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Reflections on my soda-free year

Monday, December 27, 2010

I didn't start a year ago. I started nearly three years ago. It started with a nutrition coach... I was doing pretty good with diet and exercise at the time, but I was consuming five or six cans of diet soda a day. Well, I set it as goal to reduce that number.

What I found was that when I did... I ate more! Ouch. And in fact, that was kind of the beginning of some back-sliding... combined with an injury to my left foot (sounds like a movie title)... I stopped exercising and started eating more. But I did manage to cut down from five or six to three sodas a day.

Then we went through the whole parathyroid mess... the panic over my weakening bones, not absorbing calcium, and all that rot. It was apparent that for me to continue drinking diet sodas even at three a day was not good for me. I had started eating well and exercising again in 2009, had the surgery that autumn, and decided to cut back to "at most ONE" diet soda a day, post-surgery.

I had that one soda at work, on my morning break. It was my special treat to myself. Then I found I didn't drink soda at home on the weekends. I tried skipping it a few days at work... and then, it was Christmas. I had my one can at Christmas dinner (which was delayed until December 27th by a rather significant amount of snow last year). That was my last. It was a Cherry Coke Zero, in case anyone cares.

And then... I started a streak. I had no clue it would last a whole year. There were temptations along the way: I thought the hot weather of the Summer might be a temptation, and it was. I contemplated letting myself have a can at the 4th of July celebration, but God intervened (my sister didn't acquire any). And the longer I went without, the less I desired it.

One thing I did learn: I most crave soda when I'm mis-behaving with food in other ways! And while I did have many slips in terms of overeating, I did not let myself cross the line into soda drinking... I let myself feel how bloated overeating made me feel. I really think I got some cross-over benefit from this!

So... if you're thinking about reducing your soda intake as one of your small (or large) steps, I stand here a year later saying: "I'm so glad I did this... and I don't think I'm going back."

emoticon to emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WILMASOTO 12/28/2010 6:11PM

    Well I have tried but then went back to drinking them!! That will be one of my new goals for this year!! If I can't stop completely I will be cutting down like you did until I just don;t crave it!! Congratulations for doing so well!!

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BUGGYS 12/28/2010 10:54AM

    I love Diet Coke but usually only had one a day and then I read an article about all those chemicals and I have pretty much stopped drinking it...I have maybe one every couple of weeks but I am going to try to stop completely in 2011. You have done such an amazing job on your healthy journey...I admire you , Barb! emoticon

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REJ7777 12/28/2010 6:55AM

    emoticon Think of all those chemicals you have NOT put into your body this year! emoticon

I find that soda is addictive. If I have some a couple times, I tend to start craving it. So I've basically cut it out completely. I drink water, green tea, and coffee. Well, nobody's perfect! emoticon

Comment edited on: 12/28/2010 6:56:06 AM

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KASEYCOFF 12/28/2010 4:28AM

    And now, any time you set a goal but start to doubt yourself, wondering 'Can I do this? Can I accomplish this goal?' all you need do is look back at this success - a year, a whole year! - and know with firm resolution 'YES! Yes, I CAN do this--!' 'cause you can, kiddo, you surely can. emoticon

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MSLZZY 12/27/2010 10:02PM

    I drink about one can a week, never at home and only when we socialize with friends. You did extremely well and should be proud of yourself! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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LITTLEFARMMOMMA 12/27/2010 10:01PM

    I admire you for that, too! I've quit drinking soda regularly, too, thanks to SP, and have had less than six in a year, I'm sure! Doesn't water just taste BETTER?! emoticon emoticon

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55TUCKER 12/27/2010 9:12PM

    A whole year....that's terrific! Keep up the great work. Love how your story unfolded and all you learned in the process.

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SLENDERELLA61 12/27/2010 9:02PM

    A great accomplishment! I admire you.

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46SHADOW 12/27/2010 9:01PM

    great story! I like how little steps helped you reach your goal.

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MOMOF2TONI 12/27/2010 8:44PM

    I'm afraid diet sodas are a big weakness for me. I usually drink 3 cans a day. I know it isn't good for me, but I truly love the Diet Pepsi Wild Cherry. lol.... Congrats on being able to stop the addiction!!

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SWEETMAGNOLIA2 12/27/2010 8:04PM

    Congrats! I too, was drinking a lot of diet soda. I haven't totally stopped, but almost ( 3 sodas in 3 months). Prefer the water now. emoticon

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MNTWINSGAL 12/27/2010 7:52PM

    Good for you, Barb! I used to be a diet-cokeaholic...seems like I always had a can going. Then a couple of years ago after a bout with kidney stones I decided something must be done. I went from 4-6 cans per day to maybe 1-2 per week. Sometimes none at all. And like you, I don't really miss it.

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DEBRITA01 12/27/2010 7:50PM

    emoticon job in reaching a year long, soda-free streak! I don't drink diet soda much but sometimes I get a thirst for it. After a few sips, I really don't want it. Most times I crave soda with foods like pizza (no beer for me), if I limit my pizza, I can limit my

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SAMI199 12/27/2010 7:26PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

well done!

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 12/27/2010 7:19PM

    I find this very interesting. I don't think I drink a lot of diet soda, but I do drink it. I've come to the point where I don't allow myself soda before I get my 8 glasses of water in each day, and that helps. Usually it's late afternoon or early evening. Sometimes I start a bottle of soda (and sometimes it lasts 3-4 days), and sometimes I don't. I have to admit that I wouldn't miss putting all of those chemicals and artificial sweeteners in my body. I must think about this, I think.

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As good as it gets? Nope, better.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Remember the movie of that title? The question at the root: "what if this is as good as it gets?"

I started pondering that this morning. I received a Spark e-mail pointing me to this article: 5 Secrets of the 5%

Being me, I started pondering was whether I can count myself among that 5%: "people who have lost weight and actually kept it off for the long-term" Maintenance, long-term, is the holy grail of weight loss. I've certainly lost weight, and at TIMES I've kept it off for a very long time. But I've struggled with periods of years of back-sliding that makes me concerned that I will fall into the abyss again, at any given moment.

This morning, the movie title and memory came back to me: What if this, for me, IS as good as it gets? Shortening the cycle from a regain to re-motivation. A comforting answer that came back: this really IS maintenance. Living with the past, learning from it, and moving on.

Maintenance is listening to our bodies, accepting that yes, we may have done some things in our celebration times (or emotional times) that put a couple of pounds back on... but NOT giving in to despair when we do. Maintenance is climbing back up on the wagon right away, not waiting and wallowing in self-pity or self-condemnation. Maintenance is recognizing what's going on chemically in our brains and bodies, and resisting the call to toss in the towel and continue indulging. Maintenance is forgiving ourselves, accepting ourselves, respecting ourselves.

If this is "as good as it gets"? It's good enough for me! 5% be hanged... when it's YOUR life, it's 100%

Here's to a terrific end of 2010, a fresh, hopeful start to 2011, and a healthy REST OF OUR LIVES! emoticon emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MSLZZY 12/27/2010 10:03PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 12/27/2010 12:58PM

    Great points to ponder. And I think you're right -- even shortening the length of time it takes to get from gaining the weight back to getting back on track is progress. And those fluctuations, if not too great, are normal. So yes, you are maintaining. That's one thing that I have not been able to accomplish. I'm either gaining or losing. No staying. But your blog gives me hope, cuz all it boils down to is state of mind. How we look at things.

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LJCANNON 12/27/2010 11:11AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticonThanks for a very good Perspective on Maintenance.

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ANDI571 12/27/2010 10:49AM

    Maintenance is listening to our bodies. I like that statement, and it is so true. When I lost years ago, that is exactly what I did, and I kept the weight off until I quit listening. Our bodies are pretty smart if we will just listen to it.

Your blog is words to live by.

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KASEYCOFF 12/27/2010 5:20AM

    I love your assessment of 'maintenance.' It's hard not to see it as something flexible, something fluid: it's as if it's a finishline in itself, as if once we've arrived, whew, glad THAT's over, now to get on with real living... only to find, like everything else in life that's worthwhile, it still takes work, still takes effort. Great definition, Barb - this is definitely a blog I will keep and check periodically, even before I reach 'maintenance stage,' lol.

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SUNNY332 12/26/2010 5:39PM

    Awesome resolve. emoticon a toast to all of us as we enter 2011.

Hugs, Sunny

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BUGGYS 12/26/2010 3:34PM

    It's 100% all the way. I am going back to WW on Wednesday and I'm going to reach goal...I am going to do the program 100% this time and I am going to keep it off as well. I amso sick of the ups and downs and never finishing what I've started and my health depends on it!

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SUNNY1432 12/26/2010 12:42PM

    emoticon blog!! It should be about enjoying life, the up and downs, 100% not just hoping to be part of the 5%.
emoticon Have a great day!!

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SWEETMAGNOLIA2 12/26/2010 10:00AM

    Great thoughts especially since when I weighed in this morning I had my first gain (even if it is only .6 of a lb) since joining Spark people in Oct. I'm thankful it wasn't a lot more as I celebrate anniversary, Christmas and birthday all in one week! It's scary to think of sliding back. Because I know how prone I am to that, having some self distrust keeps me looking outside myself for strength I need to persevere. Thanks to you and other Spark friends for being a main resource I draw from.

Comment edited on: 12/26/2010 10:01:43 AM

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46SHADOW 12/26/2010 9:38AM

    you are doing so wonderfully! It gives me hope that maintenance is doable with the right tools.

Comment edited on: 12/26/2010 9:39:08 AM

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REJ7777 12/26/2010 9:25AM

    Before SP, I thought I could "go on a diet" and get rid of the weight so that I could get off my diet as soon as possible. Now, I realize this is for life. And you're right, it is as good as it gets. And sometimes it's tough. As they say, "If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you always gotten." Here's to a healthy, fit "rest of our lives"! emoticon

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SLENDERELLA61 12/26/2010 8:21AM

    "5% be hanged... when it's YOUR life, it's 100%" -- so profound! so right! We can do this!! Thank you so much for a great blog. I'm voting for it.

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    I got that email, too, and read it about 10 minutes ago! I was thinking the same kind of thing! What??? 5%??? Not for ME! And then, your blog put it so perfectly! Thank you for a great blog this morning, and let's enjoy being 100%ers!!!

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SHARON2014 12/26/2010 8:05AM

    Great thoughts for a cold Sunday morning. Thanks! and... let's countdown to 2011!! emoticon

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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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