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Finding balance!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Recently I've been feeling a bit 'off' and out of sync. And as I've said before, when things get hectic, I tend to put myself at the bottom of my priority list. This is a habit that I'm working on changing! A few weeks ago my hubby bought me a laptop so I can sit outside and Spark. Since we live in Florida, and he knows that I enjoy the weather AND Spark, he thought that it was a great idea. He was right! However I haven't been on here as much as usual, and even he noticed. At the end of his work day he checks the status on my Sparkpage and reads my blogs, and is ALWAYS positive and encouraging. The last couple of days he's mentioned that I haven't written anything, and asked if I was okay. That's when it dawned on me that I've been feeling out of balance.

Balance is a funny thing, if you're not careful you can fall on your face. Lately I've been trying to maintain my balance, but it hasn't been easy. Last night I went out for a bike ride, and as usual, cleared my head. I found myself thinking about how sometimes life feels like a balancing act, and all of the different things during the day that need to be balanced. The first balancing act I thought of was 'the calories in versus the calories out equation', and how I'm doing on that regard. The area that needs work is the calories consumed part. Yesterday I didn't have breakfast, and today I didn't eat anything until noon. Last night while I used my tracker (which I love) I realized that my calories were too low, and that I needed to add more food to my daily total. So yes, this is an area that needs attention. I can work on this!

My DH has always been my greatest source of encouragement, however my friends and extended family are the opposite. When I discussed my weight loss with my 2 closest friends, I was met with silence! They offered NO support and not one single word of encouragement. I did NOT get a 'Way to go' or a "Good for you'. NOT a single word, not even a grunt - just silence! So I stopped talking about it, which left me feeling sad and kind of alone, because this is SO important to me. I felt that since I was always there for them, that they should be there for me as well. I realized that things don't always work that way, and can be one-sided, and not balanced! I still have hope that they may come around, but if they don't, so be it. But I realized that I'm NOT alone, I have my DH and my Spark friends, and that's all the support I really need!

Recently our cat, Dewey wasn't doing well. He has IBS, chronic diarrhea, and severe food allergies. He is only 2 years old and has the sweetest personality, and is such a love. My DH and I fondly call him our 'poop rocket' because after he uses the litterbox, he takes off like a rocket. His previous vet didn't offer much hope, so I found a new vet that is wonderful. She has a more holistic approach and like me, was determined to find an answer. She suggested feeding him a raw diet or lightly cooked turkey. And since we have 3 cats, we need to feed them all the same thing. Well a 3 day hunger strike followed, as the little buggers wouldn't even touch the food. I did hours of research and told the vet that I was going to feed them canned duck cat food, which is a limited ingredient diet. She gave him a steroid injection for the inflammation in his gut, and I changed his diet. It worked! I'm happy to say that things turned around completely! But during this time my one friend told me to 'just put him down', and the other friend didn't even acknowledge what I said when I told her how worried I was, as she was so intent on talking about herself. Their lack of compassion really bothered me, as I'm always there for them. My DH has pointed out that I give far more than I receive in my friendships. Another area that's off balance.

Then I thought about the time that I spend on Spark. Until recently I spent many hours each day on here. The friendship and support were almost addictive, as it was filling a void from what was missing in my real life. But instead of maintaining balance, I jumped in with both feet, and let some of my responsibilities take a back seat. So the last couple of weeks I've been trying to play catch up with the stuff around here that I slacked off on. When the dust-bunnies can be mistaken for a cat, you know that you need to do something! LOL-I am exaggerating, they weren't THAT big!

I have made progress in other areas, and to honest, I'm proud of how I handled myself. I recently let go of a friendship with a male friend of ours because he disrespected me, and crossed a line. I also put my MIL (AKA. the Malicious, Insane, Lunatic) in her place. WOO HOO! She called here one night and tried to pick a fight with me, and I stopped her in her tracks. I told her that I had enough of this crap, and that I'm not tolerating it anymore! I want no part of the drama and turmoil that she creates, I'm DONE!!! I handed the phone to my DH, and said 'here, she's your mother, you deal with her'. And boy did he! Another area in need of some work is our social commitments on weekends. Yes, it's nice to be invited and included in social gatherings, but it's become too much. We're both basically home-bodies at heart, and we really enjoy our time together, but it seems like there is always someplace we have to go. So we decided to set limits on socializing so that we have more time for us.

I've realized that being off balance is part of the reason I'm here in the first place. Because when you're not living a balanced life, you're not taking proper care of yourself. So the project I'm working on is ME! I'm trying to restore some balance and take better care of myself. So there may be times that I need to take a step back and figure out what's best for me, and how to proceed. I think that it's part of growth and understanding myself. Last night I thought how riding my bike is also a balancing act. If I maintain my balance I can move forward, but if I lose my balance, I'll fall on my butt! There may be times that I fall, and I'll simply brush myself off, and hop back on. But I'm going to do whatever it takes to maintain my balance and continue moving forward on my journey! I can do this!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ANITAWPG 11/22/2009 9:45PM

    Whoo hooo, sounds like you are finding a way to deal with the Wicked Witch without adding stress to yourself.

So glad that your hubbie supports you, it does make life so much easier.

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IM4KINGDOM 11/21/2009 8:43PM

    Wow! What a great blog! My DH is also supportive, although he doesn't check my status or blogs. emoticon I think it so wonderful that your husband is supporting you. I hope that your friends will come around. I read once that sometimes people act like that because they have seen us try and fail so many times that they don't want to get their hopes up again. Whatever the reason, your example will be good for them to see!
Keep it up! emoticon

Comment edited on: 11/21/2009 8:44:15 PM

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LAMOUR0 11/20/2009 2:21PM

    Hi Doreen:

Loved your blog! I am sorry you have been out of sorts, but you will get there. I believe we all have cycles of ups and downs. Thank god for your hubby, he does sound like a god send and always there when you need him. Friendships are key for balance in life, but I too have gotten discouraged over the years with friends who have not been there for me, in my time of need. It constantly surprises me who will come forward in my time of need. I cherish my TRUE friends these days and have tried to eliminate any of those negative relationships that bring me no benefit or joy. I have a girlfriend who I am very spiritually connected to and I have a friend whose pets are her babys (no children). I love my pets too and right now we have a cat named Lexie and she is a big baby. I finally had her checked this year as she constantly throws up after eating, most days and always on the carpets. Well, she needs to be on this special food and it has helped, hooray. It's not cheap but it is better for her. Now being unemployed, I have to find a way to continue to have the food in my budget but I love my cat, so I will.

I am happy that SP has been a great support for you. Balance is a good thing, but sometimes we forget to put ourselves in that equation. In recent years, selfish as some people might think it is, I have given myself more time to relax, take care of my health and in the end I know that I am worth it. In order to do that, it means my house doesn't get cleaned very often, we don't entertain family and friends like we used to and some things just don't get done. I hope that you find your balance soon and feel good about what life has to offer you. You are worth it too!

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MTNHIKER1971 11/19/2009 8:40PM

    Where's Mr. Miagi when you need him. j/k

Awesome blog Doreen! Your plate has certainly been full of confrontations of late. Hopefully, another confrontation won't ensue over the holiday's.

Oh yea, does your husband have a gay brother? lol he's sounds like a charm.

Cheers to you and yours... I'm proud of you for taking some time out for you and setting social limits so you guys can spend some good quality time together.

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TRAVELNISTA 11/19/2009 5:28PM

    DH sounds like a peach of a guy. You always comment on how supportive he is, which is so nice to hear. I think most husbands are oblivious. How nice was it that he bought you a laptop so you could work on SparkPeople outside and enjoy the weather too.

Sorry to hear you are still having problems with MIL but so proud of you for standing your ground.

I commend you for trying to gain a hold on balance. I have too work on that area in my life as well. I spend way too much time on SparkPeople and I let my other duties fall by the wayside. I am hoping that some of the Sparkers offer you some sound and sage advise that I may also borrow to get my balance back.

Great blog and great analogy to being balanced as in riding a bike. emoticon emoticon

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NOTABOUTHEFACE 11/19/2009 3:17PM

    EXCELLENT blog! Balance is the key to this. Everyone has commitments in their lives and I think what many of us forget is that if we're not taking the time to nuture our own spirits that we can't give our best selves to everyone else.

Might I give a mighty high five for putting the witch in her place!? You SOOOOO rock! (And kudos to the hubbs for doing the same!) Let's hope I don't have to do the same 15 days from now.

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Two steps forward, and one step back!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Have you ever felt like you've taken two steps forward, and one step back? The last 2 weeks, that's how I've felt. I haven't been on Spark as much as usual, because I just haven't had the time. NO, that's NOT accurate, I haven't 'made' the time! My one step back has been NOT 'making' myself a priority. I thought that I finally had a handle on that issue, but it's obvious to me that I still need to work on it. I've had a life-long habit of putting myself at the bottom of my priority list when life gets hectic. And that's just what I've been doing again!

There have been days that I've skipped lunch all together, or just scarfed down an apple on my way to the next thing on my to-do list. There have also been days that I haven't even come close to eating the minimum number of calories for the day. No wonder the scale didn't budge last week! I've been feeling tired and kind of 'slug-like' as far as my energy level goes. It really started to dawn on me last week when I was eating my oatmeal at noon, because I didn't take the time in the morning to eat. And the days that I did eat lunch, I didn't even sit down to eat. I ate standing up to get it out of the way quickly. I've wondered why is it that when my time is limited and I'm stressed, that 'my' needs are the first to go? Why was it so easy for me to do this, and fall back into old habits?

What really got me was when I realized that I take better care of our cats, than I do of myself sometimes. I think that the most important thing for me was seeing what I was doing, and correcting my behavior. I need to work on 'keeping' my goals at the TOP of my priority list, and not letting life side track me. My Spark friend, Yvonne refers to the small improvements as 'baby steps'. I think that it's a good way of looking at things. So I may have taken one step back, but I didn't allow it to become two! Occasionally I may stumble, but I will always pick myself back up, and take the next step on my journey! I'm still moving forward on this road to wellness and improving my life, and NOTHING is going to stop me!!!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TNLONGHORN 11/15/2009 4:58PM

    You're doing awesome, Doreen. You're keeping your eyes on the prize!

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MEOWMAMA3 11/13/2009 4:39PM

    You really got me thinking when you wrote about taking better care of the cats than of your (our) self. They are totally dependent on us. We are totally dependent on ourselves but often settle for the generic kibble or scraps to survive instead of allowing ourselves the superior, fancy gourmet stinky food in the teeny cans to thrive..... (metaphor people, I'm not eating cat food!)

A major part of my backstepping is the furious whirlwind of schoolwork and worries that never seems to get caught up or resolved. SparkPeople has helped me so much to realize that the success of our physical health and weight loss is in our improved awareness and mental health/coping strategies. I still have my blithering idiot moments of meltdown, but I'm not resorting to the bad habits that used to accompany them. Now they inspire me to toughen up and get to the business of reaching my doable mini-goals (baby steps).

I'm doing so much better in letting go of worrying about what I can't control or change! But it is hard work and is easily sidelined by daily life. Thank goodness the network here grounds us and reminds us that there's only one person we ultimately can depend on in life for our lives, and that's ourselves.

You'll be fine Doreen. This is not a quick stop in your lifetime journey, it's an extended stay. Hugs, Kim

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TRAVELNISTA 11/13/2009 8:07AM

    All of us are guilty of 2 steps forward and one step back. That is how we grow into our journey. If it was all smooth sailing, we would remain stagnant and learn nothing. We can learn from our steps backwards and when we move forward it is all that much sweeter o a victory.

Here is a favorite breakfast of mine and is great for when you are in a hurry. The night before take 1/2 cup of oatmeal but do not cook it. I like using either the kind you have to cook on the stove or steel cut oats. In a bowl mix that in with your favorite fruit yogurt. Throw in some nuts, small slices of bananas, apples, berries or whatever you like. Stir well. Cover and put in the fridge. When you wake up in the morning you have a yummy bowl of muselli. The yogurt will have softened the oat meal. It really is yummy and quite filling.

I used to make this all of the time when I used to eat yogurt (now I just take a ripe banana and blend it with some water to make it a little soupy)



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LAMOUR0 11/12/2009 4:44PM

    Pick yourself up and dust yourself off! You are important but it so easy to slide back into everything else must come first, so many people and things rely on us. My day got sidetracked again today but I tell myself its okay, my sister I and got to gabbing on Skype and 3 hours later and the day is almost done. No work out like I had planned and I didn't have lunch, so I am starving. Trying not to grab this first thing to fill the hunger. But I won't beat myself up, these things happen and I haven't talked to my sister in 6 weeks, we always have lots to catch up on. I agree that as long as you have more steps forward than backward, you are making progress! Good for you, for at least realizing you should be a priority. Way to go!



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RASTUS55 11/12/2009 3:11PM

    You know it is so easy for us to get back into a routine we have been in for years and you have always watched out for everyone ahead of yourself since the beginning of time. Some habits are just so hard to break because we are creatures of routine. But the utmost important thing is...you caught yourself doing that before it got out of hand. THAT my dear....is the GREAT thing! Just another example of how you have improved your life and how much you really do respect and care for yourself! So in essence you really didn't regress but you proved how much you have learned along your journey! I am again so very proud of you and love how you inspire me by each time I watch those beautiful wings open even further taking you closer and closer to your goals! AWESOME!
Keep up the good work Doreen, you know where you need to be!
Ruth
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NOTABOUTHEFACE 11/12/2009 2:50PM

    Always make yourself the priority because you can't give the best of yourself to others if you aren't taking care of yourself. You can give yourself even 10 minutes to sit down and eat breakfast. Remember how great it was to look outside and see those deer in the yard and enjoy taking that all in and let it start your day the right way? Taking time out to give yourself a small break keeps you sane and does more for your soul than you'll ever realize.

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JERSEYGIRL1950 11/12/2009 2:40PM

    Hey Girl, I think if we didn't take a step back we wouldn't learn what we need to do to make it work..i've been taking care of others for 40 years..large family then worked in group homes for years care taking others...when hubby went on the road it was all about me..Geez i didn't even know how to do that..now that sounds really strange ...never look at this as failing..we're tweaking to find the right path on the journey.. it's always important not to skip meals this will S.L.O.W down the weight loss... you made me laugh I take care of Roxy better than me but I'm learning this time alone is showing me I'm worth it and so or you...love your blogs and how you put it out there...Hugs

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FLUFFY1959 11/12/2009 2:40PM

    the wonderful thing about sparkpeople is accountability..... for some people weight watchers or diet workshop has worked..... the reason is accountability... when we are getting online and posting our daily excercises and tracking our nutrition for the day, it helps us to see what we are doing and others see it too. It helps you to know that we are cheering for you to be successful because we want to be successful too! We know it takes a village and sparkpeople is a very large powerful and positive village.......so you are totally on the right track and remember, Inch by Inch it's a CINCH!
all the BEST,
k emoticon

Comment edited on: 11/12/2009 2:41:29 PM

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DIFROMWYOMING 11/12/2009 2:39PM

    emoticon
You know there was probably a time in your life when you let that one step back become a slide that you didnt' even notice until you were so far away from where you started you couldn't see it any more. What great progress for you that you saw right away something was amiss! I Love that! Big hugs to you, today, my friend.

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MARY.FRAN 11/12/2009 2:33PM

    You have the right attitude! As long as it is more forward than backward, progress is being made.

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MTNHIKER1971 11/12/2009 2:27PM

    You have to take a step back in order to leap further... Self improvement, it's constantly evolving...

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That evil witch Tracey on The Biggest Loser!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

At first I thought that I was alone in my dislike of that evil, back-stabbing, fake-crying, stringy-haired shrew, Tracey! Oh please forgive me, but I forgot one - LIAR!! First I had one friend, then there were two, and now three, that can't stand her. I know that I'm venting, but to be honest, I DON'T care!!! I'm normally a calm person that doesn't use foul language. Well, not much anyway! But Tuesday night I was like a person with Turret's Syndrome, it was just flying out of my mouth! My DH laughed as I yelled at the TV. He can't stand her either, and had a hard time even looking at her. We both wanted to see her get the boot! Oh happy day, dreams do come true! I know, I know, I'm NOT being 'nice', but I can't help myself. This isn't some sweetness and light positive blog, but sometimes a girl just needs to bitch! Last week when Abby was voted off, I got choked up. That woman was kind and honest, and endured so much grief and pain in her life. During her reveal, I was so happy to hear that she feels like she is living again. And she looks wonderful to boot! BUT, as for Tracey, when she was given the boot, I jumped up with my hubby, and we both did the happy dance! Yes, I know that it's just a game, but I have a HUGE issue with liars! Especially liars that look you in the face, and smile! UGH!!! I wish her no ill will, really I don't. But, KARMA baby!!! It has a way of coming back and taking a BIG bite right out of your @ss! I would bet that Tracey's keister is feeling a bit sore right about now! Anyone else agree????

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MUDMOUSE 11/10/2009 3:52PM

    I'm nervous about who is going tonight. Thing is about Tracey - now I have nobody that I want to go home! It sucks...

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MTNHIKER1971 11/10/2009 12:33PM

    To be a fly on the wall during that episode. I can see your butterfly wings flapping silly.

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THEHEALTHY3 11/6/2009 10:23AM

    Now if the next to go is Liz, then I think the finish to the season will be GREAT! Too bad it wasn't a double elimination week, and both nasty game players could have been gone.

Don't get me wrong....I think EVERYONE at this point is playing the "game", Liz and Tracey are/were going about it all wrong though.

Did you know that Liz hid all the blenders in the kitchen because she felt it was her right since she washed them all! She should have just kept one clean blender for herself and let the others fight over dirty ones. I think she's crazier than Tracey because she's so much more vindictive.

Anyway...can't wait for next week!

Comment edited on: 11/6/2009 10:23:20 AM

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SNAZZYPS 11/6/2009 1:53AM

    This definitely is an interesting season - I disliked Tracy from the start. I was sooo mad when Mo took the fall for her and went home - I am glad she's gone finally.

I have mixed feelings about most of the others, I'm not sure who I want to see go all the way.

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MISSM66 11/5/2009 8:34PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticonI am happy she is gone I just started to watch it two weeks and I did not like her at all very very happy to see her go emoticon emoticon emoticon

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BJUMPINGFORJOY 11/5/2009 8:13PM

    Oh yes I am so glad to see her gone. She let in too much distrust and it all was for her. She should have been a little kinder.

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MEOWMAMA3 11/5/2009 7:49PM

    MEEE-OWWW DOREEN!!!!!

lol.
I've never watched the show, but I say we take her out in a South Philly alley and force feed her Tastycakes by the dozen!!!!!

Tastycakes, not that's a blast from your past! (I don't eat 'em....don't do anything for me...thank goodness! One less bad eating habit to stop!)
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Comment edited on: 11/5/2009 7:49:58 PM

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HAS_SPIRIT 11/5/2009 7:45PM

    She should have been on the same season with Vicky & Brady and Ed & Hebaphant (as she was called on another website). That season I was really rooting for Michele thank goodnes she won! She and her mother had so much class. Because I live alone I too shoult out my YeaS! and swears sometimes. I realize too it is a game, but there is also something called sportsmanship. Last season they were all pretty gracious and this season, now that tracey is off, I'm still not sure whom I want to win.

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PRNCSSTNKRBLL 11/5/2009 7:40PM

  I so hated her throughout the game. I must admit though that she did a great job losing at home. What the heck did she need to go there if most of the weight she has lost has been on her own. To do it on her own for a week without trainers to just have the privilege for the week. I so hated her and am so glad that she is gone. Now maybe it will be a much better show.

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KARVY09 11/5/2009 7:36PM

    She looks fabulous though. I disliked her as much as the next person, but when I saw her with her cute kids and husband, it kind of melted away. I think she just got caught up in the moment and the chance of winning a lot of money.

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NOTABOUTHEFACE 11/5/2009 6:48PM

    Oh girl, you know how I feel about that horrific wench! I told the Mr. the second I saw her attempting to beat Daniel on that mile episode 1 "she's going to be the first one to turn this into a 'game' and it's going to be UGLY!" I had no idea someone could be so evil. I mean I thought Ron disgusted me from mid-season on (last season) but Tracey took the cake...or should I say cupcakes! No one deserved to go home more than she did. I notice very few are playing with integrity or are big ol' whiners. I really don't know who to root for anymore if anyone. I am so glad you told me about her on Leno. It looked like she gained about 15-20 lbs back just from the reveal! I guess that's what happens when you're a black-hearted she devil! KARMA! I bet she'll get desperate like Helen did last season and totally starve herself or something. Helen looked AWFUL at the finale. I couldn't even look at her and didn't have much respect for her sending her daughter home when it was clear she didn't want to go and was too afraid to say anything. This show just brings out the WORST in people, doesn't it?

Comment edited on: 11/5/2009 6:49:41 PM

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BETHSHEALTH 11/5/2009 6:35PM

    Biggest Looser was prempted here for a basket ball game. Our local channel "aired" it at 2AM the following morning. What was funny was the fact Tracey was on Jay Leno that night. So we all knew who got the boot. Don't tell my husband, but thank goodness for DVR. It taped it at 2AM. I have a friend at work jonesing to see it. Need to check my schedule to see when she can come over. I've only watched a few episodes this season but it's still taping in case I get the chance.

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OFFTOTHESHARKS 11/5/2009 5:55PM

    I hated Tracey because she felt like she had to be underhanded to stay in the game. Instead of working hard and supporting her teammates. She got what she deserved. I only wish it had happened earlier.

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KSARDO 11/5/2009 5:41PM

  Brutal :)

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JERSEYGIRL1950 11/5/2009 5:34PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticonding dong the witch is dead hi ho the merry-0 emoticonwhat goes around comes around!!!! I wuv u

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MUDMOUSE 11/5/2009 5:30PM

    LOL - I am usually a calm, disconnected from TV type of person. But Tracey - well now... She drove me crazy! She was just plain mean..

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THE_NEW_MELISSA 11/5/2009 5:23PM

    I did the Happy Dance as well when she said her good-byes. Karma, it'll get ya every time! That's how the game is played baby!

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The value of friendship

Thursday, November 05, 2009

As I rode my bike early this morning, I was thinking about the value of friendship, and how it can enhance your life. When I came home I jotted down my thoughts in my journal, and decided to turn it into a blog. I think that there are different 'levels' of friendship. We all probably have at least one childhood friend that we stay in contact with, or have great memories of. Some are life long friends, yet others come into our lives for just a brief period of time, when it seems like we need each other the most. Some are more superficial and seem to be around only for the good times. But if we're lucky, we have deep friendships. The ones that are still there when things in your life get difficult, and everyone else disappears. These are true friends!

Sometimes however, we need to say goodbye to a friend. Recently I had to face this with a male friend of ours. My hubby has known him for years through business, and we started socializing with him a few years back. Since I had 'guy friends' since I was a kid, I didn't see the harm as he and I became friends. He called several times a week to speak to me, but I never got together with him without my DH. Our house on various holidays is filled with a group of people that have become make-shift family, and we included him. So I thought that he and I became pretty good friends, until recently. All of a sudden his conversations became sexual in nature and NOT appropriate. I got uncomfortable with him and told him 'that for the sake of our friendship, do NOT speak to me like that, it's disrespectful and I won't tolerate it'. He kept it up, and I stopped taking his calls. My DH had a talk with him and set him straight. He apologized to my DH, but has yet to apologize to me. Since I never spoke to him in such a manner, or used that kind of language, I just couldn't understand his behavior. We haven't spoken since. So it was time to say goodbye and part ways.

We're social animals, we are not meant to live solitary lives. Whether it's a best friend, a fair-weather friend, or the dreaded so-called friend, we learn something from each relationship. The good friendships enhance our lives and bring us joy. The bad ones are just draining. As I said goodbye this year to a so-called female friend, and a disrespectful male friend, there will be a couple of open seats at our house on the holidays. It's not always easy to part ways, but in order to make room for the positive, you need to clean out the negative. As I'm feeling better about myself, I clearly see which relationships either enhance my life, or detract from it. I never expected to learn so much about myself on this journey. Every week there is a new lesson for me to learn, some easier than others.

Right now one thing we ALL have in common is, we are Spark friends. And this is proving to be a VERY rewarding friendship! I do think that there are different 'levels' to that as well. I had people add me that I've had no previous contact with, and when I've made an attempt to get to know them, there was little or no response at all. Upon looking closer, I saw that some of these people are 'friend-collectors', and have thousands of friends. That's okay, to each his own. I say this without judgement, but that isn't what I want. I also don't want a one-sided friendship. The kind where you make contact and leave comments, and so on, without ONE word in return. So why did you add me in the first place? I recently did some clearing out on my page. I decided that if I maintain contact for 30 days, with NO response, I then delete the one-sided friend. We add each other as friends because we feel some connection. With some it may be on a more casual level, and that's okay. But with others we click on a deeper level, and that's great. We're all here to support and encourage each other along our parallel journeys. We share our laughter, tears, sorrows, joys, frustrations, and accomplishments. Your comments are thoughtful, supportive, and sometimes funny. Or so insightful and thought provoking that it stops me in my tracks. I feel SO blessed to have these friendships, which enhance my life every day. We help each other- we are FRIENDS!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ANITAWPG 11/22/2009 9:43PM

    sorry
I have been one of those absent for 30 day people

house reno's, wedding and office move kept me off sparks, but am getting back into the swing of juggling everything once again



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TRAVELNISTA 11/15/2009 11:57AM

    I am so sorry that you experienced that with your male friend. It does show how much stronger you have grown by being able to break the ties with both of your friends. KUDOS!

I so agree with you on the friend issue. I am so torn on what to do with mine. I have so many of my team members add me as I am their leader so I feel I need to add them. When my blogs kept hitting most popular at the beginning I was adding those that added me because many of them were newbies that I guess got to know me from either being on the Motivators page or reviewing the top blogs. I felt that I had to add them too. Now that I am trying real hard only to add them if I see we have something in common.

I have so many Spark Friends but I am quite sure that many of them know who are my main core. I think however I may have to clean house like you did too.

I know you know where you stand in my heart. emoticon emoticon

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MTNHIKER1971 11/10/2009 12:31PM

    Incredibly powerful blog... how the heck did I miss this. I'm wondering if I'm still on your friend list, lol, kidding.

The hardest part of weeding out the garden of friends and recognizing weeds from beautiful flowers, and this my friend, you have a talent. Another thing that popped into my mind, other than some men are absolute PIGS, is that you and your husband have a great relationship. To be able to tell each other anything is not something to take lightly as I know a lot of folks who are too scared to tell their partner the bad things in their life out of fear of being judged or not understanding. He doesn't have to understand, what he has to do is be there for whatever you need. Gives a whole new meaning to the song "You and Me Against the World"

Cheers to you and your husband, and to a lifetime of happiness and affection....

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IM4KINGDOM 11/6/2009 10:09PM

    Yes, we all need the supportive kinds of friends and I thought you put it very well. I am sorry that you have had the experience you've had recently in your personal life. That man was truly disrespectful of you and your DH. I am glad that you blogged! emoticon

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MEOWMAMA3 11/5/2009 7:45PM

    Doreen, you're right on, as always! The older I get, the wiser I get about those levels of friendship. Experience in life will really help you weed out the friendship garden. Our experiences here include baring our very souls to strangers and often for the first time to our own selves. Our common struggles and need for success at changing ourselves gives us a strong bond. Add to it folks that you can really relate to in tone, goals, attitude, etc. and that's where the miracle of sparkfriends (REAL sparkfriends...) occurs. I wrote to Kelly the other night about how interesting it is that the universe lined us all up at the right time, and on a website as enormous as this one, and that we've made that tight connection in such a short time! We are blessed!
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JERSEYGIRL1950 11/5/2009 2:56PM

    Ok Doreen I hope I'm still on your list....this blog made me think where I'm at..I lived in r.i. 30 years and left family and friends behind to come to florida for almost 3 years now and have not made any connections..been thinking about that alot lately and since it looks like alex is going on the raod for weeks at a time...I'm not a social butterfly it's difficult for me to make friends usually the friends I'd made in the past were work related and of course I had my kids and grand kids around me..now it's like wow I have some work to do here..I also have trust issues with people..you have shown so much growth these past months always a reflection to me I know that's weird as we have different situations but your blogs always make me go Hmmmmmm

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RASTUS55 11/5/2009 2:54PM

    WOO HOO DOREEN!!! That was an awesome blog. I am sorry that this male friend had to bring the level of your friendship down...that is sad but you are now aware of what poisons your life and that you control that. GOOD FOR YOU!!! MY gosh the growth you have made since I have known you has been astonishing! You are in the drivers seat and you are steering yourself clear of all negative obstacles. I am very proud of you!! I know what you mean about people adding you as a friend just for the "show". That is so superficial....who has time for superficial when we can spend time with warm and loving people who honestly care?? NOT ME and NOT YOU EITHER! You just keep movin' up my little butterfly!!
Ruth
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NOTABOUTHEFACE 11/5/2009 2:28PM

    I'm sorry you had to do that but it sounds as if it needed to be done. It's never easy to cut ties even if you know it's what's best. I don't know about you but I tend to go into friendships a little too trusting, a little too open and in the end my expectations of getting the same in return are rarely met. I've learned to embrace taking whatever it is I was supposed to learn from those relationships and move on instead of trying to beat a dead horse. I'm glad you're able to do the same.

We're also very similar on the SP friend thing. I even have a note about it on the front of my page that if you add me and I don't add you right away it's because I want to see if you're in it for the support or just to add another number to your friend count. I don't like "friend collectors" because this isn't high school. I don't need a bazillion friends to be popular and if I haven't heard from someone in a few months, I'll go through, make a comment and if I hear nothing...gone.

Good for you for coming to these realizations!

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Letting go!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Little did I know just a few months ago, that I would be feeling SO different today! I wrote this blog on paper first because it started as an entry in my journal. It was difficult to write, but it was also very freeing! I know that you can't change what you don't acknowledge, so here goes. As my body is shedding pounds, my spirit is letting go of the past, and years of sadness. I feel like after all of these years, I'm finally healing. I'm feeling a lightness from within that I haven't felt in years. It really started this year when I turned 50. I felt something changing in myself, which is hard to describe. That is why I chose my name 'Wingsofchange', which my husband came up with. I started to let go of the past, but the past 3 months have sped up the process.

I was 18 when my mom was diagnosed with cancer. The same time she was in the hospital in New Jersey recovering from having one of her lungs removed, I got a call early in the morning. My dad had a stroke while working and was taken to a hospital in Philadelphia, PA. My sister was 11 at the time, and I was appointed her legal guardian. My days consisted of running the family business, taking care of my sister, and running back and forth between the two hospitals in NJ and PA. Looking back this is when I first started losing myself. My life was put on hold because my family's needs were greater. My mom passed away 6 months later. I felt like I couldn't even grieve because I had to be strong and hold it together.

Then 4 1/2 years later my 16 year old sister was diagnosed with cancer, she had Hodgkins. She and I drove into Philly every day for 10 weeks for her radiation treatment. She would vomit in a bag while I drove back over the bridge. She went through SO much! She survived, but 6 years later it came back, and she beat it a second time. She had SO much anger in her for such a young girl, and was VERY difficult to deal with. She resented my being her 'parental figure' and fought me on everything! One night her anger boiled over while we were in the kitchen. She got physical with me and shoved me. I hit my head and came to on the floor, with one of our neighbors kneeling over me. I on the other hand had anger towards my dad. He dumped ALL of the responsibility in my lap, as he started dating this woman soon after my mom died. I could not wrap my brain around THAT one!

Everyone carries baggage in their lives, and that was mine. I'm not one to sugar-coat things, and I felt consumed by it for years. Looking back, my sister and I should have gone to therapy. But what did I know at 18? I did the best I could. My mom's family wanted nothing to do with my dad, which spilled over to me and my sister. The day of our mom's funeral was the last time we saw them. So the two of us had no support going through this, we only had each other.

My Spark friend Ruth told me something a couple of months ago. What she told me has changed me on a very deep level. As I type this, I cry, but NOT tears of sadness. It's RELEASE! She said "break those chains that bind you". That phrase is stuck in my head! Thank you SO much Ruth! If I could, I would give you a big hug for helping me see what I needed to do. Your kindness, friendship, and support has helped me take a huge step forward! Little did you know when you typed those words, that it could have such an impact. Thank you, my friend!

Both my dad and my sister have since passed away. And I've let go of the anger I had towards my dad, because I realized that he did the best he could. My sister carried her resentment towards me, until the end. For which I feel compassion for her and what she went through. I knew that she loved me, but she always had that resentment just beneath the surface. She was moving back to New Jersey, and I remember that last day I saw her. She came over to say goodbye, and we talked and cried. We told each other that we loved each other, and I can still see her face as she walked away. She suddenly died of heart failure less than 2 months later. I cried every day, and thought that the pain would never go away. That was 8 years ago, and time does help heal the sadness. I miss her! I thank God for my husband, he is what helped pull me through the darkness.

For me this journey isn't just about losing weight, It's also about LETTING GO! I don't want my past to define my future or my present. I NO longer feel stuck! I've made peace with it, finally, and put it where it belongs - in the past. My family will always be with me, in my heart, because I loved them. The past 26 years with my husband have been wonderful. I've felt that he was a gift from God. But I still carried that sadness from the past with me. I've realized that I can't live my life FULLY, if I'm burdened with sadness. I had to let it go, so that I can move forward on my journey. So little did I know 3 months ago, that I would be feeling this way! I feel myself changing and it's SO exciting! Life is GOOD! I'm finally breaking those chains that bind me, and coming out of my cocoon! I let go of the sadness, and I feel free!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LAMOUR0 10/31/2009 12:57PM

    Wow, Doreen, such a journey you have been on. I feel for you as I too have experienced much pain from events that I could not change. Thank you to Ruth for sending you a message that has clicked. Breaking those chains and releasing the sadness can be so rejuvenating. Good for you. I also, was always there for my family during many trying times over the years and then all hell broke loose when my close sister (51) died in 2003 from cancer after a 4 year battle. You never think they will actually ever leave you, she lived in my city, so she was part of regular daily life. It took me 2 years to figure things out after that, I had never experienced such pain. Then my brother (50) died from hepatitis in 2005, then my mother (69) died unexpectedly from sepsis in 2007, she lived in another city but we were very close. Along with my mother's passing, I felt released from the obligation I had felt for many years when it came to my mother. I loved her with all my heart and I miss her everyday, but I was able to work through the pain much better with her loss than with my sister. Also, a few days before my sister passed in 2003, my mother decided to tell me that my father, was not my biological father. She told me who was and I know and respect him (he has known all my life). The father that I thought to be my father all those years lives in my city too but I have not seen him in 10 years because he sexually abused all of us girls growing up and I made a decision that he would not be able to lay his hands on my beautiful daughter in such a manner. I don't hate him, I feel sorry for him, he alienated so many people by his actions. I only wish him peace but I don't want to be part of his life. At funerals it has been very, very difficult. Also, during the last 6 years, I held a high stress job which has now ended it's term (unemployed and job hunting). I also experienced peri-menopausal symptoms. Some days, I thought I was lost in this world of STUFF that I could not control, but overall I am a very positive pick me up person, so every day I get up and tell myself WHAT WILL LIFE BRING ME TODAY? I am still in this journey and I believe everything that I have lived happened the way that it should have. I, too have a wonderful husband who has supported me along this journey the last 25 years. We laugh and talk and love and I don't know what I would have done without that.

Kudos to you for releasing your past and living your BEST life, you will be worth it! Good luck, sending loving wishes your way to spread those wings!

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TNLONGHORN 10/31/2009 12:36PM

    What a wonderful thing.

That's awesome Doreen!

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BLUE97HARBOR 10/31/2009 4:51AM

    Sending you warm thoughts your way....

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MTNHIKER1971 10/30/2009 11:34PM

    What an amazing, heartfelt testimony; and a beautiful Butterfly you have become.

Kelly giving Doreen a very proud hug.

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SUNSHINE03679 10/30/2009 10:56PM

    Thank you for your blog! I am turning 30 this December, I have been thru alot as well, not nearly what you have. But I am a single mom of 3 children and getting back on the dating scene. It is scary and I too, still hold on to the anger of my past marriage. I need to let go, the pain will only hinder me and take away from my precious kids. You have given me hope that maybe I too can do this. Thank you again!

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TRAVELNISTA 10/30/2009 7:12PM

    Doreen you certainly had a lot on your plate at such a young age and I am not talking about food. You missed all of the joys of young womanhood and were thrown into the role of parent. I am so sorry for your losses and am happy to learn you have been able let go that pain.

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RASTUS55 10/30/2009 3:13PM

    WOW..........what a powerful blog! I am sitting here crying because I feel the pain you have experienced over the years and I know what that extra baggage is like. I also know how good the feeling is to shed yourself of that extra burden on your shoulders. You have been through more in your life then most people experience but look how strong it has made you. Look at the wisdom you bring to people because of it. It has been a joy to watch the beautiful butterfly in you emerge from the cocoon that has stifled your growth and beauty. I am proud to have been a part of this transformation and feel fortunate to have you as my friend as well. I have this feeling our friendship will be in existence many years from now and that makes me very happy. Doreen is born again!!!
GOOD FOR YOU!!!
Ruth

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NOTABOUTHEFACE 10/30/2009 3:01PM

    I am so sorry you had to go through all of that especially so young. It is so uplifting to see that butterfly emerging. You have a strength that I can only dream of having and you inspire me with each new revelation as you are on this journey. You are beautiful.

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LAVERNEJ2 10/30/2009 3:01PM

    Wow, your blog has been very encouraging today. I hope you continue on your journey of "letting go" and I hope you receive every blessing that is stored for you!

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