Posts filed under ‘Main’

20 Books of Summer 2020

I am weary of my usual activities. Social media. puzzles, new recipes, and crafting have lost their appeal as a free time activity. So now is a great time to read, especially since we are still SIPing.
The 20 Books of Summer Challenge starts June 1st and runs through September 1st.

While the graphic and title of the challenge is “20 books of Summer,” you can bend the rules to fit you.

  • Want to read 15 books? Fine.
  • 10 Books? That’s okay, too.
  • 5 books or some other number? Do what fits you.

Because I am a super achiever, I’ll shoot to read the 20 books over 13 weeks.

I was just going to leave all the 20 choices blank and fill them in as I go along. But I changed my mind. A lot of the fun is choosing the books.

Mind you, I reserve the right to pick different books.

Does this challenge interest you?  If yes, go to this link and sign up. If you are going to read for this challenge, what book will you start with?

Here is my tentative list. All books are from my home library. I want to clean off my shelves. Reading through this list should help!

  1. 7 Men and Their Secrets of Greatness by Eric Metaxas
  2. Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller
  3. The Carbohydrate Addict’s Lifespan Program by Dr. Richard Heller
  4. Cat O’ Nine Tales by Jeffrey Archer  Book 1
  5. Distant Echoes (Aloha Reef Series, Book 1/4) by Colleen Colbert Book 2
  6. The Courage to Grieve by Judy Tatelbaum
  7. Danger in the Shadows by Dee Henderson Book 3
  8. Disciplines of a Godly Woman by Barbara Hughes
  9. Feeding the Empty heart by Barbara McFarland
  10. The Fourth Estate by Jeffrey Archer
  11. The Heart of the Gospel by Bernie A Van De Walle
  12. Helping People Through Grief by Delores Kuenning
  13. The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones
  14. Longevity Rules: How to Age Well Into the Future by various authors of essays
  15. A New Kind of Leader by Reggie Joiner
  16. The Practice of Prayer by Robert Warren
  17. Sanctification by Samuel Stoesz
  18. Sand and Stars by Ruth Stull
  19. Twelve Red Herrings by Jeffrey Archer
  20. Wild Grows the Heather in Devon by Michael Phillips

NOTE:  I took out Murder Carries a Torch by Anne George because I had already read it and forgot.

#20booksofsummer20

HAPPY SUMMER!
WHOOOHOO!!!

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Seven Tips for Working with Marshmallow Fondant

I bake for #Cake4Kids. This is a non-profit group that bakes birthday cakes for underserved children. You don’t have to be a professional baker to join. I wasn’t. It has been fun and rewarding to learn new skills. Right now, I am learning how to make fondant. I’ve tried it four times now. And I still have issues. I will keep at this until I am proficient and so that it doesn’t take me all day!

I used the marshmallow fondant recipe from Gemma at Bigger Bolder Baker. 

Gemma lists the following ingredients for her fondant  . . .

  • 10 ounces mini marshmallows
  • 2-3 Tbsp water (if it is humid use the 2 Tbsp)
  • 4 cups (1 pound) powdered sugar

I made these superhero toppers for cupcakes.

You basically put the marshmallows in a greased microwave-safe bowl. Cook for one minute and stir until all the lumps are smooth. You might need to add another 20-30 seconds.

I still need to learn more tips. But below are things I’ve learned to make working with fondant easier. None of these ideas are mind-blowing. But, hopefully, they will help you if you are new to this technique. Please, share what has worked for you.

I had fun makig these
bugs out of fondant for a #Cake4Kids group birthday party.

My Seven Tips

  1. Wear an apron. The first couple of times I did not use an apron when making fondant. Big mistake. I got powdered sugar and cocoa powder all over my shirt. It is so much easier to wash my apron than have to change AND wash my shirt. (I used cocoa powder twice when making black fondant.)
  2. Get parchment paper. Even though many recipes said I could use the counter or cutting board to knead and roll the fondant, the fondant stuck every time. Parchment paper is what I had the best success with.
  3. Tape down the paper. I am new to this fondant making, and maybe there is a better way to keep the parchment paper from slipping. Until I taped down the sides, the paper would not stay flat and in place. I even reverse rolled the paper to get the curl out; it didn’t make that much of a difference.
  4. Grease well. Grease the bowl, spatula, hands, and really anything that comes into contact with the fondant. Crisco was suggested. Once I used a flavored olive oil (Blood orange) because I wanted to fill the cupcake with orange curd.
  5. Use marshmallow crème. The last time I made fondant, I ran out of marshmallows because I couldn’t get my fondant the correct grey. I ended up putting in too much coloring. It turned brown; I’ve no idea how I did that. So I wanted to start over and all I had was marshmallow crème. It worked just fine.
  6. Mix in the bowl. Per the typical instructions, I put 3/4ths of the powdered super into the melted marshmallow mixture until it bound together. Then I poured it onto the parchment-covered counter and kneaded in the rest of the sugar. The problem is every time it was a sticky mess. This last time I made fondant, I watched a video where you mixed all of it in the bowl. I still had some difficulty, but I liked this method better. I hate getting icky-gooey-sticky. I will try this a couple more times and then see what I think.
  7. Store leftovers properly. Roll your fondant into a ball or log and coat with white vegetable shortening. Wrap it with plastic wrap. Then store it in an airtight container or ziplock bags. Keep on a shelf or cupboard away from direct sunlight.

Your Turn . . .  Please, share your fondant making tips. . . . Is there any tip from above that you’ll try? . . . Do you have any questions?

Related Posts . . .

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Kindness is Planting a Tree

Kindness is doing something that is thoughtful and beneficial. Taking care of our planet by planting trees falls into that category.

Several years ago, some ladies from my church and I went camping at Smudea campground in Northern California.. One of the activities was to plant seedling trees. It was a meaningful time for all of us. Ever since then, I’ve wanted to plant more trees.

I don’t think you can have too many trees in any city.

My city is having a tree planting event on Saturday, March 28. My daughter and I are going. Want to join us? The details are below

March 28 — Cordova Meadows Neighborhood & Taylor Park Planting

Saturday, March 28 8:45A – 12:00P

Join us in planting trees in the Cordova Meadows area of Rancho Cordova! The trees we plant will improve mental health, create more breathable air, and reduce negative health outcomes such as asthma and cardiac disease!

Go here for more information.

Your Turn . . . Have you ever planted seedling trees? … Been to a tree planting party? … Do you know the song about Johnny Appleseed?

Related Posts …

You can practice being kind by leaving me a comment. 

My Landing Page for This series . . . Sprinkling Kindness: A 31 Day Adventure.  Please leave me an idea or two that I can add to my acts of kindness list. The idea can be intentional or random.

Thanks go to Elizabeth Symington for making my #Write31Days button and basic graphic for the kindness quotes. Elizabeth wrote a 31 days series on Summer of Service in Yosemite.

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Kindness is Calling Someone by Their Name

Scroll down for the Landing Page information  (aka Table of Contents) for this Kindness series.

“A person’s name is to him or her the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”   Dale Carnegie.

If a name tag is present, I will call a nurse, wait staff, or a receptionist by their name. I think calling them by their name acknowledges them and shows respect.

I like name tags. Wearing a nametag makes me feel more connected because if others are wearing one as well, we have the option of calling each other by name. There is less awkwardness. I want the person I am addressing to know I believe they are important. Using a person’s name has that power.

Using a person’s name is thoughtful, attentive, considerate, and friendly. In short, it is kind.

In the past two years, the people at my church have been wearing nametags. This has allowed me to learn the names of many people. Seeing that visual reinforcement week-after-week is helpful since I am a visual learner.

I believe others also find this a useful way to learn names. Regular attenders are not the only ones who benefit. Newcomers are also impacted. We can greet each other by name. I believe this adds to the friendliness of our church.

Calling folks by their name is, indeed, a kind thing to do.

Your Turn . . .

  • Do you call people you see on a regular basis by their name?
  • How do you feel when someone calls you by your name?

Related Posts . . . 

You can practice being kind by leaving me a comment. 

Please leave me an idea or two that I can add to my acts of kindness list. The idea can be intentional or random.

_____________________________________________

Want to know what other acts of Kindness are on the list? Go to my Landing Page . . Scattering Kindness: A 31 Day Adventure of Intentional & Random Acts of Service.  

 

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Kindness is Taking Time to Notice

Scroll down for the Landing Page (aka Table of Contents) for this Kindness series.

Kindness Is easy, or at least it can be.

“Our Mission is to educate and inspire people to choose kindness,” Kindness.org.

I belong to the community at Kindness.org.  I recently received an email that asked, “How much would it COST YOU to perform the following acts (in terms of money, time, effort, etc) on a 7-point scale (1 + Very Little, 7 = Very Much)?

They listed about 50 acts. I have shared some of them below. And some ideas are mine. Look at the list and rate them from 1-7.

  • ___ Bake a cake for someone’s birthday.
  • ___ Call your mom.
  • ___ Don’t write an angry internet comment.
  • ___ Each time you buy a new piece of clothing, donate one item to someone in need.
  • ___ Frame a friend’s favorite lyric or quote in a nice frame.
  • ___Give someone the right-of-way on your commute.
  • ___ Hold the elevator.
  • ___ If you spill sugar or creamer on the counter at a coffee shop, wipe it up.
  • ___ Leave extra quarters in the laundry room.
  • ___ Say “Thank you” to a janitor or anyone else who provides a service for you.
  • ___ Send a stressed-out mom some chocolate.
  • ___ Smile when you feel like scowling.
  • ___Tell your siblings how much you appreciate them.
  • ___ When everyone around you is gossiping about someone, be the one to butt in with something nice
  • ___ When you hear that negative discouraging voice in your head, cut yourself some slack.
  • ___ While you are out, compliment a parent on how well-behaved their child is.
  • ___ While you are out, give an encouraging word or smile to a parent who is having a hard time with their child’s behavior.
  • ___ Write a family member a list of 10 things you like about them.
  • ___ Write a letter to a sick child or an elderly person.

When I took the kindness survey from Kindness.org, I was surprised by some of the action items. They were so simple. And yet, I never thought to do them. And a lot of the items would NOT take a lot of my time, energy, or money.

Kind actions for me to do are all around. There are easy ones, too.

I just need to take the time to look.

Let’s take advantage of those “easy” ones. They still count as being impactful. Can you imagine what our families, faith institutions, and cities would be like if everyone did one extra kindness a week?

Your Turn . . .

  • Check out the website Kindness.Org for ideas and how you can be part of the kindness revolution.
  • Which of the above examples did you connect with?
  • What “easy” action would you add to this list?
  • Were you surprised by your scores?
  • What will you do because of this post?

Related Posts  . . . 

You can practice being kind by leaving me a comment. 

Please leave me an idea or two that I can add to my acts of kindness list. The idea can be intentional or random.

_____________________________________________

Want to know what other acts of Kindness are on the list? Go to my Landing Page . . Scattering Kindness: A 31 Day Adventure of Intentional & Random Acts of Service.  

 

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Kindness is Gifting a Banana

Scroll down for the Landing Page (aka Table of Contents) information for this Kindness series.

So many of us like to show affection by gifting food to others.

  1. We bring a cake to the office, just because.
  2. We take two dozen, straight-out-of- the-oven cookies to our next door neighbor.
  3. We fill a container with tasty leftovers for a single person at our church.

This sounds nice, right? Not always.

  • If your office workmates are on a diet, your cake is a hindrance.
  • If your neighbor is vegan and your cookies have eggs and butter, this gesture is not welcome.
  • If your single friend just doesn’t like leftovers, this food gift will annoy them.

In each of these cases, the food will be wasted. You may be considered inconsiderate if they expressed their wishes of not eating certain foods and you forced your gift anyways. Feelings could be hurt because the recipient thought you were not being kind.

My sister recently hung a banana on my office doorknob. (We work in the same building.)  I’d say my sister was being kind because really I shouldn’t eat candy on account of my diabetes.

Kindness is being . . .

  • attentive,
  • considerate,
  • friendly, and
  • thoughtful.

It was attentive, considerate, friendly, and thoughtful that she didn’t give me a sugar-laden treat.

And to top it off, this banana had freckles. I enjoy freckled bananas. Jenny prefers her bananas freckle-free. So we both benefitted from her thoughtful, kind act.

It is kind to follow the food preferences of our family and friends. If they don’t eat gluten, salad, meat, or whatever, don’t try to change their palettes. We don’t have to agree with or understand their choices or their reasons. Let’s be kind by supporting one another’s food decisions.

Your Turn . . . 

  • When was the last time someone pushed food on you that you didn’t appreciate? How did that make you feel?
  • When was the last time someone gifted you food that you did appreciate? How did that make you feel?
  • Would you like to make a change in this area? If yes, what will you do.

Related Posts . . .

And to top it off, this banana had freckles. I enjoy freckled bananas. Jenny prefers her bananas freckle-free. So we both benefitted from her thoughtful, kind act.

It is kind to follow the food preferences of our family and friends. If they don’t eat gluten, salad, leftovers, or whatever, don’t try to change their minds. We don’t have to agree with or understand their choices or their reasons. Let’s be kind by supporting one another’s food decisions.

Your Turn . . . 

  • When was the last time someone pushed food on you that you didn’t appreciate? How did that make you feel?
  • When was the last time someone gifted you food that you did appreciate? How did that make you feel?
  • Would you like to make a change in this area? If yes, what will you do?

Related Posts . . .

You can practice being kind by leaving me a comment. 

Please leave me an idea or two that I can add to my acts of kindness list. The idea can be intentional or random.

_____________________________________________

Want to know what other acts of Kindness are on the list? Go to my Landing Page . . Scattering Kindness: A 31 Day Adventure of Intentional & Random Acts of Service.  

 

 

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Kindness is Being a Good Housemate

Scroll down for the Landing Page (aka Table of Contents) information for this Kindness series.

Most people I know live with someone. The age range varies and so does the relationship context (friend, family, border). But no matter the age range or relationship, we can all make-or-break the situation by our behavior and attitude.

In order to keep an ongoing friendly tone in the home, it is helpful to be kind. Kindness is . . .

  • attentive,
  • considerate,
  • friendly, and
  • thoughtful.

Kindness is being a good housemate.

I currently live with my daughter in an apartment. Goodwill is especially needed in such a small space. We both make it a priority to exhibit the traits in the above bullet list.

By nature, my daughter is a tidy minimalist. I have a looser grasp on my belongings. However, since it is important to Elizabeth, I try to put my things away and declutter. (It’s an on-going process.) As it so happens, I also benefit and appreciate the results of my decluttering.

Being considerate and friendly are two other necessary behaviors/attitudes for housemates to cultivate. On the considerate chart are actions like . . . giving people their space for quiet time . . .  not hogging the best parking spot pr remote. . . taking turns with meal prep . . . everyone keeping the shopping list updated . . . believing the best about others’ motives . . .

Being friendly is an attitude as well as a behavior. This includes saying  . . . please . . . thank you . . . and may I? . . . Giving good morning and good night greetings . . . Apologizing and forgiving . . . Letting folks enjoy their own space and inviting them to join you . . .

Being thoughtful means taking into account what the other person needs or wants. It means thinking about their preferences. It means being humble and selfless. And it means keeping the lines of communication open.

Being a good housemate takes work, prayer, and laughter. And it is so worth the effort.

Your Turn . . . What is a kind action a housemate has given to you? . . . How would you rate yourself on the “good housemate” scale? . . . Which of the following traits would you like to mature in: attentive, considerate, friendly, or thoughtful? . . . What is one action you will do today?

Related Posts . . .

You can practice being kind by leaving me a comment. 

Please leave me an idea or two that I can add to my acts of kindness list. The idea can be intentional or random.

_____________________________________________

Want to know what other acts of Kindness are on the list? Go to my Landing Page . . Scattering Kindness: A 31 Day Adventure of Intentional & Random Acts of Service.  

 

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Kindness is Adding Beauty

Scroll down for the Landing Page (aka Table of Contents) information for this Kindness series.

Kindness is shown in many ways. It is an act that brightens up someone’s life, brings some beauty into a neglected corner of the world, gives someone hope, or brings some peace to a troubled situation.

Today. let’s talk about adding beauty to your world.

Let’s participate in a Rancho Corvova park, river, creek or ocean cleanup. There is a cleanup scheduled on Saturday, April 18, 2020 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., with cleanup sites located throughout the Delta region (Sacramento) and in Rancho Cordova. … I am going to do this; I hope you join me!

There are many other ways to add beauty . . . 

  • Buy yourself flowers.
  • Chat with the cashier at the checkout or another person in line.
  • Dance to your favorite song.
  • Declutter.
  • Discover a beautiful classical music piece or play a favorite. Here’s one: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=3qrKjywjo7Q
  • Gather some cuttings from your walk or yard and put in a vase.
  • Get some luxurious hand soap for your bathroom.
  • Go for a walk
  • Keep your personal space and shared spaces (kitchen, living room, lunchroom, bathroom) tidy.
  • Laugh. Cause laughter by telling a joke. Read this series on laughter.
  • Let edifying words come out of your mouth the next time you feel sarcastic or like complaining
  • Make your garden attractive to bees.
  • Mail someone a note that you’re thinking of them. Or send them a Valentine.
  • Paint your walls festive colours.
  • Pick up dog poop.
  • Plant colourful flowers along your front yard fence.
  • Pray that God will fill you with wisdom and a gentle, quiet spirit.
  • Put fresh fruit from the farmer’s market in a bowl.
  • Read some poetry.
  • Recycle.
  • Release ladybugs in your yard.
  • Say kind words to someone.
  • See the dignity and image of God in a person who is overlooked (the homeless, the foreigner)
  • Shine up your kitchen counters, appliances, sink, and faucet.
  • Stop a bully.
  • Watch a sunset at the river.
  • Wear a beautiful scarf or handmade piece of jewelry.

Thanks to Shula Gossard for adding many items to this “beauty” list. She is great at adding beauty to her world.

I paint  walls at home and in my office festive colours. I recycle. And I do something not on the list. At work, there are two unused planters. I like to keep them full of perennials, annuals, and vegetables.  I just cleaned out the planters to get ready for Spring planting.

Your Turn . . . What ideas would you add to beautifying your world? . . . What is one thing you’ll do this week?

Related Posts . . . 

You can practice being kind by leaving me a comment. 

Please leave me an idea or two that I can add to my acts of kindness list. The idea can be intentional or random.

_____________________________________________

Want to know what other acts of Kindness are on the list? Go to my Landing Page . . Scattering Kindness: A 31 Day Adventure of Intentional & Random Acts of Service.  

. at . 1 comment

Kindness is Sitting With Someone

On most Sundays, a majority of people sit in the same spot at church. They do this out of habit, so they can see or hear better, so they can socialize with their seat buddies, or so they can leave the sanctuary mid-service (for a potty break or to tend a child) without disturbing a lot of people.

Plus, doing so brings pleasant feelings. Regularly sitting in the same area gives people a sense of belonging and familiarity. These feelings enhance the worship experience.

If you are new, shy, or haven’t made friends yet, you probably don’t have a set seat. And worse yet, if you take someone’s set-seat, sometimes you are given a frown or shooed away. All this can lead to feeling like an outsider.

Let me suggest one thing. The next time you go to church, sit with someone who is alone. Or invite him/her to sit with you. Doing this sends the message that you are inviting him/her into your sphere of friends. It is a kind thing to do.

Kindness is making a point to sit with someone who is alone.

Need a refresher on what kindness looks like? Kindness is caring, considerate, friendly, hospitable, observant. A kind person wants others to feel like they, too, belong.

Your Turn . . .

  1. Do you have a special spot you like to sit when you attend church?
  2. How do you feel when someone sits there?
  3. When was the last time you purposefully sat with someone who was alone?
  4. Tell about a time someone did that for you.

Related Posts . . .

You can practice being kind by leaving me a comment. 

Please leave me an idea or two that I can add to my acts of kindness list. The idea can be intentional or random.

_____________________________________________

Want to know what other acts of Kindness are on the list? Go to my Landing Page . . Scattering Kindness: A 31 Day Adventure of Intentional & Random Acts of Service.  

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Friday’s Fave Five – February 28, 2020

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.”

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Kindness is Being on Time

Scroll down for the Landing Page (aka Table of Contents) for this Kindness series.

True or False? Being on time is a kindness issue.

Kindness means having concern for others and being able to show that concern through our thoughts and actions. Let’s look at the definitions of kindness. I think you’ll agree it is.

Kindness is The quality of being friendly, considerate, thoughtful, and concerned.

Kindness is a behavior marked by ethical characteristics, a pleasant disposition, and a concern for others.

Kindness requires empathy. A kind person is able to put themselves in another person’s position and see things from their perspective. Kindness is essentially about treating others the way you would want to be treated.

Not everyone believes that being on time is a kindness issue. But to me, it is. In fact, kindness should be the 6th love language.

This love language concept is from Gary Chapman. The first book to discuss love languages is The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts. The love languages are about how you feel loved. The five examples include the following: receiving gifts, physical touch, words of affirmation, acts of service, and quality time.

When someone “talks” to you in your love language, you feel appreciated, affirmed, and noticed. Kindness does that, too. Just like love languages, kindness builds social connections.

When I meet with someone, timeliness on their part is a way I feel appreciated, affirmed, and noticed. When folks are on time, I attribute the following motives to them . . .

  • They respect my schedule and the sacrifices I made to meet at the appointed time.
  • They think I am valuable enough to meet at the agreed-upon time.
  • They are concentrating on our relationship above anything else at that moment.

And their on-time actions demonstrate that they are dependable and a person of their word.

I understand that sometimes it really is impossible to get someplace on time. I am not talking about those times. I am talking about the folks who are chronically late. It is these folks who I am not sure about their intentions.

Just like love languages, kindness builds social connections.

Your Turn . . . How does it make you feel when people are on time? Do you think it is a kind action?

Related Posts . . .

You can practice being kind by leaving me a comment. 

Please leave me an idea or two that I can add to my acts of kindness list. The idea can be intentional or random.

_____________________________________________

Want to know what other acts of Kindness are on the list? Go to my Landing Page . . Scattering Kindness: A 31 Day Adventure of Intentional & Random Acts of Service.  

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Friday’s Fave Five – February 21, 2020

“Gratitude is like a food group. It is essential for being alive.” ~Henry Winkler

Friday’s Fave Five reminds us to list five favorite people, activities, things, etc from the past week. My five are as follows . . .

 

 

 

 

 

 

ONE. We had a birthday party for a dear niece born on Valentine’s Day 24 years ago. Kadie is smart, funny, creative, loving, and fun to be around. We ate around the fire in the back yard. It was a wonderful way to celebrate her.

TWO. I received 10 Valentine’s Day cards from gal pals. I organized a Valentine’s Day card exchange. That way to could encourage each other with words of affirmation. And we, in turn, could get encouraged by the same.

THREE. I attended a princess themed dinner party with some single women. Scotti cooked us a Middle Eastern feast. We played a princess word search and a fill-in-the-blank game. There was also LOTS of laughter and getting to know each other better by telling/listening to stories of our lives.

FOUR. This week my daughter, Elizabeth, and I actually spent two evenings together. One night we played Boggle. This is my favorite game. I bought it from the thrift store for only $1. For the other night, we watched Independence Day. I haven’t seen that movie since it came out in 1996. It was as exciting to watch now as I remember 24 years ago.

FIVE. I spent many enjoyable hours working on cupcake fondant toppers for a superhero group birthday party. A local agency organized this for underserved kiddos.

Your Turn . . . What is on your favorites list this week? Please share in the comments or link up to Susanne’s weekly meme, Friday’s Fave Five.

. at . 5 comments

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