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Christmas Eve music!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The lights are brightly shining outside our church and tomorrow all will be put in place for the Christmas Vigil, Midnight, and Day masses!

The choir is ready and sounding good!
I thought some of you might like to see what we are here is our program!

"Hodie Christus natus est" (Gregorian chant)

"On This Day" (an arrangement for choir and organ of Personent Hodie)

"The Angel Gabriel" in a wonderful arrangement by Robert Edward Smith

"Bring a Torch, Jeanette, isabella" arranged by Alice Parker and Robert Shaw

"As Lately We Watched" (arranged by Charles Black - some lovely divisi for the sopranos & altos

"I Wonder as I Wander" - Appalachian folk tune arranged by John Rutter

"Joseph Dearest, Joseph Mine" harmonized by Erhard Bodenschatz

"Patapan" arranged by Robert Edward Smith - with piccolo and snare drum!

"Noel Nouvelet" arranged by Harold Owen - two flutes and choir

Then mass will begin with the Christmas Proclamation and the procession to the altar.

"O Come All ye Faithful" is the processional, of course!

Choir will sing "O Magnum Mysterium" by Tomas Luis de Victoria and "Silent Night" in German, as arranged by Schulz-Widmar.

All will sing "The First Nowell," "Silent Night," and "Joy to the World."

And then it will be Christmas! And all good musicians will rest well in their beds... emoticon

The babe is born!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

REBELBLITZ 12/24/2011 5:31PM

    Looking forward to our Midnight Mass this evening! Thanks for sharing!

Christmas Eve 2011

1 year later


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SARAWALKS 12/24/2010 12:46PM

    Thank you, everyone, and Merry Christmas to you! I am beginning to get excited! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 12/24/2010 12:46:40 PM

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CLAUDECF 12/24/2010 11:45AM

    I'm sure it's going to be lovely!
Have a wonderful Christmas!!! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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CELLO23 12/24/2010 8:02AM

    sounds lovely! hope everyone does you proud! emoticon emoticon

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GRITS46 12/24/2010 1:41AM

    This is a lovely sounding program of Christmas music. Such a variety, many of them favorites of mine . . . Bring a Torch, Jeanette Isabella, I Wonder as I Wander, O Come All Ye Faithful, Joseph Dearest Joseph Mine (Joseph doesn't get the press he deserves!). I'll be thinking of you while at the same time our church is holding its Midnight Candlelight Service. And yes, afterwards all good musicians sleep very well!

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CJWORDPLAY 12/23/2010 10:40PM

    Sara - This is so beautiful. I love the music you are doing, such a fine variety and including so many I have sung. The pictures help me feel as if I am there with you. Thank you for taking the time to share what you have long been working on. Bless all who sing and all who listen.

Noel Nouvelet! It truly is the Magnum Mysterium.

I hope all you fine musicians have a restful Stille Nacht!

CJ emoticon

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"Bridging our gulf of self-despair..."

Sunday, December 19, 2010

It is still Advent season, not Christmas yet! We're still preparing the way...I read this today and liked it a lot so I wanted to share.

"'Every valley is to be bridged and every mountain and hill leveled'; the ancients built their roads...with an eye to avoiding steep gradients -- the cutting and the embankment must eliminate rises and dips. That Christmas ought to drive a cutting through our self-conceit goes without saying; for love of us...and for our salvation, God took on himself the nature of a slave. But equally, it must bridge our gulf of self-despair; 'Christian,' says Saint Leo, 'be conscious of your own nobility; sharing as you do in the divine nature, will you return to your old groveling?' Each of us must sink to child-level before the Crib; each of us, at the same time, must rise to Incarnation-level...

Christmas has the disconcerting directness of childhood, challenges our doubts with 'Yes, but did it really happen?'; embarrasses our ingenious evasions of conscience by demanding whether we really mean it. For once in the year we have to see things with the lucidity of a child's eyes."

Monsignor Ronald A. Knox wrote this & it was published in Magnificat.
He has been dead since 1957 so I hope he doesn't mind if I share!

I also cannot remember who took the above photo which I found somewhere on the internet. Mea culpa. But I thought it was a most encouraging sky!

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BECOMINGJAMI 12/20/2010 4:33PM

    Thank you for sharing that. On a day when I'm having trouble with my Christmas spirit, it reminds me of the things that are really important. And it's so beautifully, artistically stated, too. I appreciate this, and you, today.

Well, I always appreciate you. But you know what I mean. emoticon

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MICKEYMAX 12/20/2010 8:59AM

    It's much easier to feel the joy of a child around Christmas!

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CELLO23 12/20/2010 5:06AM

    Sara - I'm not religious but I do like your comment about the 'disconcerting directness of childhood' - very easy to lose our sense of wonder. A friend sent me this and I thought you might like it!

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ESLTEACHER1 12/19/2010 12:46PM

    Well done my friend! Divine nature is a tenet of my faith as well and it so easy sometimes to lose sight of that when confronted with day-to-day life. What a lovely reminder and encouraging thought you have shared.

Have a blessed, peace-filled week and Bon Noel!

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Four months later, the Big D has paid off...

Friday, December 10, 2010

I just looked back to see that on August 19, I blogged about that big D word, Discipline, which has been so hard for me.

Today I am so grateful for that resolution that I made.

It wouldn't have happened without Sparkpeople and the encouraging support and tools for change that Spark provides.

Just last night my choir members were noticing my weight loss AND my renewed energy and asking about it. So again I wrote on the board,

Today I am especially thankful. I was struggling with hymn choices back in August. Today I've just about finished hymn choices going up to March 9th - so that I can head for Paris right after Christmas and spend time with one of my spark friends there!

This is one of my favorite streets in Paris, right across the Seine from Notre Dame.

All this planning would NEVER have gotten done so soon, without my resolution to be more Disciplined. I would also never have been able to fit into size 8 small pants! And I wouldn't have been able to do 4 miles of Leslie Sansone & have plenty of energy left for last night's rehearsal!

There were FANTASTIC cookies last night. I ate some! I was up just a bit this AM - but now that snow is coming down and I have some extra time at home, I can do 4-5 miles and be ready to splurge a bit at the party tonight.

We don't have THIS much snow yet - this is a photo from my front door taken last January!

I am well ahead with my work at this point, so I can enjoy some reading, work on some French to prepare for the trip, and just generally breathe a joyous sigh of relief and have fun preparing for Christmas!

Thank you, Mr. D. Thank you, Sparkpeople and Sparkfriends new and old! It's been a wonderful year - and there will be many more to come.

My most joyful holiday greetings to all of you!
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ESLTEACHER1 12/17/2010 6:25AM

    You know what I 'heard' when I read this post? Peace and contentment. It doesn't mean there isn't more to do but I like what Paul says in Philippians: "I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content." Discipline sounds so harsh and yet it really isn't. It's love with a firm hand.

Keep walking and keep holding on to your peace!

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SARAWALKS 12/14/2010 11:14PM

    Yes, you should, Paula! And that is a fantastic new profile photo! Thanks for reading! emoticon

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_COSMOPAULATAN_ 12/14/2010 8:20PM

    Woo hoo! J'adore Paris. I haven't been there since I was 16, but maybe that can be part of a celebratory trip. I should start my own planning!

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SARAWALKS 12/14/2010 7:52PM

    Thanks, TeenyB! So true that it ain't just about the pounds! I appreciate the vote of confidence! emoticon

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TEENY_BIKINI 12/14/2010 7:15PM

    How cool is that?! Go Big D go! And go you!~

I just love how blogging really is documentation of every aspect of this journey. It is wonderful.

So are you!

Great work!


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SARAWALKS 12/11/2010 8:53AM

    @Cello...hmmm, that will take a bit of thought! Maybe I'll blog again on that. by the way love the "situational binge" notion, re. your recent blog...
Thanks, Susan, Karen and Kaki! I iknow we will have fun!
Susan, not sure about how stunning I will look in my multiple layers but I am certainly going to feel good and have tons of energy for walking etc!
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CELLO23 12/11/2010 7:40AM

    It's fab that your choir are noticing your weight loss and commenting emoticon I think people are often shy about doing that, so there must be a great visible change!

Re Mr/Mme D - it sounds like a big internal as well as external change, and I wonder if you can put your finger on what has helped most? Or what previous thoughts you have managed to change? (this is a roundabout way of asking for tips!) emoticon

Your holiday sounds lovely! Hope you'll both post some piccies for us!

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SUSANS111 12/11/2010 1:09AM

    Size 8! Ooh la la! You will look stunning walking down that charming Parisian street. Congratulations on all the accomplishments and have a happy holiday. emoticon

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KAREN42BOYS 12/10/2010 9:53PM

    there are a lot of unexpected fruits in learning to really care for ourselves! great post!

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KAKIPOPUP 12/10/2010 5:19PM


Have a great time in Paris!

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SARAWALKS 12/10/2010 2:33PM

    Thanks, Jenn, Claude and Jami!
Well, I think I get that MR. D notion from my dad, who was the one who always NAGGED me about discipline and productivity. Probably that nagging didn't help, just made me feel guilty. My mother was very indulgent and spoiled me rotten, which also didn't help! But looking back, she herself was very disciplined and productive. Back in those days, country women HAD to be! They both aspired to an easier life for me but didn't really hope for much change for themselves.
Be it Mr. or Mrs. D, I think I have a permanent lodger! emoticon
and that's a good thing!
Paris, here I come! (well, in 3 weeks, anyway!) emoticon

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BECOMINGJAMI 12/10/2010 2:22PM

    You are an inspiration, as always. Congratulations on all your progress, and your trip to Paris sounds amazing. I haven't been in a number of years, and would like to go again. I didn't fully appreciate it the first time, as I was traveling with a group of over a hundred high-school musicians and I, myself, was seventeen.

In other news, I am taking your blog about the D-word straight to heart. That really is what it's going to take. And while he's making visits, he (she, since Claude is right, it is a feminine word in several languages!) needs to come live at my apartment.


On a random note, I have that much snow! Fortunately, it might be melting off for awhile, which would be nice. As long as it stays off the roads, it's okay by me!

Hope everything else is going well!

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CLAUDECF 12/10/2010 1:35PM

    Your Parisian friend is looking forward to seeing you again emoticon and it made her laugh that you talked about Mr D! In French, it would have been Mrs D. as discipline is a feminine word emoticon (oh well, not so sure about that).
It's wonderful that you have achieved so much emoticon emoticon emoticon in terms of weight loss, exercise and discipline. And thanks for mentioning SparkPeople to me emoticon

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LADYZHERRA 12/10/2010 1:14PM

    Joyful greetings to you, too! Congrats on your progress!

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Thanksgiving with friends and kitty friends!

Friday, November 26, 2010

You won't believe it, but this 32-lb. turkey was cooked for just 4 people!
Planned leftovers are a wonderful thing!

One of my friends is a bit camera-shy...

But the other two are not!

My delicious dinner - the perfect size, didn't need seconds!

Furry friends like to be included...

and sometimes they even obligingly pose for the camera...

until everyone is ready for...dessert!

I didn't manage to finish the pumpkin pie...and after the pecan pie, I needed to recline...

I'm glad I took Coach Nicole's advice and moved my feet before I ate!

And I'm grateful that the last 6 months or so of sparkdiscipline have left me feeling quite happy with smaller portions of food!

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ESLTEACHER1 11/28/2010 2:42PM

    Loved it! Everyone looks happy, even the cat! I'm glad you had such a successful Thanksgiving! You deserve it!

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CLAUDECF 11/27/2010 5:54AM

    I refuse to comment, as I know you are posting these photos to make my mouth water emoticon emoticon
I don't care about the pecan pie or the pumpkin pie! But oh the turkey! Shame on you, such a big turkey for 4 people!!!! And oh the turkey sandwiches with cranberry sauce and stuffing!
There ought to be a mouth watering emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 11/27/2010 5:55:15 AM

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CELLO23 11/27/2010 4:47AM

    Gorgeous cat! Lovely food! My goodness, what a massive bird! emoticon

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CJWORDPLAY 11/27/2010 2:18AM

    What a wonderful way to include us in your Thanksgiving celebration. Love the pictures. I know what you mean about feeling happy with smaller portions. And I'm taking your (and Coach Nicole's) advice about moving my feet! Sounds like you had a delightful holiday.

CJ emoticon

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SUSANS111 11/27/2010 1:28AM

    Looks like a perfect Thanksgiving feast!

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ANOTHERMOMOF2 11/26/2010 9:14PM

    Good for you on moving your feet before you ate! Nice pictures.

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Confessions of a not-so-terribly-fat fat person - inspired by Esther!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

OK, my attitude began to change a good while ago, but I've finally decided I should 'fess up publicly.

Esther's blog today hit me like a big two-by-four. She was talking about how she feels when under the scrutiny of those who don't know how much weight she's already lost and how hard she has worked to get there. I can in no way convey how accurately she portrayed her feelings -- please go to her blog (@CALLIKIA)

and read what she has to say. Other spark friends have written eloquently about this issue too, and their stories have moved me also. But somehow, Esther's blog made me think, "SAY it!"

So I will.
I used to be somewhat like those people. emoticon
True, I was overweight myself, but not as noticeably. emoticon

And when I thought critical thoughts, I was a complete hypocrite, since I wasn't making much attempt to control my own weight. But for the grace of God and fortunate metabolism - plus the fact that singing came along and woke me up to the state of my own body when I was nearly 30 years old -- I could easily weigh 200-300 pounds or more.

Well, I just want to say, NO MORE, NEVER AGAIN will I think hurtful things. I know that even if we think them, somehow they are felt.
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Spark has made a permanent change in me - in this as in many other ways. At this point I think that people who tend to gain weight are some of the world's MOST WONDERFUL PEOPLE! They (we, if you will allow me to include myself) are sensitive and caring and intelligent and often have a wonderful offbeat perspective that has possibly made it hard for them to fit in/blend in/conform in life. And perhaps that is part of the reason why they (we) have all gained weight in the first place.


And we should NEVER forget that.

Sparkfriends with a lot of pounds left to lose are at this point my heroes (or heroines!) and when I see a large person walking on the street or in the supermarket, or riding one of the carts, I am now much more likely to perceive their beauty.

I am much less likely to judge them.

I am more likely to say a little prayer that they be strengthened to know their own worth and protected from patronizing or hurtful remarks.

I haven't heard anyone making nasty remarks -- but at this point, I think if I did, I would stand up and PICK A FIGHT. At this point I do have a few muscles...

Anyway, you get the idea. I know this does absolutely nothing to smooth the way of heroines like Esther who are running 5Ks and 10Ks and still braving people's rude stares and still keeping on keeping on, even though the way seems incredibly long and rough. And working at it much harder than I have been able to...
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But I thought I would just go on record that at least ONE of those people has changed, fundamentally and deeply. And it's because of YOU.

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TEENY_BIKINI 11/24/2010 9:51PM

    Wow. Great blog. I know exactly what you mean. I am much more supportive now and much more willing to not just junp to conclusions now. I love how this magical place affects me in ways I did not anticipate.

Rock on! You are doing great.

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CHIPPEE 11/18/2010 9:10PM

    Thank you for this wonderful, sensitve entry. emoticon

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CLAUDECF 11/18/2010 5:29PM

    What a remarkable blog. Quite a bit of food for thought here emoticon emoticon

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SARAWALKS 11/18/2010 2:54PM

    Thanks, y'all! I adore you too! And Esther, emoticon that profile photo! Sock it to 'em, girl!
I had a few weird moments last night after posting this, thinking, DUH, maybe this is just me and really not politically correct to say out loud, or something. and then I thought, what the hey, let 'er rip!
So emoticon
It is wonderful to know that we are all in this crazy life together, with all of our issues, and that that is just emoticon

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MAMADWARF 11/18/2010 10:19AM

    Good blog, Sara. I agree. I learned long ago not to judge peoples behavior or looks. When I was 19, I became a widow. I started drinking and drugs and alot of other "disgusting" behavior. I was trying to survive. People would tell me how awful I was, how I was dishonoring my husbands memory etc. but I learned that no 2 people grieve the same, look the same, deal with life the same. Everyone is jsut doing the best they can to survive (sometimes horrible ordeals). We can all learn to be more loving and understanding and less judgemental. It is a lesson I remind myself constantly. Thank you (and Esther).

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CALLIKIA 11/18/2010 10:11AM

    I adore you, my dear! Much in the same way you've been changing your thinking, I've been changing mine. I'm trying to remember that all people, no matter their size, struggles with body issues at some time or another. I cannot nag a skinny girl in my head just because she is skinny because I don't know her story. It's been a learning process, but also very freeing to feel not so isolated in the world!

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CELLO23 11/18/2010 6:47AM

    This is a wonderful blog - thanks for saying it out loud! We never really know what others' struggles are, do we? More and more I think there's a strong correlation between being hard on others, and being hard on ourselves - a snarky, hypercritical culture that is bringing us all down, making us dissatisfied with our lives, depressed etc. Your point about fitting in and non-conformists hit me too. It's so sad when people's contributions are squashed because others have louder voices. Lots to mull... emoticon emoticon emoticon

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