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PENINSULA LIFE MAGAZINE MARCH/APRIL 2012


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PENINSULA LIFE MAGAZINE MARCH/APRIL 2012


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PENINSULA LIFE MAGAZINE MARCH/APRIL 2012


MARCH/APRIL, 2012 PENINSULA LIFE Hearing Their Cry

C O N T E N T S FEATURED STORIES 7

| THE WINNER IN ME—”DON’T

POTENTIAL TO SAVE HUNDREDS OF DOLLARS EACH QUARTER?” - BY SARAH IRWIN & TODD JOHNSON

WRAPPED THEIR IDENTITY AS A FAMILY. BY SAMANTHA ROOSE

LET YOUR SITUATION DICTATE YOUR RESPONSE.” BY BISHOP JOHN N. GRAY SR.

24 | WHAT ROLE SHOULD THE CHURCH PLAY IN SOCIETY— DARRIN LYONS

10 | OVERCOMING LOWER BACK PAIN—BY DR. ROBERT KUHN

44 | WE SALUTE YOU AIRMAN 1ST CLASS UGOCHUKWU NWOSU 46 | FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS - BY WENDY KUHN—THANKFULLY, MY HUS-

27 | WHEN BEING BULLIED IS TOO 13 | HEATH & WELLNESS—FITNESS FOR ALL AGES BY ALTHEA RUSSELL .

MUCH FOR A CHILD TO HANDLE—BY HAYLEY SADLER

BAND CONTINUED TO ENCOURAGE ME TO FOLLOW MY DREAMS, NOT WORRY ABOUT THE OUTCOME AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, NOT TO WORRY ABOUT THE KIDS, THE HOUSE AND THE PRACTICE. “WE’LL BE FINE. JUST GO.”

35 | A TIME TO CHILL BY HAYLEY SADLER

16 | A DAY AT FT. ROOSE - FORT ROOSE MAY SEEM A MEANINGLESS NAME OR DISTINCTION TO YOU, BUT IN THAT TITLE IS

38 | ARE YOU PAYING THROUGH THE HOSE—“INVEST $30.00 WITH THE

PENINSULA LIFE MAGAZINE - MARCH/APRIL 2012 | VOLUME 1 ISSUE 1 PUBLISHER TIMOTHY A. CAFFEY SR.

WEBSITE EDITOR MINDY LEPP

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF DIA S. CAFFEY

MARKETING EXECUTIVES ANTONIO GRACE SR. DANIEL ROOSE

EXECUTVE EDITORS JUDITH ALBERTS & HAILEY SADLER ART & DESIGN DIRECTOR EDDIE LEPP

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WRITERS JOHN N. GRAY SR., ROSIE PITTS, JON MAY DAVE WILSON,MARY BRETT WRIGHT, ALTHEA RUSSELL DARRIN LYONS, SAMNTHA ROOSE, HAILEY SADLER, JESSE WALTZ, SARAH IRWIN, TODD JOHNSON

PENINSULA LIFE MAGAZINE MARCH/APRIL 2012


ife can be a little crazy at times. We work so much or get caught up with other responsibilities that we forget to take some time for ourselves. It’s an easy thing to forget. We begin to feel anxious, stressed, or frustrated. Every once in a while it’s good to force yourself to break out of the box and do something for you.

Rosie’s Corner Taking Time For You By, Rosie Pitts

Whether it’s picking up a new book and getting lost in the pages for hours, or exploring different places outside your city and taking a moment to admire the landscape. When you start to feel the weight on your shoulders just remember that it’s okay for you to take a step back and focus on you. Call up a friend and meet for coffee. Curl up on the couch and watch a movie. Sometimes, we put other people first because we’re secretly convinced that they’re more important, or more needy, than us. We downplay our own needs in order to help them. Perhaps you’ve got a relative who’s ill, or a friend who’s facing huge struggles in his life. By all means help them – but don’t forget that you are important too. Don’t pour all of your energy into doing things for others at the expense of taking care of yourself.

Go back to whatever it is that is causing you stress when you are refreshed and attack it. Don’t be afraid to put yourself first every once in a while. Stay positive. Be happy.

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Rosie Pitts, Local Avon Distributor Williamsburg Outlet Malls 1359 Richmond Road Williamsburg Va. 757.258.2866 www.youravon.com/rpitts

PENINSULA LIFE MAGAZINE MARCH/APRIL 2012


Peninsula Life Magazine

Spirituality

The Winner In Me “Don’t Let Your Situation Dictate Your Response” By Bishop John N. Gray Sr.

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n my life for many years there has been so many times I desired to understand all that God has for me, I know that when I speak negatively about a thing, I achieve the exact confession I made.

We possess what we confess, and what we confess is a product of decision as out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. Thoughts are things. They always materialize. (Proverbs 23:7) I believe that the most dominant thought in our minds, always manifest itself. So when you fill your heart with a strong desire for the actualization of that thing, it will trigger the force of God in nature to attract and bring to you what you are asking God for.

There are spiritual laws that God has programmed into nature, that bring to us everything according to His will. (Matthew 7:7) Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. There will be challenges and obstacles to stop you from winning in your pursuit, but understand, that our victory is guaranteed by God, and if it appears that you are losing, you are still winning, because all things works for the good of those who love Him; who have been called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)

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“It is how we respond in situations that makes all the difference, or how we use our words. 2Cor. 4:13 says, “ We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believe, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak.”

PENINSULA LIFE MAGAZINE MARCH/APRIL 2012


THE WINNER IN ME Because we are the children of God, we have overcome the world and all the challenges in the world. (1John5:4). We have what it takes to win every time, with our faith in God, and in His Word, and in ourselves, and what He has said we are, He will give us the victory every time. Even in light of defeat and failure, be courageous; do not accept failure, set back and disappointment, as the last results. You are not defeated until you accept it as your final result. You were born in Christ a winner, and that winner is in you. What Christ started in you He will finish. Therefore in disappointment and failure, it will all work out in your favor. It is how we respond in situations that make all the difference, or how we use our words. 2Corinthians 4:13 says, “And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed and therefore I spoke,” we also believe and therefore speak.” Whatever we believe, we are going to speak, and so whatever is in our heart in abundance will come out of your mouth eventually and make known what you really believe anyway. If we claim the promise of God that says we can do all things through Christ who strengthen us, we demonstrate our faith by declaring ourselves winners. With the Word of God in our mouth, which is the sword of the Spirit we can cut to pieces the snares of the enemy Whatever resistance, or impedance, that come against us, we put the Word of God in our mouth, and when we speak we send a message to the devil that says we are fighting back and we will win. 2Corintians 4:15, says, “for all things are for our sakes.” He releases His grace, His unmerited favor, and intervenes when we are going through tough times. We have been equipped with the Word of God, which is more than enough to win, even when it appears we are losing. Paul said, in 1Corintians 15:57 that God gave us the victory, it is He who causes us to win, He has gotten the victory over sin and Satan, abolished death, He abolished it as a penal evil to us and though we die, we shall not remain under the power of death, though death appear as a lost, but in us is the life of God, and even in this we shall live again. I win, because I have the Winner in me. 8

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PENINSULA LIFE MAGAZINE MARCH/APRIL 2012


“2 is about possibility. It represents the intimacy and strength of two individuals coming together with endless possibilities.” - Patrick Dempsey

With you when

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PENINSULA LIFE MAGAZINE MARCH/APRIL 2012


Peninsula Health & Fitness Overcoming Lower Back Pain It is estimated that approximately 31,000,000 Americans are effected by lower back pain

By Dr. Robert Kuhn, Chiropractic Physician oday is my 39th birthday. It’s 7:15am and I’m standing in the guest bathroom upstairs in my house. I’m staring at myself in the mirror. My skin is jaundiced with a horrifying yellowish tint to it. My eyes are bloodshot and I mean to the point where it looks like I stayed out until three o’clock in the morning drinking tequila. My arms are trembling uncontrollably. In fact, my entire body is mildly shaking and once again I feel nauseous.

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Every time I take a breath it feels as though my lungs are filled with shards of crushed glass. I am cold and shivering even though it’s springtime. A splitting headache pounds in my skull and even though I just slept through the night, I feel like I need to be in bed for about another two days to regain some energy. My lower back is throbbing and my upper back is so tight it feels as if though it will split open. My eyes begin to tear up as I look at myself and think, “Today is going to be the last day that I am alive on this planet…” What you’ve just read is the opening paragraph of my soon to be released book and a true story. I chose to begin this article with my story to show you that lower back pain or any type of back pain for that matter can sometimes be more than you think it is. I am now recovered from the horrific health challenge that was causing my sickness and in this article I will give you a hint as to what was causing my illness and subsequent back pain. I won’t give away the whole story though. I mean, heck, I do want you to read my book. IS THERE SUCH THING AS JUST “GARDEN VARIETY” LOW BACK PAIN? Several years ago I had a 63-year-old male patient get referred into my office with lower back pain. Upon meeting him I performed a thorough 10

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orthopedic and neurological exam with x-rays. I met with him the next day to go over the findings of my examination and to make recommendations for care. When I told him that I was recommending several weeks of care to correct his problem, he replied “but doc, I just have garden variety low back pain.” He went on to tell me that I should be able to get him “good as new” in just a couple of days. Really? My exam showed that he had degenerative joint disease (DJD), a mild scoliosis, an L5 spondylolisthesis, which causes stenosis, and osteoarthritis. He was losing muscle strength and sensation in his legs, which

means that his nerves were in a degenerative state. Basically, it looked liked someone had taken a sledgehammer to his lower back. Due to the combination of that big muddy mess, his lower back muscles were in a state of severe spasm. Muscle spasms of this nature are a reactionary response by the brain to an unstable structure in the spine. In this case, his muscles were constantly in spasm in order to protect his back from further injury.

PENINSULA LIFE MAGAZINE MARCH/APRIL 2012


Clearly, this man did not just have one little thing that was causing his back to hurt. It was a multifactorial problem that required extensive work to correct. The danger lies in the fact that most people ignore their pain until it becomes a chronic problem. The patient that I am referring to in this article had been dealing with lower back pain on and off for years. He would simply take some pain killers for a few days until it went away and never really did anything to have the problem fixed until it became an everyday issue for him. In fact, the only thing that finally spurred him into action was that it was messing up his golf game. I see this all the time. People wait until the problem really begins to interfere with their lifestyle before they will decide to get help. Experience tells me they do this because they want to save themselves the hassle and the money of going to a doctor. Unfortunately, it backfires, because when they finally do go, it takes longer and costs more money to fix the problem. The moral? Don’t wait! Regardless of your age, your health should be your number one priority. WHAT CAUSES LOW BACK PAIN? Seemingly, this should be an easy answer, but it’s not. The truth is that there are many things that cause low back pain, or any kind of back pain for that matter. To be sure, the spine is almost always involved. Think about it. The spine is the most overused structure in your body. There isn’t a movement you can make that doesn’t involve the spine and gravity is constantly wreaking havoc on it. It is rare that I get a patient in my office with lower back pain who has a perfect spine on x-ray examination. However, I do on rare occasion get people who have a beautiful looking spine but still have lower back pain. In many cases of lower back pain, the source of inflammation is compressed spinal nerves caused by an improperly aligned spine. While this problem is frequently expressed as an acute flare up caused by heavy lifting, a car accident or some other injury, the reality is that the problem has usually been underlying for quite some time. Such was the case with my patient that I talked about earlier. He got periodic flare ups of lower back pain and would just cover them up with Advil. He actually had a much bigger problem than he thought and it had been getting worse year by year.

BROKEN OIL LIGHTS, HUH? After all the different factors related to lower back pain that we just discussed, would it even make sense to just pop a pain killer to cover it up? Let me give you an analogy. You are driving down the road in your car and the oil light starts flashing at you. It’s giving you a red alert that your engine may be in danger of blowing up due to a lack of oil. So you whip into a gas station, concerned that your engine is in dire straights. The gas station attendant 11

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“Back pain if left unchecked could result in serious complications as one gets older. Please have this checked out ASAP”. Dr. Robert Kuhn comes out says “can I help you?” You respond by explaining that your oil light is flashing at you and you are concerned about your engine. The gas station attendant replies “no problem, I’ll be right back.” He goes running back into the garage and emerges a minute later with a can of black spray paint. He then gets into your car and spray paints over the oil light on your instrument panel. Now, you can no longer see the oil light flashing at you and he proclaims that your problem is fixed, since the oil light isn’t flashing anymore. Ridiculous right? Well, obviously in this analogy, the oil light represents a symptom that something was wrong in your car, just like pain indicates that something is wrong in your body. The engine represents your back and something bad may be about to happen to it. Spraying paint over the oil light is the same as taking a pain killer. All you are doing, is covering up a bigger problem, and sooner or later, your engine is going to blow up. IT’S JUST BACK PAIN RIGHT ? I can tell you without question that I have noticed a marked increase in the amount of people that come to my clinic who are suffering from chronic pain and sickness in the last few years. It stems from the fact that our society has gotten toxically out of control. We live in a fast-paced, quick fix society that is a like a runaway train. Few people eat

PENINSULA LIFE MAGAZINE MARCH/APRIL 2012


healthy food on a regular consistent basis anymore. For most people, when any type of malady arises, they just medicate it and go about their business without ever really bothering to find out why that system in the body is malfunctioning. The food we buy in grocery stores is now more toxic than ever and now with Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) coming on the scene, cancer rates will soar even higher. People are still smoking like chimneys, drinking soda pop, devouring processed food (yuck!) and basically treating their bodies like garbage cans. In my opinion, back pain today is not what it was thirty years ago, or even twenty for that matter. Over the years I have had plenty of senior citizens say to me, “but doc, I hurt my back like this thirty years ago so I went to a Chiropractor and he fixed it in one visit.” To be sure, it is a different world we’re living in and it has changed the game considerably. No, it is definitely not just back pain. I have lost track of the amount of patients I’ve met throughout my career who have developed serious, debilitating health problems that arose from neglecting to have back pain looked at. If you have back pain, you may have “just” a spinal problem that requires a minimal amount of care to correct. On the other hand, your back pain could be the result of several different factors compounded on top of each other that left unchecked will cause you more pain and other health problems in the future. Either way, it just makes sense to get it taken care of. I take pride in the fact that I still lift weights, I run, take karate lessons three days a week and lift heavy people all day long at work and at the age of 42 I rarely ever get back pain. That doesn’t happen by chance, good luck or a nice genetic make-up. I work hard to keep myself that way. Ironically, being a chiropractor is one of the worst jobs in the world for your back, so I must take care of it. I see people come into my office everyday whose bodies are breaking down and that is precisely the reason I write articles like this. It is important to create awareness about issues such as these and unfortunately the common information that is out there just doesn’t get to the heart of how bad these problems can be. I will be releasing my first book in late spring of this year and will be attacking chronic health problems and chronic pain syndromes in great detail. It is my mission in life to educate people on the realities of chronic health problems and help them find solutions. If you have an acute or chronic back pain problem, I urge you to seek help.

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PENINSULA LIFE MAGAZINE MARCH/APRIL 2012


Health & Wellness For All Ages e are all aware of medical reports stating that Americans do not get enough daily exercise. When it comes to health and wellness, the Virginia Peninsula offers plenty of options for physical exercise that are appealing to every age. The climate is mild enough for year-round outdoor activity, and indoor venues such as the YMCA, One Life Fitness, Bally’s, and 24 Hour Gym have programs for both individuals and families. Too often, it is a medical crisis that makes a person take the need for exercise seriously. The truth of the matter is that wellness begins at gestation, continues through infancy and childhood into the adolescent years, and is a concern through every stage of adulthood. Expectant mothers know that taking care of themselves during pregnancy leads to easier birthing and healthier babies. Many exercise regimens include modifications to accommodate the changes that pregnancy brings. As babies become toddlers and enter pre-school and early school ages, they are in constant motion. These fast-moving and impressionable years are the best time for parents to encourage nutrition, dynamic games and outdoor playtime to develop healthy habits that will last a lifetime. Exercise should be fun, and it does not have to be expensive.

The Peninsula has dozens of beautiful public parks. Take the family for a stroll on the Noland Trail in Newport News, or soak up some fresh air and sunshine at a nearby beach. Always use sunscreen on children to protect their delicate skin from burning, which can cause long-term damage that might not show up for years. While youngsters are outside, let them run freely, but watch to keep them safe since little ones do not yet understand danger. Carry along light fingerfood snacks, juice and water to keep children happy and hydrated during outdoor playtime. 13

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“Too often, it is a medical crisis that makes a person take the need for exercise seriously.”

PENINSULA LIFE MAGAZINE MARCH/APRIL 2012

Althea Russell


Fitness Tips For All Ages food snacks, juice and water to keep children happy and hydrated during outdoor playtime. The next developmental stage is middle childhood, ranging from seven to twelve years old. Children become more independent during this time and want to make more of their own choices. They may lose interest in activities they enjoyed before, and might stray from healthy habits. Investing in a Wii game system is one way to encourage more activity during this middle childhood phase. Wii Sports can be played by an individual or more than one person at a time. Although it is a simulation, Wii Sports are interactive and provide aerobic activity with an element of fun. Thank heaven that Wii is also popular with adolescents between thirteen and eighteen years old. High energy, hormones in overdrive and heightened senses all combine to make the teen years tumultuous. As teenagers demand more independence, exercise and healthy choices may not be their top priorities. School sports are excellent ways to channel their energy, and the Teen Fitness Center in Hampton offers programs geared specifically toward this age group. Teens can exercise and participate in health seminars with their peers, and there is even a recording studio. Visit www.hamptonteencenter.com for more information The last stage is adulthood, starting at nineteen years old. People now live longer than ever before, making it necessary to continue wholesome nutrition and exercise throughout the adult years. An alternative to traditional exercise at fitness centers, video programs allow working out right at home. For senior citizens, both recorded media and fitness centers offer gentle low-impact exercise programs to maintain flexibility in the golden years. Think back to high school Physics class, and remember that Newton’s First Law of Motion, that a body at rest will remain at rest unless an outside force acts on it. To maintain your health and well-

ness, you must be the outside force that acts on your own body. No matter your age, it is important to eat right, get moving every day, and have fun in the fresh Virginia Peninsula air! “Think back to high school Physics class, and remember that

The Teen Fitness Center in Hampton offers programs

Newton’s First Law of Motion, that a body at rest will

geared specifically toward this age group.

remain at rest unless an outside force acts on it”.

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PENINSULA LIFE MAGAZINE MARCH/APRIL 2012

Althea Russell


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PENINSULA LIFE MAGAZINE MARCH/APRIL 2012


Peninsula Life Magazine

FAMILY VIEW WILLIAMSBURG

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A Day at Ft. Roose By, Samantha Roose hat’s our van!” Someone screams

pointing toward oncoming traffic and thirteen pairs of eyes peer out the tinted windows of the BIG green van. The ecstatic sibling is right. Across the double yellow line passes a fifteen passenger, green 2000 Chevy. It was even adorned with specks of mud, just like theirs. However, it was lacking the original license plate inscribed with their family’s name—FT Roose. As their “twin” faded off into the distance thirteen voices—chattering, laughing, wailing, singing, conversing, shushing—broke the attentive silence which had followed the previous observation. Despite the nearly identical vehicles, they could hardly have been more different. Our primary mission at Fort Roose is to prepare our children for life by training, teaching, and filling their hearts and minds with knowledge, wisdom, godly character, and the skills they need to walk in step with the Spirit of God and fulfill the mission God has for them on earth.

Fort Roose may seem a meaningless name or distinction to you, but in that title is wrapped their identity as a family.

Our secondary mission is to encourage and equip others to walk directed by the power of the spirit so they may fulfill the missions God has given them.

In the midst of all the hub-bub caused by the vivacious family of eleven children, ages 2-19, there is a hidden strength from which they derive their name: He who fears the Lord has a secure fortress and for his children it will be a refuge. Proverbs 14:26.

Starting Their Day Starting at 5:30 a.m. the first alarm heralds the breaking of another dawn—a new day. In the seldom still silence Mrs. Roose rocks in her rocker holding her freshly brewed coffee and Bible, wishing the silence would prolong itself a few moments longer. But, it is not to be. At 6:30 alarms rush in a fresh start for the rest of the house. Out of bed they tumble. Some staggering, a few still yawning, a couple hungry and one or two wide-eyed with anticipation, settle into their individual spots and begin their time with Jesus.

Guiding the decisions required in a home of seven energetic boys and four thriving daughters is their mission statement: 16

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PENINSULA LIFE MAGAZINE MARCH/APRIL 2012


A Day At Ft. Roose

“Let’s be honest. Everything doesn’t always go perfectly as planned around here. They have fights too—Daddy yells and Mommy cries. When sprayed by the faucet hose someone’s sure to scream. Wailing children dash inside with hurt feelings or booboos”.

Let’s be honest. Everything doesn’t always go perfectly as planned around here. They have fights too—Daddy yells and Mommy cries. When sprayed by the faucet hose someone’s sure to scream. Wailing children dash inside with hurt feelings or booboos. Precious dishes crash to the floor splintering into a thousand pieces. Laundry is piled a mile high and lunch dishes are scattered across the counters while the kitchen floor is crying out desperately to be mopped. Quickly throwing together dinner, the Rooses remember that they’re supposed to go shopping tomorrow and have yet to make a meal plan! And sometimes, instead of starting their day with God they start it angry at their alarm clocks. Seeking to glorify God, even in conflict, Mr. Roose confesses to Mrs. Roose, using the 5 A’s from Peacemakers by Corlette Sande and Ross Flint: admitting what he did wrong; apologizing for how his choices affected her; accepting the consequences; asking for forgiveness; and promising to alter his choices in the future. Mrs. Roose dries her tears and responds using the same method for her part of the argument. By healing their relationship they are also setting an example for their houseful of children. Drenched with water and surprised by the unexpected shower she received while trying to wash her hands, Samantha (18) yell, “Who used the sprayer? Who was the last person on kitchen duty? We’ve already told you not to use the sprayer because you can’t get it unstuck!” “It was the only way I could get the sink cleaned,” the offender murmurs softly. “Well, use a cup next time,” Samantha wrenches a towel from the cabinet. Across

the kitchen, trying to fill a glass of water, Sarah (8) anxiously pleads, “Help, someone help! It stuck 17

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again!” Heroically, Josh (16) appears at her side opening the fridge and stops the never ending rush of water. A tattered towel suddenly smothers the puddle of water. John (19) delivered the “emergency towel” after retrieving it from the top of our washer where we keep a folded supply for just such occasions! Their attention is immediately diverted from the sopping individual and emergency towel to a howling brother bursting through the garage door with tears pouring down his cheeks. With a scraped knee and wounded pride he loudly accuses an older brother of not allowing him to participate in the game. Mrs. Roose attentively listens to his story. After hearing both the offenders and defender’s story she dispatches them to resolve their conflict using the 5 A’s with a charge to return when all is made up. No sooner have offender and defender disappeared than an apologetic voice whispers at her elbow, “Mommy, I knocked your cup off when I was cleaning up the water of the floor. The handle broke.” He presents a pottery mug painted with blue flowers with its now dislocated handle.

Fort Roose may seem a meaningless name or distinction to you, but in that title is wrapped their identity as a family.

PENINSULA LIFE MAGAZINE MARCH/APRIL 2012


“I’m sorry Mommy, I didn’t mean to…” the rest was undistinguishable as he burst into a torrents of tears. After a brief pause, Mrs. Roose kneels to comfort the sobbing repentant and assures him of her forgiveness. Passing the laundry baskets on her way to get Matthew (2) up from his afternoon nap Mrs. Roose spots the growing mountain of laundry. “Beth,” she calls. “We only do laundry twice a week,” Beth (15) answers. “This laundry must be completed and put away before dinner,” Mrs. Roose instructs. After four loads in their High Efficiency front loader and several hours later, everyone is notified that they will be unable to eat dinner until their laundry is removed from the living room and found happily in their drawers. Elbow deep in dishes, two brothers gradually see the result of their labors as the mountain of dishes disappears. While vigorously mopping the kitchen floor, Samantha and Rachel (17) realize that dinner is still un-made. Checking the meal plan they remember that they are supposed to be making egg potato tortillas—a family favorite! Preparations for dinner begin. Josh collects 36 eggs from the outside fridge and begins cracking them. While Rachel and Samantha chop potatoes, Beth dumps cheese into a large bowl to de-thaw; Luke (10) pours salsa into another bowl; Ben (12) scoops sour cream into another and Andy (5) sets the table. Tenaciously persistent, Matthew is determined to help and finally succeeds by being able to help scramble the eggs. About an hour later dinner is finally ready. Mark is dispatched to give one last reminder about laundry and call everyone to the table with clean hands! Heating tortillas and helping younger siblings make their burritos keeps Rachel, Beth and Samantha are quite busy. Finally they are all settled down and happily devouring our scrumptious meal. Silence fills the house. But it doesn’t long, as discussions are resumed and talk of meals for the next two weeks begin. Dinner is ended with the distribution of routine chores

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and tonight, Samantha relax in the living room with her mother and sisters. They are armed with the “Mom” binder, containing schedules, calendars, recipes, phone numbers…and a pencil. They discuss their schedule for the next two weeks as well as meals. Thinking ahead is critical when creating a meal plan to collaborate with the Roose family’s dynamic schedule: Mondays find four daughters and three sons teaching or taking dance classes; Tuesdays they’re at Classical Conversations which is a local home school co-op covering all subjects from Latin to math, to grammar and public speaking; often on Wednesday they have a high school co-op at their home where great works of literature are discussed and anatomy experiments are observed; all four daughters are off to dance again on Thursdays and Friday is big cleaning day—just think, that’s only the basic schedule, forget about meals and groceries. Chores are completed and the short evening is drawing to a close, but not before their favorite time of the day— family reading time! While they snuggle on the couch, color pictures, or lie on the floor, Mr. Roose reads Sir Rowan from the Kingdom’s Dawn series written by Chuck Black. Finally it is time for bed. Lingering in the living room, the children dawdle to bed, dragging their feet up the stairs. In bed you’ll find seven sleepy boys and four giggling girls. Covered by a night sky sparkling with stars, a warm roof, cozy covers and wrapped in the love of their Mom and Dad, as well as the unconditional love of their Heavenly Father, they fall asleep. In the cool light of a new morning their alarms will faithfully awaken them to yet another day. And they’ll pile in their van and go where the Lord leads them. Each day the Rose's big green van is merely a tool to transport them to the missions in life that God has for them. Bearing with it, wherever it goes, their identity and the intrinsic truth from which they derive their family’s strength. For it is He who made us all and we are His; we are His people, the sheep of His pasture. In Him we have a secure fortress and for the Roose family, it is a

PENINSULA LIFE MAGAZINE MARCH/APRIL 2012


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PENINSULA LIFE MAGAZINE MARCH/APRIL 2012

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COACHING THE CAREGIVER Caregivers and the need for a Certified Professional Life Coach by Mary L. Brett Wright, LPC, NCC, CPC The majority of care giving is provided by spouses, relatives, and friends. In most cases, caregivers receive little recognition for their valuable work and may even provide financial support for the care and services they providing. Today, 30 million households are providing care for an adult over the age of 50 – and that number is expected to double over the next 25 years. For many of us, our lives will include caring for an aging parent or relative. And as the nation grows older, the need for care giving will be as common as the need for child care. The “World Federation for Mental Health” came up with a new term called “Caregiver Syndrome” and they defined this syndrome as an individual who is over-exhausted - and perhaps even physically ill as a direct result of caring for another. They stated that many - caregivers do not seek help because they do not realize that they are as emotionally drained and physically ill as they really are. This state of exhaustion, though not officially recognized by the medical community is called caregiver syndrome.

“A caregiver is like a frog in slowly boiling water. You don't always recognize what is happening to you” that is why it is a good idea to have someone walk with you through this journey of a caregiver. .” Mary L. Brett Wright , Life Coach

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aregiver syndrome is a result of unrelieved constant caring for a person with a chronic illness or dementia. It is the prolonged stress of care giving that causes this chronic yet treatable condition which results in depression, anxiety, financial loss, physical strain and /or isolation. By managing this stress, anxiety or depression, one can prevent further significant illness. According to the American Heart Association: Caregivers are at higher risk for health and emotional problems. That’s because caregivers are less likely than non-caregivers to attend to their own health by eating nutritious foods, getting less physical activity and not treating physical and emotional problems when they arise. Caregivers feel like their first responsibility is to their loved ones, but it’s really to themselves. To be effective over time, caregivers must organize their care giving duties so they can find the time to take care of their own health. That’s the only way they can take care of their loved ones over time. While the benefits of caring for a loved one outweigh the costs, the reality is that caregivers face difficult and demanding issues. There are times when they are in need of resources, support and a listening ear. Caregivers report that they: Need information and advice on related illnesses, Need availability and access to support services, are overburdened with responsibilities, are at high risk of illnesses themselves, have difficulty combining care and job responsibilities, may have a loss of income, feel like they are all alone, need an understanding person to listen, need to feel appreciated for their care work, often have hidden high risk physical, psychological, and sexual issues and may have financial problems which can lead to abuse and/or neglect. Clearly, caregivers face many issues when caring for a loved one. Some of these issues may have been thought of when the love one was healthy and functional but never address. This leaves the caregivers feeling guilty with a significant burden to face. No one plans to be a caregiver therefore the impact of care giving not only affects the caregivers but his or her immediate family as well. This impact can be significant on their mental and emotional health. Without good emotional health, shouldering the increased burdens of care giving (e.g. managing medical, financial and legal issues), in addition to managing job responsibilities can become stressful and at times nearly impossible. Most people understand that it’s helpful to plan for the future. But when it comes to caring for an aging relative, many families simply do not have a plan until there is a problem. Lack of planning doesn’t mean a lack of commitment. Families often avoid discussions about the 21

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future because they don’t want to think about changes in the lives of the people they love most. It has been said that “A caregiver is like a frog in slowly boiling water. You don't always recognize what is happening to you” that is why it is a good idea to have someone walk with you through this journey of a caregiver. This is where a Caregiver Coach can play a positive role in the caregiver’s life. Most caregivers are thrust into care giving. They may not recognize that they are a caregiver until they are well into their journey. They are only making sure another person is getting what they basically need such as: groceries, house cleaning, cooking, shopping, paying bills, giving medicine, toileting, bathing, dressing, and eating. Often these tasks are started by doing one thing and slowly the others creep into place as the needs of their loved ones increase. top five reasons why caregivers

need support: Caring for a sick or disabled loved one can be complicated. Caregivers must possess a variety of skills depending on the needs of their loved one. Some caregivers provide their loved ones with emotional support, others might provide assistance with lawn care and groceries shopping, and yet others provide total care and help their loved ones. Thus caregivers must be versatile and prepared for the many aspects of providing care for a sick or disabled loved one. So, if you have not yet begun to discuss a care giving plan with your family, it’s not too late. It doesn’t matter who starts the conversation. What really matters is that every family has the opportunity to talk about creating a care giving plan for their loved ones based on the needs and wishes of those who will be receiving the care. Now might be the perfect time to call a Certified Professional Life Coach, who specializes in Family and Caregiver Coaching to help guide you through this process.

PENINSULA LIFE MAGAZINE MARCH/APRIL 2012


Futures UNDERSTANDING HOW THEY WORK PENINSULA FINANCE

- By David Wilson-

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ust what, exactly, is the futures market? How does it work, and why should you care? The futures market inspires fear, but I assure you, these beasts are tame-able. They affect your daily life, and you should understand why. As I am constrained by the edges of my allotted page space, my brief commentary here will go no further than an overview of these instruments shrouded in financial mystery, and their use in the most simple of circumstances. No doubt you’ve heard of derivatives and leverage, as the instruments that led us to recession. Well, Futures contracts are both of these things; you may however be surprised at the intended purpose of these vilified financial instruments. The futures market’s comes to us from the noblest of places, a market where the producer of a commodity (farmers) and the processor (refiners, manufacturers) can agree on a price for the future delivery of a commodity. The futures contract is an obligation to buy or sell a given quantity of the commodity at a preset price and time.

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David Wilson is an entrepreneur and futures trader. He holds a graduate and undergraduate degree in Economic policy, Finance and business from Cornell University and Virginia Wesleyan College.


Futures Thus, the savvy farmer can lock in a price for their crop that locks in a small profit and covers their farming costs. Similarly, manufacturers can secure favorable pricing months in advance of the crops arrival, insuring against natural disasters or a lack of supply. It is nothing more than risk mitigation. Speculators found that they (myself included) could make money by buying and selling these contracts without any desire to ever hold the underlying commodity. We need only “put up” a few thousand dollars to control hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of the commodity (leverage), wait for the price to move in our intended direction, and sell or buy back the contract before it expires. With the inclusion of speculators, the price of a commodity, like oil, is often determined by forces other than the availability of oil. It is the perception of the availability of oil that is important to traders, and our decisions DIRECTLY affect the amount you pay at the pump. It’s not just oil. Wheat, soybeans, corn all have active futures markets with daily swings that can have an impact on the price you pay for gas and food in the short term. Speculators have come to dominate these markets. The intended purposes of futures contracts have almost dissipated, and were left paying unpredictable prices on the collective whims of hedge funds, investment banks, and commodity traders. People wanting to trade commodities should be aware of the following: The Risk of loss in trading commodities can be substantial you should therefore carefully consider whether such trading is suitable for you in light of your financial condition. markets. The intended purposes of futures contracts have almost dissipated, and were left paying unpredictable prices on the collective whims of hedge funds, investment banks, and commodity traders. Futures are here to stay, we utilize them on a daily basis. Understanding what futures or commodities are gives us a better understanding of their value and how they affect our everyday living.

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What Role Should The Church Play In Society? By Darin Lyons hen many people think of the word roles what usually comes to mind is performances such as Actors and Actresses. So, a question is being asked, what role should the Church play in the community?

Social Benefits Beyond direct morality benefits, churches should also provide social benefits that have economic value. Several researchers have identified the social benefits that churches bring to communities, including: providing help to poor and vulnerable individuals in the community, improving marriage relationships, decreasing violence among women, increasing moral community obligations, and promoting charitable contributions and volunteering. By helping the poor and helping others in general, we are not only showing our compassion for mankind but it is also self rewarding.

If the Church does have a role to play in the community, what is it? In order to answer this question the word role should be given greater clarity, or more specificity. The position of the Church in the community should be one of visibility. That is, the physical structure of the Church building should be visibly seen by all within the community. Historically, churches were built in the heart of the community as its center. What is the Church’s function in the community? The Church since its early inception has served or functioned within the community as a place of assembly for the citizens of the community. As a thought, can there be responsibility without accountability? For if there is no accountability then responsibility becomes nullified (my opinion).

Morality Role Morality is the responsibility of the Church. There is a common saying among governments, “you can’t legislate morality.” The government cannot enact laws to force its citizens to be moral even though morality is a part of government. Stealing is against the law, but stealing is also a moral issue, and although governments enact laws regarding stealing it cannot prevent stealing. Why? Because you can’t legislate morality you can only teach morality or cultivate it within society, thus the responsibility of the Church. Economic Role The presence of the church in the community should bring direct economic benefits to the local area. Church organizations should provide jobs for the community, and at the same time support a variety of local businesses. Churches bring individuals from surrounding areas to the community where the church is located, and these individuals provide economic support to local establishments. Thus, churches aid in bringing additional revenue into our communities 24

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Social scientists consider it irrational to participate in moral and volunteer projects, because they have such a low personal benefit. However, being a member of a religious community increases one’s duty to serve others in the community, countering the “free rider” problem. Churches help communities complete vitally important social projects, for which the government would need to fund if churches did not provide such support. Because it can be difficult to quantify the exact value of the volunteering and community building benefits churches provide to local areas, many scholars have sought to quantify the “replacement value” of the social and volunteering benefits that churches provide to communities.

Promote Education and Civic Engagement Along with creating social programs and serving as a foundation for community volunteers, churches also should improve the educational success of students and provide training and skills that promote civic engagement. The church environment should provide a training ground for individuals from all socioeconomic backgrounds, affording individuals the skills to succeed in industry, business, education, and politics. In sum, the education and civic engagement training and motivation that church institutions foster has great social and economic benefits to societies. As education and civic engagement increase, deviance and crime decrease and economic growth and political stability increase. Churches are important institutions in the development of educational, life, and social skills necessary to succeed in society.

Decrease Crime and Deviance We have discussed some roles the church should play in our community. In today’s society we face alarming statistics when it comes to crime in our community/ society. None could be more infesting than the challenges we face when it comes to our young teens. Churches should decrease the occurrence of crime and deviance in communities and among local youth. Reduced levels of crime and deviance make communities more safe, stable, and productive, and safe and stable communities encourage economic growth, through business expansion and attracting new residents. Several studies find that churches decrease crime and deviance, helping promote these economic benefits of a safer community.

Conclusion In conclusion, Community contributions such as volunteerism, reduced deviance and increased education and civic awareness, are all components of social capital—a concept numerous social science researchers have identified as having a significant impact on successful communities and societies (Putnam 2000). In total, the Churches role should have diverse positive impacts on communities, ranging from increased trust, improved mental and physical health, decreased crime, and enhanced levels of volunteering and community outreach. These attributes build norms and values that encourage political stability and economic performance. Churches contribute to vitally important components of successful societies, and their presence in communities provides many benefits that cannot be measured solely by direct revenue.

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Diamonds & Pearls

, By Dia S. Caffey

MENTORING YOUTH TODAY TO BECOME OUR LEADERS OF TOMORROW First Baptist Church Denbigh, Youth Mentors

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inister Sylvia Singleton Harris, First Baptist Church Denbigh, Newport News, Virginia founded the Diamonds & Pearls Mentorship Program in 2002. Her mission was to nurture girls in middle and high school and help guide them through the increasingly difficult journey to womanhood. Minister Harris understands that every girl can benefit from having a mentor and every woman has valuable pearls of wisdom, expertise, and life experiences to share. Middle and high school girls in every community are like “Diamonds in the Rough” they face issues dealing with sex, drugs and alcohol, pregnancy, low self esteem, lack of employment and college preparatory skills. The women who mentor these young ladies are “Pearls of Wisdom” who lend a listening ear, teach, share their own life experiences, lead, guide, and enrich the lives of the girls in the program. Their motto is “Encouraging Tomorrow’s Leaders Today.” The Diamonds & Pearls Mentorship Program had such a positive impact on the young girls in the community that Pastor Ivan T. Harris formed the same type of program for middle and high school boys. The Boys to Men Mentorship Program was founded in 2006 and joined in with the Diamonds & Pearls under the direction of Minister Harris. The challenge for boys in today’s world is greater than ever before. They have too few positive role models and far too many negative examples. Gangs, drugs, internet pornography, and a lack of father figures compound this critical time in a young man’s life. With the understanding that inside each boy is a “Man of Honor” the mentors help the boys discover their own individual strengths and talents. By teaching lifestyle skills, abstinence, cultural history, career development, and community involvement, these boys develop positive life skills and goals. The Boys to Men motto is “It’s Better to Mentor a Boy than to Mend a Man.” Mentors are asked to dedicate 1 hour per week or 4 hours per month with their mentee and commit to at least 1 year of mentoring. You don’t need special skills to be a mentor. You just need to listen, care, and share your experiences. Becoming a mentor is one of the best investments you can make for the future. If we don’t teach them, the world will. To learn more about this program, please call Minister Harris at First Baptist Church Denbigh, (757) 877-5808.

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“The Church With A Heart In The Heart of Denbigh” Pastor Ivan T. Harris 3628 Campbell Road Newport News VA 23602 757.833.7261 www.fbcdenbigh.org Services: Sunday School: 9:30am Sunday Worship 7:45am & 11:00am Bible Study: Every Wednesday at 12:00pm & 6:30pm

PENINSULA LIFE MAGAZINE MARCH/APRIL 2012


PENINSULA LIFE COVER STORY

When Being BULLIED Is Too Much For A Child To Handle

By, Hailey Sadler

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hey were sneaky,” says Lindsay, a fourteen-yearold Middle Peninsula resident, “and only verbally bullied me over Facebook. These girls used to be my ‘best friends,’ so it was heartbreaking. It felt like I was on a steady rock and then all the sudden someone just pulled it out from under me and I had to regain control.” Lindsay’s story is heartbreaking, but she is not alone. Her story is the story of many other children in our community, too many, who have been hurt by the selfishness of bullying. Oliver is another child with a story to tell. When his parents would express their concern over the verbal bullying he was facing at school, Oliver consistently brushed it off with, “I’m fine.” Finally one day, he confronted his dad. “I’m done. I can’t take it anymore,” he said. This is the cry of the estimated 55,000 children every day who miss school because of fear of being bullied: We can’t take it anymore. Too many of those children go to school in our community… in Hampton, in Williamsburg, in Gloucester, in Norfolk. But what can be done to keep bullying from becoming too much for a child to handle? How can this problem be addressed from the child’s level? Schools in our community are seeking solutions, for example the Williamsburg-James City Council School Board recently passed a resolution to recognize the month January 2012 as Bullying Prevention Month, a time to facilitate discussion on the issue of preventing bullying within WJCC schools. Yet despite these efforts, with the advent of

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Being technology, bullying is harder to trace and more challenging to handle than ever before. While schools struggle to manage the situation, much of bullying manages to slip through the cracks, leaving parents feeling frustrated and helpless and children deeply hurt. How can parents empower their children to effectively deal with the bullying they are experiencing? First it’s important to take responsibility for the situation. Everyone in the community has a role to play in addressing bullying, from teachers and administrators to law enforcement and public officials. Ultimately though, it is the parents who have the greatest responsibility. Being the parent of a bully is a difficult position, but it is crucial to the resolution of such situations that these parents accept responsibility and hold their children accountable. Parents of children who are targets of bullying also need to recognize their role. Collaboration with the school and teachers can be an effective way of dealing with the aggression, but it is important that we realize that the school does not have the same level of authority and responsibility that parents do, and it also can be challenging for schools to adequately address every situation. Certainly then, parents of the victims of bullying can pursue collaborative measures with schools as much as is possible, but there also comes a time when responsibility needs to be taken and bullying must be dealt with at the child’s level and dealt with immediately, before it becomes too much for the child to cope with. For Oliver’s parents, that meant withdrawing him from the school and making plans to move from the state this spring. Regardless of what it may mean for you, if your son or daughter comes up to you and says, “I’m done. I can’t take it anymore,” then it is time to act. It is time to empower them with the tools they need to effectively deal with their situation at school. An important first step is finding ways to relate to your child and their situation. It is often overlooked how prevalent peer pressure and bullying can be in the adult world. Finding examples in your own daily life, whether it is at work, in social circles, or on the Internet, can help you relate to your child’s situation (and vice versa). Nearly every one of us has had a personal encounter with this problem at some level… how did you handle it at the office party or with the other moms in the neighborhood? Examine your own behavior and try sharing your experiences with your child. After relating to your child and opening communication, the next step to learning how to deal with bullying at the child’s level is to understand the fundamentals of the situation. Essentially, bullying is a mental game and this mental aspect transcends different methods of bullying: physical, 28

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BULLIED

verbal, cyber etc. The root issue is intimidation. Bullies look for someone who is giving off “victim vibes” and then take advantage of that; bullies generally fell inadequate about themselves and seek to make themselves feel better by belittling someone else. Fourteen-year-old Lindsay says it this way, “Usually the bullies are self conscious about themselves and take their anger out on others to feel superior.” So what is the best tool to combat this intimidation? It is self-confidence. An attitude of self-respect and quiet confidence will deter bullying before it ever starts, because a child with confidence is not a victim, and it is the victim vibes that act as the trigger to a bully. According to John Nguyen, founder and head instructor of the Bushin Martial Arts Academy in Williamsburg, bullying is about 90% mental and 10% physical. “It is all about self-confidence, how someone carries themselves, and awareness of their surroundings and potential dangers,” he says. And parents can play an active role in developing this type of confidence in their children: “Parents can teach their kids from an early age self-respect, confidence, and problem solving skills. They should also let them know

PENINSULA LIFE MAGAZINE MARCH/APRIL 2012


Peninsula Front Cover that they will absolutely be monitoring their Internet, texting, and Facebook activities, in order to make sure that they are being safe and protected. Beyond that, they can enroll them in different programs, such as martial arts programs like the Gracie Bully Proof Program that we offer at Bushin Academy. These types of programs not only teach the physical skills that are required for a child to properly be able to defend themselves should a confrontation become physical, but they also teach and develop characteristics such as focus, attention to detail, problem solving skills, manners, citizenry, and social skills. Knowledge is power, and skills develop self-confidence. Kids with self-confidence are rarely targeted by bullies. “ Bushin Martial Arts Academy has programs for kids designed to equip children with skills to defend themselves physically if need be, but more importantly teaches them how to avoid having to use those skills if it is in any way possible. “We teach the kids things like “verbal jiu-jitsu”, and the Bully Proof “Rules of Engagement”, which tells them how to handle a bullying situation and follow the steps to diffuse if possible,” explains Nguyen, “We instill in them the self confidence that is required to stand up for themselves if they are being bullied. We have had many situations where kids that had been bullied by the same person for many years now simply stood up for themselves and told the bully that they wouldn’t stand for it anymore, and the bullying stopped.” John tells the story of the transformation this type of confidence wrought in one student, who had transferred in from out of state last year. This student was a young teenager in “that tall, lanky, awkward stage,” according Nguyen. His shyness, as well as the fact that he started school locally in the middle of the year with no established friendships, quickly pegged him as a target for bullying. To deal with the bullying he was facing, his parents signed him up for classes at Williamsburg’s Bushin Martial Arts Academy. Within three months, the confidence he acquired transformed him into an entirely different person in the way he carried himself and interacted with others. When a school bully began shoving another kid around in the lunch line, Bushin’s student stepped in and asked the bully (who was much larger than him) to stop. Instead, the bully turned around and, pushing him up against the wall, threw a punch at him. “Doing exactly what he has been taught,” John explains, “our student instinctively blocked his face, closed the distance through the punches, achieved control of the bully, took him to the ground, and maintained physical control of him until the bully begged him to stop. We teach the kids to never throw a kick or a punch, but to rather gain control and negotiate an ending to the fight. Our guy didn’t throw a single punch or kick, but won the fight easily. In the end, the bully was suspended from school and because our student handled himself in the proper way, there were no repercussions for him.” 29

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While most people associate physical training with the physical aspect of bullying, the truth is that the confidence that self defense skills cultivates is a crucial tool in combating the mental aspect of bullying as well. Whether the bullying occurs through cyberspace, or is physical or verbal aggression, children need to be equipped with the tools to mentally deal with these attacks. Speaking from her experience, Lindsay says, “I think there is a big mental aspect to bullying. In middle school if you’re being bullied, people are telling you what you’re supposed to be.” A child who has strong relationships with her parents, respects herself and has confidence in who she is and the skills she possess will find bullying, even if it is cyber and is difficult to confront, to be much less personally devastating. Not only that, but there is high probability that a child exuding a high level of self-assurance will not be targeted as a victim in the first place. Or they have only to stand up and make it known that they are no longer willing to take it, and the bullying stops. Bullies look for victims, for easy targets. For a child, knowing that you have the ability to defend yourself takes away much of the intimidation factor and, as John Nguyen says, “being prepared mentally to deal with situations should they arise allows these students to exude a sense of confidence that again, dissuades potential bullies from targeting them to begin with.” A confident child is not an easy target. As communities and as parents, it is time we begin empowering our children to handle aggression in an effective and peaceful way, equipping them with tools to productively deal with conflict throughout their futures and to go to school with confidence today.

PENINSULA LIFE MAGAZINE MARCH/APRIL 2012


Who Would’ve Thought Affordable Luxury Was Right In Your Backyard

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PENINSULA LIFE MAGAZINE MARCH/APRIL 2012

VOLVO


Long term issue

20% of U.S. Homes may go into foreclosure this year.

REAL ESTATE

ARE YOU SELLING ?

The Ugly Truth About Selling Your Home In Today’s Housing Market Al Czervik from the movie "Caddyshack," played by Rodney Dangerfield, gets a call on the golf course: "Hello. It's my broker. What? Then buy, buy, buy! Oh, everyone's buying? Then sell, sell, sell!"

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Al Czervik from the movie "Caddyshack," played by Rodney Dangerfield, gets a call on the golf course: "Hello. It's my broker. What? Then buy, buy, buy! Oh, everyone's buying? Then sell, sell, sell!" What I learned from Al is don't follow the herd, they are generally wrong and late. If everyone wants to buy, look around, it's probably the top. Definitely if everyone is heading for the exit, it's the bottom. The same is true in the real estate market. When consumer confidence is down and doom and gloom is in the media, look around. Is it time to follow the crowd and buy gold, or zig when they zag and buy real estate?

PENINSULA LIFE MAGAZINE MARCH/APRIL 2012


Peninsula Real Estate

ets examine the ugly truth of getting your home sold. Countless articles have been written on getting your home in the proper condition to sell. Fresh paint, uncluttered, you know the drill. In today’s market those are a given if you want to get top dollar. Truly achieving top dollar for your home starts with realistic pricing from the start. Here are some common home pricing mistakes. Many home sellers price their home based on what their neighbors’ asking price is for their home. The problem with that strategy is that the neighbors can ask anything they want for their home and if they are priced above market value (and yours is nicer and better cared for) you price yours even higher still. Other home sellers get their perception of their homes value from the tax assessment. The drawback here is, that recently, there is seldom a correlation between tax assessment and market value. I have seen few homes in the area selling above assessment, far more selling well below assessment. It is hard to find a rhyme or reason between the two. Lastly I see home sellers list their home with the highest bidder. Many articles suggest interviewing three agents. Sound advice if you are comparing their marketing strategy and knowledge. Not so good if you simply put your home in the hands of the highest bidder. If one agent tells they can sell for $400,000 the next tells you $425,000 and the next $450,000 it is human nature to go with the highest price, but is the high bidder telling you what you want to hear to get a listing or the truth? It is hard to go into some ones home they have loved and cared for, have their heart and soul into, and created family memories in, and be the bearer or bad news. Believe me I have done it plenty of times. Choose your agent for experience, marketing, and service. There are serious downsides to overpricing. You will have fewer showing. Let’s face it, agents want to show, and buyers want to see homes that are good buys. With today’s technology, agents set up their buyers in an automatic search where their criteria are set for area, price and other wants. As soon as a new listing hits the multiple listing service every buyer that is interested in a home in your area and price range will get an instant e-mail with your home. The listings then feed out to dozens of other search engines world wide. While in the past it used to take some time to get maximum exposure, it now takes minutes. If you have few or no showing during the first 30 days, that is market feedback. You’ll help get your neighbors home sold. I often hear, “I want to start above market value to leave myself some 32

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Jon May Broker: Gregg Garrett Realty Location: Williamsburg Va. Credentials: wiggle room, I can always come down”. While it is true, you can always come down you end up missing the crucial first 30 days and often make other comparable homes that are priced to market value look that much better. The truth is that most buyers would make a full priced offer on a home that is priced well before making a low offer on a home that is priced too high. Think about your own buying habits. If you go into a store a see a chair for $100, then see the same chair in another for $100 then the same chair in a third store for $80, you recognize the least expensive chair as a good value and buy it full price. The same is true with home buyers, nobody knows the market better than a buyer actively looking. They will make offers on the homes that are the perceived best value. So what’s the solution? Consider having your home professionally appraised by an independent certified appraiser. It boggles my mind sometimes how people will think nothing of spending $100 to have their $2000 used car detailed before selling it but won’t spend the $300-$400 having what is usually their most valuable financial asset appraised before listing. Having your home pre-appraised offers several advantages. First it helps you make sound financial decisions on the buy side. You don’t start looking at homes to buy based on an unrealistic dollar amount that you net on the sale of your home. Second in a declining market it helps you avoid chasing the market down. What I have seen happen time and again is sellers pricing above market value and as the market declines they reduce their price but it is still above the market. The market declines again and they reduce again but it is still above the market.

PENINSULA LIFE MAGAZINE MARCH/APRIL 2012


If they priced at, or better yet, slightly below the market, their home would be the perceived good value get lots of showing and produce several offers. That is marketing in its truest form. It saddens when I meet with someone who had their home on the market for months, or worse years, and had continually reduced. If they priced it slightly below market a year ago they would have been financially better off. With tight credit guidelines there is more involved than simply a ready willing and able buyer and a ready willing and able seller coming to an agreement. The bank supplying the money also has a say in the price before they agree to lend. Bottom line is buyers will not pay and banks will not loan on higher than appraised market value. Having the ability to leave a copy of the appraisal on display for buyers to see and having the list price match the recent appraisal will make home shoppers looking at your home feel more confident in the same way that a used car buyer can get a Carfax Report before purchasing. The last advantage to having your home pre-appraised is it will give your agent a marketing advantage. The multiple listing computer allows for public comments and comments for agents only. If your listing agent has the ability to advertise in the agent comments that the home has been pre-appraised, buyers agents will feel confident when showing the home. The two most common reasons that real estate transactions fall apart after a contract is ratified is because either something shows up in the home inspection or the home does not appraise for the purchase price. Having the appraisal done in advance helps to maximize your chance of a successful closing with no problems. Remember though, that appraisal value is just a starting point, sometimes market price adjustments still need to be made. Just like not every car sells at full NADA retail value, depending on the supply of homes out there, not every home sells at full appraisal retail. With this strategy you will maximize your sales price, reduce your marketing time and have fewer problems so don’t be surprised if your home sells quickly. That would be the market responding to you doing your homework up front. The best definition of marketing I have heard is “bringing a product to the market that people want, in a location that they want, and at a price they are willing to pay, and then advertising it” If any of those conditions are missing you will be fighting an uphill battle. So be sure to put your home in a condition to make it wanted, and offer it at a price buyers are willing to pay for your location, your professional real estate agent can take care of the rest. ** Jon May has been in real estate since 1992. He was the Vice President of Sales for East West Partners, Sales Manager of Eagle Harbor in Isle of Wight County and Area Sales Manager for Lennar at Colonial Heritage in Williamsburg. He is currently the Managing Broker of the Greg Garrett Realty office in Williamsburg. He is the author of “Foreclosure Home Buying Secrets” which is self published e-book available at www.FreeHRforeclosureBook.com 33

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PENINSULA LIFE MAGAZINE MARCH/APRIL 2012


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PENINSULA LIFE MAGAZINE MARCH/APRIL 2012


Peninsula Citizen’s Corner To submit your article go to cotact@peninsulalifemag.com

A Time To It was pretty much a crisis. A uniquely 21st century crisis involving levels of trauma in direct correlation with how much information you have backed up recently on an external hard drive somewhere. Ok, maybe that’s overstating the

hill

gravity of the situation just a little, but for a writer, college student and blogger, having your computer crash is not exactly on your bucket list. With my Mac – the Apple of my eye – at the repair store for a week this passed December, school became difficult, blogging impossible, and the happy routine of my daily life unraveled a bit… After my computer failed me [well, to be honest, it wasn’t

By, Hailey Sadler

entirely its fault… ] I had a choice. I could either panic,

Peninsula Citizen

freak out, and become desperately depressed or just shrug and see how the ride goes. So what did I choose to do? Panic, freak out, and become desperately depressed of course.

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PENINSULA LIFE MAGAZINE MARCH/APRIL 2012


A Time To Chill... However, it was for an admirably short period time, because when it sank in how wholly beyond my control the situation was [besides calling the repair store an average of twice a day] I decided on the just-go-for-the-ride attitude. I recommend that approach. It is pretty obvious that there’s a lot in life we can’t control. Geniuses that we are, though, we can’t seem to fully comprehend this and expend extravagant amounts of energy, effort, and emotion on circumstances and events beyond the scope of our power. Sometimes this energy and anxiety expending habit is productive and positive. But sometimes… we just need to chill. Now, I’m not saying don’t be a fabulous forward thinking, initiative taking, go-getter or anything positive and admirable like that. [Please, be my guest.] It’s just that I think sometimes we can benefit from prying our clenched, whiteknuckled fingers off the steering wheel and kicking back in the passenger seat for a little while. Just seeing how the ride goes. Where it takes us. My favorite rollercoaster at Busch Gardens, if I could decide on a favorite rollercoaster, would probably be the Griffin, where you hang facedown, suspended over 200’ in the air for several long seconds before the 90-degree drop. It’s such a cool moment, hanging there. You’re strapped in. You can’t go anywhere [even though your sister may be screaming at you at the top of her lungs to help get her out of here]. And you’re about to go on a wild ride. To quote Rapunzel from Tangled, “Struggling is pointless.” [Yes, I’ve seen that movie about twice per little

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sister I have.] So why not just walk the journey out and see where it takes you? There’s freedom in letting go of your grasping desire to micromanage and finding security in knowing God is at the controls [which is infinitely more comforting than the teenager who looks like it might be his first time running this thing] so you can just hang on for the ride. Yes, there are times when mapping out the future, and frantically poring over the map to find where your next turn is in this mess of directions, is the way to go. We've all done it; sometimes it needs to be done. But on occasion, the most productive course of action is putting your feet up on the dashboard and cranking up some Johnny Cash. [...Or whatever you listen to if you aren’t enlightened enough to swear blind devotion to the Man in Black]. It's handing over to God the directions, the map, the wheel, the course, the whole nine yards, and saying "I'm game. Take me where You will." Sometimes, for all our good intentions, we need to just relax. And enjoy the ride. Sometimes, we just need to chill. ~Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, Bible in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming, "WOO HOO what a ride!"~

PENINSULA LIFE MAGAZINE MARCH/APRIL 2012


Blind

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PENINSULA LIFE MAGAZINE MARCH/APRIL 2012


ARE YO

THR

OUG H

U

PAYING

THE

HO S

E?

By. Sarah Irwin and Todd Johnson magine the shock this Fords Colony resident felt when he opened his quarterly water bill to see a total due of $805.23. “How in the world could I have used over 58,000 gallons of water in three months? I live in the house by myself.” Well if you have an irrigation system for your lawn, even an average size lawn, that water bill is a possibility. Excessive water bills, drought, watering restrictions, and high temperatures – these are concerns many homeowners face as they work to maintain healthy lawns, flower beds and vegetable gardens. Nationwide, landscape irrigation is estimated to account for almost one-third of all residential outdoor water use, totaling more than 7 billion gallons per day. With roughly 22.5 million acres of residential lawns in the United States, it is not hard to understand where a huge portion of our water goes. Add athletic fields, park and recreational facilities, cemeteries, common areas, college campuses and golf courses, then fresh water usage increases dramatically. Throughout the year, various environmental factors affect plants’ water needs. When they do not receive enough water, plants go through cycles of drought stress, negatively affecting their health, physical appearance and productivity. Likewise, overwatering is costly and equally damaging. Hydretain, a patented water management product, offers an effective solution to maintaining healthier 38

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lawns and gardens with less water. Hydretain is a revolutionary product designed to reduce plant watering requirements by as much as 50% or more. It is a liquid blend of hygroscopic and humectant (water-attracting) compounds. Unlike wetting agents which allow water to penetrate some difficult soil blends, Hydretain draws moisture vapor in the soil to the root zone where it is needed most in the plant-soil system. With each rainfall or irrigation cycle, the soil is recharged with plant usable, liquid water. As water moves through the soil, it is taken in by plant roots, lost to gravity, or left behind as water vapor. Unusable by plants, water vapor is inevitably lost to evaporation. With Hydretain, vapor molecules are drawn together, forming plant usable microscopic droplets in the root zone. The end result is more efficient use of irrigation and rainfall. Once applied, Hydretain forms a thin film along plant roots. This film, acts as tiny “water magnets,” attracting moisture in the soil and passing it along to the plant. By making use of water vapor that would otherwise be lost to evaporation, Hydretain reduces drought stress and enables plants to thrive with approximately 50% less water. Reducing the need to continuously irrigate, Hydretain not only supports water conservation initiatives, it also saves money on water bills and the amount of electricity needed to run the lawn irrigation systems.

PENINSULA LIFE MAGAZINE MARCH/APRIL 2012


Peninsula Home & Garden University research has proven Hydretain’s ability to reduce the watering needs of ornamental plants and trees, increase crop yields for food producing agriculture, and improve grass seed germination rates. After years of use by golf course superintendents, sports turf managers, and other green industry professionals, Hydretain has been made available to residential consumers. With increasing concerns over water costs and availability, many homeowners are realizing the benefits of adding Hydretain to their landscape maintenance program. According to G.R. of Littleton, Colorado, “With one application I was able to cut my watering bill in half. Hydretain is a great product ... Due to the drought conditions in the Denver area water departments instituted severe watering restrictions – not only limiting the number of days but also the number of hours homeowners can water their lawns. Hydretain kept my lawn green all summer and paid for itself many times over.” The cost to treat a typical 3500 sq. ft. lawn is less than $30 per application. In the peninsula area, 3 applications per year are all that is needed. The University of Texas Golf Club estimated a savings of 2.8 million gallons of water per week after an application of Hydretain during the severe drought of 2006. In addition to water saved, they realized quite a savings in utilities, pumping costs, equipment wear and manpower. Apply such watering reductions to areas of the globe where drought and lack of access to clean drinking water routinely costs tens of thousands of lives annually and you have a truly world-altering technology that has profound implications for mankind. Beyond its benefits for landscape maintenance, managing soil moisture with Hydretain protects plants from heat and drought stress, improves seed germination, sod establishment, and transplant rates for ornamental plants, trees and shrubs. Because of its ability to utilize moisture in the atmosphere and slow evaporation in the soil, establishment and root growth are consequently enhanced by keeping more water available for the developing roots of seedlings, sod, and transplants. Furthermore, Hydretain is effective for both indoor and outdoor potted or containerized plants, reducing the need to hand water. On the agricultural front, Hydretain has proven to increase crop yields. When plants experience drought stress they decrease production as they enter into a survival mode. By managing moisture in the root zone, Hydretain helps reduce drought stress, ensuring that your plants remain healthy and productive. According to a University of Florida and Penn State study, plants treated with Hydretain produced 54% more tomatoes than untreated plants during drought conditions. A recent study on potato and broccoli plants showed Hydretain’s ability to reduce irrigation by 44% while maintaining equal quality and yield when compared to fully irrigated crops. Another study on asparagus reduced irrigation needs by an amazing 66%. 39

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Treated With Hydretain

Untreated

Treated With Hydretain

Untreated

Formulated from food grade materials, and containing no hazardous chemicals, Hydretain is environmentally friendly and safe to use around children and pets. Hydretain is also biodegradable and contains no phosphates, petrochemical derivatives, or other toxic fractions that may cause groundwater or runoff contamination. Also, since Hydretain does not have the ability to hold excess moisture in the soil, it will not encourage fungus or disease development. Each application of Hydretain lasts for up to three months. Although it can be used for seasonal applications and localized dry spot treatments, Hydretain is best used proactively as part of a regular plant care and water conservation program. What about that Fords Colony resident with the huge water bill? He’s giving Hydretain a try. “Invest $30.00 with the potential to save hundreds of dollars each quarter? Who wouldn’t give it a shot? And it’s just not about the money. Man has lived tens of thousands of years without oil, but cannot survive a week without water. Everyday we are finding alternatives for oil, but there are no alternatives for water.” For more information on Hydretain visit www.trulygreenme.com or see ad on page 37.

PENINSULA LIFE MAGAZINE MARCH/APRIL 2012


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PENINSULA LIFE MAGAZINE MARCH/APRIL 2012


REMODELING TIPS BY JES

Thinking About Remodeling? Don’t Overlook Your Foundation. JES has years of experience when it comes to foundations and adding home additions. By Jesse Waltz, P.E. f you’re thinking about adding an addition, a second story or even remodeling your kitchen or bath with tiles and granite counter tops, be sure you consider the extra weight that it is going to be added to the over all structure. Why do most structures settle? Because the weight of the home is greater than the bearing capacity of the soil. Over time this weight deforms the soil and causes the home to settle. In some cases homeowners or contractors will proceed with a remodeling project without taking that into consideration. The result can be costly.

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Many builders follow the USBC / IRC family of codes when building a house. These codes are devised as the minimal building standards that should be applied. When determining what type of structure to place on a particular lot they refer to a table in the Code book titled Jesse Waltz, P.E. Presumptive Load-Bearing Values of Foundation Materials. This important table sets the guidelines of how much weight can be built on a particular soil. The type of soil and its composition must be factored in when designing the footing to distribute the weight of the new home. For instance, the table shows that “Sandy, silty sand, clayey sand, silty gravel and clayey gravel” which is prevalent in this area, can handle a “Load-Bearing Value of approximately 2000 PSI (pounds per square foot).

PENINSULA LIFE MAGAZINE MARCH/APRIL 2012


the structure to more than the soil can support you will have settling problems. A new addition could start sinking and literally take a portion of the original structure with it. A new second floor can push the original first floor down into the soil. Our Inspectors have seen many cases where the symptoms of foundation failure are directly related to a room addition or second story that was added on several years earlier. Now consider another table from the Code book entitled Floor Joist Spans for Common Lumber Species. This table factures the “dead load” and proper spacing of the joists based on the type of lumber being used. In other words, there are a lot of variables that can add weight to your home based on the materials it is built. So, if your kitchen has laminate counter tops and you are changing them to granite, there is going to be much more “dead weight” on the soil below. Even changing the Linoleum in the bathroom to ceramic tile adds weight. We have seen numerous examples of cracked tile renovations due to settlement. If you’re planning a renovation don’t take short cuts. Rely on the opinion of a Professional Engineer or Geotechnical Engineer to assess whether your property can support an addition or second story. If the results indicate it can’t handle the extra weight, don’t worry, there is a solution. Push piers can be driven down beyond the poor soils into the load bearing stratum to compensate for any additional weight that will be added from renovations. Other factors such as compaction of the soil, its organic contents and the moisture levels with in it can effect how well the structure will hold up. Our recommendation is to always go a step beyond and get the soil tested by a Geotechnical Engineer. In the late part of the last century Code required new advances in footing design. A combination of continual footing, which spans the parameter of the house, and pocket footing, to support the interior of the house, assures better stability of the structure when Code is followed. However up until more recently, Code was not strict on footing design nor soil composition. Thus many neighborhoods in Hampton Roads were built on substandard soil without its bearing capacity being considered. And that’s were the problem of a new addition may occur. Beyond the tables and the engineering calculations it’s really quite simple. When additional PSI (pounds per square foot) is added that increase the total weight of 42

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This foundation stabilizing product has little disruption of the surrounding landscape, does not take heavy equipment to install, and has a lifetime transferable warranty. In cases where an addition may equate to a new construction site, helical piers may be an option. Lastly, if interior walls or flooring need shored up in preparation of a kitchen or bath renovation, the SmartJack stabilizer system can be installed beneath the beams directly under where the work will take place.

PENINSULA LIFE MAGAZINE MARCH/APRIL 2012


To Our Men and Women In Uniform, Stationed in The Peninsula. The Peninsula Life Magazine has dedicated this section of our magazine To your service and dedication to our great country .

WE SALUTE YOU! ARMY

NAVY

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AIR FORCE

PENINSULA LIFE MAGAZINE MARCH/APRIL 2012

MARINES


We

Salute You Airman 1st Class Ugochukwu Nwosu By Harry J. Lundy 63 Airbase Wing Public Affairs

"I was chosen to be the sports prefect. If our team didn't do well, I would get flogged," said Nwosu. "It was very challenging, but it taught me leadership and responsibility. They put me in those leadership roles, and I faced consequences for my actions." Flogging is part of the culture in Nigeria, and takes place at all schools. Nwosu said that the flogging was not bad; it just hurts for a little bit. After secondary school, Nwosu was able to attend university in the U.S. "The perception in Nigeria is that an education here is top notch, and it is, but a lot of people take it for granted here," said Nwosu. "You have to live in Nigeria to understand. Teachers there don't give you their time. Over here they actually try to help you out."

or years people have been able to get a visa, join the military and become a citizen. But have you ever heard of a person immigrating to America, becoming a citizen and feeling obligated to serve their new country? Meet Airman 1st Class Ugochukwu Nwosu. Nwosu works at the 1st Operation Support Squadron as an intelligence analyst. He gathers classified information, and briefs key decision makers on threats to national security. He was born in Lagos, Nigeria. For him, growing up was all about getting an education. "I saw people go to university in England, the U.S. and the Netherlands," recalled Nwosu. "They would get an education, and go back to Nigeria to help others." Nwosu attended the Nigerian Air Force Secondary School. There, if you do something considered bad, you get flogged. Nwosu was chosen to be a prefect, one of eight leadership roles a student there could hold. With this position came responsibility and flogging, but he was up to holding the position. 44

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Nwosu began his college career at Savannah State University in Chatham County, Ga., where he was close to his uncle. He then transferred to Bowling Green State University in Ohio, to be close to his brother, and complete his bachelor's degree in health with a minor in chemistry His older brother finished school, and moved back to Nigeria. Nwosu stayed to earn his master's in industrial hygiene, commonly known as public health in the Air Force, at the University of Toledo. Nwosu had to work hard to overcome the challenges of a different language and educational structure here. "I remember taking my anatomy class, and I couldn't understand the terms because I couldn't pronounce them," said Nwosu. To compensate for his lack of grammar skills, he began to cram. He would memorize what an item was, where it was and how to spell it. Initially he had some trouble, but once he understood and devoted more time to his studies, it got better.

PENINSULA LIFE MAGAZINE MARCH/APRIL 2012


once he understood and devoted more time to his studies, it got better. While an undergrad, Nwosu met his wife and befriended her brother, who is a major in the Army. After hearing his brother-in-law talk about his Soldiers and being able to help them, Nwosu decided he wanted to join the military. "I joined the Air Force because of my high school. I thought I was used to the Air Force life, but it was totally different," said Nwosu. "This isn't high school; It was a rude awakening." His recruiter thought working in intelligence would be a good fit for Nwosu. He was not told about taking the officer route, and he admits he did not do his own research either. After technical school, Nwosu worked towards a position to put his education to use. His unit commander, Capt. Edmund McDaniel, talked to him and understood his perspective. He became an advocate for Nwosu, encouraging him to put a package together so he could become an officer in the field he went to school for. "Someone like that shows me the blueprint of someone I want to be if I become an officer," said Nwosu. "You are not there to flaunt your rank or your position. You are there to help the people who can't speak for themselves." During his short tenure in the Air Force, Nwosu said the most exciting part is meeting all the young people who know so much. He has learned so much from people he did not think he would learn from, and considers it an honor to serve with them. You see young people without a college degree that are smarter than those with a college degree. I don't think the public gets to see that. They just see a young person in a uniform and think, 'Oh, he's being misled,'" said Nwosu. "Actually, he's not. He knows exactly what he wants. He knows exactly what he is setting himself up for in the future, and that is just amazing." "The camaraderie in the unit, the camaraderie in the military, it's something that just draws me to it. And sometimes it is unexplainable because it is like a family. I like that a lot," he said. In addition to professional goals, Nwosu also has a personal goal based on a mentor and friend who helped him out. Byron Freeman was the one who took Nwosu in when he first arrived at Bowling Green State University, and helped him pronounce things the American way.

helped me join the community, and become something bigger than myself." Even as Freeman was dying from cancer, he taught Nwosu goals, and the importance of helping the community. "This man was going through cancer, but he would still go into the Toledo community and help young kids find a better way," said Nwosu. "Instead of violence or gangs, even if you don't want to go to college, you can still find what your niche is and pursue it." Nwosu wants to take what he learned from his mentor, and help others here and back in Nigeria. His mid-term goal is to create a non-profit organization called B-Free to Challenge Your Flaws. It is named after his mentor, and will offer a stipend for five to 10 students for every year they are in college. He hopes to help students from minority neighborhoods, who must provide proof of acceptance into a school, and most importantly, show what they have done to help their peers. Nwosu already has a presentation put together, and hopes to raise funds through various means, including his fraternity Alpha Phi Alpha and contacts within British Petroleum. His long-term goal is to sponsor a financially-challenged student from the Air Force Secondary School Ikeja in Lagos, and give them the opportunity to get a college education in America. He plans to work with his alma maters to let him use one of their full scholarships for international students to make that happen. As for his immediate goal, Nwosu was confirmed and commissioned into the Virginia Army National Guard on Jan. 26. He is a second lieutenant environmental science officer. He will now begin out processing from the Air Force to continue his journey.

"I joined the fraternity Alpha Phi Alpha, and he died after that," said Nwosu. "But that was a huge help. It 45

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PENINSULA LIFE MAGAZINE MARCH/APRIL 2012


Follow Your Dreams...

W

elcome everyone! My name is Wendy and today we are making chocolate brownies. First, combine the flour and sugar in a large bowl.” That was the speech I gave to my audience 30 years ago. Unfortunately, the only “people” in the audience were my cat, Morris, and my dog, Bronze. Back then I made brownies from a box and now I’m making 9-layer French Opera cakes. Let me tell you the story of how I went from Betty Crocker to Julia Childs. I believe that as children we truly know our purpose in life. Our talents, skills and interests are revealed by the activities we engage in and the dreams we express to others. I have three children of my own and I can clearly see each of their individual God-given strengths and abilities. It amazes me how schools will try to “guide” the students into choosing a career by showing how much money you can expect to earn in an occupation. Naturally, a child will choose the one that has the highest earnings, like an attorney or a physician. I can remember sitting with my counselor in high school and pointing at the sheet of occupations and saying, “Yes, I’d like to be a doctor.” I have absolutely NO interest in becoming a doctor, nor did I back then either. I had already lost sight of what I enjoy doing and what I was intended to do in my lifetime. I got caught up in what society deemed to be important and successful. There’s a quote by Confucius, “Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.” How true is that? 46

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By, Wendy Kuhn

Well, I am grateful that I didn’t head down the pathway of becoming a doctor. I also didn’t choose the pathway that contained my true calling either. Most of my time was spent as a single mom trying to just put food on the table. I worked all sorts of jobs from a customer service representative at American Airlines to waitressing at Morton’s Steakhouse and sometimes two jobs at one time. My only goal was to earn enough money to pay the bills. When I would lie in bed at night, exhausted and smelling of steak and potatoes, I would dream of “another life”; a life that was satisfying and rewarding and one that gave me a sense of purpose in the world. I knew I was meant for more, but I was so caught up in the stresses and duties of everyday life and I wasn’t sure how to get to the other side. Fast forward a few years and I began a medical billing business out of my house as a means to be at home with my kids and still earn a living. I did very well and I seemed to have a knack at being an entrepreneur.

PENINSULA LIFE MAGAZINE MARCH/APRIL 2012


I was no longer waiting tables and I was making decent money, but I wasn’t satisfied with what I was doing. In the process of building my business, I went out looking for new clients at several doctor’s offices. Not only did I find a new client, but I also found a new husband. I think I won him over by bringing him my famous Red Velvet Cake. I ended up selling my medical billing business when we married and began working full-time managing my husband’s practice. I did the medical billing, accounting, payroll, etc., and I was very good at it. No matter what I do, I put my heart and soul into it and give it all I got. From the outside, it probably seemed as though I was content with what I was doing on a daily basis. Deep down, I was quite miserable sitting in front of that computer everyday. I did it though, because I knew that it helped my husband and my family and that’s all that mattered. Again, I was caught up in the demands of life instead of doing what I was created to do. I would have my moments to shine when I would entertain friends and family with dinner parties and giving pastries as gifts. There was a lot of preparation that went into planning all my events, from shopping to cooking and decorating. I paid attention to every single detail and it was always so much work, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. It felt so rewarding to hear someone say, “You did this all by yourself!?! This is amazing!” In 2010, both of my in-laws unexpectedly passed away within 90 days of each other and it really affected me. They were only in their sixties and they had so much life left to live. When I returned home from the second funeral, I went up to my office to get caught up on my work, the same work I had been doing for the past 13 years. Like a robot, I began to type. I started to think about my in-laws passing away and realizing how brief life can be. I wondered what they were thinking before they took their last breath. Did they wonder if they fulfilled their purpose in life? Did they use all the talents and gifts that God gave to them and in turn, give them back to the world? Did they have regrets? My entire body froze and I began to cry like I never cried before. Tears were dropping onto my keyboard and I felt as if I had died. In a sense, I had. I truly didn’t know who I was anymore and from that moment on, I decided that I didn’t want to live with any regrets. I wanted to be who I was meant to be. I immediately searched online for “Pastry Schools”. Unfortunately, there weren’t any schools close to Williamsburg, VA. Most of the schools were in New York and the course took almost two years to complete. It wasn’t possible for me to leave my family for that long. I almost gave up and went back to my work, but I kept searching. Finally, I found an Intensive course taught at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. The entire program is broken up into 3 separate courses: Basic, Intermediate and Superior and each one is only 5 weeks long. You can attend each course at any time. Due to the fact that it’s Intensive, you have to attend 6 days per week and sometimes 12-hour days. I shook my head and actually said out loud, “This is silly.” I went back to my work, but I couldn’t get it out of my head. I picked up the phone and called my husband “I know this is crazy, but I found this 5 week course 47

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at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and I was just wondering if…”. He interrupted me and said, “You should do it. Go.” My husband knew I wasn’t happy sitting in front of a computer all day and as the saying goes, “A happy wife = a happy life”. I spent the next few months training someone to take over my job and preparing the household for my departure. I had never been overseas and I had never even been on a trip by myself before. Up until the time I was boarding the plane, I was having doubts that I was doing the right thing. Heck, I wasn’t even sure if I liked French pastries or what I was planning on doing with all this education once I received it. Thankfully, my husband continued to encourage me to follow my dreams, not worry about the outcome and most importantly, not to worry about the kids, the house and the practice. “We’ll be fine. Just go.” As the plane approached Paris, the sun was coming up and it was quite a sight to see. My heart was beating so fast, anxious of the unknown, but excited for the adventure. When I stepped off the plane and took notice of all the signs written in French, I thought…Oh gosh! I don’t remember any of the French I took back in high school. Can I survive here?! I said my first “Bonjour!” to my driver and felt so proud of myself. He drove me to my apartment, which is located just a mile from Le Cordon Bleu. The drive alone was an adventure in its self. Phewee! I felt like I was on a roller coaster ride at Busch Gardens. I made it there safely and met my landlord. Thankfully she spoke a little English and was very kind and helpful. I’m sure if we were filmed having a conversation, we would look like we were playing a game of Charades. We got through it though and I picked up a few new French words. After watching House Hunters International and seeing these tiny apartments in Paris that are the size of my coat closet, I was a little nervous of what mine would look like. I was relieved that it was roomy and comfortable and even came with a balcony overlooking the gardens. I lucked out.

PENINSULA LIFE MAGAZINE MARCH/APRIL 2012


So far, so good. , My Aunt Annie actually accompanied me on the first 2 weeks of my trip, which was great to have someone there with me to tour the city. We did everything from Moulin Rouge to our crazy day trip to London. It took me awhile to get into the groove of the city with the subways, the language barrier, the people and the pace. I discovered that Paris has it’s own special pace. If you’re walking on the street or in the Subway stations then you better walk fast and be prepared to get out of the way, because they won’t move for nothin’! But if you’re dining or having coffee then the pace slows down dramatically. It’s not like going to Chili’s and ordering appetizers, dinner and dessert and you’re out in 45 minutes or less. Be prepared to camp out for a few hours. It annoyed me at first, but I soon got used to lounging at the cafes, enjoying the atmosphere and the amazing Parisian food. My sightseeing days were over and it was time for the first day of school. I had already walked my route to school three times to make sure that I knew how to get there and I wouldn’t be late. I’ll admit, I was so nervous on the first day of school. I was worried that no one could speak English and I would be standing there all alone trying to translate my words using some type of sign language. I walked into the school and the place was buzzing with excitement. The school administrator greeted me with a friendly, “Good morning! Welcome to Le Cordon Bleu!” Oh Thank God! Someone speaks English! All thirty-five students filed into the main classroom. We went around the room and introduced ourselves, stating our name, our country and the reason why we are here. There were people from all over the world, like Japan, India, Israel, Mexico, Germany and just a handful from the USA. Everyone spoke English and just a few spoke French. My introduction was, “Bonjour! My name is Wendy and I am from the USA. It has been my dream to attend pastry school and I will probably cry when I put on my Le Cordon Bleu uniform.” Everyone laughed and the main chef said in broken English, “I cry everyday when I have to put this on.” Okay, I’ll probably get tired of wearing it after awhile, but it is definitely an honor. After our orientation, we were assigned lockers and given our uniforms, cooking supplies and a hefty set of knives. Knives?! Why do I need knives to make pastries? Well, I soon found out that knives are used quite a bit. The locker room is located in the basement of the school and to give you an idea of the conditions of the soon-to-benamed “dungeon”, there is no air-conditioning, no space to move and lots of European women without deodorant. To top it off, the first day of school was the hottest day in Paris in nineteen years at a whopping 100 degrees! Okay, as I was shoving my knives, bowls and clothes in the miniature locker and putting on my uniform, I think I DID cry, but the sweat dripping off my face soon washed my tears away. I soon figured out a system of how to get in and out of the locker room very quickly. 48

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Our first class was a Demonstration, which is in a stadium-styled classroom. All the students are given the recipes, but the techniques are what you learn from the chef. The chefs do not speak English, but there is a translator that interprets everything for us. I was rather impressed with how the material is presented and despite the time taken for translation, it was very smooth. Besides, it gave me more time to take notes! Lots of them! Following every Demonstration is a Practical where each student makes the pastry or pastries that were demonstrated in class. This is where your skills or lack thereof are made known. I honestly wasn’t sure if I even had what it took to make these complex French pastries. I looked around the room at the other students’ work and in comparison, I felt like I was doing very well. You could definitely tell which students had previous experience and which students just plain didn’t have the talent. The next few weeks became more and more challenging and towards the end of the course, I was definitely running out of steam. When they said it was an Intensive course, they meant it. Who would have ever thought that attending pastry school would be this hard? After two grueling exams and several exhausting 12-hour days, graduation day finally arrived. Unfortunately, the chefs don’t give you any idea of how you’re doing in the course and even if you’ll pass. Yes, there are students that fail the course. GASP! What if that’s me?!? To my surprise, not only did I graduate, but I was also ranked the top third student in the class! I cried when they called my name. You would’ve thought that I won a Grammy and I guess in my world, it was that large of an achievement. Since I have been back home, I have been perfecting my craft by making cakes and French pastries for friends and family. I am currently working on opening a gourmet pastry shop in Williamsburg, VA. You can follow my progress and past adventures on my blog at www.gowendygo.com. It feels awesome to be doing what I love and loving what I do. It’s amazing that when you are in line with your purpose in life that doors will magically open and inspiration comes so naturally. I know I’m in the right place in my life. Don’t ever think that you’re too old, too busy, too poor, or too whatever-excuse-you- come-up-with, to fulfill your dreams. Dreams are not intended to stay in your mind, but are meant to be achieved, bringing happiness to you and the people around you. As Napoleon Hill said, “Don’t wait. The time will never be just right.” In other words, JUST DO IT!

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PENINSULA LIFE MAGAZINE MARCH/APRIL 2012

Peninsula Life Magazine {March/April 2012}  

Peninsula Life Magazine March/April 2012 "When Being Bullied Becomes Too Much For A Child to Handle"

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