Thursday, January 31, 2008

Oh, the irony!!

So you'll remember as I mentioned here that I was overrun by hangers. They were everywhere, filling every closet. Most of them were empty, most of them were cheap plastic things that came with the clothes. I began the Great Purge of 2008 which, I believe, will eventually show up in the history books as one of the world's worst mass murders. However, now I find myself in a bit of a fix.

I have no hangers.

Yes, yes. I hear your laughter. Go ahead, mock my agony. I realize that I fully deserve it. Somehow, I neglected to consider that I would actually want to rehang the clothes that the kids had moved into suitcases or the clothes that were in the laundry. Now everything is just piled onto shelves in linen closets.

If you'd care to send me your extra hangers, I will gladly accept them. Though, considering my violent history with their fellow hangers, I cannot guarantee their safe return.

(Hanger donations are not tax-deductible.)
Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Homeschool Carnival!!!

I'm a little bit late in announcing this, but my friend, Tiffany, is hosting this week's Homeschool Carnival. I give her huge credit because she's, oh, about 20 months pregnant and has a toddler and a middle school child. Way to go, girl!!

There are some amazing posts included here covering just about every aspect you can imagine, and some you couldn't, about homeschooling. If you are a homeschooler, or are considering it, it would be worth your time to drop by and check it out.

Tiffany asked if I minded if she included my recent post on re-evaluating my reasons for homeschooling. Or course, being a sucker for attention, I said, "Put it in!!" If you haven't read it, you can find it here.

Today is (Hopefully) the Worst Day...

of the move, that is.

I'm sitting in a house, surrounded by furniture that is boxed up and crated. I can't put thing back in order. There's very little the house. Everything that is staying here with us is in piles in the living room. Jumbled up, random piles.

Of course, I forgot to keep out any kind of blankets or anything, except for one. Since there are three of us, that's not quite gonna cut it. I remembered that there was an old comforter in a cabinet in the garage. It's stinky, but I can wash it and use it tomorrow. That leaves us one short, but I'm sure I'll figure something out.

After everything was packed I realized that when a certain child (who shall remain nameless) unloaded the dishwasher this morning, the bowls were all put in their normal place, rather than the segregated cabinets I had set up. Consequently, we have one, count 'em, ONE bowl. And it's not even a big bowl. No mixing bowls, no cereal bowls, no Super Bowls. We'll have to pick up a cheap mixing bowl somewhere as well as some cereal bowls.

It was just frustrating today, standing around useless with nothing to do and nowhere to sit or escape for the six people roaming through the house.

I think after tomorrow, when everything is being loaded onto the container, I'll be able to take whatever is left and put it into some kind of order and get back to normal living. So if this is as bad as it's gets, I think we're doing pretty good!

"The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures.He leads me beside still waters."
Psalm 23:1-2
Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Day 1 is Over

So the movers were here today, the first of three days they have scheduled for our move. It was actually pretty anti-climatic. I had thought the kids and I, well, especially the kids, would be emotional seeing all of our things being boxed up. But actually I don't think any of us had much of an emotional reaction. I can't really speak to why the kids didn't, but personally, I think I'm just so relieved that this part is almost over I could sing for joy.

It has totally consumed me for the last couple of weeks. It would have been much, MUCH easier if everything was going and we were getting on a plane to meet Hubby. But trying to sort out not only what should go to Qatar but also what we would need to survive for the next 6-8 weeks...well, it has been stressful. I've had to basically divide the house into sections and push furniture and every other little thing from place to place.

But the important thing is that we are 1/3 of the way done. Tomorrow they will continue packing up smaller items in boxes and wrapping up the larger pieces of furniture. Then the container arrives on Wednesday to be loaded up.

After that I can begin to focus on regular life stuff again. First on the agenda, dealing with the mess at the rental house. Of course, the tenant left half of her belongings there and left it pretty dirty. It pretty much needs completely repainted, there is a tile in a bedroom that has a huge hole in it, the furniture needs to be removed. Of course, the power has been disconnected - not because she had it turned off since she moved. No, she ran up a huge bill and didn't pay it before taking off. At least she seems to have finally understood that she won't be getting back her deposit.

Then I need to work on the taxes. :::sigh::: I have nothing to say about this one except - ugh.

Then there are a million little things to do - take our dog to the vet to get her ready to move, place ads in the local papers advertising the houses for sale (I refuse to rent - they can sit there empty forever before I rent again!), list tons of books on eBay, go to the jeweler to get my rings re-dipped (I have developed an allergy to white gold and dipping them in platinum allows me to wear them), fix things around the house that I've been neglecting, just lots and lots of little stuff.

Well, at least I won't have much cleaning to do. There's not going to be anything left to clean!! LOL!!
Monday, January 28, 2008

They're Everywhere!!

My house has been overrun by pests. I've tried getting rid of them, but it seems as though they multiply and breed at an amazing pace. I can't keep up and everywhere I turn I see more of them. I've already killed hundreds of the little creatures, but I'm sure more are lurking.

I'm talking about hangers.

Wire hangers, plastic hangers, wooden hangers. White hangers, black hangers, clear hangers, pink hangers, red hangers. Hangers that have twisty hooks and hangers that don't. Hangers that came free with the clothes and hangers I've paid good money for.

I hate them all.

I swear that I have thrown away 538 hangers since Hubby's departure. Now, getting ready for the movers to arrive in the morning, I have even more to deal with. I don't want to send wire hangers and hangers that come with Wal-Mart clothes all the way to Qatar, so I'm trying to go through and pull out the nice wooden ones and the better quality tubular plastic ones. Which leaves me with umpteen million still hanging around. (Get it? Hanging around? I kill myself!! LOL!)

Ok. Just had to get that off my chest. Now I'm off to conquer the things and finish up the rest of my miles-long to-do list before they arrive in the morning to take away most of our worldly goods.
Sunday, January 27, 2008

Amazingly Random Things

Stacey from The Truest Thing tagged me for this (and blessed me with the accompanying award) quite some time ago and I've been too wrapped up in my own chaos to both thank her and forward it on. Sorry for being so neglectful, Stacey, but here you go - some absolute random weirdness about me to make up for it!!

Here are the RULES:
  • Link to the person that tagged you.
  • Post the rules on your blog.
  • Share 7 random and/or weird facts about yourself on your blog.
  • Tag 7 random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs.
  • Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

Now, just because it was so funny, I'm including Stacey's vow that she made you take when reading her post. It's really funny and I can't resist putting it in and substituting my name. Hope you don't mind, Stacey!

"Now before I get started, everyone raise your right hand and repeat after me:

I, ________, solemnly swear to not laugh at, be shocked by, nor hold against Lori, any of the below stated facts. I promise to continue to visit and support her despite any awkward vibes I may feel after reading her facts. I will not remove her from my Google Reader as a way of punishing her for her random weirdness."

Now that we got that out of the way, here are 7 weird and/or random facts about me.

  1. I'm totally addicted to reading. I read all the time. My favorite place is the library. I buy at least 1 magazine every time I go to the grocery store. I will read the back of boxes if there is nothing else to read. It's how I relax.
  2. I have a secret boyfriend. Well, maybe not so secret. And he's not actually my boyfriend, I just like to pretend he is. Who is this mystery man, you ask? Jon Bon Jovi. Love him, love him, love him. Yes, I hate his politics and I understand that some of his song lyrics are inappropriate. But ever since the day that I first saw him strutting around in his ripped jeans with his big hair singing, "Living on a Prayer" he's held a secret place in my heart. And hey, I think he's held up pretty well over time, don't you?
  3. Other teen crushes who did not hold up so well over time - David Lee Roth, Prince, Micheal Jackson, Scott Baio, Gopher from the Love Boat, George Michael, and Leif Garret. Some of those I just shudder when I look back upon. Bet you can guess which ones!
  4. I almost did not graduate from high school. Because of typing. Yes, you read that correctly - typing. My parents made me move in my SENIOR YEAR OF HIGH SCHOOL (an event which I am still in therapy over). My new high school required 4 more credits to graduate than my original school. Consequently, I spent my senior year in high school working after school for credit, going to night school, and coming in 1 hour early to take an extra class (instead, of course, of having fun like all seniors should be doing!!!). One required course was typing, which I did not do well at - ironic since I would later make a living typing papers for college students. I was getting an "F" and they were going to make me go to summer school. Only the irate, screaming phone call of my mother saved me from such a fate.
  5. Moving on from high school trivia, we now move onto my criminal background. As I mentioned before, I worked as a missionary in Austria in my 20's. I worked mainly with refugees from behind the Iron Curtain (dating myself here, I know). The timing couldn't have been better - right before I came home, Communism began to crumble. The Berlin Wall came down, the Velvet Revolution took place in Czechoslovakia, Ceausescu was overthrown in Romania. A very thrilling time for me, but even more so for those people I had been ministering to who were watching their homelands being set free. I was blessed to be able to help some of those people sneak across the borders of Austria back into their home countries. Yep, human smuggling.
  6. Prior to that, in 1988 I spent a month in Poland on a short-term mission. Guess what we did? Yep - more smuggling. But this time it was Bibles. Trust me, passing through the border from West Germany into East Germany, with barbed wires, towers with gun guards trained on you, and landmines on the fields along the roads to prevent running away made me awfully nervous. But we got through without any problems, thank God. As you can see, I'm a hardened criminal.
  7. I am unable to blow dry my own hair. I mean, I can get it dry, but it looks terrible. Frizzy and not straight and beautiful like the salon does. I don't get it. Can anyone help me with this? It's a tragedy of epic proportions, I know.

Ok, now you know my whole sordid history. Seriously, the whole "I had a crush on Michael Jackson" thing? That right there is cause for questioning my judgement for life.

Ok, I'm tagging these people to play along:

Leeann - from Is It Morning Already?

Mylinda - from The Buggy Crew

Tammi - from ValleyGirl

Tiffany - from Life on the Road

Amy - from A Handful of Children

Laura - from My Quotidian Mysteries

Charity - from Faith, Hope and Charity

Have at it, ladies!!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Re-evaluating Homeschooling

So I've been thinking a lot lately about homeschooling. Don't get me wrong - I am a dyed-in-the-wool homeschooler. We've always homeschooled and have always planned to homeschool all the way through high school. But now circumstances of our lives are changing and I'm being forced to look at my reasons for homeschooling.

To quickly sum it up, we are moving overseas and my husband's employer has offered to pay for private school. Initially I completely dismissed it, but now I find myself questioning that decision. Is it really the right thing for me to not even consider something that might be an amazing opportunity for my children? I've got some thinkin' to do. Would you care to join me as I work through my reasons for homeschooling?

Reasons We Homeschool

  1. I believe that God has charged parents with the responsibility of their child's education. I believe that the father and mother are to be the primary teachers of their children and that children should view parents as a source of wisdom and blessing, not as irritations and fools as many children today seem to feel.
  2. I feel that many children today are not allowed to be children because of excessive time spent in school and subsequent homework. I firmly believe that children need time to explore and to play and daydream and create. In many areas, I know that children get home from school around 4 pm, go to various extracurricular activities, and spend several hours each night doing homework. Once you add in eating and bathing, when do they have to time just be kids? I really have no counterpoint to this. It's something I feel very strongly about.
  3. Homeschooled children can move at their own pace and follow their interests. If your child is a math genius they can whiz right through learning the times tables instead of spending weeks on it because the rest of the class needs more practice. Conversely, if you child is a struggler in some area, you can give them the time they need without feeling pressured to move forward because the rest of the class needs to move along. Also, if in your learning adventures something captures your child's imagination (as the Parthenon and mythology did recently for my son) you can allow them the freedom to delve deeper into it.
  4. Homeschooling allows me to shelter my children from some of the world. Yep, I admit. I shelter my children. That's my job as a parent. There is a trend today to allow children to grow up to fast, without also requiring the maturity needed to handle it. Generations ago people were "young adults" not "teenagers." Now we have an entire generation of kids who emulate rap stars and pop stars. Kids are having sex and engaging in drug and alcohol usage at younger and younger ages. Now, I'm not one to think that my children need to be oblivious about the world. Jesus tells us to be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. My kids watch tv and movies, listen to contemporary music, hang out with kids from all socio-economic levels and ethnicities, and have MySpace pages. But yet, we closely monitor all aspects of all of it so that we can train them and help them learn to discern what is beneficial and godly versus what will only drag them away from God and from living a godly life. The point of sheltering anything, be it children or tomato plants, is to allow it to grow strong and healthy before exposing it to the harshness of the world. We gradually allow the kids to have more and more exposure to the world, while offering guidance and wisdom. But eventually, we know, they will be off on their own and make their own decisions. Hopefully by then we will have given them a strong foundation to fall back on.
  5. We homeschool so that we can teach our children our values, not the values of some education committee in Washington, D.C. who has decided what my children should learn. I want to be the one who decides when and what my children learn about sex. For the record, they both know the whole story, but they've heard about it from the position that sex is God's gift and is to be reserved for marriage. I'm not a prude, but I don't want my kids learning about it from someone who has a completely different value system. I also want my children to know that evolution is not the fact that it is taught as in the schools. There are many flaws in the theory that cannot be explained. And yet evidence supporting the Bible is being found all the time. My kids know the theory of evolution and the origins of the world, but they also know the Biblical position. We look at all sides of an issue - not just the politically correct ones.

I guess those are the big issues for me. Some of them would not be such an issue at the school in Qatar. For instance, school is done for the day at 1:00. That's about what time we finish up here at home. That still allows for plenty of family time and homework time and time for extracurriculars. We would still have plenty of time to be the primary influence on our kids.

In addition, as Qatar is a Muslim country, the conduct of people in general is much more conservative and reserved. Clothing is modest (and no, we won't need to wear burkas!), sex outside of marriage is actually illegal (and will be punished by deportation) so nothing more than flirting goes on amongst teens, and drugs and alcohol are not an issue. Discipline and respect at the school is strictly enforced. So that covers another base.

Much as I would like to claim that my children are mental giants who have already completed trig and physics, they are average kids who learn at a normal pace. They like to read what THEY want to read, but complain when they have to read something for school. They hate doing math drills, don't like writing and, in general, are just normal kids who would rather being outside playing. So going too fast or too slow is not really an issue for my particular kids. And if they had something that really caught their interest, I'm sure they would manage to investigate and learn more about it if they really want to. Kids do it all the time.

That just leaves the "whose values do you teach" question. But I know that any good parent is going to be involved in their kids' schoolwork, whether they are homeschooled or otherwise. They will get involved and know what their kids are learning. If something comes up that is contrary to our values system, we can address it and study the issue at home.

I don't know what we will decide, to be honest. I'm torn. I am really heartbroken at the idea of giving up homeschooling, but know that this might be a chance for my kids to stretch and grown and learn. We are deep in prayer about it. I'd appreciate any comments that address the issues here or maybe some I've overlooked.

Thanks for sticking in and reading through this and for any opinions you have to offer.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Works for Me Wednesday!

Hubby and I have found an amazing tool! Many of you probably already know about it, but it's new for us and I'm sure this can help out at least some of you.

As most of you know, Hubby is on the other side of the world - Qatar, to be exact. We are going to be separated for the next two months until the kids and I can join him. It's been difficult, not to mention expensive, to connect and be on the same wavelength. Him trying to find housing there, me dealing with the kids here, him starting a new job there, me trying to sell houses here - we really need to keep our lines of communication open now more than ever. I was going crazy not being able to talk to him for more than a few minutes. And sure, email is great, but it's not the same as hearing your loved one's voice.
Enter Skype.

is a voice over internet program. I didn't think it would work well, imagining echos and distant sounding voices. But instead, I've found it to be amazingly clear. It does sound a little like the person is on a speaker phone, but you get used to it. It also has a chat feature if you'd rather chat than talk.

It's totally, absolutely 100% free to call another person who has Skype. All you need is speakers and a microphone (though I purchased a $15 headset with a microphone) and a quick 5 minute download of the program and you are ready to go. Get your loved one on the other side of the country or the world to download it too and be talking within minutes. And if you call someone who doesn't have Skype, the rates are still great. Hubby and I would save 15 cents a minute of our phone company rates.

This morning, we talked for almost two hours. It was so good to just be able to talk without worrying about how much it cost. If you have loved ones who are far away, give it a try. I bet you won't be disappointed!

For more great ideas, be sure to click on over to Rocks In My Dryer for more great Works for Me Wednesday ideas!

A Tale of Two Deaths

Today I learned of the deaths of two men.

Heath Ledger, the Oscar-nominated actor, was found dead in his apartment. It would have appeared that he had the world at his feet. Handsome, famous, in-demand in his field, Mr. Ledger undoubtedly attained levels of success I'm sure he only dreamed of as a child. And yet he was found dead, surrounded by pills. Whether this was an accidental overdose or a suicide we don't know, but we can certainly infer that this glamorous life was not all that it seemed it was. Reports are that he had struggled with a substance addiction and had been in rehab. Fame and money did not satisfy. In the end, they very rarely do.

Leo Khandjian, godly man, also died today. Father of 5, including my former pastor, Leo had been afflicted with Lewy Body Syndrome, similar to Parkinson's disease, for many years now. It's been tragic to watch the slow, painful decline. A once strong man became slower in his step, eventually being bedridden and unable to communicate. And yet, though we are sad today at the loss of this man who is much loved in our community, there is hope and joy. We know that, as a Christian, he is today walking strong and healthy once again. We know that he is in Heaven, worshipping the God he has spent his life here on earth serving. We know that, if he could choose, he wouldn't want to come back because where he is now is so glorious.

Leo and his wife were instrumental in the building of our church and I'm sure their hearts swelled with joy and pride when their son was called to be the senior pastor of that same church. They have been an inspiration to those of us who have watched them over the years. But yet, Leo isn't in heaven because of all the wonderful things he did in his life. He wasn't famous or rich.

But he was a child of the King.

He had long-ago turned his life over Jesus Christ. He served Him well and faithfully. And now Leo is enjoying the presence of his God.

Two different men. Two different lives which ended on the same day, but had nothing else in common. One was like a rocket, burning bright and shooting high but sadly ending tragically short. The other was like a rock - nothing flashy, but strong and steady. One's death is truly sad and shocking. The other's death, though sad and expected, offers hope.

How do you want to live your life?
Sunday, January 20, 2008

I'm Still Here!!

Sorry to have been AWOL for so long. We've been a mite busy around here.

I had to get Emily ready for a youth group retreat. She's off having a great time at a camp a few hours from here. She returns tomorrow - exhausted and dirty and overjoyed, I'm sure.

Since it was just Daniel and I, I asked him what special thing he wanted to do. So, of course, he said he wanted to go to DisneyWorld. Uh, no.

So he decided to visit the Everglades and I happily agreed. We took his best friend along with and headed out this morning. This is the perfect time of year to visit. The weather is cool enough for there to be lots of wildlife out and about. We've gone in the summer time and been miserably hot and not seen even a bug to reward our efforts. But this morning we saw at least 100 alligators and tons and tons of birds and fish and turtles. Anhingas, cormorants, herons, galinules, storks, etc. It was so nice and relaxing.

Upon returning home I got to work. I realized last night that I am, in effect, moving in a week. At least, my belongings are. One week. This Monday someone is coming to do a pre-move survey and the following Monday, everything goes into a container and gets shipped off, out of our lives for up to 8 weeks.

So I've gone through the house trying to make "isolation areas" (my phrase). My thought is that I've got to keep some stuff here for us to live on for the next two months, so I've got to make sure that the movers don't take all of that. A friend suggested that I put huge strips of masking tape over closets and cabinets that I want left alone. So I've been sorting things from "stay" to "go" or "go" to "stay" all day. After I finished all the closets, I set to work on the garage.


It took about 2 hours, but I think I've finished. I sorted out the tools we would want to have in Qatar, decided on what Christmas decorations should go, went through Hubby's engineering magazines and pulled out the pages that he asked me to rip out and save, went through all of our chemical products (pesticides, paints, car maintenance, cleaning, etc.), and every thing else. Now, everything that is to go is lining one wall and nicely stacked up. Everything else in the garage is either to be used while we are still here or sold/donated.

The only areas left to tackle are the kids' rooms. I've been saving those for last since I'm going to have to ask them to part with almost everything they own. Not fun.

Amongst all this, I've also been dealing with the tenant from...well, you know. She's making me crazy and refuses to accept the law and is insisting I return her entire security deposit when they haven't paid rent for this month and are breaking the lease 4 months early. She won't answer my calls or read my emails, but when we do eventually connect, she spends the whole time screaming at me that I broke the lease because "I let" her boyfriend moved out and...I don't know. I don't know what she expected me to do. Chain him to the house? She wanted him to move out and wanted to find a new roommate and finish the lease. All of a sudden, she's asked for a transfer to Georgia and has to be there in 3 days. So her viewpoint is that since she is staying one week longer than the boyfriend, she's entitled to the entire deposit, because we told her whoever stayed would get the deposit back. Um, hello? That means stays to the end of the lease. Duh! (Sorry, I hate that word, but it's the only thing appropriate here.)

So, my advice to the blogosphere, don't get into rental properties. Now I'm dreading the condition she'll leave the house in.

So, hopefully within the next week and half life will slow down considerably. The movers will have come and gone, the tenants will have gone, I'll be sleeping on a couch and life will be much smoother! Thanks for hanging in there with me!!
Friday, January 18, 2008

Thankful Thursday

Updated: Thanks to Marsha for correctly pointing out that I had read this verse out of context. She's right - it is indeed a psalm written by David and speaking of the life of godliness he desired to lead, including choosing to have only those whose walk is blameless minister to him (David).

I feel terrible for not having done my research and reading the full chapter from which I found this verse. Please forgive my oversight and lack of due dilligence. I promise that I will do my best to never let this happen again. My sentiments, however, are still the same. I still endeavor to make my life be a fragrant offering to the Lord and be a source of joy and pleasure to Him.

* * * * * * * * * * *

"I will look with favor on the faithful in the land, that they may dwell with me; he who walks in the way that is blameless shall minister to me." Psalm 101: 6

Isn't that an amazing verse? That those who walk in the blameless way minister to God? Wow! We, you and I, have the opportunity to minister to the God of all creation, to the very one who saved us from our sins, the one who we turn to for comfort and safety. That's just incredible to me.

I want that.

I want to know that I am ministering to God by my walk with Him. I want to know that I am not just sucking up His blessings, but also being a blessing and a source of joy to Him. What a treasure of a verse!

Today I have a lot to be thankful for.

  • I'm so thankful for Beth Moore's Bible study on the book of Daniel. I have been learning so much about living in a world of excess and indulgence. It's something I really need to learn and take to heart and I'm so glad God led her to do this study.
  • I'm thankful that God has brought forth two people to replace me in the bookstore ministry at my church. It had really weighed on me since we made the decision to leave. After running ads in the church bulletin with no response for two months, finally I decided to pray about it. Sure enough that very day I had one volunteer and the next week another one. I'm so glad God taught me a lesson about going to Him in prayer through this.
  • I'm thankful that we finally have a date for shipping our belongings. It adds another layer of certainty and progress. Now we just need to find a house to put it all in once it arrives in Qatar!! Hey, there's another opportunity to go to God in prayer!
  • I'm thankful for the beautiful weather we've been having. This is my favorite time of year in Miami. The temperature is low enough that you can shut off the a/c and fling open the doors and windows and enjoy the fresh air. Glorious!!
  • I'm thankful for my friends who have been so good to me since Hubby's departure. Everyone is being great and offering help and company. It's been a real source of comfort to know that we are not alone.

Be thankful, sister!! Your thankfulness is joy to God. And keep your walk blameless. Minister to Him who created you.

Thanks to Iris! We are so glad she's back hosting Thankful Thursday again!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

True Confessions

Ok, this is hard to write. But I have promised to be upfront and honest here at The Simple Life at Home. So in the interest of transparency I have to confess that I have not lived up to my resolutions.

I really do have the best of intentions. I just hadn't anticipated how Hubby's leaving would throw my world into a kink. And I'm not giving up on things - just maybe tweaking them and/or starting a little late.

So let's go through one by one and I'll give you an update:

  • Instead of trying to "live a good Christian life," I want to just simply focus on abiding in Christ. I want Him to be the very air I breathe. I want to live a life of worship. (I think I'm doing pretty good on this. I am spending a lot more time in prayer and in just trying to really BE with God.)
  • I want to read through the Bible in 90 days. I started it last year, but with my in-laws here (for six weeks!) it was hard to make the daily commitment to read for up to an hour a day. I really enjoyed doing it while I lasted. The point isn't to get deep study, but to get a "big picture" view of Scripture. (I've decided to hold off on this until after I complete the current study I'm doing, Beth Moore's "Daniel" study. There's a lot of homework in it and the 90 day plan suggests that you don't participate in any other study while doing it.)
  • Once that is completed, I want to take the remaining 9 months and study one book of the Bible in depth each month. I haven't decided which books yet, but I'll let you know. (I'm trying now to decide on which books to study so I can pick up some materials to take with me when we move. Any suggestions?)


  • Prove to myself that I am stronger than I give myself credit for during Hubby's absence. (I think I'm doing ok here. I'm managing to pay the bills, deal with trying to sell the house and rental properties, taking over all the tasks he previously did and I'm ok.)
  • Work on controlling my emotions, specifically not crying so easily or losing my temper as quickly. This will be a challenge for me because I am one who desperately needs time alone. Without Hubby here, there won't be anyone to provide that and take the kids off my hands for a while. (This is the area where I've really surprised myself. I've gotten the crying under control. When I feel like starting, I manage to pull myself together and breathe deeply and control my emotions. As far as my temper, I've been doing much better there as well. There are the typical frustrations, but I don't think I've really "lost it" very much.)
  • Stop eating for emotional reasons and learn to turn to God for comfort. (Been doing well at this and really stopping and thinking before I eat - particularly late at night.)


  • Beginning on Sunday, and until I leave for Qatar, I want to do the 6 Week Body Makeover. I've had success on it in the past (I lost 20 pounds in 3 weeks), but Hubby didn't care for the food and it is a very time-consuming with all the cooking and the eating every three hours. I'm not setting any goal for weight loss, just committing to doing the plan and whatever happens, happens. (I've decided not to do this. I just don't have the time or motivation to spend this much effort on it. I haven't been cooking hardly at all and the times I have cooked, I ate way too much of the plan food. Since my main problem seems to be portion control, I've decided to purchase lots of Lean Cuisine type meals and just use those for a while. It will help me learn portion control and keep me from having to focus on food the entire day.)
  • In conjunction with the program, I'm going to go back to walking 5 mornings a week. (I've only done this a couple of times. I haven't been able to sleep well since Hubby left, so I'm either falling asleep at 3 am and sleeping late OR taking a sleeping pill around midnight and sleeping late. See the "going to bed' entry below.)
  • I will do the strength-training program that is prescribed in the program as well. It uses the bands and it's very easy. (This is going good.)
  • I have to start going to bed earlier. I've gotten in the habit of going to bed around 1 a.m. and waking at 6:30 or 7. That's just not enough sleep. It makes me cranky, makes my skin look tired and sallow and definitely contributes to my weight issues. I want to go to bed by 10:30 or 11 at the latest. (As I mentioned, I've not been sleeping well. The only nights I've slept well are nights I've taken some OTC sleeping pills. But I wait until I've already tossed and turned for a while and still am not getting to sleep before 1 am usually. I need to turn in earlier - 11:00 - and try to get up earlier.)


  • I want to make the separation from Hubby, and the move, as easy on the kids as possible.
  • I want to make sure I quickly establish new routines and household order once we get to Qatar. It's important that we get used to the new city/country/culture as quickly as possible and get the kids meeting new friends, while still making home a familiar refuge.
  • Hubby hates how I pile things up until I can get to them. So a major goal for me is to learn to deal with things at the time rather than have literal piles of stuff that falls over at the slightest breeze. (Doing so-so on this. I go in spurts, you know? Sometimes I'm really motivated, others not. But it's a learning process and I don't expect to conquer it in one day.)
  • I need to really work hard and learn to overcome laziness. (I definitely see an improvement in the amount of work I'm putting into things. Yippee!)
  • Once we move into our new home, I don't want to allow clutter to accumulate.

So, while my goals may have been lofty and impressive, in actuality things don't always work out how one would hope. I'm still trying to make myself into a better person, but maybe it won't be quite as dramatic. But that's ok. Life's a journey, right?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Report from Doha

Now granted, he's only been there 24 hours, but Hubby loves it so far!

First off, he's being treated like royalty. Someone met him at the plane, took him to a lounge and got him settled as this person took care of all the customs/passport issues and retrieved his luggage. Then he was whisked away in a Town Car to the hotel, where he was given this amazing room with every possible luxury.

This morning he was picked up by a driver (who will be at his disposal for the next 30 days) and taken to work where he was given an orientation. This was done by the Human Resources Director, a Californian woman who has lived there for 5 years and loves it. He was told that his workday will be from 6:30 a.m. (gulp!) to 4 p.m. (and on Tuesday and Thursday until 2!). This will be so completely abnormal for us. He has never gotten home, on a regular basis, before 7:30. Plus he'll be able to come home from lunch on a daily basis, something I have always wanted us to be able to do. Plus, the head of the Qatar division told him that there is NEVER any overtime - something completely unheard of in the construction industry here.

Once we get there, we'll all be given a private tour of Doha, courtesy of the company. And they gave him a book to help us adjust that has information about all kinds of extra curricular activities and fun things to do. I knew about this particular book (I think it's published quarterly, so maybe it's more of a big, big magazine) and had asked him to send me a copy when he got there, so they gave him a second copy for me.

He said that the city is beautiful, very similar to Miami, but not as much greenery. But everything is very modern and spacious. Traffic is not as bad as Jordan, which was my big worry, and he even went looking at cars and is considering buying a Hummer, which I guess must be pretty reasonably priced.

I'll keep you all updated, but so far, so good!!

P.S. The open house the other day went pretty well. I had three couples come through. Plus the house is not officially listed on the MLS, so we will hopefully get some response from that. Thanks for your prayers!
Saturday, January 12, 2008

A Prayer Request

I'll be holding an open house today (and maybe tomorrow if the weather holds) to try and sell our home. Foolishly, I allowed the kids to each have a friend sleep over last night. I know, I know...Dumb.

Anyways, I would so appreciate it if you would pray that God would lead the right person to the house today. The sooner we sell our home, the sooner we can join Hubby.

And maybe you could pray that I could get the house ready in time, too!
Friday, January 11, 2008

And All Is Right With The World...

So in the process of moving to Doha, Qatar there have been many questions. What will life be like there? What changes will we need to make to our daily lives?

We know that we won't need to wear any special clothing. We have also learned that most of the activities that our children participate in are also available there. Yes, there are Christian churches.

One issue that I wondered about was what types of food products would be available. My kids are somewhat picky eaters and I was hoping to learn that several of our family favorites are readily available. Hubby promised to check it out.

We spoke yesterday and he was raving about a store that is very popular in the Middle East, Carrefour. He joyously informed me that it's "just like Wal-Mart." But the most exciting part (to him, anyway)?

They have SoftScrub.

I cannot tell you how excited he was. If you recall, he recently proved himself to be quite the little housekeeper. His secret weapon. That's right, SoftScrub.

So, for those of you who have worried that we might not fare well, fear not! Life will be just fine.
Thursday, January 10, 2008

Thankful Thursday

Wow, Thursday has come around again so quickly this week!! It's a good thing, too, as I have much to be thankful for! Thanks to Lynn for hosting Thankful Thursday again. Be sure to visit the many women who share all their blessings. It's very uplifting!

* * *

“Therefore, behold, I will allure her,and bring her into the wilderness,and speak tenderly to her." Hosea 2:14

I won't be doing a list today. I really just want to share something that has been on my heart for a few days now. For some reason the other day I felt led to browse through the minor prophets. I initially was searching for a specific verse, which I found in Joel, but then I flipped back a few pages to Hosea and read this beautiful verse above.

If you have never read Hosea, I'll give you a quick rundown. The Lord tells the prophet Hosea to marry an adulterous wife. She repeatedly betrays him. At one point, Hosea must even pay to purchase back his own wife. She bears him three children. Think of the humiliation. To be married to someone who, after all you have done for her, spits in your face and cheats on you, turns her back on you. And yet, Hosea picks her up out of the gutter again and again.

Why would the Lord ask one of his servants to marry someone like this? Simply put, to illustrate the depths of his love for us. We are like the adulterous wife. Time and time again we turn our backs on the Lord, choosing our will over his; desiring the pleasures of sin and self-gratification. I've been a Christian for over 20 years now and yet I still struggle with living a life that is completely sold out to God. I want my own way. I want to do what I want to do, even as I tell myself that I know it's not what God wants me to do.

But, dear sisters, regardless of this, God loves us. He picks us up out of the gutters, cleans us up, dresses us up in all the finery and looks upon his bride with love.

Oh, yes, Hosea is quite clear that there will be consequences. God is holy, after all. This is not a license to sin and go on our merry way. We all suffer the consequences of our sin.

But God doesn't stop loving us. He never will. Just like it says in the verse above, he lures us back to himself; speaking tenderly to us; wooing us. You know how it is when you've done something wrong. You are afraid to face the person you've offended - how will they react? How will they treat you? You never have to worry about that with God. With repentance comes forgiveness - complete and total forgiveness.

"For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west,so far does he remove our transgressions from us." Psalm 103:11, 12

So today I just am thankful for God's infinite mercy and forgiveness. I am such a weak and broken sinner and so in need of his grace. It is so wonderful to know that when I come to him, I will be met with open arms ready to wrap around me in love, rather than with punishment and rebuke.

If this is something you struggle with accepting, please take some time to read through the book of Hosea. It's not very long, but it is very powerful. You'll find a God of mercy and forgiveness. And you'll find a God who loves you more than you could ever understand.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

WFMW - Need Some Ideas!

Ok, so now that I'm pretty much a single mom (temporarily), I'm left without Hubby to give me that time out that I need. As a homeschooler, I'm with my kids pretty much 24/7 and yet I'm a person who VERY MUCH NEEDS time by myself. Hubby has always been very good about taking the kids and giving me some space a few times a month.

Now, I'm very blessed that they are old enough for me to leave them at home by themselves if I really need to get out. But that kind of means that I then have to find something to do. Something cheap. There's no $$$ gonna be flowing into our bank accounts until mid-February!

So what I need is cheap ideas for a person to do alone to just kind of chill, if you know what I mean. This will be very helpful in ensuring that my children and I all survive these next three months.

I thank you. My children REALLY thank you.

Bits of This and That

First of all, a huge shout-out to Revka over at Designs by RS, who designed and installed my new header. I won this during one of their Christmas giveaways and she very kindly worked with me and made it just perfect for me. Be sure to drop by and check out their blog - they are always offering new discounts and layouts that can spruce your blog up.

* * * * * * * * * * *

My friend, Melissa (who is currently blog-less, but I'm hoping she'll join us soon out here in the blogsphere) sent me this cute little bit. It's funny, but thought-provoking.

New Packers Quarterback

In a news conference today, Deanna Farve announced that she will be the starting QB this coming Sunday. Deanna asserts that she is qualified to be starting QB because she has spent the last 16 years married to Brett while he played QB for the Packers. During this time she became familiar with the definition of a corner blitz, and is now completely comfortable with other terminology of the Packer offense. A survey of Packer fans shows that 50% of those polled supported the move.
Does this sound unbelievable and idiotic to you? Well, Hillary Clinton makes the same claims as to why she is qualified to be President and 50% of democrats agreed. She has never run a city, county or state. When told Hillary Clinton has experience because she spent 8 years in the White House, Dick Morris stated, "So has the pastry chef."

* * * * * * * * * * *

Everyone's been asking about how I'm doing with Hubby gone. We are doing ok, truth be told. I mean, we miss him desperately. But day-to-day is ok. I'm finding that there are all kinds of things that he normally takes care of that I don't even think about - watering the lawn, monitoring the pool pump, writing the check for the offering at church, making sure the tires in the cars have air, etc. But overall, we are moving along with life. It helps that this week normal life has kicked back into gear after the holidays.

* * * * * * * * * *

I still do have some exciting things to share about what I've learned from my romp through the minor prophets. It's just taking me a while to process it all, so I haven't posted about it yet. But keep your eyes out for my thoughts on both Joel and Hosea later in the week!
Monday, January 7, 2008

Imagine That! Those Prophets Knew What They Were Talking About!

If you are anything like me, you have your favorite parts of the Bible and then you have the parts that you, well...that you kind of skip over. Like the minor prophets. I know, I know - they can be a bit confusing and obscure. But, let me tell you, there is power there! In fact, I had a post all in mind from what I read yesterday in both Joel and in Hosea. But then I went to church and our reading was from Jeremiah (who I don't think technically falls under the minor prophets - just in case you wondered).

Most of us have read this verse somewhere. Lots of people claim it as their favorite verse.

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. " Jeremiah 29:11

But I had forgotten the context. Get this:

Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare." Jeremiah 29: 4-7

So, this promise is to those who had been taken in exile, carried off to Babylon, something ordained by God Himself. And, while it's not technically where Babylon was, Qatar is in the same region, right?

This was just such confirmation to me that everything is going to be alright. God wants us to "bloom where we are planted." Make a home; invest in where you are; put down roots.

Maybe God has put you somewhere you didn't want to be. Maybe in a place you never thought of living. Perhaps it's a job or a church where you aren't as happy as you think you can be. Sister, make yourself happy! Build a life. Determine that you will make the best of your situation and then do it.

Oftentimes I've counseled friends (and myself) that feelings follow actions. Don't feel loving towards someone? Pray for them and do something kind for them. Eventually your heart will soften towards them. It's the same with being in a place you don't want to be. Seek out the good - wherever you are, it's where God put you. He is sovereign and is totally able to remove you from your situation if He wanted to, so you might as well accept His will and deal with it!

And that's when you remind yourself that God does have a plan for you. A plan to prosper you and to give you a hope and a future. Don't be so wrapped up in your unhappiness that you miss it!
Sunday, January 6, 2008

I've got the blahs...until midnight.

Today I just wanted to lie in bed. I have a major case of the blahs. Now, I'm still doing okay with Hubby being gone. I have had a couple of minutes where I've started crying, but pull myself together after a minute and go on. It's been when I've talked to him that it hits me how much I miss him. But I'm really working on the whole "becoming emotionally stronger" thing.

I just have no motivation. I'm bummed because one thing I was actually looking forward to with my husband leaving was that I could throw away a TON of stuff. Hubby is definitely a pack-rat. He saves everything! Apparently it's an inherited gene because his father is the same way. "Someday I might find a use for this one single drumstick." So yesterday I gleefully went through the house pulling out bags and bag and shoebox after shoebox (one of his favorite things to collect) of stuff to dump. Now I just had to wait for the garbage to come so I would have empty garbage cans to put this all in.

They skipped us. Not just us - the whole side of our street. Oh, they did the other side of the street, sure. But no matter how many times I looked hopefully up and down our street, they never came back. Finally this afternoon, I grudgingly went out and pulled my still-full garbage cans back to my yard. So now I have mounds everywhere of things waiting to be thrown away with no place to put it all. It's like living in a Goodwill donation truck.

Even though I feel this way, I had kind of planned on having a couple of bad days after Hubby left, so I decided to just accept it and allow myself two bad days and to determine that on Sunday, I would begin my makeover. So tomorrow I am going to wake up early and walk, go to church, worship my Lord and my Creator, and start this phase of my life with eagerness and anticipation.

It would be easy to just let myself stay in this funk. But that would just be so self-defeating. I feel like I've been there, done that, you know? That's what got me needing a makeover in the first place. Just allowing myself to feel sorry for myself. But the time for change is now.

Well, tomorrow anyway.
Friday, January 4, 2008

Thankful Thursday

Well, technically it's still Thursday. And it's never too late to be thankful, right?

We just dropped Hubby off at the airport. Thus begins our three month stint apart, leaving me as a single parent and Hubby as a single man in a strange country. Not the happiest day, right?

And yet, we give thanks.

Thanks to God for His immeasurable grace. He truly poured it out on me this evening. Now mind you, for the last week I've been crying at the slightest thought of Hubby's leaving. Today I resolved that I wasn't going to let him leave thinking he had to worry about us. I held it together for most of the day. Yes, there were tears at the airport, on everyone's faces. But once he had gone, I comforted my kids and we moved on. By the time we got to the car, we were laughing. I want this to be as easy as possible for them, and that means me being strong. So I'm grateful that God has given me this peace. I imagined myself crying all the way home and crying myself to sleep. But instead, I feel very calm and peaceful.

I'm very thankful for our military. All day today I've been telling myself that it could be so much worse: that he could be going away for a year or more, into a life-threatening situation. So today I have a great appreciation, not only for those who serve in the military, but for their families who are here at home. Thanks to all of you, especially the moms who hold down the fort while dad is away!

I'm thankful for the opportunity to have this three months to work on myself. Somehow when Hubby is here, I'm focused on him. And I never want to give him any indication that I'm starting a "diet" or exercise program, because then if (when!) I slip up, he's so disappointed. This way, he knows nothing about it, so any improvement during this time will be a great surprise for him.

So, that's all for today. I'm off to bed. Still might cry a little, but that's ok. Tomorrow will be better.

For more Thankful Thursday participants, click on over to Lynn at Spiritually Unequal Marriage here.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Works for Me Wednesday!!

Do you ever feel as if the relationship between you and your husband has lost its spark? Or as if your hubby just doesn't notice you the way he used to?

You need Fascinating Womanhood!

This amazing book can revolutionize your marriage. Now, I want to be honest right up front and say that this book is NOT for everybody. In fact, some women may be completely turned off by it. And, given that it is an older book, some things may seem quite dated. But the principles contained inside are very powerful.

"What principles are those?", you may ask.

Admiring your husband. Appreciating him. Having an inner happiness that is attractive. Being feminine. Understanding masculine and feminine roles. Accepting your husband for who he is.

When I first began to apply these principles in my life, I noticed that within days my husband was more attentive and had a greater desire to please me. He brought me presents unexpectedly. He spoke to me with more tenderness and affection. And he seemed to have more of a desire to spend time with me. You see, when we seek to please our husbands and build them up, they will seek to please us as well. Everybody benefits!!

I encourage all married ladies to at least give the book a chance. The author, Helen Andelin, is a Christian and there are some Biblical references in it, but it is not one of those books that someone who isn't religious would mind reading.

If your marriage could use a little revving up, pick up the book and try it out. It sure Works for Me!

Whatever Happened to Me?

Welcome to 2008!!! It is now time for the ceremonial making of the resolutions.

I'm one of those people who each year makes resolutions and then breaks them before January 5th. But I'm thinking this year may be different. Since Hubby is leaving in a couple of days, I'll be able to really focus on myself. Doesn't that sound simply atrocious!???!! "Hello, I'm Lori and I want to focus on M-E!"

But I'm hoping you know what I mean. I kind of have in mind this "Extreme Makeover: Lori Edition." And not just physically, although that certainly is in order. I'm talking spiritually, emotionally, and professionally too. I'd like to bring back the woman Hubby originally married.

Sadly, over the years I have let myself go in all the above areas. Instead of being vibrant and strong, I've become boring and needy. Ugh!! Who wants to come home to that every day? Poor guy! So I'm going to take advantage of this time apart to spend some time working on me. Now, don't think I've forgotten I have two children to tend to. Trust me, they aren't going to be neglected. But they know about my plans and are totally on board with me. In fact, Emily has decided she's going to serve as my personal trainer (oh, joy.) and she's using Gillian from The Biggest Loser as her role model.

So what are these big plans, you ask? Well, since you're begging, I'll let you know. But, shhh! Don't tell Hubby. He's completely unaware of my plans.

  1. Instead of trying to "live a good Christian life," I want to just simply focus on abiding in Christ. I want Him to be the very air I breathe. I want to live a life of worship.
  2. I want to read through the Bible in 90 days. I started it last year, but with my in-laws here (for six weeks!) it was hard to make the daily commitment to read for up to an hour a day. I really enjoyed doing it while I lasted. The point isn't to get deep study, but to get a "big picture" view of Scripture.
  3. Once that is completed, I want to take the remaining 9 months and study one book of the Bible in depth each month. I haven't decided which books yet, but I'll let you know.


  1. Prove to myself that I am stronger than I give myself credit for during Hubby's absence.
  2. Work on controlling my emotions, specifically not crying so easily or losing my temper as quickly. This will be a challenge for me because I am one who desperately needs time alone. Without Hubby here, there won't be anyone to provide that and take the kids off my hands for a while.
  3. Stop eating for emotional reasons and learn to turn to God for comfort.


  1. Beginning on Sunday, and until I leave for Qatar, I want to do the 6 Week Body Makeover. I've had success on it in the past but Hubby didn't care for the food and it is a very time-consuming with all the cooking and the eating every three hours. I'm not setting any goal for weight loss, just committing to doing the plan and whatever happens, happens.
  2. In conjunction with the program, I'm going to go back to walking 5 mornings a week.
  3. I will do the strength-training program that is prescribed in the program as well. It uses the bands and it's very easy.
  4. I have to start going to bed earlier. I've gotten in the habit of going to bed around 1 a.m. and waking at 6:30 or 7. That's just not enough sleep. It makes me cranky, makes my skin look tired and sallow and definitely contributes to my weight issues. I want to go to bed by 10:30 or 11 at the latest.


  1. I want to make the separation from Hubby, and the move, as easy on the kids as possible.
  2. I want to make sure I quickly establish new routines and household order once we get to Qatar. It's important that we get used to the new city/country/culture as quickly as possible and get the kids meeting new friends, while still making home a familiar refuge.
  3. Hubby hates how I pile things up until I can get to them. So a major goal for me is to learn to deal with things at the time rather than have literal piles of stuff that falls over at the slightest breeze.
  4. I need to really work hard and learn to overcome laziness.
  5. Once we move into our new home, I don't want to allow clutter to accumulate.

So those are my big issues. I'll be sure to keep you updated on my progress as we go along. Oh, and Marybeth at Cheaper by the Half Dozen is hosting a Goals Challenge '08. If you are looking for some inspiration, it's a great place to start!!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Sometimes One Can be TOO Efficient (Or Why Beauracracy is Not Good For My Marriage)

So the kids need new passports. Apparently children's passports are only valid for 5 years and cannot simply be renewed, you have to re-apply. And now BOTH parents must appear to apply for the passport (I'm sure to prevent international parental kidnappings). So today we had planned on going to the County Clerk's office to turn in their applications.

First, of course, you need pictures. Now, to understand this entire story you must first understand Hubby and I. We are the living example of the phrase "Opposites attract." Hubby is borderline OCD perfectionist. Every strand of hair must be in place, every thing must be perfect. Me? If their faces are clean, I'm happy. I had taken the kids earlier in the week to get their photos done, but, OF COURSE, they weren't good enough. So he took them and got them done again. Fine - his time and money spent, not mine.

With the passport application you must also submit previous passports and, for children, birth certificates. I had pulled all the necessary paperwork out last weekend and put it aside to have at the ready. But this morning it was gone. I mean, "frantically-sobbing-it's-not-anywhere-in-the-house" gone. After all four of us searching for 40 minutes, I was having visions of another 8 weeks being added to our time here in the States (without Hubby) while I waited for new birth certificates, but Oh Yeah! BOTH parents have to appear to apply. Kinda hard to do when you are in Qatar. I'm telling you, I was crazed. Then Hubby, as a last resort, looked in his briefcase.

And there they were.

He is lucky to still be breathing this New Year's Eve.

Of course, he insisted initially that he didn't know how they had gotten there. Then he said that he must have seen them laying around and put them there for safe-keeping. Uh-huh.

Off we go to submit the applications and necessary paperwork. First the clerk tells us that the pictures are not acceptable because there were shadows behind their heads. Hubby opts to take the kids and get new pictures taken while I finish filling out forms. That should have taken about 20 minutes. Unless you are my husband.

One hour later they return. He had taken them home to change their clothes and do their hair, then argued with the manager at the photo place while I was twittling my thumbs at the courthouse. Needless to say, by this point my nerves were just a little frayed.

Finally we have everything in order and we try again. When the clerk took their birth certificates and stapled them to the application, my chest tightened (we need to show the birth certificates to get visas to Qatar). I asked her to make copies and she said that was illegal, which, technically it does say in the small print on the bottom. I started crying right then and there in front of the clerk and everybody. Now images of them losing their birth certificates, or of delaying our visas an extra 6 weeks are running through my head. Finally I pull it together and we finish up.

Getting through all the red tape just about pushed me over the edge. I'm telling you - the government is out to get me. I think I'm going to go put on a foil hat to block the signals they are trying to send me from outer space.


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