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Overcoming Guilt

Friday, February 19, 2010

I missed my workout yesterday. It was the best thing that ever happened to me. Huh? There was more to do yesterday then there was day to do it in and by the time I finished with my work commitments I looked at the clock and it was after eight pm. I needed to be up early this morning to take an international phone call so I knew I needed to get my rest. Forty five minutes of cardio around eight thirty would have kept me up all night.

I was disappointed, but I didn’t go off the deep end. In the old days, which for our purposes here would be considered a little over two months ago, I would have despaired and eaten an entire cake. Instead, I went to bed. I realized there would most likely be other days like yesterday. I believe it is called life. I didn’t feel guilty! I woke up this morning and when I am finished writing this I am headed for the gym. I will pick up where I left off Wednesday.

The real revelation in all of this came at 3:47 AM when I popped out of bed. “That voice,” inside of me spoke. “You can never get to where you are going until you are happy with yourself where you are right now.” That was the most profound thing I ever heard. In an instant all my past failures, my misperceptions or whatever you wanted to call them made sense. I was living in the future and when the image of the future didn’t match the behavior of the present, well I gave up.

Being happy with me as I am right now is difficult. Everything around me tells me to improve to be better to work harder. Nothing tells me to value who I am right now. So I agree, it’s difficult but not impossible. I shared this thought with my wife who gave me one of those “You’re just now realizing this?” looks, in a loving sort of way.

I have my wife my family, my healthy friends who I hang around with and you guys, the Sparky’s. yes, I know we are all on this journey towards whatever it is we are looking for. Appreciate yourselves right now for who you are, at this very moment in time.

I appreciate every one of you!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GIRANIMAL 2/22/2010 10:48AM

    Oh man, the power of now! Why is it so hard to embrace something so basic? But you're totally right -- it's when you can accept who you are NOW that the changes you need to achieve future you always seem to start falling into place. Thanks for the reminder! Must be a reason I came across this three days later, on a Monday morning. I'm going to try using it for motivation throughout the week! emoticon

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MARCYNA 2/21/2010 9:11AM

    I think you're a wonderful human being & on a journey to a better life. You can skip gym once or twice, it does't change the course of your behaviour. emoticon

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NICKI2B 2/20/2010 8:41PM

    I appreciate you too! Great ah-ha moment!

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1WALKINGMAN 2/19/2010 11:32PM


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OHYESITSME1 2/19/2010 3:05PM

    Loved this blog! It's so true. As a yoga instructor, I am constantly asking the students to "stay present, just in this one moment".

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BECCALYNN75 2/19/2010 11:32AM

    emoticon Glad you listened to that inner voice and thank you so much for sharing it with us. I needed to hear that today too!

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CMBELISLE 2/19/2010 11:00AM

    I too have a hard time with liking who I am now, so I try to break it down into pieces and focus on those pieces I like now, while improving the pieces I don't like. While I am currently someone obsessed with my daily 10, I know there will come a day when I can't get that 10. When it comes, I will do my best to not freak out, but until then, I'll keep obsessing.


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TNTEACHER2 2/19/2010 9:54AM

    My husband and I decided some years ago that we needed to enjoy NOW instead of always planning for the future.

Good for you, John.


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HPLANDER 2/19/2010 9:33AM

    You are totally right about liking yourself in the moment. When you do that and take care of you in the now, the body you want will come. It took me a long time to realize this too, but once I did the process of losing weight was much more fun. Keep going and I am glad you didn't eat an entire cake.

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HPLANDER 2/19/2010 9:17AM

    You are totally right about liking yourself in the moment. When you do that and take care of you in the now, the body you want will come. It took me a long time to realize this too, but once I did the process of losing weight was much more fun. Keep going and I am glad you didn't eat an entire cake.

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STORMTMB 2/19/2010 8:50AM

    And I appreciate you and your insights. Hey, have you heard that you are who you hang around with!?!?! lol.

Have a Fabulous Friday!


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You Are Who You Hang Around With

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Every time I say it my children roll their eyes and get a resigned look on their faces. They have heard it all their lives. Some of them (lol) even made the conscious choice to believe it.

“You are who you hang around with”

If you want to excel then you find excellent people. You find people who help motivate you. I find these people at the gym usually around five fifteen every morning. They are the serious folks. You have to be to drag yourself out of bed that early to sit through a spinning class, run five miles or trudge through the elliptical. There are no pleasantries, no news exchanged, just a lot of hard work. You can almost hear them focus. No smiles, a lot of sweat, but no smiles. This aint the social hour.

I am nowhere close to them right now. But they cause me to walk a bit quicker, to pedal harder and to keep that bit of determination all through my day.

“You are who you hang around with.”

I have a wise friend who told me once that you should have friends ten, twenty and thirty years younger than you. If you are younger you simply do it the other way. It keeps you fresh and current and it means you are active in both mind and body. I don’t often share their point of view but I understand it and some of them actually find that and “old dude” has some decent insights.

“You are who you hang around with.”

I have not been inside a McDonalds nor have I tasted a beer since the middle of December. Truthfully, I don’t really miss either of them. The folks I “run with” “don’t play that tune.” Lottsa water and green tea and maybe if I am feeling really risqué a diet coke with lime. I have eaten beef once in two months. The people in my circle don’t talk a lot about food. They are too busy becoming happy.

“You are who you hang around with.”

Don’t ever kid yourself. It is why you are here. You, that Spark person over in the corner becoming the most excellent of all examples on health, happiness and serenity.

May I hang around with you?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NICKI2B 2/20/2010 8:37PM

    As always, I loved your blog! Thanks!

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PINETREEGIRL 2/19/2010 1:09PM

    What a great post! And what a great idea to be generationally well rounded in your perception.
You said a mouthful!

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DOOBIE893 2/19/2010 8:33AM

    Amen Brother.

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KATIEGLEN012 2/18/2010 7:36PM

    You've said it all!!!!!

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AUNTLYNNARD 2/18/2010 2:34PM

    Think I'll share this with my facebook crowd too! You are doing a great job John! And we are all so proud of you! ~Lynn emoticon

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MINDAC20 2/18/2010 12:56PM

    Great post. So true! My first boss once told me, "You can tell a lot about a person by the company they keep. Don't keep company with anybody you wouldn't want your mama to see you with." It does help to be surrounded by people who share the same goals and lifestyle choices that you do. Not to say that you can't be friends with your beer drinking buddies, you just don't have to drink a beer with them.

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STORMTMB 2/18/2010 10:15AM

    I totally agree.

I really like the concept of hanging out with people who are younger/older to get the different perspectives. I've done it, but hadn't really thought about it in that way. My second closest friend in the world is 26 years older than me. He has amazing instincts and insights and I value his opinion on many things. I learned many years ago to quit arguing with him (because he was always right and I never was) and to ask questions so I better understood why he had a certain view. I have learned so much from him.

You are (or become) who you hang around with.

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TRIPLE_EMME 2/18/2010 9:46AM

    Absolutely! You may hang around with me, anytime.

Thanks for the reminder: "you are who you hang around with"

How that phrase would annoy me as an adolescent! However, through the years, I have found so much truth in that statement.

When you surround yourself with positive people, you DO vibrate at the same level of energy. You invite more positivity into your life. And, you give off more positivity.

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CMBELISLE 2/18/2010 9:44AM

    I love it so much I'm sending the link to my girls.

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MRSLEENY 2/18/2010 9:11AM

    John, you are so right. I'm so glad we all hang out together here. I usually try to start up the emotions of eating right, walking etc, with friends and family but sometimes the people I know are just not into it. So, off on my own I go.

You do what you know, but when you know better, you do better.


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MRE1956 2/18/2010 8:28AM

    Whoa.....boy, am I in trouble.....I've led such a socially withdrawn life over the last few years that I would have to describe myself as "nothing" based on this blog.....but all that being said, you bring some excellent points to the table....I like to think of myself as serious to the Nth degree, but sometimes I fear I take that a bit too far.....

Thank you for the awesome blog - have a gr8 week!


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WANDAH3 2/18/2010 7:50AM

    John, love the blog. I'll hang around with you!

Have an awesome day filled with blessings.


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MARCYNA 2/18/2010 7:30AM

    Wow, excellent!!!
I really feel happy to hang around with the girls - and a boy in my dance class. Serious people, no extra word, no bad comment if you do a pas faux or don't get the exercise....even if I had to run home earlier yesterday as I wasn't feeling well. I'm gonna catch up with them tomorrow though. I love serious people & hard work, great observation.... emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 2/18/2010 7:30:46 AM

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SHEALUNA 2/18/2010 6:59AM

    Amen and amen. You are so spot on with this post. Very timely for me right now as I'm discovering my dearest friend is also my worst enemy when it comes to my waistline! Not sure what to do about it, but I guess awareness is the first step to change... emoticon

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HIKERJOHNSON 2/18/2010 6:57AM

  I cherish my friends of all ages. They provide for different aspects of my life.

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STAN5FAM 2/18/2010 6:56AM

    As always...There you are John. It is 4:45am here. Logging on to check messages/blogs. Arguing with myself about whether I want to go to the gym now.

Yup! Thanks for letting me hang out with you. Have a fabulous day John. emoticon

Comment edited on: 2/19/2010 9:36:10 AM

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A Day of Silence, A Day of Discovery

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

I have gone through so many changes in recent months. I eat wiser, I am more active and I am more judicious in my life choices.

Today is my day to be silent, to look at myself and to discover who I am in "all of this." It is my day to step back and discover.

It is my day to take out the garbage, mop the floor, pay the bills, run the errands and do so with an internal silence and reflection.

Call it prayer, call it meditation, call it what you will. Today is my day of silence and discovery and I look forward to it.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KATIEGLEN012 2/17/2010 8:24PM

    Do all that you do in the name of God. Be still and listen and you will hear Him. Everyone needs to have such days.

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STORMTMB 2/17/2010 10:57AM

    Enjoy your day.


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STAN5FAM 2/17/2010 10:54AM

    Ash Wednesday is a great day for self reflection John. Many more blessings to you beginning with today.

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KAT573 2/17/2010 10:10AM

    Tao Te Ching 8
The highest good is like water.
Water gives life to the ten thousand things and does not srive.
It flows in places men reject and so is like the Tao.

In dwelling, be close to the land.
In meditations, go deep in the heart.
In dealing with others, be gentle and kind.
In speech, be true.
In ruling, be just.
In business, be competent.
In action, watch the timing.

No fight, no blame.

I was touched by your blog, and wanted to share a fairly relevant tho tangential in some degree, passage from the Tao Te Ching.
Keep on keeping ON!

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AUNTLYNNARD 2/17/2010 9:25AM

    I applaude you for taking time to work out lifes tiniest details this way. We are among a priviledged few who understand the wealth of information the Universe will supply us with when we become quite and look inward for out direction. Namaste' my friend. ~Lynn emoticon emoticon

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CMBELISLE 2/17/2010 9:11AM

    I do some of that while I cut the grass in the blazing summer heat or take a really long walk alone. Enjoy.

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MARCYNA 2/17/2010 7:54AM

    It's so wise, you've chosen Ash Wednesday for silence and quiet.
'And the desert shall bloom like a Rose' emoticon emoticon

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WANDAH3 2/17/2010 7:38AM

    We need these kind of days to keep things in perspective. Glad that you have enjoyed the day,

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AMABILE75 2/17/2010 7:29AM

    emoticon emoticon

This is something we all need much more frequently than we do.

emoticon emoticon emoticon
I wish you the very best today during this time of reflection. May you find much peace & happiness today.

emoticon emoticon

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The Chapters of Our Lives

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

I was driving down the road yesterday, dodging the slush and the ice when my mind wandered to someone I knew almost fifteen years ago. I wasn’t sure if I was amazed that it had been almost fifteen years since I last saw or spoke to them or that they had even crossed my mind to begin with. We didn’t part on bad terms. They moved from San Diego to Los Angeles and left no forwarding addresses or telephone number. It wasn’t like we were BFF’s. We just went our separate ways.

But it got me to thinking. That was a chapter in my life. It began and it ended. I learned something from the other person and I hope they learned something from me. My life has had a lot of chapters in it, some with happy endings some with sad endings and quite a few who are waiting for the endings to be written. Each chapter means something. It was like when you were little and you built with blocks, one stacked on top of the other. You couldn’t make a tower without the bottom block, or any of them for that matter. Bright and shiny, dull or chipped we need those blocks or we have no tower. We give value to each of our blocks or chapters in our lives.

Sometimes things are what they are and no more or no less. We stand on a scale and we create value or lack of value based on some digital numbers that course across the dial. We try on clothes and grin or grimace based on how well or poorly they fit us. We are not our weight. We are not a size 2, 4, 6, or 8 or whatever we aspire to be. We Are. We are as warm and as radiant and as beautiful as a winter snow, a spring thunderstorm, a summer sunset or the rustling of fall leaves at our feet.

When I was in first grade in Catholic grade school we had to memorize our catechism. I still remember one of the questions and answers.

“Why did God make you?”
“God made me to show forth His goodness.”

I have often thought about that chapter of my life and if I believed that exercise I never, ever would have needed anymore religious training period! I am beloved and loved. I am, as you are the greatest miracle in the world. Only recently did I start acting like I was that miracle.

So are you.

It’s not a scale, a diet or a calorie counter that determines my worth. It is the feeling I create inside of me that acknowledges that I am very special and worth the effort to make myself healthy and happy. I will not be loved more when I lose and additional sixty four pounds. My value will not increase when I reach my goal and head to Nashville to by a suit I have dreamed of. Those things are nice, but I am nicer.

Come closer so no one else hears:
So are you.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MARCYNA 2/17/2010 8:52AM show forth His Goodness....He truly succeeded with you emoticon emoticon

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STORMTMB 2/17/2010 12:10AM

    Thanks for sharing, John.

Sometimes it's hard to focus on or remember what God thinks of us and how He gives us value when there are so many external forces on tv, print media, radio, ads everywhere telling us what we must have and look like to have value in our materialistic society. I need to remember where my true worth comes from. Thanks!


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WANDAH3 2/16/2010 6:45PM

    Wonderful Blog John. Very well said.


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STAN5FAM 2/16/2010 4:12PM

    Thanks John. You are sharing your Goodness through your thoughtful Blogs. Thanks for continuing to give and inspire!

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BIBLIOHOLIC57 2/16/2010 10:15AM

    Very inspiring, thoughtful blog. Thank you for sharing it.

Thank you also for your comment on my blog. It brightened my day enormously.

Have a wonderful week, and keep sharing!


emoticon emoticon

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YOYONOMORE1 2/16/2010 9:42AM

    Very inspiring blog, thank you for sharing your thoughts.


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BEANZFRD 2/16/2010 7:03AM

    Wonderful blog! Very well put. emoticon

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I Guess It Depends How You Look At It

Monday, February 15, 2010

I spend a lot of time hearing things and saying things and then just assuming that's the way they are. For example: "Everyone just dreads Monday morning!!!" or "TGIF!!!!" or "Tomorrow is hump day."Some of us let our moods be affected by a co worker, a boss, a neighbor or a partner. It's always about someone or something else, isnt it? The "diets" we are on do not work because we are different than other people. Exercise is for young athletes not fifty six year old warriors. It goes on and on.

I woke up this morning to snow. I'll admit the only time I like snow is from about noon Christmas Eve until about six pm on Christmas Day. Before and after that it should be seventy five and sunny all year round. I see snow and my mood darkens. We still have two daughters who live at home, ages 25 and 24. Last night they asked me if I could give them a ride into work if the roads were too bad. I woke up this morning and there were still clothes in the washer and dryer!!! The world was conspiring against me!!! It was going to be a rotten, nasty, horrible day. Damn, the fates!!!

I'm not sure where it came from, but it was a direct about face!!! I started thinking that the first sixty minutes of my day set the tone for the rest of my day. I began to wonder that if I was conscious of that could I condition myself to behave positively, every morning?

You might call it looking at the world through rose colored glasses or be a bit skeptical. I was too. I stood by the kitchen window and looked at the snow. It was still not quite yet light out and the more I looked at the snow, the more beautiful it became. Nothing had changed but me!!!

Am I on a diet or am I changing my life style to be healthy and live to torment my children at age ninety? Do I still get "scale fear" every Sunday morning before I weigh in? I am going to challenge myself to be a positive and as helpful as I can the first sixty minutes of my day. I want to have a "good day" everyday!!

I think, i'll call it a goal!!!!! Care to join me?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MARCYNA 2/17/2010 8:57AM

    Wow,if you were my dad, I'd love to torment you until 100 & over!!!!! emoticon

Comment edited on: 2/17/2010 9:05:29 AM

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AMYTATH 2/16/2010 10:24AM

    John, I love this!!! This is how I have tried to live for the past six months or so...I try not to let other people or events effect my mood for the day! I tell myself that "Its gonna be a good day!!!" and no matter what happens I try to keep that attitued! Its like a switch that flips when you finally come to that realization and start living like that, things finally become easier!!!

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TSISQUAUSDI 2/15/2010 8:15PM

    John, the only thing over which we have COMPLETE control is our own attitude. We can wake up in the morning and give that control to someone or something else, or we can choose to be happy - It's entirely up to us. I wake up and choose to be happy - It not only makes one heck of a difference in my day, but it confuses the bejesus out of people that just want to be miserable!

You're definitely on the right track! emoticon

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KATIEGLEN012 2/15/2010 2:07PM

    It is, indeed, our choice to carry whatever emotion we want into the day. Being positive just makes a better day. Way to go.

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STORMTMB 2/15/2010 12:16PM

    Way to turn it around, John! I'd be just as grumpy and I need to focus on being more positive all day long. Have a great day!


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WINDSTAR2358 2/15/2010 12:09PM

    Dishes in the sink, rides to work....ohhhhh my can I relate, I like you suddenly realized I was turning into a ugly old schrew! Especially when my attitude in itself was horrible, Then I was reading the SECRET, and I learned the only one who can insure change in me, is....dadaha....ME! Thanks for reminding me....

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CMBELISLE 2/15/2010 12:08PM

    Our moods definitely affect our outlook on the day. One reason I started enjoying my morning 10 (or 20) is because I feel better and have a better outlook on the day once I'm done. I can wake up tired and cranky, but then I'm over it (at least the cranky part) by the time I'm done.

Staying positive isn't always easy, but it is good for us.

BTW - I like the snow because of how peaceful everything looks and I can definitely envision the first morning's light just hitting the snow because I got to do that Saturday (while everyone else was still asleep).

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KNITSTRONG 2/15/2010 11:39AM

    I really enjoyed this post! I'm trying to be a more positive, less cynical person myself! Sometimes I still feel like I'm faking it, but at least we're both trying!

I'm also going to steal your idea about "living to torment your kids at 90". That will be one of my goals, too! I have the right genes, just need to get more healthy to improve my chances.

Take care! emoticon

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PSBURNETTE 2/15/2010 10:29AM

    Sounds like you already have it figured out. If I could pat you on the back I would! Thinking positivly has always been my motto! Hope you have a wonderful day!

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WANDAH3 2/15/2010 9:44AM

    John, I'm a true believer in starting each day (before even getting out of bed) with a positive attitude and positive affirmations. My day starts something like this: "Thank you Lord for another day of life, help me to be a positive person and positive influence in the lives of those that I meet today. Help me to appreciate all that comes my way. To be all that I have been created to be". And it goes on from there. As I stand in front of the mirror, I fill my spirit with positive affirmations, and on those days that I'm struggling just that little bit...I begin to sing "This is the day, this is the day, that the Lord hath made, that the Lord hath made. I will rejoice, I will rejoice and be glad in it, and be glad in it. This is the day, that the Lord hath made, I will rejoice and be glad in it, this is the day, this is the day that the Lord hath made."
It's really hard to feel negative after a few rounds of singing ! It's virtually impossible to hold negative and positive feelings at the same time!
Yep, when we start our day out on a positive note, the day just seems to go more smoothly. When those negatives do occur, it just seems easier to deal with them.

Have an enjoyable day. So many positives in your blog....your recognition of how starting your day from a positive place makes a difference, that your daughters turn to you as their "rock" when they are feeling uncertain, seeing the beauty in the snow and knowing that you've been given an opportunity to appreciate God's handiwork, to burn some extra calories as you shovel and to get outside and do something motivating for your mind, body and spirit.


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1WALKINGMAN 2/15/2010 9:05AM

    I am all for it. Let's look for that silver lining.

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CHANGEDIN09 2/15/2010 8:46AM

    I really needed this today. What a great post. CONGRATS on your success so far. I loved your comment about never taking the time to think or care about what you put into your mouth before. That is exactly what my problem WAS. Now I think about everything before and ask if it is worth the calories/fat to eat it. It has made a huge difference. Have a positive day!! emoticon

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    I love this idea! Maybe positivity is a habit that can be practiced and developed. Thank you!

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