Monday, October 31, 2011

Cow Tongue and Toothpaste...

I recently had the opportunity to do storytime for a bunch of kids in grades 4-6, as part of my churches AWANA program.

If you are ever in need of an attention grabbing object lesson for kids, let me share the one I used:

First, you have to go to your local grocery store and buy a big ol ugly cow tongue (sorry to any of you who eat those things - but, really!!??!!).
You also pick up a large tube of toothpaste. The particular brand simply doesn't matter, just get the jumbo size tube.

Then, the big ol ugly cow tongue goes into a STRONG ziplock bag (so it is never to escape). And the STRONG ziplock bag goes into a green garbage bag.

Before you allow the room full of grades 4-6 eager beavers to reach their hand into the green garbage bag, and feel the big ol ugly cow tongue, you make them promise (and they will promise) that they won't shout out any guesses of what they think they're touching through the STRONG ziplock bag.

Then, you have a rediculous BLAST watching each of the eager beavers' reactions as they handle the big ol ugly cow tongue - because they don't have a CLUE what they are feeling. Did I say rediculous BLAST? Rediculous. BLAST.

After everyone who wants a turn has had a turn, you ask those eager beavers, "What do you think is inside the green garbage bag, inside the STRONG ziplock bag?" And your rediculous BLAST continues as they will guess every imaginable gross, soft, squishy thing they can think of.

And, then, someone will guess "a tongue?".

You'll reach, slowly, into the green garbage bag (this slowmo - or should I say slowMOO... ahahahaha, sorry - is totally for effect. Work it!) and you'll pull that big ol ugly cow tongue out of the green garbage bag. The room will go wild because it really is gross to look at in the first place, but even worse after 30+ eager beaver hands have been squishing it. Consider yourself warned.

Let me tell you though, those eager beavers are primed!
They are ready to hear what you have to say because they have no idea what to expect from you!
Their interest is more than peaked!
And, this becomes the absolute perfect time to turn them right to God's Word and talk about what it says in Proverbs 18:21, that "Death and life are in the power of the tongue...".

You want them to think about what that means.
Ask them to, "Give examples of the kind of 'death' that a tongue can bring?" They'll know.
And you ask them to, "Give examples of the kind of 'life' that a tongue can bring?" They'll know that too - remember, they are eager beavers!

Then you take that jumbo sized tube of toothpaste and say, "Pretend that the actual toothpaste represents the words we say and pretend that the jumbo tube represents our mouth."

Then you squeeze all the toothpaste out of that jumbo tube. They watch every move you make.

"Now that we have said all these death words, or life words, would someone please come and put the toothpaste back into the jumbo sized tube?"


You keep asking.

"Any eager beaver?"

But no one can.

"Have you ever said something that you wish you hadn't said?", you ask. They can all relate, even as little grades 4-6 eager beavers.

You say more.
"You know, once we say something, our something is... gone."
"We can't take it back."

Because, as you (yup - you)and I know, once we say something it's... out there. Never. To. Be. Recaptured.

You say even more.
"And the power that whatever we said can either bring 'life' (which makes us and others feel happy), or 'death' (which makes us and others feel sad and horrible)."

Then, you say a few more things about tongues.
And you remind them how they can remember EVERYTIME they brush their teeth (toothpaste and tongue tie in) that they can choose to bring 'life' or 'death' with their words.

Now, you have one more opportunity to let those eager beavers get a last look at, or feel of, that big ol ugly cow tongue. It's as they pass by you on their way out of the room to meet up with their parents or care-givers.

And, you chuckle because you KNOW what the conversation on the ride home is going to be about!
It is at this exact moment that the biggest revelation hits you.

All of a sudden you realize that it wasn't just an object lesson for grades 4-6 eager beavers...


until next time,

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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Take 5 with Kathy - "Sour milk and bitter water..."

Earlier this week I discovered an almost full carton of 2% milk had gone sour. Since I drink skim milk and use the other only for company, I wondered how I could possibly use it up. So, I dug out my recipes hoping to find a few that called for sour milk. I could only find two, one for a cinnamon loaf and the other for chocolate chip cookies. Since I’m doing some baking for my parent’s diamond anniversary open house, I decided to make two cinnamon loaves and the cookies. Surprisingly, there was just enough milk for both recipes.

While mixing the ingredients I thought how odd it is that you can take sour milk, add butter, eggs, sugar, flour, baking powder and cinnamon and come up with something that tastes absolutely delicious. I often make this sweet bread and it turns out perfect every time – a reliable old family recipe. The cookies are also a family favourite, but instead of chocolate chips (which I didn’t have) I threw some chocolate wafers into my food processor and presto – chocolate bits! They weren’t as sweet as the usual chocolate chips but when mixed with the other ingredients, including the sour milk, they turned out to be a pretty tasty little cookie.

Often life is like that. Something sour, bitter, hurtful, or sad comes into our otherwise normal day and for a time we wonder how something good, sensible, or meaningful can ever come out of it.

Friday was such a day for me and my husband. We received word that a pastor acquaintance of ours had tragically died in a snorkeling accident off the Florida Keys. He was vacationing there after ministering for several years in a church in our city and had plans to join his sister on a missionary endeavor before returning to his homeland. How can that be? A man in his early forties, faithfully serving the Lord, preparing for a missions trip – it doesn’t make sense to our limited understanding.

A close friend of ours has been very ill in the ICU for two months with no assurance of what the future holds for his health and well-being. It seems like yesterday that we laughed and celebrated together with him and his wife at a restaurant after my son’s wedding. Two days later, they discovered he had a benign brain tumor. The following week he was in surgery, and within a few days a serious infection invaded his cerebral fluid. What good can possibly come from such pain and suffering? The faith he and his wife have in God is what keeps them grounded and trusting for a miraculous healing.

Last night I was reading a verse which really gave me comfort, “…I am not concerned with great matters or with subjects too difficult for me. Instead, I am content and at peace. As a child lies quietly in its mother's arms, so my heart is quiet within me.” Psalm 131:1b-2 (Good News Translation). When things are just too hard to understand and beyond our human reasoning, we have to rest in the knowledge that God knows all things. He takes all the ingredients of our life, both sweet and sour, and blends them together creating something which will bring glory to His name and cause us to marvel at His ways.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.  “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV)

Only God can turn bitter water into sweetness we can drink!

Until next Sunday,



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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Pumpkin Recipe #3 - No Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake

This is sister #3 checking in with our last Pumpkin recipe.  It is a very easy, but most importantly, very yummy recipe I found on the Kraft Foods website.

No Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie

Graham Crust:
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 1/4 cups graham crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
Mix crust ingredients, press into 9 inch pie plate and bake in 350 deg oven for 10 minutes.  Cool.
1 pkg of cream cheese, 8 oz. softened
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (recipe HERE)
1 small carton of whipping cream (250ml) whipped
Beat cream cheese, pumpkin, sugar and pumpkin spice on medium speed until well blended.
Gently stir in half of the whipped cream. 
Spoon cream cheese mixture into crust.
Refrigerate 3 hours or overnight.
Serve with remaining whipped cream.

I should mention that my pumpkin cheesecake in the picture did not last 3 hours in the fridge before it was cut into.  Hubby couldn't wait that long!!

We hope you have enjoyed these pumpkin recipes.  Our friend, Pat, has become a little addicted to the "Pumpkin Spread" we posted a couple weeks ago!! ;0)  But we sure can't blame her.  It's awesome!  We hope you have a tried a new recipe this month.  Please stay tuned for November.  We have some fabulous Cranberry Recipes to share with you all!

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A Tangled Web...

Halloween has never been an "occasion" that I looked forward to.  Even as a child I didn't plan my costumes weeks in advance.  I  frantically found a costume after supper, when it was time to go trick or treating!  I think it all started the Halloween that I was old enough to really know what was going on.   My parents told me, I spent the whole evening in the bathroom because I was scared to see the trick or treaters when they came to the door!!!

Fast forward...ummm...a few years, and I saw a picture of a table all set for Halloween in purple, green and black.  That picture inspired me to have some fun with "pretty" and "cute" Halloween.  There's nothing scary on this table!



This candelabra has been in our home for years.  I recently spray painted it black.  Much better than brass!  The three masks I placed in the center are all from the Dollarama!!


When I picked up these place mats this summer on a clearance sale (I believe they were .39)  I immediately thought of spider webs! My new little spider plates are so cute.  They fit into the color scheme so well.  Guess what?  They are paper! (shhhhh!!!)


A closeup of the purple, silver and black tablecloth I scrunched up in the center of the table.  It has a black tassel on each corner.  



These little pantyhose pumpkins are all over blog land this fall.  Are they not SWEET!!!  I found two different pair of hose on clearance @ Walmart.  They are so easily made by dropping a pumpkin down in one leg and tying it off with an elastic.  I then cut the excess off and tied a piece of purple tulle around the stem.  Just stitch or staple up one end and start again.  You can use one leg to cover several of the tiny pumpkins.  

My tiny spider votive holder is also from Dollarama!




Women are angels.
When someone breaks our wings,
we simply continue to fly - on a broomstick.
We're flexible like that.
- unknown

I would never say who this witches hat belongs to. favorite color is purple! ;0)


Happy Halloween!

Please come back Friday for our final Recipe for Pumpkin Month @ Take Six!


Many hugs again, to my daughter Nicole, for photographing my table.  If you haven't yet popped over to her website, please do!

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Monday, October 24, 2011

Friendships Flower

A few days ago a friend of mine emailed me to see if she could "drop off a little something" to me.  She lives about an hour away so I arranged to meet her the next day when she would be coming in town.  When we met, she popped the back hatch of her van and this is what I saw.  

My friend has a beautiful garden in her backyard that she and her husband lovingly tend all summer.  She explained that she picks the  the blossoms and hangs them to dry in a room in her basement.  

The only thing that is not from her garden are the sunflowers (and the real pumpkin she used as the vase). 

Look at the beautiful dried peony!  She also has, hydrangea, allium, brown-eyed susan, globe thistle, ornamental grass, and so much more!

When the pumpkin "vase" goes the way of all good pumpkins...I plan on lifting out the bundle of dried flowers and setting them in another container. 

I am blessed!

Friendships Flower

Life is like a garden
And friendship like a flower,
That blooms and grows in beauty
With the sunshine and the shower.

And lovely are the blossoms
That are tended with great care,
By those who work unselfishly
To make the place more fair.

And, like the garden blossoms,
Friendship's flower grows more sweet
When watched and tended carefully
By those we know and meet.

And, if the seed of friendship
Is planted deep and true
And watched with understanding,
Friendship's flower will bloom for you.

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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Take 5 with Kathy - "Old things..."

Sugar Moon Farm, Nova Scotia
I love spending time looking at old things…ancient ruins, antique kitchen utensils, time-honored majestic churches, early musical instruments, classic old-world town squares, medieval castles, ancestral homesteads, old-fashioned clothing, timeworn fishing boats, crumbling graveyards, aging statues, decrepit barns…it causes me to ponder  times I never experienced and become immersed in wondering what it would be like to live when those old things were the newest reality.

Wentworth Valley, Nova Scotia
Last Sunday, my husband and I took the day to just relax and do some things we’ve found mutually enjoyable since our dating years – going for a drive to view the stunning fall colours, getting off on little side roads to explore what many people don’t take time to see, and of course, sharing our joy of photography. Along the way, we saw many “old things” that captured our attention.

Sugar Moon Farm, Nova Scotia
One place we happened upon was a maple sugar farm. Surprised they were open in the off-season we followed the long country driveway into the camp and discovered they even had a small dining room serving everything from pancakes to omelette’s all flavoured in some way with maple products. They even offered a short tour of the maple sugaring shack, reminiscent of by-gone days but upgraded with modern stainless steel equipment. They still retain the old tradition, however, of using a wood-fired furnace. The pungent aroma of burning wood  took me back to my childhood when we visited the maple sugar farms in the early spring…watching them boil down the sap, the heat from the fires, the sweet fragrance of the maple syrup, and anticipating them ladling out freshly made maple syrup on the snow so we could sample the quickly hardening maple “candy”. It seems funny talking about this in the fall season, but it was really novel being there this time of year. We went for a long walk in the deep woods surrounding their farm, with one eye and ear open to the sounds and sights of rustling leaves under our feet and the other keeping watch for wildlife – this is deer, bear, and coyote country!

Sugar Moon Farm, Nova Scotia
As we walked along, we came across a few old things which you can see in my pictures. Of special fascination was the rusting piece of farm equipment in which a tree had grown right through the wheel!  “That’s been there for a few decades,” my husband remarked. We also happened upon a tiny old sugar shack probably dating back to the early 1900’s. What a view from there! Even though the spectacular red leaves had fallen from the sugar maples, we still thoroughly enjoyed the lovely colours God has given us to appreciate.

Sugar Moon Farm, Nova Scotia
Old things are fun and intriguing, but we often have to leave them behind in order to move on and be stimulated to embrace new things…fresh opportunities, modern equipment, up-dated technology, innovative ideas and methodology, renovated homes, creative business initiatives…these things employ the ingenuity, curiosity, and wisdom which God has put within us.

We are also encouraged by Paul in Ephesians 4:22-24 to, “…put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”

It’s important to remember where we came from, but vital to keep moving ahead!

Until next Sunday,

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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Pumpkin Recipe #2 - Pumpkin Cinnamon Bread

Our sister Paula, always finds the best recipes.  She found this Pumpkin recipe not too long ago, and was happy to share it with us all!

Pull Apart Pumpkin Cinnamon Bread

2 Tbsp butter
1/2 C milk
2 1/4 tsp yeast
3/4 C pumpkin puree
1/4 C white sugar
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 C flour

In a pan over medium high heat, brown 2 tbsp of butter, letting it bubble up and turn a dark golden brown.  Once browned, remove the pan from heat and carefully add the milk, return to stove and allow to heat through.  Pour milk and butter into the bowl of standing mixer, fitted with a dough hook and allow to cool so it is no longer hot, but just warm.  Add the yeast and 1/4 C sugar and allow to proof about 10 minutes.  Add pumpkin, salt and 1 C of flour, stir until combined then add the rest of the flour 1/2 C at a time.  Knead for 6 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic and just slightly sticky.  If dough is too moist, add extra flour, 1 tbsp at a time.  Move dough to a lightly oiled bowl and cover.  Allow to rise in warm draft free spot for 60-90 minutes or until doubled in size.

1 C sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
3 Tbsp butter

While dough is rising, brown 3 tbsp of butter.  Add the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg and mix well making sure the sugar evenly absorbs the butter.  Set aside.

Grease and flour a 9X5 loaf pan.

When dough has doubled in size, punch it down, and knead it with hands for 1-2 minutes on lightly floured surface.  Roll dough into a 20X12 inch rectangle (if dough is difficult to roll out, cover with a towel and allow to relax for a few minutes then try again)  Evenly sprinkle dough with the cinnamon sugar mixture and press into dough with palms of the hand.  Cut the rectangle into 6 strips.

Lay strips on top of each other (at this point I found that the
pressed in sugar mixture tended to fall off so I just scooped it back up and pressed it back on)and cut the stack of strips into 6 even squares. 
Stack strips vertically into the loaf pan.

Cover the pan and let rise for 30-45 minutes.

Bake in preheated 350 deg oven 30-40 minutes or until top is very deep
golden brown.
2 Tbsp butter
1/8 C brown sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp milk
3/4 C powder sugar
1/2 tsp rum (or vanilla)

Heat the butter, milk and brown sugar in a small saucepan.  Bring to boil then immediately remove the pan from the heat and stir in the rum and powdered sugar.
Let bread cool slightly then drizzle with glaze.

Join us next Friday for our last recipe for Pumpkin Month @ Take Six!

 Paula found this recipe on The Newlyweds Blog!  You will want to go visit "Sweet Pea" and see all the awesome recipes she shares!


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Sunday, October 16, 2011

Take 5 with Kathy - "Filled to the brim..."

On Thursday I was writing in my journal – something I hadn’t had much time to do in a month – and was pondering how full my life has become once again. I don’t mean just being busy, although that has been true as the launch of the fall season has been a whirlwind of activity. I took some time to pause and think of how my life has changed during the past year. So, I’d like to share some of what I wrote that day…
My husband took this picture - love the heart!

"These phrases and words reflect how I feel in my life the past month, 'Free' , 'I’ve found my niche again', 'I’m anticipating today', 'No longer lost and confused', 'Fulfilled and satisfied', 'Filled to the brim'.

I finally feel that freedom as though I’ve been released from whatever was holding me captive for so long. And it is more than I ever dreamed possible – far beyond what I ever envisioned for myself. I have once again discovered a unique place God designed for me to use and express my gifts to their full potential. It’s a much different place of ministry than before, but the gifts are the same – just broadened, richer, wiser, and filled with a new aroma that is stimulating, invigorating, and precious. It’s true…every morning I awaken with a new anticipation. I may be physically, mentally, and emotionally drained at times, but my outlook is positive and full of possibilities.

Proverbs 13:19a says, “A longing fulfilled is sweet to the soul.” (NIV) Another version puts it this way, “Desire realized is sweet to the soul.” (NAS)

That’s how I feel now. I’ve been waiting so long for that fulfillment or desire to be realized and it is definitely sweet to my soul. For me, the sweetest taste is delicious, melt-in-your-mouth genuine Swiss chocolate (although the analogy falls short). Once you experience that sweetness, you just have to pause and savor it. Sometimes, that feeling of fulfillment can be overwhelming.

The Lord has brought me from a state of being overwhelmed with loss, confusion, loneliness, despair, disappointments, hurt and pain, feeling rejected, and being misunderstood to a new and refreshing state of being overwhelmed. Now, I am filled to the brim with God’s peace, joy, assurance of my identity in Christ, growing confidence, a sense of excitement and enthusiasm, the acceptance of my loving Heavenly Father and those beautiful people He has placed around me, and gratitude beyond measure that He would consider me worthy to invest so much of His time and effort into creating this better and wiser person I have become. I am moved to tears right now as my mind and heart attempt to comprehend and process all of this. It’s a good kind of being overwhelmed and very healing!

By no means do I feel I have arrived or reached a pinnacle, but my faith in God and His ability to keep His promises has increased by leaps and bounds. I know beyond any doubt that “He who began a good work in me will carry it on to completion until the day I see Him face to face”. (Philippians 1:6)"

Until next Sunday,
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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Thanksgiving in the Country!

This past weekend was Canadian Thanksgiving, and God gave us a picture perfect weekend to be thankful!  Our family spent the weekend in the Annapolis Valley at hubby's grandparent's farm. Our travel trailer is parked at the edge of a big field, alongside a river.  What a haven it is for us away from all the weekly hustle and bustle of urban life.  I remember glancing at the thermometer on Sunday, and it was 26-27 degrees Celsius in the shade (80F).  That's not exactly common for Thanksgiving in Nova Scotia.  But we will gladly take it, when offered!

On Saturday night, hubby's family all gathered at our trailer for a Thanksgiving Potluck.  Hubby said, "You know you're in the country when half of the people arrive at a gathering on 4-wheelers!"  There was an abundance of family, food, and fun.  For which we are very thankful.


As hubby and our son wrestled in the hammock (I'm amazed it is still secured to the tree), the girls and I prepared our table.  Two  beige bed sheets made the perfect table cloths for our picnic tables.  Then I folded over 3 burlap potato bags, and used them as a table runner.  


I brought my cornucopia and pilgrims from home to decorate the table.  This table sits under a large oak tree.  So we had ample acorns on the ground to use in our centerpiece.  


I would like to introduce you to my pilgrim couple named "Prudence & Nathaniel".  I believe it was the second year we were married that I made them for our Thanksgiving table (1986).  Their bodies are filled with bird seed.  A few years ago a mouse found Prudence during the winter and had a bit of a snack, but I was able to stitch her up so she was still usable.


Several years ago my sister-in-law gave me this basket.  It keeps our sun screen and bug spray in one spot all spring and summer at the trailer.  I have to say, it is much more suited for the purpose of holding these apples.  Gorgeous!


A mason jar, some sand, and a candle.  Perfect lighting for a country tablescape!


I had no plans on standing and doing dishes at this get was plastic and paper all the way!!



This old metal candle holder was a find at a yard sale at least 20 years ago.  I use it in decorating for all four seasons.


"Thanksgiving is the holiday of peace, the celebration of work and the simple life... a true folk-festival that speaks the poetry of the turn of the seasons, the beauty of seed time and harvest, the ripe product of the year - and the deep deep connection of all these things with God."  ~Ray Stannard Baker
(David Grayson)


Of course I also had my own personal photographer with me for the weekend!! ;0)  Thanks Honey!!


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Sunday, October 9, 2011

Take 5 with Kathy - "Pause to give thanks..."

These last three weeks have been so busy that as I sit and write tonight I’m feeling very drained and weary. I seriously need some “down time” when I can just be quiet and reflective. Last night my niece and I were watching a DVD movie and had to pause it several times because of various interruptions. Another evening I was trying to watch my favourite hockey team on my computer, which had been hooked up to the TV, but there were so many pauses in the transmission it became too frustrating to watch. Two other days, we had annoying five-minute pauses when our phone line went dead after hanging up and it disrupted our home alarm system (it’s fixed now). Pauses are not always positive - no pun intended.

As I was running a few errands today and looking for a few more items I needed for Thanksgiving dinner, it seemed not many were pausing to reflect on the meaning of this holiday weekend. Traffic was unusually busy, line-ups were long, customers were impatient, children were whiny and their parents were grumpy, one woman hastily pushed in front of my grocery cart and glanced back at me as though I was the one cutting her off! In one store, I looked down an entire aisle where nothing but ghoulish, horrific-looking Hallowe’en masks and other accessories stared back at me. I could hardly find one item in that store that had anything to do with the spirit of Thanksgiving Day.
So, I want to take a few minutes and pause to think of some things I am truly thankful for:
Ø  Above all, I’m thankful for the relationship I have with my loving Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ
Ø  I’m  thankful for my loving family who will be joining around our table to celebrate together this Monday
Ø  I’m thankful for the meaningful time I enjoyed yesterday with my niece whom I hadn’t seen in almost four years
Ø  I’m thankful for the 26 years of marriage my husband and I will celebrate this week
Ø  I’m thankful I live in a country that respects the rights and freedoms of its citizens
Ø  I’m thankful for my friends who support and encourage me
Ø  I’m thankful for the neighborhood in which we live and our wonderful neighbors
The lake in our neighborhood
Ø  I’m thankful for the comfort of our home which God has graciously provided
Ø  I’m thankful for my improving health over the past few months
Ø  I’m thankful that my son and daughter-in-law are living close by
Ø  I’m thankful that my parents just celebrated 60 years of marriage
Ø  I’m thankful for the fulfillment and joy that God has restored in my life
Ø  I’m thankful for this beautiful season with the colourful leaves and cool, crisp mornings
Ø  I’m thankful for the gorgeous sunny and warm weather we enjoyed today after three days of rain, strong winds, and frosty temperatures
Ø  I’m thankful for the abundance of food that fills our cupboards and refrigerator
These are just a few of the things I am so grateful for.

Psalm 95:2 - “Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.”
Until next Sunday,
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