Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A Thought for the Month

“It is a simple, stunning, magnificent idea. That we are all children of God, that faith isn't about me being more pious than you, my denomination being the right one, my religion needing to destroy yours to prove itself. Faith can actually be something we celebrate in each other, something that makes us more alike than different.” - Mitch Albom

Recently, best-selling author Mitch Albom was a guest columnist for the On Faith section on washingtonpost.com. In his piece he shares his experiences with two men of faith, each from very different walks of life. Click here to read the article.

Inspired by Mr. Albom’s article, here are the stories of two local men.

“We are all children of God….”

A good friend of mine, who sent me the Washington Post link, told me about a lovely man she works with, who is always smiling and wears the nicest clothes. Based on his heavy accent she assumed he was from another country, which he later confirmed. My friend mentioned to him one day that he was the best-dressed person in the office and made the rest of the staff look sloppy! After thanking her for the compliment, he then shared that up to a few weeks previous he had been living in an area shelter and that all his clothing had been donated.

“Now that I have a paying job I see to it that my clothes are always neat and clean because they were a gift from God,” he said.

My friend replied back, “God bless you, and yes, that’s a good reminder, everything we have is a gift from God. Because we are His family.”

“Yes, one big family.”

My friend shared this thought with me: “I couldn’t help but think there are people who wouldn’t know his story but would be suspicious of him just because he was from a different country, when in fact, we’re all children in God’s family.”

“…Something that makes us more alike than different.”

Arriving to the church early one cool spring morning, I noticed a middle-aged man standing inside the door looking at pamphlets. As I entered through the glass doors he looked up and we made eye contact. His clothes were a bit disheveled and his shoes were well worn, but what caught my attention was the sparkle in his eyes. After saying good morning to me he asked if he could have some of the pamphlets to take with him, to which I replied “absolutely.” He went on to tell me that he enjoys coming early in the morning to sit in the sanctuary to pray. And then he leaned in and said, “Can I tell you a little secret?”

Nodding I said “yes.”

“I come here every week for the AA meeting. I never miss a meeting. You know, I just have to take it one day at a time.”

For some reason that comment really hit a home run for me and I said, “That is so true for many of us. And sometimes it’s one moment at a time.”

At that he chuckled, nodded and said, “Ain’t that the truth!”

We both went our separate ways. I never saw him again.

“Faith can actually be something we celebrate in each other…”

God uses people from all walks of life to encourage us, to teach and empower us and to help broaden our horizons. Sometimes it is the simplest encounter, with someone we may not know anything about, that can have a profound affect on our day. It reminds us that life and all it has to offer, day to day, moment to moment is a gift.

A Prayer For The Month:

Peace on Earth and Goodwill towards ALL People.

Monday, November 30, 2009


Our after Thanksgiving “De-Turkify” or “De-Tofukify” classes were a huge success! Thank you so much for your support and attendance.

Here is my gratitude list…

1. Thanks to your generosity, I was able to drop off a carload of baby items to Our Daily Bread. They were extremely appreciative and could not thank us enough. There were lots of smiles!

2. During class, when I walked by the cash donation basket, and out of the corner of my eye I noticed not one dollar bills or even fives, (which would have been fine) but a whole bunch of $20s! At the end of the day the final total was $200. I will be purchasing baby items for families in need within the next couple of weeks for an Our Daily Bread food drive here at Vienna Presbyterian. Thank You!!

3. It was an honor to have so many of you bring your family members to class. And having some of you try a new class you don’t usually attend was great too. Thanks for keeping an open mind.

4. Realizing how intergenerational the yoga class was, touched me deeply. In a class size of 35, the age ranged from 10 to 70 +. How amazing is that!

5. I am so grateful for each and every one of you. Thank you for being such an important part of Body Grace Fitness and Yoga.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The CROP Walk - October 25, 2009

What better way to spend a beautiful autumn Sunday afternoon than going for a walk,enjoying the crisp fresh air, lovely blue sky and array of fall colors the trees put on display for us this time of year. What makes all of this even better is when you are walking with 175 other people in the 6K CROP Walk.

The day of the CROP walk turned out to be a beautiful fall day so myself, my husband, Bob (the very enthusiastic guy pictured above!) and our dog, Zella decided to join the walk this year. Body Grace has been one of the sponsors for the last couple of years, but due to conflicts I was always unable to participate. It was such a privilege to participate this year and to see neighbors and community leaders all walking together for such a great cause.

CROP stands for Communities Responding to Overcome Poverty and is sponsored by Church World Service. The walk is to help bring awareness to world hunger and raise funds for international relief and development. This year the Vienna walk raised $19,500! Not too shabby! Twenty-five percent of those proceeds go to the Committee for Helping Others (CHO), which is a local organization that helps those in our community who are experiencing hardships.

I will look forward to next year, not only for the privilege of Body Grace to help sponsor the event again, but to hopefully walk with so many for a common goal, which is that all living beings deserve to have enough food to eat and live in a safe, clean environment. World hunger is unacceptable.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Celebrating The Fall Equinox

On September 22 Body Grace celebrated the Fall Equinox with charity classes to benefit the Vienna CROP walk. The CROP walk helps raise money and awareness about world hunger.
Here are the quotes I used in the classes, as well as the playlist. Thanks to all those who participated.

Change is a measure of time and in the autumn, time seems speeded up. What was, is not and never again will be; what is is change. – Edwin Teale

Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all. – Stanley Horowitz

By all these lovely tokens

September days are here

With summer’s best of weather

And autumn’s best of cheer.

- Author Unknown

The leaves are falling, falling as from way off, as though far gardens withered in the skies; they are falling with denying gestures. And in the nights the heavy earth is falling from all the stars down into loneliness. We all are falling. This hand falls. And look at others: it is in them all. And yet there is one who holds this falling endlessly gently in his hands. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Playlist for class. Click on title to be linked to I-tunes

Sun Blessing (Fire-Heart Edit) – The Gordon Brothers

Life Is Wonderful – Jason Mraz

Summer Breeze – Jason Mraz (not on any album or I-tunes)

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) – Michael Mandrell

Sun Rise in Peace – The Gordon Brothers

Ha-Tha (Sun Meets Moon) – Chinmaya Dunster

Sunrise – Norah Jones

Bella Luna – Jason Mraz

Islands at Dusk - Midori

Autumn Leaves – Eva Cassidy

Fields of Gold – Eva Cassidy

Chandrika (Moonlight) – Michael Mandrell

Evening Mist

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Replacing Atheltic Shoes

In the last couple of months I've spoken to people about replacing worn-out shoes. Several years ago I wrote an article on the subject, so I pulled that out. The information is still relevant today.

Below is an excerpt:

We need to start looking at our feet as a starting point for a strong, functional, injury-free, symmetrically aligned body. Our body parts are all interconnected. It reminds me of that song, "the ankle bone connected to the shin bone, the shin bone connected to the thigh bone..." well, take them bones and add muscles that attach here, insert there and cross joints, and you've got a whole lot of integration going on!

The alignment of any body part will respond, positively or negatively, to it's adjacent part. When we are standing, our feet and legs are the foundation to good neutral alignment. When we are sitting in proper posture, the pelvis and spine are the foundation. Therefore, looking at our feet as the first in a long chain of strong support systems can open our eyes to the importance of caring for them to last a lifetime.

Wearing "dead" athletic shoes can cause pain in the feet, ankles, shins, knees, hips and low back.

Here are some tips on buying shoes, (or you can google search "buying athletic shoes" to get some other good information.) If you have feet that under or overpronate, flat feet or high arches, you may need to pay particular attention to the shoes you buy and proper fit. Going to a specialty store such as Metro Running in Falls Church may be a good place to purchase shoes.

* Buy sports specific shoes. Whatever your activity is, buy a shoe that matches it. You can walk in a running shoe, but not the other way around. A studio shoe or cross-trainer is good for a cardio or group exercise class; a walking or running shoe is not. There are usually a lot of lateral movements in a group exercise class that requires extra lateral support that walking/running shoes do not have.

* Try on shoes after a workout or later in the day when your feet are at their largest. Make sure you try on both shoes.

* Wear the same type of sock normally worn during your activity. Speaking of socks, a good pair is extremely important for comfort and foot health. Make sock bunnies or wax the car with all those old, thin, holey socks!

* When the shoe is on your foot, there should be about a thumb's width - about 1/2 inch - of space between the longest toe and front of the shoe. The toes should be able to wiggle freely.

* There is no "breaking-in" period. Shoes should be comfortable right away.

* Shoes should be fitted to your heel as well as your toes. There should be a firm grip of the shoe to your heel, without slipping as you walk or run.

* Have both feet measured if possible. Foot size increases as we age. Sizes vary among shoe brands and styles. Judge a shoe by how it fits, not by the marked size.

* Your feet should never be forced to conform to the shape of a pair of shoes.

One of the leading culprits of pain and discomfort in the feet, legs and back is working out in "dead athletic shoes." The breakdown of the shoe happens in an area we cannot see, the midsole, which is why so many people continue to workout in dead shoes.

If you are seeing signs of wear and tear on the outside, your shoes are way past their prime and it is time to replace them. Heavier people are harder on shoes, running is tough on shoes and people who pronate their feet will need to replace their shoes more frequently. Walking and running shoes should be replaced after 300-500 miles of use. Those who work out mainly in a group exercise atmosphere, replacing shoes after 100 hours of use seems to be a good general guideline. You could apply some of this logic to other types of shoes as well, for example, hiking or tennis.

Listen to your body and look at your shoes, the two may be trying to tell you something. Our athletic shoes should be a vital piece of equipment to enhance our workouts and an insurance policy to protect us from injury.