Christmas Wonder

December 25, 2014

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I sit in wonder
Looking back I see it
Generational darkness
And pinholes of light
The tragedy and the pain
The sorrow that led to joy

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The relational chaos
Can be seen on the I-Phone
Looking for a connection
Missing the person

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With eyes on the hand
Holding the person captive
Not seeing my eyes
Longing for a connection
To be seen as a person

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I’ll lay the phone down
Turn it off and look around
Not miss the moment
The eyes and the warm embrace
Surprising moments of joy

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More information
Life lived vicariously
Technology is worshiped
Junk food of the mind
Robbing us connection
With the real and life giving

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I will text you now
And give an invitation
To come share a joy
Know the beauty of looking
In the eyes of the One who loves

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I have learned in the morning before I look at my I-Phone, turn on the computer and check my email to be still and look in the face of the Father who sees. The unseen is the real just like love. You know when it is not there and you know it when it is. Turn your mind, heart and soul to the One who can stop the noise and chaos and give you peace. Today people around the world are looking for gifts. One has been given you and you have only to be still, listen and believe. Readings this morning that has been helpful to me in stopping the “junk food” noise from generations are the following: “My Utmost for His Highest” by Oswald Chambers, “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young. Psalm 25:14 speaks of a God who will “confide in you” and Psalm 55:22 says “Cast your burden on the Lord and he will sustain you.” Looking back I see the generational darkness and I now see the generational light revealed that day God was born in the world as a baby. May the real wonder of Christmas be yours today! Merry Christmas!

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A Christmas Gift

December 24, 2014

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I’ve received a gift
It’s the divine grace of faith
I offer myself
My mind will be your workshop
My heart will be your playground

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My soul flourishes
I will be God’s workmanship
His poetry in this world
Living with a fire
Accessing this deep friendship
Gift available to all

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Please form Christ in me
I will be engaged in truth
Feelings will not deter me
I accept your love

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Christmas Truth

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The littlest child
Hidden in a manger still
I sing “Silent Night”

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The light of the world
Coming down to bring real joy
Unending love given all
Who will believe it
Historically certain
It is verifiable

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Please consider this story
Don’t take others word for it
Religious or atheist
You can decide this

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Consider all things
Get all the information
Respect your judgment
Listen to your broken heart
Listen to the heart of God

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I’m given a mind
A heart, soul and a body
Time to consider
What is true – what is not true
I have chosen to believe

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The littlest child
Hidden in a manger
Was the Son of God
I am alive to live it
I am free to share the joy

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Death has no power
I have chosen where to stand
A resurrection
Has taken place in my soul
Both now and forever more

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Blue Christmas

December 23, 2014

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This season brings awareness of deepest joy and unspeakable sorrow!   I think about my mother who for many Christmases sat in desperation at not being with her four children. She abandoned them when they were ten, eight, seven and two in 1950. I found her broken and devastated in 1968, eight-teen years later at the age of forty-five. Jesus’ story of meeting the woman at the well had inspired me to contact her. She had been married five times and was living with a man who was not her husband. She spent Christmas with us in Boston in 1985, and her story and picture were on the front page of the newspaper on Christmas Eve, telling the power of forgiveness and reconciliation. People with hatred, guilt, shame, and broken relationships were at the heart of Jesus’ mission.

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The experience with my mother created a desire in me to reach out with compassion, which is why I started Coaching Life Matters. Coaching Life Matters is committed to removing barriers to healthy relationships and restoring people to joy. We are a non-profit educational organization that chooses not to charge for our services. To learn more about the work we did in 2014 and our plans for 2015, please click the link below to read our December newsletter.

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http://coachinglifematters.org/resources/Newsletter-Dec-2014.pdf

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If you would like to know more about some of the stories of our work with veterans with PTSD,  Operation Stand Down, (an organization working with homeless veterans), and our work in the prison, you can view video clips in newsletter:

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If you are already connected to Coaching Life Matters, we want to thank you for your continued support and encouragement in our work. If you are just hearing about us, please check us out and consider joining us in going “outside the camp.”

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May your hearts be filled with hope, and if you are in despair, I pray you will find that “pinhole of light.” Special thanks to Boyle Investment Company, which donates office space for CLM to operate.

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Wishing you the best Christmas and a joyful 2015.

Thankfully, Terry and Charlotte

Why Christmas?

December 23, 2014

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I will meet with you alone
There is no greater moment
Than being in your presence
The secret treasure

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You delivered me
From the bonds of slavery
A prison inside

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My heart demands perfection
I can never measure up
To be able to please all
It’s impossible

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So I stand guilty
Behind the bars of performing
Looking for affirmation
So someone will see
I am a person of worth
My grief and losses scream out

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I have hidden faults
Secret ones that condemn me
I can’t measure up
Beliefs about me are a lie
I keep looking for relief

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I found in silence
Behind the condemnation
The noise of judgment stopped cold
When I looked in eyes
Of the Creator of life
Who showed me that He loved me

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Stillness is so hard
Because my own heart condemns me
I need to be held
Comforted like a small child
Held in the arms of my friend

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I found this unseen love
In stillness God came to me
I focused on His dear son’s
Compassionate love

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He knows each of us
With understanding He comes
He has chosen you
Knows your name and your pain
Says, “Your are my Beloved”

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I could be right about this
“You are Special and Beloved”
I’m not talking religion
But relationship

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Friendship that’s deep and lasting
A friend who will never leave
A joy that’s unspeakable
Love that cherishes

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This secret treasure
Is for all those who seek truth
Who decide to fight
Begin by caring for self
Take responsibility

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I have found the light
My soul searched with compassion
And the message, “I love you”
Comes with knowledge
Understanding the story
That God became a human

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I sing “Silent Night”
The reason for the Season
In stillness He comes

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Early morning reflections from Psalm 19

Christmas Conversation

December 22, 2014

I rise to see you

To come into your presence

Through faith I see love

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I am not a fool

The one who made the eye can see

The one who made the ear can hear

The beauty of life

The masterful creation

Speaks to the honest human

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Honest questions discovered

As one experiences life

Leads to a surprising joy

Of human greatness

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Taste and see the Lord is good

He will not “should” on your life

You’re responsible to seek

Search out what is true

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Most people react

Don’t look at the obvious

Look past the problem

Understand yourself and God

I discovered real friendship

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When you’re seventy

It is time to speak and say

Truth I have learned to live by

Brokenness and peace

The freedom of forgiveness

Joy that surpasses knowledge

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This painful process

I have sought to know what is true

Many failures and loses

Have taught me to listen well

In suffering I find found peace

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I have hurt many

I have been failed by many

There is one who has not failed

His love forgives me

And I forgive the others

Who I hope can forgive me

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My failures and yours

Will not stop me from loving

For I can give what’s given

Love the unlovely

That is in me and in you

It’s the work of God’s Spirit

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So when Christmas comes

It’s time to begin again

Remembering the Advent

Love Demonstrated

One human who made it clear

How to bring peace on this earth

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Reflections inspired by Psalm 20 and 50. May God’s peace be in you that sits above the circumstances. May the joy of Christ’s Presence fill you today.

Dedicated to Steve Brumfield 

Tender Vulnerable Times

December 23, 2013

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I’ll be with you in

Tender vulnerable times

That’s God’s promise
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Lightning of life will strike you

Leave a scar on your sweet soul

I will heal all of your wounds

Bring joy, make you whole
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I’ll lead with forgiveness

Through the door of compassion

Touch you where needed the most

Give understanding
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There will be no obstacle

I can’t overcome in you

God does the impossible

For those who seek him
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“The great thing to remember is that though our feelings come and go, God’s love for us does not.” C.S. Lewis
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“Jesus is the same yesterday and today and forever.” The writer of the book of Hebrews, chapter 13.
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“In all your ways acknowledge him, and he makes your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:6

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If  Christmas time makes you cry — this post is dedicated to you …
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An unspoken dream
That is in everyone
A longing within
This dream articulated
In universal language

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I had a dream as a child
I wanted a home with peace
An atmosphere of loving care
To celebrate life

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Moments of oneness
I remember them so well
Laughter and playing
Learning a rhythm of joy
Experienced in the child

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I got a glimpse of it
The first seven years of life
Playing ball with the neighbors
Being held with love

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Children need a holding place
Of personal tender care
Where they feel safe and secure
Untouched by trouble

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The home is the place
Where joy is at the center
Laughter the result
Forgiveness reigns all around
The freedom to discover

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I will tell the world
That peace is within their reach
What you need first is desire
Then a clear vision
If it is there you will find it
Relationships that flourish

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I’ll never give up
Living peace and sharing it
It is my great joy

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Those who want to know
Who are searching with their heart
Will certainly find
It will take your best thinking
Then faith and courage to act

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It is in practicing
The things that you know are true
You’ll discover more

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There are daily practices
I’ve discovered on the way
That are essential to me
For living in joy

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I awoke from a dream this morning, with my heart going out to the children who long to be held, and to experience home as a safe place.  I felt that safety as a little child, although my parents as teenagers did not know how to provide it.  There was extended family, (and neighbors) who provided this safety until  my family unit fell apart.  I believe there is a longing in everyone to find a place of peace where joy sits at the center.  I want to be a part of pointing the way to this authentic life that is available to all.  These reflections came out of my dream last night, and after meditating on Proverbs 20 and John 15.

© Terry S. Smith

 

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The following article and picture appeared on the front page of the Burlington Daily Times on December 24, 1985, in metropolitan Boston, Massachusetts. 

 

A Christmas Story – December 24, 1985

 

A man painfully remembers: years of confusion, guilt, and learning to survive in a world where hate and fear consumed his childhood.

When he was seven years old, his mother stood on the hood of the car, kicked the windshield in and cursed the boy’s father to hell.

When the boy was eight, divorce and alcoholism robbed him of his mother.  The parent’s failure, anger, and hate tore the relationship apart and another family unit fragmented.

This is a story about a mother and son coming together after eighteen years, and about the One who stirred their hearts into a love that brought healing and hope to a once broken relationship.

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Carol, Sid, Mama, Robert and Terry

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I had always wondered about her.  She was beautiful, but many of my memories were painful, reinforced by my father’s hatred for her.  While I was growing up, he cut me off from anyone who cared about her.

Then during my last year of graduate school, I found where she lived, discovering that in a city of 600,000 people, I was driving past her house daily.

Should I go see her?  What would she be like now?  She would be forty-five years old.  Could I understand this woman who left four young children, never again to be involved in their childhood?

She didn’t know who I was when my wife and I knocked on her door in October of 1968.  But a new journey began.

Her story was hard.  She had married at sixteen, had three children before age twenty-one.  She married five times, was an alcoholic, and currently was living with a man who was not her husband.

She hated herself.  She had attempted suicide by cutting her throat, jumping out of a car going eighty miles an hour, and by putting a gun to her head and pulling the trigger.

But, the gun misfired.  It fell on the floor, blowing a hole in the wall.  She lived!

The reunion with her son helped her to realize she could start over again.  She began to fight!  But it was like trying to climb a greased slide.  My family — a wife and two babies — now included this woman, my mother, who, after wanting to die all these years, now had a desire to live.

The failure I experienced in my childhood caused me to pursue the field of counseling to learn how to live in relationships, and not make the same mistakes my parents made.   There had to be a way to live in this world and not be victimized by failure, anger, insecurity and guilt.

People can come back together and healing can take place in relationships.  But how?  How could this woman ever have forgiven herself for leaving her children?  How could the children have ever forgiven her for abandoning them?

As a family counselor in Burlington, I have chosen, for a model, one person in history who knew how to love and treat human beings.  I find very few people who have read his life.  Not many are willing to give and extend mercy toward those who hurt them.  Not many are willing to say: “I am wrong!”; “I am sorry!”; “Forgive me!”

The little baby whose birthday the world celebrates at this time of the year grew up to be a man.  He met a woman at the well who had been married five times and was living with a man not her husband.  The man at the well treated the woman with dignity, respect, consideration, and compassion.   It changed her life.

The angels announced at his birth that he has come to bring good tidings of great joy.  The woman at the well experienced it the day she met him.  I have tested it on the streets of the twentieth century and it holds today.  My mother found hope, forgiveness, and new beginnings because this man’s evaluation of human worth represented by the heart of the God and Father of us all.

Our challenge at this season is to look past the commercialism of Christmas.  To look beyond the religious ritual, and to sense the mystery of the One who came among us to demonstrate and to give a new quality of life.

I’ve just returned from a family wedding.  It was the first time in thirty-five years the family was together.  My mother flew back with us, and will celebrate her first New England Christmas with me and my family.  We realize that we owe this reunion to the One whose perspective on life continues to bring into a dark world hope and light.

Our hearts are full of thanksgiving as we celebrate the reality of his presence.

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My mother died in the year 2000, at the age seventy-seven.  She experienced in her heart, soul, and mind, the joy of God’s peace.

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A Christmas Story

December 24, 2009

This picture and article appeared on the front page of the Burlington Daily Times on December 24, 1985, in metropolitan Boston.  My mother died in the year 2000, at the age seventy-seven connected in the heart, soul, and mind with the joy of His peace.

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A Christmas Story

A man painfully remembers: years of confusion, guilt, and learning to survive in a world where hate and fear consumed his childhood.

When he was six years old, his mother stood on the hood of the car, kicked the windshield in and cursed the boy’s father to hell.

When the boy was eight, divorce and alcoholism robbed him of his mother.  The parent’s failure, anger, and hate tore the relationship apart and another family unit fragmented.

This is a story about a mother and son coming together after eighteen years, and about the One who stirred their hearts into a love that brought healing and hope to a once broken relationship.

~

Carol, Sid, Mama, Robert and Terry

~

I had always wondered about her.  She was beautiful, but many of my memories were painful, reinforced by my father’s hatred for her.  While I was growing up, he cut me off from anyone who cared about her.

Then during my last year of graduate school, I found where she lived, discovering that in a city of 600,000 people, I was driving past her house daily.

Should I go see her?  What would she be like now?  She would be forty-five years old.  Could I understand this woman who left four young children, never again to be involved in their childhood?

She didn’t know who I was when my wife and I knocked on her door in October of 1968.  But a new journey began.

Her story was hard.  She had married at sixteen, had three children before age twenty-one.  She married five times, was an alcoholic, and currently was living with a man who was not her husband.

She hated herself.  She had attempted suicide by cutting her throat, jumping out of a car going eighty miles an hour, and by putting a gun to her head and pulling the trigger.

But, the gun misfired.  It fell on the floor, blowing a hole in the wall.  She lived!

The reunion with her son helped her to realize she could start over again.  She began to fight!  But it was like trying to climb a greased slide.  My family — a wife and two babies — now included this woman, my mother, who, after wanting to die all these years, now had a desire to live.

The failure I experienced in my childhood caused me to pursue the field of counseling to learn how to live in relationships, and not make the same mistakes my parents made.   There had to be a way to live in this world and not be victimized by failure, anger, insecurity and guilt.

People can come back together and healing can take place in relatiionships.  But how?  How could this woman ever have forgiven herself for leaving her children?  How could the children have ever forgiven her for abandoning them?

As a family counselor in Burlington, I have chosen, for a model, one person in history who knew how to love and treat human beings.  I find very few people who have read his life.  Not many are willing to give and extend mercy toward those who hurt them.  Not many are willing to say: “I am wrong!”; “I am sorry!”; “Forgive me!”

The little baby whose birthday the world celebrates at this time of the year grew up to be a man.  He met a woman at the well who had been married five times and was living with a man not her husband.  The man at the well treated the woman with dignity, respect, consideration, and compassion.   It changed her life.

The angels announced at his birth that he has come to bring good tidings of great joy.  The woman at the well experienced it the day she met him.  I have tested it on the streets of the twentieth century and it holds today.  My mother found hope, forgiveness, and new beginnings because this man’s evaluation of human worth represented by the heart of the God and Father of us all.

Our challenge at this season is to look past the commercialism of Christmas.  To look beyond the religious ritual, and to sense the mystery of the One who came among us to demonstrate and to give a new quality of life.

I’ve just returned from a family wedding.  It was the first time in thirty-five years the family was together.  My mother flew back with us, and will celebrate her first New England Christmas with me and my family.  We realize that we owe this reunion to the One whose perspective on life continues to bring into a dark world hope and light.

Our hearts are full of thanksgiving as we celebrate the reality of his presence.

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Light

December 17, 2009

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Christmas season brings the lights
Lighting it up with hope, joy
Looking to give and receive
The Light of the world
 
Light within is the answer
Many walk in dark places
Confused and afraid of the night
Because they can’t see
 
There is a presence
Given to all who believe
A love without end
 
Where can I find peace?
The most important question
Asked when I was young
 
Wisdom is what I needed
Insight to find a new way
A longing for what is true
A way to find peace
 
© Terry S. Smith
December 16, 2008
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Life

December 1, 2009

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A Christmas Story
One told around the world
Has brought life to me
 
In quiet I think
Of all the sacrifices
Freely given love
 
I will look for ways
To see things as they are
Get all the information
See all the angles
My life will depend on it
I don’t want to miss life
 
© Terry S. Smith
November 24, 2009
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