Saturday, January 29, 2011

Jumbled Thoughts

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God has not promised skies always blue,
flower-strewn pathways all our lives through.
God has not promised sun without rain,
joy without sorrow, peace without pain.
But God has promised strength for the day,
rest for the laborer, light on the way,
grace for the trials, help from above,
unfailing sympathy, undying love.

This is a poem that Sue gave to me for that first wedding anniversary after Aaron died. I love the poem.

Aaron Jr has been talking a lot more about his Daddy. It is quite amazing actually. When Aaron first passed away, Aaron Jr hardly ever mentioned him or talked about him unless I brought him up and tried to talk to him about him. This made it so I tried to talk about him even more. I wanted him to remember all that he could about him. About 4 months after, he started talking about him a little bit without being prompted, but still not a lot. Well, lately it has been amazing to me in this past year or so how much more he is talking about him. Especially the last 6 months or so. He talks about him all the time. He doesn't talk about specific memories because I actually believe that he doesn't have many specific memories of Aaron anymore, but he just talks about him as Dad. Such as Daddy this, and Daddy that. I want to do this like Daddy or that like Daddy. Or just randomly that he misses Daddy.

I wanted to share a few experiences in the past couple of weeks about little things he has said about his Dad. I try to post things like this in my sidebar under the title 'According to Aaron', but sometimes I forget... so here are a few that I didn't put there.

~ A couple of Sundays ago after church, Aaron Jr asked if we could watch 'Daddy's video'. It is the video that my brother put together to be played at the viewing and the funeral. While we watched the video together, Aaron Jr kept saying things like:

"I miss you Daddy. You are cute. I love daddy."

One of the things he said while it was playing that hurt my heart was:

"We are alone here without daddy."
I said, "Yeah, you are right."
Then Aaron Jr said, "But we are not alone with our families."

Seriously... out of the mouth of babes, right? I asked him about who he meant by families and he started naming people from both sides of our families. His perspective is wise beyond his years.

~ A few nights ago, after watching the movie 'Alpha and Omega', Aaron Jr told me that when Daddy gets back, he wants to show Daddy that movie.

~ Aaron Jr drew a picture of Daddy last year and it has been on our fridge ever since. A few days ago, he brought it to me and said,
"I want to mail Daddy's picture to him."

I asked him, "Where do you want to mail it to him?"
And he responded, "In the sky for him."

~ At my parents house recently, my 16 year old nephew, David, was in the kitchen with a few little kids. A couple of the kids, including Aaron Jr, asked David for something to eat and David's response to them was "Go and ask your parents if you can have some." To this, Aaron Jr's responded right away, "I don't have another parent."
I overheard this conversation, so I asked David a few minutes later about it and David said that he felt really bad. It was a normal thing for David to say... 'ask your parentS'. He didn't say anything wrong. And it was a normal thing for Aaron Jr to then just say matter of factly that he didn't have another parent. He was just telling it how it was. This exchange made me realize that Aaron Jr still isn't really feeling affected by his life of having only one parent yet. Well, I guess I should say that he isn't realizing what he is missing yet. But, I believe the time is coming when he is going to realize what he is missing and that will be when he will begin to grieve.

~ Aaron Jr prays every night. In almost every prayer now a days, he prays that Daddy can come back.

In one of Aaron Jr's prayers this week, he said, "Bless we can have a whole family."

~ One more thing he said recently was that he wants our house back, the one we sold last year. He thinks the people stole it from us. I had to explain to him that they bought our house. They paid money for it. He wondered why, so I had to tell him again that we had to sell our house because we no longer had enough money to be able to pay for it.

To this, Aaron Jr responded, "Well, I have more money. So we can pay it back."

He thinks the change in his wallet and piggy bank will be enough. What a sweet sweet boy. We sure do miss our home we lived in with Aaron. Aaron Jr talks about it several times a week STILL. It has been over a year now since we have lived there, but he talks about it weekly and wanting to live there again. It makes me sad.

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This posting has already become longer than I had wanted it to be, but I will mention one more thing that happened yesterday to me... in going along with my 'jumbled thoughts' title...

~ I was at my parents house yesterday. It was a fairly normal day. I walked over to the sink to run some water into a casserole dish to let it soak. As I was letting the water run, something directed my mind to the day that Aaron passed away. I cannot think of what sparked that memory to come to my mind, but it did. As I stood there listening to the water run, my mind was taken away and I was right there again sitting in the hospital waiting room... and then staring at the doctor as he told me there was nothing more they could do for Aaron and that he was gone. All of a sudden I felt as though I was hearing it again for the first time... I was right there in the hospital again feeling the devastation and the shock and horror.

~ Then I was swept away to when I was in the hospital room, sitting there with Aaron's body, holding his lifeless hand as I sobbed and felt my heart breaking.

~ Then, I was there walking out of his room with my dad because they sent everyone out and I was right there again walking down the hallway and rounding a corner running into my sister Lisa and my sister in law Suzy. They had these looks on their faces, inquiring looks waiting to hear any news we had. I was right back there again as my face and tears showed them that something was horribly wrong and I heard myself again telling them through sobs "He's gone." I was there again hearing them say "NO!" in shock as their faces showed the shock and horror of the news.
What a blessing my family has been to me.

~ Then all of a sudden I heard my mom say, "That's probably enough water" as she turned off the faucet. That brought me back to the sink in my parents house staring out the window. I have no idea how much time passed while I was running the water. I was seriously somewhere else. My guess would be no more than a minute... but somehow in less than a minute yesterday, I was able to live through about an hour of time from that night in November of 2007. I was there. I was experiencing it all over again. The emotions, the heart break, the horror. I was just barely starting to cry at the sink when my mom turned off the sink and brought me back to yesterday.

Now, I don't know why this happens. I really don't. But this experience yesterday happens to me often. Sometimes I am back in the hospital. Sometimes I am back in Aaron's parent's house watching the paramedics work to bring him back. Sometimes I am back at the viewing or the funeral. And when that happens, it feels so real. It feels like I am right back there experiencing it all over again. It always catches me off guard... usually happening when I wasn't even thinking about it at all. It still happens with the accident we were in when my brother passed away as well. Sometimes I am swept back to that day, the day of the accident, an 8 year old little girl sitting there on the ground waiting for help to arrive, not able to walk, hoping and praying that my brother is still alive.

A lot of times, I just have a few second panic attack as my mind once again tries to wrap itself around the concept that Aaron is gone and that he is not coming back. My heart starts to race and I feel like the wind is knocked out of me for a bit while I try to get a grasp on my reality again. The reality of Aaron's death and our life here now... without him. It is a strange thing that happens, but it also happens quite often.

I assume that is what happens when someone experiences trauma in life. I am not sure how I feel about it, but because I like the cleansing affect that tears have, I don't think I mind it... I think it does affect me for the next few days after when this happens though. Like today, I have been thinking about it a lot today again. Thinking about the day Aaron passed away and feeling the emotions of it.

Someone said to me yesterday that I have been tried to the core. I didn't want to discount this person's evaluation of the trial I have experienced and the seriousness of it, but I did have to tell this person that I don't think I have been tried to the core. I said to them that each time I begin to feel like things could not get any worse, all I have to do is look at Aaron Jr and remember shortly after Aaron died having a dream where Aaron Jr died, and then I count my blessings. As long as Aaron Jr is here bringing JOY into my life... I will not have been tried to the core. Yes, this trial is tough and I still hurt and ache, but because of the miracle of Aaron Jr, I am greatly blessed.

I guess that is the end of my jumbled thoughts for today...

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Wednesday, January 26, 2011


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This is Aaron Jr holding my two copies of my sister's new book called GIFTED.

{Karey's Writing Blog}

The books just came in the mail today and I am not ashamed to say that I cheered for JOY when I got the box from the delivery man. :)

I am so excited to read the finalized version of this book. It is such a great book. I am so proud of my sister as I have watched her book go from a dream she had, to her first draft copy, then to the copy she submitted to publishers, and now to this final and PRINTED copy of her book. And I am honored to be mentioned on her acknowledgments page. Honored.

Anyhow, yes, I am totally plugging my sister's book to anyone who reads my blog. That is how proud I am of her and that is how much I love her book.

I ordered my copies of her book on It is discounted by 33% off of the list price on there... and I love a good bargain for something that I want to buy.

So, for anyone who wants their own copy of this wonderful book, click on below to order yourself a copy of GIFTED. The link will take you straight to the page with her book on it.


I would love to hear from anyone who orders it and what they think of it.


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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Sledding ~ 2011

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I am one who loves the beauty of snow, but hates the cold weather that accompanies it. So, I am not the most fun mom in the world when it comes to winter outdoor activities... but I try to make sure to take Aaron Jr sledding at least once a year. I am glad the Harkness family decided to go on New Years Day.

My brave little boy. Aaron Jr could not get enough. He loved going down by himself so much, it seemed like a burden for him when he was asked to go WITH someone. Other years, I have been able to go down with him loads of times, but he is getting older... more brave... and he wanted to go alone. I got him to go with me a couple of times, but besides those couple of times, the only want to go down with him was to get another sled and go down beside him. I took what I could get. :) I was proud of him. He was so brave.

Aaron Jr with Isaac

Aaron Jr. carrying his sled back up the hill.

Me with Aaron Jr on separate sledding vessels. :) At least he let me hold his hand on the way down. :)

We went really far that time down. So much fun.

The Harkness Family who attended.

Grandma and Grandpa Harkness

Aaron Jr.

What a handsome boy I've got.

My nephew, Nathan, who is serving a mission over in Finland sent this hat to Aaron Jr for Christmas. Aaron loves it. It was so thoughtful of Nathan to send it. Thanks Nate.

One of our times down the hill together, Aaron drew a heart in the snow and told me that it was a heart for me. I didn't have my camera with me on the way down, so he drew me another one later and I took this photo.

I don't know what I have done to deserve such a sweet boy. He is my JOY and I love him so much.

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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Overwhelming Gratitude

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So, I was out to dinner with a couple of my friends in a neighboring town last weekend and a lady stepped up to our table and apologized for interrupting and then went on to ask me a question that surprised me.

She asked, "Are you Lesterlou?"
I told her that I am.
Then she went on to tell me, "I read your blog. I'm Matchbox Mom (the name she uses to comment on my blog) and my kids still pray for you and your son."

Keep in mind that I have never met this lady, she is a stranger standing there in front of me... UNTIL she told me her screen name. As soon as she said that she is Matchbox Mom, I felt like I was greeting an old friend. I have never met her, but I know her from her comments on my blog... comments that I have always been grateful for. She has been loving and supportive without even knowing me personally. And her kids PRAY FOR US?! WOW! She knew my real name as well and I got her real name. I had to thank her.

This was a humbling experience for me and I want to thank Matchbox Mom again for going out of her way to introduce herself to me and for the prayers that they have offered for Aaron Jr and me. Thank you Matchbox Mom.

Now, I will share that this is not the first time I have been approached. I have been approached by people in the past telling me that they read my blog. I don't remember names and I didn't write about those other times because I did not want to seem like I feel like I am so important that people recognize me... but this time, when this lady told me that her kids still pray for me, I knew that I had to share my gratitude for the amazing people who have followed our story, whether they know us or not. I could name names of some of the people who have commented on my blog sharing their love and their support for us. People I know personally and people I do not know personally... and I can tell you that each and every comment that I have ever received showing support and love has been received with gratitude. And to read comments from people telling me that they are praying for us... and then hear that straight from this lady's mouth that they pray for us... WOW is all I can say. SO grateful.

The wonderful thing about comments that I have received is that... while family and friends are such a huge support to us each day... at night when I am awake in the middle of the night and I feel lonely or down, I can get on my blog and read back through comments that have been left on my blog. They lift my spirits. I cannot say thank you enough times... Thank you all so much... for prayers, for kind words, for love, for support, for kind thoughts, for caring. Thank you.

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Sunday, January 16, 2011

Happy New Year ~ 2011

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This is the fortune I pulled out of my fortune cookie on New Years Eve Eve. As soon as I pulled it out and read it, I thought it was a perfect New Years fortune.
As I have thought about this fortune, at first I looked at it and thought that it would fit better once I meet a great guy to sweep me off of my feet who is an amazing husband to me and a spectacular father figure to Aaron Jr. After Aaron passed away, I have constantly felt like my life will 'begin' again once this happens... once I feel like we have a complete or more traditional family life again.
I am ashamed to say this, but up until recently I have had a hard time calling just Aaron Jr and me a family. Not only has it been difficult to call ourselves a family, but I have not even thought about us as a family in the literal sense of the word. I also never wanted to have a real 'family' photo taken of us until our family felt complete again.
A couple of months ago, Aaron Jr said something that humbled me and woke me up a bit. I wish so badly that I could remember the whole conversation we had, but I do remember the end of the conversation that really hit me hard. Aaron Jr must have asked me a question about someone in particular where my answer to him was something about them being a family.
After I answered him, he asked, "Like WE are a family?"
He meant himself and me. After he asked this, it was tough for me at first, but then I said, "Yes, like WE are a family."
Isn't it amazing that we, as adults, can be taught such simple principles from our children?
Of course we are missing someone very important in our family and there is always going to be a void, a gaping hole, where Aaron is supposed to be in our family... BUT, the fact that Aaron Jr thinks of us, just the two of us, as a family is reason enough for me to change my way of thinking and adjust my attitude about what can be called A FAMILY.
I looked up the word 'family' in the dictionary the other day when it was really on my mind. It said:

fam*il*y ~ a group of people closely related ~ a group consisting of individuals descended from a common ancestry ~ a household

We miss Aaron so much. He is a huge part of this family. But since he cannot be with us right now, it is okay for me to call us, the two of us, a family. Aaron Jr thinks of us as a family... and he taught me that I can think of us as a family as well. And ever since that conversation when he taught me that... I have felt it and believed it.

Which brings me back to the fortune. 'You are just beginning to live.'
We do not need to wait around for life to begin. Each of us has the power to begin each new day with a resolve to LIVE. No matter what happens on any given day, we can wake up with a fresh day ahead of us. We can have a clear and new outlook on our future. A future filled with hope.
Tomorrow I plan to make a sign that says 'You are just beginning to live' and put it by my bed.
So, I resolve this year to wake up each day with hope in my future and the attitude that I am just beginning to live... that each new day is fresh. No matter what went right or what went wrong the day before... I am going to start new each day. Because each sunrise means another beginning.

Me with Aaron Jr just after midnight in the first few minutes of the New Year ~ 2011.

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Saturday, January 8, 2011

'Gifted' trailer

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This is the trailer that my brother Mark put together for my sister's book, Gifted. He did a beautiful job. The book comes out on February 8th and we are very excited. I can't wait to read the published copy. SO excited. Go to my sister's writing blog and enter for a chance to win a copy of her book after it is released.

Karey White's Blog

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Friday, January 7, 2011

Random December ~ 2010

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My handsome boy who needs a haircut. :)

Grandma with Angus, Stella, Michael, Aaron, and Lily
Grandma was making cinnamon rolls and let the kids make their own pan of small cinnamon rolls. Mmm...

and here it is... another haircut so handsome.

Lisa was in an operetta at the beginning of December called 'Ahmal and the Night Visitors'. It was really good. The girls sang before it started as prelude. Julia, Caroline, Hannah, Elise, Anna, Stella, Lily, and Sophie were all in this group.

Here they are: Caroline, Anna, Julia, Elise, Hannah, Sophie, Lily, Stella
cute girls

Lisa on the left in the operetta. She did great.

Ava and Malia ~ Sophia cute girls

Uncle Robert wrestling with Aaron, Luke, and Benny

Taking a rest.

Luke and Aaron Jr. ~ great pals.

My Mom with her newest grandchild, Andrew.

Aaron Jr in Grandpa's big boots.

Spencer, Luke, Benny, Aaron Jr ~ feeding Shayla.

Shayla, Benny, Spencer, Luke, Aaron Jr.

In one of his prayers recently, Aaron Jr prayed:
"bless when I am bigger, I can play with dangerous things."

It cracked me up. It came after I was going through a box and came across some of Aaron's pocket knives. Aaron Jr wanted them and I told them they were dangerous and he could have them when he was older. This little boy makes me laugh... always.

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Thursday, January 6, 2011

Christmas Season Festivities ~ 2011

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This was the first year that Aaron talked about Santa as though he believes that he is real. When he sat on Santa's lap, he asked for the transformer called Optimus Prime.

This was a really cute Santa & Mrs. Claus couple.

Aaron Jr laying down on the floor to get just the right angle while he works on his ginger bread house.

Aaron Jr, Isaac, Malia, Sophia, Grace, Pearl with their ginger bread house creations.

Aaron's parents brought us this tree this year. It was a perfect little tree for our little house. After I put the lights on, I lifted Aaron Jr up and let him put the star on top.

Higginson Family Christmas party.

The food was wonderful.

The kids dressed up for the Nativity. My dad read Luke ll aloud while the kids walked in.

My parents surrounded by their grandkids. My mom made pillow cases for each of the grandkids this year. I love the hand made gifts my mom makes every year for the kids. What treasures. Thanks Mom and Dad.

We had a great night with the Higginson side of the family. Gifts were shared and memories were made. It was planned by Lisa and John and they did a great job. Thanks everyone. We love you all.

Sadie invited us all to their house to let the kids make ginger bread houses. Its so much fun watching the kids create and eat and create and eat and create. Thanks Sadie. It was fun.

Here is our Christmas tree all decorated. We only got to use some of the ornaments this year. I let Aaron Jr pick out most of them and let him hang them all on the tree. I gave him some advice about making sure they were all spread out, but he decorated the whole thing pretty much on his own. I thought he did such a great job.

Here is our tree in the light. It is an interesting realization when you wrap gifts for your child, then put them under the tree knowing they are the only gifts that will go under the tree. I reached an age a long time ago where I stopped caring as much about receiving gifts and caring so much more about giving them. So, the only reason I even mention this in this posting is because it is just one more thing that reminds me that Aaron is not here. Like I said, I don't care that there are no gifts under that tree for me... but after I put those gifts under that tree that night, I stood there staring at them. It was sobering knowing that they would not be accompanied by last minute gifts from my husband... or a gift from my 5 year old son that was bought by my husband for my son to give to me. The fact that there are no gifts under that tree for me is a not-so-gentle reminder that I am alone raising our son. I get a lot of those... daily... the not-so-gentle reminders of that fact. I love my job though. I wouldn't trade being Aaron Jr's mom for anything... ANYTHING.

I'm not saying I didn't receive any other gifts this season. I did. I am just sharing my thoughts from what was under our own tree this year.

Our stockings. I have to admit... these might have never been hung up before Christmas if Aaron Jr hadn't begged me. We didn't have any shelves or anything hung up on our walls yet... since Aaron Jr asked me day after day to hang up the stockings, I finally hung up this shelf and we hung up our stockings. I'm so glad he kept asking me to hang up the stockings. After the stockings were hung up, Aaron Jr kept finding little treasures that he wanted to put into Daddy's stocking. He found an unopened bag of sunflower seeds in the cupboard and immediately wanted to put them in Daddy's stocking because Daddy loves those.

On Christmas morning, after Aaron Jr was opening his stocking gifts, I had him open Daddy's stocking as well.

Here are the candles burning for Aaron and my brother Bruce for Christmas this year. Each of these candles burned for more than 3 days. I love that my mom has always had this tradition on special occasions to remember Bruce... and I will continue this tradition as well.

Christmas Eve, Aaron Jr got to open his new pajamas from me. He loves the show Phinneas and Ferb. So, I got him some pajamas that have the characters from that show on them. He LOVED them and was so excited to wear them. He is wearing them in this photo while holding one of the T-shirts I got for him for Christmas.

And here it is... here is the transformer Aaron Jr asked for. Optimus Prime. I love watching his face light up when he is excited about something. This year, I made a plan for the gifts I would give to Aaron Jr. As I having been trying to pinch pennies more, I bought things on sale and was delighted when I found this transformer on sale. It was a blessing. A few years ago, a friend of mine, Amy, told me about a tradition they have for Christmas. I adopted it this year. I am not going to go into it in this posting because it would take some time and this posting is already long... so I will share it in another posting.

After we opened gifts, Aaron Jr and I went to feed Shayla. We took her an apple for Christmas and spent some time there with her. I always wonder if animals know that it is a special day. We sure love her.

After we fed Shayla, we drove out to the cemetery. We took some of the stocking gifts that Aaron Jr had put in the stocking and the Christmas card that we gave out this year. We didn't mean to look so miserable in this photo... although I am not going to lie... standing there over my husband's grave was not the most joyous occasion...

Since Aaron passed away less than a month before Christmas in 2007, this was our fourth Christmas without him. Does it still feel wrong for him to be absent on this day? YES. Has it gotten easier to celebrate Christmas without him? NO. I had a really tough morning that morning. Once I started feeling a little emotional at the end of opening gifts, that is when I knew it was time to go feed Shayla and go to the cemetery. I knew immediately what was wrong when I began feeling out of sorts that morning.

Aaron Jr gave Daddy a little photo of Jesus in his stocking. You can see it in the plastic bag on the headstone.

Aaron's parents brought this tree with this heart hanging on it and set it up for Christmas. I am glad they do that. I love that they do that.

Ode and Aaron Jr. Pals.

Ode has his own stocking as well. Aaron bought it for him a couple of years before he died. We got him some doggy treats for stocking stuffers and my dad treated Ode to this can of beef dog food. Ode went to town on that... he scarfed it down really quickly. We sure love Ode. We can tell he misses Aaron so much. What a wonderful dog.

Harkness Family Christmas party. Here are some of the grandkids dressed for the Nativity. Steve Sr. read from Luke ll while the kids knelt around the manger.

Some of the Harkness cousins with Rudolph noses on.
We had a great night with the Harkness side of the family. Gifts were shared and memories were made as well. Sue made a scrumptious dinner and she hosted along with Steve. It was great. We sure love this family. Thank you all.

Aaron bought this for Aaron Jr when he was one year old, I think. I put it away because it said for ages 5 and up. Once Aaron passed away, I have given it to Aaron Jr for Christmas every year 'from Daddy'. This year was no exception. This is the first year that Aaron Jr is old enough, according to the packaging, to play with it. :) I was hoping to get away with tucking it away and wrapping it up every year for years to come, but we will see. This is the first year that Aaron Jr keeps asking to be able to open it. I told him it is a swimming toy, so we will see how it goes this summer. It is Bruce the shark from Finding Nemo. Its cute.

The Christmas cards and greetings we received.

On Christmas morning after Aaron Jr got done opening his stocking and gifts, I checked my stocking and to my joyful surprise, I had gifts in my stocking. Aaron Jr had managed to sneak a stick of gum and a pocket sized photo of Jesus into my stocking as well. Those were my gifts on Christmas morning. They truly meant the world to me. As far as tangible gifts, that was it for Christmas morning. But my true gifts on Christmas morning were more numerous than I can even count. I will mention a few...
A healthy son.
A thoughtful son.
Loving family.
Loving friends.
JOY on my son's face.
Hope, Peace, Love, and JOY in my heart and in my soul.
A Savior who was born in humble beginnings, lived a perfect and humble life, and suffered and died for us so that we can live again.

Yes, it feels wrong to be watching our son open gifts on Christmas morning without Aaron here. It will never feel right. But, as long as we try to focus on others and the true meaning of Christmas, we can still feel that Hope, Peace, Love, and JOY in our hearts because of the GIFTS of our Savior.

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