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NUOVAELLE's Recent Blog Entries

Winter 5% Challenge - Goals and commitments

Wednesday, February 06, 2013





So true. Both of them.
Setting goals and trying to reach them. Challenging ourselves and trying to succeed. Creating healthy competition between ourselves andÖus. Key attitudes to success.

So, here I am, ready for a new challenge. Butterflies, daisies, teddy bears Ė or was it just bears? Ė are just a few of the team names Iíve come across at Sparkfriendsí feeds and blogs. At first, I thought they were private teams that you had to be invited over to join. And then it was the virtual trips! And all this team work that really helps with motivation and commitment. And Sparkers reporting results through those challenges. I had to find out what itís all about.

And I found myself joining the 2013 Winter 5% challenge. And being really excited about it!
There are many things I havenít quite understood yet Ė like the term ďLiving the Good life pointsĒ that Iíve come across (?) Ė but I bet Iíll figure it all out once the challenge begins.

Now, why did I join this challenge?
- First, for the reasons I mentioned above. I just like setting new goals.
- During December I gained 1.5 kilos and I just canít seem to get myself together and lose it. I know itís nothing compared to what I used to gain over the holidays in the past. But I just hate the number 7 on my scale!
- 5% of my weight is 3.5 kilos. Which would bring me exactly where I want to be.
- Iíve had cases of emotional eating since the beginning of the new year. I believe a challenge can help me fight this demon again.

So, my goals for those 8 weeks are:
- Healthy eating. For me, this means wise food choices, portion control, no bingeing and emotional eating control.
- At least 20 minutes of daily exercise. That includes three times a week cardio and three strength training sessions.
- Lose 3.5 kilograms. Thatís my 5%!
- Get my body fat percentage below 20%. Currently, itís 22.3.
- Support my Sparkfriends and my teammates any way I can.

I had updated my Sparkpage a few days ago and I just included my new 5% challenge commitment goals. So, I guess Iím ready to meet my team!

Are you ready? Have you written down your goals and planned your actions? It is said that goals without a plan are just wishes. So, will you let your goals remain wishes?
Or will you turn them into achievements?
Your choice!
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

THOMS1 2/17/2013 7:42AM

    emoticon I feel younger myself then I did in my 40's and 50's.

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VENISEW1 2/12/2013 5:42AM

    Great quotes! Best wishes on your goals!

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CLAIREINPARIS 2/9/2013 3:07AM

    I am sure you'll succeed and will enjoy the challenge! It sounds a sensible one, yet hard work too. Go Elle!
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TINAJANE76 2/8/2013 4:09AM

    I totally know you can do it and I completely understand what you're saying about seeing the number 7 on the scale. That's also my signal to take action! Good luck on the 5% challenge. I used to do them and had a lot of fun with them. Hope you will too!

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NASFKAB 2/7/2013 4:38AM

  thanks for the inpiration

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-AMANDA79- 2/6/2013 11:05AM

    These are fun! In the fall challenge, I just planned on maintaining and ended up losing!!

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KANOE10 2/6/2013 9:20AM

    You can do it. I am joining a challenge also. I need to lose a few up pounds from January!

Great inspirational blog.

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THOMS1 2/6/2013 9:10AM

    emoticon on your challenge! emoticon

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MICKEYH 2/6/2013 8:44AM

    Great determinations. Good luck on your challenge. And see you out there!!

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FITFOODIE806 2/6/2013 8:36AM

    Great goals! It is very helpful to write it out and see the numbers in print. Nice work!!

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BLOOMINGLENA 2/6/2013 4:19AM

    Good luck Elle! emoticon
Please inform me about the challenges because I joined the group but still don't have a clue what I should do, which team I am in, etc.
HELP! hahaha! emoticon

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MINNA72 2/6/2013 2:55AM

    Good for you! Which team did you end up joining? I have been a co-leader for the Awesome A's for over 10 challenges now, it's a lot of fun!

Good luck!

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Our taste buddies!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Letís admit it.
We all love food.
Because if we didnít, we would have never searched for ways to lose weight and we wouldnít have ended up here on SP. The reasons for making food a close friend are different for each one of us. So are our preferences. When we think ďcomfort foodĒ, some of us picture chocolate and cookies, others crave chips and fries. Our taste buds decide what kind of food is enjoyable, indifferent or not to our liking. And whether we like it or not, our taste buds can define the outcome of our weight loss attempts and our health journey.

One of the most important things I realized through my journey with SP - and something that I wish I had realized much earlier in my life Ė is that not every meal plan is suitable for everyone. Iím sure most of you have heard of Atkins diet. The early approach of this diet was called by some people the ďall-the-steak-you-can-eatĒ diet! Meat has never been in my list of favorite foods. Iím the kind of person who, presented with a choice between a just-broiled, juicy steak and a freshly-cut, crispy vegetable salad, will definitely choose the latter. Can you imagine my chances of losing weight if I ever tried the Atkins diet? My taste buds would start a revolution at the end of week one Ė if I could make it that far!

Those little things inside our mouth are the ones that tell our brain what weíre eating. Salty, sweet, bitter or spicy. And our brain knows what we like and responds accordingly. So, after a meal we can feel satisfied and content or we can feel deprived andÖ still hungry! Thatís why we have to respect our taste buds. We have to make them our good buddies in our weight loss efforts.

My point is simple. Youíre overweight or obese because you love food. If you want to lose weight and keep it lost forever, you have to keep on loving food! Yes, you read that right! Donít expect to lose weight by eating things you donít like. Even if this works for some time, sooner or later your taste buds will start screaming for something tasty. And youíll go back to your old habits andÖ you know what happens next. If you donít like leafy, green vegetables for example and you push yourself to eat them in your salad every day at lunchtime just because the diet says so, youíre bound to hate your lunch in the end. So you eventually go back to pizza. Arenít these too extreme to be your only choices? There must be something good in between!

Search, experiment, explore. Try new tastes, add variety, start enjoying cooking. Discover new, lighter versions of the foods you like. Substitute things you donít like with your favorite healthy ingredients. Believe me, the word food will find a new meaning in your mind and this, alone, is a big step towards changing your diet mentality and your whole attitude towards losing weight.

Rejoice! You can keep on loving food and still lose weight! There are many of us at the At Goal and Maintaining team who can reassure you it works. ďEatingĒ is how we lost the weight. We just put the word ďrightĒ after it. And thatís how we continue our healthy life journeys. Join us!


Make this promise to yourself. Today.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GODIVADSG 1/31/2013 9:18AM

    You are so right! Thanks for the reminder. Something that has also helped me is having a set of cookware that is easy to clean. Although I love to cook the clean up was always a detour ant. I invested in some Racheal Ray cookware (not one purpose) and all of a sudden found cooking to be enjoyable again! Thank you for all the sites on healthy eating. They really help me! emoticon

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NASFKAB 1/31/2013 5:02AM

  awesome thanks

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THOMS1 1/30/2013 9:30PM

    emoticon

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MICKEYH 1/30/2013 8:39PM

    Thank you for your great advice!! emoticon

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BLUE42DOWN 1/30/2013 5:01PM

    Very right, though I did have to chuckle at your presentation of the Atkin's diet. I'd want both the steak and the salad, in moderation, rather than one or the other.

For me, the quantity of food had to change far more than the quality of food.

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CRANRANA 1/30/2013 4:21PM

  Your thoughts are spot-on! Making everything I eat spicy really helps me stay on track....and super dark chocolate. It's the only kind I can eat in any moderation.

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FITFOODIE806 1/30/2013 1:24PM

    yes!

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TRAVELGRRL 1/30/2013 12:34PM

    Great blog, and SPOT ON!

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MIDROAD 1/30/2013 11:41AM

    Wonderful blog, spot on insights! Thank you!

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-AMANDA79- 1/30/2013 11:11AM

    GREAT BLOG!! Couldn't have said it better my self.
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Tackling holiday gain: the cool-headed way!

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

So, how much did your ticker move backwards? 2, 5, 10 or more? Or you donít even want to know? Whatever the number, known or unknown, I bet you want the holiday weight to vanish overnight, right? Thatís what I want, too! But Iíve felt the panic before. Actually, it used to be the aftermath of every holiday season forÖ as long as I can remember! Thatís the reason I know how destructive this kind of panic can be. It always leads us to the wrong decisions and makes us fight a lost battle. Until the next holiday seasonÖ

So, what do we do? First of all we take a really deep breath and relax. Think about all the nice things that you did during the holidays that are not food-related. Decorating, shopping, exchanging gifts, meeting friends, gathering with the rest of the family, playing with your kids, anything that made you feel good.
Feeling better already?
Let's add a humorous note, to relax even more.



Now letís deal with everything one step at a time.

- First, the scale.
If you havenít weighed yourself after the holidays, you might want to think about it for a while. We all know when we have crossed our limits with food and have been too ďbusyĒ to work out. We all can feel it when the reading on the scale will most likely disappoint us. But there are people who need this kind of awakening to help them take action and then there are other people who get panicked by even the slightest gain and tend to make things worse by turning to emotional eating and binges. If you belong to the second category, you might want to wait a bit before you get on the scale.

- Knowing or imagining the gain, itís time to give it the correct proportions in your mind. Itís definitely not the end of the world and you didnít just miss your last chance to become a fit and healthy person! This number is just the result of how you changed your eating and exercise habits during the holidays. Either you couldnít resist the temptations or you just allowed yourself to indulge, which, to be honest, are more or less one and the same, but thatís irrelevant. What matters is that it happened. It canít be undone but luckily it can be fixed. If you want to fix it, you have to start eating right and exercise. If you donít want to fix it, you simply wouldnít waste your time reading this.

- Start eating right. That means filling your kitchen with healthy ingredients and emptying your house of sweets and holiday treats. Youíve had enough of them and you enjoyed them. But now itís time for change.

- Exercise. You donít need to become the local gym hero in a day! Start slowly. A longer walk today, a 20-minute workout tomorrow, anything that you enjoy doing will help. You just need to put yourself in the fitness frame of mind for a start.

- Be realistic. Donít expect yourself to be perfect right away. Imagine you return to work just after vacation. What happens on the first day? Can you easily forget about the fun and concentrate on your work or do you daydream of sunny beaches and crystal sea waters at every chance? Habits, even recently-acquired ones, can become second nature. Especially the ones that make us feel good and we enjoy them. Donít expect yourself to forget about them in a day. The first day, youíll mess up right after breakfast. The second day, youíll make it to lunch. The third, youíll only feel weak right before bedtime. In the end, youíll get it right. Just be patient with yourself.

- Try to set some non-scale goals. Iíve read in many Sparkersí blogs that they donít work for them. I know that the scale number is really important for all of us but Iím asking you to give it a second thought. Is it the only proof of our hard work and our progress? What about fitness achievements and smaller sizes? What about feeling healthier and full of energy? Do we have full control of the number on the scale? No, we donít. Our weight fluctuates for many reasons even during the same day. We shouldnít be obsessed with the number on the scale. Itís neither right nor healthy.

Above all, stay cool-headed. Panic never helped anyone achieve anything. Focus and take it one step at a time. And when you Ďre back in control of your eating habits, take a look at your rear-view mirror and inspect yourself, your feelings and your actions during the past holidays. Iím sure youíll have many valuable lessons to learn and practice until the next holiday season. And maybe you wonít ever need to read blog like this one again.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CANNIE50 1/23/2013 5:54PM

    This blog is WONDERFUL! It is chock full of gentle wisdom and smart suggestions. You are such a gem. I also LOVE the little cartoon - so funny. I always say I don't retain water, I only retain fat! I so agree about the "don't panic" advice. If panic and desperation worked, there would be zero fat people. Panic is fine when one needs to get out of a burning building but it doesn't work at all when someone needs to build good health habits and sustain them over time. I think this blog should be required reading for all Sparklers! It is SO good (and so are YOU).

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GODIVADSG 1/16/2013 4:16PM

    Thank you for another blog that hits home! emoticon

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FIT_MAMA_2_FOUR 1/13/2013 11:20PM

    Agreed agreed.

I just made a list of all the things I want to achieve, daily. Very specific food goals, plus a few others and put it on a clip board in my kitchen. I will check this list off everyday until these are habits again.

How quickly things can change. But I am not discouraged, I am figuring out how, without being extreme, to live a healthy life. thanks for the wise words and HAPPY NEW YEAR my friend!

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WILLOWBROOK5 1/13/2013 5:00PM

    What excellent, helpful suggestions!
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ANNIEONLI 1/10/2013 6:39AM

    emoticon
CLAP CLAP CLAP CLAP CLAP CLAP CLAP (Oh for pete's sake, isn't there and applause emoticon???)

You SO got this! I love the way you are thinking!
You get a emoticon for this one!
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NASFKAB 1/10/2013 4:57AM

  great advice way to go

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MICKEYH 1/9/2013 10:41PM

    Thanks for your great advice. emoticon

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CRANRANA 1/9/2013 6:39PM

  What wonderful insights--we can spend WAAAAY too much time beating ourselves up over weight loss. We need to relax and stay focused (easier said than done, but something we should all strive for).

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TRAVELGRRL 1/9/2013 3:00PM

    Great advice! Panicking always leads to crappy decisions and crazy diets, and that just never works!

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TIME2BLOOM4ME 1/9/2013 2:33PM

    emoticon

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FITFOODIE806 1/9/2013 1:29PM

    Thank you for these wise, calming words.
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1HAPPYSUSAN 1/9/2013 1:10PM

    Great, great blog, Elle! Insightful and inspiring! Thank you ever so much for helping me get right back on track.

Sparkle on! emoticon

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WINDSURFNERD 1/9/2013 12:38PM

    Excellent blog! I try to remind myself that the extra poundage didn't arrive overnight (nor all in one meal), that it took MANY choices to lay on each one! So, it seems reasonable that shedding each # will also take time and many choices (healthy ones!). Your suggestion to "stay cool" is the best advice during this Resolution-crazy time of year.
-Naomi

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BAKER1009 1/9/2013 12:08PM

    Beautiful blog Elle!! You provided some wonderful analogies and some real life examples that we can all relate too!
Thanks for another awesome blog!!

Hugs,
Beth

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SEPTEMBERSPIRIT 1/9/2013 11:01AM

    I avoided the scale until today but had to ring in and give myself a starting point. I'm not looking back though. Where I was is gone and it's where I am going that counts!!

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THOMS1 1/9/2013 9:49AM

    emoticon blog. During the Christmas Holiday I like to weigh the day before Christmas and the day after New Years and this year it wasn't so bad but, like so many other people after I weigh I tend not to remember the wonderful time I had over the holidays but just the weight gain. So again I thank you for this blog and I will remember to always remember all the good things of the season and not my weight gain. emoticon

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MRSJERRYBUSH 1/9/2013 9:44AM

    Very good blog, NUOVAELLE!

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Finding beauty!

Monday, January 07, 2013

I havenít posted a blog here for more than a month! Too many ideas, so little timeÖ And even though I have many health, weight and fitness-themed blogs in mind, Iím going to start the year in a different way. This blog is about beauty. The beauty of winter, the way we saw it during our new yearís trip.

We had decided to start this year in a very different way. No big festive dinners, no guests, no fireworks. Just us and nature in the peace and quiet of our isolated village in the mountains. We were all hoping for snow. The kids were hoping for lots of snow, actually! But when we got there, the mountains around looked like this:



It was actually a beautiful sight. Looking at the evergreen fir trees, slightly touched by the white snow, mixed with the last remaining fall colors, awaiting the thick fog coming down from the mountains. Breathtaking!



But we wanted more snow. So, we set off to find it!
Soon, the green color of the trees became difficult to find.



And after we had driven for less than half an hour, the landscape had been covered in a white, fluffy blanket!



The forest had surrendered to the power of the snowflakes. Sticking together, they had transformed everything in sight! And in such a quiet way!



A small hotel in the middle of the forest was waiting for those who were looking for adventure.



A small cabin, half-buried in the snow, and a little white church, fighting to remain visible.



Soon, we reached the skiing center. The peace of the forest was disrupted by joy! Kids feeling free while playing in the snow and laughing, grown-ups finding the kids inside them and becoming even more playful than their children!



We stopped and made a snowman.



And my girls tried snow-sledding. But they soon realized that it was more fun without the sleds!!



I saved the best picture for last. Nature got jealous of humansí Christmas tree decorations and decided to create a star made of snow on top of this fir tree:



I hope you can make it out in the picture. It truly was amazing!!

Iíll end this blog with a wish. A wish for all of you to find the beauty around you this year. As my good Sparkfriend Claire pointed out in her last blog, there is beauty in everything around us.

I hope you all find it. Connect your eyes with your soul and everything will look different. Find the beauty in your surroundings. Find the beauty in the people of your life.

And above all, discover your own beauty.
You don't have to look in the mirror.
Itís always been inside you.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BLOOMINGLENA 1/22/2013 5:58AM

    Such beautiful photos and so beautifully described! I couldn't agree more with you and claire! Beauty is in everything around us and we should take a look with the eyes of our soul to see it! Love you my friend!

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CLAIREINPARIS 1/10/2013 1:58AM

    This is such a gorgeous blog, Elle! Thank you! I hope we can inspire all our Sparkfriends to look for beauty... You are right, it makes everything look different!
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TINAJANE76 1/9/2013 7:40AM

    Thanks for sharing such a lovely blog to kick off the new year. It definitely provided me with a much-needed dose of serenity.

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FITFORMYFAMILY 1/8/2013 9:39PM

    Perfect.
I love what you were in search of, I love that you found it, and I am very thankful that you shared it with us. You are very good at inspiring!

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GODIVADSG 1/8/2013 2:50PM

    What a wonderful blog... thank you. And I could see the star! WOW

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NASFKAB 1/8/2013 11:33AM

  beautiful thanks

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BAKER1009 1/8/2013 10:10AM

    What an awesome blog, Elle! Thank you so much for sharing this with us!
That star is amazing...truly beautiful!

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Beth

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KANOE10 1/8/2013 7:37AM

    That was a lovely blog..both words and photos. Thanks for sharing a beautiful day in nature.

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AEROBISAURUS 1/7/2013 6:30PM

    Awesome! The star was rad. I'm jealous. emoticon

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MICKEYH 1/7/2013 5:45PM

    Beautiful place. Glad you've enjoyed it. emoticon

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MADAMES 1/7/2013 4:17PM

    Absolutely beautiful! Thank you so much for sharing your photos, your blog, and your wishes for the new year!

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FITFOODIE806 1/7/2013 1:20PM

    This blog immediately made me take a deep breathe and feel a sense of calm. Thank you for the reminder of beauty.
All those pics, especially the girls! are such beauty.

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VIXSTERLU 1/7/2013 11:22AM

    Love it Elle! Thanks for the reminder that beauty is all around us. I see beauty in this blog :)

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MRSJERRYBUSH 1/7/2013 11:13AM

    What a lovely blog--and focus!

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-AMANDA79- 1/7/2013 10:36AM

    Beautiful! Cold, but beautiful.

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THOMS1 1/7/2013 10:27AM

    emoticon Sounds like a great trip. HAPPY NEW YEAR! emoticon

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MILLIE5522 1/7/2013 10:26AM

    How lovely! What a stunningly beautiful place.... I love the star!!

A great way to start the New Year emoticon for sharing.

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DIXIECAP79 1/7/2013 10:22AM

    emoticon

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WALKINGTHETALK 1/7/2013 10:19AM

    A perfect first blog of the year! So beautiful!

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Welcome, Christmas spirit!

Monday, December 03, 2012

We're glad to have you here! You were a bit difficult to find this year. Things have been difficult and our minds have been preoccupied with many thoughts, most of them on the negative side. So, I guess Christmas spirit had a slight difficulty entering our hearts. But there's a blessing in being a parent. Actually, one of many blessings. Children have their own way of bringing the holiday spirit in a house. They carry it in their smiles and they generously spread it through the excitement in their eyes. That's what happened in my house this past weekend. My children made me realize that through difficult times, when there's struggling, when hope seems difficult to find and when uncertainty and fear about the future dominate our everyday lives, that's when we need the holiday spirit the most. That's when we need to liven up hope and remember the importance of giving.
So, we started by decorating our house. And I thought I'd share some pictures with my Sparkfriends. This is the holiday version of our house!

Our Christmas tree!




The nativity set!




The fireplace has been my favorite spot to decorate ever since my husband built it. It gets most of my attention all the time!










Our little village on the mantel. My little daughter wanted a family of four there so she added the doll on the right!




The little side table...




...and the center living-room table!




The fire was a "must" to make the place even warmer and cozier!




And the proud creator! The rest of the team were in their pyjamas, so they'll have their pictures taken some other day!



Thank you all for reading. I hope the Christmas spirit is alive in your hearts. I hope the true meaning of Christmas fills your hearts and minds with kindness and hope.
May we all have a blessed holiday season.
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KANOE10 12/24/2012 9:30AM

    That was a lovely blog. I love your photos and your reminder about the love of family during xmas. emoticon

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JSTETSER 12/18/2012 11:34AM

    beauutiful!!

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HAKAPES 12/11/2012 4:54AM

    Looks lovely! :-)

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LVMAMAW 12/5/2012 3:11PM

    You are so right! The decorations are beautiful and you are blessed to have those little Christmas Spirits running around your home! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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GODIVADSG 12/5/2012 10:39AM

    How very nice!

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CLAIREINPARIS 12/4/2012 3:21PM

    How lovely! You all did a great job of it! Have a beautiful Advent season, until Christmas!

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MADAMES 12/4/2012 2:20AM

    A beautiful home....glad you have found the holiday spirit! Very inspiring.

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MICKEYH 12/3/2012 7:59PM

    Thanks for sharing Christmas spirit. You have a beautiful Xmas tree.
Have a wonderful season and happy holidays"!!

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THOMS1 12/3/2012 7:11PM

    emoticon

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TINAJANE76 12/3/2012 5:41PM

    Thanks for sharing your beautiful decorations with us. Your place looks fantastic and full of Christmas spirit!
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MILLIE5522 12/3/2012 5:30PM

    emoticon emoticon Wishing you and your family a wonderful Christmas! Gorgeous decorations!

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ANNIEONLI 12/3/2012 3:33PM

    Thanks for sharing your holiday spirit!!! Looks lovely!!!
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BAKER1009 12/3/2012 11:58AM

    Your tree is beautiful, and your fireplace is AWESOME!! I'm jealous!

You are so right about our children bringing in the holiday spirit! They are just wonderful, aren't they?!

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Beth

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-AMANDA79- 12/3/2012 10:18AM

    emoticon

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JACKIE542 12/3/2012 10:05AM

    Beautiful! Now this is motivating me to finish mine. Thank you! emoticon

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WILLOWBROOK5 12/3/2012 10:03AM

    Love the decorating! Just beautiful. I plan to clean and deck the halls on Thursday when I sill have a day off.

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MRSJERRYBUSH 12/3/2012 10:03AM

    Beautiful message. And may your home be filled with Christ's love today and always.

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SHANTODD420 12/3/2012 10:01AM

    What a beautiful tree and other holiday items. I love you took a picture of each item. Thanks for sharing.

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SUNSHINE99999 12/3/2012 9:52AM

  Loving the tree and decorations. A blessed holiday season to you and your family.

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