Chapter Seven ~ Whispers of Promise

Heartache is hearing her sentence . . .

Heartache is seeing your beautiful daughter handcuffed and taken to jail . . .
 

Heartache is not being able to hug her . . .

Heartache is answering your grandchildren when they ask if Mom and Dad will be with them for Christmas: “No, honey.”

And Jesus Whispered ~ 
Although the mountains around you are shaken, Kathi, and the hills are broken down, my unfailing love for you will not be shaken, nor will my promise of peace be removed. I am the Lord who has compassion for you and your precious grandchildren.
 
 
 
The evening of the sentencing was especially difficult for all of us. After the children were sound asleep and I had knelt by their beds and prayed, I went back into their bedrooms, checking on them all through the night, whispering one word prayers to the Father: Bless. Comfort. Touch. Heal.  Moving about our home throughout those unsettling nights, I felt the presence of the One who never slumbers or sleeps.
 
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
(An excerpt from When Life Roars, Jesus Whispers ~ Chapter 7 ~ Whispers of Promise)
by Kathi Waligora .
 
 
 
 
 
 

Chapter Four

Thomas Griffith wrote, “Men fit themselves for hell but it is God [who] fits men for heaven.” For many years, although a  believer, I had seen myself as more fit for hell than for heaven. I was filled with guilt and condemnation. That wrong believing began to change as The Holy Spirit worked a wonder in my broken heart. Though I could do nothing to alter my situation or that of my daughter, God enlightened the eyes of my heart . . . as I listened to his whispers.

And Jesus Whispered ~

I call you ‘mine. I call you “my loved one.” You are the object of my mercy.

I read about it: “For surely, O Lord, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield.” (Psalm 5:12)

Favor. Undeserved. Unmerited. But it was mine: the Favor of the Father. . . I had spent most of my adult life in condemnation and guilt ~~ never feeling good enough for God’s grace. But now, when I needed it the most, I realized, recognized, and received His amazing grace and His unfailing love for me and for my family. It was an awesome understanding that filled my broken heart. Almighty God had given me His favor.

And Jesus Whispered~

I bless you, Kathi, because you are righteous in Christ Jesus. I have surrounded you with my favor as a shield.

 
(Excerpt from Chapter 4)
Order When Life Roars, Jesus Whispers 
by Kathi Waligora on this site:
 
 
 

He won’t “unfriend” us!

Do you remember when you first heard of Facebook? I heard some women talking. “Are you friends with her?” they inquired of each other. At first, hearing the term friends in this manner was a foreign idea, but it soon caught on, and shortly, I discovered many new friends on Facebook: people I knew but rarely saw, family and friends with whom now I could connect more frequently, and some people I’d never even met before! I started using and enjoying Facebook – and gaining more friends!

Recently, I discovered that someone – actually, a family member whom I absolutely adore – “unfriended” me on Facebook.  

When I realized it, my feelings were hurt. (I wish I wasn’t so sensitive!) But it hurt me because Facebook was the only connection between us since we don’t live close.

Aren’t we Facebook/Social Media people ridiculously silly? We “friend” and “unfriend” people for so many reasons! I’ve seen a mother and son end their Facebook relationship over political disagreements. (I hope their personal relationship outside Facebook wasn’t affected!)

Some people use Facebook to connect with friends, some for political agenda, some to “air” their feelings – like writing in a journal. We all have our reasons and interests.

Facebook has given the word friend an entire new meaning – one we never considered prior to ten years ago. But  the word friend has been around forever and its true meaning was really established and confirmed by Jesus! 

Throughout the gospels, we find that Jesus used the word friend  in His ministry. He referred to those he taught as friend and used the word in His parables, as well.   He called His followers friend. He even called Judas, His betrayer,  a friend when Judas betrayed Him with a kiss. “Friend, do what you came for,” Jesus said. Imagine! Judas – a friend! It’s a baffling thought. But you see, although Judas didn’t receive Jesus as His Savior, Jesus had nonetheless come to save Judas, just as He came to save us all,  and each one He came to save is His friend. Amazing!

Jesus said that some referred to Him as a “friend of . . . sinners,” and this is where it gets personal. He was  the “friend of sinners,” and He is the “friend of sinners,” and that means  He wants to be a your friend and my friend! When we receive Him as Savior, that amazing, supernatural friendship never ends!

Jesus never unfriends us! Aren’t you glad?

Click here to learn how to become a forever friend of Jesus. 

That Cute Little Yellow Cup

It was a service for eight: plates with a yellow flower, yellow cups, saucers – you know – a complete set of dishes. My mother bought them for her little kitchen in Florida, their winter home. And she used them for many years.

Ron and Me Florida 1997005
Mom’s table is set with the yellow dishes! (My Mama always wrote on the photos!)

Some years ago, their winter vacations in Florida ended, as neither Mom nor Dad could make the long trip from Michigan any longer. Aging had set in – to the point of being considered “old” or “elderly,”  terms they didn’t like any more than I did. And no one liked the changes those words brought, including the end of an era of Florida vacations and winters – days filled with fishing, relaxing, family and neighborhood dinners, collecting shells and shark’s teeth, and  watching Ole’ Joe, the five foot Blue Heron who pranced the backyard and danced across the roof.Ole Joe001 Ole Joe002 (2)

Suddenly their winters were spent in the warmth of their cozy Michigan living room instead of the sunshine of the Florida outdoors.

Mom and Dad Florida 1999008
My Daddy and Mama during their “Florida” days – before they were considered “old” or “elderly.”             (Aren’t they cute?)

Along with their aging bodies, they had brought a few things back to Michigan from their Florida house, including the yellow dishes. Some time later, when their final winters were spent in a nursing home, I placed the yellow dishes, among other things, in a large sale, saying an ultimate goodbye to those Florida winter days.

Years passed, and their Venice, Florida house came up for sale; Ron and I bought it! We drove down – from Michigan to Venice – with the sole purpose of working on the house – you know – replacing windows and flooring, painting, cleaning, and generally renovating the neglected place.

If you know us, you know that Ron and I are considered coffee “snobs.” (It came about when we opened North Woods Coffee Co. in Coldwater, Michigan.) We love good coffee and we drive miles to find it. My road atlas is marked with notes of good coffee shops along the way – from Michigan to Venice. Of course, we take our favorite coffee maker along with us on vacations! (Doesn’t everyone?)white diner mug

We also, most often, take our own coffee mugs along when we travel – our favorite being a plain white diner mug, in which we served our awesome coffee at North Woods Coffee Co. But on this trip, we were so packed in our small SUV and trailing U-Haul, we had tried to bring only what we would actually “leave” at our new winter home in Venice. We didn’t want to leave our small collection of diner mugs, saved from North Woods Coffee Co., so . . .

. . . after we spent the first night in a Venice motel (the little winter home yet not renovated), we rose early and went directly to the little home, pulled the coffeemaker our of the SUV,and proceeded to make a pot of the hot brew we so loved. I  opened the kitchen cupboard, searching through the hodgepodge of dishes , which had accumulated throughout years of rentals and the vacations of numerous strangers. Searching those neglected shelves, I discovered a vast collection of mugs, some adorned with teddy bears or Christmas greetings, others embellished with the names and logos of nearby realtors and dentists. But behind the odd assortment, my eyes fell upon a cute little abandoned yellow cup: one in which my index finger comfortably slipped through the handle, one which held just the right amount of morning coffee I like to begin with, one that was filled with IMG_2969memories of Florida breakfasts and dinners of our own vacations past, and one which had been “left” in that little Florida kitchen many years before by my Mama and Daddy.

The yellow cup will remain in the Venice house, alone, among other vintage dishes – the ones I had taken from Michigan and had planned to use. It will always be a reminder of days gone by, of sipping morning brew on the lanai or a cup of French press with afternoon dessert.  The yellow cup will often be the first one I use on warm, sunny Florida mornings because, you see, for some reason, my coffee tastes even better in that cute little yellow cup!

“In five years, Lord, may this be nothing but a bad memory,” he prayed.

“The phone call came shortly after Ron and I were both sound asleep, early in the night, between a normal Tuesday and a wretched Wednesday. I jumped out of bed to answer. With Mama and Daddy in the nursing home, I was accustomed to receiving phone calls – day or night. ‘Doctor ordered a different medicine,’ or ‘Your mother had a fall.’ But I could see on the phone ID that this call was different. It was Jesse’s dad, Jake. I knew something was wrong – desperately wrong.

            ‘Kathi, this is Jake. Amber and Jesse have been arrested.’

            Please, God, let this be a nightmare. Let me wake up now.” 

It was a nightmare – a living nightmare, culminating  years of heartache and despondency. I couldn’t shake this nightmare, as I had those of my childhood – with splashes of cold water on my face and by walking around the house.  This nightmare persisted, and at first, I had no strength to fight it.

Within those first days, I spoke with my beloved former pastor, pouring out my broken heart, with the news of our daughter’s arrest – news that had shattered my world. He now lived across the country, but he prayed for me on the phone that day.  I still remember some of those words:

“In five years, Lord, may this be nothing but a bad memory.”

In my deepest despair, those dozen words encouraged me. Was it possible that a day might come when this pain would no longer permeate my soul – when only a memory of the pain would exist? 

That living nightmare occurred well over five years ago! And today, it is nothing but a bad memory!

It’s a long story, and you’ll have to read my book to understand how the Lord lessened my anguish, bit by bit, miracle by miracle – how the Lord broke through chains – my chains, my daughter’s chains. It’s an awesome story!

 Pastor Mills passed to heaven recently. I thanked him here on earth, and I’ll thank him again when I see him in heaven:  Thank you for hope – a hope I’ve come to know – a hope I now instill in others.

Friend, as I write this, I pray Ephesians 1:18 for you – that you might know that hope – that your worst nightmare will soon be nothing but memory, a memory God has healed. You can know the God who breaks away the chains, breaks down the gates of bronze, and cuts through the bars of iron!

Click here to read the Forgotten Man Ministries’ article about Amber and Jesse’s experience.

Click here to order When Life Roars, Jesus Whispers to read this amazing story and to learn how to find hope and encouragement in your troubles.

God bless!

Kathi

Contact me through this website. I would love to speak to your group and encourage you!

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the daughter

She was truly a lovely young girl – probably a teenager – dressed in jeans and a jean jacket. Fine, thin hair. A pale complexion. Yet she didn’t appear quite like other teenage girls. She floated around the produce as I was shopping. I noticed her mother, a pretty, small, dark-haired woman, a short distance away, selecting produce, yet constantly aware of her daughter’s every move. This was obviously a way of life to which she had become accustomed.

The daughter was very thin. I immediately assumed she didn’t eat much – probably due to being nervous or high strung. My mind played out a scenario of the mother, encouraging the daughter to eat – often to no avail. In my mind, it wasn’t just a scenario. It was one I have lived. Repeatedly.

The daughter’s hands and forearms were raised much of the time, which attributed to her fairy-like floating. As she flitted by people, she moved close to them – entering their space.  She didn’t say a word, simply looked at the person approached. A nervous smile covered the face of a healthy, vibrant young woman as “the daughter” came near her. The young woman looked at “the mother” as if to ask, “What now?” But the mother had already spoken quietly to the daughter from a distance away, and the daughter floated on. I knew the inner agony of always having to watch over the daughter because I, too, watch over a child.

As I left the produce department, I observed the daughter float up to a young man. I recognized him – a polite young man who worked in the store – obviously coming in to work for the evening. He kindly smiled at the daughter. Spoke a quiet word or two, as he continued toward the back of the store to check in for his shift. I was relieved the mother didn’t have to interact again. I could imagine the distress of doing so. I could imagine because I, too, have interacted.

little sad crying girl sitting on the bedFrom the first moment I saw the daughter, my heart was with the mother.  I imagined her life – years of loving and training – years of hurt mixed with occasional tears of joy over the simplest accomplishments. I felt a bit of her pain, although she didn’t reveal any during this short encounter. But I knew a bit of that pain because I, too, have it – the pain that accompanies the unconditional love. The pain of having people judge the way a mother (or a grandmother) should act – judging how I should handle having a child (or grandchild) like this. The hurt of hearing others comment on an affliction they know very little about. The advice I wish they would keep to themselves. The lack of compassion for the pain I constantly carry. The lack of discussion – because it’s easier for them to simply change the subject.  I imagined the continuous tugging at the mother’s heartstrings as other children her daughter’s age were saying and doing normal everyday things, reaching and celebrating milestones – day after day and week after week – leading to year after year. Birthday parties and Christmases and Easter Egg hunts, and school events, and simple playtime activities that other children were enjoying while “the daughter” floated.

And by this time, I had purchased my groceries and was pushing my small cart across the front of the store, when I saw the daughter one more time. She floated up to me, her hands and forearms lifted like a precious little fairy, and I smiled at her and said, “Hello!”

Speechless, she floated on. Then I caught the eye of the mother – the sweet mother with a simple, sweet smile on her face – a smile that said, Thank you. Thank you for treating my daughter like you would any other child.

My Road Home

My road home led to security, safety, and comfort – a place of acceptance and of unconditional love.

In the cold winters of Michigan, the road led to  warmth. Daddy stoked up the huge, round, iron furnace in the basement, and gravity drew the heat up the square-yard grated register in the middle of the living room, radiating the heat throughout the house.  When the thermostat, bracketed on the window trim outside the “picture window,” reached sub-zero temps, we were cozy inside. The long, cold drives from town, or from Grandpa and Grandma’s house were over once we saw the hill ahead and reached the end of our road home, where we found comfort in our big old yellow house.

Because I grew up in the country, of course I rode the school bus. And coming from either direction, the north or the south, the road home took me to a peaceful place , where Tippy, our collie mix, greeted me in the yard, and a place where I skipped up the porch steps into a house fragranced with freshly-baked breads and cookies or of a hot chicken pot pie, baking in the oven. My road home was the avenue to the promise of rest and refreshment.

I grew up, moved away, then settled once again at the top of that hill – this time, in a home, built by my husband and me – next door to the yellow house. In the summer, the road leads me to my place of serenity, amidst the greens of nature, the voices of birds, and the distant sounds of the bleating of sheep and the farmers working their fields. As it did throughout my childhood, my road home continues to bring anticipation of  security, safety, and comfort – a the expectation of a place of  acceptance and unconditional love.

Our driveway – at the top of the hill – in the autumn season.

But perhaps the most beautiful time to travel my road home is in the autumn, when palettes of vibrant reds, oranges, and yellows, blend with greens to create landscapes, ever-changing from day-to-day, sometimes from hour to hour.

When I reach that place in the road where I look ahead and see the hill, knowing that I’m nearing home, I’m reminded that the Lord  led me through another summer and another beautiful autumn. I’m reminded that He will lead me through the long, cold winter ahead. And I’m reminded that I can trust Him through it all because the place where He leads me is a place of security, safety, and comfort – a place of acceptance and of unconditional love.

My friend, perhaps you didn’t grow up with that place of security at the end of your road home. Perhaps you don’t have that place of acceptance and unconditional love now – at this time of your life. The place of which I wrote is not only a physical place but it is a place of rest and assurance that God offers to each of us. It is a place of security, safety, comfort – a place of  acceptance and of unconditional love we find when we belong to God the Father through Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ suffered in your place on Calvary’s cross, so that you can have eternal life with Him, as well as abundant life here on Earth. Just reach out to Him through prayer, believing on Christ alone. Click here to learn more!

The Father loves you and wants to give you a place of security, safety, comfort – a place of acceptance and unconditional love!

Back in Time.

Everyone needs a break – a change – even a few hours away from the typical stressors of life. Because of COVID, many events were cancelled during the spring,  summer, and still in the fall of 2020. Our hearts drew us to Woodward, but it was not to be. We look back with fondness to the last time we drove that Avenue just a few hours from home.  It is a great memory, which took us much further away than we had ever dreamed. Let me tell you about it:

For quite some time, Ron had wanted to go to Detroit to the Woodward Avenue Dream Cruise.  It is the world’s largest one-day automotive event, drawing 1.5 million people and 40,000 classic cars each year from around the globe. They all caravan to Metro Detroit, driving or hauling their vintage and muscle cars to participate in what has become, for many, an annual rite of summer.

That summer, it became a new “annual rite” for us!

 Many of you remember cruising! It was an elemental part of our “coming of age.” It’s a huge part of Ron’s and my history as a couple because we met while cruising the Alamo, a local hangout in our town of Coldwater, Michigan. The first car we cruised in was a friend’s red ’69 GTO, and a few days later, Ron first took me out in his green ’69 GTO.

Young people our age were experiencing the same thing at the same time a few hours away at Woodward Avenue in Metro Detroit. At these locales and others, roller-skating waitresses, sporting white bobby socks, delivered and served hamburgers and milkshakes to duck-tailed greasers in leather and their beauty queens sporting their boyfriend’s class rings and varsity letter jackets.

The real attractions, though, were the cars. Hot rods and muscle cars. Convertibles and hard tops. Oversized tires and custom-painted flames. On Saturday evenings, hot street machines cruised the Alamo in Coldwater,  while others cruised Woodward Avenue, all emanating rock and roll from their AM radios, coupled with the rumble of a big block V8. Little did we know that one day we would join thousands from all across the country and cruise together. That happened one Saturday at Woodward.

But let’s go back to that first date – the one in the ’69 GTO.

The first date led to more. Marriage soon followed, and along came the first baby. Babies and car seats simply don’t complement a muscle car with Ram Air 4, and a 400 cubic inch engine. One or the other had to go, and it certainly wasn’t going to be the first-born son!

So the days of the favored GTO were long lost, until . . . the kids were grown, the debts were paid, and the Auburn Auction offered a red ’69 GTO!

We loved the car. Ron took it to Stanton Dragway and to Martin many times and raced it in the Pure Stock Muscle Car quarter mile, always improving his time by tweaking his engine. The days were good. We were simply a retired couple who owned a beautiful, fast muscle car – until Woodward.

Everything changed at Woodward.

The 6-lane highway became one big cruise lane.

We began by circling Pontiac and heading south toward Ferndale. We ate at the Hamburger joint along Woodward where black and white checkered flags covered the outdoor seating areas.

Then we pulled our car onto Woodward again, and

suddenly, we were back in time.

The street was lined with people. Everyone was there to see the cars, to breathe in the smell of racing fuel, to hear the motors revving and tires spinning. They sat in 90 degree heat, some under shade, others directly in the sun. Nothing discouraged their desire to experience the cars. They gave the “thumbs up” and they cheered. They held up signs.  Some  signs “judged” the car; some signs “judged” the spinout or the burning rubber. Ron was receiving perfect “10s” and I was laughing. Laughing like I hadn’t laughed in a very long time.

The heat was reminiscent of the 60’s. Racing fuel was the sweet aroma to thousands of car lovers.  Big block engines provided music to our ears.

And for hours, Ron and I were young lovers again, captured in a nearly-forgotten block of time. The past held very few regrets or troubles. The future was before us and was filled with promise.

There was no sadness when later in the day, we left Woodward, and pulled onto 13 Mile. There were no regrets of going back to the present time. The windows were still rolled down, as the sun lowered in the sky. A refreshing presence filled the interior of the GTO. Beside me, sat a 21-year-old, muscled, tanned man behind the wheel. I was a beautiful 19-year-old woman once again.

The future was before us and it was filled with promise!

Have you read Kathi’s new book, When Life Roars, Jesus Whispers?

Click here to order.

Hope for the future; Joy for the present

My soul sank deeper each day.  Into a place I recognized but didn’t want to be. I tried to find a different place, a place of happiness, a place I hadn’t seen in over six years. But I couldn’t find it.

There is a place of joy. I know that place. It is pleasant place and one which sustains.  My soul, protected by my comforter, the Holy Spirit, exists in that place of joy. It is His promise. I don’t have to do anything to attain it. It is mine. But joy is quite different than happiness. I know.

The days passed. The weeks passed. The years passed. Until the point I could barely remember that place of happiness, that place I yearn for.

And recently, for a short time, I began to lose hope – the hope of healing for my grandson, the hope of peace for my family, and the hope of happiness once again.

One morning last week, I looked at my Bible, open from the night before, where I had been studying Psalm 73, reviewing and remembering God’s goodness in the midst of the oppression in the world and His faithfulness in holding my right hand and guiding me.

But that morning my eyes were drawn across the page to notes and highlighting made throughout the years, of chapter 71. My eyes fell upon the words I had written:

I will always have hope!

Psalm 71:14

 

And then He reminded me, as He whispered to me through His word,

“I am your hope, Kathi, and I have been since your youth. Even when you are old, I will not forsake you. I want you to reaffirm me to your children and to your grandchildren. Though you have troubles, I will restore you and will lift you up. I will restore your honor and will comfort you. Always have hope, Kathi, always have hope.” Psalm 71

And once again, I was strengthened by His Word. Not by my doings or by happenstance, but by His Word. I remember His faithfulness in the past, and my hope is renewed for the future. My joy is in the Lord and His faithfulness. My hope is in Him – the hope of healing, of peace, and of happiness.

The whispers are not for me alone; the whispers found in His Word are for you, my friend. You’ll find them in His Word.

Let the message of this song speak to you today.

 

Click here to order Kathi’s book, When Life Roars, Jesus Whispers.

Seeking. No, Needing, Solitude

Are you trying to spend more time alone with God? I am. As I’ve shared before, I don’t find it easy to do so. My excuse is probably a lifetime of multitasking. Reading and watching TV at the same time. Using my Bluetooth to talk on the phone while doing dishes or completing household tasks. Writing while watching the children play. Always something – rather two or three somethings going on. Not sure how or why it came about – how I got this way. I observe others quietly reading for hours at a time, napping on the back porch in the summertime, leisurely humming while fixing dinner. I covet that contentedness.

So today, I’ve made the effort to be alone with my Father, to read His Word, and to listen as He speaks to me. Today’s lessons – His whispers to me – were threefold:

a bit about family love,

a lot about compassion,

and a reminder about the importance of occasional solitude.

Here’s what His Holy Spirit taught me today:

I call him John the Baptist. I’m sure Jesus just called him John – His cousin, John. A cousin like none other, I assume, for while both babies were yet in their mother’s wombs, cousin John leaped noticeably when he heard the voice of Mary, his mother’s cousin, whom John’s mother Elizabeth referred to as “the mother of my Lord.” Mary responded to this honor by singing and glorifying the Lord God. Both baby boys heard their mothers’ voices magnifying God. Both baby boys were sent from God for specific purposes. John’s father was Zechariah. But Jesus’ father was Almighty God. A beautiful familial bond was set. The baby boys were born just months apart.

John the Baptist “prepared the way for the Lord,” baptizing people in the name of the Lord, whose “sandals I am not worthy to untie,” John said. Unlike those people John called to baptism, Jesus went to John for baptism.

Shortly after Jesus was baptized, John was imprisoned for his message. Scholars believe it was about 15 months later that John was then beheaded. When the Lord Jesus heard this news, He was undoubtedly grief-stricken: “When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place.”

Have you ever done this? In grief or in sorrow or in exhaustion, you’ve withdrawn to a place of solitude. Jesus did. But the Bible tells us that when he had arrived at the place of solitude, he discovered that He wasn’t really alone at all. A large crowd of people had followed him, along the shore. They were desperate for Him. I understand. Do you? I’ve been desperate for Him in the past. And I am desperate for Him now, as I write. a desperation I’ve had for years now. I do understand. And so does Jesus. I know this because of His response to the people who interrupted His desired solitude.

The Bible tells us that when Jesus saw this large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick. Then he fed them by multiplying five loaves of bread and two fish. That’s my Jesus,!. That’s your Jesus, beloved! Compassionate. Loving. Healer. Bread of Life.

After He met the needs of the people, He again sought solitude, this time succeeding. He went up on a mountainside. To pray, the Bible says.

To pray. I let that “sink in” to my desperate, multitasking mind today.

I don’t know how long He was alone in prayer, but I assume it was through the evening and most of the night. We read that along toward morning, He went out, on the lake, walking on the water during a storm, to meet, comfort, and teach His disciples who were in a water-drenched boat, tossing to and fro, thinking they were going to die. That’s my Jesus! That’s your Jesus. Teacher. Comforter. Savior. The Great I Am! The Son of God!

And it didn’t end. His ministry didn’t end when He was crucified. He’s still compassionate. He still comforts me. He’s still loving and healing. My teacher. My Savior. The Great I Am! The Son of God. The Bread of Life. That’s my Jesus. And if He is your Savior, that’s your Jesus too.

He’s the one who becomes family.

He’s the one who is compassionate.

And He’s the one who teaches me that occasionally I need to get to a place of solitude ~ to pray.

Click here to learn more about trusting Jesus as your Savior.


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