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It is more fun with friends... or family

Saturday, July 09, 2011

I have three sisters and a brother. This morning the elder grouping of us decided we wanted to move while we visited, and we walked around a nearby lake while doing our in-person catch-up. Took a couple of photos that grace the front page for today, anyway... the backdrop is the sunrise over lake... ahhhh! The people are the sibling group in which for eight years of my life I was the "middle child"... after that I just became "one of the middle children"... I'm number 2 of 5 if you count those kinds of things in personality profiles and such.

In any case, I love the way we operate together as siblings... and we had a great time, pausing to take whatever snapshots struck our fancy and swapping tales from our lives. Ah, yes, sometimes one has to feed the soul. Hope all my fellow Sparkies are doing the same: balancing our lives to include exercise, social support, and healthy habits.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MSLZZY 7/10/2011 10:40PM

    Great! Enjoy your time together-hugs!

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_LINDA 7/10/2011 8:48AM

    Its wonderful to hear this warm tale of sibling love! Enjoyed your photos! With my sister and brother's extrememly busy lifestyles, we are lucky to even get together once a year, and is usually so brief (their commitments to their respective spouse's family comes first), we have no time to do anything together as their kids' interests and wants come first.
Maybe someday, when their kids finally leave the nest. The oldest 22 year olds still are at home..
Have a super Sunday..

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 7/9/2011 10:07PM

    What a nice time! So glad you were able to spend this quality time with your sibs.

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J-ALEXIS 7/9/2011 2:50PM

    Wow! What a great way to visit. I love your idea to excise while visiting.

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MNTWINSGAL 7/9/2011 12:53PM

    Barb, I'm so glad this visit is turning out to be everything you hoped. Have a great time with the sibs!

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MARVEEME 7/9/2011 12:47PM

    emoticon emoticon

Back at ya! What a GLORIOUS time!

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A year and a day...

Friday, July 08, 2011

A year and a day after mom passed, our family was blessed with the birth of my youngest niece. Tomorrow is my eldest niece's birthday. Happy Birthday to both! Isn't it such a blessing that life's sorrows have balancing joys?

Which brings back the ongoing theme of balance. The days with a little more indulgence, the days with a little more vigorous activity, the days that encourage order, the days that encourage fun. Recognizing all that life has to offer and living in the moment is a healthy way to live. Listening to our bodies and what they really need... nurturing our inner child and parenting ourselves.

As I await the arrival of my brother I rejoice in having taken the steps to encourage a more orderly home. I hope that this effort will become the same kind of ongoing thing that grows into "maintenance" of another sort.

Don't you love how Spark gives that criss-cross effect in all areas of life?
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BESTSUSIEYET 7/10/2011 10:49AM

    emoticon balance is a key part of core strength! Good to build that into all areas of our lives! Glad you've enjoyed such a good family time. Not all families can come together in harmony.

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LINDAJOYWK 7/10/2011 7:48AM

    I hadn't put it together,but balance in one area does increase the need for balance
in another-& it's a good thing!

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REJ7777 7/9/2011 12:08PM

    I hope that you enjoy your time with your brother!

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MNTWINSGAL 7/8/2011 6:42PM

    Enjoy your visit with your brother - I know you have worked hard to be ready for his arrival, and your dedication will show through!

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WATERMELLEN 7/8/2011 3:27PM

    Balance balance balance . . . yup, it does seem to spread itself around!!

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CASJ57 7/8/2011 12:57PM

    What a great attitude - and a good reminder.

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_LINDA 7/8/2011 11:04AM

    When you get balance and control in one part of your life like weight control, it just naturally proves that maybe you can get balance and control in other parts of your life as well. Enjoy your visit with your brother!!

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LJCANNON 7/8/2011 10:45AM

    The criss-cross effect is hard to explain--for me, anyway--but it really does affect all aspects of our lives.
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LOVE_2_LAUGH 7/8/2011 10:08AM

    Yes! Balance IS the key to all things. Thanks for the reminder.

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SHARON2014 7/8/2011 8:59AM

    emoticon emoticon

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MARVEEME 7/8/2011 8:57AM

    To everything there is a season under Heaven.

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DOTTIEJANE1 7/8/2011 8:55AM

    Balance in all we do is such a joy. You say it so well .

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HOT4FITNESS 7/8/2011 7:45AM

    Yes, balance and maintaining in all aspects of our lives. I stand amazed at how spark people helps molds us and changes us.

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MSLZZY 7/8/2011 7:41AM

    Each side of life and balance affects another. You are learning what most
people would ignore. Well done! HUGS!

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FLORIDASUN 7/8/2011 7:39AM

    Yes...you have this splendidly! I am now in the process of de-cluttering a very large home full of STUFF...so much in fact, that I don't even know what's where and why it's there? As we shed lbs. of unnecessary fat, I think we look around and want to shed unnecessary 'fat' in the rest of our lives too! Way to go...I bet your brother will do a double take when he sees the 'new' you! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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Jahrzeit

Thursday, July 07, 2011

This is a word that my sisters have introduced to me. Literal translation: Year Time. It denotes the commemoration of the date of someone's death. Today is our mother's Jahrzeit. She passed away in 1996, exactly three weeks after my husband's brother passed, and about seven weeks before his mother. What a summer that was, fifteen years ago, now.

Anniversaries of various types have differing impacts as the years pass. Many of us who have fought the weight / food / addiction issues track to the day so many milestones: I remember to the day when I started my first "last straw" effort to learn how to get healthy, "for the rest of my life". I don't remember so much the exact dates of subsequent "day 1" restarts, but I do remember the most recent one... because I think this time it really *is* forever. At least, that is my resolve, my prayer, my desire.

I've learned a thing or two over the years. Things like it's OK not to be perfect. That one slip doesn't have to become a long slide. That it gives no pleasure to do some of the things that contributed to the weight problem any more. That weight doesn't serve the purpose it once did in my life (believe me, it *was* serving some purpose or I would not have held on to it).

I *enjoy* my new way of eating and moving and breathing and accepting. Life is good... and it is really all about attitude and gratitude... oh, yeah, and acting on it.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FLORIDASUN 7/8/2011 7:45AM

    Attitude and gratitude...I love that! emoticonI know so well the marking of the day that you lost someone you actually loved MORE than yourself.

I choose to believe that our beautiful son, Josh, who we lost at the tender age of only 22 is still VERY much with me...but now..just in a different way. emoticonHe was my angel boy and I talk to him each and every day...it might really be true...the good die young. emoticon

Blessings to you for your resolve and the efforts you have put into honoring your own sweet self..your momma is looking down with pride! emoticon

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REJ7777 7/8/2011 6:38AM

    emoticon emoticon

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THISYEARSMODEL 7/8/2011 6:26AM

    What a beautiful blog...Your mother raised a wise and wonderful woman. emoticon

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MIZCATHI 7/8/2011 5:56AM

    Death is so sad and yet a certainty. We have our time on this place and I want it to be satisfying. My own last straw at living life is revealing itself to me, and I wonder often why I waited so long. But I did, and here I am.

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MARVEEME 7/7/2011 9:48PM

    I have always known that if I were not Roman Catholic, I would be Jewish. The history, spiritualism, and tradition is most sacred to me for both. Thus, my understanding of Yahrzeit was revealed at a young age. History is always best studied to avoid the mistakes and learn from our predecessors as opposed to having to "learn the hard way".

With age comes wisdom, but sometimes, age arrives alone. (I'll bet we all could name names on the latter.)
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SPARK ON!

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WATERMELLEN 7/7/2011 8:51PM

    Useful word, useful concept: and I support you in your commitment to making this restart as the "forever" restart. Me too.

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MSLZZY 7/7/2011 8:12PM

    Certain days stick in your mind and a resolve is born of them. Enjoy your life and know you made the right decision for you. HUGS!

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Places on the journey

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Sometimes our journey to health and fitness seems to be a bit of a winding path. I think of it like a labyrinth, winding back on itself. Many of us are on this journey, and we are at different places in the labyrinth... sometimes they come close to one another, then suddenly diverge. Sometimes we appear to be on opposite sides of the circle, and then a few steps later... side by side! To get through the path, though, one has to keep moving, slowly, meditatively, and learning, rather than try to shout directions to another, as we cannot see his or her path, only our own.

Nothing brings this out more than holidays, and the periodic get-together with family. One may be in a very beatific (peaceful, blessed) state leading up to such a gather, then find others at places in the journey, and be tempted to give them "instructions" or advice on how to walk their path. Or, perhaps someone else is giving YOU the advice!

As an apparently successful loser of pounds, I am occasionally asked by people who apparently NEVER had the pounds to lose how to motivate their husband or friend or some loved one or other to "do something" about their weight / health.

I have found it most helpful, in my own journey, if people just left me be! Why? Because there is this little rebel in me that doesn't want someone else living my life! It is, as the adolescent yells at his/her parent, MY LIFE!

So... a little poll: those of you who have lost significant weight and become fit... did anything anyone else did or said truly positively influence you to "do something" about your issues? If so, what did they say? Did it hurt a lot? Or it it free you from hurting? Or did your motivation have to come from within?

We must walk our own path. Those who are nearby or on a parallel course may be able to talk about the view, but may not see the next twist in your path. Those who have walked your path before may have something to say about how it looked as they passed by, but not know how the vegetation has changed with a passing season. The best we can do is encourage one another that the journey is worthwhile, that the path has much to offer. And we can listen to what others have to say about where they are on the path... with compassion and gratitude... and keeping advice to ourselves, unless it is asked for.

Peace!
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FLORIDASUN 7/8/2011 7:58AM

    I find my fellow sparkies VERY encouraging...not so much for what they say but what they show...in their blogs, their pictures, their support.

I also know that at this point in my life I'm on the back 40...so to say. If I don't take the reins and ride this horse now...there will come a day I can't even make it UP on the horse.

I've never been one to be bullied into something just because someone else thinks it is the best thing since sliced bread for them. I had to come around to this concept of health and happiness in my own time and on my own terms.

Here's the bottom line...health feels SO much better than the alternative. It might take a little more planning but it's worth it. If I'm going to put something in my mouth I'd rather make it healthful than some processed crap that only passes by a picture on the label as food.

The BEST thing I've ever done...kicked sodas to the curb over a year ago...I was the Diet Coke with a slice of lime QUEEN...now I prefer beautiful clean water with a slice of lemon.

I agree everyone of us has to find their own path, but I also think that we get lost once in awhile and it's good to have a hiking buddy with a compass to help us go on, it just depends on each singular temperment.

This is a great thought provoking blog...thanks a bunch for the share! emoticon

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THISYEARSMODEL 7/8/2011 6:31AM

    Well said. To answer your question...my little rebel just shouted "Hell no!"


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BUGGYS 7/7/2011 7:39AM

    Right on, Barb! Although I listen to the advice my family and friends give me, I know this is my journey and I'm the one who has to find the motivation to move forward. I am on this journey with the help of my daughter's support. She has already lost 40 lbs. and she inspires me to keep going...after a few babies and several years of struggling with her weight, she found her motivation and the desire to get healthy. I am struggling with the motivation part, wanting this all to work NOW! Slowly, I have come to the realization that I have to keep encouraging myself, pushing myself every day and to keep my goals in front of me. If I slack off, I gain. I am inspired by all of you who have walked the walk and talked the talk. Thanks for another great blog, Barb!

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WATERMELLEN 7/6/2011 8:49PM

    "Did anything anyone else did or said truly positively influence you to "do something" about your issues?": interesting question. And the answer is "No".

At the time I lost the big whack of weight in 2001-2, I had just completed a big project and took a look in the mirror: 230 pounds. How come I could accomplish X but was completely out of control with respect to my weight? I read Susan Estrich's great book, "Making the Case for yourself" and I was off and running. Peeled the 80 pounds within less than a year. DH was supportive and kind, has really appreciated the weight loss, but never ever made me feel that I "had" to lose weight or that he "wanted" me to lose weight.

So: I don't think that external motivation works well for most people.

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MSLZZY 7/6/2011 8:07PM

    That is all we can do-just walk our own path. Others need to find the way on their own, when they are ready to start the journey.

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KALIGIRL 7/6/2011 1:21PM

    I SO believe in "walking our path" and that the only person who can influence behavioral changes is the person themself. While I do send out Spark calendars, articles and information to 3D friends (as the building Health Nazi) and have told anyone who asks what my 'secret' is, I'd never suggest ways a person could 'motivate' another....

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_LINDA 7/6/2011 12:08PM

    It was all me. I have pretty much been a loner all my life and never bothered with what others have to say. I was fairly active in between bouts of poor health and multiple surgeries, but if my severe disease did one thing for me, it woke me up to the fact my days are numbered and that I should make the most of every day of freedom I have left. That is, the freedom to walk and move and do things rather then be stuck in a wheelchair for the rest of my life. I wanted to get this body as moving as well as it could and in the best shape that I can so I can enjoy things like traveling, hiking and walking for miles and miles seeing the sights.. I will be sedentary some day, when they can no longer replace anything because there is no bone mass left to stick the implants in, but until then, I will live each day the healthiest and fittest that I can!!

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DEBRA0818 7/6/2011 12:07PM

    I agree with WORDLILY that having people love me no matter what my size is the best motivator. Otherwise I find I'm resentfully complying (and then rebelling) with an external motivator. Best if it comes from within even though it's hard to wait for that motivation to arise and stick.

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MIZCATHI 7/6/2011 10:46AM

    I agree that this is my journey, my way, in my time. Nobody has ever been successful at motivating me with nagging or reminders, but I have listened to people that I love and trust if they are concerned about me based on how my health is effecting my personality and the relationship. My husband is understanding, but from time to time he has nudged me in the right direction if I seem to be sliding, but he does it in a way that I don't resent.

I worry about my kids especially, yet I know that my "concern" does not translate correctly into motivation. I just keep my mouth shut like I want my mother to do and only comment to compliment. I find that leading by example is the best motivation.

Encouragement displayed with finesse is the only voice I ever hear that "works".

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 7/6/2011 9:08AM

    Amen! We can only be successful on this journey if it's one we want to take. I think that rebel within kept me unhealthy just to spite some of those dear ones who "only meant the best" for me. Their intentions were good, but the result was devastating. Thoughts of "why can't they love me the way I am?" or "if they think I need to change I must be unloveable." It's not until we reach the point where we love ourselves enough to want to take care of our bodies that we'll see real, genuine success.

GREAT blog, Barb!

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WORDLILY 7/6/2011 9:02AM

    I haven't actually arrived yet (nowhere close!), so maybe I don't qualify to answer your poll. But, the best thing loved ones said to be, before *I* started this journey, was that they loved me, no matter my size, no matter my appearance. No, that's not instant motivation to change -- like you said, that came from me and I don't think it can be external -- but it might be a little courage-instilling, a little confidence building. And these? Necessary for the journey.

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HOT4FITNESS 7/6/2011 8:57AM

    I actually looked in the mirror one day and did not like what I saw. I was a overwiegh and very out of shape.I had watch coworkers on diet after diet, losing then gaining it right back. That motivated to make the change. Heres the deal nothing anyone can say cam make you change if you dont have the desire to make it happen. we ahve our friend, family and coworkers to cheer us on. But ultimately it is all about us. We can not make people change but we can encourage them along the way when THEY deciode its time to take the journey. The paths we have walked others will walk because of the inspiration we have left behind. Thanks for sharing!!

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Old fashioned Family 4th of July

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Old Glory... what the holiday is all about. Except of course the food, the fireworks, the family... but without the flag and those who sign up to defend us... where would we be on the 4th of July?

If I were you, neighbor, I'd move that Covette.

Can't let the kids have ALL the fun.

We are ready for the show.

It starts as it gets darker.

And it was a great show. Not just our own, but you can see a lot from where we sat. This morning: driveway cleanup began at 5 a.m.

Hope you all had a great 4th, celebrating or not!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BUGGYS 7/6/2011 7:17AM

    Great pictures and great fun and a great bod!!!

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REJ7777 7/6/2011 6:24AM

    Sounds like you enjoyed your day. You really stand out in your red shirt, surrounded by all those dressed in blue and white. Red, white and blue! Very patriotic. emoticon

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TURTLETALK 7/5/2011 11:59AM

    Looks like a good time!

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CONCHA77 7/5/2011 8:47AM

    Thanks for sharing! Looks like you did have a great time. emoticon

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GOHUSKERS2 7/5/2011 8:40AM

    We got our flagpole painted and a new flag up yesterday. That kind of pride is a good thing in my book too. We had a quite a neighborhood show as well. I love fireworks so enjoy every moment of it. Glad you had a great 4th.

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MARVEEME 7/5/2011 8:20AM

    COOL!

Our neighbor spends hundreds every year to set off fireworks in the middle of the street, and we just sit back and watch, with a hose nearby in case of a mishap. We usually get out the next morning and do the cleanup before they're even awake. The one year that we weren't home for the display, the debris stayed in the street until we went out to clean it up a few days later. It's our way of "paying back" every year, without a word ever spoken about it. I guess I'll give them a broom when we move away.

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 7/5/2011 8:18AM

    Looks like you had a great holiday. Wonderful photos. Have a great week!

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