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No Matter What You Call It Addiction Is Still Addiction

Friday, December 21, 2012

Some of us are hard wired to trade one excess for another. We struggle with emotional and compulsive eating, develop many bad habits, deal with chronic health conditions, and end up generally feeling unhappy and frustrated.

We become active. We exercise and train and generally force our bodies into what we believe is health. Then we wake up one morning injured and if we are fortunate, we realize we have traded one addiction for another. There aren’t too many people who will be critical for pushing towards what we believe is health. There’s no arguing it increases our self-esteem, we feel better, we look better and often like a highly addictive drug it gives us an amazing high. We are doing the things the obese us never dreamed of doing. In the background muscles that hadn’t been used in years, if ever, begin to break down.

I spent 10 minutes and 6 seconds on an elliptical machine Monday morning. It’s the first time in 18 months I’ve been able to do something like that. It’s taken six weeks of aquatics personal training and a strong dose of wisdom from my trainer, plus the realization that for a period of time I trade chocolate cake for exercise and because I am hard wired towards compulsion and addiction it produced disastrous results. Prior to finding Julia, I ran into all sorts of walls that made me believe I’d never do anything more than walk back and forth in a warm water therapy pool. Julia reviewed all my medical stuff. (When you pay close to five grand for this stuff you show it to anyone who’ll look. I think there are people who say “Oh shoot here comes John. He’s gonna want us to look at his MRI.”) Her decision was to begin to build my core muscles I have little to no pain when I move. Oh, I’m sore, but it’s the good sore.

At 10 minutes and 6 seconds, Julia pulled the plug: “Time to get off.” I told her I could go another 20 minutes and she said she didn’t doubt I could but she wasn’t in the mood to roll me to her car and take me home. Tuesday I did 10 minutes on the recumbent cycle and yesterday we spent a 30 minute session in the pool. (Jumping jacks have a completely new meaning as does treading water with ankle weights!! She promised she wont let me drown.)

I am sore, from the base of my skull to the bottom of my feet. It aches to move. I rolled over in bed this morning and began to feel guilty about not going to the gym today. It’s a compulsion I fight daily. But this little voice inside of me made me realize this is what caused me to injure myself to begin with, pushing myself because all my self-esteem and value was tied up in a tradeoff. It’s not food, its not exercise, its how I think and process things. I have an emotional and compulsive personality. My personality takes things to an excess. I got up, made a pot of tea and read the paper

When I got off the elliptical Monday Katie was standing off to the side. Katie was my spinning instructor back in the day. She was with me when I hurt myself back in May of 2011. I really hadn’t talked to her in awhile

“I wanted to tell you I was so sorry that you got hurt when you were with me. I’m a trainer and I…….”

I put my hand up to stop her. “Hon, you didn’t make me do do anything I didn’t want to do. I was 57 acting like I was 17. No worries.”

We make trades believing one thing is better than another without realizing the issue is us. It’s why we are here to support and love each other.


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MARCYNA 12/25/2012 8:43AM

    Cool, what really like about all this is that we share same personality type AND we're learning how to make it work for ourselves, not against ourselves.
Your experience is so precious as I'm learning so much from you!!!
marcyna emoticon
PS you're getting so much better John hope you know!

Comment edited on: 12/25/2012 8:45:25 AM

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TRIANGLE-WOMAN 12/24/2012 6:35AM

    I'm sure Katie appreciated you and your words to her.

Glad to hear you are on the mend.

.•´¸.•´¨) ¸.•*¨)
(¸..•´ .•´ ¸¸.•¨¯`-:¦:
-:.... ¦:-•: •:*'*:•-:¦:-
.(¯`v´¯) Keep Spreading the Spark!
.`•.¸.•´... ¸.
(¸...•´ (¸.•´

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MARITIMER3 12/22/2012 9:37PM

    You've made some good points, John. Thanks for explaining what's been going on. and I'm really glad that you ae learning to pace yourself.

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HLPRATT 12/22/2012 10:46AM

    Yes addictions can come in all shapes and sizes. Moderation is key to life. Trying to keep up with my 20 year old daughters will get me in trouble everytime

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NASFKAB 12/22/2012 4:24AM

  you have made me think have to be careful myself

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GEEMAWEST 12/21/2012 9:43PM

    Hmmm? Apparently we are never too old to learn.
Who knew? emoticon

Comment edited on: 12/21/2012 9:44:54 PM

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MAGGIE101857 12/21/2012 7:29PM

    Thanks for sharing this very personal blog! Reading it after my own diagnosis today (and a veto on my Marathon 3 weeks from now). Like you, I will work my way back...tomorrow I start PT.

Take care - you've got this!

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ONEKIDSMOM 12/21/2012 7:15PM

    As one addictive personality to another, like you said, "It’s why we are here to support and love each other." To balance, peace, joy, and good will toward men!


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SLIMLEAF 12/21/2012 6:47PM

    It's really complicated being human, isn't it? I definitely haven't got the hang of it yet.

So I can identify with your blog.

It sounds like you're definitely making progress though. I would say 'Woo Hoo!" or make some other suitable cheering exclamation, but I'm not really a 'Woo Hoo!" sort of person. Instead, I'm more of a smile and a quiet "Well done, John," whilst bringing you a cup of tea (do you drink tea? maybe coffee would be better) sort of person.

Yes, here in the small, cold bedroom that I call my study, in a non-descript row of 1950s terraced houses in a small town in NorthWest England, someone you've never met is silently cheering you on, a little part of her dancing for joy at the progress her friend is making.

God bless you John.

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LYNMEINDERS 12/21/2012 5:17PM

    AMEN.....I am so like this as well and am slowing learning that i don't have to push to achieve....I can just do what i can do and it will achieve....
Thankyou for this blog....really appreciate the realization it has brought for me,....

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MOBYCARP 12/21/2012 3:08PM

    Thank your for this thoughtful blog. I have no personal trainer, but I have wrestled with finding the balance in fitness and training. Too little, and I'll get fat or become unable to do day to day activities. Too much, too fast and I'll injure myself. Moderation is required.

And moderation is difficult. Eat enough, but not too much. Exercise enough, but not too much. You've given me a model to look at, exercise as a form of addiction. This model lines up well with the voice in my head that I call Mr. Testosterone. Mr. Testosterone gets me to push myself and do more. Sometimes that's good, and sometimes it's just too much.

I wish you well.

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SHERIO5 12/21/2012 1:57PM

    So much of this journey is learning more about ourselves and what we need..why we it a need...and so on.

It sounds like you have a good match with your trainer! I am also given to being obsessive about exercise to the point of fibromyalgia has taught me to listen more to my body...regardless of what my mind might be telling me! That's not to say I don't overdo now and then...but I don't quit...I just modify the next day. Its a learning process for sure. Its worth the effort!

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CC3833 12/21/2012 1:03PM

    You are completely right. I think that is why this time I am going to stick with my plan. I am always all or nothing... No pain no gain... But that isn't maintainable. You burn out you lose motivation you don't appreciate your body. So this time I'm working one day at a time. Working on those 10-20 minutes of exercise a day with clean eating and realizing that it is okay to eat not so clean things as long as they fit into your food tracker. That is maintainable. Even with kids and a busy schedule 10-20 minutes a day will keep me healthy.

You are doing great. And it is hard to realize you aren't what you once were. But you are still a better you. Especially when you realize your issues and work around them. You're awesome keep going!

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BEAUTY_WITHIN 12/21/2012 1:01PM

    Sounds like you're making progress! Keep it up!

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CARTOONB 12/21/2012 11:56AM

    Sounds like you are on your way to breaking your addictions. I'll be here to cheer you on the whole way!

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HDHAWK 12/21/2012 9:15AM

    Learning to do all of the "healthy stuff" in moderation is probably the hardest part. When I lost weight the first time I was 49. Now, at 53 and starting over with an extra 45 lbs. on my frame I'm finding it much more difficult to do anything. It's frustrating and I know it causes me to do nothing at all some days. Why bother when you can't go all out. I'm slowly working on doing what I can where I'm at. I know I will gradually be able to do more. I'm glad you're on your way to doing more, but just enough, not too much!

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ANDI571 12/21/2012 9:08AM

    I've always said, if I am eating right, then I am spending money. If I start saving money, then I start over eating. I just transfer one habit to another. It seems like a vicious cycle.

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DEBRITA01 12/21/2012 8:58AM

    With compulsive personalities there is always the excessive. I agree with Bethanybound, it all stems from a need to fill a void. We ARE enough and we don't need anything to make us complete.

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REGILIEH 12/21/2012 8:43AM

    LOVED it!!! How true!!! AMEN!!! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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WALKNLOVE 12/21/2012 8:42AM

    All I can say is AMEN! Thanks as usual for sharing John! You are so right....we are in this thing together! I will be praying for you in your journey today & I wish you & your family the very merriest of Christmases ever!

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BOOKAPHILE 12/21/2012 8:39AM

    Wise insights, John. I'm glad you're getting better and have someone to train you to pull back on the reins of exercise addiction so you don't injure yourself again.

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TRISTAROSE 12/21/2012 8:37AM

    Great blog .... emoticon

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BETHANYBOUND 12/21/2012 8:34AM

    I think we are all addicted to something. Problem is some of the addictions like money, beauty, power, things - even religion sometimes - are seen as positives. Obesity, drugs, sex, alcohol, gambling are seen as negatives. But it is all addition and it all comes from feeling like we need something "else" to be complete.

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VICKI-IS-LOSING 12/21/2012 8:31AM


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NEWMOM20121 12/21/2012 8:25AM

    Agree addictions come in many shapes and sizes.

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Perfect Joy

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

This has been one of my favorite stories for many years. It's the story of Francis, Leo and the meaning of joy. It's mt gift to you this holiday season. Namaste dear ones.

"One winter day St. Francis was coming to St. Mary of the Angels from Perugia with Brother Leo, and the bitter cold made them suffer keenly. St. Francis called to Brother Leo, who was walking a bit ahead of him, and he said: "Brother Leo, even if the Friars Minor in every country give a great example of holiness and integrity and good edification, nevertheless write down and note carefully that perfect joy is not in that."

And when he had walked on a bit, St. Francis called him again, saying: "Brother Leo, even if a Friar Minor gives sight to the blind, heals the paralyzed, drives out devils, gives hearing back to the deaf, makes the lame walk, and restores speech to the dumb, and what is still more, brings back to life a man who has been dead four days, write that perfect joy is not in that."

And going on a bit, St. Francis cried out again in a strong voice: "Brother Leo, if a Friar Minor knew all languages and all sciences and Scripture, if he also knew bow to prophesy and to reveal not only the future but also the secrets of the consciences and minds of others, write down and note carefully that perfect joy is not in that."

And as they walked on, after a while St. Francis called again forcefully: 'Brother Leo, Little Lamb of God, even if a Friar minor could speak with the voice of an angel, and knew the courses of the stars and the powers of herbs, and knew all about the treasures in the earth, and if be knew the qualities of birds and fishes, animals, humans, roots, trees, rocks, and waters, write down and note carefully that true joy is not in that."

And going on a bit farther, St. Francis called again strongly: "Brother Leo, even if a Friar Minor could preach so well that be should convert all infidels to the faith of Christ, write that perfect joy is not there."

Now when he had been talking this way for a distance of two miles, Brother Leo in great amazement asked him: "Father, I beg you in God's name to tell me where perfect joy is."

And St. Francis replied; "When we come to St. Mary of the Angels, soaked by the rain and frozen by the cold, all soiled with mud and suffering from hunger, and we ring at the gate of the Place and the brother porter comes and says angrily: 'Who are you?' And we say: 'We are two of your brothers.' And he contradicts us, saying: 'You are not telling the truth. Rather you are two rascals who go around deceiving people and stealing what they give to the poor. Go away]' And he does not open for us, but makes us stand outside in the snow and rain, cold and hungry, until night falls-then if we endure all those insults and cruel rebuffs patiently, without being troubled and without complaining, and if we reflect humbly and charitably that that porter really knows us and that God makes him speak against us, oh, Brother Leo, write that perfect joy is there!

'And if we continue to knock, and the porter comes out in anger, and drives us away with curses and hard blows like bothersome scoundrels, saying; 'Get away from here, you dirty thieves-go to the hospital! Who do you think you are? You certainly won't eat or sleep here'--and if we bear it patiently and take the insults with joy and love in our hearts, Oh, Brother Leo, write that that is perfect joy!

And if later, suffering intensely from hunger and the painful cold, with night falling, we still knock and call, and crying loudly beg them to open for us and let us come in for the love of God, and he grows still more angry and says: 'Those fellows are bold and shameless ruffians. I'll give them what they deserve.' And he comes out with a knotty club, and grasping us by the cowl throws us onto the ground, rolling us in the mud and snow, and beats us with that club so much that he covers our bodies with wounds--if we endure all those evils and insults and blows with joy and patience, reflecting that we must accept and bear the sufferings of the Blessed Christ patiently for love of Him, oh, Brother Leo, write: that is perfect joy!

'And now hear the conclusion, Brother Leo. Above all the graces and gifts of the Holy Spirit which Christ gives to His friends is that of conquering oneself and willingly enduring sufferings, insults, humiliations, and hardships for the love of Christ. For we cannot glory in all those other marvelous gifts of God, as they are not ours but God's, as the Apostle says: 'What have you that you have not received?' But we can glory in the cross of tribulations and afflictions, because that is ours, and so the Apostle says: 'I will not glory save in the Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ.'"

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TRIANGLE-WOMAN 12/21/2012 6:57AM

(¯`♥´¯) .♥.•*¨`*♫.♥
G ♥ O ♥ O ♥ D ♥ M ♥ O ♥ R ♥ N ♥ I ♥ N ♥ G

This is Lovely!

Makes me ashamed that the think I perseverate on the most is the "abuse" that the scale heaps upon me (it's not MY fault after all!!)


Thank you John (and St Francis) for the angelic reminder...


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SHERIO5 12/20/2012 9:16AM

    This story is one I read recently...I think it is a beautiful illustration of faith. Being able to praise God in the midst of suffering.

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NASFKAB 12/20/2012 8:36AM

  great point very moving

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SLIMLEAF 12/19/2012 7:46PM

    Maybe it's because I should have gone to bed an hour or two ago
or maybe it's just because I'm not so clever or have much insight
but I'm afraid I didn't really understand or grasp this one.

It sounded as if we should seek out and enjoy suffering because that's what we deserve.

No, it must be time I went to bed!

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MOBYCARP 12/19/2012 7:22PM

    St. Francis was a subtle man. Perfect joy isn't in the abuse, perfect joy is in being able to take the abuse and still have an attitude that can praise God and be thankful.

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MARITIMER3 12/19/2012 6:55PM

    Beautiful story, John. Thank you.

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VICKI-IS-LOSING 12/19/2012 4:43PM


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MORTICIAADDAMS 12/19/2012 4:09PM


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LYNMEINDERS 12/19/2012 3:57PM


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NEEDBU66 12/19/2012 2:18PM

    He is the gift.

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REGILIEH 12/19/2012 2:06PM

    And AMEN!!! AMEN!!! AMEN!!! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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Every Time I Want To Give Up I..............

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Remember our son John.

He graduates from college today with his bachelors degree in science. He is "a computer geek." He wears that title proudly. He's also 37 going on 38. Four years ago he lost his job. The company he worked for closed their doors. It's a familiar refrain.........

He'd worked there for close to ten years and decided it was time to finish his education. He's worked part time, got his ASA two years ago and kept plowing forward. I cant tell you how many times he slumped in a chair and told me he couldn't do it anymore. His rent was due, his girlfriends family wanted him to go on vacation with them......... Maybe he just go find a job. He never gave up and this afternoon, somewhere between two and four he'll get his degree.

Every time I want to hit the delete button on my account here at Spark I think of John and the millions of folks like him just strapping it on every morning and getting it done. If he can triumph over his circumstances surely I can triumph over mine.

Am I proud of him? You bet I am. It's nice when your kids can inspire you and what makes it better is yesterday was my third anniversary here at Spark. This is a great gift, don't you think?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TRIANGLE-WOMAN 12/21/2012 7:24AM

    Thank your son for being the reason that you do NOT hit the delete button!!!

Congratulations on his accomplishment!

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MARITIMER3 12/20/2012 10:46PM

    Congratulations to your son - it's been difficult for many people with the current economy, but he deserves a lot of credit for going back to school.

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HLPRATT 12/18/2012 10:28PM

    Yes just hang in there and keep your nose to the grindstone

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CARTOONB 12/16/2012 11:15PM

    Congratulations to your son!! It took me eight years of working full time and going to school part time (and raising two small children) to get my engineering degree. Thank goodness for the support I had to get it done. Same could be said for the folks and journey here! Congrats on your three-year!

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NASFKAB 12/16/2012 4:20AM

  congratulations to all HUGS

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LYNMEINDERS 12/15/2012 11:43PM

Plaeas congratulate John for me...i am so proud that nhe hasnt given up or in and has completed what he started....
I have 11 graduations that i go to each year and I am as proud of every student that graduates as I am of your son...woohoo

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MORTICIAADDAMS 12/15/2012 8:11PM

    My son has also had a lot of challenges to over come and is always making lemonade out of lemons. Maybe you and I actually did something right because we both raised great sons.

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MOBYCARP 12/15/2012 7:58PM

    When I was 32 years old, I whined at my boss that I could only take time for one class a semester, and at that rate I'd take 3 more years to get a degree. My boss, a very wise woman, looked me in the eye and said, "Kevin, how long will it take if you *don't* take one class a semester?"

I got that degree at age 35. It wasn't easy, but it sounds like I had it easier than your son did. Good for him! Perhaps he had someone (maybe you?) encourage him to keep on just when needed the encouragement.

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POPSY190 12/15/2012 2:47PM

    It all takes gumption and your family seem to have it! Well done all of you.

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REGILIEH 12/15/2012 12:49PM

    Oh John, how wonderful for both of you and for your wonderful girls. I'm sure everyone is so proud of you both! I do think at his age and this day and time it is unusual for someone to do what he has. Everyone should be doubly proud of him and for him. I think it is certainly a tribute to you and Joan raising him. emoticon emoticon emoticon

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HALFFAST 12/15/2012 12:17PM

    How wonderful! Congratulations to him, and to you!

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DEBRITA01 12/15/2012 12:01PM

    Congrats to your son for fighting for his's so easy to give up. I'm sure you are so proud of him...and he must have learned tenacity from his dad's example. emoticon

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GARDENQE2 12/15/2012 11:59AM

    Congratulations to you and Young John!
My sons were both in their 30's and had families by the time they accomplished their BS degrees. I am proud of their accomplishments, even though they progressed by fits and starts.

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SHERIO5 12/15/2012 11:52AM

    What a nice tribute to your son! Congratulations!

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VICKI-IS-LOSING 12/15/2012 11:27AM

    Congrats to your son. emoticon
My son went thru something similiar and he's taking collage courses now. He still has a little over a year to go but he'll make it. He was out of work for 18 months but he's found another job, is supervisor of a computer software business and has been there over a year now.
Don't ever give up John. Your blogs help to keep me going on here. emoticon

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WEEPINGANGEL74 12/15/2012 11:13AM

    Congratulations to John!! And to you & your wife for raising him. You have much to be proud of today.

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DOODIE59 12/15/2012 11:02AM

    Congratulations to your son! Yes, his perseverance is a valuable lesson for all of us.

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ONEKIDSMOM 12/15/2012 11:01AM

    emoticon to your son, John! And go ahead and bust your buttons, Dad!

And keep on Sparking, because the sweetest words I ever heard from *my* son were "I'm proud of you, too, Mom... I can't help it."

Mutual family pride is a powerful force. Go for it, and Spark on! emoticon Happy Sparkversary. emoticon

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YMWONG22 12/15/2012 10:11AM

  Congratulations! Both of you should be proud of each other.
emoticon emoticon

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TRISTAROSE 12/15/2012 10:03AM

    Yes this is a great gift John! Congrats to your son and I wish him much success!

emoticon emoticon

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ALLISON145 12/15/2012 10:01AM

    That's amazing news, John! Enjoy this special day with him.


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HDHAWK 12/15/2012 9:55AM

    Congratulations to your son! He should be very proud (as I know you and Joan are) that he stuck with it to the end. Good for him. I need to do the same in the weight loss department. I seem to be able to do it in every other area but that one.
Enjoy every moment today! emoticon

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Looking Ahead

Friday, December 14, 2012

Every year, between Thanksgiving and Christmas I take some time to reflect on what I accomplished this past year and what I am looking forward to in the next year. I shut down the computers, turn off the cell phone and let everyone near and dear know I'll be out of touch for a bit but I'm okay. Some of it is positive, some painful to review but always, always insightful and loaded with learning.

One year I went to Disneyland in Anaheim and sat on Tom Sawyer island at a picnic table for hours on end just soaking up the energy that flowed from that place. Later I found a small park right outside of Newport Beach. It looked out on to the ocean and I saw the most amazing rock formation reflect a late afternoon sun.

When I finish I have my mission statement for the next year. I share it with clients and friends and this year, after a good few days on my deck, I'll share it with you.


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TRIANGLE-WOMAN 12/15/2012 6:37AM

    Looking forward to it....

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NASFKAB 12/15/2012 5:27AM

  looking forward to it HUGS

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LYNMEINDERS 12/15/2012 4:16AM

    Looking forward to it John

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CARTOONB 12/14/2012 10:31PM

    Looking forward to seeing/reading what this year brings.

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GEEMAWEST 12/14/2012 9:50PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SLIMLEAF 12/14/2012 7:11PM

    Hello John. I can't find the right words, so will this do instead?


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MORTICIAADDAMS 12/14/2012 5:15PM

    Enjoy your time alone!

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POPSY190 12/14/2012 2:58PM

    A good idea to help go into the year ahead. We are all a product of the past.

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HDHAWK 12/14/2012 2:46PM

    Good for you. I'm afraid I might not feel very accomplished if I reflect on this year. At least not in the weight department. I'm looking forward to seeing it.

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CRYSTALJEM 12/14/2012 2:07PM

    So true.

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DEBRITA01 12/14/2012 1:54PM

    Wishing you a peaceful and tranquil time of reflection... emoticon

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TRISTAROSE 12/14/2012 1:54PM

    I too am looking forward to your mission statement.

emoticon emoticon

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REGILIEH 12/14/2012 12:34PM

    emoticon I'm looking forward to it! Enjoy!!!1 emoticon

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VICKI-IS-LOSING 12/14/2012 12:32PM

    I'll look forward to it. emoticon

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Can We Take The Time To Become Someones Hope?

Sunday, December 09, 2012

(If you are looking for warm and fuzzy, soft, uplifting and encouraging this day please stop reading. This blog is designed to make you (and me) very uncomfortable, introspective and finally moved to take some sort of action. I warned ya.)

It’s not about us.

It’s not about the Spark points, the fitness minutes or the consistency awards. It’s not how many times are angelic mugs are held up as examples of health. It doesn’t matter how many friends you have, blogs you write or weight you’ve lost. A family living in an abandoned vehicle will never know or much less care.

What matters is how much hope you find within yourself and how much of that hope you share with others.

We’re a selfish group aren’t we, so immersed in personal achievement, so justified in our journey and our many goals and we fail to look to either side and see those who haven’t quite put it together as of yet. Our role, our goal is to bring hope. The larger picture, the fiscal cliffs, the malaise and despair in our world dictates that you and I give and give and give. Instead we smugly take. We “deserve” laud, honor and praise for putting both feet on the ground each day and breathing. At least that’s what we say to ourselves.

Please, please don’t respond to this blog by telling me, chapter and verse, of all the great things you do for yourself and others. I’ll counter with a tome larger than War and Peace of my perceived greatness, love and giving. It is not now and never will be enough. We were placed on this plane of existence to give to each other, not doubt, be skeptical and withhold. If we gave enough hope to the person beside us then the world would look, taste and smell just like the greeting cards.

Yeah, you’ve worked long and hard. Go look in the mirror, smile, doff your cap, take a bow, do whatever. Yeah, you are special, acknowledge your gifts and talents and the light you bring to this world and please and very kindly get over it. Go find someone sweating quietly, overcoming insurmountable obstacles each and every day simply to exist and survive. Look for someone who was abandoned, lost and has given up. Go find them!!!

Bring them hope, and be that hope


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

EMTFF376 12/13/2012 7:13AM

    Thanks for the post and the text the other day! I've been hiding out lately. Missed reading all your wonderful and thoughtful blogs.

Big hugs,

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LYNMEINDERS 12/12/2012 3:22AM

    this is so right on the's a good kick

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TJCADDO 12/11/2012 12:16AM

    John, this is the first time I think I am going to have to disagree with you.

My track record of always trying to come up with solutions to problems that aren't my own has been disasterous and full of pot holes.

I am the ear that everyone wants to come to. I will give you my last 20 bucks if you ask for it. I have completely neglected myself because I cannot stand to see suffering.

Try to help a neighbor who is broken good luck with that. Woman across the street has 911 on speed dial. I tried to help her, did give her my last 40 dollars and what happens to me? Repeated calls to animal control if she sees that the water bowl has been knocked over or if one of my pets is out for more than fifteen minutes. False accusations that have always been unfounded.

What I have learned from giving, giving giving is that it is not all that it is cracked up to be.

Help her survive, yes. Be her friend, listen to her personal story? No way.

Sometimes we can be over-responsible for others. Even God flooded the earth. Guess you can tell I'm all hoped out.

Comment edited on: 12/11/2012 1:00:41 AM

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MORTICIAADDAMS 12/10/2012 5:09PM

    I totally agree. There are many members here who are totally self-absorbed. Their entire focus is me, me, me. They don't read other people's blogs, visit their sparkpages, offer anyone support. And because of this they miss out on a lot and don't learn a whole lot. I tend to think their lives are like this in general. It's hard to achieve real happiness when you are entirely focused on yourself.

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RSTENNER 12/10/2012 5:09PM

    How about be an encouragement to someone today!!!! emoticon

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TRIANGLE-WOMAN 12/10/2012 7:36AM

    Thanks for the kick in the pants...I needed it...

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NASFKAB 12/10/2012 4:45AM

  thank you for making me think

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CARTOONB 12/9/2012 8:00PM

    I heard your warning and ignored it. I will try...that's all I can promise.

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SLIMLEAF 12/9/2012 6:08PM

    I don't feel I have much to offer at the moment, but am reminded of Peter and John meeting the crippled man on their way in to the temple. He asked them for money and Peter said he didn't have any, but added: "But what I do have, I give to you: in the name of Jesus, stand up and walk!" and the previously crippled man did just that and went walking and leaping and praising God.

Which is a slightly long-winded way of telling myself that me being 'empty' is no excuse: I have Jesus and if I can find a way to 'offer him' into someone's situation, then that will indeed bring hope.

By God's grace (and I need Heaps of that) I will do that, but there's no way I can do it on my own.

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CRYSTALJEM 12/9/2012 2:26PM

    Fantastic blog, perfect for the season and every other day too. I too gave become more aware of this Conflict within myself. Thank you. Namaste

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DEBRITA01 12/9/2012 2:26PM

    Well said... emoticon

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VICKI-IS-LOSING 12/9/2012 12:24PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon Great blog.

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CATHYHASSPARK 12/9/2012 10:20AM

    love it John and it puts things into perspedtive!! My husband and I have had a very hard four years with him out of work , but what is one thing that is helping me cope , is not having that mindset, "What about me??" There are people in this community , in my area suffering worse than I am , my mission is to give them hope in these tough times and I see it every day when I ride the train to work , people down and out ,my heart goes out to them , and if just listening to their story , or giving a smile , and an encouraging word even get them a cup of coffee , I am being fulfilled knowing they are getting fulfillment ,

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HDHAWK 12/9/2012 10:16AM

    It's easy to find them in my profession. Kids who don't know where their next meal will come from and who don't have winter coats. Luckily I work with wonderful people who keep giving to these families. It feels good to give.

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REGILIEH 12/9/2012 9:45AM

    AMEN!!! AMEN!!! AMEN!!! What a wonderful blog and exquisitely said. I also think just being kind to everyone no matter how they act is also giving back. When we are shopping this season there are so many opportunities to make someone else feel better by how we treat them. John, emoticon so much for the reminder that no matter how much we give there is always more to do. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MJZHERE 12/9/2012 9:22AM

    I am with you - go find them. It is amazing how giving to others really ends up giving to ourselves - so in the end perhaps we are still selfish.

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LOUISE6296 12/9/2012 9:07AM

  Love this blog.

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ONEKIDSMOM 12/9/2012 8:35AM

    Great reminder, John, and timely. Message received. Now off to put it into action, one day at a time! emoticon

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TEACHING1ST 12/9/2012 7:58AM

    As always, John, exceptional 'food for thought.' Especially at this special time of the year, thinking of others expands our world. Thanks once again.


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