Sunday, December 13, 2015

San Bernardino and Your Core

Obviously, this is NOT me
Last year, I borrowed my daughters $99 Walmart bike and sported a pair of children's Halloween gloves inscribed with with the word, "Boo" to start training for a cycling event. My Olympic worthy cyclist friends stifled their laughs and allowed me to ride along. These gals deserve a medal for defying gravity and not tipping over at 3.5 mph! (that's about the speed I was going- for real!) Eventually, I invested in a proper road bike. I now own two jerseys and a  pair of those padded biker pants. (My kids call them baboon pants.) Soon after collecting my new riding swag, I went for a ride. I was feeling pretty smug in my fashionable riding gear, traveling along the vineyard lined Tesla road, giving the unifying nod to fellow cycling friends. Towards the end of my ride, I became aware of a creak, creak, creak and seconds later a grandpa in full-on fleece sweat pants on a 1980's 3 speed bike passed me. Whaaat?!
I've now learned two lessons from cycling 1. Do not disrespect grandpas in sweats 2. cycling kills my elbow! It's true, I have developed medial epicondylitis--tendonitis of the inside elbow--"pitchers elbow". Weird, right? One would think I would be struggling with knee pain or any other lower body pain. But nooooo- elbow pain it is. And I've learned why:
Medial elbow pain is due to lack of core strength and lack of scapular muscle strength, called the scapular stabilizers. Many of those who do CrossFit or who cycle are very strong and can perform many movements and very heavy lifts without being strong in these areas. Your body will find ways around the weak muscles and you will lift the weight and cycle the distance. The body is very good at coming up with other muscles to use in the presence of weak ones.

I continued to read... If there is a lack of core strength, then the scapula is unable to stabilize correctly—meaning that the hands and wrists are forced to work harder. The abdominals need to be solid before any extremity moves and if they are not, the body starts going down the chain looking for the stability. It will recruit the scapula stabilizers and if they are deficient, then the elbow and wrist muscles will start to have to work harder. This overuse will cause a tendinitis to develop. click to learn more

I know you are thinking, "this NorCal gal is reaching... what does her hurt elbow have to do with the recent San Bernardino shootings?!" Let me 'splain:

When I heard of the horrific events in San Bernardino and the related commentary, I reflected on what could be an answer to this continuing terror? Is it stricter gun laws, intensified vetting for immigrants, rigorous mental health checks? And then I thought about my tendonitis. (again, weird.) I thought about my initial course of action to reduce the pain of my elbow. I had taken the lion's share of Advil, I could get a cortisone shot, rest, ice, etc. But these actions would just ease the pain- temporarily. If I wanted to prevent further damage and enjoy cycling longevity, I had to do what Dr. Moore's article suggested--strengthen my core. And what is the core we can strengthen to decrease gun violence, terror and unrest? Our Family. We can not change the events around us or even prevent them from happening, but if we strengthen our family, we can be hopeful for a brighter tomorrow.  If we focus on the family--our core, the chances of you being the parent to a son or daughter that wields a AK-47 willy-nilly at the nearest mall is diminished.

So the next time you feel a strain in your appendages---body or community, take the advice of Dr. Heather Moore and strengthen your core. read Dr. Moore's article

Friday, November 13, 2015

Friday the Thirteenth!

It's Friday the 13th- November 13th....Ahhhhhhh!!  Not that I'm superstitious, I just can't get over the fact it's Thanksgiving in two weeks and Christmas in six! I feel like I'm on a accelerating train and it's not slowing down or stopping!

A great deal has been happening on this train of increasing velocity---good stuff really. God has been smiling down on our terminal in Nor Cal. Scott and I celebrated our twentieth anniversary by taking our eldest to the Missionary Training Center in Provo, UT. Our Sarah is serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for eighteen months. Sarah's mission covers areas in four southern states; Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee and a bit of Missouri. Sarah is currently serving in Memphis, Tennessee.

Our other four children on this swift moving locomotive are busy with school, work and assorted activities. Scott has been doing a bit of jumping on and off trains (planes, really) for work. And me...I reckon time by watching my van's odometer click over 180,000 + miles.

I know, I'm not the only one that feels like life is on a bullet train. We all feel it. The events in our homes, neighborhoods and world tell us: "We are in for the ride of our lives! Hold on, people- this is gonna get craaaaazy!"

Pres. Dieter F. Uchtdorf notes: "Let’s be honest; it’s rather easy to be busy. We all can think up a list of tasks that will overwhelm our schedules. Some might even think that their self-worth depends on the length of their to-do list." He continues, "They flood the open spaces in their time with lists of meetings and minutia—even during times of stress and fatigue. Because they unnecessarily complicate their lives, they often feel increased frustration, diminished joy, and too little sense of meaning in their lives." Pres. Uchtdorf advises, "We would do well to slow down a little, proceed at the optimum speed for our circumstances, focus on the significant, lift up our eyes, and truly see the things that matter most."

Pres Uchtdorf's solution (and I whole-heartedly agree!) to this rapid ride is found in this quote by Elder Dallin H. Oaks; “We have to forego some good things in order to choose others that are better or best because they develop faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and strengthen our families.”   Of Things That Matter Most


Main Street Deli, Park City, UT

Seriously, what can be better? Oh yeah- hot chocolate, of course!

Our home for 3 days, The Chateau at Deer Valley, UT

Sunday, August 30, 2015

I Lava You


On Saturday afternoon, six out of the seven of our  tribe caught the 4:40 matinee of Pixar's latest creation, Inside Out. To my surprise, I enjoyed it--specifically, the message. I wasn't a fan of the fuzzy animation and I did fall asleep for a couple of minutes- (sleep is a given whenever I sit down). And still, I adored the message of family and sadness being a necessary element of family and life.

I don't know if it was the movie's message of family or the fact that I'm getting a bit sappy in my advancing years- but I've been thinking of some of the beautiful simple acts my children have preformed regardless of knowing sadness or disappointment in their lives.


Natalie and Scott- traditional birthday breakfast outing

Yesterday, one of my children was asked to fill up water balloons for a church picnic. The water balloons did not fit our water spigots- so, Natalie pumped the tiny water balloons up with a bicycle pump then carefully filled each balloon with water from a water bottle; needless to say, a tedious and lengthy process. To her chagrin, toddler picnickers arrived and SPLAT! She watched in dismay as an hour of her work was gone in 30 seconds!  In spite of the outcome, I was proud of her ingenuity, responsibility and sense of following through with an assignment.

Anna's favorite company in the universe
All of my children and I'm positive your children as well have had moments that reward our parenting experience. Perhaps when they show compassion for a friend or concern for someone hard to love. My heart soars when I witness the youngest tribe member bring home a half melted snow cone for an older sister or when two of my musically inclined children play Pachelbel's Cannon in "garage band style" on a Saturday night or when my high school senior decides to approach a teacher on her own to opt-out of an inappropriate assignment or when my 15 year old son still kisses his mother and sisters in public or when my oldest- with an infinity for texting as her preferred form of communication decides on her own to serve a mission for our church which will require A LOT of talking face to face with real live people!

What do you do in your hotel room on a Sunday? Ping Pong!
 And then there is the chief of this tribe- my husband. He knows disappointment and heartache, but continues to work with integrity and determination. He has a PhD in computer science. He has a rewarding job at a government lab. And yet, we are still driving our 1995 paint peeling, upholstery ripping, three time smog test failing Prizm and our van of 180,000 plus miles! We don't have enough cash for a down payment for a NorCal home, however, we have no debt. Scott is a rock star- minus the tight pants! The following is a link to an article my smartypants husband published in the esteemed IEEE magazine:

Jo Ann Lloyd family reunion June 2015, Boise, ID

Seriously, God knew what He was doing when he planned for all of us to be a part of a family. I Lava my family.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Lake Powell Prowl

Shannon and Steve were our hosts of the MOST!

 Our home for a week: Yacht Yet(i)

Anna chargin' the wake!

Natalie- on her way to the next Wake Pro Tour

Sarah- tearing it up!

Max- Duuuuuuuuude! right?!

Sadie girl

I soooo got



Scott- 57, BAM!

Another one, just because I'm so proud!

Some serious wake surfing

So... the Smith's are just a tad bit more proficient at this water sport thaaang



to quit!

"I Can't Feel My Face When I'm with You"
(lyrics that seem to fit this death-defying activity)

Lake Powell Home-slice

Motley Crew 2K15

Sunday, July 19, 2015

For Good

I’ve heard it said That people come into our lives
For a reason
Bringing something we must learn
And we are led to those
Who help us most to grow
If we let them
And we help them in return
But I don’t know if I believe that’s true
But I know I’m who I am today
Because I knew you-

Like a comet pulled from orbit
As it passes a Sun
Like a stream that meets a boulder
Halfway through the wood
Who can say if I’ve been changed for the better?
Because I knew you
I have been changed for good

It well may be
That we may never meet again
In this lifetime
So let me say before we part
So much of me
Is made of what I learn from you
You’ll be with me
Like a hand print on my heart
And now whatever way our stories end
I know you have rewritten mine
By being my friend

Like a ship blown from its mooring
By a wind of the sea
Like a seed dropped by a sky bird
In a distant wood
Who can say if I’ve been changed for the better?
Because I knew you-
I have been changed for good

And just to clear the air
I ask forgiveness
For the things I’ve done you’ve blamed me for
But then, I guess
We know there’s blame to share
And none of it seems to matter anymore

Like a comet pulled from orbit Like a ship blown from its mooring
As it passes a Sun By a wind of the sea
Like a stream that meets a boulder Like a seed dropped by a bird
Halfway through the wood In the wood
Who can say if I’ve been changed for the better?

I do believe I have been changed for the better

Because I knew you
I have been changed
For good