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Are you a priority?

Saturday, August 31, 2013

This is taken from my latest post on our Camp Accountability thread:

It's a very fine line we walk towards better health. On one hand, we have body issues--metabolism, genetics, hormones, illness/injury difficulties. On the other hand, we have emotional issues--emotional eating, frustration, lack of a clear goal, laziness, exhaustion, and general 'I don't wanna'.

We often treat this journey as our enemy, and secretly (and often unconsciously) do things to sabotage our success. We know certain foods make us feel bad, but we eat them anyway as a 'treat'. We know what our calorie limits are, but we go over them as a 'splurge'. We know we need exercise, but we find a thousand excuses not to do it. (How would we like it if our doctor knew something was necessary for our health, but kept making a thousand excuses not to do what was needed? We'd have a malpractice suit up an running quick! ) So what if it's us that making the excuse? What do we do to get ourselves motivated to do the right thing?

Ever have a child that just refuses to do their written homework, or read their assigned book? You know they're going to get bad grades, you know they're not learning what they need to pass. But they have a thousand reasons why they 'can't' study. They're too tired, they don't have enough time, it's too hard to understand, it's not fair, it's too much work. . .And you look at them and shake your head, can't believe they just don't get it. You want to pass, you want to get good grades, you want to succeed, you find a way past the difficulties and make it work. You make it a priority.

Are you a priority?

Yes, it's not fair. Some people have different metabolisms, different hormone balances, and they eat what they want and don't gain weight. My cousin had to bake two pies for supper, one for the family, and one for her husband who ate the whole pie for dessert himself and still was skinny as a rail. Just because it's harder for you, doesn't mean it doesn't need done.

If your son was dyslexic, would you excuse him from learning to read because it was physically hard? Or would you find out what techniques would help him succeed, even it it was still difficult? If your daughter had a bone formation disease, would you simply accept she'll never walk, or would you look into treatment, splints, braces, crutches, whatever it took to give her as much mobility as possible?

This is us, just because it's harder for some of us to lose weight, doesn't make it hopeless. Doesn't mean it's time to throw up our arms in defeat and pig out. OK, it's harder. We already know that, and then we use the tools here to form a plan to help us succeed.

Part of the issue is not getting down on ourselves when it's hard, and we stumble.
Part of the issue is getting the help we need to succeed, and then FOLLOW THE PLAN. A musician will never be great if he doesn't consistently practice, and work especially diligently on the things that don't come easy to them. An athlete will never reach their goals without consistent training. A student will not succeed if they don't keep up with the homework. An employee won't succeed if they don't keep up with the paperwork. Getting healthy IS our job, we need to be consistent to succeed.

How happy would you be with an employee that showed up bright and perky and on time for a day or two, missed half the day the next couple of days, then didn't even show up for the next week or two? Would you consider that acceptable? What about a patient that took their medicine faithfully for the first few days, then skipped several days, then tried to make up for it by taking twice as much the next few days, then forgot all about it for the next month? If we can look at those situations and recognize how unacceptable they are, why do we accept it in our health journey?

We need to balance forgiveness for past mistakes, adjustments for our own personal difficulty levels, and eliminating excuses. On one hand, we need to be gentle with those who are really struggling to form a new lifestyle. It isn't going to happen all at once, think of a kindergartner struggling to learn to read, to correctly form letters, to string them together into words. You don't get disheartened that their 'e' is backwards, you recognize it as part of the process of learning.

On the other hand, we don't want to coddle laziness. We need to make good health a priority in order to win this battle, succeed in our goals. No excuses, just do what you need to do. Will we stumble? Of course. Will we fail? Only if we give up and don't pick ourselves back up off the ground and try again.

This isn't an either-or, perfection or nothing. It's about striving to a very important goal--our good health. It's about recognizing this is an important goal, and doing what it takes to make it happen. Giving this the priority it deserves, being consistent, making it work. Come on, aren't you tired of wishy-washy effort that gives us so-so (or worse) results?

Make up your mind that you are worth the effort to do whatever it takes to make this work, because you ARE worth the effort. You can do this. We can do this together.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

~THERESA 5/9/2014 11:40AM

    This makes a whole lot of sense. God bless, Theresa


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Are You Adrift?

Thursday, August 29, 2013

I was preparing a post for our Camp Accountability thread, and decided to post it here as a blog post as well. Sometimes, we just need reminders that we ARE in control of our choices, even when events seems to be out of control around us:

Hello, fellow campers!
Today, I'd like to head out to the camp lake.
See that itty bitty rowboat out there on the choppy water? The one with the oars floating away? That's us without Spark, without help, when troubled times come. We get dragged along by the wind towards whatever our craving of the moment is. We have no tools to fight against the pull, and so we helplessly give in to hopelessness. We give up. We eat whatever's in sight, even though it isn't satisfying. We skip exercise because it's hard, it's sweaty, it hurts, it's inconvenient, it's boring. . .(fill in your favorite excuse) We skimp on sleep and make bad food choices, and then eat even more to drown out the guilt for having done so.
But you are no longer without tools. That's what Spark is all about. We learn about techniques that support us when times get tough. We don't have to helplessly bob on the water. We can choose better choices. That gives us oars to fight against the current of cravings and laziness.
We have routines that allow us sufficient sleep, and regular mealtimes and periods of exercise. We keep veggies and fruits in the house, ready to eat. We choose fiber and nutrient rich whole grains instead of bland white flour. We look for foods with less chemical additives and more nutrients. We watch our portion sizes. Now we have full control of our boat, with first a little trolling motor, and finally up to big roarin' dual diesel engines that could power a cabin cruiser through a tornado. We don't have to float adrift in the cravings, we can power our way through.
It's time to remember to use our tools. We can't change the weather, but we can change what we do about it. An experienced seaman would keep his 'weather eye' cocked, keeping aware of current conditions, and what the clouds tell him is to come. BEFORE the storm hits, he would have prepared. We need to remember to do that. We need to know what things cause storms to our lifestyle, see them coming, and make preparations ahead of time to weather them.
Even if we get caught unawares by a situation, we need to have emergency supplies in our boat to help us survive. What is it that always catches you off guard, and sends your healthy lifestyle spiraling out of control? When does it happen? Why does it happen? What can be done to prepare ahead of time, so when it does happen, it doesn't cause you to go off course?
YOU are in control of your ship of good health. Don't let it go adrift. Take up your station at the controls, consult the compass, keep your weather eye out, and steer straight for your goal. Don't give up when choppy waves begin to break, or when the sky looks bleak. Don't give up when you have to steer around obstacles, it's all part of the journey.

The trick is to keep your eye on the prize, focus on the goal, and no matter what, don't give up! Think of a person in physical therapy. I watched a woman today walking down a long hallway. That may not seem like much, but to a person who's been living in a wheelchair, it's a miracle. I could hear her as she slowly took one step after another, "Oh, God. Oh, God." She was sure she couldn't do it, she was in pain. It's hard to retrain those old atrophied muscles to do their job again. But she wasn't alone. Her physical therapist was right beside her, supporting her with one arm, while keeping the wheelchair right behind her with the other. If she felt faint, she had support all around her: the walker before her, the therapist beside her, the chair behind her. And despite the pain, she did it! She made it clear to the end of the hallway. I was so proud of her, what an accomplishment! She fought through the fears of "I can't", through the pain, through the discomfort, and the embarrassment of having to be taught to walk again, to victory. I hope to someday see that woman stroll the hall with no aids at all. But even if she always needs the aids, she's still getting stronger, taking her life into her own hands, and doing the best she can with it.

That's us. No one likes physical therapy, but we all like being stronger. We don't like being pushed by a personal trainer, but we love feeling the power of our newly acquired abilities. We hate getting tutored in school, and doing drills, but we love the good grades. Come on, take control of your boat, you don't have to float adrift anymore. Grit your teeth, and let's learn together to steer toward better health.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CHERYLE51 8/29/2013 8:02PM

    My 95 year old Mother In Law does physical therapy in the nursing home. The therapist has told us that she is doing very well and walking good. I try to do my zumba to keep myself in shape. Exercising can be a challenging thing. You have to make sure you do it and not let excuses get in the way.
It also helps to eat the right things too. emoticon

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Patriot or Mercenary, Which are You?

Friday, August 09, 2013

What do soldiers have to do with us at Spark trying to form a healthier lifestyle? Think about this for a minute. . .

What's the difference between a patriot, and a mercenary? Both are fighting for the same cause. On the outside, they look identical. But there's a huge difference on the inside. The patriot is giving all of himself to fight for something he deems more important than his personal comfort. The mercenary is fighting in order to win some personal comfort. He's fighting for whatever the offered 'prize' is, and if the effort exceeds what he deems the prize is worth, he's out of there.

That's the situation we are in as 'dieters'. Ever notice that some of us just seem to take off like a shot at the starting gate, and never look back. You watch their SparkPage, and see consistent results until they meet their goal, and after. Others of us are in yo-yo mode. We do well for a while, and then slip back into our old patterns. What's the difference?

While there are a ton of variables, such as age, heredity, background illnesses, hormonal issues, ability to exercise, etc., the main difference seems to be in the mindset. Like the patriot, the successful dieter sees a goal of lifetime health that they view as worth the pain. They handle setbacks and disappointments as part of the process. They don't quit just because something went wrong. They are more determined than ever to stay the course, win the war.

Did you ever hear of a war when nothing went wrong? When a side won all the battles with no losses, no equipment failure, no illness, no setbacks? Of course not! That's not how life works. Instead, think of George Washington that dreadful winter at Valley Forge.

(Photo courtesy Wikipedia,
ns /thumb/5/55/Washington_and_Lafayette_at_Va
and in the public domain.)

Only one in three soldiers had adequate shoes, it took until February until log huts could be made for the men. There was a chronic shortage of clean water and food, illness ran rampant through the camp. Some went home. But those that stayed grew more determined. Baron von Steuben trained the men tirelessly, until their battle techniques were honed. Those soldiers came out of this dark time ready to do their best. It was a difficult time, but coming through this hard spell just made them hunger more for victory. They wouldn't take defeat as an answer. That was their greatest weapon.

What about you? Why are you here? Are you here because you're aiming for a prize of some sort, like someone else's praise? Or are you here because nothing less than victory will do? You want to be as healthy as you can, it's your goal, your mantra, your passion. . .and you will succeed, despite setbacks.

I'm not saying that you'll never make a bad choice. Remember the army analogy earlier? No army goes to war without setbacks, it's part of life. The question is, when the setbacks happen, what will you do? Are you really determined, or just sort of dazzled by the prize?

What do you do when you're hungry for something you know you shouldn't eat? What do you do when you know you need adequate sleep for weight loss, but you like staying up at night on Facebook for 'me time'? What do you do when it's exercise time, and you 'don't wanna'? And what do you do when you fall down in your plans and make a bad choice?

The mercenary gives up as soon as the going gets tough, because they were only tempted by the prize. The patriot is in for the long haul. They are fighting for themselves, their family, their home. What about you? What are you fighting for? Are you willing to put up with disappointments, difficulties and lifestyle changes?

Have you figured out yet that this is a battle, a battle for your very life, and the lives of your family? You need to win this battle. Don't be dazzled by the enemy's tricks. Yes, that 500 calorie muffin does look good. And it will taste good for the first two bites. The rest is just habit. Try it yourself.

Pick a favorite treat. Eat the first bite. Savor the flavor. Ummmmm. Now the second bite. Still good, although not as good as the first. All the rest of the bites are just trying to recapture the rapture of the first bite. You could have limited yourself to just two bites, had the majority of the flavor, and saved hundreds of calories. Learning techniques like the two-bite treat help you on your way to victory.

You need to train, to learn new techniques that are going to stand you in good stead when the enemy's attacks come. You have to prepare a defense. This site is full of good advice, but you have to take it to heart. Use it, make it yours. The military training is designed to hone your skills until the proper action is your immediate reaction, without even thinking about it. That's what we need to do. Make our healthy living skills so practiced, that we do it without even thinking about it. That's when we win, big time.

We say we don't have time to track our food consumption, but then we sit down to television, or at the computer on Facebook or on a video game, and the time flies away. We had the time, we just didn't use it to our best benefit.

We say we don't have time to exercise, yet who can't take five minutes an hour to stretch and do some exercises. Even two minutes an hour would give you 30 minutes of exercise by the end of the day. You can do this!

We complain we don't have time to do any of the things Spark recommends, and then we complain when we fail. Do you see the cycle? In order to succeed, you have to want this. Really want this. Be willing to pay the price, do the work, get into practice living a healthy lifestyle. Put out veggies and fruits, skip buying or hide high the high-calorie snacks that others may be eating. Exercise more. Get enough sleep. You know what it takes.

What if your child came home from school with F's on his report card? Wouldn't some of your first questions be things like, "Didn't you read the book?", "Did you study?", "Did you do your homework?", "Did you do the projects you were assigned?" If the answer to these questions was "No," it's no wonder they failed.

Now, don't get caught up in the trap that you suddenly have to do everything all at once. Think about it. Do you give calculus lessons to a kindergartner? Of course not. You learn one skill at a time, master it, make it yours, and move on to the next skill. It's the same here, one skill at a time. Drink enough fluid until it's normal. Cut portion sizes by using smaller plates and bowls until it's normal. Choose healthier options, like whole grains instead of processed white flour, until it's normal. Put out fruits and veggies as snacks, until it's normal. Get enough sleep, until it's normal. One thing at a time, precept upon precept, like adding layers of blocks in a building. The bottom rows have to be sturdy foundations before you add the other layers, or the whole building will come tumbling down, and you'll have to start over.

What about you? Are you really doing what it takes to succeed, to reach your goal? Or are you just pretending? Are you in this for the long haul, or only until it's inconvenient? Come on, you're worth it, we're worth it. Let's help each other to the finish line, we can do this!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

VONBLACKBIRD 8/10/2013 9:41AM

    Missed your blogs. Been busy and slowly losing weight...really slow. Love your blog. emoticon Barb

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Turning a Test into a Testimony

Sunday, June 09, 2013

I saw an amazing video at church this morning. I found a link to the video online at
Click on the 'Watch Now' button beneath the smiling face.

What an incredible reminder that we are more than our difficulties. They don't define us, it's what we do with them that counts. What limits us most is ourselves. We let outward things define us, instead of using our limitations as springboards to a more vibrant life. Why do we focus on what we can't do--instead of focusing on what we CAN do.

The more we exercise what we can do, the more our abilities expand. We can do more than we ever dreamed, but we give up before we find out how far we can go. What's the difference between those that succeed, and the rest of us? Those that succeed don't give up at the first (or second, or third, or. . . .) fall. They get right back up again, and keep right on going.

I've been thinking of 1 Corinthians 9:27, "I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified." Do I really discipline my body, do I really work towards greater strength and ability? Do I really know what my body is capable of?

And what about the rest of me? Am I training my mind, my spirit as well? Who knows where my journey will lead when I work to strengthen what I already have? Instead of blaming my circumstances for my failures, it's time to use what I already have to best advantage.

No matter how small my abilities, I can use what I've been given, and build on that. No more focusing on what I can't do, it's time to focus on using what I have, and build on that. In overcoming my limitations, I turn that test into a testimony.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DOOBRIE 6/10/2013 5:44PM


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VONBLACKBIRD 6/10/2013 12:50PM

    thanks for the reminder!!!

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DONDAIN 6/9/2013 7:05PM


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It's A Miracle

Friday, January 06, 2012

I wrote this for my caregiver team, but I realized that it applies to more than just caregiving. This is also the secret to healthier living, "dieting", exercise, organizing your life:

" I read a short story about a woman that was old, worn out, used up, lived a tough life on the streets. She was in a hospital, with heart troubles, regretting her choices in life. Her husband was dead, children estranged, no one in her life. Her room mate in the hospital asked her if she'd like to go back. . .and suddenly the years melted away, and she was once again in her old home, the children fussing, the ugly furniture she hated surrounding her, her husband glowering.

Only this time, she saw all these things for their true value. The chores were no longer unbearable burdens, they were gifts of love, a joyous gift to family members well loved. The tasks of tending children each became like a form of worship, each moment a joy to be treasured. Because she knew that each moment was precious. They weren't tedious and boring, to be escaped as quickly as possible; they were gifts from God, a chance to interact with people she cared about, a brief window of interaction that would soon be past. She knew to treasure this time together, found the old ugly furniture now endearing. It got the job done, and showed signs of their life together. She realized that the important things in life weren't things at all, that the things she had found unendurable were really the priceless treasures. She got to see them through new eyes, a Christmas miracle indeed.

She could now appreciate the husband that worked hard to provide for them, it seemed so boring back then. She wanted 'excitement', not realizing that exciting was also unpredictable and often not safe. Her husband had been loving, reliable, caring, if not 'exciting'. And when she began to appreciate him for who he was, for what he did, loved him for all his good points, she fell in love with him all over again. Looked for the good instead of the bad, and found so much more than she ever dreamed of. She now realized what a treasure he really was. Same with the children, the more she treasured them, the more the relationship grew. Relationship made the difference.

As caregivers, we can get so tied up in caring for difficult patients, lack of sleep, lack of co-operation, dementia, special meals, medications, doctor's visits, everything done in s-l-o-w m-o-t-i-o-n, etc., that we can lose sight of the wonderful miracle we are privileged to share. This Christmas was the one year anniversary of mom's passing. The seven years I spent as a full time caregiver went by in a blink, seeing it from hindsight. But they left me with priceless treasures: the time with mom, never to be repeated on this side of the veil, the example set for the next generation (yes, even the bedridden still are loved and valued, do you realize what a message of hope that is for a generation wondering if there is any meaning to life?), and the appreciation for the little things in life.

My life is richer because of the years I spent with mom. No, we couldn't take vacations, I didn't even get to live with my husband, who was tending the farm while I was gone tending mom. Many of the simple things in life we take for granted were taken away. Even things like a little trip a mile down the road for ice cream could become a major outing, getting mom at a time when she was in a good mood, getting her to the bathroom first, then dressed to go outside, like taking a toddler only you can't rush as easily! Then the daunting trip to the car, getting in, getting turned in the seat and buckled in. The repeated questions, the inability to choose, then repeating the ordeal to get back into the house, and finally the confusion when you finally got there! Yikes!

Yet, oh the precious things I learned in the process. To live in the moment, find things to be thankful for. To appreciate the abilites of the moment, they are like quicksilver, evaporating with the sands of time. Those things that drive you crazy now, you'll wish later for! First you fuss that they complain about the food, but later they may not even want to eat, or be able to eat. You fuss about them wandering around, getting into things, and then later wish they could get up at all. They get crabby playing games you've always played, but then the day comes they can't play anymore at all. And you realize you had a treasure and didn't appreciate it.

Smiles are priceless, laughter even more so. Enjoy what you have. The things will wait. So the floor is stained because children and the elderly spill, and all the chairs have special pads on them. Life is not made of chairs and floors. One day it will be pristine, and empty, and you'll realize what a treasure those stained spots represented.

We have some family antiques, ceramic bowls, put away, to keep them safe, being too "valuable" to risk. The value was really minimal, a few dollars, the cost of a meal out. The things are safe, but what good are they? They have no new family memories, my children have never seen them, let alone used them. And when I am gone, they will be tossed out as junk, with no meaning at all to them. How much better if grandma's mixing bowls had been used to make fruit salads from the orchard, salads from the garden, and homemade whole wheat pizza dough. If those bowls had represented love, and care, and the importance of family time together. They they really would be valuable, because they would be full of memories. Homegrown popcorn freshly shelled and popped over the fire, served with love in that bowl. . . .it's not the thing, it's the love, and care, and laughter and memories it represents. If the thing breaks, the memories will live on.

Do you have things you resent not being able to have? Are you tired of good furniture being ruined, spills on the floor, not having enough money, so much time spent on constant caregiving?. Do you feel like your life is being wasted?

I have good news! You are being let into a secret society, for the privileged few. Very few learn the secrets of life. The rigors of being a pledge are many, the initiation is admittedly difficult, but, oh, is it worth it! It takes being a caregiver to realize just how precious life really is. To see our many blessings we had taken for granted. We didn't realize before what a miracle it is to recognize someone, to be able to feed yourself, to get out of a chair on your own, to use the toilet instead of diapers, to be able to taste your food, to be able to follow simple directions, to be able to get into a car, to drive!

Every waking moment is a miracle, celebrate it! Laugh long and loud, sing silly songs, read a story together, recount happy memories. Do a jigsaw puzzle, paint a picture, play in the sand. Make a snowman, put metal cookie cutters on your griddle and serve your eggs as little hearts and flowers! Bring in forsythia branches to sprout and bloom on your windowsill, such simple things take no money, but make each moment special.

Yes, there's still exhaustion, and hard work, and scary times. But balance it with the joy that each moment is a gift. Live like there's no tomorrow, plan as if you have an eternity. Hope for the best, plan for the worst, enjoy the present.

It's why children love Christmas. It's a time of special magic. A miracle. Children get that. They enjoy it, think about it, look forward to it, savor each moment. Adults get so frustrated making sure all the right Christmas cards went to the right people with the right message. That the presents are all bought and the special foods for the meal are all planned for, the house is cleaned, the decorations found, the right tree put out at the right time and decorated the right way. . .The adults are so busy doing THINGS, that they totally miss the wonder, the magic, the gift of a babe in a manger. The mystery and magic of being PART of a miracle.

YOU are part of a miracle. Every morning you wake up to a new adventure. (Yes, some days just getting out of bed can be quite an adventure!) Look at this day with a child's eyes, a child's sense of wonder. The elderly become more childlike often, instead of bemoaning the fact, embrace it! See life through their eyes, sing them a silly song they used to sing, hold hands, play with the bread dough. Make funny rolls with faces, whole wheat can still be fun!

Have a color meal, just for fun (pick one color, like yellow mac and cheese with a yellow veggie and yellow cornbread, yellow lemonade, a salad with wax beans and yellow tomatoes and yellow squash, maybe those cute yellow carrot sticks, lemon jello, hard boiled eggs. . . .) It's silly, but fun to figure out what you could use. Or better yet, rainbow meals. Salads with colored tiny tomatoes, several colors of carrots, red lettuce. . .sweet corn comes in red as well as white and yellow. . .potatoes come in purple, red, white and yellow flesh, and several skin colors as well. . .make it bright and cheery, make it an adventure!

Life can become such a drudge, that we make it even more so, by making the tasks dull. I remember when my oldest son was a little boy, he hated the daily vacuuming ritual. So, we made it a game. The little bits on the floor were the bad guys, and he was the sheriff coming to round them up. Suddenly, vacuuming brought on fits of giggles instead of complaints. OK, so the floor was vacuumed in a weird pattern, with chases across the floor sometimes, instead of a neat, economical pattern. Maybe it took longer. But it became a memorable time instead of a dreaded chore.

Chores done with smiles are a lot more pleasant for everyone, than chores done with grumps and mutters. Makes me think of Philippians 2:

" 1 Are you cheerful because you belong to Christ? Does his love comfort you? Is the Holy Spirit your companion? Has Christ been gentle and loving toward you? 2 Then make my joy complete by agreeing with each other. Have the same love. Be one in spirit and purpose.
3 Don't do anything only to get ahead. Don't do it because you are proud. Instead, be free of pride. Think of others as better than yourselves.

4 None of you should look out just for your own good. You should also look out for the good of others. 5 You should think in the same way Christ Jesus does. 6 In his very nature he was God.
But he did not think that being equal with God was something he should hold on to.
7 Instead, he made himself nothing.
He took on the very nature of a servant.
He was made in human form.
8 He appeared as a man.
He came down to the lowest level.
He obeyed God completely, even though it led to his death.
In fact, he died on a cross.
9 So God lifted him up to the highest place.
He gave him the name that is above every name. . . .

14 Do everything without finding fault or arguing. 15 Then you will be pure and without blame. You will be children of God without fault in a sinful and evil world. Among the people of the world you shine like stars in the heavens. 16 You shine as you hold out to them the word of life. "

You see, we are ambassadors for a new way of looking at life. Stars of hope shining forth in a dark world. Where people have value, for who they are, not for what they can do (and especially not just for what they can do FOR you.) Knowing that things are just things, we don't need to panic when something gets ruined. People are treasures, things are just things. We can have peace instead of freaking out.

When we are asked the same question for the tenth time (or hundredth), we can still answer calmly as if it were the first time we've heard it. Why? Because inside we realize that speech is a treasure, and are thankful they can still speak. Because we know they are asking because they are confused, and a harsh answer will only make them more confused, and even more difficult. And because this time is short, we can treasure it. We can more than endure, more than survive, we can thrive.

Our lives have slowed down, things take longer to accomplish. We're impatient, want to get up, run here, do that, get this, accomplish that. . .Members of our secret society are learning the secrets of patience. To slow down, enjoy the moment. It's amazing how much of the stuff the just HAS to be done, isn't really necessary. Take away the computer, the cell phone, the radio, the television, back to life the way our parents saw it. Take away the distractions, and be amazed at the difference. People gravitate together, they tell stories, make music, play games, all while doing the work that needed done. It became a bonding time, work made fun by relationship.

Remember when children couldn't wait to be able to help? When being able to use a broom or the sink or help cook food or work in the garden was something special? Why? It was special because they saw it that way. Your day can be special, because you choose (and yes, it is a conscious choice, not just a feeling, feelings come later often.)

That is one of my goals this year, to remember the miracle, and make each day count. Take time to laugh, to make memories, to be silly, to smile, to enjoy the journey. Life is not in attaining the goal, it's in the journey that gets you there. Make it one to remember. Same with "dieting", and food in general, and exercise, and getting your life together. It's not a drudge to be endured for a season and then forgotten, that's why diets don't work.

Make this new life fun, make it a challenge, but an interesting one. This is not a time to be endured, but cherished, as we share in the journey towards better health, better families, better relationships. This time is a gift, a treasure, enjoy it!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    Judy, this is so good. You come up with the most insightful gems.
I am still wandering in the morass of grief and regret that overshadows all the years of wonderful times with my folks. Hope this will eventually pass so I can find a clearer perspective. Feeling a little lost. Thank goodness Sis is still living with me.

I copied this off so I can digest it in smaller chunks. There is so much wisdom in your words. Thank you.

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VONBLACKBIRD 3/8/2012 12:31PM

    Thanks Judy. You are such a special person. God bless you in the things that matter. Hugs. Barb

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DOOBRIE 1/7/2012 8:40AM

    I think you should write a book - you are so eloquent. I treasured every minute I had with my mum. I knew the time with her was precious. I love your blog which reminded me to look at the bigger picture this year and not dwell with sadness on mum's passing but to enjoy my family while they're all still here with me, and to be grateful for everything else I have in my life and not worry about what I haven't.


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CHERYLE51 1/6/2012 10:53PM

    If you only knew how much I appreciate and need this right now. I am feeling really depressed right now. The usual, not enough money, job isn't good enough. But, I have a wonderful loving family a nice, but not fancy, expensive house with some very used furniture. We are all in good health. My MIL is very happy now living in the nursing home, doing better than she was last year while living with us. I am going to try and print this out to remind myself of the things I have to be grateful for.

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AUNTLISA2 1/6/2012 6:33PM

    Oh my Lord I am so joyful I found your page. I have tears rolling down my face now at your profound but so true message. It was written beautifully and I thank you for your words from the bottom of my heart.

Something I started in my family (I have 24 cousins on my mothers side) is the ladle of love. My grandmother had a large spoon that each of us have a special memory of her in the kitchen with and it is passed around to different house hold usually passed at family gathering or functions. This is just a reminder that love can not be kept but must be passed around. emoticon

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LIFE-FAITH 1/6/2012 9:29AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

I so appreciate YOU! This blog not only hits home for me, but inspires me. I do cherish each moment in helping my parents. My siblings are finally "getting the gift" of helping our parents. It is my privilege to be there for them as they were there for me.
I am so sorry about the loss of your mom. My mom-in-law passed away 4 years ago today - I miss her so very much. The last years of her life she was child-like, curling up as an infant and laying in my lap.

The joys are in the journey! Thank you so much for sharing!
God Bless you!

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