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My funny Valentine

Monday, February 14, 2011

emoticonI have so many sweet Valentines. With four married children that have given us five amazing grandchildren the initial count is an easy thirteen, not to mention “our” beloved mother *Cha-Ching* number 14!!! But my number ONE, Valentine will always be the sweetest of all because he is “perfectly imperfect.” My precious husband of 30 years… my knight in shinning armor.

Well maybe not so shinny any more. He’s getting a little dented around the edges from all the years of dedication and loyal service to his adoring subjects. Still affectionately known as Mr. Can-Fix-Anything, he regularly mounts his mighty steed and rushes to help family on a regular basis since they all have chosen to set up residence within a few miles of his castle. How lucky are we!!! He truly is my better half, with the patience of Job… and it is with him that my heart beats hardest. He is my rock and sounding board and has always loved me unconditionally. Actually, that’s how he got most of those dents… the poor guy.

His primary focus and greatest joy is family. Half of which he inherited when marrying me. I was widowed at 27, with two babies to raise. Five years passed quickly as I was busy, busy, busy. Too busy to even think about romance. And then one day he walked into my life… all professional and in control. So reserved and serious; looking a little sad and lost. My very first thought was, “I could make this guy smile.” And smile he did. It was a whirlwind courtship. We met in March, started dating in August and were married by December. My boys were 9 and 6 by then. He had full custody of his 5 year old daughter so our blending made the package complete. We were an instant family. He was my hero. Eighteen months later we completed the circle of love and added a daughter of our own. Boy did we have our hands full now. He worked three jobs to support us…. four kids are expensive!!! And having been single for so long it was quit an adjustment for both of us but we became a team to be reckoned with and always had each other’s back. Oh yes, we were blessed but not without the normal trials and tribulations that life can throw at you. We learned to laugh… a lot… and trust each other completely with all our secrets. We grew to feel safe in the knowledge that our commitment to one another was absolute. He calms me down, I turn him on. The perfect yin and yang... we are complementary opposites and even after many hardships and lots of struggles we find comfort in the fact that our marriage will always be a work in progress with a lifetime contract that we gladly renew every anniversary. Like Zig Ziglar says, “Many marriages would be better if the husband and wife clearly understood that they're on the same side.” A truism I remind myself of often even to this day.

Not only are we marriage partners, parents and grandparents but we are business partners as well which adds another dynamic to the equation. Yep, he wears a lot of hats, and wears them all well. It has been through his eyes that I have learned that I really do deserve to be happy and I am worth loving. I am truly blessed to be his wife and my greatest wish would be to spend another 30 years married to my number one sweetheart. God willing I look forward to celebrating many, many more Valentine Days together. Thank you Michael for everything. I love you! emoticon emoticon emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FRANKIEMOMMY 2/20/2011 9:12PM

    Aww that was beautiful! What a great hubby....Hope you and all your valentines had a super day! emoticon

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CHYRL_C 2/18/2011 7:05PM

    How truly wonderful emoticon

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SURFKITTY 2/18/2011 6:58PM

    I think the best thing about this blog is that you realize what you have, a lot of women unfortunately don't appreciate how great their husband/boyfriend/partner is. I think that's half the battle of a good relationship, and of course choosing well is important too and it looks like you made a great choice.

Happy (late) Valentine's Day to you both!

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BEANZFRD 2/17/2011 7:06AM

    Now that's what Valentine's Day is all about! So sweet!

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JUNEBUG150 2/16/2011 11:04PM

    Just happened to see this through JILL313. What a lovely blog, you are so blessed. I hope you have many more valentine days together too! emoticon emoticon

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JILL313 2/16/2011 10:22PM

    What a lucky and happy couple you are--and so in love more than 30 years later. This is a true love story and I appreciate your sharing it with us. You have been blessed and will share many more years to come. God Bless You Both, emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SUSABELLA627 2/16/2011 10:33AM

    awww Linda, just found your valentine blog and you have left me with tears in my eyes. So sweet your love story!! I will be married 15 yrs this April and your quote by Zig Ziglar is something I really need to remember.

Thanks for sharing your very Heart felt Blog!!


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FRANCO1230 2/15/2011 11:48AM

    I love this! I loved reading your story and getting to know you little more. I am in my second marriage, with "his, mine, and ours" kids (total of four, too), and we have also blended very well. I love where you said, "He is my rock and sounding board and has always loved me unconditionally. Actually, that’s how he got most of those dents… the poor guy." I was just thinking to myself the other day that my husband is pretty darn special, because I don't know who the heck else would put up with me sometimes. Thank you for sharing that beautiful quote by Zig Ziglar. I need to print it out so as to read it & remind myself of that EVERYDAY!

Thank you for sharing with us...what a great example of love.

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LINOVER 2/14/2011 6:22PM

    Sounds like you definitely got one of the good ones. I've been married to mine for 43 years and I wouldn't trade him in either! Happy Valentine's Day! emoticon

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MADKAPKID 2/14/2011 3:17PM

    Linda my friend, I am so happy. I love reading a good Valentine love story! YOURS is an awesome story I look a the picture you submitted and spoke volumes. I could feel the love! YOU both are so blessed! Thank you for sharing. Have a joy filled day, Karen emoticon emoticon

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GRANPATTIE 2/14/2011 2:41PM

    I don't know, Linda....he still looks pretty shiny to me! Look at those kind eyes and that soft smile. You two could be newly weds. Just look at your smile with him. You couldn't even pretend to NOT be in love if you tried.

This was one of the most beautiful love letters I've ever been privileged to read. Thank you so much for sharing such a beautiful picture, and your sweet story. I'd say you and Michael are both really blessed. No need to wish you....
...Happy Valentine's Day,
Pattie emoticon

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SUNNY2010 2/14/2011 12:33PM

    Linda, you two are so blessed with each other! And the best of all - you appreciate and treasure each other no matter how many years you've been together! This blog is a beautiful tribute to your marriage!
Enjoy a very special day!

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A Valentine sweet that = 0 calories

Monday, February 07, 2011

Kid's Ideas About LOVE emoticon

Kids, aged 5 to 10, were asked questions about what they thought of love and marriage. Here's what they said…..

"If falling in love is anything like learning how to spell, I don't want to do it. It takes too long." Glenn, age 7

"Love is like an avalanche where you have to run for your life." John, age 9

"I think you're supposed to get shot with an arrow or something, but the rest of it isn't supposed to be so painful." Manuel, age 8

"No one is sure why it happens, but I heard it has something to do with how you smell. That's why perfume and deodorant are so popular." Mae, age 9

"Love is the most important thing in the world, but baseball is pretty good too." Greg, age 8

"Once I'm done with kindergarten, I'm going to find me a wife." Tom, age 5

"On the first date, they just tell each other lies, and that usually gets them interested enough to go for a second date." Mike, 10

"One of the people has freckles, and so he finds somebody else who has freckles too." Andrew, age 6

"My mother says to look for a man who is kind. That's what I'll do. I'll find somebody who's kinda tall and handsome." Carolyn, age 8

"It gives me a headache to think about that stuff. I'm just a kid. I don't need that kind of trouble." Kenny, age 7

"When somebody's been dating for a while, the boy might propose to the girl. He says to her, 'I'll take you for a whole life, or at least until we have kids and get divorced.'" Anita, 9

"I'm not rushing into being in love. I'm finding fourth grade hard enough." Regina, age 10

"Most men are brainless, so you might have to try more than once to find a live one." Angie, age 10

"A man and a woman promise to go through sickness and illness and diseases together." Marlon, age 10

"[Being] single is better . . . for the simple reason that I wouldn't want to change no diapers. Of course, if I did get married, I'd figure something out. I'd just phone my mother and have her come over for some coffee and diaper-changing." Kirsten, age 10

"Love is foolish...but I still might try it sometime." Floyd, age 9

"Love will find you, even if you are trying to hide from it. I been trying to hide from it since I was five, but the girls keep finding me." Dave, age 8

My personal favorite…

"One of you should know how to write a check. Because, even if you have tons of love, there is still going to be a lot of bills." Ava, age 8


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

OCTOBER2842 3/3/2011 7:39AM

    Cute and how true

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YIGOBUTTERFLY 2/13/2011 6:22AM

    Kids and what they say!

Thanks for sharing,

Jane on Guam

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LINOVER 2/9/2011 4:24PM

    Kids do say the darnedest things and, in their innocence, often say things that have a lot of truth! emoticon Thanks so much for sharing!

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TUBLADY 2/9/2011 3:10AM

    That reminds me of a TV program that used to be on with Art Linkletter, "Kids say the darnedest things."
Very cute.
Sometimes I think it would be nice to have that innocence again. emoticon emoticon emoticon

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CHYRL_C 2/9/2011 12:12AM

    emoticon Very cute

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HAPPYSOUL91 2/8/2011 1:39PM

    emoticon emoticon very cute

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SUNNY2010 2/8/2011 11:38AM

    Too cute! Thank you for that!

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FRANCO1230 2/8/2011 11:05AM

    emoticon!!! Thanks for sharing!

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BHSUZYCUE 2/7/2011 11:36PM


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GRANPATTIE 2/7/2011 7:07PM

    Thanks, Linda, for sharing these. I always love this sort of thing. They do say the darndest things!

emoticon emoticon

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SUSIEPH1 2/7/2011 7:02PM

    Thanks Still giggling Linda .. the things kids say are just so priceless

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MADKAPKID 2/7/2011 7:01PM

    I remember a show on tv that was on a very LOOONNNNGGG time ago. It was Art Linkletter and he did segments called "kids say the darnedest things". This reminds me of that. Reading what the kids said makes you just have to smile! Thank you for sharing Linda. Have joy filled day.....Karen emoticon

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Peewee the Woodchuck says…

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Did you know that Punxsutawney Phil is not the only famous weather predicting groundhog around? Some of the other famous groundhogs around the world include Dunkirk Dave, Shubenacadie Sam, Wiarton Willie, General Beauregard Lee, Peewee the Woodchuck and Staten Island Chuck. Fortunately, they all saw their shadows today and spring is on its way.

Well we always knew Spring was going to get here but some parts of the country have been longing for it sooner than others. Our winter in Southern California has been a mixed blessing with more rain than usual, beautiful warm sunny days and cold nights. We’ve even had some of those famous devil winds known as Santa Ana’s. In fact we had one last night that kept me awake for fear the house was going to blow away. Laying there all I could think of was the snow and ice storms predicted to hit the East coast and Canada, the bitter wind chills in the Mid West and Plains that will be 20 to 60 degrees below zero this morning, the cyclone racing towards Australia, the rains soaking the North East & Guam, the black ice on the roads in Europe and the stifling heat in Africa. You read about it online and watch it on TV but when you have SparkFriends who are living through it, it becomes personal. So I prayed for all my friends and thanked God for our mild winter. The morning light finally came, as will Spring, and the first thing on my agenda was to check what the groundhogs’ predicted and add the movie “Groundhog Day” to my Blockbuster queue. Love that movie!!!! It’s similar to my life before joining SparkPeople. I couldn’t seem to break that loop of starting and then quitting a diet. Now I know there are no bad foods so I can eat everything.. and I mean everything as long as it’s a single portion and I stay within calorie range each day. But that’s not the only reason I’ve been successful since joining Sparks. The people who I’m privileged to journey with have been a huge part of that success.

So to all my SparkFriends cheers emoticonto the good news of an early Spring and keep on Sparkling emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SUNNY2010 2/5/2011 1:45PM

    There are some great blogs coming from you! I love your wit and your writing! Thank you for that!!!
emoticon emoticon

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HARROWJET 2/4/2011 10:15AM

    Spring is my favourite season. It is a reward for surviving winter. emoticon emoticon

Judy emoticon

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ACIMPEGGY 2/3/2011 11:32PM

    Sweetie, you are part of the reason I'm here! GREAT BLOG!

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JOANNS4 2/3/2011 7:19PM

    Well, bless those groundhogs! emoticon I know how lucky I am to be in southern Cal. right now. It's chilly right now at the foothills but nothing like back east. I do wear gloves and my winter coat for morning walks but next week we will have 80's.,
thanks for the cute post my friend. emoticon
Jo Ann

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RENE54 2/3/2011 2:59PM

    I didn't know all of the ground hogs but about half I'd say. I am glad they predicted an early spring. We are getting some ice storms and low temps but like you am grateful that it is not worse. I hope it warms up soon for everyone. I am not fond of the cold weather. I too am looking forward to spring!

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HAPPYSOUL91 2/3/2011 10:02AM

    Sure are a lot of those little critters. Yup, I also am from Southern CA and thought we were going to blow away with the Santa Ana's and it wasn't warm.

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VEGASLADY24 2/3/2011 4:12AM

    emoticon I never new there were so many well known groundhogs. Cute blog. Here in Vegas it was 36 degrees at 11am today!!! BRRRRRR!! I actually had to put some socks on today! emoticon Piggies were talking to me!!

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    Did you feel like one of the "Little Pigs" with the Big Bad Wolf saying, "Let me it!" Strong winds in a house that is not built to sustain them can be scarry. Glad you are safe.

Thank you for being a SparkFriend. Sure need good friends.

Jane on Guam

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MORRIS1989 2/2/2011 11:35PM

    emoticon I can't wait until spring.

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SUSIEPH1 2/2/2011 11:05PM

    Great Blog Linda! I enjoyed it immensely!!
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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TUBLADY 2/2/2011 10:24PM

    Very cute.
I lived my Groundhog day over and over too. But I havn't seen him for quite a while, Smile!
Glad you are doing so well and in good spirits.
Be positive and stay strong. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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FRANCO1230 2/2/2011 8:14PM

    Yes, aren't we lucky for our SoCal weather compared to much of the country/world. I think Spring will definitely "spring" new life in all of us to keep moving forward!!!
P.S. I couldn't stand that movie, 'Groundhog Day'....LOL!!!
emoticon emoticon

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    I say we all do a sun dance! We still have six weeks to go until spring. I think we are all ready for spring!

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GRANPATTIE 2/2/2011 6:04PM

    Who knew there were so many Groundhogs on the job? emoticon I'm glad to know he agrees that spring is on the way. I saw a robin in my back yard back in the middle of January. Since he's here already, I bet it's welcomed news to him, too!

Nice blog, Linda. Thanks!

Pattie emoticon

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ELAINESHAFF 2/2/2011 5:47PM

    I am just glad Spring is on the way, but I wish it would hurry up and get here soon. I live in Northern Indiana and we might get almost 100 inches of snow this winter.

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MADKAPKID 2/2/2011 5:37PM

    Yeah!! Lets all do some happy dancing and see if that helps make Spring come any faster? LOL Have a joy filled day....Karen emoticon

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    There's also Buckeye Chuck in Ohio.
The groundhog that lives under my deck is snowed in so he didn't see his shadow either!

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Where is winter when you need it??

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Yes, we live on the coast in southern California so most of our winter wonderland is about 2 hours north of us and we did get to spend a few days this month in beautiful Big Bear for a romantic get-a-way celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary. There was snow and it was cold so we did get our winter fix.

Tony Kerst is a 40+ year resident of Big Bear Lake, CA. While a teacher in the local school district, his interest in photography began when he started using cameras in his classroom for visual literacy projects with his students. As his interest in photography grew, he began taking scenic photographs of Big Bear Lake, CA in the San Bernardino Mountains of southern California. I’d like to share some of his photos because he is a much better photographer than I am.

“At 8200’ above sea level, Snow Summit Ski Area in the San Bernardino Mts. of southern California, provides a unique vantage point to photograph the lake and mountains of Big Bear Lake, CA.”

“Gray squirrels abound in mountains around Big Bear Lake. Great tree climbers, they build nests high in the trees and feed off seeds and acorns on the ground. Fun to watch, and good subject matter for a photographer.”

“The Cassin’s finch is another winter bird commonly found throughout Big Bear. It’s bright red coloring becomes brilliant against a fresh snowfall and the green pine boughs of its perch.”

“Bald eagles arrive in Big Bear every November from their northern summer homes. From their high perches atop pines around the lake, they are able to hunt for aquatic life and survive our relatively mild winters.”

I hope you have enjoyed a look at our beautiful local Winter Wonderland because she’s not sticking around here for long this year. The snows are melting and the birds have begun their songfest welcoming the promise of spring as Mother Nature’s icy cold grip points the way to fragrant blossoms of pink here in Orange County. For those of you facing a long winters eve stay warm and safe by friends emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MORRIS1989 2/2/2011 11:41PM

    Nice pictures!

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SUSABELLA627 1/28/2011 11:30AM

    Since I'm waist deep in my own winter wonderland and not truly appreciating it because of the interference it causes; it was especially nice to see a Winter Wonderland from your perspective. Beautiful pictures!!

Thanks for sharing!

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PAWKETS 1/28/2011 10:16AM

    beautiful photos

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HAPPYSOUL91 1/28/2011 9:57AM

    Ahhh Big Bear, haven't been up there in about 5 years and I also live on the coast in Orange County.

Those pictures are beautiful but think I will wait for spring before going up...LOL

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NANADERRICK 1/28/2011 8:53AM

    So beautiful. I love looking at it but after one snowstorm, I am more than ready for spring!!! Thanks for sharing these lovely pics.

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YIGOBUTTERFLY 1/28/2011 4:28AM

    Beautiful pictures!

Thanks for sharing.

Jane on Guam

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JAKEANDNELLIE 1/28/2011 12:18AM

    Your pictures are absolutely glorious!
I'll be happy to send you some of our NE Ohio lake effect snow! More is due in tomorrow and we hit a high today of 29 - a heat wave since we've been below 15 degrees all week!
I'm definitely ready for Spring but it's quite a ways off!

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PAULAPOOH4 1/27/2011 8:41PM

    Thank you Linda for sharing. It is absolutely beautiful. Here in Central California the snow is sticking a little longer. In fact we are expecting a little more this weekend. We have had fog for the past 7 days. I am eagerly awaiting Spring. I need some sunshine!!!

I am glad you had such a wonderful winter wonderland getaway for your Anniversary!!


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MADKAPKID 1/27/2011 7:35PM

    Thank you Linda for showing us the beauty found only in the winter Season! Love the photos....made for a super blog! Have a joy filled day....Karen emoticon

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FLYER99 1/27/2011 5:31PM

    What a wonderful blog. I loved the photos. Up here where I live in eastern Canada we just got belted with about 18 inches of snow, so you can have a tablespoon of it if you want! Take care!

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GRANPATTIE 1/27/2011 5:21PM

    Thanks, Linda, for sharing his photographs. They're very good. I've always thought winter was a beautiful time of year. It's not "beautiful" to shovel, plow, or slip and slide as you drive, but it is gorgeous to observe in its pristine state.

Pattie emoticon

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SUSIEPH1 1/27/2011 5:11PM

    Absolutely delightful Blog !
Thank you so much for sharing !! emoticon

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HEALTHY14REAL 1/27/2011 5:10PM

    Thanks so much for sharing the beautiful photos. I live in VA and we've had lots of winter so far. Somehow your photos make our snow look a little less dreary. emoticon

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Next year I get a flu shot!!!!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The flu has knocked more out of me than I realized. Exercise being the biggest loser over all. Everyday I plan to get back in the swing of things and the end of the day comes and here I sit wondering what the hell happened??!! I’m still coughing some and it’s been almost a month now.... BOOOO.

The first week I fought the good fight with lots of positive thinking like “I refuse to get sick.” "This too shall pass." "Tomorrow I WILL be well." Didn’t work at all… missed our 30th wedding anniversary, New Years Eve and Day celebrations. The second week I gave in and took it really easy in hopes of feeling better in preparation for our romantic get-a-way in January… ended up missing Bunko and the whole second week of 2011, which I had targeted for my 50 pound loss goal. *sigh* That didn’t happen either. Did feel well enough to go to Big Bear but the elevation kicked my butt and I’ve been recuperating since last Friday.

We enjoyed a family breakfast get together on Sunday and brought the two oldest grandkids home with us for an over nighter… they bring such joy into our home and I actually feel emotionally better today having had four of the five ‘lil ones here for awhile yesterday as well.

In the past a month off my game would have derailed any program I was on. Fortunately, SparkPeople is set up to keep those of us on track if we continue to use their tools. The nutrition tracker and forums along with team member’s blogs have kept me connected even if I am still sitting here in my robe at 2:00 in the afternoon. emoticon

It would have been so easy to quit… I could have pretended that I was still Sparking… no one would have noticed that I was gaining weight until I was up a good 20 pounds or more. But I would only be cheating myself out of all the progress I’ve made and all the hard work that’s gone into it. So I scroll up and look at those sweet faces of our grandkids and think about all the wonderful years ahead we’ll have together and that gives me the Spark I need to go full throttle ahead…. because life is short and oh so sweet.


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KLH1982 1/26/2011 4:25PM

    That last picture is of Brodie :)

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KESTRIE 1/19/2011 3:04PM

    Feel better! emoticon
And let us know when you do!
Even if you're not feeling well enough to exercise, you could always blog :)
Share more secrets with us -- get more Spark Love -- it's win win :) emoticon

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PLAYBLUES22 1/19/2011 12:51PM

    Sweetie, hope you feel better soon emoticon

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CHLOESUE 1/19/2011 11:49AM

    So sorry you have been so sick with the flu.Take it easy and listen to your body.You don't want to over do it till your body is ready.You are so right about your grandchildren.We have 2 grandchildren and so blessed to see them every day.Our grandson spends the weekends with us.We have a special bond.He has Aspergers and is set in his ways.I started helping him with his homework when he was in kindergarten.He doesn't want it any other way.We pick him up after school and bring him to our house so that I can supervise his homework.He is a very smart boy and has made the A honor roll so far in his 4th grade year of school.It is my pleasure and honor to have this special bond with him.I feel like I am learning right beside him:)
Hope you feel better really soon.

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YIGOBUTTERFLY 1/19/2011 7:45AM

    I had the flu shot and still was under the weather during the Christmas holidays! I had planned to do things with my grands but spent most of it at home resting.

I am better now and going on as much as possible.
emoticonJust don't quit!

Jane on Guam

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BIGBONED8 1/18/2011 9:49PM

    Don't make yourself feel any worse than you already do - rest up and drink fluids - give yourself kudos for getting back into it.

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SUSIEPH1 1/18/2011 9:29PM

    You just said those 2 very special words NEVER QUIT!.
Hope you fell better soon and yes!! A very wise decision ....you do need to get a flue needle every year! not only does it protect you ... it also protects every one around you.. hope you are better soon !! Susie emoticon

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FRANCO1230 1/18/2011 8:25PM

    You already said it....NEVER QUIT!

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GRANPATTIE 1/18/2011 8:04PM

    Linda, Your grandchildren are beautiful. I know they do bring you joy, just as mine do to me. But your main job right now is to make sure that you're completely well. Do take care!

Pattie emoticon

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MADKAPKID 1/18/2011 7:56PM

    I am so sorry you were hit so hard by that pesky flu bug! HE really is a nasty critter! NEXT year....YEP...GET A FLU SHOT!

I love the pictures of the grandchildren. Seems like they were good medicine for you. Sparks is quite an entity in our lives. It is there for us and urges us to continue on even when we do not feel like it at the time, like when ill. YOU did a great job.

RELAX and really get better. You don't want a relapse. Find some joy and have a great day. MY friend, YOU deserve it! Karen emoticon

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