CWAHM Devotional

Do Life DifferentDo Life Different
Work-at-home mom: take a deep breath and Do Life Different as you allow these devotions for work-at-home moms to fill the vacuum of your needy heart in the chaos of your busy world.
 
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Author Archive

Jul
24

Balance and Mom Guilt

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About Carla

Carla Laureano is the RITA Award-winning author of contemporary inspirational romance and Celtic fantasy (as C.E. Laureano). A graduate of Pepperdine University, she worked as a sales and marketing executive for nearly a decade before leaving corporate life behind to write fiction full-time. She currently lives in Denver with her husband and two sons, where she writes during the day and cooks things at night.

Categories : Jill's Blog
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Jun
25

3 Keys to Persistence

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When in your life have you needed to be most persistent? Perhaps you have been looking for a job, pursuing a higher education degree, losing excess weight, training a puppy, raising a child, learning a new skill, writing a book, starting a business, developing a process, working to find sales, looking for something you lost, recovering from an injury, growing a garden, etc. In these examples, there is a difference between just making something happen in the moment. They all have a length of time in which a vision or goal is set and regular work is needed in order to obtain the desired outcome.

There are many characteristics and attributes of one who is persistent: determined, focused, hardworking, confident, motivated, open, adaptable, driven, etc. However, when thinking what persistence is really about, it is most present when faced with a true challenge requiring a person to dig deep within themselves to achieve something not easily attained. Persistence might be summarized by these three keys.

1. Hungry Vision. Clear sight or objective of something wanted or imagined.
2. Consistent Action. Regularly moving action forward.
3. Resilient Drive. Pushing through the obstacles or overcoming barriers.

First, Hungry Vision. The word vision is often used for future focus. “What is your vision for the day?” “What is your vision for the organization?” “What is your vision for your kids?” “What is your vision for the program?” Often we talk about vision as seeing the potential for something in order to design and create it. “Hungry vision” however is a deep inner desire and commitment to achieve something. It is not passively creating. It is not openly wandering. It is not a good intention or idealistic wish. It is an internal resonance to focus and attain success or master the challenge. You have to see it clearly. You know your “why?” You are clear on what success looks like and know it will take work. You are dedicated to doing what it takes to make it happen. This is the hungry part. It is an ever-present craving that keeps you focused on your vision.

Second, Consistent Action. It is not random action, action when you “feel” like it or action when it is convenient. Rather and more likely, it is the daily action that chips away a bit at a time toward the goal. An example is the little steps a baby makes learning to walk. There is usually failure and set back, but also effort, repetition, intentionality, and progress. It doesn’t happen with hit or miss activity. There is a dedicated and committed resolve to focus and move it forward.
Read More→

Categories : Articles, Jill's Blog
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Jun
21

Social Media for Small Businesses

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Social media has become an integral part of our day-to-day lives. Businesses of all size and shapes have started making the most of available mediums. Today we will try to anatomize tips on social media for small businesses. There are a plethora of small businesses eyeing social medium to promote their business/services. However, majorly these small businesses are failing or not being able to make optimum use of social media for their business growth. There are many theories and strategies on how to effectively use social media for established brands, but the topic social media for small businesses is seldom addressed. According to Digital state of eMarketing India 2017 Octane Research:

60% small businesses promote their business on social media. 50% focus on SEO and 35% use multichannel marketing funnel.
70% small businesses consider content strategy as their primary marketing activity.
52% business owners are using social media as to efficiently address customer engagement.
More than 20% of business owners said that they are making 50% plus profit using social media.

The primary reasons for the low turnout are uncertainty on an application of social media, calculating return on investment and persuade employees/stakeholders to clinch social media. Hence it is important to address the elephant in the room and analyze how beneficial is Social media for small businesses.

Social media for small businesses is a great way for emerging businesses to generate lead and build a reputation. If regularly updated, social media can deliver more results as compared to traditional mediums. Social media for small businesses gives brands an edge of control over the content that they want to post. Also, since social media is a two-way dialogue process, it helps businesses to instantly identify what is benefitting them. Social media for small businesses also helps generate Word of Mouth, which is one of the best tools for emerging businesses.

Social Media for small businesses | 10 Tips to effectively use Social Media

Define your Target Audience
The first and foremost important part that small businesses should focus on is to define their target audience. This helps small businesses to device their social media strategy accordingly. The target audience should be defined basis age group, sex, location, users’ online behaviors, their likes, interests, and preferences. For niche products, business owners can even target users based on their birthdays, anniversaries and important milestone. Audience targeting plays a very crucial role in the outcome of the results. For e.g.: a local shop selling footwear should not target users with interest in entertainment. The shop definitely won’t get the desired results.

Set achievable goals
Overnight success is a myth. Small businesses must understand this basic fact. Generally, when a new business starts selling on social media, there is palpable excitement is achieving more than set targeted sales. Businesses need to set goals which are upwards and forward. To achieve enormous goals, small businesses start updating social feed with multiple updates in shorter duration. This leads to user’s disinterest in the product/service. The set goals should be in sync with brand’s core capabilities and expertise. For e.g.: if a business is into selling shoes, they shouldn’t set a goal to repair maximum shoes in their area.

Choose the right medium
By now everyone knows, social media is for free. Even paid campaigns can be conducted at a relatively low cost as compared to traditional mediums. It is in this scenario, that we often see small businesses jumping the bandwagon and creating profiles on all the available platforms. Creating social profile doesn’t hamper brand image, but aggressively promoting a brand on wrong platforms can lead to brand losing its potential customers. Hence it is advisable for SME’s to first identify the right platform through which they can maximize their business. For e.g.: If a shoe selling brand tries to aggressively sell on LinkedIn, they won’t get a plausible response as compared to promotions on Facebook/Instagram.

Promote your core product/services
Since each and every business is riding in the social media wave, it is important for a them to promote their core product/services. Nowadays, we see a lot of businesses promoting their services as well as promoting peripheral products/services, which revolves around their core product/services. Majority of the times, this SME’s doesn’t have capabilities to fulfill a requirement, which can lead to a bad word of mouth for their business on social media platforms. Let us go back to our example; if a shoe seller is trying to aggressively promote socks instead of shoes, it is not going to benefit the business in the long run.

Create quality content
Now that we have covered the topics of identifying the target audience, setting achievable goals, choosing the right medium and promoting the right product/services let us now take a look at the type of content a business should promote on their social pages. A business should always focus on creating good quality content rather than not-good quantity content. Even if the business updates their page once in a day as long as it is relevant to their business, advocates about its core products send across a clear message it is considered as a good quality content. Antagonistically, if a business posts multiple updates which aren’t even relevant to the business’s products and services leads to users considering the business as fake/spam. Also, new businesses should try and refrain from promoting other businesses on their social platforms initially.

Create a content calendar
Making a small business successful on social platforms is no small task. It takes a lot of efforts for the businesses to keep up their conversion ratio. One such effort is to create a content calendar. Small businesses must anticipate important events and create a content calendar accordingly. Ideally, a content calendar must be planned a month in advance but an even weekly content calendar is highly recommended. This helps businesses to avoid any last minute hassles, strategize much more effectively and it also helps in creating curiosity amongst its loyal fans/customers.

Test and re-test
Social media is highly unpredictable. The content a business posts today, might not work for tomorrow. Hence, small businesses must always test their content before publishing it on their pages. Testing content also applies to the platform a small business chooses to promote. Small business owners must always don the consumer’s hat before posting about any product feature, updates, schemes or offers. A consumer’s perspective is the key when testing the content that has to be uploaded.

Look for inspiration
Small businesses must always look for inspiration from a competitor who is successful in the same category. Copy pasting competitors idea or content is not the answer. Small businesses must look for the kind of content its competitors are putting up and derive their own strategies subsequently. Inspiring content/stories always make a business to strive to create their own content that is appreciated by one and all. It helps in increasing brand consideration, brand visibility thereby increasing conversions for the business.

Calculate ROI
Even a small promotional budget is not justifiable if there is no mechanism to calculate its return on investment. It is more important in case of small businesses. It is very important for a small business to keep a tab on the budgets allocated to any promotions and the subsequent ROI related to it. If a certain promotion is not doing well or the business is not getting desired results, the brand custodian can always look for other platforms to generate quality conversions.

Analyze and Re-strategize
There can be umpteen instances where a particular campaign/promotion might not work for a business. That doesn’t mean that the promotion is wrong or the product/service is not good. Doing an analysis of the campaign is as important as setting the objective. This helps the business to formulate their upcoming strategies in more effective ways. At the end of every campaign, brands must note down the learning’s from that campaign and identify if the content/idea was appreciated by their fans or not. This helps businesses to skip the non-performing updates from future communications.

Final Thoughts
Social media for small businesses is definitely beneficial and fruitful. If followed correctly, small businesses can benefit tremendously from the power of social media promotions.

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Categories : Articles, Jill's Blog
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Jun
18

Take Meaningful Action

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Productivity. Priorities. Planning.

There are a lot of buzz words right now (and they all seem to start with the letter P!) that are intended to help us make the most of our time and efforts.

But in all the buzz about how to get more done, there is surprisingly little talk about what, exactly, we should be doing. Are all “to do” items created equal? Checking things off a list doesn’t guarantee that we are moving ourselves forward.

Growth Activities

Some things on our list need to get done, and you could argue that they are “important.” Many people fill their days doing client projects and customer service. After all, we have to deliver on our promises. But those are not growth activities.

Of course, we also fill a surprising amount of our time with “distractions.” Some are more obvious than others. Many of us lose hours in reading and responding to e-mails, which might feel like “work” but how productive are we really being?

How many of your activities are true “growth activities.” What things will grow your business? Expand your impact? Allow you to make a bigger difference? Really fulfill your purpose?

When you really look at it, those things happen primarily in two ways. When you create things. And when you connect with people.

Create

As a Content Creation Coach, these types of activities are dear to my heart. I see the power of creating new things. Of putting your ideas into tangible pieces. Whether you are writing a blog article or a book, creating a program, shooting a video, making a new presentation… creating things generates value.

You are increasing the assets of your business. You are putting valuable things into the marketplace (even if they don’t cost money). You are giving value that expands your worth and inevitably returns to you.

I often ask people, “What are you creating next to grow your business?”

The most powerful thing about creating content and other pieces in your business is that it gives you something new to share. Creating something new doesn’t mean anything if others don’t see it.

Which leads me to the second type of growth activity… Read More→

Categories : Jill's Blog
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Jun
04

Genuine Work From Home Jobs To Consider

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pc: pixabay

More and more people are now enjoying the perks of working from home, as compared to working in a regular office. One of the main reasons why working at home is a preferred option is because of the ever-increasing influence of the Internet. The Internet has truly made it possible for us to get a real job, while staying at home and spending more time with our family and friends. Because of this increasing trend, majority of seekers are now going against the conventional mindset of getting a job in the office.

Earn From Stock Photography

If you’re a want to-be freelance photographer, and you consider yourself to be camera-savvy, then stock photography could be a very lucrative online job for you. Simply choose one or more Web sites where you can sell royalty-free stock photos on the Internet, and register with the Web site. Stock photographers must be able to pick one or two stock photography Web sites at the beginning, and must also read and understand the site’s submission guidelines and requirements. They must also conduct research on which stock photos are popular on the specific site.

In addition, they also need to determine the style and subject matter of the site’s popular royalty-stock photos, so that they’ll have a better idea on which types of photos the Web site is looking for. By analyzing the style, quality and subject matter of each stock photography Web site, you’ll certainly have better chances of getting approved as a stock photography contributor.

Freelance Technical Writer

Technical writing is a job that requires the ability and skill to write clearly, accurately and in plain terms extremely complex articles, reviews and product descriptions and other content. The most common clients of freelance technical writers today include training companies, electronics and software companies, educational firms and consumer manufacturing firms. Technical writing demands a high volume of documentation-style work, and is often warranted whenever there’s something complex to explain in a standardized way. If you wish to work as a freelance technical writer, you’ll certainly end up working for one of the large software, electronics or manufacturing companies today.

Freelance technical writes often write training materials, marketing communications, Web content, hardware documentation, user guides and online help and documentation.

Work-At-Home Data Processing Jobs

Data processing generally involves the conversion of information into digital information. All useful information or data has to be entered, recorded, sorted, analyzed, calculated and summarized as well as stored as useful information. Today, there are lots of data processing service companies that offer a wide assortment of home-based data processing job options. The first stage of data processing involves data entry. Data entry workers enter information into a computer, using the proper format, and ensures efficient and smooth handling of data. An entry-level data processing job requires high school and some college education, as well as possess above-average spelling, punctuation, grammar and word processing skills.

Read More→

Categories : Articles, Jill's Blog
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Apr
16

DIY Household Products

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*Excerpt from You Can Stay Home With Your Kids by Erin Odom*

When we were living on a low income and I was trying to do something, anything, to make staying at home with my kids possible, I turned toward DIYing as many home products as I could muster. The humorous thing is that I am not naturally crafty or good at DIY projects! I learned to do this as much as I could during a short period because I wanted to stay at home with my kids, and this was an easy way to save money. 

What is even more advantageous about DIYing things is that you can later make and sell those same products and turn a profit in the process!

Foaming Hand Soap

If you’re new to the natural-living scene, one of the ingredients in this recipe, Castile soap, might be new to you. This nontoxic, highly concentrated soap might seem expensive at first glance, but it will last you a very long time and will serve as an ingredient in many a DIY cleaning recipe. I’ve ordered Castile soap online at Amazon.com and Vitacost.com, but most health stores and even Target carry it. This foaming hand soap recipe is so easy-peasy that you’ll never buy foaming hand soap again!

Ingredients:

1/4 parts Castile soap

3/4 parts distilled water

2–3 drops essential oil of choice (optional—for scent only)

a foaming soap dispenser

 

To Make:

Mix soap and water. Drop in oils, and mix. Pour into a foaming soap dispenser.

 

ACTION STEP: Purchase the ingredients for this soap, and try it for yourself!

 

Air Freshener

I use this homemade air freshener to spray down the insides of my trash cans every time I change out the bags. I also use it to spray the bathroom or kitchen when I need a quick way to eliminate stinky smells. It’s so easy to make that you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it.

Ingredients:

water

essential oils of choice

a glass spray bottle

 

To Make:

Simply fill a glass spray bottle with water, and add several drops of your favorite essential oils or essential-oil blends. Shake slightly before using.

 

 

ACTION STEP: Gather the ingredients and make this homemade air freshener. Then cross store-bought air freshener off your shopping list forever!

Read More→

Categories : Jill's Blog
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Jan
18

Do You Find Yourself Stressed Out and Overwhelmed By Life, Relationships and…??

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The Problem May Be More Internal than External.  Here’s Why!

Expectations are HIGH!  Ever notice how so many of us proceed through our days like the cartoon “Road Runner”, and expect that we can take on all the details, issues, problems and more…with excellence.  Be it, the kids, the business, the career, let alone your spouse’s needs…each one has its pull, it’s dictates and its pressure…all leading to stress and overwhelm. 

In all your near “super-human” attempts to conquer your world, do you by chance have your KING at the beginning, center, and end of your high-speed highway of life? It’s intensely easy to leave God out, while never thinking that we have done so.  Are you tired yet?  Let’s break the cycle, shall we? 

Here are some common misbeliefs that lead us to live as though we are “untouchable” to stress and overwhelm…

Misbelief #1: I can do it all, be all and accomplish whatever my mind is set on.  (We often misuse Phil 4:13 here to give us the allowance to think so).

Misbelief #2: I’m in charge of my life and I can just work through stress and other destructive, negative emotions – it’s just: ”water off a duck’s back”. (The world subliminally teaches us this erroneous worldview, each and every day, through advertisements, and social media.)

Misbelief #3: “Coulda, shoulda, woulda”! This one is popular.  It’s the thought pattern that believes that your life would be better, more joyous and more full and complete, IF:  you had done something when given the opportunity or because you didn’t do something, your life is completely messed up. Living in the pain of the unchangeable past.   

Misbelief #4: Putting your emphasis on the size of the problem, obstacle, or fear before you, rather than the size of your God! (Only three small words here:  The Red Sea! Exodus 14) Read More→

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Nov
09

Recipe: WHITE CHICKEN CHILI WITH CILANTRO AND LIME

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By Amy Nelson Hannon

Oh my word. Y’all, it’s finally Fall! Fall is my favorite! If I had to list all the things I love about Fall in order of what I love best, it’d be nearly impossible. Football, crisp mornings, jeans and boots, apple everything, pumpkin everything, adding more blankets to the beds, and the anticipation of the holiday season! I mean, how’s a girl to choose?!

One other favorite of mine during this season is sturdy soups – a bowl full of earthy, warm goodness that gets at my soul. What’s the difference between regular soup and sturdy soup you might ask? Sturdy soups have girth. They are spoonfuls of hearty bites. And they fill bellies way up. You know, they’re sturdy. They can stand alone served with only a few fixins on top. Have I got a sturdy soup for you!

This recipe is an adaptation of one found in my church cookbook. Y’all know that if you can ever get your hands on a church cookbook, then it’s a keeper. Church cookbook recipes are those tried-and-true, time-tested, crowd-pleasing dishes. I know, because I’m a pastor’s wife, and I’ve been feeding people for more than 20 years. So you learn what’s good, what people come back for, and what people request recipes for. And this White Chicken Chili meets the criteria for sure! It is so creamy and loaded with flavor, and the texture is divine with hearty bites of tender chicken and white beans. Sturdy. This recipe is the first soup that my family asks for when the weather officially turns cooler and there’s football on TV. Here’s to fall! And here’s to full bellies and full hearts! – Amy Nelson Hannon, author of Love Welcome Serve: Recipes that Gather and Give

 

WHITE CHICKEN CHILI WITH CILANTRO AND LIME

{serves 6-8}

 

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1 ½ – 2 cups yellow onion, chopped

5 cloves garlic, chopped

3 teaspoons dried oregano

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon powdered ginger

3-4 cups chicken stock

½ cup dry white wine like Chardonnay (optional)

1 bay leaf, broken in half

3 cups cooked, shredded chicken

3 cans white beans of your choice, drained

3 jalapeno peppers, minced

3 cups fresh grated Monterey Jack cheese

1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper

Salt to taste

3 Tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped (plus more for topping)

The juice of 3 limes

Heat olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven (around 5-6qts). Add the onion and sauté over medium heat until they’re tender and just starting to get color.  Add the garlic oregano, cumin, and ginger, cooking for one more minute. Stir continuously so the garlic doesn’t burn!  Add stock, wine (if using) and bay leaf.  Cook uncovered for 5 minutes over medium heat until somewhat reduced.  Add chicken, beans, and jalapenos. Simmer uncovered for ten minutes, stirring occasionally.  Read More→

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Aug
29

Setting a Positive Role Model For Kids

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Children are sponges for knowledge, following in the examples that adults provide for them. Whether parents realize it, their actions set an example for children’s behavior. Setting a positive role model for kids is a “lead by example” effort and takes a lot of hard work.

Advice from Experts

The U.S. Dept. of Education advice for caregivers can be applied to parents, too. Those in charge of children’s development have to set good examples when kids are away from home. Be a good role model by:

  • Being positive and confident to help children be positive and confident in their environment
  • Be responsive to their needs by tuning into them with full attention, even if for a moment
  • Be consistent and predictable, so children will feel more safe
  • Activities can help children play and develop social or cognitive skills

Also, connect with other parents to create a supportive network.

Healthy Habits for Kids

On top of ensuring children have a positive and calm environment, kids also need exercise and good nutrition.

According to statistic from the National Wildlife Foundation, today’s kids spend more than seven-and-a-half hours inside with entertaining media, and only 6 percent play outdoors. However, kids that do play outside are also more active and less aggressive than their peers. The outdoors also improves concentration in children, a must for those with ADHD.

Nutrition is harder to nail down, with all the fad diets that pop into society. However, including plenty of vegetables, lean and high protein meats, and a moderate amount of fresh fruits and grains. Keep kids away from added sugars (natural sugar in fruit is ok) and saturated or trans fats foods, such as high fat meats, cheese or butter. Read More→

Categories : Articles, Jill's Blog
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Aug
15

The Top 3 Analytics Platforms For Websites and Blogs

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website scrabbleby Trey Donaldson

Have you ever wondered why some seemingly beautiful websites fail and some inexpensive ones flourish? It appears that the amount of money put behind a website does not matter a lot. The success of a website or blog depends on how well engage with the content. Sites fail to live up to expectation because they overlook business objectives. Similarly, measuring online marketing is something modern businesses (big or small) want to do. We all agree that tracking data and numbers, without a dedicated tool, can be one tedious journey. Whatever your business is about, analysis software will always come in handy in getting performance data and stats. Here are a few platforms to consider for an enhanced marketing strategy.

Google Analytics Platform

Google Analytics may be a free tool, but do not think it does not serve the purpose. We have placed it first on this list for a good reason, that it is easy to use, but super effective. Sign up to the site, get a tracking code and get going. There are many ways of using this platform. For instance, you can get about page views, whereby you determine the popularity of individual pages. If you want to get information about different marketing mediums, view the pages by source.   Are you interested in referral traffic information? Google Analytics will give this information too.

It will also provide demographic reports, weighted sort and social referrals. That is why we say you should try out this platform. The platform should be around for a while, considering that it is from Google and that its updates and tweaks are regular.

 

Sumo Content Analytics

Sometimes you want a wide range of tools to add to content analytics, all in one package. Sumo is that kind of platform. Millions are already using this tool, so it is definitely adding value to websites and blogs. Sumo brings loads of benefits including higher website traffic, more social-shares and more subscribers to email list.  

Does it cost to get Sumo? You can still install the tool free, but this only for the branded version. However, cost is likely to increase with increase in traffic. The good thing is that this tool is good value for money, considering it comes with numerous apps, responsive support and timely updates. It is also easy to use.

 

Piwik

Like the previous two tools, Piwik is easy to use so you can download and start using it immediately. When you first use this platform, you will notice many similarities with other top solutions. It is compatible with almost any server you bring, updates data in real time and has numerous user-friendly features. Piwik offers advanced privacy for your data.  Do you want all the information as one package? You will love this platform for its detailed full report and back ups.

There is a pricier version that charges $29 per month, but if you are technically shrewd, you may stick to the free software.  That is why they say the software is sometimes uncomfortable to some people. However, considering the tools ease of setup and installation, flawless performance and richness of data, this platform is definitely recommendable for any website or blog owner.

In conclusion, the good thing with analytics platforms is that using them is usually very simple, yet the meaningfulness of the data provided is unquestionable. Once you get the intelligence and act upon it, there is no reason your website or blog should not improve over time. In an era when online marketing is so challenging, even the slightest improvements are worthwhile. So, get one of these awesome analytics platforms and take your business to the next level.

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