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Saturday, December 17, 2011

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Taken from an insert in our church bulletin “Take Back Christmas”
“Instead of wracking out brains to think of something that we don’t need, let’s find out what others really do need. Resist the tide of commercialism and take back Christmas.”
Hope you and yours have a Merry Christmas and may this New Year be the year of new beginnings. May your churches prosper, your congregations prosper and your families prosper and be in health.

Thank you so much for all you have done for the work in Mexico this year and to those who sent gifts for me personally I accepted them with Thanksgiving and considered them handfuls on purpose. I know as you give God gives back to you as sometimes I gave when I really needed or wanted something and God gave it back to me sometimes before the day was over.

Since the two story church and parsonage as well as bathrooms filled up the lot we had bought we had no parking except for a rutted narrow street which was sometimes muddy. I told them they needed to see if there was a lot in front of the church and they found one. I thought the price of $10,000 was too much but the pastor’s wife told me they were going for much more as they were developed. I asked if they would lower the price and she told me she didn’t think so.

Time went on and we didn’t do anything. Finally one day the lady went to my pastor’s house and asked if they still wanted the lot as she needed the money. I told them they would lower the price and she said I don’t think so but I will go to her house and ask her. She lowered it to $9,000 and wanted 3 payments of 3,000 each with 3 months in between each. I thought OK God you will have to do this. Well, the first payment was made on time now to pray in the next payment. It came on time. Then the 3rd payment but it was coming in slow. Then I began to get surprises. God was on the Move. Now I have for the 3rd payment. Praise the Lord.

Those who helped know who you are and I say Thank you, Thank you, Thank you for listening to God.

God opens a door or doors to me every day to talk to someone about the Lord either in person or online. Today it was a young waiter from Guatemala. He said I know you, you work in our church but since he has to work Sunday a.m. it is impossible for him to go much then. I gave him some alternatives.

This has been a difficult month for me. Many people I knew and loved passed away including my sister in law. Then yesterday I went to a little Mexican restaurant in my little town and the owners daughter always like to talk to me about her problems. She came and sat down at my table and my phone wrung. I said it is bad news so she waited with me. A couple who lives in front of me and I have ministered to and prayed for and with (especially her) suffered so many tragedies. They are in their 20’s but he had a brain tumor and they were doing everything they could to find a cure as it was in-operable. He was taking chemo. They called to let me know he was driving his car and ran into a sign and was killed. I said to the lady sitting with me, “He was in his 20’s and look at me. I live on” She said “God has a purpose for your life. He has you here to help people just like me” Since he was a veteran he will be buried in the VA cemetery where my husband is buried.

God has given me a family from our church that has been a pillar for me while I go through all of this and much more that I won’t talk about. She is from Columbia, he was born in this area and his mother just passed away recently also.

Oh by the way, through all of this stress I am still below goal! YIPEE


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HEALTHYSLIM2 1/6/2012 3:03AM

    You always bless me, Irene! And of course so many others, as well!
Yes, God does have a mighty purpose for you and I think it is because you are special and OBEDIENT. You inspire me to be more so, and to look for the ways that God is speaking to me about work He wants done.
Thank you for sharing and for being just who you are!!
May God show you His favor in ways too numerous to count in this coming year.

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MOMMA_BEAR_69 12/28/2011 8:36PM

    What a blessing you are and continue to be. Thank God for bringing you to Spark People so that you can be a testimony for Him!!
I know you had a blessed Christmas and praying that you have a blessed, happy and healthy New Year!!

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MARLIZG 12/24/2011 1:06PM

    The old man sat in his gas station on a cold Christmas Eve. He hadn't been anywhere in years since his wife had passed away. It was just another day to him. He didn't hate Christmas, just couldn't find a reason to celebrate. He was sitting there looking at the snow that had been falling for the last hour and wondering what it was all about when the door opened and a homeless man stepped through.

Instead of throwing the man out, Old George as he was known by his customers, told the man to come and sit by the heater and warm up. "Thank you, but I don't mean to intrude," said the stranger. "I see you're busy, I'll just go."

"Not without something hot in your belly." George said.

He turned and opened a wide mouth Thermos and handed it to the stranger. "It ain't much, but it's hot and tasty. Stew ... Made it myself. When you're done, there's coffee and it's fresh."

Just at that moment he heard the "ding" of the driveway bell. "Excuse me, be right back," George said. There in the driveway was an old '53 Chevy. Steam was rolling out of the front.. The driver was panicked. "Mister can you help me!" said the driver, with a deep Spanish accent. "My wife is with child and my car is broken." George opened the hood. It was bad. The block looked cracked from the cold, the car was dead.

"You ain't going in this thing," George said as he turned away.

"But Mister, please help ..." The door of the office closed behind George as he went inside. He went to the office wall and got the keys to his old truck, and went back outside. He walked around the building, opened the garage, started the truck and drove it around to where the couple was waiting. "Here, take my truck," he said. "She ain't the best thing you ever looked at, but she runs real good."

George helped put the woman in the truck and watched as it sped off into the night. He turned and walked back inside the office. "Glad I gave 'em the truck, their tires were shot too. That 'ol truck has brand new ." George thought he was talking to the stranger, but the man had gone. The Thermos was on the desk, empty, with a used coffee cup beside it. "Well, at least he got something in his belly," George thought.

George went back outside to see if the old Chevy would start. It cranked slowly, but it started. He pulled it into the garage where the truck had been. He thought he would tinker with it for something to do. Christmas Eve meant no customers. He discovered the the block hadn't cracked, it was just the bottom hose on the radiator. "Well, shoot, I can fix this," he said to himself. So he put a new one on.

"Those tires ain't gonna get 'em through the winter either." He took the snow treads off of his wife's old Lincoln. They were like new and he wasn't going to drive the car anyway.

As he was working, he heard shots being fired. He ran outside and beside a police car an officer lay on the cold ground. Bleeding from the left shoulder, the officer moaned, "Please help me."

George helped the officer inside as he remembered the training he had received in the Army as a medic. He knew the wound needed attention. "Pressure to stop the bleeding," he thought. The uniform company had been there that morning and had left clean shop towels. He used those and duct tape to bind the wound. "Hey, they say duct tape can fix anythin'," he said, trying to make the policeman feel at ease.

"Something for pain," George thought. All he had was the pills he used for his back. "These ought to work." He put some water in a cup and gave the policeman the pills. "You hang in there, I'm going to get you an ambulance."

The phone was dead. "Maybe I can get one of your buddies on that there talk box out in your car." He went out only to find that a bullet had gone into the dashboard destroying the two way radio.

He went back in to find the policeman sitting up. "Thanks," said the officer. "You could have left me there. The guy that shot me is still in the area."

George sat down beside him, "I would never leave an injured man in the Army and I ain't gonna leave you." George pulled back the bandage to check for bleeding. "Looks worse than what it is. Bullet passed right through 'ya. Good thing it missed the important stuff though. I think with time your gonna be right as rain."

George got up and poured a cup of coffee. "How do you take it?" he asked.

"None for me," said the officer..

"Oh, yer gonna drink this. Best in the city. Too bad I ain't got no donuts." The officer laughed and winced at the same time.

The front door of the office flew open. In burst a young man with a gun. "Give me all your cash! Do it now!" the young man yelled. His hand was shaking and George could tell that he had never done anything like this before.

"That's the guy that shot me!" exclaimed the officer.

"Son, why are you doing this?" asked George, "You need to put the cannon away. Somebody else might get hurt."

The young man was confused. "Shut up old man, or I'll shoot you, too. Now give me the cash!"

The cop was reaching for his gun. "Put that thing away," George said to the cop, "we got one too many in here now."

He turned his attention to the young man. "Son, it's Christmas Eve. If you need money, well then, here. It ain't much but it's all I got. Now put that pea shooter away."

George pulled $150 out of his pocket and handed it to the young man, reaching for the barrel of the gun at the same time. The young man released his grip on the gun, fell to his knees and began to cry. "I'm not very good at this am I? All I wanted was to buy something for my wife and son," he went on. "I've lost my job, my rent is due, my car got repossessed last week."

George handed the gun to the cop. "Son, we all get in a bit of squeeze now and then. The road gets hard sometimes, but we make it through the best we can."

He got the young man to his feet, and sat him down on a chair across from the cop. "Sometimes we do stupid things." George handed the young man a cup of coffee. "Bein' stupid is one of the things that makes us human. Comin' in here with a gun ain't the answer. Now sit there and get warm and we'll sort this thing out."

The young man had stopped crying. He looked over to the cop. "Sorry I shot you. It just went off. I'm sorry officer."

"Shut up and drink your coffee " the cop said.

George could hear the sounds of sirens outside. A police car and an ambulance skidded to a halt. Two cops came through the door, guns drawn. "Chuck! You ok?" one of the cops asked the wounded officer.

"Not bad for a guy who took a bullet. How did you find me?"

"GPS locator in the car. Best thing since sliced bread. Who did this?" the other cop asked as he approached the young man.

Chuck answered him, "I don't know. The guy ran off into the dark. Just dropped his gun and ran."

George and the young man both looked puzzled at each other.

"That guy work here?" the wounded cop continued.

"Yep," George said, "just hired him this morning. Boy lost his job."

The paramedics came in and loaded Chuck onto the stretcher. The young man leaned over the wounded cop and whispered, "Why?"

Chuck just said, "Merry Christmas boy ... and you too, George, and thanks for everything."

"Well, looks like you got one doozy of a break there. That ought to solve some of your problems."

George went into the back room and came out with a box. He pulled out a ring box. "Here you go, something for the little woman. I don't think Martha would mind. She said it would come in handy some day."

The young man looked inside to see the biggest diamond ring he ever saw. "I can't take this," said the young man. "It means something to you."

"And now it means something to you," replied George. "I got my memories. That's all I need."

George reached into the box again. An airplane, a car and a truck appeared next. They were toys that the oil company had left for him to sell. "Here's something for that little man of yours."

The young man began to cry again as he handed back the $150 that the old man had handed him earlier.

"And what are you supposed to buy Christmas dinner with? You keep that too," George said. "Now git home to your family."

The young man turned with tears streaming down his face. "I'll be here in the morning for work, if that job offer is still good."

"Nope. I'm closed Christmas day," George said. "See ya the day after."

George turned around to find that the stranger had returned. "Where'd you come from? I thought you left?"

"I have been here. I have always been here," said the stranger. "You say you don't celebrate Christmas. Why?"

"Well, after my wife passed away, I just couldn't see what all the bother was. Puttin' up a tree and all seemed a waste of a good pine tree. Bakin' cookies like I used to with Martha just wasn't the same by myself and besides I was gettin' a little chubby."

The stranger put his hand on George's shoulder. "But you do celebrate the holiday, George. You gave me food and drink and warmed me when I was cold and hungry. The woman with child will bear a son and he will become a great doctor.

The policeman you helped will go on to save 19 people from being killed by terrorists. The young man who tried to rob you will make you a rich man and not take any for himself. "That is the spirit of the season and you keep it as good as any man."

George was taken aback by all this stranger had said. "And how do you know all this?" asked the old man.

"Trust me, George. I have the inside track on this sort of thing. And when your days are done you will be with Martha again."

The stranger moved toward the door. "If you will excuse me, George, I have to go now. I have to go home where there is a big celebration planned."

George watched as the old leather jacket and the torn pants that the stranger was wearing turned into a white robe. A golden light began to fill the room.

"You see, George ... it's My birthday. Merry Christmas."

George fell to his knees and replied, "Happy Birthday, Lord Jesus"
This story is better than any greeting card.

Now clear the lump from your throat, blow your nose, and send this along to a friend of yours or someone who may need a reminder as to why we celebrate Christmas

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RGEETING 12/22/2011 4:47PM

    Thank you for sharing your life... and your valleys...
God hath not promised skies always blue,
Flower-strewn pathways all our lives through;
God hath not promised sun without rain,
Joy without sorrow, peace without pain.

But God hath promised strength for the day,
Rest for the labor, light for the way,
Grace for the trials, help from above,
Unfailing sympathy, undying love.

God hath not promised we shall not know
Toil and temptation, trouble and woe;
He hath not told us we shall not bear
Many a burden, many a care.

God hath not promised smooth roads and wide,
Swift, easy travel, needing no guide;
Never a mountain, rocky and steep,
Never a river, turbid and deep.

Source: http://www.hymnal.net/hymn.php/nt/7

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BOBBIENORTHERN1 12/20/2011 5:46PM

  Irene, you are so beautiful.
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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WENDYSPARKS 12/20/2011 8:25AM

    Blessings to you and wishing you a Merry Christmas!!

Wendy emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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TEXASFILLY 12/18/2011 6:12PM

    God IS great, Irene! He shows His greatness and power through you, His precious child as an instrument of His immense love. I'm so thankful to know you. May the Good Lord continue to bless and keep you ever in His loving care. *hugs* BB~ emoticon

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GEEKSMEGGLY 12/18/2011 9:58AM

    Thank you for sharing and God Bless You. emoticon

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BACKMOON 12/18/2011 1:09AM

    You are an amazing woman Irene! And God has Blessed you mightily to go out and spread His Word. Thank you for your friendship, you have been a Blessing in my life!


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HAPPYMOM8 12/17/2011 10:23PM

    The Bible says. 1. Peter 3:12

The Lord sees the good people and listens to their prayers. You are demonstrating that, Irene.
2012 will be a great year indeed!

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LKWQUILTER 12/17/2011 9:19PM

    Irene, you inspire me and give me hope. Thank you friend. ((HUGS))

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THEWINNER33 12/17/2011 6:40PM

    What a wonderful testimpny frpm one of God;s own. You are truly one of His angels. Y pray for you and your mission. A Blessed Christmas to you. Hugs, Marcia

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SWEETLIPS 12/17/2011 5:47PM

    Thank you. I too have had revelation that 2012 will be a year of triumph, new beginnings and major changes - God will get the glory out of every situation, circumstances and I am so hopeful.

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ANJAYS-JOURNEY 12/17/2011 1:27PM

    Irene,I can see why God is so active in your life it is because you are so active in his life. What a beautiful newsletter, and like you I believe that 2012 is going to an amazing year for God with so many victories!!
Have a very Merry Christmas and God's Blessings to you
Thankyou for inspiring me, and encouraging me to move forward,

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CAROLYNVIL 12/17/2011 12:35PM

    I too believe year 2012 will be a year of triumph. wonderful blog.

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LIS193 12/17/2011 11:37AM

    Bless you for everything you do

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SUNSHINE1954 12/17/2011 11:30AM

    Your faith in God is so evident in blog, thank you for sharing it. Your real life testimony has truly encouraged and inspired me since I have come to know you online. I stand with you that 2012 will be a year of triumph. emoticon

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GRACEISENUF 12/17/2011 11:03AM

    Absolutely beautiful Miss Irene, thank you for sharing and testifying to God's faithfulness and goodness here on Spark People.

2012 will be a year of triumph! I am standing in faith with you!

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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Monday, December 12, 2011

This is my story, this is my song about chocolate and the hold it had on me. emoticon
I love Chocolate, emoticon
I like Chocolate, anything with chocolate in it.

I had reached my emoticon. It was soon Christmas and I received a huge box of those delicious chocolates wrapped in gold foil.
I said " Are you guys trying to make me fat?
I thought I cant eat those emoticon
I told them. Ok I will take them to Sunday School class and share with the class.
Well a couple of days passed, I didn't eat a one.
Then I thought only one won't hurt so each night for a few nights I ate one.
Then Saturday night came.
What did I do? I ate all of those that were left and the next day went to Sunday School.
I taught the class, no chocolates; finally a friend where we had the party said "and what about the chocolates so shamefacedly I had to confess I ate every one of them.

This I write because a new sweet friend who has trouble with chocolate. I managed to curb overcome my obsession and stay in goal weight any way.

No matter your favorite food or your favorite HOLIDAY you can do good. You do not have to gain weight so let's go. Let's keep off pounds sensibly and even take some more pounds off sensibly.


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LADY131 1/5/2012 12:25AM

emoticon I LAUGHED WHEN I READ ABOUT THE CHOCOLATE !! I LOVE CHOCOLATE !! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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RAINBOWMF 12/19/2011 10:58PM

    There were so many comments on this blog I had to come back to read them. LOL
Everyone loves chocolate

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CAROLYNVIL 12/19/2011 3:40PM

    I just love chocolate any thing. lately to satisfy my chocolate urge I have been having a cup of hot coco.

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MOM4407 12/18/2011 7:01PM

    Thanks Irene for you blog about chocolate.
Last week I ate sweets at school. Like you I though just one will not hurt. By the end of the week well needless to say I was craving sweets. Today I said no more. The chocolate and sweets are just addictive. With help of friends like you I know I can over come.

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TEXASFILLY 12/18/2011 6:05PM

    O! Thank you, Irene! You do know that chocolate IS one of the food groups, right? emoticon I have to learn portion control and where I am at emotionally if I'm to successfully enjoy chocolate without the guilt. Thanks again, love. emoticonBB~ emoticon emoticon

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BOBBIENORTHERN1 12/14/2011 4:31PM

  I love you Irene, this blog is so good and made me laugh. LOL

My weakness is Reeces LOL it has to be peanut butter and chocolate LOL

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GODZDESIGN95 12/14/2011 8:59AM

    Funny you mentioned chocolate I've never cared for it much. LOL but since I've tried dark chocolate I Love it. The dark kind is great in moderation.

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DIDMIS 12/13/2011 11:31PM

    I am jealous of you who can eat a little chocolate and quit.
I can't. emoticon

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LMMIMI 12/13/2011 11:26PM

    emoticonAny day without chocolate is not a good day!! I have learn to love dark chocolate and allow myself a few chocolate chips with dried cherries as my treat for the day.

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GEEKSMEGGLY 12/13/2011 10:54PM

I always save room for chocolate. emoticon

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NDTEACHER1 12/13/2011 5:05PM

    I have Lindor dark chocolate truffles in my cupboard all the time. It is the first time I have been able to eat just one of anything and it feels pretty good to have control. I am not saying I will ever lose control because I have the capacity to do that, BUT for now I am not denying myself and still maintaining control. I hope Christmas vacation won't be my undoing. I'll just pray about it too.

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NELLJONES 12/13/2011 10:10AM

    For you it's chocolate and for me it's cookies. And Reeses. And Cheetos. I have no willpower, whatever that is, so I simply keep it out of the house. Some people can eat just one, I can't. But every once in awhile, like you, I have to learn that lesson all over again.

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ELAINEROSE5 12/13/2011 7:25AM

    Just yesterday in the mail I got two boxes of stuff. A box of fudge, diviniy and peanut brittle from my mother in law. And I don't mean a few of each. She sent a ton of each for me, my husband and daughter. I have been trying to figure out what to do with it since I saw it. I did have some of the fudge and know that I need to get rid of it or I'll eat the rest. My husband and I are both trying to maintain and I am frustrated that she did this. I know she means well, (I think...) Any ideas?

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JSALERNO 12/13/2011 4:59AM


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NEW-CAZ 12/13/2011 3:04AM

    Moderation in all things Irene. Keep active and be "sensible" and there's no problem

I had a mince pie and some chocolates last night and feel no guilt at all, I put the cardio time in and know I'm healthy so why not emoticon

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HEALTHYSLIM2 12/13/2011 2:35AM

    Great blog!
Oh boy - is this ever the season of temptation! I LOVE chocolate, too!
And I am off sugar right now! Not too bad, but...
...there is a can of Almond Roca (YUMMMMMM!!!)
and a package of godiva truffles (also yum!)
not to mention assorted other goodies that keep showing up in my house. The key for me will be not OPENING them until we can immediately share with many friends. That way, if I have a moment of weakness and eat one, it WILL end there!
Now let's just hope no one decides to gift us with any See's candy!!!

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RAINBOWMF 12/13/2011 12:28AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
no chocolate in this house, I just can't say a bit--- I go back and back until it is gone and I am emoticon emoticon emoticon

Thanks for the cute blog.

Hugs Mary

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MNNICE 12/12/2011 10:35PM

    Oh, yes, I am definitely a chocoholic! Sometimes I can use self-control/moderation, other times I eat the WHOLE thing! But I know it's one thing in life that I'll never give up completely ... so I just keep trying to teach myself moderation.....

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ANYVAR54 12/12/2011 10:29PM

    I love chocolate too. If I were to buy a bag I could eat it all. However my husband brought home a box of Swiss chocolates when he was in Switzerland on business in August, and we still have some left in the box. It is in the fridge. Our dear missionary friends from the Ukraine also brought us some Ukrainian chocolate in Sept. We still have some of that in the fridge too. So I guess I do not have as big of a problem as I used to.

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RGEETING 12/12/2011 10:00PM

    Yes... chocolate is a favorite of mine, too.... sigh...

However, if I was given a mixed box of chocolates, I KNOW I wouldn't eat them all... there are some I do not like... :-D Thankfully!

Comment edited on: 12/12/2011 10:03:16 PM

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HAPPYMOM8 12/12/2011 9:35PM

    Very cute and very true for us chocoholics!

I am currently satisfying my need for chocolate by substituting my morning regular coffee with homemade hot dark cocoa instead. I make it from scratch. I started this last week when I read folks with Hypothyroidism should not be drinking coffee, or sodas .

But--If I should happen to get a box of chocolates for Christmas I will probably do what Irene did. !

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MONTY68 12/12/2011 9:30PM

Hi Irene
Very interesting blog. I love chocolate and do buy dark chocolate. I am able to eat a very small amount or portion if it is marked as such, I track it and the chocolate will last a couple of weeks. Dark chocolate is healthy( unless one eats it all in one sitting).

Monty emoticon emoticon

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ANJAYS-JOURNEY 12/12/2011 8:55PM

    Dark chocolate was what I enjoyed, but now only occassionally, way to go Irene I am so proud of you, hope you are feeling better!!

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HAGIN2010 12/12/2011 8:48PM

    Nice blog Irene. I had a problem with dark chocolate until I ate way too much and got sick. Now I just have a reasonable amount for me.

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DIDMIS 12/12/2011 8:27PM

    I couldn't find the new friend who commented on my oatmeal with peanut butter and chocolate which was the cause of me writing this blog. Hope I find her or she finds me. I would like to add her as a Spark Friend.

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CAROLYN0107 12/12/2011 8:07PM

    I am the same way with certain things. Right now I'm trying to make some ice cream sandwiches (the Skinny kind) last. I can't buy them often, that's for sure, even the skinny kind!

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SUNSHINEGB 12/12/2011 7:51PM

    OK Irene! I thought I could keep in some individually wrapped chocolates and only eat one a day, to keep the chocolate craving at bay. Wrong! I found that if I really love a certain food and try to eat a bit so I won't feel deprived . . . I can't stop eating them till they're all gone!!

You are so right about this, keep the tempting foods out of the house! Out of sight, out of mind!
emoticon emoticon

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Monday, December 05, 2011

A standing picture to compare with the before one.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TEXASFILLY 12/18/2011 5:59PM

    What a beautiful woman you are, Irene! *hugs* I hope you are on the road to recovery and feeling better soon. *hugs* BB~

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JODIRICHARDS 12/11/2011 7:08AM

    Thanks for the full comparison, encouraging to see how far you've come, keep up the great work!

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DIDMIS 12/10/2011 7:26PM

    I wish I could answer everyone but I have been so sick and am so far behind.
I appreciate all of your lovely comments. Hope all read the first blog which actually is the first part of this one.

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CVRONEK 12/10/2011 7:06PM

    Beautiful Irene!

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HAGIN2010 12/8/2011 7:46AM

    You are doing Great Irene. emoticon

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FIREBALL_V 12/7/2011 8:05PM

    so inspiring!

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LIZABETT 12/6/2011 4:32PM

    Great comparison, IRENE. You're looking fantastic! emoticon

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HAPPYMOM8 12/5/2011 11:37PM

    Very nice!

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NDTEACHER1 12/5/2011 10:00PM

    Thanks for sharing, Irene. Nice job!

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SWEETLIPS 12/5/2011 7:31PM


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LMMIMI 12/5/2011 7:20PM

    emoticon You are an awesome lady inside and out. emoticon

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ANYVAR54 12/5/2011 6:44PM

    You have really made changes in your life, with the help of the Lord. Praise Him.

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MOM4407 12/5/2011 6:15PM

    You know that losing the weight has helped you in so many ways and you have helped so many by being an example of How to Keep off Pound Sensibly. emoticon

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ANJAYS-JOURNEY 12/5/2011 4:42PM

    Wow what a transformation, you go girl!!

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SHERR513 12/5/2011 4:19PM


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DIDMIS 12/5/2011 3:30PM

    I hope you all read my blog before this "My New Spark Picture" with pictures. This one I posted as someone wanted to see me standing.

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NELLIEC 12/5/2011 3:27PM

    You're looking great!

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YJNANA 12/5/2011 1:19PM

    You look Great IRENE
doesn't it feel great to be able to move easier and tie shoes without holding our breath LOL
Thanks for sharing

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CHRIS5258 12/5/2011 11:26AM

    You look fabulous! emoticon

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RAINBOWMF 12/5/2011 10:24AM

    Very nice.

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ELLIE381 12/5/2011 10:05AM


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PANSYLADY2 12/5/2011 9:40AM

    Thanks for posting the pictures. It helps me to be able to visualize you in your environment.... and helping and loving on those to whom you minister! Blessings. MJ

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BOBBIENORTHERN1 12/5/2011 9:30AM

  Irene, now I can you are a knock out Lady LOL because I can see you for all the weight you have knocked off of your body I am so glad to see you looking so good, yes and amen.

What an amazing difference. Thank you Irene for making the mistake LOL

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SUNSHINEGB 12/5/2011 8:56AM

    Wonderful pictures Irene and you look much younger in your slim body!

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    These are great pics. Love you seeing you smile too. :)

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GRANDMACOO 12/5/2011 7:27AM

    Wonderful pictures of your journey! Thanks for sharing!

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LKWQUILTER 12/5/2011 6:32AM

    Thanks Irene for sharing. You really did GREAT!!! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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PIXIE-LICIOUS 12/5/2011 6:10AM

    You look great...I bet you feel great too!

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NEW-CAZ 12/5/2011 3:08AM

    wonderful, thank you for sharing Irene emoticon

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FITANDFIFTY2 12/5/2011 2:20AM

    What a beautiful lady! Thank you for sharing with your Spark Friends! emoticon

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Monday, December 05, 2011

Upon trying to change my three pictures which showed on my Spark Page I put this one up by mistake as my Spark Picture.

Never again do I want to be this frumpy emoticonperson in this picture with worse health than I have now.

I thought of taking it off right away decided to leave it to show you emoticon and to show myself I don't want to return there.

I do plan to take it off soon though as I want to see a emoticon me.

Another emoticonpicture of me.

Had reached goal.

Another Goal weight picture.

Some of these you know.

Me with the KOPS plaque someone made for me after I reached my goal.

Just some of the pictures showing my journey. There are some more on my Spark Page.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LIZABETT 12/6/2011 4:35PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon Irene

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MJ7DM33 12/5/2011 8:57PM

  emoticon Thanks for sharing!

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MOM4407 12/5/2011 6:16PM

    You look great. emoticon

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ELLIE381 12/5/2011 10:00AM

    You are beautiful. emoticon emoticon

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BOBBIENORTHERN1 12/5/2011 9:27AM

  Oh Irene, what a different a few pounds make doen't it? LOL

Now that I see the bigger picture instead of the smaller one I can now tell it is the before picture, please forgive me for not seeing int he true light. I am sorry.

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HAPPYMOM8 12/5/2011 7:48AM

    Great comments on a great lady !
Hugs, Pat

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    You and God have done an awesome job together.:)

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LAURA5979 12/5/2011 6:13AM

    Thank you for sharing your journey! You look wonderful and I know you must feel better.

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PIXIE-LICIOUS 12/5/2011 6:09AM

    What an inspiration!

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MNNSAIDE 12/5/2011 5:34AM

    All ......B E A U T I F U L!!!!

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HEALTHYSLIM2 12/5/2011 3:51AM

    Hi Irene,
I really loved that you were choosing to post a "before" picture as your profile shot... I thought it was intentional, and thought also the reason you had chosen it was exactly what you said above...
"decided to leave it to show you "you can do it" and to show myself I don't want to return there."
Thanks for being the reminder that we can ALL get there...and ALL be successful in maintaining!!
emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 12/5/2011 3:52:52 AM

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NEW-CAZ 12/5/2011 3:07AM

    Great pics Irene, you look amazing my friend emoticon

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SUSIEPH1 12/5/2011 1:24AM

    Awesome pics Irene,
You look good in all of them!!
Hugs my friend! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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RGEETING 12/5/2011 1:19AM

    Thanks for sharing your journey with us! You're a great example to me! And I appreciate YOU! I love best the photos of you smiling... the smiles that reach the eyes!

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MONTY68 12/5/2011 1:04AM

    Hi Irene
I think it is a great idea to post the before pictures, You look amazing now. I don't know if I would have recognized you. You should be so proud, it really shows what one can do to change their life. I believe you are a inspiration to all that know you and certainly a wonderful motivator.
Thank you again for sharing.

Monty emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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JODIRICHARDS 12/5/2011 1:03AM

    Great pictures they show so much of the story, but I really want to see the healthy you standing tall and showing us head to toe what a healthy lady you are, can you do that for us? It would be a great comparison to the before picture. Thanks for the encouragement, you always are!

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NELLIEC 12/5/2011 1:01AM

    I think it is beneficial to see the before picture. You have definitely done well with your weight loss!

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MUJU71 12/5/2011 12:48AM

    You've done so well, Irene! I,too, keep some of my "before" pictures in a place where I can see them occasionally. It is a good motivation to keep at it.

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

When I was a child my mother taught me how to cook and I did a good job. The rest of the family worked in the garden. I loved to cook.

Then when I moved away from home and had an apartment I cooked and liked what I cooked,
but my stomach was not my God so did not spend all of my pay check on food.

Years later I became a missionary and in Mexico cooked real Mexican food the way they cook it. Delicious.

Later I returned to the states and didn't cook so good, but got by.

Then my husband went to the nursing home so I began eating fast good and quit cooking.
I forgot how to cook.

I made one suggestion on Spark one day saying I really liked oat meal with peanut butter cooked in it and sometimes I would drop Dark Chocolate in also.

I received two replies. One said Ugh or something like that meaning gross,
The other said she thought she was going to puke. ( I don't like that word but that is what she said). I crave it and it is usually my supper. I eat my big meal at noon with my veggies and fruit.

So I have been emoticon to the home of a church family for Thanksgiving. emoticon and I will go emoticon skipping happy as a lark that I don't have to cook a disgusting meal and everyone pukes. emoticon

Hope I didn't spoil your Thanksgiving dinner. Have a great one everyone and remember the blog I wrote before this one. Maybe some of you would like to read it at the table before partaking of your feast.

Your spark friend Irene (no matter what you think of my cooking)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TEXASFILLY 12/18/2011 6:02PM

    I'm with ImagineAWoman~ Peanut butter, chocolate & oatmeal sound good to me! I love 'em all and together I bet it's absolutely delicious! Thank you, Irene, for sharing one of your favorites. *hugs* BB~ emoticon emoticon

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IMAGINEAWOMAN 12/12/2011 12:21AM

    Peanut butter, chocolate & oatmeal sound good to me! There are even cookie recipes with those ingredients so don't see what's wrong with just eating it from a bowl. I just don't buy much peanut butter or chocolate because I have such a weakness for both. But I will try it someday. I'm working on breaking the fast food habit though...some days are better than others.

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SUNNYWBL 12/11/2011 6:21PM

    Why cook when you have many good friends that do?

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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LENHARDT 12/5/2011 5:03PM

    I think Peanut butter in Oatmeal sounds delicious. So does Chocolate emoticon

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DIDMIS 11/28/2011 11:50PM

    I was at goal and below but I have been so swollen and it won't go down. Friday they are going to do an eco on my legs to see if my circulation is all right.

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MARLIZG 11/28/2011 12:40PM

    good for u that u are close to goal--i'm struggling to lose but amping up my workouts

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MARLIZG 11/27/2011 12:32PM

    congrats on still being at goal!

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YJNANA 11/27/2011 11:57AM

I can't believe someone would be so insensitive. IF they thought it, fine, but to say it, was plan rude.
I had read before of someone adding PB to Oatmeal, and I bet it is delicous.
I discovered something this week.
DH likes the WW, instant Oatmeal.
when HE makes it, he does it with Almond Breeze.
and when its cooked he doesn't add any more milk to it. So its sort ...almost runny.
So Yesterday, I was thinking, why not try it.
So I made Red Mill, Steel Oats for 4
It called for 1 cup Oats, pinch of salt, and
3 cups Water, and cook 20 to 30 min

Well I used '2 cups of water and 1 cup of 2% Milk
It was very tasty,
I added chopped Walnuts on mine, and 1/4 cup of Almond Breeze.

because it was for 4 I had 2 for the fridge

Reheating today, I added 1/4 cup of Alm/Bre and splenda packet.
Being ReHeated it was like eating warm Rice pudding.
the chewyness of the steel oats and creamy.
OMG it was soooooooo good.
Its now my new way of making it,
and in the future may try and make it with Almond Breeze instead of the milk
Marcy could eat it :)

To get my 2 GKs to eat breakfast, I want to send some over to them to reheat and see if they love it as much.
Its hard to get kids to eat well before school.

IRENE, so glad you spent Thanksgiving with Friends.
Sometimes we can't pick out family but we can pick our friends, and we have a darn good time and visit with Them.

Love ya

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MARLIZG 11/26/2011 2:12PM

    eeeww! i like pig's knuckles in my pasta sauce...gives a delicious taste to the sauce but rarely tell anyone cause i get the reaction u got to your peanut butter & oatmeal...personally i think anything tastes better with peanut butter--so sorry anyone hurt your feelings

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BOBBIENORTHERN1 11/26/2011 11:06AM

  Irene, I love this blog LOL

My mouth started watering because oatmeal and peanut butter sound so good to me mixed together, I have to try this, I would never have thought of this on my own.

I really am a natural peanut butter junkie. There is a difference between the old and the new natural peanut butter. The new natural peanut butter is little more expensive but tastes just like fresh peanuts to me and then to add chocolate???

That sounds like a little slice of heaven on earth for me LOL

Also, I have had so many Mexican friends and have learned to cook their dishes and just love their way of cooking what they eat except I substitute brown rice for white rice anyways I love this.

I really got hungry about the oatmeat and peanut butter and don't have any peanut butter and no money until next week to get some LOL How bout that????LOL

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ANJAYS-JOURNEY 11/24/2011 7:19PM

    Irene I love this blog, and peanut butter and chocolate brought fond memories back of my boys. Both my boys are vegan, because of allergies, Jared more so than Janos`, when they were very young, I would make porridge for them, with peanut cooked through it, then I would throw banana and carob chips in after it was cooked, my kids loved it, and it helped put weight on them, as they were both very underweight, so no yucks or I don't like the word either "Puking"

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DADDYS_GIRL6 11/24/2011 6:56PM

    Dear Irene,
So wonderful you have friends to celebrate today! Hope you have some great food to share together and have many happy moments, laughs and joys too!
Eating healthy is full of endless varieties. The Lord gives us individual tastes just like every other part of our lives! We don't have to be approved by anyone else! :)
Hugs and Happy, Happy Thanksgiving!!

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LKWQUILTER 11/24/2011 10:16AM

    Irene, I love oatmeal and have put raisins and cranrasins in it while ocooking. Also some sunflower seeds and have added original fiber one cereal. I will have to try the peanut butter and as for chocolate--the way I love chocolate chips in oatmeal cookies, sounds pretty good. I never make fun of what others eat as I have some funny habits myself. I sure am glad that I read this blog as you have given me some new ways to eat oatmeal. I sure hope you have a great Thanksgiving feast too!

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RAINBOWMF 11/24/2011 12:18AM

    If I was a lone and did not have to cook for anyone, I would still cook but it would be simple stuff and believe me oat meal and cream of wheat would be eaten daily.
I like to throw a potato in the micro and eat it with a little yogurt

Everyone has different taste, I say don't knock it if you haven't tried it.
So I may just try the peanut butter in the oatmeal.

Think how good peanut butter & chocolate are. emoticon

Enjoy your Thanksgiving dinner at friends.

Hugs Mary

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HAPPYMOM8 11/23/2011 10:56PM

    Your experiences with food are really much like all the rest of us at this time in our lives. We all have had both positive and negative relationships with food.

I I can remember the intimidation I felt when I married DH whose mother was noted for being the best cook around. Unlike, Irene, I had not learned to cook at home with the exception of maybe -salads

And I was a city girl who had married a farmer. We lived 20 miles from the closest Super market. That was a blessing in disguise. We raised a large garden-fresh veggies in the summers- and with the help of DMIL I learned to CAN too.

So I went from looking at cooking as a CHORE to actually enjoying the CREATIVITY
of following recipes and tweaking them to fit my needs. Now I feel blessed to have found SPARK and look at food as it was really meant to be. FUEL and NUTRIENTS for my body. So yes-You really can teach an old dog-new tricks!

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ANYVAR54 11/23/2011 7:59PM

    Irene I am glad you are at the point in your life that you don't have to cook. I really do not like to. but do a good job, I think because my husband tells me things taste good. His mother does not cook, and when we visit her we have to plan and cook the meals, or eat out.
Enjoy your time with friends for Thanksgiving, and I just may try your idea of oatmeal, PB, and Chocolate together.
Blessings. Ravyna

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LMMIMI 11/23/2011 7:22PM

    I like my oatmeal with raspberries, blueberries and Greek yogurt. As for cooking, I can get by, but really don't like to cook. Have a great Holiday.

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NELLIEC 11/23/2011 5:40PM

    I don't say ugh to your idea of oatmeal, peanut butter and chocolate. A little different, but still OK.

While I can cook, I mainly cook my breakfast and use the Lean Cuisine or Healthy Choice meals for other eating times. Once I lost most of my sense of smell with my dry eyes, I was too likely to let things burn. It is easier for holidays to let my various progeny do the cooking and I enjoy! emoticon

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HEALTHYSLIM2 11/23/2011 4:02PM

    What in the world is "UGH" about oatmeal, paenut butter and chocolate? Sounds yummy to me!
I am happy for you, Irene, that you forgot how to cook and can have a lovely meal with dear friends! Until I became a mom, I really did very little cooking... I used to say it was because the only thing I was good at making was reservations! But actually I enjoy cooking when I can find (make) the time.
Enjoy your Thanksgiving!!
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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LIS193 11/23/2011 1:34PM

    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving! It's even better because you don't need to cook the meal. You spent a lifetime cooking and looking after other people - as long as you're fine with what you eat, why not?
I like to cook, especially with all the wonderful veggies available here in Mexico. Not so sure about the scary yellow chicken but there is is plenty of fresh seafood around.

Your oatmeal sounds nice - I like peanut butter and chocolate together :)

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FIREBALL_V 11/23/2011 1:32PM

    Your oatmeal sounds delicious. some people have no taste. But I agree with you, I am so happy not to have to cook tomorrow....I love to cook but don't like being the only one who does it on T-Day. So my hubby is taking us all out to eat and then to see the Muppet movie. We are going to enjoy the day and each other! Happy Thanksgiving!!! emoticon

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MJRVIC2000 11/23/2011 11:46AM

    I love to cook, always have loved it, even when I was a Mess Sgt in the army. But my wife is a better cook, so I allow her to do the cooking and I do all the eating. LOL! I can still cook if I need to. I had a hard time reducing the recipes down from 175 people to 2 or 4 people.

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IGSBETH 11/23/2011 11:44AM

    I'm sorry you got such negative responses to your suggestions.

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USFBULL 11/23/2011 11:22AM

    Love the style emoticon and thank you for putting it out here to read. I cook a bunch and experiment with many different combinations, so your oatmeal with peanut butter and chocolate is interesting. I might add some sliced banana and or some strawberry's to the combo, but that is me. Very efficient and simple to make. Some folks have very tender palates, I do not. emoticon emoticon emoticon
Spark! On!

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JUDITHWITHROW 11/23/2011 11:10AM

    Chocolate chip, peanut butter oatmeal cookies sound good so why not oatmeal. Peanut butter has so many uses. My step-father loves it on biscuits and one of my kids likes it on pancakes. I had never thought of it, but sounds good to me.

Glad you have a place to celebrate Thanksgiving Irene. Here is a big Thanksgiving (((Hug))) from me.

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MONTY68 11/23/2011 10:58AM

    Hi Irene
Great blog and I find your oatmeal, peanut butter and chocolate interesting. I love all 3 and would not say ugh or puke.
I enjoy cooking, had a pizza shop and experimented with different ideas, at times had considered going to school for it.
I really don't cook anything special now, keeping it simple.
Thank you for sharing, enjoy your special meals, have a wonderful Thanksgiving and being a special friend.

Monty emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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PATTYKLAVER 11/23/2011 10:28AM

    I myself am a baker and not a cook. Even then, I don't eat what I bake. I have things that I eat that others may not like, but they can choose to eat what they want. I'm glad you're going to be with people on Thanksgiving and you won't have to worry about cooking. Have a great one!

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MNNSAIDE 11/23/2011 6:40AM

    Well Irene - I'm sure no one would like my cooking as it is altered to my medical diet - Lactose Free!!!

Since my parents passed my son has spent Thanksgiving with his dad and his family and I have gone to Edinburg with my cousin that you met two weeks ago. (Like an odd ball but I am welcomed as a sibling).

This year that family is meeting in San Antonio - of course I was invited and invited and invited but I don't want to be gone from Tuesday to Sunday. So I will stay home alone this year for Thanksgiving.

Wait - !!! Yesterday my friend here in Weslaco that is like my only close want a be family invited me to Thanksgiving with their family. Another day of being the odd one but they also treat me as family! They grew up right across from my cousin that you met!!!

So a Happy Thanksgiving to you and all of the beautiful Spark Family.

Save the emoticon

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DIDMIS 11/23/2011 1:38AM

    My mom and we 6 children canned also. My thumb would get sore from shelling peas. She made her own pickles, apple sauce, apple butter, catchup then of course hundreds of jars of tomatoes, green beans, peas, etc., etc. We had lettuce, radishes, onions, potatoes, turnips, carrots, beets from the garden and I am sure I missed something. Oh yes, cabbage my mother's favorite vegetable. She even made sauerkraut. She would share with the neighbors who had no gardens. My mother was a very caring person.

Comment edited on: 11/23/2011 1:39:28 AM

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MIDDLTEACH 11/23/2011 1:18AM

    You're a riot. You have a great attitude. Each one to his (or her)own- do whatever pleases YOU.

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RGEETING 11/23/2011 1:09AM

    I learned to cook - and I've cooked for a lot of years... not the best cook... but somehow I raised a family and taught my daughters to cook...so... I suppose I'm not that bad. However, in the past 13 years since we moved to Wisconsin, God seems to keep me humble in the cooking for others category... kind of like my funky turkeys (see a prior blog).

So - I taught my daughters to cook and it paid off for awhile.... then they moved out.... Both girls really enjoy cooking. One daughter worked as a camp head cook and she did well. My other daughter loves to cook and experiment. She's getting into canning - something I done rarely - making her own pickles, canning different varieties of applesauce and apple pie fillings.

Since we emptynested and I had a lot of pain, my hubby began to take over... he would not call himself a cook - but I've gotten used to it. . . :-)

Like for Thanksgiving dinner, we will do it together. He'll often make sure all the supplies are out and available, and will chop up the apples for the apple cake I'm making tomorrow. His own masterpiece is Chex Mix - and he's begun working on that tonight. :-)

I am blessed!
And - I'm really glad that you will not be spending Thanksgiving alone. May God give you precious fellowship with these believers.

About oatmeal and pb & choc... yes - it sounds like a Reeces Cup :-) My hubby likes peanut butter and frosting sandwiches, as do my children. I've never been tempted to try them. Hubby also likes pb on his pancakes after being introduced to it when we've served in Canada.

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DIDMIS 11/23/2011 12:48AM

    I told them maybe they needed to adjust the liquid and peanut butter. It is better than what I used to eat. Avalanches, a big cup of ice cream with peanut butter clusters mixed in and I got fatter and fatter. At least oatmeal, peanut butter and dark bitter chocolate are good for you.

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RUNBAREFOOTMAMA 11/23/2011 12:45AM

    You eat what you enjoy....no one else's business. emoticon For the record, I think that sounds good, kind of like a peanut butter cup.

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AERYFAERY 11/23/2011 12:44AM

    I love oatmeal with peanut butter & chocolate in it! They just don't know what they are missing.

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