JOHNTJ1   67,242
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Seeing Things You Didn't Realize Were There or Progress

Monday, May 24, 2010

On Sunday morning I get up and go to the grocery to get fresh veggies. I know Kroger stocks them around six am. My weekly treat is a fresh veggie omelet and I look forward to seeing if they stock anything new and different. I was standing in the checkout line and was looking at the stuff in my basket – mushrooms, tomatoes, onions, garlic, fresh baby spinach and green peppers. There was a bunch of bananas in their too!

That’s when it hit me and I’m not sure why. Being the feast of Pentecost I guess it was the Holy Spirit at work. I looked in my basket and smiled. Five months ago in my pre-Spark days, Sunday breakfast would have been sausage, bacon, eggs, and probably a donut of some sort. If I was in a hurry it would have been some fast food, quick to satisfy and quick to be gone!! That’s quite a change. In, the spirit of full disclosure I did have two sausage links yesterday. They were Morningstar Veggie Links. I have come a long way.

I get so caught up in “doing what’s right”, stressing out over my weekly weigh in and continually reminding myself that I am not on a diet, I don’t see the one thing I really should focus on - - PROGRESS. I have changed a habit and if you’ll excuse the pun, it became a habit!!!

It’s different for all of us. That’s because our needs are so different. My eating habits were terrible five months ago. Thanks to the good example all you showed me I now spend time figuring out how I am going to eat healthier this week than I did last week. I read blogs, research Spark articles and plan. Back in the old days when I had a failure I’d give up. Now I analyze it and figure out an improvement strategy. Yes, I get down but never out. I have bad days, I get fed up, I get lonely and I want attention, but I rebound quickly because I’m on a quest. I am making progress.

It’s the people I hang around with now. People all over the world who are eating smarter, exercising harder and working diligently to reach those goals they set. Some are young, some are old and some are in between. Some have been Sparking five years and some five minutes. They form this community full of positive energy that is so wonderfully overwhelming. I am part of it!!! That illicits the biggest grin. I am part of this large community, this amazing life force that loves and accepts and encourages me. That is progress.

When we finished breakfast I began looking for more positive changes. I had lost 3.8 pounds last week and so I looked back a full month. I had lost nine pounds in the past thirty days!!! Considering I had a two pound gain in there that’s pretty gosh darned amazing!!! (Can you tell I love exclamation points!!!?) I had the feeling I was stuck, hitting a plateau or just done losing weight. What a boost. What progress.

Five months ago the only place I ran was to the fridge to get something to eat. Running for fun or health wasn’t something on my radar. Only “jocks” did that and jocks always hated me so why would I want to do something they did? (I’m not insecure or anything……..)

Joan and I walk everyday and we walked in a 5K. Well we ran the last quarter of a mile or so and I was hooked. I started C25K training and low and behold the biggest support I got was from the “jocks.” They encouraged me, supported me and now I am going to run a 5K. I don’t have a clue as to when but I am training for it. That is REAL progress LOL

Joan’s comment on my Spark experience is this: “Please tell those wonderful people whatever they are saying to you, to please keep it up. You are becoming a joy to live with.” (I always thought I WAS a joy to live with, but oh well.) The best feeling there is, in my experience is the feeling of being accepted for who you are. You guys have done that for me. You welcomed me and you encouraged me and you called me friend and that means the world to me.

I have three hundred fifty seven Spark friends. Each of you at one time or another has said something, sent something or simply just been there for me and helped make a difference. I often think about how I can honor that wonderful gift you have given me and continue to give me…….. I can honor you by continuing my progress, by getting better every single day and by realizing I am part of the single greatest experience on the planet.

If it hasn’t hit you by now it should. You are one of the people who happen to make a real difference in someone’s life. Yeah, you!!! Little old insignificant you who feel they only take and never give.

You make progress every day of your lives and most of it is good progress. Some days we can’t see the forest because of the trees. We sweat, we work and we worry and then one day we start to see real progress.

Take out a pad of paper, and go back four weeks. What are you doing better? You'll be amazed.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ILOVESP 6/6/2010 12:55PM


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SMOOCHIEFACE 6/4/2010 5:07PM

    You are doing great!! Thanks for the encouragement!

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MESEATURTLE 6/4/2010 2:16AM

    i got all mushy reading your post...a big hug to you

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KIMOTHY77 6/3/2010 6:15AM

    What a great blog! This is a great way of looking at this journey. I, too, noticed the other day placing my groceries at the checkout line. I had fruit, veggies, and beans. How healthy! I didn't have my typical boxed meals and high fat foods. I, too, get sidetracked at the scale and this is a great way to motivate the journey to a better life.

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DUTCHIEKIWI 5/25/2010 6:50PM

    It is such a pleasure to read your blogs as they reflect over and over again how I feel as well.

We are really creating great habits, and all of this because we are such an awesome influence on eachothers lives.

I personally have enjoyed being on spark and still do every single day.

When someone sparks by, or sends a goodie, an email anything, it brightens up my day, just like I Kknow it does yours.

Thanks John,

You're the best!!!!



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JUNEBUG4967 5/25/2010 12:28PM

    A few minutes ago, I clicked on BLOGS and there you were at the top of the page! Awesome! and yes, I'm sure the Holy Spirit is leading me today. Another e-mail I received is giving me food for thought about a "real life" situation. You are right, this site is amazing. It has taken me quite a while to get serious about the program, and finding folks like you who share their souls is a priceless gift. THANK YOU!!!!!!


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-H0LY-Y0GA- 5/25/2010 11:31AM

    Thank you for the encouragement !!

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TRIPLE_EMME 5/25/2010 10:18AM


In four weeks, I've lost 1 pound. However, my non-scale progress includes: simplifying my life; reading a few pages from an "uplifting" book before bed; walking outdoors (trying to get in the habit of daily walks after dinner, with longer walks on weekends) and cutting down on the caffeine.

Here's to another 4 weeks of PROGRESS!!!


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JAC2010 5/25/2010 8:31AM

    I love to start my day by reading about your progress. You inspire me. Thank you!!!! (extra exclamation points just for you)

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MARCYNA 5/25/2010 7:31AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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ANNE-ELIZ 5/24/2010 11:42PM

    You are doing so well!!

It is good to look for differences in approach as well as progress in terms of scale numbers or inches because those differences will ultimately make the progress in the others possible.

Thanks for the nudge!

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KATIEGLEN012 5/24/2010 10:23PM

    Great blog and a good reminder to look at our accomplishments! Nine pounds is a great monthly total! emoticon

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JPRICE217 5/24/2010 8:24PM

    Ounce if I cheated it would take me a while to get back on track but it now doesn't take as long to get back on track. I have learned to shop the parameters of the grocery store.

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ELIZABETH525 5/24/2010 7:13PM

    4 weeks progress: I am eating less junk food, I walk easier without huffing and puffing, I can drive without the steering wheel leaving a bruise in my stomach, I buy healthy snacks instead of the junk like before!

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LUCYJOY 5/24/2010 6:44PM

    I look back 4 weeks and haven't managed to improve anything. I am setting goals with a couple people to hopefully hold me more accountable but I'm battling my body and my inner self to keep moving.

It's nice to know someone battled their emotional demons and is winning. Reminds me to pick up and start over when I let mine win.

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SUSIEMILO 5/24/2010 4:47PM

    "Back in the old days when I had a failure I’d give up. Now I analyze it and figure out an improvement strategy."

That's key to me, because I now do that also.

Wonderful and positive blog. John, you help us just as we help you. That's why this site is so amazing, and that's why I know in my heart just as I know the sun will rise again tomorrow that THIS TIME I will reach my goal and maintain it. There is no doubt in my mind.
God bless Chris Downie for his vision and for making this site possible for all of us to use.
and God Bless you and the people like you who post such inspiring and heart-felt blogs on a frequent basis.
I don't always leave a comment, but I come looking for your blog EVERY SINGLE DAY.
We don't always realize who we impact with our action or words, and I'm here to tell you that you do make a difference in my journey.
Bless Joan for sharing you with us.

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LOVEMYBOY64 5/24/2010 4:27PM

    you are definitely Divinely inspired with your blogs...Thank you John & thank You Jesus!!!

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TULIPCHICK91 5/24/2010 3:37PM

    Thanks for sharing the Holy Spirit's work in you with the rest of us. My heart lept when I read:

"Yes, I get down but never out. I have bad days, I get fed up, I get lonely and I want attention, but I rebound quickly because I’m on a quest. I am making progress."

That was exactly what I needed to be reminded of today - that we are making progress! You are truly an inspiration to me. God Bless!

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CRIS76 5/24/2010 2:15PM

    All the small changes do add up and equal a healthier lifestyle.

BTW - where was our invite for breakfast :)

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BECCALYNN75 5/24/2010 12:30PM

    Every word of this blog was great, but I was drawn to one little sentance.

"Yes, I get down but never out."

I feel like I'm down right now, and thanks for reminding me that I can - and will - get up again!

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GETFIT2LIVE 5/24/2010 12:15PM

    It was the Holy Spirit at work, John--you don't know how much I needed this reminder today. The last couple of days I have been feeling mildly blue, no particular reason other than this is a very L-O-N-G journey to get the weight off (poor me, it's such hard work, I'm not making progress, blah, blah, blah--a little pity party for one). It's easy to forget that I HAVE made progress and established new habits that are firmly entrenched. I'm working towards running a 5K, and there are days I despair of ever being able to run two blocks, much less 3.1 miles. I need to remember that a few months ago, it was tough to walk two or three blocks, so I am making progress. Thanks for the fresh spark; I really needed it today!


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GRACENFAITH 5/24/2010 11:58AM

    WOOHOO!!! thank you for sharing and inspiring me.
emoticon Walking with God

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AZCUPCAKE 5/24/2010 11:41AM

    You always make ME feel two inches taller and five pounds lighter, because you tell your friends to drop the deadweight of thoughts and the negativity that accompany them and realize that we are looking towards PROGRESS, and that the ultimate goal is NOT PERFECTION! What a concept! It is a gradual process - it is a process that is healthy and long-lasting. I remember going on a 'juice fast' with a friend for two days, and those two days were the most miserable days of my LIFE, and after losing the 6 pounds of nothing but WATER, I was heavier than ever three days later. Deprivation and starvation don't work - but your MIND has to be in gear with where you want your BODY to go. Again, what a concept! You have the power with your words to change a person's mindset, John, and I am so grateful for you and for your gift. Congratulations on your continued weight loss and PROGRESS (my new favorite word - thanks to you!)!! Oh, and before I forget: I also love exclamation points! You must admit, they are very useful little items, and calorie-free, too...! emoticon Have a great Monday!

Comment edited on: 5/24/2010 11:41:57 AM

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CATHERINEL66 5/24/2010 11:16AM

    It's all about the journey, to be sure.

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SUZANDALE 5/24/2010 11:15AM

    John, I go to your page every day just to read about how far you have come! YOU are my motivation!! I read about your struggles and know that I am not the only one having problems! I read about your successes and know that I can do it too! Thank you, my friend, for being such an inspiration to so many!! And congratulations on your weight loss!

Comment edited on: 5/24/2010 11:15:56 AM

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PINETREEGIRL 5/24/2010 10:21AM

    You probably are a joy to live with, as you become not only physically fit but mentally aware of how strong and able you are. The feeling of doing something, and doing it well, is simply the best.

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    To see you succeed and be happier is rewarding to everyone who is with you on your journey. No man or woman left behind.

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WORKINGSTIFF 5/24/2010 9:46AM

    Love this blog! And I like exclamation points also!

You are so right on about the notion of "progress." Too many of us tend to focus on "the scale," and not on the changes happening inside of us-the way that we are becoming different people, not just smaller people.

It is not the end result that matters because there is no end. Once one makes the goal weight, it still takes work to maintain it.

Thanks again for the positive outlook.

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SHEILAKHS1 5/24/2010 9:36AM


i wanted to let you know that your blogs make me think!! There are times i get so frustrated and see no progress i want to give up, throw a tantrum, yell and scream at anyone who says i am doing great. my poor husband gets the brunt of all of it. sometimes i wonder why he even sticks around. my life has not been an easy one with my wieght issues and it took me some time to figure those out...2 exhusbands and a family member who molested me at 16 all telling me how my body effected how people would love me. i struggle every day with this. my current husband is amazing and tells me every single day how much he loves me for me not my size and i doubt him i even tell him i doubt him...i need to get over this and quick because i am setting myself up to fail at this lifestyle change and if im not careful even my marriage... i read your blogs everyday and find all the positive in you and i want to learn to be the same... i know that you are probly looking at this and wondering WHY does this person have to tell me this...but i want you to know you are an inspiration to me and you keep me motivated even when i want to give up. i needed to write this all down to get it out there and to pick myself up and keep moving forward and your blogs really help me do this...
Thank YOU John for listening and also sharing your journey

Comment edited on: 5/24/2010 9:38:47 AM

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ROSE5328 5/24/2010 9:29AM

    I've been beating myself this weekend thinking I'm not making any progress. Your post has made me realize I have made some positive changes. This past weekend I have done core exercise everyday and have drank at least 6 glasses of water every day. I am making progress!!

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LAWRALOO 5/24/2010 9:25AM

    Yay for making better choices for a healthier you!
I'm super duper proud of you John.
You've come a long way and I love love love that you see the progress you've made. Not just in weight, but how you live your life.

Way to go!

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WISEONE68 5/24/2010 8:54AM

After a rough week, and a "gain" on the scale this morning, your blog is truly "just what the doctor ordered." We are so quick to judge ourselves about our screw-ups, our binges, our moods, etc. BUT, we too often forget to celebrate our successes!! And, there are so many.

Changed activity, changed foods, changed friends, changed clothing...positive changes that will influence OUR lives and the lives of those around us!!! And, thanks for the reminder that this is NOT a diet--but, a lifestyle change. I think that is what gets us all "off track"--we think, "If I lose ___, then I can go back to eating ____." I resolved this weekend that there are NO foods "off limits" to me. There are just some foods that I tend to over-indulge myself on---so, those are the foods I will eat in moderation--giving away 1/2 or more if necessary to prevent a binge!

Thanks for the timly reminder, friend!! You are an inspiration to many--including me!!

Erika emoticon

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DOLLBABE56 5/24/2010 8:34AM

    Well John, as you know I've had up's and down's the past 30 days. I'm happy to say I'm still in an "up" mode. I've very proud of myself. The past 3 nights I have been so hungry. I took the time to think before acting. That has been one of my achievements. Thinking before "binging". I thank you, my friend, for all of the supportive blogs you write. You say I/we inspire/support you, but you are equally the inspiration and support for me.


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WALKNLOVE 5/24/2010 8:17AM

    Firstly, WE love you too John! It is a priviledge to walk (or run) this journey with you!
Your blog reminded me of something the pastor said at church yesterday.He was preaching on the fellow with 2,000 demons that Jesus cast into the swine.The story told me several things....
1.Even the demons shudder at Jesus name.You carry His name!When John comes in, Jesus comes in & Jesus can use you to do many things!(And does in your blogs everyday!!!)
2. 2,000 can seem overwhelming, but not for Jesus!All things bow to His name.And He said that we would do even greater things in HIS name! Amazing, but God's word is true!!!
3.That man was changed! If you examine the story further, Jesus was asked to leave after performing this great miracle...yet, later when Jesus came back to this town, the people welcomed him & brought people to him.Why? I think this man's living testimony spread.When we are in Christ, we are a new creation.Old things have passed, new things have come.
John, you are not who you used to be.You are becoming all that God has called you to be IN HIM.You are becoming that new creation....inside and out & all for HIS glory.
Funny, but when I began writing this, this is not what I was planning to say, but I think God had other things in mind for you.He loves you my brother! Walk in His blessings on your life today! Big hugs! And p.s.thanks for sharing with us, you are a blessing.By sharing your insights, God uses you everyday to help all of us.
No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.

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JAE_HENNINGTON 5/24/2010 8:03AM

  progress comes in amazing ways at times. I remember once I was going through a difficult financial time. Really praying hard and trying to do all the things I needed to to do to get back my footing. I remember getting out of my car and looking at this tree in my front yard, it was early spring. The tree looked dead no leaves, no signs of life, just blah. Sometime later, ( I really don't really know how much time) a few days maybe I looked out the window and Wow! the tree was full of green leaves. I thought how did that happen. The Lord spoke to me and said and so it is with life. If you just keep doing what you know is right, eventually you will see the results. Changes come and we don't really realize it till we stop to think about them. Thanks john, for reminding me of that tree and the miracle of change

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HDHAWK 5/24/2010 8:03AM

    Make that 358 spark friends if you don't mind John. I'm so glad I ran across your blogs a couple weeks ago. I look forward to reading them every day. You are very inspiring!

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FUZZY1TOO 5/24/2010 7:59AM

    John, you have put into words what I have been feeling the past few days. . . and I've only been actively working on this for a week! (I, too, like exclamation points! HeeHee)

You are an inspiration to others, as well. I find comfort in your words and inspiration in your progress. I CAN do this. We CAN do this.

Thanks! It's nice to know there's someone like you in my corner.


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WEEZIE1122 5/24/2010 7:57AM

    Hi John.

I don't want to "Be like Mike"

I want to "Be like John"

emoticon emoticon


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Why We Can't Say "Can't"

Saturday, May 22, 2010

My daughter and I were standing in line at the grocery late yesterday afternoon when she noticed a person with a popular beer in their cart.

“To bad you can’t have any of that, huh, dad?

I looked at her, like what she said didn’t actually compute.

‘The beer, dad. You can’t have the beer because of your diet!”

“Sure I can.” I said smiling. “I can have anything I want. I just choose not to.”

“But if you drink the beer you’ll get fat again!!”

“Exactly,” I responded. “That’s why I choose not to drink it”

Ever since we were itty-bitty kids we were always attracted to what we “cant” have. It really has to be powerfully good it we can’t have it, doesn’t it? So we posture and complain and occasionally put on a hair shirt and suffer, all for the sake of our health. Help me here dear friends, but is suffering really healthy?

The very minute I convince myself that I “cant” eat something I am saying that choice a is being forced upon me and is a form of punishment. It’s no secret that as an overweight guy I suffer from a degree of low self esteem to begin with. I mean, I am fat and you are not and it must be some sort of character flaw, right?

I know that thinking is a bit more than slightly flawed, but that’s how I think at times. The minute I perceive something to be a punishment, the minute you tell me I “cant” than I might as well give up because I am fat, which means I have a fatal character flaw to begin with, so I should sit around and wait for the big one. Unfortunately it becomes a vicious cycle.

It comes down to choosing. I can choose to rob a bank. If I do I will probably go to jail, for a long time. That’s the consequence of my choice. I never give robbing a bank a second thought. That choice is not in my best interest. Neither is over eating or eating foods that imperil my health. It’s not a matter of good or bad, in it’s a matter of what’s best for me and everyone I hold dear. Yet I look at it as denying myself.

Time to change things, isn’t it? When I make the choice to be healthy the first thing I do is honor myself and my Creator. I am saying that I think enough of me and He who made me to do the things that benefit me. In other words “I am worth it.” Those choices to eat the apples and grapes in lieu of the cookies, cakes and pies honor every good thing about me. When I choose to remain active I am stating in an emphatic way that I will not tolerate the laziness of my past. It’s gone for good.

Ya can’t say can’t. Well I guess you can but then you’ll be stuck. That’s what I’ve found every time I get stuck. That nasty little voice in my head says “YOU can’t do that, John!!! You are, too old, or too fat, or too stupid or…………”

Yes, I can. I can do all those wise things that honor me and my health. It is my choice and I have to make it every moment of every day and no it isn’t always easy. The payoff is worth it.

There is a story in the Bible where Jesus asks Peter if he loves him. Good old bombastic Peter, shouts out an “Of course I do!!!” Jesus asks him three times and Peters answer is always the same. Then Jesus adds the question “More than these?”
There are some Scripture scholars that suggest the “these” Jesus was referring to were the tools of Peters’ trade, his boat and his nets. When Peter said yes again, Jesus looked at him and said “Then feed my sheep.”

We all have sheep to feed. We are all called to be part of that most wonderful tapestry called creation. The call we receive is the choice to leave behind our bad habits and our faulty thinking and sincerely believe we are worth it.

You who read this feed my soul every day with your beautiful friendship and amazing support. It is the amazing choice you make to extend your hand to someone and share what’s inside of you.

You can, and you do.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MOKOGIRL 6/5/2010 11:58AM

    Your blog is right-on! Thank you!

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NEWLY_IMPROVED 5/28/2010 8:42AM

    Dad you are so right. I don't say can't either like you did to the beer rather I choose not to drink it.. I choose not to eat or drink something fattening, because I like the healthy, thinner me. I choose to be thin and make the better choices. It's much more fun being thin and continuing to maintain my weight. I know that you both agree with that. Thanks for the blog.

Comment edited on: 5/28/2010 8:44:59 AM

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LARRYBOGIE 5/27/2010 9:45PM

    Good thoughts, thanks for sharing your heart.

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SOJAC54 5/27/2010 4:56PM

    Great Blog !! Thank you for sharing.

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NANASNOW 5/27/2010 12:59PM

    John, I seem to read your blog when I am having some sort of lapse in my confidence. I think God has placed you here to help so many of us! Thank you for your words.

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LADYBUGZ1913 5/27/2010 12:22PM

    Truly I awseom! Life is about the choices e make!

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KLC1925 5/27/2010 11:11AM

    Thank you for the post!!!

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DANUTZABC 5/27/2010 1:18AM

  Your blog really hit me today, especially with the week I'm having. I completely understand that nasty voice that says "you can't". Thank you for the post; it's weird how a stranger can sometimes tell you me exactly what you need to hear.
Good luck with everything!

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LIFEGENESIS 5/27/2010 12:47AM

    Thank you. ((HUGS)) The right medicine for the right ailment.

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AMJ0710 5/26/2010 11:47PM

    Loved the blog!! Its choice, not "cant". If we "cant" have it, were going to have it. If its an option we have a choice. Really learned from this, thanks!

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SPARKANN 5/26/2010 11:29PM

    Oh, so true! The power of our choices...

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ANNE1123 5/26/2010 11:18PM

    That was amazing and a beautiful blog, you can really write well!! Thank you!!

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MRSBRAUCHT 5/26/2010 9:59PM

    Great Blog!!

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COLT2008 5/26/2010 9:42PM

    emoticon for sharing, my kids and I have very similar conversations. Its fun as we are relearning as a family how to make healthy choices for life.

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LOPEYP 5/26/2010 8:59PM

    I think you have the right approach to your new lifestyle. Life if full of choices. You can make the easy ones and fall back into bad habits or make the difficult ones that will yield the results that you want.

You are a great inspiration to us all!! emoticon

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STOLTZY64 5/26/2010 8:33PM

    Thanks John-you hit the nail on the head. We need to have the mindset that we are choosing a healthy lifestyle over a lifestyle of bad choices. I am day 3 on Spark People, and I have been nothing but motivated by the words written on these pages. Yours struck me with the thunder of honesty behind them. Way to go! Thanks for this blog-it meant a lot to me. emoticon

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NATOS786 5/26/2010 8:13PM

  2day i didnt feel like going 2d jym. But i chose 2 go.

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NATOS786 5/26/2010 8:12PM

  2day i didnt feel like going 2d jym. But i chose 2 go.

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ELIZABETH_Z 5/26/2010 7:08PM

    Very good view points! Everyone has a choice !

I never thought saying I choose to not have that instead of I cant have that it would better suite the mindset! I think I will say that from now on thanks! emoticon

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ELIZABETH_Z 5/26/2010 7:08PM

    Very good view points! Everyone has a choice !

I never thought saying I choose to not have that instead of I cant have that it would better suite the mindset! I think I will say that from now on thanks! emoticon

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HAKU695 5/26/2010 6:22PM

    Thank you so much for your inspiring blog. I proved to myself over and over again that I could "have whatever I wanted" when people told me I couldn't--I ate candy and didn't exercise, despite the fact that it was making me sluggish and unhealthy; I drank alcohol, despite the fact that I am an alcoholic. The consequences gradually became so painful, that I realized that even though I could partake of these things, I really didn't want to anymore. Even better, I am no longer just avoiding negative consequences; I am embracing a positive new life, thanks to God, AA, and SparkPeople.

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DREAMGIRL76 5/26/2010 5:48PM

    thank you John, and God Bless

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SHAGRLYGRL 5/26/2010 5:41PM

    Thanks John! I really needed to hear that!

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CHOESCH 5/26/2010 5:01PM

    Thank you for giving me something to think about. I appreciate that you and your daughter have such a good relationship and that you are teaching her some important values and lessons. This attitude will definitely make you successful!
I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts.

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MOM2SGMM 5/26/2010 3:35PM

    I love your way of looking at this. I need to start looking at things that way. I often find myself eating worse if I tell myself I can't have it. I need to remember this!

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TSK0128 5/26/2010 3:28PM

  Very true points, indeed! I commend you for teaching your child the difference between "can't" and simply choosing to say, "no." This is a profound reason why obesity is such an epidemic these days. We look at the negatives of denying ourselves any pleasure when, in fact, we are doing what's best for our bodies in the long run.

Wonderful post! Great attitude! And, you definitely are worth every effort to God; we are the only reason He chose to love us through His Son's sacrifice. Have a blessed and healthy day!

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AEBROWNSON 5/26/2010 3:12PM

    This is a truly inspiring entry. And about Jesus asking Peter if he loves Him--my understanding of that is that Jesus asks him three times, as a forgiveness for Peter denying Him three times. are very inspirational!

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KCHELED 5/26/2010 3:08PM

    awesome. thanks for the encouragement and good luck to you!

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NOSTROW 5/26/2010 3:05PM

  great blog! emoticon

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EDDIES8 5/26/2010 3:05PM


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EAGLE101 5/26/2010 2:48PM


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SEVENKITTY 5/26/2010 2:45PM

  Great insight!

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MARIEPC 5/26/2010 1:57PM

    This is an inspirational blog.

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RUMBARACH 5/26/2010 1:46PM

  I enjoyed reading this blog! Thank you so much :)

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MTHORP1 5/26/2010 1:02PM

    thought provoking and well written. this has given me a pauce for reflection on my own life struggles. thank you for sharing. marie

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FORMYGIRLS2008 5/26/2010 11:59AM

    I loved your blog! Thank you so much for sharing and giving me some food for thought as someone else said!!!

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DITZYCHICK 5/26/2010 11:47AM

    Very well said! I'm so glad to have found your blog today as I find your words to be very encouraging and motivating and at time when I'm trying to fight off cravings and emotional eating.

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MEWAJES 5/26/2010 11:29AM

    Great blog and message. Very good food for our thoughts.

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PEGGYO 5/26/2010 11:27AM

    A really great blog, thanks

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CARLOTACOX 5/26/2010 11:09AM

    Thank you so much John! Just last night I was having a pity party because my daughter, 27, was eating Oreos in front of me. It wasn't that I even wanted to EAT Oreos, it was that I felt deprived just watching her enjoy a couple of Oreos! Today I choose to honor me and Him who created me!!! emoticon

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PARKERCM 5/26/2010 10:27AM

  Thanks for such a great message to start my day! I am working to put the same bad choices behind me. I hope it will be easier in the near future!!

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VHOPWOOD 5/26/2010 10:16AM

    I enjoyed this. Thanks emoticon emoticon

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VEMAN1 5/26/2010 10:10AM

    Lots of negativity in can't.

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ROZELL99 5/26/2010 9:45AM

  Interesting viewpoint.

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FOREVER4ME 5/26/2010 9:18AM

    Philippines 4:13 says that "you can do all things through Christ you strengthen you" may he continue to give you and all of us at sparks the strength to reach our goal.

Keep working and you will succeed. Great attitude and lesson learned for your daughter and for us as well.
We can or we can't is our choice. WOW

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TERESAAVIL 5/26/2010 9:10AM

  That's the spirit! I loved this blog! It reinforced what I beleive. But we always need to be reminded how precious our life and being truly is- a gift with a higher purpose.

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HAMMOD 5/26/2010 9:08AM

    Awesome Message!

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AMHAMP 5/26/2010 8:45AM

    I think it was Joyce Meyer who said "Possibilities come in 'cans'." I totally agree with her and you. We can not control the past, but we have total control over how we respond to it, and I love that your response is "my choice" instead of "I can't". God bless.

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GRAMMARGURU07 5/26/2010 8:13AM

    what a great idea! thanks for sharing!

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MY-2-GIRLZ 5/26/2010 7:45AM

    Well spoken, "I choose not to have it"

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Friday, May 21, 2010


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NASFKAB 10/7/2012 10:34AM

  thanks for posting this

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EDWINA172 5/23/2010 9:40PM

    John! Thank you. This was just what I needed today! Love the video format. I really felt like you were talking to me. Its A Wonderful Life is one of my favorite movies. Many times, I've contemplated the same question Jimmy' Stewart's character faced in the movie. Please do more video blogs. I felt so good listening to you. Kind of like my own personal therapy session. I want to share this with some of my clients. You're the best!

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KATIEGLEN012 5/21/2010 7:43PM

    I have been sad lately that stuff is going on in my life and I haven't been here much so I miss some of your blogs. I feel like the woman at the bus stop...I like 'seeing' you around. It comforts me. I depend on you. Consistency is good for us. Never underestimate your presence!!!!!!

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GETFIT2LIVE 5/21/2010 12:04PM

    John, thank you for the reminder and the encouragement. Makes me think of my father-in-law; he was a quiet man who never thought he made much of an impact on the world, but his funeral was packed with people who had been touched deeply by his life. I know I have been touched by yours; thanks for being a part of my success!


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MISSROCKABILLY 5/21/2010 11:45AM

    Thank you so much for sharing this with us John! This really touched me today--I was even teary-eyed at parts. Thank you for always being so supportive and encouraging, I'll keep on doing the same for you and my other spark friends.

You have a fantastic Friday as well!

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JENNY888 5/21/2010 11:41AM

    Thank you for the reminder of how the small things like saying hi to someone every day can have so much impact. Great blog!

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AZCUPCAKE 5/21/2010 11:04AM

    John, I give you special thanks today for your video blog. I celebrate having a friend like you in my life, who is always encouraging and positive and offering ways of looking at the glass as HALF FULL that I never would have thought about. You make such a difference in MY life. I am glad you know your SparkPals are there for you, too! Have a wonderful weekend! emoticon

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BRYLIA 5/21/2010 10:46AM

    Gosh, I love that movie...its one of my favorites. It truly is a wonderful life and I enjoyed your reaffirmation of the words that I just said to a freind this morning during our morning walk about taking care of "me" so that "I" can take care of others. Being a type "A" perfectionist attitude, I so appreciate the reminder that it is OK not to be perfect, matter fact non of us are! LOL So many times you just hit things right on the nail. I am so proud of your weight loss accomplishment. Keep up your amazing attitude and focus on accomplishing small things like one more step, one more pushup etc etc and you will surely reach your goals. God bless! Lisa

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GERPAT 5/21/2010 10:28AM

    I stumbled on your blog through AMABILE75 on my friend feed. I really enjoyed listening to your message, it was a nice way to start my morning. Congrats on your progress too! Have a wonderful Friday....

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SUZANDALE 5/21/2010 10:18AM

    Wow, John!! You made me feel good today!! Thank you so much for every thing you do here!! Believe me, you are a great inspiration! And I appreciate it very much!!


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JAE_HENNINGTON 5/21/2010 10:14AM

  everyday in everyway we are impacting lives of others that we may not even realize are watching or listening... it is up to each of us to figure out what kind of impact we want to make... Thank you John for your wise words

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LINDALOSER40 5/21/2010 10:13AM

    Your blog is the second one I've watched since I've been on Sparkpeople. You have really encouraged me and I thank you for caring about other people. I want to put you as my friend, because I feel like you are. God Bless You!
Linda emoticon

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TRIPLE_EMME 5/21/2010 10:03AM

    John, this is the first time that I've been able to successfully watch your vlog!


I got all teary eyed at parts. You left me with such a feeling of goodness and inspiration. I really just want to hug you.


emoticon to you on your training, too!

Have yourself a terrific Friday!

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ROSE5328 5/21/2010 8:53AM

    This brought me to tears! Thank you!

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DOLLBABE56 5/21/2010 8:46AM

    I have to say that I get so much out of these weekly video blogs. Now, that's not to say I don't get a lot out of all of your blogs. There is just something about seeing and hearing your encouragement that gives that feeling of yes, I CAN do this. Yes, John is truly my friend.

Thanks John emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 5/21/2010 8:46:39 AM

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TINK33 5/21/2010 8:45AM

    You are simply a phenomenal human being! Thanks for this. What a great way to start my Friday!

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MICKEYMAX 5/21/2010 8:31AM

    You say it very well, John. We are definitely on the same wavelength this morning. I'm glad you shared. Thanks!

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MUSTANG_SALLY2 5/21/2010 8:19AM

    That's one of my favorite movies too. I enjoy our morning visit! emoticon

I hope you have a great weekend.


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AMABILE75 5/21/2010 8:06AM

    One of these days I'm going to get to see all of these video blogs I miss out on. emoticon

I hope you have a wonderful day my friend. Keep smiling.


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For My Friends, All of You!!!!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

There are not a lot of benefits to spending half your life in your car. I guess the main was is you have a lot of time with you, and you get to know you really well if you have the courage to do so.

I have satellite radio so I have a lot of music to choose from and I do so like to flip around.


I was driving home last night and an old Dionne Warwick song came on and I thought about all my friends and that includes you guys and so today in lieu of my wisdom I thought I would share hers:

Keep smiling, keep shining
Knowing you can always count on me, for sure
That's what friends are for
In good times, in bad times
I'll be on your side forever more
Oh, that's what friends are for

Have a good Thursday

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DUTCHIEKIWI 5/23/2010 9:39PM

    Friends are the most important support team we need.

Keep smiling and shining my friend.

As for the harder days... I'll be there!!


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TRISH2229 5/22/2010 5:32PM

    I have always loved that song and haven't heard it in years. Thanks for posting it!

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TINKERBELL200 5/21/2010 9:54PM

    Thanks John-right back at you! Thank you for the encouraging blogs! You are doing awesome!

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KLEONIKI 5/21/2010 6:57PM

    love that song!
that was a perfect treat for me, thank you dear friend!

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MARCYNA 5/21/2010 10:55AM

    I just love this!!! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MORTICIAADDAMS 5/21/2010 10:16AM

    Have a wonderful week!!!

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CLOVER2 5/20/2010 9:06PM

    Thank you very much, your insight is always a highlight in my day. I look forward to your blogs every day to lift my spirit. emoticon

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JPRICE217 5/20/2010 2:59PM

    Great song. Me time is the best at times. emoticon

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OZARKMARY 5/20/2010 2:15PM

    Right back atcha, my Friend! Nice song

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AZCUPCAKE 5/20/2010 12:31PM

    You have really mastered the art of being a great friend yourself, we can only hope to emulate YOU in being good friends to YOU right back!! emoticon

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ANNE-ELIZ 5/20/2010 12:15PM

    Thanks for this blast from the past!

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GETFIT2LIVE 5/20/2010 11:18AM

    Sometimes songs say it the best--thanks!

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AMYTATH 5/20/2010 9:52AM

    lol after 1750 miles in the car this weekend with a 2 1/2 year old...I want nothing to do with car time right now!!! hahaha BUT I do love that song!

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TINK33 5/20/2010 9:47AM

    Thank you John. Now I'm going to have that song in my head all day. :) I love car time - especially when I'm by myself. But, I have four kids - so the car time is the only quiet time I get. :)

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JUDIL62 5/20/2010 9:05AM

    Perfect! emoticon

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JAE_HENNINGTON 5/20/2010 9:01AM

  thanks John for always sharing yourself with your heart

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WALKNLOVE 5/20/2010 8:53AM

    That's what friends are for! You have the biggest heart!!!!!

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DOLLBABE56 5/20/2010 8:50AM

    Good song. Have a safe trip.

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YOYONOMORE1 5/20/2010 8:43AM

    That's a good song, I haven't heard it in a while, but when I started reading it came back to me. Thanks for sharing that John. Have a great day.


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HEART4HOME 5/20/2010 8:39AM

    Thanks John, I so needed this today. You are a very special person emoticon

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FREDIA2 5/20/2010 8:09AM

    You always keep me smiling. You are so encouraging, special... emoticon

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AMABILE75 5/20/2010 7:47AM

    I always loved that song.

Thank you for sharing with us.

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JUSTFOXXY 5/20/2010 7:39AM

    Awww! You're a special guy. Thanks for the great music, great memories and great blogs.

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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Glory Days

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

My living room looks like a bomb went off in it. There is thirty six years worth of photographs strewn all over the place. Our middle child, Paul is getting married in September and his fiancé has requested a photographic history of his life. This meant, and I am not using literary exaggeration here friends, six huge Rubbermaid tubs that had been tucked away in various nooks and crannies were pulled out and the sorting process has began. Thirty six years of collected family history.

On the up side there was a lot of “Do you remember……..? And “OMG look how young we were.” It’s nice to walk down memory lane every now and then, just as long as you keep on moving. The word “journey” is a verb and it’s intended to inspire action.

One of the ways I often shoot myself in the foot is to try to go back to them “good old days.” Seeking happier times and all those mangled metaphors. The happiest time in my life should be right now. The “glory days” should be today. But as I looked over the mess in my living room and all the collected emotions associated with them I couldn’t help but realize that the past was often a larger part of my life than the present, whether it is through a positive or negative memory.

My journey towards health involves me creating happiness, health and abundance in my life today, not reflecting on past mistakes, bad decisions and failed relationships. They are important only from the perspective that they landed me at the place I am today. In twenty four hours today will be over and it will not come back no matter how hard I click my heels three times and will it to be so. So I must enjoy it, learn from it while it is here and then let go of it when it is gone.

I notice that when I get very close to reaching a goal or when I receive some sort of recognition or praise that I slowly want things to go back to the “good old days” where things were safe and predictable. They were also the days I was morbidly obese and extremely out of shape. Aches and pains abounded, but yeah, bring back the good old days and then I won’t have to deal with today’s challenge or an area I need to improve.

The glory days are safe because we are in charge of how we remember them. I can dredge them up when I want to create a safe buffer or wall between me and reality and then I can either complain and moan about them or get a dreamy smile on my face when I recall them.

Memories are good when they serve to inspire me. Joan showed me some pictures of one of my grandfathers and I remember how gentle he was, even though he died when I was eight. He had a great sense of humor and was always ready to laugh. He lived upstairs for us and the highlight of my day was to wait for him when he came home from work. When the weather was nice he would hold on to my hand and we would walk down the block to a tavern. He would order me an orange soda and a huge pretzel stick and I would spin around on the bar stool while he and his friends solved the world’s problems. When he finished his one beer we would walk home and eat dinner.

I take lots of walks with my granddaughter and we talk. I’m a lot younger than my grandfather was, but I was inspired by his patience and his kindness and I try to mirror that in my life.

“But John, back in the old day’s people prayed more!!! That’s what’s wrong with the world, people don’t pray!”

Then pray and be an example. Conjuring up some old memory from thirty years ago isn’t going to drive a single soul to their knees. The example I set in my life may cause someone to take notice of how I live my life and inquire about it, but moaning about the good old days only wastes time.

“Family values are dead.”

Then you and your family work hard to create those values in your home and let other people see what a wonderfully happy family you have. Don’t blame the political system, the educational system and any other excuse I can create.

Be a change agent.

Pining for the good old says isn’t going to make me healthier. My body reacts differently at fifty six then it did at twenty six. I can still be healthy and looking at old pictures of really thin John isn’t going to make me any thinner or any healthier.

The picture that inspires success for me is the one I take every morning when I stare in the mirror and realize that the very best me, on that very best day is standing right there.

So why ya sittin’ here? Go look at your best picture too.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FUZZY1TOO 5/21/2010 11:33AM

    Wow, what a wonderfully insightful Grandfather your granddaughter has. She's a very lucky little girl from the sounds of it.

Keep the gas tank filled and the laughter flowing and your journey will go smooth as sailing for you.

Thank you for that pick me up, I can always use one.


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MARCYNA 5/21/2010 10:54AM

    I totally agree emoticon emoticon

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KSGROTHE 5/20/2010 6:02PM

    emoticon for another emoticon blog!

Keep up the good work!

- Karen

Comment edited on: 5/20/2010 6:07:38 PM

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TRIPLE_EMME 5/20/2010 10:56AM

    This is a great blog, John!

emoticon on your son's upcoming marriage.

I think looking through old photos is a terrific experience (and also very cathartic).

I read your blog a day after you posted it. Funny thing, this is a topic that my husband and I were discussing on the way to lunch, together, yesterday.

Crazy coincidence!

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JURI62 5/20/2010 6:13AM

    Great blog! Thank you. I'm learning to "look back without staring"!

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OZARKMARY 5/19/2010 9:27PM

    Another great writing! Thanks! I just found a picture of my oldest daughter and myself, the week she turned 34. I was living a time of turmoil and had just quit eating, so the pounds fell off and I looked great. I never knew how much I lost or how much I weighed. Guess that shows what I mean by "turmoil" However, those pounds found me again and I am just now, ten yrs later, getting the weight off the healthy way. It's nice to look back, but the "now" is where I am and I'm lovin' it! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SPARKENISTA 5/19/2010 6:23PM

    John! emoticonon your son's upcoming marriage! It's great that you are getting a chance to review your history. In retrospect the "good old days" are always better than the reality. It's just human nature. Enjoy this time because these ARE the "good old days".

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JPRICE217 5/19/2010 4:19PM

    There are day I just want to run away from everything and everyone even myself. I need to work on taking more breaks.

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JPRICE217 5/19/2010 4:12PM

    Your right we can't live in the past but the past has what made us to be what we are today. Good or bad. Everyone needs to enjoy the time they are in .

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CMBELISLE 5/19/2010 12:52PM

    Good or bad, we can't live in the past. As I tell people, you have to enjoy the journey as much as you are looking forward to the destination. Thanks for the reminder.

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GETFIT2LIVE 5/19/2010 12:18PM

    Great thoughts, John. The past is just that--the past, over and done, good or bad. We can remember and learn from it, but we can't go back there. Too often we spend our lives dwelling on the past or worried about the future, and we miss out on the wonderfulness and the opportunities for joy in the present. I love your statement 'Be a change agent.' That is the way to make TODAY a glory day.


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AZCUPCAKE 5/19/2010 11:38AM

    What a concept -- to LIVE in the HERE AND NOW! I am right there with you -- we cannot live in the past! Oh, but it is so hard. BUT DOABLE.

I just had one of those trips down Memory Lane myself in looking at photos of my kids when they were toddlers.....I need to keep that wonderful time in its proper perspective, and not think that all of the "good days" are gone. Thank you for once again giving me a BRAIN TUNE-UP! I so appreciate you and your wonderful way of looking at life!! emoticon

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AMABILE75 5/19/2010 11:28AM

    I can't help but think of one of my favorite statements, so I'll share it with you now.

May the best day of your past be the worst day of your future. You deserve only the best. :) As you like to say... you are worth it.


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RHAL1462 5/19/2010 10:23AM

    emoticon emoticon

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JAE_HENNINGTON 5/19/2010 10:19AM

  wonderful blog, I too have some wonderful memories of my Grandfather. The one thing I remember the most of him was the way he made me feel special. Not of what I was, but just because I was. Thank you for reminding me of his unconditional love this morning

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PSHANKEY 5/19/2010 8:56AM

    Great perspective on "glory days." I like the thought that today we are making future "glory days."

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PSHANKEY 5/19/2010 8:56AM

    Great perspective on "glory days." I like the thought that today we are making future "glory days."

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WALKNLOVE 5/19/2010 8:33AM

    The glory days are today too....He came that we might have life and have it more everyday to it's fullest, love people, walk with God, dare to make change.Remember you are living the glory days. Thanks as always for sharing John! You are the bomb! :D

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TINK33 5/19/2010 8:26AM

    You have an amazing gift in your ability to put your thoughts and emotions into words and to INSPIRE! Thank you for that. This was a GREAT blog! Enjoy reminiscing and preparing for the wedding. . . .new memories, new pictures.

I had to laugh about the "tubs" of pictures. I too have several rubbermaid totes full of picutres and have vowed that I will start organizing those, so I don't have to be stressed out when graduations start happening in a couple years. :)

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DOLLBABE56 5/19/2010 8:23AM

    I agree. I've been realizing this over the past couple of weeks. Isn't it funny that we do have the power to change our perception of the good old days - not always a good thing - not always bad either.

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