Quiet in a Noisy World

Gratitude Day 405

Tues., Feb. 11, 2020

Job 33:31: (God said,) “Job, pay attention and listen to me; be quiet, and I will speak.”

Sometimes, the world is so noisy.

There are days when I relish getting into the car, all by myself, with no one to talk to. No one to listen to. Just me.

Oh, how selfish this sounds!

But, honestly, it’s real.

I know there is less noise in my life than many others encounter. For this, I am grateful. Yet, there are days …

Noise is more than the spoken word, music, TV, or the garbage truck driving by. Noise is truly anything that distracts us. Keeps us from hearing ourselves. Keeps us, more importantly, from hearing God.

Many times, people have said, “God has never come to me. God has never spoken to me.” While this may be true, I often wonder, “Do you ever put yourself into a position where you are quiet/slow/not distracted enough so you CAN hear God? Or would God need a bull horn as big as Texas to get your attention?”

Believe me. I’m guilty as well. I find a hundred reasons why not to be quiet so I can hear God.

Recently, a person asked me, “How do you know when God is speaking to you?” It’s a great question. While there are many possible answers, I think making sure you are ready to hear from God must be near the top of the list. If we aren’t listening for God, God may have spoken to you and you missed it. If there is too much “noise” in our lives, God’s voice or desire to speak to us gets mixed in with all the other “noise” in our lives.

Honestly, God may not speak to you on your timeframe. When this happens, we get all hoity-toity and just assume God has no time for us. Maybe, just maybe God did speak … and we were not able to hear. Or we weren’t in a position where we were ready to hear what God had to say.

Sometimes, it’s selective hearing.

I pray that you find moments in your days and weeks where God would have a sliver of an opportunity to speak to you. I pray God uses you as God’s megaphone (or small microphone) to someone else. I pray that you yearn for God to speak to you … and believe it will happen.

Sometimes, we need a little quiet. Time in the car just with us and God. No radio, no cell phone, no distractions. We turn off what needs to be done and simple be with God. No agenda. No expectation. No disappointment if nothing really happens.

Slow down. Sit. Listen. Anticipate God speaking to you. It will be a good day.

If you have a prayer request today, drop it in the comments. I would love to pray for it.

For the reminder to simple by so we can listen, I am grateful.

Blessings –


Holy God – Thank you for giving us a wonderful example of community even within the Trinity. Thank you for teaching us how important it is to have friends who love you and care deeply for you. I pray we encourage and support those people who are special brothers and sisters in our lives. Amen.

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Thanks for Being My Friend

Gratitude Day 404

Tues., Feb. 11, 2020

Philippians 4:1: My dear brothers and sisters, I love you and want to see you. You bring me joy and make me proud of you, so stand strong in the Lord as I have told you.

This photo reflects a highlight from last week. One that brings me joy whenever I look at it.

While all of us would have preferred a different reason to bring us all together, for a short period of time, these long-time friends spent moments together.

I have a fortunate woman. I have valued friends from different aspects of my life.

These gal-pals represent my undergraduate college years. I knew none of them before I stepped foot on the University of Wisconsin-Madison Campus. Yet, in the four years that I was a student, these truly became some of my best gal-pals.

When Alice Steiner passed away a little over a week ago, we all quickly decided to attend the visitation to support our dear friends, Barb and Janet. Alice was their Mom.  

I became acquainted with these ladies because we were all in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS). Many of us lived together. We hung out together and have thousands of memories that we still laugh about. Some of those memories do not need repeating here.

These days, our gatherings are not as frequent, usually for dinner or a long lunch. It’s difficult to get us all together. These days, we have a variety of careers. While these roles are important to us, they aren’t the only things that define us. We support our families, participate in our communities and churches, champion causes important to us and encourage each other to live our dreams as well as explore things that will stretch us.

While these are not my blood sisters, they are sisters in many, many ways. As I look at this group of ladies, I am so proud to call them my friends. When we are together, we share things that are personal and yet important in our lives. After knowing each other for 30+ years (Yikes!), it’s easy to move into conversations that are deep, meaningful and special.

We have brought joy to each other’s lives. We are proud for our individual accomplishments. We are strong in supporting each other and yet know when to bring in re-enforcements.

The time together flew by and unfortunately, I didn’t get to have as many conversations as I would have liked. I pray that they know that I love them and want to see them again soon. Thanks for being my friend, ladies!

For special gal-pal friends, I am grateful. They are back row l to r: Lisa, Borzy, Tracy, Jayne and Janet; front row: me, Rhonda, Marie, Janice and Barb.

Blessings –


Holy God – Thank you for giving us a wonderful example of community even within the Trinity. Thank you for teaching us how important it is to have friends who love you and care deeply for you. I pray we encourage and support those people who are special brothers and sisters in our lives. Amen.

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Creative Ideas for Valentine’s Day

Gratitude Day 403

Mon., Feb. 10, 202

1 John 4:19: So you see, our love for him comes as a result of his loving us first.

This is the week folks celebrate Valentine’s Day!

I’ll be honest. It’s not completely my favorite holiday. Yet, there are simple ways that we can express how much we love those people who mean the most to us. Today, I’m sharing just a few ways you can creatively remind people that you care for them and love them. Yes, you can do the traditional card/chocolates/flowers ideas. But if you’re looking for something a bit more creative? Read on, my friend!

Make them cookies.

We have a long-standing classic Deaton sugar cookie that my family has made for years. They are EXCELLENT. However, sometimes, I need a gluten-free cookie. Making gluten-free baked goods is HARD. There’s a reason why we use gluten in all those things that taste so yummy.

But these cookies? They are the real deal. They are gluten-free AND taste good. In fact, they taste as good as a regular sugar cookie.

This isn’t a large batch. So, they go quick. If you need more, simply make a double batch.


Cookie:                                                          Icing:

2 ½ c gluten-free flour                              ¼ c softened cream cheese

1 tsp baking powder                                 ¼ c softened butter

½ tsp salt                                                       1 tsp vanilla extract

1 c sugar                                                       1 ½ c confectioners’ sugar

¾ c softened butter                                   2 tsp vanilla

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 eggs

Mix together the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder and salt. (For the gluten-free flour, I often use a mixture of various gluten-free flours. Also, there are gluten-free “mixtures” that you can find in the baking section that are also a good choice.) Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, cream together the sugar, butter and extract until smooth. Add eggs. After these ingredients are well-mixed, add the dry ingredients at one time. Mix until smooth. Form a ball, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour. (I know – waiting seems silly. But with the gluten-free, the extra step really is necessary.)

Roll out dough on floured surface. I like a little thicker cookie, so I roll them about .25” Cut into shapes. Place on lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake at 325 degrees oven for 10 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the sheet for a few minutes before removing them. (Again, NECESSARY. Gluten-free cookies are picky. Take the extra time.)

Icing: beat cream cheese, butter and extracts together until smooth. Add in sugar and mix until smooth. Add food coloring for the color icing you want. With these cookies, I made the lighter color first. When I was ready for a darker color, I used the same frosting and just added more food coloring for the darker version.

Note: Usually, I use a slightly different icing recipe. But I like the cream cheese version on these cookies. Be generous with the almond. It gives the cookies and icing a wonderful, different flavor. I’m often asked what makes my cookies different. It’s ALWAYS the almond flavoring.

Frost cookies when cooled. And you have a wonderful surprise for someone! Put them on a plate with a handmade card and you have created a little something special for that something special person.

A Meal Out Gift Card

For our grandkids, one thing I like to do is get them a gift card to a favorite eating place and send it along with a handmade card. I do this for a variety of holidays. I call this their “meal out” gift card. It’s a way they can go someplace they like and have a meal on Grandpa and Grandma. Favorite places to get the gift cards: Culver’s and Subway.

Here’s a variety of more ideas. Maybe these ideas will help you think of something else:

  • Get them a journal. Write a favorite bible verse on the first page so they will see it every time they open the journal.
  • Go to the dollar store and pick out some of their favorite things. Put them in a basket or $1 tub you picked up at the store. Things I often include: popcorn, nuts, cereal treats, a small bag of candy, favorite drink, cool pencils, markers or pens.
  • Have a favorite photo enlarged. Put in a frame or just tape to tag board. Include a little note with it.
  • Make a coupon book of things you will do with or for your special person. Ideas include: making a meal of their choice, watching a movie of their choice, spending an afternoon doing whatever they want, cleaning something for them that they don’t like to do, play a game with them, pray with them, etc.  

An Extra-Large Handmade Card

Actually, Rick made and gave this to me many years ago. I was attending seminary at the time and we only saw each other a few days a week. He had this sitting near the door when I walked into the house. It was a WONDERFUL surprise.

Yep, it’s a favorite. If you look closely, it’s beat up because I have moved it several times. It keeps moving with me. And it will for a while!

This Valentine’s Day, challenge yourself to be creative. Come up with something that is special because you put a little time into creating it for the special people in your lives.

The love we have for each other should always be rooted in the love we receive and feel from God. When you are in a good spot with a person, make sure they know that you don’t take them for granted. When the person has disappointed you or challenged you or maybe you are just feeling a little distant from them, Valentine’s Day is a great opportunity to extend a little something that says, “I care for you. No matter what.”

For opportunities to replicate God’s love for us to those who mean the most to us, I am grateful.

Dear God – Thank you for loving us unconditionally. Sometimes, this is not as easy for us. May we find opportunities this week to express our love to those who mean the most to us. Amen.

Blessings –


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You ARE God’s Story

Gratitude Day 402

Sat., Feb. 8, 202

Isaiah 5:7: I have given you the story of God’s people. 

I love stories. I love to tell them, write them, share them and hear them.

So, when I heard about a new children’s book that tells the story of God creating the world, I felt the need to have a copy.

It’s a lovely little book that begins in the very beginning. A little boy and his friends go on a journey to discover the beginning of all things. The illustrations are fantastic. The words easy to read. It takes the creation story and makes it tangible and realistic.

Before the book ends, it makes the story personal with these words:

But always remember, ‘cause this much is true,

God had a purpose for making you YOU.

Amen. Again, and again, AMEN!

In the next pages, readers are challenged to take the gifts and talents and shticks that God has given us and use them to make a better world. With simple little examples, the author makes this realistic and doable.

This little power-packed book ends in a special way. God didn’t stop with the creation story. No, it was just the beginning. Here’s how the book ends:

Amen. Again, and again, AMEN!

This wonderful little book almost wants me to try and write a children’s book. Not sure I will but it reminds me that we can take God’s story, our story, and put it into words that work for all ages.

Amen. Again, and again, AMEN!

This week, I was reminded of another story that has a powerful ending. It’s based on the song, “It Is Well.”

Originally, the words were written by Horatio Spafford. A successful attorney and real estate investor, he lost a fortune in the great Chicago fire in 1871. About the same time, his beloved four-year-old son died of scarlet fever. Feeling a vacation would do his family some good, he sent his wife and four daughters on a ship to England with the plan to join them after completing some business.

However, the unimaginable happened. As the ship traveled across the Atlantic Ocean, there was a terrible collision. The ship sunk and more than 200 people died, including all four of Horatio’s daughters. Once his wife, Anna, arrived in England, she sent a telegram to her husband with these words: “Saved alone. What shall I do?”

Horatio quickly took a ship headed for England. The captain was aware of the tragedy. When his ship approached the spot where the previous ship had sunk, he summoned Horatio to let him know that they were passing through the area where his daughters had died.

While going through this area, Horatio’s soul filled with words of comfort and hope. These words became a well-beloved hymn:

When peace like a river, attendeth my way,

When sorrows like sea billows roll, whatever my lot thou hast taught me to know,

It is well, it is well with my soul.

Contemporary Christian singer Kristene DiMarco has reworked this hymn into a more contemporary version. Take a listen to her version. Listen carefully to the words which honor Horatio’s words so well:

I don’t know what is going on in your life today. I don’t know if you have struggled this week or if you feel very filled. This is what I do know:

God had a purpose for making you YOU.

You are part of God’s story because …

The story God wrote was just the beginning.

If there is a storm in your life right now, I pray that you can find peace that God is with you in this part of our story. And the day when you can confidently say, “It is well, it is well with my soul.”

Amen. Again, and again, AMEN!

For being part of God’s amazing and wonderful story, I am grateful.

Blessings –


Holy God – it is amazing to think of your ability to create a world so unique and special and creative. It is even more amazing to ponder how you have made each one of us special and unique. Thank you for making us US! If our story includes some type of struggle right now, I pray we can turn to you and say, “It is well with my soul.”


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Love Is on the Porch

Gratitude Day 401

Fri., Feb. 7, 202

Proverbs 4:6: If you love Wisdom and don’t reject her, she will watch over you.

About a month ago, I posted a couple pictures of our front porch on social media, bemoaning that it was time to take down the Christmas lights. I just wasn’t ready to do so. It’s so peaceful to look out and see the white lights on our porch at night.

Suddenly … you guys gave me a great idea! Keep the winter decorations and just adapt them for Valentine’s Day! Put a few hearts on them and your porch will be ready for Valentine’s Day.

What a great idea!

And exactly what I did.

In true confession: about a week ago, I unplugged the timer by which the lights came on at night. The timer was off and it was easier to unplug than fix the time.

But after putting a few Valentine’s with the decorations, the timer is going back in! At least for next week.

The Valentine’s took very little time. Using internet templates and running colored paper through the printer and just a bit more tweaking, they were done.

And it took about 60 seconds to hang them up.

But it took the Christmas decorations into Valentine’s and it just makes my heart happy.

Sometimes, our days just need a little joy. Happiness. Fun. Lightness. Silly as it sounds, these Valentine’s did exactly this for me.

It’s crazy, I know. But such a great reminder. Simple is good. Easy is good. Using what you have is great. Editing something to make it special for you? A win-win.

Pause for a minute or three. What little simple, silly thing could you do this very day that would bring just a bit of joy into your heart? A lightness and appreciation into your step? Plaster a smile onto your face and make the edges of your mouth turn up every time you see it?

It doesn’t have to be hearts on your porch. It’s really more about loving something that you have. Use the God-given wisdom you have been given and find some little way to bring a bit of joy into your heart and life. It can be simply a wonderful thing.

For simple joy that now resides on our porch, I am grateful.

Blessings –


Dear God – too often, we overlook the simple. The easy. The meaningful ways we can add joy to our lives. May your wisdom become our wisdom in loving to find these little bits of happiness in our lives.  Amen.

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It’s #400!

Gratitude Day 400

Thurs., Feb. 6, 2020

Romans 12:3: I’m speaking to you out of deep gratitude for all that God has given me, and especially as I have responsibilities in relation to you. Living then, as every one of you does, in pure grace, it’s important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you. The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him.

One day in 2019, I decided that I wanted more gratitude in my life. While in general I feel that I express gratitude, this was something that I wanted to really amp up in my life.

So, I began focusing on gratitude in these blogs. Yes, I’ve written about a variety of things. Sometimes, it’s something related to our house. Other times, it’s a little life lesson that happened in my day. Maybe it’s a relationship or a story about someone. I’ve written about faith, the journey of becoming an author, prayer, and stories of the Bible. I’ve shared aspects of my marriage and relationship to Hubby Rick (much to his dismay) and special moments that I’ve encountered with the people who mean the most to me. You all know some of my favorite things: peach iced tea, a great historical book, a touching story and a lovely home that is my soft spot to land at the end of a long day.

Oh my gosh! Have I bored you to tears with all these things??!!

Yet, in every single one of these posts, I’ve forced myself to take the topic of the day and put a little twist at the end in which it now becomes a way for me to express gratitude. Some little way that I find the good in my adventure or story or reflection. A reminder to myself that my glass is always half-full, no matter what is going on in my life.

Even on the days that are long and exhausting, I have reason to find gratitude.

Throughout the weeks that may become filled with things that distract me rather than fill me, there are still plenty of examples of daily gratitude.

So, what I have discovered about gratitude after 400 blog posts that include some type of gratitude twist? So very glad you asked!

  • Gratitude has very little to do with our wallets or giving or finances. Gratitude is all about our hearts, souls and minds. While we think we can be generous financially, if we do it with the wrong attitude and expect recognition or at-a-boys for it, then we aren’t really generous. We’re just trying to make ourselves look good.
  • Gratitude can come in the simplest of ways. If we are too busy doing and chasing the wrong things, we simply will miss it.
  • Gratitude is not ultimately about what someone gives me. It’s how I view my life, my gifts, my talents and my abilities to share with the rest of God’s kingdom.
  • Gratitude can be taught to me by anyone. I also have lots of opportunities to model and teach gratitude … if I choose to do so. It’s all up to me.
  • Even on the toughest of days, I pray that I always see myself as blessed and grateful for the life that I have. Period.

After 400 gratitude posts, is my attitude about gratitude different? I pray so! I pray that I turn to gratitude before many other things in my life because, well, I have so much to be grateful for.

One more thing that I’m grateful for? You. The folks who read these words and sometimes comment and share a bit of yourself back with me. I know there are a million things in your life clamoring for your attention. When you give me a bit of your time and space and come into my simple world of gratitude and sharing, I truly appreciate it. And I pray it helps you find a bit of gratitude, hope and faith inside of yourself.

Thanks for going along on this gratitude journey. Let’s keep it rolling!

For a safe place to explore gratitude and so much more, I am grateful.

Blessings –


Holy God – Thank you for the ultimate example of gratitude in Jesus Christ. May his life and teachings inspire me to pursue gratitude in all that I do. Thank you for blessings me with so much to be thankful for. May I find little ways to express gratitude in my live each and every day. Amen.

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Wednesday Prayer Day

Gratitude Day 399

Wed., Feb. 5, 2020

Ephesians 6:18: Never stop praying, especially for others. Always pray by the power of the Spirit. Stay alert and keep praying for God’s people.

I’ve ran into this scenario too many times: a person says to me, “I don’t know what to do anymore.”

TRUTH: Yep, there have even been times when I’ve felt this way. It feels like there is NOTHING else to do.

TRUTH: There is always ONE MORE THING to do; there’s always prayer.

Why do we wait until the last minute to turn to prayer?

When it’s to the point that it feels like everything else has been exhausted? And THEN, we turn to prayer.

Why not embody prayer sooner? Quicker? Before it’s a last-ditch effort?

Yep, I’ve done it as well. I keep forgetting these wonderful words from Ephesians that encourage us to NEVER STOP PRAYING.

Especially for others.

Even when they don’t deserve it.

Even when they are slightly unlovable.

Even when it would be so much easier to simply not like them.

Then, it’s time to pray. For them. For you.

TRUTH: We pray for others, thinking God will change them. When, in reality, maybe it’s US that needs to be changed.

Not the other person. But WE need a change in our attitude. Our approach.

We deny forgiveness and it only hurts ourselves.

We focus on how we have been wronged rather than how we have wronged someone else.

I know. It’s so much easier to be the victim.

But sometimes being the victim is SO EXHAUSTING.

When nothing else makes sense, pray. For others.

But most importantly, pray for yourself. Pray for you mind, body, soul and eyes.

Maybe, just maybe, YOU will be amazed at what can happen to YOU.

For the ability to always turn to prayer; for myself as well as others, I am grateful.

Blessings –


Almighty God – Forgive us for the thousands of times we’ve turned to prayer as a last resort rather than a first option. Forgive us when we thought someone else needed a lot more prayer than we need ourselves. Open our eyes, hearts, minds and souls to the amazing power of prayer. Amen.

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Just One Thing

Gratitude Day 398

Tues., Feb. 4, 2020

Philippians 1:6: And I am sure that God who began the good work within you will keep right on helping you grow in his grace until his task within you is finally finished on that day when Jesus Christ returns.

Some days, life seems together.

Others? Not so much.

I’ll be honest. Concentration has not been my best attribute of late. In fact, my focus as rather sucked. (I know. It’s not a great word to use. But it’s honest.)

So, I needed a way to help me bring a little focus back into my life.

Here’s what I’m doing. Thinking of what the next best thing for me to do in the moment is.

Just one thing.

Nothing more. Nothing less.

It’s easy to look at EVERYTHING you need or want to do … and become overwhelmed. If this is you, STOP. Pick one thing to do. And do it.

Until you need a snack.

Or decide to check social media.

Or turn the TV on.

Or promise yourself that you’ll only surf the internet for five minutes. And before you know it, 20 minutes have evaporated.

This is what happens daily to me! I start, I stop. I look for a distraction. I find something else to do. And before I know it, it’s afternoon!

When I can convince myself to only focus on one thing at a time, I keep a little better focus. Which is nearly impossible for this person who has spent years and years multi-tasking.

Narrow it down to one thing. No more. No less. And then do it. Cross it off your to-do list. (Or write it on your to-do list AND THEN cross it off.)

God will do plenty of good work in and through you. One step at a time. One thing at a time.

Let’s partner with God and see all the AMAZING things we CAN do; one thing at a time.

For focus when I get so easily distracted, I am grateful.

Blessings –


Dear God – Thank you for being patient with me when I get so easily distracted. Thank you for not giving up on me. When I’m struggling for focus, dump a dose on me. Together, may we pick the most important things to do, one at a time. Amen.

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Lessons from January

Gratitude Day 397

Sat., Feb. 1, 2020

Hebrews 11:4: It was by faith that Abel obeyed God and brought an offering that pleased God more than Cain’s offering did. God accepted Abel and proved it by accepting his gift; and though Abel is long dead, we can still learn lessons from him about trusting God.

February 1st! The first month of 2020 is gone …

Today, I look back and think about the lessons I learned (or really, re-learned) this first month of 2020.

Sabbath is good. Sabbath with family is important.

Hubby Rick and I had the unique opportunity to join my sisters, some cousins and other extended family on a Caribbean cruise. This is the first time we had done something like this, and it was definitely a success! Growing up, my siblings and I didn’t spend lots of time with cousins. Only two cousins lived rather close (2 hours) and they moved when I was still in elementary school.

Now as adults, we have discovered it’s fun to do things together! The lesson here: make time for relationships (new or rediscovered) as an adult. Yes, we have a common heritage. Yes, our personal experiences of that heritage may be different. Celebrate and enjoy where you are today and appreciate your heritage!

Life’s rhythms change. Find a new way to enjoy and celebrate each day. Back from our Sabbath, I found it a little difficult to jump back into life. So, I thought about how I could embody each day in a slightly new and different way. While I have been on social media for years, I have always been slightly protective of what I post. Recently, I started posted a picture a day which reflects some little area of my life. These pictures are more of me than anyone else. They are a way for me to celebrate the most normal parts of my day and give thanks to God for these ridiculously “normal” parts of my life.

So, follow me on Instagram (diannedeatonvielhuber) or Facebook (Dianne Deaton Vielhuber – make sure it’s my personal account and NOT my work admin account) if you want to see where I see God in my daily, ordinary, every-day life. I pray these photos encourage others to discover God as well!

If reading the Bible has become stale for you, try a different translation. I have used the NIV translation of the Bible for devotions for YEARS. Back from our Sabbath, I picked the The Message one day. It’s not that The Message was new for me. I’ve used it historically at various times. This version was sitting on my bookshelf.

What I discovered is the biblical stories came alive in a slightly different way for me because, well, the words ARE DIFFERENT! It’s brought forth a new freshness as I read scripture. Sometimes, just a slight shift CAN make a difference!

One more for the road. I’ll let the words speak for themselves.

We are never too old to discover new lessons in our lives. Where has God been speaking to you? Where have you made a slight shift and discovered something different about yourself?

Lessons are SO IMPORTANT. Realizing them in our lives is also important.

Have a great weekend!

For new or re-discovered lessons in my daily life, I am grateful.

Blessings –


Holy God – thank you for continuing to be a living God in my life. A living God that is active and present and challenging me to discover new things about myself. Or simply relearn things that I might have forgotten or pushed aside. May I celebrate regular lessons in my life. Amen.

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