“You have to keep living.”

These days, there are not many movies that leave me breathless or in tears. And the movies that do, I rarely admit it when it happens. If I am sitting at home or in a movie theatre, I usually bury my face into my hands in embarrassment—hoping that when the lights come on, no one would notice that I was bawling like a baby. Today, I just walked out of the movies with red eyes and dried tears on my cheek, with a different emotion.

The movie was about a man and a woman.  They met, fell in love, and eventually married.  They never had any children, and the wife eventually dies from a terminal illness.  After the spouse’s death, and throughout the remainder of this man’s life—he feels that he no longer has a purpose to live on.  And so, he decides to leave his job and spends his days wrestling over the struggle to take his own life.  The man was determined to end his life in hopes to be reunited with his loved one in death.  However, in the shadow of his conscience at various times as he contemplated the act of taking his own life, he would hear his late spouse whisper with a soft and loving voice, 

“You have to keep living.”  

The man in the movie experienced such a profound sense of loss that it changed him to the point of questioning his own existence.  The pain caused him to become bitter and angry.  In the movie, he had poured himself into the relationship and without her, he was left with a void—a feeling of being incomplete. He could not handle the pain of losing his spouse and thus, it altered his life forever.  I’ll admit that I could not hold back the tears that filled my eyes; the words of the spouse pierced my heart so deeply as I watched this story because of connection to the causalities in our own lives that require us to change.

I have heard someone say that people change at four different seasons:  1. When they hurt enough they have too, 2. When they see enough they are inspired too, 3. When they learn enough, that they want too, 4. And when they receive enough, that they’re able too.   

At this very point in my life, I can acknowledge some very obvious things:  I am not a millionaire or feel that I am anyone of significance.  I do not hold a prestigious position at my work place or in my community.  I have not authored the book I have always wanted to pen, visited every place in the world I have dreamt of, recorded that last worship album, nor have I completed my PhD.  And unfortunately, as I look at my dwindling retirement accounts, I accept the notion that I am years away from reaching that milestone and will probably work for another 25 years.  But despite all the unknowns that I presently face, I have never in my entire existence felt more in control of my life—then this very present moment.  

Despite all the pain I have experienced in my life, and all the change that have occurred, I am not an angry and bitter old man (like the one in the movie).  I still hear that small whisper of a voice telling me, “You have to keep living!”  

I am so encouraged today, because sometimes in the midst of our growth, we shed things and people, ideas, and pursuits, all in exchange for things that you may not see on social media—peace, joy, contentment, and security. I am learning to embrace change both good and bad. As difficult as it is, I am learning to accept the pain and “keep living.”

“You do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is but a vapor…” James 4:14

If you need words for prayer, read and believe this prayer.

Father, I accept the things that are in my control and not in my control. I forgive those who have hurt me, and equally, I ask for for forgiveness when I have been wrong. I accept that everything is under your divine control and that the things that occur in our lives first must pass through your hands. Thank you for revealing to me truth, change and even pain. You are Jehovah Rapha—the God who heals all brokenness. Heal my brokenness and turn my failures into victories. You are Jehovah Jireh, and you provide all of my needs. Continue to be my provision because without You, I am nothing. Thank you, because You are my authority and I yield to my faith in You. Thank you for the gift that is our life—and I will not take for granted not a single day from here. Thank you Father.

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JUNK MAIL – clean up the SPAM in your life.

As part of my morning routine, one of my daily tasks is to sit down at my desk and go through my work and personal email. With my cup of coffee, I awaken my computer, open my email and one after another my inbox begins to fill with messages. Once the final files load… with a deep breath and heavy sigh, I begin the daunting task of filtering through what is important and what is junk mail.

Websites are tricky these days, because when you purchase something online or browse a site, many of these pages are downloading your cookies. Whether you know it or not, your browser is logging your interests and tracking the patterns of your purchases. Some companies and third party websites pay big money to purchase this data, including your contact information with the intent to personalize marketing. There is no mystery as to why you suddenly get an unlimited number of ads for various products. It is so distracting.

I think it is fair to say that we have grown accustomed to purchasing things online; so we download files and purchase stuff on Amazon, without ever considering the implications. So as a consequence, we are left with a difficult task to sift through the piles of unnecessary or unwanted messages as result of our browsing. And it becomes quit laborious to search for the collection of emails just to find the ones that have value. No matter how hard one tries to manage and filter the unwanted junk mail, your bound to miss some important messages if you are not careful.

With the amount of junk mail we see daily, it is actually easy to become numb. In fact, it is possible to lose track of what is important because of the amount of information we receive—and the probability that while in the process of filtering this flood of data—we may actually miss something. If I didn’t know any better, I would say that most of us are so distracted already to the point of confusion and have begin to lose sight of truth and not even know it.

Of course, I think about the myriad of social, political, economic, and religious issues we face today; but I have gotten to the point that I recognize the need to effectively manage what I am exposed too. I have stopped checking Facebook and YouTube regularly and have just slowly begun to check out of social media all together. For me personally, it has become almost too much to process, so I am learning to “filter the junk mail IN MY LIFE” because I do not ever want to get to the point that I become numb to what is important, miss value of things because I am distracted or lose focus on what is important because too much is going…and I hope you don’t either. This is the challenge.





Matthew 6:33

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To be poked, that is the question?

ME: CDC, should I get poke if I already had Covid?

CDC: “Yes, you should be poked regardless of whether you already had COVID-19. That’s because experts do not yet know how long you are protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19.”

ME: Oh, okay, we don’t know how long natural immunity lasts. Got it. So, how long does poke-induced immunity last?

CDC: “There is still a lot we are learning about COVID-19 pokes and CDC is constantly reviewing evidence and updating guidance. We don’t know how long protection lasts for those who are poked.”

ME: Okay … but wait a second. I thought you said the reason I need the poke was because we don’t know how long my natural immunity lasts, but it seems like you’re saying we ALSO don’t know how long poke immunity lasts either. So, how exactly is the poke immunity better than my natural immunity?

CDC: …

ME: Uh … alright. But, haven’t there been a bunch of studies suggesting that natural immunity could last for years or decades?

CDC: Yes.

NEWYORKTIMES: “Years, maybe even decades, according to a new study.”

ME: Ah. So natural immunity might last longer than poke immunity?

CDC: Possibly. You never know.

ME: Okay. If I get the poke, does that mean I won’t get sick?

BRITAIN: Nope. We are just now entering a seasonal spike and about half of our infections and hospital admissions are poked people.

ME: CDC, is this true? Are there a lot of people in the U.S. catching Covid after getting the poke?

CDC: We stopped tracking breakthrough cases. We accept voluntary reports of breakthroughs but aren’t out there looking for them.

ME: Does that mean that if someone comes in the hospital with Covid, you don’t track them because they’ve been poked? You only track the UN-poked Covid cases?

CDC: That’s right.

ME: Oh, okay. Hmm. Well, if I can still get sick after I get the poke, how is it helping me?

CDC: We never said you wouldn’t get sick. We said it would reduce your chances of serious illness or death.

ME: Oh, sorry. Alright, exactly how much does it reduce my chance of serious illness or death.

CDC: We don’t know “exactly.”

ME: Oh. Then what’s your best estimate for how much risk reduction there is?

CDC: We don’t know, okay? Next question.

ME: Um, if I’m healthy and don’t want the poke, is there any reason I should get it?

CDC: Yes, for the collective.

ME: How does the collective benefit from me getting poked?

CDC: Because you could spread the virus to someone else who might get sick and die.

ME: Can a poked person spread the virus to someone else?

CDC: Yes.

ME: So if I get poked, I could still spread the virus to someone else?

CDC: Yes.

ME: But I thought you just said, the REASON I should get poked was to prevent me spreading the virus? How does that make sense if I can still catch Covid and spread it after getting the poke?

CDC: Never mind that. The other thing is, if you stay unpoked, there’s a chance the virus could possibly mutate into a strain that escapes the pokes protection, putting all poked people at risk.

ME: So the poke stops the virus from mutating?

CDC: No.

ME: So it can still mutate in poked people?

CDC: Yes.

ME: This seems confusing. If the poke doesn’t stop mutations, and it doesn’t stop infections, then how does me getting poked help prevent a more deadly strain from evolving to escape the poke?

CDC: You aren’t listening, okay? The bottom line is: as long as you are unpoked, you pose a threat to poked people.

ME: But what KIND of threat??

CDC: The threat that they could get a serious case of Covid and possibly die.

ME: My brain hurts. Didn’t you JUST say that the poke doesn’t keep people from catching Covid, but prevents a serious case or dying? Now it seems like you’re saying poked people can still easily die from Covid even after they got the poke just by running into an unpoked person! Which is it??

CDC: That’s it, we’re hanging up now.

ME: Wait! I just want to make sure I understand all this. So, even if I ALREADY had Covid, I should STILL get poked, because we don’t know how long natural immunity lasts, and we also don’t know how long poke immunity lasts. And I should get the poke to keep a poked person from catching Covid from me, but even if I get the poke, I can give it to the poked person anyways. And, the other poked person can still easily catch a serious case of Covid from me and die. Do I have all that right?

ME: Um, hello? Is anyone there?

This is a fictional conversation. But gather the information and make up your own mind.

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The Mirror of Judgement.

Have you ever just sat and watched people?  Sometimes, in the mall or places like Disneyland, I sit back and relax—and just watch people.  I find people’s behavior interesting.  In fact, we can learn a lot of from people just by the way they act.  Call it strange, but I went to school to understand the science of human behavior and I do it every day in my professional occupation.  I guess you can call me a “Professional Weirdo.”  

Behavioral observation is a widely used method of behavioral assessment. Behavioral observation involves watching the behavior of a person in typical environment.  But, consider the context of behavior from a different perspective.

Consider the idea that our lives speak volumes that our mouths often do not utter. 

In other words, we tend to teach others about our lives by the way we LIVE, and NOT by what WE SAY.

BUT still, people feel the need to speak their mind.  During this time of social change, we see that people are not short of opinions.  I am mostly amused because people become very critical of things happening in (for example) politics, culture, church, or community—but often times, dismiss the same critical perspective as it pertains to their own lives.

Scripture teaches us that there is a consequence to having opinions.  The scripture implies that if we choose to criticize, criticism is inherently reciprocated. (Matthew 7:1).

This is hard to hear, because no one likes to figuratively look in the mirror at themselves.  But whether we want to acknowledge it or not, most of the time when we criticize others, we tend to validate or invalidate what we say, or what we believe, by the lives that we live. 

I often observe “people who are the most critical, have zero credentials to validate such criticism.”

I have said it a million times that we must be careful to judge others, because hypocrisy is inherent in ethics. I often ask myself–are we are in any position to make such judgements? In fact, some philosophers say that “your judgement defines you…” In other words, our criticism may speak more about who we are, rather than what we judge. For that reason, maybe our criticism is just best kept to ourselves, because true validation is exposed by our own lives. 

And that’s harsh! 


Maybe we can choose the road of humility, and begin to live the change that we want to see, treating people with love, respect, compassion, and grace.  Perhaps, it is more productive to live our desires in a practical way. 

Take food to a sick person. 

Donate money to a local charity.

Visit a convalescent home and ask about their companionship hours.

Volunteer time to a local foster family agency.

Call someone you have not spoken to, and apologize to them, even if you are not wrong.

Do something, other than just talk.

Do something, other than just give your opinion.

Let your life speak.

And do it in God’s love.

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Kanye vs. The World

I could not have said it better,

David Crowder.


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When tragedy strikes

I don’t know about you, but when tragedy strikes, I find it hard to post to social media, or do anything other than bend my heart towards those who are and have been affected. I know, I know…I understand that life goes on, and we cannot allow those things to dictate the way that we live or allow it to create a fear in our lives that impedes our own sanity.

But I am torn because of the virtual disconnect we demonstrate as we “go about our lives.” I think that a person who has any real sense of apathy contemplates those things when stuff like this happens.

But what about those that don’t?

Maybe it’s that as Americans, we are just so far detached from reality, that we cannot comprehend the turmoil that exists daily in homes where domestic violence occurs, in disadvantaged neighborhoods across this nation, or in war torn countries—because if it does not make the media headlines—we do not think about it.

Do we have our heads so far up our own posteriors that we just carry on, as long as those tragedies do not affect us directly?

Are we so far removed from real suffering that we can choose to not acknowledge what is happening, because we are comfortable with a government infrastructure that sustains our personal safety, political liberty, a stable economy, or freedom of expression and religion?

I appreciate the words of Malcom Mudderidge; he says “we have educated ourselves into imbecility.”

I have personally come to a place where I have stopped arguing with people about political views. I’ve stopped debating people about religion, and I have stopped posting about anything remotely political because people are so convinced of themselves—that even in a time where we are taught to tolerate people’s views, opinions, and lifestyle—NO ONE is tolerant to an opposing view, opinion, or lifestyle.

Instead, we continue to post about what we eat, or where we go—or post ridiculous selfies—and then search for the perfect inspirational quote or bible verse to give some meaning or significance to what or how we are living.

BUT—the things that occur around us should move us to be different or to live differently. It should cause us to be a better parent, spouse, or citizen. Those things should cause us to think differently and hold fast to life principles that create positivity and growth. It should cause us to build up our families and communities and reinforce social supports to endure these kinds of difficulties together.

But most importantly, it should cause us to strive to be better people. Because it’s not about religion. It’s not about promoting a political agenda.

It’s about humanity.

Because real change starts with you.

And it starts with me.

If not, then sadly, you are part of the problem.

Be the difference you want to see.

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Press play and read.

Press play and read.

Many of you may or may not know that in September 2013, I was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma Cancer. And let me tell you, that it was a shock to me—because I only found out after falling from my bike during a 17 mile bike ride. Subsequently, after having xrays of my ribs done, a tumor was discovered in my chest. Over the course of a year, I underwent a regiment of chemotherapy and radiation treatment. Thankfully, after a year of treatment, I was given a clean bill of health and have been cancer free since 2014. When I share my story, I do not exactly disclose every detail; but the tumor never completely dissipated—and what was left was small residual tissue that needed to be monitored regularly.

Unfortunately, in November 2018, during a routine check-up, my oncologist noticed something peculiar in the Exam. Apparently, the residual tissue that was left in my chest appeared to be growing again.

I do not think that a day passes, when I do not contemplate the possibility of the cancer returning. I have spent a lot of time educating myself on secondary cancers, in order to make the correct life decisions as it pertains to my diet, as well as any on-going treatment. (That really is not the point though) The point that I am trying to make is that once you have experienced something like cancer, you do not view the world the same.

There is not a day that goes by that I do not appreciate waking up to the sound of the annoying alarm clock—because I have the privilege to go to work daily. You will never hear me grumbling about bills, because I have the privilege to still be alive to pay them. Nor will I ever complain that I don’t have the latest iPhone, drive a Mercedes Benz, own a two story house, or have the latest and greatest material possession—because I learned to see and value the beauty of the simple things in life—such as the radiance of a glorious sunrise or sunset. Why? Because I’m alive.

Recently, I have mediated on those things—given the possibility of having cancer again. So over the course of the past few months since having discovered that my tumor was growing, my oncologist ordered many blood tests, scans, and finally a PET scan to determine if in fact the cancer returned. Alone. Silently. I waited. I didn’t disclose this information to anyone. You want to know why?

Because it’s a difficult position to be in—because when you are faced with uncertainty about life—you immediately become vulnerable. And moments that bring instant sobriety and clarity, should cause us to evaluate the things in life that are important. It should compel you to re-evaluate how you are using your personal energy and efforts, and how much emphasis you are putting on things, people, problems, and general situations that have zero value in your life. Because in the end, we must maintain a sobering mindset that life is short and precious.

Today, at approximately 5pm, I sat in the room of the oncologist’s office anxiously waiting for my result. With my heart pounding and my hands perspiring, I sat quietly, just hoping…and with the small faint voice in my head I talked to God. Maybe I was pouring out my heart. Perhaps I was clearing my conscious. Maybe it was my way of coping with the insurmountable pressure of looking cancer in the eyes again. Whatever it was, it made me feel small and weak.


You see, I am writing this today, to remind you that it’s going to be okay.

Not because things are okay, but because it’s life.

And whether or not my cancer returned or not, I know that I need to learn to let things go. I need to develop a discipline in my life to love and forgive. I need to learn to accept failure and allow the process of life to shape me. I need to recognize that we aren’t perfect, and that life is a mixture of failures and victories. It is just part of the process. Today I learned that I do not have cancer and I do not think I have ever had more of an appreciation for life.

I am grateful for the gift of emotional and spiritual sobriety.

I am thankful for friends and family who are ever so present in my life—willing to share my burdens.

I am thankful for new opportunities.

I am thankful for new beginnings.

And I am thankful that I have experienced these lessons—because it has saved my life.

Honestly, I believe that in some way, I experienced death today.

I may not have died of cancer,

but I died today of humility.
Love and peace family.

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…abandoned on New Year.

Holidays are important for many because it is a time stamp for significant events in people’s lives; especially New Year’s Eve. This day represents a figurative opportunity to start afresh and anew. Personally, I struggle a bit with the concept of the New Year. I have sat down time and time again, trying to figure out why?

Thinking back, I remember that every year growing up, my family and I had the tradition of going to the Annual New Year’s Eve Party at the Luera’s house. I have great memories playing with the other kids, laughing, and running around–while the adults enjoyed the festivities. One particular year was different though. My parents had no intention of taking me. Unbeknownst to me, they had invited my friend Fernando over to spend the night, leaving me at home, while they partied the night away. I was probably 11 years old, but I remember being so sad…I was “abandoned on New Year.” Frustrated, I had no intention of ringing in the New Year sitting at home. Nevertheless, there I was staring at the television, as the clock counted down the last minutes of the year. I regrettably watched the Dick Clark’s New Year’s Eve Special, as I imagined my parents and siblings having a great time at the party. Then my friend Fernando suggests, “when the clock strikes midnight, we should do a jumping hi-five for the New Year!” 

And so it was…one of the most uneventful New Year’s Eve I had ever experienced.

Don’t misinterpret the idea that you can’t be snuggled up on your couch on New Year’s Eve doing nothing? There is absolutely nothing wrong with that at all.  

I only shared that story because I have developed a certain expectation (at a young age) that the New Year is attached to GREAT expectations.  

As I thumb through social media this morning, I realize how much it represents to others as well. In fact, we are on virtual overload with inspirational quotes of knowledge and philosophical wisdom. Pages and pages of encouraging thoughts and videos of “year in reviews” and “memories.” 

And I sense a sort of whirlwind of “optimism” and “eccentricity” that is a bit overwhelming to the point that I am beginning to question its value and validity. 

Consider this for a moment. We as a society have access to a plethora of knowledge and endless philosophies. Everywhere we turn, there are inspirations for self-improvement and personal growth. We have access to travel to exotic locations, and resources to visit elaborate restaurants, try new foods, go to boujee coffee houses, and take pictures at far away destinations with colorful landscapes. We can buy the best clothing, flashy jewelry, name brand purses, and have a countless amount of shoes. We have the best technology, the latest laptops, new cars, and expensive cell phones—and on and on the list goes.

But ask yourself this: Does any of it impress you anymore?

Not me. 

Then I realized that the child that used to get excited to open gifts on Christmas day and that kid who enjoyed celebrating the New Year is not the same person anymore.

While I believe that the excitement of great expectations for the New Year has not changed, what has changed is the expectation that I have for my life. 

Some might even suggest that I am overthinking the New Year. But I don’t think so. The goal should simply be to avoid senselessly celebrating new beginnings or to start 2019 intoxicated with emotion.

We should want to step forward in life with a sober mind, thoughtful actions, and purposeful intentions. 

We should want everything we do to be thought out. And while we can embrace the adventure of spontaneity—we must not depend on the winds of chance or wishful thinking.


I want to plants seeds of success in my life.

I want to think through the emotions for which I express.

I want to choose the words for which fall from my lips.

Life is too short to just to take emotional risks and chances, simply because “you only have one life to live.” 

Yes that is true. But we should not live with no regret, because then we do things that leave us living in regret.

I say make “calculated risks” in your life. 

Think through your decisions. 

Care for your loved ones now—take them flowers, while their alive and not dead. 

Take on that new job. 

Go back to school.    

Travel to new places.

Eat new foods.

Play with your children.

Laugh when you can.

Cry when you need too.

Ask for forgiveness.

Say “I love you,” if that’s what you feel.

But most importantly,

Own everything you do.

Be in control of your decisions.

Don’t worry about yesterday. 

Start today.

With that being said, I take a deep breath,  gently kiss 2018 on the forehead, and with all my heart, 

I say goodbye.

Happy New Year.

2019. Ready, Set, Go.






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They’ll regret it later

Wouldn’t it be nice if sometimes we could just turn off our feelings whenever we wanted?

It would keep us from experiencing sadness, anger, worry, or frustration. Then we could always live in a state of euphoria, always living happy and carefree; never having to deal with emotions. 

Have you ever been so mad that you did something you regretted? Maybe you felt so sad that you had depressing thoughts? It’s easy to be driven by emotion and to let these feelings dictate our actions, and often times it can get us into trouble.

I wish we could turn off our feelings at will, but that just is not reality. 
The reality is, we are complex beings with a complex nature. And in order to KNOW what happiness is, we have to understand sadness. In order to KNOW peace, We must at some point experience anxiety. 

I know that people have a tendency to operate as if they had no feelings. So they medicate themselves by getting drunk, or going out, they develop inappropriate relationship, or get tattoos (they’ll regret it later). We try everything to erase the emotion we have by finding consolation in these actions. Maybe it will make you feel better—but the relief is temporary. 

A lot of us have grown up and never have developed the appropriate mechanisms to cope with emotion.
But I want to tell you today—to NOT turn to things that you will regret later. 
Instead, learn to embrace the feelings you have, and allow each emotion to be like different colors to a canvas. Let your life, be a picture full of different colors that will eventually create a masterpiece in the end—with both good and bad experiences. 

It’s who you are called to be. 

It’s what you are called to experience. 

Don’t let it change you for the worse. 

Let your emotion teach you. 

Develop HEALTHY coping skills with HEALTHY responses. 

The word says to “be not anxious or worried about anything, but in everything by prayer with thanksgiving…and the peace of God…will guard over your hearts and your mind…” (Philippians‬ ‭4:6-7‬ )

Trust God. 
I’ll just leave this right here. 

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Keep it simple. 

I recently met a man at a Skilled Nursing Facility, after having suffered a massive stroke while exercising at his local gym. I sat and talked to his grieving spouse who stated that he was a millionaire whose family had owned many businesses. In that single moment, she had come to the realization that not a single penny could buy her husband’s health back.  

I grieved with her and later took a moment to self-assess my own life in relation to their experience. I wondered, why are we as humans often only grateful for something—when it has been removed?

Recently, my brother was nearly killed riding his bike— when a car failed to see him and as a result, he flipped multiple times, breaking both arms. In a moment of assessment, he stated that he didn’t realize how fortunate he was to have functioning arms until the moment came that they didn’t work.  He currently is in recovery, but has no range of motion in his arms or movement in his hands. 

It saddens my heart because it is common to not carry gratitude on a daily basis because we are so busy in life. We often grow numb to the simple gratitude for the things that make life so beautiful. 

That’s because the experience of hardships have a way of distracting us from what is important. Sometimes the hard times can make us bitter and move us to have every emotion except gratitude. 

But today, I find myself recalibrating my heart. Today I want my heart to be overflowing with gratitude for each experience life has given to me as lessons to be better not bitter. 

In a season such as Thanksgiving, be encouraged to take time to assess what is, was, and what will be good and bad in our lives—and just…
Be thankful today, tomorrow, and the next day too. 

Health. Family. Love. Peace
Keep it simple my friends. 

Happy Thanksgiving

“Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!”  ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭100:4‬ ‭ESV‬‬

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