Sunday, December 30, 2012

Snow Fun!

On Friday, we took some kids up to White Pass
for some snow fun!
But, Benjamin wasn't so sure that it should be called "fun"! 
He doesn't seem to like the cold stuff,
and/or maybe getting so bundled up that he could barely move!
But I just had to see him in those tiny little snow boots!
They are just way too cute!   
 He decided that the confines of the little sled was okay,
but still not his idea of a good time!
 Now, Joe on the other hand . . .
 loves everything about the snow!
Even burying his head in it!
He even liked this way more than sledding,
thus, I don't even have another picture of him!
Benjamin tolerated a bit of sledding,
but he was most happy in the arms of his big sister!
For Timmy, it was pure sledding bliss!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Ben and His Guitars : -)

Before Benjamin received his first little guitar on Christmas Eve,
we would find him strumming "make believe" guitars of all kinds!
In the picture below,
Aunt Heather and Uncle Kevin and cousins sent the gift (and the green one behind him) that Benjamin is holding to Timmy and Joe.
They looked like swords to us,
but to Benjamin,
they were guitars!  : -)
So Benjamin was thrilled when he received
his first "real" guitar!
This one even plays songs that he can sing along to!
(I especially like this picture because it has our beautiful nieces/cousins in it! :-)
Then, on Christmas Day,
Benajmin was even more thrilled when he received
 his second guitar from his brother Joe!
 Now, he is an official happy little guitarist!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A Very Special Christmas!

We hope you all had a very blessed Christmas!
We had a very special one! 
(As always, I wish I took lots more pictures,
but the moments passed by so fast,
and wanting to savor each and every one,
I forgot to capture them with the camera! )
We were soooo blessed to have Richie and Lydia
be able to join us on Christmas Day!
It was so wonderful to have them here!
Doesn't Richie look fantastic?!!! 


 Benjamin received his first guitar
and he has rarely put it down since!  He loves it!
Thanks Grandpa and Grandma!

 Kyle, Caroline, Valerie and Victoria
were happy to receive new Bibles!


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Merry Christmas!

We've received a lot of good news lately,
but this morning, we are praising the Lord 
for some more really awesome news . . . . 
Richie and Lydia will be coming home TODAY!!!   
Let us rejoice, and thank the Lord together
for all He has done!!!
What a special Christmas it will be! 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


We can't tell you how very grateful we are
for each and every one of you
who have checked often for updates
and prayed from the bottom of your hearts
frequently and faithfully for Richie and Lydia!!   
Oh, how much this has meant to all of us!  
How very, very blessed we have been
by your notes of encouragement and prayers!    
It has been most amazing to watch
the answers to your prayers unfold day-by-day. 
God is so good!!!! 
"Glory in His holy name;
Let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.
Look to the Lord and His strength;
Seek His face always.
Remember the wonders He has done, his miracles . . . "
1 Chronicles 16:10-12a


Around 11:30 I visited Richie and Lydia and Ted. : -)  They were all wide awake. : -(  Richie seems to be doing soooo good!  And Lydia too!  I'm not sure if they have gotten much sleep yet, though.  They are still doing some routine check-ups on Richie.  Ted has been doing a fantastic job as the bouncer at their door. : -)  It's a big job, and he is handling it very well!  

We sure enjoyed our time spent with Mom and Dad T. and sister, Joy, today.  Such neat people!!!  It makes spending a day in a hospital room and waiting room very pleasant!   We will be doing some tag-teaming with them to be sure Richie and Lydia are well cared for!  

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

8:30pm - All is well

We are rejoicing!  Richie has his wonderful sense of humor back already!!! : -)   He seems very happy and peaceful!!!  He is able to drink ice water already!  He is sleeping!!  He has already stood up!! He does not have the intubation tube or even a catheter!!  And he was told the nose tube down to his stomach will probably come out tomorrow morning!!! Ted is staying in the room with them to help put their minds at ease, and ensure a peaceful, calm night's sleep!!  Let's pray both Lydia and Richie will get a wonderful night's sleep!   Praise the Lord!!!! 

7:15pm - Back to Room!

Lydia just left to be with Richie back in his regular room!  Woo hoo! 

6pm Update

The vascular surgeon, just came out to tell us the surgery is complete and Richie is is in the recovery room.  And he is no longer intubated, which is a real blessing for Richie.   The surgeon feels really good about everything he was able to accomplish.  Thank you so much for praying!   

2:30pm Back to OR

They just took Richie back to prep for the surgery.  Will post again as soon as we get an update.
Keep on praying!


Our Dear Family and Friends,
Richie has had a PICC line inserted and we are back in his regular room awaiting his turn in the OR.  We are still not sure what time the surgery will be.  I will keep you all posted.

Thank you for continuing your fervent and faithful prayers for both Richie and Lydia.
We are all so very grateful!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Let's Cry Out to the Lord for Help!

Let's all cry out together to the Lord on behalf of Richie and Lydia who are so in need of our loving Father's comfort and peace as they face another surgery.  Thank you so much for continuing to come alongside of them through prayer as they walk this difficult journey.   

Family Get-Together

Last night our church family had their annual Christmas "Talents" program.  It is always a very fun and special time of getting together with our brothers and sisters in the Lord, and desiring to use the gifts and abilities He has given to praise and glorify HIM! 

Kyle was the very handsome Christmas quiz facilitator
in between each "act".   It was a friendly competition between sides.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
I so enjoyed all of the songs and stories,
but one song that particularly ministered to my soul was
an instrumental of "Wonderful Merciful Saviour".
(Played by a pianist, cellist, and a violinist ;-)
I just love that song,
and last night,
tears of praise and thanksgiving flowed, 
as I thought of all our wonderful Savior has faithfully brought us through this year. 
Here is a beautiful rendition of the song . . .

Wonderful, merciful Savior
Precious Redeemer and Friend
Who would have thought that a Lamb
Could rescue the souls of men
Oh you rescue the souls of men

Counselor, Comforter, Keeper
Spirit we long to embrace
You offer hope when our hearts have
Hopelessly lost the way
Oh, we hopelessly lost the way

You are the One that we praise
You are the One we adore
You give the healing and grace
Our hearts always hunger for
Oh, our hearts always hunger for

Almighty, infinite Father
Faithfully loving Your own
Here in our weakness You find us
Falling before Your throne
Oh, we're falling before Your throne


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Sunday Night

Valerie and I had the joy of visiting Richie and Lydia this morning.  Richie looks sooo good, and is making such amazing progress!  I can't tell you how very proud I am of both of them, and for how very thankful all of us are for all your love and prayers for them!!!  It has been such a blessing to know how often you all checked here for updates and how faithfully and fervently you prayed.  What a tremendous encouragement this was to all of us!!!  Our hearts are overflowing with thankgiving to God for such amazing friends and family!!!  Thank you from the bottom of our grateful hearts for each one of you!!!!  

We were so happy when we saw that Lydia is back to blogging!  I imagine you all have missed her writing as much as I have.  So, let's all hop back over to her place at:

Well, I've been out all day with our visit to Richie and Lydia and then on to church for our annual Christmas Talent Program, (which is always such a tremendous blessing!) so better hit the hay for now! 

May our Lord bless you all in a very special way for all the ways you have blessed our family!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Saturday Night

I just talked with Janet, and she gave me some great news!  Richie has been moved to a private room!  This was truly an answer to prayer!  It is just so important for them to have Lydia be able to stay by his side, and now it is possible!  Thank you, Lord!

He got moved around 2pm today, and also sat in a chair for about 1/2 an hour! 

Thank you so very much for all your prayers!  God is answering! 

Jesus, Draw Me Ever Nearer

When Richie first received the news of his diagnosis back in July, our Pastor called us into his office and played this song.  I know many of you are walking through various valleys right now as well, so I pray it might encourage your soul as it has ours.

Saturday Early Afternoon Update

I just talked with Lydia again.   Sounds like they are preparing Richie to be moved out of ICU pretty soon.  They have removed several tubes and monitoring devices.  He has had a chest x-ray, and some samples were collected for monitoring.  He is still on very strong pain medication, but Lydia said his pain might be decreasing a bit, possibly from a "5" to a "4" so that is awesome! 

Richie said he felt a little beat-up though, by some not-so-gentle technicians.  Tubes and IV sites were pulled and banged and in general, just not very nice!  : -(   But we remain ever so thankful for the care and healing that he is receiving there!! 

Saturday Morning

Lydia just called.  She asked for us to pray specifically for a couple things.

1.  Richie's heart rate has been high, so they are closely monitoring it before he can be moved out of ICU.  They gave him some more IV fluid to help further hydrate him and hopefully help stabalize his heart rate.
2.  Richie had a fever over night, with all the uncomfortable symptoms.  They say this is normal after surgery, but let's pray that it goes away with no further complications.
3. Please pray for sleep for both Richie and Lydia.  Richie was not able to sleep at all last night. 
4.  Please pray that Lydia will stay healthy.  

Friday, December 14, 2012

Friday Afternoon

At around noon, I went back to check on Richie and Lydia.  Richie's primary surgeon and his assistant were in their room visiting with them. 
Within a few minutes of Dr. Porter leaving, I stepped out to try to catch him to ask him a quick question, but he was already gone.  When I came back into the room, Richie was calling my name, alerting me to look over at Lydia, sitting in a chair beside his bed.  She was sobbing, and saying strange things like "I do not know where I am", and "I am so confused, I don't know what is real and what was a dream".  Then, she stood up and looked out the window and said something like "oh, that protest couldn't have happened because we are at roof level".   Yikes!  I was quickly trying to assess what could have possibly gone so wrong in just a few minutes.  She continued to cry and act disoriented.  I began to wonder if she was having low blood sugar problems, as I know she had not eaten at all on Thursday.  (Later I found out she didn't eat on Wednesday either!)  And also, perhaps her lack of sleep was also playing a part.
So the nurse brought her some OJ and apple juice and she ate a yogurt and a cookie.  I didn't want to leave her to get more food, so I suggested she try to lay back and rest.  She would try, but then start saying things again about how troubled she was that she couldn't figure out what things really happened and what things were a dream.   Later, she said she really had a feeling of dread come over her, and that she was afraid to go to sleep, as when she would wake, she would just be more confused and troubled. 
So, finally I was able to feel comfortable enough leaving her to get Ted.  By this time, she was starting to feel a lot better.  We had a little chuckle . . .between her confusion, and Richie heavily medicated . . .they made quite a pair!! : -)
We decided it was so important for her to get a nutritious meal, so we took her down to the cafeteria and she ate a yummy hamburger.  Over dinner, she continued to describe the struggle that had been going on in her mind.  We all came to the conclusion, that when I left the room for a moment, she must have passed out and had been trying to regain her bearings. (Thankfully, sitting in the chair right by where she was standing.)   Her behavior really did remind me of how she was acting when she passed out recently when having an IV placed for her colonoscopy.  
She actually felt comforted and a sense of relief come over her as we decided that this is what must have happened.  This was reassuring to her, as she was thinking maybe she had lost her mind. : -)
Soon after getting her back to Richie's room, she was feeling all better and Darrell, Rachel, Rich and Janet were there.   So, we felt comfortable leaving and heading for home. 
Poor Richie!  Between this scary episode and some increased pain, he was not feeling very well for awhile.  Just before we left for the cafeteria, the nurse gave him a bolus of pain medication.  So, upon our return, he was back to feeling much more groggy, but hopefully the pain was much less.

Thank you so much for your continued prayers for Richie and Lydia!

10am - Up and at 'em!

Well, almost!  I just visited Richie and Lydia and it happened to be during a Physical Therapist's visit as well.  He was already trying to get Richie out of bed and sitting in a chair! Wow! Richie did great!  He sat up on the edge of the bed and tried real hard to stand up.  He is so groggy still, and coupled with the pain, it was challenging to stand 100%.   The physical therapist thought that was a great start, especially considering his surgery was only completed about 10 hours ago and what his body has been through!  Thank you so much for your continued prayer!

7:30 am - 1st Day After Surgery!

Oh, it was sooooo wonderful to visit Richie and Lydia early this morning!  Lydia was bright eyed, all smiles, and full of energy.  She didn't sleep a wink, and she didn't care a bit!: -)  She said she felt great and not tired at all.  Thank you, Lord.

Richie was still intubated, but they were able to remove the tube a little while later (around 6:30am, I think)  He was soooo relieved to have that out!!  He was still pretty groggy, but eyes are open and he was even wispering some things after the tube was removed.   "God is so good" was one of them!  I just love that new son soooooo much!  And I am soooo very proud of him!!  He is just amazing!

Ted is delivering some yogurt to Lydia currently, so I'm sure I'll have even more of an update soon!

Team Tevis in the Waiting Room

Oh, how very grateful the Tevis and Bowes families are
 for such a tremendous support team!! 
All of you, our family, friends and aquaintances, both here and far away,
have been such an important part of helping Richie and Lydia through this difficult journey!
You have come alongside of them and faithfully upheld them in prayer
and encouraged them greatly every step of the way with your love and care.
Thank you!!!
And now. . .
meet yesterday's Team Tevis waiting room crew. :-)
Our hearts are so blessed by Rich and Janet Tevis.
They are two very amazing, supportive, loving parents!!
And just wonderful people. 
We have sure enjoyed spending all the hours we have together.
They are really a lot of fun!
We are always so thankful for Ted's calm and comforting presence.  He keeps us light-hearted and laughing too! 
Even when he is multi-tasking! 
We also want to give a big THANK YOU to the amazing Bowes supporting crew back at home, who through all their care of the littlest Bowes', enabled us to be here.  
 One of the best friends a guy could ever have . . .
 What would we do without Richie's good buddy, Ron? 
(He was most helpful with Lydia's "scarf" project. : -)
Actually, we all are so grateful for his friendship.
He is just one, all-around wonderful guy! 
It sure meant a lot to all of us to have his company all day.

Richie Wins the Prize!!!

Watching this blue screen in the waiting room was one of our main forms of entertainment as we waited.
It showed what time the patient went into surgery,
what time the surgery was completed,
and what time they were moved to recovery and then discharged from recovery.
Richie's number was 22602.
Richie and one other patient were running neck-n-neck at the end of the day for the longest surgery of the day.
It was down to the wire, but Richie managed to pull off a win!!!
What do you think his prize should be?  : -) 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

11:45pm - Richie and Lydia Reunited! : -)

Ted just took Lydia to the Critical Care area (ICU) where Richie has been moved to.  She is so happy!  Being apart from Richie has always been one of the hardest parts of his treatment for her. 

Our hearts are so full with thanksgiving for all of you, and to our Lord Jesus! 

Okay, time to see if we can catch a bit of sleep in our little corner of the waiting room. : -)

P.S.  I just saw Richie!  He looks awesome!!!  Thank you, Lord!!!! 

10pm - Primary Surgeon's Report

Let us rejoice together!!!!  And thank the Lord for all HE has done!!!   The surgeons labored for over 13 hours and saved Richie's kidney and were able to replace a section of his aorta below his kidneys with a synthetic graft.  And they were able to remove all the remnants of the large tumor. 

We know that this extra time spent from the estimated 5-8 hour surgery was the Great Physician's answer to all our prayers. 

Richie will be intubated until tomorrow morning.  Pray that he will stay comfortable (asleep would be best!)

We really can't tell you how very grateful we are for each one of you who have checked and checked here for updates and have prayed so fervently and faithfully for Richie and Lydia.  You have blessed all of our lives tremendously!

9:30pm - One Hour to "Close"! :- )

We were just told that they are starting "closing" procedures, which should take approximately one hour.  We have all perked-up considerably!  : -)

7:30pm - Surgery Could Go 2 More Hours!

We are so grateful for your continued prayers.  Richie's sweet bride needs extra prayer now. : -)

7pm Update - No New News Yet!

6pm - Surgery Still Progressing

5pm Update

No news yet.  Richie is still in surgery.  (8 hours) We will be posting an update just as soon as we hear new news.  Thank you so much for persevering in prayer!

3pm Update : -)

Oh, how thankful we are that you all are praying us through the day!!  Thank you so much!  Lydia has received a couple phone calls from the OR saying that things are continuing to go well.  They have taken several samples to send off to pathology, and sounds like they may be expecting some initial results before too long. 

We are just so thankful that God in His perfect providence and timing brought Richie and Lydia together so they could have and hold one another through such a time as this.

Noon Update

Thank you, thank you for your prayers!  Richie's surgery got underway around 9am.  And we were told that things were "going well" around 11am or so.  That's all we know for now! 

I snapped this picture in the waiting room before they called Richie back.  It is in front of a beautiful watercolor painting that looks just like DeGoede's Bulb Farm!  As we settled in to this little corner of the waiting room for the day, it helped make us feel a little more "at home"! 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Pre-Surgery Day

Dear Precious Friends and Family,
Thank you so very much for all your love expressed to Richie and Lydia through your concern and prayers for them.  I just talked with Lydia and it is evident that the Lord has already answered some of our requests! 

Today they had a good meeting with the vascular surgeon who will be involved in a good amount of the surgery.   Lydia described him as friendly and easy to understand!  Praise the Lord right off the bat!  Then, the surgeon said that he will do everything he can to save Richie's kidney, and that he feels there's a good chance that he will not have to take it. Praise the Lord, again!  He also talked with them about how he will be able to reconstruct any major arteries that will be affected.  (It sounded to me like this is not a big deal to the surgeon, almost as if he does this every day! : -)  Praise the Lord for this God given skill and ability! 

Then, they had another consultation regarding what to expect in Richie's recovery time.   It was a little disheartening for them to hear that most folks that have similar surgeries do have to stay the entire 7-10 days in the hospital, and sometimes longer.  This is primarily to ensure that all of the bowel system is working well again.   So, this is really a priority prayer request for Richie and Lydia!  They sure would love to be out of the hospital in record time, and especially in plenty of time for Christmas!     Also, I know that they would love prayer for a private room, so that Lydia can stay by Richie's side at all times.  Of course, they want the Lord's will to be done in everything, knowing that is the best for them.  So, Richie asks specifically for an extra measure of patience in and through it all! 

They were told that the surgery would start probably closer to 8:30 tomorrow morning, and will be a minimum of 5 hours, with a maximum of 8 hours.   Let's pray that the surgery will go way better and faster than ever expected!!   :-) 

Thank you again, dear praying friends and family!!!   We really can't express how very much it means to all of us to have your support and prayers going into this surgery!!!  I will post again tomorrow just as soon as I have any new news!!!  We are so grateful for you all!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Grateful for Your Prayers!

Thank you soooo very much for all your prayers for
Richie and Lydia
as they prepare for Thursday's surgery. 
We can't tell you how very grateful we are
for all your love, support, and prayers!
It means so much to all of us!!! 
Our God is so good and mighty,
He is hearing all your prayers,
and answering!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Leavenworth Trip!

We had an awesome time on our weekend in Leavenworth, WA! 
It was a very festive Christmas celebration
and a beautiful winter wonderland! 
I have lots of pictures to share,
but time is limited now,
so I'll post two for now!

A few of us are off on our way now to
meet with our adoption home study social worker
and to take Victoria to have two teeth extracted
for her othodontia work!  : -(  

Thursday, December 6, 2012

We Will Lift Up Our Eyes to the Lord!

The Lord has been so faithful to us and our extended family through some very significant trials this year!   (Many of you also!)  We are all so thankful that no matter what comes our way, that we can trust Him and know that He will always be our refuge and strength. 

Psalm 62:5-8
"Find rest, O my soul, in God alone;
my hope comes from Him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation;
He is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
My salvation and my honor depend on God;
he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your hearts to him,
for God is our refuge. "

A sweet friend of ours recently showed us a little book she is reading called the Red Sea Rules.  (Thanks, Carolyn!) It is a small book packed full of encouraging reminders of God's sovereignty, lovingkindess, power, goodness (and much more!)  I haven't had a chance to read it yet, but it sounds really awesome!  I'm hoping some will find it to be refreshing to their weary souls!  This is a description of it:

"Just as Moses and the Israelites found themselves caught between "the devil and the deep Red Sea," so are we sometimes overwhelmed by life’s problems. But God delivered the Israelites, and He will deliver us too. The Red Sea Rules reveals, even in the midst of seemingly impossible situations, God’s promise to make a way for us. His loving guidance will protect us through danger, illness, marital strife, financial problems--whatever challenges Satan places in our path. Using the Israelites’ story as an example, Robert Morgan offers ten sound strategies for moving from fear to faith. Among them: Realize that God means for you to be where you are. Acknowledge your enemy, but keep your eyes on the Lord. Pray. Life is hard, especially for Christians. It is certain that we will face difficulties, and that God will allow them, as He allowed the Israelites to become trapped between Pharaoh’s rushing armies and the uncrossable Red Sea. But just as certain is the fact that the same God who led us in will lead us out. As The Red Sea Rules makes comfortingly clear, He is in control."

I also ran across this encouraging song recently, and it seems to go really well with the theme of this book!  

Psalm 121

I lift up my eyes to the hills, where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip, he who watches over you will not slumber.
Indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord watches over you, the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all harm,
he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


We received our passports in record time!  We can hardly believe it!  We turned in our paperwork just before closing time on November 15th, and received them yesterday, December 3rd!  So, we received them in approximately 12 business days!  (And that is with one of those days being Thanksgiving!)  We were told it could take anywhere from 4-8 weeks!  Wow!  Thank you, Lord!   (Not that we need them to travel anytime soon! But it is necessary to have copies of the passports to submit with all of our paperwork for the Dossier.)  

Also, we finished the last of our paperwork for the home study and sent all the remaining documents (reference letters, employee verification, medical reports, etc.) on Friday night.  Yesterday, we were able to schedule our 2nd interview for next Monday with our home study social worker.   This has all gone very quick as well!

Now, we just need a few more documents to complete the bigger collection of documents that will get sent to the Ethiopian Government for their approval.  This is called the Dossier.  (French word; loosely translated . . . BIG stack of papers; pronounced DOSS-EE-AY . . . I'm still working on NOT saying it the way it looks.)   One of the documents we need for the Dossier is an approval letter from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service, which can take up to 3 months or so to receive after submitting our application.  So, we'll have a good case of hurry-up-and-wait.  Then, once we receive this USCIS approval, we will submit our Dossier to our adoption agency.  Then, we'll wait again for its approval by the Ethiopian Government, and then we'll wait for a referral of a child(ren)! 

But, today, I'm rejoicing!  And feel greatly encouraged with how quickly and fairly easily everything has gone to this point!  We'd be ever so grateful for your prayers for continued smooth (and speedy) sailing through this process!   And for safe travels on this long journey, as we have an enemy who would love to see the process thwarted!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Gotta Love a Small Town Christmas Parade!

Here's the parade watchers . . .
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 
This young man was making the most of the opportunity
to share the Good News of Christmas!
The next two parade watchers were just lookin' cute
in their Christmas sweaters,
thinking they should be IN the parade!  

 The other parade watchers,
minus Valerie who was with Mabel on another little mission.

 There were a lot of great entries in the parade,
but this was probably one of my favorites!
I continue to love the weather here,
even through all the rain!
The other parade watchers in the family . . .
not so much!
So, our family chuckled a bit about this one!!! 
And Meemom and PapaBob know all
about how it
NEVER snows here!   
But the thing I loved most about the parade is
that there were many
 "Merry Christmas" greetings
and many nativity scenes around! 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

More Christmas Traditions and Memories in the Making!

As we prepare our hearts and minds
to celebrate the birth of Christ, and all that means to us,
we started our Advent Jesse Tree yesterday!
It's been a few years since we have gone through it,
so it will be fun to refresh our memories,
and see Timmy and Joe learning all about
God's redemptive plan for the world.
The book goes through 25 devotionals that trace the heritage of Jesus Christ from the beginning of Creation. 
And each devotional has a symbol/ornanament
that coincides with it,
wrapped up and numbered, to be opened and hung on the tree after each day's reading.    

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