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Perfect Love Isn't Always Perfect

Monday, June 20, 2011

She has a huge smile on her face as she walks up to me I the parking lot. Being five and being small she was having a hard time holding the card behind her back. She had this conspiratorial grin on her face as she looks back at her dad. With one swift movement she thrust a card and a hat forward and proclaimed, ‘Happy Pappy Day” I have every card and piece of art work she has ever given me. Some hang on the wall and some sit in a folder in my desk drawer. I have five Father’s Day Cards in an envelope.

“Open It,” she said.

Inside was a card telling me how wonderful I was and then she scrawled her name. Below her name was a peace symbol, well actually about five peace symbols. Four of them were scribbled out. She told me that she wanted to make sure she drew it correctly and she didn’t think I’d mind the four practice tries. Next she handed me a large red, white and blue hat, the kind you see Uncle Sam wearing.

“I told daddy you’d look silly in it. Put it on” I did and she laughed and giggled and covered her face. “You do look silly!!!”

Perfect love is not always perfect. It’s just open, honest and so what if you have to scribble out the peace symbol four times. You got it right on the last try and that’s all that counts. You want to have a good laugh? Give someone a silly hat, tell them to put it on, laugh and then beg to have your picture taken with them. Hold their hand, walk into a movie and enjoy yourself. Not once did I see our granddaughter make an effort to do anything more than be herself. I think she had more fun than anyone else and really isn’t that what life is all about?

I thought a lot about this over the weekend, mostly the four scribbled out peace symbols. I try so hard to be perfect, to get it right the first time, to be everything to everybody, and I lose sight of the fact that the real intention is to share and grow, to love and to be loved. Perfect love isn’t always perfect. Perfect love is simply the ability to keep scribbling out those peace symbols until we get it right and knowing the person on the receiving end understands what all that hard work was for. It means they share in the joy, the desire, the hard work and disappointment until they are looking at the acceptable peace symbol all their own.

My memories of my granddaughter will never be the end result, they will always be those moments when she was silly, when she struggled hard to write or draw what she wanted to draw, and when she danced around giggling, because I looked silly. That is perfection in progress. I could learn a lot from her.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PIMPINELLAN50 4/11/2012 2:13PM

    Big smile emoticon while reading this Blog!Thank's for sharing!

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MYLIFEMADELITE 7/14/2011 10:07AM

    Thank you! So sweet, simple and true.

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SWEETNEENI 7/14/2011 1:28AM

    Beautiful blog John emoticon

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THESHELBSTER 7/13/2011 10:23PM

    Great blog. Thank you for sharing.

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BRAVEHEART4ME 7/6/2011 2:33PM

  I love this, brings tears to my eyes.

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65DAVIS 6/29/2011 9:43AM

    Great Blog - thanks so much for sharing.

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SQUIRRELY_GIRL 6/28/2011 12:24AM

    Powerful and well said!!

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FLUTTER-BY)L( 6/27/2011 3:24PM

    Today I needed this. So much in my life recently has been about not even writing the peace symbols instead of trying 5 times. It is even better that she knew that you would not mind her imperfections. That is an awesome grandpa. I hope she keeps that with her all her growing up.

Thanks again for sharing your blessings.

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DEBLYNN323 6/27/2011 3:01PM

    WOW...thanks for sharing!

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KLONG8 6/26/2011 7:22PM

    Very nice touch....very true.

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MENACE79 6/25/2011 10:23AM

    Wow - this really hit home for me; I've got tears rolling down my cheeks! Beautiful sentiment, well written, and poignant.

Thank you.

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JULIA1154 6/24/2011 11:28PM

  What a wonderful piece. Thank you, John.

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TEMPEST272002 6/24/2011 10:27AM

    What a beautiful blog. Thank you for sharing this story with us. It was very moving. I hope you print this blog off & put it in her memory book... then take it out to read at her wedding. Lovely.

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MISTRESSSU 6/24/2011 2:07AM

    Thank you for this lovely story. I must admit that a lot of life's best lessons have been taught to me by my kids when they were young and now by my grandkids. It certainly isn't the stuff I learned at school and college that bring joy to my life. Yesterday at school sports Emily aged 6 tried really hard with all the sports but only ended up with a 'well done' ribbon given out to everyone involved who was not a specific winner of an event. On the way home, and hugging that ribbon for all she was worth, she informed me that when she got home she was going to put the ribbon on her wall to remind her of a lovely day. No bother that she did not 'win', in her eyes it was just another lovely day. How nice not to have to be a 'winner' but just to be happy at whatever you can achieve. Food for thought for all adults!
Have a great day. Regards from the UK

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JUNIE33 6/23/2011 11:47PM

    I work and sacrifice to get on the good side of my grandchildren. And I love it! emoticon

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JSPIN74 6/23/2011 3:33PM

    sweet & true

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SILLYHP1953 6/23/2011 1:20PM

    When are you going to write your book? Seriously! When?

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YOURHAPPINESS 6/23/2011 12:33PM

    What an amazing, inspirational blog!!!!!!

"the real intention is to share and grow, to love and to be loved."
ABSOLUTELY TRUE and exactly what I needed to read today.

Thank you so much!!

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LESSLESSMIMI 6/23/2011 11:52AM

    Wonderful blog! It's amazing how many different ways we love during our lives--and the way we love grandchildren and are loved by them is one of the most precious!

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CANDOK1260 6/23/2011 11:42AM

    and we can larn alot from you

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AML05030 6/23/2011 11:20AM

    Isn't it funny how we LEARN to that getting "it" right the first time is the only way we can properly do anything? I love talking to little kids who haven't learned that lesson yet. I think it's something adults should unlearn a little.

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WOMANCHEF 6/23/2011 8:38AM

    Thank you for this beautiful reminder of the joy in our lives.

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SINABUNN 6/22/2011 8:35PM

    Wow, just beautiful. Thanks so much for sharing.

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MIZZLE2105 6/22/2011 9:47AM

    That is soooo sweet!!! What a wonderful blog!! Thank you for sharing!!

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MOMONTHERUN1 6/22/2011 9:32AM

    Wonderful blog!

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ERIN4771 6/22/2011 9:18AM

    amazing blog!!! thanks for sharing, and opening my eyes a bit today, i needed it emoticon

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RUNNER12COM 6/22/2011 9:16AM

    What an amazing lesson to share, that the effort and the journey are as significant as any end result.

Good stuff here.

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MARCYNA 6/22/2011 9:07AM

    So funny, and so much to learn from this wonderful child- any possibility of seeing you in that funny hat????????????????

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PATTILYNN224 6/22/2011 8:05AM

    Aren't grandchildren amazing. They have that perfect love and they don't care what we look like, how much money we have or anything else. They just love us.

My grandaughter also reminds me of what "child like faith" is all about.


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WALKNLOVE 6/22/2011 7:43AM

    so cute! She sounds like a bundle of joy! Glad you have her.
And the only perfect love is God's...until then, we just keep trying to love like he does! :)

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MORTICIAADDAMS 6/21/2011 7:56PM

    What more could anyone want? Yep, you had it made.

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GIRANIMAL 6/21/2011 12:33PM

    D'oh, I totally forgot to log in and tell you Happy Pappy Day! That's my perfection in progress -- always god intentions but sometimes sloppy follow-through.

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You really hit home with the perpetual perfectionist in me with this one, dear bro. Thanks for an (always) much-needed reminder.

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WIGIME 6/21/2011 9:13AM

    Great words John, they definitely give me something to think about, thanks.

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LYNMEINDERS 6/21/2011 4:22AM

    She sounds adorable.....enjoy her to the fullest.....

Happy Pappy Day

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MIRACLELOVE77 6/21/2011 12:22AM

    such a wonderful blog. She is too cute. Happy Pappy Day! :)

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EDWINA172 6/20/2011 9:18PM

    I love this. So touching. Thank for sharing this John. Your love for each other is perfect.

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JUNEAU2010 6/20/2011 7:35PM

    What a lovely story and analogy! Thanks for sharing!

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LORSI2000 6/20/2011 6:46PM

    Happy Father's Day, John!
Sure sounds like yours was splendid.

Today's blog brought fond memories of my mom, sister and me going to the Younkers Department Store when I was younger.

We didn't have enough money to go to the movies, roller-skating or mini-golf; but we would go to Younkers and have my mom try on hats. You see, my mom has this perfectly round (beautiful) face so almost EVERY hat looks absolutely ridiculous on her. She would make silly faces and pose silly poses and we would laugh until we were sick in our bellies.

Some of life's richest moments are free.

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NOMORESTALLING 6/20/2011 6:18PM

    That was so adorable and so true!

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KERLIN26 6/20/2011 5:09PM

  This really hit home with me. Thank you.

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NASFKAB 6/20/2011 5:06PM

  Thanks for writing this

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GETFIT2LIVE 6/20/2011 4:14PM

    Aren't grandchildren the BEST?! We can learn much from them. I spent the weekend with my 2-year-old grandson, and the absolute joy and utter abandon with which he does things, the way he is totally engaged in the moment, was refreshing. He is 'perfect' for who and where he is right now, not quite able to master 'drawing' Grandma and Grandpa's names, but thoroughly enjoying his attempts.

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KANSASROSE67 6/20/2011 3:09PM

    Love this blog. I'm a recovering perfectionist and your words really hit home with me...thanks!

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HDHAWK 6/20/2011 2:59PM

    Precious! We could all learn a lot from children. What joy she must bring to you and Joan.

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1TRULYBLESSED 6/20/2011 2:28PM

    From one perfectionist to another, thanks for the insight!! Children teach us so much...
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GEEMAWEST 6/20/2011 2:28PM

    Great blog! Yesterday someone said "Nothing in life is free" and my husband replied "Except the smile of a grandchild".

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IDLETYME 6/20/2011 2:15PM

    Wonderful Blog! When you are 73 years old, all you have are the beautiful memories of your grandpa and dad. Treasure them!!!!

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KIKOOMAGOO 6/20/2011 1:51PM

    Are you making a memory book for her? Something with a collection of your happiness brought on by her actions and words? Something with all the lessons she taught you along the way? What a treasure for her that YOU are- maybe she would love it so much that she would make one for her grandchild someday. maybe I'll do that when I have grandchildren too!
Happy Monday, John

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EILI359 6/20/2011 12:39PM

    Great blog -I always find your words inspiring - thank you. Eili xx

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SHERR513 6/20/2011 11:20AM

    Great blog thanks for sharing it emoticon

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Somewhere, Someone

Friday, June 17, 2011

Maybe there are mornings you look out your kitchen or living room window and you begin to wonder if you ever make a difference somewhere………… anywhere.

Somewhere there is someone who just joined Spark and is totally and completely overwhelmed by this whole experience. They are scared, they are a bit embarrassed when they read their first blog and they realize “Boy do I have a long way to go……….” They sit in front of their computer, sipping their morning coffee wondering what to do next. There are ALL THESE PEOPLE!!! They feel over whelmed by the entire experience and begin to wonder where the support will come from.

Somewhere someone feels very alone. They keep waiting for a Spark Goodie, a Spark Mail. Why doesn’t anyone ever read their blogs? They have very few Spark friends. They begin to doubt themselves, why they are here. Maybe, this is just like everything else they have tried……..

Somewhere someone is ready to throw in the towel. They have gone a week, maybe a month maybe even longer without showing any positive movement on the scale at all. Maybe, they even weigh more than when they first joined. They start to question their own value, their own worth. Every morning when they log on they keep hoping someone will leave a word of encouragement on their Spark page. Maybe today is the day they will meet a new friend. Maybe that new friend will help show them the way.

Somewhere someone has returned after a long absence. They couldn’t keep up with things so they gave up and now they are back and they are a bit nervous and scared. Maybe this time they will succeed.

So while you are looking out your kitchen window this morning and questioning your own value and worth realize that all it takes is stopping by someone’s page and saying “Hi,” sending a goofy Goodie and let them know that you thought of them. Maybe you invite them to join a team you are on or participate in a challenge with you and make them feel included, make them feel loved.

Do you know how many people there are in this world who don’t feel loved, who sit alone each day and how Spark has become their life line? Do you know how many people there are who believe they have nothing to offer, as if being a good mom or dad isn’t worth recognizing?

It takes five to ten minutes to find someone new or someone lost and muster up the courage to crash on to their page and let them know you are pulling for them. You don’t know how many times I have gotten a little nudge from one of you that’s made the difference in my day.

Now…………. Go do the right thing.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CHANGE4THEBEST 7/9/2011 1:07PM

   
So true, a few words from a sparkie makes all the difference to our day!

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4EVER21B 6/30/2011 11:28PM

    AMEN!!!

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MOEMOORE 6/30/2011 4:12PM

    Well put! For some reason, I have a hard time responding to blogs and boards. I read a lot of them, but don't always comment. This time around, I'm trying to force myself to change that aspect. I know I need it, and I know how great it feels to get responses.

Keep it up!

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QUEENREEN8119 6/29/2011 9:44AM

    I was that person once. Now I try and comment on someone's first blog if I see no one else has commented. It just takes 30 seconds to make someone's day brighter.

Thanks for this reminder that we all at one point were waiting for that first spark goodie.

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CMA444 6/29/2011 9:21AM

    emoticon

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TIFFYFANNY 6/29/2011 9:15AM

    Every time I get a goodie or a comment, my day gets a little brighter. Great blog!

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ANABEAVERHAUSEN 6/27/2011 10:39PM

    You rock!

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YASMINCANO 6/27/2011 6:40PM

    emoticon emoticon

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ERIN4771 6/25/2011 7:06AM

    amazing blog my friend, and so right!! i remember the first goodie i received, and the kind note as well, and it made a HUGE difference in my day, and kept me coming back....thanks for reminding me to keep paying it forward.....

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4SPARKLEKITTY 6/24/2011 8:49PM

    thank you for taking the time to acknowledge the importance of support, both in giving and receiving!
wonderful

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NEVER2LATE2SOAR 6/24/2011 5:07PM

  Thank you for the reminder that each one of us might just have the words that someone else needs to hear. If I make the time to connect with others, I will probably find that same gift coming my way when I most need it. We're all in this together.

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TAMIK1964 6/24/2011 4:29PM

    What a great blog! I wrote my first blog not expecting anyone to read it but then I got comments right away and knew this was a great and active site. It gave me so much encouragement!!!

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SINABUNN 6/22/2011 8:51PM

    Are you peeping in my window or something? lol Amazing that I found your blog... today of all days. Earlier, I posted an entry about how low I was feeling, looking for support. Checking back in a several hours later to find just a couple of responses... well, you just described exactly how I felt. Believe me, I'm so grateful for the people who responded, but I still felt such a void. I'm so glad I went in search of inspiration and stumbled upon you. You're a keeper!

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MALKEWKE 6/21/2011 11:32AM

    emoticon

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DUTCHIEKIWI 6/20/2011 1:48AM

    On my way... right now!!!

thanks John for directing me in the right direction. What goes around comes around!!

:0)

xxx
<
BR>Dutchie

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RUN4FOOD 6/19/2011 8:29PM

    Thanks for your thoughts. We all like to receive nudges and we can all give nudges. The best way to get a nudge is to give a nudge.

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KERLIN26 6/18/2011 7:26AM

  You're so right! Thanks for this.

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REJ7777 6/18/2011 6:00AM

    I ENJOY encouraging and supporting people on SP... too much! My challenge is to make sure that I don't spend too much time on the computer when I should be doing other things. It's easier to type than to exercise! I guess the answer is balance.


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LYNMEINDERS 6/18/2011 2:47AM

    There is so many people who feel disconnected and each one of them is so precious and can actually achieve their goals....
I am certainly hearing you....
Thankyou

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JUNEAU2010 6/17/2011 10:57PM

    Good reminder! BTW: I found a hard cover copy of "The Greatest Generation" by Tom Brokaw for $1! I will be thinking of Mr. Miller and all the members of that generation I've known as I read this book!

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DAD2GETFIT 6/17/2011 6:44PM

    Great advice as always. Thanks John.

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NASFKAB 6/17/2011 6:17PM

  Thanks a lot I'll try

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MYOWNHERO 6/17/2011 4:32PM

    Thanks! I will.

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SILLYHP1953 6/17/2011 3:32PM

    I do that, but could do it more, and hopefully this blog will start a movement!

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KKINNEA 6/17/2011 3:28PM

    I always thought I would feel like a stalker but you're right!! I'll start doing that!!

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ANATASHIKI 6/17/2011 3:18PM

    don't say that to me , I'm a bit of a stalker nature emoticon

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CIVIAV 6/17/2011 12:54PM

    How awesome! I'll take on two a day!

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LORSI2000 6/17/2011 12:10PM

    A stalking I shall go!

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GIRANIMAL 6/17/2011 12:06PM

    Great reminder! It's been so long that I'd sort of forgotten how overwhelmed I felt in the beginning -- so much that I didn't come back for nearly a year.

I'll go make a difference today. It really is all about service. emoticon

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HOLLYS_NEW_LIFE 6/17/2011 11:22AM

    Great blog, I think we've all felt like this at the beginning!

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CARTOONB 6/17/2011 10:35AM

    I'm on it! Great blog...as usual.

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DEE797 6/17/2011 10:33AM

    Terrific blog as usual and a good reminder of why we are all here. You definitely have a way of getting to the heart of things. Wishing you success on your journey!

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HDHAWK 6/17/2011 10:32AM

    emoticon That's why this site is so much more than a "weight loss" site. It's hard to put into words all the wonderful things spark has to offer. You're one of them!

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KABEE2011 6/17/2011 10:29AM

    Thank you! From "Someone!" Your posts are so encouraging to me each and every read!


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JECKIE 6/17/2011 10:14AM

    Love it! I used to try to hit up the "first blog" posts every day, but I've been slack on that lately. Off to do so right now!

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And John, have a great day. Thanks for being awesome - you bring so much good to this place.

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GRAMLORI 6/17/2011 10:14AM

    You are so good at putting into words things that can make a real difference to people! Thank you! Have a blessed Friday, John.

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TIME4AFITME 6/17/2011 10:04AM

    Great blog you always have something wonderful to say!

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BLACKROSE_222 6/17/2011 9:57AM

    I love this so much! I am constantly trolling the blogs, and pages and message boards for new and old people - I personally love it when people comment on my stuff, and want to pass that along to others.

Plus, some of the most interesting people I've met on here, I've bumped into on the Blogs.

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SPARKLISE 6/17/2011 9:37AM

    I try to respond to a lot of people on sparks-especially those who do not have 1000+ friends emoticon but,i also have to live life outside the spark family!If i let it,i'd be here 22 hours a day! But i do agree that people who are not great writers and thinkers don't have as much support as those who give more inspiration. Human nature to flock to people who are more charismatic, i guess. emoticon

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TURBOADDICT444 6/17/2011 9:37AM

  What a great blog! I hope you have a fantastic week! I am going to do the right thing right now, thanks for the extra push. It is a great feeling to know that you are never alone

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LANIEGIRL 6/17/2011 9:29AM

    Wonderful Blog!! You always know the right things to say!! Have a wonderful day!! emoticon

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TERRIPAL1 6/17/2011 9:17AM

    Nice blog !! I love it .I'm pretty new here & just reading your encouragement to reach out makes a difference. You're right we are all here together,we all have at least one thing in common.Let's be there!! Thanks & happy friday!! emoticon

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My "Thank You" Blog

Thursday, June 16, 2011

So very many of you take time from your own busy day, your own challenges and struggles and your own journeys to support me on mine. Some of you I have known for a very long time. some of you I just met yesterday. My family knows who you are because when you are in need or when you reach a goal, drop a pant/dress size, run your first 5K, participate in your first triathlon or simply wake up one morning and realize, like I have, that you are worth all the effort you have put into this endeavor.

I pray for each of you, sometimes collectively, but please know that not a day goes by that I do not take you with my on my journey and adventure. When I teach a seminar I often use you as an example of courage and strength.

I dont write back to you very often and when I do it's only small words of encouragement. Some days my life is like a whirlwind and the next thing I know it is time for bed and I've had 8,765 responses to a blog and how do I thank them?

Thank You. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

I dont write to gain recognition, rewards or fame. Part of me writes for me, so I can spill out on paper the things that knock around inside of me. Part of me writes because I simply love doing it. A larger part of me writes because if I can share on ray of hope to someone else then I have done what my Creator asks of me.

Thank YOU. You are loved, appreciated and respected. I am glad you are part of my life. you are more real than many people in my own neighborhood. You are considered a close friend.

All of you.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

REJ7777 6/18/2011 6:06AM

    You are very welcome! emoticon

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SILLYHP1953 6/17/2011 3:30PM

    Believe me, you are welcome!! Thank YOU for your blogs.

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GIRANIMAL 6/17/2011 12:12PM

    Thank YOU!

And you're welcome. emoticon

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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GRAMLORI 6/17/2011 10:17AM

    I've often thought about how neighbors used to know each other, and now, we don't. But someone across the country, or even around the world can be our friend, through cyberspace. Quite ironic. But thank YOU for being an open, willing, friendly person to all of us.

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SPARKLISE 6/17/2011 9:31AM

    I know it's impossible to respond to everybody.That would be a full time job! I read your blogs because they make me think and inspire me. Keep up the good work! emoticon emoticon

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LYNMEINDERS 6/17/2011 4:22AM

    That is so kind of you....
I love your blogs...they are always a pleasure and a privilege to read....

Blessings to you and yours....
Have a great weekend

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TAMMYB523 6/16/2011 11:13PM

    Thank you John. Your big, big heart always comes through. When you write I feel connected to you and to my own heart. I think you have a gift for that. You are one of the people we go to to feel connected.

Comment edited on: 6/16/2011 11:16:18 PM

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DAD2GETFIT 6/16/2011 9:50PM

    Thank you. Please keep doing what you do.

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CARTOONB 6/16/2011 9:42PM

    You're welcome. emoticon

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RUN4FOOD 6/16/2011 8:34PM

    John, thank you for what you do and for explaining why you do it. I find people like you so inspiring. So many of those on SparkPeople are so giving, have accomplished so much and are willing to help others by telling their story. I find more sharing people like you on SparkPeople than almost anywhere else. Thanks for being you.
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MIZZSB 6/16/2011 3:29PM

    BACK AT YOU!

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LORSI2000 6/16/2011 1:39PM

    Thank YOU, John.

You're nifty.

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FROGGERHKC 6/16/2011 11:12AM

    emoticon emoticon

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SNOWANGELDIVA 6/16/2011 11:03AM

    emoticon

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MARCYNA 6/16/2011 10:52AM

    Thanks John, you give me so many times motivation & energy for winning my battles

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KKINNEA 6/16/2011 10:47AM

    No need for individual recognition, just keep doing what you're doing - that's the recognition I like!

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NASFKAB 6/16/2011 10:41AM

  Thanks. You are a great source of inspiration with your timely advice

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LANIEGIRL 6/16/2011 10:18AM

    Thank you very much for writing your blogs. They always hit home in my trials and tribulations.

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NAMAARI 6/16/2011 10:14AM

    The Lord bless you, and thank you.

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HAPPYSOUL91 6/16/2011 10:13AM

    thank you for being a part of our community

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CALLIKIA 6/16/2011 10:04AM

    And thank you. You have a beautiful spirit and heart and wonderful will and determination. I thank you for sharing it with us!

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WALKAWAY 6/16/2011 9:53AM

    emoticonThis was a great blog to wake up to this morning.
I hope you have a wonderful day. emoticon

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TIME4AFITME 6/16/2011 9:33AM

    Thank you!

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BLUEROSE73 6/16/2011 9:22AM

    emoticon

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JECKIE 6/16/2011 9:01AM

    I completely agree with the sentiments in this blog. There are no words to explain how important my Spark family is (that includes you!)

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TEACHING1ST 6/16/2011 9:00AM

    Thank YOU, from all of US! You are a true inspiration, John!



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BEATLETOT 6/16/2011 8:57AM

    Thank YOU, John! Your blogs are a neverending source of inspiration!


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HOLLYS_NEW_LIFE 6/16/2011 8:40AM

    You are inspirational, thank you!

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GETFIT2LIVE 6/16/2011 8:39AM

    I second thst motion--thank YOU, John, for sharing yourself here. It helps.

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TWO-TOO-MUCH 6/16/2011 8:38AM

    emoticon
Continue the great blogs!

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TRISTAROSE 6/16/2011 8:36AM

    emoticon Love your blogs!

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HDHAWK 6/16/2011 8:14AM

    Thank you John for sharing your thoughts with us. They are always helpful and thought provoking.

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CIVIAV 6/16/2011 8:09AM

    Right back at you John!

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LINDASWARTZ1951 6/16/2011 7:45AM

    Thanks for the uplifting post. emoticon

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BLUEPATCHES 6/16/2011 7:44AM

    I have not met you but you seem to be very grounded in your concept of self! A breath of fresh air!!

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NOTGIVINGUP49 6/16/2011 7:42AM

    emoticon for your thanks! Your sharing helps both you and others!

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MEANCARLEEN 6/16/2011 7:41AM

    emoticon

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Forgetting To Remember

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

I had a bad workout yesterday. I dotted all the “I’s” and crossed all the “T’s” but I still walked away feeling uninspired and not very motivated. I walked to my locker and found that not only had someone walked in front of it and down the aisle with extremely wet feet but had also sat on the bench with what I hoped was a wet swimming suit. Bad, just got worse. I’m trying to get undressed without letting any part of me touch the wet floor or seat. I gave up and got two large towels, threw one on the floor and mopped up the wetness. I took the second and dried the bench. Feeling moderately relieved I headed for the shower. The hot water relaxed me and when I finished I reached for my towel, only to find I had left it in my locker and was now standing in a pool of my own water. Ugh!!! I got dressed and prepared to leave when Mr. Miller came around the corner. Mr. Miller is almost ninety years old and there is no such thing as a five minute conversation with him. He has proudly told me that in the fifteen years our gym has been open he has only missed three days. He looked at the shirt I had on, it had a Louisville sports team emblem on it, and asked me how much I knew about Louisville. I told him we’d lived there for over twenty five years. Did I know where the Portland section of Louisville was? His mother was born there. Yes, I did. We talked for a few minutes and he looked up at me. “I think I’m going to hell.”

“How come?” I asked

“I wished the Second World War hadn’t ended before I got a chance to kill the enemy.” He responded.” I was in basic training when they dropped the bomb and I never got a chance to shoot any of those people. I still wish I could shoot a few!!!” I reached for my gym bag and started to inch away. Mr. Miller kept looking at the ground. “They killed my brother……” he started. “ The Battle of Midway, June 4, 1942. They dropped a bomb on his ship and he died two days later.” ”For the next half hour I listened as he talked about the events of that day, how he had contacted shipmates of his brother, and how he believed his brother might have been married. He cried a lot and every few minutes he’d look up at me. Sixty nine years later I saw in his eyes the same love and pain and admiration he had for his brother the day he left for the South Pacific. I saw someone who cared very deeply and hurt as much as he had the day he found out his brother had been killed. I sat down on the bench and simply listened and for a minute I cried with him.

“Do you think I’m going to hell?” He asked me.

There are a lot of questions I believe I can answer, this wasn’t one of them. “Honestly Mr. Miller I can’t tell you how I’d feel if someone killed my brother. I’d like to think I could forgive, but I’m not sure. I do know this, people like your brother, millions of them over the years, sacrificed their life so you and I had the freedom to stand here talking to each other, being able to say whatever we want and not have to worry about being scared to say it!”

Mr. Miller just nodded and put on his swimming trunks and headed for the pool. I sat down for a second and realized the countless numbers of men and women, yesterday and today that get up each morning with the sole job of protecting me. They don’t get to choose whether they want to protect some people and not others, they simply do it. They wear it like a mantle, proudly yet unassumingly. I get to have my bad days because of them. Mr. Miller’s brother never had a chance to have a bad day at the gym. He just did what he thought he should do.

Yesterday was Flag Day in the USA. I forgot to remember until this morning.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MARCYNA 6/16/2011 12:18PM

    Maybe the person before you had forgotten his towel...I cannot tell you how many times I forget my own towel at home (not only the towel, but I always carry two swimming suits, just in case I forget everything else!!!!!) so I think I have to defend the guy even if I know he caused you discomfort.....wonderful conversation, you turned a bad into a good experience, great!!!!

Comment edited on: 6/16/2011 12:19:56 PM

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BLESSED2BEME 6/16/2011 8:55AM

    Thank you for being there for Mr. Miller. He needed you at that moment!

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LYNMEINDERS 6/16/2011 5:45AM

    It is good to be reminded how lucky we are.....it is so easy to forget....
Blessings John

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LINDAJ0621 6/15/2011 10:52PM

    I was ashamed I had forgotten about Flag Day also; particularly since my own husband served in the Navy during the Vietnam War. But, I always thank every service man or woman I come into contact with for their service to this country of ours and for protecting us all.

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JUNEAU2010 6/15/2011 9:36PM

    I have tears in my eyes at the story of Mr. Miller. He is a member of the Greatest Generation, even if he discounts his life because it pales in comparison to his brother’s sacrifice. That “Greatest Generation” term covers those who Served and those who stayed home because it took everyone going above and beyond for us to prevail. How sad that he has carried this for so many years!

Your story is very timely. I work near the VA Hospital and know a group of people who work there because of my mentorship of their Toastmaster club. The new technology we have brings vets home with wounds the likes of which we have never seen.

My brother came back from Afghanistan physically in one piece (Thank God!), but I am not sure what emotional damage there may be. His roommate was killed on the base. I learned just a couple of months ago that but for a pile of paperwork, my brother was supposed to be with his roommate. Survivor guilt?! I bet he has it, but I will never know.

My great uncle is entombed on USS Arizona and for a long time, I had no good thoughts for the Japanese pilots who created the carnage. Then I met Cary. We worked together for several years. His grandfather served on the Akagi, one of the carriers that launched those planes. We talked through the awkwardness, became friends and found healing.

I do know how Mr. Miller feels on another level as well. He may feel that whatever he did during and after the war does not measure up to his brother’s sacrifice. My older brother died while we were teens. He saved another Boy Scout’s life but lost his own in the process. Even though it will be 40 years since his death next week, his shadow looms large over my life.

The next time you see Mr. Miller, please tell him “thank you for your service.” When he tries to brush that off, remind him what I said about being a member of the Greatest Generation and my knowledge that, when a family member serves, the family serves. Besides, he was in Basic Training, which tells me he was ready, willing and able to answer his nation's call. (I cannot serve - I could not pass the physical). I am thankful that Mr. Miller wore the uniform! Tell him he is not alone.



Comment edited on: 6/15/2011 9:38:09 PM

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CARTOONB 6/15/2011 9:09PM

    Great blog.

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RUN4FOOD 6/15/2011 9:04PM

    Thanks for sharing this story. You certainly did the best thing you could do in sharing your time and your understanding with Mr. Miller. Hard to imagine after all of these years his love for his brother is still so strong. Hope both of you find the answer about going to hell.
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RUN4FOOD 6/15/2011 9:04PM

    Thanks for sharing this story. You certainly did the best thing you could do in sharing your time and your understanding with Mr. Miller. Hard to imagine after all of these years his love for his brother is still so strong. Hope both of you find the answer about going to hell.
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KIKOOMAGOO 6/15/2011 6:30PM

    Such a sweet and thoughtful blog. It seems you have these moments lately when you and water come head to head. Coincidence?
We have a local "mr miller" here. Sometimes I have time to say hi, sometimes I need to keep my eyes on the ground and keep walking.
You made him very satisfied to get his story off his chest. I wonder how many people before you didn't have the time.
Blessings to you!

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CIVIAV 6/15/2011 5:28PM

    John you did it again...!

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NASFKAB 6/15/2011 3:01PM

  Wonderful blog

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DEE797 6/15/2011 3:01PM

    Thanks so much for sharing this with us. It's inspiring and informative at the same time. emoticon We all should never forget what our servicemen and women have done for us over the years. emoticon

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LORSI2000 6/15/2011 2:28PM

    God Bless America and the men & women who have fought to protect us.
Very touching today, John.
Thanks!

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HDHAWK 6/15/2011 1:50PM

    What a wonderful blog John. We are very lucky indeed. emoticon

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LUCYLU22 6/15/2011 1:41PM

    What an inspirational story, thanks so much for sharing this!!

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JANC7223 6/15/2011 11:21AM

    I admire you and love to read your blogs. It was very kind of you to listen to Mr. Miller. I am sure he needed someone to listen to him.

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KKINNEA 6/15/2011 11:17AM

    Amazing blog - thanks for sharing this!

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SILLYHP1953 6/15/2011 10:37AM

    That was quite a meeting at the gym...for both of you.
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IFDEEVARUNS2 6/15/2011 10:17AM

    Such a wise man to know when to stop and listen. Kudos to you for making Mr. Miller's day. Because I'm sure you did.... emoticon

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MSSUNBUG 6/15/2011 10:03AM

    Wow, a unique experience. It's easy to get caught up and not remember that getting caught up is a privilege afforded to us by others' sacrifice. Thanks for the remdinder.


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BLUEROSE73 6/15/2011 9:10AM

    Wow. Such a treasure to have been able to share that with Mr. Miller.

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BLACKROSE_222 6/15/2011 8:56AM

    Amazing story.

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GRAMLORI 6/15/2011 8:52AM

    Amazing how God sends just the right people to remind us of greater things when we start looking inward. Today will be better, John. Just look up!
God bless....

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MIZZSB 6/15/2011 8:50AM

    WOW John what a touching story.. my heart goes out to that Mr Miller..

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7356WILMA 6/15/2011 8:26AM

  WoW!!! I wish I could share as well as you!! Thank you!!!

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OUBACHE 6/15/2011 8:24AM

    You are kind to spend some time listening to him and letting him share his burden. How sad it must be to get old and feel like no one remembers or cares. We all need to remember to remember, and to be kind to those who can't forget.

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LITTLE_ASTARTE 6/15/2011 8:11AM

    An inspiring post to be sure. Thank you for reminding us all to remember!

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CMBELISLE 6/15/2011 8:04AM

    What a wonderful man!

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CMA444 6/15/2011 7:59AM

    All I can say is Wow! I'm speechless.

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REGILIEH 6/15/2011 7:58AM

    What a gift you have with writing skills! Beautifully said.

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Living With Plateau's of My Own Creation

Sunday, June 12, 2011

I read a story once about a teacher who was given a list of her students on the first day of class. Next to each student’s name was a three digit number. At the bottom of the page was the exhortation “CONDEFDENTIAL.” The teacher assumed these large numbers represented her students IQ’s. She locked the paper away in a safe place, went home, scrapped her lesson plan and prepared a new one that was designed to teach and develop geniuses. After all, that’s what the paper implied. Her results were no less than astounding. Students in her class who had been average or those who had been borderline were treated like geniuses and so they began to act like geniuses. This included high grades. I’m quite sure the teacher received a few accolades herself. After all, her class not only ranked first in the school, but in the district as well. Shortly before Christmas break the assistant to the principal visited the teacher after school one day. It seemed that the teacher had neglected to turn in her student’s locker assignment sheet at the beginning of the year. The teacher looked confused.

“It’s the sheet of paper with the students name and a three digit number after the name,” said the assistant.

“Oh,” the teacher replied.” I thought that sheet was a list of their IQ’s”

“We can’t give you those,” said the assistant. “Those are CONFIDENTIAL

The teacher left for winter break disheartened. She thought she had been blessed with a group of geniuses. A friend suggested she continue to believe the students were all highly intelligent and teach them as if they were. The teacher said she couldn’t. She knew differently.

I’ve been living with a weight plateau of sorts for close to a year. I know what you are going to say: Everyone has them, everyone goes through them, and it’s a fact of weight loss. Want to know something? I can tell you the day, place and time that mine began. I can tell you why it began. I read an article that said EVERYONE goes through some sort of plateau during their weight loss. It just so happened the article I read was written by someone who went through this three year agonizing experience and ended by saying something to the effect that “You can run, but you cant hide.”

Now………….. Before you prepare to fire off a response let me say I have no physical reason for not losing weight. My thyroid is operating fine. My cholesterol levels are in line. I have no food allergies that create mayhem in my body like other people have to endure. My only reason for plateauing. I know there are people whose weight loss journey has been stymied by a host of medical issues and once they found the best protocol to deal with them, they began to move towards their goal. One of my BFF’s here went through physical agony for a long time until she found an enlightened doctor and a good solid nutrition program.

I’m talking about John. John read he was going to plateau and so he did. As I was walking this morning it dawned on me that my super developed mind created a really subtle way to halt my journey. Reaching my goal and dreaming all the stuff I’d dreamed of doing is a little too scary for me some days. Some days I don’t want to be the genius in class. I want to hide in the corner. I get scared, I get nervous and OMG what if I fail? Do you know how dam#$d embarrassing it is for me to look at my weight ticker and see it gathering dust?!?! It got so bad I removed it. So I take solace in the fact that “EVERYONE” plateaus.

I’m scared of success. I got so used to being the fat guy who breathed hard and when things started going the other way I really freaked. Oh, I didn’t run up and down the street screaming. I just created a subtle change and learned to live with. Like the teacher who believed in geniuses I’ve believed that everyone reaches a point of failure. I know people here at Spark, good dear friends, who hit extended plateaus and simply gave up.

Our minds are amazing tools. I can convince myself of anything if I believe in it strongly enough. So it’s back to square one, back to losing weight, getting healthy and being a success.

Uhm, what plateau?

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GRACIOUSGRAPE 6/21/2011 9:09AM

    You really hit the nail on the head again, John! I have plateaued for nearly a year now, and in fact, gained weight. I guess I gave up, of sorts, although I have not abandoned SPARK and have not given in entirely. Haven't gotten back into the habit of exercising regularly, which means I am not burning the calories so have definitely plateaued myself. I keep reinjuring a badly sprained ankle and it hurts just to walk most days, but I have had this for 1.5 years now, and need to work my way around it because I am soooo disgusted when I see full body pics of myself. I kept thinking that eating right alone would do the trick, but at my age, I have been reading that it is not enough. So have to kick it in gear! Love your blogs - hit so close to home!

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KIKOOMAGOO 6/15/2011 6:46PM

    you said..."I’m scared of success. I got so used to being the fat guy who breathed hard and when things started going the other way I really freaked."

just like me and my monster of fear. afraid to succeed. why? it might mean I will have to act like someone different. but really- I am who I am. afraid others might expect me to act like someone different. again, I am who I am and that's that.

don't be afraid. just be you. emoticon

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JANC7223 6/15/2011 11:28AM

    I really needed to read this today. I have plateaued since February and I am on the verge of giving up. In the last 23 years I have not been below 232 lbs so when I reached 232 lbs in February I stopped losing. Then slowly over the last few months, especially the last 3 weeks, I have been making things worse by falling off my eating plan and stopping exercising. So now I am gaining weight, 4 lbs so far. I am trying to process why and believe I too am afraid to succeed. Hanging on by my fingernails right now but I refuse to give up. Thanks for this post.

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MSSUNBUG 6/15/2011 10:16AM

    `A wise, wise friend once told me that weight loss plateaus are typically fiction. If we create daily deficits and are correct about how much we've burned and are accurately listing everything we've eaten to ensure that deficit, our bodies will continue to lose weight (barring anything extreme like medical concerns or having put our bodies in starvation mode--but the truth is, despite popular theory, it takes a LOT to put your body in that mode). I didn't quite believe this until our good pal the Body Bugg helped me see how little I was ACTUALLY burning and I made adjustments accordingly.

But I digress. My point is simply that I agree with you--what we believe tends to manifest, both for the better and for the worse. If you believe that you will hit a plateau, chances are you will (incidentally, I never hit one this time around after this friend assured me I wouldn't--and I believed him). If you believe that success is scary, then it will be. Conversely, if you believe you deserve it, then you do. And if you believe that you can have it, then you can. The good and bad news is that you get a lot of choice here--what choices will you make?

We get one always-too-brief life. Don't waste another minute of it believing you don't deserve absolute success and the achievement of your goals, friend!

Much love.

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REJ7777 6/15/2011 6:58AM

    "Our minds are amazing tools." How true. And that can be a double-edged sword! I'm convinced that your awareness of the problem will help you to move past it. emoticon

I know that I've been sabotaging my progress. The timing of this blog is just right for me! emoticon

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-CORAL- 6/14/2011 8:41PM

    This is what I need to tell myself, also. Because I have been on a 3-year plateau and it is hell!

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KT-NICHOLS-13 6/13/2011 6:39PM

    SERIOUSLY?! What plateau?! Create your own reality and live.

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ANATASHIKI 6/13/2011 2:17PM

    I know what you say is right. it's the second time I do this , lost a lot , life happened ,yo yo, regained a lot , started to loose again. and I said this time I don't want any plateau, I don't believe I have to have a plateau. gaining and loosing weight are illogical, why should I believe only the negative suggestions? so I won't accept a plateau , even it shows up, I'll find a way through this. that teacher was stupid herself. this time I choose the non linear logic .plateau free zone.
emoticon emoticon

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GIRANIMAL 6/13/2011 1:56PM

    The power of suggestion is fiercely strong! Think about how many people told us we couldn't do it, and how long we believed them.

Also, I think my own yearlong plateau was partially a fear of reaching goal too. Now that I am almost there I am struggling with having to admit what I've known all along: being fat was not the sole source of my unhappiness.

Onward and upward together, dearest friend!

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SILLYHP1953 6/13/2011 11:55AM

    The story of the teacher and students made me teary-eyed, especially when she said she couldn't keep teaching them like that because now she knew better. Then at the end of your blog I got teary-eyed again. Your blogs are very good for me. Emotions are very good for me, I froze mine many years ago as a child, and they still need thawing out occasionally. I shall stop believing in plateaus, too!!
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JUDIL62 6/13/2011 9:39AM

    Love it! Adding a new goal. Telling myself I AM NOT in a plateau. Hmm, I'll let you know how it works. I think a lot of it is fear for me to. Keep blogging!



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JPRICE217 6/13/2011 9:34AM

    I am with you on weight plateau for over a year

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MIZZSB 6/13/2011 6:53AM

    Hey John,

Our mind is something isnt it...

But i didnt quiet understood the story, what were those 3 digid numbers?

I know that what you believe and tell your self is what your are living...

You can do this!

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LYNMEINDERS 6/12/2011 11:30PM

    As always a brilliant enlightening blog....
AND....
So true....people will aspire to how they are treated or the the subtle power of suggestion....

I know you can be a genius John and achieve your goal....
I also understand exactly what you are satying about being scared of reaching your goal and your dreams.....I have done that many times....lost all my weight...reached what i had dreamed of and then sabotaged it all so that i failed.....
Failing is not in my vocab anymore,....therefore there are a lot of people I don't listen to anymore.....

Cheering you on John....
I believe you CAN do this and realize your long dreamed dreams.....
Go for it....

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CARTOONB 6/12/2011 10:39PM

    Hope you can convince yourself to move past this. I'm convinced!

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DAD2GETFIT 6/12/2011 9:48PM

    Its just a little resting point. Keep climbing. emoticon

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HEALTHY4ME 6/12/2011 8:52PM

    OH so true, and I wonder some time how much of this pain in the past 5 year or so has been mind induced as I have had a lot of issues personal and marital that had to deal with....
and loved the story of the the teacher! awesome!

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BESTLIFE79 6/12/2011 6:47PM

    Yes, yes, yes-- I too have read things that I believe and thus become....... Glad to know Im not the only one.

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HDHAWK 6/12/2011 5:51PM

    Usually when someone plateaus there is a reason, we just don't want to look at the reason. I listened to a podcast recently that suggested many of us go through the stage of "good enough". I know I have. You lose quite a bit of weight and feel so much better, or good enough. Yes, you still have more to lose, but you've already made a lot of progress. It's tough to keep moving forward at that point. Sounds kind of like a plateau to me! That's better than a gain at any rate.

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46SHADOW 6/12/2011 5:50PM

    Rooting for the best you!

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ANEPANALIPTI 6/12/2011 5:35PM

    LETS GO JOHN

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KENDRACARROLL 6/12/2011 3:59PM

    You put into words what I know is true. Our head/mind plays a huge role in this and often seems to be more hindersome than helpful. 'The more you know'... does not necessarily apply here.

Best not to overthink this thing. Stick to your plan, log your food and water, work your exercise program and go with the flow. Wishing you much success.

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GEEMAWEST 6/12/2011 1:11PM

    I also removed my weight ticker at one point. Then I wrote a confession blog about how I had gained back a lot of the weight I had lost. I realized that I don't want to give up. I want to be healthy and now more than ever I need to make it work. So I'm back at square one with you. Let's do this!

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GETFIT2LIVE 6/12/2011 12:23PM

    I don't think you are 'out there' at all, John. You are exactly right. Sometimes I think we fear success even more than we fear failure, so we subtly and unconsciously sabotage ourselves to make sure we don't succeed TOO much. That way when we fail, it isn't such a big fall. Plateau? Pfft, not happening; you got this.

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MKPRINCESS007 6/12/2011 12:04PM

    While my ticker is gathering dust as well, your blog was right on target. I mean, heck, if doctors say that your mind can play a roll in recovery from disease, that it darn well can play a roll in telling us we are plateu'd. So, I say this, your idea of taking down your ticker is brilliant. Because looking at that darn number not moving probably messes with your psyche pretty good. I think I will take a page from your book and take mine down too. It is doing nothing other than annoying me.

Let me guess that once we both have them down, it will start moving again!
What do you think? :)

You are the best, John!
Karen

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DEE797 6/12/2011 11:35AM

    What a terrific blog. I have hit a plateau myself and reading this has hit the nail on the head for me. Thanks for sharing it with us.

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NASFKAB 6/12/2011 11:30AM

  Great blog we have to believe to succeed

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