GrowingForChrist

Faith, Family, Love and Reviews

Merry Christmas! #grow4christ


 

May you have a wonderful Christmas and remember the reason for this season.  Merry Christmas from my family and I.

(c) 2013, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

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Blogging Through the Alphabet: L is for…… #grow4christ #abcblogging


L is for Love.

The past few weeks have really put into perspective what love is……love doesn’t come easy to me – I’m not a romantic person, I don’t need flowers or candlelight or music I’m not wired that way.  Give me a few hours with a good book…….now that’s romance!

I’m not talking about romance though…..

I’m talking about the love that means you hold back the tears so that you appear to be holding things together….

I’ve watched my oldest daughter go through a major surgery.  My children and I have visited my husband as he’s spent many a day in the hospital.

Love means not complaining.  Oh believe me I’ve wanted to and I probably have – it’s been stressful with him there, us here, preparing for Christmas, my tooth acting up and of course having to hold down things at home.

Love means to be graceful and meek – so instead of spouting off what I really think when the nurses neglect to tell my husband he’s supposed to be fasting, allowing him to eat two meals, and then postponing a test – I keep quiet.

As our anniversary fast approaches – 13 years on 1-1-14 – it makes me take stock of what is love.  That newlywed love doesn’t last, in some ways, yes but your love grows and matures and goes through upheavals – it’s the love that is strong and not based solely on emotions or feelings that last – it’s the love that is solid, mature, and flexible that lasts.

I don’t mean flexible in that you move on to the next person but flexible that your love can withstand the winds that blow, whether soft, gentle spring breezes or the hard, cold, destructive winter winds.  In sickness and health, truly means in sickness and health – it could be a brief cold or it could be an extended health issue like my husband – if your love is built solely on fun, emotions and feelings versus a strong, mature and love that only God can give then your love is fleeting.

Love that stays means you can stay strong in sickness and enjoy times of health.  Love that is strong means you don’t run away at the first argument but you stay and pray through it.  If you look at the love of the Lord – He doesn’t turn us away at the first sin, He doesn’t run when we are ill, He doesn’t turn His back when our faith lags and we ask “why?”.  If our love is like the Lord’s it is strong, it grows better with time and can take on even the worst storm.

So love, what’s yours look like?
Blogging Through the Alphabet

(c) 2013, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

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Snow fun like snow fun! #grow4christ


Snow fun like snow fun - @GrowingForChrist

Our snow is gone – well almost – it’s getting into the 50’s and so the snow is quickly melting along with rain, it feels more like Easter than Christmas.  But last week was a different story – we got around 6 inches of snow and I let my rules of not having snow pants, boots and the whole nine yards go out the door and sent the children our to play.  Of course the temps were quite cold so they couldn’t stay out long but it was long enough to burn off some of that pent up energy.

Christian making snow balls to throw at his sisters.

The girls throwing snow at each other.

We also had some fake snow fun at a children’s museum – they got to pretend ice fish, go down a snow slide and feed ‘reindeer’ as well as other fun activities.  My mom and I played a large sized game of checkers which my oldest grew bored with since it took so long to finish it (I won!).

 

Bethanne and Christian going down the fake snow slide, the museum calls it the ‘yule slide’.

 

Ice fishing.

The last few weeks have been a blur so it’s been nice giving the children some fun stuff to do – and now with 5 days before Christmas the excitement is building as is the anticipation of what the next few days are going to hold.

(c) 2013, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

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Nailritz Review: Neon Nail Art kit @nailritz #grow4christ #giveaway


NailRitz Review of neon nail art pens @GrowingForChrist

Normally I don’t like nail polish or any sort of nail art because it’s not good to have around children because of the chemicals and the smell but I’m going to introduce you today to a product called NailRitz that makes a line of nail art pens that come in various kits like the French, Princess, Matte, Neon (which is what I received), and others.  Each kits comes with 10 fashion colors that has it’s own brush and micro-tip pen, 5 connector rings, 1 design booklet/instructions and cleaning tool.  The only exception to this is the French kit which has 4 colors and 2 twist and join rings.  If you want to see the nail art pens in action before buying check out the NailRitz YouTube channel!

As I said above usually I can’t stand nail polish, but I must stress that NailRitz is called earth friendly as it has no phthalate (DBP), formaldehyde, or toluene – the pens/polish are 100% free of these three chemicals.  With that said there is still an odor – it’s not as strong or overpowering as other polishes, but unlike other polishes I didn’t not get congested or get a migraine after using the pens.  (I must stress that I am not making any medical claims, only giving my experience with the product, your experience may or may not be the same as mine)  Our neon kit came with the following colors: orange crush, lemon, sunkist, fushia, violet femmes, lime, hot pink, purplicious, outer limits blue and glow in the dark.  The colors were actually perfect for my anti-pink daughter and my very girly daughter as well as me – they are not as 80’s neon colored as I was originally thinking.  The neon kit sells for $29.95 which compared to what I’ve paid in the past for salon nails this is a bargain price plus you don’t have to be surrounded by chemicals.

NailRitz nail art pens review @GrowingForChrist

I kindly allowed my oldest to design my nails, which was fun but led to some fighting in who got to design my nails and what went on them.  We started by reading over the enclosed booklet which gives some ideas on designs and the steps to follow.  Prepare your nails and make sure they are clean, shake bottle and put your base coat on if so desired and let it dry then add your details with the pen.  Easy!  The bottles are squeezeable so that applying details with the pen is easy to use and control – just don’t squeeze it too hard or you might have to start over.  You can find more about NailRitz as well as more ideas for your nails by visiting their Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter social media outlets, and the YouTube channel above.

So I let my oldest look around on Pinterest to find a style she wanted to try on me and she found several but I really wanted something a bit Christmas like so we settled on the Christmas light style – mine don’t look quite like the one in the picture but I thought she did a wonderful job on mine.  One thing I noticed is it seems to take a longer time to dry than other polishes, which it’s hard to just sit still and let it dry when you’re a busy mom of three but once it’s dry it’s hard and stays on well even through hand-washing dishes!  So while it takes longer to dry once it is dry it’s on there like glue, so another positive aspect as compared to other polishes.

My Christmas light nails – we used glow in the dark as a base, neon green for the cord and different colors for the ‘bulbs’

One of the best things about this review is I get to offer you a chance to win two nail art kits!  You must be 18 years of age or older and a resident of the United States.  Click on the Rafflecopter link: a Rafflecopter giveaway
or visit my Facebook page and click on the Giveaway Tab (you must like my page first to see the Rafflecopter Form, not sponsored by Facebook)

(c) 2013, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

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New Leaf Publishing: The New Answers Book 4 edited by Ken Ham (review) #grow4christ


Review of The New Answers Book 4 edited by Ken Ham @GrowingForChrist About the Book:

The Answers series has been a powerful tool in equipping believers to share and defend their faith. Now the newest book in this landmark series takes on hot button topics like climate change, ancient man, and many more. Too many people have walked away from their faith because they sought answers for what seemed a contradiction in Christian belief and scientific teaching. For those who desire a deeper walk and a thriving faith in the face of a growing cultural adversity, now find the answers to questions you have or others may use to genetic engineering, this powerful team of apologists is able to inspire you and those you know who may not yet believe.

You may purchase your copy at Master Books, a division of New Leaf Publishing Group for $14.95

Find out more about Ken Ham by visiting Master Books – you can also find his website, Answers in Genesis.

My Opinion:

“….but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.” I Peter 3:15 ESV

Sometimes it’s hard to come up with answers to the questions that my children ask me – I can say “go read your Bible” or “God says so” but often times that isn’t enough and it’s not enough of an answer to really get to the heart of the matter and give them the meat they so need and deserve.  So when I got the chance to receive The New Answers Book 4 that is edited by Ken Ham I knew I’d be able to read through and delve into some questions and their Biblical answers.  There are many contributors to this book such as Don Landis, Bodie Hodge, Dr. Tommy Mitchell, Dr. Benjamin Shaw and many, many more knowledgeable people.  Like the verse I quoted above there comes a time when Christians will be called to give a defense for our hope (our Faith) and sometimes, no matter how much we read the Bible, pray and seek godly counsel we still have no idea how to answer those who question us.

Due to that I’m so thankful that there are men and women who take the time to write thoughtful and Biblical answers to the questions that are posed to us such as was Noah’s ark really made of wood, or were cavemen as they are perceived, should there be a war between science and faith, are GMO’s wrong and more.  You might surprised by some of the answers that come from years of research as well as Scriptural basis – yes science and the Bible do align!  Some of the questions are bigger than those my children have asked, but are great for myself or my husband who have friends and family who believe differently than us and we need to give a defense without getting bent out of shape.

I recommend this book for Christians, who like me, have been asked why don’t I believe in the gap theory or the big bang or why I believe that there were dinosaurs on the Ark and that there was no death prior to Adam and Eve.  There were a couple chapters that even this college educated, home school mom found challenging because of the technicalities involved such as how big is the universe, but the other chapters and their questions were well done that most lay people can easily understand it but also those who have engineering type of minds will get a lot from reading it.  If you desire to learn more about what the Bible AND science has to say about issues in Christianity then this book will be of a huge benefit to keep on your bookshelf – as long as you read it!

disclosure for @GrowingForChrist

(c) 2013, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

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New Leaf Publishing: IndoctriNation: Public Schools and the Decline of Christianity (review) #grow4christ


About the BIndoctriNation review @GrowingForChristook:

Look behind the comfortable myths of an educational system actively at work to alter your child’s moral values, worldview, and religious beliefs. Learn the history and philosophy of public school education — and discover it is based on neither Christian nor American values. Explore the biblical principles regarding education — and who is ultimately responsible for our children’s future.

You can purchase the book at New Leaf Publishing (Master Books) site for $14.99 and the corresponding movie.

 

IndoctriNation Trailer from indoctrination on Vimeo.

My Opinion:

I have not had the chance to see the movie which this book is based on but I knew when I had the ability to receive this book and review it I had to take it and I’m so glad I did.  Yes, I’m already a homeschool parent and that decision was made months before our first child was even to be born – it was first from a desire that our child not be involved in what my husband and I encountered in our school years, then it evolved into a conviction that we are to be the ones teaching and training our children, not just in math, reading and writing but in the truths of the Lord.  Our children, and other Christian children cannot get good Christian education in our current public schools and even in some private schools today.

We as parents won’t send our children to a store that we knew actively promoted false gods, paganism, humanism and Marxism – so why would we send them to schools to literally have these ideas put into their brains for 8+ hours a day?  I know, I know, your child’s school isn’t like that, your child has Christian teachers, then I urge you to get this book and start reading with chapter 21 by Israel Wayne titled, “The Dog Ate My Lesson Plans:  Common Excuses to Keep from Homeschooling”.  I’m sure some children do come out of schools with their faith intact but the majority of students who come from Christian homes will leave high school with a tattered and waning faith and if they haven’t already, will also be leaving our churches.  I can speak from experience.  I was that child and I became that adult.

IndoctriNation gives the reader some hard facts – some that many parents would like to ignore or say, “that won’t be my child” – but in all honesty Christian teachers cannot share their faith – it’s forbidden by law.  Teachers are forbidden from disciplining children or even from handing out grades that students achieve whether they be A’s or F’s because of parental outcry.  I know there are some good teachers stuck in the schools, I know there are Christian teachers in the schools – but that does not mean we can ignore the fact that God gave us our children and He told us we are to be the ones teaching them!  I enjoyed reading the factual and straight forward resignation letters from two teachers and the moving introduction from a dad whose son was killed in the Columbine shooting.

Please, if you are thinking of putting your child in an institutional school setting, whether it be private or public, please get a copy of IndoctriNation – read it alongside your Bible, with your spouse, and with much prayer and see where the Lord leads you.  The books also gives ideas on what parents can do to protect their children from the indoctrination that is infiltrating the schools, from evolutionary thought, to sex ed, to the thought that Christianity is old fashioned and has no place in the ‘real’ world.  This is a must have book that is worth the time it takes to read it if you are a parent or even a concerned Grandparent.

(c) 2013, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

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Blogging Through the Alphabet: K is for Keeper #grow4christ #abcblogging


Blogging Through the Alphabet; K is for Keeper @GrowingForChrist

I’ve been subscribing to a magazine called Keepers At Home for a long while, years…..I’ve even had the pleasure of meeting the people who run the magazine.  I wasn’t quite sure what to write about for K because it’s been a whirlwind 3 weeks with my husband having had 3 hospitals stays.  While he’s been in the hospital I’ve been holding down the fort at home – it’s proved challenging and also I’ve come to realize how much I rely on my husband at home, especially at night when I hear EVERYTHING that goes bump in the night!

Titus 2:5 in the KJV says “To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.”  while the ESV says “to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God be not reviled.”

They both say pretty much the same thing just in different words – but I have to say I have no idea how I would have been able to deal with my husband’s medical crisis and hospital stays as well as take care of the house and the children and everything else that needed to be done, completely on my own.  I’m not a great keeper at home, I’m not even a good keeper at home – but these last few weeks have shown me that I’ve had to learn that some things have to get put aside or completely thrown out so that the things at home can be taken care of.

My keeper status this week was elevated to caregiver as I had to ask questions alongside my husband so we could get the care he needed, and still needs.  I’m not writing this post to say that all women have to be at home, mainly my thing is that me being a keeper these last few weeks changed – I wasn’t only a keeper at home but I was also a keeper in a hospital setting.  I’ve had to learn to be self-controlled as there were many times I would have let my tongue loose and the fall out would have been bad.  There was much I’ve learned about myself and about the changing nature of what being a keeper at home is – it won’t always be…

at home in the kitchen….

with your children…..

with your husband…..

changing diapers…..

homeschooling……

your keeper status may come to involve an aging parent, an ill child, a sick spouse.  Your time may be spent in a nursing home, a hospital or elsewhere outside the actual home but what matters is that what you are doing is bringing honor and glory to the Lord.  If I could go back and do one thing differently these past few weeks it would be to treat the nurses nicer at the first hospital – they encountered a tired mom, stressed out wife, slacking home educator and a lousy Christian example – not one of them saw Christ in me and nor did I honor or bring glory to the Lord in my actions or words.  I can excuse my behavior by claiming they weren’t doing their job (which has some truth to it), that they weren’t addressing the issues (some did), and many others but there is not excuse when it shames my Lord.

So as you go about your day as a keeper at home, whatever that may look like, remember that what you do should be done so that the word of God is not blasphemed or reviled – hated.

Blogging Through the Alphabet

(c) 2013, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

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Nordskog Publishing Review: In the Aerie of the Wolf by Leonora Pruner #grow4christ


In-the-Aerie-of-the-Wolf About the Book:

Another intriguing and uplifting novel from the author of Close to His Heart, Leonora Pruner has a gift for storytelling and creating compelling characters. Set in 18th century England, our heroine Anne is betrothed to a man she’s never met and must leave behind her girlhood fantasies. When she arrives at the home of Lord Wolverton, Master of the Wolf’s Aerie, the mysteries and challenges of her new life cause her to seek Biblical wisdom and guidance concerning honor, integrity, and faithfulness. In this story of the discovery of true love, there is also danger, betrayal, and sword fighting—and it all takes place in a castle complete with secret passageways. Become lost in another time and place. You will not want to put this book down.

You can purchase the book on Nordskog’s site for $13.95

My Opinion:

Having never heard of nor read any of Leonora Purner’s other books I was quite taken with the cover and the description of the book so I agreed to give it a go and read it.  I started it awhile back but just finished it recently because at first it was hard to get into and really relate to the characters, there was much brogue in it and so a lot of sentences such as: “T’ ale bites for t’ taste o’ life afor tha come”, which when your trying to make the story flow it does become tedious to try to interpret what is being said and lessens the flow.  Once I got past that and really got into the story, which was probably about 10 chapters in, the story and plots (yes, plots, there are a couple) picked up and then I couldn’t put the book down.

As one who enjoys a historical fiction romance novel every so often I found I liked this one quite a bit – set in a time I don’t normally see or even read – I liked it – the setting of an 18th Century English countryside intrigued me.  We ‘meet’ Anne as she’s traveling to be wed to a man she’s never met or even seen, so she’s a bit leery that it may be a joke or even someone’s way to ruin her – but her traveling companions sent with her by her father and a man named, Samson, sent by her betrothed keep her safe and even make her feel someone at peace about her situation and feeling as if she is being bought and sold.  Anne leaves behind the one she loves, the local vicar as well as family, knowing she may never see them again and in that she struggles to know that God is really with her and watching over her, she feels forgotten and cloistered – but she resigns herself to being a good wife, like the one described in Proverbs 31.

There are many twists in the book, some I saw coming, some I had no idea were around the corner and made for a thrilling ride.  The plots also kept the pace and kept the book going, even when the rough English of the peasants had to be waded through.  My only other reservation about this book is that once Anne and Lord Wolverton are married, Leonora gives the readers a glimpse into their bedroom that should not be revealed.  While her descriptions are not explicit and would appear tame to those who read more risque books, they made me a bit uncomfortable and I won’t be handing this to my daughter (she probably would have enjoyed it, but I can’t in good conscience let her read about the marriage bed).

Out of 5 stars I give it 4 for the descriptions of Anne’s love for her husband – but while I had that issue, I thoroughly enjoyed the book as I got to see Anne grow in her love for others, even those who are disfigured and deemed unlovable by society as well as the grace and redemption that Christ bestows upon us as His children.  So too, Anne’s marriage shows us those attributes and one can even glimpse what Christ feels for His bride when we wrong Him and the restoration that takes place when we seek Him for his forgiveness.

 

 

 

(c) 2013, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

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Bethany House Review: A Woman’s Guide to Reading the Bible in a Year by Diane Stortz #grow4christ


About the Book:

You CAN Read the Bible in a Year

When Diane Stortz was invited to join a study to read the whole Bible in a year, she went for it. It changed her life, even though she’d been a Christian a long time. Now, more than ten years later, she still reads through the Bible every year with a group of friends.

“I didn’t start to really know God until I made knowing him my goal as I read the Bible. Getting to know God changed me. It changed how I think and what I do. It changes me still.”

God put the Bible together for you. Reading it through in a year helps create a rich experience and a focused understanding of what God wants to reveal about himself. And with week-by-week reading plans, easy-to-use reference material, and stories of encouragement from women like you, A Woman’s Guide to Reading the Bible in a Year is the perfect companion for this life-changing practice.

Gather your Bible and some good friends to join you in your journey, or go for it on your own. Either way, God will change you.

Diane Stortz has over twenty years of Christian publishing experience, including writing and editing. She maintains a blog site to encourage Bible reading and memorization (dianestortz.com). She and her husband, Ed, live in Cincinnati, Ohio.

My Opinion:

One thing that I’ve struggled with in reading the Bible in a year is the fact that it takes a lot of time, time that usually a mom of three young-ish children doesn’t usually have, and the fact that I really want to understand what I’m reading versus just reading to say I’ve read it.  Many people read through the Bible in a year, but if you retain or learn nothing from it then it’s all for naught.  So when I had the chance to review the book, A Woman’s Guide to Reading the Bible in a Year I jumped at it because I wanted something to guide me in not just reading the Bible in a year but actually making it relevant as well as learning from it.  Since it’s written by a woman for women it means that it will help us as we read through the Bible and making it meaningful to us.

I admit I struggle through a lot of the Old Testament books like Leviticus and Deuteronomy with all the Laws – it’s hard to follow and really understand – but I know it’s vital as a Christian who follows Christ, who was raised a Jew – to understand our past history.  Don’t feel that you must begin on January 1st, the pages are numbered but not dated, so you can begin any time on your Bible reading journey (awesome).  The guide is meant to be used with whichever Bible translation you chose and avoids doctrinal issues so it can be used by any Christian who knows the Bible is the inerrant Word of God.  It’s encouraged that you write something each week in the “share the journey” area and if you fall behind, just simply pick back up where you left off – there is no right or wrong way to do this – just a commitment to delve into and understand God’s Word.

Each week there will be a short introduction to that weeks reading and then a small box which outlines your reading assignments that week, usually two to three chapters which could take up to 30 minutes (if you have extra time, you can read ahead, or split it up during the day!), and some checkpoints – key ideas that are covered in that week’s reading.  After that is quote from a famous person or theologian that will also inspire and of course, the “share the journey” area where you can journal, or get your own feminine journal to write in.  Don’t forget it’s a journey and all about getting to know the Lord – keep Him in your thoughts and seek Him in prayer throughout and your mind will learn a lot in reading through the Bible in a Year!

 

(c) 2013, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

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Bethany House Review: No Safe Harbor (Edge of Freedom Book 1) by Elizabeth Ludwig #grow4christ


About the Book:

The Thrill of Romantic Suspense Meets the Romance of 1800s America

Lured by a handful of scribbled words across a faded letter, Cara Hamilton sets off from 1896 Ireland on a quest to find the brother she’d thought dead. Her search lands her in America, amidst a houseful of strangers and one man who claims to be a friend–Rourke Walsh.

Despite her brother’s warning, Cara decides to trust Rourke and reveals the truth about her purpose in America. But he is not who he claims to be, and as rumors begin to circulate about an underground group of dangerous revolutionaries, Cara’s desperation grows. Her questions lead her ever closer to her brother, but they also bring her closer to destruction as Rourke’s true intentions come to light.

My Opinion:

I’ve never had the pleasure of reading Elizabeth Ludwig before and I know that will soon be changing, I jumped right into No Safe Harbor and became swept up in Cara’s story of finding her brother and arriving in America – alone and with no prospects.  The book really kept me guessing as to who was the ‘bad guy’ and even, as surprising as it was, the ‘bad girl’ – there’s one in every group I suppose.  Rourke, who isn’t really Rourke struggles with the fact that he knows Cara is lying to him but he also knows that is hypocritical since he’s lying to her as well – it seems revenge is all the rage among the immigrants to America.  One can also imagine the thrill of clearing through Ellis Island and seeing the Statue of Liberty for the first time.

With that being said, as the story progresses and as Rourke’s and Cara’s feelings for each other deepens there is quite a bit of kissing that goes on – but it goes no further than that – and as one keeps reading one realizes that it’s not some passing fancy and that they are both truly in love despite of their circumstances, or maybe because of their circumstances.  While both of them purport to have a deep faith it seems that it grows through the book and it becomes stronger the further one reads – which is a true delight as well.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading this story and look forward to more in the Edge of Freedom series from Elizabeth Ludwig – another bonus for me, were the historical details that were thrown in, such as the tenement housing and the filth that was ever present and even the burning of Ellis Island, which I had not known of before!

 

(c) 2013, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

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