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God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
and Wisdom to know the difference.
Thy will, not mine, be done.

January 18

Daily Reflections

WOULD A DRINK HELP?

By going back in our drinking histories, we could show
that years before we realized it we were out of control,
that our drinking even then was no mere habit, that was
indeed the beginning of a fatal progression.
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 23

When I was still drinking, I couldn't respond to any of
life's situations the way other, more healthy, people
could. The smallest incident triggered a state of mind
that believed I had to have a drink to numb my feelings.
But the numbing did not improve the situation, so I
sought further escape in the bottle. Today I must be
aware of my alcoholism. I cannot afford to believe that
I have gained control of my drinking - or again I will
think I have gained control of my life. Such a feeling
of control is fatal to my recovery.

***********************************************************

Twenty-Four Hours A Day


A.A. Thought For The Day

The new life can't be built in a day. We have to take the
program slowly, a little at a time. Our subconscious
minds have to be re-educated. We have to learn to think
differently. We have to get used to sober thinking
instead of alcoholic thinking. Anyone who tries it, knows
that the old alcoholic thinking is apt to come back on us
when we least expect it. Building a new life is a slow
process, but it can be done if we really follow the A.A.
program. Am I building a new life on the foundation of
sobriety?

Meditation For The Day

I will pray daily for faith, for it is God's gift. On
faith alone depends the answer to my prayers. God gives
it to me in response to my prayers, because it is a
necessary weapon for me to possess for the overcoming of
all adverse conditions and the accomplishments of all
good in my life. Therefore, I will work at strengthening
my faith.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may so think and live as to feed my faith
in God. I pray that my faith may grow because with faith
God's power becomes available to me.


***********************************************************

As Bill Sees It

Companion and Partner, p. 18

"Dr. Bob was my constant companion and partner in the great A.A.
adventure. As the physician and great human being he was, he chose
work with others as his prime A.A. vocation and achieved a record
which, in quantity and in quality, none will ever surpass. Assisted by the
incomparable Sister Ignatia at St. Thomas Hospital in Akron,
he--without charge--medically treated and spiritually infused five
thousand sufferers.

"In all the stress and strain of A.A.'s pioneering time, no hard word ever
passed between us. For this, I can thankfully say that the credit was all
his."

<< << << >> >> >>

I took my leave of Dr. Bob, knowing that he was to undergo a serious
operation. The old, broad smile was on his face as he said almost
jokingly, "Remember, Bill, let's not louse this thing up. Let's keep it
simple!" I turned away, unable to say a word. That was the last time I
ever saw him.

1. Letter, 1966
2. A.A. Comes Of Age, p. 214


***********************************************************

Walk In Dry Places
 
The Greatest Thing In The World___Love and Goodwill
In a famous sermon, Henry Drummond described love as a spectrum with nine ingredients.  Love is patience, kindness, and generosity; it is humility, courtesy, and unselfishness.  Finally, it is also good temper, gentleness, and sincerity.  Drummond called love the "greatest thing in the world."
Growth in sobriety includes improvement in all the nine ingredients that make up love.  It has been fashionable in recent years to talk and sing about love as something the world needs, and we have an opportunity to practice love when we strengthen the qualities that make us loving people.  And if we are uncomfortable with love as a word, we can call it goodwill.
If we are practicing the elements of love or goodwill, we won't have to sing about it or tell people what we're doing.  They will see the change in our own lives and will be attracted by it.  Love acts the part, and even people who cannot define love will respond to it.  If love is present in our AA activities, it will cover a multitude of sins and will make up for many other shortcomings.
I'll try to practice the nine ingredients that make up love.  Around difficult people, I'll remember that God's love is always present with us.


***********************************************************

Keep It Simple

The reality is that changes are coming....they must come. You must share in bring them.
--John Hersey
Change. It's scary. It's hard. It's needed. Sometimes it feels bad. But one thing is for sure: it keeps on happening. Just when our life seems settled, it changes. We can't stop life. We can't stay this age forever. The world changes. Life moves on. There are always new things to do and learn. Changes means we're always beginners in some ways. We need to ask for wisdom and courage. We get it by listening, by praying, by meditating. When we ask, our Higher Power will teach us to be part of good changes.
Prayer for the Day:  Higher Power, help me believe that Your plans call for good changes.
Action for the Day:  Today I'll think about the changes in my life. I've lived through a lot. I'll be okay when more changes come, with God's help. I can keep on growing.

***********************************************************

Each Day a New Beginning

We are born in innocence.  Corruption comes later.  The first fear is a corruption, the first reaching for something that defies us.  The first nuance of difference, the first need to feel better than the different one, more loved, stronger, richer, more blessed--these are corruptions.  --Laura Z. Hobson
We are corrupted.  To be a human is to be corrupted.  Our corruptions interfere with our happiness at the very time we are seeking happiness.  When we think if only we were prettier, smarter, had a better job, then we'd be happy, we are giving in to corruptions.  And these corruptions stifle our growth.  We are each who we need to be.  We have a supporting role in one another's lives.  We can teach and learn from one another.
Recovery is choosing to help ourselves and one another to be as we are; to quit making comparisons; to understand our equality as women; to celebrate our differences, knowing they give intensity to life's colors for us all.
I can celebrate our special and different gifts today.  My heart will be lightened.

***********************************************************

Alcoholics Anonymous - Fourth Edition

Chapter 7 - WORKING WITH OTHERS

Assuming we are spiritually fit, we can do all sorts of things alcoholics are not supposed to do. People have said we must not go where liquor is served; we must not have it in our homes; we must shun friends who drink; we must avoid moving pictures which show drinking scenes; we must not go into bars; our friends must hide their bottles if we go to their houses; we mustn’t think or be reminded about alcohol at all.

pp. 100-101


***********************************************************

Alcoholics Anonymous - Fourth Edition Stories

A VISION OF RECOVERY - A feeble prayer forged a lasting connection with a Higher Power for this Mic-Mac Indian.

That very evening, as I sat in jail, my mother died.  I was allowed out for the funeral, and I still recall how alone I felt, even when I was with my family.  I felt shame and remorse, and for years to come I believed I was somehow responsible for my mother's death.  This incident haunted me for years.  Alcohol would take it away for a while, but the remorse always returned.  I tried to comfort myself by saying that my lifestyle was a part of my destiny just like many of my family members, but this did not remove the remorse.

p. 496


***********************************************************

Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions

Tradition One - "Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon A.A. Unity."

Those who look closely soon have the key to this strange paradox. The A.A. member has to conform to the principles of recovery. His life actually depends upon obedience to spiritual principles. If he deviates too far, the penalty is sure and swift; he sickens and dies. At first he goes along because he must, but later he discovers a way of life he really wants to live. Moreover, he finds he cannot keep this priceless gift unless he gives it away. Neither he nor anybody else can survive unless he carries the A.A. message. The moment this Twelfth Step work forms a group, another discovery is made - that most individuals cannot recover unless there is a group. Realization dawns that he is but a small part of a great whole; that no personal sacrifice is too great for preservation of the Fellowship. He learns that the clamor of desires and ambitions within him must be silenced whenever these could damage the group. It becomes plain that the group must survive or the individual will not.

p. 130


***********************************************************

Through morning prayers and meditation, we embark upon the day spiritually prepared. Without this preparation, we enter the day with yesterday's anxieties - our own and those of millions of others.  --Marianne Williamson

The value of persistent prayer is not that He will hear us, but we will finally hear Him.  --William McGill

I know and trust that God cares for me, and takes care of all my needs.  --Shelley

Give your friends and family the gift of kindness all throughout the year. Your body is your vehicle through life. Do you take better care of your body or your car?

It seems in life that most of us end up doing things we don't enjoy. You can turn things that you don't enjoy into something you do by changing how you do those things AND changing how you view them.

***********************************************************

Father Leo's Daily Meditation

GLUTTONY

"Gluttony is not a secret vice."
-- Orson Welles

The unspoken disease of food: hide in food, bury anger with food, cry
behind food. Food addiction --- eating, forever dieting, starving --- is the
hidden disease that is becoming more obvious. But are we talking about
it? Recovering alcoholics minimize it and get lost in ice cream and
doughnuts. For many people the pain around food is as real as alcohol
or any other drug. And the family and relationships suffer.

Today I am willing to talk about it. Spirituality affects all my life and
this involves my eating habits and body weight. God does not make
junk and so I choose not to eat junk. Today I choose to talk about the
buried emotions that I am stuffing behind the food. That is a step
towards living.

When I bless the food at meal time, may I also bless my abstinence.

***********************************************************

"And those who know Your name will put their trust in You, for You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You."  Psalms 9:10

"May the LORD keep watch between you and me when we are away from each other.  Genesis 31:49

It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.  Ephesians 4:11-16


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Daily Inspiration

Do not walk around with a long face. Radiate God's love. Lord, help me live my daily life with gratitude and peace from knowing that You are always with me.

When you have faith in yourself and God, you will know that you are loved and safe and never alone. Lord, I am these things because You are always with me
.

***********************************************************

NA Just For Today

The Simple Inventory


" Continuing to take a personal inventory means that we form a habit of looking at ourselves, our actions, our attitudes, and our relationships on a regular basis."
Basic Text, p. 41

The daily inventory is a tool we can use to simplify our lives. The most complicated part of taking a regular inventory is deciding how to start. Should we write it out? What should we examine? In how much detail? And how do we know when we've finished? In no time, we've turned a simple exercise into a major project. Here's one simple approach to the daily inventory. We set aside a few minutes at the close of each day to sit quietly and check out our feelings. Is there a knot, big or small, in our gut? Do we feel uncomfortable about the day we've just finished? What happened? What was our part in the affair? Do we owe any amends? If we could do it over again, what would we do differently?

We also want to monitor the positive aspects of our lives in our daily inventory. What has given us satisfaction today? Were we productive? Responsible? Kind? Loving? Did we give unselfishly of ourselves? Did we fully experience the love and beauty the day offered us? What did we do today that we would want to do again?

Our daily inventory doesn't have to be complicated to be effective. It is a very simple tool we can use to keep in daily touch with ourselves.

Just for today: I want to keep in touch with the way I feel in living this life I've been given. At the end of this day, I will take a brief, simple inventory.

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You are reading from the book Today's Gift.
The stream that was locked up for the winter now ripples and gurgles along its way. --John F. Gardner
Winter presents us with a frozen world, silent, sometimes forbidding. It seems like such a harsh time, forcing us indoors, letting us out only when we're wrapped in extra woolens, extra boots, extra hats and mittens. But beneath the snow's blanket, the earth is resting. Just as we sleep at night, the earth naps, nurturing its roost and bulbs, replenishing its moisture and minerals, refreshing itself. Spring is the earth's first stirring; it open's one eye, then another, wiggles a toe, stretches, yawns. The earth rises, shaking leaves off, brushing twigs away. It sends new shoots up to welcome the day.
We, too, are part of nature, and as such we experience our own seasons. Sometimes we are happy, full of energy, always able to handle obstacles. When we are down; when things seem to be too much for us to handle, we must remember that it is natural and proper to feel that way, and that soon, without our even trying, a new season will lift our hearts.
When I feel low, what can I do best?


You are reading from the book Touchstones.
Communication leads to community--that is, to understanding, intimacy, and mutual valuing. --Rollo May
We have all thought, "If I tell the innermost things about myself, I will be rejected or put down." Most real communication actually creates the opposite of what we fear. In this program, when we lowered our barriers and let our brothers and sisters know us better, they liked us more and our bonds became stronger. Are we concerned today about feelings, we need to emphasize those that make us feel most vulnerable.
The other side of communication is listening. In listening, our task is to hear without judgment and without trying to provide an answer or a cure for every pain. To express ourselves to others, to be fully understood, and to know we are understood will lift our hope and self-esteem.
Today, I can make contact with people in my life by revealing my feelings to them and listening to what they are saying.


You are reading from the book Each Day a New Beginning.
We are born in innocence. Corruption comes later. The first fear is a corruption, the first reaching for something that defies us. The first nuance of difference, the first need to feel better than the different one, more loved, stronger, richer, more blessed--these are corruptions. --Laura Z. Hobson
We are corrupted. To be a human is to be corrupted. Our corruptions interfere with our happiness at the very time we are seeking happiness. When we think if only we were prettier, smarter, had a better job, then we'd be happy, we are giving in to corruptions. And these corruptions stifle our growth. We are each who we need to be. We have a supporting role in one another's lives. We can teach and learn from one another.
Recovery is choosing to help ourselves and one another to be as we are; to quit making comparisons; to understand our equality as women; to celebrate our differences, knowing they give intensity to life's colors for us all.
I can celebrate our special and different gifts today. My heart will be lightened.


You are reading from the book The Language Of Letting Go.
Gratitude
Sometimes in life, things happen too fast. we barely solve one problem when two new problems surface. We're feeling great in the morning, but we're submerged in misery by nightfall.
Every day we face interruptions, delays, changes, and challenges. We face personality conflicts and disappointments. Often when we're feeling overwhelmed, we can't see the lessons in these experiences.
One simple concept can get us through the most stressful of times. It's called gratitude. We learn to say, thank you, for these problems and feelings. Thank you for the way things are. I don't like this experience, but thank you anyway.
Force gratitude until it becomes habitual. Gratitude helps us stop trying to control outcomes. It is the key that unlocks positive energy in our life. It is the alchemy that turns problems into blessings, and the unexpected into gifts.
Today, I will be grateful. I will start the process of turning today's pain into tomorrow's joy.


My Higher Power guides me today. I can move forward with the faith and trust that I am lovingly being led along the way, a step at a time, a day at a time. --Ruth Fishel

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Journey To The Heart

Set Yourself Free from Control

You don’t have to let people control or manipulate you. You don’t have to scream and beat upon your breast, telling them they’re wrong, they cannot do that. That’s letting them control you.

People are energy. Thoughts are energy. When someone tries to control, that energy limits love and growth. Any attempt to control other people, what they think or what they do, puts little strings, cords, tentacles that smother, hold back, and impact in ways that don’t heal. Control is not the way of the heart. It’s not the way of love.

As you proceed along this journey, you will become increasingly sensitive to attempts to control. You will see and feel when its tentacles reach out to you. You will see and feel how control affects you, how it makes you feel, how it pulls at you, bothers you, annoys you. You don’t have to scream and yell. You can quietly recognize it as control.

Whether the person is someone you love, an acquaintance, a business associate, a friend, or a family member, you can recognize control for what it is– a block to the heart, a hindrance to love.

Set yourself free from control and manipulation. Love can’t be controlled. Open your heart and let love be.

*****************************************

More Language Of Letting Go

Let go of the past

I was sitting outside on the patio one morning. A foggy mist gently covered the peaks of the Ortega Mountain Range. The birds were singing. My mind wandered back to ten years ago and my life in Minnesota with my children, Shane and Nichole.

Shane was still alive then. Nichole was still living at home. Our love, our family bond, was so strong. “We’ll always get together for birthdays,” we had vowed. “Our bond, our love, will live on.” It had been the best year, the happiest year, of my life. I wanted that time back again. If I could just see him again, for one minute. If the three of us could just be together again, for one day, I yearned, life would be so good.

Later that morning I picked up an Osho Zen meditation card– not to tell the future, but to get insights into now.

My card talked about “clinging to the past.”

It said, “It’s time to face up to the fact that the past is gone, and any effort to repeat it is a sure way to stay stuck in old blueprints that you would have already outgrown if you hadn’t been so busy clinging to what you have already been through.”

“Silly me,” I thought, coming back to the patio and to the Ortega Mountain Range. “Even though life is different and I miss the children, life is pretty good now.”

Let yourself have all your emotions and feelings about losing people and moments you loved and cherished. Feel as sad as you need to. Grieve. Then let the feelings and the past go. Don’t let your memories stop you from seeing how beautiful and precious each moment in your life is now.

God, help me let go of yesterday so I can open my heart to the gifts of today.

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A Day At A Time

Reflection For The Day

If we are determined to stop drinking or using other chemicals, there must be no reservations whatever, nor any lurking notion that our allergy of the body and obsession of the mind will some day reverse themselves. Our regeneration comes through the splendid paradox of the Twelve Steps: Strength arises from complete defeat, and the loss of one’s old life is a condition for finding a new one. Am I convinced that in powerlessness, Power comes? Am I certain that by releasing my life and will, I am released?

Today I Pray

May I know power through powerlessness, victory through surrender, triumph through defeat. May I learn to relinquish any trace of secret pride that I can “do it by myself.” Let my will be adsorbed and steered by the omnipotent will of God.

Today I Will Remember

Let Go and Let God

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One More Day

Life’s a pretty precious and wonderful thing. You can’ sit down and let it lap around you . . . you have to plunge into it, you have to dive through it.
– Kyle Crichton

Life isn’t always carefree. Especially when we are suffering pain and discomfort, we may tend to back away from the mainstream. We’re just not sure how to behave in the face of new problems. We become confused about what we expect from others. Uncertain of what to do, we may be content for a while to let life lap around us.

We find, however hard the lesson, that in order to be a participant, to get into the swing of things, we must dive back into life. No one is going to take care of all our needs. We are responsible for our actions.

I have been confused how to continue living my life. Now I understand that I must plunge in again and get going.

*****************************************

One Day At A Time

~ LOVING WORDS ~


One of the hardest things in life
is having words in your heart that you can't utter.
James Earl Jones

Many years ago I had difficulty in expressing feelings of love and caring and warmth and concern. Contrary to this, I had no difficulty in expressing criticism, unkind words or constant critiques. Over the years I have learned so much about myself and others ... and now I can express feelings to my friends and loved ones about everything.

Those who are imprisoned by emotional constipation do little to make life better for themselves or for others. To be able to look at someone in your life and tell them you love them is such a beautiful gift. To tell a store clerk that you like something about them makes their heart sing. To look a little child in the eyes and tell them they have a good heart and you admire them takes them through the rest of the day on wings.

One Day at a Time . . .
Here's to letting the words out of hearts.
~ Mari ~

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AA 'Big Book' - Quote

Our book is meant to be suggestive only. We realize we know only a little. God will constantly disclose more to you and to us. - Pg. 164 - A Vision For You

Hour To Hour - Book - Quote

Our freedom lies in recognizing the threefold illusion of this disease--mind (I can handle it), desire (it feels good), and flesh (I need it). These are all illusions which we soon will be liberated from.

May I surrender my illusions about the 'goodness' of mind affecting chemicals for myself and any addict / alcoholic.

Appreciating Life

I have the gift of life. I am here. I am alive, with all of my senses and able to experience the magic of this incredible world. Whatever this day has in store for me - I am open to receive. I will act on my day and allow my day to act on me. I am open. I will take steps that I know will make my day feel good, productive and pleasurable, and then I will let the rest happen. Each day presents me with gifts and surprises, if I know how to unwrap the present - if I remember how to be pleased, moved and astonished by the wonders of this world.

Life itself is the gift

- Tian Dayton PhD

Pocket Sponsor - Book - Quote

And so our very best thoughts won't save us. When we are given a program of action, it tells us what to DO, not what to think. Think anything you want, just DO the suggestions (your thoughts will change).

What can I do this moment to have an awesome day?

"Walk Softly and Carry a Big Book" - Book

Today you are leading a life. When you were drinking, you were a life being led.

Time for Joy - Book - Quote

My Higher Power guides me today. I can move forward with the faith and trust that I am lovingly being led along the way, a step at a time, a day at a time.

Alkiespeak - Book - Quote

The problem with relationships in early sobriety is that that person becomes my higher power. - Charlie C.

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AA Thought for the Day


January 18

Spiritual Growth
Growth and understanding came slowly, but they came steadily.
And finally, I could feel gratitude for my sobriety -- for the saving grace of God.
Now I feel totally free, because I know the truth about myself.
I learned about people in AA, and this brought me to an understanding about myself.
I know that spiritual growth is a great, wide, beautiful thing
and that I have only stepped up to the open door.
- Came To Believe . . ., p. 94

Thought to Ponder . . .
Growing old is inevitable, growing up is optional, growing spiritually is up to me.

AA-related 'Alconym' . . .
K I S S = Keeping It Simple, Spiritually.

 ~*~A.A. Thoughts For The Day~*~

Housecleaning
If we skip this vital step [Step Five],
we may not overcome drinking.
Time after time newcomers have tried to keep to themselves
certain facts about their lives.
Trying to avoid this humbling experience,
they have turned to easier methods.
Almost invariably they got drunk.
Having persevered with the rest of the program,
they wondered why they fell.
We think the reason is that they never completed
their housecleaning.
c. 1976, 2001 AAWS, Alcoholics Anonymous, pp. 72-3
                                                         
Thought to Consider . . .
There's no elevator, you have to take the Steps.

*~*~*AACRONYMS*~*~*
N U T S =  Not Using The Steps.

*~*~*~*~*^Just For Today!^*~*~*~*~*

Roles
>From "Something Was Wrong":
"I had been so elated by that wonderful experience on the road at night that I wanted to stay up in a cloud with God. But this was not to be. It was my place to be down among the suffering alcoholics, not up in a cloud. As long as I keep my feet on the ground, among the suffering, God will come down and remain always with me. -- Glasgow, Scotland"
1973 AAWS, Inc.; Came to Believe, 30th printing 2004, pg. 75

*~*~*~*~*^ Grapevine Quote ^*~*~*~*~*

"Life is travel -- enjoy the journey, bumpy roads and all."
New York, N.Y., May 1977
"You and I Need Each Other"
AA Grapevine

~*~*~*~*^ Big Book & Twelve N' Twelve Quotes of the Day ^*~*~*~*~*

"'There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which
is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in
everlasting ignorance, that principle is contempt prior to
investigation.'"
~Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th Edition, Appendice II, Spiritual Experience, pg. 568~

"Lack of power, that was our dilemma. We had to find a power by
which we could live, and it had to be a Power greater than
ourselves. Obviously. But where and how were we to find this Power?
Well, that's exactly what this book is about."
Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th Edition, We Agnostics, pg. 45

Having opened our channel as best we can, we try to ask for those right things of which we and others are in the greatest need.
-Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions p. 102

Misc. AA Literature - Quote

Dr. Bob was my constant companion and partner in the great A.A. adventure. As the physician and great human being that he was, he chose work with others as his prime A.A. vocation and achieved a record which, in quantity and in quality, none will ever surpass. Assisted by the incomparable Sister Ignatia at St. Thomas Hospital in Akron, he - without charge - medically treated and spiritually infused five thousand sufferers.
'In all the stress and strain of A.A.'s pioneering time, no hard word ever passed between us. For this, I can thankfully say that the credit was all his.'
I took my leave of Dr. Bob, knowing that he was to undergo a serious operation. The old, broad smile was on his face as he said almost jokingly, 'Remember, Bill, let's not louse this thing up. Let's keep it simple!' I turned away, unable to say a word. That was the last time I ever saw him.

Prayer for the Day:  We Need Only Obey - Dear God, I realize the whole course of things goes to teach me faith. I need only obey. There is guidance for me, and by listening I shall hear the right word. I will place myself in the middle of the stream of power and wisdom that flows from You; I will place myself in the center of that flood. And then I may know the truth, the right, and the contentment.  (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

Ask and you shall receive,
Seek and ye shall find,
Knock and it shall be opened unto you.
Matthew 7:7

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