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Something To Ponder - A Mini-Blog January 2, 2012

Monday, January 02, 2012

New year new beginnings, right? Everyone is all revved up to get going with their New Year's resolutions. You can actually feel the buzz in the Spark community. With this being a leap year, we actually have one extra day, so if we falter, we just got a natural "get out of jail" card. Sounds too good to be true.

Now here's the obverse of this coin (you had to know this was coming): According to the Mayan calendar, the world (or the calendar, take your pick, there seems to be some debate about that point), is going to end December 21, 2012. Just when you thought things were going so well, you just got cheated 11 days.

So, if it all blows up on December 21st, are we going out as hotties or as blobs? Still something to consider, no?

Keep in mind, this is all in fun. The last time the world was ending (see previous blog), my only consideration was what to pack for lunch on the last day of the world. This time out, I want to go out with a killer body (one that is healthy, of course), or something close to it.

What plans do you have for this year? And how are you planning to reach your goals?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LISALGB 1/3/2012 2:35PM

    Well, I hope the world doesn't end on December 21st - that is my son's birthday and the world ending just wouldn't be much of a party game. emoticon

My biggest goals for this year is to get healthy (and to learn more about being healthy/healthy eating, etc.) AND, I really (triple underline really) want to wear a two piece bathing suit at the beach this year (and not scare the children while doing so.)

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JENNSWIMS 1/3/2012 2:05PM

    You know I've been thinking a great deal about what I learned this year, what I hope to accomplish this year, goals vs resolutions, self improvement and the like.

I do feel a buzz in the air, but the question is what do you do when the buzz stops? I know I will have to get to the gym extra early for my spinning class (crack of dawn already, earlier is a horrible thought) for a few weeks until all of the people who made resolutions fail and return to slothness.

How do you stay motivated when you aren't feeling it? What sparks your internal fire and makes you realize that you do want to do these things, that you are worth it, and you'll regret it if you don't?

Those are the questions that I'm still pondering.

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1CRAZYDOG 1/3/2012 12:49PM

    I am officially in maintenance for one year now, so year 2 will be maintenance:

tracking and measuring nutrition -- everytime I get away from that it seems that the portion sizes multiply exponentially!

water, water and more water! Going for 9 glasses/day as I feel like at times (especially during the winter) all the moisture is sucked out of my body! 9 glasses/day seems to be helping.

keeping up on my exercises -- boy is it easy to make excuses NOT to when it's cold, etc. Well, I know better -- one day leads to two leads to three, etc.

Hope this finds you having a terrific Tuesday!

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KATHRYNLP 1/3/2012 9:31AM

    I think the Mayans are right up there with Chicken Little!! emoticon

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    Hi Num, the world ending is not good for me to know. I would be spending this last year in wild food debauchery until I fall into a coma, knowing my time is up. So if you can get more scientific evidence, I'll temporarily just hover my spoon over my mountain of ice-cream and maybe it will all melt before you get back to me with any confirmation of the bad news!

Scootergirl in Oz

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LISA01605 1/2/2012 12:24PM

    I have big plans for this year. This is the year I reach my goal weight and enter maintenance. It's been a long time coming and I am going after it full speed ahead. I am going to get there by sticking to my eating plan and consistently working out. My focus is on health and having a healthy body but to do that I need to reach a healthy weight.

Luckily I don't believe the world is going to end because if I truly believed I only had 11 months to live I would become a total blob and eat anything and everything in sight. I am a reforming sugar junkie and part of my focus is on being healthy for years to come.

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New Year: The Virtual Trek Continues - January 1, 2012

Sunday, January 01, 2012

As part of my latest trek, I'm going to try and blog weekly on my progress across the country. It will help keep me accountable.

The “NY To LA Or Bust! Virtual Trek”, got off the ground on December 28 and ended December 30, 2011 for a total of 4.74 miles. Nothing earth-shattering I know, but it's a start. I'm doing this in 100-mile chunks, and right now hope to be in Pennsylvania just past Stoney Hollow Road, east of Fern Ridge Bog Preserve (why not?) by mid-March. We’ll call it a birthday celebration if I’m on schedule. And I hope to be!

I'm also going to try and blog about areas of interest as if I were a tourist, just to keep it more interesting.

Where I am from in New York, the area is steeped in history, having, at various times, been settled by the Dutch, as well as earlier by various tribes of American Indians. Names of streets and area subdivisions reflect these origins. The purchase of Manhattan for $24.00 in trinkets, supposedly took place a stone’s throw from my house.

Inwood Park, nestled in upper Manhattan where the Hudson and Harlem Rivers cross, is located on the other side of the Hudson River Bridge, which I just “crossed” into Manhattan. The park, called by local historian, James Renner, the “last remaining primeval forest in Manhattan”, has 196 acres, and still bears arrowheads from the time of its previous Indian tenants, who lived in the caves found in the park and fished the local waters. My father collected them as a young boy, and in his drawer there is a box of them. The park has many hiking and jogging trails.

[View facing west from the park: The Henry Hudson Bridge is in the background]

Bordering the park, according to historian Renner, are remnants of huts and oven pits used by Royalist forces during their occupation of the area during the Revolutionary War. In the nineteenth century, wealthy landowners made the park their country residence.

The Hudson River borders the park on the west. It is named for Henry Hudson who discovered it and traveled it trying to find a passageway to the Pacific, only to end up in Albany where the waters grew too shallow, forcing him to go back. During the American Bicentennial in 1976, the river was flooded with “tall ships” which created an incredible pageantry, and many people lined the river banks to watch the ships plow up the Hudson. Quite spectacular, indeed!

Currently, I am traversing, virtually, the George Washington Bridge, an elegant span completed in 1931. At the time of its opening it was the longest main span in the world. It still is beautiful when it’s lit up at night.

This week we’re heading into Fort Lee, New Jersey. I hope to blog at the end of each week, where this adventure is taking me. It’s going to be a very long trip. Anything to keep the motivation going!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JENNSWIMS 1/3/2012 1:59PM

    I've always wanted to visit NYC.

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MIQUEY73 1/2/2012 1:47AM

    emoticon Love the "virtual" tourism. Awesome idea! emoticon

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SAHARASUE 1/1/2012 10:40PM

    So interesting! I'm really going to enjoy following along and learning so much on your trek.

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BUTEAFULL 1/1/2012 9:26PM

    this will be a great geography and history lesson

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ILOVEROSES 1/1/2012 8:29PM

    This is so great! I'll be learning about geography AND history of USA!
Ania from Australia emoticon

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HIPPYCAT 1/1/2012 7:59PM

    This is so cool. I'm thinking about doing the Mormon Trail from Nauvoo, IL to SLC, UT.

Happy Journey!

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    This is fantastic!!! So interesting... I really enjoyed discovering this part of American History.
Wow, it is going to be great to follow you all the way to LA each week! Go Nu!!!
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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KATHRYNLP 1/1/2012 3:20PM

    I am so looking forward to your virtual tour across the states. This first entry is so interesting to me, as I'm a natural born History buff, as is my hubby. So,"Lead On McDuff", I can't wait for the next entry. Have fun and know that we're all cheering you on! emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 1/1/2012 3:23:39 PM

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KARL1266 1/1/2012 2:36PM

    What a neat idea! I'll be looking forward to reading about your journey.

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TAMPATINK67 1/1/2012 2:06PM

    Awesome! Might be fun to get feedback from the sparklers on little detours to take along the way to "see" some of the greatest sites in America! I'm looking forward to learning as you go too!

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_JODI404 1/1/2012 2:02PM

    I love that you are blogging about these details of the journey. I find it very interesting!
I lived in NY for about 3 years -- I know those bridges. :)

Enjoy the journey, I look forward to following along!
emoticon emoticon

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NY To LA Or Bust! - December 25, 2011

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Doing a virtual trek, I have learned, has helped me reach goals utilizing a visual of a map, and careful planning. I thoroughly enjoyed doing the virtual trek on Cape Cod, and it kept me quite focused. And it was completed pretty much on time (a few days after Thanksgiving - the original projected date, which was within reason), within the three months originally planned. Sometimes life intervenes, but that's OK, too.

Now that I know I can do 80 miles, I'm thinking more ambitiously: What about cross country? I can stop in and *see* the Sparkers virtually as I pass through their states.

Doing it with others is nice, but if there are no takers, I know I can motivate myself enough to do this. I've already proven it to myself on Cape Cod.

These are my tools if anyone cares to join in (the more the merrier!):

(1) Yahoo Maps will give turn-by-turn directions and a ballpark of how to make the trip:

(2) MapMyWalk is a great site for posting the trek's progress, and of course, it is a free site: [1-16-12 Edit: This link may no longer be working. Below are two others that are as of this date:]

Having a goal and having a destination helps when the exercise we are doing over time becomes mundane. It's going to take a while, but what's the rush? Like losing the weight, this is for the long haul, not a weekend sprint.

Here's to seeing you in LA!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NUMD97 12/27/2011 6:41PM

    Please feel free to join me. Leg 1 is mapped out on my main page for anyone interested. It will cover 100 miles from NY to NJ on to PA. At my rate of 10 miles per week (doable), this leg should end around mid-March or so (ten weeks' hence).

All comers welcome!


Comment edited on: 12/27/2011 6:42:18 PM

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CLAIREINPARIS 12/26/2011 4:19PM

    It sounds fun!!! I am preparing my pompoms! emoticon

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KATHRYNLP 12/26/2011 8:48AM

    Enjoy your cross-country trip.. take lots of pictures along the way... emoticon

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LISALGB 12/26/2011 12:23AM

    Be sure to stop in if you come through Tennessee!!
Have fun on your trek - keep us posted so we can cheer you on!!

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ILOVEROSES 12/25/2011 11:12PM

    Good luck! Next one, how about doing it Down Under so you can come and visit me in Melbourne.
Ania from Australia

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TRENTDREAMER 12/25/2011 6:46PM

    Best of fortune to you!

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Being Your Own Super Hero - Saturday, December 24, 2011

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Yesterday, I came across an article in the Huffington Post briefly reviewing a book, published in England this past fall [“Dear Me: More Letters To My Sixteen-Year Old Self”], and it got me to thinking and remembering what I thought was so important then. “Sweet Sixteen” is a major turning point for an American girl. I was no exception. But looking back on it, I would love to whisper in my sixteen-year old self’s ear, that all that surrounded me then, found no place in the future at all. I know she wouldn’t believe me. After all, Jerry Rubin’s “Don’t trust anyone over 30” had big play in those years, and I am now well over 30.

The requisite party I had back then, with all the important peers in my life...most of those girls came (remembering now, two who I thought were important, never even bothered to tell me if they were coming or not, and me calling and calling the morning of the party, to find out what happened and if they were still coming, with no one answering the phone. That memory, even now, makes me cringe.). Even the “best friend” was there. I look back at that day, and I can still see the faces. All gone. With one exception: The one I didn’t even regard as a best friend then, has still stuck by me, even in the worst of times, some forty-four years later. Sixteen-year old self, how foolish were you?

One of the comments left on the Huffington Post thread, resonated so strongly with me, I had to copy it and send it to myself in an e-mail, the words were so wise. To wit, and to give the appropriate credit (from someone calling herself SMA1):

“1. I know you don't have any confidence; pretend you do, and make a serious step-by-step plan for a successful, independent, prosperous life, and live it!

2. Surround yourself with wise, authentic people.

3. You are intelligent, gifted and worthy of love and respect. Don't accept any less from yourself or other people.

4. Look closely at a man's family. They, especially his parents, will reflect who he really is and who he may be destined to become. I'm sorry that you've been so hurt by the people in your life. If the 50 year old me had been there, I'd have had your back. If it helps at all, your daughter is all the things I wished we could have been.”

And rereading those lines now, makes me think of the movie I just finished watching: “The Help”. One of the many poignant scenes involves a black maid, who apart from her other duties in a southern household of the early 1960’s, is charged with the care of a two-year old white toddler. This occurs by default, because the mother of the child shows no interest in mothering her, or loving her. The black maid fills that breach. And at the worst moments where the child is forced to interact with her mother, only to receive her mother’s rebuff, the maid takes her to her lap and tells her these all-important words: “You is kind. You is smart. You is important.” This, to serve as counterpoint for a neglectful mother.

If that were instilled in us daily, from a tender age, how many of us (especially the women) would still be struggling now with the physical manifestations of low self-esteem: “the weight”? What if we heard things to instill in us, self respect, worthiness, and belief in ourselves at a young age, would we be here on SP now?

As I googled the source of those movie lines, I came across an interesting article about the author, Kathryn Stockett. I had listened to the talking book as well, before the movie came out, and it was exceptional. Last night I learned that she received sixty (60!!) letters of rejection before she found someone who believed in her words and got the book published. How does one do that? Shoulder that much disinterest, and yet still believe in the product? At which point do you just give up, as the endeavor appears to be so foolhardy? Here’s the link (well worth the read): or/60-rejection-letters-didnt-stop-kat hryn-stockett-and-her-bestseller-the-help

I remember, too, Sally Jesse Raphael, also encountered about 23 firings from jobs which did not deter her from her goal of becoming a radio and, subsequently, talk show personality. She noted that what kept her going was a mother who believed in her very early on, and that inner talk and belief she kept, throughout many lean years, until she arrived at her chosen destination and personal fulfillment.

So here we are now on SP. From many blogs that I have read, many are very broken, from events in younger years that I can only begin to imagine. And yet the common thread for us all, is the will to improve, which still shines through, or why else stay on this wonderful site? I think for the moment, before the flashlights shine in the darkest of corners, the thing to remember is that the past is gone, the present is fleeting, and the future is waiting its turn. The future that we all commonly desire is filled with hope. It’s the present that needs to be altered, the past properly addressed and then boxed, to attain our greatest desires for a better future. The weight is just a physical manifestation of what is broken which lies within. For now, I am content to focus on the physical, to make my 60-year old self, the best that she can possibly be. I know, too, as the weight comes off, the reasons for this physical “fat wrap” will have to be examined and answered. It’s the only way for this to not repeat, and be a continuing vicious cycle.

It’s the end of the year. I’ve done some serious cleaning in my life, ridding myself of people who were only dragging me down, for reasons only they know. People who cannot rejoice in your successes have no place in your life. People who love and support you, even when at times you don’t agree, get to stay. These are the pillars that prop up our lives when things go south.

Remember, too, that we are worthy (that requires a lot of internal positive talk, I know, but it has to be done, until we believe it). That with effort a lot can be accomplished. That planning is simply the first stage, it is not the end by any means. Keep goals in reasonable proportion: Small goals that are measurable and attainable, medium-term goals, and long term goals. Keep a journal, as I am starting to do (SP has one that is private), to measure your progress. I love writing down on my four-month “war board” (my blank calendar), all the items I need to do for that day, and then checking it off with a red pen once that task is accomplished. It may sound stupid, but it works! I can physically see what I am accomplishing especially over time, and to me that is important. And if I break it down in four-month chunks, especially what I need to do professionally, it makes it more attainable. Then month-to-month, in that four-month period, week-to-week, then day-to-day. I also need to remember that once planned, I need to stick with the plan, and examine and revise repeatedly what doesn’t work and keep what does.

Success feeds on success, I believe, and once the habit is firmly fixed, it becomes part of the routine. It takes about four weeks, per research, to have a new habit stick, but once it does, it just gets incorporated into our lives.

Forgiveness of self, as many have noted before me, and probably more eloquently, is a major part of a healthy new lifestyle change. It does not happen overnight, and the inner voice will fight us every step of the way. We just have to push back more.

So the final question one has to ask oneself: Are we worth this? Because if we don’t do this for ourselves, no one else will. It’s great to have support, but in the end we need to build our own internal dialog and be our own superhero.

Do you agree?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MARTHAWILL 12/26/2011 9:29PM

    Thank-you so much for this. A great blog!

Comment edited on: 12/26/2011 9:29:57 PM

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CAROLYNINJOY1 12/26/2011 3:40PM

    What an excellent blog.

I'm off to visit the page about the numerous rejection letters Kathryn Stockette received before being published. Thank you so much for sharing.

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KATHRYNLP 12/26/2011 9:01AM

    I am copying this wonderful and insightful Blog of yours, Nu. It really hits home with me and I know my daughters will also appreciate your wisdom. I want to do some deep thinking, and this will guide my thoughts. Thank you, for taking the time and effort to put this all down on (virtual) paper for all to read. A lot of your goals are very doable... emoticon Kathryn

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_JODI404 12/26/2011 12:44AM

    This is such a poignant and wonderful blog!!

I reached you through Eve's blog, and am very grateful that I did!

Thank you for the inspiration! I so agree, We ARE worth it, and it is within us to make it happen!

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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LISALGB 12/26/2011 12:20AM

    Great advice for all of us, Nu!! Every woman I know should read this blog.
Yes!! We are worth it!! Thank you for reminding me!!

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YIWEN39 12/25/2011 9:43PM

    emoticon Found your blog through Claireinparis's page and it really touched me too, especially today, I needed this.
Thank you! And I'm adding you as a friend, I like your blogs :-)
Have a great post-Christmas week :-)

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MIQUEY73 12/25/2011 8:57PM

    100% agree! Thank you for this wonderful insight. It got me thinking a lot.

Hope you had a terrific Christmas!

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CLAIREINPARIS 12/25/2011 4:27PM

    Yes, I agree... A lot of what you said really touches me, Nu. Thank you. It is so difficult for me to really believe I am worth it!!! But I know I am, and it is worth every effort!

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1CRAZYDOG 12/24/2011 9:59PM

    I agree 100%! You have expressed many wonderful ideas i this blog. I am going to take the time to read it again to "digest" all your messages.

Wishing you a very merry Christmas!!

We are DEFINITELY worth the effort.

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Motivation? What Happens When You Run Out Of Motivation? - December 6, 2011

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

I saw this on another Sparker's page tonight and I just had to research the genius behind the quote, because, frankly, I had never heard of him. To wit, John C. Maxwell is an American entrepreneur and motivational speaker (after you read the quote, I think you will understand why):

“The whole idea of motivation is a trap. Forget motivation.
Just do it. Exercise, lose weight, test your blood sugar, or
whatever. Do it without motivation. And then, guess what?
After you start doing the thing, that's when the motivation
comes and makes it easy for you to keep on doing it.”
― John C. Maxwell

It appears that Mr. Maxwell and I are on the same page, because, before I even read his quote tonight, by sheer coincidence, I had put these very thoughts, a bit more succinctly on my feed earlier today (hey, it only allows a fixed number of characters). The bottom line is we can talk about weight loss and how we're going to do it, until we are blue in the face. After awhile it gets really old.

My mother was not an entrepreneur, nor a public speaker, but her wisdom was just as wise, and perhaps more contained in fewer words. After a certain point, she would tell me, "Don't plan. Do." And I still hear her saying that to me.

Sometimes, what I call "white noise" tends to overpower us in our intention. We fret about succeeding in our current plans: Will it work out, after all our efforts, will we fail? Sometimes, we just have to turn down the volume on all this negative speak and just (yeah, it's the Nike commercial rearing its ugly head again) do it.

Because, after all, what happens when the motivation doesn't carry us today? Do we simply give up? Is that the end of the road on our quest for health, and even happiness? Doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me.

What do you think?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JENNSWIMS 1/3/2012 1:57PM

    There is no try. Do, or do not, but do not "try".

Yoda is a freaking genius.

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COMPUCATHY 12/20/2011 9:32PM

    I think it's right on! The sayings have a reason for being sayings...there's wisdom there...just do it...fake it til you make it...ready, fire, aim! Action is key. My SP calendar today had a saying...something are a success the minute you make a move toward your goal. We can plan...we can think about it...we can motivate ourselves...but action is what makes it happen. Keep up the good work! Thanks for your encouragement! Spark on! emoticon

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HAPPY-DESTINY 12/7/2011 7:58PM


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LISALGB 12/7/2011 2:13PM

    Very wise blog!! What you say is so very true - we just need to do what needs to be done.

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CLAIREINPARIS 12/7/2011 1:44PM

    So true!!! Lots of wisdom here, thank you Nu! emoticon

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KATHRYNLP 12/7/2011 9:42AM

    It's been proved over and over that dieting makes us fat. This blog of yours may be the answer. We just have to make life changes a normal part of our every day life. Loved your Mom's wisdom.. just do! emoticon

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YIWEN39 12/7/2011 5:32AM

    I think you're spot/spark on :-) Way to go! emoticon

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STRIVER57 12/7/2011 4:11AM

    exactly. you don't need motivation every day, but you do need to have decided, this is what i'm going to do.

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TLBLACKJACK 12/7/2011 12:01AM

    This was awesome thank you for sharing it! Really puts things in perspective!

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BUTEAFULL 12/6/2011 11:50PM

    emoticonvery well put

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PRINCESSAA12 12/6/2011 11:50PM

    Great blog. Exactly what I was looking for. "Motivation" hehehe..

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