March 8 ROW80 Check-In

 My Top Priorities for the Coming Week 

Spiritual Goals

Live by this verse . . .

“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3:17 ESV).

Family/Household Goals

~ read Lenten devotionals with my hubby and daughter each evening (I must keep my phone charged as this is the only place to read these devotionals – unless we all want to gather round my desktop.

~ organize and tidy the spare room (Since my son has confirmed that he is coming home for my hubby’s 60th, he’ll need a place to sleep. :))

Pen and Ink

Writing Goals

~ write seven blog posts (I want to work ahead so I can take time off when the family is all together.)

~ write and record 10 devotionals and one book review for HopeStreamRadio

Submitting Goals

~ nothing until April

Editing/Critiquing Goals

~ editing for three clients

~ begin editing pieces for the InScribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship anthology

Marketing/Connecting Goals

~ hanging out some on the social networks, but not as much as I have been

Doula Goals

I hope to get some articles read, but I was relieved to find out that I can have an extension to fulfill the requirements of recertification.

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Photography Goals

~ go for at least one photo walk

Reading Goals

~ read both fiction and nonfiction daily

Fitness Goals

~ take at least five 15-minute walks

~ do resistance work six times

~ eat well

~ continue to increase water intake

ROW Logo

ROW80 Goals

~ post weekly

~ visit my peeps on Mondays and Thursdays

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The promise of spring is in the air . . . but not in our gardens yet.

Categories: ROW80 | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

Silent Screams for Help

My young friend Millie Naylor wrote the poem below. I’m so thankful she allowed me to share it with you.

Sad Woman

You don’t have to say a word,

You don’t even have to open your mouth,

For the Lord will hear your silent screams for help.

There are struggles you face

When you turn your back to God,

Things that lead you down a dark path,

As you’re blinded by the devil,

Sucked into worldly ways,

Only to get stuck in your own sin like quicksand,

The more you struggle,

The faster you sink,

And you’re already in waist-deep.

In all these struggles,

There will be times where two paths meet

And you will have a chance to choose what’s right.

In that moment,

I hope you remember

You never have to say a word,

You never even have to open your mouth

Because the Lord always hears your silent screams for help.

Categories: Guest Bloggers | Tags: , , , , , | 6 Comments

March 1 ROW80 Check-In

 My Top Priorities for the Coming Week

Spiritual Goals

Like the apostle Paul, I would seek to “press . . . because Christ Jesus has made me his own . . . one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:12-14 ESV).

Family/Household Goals

~ read Lenten devotionals with my hubby and daughter each evening

~ organize and tidy the spare room

Pen and Ink

Writing Goals

~ write five blog posts

~ re-record five devotionals; write and record five devotionals and one book review for HopeStreamRadio

~ submission for InScribe Word Challenge

Submitting Goals

~ entry for IWC

Editing/Critiquing Goals

~ editing for three clients

~ critique 3+ short pieces

Marketing/Connecting Goals

~ hanging out some on the social networks, but not as much as I have been

Doula Goals

~ read 10 articles

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Photography Goals

~ go for at least one photo walk

Reading Goals

~ read both fiction and nonfiction daily

Fitness Goals

~ take at least five 15-minute walks

~ do resistance work five times

~ eat well

~ continue to increase water intake

ROW Logo

ROW80 Goals

~ post weekly

~ visit my peeps on Mondays and Thursdays

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Looking forward to the springtime and all the joys it will bring.

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February 22 ROW80 Check-In

 My Top Priorities for the Coming Week

Spiritual Goals

~ be still and know that He is God (Psalm 46:10)

Family/Household Goals

~ read Lenten devotionals with my hubby and daughter each evening

~ organize and tidy the spare room

Pen and Ink

Writing Goals

~ write three guest posts, one post for SNEI, one for SBN, and one ROW80 check-in

~ write and record 5-10 devotionals and one book review

~ write a second submission for possible inclusion in the InScribe anthology

Submitting Goals

~ submission for InScribe anthology

Editing/Critiquing Goals

~ editing for three clients

~ critiques of six nonfiction pieces

Marketing/Connecting Goals

~ hanging out some on the social networks, but not as much as I have been

Doula Goals

~ read 10 articles

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Photography Goals

~ go for at least one photo walk

Reading Goals

~ read both fiction and nonfiction daily

Fitness Goals

~ exercise five times

~ eat well

~ continue to increase water intake

ROW Logo

ROW80 Goals

~ post weekly

~ visit my peeps on Mondays and Thursdays

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The sun has set on your birthday, Kait, but consider these my wishes for a wondrous year ahead.

Thank you for founding and overseeing A Round of Words in 80 Day.

You are much appreciated!

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12 Lessons of a Lifelong Learning

Blog Hop

This week’s topic on Ruth Snyder’s blog hop is lifelong learning. We are to share what we learned in the past year. I can’t say I remember exactly when I gained some of the insights below, but I have picked them up along the way. To be completely honest, I’m still learning some of these lessons.

There are more skills development books and blogs than I could ever hope to read in two lifetimes.

I have several such books on my shelves, both physical and virtual, and I’ve subscribed to a good number of how-to blogs. Plus, there are new volumes and posts being written every day.

I have to stop buying and start reading.

My love of books – not just reading, but books themselves – is genetic. My mom loved books. However, these pristine volumes will do me no good unless I crack the covers and apply the knowledge I gain from their pages. It seems obvious, but the number of unread volumes in my collection indicates I haven’t really learned that lesson as of yet.

Sometimes our writing takes us down a different road than we anticipated.

Like many writers, I saw myself writing fiction. And I did win second place in a Crossings Book Club contest for a short story I wrote many years ago. But I’ve written far more nonfiction along the way. In fact, my first professionally published work was a brief piece chosen for inclusion in a compilation of devotionals. Even so, I couldn’t anticipate writing and recording 20 devotionals per month for inclusion on an Internet “radio station.” (Granted there was no such thing as podcasting way back when.)

Just because we can doesn’t mean we should.

I will likely always be eclectically-interested and eclectically-involved, but just because something sounds interested and grabs my attention doesn’t mean I should jump at the chance. Wisdom must temper enthusiasm. :)

Making plans is good. Being willing to change those plans, when appropriate, is even better.

When I was in Bible college, we were given an assignment. Where do you want to be in five years? Where do you have to be at the end of the year to be on track to achieving your goal? At the end of the month? At the end of the week? I have no idea what goals I listed, but I know they’ve changed since then. Does that mean I’ve failed because I didn’t achieve those goals? No. Does it mean I shouldn’t set new goals and seek to achieve them? Of course not. But there are countless details on the path ahead that will affect what I aim for – and that’s okay.

It really is about who you know.

Several years ago, Ruth Waring spoke at my church. We were chatting afterward and she mentioned joining a writers’ group. Years later, she started Women Writing for Christ and I was one of the founding members. I had no idea that some time after that she would put me in touch with Deb Willows, whose memoir I would coauthor. When I met Ron Hughes a number of years ago at the Write Canada conference, I had no idea I’d be contributing regularly to the newly-launched HopeStreamRadio. These are only two of the connections I’ve made over the years that have had tremendous impact on my life – on my writing.

Contentment and resignation aren’t the same things.

Sometimes we have a tough time letting go of our dreams and expectations. If we resign ourselves to the idea that we’ll never accomplish what we originally set out to accomplish, we’ll always feel disappointed and burdened by regret. If, on the other hand, we learn to rejoice in the Now and truly say with Paul, “I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content” (Philippians 4:11 ESV), our heart will be much lighter.

Coming alongside other writers is not the second best position.

I do a fair amount of editing for others and I coauthored Deb’s book. It thrills my heart every time a writer says of their edited work, “Now my work sounds like me, only better.” And when Deb told me that sometimes she forgets I wasn’t actually there when the events in the book occurred, I know we hit upon the right way to relate her story to the reader. I love “riding shotgun,” as one of my friends put it.

My voice is unique.

This is true of every writer, but sometimes it’s easy to lose focus as we read others we would like to emulate – and even as we learn new skills. But as Joel Saltzman says, “If you can talk, you can write.” If our writing reflects the way we speak, we’ve got a good idea of what our writer’s voice sounds like.

My definition of success doesn’t include the words best seller.

I am more about touching the life of “that one reader” than reaching the masses. When someone tells me that something I’ve written blessed their life, I’m over-the-moon. If something I’ve written has a positive influence on just one other person, I consider that a success.

Perseverance is an integral part of the writer’s life.

I think especially of two of my fellow Women Writing for Christ writers’ group members. They have written – and rewritten and rewritten – full-length novels, and keep going back to work on them yet again as they develop their skills and learn new things. Kudos to each of you who does the same!

There is always more to learn.

And those shelves bowing under the weight of all my unread books is a great place to start. 

 

Categories: Blog Hop, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

February 15 ROW80 Check-In

First, let me say . . .

Coloured Pencil Heart

(thanks to pixabay.com)

Happy Heart Day (a tiny bit belated)

And now for this week’s ROW80 check-in . . .

Spiritual Goals

There will always be more to do, but it was a good week.

Read through New Testament twice (and once through selected Old Testament books)

Follow through with the 1-Minute Prayer Plan

Keep Thankfulness Journal (I started this last year then fell behind … time to make a new start.)

Memorize significant portions of the Bible (work on this three or more times per week)

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(With our blustery, snowy weather, it’s nice to look forward to the days ahead.)

Family/Household Goals

Read God’s Word and pray with family each night M-F

My daughter has a new job. Yay! We, therefore, must find a way to make this work.

Post to family FB group.

~ more than I have been

Declutter the house

It’s just over a month until my sons come home to surprise their dad for his 60th b-day. (Well, I at least hope it’s a surprise.) It’s definitely time to get the second spare room decluttered or Son #2 will have to traverse an obstacle course in order to get to the bed. The good news is that the cleaning and organizing I did for company last week is keeping me motivated to stay on top of things on the main level.

Plan and prep home-cooked suppers (Planning ahead is more than half the battle for me.)

Oh, for a personal chef . . . 

Pen and Ink

Writing Goals

Blog at least twice per week on SNEI and once on SBN

I’m seriously thinking of backing this off to once per week on each site.

Guest blog at least eight times per month

~ still motoring along

Participate in Ruth Snyder’s blog hop

~ time to put together the final post on the topic of writing and then decide if I’m going to hop aboard for the next leg of the journey

Write four seniors’ living articles per month (and any other projects that come through from this client)

~ hoping to write one on Tuesday and one on Thursday

Write and record 20 devotionals and two book reviews per month for HopeStreamRadio

I got a fair amount done this past week. I want to have enough “banked” so I can take off time while my kiddiddles are home.

12 picture books

~ officially on hold

12 writing contest entries

I’m not sure this is going to happen for the next couple of months . . . unless you include submitting a couple of pieces for possible inclusion in an anthology I’m working on.

Write posts for the InScribe blog monthly and the InScribe pro blog ever six weeks or so

~ on schedule

Write one or two submissions for possible inclusion in the InScribe anthology.

I’ve submitted a poem and have written a fiction sample for the website. I may expand on the story and officially submit it for consideration.

Participate in at least one Camp NaNo in the summer, OctPoWriMo in October, and PiBoIdMo in November

Life Through the Lens, The Write Stuff, Fit Tips, Well-Versed, If You Love Me (ebooks I hope to publish this coming year)

I just don’t know how I can add anything to my schedule before June. After that, we’ll see.

Submitting Goals

12-24 picture books manuscripts

~ on hold

12 writing contests (with at least the possibility of a small cash award)

I may double up each month when if things slow down.

IMG_8517

(In the summer I’d love to work at our local park.)

Editing/Critiquing Goals

I have a couple of paying gigs and some volunteer work on the go.

Marketing/Connecting Goals

Tweet once per day (M-F)

~ most days

Post to FB page daily

~ doin’ okay

Post to G+weekly

~ only remember because I write it down . . . like so many other things, actually

Baby 5

(one of the reasons I’m not ready to give up my certification)

Doula Goals

Attend 3-6 births

Complete recert requirements

Advertise more aggressive

~ haven’t given up hope

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(This is one of my backyard reading companies in the warm weather. His name is Draco.)

Photography Goals

Develop a website (or add to stephbethnickel.com)

~ a great goal for the summer

Reading Goals

One fiction and one nonfiction book (or the equivalent) per month

~ definitely ahead of schedule

Reading nonfiction books and blog posts in prep for five-hour intensive class I’m teaching at this year’s writers’ conference in June.

I’ve almost finished reading one book and have started a second.

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(pic by Sarah Grace Photography)

Personal Goals

Exercise 3-5 times per week

I’ve made a written plan for the next month. Woohoo!

Eat well

It’s coming.

Drink more water

~ choosing water more often

Go through one journal per month; decide what to keep for my kids and what to simply toss (Who knows? I might even gain some inspiration for my writing.)

Another summer project perhaps?

ROW Logo

ROW80 Goals

Post weekly

Visit my peeps on Mondays and Thursdays

~ doing better

Categories: Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Happy Heart Day

What do I love?

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rays of sunlight streaming through the trees

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diamonds dancing on the water

Autumn Tree

autumn’s brilliance

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sunsets on the water

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a fun surprise

But more than that . . .

I love the fact that you popped by today.

Wherever you are . . . whatever you’re doing . . .

I hope you have a Happy Heart Day!

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 ESV

Categories: Encouragement | 2 Comments

February 8 ROW80 Check-In

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Spiritual Goals

~ slowing down a little; time to get back on track

Read through New Testament twice (and once through selected Old Testament books)

Follow through with the 1-Minute Prayer Plan

Keep Thankfulness Journal (I started this last year then fell behind … time to make a new start.)

Memorize significant portions of the Bible (work on this three or more times per week)

IMG_8072

Family/Household Goals

Read God’s Word and pray with family each night M-F

most of the time

Plan NFC posts and follow through (NFC is a FB group I established for our family to keep in touch.)

I don’t post as often as I’d like.

Declutter the house

We’re having company over for lunch. Believe you me that motivated some serious cleaning and organizing on the main level. Now to keep it that way.

Plan and prep home-cooked suppers (Planning ahead is more than half the battle for me.)

The potato leek soup in the slow cooker smells yummy. (It may be those eight cloves of garlic, actually.)

SDC10232

Writing Goals

Blog at least twice per week on SNEI and once on SBN

Somewhere over the rainbow . . .

Guest blog at least eight times per month

~ on track

Participate in Ruth Snyder’s blog hop

~ posted this week

Write four seniors’ living articles per month (and any other projects that come through from this client)

~ on track

Write and record 20 devotionals and two book reviews per month for HopeStreamRadio

If I write and record two a day, things will stay on track.

12 picture books

~ officially on hold

12 writing contest entries

I’ve got a good idea what contest I’ll be entering this month . . . I think.

Write posts for the InScribe blog monthly and the InScribe pro blog ever six weeks or so

~ on track

*NEW – Write one or two submissions for possible inclusion in the InScribe anthology.

I’ve completed one of the two.

Participate in at least one Camp NaNo in the summer, OctPoWriMo in October, and PiBoIdMo in November

Life Through the Lens, The Write Stuff, Fit Tips, Well-Versed, If You Love Me (ebooks I hope to publish this coming year)

The Write Stuff keeps begging to be compiled. Perhaps I’ll do a little on that this coming week.

Communication

(pic thanks to pixabay.com)

Submitting Goals

12-24 picture books manuscripts

~ on hold

12 writing contests (with at least the possibility of a small cash award)

(See above.)

Editing

(pic thanks to pixabay.com)

Editing/Critiquing Goals

I have a few things on the go.

Sales

(pic thanks to pixabay.com)

Marketing/Connecting Goals

Tweet once per day (M-F)

~ on track

Post to FB page daily

~ doing okay

Post to G+weekly

~ still on track

Baby 4

(I attended this little ones birth. Such an honour!)

Doula Goals

Attend 3-6 births

Complete recert requirements

Advertise more aggressive

Instead of bemoaing the fact that I don’t have enough time between now and the end of May to complete my recertification requirements, I thought instead that I’d set aside a single day to get things in order. At that rate, if I can attend three births between now and then, I will be able to keep up with something I truly love. I’ll keep you posted.

IMG_9950

Photography Goals

Develop a website (or add to stephbethnickel.com)

~ a great goal for the summer

Open Book

(one last pixabay shot)

Reading Goals

One fiction and one nonfiction book (or the equivalent) per month

~ definitely ahead of schedule

*NEW – Reading nonfiction books and blog posts in prep for five-hour intensive class I’m teaching at this year’s writers’ conference in June.

I’m motoring along . . . and learning a thing or two in the process. :)

20140612-DSC_6779

(pic thanks to Sarah Grace Photography)

Personal Goals

Exercise 3-5 times per week

~ sorta, kinda

Eat well

The good news . . . I’m eating fewer sweets.

The bad news . . . my food journal is not as it should be. More fruits and veggies (which I love), here I come.

Drink more water

This isn’t as hard as I thought.

Go through one journal per month; decide what to keep for my kids and what to simply toss (Who knows? I might even gain some inspiration for my writing.)

Another summer project perhaps?

ROW Logo

ROW80 Goals

Post weekly

Visit my peeps on Mondays and Thursdays

~ visiting my peeps once a week consistently; must get back to more frequent visits

Categories: ROW80 | Tags: , , , , | 8 Comments

My Favourite Guy

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Over 30 years ago,

This man,

This amazing man,

Promised to love me

Like Christ loved the church,

Selflessly,

Completely,

Eternally.

It was a beautiful sentiment,

But how could he make such a promise?

After all,

Who knew what our tomorrows would bring?

Well,

Because of the strength and love

That God provided

Year after year,

Decade after decade,

Dave loved me

Faithfully,

Diligently,

Undeservedly.

To be honest,

It took me much longer

To begin to love him

As he deserves.

But still,

He did not withdraw his love from me,

Not even a little.

So what stage of love am I in?

That wondrous, glorious, amazing stage

That only gets better

With each passing day.

May he and I share many, many more such days.

“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” 

Ephesians 5:25 ESV

You’re invited to pop over to Ruth L. Snyder’s blog to read about more favourite characters (real and fictitious).

Categories: Blog Hop | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Sunday’s Belated ROW80 Check-In

IMG_9850

Spiritual Goals

~ slowing down a little; time to get back on track

Read through New Testament twice (and once through selected Old Testament books)

Follow through with the 1-Minute Prayer Plan

Keep Thankfulness Journal (I started this last year then fell behind … time to make a new start.)

Memorize significant portions of the Bible (work on this three or more times per week)

IMG_8722

(thinking of warmer days ahead)

Family/Household Goals

Having family home in March and entertaining should motivate action in these areas – soon I hope.

Read God’s Word and pray with family each night M-F

Plan NFC posts and follow through (NFC is a FB group I established for our family to keep in touch.)

Declutter the house

Plan and prep home-cooked suppers (Planning ahead is more than half the battle for me.)

IMG_0568

(my coauthor at our book signing at Chapters in London, ON)

Writing Goals

Finish ghostwriting project

~ my part is done, at least for now

Blog at least twice per week on SNEI and once on SBN

This week I’m going to compile a list of ideas so they are at hand when I’m not feeling particularly creative.

Guest blog at least eight times per month

~ on track

Participate in Ruth Snyder’s blog hop

I will have to prep my post for this coming Saturday. (Deadlines imposed by others work well for me.)

Write four seniors’ living articles per month (and any other projects that come through from this client)

I’ve completed January’s posts and plan to write one per week this month so there’s no urgency when February is winding down.

Write and record 20 devotionals and two book reviews per month for HopeStreamRadio

I’ll have to buckle down this week.

12 picture books

I’m thinking this is a goal for the latter half of 2015.

12 writing contest entries

Keeping my eye out to see which contest(s) I’ll enter this month.

Write posts for the InScribe blog monthly and the InScribe pro blog ever six weeks or so

This week’s InScribe post should be easy peasy. I have permission to share another writer’s poem. I will only have to add introductory info. Yay!

*NEW – Write one or two submissions for possible inclusion in the InScribe anthology.

Participate in at least one Camp NaNo in the summer, OctPoWriMo in October, and PiBoIdMo in November

Life Through the Lens, The Write Stuff, Fit Tips, Well-Versed, If You Love Me (ebooks I hope to publish this coming year)

Keyboard

(pic thanks to pixabay.com)

Submitting Goals

12-24 picture books manuscripts

12 writing contests (with at least the possibility of a small cash award)

I’ll let you know when I choose February’s contest(s). Maybe you’ll want to enter as well.

Editing/Critiquing Goals

I have a phone call to make this week to another potential client.

Marketing/Connecting Goals

Tweet once per day (M-F)

I’ve been doing well but have yet to post for today. 

Post to FB page daily

~ trying to strategically back off in this regard; doing pretty well

Post to G+weekly

~ on track

IMG_7740

(I attended this precious mama’s two births and had the privilege of doing a photo shoot before this wee one was born. Pic used with permission.)

Doula Goals

Attend 3-6 births

I don’t know how I’ll get my requirements completed in time to recertify, but it’s not something I want to give up. I love being there for mamas, their partners, and their wee ones.

Complete recert requirements

See above.

Advertise more aggressive

Aggressive I’m not. Sigh

IMG_0585

(maybe the first time I captured sunbeams)

Photography Goals

Develop a website (or add to stephbethnickel.com)

I’m thinking sometime after the middle of June.

Lady Reading

(another pixabay shot)

Reading Goals

One fiction and one nonfiction book (or the equivalent) per month

~ probably a little ahead of schedule

*NEW – Reading nonfiction books and blog posts in prep for five-hour intensive class I’m teaching at this year’s writers’ conference in June.

I’ve made a good start.

20140612-DSC_6779

(pic thanks to Sarah Grace Photography)

Personal Goals

Exercise 3-5 times per week

Shovelling and the four-week squat challenge are helping some.

Eat well

I’m not finding it hard to stay away from desserts. I’m just lazy when it comes to meal prep. There, I’ve said it. Yes . . . yes, I would like to have a personal chef.

Drink more water

Excuse me while I go get a glass of the stuff . . . which I much prefer in the warmer weather.

Go through one journal per month; decide what to keep for my kids and what to simply toss (Who knows? I might even gain some inspiration for my writing.)

~ not high on my priority list

ROW Logo

ROW80 Goals

Post weekly

Visit my peeps on Mondays and Thursdays

~ visiting my peeps once a week consistently; must get back to more frequent visits

Categories: ROW80 | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

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