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My Two Year Anniversary: Thoughts and The Like

Monday, December 19, 2011

It wasnít until this morning that I realized Iíd been part of Spark for two years. I knew it was in December, just not sure when. So I guess I need to write the obligatory look back/ look ahead and all that other neat stuff.

I began this journey weighing 326 pounds. At one point I was all the way down to 250 pounds and then then everything unraveled. In the spirit of total candor and honesty when the weight started coming back on I freaked. My confidence went in the toilet. I felt ashamed and more than once just thought about deleting my account. I was going to be fat my entire life. There are 1118 reasons I didnít. They are the friends Iíve found here. They are the people who have alternately slapped me and hugged me depending on what Iíve needed. They are the folks who sent a kind word or a Goodie or simply made me laugh hard and forget what I perceived as problems and issues.

I have learned about balance. I learned that no matter how far you run, how fast you run, spin or swim that unless you balance body, mind and spirit, you simply replacing food with exercise as an addiction and as an avoidance mechanism so you donít have to address the issues in your life that derailed you to begin with. Iíve learned that no matter how much karma you pour into it your body is a machine and no machine can push itself forever without breaking down. Donít misunderstand, I believe in a balanced exercise program. I just learned that dragging me out of bed seven days a week at age 58 only gave me back and leg issues.

Iíve suffered a lot of physical pain in the past six months. There are days I could hardly stand up and I only shared this with a few people. I felt totally and completely disconnected from the world around me. I was reminded of something I heard years ago. ďGod creates from nothing and until we are nothing God cannot create.Ē I have seen my physical activity limited to painful walks to the car. I spent money on MRIís, physical therapy, chiropractors, neurologists and the like, only to be told to lose weight and exercise. I looked in the mirror and discovered my pain and my limitations all came from inside of me and that maybe, just maybe if I began getting back to basic activities and started looking for positive outcomes, life would be much better. It is.

I am learning to balance my life and am realizing itís not all about awards, recognitions and the like. Itís about looking deep inside and resurrecting you. Maybe you never really knew you or maybe you just got lost in all the stuff that piles on top of us and makes so terribly unreal. It means balance comes from letting go of people, places and things that gave up on you or took a vacation once you hit a bad patch in your journey. Itís learning to grieve fore that loss, the friends who lost interest when you could no longer, run, jump or cycle to very well.

I have learned it is not about food but my relationship with food and all its come to mean in my life. I learned idolatry is not always an altar with a three headed monster and incense.

Bottom line, if The Spark Dude and all his minions asked me to rate the process after two years, on a scale of one to ten I would have to give it a fifteen. I donít believe Iíd have discovered as much about me as I have.

Long term goals? When I write a year from now I want to be more balanced in my life then I am today. Thatís as good as it gets. Itís a journey and all that rot we pump out but itís also a voyage of discovery that requires an amazing amount of courage. BTW: I have managed to keep off 26.7 pounds in the past two years.

Thank you for being part of my life

ďIím gonna sing till my feet turn blue
Iíll sing loud enough to go through
the mountains to you

Iím gonna dance when the music stops
When soft hearts they canít sit still

Oh wake up the day
Darken the night
Lighten my eyelids cause I donít wanna sleep
While youíre shining so brightĒ
The Wailliní Jennyís

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TRACEY5280 1/3/2012 10:35AM

    As usual, well said. Balance is a long journey. The important thing is that you choose to continue the journey.

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CATHERINEL66 1/3/2012 5:41AM

    Happy (belated) 2-year spark-versary. Wow, time went by fast!

Congrats on the weight you've lost. I'm choosing to focus on that piece!

I think the challenges, particularly the health issues, are the stuff life throws our way, always, that we have to cope with. And you're coping, and moving forward. There were days in the last year in particular, where a walk back and forth to the mailbox was a feat. Really. And it made me want to cry, because nope, it wasn't something I was getting a blue ribbon for, but dang, I should have!

I think the important thing is to just keep going. Which you are. And to keep learning during the journey -- which is about WAY more than food / counting calories.

You ROCK buddy, and I'm so glad to have connected with you here!

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SILLYHP1953 12/28/2011 5:40PM

    Balance...that really is it, isn't? So simple, but not easy. I'm glad you've been here two years and glad you plan on staying.

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MORTICIAADDAMS 12/24/2011 7:32PM

    I hope the next year is the best yet! Congrats on sticking with it and keeping off those pounds.

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NASFKAB 12/23/2011 4:22AM


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HDHAWK 12/22/2011 8:16AM

    I'm sure she feels a huge burden has been lifted. The bigger thing may be that she doesn't feel she's in this alone since she's the closest and has to deal with any immediate needs. I'm sure she appreciates your help more than you know.

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MARCYNA 12/22/2011 3:36AM

    Hi John, glad you've made it!!!!
I am really becoming aware exercising can be my new addiction....I wish I could let it go , and stay in shape, but I am afraid it will not happen!!!!
Let's keep on finding our stability & balance!!!!

Comment edited on: 12/22/2011 3:37:45 AM

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PINETREEGIRL 12/22/2011 1:11AM

    John, I am glad that you are still here. It always makes a difference to me to see you here. You're a part of my fundamental 'just getting going' friends, and seeing you is very important to me! Congrats on the anniversary! May you have many more to come!
warmth and affection,
Pine Tree Girl

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CARTOONB 12/21/2011 11:06PM

    Happy Anniversary. I'm glad you've stuck around.

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HLPRATT 12/21/2011 11:50AM

    great blog I admire your honesty- Just keep plugging away

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CLOVER2 12/20/2011 2:16AM

    I agree with the consensus here, we would all have missed a wonderful opportunity in getting to "know" you! I always check to see if you've left anything for us, I agree that when we take the time to listen we can learn so much from ourselves and each other.

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LYNMEINDERS 12/19/2011 7:37PM

    Awesome as always.....

Congratulations on your anniversary....thats superb emoticon

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SPARKLISE 12/19/2011 5:48PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon
Cheers to your 2 years and I can't tell you how glad I am you didn't give up on yourself and on us!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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RR1_RR1 12/19/2011 4:04PM

    Awesome- happy anniversary! I love the part about God:) your right too, sometimes its not about overdoing it- everything in moderation...go with the flow and learn from the good and bad! emoticon

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MARYMO22 12/19/2011 3:41PM

    so true - it's an amazing journey with all it's ups and downs.... I too have learned alot about myself - enlightening
thanks for sharing

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IRISHBEANERGAL 12/19/2011 1:50PM

    Life is about the journey not the destination.

Glad you are sharing a virtual path with me.


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GETFIT2LIVE 12/19/2011 1:47PM

    John, I too am glad you have stayed; it's not all about the number of pounds lost or the miles run or cycled or whatever else. Those are not nearly as important as the things we learn about ourselves along the way. The times when we are tempted to give up or disappear are the very times we most need to reach out to others and hang on for dear life; we really do need one another.

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GEEMAWEST 12/19/2011 12:48PM

    I am so happy to know you, John. And that wouldn't have been possible if it wasn't for Spark. Let's hang in there together!

Happy Holidays to you and yours, Cheryl

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WORKINGSTIFF 12/19/2011 11:04AM

    Right on, John!

It's been 8 years for me (see my latest blog), and honestly, the greatest part of the journey has been learning about myself, just as you say in your blog.

Take care and know that there are people here who truly care about you and will be there for you on your journey.


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HAPPYSOUL91 12/19/2011 9:48AM

    Spot on John! If we aren't in balance some part of our life will fall apart and it is the part that always fall apart. Glad to read that your insight has opened up a new world for you.

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TEACHING1ST 12/19/2011 8:29AM

    John, every time I read what's on your mind or in your heart, I learn something more about myself! Thank you for staying with have so much insight to life in general and for that....and your 'virtual' friendship, I'm so thankful!

Christmas blessings and happiness throughout the new year. Balance will come!


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NASFKAB 12/19/2011 8:24AM


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GLORY63 12/19/2011 8:18AM

    I think we can all say the same thing about ourselves. Until we look at the reasons why we are doing the things we already know are bad for us, we can only have small victories.

emoticon - here's a little ringing of the bells to a more balanced you in 2012.

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HDHAWK 12/19/2011 8:17AM

    I for one am glad you've stuck around. Sometimes I wonder why I keep my account open when I've managed to do nothing but gain since summer. At least I'm in a holding pattern now. I would miss the friends and support I've made here too much to quit. I know I'll get to a healthy, "balanced" place with nutrition and exercise at some point. It's just taking longer than I'd like. emoticon

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WENDYSPARKS 12/19/2011 7:25AM

    I hope you start to feel better! Stay with Spark and read The Spark has helped me alot. Wishing you a Merry Christmas! Keep Sparking!

Wendy emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MUPPETB 12/19/2011 7:20AM

    I'm glad you stayed to continue using Sparkpeople. Especially when you feel most alone, it is so nice to know there are so many people you can turn to. We all have one thing in common..... love of Spark! Keep on with your journey and I know you will continue losing weight and hopefully feeling better every day. Take care. Ann

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Sharing a Bit More Wisdom on Life (Not My Own, LOL)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

This is from the wisdom of Robert Fulgham

Most of what I really need to know about how to live and what to do, and how to be, I learned in kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate school mountain, but there in the sandbox at nursery school.

These are the things I learned:

Share everything.

Play fair.

Don't hit people.

Put things back where you found them.

Clean up your own mess.

Don't take things that aren't yours.

Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody.

Wash your hands before you eat.


Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.

Live a balanced life.

Learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.

Take a nap every afternoon.

When you go out into the world, watch for traffic, hold hands and stick together.

Be aware of wonder.

Remember the little seed in the plastic cup? The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that. Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the plastic cup -- they all die. So do we.

And then remember the book about Dick and Jane and the first word you learned, the biggest word of all: look.

Everything you need to know is in there somewhere. The Golden Rule and love and basic sanitation. Ecology and politics and sane living.

Think what a better world it would be if we all -- the whole world -- had cookies and milk about 3 o'clock every afternoon and then lay down with our blankets for a nap. Or if we had a basic policy in our nation and other nations to always put things back where we found them and cleaned up our own messes. And it is still true, no matter how old you are, when you go out into the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WALKNLOVE 12/20/2011 5:53AM

    I remember thnis well...It was posted in my classroom whnen I used to teach K4. Thanks for the happy memory you brought to me by posting this reminder.

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MORTICIAADDAMS 12/16/2011 10:25PM

    Great advice!!

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AJDOVER1 12/15/2011 12:13PM

    very cool. Let's stick together.

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CIVIAV 12/15/2011 8:30AM


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SPARKLISE 12/15/2011 7:19AM

    I LOVE the idea of a nap in the afternoon.! emoticon
I wonder if we could make it into a law! emoticon
emoticon emoticon

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CARTOONB 12/14/2011 11:13PM

    Too true!

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LYNMEINDERS 12/14/2011 3:55PM

    Thankyou so much for having this and posting it...
I love it....
One of the Graduation speakers at last Saturdays Grad had this as part of his speach and wasn't able to write fast enough....
Thankyou so much

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HDHAWK 12/14/2011 2:47PM

    I wish more of our parent would send their kids to school with these ideals. It seems common sense has gone out the window for many.

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BLACKROSE_222 12/14/2011 2:18PM

    Thanks for sharing!

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ERINBEAR1876 12/14/2011 11:17AM

    I love this list. It was fun to read it!!

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JUNEBUGABEE 12/14/2011 8:34AM

    Wonderful! I work with 1st graders, and these little things are so important for all of us to remember. Thanks for sharing.

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Looking For Answers In Our Lives, I Wanted To Share This With You

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A friend is struggling right now. Their world isnít ending but one of my grandmaís always said ďNo problem is a small problem if itís your problem.Ē They wrote me a long letter and half way through I was reminded of something I havenít read in ages, the Desiderata. Truth be known, I should read it every morning. Its chock full of precise wisdom and advice and if I choose to make it my goal, Iíll be the happiest person alive.

Because I love you I thought Iíd share it with you

ďGo placidly amid the noise and the haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible, without surrender,
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even to the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons;
they are vexatious to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter,
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs,
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals,
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love,
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment,
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be.
And whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life,
keep peace in your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happyĒ

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SPARKLISE 12/15/2011 7:17AM

    I've never heard of this but it sounds really deep.
Thank you for sharing it.
Lots of truths we need to hear-I liked the "do not feign affection" as we near the Christmas season.
emoticon emoticon

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NASFKAB 12/15/2011 12:34AM


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CMBELISLE 12/14/2011 10:14AM

    Thank you! I'm going to keep a copy.

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MKPRINCESS007 12/13/2011 10:24PM

    But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

So much speaks to me here, but these two lines jumped off the page for me. It is so true. We create so much in our minds, much more than the reality.

Thanks for loving us and sharing this with us!


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MORTICIAADDAMS 12/13/2011 10:11PM

    Great refresher. I hadn't read it in a long time.

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DARE2LIVE2011 12/13/2011 5:24PM

    Keeping this one in my favorites! Thanks for the great reminder.

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LYNMEINDERS 12/13/2011 4:04PM

    So so true...thankyou

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HDHAWK 12/13/2011 12:32PM

    Thanks for sharing. Very true.

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LINDAJ0621 12/13/2011 11:09AM

    I had forgotten about this too...I am printing this out as a reminder! Thank you!!!

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TRISTAROSE 12/13/2011 10:47AM

    Thanks for sharing this John!


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MUSTANG_SALLY2 12/13/2011 9:56AM

    What a great start to my day. I need to print it out! Thank you.


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NEEDTOLOSE100LB 12/13/2011 9:51AM

    Thank you for sharing, John. I think each one of us could benefit from reading these words each day and reaffirming our place in this vast universe.

Have a happy day!


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WORKINGSTIFF 12/13/2011 9:50AM

    Being a child of the 60's, I've seen this on posters and heard it in song for many many years...

Thank you for this. I'm going to copy it and print it and hang it nearby for a constant reminder.

Have a great day!


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You Cant Argue With This Piece of Logic

Monday, December 12, 2011

When I started my consulting service some ten years ago I made a commitment to devote a portion of my business to helping people who otherwise couldnít afford my services. Mostly, Iíll write or revise resumes for college students when they get ready to enter the job market. Before you deem to terribly noble writing a resume is something that takes me about thirty five minutes, an hour if I have to start from scratch. When you think about it there are things you do in your job that are second nature and donít always require a massive amount of effort to achieve.

But I digress.

Last week I polished up a resume for a young man whoíll be graduating from college next week. We sat down at Starbucks and I went over the changes Iíd made. He thanked me and asked me what he owed me. I looked him square in the eye and told him to work hard, follow his dreams, pay the price and become a success however he defined success. One day as I sat on the front porch in my rocker I would know I helped someone reached their goals.

He looked at the resume for a moment, then looked at me and said ďWell, how about I give you twenty bucks instead.Ē

I laughed harder than I have laughed in a while. His logic was hard to argue with I think he is already on his way!!!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ANDREWS_MOM 12/13/2011 8:50AM

Waaaay too funny! Thanks for sharing & staring my day w/ a smile! emoticon

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NASFKAB 12/13/2011 12:06AM

  great fun good laugh

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GEEMAWEST 12/12/2011 10:18PM

    That's funny!! You have to have a good sense of humor to make it in today's world. (I assume he was kidding).

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LYNMEINDERS 12/12/2011 9:00PM

    Awesome....Had a laugh myself.....

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TRULYVISIBLE 12/12/2011 3:18PM

  He couldn't express how much he appreciated what you did and offered the $20.00. I think that was very nice of him.

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CMBELISLE 12/12/2011 3:14PM

    LOL - love it!

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ANATASHIKI 12/12/2011 2:07PM

    emoticon next time try to ask them solve the world crisis and bring peace in the world emoticon

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GETFIT2LIVE 12/12/2011 11:52AM

    emoticon Thanks for the chuckle to start my day--yes, he is on his way!

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SHERRYJVP 12/12/2011 11:20AM

    lol that's hysterical. I thinking paying the money is easier that the road you wished upon him...but I agree...if he is smart enought to know that already, then he will succeed. So funny.

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GOOSIEMOON 12/12/2011 9:46AM

    Money does make the world go 'round!


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MUSTANG_SALLY2 12/12/2011 9:13AM

    LOL I do believe he is well on his way!

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Unsung Heroes

Thursday, December 08, 2011

When you own the business you work Christmas Eve, especially when you are a ďmom and pop.Ē Itís not really fair to your twenty somethingís. Even though the sign screams ďNo VacancyĒ there is always the random stranger who came home from college at the last moment to surprise the family on Christmas morning or the traveler who ran out of steam half way through their journey. Itís hard to say no. But where would you put them, on the roof? Besides, this business is yours. Maybe it only has ten rooms and there isnít a buffet breakfast served in the morning, but every inch of it is yours. You arenít large enough to give a Christmas bonus and you barely have enough money to pay for your own benefits so you let them have Christmas Eve and Christmas day off with pay. You do it, your dad did it and his dad before him did it. Itís just the way things are. Itís your obligation.

So you sit on the same stool as those who came before you and you work through a Sudoku book. At midnight youíll turn off the lights, lock the door and ease yourself on to the cot in your office. All your guests are tucked in; everyone has soap and towels for the morning. ďMerry Christmas to all and to all a good nightÖĒ

The headlights blind you for a second as they glance off the wet window pane. A kid gets out of the car. You are half way to the front door mouthing ďno room available.Ē His shoulders slump a bit, he stomps the rain off of him and asks if you have a cup of water. Itís for his wife. They are headed home to see his mom and she canít go much further without a break. Sheís tired and aches all over. She wanted to stretch her legs a bit and maybe get something to drink. By the way, you donít happen to have a room do you. Heíll pay double if you could see your way clear.

This is the part you hate. As you fill a Styrofoam cup with water you politely but firmly tell him no, you sure donít. As you ease him towards the door you watch his wife stretch her back and then lean against the car. You mutter a profanity under your breath and tell him to bring her inside for a bit. Sheís pale, tired and you think of your wife and two daughters andÖÖÖÖ The cot in the back is not much. It sags in the middle and could use more than a heavy dose of Febreeze. There is a look of relief in her eyes as she lies down. Her husband sits next to her and you can hear them talking through the curtain.

The baby is born around 2:30 that morning. Mrs. Trotter in room 7 calls the front desk to complain about the racket and the flashing lights when the EMTís arrive. A few other curious guests poke their heads through the door and one cracks wise; ďThis is just like the first Christmas.Ē You sigh and put on a pot of coffee. Itís going to be a long day.

Unsung heroes are unsung for a reason. They are never on page one, they never receive an achievement award, they are largely forgotten. Amidst the trophies and mounds of recognition they become the people who make our successes possible.

We rarely know they are there and they never understand what the big deal is anyway.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GIRANIMAL 12/12/2011 8:59PM

    Beautifully written, my friend!

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MYOWNHERO 12/10/2011 9:07AM

    You just gave me chills. Seriously.

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CARTOONB 12/9/2011 11:44PM


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NASFKAB 12/9/2011 8:24AM


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CLOVER2 12/8/2011 3:35PM

    A wonderful reminder, wow.
emoticon emoticon

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LYNMEINDERS 12/8/2011 3:18PM

    Briliant blog John....
So so true as well....

Its nice to fade into the =background...

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HDHAWK 12/8/2011 12:41PM

    I have some in my own family. This is the first year in the last 4 that I'll have my hubby home on Christmas (firefighter), but my son in law has to work (state patrol officer), and my daughter has the day off (nurse). They all have crazy schedules but we just work around them. It doesn't matter what day we celebrate as long as we get to spend time together.

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GOOFIERNU 12/8/2011 11:08AM


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BLACKROSE_222 12/8/2011 10:24AM

    What a reminder. Thanks again.

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PGNBRI 12/8/2011 10:18AM


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    There is one born every day. I've known hundreds of them and they make the world a better place to live in.

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EUPHRATES 12/8/2011 8:50AM


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