Posted in Personal

The Video: Janet Oberholtzer’s Inspiring Story — Running, Because I Can!

I still wish the story I have wouldn’t be mine or anyone’s, but I can’t change the past and life is too short to be miserable, so I continue to share my story to encourage others.

And it’s been an interesting ride… in some ways being a speaker has been easier than I thought it would be and in other ways it’s been harder. There’ve been times when I’ve felt totally comfortable and other times when I’ve been nervous. I’ve had small audiences and I’ve had large audiences. During Q&A, I’ve had endless questions and I’ve had zero questions.

But one thing that is consistant each time I share my story is that it
provides another element of healing for me and it inspires at least one
or more to keep doing what they can with whatever challenge they have.

Because of that, I am looking to expand my speaking career, so I had a video made recently by Boy Astronaut Film and Image to capture a glimpse of my story.


The crew, Devin, Miles, and Taylor, were all great to work with. They were organized, detailed and professional. We filmed at three locations on three different days… my house, at a park and at a speaking event (Thanks WIBSN for allowing the camera crew to invade your event.)

Then they worked their magic with the editing (And gosh, did my interview need a lot of editing) And they delivered the finished product to me right on schedule.

I am thrilled with the video and happy to share it with you.

Without further ado, here it is…


Because I’ve learned that we are each capable of more than we give ourselves credit for, I want to share my story with others to encourage them to do what they can… because they can!

And I’ve learned that my experience inspires people with:
• Courage to face obstacles 
• Boldness to challenge the status quo
• Endurance to continue one step at a time

I tailor my presentations to make them applicable for each audience. So if you or someone you know needs a speaker for an event, please email or call for more information. — 484-798-7824

Also, feel free to (in other words, pretty, pretty please) share this video on your social media networks and with others via email… especially event planners, college or business activity directors, conference organizers, coaches, teachers, and others.

Getting a haircut: $25
Food for the film crew: $40
New shirt, jacket and jewelry: $90
Having others share the video: PRICELESS!

Thank you!
PS: I hate asking for more help, but I tell others to do it, so here goes… if you would be so kind as to click over to the video on YouTube and click the Thumbs Up – Like button, I’d appreciate it. Thank you!


If you are in need of a marketing video, check out Boy Astronaut Film and Image and like their Facebook page to see more of the amazing videos they’ve created. And make sure you watch my second favorite video of their’s, the video for one of my favorite restaurants, Say Cheese!
Posted in Uncategorized

Remembering the lives lost at the Boston Marathon

three boston deaths

Running is not exactly an easy sport for spectators to view. It usually includes a tough time finding parking, walking for a distance to find a spot to stand, freezing (or sweating) as you check your watch and strain to spot a familiar face in the passing runners and then seeing your runner for all of 30 seconds as they run by.

These three lovely people gave up a Monday to do that on a cool spring day and sadly they lost their lives as they cheered for their family and friends.


Krystle Campbell

Krystle’s family and friends talk about her in this article on the Boston Globe… Krystle Campbell remembered as ever reliable.

She was just full of life.
She loved being around people.
You couldn’t ask for a better daughter.
She always had a lot of friends around her.
She was always bouncing and always happy.
She loved music, and she loved life, Krystle did.
She was beloved by all of us, and we will miss her deeply.


Martin Richard

If only, if only… this kind young man could have lived to continue living out his message of “No more hurting people”.

Here’s what his family and friends have to say about him in a Washington Post article, Martin Richard, 8, loved playing with siblings, friends

He sticks up for kids.
He always won at math games.
Martin told a mean knock-knock joke. ­
He was so polite, composed, older than his years really.
I can see him now, holding his mom’s arm as she took them on their walks.
A bright, energetic young boy who had big dreams and high hopes for his future.

Lu Lingzi

Lu Lingzi

Lu was a Chinese graduate student at Boston University. Her family has not given interviews and in respect of her family’s wish to grieve in silence, I won’t post more about her.


I’m not running right now due to an arm injury (fell on the snow/ice a few weeks ago) but as soon as I can run again, I will run for each of them… because I can.

I run because i can

I run… because I can!


May the memories of their lives
bring comfort and peace to their loved ones
as they grieve and adjust to living without them here. 


Posted in Thinking

Do we need to find hope while others are devastated?

I don’t want to face life today.
I want to stay in bed and pull the covers over my head.

I’m heartbroken, devastated, sad, angry…

Lives were lost instantly and more hang in the balance. Families and friends are distraught as they receive and/or wait on news about their loved ones.

And so many people were injured and their lives forever changed in an instant. The loss. The pain, the adjustments, the lifestyle changes… all of it devastates me.

And while legs are important to more than the running community, how sad and ironic that there were multiple leg injuries and amputations at an event that’s mostly about legs.

So devastating…

My bed looks inviting…


And while we are all affected by the news we hear… and we want hope and good news and comfort and Mr Roger’s mom keeps telling us where to look…

I pause…

I ask myself… when the lives of others have been devastated should our first concern be about finding hope for ourselves? About finding something that makes us feel better at the moment?*

Shouldn’t our first concern be for the people directly affected…
those who lost loved ones or those dealing with injuries?

Obviously, most of us can’t actually go help them…
But couldn’t we allow our lives to be disrupted for a time in solidarity with them?
Couldn’t we feel the sadness, anger and devastation for a time?
Could we simply sit with those feelings?

'tears on the beach' photo (c) 2009, Nadia Hatoum - license:

I’m not saying be hopeless. Allow yourself to have hope in general from wherever you get hope from. But in the wake of such tragedy, please know that…

So it’s okay to feel sad.
Being sad for a time won’t cause permanent damage.
Feeling the devastation of lives forever changed won’t kill you.

I find myself cringing as I already see comments about finding hope in the devastation. I’m concerned for those injured. I want to protect them from hearing about how their situation brings hope to others. Or about how good will come out of this situation. Or how this will make us or them better, stronger, kinder, etc.

Hearing comments like that as I adjusted to life-changing injuries made me want to kill myself. What brought me comfort was having people acknowledge my pain and my disappointments… instead of trying to find ways to make themselves feel better.

So pause before you say things about how hope will rise from this terror. That thought diminishes the effects of the acts of terror for those directly affected.

It glosses over the horror of their situation.
It soars over the life altering decisions that are being weighed right now.
It forgets about the physical pain and emotional trauma that people are facing today.

To me, thoughts that have us moving from feeling devastated to celebrating the hope that will come too quickly strips us from our shared humanity.

We lose empathy. Yes, I know as Americans we’re all about pursuing happiness, but do we need to be doing that so quickly after lives have been devastated?


Devastation like this sucks. There’s no other way of looking at.

Yes, life has to go on… and I won’t be staying in bed all day… but as I go about my day, I will be sad, devastated and angry. And that’s okay.

I can deal with that…
Others are dealing with so much more than a few negative feelings. 


*If you are a parent of young children, I understand the need to protect them from too much devastation and finding something to provide hope for them might be needed. 

Thinking about drawing our own lines

Too often we look at the lives of others, especially others who have succeeded at something and we think they knew what they were doing from day one and they have everything all figured out today and each day going forward.

So we then send our time trying to copy them and/or looking for the perfect:


Truth is there is no perfect pattern to follow. And every person, yes, even the successful people, actually, especially the successful people, often take one step at a time, not sure whether or not that step is the right one. They might have an end goal in mind, but they adjust and adapt along the way. They are willing to try different, untried, unique steps to move forward.  They do what they can, with what they have, where they are.

Conan sums this thought up perfectly with this quote…

“Comedy’s not a science. Science isn’t a science.
We’re learning that all the time. Nobody knows, really,
what they’re doing. (audience laughter) They don’t!
They don’t know what they’re doing!
And there’s two ways to go with that information.
One is to be afraid and the other is to be liberated.
And I choose to be liberated by it.” – Conan O’Brien

And that’s why you should learn, research and listen to everyone’s advice, but then do what works for you. Don’t get stuck trying to do what others do. Or trying to do what’s always been done. Don’t be a slave to something that worked for someone else, if it doesn’t work for you.

This doesn’t mean you never plan or never draw up a schedule. Plans, goals, schedule all have their place. But allow yourself to be you. To find the way that works for you. To try something different. Trust your instincts. Throw away the idea that there’s only one way to do something.

Draw your own lines. 

draw your own lines

Do what you can, with what you have, where you are…
without comparing yourself to others.
Because you are you…
And because only you can do what you can do!

Posted in Thinking

Thinking about how we look for reasons when we hear tragic news

In the past day, many of us heard the sad news about Rick Warren’s son.

Some of you know who Rick Warren is, some of you don’t. Rick Warren is a well-known individual who is a pastor of a large church in California and the author of many books, including the best-selling book, The Purpose Driven Life. He is also known as a global strategist, a theologian and a philanthropist.

Rick’s church, Saddleback Church released a statement saying that Rick and Kay Warren’s youngest son Matthew (age 27) took his own life on Saturday, April 6, 2013.

My heart broke for them and then all too soon, I found myself speculating about why this might have happened… and I soon heard/read reasons others gave for why they think it happened. 

Note to self and to the world:
Do not look for reasons in tragedy. 

I’m fairly convinced that the reason (ironic?) we all look for reasons is that it provides us with a (false) sense of security. We assume if we have a reason for why something unexpected or tragic happened to others, we can counteract and/or correct the reason and then we assume the same thing wouldn’t happen to us.

I reminded myself that there is not a reason for everything
and not everything happens for a reason.

everything happens for a reason

Here’s a few more links to posts I’ve written with thoughts about the false idea that everything happens for a reason:

Written after the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School
It’s a Time of Remembering, not a Time of Reasoning

Written after the tsunami happened in Japan:
Give love instead of reasons

Written about my personal struggle with the thought that the accident
and all my injures happened for a reason. A Hurricane and My Obituary


Because I Can & I Think I Can, I Think I Can

The other day while running with friends, one mentioned that she wished she had the positive because I can attitude that I always seem to have. They all seemed surprised when I said that I didn’t always have it and that for a long time my mantra was I think I can, I think I can…

And somedays it was I sure as hell hope I can.

And even now, though Because I can is more pronounced in my life, sometimes I can still be heard muttering, I think I can, I think I can …


As a child, I enjoyed and believed the story about The little Engine that Could.

I think I can, I think I can, I think I have a plan
And I can do ‘most anything if I only think I can.

When some of the realities of life began hitting me as an adult, I realized positive thinking can’t solve everything. But instead of finding a comfortable balance, my pendulum swung the other direction. Reality combined with some confusing spiritual teachings about the lack of control I have over the outcome of my life had me viewing positive thinking as a bad thing.

Fast forward a few years … nothing like being run over by a truck to make me reconsider what I can or can’t do. When the outcome of my physical recovery was uncertain, I found that little girl with the positive attitude again. I began telling myself

I think I can, I think I can, I think I have a plan
And I can do ‘most anything if I only think I can.

I walked again and my body recovered better than expected. But living with a new normal sucked me down into a dark ugly hole of depression and had me saying …

I can’t go on, I can’t go on, I’m weary as can be
I can’t go on, I can’t go on, this job life is not for me.

A combination of love, care and counseling gave me strength to climb the mountain to hope. I dropped some of the baggage I’d been carrying and stopped listening to negative predictions. I dared to dream of what I might be able to do. I went back to this mantra…

I think I can, I think I can, I think I have a plan
And I can do ‘most anything if I only think I can.

Another reality of life hit when my sister Rosene passed away due to complications of Cerebral Palsy and surgery. No amount of positive thinking could change the situation, but I knew Rosene did what she could, with what she had, where she was … so why would I do anything less? I began following my dreams of running and writing because Rosene can’t… but I can.

Just think you can, just think you can, just have that understood
And very soon you’ll start to say, I always knew I could.

I believe that … not like I did as a child, but with a balance. I’ve lived with the hopelessness of not believing any of it and I’ve lived with the unrealistic hope of believing that positive thinking can make anything happen.

So it’s comforting and peaceful to be in this place of believing I can… while accepting the reality of life’s cruelties and mysteries that I can’t change.

So dear friends … as you take steps toward your dreams, don’t look at me, or others, that have accomplished something that you want to do and assume that we always felt we could or that we never have doubts.

Know that I started by saying I think I can, I think I can and at times I still have more doubts than confidence, but I keep trying… because I can! 

Through plans, hard work, false starts and many repeats, I can pursue my dreams … and so can you. And someday you will be saying …

I knew I could, I knew I could, I knew I could
I knew I could, I knew I could, I knew I could, I knew I could. 

Because you can!

Hear the song and read all the lyrics of The Little Engine that Could