Posted in Exercise

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

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Posted in Exercise, Health

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!

Posted in Health, Health Management

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.

trees
“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 helpful links for more information or templates you may use….

My Family Health Portrait

American Heart Association Family Health Tree

 

 

Posted in Inspiration

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
Posted in Family, Friends, Life

Best friends by birth, Sisters for life

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.

Posted in Inspiration

Thoughts found on paper

While cleaning out the basement in preparation for a yard sale, I was emptying out some totes that I had packed full of random things and came across something I wrote on a loose piece of paper; something I had written the year I was sick….so I figured I would share…

When I look at my life, sometimes I don’t know what to think.  I know I’m not normal….but that’s okay, no one really is.  Besides, what does it mean to have a “normal life” anyways?  No one has a perfect life.  Perfect would be dull and predictable…who wants to live like that?  I don’t.  Sure, I’ve made some bad choices throughout the years, but I have also made some good choices too.  Who hasn’t had their fair share of both good and bad choices?  It’s what life is all about; being proud of the good and learning from the bad.  I figured, if I didn’t make the choices that I did “back when”, then where would I be today?  Would my life be better or worse off had those decisions I made been different?  Sometimes I listen to other people sit and complain how their lives are going nowhere and how unhappy they are with where they are in their life – – –  here’s an idea – Change!!  We all have the ability to make changes in our lives; it just takes a mind set and the will power to do it.

Do I get depressed or bummed?  Sure, who doesn’t from time to time.  Life gets a little rough and overwhelming and it gets to you.  I will admit, sometimes I’ll just curl up and ball my eyes out because things have built up and I need a way to let them out.  But letting out a good cry, I feel much better afterwards.  The thing is, even though I’ve gone through so much; having Zachary and getting married at a young age, only for it to end in divorce only to make another unwise choice of hopping right into another relationship so quickly, only to have that one end in divorce as well.  Dealing with mom’s illness, loosing her, then loosing gram, now having to deal with my own heart issues…I can’t let all of those overwhelming moments get me to the point where I become so depressed and no longer want to go on.  When things get rough, I remind myself, somewhere else, somebody has it much worse off then I do.  I’m still trying to learn not to allow too many things build up and get my stress level to the point where it ends up as an anxiety attack, but I’m getting there, slowly but surely, learning how to better deal with different situations as they present themselves.  Life is far too short, I learned that when mom died.  You don’t know what day will be your last.  Not everyday will go as planned, not everyday will be happy, but everyday is another day to go on living. 

I am a little nervous about being sick, only because of what we went through and saw with mom.  Heading to the hospital, the same hospital and doctors that she seen, it feels like de ja vu.  Only instead of mom in the patient chair, it’s me.  My biggest worry, as a mother, is what would happen to Zach if anything were to happen to me.  Who will take care of him?  What will his life be like if I weren’t around to help guide him?  Have I influenced him enough to make the right choices in life?  I know I shouldn’t worry too much since I know there are plenty of people who would ensure he is taken care of, but as a mother, you still tend to worry what would happen if you aren’t in your child’s life.

Without a doubt, God has a plan for me and there is a reason why I am where I am today.

Posted in Family

My father…Papa Smurf

A few short weeks ago, while many were spending their day with their fathers to celebrate Fathers Day, our family gathered with my father to celebrate not just a day to remember him as dad, but also to celebrate his 60th birthday!  As a child, 60 years old seemed ancient.  But then again, my father, is a bit old-fashioned himself.  With his hobbies and lifestyle, he is a man that seems to have stepped right out of a history book.  We grew up on a small farm, raising a variety of different animals, from ponies and oxen, sled dogs, goats, sheep, rabbits, ducks, and more (ironically, never all at the same time).  My father carved his own yolks and bent his own bows, starting small and using them on the baby steers.  As the steers grew, so did the bows and yolks that dad had to make.  He used both oxen and ponies to pull farm machinery around, despite the fact we had my great grandfathers tractor sitting in the barn.  He taught us kids how to milk goats by hand while he turned what was collected into our very own goat cheese, since the taste of goats milk on our cereal wasn’t something that us kids could get used to.  He wanted nothing to go to waste, and tried to teach us that anything broken could be fixed (although somethings we tried to convince him that some things were simply beyond repair).  Now that he is retired, no longer does he “play” with animals, but rather he spends time giving blacksmithing demonstrations and dressing up in old-fashioned clothing, sharing his knowledge with others and exhibiting his skills on the anvil.  Over the years, he filled our heads with numerous childhood stories of things his brothers and sisters used to do growing up on the family farm, repeating most of them on numerous occasions, always reliving the moment as if it just happened yesterday.  Although while we were growing up, my brother and I would often say, “Here he goes again..”, knowing the stories nearly word for word that he was about to share, as adults, I think we have realized that dad’s memories have taught us some rather important life lessons.  Now as adults, the words my father shared, we can now pass on to our own children; words about History, traditions, hard work, and so much more.

Without a doubt, I have learned plenty from my father.  He will always be my Papa Smurf, and I’ll always be his little Squirt.

Love you, Dad!!