30 days to go

As I sit here, we’re only 30 days from March first!

January has been so different this year than usual in that we had a ton of snow over Christmas but then didn’t get any more to speak of until this past week.

I kind of thought that would make winter much easier, but around the 3rd week in January, I still felt some of the feelings I usually do around that time. Tiredness, irritability, impatience, insomnia, just kind of a foul mood in general, for no good reason.

So I don’t think it’s so much the snow that makes winter so challenging. I was thankful that I didn’t have to deal with the snow for running purposes and I found myself increasing my mileage and even doing some workouts because, with clear roads, there was no reason not to.

The thing that was really difficult was the lack of sunshine. The vast majority of the days were dark and cloudy and we would go 2 weeks without the sun even peaking out of the clouds for a few minutes. Without snow, the landscape took on a dark tone with bare trees and muddy grounds. On top of that, we had several days of rain.

Several minutes of the sun peaking through on one of my hikes with my son

I signed up for this 1,000 hours outside challenge for the year and I got the kids excited to try some new things like snow tubing and cross country and downhill skiing. We couldn’t do any of that.

We did get outside some and we had some great, muddy hikes and every time during the month that the sun did peek out, I fully enjoyed it.

Now that we have snow again, it’s really brightened the landscape. Even though it’s still not really sunny out, looking at the bright landscape almost mimics the sun and I think it helps our brains to tell the difference between day and night.

It makes running more challenging but I’ve decided to embrace it this winter. Usually, I’m trying to just “get through” my running in the winter. Keep the level of fitness I’m in and then push myself again in the spring. I decided if I’m going to live in Michigan, I shouldn’t just be trying to survive in the winter, I should be enjoying the difference it brings.

I’ve been watching a YouTube vlogger, Jonna Jinton at night lately. She lives in northern Sweden where it is winter half the year! In December they don’t get any daylight, just one hour of twilight each day. She talks about her struggles with embracing winter and she’s done many things to help herself really enjoy it. It’s inspired me to try to find ways to enjoy it too.

So when we had a fresh blanket of snow on the ground last week, I decided to do something different. Usually I’m trying to find clear roads to run on, but that comes with it’s own challenges. The roads that are clear, often have the most traffic and the shoulders don’t get cleared. So every time a car comes along I need to move onto the shoulder which is usually covered in snow and slush. Now with having my dog too, it’s just extra stressful to try to make sure there’s enough room for both of us to stay out of the way of cars.

So I took my dog to a park that has lots of cross country trails. I figured, why fight the snow. I knew my times would be slower, but I didn’t have to always be such a slave to my watch. To my delight, the paved trail they had been building in October was completed!

The paved trail cut through the woods. There was only a couple inches of snow on the ground and not many footprints so it was actually good traction. The woods looked beautiful covered with the bright white snow. The path meandered right next to a large black river. The contrast between the white of the snow and the darkness of the river and trees was just beautiful.

I didn’t even mind climbing up the long hill and the view from the top of the river was just breathtaking. The path now connected 3 parks and I was able to get my 6 miles in there.

I loved that experience so much that I decided to go back and run there for my long run on Saturday morning. We had a bit more snow and there had been quite a bit more foot traffic, so the footing was not as great as it was earlier in the week, but the stunning beauty of it made up for that.

The worst part of my run was actually on the busiest street as car after car drove by us and I struggled to find good footing on the shoulder.

I finished the run, and later took my girls out for a walk in the same woods I was in. The kids found even more interesting things to do like peel little bits of ice off of the wood dense and throw them into the River.

As we enter February, I’m expecting it to be cold and for there to be much more snow. I’m ok with that. Now we are excited to try to plan some of these winter activities. And of course, it’s always so nice to go back home into a warm house after being outdoors. Much like the contrast in the scenery of light snow on dark trees is calming, the contrast of warm and cold also brings comfort and appreciation for both. Sipping on a hot cup of coffee or tea as my fingers gradually warm up makes me feel happy to be alive.

Enjoy the beauty of this season to the fullest!

59 days

January 1, 2023, the start of a new year. Also, the start of the 59 hardest days of the year for me, typically.

I wouldn’t call it depression. That sounds so serious. It’s more just the winter blahs, or seasonal affective disorder or something like that. I don’t get depressed, but it’s usually the time of the year I just feel “off” or “down” for no particular reason. I mean, certainly life events during other times of the year can be harder, it’s just that usually during this time of year, I’ll feel this way, when nothing in particular is really wrong. Things could be going along just fine and I’ll catch myself just irritable or grumpy and lacking motivation.

Then I feel guilty for feeling that way. It’s a vicious cycle set on repeat from January to March. There’s many reasons I think this happens. I live in Michigan and winters can be particularly brutal. But it’s not necessarily the snow or the cold that makes it so tough. I think a lot of it has to do with the lack of sunshine. I have noticed a drastic improvement in my mood on days that are bitter cold but sunny. Besides just the lack of vitamin D in the wintertime, the sunlight is important for triggering hormones that control your sleep/wake cycles. It’s crucial to send your body signals in the daytime that it’s actually day time.

This year, I’ve got a plan to try to keep myself from falling into these winter blah’s, whatever you want to call it.

For one thing, I bought a “happy lamp”. It sounds so silly, but often, even after I’ve opened up all the blinds in our home, the sky is so grey that it doesn’t really light up the house. This lamp sends daylight signals to my brain in the morning that it’s daytime and can help with the sleepiness and low energy we often feel in the winter. I put it on my kitchen counter when I’m making breakfast or doing dishes, etc.

The next thing I’m doing is making it a priority to get outside when there is sunshine. If I see that golden sun outside, I try to get outside as soon as possible. Even if that’s just driving in a car.

Another thing I’m doing is trying to embrace winter. I’ve signed up for a challenge to get 1,000 hours of outside time this year and honestly, I don’t need it in the summer. We practically live outside in the summer. I do need accountability in the winter. The challenge will keep me motivated on hitting small monthly goals.

I’m also trying getting the family into new winter sports. We already love sledding but my kids are getting older now so we can try some more difficult things like skiing and ice skating, winter hikes, etc. I’m reading a new book, Microadventures, and I’m having fun trying to plan some of ours.

I’m also trying to enjoy winter running more. I’m usually always in the mindset to just “grit through” winter running, but I’m really trying hard to push myself to really enjoy it.

On Christmas Eve, it was a crazy snow storm. I knew I needed to do my long run and my very active dog needed to get some exercise too. With the wind chill it was -5 F. I didn’t even know if my dog should be out there! While many dog breeds are built for winter, he has no undercoat and has hardly any body fat to speak of. So, I put a sweater on him, put the mushers secret on the pads of his feet and tried wrapping a scarf around his ears and we drove to a church nearby that has heated pavement.

Rocky looked like a little old lady getting ready to go for our run

Even heated pavement couldn’t keep up with the heavy snow falling down. It wasn’t as bad as the other roads, but there was definitely a couple inches of snow cover that was semi slushy and a little slippery, but it was much better than the alternative. We ran, and it was torturous when I had to clean up his waste by stopping. The wind was whipping at my face and I zipped my running jacket all the way up to my chin.

When we turned, the cold blasted my face, giving me an instant headache. It took me more than 18 minutes to run 2 miles and then my dog Rocky went and stood by the truck, letting me know he’d had enough.

I took him home to get warmed up and I did the remaining 6 miles alone. I listened to a podcast, and then to some music. It wasn’t exactly what I would call enjoyable, but I got through it and was happy to be done and have done it.

Dealing with that kind of weather is not something I look forward to, but it also teaches me a bit about myself and what I’m capable of when I don’t give up. More than a few times, I thought about doing the last few miles on the treadmill but I stuck it out.

It teaches you something to go out against the elements like that and find there’s a limit to what you can do. On a great day, you may be able to easily run 2 minutes a mile faster, but you just can’t do it in these extremes. But you can endure and you can endure longer than you think. And a warm cup of coffee and hot shower are appreciated that much more afterwards.

I’ll try to write more about my winter adventures and hold myself accountable. Enjoy winter and please share your tips with me for defeating the winter blahs.

When you feel defeated

Sometimes, we hope and pray so hard for something good, and it seems like the answer is no. What do we do? How do we move forward when things feel so hopeless.

“For My ways are not your ways”

“Father, if there is any other way, please take this cup…Your will be done.”

I’ve been in this place before and it’s one of the more unpleasant places. You put in all the hard work, were best suited for that promotion and it didn’t happen. You trained so hard for that race and your workouts were all showing you should be more than able to hit that goal, but race day comes and you fail miserably. Why did I even bother?

I remember going through some of the secondary infertility we experienced and feeling so hopeful going into a month that everything was done “right” only to stare in anger at yet another negative pregnancy test.

Sometimes it’s even bigger than that. Sometimes it’s in regards to laws and policies that leave you feeling completely gutted.

In all these situations, it felt like you did what you were supposed to do, but didn’t get the results. It’s hard to not feel like it’s a judgement of you personally. It’s hard to not be angry. It’s hard to not feel hopeless or wonder why you should put yourself out there emotionally ever again.

Take heart. Jesus was preaching in a corrupt Roman Empire. And word spread quickly of His teachings and His healing and He even was said to be the long awaited Messiah prophesied. People were full of hope. Hope that He, like Moses would lead the people out of oppression.

When He rode a donkey, people waved palms, fulfilling yet another prophesy. Yet He was murdered. Not only that but He was mocked and humiliated. Stripped down naked. The people who truly believed He was the Messiah must have wondered why He didn’t free Himself from the cross and end it all there. Instead, He allowed it to occur.

Can you imagine what the believers must have been feeling? I can. I can feel it. They were hopeless. It would seem that the naysayers were right all along. They were made out to be fools and conspiracy theorists. But this wasn’t the end of the story.

Jesus rose on the third day. And on the day of Pentecost was the birth of Christianity. A fire that still burns brightly today. The Bible is still the bestselling book of all time.

It’s hard not to feel dismayed, hopeless, broken or even humiliated when we think we’ve been defeated. I urge you to remember that the story is not over. Sometimes God is working something even bigger and better in our moments that feel like defeat.

Don’t give in to feeling hopeless. Sing praises and be joyful even in your suffering. The enemy wants us feeling broken and defeated. But we have a strength that they can’t take away.

Encourage each other. Get back up and joyfully do the work. Pray. Love. Rejoice in your sorrows and let the flame within you shine all the brighter. Laugh when you are mocked. Don’t allow yourself to be humiliated. Be brave like Daniel going into the flaming furnace, saying “even if God doesn’t get me out of this, He is still God!”

If you want to change the world, go home and love your family. Love your community. Love your enemy.

The split road

I was out running with my dog this morning and suddenly he started acting strange. He’s always either running a bit in front of me or directly at my side. He’s never running behind me unless he’s taking a quick pee and then he sprints to catch up.

He was definitely trotting behind me. I called to him and yet he still kept back a bit. Puzzled, I started to look around. That’s when I saw it.

We were jogging down a long country road where you could see much more than a mile into the distance. Looking straight on you could see a cloudy sky, mostly heavy shades of vanilla. To the left, there was a wide open field and a mostly light sky and you could actually see the sun rays poking through the clouds. It looked beautiful and for some reason seeing rays of light poking through the clouds like that always makes me feel God’s presence.

The view to our right was another story. The sky was so dark it seemed nearly black. Heavy storm clouds were creating this ominous feeling. It was after looking at that sky that I noticed the strong wind.

I had checked the forecast before going out and there was a good chance of rain but I didn’t see any storms. It certainly looked like a storm and I figured it was scaring my dog.

I looked back to the left. Peaceful. Beautiful. Calm. I looked again to the right. Dark. Stormy. Frightening.

Suddenly I noticed I had picked up the pace. If I continued running forward, I’d eventually run away from that dark sky but it was going to take a while. What if a bad storm did come on suddenly when we were out here? I looked around. There were plenty of barns we could duck into.

I looked again at the rays of light poking through the clouds on my left and prayed quickly that He would keep us safe. I focused on that light and calm and I wasn’t afraid. When I looked at the dark sky and how much further I had to run, I felt more anxious.

I knew I needed to just trust and feel confident that things were under control. When I focused on the light, it was easier. When I focused on the dark, it was easy to let the fear creep in.

And isn’t this the way it is in life? When we focus on our fears, our doubts, our insecurities, the what if’s in life, that’s all we can see. How long till we out run the storm?

When we set our confidence on the light, we see all the safe places we can shelter if need be, but don’t focus on that too much. We keep going on, confident, and secure that our path is the right one and it’s going to get us where we need to be.

Eventually, it started raining and the wind started really blowing against us. I got my dog back to my side and encouraged him that it was ok. He seemed to do better knowing I was not afraid.

We made it back and there never ended up being any thunderstorms, just rain and wind.

But storms can happen any time so it’s best to be prepared for them. If they do catch you by surprise, know where to look to keep you safe and secure. Feel confident in the light.

My beautiful daughter

My oldest daughter entered this world screaming. It was such a relief hearing her cry for the very first time. It was a scary, emergency c-section after a tumultuous labor and I couldn’t see what was happening but I heard her cry. I knew she was ok.

Her first 12 weeks of life were spent doing a lot of screaming as well. If she wasn’t eating or sleeping (which she fought and fought), she was screaming. I felt like such a failure. All these other moms would post pictures of babies that were not screaming all the time. I took her to the doctor so many times looking for answers. I cut nearly everything joyful out of my diet but nothing ever seemed to help. So I’d wear her in a carrier and I’d walk around the house all the day long. I’d put on music or tv for a break up of the monotony, and often I’d cry right along with her.

As time went on, she grew out of the colic, but she always has been a strong willed child. Very sensitive.

Unfortunately, because she’s my oldest, I didn’t have the patience or skills that have developed over time and I fear I’ve made some of my worst parenting mistakes on her. But I’ve always loved her deeply and fiercely.

I remember her first cold and how I wouldn’t leave her side for 3 full days. I knew in my heart what it really meant to love someone. She taught me that. For the first time in my life, I felt closer to understanding the depth of God’s love for us.

As she grew, it became very apparent that she’s fierce. She’s fierce in passion, and in love and in her sense of justice and fairness, and in her emotions. When she feels something, she feels it deeply. There’s no hiding it. When she’s joyful, it’s a sight to behold and when she’s angry, she likewise has a hard time containing it.

It’s my job as her mom to help her to navigate these strong feelings in the real world and I’ve been working with her on it since she was a toddler.

I love that she has such a strong personality and that she isn’t afraid to speak out when something isn’t right. Yet she needs to learn how to handle things in the right way. We all can’t just act on our feelings all the time without some negative and very heartbreaking consequences.

I know first hand just how difficult she can be, so when a conflict arises with others, I talk it through with her. I listen to her side but then I try to get her to put herself into the other person’s shoes and see it from their perspective. Then I try asking her questions about what she thinks they were feeling or thinking. Oftentimes she is able to see some of her errors and we talk about how she can take responsibility for what she’s done, and apologize when necessary without being taken advantage of.

It’s a skill set that many adults haven’t even developed, so I don’t ever expect her to get things right even most of the time.

What I’m doing is helping her learn to empathize with people and then having her think through better ways to handle situations next time so that she’s not just allowing her emotions to rule over her. But she’s only 9, and these things take time.

She loves people fiercely and has a strong sense of loyalty and tends to expect the same from other friends, which sets herself up for hurt when people don’t act in the ways she expects them to. When a friend rejects her or starts spending time with another friend, it hurts her deeply. Sometimes she creates unwritten rules for her friends that they don’t know about or understand and it can push people away. This is something too I am working with her on. But I wish people saw how much she cares about them.

She knows all her friends likes and dislikes and she writes them little notes and cards that I find around the house that are so thoughtful and kind. “Just wanted you to know that I saw you being kind to —- the other day and I love that about you. I think you’re a very kind friend.” She absolutely looks for the good in everyone and let’s them know how much she cares about them.

When people hurt her, she’s quick to forgive and then she doesn’t bring it up again.

She can tell when someone is sad and is the kid that will go to them.

She’s also not afraid to stand up for others when she feels they are being treated unfairly. If you’re her friend, she’ll go to bat for you, no matter the social cost. That’s her kind of loyalty, and again, it’s what she expects from others, but she is often disappointed as many, many other children will not risk the social cost to stand up for her. But it won’t change her doing it for them.

I can give example after example of her going against the grain to stand up for what she believes in. I’ve been so proud, not only of her bravery, but also the way she goes about it. Not all the time. Sometimes she’s mean and goes too far. That’s what I have to help her with.

And sometimes she’s just wrong about things but has a hard time giving in. Again, I work with her in that.

I just wish everyone could see her heart. It’s not perfect and she’s made plenty of mistakes and will continue to do so but she has such a huge heart.

And she’ll learn not to let others opinions of her matter as much as they do now. Right now, my mama heart hurts for her and I just needed to write about the person that she is. The whole person. Her faults, her greatness, all of it. I need her to know she’s loved and accepted beyond anything she can imagine.

I’m always going to hold her accountable, but I’m always going to love her too. And I’m going to make sure she’s around people willing to see her faults and her greatness.

The Reckoning

So many of the scars that formed from wounds during the last few years are just starting to show.

There was a lot of hurt and a lot of anger that so many people experienced. So how do we move forward? How do we heal?

I know for me, there has been a level of stress I personally experienced unlike any other time of my life. I was hurt not just by many family and friends but also by trusted organizations and media, tech, the list just goes on and on. I couldn’t really talk about it either. Not to many family and friends or even on social media platforms.

It’s hard to even describe what that felt like. The world that I thought I lived in was not at all what it had seemed. I was being lied to, gaslight, bullied and silenced. It was terrifying to see it, and so odd to not have everyone else see it too. We were co-existing with those around us in two very different realities.

Take masks for example. I had been chastised and ridiculed for not wearing a cloth mask or forcing one on my children (including my 2 year old!). I had followed the science and listened to the experts from OSHA that explained that a cloth mask could not filter out the aerosolized Covid virus that was 16,000 times smaller than a human hair. Sure, if you cough or sneeze into a cloth mask, some of the wetness is not going to get through but within 15 minutes of being in a room without good ventilation with someone infected just breathing, it was of no use. Further, it gave people a false sense of protection.

This is widely accepted as common knowledge now, but for over a year this was lied about by trusted health sources. The absurdity of a group of kids playing soccer outdoors with their masks on and seeing “officials” at games walking around to parents sitting well over 6 feet apart OUTDOORS and telling them they had to pull their masks up or leave the games is something forever burned into my memory.

Yet none of these people or authorities have ever apologized or admitted they were wrong to bully us the way they did. We’re just supposed to move on. Like an abuser to their victim, “come on, it wasn’t that bad. Stop being hurt already. I can’t tolerate your pain.”

I could go on and on about the things I was ridiculed over that turned out I was right about, but the people that know already know, and those that still don’t can’t tolerate to hear it.

Yet we carry these bruises, these scars. We’ve been deeply wounded and it’s really hard to trust again. Not just the authorities that lied to us, but family and friends that deeply wounded us too, but can’t seem to bring themselves to see our wounds.

I was reading the Bible recently, as I do daily, and the story of Elijah the prophet was understood to me in a new way.

Here is this man of God that takes on great personal sacrifice to himself to tell others the truth. He’s hated for it. He’s literally hated. Especially by the corrupt king and queen who have all of the other prophets murdered because they can’t bear to hear the truth of what they said.

So God withholds the rain. There is a huge drought which causes a great famine. A famine so great, we are told of the widow woman who God chooses to care for Elijah, is about to use the last of her supplies to make a loaf of bread for her and her son and then they both will die of hunger.

God takes care of His prophet and this woman of course and they do not run out of food. Much later we jump to the great climactic scene where God shows His power to everyone.

While we can’t know of course exactly what Elijah was thinking or feeling in these moments, we have some clues. He wasn’t scared. This was it. This was the big show down between God and the wicked authorities and idol worshipers of the time. Elijah KNEW what God could do. He was confident. He was ready to show the world the truth and watch the wool be pulled off of their faces.

Elijah challenges king Ahab and his prophets of idol worship to see whose god is the one true God. He tells them to go gather sticks and prepare a sacrifice and call upon their god to light the fire.

There were 450 prophets of Baal, and Elijah was the only prophet for the one true God. He was in his moment. This was his God’s moment to shine and he watched and waited, knowing full well that their god was not able to light the fire. He watched and waited and mocked them to “call louder” to their god.

Eventually, he poured buckets of water (which remember was incredibly scarce!) onto his sacrifice. This is important because it’s showing just how confident he was. He KNOWS that truth is on his side and he’s making a grand show of it. Of course God’s fire is no match for the water poured over the wood and Elijah watches as the truth is shown to everyone that day.

Not only did God consume the sacrifice and the wood but also the stones and the soil and even the pool of water. The people saw the truth on full display and there was absolutely no denying it.

Elijah must have been thinking, “finally! Now there is NO WAY they can deny it, they saw with their own eyes the absolute power of God and there’s no way they can go back to worshiping Baal. He seizes the moment to capture the 450 false prophets of Baal and have them put to death. And the sky starts to storm…it’s finally going to rain!!

Elijah must have felt great. He must have thought that now that the eyes were opened, things would be different. The people of Israel will repent and turn their hearts back to the real God, including the authorities. That’s not what happens.

The wicked queen Jezebel, who had God’s prophets murdered digs her heels in deeper. She does not repent. She is faced with undeniable evidence of truth and she sends a message to Elijah that what happened to the 450 prophets of Baal will happen to him.

And Elijah runs and hides. This man, who was extremely confident in the scene before is now running away from it all. And haven’t we all felt like this?

We’ve known the truth. We’re confident in it and we’ve just been waiting for it to come to light to the masses (because truth does always come out in the end). We think that once it does, it will change things. In doing so we forget the stubbornness of the human heart and we set ourselves up to feel like Elijah. Frustrated. Defeated. Wondering why we even bother to keep up the fight.

Elijah prays to God to take him now. It’s enough, he basically says. I’ve felt that. I’ve felt so frustrated with this world and the people in it I’ve felt ready for the Second Coming. I’ve wanted to just get away from it all and just escape with my family and friends.

And we see so much of who God is in the gentle way He takes care of Elijah. He feeds him. He lets Elijah know that though he feels all alone, there are 7,000 believers among the nation of Israel. And I think Elijah needed to know that. All his work he’d done. He hadn’t failed. There were still 7,000 believers of God out there and God had more work for him to do. He refreshed Elijah with food and with a purpose. And He gave Elijah a protégé, a friend.

And when we think about it, God takes care of us in this way too. There have been many people in my life who have hurt me, but there have also been many people I’ve grown closer to that have helped me when I’ve felt the burden of knowing the truth was too heavy and too much.

And the story of Elijah is a preview of the story of Jesus. And in Jesus’s death, more hearts were turned and still today, more hearts continue to turn.

I found great encouragement in Elijah’s story today. We may feel like the task we are up against is too great and that we are not up to it. We forget we are not working alone and that God uses us in powerful ways to turn the hearts of those around us. We may never get that big show down moment. Yet, often it’s not in those big powerful moments that hearts are changed anyway, but rather in the diligent work we do day after day that convinces people of truth.

God showed Elijah in the wilderness His power by a wind so great that it tore the rocks, and then an earthquake and a fire. But Elijah knew the Lord’s presence was not in the wind, the earthquake or the fire. Then there was a gentle whisper. This was where Elijah felt God’s presence. bz

We may not ever feel righted for the wrongs we’ve experienced the last couple years. Surely though, God’s purpose is still being realized and I have to wonder how many people have come to have true faith in this crisis. It might seem like everyone’s hearts have gone in the opposite direction because that’s all of what we see and hear but God knows just how many of His true followers there are. And He sees our pain and our hurt and I believe has provided us the little community of truth tellers that we have.

May you read this and feel refreshed in your purpose. For our true purpose is to spread the gospel, and sometimes I need that reminder.

There’s something wrong with the world today

Like most people, I am absolutely gutted by the news that now 19 children and two teachers were killed at an elementary school last week.

It took time to process it and we’ll all still be processing it for a while. Acts this heinous, stir the core of our beings as we try to grapple with it being real.

I’m the couple days following, I noticed a general anxiety settle onto me that couldn’t be tied to anything in particular. Just an uneasiness. It saps my energy. I’m tired. Everyone is tired. It’s been two plus years of uneasiness. We’re screaming inside for normalcy. Normalcy like we had in 2019.

We were cleaning up dinner last night and my phone went off, a loud, blaring alarm that at first I thought was either the fire alarm or carbon monoxide alarm. I realized it was my phone and read that we were under a tornado warning and it said to take shelter immediately. Without missing a beat, all of us got to the basement with the dog and it just felt normal. It didn’t even trigger my adrenaline. I was oddly calm. Then again, after all the insanity of the last two years and the last couple days, a tornado doesn’t feel that scary when you’re in your home and all your loved ones are with you. We know what to do. We felt mostly protected. Our world as a whole used to feel that way too.

I don’t know all the details surrounding the school shooting. I do know that many people are feeling anxious and sad and that often turns to anger. It’s less scary when we can name our enemies and think we have all the answers to fight them. We can place all our negative emotions and feelings on this enemy and then we can do all in our power to defeat them and then we feel better. Anger, towards a particular foe is easier to feel than anxiety and grief.

So you will see people, politicians and those with a large platform getting angry and telling us what the simple solution is that will stop such an atrocity from ever occurring again. And they’ll tear into their political opponents and those that vote like they do and our already divided nation will divide into tribalism even further.

But I wish we could stop it. I wish we could take a beat to just process our collective grief before turning ugly towards one another yet again.

There’s something so broken in our country and I’ve never seen things as bad as they are today. It makes me yearn for the decades that I grew up in. No social media, I didn’t know any of my neighbors political beliefs.

Last weekend we had a block party on my street. It is something so simple, yet they are very rare today. People came over and chatted and politics just never came up. People talked to one another and shared food and the children all ran around playing and jumped in the giant bounce house. I couldn’t help but feel sentimental over it. After the last couple years it just felt so incredibly wonderful to get together with a bunch of people.

I don’t have the answers about why this horrible act occurred or how to prevent it but I do think it’s probably a complex problem that doesn’t have simple answers. I think if we just keep angrily shouting at each other instead of having respectful dialog, things will only get worse.

I hope in the days and weeks to come, you consider my words and try to process your feelings and fears instead of just latching onto political anger. I hope you spend more time talking to people in real life than arguing with people online or just posting hateful rhetoric to get a few likes from your echo chamber. If we want to change this world we have to stop what we’re doing!

I spent some time researching Woodstock the other night, of all random things. I looked at hundreds of photos of the event and they made me happy. There was so much unrest in 1969, yet our youth got together in a way that’s unimaginable today. I know there were dark parts of Woodstock too, but there was also pure joy and freedom. People looked happy and healthy. It’s hard to look at those pictures of a girl in a sports bra and shorts running through the mud with a smile on her face as a crowd smiled and cheered and imagine them now. Locked in their homes behind their computers and smart phones yelling at people online. What happened to them?!

We have got to get back to that spirit of peace and not war. Of love and acceptance. Of being able to talk to people that are different than us. Not just different in appearance but different in views. Even if we find their views “harmful”. Most people, regardless of their views want the same things and feel just as sad as we do when tragedy strikes. We should be want to unite in our collective grief right now instead of pointing fingers. We should be able to brainstorm solutions that everyone can agree on.

It’s a broken world and it’s always been that way and will always be that way. But it’s still beautiful and we can be part of the beauty or part of the brokenness.

Crucial Vitamin D info

I’m always trying to stay up to date on the latest health info and occasionally I find things that take me down the “rabbit hole” and I learn something completely new. This happened last night, and it’s so mind blowing that I felt like I had to get it out to everyone I could ASAP!

I became aware there is an adenovirus, AD-36 that causes one of many common colds in humans, and it has been linked in many studies to developing obesity in humans and animals. If you want to learn more, just google AD-36 and prepare to be shocked.

Now, I will say that not every study has proven that having AD-36 antibodies cause obesity in humans. That said, many studies have shown a correlation between higher rates of the antibodies to this virus in adults and children considered obese. They do not know how the virus could cause humans and animals to change the way they store or release body fat, but it seems like a HUGE discovery to know that possibly 22% of the population will always have a harder time losing weight or keeping it off.

BUT, all is not lost for these people. There was one study of children that I will link, that found that adequate levels of vitamin D in the blood negated the prediction that people with AD-36 antibodies would be more obese.

Importantly, the study also found that 92% of children in the study were vit D deficient.

As a society, our lifestyles have changed significantly from that of our ancestors who used to mainly work outside during the daytime. This is how humans have made vit d. Now, we spend most of our time indoors and if we are outside, we slather ourselves in sunscreen.

Now that there’s more sunlight, it’s crucial to get outside and get your kids outside. But if you can’t be outside most of the day, or you live further away from the equator, or if you have darker skin, you probably NEED to supplement with vitamin D.

Vitamin D is protective against cancers and viruses, including Covid. Now, knowing that it can help prevent obesity in children and adults that have been exposed to AD-36 virus, it’s one more reason to get your vitamin D levels up!

#vitamind, #childhoodobesity, #ad36

The gift of running

The view from one of my mountain runs in Tennessee

We’re driving back from spring break in the Smokies. We split the drive into two days to make it easier on the kids. This morning I woke up before my family and snuck out to get in a 15 mile run.

I’m sort of training for a half marathon. I say “sort of” because I’ve not 100% decided that I’m running it. I don’t really want to pay for a race that I’m not going to perform where I want. Some people get that, other people probably won’t, and that’s ok. We all have our own way of doing these things.

This winter has been tough for training. I’ve lived through enough Michigan winters to know you just have to roll with it but this winter has been more challenging than most for running/training. It’s been a combination of illness and weather. It’s been fine, I just felt like my level of training wasn’t where I wanted it to be so close to the half. I didn’t want to pressure myself to try to make up for lost time and get injured so I allowed myself an out if I felt I wasn’t ready.

So last night after checking into our hotel I drove around looking for some fuel for the run and it was pretty slim pickings. I settled for some glucose tabs and the smallest 12 oz bottle of Gatorade I could carry for 15 miles. I wondered why I put myself through this and continued to wonder as I left into the cold, still snowy, weather in April.

Yet I had a beautiful run in a new and interesting place. I went through several parks and onto a bike trail and managed to run through some snow and wind hitting my face and making it hard to see as I ran through the little downtown area, to huge dark clouds looming at me while I ran through farmland, the smell of manure filling my nose, to the sky opening up and the sun shining on my face as I ran through a little park over a beautiful green bridge as Canadian geese moved out of my way. It was beautiful.

And I felt great. And it gave me confidence. The last couple miles were mentally hard as I faced a strong headwind and just wanted to get back, but I pushed through it. And I was glad I did.

Running is not my everything, it’s not my idol, though looking back, I can say it has been in the past. There were seasons of my life where I was injured and couldn’t run and it felt like there was this big empty hole in my life. I’ve grown in maturity and in my faith enough that this is not the case anymore. Running holds a dear spot in my heart but it’s not my idol any longer. I love being able to run and I hope to be able to do it my entire life. I try to appreciate every opportunity I get, we just never know when life will throw us those curve balls and if I couldn’t ever run again, I know I’d be ok.

Yet, I love it. I love the way it makes me feel. I love the lessons it’s taught me in life. I’ve loved the mental strength it’s developed in me. I love the stress relief it provides. I love that it’s something I do just for me and that it doesn’t require any special equipment other than a good pair of shoes. I love exploring new places by running because you see so many more things than you would just driving. I love that it keeps me physically healthy. I love that it reduces my risk of most preventable diseases.

It’s not risk free. Nothing in life is. There’s far too many runners killed every year by cars, and I’ve had my share of close calls. I’m not ignorant of the fact that I’m a woman and running by myself in areas I don’t know well is always risky. I do my best to stick to running in daylight and in areas that are not too remote but also not heavy with traffic. One of the reasons I wanted the vizsla dog we got was so that I’d have a great running partner to feel safer out running by myself. I can’t wait until he’s old enough to join me full time.

That said, the benefits far outweigh the risks. I also have genetically high cholesterol. My husband does too. New providers are often shocked to see my numbers, given the active lifestyle I have and the fact that I don’t consume much dietary cholesterol. My liver produces too much cholesterol, it’s a mutation that I inherited along with my sister and since my husband has the same mutation, my kids all likely have it too. Yet that doesn’t mean I’m more likely to have a heart attack at a younger age, even though my dad and many of his brothers did.

The fact that I DO exercise and try to eat healthy most of the time has helped me to remain extremely low risk for a cardiac event, despite my high “bad cholesterol”. My doctor told me when she put all my other information into her calculator, it still showed I had less than a 1% risk of having a heart attack in the next couple decades and it was not recommended I start cholesterol lowering medication. I make it a point to up my intake of things like ground flax seed that can raise my HDL “good” cholesterol, so that even if my LDL is too high, it’s a better ratio.

I also have another genetic heart defect that typically causes inflammation and a large and hardened artery that over time reduces blood flow and can require surgery to improve.

It’s funny looking back, I remember at 16 how nervous I was going to have it investigated. My biggest fear was being told it wouldn’t be safe for me to run anymore. I remember my dad sitting there, grilling the cardiologist. Letting him know that I push myself to the absolute limit when racing and wanting the cardiologist to guarantee that it wouldn’t cause me to go into sudden cardiac arrest. The cardiologist wouldn’t do it. Nothing in life is free of risk. Basically, my valve leaks and my heart has to work harder to pump blood efficiently through my body. This sometimes causes it to go out of rhythm and it tries to “catch up” by beating quickly all of a sudden. I’ve felt these palpitations and they are noticeably more frequent during times I’m stressed.

Still, I go to the cardiologist every few years to have a full checkup of my heart and every time so far I’ve received a great report. My artery size has been stable and my cardiac output has even improved as I’ve aged.

I can’t even imagine if I’d not run all these years. The marathons and half’s, and 5 and 10ks, and mile races I’ve done. The many miles I’ve logged and the workouts I’ve done. It’s possible my kids could inherit this too. So far the doctors have never heard a murmur, which is usually how it’s discovered, but I was 16 by the time mine was finally discovered.

All that is to say that running has likely helped me with these conditions. I might be in an extremely different situation had I not logged all these miles over the years. I’m hopeful that my love of running is something else I pass onto my kids, especially if they are more at risk of these other conditions.

I never push my kids into it. Rather, I try to lead by example. Letting them see me doing it and how much I love it. I try not to ever talk about my body or weight around them, especially about running and food. I only talk positively about exercise and how it makes me FEEL rather than look.

That’s why I’m super excited to finally get to be a coach for Alex for Girls on the Run this year!! We start this week and I’m super excited to share my love for this sport with her and other girls her age.

I could go on and on forever about the physical and mental benefits running can lead to for my kids, but it also would allow them to meet and interact with people they have nothing else in common with. Running is not political, it’s for every race, religion, sex, and income level. It teaches you how to work towards a goal and push hard enough to get results, yet be smart, and know how to rest enough to not get injured. It teaches you how to be disciplined, yet balanced. I can’t wait to share it with this group of girls!

Alex’s heart healthy activity she chose to write ❤️

I wish everyone in the world had the ability to run and also enjoyed it as much as I do. If anyone reading this is interested in starting a running program, I’m happy to talk to you and help you get started!

Why we’re not getting the you know what

Ok, I’ve been wanting to write about the C O v I d v a c c i n e and explain all the research I’ve done on it, but I was afraid it would take too long and be too long to read.

Then it became an issue in our family and I was so passionate about it, I wrote it. And it felt so good to get all of that out! So here it is! It’s long. I don’t have links but anyone can look any of this up. I’m not a doctor and am not giving medical advice. This is simply MY opinion.

You should know I’m not trying to sway anyone from getting it. Everyone should make an informed decision based on YOUR circumstances that are not going to be the same as mine.

When I heard they were working on a vaccine for Covid, I was relieved. I assumed it would help us put this behind us and be able to get back to normal life. I assumed we would all take it! I assumed it would be a typical vaccine made with inactive or killed Covid virus.

When I learned it was different, I sought to understand it better and make an informed decision. Here’s what I’ve learned.

Do you know the history of vaccines? Edward Jenner is credited with developing vaccines but the true history is that many people beat him to it. When smallpox was running rampant, farmers had noticed that when milkmaids who had contracted cow pox from contact with open blisters from milking the cows were exposed to much deadlier smallpox, they didn’t get sick! So farmers started opening these blisters on cows and infecting their families with cow pox and it was indeed protective against genetically similar smallpox. Jenner eventually injected pus from cow pox into a little boy. The boy was exposed to smallpox repeatedly and did not get sick! This was in 1796. Yet it wasn’t until 1840 that Jenner’s work was accepted and put into the Vaccination Act.

Since Jenner’s time, science and vaccines have gone through many changes. It was discovered by mistake on a poultry farm that leaving live virus out in the sun weakens it (called attenuated). This weakened virus was found to be protective at creating immunity to the full live strain upon exposure just a couple weeks later. This would lead to the development of weakened live virus vaccines.

Do you know the history of the polio vaccine? It’s an interesting story.
Polio had been around for hundreds if not thousands of years and 98% of cases resolved without issue, however the polio that made it into the bloodstream caused severe illness or even death.

In the 1900’s it reached epidemic levels in mostly developed countries. There’s a theory that prior to this time, infants were exposed early in life through contaminated water and were able to develop immunity to it. Once sanitation increased, infants were not exposed to it early and were instead exposed later, which made them more vulnerable to the severe form of the disease.

In 1954 a polio vaccine was developed that contained inactive polio virus. Parents couldn’t wait to get their children vaccinated. In 1955, in what’s known as the Cutter Incident, 200,000 children were given a vaccination of a live strain of the virus instead and acquired polio and several children died. Unfortunately, viruses can sometimes attenuate back to full viral mode when exposed to the wrong conditions. Additionally, people with weakened immune systems were not able to get many vaccines because of this risk and had to rely on herd immunity (or the vast majority of the population being immune for protection).

Besides the risk to those with weakened immune systems, live, attenuated virus vaccines carried a risk of a higher number of adverse events (AE’s). So scientists got to work trying to create something that would provide similar protection to viruses without the increased risks.

The solution was many of the vaccines we have now. Some of them use killed viruses, like these:
Hepatitis A

Because immunity induced by a killed virus is not as long lasting as immunity from a live but weakened virus, typically more than one vaccination is needed to boost the immunity.

Another type of vaccine uses pieces of the virus or antigen instead of the entire virus to create immunity to that specific part. The great thing about these vaccines is that you cannot ever get infected from them and so even people with weakened immune systems can safely take them. Again on the downside though, induced immunity is not quite as strong as with the smallpox and polio vaccines that were able to protect the recipients from getting or spreading the disease for life. You can still get the disease, you’re just likely to have less severe disease since your immune system has a head start. These vaccines also come with the need for boosters. Because the immune reaction was sometimes not as strong, additives such as adenovirus are sometimes added to stimulate a more robust immune response. Examples of this vaccine are:
Whooping cough

These have been the standard vaccines we’ve grown up with. There are decades of research to show their effectiveness and risks. All vaccines come with risks. Even taking Tylenol or ibuprofen comes with risks. For the vast majority of people, the benefits to them far outweigh the risks. Nevertheless, there are small numbers of people that can’t and shouldn’t take these vaccines because of either allergies to the ingredients or previous vaccine adverse events.

I had assumed the Covid vaccines would be made using one of these methods, so even though the timeline was shortened, I felt confident enough in the decades of vaccine research that went into the vaccines I previously mentioned. However, scientists have been experimenting with a different kind of vaccine for decades and the Covid pandemic created an opportunity to get them widely available to the public quickly and at a low cost, without many of the risks of infecting anyone accidentally.

I had first learned about these mRNA and viral vector vaccines in cancer treatment. A young girl that I follow on social media that I’ve followed for years has been part of an ongoing clinical trial. She had cancer at the age of 2 or 3 and went through chemo which eradicated her cancer but nearly killed her. The chemo left her in acute liver failure and there were days I didn’t think she would make it. She miraculously pulled through, but her cancer has a high recurrence rate and the chemo was killing her. She has been receiving mRNA injections that teach her immune system to target her specific cancer, and thank God she has been disease free for the last few years. The injections she receives are not without side effects but she’s mostly living a normal life.
I have nothing against mRNA vaccines, as you can clearly see I believe they’ve been instrumental in helping this girl.

That said, I wanted to understand how they work.

I learned they are sent into our cells via a lipid (basically a fat) that allows them to enter into our cells much the same way the Covid virus and many other viruses that evade our immune system defenses do.

When a virus like Covid gets inside our cells, it uses its viral rna to hijack our cells and use them as little virus factories. Our own cells start pumping out baby viruses and eventually the cell swells with these virus particles and explodes, releasing all the baby virus into the surrounding tissues to sneak into and hijack more cells. But our immune system is smart, and the battle is just beginning. Our cells have a way to let the immune system know they’ve been hijacked.

On the outside of the cell, our cells can dangle particles of the virus, like a flashing billboard that shows the immune system what type of virus it’s infected with.

Then our immune system can create antibodies that will attach onto that part of the virus to mark it for destruction.
Similar to how the virus works, the mRNA vaccines are injected into muscle tissue where they sneak into muscle cells and use our cells to make a ton of little spike proteins (the same spike protein that Covid uses to sneak into cells). Like with the virus, once the cell swells enough with all these little spikes, it explodes, releasing the spikes into the blood stream to be found by the immune system. Just like with the actual Covid virus, our immune system sees the spikes and creates antibodies that can attach onto them and mark them for destruction.

Our immune system has memory. So once you’ve had Covid and gone through the process of creating antibodies, when you encounter it again, your antibodies recognize it right away and start pumping out the antibodies and you are able to defeat the virus before it’s really able to replicate and reproduce efficiently.

Our immune system works the same way with the vaccine. The vaccine teaches your immune system to produce antibodies to the spike protein, so if you encounter Covid, your antibodies are already primed to attach to the spike protein and mark it for destruction before it has ample time to replicate and an infection to take hold.

Obviously, one difference I want to point out is that the vaccine is only priming your antibodies to attach to the spike protein. When you have had an infection with Covid, your body has seen and reacted to the entire virus, not just a piece of it. So if the virus mutates, as they always do, you’re more vulnerable to the mutations if your immune system is only primed to fight certain pieces of it. Additionally, the virus enters our bodies in the wild via the respiratory tract, the nose and lungs and infects those tissues. It is a different mode of delivery than the vaccine being injected into muscle tissue and scientists are trying to find out currently how that is playing into things.

Obviously, the benefit of getting the vaccine instead of the live virus is that you don’t have to go through a full infection and all the risks that go along with it. Yet it doesn’t offer as complete protection as having recovered from the virus. But if Covid is going to kill you, obviously, having protection against severe disease is a great trade off.

There’s debate currently about how long natural immunity lasts to Covid and how long vaccine induced immunity lasts. There’s strong evidence that in people without compromised immune systems, immunity is very long lasting, possibly for life. They are able to speculate on this because they have found memory B and T cells that fight Covid in those with prior infections. Our antibody levels will continue to wane the longer out we are from encountering the virus, because we would swell into blimps if we continued to carry a high antibody load in our blood to every virus we’ve ever encountered our entire life! So our immune system makes some copies of antibodies that go into the blood to protect from an infection but it sets aside some “in the bank” if you will, (but really in the bone marrow and lymph) to keep in case it’s needed again.

You can boost your antibody levels by getting a vaccine booster, or by encountering the virus again. It’s important to note that even if you have no antibodies in your blood to Covid, as long as you have those memory B and T cells stored away, you still have a high level of immunity to reinfection.

Not everyone has a strong immune system. After age 65, it is well documented that the immune system starts to decline. Chicken pox is an excellent example of this. Most of us had chicken pox as young children, and it’s another virus that tends to be mild in the young and can cause serious complications the older you are. It’s why, before there was a vaccine, it was common for parents to purposely infect their young children so they had it when they were young and had lifelong immunity. My own parents did this and brought me to a friends house to play that had chicken pox! My daughter got chicken pox when she was 6 months old (too young for the vaccine) and nearly 3 decades after I had it, I still was immune and didn’t get it.

Your immune system never really “defeats” the chicken pox though. It pushes it to hide within your nerve cells and lies dormant there your entire life. However, after age 65, your immune system declines and that’s why they recommended the shingles vaccine for the older population. It’s essentially a booster for the immune system to prevent the virus from coming out of hiding and causing extreme symptoms. Bouts of intense stress can also dampen the immune system and so sometimes young people can get shingles infections too. The immune system is dampened enough to allow that virus to come out of hiding and wreak havoc.

So people with weakened immune systems may not have the ability to fight off Covid when they encounter it again and get reinfected. That’s why it’s important to get the data, on the 1% of Covid reinfections to see what the ages are of those becoming reinfected. It’s also important to genetically sequence the virus each time a person tests positive to make sure it’s a different virus and not just that the body hasn’t cleared the original infection or that the test is picking up dead viral load.

Remember, immunity doesn’t mean you won’t encounter the virus again, it just means that the virus will not have the ability to replicate and produce live virus that could then transmit to someone else. To date, the cdc has released a statement that they do not have a single documented case in the US of someone becoming reinfected with Covid and transmitting it to another person. And that’s in 2 years of this virus being here!

Ok, so maybe natural immunity IS long lasting but why not just get the shot? It’s shown it boosts antibody levels in those with prior infections so it can’t hurt right?

While it’s very true that getting the vaccine after a natural infection will cause a spike in antibody levels, that doesn’t mean it increases protection. Just like you can’t be a little bit pregnant, if you’re immune, you can’t be “more immune”. Ok, but what’s the harm?

Hopefully, there is no harm. What if there is? We’ve literally never done a vaccine that enters our cells in much the way a virus does and hijacks our own cells to get them to become little spike protein factories. It’s true that viruses have been doing this to us since our co-existence with them. And it’s caused a lot of issues. There’s still much we don’t understand about auto-immune diseases like my mom’s MS.

They know there’s a genetic component. They’ve found mutations on several different genes that people with autoimmune diseases seem to share but they don’t all share the same mutations or even the same set of gene mutations and people that have the mutations don’t always have autoimmune.

There’s a much higher incidence of autoimmune diseases in climates the furthest from the equator leading to the theory that low vitamin D levels are also a contributing factor.

The last piece of the puzzle seems to be some immune event in people with genetic components that also live further away from the equator. Frequently, among people with MS, many of them had a really bad bout of a virus, flu or mono before the age of 18. The theory is that whatever the virus did to the people predisposed, caused the immune system to overreact and attack healthy myelin (the fatty sheath that protects nerve cells). This is what MS is. Your own immune system attacks your nerve coatings as though they are a virus and it damages nerve and brain tissue. It’s a terrible disease. Watching what it’s done to my mom over the last 10 years specifically has been awful. There is no cure. All she can do is take medicine that weakens her immune system in the hopes it will then leave her nerve coverings alone.

With my mom, sister and my aunt all having autoimmune diseases, I have to assume that I’m genetically predisposed and that my children are too.

Could the fact that our own muscle tissue cells are used by the vaccine to become little spike protein factories turn our immune system against our muscle cells? Many neurologists are sounding the alarms but are sadly being censored because they don’t want people to question the vaccine. If this does happen, it’s not something we would see for likely 5-10 years as autoimmune diseases are slow progressing and notoriously hard to diagnose.

If someone has a high likelihood of dying or having severe disease from Covid, it makes sense that they would take this risk of unknown 10+ years down the road. And the less years of your expected life, the more it makes sense to not worry as much about unknown long term effects.

For our family, we have to hope (nothing is guaranteed) to have many decades of our lives yet to live, and I don’t want even the slightest risk to any of us of a terrible life long disease like MS because we took a vaccine that we likely didn’t even need.

Additionally, the spike protein in and of itself has been found to cause havoc throughout the body. They have found the spike, and not the virus in brain tissues of some of the people who died of Covid. Scientists theorize that in people who get a more severe infection, the spike protein and virus has infected many more parts of the body and created inflammation there. So should we be turning our muscle cells into little spike protein factories and causing inflammation throughout the body? Scientists have said our body does this “for a few weeks” after receiving the vaccine. What could happen during these few weeks of spike protein floating around our blood and going into our organs and tissues, including the brain? I don’t know, but I would rather wait and see.

Additionally, there are adverse events occurring as a result of the vaccines. This is the case with every single vaccine, as I’ve said. Even Tylenol and ibuprofen can cause issues and are generally regarded as safe. The most serious AE’s of course are blood clots and strokes, Bell’s palsy and GBS, and myocarditis. I’m aware that the chance of these AE’s occurring is incredibly small given such a large number of people who have received the vaccine. But they do occur. Why would we risk one of these AE’s for a virus we’ve already survived and possibly have robust immunity to?

Myocarditis is being classified as mild, though it does involve hospitalization for children. Are you aware the heart damage it causes is irreversible? Once the heart is damaged, it cannot repair itself, but it scars, which can cause lifelong complications and the 10 year survival rate is 50%. Now that’s probably lower than it would be in children because the age and health of those that get myocarditis is probably already compromised but my kids hopefully have a long life ahead of them and I’m not willing to take the risk of 161 kids out of one million vaccinated getting myocarditis when we just don’t know what those kids will have in 10 years.

Furthermore, there are less serious AE’s that have occurred in people we know for which science has not really explained. For example, many women have had heavy vaginal bleeding following vaccination, including some women that I know. So far, the explanation has been that it’s stress from vaccines causing menstrual irregularities, because it’s very easy to write off women’s issues as “stress” or not take them seriously. That doesn’t explain why women who are well past menopause suddenly having heavy bleeding. It doesn’t explain trans men who are taking hormones having bleeding.

I could continue to give perfectly rational and well thought out explanations for why we feel it’s best to wait, but I think I’ve explained that much enough. Another factor for me is that I don’t like how hard they are pushing the vaccines on everyone and I will not be a part of that. I hope you are all aware of what is happening in Australia with the vaccine mandates. I listened to an interview last week of a woman that lives in Australia that has well documented and severe allergies to Polyethylene glycol, which is in the mRNA vaccines in addition to a whole host of other medical complications she has that make her a perfect candidate for a vaccine exemption.

In Australia, the messaging has largely been that everyone must get vaccinated to protect those who can’t get the vaccine. Well, this woman has well documented anaphylaxis to these ingredients and has had to be hospitalized after multiple injections of epinephrine that nearly killed her and she has not been able to obtain an exemption. Her doctor has told her that she would not vaccinate her in her office because it’s too risky, but she also will not write her a medical exemption because it’s too risky to her practice! She then was told to try this hospital that specializes in allergies and was told it’s a 6-12 month wait and this woman will not be able to work or be in society without the vaccine or a medical exemption.

Once her story broke, a lot of people reached out to her to try to help and recommended a doctor that was writing medical exemptions. By the time she contacted his office, she was told his office was currently being investigated by the health and human services authorities. People have told her she should just go to a hospital and get the vaccine and get an epi pen and allow them to treat her. They are essentially asking her to risk her life, as there is no guarantee that an epi pen is going to be effective each successive time and that the epinephrine itself won’t kill her. It’s absolutely insane, and I highly recommend everyone listen to this interview. It’s by Brett Weinstein for free on Spotify.

It’s extremely concerning that in a country like Australia, they can push these mandates and say there will be medical exemptions granted, but then, when you see that doctors are too scared to write them, there really is not an allowance for medical exemptions and that should terrify everyone. So I am absolutely against being shamed and guilted to get the vaccine by any authority or non authority. It is very upsetting to me that it’s thought acceptable to discriminate in this way.

To close, we respect everyone’s choice on whether or not to get vaccinated or get your kids vaccinated. It is not an easy choice for anyone and none of the choices available are free from risk.

I want to show everyone just how much research I’ve put into this. I didn’t watch a bunch of YouTube videos or follow some conspiracy theorist online. I read medical textbooks that I had to read more than once to make sure I understood. I have read medical journals. I have talked to doctors including my own who was perfectly fine with my decision not to get vaccinated. I don’t expect everyone to reach the same conclusions I did, but I do want the amount of time and effort I have put into this to be respected.

As for the vaccines, we know that vaccinated or unvaccinated can contract Covid. If you have Covid virus replicating in your body, you can spread it. So I just hope everyone knows that having the vaccine will not prevent someone spreading it to you if they are sick.

Another lie that keeps repeating is that the unvaccinated are causing the variants. The truth is that any host that has a weakened immune system allows the possibility for a virus to mutate and for those mutations to take a foothold and then be passed on.

Please, fact check me on any and all of this. I really want people to have information and not just these politicized views of people who are not getting this vaccine. I want people to know why we feel this way!! I’ve done interviews with researchers in the area because I want people to know we are rational and sane.
Thank you for taking the time to read this.