That Person

There is always a person who stands back and watches...who remains silent...who prefers to observe rather than participate...There is always a person who witnesses an altar call and stands back and watches...they don't let it affect them, don't let it go deeper than their skin, don't let it convict them. There is always a person who puts on a fakey front and say, "Yeah, I'm a Christian," but doesn't live it. There is always a person who smiles around everyone, laughs, is energetic, but is really hurting inside, and is hiding all the pain they are storing up. There is always someone who does not want the truths of the Bible, who does not want to believe the truths about God, who does not want to accept God's gift of salvation.

Are you that person?


Jeremiah 29:13
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

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Call on the Name of the LORD...and You Will be Saved

My mind is in a jumble. I am trying to think of the right words to say to you. I want to tell you about Christianity, how to be a Christian, and why you should be one in the first place...because I want you to know how important it is, and I want you to make the eternal choice to follow Jesus Christ. But I don't want to make Christianity sound like a list of do's and don't's. I don't want you to be turned off. I don't want to say it in the same-ol-same-ol way you always hear and don't get or don't wanna listen to. So how am I gonna tell you what it really means to be a Christian? I guess I should just let my heart do the writing and see where it goes from there. I'll just write honestly and truly, and I hope what I say will relate to you and get you thinking (and - I hope - acting) about Christianity.
God loves you so much. It's not a question - it's a fact. He sent His one and only son, Jesus Christ, to die on a cross - a terrible death - to pay the penalty for our sins (the bad stuff we think, say, and do). Not just anyone could do it. It had to be a sinless, perfect Someone. Jesus didn't have to die for us. He could've called His angels down to rescue Him any time he pleased. So why didn't He? Because He loves you and cares about you that much. Jesus was beaten, bloody, and mocked, but that didn't stop Him from loving you - or the people who did all that terrible stuff to Him. Check out what this Bible passage says about Jesus's crucifixion (death on the cross):

Luke 23:20-25
 20 Wanting to release Jesus, Pilate appealed to them again. 21 But they kept shouting, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”
 22 For the third time he spoke to them: “Why? What crime has this man committed? I have found in him no grounds for the death penalty. Therefore I will have him punished and then release him.”
 23 But with loud shouts they insistently demanded that he be crucified, and their shouts prevailed. 24 So Pilate decided to grant their demand. 25 He released the man who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, the one they asked for, and surrendered Jesus to their will.

Luke 23:32-43
32 Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. 33 When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. 34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”[c] And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.
 35 The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.”
 36 The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar 37 and said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.”
 38 There was a written notice above him, which read: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.
 39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”
 40 But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”
 42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.[d]
 43 Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

Luke 23:44-47
44 It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, 45 for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. 46 Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”[e] When he had said this, he breathed his last.
 47 The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, “Surely this was a righteous man.” 48

Jesus was a perfect, sinless man who did not have to die for us. But He did because He loves us and wants to be with us in heaven someday. God created sin because He wants us to have a choice whether we want to follow Him or not. And I think that is amazing evidence that God is amazing, merciful, and compassionate, even though we certainly do not deserve it.

Luke 24:1-8
1 On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. 2 They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. 5 In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? 6 He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 7 ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’8 Then they remembered his words.

Three days after Jesus died, He rose again - back to life! It's a thing to rejoice about, really! He promised that He wouldn't stay dead - and He didn't! He was not defeated by the devil OR by sin. And you know what? He wants to be with you in heaven forever. That's why He created you! He has an AMAZING plan for you! You weren't just some accident. God really made you and really loves you.

So how can you be saved? Check out Acts 2:21...

'And everyone who calls
  on the name of the Lord will be saved.’


There it is. "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." Even "bad" people, even people who have done wrong things (and we all have!), seemingly unforgivable things...you can still be saved. Confess that you have sinned to Jesus, admit that He died on the cross for your sins, and ask Him to come into your life as your personal Savior. If you do that, and mean it with your heart, you are a born-again child of the King! And that is amazing!!!!! That is SO something to celebrate about!!!! So celebrate! Tell others the good news you have found, and the amazing grace of God ♥.

Hebrews 11:1
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

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Photo Contest Entry

Here's my photo contest entry for Arianna's flower-themed photo contest. Click here to go check it out.

{p.s. I will try to post a longer post soon!}

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He's not Finished with me Yet

Today is my tenth spiritual birthday. If you don't know, a spiritual birthday is a celebration of the day I asked Jesus Christ into my life as my personal Savior. God has done so much in these 10 years...and in my whole life. He is so amazing! God has taught me so much in the past years - to let wounds heal, to trust Him, that He will always be there, to bloom where you're planted...and so much more. And there's so much more to come. He's not finished with me yet.

I love you, Jesus. Thank you - for everything .

Psalm 51:10
Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

"Any way You want me,
That's where I wanna be,
Any way You want me,
That's the way I wanna be,
Anytime You call me,
I want You to hear me say,
Lord, use me, any which way." - Any Which Way, PureNRG

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Flickr Pic

http://www.flickr.com/photos/reignministries/5870758412/

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They Made it to Chicago

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When Some of Your Closest Friends Leave...

...you wanna cry. I didn't cry at the airport when my sister (and best friend), Haley, and my close friends Claudia, Araya, and Aubrey left on their trip to Africa (although they have training camp in IL this week, and they head off to Africa next week). Seeing my mom, sister, and friends cry & having Araya say to me, "Videotape Mulan (the play we're in) for me, OK? And I wanna see when you sing and then zoom up on your face." That nearly did it :-). I love those girls and am so proud of them.
















Here's a question for you:
When you have to say goodbye, how do you handle it? Have you had to say goodbye before?

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I Love You!

Today, my older sis, Haley, is going on a mission trip to Africa. I am so proud of her! I can imagine it takes a lot of courage to go to a different country and tell of the good news of Jesus!

Haley, I am so proud of you, and I love you so much! Although I will really miss you, I know that this is God's plan for you and that you are making Him smile :-). Be strong and courageous in Him, and rest in His peace and love as you share it with others.

Love your sister and best friend (forever!),
Talia

Philippians 4:13
I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

Joshua 1:9
"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

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The Peace of God

The other night while we were driving home from play practice, I just felt peaceful. I was really content, not worrying about anything at the moment, and just happy with where I was. It was an awesome kind of peace that seemed to just...come.

Have you ever felt really worried? I know I have. I get worried a lot, and I often think to myself, If I just get through this week, then I won't worry for a while. But, you and I both know that that's not true. I will still worry sooner or later. So how can I defeat this worry - push it to the back of my head, to the bottom of my mind? What if it isn't about defeating it myself? What if it isn't about something that I can do? Sometimes, at night when I can't go to sleep because I'm worrying, I quote Bible verses in my head. These two often come into my head:

Philippians 4:7

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
 
 Isaiah 26:3You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.
 
God will give us His perfect peace if we trust in Him. Check out what Romans 8:28 says:

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose.

We can rest in peace knowing our God is with us. We can rest in the peace of God.

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Verse to Ponder

Acts 2:21
 But everyone who calls on the name of the Lord
      will be saved.’[a]

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Thank You...and Please be in Prayer

Hey girls,
I just wanted to say thank you to my newfound followers! Thank you so much :-). I'd also like to ask everyone to please pray for my sister, Haley. She leaves for Africa soon, and she isn't feeling the greatest. Today she is feeling a little better, but she would still really appreciate your prayers <3.

Thank you!

Talia

p.s. I've got some rockin' sponsors for the giveaway, and I'll give you a hint at some of the prizes...
*Music
*Esty Items
*Handmade
*Blog Design

Thanks again ;).

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Mary's Blog

My friend Mary has a fun blog, Smile {Forever and Always}, and she is planning on having a 50 followers giveaway when she gets 50 followers. So please, go over and follow! Mary is a personal friend that I have met in person, and she is really nice! Please go follow!

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A Successful Photoshoot

I did a photoshoot yesterday, and it was successful! I love the first one and how the sun was shining through the trees. See the little rainbow around it? VERY cool. God is so awesome, and His beauty in creation is amazing!














I really liked the colors in this one - the green and light blue.













This one was fun to do.













Again, I loved the colors. I didn't edit this one or the first two. They have a natural beauty that is so...beautiful!













There was water on our play slide thingimajigor, so I put petals on it, and I think it turned out pretty good. I didn't use any effects on this either.













This one turned out really well. I brought out the shadows and made it a little darker using Picasa 3, but it is just naturally beautiful as well...God's amazing creation!













I changed the level of shadows and highlights, and I think it gives it a cool look. I like how clear and cool the bench looks.













I really like this one. I made it a little darker, and I like how the first two paper hearts are focused and the rest aren't. The darker color of the table makes it look almost damp.













Again, I changed the level of shadows and highlights, and I think it turned out well.













I changed the level of shadows and highlights only a little on this one, but I think it's a cute idea, although this isn't my favorite picture.













Hope you enjoyed the photos!
God bless you!

Psalm 5:11
But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them sing joyful praises forever. Spread your protection over them, that all who love your name may be filled with joy.



With Love And Prayers,

Talia

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My Hopes for the Summer

Happy Father's Day! I want to give a big thank you to my dad for being such a great father, encouraging me, motivating me, and inspiring me. LOVE YOU!

And to the best Father ever - God! You are amazing. I cannot thank you enough for your love, your kindness, your patience, and your ultimate sacrifice. Thanks, Daddy. I love you.

To all girls out there who don't have a father (or at least not a very good one), know that God is your heavenly Father - He loves you, cares for you, understands you, and will never leave you.















Now, I thought I'd share with you my hopes for this summer - what I want to do, what I want it to be like. Here are a few:

Hang out with friends.













Swimming.














Slumber parties.


















Summer camp.


Music.


Write (blogging falls into this category).
Read.


Art.
Drink lemonade ☺.
But that's typical summer stuff, and that's not all I want to do. The other day I was reading a blog post on a blog I like, Christ is Write. The blog author, Tessa Emily Hall, was writing that she wanted to do more with her summer, and she challenged girls to do the same. Well, I want to do more with my summer too. I want to make the most of it. I don't want to sit around on the couch all day, sleep in extra late, or waste it away. I wanna use it for God's glory. I wanna learn new things, make new friends, reach out to others, get to know my family and friends and GOD better, grow closer to God, and live. I wanna live, laugh, and love this summer, and I hope you will join me.


Pictures via (view at own risk)

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Photo Contest: Red & Creative

I'm having a photo contest! The winner doesn't win anything, but I thought it would still be fun to do :-). The theme is RED, and I am looking for CREATIVE pics (and I know you girls are creative!). Here's a pic I took tonight. After photographing them, I ate one of the strawberries (it was deeee-lish!)!
















Talia DeAndrea 2011

Be sure to enter by commenting your blog post link!

Winner will be announced shortly :-)...so hurry and enter!

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The Sensation of Writing

Most writers should know the feeling. Putting words down on paper, pouring your heart onto the pages (or giving just a peek into your life), sharing what's going on with you and what God is teaching you, finding descriptive words and sentences that fit perfectly with your mood, getting a blog post or story near-perfect so that you like it MAJORLY much, when other people like your writings and you feel fantastic about them, because either they show a part of who you are or they came out just the way you wanted them...when you can relate to the characters in your story (and other people can, too), when your words & writings inspire people, motivate them, and challenge them to dream bigger, reach higher, persevere. There are many words that describe writing at some points - fun, hard, easy, imaginative, creative, dull, plain, adventurous, romantic, daring, realistic...but not a perfect word that describes it in the whole. If you are a true writer, there is so much goodness, fun, and joy in writing, even though it's hard. Writing has untapped potential unless you are willing to hold the reigns, dive into the deep end, and give your all. When you really get lost in your writing, when you feel the words, when others feel them, when they are pleasing to God and people are growing in their faith because the words showed them something...that's the sensation of writing.














(pinterest (dot) com) {If you visit the pinterest web site, it will be at your own risk. I do not know all the pictures that are on the site.}

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Photo Contest Entry

Arianna from These are a Few of my Favorite Things is having a photo contest, and the theme is "weather." Here is my entry!

















Talia DeAndrea (C)
2011



Favorite Things

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Mixed Messages

What's the deal with mixed messages? How come the word "wicked" can be "bad" (as in, wicked) or "cool"? Aren't those opposites (or is it just me)? And how is it that "sick" can mean cool or ill? It is obvious that many words have taken on multiple meanings that often mean the exact opposite of their original meaning. Anyone else find it annoying (or maybe you find it wicked - or maybe sick)?

Have you ever wondered if what God says in the Bible has multi meanings? Have you ever really wondered...when God says He loves you, does He really mean He hates you? When He says that He'll always be there for you, does He mean that He'll just leave you like so many other people in your life have? When He says that He understands you and everything you're going through, does that mean that He doesn't get it, just like everybody else? What does it really mean? With so many mixed messages out there, how can we know that GOD'S messages aren't mixed?

The truth is: God doesn't send any mixed messages. And how do I know this? Well, for multiple reasons. One, I trust God, and He has always loved me and never hated me, even though I am a sinful, filthy person. Second, He made promises in the Bible, and He has kept every single one of them to this day.

Those are just two examples of why I believe that God doesn't send mixed messages. The Bible is always true (Who says? God!). The Bible doesn't hold lies. God doesn't lie. He wants to be with you in heaven forever, and He will never, ever leave you. He's not like other people you know - God will never let you down, never leave you alone, never stop loving you. He loves you so much that He died for you. His messages certainly aren't mixed. Trust Him. He knows what He's talking about, He knows who you are (Everything about you, in fact!), and His arms are always open for you. Run to them, knowing you can find peace and rest in God our Savior. Nothing else can truly satisfy you without the one, true God who is telling you a clear message: He loves you - no matter what.

Romans 8:38-39
38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[a] neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Isaiah 40:8"The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the Word of our God stands forever.”

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Guest Post: Why Am I Discontent? {By Miss Raquel}

Miss Raquel from God's Daughter has done a guest post for us! Thanks, Miss Raquel!











http://god-sdaughter.blogspot.com/


Why Am I Discontent?

Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said ‘I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you.’
~Hebrews 13:5

I think we use the word ‘need’ too often. And too loosely.

I need this new blouse’… ‘I need to buy an iPod’… ‘I need some chocolate.’

First of all, this word doesn’t only symbolize selfishness…it shows our discontentment.

When we actually stop and look at our blessed life, it makes us realize how horribly selfish and discontent we are. When we realize that God has given us so much already, and that others have so little…it makes us feel guilty.

Recently, I was telling my Mama how I really want to rearrange my room. Repaint it, get matching furniture, move my bunk-bed out of it and put in our new daybed, get new shelves, etc. She asked me why we couldn’t just leave it the way it is. ‘It’s not like it looks ugly or anything.’ I didn’t answer. To me, it was. I had grown discontent with how my room wasn’t as nice as other girls’. That my friends could have matching sheets and comforters and even window curtains. Matching furniture, paintings and pictures hanging on their walls to match their room colors. It made me feel like my room was so ‘poor’ next to others. I had grown discontent.

Soon after I had been telling Mama all this, I read an article in a magazine. It was about a girl who had gotten rescued from sexual trafficking. She had been taken to a shelter, especially for girls who were rescued. The missionaries who were working there gave her a room with her own bed, pillow, and blanket. She didn’t remember what ‘comfort’ felt like. Over the next few months that she was at the shelter, she grew to learn to trust people once again. She went to the church that the missionaries held every Sunday and within a few weeks gave her life to Jesus. All she (had) ever needed was at her fingertips. She had a home – not large or majestically comfortable. She had love – from people whom she had only known for a few months. She had salvation – by the only Man who had ever truly loved her. Loved her enough to come to this world to die for her sins.

I was so convicted by this that I felt like crying. Here I was complaining that my room wasn’t ‘nice’, while there are people out there who don’t have anything. They don’t even have their own room. They don’t have half the comforts that I possess and am blessed with. I have a home…I have a family…I have friends…and above all else, I have a Savior. What is there to be discontent with?

~~~

Miss Raquel's blog is God's Daughter, and I encourage you to visit it and sign her guestbook! She's also hoping to have a big giveaway when she reaches 400 followers, so maybe we can help her out :-)!

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On My Summer Playlist {Tag}

This is a tag from Mary where you post 10 songs that you will be listening to this summer. Here they are!

1. Popular from the Broadway show Wicked (sung by Kristen Chenoweth)
2. Mighty to Save by Newsboys (and technically any Newsboys song on their new CD: Born Again, Miracles Addition)
3. Mulan music :-).
4. Let it Go by Tenth Avenue North
5. What Could Be Better by 33Miles
6. You Keep On Givin' to Me by Chris Lizotte (I know the title sounds weird, but it's a Christian song :-)!)
7. Born Again by Newsboys
8. Come Home by Luminate
9. No Good Deed from Wicked
10. Light up the Sky by the Afters

...and many more!!!

I tag anyone who wants it.

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Author Interview: Dandi Daley Mackall

Christian author Dandi Daley Mackall has generously taken the time out of her day to do this interview! Thank you very much, Mrs. Mackall!

http://www.dandibooks.com/












When did you start writing?My first book came out right after I got out of college, but I’d written hundreds of things by then, starting back from when I could barely print. I wrote for magazines when I was in college. It’s been a long and mostly happy career, I’m grateful to say.

What was your first published book?
My first published book was called THE BLESSING IS IN THE DOING. It was nonfiction, humor and inspirational for adults. My first 7 books were like that. Then I moved to fiction and novels. And when I had kids, I discovered how much fun children’s books could be. Since then, I’ve written for every age group.
How often do you write?
When I’m home, not on a book gig or school visit, etc., I write every day except Sunday. Saturdays I sometimes go to family things, and life squeezes out writing when it needs to. But I love to write, and I know it’s my “job,” too. So I write a lot—a whole lot, in fact.

What is your favorite book out of the ones you've written?
This is the hardest question I get! So I’ll allow myself several answers, okay? I do love writing horse books—Winnie the Horse Gentler, Starlight Animal Rescue, and the new series, Backyard Horses. I love a book called LARGER-THAN-LIFE LARA because it felt like God dropped that one into my head and I had to keep writing to find out what would happen. MY BOYFRIENDS’ DOGS was such fun to write—lots of me in there. In Oct. my first big mystery novel is coming out, THE SILENCE OF MURDER, and it really may be my favorite…except for the ones I’m working on right now….

Who is in your family?
My husband, Joe, is also a writer. He writes nonfiction for adults, and he’s awesome. Katy, our youngest, lives with us. She’s my first reader on all animal books and catches my mistakes if I get mixed up on which horses are male or female. We have a son, Dan, and a married daughter named Jen.
Do you have any pets?
Always! Cheyenne is our Paint, and I’ve written about a lot of horses we’ve had in the past. Moxie and Munch, our two dogs, make appearances in several books. And our never-ending supply of cats, birds, squirrels, etc. all helped when I wrote ONE-YEAR DEVOTIONALS FOR ANIMAL LOVERS.
What is your favorite Bible verse?
I have so many that they change often. Right now, it’s Psalm 68:19:

Praise the Lord; praise God our Savior!
      For each day he carries us in his arms.


Do you base your story characters off of real people, or make them up?
Yes! Both. They say every character—even the villains—must have a bit of the author in there, and that’s probably true of my characters. Some have pieces of me when I was the character’s age, and others are parts of me right now, going through the same struggles I am, only in a fictional setting.
If you could describe your writing as a kind of food, what would it be? 
Strawberry steak cheesecake. I know—it sounds awful together, but wouldn’t it be juicy, meaty, and fun?
Who is your inspiration?
I couldn’t write a word that mattered if I didn’t admit that and then ask God to give me thoughts and ideas and words that will make a difference.
When did you become a Christian? How has that impacted or changed your writing?
I didn’t come to Christ until I went to college. I was so grateful to discover grace and fresh starts, that I made one. Nothing has ever been the same, including my writing. I want everything I write to be excellent.
What is your newest book/series?
I have a bunch of new books coming out this year. Yea!
BACKYARD HORSES is my new horse series. Here’s something I put in the front of each book (HORSE DREAMS and COWBOY COLT are the first two titles):
Backyard horses are the opposite of show horses. They don’t have registration papers to prove they’re purebred, and they might never win a trophy or ribbon at a horse show. Backyard horses aren’t boarded in stables. You can find them in pastures or in backyards. They may be farm horses, fun horses, or simply friends. Backyard horses are often plain and ordinary on the outside . . . but frequently beautiful on the inside.
***
The Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
1 Samuel 16:7

THE SILENCE OF MURDER is a young adult mystery coming out in Oct. from Knopf/Random House.
DREAMS OF A DANCING HORSE is a middle-grade novel, Oct, Bloomsbury U.S.A.
LISTEN TO THE SILENT NIGHT is a Christmas picturebook from Dutton/Penguin
BOB THE HORSE – new I Can Read books
THAT’S NAT! chapter book series
THERE’S A BABY IN THERE, picturebook (funny!) from Cavendish

What advice would you give to girls who want to write but either can’t start a story, or can’t finish one? John 13.17 says, “Knowing these things, you are blessed if you do them.” “Do it!” is pretty good advice for all of us. Don’t worry about how good it is or if it will be published. Just do it. Then you can go back and rewrite until you’re proud of that story. Get the first draft, even if it’s lousy—mine always are! Then you can rewrite as long as you need to. And have fun!


Thank you so much for doing this interview for us, Mrs. Mackall!

My personal favorite books by Dandi Daley Mackall are these series: Blog On!, Winnie the Horse Gentler, and Starlight Animal Rescue. Click here to check out Dandi's website.

About Dandi (from dandibooks.com):
I think I’ve always wanted to be a writer, even before I could hold a pencil. My parents were great storytellers, so bringing characters to life seemed as natural as riding horses bareback, which I also grew up doing. I won my first writing contest as a 10-year-old tomboy. My 50 words on “Why I Want to Be Batboy for the Kansas City A’s” won first place, but the team wouldn’t let a girl be batboy. It was my first taste of rejection.
Since then, I’ve had over 400 of my titles published for children and about 25 for grown-ups, with millions of copies in over a dozen countries. I write for every age and in nearly every genre. I keep busy doing school visits, keynoting at conferences, and writing from rural Ohio, where I enjoy our family, including horses, dogs, cats, & a changing array of outdoor creatures.

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Giveaway (Sooner or Later ☺)

Hey, girls! I'm planning on having a 50-followers giveaway (and now I actually have an item to "give away", although I'm hoping to get some more), but first I need to get 50 followers (which means I need 21 more). If you girls want to, here's a button you can post on your blog. I'd really, really, really appreciate it if you tell your friends, too. Thanks so much, girlios! Hope you like the prizes :-). (although I'm not revealing them yet...wahaha...that was my sneaky laugh).



Photobucket





Have a great day! :D
God bless!

Talia

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I Missed 'Em!

I missed 'em! I missed my 2-year blogaversary in May, and my 1-year anniversary of publishing Girlz of God!

These 2 bloggin' years have been really great. I pray that this blog has been able to touch people, but, more importantly, convict them, challenge them, inspire them, motivate them to live for Christ and to accept Him into their lives. Both the book and the blog were of Him completely, and I want to be a girl of Him. One of the Girlz of God :). And I pray you are - or will be - too.

I pray that you'll keep on reading the blog. 'Cause there's a lot more to come. God's not finished with us yet :-).

Love,
Talia

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God Says You're Worth It

Sigh. I know this is a heavy topic, girlios, but I think somebody needs to say it.

Suicide isn't a pretty thing.

I feel uncomfortable posting about it, and you may feel uncomfortable reading it, but this subject is really important - MAJORLY important.

And why? Let me tell you...

Suicide is where a person is so full of grief, or so angry, or so depressed, or they feel so alone or so bad, that they take their own life. It terrifies me. It saddens me. And believe me, it breaks my heart. It is eye-opening to hear about stories where people have thought that they weren't worth it, where they have felt too bad, too sinful, or just that their life was ending up horribly. Let me tell you somethin', girl...

All people on earth are worth it to God. He says so. Psalm 139:13-14 says:

 13 For you created my inmost being;
   you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
   your works are wonderful,
   I know that full well.


Everybody messes up. Everybody feels alone. Everybody goes through hard times. But the answer is not suicide. You will NOT be happier if you take your life.  You will be incomparably sad and miserable in a place that doesn't pop up a lot on blogs that I read...hell. Satan hates you and wants to drag you down into hell, a fiery, miserable place where you hurt forever and ever. And nobody wants that. Nobody. Now, I'm NOT saying that if you are a Christian and commit suicide that you will go to hell. No. If you are a born-again Christian, God doesn't erase your name from the Book. Suicide is still terrible, even if you are saved. It is not fair to your family, friends, and God. Even if you feel like you don't HAVE any friends out there, God cares. And I do, too.

But it doesn't have to end that way. Your life does NOT have to end with the pull of a trigger, swallowing pills, driving off a cliff. It doesn't have to. Even if you feel worthless, or rebellious, or alone, or let down, or abused, or ANYTHING...God loves you and is pleading with you not to take your life. You choose - what are you going to do with your life? Who are you going to turn to? What decisions are you going to make today...and forever?

For those who love Jesus, God promises heaven to them. And heaven is awesome. How do I know? No, I've never been there (after all, I'm still here writing this blog post!). But God talks about heaven in the Bible. It is a place for those who have given their heart and soul to Jesus Christ, who have said, "I know that you died for me; I admit that I am a sinner; please come into my life and change me," for those who love Jesus. Check out these Bible verses about heaven:

Revelation 21:21
The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of gold, as pure as transparent glass.

Luke 15:10
In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents

Psalm 103:11
For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him.


In heaven, there will be no darkness and NO sin. Jesus is preparing a place for you, if you will choose Him. See what John 14:1-3 says:


Jesus Comforts His Disciples
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God[a]; believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.
Jesus desires for you to be with Him. Yes, YOU. He sees all the bad things you've done, yet He still loves you and wants you to come to Him. In a song called "Savior" by a band I really like, PureNRG, some of the lyrics go like this:

"Are you looking for a Savior?
Someone who sees all your scars,
Someone who still wants your heart."

Jesus loves you. Period. End of sentence. If you have no one else, Jesus is there. If you feel too bad for anyone, Jesus is there, loving you, holding his arms open for you. If you are alone, He is there for you, ready to comfort you and tell you that you are His child. Whether you feel alone, rebellious, let down, bad, sinful, disgusting, dirty, scarred, wounded, broken, hurt, in pain, bullied...or any other terrible feeling, God is there for you. Jeremiah 17:7-8 says:

7 “But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD,
   whose confidence is in him.
8 They will be like a tree planted by the water
   that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
   its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
   and never fails to bear fruit.”

God really does love you. Even if you doubt Him. Even if you don't love Him and don't believe in Him...He still loves you. God loves thieves, murderers, liars, sinners, gossips...and everything else. Doubting that God loves you? Check out what the below verses say about His love for you.

Romans 8:38-39
38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[a] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Isaiah 54:10
10 "Though the mountains be shaken
   and the hills be removed,
yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken
   nor my covenant of peace be removed,”
   says the LORD, who has compassion on you.

1 John 3:1See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.

2 John 1:3Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son, will be with us in truth and love.

Psalm 52:8But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God’s unfailing love for ever and ever.

Psalm 136:2Give thanks to the God of gods. His love endures forever.
1 John 4:7
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.
2 Thessalonians 3:5May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.

Ephesians 5:1Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children.

Romans 5:5And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.


How amazing is that? God really loves you! Even if everyone else has let you down, God never will. He'll never, EVER let you down. I promise. And so does God. And He always keeps His promises. He will not always give you want you want, but if you ask Him, He will supply what you really need. Jesus knows everything about you, and He still loves you. Your life is worth it to Him. Give it to Him. Don't take it. Don't take your life. Even if you're not having suicidal thoughts, there are many, MANY people out there who are right at this moment. Let's pray for them together.

Dear God,
I know that you see all the people who are having suicidal thoughts right now, and all the people who are feeling alone, afraid, and too bad for your life. Please lavish your love on them, Jesus, and show them that they are worth it. Stop them from triggering the gun, from swallowing the pills, from driving off the cliff...stop them right now please, Jesus. I know that you do allow bad things to happen, like suicidal, because you are a merciful and good God, and you allow us to choose You or the world. Please help these people to choose You, Jesus. I pray that they would see their worth in Your eyes, and that they would see Your love.
In Christ's wonderful Name I pray,
Amen.

Pray for the people with these thoughts. And if you are one of these people, don't do it. Don't take your life. You are worth so much! Without you, there would be a hole in the universe! God loves you so much. Even if it seems like He's not there, He is. Trust Him. Spend time with Him and read His Word. Feel His love. Cherish His love. And love Him back. Love others. Change your life.

"When there's no where else to turn
All your bridges have been burned
Feels like you've hit rock bottom
Don't give up, it's not the end
Open up your heart again
When you feel like no one understands
Where you are...

Someone loves you
Even when you don't think so
Don't you know
You got me and Jesus
By your side
Through the fight
You will never be alone
On your own
You got me and Jesus

Hold on to what we got
This is worth any cost
So make the most of life that's borrowed
Love like there's no tomorrow

Someone loves you
Even when you don't think so
Don't you know
You got me and Jesus
By your side
Through the fight
You will never be alone
On your own
You got me and Jesus

Even when you don't think so
Don't know you
You got me and Jesus
By your side
Through the fight
You will never be alone
On your own
You got me and Jesus

You will never be alone...
You got me and Jesus."

- Me and Jesus, Stellar Kart

Psalm 139:1-18
1 You have searched me, LORD,
   and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
   you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
   you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue
   you, LORD, know it completely.
5 You hem me in behind and before,
   and you lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
   too lofty for me to attain.
 7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
   Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
   if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
   if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
   your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
   and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
   the night will shine like the day,
   for darkness is as light to you.
 13 For you created my inmost being;
   you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
   your works are wonderful,
   I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
   when I was made in the secret place,
   when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
   all the days ordained for me were written in your book
   before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God!
   How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
   they would outnumber the grains of sand—
   when I awake, I am still with you.

2 Corinthians 4:15-17
15 All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.
 16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.

2 Corinthians 4:8-9
8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

2 Corinthians 12:10That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

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A Day For Blowing Bubbles

Yesterday, it was really pretty outside, so I took Elias, Sika, and my dad's camera outside, and we had some fun with bubbles!

I love this pic! Sika looks adorable, and the bubble she blew happened to be coming right at the camera! ("It's Galinda!" my sister Haley says!)














I love taking "action pictures" where he's blowing the bubbles! Super cool :D.













It was a fun day, and I got some nice pics ;).

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An Award...and Two B-days ;)












I got this from Mary. Thanks, Mary! I love ya! I love Mary's wording..."My friend Destiny awarded me with an award." Sweet. Anyway, here's the tag part.

You're stranded. On an Island. You have nothing. What do you do? Try to find help, shelter, food, and clean water.

What is your favorite feature: Eyes, feet, nose, etc? Eyes ;)

Ponytail or bun? Ponytail! Gots to love it.

Are your ears pierced? Yep.

What are you scared of? Axe murderers...people with guns (not police officers though, silly)....
Your man. Short or tall? My man? What is that supposed to mean?! I don't really care...I mean...It's up to God...right now I'm not concerned about "my man" and whether he is "short or tall" (I don't even know if he's existent!)

Would you rather be 13 or 30? I don't know, probably 13, but I've never been 30 so I can't compare.

Chocolate or roses? Roses ;). They're so beautiful!

I'm not sure how many people you award...but that doesn't matter :). Haha! I award...

Bookworm from Catching Rainbows
Mary from Smile {Forever and Always}
Emii from Girlz 4 God
Sarah from And So Our Journey Begins...
Kels from the Flip-Flop Farmgirl
Ara from Shilah
Danielle from Paper Heart
Anna from Sisters in the Savior
Emily from Life with Emily
Buttercup from Soaring on Wings Like Eagles

And y'all know what? You are ALL so lovely and beautiful in God's eyes - any of you girls out there can have this award! I award you with it, cuz you are splendidly, wonderfully made, and beautiful for who you really are!

And for the birthdays...
Yesterday was my friend Allie W.'s 14th birthday (and I missed it :()! SO sorry I missed your b-day, Allie! I LOVE YOU! God loves you so much! I'm so proud of you!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY!















And TODAY is my little sis Sika's 3rd birthday! She is the cutest most darling little girl! :D I love you, Sika, and your personality is so fun. You are so special to me! I LOVE YOU! And God loves you too! He has great plans for you!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

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Please be Praying

Please be praying.

Blencoe, IA residents prepare for the coming flood

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A Generation Chosen

Matthew 5:16
In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.


Today I was reading a book,  A Generation Chosen, by Ben Courson, and a part of it really got to me - the fact that faith without works is dead. If you merely believe in God, but keep living the sinful, worldly life you lived before, your faith isn't just getting worse..it's dead. Revelation 3:15-16 says:

I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.

We cannot serve both God and the world. We've gotta choose. The worst possible thing I can imagine is going before God in all His glory on Judgement Day and having Him say to me, "Away from me, I never knew you." That is the WORST thing I can imagine! The best thing I can imagine is when I am face-to-face with Jesus, hearing Him say, "Well done, good and faithful servant." I need to realize that my sin (and sin in general) is what murdered Jesus. Like Ben says in his book, when I gossip, I am hammering the nail into his flesh. When I lose my temper, I am putting the crown of thorns on Jesus' head. When I disrespect my parents, I am the one who spit on Him. And that is terrifying and saddening...It is so sad to think that I wrong Jesus every day. I sin against Him, like Gollum in Lord of the Rings. He gives into sin, turns against friends, and does anything and everything he can to obtain the stupid ring - sin. And in the end, he is destroyed with the very thing that pulled him down so deep. Let us not be a generation pulled by sin into an eternity of fire in hell. Let us be a generation who stands up for what they believe in, who shines their faith, who reaches out to others...we are a generation chosen. Let us show the world the love that we have been shown, the love of Jesus.

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Please Excuse the Mess...

Wow, I do construction SO much! Please excuse the mess while I try to get my blog just how I like it ;). Thanks for bearing with me!
With prayers,


Photobucket

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Q&A About Tania!

I found this Q&A on the blog Snatched from the Wind, and I really like it. It gets you thinking about your book/story characters and what their personalities are like. Here's a Q&A about my book character, Tania, from the book-in-progress, Tania's Faith!

What is her full name?
Tania Grace Burton.

Does his or her name have a special meaning? Not her first or last name. I just liked the name Tania and thought it was close to my name, Talia :-). Her middle name, Grace, is after Amazing Grace, the hymn her parents used to sing to her every night. The song also inspires Tania in a really cool way.

Does your character have a methodical or disorganized personality?Tania would probably be disorganized. Her life doesn’t go exactly how she wants it, and although she doesn’t like that, she isn’t the most organized and often acts without thinking.


Does he or she think inside themselves more than they talk out loud to their friends? (more importantly, does he or she actually have friends?)
Tania doesn’t think she is worthy of love or amazing grace, and she doesn’t believe that faith is real. She thinks lowly of herself until she receives faith and sees how she is in the King's eyes. Tania does have friends, but not in her hometown yet.


Is there something he or she is afraid of? Senkrad, never getting back home, being so dreadfully bad that no one will want her (she thinks that she is too bad for faith and love, too).


Does he or she write, dream, dance, sing, or photograph? She dreams and writes inspiring stories. In the book, she sings "Amazing Grace."
What is his or her favorite book? (or genre of books)
Her favorite books are fantasy, just like her own book.


Favorite flavor of ice cream?

Neopolitan.

Favorite season of the year?Fall. She loves the colors, weather, and beauty of the season.


How old is he/she?Twelve years old.

What does he/she do with his/her spare time?She doesn’t really have spare time in the book, but otherwise, reads her Bible, spends time with her sisters, Maggie and Rain, and just lives life out loud.

Does he/she see the big picture or live in the moment?Tania did not see the bigger picture until she had faith. So I guess living in the moment. But now that she has faith in Jesus, she strives to see the bigger picture.

Is he/she a perfectionist?It really depends on the situation.
Feel free to take these questions! They really challenge your thinking!


What does her handwriting look like? (round, slanted, curly, skinny, sloppy, neat, decorative, etc.)Round.


Favorite animal?Golden retrievers and parrots, since her dear friends Fred and Perry are a golden retriever and parrot.

Does he/she have any pets?No.

Does he/she have any siblings? How many? Where does he/she fit in?Yes, two younger sisters, Rain and Maggie. Maggie is the youngest, Rain the second oldest, and Tania the oldest.

Does he/she have a 'life verse' and if so what is it?Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.


Romans 8:38-39

Is he/she a Christian, or will he/she eventually find Jesus?Tania is not a Christian in the beginning, but eventually becomes one towards the end.

Does he/she believe in fairies?No.

Does he/she like hedgehogs?Not necessarily.

Favorite kind of weather?A sunshower.

Does he/she have a good sense of humor? If so what kind? (Slapstick, wit, sarcasm, etc.?)A little, but not a lot. Kind of witty.

How did he/she do in school, or any kind of education they might have had?She was homeschooled when the family lived in Kentucky, because they lived in the country far away from a school, but now that she lives in Oregon, she goes to public school.

Any strange hobbies?

No.

Favorite writing utensil?A pencil.

What type of laugh does he/she have?A joyful, airy laugh.

Who is his/her best friend?Besides her sister, Rain and Maggie, her friends Jack and Amira. In America, she doesn’t have a best friend yet.

What is his/her family like?Her father is a very kind, devoted father who is also firm and disciplines when necessary because he understands that it will better his daughters. He is strong in faith and in love and encourages his family in both.Tania’s stepmom Carli is very kind and also rooted in faith like the father. She enjoys spending time with her daughters and doing very motherly things, like fixing their hair and painting nails with them.
Rain is Tania’s adopted sister. She is very quiet and reserved, but also kind and thoughtful, and has deep faith.
Maggie is Tania’s younger sister. She is sort of an eavesdropper, but is very fun and very girly. She loves Jesus very much.

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Of True Importance

Sometimes (a lot of times), we really lose sight of what's important. I lose sight of what's important. It is so easy to get caught up in what the world tells you that you need, what the world tells you that you want, what you think you need so desperately that you will "die" if you don't have it. Some common distractions would be material items, popularity, jealousy and envy, boys, and lack of a "perfect family" or "perfect life." I thought it would be good to take a few minutes to reflect on what is really worthwhile, what is of true importance.

First and definitely most important of all, God. Without Him, I would be nothing. If He hadn't created me, and if He hadn't died for me, where would I be? And who would I be? I would be alone...cold...bitter...angry...scarred...rebellious...afraid...covered in filthy sin...
but He pulled me out of that and said to me, "I love you. You are mine." 


Friends. And I'm not talking about the "friends" who put you down, who joke about you behind your back(or to your face!), who pull you down instead of lifting you up, who don't encourage you in your faith in Jesus. I'm talking about the friends who love Jesus and encourage you in your faith in Him, keep you grounded in your faith, don't say mean things to you and then say "Just kidding!", and the kind of friends who lift you up instead of pulling you down. I have a lot of friends who are these kind of friends, and I am so blessed. Love you girls.

Family. I love my family so much, and I know that sometimes I am not as thankful as I should be for all that they do for me. I really love you all so much in a unique way. Thanks for encouraging me in my faith and for just being you guys. Love you. ♥♥♥

Thankfulness. Some people in other countries have so little, yet they are so thankful. I know for a fact that we often take things for granted...family, friends, the Bible, food, clean water, belongings...the list goes on. Let us strive to be thankful as the Lord wants us to be thankful. And let us pray for those less fortunate.


The Bible. I believe that God was very wise to create it! It is our handbook, helpful guide, and tool for when facing struggles...or any time! It shows the hope of God's love, the story of life, and so much more. The Bible is amazingly important!


Life. God is so amazing, and we are so blessed to have life created by Him. Often we even take LIFE for granted. But God has a plan for you, even if it's really hard to see what it is, or even if you don't believe the possibility that He could have a plan for you. He does. And He loves you so, so much, wherever you are, whatever you've done, and no matter how far you have run from Him...He still loves you.

Isaiah 54:10
"Though the mountains be shaken
   and the hills be removed,
yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken
   nor my covenant of peace be removed,”
   says the LORD, who has compassion on you.


(pictures from sistersnthesavior.blogspot.com, apparentproject.blogspot.com, and Talia DeAndrea)

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etiquette and such

Girlz of God Copyright Talia DeAndrea 2010, 2011, 2012. "Genuine," "Girlz of God," and "Tania's Faith" book excerpts Copyright Talia DeAndrea 2010, 2011, 2012. All pictures Copyright Talia DeAndrea, unless otherwise noted. Please do not steal or copy anything on this blog without my permission. Thank you :-).

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