Tag Archives: devotional

Devotions from the Garden

Title: Devotions from the Garden
With: Miriam Drennan
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
ISBN: 978-0-7180-3050-6

“These ninety devotions connect the parallels of life with the wondrous, sometimes inexplicable realms of the garden to usher you into His presence, to soothe your soul, and to rest in knowing He is with you throughout each day,” Miriam Drennan writes in her book, Devotions from the Garden: Finding Peace and Rest from Your Hurried Life.

At two hundred and twenty-four pages, this hardbound targets Christian women who are seeking a Biblical devotional about finding God and His creation in something as simplistic yet beautiful as a garden.

Using mainly the New International Version of the Holy Bible, other translations such as the New King James Version, New Century Version, The Living Bible, New Living Translation, and the English Standard Version are noted. A secured ribbon is included for marking a page.

Both on the front cover and within its pages are gorgeous half-page to two-page full-color photographs of gardens. Up close or scenic, the stunning illustrations easily captivate the readers’ eyes.

With no fluff of introduction, end notes, or the author’s biography, a three page table of contents lists numerically ninety topics related to gardening. Usually covering two pages each, the topic’s title is on the top left page followed by one to three written out Bible verses. Several paragraphs follow, ending with a prayer to God on the opposite page.

The themes cover a myriad of concepts from perennials, almanacs, sowing, crop rotation, seed cleaning, grafting, root rot, rainy days, honeybees, zinnias, composting, netting, rain, first fruits, and soil. All correlate the subjects to our relationship with the Almighty and His abundant grace.

One example would be “God’s Timing” that lists Lamentations 3:25-26 about waiting quietly for the Lord. Discussing how a gardener often buys and plants before the season is in full swing, the plants often die due to impatience on the planter’s part. When we recognize God has His timing in everything, we can learn patience and trust Him for guidance. The prayer reminds us to ask God for faith and courage to wait for His perfect timing. A photograph of a weathered bench near blooming dahlias complete the devotional.

For those that love to garden or look at God’s beauty through flowers, trees, and insects, this would make a lovely gift to keep in a guest room, sun room, or patio garden setting.

Thanks to BookLook Bloggers for furnishing this complimentary book in exchange for a review based on the reader’s honest opinions.

This review will be posted on BookLook Bloggers, DeeperShopping, and Amazon with links on Bookfun.org, Godinterest, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

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Filed under ***** Great - A Keeper, If You Borrow It, Give It Back!, Christian, Home / Garden / Food

Blessings for the Morning

Blessings for the Morning: Prayerful Encouragement to Begin Your DayTitle: Blessings for the Morning
Author: Susie Larson
Publisher: Bethany House
ISBN: 978-0-7642-1293-2

“Start each day with a reminder of God’s love and purpose for you. Instead of letting worries set in, enjoy the peace and encouragement that comes when you focus on God’s timeless truths,” the back jacket states of Susie Larson’s book, Blessings for the Morning: Prayerful Encouragement to Begin Your Day.

This two-hundred-and-eight-page hardbound with a padded front cover targets women seeking a devotional to read daily. After a dedication, table of contents, and note from the author, ninety-six short studies fill the pages, ending with the author’s biography. Using mainly the New International Version of the Holy Bible, The Message, NKJV, NLT, and TLB. A red ribbon for marking a place is added.

Author Larson is a radio host of several programs, a national speaker, and author of nine books. She and her husband live in Minnesota, and they have three adult sons.

In this beautifully presented book, ninety-six topics are spread over two pages each on full-color pages that include stunning photographs. The left side of each page has a Bible verse written out and set apart by a border. The right side contains several short paragraphs of short sentences about a particular topic.

There are ninety titled chapters meant to be read each morning and six at the end of the book that involve special needs or occasions such as Christmas Eve, Christmas, and the end of the year. Random subjects include “Ready for a Change,” “Confident in God,” “Release Your Cares,” “Energized and Purposeful,” Know Him More,” and “Divinely Called.”

One example is “Still Waters” that has Psalm 23:2-3 written out on the left side of the page. Six sentences relate to asking the Lord to lead and restore, refresh a sense of purpose, renew love for others, and stir one to hunger to know Him more by remembering He is only a prayer away. A photograph of a calming blue lake with mountains and trees encompasses the background.

With the soothing pictures that mainly show women, nature, and landscapes, the book would be enjoyed by mostly females who need or want something in additional to daily Bible reading to help them focus on their relationship with God.

Thanks to Bethany House for furnishing this complimentary book in exchange for a review based on the reader’s opinions.

This review will be posted on Baker Publishing, DeeperShopping, and Amazon with links on Bookfun.org, Godinterest, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

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I Can Learn the Bible

I Can Learn the Bible: The Joshua Code for Kids: 52 Devotions and Scriptures for KidsTitle: I Can Learn the Bible
Author: Holly Hawkins Shivers
Illustrator: Becka Moor
Publisher: Tommy Nelson
ISBN: 978-0-529-10899-9

“God’s Word is for me and to me, it is in me and working through me, and just like His love, it goes on and on forever!” is the mantra repeated throughout Holly Hawkins Shivers’s children’s book, I Can Learn the Bible: 52 Scriptures Every Kid Should Know.

Part of the Joshua Code for Kids series, this two hundred and twenty-five page hardbound targets preschool to early elementary school aged children who want to learn more about the Bible and memorize verses. Using mainly the International Children’s Bible, the New King James Version and New International Version are referenced. The illustrations by Becka Moore have funky and sometimes fun expressions on people and animals.

With a foreword by Jennie Allen and a letter to parents explaining how important it is to teach young ones to memorize Bible verses, there are fifty-two chapters dedicated to be read each week as a devotional. The ending includes an appendix with twelve tips to help parents encourage getting to know God better through the Scriptures.

Meant to be read one chapter throughout out a week, it is recommended a parent read out loud the Bible verse and devotional. By memorizing a part of the verse each day of a week, discussing the topic, rereading portions, reviewing, and reciting, the child will have a better grasp of God’s Word.

Each devotional covers four pages with the first page listing the verse overlapping an illustration. A paragraph of a current event or story is given, followed how it relates to a verse in the Bible. Another section adds more Biblical application, ending with a prayer to God and the repeated saying listed at the beginning of this review.

Topics range from sin, temptation, idol worship, and repentance to forgiveness, obedience, love, salvation, and God’s grace. One example would be Week 40 titled “The Greatest Love.” Romans 5:8 is written out, and a short story discusses showing, not simply saying, you can do a backflip on a trampoline. Like telling others you love them, actions speak louder than words. Christ showed His love for us by dying on the cross for our sins. A prayer reminds to thank Him for His love.

Although the Bible verses are taken from a children’s version, not a standard one parents’ are used to, children can apply the relevant verse from Psalm:119  “Thy Word have I hide in mine heart so I might not sin against Thee (KJV).”

Thanks to Book Look Bloggers for furnishing this complimentary book in exchange for a review based on the reader’s honest opinion.

This review will be posted on Book Look Bloggers, DeeperShopping, and Amazon with links on Bookfun.org, Godinterest, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

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52 Weeks with Jesus

Title: 52 Weeks with Jesus
Author: James Merritt
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers
ISBN: 978-0-7369-5402-6

“There’s nobody like Jesus. And that’s why you’re holding this book in your hands. Because whether you are a historian, scientist, philosopher, or just an average Joe or Jane, you have to agree that Jesus Christ is one of the most influential humans to ever walk the earth,” James Merritt writes in the introduction to his book, 52 Weeks with Jesus: Fall in Love with the One Who Changed Everything.

At two hundred and fifty-six pages, this paperback book targets those interested in a weekly devotional promoting knowing Jesus more intimately. After a foreword by Leonard Sweet and an introduction, the book is divided into eight sections, each containing three to twelve chapters. Using mainly the English Standard Version of the Bible, the NIV, NLT, NCV, NASB, and The Message are referenced. Acknowledgments, the author’s biography, and notes complete the book. This reader wishes all pronouns of God were capitalized for reverence.

Meant to be read every week over a year, the devotional focuses on Jesus in the Gospels but contains other verses in the Bible. The sections discuss Christ as the Transformer, Answer, Miracle Worker, Storyteller, Teacher, Helper, Leader, and Overcomer.

The fifty-two chapters begin with five Bible verses to look up, preferably Monday through Friday. Next are five separate paragraphs to be read, one corresponding with each day. A short prayer is given along with a question with a blank area to write notes.

Pastor Merritt, who was lead to the Lord watching the movie, “King of Kings,” as a child, includes Biblical characters such as David, Lazarus, and Barabas. He interjects stories of his upbringing, his wife of thirty-seven years, his children, and church members as well as individuals such as Tiger Woods, Robert Frost, John D. Rockefeller, and others.

One example is titled “Captain of My Ship” that has reading verses from Mark, Psalms Proverbs, and John. Discussing the rough waters we face in life, Jesus wants us to remember His promises, rest in His presence and rely on His power by finding His safe place. The prayer is “Lord, I believe there is no need to fear when you are near. Be near to me this day.” The question is “What does it look like to trust Jesus during the storm you’re facing?”

Although simplistic as it correlates current day people, places, and things, this five-day weekly year devotional would be best read in conjunction with daily reading of the Word of God.

Thanks to Harvest House Publishing for furnishing this complimentary book in exchange for a review based on the reader’s honest opinion.

This review will be posted on Harvest House, DeeperShopping, and Amazon with links on Bookfun.org, Godinterest, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

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Hosting the Presence Every Day

Hosting the Presence Every Day: 365 Days to Unveiling Heaven's Agenda for Your LifeTitle: Hosting the Presence Every Day
Author: Bill Johnson
Publisher: Destiny Image
ISBN: 978-0-7684-0524-8

“The quest to host God’s Presence does not begin with formulas or principles. It starts with an increasing awareness of Who lives within you,” Bill Johnson writes in the introduction to his book, Hosting the Presence Every Day: 365 Days to Unveiling Heaven’s Agenda for Your Life.

This one hundred and forty-four paperback targets those looking for a daily devotional that is quick and to the point, focusing on how the Holy Spirit dwells within Christians on a day to day basis. The NKJV, NASB, KJV, ASV, NIV, ESV, and NLT versions of the Holy Bible are referenced.

In this devotional that can be read each day in mere minutes, each month covers a theme mainly relating to the Holy Spirit such as those titled Your Ultimate Assignment, Your Significance in God’s Presence, Sneak Previews, Red Letter Revival, Releasing the Dove, and Your Baptism of Fire.

Each day begins with one general sentence of reflection followed by several paragraphs that occasionally include a written out Bible verse. Most pages have Scripture reading to look up of one to ten verses or a short Psalm. A prayer of one to eleven lines long ends the devotional. Sometimes the full page is used, other times only a half. The last two weeks of the year are dedicated to notable individuals’ lives and their testimonies, having no Bible verse references.

Noting at the beginning that there is repetition of verses, and the prayers are suggestive, not comprehensive, the idea is to develop an intimacy with the Person of Christ through meditation. One example would be the short insert for October 7th that begins with the statement: One of the reasons it’s so important to learn the ministry at home is because of the value of serving where there is no honor. Two paragraphs discuss how Jesus served in His hometown and was not honored. By serving others, we cooperate with the Presence of the Holy Spirit. The Scripture reading is Luke 4:24 and the prayer states: I do not serve to receive honor. Holy Spirit, help me to serve people because I honor them. I honor people because You love them.

With this daily book only mentioning a few Bible passages each day, it would be best read as an addendum to reading the Word of God and may be helpful for those who like to look up a couple of verses each day.

Thanks to The Book Club Network and the author for furnishing this complimentary book in exchange for a review based on the reader’s honest opinion.

This review will be posted on TBCN, DeeperShopping, and Amazon with links on Bookfun.org, Godinterest, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

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What Your Heart Needs for the Hard Days

Title: What Your Heart Needs for the Hard Days
Author: Holley Gerth
Publisher: Revell
ISBN: 978-0-8007-2288-3

“Lord, you are good to me in ways beyond what I can even comprehend. Help me to consider your kindness and remember your benefits. I’m especially thankful for …” Holley Gerth writes in her small book, What Your Heart Needs for the Hard Days: 52 Encouraging Truths to Hold on To.

At two hundred and fifty-six pages, this small hardbound targets women wanting a short, uplifting devotional reminder of God and what He thinks about us. Using the New International Version of the Bible, after an introduction, there are fifty-two chapters, followed by acknowledgements, notes, and the author’s biography along with advertisements for other books. This reader wishes pronouns of God were capitalized for reference.

From four to five pages each, devotions are given on the book of Psalms that can be read daily or weekly. Starting with one to several verses from the Old Testament book, the author writes about a topic, sometimes from her personal experience. Each chapter ends with a short paragraph prayer that leaves options to fill in the blank in several lined spaces along with an area to write what the reader has gleaned from the subject.

Topics focus on how to get through the hard times and include how God thinks, knows, considers, loves, and cherishes you as well as never fails, harms, rejects, tires, or hates you. Here are some of the chapter titles:

God Will Give You Courage, Not Condemnation
God is Speaking to You Today
God is Your Piece of the Pie
God is Preparing You
God Will Answer Your Desires with Good Things
God Gives You Permission to Laugh
God Will Use You to Help Others
God Deserves Your Praise Forever

Consider Chapter 8 on “God Will Give You Everything You Need” that lists the well-known Psalms 23:1-3 in the beginning. The author discusses how the majority of women at a meeting responded to how they are feeling using the word “tired.” She reminds that God wants us to rest, relax, and look to Him as our Shepherd when we are worn down. The prayer is: Lord, I’m so grateful I belong to a good and faithful Shepherd like you. Thank you for watching over me and caring for all my needs. You understand me even better than I understand myself. Today I’m coming to you and asking for …. The ending verse references Psalms 22-24.

As a weekly devotional, the same information would be read over seven days but if reviewed daily, women would comprehend views God. This reader recommends using this book in addition to being in the Word daily.

Thanks to Baker Publishing for furnishing this complimentary book in exchange for a review based on the reader’s honest opinions.

Feel free to check out Holley’s blog at : http://holleygerth.com/heart-needs-hard-days or like her Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/HolleyGerthPage

This review will be posted on Revell, DeeperShopping, and Amazon with links on Bookfun.org, LinkedIn, Godinterest, and Pinterest.
GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

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The Family of Jesus

Title: The Family of Jesus
Author: Karen Kingsbury
Publisher: Howard Books
ISBN: 978-1-4767-0737-2

“She could do nothing to stop the tears as she reached the others, but none of them seemed to notice. Mary was glad. Long ago, she had needed time to ponder the birth of her son. Now she would need time to ponder His death,” Karen Kingsbury writes in her book, The Family of Jesus.

First of four in the “Life Changing Bible Study Series,” this three hundred and four page hardback targets those that enjoy fictionally enhanced stories of the Bible, along with devotional studies for personal or group application. Using mainly the New International Version of the Bible, also the KJV is referenced.

Different from most of the author’s storytelling works, this one is uniquely laid out with six short novellas of family members close to Jesus: Joseph, Zachariah, John the Baptist, Elizabeth, James, and Mary. Next are six weekly corresponding studies on these characters that have five days’ each of devotionals including Bible verses, bullet points, and fill-in the blank activities, followed by group discussions.

While the stories are not totally based on Biblical facts, Kingsbury takes ample liberty establishing the emotional and personal connection the relatives have with Jesus. Each blends different perspectives of Christ’s birth, baptism, miracles, crucifixion, and resurrection from a human viewpoint.

More importantly is the study guide in the second half of the book. Each day has a Bible reading suggestion listed at the top of the page and a theme gleaned from the story, with two or three personal questions including lines for answers. The group discussions also start with Scripture verses and ask what can be learned from the individual. More paragraphs encourage deeper study, and there is a homework assignment.

Take the final story of Mary giving birth to Jesus and seeing Him do miracles but remaining quiet, remembering the wonders, and hiding her pain when He died for being the Messiah. The study guide examines her love, faith, praise, and peace as she survived losing her son. Groups discussion concentrates how she willing gave up control, understood her value in God, and constantly communicated with Him. The homework is to start a prayer journal.

If readers know the Biblical differences between fact and fiction in the stories, they will recall the angst, frustration, and love these people had being related to Jesus. With engaging stories and studies in the Word, Kingsbury offers a tender reminder God became man to save us from our sins.

Thanks to Howard Books for furnishing this complimentary book in exchange for a review based on the reader’s opinions.

This review will be posted on DeeperShopping, Bookpleasures, and Amazon with links on Bookfun.org, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

 

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

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Moms’ Night Out and Other Things I Miss …

Title: Moms’ Night Out and Other Things I Miss.
Author: Kerri Pomarolli
Publisher: B&H Publishing Group
ISBN: 978-1-4336-8482-1

“I think God loves it when I’m frazzled and crazy because it’s in those time I can hear Him. To me, I’m sure God is laughing along with me at my life, comforting me to fight on through another day,” Kerri Pomarolli writes in her book, Moms’ Night Out and Other Things I Miss: Devotions to Help You Survive.

At two hundred and eight pages, this paperback targets those who enjoy light comedy with a touch of God referenced as a devotional. It would be welcomed by young first time mothers who feel over-whelmed, under-appreciated, and exhausted by viewing the comic side of relationship issues.

Inspired by the hit movie, Pomarolli writes in first person telling short stories of her life as wife and mother of two young girls. Covering fifty topics from one to five pages, most begin with a Bible verse quoted from the Holman Christian Standard along with the ESV, NIV, and CEV versions.

The themes mainly offer the writer’s personal experiences, told usually from a positive, light-hearted standpoint. Each ending has two to three questions to take a moment and think about, followed by a short prayer to God.

Whether discussing her husband, Ron, or her young daughters, Lucy and Ruby, Pomarolli covers how McDonald’s cheeseburgers are gifts from God, she is no longer size four but over forty years old, her children’s issues involving lying or biting, getting a Sleep Number mattress, and her cooking chicken challenges.

Also included are several lists to consider such as ten things parents will never do again, to never to say to a woman in labor, or to do while breastfeeding, along with ten worst texts to send to your wife and five resolutions never to break with five that husbands must know living with a pregnant wife.

While her mostly self-indulgent tales are humorous and perhaps helpful to mothers in angst, the questions are more important as they focus on the root of the problem. As an example, the chapter titled “Princess Mentality” is about getting mad when her car runs out of gas. She asks, “Can you remember a time when someone made you so mad and you did not respond with any grace? How would you do it differently if you could?”

Looking at the lighter side of life raising children, the book’s concept of laughing instead of crying through trials and tribulations may be warranted, yet trusting in God being in control is the ultimate survival tip.

Thanks to Litfuse Publicity Group for furnishing this complimentary book in exchange for a review based on the reader’s honest opinions.

This review will be posted on Bookpleasures and Amazon with links on Pinterest and LinkedIn.

 

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

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The 40-Day Devotional Challenge

Title: The 40-Day Devotional Challenge
Author:  Kathi Macias
Publisher: Elk Lake Publishing
ISBN # 978-0-9793543-9-7

“When God lays out that first step of faith- regardless of how intimidating it may seem – I pray we will all learn to lean into Him for strength and trust Him to carry us through to victory,” Kathi Macias writes in her book, The 40-Day Devotional Challenge.

This eighty-four page e-book targets readers looking for a quick Christian women’s devotional that can be read daily over a forty-day period. Mainly using the New King James Version of the Bible, the NASB is also referenced.

With no page of contents, a note from the author and her biography starts the beginning of the book. Each of the forty devotionals covers two to four pages of writing with two to three lined pages to add personal notes. A final note from the author ends the reading.

The devotion starts with a short Bible verse written out, taken from both Old and New Testaments of the Bible. With many Psalms, verses from Genesis, Exodus, the Kings, and both Samuels to Ruth, Isaiah, and Micah are mixed with the Gospels and Paul’s letters.

Each theme includes several paragraphs regarding the verse, mostly mentioning the writer’s experiences of writing books with deadlines, traveling for family visits, other books and hymns enjoyed, and her personal viewpoints. There are references to Biblical characters such as Moses, the Israelites, Nadab, Abihu, Ahab, Adonijah, David, Solomon, Eli, the Apostle Paul, and Jesus within some of the devotions.

As Macias gleans from heroines researched for her books, replies to responses from Facebook posts, and tells of her grandmother’s passing, she nudges the reader to focus more on God, rely on Him daily, pray more fervently, and trust in Him.

One example is Day 35, noting Philippians 4:11-12 about being content in all things. Discussing the well-known hymn, “It Is Well with My Soul,” the author examines her faith, trying to accept her lot in life regardless of the circumstances. She challenges the reader to recommit and immerse more fervently in God’s presence and love.

Similar to most devotionals, this book reflects the thoughts and personal feelings of a Christian who desires to be closer to Christ. Although it mainly focuses on her personal experiences, readers may find it a helpful addition to daily reading the Word of God.

Thanks to The Book Club Network Inc. for furnishing this book in exchange for a review based on the reader’s honest opinion.

This review will be posted on TBCNI, DeeperShopping, Bookpleasures, and Amazon with links on Bookfun, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

 

 

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The Little Book About God

Title: The Little Book About God
Author: Ron Rhodes
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers
ISBN: 978-0-7369-5185-2

“One of the great things about God’s omniscience is that nothing in our lives will cause Him to change His mind about including us in His family. When we become Christians, God is fully aware of every sin we have ever committed and ever will commit. God knows everything about us and accepts us anyway, so every child of God can have a profound sense of security in salvation,” Ron Rhodes writes in his book, The Little Book About God.

This sixty-four page notecard-sized hardbound book is targeted toward readers who want a quick reminder of God and His wonderful ways and attributes. With no profanity, violence, or extreme use of negativity, it references mainly the ESV translation of the Bible along with the NIV and NLT versions.

Similar to other books in the series, it is divided into twenty-eight simplistic chapters, designed to be a daily four week devotional about a topic. Each two page chapter includes a “Big Idea” followed by “What You Need to Know” bullet points, one or two Bible verses, “Fast Facts” with pointers, several “Truths That Transform,” and a well-known author’s quote to consider.

Topics range from reasons to believe in God, the Trinity, and His many names to His omnipresence, omniscience, omnipotence, and eternal sovereignty, along with His holiness, righteousness, love, and mercy. Quotes are written by preachers and writers such as Lewis, Packer, Ryrie, Sauer, Stanley, Tozer, and Watson.

One “Big Idea” example is the concept of God’s immanence and how He is actively present with us. Although He is transcendent, He is in heaven and on earth at the same time as explained in Deuteronomy 4:39, Psalms 139:8, and Acts 17:27. “Fast Facts” mention that Enoch walked with God, Abraham was God’s friend, Moses saw God in the burning bush, and all believers will be with Him in the New Jerusalem. We should be comforted knowing God is always near, wherever we go, especially when we are lonely, needy, or sick. The anonymous quote states, “The Christian finds safety not in the absence of danger but in the presence of God.”

In addition to learning some names of the Almighty are El Olam, El Roi, El Shaddai, Elohim, Yahweh, and Yahweh-Nissi, we should never forget His incomprehensible love, grace, and mercy. For those who have time constraints or need a quick recap with minimal study, this is a to-the-point gift book bringing into remembrance how truly amazing our God is.

This book was furnished by Harvest House Publishers in exchange for the reader’s honest opinion.

This review will be posted on Harvest House, DeeperShopping, Bookpleasures, and Amazon with links on Bookfun, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

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