Thursday, November 5, 2015

The Inner Views of Joshua Becker

"Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver."
2 Corinthians 9:7
(KJV)

I have mentioned a few times in previous posts that God has been leading my family and me
towards a simpler, less encumbered life.
(This post and this post talk a bit more about this.)
He has dealt with us repeatedly about shifting our focus from the things of this world
to those things that are eternal.
At the beginning of this year, as I sought His will for my blogging "One Word for 2015",
the word He gave to me was "Prepare".
(You can read that post here.)

As we began to downsize, declutter, and minimize our physical belongings,
I found myself searching online for encouragement.
I sought for articles that were not only written about minimizing,
but ones that were written by those who share our spiritual points of view, as well,
for this is most important to me.

Early in my search, I came across a blog called Becoming Minimalist, written by Joshua Becker,
and right away I was reeled in and subscribed by email so as to not miss a single post.
I cannot begin to express how much my family and I have learned
and the depths of encouragement we have found while reading Joshua's blog.

So, when God began to lay it upon my heart to start conducting interviews for Homespun Devotions,
Joshua was one of the first people He brought to my mind.

Many of you probably already know him.
Perhaps you are already being blessed by the bounty of wisdom he bestows.
But, for those of you who have never met or heard of Joshua,
let me take this opportunity to introduce you, if I may.


The following is the very first installment of our new interview portion of Homespun Devotions!!!
I hope you enjoy reading as much as I enjoyed conducting the interview!

The
.
of minimalist,
 Joshua Becker.

Cheryl:  So, to get started, would you mind giving us an introduction and a brief explanation as to how you began your journey towards minimalism?

Joshua:  I’m Joshua Becker, founder of Becoming Minimalist.  I pastored for 15 years before doing this full-time.  The journey into minimalism happened on a Saturday morning when I was cleaning my garage, and my son was alone in the backyard.  After hours of working out in the garage, I suddenly had this realization that my possessions weren’t making me happy.  
The further realization was not only that my possessions weren’t making me happy, they were actually taking me away from the very things that did bring me happiness, and purpose, and fulfillment in life. That started the process of, "let’s get rid of the stuff that we don’t need, so we can focus more time on the things that do matter."  And it was a journey for us, I mean it took, I would say going through the house initially for us, it took 6-9 months. But, we moved, years later, into a smaller house, and even that move forced us to go through more things and more stuff that we didn’t need. So, just like you said, it’s a journey and where we are going and changing and generally speaking, I’m trying to think how to own less, rather than how to get more.

Cheryl:  And, from a Christian standpoint, how do you think living minimally relates to living a life pleasing to God?

Joshua:  I’ll mention two specific things:
  1. It forces me to learn more about my heart and motivations than if I hadn’t lived minimally. So, in Luke chapter 3 where John the Baptist is preparing the way for Jesus, the Israelites come to him, and say, "What do we have to do?  We’re ready..were with you, we want to get ready for the kingdom."  And he tells them to get rid of their extra clothes and extra food and to be content with what they have and don’t seek more and don’t extort for more. All of the instructions had to do with possessions, interestingly enough. What I found is, as we began getting rid of things, number one, we found that we were more tied to possessions than we thought we were, but number two, we realized that we had bought way more than we needed to in the first place, and so the question became, "what was in our hearts?"  What we were holding on to in our hearts that would allow us to buy far more stuff than we needed in the first place?  Things like selfishness and greed, things like jealousy and envy, like trying to impress people with the things that we had, being controlled by the world and its messages and advertisements more than we realized. We were forced to learn those things that I don’t think we would have ever had to learn before. So, there’s the introspection of what was motivating my heart and life.
  2. And then, the second one is, we were freed up.  Because we were spending less time and money and energy caring for the things that we owned or things that we were trying to own, we discovered that we had more opportunity to follow God with our whole lives. Which I think is Jesus’ point in Luke 18 where the rich young ruler comes to follow Him and Jesus says, "Well, if you really want to experience eternal life, sell your possessions, give to the poor, and then come follow Me."  That is to say, we can’t really appreciate all of the abundant life that God is offering if we are carrying around a whole bunch of things that we don’t need.
Cheryl:  In today's culture, there is such a push to accumulate earthly goods.  If Jesus lived on earth today, what steps do you think He would take to avoid falling prey to being caught up in the chaos and consumerism madness so prevalent in our modern world?

Joshua:  Well, I think He would probably live very similar to how He lived before. First of all, singular focus, single-minded focus, that He was here to glorify God, that He was to do what God called Him to do, and that He was going to be obedient to that even though the world around Him wanted Him to do something different.  What’s interesting about Jesus is that you find Him doing the same thing that He tells us to do. And by that I mean, He lived every day in the Spirit.  We find Him leaving the towns to go spend time alone with God, and He would routinely remove Himself from culture, from society, from people, so that He could sit and just listen to God and reorient His will and His heart around Him.  So, I think that He would do the same, and I think that is what we are to do.  So much of that is walking in the Spirit, and I think it was Dallas Willard who said, “We’re not called to live the same life as Jesus lived. But, we are called to live our life the way Jesus would live our life.”  I think it’s kind of a fascinating story in Mark chapter 5 where the demon-possessed man is healed and Jesus was getting ready to leave with His disciples, and the demon-possessed man, who is no longer demon-possessed, but now a healed man, comes to Jesus, and he says, "I’m ready to go, I’m ready to leave everything and follow You", and Jesus says, "No, no, go back home, go back home and live in your house, be My witness in your city."  This is so interesting because He had just called His 12 apostles to give up everything…to leave everything…to leave their jobs, to leave there homes, their families, and to follow Him, and then here’s another guy who is ready to do it and Jesus says, "No, no, that’s not the call that I have on your life. You go live in your home."  You know I used to think of Mother Teresa, and how she left everything.  That’s not what we are all called to do, but we are all called to walk in the Spirit and live the life that He’s called us to…that’s single-focused, for sure.

Cheryl:  On a personal level, how has becoming a minimalist affected and enhanced your ministry and your God-given calling?  (What doors has it opened for you, how has it enlarged your spiritual realm of influence and effectiveness, etc.)

Joshua:  Numerically speaking, certainly it has given me a wider audience, more people to reach and talk to, and more opportunities for speaking and writing.  I was just thinking about this today. It has given me a passion for a single change…there are a lot of things going on in the church, a lot of conversation, and a lot of unhealthy movements, a lot of bad things in the church that could and should be changed, but I don’t feel called, at least at this point in life, to be addressing all of those things, but I do feel like God is calling me to speak to this one area and to challenge Christians in this spot. So it is has given me a new focus and a new change. But, I think, broader speaking, there’s a parable in Luke chapter 8 where the parable of the sower that sows the seeds all over, and the one falls on the path and never grows, the one falls on the rock and starts to grow but gets burned up, the 3rd seed grows roots but the fruit gets choked out by the weeds, then the 4th seed actually grows roots and grows fruit. Jesus comes back and explains...it’s one of the rare parables where He explains what He meant...when He gets to the 3rd seed, the seed that grows roots but doesn’t bear fruit, He says the weeds that choked out the fruit are - riches, pleasures and worries. And, it’s not even the love of riches, it’s not the love of pleasure, but it’s almost the mere existence of riches and pleasures and the worry that accompanies it that chokes out the fruit of the seed.  I think the American church is actually the third seed, that we are not nearly as fruitful as we could be, because the riches and the pursuit of possessions and the worry that come with it are choking out the fruitfulness of so many. So many of us, myself included, for so many years and probably even still to this day, in some points. My ministry has changed, but I think part of that is considering that parable, and as we remove those things, we begin to see ministry opportunities that we didn’t notice before.

Cheryl:  Acts 2:44,45 says, ~All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.~  And Acts 4:32 says, ~All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. ~ From a pastor’s standpoint, how do you think these two passages of Scripture contribute to a minimalistic mindset, and what would happen in our world today if we, as believers, adapted this lifestyle?

Joshua:  I think what would happen is we would discover the very thing that so many of us are looking for in our money. By that I mean, as we begin living this out, I have discovered that there is no more secure a place to be, financially-speaking, or any way speaking, that there is nothing more secure than walking in the will of God and honoring Him with the things that I have. What I think happens is, without even realizing it, so many Christians are looking for security in their money, and they’re looking for security in their possessions, and they live with this mindset that, "Once I feel secure with my bank account, then I will begin to share and then, I’ll become generous."  And so, generosity is always, "I wish I could give, but I just can’t, because we don’t have enough money or we’re worried about this."  In reality, it works completely opposite, that when we become generous, when we begin sharing what we have, when we begin doing what God has called us to do, caring for the widow and the orphan, caring for those who have need, when we begin doing those things, we find that we are far more secure than we ever thought we were, because our security is in God, not in a bank account somewhere. And so, what I think would happen is obviously, the poor would be cared for and more needs would be met, so those lives would improve, but even more than that, that the person who started sharing, and that the person who became generous would find the security and the happiness that they’ve been looking for and everything they’ve been trying to accumulate all along the way.

Cheryl:  I just became aware of  The Hope Effect as I was reading Evelyn Rennich's latest blog post. I was instantly moved and blessed to learn more about it at the website.  I think it is an amazing thing you are doing, and I was wondering if you would like to share more about it with our readers?


(Here, I insert a video where Joshua explains his new outreach in detail.)

If video doesn't load, click here.

Joshua:  It’s interesting that, most people think that the orphan care crisis is being addressed.  I think most people think that we have orphanages set up, and orphans go there.  In reality, it is a pretty big problem, and it’s a problem that we have known about for decades.  It's not only that there are more orphans that need to be cared for, but it's also that the typical model of the orphanage where there’s 50 kids and just a couple of adults is actually having some pretty harmful effects on kids.  God’s original design for human development is that kids would be raised in a family.  This is the model, this is the design.  Not that they would be raised in these institutions with such high kid-to-adult ratios. So, we are hoping to address that, and while we’re not the first, there are other people doing it pretty well, we don’t think globally, or certainly not nationally, that people even know about it or that people are talking about it. And so, we’re hoping to do this in a way that helps more people see that there is a problem, and see that there are solutions out there, and then give them a very easy way to get involved to start making a difference. So, that’s what The Hope Effect is.

Cheryl: And the first one that you’re opening is going to be in Honduras, is that right?

Joshua:  There’s an orphanage in Honduras called La Providencia. They’ve been around about 8 or 10 years, and they do this family model. They put up homes and they put 6 orphans and a Mom and Dad in these homes. So, our first project is, we are going to build for them a home on their campus. We’re going to build it and fund it for 2 years. They have 10 years of experience, so there’s a lot that we can learn, plus they have everything in place already, like a director, a place to find parents, and everything.  So, our first project is building a home on their campus for them, and then, our next campus project is likely to be in Mexico.  This is what we’re planning on now, if things don’t change.

Cheryl:  That’s wonderful!  What a vision you have to do that! You’re right, I read those Scriptures about the Lord wanting us to take care of the orphans…..my heart goes out to them, but I didn’t really comprehend the gravity and how it affects their lives. Thank God for laying this on your heart, and I hope and pray He will bless you abundantly with that and in every other part of your ministry. You are making such a difference!


Joshua:  Thank you.  I appreciate it.  Thanks for looking me up and having a conversation with me today.  It was fun.

Cheryl:  I appreciate it so very much. I hope God will bless you and continue to enlarge your coasts and just bless everything you’re doing.  We’ll be praying for you, that’s for sure.  I know you are out there on the front lines, and this is not an easy time to be there, especially with everything going on in our world with Christians, and so, may God just bless you and protect you and your family and just be with you every step of the way. 

A BIG thank you to Joshua for taking the time to share his
with us!

I found him to be very humble and kind and such a blessing and pleasure to talk to.
I absolutely love the insights he shared.
Such profound wisdom, and such a great help to my family and me on our current journey!
Please keep Joshua and his family and their outreaches of ministry in your prayers,
and please remember the orphans.

"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this:  to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."
James 1:27
(NIV)

"For the LORD your God is the God of gods and Lord of lords. He is the great God, the mighty and awesome God, Who shows no partiality and cannot be bribed.
He ensures that orphans and widows receive justice. 
He shows love to the foreigners living among you and gives them food and clothing."
Deuteronomy 10:17,18
(NLT)

********************************************************************************
How can YOU help????

Here are some ways....

Another blog that I follow and find wonderfully inspiring is Smallish, written by 
Evelyn Rennich.


In her latest post called, "How Minimalism Can Change The World", she explains how adapting a minimalist mindset enables us to give more bountifully to others and to make more of a positive difference in our world.
During the whole month of November, Evelyn is hosting a fundraiser for The Hope Effect.
 She makes it super easy to give to this worthy cause!
All you have to do is click HERE and donate, as the Lord leads!
No gift is too small.  :)

OR

In his latest post, Joshua Becker also offers other ways you can become involved,
including a recurring monthly $10 (or any amount) donation, by clicking HERE.

OR

For all of my blogging friends, please click HERE for a special way YOU can help!
Together, by God's grace, we can and will make a difference!

37 comments:

  1. such an amazing inner view, thanks for sharing this.

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    1. Thank you so much, sweet friend. I appreciate your visit and support! Praying for you!! :)

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  2. I love this idea!!! (And, I LOVE the name the inner view) Cute graphic too!!!! Yay Cheryl!

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    1. Thank you so much, Caroline! I will let Zach know! I so appreciate your sweet visit and support. Sending you big hugs, and praying for you, too, my friend. :)

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  3. A timely reminder. It's so easy to take the gifts from God and before long we begin to worship the provision instead of the Provider. The things we seek to own of this world end up owning us. I've lived this lesson up close and personal. The security he speaks of in money is real. It takes time to grasp that our only peace, joy, and security come from our Father. Nothing else. Trying to fulfill our soul from the outside in is like trying to drown a fish...

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    1. I loved your words, brother..."we begin to worship the provision instead of the Provider." Wow, such truth in that! So grateful for your visit and encouragement. Praying for you and your family. God bless you!!

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  4. I have the utmost respect for Joshua Becker and you as well for educating us about minimalism. I like the way you both weave the scriptures into this inner view to give clarity and understanding. This is very interesting!

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    1. Thank you so much, Mary! It always blesses me so much when you stop by...I cherish your support and encouragement. God bless you abundantly, my friend!

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  5. Thank you so much, Cheryl, for sharing this insightful interview with Joshua. I'm blessed to be included too! This is a great post.

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    1. Thank you, Evelyn!! I appreciate all you do, and am so thankful you enjoyed the interview! God bless you, my friend! :)

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  6. Dear Friend, I loved this interview. It spoke to my heart of hearts: I want to bookmark it, so I can come back and soak in what was said. I thank God for your faithfulness to share practical faith that speaks to where we live.

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    1. Oh, it was such a dear blessing to know you had stopped by, sweet friend! Thank you ever so much for your kind words. I know this is a subject dear to your heart, too. So glad you enjoyed the post and trusting God to bless you abundantly. Sending you much love and many hugs! :)

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  7. Hi Cheryl! What a fun and informative interview. I can truly see that his one-focus mission has just changed and multiplied his life. That's what being pure in heart is to me. Having a good focus, and 'going for it'. He sounds like such a humble and lovely person. How blessed are you to speak to him, and he is blessed to have his mission spread by you!
    Blessings,
    Ceil

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    1. Hello, my friend! So thankful you stopped by and enjoyed the interview. :) Joshua really was a joy to talk to, and I am so blessed to have had that conversation. I appreciate your kind words and trust God to bless you abundantly!! Hugs and many blessings to you. :)

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  8. Fantastic INNER VIEW Cheryl! I loved this and will enjoy the series I am sure. Wonderful points he makes and encouraging to know we can get rid of our stuff and still survive :) We did it when we moved overseas and now, back in the States, we have very little by normal standards. But we have what we NEED and I am pretty content with that. I am sure, though, we could downsize even more. I will check out his website. Blessings! ♥

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    1. What a dear blessing it is when you stop by, Nannette! I am sure it did cause you to downsize a lot when you went overseas. It is amazing how very little we really need in this life, and as you said, we can still survive without so much of it. So thankful you will check out Joshua's website and trust it will bless you as much as it has blessed us. Sending you big hugs and lots of love, sweet friend. :)

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  9. Oh Cheryl, this was a wonderful interview! I thought your questions were most insightful, and Joshua's answers were inspiring. I love the name, The Hope Effect. Because, truly, the gift of hope creates ripples that spread out far beyond what we can think or imagine, stretching all the way into eternity.

    I think I can learn a lot about downsizing - I stand convicted. (And, I loved what Floyd had to say, "It's so easy to take the gifts from God and before long we begin to worship the provision instead of the Provider.")

    Yes.

    GOD BLESS!

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    1. Oh, thank you ever SO much, dear Sharon!! I am so very grateful for your support and encouragement. You are right, the ripples of inspiring hope in others is very far-reaching...and only eternity will reveal its full impact. I loved what Floyd said, too. His wisdom is so inspiring...and yours is, too, sweet friend. :) God bless you abundantly!!!!!

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  10. Cheryl, Thank you so much for sharing about Joshua Becker's blog, Becoming Minimalist. I had never heard of it before.

    The questions you asked Joshua during your interview really got to the heart of the matter. You have a gift for interview sweet sister! :-)

    I was really struck by Joshua's statement about the modern church, "I think the American church is actually the third seed, that we are not nearly as fruitful as we could be, because the riches and the pursuit of possessions and the worry that come with it are choking out the fruitfulness of so many. So many of us, myself included, for so many years and probably even still to this day, in some points. My ministry has changed, but I think part of that is considering that parable, and as we remove those things, we begin to see ministry opportunities that we didn’t notice before. "

    Cheryl your heart for God's children and for His church shined through as you interviewed Joshua.

    You are such a blessing to the Kingdom of God!

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    1. Oh, dear friend! I am beyond humbled and blessed by your words...any good was ALL God. I feel very stretched by Him right now, but so grateful that He always provides what we need to do the job He is calling us to do. I love all that Joshua said here, too...I have been pondering it for days trying to absorb it all. It seems like God is REALLY trying to drive home to me that I need to elevate my eyes above this world and ONLY focus on what will last for eternity. I didn't even realize how much I have NOT been doing that....He is opening up so much to me right now. I feel like I am on a crash course, with the lessons needing to be learned as quickly as possible. Not sure exactly why that is, but it is that way, just the same. Thank you so much for your kind, precious words....God bless you abundantly!

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  11. I have been reading his blog and fb page for quite some time as well.

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  12. Cheryl love your new interview portion! thanks for stopping by today . here's the link sorry it didnt work!!!

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    1. Thanks so much, Shandra! I finally got it to work earlier and have added it to my link-ups page. :)

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  13. Enjoyed reading this interview. Reminded me a bit of Randy Alcorn's book 'The Treasure Principle.' A wonderful book on giving and living biblically with our finances.

    Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Sounds like a wonderful book! I have never read it, but it sounds like one I would love. Thanks for sharing with me. I am not sure what the book is about exactly, but I have been thinking so much about Jesus talking about not laying up treasures on this earth. It is amazing how attached we can become to inanimate objects. I never even thought of this as being displeasing to our Lord until lately. Thanks for stopping by, Cathy! So thankful for your encouragement!

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  14. Cheryl - Such gratitude for pointing me over here today! Joshua Becker has been on the forefront of minimalist living, and now to see him and his wife dive into orphan ministry, so excited me!

    In going to China and to Guatemala, I have witnessed this family model Joshua talks about and have seen first-hand the success of this family style model.Large family's filling the gap where orphanages seem to not be as effective in dealing with issues such as attachment and early trauma. Isn't it remarkable that our God created family and knew what setting would be ideal and conducive to us, even from the beginning of time? Even as a foster parent her in the U.S., it is incredible to witness the radical transformation of children who come to foster homes vs. those placed in larger settings such as group homes.

    Thanks friend for sharing this soul-lifting interview with us! Can't tell you what it has stirred in me & how thrilled I am that people like Joshua Becker are taking the baton and advocating for orphan reformation world-wide!

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    1. Oh, Jen! Your passion and heart for orphans is truly so inspiring and motivational! It means so much to have your input, as you have seen and witnessed the reality of this on such a personal level. Thank you ever so much for stopping by and sharing this precious encouragement! Sending you love and hugs across the miles!!!! :)

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  15. Cheryl,
    Thank you for introducing me to The Hope Effect. I'd heard about Joshua Becker before and it is great to read more about his story. Thanks :-)

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    1. Oh, I am SO grateful you enjoyed reading this and thankful for your visit and encouragement, Dolly! It was so nice to see that you had stopped by! God bless you, my friend. :)

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  16. Such a great interview, Cheryl! I've been a big fan of Joshua's blog for awhile now, and it was exciting to see that you interviewed him. I really appreciate his vision for simpler living and I loved hearing more about his faith. Great work!

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    1. Thank you ever so much, Lisa! So grateful for your kind visit and words of encouragement. May God bless you, sweet friend. :)

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  17. It's great to know another inspiring soul. Thanks for sharing this, Cheryl,.

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    1. Yes, it truly is, isn't it? I find so much inspiration at Joshua's blog and hope you will, too! May the dear Lord bless you, dear Lux! So thankful for your visit and encouragement!!

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  18. Sorry I am so late in reading your shared post . I do so much appreciate your entries with us here at Tell me a True Story.

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    1. That's okay, dear friend! I just hope you are doing better from your fall! God bless you, Hazel. :)

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