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Update On My Dad

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

There is a point in time where it dawns on you that the roles and their meanings have changed. The child becomes the parent and the parent becomes the child. It’s unsettling. You were raised to respect, honor and love your parents. They knew best. Then they reach their mid-eighties and they begin to lose their grasp on reason. It scares you.

My dad could have avoided a trip to the hospital if he had called the doctor Saturday morning and got a prescription. His reasoning was that he didn’t like the doctor that was on call. She got “snippy” with him last time. He was going to wait until Monday. So Sunday morning he is running a 102F fever. His left leg is swollen and he is so weak he can’t get out of bed. At that point in time he decides maybe he should go to the ER. My sister Mary looks at him and tells him she will call 911. No. My father doesn’t want the neighbors knowing he is sick and my mother doesn’t want the neighbors looking inside of their home when an ambulance comes. My two brother-in-laws will carry him to the car.

Let’s pause here for a moment. My dad has been down this road a couple of times before. He gets cellulitis very easily and usually ends up in the hospital for one or two days. I am four hundred miles away and the oldest so it’s easy for my mom and dad to ignore my phone calls --- “The ringer must have been turned off.”

When they get to the hospital my dad is upset because he doesn’t like the doctor. Neither does my mother. She is female and Croatian. We’re Polish!!! Look at the map!! Poland and Croatia aren’t that far apart from each other. We are all Slavic!!! What makes it worse is that this doctor knows her stuff and BTW she won’t put up with a lot of stuff. She notices in looking at my dad’s file that there are no DNR instructions for either him or my mom. She explained that they were getting to an age where that needed to be known. Both my sisters said she handled this very professionally and with a lot of respect for my mom and dad. My father and mother have a fit!!

Yesterday my dad was upset because his doctor hadn’t been in to see him doe he called the office. They explained that when he was admitted he was assigned a staff doctor who was emailing his primary care physician the various protocols. He was mad about that.
When I talked to him on the phone he told me he didn’t need to be there. Sigh

He should be coming home tomorrow or Thursday. I suggested to my brother (I can’t go to see him, we have to feed the horses and go grocery shopping…”) and my sister Jane ( Don’t get mom and dad upset….) that all four of us sit down and talk a bit about the future. It’s getting harder for them to take care of themselves. My sister Mary is the only one who takes the time to look in on them, etc.

Thank you all for your prayers and well wishes. It’s good to know I have so many friends here. Right now, if I drank to excess, this would be a really good opportunity!!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BELLAMIMI1 10/21/2010 6:02PM

    Ohh, that's tough.

Talk about role reversal: my daughter is 35 and I'm 53 and I promise you she thinks she the mother now and often tells me what to do! LOL She's a very big help to me, so sometimes I listen. LOL

I will be keeping you and the family in my prayers.

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SMOCKON 10/21/2010 2:32PM

    Sounds like my dad! My daily prayer is, "Lord, show me how to honor my parents."

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ANNE-ELIZ 10/21/2010 12:51AM

    Hi John, I just saw your blog post now. ...Seems like there's a lot of that going around...

I just posted on my blog about a similar issue.

This is a difficult time and it can be made more difficult when there isn't unanimity among family members on how to deal with the situation. Communication is key, but not always easy.

Know that you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. emoticon

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EDWINA172 10/20/2010 4:31PM

    This is such a difficult time in an adult child's life. Its not a natural role that we were meant to play. We become the parent of our parent. Its such a challenge. They have their own will. We can't just tell them to shut up and go to their room. We can't ground them! We have our mental role of child. We feel that we must respect them even when they act up. Family pushes your buttons so much easier than anyone else.
I used to work as a nurse in as assisted living facilty. I've seen the struggle that families go through. I've experienced it myself. One day I realized that this is the way that God must feel at times. He says, "I gave them their own will, ugh!"

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MORTICIAADDAMS 10/20/2010 2:41PM

    My dad and MIL are becoming more feeble and the weaker they get the more stubborn and unreasonable they get. LOL. It's hard to know where to draw the line. As long as they are not senile you really can't do any more than present your arguments in a reasonable manner and even though they may appear to fall on deaf ears they were probably heard. Good luck with your dad.

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NJMATTICE 10/20/2010 9:21AM

    I am constantly reminded of the saying "getting old is not for sissies". I am glad that you are fit and strong. You are going to need all the energy you can muster. There are tough times ahead. Lots of support and prayers here for you.

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MARCYNA 10/20/2010 4:24AM

    We've all got idiosyncrasies...Your Dad's in my prayers and also your Mum & Family...there will be a solution, Providence is at work emoticon

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ANEPANALIPTI 10/20/2010 2:00AM

    Hey, I'm half polish! :-) Hope your dad is doing OK, my thoughts are with you! *hugs*


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GEEMAWEST 10/19/2010 7:56PM

    I see this kind of thing on a daily basis at my job (assisted living facility). It is so hard for all parties involved. There is no easy answer and all families have to work it out in their own way.

We had a 98 year old woman come stay at our facility after she had broken her hip. She was very anxious to get back to her own home. The physical therapist and I went out to evaluate her home and oh my, what a nightmare. 3 stories and totally unsafe in more ways than I can count. She insisted on going home and together with her family we decided that the only way she would be happy is if she was in her own home. And if she should fall and break her hip again or even worse, than she died a being happy. Quality of life is what is important.

Then there is the 86 year old diabetic who's blood sugars run in the 500's often. The family agreed that she should be able to eat what she wants when she wants because it is the quality of her life that matters and they didn't want to deny her what makes her happy.

My mother, who is in her mid seventies, was hospitalized a couple of years ago. My brother and sister asked me to come down to stay with Mom & Dad while she recovering. I agreed and called my dad to tell him I was on my way. You would have thought I just told him that he was the most worthless person in the world. He yelled and screamed at me that he was perfectly capable of taking care of his wife and he didn't need any help. I was stunned and hurt but had to take a step back and look at things from his point of view. It's no easy task, especially when their health and welfare could be endangered.

Didn't mean to ramble, but this subject is very near & dear to my heart.

Do the best you can and work together with your siblings for the answer that is best for your folks and your family.

Hugs, Cheryl

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CARTOONB 10/19/2010 6:32PM

    As hard as it is for you to be the parent, it's twice as hard for your folks to be the kids. They have been doing things their way longer than you've been alive and you're still a whipper-snapper! LOL! I hope you can get your family together to discuss the future. Good luck!

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SPARKENISTA 10/19/2010 5:41PM

    Sorry to hear about all of this turmoil. It sounds irrational to me, too, but having control over our lives (and not letting the neighbors look in) is very important when you feel yourself slipping.

I know it's hard for you to deal with the role reversal, but your father is having a very hard time abdicating control and admitting his frailties. It's hard for all concerned.

I hope that there is some positive resolution in the near future.

BTW, with all of this going on, I particularly appreciate your looking in on me and tracking my progress as you've been doing. Thank you so much.



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HDHAWK 10/19/2010 4:53PM

    I've been wondering how your dad was doing John. All I can say is, "been there, done that"! I think your situation is very typical of people in their age group. Not sure that helps in any way, but at least you're not alone. emoticon All you can do, is all you can do. I think your idea of meeting and talking together is great if you can get your sibs to agree. We had the same situation with my former FIL. If you stick your head in the sand and pretend it isn't happening then maybe it will go away. I hope you can get this dilemma solved John. Thinking of you and Joan!

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BTINTERNET 10/19/2010 4:32PM

    Getting your family together to discuss is really important. It is a hard role-change indeed. (I remember the first time my dad had to borrow money from me....) Keep running and we'll keep thinking of you.

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CIVIAV 10/19/2010 3:32PM

    And not tending to drink to excess, it might ease your mind until the meeting. Stay in charge of yourself and you will do the best for everyone involved. Good luck and God bless you all!

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ZURDTA- 10/19/2010 3:28PM

    My father doesn’t want the neighbors knowing he is sick and my mother doesn’t want the neighbors looking inside of their home when an ambulance comes.

Crazy, crazy people!

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GIRANIMAL 10/19/2010 2:24PM

    Oh man, John, I am sorry to hear you are facing these issues that come with aging and/or sick parents. And when siblings make it more difficult, well, it's just so unfortunate. I will share this, though: I could not believe the ugliness that surfaced between my mom and her brother and sister-in-law when my grandfather was sick. It made me sort of glad to be an only child. But then when I faced end-of-life decisions with my own mother just 6 months later, I longed for siblings to share some of the burden. Thank goodness you at least have an ally in Mary.

Most people are terrified of dealing with death, particularly their own, and it seems to get worse as the time grows inevitably nearer. Just try to remember when your folks are being unreasonable and making you crazy that they are likely scared. Approach the subject with love. But be firm, because you are right that it needs to be addressed. And then go outside and scream afterward. emoticon

Keeping you and Joan in my thoughts. emoticon

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MISSROCKABILLY 10/19/2010 1:19PM

    Sending good and positive thoughts for you and your family.

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BOBBIENORTHERN 10/19/2010 12:25PM

    Hey, John, just do your best to keep your sense of humor and look at all of this through eyes of love and compassion and do and go where Mr. Holy Spirit leads you to go. I think people get kind of funny as they age. My own mom even quit bathing as much as she used to the older she got. She said there was no need to bath everyday. She wouldnt even get clean clothes everyday. So, you do have other siblings that can help out just so long as you all can put aside any sibling differences and or rivalries, but, most of all learn to laugh alot and to keep a soft and tender and caring and loving heart, if nothing else it will help you to enjoy your days more fully. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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CMBELISLE 10/19/2010 12:00PM

    My thoughts and prayers are with you, but I can't even begin to help you answer the questions. I can say this though - your parents are feisty and that feistiness will help them live many more years.

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JJSSKINNYGIRL 10/19/2010 11:55AM

    Oh John! I'm sorry to hear all that. I know it seems like an imposable situation, but get that meeting going, do whatever you need to do to get it done, you will be very glad you did!

I'll have you in my thoughts & prayers!

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MUSTANG_SALLY2 10/19/2010 11:47AM

    My family and I are going thru this very thing. On 10/3, the six of us got together to discuss some things. The meeting went well but turned out to be pretty useless since my dad is so stubborn and is convinced that he doesn't need help. This is a very tough time for all of us. I'll be thinking of you!


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GETFIT2LIVE 10/19/2010 11:45AM

    Life gets so complicated sometimes, doesn't it? Especially with family; we went through similar things with both my mother (600 miles away and completely alone) and my husband's mother (1200 miles away but with his sister nearby). It's hard to talk about DNR orders and how to help our parents without them resenting our 'interference.' I pray that you and your siblings will be able to talk about the future for your parents in a way that honors and respects them but also ensures they are safe and live a long and healthy life. Makes you think about your own future and how to make things easier on your kids when the roles reverse there, too. Keep taking care of yourself in the midst of all this; exercise is a great stress reliever, especially running!

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CATHERINEL66 10/19/2010 11:29AM

    Hang in there John. Sounds a bit like your Dad is working through his own processing, and I'm sure it's hard for everyone. Remember what you told me one time about letting someone fail so they could have the experience of getting to the place they needed? Not that I suggest you let your Mom and Dad "fail" or harm happen, but I think they have to get to a place where they'll accept help.

And yes -- get your siblings around the table now and talk through the future -- hopefully with Mom and Dad too. It's easier now when there's no crisis. We went through this over the last few years with my similarly aged grandparents and it was not easy.

Keep exercising, buddy! It's better than the alternatives.

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TRIPLE_EMME 10/19/2010 11:26AM


Good luck with this situation, John.

Please keep your health a priority.

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STORMTMB 10/19/2010 11:16AM


I am 43 and have been dealing with this for many years already. My parents are in their 80's (yes, I was an "accident"). I know exactly what you mean. The role reversal is hard on everyone.

There is a wonderful workbook from Crown Financial Ministries that walks a person/family through many of those decisions that should be made and discussed and understood before you reach the critical final moments. I completed one for myself nearly 10 years ago regarding my finances and my wishes. My parents have worked on theirs, but we need to update it and talk more. Just thinking a tool such as this might help those in your family who are willing to work on it (and face reality!).

The workbook is called Set Your House in Order Workbook

Good luck!


Comment edited on: 10/19/2010 11:19:44 AM

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SWEETNEENI 10/19/2010 11:13AM

    I will remember you all in my prayers. Stay strong.

PS: My dad is Croatian and my mom is half Polish emoticon

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HLPRATT 10/19/2010 11:09AM

    It's hard to have elderly parents. There's a lot of dealing with crisis's that goes on. And it is unsettling to have the roles reversed but that happens too. A sense of humor and alot of stress relief is about all that helps. Good luck

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AKATUJE 10/19/2010 11:04AM

    Dear John, i pray for peace for you and your family, in the knowledge that God will work it all out for your good. I also pray that somehow you will work out how to go about it all. May God give you wisdom. He is with you.


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"Dont Stop Believing"

Saturday, October 16, 2010

My blog title this morning is one of the songs I use to warm up before I run. It not only gets my juices flowing, so to speak, but it gives me a really good reminder that I can do anything I choose to do.

I began running May 8, 2010 when I ran the last three hundred feet of a charity walk Joan and I had registered for. It felt good. Two days later I began the C25K program and went through a summer of hell mostly because I really didn’t believe I could ever get to the point at age fifty seven where I would be running a 5K. I participated in my first race on September 25, 2010.

If you are a faithful follower of my blogs you know that last Saturday I began running The Race For The Cure in Louisville. Three fourths of the way though the race I had what can best be described as a rather spectacular fall. I tore my right knee up with some pretty gruesome looking scrapes, road burns and cuts and sprained my left wrist. The worst pain was reserved for the internal me. In about ten seconds, everything I had pointed for went away. I couldn’t finish the race. That hurt worse than my leg.

Joan was off of work on Monday and her first words to me were “Don’t even think about it!!!” One MRI later I was able to bargain a walk to and from Walgreens to get a prescription filled as long as she came with me so as she put it “I didn’t get any ideas.” We walked about two miles and I felt okay. Tuesday I went to the gym and I walked around the track for about a half mile and decided to test my leg. I ran a lap, walked a lap. I did this for two miles and felt fine.
The physical part of me rebounded quickly. The mental part was like someone who kept waiting for their prom date to show up. I had some really serious self-doubt going on. So Wednesday morning I cleared my schedule and went back up to the gym. I ran a 5K. I did it indoors because if I had to stop I could just walk off the track and sit down.

Honestly? I could have run four miles the way I felt. I had this whole head/heart thing going on and my head won. I stopped at 5K. I felt redeemed. I sent a text to my core group of supporters and told them “I took care of some unfinished business.” Late yesterday afternoon, I ran 3.5 miles in what can only be described as the best fall day I have ever experienced in my life. My recovery was good and my leg wasn’t really sore except where the real bad road burn was.

While I was running this thought crossed my mind: We all fall, one way or the other. How many times do we just lay there and how many times do we get back up and start over? It just doesn’t apply to exercise. We don’t like to speak of it, because we become ashamed but how many times do I “blow it” when it comes to food? How many times do I just give up? How many times do I tell myself that when I sit down to or prepare my next meal, I’ll get back on track?

There really isn’t a lot of difference is there – me falling on the pavement and me eating a donut? It’s what I do afterwards that counts. Trainer Jen told me Thursday “Ya know John, all GREAT athletes get hurt.” (Notice the GREAT part, please, LOL) I believe success is largely determined by how we look at and handle our failures, immediately after they occur. I can punish myself and ridicule myself or I can take corrective action. The choice is mine.

“Don’t Stop Believing.”

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

EDWINA172 10/20/2010 4:26PM

    We tell our clients the same thing that Jen told you. You are an athlete, you are going to get hurt sometime. I'm glad that you bounced back. Did you notice the casual way you wrote, "I ran a 5K."? LOL! Did you ever think that you'd get to the point when that distance would be nothin' but a thing? YOU are a runner! YOU are an athlete! Be proud John! I am proud of you.

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CATHERINEL66 10/18/2010 3:38PM

    YIkes, how did I miss this fall?? Must have happened while I was in Seattle!

I am cheering loudly that you did all the right medical things, and then got going on exercise right away. Yippee! This is great. Kudos to you -- it could have spiraled into a barrier to keeping -- so extra congrats.

Everyone trips and falls. And yeah, it's all about getting back up again (not just laying there with a donut!).

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TRIPLE_EMME 10/18/2010 2:00PM

    I'm glad that you are feeling better (physically and emotionally)!!!

Didn't I tell you a week ago that you were an athlete?!!! See, you ARE!!!

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MARCYNA 10/18/2010 12:19PM

    Wow, this blog's great...and really what I appreciate is not only your description of feelings involved, but the fact that you describe a recurrent pattern: how many times we fall on the ground and 'we just lay there'...Sometimes we need a Samaritan to passe by and give us a hand.
Your recovery's amazing I'm proud of you emoticon
PS I still believe, glad you do, too!!!!

Comment edited on: 10/18/2010 12:20:03 PM

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MUSTANG_SALLY2 10/18/2010 11:39AM

    Oh I love knowing that you got out there and showed the track what you had! Congrats on taking good care of yourself. (I love knowing that Joan was watching out for you!)

I hope you have a great week!


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PRINCESSNURSE 10/17/2010 9:31PM

    I am SOOOOOOOOO proud of you! You are an inspiration. Sometimes the victory is truly in persevering even through the setbacks and coming out of a bad situation even stronger. You are an amazing man!

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PENNYLEWIS 10/17/2010 6:26PM

    Great Words, John! I too, had a set back while training for a 5K. I began training for a 5K in January 2010. In June I was training for a 5K that was coming up in July. On June 18 I became ill and I couldn't walk with out pain. and by June 22 I was having trouble breathing and I was in the hospital on steroids. I was having a Lupus Fare. I hadn't had a Lupus Fare in over 2 and a half years since I started losing weight eating right and getting into shape. SO this was such a punch in the stomach. How could someone be running 2miles one week and the next unable to walk to the bathroom with out being out of breath. I ended up being transferred to a bigger hospital with a PICC line in my arm and spent a total of 8 days in the hospital on steroids. I gained about 15 lbs this past summer not from steroids but from not watching what I was eating because I lost my routine and my direction. I tried several times to get back on but the doctors had me on exercise restriction and still do. I can now lift up to 20 lbs and no bending and standing repeatedly. So squats are out. I do walk. I am back meeting with my trainer once a week. I go back to the Rheumatologist on the October 22. I'm hoping that he will release me to run again but I can relate about what you said about waiting for your "prom date" to arrive. I was nervous about running the 5K in July and had second thoughts. It would have been my first race but after missing out I now now more than ever this is what I want to do. I miss running. I miss being free. I haven't stopped Believing. Thank you for your words. I'm glad your on the mend and back to running! Nothing feels better than to feel good about yourself. It's contagious! emoticonHappy Running! emoticon emoticon emoticon

~Penny emoticon

Comment edited on: 10/17/2010 6:34:41 PM

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GREEKGIRL71 10/17/2010 4:07PM

    I loved this blog! We really all need to believe in ourselves and not let the "falls" in our lives keep us from bringing out the best in each of us. It's so much easier to give up, and fall back into old habits, we are, after all creatures of habit!
How about all those people who have battled and overcome huge odds, and have come out of it shining!!
I think you hit the nail on head's up to us to decide how we deal with our falls, and I find we'll always feel so much better when we find the strength to make the positive choice, no matter how difficult it seems at the time.

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_AIYANNA_ 10/17/2010 3:37PM

    Thank you for sharing, John. I really needed to read this right now. I really let myself "fall" this weekend but not eating the right kind of food and drinking too much alcohol. I even took a literal fall and lightly sprained my ankle stepping off the front veranda :( Your blog has given me the motivation to pick myself up, dust my self down and get back on track!!! In fact I'm going to start my c25k programme tomorrow morning...

You're a very inspiring man and a really GREAT althlete of life emoticon

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ZURDTA- 10/17/2010 6:25AM


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CARTOONB 10/16/2010 11:17PM

    Excellent point!

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HDHAWK 10/16/2010 8:58PM

    I've "fallen" plenty of times, and will again, I'm sure. I'm glad we're both willing to dust ourselves off and keep moving forward. So glad to hear that you're healing nicely and able to run again! emoticon

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BOBF15 10/16/2010 7:40PM

    I am a huge fan of football, I think some one even wrote a book about how life is football and football is life.

GREAT'S, think of Johny Unitas, Joe Montana, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, yes, they scored a lot of points, yes, they hit a lot of completions, but I wonder how many times they fumbled, threw an interception or were sacked, I bet bunches, however those last 3 things are not what they are remembered for.

We all have those in our life, but you are so right, GREATNESS is not defined as the mere condition of falling, but how many times you get back up. Thank you for this blog. I fall or stumble many times a day, but the final score, the win / loss column is all that really matters. emoticon

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DOLLBABE56 10/16/2010 7:06PM

    It's good to hear how well you are doing after last weekends fall. GO JOHN!

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BAM0827 10/16/2010 3:27PM

    In one of the Batman movies, Bruce Wayne falls as a young boy and his father runs out to get him. As he was carrying him in the house he said something like "We fall so we learn how to get up". I love that line.

I can't wait until you start training for an 8K or 10K. You're going to do so great. Like you, I never thought I'd do a 5K but I found a plan for a 8K (5miles) and followed it - I ran it by my 40th birthday. 10K came a month later. If I can do it - so can you.

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FATROCKSTAR 10/16/2010 12:02PM

    Yes, we all fall, but not everyone does pick themself up! You rock! Normandy emoticon

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LUCYSRAIN 10/16/2010 11:34AM

    Boy did I ever need to hear this!


Just yesterday I took a shot at running and was on top of the world! You Motivate me John, it is possible!

emoticon emoticon

By spring I am going to be a runner right along with ya. I am so proud of you, it's so worth it emoticon

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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REJ7777 10/16/2010 11:01AM

    That fall was a real bummer! But with everything you learned from it, and are teaching us through it, it will not be a wasted experience. It's so encouraging to see that you are getting back up, and in more ways than just physically!

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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DEVORA4 10/16/2010 10:56AM

  John You write an awesome blog and you closed strong! I want to read more of your blogs. emoticon

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_COSMOPAULATAN_ 10/16/2010 10:42AM

    I love that song, even the Glee version. You are an ATHLETE!!!

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Friday, October 15, 2010

I forgave Old John last night. It was the least comfortable thing I’ve done in quite some time. Truth be known I didn’t want to go down this road. Allegorically my running in the last five months has produced more than health it’s been a convenient way to run away from who and what I used to be. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that wasn’t fair to Old John. If nothing else he needed some closure. I realized too that not dealing with him and all his exploits might be part of what has me at this seemingly impenetrable plateau. Still I didn’t want to do it. I’ve been feeling too good lately. Let’s just “not talk about Old John.” Sort of like the relative no one acknowledges. They are right there on the family tree, you just don’t talk about them.

I didn’t want to do this. My stomach got all queasy. It’s like looking at your “before pictures.” They bring back painful reminders of whom and what you once were. My internal guidance system, AKA God, reminded me that in order for me to be where I am I had to have been where I was and BTW John is that really fair to leave the poor guy hanging out there?

“I’ll think about it, not tonight, but I’ll think about it.”



So I rolled over on my back and I have to tell you I had this really, really awkward feeling inside. I started thinking about some of the mistakes, misperceptions and actions I had taken in the past, stuff that held me back. Things that hurt me, or hurt other people and I looked at Old John and said “Okay John that was really stupid; what you did, but I forgive you. What’s done is done.” This wasn’t as an emotional of an endeavor as I thought it would be. I checked stuff off the list, rolled over and tried to sleep. Stuff kept popping in my head but what was really comforting about this was that those thoughts were not judgmental. They were like watching a movie and commenting “That was really dumb!!!” Suffice to say I dealt with the important stuff.

Finished with this task, I thought we were done, but like a little kid, Old john stood there. The Voice said. “He has to heal.” I looked at him and said. “Okay, you might as well come along. You are gonna be here anyways.” I slept pretty well after that. It wasn’t one of those dramatic; grab- me- a –box- of- Kleenex- Hollywood moments. I was glad it happened and equally glad it’s over.
Real change is our lives are not measured by pounds lost, calories consumed, and distance run, swum or pedaled. It is measure by the capacity we create in our lives to look at ourselves and and make the often painful but necessary adjustments to get even healthier.

If you are like me, at all, you might try to quickly forget you read this blog or that it was ever written. We focus and fixate so much on new tomorrows that oft times we forget about settling accounts with the past. I will grow, Old John will heal. I’ll reach my goals and one day, hopefully sooner than later there will just be one John, and oh my goodness gracious can you imagine how fantabulous he will be?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

EDWINA172 10/20/2010 4:22PM

    This is something I stuggle with all of the time. I mentally beat myself up with all of the "bad" things I've said or done in the past. I will apply your blog to my life and hopefully forgive myself.
Thanks for posting this. It is healing.

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CATHERINEL66 10/18/2010 3:31PM

    John, this is a great blog. I know for me, I have a lot more to forgive myself for than too much cake -- and, like you, I'm willing to crack open the box of doom (kidding!!) in order to air it all out. It's sort of a 12-step program. I don't want old festering emotions and lack of self acceptance to be what brings me down. Denial and stuffing just don't work. Long term, I don't want ME to stand in the way of my own positive coping strategies when life gets tough (as it always does).

Good job on writing about this issue. I'm impressed with you too.

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DOLLBABE56 10/16/2010 6:59PM

    It is hard to come to terms with ourselves. It takes courage to look at our past mistakes/failures. Sometimes we have to revisit it more than once. I know that I have many times in my life. I hope you won't need to. I'm happy that old and new John are getting along.

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_COSMOPAULATAN_ 10/16/2010 10:16AM

    Love this! We have to forgive who were were in order to become who we are meant to be.

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MARCYNA 10/16/2010 9:41AM

    "It is measure by the capacity we create in our lives to look at ourselves and and make the often painful but necessary adjustments to get even healthier. "
John, all I'm through these days is because I need to make adjustments in my life - painful at times but liberating in the end, glad you forgave your old you.
emoticon emoticon

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JPRICE217 10/16/2010 8:01AM

    How is it we can forgive others but can not forgive ourselvs.So glade that you have worked it out. God bless you.

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REJ7777 10/15/2010 7:35PM

    You've made so much progress - both physically and as a person! Thank you for sharing your insights with us. I think forgiving Old John is an important part of your journey to wholeness. He needs to be loved and accepted, especially by you. He surely looks up to you and admires you. I'm so glad you are able to embrace him!

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KSGROTHE 10/15/2010 1:21PM

    You know, ever since you wrote that blog a few days ago about forgiving, I've been meaning to write in a journal about forgiving myself (or OLD KAREN) for all my past mistakes and wrong thinking. I put that on my list of things to do and then procrastinated on it. What am I waiting for?

emoticon on forgiving Old John! Keep up the good work!

- Karen

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MSSUNBUG 10/15/2010 11:03AM

    Forgiving myself is one of the hardest things I've ever needed to do; I work on it every day. I work on it every time I want to be angry at myself for eating a sliver too much, every time I see a picture of myself at a heavy weight, and every time I am forced to confront the fact that I've changed. Some days are better than others.

If your experience is anything like mine, Old John will be along for the ride for the rest of your time here. Some days his presence will seem loud and... well, present. Other days he'll be a little lurking figure in the shadows. You're right to forgive him though. Even when he abused the body you're inhabitting, he really meant you no harm at all.

Congratulations on, what is to me, a big breakthrough.

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GEEMAWEST 10/15/2010 10:26AM

    Forgiveness is a wonderful thing and John (old and new) is a wonderful person.
emoticon emoticon

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JENNY888 10/15/2010 10:04AM

    I love the way you are able to get in touch with what is happening within yourself John. You always give me so many good ideas. Thanks.

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MORTICIAADDAMS 10/15/2010 10:02AM

    My advice is to learn from the past, look forward to the further, but make the most of the here and now. You can't change the past and you have no idea what the future will hold but you can do something about the present.

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TRIPLE_EMME 10/15/2010 9:47AM

    I'm proud of you for taking the steps to settle accounts with your past. There is such a strong mind/body connection -- and a healthy mind likes to partner up with a healthy body!


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MUSTANG_SALLY2 10/15/2010 9:26AM

    I too have to work thru forgiving myself. I'm glad that you were able to cross this hurdle. Great job John!


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IZZYAGGY2009 10/15/2010 9:12AM

    That is some sound wisdom in that process of anything we are trying to over come. I have been in a 12 step program for my food addiction and it is something we have to do to help us to move forward.... not look back.... learn from the past but look to the future.


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CARTOONB 10/15/2010 9:12AM

    I watch The Biggest Loser and at the end of each season, they show the remaining contestants what they looked like at the beginning. Each time, the contestant talks about how much they didn't like that person. The trainers then tell them that without that person and the decisions that person made, they wouldn't be where they are today. You are the sum of your life and it sounds like you get that. Congrats!

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ANEPANALIPTI 10/15/2010 8:44AM

    You are so precious to me on my journey. The way you put things has helped me A LOT! "Old John will heal. I’ll reach my goals and one day, hopefully sooner than later there will just be one John, and oh my goodness gracious can you imagine how fantabulous he will be?"

I also love how I come on here and read something you write that I've felt and thought EXACTLY but no one else has written it!!! Oh, the feeling of looking at before pictures... Yup, I just want to close my eyes and never look at it again...

I'm happy you made that peace with yourself yesterday. High five friend! emoticon


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Taking What The Room Gives You

Thursday, October 14, 2010

I am eternally fighting with myself. It’s not the knock, down, drag out sort of fight it’s really more of a struggle to see who wins. Maybe it’s safe to say it’s often the battle between the heart and the mind.

Because I tripped and fell this weekend I had two days where exercising wasn’t an option. The easy thing to do would have been to accept things --- “It is what it is.” It would have been nice to sit back and adopt the philosophy that I had two days to work on other areas of my life. Yeah that would have been nice.

Instead I made the choice to listen to that nasty old tape that I somehow forgot to get rid of many months ago. Maybe you have a tape that’s similar to it in your head? It basically says you are not as good as everyone else, you will never be as good as everyone else and stamped firmly on your backside, at birth I might add, are the words “People Pleaser.” It says you are overweight, fat, obese, chunky --- you pick one --- it is because of some fatal character flaw you have that no one else has…. You get my point.

A friend of mine once floated the notion in front of me that you “Take what the room gives you,” and you live with that. I took it to mean that those few words are a variation on “Playing the hand you’re dealt,” or the proverbial “When life gives you lemons create an LLC and open up a lemonade stand…” Those are wise words because if you are in the business of pleasing people and stressing over the fact that you always don’t please people, you are always looking for another room to be in. You are always looking some vehicle or some situation where you can look better than the person on either side of you simply so you will feel equal.

If I’d have been smart, which I’m not too very often, I’d have taken the two days as a break, a respite and an opportunity to work on some things, like say my book or my DVD or all those other things I’m scared to start because I mean what if I fail. Maybe you won’t love me?
I know it’s foolish.

I was sad to realize there are still small wisps of the old John in there somewhere. The guy who has to be better, look better and act better than anyone else just to be equal. I’m reminded of a line from one of the Gospels where Jesus tells his apostles, as it relates to expelling a demon “This kind does not come out through good works but through prayer and fasting.”

All the “activity” in the world does not make John a better boy. John looking at John and deciding that rolling with the flow isn’t a bad thing, a character flaw, something to revoke his pass to heaven over, is where the “prayer and fasting come in.”
I am wonderful, I am beautiful and I am worth every ounce of effort I put into my growth and development. I still have some, LOL, messed up ideas floating around in there. It starts here, by recognizing I am maybe only half way there, learning to let other people support me and acknowledging my own worth and value.

It begins by admitting to myself there are times I still want to please people and there are times I feel inadequate, alone and lonely even though people all over the universe love me.
It begins with acceptance and if it sounds tiring, boring and frustrating please realize some days, that’s all the room gives you and it gives it to you for a reason. The reason is to help you become a better you and me a better me.

When all is said and done, isn’t that what it’s all about anyway?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

REJ7777 10/15/2010 7:31PM

    "I am wonderful, I am beautiful and I am worth every ounce of effort I put into my growth and development."
You sure are!!! Me too. emoticon emoticon

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ANEPANALIPTI 10/15/2010 8:45AM

    Thank you for writing all this out, because I know EXACTLY what you're talking about and it HELPS to talk about it, we must accept that its there, so we can know what steps to take to feel better and heal!!!


We got this. :)


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MORTICIAADDAMS 10/14/2010 8:54PM

    Hopefully at some point you will stop worrying that failure will make you unlovable and realize that unconditional love is the only thing worth having. You are who you are no matter what you weigh. We like you just the way you are. (Mr. Rogers) LOL.

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KSGROTHE 10/14/2010 6:01PM

    John, I have similar fights with myself! I have very negative tapes in my head that I struggle to overcome. It's almost a daily fight.

Thanks for sharing how you feel. It makes a lot of us feel better to know we're not the only ones.


- Karen

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ZURDTA- 10/14/2010 3:38PM


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NJMATTICE 10/14/2010 2:30PM

    If we didn't struggle, we wouldn't need God. He's so smart! And I can tell you with some certainty that He has a soft spot in his heart for "old John". Lot's of people fell in love with old John. He's very lovable. They relate to him. They connect. They share the same human condition. God loves John. Period. I think you need to bring old John along on the journey. He's a part of you and always will be. Give him the loving he deserves. Perhaps if you keep trying to send him away, he'll come back showing up on your doorstep one day, drunk and broke and looking for a hand out.
Carry on, Sir John. You are doing great work.

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AZCUPCAKE 10/14/2010 1:31PM

    You make me laugh and cry at the same time, because when you hold the mirror up to yourself, you make it possible for us to use that same mirror on ourselves, too. You sure do give ME a reason to re-evaluate those doubts and put-downs I seem to take a virtual SHOWER in every single day! Who says we can't change the endless skipped record that plays over and over again the minute we wake up?

I keep telling myself that I am a work in progress. Under construction! That is my way of keeping my impatience and self-beatings down to a dull roar! Thanks for another totally insightful and revealing blog that always makes me think more positively about where I AM, AND where I am GOING. emoticon

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JJSSKINNYGIRL 10/14/2010 12:38PM

    Great Blog John! Don't forget your line from the movie "The Guardians" “When you have flown as far as you can fly, when you are out of breath, and your wings ache ,when you feel you are going to drop to the ground ---- You are about half way there.”

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MARCYNA 10/14/2010 10:27AM

    John, we love the way you are and we could not love you anymore - whatever you do.
I'm just like you and I sometimes wonder:
'Can a people-pleaser take some days off?'
'Am I entlitled to time for myself?' and the answer is 'Yes!!!'
I am starting to accept myself as I am, and I am determined to continue my life as a people-pleaser in a healthy way.
I 've stopped fighting and accepted my attitude as part of 'What the Room Gives Me'. emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 10/14/2010 10:31:20 AM

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TRIPLE_EMME 10/14/2010 10:11AM

    I'm with GETFIT2LIVE -- I'd like to find the room where those tapes are stored and erase them all!!!

You are on the road to becoming a better you. And, yes -- I do think that is what life is about.

Progression, striving to be better -- a constant work in progress. I think it would be boring to be perfect, anyway.

Hang in there... you can do it.


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GETFIT2LIVE 10/14/2010 9:57AM

    Some days I wish I could find the 'room' in my brain where all those old tapes are stored so that I could go through and erase about 99% of them, don't you? Yet here we are, still fighting some of the same battles we thought we had won some time ago. Yes, we've made great progress, but then something happens, a stumble and fall, either literally or with our eating or exercise, to remind us that we haven't erased quite all of the old tapes yet. Learning to roll with the flow and stop trying to please everyone really is what it's all about, not pleasing everyone else or looking good on the outside. The only one we really need to be concerned about pleasing is God, and the amazing thing is we don't have to 'do' anything to please Him. He has already done what's needed.

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JAE_HENNINGTON 10/14/2010 9:12AM

  thank You John for your honesty and openess to share not only the good things about yourself but the things that you would just as soon forget about.. I appreciate so much when people feel safe enough to share their innermost feelings.. something I am still struggling with.. You are a very unique person and I am honored to be able to call you my friend

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MUSTANG_SALLY2 10/14/2010 9:07AM

    This part: I am wonderful, I am beautiful and I am worth every ounce of effort I put into my growth and development. Amen John!

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MSSUNBUG 10/14/2010 8:29AM

    When I started up with this knee injury, I resisted rest days. Eventually, I decided to take two weeks completely off from activity. The second I made that decision, I gained 30 pounds in my mind. By the next day, I was up to 40. By the end of the first week, I'd gained back all 100. I wouldn't trade that experience for the world. It showed me that my life was, contrary to what I thought, still very much not in balance: I was simply obsessing in a NEW way, demanding NEW things of myself in the quest to be worthy, valued, etc. In short, it forced me to work on some pretty hard stuff that has shaped the rest of the journey--and it's opened up a lot for me and quite honestly changed my life.

I have this theory. lol. When we are impressed or struck by other people, it's often because we see them at this sort of... "best" moment. We catch a glimpse of them at their most stellar and most interesting. But in reality, they're not that interesting ALL the time (refer to marriage or living with someone for a sample of what it's like to recognize someone's indeed not JUST amazing ALL the time, LOL), and they're definitely not that interesting in their own heads. But to us, all we recognize is that X person was amazing on Y day. I think other peoples' greatness is easy to exaggerate (especially for us people-pleaser types), and I think we hold for ourselves the same expectation for stellar moments. In reality though, it's rare that we manage to recognize our own stellar moments--EVEN WHEN THEY'RE SERIOUSLY STELLAR.

Taking a rest is hard, but it sounds like the learning experience is what the universe believes John is ready to handle right now. Lean into it (as you obviously are), and see what's there to learn!

And for the record (and in the interest of holding up an alternative mirror), through THESE lenses, you're way beyond "equal" with my own encounters with the "general public." By simply being you, you've far surpassed average whether we're measuring intelligence, interest, etc. But then we people-pleasers ALWAYS seem to measure better on OTHER peoples' "scales."

And I guess that's why we all need friends!

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Looking At "Thank You" In A Different Light.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I was doing a bit of reading while I was waiting for a client to call earlier and I ran across something by Patrick Henry Reardon that really struck home.

"Suppose for a moment that God began taking from us the many things we had failed to give thanks for. What would be left for us? Would I still have my limbs, my hands and my mind? What of my loved ones. If God were to take from me all those persons and things for which I had never given thanks, who or what would be left for me?"

This was a scary thought, one that I quickly pushed to the back of my mind because if I took this test right now I'd flunk. It came back to me when I started to answer someone who posted a comment on one of my blogs.

You know we all basically write the same thing. "Thank you for the blog comment. I really appreciate your support and friendship...." or a variation there of. If we know the person we write a bit more. Mostly its the Spark etiquette machine in operation. Sorta like not sending a thank you card after getting a wedding present.

For some reason I stopped before I hit the "send" button and added the following:

"In a world where everything moves a million miles a minute we lose sight of how precious and special friends are. Thank you for being one of those very precious people."

Spark friends are easy to not thank. Out of sight, out of mind and how many people do you know here that just sorta vanish?

What about my family? Sure I am grateful for them and all they do but how often do I say thanks? I sent my kids a text message awhile back and told them I didn't tell them I appreciated them enough. Four of them called and wanted to know if I got bad news from my doctor. Sigh

If I lost all that I wasn't thankful for I might stand to lose a lot. It sure is something I need to think about though.

A new goal!!! LOL

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NEEDTOLOSE100LB 10/15/2010 12:22PM

    John, I am guilty of the same lack of etiquette. I am basically a thankful person...I honestly thanked the man who let me go ahead of him in the "fast" lane at Walmart the other day because I had one item...I honestly thanked the man outside Walmart (and stopped and conversed for a moment) offering free local newspapers...etc...those are the easy 'Thank yous'. The ones we gloss over are the little thank yous for a family member or friend who just does something nice or even something that is expected of them. Doesn't hurt a bit to say too many thank yous!
Here's to doing better with our thank yous and making them heartfelt, rather than rote.
For this reminder, John, I thank you. Keep up the good work, words and insights. There are a lot of us out here that cherish the thoughts you provoke, and I am one of them.

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BTINTERNET 10/14/2010 10:37AM

    Thank you again for sharing much-needed thoughts. Lots to think about here.

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JAE_HENNINGTON 10/14/2010 9:14AM

  exactly... I am learing to live a life of gratitude.. thank you for shedding light on this most important issue

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CARTOONB 10/13/2010 11:48PM

    Oh man! I would flunk too! Better start working on it...

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DOLLBABE56 10/13/2010 10:21PM

    Your children's reaction is something I'd expect to hear from my own. LOL And, new goals? gotta love 'em. emoticon You're the best.

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HONORINGGOD 10/13/2010 10:15PM


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REJ7777 10/13/2010 9:27PM

    I'm reading this after just watching the last Chilean miner get rescued. They almost did lose everything. There's so much we take for granted... even our next breath of fresh air! We have so MUCH to be thankful for!

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DEBRITA01 10/13/2010 8:57PM

    It is so important to have an attitude of gratitude...we are so blessed and need to be reminded from time to time. Thanks for the reminder...

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KSGROTHE 10/13/2010 6:21PM

    emoticon for the reminder to be thankful for all we have!

I have to say that I got a little chuckle out of your anecdote about your kids thinking that you'd gotten bad news from the doctor when you told them that you didn't tell them you appreciated them enough. I might have the same reaction if my dad told me that!

Keep up the good work! You are always finding more things to do and to think about!

- Karen

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GIRANIMAL 10/13/2010 4:59PM

    I too try to practice gratitude, but there is no such thing as too much. So thanks for the reminder, John. And thank you for always taking the time to thank us!

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WANDAH3 10/13/2010 4:50PM

    John, when time goes by and I haven't made it to reading your blogs, there is a special little corner of my world that begins to wobble. I love how you just simply state the facts and they leave little grains of truth spilling out. Thank you for being you. I know sometimes it's hard to accept accolades, we feel like we aren't doing anything special. Well, in my corner of the world, what you do and say "is" special. I just wanted to say thankyou John, and also express my thanks to Joan for supporting you and helping you to become the person that you are.


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ALLISON145 10/13/2010 4:41PM

    I always love your blogs, John... the best part is reading your posts (and the responses) and grabbing little motivational quotes and sayings. When I'm feeling a bit disconnected, your posts always help. I'm grateful for you!


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ANEPANALIPTI 10/13/2010 3:44PM

    With you John, the words thank you never even feel enough to describe how grateful I am that we "met"! I really hope that I can see you this christmas!!!!!!!!!!! emoticon

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NJMATTICE 10/13/2010 3:32PM

    You have a grateful heart. God knows your heart. I think you're pretty well covered. You can keep those limbs. It's a good reminder to do a "tude" check. attiTUDE. gratiTUDE. fortiTUDE. soliTUDE. latiTUDE. longiTUDE. All your TUDES in order? Thanks for the reminder to do my own TUDE check.

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MUSTANG_SALLY2 10/13/2010 3:30PM

    Ugh! This is why I have such a hard time when someone asks, "Does anyone have any praises?" I always want to stand up and start with, well, I can blink... and build from there. That question bugs me. I try to do praise walks. Every step, I thank Him for something else. I have so much to be grateful for and we all have praises! Even if it's jut that last breathe we took in before we begin to speak.

Thanks for this reminder!

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MORTICIAADDAMS 10/13/2010 3:28PM

    I do express gratitude a lot as I have been down and out before and had very little. It makes you very humble and keeps you grounded.

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MARCYNA 10/13/2010 3:18PM

    I had an health scare some time ago, and I had the chance of thinking about my life in a different perspective... it was really nothing to worry about,BUT I've started NOT to take everything for granted. Thanks for sharing. emoticon

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