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It Was a Very Good Year

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Itís hard for me to believe it, but today marks my one-year anniversary with
Spark People. One would think it would be easy for me to write a thoughtful reflection on the occasion, but itís not.

I didnít come here looking for a magic wand to wave or even a new diet plan. In fact, I came here because Iíd become involved in another social networking site and my (then) health coach recommended I check it out. (If youíre reading this, Jennifer, I will forever be grateful for that recommendation, for what you taught me, and the time we had together.)

Iíve applied what Iíve learned about self-examination, social support, and goal setting to so many areas of my life over the past year, from fitness goals to de-cluttering goals, to financial goals. Iím going to be perfectly honest with you. I havenít lost a lot of weight. I havenít run a marathon. I havenít paid off all my debt. And I still have areas of my home that are packed with way too much stuff.

But Iím a very different person than I was a year ago. I have more ďtoolsĒ in my tool box, and I actually get them out and use them. Iíve learned the value of being brutally honest with myself and of giving and receiving social support. Iíve learned the meaning of ďgood enoughĒ. Iíve learned when itís time to let something go--possessions, beliefs, behavior patterns, and even people that no longer suit the me Iíve become. Iíve learned about my value and not to waste my time worrying about those who donít appreciate it. I have more confidence in myself and my ability to make a plan for the unknown we call tomorrow, and to adjust it as necessary. Iíve learned to operate in faith rather than fear more often than not.

Bottom line is that Iím becoming the kind of person I have long admired and felt I couldnít be. And Iíve learned that feelings can be tricky things that can get me into a whole lot of trouble if Iím not careful. Theyíre often unreliable. They can change very quickly. And perhaps most remarkably, Iíve learned that I have the power to choose the ones that benefit me and reject the ones that donít.

I am still a work in progress, to be sure. But the Spark has been lit, and itís propelling me in the right direction. So happy anniversary, Gnuattitude. The best is yet to come!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NOMOMOLLY 1/28/2010 7:31PM

    Wow, that sounds like a pretty inspirational anniversary to me. I can't wait to read your two year one.LOL No seriously, keep up the great work, you have become the special person that you've always known that you are. I've always felt that life isn't always about learning, it's about remembering. Kuddos!

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JOYATLAST 9/8/2009 11:54PM

    This is an excellent anniversary assessment. I love your blogs. Once again your honesty and contentment are shining examples for all of us. I love to be reminded that we can all grow and change. It doesn't matter where we start, but how we finish.

Congratulations and a big "Thank You!".

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DEEDAYE 8/10/2009 9:24AM

    Happy Anniversary! emoticon

We both know that our weight is just part of what we're here to change. As you told me , we have to get our thinking straight first. Our thoughts determine our actions. I'm gals you are becoming a person that YOU can admire. I already admire you. I'm glad you're my friend and That we can take this journey together!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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INFUSION413 8/8/2009 3:04PM

    What a great blog entry!! So proud of you!! And that's the right idea - that each year we would be able to look back and see that we are at an even better place in our growth than the year before! Woo hoo!! Love you!! OXOXO God bless you!

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STAYPRESENT 8/7/2009 8:47AM

    Happy, Happy Anniversary! That is such a good idea to reflect on this day. I'm so glad you did join Spark. I've really been encouraged and touched by your words.

I like what you said about the "Spark" being lit. Also, what you said about you being in progress. It is a journey, not a sprint.

Keep up the good work and remember we are behind you.


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TERRMOR 8/6/2009 11:28AM

    Happy Anniversary. What a great blog. I haven't lost a lot of weight either but I am a different person too. I totally relate. You are an inspiration. Keep it up.
Terri emoticon

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SALLYC1007 8/6/2009 9:16AM

    Happy Anniversary Gnu!!
I have to say that I agree completely with Karen.
That one line is so inspiring. That's what I would like to say for myself. You do seem to have an old soul. You're a deep thinker and your words carry wisdom. I pay attention when you speak, you're very inspiring!!
Wonderful blog post, thank you!

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NEVERAGAIN45 8/6/2009 8:55AM

    GNU -

Do you want to know the one sentence that struck me the most?

"Bottom line is that I'm becoming the kind of person I have long admired and felt I couldn't be."

I think that is such a powerful statement and reading it absolutely makes me want to stand up and cheer.

I can only speak for myself but I admire you so. I've said this before but you have an "old" soul. Wise, kind and fair. I'm so glad you are finally realizing what a strong woman you are.

You really should consider posting your statement somewhere. We all have our "doubtful" days and I think this would be a wonderful reminder to yourself of how far you have come.

Great blog and thanks for sharing it with us all.


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NANCY- 8/6/2009 6:12AM

    emoticon emoticon

How wonderful it is when we actually use those tools in our tool box.

Enjoy your journey!

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CECEWRITER 8/5/2009 11:45PM

  Indeed, Happy Anniversary-Gnuattitude!

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SQUIRTZIE 8/5/2009 7:20PM

    emoticon emoticon

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-LISH- 8/5/2009 7:09PM

  Congrats on your Sparkiversary, Gnu! Great blog - your growth over the past year is remarkable, by your own account. I didn't know the old you, so I was a bit surprised to hear about the changes that you've made in your behaviours and attitudes. Of particular value, in my view, is the ability to 'let go'. That can be one of the most difficult things to do - but it's a good and important action that everyone should consider in their own lives. What is there in my life that is not working in my favour? I think I'll reflect on that this evening - I'll let you know if I have a revelation. I like to give credit where it's due. Your ability to sustain momentum over the course of the year is what I admire most. Keep it up, gf!

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JAZZYJB 8/5/2009 5:31PM

    Happy Anniversary!! emoticon on your Spark Journey too, I am so glad we have got to know each other throughout this year, you have been a true inspiration to us all and of course you are the best life coach ever! emoticon

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CHBADILLO 8/5/2009 4:29PM

    HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!!!! Many more to come! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and being honest. What an inspiration you are. Keep up the good work. :)

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Wilt Thou Be Made Whole?

Friday, April 10, 2009

I recently heard a powerful message on the story of the man healed at the pool at Bethesda from the 5th chapter of the book of John. The story is set near the Sheep Gate in Jerusalem, where there was a pool of healing. A large number of people with various illness would lie there, waiting for an angel to come and stir the waters. The belief was that the first person who made it into the moving waters would be healed of his or her ailment.

The story continues to tell of how Jesus passed by a man who was lying by the pool and asked him, ďWilt thou be made whole?Ē or ďDo you want to get well?Ē On the surface of it, this seems like an odd question with an obvious answer.

But instead of simply saying, ďYes, I want to be well, ď the paralytic gave an excuse, saying heíd been waiting for 38 years, complaining that he had nobody to put him in the pool and someone else always got into the water before he did. Jesus simply told the man to get up, pick up his mat, and walk.

I find many parts of this story interesting and applicable to the struggle many of us face in our journey to a healthier life. First, I find it interesting that Jesus did not waste time sympathizing with the paralyticís plight. He didnít even acknowledge that the manís problem involved anyone but himself. He not only refused to play the ďblame gameĒ, he didnít even acknowledge it.

How often do we try to play the ďPity me, Iím all alone in this impossible struggleĒ game? Not only wonít that kind of self-pity solve the problem, it isnít even a valid argument. My problem is MY problem, and my challenges are MY challenges. The first step in solving my problems and facing my challenges is to claim them and acknowledge my part in having created them in the first place. The life I have now is the result of the choices Iíve made, and if I want something different, it will require me to make different choices.

I also think itís interesting that Jesus didnít ask the man how long heíd been waiting. Iím pretty certain the man had heard that question many times and had come to expect it. But Jesus didnít have to ask; He knew the answer. But it didnít really matter how long the man had been there. The only thing Jesus was concerned with was, ďWilt thou be made whole?Ē

How often have I chosen to remain paralyzed? And how often have I given up the struggle just before a breakthrough? How often have I continued to operate in old patterns, not because they were effective but because they were familiar? How often have I trusted in the wrong people and things, ignoring the necessary process to receive the promise? How often have I relied on my senses and emotions and neglected to walk by faith?

It doesnít really matter how long Iíve struggled with a problem or how many times I didnít quite make it ďinto the poolď. The only thing that matters is if I really want to be well, and if I act upon what God tells me to do. He will provide the resources I need and the right people to teach me. The lesson will be learned when I am ready to learn it. He might even send an angel to stir the waters, but I donít need to get into them. In fact, I prefer to simply pick up my mat and walk.

God has not forgotten me in my struggles. He has been with me all along, even when I havenít recognized or acknowledged His presence. And He has been preparing me all along to step into His place of purpose for me. Godís delays are not denials. He has me in just the right place at this particular moment in time to receive His healing and His blessing.

Yes, I will be made whole!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MYFEETHURT 4/30/2009 9:06PM

  I've been gone for a while and am finally getting a chance to check on my friends. I am so thankful I saw this blog. What powerful words. No matter what we think or feel...God is always, always watching us and giving us the grace we need to go on. As long as we follow God we are going in the right direction. Continued Blessings to you. mary

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    Oh, my yes, GnuAttitude. You do , indeed, have a new attitude, and it's the right one. You're so right. God isn't interested in our excuses. The question is very simple, "Wilt thou be made whole?"

This will be a powerful reminder to me to cut to the chase, and answer the question. Excuses will only slow down my blessing!!!!

Yes, Lord. I will be made whole. Thank You, Jesus.

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SQUIRTZIE 4/15/2009 11:29PM

    Wow! This is very powerful. It really made me think about my life.

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CANNOTFATHOM 4/11/2009 11:31AM

    I love your blog! Really makes one think :)


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POLY-E 4/11/2009 2:45AM

    What a great blog!

Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with us. I love an inspiring morning-read to start off my day.

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TACOTA 4/10/2009 10:49PM

    Sometimes God's greatest gifts are unanswered prayers. There'd be many a maimed 38-40 year old men walking around here if God had answered the prayers of a Pentecostal Teenager in the late 1980's.

Faith is the key. Faith is what? The evidence of things hoped for but not seen.
A 'leap of faith' is taking a chance when you don't know for certain what will happen, but believe the best will.

Thanks for sharing Gnu.

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STAYPRESENT 4/10/2009 5:16PM

    I love that story. When I was 38 it really hit me hard. It was as if something inside me said "Never again say I have no man". God himself will make sure that we are made whole like you said. The way and how is up to him.

I agree - I want to be made whole!


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STAYPRESENT 4/10/2009 5:15PM

    I love that story. When I was 38 it really hit me hard. It was as if something inside me said "Never again say I have no man". God himself will make sure that we are made whole like you said. The way and how is up to him.

I agree - I want to be made whole!


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SUZYQUZY7 4/10/2009 1:36PM

    You have a wonderful way with words. Wow. And so true, it's easy to play the blame game but to take responsibility and then action isn't.
I, too, will be made whole!

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Sweeping Out the Cobwebs

Thursday, March 26, 2009

As the promise of spring weather begins to tease me, I find myself noticing the cobwebs that have accumulated as the result of a forced air heating system and windows that have been closed for several months. Now, Iím not really keen on the whole notion of spring cleaning--what Iím really keen on is getting out of the house and into the sunshine--but I recognize the need to periodically clean out the cobwebs and get a fresh start.

As Iíve gone around the house with dust rag and vacuum in hand, itís occurred to me that itís time to ďclean out the cobwebsĒ in my mind and my life as well. Itís all too easy to overlook what accumulates over time in the nooks and crannies, in the corners and behind the doors of my life. But the fact of the matter is that while I may not see these ďcobwebsĒ every day, if I donít get rid of them, they will just get bigger and bigger until others will notice even if I donít.

These cobwebs serve no useful purpose. They are merely evidence of windows that have been closed for a long time and forced air that has pushed the dirt into the corners where it stays until itís acknowledged.

And so Iíve been looking at my life these past few days and making a point of opening my eyes to the cobwebs that need to be cleaned away so I can have a fresh start. I began this task by looking up, and seeing that God has given me all the tools and resources I need for the job. He didnít promise that it would be easy or a quick task, but He does assure me that He will help me.

Then I began to look around, to see the cobwebs that have settled in the door ways leading into my life. And it occurred to me that nothing and no one can come in without picking up some of those cobwebs unless I sweep them away.

Finally I looked behind--behind my motives and my desires-- for the cobwebs that have kept them less than pristine. And I determined that this was just not acceptable any longer. The cobwebs simply have to go!

And what does any of this have to do with my journey? Just this. The cobwebs are insidious remnants of a past that I am ready to leave behind on my way into the sunshine of the fresh, new, balanced life I know I deserve.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NEVERAGAIN45 3/30/2009 9:33AM

    GNU - You have written such a thought provoking blog and in such an eloquent way. Thank you for sharing it with all of us!

Here's to the sunshine!


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SQUIRTZIE 3/29/2009 4:24PM

    What great insight. That is something I need to do.

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EDUCGRAD 3/28/2009 4:34PM

    You are so right!We are to press on,leave the past in the past. 2Cor.5:17

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CECEWRITER 3/27/2009 7:25AM

  Awesome opportunities does not even begin to describe what is ahead! Jesus said to Believe to Receive and my heart is bursting with JOY for you as all of these wonderful changes are happening.

It has been quite the productive Spring Break-huh?

( I love the cobweb analogy-great blog!)

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TACOTA 3/27/2009 1:30AM

    Beautifully said, Gnu. It's amazing how one little sight of something can speak so strongly to our psyche isn't it? Spiritual awakening....there's nothing like it.

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-LISH- 3/26/2009 10:21PM

  Yay, Gnu! Sweep away the cobwebs of the past. Open your heart and your door and see what comes through! emoticon

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CANNOTFATHOM 3/26/2009 7:29PM

    Best wishes with your "Spring cleaning"! Hope that the new start brings wonderful opportunities :)


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STAYPRESENT 3/26/2009 1:15PM

    I know just what you mean. An old friend of mine and I used to talk about "stuff". It seems like my mind just needs to worry and reherse past problems. I've learned that this just leads to resentments and those are so dangerous.

I totally agree that God is the one to turn to to walk us through this journey. He wants us to have peace of minds. Not all cluttered with worry, fret, and anxiety.

I have a long way to go to Let Go and Let God. I'm glad that this is a journey and not a destination. I'm a work in progress. God is not finished with me yet. Yipeee!


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GNUATTITUDE 3/26/2009 1:11PM

    Poly, we are on the same wavelength. You even noted the presence of spiders that lurk in the cobwebs, which may be the topic of my next blog!

Thanks GF!

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POLY-E 3/26/2009 1:02PM

    You just put into words what I've been thinking, too, and so much more eloquently than I could ever do! Great blog!

Out with the cobwebs emoticon

and in with fresh air and sunshine! emoticon

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Some Steps Are More Challenging Than Others

Sunday, January 11, 2009

My mini fast breaks have proved to be more challenging than I thought they would be. I've managed to fix my own lunches and to eat at least 6 servings of fruits and veggies a day since the first of the year. But it certainly has been more difficult than I imagined it would be.

Because of the weather and my schedule, I've had to do my marketing locally. While I am grateful to have our little IGA here in town, it has a limited selection, particularly in the produce department, and this has forced me to get more creative than when I shop at a bigger chain grocery or a super store.

I've made two different kinds of soups with frozen vegetables and dried legumes. I took advantage of the "buy one get one free" bags of romaine lettuce in order to make taco salad. I've eaten some canned and frozen vegetables and fruits. And I took a chance on a bag of tangerines, which thankfully, turned out to be quite nice. But it certainly isn't the variety that I've become accustomed to.

To be honest, it would have been much easier to fall back on pasta or frozen meals, but I didn't do it. I made meatloaf so I would have something other than cold cuts to make sandwiches for school, and I've used a lot of canned tuna, but I know for a fact that I've eaten better food than if I'd bought those cafeteria lunches!

Still, I can't wait to take a road trip to a town that has a real supermarket!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

AUNTIEM160 1/22/2009 8:14PM

    I enjoyed reading your blog and can sympathize with your thoughts on how much easier it would be to fall back on pasta or a frozen meal. When I read that you made meatloaf so that you would have sandwiches for school, I remember seeing an episode of JOHN AND KATE PLUS EIGHT in which Kate revealed that she adds carrots, celery, and other veggies to her meatloaf. I believe her quote was, "I like to sneak veggies in wherever I can and many times the kids don't even know they're there." Just and idea. Keep up the great work! emoticon

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SQUIRTZIE 1/16/2009 12:57AM

    Keep it up!

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-LISH- 1/14/2009 7:28PM

  yah, keep it up Karen! I'm sure those school lunches are really yucky. I'm so lucky to have a great hot and cold buffet that I go to every day. Yesterday I had baked salmon and rice and spinach 'stew' - it was all seasoned with exotic spices and tasted awesome... WAY better than anything that I could make. You must have a microwave at work? Whip up some exotic dishes and reheat them at work. You can do it!
emoticon (why do they have so many pics of unhealthy foods in the emoticons?!)

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JAZZYJB 1/13/2009 11:23AM

    hey your are making a great start! I am the same way, thought it would be easy but found it was more difficult than I imagined. I have tried really hard to give up the "processed" foods and eat fresh foods as much as possible. It takes some creativity to not get stuck in rut eating the same things all the time but in the long run I feel so much healthier, I can definately notice the change in how I feel. Keep up the good work!1 emoticon

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CECEWRITER 1/12/2009 11:34PM

  Hey you it may not be the selection you want but you are being the Queen of Cuisine-or at least the IGA cuisine.

BIG CUDOS on not falling back on pasta or frozen dinners! emoticon

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CANNOTFATHOM 1/12/2009 1:18PM

    Sounds like you've done terrific!


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Another Step

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A few days ago some other teachers and I were discussing the quality of the food now being served in the school cafeteria. There have been a number of changes made over the past few years, and we've been told this has been an effort to serve more nutritious foods in appropriate portions.

However, my teacher friends and I have observed that more pre-packaged foods have been on the menu this year, including pre-packaged PBJ, "sliders", and "grilled" cheese sandwiches. One friend remarked that she was appalled by a use by date three weeks into the future on one of those entree offerings. We all agreed that this is not our idea of healthy food!

So I've decided that I will no longer be buying my lunch at school. I'll be packing my own lunch. This is going to take some additional planning and preparation, but I'm actually looking forward to the challenge. And I've decided to use this as the basis of a mini fast break for the first 14 days of 2009.

So, I'm putting my first food-related goal in writing today. Beginning tomorrow I will use the food tracker to track fruits and vegetables, as my mini fast break goal is to eat 6-8 servings of fruits and vegetables each day.

I've always fancied myself a lover of fruit and veg. But to be honest, there have been days when I would rather reach for starch or protein or sugar laden food than the green, red, or yellow stuff. My plan is to consume at least 3 or 4 servings in my homemade lunches and the rest at home.

As I prepare for my 2 week fast break, I'm looking forward to this additional challenge and some nutritious lunches without the additives. Now, I'm off to look at my soup recipes!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

STAYPRESENT 1/7/2009 1:21PM

    That is great. Thanks for putting in writing and sharing with us.

This motivates me to eat more fruits, too.


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CAREDFORONE 1/2/2009 6:18PM

    Good for you! What a great goal. We can do it because our God is a big God! emoticon

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JARDINVERDE 1/1/2009 11:54PM

    Good for you, Gnu. I could never believe it when my kids told me what they were getting in school. This is also one way to "vote" against the food being served.

Comment edited on: 1/1/2009 11:55:29 PM

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SQUIRTZIE 12/31/2008 11:57PM

    What a great goal.
I think school lunches are terrible for the kids. When I read the menus in the paper I just cringe at the thought and then they wonder why kids don't want healthy food. School lunches is where I learned to eat a lot of foods that my mother didn't make. One time I asked a cook why they didn't serve healthier food and the answer was the kids won't eat it.
Maybe if enough of the staff puts up a big enough fuss the menus will change--but it is probably hard to fix healthy food on the budget.

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-LISH- 12/31/2008 7:08PM

  You go girl! You're the best goal-keeper!

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CECEWRITER 12/31/2008 5:01PM

  All the best to you on this next leg of your journey, GNU!
You are so right, school lunches are appalling-why is this? (rhetorical)

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