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A "Me-Time" How To, A Guide To Relaxation Technique

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

There’s that old saying that goes; “Be careful what you ask for, you just might get it.” Well, LOL, yesterday, at the end of my blog I offered to share with anyone who was interested in the process I used for relaxation during my “me time.” I thought I’d get two, maybe three responses at the most. So many of you were interested in what I did and how I did it that if I tried to answer all your Spark Mails it might be sometime Saturday before they all got answered.

I am going to try to explain what I do and how I do it. If you got an email from me please disregard it. This blog will go into much greater detail.

I use relaxation techniques to center myself and to get rid of the stress or negative feelings I may have about something or someone. I have found when I do this consistently that my emotional eating will dissipate. Different people use this technique for different reasons. I have a close friend who uses it as an opportunity to pray and discern God’s will in his life. Another friend uses it as a visualization tool to see himself doing the things he enjoys doing well. Regardless how you use it I will tell you this:

It’s not magic and it takes an investment of time. It can be frustrating at first but if you stick with it, I have found amazing results especially as it relates to calming and centering.

First get comfortable. It doesn’t matter if you are sitting up or lying down, just get comfortable. If you have to adjust during the relaxation don’t worry, the most important thing here is that you are comfortable. It’s self-defeating to try to relax when you are in pain or uncomfortable.

In order to get myself into a state of what’s called “complete physical relaxation” I use a yoga breathing technique. It involves taking a deep breath through your nose and counting “1-2-3-4-5” As you do this you should visualize filling your lungs from the bottom , through your rib cage and then to the top of your lungs. I try to visualize my lungs as a balloon filling up. Once filled up I hold the breath for a count of “1-2-3.” Then I slowly exhale through my mouth, counting “1-2-3-4-5” as I do. It’s in through your nose out through your mouth.

I use a track a friend gave me called Meditation Yoga – Sounds of Nature. I am not sure where you can obtain it but there is music and a person guides you through the relaxation process. If anyone knows how I could share this by uploading or any other process I’d be more than glad to do so.

This part takes the longest to master because as you concentrate on your breathing your body will begin to relax. In the beginning this takes the longest to accomplish. Just be patient. A lot of people give up after a few days because they aren’t seeing immediate results. It usually takes ten days at about ten minutes per day to get yourself totally relaxed.

One you are relaxed you can use this technique to do a number of things. Because I am an emotional eater and my moods, attitudes and feeling affect what I put in my mouth, I use this time to brush away any negative thoughts I might have about myself, other people or situations in my life. I may simply be stressed or over whelmed and I use it to decompress and relax. It does always give me a boost of energy and I often use it before I go to the gym or do my C25K.

Once relaxed, I stay in that state for twenty minutes. Don’t be daunted by this. I have been using this technique off and on for close to five years.

The music I use is as follows and it is available on ITunes:

Quietude by Peter Kater & R. Carlos Nakai from the album Migration
Winter Walk by David Nevue from the album Overcome
Ocean Shores from the album Ocean Dreams

Another option would be to use Pandora Radio on the internet. It is free and I sometimes use a station called New Age Mix. You can access Pandora Radio at

Finally, I will see if I can do a video blog incorporating what I wrote about here and walk you through a meditation. I know you all don’t have access to video blogging so any other technological suggestions would be appreciated.

Hope this helped

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JURI62 7/29/2010 7:38PM

    Thank you John! A video blog would be awesome!

Comment edited on: 7/29/2010 7:39:25 PM

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CINDYC53 7/29/2010 5:04PM

    This is great!! Very very helpful!!

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JPRICE217 7/28/2010 4:35PM


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    It's very similar to what I have done for many years except I was taught to combine the breathing with visualization and muscle relaxation.

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GETFIT2LIVE 7/28/2010 1:41PM

    Good info, John. Sometimes I will simply close my eyes, focus on making my breathing slow and deep, and repeat a phrase or a word silently such as 'I am loved' or 'Peace, be still.' Even a couple of moments of that will usually dramatically dissipate the stress I'm feeling. Looking forward to the video blog!

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KPDRMNG 7/28/2010 1:12PM

    thanks for sharing, I definely need to try it. I'm sooo stressed currently my hair is standing on ends. emoticon

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DOLLBABE56 7/28/2010 11:48AM

    I haven't done this in so long. I use it mostly at the end of a yoga session. I forget about doing it at other times of the day/night. Thanks for the reminder.

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MUSTANG_SALLY2 7/28/2010 11:45AM

    Thanks for sharing this. I so need to incorporate this into my day. I'm working on it!


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STORMTMB 7/28/2010 11:34AM

    How interesting. Thanks for sharing. There may be something about this relaxation technique on YouTube already or maybe if you do a video you could post yours there.

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Creating Me Time and Restoring Balance

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

I am an emotional eater. A lot of you reading this probably are too. Food is our drug of choice. Anxiety, depression, fear, any gamut of emotions sends us scampering towards a tube of cookie dough and we don’t quit eating until, exhausted and guilty, we sit in our chair, feeling worse than before we indulged. It’s a vicious cycle. It’s a self-defeating cycle. It can put up a wall so thick that we simply throw our hands up in disgust and walk away from all our health plans. We are addicted.
I spent yesterday reviewing my last month. What did I do well? Mostly that fell in the exercise category. Where did I slip? That one took a bit longer, LOL.

One thing I have incorporated into my regimen that has suffered recently is “me time.” Some folks may call it meditation or relaxation or creative visualization but regardless, I use it as an opportunity in the middle of my day to disengage from everything. My stressed out time is the middle of the afternoon. It’s the time when anxiety, boredom, weariness and a host of other emotions creep into my mind. To fight them off I eat. When I eat I feel guilty and when I feel guilty I eat more because what’s the use, right?

That’s the time I use for “me time.” This isn’t a planning or a goal setting activity. There is no thought process involved here. I am taking a break. It’s time to let everything good, everything bad and anything else drift away.

I had stopped using this balancing technique for over a month. So yesterday afternoon, I sat down, closed the door and dimmed the lights. I got comfortable, the position doesn’t matter. I know some people who do it lying down and some who do it sitting straight up in a chair. I have play some music that is soothing and relaxing and once, I close my eyes, take a deep breath and slowly exhale. I let my body and my mind relax. I concentrate on my breathing. I slowly inhale through my nose, hold my breath for a second and then slowly exhale. The combination of the music and my breathing creates a deep relaxation that restores me.

Remember when you started Spark? Remember how you were asked to be active for ten minutes a day? What’s your activity level currently? I started my “me time” at ten minutes each day. It takes some getting used to just like walking, running or cycling does.

No one teaches us to relax. No one teaches us how to remove negative distractions from our lives. This technique allows me the time to purge those self-defeating and destructive thoughts from my mind. When I open my eyes I often find I have a new surge of energy that carries me through my day.

I was surprised to find that when I opened my eyes yesterday I had been relaxing for well over thirty minutes. It helps me create a much needed balance in my life.
I started this blog by talking about being an emotional eater. As I learn to balance my life I find that I have less of those episodes occurring. I get sloppy sometimes, but I think that’s different. My emotional eating has a lot of sources, LOL, and one of them is lack of balance.

Along with diet, exercise and rest it is important to me in maintaining that balance.
If you are interested in knowing more and what kind of music I listen to and the breathing technique I use send me a Spark Mail and I’ll be glad to share.

So many of you have helped me in so many ways, I am trying to return the favor.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MAKALANI22 7/27/2010 10:05PM

    great blog. i definitely agree that it's important to have 'me time'. i honestly think it also helps our minds connect with our bodies to let it know, "hey, it's okay to release emotions as well as weight that does not serve us".

it's powerful and profound. i have also been slacking on this lately and will be going home tonight to practice a little 'me time'

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ALLISON145 7/27/2010 10:04PM

    I'm totally going to try this tomorrow, John! There's no reason I shouldn't be able to do this in my office for 10 minutes or so... I bet it makes me more productive the rest of the day.



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KATIEGLEN012 7/27/2010 9:56PM

    I am an emotional eater. And 'me time' is a must. I love the early morning. Just to start my day in the right frame of mind, but mid-afternoon is a tough eating time for me too. Hadn't thought of using my 'me time' there also. Might just have two 'me times' per day. I'll let you know how it goes.

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    I have meditated for many years. It's very relaxing.

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NJMATTICE 7/27/2010 3:43PM

    Thanks for the positive reinforcement.

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LUVMYK9S 7/27/2010 2:09PM

    Thank you John! I definitely need to work in some 'me time'. Starting with 10 minutes a day, I think that is manageable.

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BECCALYNN75 7/27/2010 12:46PM

    Thanks John for another great blog!

I guess Focus & Balance are my goals for the week because the Lord keeps sending me those messages, from the sermon Sunday, my devotional reading and your blog.

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BRYLIA 7/27/2010 11:39AM

    I remember using a relaxation techinque simular to what you described that I had learned in college but havenet used in many many years. I think it's time this comes out of the closet so to speak and get's put back into practice. Thanks for jogging my memory! Happy Exercising and Relaxation, my friend! emoticon

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JPRICE217 7/27/2010 11:10AM

    Great advice John. everyone needs me time and not to feel about it. I would like to know the music you listen to

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JENNY888 7/27/2010 10:46AM

    I'm with you on needing this "me time" in the afternoon. I am incorporating time to meditate and relax. It's my reward to myself not for what I have done, but what I will do afterwords.

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YOYONOMORE1 7/27/2010 10:24AM

    Hi John, yes that all around balance is so important but I think we all have times of forgetting that, glad you got it back. I am in a state of happiness as this is day 5 of my internet working right, can hardly believe it, 5 days in a row. Enjoy your day, your week and your "me time".


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RHONDA_11 7/27/2010 10:24AM

    I loved this! Thank you. I am going to add a meditative time to my afternoon and not just my morning meditation emoticon

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RACHELRB 7/27/2010 10:23AM

    Great words John. So many of us recognize the importance of taking the 'me' time. It's actually doing it that counts. I like how you found a way to do 10 minutes a day and gradually grow. Earlier this week I put on my weekly commitment list that I would give myself 5 minutes. I think if we can start there we are on our way emoticon All the best to you on your journey through life.

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CHRISSYVB 7/27/2010 10:14AM

    Thanks for a great blog as usual. I never believed in meditation until one day after yoga when the instructor told us all to do it. I thought it would be a waste of good exercise time but I did it like everyone else. WOW, I'm a believer now, I finished so refreshed and calm but with amazing energy. Anyone who is skeptical needs to give it a try. When you get it right, meditation is like nothing else.


Comment edited on: 7/27/2010 10:15:39 AM

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TIME4AFITME 7/27/2010 10:07AM

    Sounds great

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STORMTMB 7/27/2010 9:56AM

    Good for you, John. Enjoy!

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WALKAWAY 7/27/2010 9:51AM

    John, thanks for the great blog. I needed to do this yesterday. To take time away from a stressful situation and just "BREATHE." I didn't and came home last night wanting to eat everything within reach. I managed not to, but still felt on edge all evening.

I need to remember "More Me Time."

emoticon emoticon

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WYNAMT 7/27/2010 9:39AM

    It is very important to take time for ourselves on this journey and beyond. Glad to hear you are bringing yourself back to center!

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DOLLBABE56 7/27/2010 9:34AM

    Great blog John. My "me time" is early-mid afternoon. Poppet (my dog) and I lie on the bed. I pet her (when she'll let me emoticon and close my eyes. I always feel better after we have "napped?/relaxed" for about 30 minutes.

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JAE_HENNINGTON 7/27/2010 9:29AM

  we all need these times of reflection, time to remember why we do what we do and times to remind ourselves we are worth it

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GETFIT2LIVE 7/27/2010 9:26AM

    What a good reminder, John! I used to do something like this as well and it has slipped in recent months. I think the Quakers call it 'centering' yourself; it's a way of restoring balance and peace in the midst to the center of your being in an often too busy, out of whack life. Thanks for sharing; we desperately need balance, and that is a great way to restore our spirits.


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ROCKINFOX 7/27/2010 9:23AM

    Relaxation is definitely important. This blog reminds me that I also need to take out some time for me. I need to start implementing this technique once again into my daily routine. Great blog!!!

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KAT573 7/27/2010 9:22AM

    This is a hard one for me too; especially since something more is pushing from the inside out so taking time to put up my duds and read has become a way of avoiding that push that needs to be answered. LOL and I know what that push is, too, and can think of several reasons why it will NOT be answered 'today'. None of them are excuses tho I try to make them be; they are reasons. rationalizations....hmmmmm not that far from excuses again, are we?

I am glad you have nailed this for you for this day. I think key is, I have to do it every least once. A worthy goal. Next in line is rewarding myself. emoticon

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Seven Months Sparking: Falling Down and Getting Back Up

Monday, July 26, 2010

About a month ago I began acting like I was on a diet. Every morsel of food that went in my mouth was weighed (No pun intended!!!) against what the dreaded scale might say every Sunday morning. I could go on and on but suffice to say I was driving myself crazy and, according to my beloved wife, was becoming a real pain to live with. Joan and a few Spark friends suggested I “step away from the scale” and concentrate on healthy living and less on weight loss. I didn’t weight for four consecutive weeks. I continued to track my food and exercise. I weighed yesterday morning and had 3.8 pound gain. I didn’t freak out. I put on my running shoes, stepped into the heat and ran a mile and a half. While I ran I asked myself what I learned. Here it is:

Valuable Lesson One:
No amount of exercise eradicates French fries, chocolate chip cookies and beer. One thing I noticed after a week or so is that I would have cookies and add twenty minutes to my cardio that day. After a while it became a bargaining tool inside my head. “Wanna beer? Get on the bike for thirty minutes.” Bargaining or rationalization never works. I might want it to work in my favor but it doesn’t. That leads me to;

Valuable Lesson Two:
If it is in the house I will eat it. I am not going to stare at a sleeve of Oreo’s and muster up some weak semblance of will power, turn around and walk away. Besides I think it is cruel to intentionally tempt yourself just to see “how strong you are.” If they are in the house, they get eaten. If they are not in the house, they remain a fantasy. If there are apples, grapes, blueberries in the fridge they will get eaten as well. It’s a law of physics. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. I am in control of what goes in my grocery cart, garbage in, scale creaks!!!!

Valuable Lesson Three:
Patience is more than a virtue.
A gain, is a gain is gain but I learned a lot about John. This month of riding the bike without any training wheels has been an eye opener. I have been here before. I have lost this much weight and then everything sort of stopped and didn’t move until it moved upwards and then I lost all faith in myself and then…….
I have roughly weighed the same for the past three months. I saw foods that weren’t good for me “creep” back into my diet. They are food high in fat, sugar and carbohydrates. I slowly allowed those foods to creep in here and there. Even my good foods tilted toward excess a bit. I started eye balling measurements rather than taking them exactly. Things must change.

Positive Out Come:
Even though I did it for all the wrong reasons my cardio workouts have increased from roughly fifty minutes a day to roughly seventy minutes a day.

I am going to begin working with a personal trainer next week. For the past three months I have realized I needed some help taking things to the next level. I finally decided on a trainer and we start work together next Monday.

I am in Week 6 of C25K. Running has become a real joy and I look forward to it.
Summer is a great time to take advantage of fresh fruit and veggies! I pulled out the massive Cooking Vegetarian Cookbook the kids gave me for Father’s Day and planned menus for this week using some of them.

My confidence level has never been higher. I learned a lot about me in the past months and now I am putting things into place to make sure I reach my goals. This was a small setback but in a lot of respects one I needed to regain my focus.
I am worth it

I deserve it

I AM who I hang around with. Wonderful people like you.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WILMABEAL 7/30/2010 6:13PM

    That is a great blog. Very true and helpful! emoticon

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SUSIEMILO 7/30/2010 4:20PM

    I also went through a hiccup in my program about the same time you did. But unlike you, even my fitness minutes decreased.
But unlike all the other times in my life, I at least stayed where I was, and didn't begin re-gaining my weight.
I'm getting back on track now, and motivation and energy are coming back.
I know that without Spark, and the various blogs that I read and friendships that I have on here, I probably would have repeated history and re-gained a LOT more than the 5 lbs. that I did.
I count that as a near-miss, and thank God (again) for Spark.
I'm back on track and gaining momentum on my program once more.

And I'm so happy to hear the positive come back into your "voice". Great news to hear that you've come full circle and are once again on track.
All the best to you for working with the personal trainer.

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CINDYC53 7/29/2010 5:09PM

    Really great!! I'm doing a mini-marathon of reading your blogs and am finding them SO beneficial.
I'm with you about "if it's in the house I will eat it." That's a big one for me when I'm trying to stay on track. I'm kidding myself if I think I can buy something (usually CARB laden!) and only eat one a day, or whatever my rationale of the moment is.
Yes, we're here for the long haul, and that means sometimes taking 2 steps forward and 1 back. But NEVER QUITTING!! We're all human, and we're all here for each other.
Thanks, John!
p.s. When I am really serious about my food, I plan the day and fill in my tracker in advance... I might leave 100 calories for something spontaneous, but having the plan in place helps me.

Comment edited on: 7/29/2010 5:11:16 PM

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CLOTHEDINLOVE 7/27/2010 9:34AM

    It is a fine fine line between obsessive and permissive--- thank you for this blog. I have been having the same struggles with letting bad foods creep back into my daily diet instead of letting them be a treat. The way you put it... " I slowly allowed those foods to creep in here and there. Even my good foods tilted toward excess a bit. I started eye balling measurements rather than taking them exactly. Things must change."

Thanks, John. As always, you wrap up those thoughts that have been floating around in my mind into such an understandable package.

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JAE_HENNINGTON 7/27/2010 9:27AM

  you always have wonderful things to say, things that makes me stand up on the inside and say...yes! I can do this

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MSPLACEDAGAIN 7/27/2010 9:19AM

    These are good reminders to me too! I am half way to my goal and have been taking a break. Time to get back on it and fight the "creep" of unhealthy foods and larger portions.

Thanks for the blog!

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IFDEEVARUNS2 7/27/2010 8:47AM

    I think the most powerful thing you said is 'you are who you hang out with'. I've definitely found that to be true. Thanks for another excellent blog.

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CUBFANGIRL1 7/27/2010 1:32AM

    I can pretty much identify with every lesson you have shared (except for the beer part. . . I can safely have beer in my house w/o any temptation to drink it, lol). I know there are not supposed to be "forbidden" foods and maybe when I am on more solid footing I can have a package of Oreos in my house w/o fear of overdoing it. . . ut for right now, if they are there, I will eat them. A lot of them, if not all of them!

Good for you for not panicking.

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CHERIRIDDELL 7/26/2010 11:41PM

    Ah yes thanks for the wake up call.I seem to have used the same bargaining tool startegy ,equally unsuccessfully I might add!!!

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KSGROTHE 7/26/2010 9:12PM

    emoticon for not freaking out about your weight gain and instead assessing what you have learned! It's easy to get discouraged when weight gain happens, but instead you've come out with a higher confidence level than ever. You can get back on track, and you know it!

I have missed the last few of your blogs because I was not getting notifications from SP in my email, and then my grandma died and I went out of town for her funeral and have been trying to catch up on things ever since. I missed your blogs more than I knew and am so glad I came to your page to read this.

Keep up the good work! emoticon

- Karen

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DUTCHIEKIWI 7/26/2010 8:59PM

    Thanks as always for sharing John.
I have to watch watch wacth myself at the moment, I'm having a wanting problem with cookies.
and by god they seem to be on special everywhere!
I never even used to like cookies!?!! What's going on???

I just went and brished my teeth, as that help to stop my cravings.
After the work done by the dentist last week i really want to get pearly whites, clean and sparkly...

so I keep brushing.

I'm jealous of your running, I really want to get there, to go there.
I started and threw it in because of rain, never picked it up and keep thinking about it.

If you can run, will I be able to as well??
Strap on your shoes and go...
awesome way of exercise!

I'm getting back into the right frame of mind, I'm reading all the right stuff.

Now all I need is the cookie sales to STOP!!

xx Dutchie

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JPRICE217 7/26/2010 4:02PM

    emoticonyou seen where you are and where you was heading and stop the down ward slop and are getting back on the healthy living emoticon

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BOURNBABE 7/26/2010 2:08PM

    I'm the same with in the house I'll eat it. Good luck with the personal trainer! Look forward to hearing how it goes as I've contemplated maybe doing the same.

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LUVMYK9S 7/26/2010 2:07PM

    As usual, wonderful insight! Thank you for your candor. I have also used exercise as justification to indulge a bit more than I know I should have. Every so often I have to start weighing and measuring my food again as it seems my interpretation of a portion gets skewed over time.

Thank you for giving me the initiative to refocus, and reinforcing that we are all worth the effort of good health.

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MOMGABE 7/26/2010 1:59PM

    John, Thanks for sharing. This is exactly what I needed to hear today. I, too, have allowed my food plan to get sloppy and have included items that I really don't need. You are so right, you can't out-train poor food choices. It is time for me to quit kidding myself.

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AZCUPCAKE 7/26/2010 12:56PM

    This blog is absolutely golden, John! It speaks volumes regarding the ways we tempt ourselves and then wonder why we eat the Oreos! Because they are THERE! emoticon Truer words were never spoken. I have NEVER felt guilty because I have eaten too many slices of apple or even a whole CUP of blueberries. NEVER.

Thanks for your honesty and candor. You really know what the "hot buttons" are that we all deal with on an everyday (sometimes MINUTE by MINUTE!) basis. I am thankful for your insights, as always. emoticon emoticon

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JENNY888 7/26/2010 12:39PM

    What you have learned is very important. I think most of us have these slipping times. What is important is waking up from them and taking action.

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MORTICIAADDAMS 7/26/2010 12:19PM

    Yep, most people kind of get sloppy sometimes and then have to clean up their acts. I think it's kind of a vacation from the rigors of the game but you can't win if you don't play so you have to get back to it.

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WALKNLOVE 7/26/2010 11:38AM

    Hey John! I am still learning myself and lately I have been lazy! I work out 5 days a week, but haven't been logging my nutrition.Lots of "life" stresses...mostly good, but stress just the same.Keep me in your prayers means alot! You are a real blessing! I still keep checking your blog, because I know you are real & understand our struggles.Even one tidbit of wisdom can go along way in helping us discover our true selves and find our way to being successful.This is our LIFE! No one can live it but us, but I don't just want to live, I want to live healthy, happy & more successful! emoticon

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TRACIEO3 7/26/2010 11:24AM

    Ah, what a great blog and yes, it is very easy to fall without some preconceived due diligence. I have been on here for roughly 8 months and have lost 92 pounds. I have been at a stall for about a month, maybe less. Losing and gaining up and down and then the last 2 weeks, nothing no loss no gain. I looked back at my eating habits, what had changed. Well, even my good food was leaning towards crappy. Just because Newman O's are organic doesn't mean they are any less junk food than OREOS. I weigh and measure almost all my food, I really need to and all this time I thought I was at a standstill with my weight loss but continued exercising right through it 60 minutes 5 days a week. What about inches, I thought one day, and to my surprise I have lost 5 inches ( over all) in the last 2 weeks. I don't know why when I was so diligently taking body measures I suddenly stopped about a month ago. So, I've still lost and toned up I just can't see it on the scale. Keep this in mind because good health is based on how you feel, not on what the number is on the scale. Good luck on your journey.

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GIRANIMAL 7/26/2010 11:11AM

    Sorry for your stumbles but yay for all your learning. And thank GOODNESS none of us are alone in this. I can totally relate to almost everything in here! I too have seen things creep back in. I was happy to learn that for the most part I CAN have it in the house and leave it alone -- but I also have hit some bumps where that fell totally apart. Curious indeed.

I just had a week off work (I tend to miserable about tracking at home) and my boyfriend is back home. I tried to be lenient for his return but not go too hog wild. I did great for like a day. Whoops. One disadvantage to living in such a fantastic food city as Chicago is all those fantastic food options beckoning from like every corner! And the BF wanted them all after having been gone for 3 months. emoticon

So here I go learning some lessons and picking right back up where I left off as well. Onward and upward together, my friend!

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HDHAWK 7/26/2010 10:35AM

    I've been doing the rationalizing thing lately too. The saying "you can't out train a bad diet" is so very true. I think through these struggles we learn a lot of valuable lessons that will help to make this a lifestyle change. I just wish it didn't take so long!

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DIASTER 7/26/2010 10:30AM

  Well John I do believe God helps you write your blogs knowing what will reach out and touch our hearts and souls. Whoa ,Wonder how many of us have been floating around the last few months waiting for a kick in the behind, do we all bargin? Do we all slip and keep sliding until we hit a rock?
Who could imagine eating a whole quart of rocky road ice cream then going looking for something else? Hungry? No. So why?
What is in the frig behind the pears and apples, carrots and celery, PB&J.
So today I start all over with enthusiasm thanks to your timing with that wonderful blog, the treadmil awaits thenk you!!!!!!
Not sure how the oreos got in my cupboard but they will not reappear for a long, long time.

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STORMTMB 7/26/2010 10:14AM

    If it's in the house, I'll eat it. Boy, I've re-learned that one in the last month. I've learned that I can't eat just one and stay in control. Darn I hate that... but it's a lesson learned. Hang in there. I think you're gonna love your trainer (eventually). I'll be anxious to hear how it goes.

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CAHUNO2 7/26/2010 9:17AM

    One of the things I love most about SP is the things I'm learning about myself. Things I have thought for years (decades) that don't apply me --- DO!! emoticon

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BEANPOD77 7/26/2010 8:47AM

    John, thanks for this blog. I am at the 6 month mark, and can feel that same "slipping" mentality..There is not the same fervent excitement of watching the scale go down ..seeing the reward there was in the earlier months..I recognize this pattern from previous attempts. Reading your lessons above have given me motivation to reset specific action goals for myself..I wouldnt say I am "off track" but the scale is averaging a steady weight ( some up some down, ) and while I have been wondering why, when i read your blog and re-examined my last 3-4 weeks, I think the connection has been made! Thank you, thank you , for continuing to share your thoughts..You have helped me more than you will know!

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GETFIT2LIVE 7/26/2010 8:21AM

    Yay for you in learning from the experience, John. I just wrote a blog about having to dump the 'diet' mentality and realize that I am going to be on this journey for the rest of my life. We say it's a healthy lifestyle, but I don't think I fully grasped what that meant until recently. You are going to make it, my friend, because you ARE worth it and you DO deserve it. I am proud of you.


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EDWINA172 7/26/2010 8:09AM

    Good stuff! I don't keep "bad" food in the house either. Why torture myself, right? I think that we all can relate to the bargaining and slipping. Good luck with your trainer. Have fun! You're worth it.

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HONORINGGOD 7/26/2010 8:02AM

    you are so worth it &im proud of you emoticon

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WEIGHTDIP 7/26/2010 8:00AM

    Your blogs continue to inspire me. Thanks for all the effort.

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NJMATTICE 7/26/2010 7:56AM

    Thanks for taking the time to write out our journey. So typical of anyone who has struggled with "food addiction" -that bargaining to get back to the junk we think we need for fun and fulfillment. I hear ya, soul brother. Keep fighting the good fight. I am hopeful that showing up for work, writing and sharing the journey, the honesty will pay good dividends. Thanks for keeping it real and keep up the good work. You're doing it!
(it's good to be back!)

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DOLLBABE56 7/26/2010 7:46AM

    I have been right there with you. Same thing. Funny, today I decided to knock it off too. I had start the old "bargaining" in the past 2 or 3 weeks, and this weekend completely threw in the proverbial healthy eating towel, so to speak. Back on track today. I will cut down on the processed foods; eat more lean protein; incorporate some fish (which I have been lacking the past few weeks); and get those "good for me" veggies and fruits into me. NO FRIED FOODS!

Today I begin the second round of C25K week 1. I decided to do each week at least twice since I am quite out of shape. I don't want to over do it and risk injury. I really enjoyed last weeks runs, but boy oh boy it does affect my hips. I use the treadmill because the heat is unbearable to me. But also because I am a bit clumsy shall we say? LOL

Good luck to you John And, good luck to all of us! We can do it!!!

Comment edited on: 7/26/2010 7:46:55 AM

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HEART4HOME 7/26/2010 7:32AM

    I love it! I have experienced some of the barganing mindset that you wrote about. Good for you for taking a step back to examine yourself. It sounds like you have a great plan. I am proud of you for working through this couch 2 5k. I am still trying to muster up the courage to get out there and try it. I wish you much success. Thanks for encouraging us through your blogs.

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The "Real World" ?????

Thursday, July 22, 2010

I was reading the newspaper at lunch about a man who had been coaching little league for the past twenty years. Testimonies to his coaching ability said his greatest asset was preparing people “for the real world.” This has always bothered me. What world do you live in until you are ready to enter the real one, a fake one?

I know what conventional wisdom says. That statement is directed at young people who have a distorted sense of reality or people whose lives are full of unrealistic expectations. Sort of like a overweight fifty six year old running a 5K after really never running in his life at all. Yeah, that world.

“Wipe that smile off your face kid and welcome to the real world.”

In a couple of my blogs I shared a secret a friend of mine once shared with me. He said as you get older you should surround yourself with friends who are ten years, twenty years and thirty years younger than you are. It helps you maintain balance and perspective in your life. I have pretty much followed his advice and to those of you, who are fond of using the term “real world” I got news for you, it’s there in spades for someone sixteen or twenty six just like it is for someone fifty six.

Does anyone here recall the pain of adolescence? Convince me that’s not reality, go ahead, try and tell me that the shyness, the awkwardness and the absolute obsession with being liked isn’t real. Tell me that leaving home whether it’s to go to school or start a new job isn’t chock full of anxiety because there is no one there to tell you what to do, how to do it and when to do it. Shoot fire; take it as far back as age five. My granddaughter is scared that when she starts kindergarten in two weeks kids may not like her because she has red hair. We laugh and say it’s cute. The look on her face told me it was very real to her. I guess I should have told her it will be a lot worse in the real world. Ask a single parent, with a minimum wage job, no health insurance and a couple kids about reality.

The real world is the one you live in every day of your life. It is the world that is special and unique to you. We let ourselves get sucked in to someone else’s version of life and the minute we do we begin to compare ourselves to everyone else around us. Once the comparison starts the insanity starts and we feel as if we are running a race in quick sand.

The real world is your world and no one has the right to suggest to you that it is otherwise.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

AZCUPCAKE 7/26/2010 1:03PM

    Your darling, redheaded granddaughter will be in my thoughts when the school days begin, John. I was the same redheaded girl way back when, and I know how kids can be. Your beautiful granddaughter will make lots of friends; she is a part of your wonderful family, who couldn't adore her?! emoticon

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TRACIEO3 7/26/2010 11:30AM

    Just the other day I received a "chain" email about those of us who grew up in the 60,70, and 80's and how did we survive WITHOUT everything that children need to survive these days. For instance, bicycle helmets and knee pads, and cell phones and nintendo and cable and on and on and on. For me, the real world was BETTER back then but then again, I'm a hippie and I would still prefer to pull my vegetables out of the ground and eat them than to walk into a store and buy them.

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SUSIEMILO 7/24/2010 10:31PM

    When I see kids whose parents do not require any type of responsibility from them, and nothing whatsoever is asked of them, and everything their little heart has desired from birth has been immediately handed to them... I feel sorry for them. Because I know they are going to get a rude shock some day. Because "in the real world" nothing is handed to you without having had to work for it. And people do not love you just because you exist. I know the parents do it from pure love, and out of a desire to give their kids something that they didn't have --- but I feel that those parents are not doing their kids any favors. Life has a way of coming in fast, and those kids will not be prepared in any way for adult life. And as you said, adolescence , late teen years, and early adult years are hard enough because of trying to adjust to changes in their bodies and life around them, and the new expectations placed on them. For kids whose parents did not prepare them for that, then they have an even harder adjustment. I'm not saying that kids should be put in a labor camp, or that life should be made "artificially hard" for them -- I'm just saying that in the "real world" people are expected to assume some responsibility and pull their own weight. In the real world, the jobs exist because there is work to be done -- not just because someone needs a paycheck. And children that are new to the idea of responsibility and a good work ethic are going to get a rude shock when they grow up and are expected to carry their own weight. Talk about making it hard on a kid..... over-protect them and hand them everything without ever asking anything from them ---- that would make it plenty hard on them when they get out there and realize (the hard way) that not everyone dotes on them, and will pamper them the way their parents do.
I realize that this won't be a popular response to your posting, and I'm willing to take any heat that comes from it.

I totally agree that being a kid is not easy -- you have some very valid points. I had an absolutely MISERABLE childhood (the school part -- not the part that was spent with my family) In my mind, it would be hard to find a kid who was teased and bullied and shunned more than I was. Believe me, I DO know first hand about some of the things you pointed out.

But even so, I felt compelled to note that there really IS a harsh world out there; and when parents lovingly prepare kids for it by teaching them responsibility, work ethics, financial management, and social interaction skills -- it will help them be prepared when the time comes for them to strike out on their own. Those kids don't get hit in the face with the shock of "the real world" -- because they have been taught ahead of time how to live there.

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DUTCHIEKIWI 7/24/2010 8:45PM

    My real world changes....
sometimes it's good, sometimes it can be a struggle.

Sometimes there is a smile on my face,just because another day has begun,
but sometimes I want to crawl under the blankets,and hide from everyone and anything.

We always talk about 'our journey' here on spark,
how true is it that we are always on a journey, no matter what we do or where we are... we are on our way, "the journey to our real world"

As we get older, we don't stop learning, we don't stop being afraid, we probably get a lot better at hiding our fear and our true feelings.

During this spark journey, I have come to realise that it's most importan for me to be able to 'talk' and write about those fears...
It actually takes the fear away being able to share it with others.

i hope I can be there for my children when they have their fears, on their way to their 'real world'
And I'd like to be there for you, and my dear Sparkfriends, on your journey.

Thanks for sharing John, thanks for giving me something to think about, something that actually Matters!


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    My world has always been real too and at times nightmarish when I was really young through not fault of my own.

And no one my age wants to be too chummy with me as they can't keep up. Most of them have slid into a life of geezerdom and have no desire to do anything but pre-plan their funerals. Seriously I had a call this week regarding this and suggesting that I plan mine. I told them that I have no plans to die. I can find better things to do.

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GEINAHG0757 7/22/2010 6:27PM

    "But here in the real world,
It's not that easy at all,
'Cause when hearts get broken,
It's real tears that fall." - song by Alan Jackson

Thank you John for telling it like it is. I'm not scared of 5K's...but I am scared of being by myself...and going back to college...and worrying 'bout my kids. And my good real world has a job that I love, a daughter that starts college this fall and a son who is clean (and working!!!) for the first time in several years. And some fine folks on SP like you to share it with.

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WALKNLOVE 7/22/2010 3:58PM

    Back to life,back to reality, back to the here and now emoticon

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LUVMYK9S 7/22/2010 1:48PM

    Thank you John for a great blog, as always! I love your perspective on things, you are always an inspiration!

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JPRICE217 7/22/2010 1:18PM

    I am glad I am in my real world. You had very good advice to be friend older people. I realy enjoy being with them.

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BOURNBABE 7/22/2010 12:33PM

    So true! I've hated that phrase for years. I also hate "You'll understand when you're older." Like some capacity of your brain doesn't kick in until you reach a certain age. You might gain a different perspective of the problem as you age from experience, but doesn't mean you can't understand it now.
Anyway, I'm ranting. lol. Thanks for the great post! Loved it!

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CARTOONB 7/22/2010 11:22AM

    The real world can be a wonderful place! Mine is! emoticon

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AMABILE75 7/22/2010 10:23AM

    Hmmm, I must admit to you that I'm one of those people who use that statement from time to time... thank you for giving me a new perspective on that phrase. I think you are so right, life is difficult at any age... or at least it can be at times. It's our perspective that changes. You see things differently as you grow older and as you experience more of life... so we tend to think as we get older that children don't understand what they have to face when they graduate and have to make a living... but reality is, we also tend to forget what they are going through.

*HUGS* Thanks!!!

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CHRISSYVB 7/22/2010 9:57AM

    I have an 11 year old daughter who makes me question everything I thought that I knew.

She was talking about what she wanted to be when she grew up (a dentist) and I told her it would take a lot of hard work and 8 years of college and then training. She looked overwhelmed and started to change her mind, so I said, "Life can just happen and you can accept it, or you can make choices and work hard and change your life because 'in the real world' no one is just going to give you a good life it takes work." She said, "I like this world, I'm not sure I want to live in the real world." So I said "Sometimes I don't want to live there either, but I can't find anywhere else to go."

emoticonAs always, thanks for a great blog!

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GEEMAWEST 7/22/2010 9:30AM

    I totally agree with you, John. I have a resident that is 93 years old. He has always surrounded himself with younger folks. And he is one of the most awesome people I've ever met. He's got a great sense of humor and a great perspective on life.

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MKPRINCESS007 7/22/2010 8:23AM

    Love this post! I have to admit that I do say this, however it may be more "tongue in cheek" than I realize. I think you are so right on so many levels here. I believe that intrinsic to human nature, we should always take the feelings, concerns of others into account and not minimize them. I attribute that to my success (wait, I think I am successful at that? I am a social worker.........guess that remains for debate).

I have also found that life is nothing BUT comparisons. Whose life is "crazier" , nicer, and on and on. I have had people tell me that I had "bad luck" because I had three significant family members die within 3 years. Maybe that was their luck, not mine? I think it makes people feel better to say that stuff.

So, yes, the "real world" is our own reality. Not better, worse...just our own. Thanks so much!

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WEIGHTDIP 7/22/2010 8:19AM

    I subscribe to your blog because you are inspirational and wise. Thanks for all the effort you put into this. It means a lot to me.

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MOMMY_MIMI 7/22/2010 8:12AM

    Very well said! Thanks for your post!

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Thirty Six Years of Marriage and My True Inspiration

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

I have come to admire a lot of people in my life but none more so than my wife. I bring this up because of the hope chest in our bedroom. We finally moved it from the window to the foot of our bed. My daughters said they had never seen its interior and so Joan opened it. Along with her wedding dress, baptismal gowns and other family keepsakes was a stack of papers. The papers weren’t valuable. They were in there because, as she explained to my daughters, “That’s how your father used to clean up the bedroom!”

Some of the papers were put on my dresser. I went through them the other day. One caught my eye. It was the hand written agenda of a PTA Board Meeting circa 1991. At the time the elementary school my children attended had no PTA. Joan was asked to resurrect it. Literally. So she did. She assembled a board of enthusiastic and energetic people and while I am somewhat shaky on the dates two years later when her term of office was over the PTA was viable. I’ll spare you the hardship and anxiety she went through in resuscitating it. She handed the reigns over to the VP. That’s how it was all structured. Two years later both the pastor and the principal gushed over the current outgoing president. If it hadn’t been for her hard work and diligence etc there would have been no PTA. Privately Joan was hurt. Publically she handled it with grace. When her term had expired she received a small planter and some thanks. No one recognized that four years earlier the people taking bows treated the PTA like the plague. If you were not part of her family you would have never known it.

A while later the pastor came calling again. He had an after school care program that wasn’t viable. It was losing money. Would she run it? I would have told him to go pound sand. People were behind on their fees and the current director couldn’t seem to collect them. Ninety days later the program was in the black and prospered thereafter. The next summer Joan started a summer care program that was a huge success and other churches and schools would call to see what her program was doing right. This was in the days when after care was in its infancy and not a lot of resource available.

We moved to Owensboro a short time later. Moving from a large town like Louisville to a small town like Owensboro is a bit like having cold water poured on top of you. In short, her services in child care weren’t required. She wasn’t from here. I seethed. She went and got a job working for a national department store chain. She had never worked retail sales before. Three years after accepting the position she was their first employee in the state of Kentucky to be inducted into The Presidents Club. The chief requirement was one million dollars in sales for the previous year. That might be easy to do in New York or Chicago. Try doing it in Owensboro, Kentucky, population fifty thousand. The store merged with another retail giant and she left to be the office manager at a grocery store. While she always enjoyed math and numbers and the like she never held a formal book keeping position. Within three years’ time other office managers in the grocery store chain were calling her for advice.

Joan did all of this while raising six children plus me. She worked some awfully long hours and always had time for the kids. She never wrote a book, a blog or conducted a seminar. She just did what had to be done when it needed to be done and did it all very well. If I hadn’t written about it most people would never know about it because she has never, ever called attention to herself. It has always been no big deal. It’s just life.
She did all of this with a significant handicap. She is blind in one eye and has limited depth perception. She’s never been able to drive a car. Well into her fifties she took buses, walked to work and got rides when she could. Few people outside of her immediate family know about that either. I think her reasoning is that’s its not relevant. You commit to a job and you find a way to excel.

I am not exaggerating any of this because she’s my wife. This is not some sappy sort of testimonial to someone I have been married to for thirty six years. I never linked all those events together until I picked up that old piece of paper that sat in our hope chest for close to twenty years. Then I was amazed.

Here’s my point: If you think long enough and look hard enough you will find people like Joan in your life. They are heroes and one day, hopefully a long time from now they will be legends. If you do this, if you look for them in your home, your neighborhood or your place of work and you emulate their everyday success than you and I will be better people for it.

Through thirty six years of marriage, six kids and a lot of change, the lady still fits into her wedding dress. Today I celebrate thirty six years of love, joy and inspiration. I am very lucky

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PCW452002 8/3/2010 12:05PM

  Very sweet! You are very lucky to have each other!

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MRS243 8/3/2010 10:12AM

    emoticon Happy Anniversary!

You are both lucky to have each other!

Here's to the next 36! emoticon

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DAWNFIRE72 8/3/2010 12:34AM

    Happy 36th Anniversary to you and your wonderful wife. It sounds like you are a perfect match for each other. I too know someone very much like your wife who inspired me to do all the jobs great and small with equal care, mine is my Dad.

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BUTEAFULL 8/3/2010 12:23AM

    I want to cry tears of joy, I have been married the same length of time

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POPCORNGURL 8/2/2010 9:44PM

    Happy anniversary

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WALKNLOVE 7/26/2010 11:44AM


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GIRANIMAL 7/26/2010 11:21AM

    Happy anniversary, John, to you and beautiful Joan! It's no wonder that two amazing people like yourselves found each other and have shared so much. A perfect match indeed. Your kids are lucky to have you both as shining examples of all that can be right in the world. Blessings to you and your family on such a beautiful, joyous occasion!


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BOURNBABE 7/24/2010 10:49PM

    Happy anniversary! You're a lucky man!

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AMANDADAY63 7/22/2010 11:02AM

    What a wonderful tribute...this should be sent to Readers Digest or some other publication, it is truly inspirational and you have a great way with words that brings the story to life in a way we can all feel as if we have shared a little in the powerful impact of your wife on the world around her...I live in Bowling Green KY, and understand how KY folks dont always appreciate the talent that is amongst their ranks....its great that you have been able to enjoy your life with your wife as well as recognize her gifts...thanks for sharing the story with us

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MYOWNHERO 7/22/2010 12:41AM

    What a beautiful tribute! She is truly the salt of the earth. Thank you for making the world a better place, Joan.

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DUTCHIEKIWI 7/21/2010 10:53PM

    Make her read this please......

Joan, you really are an amazing woman. Determined, reliable, humble, but a go-getter who will achieve what she sets out to do.
People like you are most valuable in this life to everyone in this world.
Some people just can not seem to find it within them to applaud, compliment, and admire others, for it might make them look bad.

I thrive on people like you, it makes me want to become a better person, and try to achieve what you seem to do naturally.

KUDOS to you! A big applause is coming to you from me.

Thank you for being who you are, for helping all the people on your way.
Even though I've never met you, it's people like you that make this world go around!!



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GEORGIAK25 7/21/2010 3:38PM

    Congratulations on your anniversary (an achievement in itself these days.)
Secondly everyday I thank God for my mum who is like your wife.
To have someon like that in your life is not only an inspration and a role model but a blessing.
Thank you for sharing.

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SHEILAKHS1 7/21/2010 9:58AM

    John that was an inspiring story...sometimes it is so hard to really look at the good that goes on around us we are so customed to find the negative...Happy Anniversary and enjoy many more years together

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ROSE5328 7/21/2010 9:31AM

    Happy Anniversary. Your wife sounds like an amazing woman!

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LUCKYDOGFARM 7/21/2010 1:03AM

    WOW! you are a great husband to see all that you see in your wife and put it in writing too!
Hopefully your blog will inspire us all to do better, be better and show our love and appreciation for the people in our lives, even if they don't want the recognition!

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WALKAWAY 7/20/2010 11:16PM

    Happy Anniversary John. Sounds like you married a very special lady. emoticon

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    It sounds like you married well, John. Congratulations!

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RWETHAIRYET 7/20/2010 8:34PM

    Congratulations on your anniversary. You are a lucky man indeed!!

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TRISH2229 7/20/2010 7:10PM

    Joan sounds like an amazing woman and I know you feel lucky she chose you! I love to be around people like her. I hope you let her read this blog because you really wrote a beautiful tribute to her. Congratulations on your anniversary! emoticon

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CATHERINEL66 7/20/2010 5:42PM

    Holy moly, SIX kids? She's Wonder Woman!

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APATRICIAO521 7/20/2010 3:17PM

    Awesome Awesome blog. Congrats on your anniversary!!!

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LUVMYK9S 7/20/2010 2:42PM

    Happy Anniversary! You are both blessed to have each other!

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SMOCKON 7/20/2010 2:33PM

    Congratulations on 36 years of marriage! I hope there are many more.

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RHONDA_11 7/20/2010 2:25PM

    Happy anniversary! You both sound like truly amazing people. emoticon Rhonda

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    Happy Anniversary!! It sounds like you are both blessed to have each other!

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SWEETNEENI 7/20/2010 1:08PM

    HAPPY ANNIVERSARY to 2 terrific people who are blessed to have each other! emoticon

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TRACYDUKA 7/20/2010 12:51PM

    Happy Anniversary Joan and John. :) She sounds like she's one VERY beautiful woman and you are one very lucky man. :) I hope you guys have many many many more happy years together. :)

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JAE_HENNINGTON 7/20/2010 12:48PM

  my defination of a true hero... someone who gets up everyday and does what needs to be done when it would be easier just to stay in bed... I would say John both of you are very blessed people

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CARTOONB 7/20/2010 12:02PM

    Wow! What an amazing woman! And she stuck with you for 36 years (and counting!). I hope you have let her know every day how much you appreciate her! But then, knowing you, you have! Happy Anniversary!!!

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GETFIT2LIVE 7/20/2010 11:53AM

    No, John, you are not lucky--you are blessed! What an amazing woman; so often it's the unsung heroes who do the most in this world, and with grace and humor. I know she has a sense of humor to be married to you so long!

Congratulations on 36 years of marriage and best wishes for at least as many more. You have me beat by about 6 years, but I feel equally blessed by the man in my life. Give that wonderful woman a big hug from me, too!


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AMABILE75 7/20/2010 11:47AM

    Awww, you two are so perfect together. Happy Anniversary my friend. *HUGS* I've missed you!!!

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TIME4AFITME 7/20/2010 11:47AM

    Happy Anniversary to both of you. She sounds like an amazing woman!

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ANNE-ELIZ 7/20/2010 11:45AM

It is so good to hear couples speak of and to each other with respect and admiration!

Happy Anniversary!

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KATESACUTUP 7/20/2010 11:19AM

    You are an amazing husband and Joan is an amazing wife and woman and mother.

You remind me of a good friend of mine who is seeing his wife through her fight with breast cancer. He's also amazing.

I so admire you and tip my hat your way. Please tell Joan she IS my heroine.

Margie emoticon

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LOOKY-LOU 7/20/2010 10:59AM


What an amazing tribute to your wife! I too hope I am making an impact on the world by just doing what needs to be done.

How fortunate you both are to have each other.

Happy Anniversary! Oh, and thanks for the morning cry...

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STORMTMB 7/20/2010 10:20AM

    How awesome that you recognize these wonderful traits in Joan and that you share them with us. It is so rare to hear people speak positively about each other any more. It's so beautiful when a husband does it for his wife. Thank you for sharing this wonderful testimony and best wishes for another 36 years together.

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WISEONE68 7/20/2010 9:50AM

    What a wonderful testimony to your reminds me of Proverbs 31: (NIV)
"10 A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. 11 Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. 12 She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. 13 She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. 14 She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. 15 She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls. 16 She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. 17 She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. 18 She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. 19 In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers. 20 She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. 21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet. 22 She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple. 23 Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land. 24 She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes. 25 She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. 26 She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. 27 She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. 28 Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: 29 "Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all." 30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. 31 Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate."

I heard someone who was getting married (on a reality TV show) say that she and her fiance "together they were more than the sum of their parts". The bible says "the two shall become one flesh"...

Oh, how I pray for that to happen to me one day!! Hearing you speak of your wife--the "behind the scenes" things she did and still does do--makes me what to be a wife like that.

I am certain, too, that she could write similar things about YOU, she could not have done what she did, without you being who you are. That is what marriage is about!!!

Thanks for sharing your wonderful "testament" to your lovely wife...congrats on your 36 years--I pray you have MANY, MANY more years together!!!!!!!!

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EVLOBOS310 7/20/2010 9:44AM

    emoticon This brought a tear to my eye - in a good way, of course. emoticon to you and Joan for your long and successful marriage, may you have many more happy, healthy years together. emoticon emoticon

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MINENA1 7/20/2010 9:02AM

    Wow! That was so beautiful. Joan has accomplished SOOOO much! She's amazing! God Bless you both!

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CMBELISLE 7/20/2010 8:54AM

    Congratulations! It's obvious that you not only love your wife, but respect her beyond measure.

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CHRISSYVB 7/20/2010 8:43AM

    I have tears in my eyes as I am writing this. Congratulations on 36 years of marriage and God bless Joan and all those like her that do the real work that the rest of us take for granted.

As usual you've inspired me, but today it is to go out and notice all the small (and large) daily contributions that good people make, that no one else is noticing.


Comment edited on: 7/20/2010 8:45:34 AM

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MOMGABE 7/20/2010 8:43AM

    Happy Anniversary to both of you. My husband and I just celebrated 30 years of marriage yesterday. Joan is an amazing woman. You make a great couple. Hope you enjoy celebrating today.

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HDHAWK 7/20/2010 8:41AM

    Happy Anniversary to you and Joan! You're very fortunate to have one another.

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HEART4HOME 7/20/2010 8:36AM

    This is a beautiful blog!I have a husband and six children and I only pray that I am making a positive impact in their lives. I take my job seriously although I mess up all of the time. I have no greater joy than serving that God has blessed me with. Proverbs 31 talks about a woman being praised by her husband and children and I think Joan fits the bill. Congratulations and I wish you much happiness in the years to come. Thanks for sharing.

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TNTEACHER2 7/20/2010 8:32AM

    Hi, John,
There are those who do, and those who don't. Joan is one of THOSE WHO DO!!! She is a natural leader, and we are lucky to have folks like her on this earth.

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MCSNYDER1 7/20/2010 8:20AM

    You are a very blessed man. And it appears Joan has blessed the lives of everyone she has met! (I stumbled upon you and your Sparkpage this morning while welcoming mshuffnpuffn to the butterflies.)

I must say, I am crying bittersweet little tears right now. It is a rare man who can articulate, let alone, put into writing the things which you have!! This time of year tends to be tough for me--my first husband died July 2, 1995, while pursuing one of his passions. We were high school sweethearts and had been married almost 18 years. I am now remarried to a REMARKABLE man that I swear was sent to me directly by God, but there will always be that little space reserved for Bill----he was not only my "Joan", but our entire community's. I have 100s (yes 100s) of letters that I received after he died. He ran the local funeral home and I had absolotely no idea the extent of his reach! The sad thing is, very few of these people let him know how his ministry had touched them so deeply until after he died!

After Bill's death, I lived in slow motion for many years. It was during this time that I began to notice how many people touched my life everyday...fellow teachers, folks at church---oh, you expect that! But it was also the lady at the produce stand, the person next to me at a traffic light, the grumpy teenager that bagged my groceries, the lady who ripped my head off at the 800 # I had called. In other words, everyone. Be it pleasant or not, I just decided there was a hidden reason these people behaved the way they did, and I smiled anyway.

Oh my, I am rambling and may be hijacking your blog. (sorry).

I want to say that you have touched me, as has your Joan. I know you will have a blessed day and I pray you have many more to come. Joan has left her mark everywhere she has been and you just left a mark on me!!!

emoticon to both of you!


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TEACHING1ST 7/20/2010 8:16AM

    John, I wish both of you another wonderful long set of years. God blessed you with each other and a fabulous love. Thank you for sharing your blessings with us!


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FUZZY1TOO 7/20/2010 8:09AM

    Congratulations to you both. What an accomplishment in today's world.....a world where marriage is viewed as a disposable lifestyle. You both are an inspiration to those of us who love our partners, but are only a fraction of the way there.
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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FAB464 7/20/2010 8:08AM

    Every woman should be so lucky to have a man in her life that shows her as much love, respect, and apperciation as you do towards your wife. And you're lucky to have such a wonderful woman in your life.

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DBELLE39 7/20/2010 8:05AM

    Happy Anniversary to you & your lovely wife! May you be blessed with many more to follow! emoticon

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