Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Ephesians 4:2

Look the little tribe of Benjamin leads the way. Psalm 68:27

Our Family

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"In everything you do, put God first and He will direct you and crown your efforts with success."
Proverbs 3:6

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Our Valentine's Day.....

Kendall's class celebrated with a pizza/cookie party.
She loved all of her treats and valentine's!

Isaac's class played outside to celebrate & exchanged their valentine's!



Smoosh for us love birds


Our 8th Valentine's day together and it only keeps getting better and better.



After our huge dinner!

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Saturday, February 19, 2011

From this past week.....

.....for our family with love!

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Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's day/love dare/marriage Monday

Whew! Happy Valentine's day! So I missed a few days of this challenge due to being ill and I am going to try to finish them all today in honor of Valentine's day!
Day 10 (Feb 10) "Love is unconditional" Rom. 5:8

When you rebuild your marriage with agape love as its foundation, then the friendship and romantic aspects of your love become more endearing than ever before. When your enjoyment of each other as best friends and lovers is based on unwavering commitment, you will experience an intimacy that cannot be achieved any other way.
Really don't think that anything that I can write will top this......
Day 11 (Feb 11) "Love cherishes" Eph. 5:28
Don't let the culture around you determine the worth of your marriage. To compare it with something that can be discarded or replaced is to dishonor god's purpose for it. That would be like amputating a limb. Instead, it should be a picture of love between two imperfect people who choose to love each other regardless.
I love you not because you are perfect but because you are perfect for me......
It is all too easy now a days to compare yourself to everyone. It is absolutely refreshing to let go of anyone else's pre-conceived notions of a "perfect" marriage and embrace the love that is unqiuely yours & your spouses alone.
Day 12 (Feb 12) "Love lets others win" Phil. 2:4
Are you willing to bend to demonstrate love to your husband? Or are you refusing to give in because of pride? If it doesn't matter in the long run--especially in eternity--then give up your rights and choose to honor the one you love. It will be good for you and good for your marriage.
Foolish pride causes much heartache.......
Day 13 (Feb 13) "Love fights fair" Mark 3:25
The deepest, most heartbreaking damage you'll ever do (or ever have done) to your marriage will most likely occur in the thick of conflict. But love reminds you that your marriage is too valuable to allow it to self-destruct, and that your love for your husband is more important than whatever you're fighting about. Married couples who learn to work through conflict tend to be closer, more trusting, more intimate, and enjoy a much deeper connection afterwards.
I try to keep in the back of my mind that words that I say in haste can never be taken back. It is a hard road (but a very worthwhile one) to learn how to fight fair!
Day 14 (Feb 14) "Love takes delight" Eccles. 9:9
In your marriage relationship, you won't always feel like loving. It is unrealistic for your heart to constantly thrill at the thought of spending every moment with your husband. Nobody can maintain a burning desire for togetherness just on feelings along. However, there is something very powerful about the decision to delight in your husband and to love him no matter how long you've been married, or what "feelings" may or may not be there at the moment. 
As we grow together, I think that both Ben and I are discovering that the other needs more bonding time with our friends....then when we come back together we are extremely grateful for that time together.



Love's Mess Factor
I knew at that moment he really loved me, because love doesn't run from a mess. It may hold its breath or stick its head out the window for fresh air, but it doesn't run from a mess.


"Love suffers long ..." 1 Cor. 13:4 (Read all of 1 Cor. 13 here)

One thing about marriage is certain: mess is inevitable. Only those who choose to hold to their promise to love regardless of the circumstances will endure the messes and live to enjoy the other side. Love doesn't just "suffer," it suffers "long." It hangs in there when the mess is on everything, when it get on us, when it's nasty. That proves it's love.
We usually don't talk about the messy stuff of love on Valentines Day, but there are 364 other days of the year to test love. What we do with our mess is part of love. What's the mess you're dealing with? I know we may not want to deal with it, but if we're going to love well, we have to take the mess that sometimes comes with marriage.
Love doesn't run from a mess. It suffers long, and it's beautiful ... even after Valentine's Day
For more Marriage Monday visit Julie at

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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

All about love.....


Our engagement pictures
October 2003
Day 8 (Feb 8) "Love is not jealous" Song of Sol. 8:6
If you're not careful, jealousy slithers like a viper into your heart and strikes your motivations and relationships. It can poison you from living the life of love God intended.
Hmmm....I think that this says it all!

Day 9 (Feb 9) "Love makes good impressions" 1 Pet. 5:14
You can tell a lot about the state of a couple's relationship from the way they greet one another. You can see it in their expression and countenance, as well as how they speak to each other. It is even more obvious by their physical contact. Work on greeting your husband "special" when he arrives home from work!

Completely agree with this! I always try to make it a point to stop what I am doing (even if it means burning dinner!) to give my hubby a kiss & welcome home hug. The kids make a ruckus when he arrives so why shouldn't I do the same?




This Monday is Valentine's Day. In a lot of marriages, this day comes and goes without a whole lot of acknowledgement. We women see it on the calendar - we know it's there, we've helped our children write out all their little Valentine's Day cards...and we cross our fingers that our husband NOTICES it is Valentine's Day.
If you are a lucky one - you will get a card, flowers, dinner out, maybe some chocolates and some romance. And well - the rest of us...it might not happen and we'll just have an annoying day lol!
But rather than waiting around for something that might not happen - how about we use this day to show our husbands appreciation for the blessing that they are in our lives. This day gives us a reason to shower our husbands with some extra Tender Loving Care!!!
I think that making some form of list for your hubby of things that you love/like/appreciate about him is a great way to start!!
Remember - there are no exceptions in the Bible where it says on Birthdays, Mother's Day and Valentine's Day we have permission to get selfish and self-centered.

Philippians 2:3,4 says "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others."

My husband is thoughtful. It is not uncommon for him to show up with my favorite drink from Starbucks, a late night run to fill my car up with gas, or a timely back rub. But he's not Mr. Romance. I am 100% secure in his love for me by the way he works so hard to provide, listens to my long detailed stories lol!, protects me and the children and does a whole slew of other things 365 days a year! I don't want to despise him on February 14th for not coming up with a soap opera type romantic extravaganza. I know it's not gonna happen and it probably won't happen for about 90% of us!

So why not have some fun planning something special for our husbands and making a memory! Do you know what your husband wants? There's still quite a few days left - so ask him!
I normally take point in planning our date nights but all I did for this Valentine's night was secure the babysitter. I am hoping that in planning, Ben gets to put his own personal spin on the date and what he wants to do!
Let me make a suggestion as to what a majority of men want even if they aren't willing to say it:

1. A great tasting, looking, smelling home cooked meal and home cooked dessert (I plan to make an all red dinner - red drink - red spaghetti - red dessert)

2. You pursuing him for a night of passion (remember you are married - HAVE fun! God created passion for us married folk! lol!) Don't be afraid to flirt again - wink at him across the table - suggest what is for dessert after the kids are in bed *wink*. Loosen' up and have fun! Make a memory that neither of you will forget!

3. Write a letter expressing all the things you admire about him. Consider reading it out loud to him at dinner in front of your children. Or if you are going out to dinner - put your list in your purse and then pull it out in the middle of dinner and read it to him. Trust me - he will LOVE it!
For more on the Valentine Challenge check out Courtney at

 





Here are 2 ideas to help you remember what makes your guy who he is:


•Take a blank piece of paper and write your spouse's name in the middle. Make a web with a circle for each of these categories: gifts, personality, loves, experiences, dreams, thoughts. In each circle write what makes him unique. The example to the right is really tiny in blog form ;) so if you would me to email it to you, leave a comment with your email or email me directly, and I'll be glad to send it to you as a regular attachment.

•Write your husband's full name (First, Middle, Last) vertically on the side of a page. Use it as an acrostic to think about qualities that make your man the wonderful creation God has made him. (Ex. J-Jesus Lover, E-Explorer, F-Friend, F-Faithful... )



 
Looking for even more ways to tell your hubby you love him?

TEXT HIM A LOVE MESSAGE

DO ONE OF HIS CHORES FOR HIM Pick a chore that he dreads, such as mowing the lawn, and do it for him. Watch him as he sighs with relief.

START A HOBBY TOGETHER Sharing a hobby together such as horse back riding, completing a home improvement project, or selling on eBay can help keep you close.

PLAY A GAME TOGETHER Have fun doing things together such as playing board games, riding bumper boats, or playing miniature golf. Just remember, if he should get the best of you, don't tackle him unless you're laughing!

SHOW APPRECIATION When your husband works hard, or does something for you, let him know you appreciate him.

MAKE YOUR HOME HIS REFUGE Let your home be a haven were your husband can retreat from the stresses of life. Do your best to make it a pleasant environment.

LAUGH AT HIS ANTICS Don't let the little things that your husband does get on your nerves. If you think about it, some of these things may have been what attracted you to him! He just wouldn't be the same if he didn't do these things.

PRAY FOR HIM Ask God to give him that extra boost to make everything OK. Let your husband hear you pray too. This will let him know that when you can't make it right, you'll ask someone who can.

CHECK BEFORE THROWING THINGS AWAY If your husband has some things that seem useless to you, don't trash them until you've made sure he doesn't need them.

CHECK BEFORE REARRANGING Ask your husband if it's OK before you move or straighten things on his desk or work area. If he has things where it's easy to find, it might make it chaotic if it's moved.

TAKE A WALK OR A HIKE TOGETHER Let nature set the mood for romance! Talk, listen, and hold hands.

DON'T EXPECT HIM TO READ YOUR MIND If there is something you want your husband to know about you, tell him. Don't expect him to just know what you're thinking or what you need.

BAKE HIS FAVORITE DESSERT - Nothing says "Loving like something from the oven" LOL!
LAUGH TOGETHER Forget your adults for awhile, and just act silly together. Also, if something should go awry, try to find some humor in it somewhere. This will also reduce the stress of the situation.

RESIST THE URGE TO SNOOP Don't sneak around and check up on your husband, if you want to know something, ask him to his face.

GIVE HIM A ROMANTIC CARD Don't wait for a special occasion to give him a card. Find the most romantic card you can find and leave it in his car. Don't forget to add your own personal message! Maybe you'll even make him nervous, wondering if he forgot an anniversary!

PACK HIS FAVORITE TREAT Buy his favorite candy bar or other treat, and pack it in his lunch with a love note.

TAKE HIM TO TEST DRIVE HIS DREAM CAR Drive him to a car lot some Saturday, and let him test drive the car of his dreams - even though you probably won't buy it.

TALK ABOUT THE FUTURE The future isn't as far away as it seems sometimes. Talk about where you'd like to be when you're married 50 years, and work on making those dreams happen.

GIVE HIM THE BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT Don't jump to conclusions if your husband has said or done something questionable. Give him the chance to explain before you pass judgment.

LET HIM BE THE MAN OF THE HOUSE Although this is growing increasingly unpopular, it does still work. Just because your husband is in charge of the household doesn't mean that you can't share your opinions, it just means he's captain of the team.

SAY, "I'M SORRY" Although you may not want to admit it, there will be times when you're in the wrong. Maybe you've said something hurtful or done something insensitive. Never have too much pride to tell him you're sorry.

KEEP YOUR PROMISES If you told your husband you'd do something, make sure that you follow through.
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Monday, February 7, 2011

Love Dare Day 7

Day 7 (Feb 7) "Love believes the best" 1 Cor. 13:7

Your husband is a living, breathing, endless book to be read. Dreams and hopes have yet to be realized. Talents and abilities may be discovered like hidden treasure. But the choice to explore them starts with a decision by you. Develop a habit of reining in your negative thoughts and focusing on the positive attributes of your husband.
I am really trying to do this! On my "to-do"list is to read "Wild at heart" to better understand men in general but my husband in specific. Any time I have a negative thought pop into my head I try to insert an equally positive thought about Ben. Not as easy done as said depending on my attitude of the day! I hope that you are all thinking positively about your spouse today!

September 7, 2008
Many times when I am looking for positive attributes, I come back to the amazing father that he is & how I would never want another to be their daddy.
That has a calming affect on my negative attitude most days.

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Sunday, February 6, 2011

Love Dare Day 6

Day 6 (Feb 6) "Love is not irritable" Proverbs 16:32
A loving wife is not overly sensitive or cranky but exercises emotional self-control. She chooses to be a flower among the thorns and respond pleasantly during prickly situations.
Again, this is most definately a work in progress. Recently, I was overyly sensitive & cranky at a situation that we found ourselves in because of our Texas driver's licenses. I didn't respond very pleasantly to Ben & thinking back now know that I could have handled the situation much differently!
On the plus side, yesterday, I was calm during a situation that in the past I would have flipped out over. Ben told me yesterday that he believes that he lost the watch that I got him for our anniversary. (One of the practical gifts that I talked about a few days ago.) I told him that I would rather replace that cheaper watch than his dress one.....I was pretty proud of myself for not flipping out on him. I am hoping that this behavior change on my part will become more of a habit and not out of the norm!



Our first MC ball in 2003
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Saturday, February 5, 2011

Love Dare Day 4 & 5

Day 4 (Feb 4) "Love is thoughtful" Psalm 139:17-18

When was the last time you spent a few minutes thinking about how you could better understand and demonstrate love to your spouse? What immediate need can you meet? What's the next even you could be preparing for? Great marriages come from great thinking.
The last time I did this was on our anniversary, December 31, 2010. Our gift giving/receiving are so different! I sat & thought about what to get him.....even though it went against the grain, I got him some practical and unromantic gifts. He was very happy with them so even though they were not anything memorable it was more beneficial in the long run.
Hmmmmm.....an immediate need, I am going to have to really think on that but probably sitting down to learn the software program for our financial study to help with the inputing of the receipts.
I am preparing for communication while he is gone over the next few weeks and months for training.
Day 5 (Feb 5) "Love is not rude" Proverbs 27:14
How does your husband feel about the way you speak and act around him? How does your behavior affect your mate's sense of worth and self-esteem? Would your husband say you're a blessing or that you're condescending and embarrassing?
I think that we our both pretty respectful with how we talk to each other. I hope that Ben feels that way too. We are both very affectionate so I hope and pray that this bolsters his self-esteem. I think that it is safe to assume that we both consider the other a blessing. (Not saying that I don't have to work on this but that we are definately on the right path!!)
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Thursday, February 3, 2011

Love Dare Day 3 and the Be My Valentine Marriage Challenge

Add caption
Day 3 (Feb 3) "Love is not selfish" Rom. 12:10


One ironic aspect of selfishness is that even generous actions can be selfish if the motive is to gain bragging rights or receive a reward. If you do even a good thing to deceitfully manipulate your husband, you are still being selfish. The bottom line is that you either make decisions out of love for others or love for yourself.
And the bottom line can be tough to swallow sometimes BUT it is one of the most rewarding things to make decisions out of love for your family. It has taken a long time to adjust from just doing things that will please me to doing things that will please/benefit my entire family and/or marriage. It has meant keeping my mouth shut when I so greatly want to shout, giving up items that I never thought that I could do without, and often not having any time left over for just "Me." I wouldn't change it for anything in the world!

If you blush easy or do not want to read about intimacy in marriage......PLEASE stop reading here!
This week Courtney at Women Living Well issued this Marriage challenge.

"The more womanly you are, the more manly your husband will want to be." Elizabeth Elliot


There is something about the sparkle in our eye, the smile that says I adore you, the curves of our body, the sweet smell of our perfume, the way we move in the dark...that draws a man to a woman.

Proverbs 30:18,19 says"There are three things that are too amazing for me, four that I do not understand; the way of an eagle in the sky, the way of a snake on a rock, the way of a ship on the high seas, and the way of a man with a maiden."

For men the physical need for intimacy is more than just physical - it is emotional. Just as we long to remain desirable to our husband's, our husband's long to know that they are still desirable to us. Their big ol' egos might not let them admit it - but it's there.

Within our God given femininity, we have the power to make our men feel stronger, more capable, more confident and loved in all areas - simply by responding to his initiatives with desire.

So this week's challenge is:
Pursue intimacy and place the intimate needs of your spouse above your own. Give him a foot or back massage, shower together, be creative!

Seek to "kiss him like you mean it" every single day this week! Solomon 5:16 says "His mouth is sweetness itself; he is altogether lovely." Look at your husband through the eyes of his fiance...do you remember those butterflies and your longing for him. Renew that passion.

Paula Rinehart says that for many men, "S*x is like a silent cheer."

Our men feel stronger, more capable, and built up when we respond to their advances with a smile.
(Which means that a lot of chores won't be getting done in our house!)
"Be available, agreeable and interested.(~Linda Dillow, Intimate Issues)

"When you touch your husband's deepest need something good almost always happens!"~ Dr. Emerson Eggerich

So I challenge you today to not just show your husband you love him but show him that you LIKE him!
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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Love dare Day 2

Our first picture together in 2003.
Before we allowed ourselves to become stubborn and obstinate with each other.
I would like to get back to this care-free time when all we were was kind to each other.
Day 2 (Feb 2) "Love is kind" Eph. 4:32

Kindness inspires you to be agreeable. Instead of being obstinate, reluctant, or stubborn, you cooperate, you stay flexible. Rather than complaining and making excuses, you look for reasons to compromise and accommodate. A kind wife ends thousands of potential arguments by her willingness to listen first rather than demand her way.
Ouch! I really need to work on this one.
It's a work in progress. I thought it was a step in the right direction.

~ Peter Diepenbrock
I am stubborn, strong-willed if you want to be polite. I am SLOWLY learning to stay flexible (not much else I can do being a Marine Corps wife) and to cooperate. It helps to take a deep breath in and take a moment before responding to Ben. So for those that are close to me & that I love dearly, please hold me accountable to this!
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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Glorious (Verbose) Tuesday

Top TWO things you've learned about friendship
 #1- There are friends and there are friendship aquaintances. Both serve their purpose in your life but count yourself lucky to have the "friends" in your life that are there no matter what the time or circumstances. Those that take care of you in good times and bad.  
#2- Friendships (or aquaintances) come and go for a reason. What was good for a season of your life is not always what is to be for the rest of your life. I look at it as God's way of steering us just right where we need to be at that given time.
#3- (Bonus) I have learned that there are certain people that will always be there no matter how much time has gone between the last time that you have talked or seen each other. You seem to be able to pick right up where you left off.


The kids say so many funny things that it is often hard to keep track of all the little nuggets that they impart on us.
Kendall has come up with some crazy sayings & the most recent seems to be about her daddy...how fitting since today is his birthday!
His name is apparently now "stinky Daddy." She adds stinky in front of his name more times than I could count the past few weeks!
Also, in a recent conversation about babies, she asked....."Just when is daddy (no stinky this time) going to put another baby in your belly."
Me: Well honey, that is all in God's time.
Kendall: Can I pray to God & ask him for a baby?
Me: Yes babe you can.
Kendall: Dear God, please tell daddy to hurry & put a baby in my mommy's tummy. 
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Love is in the air!

Day 1 (Feb 1) "Love is patient" Eph. 4:2

Patience helps you give your spouse permission to be human. Love is built on two pillars that best define what it is. Those pillars are patience and kindness. Choose to respond with patience towards your husband in all things.
Let me just confess that I am NOT a patient person. You come up with a great idea & BAM!? I want it done yesterday. That is something that I have been fighting within myself for a very long time. Ben and I have had several conversations throughout our marriage about how different our "time tables" are for certain things.
Today I am trying to be patient with our "Managing our finances God's Way" study and Ben. He loves all of the handy computer tools that come with it. I am more of a write it down in the ledger kind of girl. (Yep still old-fashioned in a lot of things!)
I understand that this study is #1 important for our finances, but more importantly #2 is extremely important topic to my husband. So before he left for work, I fought the urge to run back to my sewing projects when he broke out our receipts to enter into the program.
I know that I am starting small but I am hoping that I will develop this "patience" thing into a new & better habit for our marriage!
Thoughts  from Julie's Marriage Monday
Let's set ourselves up for contentment with our spouse and for acceptance of his love expressions. In a world full of tv shows like the Bachelor and Dancing with the Stars, we might start to think our love is rather unexciting and uninspiring. Instead of expecting our love to look like relationship images we are about to be bombarded with through media, let's turn our attention to what God's desire is for romance:



Ephesians 5:25-28


Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.


That's intense love, friends! That's passion! Top that Fabio!


God wants a beautiful, faithful romance for us, and obedience to His truth leads to that kind of love. Valentines Day is two weeks away. Think about what's TRUE about the spouse God gave you. Take every thought captive as suggestions come your way, and start celebrating the love you share today, even if the calendar says you should do it February 14th. ;)





Today Proverbs 31 ministries at www.proverbs31.org had to say this about marriage......

These small stitches offer us a lesson for our marriages. In Matthew 19:6 Jesus says, "So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, let no one separate." God says a married couple becomes "one flesh" when they marry, and they work out that oneness all the days of their lives.



One way to establish that oneness is to make small, daily "stitches" to strengthen the fabric of marriage. These small habits don't take much time or effort, but they do require intentionality.


Consider your thoughts toward your husband and marriage – When he's having a stressful day, do you think he needs to get over his bad mood, or do you think about how you can encourage and support him? Maybe you walk through the messy garage and think it's about time your husband cleaned it up. Instead you can think about how you and the kids can help with that project.



Consider your words – How do you speak to your husband? Do your words cut him down or lift him up? Also, think about your words to others about your husband. Decide today that your kids, mother, and best friend will hear you praise your husband, not criticize him.


Consider your actions – Jesus was a servant who laid down His rights to love others. How can you be a vessel of Christ's love toward your spouse? Show him your love by simple actions such as cheering him on at his softball game, picking up his favorite snack at the store, and making intimacy a priority.


Practicing these small habits will help our marriages stay intact, just the like the tiny quilting stitches of Granny's quilt. Prayerfully consider the various areas addressed here. Ask God to show you how you can strengthen the oneness in your marriage. You'll be glad you took time to sew some stitches today, knowing that the fabric of your marriage will hold tightly against the pulls and pressures of tomorrow.


Dear Lord, open my eyes and heart to small, daily habits I can practice today to strengthen the oneness of my marriage. Give me a willing heart to honor my marriage by investing in it daily. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
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Wishing my Benny a very Happy 34th Birthday!

Ben turns 34 today!
Isaac picked a pink (strawberry) cake and icing for his father.
In his words, "he like it."
We ate it last night since Ben has a night flight today.

The kids had fun "picking" this card out!

Isaac had fun watching daddy open all his presents

Kendall was excited to help blow out the candles!

Sorry Wisconsin relatives.....he is rooting for the Steelers this go around!
No matter how much you try to brain wash him :)
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Scripture Memorization for February 1, 2011

"Dear children, let's not merely say that we love each other,

Let us show the truth by our actions."
1 John 3:18
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Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9

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