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Being Free

Sunday, July 04, 2010

It’s hard for me to relate to events that occurred over two hundred years ago. I have only seen them dramatized or read about them. In other words I have little to no perspective. I know that a lot of people utilized a lot of courage to make some pretty big decisions. Fortunately for us they were the right decisions but at the time, no one, especially they had any way of knowing that. They went with faith. They sort of linked arms and jutted out their jaws and went forward with a dream, a vision and a hope. Their actions allow me to live in a country that is free. Please note, I didn’t say perfect, just free.

I took freedom for granted until a few years ago. I always had it, little chance of losing it, nice to have it and it sucks if you don’t. I got caught up in researching my family history. I guess that happens as you get older. You want some answers. It was there I was introduced to Dobra.

Dobra was born in Lodz, Poland in 1936. Her mother was twenty six at the time and there is no record of a father being involved. Dobra’s mother worked as a tailor’s helper and Dobra spent her brief life at her mother’s side.

When the Nazi’s reached Lodz in 1940, Dobra and her mother were confined to the Lodz ghetto, Muhl Gasse 43, Flat 3. Their crime was their faith. They were Jewish and Adolph Hitler wanted to be sure that he kept all Jews where he could keep an eye on them until he decided what to do with them.

He came to that decision in September of 1942. All children and elderly people in the Lodz ghetto were rounded up between September 3 and September 12 and executed. Dobra was six. She was torn from her mother’s arms, forced to kneel in the street and was shot in the back of the head.

Dobra never got to do a lot of things I take for granted. She never was free to think, or too grow or to express her opinion. She died alone. She watched other children die as she stood in line and waited her turn. There were no bikes or birthday parties.

This horrifies me as an adult. I can only imagine what it was like for a six year old. I can’t imagine what it was like for her mother to look out the window and watch her child die at the hands of people who had taken it upon themselves to define what freedom meant for someone else. Two years later, as the Allies approached Lodz the remainder of the ghetto, along with her mother was liquidated. That word, “liquidated” sounds so neat and tidy. It creates a perspective that attempts to soften and distort the events.

I started writing this last night and had to stop. I became too emotional. I sat and stared at the screen and started crying. I put it down and went to bed. After a bit Joan asked me why I was crying. I told her and it was quiet for a bit. She hugged me and said.

“You can’t save her, but at the very least you have an idea of what people go through who are discriminated against for no real reason.”

As usual she was right.

On a very simple level if you are reading this blog, you have felt some of that pain. You are overweight. You have been laughed at, poked fun at and left out of things people who are not over weight are allowed to enjoy. People think you are lazy, not motivated and stupid.

Ghettos do not solely exist in the physical form; they have deeper and stronger walls when they are constructed in our minds.

We look at people and we evaluate them based on race, gender, sexual preference, height, weight, religion, and the list goes on and on. If you fit some sort of perfect mold you are allowed to be free. If you don’t, well then that’s too bad.
I lied in bed last night thinking about what Joan said. Finding my distant relative Dobra served the purpose of reminding me that there is a world where people do not care.

As I drifted off to sleep these words rang in my ears.

“Let freedom ring and when it does we will speed up that day when all of God’s children, black and white, Jew and Gentile, Catholic and Protestant can sing the words of the old spiritual; “Free at last, free at last. Thank God almighty we are free at last.”

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FANAMAMA 7/6/2010 11:12PM

    HOly cow was that powerful. Thank you so much for sharing that and for a vivid reminder of just how blessed we are. To Dobra. emoticon

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KAT573 7/6/2010 10:58AM

    Also little known, is that before the Jewish people were targeted, those with disabilities were practiced on, and tortured and killed. So I do feel your pain, and the pain is one we all experience at one time or another; while the 'reasons' or the situations may change, (disabled, of an unaccepted race, obese, etc), the basic issue is rejection and the thought processes and assumptions behind those which are almost always inauthentic, and twisted from a more basic, authentic emotional and spiritual beginning and experience.
Keep on keeping ON!
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WISEONE68 7/6/2010 9:13AM

    DEEP STUFF, brother. Profound thoughts and comments.

Having been the "last one picked on the playground"...I think of your dear, Dobra. Would she have wanted to be the first picked, or the last??!!

We want so much to be somewhere else...but, most times, right where we are is where we are supposed to be. Dobra's short life was seemingly "ordinary, nothing special." But, the fact that YOU are thinking of her today, sharing her life today, means that her small life was lived for a purpose.

She had meaning, she had purpose--even a six-year old victim of the Holocaust!! I think another "lesson" we can learn from this, dear Friend, is that EACH OF US also has purpose. No matter how old, young, how much we weigh, how hurt or damaged we are--we have purpose.

SparkPeople and SparkFriends help us find that purpose--that is the wonderful "freedom" which comes along with this "social network."

Thanks for the reminder, for sharing your heart, and for sharing Dobra! I will not soon forget her!!

be well, happy and safe!

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DOLLBABE56 7/6/2010 8:43AM

    We take so much for granted these days.

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SPARKENISTA 7/5/2010 10:44PM

    This is a very heavy blog. Very appropriate for this holiday. It certainly points up the freedoms and rights we take for granted. We are so lucky to be born in this country.

I have been to Yad Vashem twice. That is the holocaust museum in Israel. It is an indescribable place where raw emotion is a way of life. I would be upset to hear German there, too, as I am when I hear German tourists walking around NY.

I always try to be an ambassador for NY. Sometimes I am approached for directions and I am always promoting the fabulous features of NY. I speak some Yiddish, which is a hybrid of German and Hebrew. Many English words have a German derivation. Between all of these factors I understand a lot of what they are saying. I must admit that I am tempted not to be as friendly and outgoing to Germans as I generally am.

My heart goes out to Dobra, her mother, you and all the others who have been affected by the tragic events that were carried out at that time as well as other atrocious events that have happened. It just goes to show that we don't know what to thank G-d for. We are lucky enough to be able to take our liberties for granted.

I have a collection of books on the Holocaust, some of them quite old, and some given to me by the relatives of the authors. This is an interest of me. It is important to keep the horror alive in order not to repeat history.



emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 7/5/2010 10:45:25 PM

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DOCYJK 7/5/2010 8:45PM

    Our "ghetto of the mind" is perhaps worse in some ways. I have known a few WWII survivors of camps including my father who never lost faith (in his case Catholic) or hope. Those of us who are overweight sometimes lose hope on a daily basis. Kudos for searching out your family's story!!! We must keep our own "FAITH"!!!

Hugs - Yvonne

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DOLLIE6 7/5/2010 7:32PM

    emoticon emoticon

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MARCYNA 7/5/2010 7:50AM

    Yes, I found it very interesting your drawing a parallel btw being Jews and being discriminated ,there's a lesson to be learnt...
It happened to me at kindergarten - all the other kids were dark haired while I was 'different'- fair haired , since then I know what it means to be 'different' from the norm and sympathize with minorities.....we're all Dobra in a way emoticon

Comment edited on: 7/5/2010 7:56:31 AM

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HAWAIILINDA 7/4/2010 9:08PM

    Hi John,
Your blog was very heart felt. I so dislike prejudice and I constantly question my own thoughts and behaviors, I am not perfect and I have to re-adjust my thoughts at times. I hope I never forget to question myself. Thank you for this blog, I have pasted below 3 out takes from your blog and want to encourage you to find some place to incorporate them in your book.

"Ghettos do not solely exist in the physical form; they have deeper and stronger walls when they are constructed in our minds."

"On a very simple level if you are reading this blog, you have felt some of that pain. You are overweight. You have been laughed at, poked fun at and left out of things people who are not over weight are allowed to enjoy. People think you are lazy, not motivated and stupid."

“Let freedom ring and when it does we will speed up that day when all of God’s children, black and white, Jew and Gentile, Catholic and Protestant can sing the words of the old spiritual; “Free at last, free at last. Thank God almighty we are free at last.”







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MUSIC66 7/4/2010 8:10PM

    thanks for sharring .

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STORMTMB 7/4/2010 8:09PM

    I visited the Holocaust museum 10 years ago - and I can still remember it clearly. The horror of those events. The fact that so many people turned a blind eye and still do today. How sad is that. We have so much to be thankful for! God Bless America!

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DUTCHIEKIWI 7/4/2010 8:04PM

    As I read this, a thousand memories arrive back in my head.
Goosebumps all over, and fighting back the tears.
My parents were a lot older then me and have experienced the war up close and personal. My father was taken to Germany to work, and my mother struggled and walked for many many miles to try and get food.

As a teenager I became very interested in the war, and read, watched docu's and learned as much as i could.

I had to get to Israel, and I did, a few times.

On my trip I visited the war "museum" in Jerusalem.
Chilling... It's an experience I will never forget! It was not a fun visit, but for me so necessary! There is so much 'real' history to see and hear. They rebuilt a part of a street where hundreds of shoes worn by so many jews are piled up. I had real trouble with hearing tourists talk german. I felt they should not be allowed there. Nonsense of course, but can you imagine a little what it is like hearing the german language around these heart wrenching scenes?! Thank god I can understand what they are saying so I knew they were just as humbled as I was.

Even today it is hard for me to believe that there are people who are just evil, aggressive, racist all the time.
I sometimes struggle to understand HOW someone can be that bad. How do you live with yourself if you are able to truly hurt others? Can someone really be THAT evil?

Thank you John, for sharing your feelings, your history and your vulnerability. I am the happiest person knowing that really good people are out there as well. People like yourself.

Enjoy the celebrations of fourth of July.

In times of war, good people stick together and reach out to those in need.
Many nationalities fought together against evil, and succeeded.

Let's appreciate our freedom, let's never forget!!

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MOMGABE 7/4/2010 3:58PM

    Awesome blog. Thanks for reminding me that our freedom should not be taken for granted. It comes with a price.

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MORTICIAADDAMS 7/4/2010 3:22PM

    One of the chief reasons that my biggest pet peeve is prejudice. It's totally ugly from start to finish.

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GEEMAWEST 7/4/2010 2:21PM

    I cried when I read this. I cried for you. I cried for Dobra, I cried for her mother. And I cried for me, because I am so thankful that I have always been so blessed with freedom.

Thank you so much John for such a thought provoking blog. It was a great way to start Independence Day!!

Let Freedom Ring!! emoticon

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JAE_HENNINGTON 7/4/2010 1:41PM

  Thank you John... You are always one of my voices of reason. You manage to say the things that I feel in my heart already

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JPRICE217 7/4/2010 1:34PM

    Thank God for the grace God it was not I Your blog brought tears to my eyes, very moving

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GETFIT2LIVE 7/4/2010 1:26PM

    WWII was just a bit of history for me until I visited Auschwitz in Poland in 1975. Walking under the sign 'Arbeit Macht Frei' (Work Makes Free) and seeing it all in person--it was no longer ancient history but real. That's what the story of Dobra does, it makes it real. Your wife is a wise woman; give her an extra hug today.

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KATIEGLEN012 7/4/2010 1:13PM

    As I read your freedom blog I am reminded that what happened to Dobra is happening to some child somewhere in the world this moment. If we are to honor our freedoms we must honor the freedom of all and work to extend our hand to everyone. It is only through this extension of our hand that hatred will come face to face with the individual...it will be harder to hate us if you know us.

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TIME4AFITME 7/4/2010 1:13PM

    Thank you for sharing that. We all seem to take our freedom for granted and alot more things in life

Koula

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GRANDTO4 7/4/2010 1:02PM

  John, as is the case with much of your writing, this should be mandatory reading for every American. You would have to have a heart of stone to not be moved and do some hard thinking about what it means to live in this country. We are so spoiled.

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ALLISON145 7/4/2010 11:57AM

    emoticon emoticon

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IMJUSTDUCKIE 7/4/2010 10:51AM

   
Thank you for giving us the reminder not only about our Freedom, but for the right to live and enjoy another day. Sometimes the 'simple' thing of just waking up in the morning gets lost as well...

I hope you'll find a way of incorporating this blog in your book some how. It should be in there. It needs to be in there.

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SARAHCAT24 7/4/2010 10:41AM

    Most of the time we take our freedoms for granted. It is important that from time to time we have reminders of just how special this country is. Thank you for sharing Dobra's story. I am certain that God has a special place in Heaven for her and the many, many others who were denied so much here on Earth.

Have a splendid Fourth of July! emoticon

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TRACYDUKA 7/4/2010 9:29AM

    I had to have a community college course in World War 2 with an emphasis on Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany, and I have to have a Bachelor's course in it as well. (I'm studying to be a High School History Teacher, and this involves a major in History.) I'm sorry that your baby relative was a victim of the Nazi machine. They were truly horrible things done to others during that time. And you're right, it puts into perspective the joys that we take for granted. Thank you for posting this.

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TEACHING1ST 7/4/2010 9:04AM

    Extremely well said! Thank you for all the wonderful, insightful things you have for us to think about. We are truly blessed. And happy 4th of July!

Mary

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WANDAH3 7/4/2010 8:12AM

    Amen.

Thank you for sharing. We often take for granted our "freedom", many of us still struggle with being "free".

Have a wonderful day today.

Hugs,
Wanda

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WANDAH3 7/4/2010 8:12AM

    Amen.

Thank you for sharing. We often take for granted our "freedom", many of us still struggle with being "free".

Have a wonderful day today.

Hugs,
Wanda

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And So We Begin......... With A "Thank You."

Friday, July 02, 2010

For some time now people who get to know me end up with one thing in common. They look me in the eye and say "You should write a book." This is usually followed by Joan elbowing me and saying something like "I've only been telling him that for thirty six years." My response has been the ever neutral "Yeah."

I believe I can write a book. Matter of fact, I believe I can write a darned good one. I just never knew where to start and how to pull all the ideas I had into cogent form. It was very frustrating to say the least. I had all of these feelings floating around about being successful.

I believe it is a God given right to be successful. Each of us chooses how to define success in our lives and if we are truly successful then we respect the guy sitting next to us and their definition of success. Honestly though? Most of us never make it. In my head I know why. I just couldnt get it out in an understandable format. Until yesterday.

I was trying to tie up everything I said in yesterdays blog so it just didnt "thud" to a conclusion.

".....but I really believe three things create a good foundation for our success.

You are worth more than you can ever imagine.

You deserve only the best and should not only expect it but in most cases demand it.

You really are who you hang around with."

There it was in a neat package. Everything I believe in wrapped up in a couple of sentences. It's the foundation for the book.

So along with many others in my life, especially Joan, and The Holy Spirit, I want to thank you for your inspiration and especially for your friendship.

I am not sure how long this will take to write or if anyone will even want to publish it. If nothing else it will be my "manifesto."

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PSSN4FITNESS 7/7/2010 6:54PM

    Wow! This is incredible. I am writing that down and taking note to look for your book when comes on shelves. You are truly an inspiration and deserve all the wonderful things that are going for you, because you are humble, giving, and you understand that everyone has their good and bads and you meet them without judgement. My heart is so warmed when I read this and your other posts. You have a wonderful gift and I am so happy that you have found the way to channel it!

Happy Writing!!

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NANASNOW 7/6/2010 8:44PM

    Start writing!

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DUTCHIEKIWI 7/5/2010 12:33AM

    Great news, awesome to hear!

your mind is really getting into the groove and the book is going to become reality!
I applaud you!!!

There are many many people here that will write a great reference for any publisher to convince them your book WILL be a great success.

I for one will not only write but I'll call them too!!!

Try and stop me ;0)

You go John, there are no boundaries to what your book can and will achieve for others like me!

Love your work!!

Dutchie

xxx

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TEACHING1ST 7/4/2010 4:45PM

    Put me on your list...I'll buy that book! You can do it and we'll all be so glad. Best of luck, but don't quit writing your blog in the meantime!

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JPRICE217 7/3/2010 1:48PM

    emoticon I do not have a doubt about it. You always have the best blogs

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TINKERBELL200 7/3/2010 11:25AM

    emoticon idea John! I thought you were a writer when I first started reading your blogs! Maybe you missed part of your calling in life. You obviously like to help people, so what better way than writing a book! And you are so blessed to have Joan by your side, who as you said has been speaking this to you for years. She is an awesome support system for you, it sounds like whatever you decide to do. You have found a fine gem (Joan), that some people search a lifetime for.
So start writing!!! Go for it! emoticon
emoticon
Lynne

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IMJUSTDUCKIE 7/3/2010 10:41AM

    Funny, I just came across this article JUST BEFORE reading your blog.... Might be a "sign"....

Check them out, if they aren't useful, no worse for the wear, right?!

MP Morris Publishing - www morrispublishing . com

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KLEONIKI 7/3/2010 9:17AM

    Good for you and for us if you write this book....
I have been told the same from my friends and family; the main thing that stops me (and jurts me a bit) is that i believe i had nothing new to add except maybe of a personal forme of expression which is merely formal and not substantial...
Everything is already said .One need only to learn how to decode them...
This , of course , is my personal point of view; i would embrace your effort of a book , my friend with all my love.
Good luck
Kleoniki

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MARCYNA 7/3/2010 8:22AM

    Hi John, actually I have some advice for people who want to publish and I'll send them to you as soon as I find them...I certainly look forward to reading it emoticon emoticon

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SNORRIS40 7/3/2010 8:00AM

    Dittos on everyone else's comments. You are a fantastic writer and really hit the core of everyone else's feelings in your writings.
Best of Luck and looking forward to the Amazon pre-order! emoticon

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ANNE-ELIZ 7/2/2010 11:19PM

    Blog; book; only two letters separate them! emoticon

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RONDAJONES 7/2/2010 10:32PM

    John...I am pretty sure that you have a few hundred friends on here that would purchase a copy...I would!

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PENNYAN45 7/2/2010 10:29PM

    I wish you well.

You can always self-publish, too.



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STORMTMB 7/2/2010 8:55PM

    Start with your blogs... It's all there... It'll be a great book, dude. Now, go write it.

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MORTICIAADDAMS 7/2/2010 7:32PM

    Best of luck with the book.

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ALLISON145 7/2/2010 5:26PM

    Very exciting news!!! We look forward to being your beta-readers!

-Allison

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KSGROTHE 7/2/2010 3:20PM

    Writing a book sounds like a great idea for you! emoticon on discovering a starting point!

By the way, if you find it hard to get it published, I believe there are ways to self-publish now thanks to the internet. My uncle did something like that with a biographical book he wrote about my grandma.

Good luck! emoticon

- Karen

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TNTEACHER2 7/2/2010 1:00PM

    You write great blogs--why not a book?
Marcy

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BECCALYNN75 7/2/2010 12:16PM

    Can't wait to read it!

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JAE_HENNINGTON 7/2/2010 11:51AM

  When I first starting writing I was having trouble getting my thoughts on paper. Then I read this book, IF YOU CAN TALK YOU CAN WRITE..So now I just put my inner dialogue on paper and I have a lot of inner dialogue. I am so happy you have decided to write your book you have alot to offer others and we need more all the positive we can get. I have only one request when it is written and published I want an autographed copy. Have a great weekend John

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NEEDTOLOSE100LB 7/2/2010 10:01AM

    I am betting your book will be a best-seller. Thank you for the continuing blogs...a dose of your writing always does me good for the day!

Laurie

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MAWRTIAN 7/2/2010 9:41AM

    Wow John! It is like you looked into my journal entry today and addressed my issues. I haven't been bloging much but I have still been writing for myself. As always your insights are great! Thanks!!! emoticon

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HDHAWK 7/2/2010 9:29AM

    Fantastic John! I know there will be many people who want to read it, me included!

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GETFIT2LIVE 7/2/2010 9:15AM

    ALL RIGHT, JOHN! Putting together your thoughts into a book will be such a good experience for you--you have so much good stuff to share. Writing somehow helps pull all those thoughts that have been rolling around inside together and brings clarity. I will be praying that you make the connections necessary to get that book written and out there so others can benefit from what you've learned. I know that I have already; I look forward to reading that book one day; if you need a proofreader at some point, let me know!

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KAT573 7/2/2010 8:56AM

    I think as you actually work through the writing process, the finer points of how those things come to be from within, as well, rather than trying to pull them in from without, will become more evident and will feed your writing as it does your spirit. The richness and complexity of the process of growth is indeed difficult to perceive, let alone experience and more, nurture. For the very reasons you state. Have you ever read M.Scott Peck, M.D.? It was his writings that, in the end, led me to God. But it was his cogent style that helped me to understand why I had trouble nurturing myself, and therefore, what I needed to work on. Each of us has our own path to God, and I do believe there are basic underpinnings that are universal to us all. May your book help others to find their Way! keep on keeping ON! emoticon

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MSSUNBUG 7/2/2010 8:49AM

    As a doctoral student, writing is in my bones. :-) Regardless of the outcome (though I suspect the outcome could be good!), the process would be completely rewarding. Go forward! Trust in your great wisdom and the wisdom of the universe that is push, push, pushing you in that direction!

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MYUTMOST4HIM 7/2/2010 8:39AM

    GREAT!!! Can't tell you how many times I started my book!!! Like you, I figured if nothing else, my grandkids can read it!!! LOL

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The Things We Think Sometimes.......

Thursday, July 01, 2010

I hadn’t been to a lunch meeting of the Optimists for over a month. Work kept me out of town. I was looking forward to seeing a lot of folks I had missed in that time. Everyone that greeted me congratulated me on my weight loss and the article they ran on me in our local paper about healthy life styles.

When I sat down to eat three or four people came over, sat down, looked at me earnestly, and said. “You’re cursed, you know that don’t you?”

Yes I did. You see the last three people my gym featured in their articles not only gained all the weight they lost back they added about fifty percent. This is a small city and everyone knows everyone so people notice and BTW: People are cruel. I’m not going to detail some of their remarks but suffice to say I got scared.

See I am within twenty five pounds of my initial goal weight. I been batting around the same five pounds for a month and even though intellectually I know what’s going on I am still getting scared. I’m scared all the weight is hiding in my bedroom closet again and it’s going to come creeping back on to me and I’ll be a Spark failure. Then no one will love me and BTW did I tell you I’d be a failure?

I am really not sure what can make you more miserable, being fat or being thin? So I did some stuff that I know none of you have ever done, like eating below your calorie levels and amping up your cardio to burn a bit more. Anyone here ever get worried about eating and start cutting some really weird corners because you are scared that an extra bite of whole grain bread is going to add fifteen pounds to you? You may not have done it but a dollar to donuts you thought about it.

As a once famous bald headed female exercise leader said “Stop the Insanity.”

Suffice to say I was a basket case. It was like running a 5K in quicksand (Wonder if they have a podcast for that?) The harder I tried the more bogged down and anxious I got.

I went to a friend’s Spark Page to thank them for something and I actually stopped for a minute and read it. (LOL) They had been someone I had admired for some time and have been successful in fighting the good fight. But I had never read what “they stood for.” Maybe it was because I had all kinds of time on my hands yesterday or maybe my guardian angel sent me there but as I scrolled down the page I saw this line:

“Eat to fuel my body and my life, not just be below my calorie range.”

“Oh wow!!! Someone actually had the same thoughts I did!!!” Weird as it may seem, I felt better and I had a lesson reinforced at the same time. Somewhere in the Bible it says “Nothing is new under the sun.” That one line made me feel like I wasn’t alone. I smiled a bit and actually had a bit of a tear well up in my eye.

“I’m normal,” I whispered.

We think and do crazy things sometimes. Our fears get the best of us and once they latch on to us they are like a pit bull, they don’t let go. Our fears are what drive us into doing silly stuff that only hurts us in the long run.

You guys may get really bored in hearing all this but I really believe three things create a good foundation for our success.

You are worth more than you can ever imagine.

You deserve only the best and should not only expect it but in most cases demand it.

You really are who you hang around with.

There are so many of you who have motivated and inspired me in so many ways and just like yesterday I am so grateful for it. I choose to hang around with really great folks and if you are reading this, you are one of them.

Time for breakfast.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PSSN4FITNESS 7/7/2010 6:58PM

    I remember being that crazy person a couple months ago! Man, that plateau had me bugging! But, it is so great when you get your perspective back. That allows you to keep pressing forward and get balance in your life. Great Post and great words of wisdom!

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MARCYNA 7/4/2010 2:33PM

    I'm a bit scared of people whose silly remarks made you feel like that, are you sure you want to see them again???You just don't need those stupid people's remarks, you only need to be around w/people who love you and see the best in you - sorry I know it's a bit blunt but I need to repeat this to myself first emoticon

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ROSE5328 7/2/2010 8:23AM

    Thanks for reminding me that I'm normal!

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KATIEGLEN012 7/2/2010 7:22AM

    John...fear is the enemy. We are who we hang out with...and you, my friend, are about to reverse the curse! Thank heaven! Look forward with joy and thank God for the health you can see.

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PINETREEGIRL 7/2/2010 1:42AM

    Fuel yourself--fuel your body, fuel your dreams.
I relate to this blog well, because I chose SP as a way of trying to lose weight without deprivation. With deprivation, I am champion--I can make myself stop eating for months at a time. That tactic might not work as well since I stopped smoking, but...I was very good at it.
But being thin and being healthy, instead of being thin or healthy, is a new horizon. It's 10,000 times more challenging. And it will last longer.
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CARTOONB 7/1/2010 10:11PM

    Yep! So, because you and I think alike (or have some of the same thoughts at least) that makes you normal?! I guess I'm normal too! LOL!!

I get the fear thing! The weight is lurking out there and it's going to jump back on as soon as I close my eyes! I don't know where mine is hiding tho...if it was the closet, I'd lock the door!

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HONORINGGOD 7/1/2010 9:50PM

    we are not norman we are sons of the most high ,joint heirs with JESUS CHRIST .his promises goon for ever . im proud of you &your worth it . a wise man told me that emoticonyou. GOD BLESS YOU MY FRIEND emoticon

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SLY_REDUX 7/1/2010 8:58PM

    Bless you, I'm NOT normal - but I've learned to make it work for me! emoticon

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GEEMAWEST 7/1/2010 8:16PM

    Thanks, John.

For your information, I never get tired of you telling me that I am worth more than I can ever imagine. I like hearing it and don't mind saying that sometimes I "need" to hear it because I am so hard on myself.

And BTW, you too are worth more than you can ever imagine.

Love, Cheryl



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JUST_TRI_IT 7/1/2010 8:02PM

    Hmmm. They are optimists? I am not sure I'd belong to a group that seems to want to bring people down! Even if someone has a thought like that, why share it at all? Your town sounds like a town I work in... Lots of cruel people :(

Yes, we are in this together... and all those "unique" thoughts we have seem to land on familiar ears, don't' they! And we do feel a camaraderie when we voice our successes or scary thoughts and someone seems to connect. Rather nice!!

You will make it, John. You've learned too much to throw thinking out the window!



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STORMTMB 7/1/2010 7:55PM

    BTW - those people don't sound much like optimists! more like pessimists!!!

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STORMTMB 7/1/2010 7:54PM

    I'm pretty sure that I (and many others) told you 50 lbs ago that I'd love you regardless of the number on your scale. Pretty sure that your wife and kids love you too.

For whatever it's worth, my advice is to step away from the scale. If the number (those 5 lbs) is messing with your head, then walk away. Do the things you know are right and quit worrying about it. Let go and let God... go back to that voice that gives you such great advice.

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KLEONIKI 7/1/2010 5:11PM

    My dear John!
We are all in the very same boat sailing in the very same waters...
Similar fears, thinking patterns,and feeling traps.
But also, we are part of the same struggling gang, fighting with similar dragons and our common place is our dream to become HEALTHY.
It is not only a weight matter it is all about doing THE RIGHT THING ,
change inside out FOR LIFE,
and especially do that TOGETHER..
Relax and enjoy the ride it is not a change for who witness it only
but
for who experience it..
Keep on going with this radiant smile of yours
Hugs
Kleoniki



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JURI62 7/1/2010 4:37PM

    Small towns! Aren't they GRAND! Be careful what you focus on, our thoughts have a way of coming true!!! POsitive thinking promotes positive outcomes.
Thanks for another great blog.
Hugs and blessings, Judy

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ANNE-ELIZ 7/1/2010 4:08PM

    It is true that words have great power and you certainly experienced that power in both directions; the negative, posited by those "Optimists" and the positive, by the writer of the blog you mentioned as well as others here on the site.

Those words can engender fear or can give hope. They can be placebo or poison.

But those words need to be processed and evaluated by a human mind; your mind, which works very well! OK, you wrestled with the fear demon but emerged victorious, with a little help from your friends!

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MORTICIAADDAMS 7/1/2010 3:41PM

    I'm going to have to slip you some ego boosting pills, John. LOL. When I hear people talk about gaining all the weight back and more I feel sorry for those unfortunate people but I don't relate to them. I don't consider myself in that group. I'm always in the 5-6% that loses what they want and keeps it off and I put you in that group too. Don't allow anyone else to put you in the other group. You don't belong there. You have been put in the group you belong in.

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PENNYAN45 7/1/2010 1:36PM

    If we take our time losing the weight - and make a lifestyle change that we will live with forever - then we will not gain the weight back.

There are many SPers who joined maintenance teams to insure that they did NOT gain the weight back.

Spark could be a part of your life for several more years - while you maintain your weight as well.

Congratulations on your loss so far - and for coming so close to your goal!

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SHEILAKHS1 7/1/2010 1:19PM

    John I love reading your blogs because all in all you make ME feel Normal as i struggle with this lifestyle every day
Thank you for always sharing

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BBGOOGIN 7/1/2010 12:33PM

    Wow, John. I enjoyed your blog today and I'm really glad you were enabled to process that one through. That's the keeping power of God, that you didn't receive those cursed words as your own....

"Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, And to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy...." (Jude 1:24)
~Susan

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JLUVSHIKIN 7/1/2010 12:16PM

    Thanks for the post. Especially about the part, "I am normal" Sometimes it is hard to feel normal. Good to know that occasionally someone else feels the same way!

Great post. And by the way... you are only cursed if you allow it to be!

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GRANDTO4 7/1/2010 12:11PM

  John, you are so far from "cursed", that comment was just laughable. I felt the same fear you mentioned, when after less than 24 hrs. in the hospital, no food for three days, and I was up in weight TEN pounds! My brain jumped straight to panic (and thoughts of doughnuts), until I talked some sense into myself. It took 2 1/2 weeks post-surgery to lose that ten pounds, but it's gone. Now I understand I need to have patience with my body; it's been through a lot, and is still kickin'. So what if I get where I'm going a few weeks later?? There's no way I can un-learn the tools I have learned on this site, and from great motivators like you!

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HEATHERSCOTTTN 7/1/2010 10:56AM

    you can and are doing it!

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GETFIT2LIVE 7/1/2010 10:48AM

    You are not at ALL alone in your fears, my friend; you are indeed normal (but extraordinary, too). I have been very successful at losing weight before, but terrible at keeping it off. I've lost 40 pounds now, second best weight loss results to date, and a part of me is terrified that the weight is hiding under the bed, waiting for me to make one little slip and then it will jump back on me again with some extra, then I will be a failure (again) and not be loved . . . it is crazy-making and can lead to under eating, over working our bodies, or worse. Time to start believing in ourselves and keep those foundations for success in front of us; thanks for sharing, it DOES help to know we are not alone.

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FANAMAMA 7/1/2010 10:47AM

    Ummm, didn't you say it was a gathering of OPTIMISTS?!?! They need to change their name!
Or make YOU their C.E.O.!
I think often people gain back the weight they lost because they got on the Express Weight Loss train, closed their eyes and held their breath until the reached their destination. It was simply a means to an end, and once they got there, they didn't really know what to do with themselves so they fell back into their old patterns. (Experience speaking here)
I prefer to think of our Spark journey as the slow but steady Scenic Journey Healthy Living train. We are generally making progress, taking the time to take a good hard look at the world around us and reordering our priorities so that we put being healthy (not skinny) FIRST. We go through valleys, some of them dark and cloudy, but we also go to the tops of the mountains where we can see for miles and dare to whisper, Life is Good!
After all you've already gone through, do you REALLY see yourself ever again sitting on the couch with a bag of chips in one hand and the remote in the other?

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FANAMAMA 7/1/2010 10:47AM

    Ummm, didn't you say it was a gathering of OPTIMISTS?!?! They need to change their name!
Or make YOU their C.E.O.!
I think often people gain back the weight they lost because they got on the Express Weight Loss train, closed their eyes and held their breath until the reached their destination. It was simply a means to an end, and once they got there, they didn't really know what to do with themselves so they fell back into their old patterns. (Experience speaking here)
I prefer to think of our Spark journey as the slow but steady Scenic Journey Healthy Living train. We are generally making progress, taking the time to take a good hard look at the world around us and reordering our priorities so that we put being healthy (not skinny) FIRST. We go through valleys, some of them dark and cloudy, but we also go to the tops of the mountains where we can see for miles and dare to whisper, Life is Good!
After all you've already gone through, do you REALLY see yourself ever again sitting on the couch with a bag of chips in one hand and the remote in the other?

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IMJUSTDUCKIE 7/1/2010 10:25AM

    John, my dear, it's mind over matter :) If you don't 'mind' it, it won't matter :) emoticon

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WALKNLOVE 7/1/2010 10:20AM

    So, I have been sick, more than not the past two weeks, haphazard at best on logging my food in to my nutrition planner, not able to work out much, if at all, and stepped on the scale yesterday to a 6 lb.weight gain! UGH!!! So, you better believe, my 1st thots were...you are going in the wrong direction...what if you fail?
Well, here's a better question for both of us...What if we don't?(Under normal circumstances, I would expand on this, but the truth is I am tired.I need God's strength to get thru.I will let you ponder this question for yourself.Some of our answers will be the same & some will be different, but they will all lead us into clearer thinking!)

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SANDYK4BAMA 7/1/2010 10:16AM

    Oh John - you ARE SO worth it!!! And you are so NOT alone in your craziness. I get scared all the time too. Scared that I will meet my goal, scared that I won't, scared that I'm not losing fast enough, scared that it'll come back, scared-scared-scared.

But you know what? Our preacher taught on this one day in church. The Bible uses the word FEAR 365 times. That's one time for each day of the year, and you know what God says about it: "Fear Not." It's a simple thought really, but boy does the devil really throw that one at us!! After all, he knows all the tricks, and fear, oh boy, fear is one of his meanest and best tricks to keep us from God's blessings.

Keep in mind though, YOU are one of God's blessings too. And if you fall short, don't worry - all your buddies here at SparkWorld will help pick you up, we'll prop you up, and we'll shove you back into action if we have to - just like you'd do for us. None of us is perfect, and even though it seems like we live in a fishbowl sometimes, and EVERYbody is watching and waiting on us to fail, your true friends are not. We are cheering you on, we are on your side. Those other people, well hell, they just DON'T COUNT! Yea! And God is on your side too, he's the best cheerleader of them all. And also, I just bet - you're one of his FAVORITES! You're definitely one of mine! Keep up the good fight, after all, it's for you - not for THEM - whoever they are anyway...


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ALLISON145 7/1/2010 10:11AM

    I think those amazingly thoughtful people (ahem) who told you that would were doomed to fail actually just did you a favor and pointed out one of the ways that you can be an 'apostle.' It's now your calling to show everyone in your little town that exercising and eating right is NOT an automatic road to failure... that it IS worth it to try to take care of yourself. I think a lot of people never even get started for that very reason - they think they will go to all the trouble to lose the weight and then gain it right back. When (not if) you break your gym's curse and choose to take care of yourself like you would any loved one for the rest of your life, you will inspire others to take that first step.

And remember, even when you don't have faith in yourself, we have faith in you.

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Love,
Allison

P.S. Please try not to worry too much about the scale right now - your body has been through a lot of changes so be kind to yourself and allow some time for adjustment. Just keep doing what you've been doing (nothing crazy) and things will start moving again. Honest!

Comment edited on: 7/1/2010 10:14:44 AM

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JPRICE217 7/1/2010 9:25AM

    John cursed? never! Great blog as always. We can and we will beat the odds

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JERIBERI1 7/1/2010 8:35AM

    John, you definitely AREN'T cursed. Food is fuel for your body and life, just like your friend said. When I first started the SparkJourney, I, too, was obsessed with staying below my calorie range. Then my mind switched over to "healthy living," and what a difference it made!! It's all about being the best YOU you can be, and John, you are doing it!!!

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HDHAWK 7/1/2010 8:13AM

    Can I ever relate to your blog. I was getting compliments all over the place about a year ago, bought all new clothes, and was feeling very confident. Then many things happened in my life and I let those derail my workouts and good eating. I gained most of the weight back and yes, feel like a spark failure. I seem to be the only one who thinks so. I'm way more critical of myself than anyone else is. I'm in the cycle of "almost" being back on plan, but not totally committed. Back and forth with good choices and bad. You are in good company here. I know many of us struggle with the same issue.
I had many comments from people when my weight was down about being too thin, etc. I haven't had any comments from them on gaining some back. That would be rude emoticon. Doesn't seem to be rude to make those comments when we're losing weight. Anyway, we have to do this for us no matter what other people think or say.

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EDWINA172 7/1/2010 8:06AM

    Don't believe in the superstitious poo that your "friends" are telling you. Break the molds. We create our own future. I never get bored with your blogs. I love the fact that you put into print what I am thinking!

You may feel some comfort from one of my favorite quotes...

"Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think." A.A.Milne

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BEANPOD77 7/1/2010 8:05AM

    John, I echo MickeyMax's comment..I literally find myself giving a little nod and saying "ya, that's true.." so many times as I read your blogs..Gives me another little boost to carry on..Thanks (yet again!)

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WIGIME 7/1/2010 8:02AM

    Ah, don't you just love small towns?! John, I know you have it in you to be successful and you have come too far to let those last few pounds bluff you.

If it takes another month or 2 to lose them, so what? Life isn't perfect. As long as you have your eye on the prize, you'll get there. Of that I have no doubt!

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CMBELISLE 7/1/2010 7:55AM

    I think in some ways we all fear putting it back on. Hopefully, that will make me more diligent in keeping it off this time. I think it's time someone broke the curse and I'm sure it will be you!

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MICKEYMAX 7/1/2010 7:50AM

    It's a bummer some folks could only focus on the negativity. John, I feel encouraged and uplifted every time I see/read one of your blogs. Keep up the good work. I remind myself every day that I am the one who decides what I do, and how I do it, not popular opinion. Just keep doing the good things for yourself and the rest will follow. You rock! emoticon

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_COSMOPAULATAN_ 7/1/2010 7:40AM

    You aren't cursed unless you choose to be. You have GOT THIS!

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Be Still and Know That I Am God

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

It has always been my favorite quote and it has followed me around all my life. Every time I have hit a rough patch or haven’t quite been able to discern something it sits there staring at me.

I had a tooth pulled Monday. Actually it had to be cut out because it had grown into my jaw and needless to say there was pain involved. Most people ask their oral surgeon about post operative care. My questions related to resuming my C25K training, using the elliptical and stationary bike and resuming weight training. I’ll give you the short answer. All I can do is walk until the stitches dissolve which should be by next Monday, hopefully. On the bright side I really didn’t need the narcotics they prescribed. By this morning ibuprofen did the trick. But I am digressing here.

All I could do today was sit around. I have a hard time talking. I can’t really exercise. Television is, well its television and I wasn’t in the mood to read. I began to ask why as in tilting my head upward towards heaven and saying “Why?”

Be still and know that I am God.

Between me, you and the gate post that really irks me sometimes. I know it is necessary, but it still irks me. Some days I don’t want God to be God. I want Him to be what I want Him to be, which is someone who gives me everything I ask for, immediately. The heck with lessons learned and creating foundations and all that rot. Hand it over………… Now!!!

Be still and know that I am God.

I know why. I just don’t like that I know why. God has to slow me down. If He didn’t, then only He knows where I’d be off to with my half baked ideas and plans. He asks me to rest, to relax and mostly He asks me to listen to what He has to say. He gives me all those opportunities to do those things and frankly, most times I pass. I can imagine Him sort of throwing His hands up, rubbing His chine and creating an impact tooth.

He sends me friends with ideas, advice and encouragement and He asks me to take the time to listen. I do, mostly. He asks me to take a deep breath and stand still for a bit so everything can be put into place for me to do my best and be my best.

When I was a kid I hated it when they read the Scripture From the beginning of Matthews’s gospel. It the one with all the “begets.” Goes from the beginning of time until the birth of Jesus. There are a bunch of names that no one can pronounce and it takes a long time to read. Oh sure there are your heavy hitters in there like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David and Solomon. But there were also the people no one really knew. People like Azor and Zadok. You don’t hear those names bandied around on Sunday morning
.
Azor and Zadok and a lot of others were people just like me and you; people who peered off into the fog trying to make sense of it all. Sprinkled in there with the kings and prophets were farmers, carpenters and shepherds; every day folks who struggled and wondered and got bored.

Imagine if it were possible for us to go back in time and tell them that they were a link to salvation. Some car wash dude, scraping gum off a fender wall is in the direct line of salvation history. He probably wouldn’t believe you. I know I wouldn’t.
I think, like all those folks in Matthews Gospel we aren’t supposed to make sense of the whole of creation. We are supposed to have faith, to live good lives and to use every tool God gave us. Sometimes it means letting our engine idle while God directs traffic so we have the best and greatest opportunity to serve Him.

Some days, for me it means that even though I have been a “good boy,” by doing all my exercise, logging all my food and getting enough rest, the scale needle stays stuck, like some divine hand holds it in place. We are asked and called to believe and I think the most important lesson God gives us to believe in ourselves no matter how small or great the odds. To believe we are worth, we deserve it and we are loved. Some days nothing moves forward because we can’t see those amazing things
It’s why we have to sit and nurse a pulled muscle or a broken digit. It’s why the very best thing really always isn’t because in the Divine mystery there is something so much better out there for us.

Be still and know that I am God.

So I sit here, trying to make sense of it all. A sore jaw isn’t much but I have come to learn that it and things like it can be the beginning of something awesome, wonderful and well, LOL, Divine.

Be still and know that I am God.



  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KAT573 7/6/2010 11:03AM

    You said it, John:
"I think the most important lesson God gives us to believe in ourselves no matter how small or great the odds. To believe we are worth, we deserve it and we are loved. Some days nothing moves forward because we can�t see those amazing things "

and when we stray too far, abominations can happen, like World Wars etc. It is a sobering thought, and being still and listening 'saves' us by keeping us centered in God.
Keep on Keeping ON!
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TINKERBELL200 7/2/2010 10:36PM

    Loved the blog John! Sometimes we do just need to be still and know He is God! I love that scripture! Thank you for sharing. Hope you get to feeling better soon. An impacted tooth can literally be a pain!
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Lynne
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Comment edited on: 7/2/2010 10:38:06 PM

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GR8CATSBY 7/2/2010 6:49PM

    Wow - thanks for writing this! What a great reminder that there's a bigger picture. God is weaving a huge tapestry and someday we'll see all of it, but for now we only have a glimpse of a little piece.

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AKATUJE 7/2/2010 2:09AM

    I love this verse!!! It has a way of stopping me in my tracks when i am going round and round trying to understand everything....and also when things get overwhelming!!!

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JAE_HENNINGTON 7/1/2010 6:08PM

  this was my mothers favorite scripture.. I read it to her as she lay dying. such a small scipture but the words are so powerful

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FANAMAMA 6/30/2010 11:45PM

    LOVE this scripture. Say it outloud to myself when I'm running around like a chicken with my head cut off, trying to be everything for everybody. Love it, love the blog, and love you friend!

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CARTOONB 6/30/2010 10:06PM

    Great blog. Something to truly ponder...when God makes me slow down too. Cos I'm not likely to do it on my own! emoticon

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CINDYMCD1 6/30/2010 6:58PM

    Oh my gosh this is my fav too! I walked into a beautiful chuch in Mesa AZ one Sunday and a woman with the voice of an angel sang a song with this title and it was the most beautiful song I believe I had heard. It brought me to my knees and to tears!


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TEACHING1ST 6/30/2010 4:06PM

    I just came across this---I love the quote too and can relate to Matthew's 'long list of begetting!' I'm sorry you have to lay around but take quiet time out and know you'll be up and around soon. Glad you're not in too much pain, either. I was also thinking of the "interview with God" site that someone already mentioned!

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DIASTER 6/30/2010 2:56PM

  Oh John I think I have the perfect message for you, you have been my inspiration forever, saved almost all your posts read them over when the food demons strikes. Please check out www.theinterviewwithgod.com it is very special, speeks to the soul and heart, may contain your answer.

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DOLLIE6 6/30/2010 2:43PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticonIt will be better. Be brave.

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RONDAJONES 6/30/2010 1:25PM

    At least God made you rest and "be bored" with a sore jaw...no eating involved! LOL ;) Praying you get well soon. God actually had you pop into my mind during one of my "prayer sessions" yesterday. Must be something good about to happen! :)

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BECCALYNN75 6/30/2010 1:22PM

    HaHaHa - I so could have written this!
LOL But needed to hear it too!

"Between me, you and the gate post that really irks me sometimes. I know it is necessary, but it still irks me."

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TXNANA_4 6/30/2010 11:07AM

    Thanks for such a wonderful blog today! We all need to remember to "Be Still"!

Hope you mend quickly! emoticon

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MARCYNA 6/30/2010 10:24AM

    As far as I'm concerned I have to trust him being broken-hearted...And - just like you, I always hated the series of names on the Scriptures....Hope your recovery is quick!!!!!. Take your time and know that He's with you.
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MINENA1 6/30/2010 10:21AM

    Thank you for sharing this. Sometimes I forget to "be still" & want to try to fix or hurry everything. Great blog! emoticon

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MORTICIAADDAMS 6/30/2010 10:09AM

    I think too many of us use our faith as an attempt to seize control of our lives not wanting to accept the fact that our destiny is not up to us. You can't control God and sometimes His answer to your requests are a flat no. In the long run He knows what is best and you just have to accept it. Sometimes later on you can appreciate the no when things are revealed and sometimes you never know. At any rate we are told to live by faith and be thankful in all things.

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GERIKRAGH 6/30/2010 9:57AM

    Amen! Thank U. I needed this.

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GETFIT2LIVE 6/30/2010 9:03AM

    Sometimes God whispers and we do stop to listen, other times He has to shout a bit to get our attention (or use an impacted tooth). I have often thought about all those people whose stories we don't get to read in scripture but are listed. In the world's eyes, they are nobodies--no book named after them, no movies made about their lives, nothing to remember they were here except that they are 'in the list' for some reason. Yet God knows their names and made sure they were mentioned, however briefly. He knows your name and mine and has written them on His heart; our job is to make sure His is written on our hearts as well by being still when He calls us to it. Thanks for sharing, John; I am sorry about your tooth, but I'm glad you were able to hear Him speak.

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WALKNLOVE 6/30/2010 8:39AM

    Thanks I needed to hear that today. I too, am having a few days of rest & I don't like it. I find myself turning to comfort food because I am bored and can't exercise.HOW MUCH SENSE DOES THAT MAKE? Nothing like trying to sabotage our own efforts?! Just need to relax and spend a little time chiilin with the Father and listening as He speaks. As always, thanks for sharing! I really enjoy checking in!Often times, you write what seems to be going on in my head.No doubt we'd be good friends b/c we see things so much alike. Blessings to you!

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MSSUNBUG 6/30/2010 8:28AM

    I very much needed to hear this today--thanks for sharing so much hope and truly intelligent insight. I'm impressed (and I promise I'm not easy to impress, LOL).

This is very much the perspective I struggle and strive to take: that even though I've done things "right" and been on my bestest, sometimes things don't look as they "should" for good reason--because I'm being called upon to believe in something greater, to see something bigger, to widen the lens and put my gaze somewhere else. And as a definite HUMAN, sometimes it takes things simply not going my way--or at least the way I think they "should" go in order to get me to do that.

You said this: "I think, like all those folks in Matthews Gospel we aren’t supposed to make sense of the whole of creation. We are supposed to have faith, to live good lives and to use every tool God gave us. Sometimes it means letting our engine idle while God directs traffic so we have the best and greatest opportunity to serve Him." Absolutely. Amen.

Thanks again for sharing!




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KPDRMNG 6/30/2010 8:23AM

    Awesome - you have a great writing talent. Love reading your blogs & thank you for sharing!

Hope you heal quickly! emoticon

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The Main Thing........

Monday, June 28, 2010

It took me a few minutes to get it all straight in my head. I’m glad Mass lasts awhile. During the sermon our pastor talked about being on a weeklong youth retreat with one hundred eighth graders. He talked about how they played games and sports and had a lot of fun all day. The evenings he said were reserved for God.
“The main thing,” he said. “Is to remember that the main thing is the main thing.” It’s really okay if you stop reading and take a few minutes to figure this out. I know it took me a few. Don’t worry, this is not going to be a continuation of his sermon, LOL, I’m not that eloquent.

I thought about it and after a bit I thought how it applied to what we are about here at Spark. I can only speak for me, but my purpose in being here is to be healthier tomorrow than I am today. In order to do that I need the support of everyone who is willing to give it to me. Being healthier means I have a lot of choices I can make when it comes to what food goes in my mouth, the exercise I do and the teams and people here I associate with.

Last week while I was out doing my C25K training I jogged past a church that had a sign out front; on the sign was a saying that caught my eye:

“It wasn’t the apple on the tree that caused the problem; it was the pair beneath the tree.”

Choices, LOL, from the beginning of time it has always been about choices. I can’t say I’ve always made the best choices in my life. I was morbidly obese at one point in time. I am slowly cycling through obese on my way to simply being overweight. That’s a choice I made.

I show up here every day on a regular basis and if I do nothing else I chart my food and exercise. At the end of some days I smile and at the end of other days I frown. The main thing is I am here. It’s my choice. I am challenged by many of you to grow in ways I never would have thought about even six months ago. It has opened a whole new world for me.

A healthier me is going to be a me who will be able to do everything he wants to and more importantly everything he is supposed to do. Being worth it and deserving it come with a price. It means that since I know what is expected of me, and how I should live, I have an obligation to pass that on to other people. Some days that can be a difficult choice. Some days I don’t feel all “Sparkified.” Some days I feel like sitting in a corner and being smug and content. Some weeks if I gain weight I want to be left alone because it is so much easier to ignore the choices I made during the week. Or Maybe I was too tired to hit the gym one day. I don’t always want to be reminded of that. I’d rather sit here and let you think I am the guy who always makes the right choices. I always don’t.

The good news is that since I have been here I see the meter trending more and more towards making those right choices on a regular basis. It is easy to forget what the main thing is all about. It’s about you being everything you were meant to be and that comes by choosing wisely.

The main thing has nothing to do with being perfect or being better than anyone else. It means knowing that when you have those glorious days when everything comes together for you that one day you will be able to share that vision with someone who, no matter how hard they are trying, just can’t seem to make any progress. It means you will encourage and cajole and maybe sometimes even challenge someone else to be healthy.

“The main thing to remember is that main thing is the main thing.” If I don’t, if I make all the wrong choices for me, and I never get the opportunity to go from disciple, one who learns, to apostle, one who teaches. The main thing is my health and my gratefulness to God for allowing me to find that health.

I am worth it, I do deserve it but really seeing and believing it in my life comes down to the choices I make. That’s the main thing.

I made a choice to be your friend and you made a choice to be mine.

That’s a pretty good start don’t you think?

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MARCYNA 6/29/2010 3:53AM

    Wow...if you met those kids, what would you tell them????? There's a GREAT motivator in you and I think you could give a message to younger people emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 6/29/2010 3:59:33 AM

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ANNE-ELIZ 6/28/2010 11:25PM

    Yes, we did and yes, it is! emoticon

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MORTICIAADDAMS 6/28/2010 10:15PM

    It's easy to lose focus and we all need to remind ourselves why we are here on the most basic level.

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DOLLBABE56 6/28/2010 9:46PM

    Sometimes it is hard to remember that there really is a main thing in our lives. Sometimes we all need reminding what that main thing is.

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JPRICE217 6/28/2010 7:31PM

    Just trying to keep the main thing the main thing, and it seems to be different all the times. Great blog great friend

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JURI62 6/28/2010 6:59PM

    That's an awesome start! Thanks for the great blog.

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STORMTMB 6/28/2010 3:21PM

    You have a pretty smart Pastor - or quite possibly, you're tuned in to what God says to you (and him)! You make that happen by going to church regularly. You have the first main thing already taken care of!!

Now you're doing the next main thing. Thanks for sharing all of these wonderful insights with us. It's good stuff, dude! Have a great day!

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Comment edited on: 6/28/2010 3:33:37 PM

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HDHAWK 6/28/2010 3:06PM

    Wonderful blog and wonderful friends here for sure!

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NEEDTOLOSE100LB 6/28/2010 2:21PM

    In my book, you are very eloquent. And, it is obvious that you are very kind and generous...qualities that make a good disciple and a wonderful apostle. Keep up the good work and continue to enjoy the journey you are on, even when you occasionally veer off track.

Laurie

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KSGROTHE 6/28/2010 2:03PM

    You know, I'm really glad I found your blog to read, that I made the choice to click the link in the "Best Blogs" DailySpark blog that day to discover who you are and what you write. Your blogs really make me think!

Choices really are the Main Thing, and I need to choose to remember that! I have not been making good food choices lately (well really, for a while now), and it makes me feel bad (guilty, mostly). I am still coming back to SP almost every day, tracking my food and exercising most days. But tracking isn't enough to make up for not making good food choices.

Keep up the good work!

- Karen

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KLEONIKI 6/28/2010 11:45AM

    yes, it is!

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ALLISON145 6/28/2010 11:31AM

    You're already an apostle to me, John! Thank you for your blogs - sometimes they make me smile, sometimes they make me emotional, but they always make me think.

Love,
-Allison

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JAE_HENNINGTON 6/28/2010 11:29AM

  The main thing is...I am very blessed you have you as a friend at Sparks.. what a wonderful blessing to have in my corner..

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JUDIL62 6/28/2010 11:13AM

    Excellent!

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SUZANDALE 6/28/2010 11:09AM

    Very well said! And a good reminder of what is important!! Thanks John!

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MSSUNBUG 6/28/2010 10:17AM

    Fabulous blog, thanks for sharing.

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PRETTYBLKGYRL 6/28/2010 10:13AM

    "the main thing is the main thing" - I love it NUFF SAID!!!!



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ROCKINFOX 6/28/2010 10:02AM

    I loved this blog!! It's all about making the right choices and learning from our choices each day. emoticon

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MAWRTIAN 6/28/2010 9:42AM

    My new mantra "The main thing is the main thing"!!!! Thanks John!

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GETFIT2LIVE 6/28/2010 9:40AM

    Funny, that sounds an awful lot like something my favorite pastor (who is now enjoying his reward with Jesus) said. So easy to lose sight of the main thing in the press of life. It really does come down to choices. I remember he told the story of counseling a man who had recently come to the Lord who was struggling. He had a habit of going to the bar and always ending up drunk, and he wanted to know what to do. The pastor's advice: don't go there any more! Thanks,John!

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WALKNLOVE 6/28/2010 9:32AM

    It's kinda like keep our eyes focused on the prize! You are so right! Choices brought us here, and good choices keep us here...for ourselves, each other and for you and I, THE ONE who called us!

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BARBARAROCKSIT 6/28/2010 9:22AM

    emoticon

well done John

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TRACYDUKA 6/28/2010 8:52AM

    Have you ever noticed that disciple and discipline are very closely related? I think that in order to be a good disciple, you must LEARN a lot of discipline. And when you get that down then you can be the teacher. That all comes with learning the right choices and exercising those choices instead of the alternative. You've given me lots to chew on, because I tend to have a hard time keeping my eye on the main thing because of all the shiny side things keep distracting me. :) I really like this blog. :) I love it when I'm forced to think about something. And that makes me evaluate things in my life and instigates change. :) You challenge me, and I need that. Thank you. :) And the best part is, you are just being you. :)

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SPARKLE1908 6/28/2010 8:51AM

    Excellent blog and a great point..it IS all about choices!!!!

Keep up the great job you have been doing....

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KOPSBABY 6/28/2010 8:51AM

    I try to remember, and sometimes I don't, that we have the choice each morning when we wake up to either be in a good mood or bad. It's the same with food, exercise and everything else in our lives. You make wonderful points and I will try to remember these too.

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MINENA1 6/28/2010 8:44AM

    emoticon I love that!!

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MUSTANG_SALLY2 6/28/2010 8:43AM

    I've often wondered why some of the teachings I received as a child did not include a workshop on choices. It took me a very long time to figure out that choices were responsible for the path that I was on. Some days it's hard to make the right choice, no matter how much you want to reach a goal. I think that takes discipline and that's what I'm focused on this month. Great blog!

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CATHERINEL66 6/28/2010 8:22AM

    Right on target with the main thing ... keep making those better choices! We're getting better all the time (and skinnier!).

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