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12/26/13 9:42 P

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To the 12/24 question...
We went to a lovely Mass with choir and congregation belting out the Christmas hymns. The priest even threw in an extra "Silent Night" into the service. And all the verses of all of them.

We were invite to a lovely, big Italian Christmas Eve feast. A very nice time but the sitting at the table for (literally) hours was tough with my RA.

Then on Christmas we hosted dinner and gift-giving for 16 people. I tried to keep it very simple... a ham, store-mashed potatoes and butternut squash, has people bring food if they offered, "thaw and serve" dessert, asked for help from my husband and son. It was a very nice time, but still a heavy lift cleaning, prepping, serving, cleaning up afterward. Was on my feet all day.

Today every joint in my body is KILLING me. I took a nap. Also, on the 23rd it thought I had an eye infection, my eyes were red, burning and painful and getting worse by the day. I spent the whole afternoon at doctor then eye doctor. Turns out it is inflammation related to the RA. The treatment is moisturizing eye drops at least 4x/day and heating pad on my eyes at least 5 min. 2x/day, for a week.

Hope you all had a merry Christmas and have a healthy 2014. emoticon

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DEDICATED2HIM's Photo DEDICATED2HIM Posts: 3,483
12/25/13 4:51 A

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hi Cyndy....I'm glad you could enjoy your Christmas with your family. I hope that you can also find something to do this day also. I'm like you, I celebrated wiht my parents and daughter last night.DH was working. So today we will spend the day with just the three of us.
Thanks for checking in with us here. God bless your holiday.



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4-1HEALTHYCYNDI's Photo 4-1HEALTHYCYNDI Posts: 11,279
12/24/13 10:00 P

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Today we celebrated Christmas with my family. My niece has to work both Christmas Eve & Christmas nights. So we celebrated today. It was a nice quiet gathering and mostly relaxing.

HoH Gryffindor, Hogwarts Tri-Term 5, 6, 7
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12/24/13 4:47 A

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I am very glad to say that today I am feeling better emotionally than I did yesterday. If you read my blog from yesterday you will see what eventually helped me climb out of the morass of depression....I don't know if I can really call it "depression" since it was short lived. I once spent 15 years in profound depression and yesterday didn't compare with that...so maybe it was just a case of the blues. I think I was just overwhelmed by health issues and the limitations from those that made a "normal" Christmas impossible. Top that off with being married to the Grinch who stole Christmas....and you will see why I was down. But God is faithful and he pulled me out of the miry mud.

So ladies we just have two days left....these two days hold the potential for being the best---or the worst---of the holiday blues.

Here is today's question. Today, is the last minute dash to the store, to buy that last gift or an ingredient for your holiday meal. Maybe it marks the arrival of relatives who will spend the night. My question is this; what is your "game plan" should you begin to feel overwhelmed,whether by the busyness or by sadness? What can you do for yourself to keep on top of things?

For me? I will go to God's Word for uplifting promises of comfort and protection. Please take a minute to consider a tangible thing you might do to get your head and heart aligned this holiday. Share it with us here....and then go and have a blessed, FUN, and a day filled with the love of your family or friends....whomever you celebrate with. If you are alone this day...tell us so we can pray for you and encourage you.

Blessings to you all.
and a very MERRY CHRISTMAS!



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DEDICATED2HIM's Photo DEDICATED2HIM Posts: 3,483
12/23/13 7:35 A

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I have to confess...it's a bit Ironic that I set up this thread to encourage you all....and I"m falling head first into sadness this year. It really started yesterday and is worsening today. I need something to lift the heaviness of my spirit.

So today I'm going to try to come up with a post on what to do when all the "cheer" of the holiday just isn;'t there. Today I have a therapist from my insurance company calling me. Maybe that will help. Maybe today I should just stay quiet and focus on reading....beginning with the Christmas account in the gospels ...and then reading some of the writings of the mystics...maybe that will help...And also to spend some time in prayer.

So here is my question for you today:

What do you do when, despite all your efforts to be cheerful, you fail and you find yourself becoming sad and mournful at a time when you should be joyful.?



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12/23/13 7:27 A

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Janis, that sounds WONDERFUL! I've always wanted to have a silent spiritual retreat. Our retreats are noisy and full of "entertainment" and speakers. One year our retreat was held at a college campus...I skipped all of the meetings and went to the library to be quiet and read. But it still isn't the same as what you describe. Do you have to pay to go on a retreat like that?

I don't think I could do it logistically...would have to bring an O2 tank and my BIPAP

I love the writings of St Theresa. I have several books of her writings.





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12/22/13 5:23 P

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I already got my intangible one: just got back from a weekend, mostly silent, Advent retreat. Really lovely. Lots of time to pray, meditate, read from their library between the talks and services.

Read about St. Therese of Lisieux... a good source for finding spiritual gifts in suffering. She had a lot of illness, suffering, lost loved ones and died young, lived in a cloister but touched many lives. Very courageous. When the local Bishop said she could not join the cloister, she asked the Pope! When he said no she persisted and prevailed.
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JANNY316's Photo JANNY316 Posts: 278
12/21/13 2:22 P

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A tangible wish would be a new heating pad. Mine has had its better days. And a non-tangible would be for a cure for RA!

The Christmas season is upon us now, so many prayers for all you in this group for a peaceful and blessed Christmas and very Happy and Healthy New Year!

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12/21/13 7:06 A

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Do you have a Christmas Wish? Give me a tangible and a non-tangible answer.

For a tangible answer: I want a Kindle Fire ( and my never-can-keep-a -secret husband told me he ordered me one LOL)

For a non-tangible answer: I was going to say "health" but I think more than I want health, I want a healthy dose of spiritual gifts.(1 Cor 12:)....To be a representative of God's love to those I meet.



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12/20/13 4:35 P

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Do you have a "cause" that tugs your heart? If you had the means., how would you help your cause?
I have a family in the Philippines whom I was helping for about 5 years....keepign them alive. However circumstances in my life have changed and I've been unable to continue to support them. However we still support a little girl in Kyrgyzstan and I also support a little orphan in Swaziland. And thirdly I support the provision of medical supplies for the Christians in the Sudan who are being martyred for their faith and they are often attacked and wounded and there are not adequate medical supplies to keep them alive.

HOw would I help? I would take these causes and super charge them. I would send more money and I would LOVE to go and see these people and meet them in person.



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ANGRITTER's Photo ANGRITTER SparkPoints: (84,948)
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12/19/13 9:37 P

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I would gift myself with a cure for all the ailments in my family. Heart arrhythmia, cancer, diabetes (almost everyone has it now!), endometriosis, shoulder surgery, all the gamut. I would have it all washed away from my family so that we could all report that we had a healthy and happy holiday.

Can I include you guys in my family so you all would be released of your physical or mental burdens? I would gift myself that as well. (And no, this gift is not the SAME as "world peace" in the horrid pageants!!)

Love this thread, by the way!

Angela, Sparking since 6/18/2012
Jacksonville, FL
*Keep moving forward! Ask for Peace, Believe in Love, & Give Understanding!

Living with RAD Team Co-leader www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/groups_i
ndividual.asp?gid=959


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12/19/13 9:05 P

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The gift I would give myself is to take more "me time" to exercise and meditate.

I made a start on the former in January... I signed up for TRX Training and Tai Chi class at the Y. That will get me there at least 2 days a week, and while there I usually do other things, e.g. strength training.

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DEDICATED2HIM's Photo DEDICATED2HIM Posts: 3,483
12/19/13 4:38 A

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For today:
What kind of "gift" could you give yourself this Christmas?

For me?
I give myself the gift of peace. I will not feel hurt, wounded, or angry toward anyone, particularly "certain members" of my family. I will not give them the power to hurt me. I will love them even when they don't deserve it...I will heap those burning coals on their heads....Kill them with kindness.

This may not change the way they act. But it will keep me from the harmful effects of anger and hurt feelings. No Tears this Christmas!



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12/18/13 10:05 P

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They are stretchy and you can put them on boots/shoes while holding the boots on your lap or whatever, and leave them on for the whole winter. I just walk carefully on tile floors when they are wet from outside. I feel MUCH safer with them on snow and ice.

Didn't mean to put you off with TMI. emoticon

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12/18/13 8:16 A

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They may not be for me then. I cannot reach my feet at all due to my hip replacements. My daughter would have to put them on and off,which would limit how much I could use them Thanks for the heads up



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12/17/13 8:15 P

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I have bought the Yaktrax (for myself and my mother) at hardware stores. They give me much more confidence to walk in icy conditions.

Only caveat is that if I go into a store or someplace with tile or linoleum floors with the wet Yaktraks, I have to walk carefully, as the metal coils that grip the ice can slip on smooth floors. You can pull them right off but they take some tugging to stretch them back on.

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12/17/13 9:37 A

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BTW those Yaktrax needs a different link here it is

www.yaktrax.com/product/walk

I was unable to get it to work the other way. THIs way should be good.



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12/16/13 9:37 P

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"Elf" with Will Ferrell has to be the funniest Christmas movie. It always makes me laugh like crazy.
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"A Christmas Story" is good but I've seen it so many times. It's on one station, TBS I think, all day every Christmas and some of my relatives can't get enough of it.
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Just watched the old Rankin-Bass production of Rudolph the Red-Nosed reindeer. Got to love Burl Ives.
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12/16/13 11:24 A

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A couple of answers here: I love snow! I love to see the beauty of a snow and I like to play in the snow. I am still a bit of kid at heart. And winter is not a bad time for me. I seem to get a bit worse when it is hot and humid. I am trying to stay upbeat this holiday season- have been a bit on the depressed side but was told to check this thread out. I love the ideas and seeing what everyone has posted so far. Christmas in the Holy Land would be fantastic! So many good thoughts and encouragement here.

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12/16/13 6:06 A

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Joanne, maybe send your friends a "thinking of you card" and put some candy canes on your desk and offer them to your coworkers. It's a simple thing but it might perk them up a little.
Janis thanks for the link. I think I saw something like that in the store on Friday. I wish now I"d picked some of them up.

For today the topic is Christmas movies...Nothing like cuddling up in dryer-warmed PJs or a flannel night gown with long johns underneath and watching a Christmas movie. Or listening to Christmas music while you are working in your house.
What is your favorite Christmas movie?
I like "It's a Wonderful LIfe" and also "The Bells of St. MAry's" Do they even have that on any more? I haven't watched it in years. But I used to love it. Maybe Netflix has it.

Edited by: DEDICATED2HIM at: 12/16/2013 (06:07)

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12/15/13 10:56 P

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Winter is not my favorite season. I do now look at shoveling as an opportunity to burn calories. emoticon

I don't like walking on ice. A few years ago I was pushing a snowblower, there was a frozen puddle under the snow, and I fell back on the asphalt and got a concussion. My best defense is to pull my Yaktrax on. https://www.yaktrax.com/product/walk

Since the RA hit, one of my favorite things in winter is to put on pajamas warm out of the dryer. emoticon

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12/15/13 3:34 P

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I love walking in and watching snow storms. I hate driving in them. As long as I don't have to go anywhere when they're on, I'm good with them. I also hate the cold that comes with snow and winter.

My ideal place to spend Christmas is somewhere warm and dry preferably with my and DH's family there as well.

I have two friends at work who have both lost parents in the past two months. The first lost his mum and the second lost his father. I don't know how to help them have a good Christmas other than just being there for them.

Joanna from Dundas, Ontario
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Happy and healthy people have a better chance to live with confidence and contribute value to the world than anyone else. Don't take that for granted. ~ James Clear ~


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12/14/13 6:23 P

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there is a snow storm today.
What about snow....do you like it? hate it?
I used to like it when it meant a snow day from school.
I hated it when I worked in a hospital and had to be there regardless of the weather.
Now I just hate it because it's slippery and I'm afraid of falling.
And I hate it because my husband hates it...and all the noise he makes about it pretty much makes me hate it too...just because I hate listening to him swear.



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12/13/13 6:14 A

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Is there someone in your life who is suffering from heartbreak....maybe a recently widowed lady or a child who lost a parent....or an older person who has been abandoned by busy children.? Who is your person and what could you do to make them happier--- to give them a special Christmas?

I have a friend, Gloria , who lost her husband a year ago. And she has moved down to NJ to be closer to her daughter....but her daughter works and is not available much for Gloria. She lost her home to foreclosure and has financial struggles. Her name came to my mind for an answer here. I would like to do something for her---but what? I could maybe knit her something. I could order a basket of fruit for her...I know she likes that. I will have to think more about it.



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12/12/13 9:35 P

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Bethlehem/the Holy Land would be amazing.

Rome would be great, I'm sure.

Ireland? Costa Rica? Switzerland? Hawaii?

They would be exciting but I'm pretty content to be at home and hosting the family Christmas dinner here. Especially because we've been "feathering our nest"... wallpapered one wall of the living room with paper that's like birch tree trunks, just assembled an entertainment center to go in front of it. Now I'm re-arranging furniture to make space for the Christmas tree that's out on the deck. This project was on hold since the Government shutdown. Then the entertainment center was backordered till January, but there was one in Rhode Island, and husband, God bless him, drove down there to get it.
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12/12/13 5:49 P

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If I could spend Christmas anywhere in the world, where would it be? On a cruise with bot sets of parents. We got to spend one Christmas with my husband's mom on a cruise. I was WONDERFUL. The ship was decorated with lots of trees and other Christmas decorations. There was Christmas music sprinkled into the background music. None of us had to make the meal or stress over trying to get anywhere. One of my best Christmases ever.

Doesn't matter to me where the ship is, just to be together would be enough.

HoH Gryffindor, Hogwarts Tri-Term 5, 6, 7
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12/12/13 3:14 P

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thanks for the encouragement Janis. I'm feeling a bit better today. Last night I went to a cookie swap at my Bible Study's house and they had a two story high Christmas tree all lit and decorated in their living room. And a fire burning in the wood stove. We were going to sing Christmas carols but some very rude people kept right on talking while the music was playing ...so eventually they gave up on the music and just talked. I was disappointed and kind of annoyed by the rudeness. OH well, at least I got a touch of Christmas there.

If you could spend Christmas any place in the world, where would it be and why?

For me I would go to Israel the place where it all began. How awesome to see Jesus' birthplace and see where he lived and ministered.

Edited by: DEDICATED2HIM at: 12/12/2013 (15:29)

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12/10/13 10:03 P

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I am not blue, just overwhelmed and a bit stressed. I'm trying not to get stressed... just prioritizing and taking things one day at a time. My health is slowly improving so grateful to have a little more energy. I am an artist so am pulling shifts as a volunteer cashier at the Arts & Crafts Society where I have paintings, note cards and Christmas cards for sale. My "cottage industry" is in full swing with the 2 new Christmas cards I had offset printed. (pix on ms SparkPage.)

I am trying to meditate every day to de-stress. I put it as a goal on my SP start page so I hate not to be able to check it off each day.

Cynthia, sorry you have the blues and feel alone. I hope you can find some things to bring you joy... music, spirituality, loved ones, helping someone else, a traditional food you love or something. I know you have been through the mill lately.

Ang, helping with the Chevy interior sounds like a great idea. I bet you are still missing your uncle, so it's nice you will be with your parents.
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12/10/13 2:05 P

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This time last year we lost my favorite uncle so we barely celebrated. No tree up or anything like that. It just didn't seem important. I did go to church for the singing and the play the kids were in. They were all dressed up as 50's kids with poodle skirts, leather jackets, rolled up jeans, greased hair, ponytails and blow up guitars. It was adorable.

This year we have all been exhausted by yet another month-long garage sale, so the last thing anyone wanted to do after eating Thanksgiving dinner (which we didn't go overboard on) was to climb into the storage closet and bring down 35 bins of decorations. Well, I refused to let tradition slide this year and I climbed the shelves and brought down 11 boxes and bins and then made my father get the rest out. This is the first year my parents have both been here for Christmas since they moved back down from NY state. So we put up decorations, mom kicked dad's butt into gear to get the lights up on the house, etc.

And the garage sale (I almost called it a garage STALE) was still in progress, so we are juggling many things this year. The sale is over, but the tables are still tarped-over because we are going to go through and trash some things and donate everything else. My other uncle's things can go back to his house because he is somewhat greedy and won't donate something he might be able to sell.

Mom keeps asking what I want for Christmas and I keep telling her that I don't NEED anything so not to worry about it. A good meal with the family and just chilling out sounds like a great idea to me. And I am still trying to decide if I will go to church on Christmas Eve or not. I do not speak to the friend who goes there anymore as she is judging me for being on disability. Nice Christian thing to do, right? Judge someone that you have no idea what is going on with them because you are too wrapped up in your own materialistic life? Yeah, I am having my reservations, but I still want to see her husband and adorable children in the play. :-) I guess I will decide that day as to whether I go or not.

Gifts aside, I feel that just being there for your family and friends is gift enough. This holiday is all about love and caring... not giving or receiving gifts. But I think I am going to give my parents a check for part of the interior for their 1960 Chevy. It needs it badly and my mommy will be very proud to be cruising in a car she doesn't have to cover the front seat of with a sheet. It was sitting in the mud in NY state for the past 10 years, but started right up. The same can't be said about the inside!

Needless to say, I cannot do enough for my parents since they supported me for 4 years although they really couldn't afford it. When my disability came in February, they got the first $10k that was dropped into my account. And I continue to pay all the bills and give them extra cash. So why get anything from them when I am just going to give it back. I am just thankful to be with them and to have a loving family when I know so many people do not have that option.

Angela, Sparking since 6/18/2012
Jacksonville, FL
*Keep moving forward! Ask for Peace, Believe in Love, & Give Understanding!

Living with RAD Team Co-leader www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/groups_i
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12/10/13 8:11 A

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Do you find yourself feeling sad or "blue" this holiday? I confess, I have been. I have to ask myself honestly, "Am I able to celebrate and do all the things a celebration involves?" I may be able to do more than I am....but it seems like I"m the only person celebrating. (in my family) and somehow it is more sad to attempt to celebrate alone than to just make the holiday a "non-event"...

If you are alone in your celebration--what kind of things can you do to enjoy the holiday for yourself? Can you cook a celebratory meal just for yourself? Do you know someone lonely whom you might invite ? Can you visit a nursing home with a small gift for the residents? Or just your presence and a listening ear may brighten their holiday. If you can;'t bring up the strength to cook, Chinese restaurants are open on Christmas day...We've done that before.

Attend a Church service... Look in the newspaper...maybe a nearby chorus will be performing Handel's Messiah...It's a gorgeous piece of music...Or you can buy it on a CD...and play it in your home.

I know that when you are really sad...really blue all these things seem hard and not worth the effort and if you are REALLY sad, they may make you all the sadder. Please do not isolate yourself this holiday....invite someone over or respond to an invitation that you may have been given.

PM me if you need to tell someone your story.



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12/9/13 6:50 P

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emoticon We have so many traditions.... Church, getting a real tree, outside lights and pine roping, setting up the creche that I grew up with, our Advent calendar (my son never forgets to do it first thing in the morning; he's now a teen), Christmas Eve seafood dinner: Polish Vigilia or Italian Feast of the 7 Fishes, Christmas dinner and gifts with family.

emoticon I almost never bake but I've always made cranberry bread and cut-out and frosting-decorated sugar cookies with my son. That might turn out to be the most important because he loves baking and wants to do it for a career.

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12/9/13 8:29 A

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For today, think about how your family celebrates the holidays. What is your favorite tradition that you do with your family?

For me, I love going to a nighttime Christmas EVe service at church. Especially if there is a light snow falling. My church has the candlelight service where one person lights a flame and the flame is passed throughout all the congregation and then lights are turned off as we sing "Silent Night"....This always gives me chills. So beautiful.



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12/8/13 9:24 P

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Favorite inspirational quote:
Progress, not perfection.
My pastor said in a sermon: "We have everything we need: life and eternal life."

Cynthia, I think church is a great place to meet people. Volunteering is another, or volunteer at church. My parish has lots of activities... women's fellowship group, faith-sharing groups, a book club, etc.

Joanna, Your trip sounds great... warm weather? I bet you'll do a lot of walking, right? A fridge in the room is also good for doggie bags, you can get two meals from one. Myself, I hate to waste food.
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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The only real goal I have is to get under 200 pounds for the first time in decades. Once that happens, I'll figure out what I want to do next.

And, to get there, I will continue to exercise as much as I can and eat within my calorie range.

December is a challenging month for food not just on Christmas Day but the whole month. This week, I have one lunch out, next week, I have two and then the following week is Christmas with at least two meals out plus DH and I are flying to Arizona on December 27th for a week so we'll be eating out a fair amount.

I'll be bringing my laptop and some exercise DVDs with me. I also hope to do some hiking and if it's warm enough swimming. The hotel I booked has a decent gym and an outdoor pool and the room has a fridge and a microwave so I'm hoping to have some salads and fruit in the fridge.

By the way, thanks for your support with my holiday sadness but I'm feeling better this week and I do have a pedicure booked for December 23rd to look forward to as well as all the lunches I have planned. emoticon

Joanna from Dundas, Ontario
BLC20-25 - Amber Amazon Warriors
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Happy and healthy people have a better chance to live with confidence and contribute value to the world than anyone else. Don't take that for granted. ~ James Clear ~


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12/7/13 6:50 A

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I want to assess my goal of becoming a published and PAID writer. I need to decide if I"m able and if I want to do all that is necessary to attain that goal. I think I will really consider this this month ....and will read some of the books on writing that I have...I need to assess how much I desire this and whether or not I'm willing to pay the price

I also want to set some goals for myself socially. I would like to make some new friends...it seems impossible to do that....My only avenue for this goal is at my church. I never get to see anyone else. And that's okay....except it's a little limited. But I need to just kind of look at my social outlets with fresh eyes...There are people there...and there's no reason why I cannot talk to them and become friends.



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12/7/13 6:01 A

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I know it's a bit early to be thinking of the New Year...but actually if you want to achieve something this coming year, it will require some forethought.

I don't like calling them "resolutions" because in my mind that is synonymous with failure. I prefer to call them "goals" ....What goals do you have that you would like to achieve or attain the coming new year? Try not to use a number on the scale in response....Because that's all it is: a number. Give this some thought Is there something...a skill possibly that you would like to learn? Is there someone you want to know a little better? Is there a bad habit you want to be rid of? Is there an accomplishment you would like to tackle?

And once you've thought of your response to this, think about what you need to do beforehand to set yourself up in the best manner to achieve your goal. For example, if you want to take college course, you would need to put aside the money and register.





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12/4/13 1:25 P

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For today: please share your favorite motivational quote....It doesn't have to be Christmas Related...just something that you tell yourself when you are stressed or when you have a lot to do with little energy.

I guess my favorite quote I tell myself often (it's also in my signature I think) is from the movie Galaxy Quest. "Never give up. Never surrender."

Another one is I can do anything for 15 minutes (sometimes 10). This one I learned from Flylady.com. In which the tasks are broken up into 15 minute segments with 15 minutes built in for rest/relaxation. So if I were cleaning it would look something like this 15 minutes of dishes/cleaning counters, 15 minutes picking up the living room, 15 cleaning the bathroom and a 15 minute break to rest, drink a cup of tea, read, whatever. Then on to the next things on my list. I also use this at work to break up long tasks.



HoH Gryffindor, Hogwarts Tri-Term 5, 6, 7
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NEVER GIVE UP, NEVER SURRENDER!

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12/4/13 9:36 A

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Cyndi and Janis: great ideas...thanks.

For today: please share your favorite motivational quote....It doesn't have to be Christmas Related...just something that you tell yourself when you are stressed or when you have a lot to do with little energy.

I think my favorite quote is "This, too, shall pass" I know it's not terribly inspirational but it's gotten me through some tense or painful moments. It reminds me that situations here on earth are not eternal....and when we get to the things that DO last forever, it will be too late to change how we got through the non-eternal challenging times so even though it may not last forever, it may have consequences that DO last forever for better or for worse. Every moment is important and how we use these moments DOES matter.





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12/3/13 9:40 P

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Great suggestion about helping others. The Salvation Army is another good charity. Many hospitals and animal shelters need volunteers too.

For entertainment, many churches around here have free choir concerts and Christmas plays.

If you are missing deceased loved ones, bereavement groups can be helpful.

Warmest wishes to you all. emoticon

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12/3/13 6:08 A

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hi Joanna,
I"m so sorry that the season has turned sad for you. It seems to me that when your situation has changed and sadness has replaced joy, you have to be proactive in changing it back to something special and happy.

Giving of yourself to others is a very good way to begin to feel better. Is there a local food pantry near you? Or do some of the churches or the VA put on a dinner for the public or for the needy? Perhaps you can donate a little time....if you don't have the energy to actually cook or serve, perhaps you can help put up posters or publicizing the event.

Is there somewhere around you a small child who maybe has needy parents? Maybe you can "adopt" that child. Last year --in a Facebook group for disabled people that I'm in, there was a lady who was homeless (they have just now moved into a "new' house) and she mentioned how sad she was that she didn't have money for any gifts for her 12 year old son. I went internet shopping and got him two gifts and had them delivered to the hotel they were in at that time. It was so fun to hear about his excitement over the gifts (one of the other ladies in the group also had the same idea, so he had several gifts)....Keep your eyes and ears open for someone you can bring joy to for the holiday. Maybe there is a homeless person you know of...or an elderly person that you can invite to your dinner. Or maybe you can go to a local nursing home and just bring some little tree decorations to give out...and bring some happiness to some people who may be especially sad at that time of year.

There truly is more blessing to giving than there is to receiving. If anyone is interested, I know a family in the Philippines whose home was damaged by the Typhoon....I can give you their address and you can send some cash or a small gift...there are three children in the family...their father abandoned their mom and them and I've been helping them for the past 4 years....but can't do much anymore since finances are tight....The smallest thing would bring them joy.

And Joanna, take time to do something nice for yourself....buy some makeup or a new outfit...or a spa day....

It is hard to lose a family member in November...My husband's step mom, his mom and his dad all died in November...and I'm often in the hospital in November as well. It's a hard month and it sets up the arrival of December and the holidiays as just more sadness. I 'm right with you there. But I'm determined to be proactive and not let the holidays run over me like a truck. I am not sure yet what I will do....but I want the holiday to be about giving of myself more than about buying

My Bible study group meets in my friend's house and there is an abundance of cookies and an enormous, two story Christmas tree in their house and a wood burning stove crackling away....and we just sing Christmas Carols and pray together. It's simple but I've begun to look forward to it every year.

I hope you find a way to make the days special for you Joanna...and if you just need a shoulder, I"m here. PM me.



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12/2/13 8:54 P

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I love Christmas. I like the way the outdoor lights are so bright and cheerful. It's after Jan. 1 when the lights come down and the holidays are over and the weather gets worse that I can get down with the darkness, cold, ice and snow.

The religious/spiritual part is very important to me and the hubby. This year, for the first time, we are going on a weekend Advent retreat together. Should be awesome. Kind of sad, though, because I have been going to women's retreats and the place will be closing for a long time for major renovation.

I have depression brought on by RA: the pain, the frequent infectious illnesses. Zoloft helped and I see a therapist.

I am trying to get healthy again after a month of bronchitis and asthma, so I might be crazy but I have taken on hosting THE Christmas dinner for extended family. We are doing a living room makeover and will get a real Christmas tree, so want to do this. I will keep it simple... throw a roast beef or ham in the oven.

I have to fit in exercise and enough rest.

My husband's family have stopped exchanging gifts with his siblings. We only give to his mother and our niece and nephew (and they mostly need money, being in college). I have tried without success to get my family to tone down the mountains of presents. It really gets out of hand. It's like they're trying to recreate the fantasies of childhood. My husband won't accept gifts, only donations to charities, which I understand, but he can be kind of surly about it.

Cynthia -- I like Cyndi's idea of the gift of time. I've read that money spent on experiences makes people more happy than money spent on things. There are a lot of concerts, movies and stuff this time of year. I've always baked and decorated cookies at Christmas with my son, who has autism and is now 16. I know it means a lot to him, plus he now wants to have a career as a baker or cook.

To stay healthy: my rheumy said "keep warm and stay away from sick people." Not so easy when my son is sick. To help with energy, de-stressing and my mood I've been meditating daily. I focus on breathing, progressively relax from toes to head, commune with Jesus and imagine I'm on a beach in Hawaii... with the sound of waves, the smell of flowers, beautiful view, sense of peace.

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12/2/13 7:56 P

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For me this time of year usually sees a slowdown in movement (exercise), more eating (parties and the like) and some depression. I think I have a slight case of SAD because as my husband likes to say, Iím very solar powered. When itís colder, cloudy and damp (rainy) I tend to hurt more. Sometimes I think that Christmas is just about greed. The greed of wanting presents, of seeing who gives (and gets the most, the best presents) and not really about the original intent of the Holiday. Itís become so commercialized and goes on for almost 3 months out here in California. The Christmas decorations usually go up BEFORE Halloween. Thanksgiving is a non-event anymore.

What Iíd really like out of this thread is just kind words, words of inspiration, maybe encouragement to just keep trying when it seems overwhelming or not worth it.

Cynthia Ė Iím not sure how old your daughter is now, but to me the best thing you can/could give is the gift of time. Ask your daughter what tradition(s) means the most to her. You might be surprised. It might be as simple as being together to open the presents, or a single dish, or singing Christmas carols. Then do your best to fulfill that one or two item list.

Some small things I do to help me stay healthy.
First I stay away from the malls which tend to be clogged with sick, stressed people and itís just not worth the risk. I make my husband buy most of the presents (often from Amazon) as I donít really do much with internet shopping.

Another thing I do is pick and choose which functions I will attend. There are many Holiday parties out there and even though I wish I could attend them all, I pick the ones that interest me the most. This year Iím only attending 1 Christmas party and thatís with my bff rather than my husband. (Both our jobs have started having parties at work the last day we are there.)

I donít decorate. I donít feel guilty about it anymore. At first I did. I always thought I ďSHOULDĒ decorate because my mom always did and itís so festive. But we always gather at her house anyway for the Holiday celebrations. When my husband and I do supply the meal it is usually semi-homemade. In that we buy a pre-packaged meal and add a few traditional dishes that are special.

Rest as often as possible and as you need it.

HoH Gryffindor, Hogwarts Tri-Term 5, 6, 7
C.A.M.O.Crew, PDT

NEVER GIVE UP, NEVER SURRENDER!

Striving for VES, Vibrant, Elegant & Sexy

www.folhavitoria.com


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12/2/13 5:53 P

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I used to love Christmas. My mum always made a big deal of it and the fun of buying presents for others was one of my favourite things to do. However, when I got married in 1984, my husband was a real Scrooge. He hated the commercialism of Christmas and he hated getting me presents just because the calendar said he had to. For 15 years, I wrestled with him over the occasion and because we don't have kids, I wanted some kind of present on Christmas morning, preferably something that he bought and paid for himself or made or organized, etc. but he wasn't to be turned to the festive side of the holiday easily. Finally, in 2003, he bought me an artificial Christmas tree which was huge from such a Grinch and I really appreciated it.

But in the last half dozen years or so, I've been getting depressed at this time of year. Part of it is because my mum died in November but most of it I think is just that it's dark, cold and damp and I really, really hate it and can't wait until retirement when I'm hoping to become a snowbird for the winter months.

Now, it's DH who initiates decorating for Christmas and we eventually agreed to do stockings for each other instead of presents but honestly, it all just seems like a lot of effort for just the two of us.

We used to have his mum come and spend Christmas Eve with us and spend the night to do Christmas morning together but now she's not well and won't be joining us this year.

Edited by: BKWERM at: 12/2/2013 (17:55)
Joanna from Dundas, Ontario
BLC20-25 - Amber Amazon Warriors
Eastern Daylight Time (EDT)

Co-Leader of Living With Rheumatoid Autoimmune Disease (RAD)


Happy and healthy people have a better chance to live with confidence and contribute value to the world than anyone else. Don't take that for granted. ~ James Clear ~


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12/2/13 2:49 P

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for me...I"ve spent countless Christmases in the hospital. I always seem to be sick with asthma or pneumonia or some such thing.
For me, Ideas of how to remain healthy would be helpful....and I would also like some ideas on how to help make the day special for my daughter. My husband is beyond help.




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12/2/13 2:48 P

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For the first day, please list your feelings about the holiday...the good, the bad and the ugly. We need to know where we are starting from and what kind of help people need. THEN, after you tell us your feelings about the holidays, please add a brief statement of what you hope to gain in this thread...what would most help you. If you can focus on the person who went before you...you can also respond to others...but make sure that everyone has some kind of response.



Edited by: DEDICATED2HIM at: 12/2/2013 (14:50)

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12/2/13 2:46 P

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This Christmas and Chanukah season can lead people into the deep swamp of depression (The blog of Despond--for those of you who've read "A Pilgrim's Progress")
So I've decided a slight change from last month, where we listed our gratitude, here we will every day list something we can do to take care of ourselves, lift our spirits, share meaningful time with others....etc. I will give you, each day some kind of guidance and we will see where this takes us. I hope to get a lot of participation here...this is a tangible way to help your friends here on line to really have some cheer and to feel better about celebrating. Try to make the ideas simple so that even when fatigued or hurting, we can still do something ....



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