RITAROSE   126,328
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My Most Unforgettable Character--Gene-- His Life Lessons for Me

Saturday, July 24, 2010

What an emotional week this has been! For the past month I have dreaded Tuesday when I would be losing the job I've loved. I have taken care of Gene, an 89 year old man with Parkinson's Disease for the past 2+ years. He has been such a source of inspiration to me as I've seen him fight his disease with grace and strength and very little complaint! This while I was trying to learn to eat more appropriately and exercise regularly to lose weight and improve my health.

When I didn't want to exercise I would think of Gene and his response when I would ask him daily if he would like to exercise. If he was feeling weak or poor he would say, "we'll see what we can do." He would then proceed to give it his 100% even under trying circumstances. This spoke volumes to me as I was in the process of learning to exercise regularly and learning to stop asking myself, "do I really FEEL like exercising?" I now don't ask that question, instead I just do it! After making exercise a priority and feeling the very positive results of it, I know that I will be very satisfied that I did exercise. I'm even at the point where I LOVE the process of it.

My heart is full of gratitude for Gene and the lessons he's taught me. I delighted in telling him that he was my hero and that he taught me how to just do it no matter if I wanted to or not!

He's not adjusted to his move to assisted living yet. His daughter called and asked if I would come in to exercise with him a few times a week. I'm so happy to do this as I know without the exercise he will be in a wheelchair soon. I miss him so much already. I am so grateful for his many examples on how to live a graceful life that is a blessing to others.

Gene is truly my most unforgettable character!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LINIS_THIN 8/11/2010 3:15PM

    Beautiful story.
When one chapter of your life closes another opens...
Look with eagerness at what your life will bring!

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LINDAKAY228 7/24/2010 7:13PM

    I work with elderly and disabled and have since 1995. I see some that are so inspiring and work to overcome so much and I love working with them. I also see a few who don't have near as much wrong with them and whine and cry all the time about how miserable their life is and how no one cares. I try to treat them all the same and actually learn a lot from both groups. From the whiners I learn to watch my own attitude and make sure I be grateful instead of focusing on the bad. From the hero's like your gentleman, I learn so much much more. Some of that is about what it is to keep pushing on and not give up and how much courage they have.
I believe you have touched his life tremendously too, especially since many people want to avoid those with disabilities and illnesses and your willingness to look beyond what is initially seen and to see the beauty of the man underneath is a precious gift you also gave, and still continue to give, to him.

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KASEYCOFF 7/24/2010 6:04PM

    And I have no doubt, Rita, that he learned as much from you as you did from him. It's wonderful that you can continue to visit him - and even better that it will give you additional exercise and help keep him more fit. His life is a blessing to others - and so is yours. emoticon

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HAPPY1049 7/24/2010 3:25PM

    You are probably his most unforgettable character! That's why he needs you to be there to keep helping him cope.
It's amazing how our attitude can be such a blessing to others along the road of life.
Thanks for sharing about Gene.

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JUST_TRI_IT 7/24/2010 12:42PM

    OH wow... This is inspiring. TO know that someone with his condition still gave his 100% can remind us all to get things done even if perhaps we do not feel like it.

Thank you for sharing your most unforgettable character, Gene :) emoticon

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MSWEEZER 7/24/2010 12:41PM

    What a wonderful story and clearly you impacted one another's lives at a most important time. I love the elderly and hope to find a way to interact with them again. I spent a lot of time at an assisted living facility when my mom was still alive. I grew to love so many of them and they looked forward to my visits just as much as my mom did. And when it got to where she didn't know me, some of them would know me and appreciate my stopping by, sharing a smile and a touch. You've been truly blessed, as has Gene, to have the 2+ years you've had together.

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APRILLSCOTT 7/24/2010 12:07PM

    Rita what a wonderful patient you had! People like this give us a whole new prospective on life! They make us see that anything is possible! They help us always be positive even when life is not the greatest! People like this have so much to offer if someone will just take the time to help! I know you will miss him and have learned a lot being with him! God puts people in our lives sometimes for a reason!

Remember though the season has changed! God has put you in this job for a reason and evidently He has someone else that needs that positive energy passed down to or is there someone else coming in to teach you something new? This will be interesting to find out! emoticon

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SUNNY332 7/24/2010 11:40AM

    Awe, what a wonderful person Gene must be. Thanks so much, Rita, for sharing his story and your story. I am happy that you will get to see him at his new place and how nice of his daughter to call and ask you.

What a blessing your brought to us this morning. Thanks so much!

Hugs, Sunny

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DREMARGRL 7/24/2010 10:49AM

    This brought tears to my eyes and joy to my heart this morning. To find strength and inspriation....to learn and love the elderly is truly a blessing. So many don't even want to sit down and talk with a sick person or old person. They have so much to offer, if we would just take the time to listen. I'm sure you mean as much to Gene as he does to you and that YOU have made his life better. In his mind and heart, I know he loves you, too, and appreciates all that you do for him. Keep up the good work....keep exercising. I think I'll think of the both of you when I do my elliptical this a.m. Have a blessed day and give Gene a little hug for me, too. Thanks for the inspirational blog!!!!!!!!! emoticonYou are emoticon!!! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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70# in the rear view mirror

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

I'm literally shocked that I've lost 70#! The journey began April 2009 on my own after my doctor told me I was going to be a diabetic. I tried to exercise and eat better. I think I lost about 12 pounds until August when the program my doctor signed me up for started on diabetes prevention. To get into the program I had to agree to 1)track my food daily and 2) weigh myself daily. I was upset on both accounts, but to be part of the program I had to do it, so I did!
After a month, I was into it and looked forward to watching my progress.

Spark People came along for me when my program was winding down and I was in panic mode about how I could continue to lose weight. It has been so much more than I would have dreamed or even hoped it could be!

I have a mini goal that I've been working toward since April for my son's wedding August 7th. I am 7# away from that. I don't think I will reach it, but even if I don't I've been chipping away at the 20# goal I made in April.

I've been surprised by my determination to walk wherever possible even when the weather is challenging. It was a pleasure to learn that every week just walking to and from work is 20 miles! The walking is very enjoyable and the time passes quickly.

I learned last week that the job I have caring for an elderly man with Parkinson's Disease in his home will be ending next week as he moves to assisted living. I'm very sad about this change for him and for me!

He's taught me so much about determination and just doing what you have to do no matter how hard it is! Every morning and evening during the week I exercise with him, even when he's having a bad day, when asked if he's ready to exercise he tells me, "we'll see what we can do!" His legs hardly work anymore, but when we do our exercises it's like he's a new man. I will miss him so much. A few months ago, in the middle of exercise he turned to me and said, "don't you realize I'm almost 90 years old? That's OLD!" I will miss him and his great sense of humor!

It's with a grateful heart that I blog this morning, realizing if not for Spark People I would not have gotten to this point in my weight loss journey. Without my spark friends encouraging me along the road, I would not be here, without the Lord I would not be where I am today. He gave me the tools at just the right time for me to use them and have success. I thank the Lord for his mercy, grace and kindness in my life!

Have a great day fellow sparkies!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LONELYMOON86 8/4/2010 10:01AM

    70 Pounds!! Congratulations, that's amazing! I haven't been able to get off more than 25# a year, which is discouraging seeing what others can do. I don't know how you do it, but I'm very happy for you! emoticon emoticon Have a wonderful day emoticon

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JUST_TRI_IT 7/24/2010 12:45PM

    Just catching up with your journey, Rita. WHAT a great view in that rear view mirror. Ciao, so long.. bye bye 70 pounds. And in the front view you see... a stronger you.. an healthier you. Pretty darn awesome, my dear, pretty darn awesome :)

emoticon on all the lessons learned along the way.

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WOODSYGIRL 7/23/2010 11:01PM


I'm catching up on my friends' blogs and was so happy to see yours! CONGRATULATIONS on losing 70 lbs!!!! That is just terrific and I couldn't be more proud of you! I love your commitment and determination and your wonderful attitude about all facets of this journey. You are an amazing inspiration!

I am sorry to hear that you won't be working with your gentleman any longer. I remember the stories you've shared with me about him and I know he is very special to you, and will remain so. Perhaps you can visit him in assisted living and help to encourage him to keep those exercises going while he can. God definitely had a plan when He put you two together, and you're both the better for it. Keep the lessons this man taught you and remember the joy he brought to your heart.

I can't wait to hear all about the wedding--it's only 2 weeks away!! Wow! You are going to look mahhhhvelous, darling!

Love & hugs,

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KASEYCOFF 7/15/2010 5:53AM

    Rita, you are doing just great - and you are a real inspiration for me! Your blog gives us a view of one facet of the jewel we call Life. You are changing, becoming healthier... the man you've been working with is moving to the assisted-living, bringing change for him and for you... and the Wheel turns. Not to wax too philosophical, but that's what your post brought to mind. :-)

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LJCANNON 7/15/2010 12:24AM

    emoticonCongratulations on the 70 pounds being gone forever!! I imagine your Doctor is thrilled too.
emoticonI so understand about your job ending. The man I took care of for almost 4 years passed away in October, and the woman I took care of for the same amount of time went in to a Nursing Home two months ago. He was 95 and had Alzheimer's, but most of the time he had a WONDERFUL sense of humor. They are precious people and we are Blessed to have known them.

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MELAPHANTN 7/14/2010 4:02PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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ANONALEE 7/14/2010 3:48PM

    Congratulations, Rita! What an awesome accomplishment and a wonderful tribute to your patient. If each of us could hold ourselves to doing the "hard things" on our own behalf, we, like your patient, would feel better too.

You're doing a wonderful job becoming a person you can rely on.

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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LUCICAMP 7/14/2010 12:32PM

    emoticon 70#!!! How wonderful. I, too , understand about your client. I'm in homecare and some people just get into our hearts more than others.

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BUGGYS 7/14/2010 12:20PM

    emoticon emoticon You have accomplished so much and you are to be congratulated! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SUNNY332 7/14/2010 12:01PM

    You are definitely my "SHERO" of the day - more likely the year. What a GREAT job.

I am so happy for you.

BTW - what color is your dress for the wedding. I can't wait to see photos.

Hugs, Sunny

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MSWEEZER 7/14/2010 11:30AM

    Oh what a great blog and congratulations on your success. I can understand about your client. He clearly is/was much more and I know you will miss him. He was blessed, as were you, to have each other during this time and individual journies.

You will be beautiful inside and out at your son's wedding next month. Please do share with your Spark family so we can be there for you to applaud you!!!

Have a lovely day!

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BIKERBABE2BE 7/14/2010 9:52AM

    You are an inspiration! You have done such an amazing job and stuck to your plan. Thanks for sharing your journey with us!!

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FLUENTFROG 7/14/2010 9:15AM

    Wow, wow, wow -- HOORAY for you!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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Look for EGGS

Sunday, June 20, 2010

It must have been 15 years ago that I heard a sermon from one of our elders on EGGS. The acronym stands for EVIDENCE OF GOD'S GRACE. Ken is such an eloquent speaker, I wish I could explain it like he did! He talked about how every day we commonly bypass the little things that are evidences of God's grace in our lives. We take our health, our family, our friends, our jobs, our comfortable homes, etc. for granted. It's so easy to ignore the beautiful sunny day, the full moon, the rainstorm or whatever is in front of us. We should slow down and experience the blessings we have. Open our eyes to see how we are blessed in so many ways, each and every day! God blesses us in so very many ways!

My husband and I have been so tickled this past week recalling what our daughter told us that her 20 month old daughter told her. Little Jade asked her mother for a drink. Jennie asked her, "what do you say?" Jade looked up innocently and immediately said, "get it" I am thanking God for humor and what a great role it plays in our lives. A merry heart doeth good like medicine.

What are the EGGS in your life? I think today thousands, or millions are thankful for their fathers! What a treasure to have a good father!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Take a moment to look for EGGS every day!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JUST_TRI_IT 6/27/2010 9:24AM

    I love this! What a delightful way to remind ourselves about the little things that life brings us. Thank for sharing this with us.

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NANASUGE 6/23/2010 1:16AM

    hafta share this. Thanks!

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APRILLSCOTT 6/22/2010 12:13AM

Thanks for posting this it has meant a lot to me! emoticon emoticon

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REJ7777 6/20/2010 10:49PM

    Thank you for your blog. It's an EGG, part of God's grace to me today. I'll be shutting off my computer for the night in a few minutes, and reflect on all the EGGS in my life. Having a wonderful dad is one of them! emoticon

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DEBRITA01 6/20/2010 10:32PM

    emoticon Thanks for sharing this Rita...we need a reminder to be aware of all the EGGS in our life. God's blessings are all around us...

I loved the story about Jade...having a toddler, I can just imagine her saying that. Kids say the cutest things...little zingers that just tickle the heart. Hard to teach manners with precious comebacks like that. Kids today are just too smart!

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SUNNY332 6/20/2010 5:00PM

    What a terrific blog. I have never hear this but will long remember it.

Thanks so much, Rita, and hope you have a GREAT week.


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MSWEEZER 6/20/2010 4:31PM

    The things that come out of the mouths of babes. How do you not laugh outloud on that one?
Thanks for sharing about Eggs. It is so very true and what a nice way to think of things. I have my egg every morning (or practically) and now it will be associated with so much more!!

Have a great week!

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TRIGFROST 6/20/2010 4:21PM

    Eggs, I will look for...they are Called -
"God-Winks"....from the book I am reading right now...

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LJCANNON 6/20/2010 4:19PM

    I love the innocence of Children. They don't mean to be funny but they can be one of the Greatest EGGS in our lives.

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KASEYCOFF 6/20/2010 4:14PM

    Rita, what a great little acronym - I love it! Thanx for posting this. :-D p.s. And Jade sounds like a cutie, too, lol...

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Lifestyle Change is Here!

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

We have been on vacation visiting our middle son, his wife and our new granddaughter, Lily (a living doll!) in Seattle. I've was surprised to see that I've actually lost weight while here. I know scales vary and all of that, but I'm hoping that the change of food, schedule and fitness have encouraged the weight loss.

Tomorrow we head home. I will be anxious to see if the weight loss holds. If it does I am considered, "overweight." Even though that doesn't sound great, it's an upgrade from obese. I'm very hopeful that I'm in that category. I may be doing the happy dance after weighing myself, or I may be in for a wake up call. Whatever the outcome, I know that I am motivated and committed to the program for a lifetime.

Our vacation has been a testing ground. I don't have much control over what I eat. I've had to make a few choices between "bad" and "terrible." I was happy that I tried to get the healthiest option in each case. We have been active, but not in the way I normally work out. Lifestyle change takes awhile to really take root, but it's so great when you see the fruit from it! I'm so excited to be on this journey with all of my spark friends who encourage me daily!

Let's make it a great summer!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JUST_TRI_IT 6/10/2010 3:29PM

    HEY Rita! I missed that you had gone on vacation. So glad that it was a good time. What a neat observation that you have switched into a good lifestyle that helps you on these vacations.

CONGRATS on the switch! and good luck on the weigh in.

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SUNNY332 6/8/2010 9:40AM

    So glad you had a nice visit. You are doing GREAT and I am loving the upgrade in your Physical Status. Awesome!

Keep up the good work.


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WOODSYGIRL 6/7/2010 9:46AM

    Great job with making the best choices possible while on vacation. Lifestyle changes do take time, but every single thing we do for the better makes a difference. I'm so glad you were able to spend time with your new granddaughter!

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    Sounds like you did great considering the choices you had! Way to go!!!!

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HAPPY1049 6/3/2010 11:49AM

    By now you must be home again. I'm glad you had a good time and didn't gain weight. It sure is hard to eat and exercise correctly when we aren't in control over most of it.

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MKPRINCESS007 6/2/2010 5:51PM

    No Worries.......no matter what the scale says, you were celebrating life with your family. So yes, celebrating being "overweight".........I will be too when I get there!

Wishing you all the best!! :)

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DEBRITA01 6/2/2010 1:33PM

    emoticon I'm betting on the happy dance because no matter what the scale says, you've done the best you could with what you had to work with. You were mentally in the game and not sidelined because you were on vacation. Some fellow Turtles say: Progress, not Perfection - and that's so true.

Think of all the changes you've made since SP. You are living and working your program...sometimes not always perfectly and that's okay...you DO have to enjoy yourself, too. I think your lifestyle changes have taken root...sometimes there are little storms that test your strength and resolve, but you seem like you have a firm hold.

Glad to hear you're having a great vacation Mimi. Get in all those hugs and kisses while you can! Have a safe trip home...

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MSWEEZER 6/2/2010 1:19PM

    Glad you are enjoying vacation and congrats on the new grandbaby. How fun indeed.

Good luck on the journey towards a more healthy you and keep us posted as to how things go once home.

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    Hi, Rita! I am glad you are enjoying your vacation. I know what you mean about not having control over your menu and having to choose the bad rather than the worse. I have been there too many times. I am sure you did fantastic.

Good luck with your weigh in when you return home. I hope it is exactly what you want or even better. emoticon

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KASEYCOFF 6/2/2010 11:51AM

    Hiya, Rita! I know exactly what you mean about 'overweight' being a good thing: I am almost into size 20, down from 26 / 28 six months ago. Now, I know a teeny size 8 would be eyes-popping at the double-digits, but EYE know what a difference it is. One of these days I want to be 'just' overweight and not obese, like you - you're my role model, Rita! :-D

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A Revelation of Weight Loss

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

I weigh myself every morning when I get up. I was in a program before spark people where we had to do that, now it's a habit. I got on this morning like usual and saw I had lost a pound. Good news! After several hours it finally dawned on me that pound put me at 60 pounds lost since April 2009! WOW! I was shocked to realize it even though I knew I was close. I just hadn't given it much thought.

I told the elderly man I care for in the evenings that I had lost a total of 60 pounds. He made me laugh when he asked how my clothes fit! I told him that, "no, I've gone down 5 sizes and have a whole new wardrobe that my husband was very kind to provide me with." He was so encouraging and said, "Well, you earned it! My gosh, girl 60 pounds!! He made me laugh again when he asked if I was weak. No chance! I've full of life now more than anytime in my adult life.

I have found a lifestyle of being more active that suits me. Last weekend I went to a ball. It was so much fun to dress up in a formal gown and dance with my dear husband. I hadn't been to a formal dance since I attended my senior prom! I would not have gone without losing a good amount of weight and building up my stamina so that I could keep up with the dances. It was marvelously fun! We're already planning to attend the fall ball.

This journey has had some very unexpected blessings! Spark people and the friends I've met her are at the top of the list! Thank you to all who have encouraged me, you've made such a great impact in my life! I am so blessed! emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BUGGYS 6/10/2010 3:56PM

    With your attitude, you are well on your way to losing another 60...you have proven just how strong you are!!! emoticon

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JUST_TRI_IT 6/10/2010 3:26PM

    Congratulations on the 60 pounds! and for having such a ball at the ball! Life is that much sweeter when you get to enjoy it with energy and peace.

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4DOGNIGHT 5/27/2010 8:40AM

    Congratulation! Now that is progress, losing and not even being aware of it!

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DTCELLO 5/24/2010 4:17PM

    I'm envious of you that you went to a ball! I love waltzing. I never learned to do anything else, but would like to. Perhaps some dance lessons this summer!

So happy for you to have reached your 60 pounds off goal.....now the rest will seem so much easier. emoticon

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NANASUGE 5/22/2010 4:24PM

    very inspiring. Love your attitude!

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HAPPY1049 5/20/2010 3:28PM

    This is what happens when you never give up. Congratulations to you! I know you'll reach your goal, if you haven't already done that.
What a nice reward for you to dance with the one you love. May you have many more times of dancing in your life!

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BIKERBABE2BE 5/20/2010 1:05PM

    Congratulations, my friend. That you have lost 60 pounds is amazing. Also, amazing are the other changes in your life. I'm so proud of you!

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 5/20/2010 1:05:37 PM

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DEBRA_T 5/20/2010 12:58PM

    Congratulations on a quiet victory for your life, both within and without!
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SUNNY332 5/20/2010 8:15AM

    Awesome....way to go my friend. You have something to celebrate.

emoticon (just stay away from the cake and no one will get hurt....)

Hugs, Sunny

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CARMEL466 5/20/2010 7:05AM

    That is awesome. I'm so happy for you. Your enthusiasm is contagious. emoticon

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MSWEEZER 5/20/2010 6:13AM

    Congratulations! What a great accomplishment. I loved the old man's comment about being weak. I had to chuckle.

How fun a formal indeed. Glad you and your DH enjoyed yourselves.

Keep up the great work. You clearly have found what works for you!

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DEBRITA01 5/20/2010 6:07AM

    emoticon Rita on the 60 pounds...that is so emoticon! You are such an inspiration to many. Thanks for sharing your story with us.

Isn't it funny how when people realize you've lost a lot of weight, they automatically assume you've been sick or are feeling weak. Must be old-school thinking...when in fact, I am sure you are feeling quite the opposite...mentally and physically strong!

It's great you are now able to resume an active life and enjoy all the activities you once did. You will have to post a few photos of Cinderella at the Ball okay? We'd love to see her and her Prince Charming!


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REJ7777 5/20/2010 4:07AM

    emoticon Congratulations on your weight loss to date! I wish you success on the rest of your journey toward your goal weight. Continue to dance! emoticon

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MERALO 5/20/2010 4:05AM

    That is so wonderful! Enjoy the new lease on life...

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KASEYCOFF 5/20/2010 3:48AM

    Bet you felt like the belle of the ball - no wonder you're looking forward to the next one. Congratulations on the '60-so-far,' and I'm glad you posted this: nice to share your good news with you! emoticon

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APRILLSCOTT 5/20/2010 3:16AM

    60 pounds emoticon!!! Got to go to a ball with your husband DOUBLE emoticon!!! This sounds so romantic! I don't want to ask you how your clothes fit, or if you feel weak! My questions are:

(1) "Do you feel young again?"
(2) "Doesn't it feel just like a dream come true?"
(3) "Did you have to pinch yourself at the ball to see if it was real?"
(4) "Did you feel "Special" when hubby got you the knew wardrobe?"

If your answer to even one of these questions is "YES", then I know without a doubt my old man needs to read this!!!!!
emoticon Sometimes he doesn't have a clue and my son has to help him so I'll just let my son read this! Cause one day I hope to be able to say the same!

emoticon for letting us share in your dream come true, victory celebration! You don't know how much I have enjoyed it! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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WOODSYGIRL 5/19/2010 11:46PM

    Congratulations on losing 60 pounds!! WAHOOOOOO!!!! And I love how you are finding new ways to stay active. The dance sounds like so much fun, and the encouragement of your husband is just fantastic! I'm so glad you are finding the joy in this process...you deserve every smile that graces your beautiful face!

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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REMIAM 5/19/2010 11:26PM

  Congratulations on your wonderful progress! A terrific motivator and a terrific example of staying the course. I want to go dancing too! MSP (Mr. Sweetie Pie) and I danced last at my daughter's wedding, 4 years ago. I remember feeling roly poly and lumpy then and have resisted going out to dance since. Another goalette to tack onto my list of reasons to continue. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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TYLARDERDIN 5/19/2010 11:26PM

    Congratulations on the milestone.

Trust the process. Do right, things go right.

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LJCANNON 5/19/2010 11:16PM

    Congratulations, and it is Funny that your patient should ask if you were weak.
One lady at Church who had not seen me for quite awhile saw me a few weeks ago and started to say how good I looked, then caught herself and said "You haven't been sick have you?"
Thanks to the support here at Spark and at Curves, I am HEALTHIER Than I have been in YEARS!! I know you feel the same way.

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JUSTME444 5/19/2010 10:56PM

    WOW! emoticon That's fantastic! How exciting that you were able to dress up & go out & enjoy yourself - that's something I want to do - of course besides the weight thing - we don't have any balls around that we'd be invited too - unless it was a fundraiser one they do that costs an arm & a leg to get in.

In fact about 6 yrs ago we were going on a cruise for our anniversary & I figured I could dress up then - bought a gown for that (was gonna loose weight to fit it - of course I didn't & we ended up cancelling the cruise)

emoticon emoticon

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LEEMWEST 5/19/2010 10:52PM

    Good for you! No weight loss that I can celebrate. But I survived running a beach field trip with 200 kids. Weather is my enemy and we survived comfortably so I'm happy.

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