d like to tell you the inside surgery has been easier than the outside surgery, but I’d be lying.

It hurts to surrender to Christ.

Not because of Him- His burden is light.

But because of my own sinful nature and desire to rule myself and pursue my own desires.

Just as the doctor stripped away a layer of the bad cells on my nose Wednesday, the Lord has begun to strip away my own internal heart cancer layer by layer.

Pride, worry, spitefulness… The list goes on and on.

I can’t hide the scar on my face, it will always be there.

Two days post surgery

I also can’t hide my hurts before the Lord, He searches the depth of my heart and sears my soul with the promise He is ever present.

Just as my doctor took care to stitch me back together, the Great Physician, my Jehovah Rapha, heals my heart. He prunes away the things that dishonor Him, and fills me with more of His goodness.

My scar will take time to heal and will leave a daily reminder of what transpired. In the same way, my heart certainly also bears the scars of a heart broken by my own sinfulness and horrid decisions, only to be stitched together and healed by a God big enough to restore even the biggest of messes.

I’m not happy I had to go through this experience, but I am thankful for the reminder of where I’ve been, where I am, and where I’m heading as I pursue Christ.

To our continued healing, inside and out. 💗

***
On a much lighter note, I’ve taken several days off to recover and have not done a single thing.

Not even kidding.

It’s been the most uneventful and lazy few days of my entire life. Will and I are surprisingly really good at being completely worthless.

I don’t think that’s a good thing…

I’ve only gone out to see my mom a couple times (my sister and Layla stopped by too!). I also went through a drive through twice, but that’s it.

I have church tomorrow and was a little apprehensive about going at first. You should have seen the awfulness of Will and I trying to appropriately bandage my face. 😂

Attempt number one
Bandage attempt #1 😂 MOHs surgery day three

Attempt number two

Attempt #2 just as awful Mohs surgery day three

😂

At this point I was having a complete meltdown. Thankfully Will went to the drawing board and engineered attempt number three, which was much improved over the previous two.

Third times a charm

I get my stitches out Wednesday and am so ready! Thankfully attempt three made me feel slightly less garish.

I’m sure Will would agree- this staycation has been incredibly dull, but it’s still been nice to be together and heal up.

So there you have it, not only a devo but also a real life update.

Thanks for listening. More to come. 💗

An Open Letter From My Future Self to My Current Self

Dear Brittny,

I’m writing this letter as a much older version of who you are today.

I have to use my imagination a bit and ask for wisdom because, let’s face it, you’re a bit of a mess sometimes. I had to weed through all your quirkiness to imagine you a good 20 years from now.

Here’s to hoping I’m spot on.

Heck, I’ll consider it good if I’m even half right with this future version of Brittny. Ha!

Joking aside, do you remember the sermon you listened to last week?

It was about time and just how fleeting it is.

Verse

I can attest, as I’m in my 50s now, just how quickly it passes.

Birthdays, Christmases, life and death. The days, weeks, and months melded together and before I knew it, I woke up and was 52 years old.

My face is wrinkled and my hands are spotted from the sun. I even bought a pair of old lady pants last week. Lord help us!

I tell you all this because, I’m 52, Brittny.

You’re 52.

I look at you today and sure wish you would ease up on yourself.

You stress far too much about things that don’t matter.

You know better, but you do it anyway.

Verse

You’re anxious over the silliest things and let them squish you into a big stress ball.

I wish you wouldn’t.

You work too hard at things that will not matter, and not enough at the things that will matter.

Yes, work is important, but as I’m 52 and seen a few things that you haven’t, I assure you that agreement you’re working can wait until tomorrow.

Take a vacation day.

Put down your phone.

Stop worrying.

Stop Facebooking.

Breathe.

Be present.

Love your husband.

Be less of a Martha and more of a Mary.

They’re both important in their own right, I know, but you worry far more over things of such little value in the grand scheme of life.

Sit at Jesus’s feet.

Let a little dust collect on the baseboards every now and then if it means more time serving Jesus and your family.

Those are things that count.

Sleep more and worry less.

You’re not too busy for friends like you think you are.

They’re worth it. Invest time in them, you won’t regret it.

Keep praying that God will give you the desires of your heart.

I know you’re at a desk job pushing paper thinking it will never amount to anything, but keep praying and keep trusting.

The days go so fast, Brittny. So very very fast.

Stop putting your head down and powering through just to make it to the end of the work day.

Look up, look around, enjoy the day I’ve given you. It’s the only day you get.

July 31, 2015 is the only July 31, 2015 you’ll ever ever have.

Remember that and live like it.

Verse

Put God first and don’t worry about the rest. People will say you’re extreme. Love them and take it as a compliment.

Don’t be afraid to sing loudly, eat cake without feeling guilty, and tell Will daily how much you care- even when he gets annoyed by your gushiness. smile

Give more money to the causes you want, and don’t be afraid to say yes or no to opportunities.

(You’ll know when to say yes, and when to say no, trust me- and trust God foremost)

I don’t want you to have any more regrets about things you wish you could do or things you should have done.

Do them.

Know God and surrender to Him daily.

Love others without fear or expecting anything in return.

Lighten up, Brittny!

That’s the biggest advice I want to give you today. Lighten up.

Your life is but a breath.

Remember how short it is, and go easy on yourself.

It’s such a gift and goes so quickly.

I sure hope this letter touches your heart today. Please take it seriously and read these words from time to time.

Trust me, the older version of yourself knows you’ll need the reminder.

There’s so much more advice I could offer (like stop wearing that ugly green shirt you like so much!), but I think this is more than enough.

Chin up, sweet girl. You turn out just fine.

Verse

Love,

A much older, more lightened up, version of yourself 💗

I’d love to hear what advice your older self would give our current self in the Share the Love comment section below. I’m sure I could use that advice too smile

Thursday Things, 30 July 2015

Tomorrow I’m going on a short road trip with my parents!

I was trying to think of the last time I went on a long car trip with just my parents.

I can’t even remember.

Before my sister maybe?

If that’s the case, I’m thinking it’s been 25 years.

Surely not!

Regardless, I’ve got my “fun bag” of magazines, books, podcasts, and music to sing aloud to (no barbies or coloring books like in the old days), so I should keep myself occupied in the backseat.

I will also try my best not to repeatedly ask, “Are we there yet?” Or continually tell them I’m hungry.

Considering I still do all those annoying things on road trips with Will, they’re in for quite a treat.

Dogs get hangry too.

And it’s a little scary.

So Teddy, our beloved, happy-go-lucky lab, has grown into quite a chunk.

Labs are often predisposed to weight gain, but our Teddy takes the cake.

Sooo, Teddy is on a doggy weight loss plan and diet food.

Sounds awful, right?

What’s hilarious, though, are the parallels between her diet and anytime I’ve dieted in my life.

Just as I bark and squak around mealtime when I haven’t eaten as much as I normally do, Teddy’s right on target at 5:30 AM and PM.

Just like I ravenously attack my dinner and feel “so totally thrilled” with salad AGAIN, Teddy also dives into her diet friendly food and immediately returns to the door to make sure I didn’t forget her real food.

As if her dinner was just a snack.

I get it, totally. A woman after my own heart.

She’s a dear, but she’s not nearly as active anymore. Just as I (occasionally) loathe intense exercise, Teddy Tutu isn’t so much into increased activity these days ether.

Our Teddy. God help us all.

Two Words: Lime Basil

Did you know that’s a thing?

Like a real life type of basil?

I had no idea.

I bought a lime basil pod for my latest aerogarden and was so surprised to find just how lime-y it is!

Lime-y in the best way possible.

My green monsters taste like fragrant citrus frozen treats.

Brace Face
Thankfully, I was blessed to have perfectly straight teeth.

My parents were very thankful, considering they had to put two sets on poor P.

Every dentist appointment they make note of my nice, straight teeth… Which I’m sure they do to flatter you, right?

Anyway, I had a checkup earlier this week and as the doctor finished his exam he said, “Have you ever thought about braces?”

I honestly looked at him like he had four heads and said, “Are you being serious?!”

Anyway, apparently I have a gap between my upper and lower teeth that could be fixed by braces “if I wanted.”

Considering I’m not entirely keen on wearing braces for a year, oh and the thousands of dollars I just so happen to have lying around for that sort of thing I kindly declined.

But remained a little self-conscious the rest of the day. 

Boomer Sooner Season
Guys, football kicks off in a month.

A month!

How is this even possible!?

I’m debating whether I’ll go to the first game. I always like to, but it is usually so dang hot and I want to die, and Will wants to die because of what a pleasure I am to be around when I want to die.

So yeah. Heat. Football. Bah.

Regardless, I’m excited it’s here!

Lets discuss mini cupcakes

Layla and my mom brought Will over a cupcake for his birthday earlier this week. So sweet! Layla also kindly picked out a teeny vanilla cupcake for her aunt Brittny to accompany Will’s treat.

It was divine.

But it got me thinking.

What are your thoughts on mini cupcakes?

I decided my opinion really depends.

It was a fantastic surprise earlier this week.

It was a tiny bite to enjoy without any guilt. I felt like I got the best of both worlds!

However, today I’m feeling a tad overwhelmed and hangry. I did a hard workout and would probably welcome a big fat cupcake if it nicely wedged itself into today’s macro count.

A mini cupcake would probably just annoy me.

So yeah. I think it probably just depends on the person...and their mood. smile

That’s all for today! Check in tomorrow! 💗

Will’s Relaxing Birthday Weekend & Look Ahead

Ant man.., and holding Will's popcorn

All smiles
Atm

Aero garden

Our first baby pepper!

Boz
Ann Voskamp

😂
Church with Layla
Church with Layla

Ant Man date with Will, At the Movies door hanging with dad, UFC fights, two big fat birthday cheat meals, workouts, church with Layla, lunch with my parents, food prep, house stuff, and relaxing.

It was a much needed relaxing weekend spent entirely with Will. Between hosting his parents last weekend and preparing to go out of town without him this weekend, I was glad to have some time to spend just with him!

Today Will celebrates 35! I can’t believe how quickly the years have passed. How is he already 35!?! I am so blessed to have been able to watch him grow into such a wise and wonderful man. I can’t believe he picked me to be his wife.

Check in this week for Thursday Things and a Friday devo.

And now? Off to tackle Monday. 

Can We Have a Grown-up Conversation?

That’s what Will asks me right before he tells me something I don’t want to hear or could hurt my feelings.

Basically? It means no pouting, putting on my big girl pants, and listening with an open mind.

Sisters in Christ, can we have a grown-up conversation today?

Before we go any further, I feel like I should clarify that I’m an evangelical Christian (as if you hadn’t gathered that by now 😂) and believe in the literal return and rule of Jesus on the earth one day.

Verse

I have become increasingly burdened for the Church, particularly in the Western world, and a sense of urgency has awakened in me.

Jesus instructed believers that He would come soon, and from his resurrection 2,000 years ago unto now, the Church has lived expectantly.

The Bible talks about scoffers in the last day mocking faith and living in complete sinfulness, unbelieving His promise to return.

Verses

But He is not slow in keeping his promises. 

I thank God for His rich mercy.

That He waited on me, that He waited on you.

But one day, the wait will be over.

He’s coming.

Whether things start to unfold five years from now or 25 years from now, I believe the Church must examine our own depravity instead of so quickly pointing out the depravity of others.

Because, from the days of the early church to us today, it’s what we’ve been commanded to do.

To examine our hearts, to test the spirits, to be about His work.

To love others.

To share the Gospel.

To anticipate the Blessed Hope.

To be crucified with Christ.

Yet, if anything, I feel instead of looking more and more to the Cross of Christ, we’re looking to it less and less.

It’s so easy to rely on ourselves, especially in America.

Self-reliance breeds more attention on ourselves, and less reliance on God.

It focuses on our own merit, and only dabbles in Jesus and the Church.

We rank ourselves as though we’re better or less sinful than others, when in reality we’re all hopeless and in need of Jesus and His saving grace.

So some of us sit on that blessed assurance and never do a single thing to share our hope with others.

Friends, faith without deeds is dead!

Verses

We’ve become less with concerned with serving others, and more concerned with how we can serve ourselves.

We’re casual and noncommittal.

We can toy a little with Jesus, and plunge deeply into our own achievements and conveniently live life on the fence.

Never committed.

Never dangerous.

Easy.

Jesus warns of lukewarm hearts.

It makes Him sick.

Verses

I’m speaking to myself too here, friends.

I share these things because it’s time we awaken our hearts to the Truth of His coming.

It’s time we stop playing church. It’s time we stop living halfheartedly and safely.

I believe we’re quickly approaching a time in which safe and half-hearted will no longer be options.

When believing in Jesus will be costly.

He told us these very things Himself.

We need to decide today, now, whether we will stand firm in Christ or shrink back.

We live in a society where there are no longer absolutes and anything goes.

Only, there are absolutes.

And although unpopular, it is imperative the Church rise up in love, and stand firm in the faith regarding Truth.

Jesus is The Way, not a way, and I believe we’ve become increasingly tolerant of false teaching worming its way into our Biblical doctrine.
Verse
Verses

The Bible warns of the love of many growing cold in the final days.

Is our love already growing cold, friends?

Verses

I pray not.

I feel we’re at a crossroads here, where Christians are about to step into a time of increased persecution throughout the world, and I pray our love burns hot for Jesus, and hot for the souls of others.

That we’re resolved and steadfast. Not in ourselves, but in His promises.

I fear we’re so focused on living our best lives now that we’ve taken our eyes off the Hope that awaits us in Christ.

If we know Jesus, our best lives are not now.

The world is fading away and everything in it.

Verses

May we refocus our affections on things above, and not on earthly things.

May we recommit our affections to the only One worthy of them.

May we open our eyes to the scriptures and read them with open and expectant hearts.

May we seek Him fully, and may we surrender fully.

May our hearts break for others.

May we choose to stand firm today, and stop living complacently.

No more half hearted commitments.

May we take up our cross and surrender, truly surrender to His call.

Regardless of whether you believe in some of the things I’m sharing, I urge each of us to examine our hearts to ensure we are in the faith and living a life dedicated to the cross of Christ.

I realize today’s a heavy post, but that’s what “grown-up conversations” are at the B-Love house.

They’re not meant to provoke, but instead invoke reflection, consideration, and action.

Let’s examine ourselves and act in love and in Truth.

Let us live expectantly for the coming of our Lord. 

Evolution Nutrition Pre-workout Review

I feel like anytime I review a fitness product for my blog, it’s always a pre-workout.

Are we pre-worked out?

Please say no, ‘cause I’m pushing full steam ahead!

I had a $50 Bodybuilding.com gift card and found a great buy one, get one deal I couldn’t pass up.

I ended up buying Evolution Nutrition’s EVL Pre-workout Engine in watermelon.

Untitled

After using the product a few weeks, here’s a rundown on what I think!

Lets start with first impressions.

The watermelon flavor smells fantastic. I opened the container and was pretty excited to give it a go. If you’ve used pre-workouts before, you know sometimes they smell and taste simultaneously good and bad.

I was hoping for all good, no bad based on the smell.

Onto the taste

The first sip is fantastic.

Then after a couple more gulps you realize, “Yep… This is a pre-workout.”

It’s not bad by any means, but it definitely has that distinguishable pre-workout taste. Nonetheless it was by far definitely among the better ones I’ve had over the years. Mix up a small glass and stick it in the fridge the night before so it gets super cold, and down it before your workout.

All the Feels

I’ve mentioned before, I like workouts that “tell” me they’re working.

I like the tingles and the increased heat I feel with a good workout.

Some people don’t like that, and still others almost never have that tingly reaction.

I like to know my pre-workout is working, so being on the tingles.

I score EVL high in this area.

Results

Some of my all time favorite pre-workouts are (and always will be) C-4 and Jack3d. I feel they’re superior on all levels (though Jack3d sometimes takes as much as 40 minutes to work which is a big downer).

One reason I like them so much is because I was physically able to measure gains while using them. Increased stamina was fantastic, but my strength was through the roof.

Anyone have a Mini Cooper you need lifted?

EVL definitely provides a high level of stamina. I could go all day, and I like that! However, I haven’t seen much strength increase while using. 

Really, pre-workouts are more for energy and focus, but many also have added creatine to help increase strength and power. This one has creatine included, but I’m not sure the ratios are quite right, at least for me.

I’m going to start a round of creatine later this year, so I’m pretty excited to see the results with that, coupled with, EVL

Watch out! 😉

All in all, I feel like I got a great deal on this product. 60 servings for $30 using my coupon, a good taste, and increased energy.

Win!

If you give it a try, let me know!

posted in Health & Fitness bullet permalink bullet 7.22.2015

The Early Birthday Celebration Weekend

Va clinic waiting game
Happy birthday!

Happy birthday!
🌱

Weekend things
Leg day
Layla's first movie

Layla's first movie
Dress up with Layla

Dress up with Layla
At the movies!

A long Friday at the VA clinic with Will’s dad, lots of chats with his parents while waiting, a healthy dinner at Jason’s Deli (have you seen their salad bar!?), followed by not so healthy but delicious ice cream cake, Layla’s first movie going experience, playtime with Layla (and my family 😄), house stuff, super sweaty workouts, food prep, church, and a very restful Sunday.

We had a wonderful weekend full of family and fun and I’m sad to have it behind me!

Check in this week for a pre-workout review and more!

I hope you had a great weekend. What did you do?

Weekend Recap

Friday truth

New crop!

This.

Cookie dough and Oreos

Topped with brownie batter and baked

Finished product

Just when things couldn't get any unhealthier, let's top with ice cream!

Boz

Sleeping beauty

Fight night

a data-flickr-embed="true" data-header="true" data-footer="true" href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/7217695@N02/19644089511/in/photostream/" title="At the movies!">At the movies!

At the movies!

Lunch with some of my favorite former coworkers (they totally get me), house stuff, workouts, lunch with my parents, ridiculously delicious and unhealthy brownies, UFC fights, and Life Church At the Movies!

It was a pretty quiet weekend, which was a nice treat.

Thankfully, although I have a long work week ahead, it’s my short week and I get to see my sister try on wedding dresses. Yippee!

Off to conquer Monday. How was your weekend?

Part Four

Need a recap? Check out part one, two, and three.

So what now? Where do we go from here?

Good question.

The truth is, I have no idea.

It drives me crazy.

It drives Will crazier.

I began to think this whole unfolding was God’s “gentle” way of bringing Will back to the ministry, but we honestly have no idea.

So we wait on the Lord and take the next step He illuminates.

Despite the unknown, God has given me peace and assurance that my waiting has a purpose

I continue to live and walk in Him day by day.

The unexpected blessings that have arrived in our bank account, the continued reminders to trust and wait on the Lord in my daily readings, and the peace that surpasses all understanding. These things give me rest.

Sometimes you just need to rest.

Rest in the Lord.

We decided Will would take the summer off so we could catch our breath.

It’s been a bumpy start to the year, and we thought it would be good to regroup.

We didn’t just want to jump right into something else without truly seeking God and figuring out the next step.

Because honestly? We still don’t know.

The world tells us we need a five year plan. That we should know exactly what comes next and have a clear cut plan for execution.

While Proverbs certainly offers wisdom regarding preparedness, we also know we walk by faith and not by sight.

Verses

We can plan until we’re blue in the face, but sometimes God has a different plan.

Verses

God is up to something and wants to work in and through us if we allow Him.

That means surrender.

A word we don’t often like to use.

Verses

Sometimes that means our five year plans of grandeur get tossed altogether.

As Christians, we live differently than everyone else because we serve a God like none other.

It’s scary sometimes.

Because we can’t see what’s next.

But we walk by faith, and not by sight.

So, instead of Will just finding any old job immediately, we just decided to wait this summer and pray for direction. 

I would be lying if I told you there were days I wasn’t frustrated, or unsure, or completely exhausted by the waiting.

I feel that way sometimes.

There are no neon signs on the road we’re walking.

No bread crumbs to lead us home.

It’s us, and it’s God.

I often remind myself of the words He spoke to my heart last summer. “Do you trust Me?”

It seems logical to want to say no. It seems logical to flail my arms and scream that we have no idea what to do next.

Yet, we trust.

The spirit in me has yielded to God, and while I don’t know what our five year plan holds, I trust.

We put one foot in front of the other and let Him guide and lead.

We know the next step, that’s it.

I am preparing to launch my women’s Bible study.

Will and I are praying about a location to hold a Bible study for men and women.

It’s the natural next step, and how the Spirit has led our hearts during this time of uncertainty. 

We’ll take the summer off, and we’ll trust Him with Will’s job hunt just like we have every other step of this process.

Despite the craziness, things have actually gotten simpler:

I exist to know Christ.

To know Him deeply. To love Him fiercely. To serve Him wholeheartedly.

This life?

It’s not about me.

Something I knew, but only lived out when it was comfortable to do so.

Five year plans are great, but life really comes down to one question- do you know Christ? Do you really know Him in the core of your whole being? What have you done with this Good News?

While I want to be able to live with some semblance of a plan as we work through this process, this experience has reminded me of my true purpose-

To know the fullness of Christ and the power of His resurrection.

I am left only to respond with my entire heart.

Anything, Lord Jesus.

Anything you want me to do, anywhere you want me to go, anything you want me to say.

Anything Lord.

This year hasn’t gone as planned, but we’re here, and we’re trusting, and we’re finally starting to get it.

We are made for You.

May it be on the forefront of our minds.

So what’s next for our family?

I don’t know.

But I know it’s not about me, and the pressure’s off in finally grasping that reality.

I appreciate your prayers as we start Will’s job hunt, as well as whatever else is in store.

Love you girls! Check in next week. 💗

The 4th of July Weekend & Look Ahead

Road tripping
Treats with friends
Layla turns three!
Celebrating Layla's birthday!
Layla turns three!

Layla turns three!
Birthday play date

😂

After party breakfast of champions.

He loves to cuddle
🎆

A jam packed Independence Day weekend! Cleaning all day Thursday (and a broken garbage disposal 😕), a trip to see Will’s parents and one of my dearest godly girlfriends, a special birthday party for a three year old (how is she three!?!), house stuff, church, workouts, and women’s soccer.

Whew!

I have a long and busy week ahead and I’m already missing the weekend. Here’s to being our best this week and powering through with grace.

Hope you had a good weekend! What did you do?

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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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