Tag Archives: Mother’s Day

For Mother’s Day and the Women We Love: Get Your Signed Living with Intent Bookplates from Mallika Chopra!

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We are so excited to announce the upcoming release of Living with Intent in paperback this May 3rd. It has been over a year since the initial launch and we have heard countless stories of men and women living their own lives of intent. It has truly been an honor to join in that journey with you.

In honor of Mother’s Day, we are happy to one again offer free signed bookplates from Mallika Chopra for your copies of Living with Intent.

How do you get one? Continue reading

The Real Intent of Mother’s Day

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I have always associated “Mothers Day” as a Hallmark holiday, and thus have truly resented it. And in recent years, its also become a time when I am inundated with requests to write articles.

As someone who runs my own editorial calendar for www.intentblog.com , I know there is higher search, sponsorship opportunities, and popularity on this theme so strategically it’s a good idea for a media platform to honor moms this week.

So here I am writing a post, and created a Flipagram, even though I have issues against doing it. Continue reading

In Honor of Mothers Living with Intent

If you’ve ever been responsible for a child, you know how important every decision feels.
Are they getting enough sleep? Are they eating the right food?
Are they getting enough direction and at the same time do they feel free to be themselves?
Parenting is tough and as Mother’s Day approaches, we want to honor the women who have stepped in to lead and guide a younger generation. Continue reading

VOD: You’re a Better Mom Than You Give Yourself Credit For

Warning: You might want to grab a box of Kleenex for the following video.

The video was originally posted by the Elevation Church as a special Mother’s Day message. They invited a group of moms to come in and talk about how they see themselves as parents. There’s no manual for raising children so of course there are always going to be doubts. These moms talked about wanting to be better listeners, having more patience, and being there more for their kids – all of them had something they wished they could do to be better. 


A New Perspective For Moms
from Elevation Church on Vimeo.

What they didn’t realize is that to their kids they are already perfect. This is when things get teary, as each child says what they love about their mom and how much their mother means to them. If you’re looking for a dose of heartwarming to kickstart your weekend, this is definitely it.

What do you think of the video? Tell us about videos you think should be in the VOD column in the comments below! 

Permission to be Imperfect: All Parents “Scar” Their Children

A Mothers Touch

By Vanessa Gobes

It was spring and I was walking under the pink magnolia blossoms lining Commonwealth Ave in Boston, on my way to a prenatal yoga class. After a long struggle with morning sickness and lethargy, I was starting to feel energized again and was exploring ways to stay in shape while carrying. Yoga sounded like a safe bet so I trotted off to my first class.

I was five months along, just starting to develop a visible roundness to my belly, finally wearing real maternity clothes and beginning to think of this baby as more than just the impetus for nausea and a stuffy nose.

There was a teensy person in there, growing fast. I’d just found out she was a girl and obsessively tried on baby names. I can’t be sure, but I can imagine myself mentally combing through “The Best 1,000 Baby Names of 2004” when my clog caught a mislaid brick and I face-planted right there on the sidewalk – well, more like belly-planted. I landed tummy first, arms reaching awkwardly forward and legs stretching behind me. I didn’t move.

A man in a business suit hustled over to help me find my feet and I stood there for a few moments, examining my scraped, bloodied palms, brushing sand off my protruding belly. I told the good samaritan I was okay and hobbled off to yoga, sniffling and deflated.

The scene, in general, was nothing overly memorable. The pain was minimal, the spring day was ordinary, the clumsiness was nothing I hadn’t experienced before. But this stumble laid the first foundational stone in what would become a motherhood filled with worry.

During the weeks following my fall, I had convinced myself that I’d caused my baby harm. I would lie in bed at night with my palms splayed out on my belly, begging Baby Girl Gobes for a kick or a hiccup or an arcing elbow to confirm that she was still alive.

I called my OB, “But I fell FLAT on my belly, doc… all of my weight… must have crushed her. Should I come in for an ultrasound or something? Anything?” My doctor assured me the baby was fine.

Pregnancy progressed normally but I still found other things to worry about: smoke rising from manhole covers, cabin pressure on a trans-Atlantic flight, chlorinated pools, bumpy car rides and arguments with my husband. All of these ordinary things seemed to pose a danger to my unborn child and I began to stockpile an armory of “what ifs.”

As I neared week 40, I committed myself to natural childbirth. I worked with a doula, an extraordinary woman who assured me that both the baby and me would be better off for a drug-free experience.

No drugs. No way out. Well, one way out – between my legs. Holy shit.

I liken the feeling to preparing for a date with the firing squad. The sentence has been decided, it’s scary, people are watching, it’s going to hurt like hell and the aftermath is a complete and utter mystery.

As it turned out, all those things were true. But instead of a blindfold and a lit cigarette, I was equipped with an IV and ice chips.

After several hours of contractions and pushing, my baby girl was placed gently on my chest and I briefly bawled my eyes out. I didn’t die after all. Instead heaven came to me. And with heaven, as is expected in motherhood, came even more worry.

Am I doing this right? Am I permanently scarring my child? Am I a crappy Mom? Is my kid going to hate me for all of the mistakes I’m making? We all ask these things, right? Unfortunately, the answers to these questions validate all of our parental concerns.

Because we aren’t doing it right. No one does. We are totally scarring our children. That’s what parents do. Every parent wears the Crap Crown sometimes. And yes, our kids will hate us at some point – we’ll just have to hope it’s short-lived and based in irrational, hormonal, misplaced logic.

But unlike the pain of childbirth, there is a way out of our looming motherly fears – acceptance. When we accept this inevitability, something really amazing happens. That tight grip we have on the worry and concern and anxiety, nestled so conveniently into parenthood, loosens. The worry evaporates.

We accept that there’s only so much we as mothers can do. We can guide them. We can educate them. We can encourage them. But we can’t live life for them. They are who they are.

They’re going to fail classes, get sick, lose games, offend adults, break arms, lose expensive electronics, crash cars, and make fools of themselves, just like we did. That will change when they are adults. Or it won’t.

Some will overachieve early then burn out – or maybe continue to overachieve and stress out. Some will fly below the radar then launch into the stratosphere of success later in life. And some will be total screw-ups for the duration of the ride. And all of that is okay.

There are important lessons to be learned regardless of the path, each as valuable as the other. In fact, the drug-addict / drop-out / derelict probably learns more about life than the magna cum laude MIT grad groomed by his parents for high achievement. Life without life-learning is no life at all.

But enough about them, let’s get back to us. The Mommies. Because we’re the ones connecting here. We’re exploring our own feelings associated with worrying about our kids (who probably aren’t worrying about themselves at all).

Worry is like tumbleweed, picking up all sorts of garbage as the winds of life roll it along. Garbage that doesn’t help us one bit. If we Moms allow the tumbleweed to entangle us, we’ll only end up with deep wrinkles, sleepless nights, and multiple prescriptions for Xanax.

But worry and acceptance cannot exist in the same space. It’s impossible. And there are beautiful side effects of acceptance: liberation, trust, and peace.

Wouldn’t it be nice to take a break from the obsession? From the projection? From the competition? From the fear? From all of those ugly tendencies that we’ve been carrying around since scraping our bellies off the sidewalk in week 20 of pregnancy?

Dragging around a garbage bag of fear will only encourage those same feelings in our children. That black Hefty is only so thick. And our trashy bits end up ripping the liner, leaking out and causing a big stink for the people around us. People like the kids we’re worrying so much about. Sure, we can tell them not to worry. But our kiddos do as we do, right? So let’s do something helpful – model acceptance and collaboration.

Easier said than done, I know. But acknowledging fear and the reasons for fear is a beautiful stimulus for change, creating wide crack for light to shine in and expose fear for what it is: Useless, stinky garbage.

Meditation is a great way to drag those useless habits out to the magnolia-lined curb.

Often when I meditate lately, I hear the words “create space”. (I’d love to know who is saying that to me, by the way.) For me, the creation of space is a deliberate effort to push all of life’s clutter off to the sides and invite an open connection between me and the universe.  In that open space, I can find acceptance. Anyone can do this. You don’t need to take a class or read a book or have a special degree to do it. You just have to know how to breathe.

Solutions don’t have to be complicated or even external. Peace is as close as your breath.

I’m so grateful for this mindfulness practice. Through non-doing, I’m actually doing the best thing I could do for myself and my family. There will be times ahead during which my trust in the universe will be tested, I’m sure. Nights when I’m wearing a trench in my hardwood floors from pacing. Days when my kids are flailing and I’m desperate to carry their pain the way I carried their little bodies so long ago. But the more I practice acceptance, the easier I’ll recover from those angst-ridden moments. Mindfulness is a lifelong practice that deepens with time. And as far as I can tell, time is all we’ve got.

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vanessaheadshot-3Vanessa Gobes is a full time house frau and jane of all trades. She’s currently blogging her way to awakening through a steady diet of kindness, compassion and mindfulness – considering herself not quite Buddhist, but Bu-curious. Her current intent is to work on infusing a daily morning meditation routine into each public school in her town. Vanessa is a community activista, philanthropista and newspaper columnista in Winchester, Massachusetts. Read her stories on her blog, Bringing Up Buddhas.

Breastfeeding Pain – The Aspects of Motherhood No One Told Us About

AlmuerzoBy Jackie Lai

Gift, joy, fun, and of course, love. The words most often mentioned when we think of motherhood. The less spoken, possibly even taboo words: painful, overwhelming, relentless, stressed, anxious, also often describe motherhood. As with any other life experience, the positive and the negative have to coexist. Together, they balance each other and without the negative, it is all too easy to take the positive moments for granted.

When we are pregnant and become new mothers, everyone tells you only about the positive stuff. About how you should enjoy each moment, because time is fleeting and the babies grow up so fast. Because being a mother is such a joy. Because, because, because. But what happens when we start feeling the other stuff that no one talks about? It ends up being an unspoken truth which transforms itself into guilt, disappointment, resentment, and even depression.

It is in this spirit that two friends and I founded Pariday. Pariday is about the parts of motherhood that no one tells you about. One of it, we discovered, is that breastfeeding really hurts! Even after going through two natural childbirths, the first of which took three days, breastfeeding remains the most painful thing I have ever done. While labor and childbirth are painful, it is broken up into minutes at a time, usually with a beautiful prize at the end. The pain experienced during the early days of breastfeeding however, is constant and exacerbated by the fact that after being sucked on a sore nipple, you have to do it over and over again and somehow expect the soreness to heal.

The benefits of breastfeeding have been researched and touted to no end, so much so that now women are almost pressured into doing it for that golden first year. No doubt, breastfeeding is natural, but it is also extremely difficult! The learning curve is steep, and the ladies who have a hard time ultimately end up blaming themselves when it does not go perfectly “the way everyone else says it should.”

To add insult to injury, a common advice for soothing said pain is to use frozen peas on your sore nipples and engorged breasts. Faced with excruciating pain, holding a stiff plastic bag of solidly frozen peas to your body is just another sacrificial thing we mothers do to power through this difficult time for our babies because everyone else says we should. Breastfeeding is painful enough, why does the recommended solution have to be equally painful?

Many women stop breastfeeding just a little too early because of the pain they experience. Without judgment, we created the TendHer Pillows and Pillowcases because we wanted to give women the opportunity to try and overcome the initial hump by providing a more elegant pain relief solution to one of the less elegant parts of being a mother.

Naturally, some women do face other genuine issues like low milk supply, recurring infections, and difficulties with baby which cause them to stop breastfeeding, usually not without some emotional distress and feelings of inadequacy. To me, these women are the ones who truly have it right because they realize that it is about enjoying this precious moment with their baby, and not about stressing out over where their baby’s food is coming from. To be able to give up something that everyone else says you should be doing represents the greatest love and respect for yourself we all need to be good mothers. Without a deep well of self-love to tap from, it would be impossible to take care of yourself enough to fend off the many taboo emotions that arise from motherhood.

For the month of May, we are offering Intent readers $5 off all online Pariday orders! Use promo code: INTENTMOM

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jac head shotJackie Lai is a co-founder and an expert in product design and manufacturing at Pariday. A structural engineer by training, Jackie has broad experience spanning the entire product design process from concept to manufacturing. Jackie’s driving force is to help people. She is a certified yoga instructor specializing in Prenatal Yoga and therapeutics. After having her first baby, she realized there was another way she could serve others – by offering better solutions to the genuine issues faced by new moms. Visit our website and find us on Facebook!

photo by: Daquella manera

5 Impressive DIY Mother’s Day Gifts in An Hour or Less!

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Moms make the world go round. Dads, mentors, teachers, and grandparents are pretty important, too, but for this weekend let’s hear it for moms! Mothers come in all shapes and sizes, and they all find their own paths to motherhood. But all you moms out there, you know who you are. We know who you are, too. And thank you.

For the special mom or moms in your life, nothing says Happy Mother’s Day like a homemade gift. Save the store-bought candles and Apple products (or whatever your mama is into) for another occasion. It takes a bit more time and planning to make your own gift, but here are 5 DIY presents you can do in an hour or less! All of the projects include ginger, an ingredient which you may have noticed we are absolutely obsessed with of late.

1. Ginger Body Scrub (Beautiful With Brains)

The special mama in your life will love the all-natural feel, scent, and exfoliating power of this homemade body scrub. So many beauty products these days are packed with parabens and other chemicals, and it can be hard to feel luxurious and toxin-free at the same time. Make your own skin products and voilà! Problem solved! Present the scrub to Mom in an elegant glass jar, and she’ll feel utterly pampered.

2. Rhubarb Ginger Jam (Witchin’ in the Kitchen)

A tangy, zesty, and impeccably classy jar of jam for spreading on toast, mixing in oatmeal, and eating by the spoonful. Try using ginger powder instead of the root for the same spicing effect, minus the labor of peeling and mincing. And you can cut the ingredient measurements way down to make a single jar serving. Feel free to skip the water bath step if you and mama will enjoy within a couple weeks.

3. Ginger Scalp Treatment (Wakaya Perfection)

Ginger is believed to help stimulate circulation, which can lead to hair growth. Mix the ingredients up for this recipe and present it to Mom in a chic jar or bottle. Try making a custom label, too! It’ll look like something you got from the salon, but will be made with all natural ingredients, zero chemicals, and by the loving hands of YOU!

4. Ginger Cashew Granola (Alaska From Scratch)

Yum. And healthy! Ginger, quinoa, cashews, coconut oil… ‘Nuff said. Bake up a big batch of this and gift it to mama in a jar, clear cellophane bag with ribbon, or straight in the bowl with yogurt or milk for a delicious Mother’s Day breakfast. You’re bound to make more than one gift’s worth, so bag up the rest of it for all the moms in the neighborhood! (Or sneak the rest home with you.)

5. Mint-Ginger Lemonade (Wakaya Perfection)

If it’s starting to get warm where you are (or even if it isn’t!) nothing says summer like a big glass of lemonade. Double, triple, or quadruple this recipe, and pour it in a big, elegant carafe so Mom can enjoy its freshness all week. If your mama is adventurous, she can even pour in a touch of vodka for the perfect lemon drop martini!

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Mother’s day is just around the corner. Wakaya Perfection makes a great gift for Mom whether she enjoys a Zingarita, a hot cup of tea or a soothing ginger bath! Check out http://wakayaperfection.com for recipes and homemade gift ideas featuring Wakaya Perfection Organic Ginger. Use the promo code HAPPYMOM and receive 15% off your next purchase!

Wakaya Perfection Ginger Powder has been featured in the LA Times, New York Times Gift GuideOprah’s favorite things and may more!

5 Mother’s Day Life Lessons – Wisdom From A Wise Mom

The Beauty of Old AgeBy Jay Forte

As I write this, it is early – just after 6 am. I am in New England, in Putnam CT, at my Mom’s house. Today, she turns 80. And as in all good Italian families, my siblings are all flying in from around the country to celebrate – to celebrate her birthday, our family, her impact and her wisdom as a remarkable mother.

We tried to keep the party a surprise, but when you are the mother of six, you seem to have this natural ability to always know what is going on. Somehow, she knew things about her party that some of my siblings didn’t even know. This sets the stage to share some great wisdom from someone – from a powerful, loving and capable mother – who has lived a long time, has learned much and never misses an opportunity to share what she knows. Mom is a wonderful cook – so you’ll see that so much of her wisdom involves food. We’re Italian…what can I say?

1. You are as old as you think you are.

Though Mom turns 80 today, there is nothing about her (save some really gray hair) that makes anyone think she is 80. Her cooking, gardening and painting has her up and down stairs, in and out of the house, all around town and doing what she loves. When you wake up happy in life, you stay young. When you do things you love, you stay young. When you treat yourself with care and respect, you stay young. When you eat really good food (she means healthy), you stay young. Age is a number; being and feeling young is a mindset. As she says, the greater the age, the better the bragging rights.

2. Be interested in others.

Ask questions and be interested in the answers. Learn to listen. Show up and be present with the people in your life. Not only do they have information to help you learn how to “do life well,” but they are also the treasures of life. It’s the people in our lives, not the things, that make life amazing. Remember the important things in others’ lives. Stay connected, send a card, make a call, bake something, share some soup…

3. Treasure your family.

Our families are in our lives for a reason. They keep us supported and strong; we learn respect, manage our emotions, share, support, love and celebrate. Families are the training ground for living a great and happy life. We learn how to successfully be in the world from our time with our families. And in the process, we find those we can rely on and count on in every day of life.

4. Do great things with your life.

Each day we have the opportunity to bring our best to the world. Never miss it. Learn what you are good at by trying new things and experiencing life. Then show up with your A-game to all that you do. Since you do not get this day back, make each day outstanding by improving any part of the world you touch. Inspire people to step up and stand out in life.

5. Be grateful for whatever you have.

There will always be those who have more and those who have less. It isn’t what you have that matters; it is how grateful you are for what you have. This is the reason to say grace or thanks before a meal. It is the same reason why every time you look at your spouse, partner, kids or friends, you should smile and think how blessed you are that they are in your life.

Though today is Mom’s birthday and we are celebrating her, we are mostly celebrating what she (and other mothers) have taught us to be ready to live our own versions of great and happy lives. Think young. Be great. Inspire others. Be grateful. Treasure people. And mostly live around the table – because all important things can be discussed, debated, invented or solved over some kind of pasta or roasted chicken and finished with biscotti.

Celebrate, applaud and learn from the powerful women in your lives.

photo by: VinothChandar

Give It Up For Beautiful Mother’s Day Cards Representing LGBT and Alternative Families!

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Mother’s Day is coming up this weekend, and you may be scrambling to get cards, gifts, and plan get togethers with those special moms in your life. But for many families in the United States, this holiday is more problematic. After all, does Mother’s Day representation in media and on greeting cards pay equal tribute to single moms, young moms, queer moms, incarcerated moms, or minority moms? And what about families headed up by two dads – should they just wait until Father’s Day and leave it at that?

One organization, Strong Families, is tackling this issue head on. This grassroots organization states that their mission is to help all families thrive regardless of race, class, age, sexual orientation, citizenship status, or any other marker of relative enfranchisement and alienation. Strong Families’ line of custom alternative Mother’s Day cards is as  beautiful as it is groundbreaking. Take a look at these amazing cards, and if you feel inspired, go ahead and create on for a special parent in your life:

Click here to make your own Mother’s Day card using one of these beautiful templates from Strong Families.

How will you be celebrating Mother’s Day this year?

 

Images from http://strongfamiliesmovement.org

Mothers of the Wrongfully Imprisoned: 7 Causes in 7 Days

My mother, Credit: Farah N. Mawani

Yesterday I celebrated Mother’s Day with my mother, my aunt (a ‘bonus’ mother as my friend puts it), my brothers, and my niece and nephew. We had a barbecue on a sunny deck overlooking a tree-filled park. It was a beautiful day with my family that I will always remember. Only a few years ago, we feared losing our mother when she was diagnosed with breast cancer just before Mother’s Day.  Last year we were able to celebrate the milestone of 5 years of remission with her. This year she looked stronger and healthier than ever, and in less than a month, my brother Zohrab is doing an epic two day bike ride to raise funds for the Princess Margaret Hospital, where she received treatment.

In the midst of our joy at simply being able to be with our mother, I couldn’t help reflecting on how I spent Mother’s Day last year and the year before: fighting for FREEDOM for my precious brother Josh Fattal, and my friends Shane Bauer and Sarah Shourd, held hostage by the Iranian regime for two years and two months. It was heartbreaking to be working closely with their mothers, Laura Fattal, Cindy Hickey and Nora Shourd, who were at the forefront of our Free the Hikers campaign but unable to even speak to Josh, Shane and Sarah over the phone on Mother’s Day.

On the first Mother’s Day during our campaign, Josh’s brother Alex sent this message:

“Hi Friends and Supporters of Shane, Sarah and Josh,

Today is a particularly tough day for our families as we are passing Mother’s Day without Shane, Sarah and Josh. We are shocked that over five months after their mothers applied for visas to visit them those visas have still not been issued.  Prisoners around the world are entitled to visits from family members. This egregious delay in issuing the visas is just one more right that Iran is denying the hikers.”

Credit: AP Photo/Richard Drew

I sent this message to Laura, Cindy and Nora:

 Hi Laura, Cindy and Nora,

When I last wrote to you I almost addressed you ‘Hi Moms’.  So of course I’m thinking of you today and wishing that your biggest Mother’s Day wish could be granted.  The CNN video is great and getting good circulation on twitter & facebook.

I do have a couple of positive support stories to share.

1. One of our twitter supporters wrote this blog post for you: Sad Mother’s Day for Families of Hikers Detained in Iran

She’s working hard to disseminate it on twitter and especially to urge people to take action.

2. You may already know that Safe World has decided to feature us on their home page. They have also created a ‘Film’ page for the two (soon to be three) films they’ve created about us.

I hope these supportive gestures provide you with some added support to reassure you that you are not alone in this. Many many supporters’ thoughts are with you today. I’ll keep letting you know of their supportive messages directed at you. I know that Sarah, Shane and Josh are sending you much love while feeling and admiring your strength across the miles. I share their admiration.

Love,

Farah

I expected very low traffic on our social media sites. It was a Sunday, generally a lower traffic day, and I assumed that most of our supporters would either be spending the day with their mothers or with their children.  Instead, it was one of our busiest days to date.  We were flooded with messages like these:

@fire_girl: @freethehikers celebrating the strength, resilience, courage & tenacity of #SSJ‘s moms this mothers day. you encourage & inspire many! #SSJ

@majorhissyfit: I have learned much abt motherhood from Nora, Cindy and Laura @freethehikers. Please keep them and their children in your hearts and prayers

I have no doubt that the immense support we received on Mother’s Day was largely responsible for Iranian authorities granting visas to Josh, Shane & Sarah’s mothers just two days later on May 11 2010 and enabling them to visit them on May 19, 2010.

Last year, the Iranian regime scheduled a trial session for Josh and Shane on May 11th. When Iranian authorities failed to bring Josh and Shane to court for that hearing, without any explanation, Laura Fattal and Cindy Hickey began a hunger strike in solidarity with their sons. People around the world, including the entire Chopra family, joined them in a solidarity fast.

No mother should have to go through what Laura, Cindy and Nora did. Unfortunately many continue to do so. This Mother’s Day I am working with the family of Jason Puracal, an American citizen wrongfully imprisoned in Nicaragua. His mother’s pain and loss intertwined with love and hope is evident in her words:

I had so hoped that having my son with me would be my Mother’s Day present.

It will be two years in a row now that I will not hear my son’s voice wishing me “Happy Mothers Day” or feel his warm bear hug.

A line from one of Deepak Chopra’s books comes to mind — “in our lives there is somebody out there.” Yes, there are more than 86,000 people plus the 43 members of our powerful legislative body that are showing love and support for my son, Jason. I can’t help but believe in the power of the collective consciousness and that this focused intention from so many has to trigger a transformation. I know my son shares this belief and is counting on it for his freedom. My heartfelt thanks and gratitude goes out to all of you.

I keep the hope that we will be reconciled by Nicaraguan Mother’s Day which occurs on May 27th. May that day come soon.

I hope that the support and action of people around the world buoys the spirits of Jason’s mother and family as they did over the holiday period. I hope even more that the collective intent, support and action triggers the transformation that Jason and his family need and deserve.

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