Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A Simple I Love You

I've worked in healthcare for 33+ years. But before that I was a music teacher. But to get there I had to get thru student teaching. I went to a Catholic college so my student teaching was supervised by two older nuns.

They were mean to me. 

But I digress.

 Despite her meanness the older of the two nuns gave us one piece of really good compassionate advice. Yes, the old lady really had a heart. I think that realization stunned me as much as her advice.

I can't remember her name.  I've blocked it out due to the emotional trauma she caused me. But I've never forgotten her advice. It's gotten me thru many difficult situations. 

So, here it is: 

When you stand before an unruly class or have to deal with someone unpleasant look at them and think to yourself, I love you.

I love you.

It changes your heart. It really does.

So on this day before Thanksgiving I pass along the mean, but compassionate, nuns advice. Give it a try. It'll change your life.

Sunday, October 6, 2013


I went to a health lecture a couple years ago. The speaker said something life-altering.  It's not that we are living longer; it's that we are taking longer to die.  Statistics are showing the average persons health is failing the last ten years of life.

What do want your end of life quality to be?

We must be deliberate, thoughtful, serious and responsible about giving our bodies the nutrition it requires. Illness is your body crying out for help, for nutrients it isn't getting and love it isn't feeling. When we give our body the nutrients it needs our immune system can overcome nearly every disorder. A healthy immune system, in fact, kills cancer every day in your body.

Processed foods, fake sugars and fast food are killing us.

In good choices, in the attitude of gratitude and being aware and attentive to your wellness, both physical and emotional, your whole life will be richer.

Share your smiles.
Stop smoking.
Eat healthy whole foods.
Take time to appreciate the beauty around you.
Be grateful.


Saturday, June 1, 2013

Life's Blinks

Life can change in a blink. As tough and frustrating as they are I am grateful for those blinks. It is in those blinks we have a choice to focus on the negative and wallow in self-pity or re-treasure the things in life you’ve taken for granted. It’s in coping with those blinks you grow wiser and change the things in your life which do not support your health and happiness. Life's blinks make you stop the "busy-ness." How often are we so caught up in "busy-ness" we lose focus of what is truly important to our health and happiness? Sometimes in slowing down and stopping the "busy-ness" we find much in our lives for which to feel gratitude. There is something good to be found in each of life’s left turns. Always look for the positive. It’s there. Always.

Go sit somewhere comfortable. Ponder this:

What in your life does not support your health and happiness? What makes you truly happy? How can you have more of that in your life?

Don't be like the young man who looked at a Harley and said "I'll never have that." Thinking like that he's right. He won't. How often so many of us cut ourselves off from what we want by how we think!

So what makes you truly happy? And what are your positive steps to having it in your life?

I'll ask you again, What in your life does not support your health and happiness? What are some positive steps you can take to change that?

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Day I Met An Angel

You may, if you've read my writing for any time, recall I was diagnosed in 1987 with Undifferentiated Connective Tissue Disease which eventually morphed into mostly Lupus. Though today I am now in remission nearly ten years, back in the late 80's early 90's I wasn't doing so well. My pulmonary physician referred to me in his notes as "unfortunate" and "steroid dependent." He had sent me to pulmonary rehab which in the end really didn't do much for me. Well, it did depress me. I was at a low-point emotionally and physically.

Not having a washer or dryer I would take my clothes two blocks away to the local "Duds N Suds". One day during my low-point I was doing my laundry and a poorly dressed lady came in. She walked straight up to me and asked if I knew God loved me. I replied "yes I do" I confess more to get rid of her than in belief. I didn't see her leave. She just disappeared. I never did see her again. Interestingly she didn't have any laundry with her. I believe to this day and always will believe; she was an angel sent from God to remind me, to pick me up and remind me and give me hope. Because hmmm, I really hadn't been living as though I knew God loved me. On some level I knew it. I just needed a kick in the pants. The love in that lady's eyes and her question was more than a kick in the pants. Those few moments changed my life.

Those few moments contributed as much or more to the remission I would finally achieve, as did the nutrition and nutritional supplements I added to my food-plan. Do you know someone who is chronically ill? You can be their angel.

When you feel like there's nothing more for you but dying; when because of illness you feel you don't have much left to contribute or there is no hope of wellness and then someone cares enough to reach out to you and tell you God loves you; that they care about you; it changes your life. It creates hope. An action of caring puts a fire under the will to live and gives renewed worth to a life. This month is Lupus awareness month. I've always had mixed feelings about the focus on "awareness." Nobody can really understand the difficulties of coping with a life with Lupus unless they've experienced it.

You can, however, change a life by a simple gesture. Offer to take them shopping,to do their shopping for them, to take them to their doctor appointment or to bring them a meal. It's hard to ask for help. Don't wait for them to ask. If you know someone who is battling a chronic illness go let them know you care. Be someone's angel. Tell them God loves them. He does.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

It's Later Than You Think

Those who know me outside of "bloglife" know how much it meant to me to earn my Masters in Holistic Nutrition in 2008. Nutrition gave me back my life from Lupus. So at the age of 50 I went back to school to earn my Masters in Holistic Nutrition. The mission and yes, the passion, of the rest of my life is to help others the way I was helped. Because you see, western medicine isn't. It's shameful not once in the sixteen years I was battling active Lupus not one of my physicians (and I had a regiment of them) ever asked about my diet.

You know even a mechanic would check to see if you had gas in the car.

But I digress. After I earned my Masters I turned to the next step of my journey. How do I help people understand the standard american diet is killing them? How do I help them understand there is an urgency to them understanding this? That nutrition CAN make a difference in chronic illness. That nutrition can even prevent chronic illness. New research is even showing that proper nutrition can STOP bad genes from turning on. Do you get the immensity of that information? This is HUGE. It's so huge it makes me feel, well, it makes me feel, inadequate.

You know though I've been in remission for eight years, Lupus stole quite a lot of time from me. There were years (yes, years) when if I wasn't at work I was in bed resting so I could go to work when it was time again. There were times I couldn't get out of bed. Literally. But in all that downtime Lupus taught me something too. It gave me an appreciation for the time of my life which I don't think I would have had to such a degree had I not gotten sick. And in a very unmistakable way, it taught me time is elusive.

I have a friend who puts it this way, "it's later than you think."

A few years ago while working a nightshift I had the privilege of watching the sunrise with a cancer patient. She was a delightful, perky lady; a truly amazing person. To this moment I am in awe of her attitude. It's one sunrise I will never forget. Yeah the sunrise was beautiful but that isn't why I will remember it. I will remember it because that lady had such an awesome spirit. I felt so privileged to be able to share that sunrise with this person. It almost brought me to tears only I didn't want to cry in front of her. She was special. And perhaps, just perhaps, cancer happening to her didn't have to happen. Perhaps the standard american diet is what killed her. Processed foods are greatly lacking in the nutrients your body needs. According to the W.H.O. 70% of cancer can be prevented thru proper nutrition. So you might give some thought to changing your diet for the better to one brimming with whole foods . The human body can repair itself if given the nutrients it needs. In fact a properly working immune system kills cancer cells everyday. Yes, I said everyday. Eating nutritiously is vitally important. And please consider this today, not tomorrow because...

I have a friend who puts it this way, "it's later than you think".

As I sat down to write this blog post I thought of various clients and friends who only sporadically eat well and supplement with vitamins. Then they complain and blame the vitamin or supplement when really it's their inconsistency which fuels their health problems. Worse yet I thought of clients who sporadically purchase childrens vitamins. Because what they are teaching their children is it's ok to put health second. They are unintentionally setting-up their children for an unhealthy life. Meanwhile time flies by.

I have a friend who puts it this way, "it's later than you think".

Do you get what I'm trying to say? Time goes by quickly. It's elusive. And sometimes you run out of it. Life is such a priceless, wondrous gift. Wellness is the foundation of the quality of your life. Without wellness you lose choice. I've been there and done that. It's not fun. Unfortunately, it's really easy to let time fly by and to take wellness for granted. And it's a mistake to do so. Wellness must be taken care of and nurtured. Treasured. How many times have you thought "gee I should eat better" or "I'll quit smoking next week" or "gee I should exercise more" or "I'll do better tomorrow".

Tomorrow you may be sick. It may be later than you think.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Uncommon Courage: A Life of Significance

This is an old blogpost from 2006:

There came a time during my long journey with Lupus when my mother asked me how to cope with illness. She was well into her journey with Shy-Drager, a very debilitating version of Parkinsons. To say it's difficult when the roles in life turn is an understatement. I wish I had been full of wisdom at that moment. Maybe in a small way there was some wisdom in what I said.

I told her my philosophy was to just keep putting one foot in front of the other and keep going and that's what she had to do too. We agreed we would do that together for as long as we each could. Then we had a discussion about what we each wanted and didn't want in regards to medical treatment. We made each other promises to safeguard each others dignity in the event we couldn't do it for ourselves. There were no tears during our conversation, but in the years since her passing I have often wilted into tears when remembering it. I kept my promise to her, there was no medical intervention with feeding tubes, IV's or medical machinery at the end of her journey.

Thinking back on the difficult times of my lupus journey I can say it's really not a simple thing to do to "keep going" when in the grip of 24/7 pain, shortness of breath and overwhelming fatigue. In fact, when faced with an incurable illness it takes an uncommon courage to even want to keep going. There were many times when I begged God to take me home.

But at the time when my mother and I had our conversation, I simply thought that to put one foot in front of the other and keep going was all I knew to do and certainly didn't think of it as courageous. To me it was just survival. In fact, everything I did; changing my diet to one without processed foods, being a guinea pig for an investigational drug, reframing my thoughts, exercising when I was physically able and my physician would let me, incorporating daily meditation, trying glyconutrient supplementation, was all, I thought, just a matter of survival. Not just to stay alive, but to keep my lifestyle and my independence.

But I've been told by four different people in the last few months that they view me as courageous. As I sit here pondering my journey to remission I have a hard time thinking of myself as courageous. It blows my mind anyone thinks of me as courageous. My journey to remission wasn't about courage, and though I thought it was about survival, it really wasn't even about survival; it was about having a significant life. Everyone wants their life to mean something. I have always thought one of the worst things about chronic illness is the loss of human potential. Illness illustrated to me very clearly the insignificance of monetary success and about personal growth and living a life of significance. Financial freedom means nothing if you're not also making a difference.

It takes real courage to live a life of significance. It takes insight, (some would say wisdom), to understand you can live a significant life even if you are coping with a seemingly incurable illness. Sometimes that is hard to see when you're living with 24/7 pain and little hope for respite. When illness strikes and your dreams suddenly seem unreachable; you must understand your illness, no matter what you no longer can do, does not make you any less important to the world. You must understand every existence is significant. By putting one foot in front of the other and keeping going you are, in fact, living a life of significance. You are giving value to life. There is nothing more noble.

So whatever hardships you are coping with in your life; change the things in your life which are negative or don't promote wellness and keep on keeping on. You are precious and your existence is significant.

Sunday, March 18, 2012


It's spring again and if you have followed this blog for any time you know where to find me when spring shows her sunny, flowery face. Sitting by the lake on my favorite bench on the boardwalk watching for baby ducks and pondering. I think everyone should have such a pondering spot. Been pondering how to go about accomplishing the goals I had set for 2012. I'm behind on my time-table.

A lot has happened in recent months both happy and sad. Life sometimes takes left turns and it surely took a hard left this time. My sister lost her battle with cancer in January. I lost my best friend. To say losing her has rocked my life (and the lives of many others) is an understatement. There are no words.

Not long after the funeral I was asked if I wanted to contribute an essay to a book about gratitude. God does have a sense of humor doesn't He? I wasn't in a place of gratitude. Far from it. To be honest I was pretty mad God took my Sis. I was still mad about how things were handled. I thought my brother and I had been treated with great disrespect (albeit unintentionally) at the wake. I was just mad. Period. So the thought of me writing about gratitude was somewhat laughable. But a little voice inside of me encouraged me to say yes I would write an essay about gratitude. So I did.

Mired in grief and anger I didn't know what I was going to write and wondered if I was nuts to have agreed to write the essay. But then words came to me as I reflected on the conversation I had with my younger nieces ex-boyfriend at the wake. He told me how my sister had impacted his life and so many others for the better.

Sitting here by the lake reflecting on the last few months I realize God put the opportunity before me to write the essay. I realize God sat my nieces ex-boyfriend next to me at the wake and I'm sure God calmed my anger and helped me find a place of forgiveness.

And I know for sure I didn't write the essay by myself.

Gratitude is an essential part of life. But what is it? I ask you to consider it is a major part of the art of paying attention. When we lose focus; when we allow the negative to overtake our thoughts; we take our attention off the positive. Gratitude is as necessary to our lives as blood is to our body; as air is to our lungs. It is from a daily practice of gratitude that happiness springs.

The book of which my essay is part along with a lot of others will be out in December. I hope it blesses you as much reading it as writing the essay blessed me.

You can still get the previous edition of the book! Gratitude Book Project