JOHNTJ1   68,113
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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Every Wednesday around noon I gather with a like minded group of people who sincerely believe in being positive. We are the International Optimist and our mission is to "bring out the best in kids." For the past few weeks I have wanted to take time to share The Optimists Creed with you. I thought today would be good since I will be traveling most of today.

I have found that if I take each section and dwell on it in my life and what it means to me, I am much happier. I hope you enjoy.

The Optimist Creed

Promise Yourself:

To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.

To talk health, happiness and prosperity to every person you meet.

To make all your friends feel that there is something in them.

To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true.

To think only of the best, to work only for the best, and to expect only the best.

To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.

To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.

To wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every living creature you meet a smile.

To give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others.

To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.

Have a great Thursday

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GIRANIMAL 2/26/2010 1:08PM

    Thanks for sharing! I really have been working hard at this recently. Isn't it too bad that at some point optimism fail to come naturally to us anymore? It just shouldn't be. Thanks for the reminder that it doesn't HAVE to be! Happy travels.

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AMYTATH 2/25/2010 5:44PM

    I, along with several others it looks like, am going to print this and hang it somewhere I'll see it everyday!!!

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WANDAH3 2/25/2010 5:19PM

    What a great creed to live by! Thank you for sharing it with us John.

I'm planning of making a copy to have at my desk at work.

Hope your day is fantastic.


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TSISQUAUSDI 2/25/2010 3:34PM

    Hi, John - That's a quote by Christian D. Larson. The rest of it goes:

To think well of myself and to proclaim this fact to the world, not in loud words, but in great deeds.

To live in the faith that the whole world is on my side, so long as I am true to the best that is in me.

Christian D. Larson

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MARCYNA 2/25/2010 11:14AM

    WoW...Looks wonderful, I'll use it... emoticon emoticon

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NJMATTICE 2/25/2010 10:46AM

    I do solemnly swear to follow the creed.
Thanks, John. Have aTHpectacular Thursday!

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TRIPLE_EMME 2/25/2010 9:57AM

    Thanks for posting the Optimist Creed!

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OHYESITSME1 2/25/2010 9:05AM

    THANK YOU! I needed that!

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TAZZAT2003 2/25/2010 8:51AM

    You always have such wonderful blogs. It is like a new treat everyday. I really enjoyed this one and now probably more than before I should try to follow it. It has always been easier for me to be a worrybody. Have a safe trip and I look forward to reading your next post.

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STORMTMB 2/25/2010 8:21AM

    What a great challenge! Thanks for sharing this creed. Clearly you are trying to live it! Have a great day and be safe in your travels.


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DOLLBABE56 2/25/2010 7:36AM

    John - Thank you for posting this. This is a wonderful guide that I can practice. I am trying so hard to stay positive (this coming from one that has been so negative in the past). I am finding that I am so much happier with myself. This is the 2nd blog of yours (I believe) that I have read, and both are so uplifting. Be safe traveling today!


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PALEAN 2/25/2010 7:18AM

    I love this. This could open a lot of eyes up to less optimistic people. I always thought it would be a wonderful, and novel thing, to have a newspaper filled only with positive news. I think many people, communities would benefit if more emphasis were put on the successes of individuals, communities, countries and I truly believe happiness, positive energy is contagious. This is a wonderful creed! Thanks!

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REILLYGIRRRL 2/25/2010 7:12AM

  Great creed!

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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

I think it’s often over looked in our precise calculations on life, love and a journey towards happiness. For some strange reason we discount it as being too easy. If life isn’t a struggle at every corner and at every turn, then I guess we aren’t investing enough of our self. Too some, if we embrace it we are considered weak and without direction. It’s called simplicity and simplicity gets a very bad rap.

I have found it to be a really good antidote for stress. The less encumbered my life becomes the less I have to worry about. The less I worry the more room for joy, peace and that vision of the REAL me.

The real me is not the person created by everyone else’s expectations. That’s the me that turned to food as a solution, became obese, complicated my life even more and was in borderline despair mode for awhile. It’s the me that takes the time on a Saturday morning to sit down with some soothing background music and explore the things that make me so very unique. There are thirty two of them and they are never far from me. I read them aloud, I laugh a bit and I go on my way. It takes maybe 10 minutes. No need to climb the mountain and visit the Swami. I have all I need inside. The simpler I make it the easier it gets. The harder I make it the harder it gets.

I am a simple person. I ask to be loved and I want to give that love in return. I want to be acknowledged for what I do but if I don’t show you what I am capable of doing, how can you acknowledge me?

I am a simple person. I can tell you with confidence that I am funny, I am intelligent and I can get you to buy an igloo in Alaska with the twinkle in my eye.

Being simple doesn’t require a lot of work. It requires honesty. Yes, I have made a ton of mistakes but a quick review of everything I have written above shows that none of it has changed because I’ve admitted to being weak, or thrown a temper tantrum or changed a computer over to Windows 7 all by myself and messed it up after my wife told me to wait for one of sons who is an IT specialist.

The further I travel and the more I am “honestly honest” with myself the more I see that losing the bad weight I put on, adjusting my meal plan and working out has little or nothing to do with food and everything to do with how I see and value myself. We believe it hurts to be “honestly honest” Come close and I’ll tell you a little secret. Once I faced me, I simply saw what everyone else saw and it wasn’t bad. Once I was honest with me I found out I was a really cool dude, or “sir” to those of you under thirty. The only thing that stopped me from being me was me.

Really simple

There is no bravado here, no false courage. I’ll fail more today then I’ll succeed. At the end of the day I’ll write down one million things I wish I would have done differently. The difference is when I look at it tonight I’ll smile a bit instead of a painful grimace

Really simple

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DOLLBABE56 2/25/2010 7:41AM

    Ok John, after reading todays blog I HAD to read this one. I don't know how I missed this one. I'm glad I did. You are such an inspiration. I love you attitude toward life.

Debbie emoticon

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KATIEGLEN012 2/25/2010 2:06AM

    Taking time to acknowledge the simple things let's us realize that all the beauty in this world is simple...simply elegant, simply delightful, simply delicious. Your words are part of what makes my day simply delightful and your insights are simply inspiring. Glad to see you are taking care of you.

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WANDAH3 2/24/2010 6:09PM have such a wonderful way of writing. I am always blessed when I stop by to read what you've written.

Like you, since I've actually faced myself and been truly honest...I'm learning that I actually like me too! As I've eased up on being so hard on myself, I've eased up naturally on many other things. Garry and I both have learned that "it's the simple things" in life that make the most impression. We are learning to let go of so much that has kept us prisoners.

Thanks for the wonderful blog.


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CLOTHEDINLOVE 2/24/2010 3:02PM

    I like this a lot! My husband and I are taking some active steps to making life simpler... cancelling cable, getting rid of "stuff"... it's refreshing.

I think being simple can be harder than being complicated. It's easy to make things complicated in this world. The hard part is stepping back from it and realizing we don't have to live that way.

Good luck to you in your journey to simplicity! Sounds like you're doing really well. emoticon

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NJMATTICE 2/24/2010 2:45PM

    Now if I would just "simply" exercise more I think I'd be in better shape! I'm getting there. I like the bumper sticker "Live simply so that others can simply live." Keep up the good work.

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_RAMONA 2/24/2010 2:30PM

    Hi, John! As I said in my blog this morning, this entry of yours should be called 'Killing me softly with his song'.

"[For some reason] if life isn’t a struggle at every corner and at every turn [I discount it as being too easy].

The simpler I make [life] the easier it gets. The harder I make [life] the harder it gets.
I want to be acknowledged for [who I really am] I do but if I don’t show you what I am capable of doing, how can you acknowledge me? The only thing that stopped me from being me was me [not being “honestly honest”].

The further I travel and the more I am “honestly honest” with myself the more I see that losing the bad weight I put on, adjusting my meal plan and working out has little or nothing to do with food and everything to do with how I see and value myself.

The less encumbered my life becomes the less I have to worry about. The less I worry the more room for joy, peace and that vision of the REAL me."

This pretty much sums up my growth the past two years here at SparkPeople, and it's still where I need to fine tune. I'm really 'weary' today, and it's because I let 'life' crowd out the REAL me, and I stopped being completely 'honestly honest'. It exhausts me... truly it does. Thanks for the reminder today. I'm truly blessed in having stumbled across your blog this week.

{{{{{{{{{ HUGS }}}}}}}}

Comment edited on: 2/24/2010 4:03:17 PM

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TRIPLE_EMME 2/24/2010 10:32AM

    Simplicity -- that is something that I'm striving for in my life: keeping it simple.

Thank you for the thought provoking blog.

Have a great day!

P.S. I'm going to make the "special me" list my task for March.

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STAN5FAM 2/24/2010 9:58AM

    Thanks Bestest Cool Dude! emoticon

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STORMTMB 2/24/2010 8:13AM

    As always, great things to think about. Thanks for sharing, John! Have a great day!


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Taking Care of Us

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I wasn’t feeling too well yesterday. I had planned on staying in my flannels and my Chicago Cubs tee shirt all day and giving myself permission to be lazy because I was sick. This means you can watch television all day and not feel guilty, or read for three hours and not have that nagging feeling you should be doing something more “productive.” Isn’t it amazing we have to get sick sometimes to feel good about ourselves and what we do?

But I digress.

The phone rang around eleven or so. The party on the other line “needed” to talk to me. He “needed” to have lunch with me. I told him I was not feeling well but I might as well have told him I was fourteen feet tall with a rotating head. I wouldn’t categorize this person as a friend, because a friend would have told me, “Let’s do it tomorrow! It can wait.” He is not really a client. He is just a child of God, which means guilt forced me into the shower and down the road to the one place I have avoided for over two months, a local pizza parlor which has killer food ---- literally and figuratively.

Albert Einstein once said that the definition of insanity is doing the very same thing over and over and expecting different results.

I knew two things before I even got out of the car. One, no matter what was “ailing him” he would discount the advice I gave him and get really defensive. This would be followed by a litany of my short comings. Since he doesn’t really know me that well I am not really sure how he knows all of them. Two, I would pay for lunch. His reasoning and logic is that he works for a not for profit company and doesn’t have any money, etc, etc. I wouldn’t mind so much if we alternated but I never invite him to lunch, he always invites me. As I am walking into the restaurant I am holding a conversation with myself that is questioning why I am there. Me and my box of Puff’s sit down and wait. There is a third thing I know about these encounters, he is at least fifteen minutes late, always!

Everything went according to script. He complained and moaned about his life, his wife and the people who worked for him. Thank goodness for him or the entire galaxy would collapse upon itself………..

There are “toxic people” in this world. I believe that they are like hazardous material. You need to stay away from them and not involve yourself with them or you will become toxic also. I don’t believe anyone is born toxic, I believe that after a period of time they make the choice to live that way, and……………….. If we are who we hang around with, well you complete the sentence.

We are as dependant on these toxic people as they are dependent upon spewing their poison. They might be an aunt, an uncle, a parent, a child or a spouse. And after all aren’t we called to love?? Mostly what we see ourselves being called to do is avoiding any situation that is uncomfortable to us.

Now I’m not sure if it was because I felt just plain crummy or if I had a moment of enlightenment, but after we had finished eating I stood up, looked at him and said:
“Joe, I have really come to value the relationship I have created with myself. I am healthier and happier than I have been in years. But here’s the deal: I should have not eaten with you today because I felt really sick but you didn’t seem to care, you never seem to care. So I am really angry right now, mostly with me. When you want to have a relationship that is based on honesty and give and take call me and we can start over. Till then I think way too much of me.”

I picked up the check and walked to the counter, told the owner to split it in half and told him Joe would be paying for his half. Then I left.

Honestly? I felt bad all the way home. But after sitting in the living room for an hour and just reflecting on the whole situation I believe I did something very healthy for me. I took care of me.

See, we just don’t have toxic relationships with people; we can have them with food. I mean haven’t my cookies, cakes and pies always been there for me? And now you want me to abandon them and become a healthy and happy John. The nerve of you!!! They have always been there. Can’t you here my arteries closing as we speak?

Health is a choice and sometimes the choice isn’t always filled with sunshine and tulips. Sometimes it’s making that first step towards sanity that takes you down a new road. It’s pitfalls and setbacks and some days lots and lots of tears.

But let’s wrap this up on a positive note.

Remember when I told you I avoided this pizza joint because of its very own toxicity? Well for lunch today I had a large salad with tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, broccoli, some hardboiled egg and 2 tablespoons of bleu cheese dressing. I had ONE piece of pizza that mostly veggies. I am pleased.

I love me. I love me a lot and I believe I would do anything to make sure that love stays healthy and grows healthy. In a very healthy way, I hope you love you too.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

OMELYN 2/24/2010 2:19PM

    Happened upon you through Ramona's comment about your blog!
Good for you, I say. It's one thing to be available to others, but another to be walked on an viewed as a free lunch with good ears.

May be, just may be after he gets over the shock, your "friend" will learn something even more powerful than the good advice I'm sure you always give him could teach.


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CTENBRINK 2/24/2010 1:54PM

    Way to stand up for yourself!!!!!

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_SNOWMAN 2/23/2010 11:25PM

    Hi JohnTJ1

I'm a new old sparker as I have been around a long time but not active. I just wanted to say I liked your blog it made me think. Thanks for your contribution!


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_RAMONA 2/23/2010 10:37PM

    Hi, John! Nice to meet you... and WHAT an introduction. I stood up and cheered for you and the strength it took to stand up and put it all in perspective, out loud and (I believe) in a fair and loving way (the most loving action is not always the one that feels the best). You not only did something good for yourself, you did something good for him. Emotioanl bullies become as such because people generally don't stand up to them. Clearly this process is agreeing with you.

I am currently pondering a toxic relationship of my own... a relationship in which I did exactly what you just did... and I didn't feel badly about it... after 10 years, it was time. The other person, after a year came back and 'apologised' (sort of)... and we're sort of back where we started. And I'm trying to figure out how/what in me needs to be loved/healed more so that I can be more effective with this person and this relationship... but I'm struggling... and it hurts me.... it's rather insideous, and I can't quite grab ahold of it. You've given me food for thought...and that food is filling me up such that I have the strength to make other better choices.


May your every day be all you need it to be. May an all abiding peace fill your thoughts, rule in your dreams each night, and conquer all your fears. May God manifest himself in ways you have never before experienced. May your joys be fulfilled, your dreams be closer, and your cares be lifted. I pray that faith enters a new height in you, that your territory be enlarged, and that fulfillment is just one step closer.

MAY GOD ABUNDANTLY BLESS YOU, and those you love, in every way that you require. May he hold you gently in the palm of his hand in a very personal way, and may you rest in the fullness of his love, his grace, his strength, his wisdom, his rescue, his redemption, his healing, his inspiration, his restoration and his mercy as you require it! May you carry in your heart always an extra special awareness of God's great love for you, may you feel his sweet and gentle touch upon your life, and may you see his miracles all around you. I pray in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen!

Keep sparkin'!

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TNTEACHER2 2/23/2010 9:23PM

    Hi, John,
I see you have quite a following for your blog. You did very well with your acquaintance. Maybe now he will pick on someone else when he wants his luch paid for. And your salad lunch was great! Good for you!

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CRYSELLE 2/23/2010 7:09PM

    What an awesome blog!!! Great job of addressing the issues of toxic people. Oh draining they can be. That took courage, and I applaud you for it! What a wonderful, freeing thing it is to love ourselves enough to get rid of the people who feed off of us, but still love them enough to leave the door open to them for if they want to be healthy in our lives in the future. That is awesome!

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WANDAH3 2/23/2010 5:53PM

    Job well done! This journey to health is not only about the body becoming healthy, it's about everything in our lives. I have had to withdraw from some people in my life also because of the toxicity in the relationship. It was only dragging me down and back to a place I no longer wanted to be. I have found that as I have become healthier in mind, body and spirit that a couple of those relationships are now being allowed back in...but...on my terms. My relationship with God is far more wonderful than it has been at any point in my life, because I now place value on myself and live according to what resonates within my spirit. I no longer serve God out of fear, I serve him out of a place of love.
When we replace the negatives in our lives with positives we gain a whole new perspective on life. We learn to set healthy boundaries on what we listen to, how we speak and who we become involved with. That doesn't mean that we throw those relationships into the garbage completely...we can still pray for them to find their own place of peace and contentment.
A difficult thing that you did, but if it feels right in your spirit, then it was the right thing to do. You may just have been the spark that God needed to use to reach this person and for him to begin his own life changing journey.


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GIRANIMAL 2/23/2010 4:38PM

    Wow, GOOD for you for finding the strength to stand up for yourself! I think what you did took major courage -- both with this person and with the pizza joint, as others have said. Thank you so much for sharing -- I felt empowered just reading this blog!

emoticon emoticon

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NJMATTICE 2/23/2010 11:54AM

    Victorious! Good job.

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YOYONOMORE1 2/23/2010 10:41AM

    John, great job of addressing the issue of toxic people and how they can affect our lives if we continue to hang with them. I have a couple ladies that live here and the one in particular is so negetive and everytime she engages me in a conversation it always ends up with her critizing me for something, so I still speak to her, but I no longer let her engage me in converstaions. We will always encounter these people in our lives, so we need to learn how to handle them, and you did a marvelous job of doing exactly that. Keep on loving yourself.


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MINDAC20 2/23/2010 9:52AM

    Good for you! You did the right thing. Life is too short to spend it with toxic people.

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TRIPLE_EMME 2/23/2010 9:45AM

    I'm so proud of you for taking the steps to change the dynamic of these relationships: 1) relationship with the toxic "friend" and 2) relationship with the pizza joint.

I hope you feel better soon!

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CMBELISLE 2/23/2010 9:35AM

    I can relate to the toxic people issue and love how you described everything that happened and how you knew it would turn out before you even got there. I also love the fact that your found a way for your favorite pizza place to not be so toxic for you - you found a way to navigate the menu without closing your arteries.

Feel better soon - even sick, you write well!

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STAN5FAM 2/23/2010 8:27AM

    Another fantastic blog John. I am so very proud of you and your choices. You are an inspiration. Maybe it was a light bulb moment for him too.

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STORMTMB 2/23/2010 8:26AM

    You nailed it, John. You were direct and succinct. Who knows, maybe your acquaintance will want the same thing for himself. You told him what he needed to hear. You may never know how he benefits from it. Anyway, you made good choices. Hope you're feeling better today.


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FOXEYES2 2/23/2010 8:24AM

  Dude, that is one of the most awesome things I have ever read.
Yes you got to love yourself enough to walk away from people that are unhealthy for you. I am finding that for me this journey is about more than exercise and portion control and eating the right things it is also about mental well being.
So great job and don't waver or back down if he calls you and wants to play the same old tired scene. Peace.

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DOLLBABE56 2/23/2010 8:01AM

    John, I'm very proud of you. And, you are so right about there being toxic people. Negativity begets negativity. I am really making an effort to be more positive in my thinking and speaking. Sometimes this is very hard, but more and more I catch these thoughts and turn them around to a positive. What you did was a very brave thing to do. It was very freeing also. You also did great with your meal. The hardest thing to do is to be kind to ones self after a lifetime of putting others first.

Good on you! emoticon

Comment edited on: 2/23/2010 8:02:21 AM

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ITEACHKIDS81 2/23/2010 7:57AM

    Good for you! I'm glad you stood up for yourself and I'm glad you ate a healthier option. It is so hard to face temptation like that and not fall back into the old ways. With pizza, I still can't only have just 1 slice. Good for you!

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Letting Go

Monday, February 22, 2010

The more positive you think, feel and believe, the more positive your life becomes.

I am sick.

Not just a few sniffles and a runny nose but the fever, achy, “I wanna die” sort of sick. In a word I feel miserable. There is another part of me that is at peace with all of this. Don’t get me wrong I do not enjoy being ill. I am not sweating the details. I am not stressing. I am letting go.

I will not work out today. That would be suicide and its okay that I don’t, work out that is. Maybe tomorrow I will feel better and I will pick up where I left off Saturday morning. We got home last night and I started feeling bad. My plan was to go to the gym, instead I went to bed.
I have been doing too much, working at a pace quicker than my resources could supply and I got sick. As the saying goes ‘It is what it is.” I am letting go.

Letting go, to me, means that all the junk that clouds my mind gets put on hold and I simply exist for a day or so. I am starting to see that I am not what I accomplish, I am not how many friends I have or don’t have. It’s not about what I look like or the size of clothes I wear. It is about respecting me. It is about being present to myself and mostly its about trusting God, whatever you perceive Him or Her to be.

My favorite book in the Bible is Jonah. Jonah keeps running away and God keeps pulling him back. Jonah wants to go to New York and God wants him in San Diego.
Letting go. There is a real freedom in not knowing, in trusting and in waiting with real joy for the next chapter. It’s about the journey and the people we meet who fortify us. People like you.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MARCYNA 2/25/2010 11:16AM

    We're all Jonah in a way....I wish I were in another place, and He's chasing me all the time...even on SP!!!! emoticon emoticon

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WANDAH3 2/22/2010 6:20PM

    John, good for you for valuing yourself and taking care of your body when it needs time to recover.

PS...I'm jealous of all the new art work you got this weekend. My granddaughter is getting beyond that stage already...siggghhhh.


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WINNERINKY 2/22/2010 10:16AM

    Hope you feel better soon.


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CMBELISLE 2/22/2010 9:51AM

    As I tell myself, my children and my hubby. If you have high fever, rest. If it is just a cold and it is neck up only (all in your head - lol), exercise. If just a cold and below the neck (as in the chest), rest.

Take care - you'll be back to it before you know it.

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STAN5FAM 2/22/2010 9:17AM

    Rest lots, fluids lots to let your body heal. Don't take any fever reducers unless your temp is greater than 100.5, some Docs say 101. The fever is our body's way of fighting/killing off the infection. And I will send you prayers for a speedy recovery! emoticon

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STORMTMB 2/22/2010 9:10AM

    My belief is that with your approach of actually taking it easy and letting your body rest, you'll be feeling better much sooner than if you tried to push through. Hope you're feeling better soon.


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Gone Fishing LOL

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Well I hasd a two pound plus losss this week so I am happy.

I am in Louisville today visitng my grandaughter. We havent seen her since the day after New Years. So there is no great words on inspiration form me today, except maybe this:

Enjoy your self and enjoy life and all the rest is small stuff. This journey should be a happy one. I have to keep reminding myself of that. Between balancing the carbs, the fat and the protien and getting my excercise in and comnpleting challenges and responding to every one who writes I often forget that there is a wonderful me, who should be enjoying all of this.

And.......... thank you all for being my friend. That is a priceless gift.

Have a good Sunday.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PINETREEGIRL 2/22/2010 12:13AM

    Happy Sunday to you, too!

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YOYONOMORE1 2/21/2010 3:59PM

    Enjoy your visit and time with your granddaughter. WTG with the 2 lbs. gone.


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OHYESITSME1 2/21/2010 1:57PM

    Enjoy your visit. Congratulation on the 2 pound loss. That's fantastic!

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NJMATTICE 2/21/2010 1:45PM

    Enjoy your visit and keep up the good work.

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KATIEGLEN012 2/21/2010 1:40PM

    Everyone deserves a day off!!!!! Congrats on the loss...and most of all enjoy your granddaughter...these grandchildren grow up way faster than our own kids did!!!!

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STORMTMB 2/21/2010 11:58AM

    Congrats on your weight loss and enjoy the visit with your granddaughter. I believe life is about following your own priorities.


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KRDRAPES 2/21/2010 11:46AM


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STAN5FAM 2/21/2010 11:10AM

    Have a "Whopper" of a day! Weightloss over weightgain always the start of a good one.

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WANDAH3 2/21/2010 10:44AM

    WOO HOO John...a two pound elimination is fantastic! Keep up the great work.

Have an wonderful time with your family.


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