Family Legacy Homeschooling Just a Thought... Tips

Parental Challenge

Stacee Taft Blog - Dreams for our childrenItems needed:
• pen/pencil and paper (or you could type it on the computer if that’s more your style)
• and some personal quiet time/space where you can think and won’t be interrupted.

Write down the character traits that you want your son(s) to have when they are grown men.
If you only have daughters, then write down the character traits that you want your son(s)-in-law to have.

Mothers: Write down the character traits that you want your daughter(s) to have when they are grown women.
If you only have sons, then write down the character traits that you want your daughter(s)-in-law to have.

Be specific, but only things related to character.

For instance, “successful” is not specific or character related, however, “being compassionate” is.

Still in in your personal quiet spot, assess your own life.

Look at the list and circle the character traits you have in yourself.

Are you modeling the character traits you want your child(ren) to have?

Stacee Taft Photography & Design Blog Image
My sweet babies

If we don’t have these character traits in ourselves
and aren’t modeling them in our own lives,
how in the world are our children going to learn them from us.
Positive character traits don’t typically come naturally or “just happen”.
They take hard work.

In case you’re feeling like a failure at this moment,
as I was when I did this… stop that!
Pity parties and regret won’t help you get to where you want/need to be!

Maybe you haven’t ever really thought about all of this.

Maybe you’re just doing what you learned from your parents…

Maybe you aren’t doing everything you can/should be doing…

but that doesn’t mean you’re a failure…
It means you have a choice to make!

Stacee Taft Photography & Design Blog Image
My family and dear friends {me – bottom left}

You see, we all come from imperfect families
lead by imperfect parents.

They didn’t do things “exactly right” and
we are molded and shaped by that and other factors.

It shaped who we became…

But WE choose who we will be from this moment on.

We choose if we will stay a victim to our past
or move on toward learning how to thrive.

We choose, each day, one little choice at a time
whether we are going to stay in our old ruts
or start to move out of them…
sometimes slowly,
sometimes in one big “if I don’t do it quick it will never happen” jump.

Face your fears... my husband leading by example
Face your fears… my husband leading by example

This seemingly simple challenge was to attempt to help us see objectively,
without us getting defensive,
how we are doing at setting a good example for our child(ren).

Each one of us wants our child(ren) to grow up
to be the very best they can be,
to achieve the goals that we know they are capable of,
to strive for personal success,
to be better than we are.

We teach, we train, we guide,
we speak words of wisdom and truth endlessly to them.

We pray over them.

We cry over them.

My babies 10 years ago
My babies 10 years ago

We have dreams for them.

We correct, encourage, and challenge them
to be better today than they were yesterday.

It’s our heart’s desire for them to not just live,
but to thrive as adults.

But, often something huge gets in the way… us!

Like our parents before us,
we’re not perfect parents.

We don’t do everything right.

We don’t always set a good example
of what we want our child(ren) to be/do.

© Stacee Taft Photography
20 years together… 14 years of parenting… a lifetime to go!

But we don’t have to stay where we were…
we can grow and mature and learn to thrive, too.

My hope, and prayer,
is that each one of you reading this
makes a choice to live today better than you lived yesterday.

That the excuses and blame-game
and whatever else is holding you back
from becoming the person YOU were created to be…
will no longer have a hold on you.

You choose who you are going to be from this day forward.

No one else.


Now get out there and make your life what it should be!

Stacee Taft Photography & Design Blog Image
Our family… love them!
Family Legacy Just a Thought...

Tualatin Police Experience

I just completed the final day of the Tualatin Police Experience
and I’m not sure I can adequately write down how much this experience impacted me.TPD-badge

I’ve always loved our police department.
We are beyond spoiled with the quality leadership
and officers that wear the Tualatin PD badge.

There is so much good humor
(okay… and bad ‘punny’ humor – which I consider fabulous),
so much comradery, so much wit and so much good-natured ribbing;
It’s a LOT of fun to be around our police force.

But that’s only partly possibly because these men and women are professionals
excelling beyond the typical requirements, going above and beyond the call of duty
and doing it because they care do deeply for their community,
those in their community and any person that is in need.

I cannot thank our Chief enough
for taking time and resources out of the Tualatin Police Department
in order for us average citizens to catch a small glimpse
into the heart and soul of what makes the TPD so special.

Chief Barker provides the kind of leadership
that creates a level of expected respect, quality,
caring and attention to detail that is evident
in the officers that are in his department.
His humility, and the humility of his officers,
is so beautiful to see in this day and age…
especially when they are all so highly trained.

The Tualatin Police Experience highlighted each of these things and more.

Yes, we spent a good deal of time laughing and smiling,
but when each officer presented his/her presentation/demonstration…
it was evident how passionate they were about what they do
and the training to be ready to protect and serve their community.
It was also evident just how exceptional they were in that area…
although it took the Chief coming up and bragging on them
because they would never brag on themselves.

I’ve heard many complaints and horror stories
about officers around the country (founded or unfounded is not the point)…
it is a huge credit to our PD that even with
all the bad guys they catch, tickets and citations that are written…
that they almost never get a complaint.
In fact, some who have been ticketed or arrested
have written letters thanking the officers
for how respectful they were treated during and after the process.

The news will never report on this sort of thing…
there’s no sensationalism in it.
It simply doesn’t sell or boost ratings to report it.
{And being as news these days is more about being a business
than being accurate reporters of truth…}
many won’t report or speak of departments run as efficiently,
humbly and respectfully as the Tualatin Police Department.

But I will.

These men and women have my utmost respect…TPD-coin
and they have my heart, my prayers and my undying gratitude
for all they do day in and day out to protect our community
and make it a safe, fun place to live.
Their servants’ hearts are so evident.

If you live in Tualatin,
please talk to them about getting on the list for their Police Experience.

You won’t regret it!

P.S. I might be able to add photos in the future,
but I need to wait for the approved photos before
including any from the experience.

Family Legacy Homeschooling Just a Thought...

2015 Destination Imagination Global Finals


    HELP US GET TO GLOBAL FINALS Oregon Destination Imagination, Inc. is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. Using this link restricts the funds for our team’s use only.

Hi! We’re the Tongue-Twisting Turquoise Toucans! We’re so excited, and honored, to go to Global Finals again this year.

This year’s Technical Challenge is very difficult… and well… challenging. It is a fun challenge to tackle, and took a lot of work!

But, it was all worth it… Out of 68 teams that participated in the Destination Imagination State Tournament, we are honored to be one of the 17 teams representing Oregon at the 2015 Global Finals!

Along the way, we also won special Renaissance Award, in recognition of engineering design.

However, our team needs to raise $8,600 soon to compete20150308_082507crop in this amazing international academic tournament. Every penny donated can help us reach our goal! This cost will cover our registration fees, air transportation and transfers, shipping costs, and on-campus housing and meals.

Destination Imagination… is an amazing program that prepares kids for future careers by teaching them the creative process, project management, teamwork, and critical thinking using STEM {Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics}.

Teams must only use ideas their team originated and must implement these ideas themselves. For instance, we can ask someone to teach us to solder or sew or rebuild a circuit board, but if we want to use it in our solution, we have to do the work ourselves.20150411_172505crop

Our team competed in the Technical Challenge – Creature Feature: we imagined, designed and built a world, a creature that did specific creature actions and a story of adventure.

In our story, Mr. DeMarcus’ submarines are disappearing off of the radar. He hires a team to construct CUB, an ROV submarine, to rescue the subs. While CUB is retrieving the missing subs, it is attacked, however, the team manages to get CUB back to the surface proving that teamwork is the best way to solve any crisis.

We also created a background scene change which applies the laws of physics and a control panel designed using recycled parts, a parallel circuit and magnetism. We also made an awesome antenna for the control panel, powered by a part from an old printer. We DI kids love to reuse things in creative and innovative ways!

We incorporated a puppet show that allows the audience to see what the engineers in the lab are seeing on their laptop monitor: CUB’s video of its deep sea dive and the creatures it encounters while rescuing the missing subs. The puppets were hand sewn and created to look like actual deep sea creatures we researched.20150411-DSC_5331crop We even made our own patterns for the creatures!

We can’t wait for GLOBAL FINALS!

Visit Easy Fundraising Ideas

However, as we mentioned before, our team needs to raise $8,60020150411-DSC_5382crop to compete in this amazing international academic tournament.

If you, or your company, can help us achieve our goal, please use this link to donate:

Oregon Destination Imagination, Inc. is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. Using this link restricts the funds for our team’s use only.

To learn more about Destination Imagination® & Global Finals, visit:


2015 Global Finals



   Thank you for considering to help us reach OUR destination,
   2015 Destination Imagination Global Finals!

  Sincerely, The Tongue-Twisting Turquoise Toucans

And a HUGE Thank You to all our sponsors and donors for our raffle!


Family Legacy Just a Thought... Kitchen Meals & Recipes Tricks & Ideas

Fundraiser Cookie Dough Overtaking Your Freezer?

Each soccer season we are encouraged heavily to sell
extremely unhealthy cookie dough
to support our kids’ soccer club.

This is the kind of dough
that you can leave on your counter for SIX months,
freeze/thaw back and forth or leave in the fridge…
and it will be fine.
Perfectly fine!!

Yeah, not exactly stuff you want to push on people you love
and want to live a long healthy life! LOL
Especially when I work so hard on our family eating healthy!

Stacee Taft Photography & Design Blog Image

because we love to support the soccer club,
we typically purchase 4 tubs of this stuff each year.

Now these tubs take up quite a lot of space
for the amount of cookies you get from them.

And in our home,
freezer space is at a premium!

You can’t leave them in the fridge very long or else
they dry out… fast.
Not so bad in the freezer, but again,
freezer space is coveted and not to be wasted!

But if you leave them in the freezer
you nearly break a spoon trying to get the dough out
…or you have to wait for it to thaw.
I have used an ice cream scoop and it wasn’t horrible,
but it did break chips and nuts in half,
not very pretty when you bake the cookies.

So, this year I decided to try something new…

Make them more compact, faster & easier to bake!

{Btw, if you’re following this as directions,
now is a good time to take off your rings…
dough does nasty things to rings!}

I dumped the contents of a tub onto a Sil Pat (or any flexible non-stick surface)
and started squishing it into a long lump.

Stacee Taft Photography & Design Blog Image

At this point I wasn’t going for pretty! LOL

Then I wrapped the Sil Pat around the dough lump-log
and, with very strong hands, gently, but firmly
put pressure in the middle and worked it toward the outsides.

Stacee Taft Photography & Design Blog Image

Once it started “extruding” out the ends of my Sil Pat,
I broke the lump-log into two parts,
placing the extra part on wax paper to wait for it’s turn.

Stacee Taft Photography & Design Blog Image


Stacee Taft Photography & Design Blog Image


Then I repeated the process again by wrapping the Sil Pat around the dough
and doing the same thing as before,
but this time trying to make it very even along the whole log.

Stacee Taft Photography & Design Blog Image

A few times I had to unroll the Sil Pat and adjust the dough and start again.

Once I had a “pretty” log,
round or square,
depending on how I held my hands,

Stacee Taft Photography & Design Blog Image

I then placed the log onto saran wrap
and wrapped the ends first,
then the sides.

Stacee Taft Photography & Design Blog Image

I labeled each with baking temp and time
and, of course, what flavor of cookie it was.

Then I put them on a cookie sheet
and put them in the freezer to flash freeze them.

Stacee Taft Photography & Design Blog Image

Once they were solid,
I wrapped them again with wax paper
just to give them a little more protection from freezer burn or drying out.

Stacee Taft Photography & Design Blog Image

It probably took me 15 minutes for three tubs
(other than trying to document this for you all)
to do the whole process up to flash freezing.

Stacee Taft Photography & Design Blog Image


Stacee Taft Photography & Design Blog Image

The benefit of this process is
1) You aren’t giving up nearly as much freezer space!
2) You can use any dough for this process, not just fundraiser cookie dough!
3) You can simply grab a frozen log and slice off the cookies you need.
4) Super fast and easy.

Stacee Taft Photography & Design Blog Image

However, this process does nothing to help the nutritional value of the cookies! LOL
But they do taste gooood! 🙂

Disclaimer: photos taken with my cell phone with greasy fingers…
obviously not taken for quality as much as visual to help the process be better understood.

Family Legacy Homeschooling Just a Thought...

Failure… It’s All About Perspective

I was just talking to my son about failures.Thomas Alva Edison in his lab
Right now he feels like he’s failing at everything.
He doesn’t enjoy most of his school subjects {especially math}
because they aren’t ‘fun’ or ‘easy,’
so he hasn’t been interested in giving 100% to learn them…
thus he doesn’t get a perfect score.
Then he assumes he’s a failure because of the results.

He’s wrong.
And he’s not alone.

We all fall into this mindset from time to time.
My son is NOT a failure…
he simply hasn’t succeeded yet.

Edison is a great example of this.
He had the right perspective on his failures…
on hard work…
on perseverance.

“I have not failed; I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”

He looked at his failures as chances to gain new data
or learn something he hadn’t considered or,
perhaps, just cross a possible solution off of his idea list.

“They [failures] taught me something that I didn’t know. They taught me what direction to move in.”

Failure, depending on perspective,
will either bring opportunity or despair.
Only one requires hard work and is worth the effort.

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”
“Genius is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration.”

It’s all about perspective.

“Just because something doesn’t do what you planned it to do doesn’t mean it’s useless.”
“We sometimes learn a lot from our failures if we have put into the effort the best thought and work we are capable of.”

I love how Edison had the right perspective.
I am thankful he did, too.
Think of all the amazing inventions that were created
because Edison had the correct perspective on his failure.

Mark and I try to pass this joy-filled, perseverance, correct perspective concept
to both our children.

However, some days are harder than others.

Like today.

My son assumes there isn’t a point to learning most of these subjects.
Again, he’s wrong…
although I surely understand where he’s coming from!

Only a part of our schooling is the actual memorizing of facts, dates and formulas…
the other half is character development: self-discipline; learning to work hard at something
even when we hate it…
in fact, learning to enjoy it;
perseverance when we feel like there is no end in sight;
obedience even if we don’t understand the ‘why’ behind the instructions given.

All of us have a choice when we approach any situation…
We can let our circumstances dictate how we think/feel
or we can choose to be joy-filled.

The latter does not come natural and requires God’s strength and perspective.

“If we did all the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves.”

I attempted to use the game Mastermind as an illustration.Mastermind game
If you’ve ever played the game you know there is a long board with peg holes.
One player chooses a pattern of colors, not letting the other player see.
The other player, through a series of guesses, tries to use deductive logic to figure out the pattern.

No one gets it the first time around.

In fact, they give you almost 15 spaces on the board to try to figure it out.
But each time you try, if you’re paying attention, you will learn something.
Perhaps all you learn is that there isn’t a blue peg in spot number one.
Perhaps you’ll learn more.

But the point is… if you see each one of those tries as a failure, you totally missed the point of the game.

It’s all about perspective.

Now granted… in some people’s cases just trying won’t automatically equal success, but knowing my son like I do…
he can and will thrive and succeed at anything he chooses to.
And the fact that he doesn’t yet get that grieves my heart.

Even more so because he’s my clone (in a boy-version).
I totally remember being where he is.
Feeling what he’s feeling.
Wanting to give up because I don’t see the point of trying.
Being lazy instead of diligent when it’s hard or not fun.
Some days I’m still right there with him! Even at the age of 40.

This is why perspective is so critical.
HOW we see things dictates what we believe about… well… everything.
If I don’t choose to be joy-filled
and choose to be able to look beyond my circumstances,
my ‘right now’ pressures of life, or in my son’s case…
his daunting schoolwork syllabus…
I WILL, by default, be thrown hither and yon by the circumstances that swirl and rage around me.

My stresses, my to-do lists, my schedule, my responsibilities, my sagas…
all the things that weigh heavily on my heart and mind…
they will crush me and steal my joy.

And, in actuality, by not choosing to be joy-filled…
I am giving my joy away.

By choice.

This, of course, is easier said than done.
In my son’s case…
we’re just talking about schoolwork.

But what he learns about how to face unpleasant ‘little’ things
that feel huge will translate later into how to face horrific things,
like cancer, loss of a family member or job.

So that when those things come…
and they will…
we are not destroyed.

Our joy is not lost…
even in the midst of chaos and pain.

So where does that leave my precious son?
Well thankfully, after a lengthy, rather drama-filled, conversation…
He’s having his sister quiz him to make sure he’s really studied well for his two tests tomorrow.

He’s daily, sometimes minute-ly, having to make the choice that we need to do things,
walk through things that aren’t desirable to us…
to grow and get where God wants us to be.

He doesn’t always choose correctly.
But today he’s choosing joy
(via obedience, respect and a good attitude).

He’s choosing to work hard even though the pull
of rushing through his work carelessly so he’s ‘done’ and can go play
tugs on him with force equal to a hurricane.

He’s choosing not to let his desire to play become an idol,
but rather a goal to drive him to work harder,
smarter, more efficiently and effectively.

He’s choosing his perspective.

We all are choosing one or the other…
every day of our lives.
He’s choosing joy over circumstances.

So am I.

Which perspective are you choosing?

Family Legacy Just a Thought...

Happy Valentine’s Day

May this Valentine’s Day be filled with love, whether you have someone to call an official “Valentine” or not. Remember it shouldn’t always be about getting love… there is always someone who needs to be loved! And it is so much fun to see the difference we make when we take the time to care!

I am so blessed to be surrounded by such dear family and friends. They blow my socks off with how they love me!! I am so thankful!

Happy Valentine’s Day!!

Family Legacy Just a Thought...

Amazingly Average

There are so many things I wish I could be amazing at…

I’m not a writer… more a quick thoughts on paper gal.

I’m not a blogger… as you can probably tell by the infrequency of my posts. LOL

I’m not a speaker… I’m a talker.

I’m not a singer… but I can read music and keep a tune.

I’m not a dancer… although our first dance at our wedding was the cha-cha.


There are days when

I’ve obviously spent too much time looking at others’ amazing talents

because I feel very ‘less than’ and well, not amazing at anything.

My whole life I feel like I’ve been average.


Don’t get me wrong,

I can do anything I put my mind to,

but I never seem to excel the way those around me do

and it always seems harder than it is for others.


Perhaps I don’t have enough drive?

Perhaps I don’t have a killer business instinct?

Perhaps I don’t have enough natural talent?

Perhaps I don’t have enough energy?

Perhaps I haven’t had the ‘right’ mentor?

Perhaps I just expect too much of myself?

Who knows… but the feelings are real.


I know what I am…

I am a wife… a flawed one who thankfully has a very patient and loving husband.

I am a mom… of two crazy, awesome kiddos, also thankfully patient and loving.

I am a graphic designer…

I am a portrait photographer…

I am a teacher…

I am a friend… {of some of the most incredible people on the planet}

I am a child of the King… thus a princess by adoption.


And although I am nowhere close to being amazing at these either…

they are part of who I am.

And as I strive on to excel further…

I have to keep in mind that

I am blessed…

far beyond what I deserve.


When I remember that I am blessed…

when I take time to be thankful…

all those things I wish I were more amazing at…

seem a little less daunting.

Perhaps, even possible someday.


For any of you who feel ‘less than’ today as you look around

at your competition,

your colleagues,

your family,

your friends…

or what you see via the internet…

I am reminded of a quote I saw on Pinterest,

“Jealousy comes from counting others’ blessings instead of our own! “

So once again I remind myself,

and anyone else who might need to hear it, too…

to be content where I am,

yet always striving toward where I want to be.



*I took the image at the top on the way home from Christmas at my parents’. The moon was so big and beautiful. I am thankful my sweet family was gracious and stopped so I could capture a quick photograph.

Family Legacy Just a Thought...

I Remember…

{There are no photos in this blog post. Images of 9/11 are everywhere most of us remember seeing them on that fateful day.}


I was up early for being so pregnant, helping Mark get ready for work.

I flipped on the news to see what the day’s weather…

I was unprepared for what greeted me.

I never did figure out what the weather was going to be that day,

instead I sat glued to my TV, tears streaming down my face at the images I was viewing.

It was about 6am, here in Oregon, when I turned on the news.

The first plane had just hit tower number one.

I was confused, then confusion turned to shock, and with when the second plane hit tower two…

…it turned to horror.


I sat glued to my TV all day.

Sick to my stomach.

Very hormonal and emotional.

It was, and still somewhat is, surreal what happened on that day eleven years ago.


A baby shower was planned for that night at our church, in my honor.

Some wanted to cancel it saying we couldn’t go on with it because it wouldn’t be right…

but I felt that if we cancelled it we would let the terrorists win.

They want us to live in fear.

They want us to shut down and wither away.


But that’s not what Americans do!

We stand strong and united!


We did have the baby shower.

It was good to have something to smile and laugh about in the midst of such horrors.

It was good to know that even though such a horrific tragedy had just taken place,

God was still in control and a new life would be joining our family very soon.

It was good to take time, with fellow believers, to pray for all those affected by the attacks.


There is so much sadness in the world… but there is a Hope.


Psalm 62: 5-8

My soul, wait in silence for God only,
For my hope is from Him.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
My stronghold; I shall not be shaken.
On God my salvation and my glory rest;
The rock of my strength, my refuge is in God.
Trust in Him at all times, O people;
Pour out your heart before Him;
God is a refuge for us.               Selah.


Today I sat down with my kids today and showed them the 9/11 materials I’ve collected.

As we were discussing what had happened, looking at images of the day and I was sharing where and what I was doing during all of this, my son started this conversation:

Son (looking out the window): Wow. That jetliner seems reeeeally low.

Me: It’s not; it just feels low because it’s 9/11 today and we’re feeling cautious.

Son: Why aren’t we cautious every day?

Me: Because we’re so spoiled with the freedoms we have in this nation. Freedom is NOT free! It always costs something. And often we forget that so much of the world around us lives in daily fear of injustices and terror. We are blessed to live in this great nation!



While the storm clouds gather far across the sea,
Let us swear allegiance to a land that’s free,
Let us all be grateful for a land so fair,
As we raise our voices in a solemn prayer.
God bless America,
Land that I love.
Stand beside her, and guide her
Through the night with a light from above.
From the mountains, to the prairies,
To the oceans, white with foam
God bless America, My home sweet home
God bless America, My home sweet home.


According to Wikipedia, “During a live television broadcast on the evening of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, following addresses by then-House and Senate leaders Dennis Hastert and Tom Daschle, members of the United States Congress broke out into an apparently spontaneous verse of “God Bless America” on the steps of the Capitol building in Washington, D.C.”


I remember 9/11/2001…

Do you?

Family Legacy Just a Thought...

Silent Words

Ever been hit with news or been thrust into the midst of a situation that threatens to overwhelm you?

Yeah… me, too. Read on and let me share a little of my heart with you…

The house is quiet. I can finally write. But how do I express all that my heart wants to say? How do I put into words the feelings of my heart?

Perhaps I can’t, but I must try.

With so many around me hurting and suffering, my heart yearns to help, to ease the pain, to “fix it.” But over my nearly forty years, I’ve learned that “fixing it” isn’t always the best solution for truly helping. Often going through the process, walking through the dark valley, brings us more blessing and growth than a quick fix.  Often, the struggle is the path to blessing..

But how do I convey that to my heart? My heart that longs to make everything alright again, my heart that so desperately wants to take the pain, anger, frustration and hurt away from those I love.

I can’t… but God can.

El Roi —

One of the names of God in the Old Testament.

It means– the God who sees.

He sees your pain, your anger, your frustration, your hurting heart. He knows what you’re going through and He’s right there with you. None of it catches Him by surprise. And He is still in complete control… even when your world seems so out of control.

And He loves you so deeply. He wants to hold your heart tightly while it slowly begins to mend and heal. He wants the pain or the situation to bring beautiful growth in you.

He will never force anyone to accept His love and comfort…  Yet He willingly offers it to any and all who need it.

Patiently waiting, He listens for our faint cries that we’ve had enough, that we just can’t do it on our own! He listens for the deep groaning, too deep for words, that flows directly from our hearts. When God hears those, He quickly gathers us into His mighty and powerful, yet gentle, arms. His strength and love flooding every fiber of our being.

We are safe.

We are loved… always and forever, no matter what!

Then the peace starts spreading through every part of us and our crazy situation.

Did our circumstances change? More than likely… not.

But our outlook does. We now have hope. We are safe and secure, no matter what comes our way. We know whatever we face, we don’t have to face it alone and we no longer need to be afraid of anything.

We are safe and loved in the arms of El Roi.

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