Author: Barb Casper

Too Small For My Britches

It’s time to become comfortable in my own skin and not be overly concerned with filling out my britches and taking on more than I can reasonably handle at this stage in life. After all, good things come in small packages. – Barb Casper I was born three months and four days premature and weighed in at a whopping 2.12 pounds! My mom was required to remain in bed and off her feet during much of the pregnancy. She was hospitalized for several months prior to my delivery so she could be monitored in hopes of postponing delivery for as long as possible. However, I had a much different agenda and decided to come in with a bang on July 4, 1957. I don’t know all the specifics behind my premature delivery. Based on what I’ve been told, I would assume my Mom was suffering from preeclampsia; a condition that approximately 5% of pregnant women develop. According to the medical literature, the exact cause of preeclampsia involves several factors. Experts believe it begins in the placenta — the organ that nourishes the fetus throughout pregnancy. Early in pregnancy, new blood vessels develop and evolve to efficiently send blood to the placenta. In women with preeclampsia, these blood vessels don’t seem to develop or function properly. They’re narrower than normal blood vessels and react differently to hormonal signaling, which limits...

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Reinvent Yourself

It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad. –  C. S. Lewis Both my naturopathic doctor and my  physical therapist have told me I have a choice to make – either continue doing what I am doing for a living and be in constant pain or make a decision to reinvent myself once...

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Time Out Needed

As a hospital custodian my husband, Ron, spends a large portion of his day on his feet. His other passions, walking our dog, Allie and cycling, have been quite physically demanding lately due to knee pain. Those who know my husband best know he is no slouch. He has always been active and rarely complains. Despite Ron’s enthusiasm for a life “in action,” his severe knee deterioration began to challenge his level of activity several years ago. Between indoor and outdoor cycling and his job I have become keenly aware as to how much his knee pain has begun to...

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Tenacity Is A Good Thing

I have attempted to kill off lily of the valley which has been growing in one of my flower beds for over 20 years; to no avail I might add! I have tried in the past to restrain its spread by installing deep edging as a barrier, but the rhizomes tunneled underneath to escape with ease. I have tried a sharp-edged shovel around the boundary of the planting to sever the rhizomes, but they made their break for the freedom beyond. You would think our harsh winters would kill this plant off. I have ceased watering it and tending...

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The Will To Move Forward

This is a continuing series detailing the author’s journey along the Trans-American Bike Trail (TAT). Recently, I wrote that I was stuck in Kansas while biking and walking across the United States. Many readers know my virtual trek across America (plotting my exercise miles along the Trans-American Trail) started a year and five months ago with the goal of reaching Oregon in two years. This sounds like a simple goal with plenty of time to complete the task. After all, biking across the United States has been done in ten days. Others have taken the more “conservative approach” and...

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Stuck In Oz

My journey along the Trans-America Trail Falling flat – February 19, 2014 Roadblocks are bound to impede us from completing what we have set out to do along life’s journey at some point in time. I have found myself dealing with several such roadblocks. I am handling things but I can’t say I have been able to successfully maneuver around the barriers. I haven’t exercised or plotted my miles along the Trans-America Trail since falling down my mother-in-law’s icy front porch steps in January. The recent fall and the cold winter have resulted in an increase in back, leg...

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Life’s About The Journey

September 28-30, 2013 Little Traverse Wheelway In 2011, Ron and I discovered a trail while driving along US-31. We were staying in Charlevoix for our anniversary. I was longing to do something fun but I was just too tired. I had had a heart attack one month prior to the trip and I still didn’t have very much energy. My head and heart were ready but physically I was drained. So, we decided to take a drive. Looking out the passenger window and taking in the scenery, I watched walkers, joggers and bikers make their way along what appeared...

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It’s All About The Trike

VIRTUAL LOG ENTRY Since my last journal entry we have logged our most recent exercise miles and have plotted these along the Trans America Trail (virtual trip) and have found that we have traversed the length and breadth of Virginia. We have pedaled our way across the lower half of Kentucky and Illinois and currently find ourselves in Missouri. Ron is a little more than 100 miles ahead of me. Cheryl is still in Virginia; remember, she is jogging so rightly so. I told her after I complete the trans-America trek, I will ride back to meet up with...

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Unbridled Spirit

This is the official Kentucky state slogan, the Kentucky brand so to speak, that was chosen as the result of a public vote. The meaning behind the Kentucky state slogan is this: “Kentucky is a place where spirits are free to soar and big dreams can be fulfilled. We relish competition and cherish our champions for their willingness to push beyond conventional boundaries to reach new heights of success.” Obviously, my husband, Ron, took the Kentucky slogan to heart. Fueled by competitiveness, he decided at 10 pm on April 18th to head to the local gym (after I had...

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Fulfilling A Dream

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain JANUARY 1, 2013 – A PERSONAL JOURNEY Personal development is a journey that requires an individual to make a change and push beyond one’s “comfort zone” and accept new challenges. I recently indicated that I would be embarking on a 4,063 mile expedition to bike and walk across the United States along the...

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Now What?

Exercise, eating well and knowing your numbers (blood pressure, blood sugar levels, cholesterol, etc.) are all keys to wellness. It wasn’t until I had a heart attack and subsequent triple bypass surgery that I began my quest for wellness in earnest. I have had a bad back for over 25 years. I had a diskectomy and a spinal fusion in the early 90’s and neither surgery eliminated my pain completely. For years, I have had to be careful what I do physically. I try to gauge how much activity I can be involved in at any given time before...

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