LSDALOIA   83,686
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Celebrating 7 Years on SparkPeople

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

It's hard to believe that I started sparking way back in 2007.

Back then I was at the height of my career with a major retailer. I travelled every week and wanted to drop a few pounds, which led me here to SparkPeople.

We didn't know what was coming at work. The recession created a new normal for many of us in the workplace.

Over the next 7 years I finally got laid off from my job (I could see that coming for ages), took another job I really didn't like, had shoulder surgery, launched a start-up, and am still recovering from that shoulder surgery. And still sparking!

I find myself at a really interesting part of my life. I'm in uncharted waters with my start-up. I always wanted to own my own business, and knew it would be hard work. I didn't know that there would be days that I'd go from exhilaration to fear -- often within the span of a few hours.

I find so much inspiration here on Spark. Some days I wonder how I'm going to make my business successful. I find an inspirational quote here and there -- and save them for future reference. I find inspirational Spark Friends everywhere. And perspective. There's no reason for me to struggle with my fear of business failure. Other people are fighting for their lives, beating back cancer and other debilitating, terrifying diseases. I'll take my lot any day of the week.

Thank you for 7 years of friendship and inspiration.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CTUPTON 2/21/2014 8:43PM

    emoticon emoticon


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BARBIE1967 2/11/2014 12:55PM

  Congratulations on your Sparkiversary. Today is my Sparkiversary as well but only 3 years and you are so right this is the very best group of people to keep us strong and motivated. Best wishes.

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SIMPLELIFE4REAL 2/11/2014 12:28PM

    Congratulations on your seven years with SP! It is interesting to look back over that time period and see how much has changed. I'm so glad you have stayed with SP through it all.

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SIMPLELIFE4REAL 2/11/2014 12:28PM

    Congratulations on your seven years with SP! It is interesting to look back over that time period and see how much has changed. I'm so glad you have stayed with SP through it all.

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COOKINGSTARS 2/11/2014 9:51AM

    emoticon emoticon

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KAYOTIC 2/11/2014 9:02AM

    emoticon emoticon Add it up for a emoticon 7 Sparking years! emoticon

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Birthday Check-Up

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Sparkers, I'm writing this blog so when I look back next year, I can remember how far I've come. It's kind of long, so if you do read on, I apologize for the length.

Happy Birthday to me!

Last year I was two weeks into my new life. I had just quit my job and had no idea what I was going to do next. I was in a lot of pain from my frozen shoulder and was exhausted from trying to work full-time when I could barely dress myself. I also wasn't sure if my disability claim would be approved, which was causing me an enormous amount of stress. I knew I couldn't keep working, but I wasn't sure if I made the right choice to take time off. I wanted to focus on me for a change.

In late December my disability claim was finally approved. What a relief! I was still in a lot of pain and not sleeping. Having some money coming in took a lot of pressure off me, though.

In March I went to a class called "Inspired Work" in LA. During that class, I came up with an idea to create customized employment applications for mobile devices to make it easier for hourly people to apply for jobs. In April I met a brilliant coder from my college who graduated the following month. He created texting software that I incorporated into my company as a Virtual Recruiter.

I previously tried to other start-ups, but didn't have the right partner. I even met another potential partner through Inspired Work, but again, it wasn't the right fit. I finally feel as though I am working with the right people. We're having fun, there's no drama, and there's nothing we haven't been able to work though yet. Plus, if we are successful, we can share our success with our alma mater, Hampshire College.

By June we had a demo. Last week we had a national hotel chain agree to a paid beta test.

Throughout this process I constantly questioned whether or not I was doing the right thing. My Inspired Work class taught me that fear was normal, and some coping skills. I kept reminding myself that I had to walk through the fear. I'm still not making much money, but at least I know I have identified a need in the market and am positioned for success.

Now about my weight. Last year I planned to be at my goal, which means losing 15-20 pounds.

I just returned from a trip to NY/MA and haven't been logging my food lately. But I have been working out diligently, and we haven't been eating out much over the last few months (mostly to save $, but also to eat more healthily. DH needs to lose 50+ pounds).

I was nervous this morning when I got on the scale since I feel like a whale. I expected 170-173. So, I'll take 168.4 as a victory! I still have a long way to go, but as with many things in life, my weight isn't as big of a deal as I thought it was. It's always funny to me to realize how us humans can make a big deal out of a little issue.

So, how will I measure success on my birthday next year?
1. I will be at a healthy weight and my shoulder will be fully functional. No more pain!
2. My business will be thriving.

For now it's a lot of work, but I'm starting to see how Sparkpeople fits so perfectly into my work and personal life. I find inspiration here every day that flows into all aspects of my life. Thank you Spark Friends!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BRADMILL2922 10/10/2013 4:09AM

    You have come a long ways in both business and in health this year! You may not be exactly where you want to be but you are certainly going in the right direction and you have a lot to be proud of! Happy Birthday (even if it is late!)

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SIMPLELIFE4REAL 10/1/2013 9:44AM

    Congratulations on how far you have come! I'm so impressed with what you are doing in starting up your business. I hope it's extremely sucessful. It sounds like you have found a fabulous partner.

As far as your shoulder is concerned, I'm a huge believer in keeping up with the PT stretching exercises I'm sure you have been given. I did them consistently for a year and still like to do them. My shoulder issue was at it's peak the day my father died. (I was actually at the doc's getting a shot in my shoulder the morning he died.) That was Sept. 15 two years ago. Now my shoulder is almost completely back to normal, so I'm living proof that with time and exercise it will get so much better.

I think weight is a funny thing. BC (before cancer), I was so concerned about how much I weighed and never could muster up enough consistency with my eating to get to my goal weight and stay there. Now, I would no more eat processed foods than I would eat gravel! My weight popped down to my goal weight without even trying and I don't really even care. It's a nice side benefit as far as I'm concerned, but it's no longer my focus.

Last, but not least, Happy Birthday!!! I don't know what day your birthday is/or was, but I hope you enjoy it to the fullest!


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Sparking my Life!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

My dear friend BRADMILL2922 wrote about his weight loss journey on my Sparkpage:

"The first step really is the hardest to take. At least for me, I really had to convince myself that I could do it. It is strange but I also had to convince myself that I was worth it. It can be a pretty daunting task if you look at the macro of the whole thing. If you really think of all the time and effort and sacrifice that will have to be made, it can be intimidating. Start small with small goals. Know that every little small battle you win will eventually lead you to victory in the bigger war!

Emotionally, I don't know if I have changes a lot. I mean I suppose. I have really just learned how to change my mindset. I really have learned not to dwell on things. Don't let things get me down and keep me down. Keep moving forward no matter what!"

As soon as I read this, I realized that this entry also applies to being an entrepreneur. You have to walk through fear and doubt, and take a lot of little steps that add up to big ones.

BRADMILL2922, THANK YOU for your words of wisdom!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WEEPINGANGEL74 9/25/2013 12:47AM

    Brad is the most awesome person I have encountered on here!! Glad he inspires you too!

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BRADMILL2922 9/23/2013 11:05PM

    Aww! You are welcome! Thank you for saying such nice things! I am always happy to help in anytime :)

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DRKYASHI 9/21/2013 9:35PM

    Well put! emoticon

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SIMPLELIFE4REAL 9/21/2013 8:47PM

    It's funny because Jim told me the almost identical thing tonight when I asked him how he dealt with hardships so well. So I think Bradmill's advice applies to all kinds of situations.

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Come Escape On A Virtual Vacation

Friday, August 16, 2013

It's been a few very stressful weeks at my household. I need a mental health break. So, let's daydream for a minute:

You win the lottery and money is no object. You take care of your family, friends, and interests. You still have a bundle to spend, and you love to travel. What would you do?

A cruise around the world?
Rent a villa in Europe for a month?
Go RVing?

Sparkers, come dream with me. Let's go on the virtual vacation of a lifetime together!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FITGIRL15 8/23/2013 10:44AM

    My virtual vacation is becoming reality in less then 1 month!

30 days in Italy!!! Can't wait!

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WEEPINGANGEL74 8/21/2013 9:32AM

    There are so many places I would have trouble deciding. .. from the mindless, childlike fun of Disney Parks to the castles of Ireland, Italy, Canada, Some of the other states... so many places!

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BRADMILL2922 8/21/2013 3:27AM

    This one is actually pretty easy for me! I am heading out on a flight headed for Italy and I am spending a lot of time taking in all the sites of Italy and Greece! Of course, on the way back I may have to swing by Costa Rica for a few days of R & R lol! But hey, I have a bundle of money, right? :)

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SIMPLELIFE4REAL 8/16/2013 1:02PM

    You know, I actually wrote a blog about this a couple months ago. Not so much about what I would do in terms of vacation. That part is easy, I'd go on the bicycle tour Jim and I have been dreaming of. I just would sleep more often in expensive hotels along the way and take breaks to do more sightseeing and when the weather is bad....but otherwise I'd do pretty much what we were already planning on doing. Nothing better than biking along country roads looking at nature close up.

The one thing I realized that I would do if I won the lottery is get rid of a lot of "stuff" that I keep for "just in case". Clothes that don't fit right now, but I hang on to them, "just in case" I gain or lose weight. If I won the lottery, I'd just go out an get something I liked at the time. I'd also toss lots of things that I don't use every day.

Jim and I have really done a major "clutter reduction" since we moved. We essentially had three homes of stuff that got shoved into one last June when we sold our house in Illinois and my mother's home in Tennessee in the same week. It took a lot of tossing and donating to get rid of most of the stuff. We still have pockets of clutter but nothing like we did two months ago.

Honestly, today, I want nothing more than to go on our bike trip next spring (or even next fall). That would be pure heaven for me.

What would you do?

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Need Stress Management Tips

Sunday, August 11, 2013


You know from my last blog entry that DH is going through very tough times at work. My heart goes out to him. He just wants to go into work, do a great job, and go home without drama.

He suffers from anxiety, so this isn't helping. Last night we went to a LAMBDA Legal function and he was sweating uncontrollably. He got better as the evening went on, but it resumed later in the evening. Today he is in bed all day, sleeping.

I'n concerned the stress is literally killing him -- or at a minimum, making him sick. He doesn't exercise, so he has no release there. He typically turns to wine or scotch for release. He just hasn't learned how to manage stress, and now I think it's reached a tipping point. Any suggestions?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CTUPTON 9/30/2013 1:53PM

    I just happened on to your sparkpage--because of the panda and you picture. I did not know pandas were tame enough to do that. Then I found your husband's anxiety problems. I hope he can get help. It can be handled--and I hope he can accept help . My husband did not know how to handle anxiety. It lead to drinking too much alcohol and all that that entails. Then in 2006 he had a stroke from high blood pressure. He is now using a motorized wheelchair and I am the sole caregiver. It is not easy for either of us. Traveling is pretty much out. And I would love to travel.

Sending prayers and good vibes your way. I suppose my mistake was not recognizing his symptoms as something that could be dealt with. I left it up to him. Now I regret that.

Write to me if you like. chris emoticon emoticon

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TIGER_LILY_613 8/16/2013 12:39AM

    I agree with EM3774 about seeing a doctor. A friend of mine has pretty severe anxiety related to her work. Now she's on sick leave and seeing a good therapist, who has helped her a lot. Her doctor is also trying to find the right type and dosage of medication to help her manage it better.

I hope you are able to find the help your DH needs. emoticon

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WEEPINGANGEL74 8/16/2013 12:22AM

    With anxiety that severe, he should see a doctor before his body reacts even more severely and something serious happens. Perhaps he could also take up some form of exercise/fun/physical activity that he enjoys or learn some meditation and deep breathing techniques? But I really do think he should see a doctor to be sure he isn't at risk for a heart attack or something worse.

Good luck!

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BRADMILL2922 8/15/2013 10:21AM

    I wish I could help with the tips but I don't know if I really have any. I know anxiety can be really bad for some people. I hope that he and you can find a way to deal with it so he can get better.


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MAUIMA 8/11/2013 10:11PM

    Sorry to hear about his anxiety. Like Simple said, this is a tough one.
I know I mentioned to you my DH lost his job too...

There is much we have no control over...
I find keeping a schedule helps.
The body and spirit regulates to a schedule and this can be a support right now, (If DH is open to the idea)

We are going to bed early, on time, together.
Read and visit, but not about work.
And we get up at same time, early and he exercises , swimming, this helps his stress.

I make him a nice breakfast , protein heavy so he is ready for his day.
Healthy food, 3 meals a day.
Control the things we can.

Maybe make DH a nice home-made lunch every remind him you are near. Would he be willing to take his lunch outside and away from the stress.
These are little things...remind him he is not alone in this...

I like Bob's idea too...for while he is at work...not letting the old patterns rule. A 'fresh' outlook and routine.
It'll feel new. Maybe better, rather than reinforcing the negative.

You being /expressing confidence that you'll all be OK will help too.
Hopefully you have folks you can lean on right now, so you can be strong for him.
Sleep, eat right, exercise...simple living.

Sorry again you are going through all this.

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SIMPLELIFE4REAL 8/11/2013 5:15PM

    That's a tough one. I didn't get on the bandwagon of totally changing my behaviors until I got smacked in the face with this cancer diagnosis. I think most of us know what the right thing to do is, but until we hit rock bottom, it's hard to make changes.

My first husband was pretty poor at self-care (and died of a stroke at age 52). We were married for 17 years. I always think to myself that I spent the first 5 years trying to change him, the next 5 years coming to the slow realization that I couldn't change him, and the last 7 years coming to some acceptance of that. I hate what happened to him, he was a wonderful man. I didn't learn my lesson completely....I still try to change my 89 year old mother (never gonna happen), so now when I get caught up in her crazy making behavior, I just try to put it in perspective as to it being something I can't control.

Oddly enough, my "new" husband, Jim has jumped on the bandwagon with me when I switched over to my superhealthy eating. I never asked him to. He doesn't eat as cleanly as I am now, but his eating has also vastly changed in the past few weeks.

I guess this is a long-winded way of saying that we can't make someone else do something, but sometimes they might follow along if we do it.

It's scary and frustrating to watch someone we love do unhealthy things. My heart goes out to you on this one.

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KAYOTIC 8/11/2013 1:32PM

    Would he go for a walk with you if you asked him? It would be a start on something that would help relieve stress in a healthier way than drinking...

If he is open to it, there are some good books out there about lessening anxiety, one that really helped me is an oldie, Dale Carnegie's "how to stop worrying and start living", which had different chapters devoted to different techniques to combat anxiety and the reasons we are anxious. I'm sure there are others, so maybe a trip to the bookstore or library would be useful.

Be there to listen, and support as you can, and remember to take care of your stress as well, are there things you do that you can encourage him to do as well?

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BOBJ21 8/11/2013 1:07PM

    Have DH make little changes to his routine. Every hour get up at least once and walk to the water fountain or cooler. If possible go to a water cooler that is furthest from his desk to get a little more exercise. While he is there have him get a drink of water.

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UMBILICAL 8/11/2013 12:42PM

  Be grateful

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