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Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Birthdays can invoke joy, sadness, memories. Being introspective, I think about the past, present, and future. I think about my parents. When I could have ended up with any parents in the universe, why was I so blessed to end up with such incredible ones? When my parents met, my father was a widower with 5 young children. My mother was a divorcee that escaped a cruel violent husband with 2 small children. They must have been a little crazy, but they married and adopted each other’s children. I arrived two-years later. The tying link. Each of my siblings erroneously believed that they were my parents’ favorite. I know the truth. It was me. Obviously. If you knew my siblings, you would agree. Me = Awesome. Them = not as awesome as ME! (Pardon me, my “youngest child” is showing.)

Comparing myself to last year, I have changed. A lot. My goal was to be physically healthier than I was. I actively addressed health issues that have gone on for years. I voluntarily took some nasty medical tests -- there has to be a better way. I question why I allowed myself to feel awful for so long. Why did I not make my health a priority? Why did I not make myself a priority?

Inside has been an explosion of growth. I am an introvert that likes people. I avoid social situations as they trigger severe anxiety. My faith has always been important to me. Last year I joined a church where I did not know one soul. I spent months watching the sermon videos online before getting up the nerve to step through the door. Now I help with the children’s ministry and have joined the women’s Bible study which I actually enjoy. Who'd have thunk?

I have actively sought to improve the areas that were lacking in my life. I realized that it is important to be intentional in life. Bills, repairs, cleaning, obligations, work will suck the life out of you and your relationships. It is important to intentionally seek and make joyful opportunities.

A year ago, if anyone had ever told me I would be active in an online support system, I would have laughed at them. Participating here is so unlike the old me. On Spark I have discovered:

emoticon I am strong.
emoticon I am vulnerable.
emoticon I crave to support others.
emoticon I crave support from others.
emoticon Being alone is necessary.
emoticon Being a part of a group is necessary.
emoticon A scale is an important tool.
emoticon A scale is the least important tool.
emoticon This journey is all about me.
emoticon This journey is all about you.

Looking towards the future, I plan on continuing my trek towards health. There isn’t a goal. It isn’t about when I reach this weight or achieve that medical test result, this adventure is lifelong. I deserve to stay the course. So do you.

By my next birthday I will have participated in Spark for 635 days. I have never been one to make resolutions, but we have already established that I am changing. So today I resolve that I will:

emoticon Continue on my healthful odyssey.
emoticonComplete three more Whole30’s by my next birthday.
emoticonAddress health issues as they occur. They don’t go away.
emoticonActively seek social situations, even though they are out of my comfort zone.

So how does my birthday lead to you? You, my friends, are gifts. Today I am thankful for the uniqueness of each of you. You bring something special to the table. Each of you amazes me in a different way. Some of you bring laughter. Some of you bring motivation. Some of you share knowledge that informs and makes us think. Some of you share beauty. Some of you have overcome struggles and obstacles that would break a lesser person. Each of you makes yourself vulnerable by sharing a part of yourself. Each of you brings a friendship that has made me a better person. I thank God for bringing you into my life. Spark friends are real friends-- CHELZANNE’s recent blog validated this.

Until next time. Be Safe. Be Strong. Be Healthy. Keep Sparking!

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    WOW what an amazing blog. I think I will claim it for my own (not literally) since today I read this today and today is my birthday October 14.
    1276 days ago
    HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY!!! Sorry I didn't see this sooner!
    What a lovely and funny post! It was so interesting reading about your family background. (Babies of the family rule!) How beautiful that your parents found eachother and that you appreciate them so much. I have pretty awesome parents too, though my tween and teen-self may have sometimes disagreed. Your positive and healthy attitude shine through. Congrats on all your healthy living success! I seem to just have trouble with milestone birthdays (*knock on wood). Turning 40 was so hard for me, but every year after has been no big deal and I am enjoying the 40s (although I first accidentally typed "30s" so maybe subconsciously I am not? emoticon ) I suspect every new decade will start off a little rocky for me and then I will embrace and enjoy.
    1277 days ago

    Comment edited on: 10/13/2017 2:56:45 PM
    I love this blog. I found it the day after my birthday so it was very appropriate! The paragraph about being the favorite of your mom and dad is cute! It is so awesome that your mom and dad found each other and were willing to combine families. You were the extra blessing!
    1279 days ago
    Hope your birthday was extra special. Well said. I agree with you and CHELZANNE about the wonderful friends we are blessed with here at Spark.
    1279 days ago
  • --CHERYL--
    Beautiful 💜💙💚💛
    1280 days ago
  • no profile photo CD17528039

    Your thoughts and your writing are delicious. I am so happy for you that you see progress and growth.
    I think those two things are so important for women, especially as we grow older.

    Happy belated, beloved!!

    1283 days ago
    You are an amazing and inspirational writer. You put into words everything I think and feel but can't express. How blessed you are to have the insights you do and to have made the progress that you have. I caught this blog late, but want to wish you a Happy Birthday Year that is full of God's blessings. emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1284 days ago
    emoticon belated

    I am so thankful for you spark friend....on this side of heaven, I don't think you'll know just how much you mean to me!

    1286 days ago
    You are a shining star that and I love to catch your emoticon rays
    1287 days ago
    I love your blogs and I'm not the only one :-) I love the heart, and truth, and the courage you show putting yourself out there. Thanks for sharing, and i'm so glad I'm your Spark Friend.

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    1288 days ago

    Comment edited on: 10/2/2017 8:12:21 AM
    emoticon Thank you for your wonderful blog. It is honest, thought provoking and motivating. You are a blessing as others bless you. That's a gift. emoticon May this next year be even better with more growth in all areas of your life. emoticon emoticon emoticon The 26th was my DH's birthday too. emoticon
    1288 days ago

    Comment edited on: 10/1/2017 7:30:32 PM
    Happy Belated Birthday!

    Yes, I believe you are your parents favorite!

    Congrats on all your successes! Cheers to you! I wish you health, happiness and new discoveries as you continue your journey!

    1289 days ago
    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    Have a wonderful next year.
    It's going to be a great journey.
    Hugs and blessings & joy,
    1291 days ago
    Awesome! Just awesome! So much sounds like me.
    Thank you for writing what I feel but can not express!
    God does work in mysterious ways!
    1291 days ago
  • no profile photo CD18058656
    started an exercise streak (today's my bd too) ten minutes 7 days a week
    1292 days ago
    Here's to a Whole Year's Worth of Happy Healthy Days!
    1292 days ago
    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    Birthdays are so special!! Years ago, dear friend of mine found out that I would be turning 30 on the 30th of May. In her family, that's considered your "Golden Birthday". She organized a party for me - lots of good food and drink and Fun!! It's one of my favorite birthday memories.

    "This adventure is lifelong." I SO agree!!

    "It is important to intentionally seek and make joyfull opportunities." All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. It is vital to have a full, complete life, to do things that are pleasing to you, not just taking care of others. It's important to make yourself a priority so that you have the energy and desire to help others.

    I'm so excited to have you as a friend! emoticon Here's to an amazing year!!
    1292 days ago
    Looks like I'm a tad late but emoticon - hope it was a grand start to a great year!! Another wonderful blog.. thank you!!!
    1293 days ago
    You remind me of a spark friend who has sadly departed the scene. She was like a rising tide that lifted all boats. Reading your blogs is like sipping a cool glass of lemonade on a hot day - refreshing, invigorating and satisfying. Thank you for sharing your special gift and your willing heart to share. Happy belated birthday. I hope it was a day which contained everything that brings you joy and makes you smile.

    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1293 days ago
    Beautiful blog, thank you and happy birthday
    1293 days ago
    Thanks so much for the wonderful blog. Your self-discovery journey is truly wondrous! I so admire your active leadership of living your life- you are living it, it is not carrying you along for the ride. You're my inspiration!
    1293 days ago
    Reading this blog tells me you had a wonderful birthday.........what a great, perfect attitude you have!
    Thank you for sharing your feelings ...........knowing you felt insecure about going places gives me courage to try new things.
    Thank you too for being a great friend here, I look forward to reading all your blogs. You are one special lady, Julia. So glad the caterpillar turned into a beautiful butterfly!

    1293 days ago
  • no profile photo CD15653250
    What a lovely are beautiful my Spark friend! emoticon
    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1293 days ago
  • SHARON10002
    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    Happy birthday, Julia. I want you to know you have become a cherished, amazing friend. This blog is so heartfelt, and includes many of the very same thoughts and feelings I feel about this community, and the friends I have met and made here.
    I'm glad you have become a part of such a loving family who have encouraged and given you the support you need to become the greatest vision of you. You have accomplished much in the last year, and I know in my heart that the best is yet to come for you as you continue on this journey of self- discovery to a healthier and more vibrant you!
    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1293 days ago
  • FRAN0426
    emoticon emoticon emoticon to you! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1293 days ago
    What a wonderful blog Julia!!!!! Of course you are your parent's favorite!!!!! You must be exhibiting all of their good points as you have so many. You are an emoticon emoticon who is always there to offer advice, and to cheer me on, and to cheer me up, and to be an example of what dedication to this program has to offer as an end result and how strong you are because of your beliefs. And.............your sense of humor is so spot-on and has made me laugh out loud so many times.

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

    and emoticon and MANY MORE.
    1293 days ago
    what a lovely blog...... and all so true! emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1293 days ago
  • SPICY23
    Just joining the Chorus: Happy Birthday Friend!

    emoticon This virtual treat has no calories, no fat, and no guilt. Enjoy!

    Give yourself the gift of joyful movement today. You deserve it. emoticon

    Peace and Care
    1293 days ago

    emoticon and we are the ones getting a gift from you - your friendship, wit an sense of humor.
    You bring sunshine and sometimes tears.

    You have a huge heart for love and laughter.

    Thank you my friend,


    PS - No doubt, you are the favorite emoticon
    1293 days ago
    Awwww, how could you NOT be their favorite, right!

    You forgot one more – you are AWESOME!!!

    CHELZANNE is absolutely right! Spark friends ARE real friends. YOU are a real friend.

    Most importantly: emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon Happy, healthy birthday.
    1293 days ago

    Comment edited on: 9/26/2017 8:09:11 PM
  • no profile photo CD16401498
    Thanks for sharing my blog! You are very kind and sweet. And I just love your blog! You describe what we are doing here in SP. You and I and many others bring our own spiritual beliefs or strengths here too. Then, together with others' support and our new health goals, are becoming better and healthier people. With that, then we touch others not just here but in our lives in person. Isn't it great!! emoticon emoticon

    Love, Chelsea
    1293 days ago
    1294 days ago
    What a thoughtful, insightful, and inspiring message! Thank you!

    1294 days ago
    What the last year has brought you! You should be very proud of yourself for all things you've accomplished!
    Have a wonderful Birthday!
    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1294 days ago
  • _LINDA
    emoticon You have done incredibly well! The blending of families reminds me of that movie, I can't remember the name of, but it was really funny. Maybe that explains some of your nature, being exposed to so many people with different opinions and focus, needing a quiet space to oneself. They always think the youngest is favored. I didn't think so as my brother never had to do any chores, it was on my sister and I, and because she was older and could boss me around, it was mostly me.
    You just keep growing and being amazing!
    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1294 days ago
    emoticon I absolutely love your blogs! Congratulations not only on another birth year, but for the things you have accomplished in that time!

    1294 days ago
    emoticon for some reason I thought your birthday was during the spring-hum!
    1294 days ago
    May your coming year surprise you with the happiness of smiles, the feeling of love
    hope you will find plenty of sweet memories to cherish forever. Happy birthday.

    On your special day, I wish you good luck. I hope this wonderful day will fill up your heart with joy and blessings. Have a fantastic birthday, celebrate the happiness every day of your life. Happy Birthday!!

    you are doing emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1294 days ago
    Happy birthday!! You have had an incredible year - here's to many more!! emoticon
    1294 days ago
    Happy Birthday!
    1294 days ago
    emoticon and what an Incredible story you have ... with so much growth taking place over the last year! ... emoticon .... Thanks for sending waves of inspiration and encouragement to all who read! ... emoticon
    1294 days ago
  • 52BINCE
    How Extraordinary you are and your one year update from last year!.... emoticon ....
    1294 days ago

    Comment edited on: 9/26/2017 12:49:02 PM
    What a story! What a journey! What a wonderful, powerful woman! May you have the best year of your life (so far)! emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1294 days ago
    Happy Happy Birthday to YOU!!! What a wonderful and inspiring birthday message. I feel fired up for the day! I wish YOU the very best day and a healthy, happy year ahead!!!
    1294 days ago
  • no profile photo CD17927558
    Happy Birthday!!! 🎉 Thanks for sharing and thanks for an encouraging force ☺
    1294 days ago
    Isn't amazing!!!!!! Love your energy!!
    1294 days ago
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