Self Esteem Archive

Live Like an Apple Tree

Posted February 28, 2014 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

While in Tennessee on the Road to Freedom Tour, I met the AMAZING Jeff York. You can read about him and his story here. As he stood propped up against his desk, he said he didn’t know much about trees. If he walked out through the forest, he’d be hard pressed to identify one tree or another by its trunk.

On the other hand, if he passed one and apples hung off the branches, he’d know immediately that it was an apple tree. He’d recognize it by the fruit.

Did  know that most people spend the majority of their day and energy trying to convince others they are NOT something rather than just being who they are? It’s true.

When I hear or witness that, I always think of an apple tree. I imagine that tree frantically running around the orchard and the forest trying to convince all the other plants and people it’s not a rose bush.

I imagine how tragic it would be come harvest time in the mountains of Appalachia if all the apple trees had done that same thing. We’d have no apples, no apple cider or apple butter. No apple pie. That’s un-American!

Thankfully, the apple tree doesn’t do that. Instead, it spends all its days, nights, energy and resources just being who it is, and doing what it was created to do: be an apple tree.

It doesn’t try to convince anyone it’s not a rose bush. It just lives as an apple tree.

It doesn’t try to be a rose bush. It just works at being an apple tree.

Pretty soon, the fruit shows up and no one has to wonder whether it’s a rose bush, or even an orange tree. Apple trees don’t talk. They can’t shout and tell everyone it’s an apple tree and yet, everyone knows. Why? Well, the big, fat, juicy apples hanging off the branches are enough of a clue that anyone would get it.

Here are just a few things I learned from the apple tree:


  • It didn’t have to convince anyone of who it was. It just had to be itself. The fruit speaks for itself.


  • It didn’t have to try to NOT be something else. It didn’t put forth a second’s effort trying to NOT be a pecan tree.


  • What’s on the inside will one day be on the outside for everyone to see. It’s no secret. It is what it is and that fruit will one day announce the apple tree’s identity to the world.

Look, please don’t waste another moment convincing the world of who you are… or aren’t. Instead, spend the time just BEING who you are and let your fruit speak for itself.

Live like the apple tree. The world will get it… and appreciate it. I promise.

Has that happened to you? Have you tried to convince others that you’re NOT something rather than just being who you are? Share it here!

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Not Without Your Consent

Posted January 27, 2014 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent“~Eleanor Roosevelt

It happens every day. Someone says something or reacts to your brilliance in a, well, less than total acceptance and support boredomresponse. And there you are, on a downward spiral into the depths of despair and depression. They’re so much wiser than we are.  I’m

That’s so true. Umm, right. I’m putting that statement in a blog post which goes out on the internet and EVERYBODY knows they can’t put anything on the internet that isn’t true. Or at least you’d think that by the way you just accept and are completely controlled by what others think of you. 

You melt into some inferior, subservient role and are perfectly content with being perfectly miserable under the influence of those who refuse their purpose, aren’t pursuing a dream, and don’t like their own life. 

Here’s the thing. The former First Lady had it absolutely right. Short of cutting out someone’s tongue and gagging them, you have no control over what comes out of a person’s mouth. Their words can be biting, cruel and contain not a shred of truth… or even worse, be spot on. But they cannot have any control over you without your permission.

How much control, if any, those words have over your life and dream is totally and completely up to you and you along. Isn’t that amazing? Not to mention empowering, energizing and a whole lot of fun. It’s like how Wonder Woman must have felt when people shot at her and she held up her wrist bands to deflect the bullets. 

Look, people are people and they are going to say things. After all, they feel compelled to find some sort of use for that tongue God gave them. And, because they’re human, many times they’ll use that wet, slimy thing and the vocabulary they possess to cut you down to size. But, just like before you go under a surgeon’s knife, they must have your consent. Otherwise, they just stand there wielding a sharp bladed scalpel looking pretty goofy.

Great Attitude Girl

Don’t give them your control. You be who God created you to be. You are no better or worse than anyone else. When others try to make you feel inferior, it’s because they feel that way. The only way they can make themselves look bigger in their eyes is to make you seem inferior.

Don’t fall for that trap. You are an amazingly gifted man or woman of purpose. The world needs you just the way you are. When someone tries to make you feel inferior, reject the package. Keep moving onward and upward toward the goal. 

Have you ever given someone permission to make you feel inferior? Did you stop it? Share it here.


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Facts About You Friday: Who Are You Really?

Posted January 10, 2014 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

At the beginning of the year- is that really only 10 days ago? – I committed to giving back to you in the way you blessed me while on the Road to Freedom Tour. Your kind words, prayers and encouragement gave me the strength and courage to ride another day.

I know what it’s like to be facing down a long, steep climb and feel I’ve already used up all my energy. During those times, I remembered YOUR words and somehow found the strength for the climb. 

Today, I want to give that back to you by telling you who you really are. When the going gets tough, or when you feel you can’t dig your way out of the snow drifts you find yourself buried under, I trust these words will renew your strength and you’ll finish the task.


Anyone Can Bike

Sometimes I felt like this Donkey

Are are:

God’s favorite. Yep. He told me. He said you’re the apple of His eye. You are His child and He is so proud of you.  When He thinks of you -which is all the time – it always brings a smile to His face.

Fearfully and wonderfully made. God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit said, “Let us make man -that means you- in our image. God was deliberate when He made you with your hair color, size, shape, set of gifts and talents. And yes, even your limitations. 

More than a conqueror. Because you are His, you have access to all the power and wealth of the Kingdom. It’s all at your disposal and you can use it to subdue the enemy and move mountains that stand in the way.

Sunlight Shining Through Forest


Enormously talented. God did not created anything (not even the ugly Vietnamese pot bellied pig) without a great deal of talent. It’s inside waiting for you to tap into it. No matter what your brother told you when you were kids, you’ve got talent. Even if Uncle Walter said you’d never amount to anything… and God knows Uncle Walter knows everything.

A Person of vast purpose. God is a God of purpose and He created you with all those gifts for a reason. You have a rightful place in this world to fill a void that can only be done by you. If you don’t follow your destiny, the world will not be the same. You do make a difference in this world. 

man overlooking enormous river


Unfortunately, media and even our friends have slithered over to the dark side of communication when it comes to us. It’s more entertaining to expose shortcomings than to praise gifting. That’s sad, mainly because if you hear it enough, you tend to believe it.


You are an amazing creation of a great and mighty God found it wholly satisfying to form you in His image and to fashion you after His own heart. Believe it. Embrace it. Walk it. Live it. It’s who you really are!

Who do you believe you really are? Who has others said you are? Share it here!

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Ain’t No Mountain High Enough!

Posted July 25, 2013 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

2013 Bike Tour America 7-22-13 004Many of you have expressed how brave you think I am for riding alone across America on a bicycle. It is nothing compared to what women face each and every day as they battle Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after having survived a violent assault. They are the heroes, not me. They are the ones who deserve the accolades and the support. 

I’ve had the privilege of sitting or standing or leaning against Dakota while tearful women pour out their stories, and the struggles that ensued. Yet, years later, they continue to fight the battle back to normal. They prove day after day that there ain’t no mountain high enough they these unsung heroes can’t climb.

Here are just a few of those stories. Of course, while the stories are real, the names and any location are fictitious to maintain their confidence.

The great break in and escape

Ginger woke up in the middle of the night to find an intruder in her home. She could see him in the other room and tried to phone 911 2013 Bike Tour 020from the bedroom. The phone slipped out of her shaky hands and skidded loudly across the hard wood floor. Her assailant brutally beat her. She spent six months in a coma and suffered from severe PTSD. 

Ginger had not been out of her home for eighteen years. No one outside her family had seen her scarred face in all those years. Then she heard about the old woman on a bicycle riding across America alone. When she asked why, her family member said, “Ginger, she’s riding for you!”

Ginger got dressed and ventured outside on wabbly knees. She allowed her family member to drive her to the town square where she found the “Lady on the Bike”. When Ginger saw me, she ran toward me and flung her arms around my neck. I thought I was going to lose consciousness before she let go. 

For over a half hour, we sat on a bench while Ginger told me how she had allowed that man to hold her captive all these years. She said she was ready to be free. I stood up, took her hand and together we walked around the town square together. One by one, women began to join us… join Ginger in her victory lap. 

Ginger made the decision that day to take her life back. Yeah, she’s a hero and proof there ain’t no mountain high enough to keep her back when all is said and done.

From Family to Freedom

cropped-Lake-Lure-NC-6.jpgFaye was sexually assaulted by a family member at a very young age. Her mother left that husband and remarried. That may have been great for mom, but it was a repeat performance for Faye. She didn’t understand and because she felt she was doing something wrong, she lived a life of shame. 

Her body grew, and so did her guilt, all the while her self esteem shrank a little more day by day. Faye was hurting so much, she did the only thing she knew to do to ease the pain: turned to drugs. She quickly became hooked on methamphetamine and rode that downward spiral. 

One day a friend told her, “Faye, you gotta stop looking back. You need to hold your head high and look straight ahead! You can’t let them control you.” 

Something stirred in Faye and she made a decision right then to overcome. She climbed the mountain. She’s been clean and sober for quite some time and is a manager of a national chain store. When she realized why I am riding the Road to Freedom Tour, she tearfully shared her story with me. 

When I looked her in the eyes and told her she was a woman of immense value and worth, tears spilled down her cheeks as she soaked in that truth for the first time. She is proof that ain’t no mountain high enough to keep a good woman down!

These are just two stories. There are thousands. I’ve only heard a smattering. Though I know the amazing power of God in these painful circumstances, I continue to stand in awe that these women can overcome so much. They defeat the odds, take life by the horns and take their life back, one step at a time.

They are heroes, every one. They deserve your praise and the hero’s welcome. They deserve your prayers and your support. Who are they? Sadly, they might just be the lady sitting next to you at the doctor’s office, or that smiling woman working the cash register at your local Walmart. 

They are amazing women of courage when they don’t even know what courage is. Pray for them. They are women of valor!


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Never Give Up!

Posted June 28, 2013 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

business man with laptop over head - madI have to admit, I’ve been tempted to give up on my blog for the last two weeks. I’ve faced all sorts of challenges since WordPress became MojoMarketplace. I have been sorely tempted to toss my computer in the river and never look back.

But then I thought of you. I remember the notes, emails and personal phone calls you’ve sent telling me how much my blog has meant to you over the year and a half I’ve done it.

I couldn’t quit. Of course I couldn’t quit. If I started this blog with a purpose of encouraging you, that hasn’t changed. No matter how frustrating it becomes when technology doesn’t work properly, I must continue to do what I committed to doing. 

I know you get discouraged from time to time when things don’t go according to plan. It would be easy to walk away from it. Living Man Using Laptopwith that decision is a different story. Giving up almost certainly leads to emptiness, lower self esteem, feelings of loneliness and ultimate dissatisfaction with life. You don’t want to go there.

Here are  a few tricks to help you never give up:

Make the decision before things fall apart. When you’re in the middle of a frustrating battle, that’s the wrong time to decide what to do. You need to make the personal decision BEFORE the fight begins that win or lose, you will not quit.

Be faithful to your purpose. Having that reason to keep moving forward and working through the challenges will provide the energy you need to do what you need to do in order to get things back on track.

Communicate your challenges with those you trust. Vent to them. Ask them for prayer. Get it off your chest. You’ll feel much lighter and be able to pick up your torch and run like the wind.

Happy Girl on computerMake the best use of the tine you have. If you’re waiting for the techno-geniuses to fix your problem and get you back on track, don’t just sit and stew. You’ll overcook yourself. Instead, do something else. Plan your next move. Write your next chapter. Create a new product or service.

Don’t let the inevitability of “something will go wrong” ruin your day. And more importantly, when it happens, never give up! Don’t even think about it! Trust me on this.

What’s the most frustrating thing you’ve faced lately that made you want to give up? What did you do? Share it here!




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[Podcast] Episode 003: The World’s Greatest Gift: YOU!

Posted April 17, 2013 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

I was excited to talk about my favorite subject today: YOU!  I trust that you will be blessed by it as well. 


Listen to Episode 003 Here

Christmas Present Wrapped in Gold and Silver 2000

Show Notes:

Podcast Episode 3: The World’s Greatest Gift: You!

Welcome to this episode of Women of Passion. I’m Reba J. Hoffman and this is THE podcast dedicated to helping women live their dreams. My goal is to give you the tools to help you safely transition from a job you hate to the career you love.

Today’s Episode is Entitled: The World’s Greatest Gift: You!

But first: Today’s Episode is being brought to you by the book:


Connections: Social Media and Networking Techniques for Writers

by Edie Melson


If you are a writer, entrepreneur or really anyone who needs to connect through Social Media, this is a must read for you. Edie gives clear, concise and easy-to-understand steps to get connected with those who love you and want to follow you.

I believe it is a must-read for entrepreneurs. That’s why you can pick up a copy of Edie’s book by going right to my website:


Today’s Topic: You!

I just love to talk about that topic because YOU really are the World’s Greatest Gift.

I know what you might be thinking: That’s NOT a good thing.

Remember when you were a kid and someone was arrogant? Do you remember how you described them? God’s gift to the human race, or some negative descripter.

But here’s the thing: You really ARE God’s Gift to the world! No foolin!

That’s not a conceded statement at all. Here’s why:

1)   You are uniquely and wonderfully created. No doubt about it.

 2)   You have a purpose on this earth that only you can fulfill. Others could do it, but not like you.

3)   If you don’t do it, there will be a void in the world.


So let’s talk about YOU! And I want to do that in terms of your dreams.

It’s true that some people have pipe dreams. For example, if I were to dream of climbing Mount Everest, that would be a pipe dream. Why? No expedition leader would take me. I’m 55 years old. I have 4 fractures in my lumbar spine and I have a shunt in my head. I’d never make it onto an expedition team.

But here’s the thing: I DON’T have that dream. Not even remotely! I LOVE to read about others who do it. I gain courage from that but I personally have no dream whatsoever to plant my photo and flag at the highest place on earth.

But I do have BIG Dreams. So do you, I’m sure.

You may not know exactly what you want to do or how you would go about doing it. But you do have dreams. What’s more, If you do not live those dreams, here’s what will happen:

  • You’ll get to the end of your life and look back with regrets.
  • The world will be a lesser place to be.
  • Someone else will have to do it and won’t be able to do it just like you.


FACT: latest polls say 9 out of 10 people in our country do NOT live their dreams in life!

So, if that’s true (and it is), then why do so many people not live their dreams?

The greatest reason for everyone who doesn’t life their dream is:


Pure and simple. They are afraid. They feel the fear and stop. They become anxious and run in the other direction.

The next greatest reason is:


No, I’m not referring to not believing they will actually stand on the finish line. Most people don’t believe in themselves. How sad that is!

No one likes a cocky person who thinks they are perfect in every way but most people I meet have gone to the opposite extreme. They have grown up not believing in themselves and their abilities.

But today, I want you to know and embrace who you are. Your uniqueness, gifts and talents.

I want you to understand how powerful you are and that you are a piece of the puzzle that will be missing from our world if you don’t plug in.

The world’s GREATEST gift—in your own unique way—is YOU.


I had several listeners submit questions for today’s topic. Here are a couple of them.

Daisy asked: how can I be the world’s greatest gift and still be humble?

Gretchen asked: I know a lot of people who think they are, you know, “all that”. How can I be truly myself and walk in the power of me without becoming one of those people I hate?

How do you feel about yourself? Do you believe you are the world’s greatest gift? Why or why not? Share it here! 












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The Most Valuable Thing: YOU!

Posted March 21, 2013 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

Me in SmokiesI’m truly amazed when I meet people who don’t know or understand their value and worth. When I look at people, I see 10’s on each one of their heads. I see bright, shiny objects with priceless value. Trouble is, most people don’t see that when they look at themselves in the mirror.

It’s sad because either live has led them to believe something to the contrary, or they have been blinded to the truth. Perhaps that has happened to you in your life. Someone or something has driven in the belief that you are valueless. That simply isn’t true. I want to give you some truth that will prove you are not value-less, but rather priceless! The two could not be more different.

You are unique…one of a kind… are rare find. Ask any curator of rare art and they will tell you they simply cannot put a price on, let’s say, the Mona Lisa. She’s unique. You won’t find her on isle seven at the local discount store. Well, you’re a Mona Lisa in your own right but I can’t even call you that because you’re even more unique than her. They cannot put a price tag on you for the same reason they can’t do that to her. You’re both priceless.

Your flaws only increase your value. It’s true. No matter what the flaw, its uniqueness makes it more valuable. Don’t pondering womanbelieve me? Then go to the department store and check the price tag on those jeans they sell with all the holes in them. It’s enough to break your bank account.

No one sees the world like you do. Only you can look through your eyes and offer a unique perspective. You are the only one who puts your spin on the world. A thousand people who see the very same event will have a thousand different reports of that event. It’s impossible to fabricate your view of the world around you. What’s more, the world needs your individual view. It won’t be the same without it.

Please do yourself and the world a favor and just believe that you have immense value and worth. If anyone tells you something different, please don’t believe them. They may even be well-meaning but they simply aren’t telling you the truth. You are PRICELESS!

HAPPY SMILESchallenge: Look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself how valuable you are. Judge your reaction. Is it confirming? Disbelieving? Fearful? Write it down and set a goal to uproot the cause of that.

Do you believe how valuable you are, not only within but to the world? Do you struggle with that? Share it here!

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Today, I Choose to be… Courageous

Posted January 30, 2013 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

If you’re like most people, your hands started shaking just thinking about being courageous. Life is a frightening proposition. Throw in moving toward living your dream and it’s enough to derail even the best laid plans.

Courage is often misunderstood. Most people think it’s the absence of fear. When they move forward and get the jitters, they think they lack courage. So they abandon their dreams and settle for mediocrity.


But here’s the truth about courage:

It’s not the absence of fear. It’s continuing in spite of it. You feel the fear, and do it anyway.

We all have it. Don’t believe me? Remember when you pulled your child out of the street so they wouldn’t get hit by that speeding car? Yeah, that was courage.

Using it is habit forming. It’s there and if you keep it in the forefront of your mind, you get into the groove of leading with courage.

Courage multiplies. Faster than rabbits. The more you use what you have, the more you’ll have.

It builds confidence. Every time you step out on wobbly knees in the direction of your dream and survive it (and you will), it becomes just that much easier to step out at the next opportunity.

My point is simple. Use what you have. You do have courage. You were wired that way. God gave you courage as part of your makeup. Oh sure, you’ll still get jittery when you set out for places unknown. That’s only natural but it should NEVER stop your motion, at least not when you have so much courage inside you.

Here’s a great example. When I was a kid, my older brother and the neighborhood boys jumped off a cliff and landed thirty feet below in the Georgia red clay. I desperately wanted to be one of the guys but every time I walked up to the edge of the cliff, I chickened out. I was just too scared.

I was literally one step away from accomplishing that feat. I didn’t lack the courage. I just didn’t use it…until I jumped. I finally said, today, I choose to be courageous. I mustered the courage I had and took that last leap off the side of the cliff.

No one brought courage to me at the top of the cliff. It didn’t fall out of the sky. I reached deep inside myself and brought that courage to the surface.

You can do the exact same thing that I did when I was eight. It’s there. Somewhere. Find it and use it to get you through those unknowns and scary moments. Let it be the vehicle to take you where you want to be in life. Say to yourself, Today, I choose to be courageous.

What is your experience with courage? Are you fearful? Daring? Share it here. 

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Today, I Choose to be… Happy

Posted January 29, 2013 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

When I first saw the book Happiness is a Choice by Dr’s Frank Minirth and Paul Meier, I snarled at the horrible untruth in its pages. After all, neither of these men knew what I was going through. My world was difficult. Challenging. Depressing. And these so called therapists had the unmitigated gall to say I could choose to be happy?

Ummm… yes. I could. So can you.

Viktor Frankl was a Jew captured during World War II and taken to Auschwitz, the Nazi death camp in Poland. He and the other prisoners had to stand for hours naked in the snow. They were stripped of everything. Yet, through it all, Frankl was upbeat and positive.

Finally, he was brought before the commandant of the prison camp who demanded to know why he could possibly be so positive at the death camp. That officer could have killed him on the spot but Viktor dared to be honest. He told him that the Nazis could strip him of all his belongings, food, water and life, but the one thing that was solely his and his alone was how he chose to respond to it. He then laughed in the German officer’s face.

Know what they did? They were afraid to kill him but they also knew his attitude would soon spread throughout the prison camp. So, they released him. Literally, Frankl’s attitude got him out of the worst prison camp of the war.

It’s true that we all face circumstances in our lives. Perhaps you’re wrestling them right now. Yes, I see that cringe. Perhaps your spouse is not only on your last nerve, he actually saddled it up has been riding it for months. Or, maybe you’re in a dead end job where you’re overworked and under-appreciated. Maybe you suffered a tragic loss that rocked your world.

In most cases, no matter what the challenge, you really can choose to be happy in spite of it. Barring a chemical imbalance in the brain, you really can be happy. It’s up to you. Here are some things about being happy that I learned along the way:

You are in control of it, not your circumstances. Many times circumstances are unavoidable but how you react to them is all you.

Happiness is learned. It’s true. One of the happiest people I know is Clark Howard. If you live in the southeast and have heard his radio program, you’ve never heard him as anything but Mr. I-Love-Life! You can learn to be happy as well.

Happiness has benefits. Let’s face it. When was the last time you went out of your way to connect with a person who is pessimistic and grumbles all the time? No, you avoid that person. But don’t you long to be around that happy person? When you decide to be happy, people will flock to you. You’ll never be lonely.

As bitter a pill as it may be to swallow, happiness really IS a choice and we have total control over the decision. At the beginning of the day, why not make the conscious decision to be happy? You’ll live a much more fulfilled life if you do.

Are you happy? Do you struggle with this? Share it here and be entered into a drawing for Happiness is a Choice by Dr’s Frank Minirth and Paul Meier.

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The Great I AM

Posted July 16, 2012 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

Courtesy of

Words have enormous power. Just speak them and they set off a chain reaction in your body that creates a reality based on what you said. That’s why it’s important that you’re telling yourself the right thing.

What is it that you want to accomplish in life? What is your dream? To be a dancer? To publish that best-selling novel? What about finding the cure for cancer? No matter what noble quest you have in your heart, one of the key strategies to success is speaking it.

Whatever it is that you are working towards becoming, tell yourself “I AM that”. Want to lose weight? Don’t say, “I hope I’ll be able to slim down.” Instead proclaim, “I AM on a plan to live healthy and change my weight.”

That’s precisely why athletes say they are a champion. And you thought it was because they were arrogant? Well, for some, perhaps, but most of the time it is to get their body and mind in line with their dream of being a champion.

When you say, “I AM”, you release the creative juices that put you in the best posture to reach your goal successfully. I’m not suggesting a name it and claim it or blab it and grab it mentality. No matter how many times I say, “I AM 25 years old”, it ain’t gonna happen. Likewise, I can say, “I AM the world’s champion at the Ironman Triathlon” and I’ll not be, mainly because I’m not going to go swimming in the ocean.

And the great news? You are in total, complete, 100% control over what comes out of your mouth. Your words are yours and yours alone. You can speak positive things into your life or sabotage your dream.

No matter what others say, regardless of the current circumstances, you can change your life by speaking powerful words into them. Watch what you say. It really does matter!

Today’s challenge:listen to what you say today about yourself, your dream and your future and determine if it’s creating positive energy or depleting it. Write it in a journal, along with positive affirmations you could replace it with.

What are some of the positive or negative things you say about yourself, your life and your dream? Share it here!

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