Thank you for visiting, I hope you stick around! This is a blog dedicated to encouraging women to rest in God's grace and righteousness. I pray that nothing you read or see here leaves you feeling discouraged or inadequate. The last thing I want is to contribute to the "I don't measure up to this blog" epidemic that is plaguing so many moms today! My prayer is that this blog helps any readers (and myself) be comfortable with the eternal and secure identity in Christ that is there for the taking. Here's to walking in His liberty!


Monday, July 29, 2013

{allow yourself grace} I forgot.

In allowing myself grace in the area of blogging, I guess...because I forgot to post this Saturday's "Allow Yourself Grace"! Sad thing is, it was only the third Saturday, and I'm forgetting already.
Let me say though, the topic definitely would've been housework, and it's safe to say it might be next week's as well!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

mom on mom crime...

Breastfeeding or bottle feeding. Co-sleeping or crib sleeping. Cry it out or cuddle it out. Cloth diapers or disposable diapers. Homeschool, public school, or private school. All organic, some organic, mostly processed (but prepared at home), or mostly fast food. Unmedicated, Epidural, or C-Section.

I could go on easily for another five minutes.

The worst part is, even though I feel strongly against parents judging other parents for the above and other choices--which is why I'm sitting here writing this--I found myself choosing where I stand in each area as I wrote it. It's nearly irresistible. I want to believe that my choices are the best choices. I want to say things like "well I _______ because I care about my kids' so much (subtext: "sorry you don't care about your kids enough to do it")."

I like to call this judgement passing and arguing "mom-on-mom crime." I have been the victim and the assailant in many of these situations. It's not good. Sometimes when I think of how I've treated other moms in the past, the little comments or looks because of differences of opinion, I just want to cry...and have.

Let me give a few examples. When my daughter Scarlett was about 6 months old we decided to try cloth diapering. I am very ashamed to say that I made myself right at home up on that high horse, and I always hoped that someone would see her diapers and ask me about it...so I could pat myself on the back for 5 minutes. I knew that when I did that, it probably made my friends who didn't cloth diaper feel uncomfortable or even like they fell short in that area...but it didn't stop me. It took awhile, and a big slap in the face with how arrogant I had become for this to stop.

Another example would be when I was recently told that two of my childbirths were "unnatural" because I had epidurals. Let me set the record straight. When women who have gotten epidurals, inductions or c-sections are made to feel like they don't care as much about their babies as those who have gone med free or had homebirths, I do not handle that well. I think it's very unfair that going med free is now known as "natural childbirth." Having an epidural does not make your birthing experience an abomination. It is not an unnatural way to have a child, nor is a c-section or an induction. Side note: I was also told recently by another Christian woman that her childbirths were more spiritual because she chose not to "dampen" the spirituality of it with medication. Dude...not cool. On the list of things that irk me most in the world, someone telling me that my Jesus wasn't present during my birthing experiences where I got an epidural is very near the top.

One last example. My husband and I have never chosen the institute the family bed concept. I am not against it at all, so co-sleepers, please don't click that X in the corner. I have always struggled with putting my children ahead of my husband...and even ahead of the Lord in my life. So for us, me choosing to bring my babies into our bed to sleep for an indefinite period of time doesn't sit so well in our marriage, or in my relationship with the Lord. Now, of course, when baby needs to nurse in the night and I fall asleep, there is some co-sleeping that happens there. It's just not a conscious and planned decision to always have our baby in bed with us...that's all. All that being said, I was the black sheep of my breastfeeding support group because of this, and I ultimately stopped going because I couldn't take being left out anymore. Luckily by that time, I was a mom of two and a breastfeeding veteran...but what if I hadn't been? What if I had been a brand new mom who was desperate to breastfeed her baby, but felt shunned by the "experts" I'd been urged to seek out for an unrelated decision?

Breastfeeding or bottle feeding. Co-sleeping or crib sleeping. Cry it out or cuddle it out. Cloth diapers or disposable diapers. Homeschool, public school, or private school. All organic, some organic, mostly processed (but prepared at home), or mostly fast food. Unmedicated, Epidural, or C-Section.

We can coexist. We can be accepting, loving, and encouraging to moms who make different decisions than ourselves. I know we can, because God has been faithful to continuously teach me to strive for this in my own life, and I've seen countless other moms do it. In my opinion, what makes someone a good mom is devoting your time and energy to making sure that your children feel loved; and giving what you have to give. This won't always be 110%, it won't always be organic, it will sometimes come in a bag with golden arches on it, it will sometimes come from a bottle instead of a breast. Give them what you have to give, and point them to Jesus at every opportunity...that's what they will remember as they look back on their lives!

Here's to keeping the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace!


Saturday, July 20, 2013

{allow yourself grace} patience...

As we speak, my sister and I are trying to manage our 6 crazy kids (two of which are young babies, mind you) by ourselves. Our manly man hubbies are working on my car...again...which I very much appreciate...but I'm finding it super challenging to be patient with my kids right now.
My three year old and I are in a constant battle over naps, and being that I'm not at my house today...well, there was just no hope of her taking a nap. She is a WRECK today; almost as big a wreck as I am after Vacation Bible School everyday this past week, oh and of course the car troubles three (count them...3) days this week! If you know me in person, you know that I am not a quiet person by nature. I wouldn't say I'm tremendously outgoing and talkative or anything, but I'm definitely not quiet. So maaaaaaybe--definitely--I yell at my kids sometimes...and sometimes a lot of times. This is a struggle for me, and has been since my oldest was about 2 (go figure!).
I am giving myself a little grace right now in this area, and resting in His calming presence. I might not always be a quiet, reverent, meek wife and mother, but I believe that the Lord is blessed by my desire and efforts to become one! I also find that each time I lose my temper with the kids, it's a chance to show them I need Jesus, pray with them, and to teach them about grace, mercy, and forgiveness.
Here's to trusting in His faithfulness to complete a good work in me!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

cool new (and inexpensive) mommy products!

My children and I consider going to wal-mart a very exciting outing. Since we are a one car family at the moment (my hubby is building a hot rod, but I don't really count that as a second family car), you can bet that anytime the kids and I have the car, we'll end up walking around at wal-mart just to get out of the house. That being said, we did that this afternoon. I ended up having to nurse the baby while we were walking around, so we decided to hang out in the baby section. Go figure. Anyway, I came across some products that I thought were pretty amazing, so I thought I'd share them.

Munchkin Easy Squeezy Spoon - $5.76 

I will definitely be using this when little ham starts solids! Perfect for feeding solids while out and about...especially homemade baby food!

BooginHead Reusable Food Pouch - $7.96

I love this! I love those baby food pouches, and now there's a reusable option...again perfect for homemade baby food!

Parent's Choice Stack & Seal Cups - I think these were $1.88 but I can't remember!

I was going to buy these and spaced out, but I'll definitely get them next time. I love that they stack, so I'm not digging through the diaper bag for 3-4 different snack cups for my kids...I can just find the nice tall stack of them!

Playtex SmartStand Universal Lid Holder - $4.98

Oh my goodness. I think I have literally cried because I couldn't find any matching sippy cup & lid combinations before. Nuff said. 

Ziploc Spill Proof Sippy Cups (with twist on lids) - $4.97

These don't have valves, just like those little "take & toss" cups (which I swear by), so I don't know how spill proof they actually are, but I love the twist on lid aspect!

I hope this is helpful! I can't wait to try out some of these products. 

Until next time,


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

a little encouragement when I needed it most...

My girls are in VBS this week (at the church I went to VBS at as a kid...so cool), so I've gotten some much needed fun time with my boys. I can already see it benefiting my 22 month old, and it's definitely benefiting me!

Anyway, yesterday--the first day of VBS--I decided to go have a nice, long, relaxing trip to Target since I only had two kids with me. I figured, one will be sitting in the cart and I'll be wearing the other, so what could go wrong? The answer?? EVERYTHING.

Let's start with the fact that my 2 month old HATESSSS the heat, and it was around 104 degrees. Oh, and fun fact...the air conditioning in our car is broken right now. Fine holiday fun, as you can imagine. So I leisurely strode around Target for all of 3 minutes (long enough to get me a large Diet Coke and my big boy a snack) when my gentle giant just couldn't take the heat anymore. The sound of a thousand banshees being slaughtered burst forth from this child's lungs in supersonic capacities. As I danced around like a buffoon in any way that had previously comforted him and made every combination of every whooshing and shushing noise I could think of--while trying to get him to take his pacifier and put a game on my phone for the cubby--I suddenly felt "the stare" coming at me from every direction.

(You all know what I'm talking about right? The "shut your kid up, I'd like to look at these sporting goods in absolute silence!" or "whew, lady...you are in over your head...maybe you shouldn't go out in public with your children" look.)

I felt a huge surge of pride come over me. "I have four children, and most of the time I enjoy going out in public alone with all of them! How dare these people look at me like this!" Then it hit me. I might not do "the stare" but I definitely get all kinds of puffed up when it's someone else's kid screaming in the middle of the store and mine are behaving well (which--let's be honest--isn't all that much). My distorted version of judgement and pride is no different than the people who feel inconvenienced and offended by a mother nursing her child while they are trying to eat at a restaurant, or the dude who wants to look at ankle weights or fanny packs or whatever at Target in absolute silence. Owned. I get it, Lord. Thanks for the gentle-ish reminder. In those moments, I should be doing what I can to encourage and minister to that mom who is at her wit's end.

It was about 15 minutes later, and Jesse was still going strong with the supersonic banshee howling. I was buying a few small things, including a cheap pack of receiving blankets because I had NOTHING to cover up with to nurse him! For you breastfeeding advocates out there, I definitely don't think women have to cover up to breastfeed, and very often I don't cover up if the outfit I'm wearing allows for maintaining modesty. Well, this outfit did not allow for that, and all I had was a tiny burp cloth, so I bought some blankies to assist me. Holy tangent. Sorry. Anyway, I'm holding Jesse at this point because he just wasn't having the carrier, and I'm checking out with one hand. Meanwhile, my biggun is screaming "HEYYYY" at me over and over because apparently I put the wrong video of trucks on my phone for him, and he starts throwing my phone on the floor (thank the Lord for phone covers) and screaming at me to get it. Bahhhh.

At this point, I'm just dragging. I'm holding the baby with one arm, trying to calm down the toddler with the other arm, and pushing a shopping cart with my stomach. "Just a few more steps until I can sit down and nurse, give cubby a snack, and have a minute of quiet." I was repeating this to myself in my head as I struggled my way to the seating area, when suddenly I felt a hand on my forearm. Two women were standing at the wedding registry kiosks to my left, and one of them had stepped out and stopped me. "It's okay, mama. Don't worry, you're doing great. I remember these days, and now I'm here with my daughter registering for her wedding! Just enjoy these babies right now." I was fighting back tears. I felt so encouraged and like I had my second wind to get through the day, just because this woman took a few seconds to put herself in my shoes and encourage me!

Sometimes we are the "me" in this story, and sometimes we have the chance to be the lovely stranger who chooses selflessness in someone else's moment of need. I wish I could say that I make the effort to do this more often than not, but unfortunately I choose selfishness much of the time. I make much of myself by thinking my time is too valuable to give away. Oh, that I would make much of Jesus and use my time as He did, to reflect God's glory to the world!

Here's to using our precious time on earth to glorify Him!


Saturday, July 13, 2013

allow yourself grace...

"Allow Yourself Grace" will be a short post every once and awhile on an area I have struggled recently.  I'm hoping it will serve as a reminder for myself and my readers to let go and rest in God's perfection.

Sometimes after a long day, or often times a long stretch of days, I leave my house in shambles and go to bed. I know some of you cringe at the thought of that, but that is an area I allow myself some grace. I urge you, mother in need of rest, to do the same.

His righteousness envelops you perfectly whether you're waking up early to immaculate cleanliness or waking up late to breakfast being cooked by your husband in a messy kitchen.

Sometimes the best way we can serve our families is to allow ourselves to rest, take refuge in his grace, and pick up the slack later.

Here's to losing ourselves in his mercy,


Friday, July 12, 2013

am I homemaking for God's glory, or is homemaking my God?

"I'm going to start grinding my own wheat!!", I yelled in excitement as my husband walked through the door. "Um...okaaaaaay. Why, exactly?" He looked even more puzzled than when I told him we weren't buying store bought bread anymore, or when I told him I wasn't feeding the kids cereal for breakfast anymore. His puzzled expression continued as I opened my mouth to give him an explanation as to why I wanted to grind my own wheat, but struggled to find one. The only reason I could give was that I saw it on a blog.

Now let me say that I don't think it's wrong to think something that someone else is doing looks cool or fun, or to try it yourself. Not at all. I love baking homemade bread, and there's nothing bad about that. What can be bad about it is when I want to "win" at it. Catch my drift? When I decide that we WILL NOT buy bread from the store, because I WILL win the mom contest of bread baking...yeah, that's a problem. It's when it turns into coveting that it becomes a problem. Covet isn't a word that we hear much in this day and age, which may be why it may be a bigger problem than ever. I didn't want to grind my own wheat because of a strong personal conviction that it was best for me and my family...I just wanted to get closer to that unattainable (but constantly pursued), made up persona in my mind of the perfect Susie homemaker mom and wife. I am coveting someone else's life.

So where is the line? How do we find that balance? For me it had to be drastic, I had to take a long break from looking at blogs, get off of Facebook completely, and set boundaries for myself with Pinterest. I also had to pray everyday over specific friendships where I started feeling competitive. I'm not recommending this approach to anyone, really. This is what I felt God was leading me to after praying about it and discussing it thoroughly with my husband. What I would recommend is coming up with a short list of discerning questions to hold yourself accountable. Better yet, find a friend or two and hold each other accountable in this area if you all share the struggle.

Here are a few things I consider when I'm discerning my motives in relation to the "mommy blogosphere":

is this going to require a big change to our lifestyle; and if so, have I discussed it with my husband and prayed about it?

For example, I have been guilty of finding a new discipline and chore system on Pinterest or something, and just rushing to implement it without much consideration of everyone else, or even mentioning it to my husband first. For me this is a red flag, since my actions suggest that my motive is hurrying to measure up to what someone else is doing, rather than taking the time to consider what's best for my family.

when I saw this post/pin, was my initial feeling jealousy, covetousness, or inadequacy?

This should be common sense, right? Not so much for me. You're looking at someone who wept at the sight of another mom's perfectly painted red nails on a sewing tutorial, and then promptly painted not only my fingernails and toenails, but both my daughters' as well. Nothing wrong with that...oh, except for the fact that I was seriously coveting someone's FINGERNAILS.

when I look at and go about my daily "to-dos", do I see myself striving to bring glory to God in all I do--no matter what that may be? or do I think completing a checklist I made will earn God's favor?

My standing with a Holy God is not affected by anything I can do. My standing with Him is eternal and bought with the blood of Christ alone!! I just wish I could live out each day in this truth. Instead, I go down rabbit trails to justify my works based living. "If I don't have my husband's laundry put away every day before he gets home, I'm not honoring him...and by not honoring him, I'm not honoring God because the Bible says I should...so God won't be pleased with me unless I get all the laundry 100% done EVERY SINGLE DAY." Does this sound ridiculous? Because it should. There have been times where I make myself right at home in this thought pattern. I claim to believe that I'm saved by grace through faith, but I live as if I'm justified by my works. I measure my worth against a checklist of homemaking tasks (that I have foolishly created from looking at other peoples' lives online), and therefore have made homemaking my God. I trust my own broken heart and mind, and the broken hearts and minds of others to determine my worth, above trusting the inerrant and eternal Word of God to do so.

Please, oh please, tired mother, wife, single woman trying to do it all...PLEASE don't follow these tracks. Rest in His perfection, rest in His strength, His grace, His unchanging love.

Until next time,


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

3 stitch bubble skirt tutorial w/pics!!

Now, let me start by saying this: I don't think I have vast knowledge, mad skillz, or uber-creative ideas that just simply must be shared with the world to make it a better place. But sometimes I luck out and stumble upon something that doesn't stink...so this is one of those times. 
This skirt has only 3--yes, THREEEEE--lines of stitching! It's so quick to make, even for beginners (my sewing skills lie somewhere in between beginner and intermediate)!
So let's get started.

You'll need fabric and thread (thanks captain obvs), elastic, and all the usual sewing accouterments. Gotta love needlessly fancy words.
I used a silky lightweight material that's a little crinkly, and though it turned out super cute, I think the "bubble" effect would come through better with a cottony material...although, this is so easy, just experiment with whatever your heart desires!
Measurements couldn't be easier. It's just one big rectangle of fabric to start with. Measure your little gal's waist, double it, and add a few inches...that's your width. Then figure out about how long you want it, and double that and add about an inch, and that's your length. My rectangles were 48" by 26" for my girls who are 6 and almost 4. Yes, I just made them the same size so they can just grab whichever one they find and put it on. ;)
So fold your material in half right side in, so you have a long skinny (even skinnier than when we started) rectangle, pin, and sew with a fairly narrow seam allowance. 

 Then trim the seam and turn it right side out. 

 You should have this.

Now we'll make the casing for the elastic. Stitch down the long side of your rectangle/tube, right along the seam we just made, leaving room for the elastic (like 1/2 an inch or so). 

Now measure your elastic. For my girls' waists, that are each about 22", I used 18" of elastic.

Grab a big safety pin and pin it to your elastic, or get some of these fancy jobbies at Wal-Mart for 2 bucks:
tip though, if you use the jobbies (technical term, I'll have you know), tie the elastic after you thread it through. It will save you a woopsie-daisy. Also, if you cut your elastic before threading it through, for the love of Pete, wrap the end around your finger so you don't lose it. 

 When you have it threaded through, join the ends. You can sew them, but I am very fancy, so I tie them and trim the ends off. 

Then spread out the fabric nicely along the elastic until the unfinished ends meet. Turn the skirt inside out (which really doesn't exist with this skirt, so just pick a side to be the inside), and pin the sides together. 

Sew. Mind you, this is our third and final stitch!! Oh, and you might have to sew through the elastic a little bit, which is fine. Then trim the seam, turn right side out, and you're done!!

I might add a fabric flower or a cute button or something to mine since they are so plain, but let's be honest...probably not.

Here's to creating with the mind and hands he blessed us with!


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

there is seriously an overturned table...

Sometimes when you get overwhelmed and just need to disengage, you leave your kids to their own devices. That's when things of this nature happen...


Clean up, clean up, everybody, everywhere!

why we can't let our kids be the center of the universe...

As I knelt at the side of my bed, weeping prayers for my baby boy, I suddenly knew that the Lord was teaching me something very big.

My prayers always went down the same trail in those few days leading up to the surgery. "I just can't surrender my baby to you, Lord...I know I need to...but I can't." No matter where I was able to get through so  much praying, being in the Word and quoting Bible verses to myself, it was never there. To the place of complete abandon. I felt like I was in a game of tug-of-war with God, only instead of a rope there was Jude. The love of my life. My amazing, then 6 month old baby...who more than likely wouldn't survive without this surgery.

Then it came. That voice we know so well. That voice no one seems to be able to describe, even though it's the voice that tells you the most meaningful, life-changing, profound things you'll ever hear. "If what you really want for his life is for him to follow me, you have to surrender him to me completely." Talk about big. Of course I want my children to follow Christ...of course I do...but this has nothing to do with that, God. Right? This is BRAIN SURGERY, God...do you realize that?

This went on for awhile, until finally--taking it about a minute at a time--I submitted and trusted God with my boy (the best I could). Fast forward over a year, through a successful surgery and amazing progress with all of his developmental delays. We are beyond blessed. Beyond.

The past couple months, some friends and I have been going through a sermon series from Grace Covenant Church, an Acts29 church in Washington State, called Heritage: Parenting Wisdom for the Ages. This has been rocking my world. One of the most breathtaking concepts so far in this series is this. Our kids will fight and fight to put themselves in the center of the universe, and that if we truly love them, that is the one place we can never let them be. 

Now, I have struggled with this with all of my children. I worry myself sick almost daily that I might lose one of them someday. They have all been my idols, my functional gods that I can see and hear and touch. But it has been different with Jude, I guess because I think I have more of a reason to worry about losing him. I've always been sad when my babies weaned, but I cried (a lot) when Jude did. I've always been super paranoid about SIDS and the like when my babies were (and are) little, but I still worry every morning that he just won't wake up. It's been a tough battle, and it's still happening daily. I have to fight (fight him and myself) to drag him out of the center of my universe.

Our kids will fight and fight to put themselves in the center of the universe, and that if we truly love them, that is the one place we can never let them be. 

It sounds almost counter-intuitive, but it's one of the most startling truths I've ever heard. You are probably thinking what I thought when I first heard this. "This seems right, but....how do I go about that?? They are already there!"

He also says in this series that our kids don't need to be told ten times a day that they are amazing, they need to be told 100 times a day that God is amazing. This is a great way to take them out of the center of our little universe and put them back where they should be in relation to a Holy God! If we want to show our children their rightful place in the universe, and teach them why they were really created--to bring Him glory--we can start by teaching them how big God really is. I'm finding that everything that comes our way is a chance to teach them about our great and gracious God. Now, am I saying that I always take every single one of these opportunities? Certainly not. But they are there!

Here's to standing in awe of his vastness!


Monday, July 8, 2013

i'm leaving...and I'm taking my ball!

my hubby was trying to help me with some tech-y things with the blog, and I got bratty with him. fast forward an hour. I come out of my bedroom after what turned into a tearful hour-long nursing cuddle nap with the baby boy. all of this because my man was trying to help me like I asked him to.


I am so thankful for grace!

ten reasons to be thankful while you're changing diapers

1. a chance to baby talk at my 2 month old chubber, and most likely get some smiles and "agoooos" in return.
2. a few weeks ago (on father's day, no less), I saw a dad panhandling for diapers. as tight as things have gotten for us, it's never come to that.
3. my 21 month old guy often sings "diaper diaper" to the tune of twinkle twinkle while getting changed.
4. most likely, an opportunity for one more little outfit that was generously provided for my baby to see the light of day, instead of staying in the drawer until it's too small.
5. a couple times a day, diaper time means nap time...which means hugs and kisses. and then some needed quiet time for this tired mother.
6. one of my girls always tags along. don't ask me why. but we always end up talking about some aspect of mothering.
7. I get to make my baby more comfortable. and as they get older, they'll realize who does that for them.
8. it almost always leads to a quick tidy of whichever room I'm doing it in (we have changing areas in our bedroom and the boys' room).
9. on those REALLY rough days, when I'm feeling depressed, anxious, overwhelmed, or just DONE...finishing a diaper change is a small victory that helps me take a deep breath (after I'm a safe distance from the diaper) and go on.
10. it's a chance for an inevitably needed hand washing, with soap and clean running water. and a splash of cold water to the face usually follows.
Well, that wasn't an easy list to make, but it encouraged me to do it. I pray it will encourage someone else who needs it.
Here's to resting in HIS perfection!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

little caesar's for dinner...at 7:30.

This is the inaugural post here at Mother Knows Grace. I’m sitting here nursing my baby boy, writing it on my phone, while my man runs to LCs for some unhealthy (and late) dinner.

Let me set the record straight here. I have a love/hate relationship with blogs. I love that I can read someone else’s tutorial or find a great recipe with pictures. I love (LURRRVVVE) free printables. I love that every now and then they get real and show the messy mess that is life. I hate that ONLY every now and then they get real and show the messy mess that is life. I really don’t like that more often than not, I am comparing my whole life up against someone’s blog. I am not a fan of the “everything is always perfect because I’m a Christian mommy blogger” phenomenon that is sweeping the nation.

I love blogs…but they are dangerous for me. For the past year or so, I have avoided them like the plague unless a specific google search for a recipe/printable/tutorial brought me to one. I am terrified of pinterest. I am technically on it, but I haven’t pinned anything in probably a year (and I think 5 or less people are following me). Facebook? Not on it anymore.

All of the above are issues with me…not problems with the other things. I have a very–repeat VERY–hard time not basing my complete identity on how I’m not measuring up to someone else’s post or pin. I can spend months working on this, and it can all come a’crumblin down at the sight of perfectly manicured red fingernails, feeding fabric through a sewing machine on some blog post.

Why am I starting a blog then, you may ask? Two reasons. First, I felt pretty rotten about myself for a pretty long time because of all the ways I was falling short of the virtual perfection I saw. I don’t want anyone else to feel that way. I hope to provide a sort of sanctuary here for the women who–like me–feel a little lost and discouraged as they surf the blogosphere, Facebook, Pinterest, what have you. Second, I’m hoping that forcing myself to get real in the form of blogging about the mess that is life might help me rest in God’s grace.

More to come.

Here’s to walking in the sufficiency of His strength and grace!

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