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Friendships and motivation

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Motivation, support, encouragement is so important and especially so when it comes from friends.

As I ( gratefully) continue to move into my 'mature' years I value the importance of friendships and value of having people around to share life experiences. Someone said friendship is a 'sweet responsibility (can't recall who said it but I like it).

SparkPeople is a nice forum for encouraging friends. Sharing life experiences... and goals.... and it makes an instant connection.

Bringing people into my exercise life to walk, bike ,go to the gym, will make it more fun, and increases the chances I will get out and do it if I know plans are in place and someone will be waiting. Even if I only join someone once every week or two, there is still that shared expeience that gives encouragement and hope.

I have one friend who I share text message reports when either of us completes and exercise session. We have to share what exercise we did, how long or number of miles. We have done this for two years now. If one of us hasn't heard from the other in a few days, we will give a friendly nudge by text to get going again with the exercise updates.

I love to go trail hiking alone, but not always. I found a group that sponsors an easy hike led by a naturalist at a nature reserve every Sat. AM. I join that Saturday gang when I can and not only is it fun but makes my solitary hikes more meaningful.

Two long time friends join me for some of the longer bike rides. Altho' I moved 2 1/2 hours away they have made the drive to my new town to help me explore the many bike trails around my new town and I have done the same with them driving back to share an organized ride. Riding is one of the bonds of our friendship. If I slack off on my riding, I know I will , get deconditioned quickly, not keep up with them next time we see each other, even tho' it may be weeks away. So I stay with it.

I love my weekly dog walking duty at the Humane Society. It only requires a couple of hours of time, but it is the highlight of the day for the dog to get out of the cage for a while and more so for me. I get to know those animals as my pals.

Our SparkGoals are really a part of our lives...and not an entity on itself. So it is with our friendships. We need people (or dogs) for encouragement and a nudge from friends.

Now if I only get a friend to stop me from snacking at night, I'll have it all down. Oh yes... I remember.... I have to do that on my own. emoticon

Thanks to all of you who have been SparkFriends.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DDOORN 7/21/2014 9:58AM

    Awesome deal making connections, of course here with your SparkFamily, but kicking it up a notch and making it REAL with other buddies too!

Way to SPARK! :-)


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FUNLOVEN 7/20/2014 8:03PM

    Sounds like you are settled right into your new town. Good for you! Love your idea of texting your exercise with your friend and for your walking buddies from the Humane Society.

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MARJORIE368 7/20/2014 5:31PM

    Lots of inspiration in your blog, loved it! emoticon

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CVRONEK 7/20/2014 3:20PM

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful journal of spark life and beyond.
Friends are so important, along the way, be them human, or our animal buddies.
Keep up the good work!
Chris emoticon

Comment edited on: 7/20/2014 3:21:10 PM

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VALERIEMAHA 7/20/2014 12:56PM

    Love how you've choreographed your life there. The thing I miss is partners in've got that one WIRED! Keep up the good work, my friend.

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EDDYMEESE 7/20/2014 11:59AM

    So much truth here! Good for you walking those dogs...people just don't realize how depressed they get in the shelters. How wonderful of you to be able to do that for them!

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The 'scale' perspective.....

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

As I am soon to start a new SP Challenge, and will be getting on the scale more frequently, I want to share a little perspective on "the scale." I am (or we are) so much more than the scale.

Best wishes to all my Spark friends.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CVRONEK 6/11/2014 6:43PM

    emoticon emoticon

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VALERIEMAHA 6/11/2014 5:56PM


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FUNLOVEN 6/11/2014 3:39PM

    I suppose on one hand that can be true, Bill. On the other hand, however, I thought to myself that those things are also the things that my scale can make me feel.

It can make me feel beautiful because it shows me that I am not really as fat as I think I am. It can make me feel talented because of all of the skills I have acquired to keep that scale number under control. It can give me purpose because it helps me set goals. It can be my life force as I go about my days and refuse to give into the cravings that will only make the number on that scale go up. It can show me the possibilities as I see the good results of my efforts. It can show me how strong I am that I have not given up. And last, but most certainly not least, it can help me love myself more because it shows me that all of my hard work pays off and I am so worth it!

Good luck on the upcoming challenge.

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TKTMTA 6/11/2014 11:09AM


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Our Spring Hope and Inspiration

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

This is one smart little tulip. This handsome little fellow has figured out a good stradegy to avoid his bloom being consumed by the many deer that roam our neighborhood. We have many tulip bulbs planted. Most become part of the deer salad bar once they bloom. This one decided to grow behind a bush. For the past 4 years the deer have not found him. Once again , he is back giving us inspiration, strength and hope for spring. And as this tulip shows us, always good to have a plan.

Happy spring.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DDOORN 5/1/2014 10:46PM

    Hope springs eternal for smart little tulips and other smart beings...! :-)


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FUNLOVEN 5/1/2014 7:57AM

    A true diamond in the dust or however that saying goes. Those hidden surprises can be the best ones. What a way to persevere in the face of potential disaster.

We put up chicken wire fencing to deter the deer and mostly the rabbits from eating my spring time bulbs and trillium. By the time we get done my yard looks like a maximum security prison! At least I get to enjoy some spring color.

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CVRONEK 5/1/2014 7:04AM

    There is always a way! Find one or make one!
Way to go tulip!

Bill, I know you are good at finding a way, or making one, too. emoticon

Happy May Day! emoticon

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VALERIEMAHA 4/30/2014 11:59PM

    Yep, I'm a witness, as is the smart little tulip: Planning is good.

Thanks for the food for thought and inspiration.

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SparkPeople - Welcome Back

Sunday, April 27, 2014

There has been something important missing lately. And something else has made an ugly appearance, in it's place. emoticon

SparkPeople has been gone. Absent. Simply not there, day to day. emoticon No I don't mean the website shut down. The Spark Friends didn't disappear. The resources are still there. The friendly encouragement remains.

I am just not part of it.

The absence was created by me. I chose to leave for a while because my life was getting too chaotic (so I thought). I have gotten busy busy and felt by giving up an obligation or two would help me get a sense of control. So what did I give up. One of the resources that would be of benefit. (duh).

Was I wrong? Yes. I was wrong.

At first it was fine. My weight stayed stable and I kept up my exercise. Then over the next 3-4 weeks as I plunged into finishing up my two contractual jobs, starting packing up a household, helping my wife who had a couple of outpatient medical procedures, and taking care of matters with respect to buying and selling a house and moving to a new city..... the old habits, like an old acquaintance I have tried to avoid began to make more and more visits into my life. Weight gain (four pounds this month) evening snacking, less exercise, not taking time to focus on my own priorities , values and goals. I even stopped taking time to read for a few minutes every night.

I shutter to think about all of it. emoticon

So i am calling off my moratorium from SP. Coming back a month sooner than I had planned. What I thought would give me more control, actually resulted in less control. What I believed would give me more time, really resulted in that time being filled with unhealthy and self defeating habits.

Sigh.... I need that dimension of accountability. A reference point, so to speak to keep me from 'drifting too far from the shore.' There are many places to go and get it. But I like it here.

Welcome back, SparkPeople. Glad you have returned and resumed your good work. emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DOKEYOKEY 6/3/2014 3:24PM

    Glad you're back!~ I've been a bit erratic in attendance, too. emoticon

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DDOORN 4/28/2014 12:46PM

    Hey, sometimes we "stray," but learn some hard lessons...which can be invaluable.

You are sounding duly "schooled"!

Welcome back! :-)


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FIT4MEIN2013 4/28/2014 10:04AM

    Welcome home! emoticon

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FUNLOVEN 4/28/2014 7:35AM

    Nice to see you here, Bill. I hope all concerns with your moving are coming together. I too have cut back on SP for periods in the past and ended up feeling lost & unfocused. Makes me wonder how I will ever manage without it!

I'm sure you will put those 4 lbs. back in their place in no time emoticon

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CVRONEK 4/27/2014 12:11PM

    Welcome back, Bill! A happy morning, indeed! emoticon

It won't take you, long at all, to get back in the swing of things.

You knew that though, as here you are. emoticon

Looking forward to hitting the trail with you again.


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VALERIEMAHA 4/27/2014 10:26AM

    Oh, Bill, I was SO happy to find you here this morning!

SMART! Hang out where the encouragement, support, and resources for a better YOU (and a better ME) are! It just makes sense, huh. I'm SO familiar with the flawed logic you used...AND with the unfortunate outcomne that ensues.

Comment edited on: 4/27/2014 10:31:06 AM

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    It's that whole "If you don't have time to do it right, how are you goinmg to find time to fix it?" thing. Like you, I have wandered off the beaten poath because there wasn't time to do what I knew I should and then found myself with more to do because it bwas an effort just to get bacxk to where I was.

Welcome back! Like the father of the prodigal son, SP welcomes you back every time. We do not, however, prepare a fatted calf!

Make Today a Great Day

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Must love the Iris

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

The Iris is an amazing flower. It is a flower that is strong and has courage. It can survive and withstand storms, long winters, and even poor and difficult soil. It does not give up. The ancient greeks used the Iris as a symbol of faith and hope. I see it as a symbol of strength and steadfastness.


As a gardner, I love the Iris. I have bulbs that originally came from gardens of my mother, and even grandmother, going back over 100 years. I have dug them up and moved them from house to house, over decades. They give me a sense of connection, history, and fond memories. Like a Ted Kooser, or Robert Frost poem, when I look upon my Iris beds, I have a sense of appreciation and remembrance of earlier times and lives that were once important.

I will be digging up my Irises again soon as we are moving to a new town. I will plant them in their new home and they will soon be at play and giving strength and beauty.

I will be leaving Spark People for a while. I am not sure how long. When I return, I hope to return like the Iris, having replanted myself, and beginning to grow again.

Best wishes and prayers for anyone who may read this.


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NONIE_C 4/4/2014 12:45PM

    Thank you so much for sharing the beautiful history of your irises. I love them too.

I hope your move, and all that goes with such a transition, goes smoothly. I wish you the best in this next leg of your adventure, and I look forward to reconnecting when you return to Spark.

All the best to you. You will be missed!

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CVRONEK 4/2/2014 6:39AM

    Oh Bill,how I will miss you.

May you flourish,wherever you are planted,like your beautiful Iris.

My very best for you and as always prayers continue for your wife.

Your friend,

Chris..fellow gardener emoticon

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HAPPY-DESTINY 4/2/2014 12:09AM


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VALERIEMAHA 4/1/2014 9:09PM

    I love your reflections on the beautiful iris, Bill. Thank you.

Have safe travels and a wonderful adventure in Europe (NOT lol). I look so forward to hearing from you when the time is right!

A gift for the road:

For the Traveler

Every time you leave home,
another road takes you
into a world you were never in.

New strangers on other paths await.
new places that have never seen you
will startle a little at your entry.
Old places that you know well
will pretend nothing
changed since your last visit.

When you travel, you find yourself
alone in a different way,
more attentive now
to the self you bring along,
Your more subtle eye watching
you abroad; and how what meets you
touches that part of the heart
that lies low at home:

How you unexpectedly attune
to the timbre in some voice,
opening a conversation
you want to take in
to where your longing
has pressed hard enough
inward, on some unsaid dark,
to create a crystal of insight
you could not have known
you needed
to illuminate
your way.

When you travel,
a new silence
goes with you,
and if you listen,
you will hear
what your heart would
love to say.

A journey can become a sacred thing:
make sure, before you go,
to take the time
to bless your going forth,
to free your heart of ballast
so that the compass of your soul
might direct you toward
the territories of spirit
where you will discover
more of your hidden life,
and the urgencies
that deserve to claim you.

May you travel
in an awakened way,
gathered wisely
into your inner ground;
that you may not waste
the invitations which
wait along the way
to transform you.
May you travel safely,
arrive refreshed,
and live your time away
to its fullest;
return home more enriched,
and free to balance
the gift of days
which call you.

~ John O'Donohue, To Bless the Space Between Us
And a supply for quiet evenings, to be read aloud to/by the beloved:


Comment edited on: 4/1/2014 9:12:59 PM

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FUNLOVEN 4/1/2014 10:50AM

    I sure will miss you, Bill! emoticon

I'm not so sure about the Iris though. Maybe it is a figment of my imagination, but in my experience with them I think they take a lot of work and rather fussy. I have never purchased any bulbs personally. I have just used whatever came with the properties I have lived on. Currently I have some lovely yellow Iris that I moved a couple of years ago because they were in a spot that didn't get enough sun and so they were dwindling in number. This year I have another batch that need to be dug up and replanted because they didn't bloom last year. This batch is not a particularly nice color, IMO, but I love to garden and can never bring myself to intentionally let a plant die. I also have some Siberian Iris that don't do particularly well for me either.

I think your Iris collection from your family roots is a very nice idea and with your loving hands I know they will prosper to be strong and steady just like you. emoticon

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DDOORN 4/1/2014 10:17AM

    I love the idea of gardening and hope life will slow down someday to permit me some time to "bloom" in such a way in the future!

Take care of yourself Bill, safe travels & good fortune in making your transitions!

We'll look forward to hearing from you on the other side!


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LOVELESMILLS 4/1/2014 9:21AM

  I am a gardener too and, when we leave this house of twenty five years, will leave my most treasured memories planted in the ground! Best of luck, Bill. Come back soon.

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