Life of a Real Mom

Unedited Mothering

Tag: parenting (page 1 of 2)

Adam is off to the Missionary Training Center

Adam is off! He has learned the gospel, saved money, and chosen virtue his whole life to serve Jesus Christ for the next two years. The time has come!

Reading his call (Mission assignments come via email now)!
Sao Paulo, Brazil, South!
Adam’s ordination to being an elder.
After Adam’s farewell speech in the Lakeshore Ward.
Adam visiting with guests in our home at a farewell party.
On the way to the airport early in the morning!
He made it safely to the Provo, Utah Missionary Training Center. This is a photo of the district he has been assigned to. All of these missionaries are headed to Brazil as soon as their visas arrive.

Some Current Trends in Education

Eighth Grade Promotion

Curt had over 70 standardized tests in middle school! He has often reminded me to help him reach his goals, because the schools aren’t doing it. I recently read The Smartest Kids in the World and How They Got That Way by Amanda Ripley. It was very telling. The U.S.A. school system and culture leaves something to be desired. I was not surprised.

Ted Dintersmith

Ted Dintersmith’s book looks at the schools in the U.S. His look is critical, instructive and refreshing. There are some good things going on in some schools that the others could learn from. This talk gets me so excited and concerned all at the same time.

Williamsburg learning says the same thing – the current way of doing things in our schools isn’t going to meet the vast opportunities available to our next generation.

My cousin Monica is a gifted education advocate in Cinnicinati, Ohio. She has recommend the following books for me to read:

I’ve been reading and thinking about homeschooling for years and years. Finally, we are all on the same page and I am going to homeschool Curt ninth grade this fall! I am not going to use Williamsburg Learning, but I have been inspired by some of their ideas.

There are SO MANY resources out there that we will be taking advantage. I would say I am more of a manager of Curt’s education than THE instructor. What AM I going to do?

  • Encourage TONS of exploration and invention, following HIS ideas
  • BYU on-line SCIENCE (Anyone can use this incredible resource.)
  • BYU on-line MATH
  • ASU camps, museum and real-life hands-on field trips
  • Memoria Press Literature and Composition
  • Duncan’s ASU geography content and quizzes from his college curriculum (Did you know my husband is a geography professor?)
  • History books, videos, and research
  • Private piano and violin instruction
  • Our local school sports program
  • Our local seminary program
  • Local homeschooling Co-op for even more socialization and exposure

Out of the 24 classics that Memoria Press recommends for third grade through middle school, Curt has read two. So we are going to have a blast reading the books he has missed starting in August. We are going to read them for fun, for discussion, and for application in real life – not for a test or an assignment. I am so excited! Here is the book list for this fall:

  • Farmer Boy
  • The Moffats
  • The Blue Fairy Book
  • Dangerous Journey
  • The Cricket in Time Square
  • Lassie
  • The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
  • Heidi
  • The Twenty-one Balloons
  • King Arthur
  • Adam of the Road
  • The Adventures of Robin Hood
  • The Door in the Wall
  • The Bronze Bow
  • The Hobbit
  • Anne of Green Gables
  • The Trojan War
  • The Wind and the Willows
  • Treasure Island
  • Tom Sawyer
  • As you Like It

More than the book list, Curt’s freedom to invent to his hearts content will be the most striking improvement this year. He is constantly sharing idea with me. He watches science shows and SpaceX during his free time. He has drawers of wires and screws. He loves dumpster diving for broken machines so he can take them apart and find out what makes them tick.

I hope and feel quite excited that Curt will have an “out-of-the-box” experience this year. The sky is the limit and Curt is ready to launch.

Start With the End in Mind

I just read this in “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” this morning. I paraphrase:

  • Figure out what is most important to you. In other words, what do you want in “The End?”
  • Plan how you will achieve “The End” in your mind and on paper.
  • Work forward with this “End in Mind.”

“The same is true with parenting. If you want to raise responsible, self-disciplined children, you have to keep that end clearly in mind as you interact with your children on a daily basis. You can’t behave toward them in ways that undermine their self-discipline or self-esteem” (Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, p. 106-7).

Baby Language Milestones

Easter Egg Hunt with Mommy


Speech: Baby coos, gurgles, babbles, responds to voice

Signing: May recognize and respond to signs, Babbles and plays with hands, Might make first sign


Speech: Has increased range of vocalizations, Mimics sounds (Lyla does this already at 5 months)

Signing: Recognizes your signs, May make 1-10 or more signs 

12-18 MONTHS

Speech: May say first words, communicate by pointing, can follow simple one step directions

Signing: May make 1-50 or more signs, May begin combining signs into simple sentences

18-24 MONTHS

Speech: May say up to 20+ words, Jabbers incoherently at times, Follows simple instructions

Signing: May make 100+ signs, Combine spoken words with signs, Combine signs into simple sentences, Has increased range of vocalizations

Sons Need Respect

Have you heard of the book, “Men are from Mars and Women are From Venus?” Sometimes it really does feel like Duncan speaks a completely different language than I do. If understanding the difference between men and women can help our marriages, then it makes sense that understanding the difference between boys and girls would help our parenting. It also makes sense that since sons are little men, then some of the same principles that help us communicate more effectively with our husbands could help us communicate with our sons.

My sister Carol shared this amazing interview with Emerson Eggerichs with me today, which teaches true principles in order to help moms and their sons improve their working relationship. CLICK HERE for “Recognizing Your Sons’s Need for Respect.” It ends up that his ideas come from his study of Love and Respect in the Family. I highly recommend watching one of these videos. I look forward to reading his books.

One golden nugget I gleaned from Emerson Eggerichs so far is that if we find ourselves in conflict with our sons, improved vocabulary may help our sons respond better to our council. Among many suggested, some phrase include:

  • “I am disappointed.”
  • “I am not trying to dis you or dishonor you.”
  • “I don’t respect what you did, but I respect you.”
  • “I sometimes wonder if you believe in yourself as much as I believe in you.”
  • “How are you going to solve this problem?”

Boys need respect and love. Girls need love and respect. I don’t understand this as well as I hope to, but I am glad for the times I have remembered to trust my kids. They are smart, capable, REAL people. They will make mistakes and they need to own them. I try to let them do that. They also own their successes and I am super impressed by the many excellent choices they make. Since our kids are made in the image of God, they deserve respect.

What are you feeling pressure to do? Take ownership of your life.

I’m back.

HERE IS THE REAL ME: I have been parenting, teaching, coaching, loving Duncan and doing other important things. My children, second graders, young athletes, and piano students are wonderful. I have also been cleaning, cooking, listening, driving, mowing the lawn and doing other filler things that cause every day to go by really fast. We all have only 24 hours. Am I living my life on purpose?

Adam Hailstone says that if we feel pressure to do something, it is because we want to do it. We may just be blaming someone else, or our circumstances to procrastinate or even distance ourselves from the task. If we didn’t want to do it, we wouldn’t feel concern when someone encourages us along our path. The opposite of love is indifference. We don’t want to feel indifferent. Of course we don’t want to feel fear either. LOVE is the answer. So love yourself. Be honest with yourself. What is best for you?

  • You need to recognize a need to change before you can change.
  • What am I avoiding? (For me: house work, family research, family photo organization, oil painting, reading non-fiction, exercise, gardening) Are these things I want to be doing? should be doing? (for me: gardening is not necessary. The other things will lead to my self-actualization, so they an important use of my time.)
  • Find a way by making a plan. (For me while are kids at school this week and I have 2 weeks off teaching and coaching: DAILY 1/2 hour on blog, 2 hours family history, 2 hours family photos, 2 hours oil painting, house work with the kids when they get home.)

I recommend watching “Inspiration Hour for Adults” by Adam Hailstone.

“The one thing in the world, of value, is the active soul”. ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Don’t blame anyone or anything, which is just a subconscious tactic for absolving ourself from accomplishing what you want to do. Pressure is felt because you want to do it, not because you are being MADE to do it. Recognize that you are in charge, then reach your dreams. YOU CAN DO IT!

Parenting Special Needs Children

Recently a reader shared with me how hard it is to find helpful and accurate information about raising children, especially special needs kids. That’s one of the reasons she and two of her friends created a site called She writes:

“Lately, my husband and I have been talking about what the future will look like for our 6-year-old son, who has Down syndrome and autism. We have some time, but we already know he won’t be ready to move out on his own at age 18 or even 21.

“It’s been surprisingly hard to find practical resources for parents of young adults who aren’t likely to be able to live independently! But after a lot of digging, I discovered a few really good ones. I wanted to share them with you in case you want to add them to your site:

Renters Rights for People with Disabilities
Managing Your Child’s Transition to Adulthood
Guide to Remodeling a Home for Adults with Special Needs
Special Needs Checklist: How Disability-Friendly is Your City?
Vocational Training for Adults with Special Needs

MORE LINKS FOR Parenting dynamo kids with SPECIAL NEEDS

Parents of special needs children have my utmost admiration! I have special needs friends and friends with special needs children. You are all amazing. You are beautiful! I love you!

May you feel the love of God through your blessed journey!

I am Amazing, so Why am I Washing Dishes?

How can I help you understand how I feel?

I am special! I think about it every day, many times every day. I am special and nobody knows it. If I am so special there should be something to show for it, but there isn’t, so maybe I am not doing what I am suppose to be doing. Maybe I am not “measuring up.”

Some may ask, “You aren’t suffering from a lack of self esteem, are you?”

No. I DO have a good self esteem. I have an over abundance of it, as a matter-of-fact. That is the problem. I think too much of myself.

I am amazing!

So, I think every day, I should be DOING something amazing. The problem is that I am washing dishes and trying to catch up on photo albums, just like everybody else.

Its the pits.

And do you know what else? Do you know what Heavenly Father wants me to do?

He wants me to wash dishes and catch up on photo albums. I just need to be okay with it and that is hard.

Have you ever felt this way?

You probably want to remind me: “You are a daughter of God, of eternal worth and potential. Mothers are on a divine mission. You will be a queen to your husband.”… and all that great stuff. I know. Plus, there are the cool accomplishments and blessings I should never forget: my wonderful cute kids, my loyal and good husband, and the talents I have been given and have developed. Plus there are the callings of trust and responsibility that I have fulfilled valiantly and people’s lives that I am helping in my ward and community. Thank goodness I am doing something with my time here on earth. Don’t worry. I will continue ministering and learning and I will continue to love it. I will be given happiness and joy from these opportunities, as always. I have am so blessed. Then why do I feel like I am waiting?

I’ve tried to break out of this life of housework and normalcy. I’ve thought about leaving it behind. Thank goodness that awful day is behind me. … Some people struggle with the thought of leaving family or life behind for “ease,” “glory,” or some other reason. May God bless them. Their cloud is heavier and darker than mine. My heart goes out to them and I pray they will find peace. Since my opportunity to escape came, which I decided wasn’t what I wanted, I have never looked back. I AM my kids. I love that part of myself. Nothing on earth would be worth walking away from my husband or my children. Ever.

I’ve also tried to start businesses, advanced degrees, and careers. Heavenly Father taught me important lessons with each experience, but they weren’t meant to be long term solutions. I thank God for His mercy and guidance through each season. God is in charge. I know this is truth for myself and for you. He loves us all equally. He knows each of us and our unique potential and is leading us toward it.

Still, I feel like I am waiting to grow into my shoes. What am I capable of? When am I going to not just feel, but BE amazing? What if this long awaited quenching of my lifetime thirst doesn’t come? What if I am just ordinary, mediocre… Could I handle it? What will bring me satisfaction? Can I find it now?

I know the answer, but I don’t want to admit it, because it doesn’t seem enough. My entire childhood I wanted to be a mom. I love my kids. I am living my dream come true. I know that mothering is the most important work I could be doing. So, the answer is in the Atonement of Jesus Christ. This gift is available to me now and every second, to feel His love, to feel and BE amazing. I can find peace. Through Him I am more than I can be alone. I just need to accept it and then act on it.

Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf says, “Faith must be accompanied by action; else it has no life (see James 2:17). It is not faith at all. It doesn’t have the power to change a single individual, let alone the world.

“Men and women of faith trust in their merciful Heavenly Father—even during times of uncertainty, even during times of doubt and adversity when they may not see perfectly or understand clearly.

“Men and women of faith earnestly walk the path of discipleship and strive to follow the example of their beloved Savior, Jesus Christ. Faith motivates and, indeed, inspires us to incline our hearts to heaven and to actively reach out, lift up, and bless our fellowmen.”

Julie B. Beck shared this beautiful perspective,”I was recently at a park where I met a group of women with mother hearts. They were young, covenant-keeping women. They were bright and had obtained advanced degrees from respected universities. Now they were devoting their considerable gifts to planning dinner that evening and sharing housekeeping ideas. They were teaching two-year-olds to be kind to one another. They were soothing babies, kissing bruised knees, and wiping tears. I asked one of those mothers how it came about that she could transfer her talents so cheerfully into the role of motherhood. She replied, “I know who I am, and I know what I am supposed to do. The rest just follows.” That young mother will build faith and character in the next generation one family prayer at a time, one scripture study session, one book read aloud, one song, one family meal after another. She is involved in a great work. She knows that “children are an heritage of the Lord” and “happy is the [woman] that hath [a] quiver full of them” (Ps. 127:3, 5). She knows that the influence of righteous, conscientious, persistent, daily mothering is far more lasting, far more powerful, far more influential than any earthly position or institution invented by man. She has the vision that, if worthy, she has the potential to be blessed as Rebekah of old to be “the mother of thousands of millions” (Gen. 24:60).”

If I pray to ask what Heavenly Father sees in me, I’ll probably get the same answer: “Patience Child. I will teach you line upon line….Help others. Stay in the loop. The lives of your children are the most important contribution you could possibly make to this world. Even the just shall live by faith. Faith is the power to transform lives, yours especially.”

And for all of you out there, who like me, thirst for your final SELF, I testify that Jesus Christ IS the answer. So, now is the time for us to trust God, to learn, to support others, to feel peace (through the Atonement of Jesus Christ) and to be patient. We ARE special. Our futures will be worth the wait.


I admit: I can be arrogant and prideful. I am trying not to be. Believe me, I have had enough embarrassing moments to be humble by now.

J.D. was honored with a gift of insight from Heavenly Father through a member of his stake president yesterday, who after a meeting asked if he could “have a word ” with J.D. After pulling J.D. aside, President Jones put his arm around him and said, “J.D., You are awesome! Relax. You are doing everything to receive the blessings the Lord has in store for you. Just keep going.” Now that is what I am talking about! Little reassurances like that can help us endure to the end, to be patient as we learn precept upon precept, there a little and here a little.

What are the blessings I have seen from living by faith?

If I pray to ask what Heavenly Father sees in me, I’ll probably get the same answer: “Patience Child. Line upon line…let Duncan be AMAZING in the bishopric. You are staying in the loop as Institute substitute. Even the just shall live by faith. Faith is power.”

I know that I have been guided throughout my life because of my faith in a caring God. I have a sense of security that He is watching over me and that truth is all around me. I receive more truth as I live by the truth I already have. I feel loved by Heavenly Father, who is like a father to me – one I can confide in and share everything with. I feel loved by Jesus Christ in a different way. He is my Savior. He has set the perfect example, endured indescribable pain, and has died so I can be cleansed and return to my Heavenly Home. He is my hero. This knowledge gives me confidence and peace. I don’t know what I would do without my faith.

LEARN more about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
LEARN more about why Mormon women often put child-rearing ahead of a career.
LEARN more about other Mormon women.

Mormon Revolution

“Pure love is the true sign of every true disciple of Jesus Christ.”
– Elder Massimo De Feo

Greg Trimble, an LDS blogger and author says that the culture of Mormonism needs to bust. We need to be full of tolerance and love in order for the crowds of people that need the fullness of the Gospel to feel welcome.

“I wonder if people looked at the Sons of Mosiah and said… “Who do they think they are? How can they be missionaries? How can they represent Christ? How can they give advice in church when they were the vilest of sinners?” I wonder if those great missionaries were made to pay for their sins by their contemporaries even though those sins had already been paid for? Because of these repentant boys ability to overcome their past, they may have been the only Nephites alive who were willing and able to make an impact with those wretched Lamanites. People who have lived through massive challenges in life or made major mistakes and have been willing to make themselves vulnerable enough to empathize with others are able to reach people like those hostile Lamanites who we thought might have never been reached. And all of this revolves around love. Love that is passed from person to person to person. An extended hand, an arm around a shoulder, or a fervent prayer on behalf of an individual who has been through the ringer in life. Our culture needs a reboot. We need to pull for each other instead of being like the whiners in the parable Jesus gave about the workers in the vineyard.

“One of the most influential senior missionaries I served with during my mission once told me that he loved the smell of alcohol and tobacco at church. He said, “It’s the smell of change.” There’s someone sitting in that pew… trying to kick a habit, learning of Christ, and hoping for a friend to help take their mind off of that addiction… and yet some of us will move to the furthest pew and simultaneously say things that throw it right back in their face. This is bad! This is wrong! How can people do this or that! Slam! Whack! Bam! And the shame begins all over again for that struggling soul as they make their way back to their lonely apartment” (Greg

I agree with Greg. I feel like I LOVE everyone, but do I really accept them? I want to be better at expecting change and welcoming every soul. It is not up to me to decide who is ready for that change. Al Carraway‘s story fits in here. She was a new convert, who moved to a Mormon community. She felt judged because of her tattoos. I read her whole book, MORE Than a Tattooed Mormon. IT IS AMAZING to hear about her difficulties of fitting into LDS church culture as a new convert. It shouldn’t be that hard. I love this quote:

“We don’t feel jilted by being so far below [Heavenly Father]. We haven’t missed a thing. It’s just so lovely to be near Him. Because He’s trying to pull us up to Him. He wants us to be like Him. And we can’t desire anything greater than that, so there is none of this dominance or submissive business, He’s not putting himself in charge. We are drawn toward Him and He wants us to be drawn.” – Hugh Nibley

Recently I have been captivated by a podcast series, Mormon Perspectives. Did you know the Dead Sea Scrolls may be the most important discovery of the 20th century? Did you know that Abinadi and King Benjamin teach the same principles and even phrase their teachings the same, but didn’t know each other? or did they…? Did you know that the settlers of Nauvoo/Commerce Illinois were struck with Malaria? and it lasted 2 years? and MANY died, while others were healed – some by just touching Joseph Smith’s handkerchief since he was too sick to visit everyone himself. I am quite impressed with Laura Harris Hales. She knows so much! She asks scripture/history scholars all the right questions and adds her own insight to their study. Download your pick of 79 elipsodes HERE!

These episodes, general conference, daily scripture study, institute/seminary, personal revelation,, and uplifting books are only a few of the many resources we have to draw closer to the Lord. I know that as we do, we will become more like Him: full of charity and grace.

Have Christ be the center of your “Today.”

“And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31

“True disciples love the Lord more than the world and are steadfast and immovable in their faith. They stay strong and firm in a changing and confusing world. True disciples love to listen to the voice of the Spirit and of the prophets and are not confused by the voices of the world. True disciples love to “stand in holy places”4 and love to make holy the places where they stand. Wherever they go, they bring the love of the Lord and peace to the hearts of others. True disciples love to obey the Lord’s commandments, and they obey because they love the Lord. As they love and keep their covenants, their hearts are renewed and their very nature changes.

“Pure love is the true sign of every true disciple of Jesus Christ.”
– Elder Massimo De Feo

Counsel to Teens and their Parents from Apostles of the Lord

Live broadcast of Elder Ballard, Rasband, Robbins, and Costa’s devotional in Gilbert, Arizona on January 28th, 2017.
REMEMBER, these are MY notes – not the complete talks or exact quotes. Any mistakes are my own, not mistakes of the speakers themselves.

To the Youth:
Elder M. Russell Ballard –
One word that would change your life to have in the back of your mind. “I Nephi being young, strong…DESIRE…” (1 Nephi 2:16)

– Desire to know.
– Desire to keep the commandments
– Be willing to listen to God’s counsel.

Elder Rasband –
Look at tonight before you go to bed.
The Church has accounts on social media (including Instagram and Snapchat). The Church is meeting you where you are. Post or tweet Elder Rasband. 🙂
There is a dark side to the internet and social media too. Everything you read/see on the internet is not true. If you made sometime daily to to study standard works, especially for Youth booklet, and preach my Gospel – I promise you will be blessed in your life.
Elder M. Russell Ballard is the great, great grand nephew of Joseph Smith. He is the great-great-grandson of Hyrum Smith. His grandfather, Melvin J. Ballard, was an apostle. So, he has the blood of prophets running through his veins. He is not just talking about Joseph Smith as an apostle, but as his descendent.

Elder Ballard –
Question: How do I stay strong while preparing for my mission? it is hard to keep the commandments, stay virtuous, and active. A: Your desire will make the difference. You will have the will power if you desire to stay clean and be a worthy missionary.
– Be a hard worker
– Make your prayers more meaning full
Q: Do Young Women have to go on missions? A: NO. It is up to her, the promptings of the Holy Ghost in your hear. Pray and ask when you get older (19). If you don’t go on a mission, make your life a great mission. your example will be your mission. Young men, stay faithful as a deacon, a teacher, a priest, and then stand tall when your bishop approaches you about going on a mission. The way you (all teens) present yourself and the light in your eyes helps you to be a great member missionary. If your friends ask you a question that you don’t know the answer to, you say, “I know 2 guys who can answer that question for you. When would it be good to meet them?”
Q: My brother came home from his mission early because of anxiety. What can I do to prevent that from happening to me? A: Learn to talk face to face. Don’t text to ask someone on a date. And for your brother, tell him that all disciples of Jesus Christ are missionaries.
Q: Do I keep asking inactive friends if they want to come to church? A: Pray about it. Maybe an activity coming up or the missionaries would be just right for them. Caring about them, which you obviously do, is a wonderful step.
Q: How can I be a good missionary to my non-member dad? A:Give him a hug and say, “Daddy, would you consider joining the church so that we can be sealed together as a family?” Love him, pray for him. You can also study Preach My Gospel, which was written to missionaries. You will have the inspiration of heaven with a sincere heart. Prepare yourselves to be missionaries. We need you then and we need you when you come home.

Lynn G Robbins –
Q: What do I do when I feel so sad? A: We will all have tough days. D&C 46: gifts are given by the Spirit of God. They include Christ like attributes too. 9 virtues are in chapter 6 of Preach My Gospel. We can pray for these attributes and you can develop them. The more you become like Christ the happier you will be. You can wake up, as Christ must have, happy knowing what good you can do that day. happiness is the most attractive accessory you can have. SMILE. “If thou art sorrowful – call on the Lord thy God” D&C 136:29 “Men are that they might have joy.” 2 Nephi 2:25.
Q: Do I have a testimony? A: Not a “special experience,” but those experiences are so rare. That isn’t the way that it comes. The light of Christ is with you constantly, so you may not notice it. You are so use to it, every day many times. Underling your scriptures is revelation, the light is discernible. It is real. He hears your prayers.

Elder Costa –
Q: How do I deal with peer pressure? A: “It is better to prevent than to fix.” The Costa family motto
If you are in a bad situation (such as a party with drinking or inappropriate behavior)? Leave or help improve the situation? LEAVE. Choose your friends wisely. In their family they have a code. When his kids call him and give the code, he knows to go to their rescue and the child can blame the parents for having to leave. Peer pressure is real. 1 Nephi 3:7 You can do it! Stand tall. Look for the help of the Lord!

Elder Rasband –
When you have a question ask, How would Jesus Christ answer that question? Go to the topical guide
Q: How do I know if I am forgiven? D&C 58:42 “ He who has repented of his sins, The Same is forgiven.” The adversary laces us with guilt. It causes us to slow down, to dwell in the pst. Turn yourselves to Christ. Forgiving others is a Christlike attribute. Matt 6:14-15. If I forgive others, the Father will forgive me. Don’t carry grudges. Suppress anger and move forward.

Elder Ballard –
Q: Dating before 16? A: Do you believe Spencer W. Kimball was a prophet?
Don’t let others/world label you to one single friend. A goodnight kiss is one thing. Other kinds of kisses are dangerous. We aren’t going to let the world dictate how we live. We’ll let the Lord dictate how we live.
Q: 17 and never asked out? Be beautiful. Lighten up. This has everything to do with fun. Be patient.

Recently Elder Oaks and Elder Ballard spoke to young adults to answer their questions. SEE IT HERE.

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