January 30, 2011

And do we really want it any other way?

Cool how God editted dance from my life. For the sole reason to be able to actually dance in greater freedom. His freedom. Yeah. Speechless on that one. Praise be. Photo courtesy of Pure Belief.

"We are not presented with a functional god who will help us out of jams or an entertainment god who will lighten our tedious hours. We are presented with the God of exodus and Easter, the God of Sinai and Calvary. If we want to understand God, we must do it on his terms. If we want to see God the way he really is, we must look to the place of authority--to Scripture and to Jesus Christ.

"And do we really want it any other way? I don't think so. We would soon become contemptuous of a god whom we could figure out like a puzzle or learn to use like a tool. No, if God is worth our attention at all, he must be a God we can look up to--a God we must look up to... The moment we look up to God (and not over at him, or down on him) we are in the posture of servitude."

- Eugene Peterson, fun fact I just learned: he drafted The Message.

January 29, 2011

My schedule changed (but I still work hard for the money).

Photo courtesy of Rachael Pace. Megan said it looked like me.

Do you know what I stinkin' love about this job? The unpredictability. Hands-down. It rules. Fun fact: In the 1960's, ADPi LC's called Executive Office on a pay phone when they got to chapters to check in and find out where they were going next and when the plane pulled outta the gate.

Dunno if I'm that spontaneous, but my February schedule just changed a bit--yes, the month that's two days away--and I'm so pumped! Coupla days ago, I posted my February travels. But I'll have to check out South Dakota School of Mines and Technology the next time I'm twidlin' my thumbs out in the northern plains, because I'M GOING TO UVA, BABY! And Centre College--bring it, Kentucky. I've never met you before.

Go Cavaliers. Heckyes, I WILL be buying school paraphernalia. Who wants a shirt? Anyone? Bueller? So yeah. That's:

Louisville, Ky.
Expansion Presentation with some members of ADPi Grand Council and the Expansion Team
 
Centre, Ky.

Gainesville, Fla.

Distrcit IV Leadership Convention
Detroit, Mich.

Charlottesville, Va.
Zeta Xi Chapter

District III Leadership Convention
Baltimore, Md.

Des Moines, Iowa

What am I gonna do when my life doesn't operate around airline schedules? They offer therapy for that, right? #separationanxiety

Do without.

Photo courtesy of Permisson and Pink

I'm very, very grateful and thankful my job taught me this over the year. Living out of 1 suitcase, 1 suitcase, 1 rolling carry-on and 1 purse was worth it for that.

I needed that lesson. Because by nature, buddy I can s-h-o-p.

We. Are. So. Blessed. We just have so, very much...

January 28, 2011

Blue and white we'll always be.

Photo courtesy of Southern Darlin. I think we are the same person.

University of Maryland
Beta Phi Chapter
College Park, Md.
 
Alpha Pi. Iota. Delta Theta. Alpha Chi. Gamma Rho. Theta Zeta. Kappa (KAPPA!!! Shout out to my girls. I miss y'all.) and Eta Rho, obviously.

I may have feet planted here in Maryland for recruitment at Beta Phi chapter,
but we're pulling in from Alpha Delta Pi chapters across the nation.

Above translated from Greek: George Washington University. Valdosta State University. University of California-Los Angeles. Arizona State University. Washington & Lee University. Samford University and California State University-Chico, obviously.

Alpha Pi girls came over on Sunday to help us practice! Thank y'all! Meg and I shall be hoppin' on the Metro soon to come see your pretty townhouse.

 

It's like going to Grand Convention or a district conference--we need to be reminded that we at our little campuses do not make up _____ sorority. You're actually pretty new to Greek life, comparitively speaking, if you're still in college...

Dear sorority women of America: I do not care how "good" you think your chapter is. Well, first of all, right now I don't care if you're a KD or Alpha Gam or an ADPi or whatever, but second of all I do not care how "good" you think your chapter is. How old, how prestigious, how many awards you've won. Improve it. Lead it. Lead Panhellenic life at your university. Look to your left a few miles, to your right a few hundred miles. Get ideas and implement them. There is no sorority chapter in this whole nation doing everything perfectly, regardless of the letters are on your Vineyard Vines bag (or frocket tee. I could thump people that pen annoying articles like this in the Auburn Plainsman. Get. Over. It.).

See? They were here before us. And stinkin' cute, too. Photo courtesy of Alpha Theta chapter.

I know I have a really, really warped view on sororities because I am constantly traveling. But I'm passionate about this idea because I'm guilty of being a total ADPi snob. I was a member of a single-letter, ancient ADPi chapter that is at the top of the international awards chain for our organization. Guess what? That's not good enough. Improve. Get better. Stay current. Reach out across America to see what other chapters are doing. Refuse to rest on your laurels.

Then you'll really see some sisterhood. It looks dang pretty cool when it spans our great nation and a bunch of generations.

Disclaimer: This is not a rant. I'm passionate about it. And by now I know through fanmail or whatever that a lot of Greek women read my silly blog. And when I find a soapbox, I stand on it and preach. Story of my life.

They will know us by our love.

Photo courtesy of Pure Belief.

Blog title: "By Our Love" by Christy Nockles

January 27, 2011

I like to think I'm surviving a New England winter.

The Beta Phi chapter house at University of Maryland this mornin'.

University of Maryland
Beta Phi Chapter
College Park, Md.

It snowed. About 2 inches an hour all night for the D.C. area. The power's finally hoppin' after a 12-hour hiatus, but Little Miss California (Megan) and Little Miss Alabama (moi) are still in awe. "Ash, come here--you gotta see this," said Meg last night. So I went outside the Beta Phi house and looked...

College Avenue is hushed. Quiet. The now-white Episcopal church across the street stares back peacefully. Greek row is eerily and unusually quiet. Still. It was 10 p.m. and bright as dawn due to the snow reflection.

1-2: We messed up all the perfect snow alongside the frat boys playin' touch football in the snow. 3: My Uggs are destroyed. Mama--send up my Hunters? 4: I'm basically 5-years-old.

And last week, at Drake University, it was doin' this same thing. I was mesmerized by it, not because I don't get out much, but just the consistancy. It was so powdery... We don't get that stuff back in the Delta lands. And the sweet collegians treked across campus to yoga with me even in the snow because they knew I love it. "NORA! Quick. Look at my eyelashes--there are snowflakes on 'em right?" "Uh, yeah Ashlyn. Ha, this is not normal weather for you, huh?" Nope, definitely abnormal.

We're 2 days away from "door" over here in sorority recruitment land (Did I tell you recrutiment spans 2 weeks here?! TWO WEEKS?). There is nothing I crave more than peace in these moments sometimes. And now it's right outside my front door.

A view outside our door. I coulda gotten a better shot but I wasn't gonna go trouncin' over black ice. I'm a klutz enough as it is.

Be still and know that I am God.
Psalm 46:10

January 26, 2011

Risk.


Photo courtesy of I'm not sure.

Potential favorite C.S. Lewis quote ever:
(I need to read waaaay more first)

"To love at all is to be vulberable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully 'round with hobbies and little luxuries, avoid all entablements, lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket--safe, dark, motionless, airless--it will change. It will not be broken, it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable."

Thanks, T. Gunter. Love you sister.

January 24, 2011

And if you want to be free, be free.

Photo courtesy of most beautiful darling.

This would just SO have been my little sister and me. K's on the left, of course. I'm pretty glad we're related. Luh you, cupcake.

p.s. Mama, you're allowed to comment on this post.

Blog title: If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out - Cat Stevens

Cross-check complete, we're ready for take-off.

Photo courtesy of Pure Belief.

Security check: Grab three bins. Unstack 1, 2, 3 onto belt. Place briefcase in Bin 1. Unzip briefcase. Remove TSA-friendly laptop bag and 1 qt. clear bag of liquids. Place in Bin 2. Strip peacoat. Scarf. Tory Burch flats. Place in Bin 3. Place Heys rolling carry-on onto belt wheels first. Look up. Smile. "Aight. You're clear to come through, ma'am." And then they get swimsuit Barbie version of me on a screen or whatever.

You seen Up in the Air? It's like that clip at the beginning. Twenty-seven seconds of choreography through security and I'm free to grab Starbucks and find a dang outlet for my laptop/one of my phones. Reality check: 1.5 million people are cleared to fly every day. Next reality check: that's just the United States.

It. Is. CRAZY. how fixated society is on security.
We're borderline obsessed, really.

Granted, for very, very good reasons. And it's process to learn why, but God, somehow this year You're starting the eternity-lesson of teaching this tiny, small, speck of creation little brunette Alabamian girl a lesson SOLEY for the glory of your huge, swallowing, all-encompassing Love Story...

(I do not have it all now. But I'm losing sleep over this idea, so just deal with how fuddled these words are.)

It's in your Psalm 121, as a weary traveller in pitch-black night is reassured her Protector doesn't even have "slumber" in His vocabulary.

It's in Acts 2:45 as the early church sold everything they have and gave it to someone who actually didn't take it for granted.

Um, it's in the whole Bible.

It's in my job, as a lot of days I just sit and talk to You because I'm alone.

It's in my job, as I dunno what the chick picking me up at the airport looks like or what I'll sleep on or where the bathroom is.

It? Security. The same beast we try to bridle and tame with our TSA, FAA, NSC, CIA, FBI, FDA, FCC, JCS, firewalls, home security systems, Brita filters, Ziploc, iPhone passwords, diary locks, invisible fences, job-because-it-pays-the-bills, and even our boyfriend-hunting.

We will do anything to keep life as we know it or wish it to become.

Security.

But what if we followed a Savior who at his core was LOVE, yet asks for a blank check from His followers? We've elevated safety to the neglect of whatever God's best is, whatever would bring God the most glory, or whatever would accomplish His purposes in our lives and in the world.

I'm NOT saying don't filter your water. I'm a vegetarian for cryin' out loud. But just look around and watch what we do to be "safe." Then think a minute, Christian. Isn't it scary, utterly frightening how we trained our hearts, that we're claiming we've given to Christ, to play by the same picket-fence rules? "Keep us safe on this flight, God?" "Please let my next job be in a city where I have a few friends?"

Father, pull me even closer to You,
use me to declare You during this flight/trip/life.
Whatever it takes.

"People who are obsessed with Jesus aren't consumed with their personal safety and comfort above all else. Obsessed people care more about God's kingdom coming to this earth than their own lives being shielded from pain or distress."
- Francis Chan, Crazy Love

We gotta get to that point. Got to. Got to, got to, GOT TO...

January 23, 2011

And blue is our other color.


I'd say I'm sure everyone and their mother has seen this, but since I know my mother hasn't, I'm posting it. This adorable video is all the rage on campuses going through recruitment (I've seen it remade a couple of times). I'm utterly fascinated with marketing to college-aged women, and welp--this does it. Done. Well done, Baylor Kappas. You just garnered the attention of the country's sorority community in your frat hats and neon and they're all talking about you. Get it. Mark my words: Half the chapters of Kappa in the South are gonna be singing this August.
My grandmother wore the KKG pin, so my little competitive complex is always a bit soft around Kappa. Of course, I wish someone in blue and white had thought of it first, but they kill it. I'm really Panhellenic. I promise.

January 22, 2011

More than a ritual or a symbol.

DISCLAIMER: If you don't want a cheesy, sorority-snaps blogpost, click back to Facebook or ESPN.com (now that some of my guy friends have admited to reading, I'm callin' y'all out).

Photo courtesy of someone's Facebook.
Drake University
Theta Eta Chapter
Des Moines, Iowa

Sometimes I wonder what TSA thinks when my carry-on goes through security: There's a ritual book, bundle of ADPi stationery, Crayola markers, Tiffany & Co. bag (for marketing presentations), yarn, etc. Lori told me last week, "Oh girl. I've been traveling with yarn for months. Great idea. I also grabbed some blue and white balloons at ___ chapter. They had too many. They can live without a couple." Brilliant, Roary. So this weekend, I added yarn to my arsenal. Mom, there is some missing from the bottom drawer of your sewing chest, FYI.

Yes, for a living, I do leadership training. And it's the coolest job ever. Let me now tell you a story.

A few weeks ago at Passion Conference, Beth Moore said something (well, 50 things) that hit home. She talked about a young woman who was called to ministry. Homegirl said to Beth, "There is no way. I am not like you. I absolutely HATE public speaking." Beth said she laughed out loud. "Honey, what ever made you think I want to get up and do public speaking? It's not naturally me. At all. But it's what God asks me to do make Him famous. And Satan tells me I can't, but God brings me through it, of course." Then she said it's moments like these when we genuinely bring a smile to his face. We walk off that stage and look at Him and say, "HA! Did you see what we just did, God?! Nailed it! HA!" Beth said it's so sweet when we have these high-five moments with the Lord...

So the other night at Drake, I had scheduled a Recruitment Team meeting with a bunch of sistahs--the ones who drive marketing, philanthropy, and recruitment efforts for the chapter. I pray before stuff like this, just for these women to GET it. For it to click. For them to help lead their chapter. So we hit the ground runnin'. Three weeks of non-stop consultant training in Atlanta, and I can do a workshop, baby. Team builders, games, Power Points, ideas, files bursting with photo ideas... Tonight, you'd have never known I hate talking in front of people. We were in ADPi land going 90-to-nothin' on marketing tactics for this campus.

And this is when the collegians melt my heart. There eyes light up. They nod. They laugh. They scribble down ideas. They whisper suggestions to each other. They get excited to lead other women their age and make a mark in their chapter's life. A sorority becomes more than the mixer with Fiji next weekend. It becomes something that's teaching them skills and confidence.

"Did you guys get anything done in there?
All we heard was laughter for an hour and a half..."

YES. Definite high-five moment with Jesus at Drake. Because I really don't do stuff like this on my own.

January 20, 2011

She works hard for the money.

Photo courtesy of Mary Ruffle.

Aaand here's the next travel set. Hello from a distance, February. Can't wait 'til you begin!

College Park, Md.

Louisville, Ky.
Expansion Presentation with some members of ADPi Grand Council
and the Expansion Team

Centre, Ky.

(I'M SO EXCITED! Never been, always wanted to check out the swamp.)
Gainesville, Fla.

Distrcit IV Leadership Convention
Detroit, Mich.

Des Moines, Iowa

District III Leadership Convention
Baltimore, Md.

and, wait for it--

(yes, it exists. Who knew.)
Rapid City, S. Dak.

Lehsgo board some planes, y'all.

January 18, 2011

Home is wherever I'm with you.

Photo courtesy of umm... I forgot. I have no idea. Whoops.

Alabama, Arkansas / I sure love my ma and pa
Not the way that I do love you.
Ah, home / Let me come home
Home is wherever I'm with you.


Good 48-hour trip to Montgomery. Good long quiet times. Fam dinners. Running excursions where I didn't have to shiver in 2 layers of Under Armour. Great Auburn reunions and conversations over Starbucks paper cups with best friends.

Even better? The realization that even when I take a blow, no matter what--I. Can. Still Sing. Without really getting into things, for the first time, I took a little hit this weekend, and then realized it didn't really affect me like it would have a year ago. It just didn't. Ha. In fact, I even laid in bed and laughed over how "okay" I am, how after months of prayer, my January 2010 self would stare perplexed at me now. Our fountains of joy bubble up from the deepest well inside of us, and when you bottle that up and look at it under a microscope, all that's there has gotta be pure, absolute ecstacy that we serve a glorious King and we'll follow Him into this world and one day sit at His table--HIS, as in, the creator of every galaxy, molecule, angel, and starfish--because nothing can steal joy like that.

"You have made known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand."
- Psalms 16:11
 
Blog post title: "Home" by Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros. Totes my new jammmm.

January 17, 2011

So I live in this weird, Greek, fairytale land...

The colonade at W&L. Snow-dusted style.

Washington and Lee University
Theta Zeta Chapter
Lexington, Va.

They say Virginia is for lovers. And I loved this past week in VA. I'm back home for 48 hours after an amazing, exhaustive week tucked in a valley in Virginia. But I loved every moment of Washington and Lee University, Lexington, and the beautiful women of the Theta Zeta chapter...

But lemme back up and explain that title.

I need a photographer to follow me around and capture the odd things I do all week that are totally normal to me. Since I haven't found a photographer desperate enough to follow my fab lifestyle gratis, I'll commence with what you would see me do:

1. Get to bed at 2 a.m., wake up at 7 a.m., and start the work day all over again. Sustenance includes: LexCo coffee, Starbursts, coffee, Skittles, coffee, and Blue Sky veggie sandwiches. To finish, I pound more coffee.

2. Trek around through 6 W&L sororities' recruitment parties with a Panhellenic brigade. I see nothing abnormal about 100 18 to 21-year-old women banging on walls, stomping, chanting, singing sororitized lyrics to We R Who We R/Hall and Oates/Teach Me How to Dougie, and having conversations timed to the minute to equate precisely 25-minute rounds. Nothing. Totally standard. Hence why sorority membership is a common thread between female hires for HR and recruiting jobs. We got it on lock.
Srat row and our almost finished hizzy since we're the new kids on the block.

3. Miss the entirity of the Auburn-Oregon BCS Championship Game after living my whole life as an obnoxious Auburn fan because of (you ready?) sorority recruitment. I had a sweet friend text me every play during the Open House Recruitment party. To which I donned my Cam #2 jersey pulled over my work ensemble and heels. Number of Potential New Members (aka rushees) that asked for the score: 3. I also updated the anxious southern-bred Alpha Dee's between every party. Thus my lack of professional attire was pardoned. WAR EAGLE.

4. Take morning exploratory prayer runs through W&L's 200-year-old campus and Lexvegas. The Stonewall Jackson House, Robert E. Lee's old house, Virginia Military Insititute... I love old buildings. I love history. I love praying. I was in heaven.

Lee family crest, admissions office, Lee Memorial Chapel, front gates.

5. Ponder purchasing a Barbour jacket, considering every other female at W&L rocked one. I like my clothes a tad masculine sometimes. They're on to something.

Alexa Chung doesn't go to W&L. But you get the idea.

6. Grab coffee/eliptical trainer-cize alongside the Pi Beta Phi and Kappa Delta consultants also stationed at "dubyanell." Verdict? We're totes presh. There's no one that can relate to you, living out of a suitcase, or discussing insurance and legacy policies like a fellow consultant. Instant friends.

7. Put an upside-down penny on the grave of Robert E. Lee's horse, Traveller. It's tradition to, because as the saying goes, then Lincoln has to kiss Traveller's, well, you know...


8. Visit the founding sites/headquarters of Kappa Alpha Order, Alpha Tau Omega, and Sigma Nu. I know, I know: I'm a Greek nerd. Sue me.

Dad goes, "Sigma Nerds, Ashlyn? Cool." Intense SAE-Sigma Nu rivalry in his day, apparently.

9. Celebrate reaching quota on year numero 3 of chapter existance with these pretty ladies. To get cheesy, though I'm 6 months in to the job, it's still always so amazing to me how these women take in and care for a total stranger and then hug me at the end of a week. And they say college-aged kids are selfish--I beg to disagree. Deep in my heart, I love my ADPi...

Next stop? Iowa on Tuesday. Brrr.

January 14, 2011

Down dog.

Photo courtesy of vendor.

A monogrammed yoga mat.

I do not think there is anything on this planet that is more "me." AND they have a whole sorority Greek-letter section. This ADPi would settle for a more subdued diamond shaped monogram on blue and white (that's pi-tastic enough for me). Props to Elizabeth for the tip--Pi love and OBIC, babe.

Now if only it fit in my luggage...

My Custom Yoga Mat, $35.

January 6, 2011

Indiana, our Indiana, Indiana we're all for you.

Get it? I-U? They told us to.

Indiana University
Beta Alpha Chapter
Bloomington, Ind.

If I had a nickle for every time I was I asked "So Ashlyn, what do you actually 'do' at a chapter?" I'd have enough to buy my usual $8's worth of frozen yogurt (hey, strawberries are heavy). Which is my vice and I consume multiple times a week no matter the temperature. I'm gonna do a post on my actual job activities soon, but here's a peek...

Oh, how I love you frills recruitment. My kids are gonna have cute birthday parties.

Yesterday, Megan, Emily (my fellow ADPi LC sistahs here at Beta Alpha chapter) and I were leading the women through the last day of Spirit Week a.k.a. recruitment practice a.k.a. "rush practice" to older generations and half the Deep South.

Sometimes, ya need a mental break. And what did Meg, Em, and I decide to do to give our sweet Hoosiers a rest? Mwahaha... So we have this ritual song (that I am allowed to sing in public, promise) called "I Love the Pin." And we brilliantly had the idea to make them sing the ancient song in different musical genres. And it was hysterical. These Beta Alpha girls have been crackin' me up since I got here, and maybe you'll see why below. Melissa spits a dang good game.
video

I'll upload the rest (opera, reggae, heavy metal, and country), time and internet connection allowing. Oh, the things I make my sweet Alpha Delt collegians do...

January 5, 2011

Sit still for a spell.

I am okay with this being my life. Photo courtesy of Bippity Boppity Boo.

Driving back to Montgomery from Passion in the pitch black night Monday, I was rockin' out and singing to Jesus since my "well,-it-sounds-like-the-right-pitch-in-my-head" harmonizing sounds beautiful to Him. Artist playlist of choice? Brooke Fraser. She's my favorite. Alongside Christy Nockels, who is basically my greatest girl-crush ever.

So here's an un-love song. The reverse. One of patience. With the most gorgeous lyrics ever. I'd honestly forgotten about it until Monday night.

It's more my style. Praise God for patience. And thus I again confirm that I am SUCH a girl... But yeah. Praise the Lord for being overwhelming enough to capture our thoughts and allow us to sit still for a spell.
 
"Love is Waiting" by Brooke Fraser.

p.s. So I get 99.999% of my pictures (SLIGHT exaggeration) from this certain blog. It's name is "Bippity Boppity Boo." It is the only blog I genuinely stalk on the reg. One time, she gave me a shout out. And it was awesome. Thanks for not being weirded out by me, Wit. :)

January 4, 2011

Where you invest your love, you invest your life.

Photo courtesy of Bippity Boppity Boo.

Greetings from Indy and goooo Hoosiers! I'm back to the LC grind after a good Christmas break and even better weekend. You see, my head is reeling after this weekend's Passion 2011. I am a huge supporter of the mission of the Passion conferences, and though they're TECHNICALLY aimed at college students, I know I'm a coupla months out (I promise I was still allowed to go) yet absolutely immersed in the colleges of our nation. In Christ's church that spans those schools. And in the unbelievers at those schools.

Maybe it was all the STUFF (and by stuff, I would like to use a stronger word, ha. It was that bad.) I struggled with in college until I finally realized there is nothing better than living in His love to glorify His name. Nothing better. Nothing sweeter. Maybe it's my job as a sorority consultant. Whatever it is, I love this age. And I sure love my Savior.

Random art hanging up in Atlanta this weekend.

And worshiping with 22,000 people in one place all weekend is just a cool glimpse of a tiny, baby, microscopic sliver of heaven. It's such a blessing...
 
Notes from sermons by John Piper, David Platt, Francis Chan, Beth Moore, Andy Stanley, Louie Giglio, and more spill over pages of my journals alongside prayers and praise. Because with my earthly words I always somehow try to describe a Being who made galaxies. I'm strung out, overwhelmed, and completely thrilled about what God is doing with his church among 18-25 year old people. Strung out, overwhelmed, and completely thrilled that a HUGE, ferocious God looks down and sees this little girl from Alabama that stands 5'8" and has brown hair and a recovering shopping problem and unwavering Sour Patch Kids problem and says:

"Hey you. My love. I'm gonna use you, too. Like I used Paul, Esther, Mary, C.S. Lewis, Beth Moore, your mama, and so many more of my children. I will also use you to tell about me. I tell you to go to ___, let's go. If I tell you to give away all this stuff you think is so necessary to breathe, do it. Follow me. ME. Jesus Christ. This is all for my glory. Your citizenship is in heaven with me now. Forever."

Jesus. Is. SO. Good. He demands so much. We have no right to ask "why" or to cut out the standards we don't like. When you make your own universe, you kinda get to come up with your own rules. But the rewards are going to be so heavily dripping off of us when we are made raidant in heaven and look at His face...

I'll post more as soon as the whirlpool that is my brain settles. See? I can't even write.... Sheesh. That usually comes easy as breathing.

"I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go."
Genesis 28:15

Hello, Indiana.

Blog post title: "Awake My Soul" by Mumford and Sons. Get on it.







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