Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Be The Change

I often hear those words when people are talking about health, life, world problems....."be the change you want to see."  Yesterday I signed up to run for a charity in the 2015 Pittsburgh Half Marathon next May. 

Last year, I ran the Marathon Relay and I loved it but I had wondered if I should have run the half marathon and after I ran it, I decided that I was going to sign up for the half for next year.  I could have simply signed up, paid my fee and been done with the registration.  I didn't. 

I have a strong philosophy in life.  Help others when you can, how you can.  We are trying to instill this in our kids in hopes that one day, they can make a difference in the lives of others.  The marathon has a program called Run for Charity where you sign on to be a part of a fundraising team for a charity of your choosing, in exchange for a free race registration. 

I chose to run for Genre's Kids.  Here is some background on their organization:

Genre's Kids with Cancer Fund is an all-volunteer organization that helps every child diagnosed with cancer at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. We provide financial assistance and support to their families through our various outreach programs. 
Genre (like Henry with a “J”) was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia on Memorial Day, 2009.  He was 8 yrs. old.  Since that day, so much generosity and love has been shown to this family not only by friends and relatives but by complete strangers as well.  It is the hope of the Baker family to give back by assisting families dealing with childhood cancers.
This is how your money makes a difference:
$15  will pay for an iTunes gift card, so kids can download an app or song, to entertain them when they are in the hospital for days.
$20 will purchase a video game, providing hours of distraction for a kid in the hospital receiving chemotherapy or lengthy treatments.
$50 will buy a gas gift card, for oncology families who travel long distances, so their child can get medical care at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. Each month we give $500 in gas cards to the Oncology social workers to give to families who travel long distances or visit the oncology clinic 2-3 times per week in order for their child to receive chemotherapy, transfusions, and other treatments.
$50 will pay for all of the items to complete a "Go Bag" we give to every oncology family when their child is admitted, and they hear the words "your child has cancer".
$120 will pay for a handheld gaming system or music player, we give to every child newly diagnosed with cancer at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, if they don't already own one. These are priceless to the children during long treatments or when they are hospitalized for weeks at a time.
Any amount will support our financial assistance program. We are raising money to help pediatric oncology families in need.
Prior to the Christmas season, the pediatric oncology social worker selects  the neediest oncology families and passes their names along to us. We provide groceries, basic necessities, clothes, toys, gifts, and a Christmas meal for each family, as well as any other support we can offer.

What a special organization that they have!  I love that they have items specified for every donation amount instead of just putting it in a fund and figuring it out later. 

I would love to raise enough to make 10 "go bags" for families that are just starting the heartbreaking journey they are on with their child.  

We have been blessed with three healthy kids and have not had to endure the agony of going through the diagnosis, testing, treatment and mental endurance that these families do.  So, I want to give, I want to help them to help others.  These children are fighting for their lives and the families are fighting for normalcy and calm.  

If you would like to help raise funds for Genre's Kids, please visit my donation site here:

Every dollar helps. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Join Me!

I have been enjoying my Beachbody experience with the Focus T25 program so far!  The workouts are tough but they are short, only 25 minutes long and only five days a week.  The plan is very doable and I enjoy the challenge of the workouts.  I am liking the changes I am seeing in my body strength. I haven't really been doing measurements yet because I want to wait to see at the 30 day mark, what the changes are.

I have a new challenge group starting on October 6th.  I encourage anyone to join in and we can find a program that works well with what your goals are, what your lifestyle is, how much time and commitment you have. There are options for everyone whether you enjoy cardio, need something low impact or want to learn how to eat clean.

It is so easy to put ourselves last and push our goals and commitments aside.  I am so guilty of this. I am learning (and have been learning for quite some time) how to balance it all and allow myself to put myself first and not feel guilty.  I want to help others realize that it is okay to put themselves first.  We need to improve our health so that we can be everything we want to be.

Let me know if you want to join me! You can head to my coach page and sign up for a free account to see what all the programs are about!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Raising Awareness and Raising Hope: Mesothelioma Awareness Day

September 26th is known as Mesothelioma Awareness Day.  If you are unaware of just what Mesothelioma is, here is a quick definition:  "Mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer affection the membrane lining of the lungs and abdomen."

Read more:

I was contacted by Heather St. Von James about helping to spread the word about Mesothelioma as she knows firsthand about it and wants to help others become aware of this rare cancer and hopefully encourage others that may be going through treatment or have been diagnosed.

Heather St Von James with daugther, Lily.

 From Heather:

 "My name is Heather Von St. James and I am a mesothelioma cancer survivor- a rare cancer caused only by asbestos exposure. I was diagnosed with this deadly disease at age 36 and given 15 months to live just shortly after giving birth to my only daughter, Lily. After undergoing a life saving surgery, which required the removal of my left lung, I beat the odds and I'm still here eight years later. Now, I am thriving more than ever!"

The main cause of this type of cancer is exposure to asbestos, however, there are other risk factors that can contribute to the cause of mesothelioma. You can read about them here.

Diagnosis is one of the most important things about mesothelioma as early detection is the best way to begin the fight early. The symptoms are often overlooked and pushed aside as common ailments. 

If you would like more information about asbestos exposure that could be in your own home, please take a look at this:

Asbestos is also found in other areas, take a look and be aware of the dangers that could be around you:
The best defense we have sometimes is knowledge and by being aware of what is around us and what could possibly harm us or what could have already harmed us.  

Be sure to check out the Mesothelioma website for the most up-to-date information on the disease and be sure to check with your doctor is you suspect that you have been exposed to asbestos or the other risk factors. Talk to your doctor about early screening and help spread the word to others that you know that may have been exposed.  

Please join me in helping raise awareness about this aggressive type of cancer by posting your own blog post about it and sharing it with your readers. Together we can spread the word and maybe even help others as they learn about it. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Tuesday To-Do's

Here we are at Tuesday, staring into the face of the rest of the week, feeling determined to fit in all the craziness that it entails.

This week feels far less crazy than last week and I am so happy about that.  I feel like as the school year settles in, there seems to be less extra evening stuff to do like orientations, curriculum nights, etc.  We are almost through all of them.  I am thankful that each of the kids' things were spread out during different weeks.

Here is today's to-do list:

  • Run 4 miles for half marathon training
  • get kids off to school
  • get ready for work
  • head off to work and get as much done as I can to sail through the rest of the week
  • come home to get Lincoln off the bus
  • start dinner
  • pick Chuckie up from football
  • finish making dinner
  • do T25 Speed 1.0 workout
  • eat dinner
  • relax with the hubby for the evening
The list includes much less running around than I have been doing which is so appreciated!  

What's on your list today?

Friday, September 5, 2014

Realizing What I Need To Do

I've been slacking off lately.  I mean, really slacking off.  I ran on Tuesday for the first time in two weeks due to a weird pain that was happening in my leg and then another weird symptom that kept me off my feet.

I got stuck in a rut and really laid very low for awhile. I also started eating not-so-healthy stuff.  Lots of it.  It is amazing how quickly you can notice a difference in your body when you slack off and pick up bad habits.

I'm not proud of myself and to be honest, I feel pretty ashamed of myself.  I know, I shouldn't get too down on myself because these things happen to everyone at some point but I have gotten so far in my fitness and health journey and to fall down and go backward, well, it sucks.

This is my day to stand up, dust myself off and start again.  Tomorrow is a new day that is full of hope and determination. It's time to move forward, full force.

I can do this.  I will do this.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Tuesday To-Do's

It is so hard to come back from a long weekend.  Our weekend was full of relaxing and doing a whole lot of nothing.  It was so nice.  We don't get to do that too often.

Friday, we got home from work, school and football practice and settled in.  Trying to decide between going out for dinner or staying home and sitting around a fire in the yard to roast hot dogs, mountain pies and s'mores.  That decision was pretty easy actually.  Of course we stayed home and had a fire.  It was a great way to unwind from the week.  The campfire conversation was deep.....heaven, solar system, dying...very deep.

This week is another busy one but definitely not as busy as last week, thank goodness.  However, today means getting caught up both in work and in personal tasks.

Here's my Tuesday to-do list:

  • Run 3 miles
  • Get the kids off to school
  • Head in to work until 3pm, this is a whole different list that could go on for miles!
  • Drop off a payment to someone local for a football yard sign
  • Drop off Scentsy bulbs for a customer....make that two drop offs for two customers
  • Get Lincoln off the bus
  • Make something for dinner
  • Do some networking/order entries for my businesses
  • Pick Chuckie up from football practice
  • Pick Chuck up from work (he's working on his truck and didn't get it all done yesterday)
  • Clean up and do a little workout to finish off the day
I'm already tired just from looking at it!  In all honesty, I think I function better when things are chaotic.  I somehow do well when life is busy and crazy and I am pulled in a ton of different directions.  I am already looking forward to the weekend though. ;)