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The Wisdom of A Child

Thursday, July 08, 2010

One thing I look forward to when my granddaughter comes to visit is the walks she and I take. Yesterday morning we talked a bit about her starting school next month. She’s worried kids won’t like her because she has red hair. I told her red hair is better than no hair and she giggled, squeezed my hand and we walked on. As we came close to finishing up I asked her if she’d like to play on the playground in the church parking lot across from our house. She looked at me and said we needed to get “all dolled up” if we were going to church. I told her we were just going on the playground to play and in all honesty I don’t think it mattered to God what we were wearing.

She stopped and looked up at me.

“Daddy says there is no God.”

“What do you think?” I asked her.

“I’m not sure.” She said. “Do you believe in God?”

“Yup” I answered

It’s hard to appreciate being five. There is a bit more pressure there than you realize. Dad and mom know everything. Their word is gospel. Both sets of grandparents believe in God. So here you are, this wonderful child and you don’t know what to believe or whom.

As we started to cross the street she tugged on my arm a bit.

“The next time you go see Him, can I come along? After I see Him then I can tell daddy He is real.”

Now I have my head cocked sky ward and I am looking for a real definite bit of divine intervention here. A few angels, maybe a saint or two, something!!!! We cross the street and she swings for a while and starts talking about baking cookies and going swimming. Stuff like that.

We head for home and as we turn into the drive way she looks at me again. “When you talk to God next time, would you ask Him to let me know that He’s there?”
“I can do that,” I say with my voice cracking a bit.

She smiles and says “Good!! “ She runs ahead of me into the back yard.

I am left to ponder what just happened and my mind is blank. I have had many profound moments in my life but none more so than this one. Leave it a five year old to take thousands of years of spiritual history, Biblical studies and Divine inspiration and neatly condense into a simple request. I murmur a quick prayer for Him to watch over her and guide her, knowing it’s already been answered.

I stood looking at nothing and was overwhelmed with how blessed I was to have this moment.

“Just have Him let me know He’s there.”

Yeah, Ava, me to. Me to.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WALKNLOVE 7/11/2010 8:40AM

    Wow! I cried when I read this. Ya know, everybody has to find God in their own way....it has to be a personal relationship....not a Mommy aid it and I bought it thing.I thank God this little girl has Christian grandparents who can not only guide her, but pray for her also.There is one good thing, if she is seeking him, she will find him!!!!! I used to teach 4 yr old k, I remember teaching about faith, or trying to put it in a way they could understand....because our belief in God is all based on faith....well, simply put I would go to sit in my chair & stop."Kids, I don't know if my chair is going to hold me.What if it breaks,how do I know it will hold me and I won't fall?" John, I know you can fill in the rest.Sounds like your little one is ready for a lesson on faith & I know you are just the man to give it! Big Hug! You are such a blessing and this little girl is sooooo blessed to have you for a grandpa!I will be praying for you, her, and her parents.

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BELLAMIMI1 7/9/2010 3:28PM

    Nice! That is a precious grandbaby ya got there!

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KLEONIKI 7/9/2010 10:39AM

    Children dare to ask questions, accept them go unanswered, propose simple solutions to unsolved knods we adults have manufactured and not set a tear...
It is us reading their stories and imagining those chldren that have our eyes full of tears...
Mostly because we have lost all this graceful simple innocence...
For me, too, those moment with little children are the most precious my most , valuable treasure ,the moments i enjoyed more..
You are a blessed grandfather..
And by the way stop mentionning those lacking hairs of yours every now and then ;YOU ARE HANDSOME as you are..be grateful!!
Hugs
K.

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LAWRALOO 7/9/2010 9:54AM

    John, that was touching.
So often my kids say things that leave my mind blank. I often wonder after these conversations if I'm really cut out for this parenting thing.
My husband and I are not...hm...traditionally religious? That's PC, right? lol
He studies Buddhism, and I claim to be agnostic. I do believe in a god, but I don't chose to be a part of any one religion or church for my own crazy reasons. This brings up some very interesting conversations in our household with our kids. We have friends and family members from different religions and we encourage our kids to learn as much as they can about all of them....but I would never tell them there isn't a god.

Do me a favor John...when you talk to god next, ask him to let me know he's out there too, okay? :)

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SANDYK4BAMA 7/9/2010 9:36AM

    Wow, that gave me chills AND made me cry, and believe me, I'm no crier!!! This redhead grew-up when being a redhead was NOT cool, and got called everything a redhead can be called, but I think it made me tough. You are so blessed to have this wonderful child, but I"m not telling you anything you don't know. My youngest is six, and I'm in so much awe of her. My oldest is 11, and she is really really growing up so fast. My deepest wish for them both is to walk the path that God has made for them and to love and honor him with all their hearts. My 11-year-old is getting baptized in 2 1/2 weeks, and we're so pround of that. Sometimes I look at the two of them, and I think, Wow God, You sure did an EX-cellent job in making those two, and it humbles me so much that He would entrust such wonderful beings of His to me and my husband. He must think a lot of me! I pray that I can live up to the task and help Him guide them right back to His arms.

Thanks for sharing your wonderful grandchild with us, John. I can tell you and she are some of His favorites too! Actually, I think we all are! Isn't that good to know?!!
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MANLEYSANDY 7/8/2010 7:30PM

    WOW!! Thank you for sharing that story...

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KT-NICHOLS-13 7/8/2010 6:18PM

    I've read this blog 3 times today and each time I get teary eyed. Thanks for sharing. Your granddaughter has a beautiful soul that's been touched by God and Angels.
Much love!

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ALLISON145 7/8/2010 6:06PM

    Beautiful! emoticon

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WORKINGSTIFF 7/8/2010 4:24PM

    Your granddaughter has God through you.

Both of you are so blessed to have each other.

Helen



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MORTICIAADDAMS 7/8/2010 12:20PM

    Your granddaughter and I have a lot in common. My grandparents on both sides were devout Christians. Maternal - Baptists. Paternal - Apostolic. My mom was a believer as well. My dad - an atheist. I went to church and loved it. I was saved and baptized when I was 8 years old. At some point cruel people, who thought they were on God's team, felt the need to tell me that my father was going to Hell. I read on my own and it appeared that they were right so it was very disturbing to me. It was disturbing to other people too like some adults who were wary of having their child play with the child of an atheist. Thank goodness that the people who mattered most didn't discriminate against a child for something she could not control. At some point I learned to separate God from people who thought they were God so it helped me to deal with it. And in 1996 when I thought that things were set in stone my father converted to Catholicism. So miracles really do happen. But I will always know that there are Christians and there are Christians. The church is full of people who desperately need to be there and get nothing out of it. I hope you will remember this information in case your grand daughter may have some harder questions later on. The answers will come to you and her through prayer.

Comment edited on: 7/8/2010 12:22:48 PM

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1NEWPAM 7/8/2010 12:02PM

    Beautiful Child!!!!!!!!!!!!

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DOCYJK 7/8/2010 11:32AM

    What a profound and wonderful story on so many levels!!! You're lucky to have this level of innocence in your life to remind you about what's important! Thanks for reminding us too!!! Hugs - Yvonne

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TXNANA_4 7/8/2010 11:07AM

    Thanks for sharing. It brought tears to my eyes. I will pray that she will feel God's love!

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BECCALYNN75 7/8/2010 11:05AM

    John, I don't have the words, but that was so touching. What an incredible blessing, a gift straight from our Lord.

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SMOCKON 7/8/2010 10:51AM

    Nothing like a child's view to get you thinking! Thank you for this story.

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CLOTHEDINLOVE 7/8/2010 10:31AM

    That is precious and so.... mind boggling. I am glad you had that moment to see Him through her eyes, and glad that she has you in her life. :)

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TIME4AFITME 7/8/2010 10:29AM

    That is beautiful thank you for sharing.

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BRYLIA 7/8/2010 10:25AM

    What a special moment..you are blessed as are we when you share your thoughts with us! Thanks for the smile!

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EDWINA172 7/8/2010 10:19AM

    Beautiful. Brought tears to my eyes. Makes me want to be five again.
Also, could you let her know that grown women PAY to have their hair colored red?
God bless the both of you.

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GETFIT2LIVE 7/8/2010 10:10AM

    Okay, I'm starting the day with tears in my eyes; how precious and sacred a moment you had with her. I pray that I will be able to have a similar conversation with my grandson when he is that age (he's only one now, a bit early). God is faithful to answer that kind of prayer, you can be sure of that; just keep being you when you're with her and be available to answer her questions as they come. Blessings to you, my friend.

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RIMAJO 7/8/2010 10:01AM

    You've just started my day on a very beautiful note by sharing this lovely story. Thank-you .. I hope you both get your wish soon.

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GERIKRAGH 7/8/2010 9:57AM

    Out of the mouths of babes! Let the children lead. Amen!

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STORMTMB 7/8/2010 9:54AM

    She will continue to watch you (as she already does) and she will see your faith. Just be sure to verbalize to her when you're thinking about God or how you know that HE is there for you. Someone else said to pray with her. Even if she sees you do it, that will have an impact. Be sure to tell her when God answered your prayers and how you know that He's there with you.

I don't know that my parents ever did that. God was in "King James version" according to my parents. Dad still prays with the Thy's and Thou's. I never saw a personal relationship. They never talked about Him as a friend, only as Diety. Make God real to her through your relationship with Him.

You're having an impact. Who knows, she may show her daddy that God exists.

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JAE_HENNINGTON 7/8/2010 9:42AM

  beautiful moment.. I remember when I was first saved, I was wanting to share God with others and what he had done for me. I prayed asking God to lead me to someone to needed hear the good news that day. I didn't think of the prayer anymore after I went about my day. Later a child I knew came to me and ask me this very question you grandaughter asked, How do I know God is real. I was able to tell her of Gods love and she accepted Jesus into her heart. Sometimes we look for the miracalous in the big things forgetting that God moves through those simple moments of our life.

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MINENA1 7/8/2010 9:37AM

    What a beautiful story! Excuse me while I wipe my tears away. That was really touching. Thank you so much for sharing this.
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MSSUNBUG 7/8/2010 9:22AM

    Gorgeous! What an experience. If only there were a way to explain to her that her simple beauty and sweetness is the very proof she's looking for.

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MOMMYBYCHOICE 7/8/2010 9:05AM

    what a great story.

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LUCKYMKAY 7/8/2010 9:04AM

    There really are angels among us

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CAHUNO2 7/8/2010 9:03AM

    A wonderful way to start the day! Thanks John emoticon

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JERRI82 7/8/2010 8:44AM

    that touches my heart!
aren't children precious?... a gift from God!
thank you for sharing.

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MKPRINCESS007 7/8/2010 8:36AM

    What a beautiful story............I am crying like a baby. Seriously. It is wonderful that you had that moment with her........the blessing of grandparents to children is such a wonder joy. Thanks for showing her the way...........

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RITAROSE 7/8/2010 8:31AM

  I loved your post John! I am a new grandparent (2 yrs--3 grandchildren) and look forward to having a positive impact in our grandchildren's lives. It's a tough thing that her parents don't believe in the Lord!

A grandparent has an opportunity to make a difference in our children's children's lives but it's a touchy thing (or I should say, can be) because the parents are in charge. Maybe that's not an issue for you with your son. I pray that you will have the opportunity to introduce this dear girl to the Lord through prayer and Bible stories. I wonder if you could take her to VBS this summer? I am praying right now. May the Lord use you for HIS glory!

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FANAMAMA 7/8/2010 8:06AM

    Pray WITH her John! Talk with God with her right there, and give her the opportunity to talk to God herself. It could be the start of a beautiful relationship! Let her know that God is always there, waiting to talk with her, and she can talk to God whenever and wherever she wants!

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GRAMMAELLEN 7/8/2010 7:57AM

    OK When I stop crying I'll say Thanks! What a wonderful story. Thanks to all 3 of you. Especially the Big Guy. He does work in mysterious ways. Have a great day... You've just made mine so much better! Ellen

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JPRICE217 7/8/2010 7:55AM

    God will show her he is real. I pray he will also show her dad he is real and her dad will except it. You are blessed to have this chance with your granddaughter. emoticon

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DOLLBABE56 7/8/2010 7:29AM

    If only we could hold on to the innocence we had as a child. I look forward to having grandchildren someday. Seeing life through a child's eyes is certainly wisdom we should cherish.

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FROGGERHKC 7/8/2010 7:23AM

    Wow, great post! I agree with the children's book of Bible Stories. Children have such a way with words!

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HDHAWK 7/8/2010 7:20AM

    What an experience John with memories you'll never forget.

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WANDAH3 7/8/2010 7:18AM

    The wonder of looking through a child's eyes at life! What a wonderful relationship you have with your grandddaughter. She is such a blessing!

Have an awesome day, and thank you for sharing such a beautiful moment with us.

Hugs,Wanda

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PRINCESSNURSE 7/8/2010 7:16AM

    It is amazing how children can express complicated topics in a very simple way. They can teach us a lot.

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_COSMOPAULATAN_ 7/8/2010 7:09AM

    God works in mysterious ways.

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BROWNIEISLANDER 7/8/2010 7:04AM

    Great post...The innocense of a child...Why don't you gift her with a..kid's book of Bible Stories..."Dad can read as well"
Stay strong and Spark with Success emoticon emoticon

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MARCYNA 7/8/2010 6:53AM

    I think all persons we meet have the same desire - that she expressed so beautifully - to get to know He's there.
Are we letting them know or are we just passing by? emoticon

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PALEAN 7/8/2010 6:53AM

    Beautiful experience for you! I am touched and you are so right about the wisdom of children! God Bless you both!

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Uhm, We're Not In High School, Are We?

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

I received A Spark Mail from a friend today wondering why they were not "featured" as a friend on my Spark Page. After going "huh?" a few times I found out that you can actually rank your Spark Friends to put the people you contact most right out there for the whole world to see.

My first reaction was to laugh. Then I got sad. It's sort of like getting to sit with the cool kids at lunch, being picked first for the recess kick ball team, getting a raft of Valentines, stuff like that. That stuff never happened to me. The only Valentines I got was from my mom. (Yeah I was a major dork.)

My Spark Friends are listed in the order they became Spark Friends. If you are a Spark Friend of mine then I love all of you equally. If you are not a Spark Friend, dont worry I love you also. That means you are included in my morning and evening prayers and I talk to my family and friends about you in first person, present tense.

I am not going to rank you. That would force me to choose, honestly I cant. I think you are all one very wonderful group of people. Some of you communicate with me more than others but I think that's because we share common interests, like being crazy, LOL.

At the same time I am not throwing stones at anyone who does rank their friends. I wrote this because I am getting these odd Spark Mails and I know what it is like to feel left out and I dont want anyone to feel left out.

I love you all.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SANDYK4BAMA 7/9/2010 9:28AM

    We love you too, John! You "Da Best!!" And remember, I PICKED you!!! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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CRBSMITH1968 7/8/2010 9:12PM

    I didn't know you could move people around on your page but I don't know that I would either

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RWETHAIRYET 7/8/2010 8:19PM

    Hmmm, I move them around periodically...though I never really thought of it as ranking, more that those are the folks I'm talking to most at any given time. As people come and go...and then come and go again...I just keep sorting them around, haha,
And of course, I love them all!!!

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EPIPHANYANGEL 7/8/2010 2:46PM

    You said it.

Didn't realise we could rank friends. emoticon, how do you do that....only joking.

Personally I don't see the point, we are all on this journey together, how can anyone be higher or lower than anyone else. emoticon

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TXNANA_4 7/8/2010 11:03AM

    Well said!

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CAHUNO2 7/8/2010 9:34AM

    Drifts of High School never leave. I run into it all the time. Our local Car Club just broke in two - shades of High School. I'm with you John - I don't "rank" my friends! emoticon

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HEALTHYASHLEY 7/8/2010 8:10AM

    You are awesome. So well put. I didn't even know I could rank my spark friends but I will never do it.

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SPARKLE1908 7/8/2010 8:09AM

    Lol...love this blog!!!!

For some it may be a "social media" but for the rest of us, it's not that serious to spend time doing a ranking!!!!

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HAPPYNSMILING 7/8/2010 7:57AM

    That's funny...I never even thought about the order of your friends like that. I may re-order my friends, but it's just to put ones that haven't been on SparkPeople for awhile towards the bottom and keep the active ones towards the top.
I couldn't agree with you more about the friends here on SparkPeople...they are wonderful.
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WIGIME 7/8/2010 7:27AM

    Well said John.

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NURSEKELLY09 7/8/2010 2:27AM

    Wow, I did not know that you are able to rank your friends, and I totally agree with you that it is not a good way to do things, everyone of my spark friends are special in their own way and leaving them in order of when I became their friend is a part of my journey....

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LIZZIE13 7/8/2010 12:55AM

    ome people just do not know when to grow up!!! Oh BTW am I one of our top 6 lol

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TCICHOWSKI 7/8/2010 12:41AM

    Well said! emoticon

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TRACYZABELLE 7/8/2010 12:22AM

    Oh gee-- some people are so touchy, lol! I think my newest friends are first on my page, lol

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MONTANA_ED 7/8/2010 12:16AM

    LOL - I totally agree with you. SP is NOT a place to live the "junior high" type of thinking. We are ALL here for the same reason. There is no "good" or "bad". It's all the same. That is what is best about SP. We are all together about the same thing.

You are a great guy - and thanks for all that you share with the rest of us. Ratings are for the network TV stations. WE are in this fight together. Keep on doing what you do the best - being you...

Onwards...

Ed

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CARTOONB 7/8/2010 12:04AM

    So, does this mean that you're not moving me to the top of your page? LOL! I can live with that. Good luck getting out of "trouble" with some of your friends. emoticon

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DUTCHIEKIWI 7/8/2010 12:04AM

    En ik maar denken dat ik speciaal was.... ;0)

okee okee, nou heb je eigenlijk geen keus meer....

Ik hou nog steeds van je hoor!

Dutchie

;0)

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CHERIRIDDELL 7/7/2010 11:31PM

    Like you I think I must have featured in the seven deadly sins of high school LOL! The youngest in the class with the highest mark pretty much ensured you were not in the cool kids group LOL! I played the clarinet and took theatre arts need I say more ? Since I also was very good at art and still draw and paint I'll draw you a Valentine for the most enjoyable blogs !Even after a week of vacation I had to come back and read yours ! I will eventually get caught up on all I missed LOL!

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TINKERBELL200 7/7/2010 10:12PM

    OMG!! I see I'm not on your front page either??? Just kidding! Does it really matter whose on the front page? I put all my Tink friends on my front page for a decorative thing! That doesn't mean I love them more! We just share a common fictional character! LOL!
An old friend of mine gave me this quote, "If I can offend you, I will." You can't please everyone all the time! No worries! Just keep on being John, coz I think you are awesome. And I totally agree about the High School stuff!
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Lynne

Comment edited on: 7/7/2010 10:16:00 PM

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ALLISON145 7/7/2010 10:08PM

    It is silly, really. You can only display 6 on your page, and I did reorder mine a few weeks ago when I found out I could by accident... Only to be convenient for myself. LOL. I made sure to put my family and real life friends at the top as well as people who are particularly supportive of me so I would remember to click on them and encourage them often so they keep supporting me too! However, I definitely keep an eye on the rest of my active friends too, as they appear on my friend feed and I get emails when they blog.

FYI, you are in my top 6 on purpose. I love your blogs!

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-Allison

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STEELKICKIN 7/7/2010 9:43PM

    Aw, that's really great that you would broach that subject...I'm glad someone finally got it out in the open. You're right. "RATING" friends seems so yesterday. I was glad to get out of high school...I certainly don't want to feel like I'm standing in the line waiting to be picked again.

God bless...
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GEEMAWEST 7/7/2010 9:38PM

    I've been meaning to talk to you about that, John. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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BIGLITTLEWOMAN 7/7/2010 7:58PM

    Touche. These are sweet thoughts but they come from lessons of sadness. Here's lookin' at you John emoticon Here is a Valentine for you and there's more where that came from.

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HDHAWK 7/7/2010 7:42PM

    Oh my! I didn't even know you could order your friends. I suppose it may make things easier, but other than that, what's the point!

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TERESAAVIL 7/7/2010 7:39PM

  Rating friends sounds silly. We'd miss out on an opportunity to be kind. That's why the good Lord put us all here to be a friend to one another. Sometimes it's just plain uncomfortable when we see how some people are missing out and how they seem to be suffering needlessly. In the end we are all called to love one another. I think I said enough already! This can give you a lot to think about. Thanks for your sharing. Thanks for caring.

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MORTICIAADDAMS 7/7/2010 7:38PM

    Liar - lol. Some of us will always be in high school unfortunately. We were mortally wounded there. Not me, of course. I'm okay, you're okay.

Consider this your second valentine. emoticon

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STORMTMB 7/7/2010 7:34PM

    I speculated that you left people in the order they became your friend. So, in a sense, us long-term people are really the best (ha, ha - now I'm gonna start something!!)!

Facebook has the same drama... high school habits die hard, cool dude!

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CINDYMCD1 7/7/2010 7:17PM

    I found out by accident several weeks ago that you could change the order of your friends, but thought ...why? It's all I can do to get on here and do what I have to do, let alone rank my spark friends! No thank you!

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TRACYDUKA 7/7/2010 7:17PM

    I had no idea you could do that. There are still lots of things on here that I didn't know about. I don't really see the point in it actually. I guess I'd put my family first if they were on here, but they're not. After that all the friends are the same. None better than others.

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JURI62 7/7/2010 7:06PM

    Interesting!!!I'll still read your blogs and think kindly of you even if you "unfriend"me!!! I think someone needs a self- esteem boost!
Hugs and Blessings, Judy

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MKPRINCESS007 7/7/2010 7:05PM

    Hey there..........I don't know you, but I think your blog is awesome! I do struggle with that whole "top 6" friends thing...and worry that the good SP friends that I love just as much that aren't in the "top 6" might feel slighted. Geez. It does feel like high school. I personally don't understand some of the Most Popular blog posts that I read.........I mean they aren't "better" than many that I have read which have few replies. I know there are "friend collectors" too, that have so many friends that they don't get to know anyone personally. I pick and chose who I friend, because I want to be a REAL friend. Thanks for letting me vent that..........I needed to get that off my chest! Thanks for a great blog!

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GOLFCHICK2-0 7/7/2010 6:52PM

    Wow... I just... that's... okay, there are no words. Wait... I have one "flabbergasted"! I believe that is how I feel after that one.

You have my permission to put me at 173rd... why... cuz' it's makes just as much sense as being one of the first 6!

I think I need a nap now... emoticon emoticon emoticon

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WISEONE68 7/7/2010 6:48PM

    I agree--it would be like "Sophie's Choice" to have to RANK my SparkFriends...they are all equally important to me--but, for different reasons.

I was sharing about one of my DEAR SparkFriends journey the other day and the person asked me "where did you meet her? (okay, we know it's a gal friend!!)" -- I matter-of-factly said, "online". The person then asked if we had met "in person." I told them that would be hard since she was "across the pond"...but, I followed up by saying "It doesn't matter--when you share your journey, struggles, triumphs, tears, fears, and laughter---it can be online or in person--it is a FRIENDSHIP. No ifs, ands, or buts...

I love my SparkFriends, too, John and I am so glad you are ONE of them!!!!!!!!!!!! emoticon

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MSSUNBUG 7/7/2010 6:47PM

    Well said. I applaude your honesty! We are not, in fact, in high school anymore. But for some, old insecurities die hard.

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SHAKENMA 7/7/2010 6:43PM

    Gosh...didn't know you could rank your friends and I agree with you...why do that? Yikes!

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DOLLBABE56 7/7/2010 6:16PM

    Crazy? Who you callin' crazy? emoticon

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BERNABEI203 7/7/2010 6:02PM

    Good for you! I think Im worse! lol I have no friends haha. I just get on and track my weight and comment to people thats about it. Is that bad? hee hee

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JAE_HENNINGTON 7/7/2010 5:59PM

  as I told you before I am so blessed to be your friend. No matter where I am placed on your page. I to sometimes feel I am back in school. Waiting at a school dance to be asked to dance. It bothered me at first now. I am just me. If I never write a most popular blog, never chosen as a motivator. That's ok.. I now write for me and if it speaks to someone else..That's a good thing, if not that's ok too.

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GETFIT2LIVE 7/7/2010 5:57PM

    Oh my . . . that is sad, I'm afraid. I'm sorry, but I don't 'rank' my friends either. They're there in the order they became friends, and they are all important to me as well. You're on my list; whether I show up on your list or not doesn't really matter, because I KNOW you are my friend. Did you ever think you'd be the 'cool kid' everyone wanted to be seen with? Yep, you are!

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TEACHING1ST 7/7/2010 5:56PM

    John, I learn so much from you---my Spark Friends just show up however they are added to my list, just like yours! I didn't know we could 'do' or 'rank' them, and I'm glad of it, lol! Remember the old Smothers Brothers "Mom always liked you best" skit? Don't worry, everyone loves YOU!

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IMJUSTDUCKIE 7/7/2010 5:53PM

    It's said as we age, we revert back to childhood.... That's just my 2cents :p

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MINENA1 7/7/2010 5:50PM

    We love you back John!

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LANSELMI 7/7/2010 5:48PM

    We love you too emoticon

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What Spark People Means To Me Part Two

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

My phone rang yesterday afternoon and the voice on the other end was one I dreaded hearing. Everyone has a person like that in their lives. They are the person whom nothing ever seems to go right for. The whole world is blanketed in clouds and nothing seems to ever work out, ever!!!

I sit and listen and I roll my eyes a few times because past experience has taught me that a lot of what he is saying to me is an exaggeration of the truth. Things might be bad but he will make them worse because he is competition with the rest of us to be the most miserable person in the world.

He has spent his entire life pushing people away from him. He hid himself in his work and missed thirty years of the life that occurred outside of his job. His wife, an energetic woman has more active interests than I have active thoughts. She developed them to keep her sanity while raising two kids alone. His son and daughter tolerate him. He doesn’t understand why and his grandchildren only want to be around him only when they have to be. He is retiring in six months and doesn’t know what he is going to do.

So I sit and I listen and when he is done moaning and complaining I tell him I’ll talk to him later on. He asks me if he could call me tonight to let me know how things are going. I tell him sure. Why not? Whether I agree to or not he will call and I will listen.

I hang up the phone and go back to work. My whole train of thought went out the window when he called and I am getting angry. Deep inside of me I can feel “that little voice,” starting to grow louder and louder. Call it what you will, conscience, guardian angel, inner self……….. I don’t like to hear it. It asks me a question. “What if you are all he has, John?”

“Baloney!!! He has his wife and kids and people he works with.”

“What if you’re the only one who listens, John?”

Did I mention I hate this inner voice sometimes?

I try to drown it out with music and preoccupation with why my pool pump keeps kicking out but it won’t go away. I had been down this road before so I throw my pen on my desk, sit back and close my eyes. What I don’t want to face is that in many respects I AM all he has. He is lonely, he is confused and mostly he is scared.
Truth be known? I don’t want to be all he has and it’s not because I wish more for him. It’s because I want to put on my two hundred dollar running shoes and my Spark tee shirt and be a cool kid and go running. I want to take care of me. I want to be accepted by everyone and eat at the popular lunch table and not have to sit with the kids who smell like sour milk.

Sigh.

I don’t ever let those thoughts leave my mind and enter my mouth. Mostly they ruminate there and that darling inner voice reminds me of ‘fill in the blank.” You have probably been “fill in the blank,” to me at some point in the past seven months. You have encouraged me and you have kidded me and you have been stern with me and at times you rolled your eyes when you were “talking” with me. But you always listened patiently and you probably said a small prayer that I would “get it” one of these days and then you could worry about yourself. But you never pushed me away.

I am a very visual person and when I ponder a visual definition of Spark People I see these two open arms, sort of like your grandma, waiting to take you in and support you.

I have learned balance. I have learned that if you want help you have to help. I learned that here.

I have learned that if you want help you have to grow some courage and ask for it. . I learned that here.

When he called last night I sat and listened. When he finished I told him that tomorrow would be better if he wanted it to be. I reminded him how much he was worth it, how much he deserved to be happy and how one day it would all fall into place.

When I finished, he thanked me for listening, just like I am thanking you for the times you listened and will continue to listen to me, praying all the while, that someday I “get it.”

I learned that here, from my friends.

If there was no Spark People, John would be much poorer for it.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SWEETNEENI 7/9/2010 3:58PM

    Dang. That man sounds just like my father who, I am sad to say, will never get it. I have been getting more and more bitter toward him and your little voice saying, "What if you are all he has?" really hit home hard. I know we are all my father has and I appreciate you drawing my attention to it.

It happens a lot to me on here, people saying exactly what I need to hear, and that's what Spark People means to me.

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CMBELISLE 7/8/2010 12:33PM

    I have someone similar in my life with the big difference being that I call this person almost weekly. Out of all the people in his life, I am the one he talks to. He even knows what he is doing and has told me how much he appreciates me listening and trying to help when I can. I can't change him or make everything all better, but I can pray for him and listen when we talk.

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LOOKY-LOU 7/8/2010 11:12AM

    I going to add you as a freind today. I am so enjoying reading your blogs! Loved this one, I alternate between trying to cut these negative people out of my life, and wanting to fix them, maybe just listening is all I have to do!

Thanks for the food for thought! emoticon

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TOOKES519 7/8/2010 9:18AM

    I truly believe that we all have done this at one point or another in our lives, but I had never thought of it the way you put it into words. Thank you for opening my eyes to this.

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Kristi

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KSGROTHE 7/7/2010 7:22PM

    Good job being a good friend even though you really didn't want to deal with the negativity! And it's wonderful that you can trace your thinking to your interactions on SP!

This is an especially poignant post for me because I have the "drama queen" sister who always has something either really bad (most of the time) or really exciting (not as often) happening in her life to overshadow whatever I'm trying to share with her about mine. I definitely roll my eyes at her (when we talk on the phone or chat on the computer) and think that she brings so much of the drama on herself. Maybe the next time that happens, I'll be able to remember this post and tell her that tomorrow would be better if she wanted it to be and that she deserves to be happy.

Keep up the good work! You're doing great!

- Karen

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MSSUNBUG 7/7/2010 6:54PM

    Sometimes it's hard to break out of ourselves and listen to someone who is struggling, especially if we've found the way out of the struggle and into a positive place. I relate to that entirely. But I agree too that sometimes we need to keep in mind that we may just be the only safe space someone else has. I needed that reminder today and am grateful to have read this!

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MORTICIAADDAMS 7/7/2010 6:00PM

    You do get it, John.

But what are we going to do about your Mr. Woe-Is-Me?" What a downer.

It's great that you are willing to support him but it would be so much better if we could come up with a cure. Hide some mood elevators in his "whine". LOL.

Let's help him. As I don't see you as the blunt type (like me) maybe you could buy him a gift such as some self-help books, audio tapes, or DVD's - "The Power of Positive Thinking" comes to mind or some Wayne Dyer books. I love the latter. With an explanation - "I saw this book and knew I had to get it for you as it seems to address some of the things we discuss. I will be getting back to you to talk about what you have learned from the book. "

Let's do this, John. Let's slip him the happy pill. So that you can answer your phone without the big brain melt. LOL.

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WISEONE68 7/7/2010 1:26PM

    I am much richer having "known" you, Dear Friend! Thanks for listening to that "voice" and reminding us to hear ours!!

No rolling eyes now--YOU GOT IT!! emoticon

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SMOCKON 7/7/2010 12:53PM

    What a great friend you are! Thanks for your blogs.

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PATTISLIM2 7/7/2010 12:49PM

    Sometimes we are the ones who need someone to listen and sometimes we have to pay that back. Your blog is a beautiful testament to the value of the wonderful people here. We all need support and we all need to have someone with the guts to tell us when we have our heads in the wrong place.

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ALLISON145 7/7/2010 12:05PM

    John,
I love your blogs - it was like the conversation I have in my head every time I talk to a particular someone as well. I just wish I knew how to help them come out of that cloud of negativity and see all of the good things in their life. :(

-Allison

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PURPLESPEDCOW 7/7/2010 10:33AM

    What a great lesson to learn and share. Thank you.

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MARCYNA 7/7/2010 10:03AM

    We all need someone to listen to us & tell tomorrow will be better, what if this poor guy has only met YOU to tell him???
I think SP as a blessing and I'm sorry for people who have never had a chance to join us.
To comfort suffering people is a good deed and will be accounted to you in the Resurrection - a sort of 'Heaven Sparkpoints', at least 1,000 I'd say emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 7/7/2010 10:23:50 AM

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FROGGERHKC 7/7/2010 9:57AM

    I too have had friends like this. I too, always thought, and in most cases knew, that I was the only one who listened, who "cared", who would answer the phone. It is a difficult role to be the one person someone can count on sometimes.

Your friend appreciates you for being there, I am sure! emoticon

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STORMTMB 7/7/2010 9:41AM

    Bless you for your patience. It's hard to listen, especially when it's the same story. Your explanation that he has missed 30 years of life hit me like a ton of bricks. I wonder if HE knows that. Yikes. How sad.

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JPRICE217 7/7/2010 9:37AM

    jOHN, YOU are right just like God will listen to us over and over again when he has already given to us what we have asked for. God gave us 2 ears and 1 mouth for a reason. I am quality of using my one mouth way to much. emoticon emoticon

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KAT573 7/7/2010 9:28AM

    emoticon
Listening is an act of Love, and done fully, will make us sweat. I think I remember someone saying that....much more eloquently, of course! and after defining what that really means..... emoticon

The legitimate challenge for me is how to handle it when they want ME to think the way THEY do, and become offended if I do not, even if I acknowledge the way they feel.

Boundaries are a challenge to establish because we need to become conscious of what ours are being made of while we build them, (or reconstructing them) and we have to see what is on both sides, often, picking and choosing, (ah there's the rub!) what others hand us for some of the structure. It is never easy, and it is the ultimate challenge and paradox of being human while trying to walk with God.

I think you have chosen a profession that is the ultimate test in doing this effectively all the time and I admire your courage in embracing it. emoticon

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GETFIT2LIVE 7/7/2010 9:18AM

    I think most of us have had friends like that, who seem to 'need' more than they can ever give . . . and probably have been that friend at times, too. Sometimes all it takes is someone to listen and gently remind us that the sun really is still out there, in spite of how it looks. That's all you can do for your friend; you can't fix it for him, and you can't fix him, but you can be there to remind him to keep looking UP and see the sun. That's something I've learned here, too, from friends like you. It's called hope. Thanks, John!

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CAHUNO2 7/7/2010 9:15AM

    I think we all must be alike in so many ways. I saw myself in at least 3 places as I read your blog.

SP says if your friends are encouraging you to overeat find new friends. I thought when I read that, that it is easier said than done. I doubt you would consider finding a new friend. I think you handled it as well as possible. The husband of one of my closest friends is a lot like that. I can take him for short periods but after a certain amount of time he affects my mood.
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DOLLBABE56 7/7/2010 8:53AM

    I can appreciate your situation John. Even though it is very difficult at times to be the one who listens, it is often the best, supportive thing we can do. It is very hard at times to not butt in a give the old "coulda-woulda-shoulda" so called advice when all one really needs is an ear to listen and a shoulder for support.

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TRACYDUKA 7/7/2010 8:53AM

    I used to be your friend. I had the opposite of Midas' touch. Everything I touched curdled and ruined. At least, that was my perception. It was a very hard road for me to backtrack on and get on the right path. And I had a friend who sat and listened to every single thing that was going wrong in my life. Funny, now that my life is good, she's went away. Her life is so busy with two jobs and grandbabies. And though I try to keep up with her, it's hard. But she's awful special to me. And she was there when I needed her. I know your friend is much older than I was when I was there, but maybe, by example you can help him out. Maybe if you took him running with you. OR something like that. Get him to do something beneficial for himself, and in turn, he may turn out happier, and his family will embrace him more because he (should) develop some of their interests. Maybe. I'll pray for him.

And you give back to us 100 fold. So thank you!

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MICHNOE 7/7/2010 8:52AM

    Unfortunately, I think we all have a negative friend like that...they don't really want help, they want someone to confirm that their life is miserable and they should feel the way they do. You did the right thing by telling him he was in charge of what to make of his day/life/family, whatever his issue is.

Continue being his encouragement, because it just may click one day for him and then the reward will be powerful for both of you.

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MUSTANG_SALLY2 7/7/2010 8:49AM

    So would Linda! I have a friend like this too. I try so hard to be patient. Thanks for reminding me that I need to remember it's not all about me, even though sometimes I act like it is!

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TEACHING1ST 7/7/2010 8:49AM

    John, WE are richer for what YOU share! Your insight is so needed. Thanks for being your friend's friend and ours, too.

Mary

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HDHAWK 7/7/2010 8:45AM

    I have those negative friends too and they suck the life out of you sometimes. I too, listen, offer advice if asked, and wait for them to "get it". I'm sure he's grateful to have you as a friend who listens John.

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Voted Popular Blog Post: View All Popular Posts

What Spark People Means To Me

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

A friend directed to me to a blog the other day that questioned the overall benefits of Spark People, specifically the reliance some people have on each other through online friendships. To be honest with you at first I was a bit peeved. I have gotten to know some of you quite well and your advice and guidance to me has been critical to the success I have had so far. At its least, each of you who has interacted with me has been an invaluable resource and a tremendous support team.

I sat back in my chair and calmed down. After a few minutes it dawned on me that the person writing the blog had done me a great service. They had caused me to count my Spark blessings.

First and foremost, in close to seven months my health has improved tremendously. I have lost close to seventy two pounds. Losing the weight came from balancing my diet with my activity levels and if I didn’t have the nutrition and fitness tools here at Spark to guide me I don’t know that my progress would have been as significant as it has been.

Because I lost the weight I am more active. Joan and I do a lot more together. We walk most morning for at least two miles. On the mornings we don’t walk I will ride my bike for eight to ten miles. I enjoy every moment of it. My kids have told Joan they enjoy the healthier me much more than the old fat me, because I am in a better mood.

I got a wok as a Father’s Day gift along with some healthy cook books. I am doing all kinds of cool things with it. The food I get comes from the local Farmers Market.
We eat in more than we eat out.

Turkey is my friend, lol.

If you had told me around Christmas time that I would be in the process of training to run a 5K the least I would have done would have been to laugh at you. But here I am, so, so, happy that after two weeks of medical and dental issues I can run this morning. You’d think it was Christmas around here. I am amped!!!

On August 1, I begin working with a personal trainer. I spent two months choosing one based on my needs and the personalities of all involved. (I can be high maintenance at times.) It’s time to go to the next level, learn new things and reach my goal of losing one hundred pounds.

I am writing much more than I ever did in the past. I blog here daily and I write two other blogs weekly on motivation and leadership issues. Basically it is a lot of things I share here but for a different audience.

My picture has been in our local newspaper as a success story.

Most importantly there is you, my friends. You have supported me, encouraged me and laughed and cried with me. You have taught me some really valuable lessons. You have not always been kind and gentle when you delivered your message but it seems that it was I needed to hear at the time.

As far as spending too much time on Spark People? I spend a total of about two hours a day here. Most of my writing comes early in the morning before my day begins.

There is an issue of virtual friendship. I have met people from all over the world here. Without this forum I would have never known any of you. I would be poorer because of it. I read where many Sparklers get together and do things have close friendships and I think that’s great. I live in an area where there aren’t too many people involved in Spark so I don’t know many people face to face. No big deal.

Bottom line? You get out of life what you choose to get out of life. I am very prejudice. I would be lost without Spark People and if you’ll notice the last word in Spark People is people.

I am blessed to have found this process and even more blessed to know you. If there is something wrong with that I can’t see what.

Thanks for being part of my support system

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SPARKY2025 7/15/2010 5:33PM

    A friend told me about sp after i had found theweb-site emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MARCYNA 7/10/2010 8:58AM

    Sp can only give you what you need emoticon

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UNSTOPPABLE_ 7/10/2010 6:59AM

    My sparkfriends have been very supportive...I couldn't have made it without them. Will I meet them? Probably not, but i still love them for who they are...my friends.

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LAWRALOO 7/9/2010 9:49AM

    I think I know the blog you're talking about...because I read it too.
I also responded.
If not, the one I'm talking about was someone talking about leaving spark and asking if it was good or bad for you...
My response was that Spark, like life gives you what you want from it.

Spark has made my life what it is today and I love it. I haven't loved life like I do now as far back as I can remember. I'm LIVING for once in my life and I have YOU and all my spark pals to thank for that.
:)

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RINDYS1 7/8/2010 8:28PM

  This place, the people here, seem to accept you for what you are. I enjoy the site and stop by during the day to keep track of energy, food and people I am getting to know. It's a lowkey, fine place to hang.

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LIGHTENUP72 7/8/2010 2:59PM

    Resilience is turning the negatives into positives-good way to bounce back!

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DTCATSPARK 7/8/2010 10:35AM

    John,

Thanks for posting this, it is a great read and makes me even more motivated. My view is that I spend all day online/connected in my job/life ad converting some of my hours into Spark'Hours reading is time very well spent. I am starting to look forward to logging in each morning and reading / studying.


There are always nay-sayers .... so what ... movin on.

dtc@spark

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EDWINA172 7/8/2010 10:23AM

    I love Sparkpeople. The WORLD should be like Spark. If everyone in the world were so encouraging, motivating, loving and supportive, there would be no sadness.

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DUTCHIEKIWI 7/8/2010 12:07AM

    Spark enriches my life too, and so do you my friend!

Dutchie

xxx

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MSSUNBUG 7/7/2010 6:50PM

    "I am blessed to have found this process and even more blessed to know you. If there is something wrong with that I can’t see what." AMEN!

I too am not sure where I would be without this site. The community it provides where I may not otherwise have community around such an IMPORTANT issue in my life--my journey towards better health--is so key to my success. I'm with you. I see nothing at all wrong with the time I spend here. :-)


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JPRICE217 7/7/2010 9:46AM

    John just want to say thank you for all your encouragement and in site. Spark people is a blessing. emoticon

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ANNE-ELIZ 7/7/2010 1:31AM

    Not having seen the other blog, I can't speak to anything it might or might not say.

However, it is true that sometimes seeing an opposing opinion can make one re-examine one's own.

I have also found good support from online friends here. They are not my only friends and support system, but they are very important to me. It is imperative to have companions on this journey. I'm glad you're one of them.

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GIRANIMAL 7/6/2010 11:33PM

    I admit it. I used to scoff at online friendships as well. Then I started getting to know SparkPeople people. emoticon And I one day found myself surprised to be admitting how much they mean to me.

It's all energy, whether in a physical embrace or across an invisible network that connects the world. Makes sense to me.

Wow, 70+ pounds in such a short time! I knew this but hearing it again made me wanna hug you across this darn invisible network. emoticon

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NANASNOW 7/6/2010 8:40PM

    John, Thank you for your thoughts! You are our blessing! You have such insight! even if your insight isn't revealed to you, we see!
I wish i had your ability to reach to others in the way you do. I also agree with Morticia. You get out of Spark what you want or need.

If you want to stay on the sidelines and participate minimally, then that is what you want or need. or you can jump in and splash others with the Spark. That is where you come in! SPLASH! Just when we need it the most! So John, never doubt yourself in this quest we are all on! Thank you!

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MORTICIAADDAMS 7/6/2010 8:06PM

    It's me. Your ever present devil's advocate. LOL. I agree that sparkpeople helps people like me and you but then I can see how some people may not benefit from it. I tend to think that it's what you make of it. You and I respond to encouragement and it bolsters our resolve to do our best. Neither one of us wants to have to blog, "I ate a semi full of food and gained 30 pounds back." We are friendly and we like to make friends. To give and receive. That is where the big difference is. People who are poorly committed to losing weight often don't make lasting bonds like we have. They avoid them because they don't want to have the hard conversations. They don't want to feel convicted. It's doubtful that any diet will work for them until they are ready to commit. We're committed.

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SLY_REDUX 7/6/2010 7:28PM

    What a difference seven months can make! I'm so happy for you.

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ALLISON145 7/6/2010 4:18PM

    Yes, I noticed on one of the SP blogs today the expert was recommending to weave your diet around your life, not your life around your diet...and to spend 30 minutes or less a day on dieting. I would hardly get my food logged and my lunch packed in that amount of time, let alone spend any time on Spark... so I just try to spend a few minutes here and there as I can. I think his point is well made that we shouldn't obsess, but I think in order to get the ball rolling sometimes we have to start out that way. I hope to be able to think less about this over time, but I'm definitely not to where I can let my guard down like that just yet.

It's people like you who motivate me to keep going, even when times get tough. I think my SparkFriends are an invaluable resource!

Love,
Allison

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DOLLIE6 7/6/2010 4:06PM

    Thanks John for sharing. You are right we can all count our blessings that this site was ever developed. I know it has helped me so much. I can read a blog and get lifted up. I can laugh and not take myself so serious and on and on. I know that one day I will reach my goal and there will be a lot of people cheering me on and encouraging me THIS TIME learn my lessons and learn to maintain. Thanks John for being there.

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BECCALYNN75 7/6/2010 1:36PM

    Aaaaahhhh! We love you too John!

You are one of my many SP blessings!

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MISSROCKABILLY 7/6/2010 12:30PM

    You are so right on this, as usual. I feel blessed to know you too, and if anything I've ever said here has helped you at all, I'm so glad. That is one of the most important parts of this journey to me.

Thank you for being here for us as well.
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Laura

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KARLYNCANDOIT 7/6/2010 11:24AM

    Great job! Great blog!!

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GETFIT2LIVE 7/6/2010 11:18AM

    Sometimes it's the challenges to what we believe that makes us go deeper into why we believe it and strengthens our convictions. You are right, the person who wrote that blog did you a service; it caused you to examine things and count your blessings. Reminds me of an old song, 'Count your blessings; name them one by one. Count your many blessings, see what God has done.' I was thinking about the blessings I have received here just last night, and I believe that God led me to SparkPeople because it had the tools that I needed to get my life in balance. I know other people who don't like SparkPeople and poo-poo it. That's fine for them, but it has been a life-saver for me. I definitely count YOU as one of the blessings I have received here!

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STORMTMB 7/6/2010 11:16AM

    People survive and thrive in many different ways. This virtual community works very, very well for many people. Others, not so much. I'm thankful for the progress you've made and for your insight and friendship.

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GEINAHG0757 7/6/2010 11:11AM

    I, too, read the other blog...and totally agree with you. You get out of SparkPeople what you want. That is the total beauty of this site! For myself, I KNOW I would not have reached the goals I so desparately wanted without SP. You sound pretty much the same way. Thank you for speaking the words we all feel.

Bright emoticon on your day!

Geinah

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KAT573 7/6/2010 10:54AM

    awwwww John; great blog and I agree 200%:
"Bottom line? You get out of life what you choose to get out of life. "

And love what you are getting out of it! Keep on keeping ON! emoticon

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KLEONIKI 7/6/2010 10:42AM

    You are welcome!
i thank you for the same reason..
There are times i need so intensely to render virtual to real and to get to know everyone of you and talk in person that makes me anxious , then
i just rely with confidence in future's waves to bring and take back whatever and whoever..
Any way i know we are part of a great mystery that of FRIENDSHIP
hugs
K.

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SANDYK4BAMA 7/6/2010 10:37AM

    John, I'm so glad you are here too! I cannot tell you the countless times you have "picked me up" and put me back on the path. And the friendship, while it is online, is nonetheless a friendship. If there are those out there who can't understand that, how is that our problem!? They are the ones left out, not us Sparkies! We who are here love being here, and no outsider who is running the mouth about things they don't understand is going to change that. Hurray for SparkPeople, hurray for us all, friends now, and friends as yet unknown. We will be alive and fit and happy, and the naysayers will probably be fat or in the hospital or at the doctor's office complaining about something while we are out having a real life!

Love you John!

Go Sparkies!~!
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CAHUNO2 7/6/2010 9:41AM

    emoticon I agree with you. There have been days when just a word or "hug" from a Sparkfriend has given me the push to make a day going bad into a successful day. I'm struggling right now but know I would have given up if it wasn't for the support of SP. Even on the worse days I have gone thru my Friend Feed to see what others are doing. Bless all the caring people on SP! emoticon

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JUSTFOXXY 7/6/2010 9:36AM

    So someone was pontificating about online friendships on an online community forum? Seriously?!?

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WISEONE68 7/6/2010 9:22AM

    Once again, John, you nailed it--you get from life what you put in. The same with SP!!

I have some great Friends here. I don't know any of them "personally"--but, I don't have a lot of "personally" frineds either. Without a lot of close family and friends to support me, Spark has been a wonderful gift.

My friends are all in different phases of their lives--most are NOT overweight or wanting to change their lifestyle. Most of our meetings are surrounded by "let's go out to lunch"; "let's meet for dinner"; "there's a pot luck...".

When I "meet" with my friends here at Spark, there is no expectation of perfection...no eating together...no challenges of choosing the right menu options!! It is honest, raw, pure...emotions fly, tempers get flared, and VICTORIES are won.

I love Spark and tell EVERYONE I can about the site, my successes, friends' successes...and, it is their loss if they do not take part!! I am glad someone told me...

blessings, Friend. have a "spark-a-licious" day!!!

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TIME4AFITME 7/6/2010 9:20AM

    I so agree with you. I have met some of the most wonderful friends on here! Enjoy your run

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HDHAWK 7/6/2010 9:09AM

    I read that blog after I saw that you had commented on it. Like I commented on his blog, this is the longest I've ever stayed with a lifestyle change (not diet). I've had my ups and downs. I'm currently up, trying to get down again. Why have I stuck with it for so long? Like you said, it's the people here. I may not know more than 1 or 2 of them personally, but they support me every time I need them. You do have to balance the amount of time you spend here, but it's well worth the time it takes!

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FROGGERHKC 7/6/2010 8:47AM

    I totally agree with you as well! I may know know all of you (or any of you) face to face, but I am so glad to have you all as friends! It is nice to have people to help support you and know exactly what you are going through, and it is wonderful to check your mail in the morning and get all of the kind words that always happen to be there just when you need them most. Also, I love being supportive of all my sparkie friends. Everyone works so hard, it's nice to help support and be there for everyone! Great blog!!!

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DOLLBABE56 7/6/2010 8:42AM

    You put it so well!

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M_E_L_I_S_A 7/6/2010 8:36AM

    emoticonblog. I totally agree with you. My best friend came from SP. We became face to face friend last October and if it wasn't for her I would get through this. If I have a bad day I know I can pick up the phone and she will listen to me vent. I'm so happy I found SP! emoticon

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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.



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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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