We are a SparkPeople Family

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By: , SparkPeople Blogger
2/14/2009 5:55 AM   :  118 comments

See More: family, friendship,
When I joined SparkPeople over three years ago I could have never imagined the great friendships I have formed all via a computer, keyboard, internet provider, and this fantastic site we have all grown to depend on to help us learn to embrace a healthy lifestyle--SparkPeople.com.

This site is truly unlike any other site. While yes there is Facebook and MySpace, most of us only allow those we previously know into our inner circle. But SparkPeople is not like that. It allows complete strangers to form bonds which are many times much more meaningful than ones we formulate in the real world. We are able to connect with those who have walked in similar shoes--others who have shared our frustrations as well as our victories. While many of us may never meet face to face, the bonds are there for a lifetime.

When I ran my first half-marathon in February 2008, before I even picked up the phone to tell my family how I did, I logged onto SparkPeople to share my race report with all my Spark friends. I knew that they would be there for me each and every step of the way and I was not disappointed. Before the end of the day, I had received more than my share of accolades which could honestly make an old ladyís heart swell with pride.

When I visit the many SparkTeams, I am awestruck to see how SparkPeople is like one big family. We have grandmothers and grandfathers, aunts and uncles, sisters and brothers, wives and husbands, daughters and sons, and though we do not share common blood, we share a bond that goes far deeper than blood and that is SparkPeople.

There is the sage advice from the repeat marathoner, to the grandmother who has raised her six kids and knows the ins and outs of child rearing. We have the young man who has lost well over one hundred pounds who offers hope to others on the journey, to the young lady who is just beginning her own journey and is looking for direction. And trust me, there is nothing more humbling then to visit a memberís SparkPage and read how they overcame the obstacles of gaining their health, therefore their life. After all, this is what this journey called life is all about, connecting and sharing with others.

I believe that the true blessing is that by helping others, we truly learn to help ourselves. SparkPeople allows us all the opportunity to do just that. Being a part of this site has allowed us to be a family by CHOICE and for that I count my blessings to be part of such a great community. And donít think that your comments are for naught, I read each and every one. You all are teaching me more than you know!

HAPPY SPARKING!

I hope you will share your stories of how you developed a friendship(s) from joining SparkPeople. Have these individuals changed your life?



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Comments

  • 68
    Nancy more than you know! I see what others are doing and think I'm not doing as good as everyone else. So I work out harder. In turn others see me at the gym and do the same thing. So we keep pushing ourselves to become healthier. I keep reminding people of this site and letting them how helpful it. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE THIS SITE! THANKS SP FOR BEING HERE FOR ALL OF US. NANCY I ALSO LOVE YOUR BLOGS. THEY ARE SO HELPFUL. - 2/15/2009   1:40:36 PM
  • 67
    Sparkpeople is my life line too !!..Love it!! - 2/15/2009   1:16:19 PM
  • 66
    Spark is the BEST kind of family--the one you get to choose, not the one that is determined for you. Ha ha! :-)

    Thank you, Spark! - 2/15/2009   12:56:20 PM
  • STRAWBERRY*MOON
    65
    I joined Spark to get lean and fit but found so much more. I've made life-time friends, applied Spark tools to different areas of my life, and found others to share interests with by the rich offering of Spark teams. Thank you, Spark! - 2/15/2009   12:43:33 PM
  • 64
    My friendships here are precious, giving me encouragement, inspiration, ideas, and even an occasional kick in the pants to step things up. There is no one in my 'real' life who provides this same level of understanding as my friends here.

    Next month marks my two-year anniversary on the site. When I joined, my class team leader encouraged 'working through' the Diet Stages, as she showed us all many ways to use the site! I owe so much to her for her guidance, because she set the pace for my growth toward a healthy lifestyle. And over the months I kept bumping into some of the same people...even when we weren't on any of the same teams! Each of us is unique from perspectives, goals, etc; but each encourages the others in ways I just do NOT find in my 'real' life. But I've come to care about these folks who are in reality strangers but are in fact closer than my friends in many ways. A paradox perhaps. - 2/15/2009   12:30:09 PM
  • 63
    Nancy
    Love your article and I definitely feel the same way. I always wondered how people could get so close over the internet. Now I know. My heart is warmed by the friends I have made. - 2/15/2009   11:46:40 AM
  • 62
    It's so true. We are one Spark family. - 2/15/2009   11:16:08 AM
  • SOLONBROWN
    61
    Thank you for the inspiring article. You're a gorgeous family! - 2/15/2009   11:10:43 AM
  • 60
    Good day all...I love my SP family...when my father passed away and we were preparing to read the will, there was some tension between his gf and I, because I was adopted by him and she felt I should not inherit anything. Our lawyer stood, and I do mean actually STOOD, and told her...point blank....ADOPTED CHILDREN STAND TO INHERIT BEFORE NATURAL BORN CHILDREN BECAUSE THEY WERE CHOSEN!!! Well her face dropped because not only did that bump her hopes for receiving more down because I was to be included, but I would be placed before the natural born children and HER....I state all this to say....I HAVE CHOSEN (ADOPTED) MY SP FAMILY....and love them as my own...I agree there are times I too come online and post before I tell my natural family and friends....THANKS TO ALL SP MEMBERS for too walking with me and supporting me on my lifestyle change... - 2/15/2009   10:52:08 AM
  • 59
    I have met some really nice people and I know if I have a question then I can come to this site and ask it. I love the support I get because I don't get much from my family. There's so much on this site you almost don't have an excuse to fail. - 2/15/2009   10:44:24 AM
  • 58
    That is soo true. I joined SP on Jan 09 and even though I have only been a member for a little then a month I have made friends and I look forward to the many more that I will meet. - 2/15/2009   10:36:54 AM
  • 57
    I'm still in awe every day when I log on and see how supportive everyone on the Sparks website is. It doesn't matter what team page you log on to see... there is just no shortage of help, support, encouragement... it really is a wonderful thing. - 2/15/2009   10:10:13 AM
  • 56
    I totally agree!
    My SP Class team members --- they're all my 'babies' and each accomplishment, each hurdle jumped, I feel a mothers pride! The support and care are GENUINE.
    I, too, blog before I call even my mother! LOL - 2/15/2009   10:07:59 AM
  • 55
    So true, thank you for sharing. - 2/15/2009   9:42:30 AM
  • DOLLYB1
    54
    This article is so true! Although I joined Sparks to lose weight, I've made many lovely friends here along the way, friends who cheer me on and console me over any down times. Also, I'm deaf and my computer is the way I communicate with people. I come right on here first thing in the morning and I say goodnight to my teams/friends at night! Sparks is an awesome site and I'd recommend it to EVERYONE!!! - 2/15/2009   9:38:52 AM
  • 53
    CAUGHT AND EXPOSED!!!!! (just kidding) I am one of the persons you described, wife, mother, grandmother and EVEN great grandmother but most of all I am a SparkPerson.....a member of the wonderful and supportive Spark Community and I am very proud that my daughter recently joined the family as well. Any support or information I need on this journey I know I can find right here. Any health problems that I have are addressed every week in either a article or e-mail concerning that condition. With the help of Spark I am learning at age 64 to track and include minerals into my diet that I need to help combat problems such as high blood pressure and high cholestrol.....my doctor didn't even tell me that!!! Thank you very sincerely to "Mr. Spark" for starting this site and helping so many discover this rich path to healthy habits for a healthy life. - 2/15/2009   9:23:45 AM
  • 52
    I absolutely love spark!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    !! - 2/15/2009   9:13:55 AM
  • 51
    That is why I became a PT and fitness instructor. It is my way of giving back for the enormous change in my own life and health since joining SP. - 2/15/2009   9:10:09 AM
  • 50
    You are absolutely right. I love this site. Everyone seems so supportive. Yeah Sparkpeople! - 2/15/2009   8:21:12 AM
  • 49
    Spark is the best! I have made some great friends---and my best friend on here is coming to visit me in June---I am soooo excited about that---and then we are going to go meet some of our other team members that live within driving distance---how cool is that---and some of my friends have exchanged phone numbers and we even have voices to go along with them----and when I had my car accident this week, the amount of support I got from my friends here on Spark got me thru it. - 2/15/2009   8:16:08 AM
  • SBATES63
    48
    I love my Spark Team. I feel like I know some of the people who appear every day. I just bought a laptop so I can Spark whenever, and where ever I want to. Being part of all this has kept me going towards my goal, even when I have a bad day or three in a row, I always come back. - 2/15/2009   8:05:51 AM
  • 47
    I know that's how I feel! - 2/15/2009   7:51:25 AM
  • 46
    This is a great blog! I have to say that I find it very refreshing to have met such genuinely kind and supportive positive people on here. I only wish I didn't live so far away from all these people because I think we would have a ton of fun in person! It seems there is so much negativity in the world that it is so wonderful to meet so many wonderful people sharing the same journey to a better life! - 2/15/2009   7:48:19 AM
  • 45
    This has to be the greatest site. The people I have met here are my friends and family rolled into one. It doesn't matter if they are men or women, they are great. If I have ood news or bad, my friends are always there to lend an ear and their support. I just hope I give back as much as I get! - 2/15/2009   7:20:36 AM
  • 44
    I also never expected to make friends here and was cautious about sharing personal details on a social website. But I've made about a half a dozen really good sparkfriends here. I run with one regularly who lives near me. I met two in Texas last summer. We had a blast together. Two are in foreign countries. We have shared our ups and downs and enriched each others lives. They were there for me when my mom was dying last summer -- emailing me and send sparkgoodies to cheer me up. Each of us has never really had girlfriends before -- and it is a great feeling. Thanks for this great article and all your sage running advice! - 2/15/2009   6:33:12 AM
  • 43
    So true I really like this site and the people on it. everyone feels like family, maybe we are linked by one common goal and that is getting healthy - 2/14/2009   11:22:20 PM
  • 42
    Another well-written article from Nancy. So true. I spent several hours today sending Valentine greetings to many Spark Friends. Our Raleigh Spark Team gets together once a month and we have formed real friendships from that. One Sparker and I really hit it off in spite of our age difference and have met for lunch and make phone calls to each other even though I am out-of-town for the winter. I truly enjoy the Spark People site. - 2/14/2009   10:49:18 PM
  • ASELIM
    41
    So true! I havent been here long, but i glad to be here. - 2/14/2009   9:32:42 PM
  • NELLGWYN
    40
    Hear, hear! When my kids see me on the computer, they say "oh, Mum's Sparking again" My DH thinks I spend too much time in here but hey! That's OK! I have a friend in Tennessee - a real friend - whom I have never met but we "talk" most days, even if it's just a quick post on the team board.

    My day would not be complete with SP, I echo the sentiments of every other person here.

    Thanks Sparkguy & the team! We love you all! - 2/14/2009   7:06:27 PM
  • 39
    It is very true! Though I don't know anyone at SparkPeople and as a matter of fact that I come from Brunei, very far away from USA and UK, everyone at Spark is just a click away. Suggestions and motivatios are always there and everyone is always so welcoming. Thank you SparkPeople! - 2/14/2009   6:53:20 PM
  • ~ASHLEYB~
    38
    Thank you so much for sharing this story. I, too, am awestruck at the amazing friendships I've formed since joining Spark. Just this morning, I texted (with my personal cell phone) three of my good friends from Spark, and wished them a happy Valentines Day! My best-Spark-friend, LOVEMYGUYS, and I have even exchanged personal mailing addresses, and send each other cards on special occasions. We've formed a Spark team together, and look forward to visiting each other when we travel. This truly is a wonderful community. I have a whole other "family" with Spark! - 2/14/2009   6:49:10 PM
  • 37
    So very true! Thank you for sharing.
    - 2/14/2009   6:37:07 PM
  • 36
    To me SP is a wonderful network. I have made so many friends and really enjoy all my teams. Everyone of us has so much to offer each other and that is true friendship. Thank you Spark Guy and all your great team! - 2/14/2009   5:36:38 PM
  • 35
    Amen to that article! I have made some close friends and even vacation with one of them! We would never had met without spark! - 2/14/2009   5:34:36 PM
  • 34
    I belong tot he New team it is a small and mighty little team and every morning I can't wait to go to the New team cafe and see how everyone is doing. I think about my spark buddies through out the day, and right now one of our members is in hospital having a baby...we threw her the best cyber shower ever. lol
    I love this place and the people in it. Your post really summed it all up.

    Yeah for Sparkpeople!
    Heather - 2/14/2009   5:26:36 PM
  • 33
    I got chills as I read this, as each word resonated with me and my experiences on SparkPeople.com. How true it is for me that I share my successes with my Spark friends and fellow team members before anyone else knows about it. I am learning so much not only about living a healthier lifestyle, but also about myself as a human being. You are so right that it is very humbling to "know" someone who is battling with breast cancer, but still works out diligently and has reached her fitness goals. I meet awesome people everyday on this site. It truly has become a part of my life, which has certainly made me a better person. - 2/14/2009   5:23:37 PM
  • 32
    Your post says it all. This is the most amazing place, with the most amazing, warm and understanding people I have ever 'met'.

    Spark People has changed my life and I am very thankful for both this site and the friends that I have made here!!! - 2/14/2009   4:53:26 PM
  • 31
    for me it has been awesome getting to meet some of the friends I've made in person at Spark rallies - 2/14/2009   4:16:12 PM
  • EMILYBEMENT
    30
    I have just started only...well less than 2 weeks ago, I have made a couple of great friends here. I think it is so cool how the support here is just awesome. I am looking forward to helping and being helped by these great people! Em - 2/14/2009   4:12:05 PM
  • WINTERPARKS33
    29
    We definitely are a family, sometimes more so than the nuclear families we live with. When I started getting serious about my health and weight in 2006, sparkpeople was always there to push me. The friends I've made on here, the inspiration I found, those are the things that kept me going. And today, when people see my sparkpeople bottle and calendar at work, the motivational quotes as my desktop background, they probably think I'm nutty, and I am, I'm in love with sp, and with all of you amazing people on here. It's incredible to see how honest, brutal, caring, compassionate and friendly everyone has been on here. I hope this site can change millions more, and help many more find hope, peace, and a healthy way of looking at our bodies for many years to come.

    Chandu - 2/14/2009   2:50:52 PM
  • 28
    SparkPeople is just what I needed and was looking for without even knowing it!

    I have found groups with which I resonate completely, and that makes it so easy to share my deep fears and wonderful successes with group members. The women and men I've encountered here are among the wisest and most generous I've found in my life. I learn a lot from them as well as from sharing my own stories and process - "you can't keep it unless you give it away!"

    When I'm away from the site for a few days, I feel myself slipping back into old habits and I find I miss the people on my main threads. I find it easy to be upbeat and positive surrounded by people who are on the same path. We lift each other up when we stumble - and it's OK that we stumble, because there are compassionate friends who have been there to provide encouragement, support, and love.

    Thanks for the topic, Nancy! - 2/14/2009   2:21:37 PM
  • 27
    So true! It's only been one week for me and what a positive difference here as well. - 2/14/2009   1:49:38 PM
  • 26
    Spark People have changed my life. Like many other people, the first thing I do in the morning is log on, get my points for the spin, and the last thing I do at night is record what I ate for the day, and log on to say goodnight. I have met some awesome people on this site who have encouraged me every step of the way and each of them adds something different to my life. I have lost over 25 lbs, and have been more consistent with my exercise and eating healthy than I ever have in my life. SP helped me get through a four month plateau when in the past, I would have given up and gained my weight back. I'm back to losing again. My Spark Friends are there for so many other things too. I feel like I can share other things that are going on in my life and I am encouraged and blessed every day.
    I ran down the stairs the other day and it's been years since I was able to do that! Thank you Spark Friends!! and Happy Valentine's Day!
    Marion - 2/14/2009   1:09:53 PM
  • 25
    I didn't expect to make friends on SP. I thought of it as a helpful weight loss site. It has turned out to be so much more. I am grateful for all that the site provides including the opportunity to make some good friends. Several people I have met on SP are now correspondents via our outside life email addresses. We have grown to know something of each other's life. - 2/14/2009   12:54:14 PM
  • 24
    This is so true, I have made so many friends here on Spark, and they are always here for me, in the good times, as well as the bad, their words of encouragement have kept me going, there are times I felt like throwing in the towel, but someone will reach out and let me know I'm worth the effort to be a healthier ,happier person, so I continue. Thanks Spark Friends for being there for me
    Elaine - 2/14/2009   12:39:44 PM
  • 23
    I couldn't have said it better if I tried. Thanks Nancy!! - 2/14/2009   12:29:04 PM
  • 22
    I love spark it the best i love to talk to my spark friends your the Best thank you sooo much and Happy Valentines Day to you All - 2/14/2009   12:23:27 PM
  • 21
    I love spark it the best i love to talk to my spark friends your the Best thank you sooo much and Happy Valentines Day to you All - 2/14/2009   12:23:27 PM
  • 20
    I have made wonderful friends here on SP! The support I get from them is fantastic, they carried me through a lot of downs and rejoiced with me in my victories. I am looking forward to making many more friends here. - 2/14/2009   12:04:48 PM
  • 19
    I joined SP in early Jan and FB about 2 weeks ago. Even though some of my closest friends are on FB (and I don't know anyone on SP), honestly, SP feels a lot less superficial. - 2/14/2009   11:47:59 AM

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