Author Archives: mirandarat

A Plentiful Harvest

Every morning we walk out to the garden and pick from the bounty, and by the time we return to the garden in the afternoon there is even more to pick.

Galatians 6:9 Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.

It is a time of great harvest in Bellvue, Colorado right now. The garden behind my house and the Pleasant Valley church building is full of yellow squash, cucumbers, yellow squash, zucchini, okra, yellow squash, green beans, pumpkins, and tomatoes. But especially yellow squash. Every morning we walk out to the garden and pick from the bounty, and by the time we return to the garden in the afternoon there is even more to pick. We make stir fry and salad and zucchini bread and squash casserole and more squash casserole. We share with the church and friends in the community. And what’s left gets placed on the picnic table at the church building with a sign practically begging passers-by to help themselves. The garden is a fun and practical way to build up our community, and to bless ourselves and others with the fruit of the earth.

As we collect basket after basket of garden goods, we’re thankful. When we taste the first fried okra of the summer, or pull the first loaf of chocolate chip zucchini bread out of the oven, we barely remember the work that went into it. When the community garden share coordinator is amazed at the amount of yellow squash we bring in, we’re proud.

However, when I think back to the plowing and the digging and the watering and the weeding, I realize the great effort that went into the garden. When we feel the need to pray that it will rain enough to relieve our watering duties for a day or two, the garden can seem like a great burden. When we’re sweating in full sun with dirt under our finger nails and sore backs but can STILL see endless weeds, we start to wonder why we bother. The challenge is to not grow weary, but to think of the great harvest later in the year. The challenge is to remember all the people who will be blessed by the bounty that will result from the hard work of planting and caring for a garden.

Spiritually, we become weary. Day in and day out we work. We teach and preach and study, praying that someone will hear and believe and act on their faith. We toil in God’s Kingdom and we are often met with trials, suffering, and heart ache. We watch people fall away, often for trivial reasons. We listen as the world, and sometimes those who call themselves Christians, mock the Church- Christ’s own bride. Sometimes it would be easy to give up. At one time or another, I’m sure that each Christian has asked themselves, “Why?” Why bother with the hard labor of daily bearing a cross? Why even try to live differently from the world, when it attacks our lifestyle at every angle? Why teach people who laugh, ignore, or walk away? Why bother challenging wrong doctrine when it seems never ending? Sometimes we can look up from our work and see that there is so much more to do, as we can look up from our weeding in a garden and see that there are so many more weeds to pull.

While a garden can fail, we still put much work into it and have faith that it will supply us with much fruit to enjoy and share. The good news for us as Christians is that if we continue with the work of God, we cannot fail. As Jesus was being beaten and mocked and spat on and hated, He could have given up. But He didn’t. Why? Because Jesus knew the end result. He knew that through his anguish, a great harvest would be collected. He knew that through His pain He would enable people to return to their God. He knew that through His suffering, the church would begin.

Whether we are sowing fleshly things or spiritual things, we are sowing something.

Galatians 6:7-8a Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption.

Whether we are sowing fleshly things or spiritual things, we are sowing something. With sowing comes work and with work comes weariness. When we’re in the midst of hard spiritual labor, it may seem easier to just give it up. But when we do, we automatically begin fleshly labor which may seem easy for a time, but ends in a weariness full of corruption.

The hopeful end result of sowing a garden is a plentiful harvest of vegetables to share with friends and to enjoy as a family. As Christians, we KNOW the end result of our work:

Gal 6:8b But the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.

Eternal life through the Spirit is our goal and the result of our sowing here upon this earth. Do not grow weary of doing good. Know that the harvest is plentiful and the end result is eternity with your God.

By Miranda Trujillo
Miranda Trujillo is a 21-year old homeschool graduate and preacher’s kid. She attends Pleasant Valley church of Christ- the church building was her playground growing up. She loves gardening, mixing up herbal potions, feeding middle schoolers (as a lunch lady), blogging and enjoying her family life in the beautiful Pleasant Valley– Bellvue, Colorado.

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God’s Gift

As God’s people I believe we have a great opportunity to help those around us treasure what God treasures. Many things that are valuable to God are not seen through His eyes by the people around us. We are His people and we need to see things through His eyes.

One of the greatest gifts God has given to us is the gift of children. They are precious to Him, and their value is far beyond what can be summed up here. But I would like to encourage you to adamantly seek to see children the way He sees them.

I just spent a summer caring for children and it helped me see even more than before how unique each soul is. Each one is worth the time it takes to lead them toward God. The mission of a mother is so incredibly important, as she has the greatest influence over her young children. I pray that those of you who are mothers would see the mission field right in front of you. I pray that the rest of us will do our part to love and encourage the mothers among us, and to bless their children however we can. I am thankful that my own mother took her job as a parent seriously and chose to devote her time to leading me and my siblings into a relationship with Jesus. Children are the only earthly possessions that are also spiritual, and thus can be taken to Heaven.

Just to give a glimpse into the value of children in God’s eyes, I want to point out a well-known piece of history from God’s Word.

Mark 10:13-16 And they were bringing children to Him so that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant and said to them, ‘Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.’ And He took them in His arms and began blessing them, laying His hands on them.

Our Lord knew, and knows, the value of children. He took time out of his busy day to love these little ones who were brought to Him. The disciples didn’t get it. They didn’t immediately realize the influence they could make on the future through these little children. Jesus knew. I can only imagine what an impact it made on the children and their mothers for their Savior to love them this way.

Children are not a burden nor are they an inconvenience. They are a privilege and a blessing from God. Psalm 127:3 tells us that children are a gift from the Lord and the fruit of the womb is a reward. As Christians, we need to treasure children the way our Heavenly Father does. We need to be the ones who treat children as if they matter. We need to see them as more than just a check mark on our life list. If we are parents they should be our mission. If we are not parents, our mission should be to help the parents around us with their children.

In the church, let us be sure that we aren’t tossing the children aside in our activities and worship. The world sees a great need to distract children and get them out of the way. The disciples thought Jesus didn’t have time to spend with the children–they assumed His work was more important. Jesus proved that those assumptions and thoughts about children are wrong. We must be sure that children are central to our work and worship in the church and that we don’t see them as just something else that gets in the way of our mission. We must encourage families with children and, yes, even those with crying babies. The church should be the last place that young mothers feel uncomfortable about bringing their babies. Let’s welcome children as the gifts that they are. Let’s be sure we never develop a worldly response to families with children. We can’t let the world define the worth of the little ones. It may be cliche, but what would Jesus do? We know what Jesus would do based on his actions and words when the disciples saw fit to keep the children from Him. “Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”

By Miranda Trujillo
Miranda Trujillo is a 21-year old homeschool graduate and preacher’s kid. She attends Pleasant Valley church of Christ- the church building was her playground growing up. She loves gardening, mixing up herbal potions, feeding middle schoolers (as a lunch lady), blogging and enjoying her family life in the beautiful Pleasant Valley– Bellvue, Colorado.

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Family Heritage

On July 4th I was given my soon-to-be-husband’s great grandmother’s ring along with a marriage proposal. After saying “yes”, I had time to admire my beautiful ring. As a family heirloom, it represents the history of a family I will soon be a part of. I could not be more honored. The more I think about it, the more precious it becomes to me because it is a piece of their heritage, given to me as I prepare to join their family. This beautiful ring was taken care of and treasured and is now mine to treasure for future generations.

As I thought about an heirloom ring and its significance to a family, I began thinking about the heritage I want my family to have. I believe God always meant for His people to think about generations to come. Human beings can become so “me” focused and live so much for the moment with little thought about the future of their family. We can also become so zealous for evangelism that we forget to think about the spiritual heritage of our own families. What heritage do I want to leave for my children and their children’s children? There is no greater treasure than that which God’s people will receive as their reward in Heaven. And as I think about my family and the family I will soon be part of, I want nothing more than to insure that treasure for my children and generations to come. I seek multi-generational faithfulness.

Ps 71:17-18 O God, You have taught me from my youth and I still declare Your wondrous deeds. And even when I am old and gray, O God, do not forsake me until I declare Your strength to this generation, Your power to all who are to come.

This passage of Psalm 17 really sums up what I’m trying to say. Here is someone who was taught from his youth and still faithfully praises God. The declaration that even when he is old and gray he will declare God’s strength and power to “this generation” and “to all who are to come” truly encourages me. This is a picture of multi-generational faithfulness to the glory of God.

In Paul’s letters to Timothy we also see a picture of generational faithfulness. Timothy’s grandmother and mother taught him to love God, and we see very clearly that they were successful in their desire to raise a faithful follower of Christ.

Ps 78:1-7 Listen, O my people, to my instruction; incline your ears to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings of old, which we have heard and known and our fathers have told us. We will not conceal them from their children, but tell to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and His strength and His wondrous works that He has done. For He established a testimony in Jacob And appointed a law in Israel, which He commanded our fathers that they should teach them to their children, that the generation to come might know, even the children yet to be born, that they may arise and tell them to their children, that they should put their confidence in God and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments.

Deut 4:9-10 “Only give heed to yourself and keep your soul diligently, so that you do not forget the things which your eyes have seen and they do

God has always had a heart for the future generations of his people. His desire is for His people to love Him enough that they actively seek ways of insuring the faithfulness of their families until Christ returns. Salvation is a treasure above any other treasure. We have it. It is our responsibility to do everything in our power to safe guard it for future generations, just as my fiance’s family took great care with his great grandmother’s ring. It is our job to shift our focus from the treasures of this world to the treasures found in obedience to God and His Word. May we, as His people, seek what He seeks for our families: faithfulness for generations to come.

By Miranda Trujillo
Miranda Trujillo is a 21-year old homeschool graduate and preacher’s kid. She attends Pleasant Valley church of Christ- the church building was her playground growing up. She loves gardening, mixing up herbal potions, feeding middle schoolers (as a lunch lady), blogging and enjoying her family life in the beautiful Pleasant Valley– Bellvue, Colorado.

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Foreigners

Phil 3:20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Surely everyone has met someone from a different area of the world. If not, maybe you’ve met someone from a different area of the country. What I’m sure you have found is that people from different places talk differently, dress differently, appear differently, and often act differently. It’s easy to point out the Southerners in the crowd based on their twangy accents, just as you can know where someone is from when they wear the attire of their home country. The point is, usually it’s easy to tell where a person is from or at least to know that they are not from your area.

You might also find that people take great pride in their hometown. I have several Tennessee friends who love to tell me about how things are back South and how our idea of a BBQ in Colorado is so messed up. While visiting Oklahoma Christian University, I met a young man from Uganda who was excited to hear that I’d heard of his country and wanted to fill me in on all the details. I was born in Oklahoma but having been raised a Colorado girl I would love to tell you about my beautiful Northern Colorado that I love so much.

We know that people from different places are noticeable and that people are proud of their places of birth and places of citizenship. As Christians, our citizenship may be in Uganda or Tennessee or Colorado, but when we put on Christ in baptism we are born into the Kingdom of God and our citizenship becomes the place that God is preparing for us in Heaven. We need to place a higher importance on our citizenship in Heaven than on any place here in this dying world.

As citizens of Heaven we have a higher calling, but just as foreign people visiting our country, we are different from the people around us. We are foreigners here and it is our job to make sure we are not hiding where our true home is. Do we dress differently than those around us? Do we speak, act, and look differently? Can people tell where we are from, or at the very least that we are different? Do we raise our children to know their true heritage as children of God? Are we a city set on a hill that cannot be hidden (Matt. 5:14)? Are we a light in the dark world? Are we salt to the earth (Matt. 5:13)? Are we a peculiar people (1 Peter 2:9)? Like my Ugandan friend, are we eager to tell others of our home- Heaven? Do we rejoice in the fact that our names are written in Heaven (Luke 10:20)?

Jesus’ disciples could not hide the fact that they had been with Him because the world noticed the way that they spoke.

  • Acts 4:13b “Now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed, and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus.”
  • Matt 26:71-73 “When he had gone out to the gateway, another servant-girl saw him and said to those who were there, ‘This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.’ And again he denied it with an oath, ‘I do not know the man.’ A little later the bystanders came up and said to Peter, ‘Surely you too are one of them; for even the way you talk gives you away.’”

Do you speak like someone who has been with Jesus? Do you live your life in a way that it cannot be denied that you walk with God? As Christians, our doctrine teaches us how to live our lives. If we live according to God’s Word, it will be impossible to hide the fact that we are citizens of Heaven. We will be peculiar to the world around us. They will notice.

You are blessed. You are a citizen of Heaven. Do not try to fit in with this world to the point that no one can tell you are different. Don’t take pride in your home on this earth more than you do in your home in Heaven. Because we are surrounded by the world, we are in danger of fitting in so well that our lights are hidden. Seek to be different yourself and seek to raise children who know what it means to be citizens of Heaven.

I pray that we will let the people around us know that we are not of this world, but that we are foreigners here. Our citizenship is in Heaven where our names are written and our Savior is preparing a place for us.

By Miranda Trujillo
Miranda Trujillo is a 21-year old homeschool graduate and preacher’s kid. She attends Pleasant Valley church of Christ- the church building was her playground growing up. She loves gardening, mixing up herbal potions, feeding middle schoolers (as a lunch lady), blogging and enjoying her family life in the beautiful Pleasant Valley– Bellvue, Colorado.

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Your Knight in Shining Armor

Ladies, are you overlooking the knight in shining armor right under your nose?

Ladies, do you dream of the day when your prince will come? Do you pray to God daily that someday He will send this prince to carry you away? Maybe you hope for a valiant and chivalrous protector- someone who will truly love you.

Yes, many girls dream of this fairytale coming true in their lives. But I fear that many of you overlook the knight in shining armor who is right under your nose. The one who adores and loves you. The one who will give anything for you to seek his counsel and protection. This knight is your father.

God has placed your dad in your life for good reason. God Himself placed in us the desire to be loved, protected and even needed by a man. For this very reason God has given us the love and protection of our fathers. And have you ever thought that your dad might need you? He does.

The Bible tells us we are “helpmeets” or “suitable helpers” for men. (Gen. 2:20-23) Most people look at this as only your role once you’re married. I disagree. I believe girls need to realize how valuable their help can be to their fathers. How often do you go out of your way to help him meet his goals? How often do you show interest in his life calling or his ministry? Do you seek to spend special time with him and listen to him? Becoming your father’s helpmeet is not only great practice for being your future husband’s helper, it can give you a deeper relationship with your dad. It can also give you great satisfaction and appreciation for your knight. And it will make him appreciate you even more than he already does.

In our teenage years we are told we need to “find ourselves” and seek independence. It is a great tragedy that many Christian girls see this as an excuse to pull away from their fathers. They pull away from his guidance, counsel and protection. “Daddy’s little girl” is all of a sudden ashamed and embarrassed of her father. Instead, she seeks the attention of young men who are not anywhere near as qualified to care for and protect her as her father. Why? Because our world today expects that of her. Perhaps even more tragic is the fact that many dads are OK with this. Even if they’re not, many of them don’t do anything about it.

The truth of the matter is, when we forsake our fathers for the love of independence, we say “no thank you” to one of the greatest blessings God has bestowed on us: the father-daughter relationship. This is not something you, or your father, want to miss out on!

Many precious things come from this relationship if we take advantage of it. You will have the counsel of someone much wiser than you. Your father has a lot of wisdom that he can share with you about life. Your father also has the important role of protecting your heart- making sure only a worthy prince will claim it. And oh, what a truly precious blessing this is!
Your dad also knows how boys think (after all, he was one) and can give you insight as you strive to be modest in appearance and personality. God has given you your dad to protect your heart, defend your virtue, and help you get to Heaven.

Any father would be thrilled to take up this responsibility if you would only begin to expect, seek and be grateful for it. If you do not have a godly father this can be more difficult. But most fathers would love for their daughters to begin seeking a closer relationship with them. Who knows? Maybe through winning your father’s heart you will also win him for Christ. (Just like wives can win their husbands “without a word”. 1 Peter 3:1)

Please do not overlook or be ashamed of your dad. Instead, fully embrace the blessings of a godly relationship with him. Submit yourself to his authority, become his helper, and thank God for his love and protection.

By Miranda Trujillo
Miranda Trujillo is a 21-year old homeschool graduate and preacher’s kid. She attends Pleasant Valley church of Christ- the church building was her playground growing up. She loves gardening, mixing up herbal potions, feeding middle schoolers (as a lunch lady), blogging and enjoying her family life in the beautiful Pleasant Valley– Bellvue, Colorado.

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A Gentle and Quiet Spirit

Your adornment must not be merely external–braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it by the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God (1 Peter 3:3-4).

“The hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit.” Aren’t those words beautiful? I say them over and over to myself often. As girls who are trying to be Biblically beautiful, we must never forget to focus on having gentle and quiet spirits. Today I see many girls today who seem to have little concern about being gentle and quiet, much less about the hidden person of their hearts. Girls in our day and time seem to think they need to draw attention to themselves in any way possible. Sadly, I see more and more girls becoming loud and obnoxious rather than gentle and quiet. I also see girls focusing on time in front of the mirror instead of time in the Word. This is hardly the way to nurture the hidden person of our hearts.

Everyone loves attention in some form. Everyone loves to be complimented. But when we see girls who constantly seek attention, it automatically turns us off. Girls will dress immodestly, act like know-it-alls, speak loudly and obnoxiously, and put other people down, all for a little attention. But what does the Bible tell us? It tells us just the opposite…we are to be gentle and quiet. THAT’S what is precious in God’s sight. Let us seek to give God the glory for everything we do.

Having a quiet spirit doesn’t mean we can’t laugh and have fun sometimes. It means being modest in appearance and character, not constantly having a need for attention. It means being quick to compliment others and slow to accept praise. It means not purposely drawing attention to ourselves. It means giving all glory to God. Having a gentle spirit means being kind in our speech and in our actions towards others.

I challenge you, as I constantly must challenge myself, to focus on the hidden person of your heart. Train yourself to have a gentle and quiet spirit. This may be easier for some girls than others, but either way it won’t happen over night! This is a process, and you truly must train yourself through thought, prayer, study, and practice.

“Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near” (Philippians 4:5).

By Miranda Trujillo
Miranda Trujillo is a 20-year old homeschool graduate and preacher’s kid. She attends Pleasant Valley church of Christ- the church building was her playground growing up. She loves gardening, mixing up herbal potions, feeding middle schoolers (as a lunch lady), blogging and enjoying her family life in the beautiful Pleasant Valley– Bellvue, Colorado.

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An Epidemic of Happiness

“As long as you’re happy.” seems to be a common theme in our culture. We seek happiness at every turn. In every part of our lives we strive to make ourselves, and those we love, happy.

What if I told you that I care very little about your happiness? The truth is, my goal for the people around me is not that they live happy lives. I believe the pursuit of happiness has become an epidemic, as we have tossed everything else aside in order to be “happy”.

The pursuit of happiness has infested every area of our society: relationships, occupations, religion, education, etc. Happiness is such a shallow and relatively unattainable goal on its own. Yet we reach for it and turn to it as an answer to all of the big questions in life. For a nation that spends so much time seeking after happiness, is anyone actually happy? At the end of the day can anyone honestly say that they have arrived- that they have truly attained all that would make them happy?

I want something so much more than happiness for the people I love. I want them to live God-glorifying lives and to live forever in His presence when their time on this earth is finished. If that is the goal, we need to pursue something much more worthy than happiness, which will fade when real life hits. If you are living life to the full, you will probably have many unhappy times. What will replace the happiness is a peace because you know you are right with God. What results from peace is true joy, which is better than the momentary happiness of this world.

I want the people I love to have joy rather than happiness. When my friends choose men or women to spend their lives with I want them to focus on finding people who passionately love God. I do not wish for them to find guys and girls who “make them happy”. There is so much more at stake than your happiness right now. Will he lead your home? Will she love you with a Godly submission? Would he die for you, as Christ did for the church? Will she raise your children for Heaven? Will he provide for you? Will she keep your home? Will he teach your children daily to love God? Is she worthy of praise? Is he a man after God’s own heart? Read Ephesians 5:22-33.

“Godly marriages proceed from an obedient heart, and the greatest desire of an obedient heart is the glory of God, not the happiness of the household.” -Douglas Wilson

When the people I love seek a church to worship with I don’t want them to find a church that makes them happy. I recently heard about someone telling a group of young people to make sure the church they chose made them “comfortable”. Well, it is not the church’s main concern to make you comfortable or to make you happy. The Church’s job is to glorify God and to save the lost. There is very little room for personal “happiness” when the goal is to please Jesus Christ, the One who died for the church, considering the fact that what makes me happy may be very different from what makes you happy. There is very little comfort in saving the lost from a dying world, when you consider that we are at war with the worst evil in existence in order to save those lost. But there is plenty of peace and joy in knowing that you are worshiping the Holy God the way HE loves to be worshiped. And there is plenty of peace and joy in knowing you did everything in your power to bring the lost to Him.

I fear that even the church has fallen into the happiness epidemic to some extent- adding all kinds of special groups, fun programs, and watered down teaching to draw more people in. If this culture of fun is supposed to save more people, why are the young people leaving in droves? Isn’t the church making them happy enough? Or maybe there’s something to be said about the simplicity of Biblical teaching and God-focused (rather than ME-focused) worship.

As the people I love choose a career/education path I do not want them to pick based on making themselves happy. I hope that they will choose their career based on the desire to use the talents and passions God has given them to glorify Him and to provide for the people they are responsible for.(1 Tim. 5:8)

When making entertainment choices, I hope the people I love will shun what is evil and cling to what is good. (Romans 12:9) The fact that a form of entertainment makes you happy is not enough of a reason to let sin into your life. It is not worth a laugh to be accepting of what you know to be wrong. Your soul is not worth losing over entertaining yourself for happiness rather than for edification.

I do not wish many friends upon the people I love for the purpose of happiness. The people you let intimately into your life will shape who you are. (1 Cor. 15:33) You may be happy and popular but headed toward destruction. It would be better to live without friends than to be led into a shallow lifestyle dependent on friendships. I want the people I love to be able and willing to stand alone when they have to. And I want them to cling to the edifying, true friendships they are blessed with- those friendships that lead them toward Heaven.

I don’t want happiness from wealth for the people I love. (Mark 10:25) There is something to be said about living within your means and being content with “food and covering”. (1 Tim 6:8) If you cannot have joy in poverty, you won’t have happiness in wealth.

Chasing happiness leads to an unfulfilled and destructive life. Seeking to glorify God leads to a life of joy. Really, the truly happy times in life are a result of the true joy that comes from doing what’s right- not from spending life in the pursuit of happiness.

So my hope for you is not a life filled with chasing happiness. I hope that you will chase after what you were created to accomplish. I hope you will pursue glorifying God with your life.

“The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commands, for this is the whole of man.” Ecclesiastes 12:13

By Miranda Trujillo
Miranda Trujillo is a 20-year old homeschool graduate and preacher’s kid. She attends Pleasant Valley church of Christ- the church building was her playground growing up. She loves gardening, mixing up herbal potions, feeding middle schoolers (as a lunch lady), blogging and enjoying her family life in the beautiful Pleasant Valley– Bellvue, Colorado.

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