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Once upon a time

Friday, January 25, 2013



Once upon a time, we were all young. In this photo are two young moms and their dressed up little ones. It was taken at my wedding reception in 1981, by my dad. In it you see on the left, my sister and her daughter, on the right, my groom's sister and her daughter. I always thought of those two babies as two standards of beauty, and I have always loved this picture.

Overnight Wednesday, the mom on the right hugged her now grown, strong woman of a daughter good-bye for the last time, and continued on her journey spiritward. My niece called first my ex, yesterday morning, and a while later me.

As I have observed in the past, my first reaction to huge news is "I can keep working"... I'll just drive on. Five or ten minutes later, it becomes the to-do list... who I need to call. What I should do about relatives who may not be on my niece's first-call list... etc. I had trouble contacting my son right away, and finally accepted that no, this is not something I want to do here... and left work for the day.

I ended up having a long conversation with my ex, remembering his sister as a young, vibrant, capable single mom, courageous and strong. Remembering her as a grandmother, me tagging along as she took her granddaughter to the symphony kids' concert, or out to our local broadway musical in the park in Summertime. He reminisced on a trip they took together in 1999 back to some places of special meaning to them as children, in upper Michigan.

Later, as I was climbing into bed, my son was able to call and we chatted. While he's sorry he won't make it in time for a service (kind of hard to speed up military de-mobilization, and they likely would not for other than a parent, spouse or child), we knew this day would come a long time in advance and made sure he visited his aunt before he left. What he really would like right now is to get home to hug his cousin, and that will happen in its own good time.

So, as he told me, he'll be OK, I should take care of the others.

Anyway, on the Spark front, believe it or not, all that food tantrum stuff that went on for a couple of weeks? Kind of got the tar slapped out of it and I've been back on track for three full days, today would be the fourth. Exercise / training got really dialed back to the line in the sand, but I'm holding that line.

We shall see where I end up in a week or so, motivationally. 2013 could end up looking quite different from 2012... but, you know what? That's OK. This is LIFE. And life is good.

Spark on my friends, I'll be OK. Really. emoticon emoticon emoticon

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BARBARAJ73 1/27/2013 3:06PM

    Thinking of you emoticon

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DOGLADY13 1/26/2013 11:48AM

    I am truly sorry for your sadness and grief. I hope you continue to find comfort in your memories and family.

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KASEYCOFF 1/26/2013 10:43AM

    One day at a time, sweetie... That's a truly lovely picture.
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_LINDA 1/26/2013 10:05AM

    That is a wonderful photo and a great way to remember her. Wise choice to take off work, something you need is your privacy at a time like that.Its so very sad when a person dies before their time :(
Thinking of you as you deal with the emotional after effects in the coming weeks, months and years..
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OVERWORKEDJANET 1/26/2013 8:25AM

    I'll be thinking of you the next few days.
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KARIDIAN1 1/25/2013 10:15PM

    Sorry for your loss, my thoughts are with you.

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PATRICIAAK 1/25/2013 8:55PM

    My condolences

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LADYBUG1943 1/25/2013 8:10PM

    What a nice way to honor your sister in law. I loved the picture, too. The ease and suddenness in which a person leaves this life is astonishing. My mother died Valentines Day, 2012, and just the other day I was thinking something and my first instinct was to call and ask Mother (she didn't like being called "Mom"). She's just gone. Hard to understand for your sister in law, too, expected or not.

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DLDMIL 1/25/2013 5:03PM

    Prayers for you, your sister-in-law and the entire extended family. emoticon emoticon emoticon

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ANDI571 1/25/2013 3:03PM

    Lots of hugs my dear spark friend emoticon emoticon

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SLENDERELLA61 1/25/2013 1:30PM

    So sorry for your loss. Glad you got off work and took some time -- to think and memorialize and appreciate and process. The picture is lovely and memories are cherished, so rightlly. In a way it is too bad that the emotions of this gloriously happy time of your son's return is mixed with this difficult loss. Your attitude about it being life is right and good. Life is good. So glad you'll be okay. Glad you are back on track, too. With your encouragement and support, and your modeling handling the really tough stuff, I Spark On!! -Marsha

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LJCANNON 1/25/2013 1:27PM

    emoticon emoticon Sending Extra Hugs and Prayers to You & Your Family. So glad that you were able to talk to Your Son, I know that was a Comfort.
emoticon Some parts of this Good Life still Stink! and losing Loved Ones is one of those Stinky Times - even though it may be a Blessing for her, and we do know Good-Bye is Not Forever.

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LESLIELENORE 1/25/2013 1:19PM

    emoticon

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MNTWINSGAL 1/25/2013 10:59AM

    Loved ones passing is always heartbreaking. Thank you so much for sharing this amazing woman's story. Prayers for the family.

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MEXGAL1 1/25/2013 10:23AM

    many thoughts and prayers. I love the photo as well and a great way to remember her.

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KALIGIRL 1/25/2013 9:40AM

    This is not only life - as you've told me time and again - this is GOOD life!
emoticon Suncday?

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GABY1948 1/25/2013 9:32AM

    I am so sorry for your loss, but I truly believe that God can make GOOD things come from bad! Have a blessed weekend, Barb

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DALID414 1/25/2013 9:29AM

    emoticon

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 1/25/2013 9:17AM

    My condolences to you and yours, Barb. You wrote a touching blog and gave us a small glimpse into her/your lives "once upon a time."

Glad to hear you're back on track and doing well. One day at a time, right? Here' to a different (but exciting!) adventure in 2013!

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CELIAMINER 1/25/2013 9:15AM

    What a beautiful tribute to a woman who meant so much to you! I am saddened by your loss but heartened by the way you choose to remember.
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FROMNDTOGA 1/25/2013 8:54AM

    Prayers for you and your family.
clm

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DEBRA0818 1/25/2013 8:42AM

    A light has gone out of the world and extinguished in a very difficult way. It is a testimony to love and the human spirit that plans are being made to share memories and exchange love and the light that was your sister-in-law gets rekindled in others.

God bless, her, you, your family and her family and all whose lives are touched by illness, sadness and loss today.

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1CRAZYDOG 1/25/2013 8:40AM

    Awwww, Barb. I am so sorry to hear of your loss. It is so hard -- beyond words.

I am so glad that you got to talk w/your son, and that he got to see his Aunt before he left. Even more happy that he'll be home. **SIGH** Yup, the wheels of the military turn s-l-o-w-l-y.

Wrapping my arms around you and giving you a huge hug. It's not much, I know, but hope it helps.



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ROXYZMOM 1/25/2013 8:10AM

    What a beautiful picture and memory! I love how you were able to share some memories with you ex that day. It makes one realize how important family time is. I am happy that you have so many of your sister-n-law. I will keep your family in my prayers.

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KANOE10 1/25/2013 8:04AM

    I am so sorry to hear about your loss. She sounded like a wonderful person. You were wise to leave work. Take care of your self while you are helping others. Life is good and we should appreciate all of our precious moments.

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MIRAGE727 1/25/2013 7:52AM

    It's times like these, when all we can do is stay strong and focused. We also celebrate life for those who no longer can't. And we look for comfort spiritually. I try to draw strength from it all. You are in my prayers, Barb.
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DEBRITA01 1/25/2013 7:39AM

    So sorry for your loss. While you're taking care of others, please remember to take care of your needs, too. emoticon

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HEALTHY4ME 1/25/2013 7:31AM

    Sorry about your loss and hugs to all the family and especially your niece and her family. HUGS

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RUN4FOOD 1/25/2013 7:16AM

    Sorry to hear about your loss.
Keep taking that one step forward and you'll be okay.

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MSLZZY 1/25/2013 7:12AM

    My sympathy to you and the family. You are doing
everything you can to help your niece and I am sure
she appreciates your efforts.
Life always changes and we need to change with it.
Have a great day. HUGS!

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BLUENOSE63 1/25/2013 7:09AM

  Expected or not, death of a loved one is always a shock. Sorry for your loss and congrats for staying on track during this time of turmoil

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KATHIC2 1/25/2013 7:07AM

  So sorry about your loss. Grief is a very personal thing.

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MAGGIE101857 1/25/2013 6:59AM

    Barb, I'm saddened to hear our your family's loss; she sounds like she was a wonderful person; she left this earth knowing she was loved dearly. emoticon

On the Spark front, glad to hear that you back on track, and perhaps in your spare time, you could slap the tar out of me??? emoticon emoticon

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LEANJEAN6 1/25/2013 6:59AM

    Congrats Barb for getting back on track--Life is short----We are reminded daily of this--Nice picture! ------Families are so important eh?------as is healthy eating and exercise--and falling off the track sometimes!---The number of times you fall down is irrelevant. The number of times you have the courage to get back up is what matters!
Spark said that! emoticon Lynda

Comment edited on: 1/25/2013 6:59:32 AM

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JGRAY76 1/25/2013 6:57AM

    So sorry to hear of your loss but it sounds like you are doing OK. You are right, this is life.

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Humanity

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Human life is a jumble. Happy things. Sad things. Exciting things. Boring things. Pleasant emotions, and unpleasant ones.

Yesterday while joyously anticipating my son's return, I heard from his cousin, his dad's niece. Her mom is not doing well. This is the sister in law I've written about before, the one I run for, who has been robbed of so much of her life by ALS. She has contracted pneumonia. And they made the decision to stop feeding her by tube. She still gets water (kidneys are still working), and meds, of course.

But it is only a matter of time. I went over to spend a few moments, just standing there holding her hand, talking of little, encouraging her to rest. I did share that my son's out of harms way and on the way home. Her gaze would wander to the photograph of her own son, who passed away almost two years ago now.

Having read some of the near death literature, I wondered whether she could now see and commune with him... she seems quite at peace. She can still hear us, but now even her breathing is mechanically assisted. She can squeeze hands a little bit.

And what struck me yesterday is that despite all the disease has done to her body... she is still a beautiful woman. Love brings out beauty, you see. This photo is from a younger time, of course, but I can still see this woman.



At one a.m. or thereabouts I got the boots Stateside phone call. In about a week, I'll get my mom hugs. I'm praying also for hers, from a daughter before, from a son at her destination.

Life can be sad even while it is happy... but it is precious in all its moments. Take care of yourself today... so you will be there for your loved ones to share these moments.

Life is good. Spark on. emoticon

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

4DOGNIGHT 1/26/2013 12:44PM

    My MIL is in a nursing home nearing death. Everytime she has an "episode" we wonder if this is it but she always seems to rally. We have been talking with her about death and heaven and we hope she is at peace with it and is able to see what awaits her. Peace.

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KANOE10 1/25/2013 8:00AM

    emoticon I am glad she seems at peace and has her family around her.

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SPARKLISE 1/24/2013 1:11PM

    emoticon

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WATERMELLEN 1/23/2013 8:10PM

    What an extremely moving blog. It's so true that while one of us is experiencing the greatest joy, another the greatest trauma. That intense desire to will outcomes into existence . . . yeah. I recognize it, and it seldom works for me either.

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JANEMARIE77 1/23/2013 10:37AM

    emoticon beautiful sad and inspiring thought with you and your family

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MEXGAL1 1/23/2013 9:55AM

    many thoughts and prayers.

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LEANJEAN6 1/23/2013 7:40AM

    OMG BARB-such a beautiful girl!!! Life is short!!------I shall pray for her also!----Theresa (on TV)- has convinced me that relatives are around us--Hopefully it is true!----Nice to read about your feelings--Lynda emoticon

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BUGGYS 1/23/2013 6:52AM

    Having had a nephew pass from ALS at age 22, I know what a hideous disease it can be and am praying for your beautiful SIL and family. emoticon

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OVERWORKEDJANET 1/23/2013 5:28AM

    You've done what you can. She heard you, knows she is loved and will be loved.
That's all there can be.


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_LINDA 1/23/2013 1:48AM

    Just so very sad, but maybe relief she didn't have to suffer right to the end stage of that horrible disease -seeing her son on the other side, yes, a very peaceful way to go and be welcomed into the light..
So glad your son has made it home safely and that you can finally have peace.
Such a turmoil of emotions here. Only you could write about it in such an eloquent way.
Sending thoughts of peace and tranquility,
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SHARON10002 1/22/2013 10:25PM

    Barb, I'm sorry to heat about your SIL and ALS. It it an insidious disease. One of my therapeutic water exercise students had it. I watched him over a period of four years decline. But do you know, he was the most positive, and was there for every class unless he had a doctor's appointment. He was truly a gift to all of us. . .

So very glad to read that your son is closer to home!! I'm sharing your joy and anticipation, too. Homecomings, no matter who they are for, known or stranger, are emotional. Makes me choke up cause all those memories and feeling come flooding to the surface again . . . I'm sure you can't wait for those mom hugs, and he is going to be so surprised and proud when he lays eyes on you! Think of all you'll have to share from this past year!

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LJR4HEALTH 1/22/2013 7:54PM

    Sorry BArb to hear what the family is going through right now emoticon

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LINDAKAY228 1/22/2013 7:24PM

    I'm so sorry for what she and your family is going through. that's so tough. Glad she seems to be at peace.

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DEBRITA01 1/22/2013 7:13PM

    'Tis the ebb and flow of life. Prayers for your SIL and family for comfort and peace...her photo is beautiful. Prayers for you as you await the mom hugs and the sweet reunion. emoticon

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ANDI571 1/22/2013 5:57PM

    emoticon emoticon

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DLDMIL 1/22/2013 2:40PM

    Prayers for you, your sister in law and the entire family.

Hugs and joy for the boots on USA soil. I remember that call from my son.

emoticon emoticon

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DALID414 1/22/2013 1:26PM

    Wow, so many different emotions.

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ALOHAEV1 1/22/2013 11:49AM

    Tissue alert...smiles, hugs and love to you through the tears.

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MNTWINSGAL 1/22/2013 11:44AM

    Well said, Barb. Thoughts and prayers (both joyful and sad) are with you today.

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 1/22/2013 10:59AM

    Very touching.

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LESLIELENORE 1/22/2013 9:53AM

    emoticon

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KASEYCOFF 1/22/2013 9:27AM

    emoticon

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SLENDERELLA61 1/22/2013 9:01AM

    Can't wait for you to get your mom hugs!! He's safe and on his way home. Life is good.

So good of you to be there for your sister-in-law. Those visits can't be easy; they have to take a lot out of you. So tough. So emotional. Your perspective about life has to be sharpened by this experience. You write beautifully about it. Thanks you for sharing your wisdom.

Take care of yourself. I know you have to be so very, very excited about your son. Hang on. He's on his way! I'm even dreaming of your mom hugs!! -Marsha



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KALIGIRL 1/22/2013 8:48AM

    So glad he's 'home' and you were able to share precious moments with your SIL and assist her on her journey.
Namaste my friend.

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AMSPARKER 1/22/2013 8:32AM

    Barb, hugs and prayers for you and your beloved SIL. God bless. tears, both sad and also happy to enjoy MY life, for who truly knows what the future holds for any of us.

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HEALTHY4ME 1/22/2013 8:20AM

    So sad for you sister in law and family. I have cared for 2 diff patients with AlS and it is a rotten disease, but aren't they all in some way.

SO very very happy that your son has gotten this much closer to home!!! Glad it will be soon now. HUGS

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1CRAZYDOG 1/22/2013 8:10AM

    Tears flowing, Barb. ALS is such a mean disease. But from all you've written about your SIL, she has handled it all with grace and dignity and faith. I am glad you got time to spend with her and encouraged her to rest. Indeed, despite everything, the last thing to go is the hearing, so definitely, she can hear you. I am so sorry.

I am soooooooooo celebrating for you that your DS is stateside!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh Barb, that is absolutely wonderful. I truly sjare you joy and hope your Mom hugs can be given sooner rather than later! And I KNOW you aren't going to let go of him for a LLLLLOOOONNNNNG time!

HUGS my dear Barb. Prayers

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ROXYZMOM 1/22/2013 8:07AM

    I am glad she is not in pain, sad for your family to have to go through it. My mom volunteered for hospice for 5 years. She would sit with patients until they passed away in a hospice home. Several did not have family or waited until the family went to get coffee, bathroom, etc . to pass away. She was always amazed how they could hold on until their family left. She said it was such a spiritual, peaceful experience.

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GABY1948 1/22/2013 8:06AM

    I am SO sorry. But what a wonderful and heartfelt blog! Blessings to you all, Barb! emoticon

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DOGLADY13 1/22/2013 8:00AM

    I keep thinking of your sister in law. I will pray for her. ALS is a hideous disease. I hope she is well medicated so she can rest and not feel anxious.

You have given me a lot to think about today, Barb. FWIW, your blog has been my morning meditation.

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PATRICIAAK 1/22/2013 7:49AM

    Praying

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MSLZZY 1/22/2013 7:45AM

    Mixed emotions for sure. I will pray for you and the family. HUGS!

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KATHIC2 1/22/2013 7:35AM

  You write beautifully about crucial life issues and events. It is a comfort.

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DOGLADY13 1/22/2013 7:19AM

    I agree that love brings out beauty. Christians are taught that God is Love. Therefore, we, as creations of God's love can only be more beautiful as we are loved and as we love others. Your SIL is returning to the source of all love. She will become radiant even as her earthly body fails. It is a profound mystery.

Frankly, this is a bit much for spark, but I think you get the gist of what I am trying to say.

Meanwhile your son is returning home! Happy days!

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RUN4FOOD 1/22/2013 7:13AM

    Very emotional day.
Hope you have a good week of anticipation.

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BROOKLYN_BORN 1/22/2013 7:08AM

    A beautiful blog. It reminds me of a similar time at my mom's bedside exactly 2 years ago. Although Mom was in a comatose state at the end, my daughter heard her talking to her deceased sisters and calling them by name. So yes, I believe she can communicate with her son.

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The Rescuers

Monday, January 21, 2013

Wasn't that a movie title with mice in it? Go Disney!

Anyway, a threesome of rescuers showed up at my door yesterday afternoon. Becky (Kaligirl) and "the Pointer Sisters", Rose and Liz, two absolutely adorable German Shorthair Pointers. Liz was cool with my holding her leash while we tramped out in the January normal temperatures (no snow, thank goodness), for 4.34 miles, according to RunKeeper. We went down and beside the nearby lake, past the dog run (very exciting for the canine ladies).

It was just what the doctor ordered: activity and conversation, catching up with a friend on the good things that are happening in our lives... can't wait to hear the next chapter of hers, which involves some planning and preparing for years ahead. As for mine, just getting out there walking reminds me of what I most want out of all this: good health and being ABLE to keep on walking for many years to come.

I feel VERY fortunate to be surrounded (virtually) by Spark friends and family who truly do want to see me weather the storms of the phases and come out healthy and strong. They do not have unrealistic expectations of perfection in me... and if I remind myself NOT to, and remind myself over and over again if need be of what I REALLY want in life (to live healthy, as best I can), I shall get there.

Alongside all of YOU. emoticon emoticon emoticon

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CONCHA77 1/24/2013 11:58AM

    Spark On! emoticon

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JANEMARIE77 1/23/2013 10:34AM

    emoticon we are blessed

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KALIGIRL 1/22/2013 9:03AM

    Love the comments and can't wait to tell the girls they are rescuers - they curled up by the fire and might have stayed there all night if their hunger didn't kick in...
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It was SO good to see you. After all...

Life is GOOD!

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LEANJEAN6 1/22/2013 6:47AM

    so nice to hear pou love 4 legged friends Barb!--Thanls for getting to know dson#2 the Pilot too--Lynda emoticon

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OVERWORKEDJANET 1/22/2013 5:49AM

    Nothing like happy dogs to get people happy!

See Kaligirl and Barb walk.

See happy tails and tongues wag.

Go dogs, go!

Go girls, go!

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WATERMELLEN 1/21/2013 8:31PM

    Yes we do; and yes you will.

And: you provide the same caring support for so many of us in turn!

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LESLIELENORE 1/21/2013 8:29PM

    emoticon emoticon

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1CRAZYDOG 1/21/2013 8:10PM

    Awesome!!!

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RUN4FOOD 1/21/2013 7:33PM

    Walking and talking, what more an you ask for?

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KARIDIAN1 1/21/2013 7:27PM

    No walks for Maggie now- way too cold for her little bare greyhound butt.

We did a mall walk indoors tonight. Just too damn cold!

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DLDMIL 1/21/2013 7:08PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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LJCANNON 1/21/2013 6:57PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Angels/Rescuers come in many Disguises. It takes a Wise Woman to recognize one (or 3) when they show up on the doorstep!

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ROXYZMOM 1/21/2013 6:37PM

    Sounds like such a nice day! Those doggies went really far!!

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DEBRA0818 1/21/2013 5:18PM

    Glad you got out a good friend and had canine love too (nothing like it) -- just a little bit of grace showing up in your life so that you can be loved into going on.

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EBEAMS 1/21/2013 4:04PM

    I never had a doubt. We can stumble, we can even sit down on the job for a few minutes but deep down there is no containing that much awesomeness! You go, girl!

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DOGLADY13 1/21/2013 3:10PM

    It sounds like a terrific day. Friends with dogs are a treasure. Friends with dogs who help you out of the pit of sadness and doubt are double treasures.

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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GABY1948 1/21/2013 2:11PM

    SO very glad you are back on the right road! We all have to go THROUGH these hard time to get PAST them, and each time we do it, it becomes PART of us and eventually our NORMAL way of doing it. Blessings to you Barb!

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DALID414 1/21/2013 1:58PM

    emoticon

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MSLZZY 1/21/2013 12:53PM

    Fresh air does wonders for the spirit and body. So glad you had helpful friends to walk with you and that you had a wonderful time. Do it again soon! HUGS!

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DEBRITA01 1/21/2013 12:48PM

    Being outside in the fresh air with friends (human & canine) can make a world of difference. What a blessing for you to be able to enjoy that... emoticon

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PATRICIAAK 1/21/2013 12:32PM

    super

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SLENDERELLA61 1/21/2013 12:27PM

    So glad these angels came to lead you where you truly wanted to go!! Wish I could be there, too. Take care. You are on the right path in so many ways. -Marsha

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MOBYCARP 1/21/2013 12:21PM

    I'm glad you found the face to face support you needed. Hope you can stay healthy and able to move for years to come, as I selfishly anticipate enjoying some of that quality healthy time with you!

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KASEYCOFF 1/21/2013 12:19PM

    emoticon

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HEALTHY4ME 1/21/2013 12:02PM

    So nice to get out and walk with someone and have a chat. I have one sparker that lives here that I have met and we get along great. 2 others live a bit better than an hr away. There are more but these are the ones I have met.
Glad you had a good time. HUGS

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Self-sabotage and figuring it out

Sunday, January 20, 2013

I have been in this position many times in the past. Where I have some huge goal set for myself and suddenly, I hit a wall, burn out, and start down a completely self-undermining (and sometimes self-destructive) path instead of going for the goal.

What's up with that? This is the scariest part of the cycle of motivation:

1. Phase one - active rebellion.
2. Phase two - patiently waiting for motivation to kick in.
3. Phase three, highly motivated, actively working.
4. Phase four, success and flying high, living easy and loving it.
5. Phase five, burnout starting, but still on auto pilot.
6. and something snaps, and it's back into phase one.

The trick of the cycle is to make phase one last as short a time as possible and relax into making phase two be a calm and hopeful time, rather than a self-flaggulating time of punishment/blame talk at oneself.

Another trick of the cycle is to short circuit from phase five back to phase four, by proper "gentle" self-care, and addressing whatever fears and anxieties, illnesses, or injuries, doubts or desires are driving the burnout.

I'm somewhere in phase 5 or 1... I start climbing back from 1 to 5, but then drift back to 1... and I'm trying to figure out whether I need to let go of a goal (I only have one right now), or whether I can do something that still leaves that goal in the realm of possibility without throwing myself completely off the cliff of phase one!

The problem with public goals is that it makes for a very public failure... and it's almost as though I'm trying to derail myself so I have an excuse for that failure... and I really, really don't want to go there. Sometimes success is at the bottom of giving myself permission to fail.

Just some thoughts I'm pondering as I'm frustrated with waiting for son's return and only getting through part of each day "on track" (he didn't get any further on the journey yesterday at all). Now I'm going to shut up, and try to spark a better day.

Because no matter what phase I'm in, whether I can see it in the moment or not... life is good, and worth living WELL. emoticon

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

4DOGNIGHT 1/26/2013 12:45PM

    Very good analogy. Thank you!

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MAGGIE101857 1/21/2013 12:36PM

    As one who publicly posted my Disney marathon goal and then had to publicly admit I couldn't compete, I have to say that the support and encouragement offered here is worth opening yourself up and admitting you just aren't there yet. I was determined to not let my injury stop me, and I probably continued training /running longer than I should have before seeking medical intervention. A combination of stubbornness, disbelief, frustration and yes, I suppose I didn't want to let my "cheerleaders" down. But instead of disappointment, they were there to tell me it was okay and there would be a next one!!

Ponder it, pick it apart, make the right choice for you! You are an amazing woman - you'll know what is right!!!

Hugs,

Maggie


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JANEMARIE77 1/21/2013 10:04AM

    Many have said it so well emoticon and thank you

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MOBYCARP 1/21/2013 6:33AM

    Once again, you shed light on my behavior. I don't have those phases as clearly defined as you do. I might not even have a phase 1, and my phase 2 is a dim echo of yours; but phases 3, 4, and 5 are old friends. Perhaps my phase 1/phase 2 is more, "focusing on other things and not caring," similar to phase 5 but with a failure of the autopilot.

I suppose my goal, given slightly different phases, would be to bypass that phase 1/phase 2 part, or transition from burnout to autopilot while waiting for motivation.

I hope you find your motivation again, before doing major damage to yourself. Perhaps get that autopilot developed to where it can see you through till motivation reappears? Because you're worth maintaining!

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DLDMIL 1/20/2013 9:43PM

    We are here to support you every day. emoticon emoticon

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KARIDIAN1 1/20/2013 9:25PM

    You sure pegged the cycles. Great blog.

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MJZHERE 1/20/2013 7:36PM

    I am so impressed that you have these cycles so figured out - thank you for stating it here because it will be hugely helpful to me. It is nice to know others operate this way also. How frustrating it must be waiting, waiting for your son not being able to map it out exactly. Be kind to yourself - you deserve it.

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DOGLADY13 1/20/2013 4:29PM

    So many people have said such wonderfully, supportive things. I can only echo them.

Live well in the present moment. If you mess up some of those moments, well, just start over again.

Surely the anticipation of your son's return is messing with your emotions.

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_LINDA 1/20/2013 4:25PM

    A very excellent, well thought out way to describe a maintainer's goal setting problems. Once you have achieved the latest glorious goal and now all that is left is the drudgery of trying for a new goal, starting out, once again, at the bottom and working your way up to the next even more tougher, seemingly insurmountable goal. Therein is the difficulty of maintainers. When is the next challnege going to be simply too much? That you are asking too much of an aging body? What I say is you are not too old to attempt your next goal. You have simply been derailed by the biggest of all torments -the fear of a mother for her only child's safety. A mother who is powerless to help or aid in any way her son's future. The worst kind of stress and one that can crush any motivation or thoughts of goals or life in general until you can be absolutely sure your precious child is home safe and sound. All you can do is ride this out and try doing what ever you can to keep your mind off it. Workout, play games that take a lot of mental energy, visit friends, get out of the house, anything you can think of to give that endlessly imagining active mind of yours a rest. My heart goes out to you! The things we children do to give our parents angst :((
Hugs,
Linda

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MIRAGE727 1/20/2013 4:11PM

    I'm quite familiar with the cycle. I had problems with it when I was unhealthy. I'm so changed now that I get a fire going, and I want to turn it into energy! I get in gear and people just have to keep up with me or grab a chair on the sidelines. I'm posting a perfect example in my race report blog shortly.
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As for making myself accountable and in public, if I try 100%, I win no matter the outcome. I fail, I'm only concerned with how I will make it a positive OR try again IF it's feasible. Others will see and either support or not. I would hope that they learned something positive from it. If not, then they have issues that don't affect me. I'm primarily concerned with my actions. And I don't let anyone hold me back. Plain and simple.
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Barb, your bottom line truly says it all, "Because no matter what phase I'm in, whether I can see it in the moment or not... life is good, and worth living WELL. "

I support you with positive waves no matter what! Take it to the bank, Sister!
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DALID414 1/20/2013 3:45PM

    Thanks for the layout if the cycle phases. Knowing is half the battle.

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KRISZTA11 1/20/2013 2:29PM

    Thank you for this great blog!

I think you shouldn't worry about any public goal not met.
Spark Friends are here to support you, not to judge,
and the goal is there to motivate you, not to cause frustration.

Your active and healthy lifestyle is an inspiration,
and I want to be like you!
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SLENDERELLA61 1/20/2013 1:21PM

    Life is good and worth living well! You know it!!

I think your cycles are a very astute way to describe the phenomenon and accurate along with your description of moving through them. Bet this theory could be a best sellling book when fleshed out!

That said, I think a full marathon is too much for me. I think running 5Ks, 10K, and HMs is good, especially if I add a lot of strength training and cross training. I suspect my highest level of health and fitness lies short of a full. (Warning: I may change my mind because there is such a great social group of women my age running full marathons around here. ) I am still considering a sprint tri; I know you've already accomplished that.

Wishing you the best in finding the best goals to work toward. I have a magnet on my fridge that says, "A goal well set is half met." There's some truth to that.

And don't forget small steps. If the goal is too big, choose a smaller one and build to success!! I know you can do whatever you set your mind to do, although it may be easier once your son is home with you. Take care. Be very kind to yourself. You deserve it.

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GABY1948 1/20/2013 1:21PM

    I feel for you, Barb. I totally understand but you have gotten so much farther than I ever have that I am banking you can pull out of this!

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RUN4FOOD 1/20/2013 12:24PM

    One of the reasons I don't like to write out goals and put a date on them.
I can't always reach for my goals, but I can always take one small step toward my ultimate focus.
Is there a small step you can take today?

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BOOKAPHILE 1/20/2013 12:15PM

    I've never heard the cycle defined so well. Thanks for giving me more tools of understanding.

I hope your waiting will turn into a joyous reunion soon!

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DEBRA0818 1/20/2013 11:57AM

    It is really scary that this is the wheel we seem to be forced to go around. I have so much rebellion in me it's a wonder I ever progress at all. But, you know, there's something wonderful about being to talk about it, write about it, share it with others: it seems to lessen its absolute hold over me. There's always a part of me (and I think of you too) that quietly goes about healing and hoping for one more day of sanity.

God bless.

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KSNANA2 1/20/2013 11:53AM

    You have much insight to a problem so many of us share. I hope your son gets home soon and gets to stay awhile! I grew up in a military family and know what it is like to have a father away as well as living away from all the family we loved. I give thanks to your son and you.

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WATERMELLEN 1/20/2013 11:02AM

    Love your description of the "cycle": so helpful, so perceptive.

You remind me a bit of the cycle of abuse in domestic violence -- which (generally) prevents the woman from leaving the husband until there have been many many incidents of violence etc. !

I think KNOWING about this cycle and understanding it's probably been triggered by the acute stress of waiting for your DS's return . . . will help. You're waiting not just for his return but also for the reboot of your cycle to a good place.

Maybe this cycle will be the last -- because you understand it.

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TAGSUIT2 1/20/2013 10:56AM

    Self Motivation-Self Control and Spark people is all you need to jump start yourself. emoticon

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MSLZZY 1/20/2013 10:54AM

    Waiting is the worst. You imagine all the things that can derail the process and that's when the negative thoughts come in to play. It is hard to practice patience and stay focused. Think kind thoughts and clear your mind. I can only imagine what you are going through. HUGS!

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1CRAZYDOG 1/20/2013 10:22AM

    My dear, we both know it's hard to WAIT WAIT WAIT for something as important as your son's homecoming. Absolutely frustrating and nerve wracking! Hang in there my dear.

You have identified where you're at, and working at getting that moho back. You can do it! One foot in front of the other.

HUGS and prayers. Waiting is interminable.

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KASEYCOFF 1/20/2013 10:20AM

    "Meditate. Live purely. Be quiet. Do your work with mastery. Like the moon, come out from behind the clouds - shine." --Buddha

Shine, Barb.
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MEXGAL1 1/20/2013 10:20AM

    I think it's good to understand these cycles so when you are in one phase or another you can understand that it is only a phase and prepare for the next cycle....we just aren't perfect but the hard work we all do is so worth the good health.
Have a terrific Sunday.
Sallie

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PATRICIAAK 1/20/2013 10:12AM

    To be a 'perfect' human being requires 'slip ups'. You would be a god if you were perfect all the time.

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LESLIELENORE 1/20/2013 10:03AM

    emoticon

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KANOE10 1/20/2013 9:45AM

    Maintenance is cyclical. You go through periods where it is easy, goes well, then autopilot here you drudge along, and then moments where the sclae creeps up and you need to get serious again and work on up pounds. You are right about getting out of Phase one as soon as possible.

I am happy your son is coming home.


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LEANJEAN6 1/20/2013 9:31AM

    Life IS good Barb!!!---Happy to hear yer son WILL be home soon=----Bless all those people serving for us!!!Lynda emoticon

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SWEDE_SU 1/20/2013 9:28AM

    you said it all at the end: life *is* good, and well worth living! emoticon

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ROXYZMOM 1/20/2013 9:23AM

    I love this blog! You defined it so well. I hate being in the slump stage - the key is to keep looking ahead to pull back out. That's why I love this site - always seems to give me the big push when I need it!

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KALIGIRL 1/20/2013 9:17AM

    Life is good - you taught me that. But, I can't imagine the stress of waiting you are enduring now.

Mark took the girls hunting, so it will just be you and me today, but it looks like the warm time of the day will be between 1:00 and 3:00.

Still game?
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OVERWORKEDJANET 1/20/2013 9:09AM

    Heck, today I just feel like sitting in my chair in my freshly laundered robe...which I just spilled coffee on...reading Spark blogs. But that won't get the cows milked.

What goals to you have that you need motivation for? Currently mine is to survive the family traumas, physical ailments I have lived through this year. Since that is such a huge goal I need to break it into pieces. You can't eat an orange unless you peel and section it. ( I was going to use a cow, but it got horribly Friday 13thish)

So how about you and I take a very small piece of what we WANT to accomplish and work to make that thing happen...today.

One day, one piece at a time.

Take a run, a walk, make something healthy for lunch. I made STEEL CUT OATS to portion out for breakfast the next 4 mornings. In containers with my almonds and antioxident dried berries they will be microwaved for eating while I read your blog.

Besides, you are in such a high state of anticipation I wonder that you can breathe emoticon emoticon emoticon



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ANDI571 1/20/2013 9:05AM

    I love this blog Barb. I have been in these phases for some time now, just running back and forth on them. I just weighed and am still stuck on the same number and it is because I keep going from hopping from phase to phase.

I also know what you are saying about everything being public with your goals. It is good in the fact that you don't want to disappoint those you are helping, but the pressure of being perfect to help can also flip you into another phase.

Just because you are at goal and in the most part are on track, doesn't mean you don't have emotions that can carry you into a phase you don't want to be in. That is where we come in. We are your strength when you have none. We are ears that will listen when you hurt or are struggling and just need to vent.

I am also in Phase 5 and I think I have been there for awhile. We will get back where we need to be. We know we are worth it and we have the tools to get us there. No turning back. emoticon emoticon emoticon

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EBEAMS 1/20/2013 9:00AM

    My heart is so with you ... I understood all of that perfectly. Here's my 2 cents worth ... It is not easy to set goals when you're a person who is .... well, for lack of a better word ... a perfectionist. In setting the goal, we see a clear path from point a where we're starting and point z where we're ending. But Life isn't a clear path. Nope, it's an obstacle course with lots of emotional roller coasters to take us for a ride, unforeseen sand traps to suck us in and walls that appear to be manageable until we arrive at the base and look up. Most of these elements (for me) are emotionally driven and the size of my obstacle is directly correlated to what else I'm handling in my life right then. It is not possible to stay completely focused and committed 100% to just our health and fitness goals all the time ... Life is messy ... and priorities change ... and our baggage sometimes moves right back into the house with us.

The answer (I believe) truly lies in trusting in the knowledge that THIS is not the final stand and things won't STAY this way, even though this is what you can handle today. Forgiving ourselves for not being perfect, not being 100% Olympic training committed type athletes and making those little changes, one at a time, over and over is that journey that we sometimes overlook because we are so focused on the outcome instead.

We're all here for you ... knowing that this, too, shall pass and you'll be making us all grumble (again) about that fabulous Barb who is putting us to shame! You will come out from under the rain cloud and shine with the light that's in you ... You won't be able to stop it! emoticon emoticon

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NELLJONES 1/20/2013 8:46AM

    Maybe you don't want this goal as much as you would like. Or maybe the goal is too big and you need to break it up into smaller goals. Only you can determine which.

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DEBRITA01 1/20/2013 8:44AM

    So much of life is a cycle...for those of us with addiction, it is often a vicious one. You have so much of it figured out, Barb so keep pushing and riding it out on auto pilot when needed....all the while being gentle with yourself. One who tries is never a failure...failure comes in not trying (note to self). Only you know how much you really want the goal you set before yourself. You will find your way back to Phase 3 again b/c you are worth it. emoticon

Comment edited on: 1/20/2013 9:01:42 AM

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Just for fun!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Thanks to DogLady13... lightening up is a good thing.

A - Available or Married: Divorced and UNAVAILABLE.

B - Book: Just finished Trader of Secrets by Steve Martini. Soon to start "A Memory of Light" by Robert Jordan/Brandon Sanderson.

C - Cake or Pie? Pie - custard or pumpkin, especially.

D - Drink of Choice: You know I love my flavored coffee!

E - Essential Item: internet connection

F - Favorite Color: green

G - Game to Play or Watch: basketball

H - Hometown: Lincoln, NE

I - Indulgence: candles

J - Job: team lead of small group of programmers

K - Kids and Names: One kid, son... sorry, don't do names except my own

L - Life is incomplete without: contact

M - Music Group or Singer: ABBA (yes, my son is laughing)

N - Number of Siblings: 1 brother, 3 sisters

O - Oranges or Apples? yes

P - Phobias/ Fears - snakes

Q - Favorite Quote: Security is mostly superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold. - Helen Keller

R - Reason to smile: breathing

S - Season: Summer

T - Tattoos: Son has some, I have none.

U - Unknown fact about me? Not that I know of.

V - Vegetable you love: brussels sprouts

W - Worst habit: giving out TMI?

X - X-rays? Tools.

Y - Your favorite food: steel cut oats

Z - Zodiac? Chinese dragon

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WATERMELLEN 1/20/2013 11:04AM

    Mmmmm: butterscotch coffee a current fave, but I like German chocolate cke a lot too!! And: brussels sprouts raw in salads . . . or roasted with a touch or EVOO and sea salt!!

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KATHIC2 1/20/2013 7:44AM

  Love the quote!

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KASEYCOFF 1/20/2013 4:22AM

    Oh, good set, Barb! Love the Helen Keller quote - and I am the dragon that roars, lol...
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KARIDIAN1 1/19/2013 9:40PM

    Fun list.

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DLDMIL 1/19/2013 8:06PM

    emoticon emoticon

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LESLIELENORE 1/19/2013 1:47PM

    emoticon

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KALIGIRL 1/19/2013 12:34PM

    emoticon I couldn't get past number 1 "Divorced and UNAVAILABLE - Period"

Not sure what the weather has in store for us, but today sounds as full for you as for me - hope to see you tomorrow!

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DALID414 1/19/2013 12:15PM

    I love emoticon too

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MNTWINSGAL 1/19/2013 11:35AM

    I'm on board the ABBA train too....in fact, my cell ringtone is "Dancing Quees" and it's also my warm-up song.

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1CRAZYDOG 1/19/2013 11:22AM

    good to get to know things about ourselves . . . HUGS!

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PATRICIAAK 1/19/2013 11:18AM

    I so totally agree with 'E'!

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DRB13_1 1/19/2013 10:46AM

    I've only learned to appreciate brussels sprouts in the past year - roasted

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_LINDA 1/19/2013 10:45AM

    I like Abba too :) Thanks for sharing the list!

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DOGLADY13 1/19/2013 9:07AM

    I think ABBA is fun.

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MIRAGE727 1/19/2013 8:57AM

    Such a fun list! Thanks for sharing, Barb!
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RUN4FOOD 1/19/2013 8:39AM

    Like your favorite quote.
I'm usually too unaware to feel insecure.

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MAGGIE101857 1/19/2013 8:15AM

    TMI - Never!! Love the insights you provide!! I find myself reflecting on some of the simplest things when you "remind" me of them!!!

P.S. Us "oldies" appreciate ABBA. My kids laugh at my fascination with the British Channel /tv shows. They don't appreciate the British humor, whereas I find it so much more entertaining!

Have a wonderful day!

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LEANJEAN6 1/19/2013 8:14AM

    no tatoos here either-----but my some of my kids have them--must be the ""nurse" in me--Lynda-

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GABY1948 1/19/2013 8:13AM

    emoticon Thanks for sharing, Barb!

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ROXYZMOM 1/19/2013 7:54AM

    Interesting!!

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DEBRITA01 1/19/2013 7:42AM

    Always good to learn a little more about you, Barb. Have a great day! emoticon

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