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For The Mom's

Sunday, May 09, 2010

My mother quit school when she was sixteen. Her father had died, it was the Depression and she had a younger sister. There were no programs to assist families back then. She did, as she so often told us, what she had to do. She never looked back, she never complained. She went to work at a dairy and worked there until she met my father some seven years later. I was born ten months after my mom and dad’s were married. My dad worked three jobs and my mom raised four kids. We weren’t poor, we weren't rich. We had three meals a day, sturdy clothes and a roof over our heads. If we were supposed to be unhappy someone forgot to tell me. Other than the occasional fights with my brother and sisters my life could be called pretty normal.

I was never greeted at the door by a woman wearing pearls and a plate of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. I don’t ever recall my mom saying or doing anything that could be categorized as inspirational. She was my mom. I got a feeling that she was, and still is, in a category most moms are in. She may never have looked across the table with an inspirational quote; she simply taught me the things that are of value in my life.

She taught me to always tell the truth, never to steal, or cheat anyone. She taught me to respect people, young, old or in between.

My mom is a very spiritual person but you wouldn’t know it if you talked to her. She said if you make a big deal out of things then you already got your reward. Better to pray, be quiet and wait for good things to happen. She taught us our prayers. She and my dad still go to Mass every morning. They are seventy eight and eighty six. Until my dad's vision started going bad a few years ago they walked to and from church daily, about two miles round trip.

I thought of my mom yesterday when i read a by C.S. Lewis it says; "The thing is to rely on God… Meanwhile, the trouble is that relying on God; you have to begin all over again every day as if nothing has yet been done."

That’s my mom. Every day you start over and every day you start with a clean slate. You work real hard and good things happen to you.

The success my mom had in life, she said, came from raising four decent children, who know the difference between right and wrong. I'll bet your moms the same.
I am almost fifty seven, yet every time I get sick I call my mom. She listens and then says "You'll live." I roll over and go back to sleep knowing I’ll be okay, because my mom said I would.

They are simple values, values that sometimes get lost in the modern mix. Today is an opportunity to reflect on what my mom taught me and issue myself a report card on how well I have done in learning.

Male or female we all share one common value: We all have moms. Some of you are lucky enough to be a mom. What a blessed and amazing opportunity you have to share who you are, with a child and help mold their future, just like yours and mine were molded.

I know I am right, coz my mom says so.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NICE125 5/13/2010 8:16PM

  Thanks for this blog John.

But are you a writer in real life?? your blogs are good!

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DAWNBROKE 5/11/2010 8:23PM

    Thanks, John. You are blessed to still have your mom and dad.

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AZCUPCAKE 5/11/2010 12:59PM

    I am reading this a couple of days after Mother's Day, and it is bringing tears to my eyes! No wonder you turned out to be the man you are. Your mom is very proud of you, no doubt in my mind! What a gift you both are to EACH OTHER! emoticon

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STARLIGHT615 5/11/2010 9:29AM

    That was wonderful John! Thank you!!

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TINKERBELL200 5/10/2010 2:22AM

    Very cute John! I enjoyed it!

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ANNE-ELIZ 5/10/2010 1:24AM

    That was beautiful. Thanks, John.

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SHER11 5/9/2010 10:12PM

    Thank you John for your thoughts and memories you have shared.
God bless you and all your family. You have given me a smile so big and brought me to remember many memories of my own Mother, Grandmother and my family too.
My hardest work but my best work is the work I have in my two sons and I thank God everyday for them.

emoticon Best wishes on your journey!

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PAULA3420 5/9/2010 8:28PM

    This blog has given me chills a lump in my throat and many head shaking moments of Yes, I agree.

What, I liked the best is when Mom said; "You'll live!" RIGHT ON

How true. Loved it.

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DOLLBABE56 5/9/2010 7:51PM

    Thanks John. I feel the same about my mom.

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JURI62 5/9/2010 6:59PM

    Beautiful blog John, made me laugh, brought tears to my eyes...
I miss my Mom everyday and know she's watching over us..and am
blessed with two daughters of my own...and now two stepsons.
God Bless! Judy

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GREENCAT1 5/9/2010 5:50PM

    Well said John. Your mother sounds like a wonderful woman. You are very blessed to have her. I have six children and i feel so privileged to be their mother. Next to may marriage it has been the biggest miracle in my life.

Cathy emoticon

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GETFIT2LIVE 5/9/2010 4:56PM

    Thanks for sharing about your mom, John; give her an extra hug today from me, she sounds a lot like mine. My mother passed away just over five years ago, and I still miss her.


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JUST_TRI_IT 5/9/2010 4:56PM

    Nice to know that you call your mom even now when you are sick! That is very sweet... She done good! and so have you :)

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JAE_HENNINGTON 5/9/2010 3:19PM

  Thank you John for this most uplifting blog. Mothers teach us so much mostly by example and not so much what is said but what is acted upon. My mother gave me some wonderful gifts. Most likely many that she didnt even realize she was doing... Actions really do speak louder than words.What a blessing for you to still have your mother with you.

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AMYTATH 5/9/2010 1:04PM

    Im not a high maintenance Mom either but Im a very proud Mom. VERY proud of my lil man and hope to instill in him those important values. Today we are building a car from the box one of my gifts came in. Not expensive but an experience with him I'll always remember even if he is too young to remember it himself.

Thanks for the reminder that Moms dont have to be perfect to be a good Mom


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JJSSKINNYGIRL 5/9/2010 12:47PM

    Thank you for the very nice blog. Heart warming to be exact and made me think about how different the children today are compared to how you and your mother where when you where young. You didn't complain about not having much. I see it every day, a kid/teen throwing a fit because of something they don't have.

This is simple: "It's not about having what you want, it's about wanting what you've got!"

I LOVE that phrase, I live by it and I try to teach it to my children every day. You know what? They don't complain about things they don't have!

CHEERS to all the Mothers out there! HAPPY MOTHERS DAY!

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DEVORA4 5/9/2010 12:46PM

  well written. My mother too was not the kind you saw on Father Knows Best or Leave It To Beaver. {I mean no frilly apron and not wearing high heels and having had her hair just done at the local beauty shop. She only went to the 7th grade and yet she was an extremely smart lady. She also had to work because her father died at an early age.}

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SHEILAKHS1 5/9/2010 12:31PM

    nice blog John are so right my mom and my dad for that matter taught us great values they were there and still are no matter is a great day to reflect on those values and i hope i give even half of those values to my kids have a great day and enjoy

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TAMMYFOX3 5/9/2010 12:21PM

    Thank god for our moms they are so wise!! I to want my mom when i am sick or feeling bad the word of her wisdom always pull me through and you know they are always there!!! My mom always says God never gives you more than you can handle, it is for you to learn and to grow from and i really believe this!!! God bless you and your mom and my mom too!!!! emoticonMoms hold their childrens hand for a while, but holds their hearts forever!! emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 5/9/2010 12:29:50 PM

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SPARKENISTA 5/9/2010 12:17PM

    We moms may not be very glamorous, but we get the job done. Thanks for this blog, John! emoticon

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Saturday Musings

Saturday, May 08, 2010

First and foremost a sincere thank you to everyone who comments on my blogs. I appreciate your insight and your support and when I use your wisdom with other people, rest assured you get the credit. I am stronger, wiser and much more confident because I know you guys are there and that whether I gain, weight, lose weight or stay the same I know I am accepted and I am loved here. That is an awesome feeling.

I am not, however an octopus. There have been close to four hundred responses on my blogs, this week alone. Each comment left was read and again I am grateful for the support and encouragement. I am physically unable to respond to that many postings. I feel terrible because some of what you guys write to me by way of encouragement has made a real difference in my life and I consider each of you a true friend. I want to apologize if any way, shape or form I have hurt anyone's feelings by not responding on their wall or sending a goodie as my token of thanks. Please know each of you is my thoughts and my prayers on a daily basis and I value your friendship more than I can express on this blog. I feel so overwhelmed some days when I see the volume of response. Please know I do care.

Okay on to the next part. I lost five pounds this week and basically as I related last week after a 1.2 pound gain I was going back to Phase One as detailed in The Spark. That's what I did. I sorta established John's boot camp to get back in line. It worked. While I am satisfied with the weight loss most importantly I saw where I was getting sloppy and I made the adjustments to correct them. So, way to go John, you are really your own hero.

This morning I participated in my first 5K. Before you get too terribly impressed Joan and I walked it. Three of the kids went along as well as one daughter-in-law and they ran. About two blocks from the finish I looked at Joan and said "What the heck......." and started to run. Joan started to run too. That was cool. The neatest thing for me was the discussion she and I had as we were walking it. She asked me if a year ago I thought we'd be doing something like this and my answer was no. Thank you Spark. No way without this process would I have ever even dreamed of walking like that. Next year I run it.

Now for the important stuff, explaining some status updates from earlier this week.

I made my doctor cry.

My doctor hadn't seen me since I started Spark. I had a sixty pound weight loss and she was so happy she started crying. Told me I made her day. I was glad I could make her happy.

My addiction to General Hospital

About three weeks ago I had a day off in the middle of the week. Because of my travel and how hectic things get I actually plan these off days. I was flipping through the channels, found General Hospital and began watching it and then I just had to know what was coming next. I started DVR'ing them and I watch them when I get home. Yesterday I had to catch up on Wednesday and Thursdays before I found out what sentence the judge passed on Michael for manslaughter.......

So there you go.

It's International Barbecue Festival weekend here so I get to go look at arts and crafts this afternoon.

Have a great Saturday.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CMBELISLE 5/11/2010 11:38AM

    I love that you made your doctor cry! That is a special moment. Congrats!

As for answering every single response to your blogs - geez! With as many people as read your blogs, I'm surprised you have to time to read all the responses.

I walk almost a 5k about once a week. I even did a run/walk on my route once and it was exhilarating, although I'm going to keep the run/walks shorter until I get better at them.

GH? Hmmm...been a long time, but when it's on in the break room, it's scary how many of the characters I recognize. Funny how quickly they can suck you in - gotta love TiVo!

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BRYLIA 5/11/2010 10:07AM

Dont worry about "getting back to each of us that responds". For many of us you have already given us so much already and we just want to extend our appreciation. It is funny how I have never met you but I feel I know you better than some of the people that I meet in person regularly. Thanks for the "conversation" that we share. Joan is one lucky lady...and I love how she has been walking or running sharing the experience right along with you! I hope that one day, Andy will share the experience with me.. but I will wait for that to happen!
Hugs, Lisa

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JAE_HENNINGTON 5/9/2010 3:23PM

  I am just happy to read your blogs everyday. I am happy to considered one of your friends... no worries, I know you care about each and everyone of your friends.

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LUCYJOY 5/9/2010 10:54AM

    What? You don't have time to talk to 400 individual people each and everyday? LOL

You can watch General Hospital only if you promise NOT to eat bon bons while you are doing it!

I'm starting over on my diet tomorrow(I'm required to make hot fudge sundaes for my extended family tonight so figured today was not the best starting point)

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GREENCAT1 5/9/2010 9:15AM

    Congrats on the 5 pound weight loss! emoticon emoticon

Cathy emoticon

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CATHERINEL66 5/9/2010 8:52AM

    Wow! 5 lbs lost! Congrats on getting back on track and kicking butt again!

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EVER-HOPEFUL 5/9/2010 3:03AM

    is general hospital still going?living in germany the last 14 years you don´t know what is still on and what not.i used to watch that when i was younger.
well done on the 5k to you and all the family i am certain you will run it all next is something to plan for.
like you i am also accessing and re committing to sp as like you i have let some things slide abit.lost 4lbs just by doing that.
see some things are ment to be.

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AZCUPCAKE 5/9/2010 1:36AM

    John, please don't feel like you are neglecting us when you don't respond to ALL of your posts! I know I speak for SO MANY of your fans/admirers/followers/cheerleader
s when I say that I just get so much out of your writings, that I need to say "wow!" and "thank you!" on a regular basis. You really provide your pals with such great insights into topics many of us are still scared to touch with a ten-foot pole! You are LOVED! emoticon

Comment edited on: 5/9/2010 1:37:55 AM

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SPARKENISTA 5/9/2010 12:45AM

    John--Don't worry about reaching everyone-especially every day. Your weight loss is
emoticon. Do you follow the suggestions Spark gives you or your own selections?

The 5K is amazing, no matter how you slice it. Great! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon Good work getting your doctor to cry--That is amazing. Speak to you soon.

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JPRICE217 5/8/2010 9:15PM

    emoticon emoticon walking a 5 k is something to be proud of.

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GETFIT2LIVE 5/8/2010 6:20PM

    John, it's crazy how we parallel one another in so many ways (though not the weight loss, you beat me there!). My husband and I did our first 5K walk today as well, but I have to confess, I left hubby behind--I really wanted to do it in under an hour, and he was fine with me going on at a faster pace. My goal is to run it next year, too. No way would I have believed that either of us would be where we are today when we started this journey earlier this year. SparkPeople and people like you are what have made the difference; thanks for sharing your journey with the rest of us and being a part of the success we are achieving!


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DIASTER 5/8/2010 6:15PM

  Really do not think people expect a response from their comments, it is just that you touch our hearts and souls as you but into words all our feelings and dreams.
The doctor was probably so pleased as she or he finally had a patient that listened to advice, they do care what happens to us and spend time to make sure we understands the consequences of our actions but how few of their patients actually follow their advice? You might have just saved your life. Anyway thank you again and again for your words of wisdom.

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    John!!! A 5K!!! WOW!!! That's incredible!!! Congrats!!! I'm sooo..... Proud of you !!!! I'm rooting for you to run it next year!!

I personally do not have my feelings hurt by you not responding to these comments I leave to you. I offer them up willingly and expect nothing in return. You type the most amazing blogs I've ever read and that alone is enough. What you give me out of the blogs pails in comparison to what I can give back to you in these comments. HUGS!


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DOLLBABE56 5/8/2010 6:02PM

    That is so cool that you and Joan ran the last 2 blocks of the race. I know that it felt great! You can do anything that you put your mind to.

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KSHAGGY 5/8/2010 4:36PM

    Way to go, that is so fantastic & gives me hope.

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JUNEAU2010 5/8/2010 3:11PM

    Kudos on the 60 lbs lost! A couple of years ago, I lost 20 lbs and my doc didn't even notice! No reply expected - my intent is to encourage, not to burden!

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TRIPLE_EMME 5/8/2010 2:58PM


I like your Saturday musings! I'm so glad for you that you spent this past week focusing on the basics and making adjustments. (Not to mention, your loss!) I'm celebrating with you. emoticon

emoticon on bringing tears to your doctor's eyes!!!

emoticon on completing your first 5K!!! It doesn't matter if you walk or run. You accomplished your goal -- and from what you shared, it sounds like you and Joan had a good journey together, too.


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1WALKINGMAN 5/8/2010 2:56PM

    That is emoticonJohn, Terri Ann said she saw you there. Remember, you have start somewhere and to walk it for the first time is a great start. emoticon

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RONDAJONES 5/8/2010 2:46PM

    Great job on making the doctor cry! That is emoticon Just another sign that this is not an easy journey, however, YOU are doing it!!!! Congrats to you and Joan for finishing the race. Doesn't matter if you walk, run, crawl, or long as you finish what you started!! emoticon I am hoping that someday...I get the confidence to participate! emoticon (that wink icon is so creepy looking! LOL)

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JURI62 5/8/2010 2:37PM

    You are fortunate to have a doctor who cares! I do too, but every time my husband goes to his doctor he says it's like they are just meeting for the first time again...
Congrats on your 5K

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SHEILAKHS1 5/8/2010 2:30PM

    John I dont think you need to respond to everyone that comments on your blogs. it is just great for us to be able to read your inspiring words and keep motivated. so dont feel like you are letting me down ever because i think its amazing to read about you and the great things you have accomplished and learned and i feel blessed to be able to share it with you whether you stop by my page or not. just keep up the positive attitude and the unselfishness of sharing it with me and i will be forever greatful :)

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TABATHAMAX1 5/8/2010 2:14PM

    Congrats on your wonderful week John! I am a new reader and I totally understand how it can overwhelming when you have so many comments. I am sure everyone understands. I really like your blog you are a motivator! That must of been a wonderful feeling with your doctor....way to go! Awesome job on walking 5 miles also, just like your wife said what would of you been doing a year ago. Way to go!

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    emoticon on walking your first 5K, losing 5 pounds, finding out where you need to tweek your plan, and for making your doctor cry! emoticon

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Voted Popular Blog Post: View All Popular Posts

Heroes.......... Like You!!!

Friday, May 07, 2010

I am my own hero and you are yours.

As we slog and slosh through our days and pin our hopes on saints and other sinners, when all is said and done the real hero in my life is me and you in yours. We never see it that way. We tend to compare ourselves to other people and when we do, we inevitably come up short in our performance. It’s because our life is not their life, plain and simple. We benchmark our activity against what we “are supposed to be” and rather than savor the very unique perspective we provide the universe. We dwell on all our mistakes and shortcomings until we reach a moment where we throw our hands up in despair and exist in some sort of funk that slowly kills our spirit.

We are never good enough and eventually neither are our heroes. Whether they be in sports, politics, or entertainment they possess the same flaws, the same weaknesses and the same failures we do. Theirs are simply magnified by the large stage they command. When they finally do fail, we abandon them and curse the fates. We mutter to ourselves “If they can’t do it, neither can I. What’s the use?”
Become your own hero.

Look at your life and chronicle the adversity you have overcome in your life. Look at the sum total of your journey as you sit here this morning and then pin a huge medal on yourselves. No one but you knows the triumphs and the tragedies. No one but you knows how hard you may have struggled to reach a goal that others may have found easy. Remember how good it felt when you reached it? Remember the enthusiasm, the confidence? You were ready to slay the world.

Become your own hero.

“But John, there are people who have endured a lot more in their life than I have in mine. I just don’t feel right standing here with my chest puffed out taking all the credit when so many people suffer.”

No problem is a small problem if it is your problem.

Remember how you struggled with the same four or five pounds in what seemed like an eternity? Recall how you persevered and triumphed? No one but you knows how difficult that journey was and no one but you knew how sweet the victory was
Maybe you were the last person at the gym before they turned out the lights or you kept going to zumba until your legs didn’t end up in a tangled mess. You strutted to the car then, didn’t you?

Be your own hero.

It may be the triumph of working out five days in a row even if it was only for ten minutes a day. That was your marathon. That was your victory. Your victories are so personal and so dear that you should be proud of each one of them and let the world know how good you feel.

When you and I become our own heroes we become positive examples. When we become positive examples to other people we encourage them to become heroic in their own right. It is one continuous positive circle.

When I make the choice to overcome adversity or destroy an obstacle that is in my path, I am providing myself with the motivation and inspiration to continue my journey and be a hero.

Guilt is never, ever a positive motivator and despite what some well intentioned people might say, there is no such thing as “good guilt.” Never feel guilty when you fall, wear it as a badge of honor like veterans of so many wars do. Grizzled, battered, and bowed at times, they move forward confident that the next battle will produce victory because their past failures provided wisdom for the future, not guilt.

They are heroes, just like me.

Just like you

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TENDERLOVE1 5/12/2010 12:17PM

    You certainly have a way with words! Thank you for that! I will be my own hero!

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ROEANDGO 5/11/2010 3:04PM

    Wonderful !! I WILL be my own hero! Thanks!

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FITTGRRL 5/11/2010 1:31PM

    what an emoticonblog! emoticon

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NEEDTOLOSE100LB 5/11/2010 1:14PM

    Thank you for reminding us how great we each are.


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REENSKI 5/11/2010 12:45PM

    Thank you for reminding all of us we do big things every day.

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SGTSUNNY 5/11/2010 10:05AM

    Thank you for the reminder of who we are! Great blog.

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DARE.DIVA 5/11/2010 5:12AM

    This blog really spoke to me. I hope you don't mind, but I'd like to copy it for my motivation wall and sparkpage (with credit!) cause its one of the best things I've ever read.

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HEARTSTOPPER 5/11/2010 12:26AM

Great blog!:)


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PINETREEGIRL 5/10/2010 11:19PM

    Here's to overcoming adversity! I love it.
You are doing an amazing job! It's exciting to see.

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JCDROLSHAGEN 5/10/2010 10:33PM

    Go John! Go me too! emoticon

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HDHAWK 5/10/2010 8:18PM

    Fantastic blog!

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TEENY_BIKINI 5/10/2010 7:59PM

    Absolutely fabulous! You just know how to rock a blog! Woot!!!


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CAROLDEDOO 5/10/2010 7:07PM

    emoticon emoticonBlog. Well written. A good Thought-for-the-day. Glad you shared it with us.

Keep on Sparking.

Carol emoticon

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STACYLEIGH09 5/10/2010 4:39PM

    Great blog!

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MYOWNHERO 5/10/2010 3:31PM

    Of course I loved this blog...

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STORMTMB 5/10/2010 2:56PM

    A friend reminded me not too long ago to never look to another person because Jesus is really the only model that we should ever follow. The only Perfect One to be our guide. Other heroes let us down. He is always there.

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OLYGIRL1 5/10/2010 1:10PM

    Thank you for the reminder. It was great!

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NICOLE.ALICIA 5/10/2010 9:32AM

    thank you for posting. Very inspirational

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EVER-HOPEFUL 5/8/2010 6:22AM

    emoticonwell said.we must be our own heroes but we can also rely on other people to be our heroes and inspiration as well.anything that keeps our motivation and spark are also one of my heroes as to me a heroe is not only someone to look up to it is someone that leaves an impact or inspire me to be a better me and to see myself as being my own hero.thanks for that.

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KATIEGLEN012 5/8/2010 3:48AM

    We are all doing our best at any given minute...sometimes our best is not what we had hoped it would be. Tomorrow, or even the next hour, is another opportunity to work at it again. We'll be ok, we will do this.

PS Just watched your video blog. We can totally do everything, but life is about choices. If I choose not to participate in something, I can not whine about it not happening!

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DUTCHIEKIWI 5/7/2010 11:57PM

    I agree with you, and what a great feeling to arrive at the moment in our lives where we realise to that 'yes, we are the heroes of our own lives'

And even though you are the hero in your life...

you are also 'every bit the hero' in mine!!

Love ya


( from far far away on a holiday hehe ;0) )

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GEEMAWEST 5/7/2010 9:14PM

    Thanks again for such an uplifting blog!

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GREENCAT1 5/7/2010 8:31PM

    John, I agree - I think for so many people, diet is associated with being 'good' or 'bad'. When you are changing your lifestyle to work towards fitness you have to look at those setbacks as "wisdom flashes". Then, everything you do is an opportunity to learn, grow and understand yourself. Thanks for the blog!

Cathy emoticon

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JPRICE217 5/7/2010 7:24PM

    Once again you hit the nail on the head. I have never felt like a hero but we are all one. emoticon

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SNORRIS40 5/7/2010 6:17PM

    I am my own worst enemy. Now it is time to be a Hero! Thank you for the encouragement. emoticon

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SNORRIS40 5/7/2010 6:16PM

    I am my own worst enemy. Now it is time to be a Hero! Thank you for the encouragement. emoticon

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AZCUPCAKE 5/7/2010 5:48PM

    You really know how to turn a negative into a positive, and turn on a high-powered light into a corner of the brain that LOVES the dark and the weeping, wailing ghosts that live there! You are a gifted writer, but not only that, you really understand the human psyche! I am going to make a real effort to try and stand taller now because of your words. You are so right -- small problems are still PROBLEMS! Thank you sharing your generous, compassionate spirit with all of us!

Comment edited on: 5/7/2010 5:49:17 PM

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ROTTLADY 5/7/2010 5:32PM

    I do feel like a battle weary veteran. When do I succeed and get discharge papers. HAHA I feel like this is a life sentence .Feeling tired and slightly defeated and battle weary. I know that tomorrow will bring a new continuation of the battle and helpfully a victory.Thanks for the motivational kick start. I know I will have a victory and soon.

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GIRANIMAL 5/7/2010 4:35PM

    Thanks, John, for one more great blog! Another good friend always reminds me not to play the Other People game. And I just did it this week! So what if other people, who don't have chronic pain, can work out harder than I can? I do my best and, every once in a while, then some. That DOES make me my own hero! I have NO examples of good health in my life - but I found a way to learn anyway. And do my best to live it. Yay for me!

Now, onto that guilt thing. Oh boy, is that one huge for me. I am sad that is true for so many of us. I don't know where I learned it, but it's time to unlearn it. And I can and will. Because I am my own hero!


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MARCYNA 5/7/2010 4:09PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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IDALUKE 5/7/2010 3:13PM

    Thanks John I needed to hear this today, Not a good day , You got such great advice and wisdom. Thanks again John emoticon emoticon

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BECCALYNN75 5/7/2010 1:38PM

    emoticon I needed to hear that today. emoticon

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TINKERBELL200 5/7/2010 1:07PM

    Thanks John, You are exactly right I am my own hero! And tell me why do we compare ourselves to others???? What a good question!! After all we aren't them. Why would we think they would be and do things the same way we do?
Thanks for sharing your thoughts my friend. You likewise are a hero!

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ASHARON 5/7/2010 12:21PM

    Love this post!

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JAE_HENNINGTON 5/7/2010 12:01PM

  John, you are always right on the money. This time though I am one step ahead of you. I am a hero, my hero. I have come through things that most people would have crumbled under. I have endured immeasurable hardship and sadness, disappointment and defeat. My never give up and never give in attitude has helped me to endure. Each new day is an opportunity to bring me that much closer to my dreams coming true. I have learned so much in life about me and my circumstances and how to deal with them. One thing I know for sure it is people like you who make the journey that much more enjoyable. Have a great spark friend

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PAULA3420 5/7/2010 11:50AM

    A Spark friend shared your blog with me. IT WAS EXACTLY WHAT I NEEDED!! emoticon And, I plan to put it into practice today. I love this and THANKS John for the reminder, to Celebrate ME!!

Great blog!!

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SHEILAKHS1 5/7/2010 11:05AM

    John I love your positive really make me think hard about the person I am and it makes me want to work harder for the things i want to accomplish in life

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SANDYK4BAMA 5/7/2010 10:39AM

    Boy, you are so right! When I think of some of the things I've been through, and yet, here I am, alive, whole, relatively healthy, working-out, making a difference in my own and other people's lives, maybe I should give myself a medal. It's been no cakewalk, my life, but somehow, with God's divine love and incredible grace, I'm still here, still making it through life's struggles, still managing to smile (at least sometimes), and still loving the one true God, and still giving Him the credit for giving me the strength, courage, and wisdom that I need to go on.

Have a GREAT day, John!
SuperHugs to you!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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PRINCESSNURSE 5/7/2010 10:20AM

    This post is so great! It comes at the perfect time for me---tomorrow I run my first half marathon--I AM MY OWN HERO! (check out the blog I wrote about the experience!)

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JENNY888 5/7/2010 10:08AM

    Great post. It puts things into prospective.

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NANASNOW 5/7/2010 9:50AM

    I wish I could put my thoughts out there the way you! Thank you for being my hero too! I will stand a little taller today because of you!

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MICKEYMAX 5/7/2010 9:13AM

    You have a great way of looking at things. I appreciate your insights!

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    I agree! emoticon

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JUDIL62 5/7/2010 9:01AM

    Very well said. This is a skill I'm working on diligintly (sp?)

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AMABILE75 5/7/2010 8:15AM

    emoticon John. You have once again given me something to ponder. :)


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ROSE5328 5/7/2010 8:14AM

    After wallowing in a funk for the last few weeks I really needed to hear this!

Thank you!

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Voted Popular Blog Post: View All Popular Posts

How We Define Ourselves

Thursday, May 06, 2010


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TENDERLOVE1 5/12/2010 12:33PM

    Thank you John!

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HDHAWK 5/10/2010 8:35PM

    I'm so glad I stumbled across your page today John. Thank you!

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DAVEINSEOUL 5/9/2010 6:23AM

    Love your video blog - pretty awesome!

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GRAMHIFF 5/8/2010 8:27AM


Comment edited on: 5/8/2010 8:27:53 AM

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ANNE-ELIZ 5/8/2010 2:30AM

    Good Job!

Yours is the first video blog that I've watched the whole way through, without stopping.

Good distinction between ability and choice.


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KRISTIEE1 5/8/2010 12:30AM

    great video blog john!!! thanks i needed this to lift my day and yes WE CAN DO IT!!!!i sent your blog to my sister also a sparker im sure she will enjoy it toooo. emoticon

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AZCUPCAKE 5/7/2010 7:25PM

    You really know how to turn a person's attitude around! How blessed I feel to have been tuned in to The Power of John! emoticon

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LAWRALOO 5/7/2010 6:34PM

    YOU are an inspiration!
And an excellent speaker! I'm currently working on becoming a better public speaker. I've always been horrible at it because I haven't had the self confidence to do so. I was always afraid of what everyone else was thinking.
I'm doing much better at not caring what people think.

I grinned when you said 'What about you? How do you define yourself?'
Because how I define myself today makes me happy. A year ago, I didn't want to define myself. I was happy being undefined, because if I defined myself, I'd have to admit the truth to the most important person. Me.
I like the truth now. I like who I've become. I like how I define myself

Thank you for posting this :)

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ZRAMOMMA 5/7/2010 5:25PM

    You are a great speaker and i notice that you write like you speak. I think that is a great quality. Thanks for your never ending wisdom. Keep it up!

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GETFIT2LIVE 5/7/2010 9:44AM

    John, thank you for once again saying what I really needed to hear today. We do need to be our own heroes and celebrate the successes and even failures along the way. We often learn more from the failures and struggles than we do the successes. Well said!

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CINDYMCD1 5/7/2010 9:22AM

    Wow! Good thing you were at a boring meeting yesterday! Nice blog! :)

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JURI62 5/7/2010 6:06AM

    Well said! Thank you.

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BEEBEE73 5/7/2010 1:59AM

    Thank you John, I was just at the point of giving up. I wrote a very negative blog this morning. (I'm not able to express myself as nicely as you). I say many times "AH, I can't do that". I have very low self-esteem. Why, I don't know. I think I just need to tell myself that I'm a good person, and I can do what I set my mind to. I guess we need to talk to ourselves alot. Anyway, thanks, your words were very encouraging and up building. And this morning I really really needed that.


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HAWAIILINDA 5/6/2010 10:50PM

    John, glad your blogs and you are part of my amazing journey. I'm learning a lot of good things from you!

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TEDYBEAR2838 5/6/2010 9:58PM

    WOW John,what a great blog. I sure needed that today. I'm on the I Can't or I mean I won't say that now. It is MY CHOICE, you are so right.

So I Choose to succeed. Boy, It was a day of UNWISE choices. SO today is done, I'm on my way on this journey with you again.


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TINAFITE 5/6/2010 3:38PM

    Beautifully motivational blog! Thank you!

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GREYGOSSAMER 5/6/2010 3:22PM

    Um, how do you do post a video blog? I can NEVER DO THAT! You must be MUCH BETTER AT THAT than I ever will be.... :)

But seriously,... can you tell me how? I wanna try and do one!

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TRISH2229 5/6/2010 2:13PM

    I read this quote recently and liked it so much I had to write it down. "your life flows in the directions of your most dominant thoughts." Thought you might it too!
Great blog!

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NEWLIFE4ME09 5/6/2010 10:55AM

    Thank you John, and thanks for being such a great Motivator. You are so right and I choose to lose weight and be happier about myself.

We can do this

Have a wonderful Day

Big Hugs
Elizabeth emoticon

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SANDYK4BAMA 5/6/2010 10:41AM

    Thank you, John, for your input! You are SO inspiring! I'm so glad I found you on here, because when I feel down and don't "choose to" exercise, I read things you've written and said, and I'm just ready to go after that! You are a great motivator! You make me proud to be a member of SparkPeople! I'm sending you hugs today! Hope your Thursday is wonderful!!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MUSTANG_SALLY2 5/6/2010 10:25AM

    Thanks for the reminder!

emoticon emoticon

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JAE_HENNINGTON 5/6/2010 10:18AM

  Thanks John, your blogs are always so timely. I wrestle with this very issue and have been working through them. I find myself at times thinking I can't do something. Because of a lifetime of negative upbringing it has been easy to fall into a pattern of thinking I can't instead of I am choosing not to. Now I have to constantly have to ask myself what choice do I want to make. A friend once told me the choice you make will be the decision that will become the easiest thing to do the next time. Once again your blog is right on the money

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STORMTMB 5/6/2010 10:09AM

    Another good one, John!

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MARTINT011 5/6/2010 9:37AM

  thanks for the blog.

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MARTINT011 5/6/2010 9:35AM

  Thanks for the blog. Thanks for the insight. ABout how a year ago you were just sitting around watching T.V. and now you and wife are going to the gym. Now making choices about healthy eating. I did enjoy reading this blog. I felt better about getting more active and watching what I eat. Got to stay motivated and it helps to watch the blogs. emoticon

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MOMMABOF7 5/6/2010 9:13AM

    I can't think you enough! I look forward to your blogs everyday now. You are very gifted !!!
I have been trying to move from walking to jogging. I am making some progress, but after your blog today I am wondering if it it a physical or mental block that is stopping me. As a child I was always called clumbsy and "slow as christmas" I hated running because of that. Today I am going to define myself as a jogger! I am headed out in a few mins to beat my last time...

Thanks John!!! I also loved the blog yesterday about excuses. You are really speaking to my heart

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    Thanks for sharing in this format and for the encouragement you passed to all of your listeners! emoticon

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BAM0827 5/6/2010 8:57AM

    I totally agree with you. I hear "can't" often and I just want to say you can you just won't.

I hope this blog is voted most popular just so others can share in your wisdom on this topic! Thanks for the live discussion - it was a great medium for the topic!

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FREDIA2 5/6/2010 8:30AM

    THe thoughts were just what I needed.

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ROSE5328 5/6/2010 8:29AM

    Thank you John! I have stayed on plan all week and I stepped on the scale this morning and was up a pound. Negative thoughts took over, "I'm never going to be able to lose this weight." "I'm a big fat blob." "I'll always be fat, why do I even try." Well, the list is endless.

I really needed to hear this this morning. I need to concentrate on my successes and redefine myself.

Thank you!


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FANAMAMA 5/6/2010 8:26AM

    Thanks John! An awesome way to start my day. I CAN ... I can run that 5K. I just mapped it out in my neighborhood.

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ELIZABETH525 5/6/2010 8:25AM

    Wow I really enjoyed this! It is so very true that people do not do things because they are scared of failign before they even try. The way I see it...they are right...they will never fail if they never try...but they will never succeed either. People do not take chances in life because they choose not to. People KNOW that eating an entire pizza , an entire bag of chips is unhealthy but they make that choice. What defines me: being a mother, a wife, a sister, a daughter. Being someone who walks at the park. Being someone who loves to write and loves to inspire people. Being someone who will not lose focus of my goals! Thank you!

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MICKEYMAX 5/6/2010 8:23AM

    I love your positive attitude, and willingness to share it!

Thanks and happy Thursday to you, too!

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DOLLBABE56 5/6/2010 8:20AM

    You know, John, just seeing and listening to you is a huge motivation. As I watched and listened, I was thinking about everything you said. I realize just how negative I have been. The trick is turning that around. I am trying to be positive. It is not always possible, but I am getting better at it.

Have a happy, positive day!

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Voted Popular Blog Post: View All Popular Posts

Cheating ME

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Terry and I had been talking for close to an hour. He had told me fifteen times how his lack of success in life stemmed from a verbally abusive father. Fifteen times, I know because I was keeping track. I’m not sure whether it was out of frustration or genius but I put my hand out in a motion to stop him.

“When’s the last time your dad ragged on you?” I asked.

Terry moved some papers around on his desk, looked at me and in one of those sotto voices we all get from time to time replied “Well, he’s been dead for over twenty years, so I guess twenty years.”

“And you have been using that as a reason to not be successful?”

He looked at me a minute, sorta with that hurt puppy dog look.

“I make excuse too, ya know, probably more than you. Lemme tell you a story.” I began.

Monday morning was my last Ab-Blast class for two weeks. I could tell the instructor was frustrated with us because she kept repeating the same instruction to us over and over again:

“People, keep your heinies down please!!!”

Finally she told us to stop, sit on our mats and look at her.

“If you don’t do it right people, you are only cheating yourself!”

It was like the heavens opened for me. (I still couldn’t keep my rear end down completely, but I am working on that.) I can use anything I want to motivate me and help me reach my success and I can use anything I want to prevent me from reaching my success. I am only cheating myself.

How many of you write me and tell me that skinny or fat you will still be my friend? Joan will still love me. I have built in excuses if I choose to take them.

I have built in reasons to be successful also. I have a good food plan, a solid exercise program and a clear set of goals and objectives. If I choose to “fudge” on them, well I am only cheating myself. It’s easy for me to blame everything from the alignment of the planets to the New York Yankees for my failure. In the end it’s only me that determines my success.

Yes, we have obstacles and there are mean and cruel people in our path who for whatever reason do their best to stop our forward progress.
I keep a button in my brief case. I have carried it for close to twenty years. It’s one of those “not buttons” You know the button with the little circle and the line through. The writing beneath is says “Them.”

You know “Them” they are the people we blame for our failures. Their cousins are “those people.”

The button was given to me by a friend I met in the late eighties. She carried a purse full of them with her. She said she refused to give anything or anyone power over her. She gave me the button and then told me the story that went with it.
She was walking home from work one evening. It was a nice night, sorta like the ones we have this time of year. She lived in a suburb of Washington DC. Three blocks from home she was attacked, repeatedly by a group of men. She was raped repeatedly and left clothes torn and in a coma, in the gutter. A man found her six hours later when he got his morning paper. She was told it was a miracle she survived the attack.

She suffered organic brain damage because of the trauma to her head. That was minor compared to the emotional horror she endured. She didn’t work for two years. She told me when I met her she was paralyzed, both physically and emotionally. Until this day, she walks with a slight limp in her gait and has problems putting a complete thought together at times.

One day she was in a small shop and saw the button and she told me it was like an angel touched her on the shoulder. She purchased all the buttons the store had, went home and decided it was time to start living again. She went back to college, not just any college, Georgetown mind you, and graduated with honors. When I met her she was working for the US Government in their state department. Since then she has started a successful business of her own.

I keep that button with me. Maybe I don’t look at it enough, but yesterday morning after I left Terry I put it on my lapel to remind me, that the only person who controls what happens to me is me.

I can make all the excuses I want to but when I do then “They” win. “They” are right. Abusive parents, spouses, siblings or friends. The moment I let “them” gain control of how I live and how I react, then Brandy, my most amazing fitness instructor is right.

I am only cheating myself.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TAMMYFOX3 5/9/2010 12:13PM

    Thank you for sharing this!!!! Boy i need to remember this i am cheating my self by letting the people around me control me!!! I am in control of my self and need to practice it more!!! Man what a moving story to get me thinking!!!! emoticon

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KARENB137 5/8/2010 12:59PM

    This is an excellent illustration of the power of the human spirit to overcome - if we only claim it. Kind of reminds me a little of the Eleanor Roosevelt quote, "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." I love it. God bless this woman. And thank you for sharing.

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MARTINT011 5/8/2010 9:46AM

  thanks for the blog post. Yes, the title got to me. Only cheating myself. Will get a button for them and other people too. emoticon

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GRACEISENUF 5/8/2010 1:50AM

    Words that can change a mindset...FANTASTIC! The blame game never helps anyone suceed.

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LAWRALOO 5/7/2010 6:26PM

    John you continue to astound and amaze me.
Thank you for sharing this. I'm going to create a mental button.

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JCDROLSHAGEN 5/7/2010 5:42PM

    If you live in the NYC metro area, you could blame the Yankees!! LOL. Good blog about responsibility for your own actions. Can't blame my daughter for the pizza I ate! (but I can logged it and eat some healthy with like a salad and fruit to complete the meal) Then I can go the gym and do some healthy exercise to work it off! Nice reflection today. Thanks.

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JCDROLSHAGEN 5/7/2010 5:42PM

    If you live in the NYC metro area, you could blame the Yankees!! LOL. Good blog about responsibility for your own actions. Can't blame my daughter for the pizza I ate! (but I can logged it and eat some healthy with like a salad and fruit to complete the meal) Then I can go the gym and do some healthy exercise to work it off! Nice reflection today. Thanks.

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ANNABELLA007 5/7/2010 5:25PM

    This got me thinking a lot. Thank you. emoticon

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UNSTOPPABLE_ 5/7/2010 5:19PM

    Wonderful blog! I've lived that way for a long time, sometimes I still react that way. SP has been a great place for me because I learned that I AM in control of my life...No one else, Just me!

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PSSN4FITNESS 5/7/2010 3:09PM

    This is truly a beautiful story encompassing so many of life's important lessons. Thank you so much for sharing. emoticon

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JENREDDIG 5/7/2010 2:34PM

    This is beautiful. Thank you so much.

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SUNQWEEN21 5/7/2010 2:27PM

    I clicked the "like" button only because there wasn't a "love" button. Awesome blog. Thank you for reminding me that no one is in control of me except me.

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SPARK-A-LICIOUS 5/7/2010 12:59PM

    Awesome blog! I have to remember that everytime I decide to go have a cookie instead of something "nutritious" that I too am ONLY cheating myself.

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LUCKYONE60 5/7/2010 11:10AM

    Whoa. So right on. Thanks for sharing this inspirational post.

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STACYLEIGH09 5/7/2010 9:51AM

    Great blog! Thanks for sharing.

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JUSTFOXXY 5/7/2010 9:21AM

    Very nice and very profound.

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KLOSH1 5/7/2010 12:30AM


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LUSHON 5/6/2010 11:50PM

    Thanks for a great reminder. emoticon

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MAWRTIAN 5/6/2010 11:06PM

    Thank you for the inspiration. I'm only just starting this and I feel so disorganized but I know the tools are here and all I need to do is learn and keep with it and things will get better!

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ANNE-ELIZ 5/6/2010 9:44PM

    Great insight. We are and can be only responsible for our own actions and not of anyone else. We can't necessarily stop people (or life) from doing bad and even horrible things, but we do have control of how we respond to what happens to us.

Thanks for the reminder.

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CHRISTYK08 5/6/2010 9:08PM

    Amazing. Right on. Thanks for sharing.

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MYOWNHERO 5/6/2010 8:17PM

    So inspiring and so true!

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LIZZYMITCH 5/6/2010 7:04PM

    This is so me. Not everyday. Not all the time. But I get into deep "blaming them" cycles, and they are so hard to break out of. It gets so hard to remember that these people have no tangible effect on you, and can they can't actually stop you from doing what you want.

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IRENE100 5/6/2010 6:30PM

  What a beautiful post!! You are so right too. I'm a psychiatric nurse and I see way too many folks playing the blame game and the only ones that they are hurting is themselves. Very profound. As I tell my clients the minute you assume responsibility for yourself is the minute you take control of your life and can make change for the better. Your change. Thank you for your inspirational message. I enjoyed it.


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TUTUNAN 5/6/2010 6:09PM

    You hit the nail on the head with this. Thanks.

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ADVENTUREGIRL04 5/6/2010 5:00PM

    You're blog was awesome!! Keep them coming!!

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SNORRIS40 5/6/2010 4:04PM

    Thank you for this truly inspiring blog entry. It really is all about seeing the door closed or seeing the window opened.

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NIKERUNNER 5/6/2010 3:27PM

    Wow! What a great story, and great motivation! Thanks for's been a little bit of a hard day for me, but I just needed a little push to get past it. Thanks for that! emoticon

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BRANDI.FEY 5/6/2010 3:22PM

    Such motivational stories. And humbling. Thank you for sharing!

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MOMGOODIE 5/6/2010 3:21PM

    Thank You! You really have me thinking of what is holding me back from changing my life. You are right is is Me!

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TABATHAMAX1 5/6/2010 3:03PM

    Thank you for that empowering post. emoticon

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PRAYINGSUZIE 5/6/2010 2:56PM

    I really needed to read this today! Thank you


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RAINDROP2000 5/6/2010 2:34PM

    Excellent blog....THANKS!

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SHEILAKHS1 5/6/2010 2:28PM

    this was a great blog. too many times i blame everything for why i am not succeeding i need to remember i am the only one who can do one can do it for me...Thank You again i am going to add you too my friends i really need a few positive people to keep me accountable

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STARRYK 5/6/2010 2:27PM

    Thank you! I think I needed to read this to hear it said - you are only cheating yourself...

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    Oh my god!!! That was exactly what I needed to read today. You could never imagine how much you have helped me. I have been in such a rut and blaming everything from my family, to PMS on why I wasn't doing well. I am ready to take control. Thank you so much for your inspiration

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MARCYNA 5/6/2010 2:01PM

    WoW, again you give me food for thought.
Amazing, John.
You were created to make us think. And change for the better.
I just needed this!!!!
Hugs emoticon emoticon

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LEEANNE1980 5/6/2010 1:49PM

    I really, really, really needed this, today. I guess God was listening after all. Thank You! emoticon

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STARGIRL66 5/6/2010 1:40PM

    Thanks for sharing a great blog, I needed it today! emoticon

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VICUNJA 5/6/2010 1:34PM

    How very true - and how very funny that infidelity to the self was the very topic I just blogged about! Just as you describe so very well, 482 days and 110lbs down the line, I can truly say the greatest transformation is the one, which has taken place within.

Thanks for sharing. Love the button.


- Joan

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LOSINGERIN 5/6/2010 1:32PM

  Thanks for sharing. It is a great reminder that we are only in control of own actions. Emotions are one thing -- what we do about them is quite another.

I will keep the image of your button with me.

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REACHNDREAM 5/6/2010 1:27PM

    WOW!!!! I really needed to read that today. emoticon

Thanks for sharpening my focus and reminding me how important I am no matter what.

What a GREAT story! emoticon


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CHERRIERUNS 5/6/2010 12:45PM

    very nice. You are right, we have to reach a moment where we accept and own our own 'stuff' and no longer blame the things that go on in our lifes.

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SMPO79 5/6/2010 12:43PM

This was really inspirational...thank you!

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SMOOCHIEFACE 5/6/2010 12:26PM

    Thank you.

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MYREALANA 5/6/2010 11:57AM

    You're so right. I often have to remind myself that the only person who loses if I cheat on my diet, or on my workout is me.

There's no prize for being "The Biggest Lier"

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    Great blog. My mantra is we choose to be happy or we choose to be miserable. As a nurse I saw lots of people coping with life threatening illnesses who were happy and people with seemingly insignificant problems who weren't. Life is to short to waste it being miserable. I tell people to stop blaming and start living.

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LUNORZAHRA 5/6/2010 11:39AM

    Great! Thanks for sharing that ... it's a keeper!

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SKINNYMINNIE25 5/6/2010 11:21AM

    The victim's mantra:
Look what you did to me.
Look what you didn't do for me.
It's not my fault.

We all have choices. Thanks for sharing yours.


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DIAMONDST 5/6/2010 10:54AM

    Don't cheat on yourself!!!! Doesn't get ya anywhere!!! emoticon

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