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Monday, 1/17--However...

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

"Write on your heart that every day is the best day of the year."--Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Hi everyone,

These words came off of a perpetual calendar that I have had for maybe ten years--and I still find some golden ideas that I need to read and cherish at just the right time. If you read my blog from the end of last week, you know I had a tough time with life last week. With the three day weekend, it doesn't seem as if much could have happened to resolve the big ticket problems I had last week. And little did happen to make those problems easier, BUT...

Emerson had this so right!!
The weather was rough today--we had every nasty kind of precipitation and frozen precipitation possible today. HOWEVER, I got to work on my National Boards renewal for over 4 hours--and that was after a good physical therapy session and my afternoon at the pool. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

My kids started out this evening with a bunch of quarreling and it was upsetting to observe. HOWEVER, they resolved it in their own creative way and ended the evening laughing and having fun with each other. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

My weigh in on Saturday was a couple of days late. HOWEVER, I lost 2.6 pounds in ten days because of careful tracking and exercise. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

$$ are tight in our home for this month. HOWEVER, careful shopping allowed me to get a week of healthy food for 8 of us for around $120.00! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

My back has been up to its old tricks of aching and spasms. HOWEVER, between my heating pad, the pool, my tens unit and pain meds, and talking to my physical therapist, I have managed the discomfort and have a plan for my future with this big problem. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

I think it is wise to consider all of the good ideas from Emerson--We can bring a great attitude to the things life gives out and make the day an amazing one. It isn't always easy and I cannot try to pretend that I am one of those wonderful positive people, but I am working on it. Our reflections of the day can focus on the day in the way we want to remember it rather than the things that got us down. I am going to work on that.

I am glad to have this place to come to though, and share things when they aren't great, HOWEVER your friendship and support through thick and thin makes everything better.
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Gentle hugs,

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MORTICIAADDAMS 1/19/2011 12:43PM

    You are amazing, Sylvia, and I think the fact that your children could work out their differences without intervention attests to that. Congratulations on the weight loss. I hope your back improves soon. That was some amazing grocery shopping too!!

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KEZRARAYNE 1/18/2011 12:47PM

    I try to start every day with the kind of attitude you have here. Some days is easier than others, and I'm really glad there is someone else out there that can put to words the daily struggle. Great way to look at things, and I hope things continue to go optimisticcally for you!

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JHADZHIA 1/18/2011 10:58AM

    Great attitude! Will be interesting to hear your plan about this terrible back problem that has given you so much grief.
Here is hoping things start to look up for your family soon,,
{{{gentle hugs}}}

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EMRANA 1/18/2011 9:32AM

  I'm so happy to read about the good things happening!! Sorry you're dealing with those back spasms again though. They're the worst! That reference you made recently to resorting to childbirth pain control was so true! I don't have children but when I get those spasms, I wonder if that's what it's like. Just being in your breath until it passes. It does teach us well about releasing.

Your grocery bill was excellent! emoticon

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STEPPYSUE 1/18/2011 8:04AM

    We are glad to have you Sylvia and kudos on all you achievements this week in spite of all the challenges. As you (and Emerson) imply...it's all about the attitude. emoticon

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Sunday, 1/16 "Handbook for 2011"

Monday, January 17, 2011

Hi all,

I received this in an email today and am sharing it with everyone, because there is something in it for everyone. I hope that you enjoy it as well and find a use for it too.

Gentle hugs,
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1. Drink plenty of water.
2. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a beggar.
3. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less food that is manufactured in plants.
4. Live with the 3 E's -- Energy, Enthusiasm and Empathy..
5. Make time to pray.
6. Play more games.
7. Read more books than you did in 2010.
8. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day.
9. Sleep for 7 hours.
10. Take a 10-30 minute walk daily. And while you walk, smile.

11. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
12. Don't have negative thoughts or things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.
13. Don't overdo. Keep your limits.
14. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
15. Don't waste your precious energy on gossip.
16. Dream more while you are awake.
17. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
18. Forget issues of the past. Don't remind your partner with his/her mistakes of the past. That will ruin your present happiness.
19. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone. Don't hate others.
20. Make peace with your past so it won't spoil the present.
21. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
22. Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn. Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.
23. Smile and laugh more.
24. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

25. Call your family often.
26. Each day give something good to others.
27. Forgive everyone for everything.
28. Spend time with people over the age of 70 and under the age of 6.
29. Try to make at least three people smile each day.
30. What other people think of you is none of your business.
31. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.

32. Do the right thing!
33. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.
34. GOD heals everything.
35. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
36. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
37. The best is yet to come.
38. When you awake alive in the morning, thank GOD for it.
39. Your inner most is always happy. So, be happy.

Last but not the least:
40. Please forward this to everyone you care about.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JHADZHIA 1/17/2011 6:31PM

    Awesome!! Thanks for sharing this Sylvia!
{{{gentle hugs}}}

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    It's really great!!

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LOULOUBELLE2 1/17/2011 10:19AM

    Glad you shared that with us Sylvia....It's a wonderful handbook not only for 2011, but for life as well. emoticon

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BLESSED2BEME 1/17/2011 8:55AM

    Awesome words of advice! I'm sharing it with my family.

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KISSIMMEE 1/17/2011 12:49AM

    Thank you for the handbook for 2011. emoticon

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Saturday, 1/15 Weekend break

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Hi Everyone,

It has been a really tough week for me and I am glad to have a weekend and a break from "stuff." I am really trying to do everything that needs to be done, but when you take family stress, financial stress, and work stress and add it to my health it doesn't shake out very well.

I have a small 403b fund that we put our little $25 into biweekly back when we were first married. The school district was required by federal law to only allow staff to use one company for such things and they chose another. It sits there with no activity, and we decided with 4 of our kids going to school this semester that it would make sense to cash it in and let it go to cover their expenses. I went to the people and got the paperwork, but it turned out that the school district had to sign off on it. After waiting almost a week, I was contacted by people to let me know that that just wasn't happening. I am still shell-shocked over this entire thing and have no back up plan for the kids. It seems that the people with the old plan have to follow the contract of the new plan--and they have a "no disability, no hardship" clause that says it cannot be redeemed until I reach age 59.5 and am severing my employment with the district. What in the world??? And why does that plan have to follow the new contract? I do not understand any of that and between the problem that nobody answers phone calls in my new building, my cell phone won't work there either, and that I have had a medical or physical therapy appointment every night after school--nobody has been able to get back to me to let me know if they could find a way to do this. I am angry and frustrated over this--I signed the paperwork to pay 20% income tax on the money and 5% state tax, it isn't as if it were going to be a gift--and it isn't like it was going to be a windfall either. This has sure thrown a monkey wrench into life around here.

Then there was the day that our internet service just went out. It just went out for no good reason. That's a frustration but add it to the list... My back started having spasms again Wednesday as well. Arggghhhhh, that's something that I wouldn't wish on anyone. They are all consuming and all you can do is use every technique for managing pain that you have (think of childbirth stuff) to ride them out until they are gone. I had trouble at physical therapy for my shoulder because I couldn't stay standing to do the great new exercises for my shoulder with the big ball. My PT told me that I should find another doc and get another opinion on my back (I told her my doctor's comment that "there was nothing surgical that he could do for me." and she agreed that there are other things besides surgery that help people to function. We talked about why I need my walker and how life would be nice if I could function more independently.) Anyway, I am trying to function and ignore this and it is still going on this morning.

Finally, my children are my children--but yesterday, my two guys who I worry about all of the time were in their full-blown AD/HD modes and I couldn't get hep to dress for work. I ended up wearing my big fat clothes because I can get them on by myself. I went to work all frustrated over their lack of support to find a million donuts everywhere. They had a couple of big school parties for honor roll and for perfect attendance last quarter. I took a donut and gave it to my husband. I left it alone and had a snack bar for my sweet tooth. We had an early dismissal day for training, but it was all stuff that doesn't pertain to me and I did a lot of physical work and managed to wear myself out, hurt myself and get frustrated over the materials and support that I don't have. It gets old that I am excluded from what the "Teachers" get and have and do in our building. MY ego understands that I am a teacher and a very important one, but it still wears old. I needed to laminate these cards for a reading program that belongs to the building and I needed to cut about a thousand pages of word cards. There was no paper cutter available and our laminator hasn't worked all year, so I contacted a friend of mine in another building. She came as I had trouble with the computer lab (because I have one ethernet cord to try and manage 5 computers that have to be online and nobody will get me the hub I need to make these things work, grr-rr. These things have been going on for the entire year and I have been so kind and calm and patient--but it all just made me crazy yesterday.) Anyway, my friend talked to me with "tough love" about preventing a heart attack or worse and not letting work do that to me. She is retiring next year for reasons like this. Then she took all of the laminating and cards with her to drop off to be managed by the district and their funds. Bless her, she was right and by the time my husband had gotten there, I was in a far better state.

That self-imposed calm didn't last long. When I got home, we found that my husband didn't get his regular overtime pay for this last payday--the holidays were on the weekend and even though he worked on the days that others had off, he got regular pay. That essentially meant our grocery and gas money was gone for the next two weeks. thank heavens I have working kids who will kick in and help, but it was the final punch in a week that hasn't let up. Our son that works at McD's bought dinner for the family and although I only had chicken nuggets--that was way out of the range of what I eat in calories and fat. Then I curled up in a ball under my electric blanket and took a nap. I missed going to the pool, but I think I needed what I did.

Anyway, the sun has risen today. My kids have come through for me and helped with a lot of issues. We will resolve the other stuff as well, we always do--and today, I am feeling better. I think I can honestly be myself and see how life is good.

Because it is!!

Gentle hugs,

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    You had such a terrible week, Sylvia!1 I feel so bad for you and sent a prayer. You are amazing, Sylvia. No matter what happens you keep a good attitude.

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DAWNWATERWOMAN 1/15/2011 10:06PM

    It truly is a fact that we have to just take things as they come, One day at a time. I'm sorry that you're had a rough week. Try to focus on the positives and let go of the negatives. At least the kids have helped you today & the physical therapist seems to be on your side. Love ya, Dawn emoticon

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EMRANA 1/15/2011 1:11PM

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I had a yucky week too, including money worries. I'm sorry you shared that with me, but I'm glad you got it all out in your blog.

In our case, my husband has been out of work for nearly 15 months and I don't earn enough to fully support both of us. So each month, we've been gradually selling things on Kijiji to fill the gap. My employer pays once a month at the end of the month, and we keep running out of funds earlier and earlier. I refuse to go into debt just to live simply (we don't have things like cable or satellite TV, fancy cell phones, etc, just rent, electric, phone, groceries, internet...the usual). We are running out of things to sell though! I don't want to keep depleting our savings.

I think it's best if we just share some nice gentle hugs today! I'm glad you took the rest last night.

Comment edited on: 1/15/2011 1:12:51 PM

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Wednesday, 1/12 Kids Against Hunger

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Hi Everybody,

Our church has gotten involved with a wonderful project that is a national organization that I want to make you aware of. This project is called "Kids Against Hunger." I am going to share some information from their brochure and the websites with you...

Our Quad Cities chapter got started when a local couple saw an interview on PBS with someone from the national organization. Their plan is to provide nutritious foods for impoverished children around the world. A group of scientists and nutritionists created a recipe to reverse starvation that includes a mix of soy, rice, dried vegetables and vitamin/ mineral supplements with a light chicken flavoring. This 52% soy recipe is both protein and nutrient rich and it reverses the starvation process. Organizations--groups of people can sign on to gather funds and organize their helpers. Kids Against Hunger then uses the finds that the group donates to bring the ingredients and materials for packaging the "recipe" to them. In a "social and fun" setting, your group packages these meals that will then be distributed to starving and hungry children in this country and around the world.

This is an amazing and worthwhile venture. I hadn't heard of it until our church became involved this past week. We are fundraising to be able to participate in this venture. The local website is:
The umbrella organization's website is:

If you are part of any group that participates in service activities, you may want to check this out. The couple who heard the interview on PBS are a "normal" local couple--the husband was moved enough to decide to send them a donation. When he talked to his wife, she had looked the site up online and suggested to him that they start a local group. It has blossomed since then.

I am thinking that maybe there might be some other people here who would like to join me in supporting this group. I am thinking that I might donate a dollar for each pound I have lost and continue to lose to this worthy group--and that it is a fitting idea to use my own improved eating habits as a springboard to help others to eat in a healthy way. I'd like to ask you to check out the site if you are interested--and then let's come up with an idea for SparkPeople against hunger!

Thanks for considering this and any ideas that you might have,

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    It was so interesting to learn about this worthwhile project.

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    Excellent idea. Thanks for sharing the info with us. Love ya,Dawn emoticon

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LOULOUBELLE2 1/13/2011 9:37AM

    I saw the organization just a few weeks ago on TV...A local high school was doing this and the Denver channel did a great report on it. What a wonderful idea to help those who are starving.
Count me in on the challenge of sending a Dollar per pound I loose to this worthy cause.
Thanks for sharing the news of this great organization that is helping our "earthly" neighbors..

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LIVING_WATER 1/13/2011 5:01AM

    always a good idea to bless others less fortunate than ourselves and with the Lord's help we do it.
have a blessed day.

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60SIXTY 1/13/2011 3:25AM

    emoticonidea emoticon

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Saturday, 1/8 My January Goals

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Hi Everyone,

Today was a productive day and I feel pretty satisfied about this first week of January and my efforts in reaching my goals. I have had a good week and have done all of the things I planned to do. emoticon

Today, I stayed on my eating plan--even after having a wonderful lunch with my best friend. I had a great salad at the restaurant, which is not always my choice but it looked so good and tasted that way too. It was a Chinese salad with water chestnuts and bean sprouts along with a couple of slices of chopped bacon and chow mein noodles. I didn't eat the dressing, so it stayed right in my plan. emoticon emoticon

I had an extra long workout today. My teacher son emoticon emoticoncame along with me to the fitness center. He ran and worked out for quite a while, but eventually joined me in the pool. I had time to increase my reps and try some back stroke and back crawl with only one arm. It worked with a significant amount of effort--and left me comfortably fatigued. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon We enjoyed about ten minutes in the hot tub as well. My daughter was working, so she helped me with some of the intricacies of getting dressed without the use of my right arm, and that made things easier on me as well. emoticon

I went from the pool to school and spent about 4 hours working on my National Boards renewal. I have a few questions and am going to contact my original mentor on National Boards for some support. However, I feel more engaged int he activity having focused on it. It was a bit tricky because when I got to school, my first instinct was to work in my room and I stopped myself and did what I went for. I did bring homework with me, and I hope to do some of the work here tomorrow. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

My family had dinner before I got home, emoticon so I had a nice fruit plate for my meal that was pretty satisfying. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticonI am finally getting my SP activities in, but some days are like this. emoticon emoticon

It has been a busy week this week with a lot of disruptions to our regular schedule. Adding physical therapy and multiple doctor appointments to my schedule has taken quite a bit of time, but I have managed to stick with things my first week. (I was thinking today how I had teachers when I was in elementary school who referred to me as an "over-achiever." I think this week might have been a bit of evidence of that.) I appreciate the help from my Spark Friends and my co-leaders on Spark Teams who have jumped in and done extra because of my time restrictions. It means a lot to me to not have to choose between my activities here and my very important goals. emoticon

Life is good!!

Gentle hugs,

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    You did great!!

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DAWNWATERWOMAN 1/11/2011 11:17AM

    Sounds like an awesome week! Great job my friend! I'm cheering for you to stay on task & EXCEL!!!! Love ya, Dawn emoticon

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60SIXTY 1/11/2011 10:12AM

    Life IS Good.

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JHADZHIA 1/9/2011 11:55AM

    You certainly are an overachiever, in spades! Good for you sticking so well to your program! Remember, real life always comes first. Looking after you and your fragile body should be number one on your list. You can't help others unless you have helped yourself first. Its an old saw, but too true.
You have amazing determination and spirit, finding ways to get around the recovering shoulder! Rock on!!
I hope I can be as good during my recovery!
{{{gentle hugs}}}

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EMRANA 1/9/2011 11:29AM

  You ARE an overachiever! Wow!

Congratulations for staying on plan with such a busy schedule! I am very impressed!

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WANNABE751 1/9/2011 6:26AM

    Goodness! I'm exhausted just reading this, well done you!


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Sounds like a wonderful day!

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