JOHNTJ1   66,263
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Sunday, February 14, 2010

For two months I feel like I have been taking, taking, taking. I gobble up a lot of blogs and digests and fitness postings and the like. Yet I have always had the feeling I am not really contributing anything to peoples continued improvement. But today I think I can.

I weighed in this morning. I lost 1.6 pounds this past week. For about thirty seconds I was really disappointed. I have been knocking off chunks of weight in the four to seven pound range every week. Nothing much seemed different, until I sat down and looked at the past week. Here are my findings:

1. I didnt get as much sleep as I normally do. Coupled with the stress of getting snowed in during my trip to WVA I didnt get my usual amount of sleep. I never felt totally rested all week.

2. Consequently I backed off on the intensity of my exercise. Oh, I still did my forty five minutes per day. But, there were three days that were just walking because I felt like I didn't have the energy to do more.

3. Because of my travel and weariness I ate out more this week than I have in two months. I stayed within calorie ranges but I felt all week like I was not eating the right stuff. I did take some food with me on my trip but two meals a day were with clients. I thought I made good choices. They could have been better.

Somewhat of a perfect storm.

Really good news. I am not depressed or unhappy or anything. I am glad I identified some areas where I need to concentrate on more. I am not down on myself. It's a new week and a new opportunity.

I am not moaning or complaining. That little voice in my head told me at church this morning "Let Go and Let God" That little voice is always right.

I am renewed

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CMBELISLE 2/14/2010 2:53PM

    It seems that sleep really is as important as the "experts" keep saying it is. I feel better today after my nap yesterday and know that I need to concentrate more on the week-night sleep.

As for the nutrition, some weeks are just that way - I had one myself this past week. I made some good choices and some bad choices, but I don't regret the choices I made. I enjoyed the pizza that I probably should not have had, but I also know that it is not something I have often. I also had a salad with it and measured the dressing so the olives weren't doing the backstroke.

Today is a new day with new choices to make. Today, I made it out for that walk and walked for almost an hour (almost 3 miles and it feels like it was all uphill). I also ate half the salmon that was served to me at lunch with broccoli and corn on the cob.

Keep up the great work and the great attitude. The journey is definitely as important as the destination.

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NICKI2B 2/14/2010 2:31PM

    You have no idea, do you? Your blogs have touched me numerous times! You remind me so much of my brother, every time I see your picture and read your blog I think of him. He is a minister of a small church in Oklahoma City, but he does so much more than that! He is always there and ministers in a dozen ways all the time. He is always helping someone and taking the time to care. People who are generous of spirit make a real difference in the world, I can only hope to be more like you and my brother! Thanks for being you!

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STORMTMB 2/14/2010 1:11PM

    Some weeks are just like that. Glad you were able to recognize the patterns. As you said, next week is a new week. Lots of opportunities abound! Have a good one!


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Two Months Of Spark Today: My Thoughts

Saturday, February 13, 2010

I found two months ago today. I wasn't looking for them. I had started tracking my food consumption and I was searching online for the elusive nutritional value of some item or another. I saw a small add on a web site off to the right in a corner. I clicked on it and as they say the rest is history.

I have lost right at 35 pounds in that two months and while I am very proud of that weight loss it is not the most important lesson I have learned (So far.) I learned that no matter what you do in life it is a lot easier if you do it with help and support and encouragement. I learned it's okay to be weak because if you really embrace your own weakness you learn a lot about yourself and how some times you just have to reach out and let people take care of you.

I read a lot of the blog postings every day written by people who have overcome real adversity in their lives and I am very humbled and motivated by their journey. I am fortunate that my life, to this point, has been relatively trouble free. My children and grandchildren are all healthy. My wife and I have been married for close to thirty six years and we have had a pretty normal marriage. We agree on a lot of things, we disagree on a lot of other things. She's Irish and I'm Polish so it makes for some pretty drama filled argument's at times. Other than a bit of blood pressure issue and a little bit of arthritis, our health is good. We are blessed with family and friends. I'm not trying to sound like a Hallmark Greeting card. We're just normal. Our cars break down, our furnace ocasionally needs repair and we get toothaches in the middle of the night that cause us to go running to the dentist.

I have been blessed by having my family's support these past two months. My wife has never fussed or gotten angry about my weight. She has always showed concern, asked what she could do to help and been way more patient then I would have been. She is happy that I am happier and glad she can"put her arms around me." My children, on the other hand remarked they dont like the fact that there is "no junk to eat," when they come over.

I really believe in angels. I do not believe they are winged creatures with blond hair dressed in bleached white robes. I believe they are you guys, my Spark Friends who I know along with my family are there every single day to offer encouragement and support. There are so many of you!! And I believe each of you was sent by God.

I learned I am fat (I know it's not the politically correct term, it's just simply the truth!) because my eating and exercise habits were sloppy. I never took the time to look at what went in my mouth and pretty much gave control to my exercise habits to a tight schedule that allowed no room for health. All that being said, telling yourself the truth is tough at first but gosh when you see results, it doesnt sting too badly.

Thank you my friends. That's what I have learned in two months. I owe a lot of people a sincere debt of gratitude.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TRIPLE_EMME 2/17/2010 10:32AM


Congrats on reaching your two-month Sparkversary! Continue to keep living your best -- you are making a huge difference in your life and the lives of your Sparkfriends.

Thank you for being a motivator!

Comment edited on: 2/17/2010 10:32:30 AM

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AUNTLYNNARD 2/17/2010 9:40AM

    emoticonNamaste' my friend, The Divine in me recognizes and salutes the Divine in you. I have found inspiration in your words this morning. We are privileged to have found Spark People to help us on our journey. I am also privileged to have found your blog on a morning when I am filled with doubt that I possess what I need to face another day when I am not losing weight! May your life be filled with Peace & Abundance as you give the most unsuspecting reader strength for their own journey. Again, Namaste', ~Lynn emoticon

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KATIEGLEN012 2/13/2010 10:03PM

    I look forward to your show such sensitivity. You are doing a great job on weight and motivating the rest of us. Keep up the good work.

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AIDENSMAMAW 2/13/2010 8:57PM

    I really enjoyed your blog. I am new on here and love it. I havent met many people but the blogs are encouraging and the tools are awesome. emoticon

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TOOFATPIA 2/13/2010 8:22PM

    You are so inspirational. Toothaches in the middle of the night emoticon yeah I know those all too well or kids tummy aches. Wow you really always seem to be sitting in the room with me when I read your posts.
You really are doing great with your weight loss and even more than that. You are really doing wonderful with the healthy lifestyle. Keep up the good work. You are such a warrior for so many.

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WANDAH3 2/13/2010 7:29PM

    From one normal person to another....WE ROCK! Way to go John on being such an inspiration.


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PSBURNETTE 2/13/2010 5:14PM

    I love your blog. I to am normal. I have weaknesses like everyone else. I love sparkpeople. This has helped me out a lot. I am so glad you are doing great. I wish you continued success! I think it is helping me to help encourage someone else. You are not alone! You can do this.

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1WALKINGMAN 2/13/2010 3:24PM

    emoticonon your success to date John. You are doing so well. I am proud of what you have been able to accomplish in just two months and in the example and encouragement that you are. emoticon

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YOYONOMORE1 2/13/2010 2:54PM

    You are doing so good, you should be very proud of how far you've come in two months. Keep up the good work and sharing your success with us, as that motivates us.


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MOTHERLORI 2/13/2010 1:23PM

    Amen! I've found tools, information and inspiration here ~ but most of all, I've found a support system of people who know what I'm going through. Not all of it, but a lot of it. They offer encouragement and support whether I've had a good day or a bad day. It never ceases to amaze me that someone almost always comments on my blog ~ different people ~ it's wonderful! SO CONGRATS to you John ~ I wish you an amazing journey! Lori emoticon

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Reaching Out: A Challenge of Sorts

Friday, February 12, 2010

I ran into my friend Angus at the grocery last night. We hadn't talked in close to six months. Angus is the youth minister at one of our local churches and the most unassuming down to earth ministers I have ever met. (That's a lot for a Catholic to say about a Southern Baptist, trust me!!) A few years back Angus was going to leave our city because he had received an offer to become a youth minister at a larger church in another state. He had accepted the offer. A week before he and his family were supposed to depart he took three of his four children camping with some close friends. His wife and his daughter remained home to pack. On Saturday evening his wife went to bed and never woke up. They were high school sweethearts. Like everyone who knew him I went to the funeral and said "all the right stuff." The place was packed.

I didnt see Angus again for a few months. When you dont know what to say you tend to avoid people and they avoid you and then you both avoid being awkward. I do recall what he said to me, though. He told me he was grateful for all the support during and immediately after the funeral. He wished some of those people were still in touch. He told me then, that it was "now" that he needed friends when everything seemed so gray and he felt so alone.

I thought of Angus this morning or rather his situation. I "huddled" with some of my Spark Teams and happened to read the blog of a person who had, well they had given up. Tired of exercising, tired of being a slave to the scale, just plain old tired and would rather be obese, because at least they could get some peace. The person felt guilty because they had just given up and was really looking for some support, someone in their gray day to rally around them and say "Hang in there, we are all with you."

Before today I didnt know this person from Adam. Wasn't one of my buddies or network. What I told them was that I felt miserable and sore this morning and was about to say I wasn't going to work out. After I read what they wrote, in their misery and agony they motivated me to at least walk for an hour today and hopefully some of the cramps in my legs will subside. I hope in a way I let them know there is someone out here for them. I encouraged them and told them there were millions of people just like them. We ALL understood their plight.

So here is my challenge to you this bright and beautiful Friday morning:

Take some extra time today if you can and look for a Spark Person you do not know that may be struggling and just share part of yourself. It's easy to support friends and buddies who think like we do.

Maybe, just maybe, me and you can be the big difference in someone elses life and sanity today.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TOOFATPIA 2/13/2010 8:29PM

    Thank you, I am going to try more to help I also know along the way when you give of yourself it helps you too.
this is one challenge I will definetly work on

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KATIEGLEN012 2/13/2010 5:45AM

    Always...our words make a difference. Encouragement and appreciation...there is never too much of that in our lives!

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JUSTLYLE 2/12/2010 10:48AM

    Another great blog John, much good advice there.
Skeeter emoticon

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STORMTMB 2/12/2010 10:06AM

    You're so right. We have more in common with people than we think. Sometimes it just takes a little work to find those commonalities.

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CMBELISLE 2/12/2010 9:52AM

    I think I just did that with the same person, but I'll look around and see who else might need a kind word and a gentle reminder that they are not alone.

BTW - I got to read your other blog this morning and shared it with the hubby. It made him think of a couple of things that have happened in the last few years that have made us really think about things. We like road trips and twice now we've missed great photo ops because we just wanted to keep moving forward - we have to remind ourselves to just stop or turnaround and get that picture instead of continuing to just drive. Some things just don't come together like that with the perfect lighting and perfect amount of fog very often. Perfection can be really hard to come by and when it happens you really should take advantage of it.

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WANDAH3 2/12/2010 9:41AM

    Thank you John for sharing this. I'm on my way to do some encouraging.


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STAN5FAM 2/12/2010 9:12AM

    Thanks John. You always blog when I jump on the comp in the morning. Your words are always inspiring. Hope you had a nice walk. emoticon

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DALAI_LALA 2/12/2010 9:10AM

    What an excellent thought! Thank you for posting...

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1WALKINGMAN 2/12/2010 8:54AM

    Thanks John emoticon

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Thursday, February 11, 2010

An angel of another sort knocked on my door around 8:30 yesterday morning. She worked at the hotel. She told me I had about a four hour window of opportunity to get home before the next arctic blast headed in. So I did. Sometimes God does not have to be subtle. I got home around 5:00, washed the car, it was a mess, went to the grocery, left my wife a note that I was going to the gym. Forty five minutes on the elliptical after seven hours in the car is, well lets say its interesting!!!

Later that night my wife and I were sitting at the kitchen table and talking about stuff. She remarked how committed I was to getting healthy "this time."(There have been a lot of "this times.") She asked what was different about Spark People from anything else. That's one of the easiest questions I ever answered!!!

"Really simple honey" I grinned "It's all the support I get from my Spark Friends."

I am overwhelmed and amazed at the support I get from the people I have come to know in the past two months. To say that each of you is a blessing to me is an understatement. To say I am grateful and thankful for your friendship and support, well there are not enough words.

One of my team leaders encourages me and challenges me on a daily basis to work harder and to exercise more. One team leader provides that most beautiful spiritual and emotional insight that makes me feel that I am really not crazy after all. Then there are the many Spark Friends I have made who are in the same boat I am in. They make me feel good to know this road I walk, I do not walk alone.

My journey towards health is invigorated by the selfless caring I see from other people here. Caring that is manifested in many different ways. I am humbled by your warmth and love.

A note of apology. So many people write to me every day and I do not always read every blog or respond. I feel bad. I am trying to do better.

Be blessed today as I am.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

STORMTMB 2/12/2010 10:11AM

    You have such a great outlook that it's easy to talk to you!


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CROBINGO 2/12/2010 7:02AM

    So true! It sounds like your journey is going so well and is so strong by thw way! Congrats!

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WANDAH3 2/11/2010 8:41PM

    I agree with you John, the support, encouragement and friendship that we find on SP is such a blessing. Could we do this one our owe ? Maybe, but having others that are in the same boat sharing this journey to health, just makes the journey that much easier. God provides us with what we need and the people that will helps us when we truly seeks to change our lives.

Have an awesome day, glad to hear that you made it home safely.


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TRIPLE_EMME 2/11/2010 10:32AM

    I think that the support from Sparkfriends is one of the best components of SP.

You are doing amazing on your journey to live a a healthier life. Keep up the great work!

I find your blogs to be so inspirational and motivating. I truly love how you can transform something negative into a positive -- and then share that insight with everyone reading your blog. You are an alchemist. Your words have a much bigger impact than you can ever truly know.

Thank you!

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AMABILE75 2/11/2010 9:30AM

    I agree with you, the support here is wonderful. Such awesome people always willing to give encouragement when you are at your lowest or celebrate with you when you reach a goal!! emoticon emoticon

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CMBELISLE 2/11/2010 9:15AM

    Thanks to you for all your support as well. I even have your other blog as one of my "tabs" to check out when I have time and really enjoy your writing style, not to mention the subject matter. Writing is something I enjoy, but find inspiration difficult so the writing is sporadic. I find it impressive that someone can write anything on a regular basis.

If interested, I'd enjoy feedback on my writing - I have a lot of random stuff on my site, but it is a hobby and can be fun.

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1WALKINGMAN 2/11/2010 9:00AM

    Hey John, you are doing great and your efforts are an encouragement to more people than you know. The journey is ever on going. emoticon

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STAN5FAM 2/11/2010 8:41AM

    John you are amazing! And I will keep writing it over and over again. Keep up the great work. Sometimes you can't respond to everybody's blogs. SP would be a full time job. Have a fabulous day.

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Be Careful What You Ask For

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Expect the best. Prepare for the worst. Capitalize on what comes." Zig Ziglar

My grandmother used to tell me that "God writes straight using crooked lines." I always thought that was a "nice thought" until this morning. I have no earthly idea when I am going to be able to get home. We got about two inches of snow last night here in sunny WVA. The problem is it rained all day yesterday and there is a nice sheet of ice beneath the snow.

My life is very neat and orderly, thank you very much!!! I live off a somewhat flexible schedule which does not include the possibility of being stuck in a hotel for two extra days. Its maddening.

So as I am sitting here this morning praying for a divine heat wave that would last long enough for me to get home. It dawned on me that I had sent some "other" prayers out there recently.

I had asked for time to be able to work on my "other blog.' I publish a leadership development blog weekly. At least I try to publish it weekly. I am trying to revise a seminar I teach based on recent participant evaluation to make it more topical and cut some time off of it. Then there is just "me" time.

So in His own unique way God said "You got it, John."

I have learned to appreciate and love the divine sense of humor. Within it there is always a lesson to be learned. The lesson for me is that if we truly choose to be vessels and servants to other people we go where we are sent and when we are sent there. Real faith isnt how much time you spend on your knees, its how much time you spend where you are sent even if it is a snow bound Holiday Inn Express in Weston, WVA

If you are interested in reading my "other" blog the web address is

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ATNACGAL 2/11/2010 8:46AM

    our prayers are not always answered in the order we choose!

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WANDAH3 2/10/2010 5:24PM

    Thank you John for the great laugh. I'm so glad that God uses his sense of humour on others besides me!!!

Enjoy the time you "asked" for. lol

Drive safe on the way home.

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WORKINGSTIFF 2/10/2010 5:04PM

    It is said that man makes plans and God laughs.

True enough. With the right attitude (notice I didn't say positive) one can find the upside in most situations.

Glad you "found" the time you'd been wishing for.

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TOOFATPIA 2/10/2010 12:56PM

    I use to have a womans group. There was a woman who came to me and said I been praying and I thought that God would give me what I asked for. I told her God always answers prayer. He does usually give what you ask for but in his time not ours. She said she had been praying to get pregnant. She said she had had her 3rd miscarriage. I had to tell her God granted her prayers she didnt ask for a baby she asked for a pregnancy. I also told her that she needed to make sure that it was what her husband also wanted. She got iritated with me. I know God answers our prayers. He sometimes says no, yes, he has humor and sometimes has to teach lessons along the way

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CMBELISLE 2/10/2010 11:12AM

    For some reason a line from a song came to mind when I read your blog - "You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometime, you just mind find, you get what you need."

If you are stuck for a few days, make sure you take full advantage of the hotel fitness facility. You never know, you might find something else you enjoy doing.

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TRIPLE_EMME 2/10/2010 10:39AM

    Nobody said that divine intervention didn't have a sense of sick humor! LOL Seriously, take advantage of your "gift."

Thanks for posting the link to your other blog; I'm going to check it out!

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STORMTMB 2/10/2010 9:29AM

    In addition to time to work on your blog, you might also be able to take advantage of their fitness room. I enjoy a change of scenery when I'm on the road and using the hotel equipment for a change of pace. You're right - be careful what you ask for!! Enjoy your day and be safe once you do get back on the road.


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JUSTLYLE 2/10/2010 8:15AM

    I did a bunch of things yesterday thinking we would be snowed in. Pleasently surprised when I woke up, school on and very little drifting.
Hope you get caught up on the work.
Go by Weston on our way to S # 1 and family in Apex N.C.

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TCLARK319 2/10/2010 7:57AM

    I always seem to wish for something then have to rephrase it to be more specific because there is that possibility that wish will come true. Good luck on your goals - safe trip home.

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ASH72461 2/10/2010 7:51AM

  i always said be careful what you ask for
you just might get it
and the snow won't last forever
be thamnkful you only got stuck in a motel
we had a truck blow up
2 cars stuck in the snow
and i had an allergic reaction to the antibotic for bronticus
so back to the hospital in all the confusion
but it will all get better
it always does soooner or later
i prefer sooner

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