Thursday, December 29, 2011

It Was The Best of Christmases

Distant view of snow-capped Mt. LeConte from Chestnut Top Trail
Great Smoky Mountains National Park - December 28, 2011

It has been a wonderful Christmas season in every sense of the word.  Our past three Christmases have been difficult at best and we decided on Thanksgiving evening that this one would be different.  We have embraced the season and its message of love, peace and joy with everything we have.  We chose to focus on giving, loving, serving, enjoying nature and finding new ways to celebrate what Christmas is all about without giving in to the lure of commercialism, overspending, overindulgence and any other thing that tries to overtake our minds leading us AWAY from the true meaning of Christmas and into sadness, depression and LOTS OF DEBT!!  

We took a short trip to Nashville to celebrate the end of Mr. B's very successful semester.....................

Opryland Hotel, Nashville, TN
December 19, 2011

We entertained MANY times including hosting Christmas dinner for my family.  Each table setting was different, but this was the two themes..................................

We enjoyed time with family......................................

 That's my sister on the left and niece on the right!

A really good picture of everyone EXCEPT me!  My excuse is I didn't have long to get from behind the camera into the photo!!

Link, my niece's dog, enjoyed Christmas from his "throne" where he ISN'T supposed to be!!

I have hiked, and hiked, and HIKED!

 Abrams Falls Trail - GSMNP - December 2, 2011

 Lumber Ridge Trail - GSMNP - December 12, 2011

 Laurel Falls Trail - GSMNP - December 17, 2011

 Gatlinburg and Twin Creek Trails - GSMNP - December 23, 2011

Turkeypen Ridge, SchoolhouseGap, Chestnut Top Trails - GSMNP
December 28, 2011 

Yes, I WILL reach my secondary hiking goal of 350 miles in 2011!

I have no pictures to document it, but I am happy to say that I have navigated this holiday season without straying from the 17-day Diet which I began following on the day after Thanksgiving.  I completed Cycle 2 - Activate yesterday and enter Cycle 3 - Achieve today.  Much more about this in upcoming January posts, but this one has clicked, does not feel like a diet, IS something that can be sustained for a lifetime and just feels right for me.  Obviously, the weight loss slowed during Cycle 2, but I would have been concerned if it hadn't.  The important thing is that I did continue to lose slowly and I remained true to the plan.  

I am looking forward to the new year with great anticipation and excitement.  I'll be back on Monday with more.



  1. I'm so glad you've had a good Christmas! And I am so jealous of your hiking! We've had bad storms in my area, we are literally raining away! I can't wait for it all to calm down so I can get out there myself! :)

    Happy New Year!

  2. Love this!!! So glad that you had such a great holiday and that the "diet" is working for you. I guess I might just need to check it out for myself:)

  3. What a great role model you are, Sharon. I'm thrilled that you made some new traditions also this Christmas season - and that they worked out beautifully, from the sound of it - yay!!

  4. Beautiful pictures and it's good to hear that you are doing well.

  5. Welcome back. I missed you, but knew you were enjoying the season to the fullest.

    Congratulations on sticking with the 17 day diet. I have the book on reserve at the library, but there is a waiting list. I'd hoped to get it by now so that I could start January 1, as soon as the cleanse is over. It won't be. I'm not stressing. I know I'll get the book when the time is right for me.

    Happy new year!

  6. Yay for staying true to your plan!

    Your table settings are lovely, I especially enjoyed seeing the one with the lavender tablecloth. They have a very peaceful and friendly feel to them. Very nice!

  7. That sounds like a wonderful Christmas. I'm looking forward to hiking with you some in 2012. Happy New Year!

  8. I'm so pleased to read you had a wonderful Christmas!!! I did too. I returned to LR last night and realized I'm not at all tired from the trip. Normally, trips home are exhausting. This time, it was relaxing and fun from start to finish!!! Looking forward to a wonderful year... thankful for new friends made in 2011!! :)

  9. It looks like you had a wonderful holiday! Love the hiking! Keep up the amazing work!

  10. And a very happy New Year to you and Mr. B. as well, Sharon! Congratulations on achieving your amazing hiking numbers and ending the year on such a positive and happy note. It couldn't happen to a nicer, more deserving person!

  11. You are so inspirational!! I love your commitment to hiking!

    Keep it up and stay focused!

  12. Happy New Year back at ya'- wishing you and Mr B a healthy, happy 2012! And hugs...