Day 85–THORN

As I said in my welcome blog, at the beginning of 2014, I decided to blog every day for 365 days. I’ve just recently moved over to, so if you’d like to catch up, visit my TUMBLR PAGE! In the meantime, I’m going to be featuring some of my favorite blogs from the first 90 days here! 

    When I was a kid living in Charlotte, NC I would often get splinters in my palms from sliding my hands across our wooden deck.

Every time that it would happen, I would run to my father for help—he was really good at freeing me from those tiny death shanks.

But his method of retrieval was often just as frightening as getting the actual splinter.

He’d either use tweezers or a safety pin, and to sterilize it, he would run a lit match across it.

“Great, I’ve already been stabbed, now you want to burn me too?!,” my five-year-old mind would think.

And then the real pain would start. I would clench my uninjured hand and hold the inflicted one, palm up, for my dad. Then I would squeeze my eyes shut until the tiny piece of wood was out of my skin. After he told me it was over, I would stare and inspect the stinging spot where it’d been, to ensure that it was in fact gone.

I hated the process of removing a splinter, more than I hated actually getting a splinter. I remember sometimes feeling like it’d be better if he just left it in there. Maybe I’d get used to it. Maybe I’d name it, and keep it as a souvenir in my palm. Maybe it could become a part of me.

MAYBE it could get infected and my hand would fall off—that’s the only one that never crossed my mind. But my dad knew, which is why he knew that the momentary pain was necessary to prevent a future, much worse injury.

What does this have to do with anything?! You ask?

Earlier today I was talking with a friend about how God will sometimes remove and redirect us from a situation, when we’re being hard headed and trying to bulldoze down the path that we choose.

“Oh, it’ll hurt.” I told her. “But now that I realize what He was doing, I don’t think I’ve ever felt more loved.”

Because He was keeping me from a bigger, much worse injury.

We can be so adamant about going after that one job, or that one relationship, that we can’t see anything else. When we don’t heed the warning of sound counsel around us, or the gentle nudging of the Holy Spirit, we’ll find ourselves with a little splinter on our hands.

And if we’re really head strong, we’ll even contemplate staying in the situation—keeping the splinter, because we cannot see any other way.

Getting the splinter removed, seems scarier than keeping it.

“I can’t imagine my life without him/her.”

“I need to be in this career if I’m going to be a success in life.”

But our Heavenly Father loves us too much to keep us in a place where we’re not supposed to be.

He could leave us to our own devices, leave the splinter in, let us get an infection. Maybe in some cases He does, if that’s what it’ll take for us to learn and to finally come running to Him.

But I’m really glad He didn’t in my case.

Imagine if He didn’t keep us from that girl or boy that we just wanted to be in a relationship with soo badly?

Because He truly does know what’s best for me, he could see how badly it probably would have ended—and I would have been left with much more than a temporary heart break.

Getting redirected is scary. Most of the time we have to stand eyes squeezed shut, palms up—waiting for it to be over.

But when we do finally open our tear-filled eyes, and exhale that breath we were holding, we look up into the eyes of our loving Father, as He brings our hands to His lips to kiss our wound, and sends us back out into the world. (TORI KELLY—BRING ME HOME)



My love/hate relationship with Pinterest.

I have yet to figure out the balance between “developing my style” and just straight up developing an envious, materialistic spirit. But hey…that’s Pinterest.

I don’t remember when I gave in. I know I fought it for a while. “What is this…Pinterest” I thought, “And why does it have everyone I know completely taken?”

You see, I generally go through the same cycle whenever a new trend arises. First, I’m curious. Then I’m skeptical, purely because it’s so popular (what kind of cult have they come up with now?). Then, I’m curious again, and I reluctantly check it out.

Then? I’m hooked.

Usually a while later, I have this extremely self-reflective revelation about how I was deceived by the manipulative nature of our society once again, and how we all need to be liberated.

I get frustrated with how wonderful it is. I get annoyed by the fact that I don’t have all of the clothes that I pinned onto my “My Style” board. I salivate over all of the recipes, that I will never have time to create.

But I also get great ideas for my future 6-bedroom, cottage-mansion-ranch house, that I will move into after I have the wedding, that the planning for is pretty much done before I’m even in a relationship.  (How’s that for preparation?!)

Whenever I have enough time and energy to spend 5 hours on my hair, it will look LE-GIT, and if I ever get around to incorporating all of these cool workouts that I find, I will have rockstar legs and carved-out, muscly arms in no time.

I guess my main problem with Pinterest is that I usually consume a lot more than I am able to produce. I think it’s an awesome concept to have a place where people can share ideas about everything from fashion, beauty and hair, to DIY projects for the home, but I rarely do any of them. It’s kind of overwhelming. Like, if only I had the time and resources to be as cool as my Pinterest boards make me out to be.

Spending hours looking at all of the cute clothes, and things that I could have if only I had more money, just proves that I am a sucker to this consumer culture, and the advertising vultures got to me. And I don’t like being a sucker. (The CEO of Pinterest is probably laughing at me from his lofty skyscraper office, right now.)

But I guess I can’t act like I’m above it all, because I’m human, and therefore I am above no other human. But as a Christian, I can realize the attitude that usually comes with being entrenched in Pinterest–discontentment.

In the span of 20 minutes, I can become discontent with my hair’s curl pattern, my culinary skills, my stubbly, chewed nails, and my wardrobe, without even realizing it.

We don’t see it as dissatisfaction because we disguise it as self-improvement. But surely, just like everything else, being a good pinner, is all about balance. 

Because there are some things on Pinterest that are truly beneficial and very well could, improve my life. So I’m just going to have to work on finding that balance between having fun looking at all of the pretty, pretty jewelry, and sulking into a depression when I realize I can’t buy any of it right now. I’ll figure it out.

But hey, uh, you should follow me anyway.

Don’t judge me. 

High Top Tower Princess Pt. 6

Catch up on parts 1-5?

Janie smiled across the table at her Prince. her cheek rested in her hand, as if she needed the support not to fall over. While he talked, Janie stared at his perfect face. Well, it may just be perfect to her because she was so into him, but she was pretty sure that his face was in fact–perfect.

She was so lost in her thoughts of their future together that she didn’t realize her elbow was almost halfway across the table. It was as if she had been gravitating closer to him subconsciously, and she forgot her princess etiquette. With a fear that Andrew would suddenly think less of her, she jerked her body upright and threw her hand into her lap.

“Are you Ok?” Andrew asked with an amused look on his face. Janie’s sudden movements seemed to have startled him a little.

“Uh, yeah I’m fine,” Janie said with a small laugh, embarrassed.

It was like everything was brand new. Janie hadn’t really had many crushes on guys in her youth. No one really interested her. There were a few people whom she thought were attractive, and with that she did what every girl does–she evaluated him as a future king of her country.

This is why she didn’t have many crushes.

She couldn’t help it. She’d been told all of her life that she would be queen one day. She had also been told that in order to be elevated from princess to queen, she would have to get married. “You can’t be a queen without a ring–or a king,” her mother used to tell her.

So every potential boyfriend, every tiny crush, anyone that peaked her interest in any way, was a possibility. Not that she was easy, and would have gone out with anyone, she had her standards, but having platonic male friends was next to impossible. She saw boys through different eyes. No one so far, had shown as much potential–as Andrew.

She couldn’t really explain it, she just felt different.

She felt really comfortable with him. Even though this was their first date, she felt like she had known him for a while. She felt like they could hang out and walk the pier all night without being bored. Talking about nothing, not talking at all. It didn’t seem to matter.

Even now, sitting at the table, they weren’t having normal “first date” conversation anymore. They were just sitting together, joking around, playing tic-tac-toe on her napkin.

It was then that Christie came back to the table. When she gave them their orders, Janie could notice a stark contrast in enthusiasm between how she interacted with Andrew verses her. But she still played nice, asking Janie a few questions about her date. She said something about finally “picking one” or something, Janie couldn’t remember, all she saw was the way Andrew’s face kind of shifted as if he were trying to fight off a smile, like a shy little kid trying to keep up appearances.

So Janie took this opportunity to brag a little, telling Christie about how Andrew was a prince and how he was already very accomplished, and showed great promise for the future.

It was then that she noticed an awkward exchange between Christie and Andrew, not like before when it made her jealous, now she was just getting angry. Christie looked at her Andrew like she wasn’t impressed. Typical, she was probably just acting that way to save face. She knew that Christie was steaming with jealousy. She could tell by the way she said “good for you” like it was a punchline, and the exact opposite to what she was feeling.

She wasn’t going to let it get to her though. Christie had always tried to seem like she was too cool for Janie, no matter what she did.

When Janie and Andrew left the restaurant he put his arm around her shoulder. Like with holding hands, she felt like this kind of thing was at least a third date move, instead of a first. But everything else about their night had felt so natural, Janie decided that this was natural as well.

“So, did you already know Christie?” Janie decided to ask.

“Um, yeah I think so.” He replied in a way that was supposed to end the conversation. “Let’s go sit in the park.”

Janie was tempted to ask more. What does “Um yeah I think so” mean? Does he not remember knowing her? Janie remembered the conversation they had on the walk over. Andrew seemed hesitant to answer questions about his home life too. Then she thought that maybe he was just modest or shy, and would rather talk about her than himself. Now, she was starting to wonder. Maybe she was the only one who felt comfortable enough to share with him.

He was so friendly and personable she felt like she could tell him anything. Maybe he didn’t feel that same trust with her. Janie could sense that behind Andrew’s warm smile that he had a wall up so high, it could match her tower. She could also sense that it kept him safe. Janie understood wanting to feel safe, and she didn’t want to scare him by trying to climb over it. So, she didn’t push it. They continued to walk until they got to the park, and when they got there, they spent the rest of their date talking about nothing and looking up at the stars.

Perfectly Imperfect

I was surrounded. The enemies were all around me and getting closer by the second. Putties. Sigh…those things were so annoying. The other Rangers were nowhere to be found. I was alone, and I was afraid. I spotted a small cliff. If only I could climb up to higher ground. I didn’t think these guys specialized in rock climbing.

I climbed to the top and pulled myself over. I stood victoriously, looking down at my enemies try to reach me from the ground. I hit them all, five in a row, with my Blade Blaster, and watched as their clay bodies broke apart and crumbled to the ground.

I did it.

I lifted my arms in victory and leaped from my refuge. Upon landing, my foot caught on some rocks below and my ankle twisted, sending my body to the ground where the remains of my enemies laid. I tried to catch my fall, but my fist still clutched my Blade Blaster. As I fell, the tip of my weapon met my cheek and drew a small piece of flesh from my face.

The tears come, and I can’t stop them. I start to whimper, and I am no longer the yellow ranger who fights Putties and rides in the Sabertooth Tiger Dinozord. I am 5-year-old Jillana Jones, I’m bleeding, and I want my mommy.

At 22, I’m reminded of that fateful day in my living room every time I look into the mirror. Jumping from a small, plastic Minnie Mouse chair, with a metal-tipped ruler in my left hand, left me with a small, teardrop shaped, divot of a scar in my cheek.

Because it’s been there for so long, I couldn’t imagine my face without it. I tried, actually… was weird. Thinking about that scar, and the many others that have found themselves on other body parts, I thought about how we all want the perfect body (skin, hair, etc.) We all would like to be perfect, without blemish. We envy people for their flawless skin and perfectly toned abs. But why?

As much as I used to be insecure about my scars, as many nights I spent rubbing cocoa butter and bursting vitamin E supplements to rub the oil directly on my skin–I kind of embrace them now because each of them come with a story. Each of them represent me in some way.

It reminds me of what Mater says in Cars 2 when the female spy car asks him if he wants her to get rid of his dents. He said he wanted to keep them because they reminded him of all of the fun he had with his best friend Lightning McQueen. They were a part of him.

The 3-inch linear scar that goes down the side of my left thigh, that I got in 6th grade, reminds me that I should be careful when curling my hair on the floor while watching TV. The jagged scars on my ankles that I got when I was 5, remind me of the dangers of running on a gravel driveway. The circular scar on my right ankle reminds me of one of my favorite Christmases, when I got a pair of roller blades that I really wanted, and rode them so much that day that I got blisters.

I don’t like being reminded of what could happen when being a high school athlete is no longer apart of your reality, and you gain 20 pounds because you just don’t know how to work out without someone forcing you to. Oh, and you’re in college and not living at home, and have no supervision, or any kind of self control when it comes to the dining hall and their, “oh so accessible” ice cream machine.

The shame.

I’ve since lost the freshman 15+5, plus a little bit more, but no amount of bicep curls will get rid of the marks on my skin. But while they are not pleasant, they remind me of where I’ve been, and how far I’ve come, and that going back is not an option.

It’s so easy to spend time hating our bodies. Especially as females. It’s been engrained in us to pick apart the smallest things that we don’t like about ourselves from a very early age. I remember putting water on my eyelashes in the morning, before going to school in the first grade because I felt like they were too short, and I was clearly too young for mascara. I remember doing squats next to my bed in the 5th grade, 40 or 50 a night, because I felt like my thighs were too big. I feel like for so long I’ve just had this general dissatisfaction for the way God has made me. For too long.

So I’ve decided to stop hating my body. To stop hating my skin, my nails and my hair too. God didn’t make a mistake when He made me. Even with all its imperfections, my sensitive skin that scars easily, the stuff that wasn’t there when I was born, my body is mine. My beauty–is mine.

“Maybe you hate your bust size or your legs. Whatever it is, can we stop fixating and start enjoying? Try complimenting your body, your whole body, for the beautiful masterpiece it is. And enjoy revealing the beauty God has given you. You show off, in a way no one else can, a unique aspect of God’s glorious image…”–Jerusha Clark “Every Thought Captive”

Daybreak Discoveries With A Side of Oatmeal

I’ve been a bad blogger. A very, very bad blogger. I haven’t personally posted anything in a million years now.

Okay no. That’s an exaggeration. My last post was August 4th, that was 23 days ago.

23 days equal a million years though, right?

I come bearing excuses though. Over the summer I had an internship in the city with North American Mission Board. We pretty much ended in the beginning of August so that only left me a couple weeks to get resettled into my house in the suburbs and get things situated before classes started.

So I was ripping and running around and then bam. Classes start.

And whenever school begins it always hits me like a ton of bricks. It’s always kind of difficult to get back in the flow of constant homework and studying when you’ve had an entire three months of freedom from those things.

I purposed in my mind though to not get so overwhelmed as I did last semester. So the transition was rather smooth this time. (Yay!)

There was just so much going on personally and I had to focus in on certain areas of my life, which meant other areas of my life were sacrificed and neglected (i.e. this blog).

And then, I haven’t been feeling inspired lately. I don’t like to post just to post. I actually like to have something meaningful to say, something that I’ve been learning lately, or something I feel would encourage others. 

Thankfully Jillana, the other writer for this blog, was able to keep it going during my very busy weeks of craziness with her wonderful posts.

We make a great team, no?

But I’m back! Not with much to say, but with just a passing thought I had this morning over breakfast. 

If you’ve been keeping up with my post, you’ll know that I’ve been working out every morning. I get up by 6AM so that I can run outside before the sun is too high in the sky.

I know it’ll be difficult keeping to this schedule as the semester goes on because if you’re a college student or has been one in recent’s past, you’ll know that your attempts to get to bed on time is usually trumped by long study nights before an exam or making last minute edits to a paper. Or even worse, actually STARTING that paper the night before it’s due.

Thankfully I’ve been able to keep to schedule with a few minor changes here and there.

So this morning, over oatmeal with a side of banana and grapes, a thought crossed my mind.

I was originally watching random people’s vlogs on Youtube, but for whatever reason my 4G on my phone stopped working so I was left looking at a black loading screen for quite a bit of time before I just gave up and turned my phone off.

As I sat there I suddenly realized how quiet it was. Everyone in my house was still asleep and it was just me sitting at the kitchen table with just the overheard light on, looking out the window as the sun peeked slightly into the living room windows.

A sense of peace rushed over me and I thought to myself This is good. It felt so right to be sitting there in that moment, enjoying an ordinary bowl of oatmeal, half of an unripened banana, and unnaturally sour grapes.

It was a good thing. 

I’m not sure how male minds work but I know sometimes as young women in our 20’s, we begin to think about our futures as being someone’s girlfriend, or fiance, wife, and even a mommy.

I definitely think about all these stages of life and how I cannot wait to experience them. And because I had a few “setbacks” as far as college is related, I put a lot of pressure on myself to hurry up and finish school so I can start my career.

So not only am I thinking about all these womanly roles I hope to fill one day, my thoughts are clouded with what career would be best for me when I do graduate. 

But all of that “noise” was muted this morning. It felt so amazing to just be sitting in a quiet house on an average Monday morning.

If I were a mommy, who knows what I would be doing on an “average Monday morning.” I would probably be rushing to get my kids ready for school or packing a lunch for my husband.

If I were a working woman too, I would probably be rushing myself out the door as well, bagel with crème cheese to-go secured between my teeth and a bottle of water and cell phone in hand, frantically looking for my car keys because the kids were playing with them as an instrument in their household-kid band the night before.

So much chaos.

(And not to say that mommyhood is chaotic and disorderly. My imagination is definitely at work in these examples. But I hope you can see where I am coming from.)

I want to be a girlfriend, fiance, mommy, working woman, so bad sometimes that I forget to enjoy the present moment. The Lord reminded me that I am to be content where I am.

There will be a time for all of that, Jennifer, but I give you peace for the right now. Be content where I have you.



A Story and a Song: Have Your Way by Britt Nicole



I had recorded a couple of different songs to do for the second installment of this series, but none of them felt right. I couldn’t explain it, but I guess I just didn’t feel like my heart was in it. I kind of decided that if I was going to be a singer, and post stuff online, that I had to have my motivation in check. Knowing myself, I knew that if it was about me, and how I sounded, I would never post anything. Or if I did, and people didn’t respond the way I’d hoped, it would leave me insecure. So doing this had to be about using my gift to bring glory to the Lord. So I couldn’t just sing a song. I had to bring a message. So, after missing my deadline of wanting to post once a week, I was feeling kind of frustrated. How are people going to ever take me seriously with this blog if  don’t keep to my deadlines? But I had to give it over to the Lord, and not measure my success by the world’s standards. Whenever I am struggling with something going on in my life, this song always comes to mind. It becomes my prayer to a God that understands my pain, but has already written my future. So when I found myself deep in one of those moments again, this song was placed on my heart once more.

Feels like I’ve been here forever, why can’t you just intervene? Do you see the tears keep falling, and I’m falling apart at the seams. But You never said the road would be easy, but You said that You would never leave.

It’s so hard sometimes because when things are hard, when things hurt, that’s when I feel most alone. Usually when I feel alone, I subconsciously distance myself, making myself physically alone, so that people can’t see me. It’s a defense mechanism that I think a lot of people use because we don’t want to feel like everyone can see our insecurities.  It’s really hard for me to fathom that even there, God is with me. Even there, God is still looking out for me and He sees me. He doesn’t leave me alone. I can’t get anything past Him. As frustrating as it is sometimes, it’s at that place, in our brokenness, that we can call out to God and say things like “why can’t you just intervene?” Because God can handle our hurt–and our healing.

If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea. Even there Your hand will guide me, Your right hand will hold me fast. Psalm 139:9

You never said that this life wasn’t hard, but You promised to take care of me.

He promised. God promised, so you know that means it’s already done. You’re already taken care of. No matter what it is, no matter how dark it seems. No matter how angry you are or disappointed, if you are a child of God, you’re taken care of.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

So I’ll stop searching for the answers, I’ll stop praying for an escape. And I’ll trust You God, with where I am, and believe that You will have your way.

It’s hard to believe sometimes, that everything happens for a reason. As much as we say it, as much as it’s become a secular, and Christian cliche, it’s hard truth to grab hold of when you’re hurting and you know that God could take it away if He wanted to. But he doesn’t, not just to be mean, but because He has you right where you are for a reason. For a specific purpose that we can’t see yet, and when we can’t see, we get scared. But that’s where trust comes in. Trust that God knows what he’s doing, and He has his best for you in store.


Feels like I’ve been here forever
Why can’t You just intervene?
Do You see the tears keep falling?
And I’m falling apart at the seams

But You never said the road would be easy
But You said that You would never leave
And You never promised that this life wasn’t hard
But You promised You’d take care of me

So I’ll stop searching for the answers
I’ll stop praying for an escape
And I’ll trust You God with where I am
And believe that You will have Your way
Just have Your way, just have Your way

When my friends and my family have left me
And I feel so ashamed and so cold
Remind me You take the broken things
And turn them into beautiful

So I’ll stop searching for the answers
I’ll stop praying for an escape
And I’ll trust You God with where I am
And believe that You will have Your way
Just have Your way, just have Your way

Even if my dreams have died
And even if I don’t survive
I’ll still worship You with all my life
My life, yeah

And I’ll stop searching for the answers
I’ll stop praying for an escape
And I’ll trust You God with where I am
And believe that You will have Your way
Just have Your way, just have Your way

I know You will, I won’t forget
You love me, have Your way




Faith & Fitness

ImageI’ve been on this fitness kick lately. It started at the end of June after I volunteered for a soccer camp at a Boys and Girls Club. I’d been wanting to start working out once the summer started because I knew I would have more time, but for whatever reason I didn’t start until the end of June after my second day of volunteering. I figured, hey, I’m already sweaty from doing dribbling drills with about 50+ kids, so today would be a good day to start working out.

I originally intended to just work out every other day to just get in the routine. But then I decided to jump right in and exercise every day of the week except Sundays.

My primary goal for working out was to build my endurance. There’d be times when walking from class to class and I’d be somewhat out of breath when I finally made it to my classroom. It gets awkward dodging glances from your classmates who have a concerned look on their face for why you’re breathing so hard. It’s even more awkward being the only one in a quiet classroom trying to catch their breath. 

Okay, I’m exaggerating. But only a little bit. The thought would cross my mind, “Why am I the only one trying to catch my breath? Did everyone else fly to class?”

And thus, my fitness journey began.

I put a lot of emphasis on my cardio because that was the only way I knew to build endurance. I started with running a random amount of laps in a parking lot. Probably not the best place to work out because again, I was dodging glances from people who’d come out to their cars. 

I kept at it though and finally settled into a steady routine. Over time, I upped my cardio and started to keep track at my progress. I would increase how long I would run and decrease the amount of time I walked.

It’s actually very exciting when I see how much progress I’ve made since that ol’ faithful day back in June when it all began. I began to add more things to my workout regime to target different muscle groups. I’ve even moved from running laps in the parking lot to running in my neighborhood. Big step up, yeah?

One morning as I was running the thought crossed my mind of how far I had come and ways I could up my cardio routine. Then I started thinking about how much effort I had been putting in to remain discipled throughout this past month to keep it up and challenge and push my myself.

And I had another thought. Hmm, why don’t I put this much energy into pushing myself spiritually? The writer in me wanted to immediately start making the connection between the two and post a new blog, but sometimes I get in a ‘writing funk’ and think that what I have to write about will be uninteresting or too “one note” and not relevant.

Anyhoo, I was having my daily devotional time one morning and the title of it was “A Barometer for Spiritual Growth.” The very first paragraph of the devotional starts by saying:

Since our Father wants us to mature in the faith, we should stop periodically and examine our lives to see if we’re making progress in this area.” 

A mixture of emotions came over me. First I thought: This is great! This is exactly what I was thinking and wanting to write about a few days ago!

And then I thought: This is great. This is exactly what I was thinking and wanting to write about a few days ago. 

Yes. Same thought, different emotions. One of elation, one of frustration. It’s always annoying to have a thought and wanting to express it but someone else does it first. Aagh!

So thanks a lot InTouch August 2012 edition. Thanks a lot.

But that’s neither here nor there…

It got me thinking though. How come I don’t spend more time examining myself and checking out my spiritual growth?

Now I’m not recommending looking at this from a legalist point of view. It’s unproductive to test spiritual growth by checking off a list and saying, yes, I have been to church all month. Yes, I have memorized a new Bible verse today. Yes, I did not yell at my boss today at work when he made me upset.

 Instead, look at those things and see how they impacted you. Have you learned from it? How have you grown from that? 

Looking back on the things God has brought me I can definitely say He has grown me a lot in some areas. But then there are other areas in my life where I know I need more spiritual maturity. 

Usually in blogs such as this I like to introduce my thought/problem/conflict, elaborate on my experience with that thought/problem/conflict, and provide a proper conclusion with a solution to said thought/problem/conflict. 

But this time I have no proper conclusion. There’s no solution I have encountered. I don’t have the ABC’s of spiritual maturity.

However, I do know that God is faithful and is constantly at work within us to complete the work He has started from the beginning. So though there are areas in my life that need some fixing up, I know that He is diligently working those things out, and taking me through various trials to stretch me and strengthen my faith.

I’m a work in progress.



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