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#312: Ambition Versus Lethargy

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Most of us have likely seen pictures or maybe even visited the mighty California Redwoods, reputedly the world's largest trees. And, we also likely know what a Japanese Bonsai, supposedly the world's smallest tree, is.

What we may not realize is that both of these magnificent creations were, at one time, exactly the same size!

And we have probably traveled through the mountains or have an appreciation for their majesty compared to the flatland of much of the world. It is pretty amazing to imagine the vastness of such earthly wonders as the Redwoods and the mountains.

I thought of these things as I ran across an old comic strip of Hagar the Horrible in which Hagar and his small son were sitting in the middle of the desert, a stone at their feet and mountains in the background. "Do you know the difference between that mountain and that pebble," Hagar asked his son. "No, Daddy." "Lack of ambition," Hagar replied.

While it is true that not all trees and all hills will grow to supreme heights, the moral from Hagar is that people can achieve lofty goals if they are ambitious and are willing to work for their success.

It is easy to simply be one of the pack, never standing out, never achieving anything other than what happens to come our way in life.

But it takes an intrepid soul to step forward and say, "I want to be a Redwood and grow toward the sky." Or, "I want to be like the tallest mountains that reach for the heavens. I don't want to be ordinary. I want to rise above the herd and achieve mighty things."

Is that you, striving to be the best you can be every day? Have you set towering goals that you will work toward diligently with your head held high, searching for the rainbow of success?

If this is not you, why isn't it? Don't you deserve more than to be average?

Then declare today, now, that you will reach for the heavens, that you WILL become a mighty achiever.

Average people are plentiful. It is the person who says, "I deserve more," and works to get it that is uncommon.

Never settle for being average. Put all of your mind and your body and your soul into reaching your goals and you CAN be a success. You CAN become like a might Redwood or a majestic mountain. You CAN do it.

Make it happen!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WCATAP 5/13/2010 11:15PM

    You really are quite a good writer and motivator. I am curious what you do for a living.

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SPARKLOVE 5/13/2010 2:54PM

    We need to go that extra mile! Go above and beyond what others expect of us. emoticon

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YATMAMA 5/10/2010 6:04PM

    Hear, hear!!! *applause*

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IAMWINNING 5/10/2010 11:51AM

    emoticon emoticon

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DKWP614 5/10/2010 10:26AM

    You are tremendously motivating for me today. Thank you!
Diana Kathryn

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TINKERBELL200 5/10/2010 1:58AM

    Great blog Lou. I always try to be above average. I just try to do it unto the Lord!

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KENDRACARROLL 5/9/2010 11:56PM

    I was going to send you a picture of a Mighty Redwood. I took it just a month ago, but I can't figure a way to insert a picture into my response.
Be well, Lou.

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GIBBLES5 5/9/2010 11:26PM

    Thanks Lou! I needed that, especially after yesterday. I think I would like to be a mountain or a redwood.... something new to aspire for!


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AGAWRITER 5/9/2010 10:58PM

    Thank you. I've been feeling very limited by my bonsai pot lately. Of course, breakingthings can hurt a bit....

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PEPPERLEAH 5/9/2010 10:49PM

    That reminds me of a couple of sayings I have heard over the years, that go something like this:

Our biggist limitations are those we place on ourselves.

Thanks for another booster shot!

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#311: A This and That Day Thinking of Mom

Saturday, May 08, 2010

My day has been one of joy and despair, of happiness and sorrow.

I learned how to replace a front turn signal light bulb today. I love the staff at Advanced Auto Parts for being so helpful. Such a minor job but when you are as un-mechanically inclined as I am, every little thing turns into a huge, frustrating project. But now I feel empowered and almost want the right side bulbs to go out so I can show how fast I can change those little devils. emoticon

Then I was tempted to take a nap but looked at the mini-jungle in the back yard and decided to make a dent in mowing. Finished the entire yard but now my back is cramped and sore. A good sore of accomplishment. Took about two hours to stop sweating what with the 90s temperature and heavy humidity we're having here in Central FL. emoticon But, the yard looks nice and the dogs are enjoying being able to run easier. Plus, it counts on SP as cardio! emoticon

Went out for dinner and tried to start the computer to do some work before the meal arrived and it wouldn't turn on, Reset button didn't work, nothing. This computer's problems have been ongoing for a month now but it worked fine before I left the house. Tried to find the positive and could only think of the decluttering I could do if it didn't work at home and the editing that needs to be done. Got back home voila, okay again. Go figure but praise the Lord. emoticon emoticon And, I was able to give a musical angel snow globe to one of the waitresses, something of Mom's I appreciate but I have nowhere to display it. emoticon

I've been thinking of Mom today since tomorrow is Mother's Day. Sadly, she passed away in 2004. Hard to believe it has been so long. With both grandmothers also gone, there is only my aunt Alice in Indiana to wish a Happy Mother's Day to. Plus, of course, all of my emoticons who have been so encouraging and supportive and inspirational during my time here.

Please cherish your Mother as the treasure she is. Thank her for all of the things she has taught you. Mostly, though, tell her how much you love her. And may you all have a wonderful Mother's Day tomorrow. emoticon emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PEPPERLEAH 5/9/2010 10:44PM

    I talk to my mom often; and even though we are several states apart, it is always a blessing to be able to talk to her.

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SPARKLOVE 5/9/2010 9:11PM

    I called my Mom, today and told her I loved her. Mom, will soon be 85 years old. I sent her gift down to her by my daughter, who was able to go and take her out to eat today.

I live in Michigan, My Mother lives in W.Va and my Daughter just moved to North Carolina about 3 hours from my Mom.

I ran across this touching poem today and since your Mother is no longer with you I thought you might like it.

" If roses grow in heaven, Lord, pick a bunch for me ~ Place them in my mom's arms & tell her they're from me ~ Tell her that I love & miss her, & when she turns to smile ~place a kiss upon her cheek & hold her for a while ~ Because remembering her is easy ~ I do it everyday ~ There's an ache within my heart that will never go away. Happy Mother's Day in Heaven ¢¾."

God Bless You Lou. Joy

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IAMWINNING 5/9/2010 3:52PM

    Kudos, Lou, for getting yard work done. I know w/the heat and humidity it was miserable, but now your yard looks nice, and you can cool off.

I'm glad your computer woes were so minor (worked again after returning home), and am
still praying for a new one for you. God will provide when He's ready to do so.

My M-I-L died in 2004, and my Mom lives in a group home (assisted living) over 1,000 miles away. I don't even have a phone number for her! But I did send her my love in a card. I'm hoping my older sister was able to travel the 45 mi or so to visit w/Mom today. Mom will be 86 on Wednesday.

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DKWP614 5/9/2010 12:54PM

    I enjoyed reading your blog today, and hearing about how you are motivating yourself toward a healthier lifestyle. Outdoor yard work is not my favorite. Kudos to you for getting it done!

Have a great day.
Diana Kathryn

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LN7777 5/9/2010 8:44AM

    Nice blog!! Happy Mothers Day emoticon

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PUDLECRAZY 5/9/2010 8:06AM

    Mother's Day is hard for me, too. I lost my mother in 2008, only weeks after losing my dad.

Thank you for the Mother's Day wishes today.

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YATMAMA 5/9/2010 12:39AM

    Big Amens, Lou. My mother has been gone 15 years now and I miss her so. Having our parents still with us is such a fleeting treasure, never to be unappreciated. *hugs* from one who is missing Mama today, too. Kudos on getting that grass cut, my friend. No easy feat in this horrid weather.

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GIBBLES5 5/8/2010 11:20PM

    Thanks Lou for another great, inspiring blog.


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TINKERBELL200 5/8/2010 9:55PM

    I lost my Mom in 2001 to Alzheimer's disease. I also lost my ex mother in law almost the same day a year later, to lung cancer, who was almost as dear to me as my Mom. I still have my current mother in law and my aunt on my Dad's side, who I'm close with. You just always wish you had more time to serve them as they served you for so many years. Thank you Lou for the reminder to cherish these women, who have had such an impact on our lives.

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GEODAWG 5/8/2010 8:44PM

    I lost my Mother in 07 and I know what you mean. Mama only has two sisters left but both have Alzhiemiers. Bless all mothers and you too!

Comment edited on: 5/8/2010 8:45:10 PM

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#310: Overcoming Stress

Friday, May 07, 2010

We all encounter days filled with stressors. Many times these are major health, financial and physical problems. Other times our stress comes from a series of troubles, trials and tribulations that may appear minor in comparison but which are no less mentally and emotionally exhausting and frustrating

When we are faced with stress, how do we overcome it? A bedrock of positive thinking is a beginning, trying to find the positives in all situations, allowing us to put our problems in proper perspective.

But we frequently need more. Many experts suggest exercise to help overcome our stress. Something as easy as walking for those physically able to do so. Weightlifting, bike riding, yard work, anything to get us out and moving and focusing on something other than our immediate problems.

Others recommend meditation, tai-chi, yoga, prayer or some reflective sessions to calm our minds.

I have even heard a suggestion to list on paper both the problems and what could be done short- and long-term to resolve the problems. This lets us see the problems in their entirety and to see a bigger picture of possible resolutions.

I have also read that when we are under stress we could benefit from taking a nap, if possible, that being asleep releases us from conscious thoughts about our difficulties.

Of course, talking to a trusted friend or family member is always a good way to solicit advice and a fresh outlook on things.

Or, primal scream therapy, best done at home rather than in a store or parking lot. :)

Whatever of these or other methods or a combination work for us, what is of vital importance is that we do not allow ourselves to wallow in the pit of despair, that we try SOMETHING.

It helps, too if we remember that rainbows do not appear until AFTER a storm, when life always appears brighter.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TINKERBELL200 5/8/2010 9:38PM

    i agree with Missy too! Sometimes just hearing what other people have or are going through lightens your load and makes you feel blessed, and as though your problems aren't so big after all. My problems arise when I get the snowball effect. When one thing after another compiles on top of each other, to where one tiny thing on top seems to be the straw that broke the camels back. Kinda where you were the other day with your laptop. The thing to learn is they are just situations, and situations are subject to change when you get God involved. That and not to assume! We always make the outcome in our minds to be 10 times worse that what they really turn out to be. Life is good!

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DKWP614 5/8/2010 1:15PM

    I'm a fan of primal scream therapy - best in the shower to take full advantage of the echo; and then the soothing hot water afterward!
Diana Kathryn

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SPARKLOVE 5/8/2010 12:51AM

    When an Artist is painting a picture, they stand back from the painting from time to time, to get a better perspective . Sometimes what we need is a better perspective on our problems before we can solve them. If we listen to others problems it often gives us a better perspective on our own. Also in doing so we feel comfort knowing we are not the only person who is having a string of problems and struggle to keep going. We can learn from each other, encourage and inspire one another.

I agree there is not just one way to handle stress -find whatever works for you and do it! Don't wait for the storm to pass- "Dance in the rain".

Thank you for stopping by my page and your kind words. Hugs, Joy

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LOSINGLINNDY 5/7/2010 11:56PM

    This is a great reminder of stress reduction solutions. I was out working in my garden off and on for about 3 hours today. Some of it just spent gazing.

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PEPPERLEAH 5/7/2010 9:51PM

    I so agree with you, and with Missy, too. This is an awesome place. Coming here at the end of the day feels like coming "home". I always know my friends are here, to comfort me, encourage me, laugh with me, share with me...all wonderful blessings.

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YATMAMA 5/7/2010 9:26PM

    Having this vast community of friends so dear goes a long way to reducing stress for me, always someone in better and worse places than I, so much to learn from each other. What seems impossible to me, one here has already overcome. When all seems lost, along comes one who benefits from my own struggles and victories. What a wonderful recipe SP is.

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#309: What is Your Stress Limit?

Thursday, May 06, 2010

What is your stress limit? Have you ever reached it? Mine is pretty high --I can handle a lot of troubles -- but tonight I reached my limit, for a short time.

First, the car's turn signals went out as I drove to a lunch meeting today. I had my laptop and power cord with me to do some work before my lunch friend arrived. Then got drenched in the rain going back to the car after lunch. Later, after a doctor appointment, got home and got a call to meet a different friend for dinner. When we get together, while we're waiting for our meals and then afterward for a while, he usually writes more of his book in a notebook while I use my computer to do some book editing.

Got wet again in the evening rain while going into the restaurant. Then the power cord would not plug into the laptop. I stressed out big time worrying about being without a computer for the second time in a month, the expense of a new power cord, just the frustration of this and all else that had gone wrong in my life lately. I was ready to cry and scream. Me, a grown man. But I had had it and couldn't take any more and wondered why couldn't just one thing go right?

The waitress said it looked as if the cord was missing a piece on the end that would adapt to the computer's power outlet.

Well, duh me for not noticing. But was it at home, at the first restaurant, in their parking lot, in this restaurant's parking lot, in the car? So, out in the rain to check the parking lot and my car where I found it on the front seat.

How, for the first time in seven years did the cord's parts separate I'll never know. But back inside with a lighter mood and a lessened stress level, but still wet.

It was nice to get some work done at dinner and to be able to use the computer tonight at home as usual.

It was even nicer to say, "Thank you Lord for helping me find the attachment."

A certain amount of stress is needed in our lives, health experts say, but once in a while we reach our limit, maybe over major life issues, maybe over a series of seemingly innocuous tribulations.

But the real test is how we bounce back. Tonight I realized I had allowed life's negatives to influence my usual positive attitude. I had lost my positive focus. It is a lesson that will not soon be forgotten.

And the next time troubles pile up? I'll give thanks for them and offer a prayer for guidance and direction on how to handle them. Then, I'll look not at the problem, but at the positives in the situation.

Yes, even high stress limits can be reached sometimes. It is how we react at those times that is important.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

IAMWINNING 5/7/2010 6:08PM

    I'm thankful God sent the waitress into your life at that particular moment. Yes, you got wet (and wet again!), but I'm thankful God sent that moment of brightness into your life. I'm sorry so much is going against the grain right now; but I know that God is wanting to teach you something. Besides, He uses your experiences (which you so generously share) to teach us all lessons.

God's blessins on you, Lou.

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SPARKLOVE 5/7/2010 2:02AM

    I blow a cork every now and then. When things start going wrong and coming at me too fast sometimes I break down and cry and at that moment my attitude changes - I see it as God having mercy on me and helping me think clearer.

The first of this year started off bad for me with new health problems and my brother dyeing that was just the beginning of problems. I live on a tight budget like you and my furnise broke down -costly 200 plus dollars. Then my hot water heater went on the blink. Then more health problems , more deaths in my family and on and on. I can see why someone was moved to write that quote "If it wasn't for bad luck , I would have no luck at all". LOL I laugh then I start looking for the positives. They are there too.

Things don't always happen when I want them too. They happen in God's time and I have learn to trust his timing. Some things are hard to understand so I let go and rest in positive thoughts like everything works to the good of those who loves God. Sometimes things get worse before they get better.

At the first of the year when things started going down hill I lived by that Quote "One day at a time" when things got worse I had to learn to focus on one problem at a time when I had many going on at one time. Last night I was feeling so frustrated over the house work getting so backed up while I am feeling so bad and having so many problems to deal with at one time that I blew my cork said a few cuss words then the thought came into my mind take life one hour at a time - my mood changed and I felt back into control of myself and hope of catching up on my housework while still feeling awful. I stoped and said a silent prayer "Thank you God, for being so patient with me and giving me that good thought". Trust me , I understand how you feel. Sending you warm loving thoughts Lou.

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GIBBLES5 5/6/2010 11:49PM

    Lou... with all your rain I thought of the line that is something like "when it rains, it pours." I don't know if that is exactly it, but how I interpret it is that rain is like the little negative things in life that happen - necessary, but sometimes stressful, but there are times when it seems like more and more of these events are happening and it in a sense "pours."

I don't know if that made sense at all, but lately it seems like you have had lots of rain showers... and today it just seemed to pour on you!

Sorry you had the series of events that you had and you hit a breaking point, but at the same time, I am happy for you that you already had a revelation from these events and are moving forward.... positive as always!!!!

I hope that things start getting better for you!



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PEPPERLEAH 5/6/2010 11:19PM

    Oh Lou, I know what you mean. But isn't it funny how, just when we think we can't take one more thing, something happens that puts everything into a better perspective? I call that blessings from God! I am so glad you found the part (and kudos to the waitress for noticing the missing piece) and that you are able to use your computer again!

Have a blessed weekend!

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YATMAMA 5/6/2010 10:37PM

    I've had a few Popeye moments myself, of late: I've stood all I can stands and I can't stands no more!!! lol I didn't handle them all well. But I'm getting better at it since no relief is yet in sights. We live and learn. We grow from faith unto faith. Thanks for another winner, Lou.

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#308: Where is Your Alligator?

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

I ran across a newspaper cartoon that showed a drill sergeant speaking to his basic training recruits about using a rope to swing across an open pit.

“That there is a rope,” he said, pointing at the rope. “That there is a pit,” he said, pointing to the mud-filled pit. “And that,” he said, pointing to an alligator in the pit, “is your incentive.”

It got me wondering about our incentives for our weight loss and fitness journeys. Was it for improved health, for improved personal appearance or better fitness and mobility? Whatever our incentive to begin, where is our incentive now? Have we maintained sight of it? Or, discovering that this is not an overnight success trip, have we lost it?

With most aspects of our lives, it is difficult to be "up" every minute of every day. Sure, being positive should be a bedrock of our mental foundation, but there is only so much emotion in us. When we first begin a task, we are so very gung-ho and our excitment level is at an all-time high. Then, as long-term reality sets in we sometimes find our motivation, our incentive, our enthusiasm, waning.

So what do we do then?

I suggest we go back to the beginning and remember how excited we were when we set up our SparkPeople profile page, then joined several groups and began adding friends. When these down times hit, let's go back to the basics and recall how inspired we were when fellow members started posting comments to our page and sending us Goodies and words of encouragement. Let's go back to the start of our journey when we asked for help and received caring words of support from others in return.

Then, let's see where we are now. Have we lost ANY weight? Are we more educated about nutrition and fitness because of reading all of the site's articles, blogs and posts? Do ANY of our clothes feel looser? Have we received ANY compliments on our appearance? Has our mobility improved? Has our confidence increased?

Yes, it is easy to view the rope that will swing us across the chasm of where we started to where we want to go but let's not lose sight of the reasons we embarked on our journey in the first place.

Let us not lose sight of our alligators.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DKWP614 5/7/2010 2:04PM

    My alligator lives with me - he's my husband. The simple comment, "I think this good eats program is working for you, I can tell the difference." is enough motivation to keep me going for quite some time. It's nice to hear that he notices that I'm making an effort to change.

My crocodile, however, is my mother's recent pacemaker implant. I do not want to be her! Keeping that thought in mind makes walking the treadmill easier every day!

Thanks for the post, very insightful!
Diana Kathryn

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SPARKLOVE 5/7/2010 1:32AM

    I have more than one incentive but I allow problems to get in the way and I lose focus on all of them. I never give up but sometimes I slack off too much and too often. Thanks for the encouragement. Joy

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IAMWINNING 5/6/2010 1:28PM

    God bless you, Lou. This is very encouraging to me.

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APRYLSHOWERS 5/6/2010 10:02AM

  Wow! I have not thought about it that way.

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KENDRACARROLL 5/6/2010 10:02AM

    I need to remind myself of my goals every day in order to stay on this journey and yes, I do lose sight at times. Thanks for the reminder.

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AGAWRITER 5/6/2010 8:09AM

    Thank you. I definitely need to find an alligator today.

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    What a wonderful way to remind us of why we as making this journey! emoticon

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LAURIES_PLACE 5/5/2010 11:29PM

  My alligator was improved health. As I have achieved that, I have kept excited with new goals. Right now my goal is to be a runner.

Have we lost ANY weight? YES! 45 pounds so far!

Are we more educated about nutrition and fitness because of reading all of the site's articles, blogs and posts? YES! Everything here is a chance to learn, then apply what we learn.

Do ANY of our clothes feel looser? YES! I have changed sizes, and am about to go down another size very soon.

Have we received ANY compliments on our appearance? YES!

Has our mobility improved? Most definitely!

Has our confidence increased? In many ways it is through the roof. I CAN do it!

Thank you, Lou.

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YATMAMA 5/5/2010 11:01PM

    Oye, the alligators!!

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GIBBLES5 5/5/2010 10:45PM

    good analogy Lou!!


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LESLIES537 5/5/2010 10:41PM

    You are so wise. I just love your blogs! emoticon

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TINKERBELL200 5/5/2010 10:30PM

    Thanks Lou, as well as losing there's maintaining, which can be equally challenging. The thought is to not lose sight of where we started! Thank you for the reminder and once again making me think! You are awesome!
Lynne emoticon

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PEPPERLEAH 5/5/2010 9:46PM

    I think it is easy for the focus to become blurred at times. We all need the reminder now and then to put the focus where it needs to be! Thanks, Lou!

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