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I Am Learning To Love

Friday, January 28, 2011

I hope this makes as much sense when you read it as it does in my head when as I am writing it.

We are the most well intentioned people in the world here at Spark. We are supportive, encouraging and helpful. If I ever need advice on anything all I have to do is post a blog asking a question and within an hour………. POOF I am getting all kinds of valuable advice from all different points of view. I learn things too, like how you really shouldn’t post a comment on a team message board that was meant to instruct and inspire rather than provoke discussion. LOL

With all of that in mind I received a Spark Mail from a friend who was having a rough go of it. I have been there and done that and I know sometimes there just aren’t words to ease the pain. If I was sitting across the table from them it would be easy………. GREAT BIG HUG. But alas the hug emoticon looks like a narcoleptic zombie to me when I’m in a great mood so I can quite imagine what it feels like when your lower lip is bouncing off the pavement. It IS reassuring to know I am loved and some days that gets me through and keeps me from holding every donut in creation hostage.

I try to be supportive. Thank goodness for my guardian angel, spirit guide or whatever you choose to call the other world support that floats within you and without you. Because I was getting ready to tell my friend what a great source of inspiration and motivation they were to me personally and it’s as if my angel grabbed my hands off the key boards, took her halo and throttled me because I was suddenly hit with the thought that being told how inspiring you are when you can’t seem to muster up the energy and effort to feel good about yourself may be the last thing you need to hear I know that sounds a bit cold but stop and think about carrying all your woes and worries and then being told you have to carry around the burden of being an inspiration to people. I won’t give someone else that responsibility for me and my journey. Love me, cheer, for me and support my choices but its selfish to say you motivate me because that implies if you ever stop I’ll fall off the face of the earth.

During my meditation period yesterday I was made privy to a beautiful vision. It was if I was in a balcony and I was looking down on a whole sea of heads. They were all the same shape, and height. They were equal. A voice inside of me said: ‘No one is loved greater or lesser than anyone else. Love is love. There are no degrees of love. Love is not earned it is a gift. Be loved John and when you learn to be loved, then love.” Okay, maybe I’m slow that it took almost 58 years for me to learn this concept.

That’s when it became clear to me. We all stand side by side, equal, loved and loving. None of us is better, worse or any other modifier you may choose to use. Quite simply we are loved.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GIRANIMAL 2/2/2011 3:22AM



Seriously, just plain rock. I am honored to call you my friend.

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RACINGSLUG 1/30/2011 12:23PM

    Just another perspective... I've long believed that ''feeling'' love is rather beside the point... love at its foundation is action. This makes it easier for me both to love myself and to love others because you don't have to feel any certain way, all you have to do is act in love. This is what sustains my marriage, and I'm not saying the loving feelings aren't there too - they certainly are and I'm fortunate to feel like a giddy school girl after 9 years with my beloved - but feelings aren't a prerequisite for loving action. They say you can't love anyone truly until you love yourself... I'd say the opposite is true. Learning how to love others taught me how to love myself. And it's not a zero sum game. Usually the best indication that I'm loving myself is how I'm treating other people and vice-versa.

Your meditation was touching on what I feel is an important universal truth - how we are all interconnected and part of one another. I think once we are able to love someone else and see it also as self-love, and see self-love as loving others, when there are no distinctions any more, that is enlightenment.

Comment edited on: 1/30/2011 12:25:07 PM

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MARCYNA 1/30/2011 10:24AM

    John, I think you are one of those persons I really feel like loving, without any effort. I think we ALLOW it to happen, even if the process is so mysterious we'll only understand it in heaven emoticon emoticon

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JPRICE217 1/30/2011 9:35AM

    Great blog once more. Well said

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DUTCHIEKIWI 1/29/2011 6:58PM

    Without wanting to make you feel like you would be in any way or shape accountable for my wellbeing or my successes on this journey I just have to tell you, you DO inspire me, as much as I know you are a vulnerable human being as well as someone that can make my day. Your words make me think, your mind helps me develop mine... don't feel you have to achieve this every time you write or are sparking around but just by being you, the good and the bad and the ugly days.... you make me want to be a better person, and there is nothing wrong with that!!

Now, Love.....

Love is great feeling, and comes in many different ways.

During my spark journey I have changed the way I perceive and give love. I have noticed it frightens some of my friends that haven't developed as much as I have in that particular area.

I have loved, and I have lost... lost too many times and I have learned that in order to make sure the very people I might lose are aware of my appreciation and love for them I need to "show" it.

Right now, I am loving showing it, I wear my heart on my sleeve and scares the living daylights out of some people and friends around me.

I don't care... this is me.... This is who I am.

Call me full on, call me honest, call me blunt but whenever you need a helping hand, a soul that cares,

that is when you can call on me.



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REJ7777 1/29/2011 9:00AM

    emoticon emoticon

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ANEPANALIPTI 1/29/2011 4:48AM


GREAT conclusion!!


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GOANNA2 1/29/2011 1:12AM


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NCHOPEFUL 1/29/2011 12:59AM

    well i LOVE this blog! :~)

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GEEMAWEST 1/28/2011 11:18PM

    WOW! Good point, John. I love you but I don't expect you to inspire me or motivate me. That's my problem, not yours. But it nice when I read something that you wrote that works for me.

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HONORINGGOD 1/28/2011 10:59PM

    "love your blogs "

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MORTICIAADDAMS 1/28/2011 10:22PM

    Amen, Mista.

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JUNEAU2010 1/28/2011 10:20PM

    Well said!

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FLARE13 1/28/2011 10:16PM

    Great blog. Thanks

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So......... Who Are We?

Friday, January 28, 2011

I hadn’t thought about Dave in a long time. Dave worked for me a few years back. There was never anything he couldn’t do. When a job came open he thought he’d like, he’d apply for it. People would tell him he didn’t have the education or the experience for the position but that never deterred him. Regardless of the outcome Dave kept moving ahead. That was how I met him. He applied for a position in my department. I had three or four other candidates who had Dave beat hands down as far as qualifications were concerned but I was so struck by the man when I interviewed him. In his mind there was no doubt he’d get the job. In the long run he was right. I picked him above some other people who did a lot of squawking and complaining. My boss gave me the “You’re on your own on this one,” speech.

It was hard for Dave. The people who worked with him didn’t believe he deserved the job so they cooperated only as much as they needed to keep out of my dog house. It never seemed to bother him. He never made excuses, his work was professional and impeccable and he rarely missed a deadline. The people he trained loved him because he was able to break things down to a point where it was easy for them to understand. Two years after he entered my department he asked me to lunch and told me he was applying for a job in another area that interested him. I was never foolish enough to believe I’d keep him forever. Of course I gave him a sterling recommendation. When Dave applied for the job in my department he was one of twenty three people who wanted an interview. When he left the department only three people applied to fill his slot. He had set the bar that high. He taught me a lot about endurance and perseverance and unfettered optimism. He always listened very carefully to criticism and suggestions about his performance but never to any directed at him personally. He’d smile, shake his head and move on.

I lost track of Dave over time, mostly because I moved to another city but he crossed my mind this morning and I pondered the reason for his success. If you are familiar with my musings you know I believe in three things: You are worth it, you deserve it and you are who you hang around with.

Courtesy of Dave, I’d like to add a fourth: You are who you believe you are.

Dave had a high school education and his first job was in the tool crib as a stock clerk. The last job I remember him having was manager of technical training. He had three or four people with master’s degrees working for him. As I got ready to begin my day I thought a lot about the “Dave Maxim.” He simply believed he could do whatever he made a choice to do. There were people who suggested he take jobs in different areas or return to school and he’d shrug and smile and say he was happy where he was. He knew himself and what he was capable of doing but never did he ever doubt what he set out to do.

So I sit here this morning, fingers poised over the keyboard, hoping to write some sort of dramatic ending and all I can come up with is this:

Who do I believe I am?

What about you?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CHRISTINECAN 1/30/2011 8:35AM

    You are who you believe you are. So very true; so true that I am adding it to my siggy, with your permission.

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DUTCHIEKIWI 1/30/2011 2:36AM

    Smack me... ! That got me RIGHT where I am this very moment in time....

That was me... that used to be me...
Knowing that whoever hired me would not regret it for one minute, but first.. needing to get through the door, to get to an interview.

I always always said, as long as I get into an interview, I'll have the job.

And over the years I did, I worked hard, proved I am a fast learner and have lot's of passion, and drive....

but now....

here I am, I am a " homemaker" and " a stay at home mum" that to me, sounds like a verdict... blunt and sharp.... " you're doomed"

My confidence has fallen wayyyy down there when it comes to the " work environment"

I am looking right now, this very week... for a job...

where to go, what to do... all my experience, and there is lot's... but no mayor university degree that states what companies nowadays want to hear.

I typ with only four fingers... but I will solve what ever problem you lie in front of me... I will throw myself into " a new project" 110%....

but how... HOW do I write this in a "new CV"?... where to go from now...

I wish I could meet Dave, have a cuppa with him, a good catch up, and get inspired by him and his true belief in himself.

Thanks John, for sharing, for making my mind work..




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REJ7777 1/29/2011 9:10AM

    I'm all that I need to be in order to accomplish God's will for my life.

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ANEPANALIPTI 1/29/2011 4:49AM

    Wow wow wow, thank you for making me THINK all the time!!!

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CARTOONB 1/28/2011 10:07PM

    I believe I am happy. That I have a family that loves me and I am in a good place, financially, physically and mentally. You?

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MORTICIAADDAMS 1/28/2011 10:03PM

    Gosh, can we clone Dave?? He sounds perfect to me. I would have all kinds of uses for him. LOL.

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JUNEAU2010 1/28/2011 9:41PM

    Wow! I have known people like Dave. You spoke eloquently and I enjoyed this blog!

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TEDYBEAR2838 1/28/2011 2:05PM

    I have no clue. How do I find the Real me??????


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TRACEY5280 1/28/2011 1:49PM

    I'm going to share this blog with my 4th time unemployed, overeducated, undereducated, "mature", somewhat introverted husband who is hard-working, willing to learn, loyal, dependable.......hopefully he'll run in to someone like you.

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JPRICE217 1/28/2011 1:44PM

    great blog! Who am I? I am better then I was a year ago but not the person I want to be.

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SILLYHP1953 1/28/2011 1:13PM

    I'm very impressed that you saw through to who Dave was when you hired him.

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MISSROCKABILLY 1/28/2011 10:31AM

    Thank you for sharing this with us this morning, it is definitely something I needed to read today!

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TIME4AFITME 1/28/2011 10:22AM


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SARAWALKS 1/28/2011 9:32AM

    emoticon and I'm not using that word lightly.
Very often these days, people with lots of outer confidence turn out to be an empty shell when it comes to producing the goods.
And conversely, lots of folks who do a FANTASTIC job day in and day out at something that is not in the public eye, think that they are not capable of very much.
I don't know if this relates to education or what, but I see it all the time.
It's so nice to hear about a confident person whose confidence WAS well-placed - and about another confident person who had the GUTS to hire him!
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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HLPRATT 1/28/2011 9:11AM

    This blog reminds me of something that happened to me the other day when I was taking a walk. It was me and our black lab and a tiny dog came out of his yard barking so fiercely at us that my black lab turned and ran away. I couldn't help but admire that little dog's confidence. Just think what we could accomplish if we all had that kind of confidence.

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JAE_HENNINGTON 1/28/2011 9:02AM

  so John I am happy to report that over this past year I have made so many changes.. so my answer to the question I am not who I was and only future will reveal what I am to become. But I do believe that I have the power and the right to become whatever I choose to be...great blog as always

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OUBACHE 1/28/2011 8:25AM

    Great blog. I won't go into all the reasons why, but I think I was meant to read this first thing today. Thanks!!!

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HONORINGGOD 1/28/2011 8:03AM

    i cant still believe the things that have changed in 1 year because i believed !!! change is good not to be feared emoticon

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EMTFF376 1/28/2011 8:02AM

    You are one of the motivators, inspirations, encouragement and friend that keeps me coming back for me... even when I've been out of the loop for a few days.

Me, I'm still working on that. :)


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The World I Create For Myself

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Five of us sat around an imaginary table last night and talked about our souls. We were from all over the world and brought to the table different forms of spirituality and methods of expressing them. At the end of our session the facilitator closed with three readings, one from St Francis, one from Gandhi and one from the Dalai Lama. We shared our journeys last night. The facilitator asked us one at a time to share part of ourselves. I went last. As others shared I began to get anxious. It wasn’t about whether they’d like me or not or accept how I viewed my Creator, or anything like that. It was the fact that each of these people led with a litany of what was wrong with them. When it was my turn I shared that while I had challenges in my life I was grateful that I had been healthy both physically and emotionally and most of my issues were of my own creation, so I was really a very thankful person and tried to honor that by helping others any way I could. I know that isn’t earth shattering and I actually felt a bit inadequate.

Joan asked me at breakfast this morning how it went and I told her that after having twelve hours to think about it I was struck by the fact that people most often define themselves in the negative or more precisely, by what’s wrong with them. After further review I found I do the same. I create this world of negativity around me. I look for what’s wrong and a solution to it and don’t stop and look at what’s right. I always have to do more, be more, work harder…………….

Melissa and I used to work out together. In June she broke her foot and in September she got the flu and was bedridden for two weeks. Her oldest child began school in August. She hadn’t been at the gym in a long time and I ran into her yesterday morning when she announced herself by saying “I’m here!!!” I was just finishing my workout and so we talked for a bit. Melissa was down. She ripped off a litany of things she hadn’t done right since June. As she spoke I saw her face get longer and longer. I listened.

“Did you ever look at all you’ve accomplished?” I asked her.” You and Aaron, her husband, own two successful small businesses; you are a room mother at school; you are a great friend, a good mom and a supportive partner.” I touched her arm and said “Do what you can. If it means you are only here three days a week then be here three days a week and quit beating yourself up.” She went on to tell me how she would track her calorie intake and how she had gotten away from that and felt bad. Call it my inner guidance, the Holy Spirit, or gas from the omelet I had for breakfast but I looked at her and said “You don’t start something until you start something. Track your food today and when you get up tomorrow look at the chart on the wall and realize you have something to build upon. Quit focusing on what’s wrong and start celebrating what’s right.”
As Joan often points out to me I have a long way to go until I am Mother Theresa. I get down, get frustrated and get fed up. I have challenges and obstacles but for the most part I do pretty well. A Course In Miracles Suggests that this world we live in is a world we created. So be it. If I am going to create a world to dwell in, for the time being, it may as well be a positive one. It may as well be a world that reflects the joy and love inside of me not how darned inadequate I feel some days.

As I crossed the parking lot I ran into David. David’s sister was my neighbor for years. “How’d you lose all that weight? I need to do that. How’d you do it?”

I thought for a second, looked at him and said “No matter how hard it gets, no matter how many times I fall, I don’t give up.”

Have I told you lately how fantastic I think you are?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DUTCHIEKIWI 1/30/2011 3:27AM

    Some great days, some low days... but with you on my side, and all my other trul great psark friends... ho could I ever give up??

Thank you again for sharing your beautiful mind!



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REJ7777 1/29/2011 9:18AM

    emoticon emoticon

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DORIS32 1/28/2011 7:26AM

    Thank you for your positivity! I try to stay with positive people and not be overrun with the negative energy that so many people put out. You are truly an inspiration!

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WATERMELLEN 1/27/2011 8:42PM

    I'm always so grateful for all the positive people on SP -- and you are very much one of them!!

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GOANNA2 1/27/2011 6:16PM

    Thank you for this wonderful positive blog.
So now I know - don't give up! emoticon

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AZCUPCAKE 1/27/2011 11:21AM

    Every dose of positivity you give us makes us all stronger, and willing to start again - and again, and again! Thank you for helping me "reinvent" my own way of thinking today! I was greatly in need of a "reboot" to my system! emoticon

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HLPRATT 1/27/2011 9:40AM

    Great Blog!! We all need to think more positively!

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SILLYHP1953 1/26/2011 10:05PM

    You're back!! The half-full glass you is back. I really got a lot out of this blog. Thank you.

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TRACEY5280 1/26/2011 7:34PM

    These are words that I needed to read today. You're pretty awesome yourself!

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    Maybe people who go to seminars like this are the type to see the glass as half empty instead of half full. Maybe that is why they are there - to fill their glass. To find the key to self aceptance. Self acceptance comes from being happy no matter what your circumstances. No matter what is going on in my life I still like me and know I'm okay and you're okay too. Isn't that what's important?

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WALKNLOVE 1/26/2011 1:06PM

    Count your them one by one. Count your many blessings; see what God hath done! (And you too! ) ;)

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HALFFAST 1/26/2011 11:55AM

    Fantastic post! I can totally relate to what you said about being healthy (mentally and physically) and that any issues are of my own creation. Wow, that really just did it for me! Talk about a wake-up call. Thank you!

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ANEPANALIPTI 1/26/2011 11:32AM

    Omg- this is SUCH a great blog. I was thinking about this the other day.... Why does it seem like when there is nothing to be negative about , I start thinking about CREATING it? And this blog speaks SO much to that. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!!!



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HDHAWK 1/25/2011 8:45PM

    Going last in the group and stating the positive was a great gift to those people. I think we all focus too much on the negative and need reminders not too. None of us is perfect no matter how hard we try. Thanks for the reminder!

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JUNEAU2010 1/25/2011 8:26PM

    I love this very positive blog! I like the idea of the spiritual perspectives...

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PRINCESSNURSE 1/25/2011 7:15PM

    My 3 secrets to success are: perserverence, perserverence, perserverence!

PS~it sounds like you might have your mojo back---am I right?

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TEDYBEAR2838 1/25/2011 6:49PM

    Awe, we think you are pretty emoticon too

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RACINGSLUG 1/25/2011 6:35PM

    So much inspiration! Melissa is blessed to have a friend like you. It's true, we definitely create our own realities. It's so hard sometimes to make that mental shift, to focus on what's right in that world and create more of it. I am learning to do this, slowly but surely, that's a part of my journey. I'm glad you had the opportunity for some good spiritual time and reflection.

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GRACENFAITH 1/25/2011 4:17PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon
Thanks for sharing. I agree. Have a blessed day!
emoticonWalking with Christ

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007JERSEYGIRL 1/25/2011 3:55PM

    What a fantastic post! It's kind of fascinating how often we all tend to veer toward the negative and need to constantly remind ourselves of the positive that is all around - thanks for a reminder!

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MARCYNA 1/25/2011 3:13PM

    Hey,,,I'm having a lot of hardship right now but I'm trying to stay positive...and I'm so glad you're doing the same. Staying positive always accomplishes something, while on the negative we always I prefer dwelling on the positive emoticon

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GETFIT2LIVE 1/25/2011 12:23PM

    The people who succeed at this are not the ones who never fall but rather the ones who fall and keep picking themselves up, dusting themselves off, and continuing on. That is why I know you are going to succeed, John; you will not give up, and neither will I. I believe in you, and you help me believe in me; thank you!

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DEE797 1/25/2011 12:04PM

    Wonderful blog. Love what you said to Melissa and David. You have re-inspired me to do better than I have been. YOU ROCK!

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REALLY_ROBIN 1/25/2011 11:53AM

  Great blog, John! I'm so glad to see you are doing better from last week. And it is sooo true we need to focus on the positive and build on where we are at! Thanks for your insights! Robin

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GEEMAWEST 1/25/2011 11:48AM

    emoticon emoticon

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CMBELISLE 1/25/2011 11:43AM

    I find sometimes in life that we can be really good at giving advice but often forget it for ourselves. Your blog reminded me of that.

Have a great week!

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TRIPLE_EMME 1/25/2011 11:31AM

    I love your response to David's question!


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JUDIL62 1/25/2011 11:20AM

    So true, I was with a friend this weekend who is one of the best people I know, yet she doesn't have anything good to say about herself. I told her that in a nice way,to try to get her to look on the bright side of things. Keep up the good work, and I also like your response to the weight loss question. I'm going to use it!

Have a great day!

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SARAWALKS 1/25/2011 9:41AM

    That next-to-last sentence says it all! emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 1/25/2011 9:41:47 AM

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AKATUJE 1/25/2011 9:28AM

    Thank you so much for this blog John.

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TIME4AFITME 1/25/2011 9:23AM

    Great blog thx just what I needed

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EMTFF376 1/25/2011 9:22AM

    Don't forget to tell yourself how fantastic you are too, John.

Have a marvelous Tuesday!


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JAE_HENNINGTON 1/25/2011 9:20AM

  no, you havent told me in awhile John... Or maybe you have, sometimes it is difficult to quiet all the negative chatter in my head to hear when others compliment me...I am learning though that I am fantastic, maybe not for all the things I have accomplished in my life..but for having that never say die attitude...success feels so good...

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PSHANKEY 1/25/2011 9:14AM

    I needed that this morning! Back at you!

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PSHANKEY 1/25/2011 9:13AM

    I needed that this morning! Back at you!

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IFDEEVARUNS2 1/25/2011 8:57AM

    Wait! You are suppposed to tell me how fantastic YOU are. emoticon

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The Wisdom of Winter

Monday, January 24, 2011

I struggle every January. I keep hoping and praying that through some extra ordinary miracle I will wake up and we will have by passed the cold, sleet and snow and the trees and flowers will be in full bloom and that means my demeanor will be that much brighter. I abhor the gray days. They weigh on my soul. No matter how much activity I create, no matter how optimistic I become (Hear The Sun Will Come Up Tomorrow humming in the background.) I cannot seem to overcome the feeling that I am walking through a sea of Jello. There is no great joy in my workouts, no marvelous inspirations. Well you get the picture.

Between me and you and the millions of others here I am tired of feeling like this. It’s an energy drain, a drain on my creativity and just an overall bummer. I could surround myself with inspirational messengers, posters and songs but I have chosen to do two things:

I will say “thank you.” I will lift my eyes towards the heavens and be grateful for this opportunity to simply exist in the province of God’s love and let that Divine sun light warm and heal my soul. I will understand that for every spring there has to be some sort of winter.

I will learn what I need to learn from this winter of my life and soul.

I know, not really profound, not very long and eloquent but some days that wisdom comes from listening to the January wind howl all around you.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

REJ7777 1/29/2011 9:37AM

    Winter has always been the time I've put weight back on. Reading your blog made me realize that this Winter, I've continued to lose, howbeit at a slower pace than in the Summer when I'm more active.

I just got back from the tropical island of Providenciales, where my son got married last week. One of the locals told me that they have about the same weather there ALL the time. There are no seasons there (even though there are monsoon rains and tropical storms at times. He wanted to come to Canada so that he could see some snow. I don't especially like Winter, but I think I'd miss the 4 seasons if we no longer had them.

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WATERMELLEN 1/27/2011 8:46PM

    My daylight sun lamp is really doing it for me . . .

>plus a whack of cross country skiing!

"If winter comes, can spring be far behind?" (Shelley)

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DEE797 1/25/2011 12:00PM

    It's gray and gloomy here as well. I dislike winter also. Let's keep positive thoughts and getting in some form of exercise each day. Do not let the gloom derail all your hard work. emoticon emoticon

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MORTICIAADDAMS 1/24/2011 10:34PM

    I hate winter too and have S.A.D. and it sounds like you do as well. Get some full spectrum light.

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TEDYBEAR2838 1/24/2011 10:11PM

    Now ya got the spirit John


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ANEPANALIPTI 1/24/2011 5:01PM

    It was perfect. And thanks, I feel CRUMMY TOO RIGHT NOW!!!!

Comment edited on: 1/24/2011 5:01:27 PM

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AZCUPCAKE 1/24/2011 4:04PM

    You are very adept at turning a negative into a positive, and your weather situation is definitely a large obstacle when one is tucked inside where it is cozy, and in order to get some activity into the day, a venture into the great outdoors is mandatory!!! I was shivering just reading your blog today....hang in there, John! Spring is coming!! emoticon If anyone can endure through the winter, YOU CAN!!!

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SILLYHP1953 1/24/2011 2:40PM

    I think winter is the time of deep inner reflection and that seems to be what you're doing!

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GIRANIMAL 1/24/2011 2:23PM

    I actually think this is very profound! There's a lot of wisdom here.

This is the time of year when I lose my patience with the cold and dreariness of the season as well. But I do make an effort to find things about it to be grateful for when I can. This morning it was a really pretty single snowflake on my scarf. That got me through the second half of my mile+ walk to the train. emoticon

And trust me, I fully expect to employ more of those to get me through the remainder of the gray days!

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GEEMAWEST 1/24/2011 1:56PM

    I feel exactly the same way.DH does too. He wants to move to warmer climate but I refuse to leave the grandkids. Gotta have priorities.

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CMBELISLE 1/24/2011 12:38PM

    Sunny here today - I'll try to send some your way. I can deal with the cold a lot better when there is sun. Hope you have a great week!

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NJMATTICE 1/24/2011 10:58AM

    Turn up the music, John. We are having a gray, wet, rainy, cold Monday here as well. Granted, it's not as cold and miserable as Kentucky here, but it can have the same effect. So, I'm blasting the tunes to pierce the gray. And dancing around like a kid. That chases the blues away. So, did you discover the wisdom of winter? Perhaps the real gift of winter is that it makes you get in touch with that sunshine within. It's there. Go get it.

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GETFIT2LIVE 1/24/2011 10:05AM

    I read recently that Monday,January 24, is the most depressing day of the year (I am probably not saying it quite like the study, but you get the idea). Gray days, short sunlight, cold and dark; it feels like spring will never come again. Always winter but never Christmas, like in Narnia. There is much to be learned in this season, however. Spring would not be so sweet or welcome without the winter, and there are certan crops that must have the cold to produce abundantly. Spring WILL come again, and we will be stronger for staying the course through the winter. Dosen't make it feel any better right now, though.

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GRACENFAITH 1/24/2011 9:56AM

    Just keep having your BAD days...Bad = Blessed and Delivered! And remember God makes every day special for each of us. Have a blessed Monday!
emoticonWalking with Christ

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DEWBERRYJAMIE 1/24/2011 9:27AM

    Yes, I understand how you feel. I love winter, but the cold really seeps into my bones and makes it hard to get out of bed. One foot in front of the other!

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JAE_HENNINGTON 1/24/2011 9:11AM

  Yea I feel your pain.. I do not like winter.. I am a transplant from the Florida sun into the cold dead prairie of Kansas. Every winter when I am outside cleaning the ice of my windshield of the car to go to work, I remind myself I must be crazy for staying here.One thing nice about winter though, we have the promise of spring and a brighter day to come..much like our life's..keep singing makes your heart and happy and warm.. have a wonderful day emoticon

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JESPAH 1/24/2011 8:51AM

    Hey, I hear that. SAD affects a lot of people. I have found, at least, it does pay to be lighter and fitter. But these are still dark days. Be gentle with yourself, my friend.

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MYUTMOST4HIM 1/24/2011 8:44AM

    I love this blog - it is profound, simple but definitely profound

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My Mothers Prescription For Health

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Joan and I were cleaning out a closet the other day when we ran across a box of old photos. Most of them were from when we were both younger and I was much thinner. When we were married in 1974 I weighed one hundred fifty seven pounds. I was twenty years old almost twenty one. After we rearranged the closet I began thinking about the differences between now and then. That’s when I recalled my mom’s diet and exercise regimen.

My mom and dad grew up during the Depression and while we never lacked for anything we lived as if poverty was knocking at the door. Honestly, until I went to college I thought everyone lived like we did. But I digress. I started thinking about how I ate then and how I eat now and a lot of the changes that have occurred not only in my life but in society in general.

We were allowed to drink soda twice a year – Christmas and July Fourth. There were four of us and we went to the liquor store with my dad and we each got to choose four bottles. That left eight slots and my dad filled them with white soda and sour mix to go with the bottle of brandy he got one a year for company. The rest of the year we drank milk and water. If it were really hot outside my mom might make a pitcher of Kool Aid. Soda was a treat and I don’t drink it today at all, but it seems it’s everywhere you turn.

The same held true for dessert. My mom baked cookies on Monday morning and put them in two jars. One jar always had peanut butter cookies and the other held either chocolate chip or sugar cookies. When we ate all the cookies we ate all the dessert for the week. On weekends my mom would make an apple pie every now and then and dessert for the most part was considered a real treat. We had butter at Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter. I thought everyone ate toast dry!!

If the weather was nice, this in my mom’s definition meant no rain or gale force winds and little or no chance of a blizzard, we were ushered outside. My mom hooked the door and if you wanted to come in you better be dying. In other words if we weren’t in school, cleaning, or doing homework we were outside playing, in the fresh air, with balls, bats, jump ropes, bikes and all that other neat stuff we pay gyms to provide us with today. We would come in for lunch and then went outside again until dinner and then back out till the street lights came on. We walked everywhere that was walk able, which included going to see if a friend was available to play with you. Using the telephone to “chat” was unheard of.

Don’t misunderstand, I am not complaining, not one little bit. My life was pretty simple and I didn’t know anything any different. With some common sense nutrition and a lot of sunshine and exercise I was healthy. My mom will be eighty next month and my dad eighty seven in July. They pretty much live the way they always did when we were growing up. Until my dad’s macular degeneration got too bad they would walk to Mass every morning. Round trip that was two miles. With assistance, my dad still goes to water aerobics twice weekly. My mom attends all sorts of classes and even though she refuses to admit it she is an accomplished artist in the areas of painting, ceramics and knots and sews like no one else I know. She does use the internet and has a cell phone.

One of my goals for the next year is to simplify my life. The grocery store near out house is about as far as the one was when I was growing up. When we need milk, bread, or eggs I am going to start walking to get them. It’s the little things that push you over the top sometimes.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JPRICE217 1/28/2011 1:50PM

    Great blog. We all need to make our life more simmple. Enjoy.

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GOANNA2 1/28/2011 6:11AM

    What a wonderful blog John. Brought back many memories.
I am about your vintage and remember playing outside after
school and on weekends. We hardly ate meat, except Easter
and Christmas and the rest otf the year we ate a lot of fresh
vegetables and pulses. Soft drinks were unheard of.

I credit that for our good teeth today. I don't drive and am trying
to walk to the store and not relying on my son to drive me.
I remember the milk being delivered and also the ice to put in
the ice boxes. Life was simpler then and I am trying to live a
simpler way mainly because of circumstances but I, like you,
will try little steps to a healthier lifestyle.

You can do it emoticonBest of luck. It really is just putting
our mind to it and following through and like the ad says JUST DO ITI

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WALKNLOVE 1/24/2011 5:35PM

    You had a great lesson teacher at home. Most of the greatest lessons we learn in life are at home. So as you learned from your folks, our kids will learn from us.May all who come behind us find us faithful! As always, thanks for sharing! :) P.S.My grocery store isn't far've got me thinking!;)

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ANEPANALIPTI 1/24/2011 5:10PM

    I think thats great that you're going to do that. :-)

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AZCUPCAKE 1/24/2011 4:13PM

    You described my own childhood regarding the time you spent outside playing, visiting with friends, and not using the phone EVER, unless the grandparents wanted to hear their grandkids' voices between the holidays! What wonderful memories. We even hated to go inside to EAT, because that was cutting into our neighborhood playtime!! Every mom had a different way of calling their respective kids in for mealtimes, and those lunchtime meals NEVER included soda or desserts. Times sure are different these days.

I applaud you for your idea of walking to the grocery store for the essentials that are needed between the "big" shopping trips....I have been doing just that since last fall, when my son started taking my car to high school on early morning marching band practice days. Instead of buying another car, we decided to make this one-car-between-the-two-of-us thing work, and so far, it really has!!! I have found that time is relaxing and peaceful, AND I cannot just impulse-buy a carton of ice cream because I have to WALK it home, and it would probably be SOUP by the time I got home! Living in Phoenix (yes, even in January) has its advantages this way, haha! Thanks for another wonderful blog, John - it is always a pleasure reading about what is on your mind! emoticon

Comment edited on: 1/24/2011 4:14:11 PM

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GIRANIMAL 1/24/2011 2:20PM

    Even I remember the part about being outside unless you were in school, cleaning or sick, and I am a bit younger than you. My elderly landlady laments all the time about how quiet the neighborhood is, how there used to be kids running around nearly all hours and people out on their porches. Seriously, when did this shift happen?

I think your plan to walk for groceries is a great one. I am happy to say we have broken our car habit except for things that require it -- laundry and larger shopping trips. Otherwise we walk or bike just about everywhere, and I am soooooo grateful to live in a city that allows it!

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TRIPLE_EMME 1/24/2011 10:03AM

    I really enjoyed reading this blog entry.

I was watching "Chicago: The Boomer Years" last night on PBS. Quite a few people that were interviewed talked about playing outside and coming home when the street lights came on.

I applaud you on your goal to live more simply. I wish you the best!


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CATHERINEL66 1/23/2011 10:40PM

    One of the big messages I'm getting right now is to "slow down". So I hear you with this!

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TIME4AFITME 1/23/2011 9:41PM

    Sounds nice really

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TRISH2229 1/23/2011 8:43PM

    I like this blog John. It encourages us all to reflect on our own childhoods. Yours sounds similar to mine except we always had dessert after dinner! Usually fruit or applesauce during the week. My folks also grew up in the Great Depression and are now in their eighties. Mom was a baker so we always had good stuff on the weekends and holidays. That's how I developed my love of baking. My motto in recent years has become - bake and take. I can bake it but then I have to take it out of the house and give it away. As you can imagine - my neighbors love it!

Its amazing your mother uses the internet! Good for her. I'm happy your folks are still able to exercise. Mine are mobile but have difficulty.

I too long for a simpler life. emoticon

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BTINTERNET 1/23/2011 7:26PM

    What a great retrospective. Yes, there are modern conveniences that are nice (like being able to blog with someone five states away!) but our family was much the same way - very much a Depression/wartime mentality on some levels, and with interesting benefits/side effects. I wish we lived in a walkable area - I think that's one of the horrible things about suburbia, and will definitely influence my next choice of home (if there is one).

Thanks for sharing (as always!)

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DOLLBABE56 1/23/2011 7:00PM

    I remember there was this metal box out front near the door. That is where the milkman delivered our milk in glass bottles and the cream at the top of the bottle was only for mom and dad. I believe we also got our butter from the milkman too.

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JAE_HENNINGTON 1/23/2011 6:05PM

  you are so right John.. I can really relate to the way things were back then.. I miss those simplier times.. I think the kids of today miss out on alot by sitting at the computer all dayshe says, as she sits at her computer all

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GEEMAWEST 1/23/2011 4:45PM

    This sure brought back some memories. We were also ushered outside to play daily. We lived in the L.A. area and even played outside in the warm rain. I never called my friends. Back then it cost for every call you made and the kids weren't allowed to use the phone at all. Now my grandkids want to call the kid that lives just 2 houses away to see if she can play. No Way!! Not in my house. Out you go kiddo.

Those were the days! emoticon

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SILLYHP1953 1/23/2011 4:44PM

    My life was similar to yours, too, and my love of books came from no tv in the house until I was 14. Walking where we wanted to go was normal, asking to be driven somewhere was unheard of. I'm not sure today's kids would know what to do outside if they were pushed out the door without their cellphones. We'd have to go with them and bring back some memories.

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AFRESHSTART2 1/23/2011 4:11PM

    emoticon blog!
Your blog took me right back to my childhood days. I enjoyed the stroll down 'Memory Lane'. My children and grandchildren(the older ones)like to refer to those days as the "back o' time" days to which I would remind them that back then people were more inventive, friendly and trustworthy, and also that there were fewer cases of obesity. As many of the posters below inferred, going back to basics(in some aspects) is a sure way of getting us back on the path to a healthier lifestyle.

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    I lived a much simpler life growing up too, though not as austere as you. I actually eat better now than I have ever eaten in my life and I rarely ever eat out unless I have too. Dessert here is fruit unless it's a holiday or birthday. I drink milk or decaffeinated tea or water. A sugar free soda rarely. No cookies in sight. LOL.

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GETFIT2LIVE 1/23/2011 3:15PM

    Sounds so familiar, John! Simplifying life is one of my long-term goals as well. Too much stuff, too much busyness, too much of everything--it all adds up to slowly smother us the way weight has been doing for years. Your mother was and is a wise woman (look at her son!).

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HLPRATT 1/23/2011 2:52PM

    My parents also lived through the depression and one thing I learned was never to waste anything. To this day it pains me to throw away something that might still be usable. And I always cleaned my plate- because that was the right thing to do. It's amazing to me that the time period of the depression can reach so far into the future and affect future generations. And some of it the effects were for the better.

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HDHAWK 1/23/2011 2:39PM

    Sounds like my childhood. We were never inside, but always out playing some sort of game with friends.

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SARAWALKS 1/23/2011 2:08PM

    Oh yes, I remember those days! Only thing very different for me was, we lived out in the country and the only place I could walk on my own was to the neighbor's house, just out of sight of mine. But we did not drive to town (7 minutes away) more than a couple of times a week. My mom canned or froze everything we grew in the summer and fall and my dad hunted.

As an only child, I read a lot, didn't play outdoors as much as you, especially in the winter! Long distance phone calls meant something was wrong. A movie was a special special event! I did develop an addiction to homemade bread, which at first my mom would bake in a wood-burning stove. Homemade biscuits, batter bread (made in an iron pan with cracklings from fatback, the fatty part of the bacon that we avoid today). MMMMMHMMMM!

Some eating is healthier today, but people got much more exercise in the course of their ordinary days back then. I still remember how much work it took to wash the clothes in a wringer washer and hang them on the line (or around the dining room near the oil heater) to dry.

I've started walking to the grocery and to Lowe's and anywhere else within 3 miles of my house. It DOES make a huge difference. And I'm paying less for gas and for car insurance as a result!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 1/23/2011 2:09:37 PM

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JUNEAU2010 1/23/2011 2:06PM

    I like your plan of walking to the grocery store. I wish I could do that! There is a store very close to me, but my budget requires I shop in a different city, so it requires I drive....

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GRANDTO4 1/23/2011 12:11PM

  I am the same age, and my childhood was so similar! I remember sometimes having mustard sandwiches for lunch, because we were out of lunchmeat and peanut butter. Seemed normal to me. I recently showed my grown daughter a Better Homes and Gardens magazine from 1948. She was fascinated, and my 7 yr. old granddaughter could not imagine a world without TV, computers, microwaves and cell phones. My daughter was amazed at the amount of physical labor performed by "housewives". No wonder they were thinner then!

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DIASTER 1/23/2011 12:07PM

  How spoiled we have become in this society. You brought back so many memories. We always walked to and from school, the library, and the grocery store. We did not pay the gym for that privilege. McDonalds was for a special occasion , and they only had one size of

hamburgers and fries. Have you yet discovered that we spend so much time gathering "stuff"then as we get older we are spending time getting rid of the same stuff. Agree that we would all probably be happier with a simpler life style

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JENNY888 1/23/2011 11:53AM

    I enjoyed you talking about staying out until the street lights came on. That was the policy in my home also. This brought back memories.

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TEDYBEAR2838 1/23/2011 11:20AM

    So, true. WE all need to get back to the basics AND treating others as we would like to be treated.


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DEBRITA01 1/23/2011 11:04AM

    A good blog about living life more simple. In our over-indulgent world, maybe we need to get back to basics...we'd be healthier.

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