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    DDOORN   226,798
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Notes on my 1st SparkPeople Conference in San Diego

Sunday, May 10, 2009



Thank you, thank you and THANK YOU to Chris "Spark Guy" Downie and all the wonderful & positive staff of SparkPeople for assembling such an inspiring day of speakers, activities and opportunities to connect with SparkPeople staff and fellow members! Everything seemed to resonate so well with my journey and the insights I have picked up along the way.

Before the conference even got under way we were all treated by KSIGMA1222 (Greg) to join him Friday evening at a jaw-droppingly gorgeous townhouse he had rented for the day. He sent an open invitation to those attending the convention to join him for a meet & greet. What a wonderful way to "warm up," meet each other and get ready for our convention...a triple WOO HOO going out to Greg! I'm hoping this can be wrapped into future conventions as a standard offering!

I especially enjoyed the panel of members sharing the "secrets" of their success: WOLFKITTY (Jocelyn) SPRING4FAL (Leah) STACEY-P (Stacey) ZIRCADIA (Dana) S318830 (Debbie). All of you on the panel did such a stupendous job! I found myself nodding in agreement to so many of the insights you all shared...not having as yet found the words to describe much of what each of you spoke.

Job VERY well done...woo hoo! It SO reinforced my commitment to this journey toward reclaiming and living my life to the fullest!

Chris Downie, SparkGuy, really revved and excited me with his talk about how the SPARK came to be. It was HIGHLY infectious to hear his vision of Spreading the Spark far and wide...paying it forward to everyone you know in every way possible! The message I seemed to hear in many ways is that we've all got to rally our local SparkPeople groups and get out and get involved...fundraisers, health and wellness events, etc. There should always be a SparkPeople contingent at all such events in your area and if they aren't, let's each of us do our part to *Make It Happen!*

We've all got to get the word out and show the world how positive, enlivening and contagious it can be to *catch the SPARK!* :-)

Great and wonderful things start at the grassroots level...and that's where each one of us can play such a vital role to the future of SparkPeople!

Chris shared details about his forthcoming book, The Spark, which will be released this coming January and will hopefully kick SparkPeople into the STRATOSPHERE gaining MUCH more exposure and spreading the spark far and wide! Chris shared that already SparkPeople.com gets more clicks per day than Oprah.com...quadruple WOO HOO to THAT! Can't wait till he's a guest on her show! :-)

It was great to see Coach Nicole working her cardio *magic* outside behind the convention center overlooking San Diego Bay on a perfectly warm, sunny day with such beautiful surroundings!

All the speakers were terrific, but I REALLY tuned in to Cheryl Richardson and her messages found in her latest book "The Art of Extreme Self Care"...here are a couple of quotes: "Nobody has the right to drain you." "Surround yourself with people who honor and boost you."

www.cherylrichardson.com
/store/my-extreme-self-car
e.htm


Chris (SparkGuy) introduced one of his earliest members of SparkPeople, Elle Newmark, who has through her personal work with SparkPeople been able to move forward in becoming a successful writer and is flourishing within the life she has created for herself. www.ellenewmark.com/

Chris said that the most likely next location for a SparkPeople convention would be Tampa, FL, although he did say that a lot of consideration might be given to Cincinnati, OH...the home of SparkPeople.

For those who might not have come across this link yet (I've been TRYING to spread it far and wide...lol!) here is the link to over 300 pics shared by various SparkPeople members who attended the convention:
www.flickr.com/groups/sp
arkcon09/pool/show/


One of the most beautiful, special and very HOPED for consequences of my literal journey to San Diego was the opportunity to re-connect with my younger sister who has lived in the area for 20+ years, yet despite this I have never visited before. No, there has never been a falling out, ill will or anything like that...it's just *life* and day-to-day business that can consume one's life. Finally, with the help of SparkPeople "nudging" me via the convention I decided to take the plunge and travel westward for the first time ever.

The picture at the top of this blog is of my sister and I. She was such a fine, fine host! She is a massage therapist. Together we took in so MUCH of the area, biking on Coronado Island, hiking and beach walking at Torrey Pines, walking through Balboa Park and the zoo. But the thing I loved the most was having some blocks of time with my sister alone in which we had each other's undivided attention. It is so difficult to stay connected when a continent lies between us! I loved finding out she had a MOUNTAIN in her back yard! I was nearly SPRINTING up those trails on the morning of my departure, wanting to take it all in one more time...woo hoo!

Here are a few links describing Fortuna Mountain and the trails around there:


www.trails.com/tcatalog_
trail.aspx?trailid=HGS463-018


forums.photographyreview
.com/blog.php?do=showentry
&e=174


www.trimbleoutdoors.com/
viewtrip.aspx?tripId=27504


I've already decided that I simply MUST return to visit...besides, I realized too late on my way home: I never got my freebie massage! :-) She was great in teaching me some additional stretches she thought I might find helpful...and I have!

Loved that California sun...even if it DID crispyfry me...peeling already! And this was despite slathering myself with sunscreen.

Well, it's late...must sign off...hope you all enjoy my thoughts and notes!

Don
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CHAS1949 5/11/2009 9:20PM

    Thanks for sharing your convention thoughts and experiences. I hope the next one will be advertised really soon, so we can prepare...I WILL go next time!!

This time I live through you and did look at the 300+ pictures. It looked like so much fun and I could tell the staff was friendly and approachable..how cool is that!!

Anyway, thanks so much for sharing!

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KASHMIR 5/11/2009 3:27PM

    How cool you and your sister got in some alone time together! I have the same problem, my brother lives in Atlanta and our schedules are SO BUSY. I think I need to block out some time to go visit this year...no matter what.

As for San Deigo...I'm going to go back again next year for the UT 8k for Literacy, that is unless of course there is a Spark Convention to attend!

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ZIRCADIA 5/11/2009 11:14AM

    I REALLLLY want to visit SD again!!! It was such a wonderful trip for me, as well. :)

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PTPHELAN 5/11/2009 9:57AM

    Your recap of the time in San Diego is great. I'm so glad you reconnected with your sister. Family is so important and time goes way too quick. Now that you have experienced the beauty of San Diego, I'm sure you will go back. My family and I are going this summer for the third year in a row.

I'm pulling for the convention to be in Cincinnati next year since I live in Columbus!

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BKWERM 5/11/2009 8:43AM

    Thanks for sharing, Don. It sounds like you had a wonderful time!

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LADYWEZ 5/11/2009 5:55AM

    Sounds like a great time. So glad you got to go and have a blast.

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ZELLAZM 5/11/2009 5:19AM

    Great reporting, Don! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and personal experiences. It really sounds like your life got Sparked!

Blessings today,
Michelle
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JIBBIE49 5/11/2009 1:39AM

    Don, I'm so glad you got to go. What a wonderful experience.

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CAOMAGIC 5/10/2009 11:09PM

    I am so glad that I got to meet you and many others at the convention, an experience like this lets you see a whole other side of life. I share your joy!!
Twenty five years ago, I was sent to San Diego for a job assignment, but never got to do much there due to my job. I got to see more of the city in four days than I did in the two months that I lived there.

The speakers were awesome, everyone was friendly, and the experience was one that I will treasure for a lifetime!! I look forward to the next convention and hope that I can attend.

Take care and keep the Spark!!

Cindy O.

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