Kindness Cookies

Kindness Cookies

I am an Oklahoman by birth, a Texan by current living situation, but claim the world as my playground.I love to travel and hope to someday soon take our family on adventures to far off lands, where we can share God with others and experience all the wonders He has created.

I am a mother of 5 crazy, homeschooling children ages 10 & under, wife to an amazing man, and daughter of the King of the Universe!I enjoy reading, making my kids laugh, cooking, all things natural, learning to play guitar and dusting off my piano skills.One day I hope to run again, but until then I’m learning patience.
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Latest posts by Kristi F (see all)

We know that every good gift comes from God and the gift of kindness is no exception.

Kindness makes our heart smile. It gives us warm fuzzies. Receiving kindness makes us want to give kindness too!

Kindness Cookies

That’s where these fantastic kindness cookies come into play.  You see, this month’s Family Time Training Activity, “Kindness”, is not just a one day activity. It’s about intentionally creating the attribute of kindness in kids and adults of all ages. (Truly, even we as adults need this reminder in our lives…like during rush hour traffic.)

This Kindness Activity includes:

  • The Kindness Activity Script, which has all the Bible verse references and important thoughts to share during the activity.
  • Act of Kindness Worksheet, which include great acts of kindness ideas.
  • Act of Kindness Calendar, which is used to show which acts of kindness you’ve completed.

Click here to download this month’s FREE activity!

 The idea is to write the Acts of Kindness ideas provided in the worksheet on slips of paper and even brainstorm your own, then choose one of these each day to fulfill.  An extra fun way to choose your Act of Kindness for the day is by turning it into a Kindness Cookie, which of course looks like a fortune cookie.

Don’t miss the end of this post, where we share how else we used these Kindness Cookies.

Making Kindness Cookies

I found this easy to follow video tutorial by Red Ted Art that shows you how to make paper fortune cookies. I used these fortune cookies and put our Random Acts of Kindness inside each one.  This way the kids will take turns each day choosing a brightly colored Kindness Cookie that will reveal one way our family can focus on being kind.

Our next to youngest got to choose the first Kindness Cookie, because without prodding, he helped his sister clean up water that was accidentally spilled on the floor.

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Going Beyond the Activity

There are so many ways that we can implement the ideas given in this “Kindness” Activity.  One idea that popped to mind was to fill these Kindness Cookies with what we love and appreciate about somebody else. Giving the gift of recognition is sweet!  

Our girls, along with one of their friends, filled out the slips of paper that go inside the cookies, ran to their fort, and gifted them to each other. The anticipation grew as they picked up each cookie, gently pulled out the slips and read the kind words written about each of them.  Of course, their mile-wide smiles expressed what the kind words meant to them.

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There are so many people in our lives who do not know how much we value them.  We will one day speak of how wonderful they were at their funerals but why not take a few moments while it still matters, to share with them the jewel of a person they are? Make a batch of Kindness Cookies that they can enjoy and be encouraged by over the next several days or month.

However you choose to use the Kindness Cookies, we know that you will not only make someone else’s day a little brighter but you will delight God with your kindness.

An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up.
– Proverbs 12:25

Prayer over Your Heart

Part of the prayerencouraged in the script is to…

“pray that God would give you a kind heart like His.”

How beautiful is that?

Lord, we humbly come before you now.  We want to serve you with all our hearts and want to serve others too. Help us open our hearts to you and see the opportunities you put before us, so that we can cheer others up with our kind words and actions. May we lay down our hearts so that you can pluck out the selfish nature that lies within it and allow you to mold our hearts to express your attributes including the attribute of kindness.  In the One who displayed your kindness and love by stretching out his arms on the cross for us – Amen!

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Be encouraged by these posts as well!

Lift Up Your Eyes How Satan Uses Anxiety to Distract Who's in God's House Confessions of an Imperfect Homemaker

How Satan Uses Anxiety to Distract Me from my Faith

How Satan Uses Anxiety to Distract Me from my Faith

I'm Lori! My husband and I have been married since 2008. We adopted our son in July and live in Memphis, TN. One of the things I love about Creating a Great Day is that it is focused on inspiring women to the woman that God wants them to be. Every woman is different, and we all have talents to honor God and walk alongside each other in this spiritual journey called life. Have a blessed day!
Lori S

Anxiety has affected my physical, emotional, and spiritual health. It has negatively impacted relationships and interfered with my connection with God. For the longest time, I thought it was all my fault. Then the blame game started.

With some of the “well-intended” advice I’ve heard, it’s not hard to start blaming yourself. Statements like these always haunt me:

  • “Relax, don’t worry so much.”
  • “You can’t have a good relationship with God if you are anxious.”
  • “You should just trust God more.”

Misguided Efforts to Reduce Our Anxiety

In attempts to reduce anxiety, we actually combine our anxiety with guilt and shame. Anxious questions turn into doubt. Doubt turns into fear of the unknown or unexpected. This fear allows negative, emotional statements to develop that we then internalize. This twisted sense of reality can create a treacherous mindset about ourselves and the world around us.

Over the past three years, multiple changes happened in my life. Job changes, adopting our son, becoming a mother….all of these changes are blessings, but they can also invite anxiety. I’ll admit, I’m tired of fighting this battle within my mind and heart. So, I started to reflect on why anxiety is so interwoven in my life, no matter how hard I try to “get rid of it.” I realized that my anxiety, at any time, distracts me from being the woman of God that I need to be. It keeps me from pursuing the fruits of the Spirit to engage with God, my family, and my community.

Satan is Behind Anxiety

What is the best way to get to women? Get them to doubt (or question) their role. Get them to shame themselves and lose sight of who and what is really important. Here is the key reflection. Who truly benefits from my disconnection from God? Satan.

One of my faith mentors reminded me that Satan is among us, trying to intervene in our family’s walk with the Lord. Ladies, let’s stop trying to fight the internal battle of shame, anxiety, and doubt. Let’s call anxiety out for what it is: one of the best ways for Satan to distract us in our faith. I want to be clear. There are things that I know I should do to work on my anxious behaviors. I should reflect on our lives, identifying ways in which I can deflect the Enemy. For far too long, I (and other women) have owned our anxiety a little bit too much. We have made it so much about ourselves that Satan is rejoicing in our negative emotions and distractions from God.

Do you recognize these verses?

All of these verses focus on worry, anxiety, and/or trusting God. For someone who has struggled with anxiety for years, these verses always shamed me. I felt like I was living a good Christian life, then these verses hit me like a sack of bricks. They knocked me down right to the starting line again. Anyone else feel this way? No matter how much you try to connect with God, these verses shackle you in shame?

A New Way of Thinking

Let me invite you into a new way of thinking. Don’t be shackled. Be set free. Remove your current lens on your anxiety and replace it with the lens that sees anxiety in its proper focus. It’s just another way for Satan to win a battle. It’s another way for him to get you thinking more about your bills, your relationship, your children, etc. more than your relationship with God. Anxiety is another way for him to interfere with the life journey you are on with the One who gives you peace.

During our first adoptionRomans 15:13 encouraged us so much. It says,

“May the God of hope fill you with joy and peace as you trust in Him so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

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Let’s be women who overflow with hope and be filled with joy and peace. Be set free. Connect with other sisters in Christ. Lean on them for support. Go to counseling, as your anxiety may be stemming from other unresolved adverse events and/or trauma. Talk with your significant other, as dealing with someone with anxiety is extremely challenging. And most important of all, pray for God to fill you with peace as both of you work to prevent Satan from infiltrating your life.

Change Your Day by Blessing God!

Change Your Day by Blessing God!

I am an Oklahoman by birth, a Texan by current living situation, but claim the world as my playground.I love to travel and hope to someday soon take our family on adventures to far off lands, where we can share God with others and experience all the wonders He has created.

I am a mother of 5 crazy, homeschooling children ages 10 & under, wife to an amazing man, and daughter of the King of the Universe!I enjoy reading, making my kids laugh, cooking, all things natural, learning to play guitar and dusting off my piano skills.One day I hope to run again, but until then I’m learning patience.
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Latest posts by Kristi F (see all)

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We’ve all wanted to rewind or hit the restart button because our day or our attitude isn’t going how we would it.  Truly, this is a lot easier than you might think!  You can change your day by blessing God!  And it all starts by understanding that “The Lord is greater!”

“The Lord is greater” is the resounding message!

Wherever we are, we need to post this message all over so we don’t forget it.  While it’s easy to say in light of remembering Christ’s resurrection, how often do we say it when:

  • Fear enters our hearts?
  • Sin happens in our lives again?
  • Situations overwhelm us?
  • Complaints pile up?

Why is it that we can bask in Jesus’ resurrection one moment, and in the next moment forget that this truth–“The Lord is greater”–is TRUE in EVERY SITUATION?

As I think about this question for myself, I realize that I forget to indulge in this truth daily.

Don’t forget to indulge in this truth daily!

What if we start out every day reminding our hearts that “The Lord is greater” and carry that throughout the day?

Sounds a bit like praying without ceasing, doesn’t it?

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Although I have attempted to pray without ceasing, it wasn’t until I read about this idea of blessing God and seeing his presence and glory in every situation that I was able to firmly grab hold of this concept.  As a result of blessing God, not only did my perspective change, but so did my attitude.  The grumbling and complaining decreased, and the awe and joy I found in the Lord increased. When I start to grumble and complain, I realize that I’m not blessing God.

What does it mean to bless God?

Perhaps, if you’re like me, you might have thought a blessing was a way of hoping for something good for someone else.  But it seems that in this context, blessing God is more equal to recognizing and standing in awe of who He is, and then praising him out loud for what you have witnessed.

Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name!
Psalm 103:1

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Examples of Blessings

Here are some examples of blessings that Spangler and Tverberg share in their book, Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus:

  • “I am grateful before You, living and eternal King, for returning my soul to me with compassion.  You are faithful beyond measure.” This is often said upon waking.
  • “Blessed is he who has given the rooster understanding to distinguish between day and night.”
  • “Blessed is he who has given a pleasant smell to fruits.”
  • “Blessed are you, O Lord our God, King of the universe…”, or in Hebrew, “Barukh atah, Adonai Elohenu, Melek ha-olam…

So what if…

Instead of complaining, we find something about the situation for which to bless God?

Instead of grumbling that our alarm just pierced our deep sleep, what about praising God for the good night’s sleep, another day to glorify him, and the opportunity to have another chance at life?

What if we took time to notice the details God has created and bless him for thinking of such amazing things?

What if instead of being frustrated with our kids, we took a step back and praised God for the fruit of the Holy Spirit he has placed within us, so that we can be full of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control? (Can you tell this is one I’ve been praising God for lately?)

What if…(filll in the blank)?

What is something that has been bothering you lately? Find a way to give it to God; then bless God for it.

What can you bless God for right this minute?

If you need some help with blessings, read Psalm 103 in its entirety.  It will definitely get you in the mood to bless God.

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Blessing God leads to remembering that the Lord is Greater!

As we start to bless God in the morning and throughout the rest of our day, we will be able to keep the resounding message firmly planted in our hearts that “the Lord is Greater!”

The Lord is greater than anything we will face. Therefore, we can have confidence as we approach each circumstance from the slightest annoyance to the most difficult thing Satan will throw at us.

Prayer over our Hearts

Oh Lord, blessed are you, King of the Universe, Creator of all!  You and you alone are worthy of praise.  You have brought us out of sin and gifted us with your eternal glory.  Oh Lord, we bless you in all your ways.  May we take the time throughout our daily lives to bless you for all you have done and will ever do!  As we do this, plant the truth in our hearts that you are greater than anything we might face. In the One who has blessed our lives so we can rejoice in you, Amen!

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Finding Redemption Amidst Insecurities

Finding Redemption Amidst Insecurities

I am a girl who loves to sit with a cup of coffee and daydream. I am most passionate about Jesus, my family, and family ministry. My husband and I live in Oklahoma with our two precious daughters. I spend my days with my girls, discovering and growing alongside them! You can usually find us either in our sunroom, the park, or taking long walks through Target. :)
Kristin J
Latest posts by Kristin J (see all)

Nothing distracts me from God’s goodness and robs me of my joy quite like insecurity. Recently in church one Sunday I found myself unable to concentrate on the sermon because I was so busy thinking about my shortcomings: I hadn’t made enough effort to reach out to others, I’d been lazy and making unhealthy choices, and I wasn’t enjoying God’s word like I wanted to. Here it was, time to sing our song of invitation but I really hadn’t been paying attention. I was only going through the motions. All of a sudden the words I was singing on autopilot hit me:

I come broken to be mended
I come wounded to be healed
I come desperate to be rescued
I come empty to be filled
I come guilty to be pardoned by the blood of Christ the Lamb
And I’m welcomed with open arms, praise God! Just as I am.

Redemption…

I could hear God whisper, “Daughter, lay your insecurities down, and come to me. I offer redemption.”

The song continued:

Just as I am, I would be lost.
But mercy and grace my freedom bought
And now to glory in your cross
Oh Lamb of God I come, I come.”

Mercy. Grace.

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. – Hebrews 4:16

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Redeemed Even with All Our Faults

You see, sweet friend, God knows we are are not perfect. He knows that even with the best intentions and the strongest self-discipline we will fall short of his glory. But he gives us mercy and grace over and over again through the blood of Christ Jesus.

When we come to God in all of our faults and shortcomings, he covers us. That’s what he does!

Now, this does not mean that we stay content in the mud of our sin, knowing that He pours out grace. Paul had something to say about this:

What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means! Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. – Romans 6:15-18

Conform to the Image of Christ

We should strive to conform to the image of Christ. Of course we must pursue a life that pleases God, but we don’t have to feel stuck and alone when we mess up. We can lean on the Holy Spirit for strength and good fruit in our life. With God’s help, we can take hope that life can get better. Even more, we can be better.

Because we know that God offers mercy and grace, we can experience confident living rather than overwhelming insecurity. He heals us, cleanses us, sustains us. Christ’s blood, not our own, makes us clean. Jesus makes us enough.

Father God, thank you for pouring out your mercy and grace upon us. When we come to you broken, thank you for mending us. When we come to you wounded, thank you for healing us. Thank you for rescuing us when we come to you desperate. Thank you for filling us when we come to you empty. When we come to you guilty, thank you for pardoning us. Every time we approach you, may we remember that sacrifice. May we lay aside our guilt and insecurities, and take on the confident hope that you’ve given to us. May the enemy have NO power over us. We love you, Lord! In the name of Jesus, Amen

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Asking: Boldness in Prayer

Asking: Boldness in Prayer

Hi! Born in the great state of Texas and raised in the northern suburbs of Atlanta, this Daughter of the Alamo/Georgia Peach is still adjusting to life in Razorback Nation! My husband and I live just outside of Little Rock, Arkansas with our two toddlers and two crazy pups. I’m a small business owner, chocolate aficionado, and travel lover with a 2pm coffee hour no matter what time zone I’m in!
Lindsay W
Latest posts by Lindsay W (see all)

The Chance to Say YES

On my way to the post office this afternoon, I passed our local high school’s cross country team out for their afternoon practice run around our community. All of a sudden, memories flooded my mind of my high school cheerleading practices.

One year we had a set of amazing coaches who made us “work to wear our skirts.” And by work, I mean work OUT. I can’t tell you the number of times I thought I was going to pass out–which was pretty much every single time we ran around our school’s campus or the local park’s running trail. I was by no means a runner. None. But it was a small price to pay considering all the fun we got to have in practice, at camp, and of course, during those fall basketball games cheering on our classmates.

As I watched the bright-faced cross country girls pass my car, I couldn’t remember if I had ever thanked my mom for asking me if I wanted to try out for cheerleader. This was before the days of social media, email addresses, or even school websites with a posted calendar of events. Parents received information through the mail, or sent home with their students, or they attended a PTA meeting. Because I was a new student at my high school and tryouts were held in the summer, I didn’t know about this opportunity.

I’m thankful for my mom’s boldness in asking me if I wanted to do it. Because she asked, I had all of those amazing experiences and built friendships I still cherish to this day. If she hadn’t brought it up, I never would have had the opportunity to even say, “YES.”

An Opportunity for God to Say YES

And then I felt like the lady in those Prego commercials.

*Cue chimes and a wavy scene transition.*

“What else have I been missing out on?”

The biggest question is how many times have I missed out on an opportunity for God to say “YES” to something I didn’t ask Him?

Praying in Boldness

Several weeks ago I asked God for something pretty big. To be honest, it had been years since I’d prayed a prayer this bold. The last bold prayer I’d prayed was for a very special family friend to be healed of cancer. Prior to that prayer, I had prayed many bold prayers with the authority of the Holy Spirit. Prayers that were answered “YES” before my eyes. BIG, BOLD, New Testament stuff. Praying for our friend’s healing, I had no doubt we’d receive word one day that she was healed. But we never did. Instead she went home to be with the Lord.

I was so mad at God. I was so disappointed. I was heartbroken.

Over the next few years I slowly began to realize, with a lot of wrestling, that line I’d heard forever: “God always answers prayers. Sometimes His answer is just ‘No.'”

An Unexpected Dilemma

And so here I was, several weeks ago, looking at a canister of infant formula on my kitchen table. My daughter was two weeks away from her first birthday. We’d been nursing for almost an entire year. I committed to nursing her for an entire year since that first latch. It had taken a lot of sacrifice. A lot. But it was the decision my husband and I felt was best for us and for her.

And then my milk dried up. Just 2.5 weeks before that first birthday.

A quick call to the pediatrician’s office resulted in the OK to go ahead and start her on cow’s milk. There was just one problem with that. Even the slightest bit of dairy made her break out in scary-looking welts around her mouth. The nurse encouraged me to give it one more shot. Well, my daughter loved the cow’s milk, but the welts popped up around her mouth and down her chest and abdomen afterwards.

So I made another call to the pediatrician’s office. This time their orders made my stomach drop. Put her on a specific formula until her one year checkup, and I could pick up samples at the office.

I drove down there with knots in my stomach, and by the time I got home with the canisters, those knots had only tightened.

I stared at those canisters in utter disappointment. So many feelings, all personal and they are too lengthy to write about here, but with every fiber in my being I did not want to give her formula.

An Answer to a Bold Prayer

So I prayed a bold prayer. It kind of felt like wheeling an old bike out of a garage after years of sitting there without being ridden. A little rusty, but it rolled.

“God, if You could open Sarah’s womb [Genesis 21:2], you can give me milk. Please give me milk.”

After three or four days of nothing, that night my daughter and I tried again.

Y’all, my milk came in like a geyser, and I had to hold back tears.

If I had never asked, I never would have had milk to give her those next few weeks. And, I would have missed the opportunity to physically be a part of a miracle.

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It felt like I was getting a hug from God that first night. Gentle. Soft. Reminding me that He does still answer bold prayers with YESes, and not from just those who we think of as prayer warriors, those who seem to have a “direct line to God,” but from me, from you.

We’ll just never know unless we ask.

What bold prayers are you afraid to ask God? What bold prayers have you asked God that He answered “YES” to? I’d love to hear about them.

Lindsay

Be encouraged by these posts as well!
 

Unasked Prayers Praying the Psalms We all struggle  Building Up Your Leaders

Overflowing Hope in Good Times and Bad

Overflowing Hope in Good Times and Bad

I am a girl who loves to sit with a cup of coffee and daydream. I am most passionate about Jesus, my family, and family ministry. My husband and I live in Oklahoma with our two precious daughters. I spend my days with my girls, discovering and growing alongside them! You can usually find us either in our sunroom, the park, or taking long walks through Target. :)
Kristin J
Latest posts by Kristin J (see all)

Hope in the Bad Times…and the Good

To have an overflowing hope during the good times seems easy. When I chose “hope” to be my word for 2016 I was in the midst of a trial and desperate to remain hopeful. Little did I know that God would be teaching me this year my need for hope when times are good.

I suppose you could say I’m slightly superstitious. What I’ve come to find out however, is that my superstitions are often the result of lack of hope. A few years ago my husband and I relocated to the city where I grew up. My husband’s salary was nearly 50% over what he’d been making before, we were living in the area of town where I saw myself eventually being a stay-at-home mom with a charming home and Disney vacations every summer. We were fitting into our new church home and getting involved and we got to see my family all the time. My faith was so much stronger as I’d learned to rely on God during our decision to make this move. Life was good. Life was too good.

Everything Crumbled

I had this nagging feeling in my mind that everything would soon crumble. Nothing this good could last forever. Only a few months into our move our lives were shaken. My husband was diagnosed with testicular cancer. There it was–the drop I’d been expecting.

Praise God he got into surgery quickly, where they were able to remove all of the cancer without other treatments, but our lives were now full of scans, tests, and questions. Would this affect our ability to have children? Would it come back? Not to mention the heavy cost of his surgery, CT scans, and oncology visits. It was a heavy season for us. In that time I grew closer to the Lord, but I also had created a guard for myself. I was afraid to let myself become overfilled with confident hope. I’d been right–life can’t be so good. I didn’t want to experience such a letdown ever again.

Afraid to Hope for Too Much

Flash forward a few years and I now find myself in a similar situation. We packed up and moved back to where we’d been before. We are in our first home, involved at church, and my husband loves his job. While my dreams are not quite as materialistic as they were in the past, things are going well. Even though things are going so well, I’ve noticed my guard up, almost like I’m scared to enjoy this life, scared for the fall that will knock us down from this happy season. Though life is good, this perspective is not victorious living. I have a need for hope during the good times. 

In Romans 15:13 Paul says,

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” 

Hope

Overflowing Hope

Paul doesn’t desire us to have cautious hope, skeptical of what might happen next. He wants us to experience joy and peace so that we can be overflowing with hope! This joy and peace comes not from our circumstances, it comes from our trust in Christ. Our joy and peace are not dependent on what happens in this life. We find our joy in our salvation and in our eternal destination. Through trust in Christ as Savior, we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, and it’s through the power of the Spirit that we have an overflow of hope.

This hope is necessary all the time. It gives us confidence that not only will God lead us through whatever trials we are facing, He will lead us through whatever trials are on the way. We do not have to fear. We can take hold of the promise that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us and we can move forward each day in the hope that comes from Spirit-filled living. 

Circumstantial Hope or Victorious Hope?

Before, my trust and my hope were circumstantial. I based my trust and my hope on material things, health, and  career fulfillment. But I’ve learned that I will be let down if I put my trust in those things. My joy and my peace come from God and knowing that he is with me through all things, helping me. This allows me to set my superstitions and my skeptical thoughts aside and be at peace. Hope gets me through my struggles, but it also helps me to confidently enjoy the good seasons. Having hope in the good times allows me to live victoriously here on earth.

Glory to God every day!

Hope in the Good Times

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