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The Journey Includes It All…



I wasn’t sure if I was going to post this…  It’s not fitness or food related, but it is definitely a part of my journey…  I won’t generally make posts regarding politics on here, but this is important to me…



This letter was written and sent out to the following in response to their public statements made during this election cycle:

  •  Indiana State Senate Candidate Richard Mourdock – “Even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that is something that God intended to happen.”
  • Missouri State Representative Todd Akin – “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
  • Wisconsin Senator Paul Ryan – “Well I’m very proud of my pro-life record, and I’ve always adopted the idea, the position, that the method of conception doesn’t change the definition of life.”
  • Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum – “I think the right approach is to accept this horribly created — in the sense of rape — but nevertheless a gift in a very broken way, the gift of human life, and accept what God has given to you.”
  • Pennsylvania State Senate Candidate Tom Smith – “Having a baby out of wedlock.  Put yourself in a father’s position. Yes, it is similar (to being raped).”
  • Wisconsin Lieutenant Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch – “Well, I think there is a way to have a more forcible rape, the same way there are different types of assault.”
  • Wisconsin State Representative Roger Rivard – “’Remember, Roger, if you go down that road, some girls,’ he said, ‘they rape so easy.’”
  • Indiana State Representative Eric Turner – “Someone who is desirous of an abortion could simply say that they’ve been raped or there’s incest.”
  • Kansas State Representative Pete DeGraaf – (regarding the purchase of a rape or incest only abortion insurance policy) “We do need to plan ahead, don’t we, in life?  I have a spare tire on my car.  I also have life insurance; I have a lot of things that I plan ahead for.”


October 24, 2012


Dear Candidate/Elected Official:

I am writing because you have recently made a statement regarding the options available to women after sexual assault.  Perhaps you don’t realize that your comments reach much further than the Roe v. Wade debate.  When you construct categories, labels or levels of rape, you lend credibility to perpetrators and you trivialize victims.

Rape is a violent crime.  It is defined by the U.S. Department of Justice as: “penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.”

Every two minutes someone in the United States is sexually assaulted; an average of 207,754 rapes per year.  The Justice Department estimates that 54% of the rapes committed in the last 5 years were not reported.  Only 12% of all rapes lead to arrest, 9% are prosecuted, 5% are convicted and 3% ever lead to incarceration.

How can you, our elected leaders, make statements that contribute to a culture that allows for this reality?

Are you aware that survivors of sexual assault are:  3 times more likely to suffer from depression, 6 times more likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, 13 times more likely to abuse alcohol, 26 times more likely to abuse drugs, and 4 times more likely to contemplate suicide?

Maybe you see so many figures and statistics during the day that these numbers don’t jump out at you.  Let me explain why I decided to write this letter to you.  Two years ago today, I was sexually assaulted by someone I was dating.  I am one of the 54% who was too ashamed to call the police.  Just as your viewpoint shames and belittles the victims of rape, I blamed myself for what happened.

When you speak publicly about rape with qualifiers like legitimate, honest, inevitable, easy, forcible/non-forcible, or ordained I am assuming that you have never spoken to someone who has been sexually assaulted.  These are the words I use to describe rape:  dirty, ugly, terrifying, shameful, agonizing, illegal, gritty, raw, broken, cold, hollow, angry, empty, numb…

In May of this year, I decided to take back my power and let go of my guilt.  I spoke at a Take Back the Night rally, along with scores of other survivors at events around the country.  And now, I am speaking out to you today.

Maybe if more of us speak out, then less of us will feel the need to remain silent.

Maybe if more of us speak out, then more of you will feel the need to remain silent.

We are survivors and our days being marginalized are over.

Survivor and Voter,

Emily Skinner



As I’m working to get more organized and back on track, I’m realizing that you can’t focus on just one ball or you’ll never get them all in the air…  So here I am, throwing them all in the air and hoping to keep them off the ground…

Don’t mind me if I look a little crazy while I get my rhythm…

Versatile Blogger Award!!!

Imagine my surprise, when I saw that lil ol’ me was nominated for a BLOGGING award…  And on the EXACT day that I post my 100th blog post!!!

(Click here for more information on the Versatile Blogger Award)

I started this blog with the desire to create a space for people to share healthy living ideas and support each other in making healthy living choices.  Along the way, I have found great blogs and websites, made new friends and found a new way to help keep me accountable to me.  I look forward to the comments and feedback I receive and it amazes me every day when I log in and see how many people  I have reached.  I truly enjoy working on my blog and my goal is to find a way to turn all my “healthy living” interest into a profession.

I want to congratulate Andreea at The Windy Kitchen for her Versatile Blogger Award and thank her for nominating me.  You should click on the link and check out her blog, her recipes are fantastic.  🙂

As a part of the rules for the award, I have to tell you 7 new things about me:

  • I didn’t start liking chocolate until I turned 30
  • My signature “thing” is that I always choose orange for my toenail polish
  • Even though I have more than 30 pairs of shoes, I prefer to go barefoot
  • I recently joined “Foodie Penpals“, you should check it out
  • I love every season and even though winter can get long, I can’t imagine not having it
  • It is a personal requirement that I live near water, preferably a large body of water (I drive past Lake Michigan every day on my way to work, even though that route is longer)

Now comes the fun part…  I am nominating the following FANTASTIC bloggers (with a wide variety of interests and in no particular order) for the Versatile Blogger Award:

Welcome Back…

Deep breath…

It’s been a minute since the last time I was here…  Bumps in the road, detours, etc…  Anyway, I am back 🙂

Happy New Year!!!

I hope that 2012 brings great things to all of us…

Today was my first work day of the new year, so of course I woke up with a cold…  I am very thankful for my new treadmill, I didn’t have a power workout this morning, but something is better than nothing…

My new Jillian Michaels DVDs arrived today, along with my yoga DVD…  Hoping to do some yoga tonight and be in bed early…  Running and Jillian tomorrow…

*Sorry for being MIA*


When I Grow Up…

There is an elderly woman who has started walking through our building every day for exercise.  Her general uniform consists of a very brightly colored top with black shorts, white crew socks (pulled all the way up) and tennis shoes.  Oh, and a baseball cap that is bedazzled with some sort of nickname, but I haven’t figured out what it says yet.  Her hair is perfectly curled under her hat and she never forgets her lipstick.  When I first saw her, I thought “interesting” (in that sort of what-is-going-on-here kind of way).  Now I have decided that I want to be her when I grow up.

In 40 years…

Race Day… (Wow… Seriously?)

I am exhausted, still today.  I have really mixed emotions about my race.  I did finish and I ran the whole thing, but the race itself ended up being a disaster.  I am not sure if they underestimated the number of runners or the effect of the heat and humidity or if they just didn’t know what they were doing, but by the time the 10k race started the water stations were empty.  It was 85° with a heat index over 100° and we were running on a bridge with no shade.  After about 15 minutes, I was roasting and growing more and more frustrated as I passed each empty station.  The only water I had was from a spectator on the other side of the bridge, who had realized what was going on and went to get water for the runners.  He poured water into the mouths of runners as they ran past.  That was around mile 3.  People were collapsing on the bridge, I ran past a woman who being shaded by the shadows of two standing E.M.T.s as she received an I.V.  As I was running up the hill on the return trip across the bridge, I wasn’t sure that I was going to make it.  I decided to start my music playlist over and pretend that I was just starting the race.  I made it up the hill and told myself that if I could do that, I could make it down the hill to the finish line.  I had friends and family waiting for me, which helped.  I sucked it up and smiled for the finish line picture my mom was taking.  My dad met me at the end and gave me a hug.  I immediately started crying, I was so angry that the organizers could have left us out there like that.  I got my finisher’s medal and my water, took off my shoes and stood in the little kids’ fountain on the festival grounds.  Each finisher received a free beer ticket, but it had to be redeemed before 11:00 AM, so I had a beer as we walked home.

My official time was an hour and 30 minutes, which is about 25 minutes longer than normal, but under the circumstances I was just glad to finish.  At least 1300 other runners did not finish.

I was not sure what to expect yesterday, but my experience was completely out of the realm of possible outcomes I had prepared for.  I am very proud that I was able to finish the race.  I also feel like something has been taken from me, the ability to have enjoyed the event.  With the exception of the first 15 minutes of my run, it was grueling.  I expected the race to be hard and I knew that it was going to be hot, but I also expected the organizers to be prepared and not to put us in danger.  I feel sad for the people who were hurt.  And I am afraid that other first time racers may be turned off to racing by this event.  I am looking for a new 10k to run, probably this fall when it’s a little cooler.  And in the mean time, I’ll be buying a water belt.

 (I wore my finisher’s medal all day.  I figured that I had earned that.)

Here’s an article about the race:

Happiness Is A Choice, Not A Destination…




This week has been challenging for me and as I move through it, I am reminding myself that happiness is a choice.  I came across a great article on

Find Your Ultimate Happiness

By:  Jacquelyne Froeber

Small changes in your routine can make you feel much more at peace. Try these strategies from Deepak Chopra, MD, author of the book The Ultimate Happiness Prescription: 7 Keys to Joy and Enlightenment.

Tune in to your body
Whenever you feel any pain, fatigue, or anxiety, figure out what’s causing it. In order to be happy, you need to feel good physically, Dr. Chopra says. So if you’re exhausted, say, ask your husband to help so you can take a break.

Be Switzerland
“You can save 99% of your psychological energy—and feel happier—if you can stop defending your point of view,” says Dr. Chopra. instead of always pushing your way of thinking and setting up a tense win-or-lose situation, say, “I see your point of view.” Listening to other sides will improve your relationships and make you feel calmer and sunnier, too.

Give yourself a pep talk
Try this instant confidence builder: Look in the mirror, and say out loud or to yourself, “I am immune to criticism, I am beneath no one, I am fearless.” It may make you giggle, but repeating this mantra helps people stand taller, according to Dr. Chopra.

Embrace the right now We know you’ve heard it before, but enjoying the moment rather than dwelling on future worries is a lasting mood-booster. If you start to drift, say to yourself, “Focus on the present.” That will help snap you back to the good stuff in front of you.

Last night I went for a long walk and saw some great fireworks (which happen to be my absolute favorite thing).   Taking some time to do the things that I enjoy and spending time with people who make me happy are great ways to remind myself that I can choose to be happy no matter what is going on around me.  Sometimes just choosing to smile can make a huge difference 🙂

Ready To Get It In…

I picked up my race packet last night.  I have my t-shirt, my number and some “swag”.  I am so excited for my race.  I ran yesterday morning, but I overslept and my mind was elsewhere, so my run was not great; right around 2 miles.  After I picked up my race packet, I was excited to get my last long run before the race done.  I ran 6.5 miles last night, so 8.5 miles for the day.  It feels so good to feel your muscles jumping, but not hurting after a hard workout.

I have decided to make the p90x commitment after my race.  At the end of my 90 days, I want to be able to do 10 one-armed push-ups.  I have heard from friends that this workout is a killer and I am excited for the challenge.  I already have my calendar ready.



I feel like my life is flying past me at a million miles an hour.  My weekends are becoming as busy as my workdays and it feels like the summer is zooming away.  I am challenging myself to:  take some time to just to breathe, everyday; do something just for the fun of it, everyday; and remind myself that it is okay to say “no” too.  What do you do to slow down?

Feels Like Summer…

I decided to switch things up this morning; I was getting bored with the course of my 3-mile run.  Rather than run through the city streets, I mapped out a course along the lake, including an off-road hill and some stairs.  It was definitely a more challenging workout, but having the lake view made it really enjoyable.  I watched the beachfront boot camp as I ran past and it reminded me of how excited I am for my summer fitness line-up.  I start my outdoor hula hooping class on Thursday and I have committed to hula hooping in the GermanFest Parade at the end of July.  I start my beach yoga class on Saturday.  My race is just around the corner; 10k on July 10th.  The sailing season has started and I am trying to get out on the water every weekend.  I am wait listed for the Dirty Girl Run in August and will be volunteering for the 5k mud-run regardless of whether or not I get to participate.  And just in case I have any extra energy, my 6-year-old god-daughter has learned to ride a bicycle and she is begging me to take her out on the weekends.  As you can see, it was not difficult for me to fill the summer with fun ways to get outside and exercise, I hope you can do the same.

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