Mexico

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I can’t believe we are nearing the end of our trip here in the U.S.! Seeing all our family and church friends has been so great! Watching God work in us this past year and learning from His Holy Spirit … Continue reading

L & Grandpa

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Most of our summer we spent up at camp UTIBACA (sort of an acronym for Utah Baptist Camps). While I ran around with The Kids making sure they stayed away from the horse corals, the 40 foot climbing tower, and restrooms! Because who is scared of heights  anyways ( um -me).  Horse hooves -fiddle sticks! And we all know how much fun running sink water is ( AH! ) not good when water is gold out West.

We had a great summer and they keep asking when can we go back up to camp.

It was an amazing place to be. Since my kids won’t be able to have very much time with their grandparents during their childhood I wanted  to capture some moments with L  and Grandpa. L is a born cowboy. And grandpa is in his element on a western quarter horse. L loved loved the horses even though he struggled understanding that we don’t call them cows like he insisted, but horsies. Grandpa was able to get him to finally call them horses the 5 th week in after I had tried all summer long!

Woodchips

     Little kids at play. The sun pouring out it’s last few rays for our golden summer evening tonight was beautiful, but seeing the kids and their cousins having fun at the park and then discover wood chips was just funny to watch. Little kids need so little to be happy. Never mind trying to get them all out of their hair.  Haha ! imageimageimageimageimageimage


New Beginnings

Remember that little black hole I told you all I felt like I was in? Well, God’s mercies are new every morning! Really, I KNOW they are. 🙂

I just want to thank all my family and friends that stopped to just say something or to say they were praying for us or share their special miscarriage stories with me.

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I really think that if you don’t know what to do or say to someone when they’ve miscarried (bc it can feel awkward and seem like the best choice is to just ignore it-) I would encourage you to just say something heartfelt and true. God is so good to give me such friends! And His absolute healing was so evident in each story I heard. 

God has used this to purge out some things in my heart  that had no place being there if I want fellowship with Him. God used this to help me  focus on my marriage and He’s brought Tyler and I so much closer through this by drawing me closer to Himself.

I was having such major God trust issues, and stress from different directions that I came to realize through this that I hadn’t been casting my cares on Him.

I was over burdening myself bc of my lack of faith in His power and timing.

I was not trusting Him when He said His burden IS light. I was overwhelmed by so much that when my miscarriage happened it just made me ask why? Why do You allow these things? Why did it have to be me?

And the answere is so simple. 

God never wastes our pain if we turn to Him.

“All things work together for good to those that LOVE God to them that are called according (for) to His PURPOSE. “

It is refreshing to see God begin a new work and see Him continue that work. It should keep us so humble bc the good that He does in us…God DID that. Not us. He’s even responsible for the willingness on our part so that we have nothing to glory in except Him.

To live in such a way that we ask, “God, how can You get the MOST out of my life?”  And then live in gratitude to Him.

Lately-in a nut shell

Do you ever feel like you’re going through a tunnel? You know God is with you and you know God’s promises, but you’re just not sure about anything? You’re not sure if those promises are really meant for you to experience?

I feel like God has put me in this place…and for a reason. I don’t know yet why or the outcome. I hope I will come out of it stronger. Stronger in my faith and walk with God.  A better and more committed wife. A more attentive and caring mom.

It’s been part of the reason why I’ve been off of my blog for a few months. I feel as if no good thing can come out of me right now.

But I need to continue being a mom, getting the kids dressed in the mornings, diapers changed, toddler off the potty and continue teaching her to always wash her hands with soap and water after each bathroom break. I need to keep teaching my 18 month old (with love and sternness) that he needs to obey and when I call him he needs to come to me…not run faster -in the opposite direction!  Sometimes I could laugh and sometimes I could cry.

There have been so many changes since my April 1st post. Some expected and some very unexpected in their development. Some with nice endings and some not so.

One being our sudden move from our little home in Tierras Nuevas.  I went into crazy overwhelming packing mode with the kiddos running around. Knowing that in less than a month we were also going to be flying Stateside for our first visit in 4 years. Lily cried when I told her why I was packing up our little home in Tierras Nuevas. Learning to be flexible isn’t always easy. This was the only home she’d ever remembered. My kids learned to walk there and she learned all her 3  year milestones there. Yeah, I was a tad sentimental too, but didn’t have much time to really sit and mull over it.

Then we needed to find a temporary home during our last few weeks, which thankfully my parents, that are 3 hours from where we work, always keep an open door for us. I love going to their house and farm! Letting the kids be on the farm and see and smell  and sometimes step in the things that were so familiar to me growing up is a pretty neat experience.

Flying here was surreal and a reality check all in itself too.  Lily happened to come down with  fever and the infamous Bolivian “runs” to top it off for all of our 5 flights.  Thankfully, I happened to pack Ibuprofen just in case in the diaper bag and several outfits and plastic bags! Landon squealed with delight when we hit freeway speeds in Salt Lake City in his Grandpa’s truck. I think he loved how fast we were traveling and all the fast cars on the highway. We usually don’t get much past 40 miles per hour ever on Bolivian roads. He loved the carpet on Grandma’s floors too. He kept jumping on it and rolling around the floor. 🙂

Really our first “Welcome to America!” moment though was the moment we hit the pavement in our shuttle to our hotel waiting out our 16 hr layover. We were both relieved at the smoothness of the road and car! I know, crazy and weird!  We could hear each other talk and even whisper if we wanted. I know this is just ordinary here, but not to us. Another moment was just having to use my debit card. I was kind of unsure if it asked me for my pin number what I should do. Hoping I’d just remember how to do everything like a normal American and to not be noticed as hesitating too much. Slightly awkward, is not a flattering description. The grocery store was overwhelming. So much variety!  We’re getting the hang of it all now and honestly it was so easy to slip right back into being American in America, but it has all been a culture shock of it’s own.

Then there was our first church visit with one of our awesome supporting churches. Our presentation didn’t cooperate. Not so awesome.  I feel like we were so unprofessional and so so unimpressive. But that is okay. We are just us. And like every other believer, our God is the One who is Impressive. Exactly as it should be. We don’t write eloquent prayer letters and we don’t have “this many believers that we led to the Lord” or “this many churches that we started” to talk  and tell about either. I don’t think people would look at us and think ” Now, these are missionaries we WANT to support- just look at the impressive investment it would be! They know how to get results!” No.  All we have to tell about is how our loving God quietly worked in our very common lives and allowed us to touch different lives and be touched by others on the field. For God’s glory.  We can only tell of the bridges He built in developing relationships with these very common people. We can only tell of His grace and His unending strength and provision for us through our four years on the field.

The moments 2 weeks ago when I found out I was pregnant.

I was literally surprised and excited! Tyler was super excited and Lily was already making plans for her and Landon’s baby “sister.” That little teenie tiny baby…so loved by it’s family of 4 already. I was loving the thought of all of our kids being 2 years apart. I was always hoping for that. Two years apart was perfection. Always and only one kid in diapers at a time. That was right up my alley! With furlough though and no insurance, having a baby in the States under a foreign system to what I’m used to would just be too much of a burden on us…or so I allowed myself to think.  I was happy God had made different plans though. In a few days we had full insurance! Everything was going to be covered. He provided for us!  My mind was at ease because this unexpected surprise was not going to be a burden after all.

Another moment…I was almost 6 weeks and I started spotting. Two days later I miscarried. I gathered it gently in my hand and wished this hadn’t been the quick ending to such a tiny sweet surprise. It had seemed like there was a whole lifetime ahead for this baby. I had already imagined labour and was still going over wether to get the epidural or not.  And I had imagined cuddling this baby. I had already imagined all 5 of us walking together -the kids laughing and Ty and I feeling like our quiver was full.  I could not flush it away with things unwanted. We wanted this baby. We didn’t know how best to deal with it except celebrate what we do have. So Ty and I took the kids to the aquarium for the day and that evening once the kids were snuggled to sleep in bed we buried the little teeny tiny one under a young little Aspen tree in Tyler’s parent’s yard. We prayed and asked God for strength.

Things are better now, but I have so many monumental things that only God can take care of. I have dreams…and I know that I need to trust God and have faith in His way and His timing.

I know He is good because He always has been to us and to me personally. He is the promise keeper and the uplifter to those that cry out to Him. He is the possessor of all the Earth -even our modern 21 Century Earth as we know it. He does want what is best for us. He does want to love and bless us. He is a wonderful mighty God. He asks us to seek Him first and to commit/give all our ways to Him and He will then answer with what is absolutely best and most beautiful because it’s His perfect individualizes tailor made answer for us personally.

I know where to go from here. I know where I should be and where I want to be. Walking by God.  And I’m kind of excited and fearful because my needs are HUGE HUGE HUGE! Massive!  I know that through all of this God is preparing to do something. I’m excited to see what, but at the moment still tired and feeling like a little  mole that hasn’t seen the light of day for a while, but I know it’s there and very close by.

Rope Rug

Happy Wednesday!

Did you know you could make a rug out of a rope? Um, I didn’t either until last week. I couldn’t believe it when I saw it and just  kind of filed this idea in the back of my mind for a “someday DIY”.

After taking our trip to Vallegrande for supplies and a chance to eat out (this girl never misses a chance to get away from the stove!) and spend some time with my brother, we were making our grocery rounds and were walking past a hardware store.  I noticed some nice thick cream nylon twisted rope. AHH!!!! The rug rope diy coming flooding into my mind! I immediately stopped with Lily holding my hand and Tyler toting Landon and asked how much per meter for the rope. My wheels were turning, but I decided I would keep this in mind and not do anything just yet.

So we moved along.

Five stores down and I noticed the same rope and asked her price. A tad more than the other stall. Then Tyler noticed a big role of hemp rope sitting in the back. The price was right and low-and-behold Tyler told the lady we needed 100 meters. I was kind of shocked! Tyler was the first to move on this once I told him about the rug possibilities. And I was sort of thinking “Are you crazy- thats ALOT of rope! We’ll have such a massive rug!”

Am I glad we bought that amount… because it wasn’t as much as I thought. It did make such a nice little rug though and  I want to make another one or add on 100 meters more to make it huge (And impossibly heavy to move. Ah, Oh well!!)

Here’s what we did.

All you need is the rope and a hot glue gun and plenty of glue sitcks. (This is a 100 count mini glue stick bag.)  20150406_193731

At first we dropped a cloth down and used that as our work surface, which worked ok, until the rug was getting pretty large and hard to slide around with the sheet constantly crinkling up and getting in the way. Not  necessary if your working on a hard floor like concrete or tile. We ditched the sheet and things were much easier!

Tyler got this started for me by cutting the end of the rope at an angle, and I put quite a bit of hot glue to get all the little frayed edges  in place for the beginning of the spiral.

For the first 12 meters of rope we did a continuess hot glue edge. After that I glued pea size bits every couple inches or less. 20150406_201004_1

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To finish the edge nicely and not too noticeably, again, cut the end of the rope at an angle with the angled cut edge being glued directly facing into the rope.  Use lots of hot glue to be sure this isn’t going to fray.

Rope Rug

Coasters , place mats, wall art, or hot pads to place on your table -there are so many options out there you can make with this.  IMG_5519

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And this is all there is to it. I’m debating on adding clear silicone to the back of this just for an extra binder. It’s very well put together right now, but I want this to hold up for the long haul. So that may be something I will be doing next to this rug. Skidding is not a problem with this rug because it’s so heavy, and the silicone wouldn’t be helping as far as making it nonskid. The pros are that it will add years to its life, but the con is that I won’t have a rug I can flip over if I need to.  Ah, we’ll see!

Sandra Laine

Welfare Christians? Or Fierce!

I’m a part of several online Christian women’s groups. That said, I wanted to talk about something today that is just beginning to alarm me some. In fact, it really tears my heart out to see.

Christian’s want to go to church. They want and see the need for fellowship. They arrive, greet and sit down. They agree with the message being preached. They are genuinely convicted by God’s Word, and changed by His loving grace. They pray heartfelt prayers to God because they recognize they need Him. Christians want to change. They want to think and meditate for the entire week on God’s Word. And come back for the next service to their sanctuary from the struggles and filth and taxation of the world.

Many do not want to serve though.

Sure, they’ll put in their 1x a month for the “required 12x a year service in nursery.” Required. I’m wondering when serving had to become a requirement that churches had to put into black and white ink for their members.

Romans 12:1 speaks of how we are to present our bodies a “living” sacrifice because it’s our “reasonable” service. Not our required service. Reasonable. Why? Because, we are Gospel believers and we have received the benefits of God the Son, Jesus Christ’s full and complete payment for our sins. Which before that pivotal moment in history only meant we had earned hell unconditionally. We are Gospel receivers. Why do we think we deserve a rain check for serving in the local church?  Why do we keep on wanting and asking and dreaming and desiring for the benefits God promised to His born again children, yet many of us don’t want to be productive and beneficial participants in the body of Christ?

When did America become okay and accept a welfare mentality of Christianity? When did we become okay with being mostly receivers and not givers. We love talking about how the first will be last and the last will be first. We love talking about how greatness isn’t only standing in the pulpit, but in the background serving. Christ is our leader and He led by serving others. Even by washing their calloused and cracked  heals, un pedicured or uncliped toe nails, washing layers of street filth , toe jelly, and dirt off of their feet and ankles.  It was nothing like washing our clean sock wearing feet encased in carpet, pavement, and tile treading shoes.

I think it’s absolutely commendable that we want to be a productive asset to our American culture. We are part of this world and so we ought to live in it and should do our best to be salt to the earth and society.  Yet we kind of dread it if we are asked to fill in for nursery or when our scheduled time of service comes around. We don’t really want to consider being a volunteer in church ministries because we don’t want to commit. We believe time, is our time. Except for the time we are spending setting our alarm clocks, getting dressed, going to church, worshipping, and listening to God’s Word.  I’m preaching to myself here too!

I am heartbroken because being a missionary everyone looks at me and thinks, “Well, that’s YOUR job. You are paid to serve.” Am I? We need to eat and live in a culture that can hardly provide for its own , so we would never take a job from the ones who need it. America understands this pretty well given the current situations going on. A good friend that has been on the field for well over 30 years now recently said, “I serve God not because I’m a missionary. I’m a missionary because I want to serve God.”

I clean my house, change poopy diapers, do laundry and line dry them and  then make a mad dash to take them off as fast as possible when it begins to sprinkle. It’s been raining for the last 2 full days and sadly I have a load of laundry still sitting in my washer waiting to be hung. I cook all our meals, do everything a house wife does in America with quite a few less helps available to average mommies in America. Although I have a lot more than anyone else in our communities. I’m blessed beyond degree!  Grocery runs are one of the more difficult things we do.  Travel being anywhere from 2-5 hours on mostly dirt roads. Because of the location of the community we serve in the Andes Mountains everything’s pretty far from us. We don’t have one stop grocery stores. There is a meat shop, there are different hardware stores, there is a creamery for cheese, there is a vegetable and fruit market, and there’s even little shops just for socks and underwear. Our milk is always powdered milk since there is no way to bring the amount we consume in 2-3 weeks and store it at the same time.  It takes a whole day and many times 2 days just to get our groceries and other needs.

Then there is also ministry. We serve in a church of about 30 people.  During our services I take the 12 year olds and under along with my 1-year-old and 3-year-old and teach them a Bible lesson and it’s also a makeshift nursery for a couple of little ones. There is no one else. And I feel grateful to be able to teach these children about God. They heard the story of Noah and Moses for their first time this past month.  They never knew why God placed a rainbow in the sky every time after it rains. This is something so basic that my little 3 year already knows. In fact she thinks that it’s actually the rainbow that washes the its-bitsy- spider out the spout and not the rain. 🙂 Teaching and instilling in them a firm foundation is a privilege.

Christian America, when did serving God become a chore instead of a privilege? When it’s a chore or complained about even on Facebook and social media you are heaping wood, hay, and stubble for your eternal rewards. I don’t pretend to know your heart. I only know my own and my own struggles and then sometimes I end up finding out how little I knew my heart after all, but our God knows our hearts.

I’ve struggled with my motives and complaining quite a bit myself. Some days I want to just sulk around because I’m the only one that doesn’t ever get any nourishment from God’s Word being taught from the pulpit. There also is my young husband. He’s only 29 years old and we’ve now been on the field for 4 years. He’s pastoring a church,  full-time, and we are also working as missionaries in these two communities.

Sometimes, I long for those days where we got to sit snugly close to each other during services when we lived in America. That warm Christian encompassing bubble of  love and comfort we get from being with other believers and fellowshipping at services. I always enjoyed hearing him sing next to me because then I got to sing out a tiny bit more, just for the fun of it.  I miss that connection and being able to talk about what we each gleaned from the message. Sometimes, I even complained about how long the message was and the rabbit trails-“Just LAND the plane” moments. Yeah, shame on me. We now long for those words of comfort and challenge. How foolish I was to dread those moments. Now, I ask him about what he taught on our 50 minutes drive back home on the mountain dirt roads as we spot ant-eaters and foxes crossing on moonlit nights (or a random dog with a parrot in its mouth-catch of the night.)

My life may seem like an out-of-this-world experience and hard to identify with. And definitely not something to be desired, and if so by maybe 1 in 20,000. But I’m just a blogging mommy that loves fashion and Pinterest and a great DIY project just like the next American mommy. Trying to enjoy these moments of babyhood as they fly past me and only remind me of the days to come when we will have to say good-bye to our beloved children as they go back to America. I choose not to think about this.

Right now I have a snotty nosed, slobbering 14 month old baby, that is teething his final 2 teeth. And with his mouth on my laptop screen! Haha! I have a 3-year-old who is learning not to be sassy and is learning to talk quieter rather than squealing everything out. She’s playing on her Spanish leap-frog and counting in Spanish with the sing-a-long. We have struggles in our marriage just like anyone else. We’ve been married nearly 8 years ONLY by God’s active mercy and grace on our lives. I LOVE my husband dearly. We have a tight budget like so many young American families. We appreciate and value family time and the days that Daddy is home just as much.

We also have so many blessings. We do not have any debt because of God’s convicting in our lives. It is a massive load off us to live debt free! Try it…warning though, you may like it too much to ever go back to the load of debt. 🙂

There have been 2 deaths recently in our communities. One was a young lady I knew, Aracely, and was hoping she would become receptive to the Gospel one day. She had been in my home a couple of times. A month ago she was struck by lightening while she was planting a baby pine tree on the hillside and died under the age of 35. Life is a vapor. Not just for the ones without eternal security, but for us also.

To all of you who faithfully serve God, His richest blessing are for you. There are special promises just for you. It doesn’t matter how small the service. Even giving a cup of cold water to someone who needs to be refreshed, if done as to the Lord is a service with eternal value.  I’m reminded of this every time someone comes to our door for a visit. Mostly they don’t want to come inside since they prefer to sit outside. They typically live anywhere from a 10-40 minute walk away. Being hospitable is a huge cultural expectation here. As it should. We will never understand the barriers that are brought down through the simple act of hospitality! And we are always offered something to drink from tea to lemonade and we do likewise.

Why not find a way to actively serve God and show Him that you are not only willing but ARE going to be a living sacrifice for His eternal glory. He says “IF” we love Him than we “WILL” obey Him.

Be fierce for Him! Be bold, but not offensive. Be prudent and tactful. Be wise and lean on the Holy Spirit’s direction in everything.  Be purposeful. Ask God to direct you and to enable you to be willing to have your desires and dreams changed for a higher more eternal purpose than all the glam and instagram moments our culture offers you.

John 15:5

“For without Me , you can do nothing.”  The same is true with Him! With Him, we can do all things!

From my heart to yours,

Sandy

DIY Ankle Booties from Knee High Boots

DIY Ankle Booties from Riding Boots

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A couple years ago I bought these nice leather boots from Fossil for $9.00.  At that price I would be crazy not to get them! Since that fateful day they’ve been sitting in a dark lonely corner of my armoire. Literally, I’ve worn them twice.

I’m a pretty spontaneous person when it comes to diy things… and yesterday I had the urge to finally make the plunge into the ankle bootie world. It’s been a place I tried avoiding for the last 4 years. So after scrolling through Pinterest they started growing on me. Only one problem though. I’ve not seen any I like here in Bolivia or any that are in my size. And sadly one more mark against them- they are all pleather, faux leather, plasticky leather or whatever you want to call fake leather. Yes, I’m a leather snob.  And I will probably never go vegan although I love pleather jackets!

Anyways, my dilemma was on the verge of being solved when I remembered my long neglected pair of Fossil boots. And I had a light bulb moment. Thanks Gru.

This is the easiest tutorial EVER!

All you need are a good pair of leather shears like these that my hubby  let me snatch for a few minutes. Gotta love the man!

Be sure to have that boot zipper all the way down before you begin the initial cut. You need the zipper in tact if the boot has one. That was my warning.

Then cut away! Keep in mind, once you’ve cut it it’s gone- FOREVER. So, do a little at a time making sure you even both ankle booties up each time so they look even as you go.

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I really wasn’t too sure what angle I wanted at first. Then I decided on a sort of valley angle where both ends slope in at the zipper/ the middle or towards the ankle.

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And be sure to round the front and the back of the ankle bootie too so the cut is fluid. That is all!

Told ya it was easy huh?

We are coming to the States guys, May 31st! That’s only 11 weeks to get everything in order. The frenzy begins and lots of lists too! I don’t want to forget anything. What would I do without lists?

Lily is dying with excitement. We’ve been praying and reminding her that if God wants us to go to the States then He will provide a really great price for us to be able to fly. I mean a steal of a deal…and He did! Now she can’t wait to meet all of her 8 cousins for the first time and aunts and uncles and 3 sets of great grandparents. She already knows all their names and talks about them like they were her best friends. Maybe we shouldn’t have told her so soon bc I will get to tell her “No, we’re not going today. It’s a little while longer before we fly to the States.” in response to her daily question probably another 75 times! What was I thinking?

Tyler is beyond excited to see his family, friends and his home state. Honestly, I’ve almost forgotten that Utah is his first home. It’s just always seemed like wherever we were since being married, wether it was Wisconsin for school, Utah for deputation, or here for being on the field- I’ve felt at home in all these places because we’ve been together in these transitions. 4 years has been a long time for him. Full of challenges and so many unexpected turns and blessings. I’m grateful he gets to go home. I’m excited too…but I’m feeling kind of panicky about getting everything in order here with our house- Tyler is in charge of the ministry part, but I like planning that all out too. Being gone for so longgggg can’t possibly be good for anything we leave in our house. The constantly growing mold. Maybe we’ll have our own hobbit hollow by the time we come home?  I normally open our windows every day. I love love LOVE the gently warm Andean breeze softly going through the house. I will miss it. Anyone want to come and house sit for us?

On another note. I don’t know HOW we, me and the kids mainly,  to survive the LONG layovers in Panama and Miami in the middle of the night catching flights at dawn on little to no sleep. Good thing I have a really good husband that helps stressed- pitifully worried-me pull it together and remind me that worry is a lack of faith in God and that we WILL be fine.  How are we going to manage this with luggage and a very active running baby and 3 year old- that love their sleep schedule and beds as much as I do?!!! Seriously, my kids love to go “night night.”  So dreading all of that part of the trip. If anyone has  ANY ideas I’m all ears. I definitely want to put together a large activity pack, but what should I include in it?

Playdough

My Sweetie Pie has been begging me the last couple weeks for play dough. A 5 hour drive just for play isn’t happening so I did the next best thing and I will never buy play dough AGIAN. Period. It’s easy to make. Cheap. And softer. Plus I get to choose the colors. Forget the ugly greens and purples AND oranges.

I went to Pinterest and used this recipe. It smells just like it and is a bit softer which I kind of liked- a lot. So I’m saving you the trouble and here’s the link for the play dough recipe. http://theimaginationtree.com/2012/04/best-ever-no-cook-play-dough-recipe.html

She loved it and since Daddy happened to be home for the afternoon he used his playful and patient skills to make her something special. (I’m good at making pancakes our of playdough, but thats about all.)

playdough fun Lily and Daddy

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Meanwhile this little guy was using his imagination for a more life threatening situation. Like,  how to drink out of a sippy cup with a helmet on. I think he’s still working on an answer to that one.

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