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Facing The Music

Thursday, January 03, 2013

‘Nothing happens until the pain of remaining the same, outweighs the pain of changing.” Arthur Burt.

Despite conventional wisdom, to the contrary I love Facebook. If it weren’t for Facebook (and Spark) I wouldn’t know some amazing folks from all over the world, most of whom I’ll never meet. A friend posted this quote today and encouraged us to share. For me it is timely.

I hadn’t weighed myself since November 17, 2012. Maybe it’s happened to you. One bad day turns into a bad week, in which you promise yourself the next week you’ll buckle down and OMG who needs to be depressed especially around Thanksgiving and Christmas. So you don’t step on the scale. You fudge on tracking your food, especially when the calorie total looks like the fiscal cliff. You’re a bit ashamed and a tad bit embarrassed. You rationalize that you’ll hit it hard between Thanksgiving and Christmas, but you don’t. There are all sorts of functions. OMG it’s not YOUR fault all those cookies and candies and gobs upon gobs of mac and cheese, sausage balls and other tasty treats are the ONLY thing you can find to eat because you do not want to offend Gloria from accounting whom you barley speak four words to the rest of the year but, hey, its Christmas, right? She worked hard making those things.

When you pass the room your scale is located in you can almost hear it ask you what’s going on. Like those little kids selling candy at the intersection you refuse to make eye contact and hurry on past. Christmas and New Year’s Day come and go and as you are trying on clothes that fit 6 weeks ago, you find them snug. It’s been so long that even you don’t recall when the last time was you weighed in. Maybe you hid your ticker so your friends couldn’t see it.

Tuesday morning I forced myself to weigh in. Yes’ Id gained weight but not as much as I though. In 6 weeks I’d gained 4.8 pounds, largely due to a very brutal personal trainer who works me hard two mornings a week. A voice in my head said real slowly. “You can’t measure your progress and come up with a plan until you can see where you are currently.” In other words, you won’t know where you’re at till you climb on the scale. In the spirit of openness and honesty, I was relieved I’d only gained what I did but then it dawned upon me that I’m still morbidly obese. The late Billy Joe Royal started a song this way “The games people play, every night and every day……”

‘Nothing happens until the pain of remaining the same, outweighs the pain of changing.” Arthur Burt.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JUST_TRI_IT 1/6/2013 9:36PM

    Wise inner voice!

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TEDYBEAR2838 1/6/2013 10:19AM

    I LOVE this blog. It's so true.

I was lax over the holidays also, but was the same Dec 31 as I was Jan 1.

I guess that is a real accomplishment on the good side, but not such
an accomplishment on the other side. Could have been a big gain.

SO, I'll accept that and move on.




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HLPRATT 1/5/2013 9:00AM

    Sometimes I forget how hard it is to step on the scale. It's better not to know sometimes. But then there's that honesty issue. It's a new year and time for new things. Hang in there

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REGILIEH 1/4/2013 1:05AM

    What a emoticon quote and of course so very true!

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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    Time to get busy for both of us. LOL.

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GEEMAWEST 1/3/2013 10:17PM

    I forced myself to weigh in this morning. Our scale broke several months ago and I never replaced it because it was easier not to know. But the good news is that I weighed myself on the Wii Fit balance board, which means I've started to exercise in the morning before work again.

We can do this!! Together!!

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CARTOONB 1/3/2013 9:36PM

    Good blog! At least you now know where you are. And since you know where you want to go, the hard part is over, right? emoticon

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MARITIMER3 1/3/2013 6:25PM

    Good one, John, and very true. It's all about taking responsibility and being consistent. Congratulations on gaining only 4+ lbs. over the holidays. Your personal trainer will get it off quickly.

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LYNMEINDERS 1/3/2013 5:02PM

    Amen...Love this...exactly what was needfed for me today..thankyou for your impecable timing

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PATTYCAKE17 1/3/2013 4:47PM

    emoticon for sharing and THE GREAT QUOTE! So true. Please see a movie called Lbs. (pounds) about a morbidly obese guy and how he changed his body and his life. It was my motivational video yesterday.

Comment edited on: 1/3/2013 4:48:21 PM

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TMW54812 1/3/2013 4:29PM

    My last two months were very similar, but I gained 11 pounds. Restarted yesterday and have had two good days.
May 2013 be a healthy, happy one for both of us!


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ANATASHIKI 1/3/2013 3:38PM

    lol , you're very brave , ther's no way I'm stepping on the scale before a "perfect" least emoticon

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CC3833 1/3/2013 2:00PM

    Great blog... don't we all know what it is like to avoid the scale -_- BUT! The only person who we are hurting is ourselves... Great job on weighing in! I am getting my 90 day work out dvd in today! Woohoo! Going to post before pics and measurements... EEK! Keep pushing forward!

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LOVINGKATE 1/3/2013 10:25AM

  Good Morning John. HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!! We need to move forward and learn from our mistakes. I know those goodies all to well myself. But I am ready to get back on the band wagon and get going and feel great again. Sugar is a very bad high. Veggie city here we come. Don't forget the fruit and whole grains. Love you John and we can do this together. Being the biggest family member really hit home for me so I'm going to make 2013 work for me and be healthy. Move more and laugh often!!!! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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KATHRYN1955 1/3/2013 10:00AM

    How true....I have found the very same thing. My only saving grace is that I keep going to the gym with my buddies 3x/week and now all that snow needs shovelling.
However.........that is not enough to offset all those extra calories. I am tracking my breakfast right after I finish this sentence!!
Happy New Year!!
And I do like that quote.

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HDHAWK 1/3/2013 9:52AM

    You have a very wise friend. Why do we let ourselves fall under the spell of all those goodies? Time to move forward. Here we go!

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SLIMLEAF 1/3/2013 9:27AM

    Hello John (and Happy New Year!).

I can identify with your blog post today, but empathy won't help much, will it?

So instead I'll say, "OK, my dear friend, what are you going to do about it and how can I help?"

Perhaps in helping you, I will also help myself - and I certainly need to do that.

Let me know what you think.

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TRIANGLE-WOMAN 1/3/2013 9:24AM

(¯`♥´¯) .♥.•*¨`*♫.♥
.´*.¸.•´♥ John,

Thanks for speaking the truth again!!! We are all with ya!

Now get inspired and DANCE, DANCE, DANCE to that music!!

¸¸.•´¸.•*¨) ♥¸.•*¨)
(¸.•´ .♥ (¸.•´ .♥ (¸.•*´¨`* ♥☆¸.•*´¨`*♥☆
`*♥☆ Thanks for Spreading the Spark!!!

p.s. Check out IOWL Podcasts. They speak to the "away from" motivation in your quote. And they speak to so much more about the "inner" work we need to do before the "outer" change manifests!!

You can find links to the podcasts on the IOWL Team

Comment edited on: 1/3/2013 9:28:14 AM

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SHERIO5 1/3/2013 9:23AM

    Great quote!

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NASFKAB 1/3/2013 9:18AM

  all the best hugs

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VICKI-BISHOP56 1/3/2013 9:13AM

  At least you know where you stand and can make a doable plan. emoticon

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TCANNO 1/3/2013 8:43AM

    If I have a bad weigh in I look back on what I have done, get the tape out, ask how I feel. Sometime I stay the same but feel great. That is enough to keep me going.

You can always come on here and get help

Good luck in getting started again.

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It Starts With My Energy

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

A young man went searching for the secrets of life. He traveled a great distance to sit at the feet of a wise and learned teacher. Each morning the teacher would greet him with a large bucket. He instructed the young man to walk down a path to a stream, draw a bucket of water, return up the hill, and dump the bucket in the well outside the temple. He repeated the task for many days. After a few weeks, he forgot his frustration and anger for being treated like a servant and walked up and down the hill without giving the task much thought. That is when he saw his destiny. He dropped the bucket and rushed to his teacher. “I can see my destiny.” The teacher smiled and replied. “It is when we lose ourselves that we find ourselves.” Through the continual repetitive activity, our mind disengages from all that is around us and can concentrate on the flow of energy within ourselves. It is where the great spiritual mothers and fathers believe we see our soul.

Yesterday I cleaned my office. Moving books and papers to new locations, screwing up my face at things I don’t recall saving. I began to stop thinking. When I allowed the divine energy to bubble up inside of me, if only for a brief moment, I saw how out of balance I had become.

Our energy is a gift from God. It is valuable and precious. My health, my success, my prosperity, each revolves around the management of the energy God gave me. In his book, The Heart of Buddha’s Teaching: Transforming Suffering Into Peace, Joy, and Liberation, Thich Nhat Hanh identifies that energy as the Holy Spirit. The energy is a divine gift not to be over looked or discounted because of a host of bad days or quirky events, but to be honored as a very precious gift. That gift of energy oozes into each crevice of our life. When I spend my days fighting windmills I mask my true destiny on this planet and end up tired and frustrated with myself and my life around me. I start “fighting back” instead of tapping the stream of energy and making peace with my universe.

Jesus tells the story of the king who prepared for a long journey. He called his three most trusted servants before him and divided his wealth equally among them. “Watch over this while I’m away,” he said. When the king returned many years later, he called the three servants before him. The first proudly told the king he had tripled what he’d given him. The second servant detailed how he had doubled the wealth. The third servant stood off in a corner and quietly approached the king. “I feared losing all you gave me so I buried it. I’m returning it to you as you left it with me.”

Despite all the spiritual manipulation, that story has weathered over the centuries, I often find myself asking, “Which servant am I?”

Namaste dear ones.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NASFKAB 1/3/2013 5:52AM

  your blogs make me think long & hard thanks

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GEEMAWEST 1/2/2013 9:37PM

    You write such awesome blogs. Please don't ever stop!

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CRYSTALJEM 1/2/2013 9:34PM

    Excellent blog and I also have to say Trianglewoman has a very good point. Happy New Year.

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REGILIEH 1/2/2013 8:16PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MKPRINCESS007 1/2/2013 7:05PM

    Wonderful John...........sometimes I just "give myself" to the task, and I find I am so productive.

Hope your 2013 is a happy and blessed year for you!


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LYNMEINDERS 1/2/2013 5:43PM

    Thankyou John.....
Your wisdom and challenges never fail....

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PATTYCAKE17 1/2/2013 1:51PM

    Words worth contemplating emoticon

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VICKI-BISHOP56 1/2/2013 11:54AM


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DEBRITA01 1/2/2013 11:37AM

    Good thoughts to ponder...Namaste, John emoticon

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SHERIO5 1/2/2013 11:16AM

    Another thought -encouraging blog! emoticon

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HDHAWK 1/2/2013 9:54AM

    This is how I feel when I walk outside or when I'm riding on the motorcycle. Don't worry, I'm not the driver. I do my best thinking then.

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ANATASHIKI 1/2/2013 9:40AM

    hmmm , I wonder if a 4th servant that would have tried and lost it would have been scolded.I bet not emoticon and why are you talking about energy today when I have the tonus of an amoeba? emoticon

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    Loved the blog. Great way to start the year!

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TRIANGLE-WOMAN 1/2/2013 9:04AM

    In this world, I think there is place for all three servants.

Emily Dickinson lived a mostly introverted and reclusive life. Would her life have been less valuable if her work had been lost and never published?

Just some food for thought....

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DOODIE59 1/2/2013 9:03AM

    Yes, the gift of that energy is sacred. Accepting everything with the right (open, positive) attitude is key to our own richness of experience. May I remember this at crucial times:)
Best wishes for 2013.

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Back To The Future ?

Monday, December 31, 2012

I have decided it’s time to shake things up a bit. I’m looking forward to 2013 I am going to look back at 2012. I can feel some of you cringe in horror. Our whole society is aligned to look ahead. How many e-mails have you received in the past week that talks about setting better and more effective goals for 2013? How many of those goals will be circling the drain by March 1? It is why diets do not work. We struggle to change behavior without changing or altering our thought process. Deep down inside, when we begin to alter our eating and exercise habits we form the belief we are being punished, because, after all, we are fat aren’t we. (I know I am supposed to say obese, but really, is your self, internal talk politically correct.)

Sometime today and most likely tomorrow, I am going to review my year and rather than celebrate what I have accomplished I am going to focus on where I have failed. No rousing or self-uplifting motivational talks or blogs here. Not going to focus on how wonderful I am and how much Jesus loves me even if I am fat. I am going to ask myself what went wrong. Because I have, feelings that the same things that went wrong in 2012 are the same things that went wrong in 2011 and 2010 and down the line. As someone so eloquently put it: “Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex... It takes a touch of genius - and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.”

This isn’t going to be fun but neither is a colonoscopy and it has a positive benefit doesn’t it? I am going to examine my failures and faults. I am not going to cut myself any slack, no pious platitudes and when I am done I know there won’t be any great revelations for 2013 just the realization of what things in my life need to change.

Despite our bleating and moaning, the only person who makes anything happen in our lives, positive or negative is us. We choose what external influences enter our lives. We vacillate on the tough choices because of the “P” word. No one likes pain, especially the emotional type. It strips us naked and we see all the bumps and lumps. So we create “do betters” without ever addressing all the “what the heck happened” of the past.

The three mantras I live by have not changed; moreover, they are a work in progress, something to be refined as I gain knowledge or as I stub my toes.

I deserve to be successful.
I deserve to be open and honest with myself about those areas of my life that need attention. Dorothy’s ruby red slippers are safe in the Smithsonian. There is no magic that is going to change my current state of affairs.

I am worth all the effort I put into myself.

The key word is effort. The laws of physics apply to each circumstance in our lives: “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” Positive and healthy behavior equals a healthier me. Cookies, cakes, and pies at my age are road maps to Type 2 diabetes. It takes no real effort to succumb to the will of others. When we fail the folks who tempted us are convenient foils. It is never our fault. There is no way we cannot reject our family of origin can we? I dunno, can we?

Ya are whom ya hang around with.

If you surround yourself with people who move forward, take honest but painful looks at their behavior then you too will be lifted up. For me, I’m done with excuses. I’m tired of running with the “there, there” crowd.

So today, tomorrow and into the next week I’ll take a hard look at the past year and ask myself how and where I could have handled some things in a different and more importantly WHY didn’t I have the courage to do so. The sad thing is that those of you who are in the same boat I’m in will give me a thumbs up, cheer me on, tell me I’m 100% correct and log off. Gosh I wish ya wouldn’t. I for one care about you too much to see you continue to be frustrated. Could we turn on our flashlights together and find the light of health in this next year.

As Michael J Fox once said “I’m back to the future.”

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PATTYCAKE17 1/2/2013 1:50PM

    Words worth contemplating. emoticon

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LYNMEINDERS 1/1/2013 9:28PM

    Woohoo...great blog John and very Challenging....
As I read it I know exqactly why I failed to achieve my goals last year and you are so right...unless I get to grips with that I am going to takre it into 2013 despite my positive..."this is going to be the year I achieve my goals" attitiude I have going on at present....

Thankyou so much for this....
I am NOT going to do the same things in 2013 that i did in 2012...I want different results in 2013 so I need to do different things in order to get them....

Thankyou...lets achieve in 2013 together

Comment edited on: 1/1/2013 9:28:59 PM

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MARITIMER3 1/1/2013 6:48PM

    Amen to that. No platitudes just a review of what we've done, and more importantly (for me at least) what I haven't done to be successful in 2012. As I wrote when I revised my Spark Page and rewrote my program today, "it isn't rocket science... just do it". I'm my own worst enemy because I procrastinate, and I make excuses for myself. In 2013, I will try very hard to be honest, with myself and with my Spark Friends.

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NEEDBU66 1/1/2013 4:21PM

    Every day is a new day to start over new again. However if we don't learn from the past we are, as it has been said, doomed to repeat it. I agree with everyone that we are on a delicate balance. Not giving up. Not giving in. Too many "oh too bad about yesterday"s in a row will not get the fat off my gut. I really have to have more good days of caloric intake and calories burned than days of lying around eating yet one more piece of bread. I don't make goals. They do all circle the drain by Mar 1, actually totally forgotten about by Feb 1 if the truth be told. It really has to be an hour by hour thing with a remembrance of yeah, that will or wont cut it if I expect to see the weight off. Otherwise it will creep back up and I won't like my weight one year in to this thing.

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TRIANGLE-WOMAN 1/1/2013 7:47AM

    re: How many of those goals will be circling the drain by March 1?

Giggled when I read that. What a vivid image!! Also liked the colonoscopy quip.

Can't wait to read your next blog. Don't be too hard on yourself.

Now I'm gonna go and write me a blog about how great I am. emoticon

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REGILIEH 12/31/2012 11:19PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Happy New Year my friend. Bless you and Joan and family! emoticon

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CARTOONB 12/31/2012 10:20PM

    I like being one of the ones you hang with. Hope I'm not detrimental to you in 2013! Ha!

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NASFKAB 12/31/2012 10:05PM

  all the best for 2013 for Joan & you

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ONEKIDSMOM 12/31/2012 8:01PM

    An annual review is something most of us get in the workplace, why not in the life place? So let's turn on those flashlights, review honestly, and move into the future with our eyes wide open!

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SHERIO5 12/31/2012 6:32PM

    I too am reviewing this year..what went well...and what didn't. I reached goal...but haven't maintained....I failed to plan for maintainance...and failed to truly change my attitude toward food....I am convinced that both need to be addressed in 2013.

So I wish you courage to address what must be looked at in your own life. Happy New Year! emoticon

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MORTICIAADDAMS 12/31/2012 6:00PM

    Good luck with your goals. Have a great 2013!

Happy New Year!! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MOBYCARP 12/31/2012 5:05PM

    Thanks for the insight. It's a delicate balance, finding enough positives to stay motivated while at the same time really seeing and addressing our failures. I hope you can successfully achieve that balance and improve in 2013.

I find that I've been doing something like you describe, in a less formalized way. I've been reading my blogs from a year ago, thinking about what I thought then and what I think about that situation now, and how I would handle things differently now.

But at the same time, I can't afford to be all negative about how I should have done better. I need to simply do better going forward. That's the delicate balance I hope to achieve, and I hope you can achieve it for your goals as well.

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PATTYCAKE17 12/31/2012 1:23PM

    I hope you find your places of improvement and have the fortitude to make the changes, or corrections, necessary. Many years ago in Overeaters Anonymous I did what was called a "fearless moral inventory," and it has stuck with me over the years. It became the daily exercise it was meant to be in a later step, and it's one of the ways I self-correct as I go along. That and recognizing and apologizing for mistakes as i recognize them keeps me on a daily healing path. When I taught reading I always gave a kid kudos for self-correcting as they went along. It's such a beneficial process, and one which helps to keep moving forward while absorbing the past and letting go as the changes are made. Your blog opened up an avenue I hadn't put words to in a very long time, so emoticon , and have a truly blessed New year. emoticon

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VICKI-BISHOP56 12/31/2012 12:18PM


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CC3833 12/31/2012 11:59AM

    You are totally right! I think this is true! I noticed my failure in the past was not writing my goals down and then breaking them down further in order not to allow myself vague answers. This year I wrote a blog of all the things I would like to accomplish this year. It is so much easier to meet your goals when you are around like-minded people. Unfortuately, the people in my life think I am fine the way I am. But, I know me and only I can say what is good or bad. I can't wait to read your blogs. I think it will assist me when I look back each month. Have a happy and healthy new year!

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DEE797 12/31/2012 11:32AM

    Thanks for the reminder to turn on the light and see what worked and didn't work for us in the past.

Wishing you a very Happy, Healthy, and Prosperous New Year! emoticon emoticon

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HDHAWK 12/31/2012 11:30AM

    I am in exactly the same place you are John and very frustrated with how I look and feel. I'm in it with you. I want to get back to goal weight this year for my health and self esteem. I'm tired of being tired all the time!

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ONELUCKYSUSAN 12/31/2012 11:16AM

    Got my flashlight ready, John. Very insightful post and on this last day of 2012 I'm using my 20/20 hindsight to set my resolve for 2013. Thanks so much for the wise words and encouragement.

Happy New Year!

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PAANDRUS 12/31/2012 11:08AM

    Thanks for the insight...i will read it again & again thru the year as a reminder. Where Ive been & where I need to go!!!

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New Years Greeting (A Few Days Early)

Thursday, December 27, 2012

I started reading a book Joan gave me for Christmas last night. (Give me a book as a present and I’ll follow you anywhere.) Written by Thich Nhat Hanh it is called Living Buddha, Living Christ. If you want to know more about the author, Google him. I was amazed at his accomplishments that included a nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize.


I am going to be away until the first of the year and I thought I’d share a passage from this book that really moved me.

“Our capacity to make peace with the world and another person depends very much on our capacity to make peace with ourselves. If we are at war with our parents, our families, our society or our church, there is probably a war going inside of us also, so the most basic work for peace is to return to ourselves and create harmony among the elements within us……"

Here is to a very peaceful New Year for you and all you hold dear to you. I look forward to sharing part of me with you and vice versa in the new year.

Namaste dear ones, namaste

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SILLYHP1953 1/30/2013 4:18PM

    I gave all my children one of his books for Christmas a few years ago.

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MARITIMER3 12/28/2012 9:06PM

    Very thought provoking quotation. I have recently found a peace in my life that I never had before. I believe it started when I became deeply involved in my church, and it continues to grow.

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REGILIEH 12/28/2012 7:38PM

    You will be missed! Happy New Year! Namaste! emoticon blog! I like your new book!

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NASFKAB 12/28/2012 5:33AM

  all the best for the new year for Joan & you

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CARTOONB 12/27/2012 11:19PM

    Books are the best presents! Happy new year to you and yours.

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MOBYCARP 12/27/2012 8:53PM

    Wow. You gave us a great story on joy, and now a profound quote on peace. I can hardly wait for the insights when you take up the topic of forgiveness.

Have a wonderful time away, and come back to us safe and well when it's time to come back.

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ONEKIDSMOM 12/27/2012 6:46PM

    Much truth to digest in that quotation. Thank you!

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LYNMEINDERS 12/27/2012 5:43PM

    Awesome quote from the book...thankyou...

Have a great time away John and an awesome New year to you and Joan....

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LUCYJOY 12/27/2012 5:35PM

    Hmm, this blog has interesting timing for me. Was talking with some friends today about my struggle to forgive some people in my life-which is normally not an issue for me. Guess it's time to look deeper into me for the answer. Happy New Year!

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SLIMLEAF 12/27/2012 4:41PM

    May you have a happy, healthy and peaceful New Year, John.


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TIME4AFITME 12/27/2012 3:06PM

    Very true!! Happy New Year

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MORTICIAADDAMS 12/27/2012 2:55PM

    I am all for inner peace. I find it hard to achieve though when exposed to the constant turmoil that surrounds some people.

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PATTYCAKE17 12/27/2012 11:58AM

    Very true, and a good reminder for everyone regardless of spiritual orientation. Jesus also said "My peace I leave with thee," to His true followers who can attain the "peace that passes all understanding." What a beautiful feeling to know true peace. Something to think and pray about as we watch those who talk about peace in the world and try to bring it about, knowing NOTHING about an inner peace which would stop them from striving to make war and calling it peace. emoticon emoticon Many blessings of peace and good will to you and all who stop by this page in the new year.

Comment edited on: 12/27/2012 12:01:17 PM

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NEEDBU66 12/27/2012 10:15AM

    We are called to be peacemakers. It is no easy task

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HLPRATT 12/27/2012 10:07AM

    Wonderful quote and so true. Happy New year!

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SHERIO5 12/27/2012 9:20AM

    Blessings to you in the New Year! emoticon

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TRISTAROSE 12/27/2012 8:43AM

    Thank you John .... A great thought for the day!

Happy New Year! emoticon

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VICKI-BISHOP56 12/27/2012 8:41AM


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MLMEYER98 12/27/2012 8:37AM

    Thank you! Your words were exactly what I needed to hear... Happy New Year ya'll

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HDHAWK 12/27/2012 8:35AM

    That's a powerful quote John. Enjoy your time away and be safe on the snowy roads.
Happy, healthy new year.

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Experiencing Joy

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Last week I posted a blog about perfect joy. It was a story about St Francis and one his fellow travelers discussing what perfect joy might feel like. If you would like to see the whole exchange, you can read that blog at:

In the end, Francis declared that perfect joy did not come from comfort and wealth but often from the discomfort of being rejected. This morning I had the opportunity to experience that type of joy up close and personal.

It had been sleeting since midnight. It was that nasty slushy stuff. I took Joan to work and started to the store. Having lived up north for many years, I know you do not wear a three-piece suit in this nasty, wintery weather. I usually wear an old pair of warm ups, a sweatshirt and a hoodie. I have a pair of running shoes that just might be older than me. Did I tell you Joan had been after me for about two weeks to get my beard trimmed? I needed to buy the usual staples – milk, bread, and eggs. I take a blood pressure pill that is also a diuretic. This morning, I NEEDED to use the men’s room before I shopped. I walked past three clerks and said my usual cheery good morning. The all nodded and I could feel them follow me with their eyes into the men’s room. Upon exit, I noticed a shoelace untied so I sat down on a bench to tie it. I sat for a few seconds, warming up. One of the clerks approached me and said “Excuse me, but the restrooms are for our customers.” I wanted to say something like” I’m just resting a moment I’m going to shop here in a minute,” but I was so incredulous that I just sort of stared at the ground. I heard one clerk say, “If he doesn’t move in a few minutes just call security.” I got a cart and took care of my shopping. As I walked up and down the aisles, a manager followed my movement from aisle to aisle. Honestly, I was a bit freaked out. I hurried through the You Scan, paid my bill, and headed to the car. As I loaded my groceries, I realized I had not paid for my milk. A quick look at the receipt confirmed my suspicions. This is not negotiable. If you do not pay for something and you know you did not pay for something you go back into the store and pay for it. Contrary to popular belief, it is not your lucky day. It is theft.

I walked back into the store, explain what happened, and hold out a ten dollar bill. The clerk tells me to wait a minute. Shortly thereafter, the store manager approaches me. He asks for ID. I comply with his request, explaining the milk must have nestled behind the toilet paper and I overlooked it. He asked me where I lived, where I worked and how could I have missed the milk. He took my money, and walked me to the door and watched as I drove away.

There is lots of stuff I wanted to say, even a few people I wanted to call. The people in that store thought I was homeless. They treated me with contempt. I was angry, really angry, until it dawned on me that my attitude suggested I was BETTER than someone who had no permanent home. How dare someone treat my like “one of those people.”

That’s when I began to feel something close to perfect joy


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ANNE-ELIZ 1/3/2013 12:21AM

    Thanks John! emoticon

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MARCYNA 1/1/2013 1:10PM

    Wow, great. I love this emoticon emoticon emoticon
PS The point is, not how the people treat you, but the way to react to it!!!

Comment edited on: 1/1/2013 1:12:07 PM

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PATTYCAKE17 12/27/2012 12:47PM

    So much to say about this story, but emoticon and emoticon seem to say it best. The joy of the Lord is my strength! To have lost your peace for even one word would have lost it for who knows how long? emoticon emoticon

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ANGELWENDYMAMA 12/27/2012 12:17AM

    Very interesting take on it.

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MORTICIAADDAMS 12/26/2012 9:58PM

    What I got from this is that you need to shop somewhere else. I understand about not wanting homeless people living in the bathroom of the store but they jumped the gun and no one at all seemed to pick up that they had made an tremendous error in judgement. And, yes, they are prejudice. Shop somewhere else. Seriously.

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CARTOONB 12/26/2012 9:29PM

    Wow! Great way to think and make something different of the situation.

Hope you find a place to live soon! emoticon

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NASFKAB 12/26/2012 8:46PM

  thoughtful made me think

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HDHAWK 12/26/2012 7:06PM

    That's a tough one John! Thank you for reminding us to always look for the joy no matter how difficult it may be.

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VICKI-BISHOP56 12/26/2012 5:11PM

  I can certainly understand your anger and I'm glad you were able to come to good terms over it. So many people only see with their eyes, not their heart. emoticon emoticon emoticon

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LYNMEINDERS 12/26/2012 4:40PM

    I love your philosophy.....I am not sure I would have kept my mouth shut as well as you did yours....

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DEBRITA01 12/26/2012 3:38PM

    Today you were a victim of discrimination based on your appearance...something people deal with daily. It makes one angry that people are treated this way and opens our eyes to what others deal with. As I sit in my warm home as it snows and sleets, I know you are blessed b/c yours was just a case of mistaken identity.

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LINDAMARIEZ1 12/26/2012 3:23PM

    It takes all kinds and God loves every one!

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REGILIEH 12/26/2012 3:21PM

    WOW!!!! That was certainly insightful. Also very sad. A lot to think about.

Blessings to you and yours! emoticon

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MOBYCARP 12/26/2012 2:59PM

    Perfect joy, indeed. May this reminder teach me to experience such joy when and if I get an opportunity like yours!

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YOYONOMORE1 12/26/2012 1:48PM

    What an amazing story and thanks for sharing. I guess that saying "unless you have walked a mile in there shoes" would apply here, but what an incredible experience for you and the realization of how the homeless are looked at and treated and you shared the lesson with us. Bless you John.


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MARITIMER3 12/26/2012 1:36PM

    What an incredible story, John. It's so sad to realize that this is how the homeless, and others who are marginalized, are treated every day. Thank you for sharing your experience - it will certainly make me think twice when I see someone who looks "different."

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MYTURN11 12/26/2012 1:29PM

    emoticon emoticon Sorry you were treated that way but am happy how you dealt with it and the good feeling it gave you as well.

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MATHMAGICIAN 12/26/2012 1:19PM

    Isn't it lovely how when we focus on something the universe gives us the opportunity to experience it? That's why it's so important to focus on the lessons and experiences we want to have not the ones we don't. Thank you for sharing this beautiful example!

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JILL313 12/26/2012 1:15PM

    Wow, what an incredible but awful experience for you. I can't even imagine something like that happening--how can people be so mean and judge others. . .I'm so glad you held up well through it all and experienced perfect Joy. You're a better man for it.



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SCRAPPINPOLLY 12/26/2012 12:59PM

    I am happy for you doing the right thing, but appalled at how they treated you. That stuff really gets under my skin. You took the classier route and didn't respond to it. I hope to be able to react that way when I am treated in such an awful way.

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SHERIO5 12/26/2012 12:56PM

    Quite an eye -opener...thanks!

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LIFETIMER54 12/26/2012 12:46PM


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