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My First (Of Many) Year At Spark. A One Year Blog

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

ďWhen I began my business ten years ago I searched for a motto or tag line that would describe what I did. I came up with "Helping Good People Become Better." It dawned on me this morning as I filled in my data here at Spark People that I had been really successful at doing that for everyone but myself. While I took the time to encourage, nurture and develop other people I let myself and my goals fall by the wayside. Something or someone else was always more important. I helped a lot of good people become better at my own expense.
It's hard to be appropriately selfish, to take the time for you. I'm going to start. Starting today, I am going to look at myself through the same prism I look at other people through. I'm a good person on the road to becoming better.Ē

That was my first blog here at Spark, one year ago today. Itís my first year Spark-Aversary. I reached my goal. I am wiser, healthier and happier that I was one year ago today. I weigh sixty five pounds less than I did a year ago. Iíve accumulated over sixteen thousand fitness minutes and along the way made over six hundred new friends. I reached my goal of helping a really good person --- me---- become a better one.

Okay, yesterday is history, over and done with.

I am not unhappy with my progress but I fell thirty five pound short of my initial goal. Iím not going to jump off a bridge or anything but I noticed recently that when I had a setback I would take solace in all the weight I had lost and sort of say ďits okay, John.Ē That has become a roadblock.

Sunday, when I weigh in I am resetting my weight ticker. It will reflect my new goal for the next year which will be a bit more than thirty five pounds. Iíll start all over again just like I did a year ago. Itís time I did that, I need the motivation. A year ago this whole thing scared me. This morning, starting over does the same thing, but in a much different way. Today I KNOW what I am capable of doing. The part that made me chuckle is when I thought about all the people who will visit my page and say; ďGee he really hast done anything, has he?Ē Thatís my ego messing with me.

There are those of you who love me and I want you to know I love you also. Itís not the greeting card store kind of love it is a true, deep abiding love that people have for each other when they have been able to share parts of themselves with each other and come away feeling better than they were before. That has meant more to me than any 5K or weight loss. It has been the highlight of my year.

I only have one regret. There are so many times I donít respond to all the Spark Mails, Goodies and Blog Comments you all leave for me. Iím not making excuses but I often run out of time and in her wisdom my dearest wife says ďYou are not spending the rest of your life in front of the computer!!!Ē Iím going to work on a way to get back to all of you.

Sunday afternoon, with not a lot to do, I went scanning my Spark friends, putting my cursor over their picture and I noticed so many are not currently active. I wish I could talk to them and ask them why. I get so caught up in my little group of buddies that I forget a year ago, on day one, a handful of people commented on my first blog and I remember thinking ďWow, someone knows Iím out here.Ē

Thanks you for being my friend.

Much Love

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MRSRAYE 12/20/2010 10:23AM

    My husband is kinda the same way as far as the computer. When I joined Spark just a few months ago, I got way more then I expected. I met a ton of people very quickly that are just like me and I became obsessed with SP! It seemed like there was always someone to message or comment on. I always had something to track. There is so much to do that you can literally spend your whole day on SP. Now, I'm not on as much as I would like to be but it's nice to know that when I am here, there is always love and support waiting for me.

Great job on your sucess so far and keep up your hardwork for next year! It's gonna be a great year!!!!

Stephanie R.

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MSSUNBUG 12/20/2010 9:00AM

    I had the same sadness today as I scanned over a few old pals here and noticed they were inactive. It's upsetting to see.

It's been a true pleasure to get to look in on your journey, John.

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ANEPANALIPTI 12/17/2010 5:49PM

    I am proud of you and happy I call you my friend. Here's to many more!!!

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ATREAT4ME 12/16/2010 10:38PM

    John, I love this post because I see it about becoming a better person/friend to oneself and therefore to others; I see the value of the journey -- working toward the destination and picking your own route -- but the value of the friendships cultivated along the way (to me) clearly transcends the face value. Nicely done. A great reflection of what the year brought you and the potential of the next one to bring similar priceless bounty to others. Thank you!

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TEENY_BIKINI 12/16/2010 5:38PM

    Congrats! I am sure you will rock next year in true rock star fashion. You have accomplished so much beyond the scale it is mindboggling - not the least of which is the amount of people you have inspired in your journey.

Thank you for being here. Cheers.


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EMTFF376 12/16/2010 11:12AM

    Happy belated Sparkiversary John! My gift to you is a raincheck (snowcheck) for a workout and lunch when we finally cross paths in Weston! :)

Congratulations on losing 65 in a year. That is a great achievement! I'm so proud of you.

I want to say more and comment on your whole blog, but I'm working and have limited time. I want you to know, though, I read each and every word of each and every blog of yours (unless you video blog!).

Hugs and congrats!

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DOLLBABE56 12/16/2010 9:11AM

    Happy "belated" anniversary, John. Your plan is a good one. I may borrow it.

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SPARKENISTA 12/15/2010 10:34PM

No, thank you, for being there. I know exactly what you mean about getting to know people on a deep level her at Spark. I think that when we put ourselves out there we are taking a risk and are vulnerable. That is a sure road to getting to know someone on a very deep level.

Good luck in your re-vamp of your goals. You have inspired hundreds of people and helped us on our path. I am so grateful.



emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MORTICIAADDAMS 12/15/2010 9:22PM

    Congratulations on a very successful year. This year will be another.

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KSGROTHE 12/15/2010 8:32PM

    Happy emoticon, John!

I'm glad you've done so well over this year and also had some setbacks to blog about. I have been on Spark more than 3 years and have not lost as much weight as you have yet. I'm hoping that that "Fall 7 times [or 77] get up 8 [or 78]" principle works for me eventually. Reading your blogs about your mental struggles helps me realize that I'm not that unusual in my own struggles. I have a lot of things to work on, but I'm improving.

Keep up the good work! I have no doubt you can reach your goals in your next year on Spark! emoticon

- Karen

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WORKINGSTIFF 12/15/2010 1:57PM

    Way to go, John!

Happy Anniversary to you. You have come a long way this year-not just physically but mentally too!

Hope to read more great blogs from you in '11.


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SILLYHP1953 12/15/2010 1:49PM

    Happy Anniversary. I understand the time contraints of replying to our friends blogs, goodies, and mailings. My comments have become shorter lately unless something really strikes me and I haven't been able to reply back to comments all the time. SP is a BIG part of my life now, but it can't be my WHOLE life.

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PRINCESSNURSE 12/15/2010 1:41PM

    Thanks for being my sparkfriend! This is going to be an awesome year---I can't wait to see what we accomplish!

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KELLY40222 12/15/2010 11:48AM

    Congratulations, John on your 1 year Spark Anniversary!!! emoticon emoticon

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LOOKY-LOU 12/15/2010 11:35AM

    Happy Spark-aversary John. I wish you even more success in your second year.

Have an awesome day!

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TRIPLE_EMME 12/15/2010 11:25AM

    emoticon Happy emoticon!!!!

I wish you much success, health and happiness achieving your new goals!


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ISHIIGIRL 12/15/2010 11:15AM

    Congrats John. I periodically peruse my spark friends also. If I see they haven't been active for awhile I send them a quick Hi, how are you? How have you been? If I don't get a response within a few weeks, I delete them. I figure if they are ever active on the site again they can re-add me. Then I don't get discouraged when I see 100 people are my spark buddies but I only hear from a few. Just my two cents. You are a great motivator to many people just by being you and sometimes its ok if you stall in your journey, just proves you are human! Paige

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CARTOONB 12/15/2010 11:11AM

    Happy Sparkiversary!! You will reach your new goals, I'm sure of it!!! Your OLD friend....Barbara

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MAWRTIAN 12/15/2010 10:37AM

    HAPPY SPARKAVERSARY!!! Your blogs are great John, I'm usually a silent member here but I have gotten so much out of your reflections. Thank you.


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GETFIT2LIVE 12/15/2010 10:05AM

    Happy Spark-Aversary, John. I'm glad you're here; you have helped me more than you know. I am about a month away from my one year mark of using SP, so I have been thinking a lot about the difference this place and people like you have made in my life. Thanks for being a part of the transformational process for me!

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CBLANK20091 12/15/2010 10:04AM


A very,very Happy Sparkiversary!!


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HDHAWK 12/15/2010 10:02AM

    Happy emoticon! You do thank all your friends on a regular basis by sharing in your blogs with such honesty. We all have limited time so don't be too hard on yourself!

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WILLIAMV3 12/15/2010 9:52AM

    Happy Anniversary and Congratulations on your progress! emoticon

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ELYMWX 12/15/2010 9:42AM

    Congratulations, John on Year One, and good luck on Day One!

Even though you have spent the year focusing on making yourself better, you have still managed to help a lot of others' lives better too. Keep on Sparking.

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KATJAMN 12/15/2010 9:32AM

    Happy Spark-aversary. You have so much to be proud of, mostly that you are such an inspiration to so many, including me.

Keep going and next year will be even more rewarding for you.

It's hard getting back to everyone, relax.. just make sure you get back to me.. hahahaha!! Just kidding. Relax!

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PLAYBLUES22 12/15/2010 9:27AM

    Sweetie, good for you, one year on Sparks and you have accomplished so very much emoticon

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ARTHURTOM 12/15/2010 9:18AM


Keep on Sparkin'!

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MISSROCKABILLY 12/15/2010 9:17AM

    Congrats on your one year sparkversary! It has been such a great experience, sharing this past year with you through your blog, watching you learn, struggle, sometimes fall, get up, succeed, and grow! You are an incredible person, John, and I'm so glad that we are friends. I'm looking forward to another wonderful year!

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MARCYNA 12/15/2010 9:06AM

    Hey, it took me more than a month to find you on SP...I'm not as bright as I had thought,,,anyway I'm so glad I did.
You really helped me more than you could imagine, and yes, I like helping others and this is part of my job too.
I heard once a very wise person saying.:
"When you're stuck,when you can't find a solution to your problems, help others and Providence will help you"
This is basically why I think being generous works, by helping each other even when we're stuck we're helped in our turn emoticon

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HLPRATT 12/15/2010 8:57AM

    Like your wife I don't want to spend my life in front of the computer, so I don't utilize sparkpeople as much as I could. I like the idea of starting over with new goals for the new year. We all need a new start sometimes. I enjoy your blog John!

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JESPAH 12/15/2010 8:29AM

    Wow, someone knows I'm out here.

Lots of us know.

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SARAWALKS 12/15/2010 8:27AM

    emoticon on a whole year! emoticon
and not to worry about answering all of us!
We are only responsible for ourselves, not for everyone who comes into our orbit...
And the best way to help others is to stay on track oneself...
Then you can see what you are actually called to do.
emoticon emoticon

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MUSTANG_SALLY2 12/15/2010 8:20AM

    Happy emoticon

I love following along with you thru this journey we are on. You have encouraged me and uplifted me many times. I think of you as a gift from God.

I am proud of what you've accomplished and cannot wait to see what the next year holds for you. I too am ready to see what lies ahead.


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HONORINGGOD 12/15/2010 8:13AM

    emoticon emoticon you have been a encouragement for me my friend emoticon emoticonof the rest of our lives emoticon

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"If I'm So Lucky..........." or What Really Matters Part 2

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I havenít been able to run for a week which in some respects seems like forever. I injured my leg, specifically my left knee, last Monday when I stepped wrong while running on the track. This is a really polite way of saying I run somewhat awkwardly at times. The doctor prescribed rest. Friday he told me I could walk and yesterday told me to simply listen to my body. I spent time on the dread mill, the elliptical and had a personal training session where all we worked on was upper body strength. All the time we were training I kept an eye on the folks running. I felt left out. I felt like the kid with the used bike in a room full of kids with brand new bikes. It could be a few weeks before I can begin running and the ortho guy suggested I begin slowly running a mile three times a week and building back up. If someone tells me how ďluckyĒ I was not to be hurt more seriously one more time, Iím going to spit!!

The point of this blog is not to vent, rant or illicit support. Itís not a ďcount your blessings.Ē (Even though I do!!) Itís to tell you that itís no big deal, really in the grand scheme of life. It is disappointing but the world hasnít ended yet. I am feeling inadequate and that feeling comes solely through my own choosing. I am choosing to feel less than all those folks motoring around the track so it gives me some sort of justification to feel sorry for myself. When I feel sorry for myself I now have the opportunity to pull out my address book dial 1-800-EMOTIONAL-EATER and say ďCome on over!!!Ē My feelings donít originate in my injury; they originate in my perception of myself.

Watch a professional athlete on the sidelines when they are out for the season. No one hovers around them with a box of Kleenex. Injuries are part of life and life, as you and I know, refuses to be predictable in any form or fashion. Injuries are like riding over a nail and blowing out a tire. You hadnít planned for it, it isnít expected and you sit by the side of the road waiting for a wrecker. All of that comes from how you really feel about yourself. If I view this as a setback, a bit of a flat tire, then in a few weeks we will start anew. If I donít it gives me reason to feel sorry for myself and cut a few corners. No one would blame me. I love to run, itís enjoyable but so is going to Disneyland. Iím not going to have a pity party because I canít catch a flight to LA tomorrow.

Our minds are amazing tools but in the end there is no getting around the fact they do what we tell them to do. I took a simple injury and turned it into a whole self-esteem issue because once again I was different that anyone else. If Iím not careful it could derail me.

Most of us grew up hearing about the three little pigs. Two built their houses from straw and sticks. The third built his house from brick. I suspect it took longer and cost more, but when the Big Bad Wolf aka known as lifeís miseries came a calliní the brick house stood firm. The other two collapsed and crumbled and never were heard from again.

Learning to be healthy isnít just about what goes in my mouth. In many ways thatís just a symptom. The disease is how I see and value myself. Itís easy to blame the past and people in it, but when I look to the left and right all I see is that I am surrounded by a lot of love and support. Whatís my excuse now?

Off to the dreadmill.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ANEPANALIPTI 12/18/2010 6:33PM

    "we tell them what to do" Oh yes, so wise. A sparkfriend posted this quote as her status the other day and I have been reading it EVERY day.

""No one can depress you. No one can make you anxious. No one can hurt your feelings. No one can make you anything other than what you allow inside." - Unknown"

Listen to this:

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DGILBRIDE1949 12/16/2010 10:53AM

    You touched a nerve with me. I rode my bicycle for 13 was my only vehicle, and I loved it...13 years up and down the coast of Southern California....and a brief trip from Boston to New York...what memories.
Then I was hit by a car. Everyone said that I was lucky that wasn't hurt worse...just a broken shoulder and fractured hip....
I still ride, but not like I used to. I walk now. But every time I see a group of cyclists pass me, I get that same feeling of not belonging any more...
I guess the important thing is that I am still standing, just as you are. Walk, run, jog, is all important. And important enough not to give up!
We are here for you. And that's important, too!

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MARCYNA 12/15/2010 3:46AM

    This is great, going to the roots of the way we're feeling...Professional dancers, when they're hurt, keep on training the muscles which have not been hurt...I was wondering if this can apply also to the psychological issues I've been through in these days emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 12/15/2010 3:47:12 AM

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GO-LOEW 12/14/2010 11:34PM

    After reading your blog, I think you are well on the way to a successful recovery from your injury and to overcoming the "disease" that caused our overweight. I enjoy reading your blogs.

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GEEMAWEST 12/14/2010 11:26PM

    Ya, what Barb said. emoticon (FYI, this is spit)

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CARTOONB 12/14/2010 10:38PM

    You are lucky you weren't hurt worse.

Is there an emoticon for spit? emoticon

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WORKINGSTIFF 12/14/2010 3:10PM

    Oh, I'm sorry-are we who are up moving around, walking, running, jumping, cycling, etc. never supposed to get injured? I figured that it comes with the territory! I ended up in the ER getting staples in my head from a fall during a volleyball game!

The only way to live "injury free" would be to sit perfectly still-and watch life pass us by. Now that's a sad way to stay intact.

"Welcome to the club!" I say. It's a badge of honor (so to speak) to be able to say "I injured myself while out on a run..."

You may actually make some people envious! He's out running! Not something they think they can do!

You'll be back before you know it.

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REJ7777 12/14/2010 2:55PM

    You've made so much progress! You write, "All the time we were training I kept an eye on the folks running. I felt left out. I felt like the kid with the used bike in a room full of kids with brand new bikes. " A year ago, you wouldn't have imagined being "jealous" of those who can run at the gym! Make sure to patiently care for your new bike (body) while it's in the repair shop!

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HDHAWK 12/14/2010 12:43PM

    Injuries stink because we have the thought (at least I do) that I'm finally doing this and now I can't! Considering you are a RUNNER with an injury doesn't mean you're not a runner anymore. You are in the runners group with a temporary setback. I'll bet if you asked most runners they've had the same setbacks. I'll never be in your cool runner's group because I dislike running and have no desire to ever do it. Sometimes I think I should give it a try, but then, why should I if I don't enjoy it.
Good luck with the dreadmill. That's where I'm at too. It's way too cold to be outside right now!

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GETFIT2LIVE 12/14/2010 12:21PM

    There's a song we used to sing in Sunday school growing up that I'm reminded of, about the wise man builds his house upon the rock while the foolish man builds his house upon the sand. Keep building your house on the rock, John, and whatever winds and rain may come, it will stand firm. That's what this journey is really all about--making sure we have a solid foundation that will withstand the storms of life.

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SILLYHP1953 12/14/2010 12:00PM

    I have a feeling reading your blogs is going to be a very thought-provoking activity...looking forward to it!

Thanks for befriending me.
emoticon Phyllis

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TRIPLE_EMME 12/14/2010 10:02AM


I truly appreciate that you share your struggles in your blog. Thanks for sharing that vulnerable part of yourself.

I'm proud of you for going off to the dreadmill.

In time, you will figure this all out!


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SARAWALKS 12/14/2010 9:16AM

    You rock, buddy! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MKPRINCESS007 12/14/2010 9:04AM

    I could think of a 1001 cliches that might apply, but I won't.Ok, maybe I will a little. I love KAT573's quote here. So often we use adversity to throw in the towel.......oh look, I used a cliche! The truth is LIFE is as much adversity as it is joyful. If we "cash in our chips" (oh look another cliche! :) when the going gets tough, well then, I guess we are done in. Giving up is not an option. I don't think it is wrong to have a pity party once in a while. I mean, last time I checked, we are human. We don't get extra points for being stoic. Sometimes we need the pity party to get our heads together, and this is ok. That is how I use it, and I am damn proud of it! lol.

As always, continue being that shining star that you are. If you keep reaching for the moon, you will definitely land among the stars.

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ANEPANALIPTI 12/14/2010 8:50AM

    Rock the dreadmill John, YOU ROCK IT. You're a million percent right, its a symptom of the disease which is looking at ourselves in a negative lway! *scribbles furiously* Writing some of this stuff down!

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KAT573 12/14/2010 8:38AM

    John: I feel for you: I had to come to realize that what Robert Frost said was true for me, and what Scott Peck said was too:

The best way out is always through

And just as I have had to work incrementally and therefore, realistically,with an allowance of compassion, & with professional assistance, on my nutrition and my exercise, the same is also true where I cannot seem, by my own will alone, to move beyond a certain impasse emotionally. I had to reach a level of acceptance, to do that. And while that never ends, and must continually be defined, just as refinement in exercise and diet must be as Life changes, I believe you will find your way, if you can realize when you need to let go, and how you need to keep on keeping on.

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DAWNDMOORE40 12/14/2010 8:36AM

    emoticonblog! emoticonfor sharing your struggles and your successes with us! I know it can be difficult when your used to doing something, and then all the sudden you have to stop. Just do a little at a time, and don't get down on yourself because if you don't heal properly, you won't be good for anyone! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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Discovering What Matters........ And Not Liking It One Bit

Monday, December 13, 2010

I took one of our daughters to work early, very early, this morning. It was cold and she doesnít like walking across a dark parking lot and thatís what dads are for. I had a chance to drive down a snow swept, empty road and look at all the Christmas lights. I got to drive slowly. It was beautiful.

I read a blog here yesterday by STEELKICKIN titled What Really Matters To You? If you get a chance read it --- Good Stuff!! I thought about what she said as I drove this morning looking at all the pretty decorations. I felt peaceful and even uttered a small prayer of thanks for the splendor and the beauty. God is good. There is a section of road I traverse on a regular basis that is littered with empty store fronts, vacant lots and the like. I donít notice the people in the doorways when itís 75F and sunny. Itís a non-issue. This morning with the temperature gauge hovering around 0F, I looked at them huddled together, stomping their feet and trying to stay warm. The light changed and I pulled away.

What Really Matters To You? Where did that voice come from? What Really Matters To You? (I hate that voice!!!)

Those people huddled in the store front could give a hoot about Black Friday or Cyber Monday. I doubt they spend a lot of time stressing over whether they are a size 6 or 8 or they dropped from a 40 to 38 in pants size. They worry about staying alive. They worry about feeding their kids and where they are going to sleep tonight and what comes next. I knowÖÖÖ.. We have read this all before. Itís the annual trip down guilt lane. I am not suggesting you give away everything you have and join them. I sincerely believe we are all on our own journeys and here to learn our own lessons. Here is what it means to me.

I spend a lot of time worrying about issues in my life that are superfluous. I have heat, I have food, I have a place to stay and transportation. I whine a lot about eating too many sweet and carbs and how my clothes fit and the like. I was blessed with all of these things and I take them for granted. I become smug and self-righteous when someone suggests I am smug and self-righteous. I do not want to hear this stuff!!! Acknowledging this means I have to do something and I surely canít imagine being faced with the possibility of extracting myself from my comfort zone and trying to make things better. The problem is just too large, right? I take a tag off the angel tree at church and feel so warm inside because Iím going to go to Wal-Mart and but a cheap coat and some crayons for a kid who has nothing color on and with to begin with. Itís not about them is it? Itís about me and how I feel. Got to feel good about what you are doing.

It hits me as I pull into the driveway. Itís become about feeling good. When I do life is grand, when I donít, I curse the fates and scurry about trying to recapture that artificial bliss. There is a real balance that is missing in my life. I choose to ignore the things that are unpleasant and gravitate towards the bright and shiny, until someone as wise as STEELKICKIN brings it to my attention. Iím not called to end poverty. That task would almost seem easy compared to the one that calls me to soften my heart to everyone and relinquish the selfish attitude Iíve built up. The balance of health comes from many areas. I can track my calories till the cows come home and diligently exercise; but until I create an unselfish balance in my life, I wonít really accomplish anything. Iíll go from being an overweight jerk to being a skinny one!!! Nothing but size will have changed. My heart must change and until it does, Iíll spinning my wheels just like I did in this mornings snow.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ANEPANALIPTI 12/18/2010 6:35PM

    Aaaaaaaaa. Yes. Weight has nothing to do with who we are inside, that was my lesson for 2010.

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GEEMAWEST 12/14/2010 11:04PM

    You said so much John. So did Michelle. I remember one of the years when our kids were pre-teens and we wanted to teach them about giving. We called the local Salvation Army or whatever it was (too long ago to remember) and asked for the name of a family that needed a food box. We were just making ends meet as it was but we went to the store and bought a big ham, a turkey, stuffing, potatoes, veggies, pumpkin pie and everything we could think of to make a Christmas feast.

When we all went as a family to deliver the box the adults that received it seemed really ungrateful and were digging through the box and saying "where is this and where is that". Apparently the box wasn't up to their standards. We were so disappointed and just couldn't understand what went wrong.

Great Blog, John!!

Turns out we were just trying to make ourselves feel better and were looking for someone to tell us how wonderful we were. It was a hard lesson to learn but I'm sure glad we all learned it together.

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TIME4AFITME 12/13/2010 8:42PM

    Give us lots to think about. Thank you for this blog

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TIME4AFITME 12/13/2010 8:42PM

    Give us lots to think about. Thank you for this blog

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HDHAWK 12/13/2010 7:54PM

    You are hardly selfish John. You give us your time each day by writing blogs that make us think. I'm getting to that age where I can think about when I'll retire. I honestly get so much from my job I'm not sure I'll be ready. Yes, I get a paycheck, but building relationships with kids gives so much back to me. It is a wonderful feeling. I'm not sure what else I would do to replace that feeling. We certainly have many children that are in sad situations. Sometimes what we give isn't monetary, but giving them a safe, caring place to come each day is worth a lot.

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REJ7777 12/13/2010 7:26PM

    "Itís not about them is it? Itís about me and how I feel." So often, it is! emoticon

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MORTICIAADDAMS 12/13/2010 5:33PM

    You are certainly not a jerk, John, nor are you selfish and you do know what matters though you may not think about it every minute.

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STEELKICKIN 12/13/2010 2:58PM

    Wow. You have said so much more than I what I set out to've no idea the impact that this has made on my life today. One thing you said stuck out among the others...

"I take a tag off the angel tree at church and feel so warm inside because Iím going to go to Wal-Mart and buy a cheap coat and some crayons for a kid who has nothing to color on and with to begin with. Itís not about them is it? Itís about me and how I feel. Got to feel good about what you are doing." We have all at one time or another, lost sight of what it really means to GIVE. Not to give to get recognition, not to give so that we can lay our heads down at night and say, "Look, God, I did my good deed for the day." It's all about making that change on the inside, to know that we gave everything we had within our hearts...and not get recognition in return. We do not know when we are entertaining angels. Our Lord has said this. And He said that when we do for others, we are also doing unto HIM.

If He were to come to our home, would we give Him the leftovers from yesterday? Or would we prepare a grand feast so that He could dine? Would we give our ALL so that we may honor Him and His name?? This is how we must treat our fellow man. It is what the Lord expects of us, His children. Do unto others as we would have them do unto us.

What really matters to YOU?? And what really matters to GOD above all? I think we all know. Like you said in my blog, we must return to our "default settings" as human beings. In the end, we are all one. We are all connected by this thing called humanity. When we truly give of ourselves, 100% of our hearts and souls, we are also giving to ourselves in the end. And above all, we are honoring and worshiping a God who made us for that very reason.

Thank you, John. Very good food for thought today. God bless you!

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MARCYNA 12/13/2010 2:46PM

    I have been in this John. I have been feeling silly and selfish and blogging about silly things. But this is my path to happiness and now I feel less embarassed when I give money to someone on the street or I send help to missionaries in Africa. We're both on the same path to happiness AND our heart's going to change just like our sizes emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 12/13/2010 2:47:34 PM

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WORKINGSTIFF 12/13/2010 2:33PM

    That's it, really. We get so overly involved in our own "problems" that we forget that some people would love to have such minor things to deal with.

I'm always reminded of this as I drive my car to work and pass so many people huddled in the cold waiting for the bus-especially the mothers with babies in strollers.

Who am I to complain about much of anything? I have strong muscles and bones and a brain to move them.

It's my own undoing if I choose to be unhealthy.

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DGILBRIDE1949 12/13/2010 12:28PM

    That was great! It really gave me something to think about. We can change the outside, but the inside has to change too!
Thanks for sharing!

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EVRLNGFOO 12/13/2010 11:30AM

    well said! gives one lots to think about. thank you.

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TRIPLE_EMME 12/13/2010 11:20AM


I do think you hit the nail on the head in your last paragraph:

"...but until I create an unselfish balance in my life, I wonít really accomplish anything. Iíll go from being an overweight jerk to being a skinny one!!! Nothing but size will have changed. My heart must change and until it does, Iíll spinning my wheels just like I did in this mornings snow."

Change comes from within -- when we heal from the inside out, we are left with true, everlasting change!

This was a great blog!

Thank you!

Comment edited on: 12/13/2010 11:20:57 AM

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WANDAH3 12/13/2010 10:11AM

    John, the "ahh" moments all come to us at different times...they are life changing moments if we take the lesson and then begin applying it to our lives. Take your "ahh" moment and rejoice that you have had it, then ask your inner guidance how you can best use it to move forward and apply it in your daily life. Don't beat yourself up over not having had the moment came to you when you were ready to make the change.

Have a wonderfully blessed day,

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KAT573 12/13/2010 10:09AM

    JOHN: I began to wonder what it was that I loved in reading your blogs when first you came to my attention, only God knows how; so I decided to go back to your FIRST blog....and I realized on reading that, that there is nothing I can say or point out to you more than your own initial blogs do; I hope you take time during this advent to look back in order to move forward.
XXOO emoticon

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ARTHURTOM 12/13/2010 9:47AM

    John, having a healthy body is the beginning of a healthy mind (or at least it should be). The very first goal I had when I started in September 2007 (SP start 11/26/2008) was to feel good again. No numbers goal, no size goal, just to feel good again. I've achieved that goal and excelled beyond that. My good health has not only made me feel good again, but has sharpened my confidence beyond what it has ever been in my life.

I am far from being an anthropologist, but I do have compassion and empathy for humanity but I won't delve into my personal doings in those matters but I am active in the community where I live.

I'm not much of a religious person and I don't follow Christianity but I have studied it extensively. In Matthew 26, Jesus told his disciples that they would always have the poor with them, but they wouldn't have him (in the physical sense).

I wouldn't call being responsible to your family and yourself selfish, so you shouldn't feel as if you are. If you would like to experience the joy of the holiday season, drop $50 or more if you can to your local food shelter, volunteer to serve meals or do something quietly to help humanity. It could help with those feelings of self and not have you thinking you are a jerk.

It has worked for me.


Comment edited on: 12/13/2010 9:54:36 AM

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STRIPEDTIGER 12/13/2010 9:42AM

    I'm friends with CIVIAV and I noticed in my friend feed that she had commented on a blog with a title that intrigued me.

I love it. I love the blog. I love your heart. I sincerely doubt you have been a jerk, but I won't argue. emoticon

Thank you for your post!

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CIVIAV 12/13/2010 9:29AM

    A good start for me to contemplate my own 'what really matters to me' but it's already very close for comfort. I'm off to read STEELKICKIN's blog now. Thanks for the tip and access to additional progress. At this time of year it will help in spades!


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GRANDTO4 12/13/2010 9:27AM

  I always appreciate your blogs, but you knocked it out of the park with this one. You explained so well the very thing so many of us wrestle with - complacency. Thanks so much for the boot in the rear!

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RENA1965 12/13/2010 9:17AM

    emoticon blog

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JUDIL62 12/13/2010 9:10AM


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INTOTHESOUTH 12/13/2010 9:08AM

    Thank you for sharing. I work with the homeless and low income families everyday. We are allowed to get caught up in our own lives. You worked for it and you are blessed to have it. Guilt shouldn't weigh you down. Take some time to volunteer somewhere or donate something that counts. Investigate where you donate and what it really goes towards.
I read a blog on Sparkpeople some time ago about someone who donated food in the amount of weight she had lost each year. I always thought that was a tremendous idea. Do something that is personal and meaningful. I promise it will help your heart.

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WISEONE68 12/13/2010 8:58AM

    We must all do our part...I work with the homeless and low-income folks every day! their plights and worries cause me stress--because I KNOW I am not the answer to their problems. The only One who can help them--JESUS!
And, my job--to point my clients in His direction. This time of year, I think a lot of folks go down the "same street" you did this morning. The SAD thing is they look straight ahead and don't bother to notice those you did!! We have so we can give it away...

We have money--we give money;
We have things--we give things;
We have health--we can share health;
We have life--we can share life.

Prayer can do amazing things...I have seen the proof!! God is listening--are we talking to Him???

Great blog and great reminder of "what is important!"

Merry CHRISTmas and Happy New Year!!!

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DEBRITA01 12/13/2010 8:57AM

    A thought-provoking blog...thanks for sharing!

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OZARKMARY 12/13/2010 8:43AM

    Another thought provoking blog...Thanks! I will lookup STEELKICKN's blog, too. We can just keep these homeless people and down and out people in our thoughts and do what little bit we can to maybe make a difference for them. Have an awesome Blessed Sparkweek! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MSSUNBUG 12/13/2010 8:39AM

    Touching blog, John.

This is something I think about a lot. I too participate in programs that lead me to stores to buy gifts and feel sort of hollow after I do. I just had a conversation last night with Dan about our collective thinking or expectation that we should always feel happy (or always feel "good"--that's even better way to say it). But it's not realistic, nor healthy, nor balanced. There's something to be said for experiencing hurt, pain, sorrow, disappointment. These are the things that make us think beyond simply buying a cheap coat and crayons, after all. They also help us experience gratitude more readily when things are good and to appreciate what we have AND see the possibilities for growth and change.

It's a tough thing you're facing, but you're brave and right to face it.

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CINDYLUFUS 12/13/2010 8:37AM

    Thank you for writing this. It is just what I needed this morning!

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WENDY412 12/13/2010 8:36AM

    Beautiful blog! You are so right on so many levels except one--your heart is so far from that of a jerk! Thank you for the reminder that there is so much more to life than a number on a scale.

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JENNY888 12/13/2010 8:35AM

    John you are so right about what you have said here. Our satisfaction is always relative to what we actually see around us. It sounds like you have been given a gift for the new year already. We have to be able to see something before we can change it.

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Our Deepest Fears

Saturday, December 11, 2010

At the end of my coaching certificatiion class Thursday our instructor read the following to us. It moved me and I thought I'd share.

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

by Marianne Williamson from
A Return To Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JUDIL62 12/13/2010 9:11AM

    Wow...powerful. Thank you for sharing!


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DONNAORLENE 12/13/2010 1:01AM

    I really think that Marianne Williamson could bring something to any table and it would really stand out! She is very talented! But I stand in awe of your coaching instructor using it in that particular situation. Great excerpt and I really appreciate you sharing it with us.

emoticon emoticon emoticon

Donna Orlene

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CARTOONB 12/12/2010 10:26PM


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MARCYNA 12/12/2010 2:32PM

    What a beautiful idea, to read it during your coaching certification class.. it's something to treasure, and accomplish in our lives emoticon

Comment edited on: 12/12/2010 2:38:39 PM

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HLPRATT 12/12/2010 9:06AM

    this is one of my favorite quotes. I had never thought about a fear of succeeding before but I think it is much more common than we realize

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MORTICIAADDAMS 12/11/2010 9:45PM


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RACINGSLUG 12/11/2010 6:36PM


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TIME4AFITME 12/11/2010 1:46PM

    Thank you for sharing John

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MKPRINCESS007 12/11/2010 1:46PM

    You made me cry......again. That is powerful stuff. Truth is, I can really relate to this. It is a daunting and overwhelming feeling to stand alone and scream from the rooftops what you know is right. The truth. I really appreciate you posting this, and as always, find a way to hit me right in the soul. Love that about you. Thanks for being everything that you are. You are most definitely a light in my sparklife. :)


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CELLCHIC 12/11/2010 12:11PM

    this is wonderful John! thank you for posting

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EMTFF376 12/11/2010 10:07AM

    thank you so much for sharing this John. I never looked at fear this way. I am going to reflect on this throughout today.

Are you in Weston? I'm in Canaan today and will be in Morgantown tomorrow.



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HDHAWK 12/11/2010 9:15AM

    emoticon emoticon

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TEACHING1ST 12/11/2010 8:33AM

    What a wonderful way to start the day. Thanks for sharing this, John!


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JPRICE217 12/11/2010 8:28AM

    Amen!!!! We all need to let our light shine. emoticon Great blog John.

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Finding Self Love In All of This

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Somewhere, someplace and somehow we got a notion in our head that asking other people for help is a fatal character flaw. Iím speaking mostly to my fellow people pleasers. The rest of you can read along.

We look in the mirror in the morning and we donít ever like what we see. I mean, if your mind set is to please others to gain approval, you have to be absolutely perfect in all you do just to be equal and on par with the rest of the world. I mean if you really were equal you wouldnít be overweight right? Thatís how we think a lot of times. Everyone else is stronger, more agile, smarter, and funnier. ÖÖ Everyone but me and you. We have to be perfect because for some odd reason when we were first created we had the misfortune of being placed on the reject pile and from then on someone or a group of someoneís reminded us we are different. We are ten points behind before the game even starts. So we trudge through our days and apply a heavy dose of emotional make up on our souls so that the world wonít see all our nasty little blemishes. We live in the age of self-reliance, beauty and the man or woman who braves the elements to find eternal victory against all odds and BTW if you donít measure up to that standard please go to the back of the line. We smile, put on the proverbial happy face and please oh please do not mention failure. Just look at all the shiny happy skinny people and dream. If you follow our plan, our prescription and our program you to will be shiny, happy and skinny.

Huge problem here, really huge problem. How many of us come from a core belief of self-love and self-worth? How many of those shiny happy skinny people is shiny and happy one year, two years or even five years from now. Shhhhhhh John donít bring THAT up!!! Diets fail and so do most alleged self-help programs because of the first word in it ---- self. We are taught to go it alone.

Yes, if you track your food and exercise regularly you will lose weight. You will reach a goal and you will celebrate. But if somewhere along the way you donít unlock the door of your own value and worth, it will all come creeping back on. We call it different names; a plateau is the most common. Itís the period of time when the light bulb should go on and tell me that hard work isnít enough. Running a 5K isnít going to give me self-love and self-esteem, losing sixty four pounds only proves I can control my input and extend my output. What they should do is validate something I already know.

I know that I donít eat the cookie because I am worth that effort. Iím a child of God. I walk away from situations that would otherwise trash my food plan because I am worth the bit of frustration and anger. I get over it. I am the reason I do this. Not my wife, my kids, my friends or even you. I love your love but Iím doing this for me.

I know that my rather large butt goes to the gym every day because I deserve to have that wonderful feeling inside of me I get from a workout. I deserve the best trainer, the best dietician and the best nutrition plan. I deserve it because I know my own value and worth. I love me.

I hang around with you. You motivate me, you inspire me and you cause me to look deep into myself and realize it is just not about what goes into my mouth but what goes into my head and heart also. I know that I cant do this alone no matter how wonderful I am.

Three things that when we master will assure you and I that any ďplanĒ we embrace will work. I have come to realize this plateau I am on is a period of time for to ask myself just how much I value me?

Hopefully a lot!!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ANEPANALIPTI 12/15/2010 12:05PM

    Oh John, you're so awesome... Copying this one into my journal... How ironic that I went MIA at this moment when this was the exact moment I needed THIS most? Ah, proves your point ever so beautifully about how it CANT be ALL self. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon


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RACINGSLUG 12/11/2010 6:43PM

    Learning to have compassion for myself is the hardest lesson I ever had to learn, but once I figured it out, it changed everything. i have to remind myself every day. When I meditate I just let my pain rest, let it just be, and acknowledge that it's a universal pain, the fear of not being good enough, the fear of not being loved. It's deep in everyone, deep in the shiny skinny people too. In that moment I can extend that compassion to myself, and beyond myself, to others. Through my own pain, I gain insight into the rest of the world's pain, and for some reason just knowing I am not alone gives me extraordinary comfort. I just let it all rest.

Comment edited on: 12/11/2010 6:43:44 PM

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MARCYNA 12/10/2010 2:06PM

    After the first three lines I saw myself there....Great idea for plateauing,...finding my worth and value emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 12/10/2010 2:13:17 PM

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WVTXPEN 12/10/2010 8:59AM

    Way to go John...We need to be used, we need to be involved, we need important to have those cheer us on or console us when we need it...I could not do what I do without my partner and those who of Luck

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EMTFF376 12/10/2010 8:46AM

    Are you inside my head? :) It is so hard for me to ask for help... and yes, I do feel like its a character flaw... but only in me! I spend my part time career helping others! People ask me for help all the time and I don't think less of them. Why can't I say the same for myself??

Oy, oy, oy. You hit the nail on the head.

In other news, I see your background picture has changed. Did you run? How do you feel? I'm proud of you!

Have a great weekend!

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CARTOONB 12/9/2010 9:23PM

    Sounds like you are getting to that place you need to be. Congratulations!!!

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    I'm in a funky mood today. I'm still loving myself but I'm hating everyone else. LOL. emoticon

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TRIPLE_EMME 12/9/2010 2:34PM

    Thanks for another good read!


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MKPRINCESS007 12/9/2010 12:50PM

    You know we share this common challenge: the one that tells us it is better to fail than ask for help. However, I have learned some valuable lessons of late. You just read my blog, you know that I have struggled the last few months. However, I am maintaining and am happy. All because I asked for help.

Thanks for your wonderful blog. You are my hero too! :)

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APPLEADAY2010 12/9/2010 11:49AM

    Thanks for a great blog - you have given me something to think about and reflect on. xx

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CATHERINEL66 12/9/2010 11:35AM

    John, you're right. We're all worth the self nurturing, the caretaking of our minds and spirits, and the best darned nutrition, fitness and self help available.

And in particular, we're worth the frustration, the sweat, the feel-good endorphins, the saying "no" to the small things to get the bigger thing (balanced health, happiness and heart), and defining our boundries.

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LOVEZ2SEW 12/9/2010 11:31AM

  Excellent, well said blog! I told my husband, I made up my mind that it's now or never on getting healthy. I will be 50 in two years, never ever did I think I would be at this cross road but I'm here. I was given a gift of chronic pain and illness and I'm learning each day I am worth taking care of myself. I appreciate my husband's support and love but I have to do this for me. ^5's

Martha emoticon

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GEEMAWEST 12/9/2010 10:34AM

    Well I'm certainly glad I hadn't put my mascara on yet or it would have been smeared all over my face from the tears.

You hit the nail on the head.....AGAIN!!

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 12/9/2010 10:40:21 AM

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HLPRATT 12/9/2010 10:15AM

    Great thoughts John. I do need other people too. I get off kilter when I start thinking I can go it alone.

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ELSEEBEE 12/9/2010 8:16AM

    Wonderful blog! You have beautifully said what I feel. I had hit "bottom" a few years ago and then was given the "gift" of cancer. When you're suddenly facing a death sentence, you values shift. Then I found Spark and started moving myself towards the goal of a lighter, but more importantly healthier, me. So, I must get off the computer now and head for my morning workout- it's what makes me feel great every day even if I'm "plateauing" these days.

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