Through the Valley
of
Serenity
Our Family's Miracle Journey
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January 2009



January 1st, 2009
                          
  
Happy New Year!!!
I have heard many discouraging words on the upcoming year. There is some fear and uncertainty among God's people concerning the quality of life they have grown accustomed to.  I personally am very excited about the miracles God will perform! I'm anticipating the many blessings that God will bestow within the next 12 months!  We know that God LOVES to be glorified.  This is the way He chooses to reveal Himself to those of lesser faith.  The worse the situation may look the more God will be glorified when victory is at hand.  God loves to swoop in and bring light during our darkest moments.  At this moment many are expecting a very hard year, For this reason I believe is why this will be one of our most blessed seasons.  As if God will announce to all living creatures, "Have you forgotten that I AM God!? Nothing is impossible to me!  NO one is out of my reach! I rain manna from heaven and change the hearts of Kings." We know that there will be trials in this world. For God uses trials to mold and make us into the person we need to be  

"Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.  And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. "   James 1: 2-4  
However, we (those born of God) also know not to fear, "For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world; and this is the victory that overcometh the world even our faith." 
Yes, there will be tough times in our future. The will be trials that we will have to endure.   There will be storms we will have to face.  But rest assured that God has promised to make ALL things work together for the good of those who love Him. Romans 8:28
 
"Even when the rain falls. Even when the flood starts rising. Even when the storm comes, I am washed by the water."
Just as we praised God during our journey with Serenity, with every future trial, I will raise my hands and declare once again, "Lord I will praise you in this storm!  Mold me and Make me for I am washed by the water!"
"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they will not over overflow you.  When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, nor will the flame burn you.  For I am the Lord your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior."  Isaiah 43: 2-3


January 3rd, 2009
A little more than a week after Christmas and Elijah has already grown tired of playing with his own new toys.  In the midst of boredom, he has discovered the joy of his siblings presents.  When he demanded Noah allow him access to the Wii controller, we looked the other way.  When Serenity had to share her new Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, we thought it was only fair.  We even welcomed the idea of him carefully loving Gracee's new baby doll.  I mean his sweet little lips tenderly kissing the baby's cheek was just too precious for words.  But MY GOODNESS, when he broke out Kayleigh's Hannah Montana stash, well that's when we just HAVE to draw the line. Right?

Mom, Am I handsome?

Oh well! He is pretty cute! Maybe we'll just let him pretend a little while longer. 



January 5th, 2009
An eager Serenity runs into the room, "Mama! Mama!  I ov ou!"
"I love you too, Baby Girl!"  With a great big grin and while patting herself on the chest, Serenity replys with, "Ou ov MEEEE?!"  Mama leans down and gives her a big kiss, "Oh Yes! Definitely!  I LOVE (Mom points to her tiny little nose) YOU!"  Serenity pauses for a moment.  Then, in a very serious tone asks, "Pinky Swear?" Mom thinks to herself, Pinky Swear? Where on earth did you learn that? Serenity sticks out her right index finger and sternly demands, "MOM! PINKY SWEAR!" With a chuckle mom says, "OKAY, OKAY, I Pinky Swear!"  Then together they lock index finger to pinky.  Suddenly a smile pops back on Serenity's face and she starts to wiggle from head to toe, "Yay! Now Shake!"  Together they briskly shake ALL God has given them.  After Mom stops exhausted, Serenity takes off running full of energy singing, "Jesus ov me. Mama ov me. Is I O"


January 7th, 2009
            Serenity in charge of the Prayer Request Box at church!


January 9th, 2009
                   30 Years and Counting
                        
                            Picture Now? Its been a LONG day!


I recently celebrated my 30th birthday. To be completely honest, it was something that I struggled with a little bit. I kept asking myself the same question. Where did all the years go? One minute I'm cruising town with a car load of teenagers listening to the lastest music and the next I'm driving around trying to get a car load of cranky babies to sleep. It all happened so fast. But the part that bothered me the most was, I can still vividly remember making my "What I want to accomplish by 30" list during the last month of my senior year in High School.  Over and over in my mind I began reviewing that list. The first part actually made me chuckle as I thought about writing, "I want to have TWO children, a boy and a girl." LOL  (I guess it does make me feel better knowing that I definitely hit that one out of the ballpark.) However, then I began remembering all the career minded entries, the professional side of who I wanted to be.  While raising five children, let's just say,  I didn't quite make it that far.  For the first few hours of the day, I became quite depressed. I got into an awful irritated funk.  When my husband lovingly asked what I wanted for my birthday, I hid my head under the covers and scuffed out, "I want to be 29 again!" The poor guy didn't quite know how to make THAT birthday wish come true. Although I'm certain if it would have been possible, he would have found a way! :)  Of course the normal routine of our every day lives didn't help my mood much.  The constant care of five children, to whom still very much depend on me for their every need,  sometimes gets pretty stressful to say the least.  I went from one toddler mess to another, then backtracked to screaming fights between siblings, all while feeding, bathing and dressing ALL five.  As the day grew on, I became more and more frustrated. It wasn't until I suddenly remembered the last part of my list that things began to turn around for me.  In the midst of our everyday chaos I recalled these words.
"Basically I just want to be where God wants me to be. I want to do what He wants me to do. I want to be who He wants me to be. I want to walk within His perfect will.  I want to fullfill His designed purpose for my life."  
Then I recalled this scripture, "Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my Glory," Isaiah 43:7 and also my own October 16th journal entry.(you'll have to scroll down to the 16th if you click on the link.) which talks about the sole purpose for every child born,,, bringing Glory to our Heavenly Father. That's when the little light bulb went off.  The value of our lives will NOT be measured by how many degrees we have nor how much money we make nor how famous we become, but rather how much we love, how much we are loved and more importantly, whether or not we fullfill our God given purpose in life.  That's when I began to wonder, Am I doing every thing I can do to glorify God in every aspect of my life? I know as much as I try, I can still always do more.  I am definitely not perfect, but Christ is. To many I am no one; to everyone Christ is everything.  Everything that I am or that I have,  is because of what HE did for me. What He did for All of us!   I truly desire for God to be glorified in every aspect of my life. I want people to look at me, but see HIM! I want them to listen to my voice, but hear HIS Word. I want God to be glorified for every blessing, known or unknown, in my life.  It is true. I may not have accomplished everything on my list.  However,  I can certainly be proud of the important things that I have achieved because of who I am in Christ! 
         30 years and counting,,,,,, BLESSINGS!
We love you Mom!Dog Pile
"I have not reached perfection! But I keep working toward the day when I will finally be all that Christ Jesus saved me for and wants me to be.  No, Dear Friends, I am still not all I should be. But I am focusing all my energies on this ONE thing; Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead. I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize of the High Calling of God in Christ Jesus."Phillippians 3:12-14 


January 10th, 2009
                           Faith triumphs in troubled times.
"Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us." Romans 5:1-5
"For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith virtue; and to virtue, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, patience; and to patience, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall; 2 Peter 5-7,10
"I won't fall!" 
"I won't fall!" 
"I won't fall as long as your around me!"
Rejoice in hope of the Glory of God! Every trial we endure is not an excuse for a pity party but rather an opportunity for the glory of God to be revealed. Seize those opportunities! Stand firm on the promises of God and find comfort in His LOVE, knowing that He is molding you into who He wants you to be, perfecting His creation.  Stay mindful that He will turn every situation satan has meant for your harm around for your good and His Glory!
"I won't fall!" 
"I won't fall!" 
"I won't fall as long as your around me!"



January 12th, 2009
               
Another Boredom Relief Lesson 
                                      as taught by
                      Professor Eli and Professor Reni

If you are having a hard time finding something creative to pass the time, then try this:

1. Sneak an ordinary package of Tositos chips from the pantry while Mommy is otherwised focused on house cleaning patrol.  (This also works well if one partner carefully devises a distraction while the other waits for her back to be turned.)
2. Then take said package of chips into the living room and quickly dump its ENTIRE contents onto the hardwood floor.
3. While music from Dora the Explorer plays in the background, jump up and down on said chips, performing your own version of a Mexican hat dance. This makes an incredibly entertaining crunching noise. (the only downfall is it can be heard throughout the house)
4. So when you hear Mommy heading your way, blurt out, "Hide Mommy's coming, Mommy's coming!" while you scurry around the room trying to hide yourselves AND the mess. (Note: make sure your bare bottom isn't poking out from behind the hiding chair)
5. Then if Mommy does indeed find you and sternly order you to pick up said mess,  innocently bat your beautiful eyes and declare, "Mommy, I don't want to! I princess!" (sometimes this works like a charm)
6. If for some reason Mom isn't buying into your overwhelming cuteness, than embrace the challenge of picking up the mess, by singing a song as you both go along.
"Clean up! Clean up! Every-boddddyyyy Clean up!"
7.
Afterward dump your entire collection of Legos out on the same floor and start the whole process all over.

Once again make note of the fact that if you truly want to NEVER be bored than become the said Mommy of the said Professors!  :)



January 13th, 2009
After a very long night and morning, I sat the babies down (still in their PJs) for some lunch!  While I'm cleaning up, I hear Reni's tiny voice call, "Here doggy doggy!  You want some broccoli?"  Since I know that we do in fact NOT have a dog in the house, I become curious.  So I look up and see this:
                         Here doggy, doggy!  You want some broccoli?
Now two different perspectives came to mind.  One perspective considers the nuturing side of Serenity.  Eli hasn't been feeling very well (thus the reasoning behind my long night and morning). So it could be that she is honestly trying to help her brother out and make him feel better!  AHHHHH!  What a good little Sis!  Right???   However,  then again, one also must consider the fact that maybe,  just maybe....


                      Good Doggy!  Good Doggy!  
                   She actually believes he is her very own pet!!


January 14th, 2009

Good News:  Gracee loves Mom and Dad SOOO much that she has decided to live with them Forever! AHHH!
Bad News:  She also plans to move in her future husband and 10 kids with her as well! :0

Good News: Serenity has been blessed with LOTS of extremely cute clothes!
Bad News: All she wants to do is run around completely naked! uh oh!

Good News: Our other girls have also been blessed with an abundance of clothing.
Bad News: They store them under the HUGE junk pile in their closet! UGH!!

Good News:
  Eli seems to be feeling better! He's well on his way to recovery from that nasty cold!  Yay!
Bad News:  Serenity fed him with HER spoon yesterday! :(

Good News: Serenity has decided she is much too big for her little potty chair!  She has moved on to the REAL thing!  You Go girl!
Bad News: In truth she  is actually much too tiny for the big potty and has to  stradle the seat just to stay on. So when she goes to get off one of her feet always goes directly inside the stool.  She then has to shake off the excess water like a little puppy.  Yewww! Yuck!

Good News:  Tommy has decided to be a good husband and help out around the house. So sweet!
Bad News:  His idea of helping is putting everything into one big pile (clean clothes, dirty clothes, toys, etc.) for ME to sort, wash and put away.  Oh sooo close!

Good News:  When I asked Noah to clean his room yesterday, he didn't even argue. Instead he joyfully spent the entire day in there working hard.
Bad News:  He was working on beating a new video game. Busted!

Good News: Serenity is so smart she has memorized what time her favorite show Mickey Mouse Clubhouse comes on.
Bad News:  Disney suddenly changed their schedule and forgot to explain to her just WHY she can't watch it as soon as the kids leave for school anymore! Shame on them!

Good News: My Dad brought over yummy doughnuts this morning!
Bad News: My Dad brought over YUMMY doughnuts this morning!

Good News:  We serve an Awesome Savior!!!!!!!!!
Bad News:  N/A ( There isn't any!! )


January 15th, 200
            BURRRRR!!!!!!!!  IT IS COLD!!!!!!!!!!
How cold you ask? 

Well it's so cold that the kids all left for school all bundled up with hats, mittens, scarfs, ear muffs and at least two layers of clothing.

What's that you say?  That doesn't mean anything!

Oh well then, it's SOOO cold that the snow covered ground is now ice!

NO BIG DEAL, you say?

Well, what if I told you that it's sooo cold our mail was actually frozen to our mailbox. It was delivered less than an hour ago and it's located on our covered porch?

Still not convinced? 

Well, how about this one, it's SOOO VERY cold that not only has Serenity (our normal little streaker) managed to keep her warm footsie pajamas on ALL morning long, but she has actually been looking for MORE things to cover herself with!!!
                  

                       Burrr!  Mom its cold!!!
              I thought that last one would prove my point!! 
                         
Burrr, it's COLD outside!


January 17th, 2009
The Basketball doesn't fall too far from the Hoop!
When it comes to Basketball, our son Noah has definitely inherited his Daddy's skill! We've known for awhile that he possesses a certain gift for the game.  Before he was a year old, we purchased him a small indoor nerf basketball goal.  He was barely walking and swishing baskets from the entire length of our living room.  No JOKE! We actually have it on video!  Although his dribbling and defense skills are improving at the moment, one thing is for certain, when Noah gets the ball, it's going in the hoop! Seriously! For a mere four grader, the boy's got skill! :) Our city has a rec system that allows kids to play certain sports as early as Kindergarten.  So Noah has had plenty of practice over the years. However, this year is the first season he has actually been able to play games against other schools.  As a matter of fact, today was his very first game!  His team won 14 to 5.  Noah scored a few of those points himself and Mommy and Daddy are so proud. :) I have a picture of his first goal during an actual game, taken today. But the quality is HORRIBLE.  However, if you look closely you can see the ball high above the goal just before it goes in. Noah is the one furthest from the hoop on the far left corner. (Quite a shot for an almost 10 year old, don't ya think?) He's the one in red in the other photo!
SWISSSH!Workin those defense skills!



January 19th, 2008
        Play Time with Eli and Reni

Eli - "Hey Reni, you wanna play hide and YOU go seek?"

Reni - "Yep!"

Eli -
"K close er eyes"

Reni -
"K"

Eli -
"Cannu see me?"

Reni -
"Yep!"

Eli -
"K, Now I hide!"

Eli runs off to hide under a nearby end table.

Eli - "K!  Come find me!"

Reni, who has been peeking the entire time, immediately runs over and looks under the table.

Reni - "Yay! I find you! I find you!"

Eli -
frustrated looks up "No Reni!  You are supposed to look around first!"

Reni -
puzzled "OHHH?" then nods her head "K"

Reni runs off to look under ANOTHER nearby table while Eli remains "hidden."

Something tells me this is going to be a LONG game!  :)


January 20th, 2009
                       
                     How Great is our God!
"He tells the number of the stars; he calls them all by their names. Great is our Lord, and of great power; His understanding is infinite." Psalm 147:4-5
Have you ever just looked up into the sky and gazed into the stars? Their number seems to be never ending. Yet Astronomers estimate that there are as many galaxies outside the Milky Way as there are stars in it. Each containing their own set of stars. Have you ever really stopped to think about that? The Word tells us that God not only knows the exact number of the stars but he also calls them each by their name.  How incredibly awesome is that thought to ponder?  His understanding is infinite! His power is never ending! How very small our once seemed impossiblities are compared to the Maker of Heaven and Earth.   Is our biggest problem even considered a problem when placed in the hands of our Heavenly Father?  Not even close! "Cast your cares upon Jesus!"

January 21st, 2009
                          "Let's Sing Fire Fall!"
The kids had a blast singing in church last night, especially Eli and his favorite cousin Talynn. It's just too cute to pass up. So I thought I would brighten up your day with a little video! Keep an eye on that pesky microphone cord!  Also, You don't want to miss Eli at the end!
(Don't forget to pause top media player first) 
                            Now Let Revival Fire Fall! 
           


UPDATE:  Having Technical Difficulties with the Website! I'm working on the problem.  In the meantime if you want to see the video click here!


January 21st. 2009

             Poop Smears and Sucker Punches!

As a mother of five, two of which are toddlers, I literally go from one mess to another. Only to stop in between trips to separate fighting siblings. I deal with every thing from poop smears to sucker punches! Just for an example let's talk about yesterday afternoon. I come home from an exhuasting trip to the grocery store. As a family of seven you can only imagine how many bags I have to empty. It usually takes quite a while to unload everything and put it away. While completely focused on this grueling task, little did I know that the toddlers were kind enough to help me out. From the Living Room I hear Kayleigh yell, "Mom, I can't see the TV!" Trying to focus on the groceries, I ignore her. Then again, "Mom, I can't see the TV! Tell Reni to stop it!" Casually I reply back, "Reni stop blocking the TV." A couple of minutes later, I hear Kayleigh again, "Mom she's not stopping it!" Now frustrated I say, "Reni sit down!" To which Reni yells back, "I AM sittin' down!" Okay I return back to putting groceries away. "MOM!!!!!!!!" "Kayleigh what? Is she sitting down or not?" Kayleigh again yells back, "YES!" Now even more frustrated I say, "Then what is the problem?!" There is a pause then, "She's slinging yogurt all over the TV and I can't see the picture!" UGGHHHHH! I go into the living room and sure enough, the room is COVERED in strawberry yogurt! Elijah is on the other side of the room dumping an entire container of salt on my end table and Fritos line a trial in between. As I'm struggling to clean up the mess, I ask Noah to put some clean clothes on Reni. I can now hear Kayleigh and Gracee fighting in the background. "NO! Stop that! It's MINE! I'm telling mom! MOM!!!!!!!!!!!" Suddenly I hear a SMACK!! Then Kayleigh bursts into tears! "MOM, Gracee hit me!" I stop to scold them both. Then return to the HUGE mess! While on my hands and knees, scrubbing yogurt off my rug, Noah walks into room, "Mom" "Yes Noah, now what?" "Umm, Reni's going potty!" "That's good." "Umm, No mom! I put her PJ's on her" "SO?" "Well... I couldn't find her pullups!" Yes folks she pooped in her footsie PJ's with no diaper! You can only imagine the poop smeared legs I had to clean up! Welcome to my life! LoL  Here is a picture of just one of the many messes I had the priviledge of cleaning:
                            
If there is ever any doubt as to who the little culprit responsible for this mess is just take a closer look:
 

                         

Looking back now through the tears of laughter, I realize the irony in feeling upset. (considering how far we've come!) These moments are in deed precious memories to last a lifetime.

I remain truly grateful! For ALL of my moments (although sometimes stressful)  are greatly blessed by an awesome Savior!

January 22nd, 2009

Serenity crawls into Mommy's lap.
 
"Mommy, I wanna go to church."

"Today isn't a church day honey."

"Mommy, I wanna go to CHURCH!"

"I know, but today isn't a church day!"

"Pleeesssssse!"

"Reni, no one is at church today."

"Mommy, Please, Mommy I wanna go to church!"

She curls up her bottom lip and begins to pout.


"I say please Mommy!" 

"I know sweetheart but you just don't understand that today is not a church day. We can go to church
(suddenly her face brightens up) 
BUT there isn't going to be anyone there."

"Yay! We go to church!" 

She gets down and runs into the other room!
 

"Ligah, Mommy say we go to church!" 

From the other room they both cheer!   

Mommy lets out a Big Sigh!

Yet, she graciously thanks her Heavenly Father that her children absolutely LOVE going to church!!  :)    



January 24th, 2009
Today was quite a day for Noah.  He started out by winning his second game of this season! So far they remain undefeated! (Was there ever any doubt, of course not.) The final score was 24 to 14. That alone was enough to make his day, but it only continued to get better from there. This afternoon was his 10th birthday party. Although his actual birthday isn't until the 29th, we celebrated it today at Incredible Pizza.  With all of his MANY cousins running around he was bound to have a good time.  As for me, I still can't believe my baby boy has reached the double digits.  He's growing up so very fast.  Not only did he have enough air to actually blow out all of his candles this year, 
                       
But he also received his very first pocket knife, courtesy of Grandpa and Grandma Burk.  He was absolutely thrilled about that!
                        
Yes, my baby is turning into a little young man! :(  Oh well it was bound to happen sooner or later. I just hoped it would've been later!  Good news is, (except for running directly into a metal bar on the playground at school and causing that huge bump right beside his left eye) Noah has had a pretty fun and exciting week! Ahhh, boys will be boys!
 

January 27th, 2009
Trapped in the house with five children during an ice storm! It would be understood if I was stressed out of my mind! Yet, at the moment I am laughing so hard I'm crying! Why? Simply because Elijah was just helping me put away the laundry.  While in my bedroom, he snatches a bra out of my dresser. Then with a puzzled look on his face he asks, "Mommy, why do girls wear these....these....boob hangers?"  LOL  To which I reply, "For that very reason honey....to hang our boobs up!"


January 28th, 2009

                    MORE GOOD NEWS / BAD NEWS

Good News:
Our completely naked Serenity finally decided to put something on!
Bad News: Hot pink snow boots do not really go with a birthday suit!

Good News: Today was family day! We enjoyed several movies while snuggled in front of a warm fire! oooh cozy!
Bad News: We had to take all five very eager, yet mostly tired, cranky, ready for a nap,  children into  a crowded video store in order to rent those movies!

Good News: Elijah was very happy when he discovered a rack of yummy candy.
Bad News: He quickly shoved the unpaid for candy into his pockets. When questioned he replied, "I gonna save em' for lader."

Good News: Serenity immediately found the movie she wanted.
Bad News: Copies of Whorton Hears a Who where flying across the store when Mom simply reminded her that we already have that particular movie at home.

Good News: Serenity just ran past with her back side finally covered!
Bad News: A Dora the Explorer back pack can only cover so much!

Good News: School was canceled for two whole days! kids say yay!
Bad News: School was canceled for two WHOLE days! Mom prays for better weather!

Good News: Noah turns 10 years old tomorrow!
Bad News: My baby boy turns 10 years old TOMORROW!


January 30th, 2009
                    
Yep, my baby is officially ten years old.  As a tradion, I  always get the priviledge of some much needed one on one time with the birthday child. So Noah and I spent the night alone at dinner and a movie.  He really didn't appreciate my humor when I joked that he'll always remember his first date as a night with his.....MOM.  Umm, yeah he didn't apprectiate that comment AT ALL!  Of course, I didn't help matters by constantly doing this,
                         AHHH! MOMMM!  Not in here!
     "OH, Mom! NOT HERE! People will think I'm a Mama's Boy!" 
     But Son, you ARE and will ALWAYS BE your Mama's Boy!
             
"But STILL Mom! Really, People are looking!"

Even though he was just a little embarrassed by his Mommy's lovin', it was truly a night for us both to cherish!  And if anyone gives him any slack about it, they'll have to answer to me!
                    Mean Mommy!
                 I can see you're REALLY shakin' in your boots! :)


January 31st, 2009
         Tonight I'm Babying my Biggest Baby!
Tommy turned 36 today! Of course he gets the royal treatment! In our family, birthdays mean, it's YOUR day! Whatever you want goes!  Tommy started off with a pancake breakfast, followed by a shower of gifts and then off to a nice lunch out with the entire family.  After we returned home, he received an entire day cartoon free with complete remote control privileges! Ahh, I know some of you guys are really jealous, but just wait it only gets better!  He was also blessed with a choice of dinner and cake, courtesy of me! There  wasn't any doubt in my mind the choice he would make.  He makes it abundantly clear that his favorite is my special lemon chicken with my secret sauce and of course German Chocolate cake!  (As you can see, a couple of our favorite toddlers helped with the cake's decoration! They helped relocate or remove much of the icing. )

Diggin In!  YUMMY!

After dinner, we snuggled up! His day ended with me softly scratching his head (don't ask me why, but it comforts him) and rubbing his back until he fell asleep.  (Clearly I do Not have any pictures of that)  All in all, he said he had a very nice birthday! Then he asked if the Royal treatment could last two days, since he's almost 40. Umm, Let me see......Nope! 
Sorry honey, after midnight, it's back to normal! However, our nights will always end the same! :)
      Happy Birthday Tommy Boy! 
                  We Love You!


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