Wednesday, December 12, 2018

U.S. Poll Results Regarding Church Attendance at Christmastime

LifeWay Research polled 1,000 Americans and found that six out of 10 typically attend church at Christmastime. However, among those who don’t attend church at Christmastime, a majority (57 percent) say they would likely attend if someone they knew invited them.

According to the research, Americans living in the South (66 percent) and Midwest (64 percent) are more likely to attend church at Christmastime than those in the Northeast (57 percent) and West (53 percent). And throughout the U.S., more women than men are likely to attend Christmas church services (66 percent vs. 56 percent). Those who attend church most frequently throughout the year -- once a week or more -- are the most likely (91 percent) to say they will attend church at Christmastime.

Younger Americans are less likely to participate in a service or Christmas mass than their elders. Fifty-three percent of those 18 to 24 say they attend church at Christmas, compared to 68 percent of those 65 and older and 67 percent of 35- to 44-year-olds.

Here are some of the poll results:


Keep Reaching For Life's Mileposts,

Paul Staso

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

The First Running Shoes Were Created 153 Years Ago -- in 1865.

One of the earliest examples of running shoes is at the Northampton Museum in England. The shoes look like someone hammered nails through a pair of Oxfords. It's believed that the leather shoe was likely used for cross-country running. It represents the earliest spiked running shoe made on a production basis. Northampton was the center of the British shoemaking industry.

The design bears a definite relationship to early cricket shoes. The low cut design is of all leather construction. There are three spikes under the forefoot and one under the heel -- which suggests that the shoe was used as a distance running or cross-country shoe for dirt/grass surfaces. It incorporates a broad toe band, which is a separate piece of leather, sewn into the welt of the shoe to add lateral stability.

I started running in 1976. It wasn't until 1980 when I would begin running long distances as a member of my high school varsity cross country team. Wow, that was 38 years ago! I remember well my first pair of running shoes -- the Brooks Vantage Supreme. They were two shades of blue, with a yellow color added, and received a 5-star rating from Runner's World magazine. Those shoes carried me to the 1980 Alaska Region IV Cross Country Championships -- the year when my best 3.1-mile time was 16 minutes, 45 seconds (or a 5:35 average mile pace). That time would have given me 12th place overall at the 2018 Alaska State Cross Country Championships.

I wonder how fast I could have run in the 1865 Northampton shoes!

Keep Reaching For Life's Mileposts,

Paul Staso

Friday, December 7, 2018

Would You Name Your Baby After a Healthy Food? Some Parents Are!

The parenting website BabyCenter.com recently released its report on baby name trends in the United States. The report is based on hundreds of thousands of names that parents chose and provided to the website annually. Each year, about 4 million babies are born in the United States.

This year’s findings suggest that parents are increasingly inspired by the wellness movement. Names related to spiritual practices, like yoga or meditation, (such as "Peace," "Harmony," and "Hope") have risen in popularity, and so have names tied to healthy food trends. For girls, parents are increasingly picking names like Kale, Kiwi, Maple, Hazel, Clementine, Sage, Saffron, and Rosemary. Names like Saffron, Sage, and Hazel are also on the rise for boys.

With 2018 drawing to a close, here are the top 10 baby names for 2018 from BabyCenter.com -- which compiled this information from more than 742,000 parents who shared their new baby's name with BabyCenter.com in 2018. The names are listed in order from most popular to least popular.

GIRLS

  • Sophia
  • Olivia
  • Emma
  • Ava
  • Isabella
  • Aria
  • Riley
  • Amelia
  • Mia
  • Layla

BOYS

  • Jackson
  • Liam
  • Noah
  • Aiden
  • Caden
  • Grayson
  • Lucas
  • Mason
  • Oliver
  • Elijah

And to end this post, I'll share that in 2016 the name "Carrot" was on the rise for boys, but then nose-dived in 2017. However, in 2018 it has seen an increase with 8 boys out of every million being named "Carrot." If any of them grow up to be a doctor, they might often be met with the question... "What's up, Doc?"

Keep Reaching For Life's Mileposts,

Paul Staso

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Why Are Wedding Rings Worn on the Fourth Finger of the Left Hand?



Earlier this year, I married the most wonderful woman in the world -- Kelley. We exchanged vows and wedding rings in front of family and friends. As I was in my office today, I looked down at my wedding band and smiled. I love wearing this symbol of the love and commitment that Kelley and I share. Did you know that there is actually a historical reason as to why most people wear their wedding band on the left hand ring finger?

The wedding ring tradition dates back to ancient Egypt, as archaeologists have found evidence in hieroglyphics that brides would wear a ring. The Egyptians, who first started wearing wedding bands as a symbol of eternity, believed there was a delicate nerve that ran from the fourth finger all the way to the heart. Of course, we know now that the heart is an organ for pumping blood, but back then it was thought to be the center of our emotions.

Ancient Greeks and ancient Romans also slipped wedding rings on their left ring fingers for a similar reason. They believed a "vein of love" (vena amoris) ran from that finger to the heart. Even though that vein and nerve don’t exist, Western countries have continued the ancient tradition. However, in some other cultures the wedding ring goes on the right hand.

Traditionally, women were the only ones to wear wedding rings. Men didn’t join in until the early 20th century. During the World Wars, soldiers would wear wedding rings as a means of remembering their loved ones. It was only after the Korean War that male wedding bands took on the sentimental value they have today. It was then when the creation of matching wedding rings increased and designs specifically for men came about.

Yes, I love wearing my wedding band and it is truly a symbol of the eternal love and commitment that Kelley and I share.

Keep Reaching For Life's Mileposts,

Paul Staso

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Effectively Treat a Muscle Injury or Sprain -- The Benefits of Icing!

As the temperature begins to drop in many areas with winter blowing in, it seems like a fitting time to post a writing about the benefits of icing an injury. It won't be long before there is a rise in incidents of sprained ankles/knees from slipping on ice, or strained muscles from shoveling snow. The benefits of icing are greatest within the first day or two after sustaining an injury. Apply a bag of crushed ice, a bag of frozen veggies, or an ice pack to your injury. It will help relieve pain and prevent swelling by decreasing blood flow to the area.

R.I.C.E. is an acronym that many sports trainers and athletes use to remember how to treat a minor muscle injury. It stands for rest, ice, compress, and elevate.

Resting is one of the most effective ways to start your healing process. Your injured muscle will be weak and vulnerable to further injury, especially in the first few hours. Take a break from moving it to help it heal.

When it comes to icing, avoid frostbite by never placing the ice directly on your bare skin. Instead, wrap it in a thin cloth or towel before applying it to the injured area. Apply ice for 15 to 20 minutes at a time, and allow your skin to return to normal temperature in between icing. To maximize the benefits of icing, ice three times a day with at least 45 minutes in between applications.

An elastic bandage wrapped firmly around your injury can help minimize swelling by creating compression and preventing the buildup of fluid. It can also help ease pain by keeping the injured area somewhat immobilized. The bandage may not be enough to immobilize the injured area entirely, but it will provide some support and remind you to keep it still. If the bandage causes tingling or numbness, remove it and rewrap it more loosely. It shouldn’t be so tight that it causes discomfort or interferes with your blood flow. Even gentle compression can help keep fluid from collecting around the injury.

Elevating an injury above the level of your heart will helping minimize swelling by allowing fluid to drain away from the area. If you can’t raise it above your heart, try to keep the injured area at the same level as your heart or close to it. If you suffered an injury to your buttocks or hips, you should try lying down with one or more pillows wedged under your buttocks and lower back to help lift it.

The day after suffering an injury is often the most painful. Swelling will likely be at its worst a few hours to a couple of days after your injury occurred. Bruising will continue to develop for the first few hours and may be very noticeable the next day. Continue using the R.I.C.E. treatment method for the first 48 to 72 hours after your injury. During this time, you should keep the injured area wrapped with an elastic bandage, elevate it when you can, and apply ice every few hours. During the first three days following a muscle strain or sprain, don’t apply heat to the area. While it may feel soothing, heat can increase circulation and worsen swelling. Think to yourself... ice is nice!

Keep in mind that you can also perform an "ice massage." Apply ice directly to the injury and move the ice frequently, not allowing it to sit in one spot. Many athletes will perform an ice massage where they use a frozen block of ice and massage into the area of discomfort, to prevent prolonged direct contact of the ice to one specific location.

Here are some tips for icing:
  • Use a Ziploc bag with ice cubes or crushed ice. Add a little water to the ice bag so it will conform to your body.
  • Keep paper cups filled with water in your freezer. Peel the top of the cup away and massage the ice cup over the injury in a circular pattern allowing the ice to melt away.
  • Use a bag of frozen peas or corn. This option provides a reusable treatment method. However, once used for icing, the defrosted food should not be eaten if you return it to the freezer to use again!
  • There are many products sold that can be reused to help you ice an injured body part. Many of these are designed to conform to a specific part of the body.

Keep Reaching For Life's Mileposts,

Paul Staso

Monday, December 3, 2018

Reached Another Milestone in Blogging -- My 300th Blog Post

After deleting a blog I maintained for about 5 years, and taking several years off from blogging (2011-2015), I started again in 2016. Since then, I've averaged about 100 writings per year at this blog. Today, I am posting my 300th writing.

I didn't even realize when I hit the 100th blog post back in 2016. It just wasn't something I was paying attention to. In 2017, I posted a writing about reaching the 200th blog post mark. In that post I shared a little about my writings and about who reads this blog. So, now I'm at the 300 mark and feel as though I should write something significant for this milepost. I've been scratching my head on this!

I guess what strikes me most is how much my life has changed since I started writing this blog in June 2016. Back then, I was dating a wonderful woman named Kelley, who is now my wife. Back then, I wasn't a step dad -- and today I am. Back then, I was renting an apartment after having moved 18 months earlier from Montana to Indiana, and today I own a beautiful home with my lovely bride. Back then, three of my four children were adults -- and today all of them are. Back then, I was still an ultramarathon runner -- and today I am retired from pounding my body into the ground. Sure, there are lots of changes that have taken place in my life since I started writing this blog again in 2016... and I am blessed in countless ways.

Initially, this blog focused on health, nutrition and fitness topics. You'll see that now I focus more on family, faith and fitness. Yes, the 'focus' of this blog has changed a little over the years, but I do believe that the topics that I choose to write about do resonate with some people. According to my stats, I am still having daily traffic to this blog from readers around the world. For instance, in just the past month I've had readers from the USA, Russia, France, Ukraine, Canada, Germany, India, Sweden, South Korea, Australia, Brazil, Indonesia, and Portugal. I don't write every day, but I try to post 8 to 10 writings per month -- on average. Also, my website (paulstaso.com) continues to get daily traffic and I acquire additional blog readers who click on the blog link at my site.

I'll keep writing, and I hope you'll keep reading!

Keep Reaching For Life's Mileposts,

Paul Staso


Friday, November 30, 2018

Google's Global Street-View Trekkers and High-Tech Cameras

This morning, I was on Google Maps to locate an office that I had to go to for a job-related task. I used the street-view option and in the reflection of office glass I saw a Google street-view trekker. For those of you who don't know, for many years Google has used both vehicle-mounted cameras and pedestrian-carried cameras to expand the views available through the Google Maps platform. Here is what I saw this morning:


Wondering how you can be like the guy in this photo? Well, if you like hiking and photographing exciting places around the globe, Google has a proposition for you: You can sign-up to borrow one of the company's Trekkers -- special camera-equipped backpacks that act as a personalized version of Google's Street View cars. It allows the wearer to automatically capture a 360-degree view of their surrounds as they move. Google previously only let select employees and a few third-party organizations take the Trekkers out to scenic places, including the Grand Canyon and the Canadian Arctic. However, the company is giving any third-party organization the chance to apply online to use the Trekker backpacks.

Please note that Google isn't about to hand out its Trekker backpacks to just anyone. The company describes some specific qualifications in its online application for the Trekker program. You may want to view Google's upbeat video ad promoting the Trekker loaner program.

The Trekker backpacks have been used at various street and trail locations -- including the Arlington National Cemetery. Its even been strapped to the back of a camel to capture the Arabian Desert. Want to know when the next Google Street View car or Trekker is coming to your neighborhood? Click here to find out!

This technology has come a long way since I ran across America in 2006. Back then, it was in its infancy and the street-view option didn't even come into existence until the year after I completed my coast-to-coast run. Now, you can virtually visit locations via Google Maps technology before you actually get there!

I must admit... I'm glad I ran across America before this technology was available. I couldn't "see ahead" on my route by looking at street-view images on my phone. That made my 15-state run more of an adventure. Also, I'm glad that the area where my home is located hasn't had any Google cars or Trekkers go by. I'm in the shrinking minority of homeowners who haven't had their residence captured by Google's street view cameras. I'm sure someday I'll see a Google car or Trekker go past my mailbox.

Keep Reaching For Life's Mileposts,

Paul Staso

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Will The Original "Marathon Man" Please Stand Up... or... Sit Down.

I first entered the world of running in 1976 at the age of 11, when the running boom was underway in America. In the 42 years since, I've heard the term "Marathon Man" applied to countless runners. Some marathon runners actually use the title "Marathon Man" when referring to themselves, such as Dean Karnazes, Trent Morrow, Bill Rogers and Rob Young. Although I've covered the marathon distance literally hundreds of times while running across states and countries, I've never actually called myself "Marathon Man."

During my 40 years as a runner, I never gave myself a title. In the early days I was a sprinter and hurdler, and then moved into the 5K and 10K distances, and eventually the 26.2-mile marathon distance... before jumping into ultra-marathon distances. I never felt the need to give myself a title, like "10K Guy" or "States Runner." I just put one foot in front of the other as "Paul Staso" -- which seemed right since that's the name my parents chose for me in 1965.

So, who is the original "Marathon Man?" Well, there is the 1976 movie titled "Marathon Man" which is a suspense-thriller directed by John Schlesinger. Actor Dustin Hoffman plays the role of a history Ph.D. candidate obsessed with running who gets placed unintentionally into a nightmare world of international conspiracy involving some stolen diamonds. He ends up being abducted by criminals and eventually escapes by running... thus the title, Marathon Man. Hoffman, a method actor by trade, got so prepared for the character he played that he lost 15 pounds after running up to four miles a day to get in shape for the role. Producer Robert Evans claimed that Hoffman would never come into a scene faking the heavy breathing required, and that he would simply run half a mile right before director Schlesinger yelled 'action' to make the scene more believable. However, I'm unable to find any record that actor Dustin Hoffman has ever actually completed the marathon distance. So, in the world of modern-day running he is not the original "Marathon Man."

Trent Marrow, age 45, owns marathonman.com and claims to have run more marathons than any other person on the planet across all 7 continents in one year and states that he has now run more than 300 marathons over the last 10 years. Could he be the original "Marathon Man?" There's also Dean Karnazes who has run across America as well as completed 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 consecutive days. Both of these guys refer to themselves as "Marathon Man."

The name Marathon comes from the legend of Pheidippides, the Greek messenger. The legend states that he was sent from the battlefield of Marathon to Athens to announce that the Persians had been defeated in the Battle of Marathon (in which he had just fought), which took place in 490 BC during the first Persian invasion of Greece. It is said that he ran the entire distance, a 'marathon' of 26 miles, without stopping and then burst into the assembly exclaiming "WE HAVE WON!" -- before collapsing and dying. I believe that Pheidippides will forever be the original "Marathon Man."

Keep Reaching For Life's Mileposts,

Paul Staso

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

The Health Benefits of Tears. Have You Had a Good Cry Lately?

I know precisely the last time I cried. It was earlier this year when I got married. I couldn't hold back the tears as I recited my marriage vows... and I cried again the next day as I said goodbye to my adult children who live out of state. The vow tears were of complete joy for finally arriving at a time in life that I had long dreamed of -- marrying my best friend and the love of my life. The goodbye tears were of deep love for my children and knowing how much I would miss them.

I remember the first time I saw my father cry. It was in 1982 when he told me and my siblings that my mother had cancer. I was 17 years of age. I recall that as I was growing up, my father did not openly show tears to his children. However, the thought of possibly losing his wife -- my Mom -- brought his eyes to the tearful tipping point. To the relief of my entire family, my mother beat cancer and continues to enjoy life by my Dad's side -- both of them in their 80's. I recently read an article in Psychology Today about the health benefits of tears and I want to share some of that information with you.

Tears are your body’s release valve for stress, pain, sadness, grief, anxiety, and frustration. Also, you can have tears of joy, say when a child is born or tears of relief when a difficulty has passed. Personally, I am grateful when I can cry. It feels cleansing... a way to purge pent up emotions so they don’t take root inside of me. It has been said that for both men and women, tears are a sign of courage, strength, and authenticity.

Like the ocean, tears contain salt. Our bodies contain a cup of salt, In fact, every cell in your body contains salt. Tears protectively lubricate your eyes, remove irritants, reduce stress hormones, and contain antibodies that fight pathogenic microbes. Our bodies produce three kinds of tears: reflex, continuous, and emotional.  Each kind has different healing roles. For instance, reflex tears allow your eyes to clear out noxious particles when they’re irritated by smoke or exhaust. The second kind, continuous tears, are produced regularly to keep our eyes lubricated (these contain a chemical called "lysozyme" which functions as an anti-bacterial and protects our eyes from infection). Tears also travel to the nose through the tear duct to keep the nose moist and bacteria free. Typically, after crying, our breathing, and heart rate decrease, and we enter into a calmer biological and emotional state.

Emotional tears have special health benefits. Biochemist and "tear expert" Dr. William Frey at the Ramsey Medical Center in Minneapolis discovered that reflex tears are 98% water, whereas emotional tears also contain stress hormones which get excreted from the body through crying. After studying the composition of tears, Dr. Frey found that emotional tears shed these hormones and other toxins which accumulate during stress. Additional studies also suggest that crying stimulates the production of endorphins, our body’s natural pain killer and "feel-good" hormones. Essentially, crying makes us feel better, even when a problem persists. Don't hold those tears back!

My eldest daughter recently told me that I've gotten more 'soft' as I've aged... that I'm more open to crying. I admit that she is right. I don't recall crying much as I grew up. I had loved ones depart, but didn't shed many tears along the way. I'm now 53, but it has probably been within the last 10 years that I've gotten more comfortable with tearful emotions.

In my opinion, it's good to cry... it's healthy to cry. It helps to emotionally clear sadness and stress. Crying is also essential to resolve grief, when waves of tears periodically come over us after we experience a loss. Tears help us process the loss so we can keep living with open hearts. Otherwise, we are a set up for depression if we suppress these potent feelings.

Don't be ashamed to cry. Instead, embrace it as a strong emotional release.

Keep Reaching For Life's Mileposts,

Paul Staso

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Glad to be Alive After Near Head-on Collision

I've lived in Indiana for 4 years and have seen the aftermath of numerous car and truck accidents. Based on recent statistics, around 800 people per year die in Indiana from car accidents -- and each year there are approximately 52,000 people in Indiana who are injured in collisions. Yesterday, I was nearly included in the statistics for deceased.

I was driving home after work and was on Highway 24, a divided highway with two lanes heading east and two lanes heading west. The median was fairly level grass extending about 50 feet. I was about 10 miles from home. Below is a picture of the area I was in at the time when I thought I may not survive what appeared to be a probable severe collision.


I had been in the inside lane behind a semi truck that was traveling at approximately 52 miles per hour. It was a 60 mph zone. Although it was a chilly November day, the road surface was dry and there was daylight. I moved into the outside lane to pass the semi truck and two cars behind me did the same thing. I was on the left side of the truck passing at about 60 mph when I saw on the curve ahead a car in my lane coming directly at me. He was on the wrong side of the highway!

When two vehicles are approaching each other at highway speed, the gap closes quickly. I had a semi truck to my right, two vehicles directly behind me (and those drivers likely didn't even see the car coming at me), and a grassy median to my left. Upon seeing the oncoming car, I immediately started to flash my high beams at him to get his attention. I also moved as close as I possible could to the semi truck, my passenger side mirror being only an inch or two from the truck. I didn't want to put on my brakes due to the cars immediately behind me, but I did get my vehicle to the same speed of the semi truck.

The oncoming driver moved slightly toward the median and just barely missed the front corner (driver's side) of my car as his passenger side tires were starting to touch the grass of the median. It was nearly a deadly head-on collision. I never saw the driver because I was too focused on the location of the vehicles around me. After seeing the vehicle go by, I moved a couple of feet off of the semi truck and glanced in my rear view mirror to see that the two cars were still behind me. I then looked in my side mirror as I was going around the curve on the highway and saw that the car which almost hit me had slowed and was rolled onto the grassy median of the highway. I'm guessing he figured out that he was on the wrong side of the highway! It was an extremely dangerous situation and had we struck each other head on it would have likely resulted in numerous deaths, particularly since there were two vehicles behind me and a semi truck next to us.

I have no idea how that person got onto the wrong side of the highway in broad daylight and didn't realize until nearly colliding with me. I've been driving for 37 years and have never had such an encounter happen. I was thankful that the semi truck driver didn't swerve, but rather maintained steady position and speed.

Pay attention out there! You never know what might be coming around the next bend in the road!

Keep Reaching For Life's Mileposts,

Paul Staso

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

What Do People in the 50 U.S. States Enjoy For Thanksgiving?

The event that Americans commonly call the "First Thanksgiving" was celebrated by the Pilgrims after their first harvest in the New World in 1621. The feast lasted three days, and it has been said that there were 90 Native Americans and 53 Pilgrims in attendance.

Today, many Americans view Thanksgiving as a time for spending time with their family, and to remember to be thankful for what they have. Thanksgiving is also a time to eat… a lot! According to estimates by the Calorie Control Council, Americans take in 3,000 to 4,500 calories at their Thanksgiving celebrations. Depending on age, weight, and gender, most people should have somewhere between 1,600 and 2,800 calories daily. Is it possible to have a full Thanksgiving meal with less than 2,000 calories? Sure it is!


What do Americans like to eat at Thanksgiving? To highlight regional tastes, last November General Mills collected data from top recipe searches on BettyCrocker.com, Pillsbury.com, and the cooking website Tablespoon.com. They compiled the state-by-state findings into a map so we could see what Americans like to eat during the holiday.

It turns out, people in Georgia, South Carolina, Delaware, and North Carolina largely searched for sweet potato dishes, while West Virginians, Ohioans, and Pennsylvanians wanted to make buffalo chicken dip. And oddly enough, those in the landlocked states of Arizona and Wisconsin sought out shrimp recipes.

Proving that some Thanksgiving desserts are relatively universal, residents of six states (including South Dakota, South Carolina, Oklahoma, North Carolina, New Mexico, and New Hampshire) all looked for various types of pie. Check out the full findings in the map below.


Keep Reaching For Life's Mileposts,

Paul Staso

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