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The Book of Revelation and Why I Run

Sunday, November 28, 2010

I have been lost for close to three months. I have been wandering around in some sort of haze trying to grasp on to some sort of stability in this journey and it feels like I am missing it by about five seconds. Just about the time I think I’ve found it, “poof” it’s gone. It’s frustrating and depressing. It’s made me wonder if it’s all worth it. Maybe I should just go back to being unhealthy and undisciplined. I talked to a wise friend about this. She thought for a moment and said, “Thank God for everything. No matter how painful, or disheartening, thank Him. You are being taught a lesson.” So I did. As much as I felt like I was standing alone in a fog; every bad run I had, every painful workout every last stupid temptation to eat emotionally: I thanked Him, over and over. “I know there is a lesson here.”

Joan and I went to church early this morning. Our pastor talked about the coming of Christmas. He told us he had a wish for us and he wanted to share a Scripture passage. It was from the book Revelation. “…But I do have something against you! And it is this: You don’t have as much love as you used to. Think about where you have fallen from and then turn back and do as you did at first…” (Revelation 2:4-5)

Most often my notion of God is one who comforts and cuddles. That’s how He is supposed to teach me. He is not supposed to hit me over the head with a large piece of wood and stun me. Lesson learned.

I have fallen away, gradually cut corners and like the Scripture says I am not embracing my health (loving) as I did at first. I have lost three really valuable things: my focus, my balance and I am no longer centered. It is time to get back to work.

After church I took a long walk, about two miles, and regrouped. I uttered at least three or four prayers of thanks because I am starting to see why I was stagnant. When I got home I saw where my friend ANEPANALIPTI had written a blog this morning that cut to the core of my issues. While the jest of her blog talked about putting off dealing with thoughts and emotions, the lesson I walked away with was the part where she questioned the purpose of her running.

I sat back and asked myself that simple question, “Why do ya run, John?” It took me a few minutes to answer that question: I run for my health. End of discussion. Now…………… there are a lot of things that have gotten in the way of all that and sent me careening off course:
I do not run for time or distance. I’m slow, so what? I am running to make myself stronger and healthier and if I never shave another second off of my time I am still getting healthy and it does not diminish my value as a human being. I was getting caught up in comparing myself to other people and fighting against a standard I had no chance of reaching. Then my self-esteem hit the toilet. Focus gone!!!

I am not competing against, you, your friends or even myself. If it takes all day and all night to get it as long as I get results, does it matter? The very best run I ever had was in Nashville two weeks ago. It was a fall afternoon and the temperature was just right and I slugged along lost in the sunshine and it must have took me forever to run two miles but man, did I feel good. If you were running that day, you might have shot past me. I doubt I would have noticed. I need to get that feeling back.

I run to be healthy. I run to lose weight and when I put it in those terms, my focus started to sharpen. I may never run a half marathon, but who knows I might. It’s not important. I have been dreading my runs, putting them off and making excuses for the way I felt. I wasn’t running for me.

What is important is what the Scripture stated: “Get back to the start and do the things you were once doing.”

Between me and you, I feel like a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders. Don’t get me wrong. I may run further and faster one day, but it is not why I’m doing it. I’m doing it because

I am worth it and I deserve it and my health is what matters.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WEIGHTOSUCCESS 11/29/2010 7:50PM

    I can honestly say this hit home for me. I love that.."Get back to the start and do the things you were once doing.” I need to apply that to more than one area in my life . Thanks for sharing this.

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DEE797 11/29/2010 1:56PM

    Such an inspiring blog. I haven't jogged or run in months since selling the treadmill as we were moving and no room for it. Time to get back to it. Wishing you continued success on your journey! emoticon

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GIRANIMAL 11/29/2010 1:15PM

    Hmmm, could it be the time of year for all of us? I too had been in a terrible funk lately, and I am glad to report I've found some of my Spark again. Nothing as clear-cut and inspirational as your stories always are emoticon but I just forced myself to work out Thursday before all that eating, and I was surprised by how great it felt. How strong I felt. I forgot about that part. I missed it, and getting it back felt good.

emoticon opening your heart to hear the message that was sent for you. Sometimes that's the bigger battle.

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ANEPANALIPTI 11/29/2010 10:12AM

    Its a weight off my shoulders to hear you call me your friend, and for me to say the same thing!

emoticon Whenever you want to talk or need anything at all, I'm here. Know that!!!!


I like that... "not even against myself". You glean such an insight there, because even when we take the route of I'm only competing against myself, its easy to fall into the trap of "So I'm slower today = failure". NO. We run for health. We run to release stress. We run to learn how to just BE. It's kind of why I miss my treadmill in Chicago. It's in a room all by itself, and there I can just get my joy without having to be running next to anyone else or comparing myself to anyone else.

Thanks for this, I'm going to keep this perspective : " I am being taught a lesson. " This too shall pass...

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CARTOONB 11/28/2010 8:25PM

    Run, John! Run! Sounds like you found the reason again. I'm happy for you.

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SARAWALKS 11/28/2010 7:45PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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WATERMELLEN 11/28/2010 7:33PM

    So happy that you added me as a friend -- so that these great blogs come up on my Friend Feed.

You've got it. And it's great to hear.

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KLEONIKI 11/28/2010 6:16PM

    My dear friend!
Somehow i am again tuned with your feelings..
I have ben in a loop myself too ..wondering and wandering..
So , once more your blog was sent in my aid and support.
You know something, dear friend?
Nevertheless our moments of sterile objection, questioning, frustration or our merely being tired,
i can feel it , there is no FALLING BACK ..
We have been blessed with a struggle , a ticket to a consciousness' trip towards CHANGE-LAND .
It has been a long way we have traveled

After reading your blog i kept on thinking again and again "why do we run" and what came to my mind was that :
because we have the experience of how good it is , we know it works in various ways, we grew loving ourselves in movement and once sipped the sweet pleasure of good sweat we embrace it in our lives. We concentrate - each one of us differently- in our runnings things much more serious than a simple race, half marathon, 5K, 10k... when i run my mind works so very sharply , deals with issues of the soul and heart and things begin to fall into place.
Moreover the simple fact that pleasure comes as a well deserved trophy after fighting good fight is a core issue.

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MYOWNHERO 11/28/2010 3:24PM

    You are speaking right to me! This is why I love SP so much.

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_AIYANNA_ 11/28/2010 3:20PM

    John, I can't thank you enough for sharing this. I too have lost my focus and my balance and it makes me angry with myself and scared. I promise you to try harder and not allow myself to give up.

Thank you for your friendship and your support :)

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MORTICIAADDAMS 11/28/2010 3:15PM

    Hang in there, John. If you read Scriptures you realize that the closer you get to what you want the harder the Devil tries to keep you from getting it. It sounds like you are close to a big blessing. Don't blow it. I'm betting on you and not the Devil.

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LOTUSFLOWER 11/28/2010 1:53PM

    I love this blog, thank you so much for writing it. It is so cool to see how scripture we read or hear is at just the right moment for us. A personal "e-mail" from God, so to say. This was very inspirational for me to read for I am a slow runner as well. But you are right, it doesn't matter how long it takes us to reach our goals, or cross that symbolic "finish line". It just matters that we do.

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GEEMAWEST 11/28/2010 1:44PM

    Great blog & great insight! emoticon

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GETFIT2LIVE 11/28/2010 1:41PM

    Exactly. When I start getting caught up in worrying about my time or distance or anything besides the simple joy of running, doing it as part of my healthy lifestyle, it becomes a chore that I dread. It's the same with the rest of this journey; if I get caught up in setting deadlines for when I want to reach a certain weight, I get dissatisfied with my progress and discouraged because I'm not losing as fast as someone else. If I'm serious about this being a lifestyle, it doesn't matter how long it takes to get there as long as I keep making (slow) progress. Keep the faith, John; you are going to make it all the way. Let's learn to enjoy the journey.

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DDHEART 11/28/2010 12:58PM

    What a great thing when you can see the light! When we first start to run, I think it is easy to get caught up in the whole comparison thing...part of the reason new runners often push too fast too soon and get hurt...It sounds to me like running to get out and enjoy your surroundings is a key for to feel good, run to be in touch with nature and run to improve your health...whatever that means for you. I remember the first time I was able to run all the way up one of our steep hills here without thinking I would die...what a feeling! Now, I am sure there are people who might not have any trouble with that hill at all but I knew what a difference there was in my ability so for me it was like crossing the finish line in a big race. Keep your self examination going and you'll be fine!

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HDHAWK 11/28/2010 12:39PM

    emoticon Yes John, you are worth it!

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How Many of These Books Have You Read?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

How many of these books have you read? Recently the BBC published this list of books and suggested most people would have read no more than five of these in their lifetime.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen

2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien

3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte

4. Harry Potter series - JK Rowling

5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee

6 The Bible

7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte

8. Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell

9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman

10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens

11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott

12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy

13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller

14 Complete Works of Shakespeare

15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier

16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien

17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk

18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger

19 The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger

20 Middlemarch - George Eliot

21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell

22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald

23 Angels and Demons - Dan Brown

24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy

25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams

26. Gilgamesh

27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky

28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck

29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll

30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame

31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy

32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens

33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis

34 Emma -Jane Austen

35 Persuasion - Jane Austen

36 The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe - CS Lewis

37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini

38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres

39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden

40 Winnie the Pooh - A.A. Milne

41 Animal Farm - George Orwell

42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown

43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving

45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins

46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery

47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy

48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood

49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding

50 Atonement - Ian McEwan

51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel

52 Dune - Frank Herbert

53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons

54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen

55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth

56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens

58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley

59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon

60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck

62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov

63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt

64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold

65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas

66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac

67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy

68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fieldin g

69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie

70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville

71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens

72 Dracula - Bram Stoker

73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett

74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson

75 Ulysses - James Joyce

76 The Inferno - Dante

77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome

78 Germinal - Emile Zola

79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray

80 Possession - AS Byatt

81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens

82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell

83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker

84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro

85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert

86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry

87 Charlotte’s Web - E.B. White

88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom

89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton

91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad

92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery

93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks

94 Watership Down - Richard Adams

95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole

96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute

97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas

98 Hamlet - William Shakespears

99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl

100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PANFRIEDTROUT 12/5/2010 5:36PM

    wow ... I've actually read 49 of them! Altho why they included the Harry Potter series is beyond me ~ yes they're "current" but certainly not great or even good literature.

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MARCYNA 12/1/2010 8:21AM

    17, and I'm glad I stopped reading...I loved it too much and gave up sport emoticon

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LALAFLOWERS 11/30/2010 7:17PM

    28... and I have to admit that most of those were read before I was 18! I've been reading brain candy the last few years... light, fluffy, and without much substance! I've got to get back to some real reading!!!

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REEKU731 11/30/2010 7:02PM

    31!!! Room for improvement, but not as bad as it could be! Lots of these are on my eBook reader to read in the future already. Thanks for posting! This was fun!


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DEBBEM 11/30/2010 6:30PM


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SEATTLESIMS 11/30/2010 5:43PM

    28, and several on my nightstand to read or on my "to read" list.. I Will copy down for reference..

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KIMMAS82 11/30/2010 5:24PM

    Only 8!?!?!? Wow!! A lot of them are on my list though!!

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FINDINGMEIN2012 11/30/2010 5:14PM

    49. I'm surprised at how many I haven't read - lots for my "to read" list!

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EVRLNGFOO 11/30/2010 5:05PM

    28. though i think if you've read the hp series it should count as more than 1! i also (want to) believe that anyone who completed the required jr.high/middle school/high school english requirements should have read at least 5 of them, if not, i fear for the future of our children. i'm sure more than 5 i counted for me were required reading.

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QUEENJEANINE11 11/30/2010 4:54PM

    I love to read and sadly only read 16 of them.

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CREATINGAMANDA 11/30/2010 4:29PM

    24 - great list!

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-CORAL- 11/30/2010 3:15PM

    19. Great list. I printed it out to refer to.

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NEWYORKORCHIDS 11/30/2010 2:58PM

  32! That's 6 lifetimes. :-)

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_TRIXIE_ 11/30/2010 2:53PM

    21. Thanks for sharing this list! I need to keep a copy somewhere and come back to it!

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KJHOUSTON 11/30/2010 2:48PM


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JUSTKD 11/30/2010 1:57PM

    22...a lot of them are still on my "to read" list. I need to copy this. Good list.

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CHANTI84 11/30/2010 12:42PM

    I read 22, great List:)

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NEWJENN10 11/30/2010 11:48AM

    I've read 19 of them, some forced in school, but liked them once i started. I read as an excape and love it.

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SANDYK4BAMA 11/30/2010 11:43AM

    Only 16, and some of those I was MADE to read in college Lit. The Lovely Bones was one of my favs on this list, as was Gone with the Wind. I've read and watched that one so many times, I've lost count. The book is much better than the me anyway.
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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BIKERBABE2BE 11/30/2010 11:39AM

    47...thanks for sharing. I'll have to find some of these.

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GODDESSELLIE07 11/30/2010 11:04AM

    11... not too good.

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SCHENPOSSIBLE 11/30/2010 10:52AM

    I've read 34 of the works above. Thanks for the list. Lots to add to my goodreads list!

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KATJAMN 11/30/2010 10:50AM

    Only 7 of these, but lots and lots of books that didn't make this list.

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ELFITZPA 11/30/2010 9:51AM

    What a great list, I love books!! I'm around 40 or so and saw a lot of titles that I've been meaning to read. Thanks for sharing this list.

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BTINTERNET 11/30/2010 8:50AM

    I just love the fact that Swallows and Amazons is on here. :-)

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ANEPANALIPTI 11/30/2010 7:42AM

    Wait John, you're not going to tell us how many you've read?? ALL!?!?!?

I really like this list though I've read the tiny number of 9... I used to be an avid reader and then fell out of it, I'm going to keep this list!!!!!!!!

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AKATUJE 11/30/2010 3:01AM

    8..... Doing really badly.....

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*MADHU* 11/30/2010 2:30AM the list!

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DOLLBABE56 11/29/2010 9:05PM

    23 so far.

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ISHIIGIRL 11/29/2010 1:43PM

    58, thanks for sharing the list and now I have new ones on my list!

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GIRANIMAL 11/29/2010 1:21PM

    Interesting that 17 seems to be a common response here. emoticon

I've read that many. But I have 7 others on my shelves right now just waiting for me to get around to them, and many more that I've always wanted to get to.

Also, do you get extra points if you've read some (Anne of Green Gables) so many times you nearly have it memorized? emoticon

Fun -- thanks for sharing!

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777GRACE 11/29/2010 6:21AM

    do watching the movies count?
I have read the Bible many times over, does that count?

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MUSTBHEALTHY 11/29/2010 12:46AM

    17, not too bad.

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CAROLYN1ALASKA 11/28/2010 7:20PM

    71... so time to get busy reading!
Thanks for sharing that list.

Comment edited on: 11/28/2010 7:24:14 PM

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LOTUSFLOWER 11/28/2010 1:54PM

    I've read 41 of these. This was fun to do.

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LJOHN44 11/28/2010 12:23PM

    I just saw this list earlier this morning. I've read 34, there are some on there that I've attempted to read (Middlemarch and Ulysses) that I probably will never be able to get through and there are some on the list that I want to read but haven't gotten around to yet. I'm surprised that none of Anyn Rand's books made the list...

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RACINGSLUG 11/28/2010 9:32AM

    21 for me. Some of my favorites are on there... The Color Purple, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Hitchhikers, Heart of Darkness, Crime and Punishment... mostly I find the a lot of classics to be really tedious though. I love Dickens but I've yet to make it through a single one of his books.

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EDWINA172 11/28/2010 8:41AM

    WOW! What a great list. I've read 17 and want to read many more.

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ZURDTA- 11/28/2010 8:17AM

    Meh - I have actually read some of these. Elitist lists of novels - not my thing at all. No Pavese, Camus or Isherwood? Reading should not be about pretention - just about enjoying the written word. Me, I much prefer biographies and non-fiction books... however, I am delighted that Hitchikers' was included in the list - heh heh heh!

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FLORIDASUN 11/28/2010 7:15AM

    Yay...I've read 60 of the 100! Guess you can tell my mom was a historical librarian and I grew up without a television in our home until age 13! My mom said television rotted the brain and books fed the brain. But eventually my dad won out and a t.v. entered the home.

All in all....I think my mom may have been right! Most of these books were read through book clubs and for school assignments. And of course...The Little Prince...was a bedtime story book that my mom read to me! Sweet memories! Thanks for sharing the list...very eclectic! I like eclectic! emoticon emoticon

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DAVEINSEOUL 11/28/2010 6:11AM

    Well, I have read 17 - I guess I'm 'better than average'.

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ANDYINBC 11/28/2010 1:56AM

    Great list. I will have to work on finishing it. Only 12 of the 100.

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BTINTERNET 11/28/2010 1:45AM

    64, and I have always wondered about this list. Whole series versus single books, complete works versus single works, wtf is Dan Brown doing on the same list as 90% of the rest of these authors? I'll trade Firestar, she can have all the Dan Brown and I'll keep the Dumas. And random books by authors - why The Wasp Factory and not any of his other books? Just a very, very odd collection. Why Herbert and not Heinlein? Why Lewis twice and Tolkien twice, and Eddison not at all? *sigh*

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ANNE-ELIZ 11/28/2010 1:38AM

    71 here.

I find it curious that the Bible, the Complete Works of Shakespeare are each counted as single books as are The Life of Pi and The Little Prince and Charlotte's Web.


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FIRESTARINFINI 11/28/2010 12:24AM

    The Three Musketeers should not been there. What a horrible book.

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MKPRINCESS007 11/28/2010 12:18AM

    oops, forgot to say 33 was my number.........and let me just say that my most hated was MOBY DICK! Oh my gosh, pages and pages on the appearance of the whale! Cliff Notes, anyone?

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MKPRINCESS007 11/28/2010 12:15AM

    Are they for real? 5? Um, quite of few, as others have said were required reading in high school and then I minored in English so a bunch more in college.

Wonder where they got that statistic?

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AMBULATOR 11/27/2010 11:55PM

    15. Looks like I have some work to do.

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EUPHRATES 11/27/2010 11:46PM

    33 here.
And did you notice #33 and #36 are duplicates? :)

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HONORINGGOD 11/27/2010 10:30PM

    5 the bible is the best book ever written ,great author.amen

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I Am Learning To Adjust. That's A Big Step For Me

Friday, November 26, 2010

There are a lot of lessons to be learned in this short tale, LOL.

Lesson One: Thirty seven years of marriage doesnt mean you can read each others minds. As we gathered around the table yesterday Joan said to the kids "So you will all be in Owensboro December 18 for the family Christmas, right?" They all nodded. I cocked my head. "I'm running in a 5K in Louisville that day." Joan says "When I asked you if December 18 was okay you said it was." It was, it is, wires crossed, no 5K

Lesson Two: A year ago I would have gotten discouraged and given up and all this excercise wasnt worth it. During my last 5K I fell down and didnt finish. I was gearing up for this one. I'd have to go to Louisville the night before and the race isnt run until 11:30 and the kids had changed their schedules so we could all be together that day. Stuff happens.

Lesson Three: There is a good chance I'll get to run with a few Spark friends between now and the end of the year. That in itself is something to look forward to.

The main thing is I am learning to roll with the flow because I have more confidence in my abilty to handle adversity and little snags. I dont hit the emergency supply of cookies to compensate. It means...........Stuff happens.

I'm proud of me. I really am. So are you.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KATJAMN 11/30/2010 10:52AM

    Good for you. Going with the flow is a lot less stressful.

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ANEPANALIPTI 11/30/2010 7:40AM

    Yeah!!! Run your own and DEF pick out another race to get you pumped up mentally!

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JUST_TRI_IT 11/28/2010 11:25AM

    I say put some bells on and find a friend and do your own JINGLE RUN at the family dinner ... Maybe others will join in!!

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FLORIDASUN 11/28/2010 7:18AM

    Good job on rolling with the punches! And family time is VALUABLE time...there will always be other 5ks that you can do.

DH and I have been married for 32 years...and you are SO right...he has YET to be able to read my mind...although I keep training him in that fine art! emoticon emoticon

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SMOCKON 11/27/2010 2:40PM

    Don't you have a son who's a runner? Maybe the two of you can do your own 5K.

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CARTOONB 11/26/2010 9:16PM

    Yep! I am! Good for you.

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GEEMAWEST 11/26/2010 8:27PM

    I know that sometimes it's not easy to 'go with the flow'. I have the same problem. But we never stop learning and growing. Good thing or we would be really boring people.

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HLPRATT 11/26/2010 7:12PM

    You're right stuff happens- the best laid plans of mice and men

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CATHERINEL66 11/26/2010 4:27PM

    Keep on flying that airplane John. You're doing a great job and I'm REALLY glad to hear that the bumps and turbulence aren't throwing you off course :)

I know your next 5K will be WAY better than the last one. That was just a weird freak incident (like me breaking my foot). Random thing. The fabulousness of the next race will compensate, I'm sure :)

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MARCYNA 11/26/2010 3:21PM

    I'm still getting discouraged at adversities and I'm angry at myself for the way I'm handling the gym matter (quite badly, not finding a solution yet)...My confession is that I look up at you for inspiration and , really, amazingly, it works. Proud of you!!!! emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 11/26/2010 3:22:02 PM

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MORTICIAADDAMS 11/26/2010 2:51PM

    Family comes first. You did the right thing. There will be other races.

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REJ7777 11/26/2010 2:48PM

    emoticon Our choices reflect our values. And from what I just read, as important as this race was to you, your family is even more important. That means they are way WAY up there on your list of priorities! emoticon emoticon

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HDHAWK 11/26/2010 2:32PM

    There are always snags that come along, which is why we need to keep plugging along and do the best we can. We'll reach our goals eventually, but we won't be finished with the journey. How exciting to meet some fellow spark friends!

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STILLPOINT 11/26/2010 2:29PM

    You're darn right I am!

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I'm Thankful For..........

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Jen logged herself in. “It’s time,” she said. “We’re going up on the third floor today. ” The third floor is where the kinesis machines are. They are in a private room that doesn’t appear to be a torture chamber. It’s got nice wooden floors and four innocent looking pieces of equipment hanging off the wall with thin cables. They are labeled, “alpha,” “beta,” “delta,” and “gamma.” They might as well be called the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. I’ll give you the Clift Note’s version of my workout: It was the best and the worst workout I ever had in my life. One hour of agony and torture. I worked my entire body with each exercise.

We finished by running laps --- sort of. We ran the straight a ways and then I lunged the curves and corners. When we finished Jen said I looked like I wanted to hit her. I told her if I could raise me arms I just might!! As I sit here writing I ache all over but it’s the best ache I have ever had in my life. As we walked towards the door she stopped again. “That’s the roughest I’ve worked you and you did good.” I didn’t hit her, I thanked her. I had a hard time moving but I was on cloud nine. I never thought I would be grateful and thankful for pain. A year ago, well a year ago it wasn’t even on the radar.

We all have things to be thankful for, I have a list like everyone else.

I’m thankful for being able to hang in there for an hour. A year ago it wasn’t on the radar. A year ago I was uncomfortable, despondent and ready to give up. All my vitals were teetering on the edge of disaster. I felt alone and isolated and nothing fit. My self-esteem was in the basement and my attitude not far behind it. If I talked about everyone in my life who pushed, cajoled and loved me into the exercise regimen I am in now I’d be here all day.

I’m thankful for C25K. In May all I could do was walk and thought well that was quite enough, thank you very much. I ran my first 5K in September, my second in October and am scheduled for my third in December. I ran five miles two weeks ago and actually cried the last quarter mile I was so happy. (I know I’m such a girl, LOL) I am looking forward to running with some Spark friends real soon!!

I am thankful for early morning workouts, late evening workouts and running down a highway in West Virginia this summer where two deer jumped out of the woods and almost scared me straight into heaven.

I am thankful for the sixty four pounds I have left behind this year. With that wonderful loss has come a new confidence, a new sense of freedom and the ability to want to do more things in my life. My marriage, my friendships and all my relationships are stronger and healthier by what I’ve left behind.

I am thankful for my health. It is the vehicle that has made me a better John. I’m grateful for the pain and the indecision and the revelations about me that have come to the fore front so far in this journey.

I am thankful for you being my friend, encouraging me, challenging me and making it all so very real. I have become who I hang around with. You are as much a part of “Team John” as anyone else.

I used to roll my eyes when someone would say “A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” Today I know that those first few steps had a lot of sweat and tears involved in them. That’s what made it worth it all. That’s why I am so thankful.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ANEPANALIPTI 11/30/2010 7:37AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

Your workouts with your trainer sound SO awesome, I'm jealous!!!

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FLORIDASUN 11/28/2010 7:23AM

    What a beautiful blog! You have done so well! It's hard to begin...but even harder to keep going...and you've DONE it! Good for you...It is amazing just how powerful we are if we realize the potential inside of us! I'm so happy that you've realized it! Go John...go John...GO JOHN! emoticon

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BTINTERNET 11/26/2010 9:50AM

    That's a terrific thankfulness list! Now you need to put it somewhere where you read it every day! :-)

Happy Thanksgiving dear John.

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JJSSKINNYGIRL 11/26/2010 9:30AM

    I hope you had a great Thanksgiving John! Thank you for sharing your words!

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MORTICIAADDAMS 11/25/2010 10:50PM

    We both have a lot to be thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving!!

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CARTOONB 11/25/2010 9:56PM

    Great list. Happy Thanksgiving!

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HDHAWK 11/25/2010 7:53PM

    I'm thankful for you John! For your sharing and honesty that you share here regularly. You are motivating and inspiring and challenge me to think about what's happening on the inside and not just how I look on the outside. emoticon

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GETFIT2LIVE 11/25/2010 5:03PM

    It really is amazing how far you (and I!) have come this year, John. It has been a lot of work, but it has been so worth it. Well done; I'm thankful for you, too. Thanks for sharing the journey with us; hope your Thanksgiving is truly blessed!

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MARCYNA 11/25/2010 3:19PM

    Blood, Sweat & Tears have brought you here - and some laughter's all thanks to you, John,,,and I'm so very grateful I've met you, I'm so proud of being your friend emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 11/25/2010 3:21:04 PM

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REJ7777 11/25/2010 2:27PM

    emoticon emoticon

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DEBRITA01 11/25/2010 1:21PM

    emoticon Enjoy your many blessings today and have a Happy Thanksgiving!

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SARAWALKS 11/25/2010 12:32PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon
And emoticon for letting us hang out with you! emoticon

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GEEMAWEST 11/25/2010 12:28PM

    Way to go, John!! Happy Thanksgiving!

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TRIPLE_EMME 11/25/2010 8:39AM

    I'm thankful for your friendship, John!

I look forward to taking many more steps with you.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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WALKNLOVE 11/25/2010 8:10AM

    And John, I am thankful for you and your encouraging words! God Bless You! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your friends & family!

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JESPAH 11/25/2010 7:58AM

    The first steps are the toughest ones.

Here's to a lot more steps, all of us, together.

Who the hell cares about Team Edward or Team Jacob? I'm on Team John. :)

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FUZZY1TOO 11/25/2010 7:47AM


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Blessed Failure

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

My nephew Jim called last night. He’s Joan’s oldest sister’s oldest child. His dad died about ten years ago or so and since then whenever he has “issues” he calls me. His dad and I were close and I don’t think there is not a day that goes by that I don’t miss him. He died suddenly of heart attack. Jim is getting married for the first time at age forty. The hardest thing for me to swallow at age fifty seven is that I have a forty year old nephew. (I guess it could be worse. I do have a sixteen year old great niece, LOL.)

His bride to be has two children, both boys, both teenagers, from a previous marriage, and the biological dad is not in the picture because he chooses not to be. Predictably, both boys don’t care for Jim and the fact he is marrying mom and they are, to use the appropriate parlance of today’s vocabulary “acting out.” Jim is at a loss on how to handle all of this so he called me. As he stated a couple of times during the call he believes I am “wise.” Given that the last six weeks of my life have been one little failure after another I didn’t correct him with any false humility. Towards the end of our discussion Jim seemed a bit despondent. He was hoping to be perfect and it just wasn’t working out the way he thought it would.

“You’re so wise,” he started. “All this stuff comes so easy to you.”

I reminded him that the only way we gain any wisdom at all is through failure. He seemed incredulous. He had a hard time believing I had ever failed at anything or made the wrong decision. I told him I had; more times than I cared to think about and if I had any insight at all into anything it was because I failed so often in reaching out for that ever so elusive success. We wished each other a good evening and hung up. I sat in my chair and started thinking about the real wisdom of what I said. It HAS been a rough last few weeks but I am starting to see the horizon and the sun is shining. I made a few bad choices. (One involved an illicit relationship with a pan of brownies.)Every time I made a poor choice, I regrouped and went back to the process that has been successful for me in the past, but a bit wiser because of my failure.

I have hated the gym, my trainer and my running buddies for a little over a month now. I wondered why I couldn’t click my heels three times and be thin and svelte and all those other alien terms. I cussed and fussed and carried on….. This morning I sit here with a goofy grin. My granddaughter throws herself on the floor and pitches a fit, so to speak. I just did it in a much more sophisticated manner. I got mad at me, and as a wise Spark friend told me once “Nuthin’ changes till somethin’ changes.”

I owe a lot to many of you. There have been so many “I love you’s” and so many “hang in there’s,” that I felt encouraged to move on. I am back on track. I’m a bit bruised and bumped and certainly a bit wiser. There is a real blessing in failure. My trainer reminded me that in exercise terms a muscle never, ever gets stronger until it reaches the point of failure.

Just like me and you.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ELYMWX 11/28/2010 12:18PM

    Many, many years ago (I think I was 12 or 13) I got a poster with a number of funny computer and engineering quotes. Yes I was a geek even then. Most were fun and/or silly, but there was one that really struck me as profoundly significant: "Good judgment from experience, while experience comes from bad judgment." That one's stuck with me for a long, long time.

Another one that has really stuck is Murphy's Law of Thermodynamics: Things get worse under pressure. But that's another story.

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JUST_TRI_IT 11/28/2010 11:23AM

    "My trainer reminded me that in exercise terms a muscle never, ever gets stronger until it reaches the point of failure. "

Hmmmm. That is like us all... the human muscle :)

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ANEPANALIPTI 11/28/2010 11:16AM

    Wow, that was powerful.

Failures are to be welcomed because of how much we learn about ourselves through them.

We got this. emoticon


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FLORIDASUN 11/28/2010 7:30AM

    Yep...your nephew has it are a WISE man! He's lucky to have you in his world. And don't EVER give up on yourself. When people give you those compliments know that they are TRUE...put them in your pocket and refer to them when the going gets rough....if other's see that goodness in must recognize it in yourself...that's the real challenge! emoticon

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DOCYJK 11/26/2010 2:00PM

    Thanks for the great inspiration about getting back on track!!! emoticon

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SARAWALKS 11/25/2010 7:00AM

    YES. YES. YES.
So never fear to fail!
Thanks, John, and I hope you have a lovely illicit relationship with some pumpkin pie today! (or a similar sweetie pie!)
Happy Thanksgiving! emoticon

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REJ7777 11/25/2010 6:10AM

    emoticon emoticon
Happy Thanksgiving!

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CARTOONB 11/25/2010 12:10AM

    An illicit relationship with a pan of brownies. Oh how my head spins at the thought! emoticon emoticon

Good to hear that you are feeling it.

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TRENTDREAMER 11/24/2010 9:21PM

    "There is a real blessing in failure. My trainer reminded me that in exercise terms a muscle never, ever gets stronger until it reaches the point of failure. "
* Well put

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TRIPLE_EMME 11/24/2010 3:36PM

    Adversity and failure are character builders. We learn so much during these trying times.

I like to think I have a lot of character! emoticon

Here's a tidbit of advice to pass along to your nephew, Jim. It comes from my own personal experience. When my stepfather and my mother hooked up, I was a late teen. My biological father was out of the picture (and had been for a long time). I gave my stepfather a rough time in the beginning. We didn't get along very well and clashed quite a bit. Granted, I didn't live with the parental unit; so my situation is a bit different. But here is the part I wanted to share: One day we had a heart-to-heart talk about our relationship. We agreed to get to know each other and think of each other as friends. When we stopped trying to engage in the dynamic of parent-child, which felt rather forced and awkward; we found that we shared much in common and truly began to respect each other. We got along much better.

Yesterday, marked the two-year anniversary of my mother no longer speaking to me (for reasons still unknown to me). I miss my stepfather a lot. Over the past decade (or so), I found him to be a man that I admired, respected and truly valued as a part of my life.

Things didn't start off the best between us, but it did improve vastly.

Feel free to share what you want with Jim -- and he can contact me if he wants to talk further.

I wish you and your loved ones a very happy Thanksgiving!

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DIASTER 11/24/2010 1:28PM

  So John:
Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.
We all have so much to be thankful for, especially Spark People and all the love and encouragement that flow every day. It might be time to re-read the Spark book and get ourselves back on that ride that first started our journey. Let us all kick down that wall that we have hit and move forward. We do know it works, and just think how very thankful we will be next Thanksgiving celebrating our new healthy selves.
God Bless.
Thank You for making a difference in our lives and for making us aware of our excuses.

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CALLIKIA 11/24/2010 11:16AM

    Such great words! The biggest part of success is learning how to fail again and again.

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JUDIL62 11/24/2010 10:26AM

    So true! A huge part of why I know I will succeed this time is because I have learned so much from my past failures. The difficult thing for me being a mom of two teenage boys is letting them make their own mistakes.

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ATREAT4ME 11/24/2010 9:15AM

    What a great perspective. Thank you for sharing the efforts of your thoughtfulness and perspective. Your nephew is blessed to have such a great uncle and we are blessed to have a window into this amazing, loving relationship. Have a great holiday!

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HDHAWK 11/24/2010 9:03AM

    Oh so true. If we can learn something from each of our failures then they have some value. Tough to see that sometimes. My son (only one left at home) almost views my new husband as a "dad" because his is barely in the picture...only when it's convenient for him, which isn't often. Although my then fiance and I got along great, we had many bumps along the way once we moved in together and added kids to the mix. It's the hardest part. If your nephew can come to realize that no matter who was marrying their mom he wouldn't be a popular guy. This is about their pain and not really about him.

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SWEETNEENI 11/24/2010 9:01AM

    "My trainer reminded me that in exercise terms a muscle never, ever gets stronger until it reaches the point of failure."

Love it.


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MARCYNA 11/24/2010 8:33AM

    My dear, I know what you mean....failure's part of the journey and once we learn how to deal with it, we're unstoppable...good luck to nephew, he deserves a prize for his courage emoticon

Happy Thanksgiving, don't forget to SPARK emoticon

Comment edited on: 11/24/2010 8:34:14 AM

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4EVERFIT011 11/24/2010 8:30AM

    What a wonderful way to look at things. I will definitely keep this in mind as I stumble along on my way to success. Thank you for some added perspective. Happy Thanksgiving.

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MUSTANG_SALLY2 11/24/2010 8:24AM

    Oh how I needed this today. I'll say a prayer for your nephew and his new family-to-be. That would be a hard thing to go thru.

Happy Thanksgiving, John to you and yours.


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