Posted in Documentaries, Family

“The Pharmacist,” more on the Opiate Epidemic

 

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’ve had a full week of working and writing and kids. It has been busy, but I was able to get quite a bit of writing done this weekend, so I’m feeling pretty good about that.

 

Photo on Visual Hunt

Anyway, enough about that. Today I wanted to talk about a documentary I watched over the weekend, and it relates to what Mike Hamp is trying to raise awareness about. It is the opiate epidemic. The documentary is called “The Pharmacist.”

 

 

To check out the trailer for “The Pharmacist, click here.

It brings to light the prevailing problem of doctors who are writing prescriptions for the drug Oxycontin. These doctors are making a lot of money prescribing this highly addictive drug for people who need it to manage pain. The documentary reveals how  “pill mills”  have sprung up and shows how doctors keep writing prescriptions for this drug long after it is needed. Many have lost their medical licenses and some have even gone to prison.

Photo credit: dmixo6 on Visual hunt / CC BY-NC-ND

It’s an excellent example of what happens when there’s no one regulating the drug industry. Oxycontin is a great drug for managing pain, but it is highly addictive. There are many doctors who took advantage of people by prescribing this drug. When authorities started getting involved and they were no longer able to prescribe Oxycontin. People who were addicted turned to heroin.

It reminds me of the tobacco industry and how they made their cigarettes more addictive by adding nicotine. This documentary illustrates what happens when no one monitors an industry. The doctors created “pill mills” to make money at the expense of the public. The drug company manufactured the pills, but it was the doctors who ultimately wrote the prescriptions.

Photo credit: Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com on Visual Hunt / CC BY

This is the opiate epidemic that Mike Hamp is walking for. If you have a few spare moments, check out the documentary. It is very informative and shows what the public is up against.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. How do you feel about the opiate epidemic? Should drug companies be monitored? Or should it be the doctors? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

 

 

 

Posted in Guest interview, inspiration, mental-health

Let’s hear it for Mike Hamp and Walk #2!

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. Today, I thought I’d bring a guest on board to talk about his vision. He is the creator of “A Walk for A Thought,” and his objective is to bring awareness to the Opiate Epidemic that plagues our country today.  His first walk was from Hastings, Michigan all the way across the Mackinac Bridge. Today, he’s sharing his plans about his second walk with us.

 

Photo credit: pablohart on Visualhunt / CC BY-NC-ND

I interviewed Mike before his first walk last year. To read that first interview please click the link:  Mike Hamp Interview 

Now, without further ado, here’s Mike!

  1. Mike, you just finished your first “Walk for a Thought.” What are your plans for Walk number two?

 

Hey Lisa, I appreciate you reaching back out and checking in! I finished up the walk in September and was able to relax for a little bit. However, with no more direction or real goals to shoot for after finishing, I got myself into a pretty dark funk and got off track for planning a bigger walk in 2020. I have some pretty cool smaller walks in the works for this coming spring and summer, hoping to connect with some great causes and try to help bring awareness and funds to them.

Photo on Visualhunt

One in particular is a documentary called “Needles In The Hay.” Brett Meyer is the guy making this film about the opiate crisis in America. He joined me, along with his cameraman, for one of the days of the walk and they were able to shoot some great footage in hopes to use it in this amazing film that he is creating.

To learn more about “Needles in the Hay,” click HERE.

He has been all over the country meeting with addicts and the families of addicts, to get to the root cause of this epidemic. He’s been confronting and digging deep into the pharmaceutical companies looking for answers, all while bringing the viewer closer to what this war really looks like. We are in the planning stages right now of how this project will look for later in the summer of 2020.

 

Photo on Visual hunt

The next big walk is also in the early planning stage and it looks like it will take place in the summer of 2021. I will be headed to Niagara Falls. This is a lot further than the first walk and a lot of things need to come together, but I am very confident that I am building the right team to accomplish this one as well.

 

 

Photo on Visual Hunt

 

  1. What did you learn about yourself on your first walk?

 

Man, where do I start?? 🙂 This walk took me deeper into my mind than I had ever gone before. Anxiety and over thinking are some things I have struggled with for as far back as I can remember and these behaviors are exhausting. When we get mentally exhausted, it gets really hard to combat the negative thinking that start to chatter in the mind. I feel like the biggest thing that I gained during this walk was the understanding that we really can take our thoughts captive, we really can learn to shut down that negative voice before it even starts. When we are alone with an endurance type task, it is won or lost in our minds. Go on or quit? This showed its ugly face many times a day while on this journey, I had to choose that I wasn’t going to quit, and I realized that our bodies can do far more than what we think…

Photo credit: Image Editor on VisualHunt.com / CC BY

 

 

  1. What are you going to do differently on your second walk?

 

Going into Walk #1, I felt like I was in the best shape that I had ever been in. I trained very hard for this and made a lot of nutritional changes throughout the training as well. Now that I was able to tap into my brain a bit more and see that I can dig deeper, I will be training harder and working on some specific areas more than others in order to build up my body to sustain more miles.

I will also be working on some new things that will be training and challenging my mind such as some Cold-water training and new breathing routines. I think the biggest change is going to be a new tent. 🙂 Mine was great for hiking with due to size and weight, but when I had to use it, I felt as if I was in a body bag and it was way too small for my liking. This was a huge struggle that will for sure help ease some of the mental struggle for the next walk.

 

 

Photo on VisualHunt

  1. Has this walk strengthened your relationships with your family?

 

Due to my struggle with drugs and alcohol and my inability to handle my anger and a lack of patience, I have let a ton of people down through the years. My children and other family and friends have been able to witness a huge change in my approach to life overall as well as how I respond to things as they happen. I’ve learned patience, and the fact that I am in control of my response only, always and this has helped build up relationships with my children, family and friends. It was cool to accomplish such a huge task because it gives my kids something to be proud of me for. Our communication when I was gone really helped keep me on track and my kiddos realized that they missed me a lot. It was a great way to strengthen our relationships.

Photo on Visual Hunt

  1. What inspired you to embark on this journey?

 

Back in August of 2018, I had shoulder surgery number 5. I was sober for the first time ever. I was finally in a spot where I felt like I was making real progress in my life. I was active in the gym, eating right, doing anything and everything I could to stay on track and moving forward with a solid state of mind and new habits. This surgery was very difficult on me and truly took me out of commission.

It quickly threw me into a downward spiral of thinking which was only a matter of time where actions probably would have followed. After a couple weeks of the house feeling like it was caving in on me, I was able to get outside and take a little walk. This was a game changer because it helped shift my poor thinking and helped just enough to not feel like I was truly hopeless.

I was taking several small walks a day and realized my head was staying above the water so to speak. This was a pretty serious surgery and set me up for a long recovery period, but being able to get outside and walk was ultimately what kept me motivated. At some point during one of the walks, I started to think about how far I could walk. That thinking mixed with the vision I already had to want to help people who battled the same stuff I did, turned into me wondering if I was able to help inspire people with walking a long distance. I started to write my ideas down and ran them by a few solid people in my life and began planning the first #awalkforthought.

I was watching the news one day and they mentioned the Mackinac Bridge walk on Labor Day, and I knew right away where my first destination was. I brought it to the team, and we got to work. After a ton of support, a ton of hard work and so much planning, I finished the walk in 13 days and crossed the bridge on Labor Day of 2019

Photo credit: Florian Grundstein on VisualHunt.com / CC BY-NC-SA

 

  1. What keeps you going back?

 

The growth that comes from accomplishing something of this magnitude is incredible. I wanted this walk to bring hope, to inspire, to encourage anyone and everyone battling the things that I know so well. Addiction, depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, insecurity to name a few. I was blown away by all of the support and the amount of people this reached, it truly has changed my life, but the big reason I will continue to do this is for the change that happens inside when we can accomplish such a big goal. I thought this was for other people (And I know it truly was) but it was just as much, if not more for myself, and progressing into a better version of myself.

 

Photo on Visualhunt

  1. Do you think you’ll have people joining you on your second walk?

 

I had many people stop along the way and walk some distance with me on the first walk. One of my buddies spent a whole day walking and camped with me. I have had many people want to join me, but honestly, I needed this one to just be me for the most part. I am not against planning something with other people and the smaller walks this spring and summer will probably be a great time for that, but when I venture out for the 2021 walk, I will plan it for a solo walk, but I will never turn down anyone who wants to get some steps in.

 

  1. What are you hoping to accomplish with these journeys?

 

The biggest thing I would like to get across to people is that there is so much more to life than the vicious cycle that addiction and battling for mental health shows us. We truly are filled with potential and any one of us at any given time can (We Need to) make the decision to fight out of the hell like atmosphere so many are in on a daily basis. Discipline, hard work, perseverance, persistence, the will to not quit is where the answer is. We must break bad habits, as hard as it is (Some say it’s a disease, I disagree. I think it’s wiring through many years of poor thinking and bad habits that are so hard to break that it is like a disease.) and change the things in our lives that will help us beat this.

Proper nutrition, exercise, hydrating, nature, finding purpose, setting goals and working hard towards them, learning proper self-talk. All of these are areas I needed to fix before I was able to get to a place where I was no longer going to be just another statistic. I want people to know they have everything they need built in; they just need to tap into it. I want my life to be an example that may help others get to a place in life where they too are able to live it to the fullest. Also, gaining finances to help further bigger vision projects that I have in my community and surrounding communities that are in need.

 

Photo on Visualhunt

  1. Can you share any epiphanies you may have had on your journey?

 

As cliché as this might sound, I really believe now that we can do ANYTHING we put our minds to (Within reason, obviously if I want to grow wings and fly it’s not going to happen) I saw all this in my head first, we planned, I put in the work and I followed though. I’m not saying it’s easy, but the concept is simple. Set goals, work your ass off, don’t quit. This is how we change the world.

 

  1. Are you going to walk the same path you did last year?

 

I have no desire to take the same trip more than once. My goal is to go bigger and further for each walk ultimately crossing the whole country at some point in my lifetime 🙂 Who knows, maybe even other countries… 😉

 

 

Thanks for sharing your vision with us Mike and taking the time for this interview. It is greatly appreciated. I’m so excited to see you accomplish your goals and I can’t wait for the documentary to come out. The opiate epidemic is a real problem and I applaud you for sharing your story so others may learn from it.

How about you? How do you feel about the opiate epidemic? Do you know anyone this has affected? How did they handle it? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

 

 

 

Posted in raising kids, sports, Teen

CTE and Football

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a week of working and writing.

Photo on VisualHunt.com

But enough about that. Today I want to talk about a documentary I watched over the weekend and since the Super bowl was last night, it seems appropriate. The documentary I watched was “Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez.”

 

click here to see trailer Aaron Hernandez

Aaron Hernandez was a talented football player who went pro and played for the New England Patriots. He also went to prison for murdering a friend of his. Can you imagine going from making forty million dollars and living in a mansion to living in a jail cell?

Photo credit: Jeffrey Beall on VisualHunt.com / CC BY-SA

 

I can’t imagine that. It makes me wonder how Aaron went from a pro-athlete to a murderer. After a second trial in which he was acquitted of a second murder, Aaron committed suicide.  During the autopsy, they determined that Aaron had CTE or Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. CTE is a degenerative brain disease that appears in people with repetitive trauma to the head. It’s found in military veterans, football players, and boxers. The symptoms of this disease are mood swings, violent outbursts, impulsive behavior, and poor judgement among other things. Now the reason I bring this up is because I believe CTE played a major part in why Aaron Hernandez killed his friend and finally committed suicide after two lengthy trials. He was only twenty-seven years old when he died.

The question I ask, is it worth it? The money and the fame, is it worth ending your life at the age of twenty-seven? My youngest wanted to play football and I discouraged it because I was afraid he’d get hurt. This was before I had even heard about CTE. I’m glad I did. I’d rather have him around for the long-haul than for him to go through what Aaron Hernandez did.

The damage to Aaron’s brain was severe. There are four stages to the disease and Aaron was at stage three. Stage four is the worst where there are Parkinson’s-like symptoms and dementia. According to medical professionals, Aaron had the worst case of CTE they’ve every seen in a twenty-seven-year-old.

 

The NFL needs to address this issue either by how we play football or by finding ways to protect the players so they can live long and prosperous lives. I don’t believe the NFL caused this disease, it’s the way the game is played, but now that they’re aware that it exists, they need to protect the players, don’t you agree?

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

 

Posted in Family, Health, mental-health

Strive for Balance

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a weekend of writing. I had a procedure done this week that left me exhausted. It was a routine procedure and everything came out fine, but it did wipe me out. So I didn’t get much writing done during the week, but I made up for it over the weekend. 😊

Photo on VisualHunt.com

However, today I want to talk about finding balance. It’s hard when you’re juggling so many balls like family, a full-time job, writing, and exercise. Sometimes, you must spend a lot of energy  helping your family. Sometimes you have to spend extra time for your job. When this happens, things like your writing, self-care, and exercise fall to the wayside. This is unfortunate, but quite natural.

Photo on VisualHunt

However, when things settle down, it’s important to get back into your routine and take care of yourself. Right now, I find myself out of my routine and I’m struggling to get back into it. Why? Because this procedure I had to do this last week left me exhausted. So, exhausted I didn’t have the energy to exercise. I also had a couple of nights when I didn’t sleep well and that has also wreaked havoc on my motivation.

So, I spent most of the weekend writing and I feel good about that, because my story is one of my goals, but I need to get back into my exercise routine because it’s important for my health. Taking care of myself is one of my goals, and  I’ve lost some weight. I want to keep it off, so I need to get moving again.

Photo on VisualHunt.com

The way I try to maintain balance is to set up a flexible schedule for myself each day. I actually schedule time for exercise and time for my writing. Some days, it’s hard to maintain my commitment to my schedule, because sometimes I don’t feel like exercising or doing housework during my allotted time. During those times, I have to fight the urge to get back to my story and do what’s best for my health.

Photo on VisualHunt.com

Sometimes I give in and write instead of exercise. When I do this, I just adjust my schedule and exercise another day. The flexibility is important because the routine can sometimes grow restrictive and boring.

So, strive for balance by scheduling the self-care you need to do into your weekly routine. It’s important, especially as you grow older and less active. You’ll be happier when you do. I know I am.  What self-care activities do you do? How do you balance them with your other goals? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

 

Posted in Parenting, Personal

Focus on Your Dreams

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a snow storm this weekend. It started Friday night and hasn’t really stopped snowing or raining since then. We’ve gotten close to nine inches of snow. Perfect time to write and I’ve been doing just that. I’ve finally arrived at the big scene where everything comes together. Finally!!

Photo on VisualHunt.com

But enough about that. Today I want to talk about the meaning of success. Success is different for everyone. Everyone has a different definition based on the goals they have set for themselves. Achieving our goals is an element to achieving our happiness. The problem we run into is when we compare ourselves to others who are on a different path.

Sometimes we get caught up in chasing the competition instead of our dreams. We try to copy or compete with a person instead of focusing on our journey and the steps we need to achieve our goals. I’ve seen this many times and it results in unhappiness. Why? Because we’re trying to be like someone else and who can be better than the original? Right?

So, we need to remember everyone’s journey is different, and not to fall into the trap of comparing our journey to someone else’s. We need to focus on the milestones in our own journey and celebrate them. We need to celebrate each one because they are important. We also need to teach this to our children. It will help them build their resilience when they run into the pot holes of life.

Photo on Visualhunt.com

By focusing on our own journey, we allow others to focus on theirs, and when they achieve their goals, we can be happy for them. This leads to stronger relationships and more happiness, just because we chased our own dreams.

Is it selfish to chase our own dreams? No. We all have a purpose in life and it’s our responsibility to pursue it. We all are responsible for our own happiness and when we take that responsibility seriously, we let our loved ones be responsible for theirs, and we’re all happy chasing our dreams.

Photo on VisualHunt.com

I know what you’re thinking. How simplistic. But it really is that simple, isn’t it?

What are your dreams and aspirations? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Reading, reviews

My Thoughts on 11/22/63

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. We’re in the middle of an ice storm right now. It was supposed to be much worse than it is, and I’m glad it’s not as bad as it was originally predicted. I’m crossing my fingers that we don’t lose power.

I’ve been busy dealing with sick kids after the holidays, so I haven’t had a lot of time for writing or exercising. So, I’ve got to get back on track with both of those goals.

But enough about that. Today, I want talk about what I’ve been reading. I finally finished Stephen King’s 11/23/83. I enjoyed it. The time travel element was a nice spin and I enjoyed the relationship between George and Sadie. Did it answer the burning question, ‘did Oswald work alone?’

 

 

One of the Ten Best Books of The New York Times Book Review
Winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize
Now a miniseries from Hulu starring James Franco

ON NOVEMBER 22, 1963, THREE SHOTS RANG OUT IN DALLAS, PRESIDENT KENNEDY DIED, AND THE WORLD CHANGED. WHAT IF YOU COULD CHANGE IT BACK?

In this brilliantly conceived tour de force, Stephen King—who has absorbed the social, political, and popular culture of his generation more imaginatively and thoroughly than any other writer—takes readers on an incredible journey into the past and the possibility of altering it.

It begins with Jake Epping, a thirty-five-year-old English teacher in Lisbon Falls, Maine, who makes extra money teaching GED classes. He asks his students to write about an event that changed their lives, and one essay blows him away—a gruesome, harrowing story about the night more than fifty years ago when Harry Dunning’s father came home and killed his mother, his sister, and his brother with a sledgehammer. Reading the essay is a watershed moment for Jake, his life—like Harry’s, like America’s in 1963—turning on a dime. Not much later his friend Al, who owns the local diner, divulges a secret: his storeroom is a portal to the past, a particular day in 1958. And Al enlists Jake to take over the mission that has become his obsession—to prevent the Kennedy assassination.

So begins Jake’s new life as George Amberson, in a different world of Ike and JFK and Elvis, of big American cars and sock hops and cigarette smoke everywhere. From the dank little city of Derry, Maine (where there’s Dunning business to conduct), to the warmhearted small town of Jodie, Texas, where Jake falls dangerously in love, every turn is leading eventually, of course, to a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald and to Dallas, where the past becomes heart-stoppingly suspenseful, and where history might not be history anymore. Time-travel has never been so believable. Or so terrifying.

My Thoughts:

Like I said before, I loved the relationship between George and Sadie. King has a way of creating believable characters. He has a way of showing them as flawed and strong at the same time, but enough about that. Did the story answer the question, ‘did Oswald work alone?’

According to the story, he did and the afterward in the book seems to lean that way as well. I wish there were a more concrete answer to that question, but I think you’ll have to do your own research to find an answer that satisfies you.

The story was told in fresh Stephen King style, and I liked it so much, I picked up another Stephen King book. So, this is what I’m reading now in between writing jaunts, work, and family. 😊

 

 

The Outsider: A Novel by [King, Stephen]

Soon to be an HBO limited series starring Ben Mendelsohn!

Evil has many faces…maybe even yours in this #1 New York Times bestseller from master storyteller Stephen King.

An eleven-year-old boy’s violated corpse is discovered in a town park. Eyewitnesses and fingerprints point unmistakably to one of Flint City’s most popular citizens—Terry Maitland, Little League coach, English teacher, husband, and father of two girls. Detective Ralph Anderson, whose son Maitland once coached, orders a quick and very public arrest. Maitland has an alibi, but Anderson and the district attorney soon have DNA evidence to go with the fingerprints and witnesses. Their case seems ironclad.

As the investigation expands and horrifying details begin to emerge, King’s story kicks into high gear, generating strong tension and almost unbearable suspense. Terry Maitland seems like a nice guy, but is he wearing another face? When the answer comes, it will shock you as only Stephen King can.

 

I’m excited about this story. It looks really good and what better time to read than during an ice storm, right?

How about you? What are you reading? Do you have any recommendations for me? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

 

Posted in Family, mental-health, Parenting

Focus on the Journey

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. Today, I’m back after the holidays, Christmas break, and sickness. Yes, the flu-bug hit our home and got to me and the kids. My youngest had it the worst, but he recovered, finally. Then I got hit with it. (A nasty cough and congestion, but no fever.) Now, my oldest has it. Sigh. When it rains, it pours.

I had a blog post all written for today, when another idea hit me. Yes, I’ll save that blog post for another day, or maybe I won’t. I wasn’t too attached to it, but I digress. Back to the topic at hand. Today, I’d like to talk about focus.

Photo credit: Thomas Sommer on VisualHunt / CC BY-NC-ND

What I mean is this. I want to talk about how society tends to focus on the results of our actions. We talk about being “results oriented” and how this is something to be proud of. This focus negates all the efforts it took to reach the result and what happens when we don’t get the results we expected?

We feel like a failure. Our young people are engaging in self-destructive behavior and committing suicide because they’re so focused on the results, if they miss their mark? Well that’s when depression and anxiety set in. We need to change our focus from the results to focusing on the journey.

Photo on Visual Hunt

Focusing on the journey, allows us to celebrate our smaller wins. For example, if you’re writing a book and you’re focused on the result of getting the book published, you miss out on celebrating hitting your word goals for the day. You miss out on celebrating that amazing description you’ve just written. You see focusing on the journey allows you to enjoy those moments and they are worthy of being celebrated. Don’t let society dictate whether you’re a success or a failure. You decide.

I remember my second born. He was a striver when he was young. He still is, but I digress. Anyway, he was a Transformers fan and one Christmas we got him these big Transformers. They were these robots that could be changes into cars and vice-versa. Well, when he first got them, they were hard to transform. I mean he would be so frustrated, he’d be crying, and I’d tell him, “It’s time to take a break.”

Photo credit: whatleydude on VisualHunt / CC BY

He’d shake his head and wipe his tears and he’d tell me no. He was determined to get it right. He didn’t give up. I admire this resilience in my son. He’d fail and fail again, but each time he learned something that brought him closer to his goal. He was getting closer, so he knew he could get there. I admire this “stick-to-itivness” in my son.

His focus wasn’t on the result, but on achieving the next step.  This is what we need to teach our kids to focus on the journey and the results will take care of themselves.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post! I appreciate it! How about you, what’s your focus for the New Year? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!