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1st Quarter 2014, reporting in....

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

1st quarter of 2014 complete. Since Jan 1st, I have lost 13 pounds. That is only 3.88%. However, I am NOT going to stress over it. I am losing and that is a happy thing. I have set the goal for the 2nd quarter's loss to be 5%... which will make my July 1st goal: 305. We'll see if I can get there. I sure hope so. If nothing else, I am determined.

My focus for the first quarter of the year has been to MAKE A HAPPY DAY. This means that I have been focusing on being happy & CHOOSING Happiness. The HAPPY SONG has been such a hit & plays in my head a LOT. I really want to download it to my workout MP3 player. That will really liven up my personal workouts. I just can't hear that song & NOT be happy.

Furthermore, I have continued to focus on LOVING DAWN HEALTHY. My food plan has been a huge help in that respect. I continue to workout daily, attend church, SPARK, and eat properly. I am tracking all my food, fitness & water. I am reminding myself DAILY of my many blessings & tracking my gratitudes in my blessing/gratitude jar.

My belief that 2014... my 55th year... would be the best year ever.... has proven to be true so far. I am & will continue to believe this to be true & to live my life as if it IS a given.

1st quarter "focal points"

1. Turned 55 on Jan 15th.
2. Had an awesome POOL party to celebrate
3. My youngest son was released from jail on Feb 13th
4. My DH turned 55 on Feb 17th
5. Started the NO SUGAR NO STARCH food plan on Feb 25th
6. Traveled to Pittsburgh & meet my beloved "serious sisters" March 13-19
7. March 20th, got my van back & on the road after a 6month breakdown
8. March 23rd met & worked with my newest "little swimmers"
9. March 29th celebrated my granddaughter, McKenzie's 12th birthday
10. April 1st weighed in at 322 & started the 2nd quarter of 2014.

Important events in my Spark Life 1st quarter, 2014:

Completed the Lovely Limes Winter Warm Up BL Challenge on Feb 20th

Started the Lovely Limes Spring Into Action BL Challenge on March 13th

Continued focusing on interacting with my other Team Families... including posting in the chat threads often, playing the games & sending out goodies & messages to ALL of the team family members.

Attempted to Blog as often as possible, without pushing myself or stress.

Met with my 2 Spark Serious Sisters & continue to maintain daily contact.

My conclusion is that 2014 has been VERY SUCCESSFUL & has so far proven to be "the best year ever"... and guess what?!?!?! I'm HAPPY!!!!!

Thank you for being a part of what makes me feel so loved & welcome here on Spark People. Bright blessings to you all.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

_KATHY_ 4/7/2014 7:45PM

    emoticon I'm proud of you

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MEOWMAMA3 4/5/2014 11:33PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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BE-THE-CHANGE 4/3/2014 4:52PM


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BRE2003SB 4/3/2014 6:51AM

    emoticon emoticon

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    emoticon I'd never be here without you. I'm so thankful we're doing this side by side, and that we are finding what works for US.
Love you, Di

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TATTER3 4/2/2014 9:21PM

    Better than me!!! Keep Sparkin'!!

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BARBARAROSE54 4/2/2014 8:09PM


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JANE-DOE 4/2/2014 1:12PM

    You do have so much to be HAPPY about. This blog points to lots of happiness.
3.88% loss / 13 lbs is emoticon

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GORIANA 4/2/2014 10:47AM

    That is a great quarter! emoticon

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ANAKIE 4/2/2014 9:22AM

    13# is awesome! Keep up the good work. emoticon
I like the "blessings jar" idea.

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WISLNDR 4/2/2014 5:41AM

    Your year is off to an amazing start, filled with all kinds of great things! What's next?? Are you ready for even more?? emoticon

You're absolutely right that 2014 is going to be an awesome year!


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IM_POSSIBLE 4/1/2014 11:40PM

    I know I don't normally say much, but you are such an inspiration!!! Congratulations on the great 1st quarter!! Best wishes for an even better 2nd quarter!! emoticon

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JERSEYGIRL24 4/1/2014 10:59PM


I probably don't "talk" to you enough but you inspire me almost every day. I lost about 3.8% of my weight in the Winter 5% challenge; however I see the fact that I lost as much as I did as a victory and not as a disappointment. I am truly envious of your visit with Deb and your other friend in Pittsburgh. I was almost in tears while reading your blog.

Seems to me like you had a very good first quarter. May the second be even better!!! emoticon

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GORDON66 4/1/2014 10:56PM

  Most excellent!!! You are a busy and happy gal. Good for you!!!!!

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Count your blessings

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Today has been another good day. I am feeling good about my food plan & about my life. My caloric range is low & has been staying in range for quite awhile now. That makes me happy. My carbs are good today. As I said yesterday, they have been at 20 or below since Feb 25th except for 9 days. A couple of those days it was just 21 or 22. The highest day was 38 carbs. I am thinking that since the major culprits on the high carbs were either tomatoes or Brussels sprouts, I don't have to spend too much time stressing over it.

This morning I awoke to snoW. Yes, I know that it's Spring. It appears that Mother-Nature doesn't care. We were only supposed to get a slight dusting of snow & then rain. NOPE. It snowed all day long. While it stuck to the ground and was beautiful, the happy thing is that it never stuck to any of the roads. The kids didn't even miss school. Funny thing... it stopped snowing around 4pm and the sun came out, warmed everything up and POOF... the snow cleared up and was gone in less than an hour. It turned beautiful. Gotta like that... the only problem was that I had already canceled our OA meeting for the night because it was still snowing & the temperatures were supposed to drop and cause freezing tonight. One of our members has a hubby that demanded she not come. The other regular doesn't drive in snow. Sooooo, that left me and I felt that it was just as well that I stayed home. I missed having a meeting but enjoyed having the evening to "chill". I've been watching a lot of shows that have been on my DVR. I really enjoyed myself.

I've been thinking a lot about my life since Spark People. One of the things that I did while I was in Pittsburgh was get a tattoo of the Spark Logo. I mentioned that already & even posted a picture of the new tat. What I really like is that on my left wrist, I have an AA symbol. I can look at it all the time and be reminded that AA has saved my life by helping me to achieve sobriety & sanity. Now, on my right wrist, I have the SparkPeople LOGO which reminds me that SparkPeople has also changed my life by teaching me to Love Myself and that getting healthy is NOT just about dieting & losing weight but about changing my life & my life style. I am so grateful for these simple symbols Reminders or where I AM sober & health conscious.... but also where I have been and how important that it for me to KEEP the healthy new ME as permanent as my tattoos. I am determined to keep moving forward, one day at a time, doing the next right thing... exercising, eating on my food plan, tracking all my food, exercise & water... SPARKING daily, staying in constant contact with the people that I have come to rely upon and LOVE. Those people are YOU, my SparkFriends. You motivate and inspire me daily.

This week we had a challenge on our Lovely Limes BLC team... it was to visit each other's Spark Pages and come back to the team Chat thread to report on new things that we have learned about one another. It has been the most awesome challenge EVER! It is wonderful to see how everyone on the team family (and we ARE a family) have been checking one another out and coming back with new & different bits of information. Funny how people can look at the same page about the same people and see different things, facts & aspects of them. It has been absolutely mavelous to get to know one another the way that we have been. I have the most awesome Team Family in all of Spark Land and I'm not afraid to say that. Our stats may not make us #1 all the time.. but by golly WE ARE #1 in Spirit and Soul. I am so blessed to be a part of the team and a co-leader as well. What an honor to be part of these women changing their lives & becoming healthier day by day. I am so grateful that they are sharing their journeys with me. My co-leader, Deb.... is truly a GREAT person and this challenge was HER IDEA! My hat is off to her. This was & is the best exercise in building team spirit and comraderie that I have ever experienced. Thank you Deb.

Tomorrow I am not only teaching my classes but I am also going to go & help run a "bingo" hour at a local retirement facility. I'm nervous about going because I really have almost a phobia about hospitals and facilities like this. I really get almost sick freaked out thinking about going. I really don't know why that I agreed to go... but I am going to pray about it and push myself to do it. It's the right thing to do. Just one more step in growth I suppose. I'll have to let you know how it goes. That means that it is going to be a long day. I teach 3 classes in the morning starting at 6am.. the the bingo thing... then back to the pool to teach 2 more classes in the evening. I'd better get myself to bed.

Here's hoping that you have also had a good day and that you are finding little things to be grateful for in your life. It amazed me that our lives are so full of blessings and we often miss them. I'm so grateful that I have had my eyes opened to the possibilities of blessings even in what might be seen as problems. I am so grateful for so much that I don't have enough time or energy to post them all here.

Bright blessings to you all.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

THEVOW2013 3/27/2014 6:19PM


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MEOWMAMA3 3/26/2014 11:21PM

    emoticon emoticon

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BRE2003SB 3/26/2014 10:27PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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    emoticon I hope the bingo goes well at the retirment home!

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TATTER3 3/26/2014 3:30PM

    Yea you!!!

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BE-THE-CHANGE 3/26/2014 12:56PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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WISLNDR 3/26/2014 6:28AM

    Wonderful blog, happy days for you! I know you will enjoy bingo today; you will be helping make more happy days for some really wonderful people! Enjoy!!


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BARBARAROSE54 3/26/2014 3:07AM


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GORIANA 3/26/2014 12:54AM

    emoticon sleep tight . Hope it all works out tomorrow.

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Gratitude... 3/24/2014

Monday, March 24, 2014

Since I wrote my last blog, I have had a lot to be grateful for. Frankly, I am blessed and am able to find more to be grateful for than most folks. I'm still filling my "gratitude jar" for opening on New Year's Eve and I never cease having full pages of what I am grateful for each day.

I arrived home safely after little problems on the plane. The ironic thing was that I had the same exact flight attendant. That was funny. Happily, my friend Kathy was waiting for me when I arrived at Raleigh Durham airport. We stopped at Golden Coral for dinner on the way home. I got home about 11pm. Kaydon (my grandson) was waiting for me when I came through the door for not 1 but 2 big hugs before he went to bed. There was a big poster sign on the door that said Welcome Home We Missed You. That was great. Aurora was sleeping but she made me feel very welcome when I saw her the next day. Paul missed me and we had a nice evening talking & catching up before I fell asleep. I must admit that the whole family made me feel missed & welcome. I am grateful for the time away and grateful to be home. There is so much that still drives me crazy here.. but things are better for now & I am so grateful for the awesome trip that truly has changed my life for the better. I already was missing Deb & Di but so grateful that I got to meet them and spend the week with them.

Thursday I was so tired that I slept in & am grateful that my friend Paula agreed to teach another day of classes for me. I tried to get some things done at the house and visited with the family a bit. My "daughter" & her boyfriend picked me up & loaned me the last bit of money that I needed to pick up my van. YES... it was ready to go & now runs better than it ever has. Unfortunately it cost more money than I had expected but I am so grateful to have it back on the road AND that my daughter was willing to loan me the money that I didn't have. It was so wonderful to have the van back. Not only did they help me out BUT they treated me to lunch as well. It was so awesome to have them treat ME to lunch for a change. I really had a nice time. I admit that I fell asleep way too early. I was actually asleep when Paul got home from work. I must have really been tired because I needed that sleep so badly.

Friday it was back to work. I worked from 6am until 8:30pm. I did the first class in the pool. Took 7-8am to catch up all my paperwork. 8am adult swim lessons. 9-11am was more water aerobics. It was great to see my students again. 11am-1pm I did my own water aerobic workout. 1:30pm I had a private lesson with a 5year old, followed by another private with a 3year old at 2:30pm... then a slight break until my 4pm student came. We had a good class... then it was time for my 5:30pm water aerobic class which I taught from the deck as well as the 6:30pm deep water class that I also taught from the deck. 7:30pm brought my new adult swim class. I had 5 new students and my friend Paula helped me teach. we had a great class. It was fun to work with the new students. All of them are true beginners and it really did my heart good to see their enthusiasm.

Saturday I had no classes because the Y sponsored the big 5k & half-marathon so there was no access to the Y itself. I met up with a friend from the pool & we took Aurora and Kaydon to breakfast while their parents slept in & grandpapa worked at Autozone. That evening there was supposed to be the MOVIE NIGHT at church. I was actually happy that no one showed up. It gave me a wonderful opportunity to just sit and talk with my pastor. We had a really good talk. He knows my REAL life. He told me that it was really important for me to BANK all the wonderful memories from my trip so that when things turn back to "crap" I will be able to pull out those memories and remember how great life can be. He was really happy that I was able to make the trip AND he was happy that I took care of myself. He pointed out some really important truths about myself and I really am going to try to take them all to heart. Much of what he said I have been told all my life... like, I don't need to keep trying to make everyone happy. He also pointed out that I am "worthy" and don't have anything to prove... especially not to myself. He said that I should recognize that I am a special person. He said that GOD already knows that. I should see myself through God's eyes.

Isn't that what Spark People keeps trying to tell us? That we are worthy. That we are worth it. That we CAN. That we ARE successful. That we are special & precious people. I am so grateful for these positive messages.

Sunday was another good day. I took Aurora with me to church. She was wearing this awesome red dress that looks a little bit like a ballet dress with it's fluffy netting over the skirt. She thought that she was a princess and danced all over the church. When the pastor asked for people to share their "joys"... she danced up the aisle twirling and twirling. He said.. SEE: Aurora is joyful that she looks so beautiful in her red dress. It really made her day... and MINE! The message of the sermon was about being "justified" which the Pastor said meant being JUST RIGHT with GOD. He reminded us that God loves us JUST As WE ARE... that's a good thing for me to hear. I am reminded to LOVE MYSELF.... back to the theme: Loving Dawn Healthy. After church, I dropped Aurora back home and then went to work where I taught all my "new little swimmers". It was make up classes for the ones that were canceled on Saturday. It was GREAT fun! I really enjoyed the classes & even saw some pictures of the class on FB. I'll try to post one for you here if I can find it.

Today I have been plagued with a headache. I made a point of going with my friend Robin to take our pool friend Patrick out for his birthday. We had a cake for him. We had a little gift for him as well. He seemed really happy. He's a special needs person and a lot of the ladies in the pool are bothered by him, but I think he's sweet. My headache was gone while I was out of the house. Of course, now that I am home it's back. I'm grateful that Paula was willing to teach my classes again today. Since getting home I have been Sparking a LOT and have been taking time for Dawn. I am grateful for the chance to really reflect on SPARKPEOPLE today. I've been thinking about how much it has meant in my life. Now I have a tattoo to remind me of Sparkpeople daily. It's a beautiful visible symbol of how my life has been saved by SparkPeople and the many positives that it offers to all of us... MOST OF ALL... the SparkFriends that I have made and who continue to help me move forward day by day remembering to love myself healthy. I am so blessed and so grateful. I know that I am sounding gorpy here... but I am so serious.

Now, it's time for me to get some sleep. I have to be at the pool in the morning by 6am.

Oh... just one more thing. I am still working the NO SUGAR NO STARCH food plan. It is really working for me. My calories have been staying within range. I have only been over on my carbs a total of 10 times since Feb 25th. All of those times have been in the 35 & under range. My goal is to stay at 20 carbs or lower. I feel pretty successful. I'd like to have the weight falling off faster.. however, I've managed to lose 6 pounds since the 1st of the year so that's a happy thing. My goal is to lose at LEAST 60 pounds in 2014 (as I did in 2013 & 2012) and if this is going to help me do that.. I am grateful for that as well.

See... gratitude is the key word of the day. Most of all....I am grateful for YOU.. my friends.. those who are walking this journey with me and offering your love & support so freely. Thank you.

Bright blessings to all.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

IMAVISION 4/2/2014 5:00AM

    Dawn, you are special --- uniquely made & greatly loved by our Abba Father. I have to remind myself that that is true about this gal, too. We are daughters of the King --- that makes us princesses (just like little Aurora!).

I wish you could see yourself, as this gal has always perceived you to be, Dawn! But then you might get a big head! emoticon

Seriously, from first "meeting" you through Sparkpeople, I felt what a truly precious gal you are. I admire so many parts of your character --- four things that stood out immediately were your honesty, your obvious love for your family members, your true compassion for others, & your determination to succeed. Those are just four of many fine qualities that this gal saw & admired in you, Dawn, from very early on.

God bless you & keep you speaking truth to yourself --- truth of who you are in Him & in His eyes!


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GARDENQE2 3/29/2014 1:47PM

    It was great to hear about your trip and your meeting with Deb, Di, and Elsa.
The joy you found is rippling out to all of us.
Thank you for sharing! emoticon

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MEOWMAMA3 3/26/2014 11:17PM

    A little getaway from the daily doldrums is always good for the soul. That's what I love about my couple of 3 day trips to Atlantic City every year. Your little students look so cute lined up at the pool! They are lucky to have you, as we all are! Glad you have wheels again. Sorry your tummy is upset and that the sleep is crazy. You just keep on being AwesomeDawnWaterwoman!

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THEVOW2013 3/25/2014 8:26PM

    Gratitude produces a great Attitude in YOU and that is True in YOUR case! emoticon

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BARBARAROSE54 3/25/2014 4:39PM


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GORIANA 3/25/2014 11:24AM


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TATTER3 3/25/2014 10:43AM

    Love hearing about your life! Keep sparkin'!!

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WISLNDR 3/25/2014 5:57AM

    Did you ever think that so much was going to come from taking this trip? You wrote a wonderful blog, full of positive progress! (And I'm glad you finally have your van back!) emoticon

Enjoy your Tuesday!!


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MT-MOONCHASER 3/24/2014 11:21PM

    My gratitude is that you are getting the message to be good to Dawn and take some time for yourself. I love that you had such a great time on your trip and I hope that you will be able to have another get together soon.

Take care of yourself, my friend.



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KJWILSON211 3/24/2014 11:08PM

    You are very inspiring Dawn !! emoticon emoticon

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More Pittsburgh trip, 3/19/14

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Yesterday was another good day here in Pittsburgh. Deb had to be at a work luncheon, so I got to get all my laundry done & do some Sparking while she was gone. Then Deb picked me up & we headed into the city to pick up Di. Next stop, Alter Ego Tattoo Shop where Deb's daughter's boyfriend, Red, works. Yep, I got a tattoo. Once upon a time, Deb got a SPARK tattoo. I really loved it when she showed it to us on her blog. Once I saw it in person I knew that not only did I still really like it....but I thought it would be awesome to have the same one done...for two reasons...1. Because SparkPeople has totally changed my life and 2. Because now I have an awesome reminder of the best vacation/week of my life! Deb & I are now connected even tighter! Not only did I get the awesome Spark Tat, but Red was nice enough to freshen up a couple of my old tats as well. He's really a great artist. I hope to return in the not so distant future to have another one done.... saw a beautiful one that he had done in a book & I WILL have it one day. After leaving the shop, we went back to Di's hotel where we had a nice dinner with two of the teachers who were attending the conference with her. They were very nice and we enjoyed ourselves. When we were leaving, we got some more pictures taken together and I did my best NOT to cry... although I failed at that. Back home to Deb's where we went to bed pretty early becaused of how tired we were. I think that the trip is starting to wear on both of us (all 3 of us) because none of us are really used to all this walking & driving around.

I am so grateful to Deb for her hospitality & for showing us her beautiful city. I have had the best trip.

I leave for the airport at 3pm. My flight leaves at 6pm. That will give me plenty of time to get there & get settled for the flight. I am not thrilled with leaving... however, I'm really excited to be able to see the grandchildren. I also have had the good news that my van is ready for pick up tomorrow, so I will be doing that. I can't tell you how happy that I am about getting my van back since it has been out of commission since sometime last Oct. I have a friend from the pool picking me up at the airport this evening. My flight is showing "on time" and I should land in Raleigh about 7:17pm. It's about an hour & a half drive from Raleigh to my house. I am going to treat my friend to dinner on the way home as a thank you for being my "chauffer".

I am going to close now... It's time for me to really start getting ready to leave and I am fighting tears already. I'm going to post the pictures that I promised with this blog. Here's hoping that you enjoy them as much as I am.
AGAIN... if you EVER have the chance to meet one or many of your SparkFriends... take the chance. It has been one of the BEST experiences of my life!!!

This is my friend Elsa that I mentioned in my blog yesterday.

This is me & Di at her hotel... my phone camera was being funky

This is me & my friend Elsa on Deb's deck, Saturday 3/16

This is my fave picture of Deb & I...also taken on her deck, Sat

This is my fave picture of Di & Deb taken at the Pirates baseball stadium

This is Deb & Di at the hotel last night, 3/18

This was the 3 of us the first morning we met, 3/16

The 3 "Serious Sisters" on Deb's porch 3/16 afternoon (thanks Tony)

The 3 of us on St Patrick's Day

The 3 of us at Di's hotel... 3/18

My new Spark Tattoo

Bright blessings to you all.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DIFROMWYOMING 3/22/2014 10:04AM

    Love all the pics, we had such a great time together and it was something I'll never forget. Hugs.

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DONNA_VT 3/21/2014 9:59PM

    Glad you had such a great time . . . love the tattoo!

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BARBARAROSE54 3/21/2014 5:55PM


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TRUCKER72 3/21/2014 11:14AM

    You have brought so many giggles and smiles to my morning, I can't thank you enough. I am so happy that you guys got to spend some amazing time together. Like I said before, the pics are just simply beautiful and encouraging. xo emoticon emoticon

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SPUTNIK512 3/20/2014 8:11AM

    I love the tattoo! What a great reminder of the trip!

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WISLNDR 3/20/2014 4:40AM

    What a great trip for you and I think the photos are awesome! Thanks for sharing all your fun with us!!


And I love the tattoo!!

Comment edited on: 3/20/2014 4:40:39 AM

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MEOWMAMA3 3/20/2014 1:13AM

    I'm tickled that you're tatted! Brave girls, not for me, I'm a sissy for pain.
When I was 17 my best friend and I made a pact to get tattoos together when we turned 18. She turned 18 a month before me and didn't wait. Got drunk and came home from Florida with 2 huge roses on her thigh. I got so mad at her for not waiting that I refused to get one.

WoW, what a trip!!!!!! Glad it was so fabulous! emoticon

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BRE2003SB 3/19/2014 9:48PM

    emoticon You ARE an inspiration! emoticon

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BE-THE-CHANGE 3/19/2014 7:04PM

    This has been such a wonderful experience! I can't wait to do it again!

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LINDYPOWER 3/19/2014 4:34PM

    This is incredible Dawn. I had no idea you were going to do this. Your blog puts all this into real time - real experience for everyone to witness. This is what I'd like to do, also with all of us one day.

I'm so happy for you. Looks like you had the best time, ever.


Safe travels.
kindest regards,

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Pittsburgh trip... so far... 3/18/14

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

It's about time that I should write another "catch up" blog. The GOOD news is that I have not been avoiding posting because of any crisis or the fact that I am "hiding" from Sparkpeople because of a slip or anything of that nature. Franky, I have just been really busy & my life has been going so GREAT that I have just not been able to slow down enough to blog about it. I'm blessed with some alone time today so here I am, sharing a "catch up" with you.

First of all, let me just say that I am having the best trip of my life-time. In the past I have had many vacations & trips... both as a child & as an adult. THIS has been the best trip of my life! I have had fun, been relaxed, enjoyed meeting new people & seeing new things, had a good time with Deb's DH... and most of all had the most awesome time ever meeting & visiting with DEB & DI... my precious Serious Sisters.

Let me just share a little bit about these two awesome & inspiring women. If you are not already SparkFriends with them... you need to be. The three of us all joined SparkPeople back in May of 2009. All of us were above the 400 pound mark. All of us have lost a lot of weight & gained back too much weight...only to KEEP ON SPARKING! These incredible women NEVER QUIT. A couple of years ago, after participating on several of the same sparkTeams, we noticed just how much that we have in common. Because of those parallels in our lives AND the fact that WE are determined to never give up or give in... we started a very private team that we call SERIOUSLY SPEAKING. We did it, NOT to be exclusive or elite, because we NEEDED to have a special place where we could REALLY be honest....with ourselves and one another. It has truly saved my life, and more than once. (Don't ask, it is a totally closed group....not being mean, just honest) This is a special private place where we can say anything, discuss anything, cry, laugh, scream, vent, sing.... you name it...post pictures of REALITY that we'd never share with anyone else (in my case, not even my DH)... just because we are all 3 so very much alike that it HELPS to get feedback from someone who REALLY TRULY understands and can empathize on an intensely personal level. I have never had girl friends or family members that I could be THIS HONEST with.... this is a level of honestly and friendship that I haven't even been able to share with a therapist or spouse. For 5 years in May, we have "known" one another. When the chance came up for the 3 of us to meet...I jumped on it. It would not have mattered to me if I had been required to SELL stuff to make this trip (Yep, I'm poor)... I would have found a way to make it. THIS TRIP is the best gift that I have ever given to myself. This experience will be with me, cherished in my heart for the rest of my life. I posted, back on my birthday, that 2014 was/is going to be the best year of my life. THIS TRIP has been a huge foundation to that statement being true. DEB (BE-THE-CHANGE) and DI (DIFROMWYOMING) are incredible. They are both active, working career women. They are mothers to incredible children (all of whom are adults & have gone to college). They are married to their "true-loves". They work in jobs that help & benefit the world around them.... they are loving, compassionate, intelligent, driven women. I admit that I feel a bit "less than" at times around them... but ONLY because of my own personal hang ups and NEVER because they make me feel that way. They treat me as if I am their sister/their friend/their equal. I have never felt fearful of them in anyway. These women would go well beyond the extra mile to help anyone & to prevent hurting anyone. I am in awe of them... before meeting them AND now! I love them with all my heart. I am so blessed to be here with them. I CHERISH this precious (too short) time that we are together.

The trip here was much easier than I anticipated. It was a 2 hour trip from my town (Martinsville VA) to the airport in Raleigh NC. That was probably the biggest "thrill-ride" of the whole trip. One of my "pool ladies" drove me to the airport in a big "church-style" 18 seat van. It had been very windy the night before and there were a lot of trees down. In parts of the areas that we drove through it looked as if a tornado had gone through. We took long, winding, country roads the entire trip until we reached the interstate just 2 exits from the airport. PHEW. If I were a cat, I would feel as if I were on my 8th or 9th life. Rollercoasters have nothing on this trip! LOL We got to the airport 2+ hours early (I had taught my 6am water aerobic class at the Y & left right after a shower, about 7:20am for the trip... flight was set for 11:03am). They met me at the airport with a wheelchair and the adventure began. Everything went smooth, except that I forgot to take the cell phone out of my pocket. A mistake that I will not repeat. They boarded me on the plane before others. It was an express plane so there were 2-seats on one side of the aisle and 1 seat on the other. It is my intention to change my return seat to one of the 1-seaters. My only two negative experiences with the flight were: The flight attendent rolled her eyes at me twice, once when I asked for a seat belt extension, and once later when she had to approve the lady next to me moving.... the 2nd part of the "negative" WAS the lady assigned to the seat next to me. I could tell by her face when she saw me sitting there that she was unhappy. I struggled to get up so that she could sit down, then when I sat back down we were DEFINITELY snuggly fitting together. I tried to make light of it and said "At least we'll be nice and cozy snug for the trip"... she snapped "I WON'T!" and called for the flight attendent... who acknowledged her with the rolled eyes and just pointed and the empty 2 seats a couple of rows up & told her to "just move there!". I struggled to get up again, let her move.. and smiled, telling her to enjoy her flight. (honestly... I was glad that she moved because THEN I had the whole 2 seats to myself and could look out the window) The flight was smooth & quick. I purposely waited to be the last one to stand up & depart the plane. The wheel chair was waiting for me and off we went. I switched "helpers" 3 times in the Pittsburgh airport... all of them were pretty nice (except the 1st little old lady who tried to be nice but yelled just a little too loudly "I need some help here...I'll never get up this ramp without someone else... grr... but she was nice, other than that AND she was little! LOL) By the time that the last helper wheeled me out to the sidewalk where folks "meet their riders" DEB was just pulling up to the curb and BOOM.... the adventure REALLY got rolling.

Deb jumped out of the car, gave me a big bear hug & I instantly KNEW that I was right.... we ARE sisters separated and birth.... and any fears or trepidations that I had melted away. From that minute until now we have been chatting, laughing & just "being" as if we have known each other FOREVER! I've never NEVER felt this comfortable with anyone before. We (all 3 of us) are working the same food plan (NO SUGAR NO STARCH) so food has been super easy for us. We had lunch on the way home to Deb's house from the airport. Golden Coral, one of my favorites. Then I got settled in at Debs and we just chatted. Later, Deb's hubby "TONY" came home and I met him. That was the 2nd biggest fear that I had been harboring. The fear that I would "bother" him or that I would feel uncomfortable around him. WRONG.... he's awesome & I really enjoy him. He reminds me a LOT of my dad and that makes it easy for me. (Both are/were engineers and that definitely IS a personality "type") That was Thursday. Friday we spent the day at home just chatting & having a good old time. We've been sitting side-by-side at the dining room table with our laptops... talking & laughing while Sparking.....it's just awesome! OH........ I missed a part. Deb stopped at a grocery store on the way to her house Thursday. Giant Eagle is it's name "I think". Anyway.... IT IS AWESOME. Mind you, I live in a little town just a slight step up from Mayberry RFD and I had the time of my life. I do NOT shop when I can help it. I actually had a great time and tried NOT to act like a complete hick. LOL THEY HAVE A BUFFET THING OF OLIVES... the entire thing is OLIVES???!!!!??? can you believe it?!.... anyway... we got needed supplies & food and that was that. We have gone back once since then & I liked it just as much the next time!........... anyway... Friday was nice, quiet & friendly.
Saturday, more NERVES... I was getting to meet with a friend from my past who lives a couple of townships away from Deb. Her name is Elsa & we were bestest friends when our children were small. It has been just shy of 30 years since we last met. This is a woman that I would have laid my life down for... and yet we ended up estranged for all these years. I was VERY nervous about seeing her. However, as soon as she got out of her car and came bounding up Deb's lawn (literally, she skipped the walk way completely) I knew that it was okay. THEN she grabbed me in a big hug (while bouncing up & down like Tigger) and all my fears melted again. We went to a breakfast place called Eat & Park. We got there about 8:30am. We left about 1pm (the waitress got a really good tip from both of us) We just had the one plate of food... but we drank too much coffee and TALKED & TALKED & TALKED. 30 years is a long time.. plus she has 8 children & 17 grandchildren while I have 2 children & 10 grandchildren so we had a lot of catching up to do. THE BIGGEST DEAL ABOUT THIS WAS..... I finally got the nerve to say "When I was told that you never wanted to ever hear from me again, or see me, or talk to me... blah blah blah.... I was devistated" I started bawling just telling her how I had felt... just crushed... She looked at me TOTALLY SURPRISED and said "what are you talking about?" Turns out that my EX & her EX had both concocted equally rotten stories for each of us to keep us apart. Neither of us had any idea what the spouses had done. She had been equally sad & hurt that I had not contacted HER in all the years. The one time that I had sent her an email asking for her "forgiveness" for what my ex had said she was upset at me about... I had gotten a scathing email telling me basically to GO TO HELL....which turns out to have been written by her EX & she never knew anything about it. We both just CRIED. ALL THOSE HURT FEELINGS... just slipped away and it was just Dawn & Elsa again. PHEW! What a blessing & gift!!! Even if I had NOT been having such an awesome time with Deb... that GIFT of finding Elsa & rekindling our friendship was an awesome gift. I am so grateful. Elsa had a "date" so she brought me back to Deb's house.... after a traditional "super-big-gulp stop at 7-11 for diet coke"....about 3pm. The rest of the day I spent sharing with Deb about how wonderful it was to have that settled & how grateful I am. OH...... I skipped that on Friday, I got to meet Deb's daughter Angie whom I just adore. She's really interesting & I look forward to spending more time with her today. ....
Saturday evening, Di's flight arrived in town. We heard from her & confirmed plans for Sunday but resisted barnstorming her hotel so that she could get some sleep & avoid jet lag.
Sunday.... Deb & I left early & went to get Di from her hotel. She's taller & more softspoken than I had imagined.. but other than that.. she's the same awesome Di that had won my heart in 2009. She gave us both GREAT hugs and again... any fears or trepidations just melted away and we've been the SISTERS ever since. We had a nice breakfast together and got the waitress to take our pictures together. Then Deb acted as our tour guide and drove us all around Pittsburgh. Di took lots of pictures and we both ooooo'd & ahhhhhh'd over the architecture etc. At least Deb didn't seem to mind. We came back to her house for more VISIT time. That was great. Di got to meet Tony (Deb's DH) and he was also kind enough to take more pictures of the 3 of us together. We went out to eat for dinner and then dropped Di back to the hotel. Got another hug and off we went. GOSH I am LOVING THESE HUGS (my family does not hug me... boo) Sunday night Deb& I sat down to watch some tv "The Good Wife" and then it was off to bed. (Oh, another funny I forgot to mention.... Friday night Deb, Tony & I sat down to watch TV together... YEP... we all fell asleep sitting there and NONE of us knew what happened on the end of the show! THAT is how comfortable we all are with one another)
Monday, Deb & I spent much of the morning at our laptops just visiting & enjoying coffee... let me just also share that she makes the best scrambled eggs with cheese!!!! It's been nice eating at Deb's house a lot because it has both saved money AND has been good since we are on the same food plan. I feel so "at home" here. We were talking about how hard it is going to be for me to leave (I'm so happy here) that I started to cry. We agreed NOT to think about it for now.... I just love Deb's house and the energy is so peaceful here. After a great "daytime" we went & picked up Di (who is here on a work-trip and attending a convention) and went out to dinner. More fun, more talk, more visiting... and a fun adventure at TARGET (we don't have one where I am from) where I rode the scooter(didn't knock down any displays thank goodness) and got some souveniers for the family. Took Di back home and came back here to watch more tv & then off to bed.
TODAY.... another nice breakfast & visitng session. Deb had to go to a work lunch so I am here alone, typing away while doing my laundry. We are going to go pick up Di after Deb returns and then have more adventures. I'll report back later...

Deb just texted that she's on her way back......AGH... my laundry is still not done & I haven't showered yet... geez... where did the time go? It's 1:35pm already. PHEW... Gotta run. I'll post more tomorrow and include pictures. Just know that I am having the most awesome time of my life (I hope that they are too) and I am so grateful!!! Spark People has changed my life and enhanced it in so many ways... this trip being one of them!!!

Bright blessings to you all!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DIFROMWYOMING 3/22/2014 10:14AM

    I'm so behind on SP, but it was a blessing for sure to be together and I'm so grateful you were determined to come- life would never be the same with you in it, you've been my sister of the heart for so long. Now I have wonderful YOU to know and love.

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MEOWMAMA3 3/20/2014 1:09AM

    I can't stop smiling for you!!!!
I cried about your reunion with Elsa. What rotten males...won't call them men.
Next year, the Philly contingent will definitely meet up with you!
Matter of fact, I want to go to a Sewing Expo in VA (Fredericksburg) on October 4th, my birthday, now that I'm sewing.. I will do everything I can to swing across the state and make my way to Martinsville!

I'm backtracking, off to read your next blog!

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TATTER3 3/19/2014 2:17PM

    What a great event!!! Thanks for sharing!!

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BRE2003SB 3/19/2014 1:06PM

    I'm so happy for you all, it sounds really awesome! emoticon emoticon

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_KATHY_ 3/19/2014 9:50AM

    Thank you for sharing your awesome trip. I'm so happy for all of you

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WISLNDR 3/19/2014 5:53AM

    What a great time for you!! I'm most definitely looking forward to seeing photos!!


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BE-THE-CHANGE 3/18/2014 10:22PM

    It has been awesome having Dawn and Di here. I feel like we are sisters that were separated at birth, except that I get along better with them than I do with my own sister!

We are already looking forward to Dawn's next trip to Pittsburgh (I am sure she will tell why in her next blog).


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CRKRJAK 3/18/2014 10:02PM

    Best blog I have read! Thanks for sharing. I am so happy for you. I am glad I get to be a small part of your journey, here at sparkpeople. I know that I am so thankful for both you and Deb. The both of you are so encouraging. :o)

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THEVOW2013 3/18/2014 9:52PM


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TEDDYBEARGIRL 3/18/2014 7:27PM


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GORIANA 3/18/2014 6:12PM

    emoticon emoticon

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CTUPTON 3/18/2014 6:08PM

    Dawn that is the best story I have read in a long time. Awesome, awesome! I am so sorry about the trick the exes played on you guys. Mean! The great memories should keep you going for months! Glad the trip happened. chris

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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BIBS4664 3/18/2014 5:37PM

    You are the bright blessing. Thank you for sharing. Felt like I was there with you all. Hugs.

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TEDYBEAR2838 3/18/2014 4:41PM

    What a Wonderful Blog & Wonderful Trip
for a Wonderful Spark Friend!

I'm happy for you and enjoyed the blog.
Don't forget to share more & pictures!


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IMAVISION 3/18/2014 4:22PM

    Oh, Dawn, emoticon for sharing about your most blessed time with your friends. I wouldn't even know where to start in commenting on all that you shared, so I will just say that I, too, feel blessed just reading about all that the good Lord has allowed you on your trip. Your friends sound like the most wonderful gals &, you know what?, you are just like they are --- everything you have said about them is what I have "seen" in your words over the years. Again, I am so thankful to the Lord for giving y'all this time to touch lives in person!

God bless!

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