Friday, June 29, 2007

Oh Please! What's up with all the drama?

Tricia Goyer here ...

What are some of your favorite movies? Have you seen anything good lately? Or perhaps you've been too busy focused on the drama of life to have time to go to the movies.

Recently, I was talking to a teen. "Life is SO dramatic. I'm happy school's out for the summer," she told me, "because at school there is so much drama going on, they forget what the whole point is ... SCHOOL WORK."

I had to laugh, but I totally understand. In fact, I wrote a book about that very thing!

My book, My Life, Unscripted will be out this fall. You can read the first chapter here.

Still, drama is going to happen around us no matter what. Life is like that. People are like that. What I've decided is that I often can't change people. And most of the time I can't really do much about the situation. But God is teaching me something, and that is that love covers a multitude of dramatic moments.

John 13:35 says, "By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."

Because we have God inside, we're able to act and react differently than 99.9% of the world. We can love others even when our first, natural, fleshly response would be to NOT to.

And what does God says about that? "Cool, that's how they will know you're with Me."

So next time you find yourself in the middle of life's drama, ask how God can use you to show love. It will get noticed--God's love that is. And people will see Jesus like they never have before ... in you.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Unlocking the Secrets

I love this website...

Candace was nice enough to interview me! (the link is on the home page of the website)

Thanks Candace!

Make sure you click on the "Hire Candace" tab...funny stuff!

And make sure to also check out her great resource page!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Unexpected and Amazing

Every once in awhile you come across something like this...

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Guest Blogger...Cara Putnam

Lazy Days

I love summer. I love spending time at the pool. I love planting flowers. I love picking a fresh bouquet from my perennials. I love afternoons at the park with the kids.

I love summer.

And in a week, my summer will be lazy for the first time in a long time. Sure I have two book deadlines in August – Ack! But I’ll be done teaching a summer class at Purdue, and I won’t be at the law firm. The kids and I will have two months of hanging out and playing.

I can’t wait!

I plan to spend time most days at the pool. Just this week my son figured out he can float and swim all over the pool with his floaties. Talk about freedom for mom. And my daughter is quite a fish. Each day, her swimming gets stronger. I can’t wait to see how far they both progress by September.

I have a bag of art projects we can make together. Both of my kids love projects and crafts and will create their own if I don’t direct them. So we’re going to try some new things like painting vases and making garden stepping stones.

Then there’s education. It may be summer, but as a homeschooling family, learning never stops. My daughter will start second grade in the fall, and it has been wonderful to watch her reading take-off as we work on it each day. She’s gone from reading simple readers to more complex chapter books. And I love that she’s asking if she can read out loud to me. Then there’s double-digit subtraction and addition. And working with my son in math books and on picking out words in books. He loves to do both, and he’s only three. Plus reading books like Stuart Little, Dancing Shoes, and Magic Tree House to them.

I am ready to relax and enjoy a summer hanging out with my kids and watching their personalities and character continue to develop.

What will you do this summer?

Cara C. Putman

Canteen Dreams -- October 2007; Sandhill Dreams -- May 2008 and Captive
Dreams -- September 2008 (Heartsong Presents)
Deadly Exposure -- June 2008 (LI Suspense)
The Law, Life & Books:
Original Writer for Jake Tremaine at Scenes & Beans:

Monday, June 25, 2007

Are you kids having a fun or boring summer?

I have friends who DREAD summer. Personally, I think it’s because they feel they have to entertain their kids all day. (Often because the kids insist!) The kids are so used to being shuttled and scheduled they don't know how to entertain themselves.

That's another way I think my writing as REALLY benefited my family. Every afternoon, mommy would have "writing time." And the kids played. They colored, drew, played with Legos, dressed Barbies (or at least my daughter did), read books, etc. They were NEVER bored during their summers, they knew how to have fun. Of course, since they were homeschooled, for us this wasn’t just a summer thing.

Today my kids have GREAT imaginations. My oldest son is writing a novel. My youngest son gets about two requests a day for playdates. His friends' parents love having him over because he "entertains" their kids with his great imagination.

This week, my daughter is volunteering at VBS. Her job was to come up with snacks for the 6th grade. Do you think she went to the store and bought chips and cookies? No? She had these wonderful, creative snacks ... ideas that she found on-line.

In fact yesterday she made cupcakes, frosted them, and covered them with mini-marshmallows to look like popcorn. Then she wrapped them with red and white striped paper to look like popcorn bags. Man ... I should have taken a photo!

Anyway ... just a note to say don’t feel bad if you need time to follow your dreams. That solo play time WILL benefit your kids in the long wrong!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

I Believe Girls Should Be Girls

Some of my favorite memories of growing up in the 70s and 80s was playing Barbies with my friend. When I was in 2nd grade my friend Laura lived in the house behind me. We spend HOURS setting up our play houses, dressing our Barbies, and just letting our minds wander as we played pretend.

A few years ago I received an email from Laurie. It was great hearing from her after so much time. You see, we I was in the 4th grade Laura moved away and we lost track of each other.

Laurie emailed me and we talked about the fun we used to have. Laurie also said she discovered some of my Barbie items when she was going through her things. Can you imagine? She kept those things after 20+ years. Yes, good memories are worth keeping around.

Of course, things are different now. It’s sad, don’t you think that often little girls don't have the time just to play? One reason is that parents have the signed up for every activity under the sun. Six-year-olds need their private calendars just to keep track! (I devoted a whole chapter to this in my book Generation NeXt Parenting.)

Another reasonI think girls don't have time to play is that they seem to be growing up too fast—the clothes, the makeup, the music. It seems the stuff I was drawn to at sixteen is being marketing to girls at age six! (Don't get me started on this!)

Amazingly, I discovered I’m not the only one who thinks little girls are growing up too fast. Check this out:

Mattel and Barbie have a new website to encourage parents, teachers, leaders to let little girls be little girls longer. Way to go Barbie! I knew I liked you.

Here is some of what they believe: (from their website)

  • We believe in girls. In their dreams. And in their very natural, built-in desire to change the world.
  • We believe in playtime (and more of it).
  • We believe, in fact, that the magic of a happy, playful, inspired girlhood is the same secret ingredient that creates happy, inspired and powerful women.
  • And the world could use as many of those as possible, right?

So, do you think little girls are growing up to fast? Check out the resources on this page and give voice to what YOU believe.

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As a member of Generation X (those born between 1961 and 1981), I know what it is like to be in the middle of my parent’s divorce and what it is like to be a latchkey kid and come home to an empty house everyday. So now, as a parent, one of my longings is to be more present in my children’s everyday lives and to give them a better quality of life.

As parents we want to give our kids more than we had. We want them to participate in the extracurricular activities for which our parents didn’t have the interest or money, or time for. We want to protect them from growing up too quickly and want to give them the right education, the right morals, and the right attitudes to succeed in life.

If you’re like me, you may feel the ideal life, the perfect family, is out there—somewhere … just beyond your grasp. That if you could just get your priorities straight, read the right parenting books, be a good role model, and choose the right playmates for your kids all your hopes would come true.

These longings aren’t bad, of course, when we line them up with our holy God, and realize that our plans matter little in comparison to His. And what are His plans? Listen to this:

“Remember your history, your long and rich history. I am God, the only God you’ve had or ever will have—incomparable, irreplaceable—from the very beginning telling you what the ending will be, all along letting you in on what is going to happen, assuring you, I’m in this for the long haul. I’ll do exactly what I set out to do.” Isaiah 46:10-11 (The Message)

THIS is the childhood the Lord has for our kids. Not the childhood we wished we’d had, or the perfect life we can never attain, but the blueprints and the form He has designed for them.

God has longings for your children even greater than your own … and He’s willing to tell you these things if you seek Him out. Why don’t you try it?

©Tricia Goyer, Generation NeXt Parenting

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

For out of the overflow...

“For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:34)

“But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart” (Matthew 15:18)

Little Jonathan likes to sing his heart out. As he sings, my husband and I often look at each other and grin. I’ll often whisper, “We must be doing something right.”

Eric nods or whispers back something like, “Or God is amazingly faithful.”

Frankly, I think it’s both.

You see, Jonathan’s mouth is overflowing with praise songs. True, it’s fun to listen to his renditions of songs like Promises. We were walking through the mall yesterday, and he’s singing at the top of his lungs, “All of Your promises won’t let go of me….oh, oh, oh, I can’t forget about it.”

Abigail is much the same. More often than not, her heart bubbles from her lips with praise song after worship song. It delights my heart to stand in church with her and hear her sing as loud as she can along with everyone else. She came back from Vacation Bible School a couple weeks ago singing all kinds of songs about the fruit of the Spirit.

And singing those principles will cement them in my children’s hearts. How many songs from your childhood can you still recite word for word? Many of the verses I have memorized started as a song I learned at church. I will never forget the words to El Shaddai, The Warrior is a Child, or even I am a Promise (a classic from the Bill Gaither Trio). And I’ve added literally thousands of songs since then.

At times those songs are literally a lifeline pulling me back to the throne room of God when emotionally I couldn’t be farther away for whatever reason.

I turn on Casting Crowns and belt out Praise You in the Storm or Lifesong. Or plug in Desperation Band and sing really anything. Anything that reminds me of the promises and character of God.

So when I see my three and six year olds choosing to turn on Point of Grace or another praise and worship album or they ask to sing Voice of Truth just one more time, I smile and thank God for His faithfulness. Because no matter what Eric and I do to train our children, only God can turn their hearts to Him.

And when they’re adults, they’ll have a wellspring well-stocked with verses to sing to Him in the good and bad times.

Cara C. Putman
Canteen Dreams -- coming October 2007 (Heartsong Presents)
Sandhill Dreams and Captive Dreams -- 2008 (Heartsong Presents)
The Law, Life & Books:
Original Writer for Jake Tremaine at Scenes & Beans:

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Monday, June 18, 2007

Winning the Food War!

Many young children are timid about trying new foods.

But, seriously, kids can’t live on macaroni and cheese alone! And while kids usually are better about trying new cuisine as they grow older, here are twelve tips you can use tonight.

1. Only offer one new food at a time, and in small amounts. Too much at one time can be overwhelming.

2. In every meal, include at least one food you know your child will like.

3. Let your child choose a new food to try. Or try an exchange—you choose one for him and he chooses one for you.

4. Don’t short-order cook. Making separate meals for you and your child is not only time consuming, but it also caters to a finicky eater.

5. Encourage your child to taste a small amount before making a decision. Some foods taste better than they look!

6. If your child is healthy and is growing adequately, don’t worry if he eats the same types of foods all the time. He’ll mostly likely outgrow it.

7. Don’t make mealtime a battleground. Remind your child that if he doesn’t eat what’s on the table, he’ll have to wait until the next snack or meal.

8. Snacking is okay, especially for small children. Since they have small stomachs, they need to eat more frequently to meet their high-energy needs. Yet, be careful of what snacks you choose. For toddlers, vegetable sticks, fresh fruit, low-fat crackers and cheese are good choices.

9. If your child doesn’t like a specific food the first time, don’t be afraid to try again. Children are often more accepting as they become more familiar with a new food.

10. Remember, children are natural observers and imitators. The old saying, “Do what I say and not what I do,” never works. If you have poor eating habits, then your kids will too. Come on, mom. Let me see you eat those vegetables!

11. Children need to know that all food can fit into a healthy diet. There are no “good” or “bad” foods. Every food can be enjoyed in moderation.

12. Finally, remember it’s easier to eat healthy if you shop healthy. Look for a wide variety of foods that are low in fat, sugar, and salt but high in vitamins and minerals. Resist the urge to shop when you’re hungry, and it will be easier to make good choices!

© Tricia Goyer, author of Generation NeXt Parenting

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Friday, June 15, 2007


The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know…This is the way our savior God wants us to live. 1Timothy 2:1, 3 (The Message)

More than anything, parenting takes courage. There is no going with the flow, no just trying to slide by, when it comes to raising kids.

As we enter the uphill battle of child rearing, we must trust the success of our parenting to God. Prayer is key. Sometimes situations are hard to see, and we feel like we are blindly tramping around. In raising kids in this day and age, we need to take all our needs before God and leave the results to Him. In prayer we plead our case before God, we get God’s perspective, and gain confidence and courage.

God doesn’t always answer our prayers in the way we hoped or expected, but we can trust that He will answer our prayer in the best way, not just sometimes, but every time.

As Gen X parents, we know that these are trying times to be raising children, but we must realize that we are parents now, not by chance, but by design. God has called us to parent specifically during this time in history.

Here are some scriptures for the parenting journey:
1. Prayers of need (Psalm 55:22, Jeremiah 17:7-8)
2. Prayers of thanksgiving (Psalm 40:5, Romans 11:33)
3. Prayers for seeking families (Matthew 11:25, Psalm 116:6-7)
4. Prayers for generations (Psalm 105:708, Psalm 100:5)

©Tricia Goyer
Generation Next Parenting

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

Making Room for Daddy

“And you know that we treated each of you as a father treats his own children. We pleaded with you encouraged you, and urged you to live your lives in a way that God would consider worthy. For he called you into his Kingdom to share his glory.” 1 Thessalonians 2:11-13 (NLT)

Okay ladies, this one is for you … as Gen Xers we’ve grown up to believe we can have and do it all if we just try hard enough or want it bad enough. As young girls we were told to be assertive and independent, to show our power. And the young men … well they were trained to let us.

For example, when I had my son, I discovered that I had a much easier time letting my husband be my husband, than letting him be my son’s dad. As the mother, I spent the most time with our son and pretty much figured I knew what was best for him. I wanted things done my way, and I wasn’t afraid to tell my husband which way that was!

Even though “mom in charge” seems natural, I’ve learned by experience that the control we think we want is actually a conflict of interest. When it came to raising our three kids, I thought I knew best. But after a while, I resented my husband for not taking more of a stand and leaving all the work to me. Have you ever felt that way?

I can’t tell you the number of times I prayed for my husband to be the spiritual leader of our home and interact with the kids more. Then one day as I prayed, I felt God saying, “Well then step back. Stop trying to run the show.” And you know what? As I stepped back, my husband stepped up to the plate, and I’ve been thankful ever since.

There are many people, tasks, and desires pulling against a dad’s time and energy. As I’ve learned, sometimes we just need to give fathers a chance to excel in their role. Here are three ways to do just that:

1. Respect: Men want to know they’re respected. Nagging, complaining or contradicting is the opposite of what they need. Before you open your mouth, ask yourself, “Are my words respectful?” Also, remember that body language speaks even louder than words. If you’re struggling with how to speak or act, take it to God in prayer.

2. Room: Give Dad room to be Dad. It’s okay to discuss concerns and problems together, but don’t run the show. Our husbands are our partners, not our puppets. And I guarantee the more connected they feel in the process of parenting the more connected they’ll be with the kids.

3. Grace: I don’t know about you, but I’m great at speck-finding, especially with the person I’m closest to. Offer grace to your husband, don’t keep track of all his “wrongs” and don’t continually point out his flaws. Offer him instead hope and encouragement.

So take some time and ponder this. How would your spouse feel if you handed him all these gifts? I’ve found by experience that when I give these gifts, they are returned—not only to me, but to our whole family. Dads may do things differently than moms would, but different is okay. No, wait—different is exactly how God designed it!

© Tricia Goyer
Generation NeXt Parenting

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

My Tween Central

I wanted to share about a cool new website:

I met the founder, Jeff, through another writer. He's a Christian and really has a passion for making sure kids get good resources.

Here is what Jeff had to say: exists to provide an online safe haven for tween entertainment. Drawing on experience in the music industry and online retail, I started this website with the hope and vision that parents and their kids would have a safe place to browse and enjoy the latest products in tween music, books, and movies.

As a father, I appreciate the concerns of parents relating to online safety, privacy, and the type of content that is featured on a website. Our commitment to you as parents is to make sure that all of the products that are available on MyTweenCentral are age appropriate for children between the ages of 7 and 12. When there is a product is in question as to whether or not it is appropriate for children, that product is reviewed by a panel of parents before a decision is made as to whether or not it will be available for sale on Products are reviewed based on a range of criteria from the cover image, title, lyrics, content, etc.

Check it out!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Guest Blogger...Cara Putnam

Opening Your Home to Others

I love to entertain. We bought our current home in no small part because I knew it was a great house for having people over. The adults can be downstairs while the kids romp upstairs.

Eric loves it when I entertain because that means I’m going to cook a nice – maybe even great – meal. It’ll probably be a new recipe, and at least two steps above the routine of grilled cheese, chicken nuggets, and spaghetti. When it comes to quick meals I’m in a rut. When it comes to company, I’m in the cookbooks. Piles of them. Until I find the perfect dish to experiment with. Last night it was a new BBQ Beef recipe – wow, was it good! Friday night it was stuffed manicotti and a new spinach salad. We have been eating well.

But often, despite my best intentions, we can go weeks or a month without inviting anyone into our home. It’s a lot of work to get the house ready, to go grocery shopping (ugh!) and do all the cooking and prep work.

All that work used to stress me. Now I’m better --- notice I said better --- about relaxing and enjoying our guests.

Why go to all the effort? Because Christ commanded us to open our home to others. To break bread together. To share our lives with others. The question is am I willing to make the small-sacrifices required?

For me the answer is yes. I want my children to be comfortable and well behaved among a wide variety of people. I also want to encourage them to have their friends over – which means I have to invest in getting to know their parents, too.

But as we ate dessert and chatted over rounds of Uno last night, I decided it was well worth it. And it’s time to break out the calendar and schedule a few more nights.

What’s your favorite meal when you invite people to your home? Do you have a standard, tried and true favorite? Or are you an adventurous soul who prays the meal tastes good?

Cara C. Putman
Canteen Dreams -- coming October 2007 (Heartsong Presents)
Sandhill Dreams and Captive Dreams -- 2008 (Heartsong Presents)
The Law, Life & Books:
Original Writer for Jake Tremaine at Scenes & Beans:

Thursday, June 07, 2007


©Tricia Goyer, author of Generation NeXt Parenting

Habits are hard to break. Very hard. Yet dealing with these habits is exactly what I need to do to be the best parent I can be.

I don’t know about you, but I learned quite quickly after my children were born that they are great at teaching all about my faults and weaknesses. I realized I was not quite the together person I thought.

Considering all my hang ups, I realized there were many ‘past issues’ I needed to deal with as a person before I could move toward my potential as a mother. The negative patterns I developed in my teen years were just as heavy to bear as my shameful regrets! These issues spilled over into every other aspect of my life … including my parenting.

Breaking past habits isn’t easy, and sometimes they even require a jackhammer. Ouch. Yet letting God work at digging out our bad habits is essential. Because we all know that what we say, do, struggle with … is what our kids will say, do, and struggle with. Whether we like it or not.

When our kids are toddlers, we think it’s so sweet when they pick up a block and place it to their ear like a cell phone. But the older they get, the more their mimicking matters … and you may find that your rock-solid bad habits have become your children’s too!

The best way I’ve found to deal with past habits is to take the advice God gives in Psalm 139:23-24 (NIV):

Search me O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Take time to ponder this verse and answer these questions. Share your answers with a friend!

1. What does God see in my heart?
2. What bad habit would God like to see rooted out?
3. What anxious thoughts can I turn over to God?
4. What steps can I take to turn from the offensive toward the everlasting?

God is faithful. He doesn’t bring things to mind to shame us . . . but instead to remind us to turn to Him for wisdom, guidance and help to transform into the type of person He knows we can be!

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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Guest Blogger...Cara Putnam

We’re at one of those crossroads. Decision time.

No, we’re not considering moving. Eric’s not choosing between jobs. I’m past choosing an agent.

Nope, this involves our kids. Abigail in particular. You see, the kid likes gymnastics. She started about 10 months ago and has steadily moved up in the classes and difficulty level. But she just advanced to what’s called level 2 about 4 weeks ago. I figured we were there for a long time. Our friends kids were. And it seemed pretty standard. Nope. My girl decides to figure out the skills in the last week. She’s flipping all over the house.

And flipping into level 3.

I. Am. Not. Ready. For. This.

The mom in me has watched the level 3 girls. They’ve been there awhile. They look pretty good. They do hard skills.

Abigail’s going to be creamed.

But she’s ready. And my husband has talked me out of protecting her. Oh, I want to. One more session in Level 2 and she’d be better able to compete. At least that’s what I tell myself.

Honestly, I’m concerned that she may get discouraged. Start comparing herself to the other kids and see that she’s not there yet. And these girls are older. Not overly excited about that either. I’m also not ready to confront what comes after this level. I really can’t see us doing team gymnastics. We’re not ready as a family to make that kind of commitment, and frankly I don’t want so much of our energy going in one direction unless God clearly shows us it’s okay.

But she’s worked hard. And we’re not there yet. So I’m grateful that God has given me a husband who’s ready to let her be pushed.

And I learned today that she’s getting the teacher I want. An encourager and pusher. Great combination for Abigail.

So how do you balance decisions like this? Any wisdom to share?

Cara C. Putman
Canteen Dreams -- coming October 2007 (Heartsong Presents)
Sandhill Dreams and Captive Dreams -- 2008 (Heartsong Presents)
The Law, Life & Books:
Original Writer for Jake Tremaine at Scenes & Beans:

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Monday, June 04, 2007

Blue Like Tidy-Bowl Cleaner, Kool-Aid, and Heaven:

Thoughts on Home, Family, and God from the middle of Suburbia!

In the top middle drawer of my dresser, my bras can be categorized in two styles. Fancy and comfortable. I have about the same number of each, though the latter set gets used twice as much. I often use the “fancy” on the days I want to feel pretty. Or on days when I know my husband will be coming home for lunch, and I can flash him just for fun. (He loves it when I do that, and it usually guarantees a love note via email.) Fancy is worth it on days like that.

But although I’ve tried many kinds of fancy, I’ve discovered that usually within an hour I feel tense and tight and I have to change. Like right now. I’m squirming in my computer chair as if I was bound by a thick rope around my chest. Excuse me while I change.

Ahhh … much better.

Anyway, I was thinking today as I showered how similar my bra selection compares to the books on my bookshelf. Sometimes I hear about an “enlightening” book, and I just have to buy it. I usually read a few pages, and it’s sort of fancy. It may talk about things like spiritual disciplines, or foundational truths, or it may use big words that I sort of understand but don’t completely track with. I usually get a few chapters in before another book takes its place on my nightstand. I tell myself I’ll get back to the fancy book one day, and I have every intention to. After all, these are smart Christian people who have a heart for God. People I should pay attention to.

In the end, I find myself falling back to what’s comfortable. Like my favorite bras, my favorite books get a lot of use. I have a copy of My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers. And more than one copy of Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby. I find myself loving these books because they help me to connect with God and feel His heart.

There are a ton of other great books, too, by authors like Robert Benson, John Fischer, and Brenda Waggoner that are sort of fancy, but in a comfortable way. These, to me, are the best of both worlds. They have forever found a place upon my bookshelf, and I finding myself returning to them again and again.

When it comes to fancy bras, I buy them to make myself feel better and to impress my husband. And, as I was thinking about this in the shower, I wondered if I do the same with my reading choices. Am I trying to make myself look good or impress others when they talk about some books? Or do I think I’ll be able to flash God with a ‘look at this’ and brighten His day?

Just like everybody has different dental records, every mind and heart is unique, too. Maybe what I think is comfortable is fancy to another person. Or what I think is fancy may be someone else’s bite, and that’s okay.

Because in the long run it’s not about looking good, it’s about finding the right support. (Pun totally intended.) My devotional books support me and help me connect with God. They give me the lift I need to look into my Maker’s gaze.

Sure, I’ll keep those other books around. They’ll be dusted, stacked and restacked. Maybe someday my taste will change, and they’ll become my new comfort. But for now I’m going with what works, what fits me, and what provides the support I need.

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