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Christmas eve - my way?

Saturday, December 25, 2010

After my determination yesterday:
"I am NOT my older sister. I am NOT my parents. I am me. If I'm going to do this at all, I have to do it my own way."

And this great advice from LindaKay228 caused a little attitude adjustment:
"Whatever you decide, you can choose whether it's because you are "forced" into it by that desire to please or whether you decide it's something you enjoy regardless of the reason it started."

And the support of all my Spark friends... I sucked it up, mopped the floor and did Christmas eve in the most informal way you can imagine.

I should warn you... my family is a little crazy, and a little bright, and at times, quite amusing! We love ourselves (as a group) quite loudly. As talk proceeds through the evening, the volume rises as each one has to jump into the conversation a level above the last. Not conflict, mind you... all exuberance. (Oh, by the way, did I mention these gathers are completely alcohol-free... this exuberance is pure being together stuff.)

We closed the evening, after the meal the coffee, the Christmas story, the little gifts and some great conversation in love and honesty... with a trip down nostalgia lane for the grown-ups and amusement avenue for the kids: we danced to Sweating to the Oldies and laughed a lot as the young men in the room first dropped to the back and then absented themselves from the room while the sisters and I rocked out. My brother in law walked on the treadmill and offered commentary.

I sent them off to be careful on the icy streets around 9... in time to "do church", but then opted out of driving on ice to do so, myself. It was a good Christmas eve.

Here's hoping you all have your holiday... YOUR WAY! emoticon emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SAMI199 12/27/2010 7:39PM

    I am glad it all went so well-Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year!!!


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SUNNY1432 12/25/2010 10:43PM

    Sounds like a great time filled with family and fun, Sweating to the Oldies, might have to try out that tradition. emoticon
I Hope you had a Wonderful Christmas Day!! emoticon

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SHARON2014 12/25/2010 10:19AM

    We had a different nephews, once so eager to open age 15 they now wanted to "stretch it out" one invented a new twist: each person had to look at the wrapped gift and make up a story about the wrapping was a bag with Father Christmas, or paper with poinsettias, or a snowpeople family ... etc. It was pretty lame, but pretty funny! Being together with family (and the furbabies), reading the scripture, eating the traditional meal and laughing...and in Michigan, a mild night with no additional snow and dry roads!!

Merry Christmas! emoticon

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CONCHA77 12/25/2010 9:05AM

    Sounds like a Great Christmas Party Tradition. Glad you enjoyed yourself. Merry Christmas.

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REJ7777 12/25/2010 8:42AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

As I read: "If I'm going to do this at all, I have to do it my own way.", I couldn't help but think about how that applies to our health and fitness goals in general. We have to find our own way there too, if it's going to work. What motivates you may not motivate me. The food and physical activities I choose are probably not the same as yours. I have to do this in my own way!

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SUNNY332 12/25/2010 8:27AM

    What a great evening you all had. We did not get out on the ice either so missed Christmas Eve Services at church. Joshua made a great Mexican Casserole and we listened to Carols while we ate and then watched "It's a Wonderful Life". Today the rest of the family arrives so will be "humming" around here by this evening. I have a 21# Turkey to get in the oven so talk later and do have a very Blessed Day.


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    That sounded like a really wonderful time! And you got some exercise in, to boot! emoticon emoticon

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WISEONE68 12/25/2010 8:20AM

    Sounds kinda similar to our family celebrations---the loud part, the non-alcohol part, the "loving each other" part. I am so glad you all had a GREAT Christmas sure can remind you of who you used to be and who you ARE now!! Both are important to know!!!

Blessings, Friend!!

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CAREN_BLUEJEANS 12/25/2010 6:41AM

    emoticon WTG on the new family traditions! Peace & Love!

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Being myself and Christmas eve

Friday, December 24, 2010

Andi571 included this phrase in her blog: "I am always so afraid of hurting someone's feelings and I do things I don't want to do because of it. "

emoticon Insert bell ringing in my head! The holiday blues can sometimes be brought on by exactly that: doing things we don't want to do. Overeating can be brought on by that, as well. At least for me, it can.

For ten years or so, Christmas eve was held at my sister's home. It was our parents' tradition, and she continued it. She wanted to. It meant a lot to her. And then, last year it changed. She had a new grandson. It made more sense for her to fly to spend the holiday with her daughter's family. She announced to the sibling group that this would be the case...

and then, one of another sister's children lamented, "but where shall we go for Christmas eve?"

You see, the remaining two sisters in town are not Christian. Not even nominally (like me). But, I let myself get roped into hosting the traditional chili supper on Christmas eve last year, and this year, it's expected. I'm preparing it... but it dawns on me I've never really asked myself if it's something I WANT to do, or if I'm doing it because I don't want to hurt the feelings of others.

I am NOT my older sister. I am NOT my parents. I am me. If I'm going to do this at all, I have to do it my own way. Maybe it's time to let this particular family tradition go. Maybe this is the last year.

Pondering required. Must be wary of the toddler Barbie syndrome of resisting and then really enjoying once I overcome the resistance, too. To be continued.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SAMI199 12/27/2010 7:36PM

    This is coming in late-I have found our "Traditions"morphing each year & this year was really nice because we did what was best for us-which maent NOT running ourselves ragged to attend everyone's holiday celebration.No ill will-just too much-leaving us overtired & cranky. We have decided to spend Christmas day @ home-alone-it was wonderful. Still doing the kids this week-4 hour drive to my son's New Year Eve's. DD is snowed in-I don't know when we'll do it now...I am not even upset.

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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REJ7777 12/24/2010 1:52PM

    It's always smart to take a step back and evaluate. Sometimes our health forces us to do so. Other times it's just a feeling of sadnness. And of course, eating is an easy go-to "solution" for foodies like us until we figure things out.

There are some things I need to step back and evaluate too. My heart has been acting up again and my doctor has had to put me back on medication. It's stressful to do things we don't want to do and are not necessarily good at because of our perception of what others' expectations of us are.

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STEPHIEKNITS 12/24/2010 11:52AM

    A Merry ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ ¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪Christmas ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ ¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪
♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ ¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪ .And A Happy New Year!♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ ¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪...

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SWEETMAGNOLIA2 12/24/2010 11:47AM

    My daughter broke tradition this year from our usual family get-together. With full time jobs, more distance between, and wanting to start her own family traditions with her children it just seemed too much. I respect her decision and even welcome it. Sometimes it's just nice to enjoy a less hectic time and have visits when it's more convenient.

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LINDAKAY228 12/24/2010 10:04AM

    So many of us do the same thing. I try not to fall into the trap but I still do more often than I want to. It's something we will probably be continuing to work at as we grow. Hope you have a great time in spite of why you're doing it, and then decide whether to continue it next year or not. Sometimes traditions are good and sometimes they need to be changed. Whatever you decide, you can choose whether it's because you are "forced" into it by that desire to please or whether you decide it's something you enjoy regardless of the reason it started.
Merry Christmas and may the New Year bring you wonderful things you never dreamed of!

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 12/24/2010 9:56AM

    I think many of us fall victim to that kind of thinking. We do what others want, regardless of how we feel, just to avoide conflict and/or hurting people's feelings. If it's not something you enjoy all that much, then maybe when you're all around the table enjoying your chili tonight you should just state that you've hosted two years in a row and that next year someone else can take a turn. My guess is that perhaps the tradition will breathe its last breath.

Regardless, Barb, merry Christmas to you and yours!

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    Yes, i agree with Carrie... It's healthy and wise for you to stop and think and DECIDE if this is right for you. And who knows! If you DO decide you want to, it will suddenly seem "right" and you'll enjoy it! Nobody likes to feel put upon! Merry Christmas, my sweet friend! emoticon

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CARRIE1948 12/24/2010 8:57AM

    Good for you for taking time to think about what it is that you want.

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SUNNY332 12/24/2010 8:47AM

    I will pray that His Blessings come your way big time as a result of this. I have a feeling He has something special in mind for you.

God Bless you my friend and know that even when you think it is not by His plan, it really is.

Hugs, Sunny

Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year.

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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.
emoticon emoticon

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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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