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PRISON MEMORIES...What I learned on the ride home!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Today my sister was released from prison, this time she had been in for a little over two years. So my youngest niece (her daughter) and I set off on our 2+ hour roadtrip to this little country town to pick her up.

I am ashamed to admit that a part of me was dreading the trip.

One, I have so many urgent projects at work that I *thought* I couldn't afford to take off. Two, I absolutely loathe driving for longer than 45 minutes. Three, Mapquest will do you no good to find this place and accurate road signs are unheard of. Four, I had volunteered to give one of the released inmates who is also from our city a ride home and I was unsure if all of her belongings and my sister's belongings would fit in the car. Finally, it was hard enough imagining what my sister had been through over the past few years and I just didn't want to hear all of the "prison memories" on the 2+ hour drive home...

Nevertheless, bright and early this morning, Kia, my snack bag, my Migo Water Bottle and I head out on the open road!!!

So we arrive and are immediately greeted by a group of inmates on their way to "work". When I get out of the car they said, "You must be Ms. Vee's sister, she can't wait to see you, she's so excited about going home and she's lost too much weight." Then they went on to comment about how much they were going to miss my sister, how beautiful my niece and I are, how much my niece looks like my sister and how much she has missed our family!

CRRUHHHCHINK (the 1st crack in my face).

When my sister came through the doors I was shocked. I know that she's lost almost 100 lbs. She was beaming her skin looked so healthy and she looked years younger. Immediately after I hugged her, I had to look at the tag in her clothes to see what size she was wearing. She had lost almost 5 dress sizes! One of the workers walked out and helped us load the car. She went on to comment about how well Vee had been doing with watching what she ate (which was an accomplishment since she was allowed to work in the kitchen and had access to almost anything that she wanted to eat). My sister looked at me and said, yes I've been trying to do what you told me and I've even been doing the exercises at work and in my cell that you told me to do.

CRRAAAZACK (the 2nd crack in my face).

Anyway, she knew that the rest of us had been losing weight and she wanted to as well. (Which I am so thankful for, her health was in the seriously critical range just before she was arrested).

Then her friend came out to get in the car. She had all of her possessions from the past few years in one small clear trash bag, and I had the nerve to be concerned that she would have too much *stuff*! And the first thing that she said was "Wow, oooh the outdoors. I have not seen the outdoors or daylight in over 2 years...thank you for taking me home."

GULP...that was me swallowing super hard to keep from crying and busting out into a re-enactment of the episode of "Mama's Bird" from Martin!!!

Then what really did it for me was when they got in the car. Of course, I had packed a "snack bag" just in case my niece and I got hungry, or just in case my sister and her friend hadn't had anything good to eat. The bag was full of fresh fruit, nuts, granola bars, ice-cold bottled water...ya know the bare essentials to keep you away from a FRY ATTACK. So, I offered them something to eat and passed the bag back to them. They both said oooooh grapes, we haven't had any fruit since we've been here. So, I turned on my ignition and my CD resumed play. My sister's friend said...ohh music, I can't remember the last time I heard any music.

Have mercy...no fresh fruit...no music!!! Now I can go for days on end without watching TV, but if I didn't have music...now that's torture. AH LAWD!!!

CRRRAAAPLOW (my face just hit the ground).

So on the way home they did share "prison memories", but more importantly they talked about what they learned from those experiences and how thankful they were to have another chance at life.

I just learned so much from listening to them and more importantly from watching them....they were so grateful for the simplest of things...riding in a car, talking on a cell phone, etc.

After I picked up the cracked pieces of my face, the part of me that was dreading the trip completely vanished and I felt privileged to have been a part of one of their final "prison memories."

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

M3NOMOFAT 10/5/2007 11:08PM

    PS...Please tell your sister "welcome home" from your spark sister. Also, tell her kudos for her committment to lose weight and become more healthy. she is doing a phenomenal job and I am proud of her hard work. Finally tell her that I am praying that GOD will restore to her all that the enemy has stolen as she obeys HIM. (Especially time with her daughter). Blessings of GOD to you all as we journey...
m3--your spark sister

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M3NOMOFAT 10/5/2007 1:16PM

    Ashamed, weeping and humbled...Thanks

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GOTTHATFIRE 10/1/2007 5:08PM

    D710DANCE, thanks for sharing your experience. I, too, had a close relative do time in jail. In this case it was a few short stints and two long terms. I kind of got used to her not being around or being around for a short while and then back again. I've also worked in a maximum security prison and sad as it is, you learn that a lot of people thrive in jail, whereas they cannot on the streets. All of that to say that I understand why it may have caused mixed emotions to go there, but glad that the trip was something that you walked away from feeling fulfilled to have done. It's also encouraging to know that someone who couldn't eat fruit and exercise by music has successfully lost weight. Tell your sister congrats! Tell her also that she definitely has the power to succeed outside. And I have absolutely no excuse whatsoever. GTF

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    Thanks for sharing.

Often we take so many things for granted, thanks for the reminder of how blessed we truly are.

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HEARTLIGHT 9/29/2007 11:20PM

    How beautiful! Thank you for your insights and please tell your sister that her ability to take charge of her life and enhance it under such adverse conditions is brilliant. Bless you for the loving support you've given your sister and thank you both for shining your light all the way to Canada.

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SQUIRRELY_GIRL 9/29/2007 5:00PM

    What a wonderful blog! I think it is normal to have mixed feelings when you are presented a situation you haven't been in before. The good thing is you went in expecting little and came out gaining a whole new insight. I am glad that your sister and friend have chosen to take such a positive path. Not everyone is so determined. I am glad your experience was so eye opening for you, and for us who have read your wonderful account. Take care! Adrianne

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BLESSED3061 9/29/2007 1:10PM

    This really touch me, and made me realize to be thankful for the small things

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ANGIE194 9/29/2007 3:26AM

  Thank you for taking the time to share that experience with us. I get so caught up sometimes I forget what's really important. Good luck to you and to your sister and God bless. Angie

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If I had time, I would BLOG about how...

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

...proud I am of my niece NEWBEIN!

...I can't believe that my little Kia (my youngest niece) just turned 23!!! AGH...my baby is growing up!!!

...much I miss my Daddy!

...much I love love love all 104+ of my SP friends!!!

...the CARDIO CONNOISSEURS continue to motivate me to do my personal best.

...the CC Stronger Challenge is showing me what I'm made of! (AND I'm getting Longer, Better, Faster, STRONGER!)

...Jill Scott's new song "Hate on Me" has revolutionized my cardio workout.

...pumped I am that I'm jumping rope!

...I feel so connected to the members of TQ17!

...how much I miss working out with MRS. TJO1214!

...excited I am about completing the final steps to transfer to my new job!

...nervous I am about my sister's release on Friday and the 2+ hour road trip that I will need to take to pick her up.

...excited I am about being invited to play golf this Tuesday with one of this city's top female movers and shakers!

...weird it is that my weight is fluctuating from week to week, yet my clothes continue to fit looser!!!

...I appreciate SNIKWAD's "BMI pearls of wisdom" and for reminding me that it's okay to be a CARDIO-A-HOLIC...HA!

...much the DIVAs a/k/a DIVAs Gettin' Down (NEWBEIN, TJOI214, CLEWIS018 AND LOVABLELULU) mean to me!

...thankful I am for the completely honest friendship that I have with LOVABLELULU and how I can talk to her about absolutely EVERYTHING!

...much I appreciate M3NOMOFAT for showing me that you can be both VIRTUOUS and VIVACIOUS, SAVED yet SEXY!!!

...grateful I am to MARSHBTOKS for introducing me to doing the elliptical machine "Hands Free"

...COLD-BLOODED and workout-friendly my new haircut is! (trust me pictures will be forthcoming!!!)

...excited I am about being a few pounds away from Stage 4 of "Operation Janet Jackson."

...I am waiting with tip-toe anticipation for October 9th!

...the definition that I'm developing in my arms, shoulders, abs and calves as a result of strength training.

...although I have never met JANEYJAYE and NOEILAND, they push the heck out of me during Spin Class!!!

...I cannot wait until I get a response from the producers at Core Rhythms!

...blessed I am to have a friend like Lisa.

...proud I am of Mama's weight loss!

...grateful I am for my manual tracking tools when I'm unable to SPARK (i.e. my Fat Li'l Notebook and my Cardio Cards)!


Oh, if I just had a little time...the things I would blog about!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LUVLOCKD 9/29/2007 12:01PM


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M3NOMOFAT 9/28/2007 2:34PM

    You are such a blessing! Your photos, wisdom, kindness, transparency and realness are tangible reflections of the beauty in you, and I so appreciate you as the friend I haven't seen!

Love, Marshelle
PS those Video Dancers will be so jealous after Oct 9th!
Work yo sexy Sis!

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THICKCHICK5 9/27/2007 1:00PM

    I am such a big fan of yours. You motivate me to step it up a notch each time, that's why i continue to check your page and blogs. Keep doing you, sis...you have a wonderful spirit. You deserve every pound loss, because you work very hard for it. One day i'll get like you.

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NOEILAND 9/27/2007 9:34AM

    Hey D - You know I'm tickled to be one of the immortal spinners of CCs! Live on! or shall I say ... Ride on! WooHoo!

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JANEYJAYE 9/27/2007 1:44AM

    I feel like you are there in spin class too pushing me to do better! You are a force to be reckoned with and a good friend to have... even if we have never met! Love the list, thanks for sharing it with us.

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Just Call Me Tiger-dra Woods!!!

Monday, September 17, 2007

This past Saturday, my co-workers and I played in a Golf Scramble that was sponsored by the Men's Ministry at my church. Although this was my 3rd official time playing golf, I am hooked, and I am planning to take some golf lessons in the near future.

We had such a good time, but the things that I am proudest of are:

1. A couple of times my ball actually went airborn!

2. Our score was 6 under PAR.

3. I was able to keep up with my same #2 pink "Hope" ball during the entire game.

4. Last but not least, my golf shirt was a size "L"...no "X" or any numbers in front of it...just an "L"! Yay Me!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KITEFLYINGAL 9/21/2007 12:53AM

    You deserve a bigger trophy that any Tiger ever got... You are just so awesome!

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LASVEGASLES 9/20/2007 2:39PM

    Tigressssssssss Woods is more like it friendgirl! Yaaaaay you for the "L" !!



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ATR1983 9/19/2007 5:22PM

    Way to go D on being able to wear a L. Keep up the good work. Before you know it you will be wearing a medium.

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LADEAN2 9/19/2007 10:41AM

    Way to go. Glad you enjoyed it and proud of you accomplishments. To God be the glory

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MSDIVA1128 9/19/2007 8:51AM

    YOU GO Ms. Woods. I've always thought of golf, as exciting as watching paint dry. You give me new hope. Maybe you can teach me the game. Super on that L shirt. You ROCK gurlfriend.


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MSQUAN 9/18/2007 7:57PM

    GO GIRL!!!!! It feels so good to get in an "L"!! I am on my way too!!! I am so happy for you! I have always wanted to golf, you just gave me some inspiration!

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JANEYJAYE 9/18/2007 2:28PM

    That's so great. The L Word has a whole new meaning for you! And I love that you've taken up another activity!!!

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STACEY96DAVIS 9/18/2007 10:52AM

    Congratson your golf and of course more on your SIZE"' L ". I am very proud of you. You give me great hope of achiveing my goal! GOD BLESS YOU !!!!!!

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MARIEL27 9/18/2007 9:50AM

    Looks like you had a "ball"! (oh lawd... how cheesy was that!!??)

Making great progress, keep it up!

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NOEILAND 9/17/2007 9:21PM

    Hey D-
I don't know anything about golf but I'm so happy for you wearing a Size L! Congrats!

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ROSEMARIE1965 9/17/2007 8:49PM

    way to go girl, congrats to you.

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RHEABROWNJR 9/17/2007 7:25PM

    WHY TO GO Tiger-dra Wooooooooo :) A 6 under par is 66. Not bad for your 2rd time out. I'm still trying to shoot in the 80's.

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I've got a TESTIMONY...GOD has been good to me!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Yesterday, before I realized it, it was after midnight and I had not done a real workout--which made yesterday my 8th Fitness Break Day so far this year. Sure a few minutes here and there I danced to my favorite songs, did some Tae Bo Side Kicks/Knee-Lifts and some Core Rhythms standing crunches, but I always do stuff like that anyway...so I don't count it as a real workout. I had nerve enough to feel guilty! Then I said, to myself the DEVIL IS A LIAR!

Although I didn't get to physically workout yesterday, I did get to preach at one of my friend's churches and had one of the best spiritual workouts that I've had in a long time! God has truly been good to me and HE just keeps blessing me. When I just take a few minutes to think about HIS love for me...I just get overjoyed.

THEN this morning when I got to work I did an unofficial weigh-in and am approximately 4 lbs. away from my next goal. So far it looks like I've lost over 6lbs. just since Monday. HALLELUJAH!

THEN I checked my personal email, the producers at Core Rhythms have been reviewing my testimonial information and their Customer Service Manager wants to set up a time to talk to me about the next steps. GLORY!

THEN one of my vendors asked me for a before and after picture...he had been working on getting some tickets for me to the Oprah Winfrey Show...based on correspondence that he's been having with one of the producers they're now talking about actually having me as a guest on the show. PRAISE HIM!

Regardless of what does or does not happen with Core Rhythms or Oprah. I am so thankful that God has kept me and has brought me this far!!! AMEN!

Yes indeed, I've got a TESTIMONY!!! God has been good to me!!!

Psalm 118:1 A “Give thanks to the Lord, for He IS good!"

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MSQUAN 9/18/2007 7:59PM


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BECCA923 9/17/2007 12:31AM

    Wow!! It's great how HE shows up in our lives and lets us know HE is still there holding us up and supporting us in our times of need!!

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LUVLOCKD 9/15/2007 12:44PM

    AMEN! You've got confirmation all around you! Can't wait to see you share your testimony on Oprah!

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SWEETP03 9/15/2007 12:52AM

    Amen, For he is worthy to be praised.

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MSDIVA1128 9/14/2007 7:56AM

    Very good sister. Three cheers!

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NOEILAND 9/13/2007 4:56PM


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ATR1983 9/13/2007 3:54PM

    You are a great person and I hope you get all you want and deserve. Let me know when you will be on oprah so I can watch it. God bless you! Hope you have a great day.

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2008LYNN 9/13/2007 2:39PM

  OMG!!! OMG!!! OMG!!! OMG!!! OMG!!! OMG!!! OMG!!! OMG!!!

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SHONTA2 9/13/2007 2:36PM

    Rejoice when those that rejoice! I am blessing God with you! Glory to God for His favor, his mercy, his blessings, his loving kindness! Glory to God is truely worthy to be praised..... GLORY!!!!!!!!!!!

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SHARON9560 9/13/2007 1:50PM

    That was a wonderful testimony Dee! All Praises to Him the Most High.

Let me know when you'll be on Oprah so I can support you :)

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STACEY96DAVIS 9/13/2007 1:14PM

    GOD BLESS YOU!!! I am so glad to see someone So motovated by the LORD!! He is my motovation. I pray that some day I have A wonderful Testimony like yours. I am Praying for you To get all you want and deserve. GOD BLESS YOU!!!!!!!!

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SKINNY...Who me???!!!

Friday, September 07, 2007

Lately my friends, family and church members have been calling me "Skinny" as if its my new nickname. And of course I don't mind--I absolutely love it--even if they're just trying to be nice :)

Well on Tuesday 9/4/07, although it was under very sad circumstances, I got to visit with my friend "B-Mack" when he drove up for the funeral for one of our friends.

"B-Mack" and I have been friends, well more like siblings, for almost 7 years and he has been another source of support as I have fought this battle with the bulge. "B-Mack" is one of those people who is very direct and honest, which is one of the things I have appreciated most about our friendship. A few months ago he and his family relocated. During his going away party he complimented me on how well I was doing with my weight loss and said that he could tell that I was serious about "Operation Janet Jackson!!!"

Well, when I saw him on Tuesday one of the first things that he said was, "Wow! Look at how skinny you are!!!"

SKINNY...Who me???!!!

Then after looking at the picture we took, I was soooo surprised to see how small I look. My face is thin, you can clearly see my neck and WOW I have my very own waistline!!! It is so good to see that all of the recent changes that I've made to my program are working. And although I have NOT YET reached my goal weight of 223 lbs, I feel sooooo good! And receiving all of the positive support from the folks who genuinely care about me makes me feel even better!!!

SKINNY...I like it!!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JANEYJAYE 9/11/2007 12:24AM

    Hey Skinny, You are looking so fabulous. Keep doing what you are doing because IT IS WORKING!!!

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LUVNGOD 9/10/2007 10:32PM

    To see your progress is inspirational.

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MZPERSEVERANCE 9/10/2007 10:39AM

    Go Soror...Congratulations.

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SNIKWAD 9/9/2007 1:14PM


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D710DANCE 9/9/2007 10:13AM

    SNIK~I attempted to respond to your comment and accidently deleted it ;( But they already know that it's a waste of time to offer me anything that's not in my meal plan (i.e. desserts) or invite me to skip a work out...AIN'T GONNA HAPPEN!

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KEEKEEWASH1972 9/8/2007 5:15PM

    You ROCK ... you know that right?!?!

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MSDIAMOND600 9/8/2007 12:32PM

    You look amazing. YOU GO GIRL!

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NEVA2LATE 9/8/2007 12:10AM

    Oh My Goodness!!! .... LOOK AT YOU!!!!!

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KITEFLYINGAL 9/7/2007 8:59PM

    You mean so much to so many here.. it's really hard to believe you are the same person who is pictured on your homepage. Your exercise is just unbelievable and you are truly a inspiration. I think Oprah should be giving you a spot so you can go and speak of the miracles that happen here at Spark. You are a miracle.. your strength and determination leave me in awe...
Many smiles to you,

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ROSEMARIE1965 9/7/2007 6:46PM

    looking good girl...

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MSDIVA1128 9/7/2007 4:01PM

    By the way, I have a nephew named C-Mack

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MSDIVA1128 9/7/2007 4:00PM

    Hey skinny, MsD here. You look awesome, I think I am about to get jealous (smile). Keep up the good work SKINNY!

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MARSHBTOKS 9/7/2007 3:59PM

    Dance...you look soooo good....Love you new pixs they show off all your hard work...you go gurl...........

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2008LYNN 9/7/2007 3:03PM

  MY HERO!!!

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BECCA923 9/7/2007 10:02AM

    I saw your profile picture and then saw this blog....YOU are amazing!! Everyday when I get on spark, I read your motivational posts, yes they are motivational, and I just want to thank you for all of it. You look fabulous!! You'll reach your goal in no time!

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M3NOMOFAT 9/7/2007 9:08AM

    I was delighted to see your profile pic and raced to your page to see what's up with you these days. I am literally crying with joy for you! What a phenomenal job GOD is doing in your life! I am sorry about the loss of your friend. Thank GOD you have friends that will support each other in sad times. They are also there for you as you rejoice. Praise the LORD! Not everyone has that. Blessings of GOD to you Queen! You are sure distinquishing yourself as you persevere and do the Dang Thang!

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THICKCHICK5 9/7/2007 8:15AM

    You look amazing, You are a tremendous inspiration and huge motivator in my weight loss. You GO GIRL!!!

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ALINUTZA 9/7/2007 1:57AM

    Wow, you look great! You came such a long way... You are amazing, skinny girl. No wonder you have so many friends that support you. Alina

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ATR1983 9/7/2007 12:55AM

    You have come along way on your journey. You are such an inspiration. You will be at you goal weight soon. Keep up the good work skinny!

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