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Finish lines... reprise

Friday, February 11, 2011

Remember me? The gal who hates finish lines, because "what next?" The let down.

There is nothing more "finish line" than a funeral. It was a lovely service, mind you. There were wonderful memories of a gentle, kind, warm human being. Always large... always mistaken for older than he was as he grew up. At our wedding, he was four. Look at the photograph, and you'd guess six. Look at his class pictures... he's always in the back row, towering over even the teachers. As happens at such affairs, you learn things you never knew about your loved one: how he egged his buddy on to kiss his first girlfriend; what his boss thought when he gave him his first job (well, he's tall, he won't have to stand on a box to unload parts); how he befriended someone "when no one else wanted anything to do with me".

Always a generous man, even in death he is helping others, as an organ donor.

There is only one direction in life: onward. I am relabeling this finish line a starting line: for the rest of our lives, lived one day at a time, with honor.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KALIGIRL 2/13/2011 5:20PM

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MSLZZY 2/12/2011 12:13PM

    And that is as it should be! HUGS!

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SUNNY332 2/12/2011 11:42AM

    What a great post today. I am all for starting lines - not finish lines.

Great way to look at it and a keeper for my way to thinking.

Sunny

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JHADZHIA 2/12/2011 7:52AM

    Your nephew was an amazing man, we all owe him thanks for the example he set, even in death.
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KASEYCOFF 2/12/2011 7:08AM

    Yes, while I acknowledge the necessity of 'closure,' and while funerals are often uplifting in their focus on the life that's gone, it's still a sad event - saying goodbye. The hard thing for those of us still here is taking that first step into the future without somebody. But so it goes...
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DAISY443 2/12/2011 5:01AM

    * I am relabeling this finish line a starting line* This is a lesson we can all learn in all aspects of our lives! Thanks for reminding. Your nephew has touched more lives through you than he could have imagined.

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REJ7777 2/11/2011 8:57PM

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DEBRITA01 2/11/2011 8:39PM

    Your nephew seems like he was a caring and giving person...even in death with the gift of his organs. His kind and gentle spirit will live on... emoticon

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It's about respect, Mom

Thursday, February 10, 2011

That's what my son said to me on the phone last night, as we made arrangements to meet and drive together to his cousin's service. He will take his exams this morning, then skip his afternoon lectures to attend. I'll take his tie over to go with his suit (he's not active duty, so not going in uniform), since somehow in the move last summer it ended up at my house.

I liked his words... it *is* about respect. Respect for the life that our loved one lived. For the adversity that each human has to overcome. For the family's loss. For the friends who care and show up. Respect is a huge part of community life. Without it society would crumble.

Respect applies to how we live our lives, too. Respect for ourselves and our bodies and our mission in life. Respect for the values and rules we abide by.

Have a respectful day. Take care of yourselves. And hug your loved ones tight.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MSLZZY 2/11/2011 2:53PM

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Right on the money as usual. We have to respect ourselves as well.

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THIAGRAM 2/11/2011 12:10PM

  Oh yes! Respect should cover so much of our lives! Now I need to go back and read more blogs to see what happened.

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LEANJEAN6 2/11/2011 7:50AM

    What a nice young man!!!--You are a good Mom! emoticon

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BUGGYS 2/11/2011 7:36AM

    What a great son you have!!! emoticon

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DEBRITA01 2/11/2011 7:27AM

    You have a wise son...you've raised him well.

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REJ7777 2/11/2011 2:45AM

    Respect is so important! emoticon

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PATRISNA 2/10/2011 9:00PM

    Your son and you are both right and this blog is a special one. Thanks for writing it.

emoticon and emoticon for you and your son emoticon

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CHRYS13 2/10/2011 6:20PM

    You've blessed me greatly with this blog. Thank-you so very much!
Blessings to you and yours!

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KASEYCOFF 2/10/2011 3:14PM

    Yes, that was a very good way to put it. Respect - as a concept - is something you see too seldom these days. And it's just as important as so many of our other values and feelings.

He sounds like a thoughtful young man, Barb. I'm sure you take pride in the person he's become, which is undoubtedly due in no small part to his upbringing.

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SUNNYWBL 2/10/2011 2:49PM

    You both are so right!

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46SHADOW 2/10/2011 12:08PM

    Thinking of you! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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LITTLEFARMMOMMA 2/10/2011 9:35AM

    That's absolutely right! Good for your son! emoticon

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CONCHA77 2/10/2011 9:28AM

    Yes, Life is all about respect. Will be thinking of your nephew and family today and praying for comfort for all.
Hugs.

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JHADZHIA 2/10/2011 9:08AM

    All too true..
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SUNNY332 2/10/2011 8:33AM

    Yes, it is all about respect. You have a very wise son, Barb.

Be blessed and know we will be thinking about you today.

Hugs, Sunny

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DAISY443 2/10/2011 7:28AM

    My thoughts and prayers will be with you and your family today! Hugs!

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Fight, flight, and dealing with life... slow learner here.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Funny how the big things in life turn one to a philosophical side. The part of me that sits to the side and observes "how'm I doing?" is on active duty, recording away for assimilation into the "me report". In this blog, my little cave where it IS all about me... I nurture me, despite the storms around.

It isn't all about numbers on the scale. We established that at the very beginning. That might be a metaphor, but seriously, my weight issues are not about physical weight, they are about behavior and reactions to stimuli. Those stimuli may be emotions, or events, or even the presence of particular foods.

What I observed last night was the need for quiet and an amazing thing that happened when I just went on auto-pilot and walked on that treadmill for an hour, uninterrupted. In the shower, washing off the sweat, it dawned on me that the sheer physical action of walking is part of the instinctive reaction to flee from danger. That's why it works to calm. Taking a physical action releases the tension that's built up.

Physical activity puts "distance" between me and whatever is bugging me. It lets me separate myself, and re-establish my boundaries from an all-too-easy identification with others who are, after all, far more directly impacted. My imagination goes straight to "how would I be feeling if it were my ... son, husband, sibling..." But it is not my place to process the emotions that come to another human being. That falls into "the things I cannot change", and belongs firmly in the God box.

Walking (or other physical activity) helps me remember that I don't have to BE that other person to be of service. Maintain strong boundaries, but don't build brick walls. Find the balance. Belonging, connecting, is not absorption. Lessons for a lifetime.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

THIAGRAM 2/11/2011 1:02PM

  I have felt this feeling of physical action relieving stress and tension...... Thanks for your great insights and wisdom!

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KASEYCOFF 2/10/2011 5:00AM

    There is a branch of meditation that uses 'walking meditation.' And as you have discovered, sometimes it's the very motion that helps induce the tranquility and serenity that does us as much good as (if not more than) the physical exertion itself.
IMHO
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SAMI199 2/9/2011 8:13PM

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REJ7777 2/9/2011 5:44PM

    I find that exercise helps clear my mind too. But if I turn to food in order to numb my emotions (often unconsciously), rather than facing the pain, I don't *work things out* in my own mind. Working off some nervous energy with exercise helps me to be able to think more clearly.

Comment edited on: 2/9/2011 5:45:07 PM

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DEBRITA01 2/9/2011 11:30AM

    You really have an awareness of your self and your needs. Finding the balance is difficult but you seem to have a good handle on it.

It's interesting how exercise starts out as something we *have* to do each day and then turns into something we *need* (and want) to do each day...right now I am somewhere in-between.

Comment edited on: 2/9/2011 11:32:13 AM

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FITFABJENN 2/9/2011 11:26AM

    Terrific post. Thanks for sharing.

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ANDI571 2/9/2011 11:19AM

    You are so right. I have been feeling the need to get out and walk. I miss those summer evenings of just getting out there. I am so ready for this weather to break. I think it will help my mood tremendously.

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BUGGYS 2/9/2011 10:37AM

    Exercise is calming to me and important. I am pulled in so many directions during the day that often times, I neglect ME and my exercise time. I need to find that balance, I need to find ME! Thanks for another great blog!

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LJCANNON 2/9/2011 10:15AM

    "Strong boundaries, but not Brick Walls"!! That is some very wise advice, and we all need to remember that, whatever situation we are facing.
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SUNNY332 2/9/2011 9:55AM

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HOT4FITNESS 2/9/2011 8:47AM

    We definitly need to focus on balance in our lives. I also beliee that exercise is healing og the mind, body and, soul and just takes us away. Great blog, enjoy your day and your training.

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JHADZHIA 2/9/2011 8:32AM

    Having empathy and compassion for others is an admirable trait, but you can't let it rule your life certainly..This is why so many women have trouble with the 'me time' concept..
Keep up the great work!


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DAISY443 2/9/2011 8:16AM

    I am often lacking that balance. Thanks for the reminder. I hope you continue to find ease! Hugs!

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CAPECODBABE 2/9/2011 8:05AM

    Your blog really makes me think. I am struggling to find a balance in my life right now! Thanks for posting

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A quiet night after two evenings of phone calls

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

I'm amazed at how exhausting conversation can be. Yesterday was an "off" day from the half marathon training, but I spent the evening in back to back phone calls with family, pacing the kitchen, dining room, living room circle. Processing, processing.

Tonight, having nobody on the phone, being by myself, hopping up on the treadmill again and getting in a good workout... well, it's been a much needed breather for me. I now have a time and date and place for the service (Thursday). I now know my ex is not making the 1200 mile trek to attend, so I don't have to worry about him on the road in the winter or his fear of flying or having him in my home (I felt honor-bound to offer to put him up, since the more immediate family doesn't have the space).

Part of me feels a trifle guilty for feeling relieved at that. But if I'm honest with myself I do feel relieved, as the upcoming weekend is one that involves staying up overnight working, and although someone would probably back me up if I could not do my bit, it's long since my turn! And as some of you have figured out by now, being useful at work is a huge part of my identity.

Tomorrow, a new day.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

THIAGRAM 2/11/2011 1:15PM

  No need to feel a bit guilty about being relieved that you won't have to have your ex staying with you. That would be very stressful on top of stress......Prayers for you...


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BUGGYS 2/9/2011 7:19AM

    Removing the stress from your life is the healthiest thing you can do for yourself...being relieved that your ex will not be spending time with you is relieving that stress, for sure...take care!!! emoticon

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REJ7777 2/9/2011 6:43AM

    It's very understandable that you would be emotionally drained right now.

As an ex-wife too, I can understand both your concern and relief. My ex has been having very serious health problems, and I'm concerned about him. It takes a lot of emotional energy to relate to ex-husbands, and in your case, it would also take physical energy to have him in your home. "Ex" relationships carry a lot of baggage. I'm glad he'll be safely home, and that you won't have that additional challenge to cope with in the coming (already difficult) days.

This is a very busy time at work for me too. I have to be reasonable. (Cough. Cough.)

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KASEYCOFF 2/9/2011 3:37AM

    With the emotional upheaval of the last few days, having your life get back to normal as quickly as possible is a blessing. Thinks me. So it's perfectly understandable, hon. :-)

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DAISY443 2/9/2011 2:52AM

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SWEETMAGNOLIA2 2/9/2011 12:00AM

    emoticon emoticon Yes, tomorrow!

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ANDI571 2/8/2011 11:05PM

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MSLZZY 2/8/2011 11:02PM

    Feeling relief at your ex's absence is human. Take care and try to pace yourself
so this will not cause issues later. HUGS!

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SUNNYWBL 2/8/2011 10:44PM

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Using what you've learned in real life situations

Monday, February 07, 2011

You're traveling along on your Spark journey, improving your health, learning to deal with your emotions without turning to the food, learning to manage your stress, getting physically stronger, dropping pounds or maintaining a healthy weight. Then something big hits. It is like a test: is all this Spark-philosophy practical for ME in my life, through all its storms? Is it worth it?

Yesterday was the beginning of such a test. We all have lots of such tests in our lives... some are pop quizzes (like dinner out), some are all-day, all-week, all-month, multi-part exams (like an illness, or a family crisis).

Since I'm not part of the inner circle for my nephew, his wife or my sister in law... yesterday was a day of waiting and starting to accept this thing that has happened. I passed the news along to "my side of the family", including my son, his cousin. To give you an idea of the relationship between my son and my nephew, I offer this photograph, from 1988, at the Jersey shore.



My nephew is on the left, the tall 11 year old, holding the hand of the trusting 4 year old. My son and I chatted a bit about what had happened, and of course, he was pretty shocked, too.

Not able to get in touch with my ex (left him voice mail), I put the Super Bowl on the TV, and hopped back on the treadmill, finally ready to finish the interrupted workout. About halftime, I finally heard back from my ex, and we were able to share our memories, and the usual thoughts that we all have when someone young and promising dies: "Why him? Why not someone older, like us, who have already raised our children?"

Honestly, if I were to drop dead today, I would say "I've done my bit". This young man still had lots of future plans. For himself, for his wife, for their daughters. That's what makes these things hard. Life teaches us that there are many things beyond our own control. We can't go back and change them. We can't undo the bad things that have happened.

What we can do is take inspiration, have faith, and recognize that a life does not have to be long to be worthwhile. My nephew leaves a legacy of two promising daughters. He leaves behind each of us who were touched by his gentle soul and his life. He leaves behind a warning about sleep apnea and how dangerous it is... and how being "big" adds to the danger.

We do not have control over everything that happens in life, but we do have the responsibility for our own behavior. If there is something we can do to increase our potential to be a help, rather than another burden, to others, now's the time to start (or continue). That includes taking care of our own health, nurturing ourselves so that we can help others.

Yes, the Spark philosophy *does* work for real life, because it is real-life based. The first thing you're instructed to do is examine your values, and determine just what your motivation comes from. If we did that part, we, and Spark, pass the tests.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

THIAGRAM 2/11/2011 1:22PM

  So sad to have lost this young man.......... Thank you for sharing something about him...........

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DONNALYNN22 2/8/2011 10:14AM

    OMgosh, so very sad. A lesson learned from a beautifully written and heart-felt blog about real life. It challenges me to do what is right for me so that those around me won't (maybe) have to deal with this prematurely. What a smack upside my awarenss head. Thanx... VERY MUCH. emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SAMI199 2/8/2011 7:54AM

    I can only echo what everyone has said...I am still praying for you & your family! Consider yourself HUGGED!!!!!

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KASEYCOFF 2/8/2011 4:28AM

    Barb, truly touching blog. The pictures are so eloquent.
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PENNYAN45 2/7/2011 7:37PM

    Barb, you are such a leader and role model for all of us here.

You are continuing to do the right thing for yourself - for your health and your well being. You are not using this family tragedy as a reason to eat the wrong foods or to stop your own exercise program.

I am looking at you from about a year back in the calendar. In another year of Sparking, I hope to have brought myself to where you are now.

Thanks for lighting the way.


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CONCHA77 2/7/2011 6:45PM

    Excellent blog today, Barb. Thanks. Again, sorry about your nephew.
God Bless, Connie

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FITFABJENN 2/7/2011 5:52PM

    Thank you for posting this. You are an inspiration. Take care of yourself and your family.

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SUNNYWBL 2/7/2011 5:36PM

    Well said, indeed!

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BUGGYS 2/7/2011 4:31PM

    So well said...we all have to own our health and do something about it if it is on the unhealthy side...I had an uncle who passed from sleep apnea about 12 years ago...needless to say, he did not lead a healthy lifestyle and after all of our encouraging words, nothing sank in and of course, it was too late for him too.

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REJ7777 2/7/2011 2:28PM

    Some events are impossible to understand, and the death of a young father and husband is one of them. We need to remember that every day is precious, and that it's a gift. There are no guarantees about tomorrow. Let's control the elements of our health that we DO have control over. We can do our part, and leave the rest to God... even when there are so many things we don't understand.

Love your photo! emoticon

Comment edited on: 2/7/2011 2:29:33 PM

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DEBRITA01 2/7/2011 1:00PM

    emoticonI appreciate you sharing during this time of sorrow for your family. Something positive can come out of the saddest situations...you've just proven that.

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JHADZHIA 2/7/2011 11:10AM

    Unfortunately, a lot of people pay for their lifestyle choices. Its up to us to make what we want of our lives. Can't blame it on anyone else for our bad habits..
Living a healthy lifestyle will make you feel better if nothing else..Its worth it and if you happen to live longer as a result, that is a bonus..

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ANDI571 2/7/2011 11:03AM

    Amen! emoticon

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SUNNY332 2/7/2011 10:53AM

    Zach is a shining example of a life that does not have to be long to be an example.

What a great post.

Thanks so much and have a Marvelous Monday.

Hugs, Sunny

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HOT4FITNESS 2/7/2011 8:59AM

    I am sorry about your loss, my prayers go out to his wife and daughters. I know we have no control over the time we are here on earth, but we definitly can make the time we are here the best quality we can. Thanks for sharing the blog and the inspiration to make a legacy.

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46SHADOW 2/7/2011 8:22AM

    Sorry for your loss. thanks for the wise words.

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DAISY443 2/7/2011 8:04AM

    I agree with Marsha! Hugs!

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MSLZZY 2/7/2011 7:44AM

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