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Christmas Past and Present

Sunday, December 29, 2013

A melodious background of music accompanies chuckling, fine food delicacies, and sagas gone by. These are songs that are known since youth. We have accumulated our collections for this elevated holiday to honor this season. Songs of twirling snowflakes, prancing reindeer,custom gift requests from a frozen toyshop, hot roasting chestnuts,glowing toasty fires, and of course the beauty and hope of the gospel in the Christmas carols.

We're sitting at our oak hardwood table and it is extended as large as possible There're additional fold up chairs between place settings. My husband and I , my sister and her husband and ,two of their three children are with us. Plus my mom and brother are there as well. We are all anticipating the gourmet spread.

It's nearly perfect, except our well loved son ,from the opposite coast isn't here.

Each specialized course produces food comfort satisfaction. There is something significant about indulging in dishes that have been passed on for several generations. The pattern of creating these dishes each year makes one feel rooted and connected .

My Dad once created a biscuit like roll derived from my Scottish step-mother . He also used his southern roots and long lived cooking experience to troubleshoot his recipe. . Yeast is used instead of baking powder. When all those around the table would moan from delight, he'd proclaim, "oh they are a wee bit tight" (tough.) This remark would generate a fury of extra compliments . They were light and fluffy like a cloud . How delightful they were with multiple pleasant textured fruit preserves, pastel transparent jellies, and locally raised honey from their community.

A supplemental part of this feast was the huge array of confections , such as a crystal plate of tree bark colored fudge, with and without nuts. It seems to me that there was at least a dozen of enticing cookies, proudly displayed just like a bakery/ pastry display. I recollect inquiring to how long it took to make all these goodies. My step mom indicated that it was usually four to six weeks.

To me, there was so much more involved than the food... it was the love and effort , to make Christmas special that caused us to feel content and blessed.

My Daddy also had trays of deluxe nuts, various sausages , and gourmet cheese , and stacks of many sorts of crackers. All these snacks were things we rarely ate the rest of the year, so we perceived them as fancy treats.

It's one of those blessed times, that everyone is chattering to their neighbor and anyone else who will listen.

The conversation weaves around work, changes and current affairs, activities, computer chat.
Varied opinions get expressed. It used to be certain people would get a kick out of presenting opposing views. However, nowadays, they usually state their thoughts and it no longer becomes a speech and debate match.

There are tales of childhood, each sharing their own versions. Even grandma is sharing an
account of her mother putting prune juice in her dollies china tea set for her and the neighborhood pals. You should of heard her remorseful pitiful tone of voice , because her buddies all ran away.

My sister reminisces and dramatizes another classic. This one has been dormant many a year. It didn't actually occur at Christmas time... but everyone howled , just like it's original telling.

Our son was a golden haired , sky blue eyed toddler. He was learning to converse in simple sentences. My husband and I had a young couple over from church to get to get to know them and to share dinner.

First he checked out the tall, large husband, then he did studied his wife. He stared at her for awhile. I can still recall his cute chubby cheeked smile on his face.

He walked around the front of the woman ( who happened to be well endowed in her bosom), and pointed at her chest . MILK ? , she indicated, no,"I don't have any milk "( she giggled ) . " Apple juice,"he suggested ???

When I reflect back at the holidays when I was a child, there are just a few that really stand out. There was a period of time that our Mom became a single parent. Therefore, we didn't have the income to do a big production. As a kid, I recall being disappointed for not having more.

Later, I came to recognize that many of these experience enhanced my life to become more appreciative of people and things.

There was one gift that I will never forget as long as I live. I'm estimating that I must of been between 10 and 12 years old . My sister was five and half years younger than I. Excitedly, I ripped open the piece of red and green paper she had concealed my package. Inside was 6 packs of Instant Quaker Oatmeal. Even at this young age, I figured out that she picked these out, because it was my favorite favor. This meant she didn't eat breakfast and saved them for me.

That same year, we got fresh , soft flannel pajamas . Usually this was considered a reject present, because they were considered a necessity , but these were heavier spa quality. There were translucent a fancy hairbrush for each ( probably from a traveling door to door salesman), a bright fashionable dress from my sister-in-law, plus both of use received snow white (rabbit fur) play kittens. It's surprising we didn't wear down their fur from countless stroking. Not only that but we'd rub them up against our faces with glee.

I seems incomprehensible to children nowadays, but my sister and I loved to comb and put rollers in our moms hair. Her hair was the same color as black coal.For some reason we were gratified to part it down the middle. She would squeal , make exaggerated wild faces, and insist we were making her look like a water buffalo.

Another game we amused ourselves was, Hide the Dish and Spoon. It is pointedly light years away from playing on electric devices, but believe it or not, we were actually entertained for over an hour. Somehow we knew how to invent activities that didn't consist of the a box game or any form of media. We were forced to use our imaginations.

When we were raising our family, often our place of employment would have special work party. Sometimes it would involve a semi-formal or formal dinner at a hotel or pretty location. Frequently, the place of business would have a complementary dinner. There would be multiple courses and choices of entrée, salad, dessert and beverages. Some years we had dancing and entertainment. Most of these events were delightful and relaxing affairs. The cherry on top were door prizes.

The event we attended was $50.00 person, and by the time one gets tickets for a couple, pay childcare, and purchase professional attire... it gets costly. The last one I observed in , a lady was putting silverware in her purse. There was only a few of us that objected that day . I was horrified.

There are several things that I have observed in recent years. No matter how old we became , we perked up at the prospect of driving in our either rural places or cities to check out the lights this time of year. Some of us magically morph into wide eyed kids. Others tone down their reaction, but can be seen hanging out windows or leaping promptly from their vehicles. We still find these brilliant decorations, but there are fewer and fewer.

There are light shows at some local parks for a fee by carload. There is also a place I adore, called, “Christmas in the Park. “ It has trees adorned in handmade ornaments from various clubs. The exciting part is approximately sixty Christmas scenes. They go down hills, spin around, play music, fly, and so much more. There was a man who used to use this display at his mortuary and donated his exhibits to the city.

They were able to keep the serene simple nativity scene because they have something for everyone.

The last five years or so, they added food, Santa, pictures, and the like. Now this tradition is supported by a group and not the city.

I'll retell the situation that happened to my husband and I several weeks ago. We went into a hybrid store that contains regular groceries and health foods. The clerk was ringing up our purchases. Without giving it much thought... I blurted out, “ Merry Christmas”. He declared,” it's not even Christmas yet.” I justified myself by stating, “but it's the Christmas season.” He grumbled. I justified myself that I was trying to say something more personable and cheerful
than, Happy Household Holidays( which is a phrase invented by a relative) .He interjected that it didn't matter, because he is happy everyday anyhow.

My nurse friend claims that one can get fired from declaring, “ Merry Christmas”. That is hard to believe. I hope such a thing couldn't happen.

We have to right to conclude any opinion we wish toward an event we are commemorating. This includes historical individuals. Should we take into consideration their lives and contribution to society? We could either respect , admire, and recall their actions , or we have the ability to ignore them, debate their influence, and forget them. However, let's not make a conscious effort to hide the birth this festive holiday is actually about.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SPARKI3 1/28/2014 2:04PM

    Your Christmas's remind me of my childhood. What great memories. Yes. JESUS is the Reason for the Season! God bless you and your family.

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FITGAL2010 1/26/2014 10:07AM

    Enjoyed reading your blog ! I liked imagining the buffalo hair, and I can see it actually. Lol ... I'm like you in the way I like to forget people who hurt me; I like to pray for them also, and then forgiving them is a little easier. I've purchased a lot of pj's for my kids over the years, and now I buy them for my grandchildren. Even today, I still ( from costco) will get the necessities in bulk! Lol, I divide them up, and give those as Christmas gifts to my grown kids (32, 28, 26). They laugh at me for it, but my daughter (the youngest @ 26) said she sure would miss the "supply" if I didn't do it. Makes me smile. Christ is the reason for the season. God is so good. He makes Christmas every day for believers! Hugs to you and yours, Lori emoticon

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DISCIPLINE1962 1/18/2014 8:59AM

    So many wonderful memories. And I like your conclusion about remembering Christ's birth.

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1GODISMYROCK1 1/5/2014 3:22AM

    Great blog! it DEFI NITLY brought repeted smiles to my face! emoticon

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JUDITH316 1/4/2014 4:11AM

    emoticon Lively for sharing, beautiful and thanks for your words of encouragement via the spark mail, came at just the right time...Blessings on your day... emoticon

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EDITOR 12/29/2013 8:54PM

    How beautiful, Lively. Almost as good as the Greatest Story ever told.

I never had a holiday like this. NEVER! I love Christmas and I serve Jesus, but this Christmas was as painful as they come. If it weren't for my two daughters living 2400 miles away sending me gifts and talking on the phone, the holiday, with a big meal and a complaining and mean husband , I would have a hard time saying Merry Christmas. But I say it and I mean it and I am thrilled you recounted it here for me to believe some families enjoy each other and special memories.

Do you remember how your son surprised you last Christmas after we prayed about it? That is the God I serve and you serve.

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SLIMMERJESSE 12/29/2013 1:13PM

    Nice blog. Touching oatmeal gift.

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The Very First Blog Ever / and Why I am COMPELLED to Share ....

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Several weekends ago, I received an e-mail from my sister Pati . She had something to discuss and believe I'm one of the first people she told. Later, she decided to post what she wrote me on her facebook page, in order to encourage others.

In a few sentences , she was basically explaining the process that she went through in order to decide, if she was going to do her morning run or not. .This particular morning, it had rained part of the night, and was still doing so.

Recently, she had started running as an alternative exercise .

Prior to that, she had been walking, riding, her bike, and doing some activities at the health club she joined .

She didn't indicate all that went through her head, while making this decision , but she did express the idea, that she woke up early, and her daughter was still sleeping.

I'm guessing the natural thing to do , for a beginning jogger, would be to be to roll over, and allow that hypnotic music of the rain, to lull one back to sleep. But no, she gave herself a pep talk and convinced herself, to emerge from that luscious cocoon of being in bed ( on a chilly morning ).

In the rest of her correspondence , she rehearsed how grateful she was for having gone through with her plans. After all, it is ridiculously early and it's r-a-i-n-i-n-g Then she made it known, "This is not Me". I thought only crazies did this stuff, and I am one of them. Blah, blah. blah.

So, she is pleased with herself for following through, and even more glad , at how darn good she feels.

Now, hang with me. I got to tell you the background story.

Just barely over a year ago, she used to use a wheelchair when she would go somewhere that involved much walking. She borrowed a chair from a neighbor when she was going to an air show or large mall. Other times, she would bring a small fold up stool, for standing in lines.

She has problems with plantar fascias, knee problems, and was overweight.

She begun her journey , wearing 22-24 size clothing. Now she is fitting into 8-10's.

I can't even begin to explain the experience of watching my sister transform, right before my eyeballs.

I want to tell anyone who is reading this blog, it goes miles beyond, the weight issue!! !I will bring that part up in a minute.

Yes, I am thrilled she is going backwards... I mean she seems younger, and isn't aging prematurely.

It is truly awesome, that she can do most things again. Many of them , we take for granted.

She can play with her 8 year old daughter without being hindered , by her size. I bet my niece appreciates this fact, even more than I.

Awhile back when she went on a favorite family activity, camping .She went hiking with a bunch of them.

She also has two adult sons. One of them is married, and she had her first grandchild about 10 months ago. We all know, that is a "huge deal ".

I have something else to tell you guys.....

After I got her e-mail, I decided I wanted to run with her too. I had considered running, off and on, here and there. really, more off than ON.

I thought running might be a pain in the butt, too hard, I might get injured, I might not like it... whatever . Not only that, I couldn't put out the $ for shoes right now. I decided, if I was going to do so, I wanted a decent pair ( to avoid problems ).

After, I considered this brainy idea, I told God, in a half-hearted manner" would you please supply me with a nice pair of shoes."? Then I'm thinking, sheepishly, this is a desire, not a need. It is a weird thing to ask for... I don't even know what I was expecting...

for him to drop shoes off a cloud ???

A few moments later, I thought , FREECYCLE . I got a silly smirk on my face ( are you being desperate ) .If I was able to to find a pair already posted or put in an ad ) ,they probably would be worn out , or, at least half way.

I figured, oh well, I'll post a request. I asked for a pair that had some tread left. About an hour later ( and I don't usually check my mail that often, there was an reply.

I picked them up and tried them on. They fit like a glove. Not only that, but they were barely worn, because the original owner told me, they didn't fit them properly.

I looked up the brand and series on the internet, and saw them listed for $80.00-$115.00

Excuse me, I have to take a commercial break to do the happy dance.

The reason I wanted to run with my sis, is to celebrate!!!! for her, and with her.

She hadn't dieted for a very long time, and she hadn't exercised in decades, and if she can do it, so can most people.

I like, LOVE- seeing her have her life back.

A word picture, is a rosebud. Most flowers are pretty, unless they are wilted or dead. But his one was closed but a nice color.

But the sunshine ( her faith )
Pruning ( hardship and challenges)
rich soil (creating new patterns and habits )
fertilizer ( effort and persistence )

I watched the flower open up, in slow motion, little by little bit, and the fragrance is so lovely....

The last fun thing, I want to mention,It's great how she is sharing this adventure with others.

The End ( from ) livelygirl 2 Sue

my side of the story ( about ) 1GodismyRock1 Pati

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MSBEKANATOR 8/30/2014 1:47PM

    I know that this is an old blog, but I have to say that this is awesome!!! What a wonderful blog to start out my Saturday with. We have such a wonderful God, and I love how you related this story to the rosebud! It made me think of 2 Corinthians 5:17. I love how SparkPeople provides tools to help us open up into the beautiful rose that He intended us to be. Thank you so much for posting this!

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LAFFLOTS57 2/19/2014 2:46AM

    lots of pow to this story...I have a niece who is only in her 20's and is slowly ruining her health as she now weighs in at over 250 pounds. it is encouraging to hear success stories

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DISCIPLINE1962 1/18/2014 8:58AM

    What an awesome, awesome story. Totally touched my heart. emoticon

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SHAWFAN 1/4/2014 6:33AM

    Lovely blog! Thanks for sharing!

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JUDITH316 1/4/2014 4:18AM

    What an inspirational Blog, and what an awesome transformation for your sister, God is Good, we serve a Mighty God, there is nothing too hard for our God to do...I am rejoicing with you that our Father supplied the means for you to get a great pair of running shoes so you can celebrate with your sister and run with her. I'm excited for you both...I cheer you both on your new journey of running together... emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SAFL04 12/15/2013 10:48AM

    Wonderful and motivational story!! Awesome job for both you and your sister!! I am hoping my sister joins in with me to be healthier . . . so far she is not. I worry about her and her health, I love he so much that it hurts me to see her the way she is right now. I hope she sees the light, that something will "spark" in her head as it did for me this year. Fingers crossed!!

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GABY1948 11/30/2013 7:20AM

    This is such an inspiring blog! Mostly because you are telling others what we both know already! God is emoticon and can do the "small" things like the shoes as well as BIG things like healing! God bless you for this blog! I am going to share it with my son if you don't mind (he is not on spark)
Hugs and Blessings!

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SETTIMIA 11/26/2013 11:48PM

    Thank you for sharing such a lovely blog and commenting on mine

have a good day


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PURPLEPEONY 10/23/2013 11:53AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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BROWNSUGAR2828 10/14/2013 12:44PM

    That is an inspiring story!

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ONEKIDSMOM 10/10/2013 6:33AM

    What a wonderful inspiring story... with the added benefit of it being TRUE! Your sister is a rockstar and I can feel your pride of sisterhood with her! Woo-hoo!

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SPARKI3 9/7/2013 11:56AM

    Yes....God is our rock.....more willing to help us than we realize.

I have had things given to me....just from a thought. I had not actively seeked them, even.
One must believe...and not falter (very hard to do at times) in our belief! My Dr used to liken me to a cat with 9 lives......except I was a rare one with 99 lives. However, he warned me in June, was running out of those 99 slow down (how do you do that??????) and take life easier!

Well, I have always been a go-getter, and am shocked at how much slower I go at this point even. I refuse to put my feet up and wait for the end! I am standing on God's word and praying for a turnaround on my weight.....

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LYNNWANNABE 8/25/2013 8:13PM

    You were right, what a good blog!!!
Also, thank you for posting on mine!

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SARAHTAIT 8/14/2013 3:55PM

    Awesome! Our God provides is mysterious ways. I am so happy for your sister and can't wait to hear how you are doing with running. It is such a blessing to know someone so motivating. thank you for sharing your story.

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ANNABELLE1957 8/14/2013 11:44AM

    I am so grateful you posted this blog about your sister, it shows how much you love her, and what an amazing job she has done and goals she has met this is a great motivator hugsssssss

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    I loved your story. You are a natural at writing. Give us some more. Thank you for sharing.

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CSC777 6/30/2013 9:14AM

    Dear Sue,

That is an amazing story. How is your sister today? How did your sister lose her weight? I really enjoyed reading your blog. You are a natural writer. Keep on sparkin'


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IMNOTSTOPPIN 6/28/2013 7:24PM

    Love the story, especially about how you got your shoes.

Thanks for the comment on my blog.

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WARRIORGIRL121 5/18/2013 1:38AM

    Beautiful! Loved reading this! emoticon

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JOYOUS1917 2/24/2013 2:11PM

    Transformation: 'just wait and see for He is good.' much hope for us all. emoticon emoticon

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TIME2BLOOM4ME 2/12/2013 7:14PM

    Great story !!!

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FAT2GAINHEALTH 2/12/2013 5:58PM

    a lovely story about a sister 's love. emoticon

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FUSCHIA6 2/11/2013 8:48PM

    Wow! Keep going. Now there is a miracle.
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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YAHSGIRL 1/10/2013 9:34PM

    This is awesome! And so inspiring! Oh I know I can do this. I just know it. Thanks for writing this and for the encouragement! emoticon

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PIMPINELLAN50 1/6/2013 9:53PM

    What a beautiful and inspiring blog about your sister and you!
You are a great writer too! emoticon emoticon

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LJCANNON 12/29/2012 9:31PM

    emoticon What a Wonderful Blog!! I hope that You and Your Sister are still running together!!

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ANGELBELIEVER 12/29/2012 8:57PM

    I just now read this blog and I like it very much. How is the running going?

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JLLOVETT 11/19/2012 3:51PM

    Wow, what a story! Thanks you for sharing and for the motivation!!! Congrats to you and your sister, pretty soon ya'll will have a brand new family! emoticon

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MOSTMOM1 11/12/2012 1:03PM

    Wow, so great! I LOVE this!!!

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    Really enjoyed this.

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SLIMMERJESSE 10/27/2012 7:59PM

    Forgot to "like this" so I came back to blog again.

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SLIMMERJESSE 10/27/2012 7:58PM

    This is an amazing blog. I voted for it. Wow to your sister. And wow again to you. Welcome to SP!

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KPETSCHE 10/25/2012 10:56PM

    Such a nice blog about your sister. You both are amazing! Thanks for sharing.

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MOXIE-IN-MOTION 10/23/2012 8:18PM

    This is such an amazing blog post...what an inspiration! Your sister's story is amazing, and I love that her enjoyment in running has piqued your interest!

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LDRICHEL 10/23/2012 3:23PM

    emoticon emoticon

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MSMOSTIMPROVED 10/22/2012 10:50PM

    I am sooo encouraged by this blog. I am cheering for you and your sista, You ladies are embarking on a whole new chapter in life. Run sista Run!!!

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

I am off to bed now because the run I planned to blow off due to late night with the debates. This was so timely, that how could I not run in the morning??!

Thank you-- your first blog was a blessing tonight.

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PINKNFITCARLA 10/22/2012 9:48PM

    Thanks for sharing such an inspiring story!

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CHRIS3874 10/22/2012 9:42PM

    emoticon emoticon

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KRISTA4REAL 10/22/2012 9:18PM

    What a great story! I'm so happy for your sister, and you are so right, anyone can lose weight and take control of their health! It may be slower going for some, but if you put in the hard work you will see results:) Enjoy your new shoes! God really does answer our prayers:) He has always answered mine, even when I didn't believe he would. emoticon

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FIT4MEIN2013 10/22/2012 8:34PM

    What a lovely tribute to Patti!

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DESERTJULZ 10/22/2012 8:26PM

    What an inspiring story!

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WILSLM70 10/22/2012 7:21PM

    Great blog... thanks for sharing

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REFFIE1 10/22/2012 5:28PM

    I am so glad you decided to write your first blog because you told a very inspiring story. I too, am very close to my sister. I took her to see my personal trainer who was very concerned about the amount of fat to lean muscle ratio she had. I have been encouraging her daily to go on an exercise program. It took her a month to get the right locker, new runners, hair products and makeup for the locker etc. etc. Finally, yesterday she actually went and opened the locker to work out! It is great that she is now inspiring you as well! I am very close to my sister so I can totally relate.

Comment edited on: 10/22/2012 5:29:21 PM

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CHICCHANTAL 10/22/2012 4:41PM

    Could you find me a pair of UK size 8 goretex walking boots, do you think?

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MEXGAL1 10/22/2012 9:40AM

    What a wonderful story about your sister. Good for her and good for you. Keep up the good work and continue to blog. Doesn't it feel good.
Have a terrific week,

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1GODISMYROCK1 10/22/2012 3:03AM

    Thanks you guys you are awesome! ZANNACHAN I had to laugh when you said "I'm not a runner, It has no appeal to me" That WAS me! I thought people were crazy who did it. I guess now, I'm the crazy one! I actually ran 1.62 miles today!!! I walked to church and RAN home afterwards, then tonight I walked another 1.5 miles on the treadmill while reading a book. A total of more than 4 and a half miles today. Now I KNOW I can do a 5k walk/run. God is good!

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BLUE42DOWN 10/21/2012 9:52PM

    Beautiful blog. emoticon to your sister for finding herself and to you for wanting to celebrate the joy with her.

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HDHAWK 10/21/2012 8:45PM

    What a wonderful story! Congrats to your sister for all she's accomplished and to you for following in her footsteps.

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SWEETLIPS 10/21/2012 6:49PM

    Such a blessing to read - thank you so much for this!!

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SMERTZ 10/21/2012 6:36PM

    wow...How awesome is it to have sisters support each other for their accomplishments

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