Fish In Bathtubs

I could tape a movie called, Fish In The Bathtub but it interferes with Rachel Maddow so I will skip the movie and share my own fish in the bathtub memoir here. Why not?  

         When I was about six years old, we lived in Oklahoma where the fishing was excellent. One day, my father caught a very large trout and when he brought it home, the gunny sack was still wiggling so we knew the trout was still alive.

My Father put the fish in the bathtub and it swam around for a few days. It didn’t seem strange at that young age; I was not judgmental. My Dad is long gone and if I could, I have a whole lot of things I’d like to ask him about. I could start each question with, “What were you thinking?”

The fish in the bathtub was a minor incident and it is too late to ask about it now. However, the consequences were serious because I lost my media innocence.

At first, is seemed none of us kids would be harmed because a fish in the bathtub simply meant we couldn’t take our nightly baths.  Ask any kid and you will find that having a beautiful trout for a pet is much better than nightly baths.

So while the situation was a bit bizarre, it wasn’t seen as a particular issue. My Dad always did unusual things. Believe me, making sense wasn’t a high priority for my old man.

To make a short story shorter, Daddy had a great                  . He told everyone about his fish, “that didn’t get away”. Several friends stopped in to admire his trout. That’s         when the real story about my loss of innocence begins.

One of my Dad’s cronies knew a writer who heard about the fish in the bathtub. A few weeks later, that friend called and told us to listen to the radio because our story was going to be told. All the kids gathered around the radio – even my baby brother – we were eager to hear about our long-gone fish who was about to be immortalized.

Well! The story on the radio was a comedy about a fish that jumped out of the bathtub at an auspicious time. Somehow a robber, who just happened to be there, stepped on him. The fish was slippery and the robber crashed to the floor. He was caught and that was supposed to be funny but I didn’t laugh .

I cannot tell you how distraught I was. The story on the radio was probably very clever and funny but I certainly couldn’t laugh. I was so mad I almost cried.

From my standpoint, that writer told a lot of lies about our fish! I was ready to march on Washington or write a letter to President Roosevelt. The very idea that the media could twist the truth like that was a shocking revelation.

Time marches on and when it marches, everything changes. These days, I would give the guy who wrote the fish in the bathtub story a pass because it was fiction. At the age of six, I couldn’t distinguish.

I was horrified at six but I’m an adult now. I’ve written plenty of harmless little comedies of my own. Some may even have been inspired by that fish story.

Once, my car broke down and I was towed into an old-fashioned country garage. By the time my car was fixed, I’d written a story about a girl who caught some robbers while driving her father’s tow truck. I sold the story to Scholastic as fiction, and indeed it was.

As an English student, I learned all about the difference between fiction and non-fiction and how important it is to distinguish between the two. I also learned that journalists are supposed to write non-fiction and they have a duty to carefully gather the facts.

Times may change but I’m not ready to give today’s journalists a pass. I realize extreme opinions bring in readers and viewers but people don’t deserve the title journalist when their arguments are based on twisted facts. Some of them seem to feel they can just make up the story to suit their ideas rather than draw conclusions based on what’s really happening.

Now that the primaries are over, we are in for a whole lot of twisted facts during the campaign season. There are plenty of slippery fish spouting the political news and it is only going to get worse. Thank God I lost my innocence so long ago. I simply do not believe it is true because some “expert” says those are the facts.

None of us is six years old anymore. We know the difference between facts and fiction. We know that journalists have a duty to report all the facts. We know that making up the story to suit our own bathtub bubble isn’t right.

As you embrace the media from now to November, keep a clear head. Don’t believe it just because you heard it on TV or on the radio. Do some comparison reading. Check the facts. Check the speaker’s authority. Make sure you know who the robbers really are. Don’t believe everything you hear about the fish in the bathtubs.

Ask Yourself

Am I discriminating when I listen to TV news?

Am I making an effort to stay well informed?

Am I registered to vote?

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Celebrate Wise Women

I am mentally preparing for a Wise Woman Wisdom Celebration on Sat, May 12, in Tustin, CA. I will be one of the Key Note speakers and the place will be filled with old friends and new friends. It should be a great day and I hope you will consider joining me. All the information is below. I know I should have just added a link but I haven’t learned how to do that yet. So I’m devoting this blog to an adaptation of the flyer.

 A day filled with Wisdom, Inspiration, Celebration, Music, and Fun!

Saturday May 12, 2012 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Unity Church of Tustin – 14402 Prospect Ave. Tustin CA

The Annual Celebrate Wise Women will present a day of unique opportunities to participate in a variety of events designed to enhance inner growth, self-improvement and self-empowerment.

Music Provided by Gail Chasin * The Tushmal Singers * Leah Santos

Catered Lunch

 Key Note Speakers

 

Dr. Jane Claypool is the author of Wise Women don’t worry, Wise Women don’t sing the blues, Spiritual Practice and Science of Mind Skills.

Dr. Felice Gersh will be speaking on Maintaining Sexuality and Sensuality at Every Age”

Workshops

Pam  Pence  -­‐Yoga  Therapy   Patti  Christensen  -­‐Story Telling

Sandra  McClintock  Astrology   Karen  Rauch  Carter  Fung  Shei

Patti  Christensen  Aromatherapy   Annie  GlennReflexology

Adelia-­‐Healing  Powers  of  Sage.

Email address: celebratewisewomen@yahoo.com

Web site http://www.cwwevents.org

Facebook page: Celebrate Wise Women 2012

Tickets are $60.00 at the door. $45.00 before May 1.

MAKE CHECKS PAYABLE TO: RACHEL LAMPERT MAIL TO:

RACHEL LAMPERT * 23446 CAMINITO SALADO * LAGUNA HILLS, CA 92653


Happy Days

 

I enjoyed a perfect birthday. I am very happy I was born in April and I have especially enjoyed it since “they” named April 22 the official Earth Day. I know it has more to do with Spring and blooming flowers than me, but it feels personal. Then there were all the flowers, cards, messages and gifts from family and friends to remind me that my presence here on Planet Earth does make a difference.

Mother Earth and I are One – we are in perfect accord. I stop and smell the flowers, I smile at the blue skies, and I visit the ocean often. Like RW Emerson and the other Transcendentalists, I find God in Nature.

Did you know that more people are born in April than any other month? We are closer to our animal nature than we might like to think. We pop out and announce our presence with gusto, just like little sheep or goats. We are on the same schedule as the spring flowers and go through the same process of youth, maturity and old age as they do.

In my heart, I am the same person that I was at age 11, 18, 35, 50 or 65 but this was birthday #79. That makes me old and I notice it physically. However, I find the ageless Jane is a very active part of my emotional and spiritual nature. I am One with all the different ages of Jane.

Memory is part of what makes me different from those little goats and sheep. Since I am human, I can think about the past and the present as well as the future.

I have memory and I am capable of thought and belief. I think and believe that I am one with a Power For Good that is eternal and greater than my physical body. I am One with Life.

Birthdays are great days for reflection and as I have aged, I have become more reflective. This year felt very special to me, partly because I have more time and partly because writing this blog has made me pay more attention to my life.

My birthday seemed perfect in so many ways and I did focus on the many blessings of the day. There were some surprises but no disappointments. I was surprised my coffee maker died but I was happy that I had an answer when my daughter asked the proverbial birthday question. “I want a new coffee pot,” I answered. “I want one just like the old one  – with no fancy buttons – just on and off.

So I got a coffee pot and everyone was happy! I also got to choose a restaurant for lunch after church. When the Greek restaurant had a sign on the door that said, “Never on Sunday,” I got a second choice and that was Mexican. I probably would have gone for Chinese if I had to come up with three wishes but two were enough.

Today, my house looks like a florist’s shop. The church sent flowers home with me. My nephew gave me an orchid. A friend who lives a long way off sent me a big lovely bouquet by telegraph. I love flowers and have taken up drawing them as a new expression of my art hobby.

Perhaps the best gifts of all were the ones from my artistic friends. Leah Oviedo gave me her new book about building your own affirmations. It is filled with delightful illustrations and ideas suitable for young adults. To see her book, go to writewhatyour know.wordpress.com

My friend Jo sent me a set of note cards that featured her brilliant photographs. I will probably keep them all because they seem too precious to use.

My brother John sent me a new link to his enlarged website. I love the way he has developed into a serious (if non-traditional) outside artist. You can see some of his work by checking out  theartistjohn.com … but be warned that it is neither sweet nor pretty. It may startle you and/or make you think.

I started out as an art teacher many years ago and I’m now illustrating a book with my friend, Gina Ogden. Although I’ve always been interested in art, this is an entirely new venture for me. They say it is good for the elderly to do new things and I guess doing the drawings for a pillow book about love and sex is a new thing.

Old age is more than a time to recite your health problems or count your money. It is a time to do new things and more importantly, it is a time to reflect on the blessings in your life. I took Sunday afternoon and evening to reflect on some of mine. If you are reading this post, you are a blessing in my life and I am grateful for you.

One of the gifts of maturity has been to see how well people actually do over the long haul. About twenty years ago, I began to see that my friends and family really were like the characters in novels. They may have struggled through heroic trials and tribulations, but they achieved a great deal. I have learned that you should never give up.

I have learned many lessons in life. One is that perseverance pays off. Another is that the aging process brings a lot of joy. I count my blessings nearly every day and I am truly grateful for how well most things have turned out in my life.

If you were one of the many people who sent me a birthday greeting, thank you. If you didn’t then next year will be even better because I’ll be entering an exciting new decade. Imagine that – I once dreamed of being grown up and now I am. Isn’t life amazing?

Ask yourself

How do I feel about age?

Am I grateful for my life so far?

What are ten things I am grateful for?

 


Women and New Thought

“Imagine what it must have been like to ride the trains like those early women did,”my ministerial  student says. “They were very brave and it makes me feel special to be a part of that history”.

As she speaks, I can feel myself beginning to glow  with pleasure. After all, any history teacher wants her students to appreciate the past, and I believe New Thought history and its connection to the rise of women’s rights is especially relevant.

My interest in the role of women in New Thought history goes all the way back more than twenty years when I was training to be a minister. In those days, we had to write a thesis and mine was on Women and New Thought.

We also had to give a public lecture on our subject. I talked about women’s lives in the 1880’s and how difficult it was just to get dinner on the table and get the weekly washing done. Housework was a full time job for most women but there were many, including well-known figures such as Emma Curtis Hopkins and others, who chose to be practitioners and teachers of New Thought.

Those early practitioners and teachers were often widowed or divorced and they struck out on their own, riding trains from town to town and staying in boarding houses while they taught. Some of them, like Hopkins, started schools that were fairly big establishments but most were doing small works in small towns, spreading the word to small groups.

During the years of my ministry, I have done more research on the early women in New Thought and written the book,  New Thought, New Woman.

One of the great strengths of our religion is that we describe God as the Creative Energy of the Universe. Our founder, Ernest Holmes and the other New Thought writers use many names for God including; Universal Mind, First Cause, Divine Mind, Infinite Mind, Divine Givingness … and the list goes on.

We sometimes use the word God but we never intend it to describe an Old Man who lives in the sky and looks down upon us, judging what is right and wrong. We do not believe that God is male and that men are the natural leaders of churches.

Our understanding of God is not a human-like figure, it is much grander and without gender. In that way, we were like the Quakers, who also allowed women to speak in meeting (church) because they believe the Inner Light lives in all persons and that Light guides us.

How could we say that only men can be ministers if we believe that God creates us all and lives everywhere including within us? If God is present everywhere all of the time then we must acknowledge that women should have an equal voice in the pulpit.

The fact that God has no gender is probably the major reason so many women were so important to the New Thought movement from the very beginning. The founders of Divine Science were women. The founders of Unity were a married couple. The first president of the International New Thought Alliance (INTA) was a woman.

There were many important New Thought writers and some of them are still quite well known. Ella Wheeler Wilcox is no longer considered a great poet but her verse is still taught in poetry classes. Do you know her most famous lines from the poem Solitude? Laugh and the world laughs with you; Weep and you weep alone.

Most writers have faded from our current lists but not all of them. The Game of Life and How To Play It by Florence Scovell Shin is still in most New Thought bookstores. So is, Emilie Cady’s Lessons In Truth.

Emma Curtis Hopkins, often called the “Teacher of Teachers” is definitely better known now than she was twenty-five years ago. There are new classes based on her old books. She not only taught the founders of the surviving New Thought denominations, she wrote several books and influenced famous people in the arts.  In her lifetime, she spoke to and taught thousands of people.

The other factor in the importance of women in New Thought is that the women’s movement was rising at the same time New Thought was developing into a distinct denomination. In the 1880’s through the turn of the Century, women were on the march. They were interested in a variety of causes. Those movements included women’s right to vote, abolishing alcohol consumption, rational clothing (remember Amelia Bloomer?) public hygiene, prison reform, and helping poor people.

Some New Thought leaders were also interested in more than one of these subjects. Others reserved all their energy for healing and teaching endeavors. However, the important thing to know about this period in history is that women were beginning to be much more active outside the home. For the first time, they were in the public forum as lecturers, writers and teachers.

The New Thought teaching was something that was open to them as a way to earn a living and they took advantage of that fact. Many of the travelling practitioners and teachers were widowed or divorced women. Additionally, women were accustomed to healing and teaching work and they simply expanded their techniques and boundaries as time and women marched onward.

Ask Yourself

What have I done that took courage?

What might I do today?

What does New Thought history have to do with my life?


Prayer Power

My prayer partner and I talk about what is going on in our lives and then we pray. Our prayers can vary a great deal. One time I wanted prayer to get my printer to work properly and another time to it was to recover from cancer. It occurs to me that no matter how big or small the need is, the underlying issue is one of freedom.

Over the years, my prayer partner and I have had great success with our prayers and it does not matter whether they have been for big or small things. What matters is that we go through a process of believing it is possible and then turn it over to God to free us.

It took me quite a while to free up my own thinking up enough to accept the power of prayer. Now I use prayer on a daily basis for anything that I need to feel freer about. I am grateful I’ve come as far as I have in my spiritual understanding.

When I was a young woman, I felt very trapped. I was also one of those people who believed that prayer was nonsense. When I thought about prayer at all, I might say that it was all right for people to pray if it made them feel better. If someone claimed that prayer changed something, I assumed it was an imaginary change.

I first started studying Science of Mind because I believed that positive thinking was a good idea. I took some classes and used affirmations in the faint hope they would help me with my writing career. My work prospered and I thought that was I was beginning to get more lucky breaks. Now, I believe the affirmations helped me a great deal.

It is a simple fact that when I started pasting affirmations on my wall things changed quickly. After many years with no success, I skyrocketed into selling everything I could write. Affirmations are not exactly prayers but they work the same way if you are willing to let them. I was certainly willing.

Even though I still wasn’t exactly praying I was looking at little post-its all day long. They said things like, “I am a famous writer” or “ I have many book deals” or “I make a good living writing”. I looked at those messages all day long as I worked on my craft. It had to be more than luck.

The first time I had a really strong experience with the power of prayer was when a friend of mine was diagnosed with lung disease and, according to her, the doctor said it was probably cancer. She was very distraught and claimed not to have slept for two nights. I brought my Science of Mind Textbook by Dr. Ernest Holmes into her bedroom and read aloud to her from the meditation section.

This sounds dramatic but my experience was that the light in the room quickly brightened. I was excited by that phenomenon and I felt uplifted. Her experience was that she was finally able to sleep and she dosed off immediately. Later, she couldn’t remember any light at all and I decided my impressions were imaginary. The same doctor proclaimed her perfectly well within a week.

I don’t look for miracles and I don’t have very many dramatic experiences with prayer. Most of the changes that  have come to me with the help of prayer, have come to me in perfectly ordinary ways. Illnesses have healed quicker than expected. Solutions have arrived almost immediately after I saw a problem. Some improvements or movements toward goals have been delightfully simple.

Over the years, I have come to believe in the power of prayer. I have seen too many examples of increased health, wealth, and happiness not to be a believer. My studies have increased my abilities to pray effectively, of course, but the most important thing I’ve done is lower my resistance to the idea that prayer works.

In New Thought, we define God as the creative energy of the Universe and we know that it doesn’t matter how big or small the issue is. But acceptance does matter.

Usually, the thing you pray for will come in a way that looks quite natural and that is a good thing. It helps us realize that the creative energy that we call God is natural. It is in you and in me and everything and everywhere else. RW Emerson called it the Oversoul and that seems a good name for it.

The best thing you can do for yourself is to believe that there is nothing too big or too small for God to heal. It makes no difference whether it is a hangnail or pneumonia. God’s power is unlimited and the whole point of prayer is to define what you want and give it to God to work out the pathway for it to come to you.

God is an ever-present reality in your life. All that matters is that you create a clear vision of your desire and mentally accept it. Then give it to God to bring into your  life.

Ask Yourself

Do I believe God can heal a broken leg as easily as a sprained ankle?

Since God is unlimited, what do I want to add to my prayer list today?


What’s Possible?

I lived several years in Oaxaca, Mexico and the most prevalent ethnic group was Zapotec. They were a proud people with strong faces, gracious manners and a deep pride in their culture. They were most proud of the fact that their people lived in peace for one thousand years. I have always thought that if humans could manage a thousand years, they could manage forever. Can you imagine a world without war?

         In this age of conflict with the atomic bomb in the background, it is important not to fall into the trap of thinking that peace is impossible. Nothing is impossible for God and we are with God.

I like to think of my Zapotec friends. They had a lovely, proud, healthy culture with few problems until the Aztecs and the Conquistadores showed up on their doorstep about five hundred years ago. If they could live in peace for 1000 years, we can at least believe that peace is possible.

One of my favorite sayings comes from Alice in Wonderland. The White Queen tells Alice, “Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” You and I should take a page from the Queen’s script and spend some time believing at least six impossible things every day.

Remember to embrace this truth. With God, all things are possible.

Hang onto that one when you are thinking about political events, your job, your health, your relationships. Remember that nothing is truly impossible and even if the world doesn’t agree, you know what you know.

I saw the famous basketball player, Magic Johnson, on TV recently and it reminded me of the old days when people were dying rapidly with AIDs. I made a wonderful friend in my church who actually moved to Carlsbad because he needed a quiet place to die. He came to my church because he’d attended Louise Hay’s groups in LA.  That was twenty-two years ago, and like Magic, he is still alive and quite well.

Magic said he attributed his health to early detection and positive thinking. The ladies of the View seemed to have trouble hearing the positive thinking part but I heard it loud and strong.

Magic didn’t die and went on to lead a spectacular life in business and public service. On a different level, my friend didn’t die and he went on to build an entirely new career and to live a wonderful life as a volunteer church leader in a different state.

I remember that first winter when my friend was really very frail; he had no Tcells left. He and I prayed a lot. He wanted to be in service and he was a great help to me and to many others. He also ate the right foods, got the right medical attention and took long, meditative walks every day. Instead of getting worse, he began to get better and he endeavored to live and enjoy life, one day at a time.

Some people would attribute his physical healing to the invention of the new AIDs cocktails and ignore the positive thinking part but those of us who knew him then, know differently. Positive thinking was a big part of his recovery program, just as it was for Magic Johnson.

When we pray for a healing, whether the issue is relationship, financial, physical, or emotional, we do not outline how the healing must come about. We believe and accept it on the level of Spirit and allow to God to create the pathway. Usually, the healing will come in ways that look “normal”.

If you are praying for a healing and a new drug is invented, that’s fine. If you were praying for money and you received an inheritance instead of a raise, you wouldn’t quibble, would you?

Sometimes people support their non-belief by saying the illness never really existed. Twice, I’ve had tests that said I had spots on my lungs that looked like cancer. I prayed and a month later when I was tested again, the spots were gone.  Twice, some people said the spots probably weren’t there in the first place.

It is very difficult to prove that God is involved in the healing when you are talking with people who believe it isn’t  possible. I don’t argue with anyone because when people  argue with each other, they tend to solidify their opinions. I let the world believe what it believes.

More and more, the scientific world is coming around to New Thought beliefs.  There have been several medical studies recently that confirm what New Thought people have known for a long time.

But even the most advanced of New Thought participants have pockets of beliefs in impossibility. Think about yourself and your opinions. Do you believe in the power of positive thinking in relationships? In health issues? In prosperity? In creativity?

Take a look at your attitude in each of these areas. What do you think is easiest to impact with your positive thinking? Unless your answer is “all of the above”, you need to spend bit more time thinking and doing the impossible.

Ask Yourself

 Have I ever had a healing of any situation that looks as though it was a miracle?

What are my six impossible dreams?

 


Spring Is Bustin’ Out All Over

Some people think that San Diego County has no seasons but that isn’t quite true. It’s spring here and that means the days are longer, the flowers are absolutely blooming everywhere and the birds are flying North after wintering in South America. Life is good!

Whether you live in sunny San Diego County or someplace more “real” like Massachusetts or Washington State, you must have noticed a change in the weather. I realize that there is still snow on the ground in some places but the days are longer, the skies are brighter and the ground is warmer everywhere.

When I did live in Massachusetts, this was the time of the year to put away the smelly boots and get into real shoes. It was also a time when it was ok to forget your mittens and cap. Your life wouldn’t be in danger.

I loved the springtime in the Northeast and I love it here in the West. I think of spring as the time of renewal and rejuvenation. For farmers and Christians, it is also the season of resurrection.

Life is hopeful in April, no matter what T.S.Eliot said. I believe that the earth celebrates springtime with daffodils dancing in the sunshine and, while that may make me a pagan, I’m happy here in the Carnival of Spring.

In Carlsbad, we have a whole hillside planted in ranunculus and tourists come yearly, from far and wide, to walk in the flower fields. Once, in April, I visited my friend Rev. Ginny Kluth in Anacortes, WA and she took me to the Tulip Festival. We walked through acres of tulips. It remains one of my most spectacular memories.

Tulips – how I love them! I have always understood how the Dutch went crazy in 1637 – in a time called tulipmania – when some tulip bulbs were so valuable they cost ten times an average worker’s yearly income. Eventually, the tulip market crashed and almost ruined the economy of the country but the Dutch still love the lady queen of all bulbs.

On my only trip to Europe, I carried a gunnysack of tulip bulbs home and stored them in my refrigerator from September until December. Southern California is too warm for their natural seasons, so I nearly froze the bulbs and then planted them all over my front yard. The rabbits or gophers ate most of the bulbs but I enjoyed the few flowers that made it.

So, Spring is either here or on its way to your neighborhood and will be there very soon. In my Center for Spiritual Living, Rev. Mattie marked the day with a brilliant talk and there were quite a few people who enjoyed the service. Only one hat but many smiling faces.

Whether you attended Easter services or not, you can still enjoy the season. Why not celebrate the advent of spring this week by stopping and smelling the flowers?

Life is so much better when we remember to enjoy the little things. We can smell the flowers or inhale the aroma of coffee. It’s not just taste, but this season engages all the senses. Why not let the aroma of your sunrise drink enhance your morning? You can also add to your pleasure by smiling at the coffee cup before you sip.Try smiling at yourself in the mirror while you’re at it. It will work wonders.

And later, why not stop work long enough to take a walk at lunchtime? Or take a minute to call a friend you haven’t seen recently? There is always time to enjoy life if we so choose.

As I have grown wiser, I have also grown older and I can’t do some of the things I used to. I have a gardener now and he keeps things neat. No more tulips – Alas!

However, I am wiser and I do have a greater capacity to know what makes a good day. The big wins are important, of course, but it is the little wins that come one day at a time that create a well-lived life.

Your choices for each day build your life and you can choose to focus on things you enjoy. Think about the things you love or are grateful for. They make you happier than the things the world seems to believe are important. More money is great. More accomplishment is great. More understanding of world events is great. Success in your work and endeavors is great. But the greatest of all greats is Love.

What do you love? Learn to pay attention to those things and create a pleasant life for yourself. Take a minute each morning to make a list of ten things you love. Let your list include simple things like flowers or coffee or the blue sky.

You can expand your list to include your favorite forms of entertainment, your favorite people, and your favorite occupations. Each morning, set your mood for the entire day by thinking of some things you can rejoice about. Be grateful.

We have a singer who often sings a song that starts out, “Thank you for this day,” and I think that is a marvelous idea. It doesn’t matter who or what you thank – it is the act of thanking that is the important bit.

Next time you find yourself in a tough spot, stop worrying long enough to think of something you are thankful for. Or think of something you love. If it is raining, be thankful you remembered your umbrella. If you forgot the darn thing, be thankful that you don’t melt.

Perhaps you can switch your mood upward enough to actually sing the one about April showers bringing May flowers. Or you can pretend you are Gene Kelly and sing and dance down the street. You are the star of your movie so why not?

Ask Yourself

What’s on my gratitude list?

What small choices can I make today?

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