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Thank You For My Spark

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

I saw this quote today, and it really spoke to me:

“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.”

About a month ago, I started reaching out to people on Sparkpeople. Not only did I want to make a connection with other people on the same journey, but I actually wanted to meet people in person. People who had the same goals and drive: to be healthier, exercise more and eat better. I knew then and continue to know that I cannot do this on my own. I am a junkie. I need people that I can check in with and will check on me. I need support but not just any support. I want support from other people in the battle. People who know what the moments of triumphant joy feel like, as well as the utter despair. I wanted kindred spirits. Losing weight isn't for the feint hearted! It's hard work, both mentally and physically in my case. Each pound is tied into knots with all kinds of emotions. These pounds were packed out in moments of joy, boredom, has been my constant companion.

My spark was flickering.

And then I decided that I wanted people, not food.

On a cold morning about a month ago, I met Becky. A fellow Spark sister. A mother. A warrior. An inspiration. A new friend. We met at our local YMCA and walked around the outdoor track. It was chilly, my out of shape body complained and begged me to stop. The laps fell away as Becky and I discussed our families, interests, and past successes and subsequent failures with weight loss. We laughed about fearing the other could have been a serial killer or unsavory in some other way. After all, who knows who or what is lurking around on the internet.

Before meeting Becky that morning, I can't exactly remember when I had exercised last. We walked two miles. At the end, we smiled and laughed together. Alone, neither of us would have exercised. Together, we did it! Together we have continued to walk and encourage each other.

I think that quote is fantastic, because it mentions sparks. I met Becky through Sparkpeople. She continues to help me find and remember my spark. The spark which drives me to continue exercising despite pain, despite discomfort, despite discouragement. I know I'm not alone, and for that, I am grateful.

Even more special is I know I helped and continue to help Becky find her spark. I think this is what keeps me going on the days I want to give up. Because as wonderful as the support is that Becky gives me, I want to give her the same. We both could come up with a million reasons to complain and give up. Instead, we make the time and support each other.

I am so grateful.
Thank you, Sparkpeople.
Thank you, Becky (AFTERMYKIDS).

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

AFTERMYKIDS 5/20/2013 8:49AM

    AWWWW Jane, emoticon You know how crazy this weekend was & reading this on NO SLEEP!! You have me balling....Girl you are so right "WE" are going to do this & I am SO THANKFUL for YOU reaching out. Yes I almost didn't respond because like you said, "You never know what might be on the internet" but I am so thankful that I did. You are one of the sweetest "serial killers" I've ever met emoticon And just a SHOUT OUT to YOU, " emoticon to you walking 4 miles this weekend at RELAY!! YOU GO GIRL!!" If I ever feel like giving up, you are MY INSPIRATION & I hear you telling me, WE CAN DO THIS! Thanks for everything & thanks for being YOU! emoticon

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LIL.LU 5/18/2013 12:50PM

    I am so excited for you. When the spark is re-energized feels so good.

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MOTHEPRO 5/16/2013 4:22PM


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MOTTAMAMALOU 5/15/2013 5:22PM

    Wonderful Blog!
Good things happen when you have a good partner in your healthy journey.


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Wear Sunscreen

Saturday, June 06, 2009

If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. I will dispense this advice now.

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth.
Oh, never mind.
You will not understand the power
and beauty of your youth until they've faded.
But trust me, in 20 years, you'll look back at photos of
yourself and recall in a way you can't grasp now how much
possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked.
You are not as fat as you imagine.

Don't worry about the future.
Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as
trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum.
The real troubles in your life are apt to be things
that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that
blindside you at 4 pm on some idle Tuesday.

Do one thing every day that scares you.


Don't be reckless with other people's hearts.
Don't put up with people who are reckless with yours.


Don't waste your time on jealousy.
Sometimes you're ahead,
sometimes you're behind.
The race is long and, in the end,
it's only with yourself.

Remember compliments you receive.
Forget the insults.
If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.

Keep your old love letters.
Throw away your old bank statements.


Don't feel guilty if you don't know
what you want to do with your life.
The most interesting people I know didn't know at
22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some
of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don't.

Get plenty of calcium.

Be kind to your knees.
You'll miss them when they're gone.

Maybe you'll marry, maybe you won't.
Maybe you'll have children, maybe you won't.
Maybe you'll divorce at 40,
maybe you'll dance the funky
chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary.
Whatever you do, don't congratulate yourself
too much, or berate yourself either.
Your choices are half chance.
So are everybody else's.

Enjoy your body.
Use it every way you can.
Don't be afraid of it or of what other people think of it.
It's the greatest instrument you'll ever own.

even if you have nowhere to do it but your living room.

Read the directions,
even if you don't follow them.

Do not read beauty magazines.
They will only make you feel ugly.

Get to know your parents.
You never know when they'll be gone for good.

Be nice to your siblings.
They're your best link to your past and the people
most likely to stick with you in the future.

Understand that friends come and go,
but with a precious few you should hold on.
Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle,
because the older you get, the more you need the
people who knew you when you were young.

Live in New York City once, but leave before it
makes you hard. Live in Northern California
once, but leave before it makes you soft.


Accept certain inalienable truths:
Prices will rise.
Politicians will philander.
You, too, will get old.
And when you do, you'll fantasize that when you
were young, prices were reasonable, politicians
were noble, and children respected their elders.

Respect your elders.

Don't expect anyone else to support you.
Maybe you have a trust fund.
Maybe you'll have a wealthy spouse.
But you never know when either one might run out.

Don't mess too much with your hair or by the
time you're 40 it will look 85.

Be careful whose advice you buy,
but be patient with those who supply it.
Advice is a form of nostalgia.
Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal,
wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts
and recycling it for more than it's worth.

But trust me on the sunscreen.

Mary Schmich
( newspaper columnist with the Chicago Tribune )

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KUNGFOOD 6/7/2009 9:21PM

    Love it! Thanks for sharing this.

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BIONIC2 6/6/2009 11:28AM

    I LOVE this! I have a copy of it and read it often!!

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HEALTHY4JEANNE 6/6/2009 7:33AM

    my favorites: keep your love letters and throw out your bank statements.

Get to know your parents.
You never know when they'll be gone for good.
Dad will be gone 10 years in August and my mom 7 years in September. I miss them. but I knew them well... great advice.

Understand that friends come and go,
but with a precious few you should hold on.
Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle,
because the older you get, the more you need the
people who knew you when you were young.
(my best friend and i have been friends since the first day of Kindergarten when she was late and I showed her around. She has been late ever since. LOL)

thank you. I needed this this morning.

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BINEMELLES 6/6/2009 6:58AM

    oh my. i think i need to print out those last 3 posts and tape them somewhere i can read them daily. so much wisdom. thank you for sharing!

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AURORA.BELLA 6/6/2009 4:33AM

    There's a song of this that I had memorized, I love it! I can't think of who made it though :( (well it was on the radio, its really just spoken rather than sung.)

Comment edited on: 6/6/2009 4:35:55 AM

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I've Learned

Saturday, June 06, 2009

I've learned -
that you cannot make someone love you.
All you can do is be someone who can be loved.
The rest is up to them.

I've learned -
that no matter how much I care, some people just don't care back.

I've learned -
that it takes years to build up trust, and only seconds to destroy it.

I've learned -
that it's not what you have in your life but who you have in your life that counts.

I've learned -
that you can get by on charm for about fifteen minutes. After that, you'd better know something.

I've learned -
that you shouldn't compare yourself to the best others can do.

I've learned -
that you can do something in an instant that will give you heartache for life.

I've learned -
that it's taking me a long time to become the person I want to be.

I've learned -
that you should always leave loved ones with loving words. It may be the last time you see them..

I've learned -
that you can keep going long after you can't.

I've learned -
that we are responsible for what we do, no matter how we feel.

I've learned -
that either you control your attitude or it controls you.

I've learned -
that regardless of how hot and steamy a relationship is at first, the passion fades and there had better be something else to take its place.

I've learned -
that heroes are the people who do what has to be done when it needs to be done, regardless of the consequences.

I've learned -
that money is a lousy way of keeping score..

I've learned -
that my best friend and I can do anything or nothing and have the best time.

I've learned -
that sometimes the people you expect to kick you when you're down will be the ones to help you get back up.

I've learned -
that sometimes when I'm angry I have the right to be angry, but that doesn't give me the right to be cruel.

I've learned -
that true friendship continues to grow, even over the longest distance. Same goes for true love.

I've learned -
that just because someone doesn't love you the way you want them to doesn't mean they don't love you with all they have.

I've learned -
that maturity has more to do with what types of experiences you've had and what you've learned from them and less to do with how many birthdays you've celebrated.

I've learned -
that you should never tell a child their dreams are unlikely or outlandish. Few things are more humiliating, and what a tragedy it would be if they believed it.

I've learned -
that your family won't always be there for you. It may seem funny, but people you aren't related to can take care of you and love you and teach you to trust people again. Families aren't biological.

I've learned -
that no matter how good a friend is, they're going to hurt you every once in a while and you must forgive them for that.

I've learned -
that it isn't always enough to be forgiven by others. Sometimes you have to learn to forgive yourself.

I've learned -
that no matter how bad your heart is broken the world doesn't stop for your grief.

I've learned -
that our background and circumstances may have influenced who we are, but we are responsible for who we become.

I've learned -
that just because two people argue, it doesn't mean they don't love each other. And just because they don't argue, it doesn't mean they do.

I've learned -
that we don't have to change friends if we understand that friends change.

I've learned -
that you shouldn't be so eager to find out a secret. It could change your life forever.

I've learned -
that two people can look at the exact same thing and see something totally different.

I've learned -
that no matter how you try to protect your children, they will eventually get hurt and you will hurt in the process.

I've learned -
that your life can be changed in a matter of hours by people who don't even know you.

I've learned -
that even when you think you have no more to give, when a friend cries out to you, you will find the strength to help.

I've learned -
that credentials on the wall do not make you a decent human being.

I've learned -
that the people you care about most in life are taken from you too soon.

I've learned -
that it's hard to determine where to draw the line between being nice and not hurting people's feelings and standing up for what you believe.

Author Unknown

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    so true!!

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MOCNVW23 6/6/2009 8:16AM

    I really like this blog. It is so true, thank you for sharing it with us.

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The Invitation

Saturday, June 06, 2009

It doesn't interest me what you do for a living
I want to know what you ache for
and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart's longing.

It doesn't interest me how old you are
I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool
for love
for your dreams
for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn't interest me what planets are squaring your moon...
I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow
if you have been opened by life's betrayals
or have become shrivelled and closed
from fear of further pain.

I want to know if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your
fingers and toes
without cautioning us to
be careful
be realistic
to remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn't interest me if the story you are telling me is true.
I want to know if you can disappoint another
to be true to yourself.

If you can bear the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
every day.
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.
I want to know if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand on the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,

It doesn't interest me
to know where you live or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after a night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.

It doesn't interest me who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the center of the fire
with me
and not shrink back.

It doesn't interest me where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.
I want to know if you can be alone
with yourself
and if you truly like the company you keep
in the empty moments.

Oriah Mountain Dreamer
© Oriah Mountain Dreamer, from the book "The Invitation"
published by HarperSanFrancisco, 1999

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LYNDSEY221 12/31/2009 1:13AM

    I absolutely LOVE this and once had this horrid idea of getting it tattoo'd on my back emoticon but quickly realized that was not a good idea. However, it is tattoo'd in my mind...just love it!

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Tuesday, June 02, 2009

By most people's estimations, I have lived a dull life. No great accomplishments, I haven't climbed Everest or invented some life saving drug. But sometimes, my moments just blow me away. I think maybe my moments are the best moments anyone could hope for. I find that most of my best moments are defined by nature, family, friends and my lover. My soulmate. Maybe, life is not about the rollercoaters and cruises, the unexpected high and lows. Maybe it's really about those moments when I'm lost in the feel of Jeremy's skin. When we're giggling in the dark about jokes that are only funny and meant for us. Maybe life is about the moments spent washing dishes with my Granny by the window or holding hands with her watching a sunset. These little moments, away from extreme emotions, when joy seems to bloom inside me. I just have to stop and enjoy that moment.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CITYZOZO 6/6/2009 11:58AM

    U R an incredible writer.. wow!

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    Good moments, bad moments, but they will ALWAYS be moments to remember!!

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CASSIES 6/3/2009 9:22PM

    I'm swooning over the moments you've described. emoticon

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PAIGESMAMA 6/3/2009 8:42PM

    Thank you for the wonderful words. I have a 2 1/2 year old daughter and I try to just have simple happy times with her. It doesn't matter if we are at the park, the store or where ever just enjoy the time together.

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BINEMELLES 6/3/2009 4:02PM

    your life could never have been a dull one if you are able to appreciate these precious moments so much. my mom always used to say that most people miss the small things in life because they're waiting for the big ones to happen.

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JAVABEAN2 6/3/2009 9:30AM

    so very true! :) have a great day!!!!

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ROYALETBONE 6/3/2009 2:23AM

    Thank you so much for these latest blogs. So loving and warm.

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H-2-OH 6/2/2009 2:21PM

    You're absolutely right. I think that's why the "living in the moment" philosophy appeals to me so much. So much happens every minute that we miss if we're not paying attention and when we learn to slow down and observe, feel, participate in the here and now it's so fulfilling and magical.

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PJDKSMITH 6/2/2009 1:35PM

    It's that 'stop and smell the roses' moments, isn't it?
Life is way too short to wait for something dramatic in ur life to happen. Usually when its drama its too difficult to deal with and u want only for life to get back to 'normal'
I can deal without drama; small moments of laughter, compassion and self-awareness is what steals me through bad times.
Thanks for blogging, I always look forward to ur words.

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AINTSKEERD 6/2/2009 1:03PM

    Thanks for the reminder about the preciousness of those little moments. I think you are very right!

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    Those are my favorite moments too. Life has more of these small moments than the big ones anyway, so those who can enjoy them and see the greatness in them are lucky. I hope that you are doing well, glad to see you posting your stories as always! I have been hanging in there myself, really enjoying my summer as much as possible, trying to push myself a little more/be more consistent in a few departments. Okay, take care of yourself!! Patti

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LORIELP 6/2/2009 8:52AM

    Life is good, thanks for sharing emoticon

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HAXELEYE 6/2/2009 6:50AM

    Nice sentiment. I think alot of us need reminding of the simple things. Hope you're enjoying NC!

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