Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Please Donate to Help My Son and Other Kids with Neurological Disorders

For the second year in a row, I'm running the Hospital Hill Run half marathon BAREFOOT to raise money on behalf of my son, Benjamin, for the Joshua Center for Neurological Disorders. That's 13.1 miles without shoes for a kiddo that means the world to me!

Our son Benjamin lives with a few neurological disorders, including Tourette's, ADHD, and OCD. He's a GREAT kid -- as you can see from the picture -- but he rarely gets to spend time with other kids who "get" what he lives with and who won't make fun of him for his tics and quirks.

At Joshua Center's camp each year, Benjamin CAN spend a few days with others who live with the same struggles he lives with. He makes new friends and remembers that there are others like him who won't judge him -- all while having a ton of fun!

Benjamin was able to go to the Joshua Center's camp on a scholarship last year thanks to the generous support of people like you!

Please click the "Donate Now" button at the top right corner of this blog or visit my fundraising page by clicking this link to help us help kids like Benjamin. THANK YOU!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Thoughts on a Podiatrist's Facebook Post

This week I was taken aback by a post that a podiatrist put on Facebook and subsequently tweeted:

What I find most shocking is that every single one of those ailments certainly happened because shoes caused those pathologies in the feet.

Dr. Steve Bloor, barefooter and podiatrist in the UK, has said on a number of occasions that he thinks a significant amount of foot pathology is caused or exacerbated by shoes.

Yet podiatrists often recommend that people never go barefoot. They claim that feet need support, bare feet will acquire athlete's foot or nail fungus, and unprotected feet are simply at too great a risk of injury.

I don't have a problem with podiatrists and their profession. I think they serve an important purpose, but how about we, as a society, give our own bare feet a chance to be strong and flexible on their own. If injury occurs, then podiatrists can help us get back on our own two (bare) feet.

Dr. Bloor, told me in an interview a few years ago that, "I now believe the foot is well designed for supporting itself and the rest of the body if it is given a chance to do so without being hindered by footwear."

The answer to foot problems like bunions, neuromas, hammer toes, and the like is not fixing them, then putting those feet back into shoes. As the Barefoot Alliance says, "Barefoot is human." Constant shoe use is not a characteristic of how we are made to function.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

5 Years a Barefooter

Me barefoot at a Mother's Day outing,
May 2009
On this day five years ago, March 4, 2009, I became a "barefooter," someone who regularly lives barefoot and doesn't wear shoes unless truly necessary. It was a day that I decided to explore and expand going barefoot as a way of living.

Although I'd become aware of the barefoot lifestyle in May 2005, I had only occasionally tried out going barefoot off and on, here or there. Once in a while at Target or other places, I'd slip off my flip flops and shop barefoot for a bit. I regularly drove barefoot in the summers because I didn't feel comfortable driving with flip flops on. That was the minimal extent of my going barefoot.

Then at the beginning of March 2009, I had a personal epiphany. I just decided that I didn't want to wear footwear much anymore. On March 4, I announced it to the world on my Facebook status:

"(I'm) officially ready to stop wearing shoes ALL the time. Bring on the nice weather 'cause my feet need to breathe!"

Over the next few months, my barefooting took off. I'd spend entire weekends without shoes. On April 22 of that year, I tweeted:

If I wasn't required to wear shoes at work I'd be barefoot right now. I love going barefoot...everywhere...really. #earthday #barefoot”

I still wasn't quite bold enough to simply go out without shoes, but I did kick off my flip flops in so many places that I went, including a church retreat, events at my son's school, poker night with the guys, shopping, and more.

I started this very blog, sharing my thoughts and experiences on this new, radical way of living. I encourage you to take a look around and read more.

Barefoot at a Kansas City Royals game,
sometime in 2010.
Throughout the rest of 2009, I began going places barefoot (while often carrying "backup" footwear that I'd never put on). I attended my first Major League Baseball game totally barefoot. I went to the local art museum and had my first "real" confrontation with the "shoe police."

Since that first year going barefoot, my enthusiasm for sharing my barefoot experiences with others has calmed, but my enthusiasm for going barefoot is just as strong as ever. I started an organization to advocate for those who prefer to live barefoot, The Barefoot Alliance. After dealing with a stress fracture in my heel from poor training, I rebounded and have established a love of running barefoot, completing several races including three half marathons.

It's been a good five years and I have had ZERO regrets in choosing to live barefoot. It has opened my eyes to a whole new way of living and has even led me to change my perspectives on so many things.

Welcoming our youngest into the world,
June 2012
At the All-Star FanFest in KC,
July 2012
At the Legoland Discovery Center in KC,
May 2013
Running the Kansas City Half Marathon,
October 2013

Friday, January 3, 2014

3 Articles to Help You Be a Better Parent

One of my favorite sites is Huffpost Parents, a subsection of The Huffington Post dedicated to parenting info, advice, and stories. I recommend that all parents visit there regularly.

They've recently posted THREE articles that really speak volumes to me.

In, "How to Raise a Kid Who Isn't Whiny and Annoying," author Liz Lenz laments getting "Pinterest stress" and how that relates to having whiny children.

"To Parents of Small Children: Let Me Be the One Who Says It Out Loud," by Steve Wiens gives us a reality check in an attempt to calm our nerves and remind us "You are not a terrible parent if..."

Finally, Sarah Koppelkam helps us know "How to Talk to Your Daughter About Her Body." I think she's spot on and especially like this sentence: "Prove to your daughter that women don't need men to move their furniture." :-)

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