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Support systems

Friday, June 24, 2011

Discussing Support Systems is kind of like coming in to the middle of a movie. The first question about support systems is "what is this system supporting?" Which returns one to the start of the movie: values and goals.

Given that you have done the first part: examined your values and articulated them to yourself, and set some goals, it is time to take a look at the systems in your life that support those goals. The systems may be physical (how you stock your kitchen, pantry, etc., where you place your exercise equipment, food and exercise trackers), psychological (motivational images in strategic spots, a personal journal), social (friends and family, Spark people). These all support your goals and your goals support your values.

The other side of support systems is to think about the things one does each day, each week, each month... look at the systems in our lives that make up that routine, and determine: are they working? Do they support our goals? Is there anything, any part of those systems that is "broken" or hindering goals or contrary to values? Then you have a bug in your system and you might want to think about what it will take to fix it.

I work in computers. Sometimes a conscious decision is made to leave a bug in a system because it would be too costly to remove it, and fixing it would not give a benefit big enough to justify the cost. We have to make those kinds of decisions in our choices about life systems, too.

As I am going through my "do one thing" initiative, it is taking me down the pathway of examining my systems. Each time I do that "one thing", I am trying to think about what the area of the house (or yard) is supporting... is my "one thing" today maintaining a system? Is it pointing out a bug in the system?

This morning's "one thing" involved clearing clutter from my vanity. The system that little area supports is the getting ready for the day and the getting ready for the night system. It is part of a personal hygiene system. The clutter I cleared off represented holding on to things that I was done with, or failing to finish the job of deciding what to do with a given piece of paper. My vanity was a flat surface in the area when that decision making process failed to complete.

To keep it clear, I have to learn to put my toys away, even if it means filing "decisions to be made". It is an extension of the "handle today's mail today"... a little further.

This thing is working much like the Spark for nutrition and exercise did... a Spark for a dignified life. Which we all are worthy of. We just have to build the support systems for this, same as for the healthy habits that nourish our bodies.

This can work. This can be long-term, too. With small steps and changed attitudes, avoiding perfectionism... I can have the life I am beginning to envision. The whole life. Not just the goal weight.

emoticon emoticon emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SUNNY332 6/24/2011 7:33PM

    I agree - there has got to be more to life than a "weight goal".

Here's to living every day. emoticon

Hugs, Sunny

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_LINDA 6/24/2011 3:41PM

    Sparks mentions how getting one area under control can lead to getting others under control, the snowball effect.. A lot of people have money troubles, so they set up Spark Savings. This site has been the biggest support system to those who have very little. I can envision it some day being all things to all kinds of people for all kinds of problems with life..
I was searching for a document all this morning and completely cleaned out my filing cabinet, one slip of a paper at a time and discovered some critical things -that there is something going on with my mail and I haven't been getting anything that I should! The form I thought missing might never have been delivered in the first place!!!!So I was forced to declutter finding out critical information in the process. Sometimes it pays big time!
I need to be more on top of things obviously, and paper clutter is a biggie for me. I have ever receipt for everything I have ever purchased LOL. Well now, I only have the things still in my possession lol.

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MSLZZY 6/24/2011 2:50PM

    What a great way to look at life and SP! It's all about baby steps. Thank you!

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    Keep talking, I'm listening!

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CONCHA77 6/24/2011 12:49PM

    Great blog, made me think! hahah.
Have a great weekend.

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SEATURTLE86 6/24/2011 10:10AM

    Excellent blog! Very thought provoking! It is true that we need to get systems in place to support our goals and the life-style we want. It is also important to re-evaluate these systems regularly to "tweek" what is and isn't working. Loved the vanity analogy! Thanks for sharing. emoticon emoticon

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SHARON2014 6/24/2011 8:53AM

    Thought-provoking blog. I will be coming back to this one as I process my own "bugs". I do keep the clutter off the flat surfaces, but the drawers and closets --- oh my! Thanks! emoticon

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KALIGIRL 6/24/2011 8:39AM

    Love the analogy with 'leaving the bug' - cost/benefit, not to mention 'putting the toys away'. I'm a put in the drawer person - can't stand to see those lovely flat tops cluttered.

You will have a clear vanity and deal with the mail and many other 'one things'!

emoticonblog as usual.

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DEBRITA01 6/24/2011 8:12AM

    I love how SP *sparks* us into examining all aspects of our life...not only the weight loss aspect. It is all inter-related and by making small changes in different areas, you are right, we can strengthen the support system which will allow us to live our best lives.

Good blog (as Good luck to you as you continue to build on the life you deserve to have...Keep building, you are so worth it.

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REJ7777 6/24/2011 8:12AM

    What a great blog! You've been gifted with an analytical mind, and are very good at making analogies that get me thinking about things in new ways. I'll be thinking about support systems today!

Isn't it amazing that when we get one "system" of our life under control (weight, fitness), it helps us to get the other "systems" in our life under control too. As you wrote: "I can have the life I am beginning to envision. The whole life. Not just the goal weight." Me too! Me too! emoticon

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It's not about the one thing...

Thursday, June 23, 2011

it's about the attitude! It's all about the attitude.

"Do one thing" is a philosophy my older sister read about somewhere and mentioned to me in conversation a few years ago. "When you are feeling overwhelmed... just do one thing." It doesn't matter much what that one thing is, as long as it contributes to establishing order. It should not be a huge thing... as if it was huge you might not start in on it... it should be small.

"Do one thing"... then after you do that one thing you can decide whether or not to do another. And most important, you point to it and say to yourself, "You have done this one thing... you have done well."

I've observed with the Spark exercise logging that it doesn't take much to fulfill one small promise to myself... and that makes me feel good, empowered, and able to continue.

Some examples of my "one thing":

* I pulled five weeds from patio cracks before work. The patio looked better. I felt good.

* I poured eight gallons of saved "gray water" onto dry spots in my yard where I'm trying to encourage the baby grass to expand. I felt virtuous, as I'm being a conservationist of my state's water resources. AND taking care of my yard economically at the same time.

* I cleaned my vacuum cleaner's filters.

* I replaced the light in my range hood and went on to clean the surface of the hood.

* I cleaned the top of the 'fridge.

* I washed my stovetop drip pans.

All of these small things, not as part of "Spring cleaning"... but as individual "one thing" efforts done before work or between work and bedtime. Some days one has more energy to put into a "one thing" than others.

Oh, and I am indeed getting the mail handled each day, so far.

So, it's not just one day at a time... it's "one thing" at a time. emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DEBRITA01 6/24/2011 8:28AM

    Even when things seem overwhelming, we can all do one thing. I loved this blog...thanks for sharing emoticon

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REJ7777 6/24/2011 8:20AM

    I'm going to put "ONE THING" on my refrigerator, to remind myself of this blog. So often, I don't do anything because I feel overwhelmed by all there is to do. This will be a reminder that I can, in fact, do "one thing"! (And those "one things" add up.) emoticon

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PENNYAN45 6/24/2011 12:46AM

    I like this 'one thing' philosophy. It is excellent advice for those of us who can easily feel overwhelmed by any major undertaking. It is also a perfect way to begin anything.

The important message, too, is to value that 'one thing' that you do. Let it stand alone - rather than seeing it as only a small part of all that remains to be done.

Thanks for the wise words.

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_LINDA 6/23/2011 10:17PM

    Well done!! Sounds like you are succeeding with this concept :)

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 6/23/2011 9:28PM

    Bravo! Well said. emoticon

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Saying good-bye again

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

It's only taken me 15 weeks to give away the leftover dog treats and food. My "one thing" after work tonight was to drop by the Humane Society and let some other animals have the benefit of her no longer needing them.

I carefully avoided going in and seeing said animals. When I explained to a departing employee that this was because I'd lost my companion of 15 years, she expressed sympathy for my loss and I acquired a catch in my voice.

Rest in peace, run in freedom, Diamond!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LINDAJOYWK 6/24/2011 6:30AM

    Oh dear friend-it takes a very long time to get to where your eyes don't pool-even then-you never forget & that is good because love like that shouldn't be forgotten.
God bless you & comfort you.

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DEBRA0818 6/23/2011 11:10AM

    The price of love is very high. You have shown a lot of grace in how you handled her loss.

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BUGGYS 6/23/2011 8:03AM

    My beloved Kava died in February, as you know. A friend of mine adopted a rescue German Shepard so I took all of Kava's "big" dog toys over to her and her dog loves them. I still have my two little dogs but Kava will always have a special place in my heart. I miss him running on the beach at our cottage and jumping up on my lap to snuggle, all 140lbs. of him! Peace be with Diamond and I'm sure she and Kava are leading the pack! emoticon

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SOLIDROCK3 6/23/2011 7:53AM

    So sorry for your loss. We are nearing this with our beloved dog. I love the idea of giving the leftover things to the spca.

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APRILLSCOTT 6/23/2011 6:50AM

    Diamond was beautiful. What a wonderful idea to give your dogs things to the humane society. I am sure that somewhere in dog heaven Diamond, is watching from above and smiling. I know it has left you emoticon. Dogs are something that we really do get attached to just like having a human for friends. They all have their own personality.

We had a Rotweiler that was part of the family for 15 years. The kids when they were small could ride on his back. A very gentle, protective, loving dog. He even woke me up one time when one of the kids were sick and I had been up with them all night. He heard the child in the crib and I was so exhausted I did not hear them. When he was with me I felt very protected and like not much was ever going to harm me. His name was Taz. It was very tough getting over his loss for my whole family. I let him outside to go potty and a snake bit him on one of his back thighs. A very posionous snake and it must have been a very large one gathering insight from the phang mark. He must have stepped on him by mistake, and never seen him. By the time I got to him he was already paralyzied from the venom. He loved running around in our woods. I know how you may be feeling. We still talk about Taz now. He died the day of my graduation 2007 from college. A day that was suppose to be one of the best in my life turned out to be one of the most depressing. I cried the whole day and I am doing so now as I write this.

I feel your pain my friend. I would never get another dog until this year when Chi Chi was given to us. All I can tell you is things will get better. I am emoticon for you. May God Bless you Barb. Diamond was beautiful!

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REJ7777 6/23/2011 5:52AM

    She was such a beautiful dog! There's always a cost to loving, isn't there. We're vulnerable to pain when we love. emoticon

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2KITTIES 6/22/2011 10:10PM

    I'm so sorry for your loss. I hope ou can find peace and solace in the happy memories you have of your time together. emoticon

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    When I lost my Benny who had been with me for 12 1/2 years a part of my heart went with him. Pets really do make life so much more enjoyable.
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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KALIGIRL 6/22/2011 12:39PM

    Diamond is smiling on you!

Comment edited on: 6/22/2011 12:40:03 PM

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JUST_TRI_IT 6/22/2011 9:31AM

    Wonderful line: Rest in peace, run in freedom.... Diamond. Perfect.


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LJCANNON 6/22/2011 12:50AM

    Wish I could have been there for a real Hug!!
emoticonDiamond was Blessed to be a part of your life. And she blessed you in return.

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ANDI571 6/21/2011 11:06PM

    What a sweet way of honoring Diamond. Hugs my friend. emoticon

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MSLZZY 6/21/2011 10:19PM


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MNTWINSGAL 6/21/2011 9:57PM

    I know how you feel....when you are just barely holding it together and then someone says something nice, or sympathetic, it becomes impossible. I feel your pain.

I'm glad you were able to donate your dear Diamond's things to the Humane Society. We always adopt our pets from there, and it has a special place in my heart.

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BESTSUSIEYET 6/21/2011 9:53PM

    You were blessed. You were a blessing. God will comfort you. Hugs, my friend!

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DEBRITA01 6/21/2011 9:50PM

    What a thoughtful way to remember Diamond. I'm sure the other animals were appreciative of the gesture. We all do things when we are ready and today was your day for that task...although it doesn't make it any easier. Also, good idea not to go into the shelter when you were feeling so vulnerable. emoticon emoticon

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SUNNY1432 6/21/2011 9:14PM

    I'm so sorry for your loss. emoticon emoticon emoticon

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    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon That was the hardest thing for me, too. emoticon

Comment edited on: 6/21/2011 8:20:53 PM

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WATERMELLEN 6/21/2011 8:11PM

    What a beautiful dog. It's unbearable when they leave us . . . but our dogs do have such amazing lives, because we do love them so much.

And: so kind of you to do what you did . . .

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 6/21/2011 7:59PM

    That was very thoughtful and caring, Barb. And you did Diamond proud, I'm sure. Have a nice evening.

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SAMI199 6/21/2011 7:58PM

    I am so sorry-My sweet girl has been gone 5 years already & I still miss her...

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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A long, slow jog

Monday, June 20, 2011

That's what my son proposed we do on Sunday at 1 p.m. Meet him at the trailhead and we shall go on a long, slow jog. Well, knowing his fitness level, height, age and gender, I figured HIS long slow jog might just be a race pace for his mom.

WRONG. He is working on conditioning. He had not been doing a lot of impact running the past two years. Although he is working on speed, he is mostly working on impact and environment: learning to deal with outdoors and heat and impact. And he's early in the program (first week).

Since I was along for the "ride", essentially, (and because he wanted to show off his technology) he started up his Smart Phone App that tracks your speed via GPS and gives vocal prompts in a voice of your choice. He told me we were targeting 12 to 9 minute miles, and I warned him if it were closer to 9, I'd be in trouble.

However, he also said it was to be an hour, and most of my jogs so far have been intervals (at least since last November), and shorter in duration. It was sunny and warm. You'd be proud of me, I remembered the sunscreen! emoticon And the billed cap. I was prepared.

That silly voice kept telling us to "slow down" in the first portion of the course. We went a half hour out, then turned around and came back. Most of the coming back was at a walk, and it nagged us in the other direction to "speed up" but we were having none of it. Phone apps be hanged, listen to your bodies! We stopped two or three times to stretch, remove gravel from his shoes, etc.

Momly conclusion: Son, you have to invest in better shoes. After our run, we both went to our respective homes to shower, then I took him out to eat and to shop for his birthday present. We got him a good pair of stabilizing running shoes. Hope this helps. emoticon

And we may just do this again next week.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KALIGIRL 6/21/2011 1:21PM

    Sounds emoticon
Glad you got him shoes and emoticonon running a half-hour - you are going to leave me in the dust...

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PENNYAN45 6/21/2011 7:44AM

    What a GREAT time with your son! Wow! And how many sons can say they went jogging for an hour with their mom?
Way to GO!!


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WATERMELLEN 6/20/2011 7:23PM

    Just spent about 3 hours chatting with my son: love that mum and son time. Precious.

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MNTWINSGAL 6/20/2011 7:22PM

    What a great day! I'm so glad you and your son got to spend some quality time, and in such a healthy way! And way to go with your choice of birthday present for him!

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KATIE33MAHALA 6/20/2011 6:27PM

    love this story, Its nice that you and your Son can do this together!

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_LINDA 6/20/2011 10:54AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
That was a fabulous time with your son! Great job getting him proper running shoes, that is so important! He is lucky to have a caring and concerned Mom! I hope you can enjoy future jogs with him!

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MEDDYPEDDY 6/20/2011 9:14AM

    How nice! I am hula hooping with the daughter and it is really fund to exercise together!

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MARVEEME 6/20/2011 8:54AM

    WTG Mom! They will take him ANYWHERE!

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And on the seventh day, She rested...

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day to all the Spark Dads out there!

A life with dignity has to include days of rest and relaxation. That's why this effort to "clean up my act" has to avoid becoming marathon / binge cleaning. A life of dignity includes good night's sleep, nutritious meals, healthy levels of activity... and a home that is a refuge, supporting the ability to welcome in people I care about. I'm going to get that home the same way I got to goal weight... one day at a time, with small improvements in daily behavior.

So, all that said, day 7 (yesterday) began with staying up all night. It was my turn to monitor some computer work overnight for work. It went very smoothly... all finished by 7 a.m. Saturday.

This is relevant because sleep is vital to health. I caught a short nap before the phone started ringing. First, my brother. YES! He's coming. In about 3 weeks. And YES, I will be the sleep-over house this trip. So this effort that I started before finding out about this visit is charmingly well-timed.

Second, my niece... she and her mom are returning something to me, will I be home? I have something to give them, too. So, as I was sweeping my front steps (my morning "one thing" for yesterday), they dropped over and we visited for a few minutes, then they went on their errand run, and I finished the steps and went back in for another nap.

I walked to the mailbox to mail in my commitment to join the National Weight Control Registry. Yes, I finally decided that I would take this step. After that, I managed to get yet another nap, and went to bed early. I slept a full nine hours, people... I felt *wonderful* this morning.

This led to today's one thing: I cleared out and vacuumed the guest room. I know, that sounds menacingly like a the start of a marathon, but it really wasn't. The guest room was already relatively clear. But all rooms left unused do tend to gather dust. I bagged up some old video tapes for the trash. So, today's "one thing" has been handled. At least the before church one.

Here's to those small, every day changes, made with consistency, and appreciated, daily. We can do this, and we're worth it. emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MSLZZY 6/19/2011 10:45PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 6/19/2011 3:17PM

    Your conviction and dedication are awesome, Barb. Way to go!

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KIMA86 6/19/2011 11:39AM

    Thanks for the reminder! In our hurry to reach our goals (whether they be weight loss, work-related or anything else), we often overlook our need for rest. I have to keep reminding myself of that fact.

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