Wednesday, August 20, 2014


I rarely write blogs and think about the fact that people I see in everyday life may read them. I write and send it out to cyberspace, and then, a friend of mine mentions something about the blog, and I think, "oh shoot, people I actually have to talk to face to face read some of my inner-most thoughts and idiotic statements." This is one of those blogs I actually thought about before-hand, and thought, shoot, if these people read it, they may be creeped out...but I think it's an important one, so I'll write it anyways. If you read this Heather and Therace, I'm sorry. I'm a creeper. A major, major creeper.

It's hard for even the most driven and motivated people to stay driven and motivated in the gym all the time. Especially in mommy-world! You're up in the night with kiddos. Your "alarm clocks" don't have a snooze button. Your little buddy(ies) rarely let you pee alone, let alone rest on the couch if you're feeling sleepy. Non-parents have it just as bad. Work is crazy. Relationships are crazy. Social lives are crazy. Shoot, for most of us, if not all of us, we would like another few hours in our days. Exhaustion creeps in...and if you're anything like me, it really creeps into my workouts.

I usually can pull myself into the gym knowing that I will have more energy after the workout. But many days I am not motivated (nor do I have the energy) to push myself quite as hard as I should to get the most out of my hour at the gym.

Enter: My gym-spiration.

There are a couple women in my life that are beasts...and I mean this in the best of ways. They are the kind of women who walk down the street and you think to yourself, "Are they a professional athlete? At the very least a fitness model?!" They aren't just thin. They are the women who look like they just left a hard workout and are headed home to juice something and eat a piece of raw steak with a side of kale. You know the type...ripped, but not too ripped. Skinny, but not too skinny. They look like they work hard. And like they could probably kick the butt of any man at the gym, on their worst day...asleep.

The first of which was Mckenna's swim teacher. The other is a trainer at our gym. Both of which I have befriended and adore because they are even more beautiful on the inside than their well-toned gams. They are both (even though they don't know it...until they read this incredibly creepy post about them in the internet) my inspiration. They are fit, healthy, and work really, really hard to be that way. When I workout with them, I push myself harder because a) I don't want to look like a punk and b) I want to be more like them.

These are the people I like to surround myself with on a lazy day at the gym.

I can't tell you the difference having a motivational workout buddy can make. Of course, Ronnie is motivating in his own right, and we have a blast in the gym. But I can look like Lazy McLazyson around him and not be embarrassed. It literally has transformed my workouts to do workouts with, or take a class from, women who are truly inspiring!!

If you have been feeling a bit lax in your workouts or unmotivated, this would be my one piece of advice. Well, ok, I have a second key piece to go along with it...if you find that person, just befriend them, but don't exactly mention why initially...I think it may sound super creepy...especially for a dude. Although, on second thought, who doesn't like a little stroke to the old ego from time to time? Precede with caution there ;-) But seriously, find someone. You'll be glad you did.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Be a Model Today!

Reading Mandi's blog yesterday got me thinking about the different things that I'm loving about Mckenna right now. I could of course go on and on and devote an entire blog, not just a single post, to this, but I thought I'd try a unique breakdown to highlight what I'm digging. I'll give you a big macro thing I love about her, a micro thing and something that probably gets overlooked and I may take for granted, but I absolutely love.

Big picture:
I'm often asked about one big thing I love about parenting and my answer has been the same for over a year or so now. I absolutely love to watch Mckenna's personality and character develop. Each day that passes, not only do I see her as my daughter, but I see her more and more as a unique and individually gifted and talented little human. Her likes and dislikes. Her quirks and mannerisms. Her little problem solving brain. The more I see, the more I like. I feel so blessed to be given the opportunity to play a role in her little life. To think that I'm able to have some influence on the person she will become is not only an honor, but it is of course humbling.

She cheeses so hard.

It can quickly become an exercise on self-improvement.

Why should she say "please" and "thank you" all the time but Daddy does not? Do I need to develop better manners? If I run out of patience waiting in a check out line, should I be all that surprised when she starts acting like a crazy woman in the store? If I'm not willing to try new things, or work hard to figure out a solution to my problem, how is she going to learn how important that is in life?

I feel a huge sense of responsibility to show Mckenna what a good person looks like, and with that in the back of my mind, it has no doubt made me a better person.

Small Picture:
I love her jokes. Don't get me wrong, her jokes aren't funny, but she laughs and so do I. And, she doesn't just blabber on trying to make me laugh, she really thinks about two things she can put together that don't fit, or a scenario that seems outrageous, and delivers it in a joke format to make me laugh. I've always thought it was important to put a smile on people's faces through humor, and a great personality trait, so I'm thankful that she's taken a liking to it. Take my word for it, I didn't land her Mommy because I'm good looking.

Something I probably overlook:
I love how kind-hearted Mckenna is. She has a genuine care for others and always seems distressed when others are in pain or crying. She's quick to say "I'm sorry" and is always interested in how she can make others feel better. Mandi is the same way and does a great job of modeling a caring heart. It's also definitely something I need to work on. I'm not mean-spirited by any means, but I don't have a "it's my job to make sure everyone is okay and happy" mentality. As a child, I think it's important to lean towards that end of the spectrum as opposed to the "it's all about me" syndrome. I'm very fortunate to have a partner that is strong where I am weak. I can only pray that I model good character traits as well as my wife does!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Weekend Camping Recap

This weekend we went camping about 3 hours north of our house with my parents, brother, Ronnie and Mckenna. Ronnie, Mckenna, my parents and I all went up to the same spot (actually exactly the same camping spot) about a month ago, and we were all excited to go back.

My sweet parents selflessly went up on Thursday and got the whole campsite set up. They don't mess around! They get the tents set up, "kitchen" area set, fire going, you name it. We then met them up there on Friday afternoon.

Mckenna absolutely loves it. She enjoys walking around barefoot, cooking her dinner on the fire, riding in "the bumpy car" (a RZR), going potty on a log, playing games, eating s'mores, and looking for animals. It is so fun watching her explore a different setting. She's such an adventurous kid, and I love watching it in nature. I also love seeing all the new things she gets to learn in a different environment. She is a little hit or miss regarding sleeping, the first night being a bit rough, but the following night(s) she sleeps like a champ. In fact, the second night we were there, she slept til 6:45...something our little morning bird doesn't ever do at home! She thinks it's pretty cool to sleep in a tent and "live like animals!"

Ronnie and I love it too. My parents make it WAY too easy on us, by being the ones to cook AND clean up (yeah I know, it doesn't seem fair for them! It's not! But they insist). We eat like kings because, like I said, my parents don't mess around. This weekend we had BBQ ribs, corn, rice, steak, grilled veggies, and shrimp. It was DELISH! We spent days driving around in the RZR (an ATV) exploring the area, relaxing at the campsite, and eating massive amounts of trail mix. We spent evenings around the fire enjoying time together and noshing on s'mores!

All in all camping as a family is quickly becoming a favorite vacation of ours!!!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Thankful Thursday: Bible Study & Open Houses

It's thankful Thursday time! We all have so much to be thankful for and we love to take this opportunity just to write down each and everything that comes to mind. Please take this time to share with us what you're thankful for as well. If you have a blog expressing your thankfulness, please share the link! Without further ado, here's what we're thankful for:

Mandi's List:

I’m thankful for my bible study. I started a bible study last night (well, it started two weeks ago, but I joined a bit late), and I am so thankful I did. I seem like a social person, and in my younger years, I used to be. But walking into a room of strangers is actually cause for anxiety for me. So I actually really wanted to bail and just not go (especially since I was starting late anyways), but I knew God had put it on my heart to go, so I put on my big pants and went. It was such a joy, and I can tell God has me there for a purpose.

I’m thankful for nuts….any kind really, almonds, cashews, peanuts. I’ve been eating nuts daily. I can’t get enough. They make for the perfect snack.

I’m thankful for Diet Dr. Pepper. In fact, I’m drinking one as I write this. Every afternoon I have a soda and a serving of nuts, and man is it deliciously awesome!

Ronnie's List:

I'm thankful for a daughter who loves to check out open houses. I could spend all day everyday looking at different homes around town. The last few weekends, I've convinced the family to join me on these little open house adventures. And then this past weekend, just Mckenna and I did a crazy open house blitz or 4 houses in 90 minutes! She loves checking out each room, and is always hopeful that there will be a playroom or kids room that she can check out. It's so cute!

I'm thankful for our house. Looking at different open houses solidifies one thing for me - I love our house. We're not seriously looking to move but if the opportunity presented itself, we'd be willing. It's going to take the perfect house however because we both really love our home and it is very functional for our family. We've also made improvements and cosmetic changes over the years that just fit us and our style.

I'm thankful for shrimp. I but fully cooked tail off frozen shrimp from Costco that I absolutely love. I let it defrost, you can do bit by bit or the entire bag, and then add it too existing meals or make the shrimp the focus. I like to make "shrimp soups" with a variety of broths and/or ingredients. The best thing about shrimp for me though, a guy who keeps close tabs on his macronutrients, is that shrimp is 100% protein. If I need more protein for the day, no problem, I'll add 6 ounces of shrimp to the menu!!

What are you thankful for today?

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Lifting with Cardio Bursts

Ronnie and I switch up our workouts frequently. We do it, in part, to keep our bodies guessing, but mainly because when you do something 5-6 times a week for 5-12 hours a week, it can quickly get BORING. Switching things up is our way of keeping ourselves interested.

This go 'round we are doing 3 days a week of our class (the one we write about a lot that is essentially HIIT training using kettle bells, TRX, barbells, bodyweight exercises, and risers). The other 3 days we lift. Ronnie started using an app, Strong Lifts 5x5, for lifting. He's gotten ripped...and yes, please read the "proud wife smile" in that description...he's lookin' fine, if I do say so myself.

Anyways, I also use the app, but to get the kind of exercise I enjoy, lifting alone doesn't do it. I like feeling winded when I workout. I like feeling my heart beating out of my chest. I like that feeling after a workout when I know I couldn't have pushed myself any harder. For me, lifting just doesn't do that. Lifting, my heart rate stays around 40-60% of my max heart rate, and I like to see it more in the 70-95% of my max heart rate. In order to get my heart rate up like I like, I mix cardio into the lifting routine. Usually, I do a set, do 1-3 minutes of cardio, do a set, do 1-3 min of cardio, etc. This is a good way to spike my heart rate into the 70-95% of my max heart rate, it drops a bit through the next set, and then I spike it again.

Here are my cardio bursts of choice:

- Burpees (usually 10 if doing it with another exercise during the same 1-3 minute burst or 30 if alone)
- Sprints (usually 1-2 minutes at a 10-11 on the treadmill)
- Box jumps (usually 10 if doing with another exercise during the same 1-3 minute burst or 30-50 if alone)
- Toe taps...tapping my toes on the top of a riser (usually 20 if doing with another exercise during the same 1-3 minute burst or 50 if alone)
- Step ups onto a riser (usually 10 a leg if doing with another exercise during the same 1-3 minute burst or 20 a leg if alone). For this one sometimes I also hold a 10lb plate and when I step up, I do a press with it.
- Squat jumps (usually 15 if doing it with another exercise during the same 1-3 minute burst or 30 if alone)

We wear heart rate monitors at the gym, and I find that my calorie burn is exceptionally different if I just lift verses if I lift with cardio bursts mixed in. Just lifting, I burn, say, 80 calories (or so depending on the day). If I lift with cardio bursts mixed in for the same amount of time, I burn, say 250 calories. That's a major difference. So make sure if you're not looking to lose weight, that you account for extra calories you will burn. If you are looking to lose weight...enjoy the extra burn :)

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Things That Make My Lungs Feel Worse: Strong Scents

Last week, I posted about things that make my lungs feel awesome. Actually, it started out as a blog of me talking about various things, but I ended up writing about exercise for so long that I just made it a blog focusing on one thing: Exercise. If you missed that blog, you can check it out here (you should check it out just for the memes I included). In the months to follow, I plan on writing blogs about other things that make for #awesomelungs, and if you'd like to be involved in that, please let me know!

Anyway, on to the topic at hand. Now, I've already pointed out the number one thing that I believe make my lungs feel awesome, so what about the number one thing that make them feel worse, or not so awesome? The most obvious answer is a lack of exercise or treatments, but I wanted to get a little more micro-focused (is that even a word??) with this blog and talk about one thing that others may not think about that could make their lungs, or the lungs of their child, feel worse.

That my friend, is a strong scent of pretty much any kind. (Maybe I should rephrase, a strong chemical scent of any kind, roast beef is okay) Now, notice I threw the word strong in there. This doesn't necessarily mean that just a little whiff of something fragrant in the air is okay for my lungs, but I can tell you unequivocally that the stronger the scent, the worse my lungs feel. What do I mean by worse? Usually tight. There are some scents, or scent dispersers, namely burning incense, that make my lungs feel like a deflated balloon that cannot take in air.

I do realize that the smoke burning from the incense stick could, and most likely is, contributing to the tight lungs, but I assure you that whatever is being burned into the air to create the smell is not helping.

Same goes for strong wall plug-ins, perfume, cologne and please listen if you fall into this category cigarette smoke on clothing.

**Steps on soap box**

I know, I get it, you smoke outside only. You have been addicted to nicotine since you were 14 and even though you now have a child with a terminal disease that primarily impacts the lungs, you still continue to smoke.

I won't address the fact that IMO it is an entirely selfish decision to continue to smoke when having a child, period. I won't even talk about how disrespectful it is to your child or the community they are a part of. Lastly, you're an adult, so you know the negative way that cigarettes impact your health, so no need to go there.

What I am going to address is this: If there is smoke anywhere present - car, house, clothing, mouth, skin, air, patio, etc - it can, and most likely is, harmful to your child. Please stop. I know it's hard, but so is watching you smoke. Your child may not feel disrespected now, but I promise, they will. They may not think your smoking is impacting their health negatively, but I promise, it is. Just stop. Please.

**Okay, give me a second to step off of the soap box...Alright, back on solid ground.**

Back to the rest of the scents and scent related crimes. Here is another one, if you are a respiratory therapist, please don't come into my room smelling like a bottle of perfume or cologne. I have to sit there and breathe it in for an hour. It doesn't feel nice. I'm glad you smell pretty, but your here to help make my lungs clear, not smell nice for the new doctor who just started working your floor.

I know, candles make you feel relaxed, but do you need to burn 41 of them around the house? I have a pretty strong candle detector and my lungs start tightening up around candle number five.

I like chlorine in my pool water, but pool water mixed in with my chlorine? Tights lungs here I come!

Okay, I can see this blog starting to become a diatribe of every scent I've ever encountered and what I think about it so I will stop. I'll just leave it at this, if you have to question whether or not the scent is too strong, then the scent is probably too strong. If you don't need it, don't use it.

And lastly, please stop smoking.

If you want to get involved in the conversation, leave a comment here about what make your lungs feel worse or tweet me @RunSickboyRun! I'd love to link to any blog you write about what can make your lungs feel worse, either now or over the years. Send me a link to your blog so I can share it!!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Loving to Learn

In the last month or so, Mckenna has been really curious about numbers and letters. She has known how to count and sing her ABCs for a long time, but recently she's been talking about the numbers and letters in practical ways. Her latest obsession is showing the number of something on her fingers...you know, she's two (holds up two fingers); she wants to read three books (holds up three fingers...or tries to). We like to give her simple math questions: "if you have one book and we say you can have one more book, how many books do you have?" "TWO!" (she's right about 50% of the time if you keep it to adding one and two to another number.) She also asks about letters a lot. She will ask what something starts with or what letter something is (as she points to it). In the mix of all this number and letter curiosity, she learned to spell her name.

However, she spells it: M-C-K-E-M-M-A...and it's super adorable...but I'm pretty sure she may go to her grave swearing it is not M-C-K-E-N-N-A and definitely is M-C-K-E-M-M-A. Here are two of our 1.6 trillion conversations regarding how her name is spelled. It is hilariously frustrating for all people involved, and we pretty much have to agree to disagree.

I love this age!! There's so much to learn, and so much excitement around learning.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Can One Email Save Two Lives??

It has come to my attention that two girls in the cystic fibrosis community are in desperate need of our help. In this case, “help" can come in the form of an email from YOU and others in the CF community.

Here's what I know:
A couple of years ago Arkansas State Medicaid denied coverage of Kalydeco for four girls in need of the medication. Through the hard work and dedication of Beth Sufian (lawyer with CF herself) and her law partner, two of the girls were able to receive Kalydeco recently. Unfortunately, that still leaves two of the girls in Arkansas who are in desperate need of the medication. Their health is in decline, and time is limited. Action needs to be taken now!

The doctors of both girls have petitioned Vertex pharmaceuticals for a compassionate use of Kalydeco. The response to these pleas has been disappointing. Vertex’s response to the pleas was that they would meet with Arkansas State Medicaid. A meeting is good, but the medication would be better. A meeting will not stop the rapid decline in the health of these two girls. 

Vertex has the ability, under the law, to provide the girls with Kalydeco as early as tomorrow! The FDA allows for on-label compassionate use of any approved drug of which both of these girls qualify.

One can only imagine what these girls and their families must be thinking. The same family who participated in fundraising efforts that provided the money to accelerate the research for this drug, is now being denied access to it. Does that sound at all fair to you?

What YOU can do:
You can copy and paste the following text into the body of an email and to send it Charles Johnson, VP of Global Medical Affairs at Vertex. His email address is charles_johnson@vrtx.com. Let him know that this is unacceptable. Feel free to use any or all of the email provided or write your own. Please copy ronniesharpe@cox.net and info@cff.org to any email sent. 

Mr. Johnson - 

It saddens me to hear that Vertex is refusing to provide Kalydeco to the two girls in Arkansas; despite having the ability to provide it under compassionate use. As a community we have worked very faithfully for many years to raise funds for this very drug; for you. I understand you can’t help everyone who is denied coverage, but it would be nice to see you try. The CF community stands up and helps one another. We work tirelessly to raise these funds with the expectation they will be used to improve the health and lives of those living with cystic fibrosis. My hope is that you will serve this community like we serve each other. Thank you in advance for doing what is always right, not what is always profitable.

Your Name

Are you tapped into social media? You can also help on Facebook and Twitter!

Vertex’s 2014 second quarter financial results stated Vertex had $1.22 Billion dollars in cash.  The only drug Vertex sells is #Kalydeco. Yet they refuse to provide the drug to two girls in Arkansas who have been denied access through Medicaid, even though they can, according to law. http://ow.ly/A5NCi

#Fighttheinjustice #supplydontdeny

Two girls in Arkansas whose health is declining are being denied coverage by Medicaid for #Kalydeco, a drug which could help them drastically. Legally, #Vertex can provide compassionate use of #Kalydeco while their legal case continues. Yet they are doing nothing to help. Help these girls. http://ow.ly/A5NCi

#Fighttheinjustice #supplydontdeny

It’s important for a company to do the right thing. #Vertex is not in the case of two girls denied coverage for #Kalydeco by Medicaid. Show your support for fellow Cysters and their families. http://ow.ly/A5NCi

#Fighttheinjustice #supplydontdeny

Doing what’s right is always more important than doing what’s profitable. http://ow.ly/A5NCi #Fighttheinjustice #supplydontdeny


@vertexpharma Doing what’s right is always more important than doing what’s profitable. http://ow.ly/A5NCi #Fighttheinjustice #supplydontdeny #Kalydeco

@vertexpharma How can a company with $1.22 billion dollars in cash not provide the compassionate use of #Kalydeco? #cysticfibrosis http://ow.ly/A5NCi

@vertexpharma The Arkansas cysters need #Kalydeco now, not a meeting! http://ow.ly/A5NCi #supplydontdeny #cysticfibrosis

I can't thank you enough for doing this and taking time out of your busy day to help these girls.

Thankful Thursday: 5 Star Chef & Tantrums

It's thankful Thursday time! We all have so much to be thankful for and we love to take this opportunity just to write down each and everything that comes to mind. Please take this time to share with us what you're thankful for as well. If you have a blog expressing your thankfulness, please share the link! Without further ado, here's what we're thankful for:

Mandi's List:
I’m thankful for eggs and sweet potatoes. I found a recipes online to “eggs and sweet potato hash” that I modified a bit. We’ve had it for breakfast two days in a row, and I’m pretty sure there is no yummier breakfast. Seriously, It’s like heaven in your mouth.

I’m thankful for hard workouts. One trainer in particular runs a harder class than the rest of the trainers. I love being in her class. She knows what she’s doing, pushes you, and makes it fun. There’s nothing like a hard workout to make you feel accomplished for the day.

I’m thankful for tantrums. Ok, not really. Mckenna has been quite the pill the last few days, enough to make me feel crazy. But I am thankful for what tantrums symbolize. They symbolize a little girl that is growing up and has her own thoughts, feelings and opinions…I don’t like how she shows those thoughts, feelings and opinions at times, but I am thankful that she is becoming her own little person….now just to make her express those without being a monster :)

Ronnie's List:

I'm thankful for a wife that has been on quite the tear in the kitchen. Mandi has been on fire lately creating delicious breakfast, lunches and dinners for Mckenna and I. She makes some of the most well balanced and delicious meals on the planet. When I'm trying to eat more healthy, it's nice to have the support of a 5 star chef in the kitchen ;)

I'm thankful for family time. This past weekend my mom and brother came up from Tucson to hang out with Mandi, Mckenna and me. They also came up to watch Mckenna while Mandi and I attended my mother-in-laws birthday dinner. We're so seriously blessed by the amount of time we get to spend with our families. We realize that not everyone is able to do that.

I'm thankful for Apple TV. We use Apple TV to watch shows and to entertain Mckenna quite often. Sometimes, I even forget how much is packed into that little tiny black (or is it white??) box. I think I can speak for Mandi when I say that our favorite part of the day is after we put Mckenna down for the night and are able to hang out on the couch and watch a show together.

What are you thankful for today?

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

What We Ate Wednesday: Egg and Sweet Potato Hash

This week was a good one for new recipes. We are trying out "carb cycling" because I'm trying to learn it to help a friend who wants to lose weight, learn it...and well, Ronnie's always a good sport. So  this week we got extra creative with recipes, and it paid off.

Here was out favorite recipe for the week (and maybe my favorite breakfast of all time):

Egg and Sweet Potato Hash
This is a recipe I saw all over on Pinterest, and I just pulled from several recipes and made up my own:

1 Sweet potatoes
2 eggs
1/3 c. of Santa Fe Medley (frozen black beans, peppers, onions in corn from Bashas)
1/2 tsp of Mrs. Dash Original Seasoning

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Peel the sweet potatoes and cut them into 1 inch cubes. Place cut potatoes onto a baking sheet sprayed with Pam and put into the oven for 30 minutes (or until soft) - turning them occasionally. Cook the bag of Santa Fe Medley mix for 5-6 minutes in the microwave. Fry the eggs over easy (so the yokes are still runny) while everything else is cooking. Plate the potatoes and Santa Fe Medley mix first, sprinkle some of the Mrs. Dash Seasoning, and top with the 2 fried eggs.

Total Calories: 305
Grams of fat: 10; protein: 19; carbs: 31

And presto chango, you have breakfast. Everything, but the eggs, can be made the day before and/or you can use leftovers. It is totally delicious. Ronnie, Mckenna and I all devoured it. We loved it enough to have it the next day. I woke up looking forward to the tastiness!

Easy adds for extra calories would be cheese, olive oil on the potatoes before cooking them, and avocado. Ronnie ate his with 3 eggs, and Mckenna ate hers with 1 egg. Lots of easy add ons!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Things That Make My Lungs Feel Awesome: Exercise

PSA: Video games will not make your lungs feel awesome.
As an "old man" with CF, I've figured out over the years what things I can do to make my lungs feel awesome and what things I can do, or not do, to make them feel eh, not so much. I realize that, as with everything with CF, some of these things will work for others while some may not. Here's what I do know, nothing changes unless something changes. So, if you see something in the coming weeks that you may want to try, give it a shot. A real shot. A real honest shot. I used to try and take shortcuts with my lungs when I was younger and it took me many years, and lots of pain, to realize that there are no shortcuts when it comes to health. Being at our best health-wise comes down to two things - good decisions and hard work.

So with that, here is probably the #1 thing that I have found make my lungs feel awesome...


You probably saw me going there. We've all heard it and we probably hear it quite a bit. But what exercise exactly? Well, the short answer is to do any exercise that you'll commit to and do consistently. For me, that has been High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). According to the ever so wise Wikipedia, HIIT is "a form of cardiovascular exercise. Usual HIIT sessions may vary from 4–30 minutes. These short, intense workouts provide improved athletic capacity and condition, improved glucose metabolism, and improved fat burning." Did you catch that? Improved athletic capacity (ie better shape, ie in general, better lungs) and improved glucose metabolism. For those of us in the CF community, that's a win-win. Now, some of you read "improved fat burning" and thought, "My doc says I cannot lose any weight!!" and therefore dismissed HIIT as an option for you. Can HIIT promote weight loss? Yup. Does it have to? Nope. If putting on weight is a struggle for you, you can safely do HIIT but you must increase your calories. You must eat before your workout, to give your body the energy to carry you through the workout (and not burn your fat in the process) and you must eat after your workout (to aid in the recovery process and not allow your body to use its fat stores). It absolutely can be done. And, if you want an even better shot at maintaining, or even gaining weight after including some HIIT into your routine, may I suggest that you add a weight lifting routine to your schedule as well.  Again, you must eat right to take full advantage of your hard work, but it can be done! 

And back to the lungs, HIIT (or other cardio exercise) is like doing an albutertol treatment at the gym. I was actually in a study that showed this was the case. Exercise opened up the airways, and kept them open for an extended period of time. Plus, doesn't it just come back to the old tried and true phrase "if you don't use it, you lose it"? If you don't use your lung (function), you'll lose your lung function. I like to think of my lungs as a muscle I'm working out just as I would workout my chest, biceps or legs. Instead of lifting weights to work out my lungs, I'm taking deep breaths. I'm coughing. I'm pulling for air (in a good way of course!).

The hardest thing about exercise is getting starting. Most people I talk to (CF or not) don't exercise for two main reasons: time and knowledge.

This just made me laugh.
I don't think I've ever met a person who thinks they have a lot of time to spare. It's in our human nature to always feel busy...even if we're not. The bottom line is we all make time for things that are important to us. I have not been writing in this blog consistently for much of 2014. Reason? I have felt like I've had no time to devote to writing. I've felt pulled in a million different directions and didn't think I had any time to spend on RSBR. The truth, I have been busy, but I've been devoting my time to things that I either felt were more important, have the potential to have a greater impact on the CF community or things that I enjoy more. So I've had plenty of time, it's just been focused on other things. (Note: One of those is exercise which I devote about 2 hours a day to). To make time for exercise, it must be important to you. You need to find some kind of external or internal motivation for doing it and doing it consistently. If I gave you 1 million dollars to exercise daily, would you do it? Of course! You'd make the time no matter what! Unfortunately, I can't pay you to exercise (I wish I could), but I would argue that better health is worth a lot more than 1 million dollars (to me anyhow!!).

Ask Unknown Cystic if he thinks it was worth making the sacrifice to exercise every day. He works A LOT and didn't think he'd have anytime to fit exercise into his life. What did he do? He got creative! I believe they call that "if there's a will there's a way". He decided that if he was going to be working, then he'd be walking too. Check out the results he's had after walking on a treadmill during his working hours for the past year: One Year of Using a Treadmill Desk. The proof is in the pudding.

I understand that many of us can't afford a treadmill in our home, but don't let that be your reason for dismissing his story. The point isn't that we all must walk while we're working, the point is that we all must just do something. Commit. To. ANYTHING. Active.

Forgive me if I'm making it sound too easy, but in reality, it can be. It's just a matter of making it a priority and doing it. Don't have 1 hour a day, how about 10 minutes? Is 10 minutes an optimal amount of time for exercise? Nope. Is it more optimal than 0 minutes? Absolutely!

How can you get started? I'm glad you asked. Pick a time today that you're going to do something active and commit to doing it. Reading this really late at night? Pick a time tomorrow. How much time? At least 10 minutes and no more than 45 minutes. What's active? Anything that makes it harder for you to breathe as a result of exerting effort. That could be from sitting up and down on your couch multiple times to running 5 miles. Whatever it is, if you did nothing so far today that could be considered active, you'll already be two-steps of today, tomorrow (or later today!). 

This is all about improving yourself. Not being better than anyone else, just a better version of yourself. You can do it, just take the first step...of many, many steps.

Need help? Just ask. You can leave a comment here or find me on CysticLife.

If you want to get involved in the conversation, use #awesomelungs on Twitter and tweet @ me yo!! I'd love to link to any blog you write about what you do to make your lungs feel awesome. Send me a link to your blog so I can share it!!

I won't guarantee that it will be fun, but it will be worth it!!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Mandi Monday: My Favorite Mckenna Things Right Now

Being the mommy of a toddler has it's ups and downs. I never knew a little human could be SO fulfilling and bring so much joy, while being so frustrating and confusing. Toddlers are funny creatures. Their emotions change constantly and their impulse control seems non-existent. This makes them happy and hilarious 50% of the time, and crazed and confusing 50% of the time! Ha! But  even still, this may be my favorite age yet. I love that I can see the person that God gave us. Here are my favorite things she's doing right now:

Morning Ritual - Our morning ritual makes me smile just thinking about it. As I've mentioned in another post, "magic" opens her door at 6AM, and that's when she can get out of her bed. When she gets out of her bed, she carries a majority of the things from her bed (baby, stuffed animals, blankets, ice pack...yes she likes sleeping with an ice pack, etc) into the entry way (right next to her room), and sits it all onto the area rug and lays there; yelling for me. I usually do some silly dance down the hall towards her and she pops up and silly dances/runs to me for a hug. We carry all her stuff to the couch, where we snuggle and watch cartoons (usually Peter Rabbit) while I feed her cereal and milk (she could feed herself, but I'm not willing to get milk all over and couch! Ha! So I hold the bowl and pass over a spoonful from time to time). We continue this fun-fest until Ronnie gets up, and we make us all eggs and get on with the day.

Random Kisses - Mckenna is such a little lover, and one of her favorite ways to show love lately is through random kisses, usually on my forehead or the top of my head as I'm sitting next to her. It makes my heart so full when I feel her little lips on me.

I Miss You - Mckenna lately says, "I miss you, Mommy," or "I miss you, Daddy," a lot...even when you've been with her all day long. We aren't totally sure, but we think it's actually her way of just saying "I love you" or showing love and affection, even if the statement doesn't quite work. It's so sweet.

Bedtime Chatter - Mckenna, like most toddlers, has started the old bedtime stalling routine. She needs everything just so, the nightlight color just right, the books read, the sheets snuggly, water sipped, etc. Her newest? Chatting. She wants to discuss all sorts of ponderings she's ever had...from bulls we saw 6 months ago, to my grandfather's funeral, and everything in between. She knows she can add at least 3-5 minutes, and so she goes into question and statement overdrive. It can get frustrating, so I've just rolled back the time we head to bed a few minutes because, well, I kind of enjoy that little extra window into her brain.

Tracing - Mckenna started school last week. They have started tracing letters. Day one, Mckenna and I sat to do her homework, and well, it was almost scary. She had the attention span to do about 1 mm worth of tracing, and them would just scribble all over. I thought to myself, "oh boy...this may be bad..." but sure enough, 2 days later it was a whole different story. I say writing books in the dollar bins at Target, so I bought them and figured some extra practice wouldn't hurt. That night, she sat tracing as I made dinner, and to my shock, she stuck with it until she had traced all the letters on the page. I don't know if I've ever felt so much pride. You could tell she had tried her very best, and was so proud of herself when she was done. My heart exploded when I looked at the determination in her pen strokes...it may not be "perfect" but it's one of the most beautiful things I've seen!!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Thankful Thursday: Roomba & Almond Milk

It's thankful Thursday time! We all have so much to be thankful for and we love to take this opportunity just to write down each and everything that comes to mind. Please take this time to share with us what you're thankful for as well. If you have a blog expressing your thankfulness, please share the link! Without further ado, here's what we're thankful for:

Mandi's List:

I’m thankful for new life. One of my best friends had a baby on Friday…a sweet, adorable little boy, Jackson. I am so thankful for new life and the blessing of seeing a great mom and dear friend hold her new love in her arms.

I’m thankful for asparagus. I love it. A lot. It’s so yummy. We usually bake it in the oven with some spices on it, and man, they are delicious!!

I’m thankful for Roombas. We have a Roomba and it’s amazing. To have a little robot vacuuming while you are gone, working, sleeping, etc, is incredible. I love that little robot…and hearing Mckenna say, “oh, excuse me, robot."

Ronnie's List:

I'm thankful organization. I've never quite realized how much of a task based and organization freak I was until recently. As life has grown busier and busier, I've found that I need more and more structure to be successful. Thankfully, we live in a day and age that organization help is only a click away.

I'm thankful for help. Running CysticLife takes up most, if not all, of my "free-time". I'm so grateful that I've had some awesome folks in the community step-up and offer to help recently. My only goal is to do whatever is best for the CF community and put them in a position to succeed. It sure helps when I have some other peeps backing me up!

I'm thankful for Almond Milk. I decided to go dairy free a little while back and needed an alternative to milk/cream for my coffee. I bought soy, almond and rice milk because I figured it would be good to give them all a try. Truthfully, I prefer the taste of rice milk (too high of calorie) or soy (too many articles talking about too much soy being a bad thing), but landed on Almond Milk because of it's balance of taste, health benefits and low calories. Considering I only drink water and coffee, I go through quite a bit of Almond Milk each day!

What are you thankful for today?

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Tasty Tuesday: Nachos

As I mentioned in a post last week, we are going to try to share more recipes on the blog because, well, we don't have a lot to say every week, but we do eat a lot, so why not feed the blog with our food too ;-)

One thing I'll note is that many of the meals we make are "low" in calories, but I will try to primarily share recipes that have good options of how to make them higher in calories and/or fat.


28g Mild Green Mojo Multigrain Snack Chips by Late July Organic (found at Costco)
1/2 c. bagged salad
1/3 c. Santa Fe Medley by Steam of the Crop
1/8 c. Stinkin Good Green Chile sauce with Pork
4oz Shredded Chicken by Del Ray

I put the chicken, santa fe medley, and green chile sauce in a bowl and heated it up. Put the chips on the plate, hot mixture on top, and topped the whole thing with the lettuce.

Total Calories: 295
Recipe Breakdown - Fat: 8g; Carbs: 29g; Protein: 29g

Who doesn't LOVE nachos? These are really delicious. They chips really make the meal. They are really flavorful, and I encourage you to pick up a bag next time you see them (we got ours at Costco). We tried them for the first time this weekend as a sample while we were there, and I couldn't pass up buying them. They are like those chips "with a hint of lime", but 6 times more awesome.

Some additives to make this higher in calories would be the obviously things like cheese, sour cream, guacamole, black olives, you name it.

Monday, July 28, 2014

No Such Thing as Defective

There are some sermons that really resonate with me. Yesterday was one of them. The pastor was in Judges 3, and telling the story of Ehud. Long story short, Ehud was able to take down a bad ruler, Eglon, king of Moab, because he was left-handed...which was thought of as a defect in those days.

The sermon focused on "defects": things in our lives we see as bad, faulty, flaws, or challenges with how we were created. The pastor posed this question: "what if we stopped viewing our defects as bad, and instead as a uniqueness that helps us reach a different group of people for the Kingdom?"


This is precisely how Ronnie and I feel about his CF, and it's why I've never prayed for a cure.

Now, let me explicitly say that I'm not saying praying for a cure is bad. And I'm not saying a cure wouldn't be nice.

But I am saying that we feel that God has used CF to make Ronnie the man that he is, and Ronnie is reaching people for Christ that he never would have reached if he didn't have CF. We feel that God has placed Ronnie in the CF community. We believe that he has been uniquely gifted by CF. We know that people in the community and people who suffer from chronic illnesses will likely hear Ronnie's testimony differently than if he didn't have CF. We wouldn't know a fraction of the people we know if Ronnie didn't have CF. We wouldn't have some of the dearest friends that we have. Ronnie wouldn't be the laid back and appreciative guy that he is. He wouldn't have the perspective he has.

So then I sat there thinking. What if all he ever heard was that CF was bad. That his genes were defective. That he was flawed. That he needed to be cured. It made me sad. Really, really sad. What a terrible feeling that would have been. What a missed opportunity. What a tragedy to have a uniqueness that God could have used, buried in shame, guilt and fear. To go through life feeling like people wanted you fixed. And not that you were a flawless creation, intricately made by our creator so that you could serve Him in a way no one else could.

Fellow mommies, please hear my heart on this one. I want a cure for your kiddos. I want a cure for your kids more than for my own husband. And it's not because I love kids and hate my husband ;-) You lay awake at night fearing the unknown. But I get to sit seeing the other side. I get to see your future: the adult thriving and living precisely in God's will...working in a field, in a community, and in a job that he would never be in without CF. I know the man that is happy and confident in who he is. We have an incredible life...because of CF, not in spite of it.

But I am a mom. I know if Mckenna had any sort of health issues, I would want to "fix" them. I would want to take away any hardship she would be facing, now or in the future. That is what we do as moms. There is nothing wrong with hoping for and working towards a cure. But please fellow mommies, remember what your kids are hearing, and not hearing, a majority of the time. Remember that there is a God that wants to use your child, exactly as they are today. Remember that your family has been given a gift. He has given you the ability to reach people for the kingdom that you may not otherwise have been able to reach. Our job as Christ-followers is to know and love Jesus and to bring others to know and love Jesus. Our children will always face challenges. We all have unique challenges facing us and our families. Use yours. Cherish yours.

Teach your child that he/she is wonderfully made. They are not defective. They are created perfectly in His sight. They have been given a gift to do their job in this world uniquely; to do their job well. They are made exactly right. Tell them that. Tell them that even on days you hate CF. Tell them that when they lay in a hospital bed getting IVs. Tell them that when they miss out on things they want to do. Tell them that when they succeed beyond your wildest dreams. Tell them that on days you believe it whole-heartedly. And tell them that when you can barely muster the words because it feels like a lie. I get to share my life with a man who's mom told him that. A man who is able to do 3-4 hours of treatments a day and still be proud of who he is and how he spends his time. A man who misses birthdays and anniversaries because he's in the hospital, but still thanks God for CF. A man who feels blessed by CF, despite knowing he may never walk his daughter down the aisle because of it. A man that serves our Jesus better than anyone I have ever known. A man who can serve God better because of his CF.