JOHNTJ1   67,987
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Thank You For The Love and Support and a Bit of an Update

Friday, July 15, 2011

I was overwhelmed in by all the love, support, encouragement and suggestions you sent my way yesterday. I started to respond to each of you individually and quite frankly got over whelmed by the responses. (Iím using over whelmed a lot, arenít I?) So from the bottom of my heart I thank you and my aching legs thank you. I have come to believe that Spark People personifies the definition of perfect balance. When you need support and encouragement it is there for you to strengthen you, to help you get through your ordeal and usually it comes from people who have been where you are at. I see it as a give and take because I know that being part of this community means that I have a responsibility to support you when you need it. Lord knows the challenges and the Spark Points and all the other cool things are fun but I know in my heart, this journey may have ended after a short while if I hadnít felt the encouragement of so many of you and from being inspired by many of your journeys. You, each of you are my heroes.

We are all about giving. That part comes easy. Admitting that we have weaknesses, that we contemplate failure, that we often need a life raft, thatís the difficult part. When I ask for your help it means I am open and vulnerable to you. It means you see me as I really am not how I create myself to be in your eyes. I believe itís the healthiest thing I can do. I believe that asking for support, prayers, love, energy, call it what you choose, helps make me better and stronger. It is one of the four life principles that I cling to so strongly: ďYou are who you hang around with.Ē

Iíve undergone this amazing transformation since joining Spark. Iím not afraid to show you who I am. Iím not afraid to open up and say ďI canít do this alone. Can you help me please?Ē I am not perfect, never will be perfect and never want to be perfect. I want to be the very best John I can be. When I share my weakness with you it is not to suggest Iím going to give up, itís acknowledging that I know where I can turn when I need strength. Itís a tip-of-the-hat to each of you because I respect you so much. I hope you feel the same way. I hope you feel that in me you have a safe haven when you need it. Someone who will understand and not judge.

When I am struggling with something or lifeís thrown me a curve ball Joan often suggests I blog about it and see what suggestions you guys have. Please do not misconstrue my call for support as a signal that I am giving up. As long as Iím complaining Iím still breathing, as the saying goes. So thank each of you, very much. I am glad I have the weekend ahead of me. Many of you wrote long responses and made some reading suggestions that I want to look at and research.

Finally, I want to address one comment in particular because it really bothered me. Out of sixty eight responses I received one negative one. It began like this:Ē QUIT BELLYACHING! Think of the people who can't walk due to a spinal injury! Quit feeling sorry for yourself!Ē

I am not feeling sorry for myself, least I donít think I am. I have experienced something that Iíve never experienced before and with the frustration I feel comes a bit of fear. I think part of being healthy is knowing when you need to let some emotion out before it eats away at you. I have always been an active person and being sidelined to this degree is something Iíve never gone through. Are there people in worse shape, you bet!!! I do not minimize anyoneís pain, suffering or challenge. We are here to learn, to grow, to share and to be healthy. Real honesty requires that I share the ten pound gain as openly as I share the ten pound loss. I donít look at being honest as whining or complaining. Maybe the person who wrote that comment has a loved one who has a spinal cord injury or is disabled. Yes, I agree I will always have it better than many people, but it doesnít take away from my frustration, only confronting that pain alleviates it.

Thanks for loving me, really, I mean it. If ya all were here yaíd get a big hug.

Now itís out the pool, ugh!!!! LOL

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MKPRINCESS007 7/18/2011 6:23PM

    You betcha,John! Right back at cha! Clearly the naysayer doesn't know you...cause if they did, they would know how positive and inspirational you are! That being said, I have been told and I do believe it...if people say something negative to you, it is more about themselves than it is about you. Enough said. Have a great evening!

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TEENY_BIKINI 7/18/2011 1:21PM


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FROGGERHKC 7/16/2011 1:49PM

    emoticon emoticon

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SUSANS_TURN 7/16/2011 8:54AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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LYNMEINDERS 7/16/2011 4:03AM

    It's a privilege to be able to support you when you need it....
You certainly support and encourage me with your blogs.....

And...I am disappointed in the person that told you to quit bellyaching.....
I certainly don't see a request for support in that category....

Prayers continuing for you and Joan

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CARTOONB 7/15/2011 10:25PM

    You're welcome. I'll always be here for you as I know you'll be here for me.

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LINDAJ0621 7/15/2011 6:13PM

    emoticon emoticon

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GIRANIMAL 7/15/2011 4:40PM

    You betcha, bro!

Thanks for trusting us enough to open up. That says something about us too. emoticon


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SILLYHP1953 7/15/2011 3:04PM

    I need to make one of my goals to reach the state of openness and honesty and caring that you have. I wonder if you still have any fear of being that open, and if you just do it anyway. I have been pretty open in my blogs, but I can't maintain it every day like you manage to. I feel like one of those flowers that closes it's pedals after I write one of those blogs. I am working on my fear, just not hard enough.

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REJ7777 7/15/2011 2:47PM

    emoticon Where would we be without our SparkFriends! emoticon

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JEM0622 7/15/2011 12:51PM

    I am sorry to hear you have these challenges before you. I am also sorry for the insensitive individual who posted like that to your blog! I haven't had the luck of speaking with you much before, but some of my SP friends know you well :) I achieved my weight loss goal and have been in an out of injury-ville since last May. It is frustrating. I've had 'moments' with food. What helped me not to have too many was to be a part of a group where I weighed in weekly. So I felt accountable to a team and its success, and not just sit and stew. I am currently in PT, and I am excited that they are going to get me on the elliptical and treadmill in my upcoming sessions. I will finally feel like I am exercising again. Definitely do whatever form of exercise is approved. It's an outlet for our angst and makes us feel productive! And helps with the calories in/calories out thing. I got uber diligent about food and formatted SP goals to indicate I was doing zero exercise but had weight loss goals. This worked like a charm! Something to consider. It's important for us to get things off our chest. It's important to be validated. So keep on keepin' on. Thinking lots of healing thoughts for you!

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KERLIN26 7/15/2011 12:24PM

  You're a great inspiration to me, John. I know you will overcome this soon!

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HDHAWK 7/15/2011 12:05PM

    Hugs back at ya'. I was told this morning, no weights and only non-strenuous walking for another week or two. Frustrated, yes! But, it does give me time to focus on the area that gives me the most trouble, nutrition. Pool? Yippee! emoticon

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BLACKROSE_222 7/15/2011 11:52AM

    Glad you clarified, and thanks for the thank yous. We love you too, Little John. emoticon

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ANATASHIKI 7/15/2011 11:34AM

    oh , don't mind the negativity , and only one of those doesn't count much , does it? emoticon most people love to help or say a good word( it also makes you feel good about yourself emoticon , just self irony here ) you just have to ask and let's face it , it's logical our experiences would similar or at least close. and the only person who you owe honesty is yourself, you don't have to prove anything here. i hope you'll feel better soon
emoticon kori

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TRISTAROSE 7/15/2011 11:18AM


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GETFIT2LIVE 7/15/2011 11:03AM

    Big hug right back at you, John. I know you will make it through this; as long as you are still here, you are holding onto the rope. Might be with your fingernails on the knot, but you're holding on, and that is enough for now. Go learn to enjoy the pool; who knows, maybe you'll love it! I do wish people would hold the negative comments here, but not much that can be done about that. Know that you are loved and appreciated deeply!


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DEE797 7/15/2011 10:51AM

    So glad to see you feeling better today. Have fun in the pool. emoticon

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NASFKAB 7/15/2011 10:48AM

  Great blog as usual

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GEEMAWEST 7/15/2011 10:35AM

    Hug ya back! emoticon

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KKINNEA 7/15/2011 10:27AM

    Yay pool - think of it as your lifeline back to walking!

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GOOFIERNU 7/15/2011 10:19AM

    emoticonLooks like you're bouncing back. Glad to see it. emoticon

A couple times in the past few months, I've had to shout out for help. I love SP for that. It's nice to know there are people in the same boat willing to toss you a life preserver and then yank you back in the boat.

Sooo.... if you learn to swim, you'd be prepared to do a triathlon... hmmmm... emoticon

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TERRIPAL1 7/15/2011 10:16AM

    Thanks John emoticon

I loved your blog, I know if your complaining you're not giving up , of course not!!It's your feelings you have a right to them, we all do!!

I appreciate your honesty! I agree with you about the 1 response,but think of all the positive responses & support!!

AS far as I'm concerned if I read a blog & someone's asking for help & by dropping a line I can give it I will!!

Cause I'm not here to judge anyone's journey.I like everyone else have my own journey,& each step is important! emoticon

Enjoy your day & the pool. emoticon

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JSPIN74 7/15/2011 10:07AM

    :) emoticon

enjoy your swim!

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DOLLIE6 7/15/2011 9:51AM

    Thanks for the blog John. I love your honesty. I try to be so careful on here to tell the truth because I want to get better and truly the truth will set you free. I don't respond to a lot of things but I do a lot of reading and get encouraged. Just know you are admired and appreciated. emoticon

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MARCYNA 7/15/2011 9:48AM

    Hey John, your big hug is something which makes me smile through the clouds.
Love and hugs your way,
PS I can't stand negativity either.

Comment edited on: 7/15/2011 9:49:08 AM

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JECKIE 7/15/2011 9:40AM

    John, don't let the negativity get you down. There is alsays someone worse off, but it doesn't negate what we are going through because it's PERSONAL. That's something I really had to deal with when I traveled - I saw the poorest of the poor and for a while I was like "what right do I have to be upset by my own circumstances when they don't even have clean water?" But then I realized that we each have our challenges to bear and they may appear "less" than someone else's, but they're ours and that makes them important.

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I Need A Bit Of Support

Thursday, July 14, 2011

I donít often find myself discouraged to the point that it affects my usually cheerful demeanor. Oh, I may complain and moan but inside of me I am eternally looking for the pony under the pile of manure. I am grateful and thankful for all I have. I believe in myself, I know what my value is and because I made a smart choice to include you as a friend. I hang around with most excellent people. I am a success in many aspects of my life and I count my blessings. I fail often but am not a failure. I get discouraged but usually put ďThe Sun Will Come Out TomorrowĒ on ITunes, listen to it a few times and wait for the clouds to clear. There is not a lot that slows me down. Maybe thatís the lesson Iím supposed to learn here.

About a month ago my legs began bothering me, more specifically, my hamstrings, then my gluts, then my quads and finally my knees. The pain got worse, stabilized, got worse, went away, came back and repeated the cycle. When I wasnít in pain I had a hard time walking. My legs felt like someone poured concrete in them. If I walked on a flat surface or one that sloped I was fine. Anything slightly uphill resembled a crab walking. It sure isnít fun. I normally walk two miles a day, and was spinning three times a week.

Iím not a huge fan of taking pills so for about three weeks, with my doctors support, I tried a number of things to alleviate the issue. Massage therapy was an option but not a cheap or painless one. If you have never had a myofascial release technique performed on you Iíd recommend lots of Advil prior to having it done. I almost passed out. I applied ice, rested, didnít do any walking, running, or cycling. I did upper body strength training but only those exercise I could do while seated.

All I kept hearing was ďrest, rest, rest.Ē Itís the only cure.

So now Iím not exercising and since food is my drug of choice I start medicating my frustration with food. I gain 12.5 pound and feel like Iím the Goodyear Blimps twin brother. Iím totally frustrated. Try not being able to put your pants on without sitting down first. Yeah, I know there are folks worse off than me.

My doctor and I caucused on Tuesday. I told her the holistic approach hadnít really put a dent in the pain and lack of mobility. Off to an orthopedic man I went. The diagnosis is moderate to severe tendinitis of my hamstrings and because they are so weak itís affecting my gluts, and knees and everything else. So he suggested an anti-inflammatory for a week or so and swimming. Fortunately we have a pool but guess who doesnít know how to swim, LOL? He went on to tell me that Iíd probably did a bit too much spinning and running for a fifty seven year old obese man. (Really, I love this guy because he has the same bluntness about him that I appreciate) So the muscle group has to heal and he said itís not uncommon for it to take up to a year for this to happen.
I know there is a lesson here. I just wish it would reveal itself and I could get on with life. Iím cranky, crabby and impatient with life. Did I mention Iím eating everything in sight? I look out the window and see people running and I get bitter. Iíd appreciate love in any way you choose to show it. Whether its prayer, energy or simply your support.

Thank you for letting me share me and thank you for being my friend. I value that most of all.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

EILI359 7/19/2011 2:10PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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BTINTERNET 7/17/2011 5:02PM

    1) Ouchy-ouch-ouch!!!

2) Love you. Seriously.

3) Glad you at least have an answer.

*big hugs*

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SOUTHPONDCAMP 7/16/2011 4:23PM

    Time for swimming lessons! Plus learning something new is a nice distraction from the other aches and pains. Hope you heal quickly and get back onyor normal game.

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SAMDJS 7/16/2011 2:20PM

    I hope you get better soon! Hang in there, you'll be back to your old self sooner than you know. Just heed the doctors orders so the healing process doesn't slow down.
I will pray for you. That's the best medicine around!
As I read the other day, just remember...even in troubled times - God is still at work!

Take care

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KATHRYN1955 7/16/2011 11:35AM

    I had finally found an exercise that I liked (swimming) and I guess I got carried away with it. Shoulder and neck pain have morphed into lower back pain. Anti-inflammatories and tylenol have made me dopey and tired which leads to bad food choices. Along with extra company and preparing meals, I am definitely a cranky camper. So, I can really commiserate with your situation. It doesn't seem fair that our bodies (this one is 55 years old) should let us down when we are trying to do all this good stuff to improve them.
Anyway, as I have said (or rather Red Green has said!) before, keep your stick on the ice, we are all in this together.
I shall allow myself the luxury of wallowing for a spell, then I will get back into the game.
Take care and don't be too hard on yourself,
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 7/16/2011 11:36:10 AM

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SHANNJ77 7/16/2011 12:11AM

    emoticon and quick healing vibes for you! Hope you are feeling better in no time!

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TEENY_BIKINI 7/15/2011 11:39PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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EDWINA172 7/15/2011 9:55PM

    I can be crank, crabby and impatient with life too, especially when I don't get exercise. It seems that I've been reading a lot about people needing to rest and recover. Why is it that it took us forever to get hooked on exercise and when we're hooked, something happens and we have to rest? Look at the change in your mindset now. You are yearning to exercise! I'm glad that you realize that there is a lesson in this. Maybe your niche is just down an alternate route. Thanks for reaching out for help. Your posts help others realize that its ok to ask for help. Maybe the lesson isn't just for you? Have a great weekend my friend. As always, I am proud to know you.

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LINDAJ0621 7/15/2011 6:07PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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IFDEEVARUNS2 7/15/2011 5:09PM

    Missed this yesterday, and gotta say you aren't particularly whiny. Just sharing your frustration with us, which is exactly what you should do.
What a great opportunity to learn how to swim, though..... emoticon emoticon

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HDHAWK 7/15/2011 12:10PM

    I somehow missed this yesterday. As I mentioned in my comment on your other blog, I'm kind of in the same boat and so far medicating with food hasn't helped. It makes me even more frustrated so I guess it's time to try something else. I have to get my back healed in 4 weeks so I'm ready for school to start. The pool sounds wonderful and now you have a new project to take on, learning to swim.

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DAISY443 7/15/2011 9:55AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MAMADWARF 7/15/2011 9:52AM

    SO frustrating isnt it? I totally get it. We are used to being able to do so much now that going back to a sedentary lifestyle is soo frustrating. I am proud of you for looking at all the options and trying to find something to help. I HATE being in pain and my back is acting up right now so I am really trying to rest.

Dont let the lack of being able to excercise hinder all the progress you have made. DO some upper body s/t, look up HEALTHY snacks and meals and make those instead of just eating crap. You can still stay on your healthy lifestyle whether you can run, walk or bicycle.

As for swimming, even if you get a floaty noodle or something and lay on it and kick, it will be good for you muscles and you will moving. It doesnt have to be the typical "Swim" moves.

John, one thing I know about you is how strong you are and what a positive person you are. I know you are in a little funk but I also know you will get past this. Just another bump in the road.

We are here for you!! Jan

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AKATUJE 7/15/2011 6:10AM

    John, you will get through this. When the door closed on running, you embraced something new. And you excelled. You can learn to swim, and do it well. You are an inspiration to so many of us. The quest for your health and weight loss and fitness must go on, regardless of what else is happening.

That said, you need to find a new drug of choice. Food is not your FRIEND!!! If you do not buy it you will not eat it. Teach your taste buds to adapt to more nutritious food. They are tiny tiny little things that should not be allowed to be your boss!!! And there in i think lies your challenge for the next few months. And you are bigger than that, you are more than the choices you have made, more than the sum of your past mistakes, more than the circumstances you face. YOU ARE!!!!

I will pray for you as often as i remember, for healing for your legs, and for the strength to make better choices re your food. You can lose weight even now. Challenge yourself to do it!!! I know you can!!!!

ps. I read that in the quest to lose weight, nutrition is more important than exercise. Also that you can eat your way out of any amount of exercise.

He who started this work in you is faithful, He will bring it to completion.

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 7/15/2011 6:13:38 AM

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GEEMAWEST 7/14/2011 11:39PM


You are one of the strongest people I know. I mean that with the utmost respect.

You may not know how to swim but that doesn't mean you can't get relief from using the local pool. You don't have to go into the deep end, you can just go in the shallow end and walk back and forth. You get the exercise and don't feel the pain. We have a "warm" pool here that is only 5' deep. It is very therapeutic.

I know how painful the myofascial release exercises can be. They are using those on me for my back. But you can handle it. I know you can. Be strong but also give yourself a break. Rest when needed and if the pain is too great STOP!

Bottom Line: I am here to support you. No matter what.

Love and Hugs, G-Ma

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WALKIETALKIE 7/14/2011 11:17PM

    My daughter has some of the same kinds of problems that cause her no end of knee pain. She is on the hs track team and they also suggested rest and myofascial release exercises using hard foam rollers. She had me try it and tears sprung to my eyes the nano-second that my thigh hit the roller. Although, I must say that the more she and I did that exercise the less painful it got for us.

I also am a bike/walk/run addict due mostly to the fact that I have had rheumatoid arthritis for 21 years now and my doctor told me that swimming was the only exercise that I would ever be able to do. So my mature adult response was to immediately start hating swimming and hating my body for having the audacity of get in the way of my big life plans. I couldn't tell you what my plans were but still the nerve of my body to do something completely unplanned. I am only able to do what I do because I started by walking - a lot. And I have great prescription drugs that have basically stopped the progress of my condition.

Maybe at the time, it was God's way of telling a 27 year old head-strong woman to slow down and pay attention to what really matters at a time when He couldn't get my attention any other way. 2 decades later I'm still learning a lot about myself because of my RA. I'm pretty convinced at this point that I will get back in the pool one day soon. I'm just about done being mad at my body and the pool.

What I'd like to tell you is:
- Don't feel bad for treating pain. Don't be a "good and uncomplaining" pain patient. Your doctors cannot help you if they don't know it hurts. Take this piece of advice from a person that has a lot of experience in the pain department. When the pain gets ahead of you, its much harder to alleviate. Tell your doctors what's working what's not and let them know how active you want to be and what your weight loss goals are. It will really help them to help you. Also, make the effort to stay active and let them know about what you are doing.

-Don't define yourself by your limitations. Look to others on this site that have had major successes despite debilitating injuries. I'm thinking particularly of Indygirl and how she designed a chair workout that helped to keep her in the game.

-When Plan A blows up, go to Plan B until that stops working. In the meantime, devise Plan C. You don't need to swim to get the benefit from the pool. Spend 30 to 45 minutes a day in the pool just doing stuff and I guarantee that you will get benefits. I spent a summer in college teaching swim lessons for 2 hours a day, not actually swimming, but showing little kids how to swim in the shallow end of the pool by holding them, holding onto the side and kicking, demonstrating arm motions. I lost weight just doing that. You also don't need expensive equipment to exercise in a pool. My Y used to teach a class where the women brought in empty plastic milk jugs and did all sorts of crazy things with them in the pool. Who knows, you could be on the verge of discovering some great new exercise craze for the pool. La-La-PoolZumba! You just have to be open to the opportunity - unlike myself - who was not. I may have just given away a bazillion dollar idea.

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CARTOONB 7/14/2011 11:11PM

    Dang! Resting is hard, but it sounds like you'd better do it. You'll get through this too". And probably be a better person for it. God does not give us more than we can handle, right?

I hope you find the pony and the pile is small.

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TRACEY5280 7/14/2011 10:15PM

    Tough and frustrating stuff. I know you can find options though, and who knows, maybe a new exercise that will stick and give you variety when you're healed and back to running. Many great suggestions here. There are so many things you can do in a pool. I don't swim either but have been toying with learning. I remember one of the contetants on BL that really couldn't do anything standing up for a long time, but boy they burned calories. I believe that you can and will do this. You da man!

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SUSANS_TURN 7/14/2011 8:54PM

    emoticon You can get through this John! I don't know the size of your pool but your should be able to walk around in it in a shallow area or even get one of those noodles to give you some buoyancy, just moving through the water, even though not swimming will give you exercise and if you can't eat in the pool!?! (I tried it when I was a dad still reminds me of what a miserable failure it was). You could also check out, if you go to the part, Seniors' Dance & Exercise, they have sitting bound exercise videos. I understand that it's not the level of exercise you are use to working at but at least until you heal, maybe there is something there that might interest you? My neighbor has problems walking and does chair bound exercises in the mornings with a program that runs on our local PBS station. I think I can remember her telling me that she even records it at times. Maybe you could check your local listings. Where there is a will there is a way John! You can do this! Hang in there!
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ALLISON145 7/14/2011 8:05PM

    Chin up, John. Be as kind and empathetic to yourself as you are to others. Hugs!


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WATERMELLEN 7/14/2011 7:51PM

    You give so many so much support, so when I see a shout out from you seeking support I sure want to respond.

Is this an opportunity to learn how to swim? Would someone in your family help you learn? Swimming does feel so awesome . . .

And sorry: here's the blunt part. You gotta track your nutrition and stick with it. "The Diet Solution" by Judith S. Beck is a book that really really helped me with this: and I commend it to you . . .

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SHERRYJVP 7/14/2011 7:36PM

    walk in the water, wiggle in the water, take an aerobics class..and until you get through this, find something to do with your hands. You WILL get through this. This will get better..and this is not the end of your journey. This is, like you said, a bump. A crappy bump. But you are always so inpirational..maybe reread some of your blogs. I love them. They have helped me many times.

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KSFITNESS1 7/14/2011 6:39PM

  I am relatively new to SP and just added you as a friend. I have been going through a "bump" in the road with old injuries flairing. It's so hard not to go backwards, which is what I did too. You are wise to have put this blog up for much great advice here and support. I hope that you are feeling a little less down today. Hang in there. Sending support your way, as I don't have any great advice to offer--just heartfelt support.

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LYNMEINDERS 7/14/2011 6:09PM

    It is really awesome that we can get things out to one another.....

I fully understand your frustration....I have tendonitis as well at present in the fromt of my leg down near ancle level...have had a week on anti-inflamitary pills and have pretty much rested it for the week and finished the pills and it sweeled up again and is now affecting my lower leg to my getting frustrated as well as I am only 3 weeks away from a 10k race that i am walking and I am determined to do it however have to get this sucker healed....and it is not going to heal any faster because I get frustrated and curse fact..I am sure it will take longer to spite
I too put on 2k's in the last week however have got back on track and think..."If I can't walk at present then the least i can do it eat appropriately".....that seems to be working for is also setting up my..."I don't actually need to eat that now" strategy as well.....

Thinking of you and Praying for you in this one...
I am of a simular agae to you and when we are making progress and we hit something like this wonder if it is worthwhile at our age to be bothering to get healthy and loose weight...
Well I know I think like that....however...I am going to hang in with what I can to the best of my ability each day and look for results through that....

Love & Prayers

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KT-NICHOLS-13 7/14/2011 6:02PM

    Can't swim? No worries. Search out a water aerobics class, you don't need to know how to swim. Can't swim? No worries. Tread water or hold onto the edge of the pool and kick like mad. Can't swim? No worries. If that fabulous granddaughter of yours can, take her to the pool and splash around with her.

Don't get me wrong, I completely understand where you are mentally and physically. That being said, I know you can find a way to turn this around and keep on keeping on. I've got nothing but love for ya John!

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SNOWANGELDIVA 7/14/2011 5:53PM

    Medicating with medicine and not with food is not an easy barrier to push past. I used food for pain maintenance and it is was very hard to keep food for only fuel.Have you tried a chiropractor? I found one that uses the Activator Method and it has alleviated a large percentage of the issue. It was an investment though.
I'll be praying for you.

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MKPRINCESS007 7/14/2011 5:33PM

    Oh John, you have been here for so many of are such an awesome sparkfriend! Time for you to get some much needed love and support!That being said...........

I know this hurts. Physically and Emotionally. It sucks. Really. I know you always try to find the bright side, but it is ok to be angry and bitter for a hot minute. It isn't good to always push it away, because I swear in me, when I do, it comes back stronger. Allow yourself some time to feel how you feel. You are human. Then, I agree with others sounds like a door is opening next to one that you feel just closed for a while. Use the pool! Either learn to swim or just consult an expert on the kinds of exercise you can do in the pool for results but no further damage. It could possibly be the best thing that has ever happened to you!

You know I am here for you!

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WALKAWAY 7/14/2011 5:08PM

    You are in my prayers John. And don't feel bad, I can't swim either. I think if I was close to a pool I would be checking out the water aerobics. And as many others have posted there are numerous things you can do from the shallow end.

I wish you God speed to a quick recovery and strength to take each day one at a time. I know that you can do it.


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GIRANIMAL 7/14/2011 4:25PM

    A year! Oh, John! That sounds daunting at best. And yes, injury and the subsequent muscle guarding are a vicious cycle -- I know. I still battle it, and I herniated this disc probably 7 or 8 years ago! The pain and frustration are very real and I'm sorry you seem destined to endure it.

I love the suggestions that this is an opportunity to learn to swim! Smart friends, you have. emoticon

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RUNNER12COM 7/14/2011 3:37PM

    Sounds to me like you have been given the perfect opportunity to learn to swim. It's a challenge, it's something new, and it's a great way to stop feeling down and start building yourself back up again.

So, what's stopping you from learning to swim?

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FREECANDY 7/14/2011 3:20PM

    Sorry you're in so much pain, both physical and mental. I highly recommend that you take advantage of the pool! Maybe you can find a learn to swim class for adults at the Y or something. Or truthfully, it's not all that hard to teach yourself. Watch a youtube video and get the idea, and then put it into action (of course, don't swim anywhere your feet can't touch the ground without someone there until you get the hang of it). What about a class like aqua aerobics?

I LOVE swimming and it's awesome non-impact exercise. It really works your muscles and burns a surprising number of calories.

Comment edited on: 7/14/2011 3:21:30 PM

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KIKOOMAGOO 7/14/2011 3:06PM

    Am adding my two cents... go to the pool! There are so many ways you can use the water (and not leave the shallow end). You seem like a person who thrives on learning so make a goal to learn new water activities that will build and maintain your muscles. I'm sure you can do it! and I'm positive there is someone at the pool who is wishing a new person would come in and be their student. You'll make someone's day/month/year! and be able to get through this.

The whole eating part - I'm still learning too. But I do know you can get a whole lot of munching satisfaction from carrots and celery and cherry tomatoes and almonds and cucumbers and peppers and radishes and you get the idea.

other things to do besides eat...
whittle wood, play an instrument, build a model plane/train/car/ and paint them, type more blogs, hug your wife, volunteer at a literacy program or library, make yourself a list of 50-100 things to do before you eat and post it where you can use it daily.

emoticon you are strong and


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JSPIN74 7/14/2011 3:05PM

    sorry ur feeling disheartened! but hey it's normal, normal, normal considering....

take the meds for a bit for some's not a sin! and if it will get you moving again isn't it worth it?

don't beat urself up for falling off the wagon a'll get back to your old self as long as you take care emoticon

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MUSTANG_SALLY2 7/14/2011 2:16PM

    John, my favorite way to show my friends support is thru a giant hug. I was wondering if Joan would agree to be my arms for this one?

I so get where you are coming from. My back has bothered me all week and the longer I have to sit still, the more aggravated I get. I wonder if my old couch potato self is shocked by that statement? Anyway, the food is not a fun issue. It has been my drug of choice for years. I too am craving my old fall backs. It's not easy to say no but I'm working on that.

Maybe this is God's way of saying, "John, you have some internal work to do. Take a break from the physical and let's you and Me figure out this food thing."

I took a class a few years ago and it was amazing. You can get the workbook on Amazon and if you do the home work, you will get so much info. about yourself that you will be shocked. The book is called "The Hunger Within : A Twelve Week Guided Journey from Compulsive Eating to Recovery". Amazon has used ones for $.01 but make sure that it's not written in. If you get it, you'll want to write in your own stuff.

I'm cheering for you John. Hang in there!


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SPARKLISE 7/14/2011 2:03PM

    Hey! Don't give up on yourself! emoticon
I hurt my back last week and it hurts all the way to my knee so i can't run anymore either and walking is kind of weird also.
I go see a physiotherapist that i pay to hurt me! emoticon
Everybody says"yeah,but it feels good after!" "Really? I haven't experienced that part yet!" emoticonI slept with a water bottle on my lower back last night.
I joined the gym yesterday where they have personal trainers that i don't have to pay extra, and i'm going to give that a try to make my back stronger and more limber.
I don't blame you to be discouraged because a year for healing sounds like a long time. I don't know how long it will take for my pain to go away since its a chronic back pain(but never this bad). It could be a year for me also but i try to concentrate on what i can do until it does go away.
I wish I had a pool! I have the ocean with lots of jelly-fishes! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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IMIN2GENES 7/14/2011 2:00PM

    John, You can totally to this! You don't have to know how to swim to use the pool either. It's wonderful therapy and a good workout. I used to teach water aerobics. You can always stick to the shallow end and walk. Great resistance and almost no impact! Where there's a will, there's a way and I know you've got the will!

Take is easy. Rest. Try the pool - it won't bite! I'll be sending lots of positive vibes your way!

Comment edited on: 7/14/2011 2:00:26 PM

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DEE797 7/14/2011 1:57PM

    John....YOU CAN DO THIS! Just take your pills, rest, and you can always walk/jog in the pool. Or hold onto the sides and do exercises that way. Shadow boxing can also work your upper body, the contestants did a lot of that on the last Biggest Loser Season and it worked for them. Next thing is to track your food and drinks and watch those portion sizes. We are rootin' for you! emoticon

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JENNY888 7/14/2011 1:35PM

    You can do it John, I know you can. Get some pool noodles and swim with them. All you have to do is hang on to them or put them under your arms and paddle. It will help. You might look into taking a water aerobics class or two at a club to see what they are like. They can be really fun.

I am in much the same shape as you having gained about 12 pounds. I hate it also. I am working now to reverse this. You can too. Remember, we only have to take more steps forward than we take back to make progress.

You can do it!

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PANFRIEDTROUT 7/14/2011 1:27PM

    John, I understand full well the frustration & even anger at being hurt and the impatience that comes with it. I'm sorry that you're going through this.

Besides trying water aerobics & learning to swim, I thought the Yoga/Stretching idea was also good. You do have to be very careful though, in either case, because it's actually possible to overdo both of those.

I didn't see anyone recommend alternating ice/heat packs so you might ask your Doc about that. Also not mentioned were Isometric exercises. From what I understand, they don't build strength but they can help maintain (to some degree) your current level of muscle development. Again, something to confer with your Doctor about.

As for the eating thing, the next time you're tempted to put something in your mouth that you know to be self*destructive, pick up the phone & call a friend or family member. They don't need to know you're struggling (unless you want to tell them) but just have a brief, general chat with them. Go online to MSN and play a short game of whatever .... careful to set a time limit on that. Open up your Bible & start working on a verse or passage to memorize. What simple chore around the house or yard have you been putting off? Go do that instead.

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MIZZSB 7/14/2011 1:16PM


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BECKY3774 7/14/2011 1:07PM

It may not be the choice that you'd like, but the swimming pool is an awesome place for you to work those muscles and not hurt them. I am here for you in whatever way that I can be, and if you need anything, don't be afraid to ask. I've also had problems this week with "overmedicating" myself with food due to stress. It's what we do. Let's work on correcting that pattern! emoticon emoticon emoticon

I too value yours and everyone elses friendships on spark, and I wouldn't want to live without them.

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ANATASHIKI 7/14/2011 1:01PM

    take the damned anti inflammatory(we're talking about non steroidal , right?) , rest and don't over eat anymore ! I don't think a week is enough , muscles and tendons lesions heal more difficult than bones . I also have serious leg pains and I was too lazy to search for some anti inflammatory drugs but I'll do it today. I 'll take a ton of them until i'll feel good . you don't have to swim in the pool , you can just stay on the side and do exercises in the water . if people in wheel chairs can find exercises to o to help them loose weight you can also do it. this is just a minor unpleasant thing , don't let yourself down ! and if you think I'm young and I don't know what I'm talking about , I do. I have chronic pain , weird unknown osteoarthritis and I know how it is to be unable to stand without swallowing a hand of pills . when you can't even walk you don't worry much about running. sorry if my tone was too harsh, just please , don't overeat anymore and take the medication you need . and give your body time to heal.

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CATHERINEL66 7/14/2011 12:48PM

    John, you can do this.

Stop that eating. "Medicate" yourself with something else. You already know about the world of positive options here, and all about diet/nutrition.

Get going on some new and different fitness and find your way. Get a swim coach THIS WEEK. You were spending $$ on a personal trainer before, now you need a specialist for the swim. And try to add on some other stuff that won't irritate the legs. Yoga.

Build up those weak muscles. You can find out how and get to it.

See, you're already too busy to be eating!

I know exactly how you feel -- I spent the majority of fall through winter of 2010/2011 being laid up -- first the broken foot and then the major surgery ... and if I could do it and not eat, I know you can too, buddy.


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SRHALLIN 7/14/2011 12:38PM

    Having spent a year and a half in a room that was 10' x 13' - and never wishing to return to one - let me say that I do understand how immobility affects the mind, the heart and the spirit. Cabin Fever is like the devil on your shoulder.

But, there is light, if you let it be. You do not have to sacrifice all of your hard-won progress to the emotional monster gnawing on you. You've got the heart of a warrior, or you wouldn't be able to fight so hard for good health. You would never have gotten to where you are in terms of your overall health.

Ok, you love to run, and you can't run. I empathize tremendously on that point. But, there are things that you *can* do. Public pools have instructors for swimming lessons. Or, perhaps you've got a family member who can help you learn. Regardless, you have the option of getting in the pool and holding on to the ledge while you smoothly move your legs back and forth. No impact, and it may just help you to loosen up those inflamed muscles.

You can continue to eat healthy foods and in healthy portions. You *will* still make progress that way. And you *will* feel like you are still fighting for the goals that you have set for yourself.

Warriors do not always get to choose the battleground or arena. But, they can always choose to fight for their objectives.

There are - at this moment - 37 responses to your request for support. You are *not* alone. You have an SP army here to help you rally your spirit to your cause. We believe in you, and you *know* you can achieve your goals.

The setback is temporary. The rewards for fighting through it will last you a lifetime.

Best wishes to you on your journey to good health and personal happiness.

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BRENDABUNNY 7/14/2011 12:36PM

    Thinking of you and sending specail thoughts & prayers emoticon emoticonBrenda

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BLACKROSE_222 7/14/2011 11:53AM

    I'm sorry about the pain and lack of motivation - but you are not a failure. This is just a road bump, that life has given you. You can only play the hand you have been dealt, and I know you can do this. Swimming is a great idea - would your wife be willing to help you with this? Or, worse case scenario, put on a lifejacket, and just move in the pool - at least it is exercise. emoticon

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JOANOFSPARK 7/14/2011 11:48AM

    emoticon emoticon I know it has to be frustrating since you have been so active, but from what I understand, (I have no pool near me) just getting in the water and doing water aerobics and moving around is very helpful. Just give it time and you will soon be healed and back out there doing what you love best. In the meantime, your body needs to heal and it is a good time to reflect. But don't give up and don't surrender to the munchies...Think positive... emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 7/14/2011 11:50:10 AM

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KERLIN26 7/14/2011 11:46AM

  I can't imagine how hard it is for you to be going through this. I will pray hard for a full and quick recovery. Perhaps God's plan here is for you to find another type of exercise that will be more beneficial? I don't know... Keep praying and it will all be revealed.

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GETFIT2LIVE 7/14/2011 11:38AM

    John, I am so sorry--I can only imagine how frustrating and discouraging this is for you! If you have the option of a pool, absolutely positively take advantage of it; you do not have to know how to swim to use it for water aerobics, water jogging, and just paddling around. Any movement in the water, ANY, will be better than nothing. And what better time to take some swimming lessons and learn to swim?

There IS a pony under there somewhere, we both know it; it just may take awhile to dig it out and believe it again. Don't let food become your friend again. This is only a phase, perhaps a long and painful one, but a phase nonetheless. You will get past it and come out stronger on the other side, I believe in you.


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DRAGONFLY79 7/14/2011 11:32AM

    Sending happy thoughts your way! Hope you are able to recover quickly - the water aerobics sounds like a fun challenge in the meantime. emoticon

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Two Small Words

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Theyíre probably among the first ten words we learn. They are so much a part of our language and routine that we often forget their intent and meaning. Saying them can change a dull day into sunny one. Forgetting to say them can cause someone to unravel. These two small words have tremendous impact. They are ďthank you.Ē

All this came home to me late yesterday afternoon. Around lunch time our thermostat decided to stop working. Normally this isnít a big issue but the outside temperature was 99F. Fortunately it stuck in the on position and we had air. I was worried that without it ever shutting off my AC would go Ka-Ploiey! I called the people who installed and they told me it might be Thursday before they could get there. Theyíd see what they could do.

An hour later there was a knock on the front door. When I opened it I saw an elderly man in a work shirt. He smiled and said ďIíve come to fix your AC.Ē The thermostat is at the top of a flight of stairs and he told me he was sorry in advance if it took him a few minutes to reach it. He had arthritis and he didnít move as quickly as he used to. After a half hour of testing and examining he said heíd have to replace the thermostat. When he was finished I said ďThank You.Ē He had saved me a major headache. A small grin turned into a huge smile. He went on to tell me that he was retired and they used him when they got backed up. I asked him how long he had worked there and he winked at me. ďI own the place.Ē I laughed and so did he. The business was run by two of his sons and he helped out when he could. He walked in the basement and pointed out a few minor things about my AC I wasnít aware of , fixed them, winked again and said ďno charge.Ē

I walked with him to the front door and before he left he told me how nice it was to do work for someone that was thankful and grateful for the service. As I waved good bye it struck me how important that ďthank youĒ was to both of us. That was on my mind the rest of the day.

There are times I forget to say it, to think it or believe in it. They are two very powerful words that when spoken in a sincere fashion can change someoneís life

Thank You

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SNOWANGELDIVA 7/14/2011 6:05PM

    That was awesome! Thank you for sharing your good spirited story.

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HANKENSTEIN 7/14/2011 6:00PM

    very true john. great reminder

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GIRANIMAL 7/14/2011 4:09PM

    Great reminder!

I always say hello and thank you to cashiers, bus drivers, etc. Sometimes I feel a little bad when they don't acknowledge it or don't seem to want to be bothered -- LOL -- but I always do it anyway. It just feels like the right, decent thing to do.

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1HAPPYSUSAN 7/14/2011 10:56AM

    What a lovely reminder for ALL of us, John, and I'm so glad you shared!

I'm sure you made the AC man's day with your thanks, a reminder to him of why he originally opened the business and continues to take pride in it as his sons run it. It was his life's passion, I bet, and your kindness towards him is the icing on the cake!

Good for you, letting him know how much it meant to you to have him come out. Those two little words can carry such power and meaning, can't they. I'm proud of you!

Thank YOU for a great blog!

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LYNMEINDERS 7/14/2011 12:28AM

    Those are 2 very important and impacting words.......and we often forget to say them however it is great the change they make when we do,,,,


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JAKEANDNELLIE 7/13/2011 11:44PM

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful reminder of the power those two words contain!
Stay positive!

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TIME4AFITME 7/13/2011 10:07PM

    Thank you John for your blogs and for being you

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GEEMAWEST 7/13/2011 9:27PM


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CARTOONB 7/13/2011 9:02PM

    You're right. Those are two very important words. Thank you.

Oh...and you're welcome!

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KKINNEA 7/13/2011 3:57PM

    Thanks for this!

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SILLYHP1953 7/13/2011 3:52PM

    Now that's the kind of business I want to do business with!!! Can you imagine our world if everyone was like that. It must have been what John Lennon was singing about.

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AMORRISON19 7/13/2011 2:17PM

    Thank YOU for sharing! Your story brought tears to my eyes. So very true, and very touching!

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SHERRYJVP 7/13/2011 2:17PM

    It is such a thrill to find and do business with good people. And it does happen. THanks for the reminder. Hope you are having a great day!

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MIZZSB 7/13/2011 1:56PM

    oh John... THANK YOU!!!
you always touch me with your blogs...

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BLUEROSE73 7/13/2011 11:31AM

    Thank you for the reminder. And what a blessing to have this gentleman available to check out your problem for you on such short notice.

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HEALTHYME229 7/13/2011 11:23AM

    "Please" and "thank you" are such simple words, but they can have great power and influence. The simple gesture of respect can mean so much to the recipient. Thanks for the reminder.

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GOOFIERNU 7/13/2011 9:56AM

    emoticonfor this post! Those two words have been on my mind a lot lately.

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BLACKROSE_222 7/13/2011 9:35AM

    Good for you, and what a wonderful person to meet! I'm glad you had time to share and to think on these things. Thank You.

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HAPPYSOUL91 7/13/2011 9:17AM

    and...thank you for posting this, such a simple thing with a major impact.

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MSSUNBUG 7/13/2011 9:16AM

    So true. Thank YOU. :-)

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MIMIDOT 7/13/2011 9:15AM

    Thank you for the inspiring blog. It is so important to try to remember those two little words. I try very hard to, but we all forget. Thanks again and have a good day!

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    Yes, very powerful words. I loved reading your post.

Take Good Care & Thank You.

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HDHAWK 7/13/2011 9:12AM

    What a wonderful story. So important. Thank YOU John, for sharing it.

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Learning To Fail In A Positive Way and "Please John Quit Judging!" - Especially Yourself

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Sometimes giving up is easy. Itís even easier to judge someone who has given up. Not that you or I ever give up. Thatís for quitters, losers and the like. Excuse me while I put my smug hat on for just a bit, K?

My daughter works with someone who has won our city gold championship for amateurs the last five years running. Last year he won the state amateur championship and made the final qualifying tournament for the US Open. He missed qualifying by two strokes. Thatís not to shabby and considering he is the ripe old age of thirty three, he has lots of accomplishments left in his bag. I picked up the paper yesterday morning to read he had withdrawn for the tournament before Sundayís final round began. I called my daughter at work to find out why. I wondered if heíd been injured or ill. As my daughter put it ďHe was so far behind dad and he said he just wasnít feeling it yesterday so he decided to quit. He was ten strokes behind. He decided to go home and relax.Ē

ďThe nerve of that man,Ē is what I thought. ďWhat kind of example is he setting? Just because he couldnít win, he quit?Ē

LOL, LOL, LOL, LOL. Yeah, like I donít ever give up!!! Like I donít quit tracking my food when I have a run of bad decision days and go over (sometimes WAY OVER) my calorie limits. I mean whatís the use? I already blew it didnít I?

How about when I donít exercise? Maybe I had a schedule challenge and missed a few days but instead of getting right back to it, I use it as a reason to give up. Woe is me, life isnít fair. Iíll never be like ďfill in the blank.Ē

When I quit I blame everyone around me and am very careful not to take any responsibility for my actions. If the world would just bend a little to the left and move forward about ten feet then just maybe I could keep my commitments. And anyway, who knows but me, right? If I blow it I just donít tell anyone and secretly judge all those other quitters. When I am judgmental I am simply wasting a precious amount of energy thatís been given to me to use for good and healthy activity.

When I encounter a failure in my life or an obstacle that seems over whelming to me I only have two choices. The first is to fall to the ground, curse my fate and give up. The second is to admit I blew it, look for the reason why I blew it and try to figure out how not to blow it again. Itís the old live and learn principle. Itís why diets donít work. They donít allow for the failure factor, the subliminally preach judgment. Those of us who are obese know its really easy to judge all our own failure at the drop of a hat.

Donít find me redeemed, dear friends. Iíll contemplate giving up again. Itís part of human nature. As long as I continue to judge myself Iíll judge other people. I have to work on me and the principles I believe in

I am worth the effort and yes even the failures

I deserve to have success even though the price is often a painful one

I am who I hang around with

When I believe I am whole and healthy, I am whole and healthy.

That should keep me busy for the next twenty years or so.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MARCYNA 7/18/2011 3:31AM

    %Thanks John for this very interesting & infromative post!!!I think, in order to become winners, we all have to admit we can fail at times...much like a sportsteam does not have to win all matches, but the championship in the end.

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SILLYHP1953 7/13/2011 3:49PM

    John, John, John...I find it hard to believe that you give up, but I find it harder to believe you're not telling the truth, so I must believe you do give up. Sometimes, for a few moments. That's all I will accept.

I'm the hardest critic on myself, too. But I was sitting at a local festival last weekend and found myself judging certain people. I was rather ashamed of myself, but am learning I must forgive quickly and move on.

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WALKNLOVE 7/13/2011 7:35AM

    never,never,never give up! I fall back down, but I get back up again....success is getting really close for you John...I feel it! Do you?

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LYNMEINDERS 7/12/2011 7:14PM are so sperb....
I love the realness in you....

And of course it is so so much easier to quit than to keep battling forwars to achieve victory..

Hello to the new John.....I like him....he is not a quitter even when he fails a bit....


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RACINGSLUG 7/12/2011 5:45PM

    Like you, I find the quitting rather inexplicable, which kind of makes me wonder, ''Are you doing this to win, or are you doing it for the love of the game?'' I've asked myself that same question lately and I've decided I'm doing it for the love of the game. I'm going to exercise because I like how I feel when I exercise, and I'm going to eat right because I love cooking healthy and find it relaxing and fulfilling. Being that perfect weight is like coming in first place... it'd be nice, but it's not why I'm here. I'll take my imperfect game and just be glad I got to get outside for a change.

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NASFKAB 7/12/2011 5:12PM

  Great blog encouraging thanks

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KERLIN26 7/12/2011 4:42PM

  Thanks for giving me something to think about!

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ANATASHIKI 7/12/2011 3:24PM

    I think there are times when giving up is the best option. honestly hard work doesn't work much for me , it never did. and don't get me wrong , I always try to do all in my power but success seems to depend on mysterious occult factors. so why stress over them? my goal on spark is not on the scale, but tracking each day and burning more calories than I eat. loosing weight will come eventually .one race more or less doesn't matter much honestly . there aren't losers or winners. there are just temporary victories or losses and their equally important lessons.

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NAMAARI 7/12/2011 12:07PM

    John, good's so true about the judgement of ourselves and others...Oh to be more sensitive in that area.

@IFDEEVARUNS2 - I agree with you about there being times when we need to step back. I don't gauge those times well, and I end up feeling like a quitter when I push past them and end up burned up and out, but I am learning that there are seasons when the right thing to do is focus on rest so that we can return to our task stronger in mind, body, and spirit.

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DEE797 7/12/2011 10:57AM

    Thanks so much for putting this blog out there as we can be our harshest critics at times. I'm glad you are turning it around. I needed to read this today.

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HDHAWK 7/12/2011 10:43AM

    Guilty as charged of judging myself. Just one more thing to work on!

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GEEMAWEST 7/12/2011 10:32AM

    Now that's more like it, John!

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HAPPYSOUL91 7/12/2011 9:58AM

    very good blog and I really needed that this morning

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BLACKROSE_222 7/12/2011 9:54AM

    Very interesting thought - turn that pointing finger right around, hey? I like this blog. Thanks for sharing.

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IFDEEVARUNS2 7/12/2011 9:26AM

    Interesting blog, John. What came to my mind as I read about this man is that he simply decided this wasn't going to happen for him this time, and he decided not to stress himself over trying to catch up. For me the lesson is that there ARE times when one should step back, catch one's breath, and come back stronger later on without beating one's self up. Perhaps that's the conclusion you reached, but it's not clear to me.

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Learning To Forgive

Monday, July 11, 2011

I usually do my Sparking early in the morning. I have the house to myself, itís quiet and Iím in no big hurry. Yesterday morning as I huddled with one of my teams I noticed a blog title over to the left side of the page. It was titled ďLouise Hay: Forgive But Not Condone; Can It Work?Ē I read it. It was good. I was not convinced and as I told myself at the time, it gave me a lot to think about and really, seriously, do you think I wanted a lot to think about at 6 AM on a Sunday morning? I donít think so!

It hit a tender spot, a spot I didnít want to deal with. Iíve been very angry with the Catholic Church for a long, long time. I cannot in any way, shape or form condone the actions of an organization that lies and protects people who use their authority to molest children. Not only is it wrong, itís criminal. Six months ago a young man in our parish committed suicide in front of the church because he had been abused by two priest most of his life. Neither priest was at our parish. The hierarchy promised an investigation into the matter. That was in February. To date there is no news. Joan and I decided that we would continue to attend church weekly but would not contribute to the Church. We just increased our contributions to other charities. I enjoy going to church. It gives me an oasis of peace. I can sit, pray and sing and lose myself. What I didnít need to read was a blog on forgiveness, twenty minutes before I went to church!!!

Iíve come to realize that health, real health, is so much more than what goes into your mouth, or how quickly you can sprint or cycle. Real health is a balance, it is the fine art of learning to let go, to find reasons TO forgive and not hate. It hates the sin, not the sinner. It knows deep down inside of you that if John wants to GET healthy and STAY healthy, well John needs to deal with his issues. Iíve been really angry for a long time. That anger has slowly eaten away at my soul.

I got to Mass five minutes before it started. I slid into the back pew. Next to me was a young lady with a toddler. The little girl came over to me and smiled and waved and did what little kids do in church. Her mom looked wore out. She also looked like she was in need. Her clothes were worn and ripped in a few places and so were her daughters. If you have ever seen a look of despair on a personís face, well this young lady had it on hers. When it came time to take up the collection I did what I always do, I stare straight ahead. I wonít lie. The blog Iíd read sort of tugged at my heart and mind. If I really believed in the Gospel message, the message of love and forgiveness, then wasnít I simply exercising some self-satisfying form of control by not contributing? I didnít want to think about this.

The usher handed the basket to the young lady and at the same time her daughter ran to where I was sitting. As I looked up I saw her mom digging in her purse. She pulled out a dollar bill and about five coins. She put them in the basket and handed it to me. I just stared. As I handed the basket to the usher I started to shake a bit and then I covered my face so no one would see me cry. At that moment I saw all the things I was holding on to, the entire place in my heart and soul that was filled with unhealthy hatred, anger and judgment and not one of those things was doing anything to make me a better John. You see, I have all that anger because I know the things I direct it at I canít control and rather than concentrating on the things I can control, well, Iíd rather focus on the negative. Jesus told the story of the widow who gave her last dime to her church and he said this woman had so much more faith than someone who gave for what they had left over. She gave from her necessity. When that young woman dug into her purse and pulled out the dollar or so, I saw no hesitation, no doubt, just a tremendous amount of faith. She could have justified giving nothing, like me, but her actions spoke the knowledge that she would be taken care of and provided for. I spent the rest of Mass looking at the areas of my life I attempted to engineer and manipulate. I saw all the things I wasted energy on and where I needed to let go. Letting go of the things I cling to so tightly isnít easy. Between me, you and the rest of the universe, it scared me half to death.

Itís really not negotiable, at least not for me. If I want to live a balanced life then I have to clean out my closets and fill them with positive things. Iíll never condone what has happened in the church but I can forgive and when I do, Iím making ah healthy statement about my life. No revelations today, no really happy endings, just the knowledge I have a lot of work to do.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SILLYHP1953 7/13/2011 3:38PM

    God does work in mysterious ways...first Louise Hay's words and then sitting next to the woman and child. Synchronicity in action.

I'm grateful I do not have to pick just one sparkfriend's blog to read, but if I did it would be yours.

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GIRANIMAL 7/12/2011 10:51PM

    Wow. Powerful stuff. Forgiving without condoning is quite a difficult spiritual lesson indeed. As always, I am proud of and inspired by you, your honesty and your unwavering strength and need to build a better John.

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SPARKLISE 7/12/2011 9:49AM

    I have been a catholic most of my life,but 5 years ago we started going to a pentacostal church. Best decision of my life. If you want to get closer to God,maybe catholic is not the best option. Just saying!
God bless you. emoticon

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LYNMEINDERS 7/11/2011 11:43PM

    WooHoo...go John....
that is awesome....God is so good...and he will only show us things when He knows we are in a place to deal with them....
You are so right with the sinner Hate the sin...thats a philosophy my Hubby and I live by/.....

The start of a whole new journey.....

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BECKY3774 7/11/2011 7:28PM

    Thank you, John, for once again saying what needs to be said. I personally hold on to things that need to be let go, but I have such a hard time with it. I'm struggling daily to improve that while improving my body, so hopefully one day, I can be the me that I deserve to be. emoticon emoticon

and I totally believe the previous statement from a spark member about God having a sense of humor....I see little things like that all the time that make me stop and think...amazing, isn't it?

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SHERRYJVP 7/11/2011 5:43PM

    Our sermon Sunday was on the widow's mite. Very itneresting. It is such a shame that a few bad people bring a reputation on an entire denomination. I am not Catholic, but I know that we worship the same God and that no human is perfect. I also believe that the devil causes this kind of grief in church in order to weaken and tear them apart.

God Bless you as you deal with this conflict.

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MIZZSB 7/11/2011 2:48PM

    very touching blog John!

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MUSTANG_SALLY2 7/11/2011 1:37PM

    I have struggled with the whole priest thing and have been angry too. How could the "face" of the church be worth saving more so than our children? I too have some work to do on this topic.

I love God's sense of humor. I love how he worked it out so you sat by that particular lady and her little girl. He can always teach us lessons, even when we're (meaning me) pretty hard headed students.


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1HAPPYSUSAN 7/11/2011 10:29AM

    Definitely an "ah-ha" moment for you, John, but congratulations for opening your eyes and your heart to see what you may have been meant to see...a divine message, perhaps? :)

You're so right about health being emotional and spiritual as well as physical. I love the way you put that and it's certainly food for thought for me, as well.

God bless you for sharing. emoticon

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AKATUJE 7/11/2011 8:57AM

    Food for thought.... I know i also got alot of work to do...

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BLACKROSE_222 7/11/2011 8:47AM

    Wow... what a story. Thanks for sharing.

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KATHRYN1955 7/11/2011 8:39AM

    It would be easier just to read this and skip along to getting the rest of my points for the day. I am not Catholic, but the way they protect their own has been a sore point for me for a long time. It also spreads to other denominations and religions as well. There are 2 levels of forgiveness here, one for the actual perpetrators and one for those who cover up for them. I'm not sure which one is harder to forgive. One needs to separate out spiritual faith and the faith in the organization itself.
Personally, I could not hold both (Anglican) at the same time and I have turned to a more holistic, universal faith in God.
Good luck in your journey, it is a tough one to reconcile.

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TERRIPAL1 7/11/2011 8:32AM

    Amazing isn't it John how you can always learn something!!

Thanks for the blog,what you wrote is so true,and difficult to do!! emoticon

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CIVIAV 7/11/2011 8:29AM

    Sounds like going to church did what it is supposed to least how I see it...

Thanks for sharing this John!
Love you!

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SHAKENMA 7/11/2011 8:25AM

    Thought provoking...........

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