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Faith, hope, and the Christmas blues

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas is a joyous time of year... and yet many people struggle with depression and the blues. I was pondering this on the way home from work and in the grocery store last night.

As I wished my co-workers who will be off today and through the holiday a Merry Christmas and walked to my car, I didn't feel very Christmas-y. In fact, I felt kind of detached from the entire holiday. As I purchased the roast for Christmas dinner, again, I wasn't feeling it. I asked myself why. Why is it troubling me this year, as opposed to any other year?

I couldn't come up with good answers. Then it dawned on me that I've been worrying about a lot of things lately... worry is a horrid time-waster, unless it is just a brief warning worry that leads to corrective action.

And this one hit, like a hammer emoticon: "What if that Christmas feeling doesn't show up? At all?" Perhaps that is the biggest worry of all. I love that Christmas feeling... that hope, that "everything will be all right... you're not in charge" feeling. That blessing of truly feeling in a state of grace.

Christmas has always come through for me before... even through years when the blues led up to it. Always. Why would it fail me now? emoticon And that's where the faith comes in. Faith to be quiet and let Christmas take over my heart.

And then this one: "Go look at your blogs from the past few weeks... you HAVE had that feeling... spread throughout the season, brought on by song, brought on by lights, and visits with people. Go forth and embrace it!" emoticon

So, through moments of "down"... hope points "up". There is a spark to faith, too, you know.

May your Christmas be blessed with the balance that recognizes the blues for what they are, acknowledges them, and moves right on to the hope and joy!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JUST_TRI_IT 12/24/2010 1:35AM

    I was surprised myself by the fact that Christmas is only a day away... Goodness me.. how did THAT happen!

I wish you a very peaceful Christmas....feelings and all!


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REJ7777 12/23/2010 6:26PM

    I've read that the holidays tend to magnify whatever someone happens to be feeling. If you're in love and everything is coming up roses, the holidays will magnify those feelings of happiness. If you've recently lost a loved one, or don't have family, or are depressed for whatever reason, the holidays will magnify that feeling. So, it can either be a GREAT time of year, or a TERRIBLE time of year.

So much of my attention this year is focused in my son's upcoming wedding, that I'm just beginning to realize Christmas is after tomorrow! Our big family get-together is on the 26th.

I wish you a Christmas filled with peace and joy!


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    Let's kick those Christmas blues to the curb! I hope you have a Merry Christmas with lots of fun surprises! emoticon emoticon

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SUNNY1432 12/23/2010 2:57PM

    It's really too bad the worrying takes up so much of our time and thoughts. Time to put it aside for the holiday season and after!!
Have a wonderful Christmas and I hope you find your Merry Mood.
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SROUS1340 12/23/2010 11:22AM

    Worry is a huge time waster isn't it? You'll get your spirit back, it's just taking a breather. I've been sick the past 3 days in bed, but I'm up now and I'm coming back to the party.
Enjoy your holiday Barb! It's ok to have down time, you are always so up and positive. Merry Christmas.

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 12/23/2010 10:37AM

    My favorite Bible verse is Psalm 46:10: "Be still and know that I am God." It really says it all. When I can remember to just "be still" and let God lead me, I can feel the joy and wonder so much more. It's the stress we put on ourselves over the "manufactured holiday feelings" that get to us. So sit back and relax and know that you've been spreading love and joy to all of your fellow sparkers.

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BUGGYS 12/23/2010 10:18AM

    Look around you and you will feel all the joy of the season...look into your heart and you can spread that joy! Merry Christmas1 emoticon

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SUNNY332 12/23/2010 9:37AM

    You block your dream when you allow your fear to grow bigger than your faith.
Mary Manin Morrissey

One of my favorite scriptures -

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1
New Living Translation

I hope you have an absolutely wonderful day, my friend.


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DEBRITA01 12/23/2010 8:20AM

    With faith, there can be hope and joy. Wishing you the peace and joy of Christ's love this Christmas...

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VALERIEMAHA 12/23/2010 7:49AM

    Faith is crumpling and throwing away everything, proposition by proposition, until nothing is left, and then writing a new proposition, your very own, to throw in the teeth of despair.
-- Mary Jean Irion, Yes, World: A Mosaic of Meditation

This above quote from the Word for the Day at really touched me this morning. Holidays can be problematic, but you are finding your way through that anxiety to the inner light shining onto the hope and joy on the other side!

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PARKERB2 12/23/2010 7:45AM

    I need this as I've not been in a holiday mood this year. Bh had surgery on the 9th and things just haven't been the same. I will be spending Christmas with my daughter and grandchildren so that should help. Hope you have a blessed day, a good weekend and a good Christmas. emoticon

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Dates on which we look back

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Today is my son's fourth Wedding Anniversary. On anniversaries and "special" dates, I tend to look back... this morning I looked back to find my diary entry from his wedding day.

Oh, yes, I do keep a paper journal. Things I wouldn't write in a blog. Weird little things: what book I started or finished reading that day... where we went out to dinner (Grisanti's in the case of the Wedding Day)... what I was doing (cleaning, and later out of my mind inviting my ex to Christmas eve and church after - we'd been divorced three years at the time). It dawns on me today that that wedding visit is the last time I saw his father.

One thing leads to another... I looked at a year ago's entry... and discovered I had just found out my son's deployment APO address. It's been a year. Things that happen in a year can be monumental... this year has been longer than many years in the past, because of that deployment. I've traveled more in the past year than I had in about five years prior. Again because of his deployment.

I've also been better at the determination to deal with stress in a healthier way. Now, he's home. Readjustment to being home can be as big a challenge as adjusting to being gone. As a mom, I'm at a distance... granted, a short distance, across town... but I have to adjust ME to his being an adult. Maybe not "needing" mom as much, but needing instead to be in charge of his own life and decisions. And needing his mom to respect his right to and responsibility for his own life.

So, today, I pray that prayer for wisdom... and to gratefully (and gracefully) let God work in the lives of my son and daughter in law... Happy Anniversary.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LESLIES537 12/24/2010 10:13AM

    emoticon blog! God Bless!

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SUNNY332 12/23/2010 9:32AM

    How wonderful that you keep a paper journal. I love journaling and this year, my goal is to work on Grace and Growth (Spiritual) so have a new Journal ready to go on 1/1.

Happy Anniversary to your Son and DIL.

God Bless.


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MOMOF2TONI 12/22/2010 1:28PM

    Great blog!! Thanks for sharing.

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DEBRITA01 12/22/2010 1:24PM

    Sometimes looking back helps us to realize just how far we've come. Being a mom to an adult is such a transition and takes awhile to get adjusted to. Just what is our role? It seemed so easy to identify that role when they were small, didn't it?

You seem to be handling it well...allowing him to be his own person, giving him space and privacy with his wife, and being there if he needs you. As a parent, our job is to prepare our children for've done that well. Now, I guess it's time to sit back and enjoy whatever the future holds.

God bless your son and daughter as they celebrate their anniversary! emoticon

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 12/22/2010 11:02AM

    "but I have to adjust ME to his being an adult. Maybe not "needing" mom as much, but needing instead to be in charge of his own life and decisions. And needing his mom to respect his right to and responsibility for his own life."

Wow -- profound words for me to read today. My youngest son has been weighing heaving on my mind and heart the past couple of days. My initial "mom reaction" is to rush in and try to fix things. Thankfully he lives 1.5 hours away and I can't do that. I have to read and re-read your paragraph above. He's a good and decent young man with a good head on his shoulders. He'll figure it out without my interference and be better off for it.

Note to self: continue reading this wonderful blog of Barb's.

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WENDYSPARKS 12/22/2010 9:44AM

    God Bless You!!

Wendy emoticon

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SWEETMAGNOLIA2 12/22/2010 9:37AM

    I celebrate 9 years of marriage today, so can definitely relate to the memories. All 5 of my children from the then ages of 8 to 29 were in the wedding ceremony. The years have certainly gone by fast!

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KASEYCOFF 12/22/2010 7:43AM

    Mmm-hmm, I can SO identify, Barb! Mine are about to turn 30 (gah!) and 28, respectively. And I find myself biting my tongue enough that I now wonder just how often my mother and grandmother (and maybe mother-in-law!) did the same, lol... But it's good he's back, and glad you aren't more than a cross-town trip away. It'll be a good holiday. :-D

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Shortest day of the year: Northern Hemisphere version

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

I'm grateful for the weather being moderate compared to last year. But the darkest day of the year snuck up on me this year. I've been doing the "this isn't so bad" number all season, and then... this morning... I recognized the date on the calendar.

And I realized that for the past few weeks I've been doing the bulk of even my break walks at work indoors. And that I've been feeling the holiday "blues" more than usual. A little "not me", if you know what I mean.

And then I remembered the vitamin D capsules. I suspended taking them over the sunny Spring and Summer, and delayed restarting them through all of Autumn. I carefully counted how many I have left before I would have to go back to the doctor to get more. And I monitored my mood.

Today I decided it was time to start them up again. We'll see how this goes. I've always debated with myself over how much they really help. And I've seen things in the news questioning it, too. One more thing to try. One every ten to fourteen days.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LITTLEFARMMOMMA 12/21/2010 11:33AM

    I seriously believe the Vitamin D has a great affect on moods! In about February of this year, I went for my check up and the doctor told me I was severely low in Vitamin D and put me on 1,000 iu's two times a day! What a difference it has made! Even the anti-depressants I take do not compete with it (I only take a tiny dose, though). I don't know about the clinical PROOF, but my doctor believes in it, and so do I! Great blog!

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TURTLETALK 12/21/2010 9:36AM

    I drove to the city in the dark and drove home from the city in the dark. It was a lovely drive ,however, because all the small towns I drove through were lit up for Christmas!

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 12/21/2010 9:28AM

    There may not be clinical proof that it helps, but if you think or feel like it does, then that's all that matters. Right? Hoping you're feeling more like yourself again soon. Get trhough today and then focus on the fact that starting tomorrow we get a little more daylight each day!

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    The vitamins will help if you think they will help. Remember, aeronautical engineers tell us that it is impossible for a bumble bee to fly. Fortunately for the bumble bee, he has two things going for him. One is he thinks he can fly, the other is that he doesn't understand aeronautical engineering.

Have a great day!


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Reprise: Goal weight is kind of LIKE a Holiday, though

Monday, December 20, 2010

I wrote a blog ten days ago about how goal weight NOT being a holiday.

Thinking about it again this morning, as I'm fighting a "bah, humbug" attitude four days before Christmas, I'm thinking maybe in some ways Goal Weight is LIKE a holiday. Specifically in my cultural tradition it's a little like Christmas. At least there is a temptation for many of us make it so.

1. We make a BIG deal about reaching it. The DAY of Christmas is so big on our calendar, as is the reaching of that number on the scale.

2. We work for months preparing for it.

3. We put high expectations on it and how it will feel and be.

4. We go through mood swings leading up to it as we fear and anticipate whether those expectations will be met. (Eating sugary treats leading up to Christmas can contribute to mood swings, too.)

5. We can experience huge disappointment if our expectations are not met. Or if we compare gifts and think somebody else's (given or received) is "better"!

6. We may experience a slump in mood AFTER the big day, whether it met our expectations as a day or not. If it was a great day, the slump that it's over... no more excitement (and taking ourselves back off all that sugar, too). If it was not such a great day... disappointment may turn into a downward spiral of "what's the use"?

Now that I'm at "home" weight range, and have worked hard to take the holiday out of goal weight... it dawns on me that I might need to work at taking the cycle of expectations and mood swings out of Christmas, too (again... I have to work at this every year)!

It's easy to get caught up in the holiday commercials... and not everybody's life matches them. For myself and my friends and family: Here's to a real Christmas for all... the quiet entering of the Love of God into each heart... meek and simple and recognized for the great gift that this Love is.

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BUGGYS 12/21/2010 7:46AM

    Another gret blog and may we all find peace this holiday season!

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DEBRITA01 12/20/2010 9:33PM

    Liked the analogy...although I have not reached goal weight, I can understand your point. Too often we get caught up in our expectations and don't appreciate where we are or what we have.

emoticonWishing you peace and contentment as you celebrate the true meaning of Christmas...

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ANDI571 12/20/2010 6:51PM

    So true....I feel so blessed this year with all of the medical issues behind me, and I am here to just witness the true meaning of Christmas.

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WISEONE68 12/20/2010 8:42AM

    Love it--so true!! Enjoy your "holiday" and have a Merry Christmas!!! emoticon

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MICKEYMAX 12/20/2010 8:27AM

    It's hard for me to believe we are so close to Christmas. SP suggested I give myself more time to reach my current goal weight, so that's what I did. I adjusted my goal. It's all good!

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SWEETMAGNOLIA2 12/20/2010 8:16AM

    Thank you. May you have a real Christmas this year, too.

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RAYLINSTEPHENS 12/20/2010 8:10AM

    Great blog! Thank you!!

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Behaving better this Sunday than last...

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Last Sunday was my panicky binge day. I climbed back on the recovery wagon and behaved myself the rest of the week. I feel good about that. As long as I just keep on keeping on, "majority rules" kicks in. I survived two work luncheons in the week.

Strengthened by the good week of recovery and self-talk, today is shaping up much better. I've been getting ready for next weekend, trying to tidy up the house, preparing the three kinds of beans for the chili, and avoiding baking. If I *do* bake any more for Christmas, it will be at the last minute so I can give the results to others right away!

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

REJ7777 12/23/2010 8:02PM


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DEBRITA01 12/19/2010 9:00PM

    emoticonYou had a good recovery week and have a good mindset which will help you this coming week.

Baking is fun and makes the house smell good...glad to hear you give away the tempting goods though. I did the same with my excess and it worked out well.
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 12/19/2010 9:06:28 PM

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CAPECODBABE 12/19/2010 8:31PM

you sound like you have in under control emoticon

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SAMI199 12/19/2010 8:13PM

    Good recovery! I am doing the last minute baking thing,too.I figure when I see the car in the driveway it should be

. emoticon

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LJCANNON 12/19/2010 7:43PM

    I am so glad that we are all in this together. The Old Habits do die hard, don't they?
emoticonBut by Sparking and leaning on our SparkFriends, eventually our New Habits will take over completely.

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SWEETMAGNOLIA2 12/19/2010 5:43PM

    I'm like you on the baking! Avoiding my weak area! emoticon

Comment edited on: 12/19/2010 5:44:25 PM

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ANDI571 12/19/2010 4:38PM

    Good for you getting back on the band wagon. That's what it is all about. emoticon

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WALKINGANNIE 12/19/2010 3:54PM

    emoticon Great job on beating the blahs.

Don't it feel good? emoticon emoticon

I think that, like many others, we will both have to be in this for the long haul because it is still easy to slip off the wagon. The main thing is that you CAN do this and ARE doing it. You are doing a great job and are a shining example of Sparking in action.

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SUNNY1432 12/19/2010 3:27PM

    emoticon Congrats!! I hope you get everything done before Christmas and enjoy giving away all those baked goodies!! emoticon
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