Monday, November 19, 2018

Giving Thanks in All Circumstances

With this being the week to celebrate Thanksgiving, I've been pondering the New Testament words of the Apostle Paul to give thanks in all circumstances. Paul started the church in Thessalonica and within a few months of leaving he wrote the first Epistle to the Thessalonians. You see, after starting that church, Paul joined Silas and Timothy in traveling to Athens from Thessalonica. However, after a short time in Athens, Paul felt the need to receive a report from the new church in Thessalonica, so he sent Timothy back to serve and minister to the new believers there. Paul wanted to check on the state of the Thessalonians’ faith, for fear that false teachers might have infiltrated their number. Timothy soon returned with a good report, prompting Paul to write 1 Thessalonians as a letter of encouragement to the new believers.

Impressed by the faithfulness of the Thessalonians in the face of persecution, Paul wrote to encourage the Christians in Thessalonica with the goal that they would continue to grow in godliness. Paul taught the people that any spiritual growth would ultimately be motivated by their hope in the ultimate return of Jesus Christ. Paul was never interested in simply telling people to pull themselves up by their bootstraps, because he knew that what ultimately inspired change was a life of consistently walking in the power of God’s Spirit. So, to a group of young Christians with questions and uncertainties, Paul offered words about the hope of Christ’s return, providing both comfort in the midst of questions and motivation to godly living.

One of Paul's teachings was to give thanks in all things. In 1 Thessalonians 5:18 he wrote, "Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." You may be going into this Thanksgiving season focused on troubles in your life and wondering how you can "give thanks" with all that is transpiring. Jesus said that we would all have troubles (John 16:33), and He really understands (Hebrews 4:15). So, how can you give thanks in all circumstances? There’s only one way: look to the joy through Jesus -- salvation through Jesus, a relationship with Jesus, and eternity with Him. As is written in 2 Corinthians 4:17, "For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all." If you accept Jesus and believe in His promises, there is no circumstance that can steal your thanksgiving.

Personally, I am going into this Thanksgiving season with my heart overflowing with thanksgiving for all that I've been blessed with this year -- a closer relationship with the Lord; the joy of marrying Kelley; the gift of being a parent and step-parent; the benefits of  my employment; the comfort of a new home; the peace of good health; and, so much more. God has been incredibly good to me and my family in 2018.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving, giving thanks for all circumstances.

Keep Reaching For Life's Mileposts,

Paul Staso

Friday, November 16, 2018

Fit as a Fiddle at 53

I'm sure at some point you've heard the phrase, "Fit as a Fiddle." The meaning is to be fit and very well. Of course, 'fiddle' has been the colloquial name for violin. 'Fit' didn't originally mean healthy and energetic, in the sense it is often used nowadays. When the phrase "Fit as a Fiddle" was coined, 'fit' was used to mean 'suitable, seemly,' in the way we now might say 'fit for purpose'. The now common idiom -- "Fit as a Fiddle" -- is used by people to describe their health, or to say that they are in good shape. Why a fiddle? Perhaps due to its shape. I'm not really sure and would have to do more reading about it. Regardless, I'm happy to say that at age 53... I'm as fit as a fiddle!

I recently had my annual physical exam. As always, it was pretty extensive. I'm 5'9" tall, weigh 158 pounds, have a 31-inch waist, and my blood pressure is 118/68. My heart and lungs are healthy. My complete blood count (CBC) results came back great! My cholesterol levels are good; triglycerides levels are normal; lipid numbers are where they should be; thyroid, liver and kidney function normal; blood glucose level is normal; body mass index is normal; and, my Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) test was "perfect," according to my doctor. I have never had to take any medications for anything and there is no indication that any medications are in my near future. I do take a daily multi-vitamin, but that's it.

So, were there any recommendations given to me by my doctor? Yes, one. He suggested that I get more fiber in my diet. According to the Institute of Medicine, the average adult only eats 15 grams of fiber per day. Men over age 50 should be getting at least 30 grams per day. I can increase my fiber intake by eating more plant foods -- vegetables, beans, fruit, whole grains, and nuts. These foods are all naturally rich in nutrients, including fiber, and provide all the health benefits that go along with a fiber-rich diet.

Top sources of fiber are: beans (all kinds), peas, chickpeas, black-eyed peas, artichokes, whole wheat flour, barley, bulgur, bran, raspberries, blackberries, and prunes. Good sources of fiber include: lettuce, dark leafy greens, broccoli, okra, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkin, potatoes with the skin, corn, snap beans, asparagus, cabbage, whole wheat pasta, oats, popcorn, nuts, raisins, pears, strawberries, oranges, bananas, blueberries, mangoes, and apples. So, I'll be increasing my fiber intake and seeing my doctor again one year from now for another annual exam.

After discussing my annual results, my doctor told me, "keep doing what you're doing." He said that it's great to see a 53-year-old man who doesn't have any health issues and who isn't needing any medications. So, I'm as fit as a fiddle!

Keep Reaching For Life's Mileposts,

Paul Staso

Thursday, November 15, 2018

A Path of Faith

If you've followed my online writings since 2005 when I first began sharing thoughts through blogs, you know that I am a Christian. I've even written a Christian devotional for athletes that I hope to have published. More than three-quarters of Americans identify as Christians. A little more than half identify as Protestants, about 23 percent as Catholic, and about 2 percent as Mormon.

I am a Baptist and have been since May 1, 1977, when I was baptized by Rev. Jerry Prevo at the Anchorage Baptist Temple in Alaska. I was 12 years of age at the time. More than 100 million Christians identify themselves as Baptist or belong to Baptist-type churches -- 50 million within the United States, making it one of the largest groups of Protestants in the nation.

I've never hidden my Christianity. I earned a Bachelor's Degree in Religion nearly 30 years ago and when I was in my early 20's had seriously contemplated becoming a pastor. Instead, I became a teacher and coach in a Christian school; taught Sunday school lessons at my local church; played my 12-string guitar on the church worship team; and, was a speaker at Christian retreats. My faith has been the foundation of my life and without it I would be lost.

So, as a Baptist... what do I believe? Well, there are many elements of the Baptist Church and I certainly won't write an essay about all that Baptists believe. I can say that the Baptist Church believes in Baptism only after a person has professed Jesus Christ as their Savior. The Baptism symbolizes the cleansing of sins. Some churches use a sprinkling of water as Baptism, but most practice full immersion, where the candidate is fully immersed in water. This symbolizes the disciples’ own baptism as stated in the Bible at John, chapter 3. The practice also stems from Romans, chapter 6, verse 4, which states Christians are "buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life." Baptism is not a requirement for salvation and many churches do not subscribe to infant baptism. Instead, Baptism in the Baptist church is a public expression of faith.

Since the origins of the church, Baptists have said the Bible is the only authority for Christian faith and practice. Baptists believe that the Bible is the only authority because it is divinely inspired or has a divine nature. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 is an oft-cited example of why Baptists believe strongly in the Bible. The verses say, "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." The Holy Spirit inspired the Bible and empowered men to record the truth about God and give directives on how to apply the Bible to the Christian life.

In the Baptist church, the Lord’s Supper, also known as communion, is a symbolic practice meant to honor the death of Jesus. Communion is not necessary for salvation. The practice comes from Jesus’ Last Supper with his disciples. At the meal, unleavened bread and the wine were served. The bread symbolizes the purity of Christ and the wine (sometimes grape juice) symbolizes the blood of Christ that was shed for his people. The Lord’s Supper is meant as a remembrance of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross -- a time of devotion and prayer. In many Baptist churches, all are able to participate in the Lord’s Supper. However, it is true that different churches have different stances on who can participate in the Lord’s Supper. Some practice "closed" communion which permits only those who are members in good standing of that church to participate. Some practice "close" communion which is similar to closed but also allows others who are members in like-minded churches to participate. The last is "open communion" where all those who are followers of Jesus Christ, who have been baptized, and are participating with proper motives, can participate.

In response to Christ’s call in Matthew 28:19-20 to "make disciples of all nations," many Baptists encourage missionary work and evangelism opportunities. Baptists emphasize that millions of people around the world have not heard of Jesus and evangelism is the mission of sharing Christ’s message. Evangelism has a long history in the Baptist church.

Yes, I am a Christian... and for the past 41 years I've been a Baptist. Praise be to God!

Keep Reaching For Life's Mileposts,

Paul Staso

Monday, November 12, 2018

Running Alone From Alaska to Florida -- A Journey of 5,000 Miles.

Recently, Pete Kostelnick ran solo from Kenai, Alaska to Key West Florida. What's next for him? Yesterday on his Strava account he wrote that he hopes to be "back to 24 hour/6 day/100 mile racing." I, like many others, tracked his Alaska to Florida progress online, and he successfully finished the journey after pushing a jogging stroller of gear for a few months. In the early-1990's, before the dawn of the Internet, I too had the idea of running from Alaska to Florida, and actually spent three months developing a route, exploring financing options, and analyzing how to prepare properly. You see, I grew up in Alaska and in 1992 it had been six years since my failed attempt to run across America in 1986 at the age of 21. My parents had previously spent a winter season in Florida and although I had never gotten to that state it seemed like it would be an incredible journey on foot to run from the Alaska wilderness to the Florida sand. Back then, I was looking for something "epic" to embark upon and I put the wheels in motion to try and become the first person to do the Alaska-to-Florida run.

While planning the adventure, I learned that I would actually be embarking on an even bigger and more rewarding adventure in life. I would become a father during the summer of 1993. The idea to run from Alaska to Florida was permanently shelved, although there would be others who would plan the same run -- such as Florida ultra runner David Kilgore, who in 2015 planned to run from Alaska to Florida. However, his plan didn't come to fruition.

One thing that I've learned over the past 53 years is there are not many new ideas in the world of running. However, not all ideas actually transform into action and completion. Although it has been 26 years since I considered a run from Alaska to Florida, it's good to see that the journey was actually accomplished by someone. I always enjoy seeing something accomplished for the first time. I recall this first happening when I was a child and man walked on the moon.

Generally, from 1985 to 2006 I was told that my goal to run across the United States was crazy, stupid, illogical, senseless, and would never happen. I lived with such critical words for 20 years, until I silenced all of them by actually completing a coast-to-coast run in 2006 completely solo. I can tell you this... it is incredibly difficult to mentally silence such critics every single day while training and to actually accomplish what you've been told for 20 years that you would never be able to do. No, I didn't run from Alaska to Florida. I ran from Oregon to Delaware... and then across the state of Montana... and then accomplished a journey run through Alaska... and then ran across Germany... and capped it all off by doing a run that no one had ever done before -- a solo run across the Mojave Desert from the Grand Canyon to Badwater Basin, Death Valley. I had also considered doing a solo run around Iceland, and yes... someone has since accomplished that idea as well.

I've done school assemblies in America and Europe speaking to tens of thousands of children about the importance of health, nutrition, goal setting, and chasing after your dreams. I had nearly 100,000 school children between the ages of 5 and 18 run with me virtually as I did my adventure runs, those students residing in 25 different countries. I was given an award by the Mayo Clinic for my efforts in reducing childhood obesity in America; was awarded by the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance for my efforts to promote youth health/fitness; was inducted as the first European PTA Youth Ambassador; and, was a torchbearer for the 2002 Olympic Games -- selected due to my efforts of encouraging kids in fitness. I personally funded 80% of my runs across states and countries and I formed a non-profit organization (The P.A.C.E. Fitness Foundation) -- through which I gave schools cash awards to fund curriculum items to assist student health. My running was focused on education, inspiration and encouragement.

I don't share that to blow my own horn. It's simply a summary of a portion of my running career... one where most of the mileposts I reached were never seen by anyone.

I'm sure it won't be long before we hear about the next big idea in running. It has been going on for decades -- running a marathon in each U.S. state; running a marathon per day for a year; running the Iditarod Trail in Alaska; running the Tour de France course; running across the Sahara Desert; running around the world; and the list goes on. I don't believe there are many "new" ideas in running. There are, however, ideas that have been dreamed up but not actually brought into reality through time, effort, sweat, strain and determination. To those who pursue the uncommon and unrealized ideas in running, I wish you personal enlightenment as you reach for the mileposts.

Keep Reaching For Life's Mileposts,

Paul Staso

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Life WAS a Highway... and Now it is a Rest Area!

This year has been the most amazing of my life. My youngest child became an adult; I watched my four adult children blaze paths in their life; I purchased a lovely new home; I married the most beautiful and loving woman in the world; I became a Step Dad to wonderful children; and... finally... entered a time in life where rest, peace and contentment are a regular part of my days. For me, 2018 will always be looked upon as the year when I was blessed beyond my greatest prayers!

Those of you who followed my adventure runs across states and countries between 2006 and 2011 know that the song "Life is a Highway" (written by Tom Cochrane, from his 1991 album Mad Mad World and later performed by Rascal Flatts) is one that I often used in my music slideshows about my adventures. Part of the lyrics are:

Life's like a road that you travel on,
When there's one day here and the next day gone.
Sometimes you bend and sometimes you stand,
Sometimes you turn your back to the wind.
There's a world outside every darkened door,
Where blues won't haunt you anymore.
Where brave are free and lovers soar,
Come ride with me to the distant shore...
There's no load I can't hold,
A road so rough this I know,
I'll be there when the light comes in,
Tell 'em we're survivors.
Life is a highway.

That song resonated with me while I ran endlessly along America's highways and overseas. Back then, life was just one long road and as long as I was out there... away from the darkened door... blues wouldn't haunt me. Regardless of what life threw at me, I knew the road would help me to remember that there was no load I couldn't hold. The road beat me up at times, but at least I was outside the darkened door... a survivor on life's highway. I knew that the road would eventually lead to the distant shore, and I just had to keep reaching for the mileposts to one day get there. Life indeed was a highway back then, but today it is a permanent rest area. I am at peace -- on the shore I longed for -- and am truly content with life.

I'm looking forward to enjoying the holiday season with my family... loving each and every moment. Life is no longer a highway. It is a rest area with no darkened doors, blues or unbearable loads. Yes, the light has come in and I'm a survivor.


Keep Reaching For Life's Mileposts,

Paul Staso

Friday, October 26, 2018

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words -- Check Out These Images!

At the end of my last blog writing, I included links to online photo albums that contain pictures from my running adventures across states and countries. Surprisingly, my blog statistics jumped as people followed those links -- although the photos have been available through my website at www.paulstaso.com for many years.

When I was doing school assemblies, an often-asked question was, "Who takes all of the pictures of you when you're on the road?" The simple answer is me. I would use a timer on a digital camera and occasionally use a small tripod to hold the camera steady, particularly on windy days. I would give myself about 10 seconds to get into the frame and would just hope that the scene was captured. Some of the photos in my albums were taken by others, such as when I did the Alaska run and my mother photographed me from a distance in order to include the vastness of Alaska's mountains and wilderness. However, I can say that I've taken about 95 percent of my photos.

In case you've missed seeing the photos, you can click on any of the links below to view the albums.

Keep Reaching For Life's Mileposts,

Paul Staso

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

My "Beast of Burden" (B.O.B.) Stroller is Permanently Stored in the Attic



I recently took apart my BOB Stroller -- which I used on all of my solo adventure runs across the USA, Germany, Alaska, Montana, and the Mojave Desert -- and stored it permanently in my attic. It is in its special storage bag and will sit in the back of my attic in somewhat of a time capsule that perhaps one day my children will uncover. Since I completed my last adventure run in 2011 (becoming the first person to run 500 miles all alone from the south rim of the Grand Canyon to Badwater Basin, Death Valley), the stroller has generally been assembled with all of its gear in tact. As many of you know, in November 2016 -- at the age of 51 -- I retired from running across states and countries to promote health and fitness. Since that announcement, I have had people who have wanted to get their hands on my support stroller, and they have quickly learned that I am not willing to give up BOB.

As I was taking apart the stroller for the last time, I actually had complete peace. I've had such peace since retiring from extreme ultra-endurance running in 2016. As I was packing away the stroller, my wife came into the garage and smiled... knowing that I am satisfied with what I have accomplished in my running career and am truly happy and content with not only the milepost I am currently at, but also with the mileposts that I can see on life's horizon. I work full time in a law firm; am the father of four wonderful adult children; am experiencing for the first time the joy of being a step dad; and, am blessed to be married to the most amazing woman in the world. Life is indeed good and for the first time in my life I have nothing to run from or to run to. I feel that I have finally arrived at where I've wanted to be.

Those of you who have followed my athletic adventures since 2006 are very familiar with my reliance upon the B.O.B. stroller to help support me as I would run between 30 to 50 miles every day across a state or country. To be completely self sufficient required me to devise a way to carry the essential gear, food and water... and B.O.B. was the answer. Through this blog, and through my website at www.paulstaso.com, I have documented how I have accomplished the running endeavors I have across vast land masses, and I wouldn't have been able to do any of it alone without the support stroller I modified with a solar panel, lights, water reservoirs, and more.

I thought I'd share with you some photo albums from my ultra-endurance adventures so that you can see the B.O.B. stroller in action:


Thanks to the BOB company for making my 2005 Ironman Sport Utility Stroller so durable and reliable. B.O.B. and I had quite a run!

Keep Reaching For Life's Mileposts,

Paul Staso


Monday, October 22, 2018

Living, Loving and Laughing as a Husband, Dad and Step-Dad

I must say, there are incredible joys that come with being Kelley's husband in addition to being a Dad and Step-dad. In fact, there is a genuine and deep peace and contentment that I have with my life... finally. Those of you who have known me for years -- and some for many decades -- know that life for me prior to 2015 hadn't been on a very smooth path. In fact, the rocks and potholes on that road eventually turned into mountains and valleys. However, I have truly reached a place of happiness on a smooth and level path that stretches to the horizon of my future.

I look down at my hands on the keyboard and see the shine of the wedding band that Kelley placed on my hand. One glance immediately brings to my mind and heart every ounce of love, emotion and gratitude I felt when she and I exchanged our vows. That ring is a symbol of our love and commitment, and reflects the eternal promise of the vows we exchanged.

Although six of our eight children are adults, none have yet married. Eventually, Kelley and I will have married children... and one day we'll be grandparents. Believe me, I am in no rush to add the word "grand" to my parent title! However, when that day comes I will embrace it with all of my heart. For now, I am living, loving and laughing as a very content husband, dad and step-dad.

When I spoke at my wedding reception, I shared with those in attendance that sometimes life's path becomes skewed -- taking you in a direction that you didn't anticipate. Although such moments can be quite difficult and/or challenging when they occur, it can ultimately guide you to a new path filled with great and often unexpected blessings. That is precisely what happened in my life. Kelley is a blessing beyond measure and our eight children are gifts from God.

I believe that one of the most difficult things about having adult children is that you often don't see them as much as you would like. My four children currently live in Montana and Minnesota, while I am in Indiana. Sure, in today's technologically-advanced world we have texting, SnapChat, and more to keep in touch. However, those things simply do not compare to actually spending one-on-one time together with your children.

As I was hugging my adult children goodbye following my wedding, I simply didn't want to let go. Yes, I was emotional... a bit of a 'puddle' as I hugged them. However, the tears were an expression of how much they mean to me and how I miss them when we're not together. They have careers to chase down, relationships to build, and bills to pay. They have adult obligations, as I do, and their path in life has taken them in a direction that is not on my street, in my town, or within my state. I understand that and I truly want to see my children become successful in whatever they pursue.

Life is a journey, from start to finish, and we are often in control of the rudder... steering the direction in which we will go. However, there are times when we have absolutely no control and life can send us in an unexpected direction. In such times, it's important to keep your eyes open for the unexpected blessings. Those blessings can appear as suddenly as the beacon of a lighthouse on a new shore, seemingly pulling you to a different place in life. May the light that you're drawn to always give you a peaceful landing and bright future!

Keep Reaching For Life's Mileposts,

Paul Staso
www.paulstaso.com

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Married Life Can Be Good For Your Health!

I recently married the woman of my dreams... Kelley. She and I were together for over three years, and engaged for nearly two years, before we said our vows in front of family and friends. Between us, we are blessed to have eight children -- five daughters and three sons (she is the mother of three daughters and a son, and I am the father of two daughters and two sons). Six of our children are adults, while the two youngest girls are ages 10 and 13. Back in the late 1970's there was a television show titled "Eight is Enough" which  focused on the life of the Bradford family and the upbringing of eight children. For Kelley and I, eight is truly enough -- and I write that with a 53-year-old smile. Parenthood and step-parenthood is such a blessing!

Exchanging vows with Kelley was the most emotionally impacting moment of my life. There are certain moments in life that are forever etched onto your heart, such as the birth of your children, and for me I will never forget the profound love, joy and gratefulness I felt while exchanging wedding vows with Kelley. I have never experienced a more deeper, committed, loving one-on-one relationship with anyone than that which I have with my bride. The vow I made to her... said with my heart and echoed through my voice... is as follows:

I, Paul, take you, Kelley, to be my wedded wife;
to have and to hold from this day forward;
in plenty and in want, in joy and in sorrow;
in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish;
for as long as we both shall live.

I have never been happier and I look forward to the wonderful memories to be made in our home over the coming decades. Did you know that marriage can actually impact your health? For instance, research from Johns Hopkins University reveals that when a wife begins to exercise more, her husband is 70 percent more likely to increase his activity; and, when a husband starts meeting recommended exercise goals, his wife is 40 percent more likely to join in.

In general, a good marriage enhances a person's health, because having someone you love and want to keep around encourages healthy behavior. It also provides important social support, which could explain why recent studies show that married couples are more likely to survive cancer and less likely to develop dementia or be hospitalized with pneumonia. A good marriage is good medicine! Here are just a few ways that a healthy marriage can inspire healthier living:

Improves you heart health

A nationwide study of patients of all ages found that married people are less likely to develop heart disease than those who are single, divorced or widowed. Spouses had a lower risk of a heart attack or stroke, regardless of their age or gender. Even married people with other risk factors -- such as high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking and obesity -- showed a lower rate of heart disease. The reason, say researchers, is people in happy, committed relationships experience less stress and conflict in their everyday lives.

Increases survival rates for illness or surgery

Although marriage won’t reduce your chances of getting cancer, it could affect your long-term prognosis and survival rate. Patients who are in a committed relationship when their cancer is diagnosed have a better survival rate than patients who are divorced or separated from their partners. In fact, a study found that among people diagnosed with cancer, the disease was more likely to be farther advanced for singles at the time of diagnosis, while married people were more likely to be diagnosed at an earlier stage. Similarly, happily married patients who have coronary bypass surgery are more than three times as likely to live 15 years longer than unmarried patients, according to a University of Rochester study. Researchers speculate that married patients are more likely than single patients to receive treatment, visit their doctor regularly, and eat a healthier diet because of the support and encouragement of their spouse or partner.

Increases emotional resilience

A Cornell University study found that people in committed relationships are more likely to be happier, have higher self-esteem, feel greater life satisfaction, and experience less stress or depression. Researchers say having a dependable partner helps people feel less isolated and better able to manage outside causes of stress.

As a newly married man who is completely happy and content, I can tell you that I agree that a healthy marriage enhances personal health. I am blessed beyond measure and wake up each day knowing, deep in my heart, just how blessed I am. My wife, Kelley, is my cherished gift and I am grateful for each and every day with her. Life is amazing, our marriage is wonderful, and the future is ours!

Keep Reaching For Life's Mileposts,

Paul Staso
www.paulstaso.com

Friday, October 5, 2018

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission vs. B.O.B. Strollers

I have pushed the same 2006 BOB Ironman Sport Utility Stroller thousands of miles on my solo running adventures across America, Germany, Alaska, the Mojave Desert, and elsewhere. The stroller hauled my gear, food and water (sometimes as much as 100 pounds) and has endured the most punishing of conditions. Today, it sits in my garage. I recently learned that earlier this year the company that makes the BOB jogging stroller had a complaint filed against it by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), after it refused to order a recall over what the government’s product safety regulator considers a "substantial product hazard."

According to the CPSC, the issue is that the front wheel can detach as the stroller is being pushed -- something I have NEVER experienced with my BOB stroller. The commission says that when the wheel detaches, the front fork on the stroller frame can dig into the terrain, stopping the stroller abruptly and potentially causing serious injury to a child and/or an adult pushing the stroller. The CPSC’s complaint says that almost 500,000 BOB strollers were made from December 2011 through September 2015, plus an unknown number were manufactured between 1997 and 2011. The lawsuit does not cover strollers made after September 2015.

The CPSC suit seeks to force Britax, which owns the BOB brand, to recall the strollers. In its press release, the agency didn’t advise consumers to stop using BOB jogging strollers built through September 2015, but the complaint does seek an order to stop the company from distributing affected models, and also requests that Britax alert the public and produce a remedy for what the agency deems a defect in design.

Britax does not believe there is any defect with the BOB strollers it manufactures.

In a press release, the CPSC says that approximately 200 complaints have been filed by consumers since January 2012 and that it has received at least 97 reports of injuries to children and adults. In response, Britax has said that with more than half a million products in the market for 20 years, the number of reported injuries is very low. Britax also said that front wheel detachments are not due to any defect in the product design; they involve an improperly secured quick release mechanism and/or jogging with the swivel wheel unlocked.

Britax states that detailed instructions and videos on securing the quick release and locking the front wheel are available on the BOB gear website and in the User Guide.

Keep Reaching For Life's Mileposts,

Paul Staso
www.paulstaso.com

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

"Don't Work Too Hard!" -- Words That I've Been Pondering

Recently, I was out mowing my property on a very hot Indiana summer day and a pastor I met not long ago happened to be walking by. When I was somewhat close to him he yelled over the noise of the lawnmower, "Don't work too hard!" -- and kept striding along. For the rest of the time that I pushed my mower over the 20,000 square feet of lawn, I kept thinking about his words... "Don't work too hard!" The question that kept going through my mind was, what is considered "too hard" when it comes to work?

The suggestion, "Don't work too hard!" is one that I've heard countless times in my life... although I don't recall an employer ever saying those words to me! I've had friends and family tell me on occasion not to work too hard, and there have been moments -- like that with the pastor -- when someone passing by has said those words. In fact, I'm sure that I've even said those words to some people in my lifetime.

I was mowing my lawn again a couple of days ago and the thought came back into my mind. What does the average person think is "too hard" when it comes to work? Personally, I have a strong work ethic and am not afraid of putting in hard work. In March 2017, I wrote a blog entry titled, "Do You Think You Have A Strong Work Ethic?" I believe a solid work ethic is essential to success. However, the statement/advice/warning of "Don't Work Too Hard!" isn't focused on one's work ethic. It's focused on the intensity, magnitude and/or duration of the work being performed.

Some people may say, "Don't work too hard!" because the work that they see being done is beyond the effort that they would personally do. Or, perhaps they see the sweat, strain and/or fatigue and believe that the person should take a break or pace themselves better at the task being undertaken. Or, perhaps they feel that the person should have more balance in his or her life between work and rest. Or, perhaps they're concerned that the person's level of work may put them into an early grave! There are many reasons as to why someone may say the words, "Don't work too hard!" Personally, when I hear those words I interpret them as a kind suggestion. The pastor that saw me sweating in the heat as I mowed my lawn was expressing a kind thought based on the work he perceived me doing and the conditions I was doing that work in. However, I know that he uses a riding lawnmower and perhaps he can't relate very well with my pushing a lawnmower on a hot day.

While I agree that a person shouldn't work to the point of putting their health/life in jeopardy, I certainly don't subscribe to the line of thought that a person shouldn't work hard at a task. For me, there is a fine line between "hard" and "too hard." Have I ever crossed the line and entered into the "too hard" category? Yes, I have. I recall a 100-degree day on my run across America in 2006 when I was pushing through a 35-mile segment and became somewhat dehydrated and weak. I was all alone and knew that I was running "too hard" -- so, I stopped, hydrated my body, and adjusted my pace thereafter. It's important to know when you're doing something that is "too hard" for you at the moment.

Don't be afraid of hard work. Some of the greatest successes and joys in life are experienced through hard work. Some aspects of my life that have taken considerable effort, and have been hard at times, include: obtaining my university degrees; my career; being a father; running long distances; and, some relationships. It's important to know yourself well enough to understand what level of work is "too hard" so that you don't foolishly risk your well being. Finally, keep in mind that some hard work never goes away. Yep... my lawn needs to be mowed again!

Keep Reaching For Life's Mileposts,

Paul Staso
www.paulstaso.com

Friday, September 28, 2018

2019 Film About Fred Rogers of "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood"

I recently realized that 2018 marks 50 years since "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" first premiered on television. It launched in 1968 -- when I was only 3 years of age -- and is the TV show that I watched the most as a very young boy. The show aired for multiple decades, coming to an end in 2001. It was aimed primarily at preschool children, ages 2 to 5, but it was labelled by PBS as "appropriate for all ages." Today, I was happy to learn that actor Tom Hanks is going to be portraying the life of Fred Rogers in a movie slated to be released in October 2019. Earlier this year, a documentary film by Morgan Neville titled "Won't You Be My Neighbor?" was released and focused on the life of Mr. Rogers.

As a young boy I always enjoyed learning from Mr. Rogers. He would sing the little intro song ("Won't You Be My Neighbor") as he walked onto the set, put on a sweater, and changed his shoes. Did you know that all of the sweaters that Mr. Rogers wore on show were hand-sewed by his mother? In the book Life's Journeys According to Mr. Rogers: Things to Remember Along the Way, Mr. Rogers wrote:
"I've recently learned that in an average lifetime, a person walks about 65,000 miles. That's two and a half times around the world. I wonder where your steps will take you. I wonder how you'll use the rest of the miles you're given."
I'm 53 years old now and due to my long-distance running background I've logged far more than 65,000 miles so far in life. However, I appreciate Mr. Rogers' words about how far the average person walks in a lifetime... and his thought-provoking words of wondering where future steps will take you, and how you'll use the rest of the miles given... the remaining time on earth.

Mister Rogers' Neighborhood is a timeless program that teaches some valuable lessons to young children. During each half-hour segment, Mr. Rogers would speak directly to the viewer about various issues, taking them on tours of factories, demonstrating experiments, crafts, and music, and interacting with his friends. Mr. Rogers also made a point to simply behave naturally on camera rather than acting out a character, stating that "One of the greatest gifts you can give anybody is the gift of your honest self." The half-hour episodes included a puppet segment chronicling occurrences in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe. Another segment of the show consisted of Mr. Rogers going to different places around the neighborhood, where he interviews people to talk about their work and other community contributions.

I really like how the company, Fred Rogers Productions, describes Mister Rogers' Neighborhood -- which aired 886 episodes between 1968 and 2001: "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood was a "television visit" between Mister Rogers and his young viewers. With his caring and trusting ways, Mister Rogers created a calm, safe place for children to learn about themselves, about others, and about the world around them. Mister Rogers brought them a one-to-one affirmation of their self-worth."

A few months before his death in 2003 from stomach cancer, Fred Rogers recorded a video message for those who grew up watching “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.”



Keep Reaching For Life's Mileposts,

Paul Staso
www.paulstaso.com

Thursday, September 27, 2018

It Has Been 12 Years Since I Ran Into The Atlantic Ocean

In just a few weeks -- on October 20, 2018 -- it will be 12 years since I ran into the Atlantic Ocean and completed my solo run across America. In the past, I've written about that adventure, and I've expressed some of the feelings and emotions that I experienced when I finally reached the ocean. Most people who know me, or are familiar with the journey, are aware that I completed the run on the Delaware coast. However, most people don't know exactly where I finished. I actually completed the coast-to-coast adventure after running down a boardwalk extending off of the Cape Henlopen State Park Bathhouse, and here's an aerial photograph of that boardwalk:


On the day that I finished the 3,260-mile run, the beach looked very similar to this photo. It was 11 o'clock in the morning and there was no one on the beach. There had been some light rain that morning, although it wasn't raining when I finished. There was a relatively gray sky which eventually gave way to sun shortly after I arrived at the beach. There were no more than about 15 people who watched me run into the ocean that day -- most standing on the boardwalk. It had taken 108 days of striding 30 miles per day, on average, to cross the 15 states to reach that beach. I didn't actually see the ocean until I started down the boardwalk. Here's what it looks like:



To see that massive ocean after running through the second hottest summer ever recorded in the United States was such a wonderful feeling. I knew that I was going to run right into it!

Yes, it has been 12 years since that experience and my life is far different now than it was back then. That run across America changed me in many ways and will always be a part of my personal history. However, today my eyes and heart are set on the future and with each step I take I'm counting my blessings... daily.

Keep Reaching For Life's Mileposts,

Paul Staso
www.paulstaso.com

Thursday, September 6, 2018

It Has Been a Busy (and hot) Summer in Indiana!

It has been a busy summer of new home ownership! If you read this blog in May of this year, you learned that I purchased a new home in Indiana and was spending the summer doing some home improvement -- which included painting the entire interior. Juggling the home projects, my work at the law firm, and wedding preparations has kept summer's pace quite brisk! However, all of it has been a blessing beyond measure!

The greatest blessing is Kelley, and finding this home with her... and marrying her... are gifts that I will treasure every day of my life. She did a wonderful job at choosing new interior colors for our home and definitely has a better eye for that than I do. Sure, there is more yet to do, but I'm pleased to say that the summer home projects that I wanted to get accomplished have indeed been checked off of my list.

It has certainly been a hot summer, and as I write this during the first week of September the thermometer is reading 92 degrees! We've been hot in Indiana since May. The National Weather Service reported that May 2018 was the hottest May on record in Indiana. That's pretty impressive when considering that the weather records go all the way back to 1871.

One winter project will be a home office renovation, which I will tackle after the new year is underway. I also have a few outdoor projects in mind for next summer, but all of that will be off my radar as we go through holidays. I'm truly looking forward to our first Thanksgiving and Christmas in the new house... as a married couple.

Between us, Kelley and I have eight children -- six of whom are adults. Kelley's two youngest daughters are ages 10 and 13. Both of them love the new house and their bedrooms, which have been put together just the way they wanted. We're looking forward to building many wonderful family memories in our home.

The house is actually the kind of home I've always wanted. It's a four-bedroom, two and a half bath home with hardwood floors, formal dining room, fireplace, and more. I love the mature trees, the large lot size, and the well-manicured lawns in the neighborhood. There is minimal residential traffic and the neighborhood is perfect for taking evening strolls. The home is also in easy driving distance to the offices where Kelley and I work, and the girls' schools.

Yes, life in Indiana is wonderful and I thank God daily for all that He has done to uplift and bless me on life's path.



Keep Reaching For Life's Mileposts,

Paul Staso
www.paulstaso.com