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The Most Important Spark Lesson I've Learned

Monday, August 01, 2011

Sometimes I stand in line at the grocery store and while I’m waiting to check out I look at the magazine covers. It’s become a reflex action, hardly noticeable, but I find my hand going across my bald head feeling for something that resembles hair. My belly automatically sucks in a bit and I stand a little taller. I start to compare myself to the image staring back at me. As I load the groceries into the car I start making all sorts of mental resolutions and set some fantastic goals. I’ve compared myself to someone else and I’ve come up lacking. All the way home I curse my last bottle of beer and last carb loaded lunch. I rationalize that it’s all in my genes and that I am always going to be this way. I lock my jaw a bit more firmly. “I WILL do this!!!” And I do. At last count, to the best of my recollection, I’ve done these things eight or ten times in my adult life and each time I end up back in the same spot, heavier, less healthy and more frustrated. Want a laundry list of the things I’ve tried? I’ll skip that part because you’ve probably tried them also. It’s really frustrating isn’t it? You reach a success plateau, celebrate a bit and watch your success slowly unravel.

The answer came to me of in all places Sam’s Club yesterday morning. Joan gave me one of those “Wait here,” commands while she walked down an aisle to look at something. I was staring off into space when this massive revelation entered my mind. “You can’t change what you don’t believe in.” Most of my life I’ve been really good at “removing” things. Bad habits, weight control, you name it. I ferret those little buggers out and attack them head on. The missing integer has simply been taking a deep breath and accepting and loving myself just as I am, right now! If I never change another thing, never lose another ounce, never eat another healthy balanced meal or run a 5K, I’ll be the most wonderful and cherished person God created. We were born as we are and then as soon as we were able we began comparing and changing. We wanted to look more like……… We wanted to sound more like……………… It hardly ever worked.

I sit here today, overweight, in a bit of physical distress because of my back and legs and it dawns on me that maybe all of this happened because I am being shown that my worth and my value has nothing to do with a scale or how fast and far I run, but in accepting who and what I am right now, today, and loving me as is, no extended warranties, no promise of an updated model, just me as me to be loved and to love. It comes down to looking at me and accepting what’s in front of me, not running away, getting lost in magazine images but simply and purely loving me as I am. I cannot begin to create any sort of action plan until I dig deep and look at ALL that I am and accept and love me.

I’ve been Sparking for almost twenty months. This lesson is the most important one I’ve learned to date. Accept who I am, learn to love myself as I am, and then and only then can I see any real change. Once I know I am happy with me as I am, right now, only then can I create a vision of my future.

Many years ago, a wise man told me “Where you are is where you are supposed to be, right now” I didn’t understand that message until yesterday in Sam’s Club.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SILLYHP1953 10/12/2011 10:35AM

    Yes, yes, yes! I firmly believe it...the doing of it is another thing. I'll practice looking in a mirror and telling myself I love me just as I am (reminds me of an old gospel song).

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MYOWNHERO 8/9/2011 12:10AM

    So true!

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GIRANIMAL 8/4/2011 10:23PM

    Wow. Too bad I am arriving late to this party emoticon because I sure do need to hear this! And embrace it. I am so obsessed these days with just a little bit further, a little bit more toned, a little bit more...whatever...even though deep down I do already know that the only thing I really need more of is acceptance. After all this weight lost, sometimes I actually feel less attractive. What the heck is THAT about?! It's about forgetting (OK, not actually knowing how) to love me for me, as I am. To actually celebrate my imperfections rather than constantly trying to "fix" them.

I am where I am supposed to be right now!

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SPARKLISE 8/4/2011 11:56AM

    I think deep down we all know this,but putting it into practice is very hard.
Because of the media,we always come short or lacking and want to or not,it gets in our psych and it's hard to do the opposite.
Not that it's impossible,but we have to be very vigilant.
Good blog. emoticon

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TEACHING1ST 8/3/2011 9:41PM

    I always look forward to your insights, John! You outdid yourself on this one!

Thanks for all your efforts---for yourself and for all of the rest of us.


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MMNICKS 8/3/2011 11:04AM

    Great blog, great revelation.


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GRAMLORI 8/3/2011 10:42AM


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AMABILE75 8/1/2011 10:38PM

    It sounds like your revelation is very similar to the one I had last night!! :-) I'll be here to hold your hand and tell you that I will be happy with ME right along with you. You are such a wonderful person, so amazing and inspirational. *HUGS*

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RUN4FOOD 8/1/2011 9:48PM

    You are full of great and inspiring thoughts.
6 years ago I accepted the fact that God loves me. If God loves me I can love me also.
That was the beginning of some great changes in my life. Still have a long way to go, but much growth has taken place.
Hope you can find that reason to believe in yourself, it will truly change your life.

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LINDAJ0621 8/1/2011 7:17PM

    Another great blog, John. I believe physical changes are just that...physical changes! I might feel physically better and have more stamina and hopefully live a longer, healthier life, but it doesn't change ME. I need to always love ME and my life NOW, regardless!


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CARTOONB 8/1/2011 7:03PM

    I love you just the way you are. Hope you do too. If not now, soon.

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SHERRYJVP 8/1/2011 6:00PM

    Great blog. When you love something you tend to take better care of this is going to work. (and I bet Joan loves your head-I never thought bald was unattractive. I keep telling my hubbie that)

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TEDYBEAR2838 8/1/2011 3:49PM

    You are so right, so many of us don't value ourselves "Because"
we are overweight.....etc....etc ...etc...

God values ALL OF US!

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OUBACHE 8/1/2011 2:05PM

    This is a lesson that seems to have to be learned over and over and over, again. Why is it that it's so hard to learn to love ourselves, right where we are? Thanks for this timely reminder.

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AMBERADAMS1 8/1/2011 2:00PM

    I love this blog and could stand to learn this lesson myself!

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ANATASHIKI 8/1/2011 1:23PM

    I wish you good luck learning to love myself was the most difficult thing I did in my life. still working on it emoticon

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HAPPYSOUL91 8/1/2011 1:10PM

    Fantastic light bulb moment

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CCCARTER3 8/1/2011 12:49PM

    What a blessing you are to us.I really enjoied reading,so ture.Good leason for everyone.

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BLACKROSE_222 8/1/2011 12:12PM

    What a great lesson.

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GETFIT2LIVE 8/1/2011 11:33AM

    It really is the most important lesson to learn, John--well said and well learned. I posted a picture that sums it up for me: "love your life. now. today. accept it, just as it is. so that the moments of happiness you have been waiting for do not pass you by. love your life today just as it is."


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HOTRODSANDY 8/1/2011 11:14AM

    Wonderful blog! I enjoyed reading it, my head nodding along in agreement! emoticon

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EJOY-EVELYN 8/1/2011 10:59AM

    Thank you for the blessing you brought my way this day! “You can’t change what you don’t believe in” is so true and we need to begin internalizing many more of these positive messages. May you continue to see these wonderful revelations!

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HDHAWK 8/1/2011 10:41AM

    Awesome blog. It's my biggest problem because I don't accept myself where I am right now. I can't get the "I'm not good enough until I lose weight" thing out of my head. It's probably the reason I'm back at my starting point. Thanks for the reminder.

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TIME4AMY 8/1/2011 10:08AM

    I'm in tears...

Why? Because as proud as I am for making a dent in my weight loss goal, I still have to focus more of my attention on being happy in my own skin.

I don't look at magazines, because I've yet to see a female...not so perfect and not airbrushed. The only thing I've viewed that is remotely close to being slightly "overweight" women, is my Lane Bryant flyer that I receive in the mail. Even those plus size models do not look "overweight" to me. They look healthy and beautiful. "I would be comfortable in those shoes", I think to myself. I honestly wish they would put some obese women in the flyer, who do not look as wonderful as the flyer portrays.

Although, would I really be content/happy in those shoes? Maybe so, after being in mine. I just remember being much smaller and unhappy. (What I wouldn't give to be the slightly overweight teen that I was...150lbs.) Funny how ungrateful we can be at the moment. At 280ish, that is now my long time goal. The thing that is too bad, is that I spent much of my teenage years, hating the way I looked. This, I realize, is an issue that needs to be repaired after years and years of thinking this way. I'm a firm believer in change = changing thoughts first...

Thank you for speaking your mind. It was just the thing I needed to hear today. emoticon

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CMA444 8/1/2011 10:06AM

    Well said! I can't agree more with you!

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TERRIPAL1 8/1/2011 10:00AM

    Wow John you always give me something to think about,even if I don't like it lol ! Meaning the hardest thing to do is accept ourselves as we are right now,but if you learned this lesson it means I need to learn it too!

Thanks emoticon

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    Once you learn to love yourself the world follows. I've noticed here that the prom king and queens are often overweight and sometimes even obese. We hold ourselves back by our own expectations. Aim high, work hard, and you will realize your dreams.

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EDWINA172 8/1/2011 9:47AM

    I needed to read this today. Also, a line from one of my favorite songs hit home when I read this~"Don't buy beauty magazines, they will only make you feel ugly." Its from the Sunscreen song. If you ever get a chance, listen to it. VERY wise words. Many of my favorite quotes are from that song. "The race is long but in the end its only with yourself."
Love you John!

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JOANOFSPARK 8/1/2011 9:47AM

    emoticon blog and so very true......if we don't believe in something, how are we going to change anything...and we have to start by loving ourselves just as we are with all our warts and wrinkles....and no matter how many lbs we have yet to you said, many of us have 'been there, done that' in the past and kept gaining, losing and regaining, more and more each time.. We have to take a stand right here and now, that we love our bodies and ourselves....and even if we never lose another pound, we will still love ourselves....but, a funny thing happens once you do begin to show your body that you love it, those pounds begin to come off......slowly and surely.....because our attitudes and way of thinking are different....

thanks for an awesome blog......much needed words of wisdom.. emoticon

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NORTHWOODSMOM8 8/1/2011 9:35AM

    WONDERFUL blog!!!!! Thank you so much for sharing your insights! And your wife reminds me of me! Wait here commands to my hubby! I laughed out loud on that one!!!! emoticon

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    What a wonderful blog and so right you are. Good luck to you, with you!

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    Words of wisdom eloquently shared - a lesson we all need to take into our hearts and minds.
Thank you for sharing.

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WISEONE68 8/1/2011 9:19AM

    This is the best thing to EVER come out of Sam's Club!!! EVER! (in my humble opinion)

It is easy for me (us) to accept all the negative, "You're not good enough, pretty enough, thin enough, etc." messages that we get every day...but, have someone tell us that I am nice, sweet, good, pretty...and then I have to disagree!!

Yes, we do have to accept ourselves as we are...right now...for that is how God intended it to be. However, Jesus met folks RIGHT WHERE THEY WERE, but He never left them the same way they were before the encounter. Thus, we will never be the same from day to day, hour to hour...and, that is the wonder of being human.

I got on the scale today...first time since May 1st. GOSH!! I was disappointed--gained 16.2 pounds in THREE months!! Is that possible? Of course it is. However, rather than focus on that, I just got off and said to myself "this week, I will start to do something to change".

You are a great inspiration to me (and others), John. You need to rest in the knowledge that your journey, no matter if you are in a valley or on a mountain, inspires others!! Let's continue to encourage each other and share our learnings along the way!!

Your Friend in Sparkland,
Erika emoticon

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-AIMIE- 8/1/2011 9:12AM

    I needed this today... thank you for sharing!

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DUKELETO 8/1/2011 9:11AM

    Awesome post! Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

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GEMGLOW 8/1/2011 9:03AM

    Excellent blog...i re-read that part “You can’t change what you don’t believe in.” a few times....
my epiphany one was doing a music video(lol).."Be the change, you wanna see"..
Each decision on our journey's must be thought about and planned...(although some become second nature, in the beginning, we think about it first)...and you are right, loving your self as is, is the most important thing we can ever do...once we can accomplish that, we really can do almost anything :)

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KERLIN26 8/1/2011 9:00AM

  So true! Good for you. This is such a hard lesson for anyone to learn.

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ASHOAF1 8/1/2011 8:57AM

  Love your blog. What amazing words of wisdom. It is something I hadn't really thought about before, but reading your blog it was like being smacked by a 2x4 :). In the back of my mind was this voice saying, you will love yourself WHEN you drop those next 5lbs...but of course after those 5lbs are gone, the voice is back saying well...maybe you will love yourself MORE after the NEXT 5lbs. Thanks so much for sharing this.

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DRLERO 8/1/2011 8:57AM

    Wow, that was a major epiphany! We are always chasing what we want or want to be. Never happy with who we are or what we have. When you don't love yourself it is hard to want something good for yourself. Thanks for the thought!

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What If We Believed..........

Sunday, July 31, 2011

What if we believed……………..

We were perfect just the way God made us

We were loved unconditionally and without any expectation.

We were loved simply because we were created.

That we were wise

That we had the capability inside of us to be healthy and fit

That it didn’t really matter what we looked like

That running fast or jumping high or swinging weights didn’t make us any better, or any worse.

That it’s okay to fail every now and then

That it was perfectly fine that we learned a bit slower than the person next to us.

That the gifts, treasure and insights we possess made all the difference to those we live with and those we love.

What if we believed in us, you and in me, and what if we held that amazing belief we had in ourselves out like a beacon for others to see. Wouldn’t that be amazing?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MARCYNA 8/2/2011 10:52AM

    This blog's made my day!!!My weak point, I really don't believe in myself as much as I should...... emoticon

Comment edited on: 8/2/2011 11:37:58 AM

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SILLYHP1953 8/1/2011 7:53AM

    Amazing is hardly the word.

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LYNMEINDERS 8/1/2011 6:37AM certainly would be absolutely amazing....what a big difference it would make to everyone....

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BLACKROSE_222 8/1/2011 1:07AM

    I love it - but I think you have just written a Beatles song. LOL. I'll have to start calling you "John L". :)

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GEEMAWEST 7/31/2011 11:11PM

    Maybe if I believed all that I wouldn't be in the funk I'm in right now. Guess I've got some things to work on.

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CARTOONB 7/31/2011 9:12PM

    Hmmmm....I don't know. Do you?

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WONDERJUL 7/31/2011 8:06PM

    Thank you for the reminder!

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PRINCESSNURSE 7/31/2011 4:59PM


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COOP9002 7/31/2011 4:56PM

    Good word.

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HOTRODSANDY 7/31/2011 2:48PM

Thank you! Loved reading this blog!

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NJMATTICE 7/31/2011 2:32PM

    Just think of all the free time we would have for good works!
Happy Sunday, John. Have a super duper week!

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IFDEEVARUNS2 7/31/2011 2:04PM

    I would be as happy as my dog is. emoticon

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SUSUSUZZZIE 7/31/2011 1:45PM

    It would be amazing! Thanks for the good food for thought!

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  I enjoyed reading this. emoticon emoticon

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    Every bit of it is true and a given so we owe it to ourselves to believe it.

Comment edited on: 7/31/2011 1:18:10 PM

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PGNBRI 7/31/2011 12:52PM

    Yes, it would!

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RUN4FOOD 7/31/2011 12:37PM

    Thank you from one that has always thought of himself as unworthy and finding out recently that I truly am unworthy. I am unworthy of God's love, but he loves me anyway. That lesson started a great new life that is constantly getting better, aided now by your insights.

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MKPRINCESS007 7/31/2011 11:48AM

    Yes, definitely would be awesome! Glad I found your blog today before I closed my computer until this evening. I am starting fresh today.....Day 1. Husband on board to commit to a healthier lifestyle with me. Put my tracker back on my page, starting at 0. Buying a scale so my husband and I can' t live in denial anymore.

So, I believe your blog.......I believe that I need to let go of what is holding me back and recommit myself to living.

Thanks, my dear friend! :)


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BLESSED2BEME 7/31/2011 11:46AM

    Exactly what I want to believe...working more towards it everyday!

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JECKIE 7/31/2011 11:40AM


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GOOFIERNU 7/31/2011 11:40AM

    Thank you...

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TEDYBEAR2838 7/31/2011 11:25AM

    Your ability to make us stop and think about our own lives, is a
gift. I'm glad you are using it. emoticon

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MOM2NATURE 7/31/2011 11:23AM

    emoticon Well said!

emoticon for saying it so well! Have a GREAT week!

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TRISTAROSE 7/31/2011 11:12AM

    Yes it would be Amazing!! Great blog John and something to think about.


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TERRIPAL1 7/31/2011 10:38AM

    I like it I really like it!

Thanks !!

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EDWINA172 7/31/2011 10:25AM

    I've got to work on that for sure! In the end, when we look back on our lives, this blog is what we will know is true. Why do we wait until it too late? Lets love ourselves now. Thanks John. Happy Sunday:)

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HDHAWK 7/31/2011 10:09AM

    I needed to hear this today as I start over on my weight loss journey. emoticon

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ANATASHIKI 7/31/2011 9:52AM

    I'm still working on some points on that list ! emoticon

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MIMIDOT 7/31/2011 9:51AM

    Great blog! Thank you. Nice things to think about.

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JOANOFSPARK 7/31/2011 9:37AM

    emoticon fantastic words of wisdom..truer words were never spoken......What if......?? WE Can do it.....All we have to do is to BELIEVE!! :)

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SCHNEBL 7/31/2011 9:35AM

    Fabulous words....thank you!

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More On My Back and Legs

Thursday, July 28, 2011

My legs weren’t feeling any better, my attitude was in the toilet, I was able to do less and less and Joan gave me the option of either seeing another doctor or getting a good attorney!! Since my last visit to the doctor and the exhortation to rest, swim and apply cold packs to my thighs things hadn’t gotten any better. They hadn’t gotten any worse, but had stabilized to a dull ache and a lack of mobility. This, in turn, made John one very cranky person to be around. My whole lower body was stiff and sore.

My doctor is out of town so I went to an immediate care facility. I’d had good luck in the past with these folks and the PA on staff there is known to be thorough and easy to get along with. So I sat on an examination table, gave her my list of woes, she smiled and said “X-Rays” After bending my lower body into positions I don’t think it should be bent into she told me I had a slight bulge in the disc between my L2 and L3 vertebrae with a few tiny bone spurs thrown in to boot. All of my spinning and TRX training had aggravated the condition. Those vertebrae are responsible for providing feeling, etc. to the legs. I’m scratching my head because my back didn’t hurt.

She gave me a shot containing an anti-inflammatory and a prescription for muscle relaxers. She scheduled me for PT starting early next week and told me to walk as much as I can along with swimming. I popped a muscle relaxer before bed last night and woke up feeling relaxed LOL. Joan and I took a walk this morning and I walked about one half mile. That is the longest I’ve been able to walk in a month. The only area sore right now is the injection sight.

Her assessment is that my biking and spinning days are over because of the pressure it puts on my lower back. It felt good to be able to walk unencumbered this morning. As I write I feel pretty good. Just thought I’d share.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KIKOOMAGOO 7/30/2011 10:33AM

    Sending prayers your way! so glad to read that you are having some relief from the pain, and are able to take your beloved walks again. Thanks for the smile!

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LORSI2000 7/30/2011 12:03AM


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HDHAWK 7/29/2011 3:13PM

    I'm glad you're feeling somewhat better and are able to start walking again. I took my first walk on Tues. since the pinched nerve in my back has healed. It felt pretty good and the scale certainly says I need it! One thing you can say about those muscle relaxers is that they provide a great night's sleep!

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SPARKLISE 7/29/2011 10:13AM

    Glad you're getting back those legs! emoticon

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CARTOONB 7/29/2011 12:19AM

    Yippee!! I'm glad that you are feeling better. And I bet Joan is glad you're less cranky.

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DOLLBABE56 7/28/2011 9:06PM

    Thank goodness you went to another doctor. Let the recovering commence. :)

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LYNMEINDERS 7/28/2011 7:12PM

    Thats just so so awesome John....
I have discovered it sometimes pays to get a 2nd opinion....
I have the boss of the medical practise I go to and wow....has he stirred things along.....the previous DR missed the most important thing...I had Glandular fever ....he didn't even test for that when i saw him 2 years before....

Its amazing the difference a bit of thoroughness makes....

go you....
Enjoy being able to do more walking....

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    Sounds like you got a good diagnosis and are on your way to recovery. I'm only allowed to walk and it is enough according to most M.D.s. I walk a minimum now of 15,000 steps a day and I usually feel great. hugs!!

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MIZZSB 7/28/2011 2:41PM

    finally something good !!!
get those miles in my friend!

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RUN4FOOD 7/28/2011 1:59PM

    Sounds like you're doing the right things. Hope there's improvement soon. and you can get some exercise in again. Walking is a great exercise.
I appreciate how much you share and how many insights you have brought to my attention.
I'm going back and reading you past blogs. I'm finding some additional insights that are of great value.
Take care of yourself one day at a time.

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MARCYNA 7/28/2011 1:40PM

    You're in my prayers, just make sure you get on with cures & hope you can swim and it can help you with spine & legs emoticon
Lots of Love emoticon

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BLACKROSE_222 7/28/2011 12:43PM

    Thanks for sharing. Definitely do what is best for you and your health.

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SILLYHP1953 7/28/2011 12:43PM

    I'm glad you listened to Joan and got some answers from the doctor! Physical therapy might just work wonders, too!

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PGNBRI 7/28/2011 12:17PM

    Glad she was able to help you! You'll obviously need to change what exercise you're doing, but it looks like you'll be back to regular exercise in no time!

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HAPPYSOUL91 7/28/2011 11:55AM

    So glad you were pain free after the walk

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NASFKAB 7/28/2011 11:50AM

  Glad you found what's wrong with you goos luck

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KERLIN26 7/28/2011 11:38AM

  Excellent, excellent news John! I, too, had a bulging L2 and 3 after my car accident as well as C5 and 6. I had C5 and 6 removed and a metal cage put in it's place (wouldn't recommend that). Muscle relaxers are a godsend too. The doctor you saw sounds great and I hope that the PT perscribed will help heal you! God bless!

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TEDYBEAR2838 7/28/2011 11:37AM

    PHew! I'm glad there is some relief. Just lay off
the spinning etc, at least for the time being.
You ability to get around is MUCH more important

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HIPPICHICK1 7/28/2011 11:33AM

    I'm having back issues right now too. It's affecting my left leg and so I know your pain. I also have a bone spur on my coccyx and yeah, I have an arthritic butt!
We age, things wear out. It happens, but it isn't fun, is it?
Good Luck with PT!

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TERRIPAL1 7/28/2011 11:24AM

    You must feel great walking hope you feel even better soon!!

Good Luck! emoticon

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GIRANIMAL 7/28/2011 11:13AM

    Follow doc's orders for now (and ice that injection site) but don't give up on the bike forever. Remember, I have a herniation at L5-S1, also with some bone spurs, and some compression at L4-L5, and eventually my PT OK'd the biking -- and it's now one of the best things for keeping connected core muscles that were once always sore (hip flexors, for once) in better shape! Just know you'll probably never be able to ride a road bike again, so get used to the idea of a mountain or hybrid, something that's far more upright, if you don't have one already.

Much love, bro!


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KKINNEA 7/28/2011 11:07AM

    Sorry about biking, looks like you must make friends with swimming! Glad to hear you've found a cause and can start making recovery progress.

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ANATASHIKI 7/28/2011 10:45AM

    do what's the best for your health . just walking is enough for exercise if you have consistency . i used to know a lady on spark who lost over 100 lb , I don't remember how many , just by walking and tracking her food .glad to hear you feel better

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MOMMY_MIMI 7/28/2011 10:03AM

    John, you are in my prayers. I'm glad the PA offered you some relief! Time to find a different mode of exercise....walking/swimming seem to be working for you. What about weights (at least for upper body)? Take care of you!

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CATHERINEL66 7/28/2011 9:59AM

    Argh!! Sorry to hear this. I hope once everything anti-inflames that the outlook looks a little more positive. I'm thankful to hear that you're up and walking and doing so relatively pain free.

Hang in there!

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GETFIT2LIVE 7/28/2011 9:51AM

    You have a wise wife, John (but you already knew that). I am so glad you got in and the PA was able to locate the real problem. I hope things continue to improve for you and the pain goes away entirely!


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MSSUNBUG 7/28/2011 9:50AM

    Wow, I'm sorry to hear this news. I AM glad, however, to hear you had a pain-free walk this morning. There are so many benefits to walking. I hope that with the pain managed, you're able to enjoy all of those.

Do take good care.

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FROGGERHKC 7/28/2011 9:49AM

    So glad you are feeling better!!!
emoticon emoticon

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You Never Know When Your Signature Might Be Valuable

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

My wife, Joan, works in a bank. She hears anything and everything from the folks who pass through her line. Last night at dinner she told me a number of teachers had shared a startling fact with her: The school system would no longer be teaching cursive writing!! The consensus was that penmanship, as it was called in my day was antiquated. Within ten years most signatures would be digital and since we are now buying every student a lap top to learn with, the notion of your signature and mine is going to become a rather quaint curiosity.

I am all for progress but I still recoil in fear of a ruler being slapped across my knuckles when I don’t sign my signature neatly. I think of all those trees that were felled, calluses that were developed and those really huge lead pencils we learned to grasp – All of them will disappear and become a foot note in history. I think about all the hours my mother made me practice writing because it might help me get a job one day or help me pen a sincere thank you note for a card or gift given. Thanks to technology my I can show my gratitude today by simply typing “TYVM”

I am looking at one of my book cases. On it is fifteen years’ worth of hand written journals. In all honesty there are times I can’t decipher what I wrote. Suppose, centuries from now someone excavates my basement and find those journals. Kind of like a Dead Sea Scroll treasure. If we stop teaching cursive, who is going to translate my wisdom?

Time to go. I’m going to sign a hundred note cards and put them in our safe deposit box. You never know when someone might want my autograph

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WALKNLOVE 7/30/2011 7:51AM

    There is nothing quite so personal as a hand written note and when someone wrote it in cursive, it was more special.I used to teach it in 4k...imagine that!I think technology has it's advantages for sure, but it has also taken away the personal touch to so many things.Why I seen teenage couples texting each other instead of talking...WOW! It's up to us to see that the personal touch is still taught, even if we have to teach it ourselves!I am sure John that you will be one of those teachers to your sweet grand children! Blessings to you my friend! Have a great weekend with the family & tell Joan hello for me!

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HDHAWK 7/29/2011 3:10PM

    We still teach cursive, but it doesn't get much priority after it's been taught. My own kid's teachers taught it, then the following year they were allowed to print if they wanted to. The idea is that reports are mostly typed now and printing is acceptable. We have too much other important stuff to focus on. You know, test scores. emoticon

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NASFKAB 7/28/2011 11:52AM

  Such a sad thought

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GIRANIMAL 7/28/2011 11:07AM

    This makes me sad. Sometimes I have to work to decipher past journals too, but pouring my heart into a computer just does NOT feel as cathartic or profound!
But I have been accused of being a Luddite, so perhaps I am just resistant to change after all. Or I also don't want to think the lump I still have on my middle finger from pressing REALLY HARD with the pencil in first grade to accommodate my teacher's failing eyesight was all for naught.


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SPARKLISE 7/27/2011 8:28PM

    It's just sounds weird,but my daughter never did learn it and she's doing ok. She just writes in box letters when she needs to write. At least her signature is legible. emoticon

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-CORAL- 7/27/2011 6:20PM

    Most people's signatures only vaguely resemble cursive writing anyway. Get rid of it in my opinion. I have never had to use cursive writing in my life. I'm a 34-year old system analyst (computer software nerd), and I can tell you that even in meetings now, instead of people carrying around notepaper and pen to take notes, it's a tablet and stylus or small netbook. All official correspondence is typed. I don't know, I think cursive writing and all those drills I did as a kid were a waste of time. Schools really need to focus more on grammar, because I see atrocious grammar and spelling from 80% of the US population (unscientific opinion)!

Comment edited on: 7/27/2011 6:21:31 PM

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ANATASHIKI 7/27/2011 6:05PM

    you're kidding? right? not knowing to write is analphabete , laptop or not

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LYNMEINDERS 7/27/2011 4:56PM

    I love are so so is ludicrous....
One school in the north Island of New Zealand now is having compulsary $800nz ipads...( Ithik thats what thye are introducing)......a lot of people can't afford to provide that as it is a very low socioeconomic area....but the kids have to have them....
One of the older students stated that she had learned all she had with the use of a pen and she wasn't disadvantaged in any way.....
Makes me wonder how much people get paid to sit and think all these things up and how much of a backhander they get from companies....


thats my thoughts on this today....

Bottom line you are so so right....our signatures will mean nothing....sad

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WALKIETALKIE 7/27/2011 4:15PM

    Hell will freeze over and the Cubs will win the. World Series before the Illinois State government will accept digital signatures. Remember when we were all converting to metric system? Heck I think Great Britain convertrd to metric and we are still using the imperial system.

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TEDYBEAR2838 7/27/2011 1:32PM

    I know what you mean. I been signing documents for the sale of my home, electronically. I print it out, sign it, copy with my copier and email it back. WEIRD!

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KT-NICHOLS-13 7/27/2011 12:52PM

    So many things still require original (wet) signatures, not sure how this will work out. All things are not digital.

I giggled at your note about your mom making you sit and practice your writing - my Aunt made me do the same thing.

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CARTOONB 7/27/2011 11:38AM

    I've heard talk of not teaching cursive and I hope it doesn't come to that. I think it will happen though. I'll remember that you signed those cards and set aside some of my retirement funds to invest in those!!

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GOOFIERNU 7/27/2011 11:03AM

    I am currently "home schooling" a kindergartener. A big part of what we do is hand on: reading BOOKS, writing on paper, finger painting and drawing. I showed him cursive and he was impressed. He wanted to learn it. So, slowly, I've started teaching him.

I started writing a journal when I was 13. I'm 41 now. I've got 28 years of hand-written journals sitting in a file cabinet. I've slowed down lately, only journaling when the inner turmoil starts to get to me. Right now, I'm in a happy place and don't feel the need. I'll occasionally bring it out to update the happiness, just so I have a written log of it. I've tried switching to a digital format. It does nothing for me.

It will be a sad day, indeed, when our paper books and handwriting are replaced.

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KKINNEA 7/27/2011 10:55AM

    Interesting and I'm with you on all points. Love it!

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HAPPYSOUL91 7/27/2011 10:44AM

    This is just plain nuts, and I sure hope it is accepted in all states

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HKARLSSON 7/27/2011 10:22AM

    That's crazy talk! Next, they'll stop teaching people how to write at all. I remember when I was a kid and learning to write in cursive, my little sister was so mad because she couldn't read it. She accused me of writing bad things about her in secret code! It was pretty funny. She was so proud when she could finally do it, too, just like "Sissy." I wonder if there will come a time when students will accuse their elders of writing in a secret code...

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MUSTANG_SALLY2 7/27/2011 9:33AM

    My fourth grade teacher had a love affair with the lazy brown dog and a fox who jumped over him backwards. I bet we wrote that phrase a million times. It makes me sad to think cursive writing will go to the way side even if it all does become digital. I use to get lots of compliments on how well I could write and my grandfather use to tell how it was a part of a man's character, how good his penmanship was. *sighs*

I sent two note cards this week simply because they have become a rare treat in this day and time. Maybe they will save them and sell them on ebay one day. Ugh!


Comment edited on: 7/27/2011 9:34:07 AM

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MARCYNA 7/27/2011 9:16AM

    Lovely blog....Did you know handwriting helps to develop certain areas of brain? When digital kids will become adults, something will be missing at neurologic level.I think we adults got the best of two worlds: raised in handwriting, emigrated in DigitaLand for good.

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JOURNEYTO60 7/27/2011 9:11AM

    Oh my goodness! I am an elementary school teacher and have not been approached with such a change...yet! You are right, the next generation needs to read what is in print at this time! What a tragedy this will be!

My son is one of the most avid readers that I know. He orders book after book and keeps each one, building a library. When I ask him what he wants for a gift, it is always a bookshelf or gift cards to order more books! I once asked if he wanted a kindle and he said, "No! I love the books themselves!" I am proud of him and hope there never comes a day when he can't get one anymore because technology has replaced them.

I am all for changes that improve life, but not for the ones that replace the wonderful things in letter writing, going to movie theaters, reading a good book, and signing my own name!

Have a great day! Thanks for sharing!

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SILLYHP1953 7/27/2011 9:10AM

    I had heard that cursive is not going to be taught anymore. I think that's ridiculous, but what do I know. I've also heard that hand writing our journals helps connect us more to our inner selves, our higher self, and gets our deepest feelings out better. But I don't know, I've just heard there's more of a mind connection through hand writing. Typing may be just as good at it. I know that Wayne Dyer hand writes all his books. I'm quite impressed at 15 years of journals! Again, I ask, when are you going to write a book?

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BLACKROSE_222 7/27/2011 9:07AM

    I heard about this one as well. It is crazy. When is the last time that you heard of someone looking something up in an actual dictionary? Or if you showed a kid white out now a days, they wouldn't have a clue what you were talking about - or Typewriter tape! LOL.

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MEALOHAOE 7/27/2011 9:05AM

    I heard this and to be honest it kind of saddens me. Not really sure why. Except maybe that there's a lot of personality in a person's signature. THe carelessness of my dad's signature is something I always think of when I think of him. Or the fact that he said his signature was so illegible because he signed so many contracts for the military that this way he could always claim it wasn't his signature. Dad is quite the cut up and it comes across in his signature.

Or Mom's careful, conservative, proper signature. It shows how much she paid attention to teachers and how much she was a people pleaser.

Losing that window to someone's soul just seems like a huge loss.

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SNOWANGELDIVA 7/27/2011 9:00AM

    John, I school our five at home. The older children have 90% of their education fed to them through technology...wait, 95%. Rarely do their hands grace the delicate fold of a real 'page', except for recreational reading in the comfort of their beds. Everything is on their computer. All at their finger tips. Literally, it's touch screen.
I am very concerned with the decision to obliterate cursive and I am pro technology.
Cursive is not just about eye candy.
How many professions needs the basics of fine motor skills and disciplines that cursive develops?
Even if you're using the laser to make the cuts now...whose hand is steadying and guiding the laser?
Food for thought.
FYI. I would buy your autograph John. Also, I LOVE journals, and I myself am a calligraphy fan and choose to have terrible penmanship most days.

Comment edited on: 7/27/2011 9:04:15 AM

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DAWNDMOORE40 7/27/2011 8:54AM

    emoticonfor sharing that bit of inspiration with us! It is hard to see so many changes in this world when the some of the ways we used to do stuff worked just as well! Did you get your note cards done yet? Have a blessed day! emoticon

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The Value of Balance

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

It’s always the little things, isn’t it? I set a really good plan in place, make sure the “right” food is in the house, mark time off on my calendar to make sure I swim and do my stretches, and lo and behold, like a penny on a railroad track something so small and insignificant threatens to derail me? Does that happen to you? I pray, I meditate, I hold “good thoughts” in my head. I visualize myself as being healthy, active and well within my weight limits. (Often I see myself as rather “dashing” lol) I read all the right articles and blogs and study my goals. One tiny feather, one slight breeze blowing cross wind and whamo blamo my world is threatened.

I am learning that my life isn’t just what I put in my mouth or how many laps I swim; it is what I do when a huge ball of negativity rolls around the corner and threatens to squash all my best efforts. It’s staying within my calorie limits and grabbing the cup of water melon rather than the plate of cookies. I am learning not to turn to food for salvation and relief but rather to look inside, find the pebble in my emotional or spiritual shoe and work to remove it. Balance in my life is achieved when I look at everything, all the time on a daily basis and realize that my attitude is just as important as a food label. It means fear; anxiety and anger are issues to be worked out and dealt with gently and at face value.

I find that precious balance that is often fleeting when I repeat my mantra; “You are worth it, you deserve, it you are what you believe you are and you are who you hang around with.” Some days it swirls in my head continually and oh, those days are so magnificent. Other days its MIA, I couldn’t find it with a GPS if my life depended on it.

The precious balance in my life comes only when I look inward and out at those who love, support and nurture me, all at the same time..

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CARTOONB 7/26/2011 11:21PM

    Melon and cookies....that is balance.

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BAYBELIEVER 7/26/2011 9:23PM

    Wonderful blog! So true. Thanks for stating this so eloquently.

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LYNMEINDERS 7/26/2011 6:21PM

    It is not easy when we make a decision to make changes,,,,,
It's as though everything comes against us to prevent us achieving what we have purposed our minds to do.... is in that standing firm in what we know and have learned that will give us the breakthrough that we are so looking for tho find that premanant balance.....standing so strong in it that even penny's or feathers will not derail us.....

You can so so do this John...I know you can....

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ANATASHIKI 7/26/2011 3:03PM

    I would like to say that my balance is pretty solid but I'm afraid life( universe ? karma?) would come and kick me in the you know what emoticon . I was 2 times close to death the last 2 years , I don't know if that's why but I'm not worrying so much lately. I try to live in the present , do the best that I can in that moment and try do to only things that I like . it implies a lot of "no" but me and the people around me got used to it. the center of your balance is not in your brain but in your heart . try to find it, try to learn to love yourself more and the balance will follow
emoticon kori

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JAKEANDNELLIE 7/26/2011 2:36PM

    Those "little things" always tip my "scale" out of balance and it's something that I will continue working on until the day I breath my last breath!
Thank you for so eloquently stating my thoughts!

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GIRANIMAL 7/26/2011 2:11PM

    Good lord, yes, I felt like every teeny tiny unexpected thing set me FAR off course off all weekend! In fact, I was darn near lunacy in my frustration for darn near two days. And I could feel that allowing my attitude to be hijiacked by the nonsense was outright depleting any sense of balance, yet I couldn't seem to right it either. I guess I need one of those mantras of yours!

The only blessing to discovering 17,000 food intolerances is that I CAN'T, without immediate pain as feedback, turn to that plate of cookies anymore. LOL

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SILLYHP1953 7/26/2011 1:27PM

    I have always been an extremist. As I get older I see it as my giant pendulum has swung back and forth to the extremes and is slowly getting to the middle. I am becoming more balanced. Except for some of the balancing games on my new Nintendo Wii Fitness Plus, though I did make it across between two buildings on a tightrope.

Balance is a day by day occurrence...actually, moment by moment. You manage to live in the moment quite often!

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KKINNEA 7/26/2011 12:59PM

    Balance is tricky - it seems like the thing we do most of all!

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CIVIAV 7/26/2011 12:21PM

    Amen to that John!

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BLACKROSE_222 7/26/2011 11:34AM

    You are definitely describing my morning today. Hang in there - and like you said, balance. Take the good with the bad. emoticon

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SUNSHINEPOWER 7/26/2011 11:15AM

    Very well written. So so true how very small things can push us off kilter. I need to work on my pit of gravel, start digging out and stop sabatoging myself.

Thanks again!

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BLESSED2BEME 7/26/2011 11:10AM

    This is so me! My word of the year is "balance" because I need to work on that so badly. I derail a the drop of a pin and I'm either "all or nothing" and have been that way for longer than I can imagine!

I needed this blog! Thank you!

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NJMATTICE 7/26/2011 9:48AM

    The one thing that I learned on vacation is that my life was out of balance. Far too much head space and energy going to "diet and exercise". More thinking than doing. For me, focusing on building a full and meaningful life helps keep all things in balance. Thanks for the thoughts this morning. Have a great day.

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CMA444 7/26/2011 9:40AM

    Great blog!

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GRAMLORI 7/26/2011 9:27AM

    Balance.....that word should be a palindrome!! Maybe that's why it's so hard to achieve.....the word itself doesn't "balance"....that's ok, not much in life does!

Keep up the great blogs, John. You have many fans!
Happy Tuesday!

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TERRIPAL1 7/26/2011 9:22AM

    Very nice John well done.As we know we are a work in progress,good luck with that pebble ,I think I have more like a boulder !! emoticon

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TRISTAROSE 7/26/2011 8:53AM

    Thanks John .... Just what I needed to hear today!


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HDHAWK 7/26/2011 8:52AM

    You hit the thing I need to work on the most. I'm off on a mini vacation in an hour. One thing I'll be doing is writing out goals that fit for me and are realistic.

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SUSUSUZZZIE 7/26/2011 8:41AM

    I feel like you are talking directly to me today.

I'll be thinking about your words on my drive to work today; especially: "Balance in my life is achieved when I look at everything, all the time on a daily basis and realize that my attitude is just as important as a food label. It means fear; anxiety and anger are issues to be worked out and dealt with gently and at face value."

Thanks for the great post!

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TEDYBEAR2838 7/26/2011 8:33AM

    What great insight. Thanks John. YOu always write interesting blogs

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REJ7777 7/26/2011 8:27AM

    "I am learning not to turn to food for salvation and relief but rather to look inside, find the pebble in my emotional or spiritual shoe and work to remove it."

Very insightful! emoticon

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