Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Blessings of New Beginnings

The first month of 2010 is over and life is amazing! I thought that I would be getting ready to pack up my house and move to Florida this October but life takes interesting twists and turns. I believe in my heart that God stepped in and opened our eyes to the realization that my husband and I need to stay put. I mentioned in my blog a few weeks ago about a sign of two robins outside my window. My husband and I will be 'empty nesters' once my daughter flies off to Tennessee and now is our time to feather our nest with love as we plan for retirement. I so wanted my husband to be his own boss and go into semi retirement but I am so incredibly grateful for his job. He discovered through this past six month journey how much he appreciates his job and all of the benefits it affords. We realized that we cannot rush into anything and chase after something we believe to be 'better'. The life's lessons we have learned and how we have grown is absolutely priceless and I am so grateful for all that is wonderful in my life.

I did learn about the world of health insurance as we set forth to explore what options are available for a self employed person. My husband has two pre existing conditions which preclude him from getting health care in Florida unless he were to go on COBRA and have COBRA expire. There is a state plan available but coverage is minimal. We are so blessed that we have excellent health care coverage. Although the premiums increased by $150 this year per pay period, we are blessed to know that whatever health and dental care we need, we can receive at minimal cost. And I am going to be eligible to receive Medicare beginning in May. God has truly blessed me and showered me with abundance.

So what do I with the gratitude that is overflowing in my heart? I pour it out into the world. I am so blessed to be a patient partner for Spaulding Rehab's Race for Rehab Team. Russ Smith who is also a former Spaulding patient is running the 2010 Boston Marathon in my honor. Visit his Firstgiving Website and make a donation in my honor. Let us help others celebrate in the victory of Remarkable Recoveries.

My dear friend Darien Marshall, host of Its All About You and City Enlightenment and I have been providing support and spiritual counsel to each other as we continue to expand and grow in our gifts. He enlisted my support for his new show City Enlightenment and I discovered I am writing my 3rd book of inspirational poetry. He asked if I would be a guest co host and then I felt the stirrings of asking him about being his 'regular' co host for the show. I had been offered the opportunity to be a radio talk show host for my own show several months back and it just didn't feel right. I felt as though I had been interviewing people for years as a social worker and did not want the responsibility of hosting my own show. I also enjoyed being a guest on shows to share my journey. I feel as though Darien has pulled me from being a back up singer to being in the spotlight (to use an American Idol analogy). I must admit, I am so excited about this opportunity. I will have the opportunity to research the fabulous guests for the show as well as share my gift of poetry. I feel such joy and gratitude in my heart for what God has laid at my feet.

Last week I had the blessed opportunity to speak at the Dedham Rotary Club. Last Sunday and Monday my energy was low but I decided that I needed to push past the feelings and follow my bliss. I email'ed the Secretary of the Dedham Rotary Club and she called me to tell me that the speaker who was scheduled for last Thursday cancelled at the last minute; was I available to speak? The members of this Club warmly welcomed me. I sat with the President of the Club who did not tell me until I began my talk that she too is a polio survivor. I always ask if anyone has been touched by polio or post polio syndrome before I launch into sharing my journey. I did notice that she had slender legs and a tremor but didn't connect her to being a polio survivor. Members came up to me after the meeting; not only did they purchase copies of my book (and I donated 20% of the proceeds to the Club's Polio Plus or End Polio Now campaign) but told me how much I inspired them. They are going to share my information with other Clubs in the area.

And there you have it! So many wonderful new beginnings none of which I foresaw when we toasted in the New Year. I had envisioned the new beginning happening in Florida but instead it's happening right here in my own backyard in Brookline, Massachusetts. And I am so blessed and grateful.

Valentines Day is just a few weeks away. Reach in and reach out to someone you love at New World Greeting Cards It's more than a card it's a gift from the heart. And give the gift of inspiration by purchasing a copy of "New World Greetings:Inspirational Poetry and Musings for a New World." Remember I donate 20% of book proceeds to Spaulding Rehab's Polio Fund.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

A Winter's Run-Reflections on Why I Still Run

The sun was out yesterday and despite the 30 degree temperatures, my daughter and I decided that it was time to get outside to do our cardio workout. I had been riding endless miles on the recumbent bike this winter and she would do cardio workouts via cable TV. We are so grateful to have these resources available to us but there is nothing like getting out and running in the fresh air and sunshine. As my daughter set a healthy tempo, I would alternate between running and walking. It was brisk with a headwind but knowing that we once ran a marathon - and not just any marathon - the Boston Marathon, twice around Jamaica Pond was nothing. I noticed the contrast between running in warmer weather in Florida and experiencing the cold of New England. Joints ached but my stubbornness prevailed and we ended up doing 3.2 miles in just a little bit over 45 minutes. My average heart rate was 141 with a peak of 157. My target heart rate is 115-140.

While I was running many thoughts went through my head. Why am I doing this? Why do we still care about our time? Damn it's cold out here - how did I train in temperatures even colder than this? Why should I run a half marathon again? And then the answers became clear. When I first spoke the words that I was going to run the Boston Marathon for Spaulding Rehab hospital I had no idea that I would fall in love with running. I did not know my body was capable of running. During those very early training runs where it was such an incredible effort to run for a minute, I had one goal in mind - to cross the finish line of the Boston Marathon. So why keep running? Why remain in a training mode?

Yes, I would love to run the Disney Princess Half Marathon in 2011 (and I'm still praying about which charity to run for) but I want to maintain my health and fitness best. I want to inspire other middle aged women to get off the couch and join me in loving their bodies no matter what physical shape they may be in. Everyone has to start somewhere. It is so easy to look at women who are in 'perfect shape' or hear stories of women who are running 10 minute miles, lifting so many pounds and doing so many sit ups and push ups and then to use that as intimidation and self denigration. I know because I always looked at others and felt I could not measure up. I was intimidated, ashamed, embarrassed, and loathed my body for what it could not do.

But today I celebrate what my body can do! I am grateful for every step I take. I am grateful for pain free moments and trust that I have the strength to cope with whatever pain I may be experiencing. I know I can go within and visualize and bless each cell in my body. I watch the slow transformation as I go through the strength training exercises prescribed by my physical therapist to strengthen my core, cervical spine and upper body. I embrace the soreness and give thanks that I have the luxury of time to take exquisite care of my body. I give thanks that I do not have to find time to fit in workouts but can schedule them at my convenience. I give thanks that I can go outside and experience the beauty of a New England winter day - the silence on the icy pond, the barren trees, the muddied ground trusting that beyond the appearances nature is preparing to burst forth with renewal in just a few short months. So why do I still run? Because I am blessed to be able to run, because I love my body and want to give it the exercise it needs to stay healthy, because I want to inspire others and because I want to be a shining example of how, with God, all things are possible.

Reach in and reach out to someone you love this Valentines Day with an original poem from New World Greeting Cards.

While you're there be sure to order my book of inspirational poetry, "New World Greetings:Inspirational Poetry and Musings for a New World". Remember I donate 20% to Spaulding
Rehab's Polio Fund. It's a wonderful way to say "I love you" to that someone special.

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