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085: Justine Froelker

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Today I have Justine Froelker with me on Thriving Beyond Belief! There is so much truth, wisdom, and amazing insight in this episode that one hour just does not seem like enough time!

Justine shares her compelling story of the journey of overcoming heartbreaking and crushing trials and what the Lord has taught her through loss. She is a certified counselor that is spending her time now focusing on speaking and writing about truly seeking the Lord and finding joy in the midst of life’s hardest moments.

She is an advocate for speaking unspoken shame and choosing to thrive when life doesn’t turn out how you hoped, dreamed, or planned. Her spirit helps others to feel seen and empowered to change their own lives, no matter what hand they’ve been dealt and to ultimately do the work of happy.

Justine shares intimately about her and her husband’s walk through infertility, which ultimately led to a life with no children. She speaks about the roles that the Lord has opened up in her life in spite of having children. One woman even spoke wonderful truth over Justine in saying she is a “mother to mothers”. She reminds us that there is more to what the Lord has called us to than the roles we play in other’s lives. The Lord has a specific calling for our individual selves, not just to the “wife” or the “mom” or the “full time employee” aspect of ourselves, but rather specifically to our being and who He created us to be.

We speak on the process of grief, and I think everyone needs to listen to this episode simply for Justine’s insight on the journey of grief. Grief is a part of life and it is something that “does not necessarily go away, but it changes”. She gently tells us to have purposeful grace in our losses. Justine speaks on being able to sit in our grief to begin to heal, but not to dwell in grief forever. She so beautifully says that “grief is like a wound we have incurred. We must treat it in order to not leave it a gaping wound”. The scar will always be there as a reminder of what has been, but the Lord did not create us to go through trials to sit in them and never move again. She reminds us that our calling is the great commission and that we cannot encourage others to intimately know our Heavenly Father if we are not believing and trusting in our Heavenly Father and setting that example for the lost. We are the ones letting the world know that there is hope in loss. How can we be the example if we first do not believe that for our own lives? There is a beautiful balance with trials and the hope for tomorrow.

We talk on the importance of embracing these conversations of infertility and loss, because the number of women that are experiencing issues with infertility are staggering. We have hurting husbands and wives in our communities and they need to feel there is someone they can talk to about it when it seems to difficult to bear. We also discuss the difference between sympathy, empathy, and how to combat victimization with trust in who the Lord tells us He is.

Justine is a Licensed Professional Counselor and a Certified Daring Way™, Dare to Lead™ & BOLD-A Courage Building Program for Adolescents Facilitator (based on the research of Dr. Brené Brown) with 19 years of experience in mental health. She is the author of her best-selling books, Ever Upward and The Mother of Second Chances. Justine’s newest book, The Complicated Gray, released Fall 2018.

Justine’s work can be found at The Huffington Post, the YouVersion Bible appReflective PrayerGreat Day St. Louis, Justine’s YouTube channel, and podcast, Authentic Enoughness!

During the Summer and Fall of 2017 she was blessed with her Rising Ever Upward tour where she offered workshops and intensives in eight cities across the country. In 2017 she spoke at both TEDxUMDearborn and TEDxLaSierraUniversity.

Justine currently lives in Saint Louis with her husband, Chad, and their three dogs. She enjoys her childfull life by spending time with friends and family, practicing creative self-care, laughing (many times at herself) and building butterfly gardens on her acre of land, which has made her an accidental butterfly farmer.

I pray this episode truly encourages you, as everyone has walked through a loss of some kind. I am so thankful for Justine and the story the Lord has given her to share.

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Highlights:

  • Coming soon…

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084: Mike & Jennifer Foster

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Marriage Episode:

You know it’s going to be a fun episode when we have my husband, Jeff, on the episode with me! We had the pleasure of interviewing Mike and Jennifer Foster on this week’s Thriving Beyond Belief.

We absolutely love what the Fosters are about. They are about simple, organic means of continuing to date your spouse in marriage. Married with 2 children, the Fosters journey has not always been easy, but they talk about how they have navigated the marriage journey together and how their relationship is stronger than ever!

We cover everything from good communication, seasons of the unknown, their story, how to date intentionally, and more. This episode is such an uplifting and practical look at how we can further believe in and fight for our marriage and our spouse.

One of my favorite topics we discuss in this episode is how fear can radically impact our marriage relationship. Mike and Jennifer talk about how fear erodes the qualities in marriage we long for: trust, communication, peace, etc. Marriage is worth fighting for and we need to be vulnerable enough to push past the fear to get to a truthful conversation. Those truthful conversations lead to healing and our spouse’s true intentions are made clear. Not having those meaningful conversations leads to disconnection. Let fear be the push towards conversation instead of being the reason to deter conversation!

Jeff and I’s first marriage is a classic example of what happens when couples do not communicate well and do not have Jesus at the center of the relationship. But through coming to personal relationships with the Lord and learning what a healthy marriage truly is, we learned, as Jeff so wisely said, that  we are to learn that each other’s voices and our own voices are important in the marriage. We are equal in voice in the marriage. We are equal in what we bring to the marriage.

Mike and Jennifer share their own story and realizing that they had fallen into a state of not really “seeing” one another. They had fallen into busy schedules and routines and just surviving. Can anyone else relate to this? But one day, through open and honest conversation, they realized they wanted their marriage to Thrive! This led to a stronger marriage than ever and even led to their current ministry to other couples.

Touch, communication and balance with schedules, and intentional date nights are keys Mike says that help with a healthy marriage. There are so many wonderful nuggets of wisdom in this episode that I can’t wait for you to listen along!

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Highlights:

  • They are about simple, organic means of continuing to date your spouse in marriage.
  • Mike and Jennifer share their own story and realizing that they had fallen into a state of not really “seeing” one another. They had fallen into busy schedules and routines and just surviving.
  • We cover everything from good communication, seasons of the unknown, their story, how to date intentionally, and more.

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083: Jordan Lee Dooley

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I got to spend an hour with one of my favorite people for this week’s episode of Thriving Beyond Belief: Jordan Lee Dooley! Wife, speaker, soon-to-be author (and fellow Enneagram 3), Jordan is sunshine personified. We take some time to talk about some themes in her upcoming book, Own Your Everyday.

It is refreshing to discuss contentment in a world that is shouting for us to find our purpose. We break down what true purpose is, that small, intentional steps make up the large leaps in our lives, and that although we are called to steward our lives well, it is okay to not be “hustling” 24/7 if it means we leave out the Lord in the process. Jordan so pointedly reminds us that knowing the Lord IS our calling. He is our purpose. We so often run around and try to seek out the “one thing” that we are called to, instead of seeing that the one thing we are called to is to be faithful. Let us not be deterred by the enemy to chase the hustle rather than walk with the Lord.

Jordan talks about the fact that doing what we are called to do is not limited to what we do professionally; we are called to love others well, we are called to be good stewards of the bodies we have been given, etc. When we finally understand that life is not lived to reach a particular pinnacle, but rather it is a beautiful journey, we experience true freedom! The journey is filled with the mundane path, which is the everyday that we are given the opportunity to be faithful with. The journey also includes places of wilderness, which is where we tend to learn the most. And the journey is filled with moments in the garden, which is where the Lord wants us to intentionally rest and spend time with him. These paths and places make up our life. Let us make the most of them.

There are so many wonderful pieces of advice and encouragement from Jordan in this episode that you will find yourself taking notes to take with you into your day. Here’s to owning our everyday!

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Highlights:

  • We break down what true purpose is.
  • When we finally understand that life is not lived to reach a particular pinnacle, but rather it is a beautiful journey, we experience true freedom.
  • We so often run around and try to seek out the “one thing” that we are called to, instead of seeing that the one thing we are called to is to be faithful.

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082: Dr. Will Cole

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Please give a warm welcome to a rare guest I have on Thriving Beyond Belief- a man! This week’s episode, I get to speak with Dr. Will Cole about all things health.

Dr. Will Cole is a doctor of functional medicine, author, husband, and father. He gives us a short overview of his upbringing and how it led him to committing his life to the well being and health of others.

As some of you know, overall health is a passion of mine (totally something I would also do if there was time!) and so this episode means a lot to me. The conversation with Dr. Cole is so eye-opening, because he discusses the shift we need to make in our minds about what being healthy truly is. We talk about what functional medicine is, what a good approach would be for all of us to take when it comes to our health, and how connected the parts of our body are to one another. Teaser: our brains and guts are very closely linked!

Dr. Cole describes thriving in his profession as “being able to hear patients say they feel they have their freedom back”. They have the freedom to play with their children or grandchildren, they no longer feel in a haze simply going through life, etc. Being able to help our bodies function the way the Lord intended them to is just as important to our lives as anything else. I even describe my own health journey and we talk about how seriously we should take the fact that the body is a temple for the Holy Spirit to thrive. It is not about punishing our bodies to another diet or putting ourselves down for the occasional indulgence. It is about a lifestyle of stewarding our bodies like we would steward our finances or our time.

I love these conversations because it reminds us that the Lord has made all things. For some reason, we give most things to the Lord, but how we treat our bodies is something we often exclude from what the Lord can control. Let that be something that we lay down before the Lord. He has promised that He would give us life, and life abundantly. This includes how we feel in our bodies!

I can’t wait for you to give this episode a listen. Let me know how it impacts you!

Dr. Will Cole, IFMCP, D.C., leading functional-medicine expert, consults people around the world via webcam and locally in Pittsburgh. He specializes in clinically investigating underlying factors of chronic disease and customizing health programs for thyroid issues, autoimmune conditions, hormonal dysfunctions, digestive disorders, and brain problems.

Dr. Cole was named one of the top 50 functional-medicine and integrative doctors in the nation and is a health expert and course instructor for the world’s largest wellness brands such as mindbodygreen and goop.

Dr. Will Cole, senior clinic director, is uniquely skilled and experienced at finding the root physiological, biochemical and hormonal causes underlying many diseases. Dr. Cole has broken free from the limiting approach of “standard care,” which most often calls upon drugs and hormones as a first defense against these diseases without a real inspection as to the root underlying causes and contributing factors to each individual’s presenting complaints.

Dr. Cole uses breakthrough diagnostic testing and analysis that’s rarely done in conventional settings to uncover the hidden causes of why people feel the way they feel. He also takes great pride in delivering personalized health care treatment to patients as well as providing an environment that supports and inspires patients to reverse their poor health.

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Highlights:

  • What functional medicine actually is and why we should consider it.
  • God calls us to take care of our bodies, the temple He has given us.
  • Excellent health includes physical, spiritual and emotional

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081: Jenny Randle

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Super excited to have Jenny Randle on the Thriving Beyond Belief podcast today!

As a speaker, author and creative ninja, Jenny Randle believes deeply in the power of story.

At the age of 18, she encountered the greatest love story ever told, the Gospel. The prayer that followed for her was simple: “God, use me to make an impact for you.”

Since that prayer, Jenny has worked as a video editor on billion dollar franchises in the heart of Hollywood. In 2009, She was recognized with one of the highest honors in the entertainment industry — an Emmy Award.
As a creative ninja, over a decade ago she found herself living in this performance mentality zone, riddled with anxiousness and comparison. God broke the chains of inadequacy, taught her about her identity in Jesus and brought her such freedom. In this space of freedom, God has equipped Jenny to challenge others to CREATE AND DREAM COURAGEOUSLY again.

Also to every wounded creative or procrastinating dreamer… Discover the freedom to create again. The world needs you to shine.

Creativity is a gift from God to each of us—including you.

Is a message weighing on your heart or stirring in your soul today, but you’re wondering how to communicate it?

This hands-on journey in Courageous Creative will give you the tools and encouragement you need to discover your God-given identity, cultivate your creativity, and express your thoughts. You’ll find fun, think-outside-the-box creative challenges that will spark your imagination and inspire you in fresh, new ways.

You’ll also learn the foundations of your creativity, find ways to overcome the obstacles that keep you from fully expressing yourself, and discover secrets to unleashing the courageous creative in you.

Experience creative and spiritual freedom in this one-of-a-kind interactive devotional.

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Highlights:

  • Jenny believes in the power of story—
    The greatest story ever told- the gospel.
  • What to do with insecurity and not feeling good enough.
  • Our creativity is our greatest weapon we can really hold on to and understand because God wants to use us as a solution-makers; God wants to give us vision.
  • As we age our creativity decreases because we are not being intentional. Stress and time are the two biggest creativity killers
  • Simple prayer: “God use me to make an impact!” God calls us to shine especially as a believer. But first we have to understand what our gifts are. Then we need to feel comfortable in our gifts in order to be able to express freely in that gift!

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080: Gwen Smith

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Gwen Smith’s tagline on her website says her purpose is “helping women know and trust God more”. After today’s episode of Thriving Beyond Belief, you will have no doubt that is what God has intended for her to do! Gwen is a delight, an 8w7 on the enneagram (if you know what that is) :), and has such an amazing story to tell.

Not only is Gwen a follower of Jesus, wife, and mother, she is also an author, speaker, podcaster, and coach. Gwen’s story is one where she is able to personally speak about the goodness, grace, and faithfulness of God. She speaks of young love, heartbreak, and amazingly beautiful redemption.

I don’t want to give away her whole story here, but it’s one that has her cling to the story of the prodigal son from Scripture. She shares what she describes as her “mess-timony”, and the fact that our sin is never going to be bigger than God’s grace in our life. We cannot outdo the power of the cross! Once Gwen returned to the Lord, she spent so much time trying to “earn” her way back into the good graces of the Lord. She volunteered for every role she could in the church, trying to work her way back into the arms of the Lord, until she realized she was already there. Christ then revealed to her that in the midst of trying to earn her salvation, she stopped dreaming about what the Lord was going to do in her life. She felt “disqualified” from the race. How many of us can relate to feeling this way from time to time?

But in His goodness, God showed her the grace that was given to her, the fact that we can never earn our salvation, and that with thriving ALWAYS comes honesty about our story. I love how she reminds us that His arms are never too short to save and His ears are never too dull to hear.

We talk about Gwen’s definition of thriving. One thing that stuck out to me about what she had to share was that she always referred to herself as someone who was “dizzy”. She loved to spin in circles as a girl, and that same mindset carried into adulthood. But she claims that this leads to chaos and it keeps our eyes from ever looking forward. Gwen believes thriving is being able to look straight ahead to eternity and to keep from spinning in mindless directions.

We even cope together as we discuss the season of empty nesting, bond over being fellow podcasters, and discuss how the Lord truly uses all of our mess to create something beautiful and new. I cannot wait for you to take a listen today!

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Highlights:

  • Gwen’s purpose: to know and trust God more
  • She shares what she describes as her “mess-timony”
  • A quote from Gwen: “In every season, we have different opportunities to grow, but then also pave the way for the next season.”

Related Links:

Gwen Smith 🌸
Speaker / Podcaster / Author / Worship Leader
Helping Women Know and Trust God More
Co-founder of Girlfriends in God
Host of the GRACEOLOGIE with Gwen Smith Podcast

079: Jessica Smartt

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Memory Making Mom

I’m super excited to have Jessica Smartt with me today on the Thriving Beyond Belief podcast!
Jessica Smartt is a former English teacher turned homeschooling mama of three. A week after her first baby was born, she began her motherhood blog, Smartter Each Day. Jessica and her husband live in beautiful North Carolina, where she loves hikes with kids(mostly), steaming coffee in the afternoon, family bike rides, and anything that’s ever been done to a potato.

I love Jessica’s heart behind this book and what came about for her to write it. She reminds us that celebrations are not man-created, but something the Lord created. We see biblically that there are festivals and events to remember what the Lord had done. We should do the same thing in our lives today, celebrating those moments that the Lord is faithful in our lives. Celebrations are a blessing from the Lord and something to embrace in our everyday lives!

Comparison and competitiveness are some other topics we discuss in the sense of motherhood. Our culture, with the influence of social media, has led to comparison in the circles of women and mothers. Jessica discusses how to make things special in your own home without the burden of trying to keep up with others. She beautifully reminds us of the point: that we are to do everything in our lives with our focus on the Lord. The point of these celebrations is not to make your calendars busier or more hectic, but for them to be a genuine time of enjoying your family and celebrating what the Lord has done in a special way.

Jessica will be the first one to tell you that her and her family’s life is anything but calm! In fact, all of what the Lord has laid on her heart about taking time to celebrate came from a season of busyness that left her family not seeing the Lord in the everyday moments. She felt the Lord telling her then and there to slow down and be able to see Him in the small moments of their lives. Jessica and her family still live in this fast-paced world like everyone else, and still have busy schedules. But they have taken on some traditions that are special to their family and have chosen to keep those sacred.

What’s the solution to gaining the balanced, meaningful life you desire with your family? Create traditions that bring joy and significance. Popular “Smartter Each Day” blogger and mom of three, Jessica Smartt explains in her book, Memory-Making Mom: Building Traditions That Breathe Life Into Your Home

She also offers practical encouragement to modern parents to keep on adventuring—even when they are fighting distractions, are on a budget, and exhausted.

I loved today’s episode because of the intentionality in which Jessica lives her life! I hope it inspires you to do the same in your own family!

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Highlights

  • Encourage families to make memories together
  • Building Traditions That Breathe Life Into Your Home
  • It’s never too late to become a memory-making mom

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078: Melanie Dale

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Today I am thrilled to have Melanie Dale on the podcast with me today!

Melanie’s life has been anything but what she expected- leading her to a ministry opportunity she never would have imagined for herself. Thus, her first book and website are entitled “Unexpected”. Melanie pictured her life going as most of us do- getting married, having children, etc. But after a battle with infertility, Melanie realized the Lord had more in store for her life than she knew.

We discuss major issues today that are all separate but all connected at the same time- marriage, intimacy, infertility, and parenting to name a few. Melanie discusses how her new saying is sur-thriving. She believes that life is never going to get to a place where everything is perfect, so we need to learn to thrive while we survive!

We really tackle the difficult issue of not being able to bear children, and what avenues come from that in people’s lives. One of Melanie’s books was written intentionally in the midst of a storm in her life, so that she could claim the goodness of the Lord in the middle of the unknown. So often, we see people who discuss their issues after they have seen redemption in their lives. But we sometimes need to know what to do and what to pray in the middle of an issue where we do not know the outcome. Melanie’s sincerity, vibrancy, and authenticity are truly refreshing in a world that tries so much to cover up failures and hardships.

Melanie gives some great advice on intentionality in marriage, how to build authentic friendships with other women in a similar life stage, how to balance the many hats most of us are wearing, and how to do it all with originality and a little humor!

I am so thankful to have spent today’s episode of Thriving Beyond Belief with Melanie, and I hope you are able to face the unexpected with ferocity, vulnerability, and to be able to laugh as you go.

 

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Highlights:

  • Melanie’s life has been anything but what she expected.
  • We discuss major issues today that are all separate but all connected at the same time- marriage, intimacy, infertility, and parenting to name a few.
  • We really tackle the difficult issue of not being able to bear children.

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077: Toni J. Collier

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Toni Collier is a communicator, host and consultant at North Point Ministries (founded by Andy Stanley), on-camera personality at The reThink Group, Fellowship of Christian Athletes public school speaker and co-founder of The Resource Group: A faith based consulting firm.

With a degree in business logistics and entrepreneurship she has used her talents to grow churches, ministries & businesses in the areas of; student ministry, creative marketing, leadership, innovation and strategic planning.

Toni is known for her vibrant personality, charisma and all around welcoming spirit. You will frequently hear her shout the sentence; “Broken crayons still color!” as she has a passion to help women and teens believe in the idea that no matter their difficult story or walls of weakness, God still has an incredible plan to go along with the purpose He’s placed in their life. “Broken cryaons still color”…. a life mantra. A reminder that our past doesn’t have to define us. an interactive experience. a message of hope.

Toni is “Texas proud” of her Houston, TX roots, but currently resides in Atlanta, GA and loves spending time with her incredible husband and family!

In an interview with Toni, she was asked:

What is a good article or book you have read recently?

So Long Insecurity, by Beth Moore. Literally a game changer for women. READ IT!

Any motivational anecdotes to share?

COUNSELING. I can shout this from the rooftops! Counseling has totally changed my life. I’ve processed through trauma, insecurities, past relationships and so much more. It’s made me a better mom, wife, friend, Jesus-follower, and friend! So, go to counseling.

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Highlights:

  • Huge topic for women: “I am unworthy”….which then points to insecurity—-core lie
  • God wants us to THRIVE — we enter this space where we feel we are not deserving the best that God has for us! This leads to us not believing we can live above and beyond and not just exist! Its a balance between humility and confidence! He wants our lives to thrive.
  • She lived a life unprotected and not safe. Had huge responsibilities as a child so she tried to stay ahead of fear…making her being scared of fear! Being afraid is a journey and God will carry you!
  • Tough thing for Toni, being vulnerable and learning how to do that.

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076: Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith

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Today’s podcast may be about rest, but the last thing it will do is put you to sleep!

Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith brings such an insightful perspective on what rest truly is. Rest can lead to thriving, restoration, and a greater view of the Lord in your life! A wife, mother, physician, author, and speaker, Saundra knows a thing or two about how to balance your life in a way that is healthy.

I personally learned so much from this week’s episode. It may be one that I revisit over and over, because the themes we discuss today are so opposite of what success looks like in today’s culture. Today, our world is driven by busyness, the “hustle”, fitting too much on our plates, and overbooked calendars. So Dr. Dalton-Smith helps us understand the importance of physical, emotional, and social rest. She reiterates the importance of actual sleep in our lives, and even debunks what true rest is (hint: it’s not actually binging 4 hours of Netflix!).

The balance in these types of rest lead to authenticity in our lives, the power of presence with others, and restoration. She emphasizes that any rest should lead to restoration- that is the point if it. So we should be asking ourselves: what in our lives restores us? What is bringing healing and positivity to our lives?

We then discuss spiritual, sensory, and creative rest. These are ones that I feel are deprived from each us the most. Saundra beautifully describes what spiritual rest is for her and how the time she rests in the Lord leads to a more profound understanding of her relationship with Him. That’s what we all should be experiencing when we rest in who God is!

You do not want to miss this episode. There is so much to learn and understand more about yourself, your Creator, and what you were created to do. To understand more about rest and what area of rest you are most deprived of, please take Dr. Dalton-Smith’s quiz at restquiz.com and let me know what you learned most from this week!

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