Monday, December 21, 2015

Thoughts on Gun Selection and Ownership

Last post, I discussed the reasons why I felt the need to own a gun. As a reminder, this post is for people who are interested in becoming responsible, first-time gun owners, and I’m not interested in engaging in a discussion about gun violence, gun control, or the myriads of reasons as to why one shouldn’t have one, so if that is your purpose for reading this post, please troll along.

Back to the topic of purchasing a gun, perhaps you’re overwhelmed with what to buy and where to buy one? First off, I cannot stress how important it is to note that when you do, it must be done so legally and according to the laws of your state. NEVER buy a weapon through a friend of a friend without going through an FFL (a Federal Firearms Licensee- in order to transfer firearms across state lines, someone who holds an FFL serves as the intermediary between the buyer and seller. Most gun dealerships and gun ranges have an FFL license, but it is always good to ask).

People have different reasons as to why they buy certain guns. Mine are the following:


A gun can range in the low hundreds to the thousands. I live by the motto that you generally get what you pay for, so I don’t go cheap with my weapons. My life and the life others may depend on it, and the last thing I want is a gun with cheap springs that may cause it to jam on me. With that said, I don’t want it to break the bank either. Generally, something in the mid-range price tag is what I look for, but it must serve certain practical purposes. That’s where practicality comes into the picture.


I usually ask myself the following questions. Can I shoot it, and if
Photo credit
conceal carrying it, would it be obvious I had one? Personally, I would LOVE to own Rick’s 357 Colt Python revolver from the Walking Dead, but it’s not practical for me to carry such a long-barreled revolver around around. In Texas, starting this January, open carrying, will be allowed. I don’t know how you feel about that, but I’m not interested in promoting that I have one. With the current situation the way it is, and this being such a divisive issue, I personally feel that doing so is just inviting a fight, and/or removing the element of surprise by enticing someone to try and overpower me for my weapon. I’m a short woman who obviously has a concern about this, but if you’re a 6’ wall of muscle who doesn’t have that concern, then more power to you about open carrying. Your gun, your choice!


Believe it or not, buying a gun for aesthetic reasons can be costly. Being able to grip it and handle the recoil (how the gun snaps from your grip when you shoot it) determines the accuracy of the target, so it’s important to feel comfortable gripping the weapon. Certain gun ranges will allow you to rent different types to try as well. I recommend doing that before you buy one. Last week, my husband and I went to the shooting range and I tried the following: Glock 19, 3rd generation (9 mm), Ruger LCP .380, a Sig Sauer P229 (.40 caliber), and a Glock 22, 4th generation (.40 caliber).

9 mm Glock
9 mm Glock: I have small fingers, so I found that the third generation Glock, which has a bulkier and wider grip, made the trigger control more challenging and shooting the target less accurate. 3rd Generation Glocks seem to have that issue for people with smaller-sized hands and shorter fingers.

Ruger .380, a compact-sized gun
.380 Ruger: This is a much smaller weapon, which works well for close range situations. It makes a great concealed weapon that can easily slip into one’s pocket, which I don’t recommend carrying there without a holster, but I had issues with the recoil. Because it’s so small and light weight, shooting it comes with a rather sharp snap. I have arthritis on my fingers and wrists, so during cold spells or temperature changes, using this little trouble maker, really takes a toll on my wrists.

P229 Sig Sauer double action trigger
The P 229 Sig Sauer: This has a double action trigger. Basically, the trigger is a little tougher to shoot on the first try but sensitive on the rest. It took a while to get used to that and gripping it made it difficult to take the first shot since the trigger is harder to pull back. 

Fourth generation Glock 22 (.40 caliber): This is a full-sized
Glock 22, .40 caliber
weapon, which is much bigger than the Ruger. I had an easier to handle grip that felt less bulky than the third generation. Out of all the others, I had better accuracy with this one and the recoil, or snap, was more manageable when shooting.

Once you find the caliber that you are comfortable with, buying it is the next step. There are brick and mortar stores or you can do so online. So perhaps you're wondering, what's the next step? 

Brick and mortar stores

Pawn shops, Academy, Bass Pro Shop, or local gun shops you can Google in your area are good places to start. In Texas, generally all you need is your driver’s license and a form you fill out for a background check. Brick and mortar places ensure that the gun purchase went through the proper legal channels to acquire one. Be aware that each state is different, so it’s best to ask the store what the procedures are. Some states like California, for example, won’t allow you to purchase guns that hold over ten rounds of bullets. Thank God, for Texas, is all I have to say about that!


Be wary of buying a gun online. Unless you already know exactly what caliber you feel most comfortable with, it’s difficult to determine the condition and warranty of the gun when buying something you can’t physically see yourself. There is an online forum called the Sig Forum, which is a discussion board for gun owners, that also has a classified section in which gun owners will sell you their used weapons as well. Sometimes you can find some really good deals there if you know what you are buying. My husband frequents this forum the most, because it is privately owned, there are no ads, and people seem the most helpful when you have questions. A note of caution when purchasing online, please be sure to never accept a purchase from anyone wanting to mail you the gun directly, unless you want to get yourself in a heap of trouble with ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms). Today’s federal law requires a handgun to be shipped to an FFL licensee where you would provide the necessary credentials to accept it.

I hope this provided you some useful information on what type of gun to buy and where. The next part will include information about where you can learn to use and maintain a weapon. If you enjoyed reading this and would like to be notified when the next post goes live, please feel free to subscribe to my post. 

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Are You Thinking of Owning a Gun?

With the recent shooting in San Bernadino, California, everyone is talking about gun control. This debate seems to be causing a rather large rift, sometimes leading into arguments as to whether citizens should or should not have access to guns. First off, I’m not in the business of engaging anyone in this debate. As a former anti-gun person, I now have a strong pro-gun stance, so if you’re reading this to try to convince me as to why we need more gun control, please troll along. The purpose of this post is to provide information to anyone who is considering using a weapon for self-defense, because like me, you've come to the realization that the best defense is the one you alone can provide for your family.

I’m not a hunter, nor do I consider myself an expert on guns. In fact, because I value life, the thought of arming myself to kill, always made me nervous, and I really had no interest in acquiring one. Admittedly, I didn't believe in owning a gun for self-defense.  I had a lot of trepidation even holding a weapon, but something happened that made me realize that although I value life, there are others who seek death, who don't. It all changed when I was a single mom, and for personal reasons I choose not to disclose, I felt that my life and the life of my daughter was in danger. When this happened, I did not hesitate, or even question whether I should get a gun for home protection and self-defense. It’s amazing how much a strong, no-gun opinion will change all that when the life of your family, which is sacred, becomes an issue. But I knew that with that type of power, I HAD to know how to use one responsibly. So I deferred to other experts to teach me and educate myself about gun use.

If you’re new to gun ownership or are on the fence about getting one, you probably have the following questions:

1. Why should I get one?

2. What and how do I purchase one?

3. How do I use or maintain it?

I plan to continue this blog post in a three-part series that will hopefully address all these questions. If you have more, please feel free to post on the comments below, and I will try to include those answers somewhere in the next two posts.

With that said, I would like to address the first question as to why one would need one. Social media is filled with comments from the opposition demonizing and chastising gun owners. There seems to be this misconstrued idea that gun owners are a bunch of blood lusting, violent and angry people.

In my experience, quite the opposite is true. I have many friends

who own weapons for hunting, home protection or carry them for self-defense. After all, this is Texas. It seems to come with the territory. Most will agree that they use it to protect their family if their life was in danger. Most understand the responsibility that comes with gun ownership and are either trained or licensed to carry a concealed weapon. 

I respect those who do not wish to carry. I really do get it, because I was like that. But by that same token, there seems to be an almost fascist approach to demonize and punish responsible gun owners who do, and that type of double standard becomes a problem, especially when the intent is to disarm citizens from protecting themselves. 

In today’s world, where mass shootings and terrorism have become more frequent, we simply cannot afford to rely on or expect that politicians, who are surrounded by their own heavily armed body guards, by the way, living inside their own glass castles, are going to magically sweep in to protect us. We have soldiers who take up arms on a daily basis to protect our freedoms on the other side of the world, I see no reason why trained, responsible citizens should not arm themselves to protect the home front if need be, and I firmly believe that it is up to the American people to do so, at least our immediate households. 

A few other points as to why I choose to own one:

Gun Free Zones Are an Open Invitation

Most if not all mass shootings, with the exception of the recent Garland Texas shooting, where an officer shot back and the shooters were stopped, take
photo credit click link here
place in GUN FREE zones: Schools, movie theaters, gun free workplace. Why does the media or the government not address that? No. Instead, they all sound off the same knee-jerked alarm of: "We need more gun control!" in unison. Common sense tells us that anyone with intent to kill wants the advantage of doing so in a place where they can acquire the most amount of casualties. Yet, we keep sipping the Kool-Aid and thinking that more gun-free zones will put an end to all shootings. This simply does not sound like common sense.

Evil Doers Always Find a Way to Prey on the Innocent

Some of the most violent cities in the country have the strictest gun
picture credit link
control: Chicago, Detroit, Washington DC, San Francisco. Gun control there has not nipped killing in the bud, what makes us think that MORE restrictions will? 
Criminals and those who wish to do evil will find a gun, a knife, a hammer, whatever it takes to get the job done. The 2014 mass stabbing in Kunming, China that left 29 people dead and 130 wounded is one example. It seems that gun control mostly punishes the responsible gun owners and not people wanting to break the law. So why wouldn’t we want the citizens to have the tools to protect themselves?

In addition to practicing Krav Maga, this is why I'm okay with owning a gun for self-protection. If you don't agree, that's okay, I respect your viewpoint, but if like me, you are concerned about the safety of your family and would like to know more about safe and responsible gun ownership, feel free to come back again. Remember to subscribe if you would like to be notified when the next blog is posted which will detail what to buy and how to go about it. Thanks for reading!

Monday, November 9, 2015

50 Shades of Black and Blue

I know that I'm a little late on this with domestic violence awareness month having come and gone in October, but I still wanted to address something that I told myself I was going to stay away from commenting about this whole 50 Shades of Grey movie that was released some time this year. Everywhere I turned, I saw commercials, social media posts, and news commentaries about the overnight success of this supposed, runaway hit, which was equated to that of Fatal Attraction, Indecent Proposal, and other raunchy flicks. Recently, I saw 50 Shades promoted on Redbox when I made a pit stop to my local grocery store. Something about the way it was displayed really irked me, and I simply couldn't understand its allure to the film. 

The reviews lump this type of literature into one simple genre: Mommie Porn. The books are riddled with a young woman's apparent eye-opening and enlightening experience with BDSM upon getting involved with a very powerful and wealthy man Christian Grey. Some in the media have even gone so far as calling it empowering for women. Umm...what? Quite frankly, I JUST. Dont. GET it, ladies. 

There is no denying that sadomasochism has been around forever, even before the Marquis De Sade popularized it. But what I don't understand is that while we have thousands of women suffering under the domineering hand of sexual exploitation and abuse worldwide, we are, as a society, contributing to encouraging this type of behavior by romanticizing and glamorizing violence against women. Unfortunately, many young vulnerable teenage girls are sipping the 50 Shades of Grey kool-aid, believing these types of relationships are healthy. That can lead to a very dangerous road towards toxic relationships.

If you have daughters reaching their teens, I highly encourage you to read with them, Lundy Bancroft's book, "Why Does He Do That: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men." He details many of the characteristics exhibited by Christian Grey that are indicative of your classic, emotional physical abusers, such as: threats, isolation, intimidation, stalking, humiliation, and pressure. In real life, this is not a book of consent. Most Anastasias of today don't survive a Christian Grey character. Many of them end up in battered shelters, or worse, dead.  

The underlying reality of this novel seems to detail a grooming process that takes place by a typical abuser who preys upon vulnerable women like Anastasia, hence leading to a relationship that would eventually lead to abuse, had this been the real world. 

While I don't believe in censorship, I do believe in making our children literate to a better understanding about what it takes to value themselves enough so that they are not so easily swayed by the current trends of a world that encourages violence against women. In my opinion, and you can take it for what it's worth, 50 Shades of Grey should've been titled, "Sleeping with the Enemy: The Prequel."

And that's all I'm going to say about that!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Feet Don't Fail Me Now

I don't know if it's the training in self defense or having become a mother, but every time I'm out and about with my favorite little person, I feel like I'm in this heightened state of awareness, and every situation has the potential to turn into a worst case scenario. 

Strangely enough, I think I am more relaxed when I'm by myself or if I'm with my husband. Perhaps it may be due to the fact that I'm not as accountable to someone who is completely defenseless during those moments. 

After I fell ill, having had so many issues with my adrenals and low cortisol levels, which is the hormone most people depend on to help combat stress, I tried to avoid doing jogs with my kid. I did them often when she was only five, and it's something I really missed doing. I still remember adorning my little one with a helmet, knees and elbow pads, tying a rope around the front handle bars of her bike and pulling it up hill as she cheered me on to keep pushing and keeping going. Don't laugh, but I kind of felt like Rocky in training, and I could even hear its theme song blasting away inside my head. 

I stopped doing that two years ago, because I had this fear that if I was placed in a situation when I would have to defend my little one's life, I didn't know if I would have the adrenaline or stamina to be able to do so. I've been healing and getting better each day, but I still had that question eating away at me every time I thought of doing a partner run. 

I hate it when fear binds me, so I took a chance and decided that it was time to start that tradition, once again. After all, I had been running on the treadmill for the last month or so, and I thought I was ready. Well...I got off to a slow start. Pounding on that pavement with all that weight, really placed a huge amount of pressure on that bad knee. Every step I took felt like an ice pick chipping away at my cartilage, and I began to doubt whether this had been a good idea or not.

Little one was simply happy to be riding a skateboard with handlebars she could maneuver in different directions. Several times I reminded her to stay within a few feet next to me, and several times, this little person failed to listen to those rules. I probably shouldn't have done this, but I eventually gave in and allowed her to explore a little further out as long as I could keep an eye on her. 

Coming back home we were on a down hill, and she sped down that hill oblivious to the speed she was going. Call it woman's intuition, but I knew instinctively something was about to go down. Sure enough, she tripped over something and careened into the asphalt. She was about 50 feet away. I noticed her reaction when she fell: nonchalant, as she sat up and dusted the gravel off her hands. That was...until... she took a look at her knee. And then... that SCREAM! I had never heard a more blood curdling, frightening wail than the one that came out of that child's mouth. Oh my God! There's a bone sticking out of her body, was my immediate reaction. What- was- I- THINKING letting her go off ahead of me?!! I'M THE WORST MOTHER IN THE WORLD! 

Suddenly, I burst into a full sprint. I felt no inflammation. No pain. No fatigue. In fact, I ran faster than I had run in a very long time. My peripheral vision blurred as I zoomed down that hill, feet on fire that transported me back to my high school years, doing the 100 meter dash. I had one goal and one goal only: Get to that wailing kid who looked like she was about lose unconsciousness, as I was sure she was suffering from massive blood loss by now seeping out in buckets. 

Within seconds I caught up to see how bad the injury was. I had two feelings: Relief and disbelief. I was relieved it was merely a superficial wound, and incredulous to the fact that this kid had quite the flair for the dramatics and the lungs to back it up on top of it. But this was her first official skate board injury, and seeing all that blood oozing through her scraped up skin really scared her. But, I was proud. No, I wasn't proud that her super sonic shriek nearly gave me a coronary, nor that she fell and hurt herself. I was proud of the fact that when the time called my body for a fight or flight response, my body agreed.  It didn't shut down or give up. That's progress. 

I hear women question themselves all the time whether they would really have it in them to use the tools they learned in self defense should the time call for it? I know, because I do it myself too. More so now that I am out of shape, once again, and I have so far to go to get better. Why do we do we punish ourselves this way with those thoughts? What I learned from this experience was that despite the insecurity, despite the doubts, my body is instinctively wired to do what women were born to do best-- protect their loved ones. 

Having been in Krav Maga for about five or six years now, what I really appreciate most of all about this Israeli self defense, is the mindset that it's given me. It taught me that despite the odds, you don't give in, and you don't give up. I can't get too cocky and say that this is 100% fool proof at surviving an attack, especially when there are so many extraneous variables. In fact, I pray that I never find myself in that situation. But what I do know now is that at least my body will respond to doing what it's been trained to do all along, despite the consequences... Fight! 

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Three Simple Rules to Beat Trump at the Polls

Dear Future- Next- President to Be,

Want to beat Trump at the polls? Here's the magic formula:

1. You Need a Plan!

Whether you think it's a good plan or a bad plan, it doesn't matter, just come up with something...ANYTHING that resembles a CONCRETE plan as to how you're going to run this country. The people are tired of the same old, obscure political talking points, elaborated by generalities. For example: If they ask you about immigration, don't just feed us the same, old B.S. that we need a comprehensive plan that will work for everyone. People want to know what your REAL stance is on immigration and what you want to do about it.

2. Be Yourself!

Whether it upsets people or not, don't worry about who you are going to offend. Speak your mind and let people know who you are and what you stand for, because love him or hate him, we know what to expect of Trump. People want to know the real you, not someone whose handler has coached you to make sure you do plenty of hand-shaking and baby holding.

and finally...

3. Make it Easier on the Working class!

Any plan that promises to simplify the tax code and help the middle class will have a resounding and positive effect on tax payers and families, ALWAYS! Let's face it, people are tired of the IRS and their complicated rules. Politicians have been promising this for years, with no actual plan as to how this is going to be done. Hard-working families have enough on their plates already than stress over how to decipher the tax code, and nothing attracts more voters than knowing that their lives are going to be made a little bit easier by not having to feel like they have to take a course on tax law.

That's it! Three. Simple. Rules.

Trump is leading in the polls, not because he's a like-able guy. Many find him to be arrogant and rude. He's still an enigma to me, and unless he plans to clarify as to how he's going to deport masses of people without violating the constitution, that approach brinks on dangerous grounds. But guess what? I know where he stands. 

The people want a person who is going to look them in the eye and say, "This is me. Love me or hate me. This is who I am. I'm not a carbon copy, cookie cutter molded, politician who is here to appease lobbyists, special interest groups, or other countries. I'm here to put America first, just like other countries put themselves and their interests first.  My priority is to help the American people get back on their feet and give them a sense of pride for the hard work they've done to feed their families, all in a good day's work."

And that's why he is resonating with the American public. So my advice to you, dear candidate, is simply yourself and think outside the box!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Grounding and Pounding Myself to Exhaustion

Sorry I haven't posted an update in four months. My recovery has been slow and full of ups and downs. The one thing about people who struggle with metabolic damage or chronic fatigue is that there are many days with peaks and valleys. When I hit a peak, I don't know how long it's going to last, so I try to do as much as I can. Unfortunately, for me, that's when I do the most damage. I push myself to the point of exhaustion, driving those stress hormones out of sync, and then I'm back to where I started: square one. 

Yesterday was a bad one, and I did it to myself. I lost my balance. In my posts on the Chronic Stress series, I mentioned the need to keep those stress hormones in check. Part of doing that requires me to temper my high intensity exercise with something less strenuous like swimming, yoga, Pilates, and strength training. I can no longer train continuously at a high level of intensity, every day, if I am ever going to reach a state of homeostasis with those hormones. I admit, however, that there are times when I get very impatient and I push myself beyond what I should be doing. 

Last week was a prime example of that. I had been exercising consistently in the last two weeks that I felt strong enough to work on some Krav Maga drills during a circuit work routine. One of those drills is what we call a 30 second, all out, Ground and Pound. The purpose of this drill is to help the practitioner stay in the fight should he/she get the upper-hand advantage of being on top of the opponent. It is non-stop, everything goes, with punches, elbows, and head slams. This helps to build the muscle memory to keep going during a struggle so you can disable him and go home safe. This drill is usually done after an intense workout when the exhaustion has set in and you are being forced to do more. 

Why not at the beginning of a workout? Because as with any situation, if attacked, it's not going to happen when you are feeling refreshed and ready to fight. It will come at the most unusual times, when you are exhausted or after a long day, or perhaps even during a jog at the park; so we are taught to train, as one of my favorite instructors put it, " to bleed in here so we don't bleed out there."

To put a long story short, I was already beat and my wonderful husband and coach pushed me to do more: THREE 30 second rounds of grounding and pounding. Thirty seconds does not seem like much, but I've included video of the last two rounds to demonstrate how easily exhausting it can get, especially after an intense workout. On a side note, because I know I'm going to hear it, if you are a practitioner, you will notice that I didn't have enough hip rotation to hit harder. The weight gain makes it more challenging to do that, but it is something I'm working towards. But I digress, as you will see, by the time I got to the last round, I fell right over the bag out of sheer exhaustion. Please note, that this is not the common practice. You want to be able to spring yourself away from your opponent once he's stopped fighting, usually when you've knocked the lights out of him.
Surprisingly, it didn't take me as long to recover from this as it had before. My muscles were not as sore the next day, and foam rolling shoulders, legs and back after a workout really helps, along with lots of water. 

Then, I made the following mistakes two days later: 

#1: failed to get adequate, restful sleep (7 hrs. is the minimum)

#2: failed to eat right. I was on the run, hadn't eaten anything but yogurt with Chia seeds in the morning, and by two o'clock, I was famished. So, what did this typical mom-on-the-run do? I made a pit stop for Sonic food while running errands. Yes, I know. I undid all the progress I was doing before. That was enough to put me in bed for 4 hours when I got home. It's amazing what bad food can do to a person when it's ingested. I KNOW better, but I'm not going to beat myself over it. It's definitely a lesson learned and I'm moving on. 

The struggle is definitely real. It's been a very slow process. I don't know if I will ever be able to continue moving on as an instructor, but knowing that I can at least enjoy being a student makes me happy. There was a time, two years ago, when I thought I had to put that passion to rest. Now, continuing on as an instructor seems like a very distant speck of light to reach. But I'm not going to worry about that anymore. 

All I can do is worry about what I have control over right this moment...and that's my health, which is the most important thing, and the knowledge that I'm finally working towards recovery. If I don't have my health, I can't take care of my family, and that scares me more than anything in the world. Everything else, my writing, even Krav Maga, takes a secondary place in life. I'm finally at a point where I can do that for them, and knowing that I can think well enough to finally get back on track with writing is just the icing on the cake.  I believe in a higher power, and just like he takes away, he also gives back in return. I'm thankful for the highs and the lows. But I'm most especially thankful that I'm getting my health back on track, and I can enjoy every phase of my kid's life, cause I know those moments are not going to last forever. In the meantime: one step at a time... one goal at a time... is what I'm going to do. 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Five Things We Should Carry in the Car

I love my husband. If I could go back in time and pick a moment in life to alter, I wouldn't change a thing. Whatever rocky path I walked, hills I climbed, or valleys I crawled out of, it led me to the pot at the end of the rainbow. That's right. It led me to him. He's my mystical unicorn, the kind I thought did not exist: selfless, kind, loving, and gentle, with me; but ruthless, strong and vicious if he knows his family is threatened. 

With that said, I miss him. I miss him because he also has another love, a love for people and the need to protect and serve his community from those who wish to do them harm. He lives by a code of honor that calls him for duty every day no matter how sick or tired he may be. You see, my husband is a law enforcement officer. I don't know what wives go through who live under this type of circumstance, but I do know that this profession can wear on the family structure if you let it. I also know that in order for a family in this situation to thrive and succeed she must carry herself with a certain amount of independence, along with a list of well wishes or prayers to ensure that her man returns home safe at the end of his shift. I'm sure, though, that I'm not the only who feels this way when I see him leave.

You see, despite the fact that my husband knows I have a certain skill set that helps increase my chances of surviving dangerous situations, I know he worries about my welfare every day, both physical and emotional. He thinks I don't notice, but I see it in his eyes when he says goodbye with that solemn look of doubt that leaves me sensing that sometimes he wonders whether he's doing the right thing or chose the right profession every time he walks out the door. So I've learned to let him care for me the way he feels will help him be at ease if he can find some semblance of assurance from knowing that I will be okay. I don't know if most husbands go through something similar when they're away from home, but it seems to me that a husband in law enforcement has this "hyper aware" sense of DANGER, because they deal with the darker side of life on a close and personal level, so he feels an obligatory sense of duty to ensure that everyone else in the family inherits the same gene. 

I try to refrain from the classic eye rolls and exasperating breaths every time he feels the need to remind me that I need to maintain a sense of situational awareness when I'm out and about-- of which I'm aware... duh... as it's one of Krav Maga's core teachings, but I refrain from voicing that. He tosses constant reminders about where to keep my gun, how to use and clean it, his consistent hen-pecking about ensuring that I have a bug out bag at my disposal in case I need to split town at a moment's notice, and his incessant need to stick flares in my car, along with a heavy duty flashlight that will burn right through your hand, by the way, if left at a high setting.
my purse...shh! but aka satchel
Not to mention the extra new pair of batteries he'll toss in my purse, just in case the flashlight drains. 
Ooo, sorry, I meant to say, SATCHEL. The purse....ahem... a.k.a. satchel... is one I inherited from him, and I've been thoroughly informed that it- is- NOT- a PURSE! Although that's what I use it for, but anyway all of that is just enough to drive a cop's wife a little BATTY, sometimes, if you know what I mean. Regardless, he thinks I'm not listening, but I do. 

This weekend I was involved in a three-car collision pile up. Exiting a highway, the person in front of me came to a sudden stop due to backed up traffic. I managed to stop in time, and the person behind me stopped in time, but the third one rammed into her. This caused the second vehicle to whip forward and hit us from behind. My kid was in the front seat, and she bit her lip with the impact. Both of us were a little sore from our neck and back, but we walked out of it unscathed and so did my vehicle. Let me tell you guys, the next time you scoff at the thought of buying a minivan, think again. Mine survived with a tiny dent left on its rear bumper. Mmm-hmm... can I get an Amen...and thank YOU Toyota??? Snap! Snap!

The second vehicle wasn't so lucky, though. She had a baby in the back seat and his car seat jammed when they were crushed from behind. Thankfully, he was not harmed but the mother sliced her finger trying to get him out. The third car was completely totaled, as more vehicles zoomed by at ridiculous speeds. 

I told my kid to pull out the first aid kit, and I remembered I had five flares in my car... yes... alright, I'll admit it, the very flares my man insisted I must carry inside my vehicle's emergency bag. So I yanked out three. 

We were fortunate enough to have good citizens come out of nowhere and offer to help-- faith in humanity restored, by the way. One of them set the flares up for me, and traffic exiting the highway slowed down to a cautious pace as they were able to see the flares on the road. The woman in the second vehicle had a cell phone but the battery was drained and borrowed mine to make a call. 

It wasn't a devastating experience...well... for my kid it was, and now I have to figure out how to get mine to sit on the front seat again, but I know it could've been much worse, so it did shake me somewhat. This whole incident got me thinking about how easy it is to become complacent and take life completely for granted. "What if I didn't have these things in my vehicle?" I thought. I remembered an instructor who love to drill this saying into his students in Krav Maga, "Being PREPARED for a dangerous situation is not PARANOID! You must always be PREPARED!" he would bark in that scruffy drill sergeant voice that makes every one take notice.

I believe, that in addition to having a self-defense skill set, there are some things that mothers, daughters, all of us as a matter-of-fact, should always carry in our vehicles should we find ourselves in an emergency situation and in need of assistance. Now, keep in mind that region may vary, and I'm sure that there are other things you might need if you live in the snow-filled mountains of Montana, for example, but I found these items extremely useful for my neck of the woods. Aside from the standard equipment of battery jumper cables, and a tire changing kit, these five things could prove to be life-saving:

1. Water- In Texas, with mother nature's testy hormonal changes of freezing cold to tongue parched heat in one day, I always carry a bottle or two with me everywhere I go, but I don't leave it in my car if I intend to drink it. It can be used as a rinsing agent or simply for hydration. We stood outside that accident for close to two hours in the hot sun. My kid was flushed red from the heat. That water definitely helped.

2. First Aid kit- I like to get the ones equipped with everything but the kitchen sink, but if you're on a budget, make sure it at least has band-aids, antiseptic, scissors, gauze and those crystal ice bags that you squeeze and they get ice cold. It is especially useful if there's swelling involved from an impact.

3. Flares- You can buy those at any Academy and they come in handy should you find yourself in a high traffic area at the scene of an accident to serve as a warning for other vehicles. And although I don't like to travel long distances at night, if you are left stranded on an isolated road, those flares are extremely useful to signal for help. Unless of course, you end up with the hatchet serial killer who likes to comb for individuals on the side of the road, then I would have to say you're toast. Sorry, didn't mean to pull out the dramatics, but I just had to add my two cents about how much I dislike traveling long distances at night. Night travel seems to invite a higher element of risk, but if you find you MUST do so, those flares are important.

4. Cell phone- make sure it is fully charged, always, but I'm going to pull out my motherly warning hat and advise that you PLEASE not text and drive, or take SELFIES in the middle of the road for that matter. Yes, someone actually did that when I was driving with my family last week, and it's rare that I want to say that I want to physically hurt someone, but I really did want to stop and give her some assistance by offering to rearrange her face for that next selfie she took. Let's see if she'll want to put another family at risk to take a picture of herself, again. Like...seriously?!! Okay, off my podium, next...

5. Flashlight- A heavy duty flashlight with fresh batteries is crucial should you get stranded in the dark. Don't leave home without it!

I will confess that the whole ordeal made me realize just how delicate life really is. A single moment, from a single decision made, in a single day can take a sudden turn for the worst. We can be living our days working towards goals and building a life, but we never stop to think just how fast all that can slip right through our fingers. I know that a higher power must have been looking out for us, but I'm also grateful that I have my very own superhero here on earth, who loves us enough to ensure that we are safe and secure at all times, even when he can't be. For that I'd like to say, "Don't worry, honey...we're okay...I'm so proud of what you do. I'll hold the fort. You go fight crime. And there will always be a light on, right here, waiting safe and sound for you!"

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Intruder in the Shower- True Story and I Lived to Write About It

Every parent yearns for that quiet, solitary moment in the bathroom. This morning, bursting into my home with the urgency of a short distance runner making a mad dash toward the finish line, I thought I had finally earned mine. Gone was the kid with the built-in alarm system whose sensor is somehow triggered like a trip wire the moment those cheeks hit the toilet. If you’re a parent, you know EXACTLY what I’m talking about. I sat there in peace, soaking in my moment. Amazing what grape fruit can do for mothers who suffer from constipation.

Suddenly, the shower curtain moved.

I tensed.

Something shuffled in the tub.

Frantic eyes scanned for the nearest, sharpest object: a roll of toilet paper, a tube of toothpaste, and a toilet brush. Great, now I could roll my attacker in toilet paper and brush his teeth with the over-sized brush. Where was Bessie, my 9 mm, when I needed her?

Screw it. The sharp end of the handle would have to do. Although I failed the first part of the test: always be prepared! It was time to put into practice what I trained for in the last five years.

Eyes dilated… heart pounded…my vice grip hand grasped the handle.

Without a moment’s notice green eyes peered out of the curtain, followed by a long body…a gray coat… and four legs.

My cat, Felix, with a built-in alarm system of his own, that is triggered the moment my man gets out of the shower, so he can lap the water accumulated around the rim of the drain, gave me a curious meow and what seemed like a mild heart-attack.

Note to self, and to anyone who cares to heed these words… two actually:

  1. Forget the grapefruit, a good scare will cure all types of constipation.


  1. Your home protects you from the elements, but not from predators or intruders. Come up with a plan to help you prepare for both.

Friday, February 27, 2015

How Chronic Stress Affects the Body, Part 3: Effects of Energy Drinks and Lack of Sleep

Update: 5/16/17: Since the writing of this post, I tested positive for an MTHFR mutation, which affects our body's ability to detoxify, create energy and balance hormones. Because of this mutation, over consumption of energy drinks made things worse, as you will read below. If you want to read more about MTHFR visit my new blog by clicking here: Journey Out of the Pain Fog and Fatigue

I remember feeling consistently run down, despite exercising. Needing the energy to keep up I turned to coffee drinks and always had an ample supply of Red Bulls, Monster Drinks, and Starbucks Double Shot drinks just to keep me going, but they eventually stopped working, and I kept having to up the doses just to get some type of effect, seeming to only cause more inflammation and make matters worse.

“Why did this happen?” I asked Dr. Boyd.
“As the adrenal glands begins to fatigue, the Cortisol levels needed to help provide the body with the energy it requires to combat stress, illness, infection, and bleeding, flat line, so you will no longer get the desired spikes when needed.  Your body begins craving things with sugars and caffeine in order to try to get the adrenals jump-started.  But the caffeine places additional stress on the adrenals. Until, eventually, the adrenals stop working all together. It is not recommended to drink the sugary energy drinks as they will only make matters worse, not to mention it will cause you to gain weight. A good option is to drink a large glass of water with a large freshly squeezed lemon.  You may add a small amount of Stevia for sweetness.  The lemon water will have a cleansing and detoxification effect, and it will also jump start your day. 
“At the expense of changing the subject, the whole cop and donuts stereotype is beginning to make perfect sense to me now, actually.” I chuckled. “Poor guys are consistently stressed.” I continued. 
“You mentioned that the adrenals get suppressed. Is there anything we can do to support the adrenals?” I asked.
“Certain supplements and amino acids help, but one of the most crucial things people tend to forsake is sleep. Sleep is a way to restore your body’s cells back to normal. Seven to eight hours is recommended so that your body can repair itself and recharge its batteries. Also, it is important to exercise at least 3 times a week and incorporate prayer or meditation into your daily routine to help calm your mind,” said Dr. Boyd.
Whether you believe in prayer or meditation, finding things to help calm your mind like Tai Chi, yoga, or other activities is extremely effective. Aside from writing, I had to examine what I enjoyed doing the most and MAKE time for it, even if it was on a small scale. For me, sitting outside my balcony and reading a book or working on a crossword puzzle was relaxing. My husband finds going to the gun range calming because he is focused on nothing but a target. I would imagine that anything that helps a person calm their mind and relax is important.

“Thank you, Dr. Boyd. I really appreciate your input,” I said. “I remember when I began to lose my sleep, and no matter how hard I tried, I would get but four hours of sleep a day, which led to a lot of irritability and mood swings. Another doctor started me on 5HTP and Melatonin, and it helped tremendously, but unfortunately, my hormone levels by this time were so destabilized that my body completely shut down, which led to an imbalance of testosterone levels, causing Andropause, a condition most commonly seen in men.”
Looking back, the excessive daily training in Krav Maga, five times a week, exacerbated the problem because Krav Maga’s goal is to train a person under stressful conditions. With that said, does this mean that anyone undergoing stress should never practice Krav Maga, or any high impact sport for that matter? Not at all. The type of stress that I am referring to is the CHRONIC type—excessive, nonstop, don’t have the time to ever decompress stress.  There are many health benefits to exercise, but people undergoing chronic stress may benefit more by balancing Krav Maga with other exercises such as Tai Chi, yoga, swimming, strength training, even walking or hiking.

This whole experience has required a complete lifestyle change on my part, and I’m learning new ways to find balance in my life. It’s not always easy. With a crime fighting husband and a rambunctious little one, managing a writing career, holding the fort, and finding time to do what I love can prove to be challenging. Now, I make it a point to make sure I find time to release that valve, and if I don’t, my loving husband goes out of his way to ensure that I get a break to focus on me. It’s not only needed, but extremely necessary and mandatory for not only the benefit of my body, but a happier family. I now force, yes FORCE myself to get at least myself to bed at a time that will allow me a minimum of 7 hours of sleep. It’s amazing how much energy you get just doing that. I used to be of the, “I’ll rest when I’m dead," mentality, and while that worked when I was younger, I found that as I aged I was working myself to that grave a lot sooner.

It’s not easy saying this, but I’ve regained much of my weight back, and have since started treatment for bioidentical hormone therapy, plant-based pellets called BIOTE, which changed my life from night to day. Most men with this condition are placed on T-shots (testosterone shots). Unless I wanted to grow a nice beard like a Chia pet and a full set of chest hair, my body couldn’t handle that large amount of testosterone found in those shots.  The BIOTE restored me with the hormones I needed in my body to reach a state of balance. I am now able to workout every day, but it’s balanced with strength training, walking, yoga, cycling and of course, can’t neglect my second child: Krav Maga. 

It was a gradual process, started at 20 minutes, moved to 30, 45, and now I am able to do 1hr of a cardio bag workout, trying to be conscious of not over doing it, hard to do, cause I will literally work through pain to the point where my husband will come up and remove whatever it is I’m lifting if I so much as grunt or grimace. Ugh! Annoying, yes. I hate when he does that, but it’s for my own good. All in baby steps so as not to start taxing those adrenals again. Because of my condition, I don’t believe I’m going to participate in high intensity exercise on a daily basis again. I’ll leave that for the young-ins. My goal now is to lose the weight, manage stress, work on my PTSD, and perfect my technique. It’s a new beginning. I’ve been very blessed to have another fresh start where I can wake up feeling like I’m ready to conquer the world and not like I got run down by a semi. The best part about being at the bottom of the pit and clawing your way out is that there is only one way to go but up.

If you enjoyed reading this, and would like to get updates about my next posts, please feel free to subscribe or visit again. Until then, I wish you peace, love, and blessings!

*Dr. James Todd Boyd is an expert in Chiropractic Neuroscience, specializing in Neurological Stress Reduction Therapy (NSRT) through the use of laser induction therapy or laser acupuncture to help bring the neurological/ immune/ endocrine systems back into balance. NSRT combines biofeedback, laser induction therapy, and nutrition.  He has seen much success through this treatment. Allergies have been very responsive with NSRT.  They also have the first documented case of having successfully treated a patient with a severe red meat allergy after being bitten by the Lone Star Tick. Until now, there had been no known cure.  They regularly see patients with adrenal fatigue, eczema, and even autism with incredible results by simply using the NSRT.  Detecting stress and then changing the way the body responds to that stress is key to helping the body get to a state of true health and wellness. You may reach him at his website or his new practice at the following:
Integra Wellness Center
1040 Edgewater Corporate Prkway
Indian Land, SC

Thursday, February 26, 2015

How Chronic Stress Affects the Body, Part 2: Effects of Toxic Family Environments

Chronic fatigue, depression, joint stiffness, aches and pains, weight gain, destabilized hormones, constipation, compromised immune function all mirrored every single symptom I had experienced in over a span of the last several years.

Dr. Boyd continued, “Oftentimes, doctors will address and treat the symptoms or conditions such as depression and will prescribe an anti-depressant, addressing only the symptoms and not getting to the root of the problem. But even those anti-depressants come with their own set of side effects that may lead to other issues.” His statement rang true as I recalled one of my doctors wanting to put me on Prozac when I complained of constant fatigue. The last thing I wanted was to mask the problem with a drug. I didn’t want that. I wanted to heal my body from the inside out.

He agreed. Most of our issues come from stress. Even the American Medical Association states that 80-85% of today’s illnesses are caused by some sort of underlying stress: physical, emotional, and chemical (such as nutrition or pesticides).

Cancer, Tumors, heart disease, Irritable bowel syndrome, Chrohns Disease, Eczema, allergies, ADD/ ADHD, autism, and obesity are all stress related disorders. If you cannot manage stress, the body will eventually give you signs that something is out of balance.

“Are there people who are more susceptible to stress than others?” I continued.

"Everyone is exposed to stress. But people who work in high stress jobs such as law enforcement, soldiers, teachers, business owners, even moms are at a higher risk as they wrestle with chronic stress every day," he asserted.

“Would people who grew up in toxic family environments where there was domestic abuse, alcoholism, or drug addictions contribute to that as well?” I wondered, considering the environment I was raised in filled with strife, drama, emotional and physical manipulation, and physical altercations-- the perfect recipe for the makings of a writer.
Photo credit:
Center on the Developing Child, Harvard University

“It is very possible, yes, because physical abuse leads to emotional stress and emotional stress is probably the most detrimental of stresses because the stressful emotion can replay itself over and over again in your mind. While being frightened by a barking dog will increase stress for a moment and then return to normal, it is our emotions that stay with us all day and all night long. We tend to dwell on them, which creates the chronic stress. For example... the young child who was physically abused by a parent can easily carry those stresses into adulthood if they do not learn how to deal with the stress. Think about it, is it the physical pain or the emotional pain that will cause an adult to seek therapy or counseling later in life? It is our emotional pain that we carry with us everywhere. If we don't learn how to deal with it... then it is going to deal with us eventually,” he said.

I think I carried that emotional pain with me for many years, which is why I used writing to be able to handle and process those negative emotions; but as the stressors of life increased, it slowly but surely ate away at my health. The unbearable burden of going through a divorce and trying to keep up with several jobs to help raise my little one may have been the breaking point. I remember consistently feeling run down, and no matter how much I exercised, it all seemed to be snowballing like an unstoppable avalanche.

(Thank you for reading part 2 on chronic stress. If you would like to read part 1, click here. If you would move on and read part 3, click here. get notified when the third part is posted, subscribe to my blog or feel free to stop by again.)

*Dr. James Todd Boyd is an expert in Chiropractic Neuroscience, specializing in Neurological Stress Reduction Therapy (NSRT) through the use of laser induction therapy or laser acupuncture to help bring the neurological/ immune/ endocrine systems back into balance. NSRT combines biofeedback, laser induction therapy, and nutrition. He has seen much success through this treatment. Allergies have been very responsive with NSRT. They also have the first documented case of having successfully treated a patient with a severe red meat allergy after being bitten by the Lone Star Tick. Until now, there had been no known cure. They regularly see patients with adrenal fatigue, eczema, and even autism with incredible results by simply using the NSRT. Detecting stress and then changing the way the body responds to that stress is key to helping the body get to a state of true health and wellness. You may reach him at his website or his new practice at the following:
Integra Wellness Center
1040 Edgewater Corporate Prkway
Indian Land, SC

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

How Chronic Stress Affects the Body

During World War I, shell shock was described as the reaction of soldiers to the trauma of battle. This apparent reaction led to symptoms such as being unable to reason, sleep, walk or talk. "Simply put, after even the most obedient soldier had enough shells rain down on him, without any means of fighting back, he often lost all self control. At the time, the concept of shell shock was ill defined.” [1]

In World War II and thereafter, the diagnosis of "shell shock" was replaced by that of combat stress reaction, a similar but not identical response to the trauma of warfare. Not everyone understood or empathized with this phenomena, especially when soldiers seemed to exhibit no other signs of injuries or head wounds other than symptoms of fatigue. In fact, it is documented that General Patton once slapped soldier Paul G. Bennet, for claiming that his nerves would get the best of him, so he refused to go back to the field. Patton saw that as an act of cowardice and a slap to the face ensued.[2]

Throughout the years, this condition morphed into words such as battle fatigue syndrome and post-traumatic stress disorders, which is a psychological disorder that develops in some individuals who have had major traumatic experiences.

Whatever name you give this condition they all seem to have one common denominator that causes a shut down of the metabolic system and results in a domino effect of serious problems to the body: CHRONIC STRESS.

I can speak with some type of authority in the subject matter of chronic stress because I lived with it for a large portion of my life. Although, it will probably never compare to the types of traumas our soldiers have had to endure, I used this comparison to illustrate the seriousness that chronic stress can cause on one’s metabolic system.

If you read my past blog, “The Day My Body Yelled, STOP!” I detailed the many symptoms I experienced which led to a metabolic shutdown that caused me to stop practicing Krav Maga for an extended period of time. In order to get a better understanding of why that happened, I interviewed an expert in the field of chiropractic neuroscience, from Charlotte, N.C., who specializes in stress reduction therapy, Dr. James Todd Boyd.[3]

Photo credit:
“Can you explain what happens when the body is experiencing an excessive amount of stress?” I asked.

"Sure, when a person is in a state of stress, the body's response is to engage into the fight or flight mode which releases hormones from the adrenal glands such as Cortisol, DHEA, and Adrenaline.  The Cortisol levels go up to help deal with the stress, so the body’s job then is to bring those levels back to normal. Your brain then releases neurotransmitters to normalize those levels. Cortisol is supposed to naturally spike up in the morning upon waking and then gradually go down as the day goes on so that we can get to sleep at night.  When we are under chronic stress, our adrenals cannot produce the proper amounts of Cortisol and it just flat-lines all day long.  The adrenals literally wear themselves out so that you can't get that extra jump-start when you need it most.  This in turn will throw the other neurotransmitters out of balance and then nothing functions properly.  When that happens, you may experience symptoms such as:

Chronic fatigue
Joint stiffness
Aches and pains
Weight gain
Destabilized hormones
Compromised immune function which can lead to illness

Hearing him speak of Cortisol, the hormone needed to deal with stress, I compare that to gas in a car. Our body is the car that needs the gas to keep running. What happens if we run our car at an accelerated rate all the time without ever taking the time to fill it with more gas? After we're done running on fumes, our vehicle will eventually shut down. Like the car, we can't keep running our body at an accelerated rate without ever giving it time to replace it with more of the hormones, or gas, we need to bring it back down to a state of balance. The results to our vehicle, our body, can prove disastrous. 

(This is a three-part segment if you enjoyed reading this, continue to parts 2 and parts 3)

2. Keane, Michael. "Patton: Blood, Guts, and Prayer."

3. Dr. James Todd Boyd is an expert in Chiropractic Neuroscience, specializing in Neurological Stress Reduction Therapy (NSRT) through the use of laser induction therapy or laser acupuncture to help bring the neurological/ immune/ endocrine systems back into balance. NSRT combines biofeedback, laser induction therapy, and nutrition.  He has seen much success through this treatment. Allergies have been very responsive with NSRT.  They also have the first documented case of having successfully treated a patient with a severe red meat allergy after being bitten by the Lone Star Tick. Until now, there had been no known cure.  They regularly see patients with adrenal fatigue, eczema, and even autism with incredible results by simply using the NSRT.  Detecting stress and then changing the way the body responds to that stress is key to helping the body get to a state of true health and wellness. You may reach him at his website or his new practice at the following:

Integra Wellness Center
1040 Edgewater Corporate Prkway
Indian Land, SC