Online Learning at College Fall 2020

My First Week learning Online through Okanagan College Design by Christine Reeves using Canva

“Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day.” Winnie the Pooh

It seems like there is this urgency to have everything work and be in order for there to be success in the classrooms. I watched the Professors online struggle as they tried to make this online experience less painful for us the students. But, behind the names of students that flowed in I saw a lot of Professors apologizing for the delay and the technical challenges that popped up with students and with the systems that really we didn’t have much control over. Nothing was smooth, nor was it easy, there was static, background noise, some had video, some didn’t. One class I had the videos of faces swirling every second which made me dizzy.

I tend do better when I am in a classroom setting. I find I am more focused and attentive maybe more disciplined. This Pandemic has caused quite the attention all over the world, many have lost their lives and some are breezing through it with lingering symptoms that last and continues to last with no end in sight. Covid 19 has floated into every home if not from the media it has come in through the phone, through the walls of space and time. Comparatively to the Pandemic of the Spanish flue in 1918, society itself has shut down but Covid 19 differed in the fact that we have moved into a new era of culture, communication and changed ‘live-in’ spaces. We are seeing an undercurrent of turbulence, that keeps coming unnannounced really. Precautions are taken, staying home as much as possible and yet this moment has created quite the urgency to have everything work out and have it done concisely, and perfectly.

There is no doubt about it we are adjusting, we have moved our studies online and the College is sorting all the kinks. What I find most interesting is how each Professor engages the students in this new space of learning. I am grateful for being in this time and age it gives me the chance to step back and reflect on my own learning space, how Covid 19 has changed how I look at learning and what it is that I can do to slow myself down and be ready for the messy and unpredictable side of life online and off. Don’t get me wrong I always new life is unpredictable, but this is a different messy its a ‘wired’ messy, a strange encounter with pixels and codes that form on the screen through transmission of sound and light.

We are making history, and yet on the ground level of things, we are repeating history just in a different way. Are we ready for messy? I think so.

There is something beautiful about messy and turbulent it breathes life and forces us to focus and stay awake in life. The best part of learning online is to push ourselves out of our own comfort zones into a new media a new excitement of engaging ourselves in a small space. It’s like the space in my office, a blank wall gives me the expanse of creating ‘story’ in ways I would never have created thanks to Okanagan College.

‘I walk by the river, and pieces of me leaves traces underneath like rocks beneath the current, life flows smoother over time, if we simply let it be.’

What does ‘Womanhood’ Mean to You?

What Does Womanhood Mean to You?
Feminism Heart balance and Love
by Christine Reeves
artwork by Lisa Calvert

The strength and heart of a woman is the foundation for the rise in women’s leadership among our country and all nations over the past centuries. Women have made an impact politically and historically in Canada. In 1921 Agnes McPhail was the first woman elected to the House of Commons. It took time between 1867 to 1921 to have this kind of progress.  “As a result of a legal challenge known as the Persons Case launched in 1927 by the famous five, Nellie McClung, Henrietta Muir Edwards, Louise McKinney, Emily Murphy and Irene Parlby, women were recognized as “persons” under the British North America Act, 1867 and gained the right to sit in the Senate of Canada. In 1930, the Honourable Cairine Reay Wilson became the first woman appointed to the Senate.

Since the 1980s, women’s representation in the Senate of Canada has been higher than in the House of Commons.  As of 14 January 2020, women hold 48 of the 100 occupied seats (48%) in the Red Chamber.” (2020, Montpetit)

Women have deep wounds that have spilled out over time, these wounds have not stopped us from carrying our voices. The first woman I wanted to highlight here is, Doris Anderson she was the Chatelain Magazine Chief Editor who throughout her life had her share of great heartbreak and challenges. She ended up a single mother to her three sons. She saw a need in women and with her writing shared those experiences and highlighted women of all walks of life where equality and women’s rights had been silenced. This led her to advocate for women throughout her career. Her voice carried far and vast which led her to create the Royal Commission on the Status of Women, this was huge in the 1960s, which gave women equal rights and were included in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. What was it about Doris the woman that moved her to want equality? I like to think it was her lived experience growing up and her many interviews with women over the years who needed help, who needed change. These women she spoke too including herself were forgotten due to fewer wages and issues that prevented single and widowed women from accessing healthcare and other resources.

“Like many feminists, I never dreamed – or wished – to be rich, we wanted far more than that: We wanted to change the world.” (1996, Anderson)

Not all women had the courage to push through and pave an open doorway for all women to walk through. The majority of women continue to battle especially today in a gender-changing movement which I call this the third wave in the feminist movement. As a woman, I often wonder if we have lost our grounding to what and who we are in the world today?

Historically the indigenous women have been erased in centuries past thrown out of their homes on reserves, they were stripped of their children and were forced into poverty, and worse having to resort to doing anything to get by. What was it like for these women? I base their womanhood on courage, courage to go on, and heart to keep going. 

Let me shine the light on Mary Two-Axe, a Mohawk woman born on the Kahnawake reserve in Quebec who married an Irish-American but lost her Indian status. Losing her status wounded her so much that she was moved to advocate for the rights of indigenous women.  In 1968 she established the equal rights for Indian Women Association which is a provincial organization that fought for changes to the Indian Act and succeeded despite opposition from male First Nations leaders. Two-Axe didn’t give up, by 1985 Parliament passed Bill C-31, which amended the Indian Act removing the discriminatory measure that took away women’s Indian status and restored status to thousands of First Nations women.  She was the first to regain her status.

What made others listen to this woman?  What did she have that so many of us want?  Maybe its drive, and not giving in, believing in something takes a lot of heart. Athletes have this type of drive, but women have a deeper ingrained drive to see the ‘whole’ of situations, not just the one issue. To see the whole of oppression, the whole of poverty, the whole of politically unjust Acts passed in parliament, and power imbalanced court rulings. Inequality can shake a nation of women and it’s up to all women to bounce out of powerlessness and bring about changes to old Acts in parliament that are wounding our nation still. Where some of our families and lots of our land are polluted which is calling for an outcry of women speaking their voices in our communities and our country, we call our own. 

How we view discrimination, slavery, and dominance which truly those three things don’t come from a place of peace, tolerance or community in unity. Many women have changed the face of our country Canada. They have enforced laws to protect women from freedom of slavery, freedom from rape and abuse.  Is it enough? All women contribute a huge balance in the world.

I understand the gravity and enforced powerlessness we still have, but we need two opposite poles to keep the balance ‘even’ in society. Men, women and all genders share one thing in common, wanting to build a better Canada, to live in communities more accepting, and to be treated without the age-old dominance structure that can go either way. 

Womanhood to me means the heart and wholeness of family. This has been my experience and my journey. Watching my grandmothers gave me a sense of what kind of woman I am today. There is something mysterious about women, almost like there is a hidden club of unity that only women on a level beyond this earth knows about. My grandmother lived through many hardships lost both her husbands had 3 children and raised them on her own and yet she had a faith in God that moved mountains and the miracles and the stories she could tell of how a mother prays and how prayer has healed and strengthened her family has woven our lives in such a way that grounds me as a woman. My other grandmother had a strength and a freedom that united her family of 6 by her eccentric joy of life, her faith and trust and love for people a true humanitarian are the very  angels she met on the streets and throughout her journeys and travels.  She brought to our family the very spirit of life and giving that one can see and experience around her. Both my grandmothers’ stories and history shared with me formed a stronger bond that paved the way in my faith, my strength and my endurance as a woman today.

            When I first got my period, my mother kissed me, told me she is off to get a few things to celebrate.  When she came back, she hugged me and said, “ You are now a woman, we giggled and we talked!”  as we ate ice cream together. That is when I realized not only was my mother a ‘mother’ but since I became a woman that day, I entered into a new relationship with her, friendship and an ‘in’ with all the mothers of the world.  My mother was still my mother and treated me as such, but there was an added joy in our relationship, a friendship of mother and daughter that we still have today. My experiences of my womanhood hasn’t always been an easy path, I felt left out when my dad and my cousin’s who were male playing sports that we girls weren’t allowed to participate in. Instead, we had to do the dishes and I was always envious of the boys.  This soon dissipated when I was twirled around by my father who was pleased to see me help my mother.

I conducted a study on ‘womanhood’ early on in the semester, and I’ve had the most heartwarming experiences while speaking with men, women and other genders who shared with me their responses.  I have shed tears with some of them, laughter with others and reminisced with some.  I believe my study won’t end after this story is done, but for the sake of this final paper, I have included all the responses that I have gotten.  I hope it changes you as it has with me. Also, I have included a timeline chart of our history of our ancestors of ages passed much we have overcome and how much more we need to go for a more balanced unity. Indigenous people have suffered more than we can truly grasp, and yet, they dance to the rhythm of love, a love that holds the life and blood of our history of nations. 

Women have survived the loss of land, loss of health and loss of children. Women have learned that despite all of the struggles historically, we have survived, many kinds of abuses that we have a voice. Slowly we rise and give birth to a world that has forgotten what it means to hold creation in the heart of the womb and how through ‘giving’ to the world more life, there is always hope for the future.

Interview Question:  What does ‘Womanhood’ mean to you?”

(For the respect and honor of those I interviewed some are kept anonymous and I used only first names)

            “Womanhood means to me, ‘the rock’, strong like my wife, without her I wouldn’t make good decisions, she is who I go to for strength mentally. She, my wife, I value her opinions on things, she sees it differently than I do, women see things differently than men do, she’s the foundation of the home, to build a home you need a strong foundation. When we travel to purchase a home, I always ask her opinion on where to live. When tragedy happens, she’s strong in that area on what to do how to console someone. Womanhood is a calmness on how to deal with things… reason with things.  Womanhood is not all about stable, but it’s down to earth of the soil to decipher what is real. Women can do with less, she can make do with less, all the other treasures like nature of ‘woman is not that way of richness in material things, I as the father and man, I have to weed material and toys out, I gather and hunt, yet a woman takes the rewards and turns it into a feast. Women can see a hummingbird and sees the bird more fully, she sees on a deeper level she sees the creature of the bird the loving beauty in life, a baby a living creature, the reasoning of life some of that men lack. So, two people need to do that gather, support in man and woman is the foundation of that.” (2020, Brian)


“I love being a woman, motherhood is a blessing to be able to conceive through our heavenly God, ‘birth’, holding my baby’s fingers and after giving birth counting them, unwrapping my babies seeing their heavenly eyes, creation, birth. Women have some difficulties being a mother, being a wife~ you have to do many kinds f things all at once. Raising a family is the most beautiful but it is filled with many challenges as a mom as a woman.  I would prefer to raise my family my children and I am glad I did at home being home to raise them to do that. As a young woman I always wanted to be a nun the calling was there, but my choice was marriage… I was very young when I married my husband, I love being a woman.” (2020, Ginette)


“I think the reason I’ve been having so much trouble with this question is because its very complicated, for me, and kind of depressing to be honest. In my mind, the biggest symbol of womanhood is motherhood, and I’m not a mother. I’m not a girly girl, I’m not a wife, I’m not even in a relationship. So, what does that mean for me if those things are how I define womanhood? There’s basically no purpose for my life? There are a lot of single women with no kids and I think most of us feel pressure from society and a family to have kids, but also pressure from ourselves. Like this is what I’m supposed to do, this is the natural order of things. Then when it doesn’t happen, I am a failure, to myself and to my family. On a basic level I know that’s not true and there is so much more for me to contribute to the world and woman power and all that, but on a deeper level it IS true because it’s how I am biologically engineered to feel, whether from a nurture perspective. Even from a scientific perspective, regardless of gender, the purpose of life is procreation, so if we don’t do that, what is the point? To cope with all that, I think I’ve kind of pushed it away and just focused more on what I can do to be a good person, a good human. I don’t think gender has anything to do with being a good person, but maybe I’ve just latched on to that concept because I failed at what I really consider to be womanhood. I think this concept can be extended to expectations for ourselves and life in general too. Like there was a certain way I thought my life would turn out, I was raised thinking I could do or be anything I wanted. I had all these lofty goals and plans, none of which materialized, so, I’ve kind of failed at life when compared to my expectations anyway.” (2020 Anonymous)

“Womanhood means feminine genius. It means living authentically as a female. Authentic womanhood is appealing.” (2020, Adele)


“Womanhood to me means being strong and weak at the same time…Being a woman to me means connection with other women, that creates a bond like no other. Womanhood means to me trying to be a good example as a woman to my beautiful daughter. Womanhood means complex but beautiful emotions, a great intuition! Womanhood is beautiful!” (2020 Gerda)


“Womanhood is a gift from God. Reflecting back on my life when I began to be a woman was very important to me. I was able to make decisions without other adults telling me what to do. I started applying wisdom I learned from my parents or other adults. I was ready to be married and to be a mom. Womanhood opened the door for me to face the world and challenges in my life.  Very special feeling of experience to do and make decisions on my own feeling grown up. Being in control with my feelings and emotions. Feeling that finally people will listen to me as a woman not like a child, freedom to me.” (2020 Mara L)


“Womanhood is being able to keep the man and the child in your family happy while keeping yourself strong at heart through thick and thin. Being able to provide for your family emotionally and lovingly.” (2020 Ben)

“Womanhood to me means being me, TRULY me. Not judging myself by societal or cultural expectations and embracing all the elements that make me a woman. Crucially, it is about acceptance of all these things too, the good AND the bad and appreciating that the middle aged-spread, hormone fluctuations, the impact of children on my identity are what makes me a woman, just as different qualities made me a woman when I was at a previous life-stage, womanhood is also the confusion and constant struggle, from conflicting messages on what I should be – this is more the reality, the constant struggle to not listen to those voices and just be authentically me.” (2020 Julia)


            Womanhood, I am not sure I have never thought about it. Maybe passing over from a young adult to a woman who has gained some life experience through being a mum or a wife. Womanhood means being a mother to my boys, I gave up the chance to win a gold metal in figure skating but giving to them… there is nothing else better” (2020 Kelly)


“I think ‘womanhood’ begins with puberty our first ‘period’. We are told we are ‘now a woman’ and that’s probably true, physically but definitely not mentally!!! Soooo the question is when do we become a ‘woman’ both mentally and physically? Some females are ‘girls’ all their lives…and some are ‘ladies’.  We are focusing on the term ‘woman’ …I know I’m not a ‘girl’ nor can I be described as a ‘lady’. But I would be honoured to be called a ‘woman’. Jesus called his mother ‘woman’ with respect. I think a woman is a mature-ish person, maybe with a little learned wisdom, maybe a forgiving heart, patient, kind, trusting and hopefully loving to all she meets…. Yes! I’d like to be known as a woman!!!!” (2020 Sandy)

“Womanhood to me is when her breasts start to develop and hair starts to grow down there. Some girls hit puberty faster than others.” (anonymous)


“It means to be what you are. A creation of God that has been uniquely designed by God for a special purpose, of which we can not yet know. It means to exercise every gift, talent, to the maximum, regardless of what that is. It means equality with a man, but not sameness. Men are uniquely given a way of being, that is not the same as a woman’s unique way of being. Both are meant to compliment each other. It is not related to interests. A woman may be interested in car repair, and a man in knitting. It is about how this interest is exercised and expressed in the fulfilling of that activity. A woman and man both offer a unique, but different perspective and approach to that activity. There are some activities that are better suited to a woman, but, some men may do that activity well. There are some activities that can not be done by a man, such as childbirth, and some women can not do, such as impregnating an ovum, some activities are unique to our genders. Women have been fooled into thinking that they need to be men to succeed…men have been duped into thinking that it is wrong to be a man. Genders have become confused and distorted. Society needs to take some time to undo these distortions, which are creating havock in a mixed up world that is searching for truth.” (2020, Lindael)


“I have never understood either that term or the masculine version. It implies that there are inherent differences between the two. Uniqueness’s I guess might be the term but in todays world, we are being encouraged not to distinguish between the two and that I think is a result of feminism. However, since you asked what it means ‘to me’, I will answer this way because to me, there are major differences between the two most widely recognized genders. Manhood implies an inner toughness that can be brought to question by one’s actions or inactions. I also align the term with the male reproductive organs as they are apparently tied closely to the above noted toughness. Womanhood though has nothing to do with the reproductive bits other than to say that women are inherently strong, much stronger than men in more important ways than physical strength. It engenders their ability to carry human life, a feat that if it were left up to men would result in the end of humanity. The motherly piece is encased in the term to me as well. After the birth the nurturing and the love that mothers possess is nothing short of awe inspiring. Men do not share the ability to love as deeply or strongly as women do. They simply don’t have the connection to their kids that mothers do because of the gestational requirements so closely attached to the ability to give birth.  I am more traditional than say my kids are and I still see the distinction between men and women and I do believe that each gender is, in general, capable of things that the other is not as capable of and it is important to recognize ones strengths rather than try to convince the rest of the world that there is no such thing as differences based on gender. In a round about way, manhood is a dominant term and womanhood sparks memories of my mom whom I miss terribly” (2020 Mexi cali)


“Womanhood, it’s just at the opposite pole to ‘Manhood’. Division words we need to lose” (2020 Randall T)


“To me, there are so many different aspects to determine when a girl becomes a woman. Age is the least reliable of the benchmarks the ability to become pregnant, is also not reliable, just like from the age of first menstrual period. Becoming a woman is a very complex issue where many changes to the physical, mental, psychological, and medical changes have been completed and the ‘girl’ recognizes and accepts these changes for herself. Womanhood begins at different times for different girls. Boys, on the other hand never fully grow up, and they never become mature. Womanhood is a very complex, multifaceted progression that takes years to complete. And even at that, it doesn’t ever end until death. Every girl and woman change from one stage to the next, sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly example: – Body can make significant changes over a summer season, but the mind doesn’t.  or ~ the mind/brain will mature before the body. This is why men have such difficulty understanding women. The old adage is, men marry women, hoping they will never change. Women marry men, hoping they will change. Both get disappointed 50% of the time (Divorce rate).” (2020 Alan Jh)


“To me, Womanhood is taking ownership of the XX chromosomal pair. The natural ability to carry and birth life (whether one does or not). Living with and embracing all that is, including the challenges that come with the physiology (menstruation, cramps, hormonal storm, infertility). Men and women can have masculine and feminine traits and behaviors to varying degrees. These don’t have anything to do with womanhood, aside from shading the experience to make it unique to the person. A person can wish they were born a woman, and may even alter their body to assume female traits. That does not make them a woman. I am lucky in that my emotional/sexual identity matches up with my physiological identity. Mentally and emotionally, I am a female born into a female body – that to me is what womanhood is.” (2020 Lady tehMa)

“Womanhood to me means, when my mom kicked my dad out of the home, when me and my other brothers and sisters were still small kids, my mommy did everything, worked two jobs 6 days a week for years, – father never paid a penny of child support-we always had a warm safe bed to sleep in food in our bellies and clean clothes to wear – lots of hugs and kisses too. Sounds simple but when you’re a kid isn’t that not all we really need, on her only day off if the weather was nice, she always seemed to find the extra energy to take all the kids to the park. I can go on all day about my mom, but here is a small sample of womanhood. I have zero pity for deadbeat mom’s or dad’s, knowing what my mother had to do for us kids, love you mommy—(2020, the truth)


“Interesting question. To me, it was a definition of the differences, mostly expected of us, that society imposed on each. It seemed to work for thousands of years. That is the differences ‘allowed’ based on one’s sex. That seems now to be no longer an item that is even up for discussion. Yes, feminism is the big push to rid society of allowing any room for difference and preference. Is it a good thing to lose our acceptable differences? Men really have not been  part of the push, they are just still men and were expected to change and accommodate new roles. Which, for the most part seems to be the case. Women some and some not, do not want to acknowledge any differences. Maybe good but also showing not good, as the accustomed rules that women lead in are being forcibly removed from society, and not all recognize this as a good thing. They were always just labels but carried a vast amount of privilege and power in each class. Now, its just the ‘Hood’ one group, no longer differences acceptable within society. Wrong/right, time will tell.” (2020 liisgo)

“I am very glad to be a woman in today’s world!! My grandmothers had hard lives. they raised huge families with little income and had none of the life conveniences that we have today. like washers/dryers/vacuums etc. (crazy that they both lived until their late 90’s). My mom raised 4 of us but she had those life conveniences and she could eventually enter the work force when we all left home…. But she still had that 1950 mentality of doing everything for my father. I’m so lucky that I could get married when I wanted to, have children when I wanted too, dress the way I want too, and get a better education…all MY decisions. Glad I married a man who respects the way I think about myself and has never tried to change it. This next generation of younger ladies have so many choices out there to be whomever you want to be and they are all your decisions to make there is no doubt  in my mind that there’s a powerful wave of women coming in the near future as Helen Reddy said ‘I am Woman hear me roar’ lol). (2020 W105)


“Womanhood may mean different things to different people, in different cultures. Womanhood, manhood, are similar to adulthood. It distinguishes when one leaves adolescence to become a mature adult, or more specifically, a mature woman, or mature man. Legally this happens at 18 or 19 in our culture, but some may subjectively consider other traits than just age.” (2020, Jlabute)


“I never use the word. to me it is archaic, think it is still used in bodice ripper novels though.” (2020, normaM)

“To me, ‘womanhood’ means to identify as a woman, and live your life as such. Might that be a stay at home mom who wears dresses and make up, or a woman who hunts and fishes, and is in the trades, or someone who is a combination.” (2020 whatwhat)


“To me womanhood means many things. It’s accepting yourself and your body, allowing it to adapt and change as you do. Being able to build the people in your life up, and not take them for granted. It means being grateful for the things you have but still striving for growth! Womanhood isn’t just one thing. It’s a million little things all bundled together that makes us who we are!” (2020 Britney)


“To me, womanhood means love, who I am, being best nurturer, I can be to whomever crosses my path, whether in person or not. It is to care about one’s self at every level and to care for others. It is an honour that God chose me to be a woman. It is love, it is unconditional love, forever eternal love. I am a woman. I am love.” (2020 Shannon)

“My view of womanhood has changed over my 47 years. What I believe now is that my womanhood is a quiet strength. It’s a firm and unshakable belief that all people deserve respect, compassion, love and the grace of forgiveness. There is a true wisdom in womanhood. I feel I truly became a woman when I stopped being afraid of what others think.  I stopped being afraid of judgement and began to trust my God given instincts. Womanhood is something you don’t achieve until you have walked through the battlefield of life and come out the other side. Slightly beaten down, but with so much strength and understanding.” (2020 Cathy)

“Womanhood is strength and leadership. In some ways, we have let society take our strength away. We have to take it back. We are the leaders of the family. We shape the children and guide the men. We have the power to quietly shape our culture. We just have to believe in ourselves.” (2020 Carmen)


“Womanhood, a God-given blessing to partner with manhood – His mankind. A precious gift from my beloved God. It is to ensure His creation and to maintain His love. Women are powerfully strong human beings. A fusion to the world in partnership with life. Womanhood exemplifies love, kindness, compassion, benevolence. Women are awesome and wonderfully made entities to be fully matured in a Mary-like state. A woman possesses a great gift – a womb – a sacred place where life begins. A co-operative element of God’s creation.” (2020 Anne)


“Womanhood is about wisdom and guidance acquired over time. She is the heart of the home. She is the one who guides her family to explore the life they were meant to have. When she passes from this earth she is missed for her comfort and strength. She is mourned because she is so unique, she can never be replaced.” (2020 Sandy K)


“Nothing! I only look up to Mother Mary as a true and strong woman. No matter what life looked like she just followed God’s instruction. I also loved that she pondered in her heart and remained silent. Now that is true strength!! She never gave up and always trusted in God, I can only try!” (2020 Deborah)

“Womanhood is a gift, a great and beautiful gift. This gift is both physical, inscribed in the structure of a woman’s body and spiritual inscribed in the unique and marvellous attributes of woman. A woman’s body looks and moves differently because of the structure of the hips and the roundness of the body. As well, a woman’s body has the capacity to welcome and make space for another human person, a child in the womb. A woman carries the baby in her womb under her heart and the child becomes attune to the mother’s heartbeat. This capacity to welcome and make space of other human persons is also part of the spiritual make up of a woman. A woman makes space in the home for her family, friends and neighbours. A woman makes space in her day to listen to, to comfort and to encourage family, friends, neighbours, coworkers and even strangers. A woman makes space within her heart for family, for friends, for neighbours, for coworkers and for strangers. A woman carries the cares, concerns, needs fears, joys, sorrows, triumphs, defeats, wounds and more of those she loves within her heart. Just as the womb expands with the growth of the baby, so a woman’s heart expands as love grows within and more space is made for a woman to carry others within her heart. A woman has the gift of being receptive to others, she is able to receive another person, make space for his or her need so the person may forge ahead living joyfully. A woman gives life to a unique and precious person through childbirth, so too a woman is able to give life to every unique and precious person she encounters in her day. A woman touches so many lives, she influences so many people, shapes and moulds her children, her spouse, h er friends, her coworkers her neighbors through her capacity to receive, to give life and to carry others within her heart. Truly, womanhood is a gift, far greater than any wealth, or power or honour, for a woman transforms the lives of every person she encounters by revealing to them how precious and unique they are.” (2020 Maria M)


Montpetit, D, Library of Parliament, Hillnotes, (2020)

Canada’s History, ‘Canada’s Great Women’, (2016)

Bromely, L., V., ‘What’s Feminism Done (for Me) Lately? (2016)

Lawrence, B., ‘Regulating Native Identity by Gender, (2004)

Indigenous Foundations, Excerpted from “The Indian Act” by Hanson, E., University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C. (2009)

Interviews with family, friends, co-workers, students and friends of friends

Due to Covid-19, I resorted to asking my interview question onto the Castanet Forum, ‘What does Womanhood Mean to You in the public online community of under Castanet Forums, Board index, General Interest, Social Concerns,’ What does Womanhood Mean to You’ (2020)

Bill S-209 An Act to amend the Department for Women and Gender Equality Act, Parliament of Canada,  (2020)

Appendix 1

There are many videos of women and the rise of women today, somehow the dignity of womanhood is what I treasure and found this video for my studies.

Appendix 2 – Powerpoint Timeline

Beauty Joy and The Process of Life and Death

I knew before the doctors told me that I had life in my womb. I didn’t know what was wrong, I knew that my body wasn’t my own and it felt different, like I was sharing my body with someone. I thought I was going crazy and I turned to my husband at that time while he lay half asleep and said, “My body doesn’t feel like my own I feel like it’s been invaded.” July 1st, 2005, I felt very sick and thought I had been poisoned. We got to the hospital and on Canada Day I found out I was pregnant, and there truly was, ‘fireworks’. I was so happy to feel sick because I had a baby inside me and I loved the very life that I haven’t even seen yet. This is the beauty of life.

“Dying is easy its living that scares me to death”

Annie Lennox
Amanda Seyfried, Lily James & Meryl Streep – My Love, My Life

Today, I received a survey in my inbox, from Dan Albas, with this link at the bottom:

We are not animals, we are humans with a choice.

I was happy to fill out the survey, but it is a concerning survey, because I happen to be one of those people who honors all life and felt the need to do that. I walked with a friend who was diagnosed and later died of ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). I also walked with another friend who had esophageal cancer. Recently, my good friend had a double mastectomy. And another of my friend that I had grown to love very much and still do died of prostrate cancer that metastasized to his bone. It’s not that unusual for me to have so many friends who got sick and got better, and so many others who got sick and passed away. That is because I facilitate a prayer circle for those who suffer from cancer and other catastrophic illnesses.

When I met Mildred for the first time, she was in her late 70’s, she was dying and I volunteered to be there for the family and for Mildred for 4 months. I was very young and didn’t really have a clue about life much accept that I wanted to volunteer. The first time I met Mildred I fell in love with this beautiful old woman and her family. She had the biggest smile for me, and even though the pain was intense she never once complained, she only smiled and prayed. Her humility and strength was a surprise to me. She couldn’t speak but we held space together. The moment I will never forget is when I caressed her hair and rubbed gently her forehead. This was love. I loved her very much, and her life and process of dying has given me the gift of seeing the world through the authentic eyes of a human being, leaving this world to Heaven.

My friend, who had ALS it was a process for her, she began to fall, and then she needed braces to walk, then a wheelchair, then she needed assistance to talk through innovative computerized equipment. She too, always had a smile, and peace, and even in her darkest days, she was filled with life beyond the chair, and her circumstances had moved so many people to see the strength and in her that came from God. She prayed through everything, and we could see her peace in such a trial.

My other friend she too suffered with cancer then addiction because with cancer and pain medication it was difficult to control. She never gave up, she never took the easy way, she had her moments but she was so strong, and her prayers were so strong, that even in her suffering, she showed us how to live and love, despite the circumstances that life can bring. She struggled with every breath and yet she smiled, and holding a hand and sharing a prayer this too is love.

Euthanasia takes so much away from family and the person who is suffering. It takes away the dignity of life and the process of death. It takes away the love that can only come forward in the process of death in such a way that brings the very truth and fibres of family and friends to levels that one just can’t get to unless we go through this transformation of life to death.

Animals do not have a choice. We cannot make laws that suit animals be okay to suit people. There is a reason we have free will. I strongly urge those who are suffering and afraid to rethink what they are doing because with every action of choice there is a consequence. We have consequences here and the families where a loved one chooses to end their lives out of fear and not fulfilling their circle of life and choosing to kill themselves will leave a permanent separation from family for the rest of their life with no way to be reunited. We h ave reuniting with our relatives as a celebration, why do you think this would end after death? This is not the end there is an afterwards and all actions have their consequence.

Do not leave fear of death and pain the only legacy to your family. Be brave finish out your life and allow the compassion of others to do for you what will help them in their life have compassion and honor for a human being

I want to tell Mr. Justin Trudeau, how sad it is that Government legalized euthanasia without really thinking about what these 6,700 people and families have missed because they chose to die by MAID. Where is the honor in taking the easy way out, when all you have left is fear, fear one leaves to their families and fear one leaves afterwards. What does that tell us about human beings and the worth of a person? to deprive another of compassion and care? because of what ? PRIDE?

I leave you with this today of my view this evening from the Okanagan Valley, life is more precious to those around us than we realize. We are all connected in life to a much greater purpose and in the dying process that purpose is fully realized. The value your life has to others, is more valuable to teach the world how to love and how to have compassion that MAID destroys. Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

This video below as well, brings to light another view.

First Week of Winter Term at Okanagan College

by Christine Reeves

It all began the week of the mini winter storm, my blessings turned into overflows of relief as I headed back to school. The roads were a mess, my heart was filled with built up grief and my student loan was due to come at any time. Thanks to Saint Vincent de Paul and my parents I was able to survive the Christmas season.

During my first week, I managed to win the grand prize at the Kelowna Winter Carnival! The prize came from the Student, Graduate, and Co-op Okanagan Employment Centre. This was the first prize I won of the season at the College. Well, that isn’t completely accurate I did win a chocolate candy at the Christmas party. I spun the wheel and managed to get ‘naughty’ twice! I am now a newfound believer that good things happen to those who keep trying to win contests that the college has!

My second day of classes I ran into some major issues with my having a dead battery and missing Sociology. How is this possible that my battery dies on the most important day of the week– the 2nd class!!!!! Nothing like a grand prize to fill an empty bucket! I drove to school today new battery in place, wearing a new sweater to brighten the day only to end up late for my second class because I drove around campus for 20 min looking for a parking spot. The good thing about today is that there was lots of spots for me in the overflow parking for students on Gordon! Yes, I was 20 minutes late but, I was wearing a really nice sweater that I won so, I was happy!

One of my New Years resolution is to be super organized, I decided to ensure I do all homework and prepare ahead of time! I stayed up all night last night to do this quiz only to realize when I got to class today that it wasn’t due until next class. This is great I am living up to my resolution. Overall this has been a great week, I have been humbled, and blessed, destroyed, and hope filled, and to top it off my student loan came through just in the nick of time.

The joys of being a 2nd term first year student has its challenges. I believe anything is possible because God is the rock on which I stand and put my trust on.

I am looking forward to the amazing adventures I will embark on as I move to the rhythm of college life. The song that comes to mind for the start of this journey is by Whitesnake, ‘Here I go Again’.

Whitesnake-Here I Go Again

The Sun, the Earth and Digital Media Connections

I used Canva to design this poster

“A blade of grass is a commonplace on Earth; it would be a miracle on Mars. Our descendants on Mars will know the value of a patch of green. And if a blade of grass is priceless, what is the value of a human being?”
― Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space

Everything under the sun is important to us. As much as trees are to roots, as much as roots are to the ground. As much as humans are to family, as much as family is in relationship to one another. We humans are much more than body mass and bone we have a spirit and like the stars that stream through the sky we are connected to each other in mathematical brilliance. Human connection is love, if we don’t know the Sun’s power that connects and interacts to the Earth then how do we know that the Sun ties all living together?

“The connection and interactions between the Sun and Earth drive the seasons, oceans currents, weather, climate, radiation belts and auroras.” NASA Science SOLAR SYSTEM EXPLORATION

Light is something we all have access too. The Sun is the source of natural light, and in its great gravitational balance we are sustained by the sun and its effects on everything on earth. We are connected by its power through time and space code and form, particles and cells. Our technology guides our views in the sphere of light and dark by the movement of our mind to our actions. Without the Sun we would freeze and all life would die. (A Meeting with the Universe Ch 3-1 The Sun and Us), Our bodies are made up of around 60% of water in a human adult.
(USGS science for a changing world The Water in You: Water and the Human Body Overview P1)

The Earth is about 71% of water and 29% of that consists of continents.
(Matt Williams, 2014, Universe Today What percent of Earth is water?
What does water have to do with our sustainability and the use of our technology? Water is necessary to sustaining life on Earth. All the water is exchanged or evaporated into the atmosphere through the Sun to circulate and repeat so that we have what we need to survive. Our technology that we use from phones, to television, satellites and radio, even what we create using technology, computers, moving images on screens.  (NASA Science Share the Science

Technology shows us that we exist. At one time Earth was viewed as flat, over time due to data analysis, and exploration, then digitally shown to the world, that the Earth is in fact round. Digital media has evolved over time, not as we view the world but how technology enables us to view the world digital media has evolved and we have evolved. Let’s go back in history of Digital media: click this link to view:

Below is a video of the evolution and the Digital Era:

Through digital media we are able to see what we could never see centuries ago.  Are we smarter now that we see? Do we really know more than what we did? The mass of liquid and hydrogen to the weight of a water bug floating upon the surface of a pond is held up by the water, we humans are heavy upon the earth but take us to space and we float. Gravity is the source to distance and space to weight and mass. We are only as smart as we documented in pages of history. We once drew on rocks and cave walls, we now code on screens that were once written on scrolls. I don’t know if we are smarter or if we are simply evolving into repeated history.

“WELL, SOME HOPED, even if the Earth isn’t at the center of the Universe, the Sun is. The Sun is our Sun. So, the Earth is approximately at the center of the Universe.” (Sagan, Pale Blue Dot 1997 P20)

Our bodies are form and matter, and within us we carry the centre the core of the sun that lights, that illuminates the darkest spaces.  We in relation to each other move into action long before we move, this is our mind, the intelligence of our brain.

“And if the lights in the sky rise and set around us, isn’t it evident that we’re at the center of the Universe? These celestial bodies—so clearly suffused with unearthly powers, especially the Sun on which we depend for light and heat—circle us like courtiers fawning on a king. Even if we had not already guessed, the most elementary examination of the heavens reveals that we are special. The Universe seems designed for human beings. It’s difficult to contemplate these circumstances without experiencing stirrings of pride and reassurance. The entire Universe, made for us! We must really be something.” (Sagan, Pale Blue Dot 1997 P15)

We, in relation to each other move into action long before we move. This light can be seen directly related to the stars that fill the cosmos. Our actions reveal to another the very messages we long to convey, see me; look at what I can do, I have something to offer; let me show you what I have that can help, learn from me, let me relate to you; I can solve this, and so on.  This brings me back to digital media. As much as we connect one to another, and held by gravity, alive through the power, the energy of the Sun, we have ‘us’. Moving images that help us to see what is in front of us. Sharing language helps us communicate with one another, text messages, social media technology keeps us connected. Video technology helps us to see ‘live’ right now what is happening in another place in the world. The medium of design touches the heart of our senses in ways that the Universe touches our elevation and our depth of wonder.
Beautiful old lady from Darap(Sikkim) village
explore-d; #10 on Thursday, May 24, 2007

HTML coding is designed and created to make images, color, sound, video and art. The act of a human will to create a reality of what exists to another to be viewed to the conceptual map we call our own built on long standing traditions, values, morals a past and how ‘family’ is one as a whole is now shared to the world of social media and broadcasting throughout the world. What we like, and don’t like is systematically traced. But, what cannot be traced is the heart of a creature in relation to the digital images shared. Touching a heart moves us to want to do more, yes, and this is where what is dark, is given light to the minds of the viewer. The light of designed algorithms, data reaching one solitary star in the galaxy to another, the other side of the country.

“We are the custodians of life’s meaning. We long for a Parent to care for us, to forgive us our errors, to save us from our childish mistakes. But knowledge is preferable to ignorance. Better by far to embrace the hard truth than a reassuring fable. If we crave some cosmic purpose, then let us find ourselves a worthy goal.”(Sagan, Pale Blue Dot 1997 P15)

Is it worth the effort to design a blog, make a video, take a photo? It wouldn’t be worth any of it if it weren’t for those viewers who look upon the very means you place the message on the web for the audience to view. Community of urban cultures tap into desires that lead a human creature to click on what they like, this is saved in cyber sites that read your platforms and guard your analytics, find where you are on the map connecting to each other. One mind at a time, or one heart, to another. Does this make us richer by the connections we make online? I am richer for the communications I have made through social media. I am richer by those I write about on my blog you are reading now.

Digital media is by far the greatest and worst means we have organized and created. I want to see and so I care. The act of this journey we make in the world by loving, caring, touching, tasting, feeling, while we gaze at the beauty that the sun shows while its sunrise and sunset are the real core of what powers us humans, like the Sun powers the Earth, love powers us.

“These days there seems to be nowhere left to explore, at least on the land area of the Earth. Victims of their very success, the explorers now pretty much stay home.”
― Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space

Moving photos,and videos, building beautiful websites with the idea we are making a mistake in our coding because the picture and finished product of my blog looks wrong…we must be precise in what we do, and if we aren’t then our image will be faltered in some way…like a shooting star that falls from the sky. Technology has certainly created quite the stir in the Universe, and satellites hang in the cosmos we build our digital lives and this puts us at ease. But, there is a very important fact that many of our scholars are missing, everything we code and do here affects over there, our water, our Sun. What we say, how we say it in our language and in our mind effects each other, this affects our planet Earth. Do you really believe that what you think in your head isn’t getting through to another person? Think again, because in this great Universe of ours, we are connected to one source just like our WIFI is connected to the cell tower. Our images we place from the heart, the sound we create in music that motivates us is a mirrored reflection of our thoughts which comes outward unto the mediums we use which is the message we give out that effects everything and everyone.

Take for a moment the blog I made, it is visually appealing and crisp, clean just like I wanted it. Does that mean my life is like that? Even opposites can make an effect into the world. Living, breathing, babies growing in the womb within water, even babies in womb can hear and feel the mother’s heartbeat, the sound of her voice the light of the Sun shining over her tummy. How does this happen? How does a living creature hear touch and move? My faith in God, the Creator of Heaven and Earth makes all things new.  God is who we are connected to He is the Master creator, the Greatest designer, and through our love, our own Earthly creations and inventions we are at the Mercy of God, and this kind of connection surpasses all understanding, all beauty and even surpasses the evolution of digital media.

Scholarly and non scholarly sources:


Design template using Canva

In the beginning I began thinking and reviewing concepts in my mind of what kind of blog I wanted. I had this idea of a art piece on canvas filled with news and graphics. I reviewed the top five website builders for 2019:

  1. WIX
  2. Squarespace
  3. SiteBuilder
  4. Site123
  5. WordPress

The only one I did try briefly was, but decided to use WordPress for the challenge and because our instructor in Digital Media class talked about WordPress.

I found the space of WordPress like equations without solutions and frankly that left me so frustrated that I felt like I was drowning the first day of working with WordPress. I am not one to give up, so I took the weekend to dive right in and tried several themes. I tried newspaper theme, then another and another. In my desperation Bonnie from my digital media class sat with me and helped me find an easy to use theme design that could work with the type of content I had, and that was Shawburn in WordPress.

so much work of redesigning, customizing oh my!

The platform enticed me. I spent more time in the ‘design’ section under ‘customize’ than any other area because I couldn’t get my posts linked to the menu’s.

I had this vision in my mind of what my blog should do and it wasn’t matching my dream of what I imagined it to look like. This was when I would spend most of my nights and weekends working on customizing and designing, tagging and adding to make the platform of my blog easy to navigate for those who read it.

Setting up menus was another frustrating time of much needed breaks, after diligently working through the problems in my background and what the reader may see.

Evolution of Space: I wanted my website to have a clean and fresh look. When someone clicks into my space, I visualize the look to be tactile to the touch of what touch would be perceived to be, because its online how can one touch… but to visually look at the images and buttons, and make it look so real! The rest of the blog wanted it to be smooth, water colored texture mixed with bold colors to visually captivate the audience and for the look and feel of the blog would be non threatening. I also didn’t want my blog to be overly busy that the reader would be confused.

Analytics and Social Media

The beauty I incorporate here is the fact that WordPress has a jetpack that allows an analityc study of my blog stats. At first the stats were zero no views, no target areas on the map of the world. I started to use social media to the mix and tagged and placed buttons of social media to my blog. The ratings went up slowly. Then I wrote a community profile in my blog about Shannon and her Service Dog my ratings went up.

This is not the end of my blog because the semester of classes are over for the fall term. I will edit and re-edit I am sure, and perhaps even redesign my blog at some point. For now I will keep blogging, exploring as I journey.

Interesting Observation

“When you do the things that you can do, you will find a way.”
― A.A. Milne

The projector didn’t work in class last Friday, and our instructor found a temporary solution and asked us to gather around in a circle, in order to view the videos he had chosen for his lecture. We all moved tables and gathered around in a large circle. For the first time EVER since I started classes at OK College, I never experienced a lecture sitting in a circle to which I was surprised over what occurred once we fixed the layout of the classroom and moved our chairs.

What I observed was rather uncanny. Students that normally I have never heard speak before, began engaging to the questions in the lecture. All of us it seemed to me were more engaged with our instructor. We were able to actually see each other whereas the layout of our desks before we never really engaged much with each other because we were all facing the front. I wonder if anyone else in the class observed the same thing? I grasped the discussion more fully, instead of the instructor talking at us, in the ‘circle’ it felt he was talking to us.

I haven’t had time to look at the layout of classrooms pedagogy study or anything but I did find it interesting to see the transformation in my fellow students in class.

Here is a video I found to further think about seating arrangements:

Reflections on the Tools for Design

As you can see from the above links, I used a few tools. In fact I went tool crazy trying to figure out which one I would like, and frankly I didn’t like many of them. If I had more time to learn the mechanics of the applications, I believe I would enjoy them more.

The application I chose to use to create my poster for my blog post: ‘Meet Ripley, A Therapy Dog’ was from That was the easiest design platform for me. I enjoyed viewing all the choices of designs. I had fun picking a template that I could incorporate for the profile interview I am going to do with Shannon and her therapy dog. I chose the poster template with dog foot prints because the colors were perfect. The text enhanced the image I wanted to portray that is eye catching and bold.

The rest of the tools that I used I explain below in the chart on their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. The video I created using Lumen5 was a free video, I was challenged and frustrated with trying to get the video to link in WordPress, which I finally accomplished!

Overall, great experience and I am excited to work with and see how that platform of ‘story’ goes.

Meet Ripley, a Service Dog

Ripley is Shannon’s ‘miracle’ dog, since she has arrived into her arms.
“I have much more confidence, she hears what I cannot hear even with my hearing aids, when there is lots of noise or if the music is loud, Ripley hears what I can’t pick up. My stress is significantly better.


There are three kinds of service dogs:

  1. Service dog
  2. Emotional support dog
  3. Therapy dog

Ripley is a service dog because she has two purposes:

  1. DIRECTIONAL HEARING: If I hear an alarm or an assault where I work, I can’t tell if the sound is left or right, or front or back.  Ripley will alert me as to the source. If I tell Ripley to take me to the source she will.
  2. PROTECTION (SAFETY AND SECURITY): She’s in training to be a personal protection dog because I work in a vulnerable environment.  At home she does not have her working service vest on, but she goes wherever I am 24/7.
Ripley Watching my feet as I walk around


Ripley already uses her trained skills to tell me which doorbell someone is approaching. If someone approaches me she can alert me where they are coming from. She is currently being trained for being a ‘protection and hearing dog’.

I got communicated with a girl at work who has a service dog through the Lions Club, ( )but at the time there was a 2-year wait, and PADS (Personal Assistance Dog Service) ( which had a 4-year wait-list.
I decided to find my own private breed. I researched, studied and found a breeder:  her name is Melody Whitrow from Vista Rolls, ( ), for Shar pei’s she is considered number one in Canada.  She is a full registered breeder.  I interviewed the breeder and in prayer I found the right breed for my needs.

The Shar pei breed has 3 attributes that I was looking for:

  1. Size
  2. Loyalty
  3. Intelligence
  4. Physical appearance, because she will grow to look muscular rough and tough

After picking the Shar pei puppy, I had to consult how I was to get her to British Columbia from Saskatchewan.  I had to pay for her.  She is $2,000 for the price of the dog.  I didn’t have the funding but an anonymous donor provided for part of the funds. Through prayer she knew that she would be more lenient with the process.  Melody agreed to deliver the puppy to me because of my physical challenges.

The breeder knew what type of service I needed and started to work with Ripley since birth to receiving her with house training and socializing. There was an instant connection at the airport.

Shannon, Ripley, Melody Whitlow


I went through the Government:

Ripley is still in training and abides by all the rules.  I have a service dog card, the License cost may vary. The proper training and education is ongoing as needed until she is properly skilled.

This is Shannon’s Service Dog Card
at Gellatly Bay Waterfront


Immensely, my husband at first tried to ignore her, because he knew that she needed to be my service dog, but she melted everybody’s hearts. It is important that she has a bond with someone else other than me in the case of an emergency and I am gone she needs to not be lost.  So we have to have that plan in place. 

Shannon’s husband with Ripley


Ripley wants to be friends with the other pets but they are afraid of her because she is big and makes funny sounds and looks bigger than them. Ripley is very routine oriented. She goes to bed every night at 8:15 PM. I make sure I give the other pets extra when Ripley is asleep or having a nap. I take that opportunity to make sure my other pets have my attention and time.

Next year I will be able to go back to work and Ripley will be going with me but for now I am on stress leave and Ripley and I will be going back in slow increments of hours to start with.

Shannon and Ripley


Only if the person is fully committed 24/7, 365-day relationship with their partner, and they are very well educated on what they are in for because it is a lifestyle change. You have to be able to take the dog wherever you go, public places non public places with that dog you have to be able to trust they can behave and handle the environment. That is why she has to wear a service vest.

She knows that she is working when her work vest is on she is a working dog. When her work vest is off she is a regular puppy. 

Ripley at home without her working vest on

Dogs can be more than just a part of the family, they can be a part of a solution to those who suffer from illness or other challenges and this makes for a healthier life.

The Focus for My Blog

“Life is a Journey to be experienced, not a problem to be solved”, Winnie the Pooh

When I think of community, I think of a culture of people who live in the same town who communicate based on culture, interests, inspirations and social connections.

I focus my blog on the communities where I live. The Okanagan Valley View is the literal focus representing my views linguistically to connect with a broader community here in the Okanagan and the community on the Web.

I belong to a community of faith that has enriched my life from the ground up. I have experienced many facets of people I’ve come to know by serving in my local church family. I know that we hold so much as people that we can’t all place life in a snapshot and discuss it in depth over everything, so my focus is brief encounters that make a difference

where I am

there you are.

I am challenged in College life, by diverse experiences that open my eyes to another culture, the culture of the young, and the culture of the community within the walls of education. These experiences move me to come outside of my comfort zone into students’ and instructors’ educational system that may test my views, and expand my knowledge at Okanagan College.

I hold the truth in my heart.

And the learning systems of knowledge I embrace.

There you are.

My views can be controversial at times. Not only to raise awareness for you reading my blog, but it also raises awareness in me in ways that I share, care and express. My blog is not a journal. It’s the views I have of what is going on while I drive, walk, witness, experience, taste, touch, and live. There is a vast amount of family in community, friends, and acquaintances, advertisements, that I think to myself, wow, this is amazing, and interesting to share? How else can we get to know each other unless we get a little vulnerable.

To see what’s inside

And know I’ve shared an experience

where you are

The community profile section I bring to my blog is those in my faith community, my college community, those in our town, and the surrounding area I sense is something to share and available to be read.

The profiles I bring to you can be conversational pieces of literary language that let others step inside a room where we view others who have something to say and to come away thinking, hmmm, exciting, or I didn’t know that.

To see you here

hear what you say

And move on your way changed for the better part of the day.

My blog’s content may interest be related to the local news, the writing and digital community, the tourism industry of the Valley and beyond; however, my blog is too new for this to be anything but a window of parts that I haven’t developed.

My blog is where community meets my feet

where you are

where we meet.

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