Lenten Letter #2

“When he saw the crowds, he went up the mountain, and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him. He began to teach them, saying:

I will start this Lenten Letter with a reading from Matthew 5:1-10 that I had heard in Church a awhile ago. This reading is what prompted me to write “Lenten Letters”. “When he saw the crowds, he went up the mountain, and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him. He began to teach them, saying:

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted.

Blessed are are the meek, for they will inherit the land. 

Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.

Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 

While listening to this reading, I thought to myself, “Hey, those are the beatitudes, I used to know all of them”.  I then wrote down “Beatitudes” on my Sunday Bulletin as a note to go back and read through them later that day.

Each Beatitude, Blessings, consists of two phrases: the condition and the result. These eight blessings are certainly reassuring and important to remember while on our spiritual journey.  

I then heard the last part of this Gospel: “Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven. Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you”. Matthew 5:11-12

The second part of the gospel really made me think of how hard it is to be a Christian in today’s world. Many people claim to be Christian, which is amazing, but are we really doing our part? Am I really doing my part as a Catholic Christian mom ? What is my part? How can I be a better Christian? Are my views and opinion on certain subjects invalid? Am I completely off and unwilling to conform on certain issues?

The homily followed the gospel reading and the message I received was to be rich in God. That was kind of my “AHHHH” moment of the day – Be Rich in God. This was the confirmation I had needed right after the gospel reading. By being rich in God, the rest will fall into place.

But what does it really mean to be rich in God?

“To give up all for Christ is to be rich indeed, while to cling greedily to earthly possessions is to be miserably disappointed in the end”.

I’m not at all suggesting to go out and give away everything or else you will not be rich in God. I do believe, however, that God does bless us with earthly possessions in order to help us serve Him and His Kingdom. The key is to figure out which possessions, relationships, actions help make us richer or indigent in God. Which ones do not ?

Now take a moment and reflect upon the message of this letter. Let us ask ourselves some questions to help us get rich in God In what ways am I depending on myself & not God? What can I share with others? How can I serve others?

Lenten Letter #1

I had my first Lenten letter all typed out and ready to go. However, God had other plans for this first letter. Since, I’m trying to be a better follower of Christ, I will listen to what He wants to convey. I have to admit, I did NOT write this myself as the main idea was taken from my daily reading of The Word Among Us.

Lent is a 40 day season of reflection and preparation before Easter. As Christians, we replicate Jesus’ sacrifice and withdrawal into the desert for 40 days. Often times Christians abnegate, or do something extra for God during Lent. This year, let’s approach our abnegation from a different direction by turning our fasts into feasts. Think about how you can replace negative behaviors with acts of love and kindness.

Let’s look at a few examples:

A fast from gossip. Gossiping is an act of injustice because we are, in a sense, stealing the reputation of another person. This can also be the case even if what we say turns out to be true.

Instead of gossiping, you could feast on silence and discretion.

A fast from criticism. Constructive criticism can help us to grow, but when it’s not constructive, it tears people down and strikes at their dignity and self-image.

Instead of criticizing, you could feast on affirming people.

A fast from complaining. When we complain, we end up feeling only more unhappy and discontented. It also has an effect on the people around us, bringing them down and contributing to a negative atmosphere in our homes or workplaces.

Instead of complaining, you could feast on counting your blessings and sharing them.

A fast from grudges. When we hold a grudge against someone, we are keeping that person captive to the wound they have caused us. We are also holding ourselves prisoners to feelings that harden our hearts over time. Instead of holding grudges, you could feast on forgiveness.

Remember, you don’t have to do any of this alone. Just as God promised to answer his people’s cries for help, so will he answer you (Isaiah 58:9). Trust that this Lent, he will give you all the grace you need to fast—and to feast!

“Lord, help me to treat other people as you would—with justice.”

The Word Among Us magazine offers daily meditations based on the Mass readings of the Catholic Church, inspirational essays, stories of the saints and more! Each issue of the print edition of the devotional is currently read by more than 550,000 people world-wide. We also offer digital editions for Apple iOS, Google Android and Amazon Newsstand of The Word Among Us.

The Fitness-Spiritual Connection

The Lord wants us to take care of our bodies and if we fix our hearts on HIM , the Spirit is who leads us to improving our lifestyle. How about taking it one step further & ask the Spirit to help you during your workout?   

At the beginning of each day, I try to spend about five-ten minutes reading the Gospel reading and reflection. Well, I felt compelled to share my reading today because it goes along with training the body physically, as well as spiritually:

“Mass offers us an opportunity to have our eyes opened to see Jesus more clearly. All we have to do is be alert and fix our hearts on him. All we have to do is ask the Spirit to help us, and we will get a new taste of God’s love. So whenever you pray or receive the sacraments, try to sense the Spirit at work. You may feel love for Jesus rising up in your heart. You may feel moved to repair a wounded relationship or to tell your family that you love them more often . God wants to give us demonstrations like these so that we can all become great witnesses to his power in the world”. 

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The Lord wants us to take care of our bodies and if we fix our hearts on HIM , the Spirit is who leads us to improving our lifestyle. How about taking it one step further & ask the Spirit to help you during your workout?   

While training clients, I ask them to really focus on the muscles they are supposed to be using. They visualize that particular muscle working & I notice their form is much better! 

God created our bodies & knows exactly what it needs and when. If you focus & really listen, the Spirit will tell us EVERYTHING we need to know and will help you perform the exercises correctly. 

Imagine what we could do if we just focus & allow the Spirit to move us while we are doing any task, even exercise! It is not magic. It is not a coincidence. It is the power of the Holy Spirit ! 

It is your responsibility to do what the Holy Spirit is moving you to do!

It is your responsibility to do what the Holy Spirit is moving you to do!

One Angry Sister

I was one angry sister when Lindsey was born. BUT. God sure knows what He is doing. Now, my sister is one of my best friends and has given me an amazing Godson, an adorable nephew and my first bother(in-law).

I was the only child for two years until……

Thirty something years ago, today, my mother (Janice Gibriano Bengivenga) had a beautiful baby girl, Lindsey Bengivenga Klimuc. I was no longer the only child. I had to share EVERYONE & EVERYTHING with this new sibling. I hated it! I disliked that she got attention from everyone that I used to have wrapped around my little finger.

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Me & Lindsey- 1990 something?

For years, I bossed her around, picked on her because of her weight or whatever popped into my narrow-minded brain at the time and may have thrown a barbie or two at her :-/.
I even fed her mysterious berries from a tree. Oh yes, I will not forget that! Poor thing had to be taken by ambulance and have her stomach pumped. She was not even two years old and trusted her big sis to protect her. Come to find out they were not poisonous, thank you Lord! And in my defense,I did not even know what poisonous meant! Nonetheless,  I’m sure you could understand that I was not happy she was in my life and I would do whatever it took to make her miserable.
Some years later, our mom had another girl, Alissa Robbins and she was my buddy. I remember partnering up with her to attack poor Lindsey Bengivenga Klimuc.
Several years later, mom had yet another girl….. now you know where I get the 4-girls thing from. This cute bundle of joy made us all smile. (I’m not tagging her because she will remove it anyway) Lauren brought our family even closer together. She was the center of attention, for sure! Though now Lauren was the center of attention, I still felt the need to hurt my sister and poke fun of her.

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The Bengivenga Girls 2012

It was not until High School, I started to realize that she is a beautiful person inside AND out. But I would never ever admit that to anyone. She was, and still is, smart, faithful, caring, as a matter of fact but with tact and so amazing with children.
About 4 years after High School, I got married and then had my first baby girl, Summer. I chose Lindsey as my daughter’s Godmother. I knew and trusted that she would always point her in the right direction. My daughter, now 13, absolutely loves her Aunt Linny and considers her a “Mommy”. She loves me and my children unconditionally. Only two are her God Children but she loves all 5 as if they were her own.
God has done wondrous things in our relationship. She is a person I can trust and talk to, without judgement. That being said, she would always tell me if I’m being ridiculous or stupid as well. I do not mind though and appreciate the honesty. We may get irritated with each other every now and then but nothing will break the bond.
(Read the poem, “The Importance of a Sister”, below.)

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Linds & her family in 2011 w/my minis 1 & 2

I regret those mean things I have said and done to her, in the past. I wish I could take every bit back. I’m grateful she has let go and forgiven me.
My sister is one of my best friends and has given me an amazing Godson, an adorable nephew and my first bother (in-law).
I was one angry sister when Lindsey was born. BUT. God sure knows what He is doing.  I’m so thankful for her and could not imagine my life without her.
Lindsey Bengivenga Klimuc, I know today is your day but it is also a special day for me. It is a day God blessed me with an amazing bestie.

Happy Birthday Lindsey! I love you so much!

The Importance of a Sister

(This poem applies to all three of my sisters. 🙂 I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did!)

A sister is someone who loves you from the heart,
No matter how much you argue, you cannot be drawn apart.
She is a joy that cannot be taken away,
Once she enters your life, she is there to stay.A friend who helps you through difficult times,
Her comforting words are worth much more than dimes.
A partner who fills your life with laughs and smile,
These memories last for miles and miles.When she is by your side, the world is filled with life,
When she is not around, your days are full of strife.
A sister is a blessing who fills your heart with love,
She flies with you in life with the beauty of a dove.

A companion to whom you can express your feelings,
She doesn’t let you get bored at family dealings.
Whether you are having your ups or downs,
She always helps you with a smile and never frowns.

With a sister, you cannot have a grudge.
She is as sweet as chocolate and as smooth as fudge.
Having a sister is not just a trend,
It is knowing you can always turn to her, your best friend.

Source: http://www.familyfriendpoems.com/poem/why-i-love-my-sister

Don’t forget to tell your sis you love her!

Is it bedtime yet??

I keep telling myself, this will get easier and God does not give you anything you can’t handle. I just wish He didn’t trust me so much.

I have yet to announce this on my blog but many of you know from my Social Media Channels that my 5th child, 4th girl, was born about a month ago. (Birth story to come) Since then, I’ve been adjusting to this new “normal”.

My two older daughters, from a previous marriage, live with their Dad & Step Mom most of the time. I thought with only three it would be a little easier. Boy, was I wrong!

I now am a mother of three kids under 4, two of them are 14 months a part & the youngest is a newborn. Whoa…never thought this would ever happen.

Every newborn requires middle of the night feedings. Bailey, my newborn, is pretty good about feeding at night but I need uninterrupted sleep to function. Despite getting up 2-3 times , I’m hanging in there. I am thankful I can sleep until 8 or 9am. My minis are good about that.

Usually my husband takes my son to summer camp, or, our babysitter comes to babysit my 14 month old, Skylar, so I could run errands, attend appointments & work. Not today! 

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For the first time ever, I ventured out with the 3 “mini”minis today. Ryan is supposed to be at camp at 9am….that did not happen! He got to camp an hour late. On the way into camp, my Skylar tripped and bumped her head on the pavement. She is fine and only cried for a few minutes. There is now a red bump on her forehead.

Next the two girls and I headed to the Post Office. Skylar thought it would be fun to keep running behind the counter while I was taping a package. It took me about 15mins to finish the package because I had to keep stopping to grab her. Now, I know you’re probably thinking that I should have put her in the stroller, well I don’t have a double to fit both car seat for Bailey & Skylar. There was no way I could carry Bailey & the package and push Skylar.

When we finally got back in the car, 30 minutes later, I was shakey. It dawned on me that I was so worried about feeding the minis but ran out of the house without fueling myself. There was not a drive thru Starbucks around and I didn’t want to take the girls out again, so I did it. I went through a Chick fil a drive thru for a frosted Coffee. Never ever do I do fast food but refused to take girls out again. Also, says the trainer in me, some fuel is better than no fuel. #FitTip

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Next, we’re off to the Chiropractor. Because of my poor posture due to lack of ab muscles and constant baby holding, my body is compensating with my back thus causing pain. It wasn’t an option, I had to get adjusted! I’m in there waiting, Bailey needs change and fed and Skylar starts to fuss because she was confined to the stroller. Thankfully, I got my adjustment while the receptionist held Bailey Boo and the doc distracted Sky. I would have loved to have stayed for some treatment but it was already time to pick up Ryan.

Back in the car we go to drive down the street. Can I just say, I strongly dislike taking the car. I prefer to walk everywhere because 1) I’m moving & burning calories 2)I do not have to keep moving kids in and out of the car and 3) BOB (stroller) requires 0 gallons of gas to cart the kids. Unfortunately, not everything is in walking distance or walking accessible with kids.

After searching a few minutes for a spot , I pull in , turned off the car and look back, they are asleep! I was already five minutes late and really did not want to wake them up or take much more time picking up Ryan. Thank the Lord, one of my co workers walks out and was gracious enough to stay at the car and watch the girls. 

Back home we go but only to clean, cook, clean and cook some more followed by baths, laundry & play time. Oh and I’ve got to get my workout & work in somehow!  IS IT BEDTIME YET? I’m exhausted physically, mentally and it is only NOON! How the heck can I do this daily? 

Can’t believe I’m saying this but its actually easier with all 5 minis! They drive me insane with their constant bickering but my 2 older girls are very helpful. I’m also able to have somewhat of a conversation with them. I keep telling myself, this will get easier and God does not give you anything you can’t handle. I just wish He didn’t trust me so much. 😉

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What’s Good for the Goose is Good for the Gander.

Double standards are everywhere! Let’s dive into the meaning of “What is good for the Goose, is good for the Gander”.

Since I’m on a vacation, I’ve had just a few extra moments to do something for me. I say a few moments because it’s a “family vacation”. And Mommys – I know you can relate that a family vacation does not mean vacation from mommy duties. During the few moments for myself, I enjoy Studying for my Nutrition Certification and writing.
This particular topic been a huge theme in my life as of late and it certainly coincides with my previous blog on Fairness or Happiness.
Let’s dive into the meaning of “What is good for the Goose, is good for the Gander”.

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According to Wiktionary, “What is good for one type is equally good for another type, despite any irrelevant differences between the types”.
Now, I have been on both sides.
In my previous marriage and earlier relationships between my sisters,  I will freely admit I would give the double standard. With age and Faith, I’m a little less of the “Gander”, or is it Goose? 🙂 I think you get my point.
I stumbled upon an article this morning that prompted me to blog on the whole Goose/Gander issue. “Does Double Standard Exist in your Relationship
I don’t know the author but loved that she nailed this issue and offered words of wisdom.
The fact is, don’t be mistreated or mistreat in any relationship. Be strong, work it out and recognize when it it’s happening. That’s my 2 cents for the day.

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Happiness or Fairness?

“The happiest people don’t worry too much about whether life is fair or not, they just get on with it”.
-Andrew Matthews

 

I’m not a fan of really long Social Media posts. It’s not because I don’t care. I genuinely do! I really don’t have the time. I started this as a Facebook update but decided  this one belongs on the blog for people to read at their leisure, if they so desire.

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Focus on what matters.

“The happiest people don’t worry too much about whether life is fair or not, they just get on with it”.
-Andrew Matthews

This one is hard for me. Whether it be regarding me, my children, my friends, family or strangers, I am all about fairness. I have a very hard time when things aren’t fair, for ANYONE-even if it’s with myself.  For example, if I receive, win or earn anything that another person may lose out on , I feel bummed! It’s like I ripped someone off.

What helps me through these types of situations is knowing that, in the end, God will take care of it. We all have our turn in this thing called life and need to remember that  happiness is a choice- fair or not! 

You can consistently receive less than someone else- for no apparent reason or because the other person may work just a tad harder than you- who knows! We can compare ourselves to the other person and then compete to fill a void that only seemingly makes us happy. You can also choose to be miserable and hold a grudge against the person on the receiving end. But what about being content with what you have, focus on what matters and move on from there! Things may not always be fair but you ALWAYS have a choice to be happy or not. 

 

 

Move More & Burn More Calories

Moving More will burn more calories & decrease risk of some cancers, Heart Disease, Type 2 Diabetes, improve mental health, & increase longevity!!

Moving More will burn more calories  and decrease the risk of some cancers, Heart Disease, Type 2 Diabetes, improve mental health, & increase longevity!! These are just some of the many possible benefits of regular exercise.

CDC’s recommendations for adults ages 17-64; At least 2 hours and 30 minutes (150 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (i.e., brisk walking) or 1 hour and 15 minutes (75 minutes) of vigorous intensity aerobic activity (i.e., jogging or running) every week or an equivalent mix of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity every week AND Muscle Strengthening Activities on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms).

If you don’t have a lot of time or if you aren’t quite up to the physical level of doing 30 minutes or more, start with 10 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity at a time. On top of this, find ways to burn MORE calories throughout your day. Take the stairs, park far away, cook, clean….whatever, JUST MOVE!!!

For more fitness fun, tips and motivation visit www.MoveMoreFitness.com.

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A Tribute to my Mother

Growing up, I thought you were a little crazy at times but I’ve always been proud to have you by my side. My mother, Janice , I love you & I’m thankful God gave me you as “mom.”

My mother, Janice , I love you & I’m thankful God gave me you as “mom.”

Growing up, I thought you were a little crazy at times but I’ve always been proud to have you by my side. Even though I had to share you with three younger sisters, daddy, work and countless organizations you graciously volunteered, I could ALWAYS rely on you.

I remember when I was about 12 and you told us you were pregnant with # 4. I thought, and maybe even said, “gross,  you’re too old” & “I will never have that many kids”. After the initial shock, I did (& still do) admire you for raising four girls. I could not see our family any other way.  All three sisters are my best friends and all three are the best Aunts to my children.

I have to say that I’m quite proud to follow in your footsteps with four girls (and then some) of my own. The only difference is you raised all of us without your mother physically here on earth. I’m forever thankful and grateful to the Lord that you have been able to take part in most of our precious and vital moments.

How amazing that you were present for almost all of your grandchildren’s births? If not at the birth, you arrived shortly after ready to do what Nonna’s do best! Remember when your first grandchild- my first child- was born? You were 3,000 miles away but quickly took the first flight out to assist me with the awkward transition- you know the one where you go from being a “mommy-to be-to a MOM. I honestly wasn’t sure what to do with her.  I stayed up all night long holding her and she just stared at me. Then Nonna came to the rescue during a literal firestorm! (San Diego Wildfires of 2003) I was reminded to have faith, keep moving and that it is alright to take a rest.  I’m not sure if I ever told you how much I appreciated your assistance during that time -and every other time.

I will also never forget the love and respect your showed for your heavenly grandson, Tyler. Even though he was so tiny, you never once considered him to be less than human. I am forever grateful for you during that tragic time. I may even envy you a bit for holding him- something I chose not to do but regret now.

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With God’s hand, you gave me life, love, my sisters, several tangible gifts, the desire to give & encourage others, creativity, love of cleaning, the faith to keep moving, a shoulder to cry on and more. Yet I ask, “What have I  done for you mother”?

I tell myself, if I had the money I’d buy you so much to repay you. I know you like your purses & clothes but that’s not what you’d really want or expect. Sure, it would be nice right? After all these years of being your kid, I’d like to say I know the greatest gifts for you. Please correct me if I’m wrong when I say that this tribute is one of them.

An affirmation of my love, respect and appreciation for you as a mother & grandmother and the confirmation that your work as a mom has paid off.

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Mother, thank you for everything and Happy Mother’s Day!

Spread Too Thin: When enough is enough.

What I’m realizing is what was once my passion is no longer my passion. It is a job just getting me some sort of income. I no longer have a desire to do it and it is an actual pain rather than enjoyment. I see that side of my career struggling and quite frankly, I do not really care. If this is the case, how could I be the best at it?

Were you ever so passionate about something that you would do anything for it? Whether it be a hobby or a job,  I’m sure everyone has felt that way at one point or another.

I’ve always had a passion for exercise and had the desire to motivate others to move & make healthier choices.  I was not a certified Personal Trainer but I really did have a good sense of the body and how it physically functions.  I had always been into gymnastics or recreational exercise. I’ve even coached gymnastics for years, including competitive team. I even studied to receive my fitness and nutrition diploma through an online school. This was just for fun and was not required for anything  I was doing at the time. During those years, I felt a push to be a trainer, especially after receiving my diploma  but I chose retail instead.

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Working in retail for years and moving up the ladder taught me many things. Those things I will forever take with me wherever or whichever path I choose. I will tell you this- and yes a little rant- I absolutely love GAP Brand. But having a quota for credit card applications was not fun. Especially when you were the person driving those to persuade others into signing up. I mean, it is their credit?? Really? I get it and believed in the card myself, but not everyone feels that way. Besides, there is way too much fraud out there. I decided I no longer wanted to be responsible for the credit cards and other issues that I will not go into right now. I made the decision to quit and pursue my fitness passion.

For about a year, I studied my tail off. I wrote numerous essays and completed case studies. Prior to taking the official exam, I applied at a gym as a fitness attendant. I wanted to become acclimated to the environment and  get my “foot in the door.”

I took the examination, I passed with flying colors and moved over to the training department. I loved it and loved helping others. My focus as a trainer was to make fitness fun and safe for everyone.

After training for awhile, I discovered a different environment, Group Fitness. I became certified in this and used my trainer skills while in class. I even created a program called Get in Sh8pe, which incorporated the best of both worlds, Personal Training and Group Fitness. It was specifically designed  for women who were afraid of the gym, intimidated by classes and fitness buffs and those who needed a jump start or restart.

In 2013, I discovered Social Media. This was a great way to connect with those who have similar ideas of fitness & Health as me. Thus began a little social media community called  Move More Fitness. The Move More Fitness name was initially my side business & training name but that soon changed after this community was established.

I was on a roll with clients, classes and the In Shape in 8. I even took on in home clients and eventually transitioned to just in home clients rather than gym clients. In Shape in 8 also became an instructor program for fitness professionals and our family was , and still is, growing!

Too many things are on my plate and I am being spread thin. I know I’m not alone and many have this problem. Sometimes we need to stop and ask “Is this what I want?” I  finally have asked myself, what does Adrienne want to do? Where can I be helpful & dedicated to others without taking away from my family and my own healthy lifestyle?

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What I’m realizing is what was once my passion is no longer my passion. It is a job just getting me some sort of income. I no longer have a desire to do it and it is an actual pain rather than enjoyment.  I see that side of my career struggling and quite frankly, I do not really care. If this is the case, how could I be the best at it?

I’ve decided that I am no longer going to do one on one training. I want to focus on my family, educating myself and creating quality programs for group classes. I also would like to make the most out of the awesome programs and fitness organizations which were created to inspire, educate and motivate others.

There, I said it. Wow, I feel so much better! Yes my income will be down, a lot, but I have Faith. God will provide if I listen. I’m listening….I think! 🙂

Sometimes we have to admit when enough is enough and let go of the things that may have held our passion at one point but no longer has a place in our life.

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