Larry James' CelebrateLove.com BLOG

Thursday, December 6, 2018

5 Quick Tips to De-Stress During Holiday Time!

Filed under: Guest Authors,Holidays,Relationships — Larry James @ 2:26 am
Tags: ,

Lori Hollander, LCSW-C, BCD, Guest Author

Relax2.jpegWho said, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year?” Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, the holidays are stressful.

When we experience stress, our bodies react by setting off our “fight-or-flight” mechanism. The fight-or-flight response is a physiological reaction that served to alert us to danger in caveman days.

When we perceive an attack, our body’s alarm system goes off. Adrenaline is pumped through our body and prepares us to either fight off the attack or flee from it. When activated, our blood pressure increases and rushes to our muscles, awareness intensifies, eyesight sharpens, pupils dilate, impulses quicken. We are physically and mentally preparing to meet the perceived threat. Once that threat is over our bodies relax and go back to a state of calm.

In this day and age, we still have this mechanism but the “threats” – rush hour, a deadline on a project, a fight with our spouse, being overworked – don’t necessarily stop. Many people end up in a chronic fight-or-flight state. The accumulation of stress hormones ends up causing physiological damage to our bodies in the form of illnesses like high blood pressure, irritable bowel syndrome, headaches, and depression, to name just a few.

Having taught Stress Management courses years ago, I learned two types of stress exist: Distress and Eustress. We all know what Distress is, but Eustress was something new to me.

Eustress is the kind of stress we experience around the “good” events that happen in our lives: buying a new house, getting married, having a baby, celebrating holidays.

Positive changes in our lives create stress, just like negative ones. The difference is: When we experience Distress, it’s likely we will remain in a stressed state. With Eustress, we go through the positive event and then return to a state of equilibrium.

Whatever type of stress you experience, but especially with Distress, it is vital for your mental, emotional and physical health to have an awareness of how stress affects you and take action to decrease it.

I’d like to share some quick and practical steps you can take to make this holiday season as stress-free as possible.

Here are 5 quick tips to keep your cool during the holidays.

1. Become more mindful about how stress is showing up for you. – All of us are so busy, especially at this time of year, we don’t stop to pause, to breathe, to take note of the state of our bodies and minds.

Creating more awareness of our specific sources of stress allows us to make changes, even if they are small. It’s easy to get caught up focusing on all the things we can’t control and sink into victimhood.

Take a moment during the day and before you go to bed to think about your level of stress. Ask yourself where the stress is coming from – not enough sleep, too much to do, feeling disconnected from your partner.

Then ask yourself what you can do to decrease these stressors. For example, plan to go to bed earlier, ask yourself what tasks you can delegate or postpone, do connecting things with your partner. Little changes can make a big difference.

2. Do 10-15 minutes of stress management each day. – It could be doing a meditation or guided imagery; listening to soothing music; deep breathing; progressive muscle relaxation; or aromatherapy. Even 10 minutes a day can make a huge difference. You can find these techniques online or in apps. The two apps we love are Calm and Insight Timer. Check them out.

3. Focus on what you can control. – Consciously think about the areas where you do have control and how can you decrease your stress. Examples would be:

• Order gifts online instead of going to the stores.
• Buy groceries online and have them delivered.
• Don’t cook everything from scratch.
• Ask others to bring a dish if you are hosting dinner.
• Say no when others ask you to do something extra.

4. Turn off your devices. – The constant noise we live with from devices is like never before. We rarely experience quiet anymore. The pinging of messages or emails that come in, the “bad” news that is constantly playing on TV 24/7, the gadgets we have all around us keep us stressed and put us in a continual fight-or-flight mode. Ask your family to do the same, especially at meal time.

5. Lower your expectations. – Life isn’t perfect. Anticipate that something will go wrong. Picture what stresses you out the most. Ask yourself, “And what if that did happen; then what…?” Keep playing out that line of thought until you determine the worst-case scenario. It’s not usually as bad as you think. For instance:

• “What if our dog ate the turkey?”
• “I wouldn’t have any food to serve my guests.”
• “And then what…?”
• “I’d order in Chinese food or pizza and it would be a Thanksgiving we’d never forget.”

Bonus Tip: Connect with your partner every day. – At times of stress we may get so focused on what needs to get done that we ignore our relationships. Be mindful of your partner and take a few minutes each day to check-in with each other. Share how you are feeling. Ask your partner to “just sit and listen.” Venting can be very helpful. It makes you feel you are not alone or isolated with your stressors.

Give your partner a 10-second hug every morning and every night. (10 seconds is longer than you think.) You will feel more connected and more relaxed.

header_block_resized.png © Copyright 2018 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved. Permission to publish granted by Lori Hollander, LCSW-C, BCD, therapist in Owings Mills, Maryland. You can visit Relationships Work online at: http://www.RelationshipsWork.com. Follow them on Facebook.

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CLoveLOGOLarry James is a professional speaker, author, relationship coach and an award winning nondenominational Wedding Officiant. He performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere.

the-archives2Click for Archives! ~ comment Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles and “LoveNotes” listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Monday, November 19, 2018

9 Proven Strategies to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain!

Amy Keating, M.S., R.D., Guest Author

For all the joy—and delicious food—that the holidays can bring, the time can also be somewhat stressful if you’re watching your weight or managing a health concern, such as type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure.

You don’t want to make food the enemy, but it’s good to play a little dietary defense. These are the tips I give to others and use myself to keep on track.

1. Stock the fridge. It’s true that the holiday season and tempting treats go hand in hand, but you probably won’t be faced with them every day. If you have plenty of healthy ingredients—vegetables, whole grains, beans, and fruit—you’ll have an easier time making your meals extra-healthy. That will help offset those gingerbread cookies or that slice of pumpkin pie.

2. Have a food gift strategy. You don’t have to immediately eat all the cookies, breads, and chocolates that friends and neighbors deliver during the holiday season. Many goodies freeze well, so you can enjoy them over the next few months rather than the next few days. If possible, divide the treats into individual portions so that you only defrost as many servings as you need.

3. Don’t skip breakfast. It’s a common practice to skip early meals on a big day of eating, fasting in advance of the dinner ahead. But this approach has a high probability of backfiring; people often end up overeating later. Instead, opt for a sensible morning meal—say, oatmeal, yogurt, and a piece of fruit—and if your celebration is in the evening, eat a light lunch midday. The last thing you want is to show up to dinner starving.

4. Start with a drink … of water, that is. Your brain sometimes has trouble distinguishing thirst from hunger, so at parties and holiday dinners, sip a glass of water before you have a cocktail or eat anything. And if you do drink alcohol, stick to one or two, sipping a glass of seltzer between each one. That will keep you hydrated and slow your intake. Or try a spritzer: Mix half red or white wine and half seltzer or club soda in a glass. Add a slice of lime and you have a festive drink with half the calories and alcohol.

5. Be smart about appetizers. At cocktail parties, stick to three or so items (or six if the appetizers are doubling as dinner) to keep calories in check. Skip the fried foods and go for items like shrimp cocktail, vegetable-stuffed mushrooms, or hummus and veggies. Before holiday meals, go easy on the munchies. Do you really need to eat 5 ounces of cheese and then sit down to dinner? If you’re the host, you have more control over what’s being served, so try putting out something small and healthy—such as nuts, olives, or a crudités platter—for people to nibble on with drinks.

6. Survey the buffet. Many holiday meals are served buffet style, with a variety of dishes on offer. The typical advice is to have a little taste of everything, but there’s some research that shows this can leave you feeling less satisfied. When you’re exposed to too many different flavors in a meal, you don’t feel as full as quickly, and you eat more. My tactic is to choose two or three favorite foods, especially those I don’t get to enjoy year-round. Food is so much a part of the season; this way the meal feels special and I don’t feel as though I’m missing out.

7. Eat your veggies first at your meal. You’ll fill up on foods that are packed with vitamins and minerals and lower in calories, leaving less room for less unhealthy stuff. It doesn’t need to be boring, though. For instance, if dinner is at your house, try making the first course a festive seasonal salad, with goodies like pomegranate seeds, clementines, toasted nuts, and candied citrus peels mixed in with the leafy greens.

8. Make some simple swaps. There are all sorts of ways to insert healthier ingredients into your meal without sacrificing much by way of flavor. For example, use balsamic vinegar and olive oil instead of store-bought dressing, which is often high in sodium. Yogurt can replace sour cream in creamy dips or on baked potatoes. Blend cauliflower into your mashed potatoes. Have stuffing or a roll and butter—but not both.

9. Take a walk between dinner and dessert. For some families (mine included), this is a holiday tradition. It’s a nice way to bond with relatives and helps you sneak in some activity. But it also does more. It takes some time for the brain to recognize how much you’ve eaten. If you go straight from the meal to dessert, you may not realize how full you actually are—and you’ll probably enjoy dessert more if you aren’t completely stuffed.

Larry’s NOTE: This article also appeared in the November 2018 issue of Consumer Reports On Health.

© Copyright 2018 by Amy Keating, M.S., R.D. Amy Keating is a registered dietitian and have been evaluating food products and providing nutrition advice at Consumer Reports for over a decade. She is passionate about getting her kids to eat healthfully, and she loves growing, cooking, and even composting food!

BONUS Article: 7 Strategies to Survive the Holidays When You’re Hurting

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CLoveLOGOLarry James is a professional speaker, author, relationship coach and an award winning nondenominational Wedding Officiant. He performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere.

the-archives2Click for Archives! ~ comment Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles and “LoveNotes” listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
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Thursday, December 21, 2017

7 Strategies to Survive the Holidays When You’re Hurting

Filed under: Health & Wellness,Holidays,Personal Growth,Relationships — Larry James @ 10:30 am
Tags: , ,

Bob Hollander, JD, LCSW-C and Lori Hollander, LCSW-C, BCD, Guest Authors

• My wife is having an affair. It hurts.

• I wonder if we’ll make it to next Christmas. I’m so sad. This could be our last holiday together.

• I want to divorce my husband, but I have to wait until after the holidays. The anxiety is killing me.

• This is the first year since we split. Everything’s changed. It’ll never be the same.

• My kids are going to be with my ex for the holiday. I feel so lonely.

• As a relationship therapist, these are the kinds of things I hear from individuals and couples in my practice.

• The holidays can be incredibly painful when you’re hurting.

In your mind’s eye, you picture everyone else having a jolly time – cheerful and excited; enjoying the holiday season; decorating; cooking; singing; giving and receiving gifts. Yet you are suffering. You feel so alone. You may have sad or anxious thoughts, such as:

• There is nothing to celebrate this year.

• I’m so depressed; I just want to stay in bed.

• I don’t want to decorate.

• I’d like to go to sleep and wake up when it’s all over.

• I’m going to skip the holidays this year.

• I’m so isolated.

I want you to know that although you feel alone, you are not. There are many people who feel sad, depressed, or anxious this time of year.

When life is on the upswing, the holidays may bring added joy and happiness. But when that’s not the case, the holidays may highlight your unhappiness and distress, especially if you are facing the loss or potential loss of a significant relationship.

After all, the holidays are not really about the gifts, the songs, or the pretty decorations. They are about the relationships we have, the people we are giving to or receiving from. They are about sharing the songs and the decorations with others, about eating the latkes or drinking the eggnog together.

I recall one of the times I hurt during the holidays. I grew up in Baltimore. My dad was a cardiovascular surgeon who specialized in emergency medicine. Several years after my parents’ divorce, my dad was offered an opportunity to develop an emergency trauma center at the University of Oklahoma, similar to the Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore. I understood why he couldn’t pass up this opportunity, though it meant he would live 1,334 miles away. He left. As a going-away gift, I gave him an album with pictures of me and my siblings.

It was hard that first year. I went out to visit in December. He and my stepmother hadn’t made any close friends. So, for the holidays they had an “orphan’s dinner.” They rounded up people they worked with and neighbors who didn’t have family locally and invited them to bring a dish to the dinner – and they had to dress like orphans. It was actually fun and we had a very nice time. It’s one of the memories that has stayed with me. I admired the creativity. Instead of focusing on their loneliness, they created a new tradition, which went on for years.

If you are hurting because your relationships are not on solid ground this year, you have some choices to make. You have some control.

Here are seven strategies to survive the holidays when you are hurting:

1. Accept Your Feelings

Sit with your feelings and acknowledge them. Even the most intense feelings will lessen over time. After unthinkable losses, people are more resilient than they imagine. In my practice, I’ve journeyed with people for 25 years through tremendous hurts and losses, through the most painful periods in their lives. I’ve had my own share of pain and losses, too. We can’t imagine surviving them until we do. And then we thrive once again.

2. Be Kind to Yourself

At difficult times, we are more likely to think negatively, to criticize or berate ourselves. Thoughts start with, “If only I had …”; “I wish I would have …”; “I’m worthless because …”; “I’m a failure because …” Validate your feelings; they’re real. But don’t stop there. Work on changing your thoughts to more positive ones.

Ask yourself, “If my child or best friend was saying these things, what would I tell them?” Tell those things to yourself. Love and embrace yourself and your inner child.

No to stress! 3. Take the Stress Off

Often, we put pressure on ourselves, especially when it comes to cooking and gifts. Do you:

•  Think you should make every dish instead of asking others to bring something?
•  Believe all the dishes and desserts should be homemade from scratch?
•  Obsess about getting the “perfect gift”?
•  Spend more money than you can realistically afford?
•  Wrap every gift meticulously?
•  Go overboard on cleaning and decorating?
•  Feel you have to attend every function you’re invited to?

Take the pressure off. These are things you can control. Buy some ready-made food. Ask others to bring a dish or dessert. Get the “good enough” gift. Do less decorating, wrapping, cleaning. Or say, “I wish I could host this year, but I can’t.”

When you are hurting, reach out to friends or family for support, even if you have to push yourself.

4. Connect with Others

When you are hurting, reach out to friends or family for support, even if you have to push yourself. Feeling connected to others is often what soothes our pain. Go to some of the events you’re invited to, even if you stay for only a short time. Remind yourself the holidays are about sharing with others.

5. Start New Traditions

The one thing we can count on is life always changes. Eventually, all traditions end. Kids grow up, marriages end, a family member passes away, and your children start their own families. Traditions feel good because they are familiar. They reassure us that the world is safe, that there is something we can count on. Many of us don’t like change, but none of us can escape the fact all traditions change eventually.

6. Help Others

One of the best ways to not feel isolated is to volunteer where others need help. Work in a soup kitchen, serving meals to people who are poor or homeless. Find a charitable or religious organization in your community and attend an event to pitch in. Volunteer at a hospital.

These acts of kindness not only help the community, they serve to remind you that you are not alone and there are people who have suffered (or are suffering) more than you. This is not meant to invalidate your own suffering, but to remind yourself that pain is a part of life – and it will pass. Helping others may give you a different perspective on your suffering and make you feel more connected.

7. Practice Self-Care

When you don’t have anyone there to care for you, you must care for yourself. Being alone won’t last forever, even if it feels that way. Some suggestions:

•  Cook your favorite meal.
•  Try not to overeat.
•  Get seven to eight hours of sleep.
•  Meditate or listen to soothing music.
•  Stay away from alcohol; it’s a depressant.
•  Don’t use drugs to cover up the hurt. You may only create another problem for yourself and your family.
•  Treat yourself to something special that you wouldn’t ordinarily do – a show, a pedicure, a spa day.
•  Explore nature. Bundle up and go for a walk. Breathe in the cold air. Practice mindfulness.

Now it’s your turn. What are you going to do to survive the holidays? If you need help, coaches are here to support you.

“What’s difficult in life is to stay centered when somebody does or says something that tempts us to close our hearts because their heart was closed. That is hard. But that is also how we grow. We go through those circumstances in order to evolve into people who can hold to our loving center no matter what the world throws us.” ~ Marianne Williamson

BONUS Article:  Rx for the Holiday Blues!

© Copyright 2017 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved. Permission to publish granted by Lori Hollander, LCSW-C, BCD, therapist in Owings Mills, Maryland. You can visit Relationships Work online at: http://www.RelationshipsWork.com. Follow them on Facebook.

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CLoveLOGOLarry James is a professional speaker, author, relationship coach and an award winning nondenominational Wedding Officiant. He performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere.

the-archives2Click for Archives! ~ comment Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles and “LoveNotes” listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Wedding BLOG” at: http://CelebrateIntimateWeddings.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Networking BLOG” at: http://NetworkingHQ.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s Relationship Pintrest Page at: http://www.pinterest.com/larryjames2012/relationships-blog/

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

How to Keep Holiday Harmony with Your In-Laws

Filed under: Holidays,Relationships — Larry James @ 10:30 am
Tags: , ,

Bob Hollander, JD, LCSW-C and Lori Hollander, LCSW-C, BCD, Guest Authors

HolidayHarmony.jpgGoing home for the holidays? Many people do. If you are close to your in-laws, consider yourself lucky and enjoy your holiday season. For the rest of you, keep reading. There are ways to minimize difficulties with in-laws if you and your partner prepare upfront.

Many couples in our practice are doing just that – talking with each other about how to manage and reduce the stress around visiting each other’s families. It’s especially complicated when there are blended families. The best defense is a good offense. So, set time aside for you and your partner to create some holiday harmony.

Here are 5 steps to keep holiday harmony with your in-laws.

1.  Have Realistic Expectations.  Anticipate the issues that will arise and plan for them. You can predict who is going to be the backseat parent, who will talk your ear off without asking you one question about yourself, who will comment on how you are dressed, or worse yet, how much weight you’ve gained, who will gossip about other family members in the room.

The good part about being able to predict this, is that you can anticipate and prepare responses up front, instead of being caught off guard and reacting emotionally to things that you should have known were going to happen.

2.  Plan Your Responses.

  • Pick your battles: Sometimes the best response is “no response” – walk away, go to the bathroom, or bite your tongue.
  • Acknowledge and redirect: When your mother-in-law tells you how to discipline your son, say “I understand that’s how you see it.” This acknowledges you’ve heard her, and shuts down the conversation. Then move on to another topic.
  • Assert yourself: When appropriate, be authentic and direct. If your husband’s grandmother says, “I liked your hair long. Why did you cut it,” you can say, “I appreciate your opinion; my husband loves the new style.”

3.  Don’t Take It Personally.  I remember a quote from Wayne Dyer that I have often thought of at times when I felt someone was judging me: “What you think of me is none of my business.” Keep that thought in your back pocket and use it.

Remember, we can’t pick our families and we certainly can’t pick our in-laws. Marriage is a package deal and that’s what we sign up for. Whatever they think about you or say is more of a reflection about who they are, than of you.

4.  Stick Together.  Operate as a team. Maintain your empathy for each other and look at things from each other’s perspective. Your partner needs to not make you wrong for your feelings and reactions; you must be mindful that no matter what the baggage is, most people still love, and feel protective of, their parents and other family members.

5.  Plan Your Exit Strategy.  Decide up front when you will leave, but maintain flexibility. Remember, it is only one day, and you are doing this for your partner.

Preparing for holiday visits to family is a great way to head off difficulties; work on communication and listening skills; create a deeper sense of connection with your partner and set yourself up to have a wonderful time.

BONUS Articles: Have a Happy Holiday & a Prosperous New Year!
Rx for the Holiday Blues!

Copyright © 2015 by Lori Hollander, LCSW-C, BCD. Lori Hollander, LCSW-C, BCD, is a licensed counselor and co-founder of Relationships Work, an innovative therapy practice and online resource center. Together with her husband, Bob, they encourage couples to consciously co-create their relationships in order to achieve a deeper, more intimate connection. You can visit Relationships Work online at: http://www.RelationshipsWork.com. Follow them on Facebook.

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CLoveLOGOLarry James is a professional speaker, author, relationship coach and an award winning nondenominational Wedding Officiant. He performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere.

the-archives2Click for Archives! ~ comment Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles and “LoveNotes” listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Wedding BLOG” at: http://CelebrateIntimateWeddings.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Networking BLOG” at: http://NetworkingHQ.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s Relationship Pintrest Page at: http://www.pinterest.com/larryjames2012/relationships-blog/

Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Best Gift for Your Holiday Honey

Holi-DateBob Hollander, JD, LCSW-C and Lori Hollander, LCSW-C, BCD, Guest Authors

Are you wondering, what is the best gift for your honey this holiday season?

Relationships and marriages become stressed around the holidays. Too much to do and not enough time. What tends to fall to the bottom of our lists is making time to connect with our partners.

It doesn’t have to be this way. With just a little thoughtfulness, your relationship can flourish during the holidays. Several years ago Bob and I wrote about what we call “Holi-Dates.”

Holi-Date – A short, sweet date with your partner in December designed to revitalize you, your mate and your connection.

We believe Holi-Dates are the best gift for your “holiday honey.” Finding pockets of time or longer to share with each other can reduce stress, deepen your feelings of connection and turn the to-do list into something fun.

Our “Holi-Date” video will explain further. We hope it inspires you to do more connecting with your honey this season!

Some of our past favorite Holi-Dates:

• Day trip to NYC – the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall, skating at Rockefeller Center and FAO Schwartz toy store
• Ice skating and hot chocolate
• Symphony of Lights in Columbia
• The Chanukah House in Baltimore
• Hampden’s Miracle on 34th Street and cherry pie at Café Hon
• Barnes & Nobles – gift buying, and dessert and coffee at Starbucks
• Watching old Christmas movies at home

BONUS Articles: Rx for the Holiday Blues!
A Gift of the Heart
This Man Is Dating Someone Although He’s Married. Sounds Disgusting, AND I’m On His Side.
10 Ideas for a Date Night In
Date Night – No Less Than Once Each Week – No Excuses!

Copyright © 2014 by Lori Hollander, LCSW-C, BCD. Lori Hollander, LCSW-C, BCD, is a licensed counselor and co-founder of Relationships Work, an innovative therapy practice and online resource center. Together with her husband, Bob, they encourage couples to consciously co-create their relationships in order to achieve a deeper, more intimate connection. You can visit Relationships Work online at: http://www.RelationshipsWork.com. Follow them on Facebook.

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CLoveLOGOLarry James is a professional speaker, author, relationship coach and an award winning nondenominational Wedding Officiant. He performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere. Something NEW about relationships is posted every 4th day on this Relationships BLOG.

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles and “LoveNotes” listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Wedding BLOG” at: http://CelebrateIntimateWeddings.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Networking BLOG” at: http://NetworkingHQ.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s Relationship Pintrest Page at: http://www.pinterest.com/larryjames2012/relationships-blog/

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Seasons Greetings from the “Valley of the Sun,” Scottsdale, AZ!

In the desert, we do Christmas differently. The winter grass is growing, the palms are swaying in the breeze. We decorate our houses and the cacti in our desert yards with chile pepper lights while wearing our t-shirts and shorts. We also drive around town looking at the Christmas lights in our convertibles with the top down.

HappyHolidays3White Christmas? It’s rare, at least in Scottsdale. Snow is something we don’t see much of around here. During December the temperature will seldom dip below 35 degrees. The average temperature on Christmas day is 65 degrees.

We experienced a 15 minute snow storm, with the wind blowing hard, about 8 years ago, however it melted as soon as it hit the ground. Some say that was the first heavy snowfall in nearly 30 years. If we must have snow, we can drive two 1/2 hours north to Flagstaff and go skiing. I love this place!

snowballheartThere couldn’t be a better time to tell you how very much you are Loved.

During this Holiday Season, our thoughts turn gratefully to those who have made our progress possible. It is in this spirit we say . . . Thank you for your continued support of our work in the relationships and wedding ceremonies areas.

We wish you a Happy Holiday Season and a New Year full of great relationships, health, happiness, prosperity and other good stuff!

May the Christmas Spirit of Love, forgiveness, prosperity and generosity be with you through this holiday season. My prayers and hopes for you in the coming years are that you will draw closer to God’s Divine Light and that His Love and His Grace will be evident in and through your life.

As part of my Holiday gift to you, please enjoy a heartwarming story called, “The Selfish Giant,” read by Og Mandino.

I wish you a blessed Christmas or a Happy Holiday. . . your choice, to people of all faiths and Spiritual persuasions! And. . . have a very Prosperous New Year!

Now. . . go give someone you love a big “Holiday Hug!” Or. . . kiss someone under the mistletoe! Or both!

More about Christmas! Read, “Rx for the “Holiday Blues.”

CLoveLOGOCopyright © 2013 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” Larry James is a professional speaker, author, relationship coach and an award winning nondenominational Wedding Officiant. He performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere. Something NEW about relationships is posted every 4th day on this Relationships BLOG.

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles and “LoveNotes” listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Wedding BLOG” at: http://CelebrateIntimateWeddings.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Networking BLOG” at: http://NetworkingHQ.wordpress.com

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Be Grateful for Everything!

Filed under: Holidays,Relationships — Larry James @ 7:30 am
Tags: ,

We set aside November as a special time to be grateful and to be thankful for all our blessings! I’m thinking that it might be a great idea to pause for a few seconds every day to think about something for which we are grateful. Gratitude inspires kindness and connection.

I am most grateful for the power of choice. Every day we make thousands of choices about our thoughts, our feelings and our actions. Each choice brings with it it’s own consequences. Some are good and some not so good. I am grateful for the wisdom to make the right choices.

Happy-Thanksgiving4No matter what happens today, choose gratitude. If everything goes your way, choose gratitude. If everything looks as though it is falling apart, choose gratitude. Gratitude is the most powerful choice that you can make. Gratitude changes us so that we more deeply realize the abundance that is available to us.

Albert Schweitzer called gratitude “The secret to life.” He said, “The greatest thing is to give thanks for everything. He who has learned this knows what it means to live. He has penetrated the whole master of life: giving thanks for everything.”

Wouldn’t this be a better world and wouldn’t our relationships all be better if we could train our minds to be grateful for our blessings instead of focusing on our disappointments?

Resolve to make gratitude a daily habit. Gratitude is a muscle that needs to be exercised everyday, so give yourself a personal workout challenge. Experts say that it takes at least 21 days to form a new habit. Let’s all form the habit of gratitude by going 21 days without criticizing, condemning or complaining. It may be tough, and you CAN do it if you truly put your mind to it.

MaxineThanksgivingThis Thanksgiving, may you celebrate in your own personal way and create a holiday you can be grateful for in the years to come. May you be grateful for all the ups and downs that shape who you are and who you are becoming.

It is my hope that you will start a tradition of meaningful celebration, whether it is an intimate dinner for two, a lively and spirited gathering of the whole family, a day of celebrating yourself, or a time to serve others.

Right now, think of something or someone you are grateful for. Take a moment to recognize what you can appreciate, speaking your gratitude out loud, letting the people you care about know how you feel. Send them an e-mail or better yet, give them a call.

My friend, Wes Hopper, publishes a complimentary “Gratitude Newsletter” each month. Check it out at: http://www.DailyGratitude.com.

Read “A Prayer of Thanksgiving!”

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CLoveLOGO

Copyright © 2007 – Larry James. Larry James is a professional speaker, author, relationship coach and an award winning nondenominational Wedding Officiant. He performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere.

the-archives2Click for Archives! ~ comment Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles and “LoveNotes” listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Wedding BLOG” at: http://CelebrateIntimateWeddings.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Networking BLOG” at: http://NetworkingHQ.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s Relationship Pintrest Page at: http://www.pinterest.com/larryjames2012/relationships-blog/

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy Birthday, America!

GodBlessAmericaHope you have a S A F E and Happy Independence Day!

Independence Day which is commonly known as the Fourth of July in the United States, is a federal holiday which commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. Thus it is that auspicious day when United States declared itself independent from the Kingdom of Great Britain.

Since then until the present day, July 4th has been celebrated as the birth of American independence, with the celebration taking grandeur look which is well complemented with parades, fireworks, carnivals, fairs, picnics, concerts, family reunions, barbecues and political gatherings and speeches.

Be patriotic and hoist the colors! Repeat the “Pledge of Allegiance” to the Flag!

Since then until the present day, July 4th has been celebrated as the birth of American independence, with the celebration taking grandeur look which is well complemented with parades, fireworks, carnivals, fairs, picnics, concerts, family reunions, barbecues and political gatherings and speeches.
Read more at http://www.theholidayspot.com/july4/index.htm#JSGCxZZEoIza3wgH.99

When you say the Pledge of Allegiance, you must never forget the sacrifice and courage that thousands of Americans have made to build our nation and promote freedom around the world.

July4thFor links that will provide you with information about this grrreat country of ours, click here then click on the links below!

The History of America’s Flag Day

America’s Pledge of Allegiance History

The Pledge of Allegiance

Enjoy!

Speak UP for America! Send at least one friend the link to this page:
http://www.CelebrateLove.wordpress.com

Help create and sustain the American Spirit!

“I love you, America!” – Larry James

BONUS Articles: Facts About US History
25 Fascinating Facts About America

CLoveLOGOCopyright © 2013 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” Larry James is a professional speaker, author, relationship coach and an award winning nondenominational Wedding Officiant. He performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere. Something NEW about relationships is posted every 4th day on this Relationships BLOG.

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles and “LoveNotes” listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

letsbefriends2

Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Wedding BLOG” at: http://CelebrateIntimateWeddings.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Networking BLOG” at: http://NetworkingHQ.wordpress.com

Thursday, November 22, 2012

A Prayer of Thanksgiving

Filed under: Gratitude,Holidays,Prayer,Spirituality — Larry James @ 8:30 am

Be thankful for your relationships.

All of them.

PrayerThanksgivingSeems to me that there may be only two prayers worthy of praying. One prayer is to know God better. The other prayer is a prayer of thanksgiving.

Pray a prayer of self-discovery and one of gratitude, and know God is listening.

It is useless and wastes God’s time — and our mental energy — to pray for things. God has given us the ability to choose. Our greatest power is choice. To use this power to choose to pray for things that God has already given us the power to create may not be an effective use of our time.

I can imagine God being amused. I can hear him saying, “Why don’t they get it? I have given them everything and yet they insist upon asking me for the same things, over and over again.”

childprayingIt may not seem logical that you should only pray a prayer of thanksgiving. If you are someone who has always used your prayers for asking, this may sound strange to you. This, to some, may appear to be an arrogant way to speak to God. Hardly.

“If the only prayer you ever said was, ‘Thank you.’ that would be enough.” – Meister Eckhart

God will view your prayers with greater reverence when you acknowledge that you have already been given the power to choose. Stop asking God to give you a great relationship. Instead, choose to thank God for a love relationship that transcends your own imagination, then do whatever you can to help it turn out that way.

It’s up to you to do. Take whatever steps are necessary to accomplish what you want. Do at least one thing everyday towards accomplishing what you have thanked God for. Make a call, attend a seminar; do whatever it takes.

“Gratitude unlocks the fulness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. Gratitude makes sense of the past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” – Melody Beattie, author, “Codependent No More

Thank God every day for guidance. Listen to the still small voice within. When you respond to what you “hear,” the rewards are often more than you ever expected. Listen to your heart. It always tells you the truth.

In the past we have asked for a great relationship, never received it, and never bothered to do anything differently and wondered why God didn’t answer our prayer. Hopefully, we have learned that lesson by now. That’s like asking God for a great job and never going to look for one. Excuse me! I don’t believe that’s what God had in mind. We must be thankful and do something.

Being thankful for the relationships you already have is one of the keys to attracting the relationships you want. Cultivate the practice of affirmative prayer. An attitude of gratitude is faith in action. It is a very satisfying feeling to know that what you are thankful for, you will experience. What you focus on, manifests.

A grateful prayer begins the creation process. Let go of the “wanting” of it and focus on what it feels like to have what you desire.

Someone once said, “Pray without ceasing.” God hears your quiet thoughts too. Another good reason for keeping your thoughts focused on what you desire. Thinking positive is a good thing. Caution: Negative prayer (or thought) works too.

“I pray every night and I don’t ask for much.  I just say, ‘Thank you.'” ~ Prince. American Musician, 1958 – 2016

Saying a prayer of thanksgiving has you focus on the good things that are happening to you and the good things that are about to happen to you. That alone may be a good enough reason to only pray a prayer of thanksgiving. It creates a thirst for more of the good that God says is already yours. Think about it. You get what you really believe.

Is it true that when something bad happens we tend to not want to take responsibility that the bad we see is what we created? Not taking responsibility means we try to find someone outside of ourselves to blame. When we ask God for things and the things don’t come, who do we blame? When we blame God for not answering prayer, our love for God becomes conditional. There is no room for blame in an unconditional love relationship.

gratitude“Gratitude unlocks the fulness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. Gratitude makes sense of the past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” – Melody Beattie, author, “Codependent No More

How can we justify loving Him conditionally when we, in our self-serving arrogance, resist believing that our misfortune is our own fault?

God always answers prayer. Always. It may not be the answer you want but he always answers.

Can we look at ourselves in the mirror, take complete responsibility for our relationships and all areas of our lives, and know that we do have choice and we do create our own reality? As within, so without. Consider saying ‘yes’ to prayers of self-discovery and thanksgiving and experience the miracle of good that God has already given to you. Then get busy and do something different. Change your thinking and your behavior and you will change your life!

“Gratitude is a wonderful way to experience this world through peace, freedom, and joy. When we recognize the limitless good contained in every moment, we begin to know the grace that flows through life. Acknowledging all experiences as being helpful in some way, does immeasurable good to correcting wayward thoughts and feelings. Thankfulness helps release our hold upon old energy that limits and binds us.” ~ Harold W. Becker

Pray to know God. Thank Him for being there for you. Be grateful for the gift of constant and faithful devotion He has given to help you get to know Him better. Pray to thank God for His abundance. Let Him know how grateful you are for the relationships in your life. Offer thanks for your present circumstance, regardless of what you think or feel about it. Thank Him for the lessons of good you learn from the things you often call bad. Thank Him for the tears of joy and the tears of sadness.

Be grateful for your abiltity to create an attitude of receptivity. Thank Him for more love, courage and understanding. Express gratitude for the everyday miracles that occur that you often take for granted. Be grateful for the power of choice. Thank God for creating the possibility of unconditional love and for the self-discipline to stay on that path. Thank Him for the opportunity to express gratitude. Be thankful for all that God has freely given.

Now. . . receive it!

Whatever you want in your relationships. . . wants you! Thank God for that, too!

“To say that “prayer changes things” is not as close to the truth as saying, “Prayer changes me and then I change things.” God has established things so that prayer, on the basis of redemption, changes the way a person looks at things. Prayer is not a matter of changing things externally, but one of working miracles in a person’s inner nature. We are in danger of forgetting that we cannot do what God does, and that God will not do what we can do.” – Oswald Chambers

Read a special thought and prayer about gratitude from Rev. Richard Rogers.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Your thoughts?

GratefulHeartCLoveLOGOCopyright © 2007, 2012 & 2014 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” Larry James is a professional speaker, author, relationship coach and an award winning nondenominational Wedding Officiant. He performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere. Something NEW about relationships is posted every 4th day on this Relationships BLOG.

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles and “LoveNotes” listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

letsbefriends2

Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Wedding BLOG” at: http://CelebrateIntimateWeddings.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Networking BLOG” at: http://NetworkingHQ.wordpress.com

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Your Thanksgiving Inventory

What are you thankful for?

Be thankful for your relationships.

All of them.

thankscopiaSeems to me that there may be only two prayers worthy of praying. One prayer is to know God better. The other prayer is a prayer of thanksgiving.

Pray a prayer of self-discovery and one of gratitude, and know God is listening.

It is useless and wastes God’s time — and our mental energy — to pray for things. God has given us the ability to choose. Our greatest power is choice. To use this power to choose to pray for things that God has already given us the power to create may not be an effective use of our time.

I can imagine God being amused. I can hear him saying, “Why don’t they get it? I have given them everything and yet they insist upon asking me for the same things, over and over again.”

It may not seem logical that you should only pray a prayer of thanksgiving. If you are someone who has always used your prayers for asking, this may sound strange to you. This, to some, may appear to be an arrogant way to speak to God. Hardly.

“If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is, ‘Thank you,’ it would be enough.” – Meister Eckhart

God will view your prayers with greater reverence when you acknowledge that you have already been given the power to choose. Stop asking God to give you a great relationship. Instead, choose to thank God for a love relationship that transcends your own imagination, then do whatever you can to help it turn out that way.

It’s up to you to do. Take whatever steps are necessary to accomplish what you want. Do at least one thing everyday towards accomplishing what you have thanked God for. Make a call, attend a seminar; do whatever it takes.

Thank God every day for guidance. Listen to the still small voice within. When you respond to what you “hear,” the rewards are often more than you ever expected. Listen to your heart. It always tells you the truth.

In the past we have asked for a great relationship, never received it, and never bothered to do anything differently and wondered why God didn’t answer our prayer. Hopefully, we have learned that lesson by now. That’s like asking God for a great job and never going to look for one. Excuse me! I don’t believe that’s what God had in mind. We must be thankful and do something.

Being thankful for the relationships you already have is one of the keys to attracting the relationships you want. Cultivate the practice of affirmative prayer. An attitude of gratitude is faith in action. It is a very satisfying feeling to know that what you are thankful for, you will experience. What you focus on, manifests.

“Stay in a state of gratitude and awe. You can’t feel stressed and appreciative at the same time.” – Dr Wayne Dyer

A grateful prayer begins the creation process. Let go of the “wanting” of it and focus on what it feels like to have what you desire.

Someone once said, “Pray without ceasing.” God hears your quiet thoughts too. Another good reason for keeping your thoughts focused on what you desire. Thinking positive is a good thing. Caution: Negative prayer (or thought) works too.

Saying a prayer of thanksgiving has you focus on the good things that are happening to you and the good things that are about to happen to you. That alone may be a good enough reason to only pray a prayer of thanksgiving. It creates a thirst for more of the good that God says is already yours. Think about it. You get what you really believe.

Is it true that when something bad happens we tend to not want to take responsibility that the bad we see is what we created? Not taking responsibility means we try to find someone outside of ourselves to blame. When we ask God for things and the things don’t come, who do we blame? When we blame God for not answering prayer, our love for God becomes conditional. There is no room for blame in an unconditional love relationship.

“Gratitude unlocks the fulness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. Gratitude makes sense of the past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” – Melody Beattie, author, “Codependent No More

How can we justify loving Him conditionally when we, in our self-serving arrogance, resist believing that our misfortune is our own fault?

God always answers prayer. Always. It may not be the answer you want but he always answers.

Can we look at ourselves in the mirror, take complete responsibility for our relationships and all areas of our lives, and know that we do have choice and we do create our own reality? As within, so without. Consider saying ‘yes’ to prayers of self-discovery and thanksgiving and experience the miracle of good that God has already given to you. Then get busy and do something different. Change your thinking and your behavior and you will change your life!

Pray to know God. Thank Him for being there for you. Be grateful for the gift of constant and faithful devotion He has given to help you get to know Him better. Pray to thank God for His abundance. Let Him know how grateful you are for the relationships in your life. Offer thanks for your present circumstance, regardless of what you think or feel about it. Thank Him for the lessons of good you learn from the things you often call bad. Thank Him for the tears of joy and the tears of sadness.

Be grateful for your abiltity to create an attitude of receptivity. Thank Him for more love, courage and understanding. Express gratitude for the everyday miracles that occur that you often take for granted. Be grateful for the power of choice. Thank God for creating the possibility of unconditional love and for the self-discipline to stay on that path. Thank Him for the opportunity to express gratitude. Be thankful for all that God has freely given.

Now. . . receive it!

Whatever you want in your relationships. . . wants you! Thank God for that, too!

“To say that “prayer changes things” is not as close to the truth as saying, “Prayer changes me and then I change things.” God has established things so that prayer, on the basis of redemption, changes the way a person looks at things. Prayer is not a matter of changing things externally, but one of working miracles in a person’s inner nature. We are in danger of forgetting that we cannot do what God does, and that God will not do what we can do.” – Oswald Chambers

heart6

Copyright © 2009 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” There are more than 750 pages of great relationship information on Larry’s Website. Larry James is a professional speaker, author, relationship coach and a nondenominational minister. He performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere.

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles and “LoveNotes” listed in this BLOG are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

Add Larry James to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Relationship BLOG” at: http://CelebrateLove.wordpress.com/

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