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I Am "Under Construction"

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I am learning that true health isn’t just measured by gazing down at your belly. Like the stock market, the rise and fall of your stomach may be one of many indicators, but it’s not the end all and be all. I think that’s why diets fail and I think that’s why there are so many of them.

I drove past a work site yesterday and saw that familiar sign “Under Construction.” As I drove down the road I began to think how much that applied to me and my life. When you look at a building going up it’s not a pretty sight. A mass of steel or concrete just sort of juts up in the air, standing there and if it could talk it might say “Okay, what do I do now?”

There is no landscaping around a construction site. Lots of mud and dirt and smelly stuff. Trash lying all over the place. But if you look closely, there is a lot of activity going on inside of it. You see people walking in and out of the structure carrying wood and electrical equipment and all kinds of stuff like that. We never really notice how the building is changing until one day we see that “Open For Business” sign. Then we smile and we remark what a lovely structure it is.

That’s me!!! Under Construction!!! Maybe not too much to look at on the outside right now but all kinds of activity going on underneath. I am working on my goals. I am planning my future. I am starting to realize there is so much more to me being healthy than charting food and sweating.

I am dealing with some feelings and emotions honestly. I get scared about failing. I worry about not having enough time to just sit down and vegetate. I used to deal with that by eating and stressing. I used to handle my problems by popping the top on a can of Pringles and letting television take me away. I think about a lot of things and I am learning to laugh at some of the goofy ideas I have had in the past about what health entailed.

I am learning to love me just as I am and if I never lost another pound or inch that I would be valuable and lovable just the way I am because I serve a real purpose on this planet.

I am under construction.

I am much more active. Not just exercise but simply moving and uhm, well discovering life. I am learning that some days I do have some limitations and that living with those limitations is all part of my growth.

Like the building I drove past, every day I am bit stronger a bit more able to brave the elements. I may not drop a pants size this month but my perception of myself is growing and the confidence I gain from that is like all the steel girders in that building.

We are under construction.

What about you? Are you stressing a bit when demon scale laughs at you because there may not be any movement in the right direction?

Is that how we gauge overall health? What about the “bit of the divine” that is in all of us? What about that soul within you that is so special and so, so YOU that it makes my world a better place for me to live and grow in.

So I challenge you my dear friend to look inside of you this day and find one thing in there that’s helping make you building so much stronger. Then tomorrow add another.

Then someday everyone will drive by the finished product and go “Ooooooo” and “Ahhhhhhh.”

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TINKERBELL200 3/24/2010 7:35PM

    Awesome blog John! I loved it! I guess we are all under construction in one way or another! Great analogy! We have to push forward towards the goal! I know you can do it!


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Lynne

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MARCYNA 3/24/2010 9:25AM

    Yes, I admit I've been stressed by the fact that the scale does not want to move...and not only. But you're right. There's a time to stop, a time to move forward. emoticon emoticon
PS I don't know if I got the challenge right but I'll try.........

Comment edited on: 3/24/2010 9:26:04 AM

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SUBVET688 3/24/2010 7:56AM

    What a great way to look at it. I like it a lot. Your constructing a strong building too. One to withstand hurricane winds and 9.0 earthquakes. Keep up the good work!

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MORTICIAADDAMS 3/23/2010 8:22PM

    I'm fortunate in that I do like myself as I am. Losing weight is for my health, not my vanity.

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WANDAH3 3/23/2010 6:03PM

    John...thank you for your blog today...I too am under construction and I needed this reminder. It's been a rough day and this has helped me to put things into perspective.

Hugs,
Wanda

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KLEONIKI 3/23/2010 5:41PM

    I am UNDER CONSTRUCTION too!
While i was putting all my efforts in building a new body through exercise and good nutrition i got completely surprised by the fact that for the first time i gave an end to a torment long enough kept alive for me and for whoever was waiting for me:
Searching the proper key out of a bounch of keys in a chaotic bag! I just surprisingly changed .Organised my bag, got rid of unnecessary things that cursed me and i know it is a TO BE CONTINUED play...and one with a happy end too!
Kleoniki

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GIRANIMAL 3/23/2010 4:18PM

    Wow. Thanks, John. Once again, I needed this. I am so darn close, scale-wise, to where I want to be, and I am finding it is much too often my point of focus these past few weeks. I know that essence of the diving is within me somewhere, and I know that not being able to recognize it is what keeps me feeling vaguely ... unfinished. It's really well past time to build up that part of me. Now, if you find any spare time and energy ... emoticon

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BECCALYNN75 3/23/2010 1:14PM

    Another GREAT blog John! I work for a construction company so I guess I relate in two ways.

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GETFIT2LIVE 3/23/2010 12:20PM

    As usual, well said, John. I love to read your blogs because you often say something that I'm feeling or thinking about, or else it's something I really need to hear that day. Thank you for sharing; we are indeed under construction, and we need to remember to find the beauty that God has already placed within us.

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CRYSELLE 3/23/2010 11:54AM

    What a great post. And this is what I needed. After learning of a setback and that I may not be able to exercise for a while which may hold me steady at this weight for quite some time, it was important to read this. Although I may not lose any weight, there are other issues I can tackle. Things I can do to improve my overall wellness. I am after all a work in progress :)

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AMYTATH 3/23/2010 11:05AM

    Such a wonderful way to look at things...helps keep you motivated. Thanks

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STORMTMB 3/23/2010 9:55AM

    You are a divine structure already - your mind and your heart are beautiful. I know this because you share yourself with us every day. I wouldn't care if you lost or gained another pound. You are beautiful to me today. Of course, you will be happier when the construction is significantly complete and I will continue to cheer you on to meet that goal.

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AMABILE75 3/23/2010 9:17AM

    Thank you so much, I needed this today. emoticon

A song from my childhood comes to mind, I wanted to share it with you.

HE'S STILL WORKING ON ME


He's still working on me to make me what I ought to be.
It took Him just a week to make the moon and stars,
The sun and the earth and Jupiter and Mars.
How loving and patient He must be, He's still working on me.

There really ought to be a sign upon the heart,
Don't judge her yet, there's an unfinished part.
But I'll be perfect just according to His plan
Fashioned by the Master's loving hands.

He's still working on me to make me what I ought to be.
It took Him just a week to make the moon and stars,
The sun and the earth and Jupiter and Mars.
How loving and patient He must be, He's still working on me.

In the mirror of His Word reflections that I see
Make me wonder why He never gave up on me.
He loves me as I am and helps me when I pray
Remember He's the Potter, I'm the clay.

He's still working on me to make me what I ought to be.
It took Him just a week to make the moon and stars,
The sun and the earth and Jupiter and Mars.
How loving and patient He must be, He's still working on me.

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YOYONOMORE1 3/23/2010 9:10AM

    There's a song we sing in morning worship "He's not finished with me yet" fits in with your blog today, we are or should be constantly changing and improving our building site or our temple inside and out. Thanks for another great Blog John and good to see you back home.

Hugs,
Shirl

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JCDROLSHAGEN 3/23/2010 9:02AM

    Great entry John. Looking forward to "Opening Day"! emoticon

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JCDROLSHAGEN 3/23/2010 9:02AM

    Great entry John. Looking forward to "Opening Day"! emoticon

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CMBELISLE 3/23/2010 8:20AM

    As someone who works in the construction industry, I can visualize what you saw yesterday and completely understand your blog. Maybe that's why I don't entirely stress out over the scale anymore - I know that things on the inside are changing, moving, and re-arranging.

Have a great week!

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WALKNLOVE 3/23/2010 8:08AM

    Aren't we all under construction & the truth be known, we always will be as we grow to become all God has called us to be! We are always setting & reaching new goals.We have to learn to be thankful for what we have in the process while continuing to strive towards the prize of the high calling in Christ Jesus! In the meantime...Romans 8:1..."There is now therefore no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus!" emoticonThanks for sharing!Gotta go to the construction site (aka. the gym)......

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DOLLIE6 3/23/2010 7:44AM

    I needed this reminder this morning. Thank you. emoticon

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NJMATTICE 3/23/2010 7:38AM

    Thanks for the healthy reflection, John. Nice insights.
Love,
Nancy

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ANGIETHORN 3/23/2010 7:36AM

  I love this John we are Under Construction thanks for the reminder.

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Gettin Rid of My Excuses

Monday, March 22, 2010

I saw a lot of people I hadn’t seen in a long time this weekend. Funerals usually do that to you. I hadn’t seen one of my brother-in-laws since his mother’s funeral and that was almost ten years ago. People read a death notice, see a name and come to the funeral home to show support and to rekindle relationships. It can be a very bittersweet sort of experience.

Most people I talked to commented on my appearance. The usual “Gee you look good.” Or “What are you doing?” or “How much weight have you lost?” While I didn’t think a funeral home was the place to spread the Spark, I basically told them “diet and exercise.” The reaction I got from most of those people went something like this:

They would lean over, grasp my arm and whisper “You know, it’s ok if you let go this weekend. No one would blame you.” One well intentioned person suggested to me that eating was an integral part of the grieving process and I should just go ahead and drown my sorrows, so to speak.

There was a lot of food there. Friday night at the funeral home there were all sorts of meat trays and cheese balls and cookies and coffee cakes, stuff like that. After the wake everyone “went out to eat.” Try convincing forty people that eating at ten o’clock at night isn’t the best thing in the world for you. Saturday was more of the same.

It was a real challenge for me. I had to pick my way through a minefield of dietary disaster and my emotions ran the gamut. I’d get angry that I just couldn’t dig in to a plate of frosted brownies. I would feel a bit of frustration when I looked on a menu and didn’t see much that would support my commitment to being healthy.
I made it though. I stayed within my calorie levels and when we got home Sunday once I unpacked I headed for the gym. I made it for four reasons.

First, I refused to accept excuses for my behavior. Those well intentioned folks who tried to put a burrito in my hands may not be emotional eaters. I am. If I ate the burrito I’d be in rehab for a month. No one controls my thought process but me. That happens because every single day I feel better about myself, my health improves and so I become much stronger. One thing feeds off the other and so I develop this resolve that keeps me from doing things that will slow down or stop my progress.

Think for a moment about a strong belief you have, whether it be religious, social, or political, one that you hold very dear. If you walked into a room full of people who felt the exact opposite of the way you did, would you change your mind about that belief that was part of your core being just because a group of people wanted you to do so?

My journey towards health has become one of my core beliefs. I do what is necessary for me to remain healthy and get healthier. Any other behavior would suggest that I don’t believe I am worth the effort. It would strike right at the core of my self image. It would mean I was a fraud, saying one thing and doing another.

Second, I have a plan. (Thank you Spark Team for that!!) The consistency of my diet and my exercise made it easier for me to navigate the mine field. I believe it’s why we click on the tabs marked nutrition and fitness three or four times a day. It’s a habit and it’s a good habit to develop. When it was time for breakfast I automatically knew there would be some sort of whole grain and fresh fruit involved and “BTW, John, you don’t have to eat until you are full.” Lunch and dinner had chicken or turkey and veggies involved in them. I didn’t get the cardio in but my granddaughter and I took a few walks. At the wake Friday night I didn’t hang around in the “food room.”

Without the plan I would have not had any real direction and then come Sunday afternoon I would have been despondent because I would have wrecked the ship.

Third, I am learning not to take myself seriously. I am not going to become the food police. I am not going to tell people to get that “away from me.”

My granddaughter is four. She and her mom baked some oatmeal cookies for the wake. She was very proud that she got to help and showed me the tray of cookies when we were walking around. I was sitting down later and she brought me a cookie. She reached her hand out and smiled. One of my loving daughters said “Pappy can’t have that!!! He’s on a diet.” She got that look four year olds get.
“Pappy,” I replied. “Can do anything he wants.” I smiled at her and took the cookie. She sat down next to me and told me step by step how she and mom baked the cookies. Then she waited till I tasted it. I told her it was the best oatmeal cookie I had ever eaten; she smiled, hugged me and ran off to feed her cookies to another person.

I have come to believe that if you do not bend once and a while you are going to snap like dry kindling and then all you worked towards goes in the toilet.
Loving yourself is supposed to provide pleasure not pain. If I really believe I am changing the way I live and am not on a diet, then I know I don’t have to reach my goal weight tomorrow. If I became the kind of person who other people didn’t want to be around because I was always preaching, I wouldn’t have a support system.

It brings me to my final point and that is you guys. I felt each of you was right there with me. I felt the prayers; the love and the support and that in itself helped me so much this weekend. Again, thank you so very much.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BECCALYNN75 3/23/2010 1:18PM

    Aaahhh, I love the oatmeal cookie story! I had a lot less stress and a lot worse weekend nutrition wise. I'm hoping to learn from my mistakes and your successes to do better next time.

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HAVALOVER 3/22/2010 7:25PM

    As it usually happens, one stumbles into someone else's page by accident.

By reading some of your blogs, I've found a very strong, sensitive, grounded person and wise man; a great granddaddy, and a supportive husband, who has decided to act like a grown-up, but that still has an innocent sparkle in the way he looks at life.

I'm adding you as a friend. One sure needs friends like you!

My condolences to you and your wife. To your granddaughter, let her know that a lady from Panama is sure she makes the best oatmeal cookies in the world! Those that make people feel better.


emoticon from Panama,

Mirie

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1WALKINGMAN 3/22/2010 6:51PM

    Way to Go John. I have been there, done that and got the T- shirt. You can only account for yourself and I think that you handled the situation admirably.

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KLEONIKI 3/22/2010 6:19PM

    I am moved by your words describing the scene with your granddaughter!
I can smell the love and caring and affection and it smell heavenly.Is the smell and taste of family.
Would it be i am heading towards my becoming a grandmother at full speed?
I do not know. But i felt the need to embrace and caress the whole picture of you eating your cookie and her looking and checking your reaction...
I take this picture with me hitting my bed as an amulet for SWEET DREAMS.
YOU ARE A GOOD MAN , dear John!
Good luck to you and your beloved ones!
You deserve to live happy and healthy.

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GETFIT2LIVE 3/22/2010 5:23PM

    Well done, John. I wondered how it went for you over the weekend, and I am glad you wrote about it. You have such a good perspective on things; this is not about a diet to be followed 'perfectly' but about changing the way we live. Life happens, and there are lots of curveballs that are thrown our way; learning how to deal with them is part of the journey. There has to be room for moments like sharing a cookie with a proud granddaughter who baked her first batch; life doesn't go on hold while we work towards our goal weight, and it shouldn't have to.

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GIRANIMAL 3/22/2010 4:39PM

    I've been playing catchup the past few days -- my condolences on your family's loss.

I especially enjoyed the part about your granddaughter and her oatmeal cookies! You have shown that you can be committed to this journey in the healthiest possible way -- by knowing how to incorporate real-life challenges. You made a little girl who is important to you feel very proud while practicing behavior that should make you even prouder of yourself.

I am so glad you made it through an emotionally charged weekend full of triggers...and not just dragging through and somehow escaping despite a few bumps and knicks. You are practically unscathed!

Bravo, John. You're a Sparkie for life!

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SPARKENISTA 3/22/2010 4:32PM

    Good for you, John. I'm sure the feeling of keeping your commitments was worth the momentary taste. Many people mean well. I'm sure those people did. But you really circumvented that trap. You did the right thing eating the cookie, though, for sure.

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WEEZIE1122 3/22/2010 2:44PM

    John,

As always you are such inspiration and a beautiful person.
And The BEST Pappy ever.




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NJMATTICE 3/22/2010 1:22PM

    you're welcome, John. Reading your blog was like a nice walk in the sunshine. I saw the reeds bending in the wind, so as not to break. Building that healthy lifestyle. It's the good work that we are about, eh?
Have a good day.
Love,
Nancy

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KATJAMN 3/22/2010 12:55PM

    If you wouldn't have eaten that oatmeal cookie, I would have scolded you, LOL That cookie was worth a million to that sweet littie girl.
You did great John, I hope I can be as strong should the occasion arise that I am in that situation.
I pray that all is well and that your wife and rest of the family are in the process of healing.

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TKRINER 3/22/2010 11:17AM

    Way to go, John! What a good pappy you are!

I seen alot of people I haven't seen for a long time this weekend. Not a funeral. I had my husband a 40th b-day party. I really felt the love from these people.

Hang in there!!
Hugs, Tami

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TKRINER 3/22/2010 11:12AM

    Way to go, John! What a good pappy you are!

I seen alot of people I haven't seen for a long time this weekend. Not a funeral. I had my husband a 40th b-day party. I really felt the love from these people.

Hang in there!!
Hugs, Tami

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DOLLIE6 3/22/2010 11:00AM

    Hi John,
I really enjoyed your blog. You sound like a "normal" person not a compulsive over eater or any of the other tags we get handed. Sounds like you know what you want, just matter of fact, no biggie, no drama. I love it. I believe I am in that area of my life also and it is so full filling to enjoy life and be proud of myself and praise the Lord, NO DRAMA.
Have a great week.

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TRIPLE_EMME 3/22/2010 10:30AM

    I am so glad to hear that you had a plan and stuck with it for the long weekend.

You are such an inspiration. emoticon

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AMYTATH 3/22/2010 10:05AM

    Great job John!!! Those types of situations are always the hardest to stay on track. Greif is the strongest emotion to lead you to food. You have come a long way and should be very proud of yourself. And I agree with you about the cookie...My theorie is I will not deprive myself of anything. If I want it bad enough I will manage it into my daily allowance and if it doesn't fit and I still want it, I'll work it into tomorrows.

emoticon

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MARCYNA 3/22/2010 10:00AM

    WoW, awesome, I'm sure an Angel was at your side to keep you from falling, and your granddaughter will feel forever proud, it was so kind of you to accept her cookie, a pure act of love and kindness!!!!
It takes wisdom though and it seems you've acquired it!!!
What a wonderful thing!!!! emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 3/22/2010 10:01:14 AM

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GREENCAT1 3/22/2010 9:38AM

    John - your comments are inspiring as always. What struck me the most today, was that you are so PROactive in your wellness and fitness efforts and not REactive. Such a big difference and one that I plan to think about and incorporate more. I love the story about your granddaughter and the cookies. What a wonderful way to make her feel special! Thank you for sharing your thoughts, even during a difficult family time.

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DIASTER 3/22/2010 9:36AM

  Wonderful! So hope the next time I am tempted I will remember your journey and your determination. Do so understand about going off a plan and coming to 2 months later, next time maybe it will end with one cookie later. Thank you!

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VTORIA3 3/22/2010 9:24AM

    On point and very touching. It was a tough time for you, but YOU did it. You are demonstrate how important commitment and integrity are. And, too, you let us know this journey is also about living, nurturing another's tender little heart. Ah, but this moment shall pass but once.

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STORMTMB 3/22/2010 9:09AM

    Pappy gave his granddaughter the love and attention and reassurance that only a grandfather can provide. How beautiful is that. You didn't say, but I'd speculate that you didn't finish the cookie... Have a great Monday.

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JCDROLSHAGEN 3/22/2010 8:56AM

    emoticon
John, what you say is true...life is a balancing act. Better to taste a cookie than hurt your granddaughter's feelings. You still had the social connection with her; you made her day by sharing the moment. Basically food is an integral part of social behavior. However, it is not necessary to let go even when the occasion is unhappy, unpleasant, or even joyous.

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KAT573 3/22/2010 8:15AM

    What a great number of strategies you have incorporated into your daily journey toward lifestyle change! Loved reading this and loved the paradox that evolved over the passage; Life IS a paradox, and it IS a balancing act!
Keep on keeping ON! emoticon

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AMABILE75 3/22/2010 8:11AM

    I can picture the moment you shared with your granddaughter. How precious! That is a moment you will probably cherish for years to come. :-)

I always wondered why people have the tendency to tell you it's ok to cheat even when you are holding strong!! It doesn't matter if it is family, friends, co-workers or a total stranger... when you stand firm in your conviction "I'm not going to do that." or "I'm not going to eat that." All the sudden they start with "It's just one meal." or "You deserve it." or "You should treat yourself." I know they mean well, and if you had just gave in to temptation it makes much more sense for them to react that way... but when you are still standing strong... a "Good For You!" response is sooo much more supportive. :-)

You are amazing. Your dedication to your plan is exactly what we all need. You are a rock, a solid example of what we need to succeed on this journey.

emoticon emoticon

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Tara

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WALKNLOVE 3/22/2010 8:03AM

    Thanks for being so real with us.Your blogs are always heartfelt! God has blessed you with wisdom and "the gift for gab" :)

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WANDAH3 3/22/2010 7:44AM

    What a wonderful moment you shared with your granddaughter. This is life, somedays it throws you curves that you need to deal with in the healthiest manner possible.
You did awesome, congratulations.

Hugs,
Wa
nda

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NAKIOMA 3/22/2010 7:30AM

    You didn't just accept the cookie - you had a wonderful moment with your granddaughter - beauty in the midst of great sadness is good for the soul - you have developed a great perspective - your thought processes are perfected - you are good to go...........congratulations.......
.......

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Back Home and Wore Out

Sunday, March 21, 2010

We arrived home about forty five minutes ago. Everything went smoothly yesterday. The funeral was both touching and uplifting. There was a lot of inspiration that came from the family members who eulogized Joan's brother.

The amazing thing was the people he worked with at Lowes in Louisville. He had always worn a Hawaiian shirt to work. Yesterday and Friday all the people who knew him and worked with him wore Hawaiian shirts to work. A few of his other brother-in-laws wore them to the funeral. We went to the store after the funeral and they gave his brothers and sisters Lowes hats and tee shirts. It was very moving.

We spent the rest of the day together until 11 at night. Joan and I squeezed church in last night. We went to Mass at the church we were married at and where all the kids were baptized at. We were members there for close to twenty five years until we moved to Owensboro. It was good to see a lot of folks who still remembered us and I think it was good for Joan because she got to grieve a bit with some old friends.

I stayed within my calorie limits both days. I ate a lot of chicken and veggies! I did not get to the gym as planned yesterday. Even though Joan told me to go ahead and go for it I felt it was better I stayed with the family. So.......... I am unpacked and the gym opens in thirty minutes and that's where I shall be.

Thank you again, all of you, for your support and prayers and most importantly your friendship.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CMBELISLE 3/22/2010 10:51AM

    Congrats on staying within your calorie range. I totally understand not making it to your workout too. It does sound like he was respected/loved at his job and I love the Hawaiian shirt theme.

Hope you have a great week!

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MARCYNA 3/22/2010 6:05AM

    It's so moving John...I'm going to wear a hawaian shirt in the summer to honor you & brother in law...He was really loved as I can see and surely he's in heaven.
Congrats on the wise choices, a great sorrow like this could have threatened all the hard work but your endurance made it possible!!!!! emoticon
PS I bought a hawaian shirt last summer now I know why!!!!!

Comment edited on: 3/22/2010 6:05:14 AM

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TINKERBELL200 3/21/2010 10:02PM

    It sounds like it was amazing! Especially what his coworkers did! He must have made an impact on their lives! I think it was awesome you got to go to the church where you and Joan were married. My hubby and I go back where we were married every few years It was wisdom on your part to skip the gym. At times like this your wife family needed you more!
It's awesome you made good food choices and stayed in your limits! It feels great when you make good choices!
Glad to here you all made it home safely! I bet it feels great to be home too.
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Lynne

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SUBVET688 3/21/2010 9:50PM

    Glad you are back and Kudos to you on staying on plan through all of this.

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DOLLIE6 3/21/2010 4:42PM

    I'm proud you all are back safe and sound. I am also proud you were able to eat healthy. I hope you have a good workout and a good week.

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GERIKRAGH 3/21/2010 4:10PM

    I'm glad everything went well. We have a funeral to attend on Friday and then everyone's coming back to our house for food. I hope it turns out as wonderful as the one you went to.

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KLEONIKI 3/21/2010 4:04PM

    Welcome back on track!

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NJMATTICE 3/21/2010 3:02PM

    emoticon

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STORMTMB 3/21/2010 2:24PM

    Glad you're back home safely and even stayed in the calorie range. Continued prayers for the family as you all try to resume "normal" lives again. I think that's probably even harder. Hugs to you and Joan.

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CAROLYN0107 3/21/2010 2:12PM

    What a nice gesture of the Lowe's workers and others in the family to follow by wearing Hawaiian shirts. Congratulations to you for staying in your calorie range.

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AMABILE75 3/21/2010 1:35PM

    I'm really glad you made it home safe and sound. It is nice to see that you have such a wonderfully supportive family and that even the employees of Lowes were so kind. I know to say that you have had a very difficult week is a huge understatement. But it really says a lot about you and your commitment to a healthier you that you were able to stick within your calorie range considering the week you have had. I'm so proud of you, and more inspired than I could possibly explain.


emoticon emoticon
Tara

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A Quick Update

Saturday, March 20, 2010

A very brief yet heartfelt note to thank all of you for your wishes, prayers and support. I knew I had some friends here at Spark but I didnt realize how many friends I had and just how much they cared.

The wake went well last night. It was mostly family members and so it was somewhat of a reunion. I liked the tone of the whole evening because it was more of a celebration of her brothers life and all the interesting and funny stories that went with it.

Joan was pretty tired and as write she is in the shower. The funeral is at 10:00 AM

I have stayed within my calorie limits. At the funeral home last night they had a veggie tray with some cream cheese dip. I ate a lot of broccoli and carrots and while I didnt feel full I felt satisfied.

The hotel cardio equipment is not functioning. No worries. The gym my son belong to is about a mile away and I can get a one day pass for fifteen dollars. I believe my health is worth fifteen dollars. So sometime this afternoon or early this evening I am going to get my cardio in.

I could write all day about how grateful I am for your support and prayers but I will leave it with the thought that I will pray for all of you this morning at the funeral service.

John

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DBELLE39 3/22/2010 8:08PM

    John so sorry for your loss -- but even in what many would use as an excuse to hit the junkfood - -you have overcame & are still shining that positive attitude. God bless my dear brother.

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SUBVET688 3/21/2010 9:48PM

    You don't know me from Adam, but I crossed your path here on SP and liked your positive page. I came in to read your blog because I knew it would be positive, and it is, even in your grief and stress. I recognize and appreciate that and think it is a great example of someone doing it right. Keep strong as I know you will. My prayers to your family.

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TINKERBELL200 3/20/2010 10:14PM

    John, you and Joan and the family are in my thoughts and prayers! That's the way a wake and funeral should be is a celebration of life.
I think it's awesome that you ate the veggies and went to the gym! You have definitely made some positive lifestyle changes! Keep up the good work.
Take care of yourself and your lovely family.
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Lynne

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PINETREEGIRL 3/20/2010 8:31PM

    For some moments in life there are no words. All my best to you, John.
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KATIEGLEN012 3/20/2010 8:23PM

    I am so very sorry for your loss. That the family is able to come together is wonderful and that the atmosphere is supportive. Take care of those you love, including yourself. You are in my prayers.

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SPARKENISTA 3/20/2010 7:32PM

    John--So sorry for your loss. I have not been getting notification of your blogs and just checked in now. It's easy to space out at times like this and revert to old familiar (and unhealthy) habits. Clearly, these few months have really changed your core.

I hope that the wake and funeral are a good catharsis and that you return home in a bit of a better state of mind.

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GETFIT2LIVE 3/20/2010 3:56PM

    You, your wife, and the family are in my prayers as well during this difficult time. Keep taking care of yourself and your wife; celebrating her brother's life together is one of the best ways to remember and honor him.

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DOLLBABE56 3/20/2010 1:14PM

    It was good that you were able to have a nice evening at such a sad time. My thoughts are with you both.

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KLEONIKI 3/20/2010 1:13PM

    I like reading through your lines that keeping your commitment to exercise and health is A FIRST PRIORITY so promising and motivating for me!
Good luck1
and YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS 15 USD are nothing for keep on the right track.DO IT!
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AMABILE75 3/20/2010 12:30PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

Thank you for the update my friend. You and your family will continue to be in my prayers, not just during this horrible time, but always. 'm glad to hear you have been taking care of yourself.

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BIBLIOHOLIC57 3/20/2010 10:48AM

    John,

My thoughts and prayes are with you and your family. It's good to know that you have such a supportive family.

$15.00 is worth it for the day at the gym. It's a lot easier to spend $15+ for a meal.

Take care of yourself. Get some rest, too!

Annie emoticon

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DOLLIE6 3/20/2010 10:29AM

    emoticon emoticon

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TAZZIEGIRL 3/20/2010 9:54AM

    You are both in our thoughts.
HUGS

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WANDAH3 3/20/2010 9:37AM

    Give Joan a big hug for us too. I'm glad that you have been able to celebrate your BIL's life.

Hugs,
Wanda

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NJMATTICE 3/20/2010 9:18AM

    emoticon

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STORMTMB 3/20/2010 8:56AM

    Thinking of the you and Joan this weekend. Give her a hug for me.

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CRYSELLE 3/20/2010 8:52AM

    *hugs* John I have been sick and quiet but believe me you are in my thoughts and prayers always!

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Being Out of Balance and Being Mature or How To Survive A Stress Filled Week

Friday, March 19, 2010

Ever feel like you are looking at the world through a bowl full of green Jell-O? Okay you can put your hands down now. Looks like it’s been most of us.
What’s the first thing we usually do? Ok I’ll answer because I am a pro at this. We grab the food of choice. And we grab and we grab and we grab. Then we feel guilty and despondent and then we give up because the almighty cookie, cake or brownie has assumed its control over us once again.

It reminds me of the riddle: Where does a 500 pound gorilla sit in your refrigerator? Any where it wants.

Up until this week my journey into Sparkville has been relatively stress free. Oh I’ve been tempted by that scent of chocolate and the sweet seduction of blackberry cobbler with a pure lard crust has tickled my fancy. I have been strong. I have survived. The past few days I have been looking at the world through Jell-O!

The phone rang at midnight, Wednesday. When the person on the other end begins with “John, this is Joe. (My wife’s twin brother.) I’m afraid I have some bad news……..” You sort of know he wasn’t calling to see how you’re feeling.
In a nutshell Joan’s oldest brother died in his sleep sometime between Monday night and Tuesday night. He had been in poor health for the past year, was single and lived alone. The best guess is he had a heart attack and peacefully slept away. So I hang up the phone. I sleep with one eye open, Joan sleeps like a rock. It would be even money if the second coming would wake her up or not.

So I have to wake her. Now imagine how you feel being woken up from a sound sleep to begin with. Imagine being all groggy and having someone tell you your oldest brother just died. Not a good feeling.

My daughters hear her crying, come in our bedroom and suffice to say we were up until four am. Emotional exhaustion causes us to crash for about three hours or so and then Joan gets busy communicating with her remaining seven brothers and sisters who are flung out across the United States. I am trying to reschedule my appointments until next week and well you know how you feel when you’re looking at the world through a bowl full of green Jell-O.
Somewhere in all of this Joan’s youngest brother calls to say “Guess what? He didn’t have any life insurance and no other money to speak of.” Now grief has a twin, it’s called massive stress. You are sitting there and thinking all sorts of evil thoughts about how someone could not have any life insurance, and then you think about the poor guy all alone. You go back and forth. You wonder who is paying for all this and then you mentally slap yourself for thinking like a butt head. Your wife is wondering the same thing only she must feel ten times worse than you do because it is her brother!!!

Why do I share all this?

In the past I’d head straight for food and rationalize about a five pound gain from the fact that no one should or could blame me for eating. I am under a lot of stress and we just lost a family member and the list goes on and on.

I didn’t. There were a couple times I wanted to but I didn’t.

See, I think I am genuinely maturing. Yeah I reached age twenty one eons ago but now I am maturing. In the lesser moments I told myself it wasn’t worth it and in the most stressful I went down stairs and did some meditation to relax and regain control of myself. I went out and cleaned the garage, picked up junk, picked up the back yard. I have stayed busy. I knew if I didn’t stay busy, I would suffer the consequences.

Anyone here recall how Americans grieve? Yup, it’s with food and lots of it. I’m not talking about wholesome, whole grain dishes with plenty of veggies. I am talking about Mac and Cheese, strawberry shortcake---------- stuff like that. I could throw my hands up in the air and blame the stars, the cosmos and anyone else who crosses my mind or I could have a plan

Slowly adult John took over. I suspect that for the rest of my natural life, when times of supreme stress arrive and I am looking at the world through green Jell-O I will want to eat. Each time I will be faced with a choice and each time I will succeed. In my mind there is no other option. It’s like breathing.
I am packing my own food. If someone throws a hissy, that’s tough. The good news is one of my sister-in-laws is a vegetarian. I will lean on her. My lap top goes with me so I can track my food and yes we are staying at a hotel with a workout room.
My wife needs my support. I will concentrate on that. I am a lot more mature today then I was a few months ago. The temptation is there but I will not give in. I am on the road to success. Just because I am stuck in some green Jell-O right now is no reason to give in.

I owe many of you a word of thanks. You are the people who have really supported me and encouraged me and when I needed it kicked me in the rear end. It will be a big help.

Like the James Taylor song says “Aint it good to know you got a friend….”
I will see you all Monday. Be safe and God bless

I want to apologize if I didn’t respond personally to everyone who posted comments on my blogs the past few days. I tried to get to as many of you as I could

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KATJAMN 3/22/2010 12:33PM

    I am so sorry for this loss. I am sure this has been a trying time.
Kudos for the self control.
Being there for the wife way more important.


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MARCYNA 3/22/2010 6:10AM

    So sorry for your brother in law, it must have been awful!
I'm admiring your conquered new attitude and rejoice at it. If you made it in extreme circumstance it's something which is now ingrained in your life...anyway my prayers are with you and yesterday at Mass I offered the Lord all the pain, and asked Him to take care of the whole situation. I'm sure He will!!!
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Comment edited on: 3/22/2010 6:12:10 AM

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SAMGERBINE 3/21/2010 12:54AM

    Your family will be in our prayers.

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PINETREEGIRL 3/20/2010 8:33PM

    emoticon

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GREENCAT1 3/20/2010 3:10PM

    John so sorry for your loss. I am so impressed with the way that you take care of others, but never forget to care for yourself. You inspire me. My condolences to you and your family. emoticon

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TSISQUAUSDI 3/19/2010 10:19PM

    John, I'm proud to have you for a Spark Friend - You are a really good person! Kudos to you making good food decisions - You're going to win this battle!

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WANDAH3 3/19/2010 6:17PM

    I'm sure that Joan is really appreciating your comfort and support through all of this. Congratulations on putting temptation in its place.

Thinking of you all,
Hugs,
Wanda

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TINKERBELL200 3/19/2010 6:14PM

    I'm really sorry to hear about your BIL death. I'm praying for peace for you and your whole family, especially your wife. I only have my 1 sister left in my family, so I know it's hard to lose a sibling or parent.
In spite of all the turmoil I think you are weathering quite well John. It sounds like you are indeed making lifestyle changes. It's easy to fall off the wagon, when stress hits us. Hang on and you will continue to succeed! Life is full of choices, and it sounds like you are getting it and making good choices.
God Bless and don't stress!
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Lynne

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AMYTATH 3/19/2010 5:52PM

    Ok...not to make light of this situation but...there is no reason to blame the Mac-n-Cheese!!! lol Sorry...my all time favorite food! =D

You guys know Im thinking about you and you have come along way not to turn food for comfort.

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TNTEACHER2 3/19/2010 5:37PM

    I wish you a calm, but happy family reunion at this sad time. You will see everyone, talk about the brother, and come home feeling a little better. It is always more difficult when we are not prepared for a death, but it hops right out at us. May God be with you.
Marcy

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DIASTER 3/19/2010 2:03PM

  Even in your pain of losing a family member you are teaching us to plan ahead and keep on the right road. Always with grace and wisdom you are keeping us centered. Bless you and your family.

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TAZZAT2003 3/19/2010 12:18PM

    Oh John,
I am so sorry to hear this horrible news. On the other hand I am glad that you somehow found the strength not to slip. I know it may seem like you can justify taking a pit stop but, especially in light of these unfortunate events I am sure you realize how important your decisions are. I will keep you and you family in my prayers I hope that you can find wisdom and peace during this struggle. God be with you. And know that I am here.

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DOLLIE6 3/19/2010 10:41AM

    John, I'm so sorry for your family's loss. I will keep you in my prayers.
I am proud of you for your maturity on handling your food. It seems like if we can keep a grip on one something like that it makes us stronger, to be able to be there for others. I may not be expressing myself like I should but I have a feeling you understand. Be strong, John. We all are rooting for you.

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YOYONOMORE1 3/19/2010 10:07AM

    Thoughts and prayers are with you and Joan and the family. It sounds like mentally you have prepared for the food issue ahead of time, you know it's going to be there, but with your plan I am sure you'll do just fine. With Joan's family coming from all over I am sure there will be a lot of catching up to do with people, it's hard to eat and talk at the same time. Just take care of Joan and yourself.

Hugs,
Shirl

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TRIPLE_EMME 3/19/2010 10:04AM

    John,

I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of your BIL. emoticon

You've devised a good plan to combat the food temptations that may try to lure you down a naughty path. Good luck avoiding the green jello haze.

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CMBELISLE 3/19/2010 9:27AM

    I'm sorry to hear about your BIL - you know you and your family will be in my prayers.

Whenever I have to attend family functions that revolve around food like that, I try to follow a few mental rules - find the fresh veggie tray and pile 'em on (there is almost always one), find the fresh plain fruit (if available), the greasier it looks - the smaller the portion I take, and avoid the desert table. In the south, there are usually things like green beans, lima beans and other veggies available, so I get more of them, even if they are cooked with ham or bacon. I do my best to fill up on the foods with the lowest calorie counts.

Good luck - it was a really good idea to create a plan in advance.

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CRANBERRYKITTY 3/19/2010 8:50AM

    Good job making a plan that includes bringing healthy food choices and going to the gym at the hotel. Maybe you can get outside and go for a walk in the morning too (if it's a nice location). I'm sure you'll be rock for everyone to lean on in this kind of situation, just don't forget that you deserve someone to lean on too.. we're here for ya :)





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NJMATTICE 3/19/2010 8:37AM

    Be safe. Take care.
Love,
Nancy

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WALKNLOVE 3/19/2010 8:35AM

    John, Sooooo sorry for your family's loss. I hope your brother-in-law was a Christian.If so, he is in a better place...a much better place.I pray for all of your family during this difficult time.God will supply all your needs.
Glad to hear you have matured(LOL)...it takes us many years past 21 to get there!Ha!It is good to see you thinking ahead & planning ahead how you will take care of yourself so you don't fall back into an old pattern of doing things.We all know the old way doesn't work and that is what has brought all of us here.
Most of all thanks for being real! Being real is what makes us vulnerable, but it is also what makes us see we are all in this together and we aren't that different.By sharing with each other, we can learn from our successes as well as our failures! Thanks again for sharing and being a spark motivator to so many of us! emoticon

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STORMTMB 3/19/2010 8:32AM

    John,

My sympathy to you and Joan and to her entire family. Blessings to you as you provide comfort and support your wife and as you endure the temptations of food. You will all be in my thoughts and prayers this weekend.

Tina

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FOXEYES2 3/19/2010 8:23AM

  My condolences to the entire family. I wish you all peace and comfort in the days ahead and for you to have the wisdom on how to best support your wife and the rest of her family as well as the wisdom on how to best take care of yourself during this time. Peace.

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AMABILE75 3/19/2010 8:15AM

    John, I am so very sorry for your family's loss. You and your family will be in my prayers.

You are such an amazing person. So strong and dedicated. Thank you for being my friend. Thank you for helping keep me motivated and for inspiring me. Thank you for showing how dedication really works. Even in the face of such horrible times, you remain dedicated. I am so proud to call you friend. emoticon

You take care of yourself. I know you will be there to support your wife because that is who you are. Just make sure that you take care of YOU too, because if you don't take care of YOU... you can't truly be there for her. emoticon

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Tara

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MOTHERLORI 3/19/2010 8:14AM

    So sorry for your family's loss ~ it's such a difficult time! But I'm so proud of how you've handled it. And I know all about the food during grieving ~ our community loves to shower you with everything to make those bad feelings go away ~ but it just makes you sluggish and nasty feeling. So, it's great to know that you really have found a different way to deal with those horrible feelings. My thoughts are with you and your family during this difficult time. Meanwhile, I'll be sending you fruit and veggies in my thoughts as well. emoticon Lori

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