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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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Fear, The Final Frontier

Monday, July 19, 2010

“If you want to take your mission in life to the next level, look inside. Abolish your fears and raise your commitment level to the point of no return, and I guarantee you that the champion within will propel you towards victory.” Bruce Jenner

It hangs on the inside of my locker at the gym. It sits at eye level and before I begin my workouts I read it and let my hand touch it. On the days I am looking forward to working out it raises my level up a notch and I go bouncing up the stairs. On the days I’d rather not be there it centers and focuses me and reminds me why I am there.

Most of what I don’t do is born of fear. It’s not the fear of failure. As a habitually and chronically over weight person I could write you a really good “How To….” on how to fail at stuff. Nope, failure does not scare me, being successful does. It scares me so much that I will create elaborate excuses to not deal with it or confront it. I will rationalize to the point where I believe the myths I created in my head.
I have been putting off working with a personal trainer since May. I just “wasn’t ready.” That was my first excuse. Next there were so many “good people” to choose from. I was approached by two trainers offering me their services. (They really shouldn’t do that!!! LOL) I deferred. It was my work schedule and all. They said they would work around it. I told them I would get back with them.

I “prayed” about what I should do and I even came up with the notion that sort of like the burning bush, God would show me the trainer that was right for me. Until them, I would suffer silently waiting for an angel to hover over the top of my gym and point the way.”

Divine intervention or not I needed a trainer. Other than C25K I am at a point where my workouts aren’t taking me higher. I feel as if I flat lined. Last week I took the plunge. I filled out the paper work along with a lengthy dissertation attached to it. I immediately regretted it. This means that fat old me is going to have to make another commitment to himself. There is going to be another human being there. Maybe we better re- think all of this.

I opened my locker and read the quote and as I dressed I realized I was simply scared. It wasn’t anything very complicated. I was scared of succeeding, more than I already had. Since I began this journey and it has become noticeable people have gone out of their way to be complimentary to me about my appearance. It makes me uncomfortable.

I have to laugh because isn’t it every over weight persons dream to be noticed for all the right reasons? I get uncomfortable because when people notice me there is an expectation created inside of me. I don’t always like that. I am not used to dealing with success. I am used to losing ten pounds and putting on twenty and blaming the cosmos.

Now I am going to take it up a notch. I am going to work with a pro who I want to put me on a long term program that will maintain my health and help me reach my weight and fitness goals. I am fortunate I can do this, yet I am fighting it every step of the way. I am scared because I am requiring myself to be a success.
Misery loves company, or so the saying goes. I know misery; he lives next door and greets me every morning. Success moved in across the street recently and him, well him, I am not quite too sure of him. I keep my distance. He threatens everything I had come to believe about myself.

I must supply God with a much needed dose of comic relief given all the wriggling and wrangling I do. Every tool I ever need is inside of me given to me at birth. It’s my choice to use those tools or let them lie dormant. It’s my fear that prevents me from doing so.

Call it a light bulb going off in my head or call it the Holy Spirit; it came to me yesterday that this is the reason I have always reached a certain point in my health journey and then fallen backwards. I was afraid of success. Fear griped me by the throat and provided me with a host of excuses and I took advantage of every one of them.

“If you want to take your mission in life to the next level, look inside. Abolish your fears and raise your commitment level to the point of no return, and I guarantee you that the champion within will propel you towards victory.”
I sit here this morning with a new perspective. Like anything else new in life it’s tender and it’s awkward and right now I am not really sure about it. I am happy and excited and I am scared. I have made fifteen new excuses not to move forward as I write. All I can do is laugh.

I’ll get it done. I’ll overcome my fears, all of them. It may take me awhile and I might have a few setbacks along the way but if I want to get to the next level it’s necessary.

There’s a new world out there for me and you. All we have to do is gather the courage inside of us to go explore it.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PANFRIEDTROUT 7/24/2010 7:54PM

    thanks John for posting this; today's entry had a powerful impact on me ... and, I'm sure, on many others as well. when i read things like this & they rock me to my inner core, i'm pretty much left speechless as my brain & heart try to process the ideas/feelings. thanks again!


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TEACHING1ST 7/20/2010 8:11AM

    John, you always 'Make My Day!' Thanks for your words of wisdom! And I hope the trainer is the best all around for you.


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BEANPOD77 7/20/2010 7:03AM

    Very thought provoking..Thanks, as always, for sharing these wonderful thoughts!

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NANASNOW 7/19/2010 9:06PM

    John! You always have the right words for me when I am feeling "successful" I too am afraid of succeeding! It happens a lot! Right now I have hit a plateau and am ready to pack it in. Your words have given me the strength to go on.
I had kept away from the Spark site as I was feeling like a failure, then I realized that this site is for those times. You talk of divine inspiration or intervention, but I believe that He is working through you for me. I am so glad you have come to my life! God Bless you!

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JPRICE217 7/19/2010 7:29PM

    Great blog. You have given me a lot to think about.

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    This is also perfect for today because I am exactly at the place you discuss in this blog. I've reached the halfway point and then some of my weight loss journey. The weight I'm at right now is where I stayed for a year or so on my way UP the scale. I was always between 120-125lbs size 7. Slowly I gained more and more weight until I was right around 160-165lbs wearing a size 16. That's exactly where I am right now and I believe that it is due to my fear of success as well. I have to take the next step to kick it up a notch and your blog was exactly what I needed to read to help me do that.

Thank you, as always, for an inspiring blog.

Comment edited on: 7/19/2010 4:31:28 PM

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HONORINGGOD 7/19/2010 2:06PM

    thank you john im going to share this with the honering GOD through healthier living . i kw what you saying about change but like happypatty said we are children of God ,his creation let us shine for his glory .thanks again

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HAPPYPATTY1 7/19/2010 1:28PM

    Hi John-

Do you know this one, too? It's the one that best pulls me out of myself when I wander in the darkness...

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

(Marianne Williamson, 1992)

John- know that you help a LOT of people by being a shining light!


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CAHUNO2 7/19/2010 12:30PM

    emoticon I love reading your blog but this one is GREAT!! I am at that same point too. You have given me a lot to think about!! emoticon

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CARTOONB 7/19/2010 11:59AM

    You can overcome your fear and be successful! I have faith in you!

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TIME4AFITME 7/19/2010 11:57AM

    Thank you for this blog and for putting it out there. It is so true. You can do it!

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DOCYJK 7/19/2010 11:39AM

    You are an inspiration - and I value the fact that you can keep your sense of humor and remain grounded even when you say you're scared! I'll be eager to hear how the training sessions go! I've been trying to find a personal trainer, and I think I can finally make the time to do it. Thanks for the SPARK!!! emoticon

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SNUGBEAN 7/19/2010 11:26AM

    I think this makes total sense. I have done the same thing. I lose enough for people to notice and when they do I get uncomfortable and start going backwards. I never thought that it was fear holding me back. It really helps to have a different perspective. Thanks so much! I am keeping that quote nearby too!

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RHONDA_11 7/19/2010 11:01AM

    Excellent! Thank you for sharing. I struggle with fear of success also. You gave me a lot think about. emoticon Rhonda

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STORMTMB 7/19/2010 10:45AM

    yep. so true. And last night did you think of all of the possibilty that today and this week holds? This is part of it.

You'll love your trainer and the next level that he/she will take you to. Congrats for filling out the paperwork. Huge step!! Keep up the great work, dude!

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MORTICIAADDAMS 7/19/2010 10:42AM

    Bruce Jenner is a great motivational speaker. Nothing to be afraid of John. You only have to do your best. Your best on a particular day will vary according to circumstances beyond your control but there still will be much you can do to achieve your goals. Doing your best sounds intimidating but it's something we all should expect of ourselves. You do it at work if you are a good employee. I know very few people who were in my field of critical care nursing who go in thinking, "I'll just do as little as I can and hope that most of the patients make it." LOL. So why not put as much effort into you as you do your job. I get up everyday expecting to do that and I am almost always satisfied.

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JAE_HENNINGTON 7/19/2010 9:54AM

  what you say is so true... something that all of us needs to come to terms with if we are going to be successful at being healthy, and staying at our healthy weight... thanks for addressing this very important issue

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MAWRTIAN 7/19/2010 9:48AM

    Thanks John! Have you read C.S. Lewis Screwtape letters? It is one of my favorites and whenever those nagging doubts get me I try to read a few pages. It reminds me that there are powers here on Earth that want me to fail. Keep up the good fight!!!

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DIASTER 7/19/2010 9:35AM

  Oh yes!!
This time we will get to the goal, not 10 pounds away and regain the whole amount plus 10.
Are we just afraid of the unknown?, or afraid of what will be expected of us? Ouch and thank you.

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TOTHEFUTURE1 7/19/2010 9:25AM

    Ah yes courage!

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DAWNDMOORE40 7/19/2010 8:53AM

    emoticonfor giving us the inspiration to fight our fears and to get out there and make something of ourselves! I believe each of us needs to call on the holy spirit each day and allow that to make decisions for us instead relying on the world! I don't always make the right decisions, but I try to listen to God and what he is telling me! Isn't it great that we have our Lord n Savior to help us through when we get into those times in our lives where we feel corner and that we have no way out? It brings me so much joy! emoticon
Oh by the way, I wish you the best with your new personal trainer! I think you will see it was a emoticonchoice! emoticon emoticon

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DEVORA4 7/19/2010 8:47AM

  emoticonfor putting it out there for us. Your blog was more than emoticon I have a special notebook where I keep the best blogs for me to refer back to. This is going in there. emoticon emoticondebby

Comment edited on: 7/19/2010 8:49:31 AM

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BRYLIA 7/19/2010 8:37AM

I really enjoy reading your blogs because they always make me think and give me a smile. What I find remarkable is that it would appear that your soul is transforming...your "stride" is being found in so many aspects of your life as you help bring the rest of us to a new level. Congratulations on taking the leap with a personal trainer!!!

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HDHAWK 7/19/2010 8:37AM

    How do you always know what I need to hear? I've been trying to figure out why, when I was only 6 lbs. from my goal, I gained back about 22 lbs. I've been struggling to get back to my routine and am finally getting there. I think you're on to something John! I've yo yo dieted for years and I'm sure I expect it from myself as well as other people. Great blog!

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CHRISSYVB 7/19/2010 8:35AM

    Take a deep breath and jump! What is the worst that can happen - success? You can handle it, you've faced worse than a little success.

God Bless,


Comment edited on: 7/19/2010 8:38:30 AM

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MUSTANG_SALLY2 7/19/2010 8:31AM

    I'll can say is, "Amen!" I so get this. I love the quote. I need to memorize it and begin to live it. I'll be excited to hear how it goes with the trainer. I envision Jillian from Biggest Loser and her ability to scream really loud. I hope that's not what you'll find. I don't like to be yelled at! LOL Best wishes on your new endeavor. Keep us posted on how it goes!


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KATHRYN1955 7/19/2010 8:30AM

    Your blog reminds me of a quote from Marion Williamson which you may have seen before. I have attached it below for a reminder for all of us who are afraid of success. Being unhealthy and overweight truly does not serve any purpose other than preventing us from moving forward, and you are right, that is more scary than staying in our well-worn ruts.

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. You were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within you. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we're liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

Take care and good luck with that personal trainer!
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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How I Learned About Balance Today

Sunday, July 18, 2010

As he walked up the aisle he shuffled a bit and reached one hand out to steady himself on a pew. He bowed before the altar rather than kneeling. When he prayed his words came out a bit haltingly. At times he seemed a little bit confused.
Our pastor has been on vacation for the past week and this Sunday in his place was a retired priest who I later found out was eighty four. His words were slow and his actions even slower, that is until he approached the pulpit to preach his sermon.

In a clear voice he asked; “Do you know how many minutes there are in a day? I’ll tell you. There are one thousand four hundred forty minutes in each day. So I would like to issue you a challenge here this morning. Before you go to bed tonight I would like you to do three things. Each of them should take one minute. First I’d like you to review your day and search for the best thing that happened to you. When you find it I’d like you to be thankful for it.”

“Next, I’d like you to find the worst moment you had today. Maybe you got angry at someone, or your feelings were hurt. When you find it be thankful for it too. You were given an opportunity to learn something about yourself.”

“Finally, before you drift off to sleep, look forward to tomorrow and all it holds.”
He looked over the congregation for a few seconds and was silent.

“That my friends are how you achieve perfect balance in your lives. Surely you can spare three minutes from your day.”

I’m going to bed here in a few minutes. I’ll shower, brush my teeth and even read for a bit. When I turn the light off on my night stand, just before I get the pillows all situated correctly I am going to make a three minute investment in my life.
I sure wish you would join me

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TEACHING1ST 7/20/2010 8:03AM

    Wonderful, John! We had an elderly priest at our parish---twice, actually---and he was the same as yours: the wisdom of the ages means so much. I'm reviewing and rejuvenating now. Thanks for sharing this.


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JPRICE217 7/19/2010 7:36PM

    emoticon I will start doing this. I might end mine with what I have to thankful for so I will go to sleeping being thankful

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LUVMYK9S 7/19/2010 11:09AM

    Awesome! I too will be making this 3 minute investment in my life from now on! Thank you so much for sharing!

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ELAINESHAFF 7/19/2010 10:48AM

    Wonderful! ! I will do it before I go to bed every night.

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EDWINA172 7/19/2010 9:43AM

    Wow! Wish I had read this last night. This is what I'll do tonight! 3 minutes. So worth it.

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FROGGERHKC 7/19/2010 7:40AM

    Oh I like this! Thank you for sharing!


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KATIEGLEN012 7/19/2010 6:18AM

    Oh my gosh....I LOVED this. Will do...forever.

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DUTCHIEKIWI 7/19/2010 1:25AM

    Do you know what...? I will!

Thanks John, and thanks to your old but very wise pastor!



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CHERIRIDDELL 7/19/2010 12:47AM

    Count me in too I am investing 3 minutes in myself .I am counting Sparkfriends as one of my greatest blessings ! Thank you!

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MKPRINCESS007 7/19/2010 12:00AM

    Thanks a bunch! I knew I needed to check Spark before bed tonight for a reason! :)

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IMJUSTDUCKIE 7/18/2010 11:52PM

    I'm not religious, but thank you for sharing that wise advice.

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ANNE-ELIZ 7/18/2010 11:35PM

    I know what one will be...

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RHONDA_11 7/18/2010 10:29PM

    I am on my way to bed and I believe I will take that challenge and I thank you for it. I love your attitude towards life. emoticon Rhonda

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STORMTMB 7/18/2010 10:24PM

    Count me in. Such a benefit for just 3 mins.

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HONORINGGOD 7/18/2010 10:22PM

    3 minutes i'll take that challenge emoticon

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KATESACUTUP 7/18/2010 10:17PM

    Thank you. One of the biggest things I’m missing since I fell and broke my foot is being able to listen to the Sunday sermon. You really filled a void with wonderful words of wisdom.

Margie emoticon

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CARTOONB 7/18/2010 10:04PM

    Great idea. I can spare 3 minutes.

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DOLLBABE56 7/18/2010 9:58PM

    I'm going to give it a try in a few minutes! I am looking forward to what it will reveal to me.

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SLY_REDUX 7/18/2010 9:57PM

    Count me in.

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DEVORA4 7/18/2010 9:51PM

  The priest had it akk together, What a great lesson he gave you. emoticonfor giving it to me. emoticondebby

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GETFIT2LIVE 7/18/2010 9:50PM

    Sometimes it's the simplest things that are the most profound. I think I need to add one more three-minute routine to the end of my day . . .


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LUCYSRAIN 7/18/2010 9:47PM

    That is just perfect, how wise edlerly people are! I will join you and be thankful....

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LUCYSRAIN 7/18/2010 9:47PM

    That is just perfect, how wise edlerly people are! I will join you and be thankful....

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RJFERRARO315 7/18/2010 9:43PM

    Great insight. I'll do it tonight. Best thing, worst thing & looking forward to tomorrow. Got it!

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HDHAWK 7/18/2010 9:31PM

    Excellent John! I'll join you. Thanks for sharing this reminder.

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    That was some retired priest your church had. A lesson to all in judging a book by it's cover. I'll do the challenge.

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