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Jesus Loves Children

The following is a post from God-in-a-Box–Your inbox. It is short devotionals on Jesus life, covering his birth to death in a year.

Jesus loves children, finding their pure openness and unaffected love refreshing. Little hearts are tender and impressionable, open to Spirit and strong to remember his stories–the kind of people he wants in his kingdom.

If parents give them every opportunity to learn of God’s love while they are young and their characters still adaptable, they won’t grow up hard-hearted.
Many regard true affection as weakness; their happiness is ruined because their better self was stifled in childhood. The expression of love toward God and each other wasn’t encouraged, but God’s love can still melt the hardness.
A mother teaching children to obey because they love her, is teaching them to obey God out of love.

Fathers, representing God’s authority, don’t need to be harsh or unkind. Jesus wasn’t discourteous or disrespectful, even cutting to the heart with the rudest men.

His graciousness causes parents to treat their children as intelligent beings, as they would want to be treated, correcting them gently as a gardener trains vines and flowers.

Take them outside and teach them how the God of nature made an awesome creation as an expression of His love for us–that all living things are governed by laws protecting happiness and joy–everything is designed to give.

Don’t keep your little ones from Jesus by being cold or hard. Don’t make them think he is joyless or negative if he is like you. Smile at them. God loves to give wisdom and tenderness to teach them, but you do have to ask for it.

Matthew 19:14-15, Mark 10:15-16, Luke 18:16-17

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Are You Afraid to be God’s Best Friend?

I love it when things come together from five different places and make a whole  clear picture. It happened this week.

I was writing about David, and marveling again that someone who seemed to know God so well could just lose it and go off the rails, steal someone’s wife and kill her husband!

Suddenly words from my journaling on John 15 this week came to mind, “I no longer call you servants, I’m calling you friends…” coupled with my own experience of God’s friendship plus a human best friend that I talk to most every day (a new work of God). Add the whole reason I am writing the Bible as the story of a good God–we need a better picture of the Bible’s God. Fit in a new book a client gave me last week, Saving Leonardo, about the insidious secularization of America. Plus the ending of the book I just finished again, One Thousand Gifts–celebrate living loved every moment by a God who reaches out continually but won’t force friendship.

A whole picture formed: David’s culture–the collective consciousness of that time–didn’t have a picture of God that afforded that kind of friendship. He may have been closer to it than anyone since Abraham, but ever since then everyone saw God as high, holy, powerful, scary and removed. Hence why he brought them out of Egypt, away from the culture steeped in angry gods, out into the desert where He could reveal Himself,  love on them, and live with them. But he had to be so careful that His glory (love energy) didn’t destroy them, that they couldn’t get over being afraid of God.

It was hard for God. It was hard for them. It took until Jesus, for humans to really get it. And even then he had to tell his followers. “You are my friends…” That same night just before he died, he prayed that we could see that They wanted us to be ONE with THEM! Atonement=at one ment–best friends!

No one can love you like God who knows you completely and still wants to be so intimate (safe) for you that He (They) are your closest, best love. MY Best Friend. Your Best Friend.

If David had had that concept of God, that best friend relationship with Him, he would have noticed that he wasn’t talking to Him! That he in fact, hadn’t been talking to him for days, weeks, months? Everything was going so well. He had gotten to the place where he had honor, recognition, power, no fear from any nation around. Things were good. And that is when God’s enemy came up with a tailor-made seduction that he couldn’t refuse. He was the king, he could have anything he wanted.

Had he been talking to his Best Friend every day, Adonai would have said, “Be careful. My enemy has asked to test you,” like he said to Peter much later. Peter failed too, suffered too, and repented too, but he didn’t suffer as long as David. He immediately remembered his best friend’s words and repented.

David wandered around in guilt for months rationalizing that he had made the best choice he could with the circumstances. Really David? Talk to your best friend! Finally God sent Nathan to wake him up out of his moral stupor. He had to tell him a story that helped him recognize when the guilt started! Then we see David’s true heart. God knew it all along. He just couldn’t get David to see clearly and come to Him. David needed God as his best friend!

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Split in the Middle

I love my Saturday morning Bible study. The questions go deep. You can ask anything, challenge anything. We will go back to the beginning if we need to. Nobody has to feel bad saying “I don’t get that,” or “Can you say that another way?” Or “This is the first time I’ve understood that!”

This morning my close friend and co-leader said, “I just don’t understand how we have a dual nature. Is there some other way you can describe it?”

I immediately went to Romans 7 so everyone would be on the same page. Everybody gets that good and evil live inside us together ever since the first choice to know evil, made by Eve. Most people can relate to the conflict between my way and God’s way.

We are in Leviticus and the laws given to Israel. Most of them make sense, some of them don’t to our culture. So we went back over the essence of sin being, “I don’t need you for this, God. I’m just fine on my own. I want to do things my way.” Big or tiny, overpowering or slight we all know that pull.

Addiction is a great example of that conflict. Once you’ve accepted you can’t stop on your own, you can get help. The desire is there in your mind, but the pathways in your body (literally physically) will always win.

But that isn’t where we went this morning. We went to my experience in graduate school and Luke 9:23-25. I always felt I had to give up me to be Jesus’ follower. That is what that passage said to me. But I told them how reading it in my little  brother’s Bible (NET) opened a door in my brain because of one different word. Actually it was two words: “True self” instead of “soul”. Profound.

Changing that one word changed my understanding of the whole Bible. I was in graduate school taking Family Systems Theory and we were studying the difference between pseudo self and the true self, and suddenly I saw that concept in scripture! Wow! What a game changer!

Jesus was saying, “If you want to find your true self it will cost you giving up your false self, but it will be totally worth it.” Suddenly everyone breathed a collective “ah ha” and seemed to understand that the true self and the false self represent our brokenness–our God-given nature and our acquired rebellious nature living in the same body, and we have to choose which one to feed and exercise. Thus the conflict inside. The one we empower grows.

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Eustress–Living in a Good Whirlwind

Eustress is good stress. The kind that makes you feel alive and alert–excited about life. I’ve been experiencing both kinds of stress lately, but recently have been reveling in the good kind. Aging is not fun, one of my friends recently said, “Aging is not for the faint-hearted,” and I agree, but I wouldn’t trade the time I’ve been having for anything.

I think when you say to God, “Make me know You,” like French renegade– turned devoted priest, Charles de Focauld said, life gets really interesting. And when you’ve told Them (God), “I’m available, use me.” it gets even more wild.

I didn’t say it gets easy. I’ve been through two of the hardest things in my life in the past two months, but what a ride! First was looking at my own deficits, and second was the sweetness of God in helping me face them by sending reinforcements. I wrote about that time before last, “The Sweetness of God” but at that time didn’t know what it was going to ask of me.

It turned into God showing me that what I really needed was to give up my position of insulation and safety with people. I saw that I had situated myself very conveniently to keep people at arms length. I keep so busy with still working a bit and volunteer positions at church and writing the Bible from a cosmic-war perspective that I have no time for real friendship. Or at least very little that doesn’t require much from me. Certainly doesn’t ask for much risk or vulnerability. Wow! And I always thought I was so vulnerable!

It’s easy to be vulnerable with clients, if they want it. There is very little risk, and it usually helps them open up. But God asked me to be a friend. To learn to be a real friend. To make myself available to another person. Whoa! When I thought about it, I panicked! What a shock! It went so deep, and the journaling was so revealing, I was amazed and hurt at what I learned about myself. It brought up twenty lies! False beliefs I held about myself and friendship–stuff that went way back to childhood. Basic, self-worth stuff.

I had nightmares for two nights, and woke up terrified three mornings at just the thought! Then I knew I needed healing–badly! And that is how I knew the friend request really came from God. But how rich and special it has been–all of it, the reality, even the pain of truth, the healing, the vulnerability, even admitting my fear and impoverishment has had a sweetness when received with the same vulnerability and honor in return. It has been one of the major gifts of my life. I am more than grateful.

Who knows what riches They want to give you? Take the risk and ask. I promise you will be delighted in the end. It will be worth it because they love you and are safe, truly. They can be trusted and life will go beyond fulfilling!

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Tribute to a Step-Father

Probably not a lot of step-fathers get honored for being great fathers, but some do and my son-in-law deserves it. I’m so glad he has taken on the task of fathering his three step-sons seriously.

And they respond.

Some of his notable acts have been taking the middle one to the hospital when he broke his arm clean off, and staying with him there all night long to make sure he was ok.

Another is selling his own ATV to put the money into the pickup truck and fix it up for the oldest so it is ready in two years when he can drive. The plan is to work on it together and teach Wade what he knows.

Even more important, was the help and guidance he has given the oldest (14) when he has gotten into trouble with friends. One of them posted a nude picture on Wade’s Instagram account as a prank and his step-dad helped him take it off and let his girl-friend know that he wouldn’t do that, and then track down who had done it. There have been even more serious infractions when his calm, steady, non-shaming guidance have been most helpful and invaluable.

He takes them with him to do service projects at the church and wherever they can help him, teaching them work skills. He doesn’t miss any of their parent-teacher conferences, ball-games, or band concerts. He is there for them–the strong steady modeling young boys becoming men desperately need.

He is definitely an asset; added value in their lives, and I am grateful. Of course I wish he would smile at them more and hug them more to cement his example into their hearts and  lives. He thinks they get enough of that from their other three parents, but I know it would feed their bond with him and feed their needy hearts. No boys get too much of that from dads!

No one is perfect, but he comes pretty close.

Happy Father’s Day, Jeremy!

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Making God Real

I thought I might skip the confirmation of last week’s blog. It makes me feel so vulnerable, but I know vulnerability is a precious quality, and one I need. So at the risk of sounding crazy I’m sharing my journey–the experiment in making God real. Mother’s Day was a fabulous day.

I spent the day with Ruach (my name for the Holy Spirit if you are new to me). It may have been the best Mother’s Day ever–certainly the most different MD I’ve ever had. My husband and I were in an unresolved fight and so not speaking–so I am being quite literal! I had several MD wishes first thing in the morning and after that it was just Ruach and I.

It was a perfectly gorgeous day and I put on an experimental outfit of something comfortable and gauzey I wanted to wear because it was pretty. I took my laptop and water to the gazebo, one of my favorite hang-outs. On Sunday morning I usually post my blog going through Jesus’ life in a year,* but I hadn’t gotten it done with all the texts.

I was making the conscious effort of talking to God to be aware of His presence. So I would talk a little and read and post, and then we would go out and work in the yard for a bit together. There was no pressure, no plan other than posting the blogs (which usually takes a half hour to an hour.) It was so relaxed and leisurely, so fun because there was no self-pity, no regret, no loneliness, only the consciousness of His presence. He is  so sweet. I always say “No one can love you like Jesus” (or Ruach–They love with the same sweetness) and it is true!

We talked about everything, and joked and laughed and high-fived! He is so funny. At the first high five, He said, “I’m sure that surprised any of the dark side sent to watch! That made them run!” and laughed.

I responded, “They probably didn’t believe it!” I could hardly, but it just naturally happened. I was pulling tall grass behind the flowers and some of it I couldn’t reach. He said “Try again,” so I did, and for some reason I could that time! My arms hadn’t grown, nothing had changed except I reached it. I laughed and high-fived Him and then laughed at that!  And I said, “If anyone was watching they would think I am crazy.” That’s when he said the dark side ran away. That happened again and again.

Then we went back and I posted another blog and then we went out again. While we worked we talked about the story I’m writing now (David) and things I hadn’t thought of.  Then we would go back in the gazebo and post another blog and have some water and hang out. Then back out.

I remembered how my mother often told me stories of how sweet He was to her. She lived alone for years out in the country in Minnesota. She would need to do something she couldn’t do by herself and then she would ask for help, and He would give her an idea to use something for leverage and it would work. So of course I shared that she had told me. I could feel His smile–could almost see it in my mind, and His nod, and He would say, “I loved her too.”

It took all day to post a week of blogs–that was a first–and was an incredible day of warmth and sweet feelings and conversation and joy.  Just as Psalm 16:11 says, “In Your presence is fullness of joy…” At 6:10 my computer alerted me that the battery was low, I was amazed the day was over already, and a little sad as I went to the house. But He said, “I’m not going anywhere,”  and then I smiled and was grateful for the day. It was my unforgettable Mother’s Day.


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Mother’s Day Can be Beautiful No Matter What!

When your kids are far away or not in close relationship with you, Mother’s Day can be a hard day. Maybe even a day of regret and sadness. Today is one of those for me on all counts and I choose to be happy because I can. We can do that! We can choose happiness! It’s a gift God has given us–the choice to be happy and grateful when there seems to be no reason to be happy, or even evidence not to be happy!


This morning, this Mother’s Day choice is heightened for me because my husband got very angry when I tried to get him to look at his part in a confrontation we had previously had, and now he isn’t speaking to me.


This is going to be a silent day! But I am excited because it is a beautiful day and it means I have all the time to be alone with God soaking in His love–all Three of Them that fill that position of God! Wow! Three lovers who want to be with me! Three who love me wildly–even with my poor little crippled heart! I have everything I need to be joyful and have a great day! I even have the bonus of a gazebo and backyard in bloom!


But it is my choice.


In my time with God this morning, I suddenly realized how uncomfortable I am being loved! I never knew that before. It was shocking, but events  have stacked up evidence lately to bring it home to the inside. So clearly I need this retreat today. I need this respite. I need the practice of letting myself be loved and leaning into it. I need to receive and get comfortable receiving, and being grateful.


Learning that, I couldn’t wait to get started. And ever since then things have changed. They fill me with awe at Their love.


So if you are in that position too, choose with me, and see what happens. Watch God fill your heart. I bet we will be amazed at the end of the day. Our perception is so changed by a choice. Try it.


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The Sweetness of God

I often say to people, “No one will ever love you like Jesus.” (And Abba and Ruach.) And I mean it, but my experience of it waxes and wanes like all love relationships. There is always an ebb and flow. That’s how I know love is more than feelings. It is a commitment. But it does have wonderful feelings at times, and this week I got to experience the true sweetness of God’s love.

One of the sweetest things about God is that They know when you really need some encouragement.

I was at an all-time low. Feeling not-good-enough for my daughter and grand-kids. It reached a head just before I flew home and it was a tearful ride to the airport. I never cry unless it’s at something good, but this was not good, at least not good-feeling. At least she said “I love you and I do want you here,” when she dropped me off.

It had started the day before when shame came up somehow and she said I had raised her on it. I was shocked. I had been raised on it, but I was sure I hadn’t raised her the way I was raised–at least not to that extent. It got worse that night in a crazy misinterpretation of a humorous comment I made that got mis-repeated and hurt my grandson’s feelings. He and I talked it through, but I didn’t sleep much that night.

I was despairing of ever being truly accepted and liked for who I am and what I am. I would have to change and be someone different; that much was clear. I felt, hurt, rejected, and it wasn’t long until it turned into abandonment.

At home the next morning I had to work, and that helped. But the last client of the day was a returning client, who asked how I was doing and I was honest. She said “I wouldn’t want you for a mother–I’d always be afraid you were analyzing me.” Hmm! My daughter did apologize for being hard on me and text and say she loved me. That helped.

I gave into feelings of anger the next morning, in spite of the fact that an old client texted me gratitude out of the blue. He said he’d been praying and thanking God for me. I recognized God’s love, but I was going south fast–even while gardening! I knew I would end up hurting my relationships and my mind. And it wouldn’t help anything. So I chose to go back to reason and being the person I want to be. I asked God what to do next, and Ruach (Holy Spirit) immediately said, “Tell me three things you are grateful for. ” So I did, and felt better.

What would I do without God? Three powerful beings who know you inside out and still are in love with you–“crazy about you”–as my friend Barb says. They are so crazy about you that they want you with Them as your first love now through this life and forever.

A few minutes later a text came from a former client asking if I would see her son. I had worked with him ten years ago, and I said “Absolutely!” I love this kid. He had worked so hard in therapy. From what she said it sounded like it would be a difficult session. He’d been in a bad car accident two days earlier because he was drinking and she wasn’t sure if it was an attempt to take his life. She was sure he was sober now so I saw him later that day. It was a wonderful session, and I was very clear that this was God’s way of saying They knew my pain and were pleased with me. It was as though They brought us together because we both needed it. There was a foundational belief in him that still needed healing badly, and They healed it even before I asked. As soon as he said he wanted it, he had it. But the sweetest part for me was seeing how much he had grown in ten years. He had become an amazing young man, who was so different  from the broken, angry, suicidal kid I had first seen, I didn’t even recognize him! He had made so much progress, and has so much promise, I was overwhelmed with gratitude that I had been a part of the change. He had hit a low spot, gave into drinking and had a one-car accident going way too fast. He should have been killed but he wasn’t–only banged up with two broken ribs and a cracked pelvis. He was uncomfortable, but his attitude toward that and all the complications he had just created for himself was admirable. I had known he was gifted, but he has really applied himself and grown. It was delightful to see who he has become. 

That night he texted me how grateful he was for me. Two days later his mother texted something similar. I was floating with the realization of God’s loving presence and reality both in his life and mine. He had said he was learning that dark times teach you the most. I had already known this, just needed the reminder. This will all work out for good. God is never surprised and never baffled about guiding us and working things out. All we have to do is see Them in it, be teachable and allow Them to love us.

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What it’s like to be Under God’s Hand

I just wanted to share my week with you. It has been amazing! I now know what it is like to feel protected under God’s hand. I know I am, I feel it at times, but this was dramatic.

My pastor’s wife wanted to have a tea for the church ladies and asked if I would have it at my house and if I would speak for it. I love doing both, so of course I said yes. That was months ago and we have had great amounts of rain this year and the grass and flowers are beautiful!

But the reason I feel so protected and loved is this: the weather forecast for this week was horrendous for a flower garden! Our valley is normally the first to get wind and heat in our area. When I heard the forecast I gasped, and then I said “God, the dark side is trying to scare me, I’m just going to laugh at them, and trust You.” We were supposed to have hot weather on Sunday and Monday (90), and wind gusting up to 70 mph on Tuesday. Then it was supposed to cool way down and rain on Sunday (today) and only get up to 70.

My friend asked if I’d heard, and I said yes. “I know the dark side hates me, and this proves it. Every time I have an event they mess up the weather! But I’m choosing to laugh at them and trust God.”

The events turn out anyway. The first two neighborhood teas I had  on my patio were cool and cloudy. It poured rain at the end of the first one, which kind of heightened the effect actually. This third year it was planned for the lawn because the grass was green and the flowers surrounding us were beautiful. It was supposed to be 85 but only got up to 80, even then I worried that my guests were all sunburnt. But my neighbor assured me no one was burnt.

This time it was going to be 18 ladies instead of 8. And it was a production! So instead of stressing, I just told God, “I know you love me, and You can do anything if I trust You. I also know Satan has probably asked to test me again over this, so help me pass. I’m not going to get fearful or stressed. I choose not to get angry with my husband if he gets irritable. (My 40 day fast this year is to be more loving to him.) I trust we will have what You want to give us, and I know You are good.” (That is the whole focus of my Bible writing.)

So Sunday it was 85 for a short time. The flowers on the patio needed a little heat to really bloom. Monday was supposed to be 90 here but we had a big cloud during the hottest part and it only reached 85 again. I was so grateful. Tuesday there was no wind all day until I started writing in the gazebo. Then a strong breeze started. About an hour before sundown it raised a little, nothing huge, and went down again after sundown. Again I was so grateful, and thought God had just held it in check. The next day a client told me what it had been like just over the hill–20 minutes away–definitely 70 mph gusts of horrible wind–dust storms until you couldn’t even see! I was in awe and felt so loved and protected!

Wednesday I was going to take some irises to my friend with cancer. She loves them too, and had just gone through another round of chemo. Our schedules didn’t jive, so we decided on the next day. She is a 2o min. drive away, and it was a work day for me, so it was going to be a quick visit. She asked if I could bring smothered burritos (my favorite and hers too), and I couldn’t say no. I always ask what she needs or wants, and she hasn’t asked anything. And I know nothing tastes good to her now.

I was exhausted so I asked God for energy and made the sauce. Then I finished them at her house while we talked. Turned out that it was exactly what I needed at that point in a very busy week of yard work and more.  I had a very peaceful day.  I just trusted God that everything would get done, and  of course it did. Two clients canceled anyway, so I had time to write also. (I’ve managed to keep that up.)

The tea was this morning and what a beautiful day it was–sunny and 75!

The tea was unbelievable–all the attention to detail. Everything presented so beautifully and charmingly. I have never seen anything like it. (It was catered by Jamie who is starting a business doing such things. I highly recommend her.)

My talk was well-received and I wasn’t even nervous. I actually just enjoyed giving it. That is a great feeing, and a  gift.  I posted it here under Why Women are Special to God two weeks ago.

I yet again learned to trust God’s love, and just relax into it; He (They) are truly amazing! I want to live every week like this. But would I need to live under this kind of  pressure? Be stepping into this kind of action? This kind of war? Yep. But how exciting that would be! How fulfilling! How even relaxing! I even slept 7 hours last night.

I’ll share some pictures. They don’t do it justice, but you can get the idea.

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A New View of God


I learned that the best way to deal with anxiety is reframing it as excitement, then your mind stops looking for the threat your body is telling it about! Isn’t that great?

Who knew! Since I didn’t know it after 30 years as a family systems therapist, I thought you might not know it either. Mel Robbins, who suffered 20 years from anxiety, managed hers with meds and therapy, but when her children started having anxiety she got serious about understanding it!

Isn’t that a God story! Once God’s children became infected with the disease of sin, God came up with an antidote. But why would one of Them coming as Their human son and dying as a criminal be an antidote? How would that produce oneness again? Why didn’t they just take thousands of years like they did to win Lucifer back?

Because things had changed in God’s family. Lies about God were flying around the universe fast and furiously. Everything was confusion. Fear, that dark cloud, had entered the realm.

God has always had to protect us from Them. (I usually refer to God as Them because I write and think in terms of the Three of Them.) The problem became fear, and I think this was very real in Moses’ life. He had heard the warnings, experienced the preparation to be in God’s presence. He had seen Nadab and Abihu drop dead because they weren’t prepared. For him, the fear of the Lord wasn’t just reverence, but I don’t think he was really afraid. Moses is the one human, that got to spend 80 days in the glory of God. Jesus only got 40! Yet Moses unwittingly spread fear to me, and probably a lot of others, by what he wrote. Maybe he used fear to get these people to listen. It must have been the best way for them. But is it now?

One of my clients said to me recently, “You’ve helped me reconnect with God. I’ve always heard ‘fear God,’ and thought I don’t want that. I have too much fear as it is.” She is winning against anxiety.

In my 30’s I finally decided I had to deal with my fear of God. So my Master’s project looked at the parenting of God in each book of the Bible. That helped, and understanding God’s wrath helped in a huge way, but the only thing that has really made a difference  is knowing God intimately–getting to know Their sweet, tender  love for me personally, experientially. I prioritize time with Them every morning. I look for Their love messages every day. I crave Their intimacy.

Many of you hear intimacy and think sex, but sex is not intimacy. Intimacy is safety. Feeling completely safe with a person. Safety is the foundation of love.  Jesus on the cross showed the universe that God is safe, that God would take responsibility for creating a world where something could go wrong, and rescue us. God (all 3 of Them) in Their unselfishness would go through the unthinkable together to conquer death and evil and sin. Don’t think Abba and Ruach didn’t go through hell in Jesus’ death.

If you are a parent, you’d rather die than watch your child die! I don’t think God sent Jesus. I believe it was Jesus idea to come. I even believe Abba and Ruach had to be convinced. In my first episode of Love’s Playbook, Adonai presents the idea, describing how it would resolve Their problem, showing Them that it is the only way. But They, even seeing the wisdom of it, cannot readily agree to let Him do it. It took Them time, the idea was so awful, so risky.

But they did come around to it as the only way to restore us, bring us back into Their presence, and give us Eden back! What a God! You can see why it takes all three of Them to be One! They help each other do the hard things.

You get the story here.                         Love’s Playbook, episode 1


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