Time to begin again

imagesFV5SF81OOk, so I have certainly been slack in the blog posting department these past few months…alright, so it has been more like 6 months since my last post.  College certainly had it’s benefits, but I think I about fried my brain with all the writing I had to do over the two years I was in.  Once I graduated, I was ecstatic that I no longer had papers to write, articles to critique, discussion groups to participate in or exams to complete.  I had plenty of ideas for different posts and had every intention to write, but was constantly  finding myself hitting a wall and words just weren’t flowing as easily as I was hoping when I sat down in front of my laptop.  So, I took a much needed break from writing.  I guess that sort of thing is bound to happen from time to time.

images8QOUAU3XSince it is a New Year, what better time to start up again!  So what is in store for my blog this year?  Like many others, I set some resolutions.  It is time to focus on two challenges I have been facing and have vowed to correct this year.  1) To get back on track with a more consistent exercise routine and 2) To overcome this odd food texture phobia and eat a more colorful and healthier diet.  Lord only knows I need to broaden the shades of color on my plate with more fruits and vegetables.  Sure, I could set a goal to loose a specific number of pounds or to go on some sort of fad diet to get there, but personally, making some lifestyle changes seem like a much better idea.  Eating healthier and being more consistent with my exercising, the weight will begin to come off.  Not only that, my focus is to be healthy for my hearts sake now that I have my heart issues under control, not spend so much time focusing just on a number on a scale.

Exercise seems to be one of the top resolutions that many individuals set for themselves in the new year.  Overcoming an odd food texture phobia – now that is something I’m sure most people will chuckle about (in fact, most already have).  Needless to say, my fruit and veggie preferences are very limited, so this year may prove to be rather interesting.veggies

So stay tuned as I work through this years resolutions.  As I’m sure many will agree, a consistent exercise routine can be a challenge, so hopefully you all can help motivate me to succeed.  As for my odd food texture phobia…get ready to laugh as I am sure working through that resolution will be rather humorous at times!

School is out!!

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It’s official!  With what seemed like an endless amount of essays, papers, and projects to write, hundreds of pages of textbooks to read, and discussion groups that seemed to go on forever – I am finally done!!  Ironically,  I was also looking at my calendar and realized exactly five years ago, I was laying on the operating table, having an ICD put in, not knowing where my life would be headed after.  Scared and unsure, I truly didn’t know what to expect at that time or have any idea whether my health would actually get better or continue to get worse.  Nor did I know what path I would continue on in life itself or expect to be going back to school to work towards another degree!  But here I am, closing yet another chapter of my life.  Once all the formalities are done over the next few weeks, I will have my Bachelors Degree in hand, along with a sense of accomplishment in achieving a goal I had set out to do just a few years ago.  Sure, there were some days I was completely exhausted, other days I struggled to keeps my eyes open.  I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t stressed out sometimes – who wouldn’t be.  Trying to balance being a mom with working full time and going to school full time was a challenge.  Anxiety did mount and there were a few times I questioned whether I was putting myself under too much stress, stress that wasn’t good for my heart.

Know your limits, but never stop trying to exceed them. 

~Author Unknown

But I made it – and with great grades to boot!  I could have easily chosen not to go to school, or I could have chosen to quit when the road go tough…but I didn’t.  I had a wonderful family who supported my decision to go back, an incredible son and boyfriend who took care of things at home while I studied and concentrated on school, and incredibly understanding friends who understood my social life would have to be put on hold.  Now I can finally turn my attention to writing my blog and book in my spare time; setting out on yet another couple of goals I want to work towards to complete.  What a nice change of pace it will be to write what I want to write about rather than what I have to write about.

Stepping into a box of crayons

TPurple sneakershere once existed a time when walking into a store to purchase sneakers, you essentially had two colors to choose from; white or black which was then accented with a small amount of color.  On a recent trip to purchase a pair of running sneakers, I felt as though I had stepped into a box of crayons, surrounded by all sorts of colors with crazy names to boot.  From bubble gum pink to zesty orange, electric blue to slim green – the color combinations were endless!!  I had absolutely no idea where to start.  As the salesman approached me, I imagine he could read the overwhelmed look I had written across my face.

“A lot to choose from.” he replied.  “May I make a suggestion?  Ignore the colors you see and try some sneakers on.  It will be the best way to find the one’s that are perfect for you.”sketchers

There were obviously too many colors to choose from and I had no idea which color I wanted to pick, so I took his suggestion and began my search for the perfect fit, just picking up a random sneaker and trying it on.  However, ironically, I would soon find out that the colors were a clear indication of what would or wouldn’t be the best sneaker for me.

First, I tried fruit; a pair of gushing grape colored Asics trimmed in a granny smith apple green.  I was wearing fruit on my feet!  pink nikeFruit don’t belong on your feet and neither did this pair of sneakers, so it was on to the next pair.  Next, black Skechers decked out in a variety of bright candy colors.  Looking at them made me think of the colors of gumballs coming out of the gumball machine.  Pinks, yellows, blues, and greens; a sweet combinations that did not fit so sweetly afterall.  This was soon followed up by a pair of pink Nike’s that looked as though I had stuck my foot in a bucket of Pepto Bismol.  Needless to say, these didn’t fit my feet comfortably and no doubt were making me nauscious just staring at them.  Before long, I was trying to cram my feet into a pair of Caution tape, yellow sneakersbright yellow sneakers.  Perhaps the color was an indication not to try the sneakers on in the first place, warning me to stay away because as soon as I put those on, I knew right away they were clearly not right for me.

After spending an hour or so trying on numerous sneakers in nearly ever color of the crayon box, I settled on a pair of electric blue sneakers, complete with hot pink shoelaces and trim, reminiscent of a neon sign shining brightly.  They fit like a dream!  Finally, a pair of running sneakers that were the perfect fit complete with a color to suit.nike

Its time to run!

Alright, it’s time to get my run on!  Many of my coworkers as well as myself will be participating in our first ever 5K Corporate Challenge this summer.  Needless to say, I can’t remember the last time my feet have hit the pavement in a full force run.  Chances are, it was probably high school!  I am a originallittle nervous about how my heart will handle it, but I am certainly up for the challenge.  Without a doubt, plenty of training to build my endurance will be necessary if I am going to make it to the finish line, and this week I shall venture out on that journey.  The fact is, if I don’t try, I will never know if my body can do it.  To some, a 5K run seems like nothing…just a walk in the park.  For others, like myself, it will be a huge accomplishment to succeed.  With confirmation from my doctor to go ahead, I just have to remember not to push so far beyond what my body can physically handle.  I have to listen to my body when it says “slow down” or “take it easy”.  Most importantly, I can’t allow myself to get discouraged quickly.  It’ll take time to work up to a full 5K run and plenty of baby steps will finish-linebe taken to get there.  Without a doubt, since I started going back to school, my diet has been horrible, a regular exercise routine non-existent, and the stress level has certainly increased.  Thankfully, however, school is nearly over and I am ready for a change and training as well as participating in this 5K will certainly offer me the stepping stone for some changes a truly need.

I look forward to sharing this experience with you and hope you all can provide me with the encouragement to succeed!

Creating a Family Health Tree

It never fails…you visit a new doctor, and as part of being a new patient, a wealth of paperwork is handed your way.  You take a seat in the waiting room and begin to write down what seems to be your life story.  Without a doubt, there will be a section completely dedicated to writing down your family health history.  The only problem is, you are either unfamiliar or have forgotten about the details.  This was the case when I started to see multiple doctors when I initially got sick.  So, to resolve this, I came up with my own family health tree to document all of the health issues and events that my family members had faced.  There are numerous templates available online to follow or even print out and put to use, however, I decided to create my own using an Excel spreadsheet.  Whichever one works best for you, go ahead and put it to use or create your very own.

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“Like branches on a tree we grow in different directions, yet our roots remain as one. Each of our lives will always be a special part of the other.” —Anonymous

What information do I include

First things first, be sure to talk with your family, let them know what you are creating and be sure to get their permission.  Next, ask them questions; you want to be sure that you have recorded the correct information.  What information you want to include is entirely up to you and your family.  Include such things as date of birth, date and cause of death and most certainly, medical conditions such as heart diseases, cancers, depression or other mental disorders, developmental problems, known genetic conditions  (if your family members can tell you what age those conditions began at, that is even better).   Include yourself, your parents, your grandparents, siblings, aunt, uncles…essentially anyone who is part of your family.

The best part about creating an electronic family health tree is that you can save the document on the computer and return to it as often as you need to, updating events as they occur.  Going to a new doctor?  Simply print off a copy to give to the new office to place in your medical file.  Not only will this save you the hassle of trying to recall all of the history of your family when filling out new patient forms, it will also provide the doctor with helpful information, especially in cases where illnesses or diseases are common in your family.  Knowing what conditions exist, a physician can ensure to keep his/her eyes open to early symptoms of those conditions, allowing them to address them sooner rather than later.

To assist you in creating your own Family Health Tree, check out some of these links….

http://health.utah.gov/genomics/familyhistory/documents/Toolkit/new%20entire%20toolkit.pdf

http://nihseniorhealth.gov/creatingafamilyhealthhistory/howtocreateafamilyhealthhistory/01.html

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/medical-history/HQ01707

Start of a New Year

It doesn’t seem possible that yet another year has come and gone in what seems in a blink of an eye.  The world says good-bye to one year, while anxiously greeting the next.  I sit here while the sun shines through the window, a warm hello to 2013.  I relax and sit back while thinking over the year that has just passed; what things I have accomplished, what road I have been traveling, and where it has led me to today. Without a doubt, a series of ups and downs, at times stress and frustration, sharing laughter and cheer, hopes and dreams but overall a rather good year.  I set out last year beginning this blog and working on writing a book.  Needless to say, there has been slow progress.  I have to remind myself, there isn’t a deadline to reach and both are a labor of love so I can work on them as time permits.  Without a doubt, writing papers, critiques, working on projects, and writing what seems like an endless amount of essays for school has certainly taxed the brain, leaving me hitting a writers block as thick as a 12 inch concrete wall.  But 2013 is a new year, and with only a few more classes to go, I’ll have less time to think about meeting deadlines for school and can direct my focus towards my blog and book once again.  So thank you to those of you who have been following my blog…looking forward to continuing my goal to educate, motivate, and inspire.

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Hannah Bowns quotes

Best friends by birth, Sisters for life

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Looking back through old photographs, I have again realized how fortunate I have been to have crossed paths with so many really wonderful people throughout my life.  Nicki, my best friend….we have known each other for close to 25 years now.  It just doesn’t seem possible that so many years have passed.  It seems as though it was yesterday we were young girls in grade school, just sparking a new friendship.  We were a couple of blond haired cuties, looking so much alike, that we could have passed as sisters.  Riding bikes to the local corner store, going swimming on warm days, spending every Sunday morning going to church…just doing what little girls do – which is to have fun.

I spent countless weekends, even entire summers at her house, becoming the “adopted daughter” to her parents and younger “sister” to her siblings.  Nicki’s mom, Kathy, became a woman I admired and wished to become; a successful, independent business woman who balanced a full time career, college, and a family.  She took me under her wing, provided the support, faith and encouragement as a young girl that I needed to help create who I am today.

Now, here we are, Nicki and I,  women in our mid 30′s, keeping busy raising children of our own, balancing life with our adult responsibilities.  We can go days, weeks, even months without seeing each other, but yet when we get together, we pick up right where we left off.  We look back at our childhood, laughing and giggling at the things we used to do as children, and what lessons we learned throughout our years growing up.

To my best friend, my sister, my non-biological twin….Happy Birthday to you!  You are my dearest, closest friend….a woman to look to for support, guidance, and stability.  You are a wonderful mother, wife, and role model and thanks to the friendship we created when we were younger,  I was able to meet a wonderful family.  A family who has had a huge, positive influence on my life.  I Love You, Girl!!!

When we first talked to each other, I knew we would always be friends.

Our friendship has kept on growing, And I’ll be here for you to the end.

You listen when I have a problem, And help dry the tears from my face.

You take away my sorrow, And put happiness in its place.

We can’t forget the fun we’ve had, Laughing ’til our faces turn blue.

Talking of things only we find funny, People think we’re insane-If they only knew!

I guess this is my way of saying thanks, For catching me when I fall.

Thanks once again for being such a good friend, And being here with me through it all.