BarbetteSpitler.com

Holistic Health & Wellness Coach

ARE YOU FULL?

hqdefaultMany people are surprised to learn the human stomach is supposed to be the size of a human fist. Not just any fist, though. That particular human’s fist. Regardless of age, height, or bone structure, the human stomach is designed to be only as large as the size of a gently closed fist.

Ever wonder why a newborn is only able to take in 2 ounces at a time? Gently close up their hand and notice… that is the size of their stomach. They simply cannot hold much volume. Thus, they take in a few ounces at a time and when the body has properly digested and used or stored the calories taken in, the body will signal it’s need for more when its ready. That signal is… hunger. When an infant has taken in more volume than the stomach can hold, the body will expel the excess. It’s simple and it’s logical (and messy).

Are you full?” is a question many parents ask their children before they allow them to leave the dinner table. “Finish your food”, is a statement that teaches them to finish a volume of food regardless if they are satiated or not. The parents are unwittingly teaching the children to eat because it is there and they are expected to clean their plate. But what if they are no longer hungry? Why would we encourage them to eat more than they need or want? Why?? From this moment forward, let them leave food on their plate! Next time, give them smaller portions. And if they want another serving later, make it a half serving! And you serve it up for them  Don’t rely on their ability to judge proper portions.

Let’s talk about… portion size.  A dinner plate for a child should be much smaller than that of an adult. So use a smaller plate for children! Control the portions of the food going on that plate and do not be distracted by their cries for more or their wails of  how unfair you are to them. If they are still hungry, then can have more later. But when we know the size of their stomach, we also know they are not physically hungry after they have eaten – they are deceived by the visual effects of the portions or the sight and scent of the food. It is much easier to give the children a few extra bites later, than it is to take away food once they have been condition to larger portion sizes. When I see parents giving their children plates of food the same size as their adult dinner plate, I am horrified. We are setting these children up for a lifetime of overeating.

I understand some parents become weary of their children have 6-8 mini-meals throughout the day. However, that is exactly how the human body was designed to eat. Only when hungry and only enough to satiate the hunger. Many people do not even know what true hunger signals are anymore because they eat for emotional reasons or because the food is readily available and they are enticed by the sights or smells of the food.  If adults ate frequent small meals like little children, there would be happier, healthier people in our culture.

I also understand there are also children who have learned the pattern of saying, “I’m finished” at the dinner table (because that food doesn’t excite them) only to cry “I’m hungry” an hour later in order to have a favored snack. That pattern is more about parental manipulation by a bright child and less about their physical hunger and need to eat for fuel. I do not encourage big meals and snacking. I do however encourage small meals and snacking, if the snack standard in the household is limited to fruits and vegetables.

When we eat more volume than our stomach can hold, the stomach has to stretch to accommodate the volume. An occasional overeating episode will stretch the stomach and we are temporarily uncomfortable (Thanksgiving Dinner perhaps). However, as the food is digested and moved out of the stomach, the stomach will return to its proper size. This process can be slowed significantly when there is a combination of foods that digest at different rates and in different ways. The slower the process of digesting the food, the longer we are uncomfortable, have heartburn or feel bloated.

Chronic overeating (over-stretching) causes the stomach to remain stretched out – similar to over stretched elastic bands. It takes more volume of food to fill a stretched out stomach. More volume means more calories are taken in than the person can utilize thus the body stores the fuel as fat for the famine that never comes. This is the process of gaining weight and it happens fast! For many in our culture, this process leads to obesity, diabetes, and a whole host of illnesses and dis-ease.

It’s simple. Eat too much volume for several meals, the body will adapt by stretching the stomach to accommodate the additional volume. Eat too much volume over a period of time and that stretch will not easily bounce back. That adaptability by the stomach can actually become a problem for us humans. It would be much easier if our adult body would expel the excess like an infant instead of stretching to adapt.

During an episode of “My 600lb Life”, the gastric surgery showed the size of the person’s stomach. It was larger than a football. Imagine trying to keep up with the volume needed for her to feel “full”. She simply couldn’t eat enough! She ate as much volume in one day that a normal sized stomach would have in a week. After speaking with others who have been morbidly obese and lost weight without bypass surgery, they tell me it takes weeks for the stomach to return to it’s normal size. Weeks of portion control – meaning they returned to eating the volume of their gently closed fist rather than trying to get to “full”. When their body realized they were not starving (no famine here), the body began properly adapting again to their new normal. They lost the excess weight and the discomfort and the chronic health conditions!

What about you?  Do you eat to the point of being “full”. Do you encourage family to “fill up”. Can you leave food on your plate? Have you ever tried having smaller meals more frequently? I’d love to hear your experiences.

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THE TASTE OF THE TONGUE

images-9The human body is designed to digest the foods of the planet and use that energy for fuel. The foods of the planet are easily digested, absorbed, and converted to energy. It is not designed to use the body’s energy to digest processed foods. It’s just that simple! Yet, it is processed foods that tickle the taste buds. It is the sweet. It’s the sweet and salty combined. It’s the hidden sugars that tantalize the tongue and leave us wanting more and more. Whether it’s healthy or not doesn’t seem to matter. What matters is the taste on the tongue!

The human body is designed to use food as fuel. Imagine eating as the input valve for the body’s energy source. (Like the gas tank for a car.) We take in food, covert it to energy for immediate use or store it up for later use. The tongue helps us to move the food in our mouth for more efficient chewing and it aides in the process of swallowing. It also has taste buds that help us to discern the basic nature of the food including salty, sour, bitter, spicy, and sweet. In our culture, the sweet has won us over.

The human body is designed to eat only when hungry and only enough to stop the hunger. We were not designed to eat until we are “full”. We have done ourselves a terrible disservice by teaching ourselves and our children to eat until we are full. Maybe that was a condition of centuries ago when famines were feared. But that is no longer a threat for our culture. The illusion that we must eat until we are full has caused an entire population of people to over eat. Over eating stretches the size of the stomach and we have to intake more food quantity to reach “full”. The cycle continues until we have a morbidly obese human with a stomach organ the size of a football instead of the size it was designed to be – the size of our fist. Regardless of your age, height, or bone structure, the size of your stomach is supposed to remain the approximate size of your closed fist.

The human body is designed to eat the foods of the planet. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds all have enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that are far more complex than we can fully understand. They work in synchronicity with each other in such a way we cannot duplicate with scientific measures. The foods of the planet were created/designed to fuel the body with energy for activities and to sustain life. Although scientists try to fractionate the elements out of the whole foods to design specialty vitamins or try to genetically alter natures bounty in order to make it “better” – there is nothing better than the whole foods… as nature intended for us.

The human body is designed to digest minimal amounts of meat. Fresh meat that was caught or killed and shared with others… fresh off the bones. If cooked, it was added to vegetables for a stew like meal or eaten by itself in small amounts. The human body was designed to eat more foods from plants and less food from animals. Meat as the main event in our meals does more harm to our bodies than good. We were not designed to handle the processing of meats (or any foods) like we eat today. And it’s literally killing us. Our culture has more dis-ease and chronic illness than any other. The dietary intake of our culture is the primary culprit.

When I think of how our body is designed to eat healthy foods of the planet, I am continually amazed at how often we choose to eat based on taste and taste alone. We live by the taste on the tongue! We will eat with no hunger noted but anticipating the taste of the food in front of us. We have become so addicted to sweet and the need for sugar on our tongue that we are as addicted as any cocaine, heroin, or meth user! The research has shown sugar to be that addictive! And, we allow it to be the front runner in our dietary choices. From coffee based sugary beverages and so-called sports drinks to breakfast cereals and other highly processed products we call “food”… sugar is added! I believe if sugar were discovered today it would be FDA regulated. We know it is a primary factor in deteriorating health conditions like diabetes and all inflammatory diseases. Sugar feeds bacteria, viruses, fungus and cancer cells. Yet, we still choose high sugar foods admitting, “it tastes soooooo good!” It is literally the taste on the tongue… a muscle in the body less than 2x4in.

Take a look at your own food choices. Does the taste of the tongue guide your food choices? Do you follow the SAD diet (Standard American Diet)? Do you seek healthier food choices? Do you recognize food is fuel not just a tantalizing treat for the tongue? Or are you way too fond of the sugary, sweet desserts and snacks? Do you think you might be addicted to sugar? Ponder your food choices this week and then revisit this blog and comment below!

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Ancient Wisdom – Always Relevant

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There is much wisdom in ancient teachings.
     As I spend more and more time and energy reaching out to those in need or helping others reach for the stars, I am also presented with opportunities to learn from the teachings of the ancient elders.
     Mother Teresa is one of those who carried forward the teachings of the ancients into current time.  She taught us the true meaning of love and service.  She inspires me.  Gandhi taught us to “Be the change we wish to see.”   Wayne Dyer taught us to take responsibility for our own thoughts, actions and reactions.  I could go on and on.  Each of these wise teachers are reminding us of the wisdom of the elders.  It’s not new news.  It’s all ancient teachings.  But who brings them forward?
     Another great ancient teaching is the Hawaiian Healing Prayer,  Ho’Oponopono. It means – to make right.   It’s so simple it’s difficult for our ego mind to believe it could possible work to help heal anything.  Yet, it does. From injuries to relationships!  It’s like a miracle worker.  Why?  Because it combines the power of love and forgiveness.  There are only four steps.  They are laid out in four simple statements which connect to deeply held beliefs or emotions.
     Step One:  Acknowledge and Repentance.  I AM SORRY.  We are completely and totally responsible for our actions and reactions!  We choose them.  You may be sorry for being angry or for hurting someone’s feelings. You may be sorry you gained weight or were careless and hurt yourself.  The list goes on and on.  Even if you are not quite sure if you are “sorry” for something, say it anyway and see what happens.
     Step Two: Ask forgiveness.  PLEASE FORGIVE ME.  You are not necessarily asking this of another human.  Ask it from Spirit.  Ask for forgiveness from yourself… for yourself.  Try it!  See what it feels like to be in this very vulnerable state.  It’s amazing! (And it gets easier with practice.)
     Step Three:  Gratitude.  THANK YOU.  Again, this is not about going to another human and expressing the gratitude.  Express gratitude to yourself for yourself.  Just say it!  Thank Spirit.  It doesn’t matter to whom… just express the gratitude! Say Thank You!
     Step Four:  Love.  I LOVE YOU.   Share the love. Love for yourself.  Love for others.  Love for Spirit.  Love for humanity.  Just share LOVE!
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     These four simple statements become four incredibly profound expressions of love and service to self and to others.  Easy and effective.  No one ever need to know you are using the Ho’Oponopono to help heal yourself or a relationship.  Dr.  Ihaleakala Hew Len used this method to heal criminally insane patients he had never met.  He read their patient files and performed this healing ritual for each of them.  The results were incredible!
     It is my understanding this healing works regardless of the order of the statements said.  It is more important that we acknowledge each step and use the verbiage to clear the energy connected to it.  The order of the statements matters less than the awareness of  them.
     So, put on your thinking caps and start a list.  Do you have physical issues your need to heal?  How about:  Relationships with others; your finances; your health; your feelings about yourself; your feelings about others;  your prejudices; your anger/hurt/hatred…   Get started now making miracles  happen in your life and allow the ripple effect of your Ho’Oponopono to happen!
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When People Show You Who They Are…..

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Many years ago, I was in the front row to hear Maya Angelou!  Her words of wisdom were profound and her presentation was delightful, thought provoking and…. for me… quite moving.  She said some things that the audience found humorous and other statements that were met with the silence of significant thought.   Other bits of wisdom were met with quiet conversations and remarks spoken in whispers.

One of her famous quotes came after she told a story.  The story ended with her looking out into the audience and stating, “When people show you who they are, believe them the first time.”   I remember thinking to myself…”Well, that’s not fair!  People can change.”  I am one of those people!  I was an unhappy teenager.  I was angry about a multitude of things and was quite sure my entire future was doomed to be filled with continued trauma and drama.  But, I changed.  I changed my attitude, my perspective and my outlook and everything improved!  Because it happened for me, I believe everyone wants to be happy and everyone will look for a pathway to make it so.  Right??  Doesn’t everyone desire to be happy?  Isn’t everyone willing to make changes to achieve a greater level of happiness??

Over the years after the event, I looked over my notes often.  I agreed with her on every level and every point, except that one statement.  I always believed people can and want to improve their life and their outlook.  I had a fundamental belief that no one truly wants to hurt or harm another.  I believed it is our responsibility to and for others, to believe they can change and to support them as they do.  It’s part of the reason I became a Health & Wellness Life Coach…. to assist those who are ready and willing and to provide the tools to make it easier and more efficient to find and keep a positive perspective.

Recently, I’ve revisited this pearl of wisdom from Maya.  I’ve had to make a few changes to my belief system.  I recognize that everyone can improve and have a metamorphosis which leads them to create a life of wonder and happiness and joy.  I also recognize, for many people, it’s easier to blame others, complain and stay right where they are!  And finally, I’ve had to realize that there are those who will give lip service to all the “right” things and their actions tell quite the different story.  Actions speak LOUDER than words ever will.  When the actions are not in alignment with the verbiage – listen to the actions/behavior.  What people do and how they do it is more expressive of their intention than their words.

When people show you who they are, do you believe them the first time? Do you allow for the possibility they may change and become  more focused on love and service to others rather than self-service.  Or do you take your first impression of them and assign it to them permanently?  Do you believe people can change and improve?

I think we have to be mindful of what people show us and allow for it to improve.  But don’t assume it will  …. and don’t be disappointed when they show you who they really are!  We all have free will and get to choose our attitude and behaviors.  We can’t be disappointed if we have no expectation of another person’s way of being.  Thus we cannot be disappointed when someone shows us who they really are….

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What is Energy Medicine?

400_Human_Energy_Field_2I get a lot of questions about energy medicine…  In a nutshell….  Energy Medicine is based on physics rather than biochemistry.  Physics is the study of energy.  You remember from high school?  Physics does not override biochem.  It DRIVES it!  Biology and Chemistry behave according to the laws of physics.  The human body is made of energy.  ALL matter has energy!  IF you have ever had an x-ray, ultrasound, CT scan, MRI, EKG, EEG, EMG, laser surgery, etc… they are all done using energy!

Conventional medicine treats the symptoms of a singular body system.  My friend, Christina Ross,compares western medicine to auto mechanics, plumbers and electricians.  It’s a GREAT analogy.  The human body has bones (structure), digestive system (plumbing), and nervous system (electrical).  Western medicine treats the body systems separately.  If we have a heart problem we see a cardiologist.  If we have a stomach problem we see a gastroenterologist.  If we have a structure problem we see an orthopedist.  Pharmaceuticals (medications) affect the chemical signals in the body and all medications have side effects meaning they affect (mostly negatively) other body systems because they interfere with the chemical signals of the body.  Treating the body as if it is just a sum of it’s individual parts is not only inefficient it is often detrimental to the body as a whole.

Energy medicine recognizes ALL body systems are connected and strives to harmonize the entire energy system.  When the body is in energetic balance, (then and only then) does the body heal itself.  Energy medicine works with the electromagnetic signals of the body.  Since every cell, tissue, muscle, bone, organ, blood…  every part of the body is energy and therefore sending electromagnetic signals throughout the body – harmonizing them to balance is the most efficient way to heal the body.  Since every part of the human body is interconnected and integrated with every other part of the human body – achieving balance in a body system also means achieving energetic balance to the whole.

In our culture, we think nothing of getting an X-ray nor do we understand fully how the energy of it works.  We get an ultrasound and only care about the results and nothing about the energetics of how it works.  We see our heart rate blipping on the monitor screen and don’t understand the science behind the graph. We are just happy to see the activity that indicates we have a beating heart!  Measuring the brain waves (EEG) is yet another tool to measure energy waves and determine the brain activity.  Each of these examples are an example of using energy for testing or reading the electrical signals within the body.  We use these terms nearly every day yet we know little to nothing about the science of these tools which measure the energy within the body.  But we do not question the validity!

Conventional medicine is newer in comparison to energy medicine.  Pharmaceuticals have only been around for the last 60 years.  Yet, energy medicine and hands on healing have been see in drawings dating back to 2700 BC.    It is well studied and again I remind you…. there are no negative side effects.  I’ve been told only Jesus heals…  I submit to you that is wholly inaccurate!  Every human body has the ability to heal itself.  You have healed yourself of cuts, abrasions, broken bones, and many illnesses including influenza, colds, gastroenteritis, headaches, and many other interruptions of the human system.  No medicine can cure you.  No doctor can heal you.  You heal yourself.  Healing is made easier and much more efficient when you treat the body as a whole, recognize and harmonize the human energy system, and only use medications when truly necessary.  Fortunately, medications are seldom truly necessary!   Thankfully, we have the scientific understanding of energy medicine and it is available at our fingertips!

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“UNFRIEND” Means Much More

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I read a FaceBook post from a young lady who said a close family member had “unfriended” her.  As I pondered this, I was mindful, there are always two sides to every story.  I wondered about the other side of the story.  I don’t remember any of her posts being inappropriate, so I looked through them to see if I missed something.  I had not.  Not one of her posts crossed any type of ethical or moral lines. Not even borderline.  What type of message did the family member intend to send to her and why?

I was recently “unfriended” by a family member.  When I asked about it, they indicated my FB posts were too self serving in nature and they weren’t interested in reading them.  As is the nature with social media, we share our joy and happiness. We share our events, our excitement and our thoughts. Interestingly enough, also available with social media are ways to scroll past the posts you do not want to read.  Similar to the old fashioned way of reading a newspaper or magazine.  If you don’t want to read something… you don’t.  You simply turn the page.  When something on television doesn’t resonate with you, change the channel or turn it off.  FaceBook has this feature where you can scroll past a person’s posts.  OR you can take their posts out of your newsfeed so you don’t even see what they share.  Especially if they are fanatical about politics!  You can turn off notifications as well.  It’s that easy. That is…IF it is truly about the content of their posts that offends you.
Social media is an interesting facet of current times.  People use this platform in many different ways.  Some use it as their political microphone.  Others use it to support and advertise their business.  Many people use it as a way to follow friends and family activities yet never post their own.  Just yesterday I heard two people chatting, never having met until then, indicating they felt they knew each other because of their connections on social media.  For each of us, our intention to use social media may differ.  There is no right or wrong way to use it (illegal, immoral, unethical uses not included).  And for each of us, we have the right and free will to read what we want, scroll past what we choose not to see and seek out what we enjoy reading more about.  When we disagree with another’s viewpoints, we can easily ignore their posts.  Really, it’s just that easy.  Even the political posts!
When we click on the option to “UNFRIEND” we are doing more than limiting our view of their posts/newsfeed.  We are sending a message that cannot be unheard.  We are making a statement TO the individual that goes far beyond social media. Explore your true intention before unfriending someone.  Decide if it is really about the posts or is it something else.  Wouldn’t it be wiser and more helpful to share your thoughts or concerns with the person rather than sending them a message you can never undo.   Is it worth damaging a long term relationship over a social media post?  And if it’s not about the social media platform, then determine what it is really about and work to resolve it.  Life is too short and relationships are too precious to click that button and send the huge message that goes along with it.
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Doctors Practice Witchcraft?

dictionary pharmaceuticalWhen looking for a definition we are unsure of, we seek the answer in the dictionary.   We have learned, though, the dictionary is ever changing as we, the people, create new idioms or use words once considered “slang” and now considered common.  Consider the correct use of the word; anxious.  Many people use it as a form of expressing anticipation and eagerness for a meeting or event.  i.e. I’m so anxious to meet you.  However, the definition of anxious actually means;  afraid, nervous, showing fear, or feeling anxiety.  Thus the correct word for expressing happy anticipation is eager.  i.e.  I am eager to see you again.  Interesting, right?

Now consider the definition of pharmaceutical.  We think of pharmaceutical as being related to drugs, medicines or pharmacy.  However, just a few short years ago, that was not the Webster’s definition.  In 1968, Websters defined pharmaceutical:  to practice witchcraft or sorcery.  In my parent’s 1979 Webster’s Dictionary (photo above) it is defined:  to practice witchcraft or use medicine.  The same dictionary defines pharmacon: poison.    So, what’s changed?  Certainly we cannot argue medicine or pharmaceuticals are improved such that we now have removed the definition poison and/or witchcraft.  Quite the contrary.  We have an incredible number of class action lawsuits against many different pharmaceuticals and new suits arise every year.
What’s changed?  It’s our acceptance and usage.  As the percentage of American’s using pharmaceuticals increased year after year one could hardly ignore the definition no longer spoke to the masses, right?  How many physicians would approve of Webster’s defining the majority of their practice as witchcraft and sorcery?  How many patients seeking the latest and greatest pill for what ails them would approve of their prescription for poison?  How many people would approve of the majority of our TV commercials advertising better ways to practice witchcraft with the best poison?  Really….   think about it!
Every pharmaceutical has a side effect (or six).   Often, the side effect is a worsening case of what you have initially.  Sometimes, the side effect is the opposite of what you are seeking.  Sometimes, the side effects are such that your body must be monitored for failure of another body system.  Not because your original ailment would cause that other system to fail, but the medication will!!

The body is designed to heal itself.  When we fuel it with healthy foods full of wholesome enzymes meant to help the body restore itself…when we hydrate our cells, tissues, fluids and organs such that they perform as designed… and when we rest and refresh our bodies… our bodies will seek to heal and regain balance.  An imbalance always has a root cause.  Discovering the root cause enables a quicker and more successful pathway to wholeness and healing.  Please… Take a few moments to think about pharmaceuticals (medication) and see if you can find one that actually cures a disease or illness.  Not something that just masks the symptoms, but truly cures.   I’m pondering…..but so far…. not one!

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Leland Controversy Becomes Positive

LelandWe recently found ourselves to be at the center of controversy.  It was not necessary nor was it instigated by us.  Nonetheless, there we were.  Right smack-dab in the middle of a news story which by it’s delivery, was meant to stir up the justice-seekers of the community.  Although we knew the truth, we also knew there is always the possibility a good situation can turn ugly just because public opinion calls it so.

We purchased an old historic property.  It was built in the early 1920’s and is situated on a beautiful piece of property by a garden park and a river.  The property was owned by the Five Rivers MetroParks.  My husband has been employed by Five Rivers for nearly 20 years.  This property had been their corporate headquarters for 50 years and was on the market for nearly 2 1/2 years.  It was our understanding there were a lot of lookers but no offers.  There was simply too  much work to be done to either restore it OR to renovate and upgrade it.  It is just a little too far out of the downtown area and not far enough to be in the neighboring towns.  But, we didn’t care about all that.  We have a vision for it and we knew what we could afford, and it wasn’t even half of the asking price.

The issue was two-fold:  the ridiculously low price we paid for it AND that it sold to an employee for that low price.  Although everything was clean, clear, legal, and totally transparent and above reproach, it didn’t matter to those who wanted to stir up controversy.  So, they did.  The claim eluded to favoritism and foul play.  The investigation included scouring through all the public documents about the property, the sale, our backgrounds, and my husbands personnel record of nearly 20 years.  It was not pleasant.  Every day there were updates about the investigation.  There was the phone interview and my awareness that anything can be taken out of context and misconstrued for sensationalism.  All the while, I know the purchase followed the Ohio Revised Code for government owned real estate sales.  And when the MetroPark was concerned they had missed something relatively small, they started the whole process over again by posting the property for sale in the Public Notice Section as well as holding another Open House for the public.  I was in a bit of a twit about it all.  I knew our offer was low.  Anyone in the whole, wide, world could come in with a higher offer and walk away with it.  I prayed, as I always do, that IF this is the right purchase for us, that it be made easy and effortless.  And we got it.  We closed months later than expected and lost a lot of good weather time to work on the exterior.  A few days after the closing, we received notification from the City indicating the exterior did not meet standards and needed immediate attention, or else!  That was our Welcome to the City!

When the news investigation began in January, we had barely started working on the building. And we were all too aware of the  watchful eyes to our comings and goings.  And then the news….  First it was on the local news without our names but clearly indicating this was an inappropriate sale.  Then the next day came the newspaper article with personal information being published, which was totally unrelated to the sale.  Then came my personal interview and tour of the property, which I offered up.  Why?  Because, it was my prayer that the Angels shine the light on the harmony and transparency of this transaction and to allow this to be a positive publicity event for the Leland Center.  You see, our vision for the Leland extends far beyond us.  It is our hope to provide the community with holistic services, access to workshops and events which are not currently available in the area, AND we have a vision to have a non-profit arm of the business which will provide complimentary therapies to Veterans and our active military especially those suffering with PTSD.  The final news piece has become exactly what we prayed for.  It was done well, with integrity and exemplifies our vision of the Leland House as well as became positive publicity for the Leland.  There will be more written about this journey.  We are eager to share!

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Pt 2 “Mom, You’re registered for a full marathon!” No way! Not me!! Never!

Mary and I rocking the half marathon!  Finished in 3 hours 5 minutes!

Mary and I rocking the half marathon! Finished in 3 hours 5 minutes!

Two weeks before the Air Force Marathon, September 2010, my husband and I visited our Air Force son, Cody, at his base in Biloxi, MI.  While there, I just had to run along the flight lines.  It was so cool!!  I was really enjoying the jog/fast walk intervals.  (I never really understood the difference between jog and run, but I am pretty sure as slow as I was going and the minimal distance I covered each time…it was jogging.)  While we visited, Cody surprised me with the announcement he was coming home to run the FULL Air Force Marathon along with several of his friends.  I was so excited to know they would all be on the course and having a new experience together!  But I was in NO WAY interested in ever doing that!

During the half marathon, I had to make a quick potty stop.  I drink plenty of water and I didn’t know to plan around the pee stops.  There was a long line and it put me about 8 minutes behind Mary.  I needed to catch up!  So, I jogged until I found her.  I don’t know what the distance actually was but I smiled often as I realized I was actually jogging a portion of a half marathon.  I caught up with her and later, we crossed that finish line together and with great big smiles on our faces. We averaged 13 1/2 min/miles  for the first 5-6 miles.  We rocked!!  I loved every minute and knew I wanted to do it again the next year.  My son and his friends finished the full marathon.  They were sore, they struggled up and down the stairs.  I giggled at their misery.  And I knew, I never needed to do that…ever!!  Why??  Running (or jogging) 26.2 miles is just crazy!  And look at how much pain it causes!  Dah!  Why would anyone sign up for that?

During the Christmas season, Cody announced he was being deployed to Iraq for most of 2011.  He also announced that my Christmas gift was registration for the 2011 Air Force FULL Marathon.  He promised he would train while in Iraq and he would be home in time to run the full marathon WITH me.  My response….”What in our entire history together would ever give you the impression I wanted to or COULD do a full marathon!!??”  I was shocked, scared, stunned, defiant, and confused all at the same time.  But he was serious!  His answer, “Mom, you fast-walked a half marathon already.  Train to run a half marathon and even if you have to walk the rest, you will have finished a full marathon.”   He talked.  He coached.  He promised.  He even drew out a plan for how I could achieve it.  He deployed and I started training.  Why?  Because I was determined to make him proud!  I was excited he would be there with me. I wasn’t going to let him down. I knew the sacrifice he was making on this deployment.  All I had to do was jog.  So, I took the training very seriously.  I surprised myself!  My intervals lengthened.  My determination heightened.  My confidence increased.  My excitement escalated.  He coaches me very well!  From Iraq, he coached me how to run up and down the hills which was something I struggled with and avoided.  He taught me how the mind plays tricks on us while we run, but how we can play tricks right back.

Cody returned from Iraq about 10 days before the marathon.  He knew there was no way he could in-process to the base and make it up to Ohio in time to run the marathon.  What??  NO!!  I was terrified.  Now I would be alone!  All my training runs had been alone but with the knowledge Cody would be with me at the marathon.  Anxiety set it.  Then…. I had this thought!  Billy Ray Cyrus had this wonderful show called, “Surprise Homecoming”.  I just knew Cody was really going to be at the marathon!   I started having these fleeting thoughts and daydreams he would be there and at the finish line.  It would be him who would put the medal around my neck.  And….it was those thoughts that sustained me during the entire marathon.  What a great show it would be….  Mom runs marathon for son.  Son shows up from deployment and surprises Mom at the finish line.  Whenever I felt overwhelmed with the remaining distance to run, I would think about that finish line and Cody waiting.  And I’d be re-inspired and re-energized.

As I rounded that final curve, ran under the wings of those magnificent planes, and headed to the finish line I was almost smiling.  I knew it was almost over and I had done it.  But I also knew Cody would be waiting.  I saw the lines of officers handing out the medals as the runners came across the finish line.  I saw a young man in fatigues peak out from one of the officers and my heart jumped!  Cody!?!?  I headed to that chute.  As I got closer, the young man peaked again.  This time I was close enough to see his face.  NO!!  That’s not Cody!!  I cross the finish line, get my medal and look for my husband.  His smile melts my heart and I hold back the tears.  HE is so proud I can feel it.  We hug!  I am shocked I did it.  I actually ran a full 26.2 marathon  Who does that?  Who turns 50 and then decides to learn to run and then runs a marathon!  He tells me to call Cody and let him know I finished.  He hands me the phone but I can’t talk.  Now the tears flow unrestrained. Within moments all four of our boys are calling or texting with congratulations.  Both Cody and his twin brother, Britt, are ecstatic!  They make me cry because they are so proud of me.

I ran a marathon!  Really!!!

Oh…and that young man who was peaking out from behind the officer…he made the news!  He was waiting for his girlfriend to cross the finish line.  When she did, he proposed!  Again, my heart melted!

 

First marathon!  26.2 miles!  Sept 2011

First marathon! 26.2 miles! Sept 2011

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Pt 1… Running?? NOT ME!! Not now…not ever!! (How I got started.. )

Jogging or Running... doesn't matter!  It's about the GO!

Jogging or Running… doesn’t matter! It’s about the GO!

Running had never been of interest to me.  It was too hard!  I felt clumsy and awkward.  I never felt light and free.  Running was difficult!  I couldn’t run the distance from one telephone pole to another without feeling like my lungs would explode.  I couldn’t regulate my breath and I was embarrassed that someone might actually see me trying to run and failing miserably!   It seemed that running was so easy for others I didn’t understand why it was so difficult for me.  I could run short distances.  I played softball and had no trouble running to base.  Having said that, I acknowledge I was okay to run to the base but I was well aware I wasn’t very fast doing it.  My answer to that?  Hit the ball hard and send it flying far enough that I could actually get to base.  Hey!!  It worked!  I loved sports so I was willing to find a way to make the running tolerable.

While in college, our volleyball team frequently did distance runs up to 3 miles.  I was such an awkward teen I didn’t share my feelings of awkwardness, or my fears of distance runs with my teammates. They didn’t know how hard my heart pounded in my chest.  They didn’t know how frightened I was that I could literally die before we got back to the gym.  My coach had no idea how I struggled to breathe.  I kept it all to myself.  And I struggled!   In hindsight, I am absolutely positive every one of them would have supported me and cheered me to success.  However, I continued to keep my struggle and my dislike of distance running to myself.

All through my adulthood I continued to enjoy sports and being active.  I loved step-aerobics, dance, ballet, and yoga.  I became certified in Pilates and I loved teaching mat classes.  I have the most fun with Zumba!  P90X and other programs become fun for me.  When I saw my sister-in-law, Mary, was fast walking a half marathon, I told her that sounded like fun and I’d like to do it with her.  The following year, September 2010, she and I trained for and fast walked the US Air Force Half Marathon.  I loved the training walks.  We did many of them together but we also had to do much of our training alone.  We live over 10 miles apart so we kept track of each other and kept up the same pace, the same distances and took our training very seriously.  She would keep an eye on the time and pace of our training walks.  At times we walked so fast, I wanted to break into a jog.  I resisted because I remembered. Besides, I was 49 years old.  No one starts jogging at 49, right?

One morning that summer, while on a 4 mile walk by myself, I was pushed for time.  I was walking so fast I couldn’t resist the urge to jog.  I jogged about 20 yards and I immediately regretted it.  My heart was pounding out of my chest, there was throbbing in my ears, my lungs were burning and I was hoping no one noticed!  I slowed to a fast walk again.  Soon, I thought I would try it again.  No better feeling.  No better outcome.  Ugh!  I was listening to my iPod and I laughed out loud when I realized I hadn’t made it through one verse of the playing song.  But… to my credit, I continued to try.  All summer I worked at it.  My goal was to get farther each attempt.  I later learned those are called intervals.  Sometimes I would set a landmark goal ahead, like a tree or a driveway, and attempt to reach it. Other times, I would plan to get to the end of the current song.  Eventually, I was able to sustain a slow, comfortable jog for more than 20 yards!  Then, I set my sights on jogging the length of our driveway.  Then, it was to the end of the driveway AND back. My next big goal was to jog from beginning to end of a song.  I eventually did it.  I was so excited!!  By the end of summer, I could jog to the road and back 10 times!  I had no idea how long it was.  It didn’t matter.  I was learning to control my breathing, and jog longer distances.  Together, Mary and I fast walked about 14 min miles.  My slow jog was probably 13 min miles.  I didn’t care.  I could finally jog without fear of exploding lungs!  The funny part was I started to enjoy it.

We worked hard for this!  We rocked it!

We worked hard for this! We rocked it!

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