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