Questions My Sponsor Asked Me

    It is impossible to learn what you think you already know.     ~Epictetus, the Greek Stoic Philosopher


Q- Write 20 things you are grateful for!

A- I am grateful for . . .

  1. Compassionate friends who will respond to me with empathy and understanding rather than criticism and judgment.
  2.  A loving daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren who accept me as I am, and love me and want me in their life.
  3.  Compulsive Eaters Anonymous HOW Recovery and 3 great sponsors who have led me in finding a better way to live Happy, Joyous and free from sugar, flour and quantites of food.
  4.  Wonderful, friendly, and accepting church family.
  5.  What I have accomplished in my life and for the good and not so good  I have learned from.
  6.  Health enough to be active and wealth enough to take care of my basic needs.
  7.  A wonderful place to live provided by a very loving sister-in-law.
  8.  Communication with and from significant people in my life.
  9.  The insights and understandings surfacing since I have been abstinent from sugar, flour and quantities.
  10.  That my parents raised me to be honest in my dealings with others, be open-minded and able to accept others and see good in them and always be willing to help.
  11.  The AA Big Book understanding of acceptance of all people, places, things, and situations which are outside myself.
  12.  The Spiritual nature of CeaHow Recovery Program. 
  13.  That I can take life as it comes to me one day at a time.
  14.  That I can start over any time I need to.
  15.  That I am not alone in recovery but am one of many who are finding a better life.
  16.  That I am in a recovery program following in the footsteps of many who have been a success and that it is a certain plan if I follow it to the best of my ability.
  17.  The 3 meetings a week, because I need the repetition of the principles and the inspiration that get at each meeting.
  18.  Simple pleasures like walking the dogs at the dog park, meeting and greeting other owners.
  19.  The sunshine on my face feeling its warmth.
  20. Being able to laugh and have a good time without the obsession and indulgence in food.

Q- Make a list of positive accomplishments from your life:

A- Positive Look At John - Accomplishments and Comments

  1. Grade 6                    Began to play soprano saxophone
  2. Through Grade 7    Maintained a straight “A” average
  3. Grade 8                    “A” Average except for “C” in chorus, otherwise continues a straight "A" average; could milk a cow in the field in my PJ's within 15 minutes and be back in bed for another hour of sleep before school
  4. Grade 8                    Began playing a baritone ukelele. My mother taught me to sing tenor on some songs, bass on others
  5. High School              Elected class officer all 4 years; began to play tenor saxophone; lettered in music, basketball and baseball; Annual Yearbook Staff; Earned Future Farmer Degree and Dekalb Award for Agricultural Accomplishment- Was Secretary of Indiana Chapter Meeting Champion Parliamentary Procedure Team; Member Indiana Champion Land Judging Team - Place 13th in Nationals; Played Tenor sax in FFA State Band at Purdue University; Followed mother as Valedictorian of my class - my 3 younger sisters were also Valedictorians - Our family was honored with an article Family of Valedictorians in Louisville Courier Journal; performed instumentally with 3 sisters and sang 4 part gospel with them.
  6. College                     Associate in Arts Degree from Graceland College - chaplain A.U.B. Social Club - Life Member Alpha Phi Omega, National Service Fraternity; Played tenor sax in Graceland Band; played clarinet and bass clarinet in Graceland Orchestra and went on Tour playing 10 concerts in 11 days
  7. University                B.S. in Education + some graduate hours with Major in Physics and Mathematics, Minor General Science from Indiana University Bloomington; 1962 delegate to Alpha Phi Omega National Convention in Philadelphia; Dan DenUly Best Active APO Brother in Indiana of 11 chapters; Instrumental in setting up and giving campus tours of IU campus; volunteered at Bloomington Preschool for Cerebral Palsy Children
  8. Educator                  Helped during 1st 3 years of teaching to put my younger sisters through College; Taught all math and science subjects except Chemistry, grades 7-12 career lasted 15 years in public, private, country day, military and parochial schools in Indiana and Kansas City Missouri; Life Certified Missouri teacher  + Missouri Cerified in Adult Basic Education; coached basketball 8 years at Howe Military School - 2 yrs freshman basketball at Barstow Country day in Kansas City, started 1st Boy Scout Troup in a Military School at Howe, troup had 48 boys; counselor and scouting director at Howe summer camps; Received Lagrange County Indiana Jaycee Outstanding Educator Award; listed in 1973 Outstanding Elementary Teachers of America; Received Best Coach Trophy from 7 Grade Basketball team; , Taught basic skills math for 10 years Adult & Community Education at Truman High School Independence MO
  9. Management          Managed largest and highest volume Deli in Kansas City; managed Seafood departments and qualified as a journeyman meat cutter and also worked as a corporate trainer
  10. Beyond Call of Duty        Worked for Pizza Hut & delivered pizza with my left arm in a full cast; traveled between grocery stores as relief meat cutter to cover vacations; taught adults basic math skills at night;  Always gave my employers  more than was required. My average work week was 70 hours, being paid on salary for 45 hours
  11. Ministry                   Ordained 1963 and have served to present day in the RLDS Community of Christ as Pastor, Bible teacher, Counselor, Christian Education Director, Music Minister, Youth Minister and Financial Officer; I was on the cutting edge of ministry using audio visuals long before they were in common usage - overhead projection of words and images, using guitar to lead songs and for sermons-in-song, camping and planting youth ministry where there was none, strengthening it where there was.  My Spiritual Journey: Experiences, Reference Points and Reflections is found here:

12. Poet                        Began writing in 1960, wrote for pleasure and for self therapy, culminating in publishing  "Life's Ebb & Flow, A Poetic Journey" in 2012 - 148 poems covering 7 areas of primary interest: Friendship (19) + LOVE  (32) + FIBONACCI  AND HAIKU(13) + MELANCHOLY AND RECOVERY (17) + Reflection (27) + SINGING NEW SONGS (26) + SPIRITUALITY (14)

13. Composer           Wrote new lyrics to my first Hymn tune summer of 1960 . . . interested in composing for the mountain dulcimer which I learned to play in 2001, currently working to publish my original songbook "Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs"; See my musical story on my blog:

14. Brother John Ministry   perform entertainment programs locally at retirement homes, senior high rises, rehabs, churches, clubs and other organizations as Brother John Poet Minstrel Muse.  Programs feature Rest of the Story anecdotes, inspirational stories, gospel magic, spiritual reflections, original poetry and spiritual psalms, and sing-a-longs accompanied by CD recordings and my Appalachian Mountain Dulcimer. . .Played and sang on 3 CD's produced by Corydon Dulcimer Society, recorded a Christmas Song "Holiday Gifts" I wrote on the Last CD

15. Thankful Student

I wanted to share this joyful thing that I received in 2009. Some things are a long time in coming. This is an email from a student that I had in a 1966 math class, probably Advanced Algebra/Trigonometry, at University School in Bloomington, IN. You will get the joy she has in finding me again by reading the correspondence between us. 

Dear Mr. Utz,
For years I have off and on been trying to track down a math professor with your name that I had back in high school. You didn't happen to teach math at University High School in Bloomington Indiana back in the 60's did you?

Yes, I did.  I taught advanced algebra/trigonometry opposite Mrs Young at University School in 1966.  I am sorry that I don't remember your name but perhaps I would remember you if I had a picture...Do you remember me taking off my vest without taking off my coat?  Let me hear more of what you remember and why you have been looking for me.
John Utz

Oh my gosh.  I finally found you. I’ve done lots of internet searches and even written a number of John Utzes over the years but with no luck until now. Yes indeed, I do remember you taking your vest off without taking off your coat, but mostly I remember you as one of the few fantastic teachers in my (rather long) education who stand out like a beacon in my memory because you had such a huge impact on my life. In the daze of adolescence, I’m afraid I didn’t fully appreciate you at the time and certainly didn’t thank you, but over the years I realized you had totally changed my relationship with math.  Until your class, I basically hated math, or I was at least very bored with it. My main memory of math classes before you is sitting in the back drawing pictures. I even got the only D in my high school career in algebra. You clearly loved both math and teaching, and it was totally infectious. Ever since your class, I have enjoyed math in all aspects of life. I even worked as a math tutor for awhile in college. You also catalyzed my general interest in learning. Thank you SO much for having devoted yourself to such an inadequately remunerated but incredibly important profession. I’m sure there are hundreds of other people out there whose lives you benefited who never managed to thank you, so thanks for them too. I haven’t got any digital photos of back when I was in your class. Here is the oldest (which is to say youngest) photo I have on the computer, from sometime in medical school, I think.  I had shoulder length hair and was fairly shy back in high school. I also stuck in one I just shot off the computer camera.

Best wishes,  Tamsin

I have done some searching on my own and found that Tamsin was able to go on from my class to achieve greatness on her own graduating Indiana University School of Medicine in 1980 with her M.D. In Internal Medicine. She went into medical research and retired after 25 years, living now in California. We still correspond from time to time.

16. Family and Friends         Even in my worst self absorbed moments, I know without doubt that I am loved unconditionally by so many people that I would not be able to remember them all.  Considering that I started my life believing that because I was not perfect, that no one, no, not even God could possibly love me, and now to realize with every fiber of my being that it is true that I am loved, is without doubt the greatest positive accomplishment of my life.