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My Aunt Nini died recently.  She was 96.

She never married. But that doesn't mean she didn't call one man the love of her life.
She never had children. But that doesn't mean she didn't love her nieces and nephews with all her heart.

I was blessed to be one of the recipients of her big, beautiful heart.  She loved me.

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Have you ever had a time when you've been feeling blah, really down, and a friend said, "You should...just be positive."

Did you try it? How long did it last?

A week?  (Wow, you did a really great job with that!)
A day?  (That is pretty darn good.)
Thirty minutes? (This is more likely.)

Of course there are many who've made a practice of "thinking positive" and absolutely DO live a happier, less stressful life.  I believe the ability to do this for the long-term arrives after much introspection, negative thought dissolving and practice.

But why isn't it enough to simply...

I've always been a picture taker.  The kids' sporting events, theatre productions, graduations, school presentations, and of course the holidays.  But since last summer after my oldest son, Travis bought me a camera, I've become a photographer.  No, I haven't been paid for my pictures and I haven't taken a class.  Travis has taught me a few things like not focusing directly on the sun or a light because that's how those red blotches show up.  I've become a photographer because I look at most everything through a lens now.

I see detail and beauty where I didn't notice it...

The other day I was dropping Grace off at school and a car pulled out in front of me.

I slammed on my brakes.

Grace yelled, "Mom, what is that?!"  She'd never felt anti-lock brakes before.  The car continued to turn, then ended up on my side and stopped.

Now I was face to face with the driver. As she rolled down her window this is the thought that went through my mind, "Well this is very nice, she's going to apologize for being in a hurry and cutting me off."

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I started blogging two weeks before my weight loss surgery in May, 2011. Although I was working for my bariatric surgeon at the time, he didn't tell me I should, or I had to, I just thought I could offer a unique perspective as someone who'd worked in the weight loss surgery field for 10 years.

In 170 posts I wrote about exercise, food, vitamins, cross-addiction, how to manage the holidays, lab work, lifestyle, coffee, shame, human nature, serving sizes, hiking, self-compassion, baking, the phantom of fat, medical conditions, obesity discrimination, running, food as a drug, support, setting boundaries, clothes...

Over the past five years or so, our Christmases haven’t been “the most wonderful time of the year.” Separations, divorce stuff and all that does to a family unfortunately turned Christmas season into an “Oh no, what’s gonna happen this year,” kind of situation.

As Christmas, 2014 approached I started to pray, "Please God, we can't take another Christmas like the last five."  I felt like the kids were just holding their breath, hoping this one would somehow be better.

A few days before Christmas, Grace said, "Mom, you can't be the only one without a present under the tree....

mary grace michelle o mag tent

I just had a magnificent time in San Jose at Oprah's THE LIFE YOU WANT WEEKEND! There were so many incredible moments. Here are some of the highlights.

First, Grace, Michelle (my lifelong friend of 40 years), and my son Travis arrived in San Jose after our six-hour drive, quickly changed in a Starbucks bathroom, and headed over to O TOWN. We had a great time taking photos at the O Magazine lounge.

Don't you love how the beautiful the universe...

Come with me, back to 1986. I'm in my one-bedroom apartment folding laundry while my son, Travis, lies on his blanket near me. The TV is on channel 7-ABC, and it was probably a soap opera.  A commercial comes on showing a street reporter asking people if they know who Oprah is. Most responded with, "You mean OCRA? The vegetable?" The commercial promoted her new 3 pm talk show. That's when I started watching Oprah, 1986.

It's 28 years later, and this week I will finally be in the same room with Oprah. I'm grateful that my 16 year-old daughter...

Written November, 2012, 18 months after weight loss surgery.

Just yesterday I wrote about Survival Strategies for the Holidays. And this post ties into many others I've written about life happening and how we still need to find ways to do what we must do to take care of ourselves.

I'm thinking about all the information I researched and posted yesterday. Life for me is very busy, as it is for most people. But sometimes it gets busier than usual especially around the holidays...or when children are involved in multiple activities, or when elderly relatives become ill. So tonight I've...

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