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"But You Don't Understand....... I'M TIRED"

Friday, March 12, 2010

A friend of mine called the other day. I hadn’t heard from him in awhile. He’s had a rough twelve months or so. His father passed away right before Christmas 2008. He had struggled with diabetes for over twenty five years and was in poor health all that time. Like most other things in life you “get used to” things. His dad died rather suddenly. One day he was laughing and talking the next he was dead. Shortly after that my friend found out he had diabetes. A few weeks ago he found out he had something called celiac disease which comes from intolerance to gluten. It’s been a rough year. He has always rebounded from anything that’s been dished in his path. During the past year I have watched him slowly slip into a depression.

He is one of those people who will talk when he’s ready to talk and in the ten years I have known him it never happens any sooner than that. The good news is once he gets it out he is pretty concise.

“I’m angry with my father,” He began. “He left my mother a financial mess. He knew better than that. Your parents are supposed to be your heroes.”

I had to smile because the damn had burst; he was ready to face his demons so to speak. Was I?

I laid in bed that night thinking about the last part of his statement, “Your parents are supposed to be your heroes.” Joan and I have six great kids. They are not perfect but neither are we. We raised them to be themselves and no one else and we think they are pretty good people. Oh how I wished I had left it there!!
I began to think about all those times I wasn’t a “hero” to my kids. I started reviewing all the mistakes I made. Off in the distance I heard a voice:

“Pity, party of one, your table is available.”

It was going to be a long night. Why did this have to happen now!! Fortunately my inner voice intervened. (TYVM Father, Son and Holy Ghost!!)

“Okay so maybe you weren’t a hero all the time. Why can’t you start being one tomorrow?” It wasn’t this holy, voice from on high. It was sort of a “duh, John” voice. It said “If you are not happy with the way something is, change it.”

“Duh!!!” (Sometimes I wish it would leave off the duh part.)

I have the power to change anything about me I don’t like. No one else does. I can blame mom, dad, Joan, the kids and the fact that one of my favorites got voted off American Idol last night………… It is not going to change who is responsible for what happens to me.

It struck me that it really is all that simple. I am the one who makes it complicated. I throw in all kinds of terms and conditions and then when you don’t live up to them I have a built in excuse not to move on. It’s never, ever me.

While I am responsible for me, if I do not learn from other peoples positive example than I will not be completely successful. I was traveling all day yesterday and I was tired when I got home. I had already decided no cardio today. I was too wore out. I needed a break anyways. My attitude was poor. I had a whole raft of excuses.

I started reading Spark People blogs and boy-oh-boy did I get a wakeup call.
My good friend AMABILE75 has been put through the ringer the past few days. She has some health issues she’s concerned about and if you read her profile and her blogs, well just let me say this: She is in my top ten of inspirational people…….. of all time. Her blog yesterday talked about exercise, walking up a jillion flights of stairs and then beginning preparation for a 5K run in July. This is while she is living with her medical issues.

“This is the last call for pity, party of one.”

I was humbled. I had a sore neck, a sore back and I was cranky. I changed clothes went to the gym and I have to tell you it was the best work out I have had in two weeks. This morning I feel energized and refocused. (Thanks Tara)

The only person who can change me is me, but if I try to do it alone it won’t ever work. When I need something I turn to those in my life who can help, guide or show me a different perspective. To me that’s the true secret of being a Sparkie.
In three months I have created relationships that God willing will last a life time. But in the end it’s all up to me. I can succeed or fail but it’s my choice.

It’s your choice too.

Knock em’ dead today my friends

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JERIBERI1 3/14/2010 10:35AM

    Great blog, John!! Yes, we are responsible for our own happiness, our own choices, and our own attitudes. Change is not always easy, but it's always necessary. The very definition of life is that it is ever-changing.

Have a fantastic day!!

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RAINBOWMF 3/13/2010 7:26PM


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ANNSTOECKL 3/13/2010 3:20PM

    Boy, did I need this today! Thank you. Prayers for your friend. Blessings, Ann

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GERIKRAGH 3/13/2010 1:54PM

    Amabile is also a friend of mine and a daily inspiration. Your blog reminded me of my favorite quote: If it is to be, it is up to me. Thank you for the reminder that we CAN be responsible.

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TNTEACHER2 3/12/2010 11:45PM

    Another great blog, John.

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NJMATTICE 3/12/2010 7:49PM

    There's no such thing as a good excuse. There may be a good reason, but no excuses. Have a great evening. Really. Have a great evening. I doesn't matter if you are tired, you can still choose to have a good evening. (that was not for your benefit. I'm just talking to myself.)
John, you have a good evening too.

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WANDAH3 3/12/2010 5:02PM

    I see that "duh" voice lives in your head too! lol.

I have a quote that I've started using and it really is the one thing that gets me going on those days when I just want to shut down and do nothing. "Just do it".
I'm the only one that can "just do it" in my life. I detest that "whiny" voice that gives me so many excuses. I have come to realize that the the quickest way to shut it up is to "just do it". I always feel so much better when I have "just done it".

Have an awesome weekend.


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STORMTMB 3/12/2010 11:56AM

    To me, parents are heroes because they are human. Kids need to have the love and support of their parents, but they also need to know that sometimes parents (adults) mess up or make a bad decision or have something bad happen.

Kids need a good example of how to rebound from that. They need to see a parent say I'm sorry or figure out how to make it right or how to cope when things just aren't fair. Kids need role models for how to live their lives in the good times and in the bad or difficult. When it's done in an open, loving and supportive way, every adult, parent or not, is a hero.

That's my two cents.

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GETFIT2LIVE 3/12/2010 11:53AM

    Well done--as others have said, dads don't have to be perfect (though as parents we sure WANT to be!), they just need to be real, be truthful, and be there for their children, and it sounds like you are all of those.

The turning point for me in beginning to make real life changes was realizing (finally--duh!) that the choice is mine to make. I can choose to continue down the same, destructive path I've been on of eating things that do me no good and getting as little exercise as humanly possible, or I can choose to make the changes that I know I need to make. We have a choice; we are not victims; and we are not alone. Have a GREAT day!

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TEEKAY25 3/12/2010 11:10AM

    Thanks for your post, it was a great wake up call. I've been sitting at the pity party table for too long, its time to join this thing called LIFE and live.


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TKRINER 3/12/2010 9:41AM

    Thank you for this inspiring blog. Your right, we have to make up our own mind to change. Just wish that wasn't so hard to do.

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SANDY5882 3/12/2010 9:32AM

    Thank you - you remind us it's all about our decisions for us and we are the only ones we can control!

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COVINGTON69 3/12/2010 9:25AM

    I am a daddy's girl through and through and I KNOW my dad isn't perfect but the important thing is he is still my hero regardless. My parents have always been there for me since I was little and they were broke 30 somethings raising 2 kids. I love them for who they are and how they raised me. I respect them and now they are not only my parents but my friends.

You can change things that you want but one of my favorite quotes is, if it is something you can't change, don't worry about it. I try to use that in my life when people/things get on my nerves.

OK I rambled, but I am glad I met you as a friend.

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TAZZAT2003 3/12/2010 9:18AM

    You remind me of an old friend. I always had excuses. I wanted to learn how to drive..'I do not have a car, my mom won't teach me, I do not have time etc'. No matter what the problem, no matter what the excuse he always would tell me "You can" I would always become defensive and sometimes frustrated. "I just can't" I would say. Without missing a beat "You can! If you want to do it then do it". As frustrating as it was, he was right. It may take a while. It may be really hard. However, if I want it badly enough I can have it...I can do it.
I have since learned to drive. I am learning to live a healthier life and this fall I WILL return to school.

I can, you can, we can! The question is will I? YES I WILL!

Have a great weekend! Thanks again for another inspiring post!

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AMABILE75 3/12/2010 8:59AM

    As MARCYNA already said, dad's (parent's) do not have to be perfect or hero's 100% of the time. You are still human, and humans are not perfect. Therefore it is impossible to be perfect 100% of the time and expecting that of yourself is unrealistic and setting yourself up for disappointment.

With that said, if there is an area or aspect of your personality that you wish to change then yes, only you can make this change. You CAN do it though. You are such a strong person, so kind and caring, I know that you have the power within yourself to do anything you decide you want to do. It may not be easy, but we are here for you every step of the way.

Thank you so very much for all of the kind words you wrote about me. I am so happy that I have been able to help. I would go through everything I've been through in life 10 times over if I knew it would somehow help another human. Thank you for letting me know that I have helped you. I can go through the day with a smile on my face and warmth in my heart.

emoticon emoticon

Have a great day!! You are WONDERFUL!

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REMODELINGPAT 3/12/2010 8:13AM

    Introspection is always hard, and usually painful. But as we come out the other side, IT IS GOOD! I hate looking inward! There are so many murky, dingy, dusty corners that I don't want to examine too closely. You, my friend, are an example to me. I CAN burrow into the dark and, with God's help I CAN clean up all the murkiness, one corner at a time.

Have a super-colossal, absolutely fantastic day! You're one of MY heroes in this walk toward a healthier life!

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DOLLBABE56 3/12/2010 7:38AM

    This gives us something to really think about. I always feel better when I exercise. It's remembering that when we are in a funk. Thanks for another great blog. I will now go check out AMABILE75's blog.

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MARCYNA 3/12/2010 7:36AM

    I can tell you dads don't have to be perfect to be heroes...They have to be just truthful.
And definitely you are. emoticon emoticon

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MMP526 3/12/2010 7:28AM

    Great, inspirational post!

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MMP526 3/12/2010 7:28AM

    Great, inspirational post!

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MMP526 3/12/2010 7:28AM

    Great, inspirational post!

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MMP526 3/12/2010 7:27AM

    Great, inspirational post!

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Rewarding Performance or Do I Have A lot To Learn.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Because i am going to be traveling today I wrote this last night. Hence, the past tense.

While Joan and I were eating dinner tonight the topic of rewards surfaced. We got into a discussion how from childhood on we associate success and accomplishment with food. Look at birthdays---- we have cake. We have son getting married in September, the biggest struggle he and his bride are having is choosing the meal for both the wedding and the rehearsal dinner. We celebrate love on Valentine’s Day with chocolates. It’s no wonder a lot of us waddle instead of walk!!!

I don’t blame society. No one forces me to put anything in my mouth. I choose what goes in and what stays out but how often do I eat things or drink things without even thinking? I think it’s called conditioning.

We talked about this for awhile and then Joan started talking about non edible rewards. Now for a guy who is as smart as I am there are days you have to draw me a picture. She praised me on how well I have doing. My indicator isn’t always the scale it’s the “hug test.” Joan hugs me and then calculates how far she can get her arms around me. So far it’s worked.

Joan has never nagged about my lack of health. She has encouraged, she has told me she was concerned but never has she gotten cross.

Then she dropped a bombshell on me.

“How close are you to your goal weight” she asked me?

“Oh gosh, about 60 pounds,” I answered.

“Well how about when you reach it we get you that Harley you wanted?”


More silence

(Rarely am I without words.)

Me on a Harley, All the cool kids would be jealous. My long mane of hair flying in the breeze. (Okay so I’m bald!!!)

I had planned on vacuuming out the car after dinner. As I did so, I started strategizing. I could double my cardio, reduce my calories to about five hundred a day and in about three weeks I’d be humming “Born To Be Wild.”

Then that gosh darned inner voice of mine cleared its throat. (I sort of figured it would show up.)

“If you use that logic John, the only Harley you’ll have will be the ones you see in a magazine.”

My inner voice is always so darned right. You think just once it could go along with me!!!

“Realistically you couldn’t really get one until next spring, which is about thirteen months away. That’s a little over four pounds a month.”

What struck me was how quickly I was ready to jump back on the merry go round. How quickly I would revert to old behavior, starve myself, crash and burn and blame Joan for enticing me. I have a long way to go, but………………. I have a lot of time to get there and it’s thanks to people like you that all this change will come, no worries.

Don’t get me wrong. I hope my progress stays as it is and I learn more each day, but I got a good lesson tonight in how far I need to travel.

But you wanna know something? Without you, (Imagine me pointing my finger right at you, right now) I wouldn’t be aware of none of this. (I know double negative!) You guys who read what I write and help guide me are part of my strength.

Yes you have your flaws too. I think we all do but I also think we are all “Wounded Healers” caring for each other as much as we care for ourselves. So thanks guys for help making me aware of who I am and what I need to do to be me. Thank you for your love.

The Harley is not the important thing; it’s just the vehicle that confirmed to me that I know some really cool people and have the most amazing wife in the world.

This is where you stand up and imagine me sitting back in my chair and applauding you.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GIRANIMAL 3/11/2010 6:46PM

    Oh, emoticon!

I'm glad to hear your good common sense was not trumped for very long by the incredibly enticing Harley. But that is one sweet reward! Joan seriously rocks.

Here's a thought: Do you already know how to ride? If not, you could spend that 13 months or so perfecting your skills and otherwise preparing by getting your license in order and such. It would mirror the slow and steady "right" way you're reaching your health goals!

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CMBELISLE 3/11/2010 5:56PM

    I think our link of food to celebrations goes back to the days when food was scarce. We would have "feasts" associated with weddings, holidays (or holy days), etc eating special foods (meats and sweets) only on those occaisions. Unfortunately, in our society of plenty, we can have those foods any time and in larger quantities. We have had to retrain ourselves to eat more healthfully and in smaller quantities. I still celebrate special occaisions with trips to special restaurants.

As for the Harley, I understand your story - the goal is attainable, but to reach it maintainably is a more serious subject. I also understand your reaction to what your wife told you - it was a LOT like my hubby's when I told him he could get the Corvette we test drove. It all started with me saying, "Let's go to the Corvette place and see what kind of trouble we can get into." He still smiles every time he gets into it, even when it doesn't want to start. While he'd love to have a newer one, he's pretty happy right now.

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WANDAH3 3/11/2010 4:46PM

    John, I'm sure you are well aware of just how blessed you are to have a wife like Joan. Bless her heart and all her support. What a wonderful goal and reward to work towards...even if it takes a long time. It's the knowing that you are becoming a healthier person mentally, physically and spiritually that matters.

My meet you and Joan.


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KLEONIKI 3/11/2010 4:43PM

    This is it!
Slowly steadily consistently towards the aim...
It is not a matter of one day it is a lifechange we are talking about.Isn't it dear friend?
My sincere congrats for reasoning so clearly and expressing it so accurately to us all!

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MARCYNA 3/11/2010 2:50PM

    WoW....I really love this post....I'm the one who would starve and crash & all the rest and I think SP has saved my life.
I just love to be a 'Wounded Healer'- I made all possible mistakes so I know better!!!
You can always get a HD but please please please never stop BEING YOURSELF!!!!

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TRIPLE_EMME 3/11/2010 10:27AM


Joan sounds like one amazing, super-cool, soon-to-be biker chic!!!

I can hear the roar of that future Harley!!!


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TAZZAT2003 3/11/2010 10:24AM

    John you are so right(no surprise there). Here in the real world I feel very alone on my journey. My boyfriend is supportive and eats the healthier foods with me. However, eating right is not the only part and not really the hardest part for me. Working out. I want to lose weight. I want to tone the jiggle. However, it is hard to wake up alone, go to the gym alone, and walk,run,lift etc. alone. Anyways, enough moping and groping...the point I am trying to make is with SP I do not feel so alone. I see others who are tackling bigger obstacles then myself. I read uplifting and inspiring blogs everyday. SP is the reason I can see the light at the end of the dark tunnel. The smell of victory is in the air and I am going to capture it. Thanks John. When I get there, my victory will be a piece of your victory. Because I am not sure I would be this far without you and other sparkers!
emoticon emoticon

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BIBLIOHOLIC57 3/11/2010 9:46AM

    John, give your wife a beauchaeau(sp!) bouquet of flowers. She's terrific!

As you know, it's the journey, not the destination. Whether it's four months or fourteen months, the days will pass, and you'll be getting that Harley. So what if it's later, rather than sooner? What's important is you've done the legwork (literally) as you choose the path of sure and permanent weight loss.

Have a great trip today, by the way.

Awesome blog, per usual, bunkie!!!!


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STORMTMB 3/11/2010 9:25AM

    Give your wife a HUGE hug because obviously she's awesome. Of course, that's not a surprise.

I decided back in October to get my Harley and these 6 months of anticipation have been so cool. I did it pretty much as a reward for the stuff I've been going through. One thing I was thinking about is next year getting my jacket in a (much) smaller size and I know I need to get stronger to hold up (or pick up) the bike, another motivator. Keep up your hard work and next year we'll be Wild Hogs together! But promise me you'll wear a helmet.

With the Harley, you'll be able to tell Snow White that you came on a Hog, not horseback. She'll be seriously impressed.


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REMODELINGPAT 3/11/2010 9:06AM

    Our negative thinking/habits are just like all the pounds we are working on shedding: We didn't establish them overnight...they've been with us for a LOOOOOOONG time, and it will take dedication and determination, larded liberally with consistency to get free of them...BUT...WE CAN DO IT!
Great have pinned the Negative Thoughts Monster to the mat, at least for the present. Hang in there. emoticon emoticonI'm so proud of you AND your wife. She's a winner too! emoticon

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FOXEYES2 3/11/2010 8:25AM

  Your wife ROCKS! I love the line "I have a long way to go but I have a lot of time to get there". That is so true and that is what I keep on reminding myself. I now am going to figure out how to reward myself when I get to my goal. Maybe a really big and really cool tattoo?! Oh and your wife ROCKS!

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AMABILE75 3/11/2010 8:03AM


What an awesome reward and something to look forward to! It is wonderful that you were able to stop yourself in your own tracks and put an end to those bad thoughts before you took action. I think we all have thoughts like that from time to time. I have no doubt that you will continue to put those thoughts out of your mind, because that is who you have become. You are amazing!

Thank you for being my friend. emoticon

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DOLLBABE56 3/11/2010 7:28AM

    Great bouncing back from old habits! It is an a "condition" we all seem to be fighting. And will win. The support that is available here helps in so many ways. Oh, and what a terrific wife Joan is!


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KAT573 3/11/2010 7:12AM

    Yahooooooooo for YOU! Crowns for the WIFE! Your blogs and your reciprocity are the best applaud we here can get!
have a wondermost day! emoticon

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WANNABTHIN02 3/11/2010 7:03AM

    John, You've started my day out with a chuckle. And since I'm going in to work or into battle, I need a little humor.
Yes, we are all in this together and I have to agree with you. What a wonderful bunch of people to be in a journey with. Have a blessed day.
Helena emoticon

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Creating Enjoyable Goals

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

When I am not blogging or writing I actually do work. I don’t call it work. I call it getting paid to have fun. It was a goal of mine for a long time and about ten years ago it came true. It was the culmination of dreaming and believing in a lot principles and ideas when other people gave me one of those odd sort of looks. The thing about my job that I enjoy the most is guiding people through a process that helps them reach their goals and objectives. It doesn’t matter whether they are personal or professional goals, just as long as they reach them. I believe that when we start reaching our goals it becomes a legal steroid for our self esteem.

Most of our goals are long term goals that require a lot of effort and diligence and all the really great stuff we learn from each other every day here in Sparkville. They are noble and worthy goals and just talk to anyone who has reached one of those goals and they will puff their chests out with pride. But they do require us using an awful lot of our internal resources to reach them. If you are not in a habit of enjoying your successes you can run out of steam in a hurry… just ask me!!! I know from personal experience.

What do you want to do that’s fun? I mean right now, while you are reading this blog. What’s your daydream? (I keep wishing for a full head of hair) Why don’t you do it?

A goal can be something as simple as planning a day of shopping with some friends or going to an athletic event. It is something to look forward to, something to be excited about. I know tracking every last bit of food that goes into my mouth is important but I don’t get up in the morning look at Joan and say “I am so looking forward to tracking my food today, honey. Care to join me?” I look to have some sort of fun to look forward to each day.

A good goal should provide us with stimulation. I had two very crazy short term, fun goals. I wanted to be in the nightly parade at Disneyland and I wanted to have my picture taken with Snow White. I achieved both goals. I have a pin to prove I got to march in the daily parade. (I got to dance with some large bug) There is a picture on my desk of Snow White and I. (The cast member who was portraying her did an excellent job. She asked me where I was from and when I told her Kentucky, she asked me if I had come all that way on horseback!)

Big deal John. I agree. But it was fun planning them and I got to tell my friends and family about them and my children still roll their eyes when I bring them up. They caused me to ask myself what else I could do? It got me in the habit of setting goals, reaching them and in the process feeling better about myself.

I am getting healthy so I can be happy. Losing weight, working out, and smoking cessation are all activities that help us reach our goals. They are a valuable means to a wonderful end. This is the most important lesson I have learned so far in this journey. All of the things I do every single day are activities that will lead me towards my life goals.

That’s why I am in the habit of setting daily and weekly goals that serve no one but me. They are fun things but every day when I flip over a calendar page I have something to look forward to. And I do. Then I put a gold star after my name because I deserve it.

I hope you do to.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MARCYNA 3/11/2010 6:08AM

    I really like your job.... emoticon

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KATJAMN 3/10/2010 9:56PM

    That is awesome, John.
That is kinda what I was doing when I made the reward to my goal, reteaching myself how to sew.. It is something that I want to do, and it is something useful too. sure I got side tracked with new shoes but hey.. I started the process...LOL
Any ways, you are right, I am going to follow your lead and set weekly goals that are just for me. LOVE IT

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STORMTMB 3/10/2010 8:26PM

    BTW - if you check out my pics, you'll see a special one from WDW. I only had to wait about 20 mins for it, but you only get this chance at special ticket events... Me and my men.

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WANDAH3 3/10/2010 7:30PM

    I love your goals...I think being in a Disney parade would be so exciting and you just can't top having your picture taken with Snow White! (We had ours taken with Goofy!)
John, I love that you let your inner child out to play and have fun.

Thank you so much for all the wonderful quotes you supplied our team with, they were a big hit.
Now I know who to call on when I need a hand again!


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DOLLBABE56 3/10/2010 4:41PM

    The mere idea of a fun goal is exciting. Why haven't I done that? Well, I most certainly will now. lol I mean, most days I make a list of the things I'd like to accomplished that day. As I mark each one of it makes me feel good about myself. The very first items on my list are almost always: 1) SparkPeople, 2) Read Spark for 10 minutes (one of my challenges), 3) Yoga, 4) WiiFii or dvd, 5), Walk Poppet a.m., 6) Walk Poppet p.m. After these I will add the "chores" I need (would like) to take care of that day. I don't always mark off everything, but I do most. And that's okay with me.

Now. I need to think of something fun to add to my list at least once a week, if not everyday.

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CMBELISLE 3/10/2010 2:03PM

    Thanks for the reminder. I think I need to go set some fun goals for myself. It's one of those things I often forget during the daily grind.

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STORMTMB 3/10/2010 9:39AM

    One of the best "exercises" I ever started (it's still in progress) was a challenge to complete 101 goals in 1001 days. It took about 4 months to come up with something close to 101 goals. I'm nearing the end of the 1001 days now and it's so much fun to look back at what I've accomplished.

One goal was to see a friend perform his own music live (he does all cover songs in his regular job). To accomplish that goal, I flew to Phoenix and back home in one weekend to see his Saturday night concert. We traveled Friday night and Sunday, so I didn't really get to see much in the city other than the concert.

He was amazed that I came, but he was really excited too. When he asked me why I'd take the time and spend the money for that one concert, I told him honestly "It's a goal on my list." I'm so glad that I did it. I may never get that opportunity again. That experience was worth so much more for me than what I spent in cash and it's all because I had set it as a goal. I decided that I wasn't going to miss the opportunity when I had it.

I totally support what you've said here. I'm obviously a huge believer in setting and accomplishing goals, especially the fun ones.

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BIBLIOHOLIC57 3/10/2010 9:26AM

    I completely agree with your blog! I love having goals - something to look forward to.

I journal each day and give myself credits for positive things I've accomplished, because they're bringing me closer and closer to certain goals.

Keep up the great work, bunkie!!!


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REMODELINGPAT 3/10/2010 8:52AM

    John, you truly have the perfect Spark-itude! Being able to pass that enthusiasm and direction on to others obviously gives you great pleasure.

Abraham Lincoln said, "Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be." Too many people have, consciously or not, decided not to be happy. We ALL need to recognize that the power to change our lives lies within ourselves.


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KLEONIKI 3/10/2010 8:18AM

    Taking pleasure has always been my secret motivation power.
If i want to build a habit it has to involve a certain amount of satisfaction in it.
This is why i feel happy and secure when i started to get pure pleasure from exercising. I now know that i may stick to it for long...
My best wishes
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AMABILE75 3/10/2010 7:57AM

    I have really started to see just how important goals are, and your blog really helps support that for me. It was The Spark that opened my eyes and I'm so happy it did.

Thanks for such a wonderful blog! emoticon

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NJMATTICE 3/10/2010 7:55AM

    I battle apathy. Sometimes job one is motivation and even before that comes purpose for me. I stick around here because I constantly need reminding that I have a responsibility to care for myself. As I typed that, the phrase had new meaning to it. Care for self has always meant to make responsible choices in grooming or feeding, etc. Reading that phrase today I see that it as meaning not to be apathetic or numb and care about myself. Give a hoot. Hmmmmm.
Thanks John. Your blog has given me new insight. Again, that's why I stick around here.
Have a great day. My fun goal for today is to color some bug pictures. Thanks.

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MARCYNA 3/10/2010 7:26AM

    emoticon emoticon
I've always thought of setting goals as something boring and perhaps unattainable, but reading your blog, John, I'm changing my & goals is something I'll try experiencing , thanks for's a new blessing.
emoticon emoticon emoticon
PS Love your new pic.

Comment edited on: 3/10/2010 7:28:37 AM

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Becoming "Undependent"

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

My wife looked over my shoulder as I typed the heading and said, ‘Are you sure “undependant” is a word?”

I laughed. “It is now.”

I am a dependant person. In many ways I depend on the good things in my life. They are as someone once said “the fabric that is me.” They are my family, my friends, both three dimensional and virtual. They are my principles and my values. They are my compass. Without them I just drift.

I have struggled with my weight for what seems like a life time. My self esteem was tied to that number. If it went down I was wonderful. If it went up I was a complete and total failure which meant it was time to bring out the donuts, which meant thirty minutes later I was in a sugar induced state of depression contemplating my total and complete lack of value. I was so ashamed. Here I am this bright eloquent, charming person, who is so quick to help others and he can’t even help himself. I would look in the mirror and I would avert my eyes. If you really knew me you would hate me.

I was dependant on a number of things but mostly the scale. It ruled my life. Ever go weigh yourself before you decided whether to have a candy bar or a piece of fruit? Ever get to feeling kind of shaky and go to the scale to make yourself feel better? Ever go buy a new scale because the perfectly good one you have had for only a month, “just couldn’t be right?”

I would begin a diet and my total and complete self esteem was tied in to “the number.” If it was a big one, I would do the happy dance. If it was a gain I questioned my entire worth. I would dread weigh in day. I was dependant.
I don’t feel that way anymore. Yes, I am conscious of what the scale says. It just doesn’t control me the way it used to. How come?

In the past three months I have worked very hard on discovering myself. As one of my Spark Friends said, “Flying high sure beats digging deep.” Amen. It’s nice to stand up and cheer, give yourself gold stars when things are going well. It’s difficult to dig the foundation to sustain those wonderful feelings. But every time we find some dingy old box in our metaphorical basement shouldn’t we give ourselves a gold star anyway?

What was I really saying when I looked in the mirror? I was questioning my value as a human being. It wasn’t about the additional hundred pounds hanging off my frame it was the lack of value I saw in myself. This stunned me because I have always prided myself on being positive and upbeat and all that other cool stuff. It was a wakeup call.

I am working very hard on being happy. The weight loss is a manifestation of my happiness. Yes, I weigh once a week, but with each successive week I am less and less dependent on what that number says. I am building confidence in what I do during the week. I am beginning to know that if I follow “my plan” I will get good results.

I believe in me. I believe in what I am doing. I spend forty minute each day exercising. I would like it to be at the same time each day but it always isn’t. Some people I know tell me I should push myself harder, do more, be more. I will, when I am ready for it.

I have a plan and my plan allows me to grow which allows me to shrink. I couldn’t have done it without starting to live a complete life that wasn’t dependant on a lot of negative factors.

My journey is blessed by my family, by my friends and by this wonderful process I have embraced.

I am “Undependent.”

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RAINBOWMF 3/13/2010 7:32PM

    emoticon emoticon to working on you!

You write great blogs.

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WANNABTHIN02 3/11/2010 7:23AM


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GEINAHG0757 3/9/2010 1:07PM

    Your blogs are SO powerful! (I have "lurked" them for a while courtesy of Annie - BIBLIOHOLIC57... emoticon ) This one really hit home with me. I just accomplished a huge goal I had set for myself and am left with the "Now What's?" I fell off the wagon BIG time the last time I met a goal. Your idea of being UNdependent on anything except your self motivation and your PLAN is what I am going to hold onto from here forward.

Thank you for sharing - it means a lot.

(P.S. YOUR plan is working - go, go, GO!)

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SPARKENISTA 3/9/2010 11:51AM

    I know I always look for the easy way out, and certainly hopping on the scale is just that. It's a shortcut. It's more difficult to ask myself whether I have been true to myself in following my program. It's easier than measuring with a tape measure. Measuring self esteem by the number on the scale is the easy way out, too. Becoming "undependent" is an amazing way to disconnect from the easy way out and tune in to the more important issues that are really driving us.

Thank you for this!

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DEWBERRYJAMIE 3/9/2010 11:36AM

    Great blog post. Becoming undependant of the scale is such a huge step in your journey. I wish I has your courage, becuase my scale calls to me every morning. Thank you for sharing such insightful thoughts!!

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TRIPLE_EMME 3/9/2010 11:26AM


I think that becoming "undependent" on the scale is a huge sign of progress (on so many levels!).

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STORMTMB 3/9/2010 11:16AM

    Well, between you and another Spark friend, WorkingStiff, I was slapped upside the head twice already this morning. I'm thinking of signing off before I get beat up any further!!!

I have been overweight so long that I can't remember a time when I wasn't. All I remember is my Mom bribing me to lose weight. She still hedges there occasionally. My weight has always defined me - or at least been an excuse for whatever I couldn't do.

I like what you said that I am happy now and the other things follow. I have to work on that. Just like the motivation I discussed yesterday. The happiness has to come from within or else I won't be happy even when I lose the weight. Thanks once again for saying it like it is and giving me good stuff to think about. I always look forward to your insights.

Have a great day - and a healthy one.


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CMBELISLE 3/9/2010 10:22AM

    Whether or not I comment on your blogs, I read it every time you post. I see bits and pieces of me in you, whether now or previously. I'm growing and learning and still have lots of digging to do, but as you say about pushing yourself hard, I'll do the digging as I'm ready to make those discoveries.

Thanks for sharing!

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TAZZAT2003 3/9/2010 9:52AM

    Good luck, John! Keep that positive attitude. I know you know but, do not forget...what works for others may not work for you. You are the one trying to make a change. You are the one looking in the mirror. You are the one trying to find that mystical happy place. So accept what people say because you know they mean well and are trying to help you but, do what you gotta do. I know you will find that path to happiness. Just know that we are all here to help you rake away the leaves that have been blocking it all this time.


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WORKINGSTIFF 3/9/2010 9:47AM

    The scale can be evil!

We are more than a number-so much more!

Digging deep is difficult, but necessary in order to fly high. Without understanding the "whys" (is that a word?) behind what we do, we can never change them if we need to, or feed those whys if they are working for us.

Personally, the scale is getting ready to leave my house and go to Goodwill. There are those number munchers who will say, 'you're in denial,' but honestly, each person has to do what is best for him or herself. If I don't love myself at a high number, I will never love myself completely at a low number, because that's not what self love is about.

Best to you!

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    Your blogs are always a delight to read. You see inside our struggles and pull out something new for us to chew on. I like that!

It's common for caring people to forget to take care of themselves. That's one of the reasons I had to have bypass surgery...too busy taking care of others to take care of myself. But I'm back, 6 months Thursday, and better than ever, with no heart damage.

Now to get on with the business of taking care of ME so that I CAN take care of others!
emoticonfor some great reads! emoticonyour progress is worthy of celebration emoticon

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KATJAMN 3/9/2010 9:08AM

    I love new words.. LOL Undependant is def a word if you can use it in a complete sentence. That is what I always say.
Ya know what? I had to learn this lesson.. I will tell you a secret.. I was a person before I was a fat person. I was loveable before I was fat. I was cheerful before I was fat.
I am all the same things, just bigger.. LOL
The scale doesn't give you anything but numbers.
Here's another little secret.. God gave you your joy.. not the scale.. only God can take away your joy and HE isn't gonna. The scale is SATAN!!! Sorry, but it's true.. even when it shows I have lost, sometimes it says to me..."looky looky.. you lost 2 lbs.. now you can eat whatever you want today..let all the other lbs worry about themselves. MU WA HA HA!" SATAN!!
You are doing great. I love reading your blogs and I love your comments on mine.
Thanks for being you!!

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COVINGTON69 3/9/2010 8:56AM

    Great blog and great attitude. I am proud of you and your undependence. I am codependent and recovering so I feel your pain. No longer does my thoughts and moods depend on others. I am myself and will celebrate this.

Keep up the great work. You are dedicated and strong!

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KLEONIKI 3/9/2010 8:38AM

I like people courageous enough to experiment and test new words, attitudes, perspectives.
They are as rare as precious.
Keep up with the good work! Not with a scale but with ourselves.
SCALES ARE FOR FISH (i 've read it somewhere and i adored it)
Good luck , co-buddy

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KAT573 3/9/2010 8:27AM

This is so right; It is odd because I was thinking about the fact that so many people realize they need to exercise their bodies but forget that they also need to exercise their minds and that does not mean doing the things we have always done, every day, but challenging ourselves to become more, to become stronger;
When we exercise, we realize that there is a lack of balance perhaps, in sets of muscles, or sides of bodies or whatever; we always find something and we also as we move along if we are mindful, realize we may need to work on those before we can do the exercise that requires a DIFFERENT set of muscles!!

This is building the foundation; digging into where we are off balance in our minds and spirits is similar; and if overlooked, can undermine all the other more "obvious" things we are trying to do or build up. To me, the mind and spirit ARE the foundation, the body is the temple. So while it is fun to fly high, you need to have a ground or base off which to even HAVE that concept!

YOU are on your way! emoticon

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MARCYNA 3/9/2010 8:25AM

    We're all 'undependent' if we set ourselves free. If we discover our true worth and act as children of God:
'Truth will set you free'
We're called to embrace freedom.
PS Added the new word to dictionary... emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 3/9/2010 8:26:57 AM

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DOLLBABE56 3/9/2010 8:14AM

    I sure can relate. I used to weigh everyday. Sometimes 2 or 3 times a day. Then I would decide "if" I could eat. Anything. This started in high school - starving for days at a time. At one point in my life my idea of a "vegetarian" diet consisted of a piece of lettuce. My parents were very worried. I am proud to say that I have not "eaten" this way for over 30 years. It is true that you can get wiser the older you get. Emphasize the CAN. I have found over the years that I SHOULD NOT WAY MYSELF EVERYDAY! It plays with my head and is not a realistic measure of my weight. And it sets of that old diet mentality that is so dangerous. When I was growing up my role models were Twiggy and Barbie. Unrealistic and impossible goals to reach for. And very damaging to young girls when they want to be like them, which I did.

Sorry, I don't know where all of this came from. I rarely talk about this. And you know what? I feels good to face up!

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AMABILE75 3/9/2010 8:01AM

    I would love to sit and chat with you every day!! I love the way your mind works, I love the way you write. Your words are always so moving, always! I'm always so uplifted after reading your blog.

Every morning I get a huge smile on my face when I check my email and see the words:

"New entry or comment on JOHNTJ1's SparkPage Blog which you are subscribed to at SparkPeople."

You have made such progress, you are doing such a great job. emoticon

Thank You! emoticon

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Dont Quit

Monday, March 08, 2010

Steve was orphaned at birth. He spent the first eighteen years of his life in orphans homes. At age eighteen he joined the Navy. After four years in the Navy, Steve used the G.I Bill to become a gemologist or as we call them, a jeweler. Steve lead a comfortable life in a major Midwestern city until the day Sadie called.

Sadie was one of Steve’s “high end customers.” After forty years of marriage Sadie and her husband were getting a divorce. Sadie had caught her husband in the back seat of their Lincoln with a young lady of questionable virtue and a significant amount of marijuana. In the divorce settlement Sadie was now the proud owner of an industrial manufacturing company. She didn’t know anything about running a company nor did she want to. So she called the only person she really trusted, her jeweler.

Sadie’s instructions were clear. Get the place ready to sell. Since her husband’s interests lied elsewhere for the past five years or so things weren’t in great shape. Steve, by his own admission, didn’t have a clue. He was a jeweler.

He told me years later that he tried very hard to employ basic common sense. Apparently it worked. Eighteen months after taking over the company was showing a profit and all of a sudden Sadie didn’t mind owning a manufacturing company.

I asked Steve one time what motivated him and he shared with me that his life was a series of challenges and just as soon as he would deal with one challenge another would pop up. He had no family, no real friends when he was growing up.
He opened his desk drawer, smiled at me and pulled out a sheet of paper.

“I found this when I was in seventh grade. I am not sure who wrote it but you can keep it. I have plenty more.” He said.

A copy is hanging on my office wall. I have sent it to countless friends over the years. I share it with you this morning because it seems so appropriate in our journey towards health.


When things go wrong, as they sometimes will.
When the road you're trudging seems all uphill.
When the funds are low, and the debts are high.
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh.
When care is pressing you down a bit.
Rest if you must, but don't you quit.

Life is strange with its twists and turns.
As every one of us sometimes learns.
And many a failure turns about.
When he might have won had he stuck it out.
Don't give up though the pace seems slow.
You may succeed with another blow.

Success is failure turned inside out,
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt.
And you can never tell how close you are.
It maybe near when it seems so far;
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit.
It's when things seem worst

That you must not quit!

Steve has been dead for close to five years, but I wont ever forget his lesson. Have a good Monday

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KATJAMN 3/9/2010 9:10AM

    Love it

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KLEONIKI 3/9/2010 8:44AM

    valuable poem, thank you very much! emoticon

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KLEONIKI 3/9/2010 8:43AM

    valuable poem, thank you very much! emoticon

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REMODELINGPAT 3/9/2010 12:32AM

    What a wonderful story. I've always loved that poem. God bless you in your journey toward health!

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KAT573 3/8/2010 9:15PM

    THANK you for sharing this wonderful story! There is that underlying character of strength where one always sees a "challenge" rather than a "problem" and engages it in a pro-active manner! THAT is it!
Keep on keeping ON emoticon emoticon

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JUSTLYLE 3/8/2010 7:52PM

    A great story and blog John, thanks so much for sharing it with us.
Skeeter emoticon

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1WALKINGMAN 3/8/2010 6:41PM

    That is a very inspirational poem. Thanks for sharing it. emoticon

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FREDIA2 3/8/2010 5:50PM

    What a true inspiration. Hopefully when we get down and want to give up we will think of Steve's poem and nor quit. Thanks for sharing emoticon

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FREDIA2 3/8/2010 5:50PM

    What a true inspiration. Hopefully when we get down and want to give up we will think of Steve's poem and nor quit. Thanks for sharing emoticon

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SPARKENISTA 3/8/2010 5:03PM

    emoticon This is an amazing inspiration. I printed it out to keep in my office with a host of other affirmations. When we hear about someone like Steve we learn to count our blessings. emoticon emoticon

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DOLLBABE56 3/8/2010 4:57PM

    What a great blog. I believe I'm going to have to copy this and put where I will see it everyday. Thanks John

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LADYNLI 3/8/2010 3:42PM

    Great blog!!! I love the poem. It is just what I needed to see today. I plan to keep a copy of it where I can see it. I have recommended your blog to the members of a team I am on.


Comment edited on: 3/8/2010 3:50:11 PM

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VEACHXCL 3/8/2010 3:07PM

    Great blog, great poem, Thank you

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TEENY_BIKINI 3/8/2010 2:55PM

    What a great story. I was referred here by AMABILE75's blog, and she was right. What an uplifting blog.

Thank you.


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MARCYNA 3/8/2010 12:32PM

    Hey, this is really food for thought. A great lesson to be learnt - and gracefully taught. emoticon emoticon

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TAZZAT2003 3/8/2010 12:01PM

    I had this hanging by the door in my room. I put it there to remind myself why I moved to Va in the first place. I have moved since and I am not sure where it has gone. I think I should go and find it and put it back where it belongs. Happy Monday, John!

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YOYONOMORE1 3/8/2010 10:19AM

    Yes, this is a great poem, I have seen it before, but always enjoy reading it again. Steve was a special person and your blog was a nice tribute to him. Have a nice day!


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BIBLIOHOLIC57 3/8/2010 9:37AM

    Very touching blog, very inspiring poem.

Thank you and have a fantastic day, simply because you're you!


emoticon emoticon

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STORMTMB 3/8/2010 9:27AM

    As stated before, this applies not only to the journey for better health, but to many aspects of my life... good reminder. I haven't seen this in a long time.

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TRIPLE_EMME 3/8/2010 9:18AM

    Thanks for sharing this, John.

Steve was a wonderful soul. Sharing this poem is a great way to celebrate him.

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CMBELISLE 3/8/2010 9:06AM

    This one can apply to so many areas of our lives. Thanks for sharing!

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AMABILE75 3/8/2010 8:30AM

    It's me again!!!

I haven't been able to shake the feeling that I was missing something here!! I went on about my work, but it was nagging in the back of my mind.

It just hit me! While I haven't read this in YEARS... when I first started working at 16, I came across a beautiful plaque with a beautiful sunrise and this poem on it. This was one of the very first items I bought for myself with one of my first paychecks. It hung on my wall all through high school!!

How did I let something that inspiring slip my mind?

Do you mind if I create a blog about this poem? I'll link back to yours and give you credit for bringing it back into my life. Promise. :-)

emoticon emoticon

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WALKNLOVE 3/8/2010 8:11AM

    That is one of my favorite poems. I think I saw it & memorized it as a teenager because I liked it so much.Thanks for sharing the blog.Your friend, Steve, just now, touched many lives through your story.

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AMABILE75 3/8/2010 7:59AM

    What an awesome lesson we all need to learn. Thank you so much for sharing this, I really needed this. emoticon

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