Saturday, January 31, 2009

Twitter Flute Players

Why are flute players better?

We know how to hold our breath for a long time.

We know how to wait for the right time to make an entrance.

We know practice really does make perfect.

We know to get to point Z you start at point A.

We listen better.

We are more patient and disciplined.

We know how to work as a team.

Twitter flute players include:

@audiophilia Anthony Kershaw

@ambercadabra Amber Naslund

@jennfowler Jenn Fowler

@lynnae Lynnae McCoy

@debworks Deb Brown

@mommaven Cindy

Any other flute players out there?

flute photo from dailyinvention at 

Friday, January 30, 2009

What Books Are You Reading?

What Books Are You Reading?

I'm a bit of a book nut. Well, probably more than a bit. Here's where I am reading and what I am reading.

In the bathroom: My One Hundred Adventures by Polly Horvath. It's a kids book, well – preteen. It starts out “All summers take me back to the sea. There in the long eelgrass, like bird's eggs waiting to be hatched, my brothers and sister and I sit, grasses higher than our heads, arms and legs like thicker versions of the grass waving in the wind, looking up at the blue washed sky.” It's a Junior Library Guild selection. And its very good following Jane on her adventures! Perfect for bathroom reading.

In the kitchen: Sugarettes by Dr. Scott Olson ND and Sugar Busters by a group of people. I'm currently going sugar free and these books have practical advice and help motivate me to continue on this sugar free trip. When I think just one sweet thing won't hurt – I pick up one of these books and start reading. It does help.

Next to my computer space: Ghost Churches of Franklin County by John Beer. The Franklin County Historical Society sponsored this book. It was given to me by a fellow church member. I was a history major in college and find myself still strongly attracted to history, particularly of the area that I live in. This is a trip down the counties growth lane! An excerpt, “The home of Martin Boots was the rendezvous for the settlers religiously inclined, and it was here that Reverends Brown and Olmstead held the first church services. This was in the summer of 1855.” In 1855 the only way you got to Franklin County was by walking. Imagine walking halfway across the state of Iowa! The pioneers knew not what they would find, yet they came.

You didn't think I had just one book by my computer did you? Tribes – We Need You To Lead Us by Seth Godin. Seth believes we are all leaders and that anyone who wants to make a difference, can. I'm 1/3 of the way through it and am taking avid notes and putting ideas into practice.

In the bedroom: The Bible I need to read it more often!

By the couch: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver  This book tells about one family's year of food life – living off the land. Barabra wrote the central narrative, Steven's side bars talk about food production science and industry and Camille wrote brief essays on local food projects, nutritional information, meal plans and recipes. I believe this book should be in every household! You will take a closer look at the food you buy in the store. I shop out of my garden, from free range farmers and at the local market (farmers and in town) as a result of reading this book.

I have at least five books waiting to be read. I like to be reading at least two books at a time – it depends on what I 'm in the mood to read!

I support my local independent book store, The Kaleidoscope in Hampton ( has this to say about Why Shop Indie?

When you shop at independently owned business, your entire community benefits:

The Economy

  • Spend $100 at a local and $68 of that stays in your community. Spend the same $100 at a national chain (in town) and your community only sees $43

  • Local businesses create higher paying jobs for our neighbors

  • More of your taxes are reinvested in your community – where they belong

The Environment

  • Buying local means less packaging, less transportation and a smaller carbon footprint

  • Shopping in a local business district means less infrastructure, less maintenance, and more money to beautify your community

The Community

  • Local retailers are your friends and neighbors – support them and they'll support you

  • Local businesses donate to charities at more than twice the rate of national chains

  • More independents means more choice, more diversity, and a truly unique community

  • Now is the time to stand up and join your fellow individuals in the Indie Bound mission supporting

  • local businesses and celebrating independents.

    Books are love pic by janetmck at 

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Theory About ADD/ADHD

Simply put ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) shows up as inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness. These activities occur consistently and over a period of time. Remember, I said that was the simple explanation. It seems diagnosis is not so hard – the difficulty often comes in determining where it came from – what the original cause could be.

We know that lead poisoning is associated with ADHD as is the use of cigarettes and alcohol by the mother while pregnant. (see Attention disorders often run in families as well. The CDC did a study that determined the rate of ADHD in children under 12 was remaining steady, but rising in children over 12. 

I have a theory to propose. What if one of the causes was exposure to everyday chemicals you use in your home?

Dr. Joyce Woods wrote an article entitled Know Your ABC's. About the Author-- Dr. Joyce Woods worked as a medical/surgical nurse, public health nurse, nurse educator, nursing school administrator, occupational health consultant. She holds Bachelors of Nursing, Bachelors of Arts (Specialist), Masters of Education degrees, and has completed her doctoral degree in the area of Indoor Air Pollution, and's effect on your health.

Begin by thinking of your home as a toxic waste dump. The average home today contains 62 toxic chemicals - more than a chemistry lab at the turn of the century. More than 72,000 synthetic chemicals have been produced since WW II. Less than 2% of synthetic chemicals have been tested for toxicity, mutagenic and carcinogenic effects, or birth defects. The majority of chemicals have never been tested for long-term effects.

Let's talk about a few of the letters in the Alphabet that Dr. Woods refers to..

a. An EPA survey concluded that indoor air was 3 to 70 times more polluted than outdoor air.

c. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation reports that houses today are so energy efficient that "out-gassing" of chemicals has no where to go, so it builds up inside the home.

d. We spend 90% of our time indoors, and 65% of that time at home. Moms, infants and the elderly spend 90% of their time in the home.

i. There has been a call from the U.S./Canadian Commission to ban bleach in North America. Bleach is being linked to the rising rates of breast cancer in women, reproductive problems in men and learning and behavioral problems in children.

j. Chemicals get into our body through inhalation, ingestion and absorption. We breathe 10 to 20 thousand liters of air per day.

m. ADD/ADHD are epidemic in schools today. Behavioral problems have long been linked to exposure to toxic chemicals and molds.

p. Formaldehyde, phenol, benzene, toluene, xylene are found in common household cleaners, cosmetics, beverages, fabrics and cigarette smoke. These chemicals are cancer causing and toxic to the immune system.

q. Chemicals are attracted to, and stored in fatty tissue. The brain is a prime target for these destructive organics because of its high fat content and very rich blood supply. brings to light some great information about how household cleaning products may be doing more harm than good. Here is a short excerpt from their site:

Another harmful ingredient to watch out for is monoethanolamine, also known as MEA. Other synonyms for this chemical are Ethanolamine; Ethanol, 2-amino-; 2-Aminoethanol; 2-Hydroxyethanamine.

This chemical is a surfactant and an emulsifier and can be found in nearly 50 household cleaning products including floor cleaners, tile and grout cleaners, degreasers, stainless steel cleaners and laundry detergents. Additionally, this APE is found in 100 personal care products listed in the Household Products Database, especially consumer hair coloring products. MEA is also an antihistamine found in several popular over the counter drugs, the sedating powers of which are stronger than many barbiturates. As a cleansing ingredient, MEA is highly corrosive to the skin, potentially even causing bleeding to the exposed area. Inhalation may cause asthma attacks or damage the respiratory tract or lungs. MEA is potentially a neurotoxin. Repeated exposure to MEA can damage the liver and kidneys and has proven toxic in animal lab tests. One leading global chemical company admits the body of available research is insufficient to fully determine the health risks for humans.

I freely admit I work for a green company and we have non-caustic products that are safe for your home and family. One of the reasons I chose to work for them was because of my grandson. He has ADD, suspected by his teacher and diagnosed by his doctor. At the age of 6 they put him on Ritalin and my loving, happy, active grandson became a zombie. He lost a lot of weight and had no desire to do much of anything. At the time, we lived in a small town in North Carolina with a big yard and neighbors with kids. It was killing his parents to have him on these drugs – yet, the school insisted he needed the drugs. In July, right before his 7th birthday A.J. Came to spend the summer with us. I told his mom to send his meds, but I would probably not be giving them to him. She was relieved!

We had eliminated all the toxins in our home that we could, and were using all of the natural, non-caustic products my company offers. The first week A.J. Was with us, was interesting. He bounced off the walls. But the next week and the rest of the summer, he was a happy, healthy, active almost 7 year old. He slept all night, played quietly when asked to, enjoyed the outdoors, got into no fights with neighbor kids and was a joy to be around*.

We contribute it to the lack of exposure to toxic chemicals in our home. Now, I'm not a doctor, paid researcher or chemical specialist. I am a mother, grandmother and a woman who is living a healthier life. We need to take responsibility for our lives – and not rely on others to do what we can do. I can have a healthier home – and so can you.   

You can find more information here.  

Photo by Oslo in Summertime on 

*It's important to note that my grandson follows a specific diet, sees a doctor regularly and if under stress will have a few 'outbreaks' of his ADD.  With proper elimination of toxins in his environment, a great diet and lots of attention - he's a different child!  We all firmly believe we are doing the right thing.  

Monday, January 26, 2009

Got Tribes?

Seth Godin wrote a book called Tribes.   I've been listening to it and now I have the hard copy in my hands.  

I think this book could revolutionize the way we do business.  

I set up memberships and help expand the customer base for my company.  I also teach others to do the same.  It's consumer direct marketing (not MLM) and a great way to work from home.  My customer base are people who want to switch some of their every day shopping to a green company, with non-caustic products less expensive that the grocery store and delivered to their door.  

How can I use this book to increase my customer database, bring new members into the team - and ultimately make great additional income doing so?  Here's a couple of paragraphs from the beginning of the book.

Human beings can't help it: we need to belong.  One of the most powerful of our survival mechanisms is to be part of a tribe, to contribute to (and take from) a group of like-minded people.  We are drawn to leaders and to their ideas, and we can't resist the rush of belonging and the thrill of the news.  

There's an explosion of new tools available to help lead the tribes we're forming.  Facebook and Ning and Meetup and Twitter.  Squidoo and Basecamp and Craigslist and email.  There are literally thousands of ways to coordinate and connect groups of people that just didn't exist a generation ago.

That's two paragraphs.   I just learned there are a lot of people who WANT to belong to what I'm doing, and there's thousands of ways to find them.  

Wouldn't this concept - Tribes - work for a brick and mortar business too?  You betcha!  

My Sunday Was A Monday

Monday came on Sunday.  

Church at 10 a.m. - which I went to and left to take my great nephew across the street.  His great grandpa was sleeping (he's my Dad) so I ended up staying and missing church.  

Left and went to Keri's house and started writing a grant for the Old Stone House.  That would be the first stone house ever built in the county.  Back in 1854.  We are trying to save it -- leakage and joists to be fixed.  More on that later in the week.  

Ate lunch - corn tortillas (9 grams carb and zero sugar) with spinach, celery, tomatoes, ham, mozzarella cheese - cooked 15 minutes.  OMG - let me tell you, I fell in love with this sugar free pizza!  

Keri and I wrapped up what we were working on and headed to Iowa Falls.  We met Kathy there and then went to the Soul of the Prairie  in Hubbard.  Seven women in the Prairie Women Literary Guild -- we discussed The Secret Life of Bees until 6 pm.  The picture above is from the inside of the converted Chicken House (yup, you read it right).  Fantastic discussion in a beautiful setting.

Then I headed back to Hampton where we had an audit meeting to audit the church books.  We met at the Financial Secretary's house and worked for 2 hours.  Nice, huge big home - and a friendly environment.  I stayed after to talk to her husband about Four Mile Grove - it used to be a town right across from the farm I grew up on.  You'll see more on that later too!

Okay - home now at 10:33 pm   Plenty to think about too.  The Real Monday: Articles to write for the paper, a CD to listen to and transfer to paper with Erin tomorrow on how to systemize our business, gym in the morning, finish up the proposal for Historical Society, set up appointments for my business, attend monthly meeting at Historical Society - and then I think I'll sleep! 

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Interview With an Internet Savvy Iowa Pastor

Immanuel Church of Christ

I had the pleasure of speaking to the Reverend Thomas J. Cofer, the pastor at Immanuel Church of Christ
 in Latimer Iowa. Please enjoy the interview!

Tell us a little about yourself and your family.

I was born in Michigan City, Indiana and grew up there. I graduated from Marquette High School in 1996, and then I went to Valparaiso University and got my Bachelor’s in 1999. I then went to seminary at Eden Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Mo and got my Master’s of Divinity. When I went to St. Louis was when I met my wife Lisa. The summer that I graduated seminary was an eventful one. I graduated, moved, became ordained, got married, went on a honeymoon, and then began to serve my first church in the summer of 2003. I was called to serve a United Church of Christ congregation in southern Indiana. In 2005, Lisa and I became parents with the birth of our twin daughters, Zoe and Kara. In 2006, I was called to be the pastor of Immanuel United Church of Christ in Latimer. In 2007, our son Liam was born. I keep busy with church and family, but in my free time I like to do a variety of things, which include fishing and reading.

What brought you to the ministry?

When I was a teenager, I felt God was leading me in that direction. At that point, I had my own ideas of what I wanted to do, and I wanted to become a lawyer at that point. However, as time went on, I felt God’s call pulling on me stronger and stronger. I also began to see myself change from just responding to what God wanted me to do. I was supported by my local church and my church family, and they provided me with opportunities to engage in ministry. My pastor there was very instrumental in helping me along the path. My family was also very supportive. The church today faces both enormous joys and challenges, and God has called me to respond to those here at Immanuel UCC.

Why would I want to attend Immanuel United Church of Christ?

This congregation embraces the call and challenge given to us by Christ of ministering to all people. We extend an invitation to all in welcome. This is not a welcome that is provisional or contingent. What does this mean? Well, no matter who you are, or where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here. Our culture is very consumer oriented, and we even hear of churches only focusing on the trappings to get people in the door. What we offer is an authentic faith community. We are always looking for ways to expand our horizons by trying new things and programs, but this is not the be all and end all of being the church. The most important thing is that we are a family of faith, and we welcome all to join us.

 Are we perfect? Of course not. Do we sometimes get on each other’s nerves…sure we do. Think of your family gatherings. We may not like uncle Marty all the time, but he is still family and we love him and welcome him. The church is the same way, and Christ is at our center, always bringing us in and uniting us. This is a place where we come to worship the God who gives us life. We take seriously the mission of the church, which is to extend God’s hospitality to the world. In addition to Sunday morning worship, we have Sunday school and Bible Study for all ages, fellowship groups, as well as service opportunities. We are a congregation of unity, united as a family in Christ, but we are also a congregation of diversity. Our diversity exists in our individual gifts and sometimes our way of looking at things. We come together from different places in life, and we are united to worship God. There is a place for you here, and we welcome you with open arms.

What projects does the church have going on?

Our regular activities include Sunday worship (as well as special worship services throughout the year) Sunday school, bible study, and various fellowship opportunities. Recently, our congregation has begun a food pantry for the CAL area. It was started by the 3-5 grade Sunday school class as a way to reach out to the community, and all who have a need are welcome and encouraged to make use of it. Generally, Monday-Thursday mornings 9-12 noon are good times to come by. You may also call the church office and arrange a time to come by as well. We have just begun this mission, so we are in the “early stages” as far as organization. We also contribute to the betterment of the wider community by supporting various missions. If you would like to know more, come by worship with us sometime!

I understand you are very familiar with the internet. What kind of things could we as a congregation and community be doing to utilize the internet in our spiritual growth?

The internet can be a tremendous tool for spreading the gospel of Christ. There are many ways in which I would like to see our congregation as well as our wider community use the internet in terms of our spiritual growth. First, the internet is a tremendous source of information. If there are things we are confused about or would like to know more about, in addition to talking to others, we can go to the internet and find what others have said. We can also make use of all kinds of resources for worship and other gatherings. You can look up scripture, read sermons, participate in discussions, etc. The internet also gives us unprecedented access to media that can be used for worship, study, and fellowship gatherings. Many people can relate to and connect with these resources. There are many people that use the internet on at least a daily basis, sometimes more. If we let this tool go unused, then there will be many missed opportunities to reach others for Christ.

What little things, every day things, can I do to be a witness for Christ?

So often, we confine ourselves to only thinking of “great” people when we think of Christians being a witness, people such as Mother Teresa. When we confine ourselves to that idea, however, we miss the point. We are not all called to be well-known in such ways. When Jesus was ministering and making disciples, he was teaching them about the every day. Look at the parables: the parable of the Good Samaritan is a great example of the everyday. The “good Samaritan” was simply responding to someone who had a need. Look at the story in the gospels of the woman that was about to be stoned because she committed adultery. Jesus famously said “Let anyone without sin cast the first stone.” Being a disciple is about our everyday choices that we make as a result of God’s love for us. This is not something that always has to be profound. We all play different roles at different times. If we are a parent, God calls us to be the best parent we can and show that child unconditional love and to lead by example. If we have a spouse, we are called to treat them with love and respect and to be attentive to them and their needs. We could look at every relationship in our lives in this way. 

How do we deal with the circumstances we face in our own lives? When we face challenges, how do we deal with them? Do we turn to something destructive, or do we bring them before God by praying about them and asking others to pray? When we have joys, do we give thanks to God and try to include others in them or do we simply use them as opportunities for self-indulgence? When our neighbor has a need that we know we can help meet, do we respond, or do we make excuses not to? Do set aside time to pray (which is having a conversation with God, both talking and listening.)? Do we worship God alone as well as in a community of faith? Being “born again” is about God’s wonderful gift of love to us, but it is also a conscious, everyday choice. In short, do we conduct our everyday lives as a reflection of God’s love, or as a reflection of something else? How we spend our resources (time, talent, and treasure) are direct indicators of what we value. So we can pray, be good neighbors, study, etc. and those would be witnessing for Christ. We can be the presence of Christ to other people.

What do you think local churches can do to work together?

As local churches, we have to; first, make sure diversity is celebrated as a gift. No matter what other differences we have (whether it be worship style, creeds, system of organization, etc.), we can all agree on two things; which are the message found in John 3:16, which is the good news of Christ, as well as the call of Christ to make disciples and serving others in His name.) Even though we may not agree with one another, it is important we all come to the table. Here in Franklin County, I feel we are very blessed because we have many congregations and pastors that are engaged in ecumenical service. Our Franklin County clergy group is very active in the wider community; having ecumenical services, as well as maintaining a crisis fund for those who are in need, and sponsoring occasional special events. We are already working together in many ways, and I’m sure that the Holy Spirit will continue to present us with ways in which we can work together.

In the church’s Statement of Faith, I saw “God calls us into the church to accept the cost and joy of discipleship.” What is the cost and what is the joy?

The cost is that it will not always be easy for us to follow Christ. An extreme example of this is that throughout the centuries people have paid the ultimate price for following Christ, that is forfeiting their life. Most of us will never be put in this situation, but the cost remains. Sometimes, God will move and call us to do things that we don’t really want to do or are inconvenient. Because we have received the free gift of God’s love, we are moved to share that gift with others. This includes giving of our time, talent, and treasure. Sometimes, God calls us to make difficult decisions, and to give up things. Sometimes God wants us to take on projects. This is these are the type of things that would illustrate the cost of discipleship. The joys are related to being truly accepted for who we are and loved as children of God. We are loved unconditionally by God, and as a free gift, we are being welcomed and received into eternal life. Eternal life is not only something that happens after we die, but it can be enjoyed and lived out now, as far as we have the ability.

What are the hours of services and how can we contact you?

Sunday school for all ages begins at 9:00am; Worship begins at 10:30am each Sunday. Our website is You are invited and encouraged to go there and see what is coming up as well as to find more information about us, and there are also links to other sites that can help you on your Christian journey. My email address is Phone: (641)579-6443. Our mailing address is 204 E. South St. PO Box 460 Latimer, IA 50452. We are located on the south side of town as you come in from Hwy. 3, you can’t miss us!

picture courtesy of mufan96 at 

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Live Healthy!

Keri, Marjan, Denise, Norma, Deb, Pat, Elaine and I are on a team to improve our health and Live Healthy. If you live in Iowa, visit Then there's Live Healthy America – it's a nationwide, web based, and teamwork driven wellness program designed to help participants make positive and lasting changes.

What do you get? Here's the info directly from the website.

All Live Healthy Iowa participants will benefit from the following:

  • Live Healthy Iowa training t-shirt

  • The chance to win individual and team prizes throughout the 100 Day Challenge

  • Weekly activity, nutrition and recipe tips via e-mail

  • A personal online tracking page

  • Team leaderboard

  • 100 Days of access to Training Peaks

  • Personalized meal plans, customized workouts and more!

  • Upon registering for LHI and logging onto your personal dashboard, a one-year subscription to one of the lifestyle magazines listed below is included in your participation fee.

    • Fitness 

      Family Circle

    • Parents

    • Midwest Living

    • Motor Trend

    • Better Homes and Gardens

    • Ladies' Home Journal

    • Heart Healthy Living

    • Men's Journal

    • Diabetic Living

    • Siempre Mujer

Teams may register in the Minutes of Activity Division, the Weight Loss Division or both. In either case, individuals track and record minutes of activity and weight loss which is used to calculate your team's percentage weight loss and total activity minutes. Friendly competition among teams is encouraged. (

You have from now until April 23rd to join the party. You must be between 18 and 99. What are you waiting for? Make a team – and challenge my kick butt team to a competition! We will take on all comers. See you at the gym! 

Friday, January 23, 2009


Commonsense Tips for Using Your Computer

I tend to hit the Add To Favorites button – a lot. Today I spent about two hours organizing my favorites. What's been frustrating for me is they are never in alphabetical order! Here's a tip to organize your favorites in IE in alphabetical order. Click on Favorites, Click on Organize Favorites, Right click on the first folder and choose Sort By Name. No kidding, that's it.

In IE you can have more than one window open. To move between windows, simply Alt Tab on your keyboard.

In an IE window, you may have more than one tab open. To move between tabs, simply Ctrl Tab.

I have three yahoo email accounts. One is used heavily and I need to be on it all day. The other one I'm phasing out and need to check it once a day (I check it first). The third I like to have open because it's tied to my blog and I also receive RSS feeds there too. I got really tired of opening and closing yahoo mail to get between the two. So I finally downloaded Google Chrome (Google's Browser found at ). I can keep my blog and yahoo email open in it – and the other yahoo mail open in IE. Life is easier now.

If you are writing in Word and bouncing between the internet and Word – save your document often. There's nothing worse than losing several hours of work! A simple Ctrl Save will save your work. Old school advice!

Speaking of MSWord - I useOpen Office and their programs are almost the same as Word, Excel, Power Point - and it's free. 

Have a webcam built right into your computer and have no clue how to use it? Don't feel bad – there's a lot of people like that! Go to, create an account (it's easy) – and then you just Record!

Backup your files at least once a month. If you have Vista – click on the little Windows icon on the lower left of your screen, where it says Start Search type the word backup and hit enter. Choose Back and Restore Center. Then back up your files. It is recommended you do this at least once a month. If you are working on your computer a lot – do it once a week.

Commonsense photo courtesy of Guillermo Esteves  via

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Franklin Wellness Center


Franklin Wellness Center has a new director – Nick Hansen!

Tell us about yourself? I'm from Osmond NE (50 miles west of Sioux City), born and raised in a town of 800 people! I'm 28 (he looks 14) and have a lovely wife Carrie. Just married one and a half years ago!

Where did you go to school? Wayne state college, Wayne, NE and studied exercise science for my bachelors and got my master in Education w/emphasis in Exercise Science then it was time to join the real world and look for job opportunities.

This is my first real job in my field!

What does one do with exercise science degree? Personal train, directors (aquatics, wellness, special population director – sr. wellness for example) and corporate wellness.

We have started a corporate wellness plan aimed for employees in Franklin county. The company pays a fee and we will give them a special discount to their employees and they will receive a package of information, we will go the site and give healthy tips and training. We want to increase the productivity of the employee (healthier lifestyle decreases health insurance costs!).

Personal training? Right now, we have none. We are working on setting up the insurance regulations and you can look for this in the future! I myself will be doing training!

So why did you choose Hampton? I saw an ad on the internet, read the description, sounded like a pretty cool job. I applied, a week later I was asked to interview with the board members. After meeting with them, I felt like this was a pretty good job oppty and I could help the community at the same time.

What does that mean- help the community? My passion is exercise and I think I can bring more programs and get more people involved in wellness and health – of all ages.

What does FWC have to offer?

Programs like total body conditioning, Over 50 and Fit, Senior Water Aerobics and Yoga. You can access the gym where you can play indoor soccer, volleyball or basketball. We have a fun zone k-2 where the ids learn different activities (track and field, basketball, and the like) – and a program for 3rd to 5th graders – it teaches them the basics to see if they like it. We have volleyball and are looking to set up teams for perhaps a pick up league. We have a walking/running track that is 105 meters (15 laps would be a mile). We have the free weights upstairs and weight machines and all the cardio equipment (elliptical,l, treadmill, bikes). Downstairs we have the pool (with classes) 4 lap area and a therapy pool/spa area.

Why do I want to join? To benefit and live a healthier lifestyle! We have programs to help motivate you. You'll meet new people in the community. We will help you reach your goals.

What's coming down the pike? Trying to install more youth programs, sidewalk accessibility, and we are working on starting live healthy Iowa team.

Anything else? If you are looking for a new resolution or a way to live a healthier lifestyle – stop in and we will give you a tour – we aim to please, and we want you to obtain your goals!

Who teaches your classes? Classes are independent of the wellness center and we pay our instructors – that is why members get a discount on the class. You can take a class and not be a member! Kristi Wragge, Rhonda Wenzel, Abby Stuckenburg, Liz Miller and Diane Davis are some of our instructors.

We started a winter challenge for a 2009 triathlon – there are around 20 people participating. You log run/walk miles, swim miles and bike miles.

How to contact FWC: 641-456-2827 at 1514 central ave East, Hampton, Iowa

I joined FWC and played some basketball, walked the track 1/3 of a mile and lifted some weights.  I am SO not in shape.  The great thing is - I have a place now close to my home that I can go work out at and get into better physical shape.  My brother's family has joined as well - so I have someone to work out with!  

photo provided by ggvic at

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Life on the Sugar Free Front

Life on the Sugar Free Front

Good Lord, do you have any idea how hard it is to eat sugar free? I started on the 15th of January. The first thing I did was go through my house and remove items on the not-approved list. The Food Pantry basket at our church was very happy! The 2nd thing I did was read Sugarettes by Dr. Scott Olson. There's a real eye opener!

Did you know when you take sugar out of your diet, that you are going to feel like you have the flu? You might have headaches, mood changes, and you will have cravings. Make it through the first couple of days (my task this week) and then you might feel dry. What happens is your body holds onto water to dilute the toxins you are putting into it. No toxins, the water is released. Your bloating goes WAY down.

Now your body is surely feeling a whole lot better! So much better it decides to get rid of a lot of junk you've been carrying around. You might experience all sorts of illnesses. A cold is common, skin disturbances are too. This is par for the course – your body is detoxing and all that junk needs to come out!

What are the results? Better sleep, weight loss, increased energy!

Dr. Scott Olson who wrote Sugarettes gives us some practical tips.

Eat often. He recommends eating something every couple of hours. I liken it to putting gas in your car. You know your car runs better if you never keep the tank below half! What you are doing is balancing your blood sugar level and it lessens the cravings you will have.

Eat dried fruit. It helps with the cravings for dessert after your meal! Don't over do it though.

Salad greens. Eat some before your meal. They help fill you up and are loaded with vitamins and other nutrients.

Exercise. It's been shown to reduce cravings. Having a sugar fit? Go shovel some snow, take a walk, play with your kids. Move.

Brush your teeth. It puts a sweet taste in your mouth and you don't feel like eating after brushing. Be sure to use a natural toothpaste (see Deb)!

Drink water. Just a glass of water. Sometimes your brain is sending a signal you are hungry – and you are just thirsty!

Supplement. Are you taking your vitamins? Even doctors recommend a good multivitamin! I can help you with that. Give me a call at 641-458-1114.

picture of sugar by ktylerconk at 

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Barack and Me

Tuesday, January 20, 2009  President Barack Obama Inaugurated

I first met Barack Obama at the Harkin Steak Fry two years ago in Indianola Iowa.  It was held at a large field where the balloon races start. There were about 10,000 people in attendance.  The steak was free (and unremarkable, sad for Iowa).  All of the Democratic candidates were there.

The stage where the speakers would be was located at the bottom of a slight hill.  There were chairs around it, and people were marking their spots on the ground with blankets.  At the top of the hill was a large open sided tent with tables under it - the long tables you see at church events or in the bingo hall.

The candidates were found in the field, surrounded by security and lots of people asking questions.  

Except for Barack Obama.  He was under the tent, making his way between the tables and talking to people.  He had his front person, Jackie Norris with him.  He was making his way towards where I was sitting.  There were about 12 people at my table.  

Jackie Norris passed me first - and I gave her my business card and asked her to call me.  Then Barack came.  He had on a polo shirt and slacks.  Mr. Obama stopped in front of me and grabbed my hand with both of his and shook it.  He looked directly into my eyes.  He was not looking ahead or behind.  He smiled that famous smile and thanked me for coming.  He waited a couple of seconds to make sure I had nothing else to say.  Then he went to the next person.

I got the feeling Barack Obama wanted to hear what I said.  He paid attention to ME.  That's when I knew this man could one day be president.  

You can watch the speeches from that day here. The picture above is one I took when he came to Allison, Iowa for a town hall meeting.  I got a hug from him at that event, and he remembered me from a couple of other events I'd been at.  Millions of people, and he remembers me.  

Monday, January 19, 2009

Newspapers Dead?

Word is newspapers are becoming obsolete.  Yesterday's news - and all that.  

I disagree. 

Newspapers are more than just news.  Yes, news is important.  With television and now the internet - it's very easy to get the news almost as it is happening.  But not all newspapers are on the rat race to print all the news that's fit to print. 

I am the editor for a daily newspaper in Franklin County Iowa.  My publisher owns the local bookstore.  Our intention is to promote local business - shop where your house is.  We feature local businesses. We provide listings for today and tomorrow of activities in the county (school, church, groups, organizations, etc.) We have articles written from our point of view.  There are guest articles as well.  We share jokes, interesting tidbits of information, articles from the County Extension office -- and whatever we feel like writing.  We are truly the people's paper.  

A few people advertise with us, not more than 12 on any given day though.  The paper is free and you can find it any place where people in town gather for coffee.  We don't make any money at it (other than we get free advertising for our respective businesses). 

I think you could compare us to a community blog - in print.  It's working for us.  Our news is important to our community.  What's happening in town today.  A new business? Wow, I didn't know that! They do that?  We call ourselves: Hampton Today, Who Knew?  

Oh - and you can receive it in your email every day! Dead? I think not! 

picture from wili_hybrid courtesy of

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Dominick Evans Needs A Van

I've written about Dominick Evans for two weekends now.  If you have not visited - what the heck are you waiting on?  

I know you need a van desperately. Talk about that some please.

We'd like to get a vehicle that is wheelchair accessible. We are looking at the Chevy Uplander, merely because a full sized van is too big for the driver in this house to handle (some people are afraid of bigger cars), and the Uplander is the only minivan big enough to accommodate my power wheelchair (which, by the way costs as much as a car - thankfully insurance paid for it). The Uplander costs around $23,000 for the extended version (the kind you have to get in order for it to be made accessible). The initial quote for lowering the floor and adding a wheelchair ramp and tie downs to the van is $15,000. This is what is needed to make the van accessible. For the van, I'd be paying $38,000. An already converted van of this type is going to cost upwards of $50,000, so making my van accessible on my own will actually save money.

What are the benefits? 

The benefit to having a van is great. I can't go out to a restaurant, store, park or any other location just to enjoy time with my family. Accessible transport only takes me to doctor's appointments and work/business oriented appointments. I can't leave my county, so I'd be able to go see specialists for my disability and being transgendered, who I cannot see now. I would save on transport time to and from doctor's appointments by at least 2 hours per trip.

Traveling to the doctor's currently is an ALL day experience by public transport. I don't get out much as a result. If I have an emergency, I can't go to the hospital, without calling 911. I can't just hop in the car and drive. I also have to pay hundreds of dollars out of pocket for an ambulance to drive me home since I don't have any way of getting my wheelchair to the hospital with me, or any way to get home without said ambulance. I've had to turn down necessary doctor's appointments due to travel issues dealing with public transportation's unreliability and my health has suffered because of this.

Dominick and I spent quite a bit of time in the interview process.  It wasn't easy for him.  Just like his life is not easy.  What will you do to help? 

picture from 

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Dominick Evans Needs A Home

This is the third in a series of four posts about Dominick Evans. 

Okay lets talk about your house. Please paint me a visual picture of what your day is like in your house.

My house is very small. Four people live in a house with three bedrooms, one bathroom, a living room, a kitchen and a laundry room. The house has a wooden ramp up to the front door. The ramp was poorly built and is going to need to be replaced soon because the wood is starting to rot. The door, at the top of the ramp, leads into the living room. This is the only room I can get into fully in my wheelchair. Even then, with furniture in it, I usually have to find a place to park my wheelchair and not move when I’m in there. Otherwise, other people can’t get through to go to other parts of the house.

To the right (off the living room) is a doorway leading to the kitchen. The kitchen is so small I can’t even turn in it. I never go in it, because I get stuck in it if I do. To the right is a very tiny doorway that has a circle of doors once you pass through it. There are two bedrooms on the left and a tiny bathroom with bathtub straight ahead. The bathroom is so small, I can’t even roll into it and my Hoyer can barely fit. I never go in there.

A sharp turn around a corner only my Hoyer can maneuver (and not without chipping paint off the wall) and you are in the 10x11 bedroom. That is the room Ash and I sleep in and if I’m in there working, I have to stay in bed the entire time. I cannot get my wheelchair in there, at all. This is also where I bathe and go to the bathroom. For the last five years, I’ve sponge bathed. I am DYING for a shower. Ash gets me squeaky clean, but NOTHING beats a hot shower. I miss showering badly. I also use a portable commode and bedpan in my room if I have to go to the bathroom.

Across the hall is my son’s bedroom. The only time I went in there was via Hoyer, when my bedroom carpet was being changed. The rest of the time, I don’t go in there because it is HARD to navigate the corners without ripping the paint.

Off the kitchen and down two steps is Sylvia’s bedroom. It is actually the family room, but I obviously don’t go in there. The laundry room is also down steps and off the kitchen, but I can get in there if I go outside and come in the second, outside door. Of course, the room is so small there is no point.

This house was built to be on one floor, but definitely not with someone in a wheelchair in mind. While most of the doorways are wide enough for a standard sized wheelchair to pass through (excluding the bathroom door), the hallways and walk through areas are small, stuffy and way too hard to navigate for even the best wheelchair drivers.

What kind of improvements are needed?

In order for me to fully live in this house independently, we’d have to rip out walls, raise floors, completely redo the two bedrooms, resize the kitchen, completely rebuild the bathroom and get a new ramp. Ashtyn’s brother is a builder and he said we’d spend more money fixing this one up then we would paying off our bills and finding a new home with an open floor plan. While this home is mostly all on one floor, it’s a lot more inaccessible then we realized when we moved back to Michigan after my injury.

Adding the excessive cost factor to the fact that Washtenaw County has more services available for me, anyway, and for my son who has Asperger’s Syndrome (an Autistic Spectrum Disorder) we have not pursued remodeling this home. The U of M has an excellent program for transgendered FTMs and for Autistic Children, so our goal is to find a way to live closer.

At present, we're $30,000 in debt.

How did you get so deep in debt?

After I fell during a routine transfer from wheelchair to bath chair, I fractured my tibia. I had to be taken to the hospital, where I was told I'd either have to have surgery (with at least six months recovery) or I could attempt to recover with constant bed rest. I ended up staying in bed for several months. As a result, I had to be moved (carefully) from my college town apartment to Michigan, so I could recover at the home owned by Ashtyn and her mother. Due to this injury, I was forced to quit my two jobs at the university and quit school before finishing.

Ashtyn could not work because she was taking care of me 24/7. Her mother was looking after our young son, CT, and she had just recently been laid off from her factory job. At the present time, we had absolutely no money. For the few months when we lived at the university apartment, after my fall, we had to use credit cards for groceries. We also had to buy necessities like clothing, toiletries and the like for the first two years after my injury, via credit cards. With a rising economy and four mouths to feed, we spent around $500 a month on all our necessities. This translates to around $6000
per year and $12,000 total until our job was able to provide food, clothes, and more for our family. Just to note, our food is a little more expensive due to CT's special diet as a result of his Aspergers.

On top of this, we had to purchase a new bed for me. I had a very heavy, electronically operated bed in Dayton that was unable to be moved. We spent around $2500 for a new bed in this house with special mattresses that would help to prevent bed sores, something that can be common for people in wheelchairs. We also had to pay $5000 through credit for emergency dental surgery for Ashtyn's mother. Like most dental problems, this was an unexpected expense for us.

The additional $10,000 dollars we owe is a combination of necessities we've had to buy over the years. CT is home schooled because there is no school in this area willing to deal with the problems he has due to his disability. After finding out his school was abusing him, we removed him immediately. He's been home schooled since he was in 2
nd Grade and he's now in 8th. In the past five years, we've had to buy all of his supplies and books spending around $500 per year on his education. At 5 years times $500 this totals $2500.

With me being stuck in bed, and suffering from the effects of being stuck there (stiff legs, shoulder pain, etc.) I wound up being unable to leave bed, without being medicated. I now take Tylenol 4 w/ Codeine whenever I get out of bed, to combat my chronic pain. Ashtyn and I also had to find a way to make money. We started a business online, but to do that, we've had to spend money on our business. We've bought around $8000 in equipment and hardware, over the years, from computers to our monthly server bill. We run an array of websites, and have a Linux web server we recently had to upgrade to handle our increasing website traffic.

Adding in 3-4 hospital visits of mine, with the cost of a private ambulance bringing me home, as I had no other way to get there, and you have nearly $1000 more added on to our other expenses.

So, that's how we're around $30,000 in debt and that is why we cannot move. Every month we pay the standard amount for credit cards and the loans we've had to take out to pay for the aforementioned items and services.

The final installment is tomorrow.  Are you ready to help Dominick achieve his dreams?  Visit 

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Why Would You?

Why would you use mouthwash that might cause cancer?

Alcohol in mouthwash may raise cancer risk = United Press International


SYDNEY, Jan 12, 2009 (UPI via COMTEX) -- Australian researchers say mouthwash containing alcohol increases the risk of developing oral cancer.

The report, published in the Australian Dental Journal, suggests mouthwash be made available only by prescription. Michael McCullough of Melbourne University said the alcohol may increase the ability of cancer causing compounds to attack the lining of the mouth, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported Monday.

He said dentists need to be aware of the risks.

"If they are going to recommend alcohol-containing products then they recommend it for a good reason, for a short period of time," he said.

Jim Bishop of the New South Wales Cancer Institute, however, said there needs to be more research on the issue.

"We don't know what sort of risk we're talking about with people who use mouthwash regularly. ... it might be quite low or it might be high so we need to know the degree of risk that's involved," he told ABC News.


Why would you clean your house with formaldehyde?

According to Dr. George Grant, Founder of the International Academy of wellness, Formaldehyde, phenol, benzene, toluene, xylene are found in common household cleaners, cosmetics, beverages, fabrics and cigarette smoke. These chemicals are cancer causing and toxic to the immune system.

There are alternatives that are much safer for you and your family. We've got over 400 non-toxic, non-caustic products that are more cost effective than the big box boys, safer for you, your family, and your pets -- and delivered to your door.

What are you waiting for? Call me! Deb Brown 641-458-1114.  Let's have a conversation and talk about safer products you could be using in your home.  

picture courtesy of Joi at