Date Night

February is typically the month of hearts and flowers, chocolate and cupids and many times grand gestures of wining and dining and day-long outings with intricately planned details. Most of you reading may agree, sometimes less is more and grand gestures, although appreciated, aren’t always what we’re looking for; sometimes we’re just looking for a little something different for a fun night out. If you’re looking to plan a date night or just a night out with friends, there’s lots of options you may not have realized are available for consideration whether you’re looking for a new culinary experience, something a bit adventurous, a little art and culture or something completely different – check out what might be your next night out.
If a night out is a rarity and you’d just assume a great meal or a nicely poured ale, you could check out local favorites like VistaVino Modern Grill, Castle Cafe or the Old Stone Church, Maddie’s Biergarten (maddiesbg.com), 105 West Brewery (105westbrewing.com) or Castle Rock Beer Co. (www.castlerockbeerco.com). The Breweries often have special events and visiting food trucks, so be sure to check out their websites before heading out to plan your evening accordingly.

Feeling a bit daring? Take a trip on the Castle Rock Zip Line! Philip S. Miller Park offers Denver’s #1 Zip Line Tour on over a mile and a half of cables, where you can reach speeds of up to 50 mph! (www.castlerockziplinetours.com) You might consider exploring the Denver area a little differently with BigCity Hunt (www.scavengerhunt.com) See some of the best sites through photo challenges and fun activities to do with a group of friends. Maybe take a drive around town or even to the mountains, but in your DREAM car (denverluxurycarrental.com or exoticdrivesdenver.com) Perhaps you’d like to do something out of the ordinary, but make it a night in? Check out www.nightofmystery.com for a variety of Murder Mystery party plots and ideas.

Those looking for a sportier night out may want to try some fun straight out of the pages of gym class. The MAC (Miller Activity Complex) offers batting cages and a golf simulator. The Rink at the Rock is still open for the season through February 19th, so there’s still time to get some skating in this year. Maybe drive a few miles out of town and try your hand at any one of the activities at Family Sports Center (laser tag, climbing wall, ice arena, or the two-tiered, heated driving range) www.ssprd.org/Family-Sports-Center. Instead of a battle on the turf, maybe a battle of wits is in order – try your luck (or show your skills) at Epic Escape Room. See if you can beat the clock against games like Happy Campers, Lab Disaster, or Rogue Agent. (www.epicescapegame.com)

Looking to up the arts factor? Castle Rock is home to one of the most unique venues around, the Theater of Dreams; offering amazing magic acts and variety shows all year long. (www.amazingshows.com) You could also take the arts into your own hands, literally, by checking out local Paint Nite events. You’ve most likely seen those, paint a picture with friends while enjoying an adult beverage establishments; this is a traveling version of that concept. Check out their calendar of events at local bars and restaurants near you (www.paintnite.com) If the idea of painting has you making other plans, check out Plant Nite – instead of painting, plant beautiful succulents in beautiful terrariums and planters, go green, and go home with new decor! For tickets to events in bars and restaurants near you, go to www.plantnite.com.

Plants or paint, brews or wine tasting, exploring the city or staying close to home. The next time you get a date night on the calendar or you’re able to get the guys/girls together, think outside the box a bit and try something new on for size. Don’t save the original ideas for once a year on Valentine’s – make every night out a new adventure!

Alexa, What’s Going on in Douglas County?

“Alexa, what’s the weather like today?”
“Alexa, what are the movie times for Friday night?”
“Alexa, find a recipe for spaghetti bolognese.”

In this day and age, you may be asking Alexa all kinds of questions on a daily basis, maybe even trying out the funny commands like, “Alexa, what is the first rule of fight club?” or “Alexa, fire the photon torpedoes.”

If you aren’t altogether sure as to what “Alexa” is exactly, Alexa is Amazon’s cloud-based voice service. It (“she”) connects to the Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Show and other Alexa-enabled devices such as Fire TV, Amazon Tap, Fire Tablets, and more. Alexa is a virtual personal assistant that can do things like adjust the volume on your speakers, set a timer, update your calendar and more, all activated by simply saying, “Alexa.”

Now, Douglas County residents can add a whole new list of commands to their Alexa repertoire. Douglas County is adding a new skill for Amazon Alexa called Ask Douglas County, enabling citizens to access information about events and services as well as answer their questions. This innovation is the first government skill in the state of Colorado to leverage the latest technology from Amazon’s Alexa voice service. This new Douglas County skill for Alexa will enable citizens to engage and connect with local government in a whole new, interactive way. To activate the skill, users simply say, “Alexa, enable Douglas County” on their Amazon device or access it through the Alexa app.

Once activated, a variety of information can be accessed by asking questions such as:

“Alexa, Ask Douglas County what’s new” to access news in the area.
“Alexa, Ask Douglas County if there are any road closures this week”
“Alexa, Ask Douglas County what local events are happening this month”
“Alexa, Ask Douglas County how I pay my property tax.”

More questions are being added based on citizen inquiries, and a complete list of questions can be found on the Douglas County open data site, DougCodata.org.

What are you waiting for? Activate the new Ask Douglas County skill and start finding out everything that is happening in your neighborhood – and maybe that recipe for spaghetti bolognese too!

Back to the 80’s

Rubix Cubes, walkmans, Trapper Keepers, the painstaking effort of creating the perfect mixtape and the intricate art of note folding – all things that our kids will never truly appreciate but were iconic mile markers of those that grew up in the 80’s. That neon hued era comes alive when Sagewood Middle School’s PTO presents Saagewood’s Back to the 80’s Auction/Dinner/Casino annual fundraising event, held this year on Saturday, March 3rd at Heritage Eagle Bend Golf Club. Since the event’s inception a few years ago, the night has continued to grow into the signature evening for the Sagewood community and a wonderful way to support the school, and wonderful things the students and staff at Sagewood are doing.

Sagewood Middle School,very proudly, is the only DCSD Middle School that:

  • offers a mandatory Innovation and Design Lab class that focuses on challenging students to critically think, problem solve, be resilient learners, and use industry-level technology and tools.
  • offers Student Government as a class and AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination), a nationally recognized program for college readiness.
  • is an Ambassador School for Lockheed Martin.
  • is Common Sense Media Certified; actively educating students on online media safety, utilizing online resources, and promoting digital citizenship.

Sagewood is also the only DCSD Middle School and only Middle School in the State of Colorado that is RAMP certified by the American School Counselor Association, a preventative, comprehensive counseling program. Additionally, they are one of two DCSD Middle Schools that are a One-to-One device school and Sagewood is also a multiple grant recipient of Century Link, Groove Automotive, Lockheed Martin, and, DCEF.
With all the amazing things that are happening at Sagewood, it’s incredible to think of what’s to come, making it all that more important to continue to support them in their endeavors.

The 80’s Auction/Dinner/Casino night will commence with an open bar and silent auction with rows and rows of tempting luxuries up for bid, and that’s just the start of the evening! Once the dinner hour begins and the silent auction closes, Mayor Mike Waid will serve as the master of ceremonies as the evening’s enjoyment continues though dinner with several raffle games, the highly anticipated live auction and the always amusing dessert dash. Last year’s live auction included numerous amazing items up for bid, including a South African Safari!

At the conclusion of the live auction and dessert, attendees are invited to adjourn to the gaming tables (sponsored by local businesses) to try their luck at poker, blackjack, roulette and craps. If you’re not feeling overly lucky, you can always just hit the dance floor to totally awesome 80’s music!

Proceeds from this super rad night out directly benefit Sagewood Middle School in their efforts to repair and resurface Sagewood’s track. It is currently completely “grody to the max” and in such disrepair that student athletes have to be bussed to Ponderosa High School for home Track and Field competitions.

The entire community is invited to stack up their bangles and bust out those shoulder pads (80’s dress is encouraged but not required) and join Sagewood families, faculty and staff for a, like, totally gnarly night out. Tickets can be purchased until about a week prior to the event at www.sgmsauction.org. Tickets include entrance to the event, $100 in gaming chips, a drink ticket and your dinner.

Back to the 80’s
Saturday, March 3rd 5:00pm-11:00pm
Heritage Eagle Bend Golf Club
Get Your Tickets Now www.sgmsauction.org

The Bookends

Finding Gobi
By Dion Leonard

This is a nonfiction story about Dion Leonard an accomplished ultra marathon runner. While competing in a 155 mile race in China he meets and falls in love with an unexpected running companion. His wife is not upset, as his new love is a scruffy little dog that is a mighty runner. She is named Gobi for the Gobi Desert and becomes a celebrity as she follows Dion during a good part of this race. Dion quickly decides to bring Gobi home to the UK but things don’t go as planned. This little stray will take Dion on a course that will be harder than an ultra marathon as he battles foreign language barriers and government regulations.

BECKY This is our first non-fiction story in quite awhile. I saw the cover of this book and thought it would be a fun read. I had no idea that this was a popular story. Were you already familiar with Dion and Gobi’s story?

PAM I was so excited to read this book! I had recently seen a small piece about this story on a running website. This book mixes two of my favorite things: dogs and running. Before Dion met Gobi, I had struggled to connect with him. Did you find his voice a little brusque at the beginning of the story?

BECKY He does seem like a very serious, matter of fact, kind of man and that did impact the beginning of the story. However, during the book he shares some of his past and that helped me to connect to him. What I found amazing is that he hasn’t been running very long. He started running in his late 30’s and was competing in extreme running competitions soon after that. You are an avid runner so did this story connect to you on an athletic level when he spoke of the terrain or conditions of racing?

PAM I was also interested in his success after coming into the sport in his late 30’s. This type of story always amazes me, because I can’t imagine having the ability to run these extreme distances! I found his descriptions of his preparation for and execution of his races intriguing. His determination and drive to compete made his connection with Gobi even more special. Were you surprised that such a little dog could keep up with Dion during his ultra in China?

BECKY Absolutely! I have two dogs about the same size and there is no way they could keep up with even an average runner. Animals, dogs in particular, in China do not have the elevated social status like an American pet would. This dog did not seem to come from a home where he was fed well and took daily walks so it’s all the more amazing that he was so strong and healthy. There is a point in the book where Gobi and Dion are separated. A local group searched tirelessly for him and a Crowdfunder account (similar to Go Fund Me) was well funded by people from all over the world. Were you amazed at how many strangers were willing to help Dion find his companion?

PAM I was completely amazed and thrilled by the help he received by complete strangers! The lengths that Dion, his wife, and so many others went to in order to locate Gobi and get the little dog to a new home were amazing. Dion’s wife, who is also an ultrarunner, was very supportive in his quest to bring Gobi home. Were you surprised by her level of understanding and patience?

BECKY Absolutely! He went to great lengths and expense to locate and then move Gobi to the UK. I don’t think that many partners would be as supportive. Have you watched any Youtube videos or interviews with Dion and Gobi? Read the book first but you can lose a whole afternoon if you start watching news clips about these two. There is something really special about the two of them and it’s easy to see why the world fell in love with their story. Did you hear that it might be made into a movie?

PAM I had not heard that, but I think the story would make a great movie (especially for runners and dog lovers!). I have not watched any Youtube videos about Gobi, but plan to after your suggestion! As I was reading this book, one of my students sent me a link to a video about a very similar story. This video is amazing, as the story is incredibly touching and the video clips, music, and interviews are wonderful. The video is about a dog named Arthur and the Swedish adventure racing team that found him while in the middle of the world championships in Ecuador. The heartwarming story can be found on ESPN.com: SC Featured: A dog’s remarkable journey to find a home. While Arthur was able to get to his new home with much less trouble than Gobi, there are many parallels to these stories. Becky, do you think these strong immediate connections with Gobi and Arthur are uncommon and unique?

BECKY What a great video, and another amazing story. This month is the first time that I’ve heard of stories like this. It’s possible that there are a hundred more like it but I would imagine that it is an uncommon occurrence. I find it interesting that such devoted and focused competitors are distracted from their goal by a stray dog that they hardly know. The connections were made quickly and the men were fiercely committed to adopt and save these dogs . Both are wonderful stories for animal lovers. Pam, please tell us what we will be reading for March.

PAM Next month we will discuss the Underground River by: Martha Conway.

Local Author Spotlight

Passports and Plum Blossoms
by Barbara Oliverio

Annalise Fontana is feeling blue with no job, no boyfriend, and packed among her childhood memories in her parents’ home. What could be more enticing than the opportunity to serve as a companion to her elderly Auntie Lil on a senior citizens’ tour of China (with a side trip to Singapore?. She digs out her passport and packs her bags and assumes that she’s in for a tranquil Jane Austenesque journey.

For more information visit barbaraoliverio.com


Beyond Flight or Fight
by Sunny Weber

Rich true-life stories of saved dogs combine with the author’s sensitive insight and specialized easy to understand, step-by-step practical advice on how to live with a fearful dog. Understand dog fear and see the human world through your dog’s eyes and mind. Discover what every dog needs and how to individualize your problem-solving approaches. Learn to establish trust, leave human ego behind, and focus on what really works with frightened, undersocialized, rejected pups of all ages and histories.

For more information visit sunnyweber.com

Castle Rock Recreation

Castle Rock’s recreation department has many great ways for you to get fit this year…and have fun while doing it!


If you thought Parks and Rec was just some great sports leagues and a way to hit the gym, you don’t know Castle Rock Parks and Recreation! The National Gold Medal-Winning Parks and Recreation Department maintains 20 developed parks, approximately 5,800 acres of open space and almost 75 miles of trails as well as the 18-hole Red Hawk Ridge Golf Course, the 84,000 square-foot Recreation Center and the 60,000 square-foot Miller Activity Complex at Philip S. Miller Park.

During this time of year, it’s not always easy (or advantageous) to hit the trails or take advantage of the amazing outdoor amenities, which makes it the PERFECT time to check out all there is to do at both the MAC and Recreation Center!

At the MAC you’ll find:

  • Two multi-use party rooms adjacent to the pool
  • Four 25-yard lap lanes
  • Batting cages
  • Children’s play structure with 23-foot-tall slide
  • Beam interactive floor games
  • 18-hole golf simulator
  • Indoor full-sized and half-sized synthetic field
  • Indoor leisure pool with slide, zero-entry section, water table and vortex whirlpool
  • Trampoline featuring 16 trampoline beds
  • Lounge area with fireplace, Lego table and train table
  • Specialty fitness classes such as FIT Moms, TRX, Power Hour Boot Camp and Aerofit Trampoline Fitness.

FIT Moms is a high-energy, seven-week class that will get your heart pumping and your waistline shrinking! For both moms and dads, Functional Interval Training is a workout for the entire body. This class will help you lose weight, tone muscles, and boost endurance while using a variety of fitness equipment.

TRX Suspension Training is a type of total-body resistance training that uses your own body weight and gravity to build strength, balance, coordination, flexibility, core and joint stability, all while preventing injuries. This best-in-class workout system allows the user to perform hundreds of exercises. Simply adjust your body position to add or decrease resistance. Space is VERY limited so sign up today!

Power Hour Boot Camp is exactly what it sounds like. If you’re looking to burn fat, increase strength and up your endurance, this is the class for you! Pre- and post-assessments will show you how you can change your body in just seven weeks. Get ready to sweat with cardio, strength, agility and plyo moves designed to burn maximum calories.

AeroFit Trampoline Fitness – jump into the latest fitness craze with AeroFit, Castle Rock’s first trampoline fitness class! Designed to be a fun way to get fit, participants can expect to burn up to 1,000 calories during each 60-minute total body workout. Enjoy high-intensity exercises without the stress to the joints; the trampoline absorbs nearly 80 percent of the shock. Work your cardiovascular system while strengthening all the major muscles in your body!

Not to be left out of the fun and games, the Recreation Center has countless options to choose from as well.

Recreation Center Amenities (included with daily admission fees):

  • 25-yard swimming pool
  • Automated, self check-in
  • Cardiovascular equipment
  • Family locker room
  • Fitness studio and garage
  • Free and circuit weight equipment
  • Gymnasium
  • Indoor track
  • Leisure pool
  • Lift for individuals with disabilities
  • Lockers available
  • Mind / Body Studio
  • Racquetball and Wallyball courts
  • Steam room
  • Whirlpool

At the Rec Center, you can participate in fitness programs, cardiovascular fitness equipment, weights, swimming, Jiu-Jitsu, Kids Yoga, Real Men Do Yoga, Inner Connections Yoga (punch pass), Taekwondo, Tai Chi, and now, Pilates Reformer training!

Pilates Reformer is a specialized piece of exercise equipment designed to provide finely tuned exercise resistance. Develop good alignment, increased core strength and flexibility. Pilates Reformer Training is available for individuals and Buddy Session training! Sessions can be purchased individually or in groups of six or ten session packages.

Starting January 9th, kick off 2018 right with New Year New You. This 6-week, one-stop, body-shock will combine simple yet effective cardio routines, interlaced with weights and resistance work. Build your strength, rev up your metabolism and boost your self-confidence. Pre- and post- program assessments will be done, allowing you to see just how much progress you’ve made.

Planning on walking down the aisle in 2018? Check out Be a Buff Bride. Transform your body before you say “I do” with this six-week program designed for the bride (and her bridal party) who not only want to look stunning on the big day, but also want to gain energy and confidence. These weekly workouts will amp up your routine, sculpt lean muscles and decrease body fat. Program includes pre and post measurements, guidance, and support and education from our knowledgeable fitness staff.

In addition to all the different group fitness classes, equipment and programming available through Castle Rock Recreation, Personal Training is also available in private training sessions, 30-minute power sessions and buddy training sessions (all available for ages 12 and up.) Sessions can be purchased individually or in 6 or 10 session packages.

Of course, the amazing recreational sports leagues are offered year round for kids (and kids at heart.) Adult Sports offered include arena flag football, Pickleball, men’s and coed softball, men’s basketball, indoor soccer and coed 6×6 volleyball. Adult and Youth Fencing are also offered through the Rec Center. Youth Sports include baseball, basketball, flag football, rugby, soccer, softball, SuperTot Sports, Track & Field, Volleyball and Youth Strider-Learn to Bike. For league schedules and registration, go to www.crgov.com.

There’s no time like the present to get up and get active, and with the cold temperatures that have settled in for the season, it’s the perfect time to head indoors to the state of the art facilities in Castle Rock for some fun! Grab a work out, hit the pool, drop in on a class. There’s no shortage of activities for you and your family with Castle Rock Recreation.


The Castle Rock Recreation Center is located at 2301 Woodlands Blvd.
303-660-1036

The Miller Activity Complex (MAC) is located at 1375 W. Plum Creek Parkway
720-733-2222
www.crgov.com

Castle Rock Recreation offers a scholarship program to assist with registration fees for families in need. Scholarships are awarded for programs and recreation facilities admissions. The deadlines for submitting a scholarship application are Jan. 15, May 15, and/or Sept. 15

Castle Rock Fitness Directory

Ready to get healthy & fit in 2018? Here are some great locally owned businesses who are ready to help you get in the best shape of your life!


Featured Business

Anytime Fitness
794 S. Perry Street
Castle Rock 80104
303-872-8038
www.anytimefitness.com
24/7 health and fitness club with trained staff to help members of all fitness levels along their fitness journey. Clean and convenient with cardio, strength equipment, free weights and classes available for your workout, as well as personal training and the right tools to keep you on track.


CrossFit Loop
136 South Wilcox Street
Castle Rock 80104
720-518-6629
www.crossfitloop.com
CrossFit is constantly varied functional movements performed at high intensity. All CrossFit workouts are based on functional movements, and these movements reflect the best aspects of gymnastics, weightlifting, running, rowing and more. These are the core movements of life. They move the largest loads the longest distances, so they are ideal for maximizing the amount of work done in the shortest time. Intensity is essential for results and is measurable as work divided by time—or power. The more work you do in less time, or the higher the power output, the more intense the effort.

FIT4MOM Castle Rock
158 Caprice Ct
Castle Rock 80109
303-526-6965
Castlerock.fit4mom.com
Fitness for all stages of motherhood. Whether you’re pregnant, your kids are 2 or they’re 25, we have a class and a community for you!

Vitalitybowls
830 New Memphis Court b100
Castle Rock 80108
403-688-BOWL
Vitalitybowls.com
We are a superfood cafe that encourages healthy eating habits.

Fitness 1440
880 W Happy Canyon Road
Castle Rock 80108
303-955-0070
www.fitness1440.com/castlerock
Locally owned gym with cutting edge equipment, classes, heart rate training, and personal training dedicated to helping you make every minute count.

MaxFit Studio
3194 N Industrial Way, Ste E
Castle Rock 80109
303-956-4995
www.MaxFitStudioCR.com
MaxFit Studio is Castle Rock’s premier personal training studio. Set in an intimate judgement free environment, our certified personal trainers specialize in helping anyone achieve their health and fitness goals faster and safer than anything else out there!

Stridemob
360 Perry st
Castle Rock 80104
303-588-1452
Stridemob.com
We produce and help others produce community focused running events.

Mountain CrossFit
780 Kinner St
Castle Rock 80108
720-504-5959
Mountaincrossfit.com
Mountain CrossFit strives to be a gym for everyone. We have kids to grandparents in our gym. We focus on our members individual progress. We are not trying to be the biggest just the best gym for our members.

Club Pilates Castle Rock
6360 Promenade Parkway #120
Castle Rock 80108
720-575-7185
ClubPilates.com/castlerock
We provide equipment based, group Pilates classes for all ages and fitness levels. We also offer private and semi-private Pilates training.

AerialWorks Castle Rock
1050 Topeka Way Unit i
Castle Rock 80109
303-578-6456
www.aerialworkscastlerock.com
Train like a Cirque Du Soliel artist. Learn the ropes of the aerial arts: silks, trapeze, silks and more. Weekly classes for kids and adults. Performances for the public to enjoy. Come take classes and get Aerial strong, while tapping into your inner artist.

Orangetheory Fitness
3990 Limelight Ave, Unit F
Castle Rock 80109
303-747-4003
castle-rock.orangetheoryfitness.com
At Orangetheory, we offer group fitness personal training for a fraction of the cost of a personal trainer with all of the perks of group fitness. All of our coaches are certified personal trainers and are here for you. Orangetheory takes pride in noticing when you aren’t utilizing your membership and calling to offer solutions and suggestions to get you back into the swing of things with your fitness routine. This aspect of accountability alone sets us apart. The best part is our workouts are always different and we guarantee results. Your first class is always FREE!

Unique Ways to Get Fit

Barre
When your friends ask if you want to hit the “Barre” you may want to make sure you know whether you’ll be hitting happy hour or checking out one of the more popular fitness classes that is quickly becoming a fitness fan favorite. Most barre-based classes incorporate a combination of ballet-inspired postures, yoga and Pilates. The actual barre is used for balance while you are doing exercises that focus on isometric strength training (contracting a specific set of muscles while holding your body still) in combination of high reps of smaller range-of-motion movements. Your class may also incorporate small hand weights and mats for core-targeted work. Major benefits of Barre include improved posture, muscle definition, weight loss, increased flexibility and decreased stress. Thinking about trying a class? Just grab some yoga-like gear (leggings and a tank or t-shirt will do) and skip the expensive sneakers – most classes are done in bare feet or “grippy” socks to prevent slipping. The best part – Barre classes combine strength training and cardio, so you’ll be burning fat and building muscle at the same time – the stronger you get, the more calories you’ll be burning around the clock! Plie your way to a healthier you!
Right here in Parker you can try Barre with PureBarre Parker. Visit them online at purebarre.com/co-parker

Ballroom Dance
If you’ve ever come across a dance competition show on TV, you’ve no doubt noticed that those professional dancers are in fantastic shape. There’s a reason for that – ballroom dance can be an amazing, full body workout that is fun and safe on your joints (when done properly.) Dancing and having a strong core go hand in hand, and the movements done with ballroom dance work all the muscle groups in your body while stabilizing your core. Pendulum and twisting movements activate your obliques and abdominal muscles. Basic steps from popular dances like the Cha-Cha-Cha, Merengue, Salsa, Tango, Foxtrot, Swing and more are all terrific ways to get your heart rate up (getting that cardio in) and tone you from the tips of your fingers to the toes of your dance shoes. Whether you want to take a ballroom fitness inspired workout class or make a date night of it and sign up for dance lessons, you’ll be dancing your way to a healthier you and having a great time doing it!
Don’t wait, get dancing today by calling Fred Astaire Dance Studios in Parker at 303-237-3733.

Fencing
You may not have considered the sport of fencing as a way to get a whole different type of workout added to your fitness regimen, but don’t be “foiled” – fencing is both a fun and demanding way to exercise. Fencing is a full body workout that will challenge muscle groups from your feet and lower legs all the way through your body to your neck, shoulders and arms. This sport will help develop your speed, agility, strength, coordination, balance and timing. The mental edge that comes with fencing skill and strategy accompanies your increased dexterity and aerobic fitness. Fencing calls for quick movements to counter attacks from your opponent, emphasizing agility, alertness, and endurance. The benefits from fencing include increased flexibility, mental strength and concentration, increased speed, agility, even opportunity for competition. You may not be aware, but many schools offer fencing scholarships! Fencing requires movements that are precise in order to be powerful. In order to attain that precision, your body must become flexible and strong and your mind must be sharp and reactive. Fencing movements require you to move your body in a multitude of ways, coordinating your arms and legs in a harmonious fashion while coordinating your sword work. Whether you see yourself taking part of a sport from an era gone by or fancy yourself more of a Jedi in training, fencing is an insanely fun way to increase cardiovascular health, flexibility, strength and endurance, coordination and mental agility.
If you are ready to get fit with fencing, then contact the Fencing Academy of Parker at FencingAcademySport.com

Yoga
When something has been around for more than 5,000 years, it can hardly be considered a fad. Yoga is a total mind-body workout combining strengthening poses with deep breathing and meditation or relaxation. There are seemingly limitless varieties of yoga, ranging from fast-paced, more intense variations to more gentle and relaxing forms, so there’s definitely one for everybody. A little Yoga 101 – Hatha is often what people think of when they think of yoga; it combines a series of movements/poses and breathing techniques. Vinyasa uses a series of poses that flow into one another, while Ashtanga is a series of poses combined with a special breathing technique. Iyengar uses props like blocks, straps and chairs to help move your body into the proper alignment. Power yoga is just what it sounds like, a higher-intensity practice that will definitely help you build muscle. Bikram or “hot yoga” is a series of challenging poses done in a room heated to a high temperature. The intensity of your yoga workout is determined by the variety of yoga you choose but all yoga practices will work your core, tone arms and legs, back and glutes, increase your flexibility and strength and, even though yoga isn’t considered an aerobic exercise, you will most definitely sweat (especially in those power and Bikram yoga classes!) Grab your yoga mat and get ready to work!
Try yoga in Parker with Intelligent Motion Therapy in Downtown Parker. 303-808-9807 www.intelligentmotiontherapy.com

The Bookends

Before We Were Yours: A Novel
By Lisa Wingate

Rill Foss and her siblings are ripped from their family and the magical life they had living on the river. They find themselves thrown into Tennessee Children’s Home Society orphanage, where they must try to survive and stay together.

Avery Stafford seems to have a perfect life. She is being groomed to take a senate seat her family has held for generations, she is a successful attorney, and she is engaged to a handsome man. However, she puts her life on hold and heads home to help her father navigate his political life as he struggles with health issues. Avery meets a woman in a nursing home that will change her life, as well as her perspective on her life. As Avery works to solve the mysterious connection between this woman and her family, she will be forced to face hard truths that may threaten her high profile family.

This book is based on one of America’s most notorious real-life scandals in which Georgia Tann, director of a Memphis-based adoption organization, kidnapped and sold poor children to wealthy and some famous families all over the country.


PAM: The fact that this book is based on a true story is truly heartbreaking. We meet Rill Foss and her family in 1939, as her mother faces a difficult birth and must be taken to a hospital for emergency medical care. Rill and her siblings are taken from their boat (The Arcadia) and find themselves in Tennessee Children’s Home Society orphanage. They are told that if they are good they will be taken to their parents, but the older siblings begin to see through this lie quickly. Rill was so young to have the job of trying to keep her family together when she had no control of their futures. Did your heart break for this little girl?

BECKY: Oh, this story stayed in my mind long after laying the book down. My grandfather grew up in an orphanage and he wouldn’t discuss his experience there. This book gave me a picture of what he might have endured and it is absolutely disgusting that this story is based on an actual account in history. Rill was a likable girl that came to life for me as I was reading this story. It was hard to forget that it was just a character in a book. The story that is set in 1939 revolves around people that are poor and taken advantage of. The other side of the story is based off a very wealthy political family. Do you think that the author was successful in blending those two opposites into one cohesive story?

PAM: I do believe that the author was successful in bringing such different points of view together. I am with you, Becky. I could not stop thinking about this story. Thinking about my own children and the bonds I share with them made this story painful. The other side of the story, which follows a wealthy and political family, was sad for other reasons. Although the family had plenty of money, the lost family and connections with loved ones were just as painful. What I found most frustrating and sad was that there were human beings who felt that they had the right to pass judgement and change (ruin) lives based on stereotypes and misconceptions. Do you think these people reasoned that they were saving these “river rats” or do you think they were simply blinded to the tragedies by money made in this scheme?

BECKY: I would like to think that Georgia Tann thought she was saving souls but I could not find evidence to support that thought. It was gruesome yet fascinating to dig deeper into the background of this story. She made a great deal of money during this time and had many key people help her manipulate the system. Between 1924 and 1950 she is thought to be responsible for over 5,000 children being displaced from their original families. It is believed that no less than 100 children died in her care from abuse, neglect or lack of medical attention. Thankfully one curious social worker helped stop her deplorable actions. I could go on and on about this curious situation but I should get back to the review. Do you think that some of the adopting families knew that Georgia Tann was a dirty businesswoman or was she an expert at deception?

PAM: I believe she had to be an expert at deception to have gotten away with her actions for so long. However, I imagine that some families that adopted the children in her “care” noticed things out of the ordinary. Perhaps they told themselves they were saving these children and giving them a better life or were so desperate for children they were willing to turn a blind eye. Rill and a younger sister were adopted by a couple that had lost children and were struggling with their situation. They adopted the younger sister, then later brought Rill to their home. This was a complicated situation for Rill and her feelings of obligation towards her family. How did you feel when Rill was reunited with her sister?

BECKY: This was a bittersweet situation. Rill’s sister was younger and it appeared as if she easily moved on from her recent kidnapping, and separation from parents and siblings. She was flourishing under the care of her new family. However, Rill was less comfortable conforming to the change. It was a blessing that they were no longer in the horrific orphanage but distressing to know that the family was separated and experienced unforgettable loss and pain. What did you think about the ending and would you recommend this story?

PAM: I enjoyed the way the different times were brought together to put all of the pieces of the puzzle together. I also appreciated the determination of the siblings and their honor of the family ties. I would recommend this book to others as a great (but very sad) story, as well as an opportunity to acknowledge the history that this story revolves around. As we close this chapter, where are we headed next month?

BECKY: We will be reading a nonfiction book called Finding Gobi by Dion Leonard. It’s a story about an ultra marathon runner and a little dog that was found in the Gobi desert.

Local Author Spotlight

SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL
By Courtney Roberts

Have you ever felt you were born into circumstances too ordinary to ever be able to live the life you dream of? Do you want something more out of life than the mediocre 9-5 that you are currently living, but you don’t know what or how to obtain it? How often does it feel like the cards you were handed are unremarkable and maybe even deserved?

This positive and encouraging book will introduce realistic and fool proof solutions for your day-to-day life to get you out of your slump and into the life of your dreams. The truth is; living an extraordinary life has nothing to do with the money in your account or your social status. You don’t have to live a life that you don’t feel you were meant to live.

A life of MORE is within your power.

Now is the time to break out of the monotony. Take hold of the life that you have always wanted. Something Beautiful will bust any misconceptions you have on what life should be like. Something Beautiful is going to give you realistic guidance on the paths to take for a healthier, happier you by:

•Showing you that small choices every day lead to big changes.
•Giving you a new perception on the world around you and how you fit into it.
•Utilizing your passion for purpose.
•Finding your optimum health (physically, mentally and spiritually).

Follow the advice laid out in this book and you WILL see changes in your life within the first week! What’s stopping you from being the best version of yourself and living a life that you thought was only for the rich and famous?

This book is available for purchase on Amazon.com


PARENTING AT YOUR BEST
By Roni Wing Lambrecht

How do you maintain mindful relationships with your children in this frenzied, disconnected world?

Most of us believe we have parenthood planned perfectly; when we’ll become parents, how we’ll parent, even anticipating how our children will respond to our parenting. Yet, reality proves to us on a daily basis that nothing in parenting goes as planned. With all of life’s ups and downs, outside influences, and daily stressors, how do we navigate parenting?

In Parenting at Your Best, you’ll learn how to:

* Be a role model for what you desire in your child’s life
* Be involved in your child’s life, but not excessively involved
* Create lasting memories with your child by being present

Parenting at Your Best comes from the reflections of parents who lost their only child, parents who truly know the value of each moment. Their desire is to share the lessons they’ve learned so you may apply them to living in the moment with your own children.

This book is available for purchase at www.parentingatyourbestwithoutregrets.com