Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Ready To Light Up The Season -- And To Give Thanks!

Yes... I'm guilty of putting up our Christmas lights a bit early this year! However, I'm not the only one. It has been reported on the network news stations that many Americans are getting into the holiday spirit earlier this year... likely due to the global pandemic and a desire to focus on something positive and joyful.

Although our home has many Christmas decorations in place, we're certainly not overlooking Thanksgiving! It's a holiday that I truly love. Sadly, in recent years it seems that Thanksgiving has become simply a few-hour pause to fill stomachs before dashing off to Black Friday shopping deals -- which typically begin before Friday! This year, many retailers seem to be offering Black Friday deals that last all month!

It's true that 2020 has been a difficult year for most people worldwide. It has been a time of physical, emotional and financial struggle for countless people. Mentally and spiritually, many people are weary. School and church closures, restaurant and retail closures, and more have brought many people to their knees... praying for the pandemic to end and for life to return to a more normal state. Yet, as we head into the holiday season we can all keep in mind the blessings we do have. Family and friends are certainly blessings to be counted. As a Christian, I know that God has not abandoned us and is fully in control.

Eric Liddell -- the British Olympic gold medalist runner and Christian missionary -- once said, "Circumstances may appear to wreck our lives and God’s plans, but God is not helpless among the ruins. Our broken lives are not lost or useless. God comes in and takes calamity and uses it victoriously, working out his wonderful plan of love." I believe that, even in these days of a global pandemic.

As you prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving tomorrow, keep in mind that God loves you and is no further away than a prayer in your heart. That's a daily gift, and something to truly give thanks for.

Keep Reaching For Life's Mileposts,


Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Americans Have Been Heard! Charlie Brown is Returning to TV!

Americans have been heard! No, I'm not talking about the presidential election. I'm talking about A Charlie Brown Christmas. Fans of Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Woodstock, and the entire Peanuts gang circulated an online petition that went viral, complaining about the holiday specials being moved off network television. As a result, the animated favorites are returning to TV!

Apple TV+, which acquired the rights to the specials in 2020, will let PBS and PBS KIDS air the specials. The 1965 A Charlie Brown Christmas will air December 13 at 7:30 p.m. Eastern Time. After long runs on CBS and ABC, the Charlie Brown holiday specials moved off network TV after Apple TV+ obtained the rights. Although Apple promised free streaming opportunities, many fans protested and asked that the animated specials have some sort of presence in their traditional place, broadcast TV.

I think Charles Schulz would be pleased!

Keep Reaching For Life's Mileposts,


Monday, November 23, 2020

This Thanksgiving, Count Your Blessings... Not Your Struggles.

There is so much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving season! While others may be feeling that 2020 has been a year that should be forgotten as soon as possible due to the global pandemic, civil unrest, natural disasters, and a U.S. presidential election that has been unlike any other in history... I am counting my blessings and am entering this holiday season with an abundance of thankfulness for time with family over the past year and precious memories created.

Kelley and I are celebrating our sixth Thanksgiving together and although all of our eight children cannot be with us, they are truly no farther away than the love in our hearts, the memories we hold, and the prayers that we lift up for them regularly. Our eight children now range in age from 12 to 27 -- with most being adults. They all reside in four different states and will be spending Turkey Day rather spread out. My parents and siblings reside in Alaska while Kelley's family is in Kansas. Both of us feel the miles between us and the family members we won't be able to see, but the love that we hold for them is greater than any distance that we are apart.

Rather than entering Thanksgiving feeling beat up and weary from a year filled with struggles and uncertainty, I challenge you to consciously choose to dwell on the blessings of the year and to be thankful for what you do have. Remember, don't just count your blessings. Be the blessing other people count on.

Keep Reaching For Life's Mileposts,


Friday, November 20, 2020

The "Expert" Said That My Knees And Hips Would Be Shot By Now

In March 2010 -- just before I started my 500-mile solo run across Germany -- I had the honor of being the keynote speaker at the European AHPERD conference, AHPERD being the Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance. I gave a message to P.E. teachers who had gathered from all over Europe. Several of the attending educators had their students participating in my Germany adventure by tracking my progress online and virtually logging miles at their schools in teams to try and keep pace with the daily mileage I logged. After giving what I though was an encouraging message, I took my seat as another speaker walked up to the podium. The woman was a health/nutrition "expert" and it didn't take her long to start criticizing my efforts of promoting youth health and fitness through the ultra-endurance runs I had been doing for years across states and countries.

In summary, she stated that my example to young people was not necessarily a good one due to the extreme demands I was placing on my body. She even had the audacity to tell the audience, "Mark my words, when Mr. Staso is in his 50's his knees and hips will be shot." Well, I'm now 55 and you can mark MY words -- MY KNEES AND HIPS ARE JUST FINE! Yes, I've logged the equivalent of about 50,000 miles during my running career (about two laps of planet earth), and accomplished some running feats that had not been done before. Yes, I pushed a jogging stroller of gear that weighed half of my body weight most of the time as I ran solo here, there and everywhere. Yes, I ran more than a marathon every day during my endeavors across America, Alaska, Germany, and the Mojave Desert. And yes, I am still in one piece and have no lingering negative effects of my running efforts -- not to my knees, hips, ankles, or other joints. The "expert" who told that audience that I would, by now, essentially be crippled was very wrong.

Earlier this week, I had my annual physical exam. Every November I see my primary care physician and have a complete exam performed. Each year I hear the doctor say the same thing... "I wish that all men your age would walk into my office in the kind of shape you're in." Most men over the age of 50 are on at least one prescription medication, and many are on two or more. I don't require any prescription meds and the only thing I take daily is a multivitamin designed for men over the age of 50. My weight and body mass index is right where it should be, my blood pressure is 110/78, and I don't drink alcohol, smoke, vape, or do any drugs. My blood labs show that everything is great. Overall, my health is extremely good and I feel fantastic.

Sometimes I wonder how many teachers who attended that 2010 conference honestly believed what that "expert" had to say about me. Perhaps one day some of those attending teachers will stumble upon this writing to see that the words she spoke... that she wanted marked on everyone's minds... were absolutely false and simply showed her ignorance regarding experienced ultra-endurance athletes and their ability to not only endure, but to endure wisely without causing detrimental and permanent damage to themselves.

Keep Reaching For Life's Mileposts,


Tuesday, November 17, 2020

58 Percent of U.S. Counties Are Experiencing COVID Peak This Month


The number of COVID cases in the United States is increasing at an alarming rate. Johns Hopkins University's Coronavirus Research Center reports that while some parts of the country endured high rates of Coronavirus infection in the spring and summer of 2020, most of the country is experiencing the worst of it right now.

Most American counties (58 percent of them) have seen the peak of their Coronavirus infections this month, and 76 percent of counties have peaked at some point in the fall -- based on Johns Hopkins University research.

To date, the Coronavirus has resulted in over 55 million cases worldwide (191 countries/regions), and 1.3 million deaths globally. Even with such numbers, there are those who simply refuse to wear a mask while in public. Too many people seem to believe that they are naturally immune, or somehow invincible. This pandemic has truly shown two sides of society... those who truly care about their fellow man and will do what is necessary to help prevent the spread of COVID, and those who simply go about life in a selfish bubble -- not wanting to be inconvenienced in order to help protect others from harm.

Keep Reaching For Life's Mileposts,


Monday, November 16, 2020

The Holidays: Present Shopping, Family Gatherings... and Burglaries!

Home burglaries are on the rise and December is the month with the highest burglary rates. Burglars know that people are Christmas shopping and leaving valuable gifts in their home in preparation for Christmas. Packages are on doorsteps and presents are decoratively arranged under trees near windows for all to see. It's a burglar's favorite time of year! Statistically speaking, a break-in at your neighbor's house increases the likelihood that your home might be broken into, because burglars often strike repeatedly in areas they're already familiar with.

Some people make it way too easy for burglars! Surveys show that as much as 20 percent of homeowners keep a spare key under a doormat or flowerpot. FBI data shows that burglaries take place every 25 seconds in the United States and increases 20 percent in the last weeks of December. The average loss from a burglary is $2,799 and a burglary victimization survey revealed that the most common time for burglaries is between noon and 4 p.m.

Earlier this year, I wrote about the home security system that my wife and I have in place for our home. We have outside cameras around our house with siren capability that detect motion and automatically record -- day or night. The system also includes cell phone monitoring for remote alerts and video coverage, and we have security decals on all sides of our home. We also have security alarms on our windows and exterior doors, as well as motion lights. We live in a very nice neighborhood outside of the city limits, so crime in our residential area is not an issue. However, I believe our system would deter any would-be thief who may wander onto our property.

Some may think that our security system is too much. However, I believe there is nothing more important than protecting my family and our home. Of those who have been the victim of a break in, 49 percent reported that afterward they changed their locks, 41 percent added a home alarm system, and 38 percent installed security cameras.

If your home isn't secure aside from a lock on the doors and window latches in the closed position, then I would suggest that you consider adding some home security items to your Christmas wish list. For many people, these are desperate days. The Coronavirus pandemic has been raging for eight months and we've seen on the news that people will resort to looting and theft in these challenging economic times.

Keep Reaching For Life's Mileposts,


Thursday, November 12, 2020

How Do You Fix a Broken Pumpkin? With a Pumpkin Patch! (Ha-ha-ha)

It has been 17 days since my last blog post, and those of you who follow this blog with any level of consistency know that I typically post several writings each week. However, we're in the autumn season -- my favorite time of year! When I haven't been at the office, I've been outside soaking in the beautiful colors, doing some yard work, and preparing weekly junior high Sunday school lessons for teens at our church. I've been enjoying time with my family and just relaxing as the days of winter get ever closer.

Numerous surveys reveal that autumn is the season most people say is their favorite. There are many reasons -- the cooler temperatures, the beautiful colors on the trees, and enjoying evenings of S'mores next to a fire. This past week here in Indiana has seen the temperatures unseasonably warm at around 70 degrees, but today it's only reaching 50. While other parts of the country are seeing snow, we're still enjoying autumn in my neck of the woods!

Last weekend I stored the patio furniture in the shed and got our home ready for the upcoming winter. I'll run the mower over the lawn one last time to mulch up the few remaining leaves that have fallen, and then my outside chores will be done until it's time to shovel. You'll likely see me writing less in this blog over the next couple of months as I prefer to spend as much time as possible enjoying the holidays with my family. I pray that you enjoy the lead up to the holidays and that you appreciate the little things in life.

Keep Reaching For Life's Mileposts,