Posted in Mind,

What You are Experiencing is NORMAL

I’ll never forget the day I opened an email and saw this word in capital letters …


My mentor had used it in a sentence, “What you are experiencing is NORMAL.”

It was about a year or two post-accident and my email to her contained a rant about my surprise and disappointment concerning the emotional roller coaster I was on. One moment I was thankful that I was alive … the next I was cursing my life. Then guilt would be added to the mix because I felt like I wasn’t dealing with my trauma/crisis well … and we’ve all been told how a crisis brings out the true character of a person. (not sure about that thought)

Along with not enjoying the roller coaster, I wondered if I was losing my sanity and would end up back in the hospital, this time for emotional issues instead of physical ones.

'Normal Heights, San Diego' photo (c) 2004, Tobin - license:

“What you are experiencing is NORMAL.”

Those words helped me take a deep breath. Others have been here. Someone else has been on this ride. I’m all about being my own unique self in most of life, but there was something about knowing I wasn’t alone in my crisis-coping skills (or lack thereof) that brought me comfort.

She went on to give me coping skills …

Give yourself time. Be still. Just as your physical body needed time and proper care to recover, your emotions also need both. Admit your losses. Allow yourself to grieve for what you lost. Go for professional counseling.

So if you have experienced any losses … obviously the lost of a loved one,  but also any physical loss due to injury or disease, a job loss, a failed relationship or other losses … know that the emotional roller coaster that follows is NORMAL.

Admitting it is normal doesn’t mean that you use it as an excuse to not do the best you can with what you have, but it does mean you are aware and recognize the ride you are on. Emotional roller coasters take energy, so along with the coping skills mentioned above, make sure you get your rest and eat well.


Does knowing you are not alone with an experience bring you comfort? And any other coping suggestions for when we find ourselves on an emotional roller coaster? 


Posted in Because I Can

‘Fifteen Minutes of Fame’ on WGAL and WFMZ

With the release of Because I Can, the publicity continues. (if you are sick of me, ignore this post) Last week I had a photo shoot with Jere Gish and a photograph from WGAL (Channel 8).

 That piece ran on WGAL a few times yesterday. Thanks to the great recap Jere Gish did of my story and to the viewers of WGAL, my blog had the highest traffic ever yesterday.

WGAL Newsclip



Then yesterday an acquaintance (thanks Krista!) contacted WFMZ (Channel 69) about doing a piece on my story. Apparently it was a slow news day, because reporter Dwayne Parker and photographer Brett Miller came out to an evening run I had planned.

That piece aired on the 10:30 and 11:00 news yesterday.

WRMZ Newsclip



There were a few friends at both of these photo shoots who took these pictures and ran with me for some of the running shots, so Debra Brown, Robin O’Brien, Rose Petri and Kim Weber are also on the TV clips.  The next time (if there is a next time) I do a photo shoot, I’m going to make sure to get a group shot of the others with me. (Thanks gals!)

If interested, this link has information about my book Because I Can.

Posted in Uncategorized

My Memoir “Because I Can” Arrives!

My five year journey of writing, editing, crying, editing, cursing, writing, deleting, editing, condensing, taking away and adding back in  … is complete with a stack of boxes in my living room.



Actually what truly completes it … is if each of these books finds their way into the hands of someone that needs to know that even the toughest physical, emotional and/or spiritual issues can be overcome …

Because you can!



Doing what I can, with what I have, where I am.

Published by Rhizome Publishing


Thank you to each of you that have ordered already. I’ve been blown away with all the Kindle/Nook orders – thank you! For those of you that early ordered a paperback, they will be shipped today. Thanks again one and all!!

Early order discount will end on Friday, September 30th …

order here.

Posted in Because I Can

I Did it! … in Fitness Magazine

At Fitbloggin’ in May, I sat down for lunch at a table with a few people that I didn’t know. After introductions, we chatted about what we enjoyed and learned so far. With time, the woman next to me handed me her card and said to get in touch later. She was Karla Walsh and she works at Fitness Magazine. She thought my story would be good in a section of the magazine they call …

“I did it!”

Later there was a phone interview. I sent her some pictures and she said it will be in the October issue. October seemed like a long way off, plus life has been busy. So yesterday morning I got a tweet that surprised me …

MizFitOnline 7:29am

Yay @JanetOber on page 29 of Oct @FitnessMagazine!!!


Really? I tweeted back … as if brilliant on-top-of-everything MizFit doesn’t know what she’s talking about.

Newsflash Janet! October is almost here, so the October magazines are now being stocked. 

So off to my local Barnes and Noble and sure enough … there it was.

In case you are confused … I’m the one on the left right.

The magazine section might be called “I did it” … but I didn’t do it alone. My hubs, sons, friends, family, paramedics, doctors, authors I know and authors I don’t know all helped me … thanks to one and all!

If you are new here … thanks for visiting. You find more about me and my story at those links.

And thanks to Karla and Fitness!

Posted in Because I Can

Because I Can Happened Because Others Can …

Most times when books are released there is only one name on the cover … but the truth is writing a book does not happen alone. While the book is no doubt from the blood, sweat and tears of the person whose name is on the cover (unless a ghostwriter was hired) there are many people that help make it happen.
'Working Together Teamwork Puzzle Concept' photo (c) 2009, rama_miguel - license:

That’s how it’s been with Because I Can … it’s my blood (literally), sweat (yes!) and tears (many). My name will be on the cover and the spine (which looks really cool thanks to Rhizome Publishing and Lastleaf Printing) but many others have also helped make it happen.

It’s a given that it wouldn’t have happened without the support of Jerry, my boys, family and friends and there’s an acknowledgement page in Because I Can recognizing them. But beyond them … there’s many others that held my hand through the process.

In 2010, I was accepted into a coaching program by Ben Arment called Dream Year. I had been writing already, but had no structure or plan. Ben gave me guidance and structure to force help me write one to two thousand words a day.

Because I Can was completed because Ben can coach.

Ben is multi-talented and also directs a great conference called Story. At Story in 2010, I saw Randy Elrod whose blog I’d been reading for some time. Thanks to the coaching from Ben, I forced myself out of my comfort zone and introduced myself to Randy. And a wise move it was because Randy connected me to someone crucial to Because I CanAlice Sullivan.

Alice is a freelance editor from Nashville who I hired to edit my book before I pursued publication because I knew it needed help. After Alice’s first review, it took about three days to pick myself up off the floor. It’s not because Alice was mean, she wasn’t. Though I knew my writing needed help, I didn’t want any of my ‘precious’ writing to be criticized. Alice encouraged me and complimented my writing … then she did her job and questioned, critiqued and challenged me to condense, add, change and edit.

Because I Can is what it is today because Alice can edit.

As I neared publication, I wanted endorsements from authors. I was nervous to ask, but I didn’t need to be. Many authors graciously said yes. Then more nervousness as I sent them the book wondering if they would read a few pages and then change their minds. But no, they wrote the kindest endorsements. (Between you and me, sometimes I think they got confused and had another book in mind when they wrote these)

Because I Can has endorsements because published authors can (and are willing to) help new authors.
Here’s a few snippets from the endorsements …

“Although Janet’s experience of trauma and loss is different than my own, I’ve come to know her as a kindred spirit in relating her healing journey with authenticity that will resonate with anyone wondering how to thrive amidst the losses of life.” Janelle Shantz Hertzler (The conversations Janelle and I’ve had saved my sanity … or made it worse, somedays I’m not sure which ;)


“The stories that Janet unfolds in Because I Can will make you believe that you not only can overcome, but that you will overcome. Because She Did.” Matthew Paul Turner (Love the way he can make me both laugh and think deeper about things)


“It is a story that is honestly told–both physical and spiritual scars are revealed–and yet it manages to inspire on each and every page. You won’t want to put it down.” Rachel Held Evans (I like Rachel’s willingness to ask questions … even if that confuses her and she doesn’t know if she’s amish, catholic, evangelical or a misfit)


“Janet Oberholtzer inspires me. Not just because she pushed through the physical pain of her injuries to become a runner and athlete, but because she traveled through the tunnel of psychological and spiritual pain without giving in to cynicism.”  Jason Boyett  (I love Jason’s diversity – his books have gotten endorsements from Scot McKnight, a Religious Studies  Professor to Hemant Mehta, The Friendly Atheist)

If you want to see what they are talking aboutorder Because I Can now.
What can you do … that could help someone else? Encouragement, kind words and skills are all needed to help make dreams come true.
Posted in Mind,

Is 90% of Your Brain Useless?

The Myth: We Only use 10% of our Brains

The Truth: Not true.

According to Wikipedia … The 10% of brain myth is a widely perpetuated urban legend … it most likely arose from a misunderstanding (or misrepresentation) of neurological research in the late 19th century …  If 90% of the brain is normally unused, then damage to these areas should not impair performance. Instead, there is almost no area of the brain that can be damaged without loss of abilities. Even slight damage to small areas of the brain can have profound effects …

I’ve wondered about this supposedly ‘scientifically proven’ saying since I heard it as a child. First, I wondered how anyone could do research on this. Back when I was a kid, studying a living person’s brain was very limited. I figured that they must have studied the brains of deceased people and found that 90% of their brains were without any wear and tear marks.

'255/365 I've got the brain of a four year old. I'll bet he was glad to be rid of it.' photo (c) 2009, Mykl Roventine - license:

Second, why would we have a brain (or anything) that we can’t or don’t use 90% of? As a general rule, we have ten fingers/thumbs — do we only use one of them? I wondered what the world would look like if we begin actually using more than 10% of our brains. I imagined all types of cool inventions would be made.

As I became older, I realized that there is much debate about ‘scientifically proven’ things, so I couldn’t believe everything I heard and

Hearing something repeated often doesn’t mean it’s true. 

I thought about this myth after my injuries. After I healed, a tendon on the bottom of my left foot was shorten due to an injury … with each step it caused my one toe to pull down. Nine of my toes were working fine and causing me no pain, but one was causing enough problems that I needed a surgery to fix the issue.

It was hard to function with just 10% of the toes I had not working, so how difficult do you think it would be to function if 90% of our brain is not working?

I think that myth can limit us … it can become an excuse. Certain things are too difficult for us to do, after all, I’m not a genius, I only use 10% of my brain. Maybe if we believe we can use every ounce of our brain, maybe we’d put more serious effort into solving minor and major life issues.

So use your brain, all of it — because you can!

Have you believed this myth? Do you still believe it? Why or why not?

Let’s Talk About the Long Road

When I was looking into publishing options for Because I Can … more than once I was told that since it’s been more than a year or two since the accident and my injuries, the story doesn’t have as much appeal.

I walked sooner than expected, but then my ongoing recovery was slow. It took counselors, mentors and hours of conversations before I overcame the depression that followed the injuries. It took four years, additional surgeries and months of therapy before I returned to running.

There was no fast turn-around.

It’s not a quick-overcoming story.

I didn’t go from injured to a marathon in a year.

Which meant there wasn’t enough pizzazz or intrigue.

Because it is a one-step-at-a-time story … it doesn’t have as much shock value.

I understood what they meant … and I didn’t.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m impressed with speed … whether it’s a quick recovery, a fast turnaround or an ‘overnight’ success. There’s something about beating the expected time that has appeal. And when that happens, celebrations are called for.

But often … good things take time.

Yes, it’s an overused cliche’ … but it is totally true.

'Perseverance' photo (c) 2009, brett jordan - license:

Long-suffering was the word I heard as a child … then and now I dislike the sound and even the look of that word. I prefer endurance or perseverance, but they all mean the same.

Are we willing to keep on, keeping on? To not give up when challenges come our way. To continue doing what has to be done each day to complete what need completing.

My friend Shawn points this out so well in a post … everything worth anything in this life requires a process. He also makes me want to try vindaloo curry … which I’ve never had.

Sometimes persevering means doing the same thing over and over … other times it means learning and growing to find new ways to reach our goal. Both take commitment and a willingness to continue taking one step at a time.

The danger of only highlighting speed, instant gratification and stories of fast recoveries is the pressure, aloneness and guilt it can add to people who aren’t beating the expected time. People who try a few business models before finding one that works. People who continue on while dealing with unwanted pain, loss or trials. People who change directions more than planned.

Let’s celebrate endurance, perseverance and working through processes that result in accomplishments that could happen no other way.

To encourage others who are in the trenches right now … share a long-road accomplishment that you or someone else has done.
Posted in Because I Can

This Little Mennonite Girl in Woman’s World?


In one chapter of my memoir Because I Can … I talk about my upbringing and in the process I call myself  “a little Mennonite girl from small-town America.”

I’m 45 years old now. Three men taller than me, call me Mom. I’ve been a business owner. I’ve traveled around the country. Recently I’ve been using words like publisher, publicist and book designer. But somedays I see myself as a little (ex) Mennonite girl from small-town America.

Which is why it almost shocks me to see this today …

September 12, 2011 issue

In Woman’s World!

A well-read magazine that has a readership of 1.6 million.

A national magazine which means friends around the country that played a part in my story can pick up a copy today. From Virginia (Hi Janelle!) to Florida (Hi Cheryl!) to California (Hi Margery and Brenda!) to Texas (Bare Naked Family! (don’t worry, naked doesn’t mean nude)

I would not be where I am today without each of them and so many others.

Thanks to all!

I hope sharing some of the struggles I’ve had might help someone else that is trying to process changes and/or loss in life. This article was underway before I knew Because I Can would be published this fall, so it doesn’t get a mention, but I thank Kathy Fitzpartick for the excellent article and John from Secoges Photographer for making me look better than I do.

And this article would not have happened without some amazing connections, especially people who helped me think (yea, I need help with that) blog, ask and more. Thanks Ben from Dream Year and Jeff  from Goins, Writer.

The connections continue with Attune Foods who sent me to Fitbloggin‘  where I met some great folks including JulieRosie (girls, when are we doing our show?) and Liz. And Liz introduced me to Linda who introduced me to Laurie who connected me with Woman’s World.

I think all this calls for a celebration!


For a behind the scenes look at the Woman’s World photo shoot … see this.