Category Archives: Life

20 Things I Want To Work On In 2020

20 things

A year ago I wrote a post titled “Cultivating An Attitude.” I wish I could say I did well with it. In some ways, I did. In others, not so much. I am holding onto that idea this year but editing the process a bit. So, here you go – 20 things I am going to work on in 2020 – in no particular order.

1 – I have started by downloading a daily devotional program from SchoolhouseTeachers.com. (affiliate link – If you click on it and purchase, I will receive a small commission.) This devotional is titled “Encouragement for Homeschool Moms” and is written by Bonnie Lisech. It is not a long set of devotions, only 31 but it is getting me started this year. There are more devotions on SchoolhouseTeachers, so I may try another one when I finish this. I may move on to something else. Either way, I will continue to set my mind on God first thing each morning, as it sets the tone for my day.

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2 – I am going to continue to work on is sending personal notes. I understand the beauty of receiving a hand-written note and I want to do more with this. Again, by sharing my thankfulness of other’s with them, I am more thankful myself and pass on a small bit of joy. I am also seeing this one reap benefits in that my daughters are working hard every couple of months to send cards to let people know they are thinking of them. It is a wonderful thing so I need to do more of this.

3 – I am going to read some hard books. Hard in this case is going to be ones that are challenging to me and make me think. I have some one my shelf – Walking The Bible is one. Farenheit 451 is another. I want to read some Dickens. And to go through some of the “classics” that I have never read.

4 – I am going to work on consistency in schedule. It is easy enough for me to keep the schedule for things outside of the house but I am going to work on keeping a home schedule for myself, also. Getting up and moving, cleaning schedule, laundry schedule, exercise schedule – those sorts of things.

5 – Exercise. I am on a good schedule with walking 2 -3 miles 5 or 6 days per week. I am going to continue that.

6 – Be brave and add a yoga class to my exercise. I don’t know when this will start but I know where I want to add it. I just need to contact the studio and ask about doing so.

# 7 - Declutter!!

7 – Declutter. This is always on the list, isn’t it? I want to get rid of things we no longer need or use. This is going to be the smaller things, such as kitchen utensils (did that today, actually, and got rid of about 10 spatulas and such that we don’t like). Books are next and I already have a pile. 🙂

8 – I am going to continue having the charity group come by each month to pick up a box. It is great incentive to continue with number 7 all month long.

9 – Get rid of desks. Yep – we have too many desks and they need to go. This is a “one-time” sort of thing but it needs to happen.

10 – Start a teen girls Bible study. This one needs to happen soon so I’ve got to get a move-on with it. I think it will be over Psalms, for now.

11 – Take a trip to the UK. This one is in the “plans” but I have to get it actually going.

12 – Get my passport. I have never left the country so this is a must if number 11 is going to happen.

13 – Do a fun school day with the girls one time per month. Drop the books and study something interesting or unique or do a game board school day. Something fun to keep us all in good spirits and working hard.

#14 - Add read-alouds back into our day.

14 – Add read-alouds back in. The past few months, we have not done a very good job of doing read-alouds with the girls. Since they are all working so independently, it is much harder to settle them all at the same time. This may need to work hand-in-hand with number 4.

15 – Handmade gifts are beautiful so I want to do more of that for others. Maybe a “just because” gift but maybe things like birthdays or holidays. I want to do more making of things. I miss doing things like cross-stitch or embroidery or sewing. So, more of that stuff.

16 – Less time on social media but when I am on, I want it to be more meaningful. This doesn’t mean I am getting rid of accounts but I am going to be more attentive about scrolling. I will continue to share and post but when I find that I am not thinking about what is going past on the newsfeeds, I will shut it down and go do something else.

17 – Call my family and friends more often. Putting this down in writing may mean I get called on it but accountability is good. I want to talk to my family, particularly my siblings, more often. And friends that I will not see as often. Or haven’t seen in a while. You know what I mean, right?

18 – Visit with friends more often. I don’t yet know what this will look like but, again, I want to be more intentional about seeing the people I don’t get to see as often. I want to make a trip specifically to see my grandmother and I want to try to get to see a friend who doesn’t live that far away more than once a year.

19 – I will be more intentional about my time use. I am blessed by a good bit of time waiting – you know, dance studio time. 🙂 I want to use that better to take care of some of the things I have already listed (like my reading) but also to be more efficient in doing some other online tasks I need to do daily. This will give me more time at home to spend with my family or to work around the house. #20 More intentional time spent with family.

20 – Last But Not Least – More intentional time doing fun things with my family. My husband and I have enjoyed having 2 hours one night a week when he is off while the girls are at dance. That is a precious time for us. But I want to find that kind of time for each of my girls. Maybe not 2 hours per child per week but some dedicated time to just hear them and allow them to be. Miss J really enjoyed having that time in December while her sisters were doing youth group and dance company Christmas parties. She and I spent some time doing things together and it was good. I need to set that up for each of the girls.

Now that I have put down 20 things for 2020, I need to add them to my “pay attention to” list. I need to print this out or write it down somewhere so I can be reminded and not forget. Because that is what happens in my busy life. I forget. I get tired or lazy or forgetful. So, feel free to hold me to it and check in on me.

Did you do a “word of the year” or a list that you want to work on? Share it with me below. Let’s encourage each other.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

20 things to work on

 

Linking up with the Homeschool Review Crew and their Word of The Year link-up.

The Mission Centered Life ~ a book review

Disclaimer: New Growth Press (www.newgrowthpress.com) has sponsored this post by providing me a free copy of the book for review. I was not required to write a positive post. All opinions are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with FTC guidelines. Mission Centered (1)

Most Christians see a part of their life as living for Christ, reaching out to others. Some  people are called to go abroad for this purpose but all of us can look around our own neighborhood and see a need for this. Bethany Ferguson has been abroad to serve others but has also seen the need to share her gained wisdom with those at “home” to do the same in their own lives.

The Mission Centered Life: Following Jesus Into The Broken Places by Bethany Ferguson shares many of the hard things Bethany has experienced in her mission work abroad. This Bible study has a gospel focus which means the study keeps the focus on Jesus and the good news of his love and power to save. The study will prompt you to go out to serve others, whether near or far.

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This Bible study is set up with an introduction and then ten (10) lessons. The study can be done independently, though more will be gained from a small or large group study. Each participant will benefit from having their own book as some exercises have lists or charts and having the written discussion questions in front of you allows you to better consider answers and participate.

This is considered a topical study with each lesson approaching a different aspect of missions. Much of the scripture used comes from the book of John. I found that reading all the way through John before I began the study really helped me focus on the mission life being addressed. You can expect each lesson to take approximately an hour of group time, though I found I could easily spent close to an hour working through a single lesson on my own. I would expect, if I were working through this in a group, that it could be easy to spread each lesson out over two meetings or closer to an hour and a half.

Each lesson contains seven sections:

  1. Big Idea – summary of the main idea of the lesson
  2. Bible Conversation – reading and discussing a passage from the Bible, discussing what was read; this is intended to have several good answers for each question and to generate discussion
  3. Article – the main teaching section of the lesson, written by the author and including observations and stories from her life on the mission field abroad
  4. Discussion – questions following the article to apply the Big Idea to your own life
  5. Prayer – suggestions ideas and guidelines for a specific prayer time related to the mission aspect of the lesson
  6. Essay – a second article with additional scripture readings written by the author with additional teachings and reflections; can be used for personal study time
  7. Reflection – questions following the essay to consider more deeply the mission ideas addressed

The author’s purpose is to help the Bible student hear the call of Jesus for your own life. Hope is that you will see his love for you and the world, taking his salvation to others, joining his “life-giving mission.”

The mission aspects addressed include:

  • Going – article “Beauty and Brokenness”, essay “Beginning in Bundibugyo”
  • Identifiying – article “Who Are You Really?”, essay “Jesus Becomes Like Us”
  • Changing – article “A New Home”, essay “Believing in Jesus”
  • Praying – article “Daily Bread”, essay “The Bread of Life”
  • Seeing – article “Our Need to See”, essay “Seeing God’s Work In You”
  • Believing – article “Grief and Glory”, essay “Transformed Expectations”
  • Serving – article “Heroes or Servants?”, essay “A Life of Humility”
  • Suffering – article “A Mugging”, essay “Hope and Cynicism”
  • Repenting – article “Preparing the Way”, essay “Life in the Garden”
  • Celebrating – article “Grace and Celebration”, essay “Light and the Mission-Centered Life”

The ideas behind each of these articles honed in on challenging aspects of how a person who claims to be Christian lives their life. Reaching out to those around us is not necessarily second nature to us and this study will push us to push our own personal boundaries. It is a good study and the personal touch of the author’s experiences helps bring the ideas to life.

There is a good big of scripture in the study, though I do feel it would benefit from even more. That will be easy enough for the study leader to add while working through the ideas.

If you are looking for a challenging study about reaching those around you and around the world, consider taking a look at this study.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

mission centered life

7 Critical Life Skills Checklists ~ Not Back to School Blog Hop

7 Critical Life Skills Checklists

I have tossed around in my mind over and over and over whether to do yet another checklist or just share some that I have come across. A round-up of ideas will allow you to see what others may consider important and then perhaps make your own or print off something someone else has done, right? Why reinvent the wheel? At the same time, as all homeschoolers know, every child is different and perhaps they each need their own checklist. So, what to do?

three checklists for life skills

First, I’ll share a list of some very specific ideas that I think a teen should know before leaving home, whether to go off to school, a job, or even staying at home while doing either of those. As an adult, they need to know some things.

  1. Finances: Do they know how to budget and manage money? Can they choose a bank and open a checking account? Can they get a credit card and know how to manage it, finding good rates and a reliable company? Do they know the difference between a credit card and a debit card, and when or how to use each?
  2. Automobile: Do they know how to get gas? Wash the windshield? Check the oil? Check the tire pressure? Change a tire? Add fluids when needed? Change the oil or when to have someone change it? How to address regular maintenance? If you live in a big city, do they know how to use public transportation?
  3. Apartment/House: Do they know how to clean? Dust, laundry, bathrooms, vacuum, sweet, mop? Do they know basic maintenance and care?
  4. Finances #2: Do they know how to apply for a loan, when needed? An apartment? Utilities? (This is one of the main reasons for a credit card and knowing how to manage it! You have to have a credit history for these.) How to avoid debt or use debt in wise ways, such as a mortgage? How to handle debt if you find yourself there?
  5. Food Management: Do they know how to cook? Clean up? Bake? Clean up? Make a menu? Make a grocery list? Grocery shop? Store food? Budget food?
  6. Time Management: Do they know how to take care of the things that need done? Can they schedule things? Can they keep track of important dates? Can they manage a long-term project? Can they make appointments?
  7. People: Can they talk to others in a meaningful way? Can they interview? Can they make a phone call? Can they schedule appointments? Can they order food at a restaurant or parts for the refrigerator at the store? Do they know how to communicate clearly? Can they look people in the eye? Can they stand up for themselves in a clear but kind way?

four checklists for life skills

This is far from everything a child needs to know but these are areas that you can look around and see the impact of failures. Don’t know how to handle money? Debt is crippling so many in our society. Don’t know how to speak with others? Many can’t hold jobs because their people skills are lacking. Don’t know how to manage their time? Impacts ability to complete tasks, hold jobs, finish a degree and much more. These are biggies.

But it is a far cry from everything out there. Take a look at some things that are floating around out there:

40 Old-Fashioned Skills That Kids Need to Know Today from Peace Creek on the Prairie

How To Teach Kids Life Skills from Boston Mamas

Top 5 Life Skills for Resumes, Cover Letters, and Interviews from The Balance Careers

45 Essential Life Skills Everyone Should Learn from Living Well Spending Less

An Age-By-Age Guide to Teaching Life Skills from Family Education

These are just a few that I found interesting. Whether you decided to call it life skills training or Real Life University or something else all together, life skills will impact your children. So, I encourage you to be intentional as they grow and learn.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Annual-5-Days-of-Homeschool-Not-Back-to-School-Blog-Hop-2019-

Visit the Homeschool Review Crew to read about the ideas, tips, and encouragement you will find from all the other bloggers who are participating in this week’s NOT Back to School Blog Hop. Below are some links to their blogs but if you want their post from today, click on the image above to get the link up for today.

CREW @ Homeschool Review Crew – 2019 Annual Not Back to School Homeschool Blog Hop

Chareen @ Every Bed of Roses – ABC of Homeschooling

Dawn @ Schoolin’ Swag – Adding Fun to Your Homeschool Day

Erin @ For Him and My Family – Large Family Homeschooling

Lori @ At Home Where Life Happens – Learning Life Skills

Monique @ Mountain of Grace Homeschooling – Homeschooling the High School Years

Monique D. @ Early Learning Mom – Homeschooling With Autism

Yvie @ Homeschool On the Range – 5 Days of Upper Grades Homeschooling

Abby @ Making Room 4 One More – Time Management for Homeschool Moms

Amanda @ Hopkins Homeschool – 5 Days of Homeschool Questions

Amy @ the WRITE Balance – Year-Round Schooling

Annette @ A Net in Time – Homeschooling.

Betty @ Lets Get Real – Homeschooling High School

Cassandra @ My Blessed Mess – Eclectic Homeschooling

Kimberley @ Vintage Blue Suitcase – Roadschooling with a Teenager

Yvonne @ The Life We Build – 5 Days of Relaxed Homeschooling

Destiny @ Some Call It Destiny – Encouragement for the Homeschooling Mom

Karen @ Tots and Me…Growing Up Together –  A Peek into Our Homeschool

Cassie D @ Deputie Tribe – Homeschooling 6 Taking Care of YOU

Kristen Heider @ A Mom’s Quest to Teach Theme: A Quest for a Great Homeschool Year

Patti Pierce – Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy – My Favorite Homeschooling Things

Wendy @ Life on Chickadee Lane – 5 Days of Nature Study

Jacquelin @ A Stable Beginning – Homeschooling my final 4 

Christine @ Life’s Special Necessities – Yes! You Can Homeschool Your Special Needs Child

Sally M – Tell the Next Generation – Tips for Homeschooling Struggling Learners

Kim @ Good Sweet LoveLast Year of Elementary

More for Mom ~ a book review

More For Moms

This week has been full, in such a good way. From the being able to attend Teach Them Diligently to things our family is immersed in, life is full and it is lovely. That is just what this book is about though, living your whole life in a holy way that is pleasing to God and brings life to you. What a lovely idea.

The title of the book, More for Mom: Living Your Whole and Holy Life, really says what the author, Kristin Funston, wants you to see in your life – something that is holy and whole. A life wholly dedicated to being the holy being God created you to be.

As an adult with a family (yes, the book is written to moms but dads fit this too and could use the encouragement), there is much going on in our lives. For us, it is all chosen carefully in ways that will help us use the gifts God has granted each of us, even down to the 10 year old. We all have things to do that please God and we need to be aware of that.

BUT –

If we are neglecting God and His word and will through all of the using of the talents, abilities, and gifts He gives us, we have missed the boat, y’all. That is what Kristin is trying to get us to see. No matter what we do, if God isn’t first in it, there is no real purpose in it.

Screenshot 2019-04-18 at 2.38.34 PM

The book has 210 pages, broken into three parts and 10 chapters. Part 1 is the Whole and Holy Mom. Kristin looks at all of life here, the things that push and pull us and what God’s will and way is. We crave God in our lives and when we search for things to fill that craving that aren’t God, our lives are not whole.

Part 2 is Living This Mom Life. These five chapters talks about the way we live our day to day lives, what we see or don’t see, what we do, how we interact, and wear ourselves down. But in all of it, there is the redeeming factor of God.

Part 3 is titled More for Mom. This is where the true meat of the book is and where it got really challenging for me. Life is full and it is good. But can I find ways to do more? Wait, you say – more? Yes and that is what Kristin is challenging us to – asking God to give us MORE – more peace, more joy, more hope. We have to find MORE time to do what God asks us to and He will give us MORE. The challenge in this for me was that I can easily look at my life and say “but I am already . . .” I am ready to say I am doing enough. I feel whole and holy.

That is where the problem is though – I should not stop when I fell whole and holy. I need to ask God to give me more – more empathy, more understanding, more patience, more hope, more joy, MORE. And there are three ways that Kristin talks about doing that.

  • More Time – I need to spend more time in God’s presence: in His word, in prayer, in focus. Prioritizing time with God is a needed and necessary thing. Just because I already am doing this doesn’t mean I should call it good. I need to do more. And there was great encouragement to do so here.
  • More Fasting – I have never quite understood this idea of fasting but Kristin’s chapter here has me desiring to study it more. I have never thought of it as a way to see MORE of God but it is an example Jesus gives us that I am going to study more. Fasting is often thought of as a food thing but Kristin reminds us that a fast can include many other things that you need to eliminate that take you away from focusing on God. Her idea of taking apps off of your phone if you tend to spend too much time there or of taking a different route when you are driving if you tend to stop off somewhere for a snack or drink or spending money are genius for removing distractions that lead us away from God. As I mentioned, more time will be spent on this idea.
  • More Life – “Life is Who we allow to complete it, and our body is Who we allow to fill it.” This really resonated with me because it encapsulates the idea of this entire book – God should be the focus of every part of our life because life is not small sections that are separated from one another. It is a whole life, filled by a whole God, to serve Him in a holy way. And we need to live it that way. God completes our life when we allow Him to fill it up with Himself.

This is a really encouraging book to read that helps me see His way more clearly. It is easy to get complacent and say “But I’m doing (fill in the blank).” I may have some fabulous habits in place that help me spend time with God. But if I step back and allow those habits to hold me up, I am not serving the living God who wants to be active in my life. More for Moms helps me see that I get more when I ask for more. It isn’t about more from the world but about more from The One who I serve.

May you be blessed as you seek to live your whole and holy life.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

More for Mom tour giveaway

Click Here to Enter:  a Rafflecopter giveaway

From the publisher: 

Reset your spiritual and emotional health with these steps.

More for Mom will encourage women to stop believing the lie that more is needed from them, and start living with the truth that more is available for them.

With real-life talk, humor and convicting biblical truths, Kristin Funston helps hard working mamas to look at each day and each facet of their life to discover what happens when they believe God has more for them than what they think the world needs from them.

And what He has available is a whole and holy life, just waiting to be claimed–a salvation and day-to-day reality complete just as it is. The pieces of each mom’s life–the work life, mom life, social life, etc.–are mended together through Christ to complete her one whole life, set apart because of Him.

This book is a stepping stone to help working mothers reset their spiritual and emotional health, habits, and relationship with God. There are performance pressures at work, home, and mind-sets that affect a mom’s ability to feel complete and live more closely aligned with God. This book includes the beginning steps for moms to walk in wholeness and holiness by asking God for more.

Kristin-headshot-largesquare

Kristin Funston resides outside of Memphis with her husband and three daughters. She has a master’s degree in Communication Studies from New Mexico State University. Kristin has a passion for writing and wants to encourage women in a way that is relatable and practical with a large side of humor. She is a member of Hope Presbyterian Church, a congregation with a weekly attendance of more than 7,000, and serves as the Marriage & Family Coordinator. She contributes to multiple blogs.

https://kristinfunston.com/

Cultivating An Attitude

cultivating an attitude

So often we talk of cultivating a garden. Have you ever intentionally and with purpose cultivated an attitude? I am working on a plan for this year that will cultivate an attitude of appreciation. Or gratitude. Or gratefulness.

I chose the word cultivate because I want to be intentional about this. I don’t want it to be haphazard. I don’t want it to be something I think about once in a while. I want it to be something I try hard to do each day. Cultivate implies that you are conscientious about what is being done and working hard at it. When you cultivate something, it flourishes, grows, and becomes something that benefits everything around it.

So, I want to cultivate an attitude.

The attitude I want to cultivate is one that can have so many names – gratitude, thankfulness, appreciation, gratefulness. There are probably more. These are the ones that came to mind while I was writing this.

A sermon I was blessed by at the beginning of the year mentioned a 1902 essay by William George Jordan. He wrote “Ingratitude is a crime more despicable than revenge, which is only returning evil for evil, while ingratitude returns evil for good.” This is in an essay titled “The Power of Truth: Individual Problems and Possibilities.” You can find it through The Project Gutenberg.

The first part of my plan is to read this essay fully. I am also going to listen to some podcasts based on this essay. This quote struck me. It is so easy to think that I am not harming anyone when I don’t show appreciation or gratefulness but really, I am discounting what that person has done for me. When I do not intentionally show gratefulness, it is hurtful, even when I don’t intend for it to be so. And when I show gratefulness that someone is not expecting, that blesses the person doubly. Why wouldn’t I want that to be what happens daily?

The next part includes writing out passages from the Bible each day this year. I am starting in the beginning of Psalm for now but I do expect that will change after a bit. I have a goal of six verses a day.

I was blessed by a basket from the blog The Sparrow’s Home. I am going to use the note cards, pens, and pretty basket as a place to keep my materials so that I can write more notes of thanks this year. I have a goal of four a month, or one per week.

The final part of this cultivation, for now, is that I am going to be praying specific prayers of thanks. I am going to find something in particular each day for the purpose of giving thanks.

My hope is that I will see more of the good in everything. I also hope it will rub off some on those around me. But really, I hope it changes my heart in ways I cannot imagine.

So this is my “word” for the year. I am cultivating an attitude of gratitude.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

 

Linking up with the Homeschool Review Crew and their Word for the Year Ahead link-up.

Your Second Life Begins When You Realize You Only Have One ~ Book Club

You Second Life

This is a compelling little book that was handed to me by my MIL the other day. She just said “Do you want to read this? It looks neat but it is way down in my pile and I can’t read it yet.” So I did. It grabbed me from the beginning and I was riveted.

Your Second Life Begins When You Realize You Only Have One

Written by Raphaelle Giordano, this book has been translated into English. I believe it was originally written in French. It does take place in Paris, I believe. (I am guessing a little but the places mentioned all seem to fit Paris.)

We meet Camille at the beginning of the book and are quickly introduced to her hectic, busy, unfulfilling, unhappy/happy life. She is married to one she loves and has a little boy. They have a good place to live and she has a solid job. But she is feeling out-of-sorts, discontented, and unhappy. Which doesn’t make sense to her with such a “good” life. On the day we meet her, she has an accident with her tire and ends up in the middle of nowhere knocking on a stranger’s door. And with all that has happened, she ends up pouring out her story and discontent to him.

And he responds incredibly – I can help.

He listens and offers her his card. From there, he tells her that he understands (sometimes that is the most powerful part, isn’t it?) and that she can change her life. She is intrigued and contact him for help after she gets back to the city. What she finds is someone who wants her to success, to have a “happy” life, and a listening ear. She also finds significant encouragement and unusual tactics that help her focus, change, and redirect her thoughts and her life.

By the end of the story, we find a new Camille – happier, directed, focused, healthy, and energetic. She knows who she is and what she wants.

So many of the ideas and life changes are things that the reader can relate to. They can be addressed and changed in the reader’s life, as well. I find that fascinating. Yes, this is a novel but there is much to be learned from the approaches and the ideas in this book. If you are feeling rooted in discontent and want to find a way to redirect your life, pick this book up and give it a read. The ideas just might help you challenge your status quo and become someone you really admire and want to be. You just might end up following your dream.

Blessings,
At Home.

Visit Ladybug Daydreams, if you have a moment. I don’t know if Wendy is able to post for the Book Club this month or not but I’d love it if you would visit her blog for a moment or two.

Book club:Ladybug Daydrams and At Home where life happens

Love Grows Here – Keep Out!

Love Grows Here Keep Out

I have started walking. Again. We’ll see. . .

Anyhow, on my walking route I pass this lovely garden area next to someone’s front door. I mean it is lovely. Lots of flowering plants (even in this triple digit heat we have had for weeks now) and large green leaves. It is well maintained and cared for. You can tell.

But –

Planted in the very front, for all the passersby to see, are two signs. One is so pretty and in colorful cursive says “Love grows here.” What a neat sentiment. Inviting. Hopeful. Maybe even inspiring. Until you look next to it.

And you see

KEEP OUT!

Black and orange. Bright, glaring, ugly. “You are not wanted,” it says. “You are not welcome.” In spite of what is right next to it about love, this is the message that is most boldly proclaimed.

And it made me wonder. . .

Which of these two signs does my life portray? And I boldly proclaiming that no one is welcome in my life?

Or am I saying I am trying hard to grow love and would like to share it?

Which is the sign your life is proclaiming?

Blessings,
At Home.

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