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Time of Year for New Beginnings

Thursday, December 31, 2009

This is the time of year we are all sitting down and writing our New Year's Resolutions and/or goals. It is a time of new beginnings. Can you believe tomorrow will be the start of a new year and a new decade? I urge all of you to map out your new gameplan but I urge you to take one step further. Let tomorrow be emoticon I know a number of you have back slided last year so give yourself a free pass. Isn't that what the new year is all about? The past is the past, stop beating yourself up, and let all of us move forward in our journey to a new, improved, healthier YOU!

I have had a lot of Sparkers write me and ask what team I would be forming after the 1st because the 2010 New Years Challenge~Lose 50 Pounds By 1-1-10 would no longer apply. Well, we have come up with a new and improved team and we are calling it the 50 Pound Challenge. (more about that in a minute)

When I say we, I am talking about DawnRobin2 ,who I consider to be my equal on this team in the capacity of a team leader. Dawn and I spend hours on the phone working behind the scenes fine tuning the direction this team is going. Dawn is my right hand and you do not make a move without speaking to your right hand. This team is not a dictatorship and everything is discussed before we make a change.

This is in no way diminishing the contributions of the Co-Leaders we have on this team as well. Everyone has a duty on the team and they are all caring, supportive, and motivating individuals who also help make this team function behind the scenes. We could not be the team we are if it were not for them. Our Co-Leaders also work very hard and yet with the New Year some of them will be asked to step down because they are not carrying their weight so to speak. I do not consider a Co-Leader just a title to collect, you need to earn that and for the most part our C0-Leaders are hard working and excellent role models.

Now for the 'New but old Team". We chose the 50 Pound Challenge as a name so that we would not have to keep changing the name of the team each year. When this team was 1st started it was between LadySunbeam and myself, a friendly competition to keep us on track. She had blogged she wanted to lose 50 pounds by the end of the year and I challenged her by saying I would join her in her endeavor, every one needs a buddy to under take such a task. Other Sparkers caught wind of it and decided they wanted to be part of this task and thus this FANTASTIC team was formed. I dubbed a phrase the "Eating Season" as a major reason for forming this team. The period between Thanksgiving and New Years is a round the clock battle against all of the sweets and goodies being shoved in our faces or should I say mouths? It is the hardest time for anyone to be on a diet and most of us have gained weight during this time. Here was a way we could all stick together and support one another and get each other through it. Now silly me thought the "Eating Season" was between Thanksgiving ,the end of November and New Years. Well I learned later on that Canada celebrates their Thanksgiving in October so I won't be making that mistake again. I guess we can't leave out Halloween a chocolate lover's nightmare. The "Eating Season" will always be a major part of this team in the sense we will band together to battle this eating frenzy because let's face it, it will be back to tempt us year after year.

With all of that being said I would love for all of you to consider joining this wonderful team. Pay no attention to the name 50 Pound Challenge. It was
originally set up for the heavyweights in Sparkland to join because trust me we had way more than 50 pounds to lose. You do not have to have 50 pounds to lose to join this team. We have had people join this team with only 20 pounds to lose or people join just for the camaraderie we have on this team. We have become Family on this team and we are all so loving, supportive, and motivating on this team. We have a online Chat Room as a thread on our team and it is always hopping. Trust me, your team mates will hunt you down if they don't hear from you if you are a regular participant in the Chat Room. We really do care about each other's success and not just our own.

There is no minimum required weight to lose. Come and join us even if you have 5 pounds to lose or you are in "maintenance." Everyone can use support and motivation.

It is not a requirement to join the weight challenge on the team and yes we will always have a 50 pound weight challenge running for 5 month periods. We will also have Alternate Challenges for those who do not want to be tied down to amount to lose by such and such a date. We have many that have signed up already for the new challenge starting January 1st but only have 25 pounds to lose. It is just a number. You are a success no matter how many pounds you lose and we will celebrate that with you. We award you a Gold Star Goodie for every 10 pounds you lose during the Challenge whether it is one gold star, three, five, and we have a couple of people working on their 7th Gold Star for this Challenge. Tonight will tell us who has reached which milestone during the challenge as tonight is the final weigh in for this Team Challenge. The new Challenge starts tomorrow, Jan. 1st.

The new thing we have added is that we are also running an Alternate Challenge for those who do not want to participate in the weight challenge. Hopefully we will keep the 50 as a number in the challenge some place but the alternate challenges change monthly. Again you do not have to join this challenge either to be part of the team. The 1st alternate Challenge is to eat 50 servings of fruits and vegetables each week. That is not hard to do and you should be eating them anyway to lose weight. A serving of a veggie is as little as a half cup cooked or one cup of salad greens. A serving of fruit is`as little as a half of a banana. How about a V8 as a serving of veggies. We have also added a 2nd part of the Challenge that you must visit 50 team members Spark Pages or blogs with in the month. This is what you need to be doing to be successful on your quest. The more you Spark the better you do plus everyone needs the TLC an motivation.

You may say that is hard, well Challenges are supposed to be just that a challenge. It is supposed to help get you to your final goal. 50 fruit and veggie servings equate to 7 a day and one day 8. The US Government is considering raising the Food Pyramid to 7-9 servings daily - so you will have plenty of practice and be ahead of the curve. There are days when I eat upwards of 12- 15 servings so I can do this Challenge ina little over 3 or 4 days. The weight Challenge is losing under 2 pounds a week which is safe for anyone. It equates to 8.33 pounds per month. Come on you can do this! We will do it together.

Now if we are changing the name we have to change the team logo or icon, whatever you want to call it. This icon represents our love/hate relationship with that square thingy with the numbers that one of our team mates coined in a blog. Simone, I laugh every time I think of that. Yes we all have a relationship with this square thingy and sometimes it is nice to us and sometimes it is not. I personally have gotten better with the square thingy with the numbers on it because I no longer weigh myself every day and drive me or my team nuts. Who can forget that STUPID Challenge I made for myself not to weigh myself for a whole month. It drove me nuts and my team too because they were supporting my whining emoticon as well as many of my other Spark Buddies.

I am sure you have all guessed it by now but here it is. I give you the new team logo. Only the Co-Leaders have seen it thus far, without further adieu:

So come play with us and join the team.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SAMTHEMAN60 3/6/2010 2:44PM

    You sure do write a lot of blogs. I have been going through almostall of them one by one. emoticon

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FUNNYGRANNY71 1/1/2010 5:03PM

    That is such a great idea. I am doing the Spark Bootcamp thingy and I could do both and maybe be losing weight quicker. Your blogs are always either motivating or very informative. Thanks.

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TEDYBEAR2838 1/1/2010 4:17PM

    emoticon for being such a joy to work with. I do appreciate all the work and planning that go into such a program. I think I can do the 50 fruits an veggies. I know I can do the visit spark pages, and welcome folks. I'm keeping track and doing well and it's only day one!


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TRACYZABELLE 1/1/2010 4:16PM

    Happy, healthy, slimmer New year to you! Looking forward to supporting you in 2010!

TracyZ emoticon emoticon emoticon

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STOP-IT-KNOW 1/1/2010 12:49PM

    sounds great love the new logo

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ANGELLACOLE 1/1/2010 8:11AM

    I LOVE the new logo!

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JESSICA_0029 12/31/2009 9:39PM

    I would like to join but don't really know how. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!

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BRE2003SB 12/31/2009 9:12PM

    emoticonlogo emoticon

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TIME4ANEWME47 12/31/2009 9:01PM

    I LOVE THE NEW LOGO!!!!!!! Happy New Year!!!

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DANJAKEJOE 12/31/2009 8:23PM

I want to thank both you and Dawn for a well ran team. I am looking forward to keep continuing to grow with the team.
I love the new logo.
Happy New Year.

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DEBBIEANNE1124 12/31/2009 8:08PM

    Happy new year!

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SECRETMUSIC 12/31/2009 5:29PM

    I'm having trouble finding the team in order to join it...I'll keep looking.

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SECRETMUSIC 12/31/2009 5:27PM

    Thanks for blogging about this. I'll be right over to join, even though I plan to lose less than 50 pounds. Oh my, I can't believe I can say that now!

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DYNAMICDEB53 12/31/2009 5:27PM

    Yvonne great blog and yes love the new logo it is just so right and true. I love the new challenges and you and Dawn have worked so hard and really I am giving you both a big round of applauds. I am so happy you and Sandra started the whole thing. I just know this team and these wonderful people have made this year just come out so wonderdful. I am looking forward to 2010 and all that it will bring.
Hugs and love to you

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RUN2MYDREAMS 12/31/2009 5:13PM

    Wonderfully put! Thank you and Dawn for all the hard work you both put in to keep this team a success! emoticon
Love that icon.
Gonna have to put it above my own emoticon

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DJS-DEBBIE 12/31/2009 4:45PM

    Yvonne, I thank you and Sandra for coming up with this idea, and I thank you and Dawn for all the work you have put into keeping it going! I don't think I would be where I am today if I had not met you all. Here's to a great new year for all of us!
emoticon emoticon

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    2010 is our year! Proud to be part of it!

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L*I*T*A* 12/31/2009 3:35PM

    thanks.......perhaps when things get a little less hectic will join in...............wishing you all the blessings fo 2010...............lita

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BARBARAROSE54 12/31/2009 1:16PM

    Yvonne I love the new logo, it pretty much describes how I feel about that scale, especially lately

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LADYSUNBEAM 12/31/2009 12:14PM

    You know I'm in on this one as well... love the new logo... that's me when I'm retaining water... LOL!!

To a New Year and New Challenge, we can do this!


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ANDREA963 12/31/2009 11:58AM

    Don't forget to join the Pound for Pound challenge. General Mills will donate $0.14 for each pound you pledge to lose. Check it out!

Great Blog Yvonne, and great Team Icon. :)

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LINDYPOWER 12/31/2009 11:52AM

    I had forgotten what the name was. Fifty Pound Challenge. I still love the name 2010 Challenge. It is generic, all encompassing and pertinent to the New Year.

Whatever the case...what's in a name, anyway?

I love our group and every one in it. I pray that this "specialty name that implies a specific goal" is not going to affect or turn away those who need to lose 5 or 10 lbs.

This is a great group and is worthy of supporting no matter what the name suggests or implies.

Happy New Year to our ever growing group of members!

in loving kindness,
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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-TAMI- 12/31/2009 11:16AM

    LOL... I LOVE the new logo...
It fits with my personality.
I'm looking forward to sharing this journey with you and the rest of the team in 2010. My crystal ball tells me there will be much success and many gold stars.
Happy New year Yvonne!

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MTNHIKER1971 12/31/2009 11:12AM

    Sounds like a good plan. Count me in.

You know Yvonne, you're getting so violent, lol


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FITGRL124 12/31/2009 10:20AM

    Hahaha....I LOVE THE NEW LOGO!!!!!!!!!!! emoticon

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MAGA99 12/31/2009 10:07AM


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JEAN524 12/31/2009 9:36AM

    2010 is going to be the year I hit my goal. I am determined on that come what may. I have still about 80lb to go, but it is possible with determination and support, so I have joined the lose 50lb team and also the bootcamp so tomorrow begins the new me. Thank you for all your encouragement and support and good luck with your new goals for the New Year. Happy New Year. emoticonJean

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LENNY48 12/31/2009 9:18AM

    I want to lose 50 pounds so I am joining your team!

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DAWNWATERWOMAN 12/31/2009 8:54AM

    Great blog from a GREAT LADY! Together we're going to MAKE IT HAPPEN! 2010 is going to be a Wonderful Year for all of us! Love, Dawn emoticon emoticon emoticon

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DIGBOI 12/31/2009 8:54AM

    Thanks for the blog TRAVELNISTA. I like your idea. I also agree with the idea of including 50 servings of fruits and veggies a week in our diet.

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EGRAMMY 12/31/2009 8:52AM

    Please continue your good works. They are so helpful. Happy New Year.

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SHONDAE1 12/31/2009 8:48AM

    This seems very interesting! I'm going to think about it! I would love to lose 50lbs, but I cannot see that for myself yet. I can see I'm working on it! Every day, I am taking steps to reach that 20, so maybe I should consider this quickly! emoticon I'm new to this, so if you have any suggestions...feel free to offer them! God bless!

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This is how my day is going...

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Yvonne on a normal day in the Mortgage Department

This is me today. I couldn't find a picture of a woman shooting herself in the head.

I need a joke so here is one the Attorney's office sent me because she just had the pleasure of speaking with me on the phone. She asked me if I was wound up. I said, "Ya think?"

Irritation, Aggrivation, and Frustration
This joke viewed 1339 times with a rating of 3.00 from 3 votes


A boy asks his father to explain the differences among irritation,
aggravation, and frustration.

Dad picks up the phone and dials a number at random. When the phone is
answered he asks, "Can I speak to Alf, please?"

"No! There's no one called Alf here." The person hangs up.

"That's irritation," says Dad.

He picks up the phone again, dials the same number and asks for Alf a
second time.

"No -- there's no one here called Alf. Go away. If you call again I
shall telephone the police." End of conversation.

"That's aggravation."

"Then what's 'frustration'?" asks his son.

The father picks up the phone and dials a third time:

"Hello, this is Alf. Have I received any phone calls?"

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

L*I*T*A* 12/30/2009 10:26PM

    as my daughter tells me take a deep breathe and let it go........wishing you a better tomorrow.........blessings and hugs............lita

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SHAY72 12/30/2009 10:07PM

    that's cute, hope u have a better day tommorrow emoticon

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JESSICA_0029 12/30/2009 8:46PM

    Sorry you had such a rough day. Thanks for the laugh though. Hope you have a better day tomorrow!! emoticon

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BAMATEACHER 12/30/2009 8:20PM

    Sorry you had a rough day!

Find something (besides food, of course!) to help you unwind this evening; I hope tomorrow is a better day!

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BETHSHEALTH 12/30/2009 7:55PM

    I've resembled this before. Unfortunately, there's not enough to do at my job this week to even begin to bang the head against anything.

However I think I will take the bubble bath advice myself, as soon as we return from our work out.

That would be my thought. A good work out might be in order.


Comment edited on: 12/30/2009 7:57:17 PM

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BRE2003SB 12/30/2009 7:49PM

    emoticon Here's to a much better evening!

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DAWNWATERWOMAN 12/30/2009 7:46PM

    emoticon I can relate to your day. I agree with Debbie. A hot bubble bath is in order! Love ya, Dawn emoticon

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DEBBIEANNE1124 12/30/2009 6:49PM

Try a hot ubble bath.

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DEBBIEANNE1124 12/30/2009 6:49PM

Try a hot ubble bath.

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JEAN524 12/30/2009 6:49PM

    Hope tomorrow goes better for you. We all have days like this sometimes. emoticonHugs, Jean

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SECRETMUSIC 12/30/2009 6:01PM

    LOVED the joke. Read it to my family. They laughed. Except Youngest Kiddo who grinned a small amount. Which is actually huge for a 19yo, right?

Sorry your day was so frustrating -- hope tomorrow is better. And thanks for blogging!

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EGRAMMY 12/30/2009 5:17PM

    Behold, God will not cast away a perfect man, neither will he help evil doers:
Till he fill thy mouth with laughing, and they lips with rejoicing. Job 8:20,21

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FOXXYROXXYD 12/30/2009 4:20PM

    Thanks for making me smile Yvonne - hope by now you are smiling too!

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WILLOW49 12/30/2009 3:56PM

    Hope your day improves! Hang in there!

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FITGRL124 12/30/2009 3:25PM

    Hang in can only get better, right? emoticon

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PKSBELIEVEINME 12/30/2009 3:22PM

    Hope the rest of the day improves Yvonne! Love the joke, too cute!

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TERJEGOLD 12/30/2009 3:21PM

    At least your sense of humor remains intact when life gets nasty. That's a great thing! Focus on that! Hugs!

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LADYSUNBEAM 12/30/2009 3:18PM

    I needed that laugh... so funny. I hope your day gets better... emoticon


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RUN2MYDREAMS 12/30/2009 3:04PM

    emoticon Hope your day gets better soon!

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LADYSNOWFALL 12/30/2009 2:39PM

    Sorry you're "having a day". emoticon

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-TAMI- 12/30/2009 2:32PM

    LOL.. Love the joke...
Hang on Yvonne. Just a little bit longer and you'll feel like you're on a vacation.
You're one tough lady who will come out on the other side of this craziness and be proud you did it without killing anyone. Er, unless you have killed someone. emoticon

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BROWREN 12/30/2009 2:18PM

    I understand. I had many days like that before the holidays. However, it is quiet right now, as there are very few people working and no one around to ask me stupid questions.

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NO_SNOW_BODY 12/30/2009 2:14PM

    that is great, it feels like me right now

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Travelnista could never be on the Biggest Loser

Monday, December 28, 2009

Travelnista is NOT the Biggest Loser. Oh I made my 50 pounds for the Challenge on my team but I am in no way proud of how I did it. A Leader should lead by example and I definitely do not want anyone to follow my lead on this one. I am not saying a Leader has to be perfect because we are people too and as long as we learn from our mistakes that is a good thing

This latest stunt I pulled to make sure I met the 50 pound goal was insane. I put in 3 hours of exercise on M-W-F in the form of one hour weight training with the machines and free weights and then 2 hours in the pool. On the off days I did 2 hours of cardio in the pool. Well, that pace lasted exactly one week and almost killed me. Had it not been for that big snowstorm we got before Christmas my exercise routine would have been greatly diminished because I was exhausted. I put in 2 hours of snow shoveling on Saturday after going to the gym in the morning before it started. Sunday morning I did 3 straight hours of snow shoveling and then I was done, finito, caput. I was afraid I was not going to be able to crawl out of bed the next day.

I am supposed to be leading by example and I am always on my "soapbox" handing out advise but I need to start listening to myself. I keep saying that this must be a lifestyle change. There is no way in Hell one can keep up that exercise routine 7 days a week, I think 5 days a week would kill me too. It needs to be a sensible one that one can do every day of their life. I am returning to my M-W-F weight routine and daily cardio of 60 to 90 minutes. If I take the weekend off or one day, I will not beat myself up.

I love the Biggest Loser but it is not a realistic way to lose weight. First of all it is a quick weight loss because all they do is exercise 24/7. Can you imagine all of the hanging skin as a result of that quick weight loss not to mention what it does to certain body organs. If 3 hours killed me, can you imagine doing it all day and at that intensity of those workouts? Those people do not hold down a job or take care of a household while competing on that show. I have a day job and a very stressful one at that. It is insane to think that one could sustain that workout.

I am embarrassed for what I did even though I achieved my goal. I actually feel horrible about it almost as if i cheated. Well, I did cheat because that is not my normal lifestyle. I am stressed tighter than a drum and I am am exhausted. I have not had the time nor energy to be Sparking like I normally do. I have not blogged in days and have only managed to do the very basics on Spark like the Nutrition and Fitness Tracker, birthday wishes, and congrats to Team Members of the day. I have managed a few posts here and there along with reading some of my Spark Buddies Blogs but I am way behind on that too. I do take my Friend Feed seriously. Trust me, I am not happy about that either.

I am publicly saying that do not follow my lead in this stunt to squeeze out the final pounds for any competition or challenge you may take. It was stupid and I was WRONG! I promise to do better!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SPIFFYCAT 12/30/2009 9:07AM

    I just finished watching an episode of Biggest loser and you are so right, it is insane the amount of training they must do to lose those big numbers every week, I mean they are upset if they "only" lose 4lbs on their 10th week emoticon I would be ecstatic if I was losing that amount of weight that far in.
BUT they have nothing going on other that that programme and access to medical help 24/7.
On the good side you made the 50lbs and learnt a lesson don't be so hard on yourself..

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_DASH_ 12/30/2009 6:39AM

    "management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right thing." i think this post definitely emphasizes that you are a leader. thanks for being courageous in sharing your experience- it was still valid for you to go through and many others to learn from. thanks!! and happy new year!

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KARVY09 12/30/2009 3:35AM

    You have such a fine-tuned conscience! I'm going to be the one to urge you to go easy on yourself. You recognize that the insane exercise routine was not for you, you lost some weight and you are almost in the 200s! Celebrate your victory and rejig your schedule, and move forward. That's what you would tell the rest of us to do!

Rest up and enjoy the remainder of 2009! You deserve it, friend!

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JOYEOUSD 12/29/2009 6:53PM

    We live and learn!! I think your weights and cardio routine is way plenty! Balance in all things is best. I think that is alot of excersizing for someone your size, but if you can do it without killing yourself, GO FOR IT!! As you lose, it will get easier....don't beat yourself up! :)

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DARA52 12/29/2009 5:16PM

    Yvonne, such a good thing to share. Other people will read and follow your lead and do the healthy thing. Good for you. Welcome back!

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WALNUT5612 12/29/2009 2:51PM

    I love your honesty!!! Slow and steady wins the race.

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DAWNWATERWOMAN 12/29/2009 2:49PM

    I hear you loud and clear my dear. I think you're being too hard on yourself, but I understand and empathize with the feelings. Let's make 2010 the best, happiest and healthiest year of our lives... TOGETHER! Love ya, Dawn emoticon

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MYREALANA 12/29/2009 12:33PM

    You may have temporarily overdone it, but you DID meet your goal.

It's not something that I think anyone would want to keep up in the long term, but the fact that you did what it took to keep that commitment to yourself and the team is admirable.

PLUS, you learned your lesson, so - BONUS!

Good for you.

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WINGSOFCHANGE 12/29/2009 8:30AM

    You set a goal and were committed to making the challenge, and you did. Congrats on reaching your goal. Please don't beat yourself up, chalk it up to a lesson learned. Kudos to you for being such an honest woman, not to mention caring, supportive and kind! I'm PROUD to call you my friend!!!

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BDRFLI-TREKS 12/29/2009 6:13AM

    I appreciate your honesty and your insight regarding the Biggest Loser. I am a BL fan and have had to sit down and realize that the way they are losing the weight is not going to be typical of a normal lifestyle....

Congrats on your weight loss, pick yourself up about how you lost it, and keep it moving, lady! You are STILL an inspiration for sharing your true feelings so that we all may learn...

Thank you!

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NO_SNOW_BODY 12/28/2009 11:57PM

    You succeeded where I failed, I didn't lose 50 pounds on the challenge, I should be ashamed because I am a leader? Nope, I am not ashamed, I am going to lose sensibly like you have, You are leading by example, you tried something that didn't work and can now tell others how it felt, and how you discovered that the slow and steady way is the best way. You are a fantastic leader and every day you encourage and support, that is the leadership qualities we all wish to possess.

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JEAN524 12/28/2009 7:01PM

    It's understandable you felt driven to do this, but equally sure that it isn't a good way to do it. Been there, done that and if you're not careful the lbs will creap back on when you cut back on the frantic exercise. Just have some rest now and take it easy. Just over 8lbs a month isn't impossible with sensible exercise and nutrition. So thanks for being open about it and being so encouraging to us. You're a star.
emoticon emoticonJean

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WEDDWT 12/28/2009 6:35PM

    First, emoticonfor making the 50# loss to meet the challenge!
We hear ya, exhaustion and stressing yourself out is not the ideal route, but occasionally we act goofy. Rest now, if that is what your body is asking you to do. And proceed with being your usual sensible, balanced, wise self. We accept and love ALL of your facets. Be happy emoticon

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DEBBIEANNE1124 12/28/2009 5:56PM

    I've admitted to my mistake a time or two in public as you have. they love you more for it. it goes to show you are normal like the rest of us.

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EGRAMMY 12/28/2009 4:05PM

    Oh my gosh. You're not perfect. Burst my bubble, will ya?

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DS9KIE 12/28/2009 4:02PM

    Well at least you didn't take diet pills or starved yourself. That is real bad. Exercising is not so bad even if you did to much. emoticon

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DYNAMICDEB53 12/28/2009 1:59PM

    Yvonne like you said we are all human. You tired something and it didnt work, you realized the error and have commimted to doing it the right way. Yes a leader should show the right way, but hey its that human thing again. I am sorry you are feeling down right now, so stop it!!! We love you for being who you are a real person who just like the rest of us makes a mistake and learns. I think that learning is the best thing, becaue we are less likely to do it again. We can take a new step and find the right path. You have been working so hard on all fronts and I think you just forgot that this whole process has to have a fun element, to make our hearts feel the joy of what we are doing for yourselves.
Yvonne its time to put the FUN back in this lifestyle change. So go back to a decent routine which can challenge but not exhaust you. Get back to trying now foods that tickle your taste buds. Most of all get back to the Yvonne who has joy in all the things you do. That is the person we love. You have set a great example for all who know your story, and it is your determination to do good by your challenge that got us all excited in the first place. Looking forward to the new year and new challenges to keep us all inspired.
Hugs, love and bug smiles

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STOP-IT-KNOW 12/28/2009 1:54PM

    that's why i don't watch the show you can only do so much or you will get sick or die so please take it slower we need you.

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L*I*T*A* 12/28/2009 1:45PM

    happy for you in completing the challenge............we have all done silly things over the years.....this perhaps isn't the worst......honesty is the best policy and being honest with yourself is even better..........way to go!!!
blessings and hugs....................lita

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2BSALLYB 12/28/2009 1:34PM

    I admire your honesty. Being upfront about behavior is the way to change it. I think your integrity adds to being a great leader. emoticon Never fear I will follow that example..LOL...I gotta shoot for 30 minutes.. emoticon

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-TAMI- 12/28/2009 1:34PM

    Are you finished beating up on yourself or are you so tired you need some help doing it? emoticon
Yvonne, you have done such a great job this year losing weight. You are an inspiration to so many people and you know what; We don't expect you to be perfect. We expect you to be human and make mistakes just like the rest of us.
You made your goal now get some rest to make up for your short time of insanity. Then get back to your normal routine and enjoy your life.
Seems to me you're working so hard at your job and at Spark that there isn't much time left for fun just for you.
Have some fun Yvonne. You've earned it. emoticon

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KIMBEEJ16 12/28/2009 1:24PM

    Ditto what every one else said! :)

Hey, you are still a most valuable member of this community and the good you do to inspire and encourage us FAR outweighs (pardon the pun) any perceived "mistakes" you think you've made. A couple of missed workouts and a few unnecessary treats kept me from getting 50 lbs. off this year...but you know what? It's OK! So I lost "only" 48!!! Still quite the accomplishment. I've got the rest of my life to lose the last 20 lbs. (though I think I'll get that done next year). The point is to learn on the journey...what works and what doesn't. The important thing is that we DO LEARN and make the changes we need to.

You rock!

Kim emoticon

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RUN2MYDREAMS 12/28/2009 1:07PM

    Stop being so hard on yourself! You are human, as we all are. We love you for being Yvonne. So please take care of yourself and get some rest this week! You are braver than me. I don't think I could spend that much time in one day at the gym. But you take care of you and do what works for you, ok?
You are a great leader and friend. Your blogs are inspirational, factual and humorous. You are the best!

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WISLNDR 12/28/2009 12:58PM

    Any time I think I "cheated" to accomplish a goal, I just make sure I maintain that accomplishment honestly in the days to follow. You learned a lesson from it and there's certainly nothing wrong about that!!

Congratulations on completing what you set out to do! You know the right way, you know the wrong way and now you know the best way!!

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BETHSHEALTH 12/28/2009 12:53PM

    Snow is going to happen and you gotta do what you gotta do. I would not even attempt to follow that lead of 3 hours at the gym. I don't want to be there that long.

Your accomplishment will be keeping the 50 off since you "cheated" as you say to loose the last part. When you prove to yourself that last few pounds isn't coming back then you should be proud of yourself.

emoticon Skinny me trying to get out.

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THINWITHIN18 12/28/2009 12:49PM

    Yvonne, your 'mistake' was made with best intentions. How can we hold that against you? Thanks for all you've done for us over the past year, and best wishes for a happy and healthy 2010.

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FLUTTER-BY)L( 12/28/2009 12:37PM

    I am trying to remind myself to learn from the "failures' You now know what you can do and what should not be done.

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KASTEACH 12/28/2009 12:37PM

    Aaaaw Yvonne, don't be soooo hard on yourself! You have accomplished a wonderful goal...congrats! The holiday season is so hard on everyone and we have so many temptations to deal with. It was a learning experience for you, you acknowledged your mistakes, and now you move on! Blame it on the darn snow!
Happy New Year!

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USARUNNERGIRL 12/28/2009 12:15PM

    Don't beat yourself up. Everyone has moments where we push overselves a little harder than we should. I hope that you just realize that this did not work for you and that you move on past it.

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MTNHIKER1971 12/28/2009 12:10PM

    Don't be so hard on yourself Yvonne. To be quite honest, your dedication to your commitment and promised goal is very much inspired. Seriously, you didn't give in to temptation and you kept your focus on your goal throughout the month.

Give yourself a break and now you can plan out your goals for January and the coming year at the pace you feel comfortable with. ((Adding a shout out to Kim for the words of wisdom yesterday)

You're a great leader, motivator, friend and wealth of useful tools that you share with all... continue what you do best, and that's inspire!


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ANGELLACOLE 12/28/2009 12:02PM

    It is blogs like this one which prove what a great leader you are! You know when you are doing things the right way and you know when you are doing things the wrong way - and regardless you are HONEST with everyone and allow us to learn from you.

Thank you so much for your authenticity and transparency! I want to be like you when I grow up! emoticon


(oh I almost forgot... 50 pounds is nothing to shake your finger at! You may have lost the last bit in a rush but you worked hard for the whole chunk! emoticon)

Comment edited on: 12/28/2009 12:04:24 PM

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SUSAN134 12/28/2009 12:01PM

    Yvonne, your methods may not have been ideal, but congrats on making your goal - and the fact that you kept your goal in mind and you stayed focussed. That is so tough, especially this time of year. Kudos to you.


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DJS-DEBBIE 12/28/2009 11:54AM

    Yvonne, don't beat yourself up too much about this! We are all human and get carried away sometimes.

emoticon emoticon

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ANNROBERTS54 12/28/2009 11:53AM

    Every mistake is a learning experience. And that darned snow had to be shoveled regardless!!

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My Friends - My Christmas Angels

Friday, December 25, 2009

My Friends, My Angels

I believe in angels
Those helpers who are near
Exactly when they're needed most,
Then seem to disappear.
I know them when I see them
Whatever their disguise
They're patient and encouraging
Resourceful, kind, and wise

Yes, I believe in angels
The kind that heaven sends
And I'm surrounded every day
By angels I call friends.
God gave me someone special
When He gave me
A special friend like you
Have a Blessed Christmas!

- Author Unknown

I wish all of you a Blessed Christmas!

Many of you on SparkPeople have become my Spark Angels. My wish for all of you for 2010 is that you too develop your wings and you fly with the best of them here on SparkPeople. Go out my friends and develop your wings. I love all of you guys and I wish you the very best for the New Year.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

.DUSTY. 12/26/2009 11:10PM

    emoticon emoticon

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DS9KIE 12/26/2009 10:06PM

    nice blog

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FUNNYGRANNY71 12/26/2009 9:51PM

    Thank you for sharing that. I believe everyone of us have angels in our lives. We just have to open up ourselves to them.
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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JEAN524 12/26/2009 7:16PM

    Thank you for your faith in us and for your friendship and support. I hope you have a blessed and peaceful New Year. emoticonJean

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LEAN-N-LEXY 12/26/2009 1:50PM

    That's lovely. Thank you for sharing it. I believe in angels of all shapes and forms too.

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TRABOLD8567 12/25/2009 9:53PM


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DYNAMICDEB53 12/25/2009 8:38PM

    You dear lady are one of us angels also! Merry Christmas and a very happy and successfully healthy new year!!
Hugs and love

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MTNHIKER1971 12/25/2009 8:14PM

    2010 is going to be AWESOME!


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WANDAC2013 12/25/2009 1:22PM

    emoticonYou, too, are an angel to many of us! God bless you and your family!!!! emoticon

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WILLOW49 12/25/2009 12:40PM

    Thank you! Wishing you a very merry Christmas!

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DEBBIEANNE1124 12/25/2009 11:46AM

    Merry Christmas!

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L*I*T*A* 12/25/2009 10:05AM

    very nice..............wishing you the blessings of Christmas..........blessings and hugs..........lita

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LADYIRISH317 12/25/2009 9:43AM

    I don't just believe in angels, I've met some of them.

Wishing you and your family a beautiful Christmas.

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LOOZINITNOW 12/25/2009 9:40AM

    Thank you! Beautiful poem!

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JESSICA_0029 12/25/2009 9:06AM

    Merry Christmas! What a beautiful poem thank you so much.

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LINDAKAY228 12/25/2009 8:52AM

    I too believe in angels are around us and shine through the lives of people. And there are so many angels here. May your day be blessed and full of joy.

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NO_SNOW_BODY 12/25/2009 8:32AM

    Merry Christmas and may you be blessed this year with health and happiness each day.

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DIETMEISTER 12/25/2009 8:26AM

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you my friend. I think I can safely say that you are one of the head Spark Angels. Keep spreading all of you knowledge and motivation with us. emoticon

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RUN2MYDREAMS 12/25/2009 8:23AM

    That was beautiful Yvonne! You are the best! MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU MY FRIEND! emoticon

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DAWNWATERWOMAN 12/25/2009 7:53AM

    Bright blessings for the Merriest of Christmases and a New Year full of Fun & Fitness, Happiness & good Health, and most of all lots of Love & Laughters! Be blessed and be well, Love, Dawn emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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ANNBELL08 12/25/2009 7:45AM

    Merry christmas and all the best for the New Year

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EGRAMMY 12/25/2009 7:38AM

    At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person.
Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.
.....Albert Schweitzer

With deep gratitude, I wish you a Happy, Healthy New Year

Comment edited on: 12/25/2009 7:45:47 AM

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GIGABYTEFL 12/25/2009 6:58AM

    May the LORD Bless you and yours on this Christmas Day and the New Year to come.

Mac in Jax


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The True Meaning of the 12 Days of Christmas

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Twelve Days of Christmas is so much more than a popular song. I hope I did not offend anyone with my version of the 12 Days of Christmas, it was in no way meant to take away from the true meaning behind the 12 Days of Christmas.

The Twelve Days of Christmas

The Twelve Days of Christmas is probably the most misunderstood part of the church year among Christians who are not part of liturgical church traditions. Contrary to much popular belief, these are not the twelve days before Christmas, but in the Western Church are the twelve days from Christmas until the beginning of Epiphany (January 6th; the 12 days count from December 25th until January 5th).

The origin of the Twelve Days is complicated, and is related to differences in calendars, church traditions, and ways to observe this holy day in various cultures. In the Western church, Epiphany is traditionally celebrated as the time the three Wise Men or Magi arrived to present gifts to the young Jesus (Matt. 2:1-12). In some cultures, especially Hispanic and Latin American culture, January 6th is observed as Three Kings Day, or simply the Day of the Kings (Span: la Fiesta de Reyes, el Dia de los Tres Reyes, or el Dia de los Reyes Magos; Dutch: Driekoningendag). Even though December 25th is celebrated as Christmas in these cultures, January 6th is often the day for giving gifts. In some places it is traditional to give Christmas gifts for each of the Twelve Days of Christmas. Since Eastern Orthodox traditions use a different religious calendar, they celebrate Christmas on January 7th and observe Epiphany or Theophany on January 19th.

By the 16th century, some European and Scandinavian cultures had combined the Twelve Days of Christmas with (sometimes pagan) festivals celebrating the changing of the year. These were usually associated with driving away evil spirits for the start of the new year.

The Twelfth Night is January 5th, the last day of the Christmas Season before Epiphany (January 6th), and often included feasting along with the removal of Christmas decorations. French and English celebrations of Twelfth Night included a King’s Cake, remembering the visit of the Three Magi, and ale or wine (a King’s Cake is part of the observance of Mardi Gras in French Catholic culture of the Southern USA). In some cultures, the King’s Cake was part of the celebration of the day of Epiphany.

The popular song “The Twelve Days of Christmas” is usually seen as simply a nonsense song for children. However, some have suggested that it is a song of Christian instruction dating to the 16th century religious wars in England, with hidden references to the basic teachings of the Faith. They contend that it was a mnemonic device to teach the catechism to youngsters. The “true love” mentioned in the song is not an earthly suitor, but refers to God Himself. The “me” who receives the presents refers to every baptized person who is part of the Christian Faith. Each of the “days” represents some aspect of the Christian Faith that was important for children to learn.

However, many have questioned the historical accuracy of this origin of the song The Twelve Days of Christmas. It seems that some have made an issue out of trying to debunk this as an “urban myth,” some in the name of historical accuracy and some out of personal agendas. There is little “hard” evidence available either way. Some church historians affirm this account as basically accurate, while others point out apparent historical discrepancies. However, the “evidence” on both sides is mostly in logical deduction and probabilities. One internet site devoted to debunking hoaxes and legends says that, “there is no substantive evidence to demonstrate that the song ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’ was created or used as a secret means of preserving tenets of the Catholic faith, or that this claim is anything but a fanciful modern day speculation ...” What is omitted is that there is no “substantive evidence” that will disprove it either.

It is certainly possible that this view of the song is legendary or anecdotal. Without corroboration and in the absence of “substantive evidence,” we probably should not take rigid positions on either side and turn the song into a crusade for personal opinions. That would do more to violate the spirit of Christmas than the song is worth. So, for the sake of historical accuracy, we need to acknowledge this uncertainty.

However, on another level, this uncertainty should not prevent us from using the song in celebration of Christmas. Many of the symbols of Christianity were not originally religious, including even the present date of Christmas, but were appropriated from contemporary culture by the Christian Faith as vehicles of worship and proclamation. Perhaps, when all is said and done, historical accuracy is not really the point. Perhaps more important is that Christians can celebrate their rich heritage, and God's grace, through one more avenue this Christmas. Now, when they hear what they once thought was a secular "nonsense song," they will be reminded in one more way of the grace of God working in transforming ways in their lives and in our world. After all, is that not the meaning of Christmas anyway?

On the 1st day of Christmas my true love gave to me... A Partridge in a Pear Tree The partridge in a pear tree is Jesus the Christ, the Son of God, whose birthday we celebrate on December 25, the first day of Christmas. In the song, Christ is symbolically presented as a mother partridge that feigns injury to decoy predators from her helpless nestlings, recalling the expression of Christ’s sadness over the fate of Jerusalem: “Jerusalem! Jerusalem! How often would I have sheltered you under my wings, as a hen does her chicks, but you would not . . . .” (Luke 13:34)

On the 2nd day of Christmas my true love gave to me... Two Turtle Doves The Old and New Testaments, which together bear witness to God’s self-revelation in history and the creation of a people to tell the Story of God to the world.

On the 3rd day of Christmas my true love gave to me... Three French Hens The Three Theological Virtues: 1) Faith, 2) Hope, and 3) Love (1 Corinthians 13:13)

On the 4th day of Christmas my true love gave to me... Four Calling Birds The Four Gospels: 1) Matthew, 2) Mark, 3) Luke, and 4) John, which proclaim the Good News of God’s reconciliation of the world to Himself in Jesus Christ.

On the 5th day of Christmas my true love gave to me... Five Gold Rings The first Five Books of the Old Testament, known as the Torah or the Pentateuch: 1) Genesis, 2) Exodus, 3) Leviticus, 4) Numbers, and 5) Deuteronomy, which gives the history of humanity’s sinful failure and God’s response of grace in the creation of a people to be a light to the world.

On the 6th day of Christmas my true love gave to me... Six Geese A-laying The six days of creation that confesses God as Creator and Sustainer of the world (Genesis 1).

On the 7th day of Christmas my true love gave to me... Seven Swans A-swimming The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit: 1) prophecy, 2) ministry, 3) teaching, 4) exhortation, 5) giving, 6) leading, and 7) compassion (Romans 12:6-8; cf. 1 Corinthians 12:8-11)

On the 8th day of Christmas my true love gave to me... Eight Maids A-milking The eight Beatitudes: 1) Blessed are the poor in spirit, 2) those who mourn, 3) the meek, 4) those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, 5) the merciful, 6) the pure in heart, 7) the peacemakers, 8) those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake. (Matthew 5:3-10)

On the 9th day of Christmas my true love gave to me... Nine Ladies Dancing The nine Fruit of the Holy Spirit: 1) love, 2) joy, 3) peace, 4) patience, 5) kindness, 6) generosity, 7) faithfulness, 8) gentleness, and 9) self-control. (Galatians 5:22)

On the 10th day of Christmas my true love gave to me... Ten Lords A-leaping The ten commandments: 1) You shall have no other gods before me; 2) Do not make an idol; 3) Do not take God’s name in vain; 4) Remember the Sabbath Day; 5) Honor your father and mother; 6) Do not murder; 7) Do not commit adultery; 8) Do not steal; 9) Do not bear false witness; 10) Do not covet. (Exodus 20:1-17)

On the 11th day of Christmas my true love gave to me... Eleven Pipers Piping The eleven Faithful Apostles: 1) Simon Peter, 2) Andrew, 3) James, 4) John, 5) Philip, 6) Bartholomew, 7) Matthew, 8) Thomas, 9) James bar Alphaeus, 10) Simon the Zealot, 11) Judas bar James. (Luke 6:14-16). The list does not include the twelfth disciple, Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus to the religious leaders and the Romans.

On the 12th day of Christmas my true love gave to me... Twelve Drummers Drumming The twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle’s Creed: 1) I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. 2) I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. 3) He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. 4) He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell [the grave]. 5) On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. 6) He will come again to judge the living and the dead. 7) I believe in the Holy Spirit, 8) the holy catholic Church, 9) the communion of saints, 10) the forgiveness of sins, 11) the resurrection of the body, 12) and life everlasting.

-Dennis Bratcher, Copyright © 2005, Dennis Bratcher, All Rights Reserved
See Copyright and User Information Notice

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LMSTRAW 12/25/2009 11:32AM

    Beautiful blog. Thank you for sharing this information.

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LINDAKAY228 12/25/2009 8:56AM

    Wow I had never heard that before. I really enjoyed reading this. I've enjoyed reading your whole series. Thanks for all the work you put into putting these together. May your day be blessed.

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DAWNWATERWOMAN 12/25/2009 2:21AM

    Thanks for once again giving us "the rest of the story". You always inspire and teach us with your blogs. Have a blessed and Merry Christmas my friend. You're my hero and I am grateful to call you my friend. Love, Dawn emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MTNHIKER1971 12/24/2009 10:51PM

    Always enjoy what you bring to SparkPeople. The wealth of information that you bring, the positive energy, quirky sense of humor, the inspiration of sharing your progress, but more importantly, the genuineness of your willingness to help others achieve their goals!

You are our personal cheering section and we are yours.

Thank you for all that you do.

Your buddy,



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DS9KIE 12/24/2009 10:44PM

    Merry Christmas emoticon

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JESSICA_0029 12/24/2009 8:56PM

    emoticon Merry Christmas emoticon

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JEAN524 12/24/2009 7:26PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticonHappy Christmas

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DIGBOI 12/24/2009 6:55PM

    Lovely blog! emoticon

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DEBBIEANNE1124 12/24/2009 6:35PM

    Beautiful! Thanks!
Merry Christmas!

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DEFIANTVEGAN 12/24/2009 5:18PM

    Thanks for posting very interesting! emoticon

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JFROGDIVA 12/24/2009 12:49PM

    Thank you for sharing this!! My Hubby's birthday is Jan 6th!! When we lived in Florida, we were near the community of Tarpon Springs which is a predominately Greek (orthodox) community!! Every year, to celebrate Epiphany, the priest would throw a white cross into the bayou & all the young boys & teens would dive after it!! Whoever came up with the cross was blessed for the year!! All of the business & people gave him gifts & they had a parade around town so people could bless him with money & gifts!! it was quite the celebration!! I don't know the whole story, but when we would go out for Hubby's birthday dinner a the big Greek restaurant, Pappas, the procession would come through!! We were never too sure what Epiphany was, so thanks for the explanation!!!!

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LEAN-N-LEXY 12/24/2009 11:30AM

    Thanks for posting this article. I've seen both sides of the argument before. I like this author's take on it. It seems to me the symbolism is there. I doubt there was any "secret teaching" involved at all. In a time where people were taught with allegorical plays and not largely literate, such symbolism would have been widely understood unlike today.

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L*I*T*A* 12/24/2009 10:17AM

    thanks for sharing the history behind the song............wishing you the blessings of Christmas to you and yours...........blessings and hugs.................lita

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DAPHNERUNNING 12/24/2009 10:16AM

    Fascinating! I never knew any of that before--and I love being educated!

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CUBANJELLY 12/24/2009 8:53AM

    I remember Christmas being a non-holiday in our family. We are Cuban so we always celebrated on January 6th. It's good to finally see someone has historical accuracy. It makes me cringe to hear people really believe Christ was born on December 25th! It's a pagan holiday tradition - when you can't beat them, join them. We celebrate Hannukah now and recognize Christmas as a time of celebration - more for our salvation and what Christ has done on the cross than for the day of His birth. Thanks for taking the time to get this fascinating information out there!

Have a wonderful holiday!

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KARVY09 12/24/2009 8:10AM

    This is very informative, and from an Eastern Orthodox tradition, we technically celebrate our Christmas after New Years so people often wonder why we leave our tree up so long. I hope that everyone learns something from your post!

Merry Christmas, dear friend!

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BROWREN 12/24/2009 8:03AM

    Hmmm . . . I had never heard that about the 12 Days of Christmas song. You learn something new every day. Thanks.

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GYPSYROSE67 12/24/2009 7:19AM

    Thank you so much for your 12 Days of Christmas Blog and the last post of possibilities of the 12 days. I don't consider myself religious but more of a spiritual person and I hadn't ever hear the 12 days broken in such the way as the last half of your blog. I found it beautiful to know that the nonsense song I knew may actually have a true meaning behind it.

Thanks again for sharing and have a very Blessed Holiday Season.

Merry Christmas

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