Tag Archives: wellness


1 Jan

On the eve of 2016, I won’t go to a glamorous party.  I am not heading out to a swanky dinner.  No, New Years Eve, for me, is about quiet gratitude, thoughtful prayer, and personal peace.  This post is a couple of years old, but I am posting it again.  It still feels relevant to life.  Thanks for reading it.  Happy New Year!

It is now 2013. I don’t really make New Years Resolutions, but I do make some goals. I also reflect on the past, and think about how to improve my future. My journey to love, loyalty, forgiveness, and appreciation continues, as does the journey to discover myself. A goal for my journey is to make it a joyful one. So as I do that this year, I want to say thank you.

Thank you to those who told me I couldn’t. From you I learned that I can.

Thank you to those who gossiped. From you I learned how to hold my friends dear, and how important it is to keep my mouth shut.

Thank you to those with no faith. From you I learned that God is central in my life, and that my faith runs deep.

Thank you to those who told me that I am weak. From you I learned fierce inner strength and confidence. For you allowed me to dig down and discover that I am stronger than I ever imagined.

Thank you to those that told me I was ugly. From you I found my inner beauty.

Thank you to those that put up barriers in my life. From you, I learned how to tear down walls and fight for what I want.

Thank you to those who told me that I am not a good mother. From you I learned that my commitment to motherhood is beautifully imperfect, and perfectly loving.

Thank you to those that put me second (or more accurately third, fourth or fifth) . From you I learn to put myself first.

Thank you to those who are loud and demand attention. From you I learned to be quiet.

Thank you to those who created drama in my life. From you I am learning to truly appreciate peace.

Thank you to those who have an overpowering sense of entitlement. From you I am learning to appreciate everything that I have.

Thank you to those who told me to quit. From you I am learning perseverance.

Thank you to those who brag. From you I learn humility.

Thank you to those that lied to me. From you I am learning the importance of the truth.

Thank you to those who are false and phony. From you I am learning the importance of being genuine.

Thank you to the people who showed me kindness not because I am needy but because you are good.

Thank you to those who extended generosity, for you have enabled me to more openly give to others.

Thank you for those of you that protected me not because I am weak but because you are loyal.

Thank you to those that shared their strength with me during times when I wavered. For you give me the power to be a pillar of strength to someone else.

I am no different from anyone else. I have been hurt. I have felt pain of deceit, the heart break of divorce, cruel disloyalty, and the sting of failure. From that I rise up. Push forward. Continue on. I give thanks to those by my side, and for those that, it seems, turned against me. From everyone whose life has touched mine, I learn. It is easy to be thankful for the great people in your life and to love them. The challenge lies in loving and learning from every body else.

This blog addresses mostly food. Today it is about fruits. The fruits of the spirit.  So I enter this year with gratitude, an open spirit, and prepared to learn more lessons!  I am grateful to everyone that has touched my life and continues to shape the person I am, and the person I am becoming.  So to you I say thank you!

Blast into Super foods!

26 May

Super foods are in the news constantly these days.  The question is do you find good health in whole foods or in other ways?  While touting super foods, the media also barrages us with cheater methods, like “supplements are a must”, “take those vitamins”.  To that I say pish posh to that.  Bullroar.  Nonsense.  Put that protein powder aside and get into super foods.

Super foods are all the rage…to talk about.  But are you ready to dig in and add them to your diet?  I hope so because nutrient dense foods are cool!  So is having variety in your diet and trying new things.  Expand your palate!  Try new foods and enjoy crazy good health benefits.  Take the leap and delve into super foods.  What to try first…hhhmmmm.  Put cabbage on the menu.  Why?  Glad you asked.  Didn’t like it as a kid?  Well it’s time to try it again,   Overlook its nonglamourous reputation and appreciate the cabbage contribution to good health!  It is loaded with micronutrients.

Micronutrients in food provide the nutrition your cells need to run your body.   These are important for cell function, simply put, by eliminating some bad molecules in our bodies.  Antioxidants are prize fighters in this arena and are essential in a healthy diet.  Where are these elusive antioxidants found?  In many foods, including cabbage.  What else does cabbage do for good health?

In addition to being loaded with antioxidants, cabbage has significant amounts of vitamin C and vitamin K, making it great brain food.  It is also a good source of folate in the diet, which is essential for red blood cell development.

Want to leave the medications at the drugstore?  Me too.  So consider that cabbage has long been used as a natural remedy for relieving constipation, curing headaches, and easing joint inflammation. For a new mother that has breast pain, cabbage is a natural way to eliminate it.  If you aren’t a nursing mother but went out last night and indulged in adult beverages, cabbage has been used for centuries as a hangover remedy.  Hey, I’m just sayin’…

Moving on….it is a vegetable that is often overlooked in its flexibility.  Cabbage goes in soup, can be piled on a sandwich, is a great side dish, and can even make a fantastic appetizer.  It can be eaten raw or cooked.  Also, fresh cabbage is budget friendly so it fits into any lifestyle.

Need a quick healthy vegetable to go along side your baked chicken or grilled steak?  Cabbage can simply be sautéed with butter, salt and pepper for an easy side dish.  Simply core a 2 pound head of cabbage and slice thinly.  Melt 1-2 tablespoons of butter in a sauce pan.  Add the cabbage, stir occasionally, and voila!  In 15 minutes you have a super side dish.

Let’s review.  Cabbage is a really healthy flavorful flexible super food.  It packs a nutritional punch with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and disease fighting properties.  If that isn’t enough, let me give you one more reason to try cabbage.  Cabbage contains beta-carotene, and that contributes to the growth and repair of the body’s tissues, and that may help protect your skin against sun damage.  All great stuff!  Its time to try cabbage again, so pick a recipe, cook it up, and enjoy a good contribution toward wellness!

Disclaimer: You have to take the good with the bad. Not only does it create a unique and somewhat lingering  scent when you cook it, cabbage is a cruciferous vegetable.  That is a fancy way of saying that it is a gas producing veggie.  Yup, you’re gonna fart.  Do not let that stop you from enjoying this delicious vegetable, but eat it with folks you know really well!




21 May

Walls. They are a good thing. They are there to hold something up. A ceiling. A roof. Precious pictures. They provide a comfortable boundary, a form of protection. If we were plunked down into a place that was pitch black, our instinct would be to reach out. Find the walls. That would be an indication of where we might be. How large is the black space we are in? Reaching out and finding a wall would begin to provide comfort, answers, direction. So walls are a good thing.

As a parent, I want to be a wall for my children. I want to hold them up.  I want to provide solid boundaries. When they are uncertain or in the dark, I want them to reach for me and find comfort in knowing that I am there, standing firm. Providing direction. Answers. That is what a good parent aspires to achieve. Even as an adult, I still look to my parents to be my wall. We all have weak moments, trying times, and it is comforting to be able to still count on not only my parents, but my whole family, to hold me up.

Good friends do the same thing. I have learned over the years that biology does not necessarily make a family and that friends can also be counted as family. A favorite Richard Bach quote comes to mind to sum up my definition of family: “The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other’s life. Rarely do members of one family grow up under the same roof.” I love that!  So we can depend on our friends to be our wall. And we should be theirs. Lift them up. Allow them to hold us up. These become the layers of our wall.

How do the layers get applied to a wall? Slowly, allowing each layer to become a firm foundation to the next, is a good way to build a solid wall. A base upon which a new layer could be applied, accepted, hardened. Ready to accept the next layer. So its safe to say that a trusted wall can be built over a long period of time. It can’t be rushed. Time, patience, trust…the tools of good construction some might say. So walls are a good thing. Or are they?

There can be a flip side. They can also be a barrier. Walls can seal or entomb. Shut off and divide. Hold back. Unfortunately some folks better fit this metaphorical description of a wall. Which is sad. These are the walls, the people, that we need to keep at arms length. They divide, and that is the last thing anyone should want. We have all run into people and relationships that have been this type of wall. And sometimes it takes us some time to realize what type of wall a person or relationship provides. We might think that a person is there to lift us up. Support us. Only to find out later that they are the “other” type of wall.  That is not good for overall wellness and a healthy spirit.   So what do you do then?

I have had both types of walls in my life over the years, and who can’t say that? I have learned to cherish, value, and take care of my good walls. That is my firm foundation.  And I have made it a priority in my life to be a good wall to my family (a.k.a. friends!). That takes time, experience, patience. But when we run into a bad wall, and we all do, is it time to turn and run? Well, that might be the first instinct, but I say no. Let it become another layer to the wall.

The old saying “You can’t go around it, you can’t go under it, so you must go over it” comes to mind. Going over a “bad” wall becomes another firm layer if we let it. We overcome it. We conquer it. And we allow it to become another layer to the foundation. And as a parent, we can teach our children how to use adversity to build a layer. Learning comes in many forms. Going over the wall also means to learn how to put more good walls in our life. Get over the bad ones, build more, layer more, with good ones. Become a better wall ourselves. We strengthen. We learn. We use the good the bad and the ugly. And we move on. Stronger. Better. Another layer for our wall. I know what kind of wall I am, what kind of wall I strive to be.  My foundation is very strong, and that contributes to my wholeness.  My wellness.  My vitality.  What kind of wall are you?


Conquering the Thieves

31 Mar

Wellness is a core value for me.  I write about it, I talk about it, I teach it to my children, but more than that, I try to live that value every day not only through words, but with actions. Living in wellness includes belief in the benefits of physical activity, confident decision making, healthy food choices, and respectful loving relationships.   Those are lofty goals, but worth pursuing.  So a life path is set.  Living the journey to good health takes a positive attitude.  A cheery disposition.  A trusting nature.   But alas, while on a course charted to good health, without warning, thieves can sneak up and steal this away.

Thieves come in many forms.  Disease.  Abuse.  Loss.  Lies.  Crisis.  Betrayal.  Death.  And these thieves have no adjectives.  Thieves cannot be quantified.  In other words, “my” thieves are not better or worse, heavier or lighter, greater or less than “your” thieves.  There is no grading  scale here.

These thieves simply come into our lives and rob.  Take.  Strip.  Without permission.  Sometimes they sneak in slowly, cleverly stealing  our well earned good health, our positive intentions, in such a subtle way that we don’t immediately notice it’s presence.  Other thieves bust through the door with no warning.  Boom!  There they are!  Either way,  these thieves ransack without license.

A thief in my life has been Betrayal.   It was a gradual and cunning thief.  I did not recognize Betrayal when it first knocked on my door.   Instead of seeing this thief quickly, it seeped in disguised, masked and misleading, and was so clever it took me years to fully recognize Betrayal.  Betrayal slowly diverted some of the energy that I would normally dedicate to wellness, and drained me like water trickling through a clogged drain.

Betrayal came to me in the form of words.  Words spoken quietly. Gentle to the ears in the beginning, gradually growing, when, at some point, a mere whisper  turned into a roar that could no longer be ignored.  That is when realization can begin to illuminate the thief known as Betrayal.  How long do thieves wield their power? That depends.

Betrayal, like other thieves, can be a resourceful thief.  It is skillfully delivered in a package that you trust.  In a package that you don’t question.  In a package that you love.  Therein lies the danger.  That is what makes Betrayal so deceptive, so deep, and so very cunning.   Betrayal isn’t visible to the eye like some disease might be.  It isn’t noticeably physical.  The suffering from this thief is internal.

Thieves hide in the shadows, so sometimes it is difficult to see them to begin the path to conquering.  Thieves must be overcome by shedding light on them.  Consider this quote from Plato “We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light”.  Truth shall set you free, and acknowledging the thief begins healing.  Thieves fear the light of the truth, so exposure is a Simon Says giant step forward in overcoming the thief.  This can take some time, as does gathering up the strength to begin acknowledging the truth and shedding light on the thief.  Not always an easy task.  Difficult but not impossible.

That first Simon Says step forward results in confidence in the ability to conquer the rebel.  The force at which the thief is defeated increases, and brings us ever closer to that goal of wellness, and increases our happiness.  Put light on thieves, begin to overcome, and let wellness back in. There is incredible personal power in conquering a thief.  Go for it!


A door, A window, and Patience

4 Feb

Slam!  We have all felt it.  Heard it.  Knew by the pit in our stomach that it happened.  Smack, right in the face.  Ouch.  A door slams.  Not really, physically, but it is sometimes can feel as though a door has closed somewhere in our life.  What follows is a matter of character.  What do we feel?  Is it chaos?  Excitement?  Confusion? Passion to succeed?  Embarrassment? All of the above?  That drives us to start looking, to embark on a new search.  For what?   Faith.  A sign.  Assurance.  Calm steady waters.  A well defined direction.

But it doesn’t come right away.  We look, we dig, we pray, we cry, we beg for answers.  We fight it.  Why?  Because that closing door represents change.  And that is scary.  Maybe we want to run away.  Just bolt.  But maybe embracing it is a better reaction.  Standing still for a moment may allow us to feel the wind of change brush over us.

I have had this happen.  Doors have slammed.  And yes, perhaps I incorrectly perceived the closing door as a problem. Something negative.  But as I march forward in life, peace in the unknown is replacing unrest in the unknown.  I am now making an effort to embrace slamming doors, because a window is springing open.  Maybe not right away, but it will happen.  The past confirms it.

Baby steps.  Change doesn’t happen in a grand style.  It happens in baby steps.  As I reflect on recent doors closing (yes, that’s plural.  Sometimes life is a dog pile) my initial impulse is to bolt.  But then I do what I do when I am stressing out.  I go for a run.  And my head clears up.  You gotta get rid of that junk in there sometimes!  This happened today.  As I ran, I had some random bullet point thoughts to share and to reflect upon.

  • Maybe the closing door is simply my straight path to becoming more “me”.
  • Isn’t becoming more “me” a fabulous thing?
  • Why do I fear the unknown?  I am a woman of deep faith,  and there is no fear in faith.
  • My past is littered with closed doors.  Where did that take me?  A window always opened.
  • I am not alone.  This happens to lots of people.
  • What am I afraid of?  Really deep down afraid of?
  • Yes life is tough right now.  But I have loads of blessings to focus on.
  • Am I perceiving the slamming door being negative with my heart, or with my ego?
  • The windows are opening.  New things are happening.  But they aren’t in my plan.  My road is curving.  Hello!  That’s not a bad thing!
  • My spirit is becoming more peaceful, even with massive life changes this year.  Accepting change is a beautiful thing.

These thoughts are what I have been pondering.  And I have been trying to process them with my heart, not my brain.  Not an easy task.  While I am artistic  and creative with my food, I can be somewhat cerebral at other times.

This blog is about wellness of the mind, body and spirit.  You simply cannot have holistic wellness with these things not be aligned with one another.  We all get out of balance.  A bit topsy turvy at times.  Especially when doors are closing and we can’t see the open window.  I have decided to stop staring at the closed door and patiently wait for the window.  It’s starting to open.  Trust, faith, and love need to drive this bus.

I end this blog with one quote.  I hope it speaks to your heart as it did mine.

“Love is what we were born with.  Fear is what we learned here”.–Marianne Williamson

Ups and Downs

29 Jul

“Accept that some days you are the pigeon, and some days you are the statue”.

We all have our ups and our downs. And both are necessary to keep things in perspective. After all, we could not appreciate the sunshine without the rain! But some days it is difficult to see the sun through the rain.

Some days are jam packed, and it can seem impossible to get ahead. Other days it feels like a bull’s eye is on us. No matter what kind of day it is, though, I try to focus on the positive things. I think keeping a healthy mind and spirit are critical to wellness, and wellness is an important value of mine.

As a mother, I think it is super important to keep healthy as a good role model for the children. As a manager, a positive attitude is critical for keeping a team running well. As a woman, we are a role model for many and must put ourselves first in order to serve others in a nurturing role. That may sound counterintuitive, but let’s face it. No one will give us permission to put ourselves first. We need to take that initiative in order to keep balanced.

Focusing on the positive is a good way to keep a cool vibe, a healthy spirit, a good attitude. That is critical for a happy life. I don’t remember who said these wise words, but it sure works: “If you aren’t happy, fake it, and before you know it you have convinced yourself that you are happy”. It also brings to mind one of my favorite Dilbert quotes, so noted above.

We all have days when we feel like the statue. But if we complain, we remain. We must rise above it. Mind over matter. Central to wellness. Balance. And happiness.

Stress-A Quiet Thief

11 Sep

Wellness is a core value of mine, one that I live every day.  I have (hopefully) been passing this along to my children as well.  It does not mean that I work out like a fiend, eat only “health” food, or preach to others about their bad habits from my righteous perch.  Not at all.

I am a normal everyday working mother.  I try to be mindful of balance in my life.  Wellness, in my humble opinion, hinges on balance.  An active lifestyle.  Good food.  Positive relationships.  Deep spirituality.   Maintaining a healthy mind, body and spirit is of utmost importance to me.  When one of these elements is out of sync, it throws everything else slightly out of whack.

Nothing throws this balance out of whack some days more than stress.  Stress is a quiet thief.  It seeps into daily life and grabs a tight hold, robbing us of optimum health at times.  But we don’t always recognize it.  Oh yes, the signs are there, but sometimes they go unheard.  Instead of quietly listening to our body we sometimes push forward.  We try to push past the little nagging voice of imbalance in our energy.   And if we are not listening to our own body, doesnt that create stress?

Not that I blame anyone or anything for stress.  Stress is something that, perhaps, we let into our lives.  We allow it in.  Unsuspecting.  Dressing it up to look like something other than what it is.  Fooling ourselves.  Letting stress seep in quietly robs us of our balance.  And our path to the best healthy body possible.

Coping with stress can mean taking a looking into personal history.  Asking core questions.  Where is my stress coming from?  Did I start letting someone else define my limits?  Am I being true to myself?  Does someone else have power over my decisions?  Answering those questions are tough.

It is embarrassing for me to admit, but I have had some stress from being bullied.  No one wants to admit that this has happened to them. I am a strong, smart, well educated woman.  I continue to achieve success with my career in the field of clinical nutrition.  I am a single mother.   Stress from a bully?  Yup, it happened.  It can happen to anyone.

It’s very degrading and really hard to admit to others that it’s happening.  Quite frankly, it was embarrassing to admit that I had been the victim of a bully.  Until I faced it head on.  The power that came out of me in that experience has helped push me forward.

Looking a bully square in the face takes guts.  Inner strength.  I had to completely let go of the fear that had been gripping me.  Fear of the bully.  The good news is that courage emerged from that experience.  Power.  A shift in energy.  Negative to positive.    And I was well on my way to restoring balance in my energy and reducing my stress level.

Yes, bullying can happen at any time in life.  And by anyone.  A spouse.  A boss.  A coach.  An in-law.  Being bullied, as I can attest, is stress to an unknown exponent.  And at any point in life, bullying can send stress through the roof.  It throws balance  off.

It is not a child hood phenomenon.  Not at all.  And it can be difficult to recognize.  Bottom line is, if someone is demanding, preying on (manufactured) guilt, degrading, it is a toxic relationship.  One that can lead to being bullied.  Stand up.  Look that ugly bully in the face.  Say no.  Empower your self.  Love yourself enough to end the negative energy.

Stress can come in many forms.  Poor health, unemployment, an unhappy relationship, money worries, and yes, even a bully.  When you happen to find stress in your life, and everybody does, try to sweep it right on out the door quickly.  Turn it into a positive force, let the stress go, and take a giant leap toward healthy life balance.  A positive force.  Wellness.  Happiness.  It’s there!  Grab it!

Friends for all seasons

13 May

I am a woman blessed with many friends.  I have friends from the neighborhood, friends from church, book club friends.  Friends met thru friends, school friends, work friends, and parental friends of my children’s friends.  Friends everywhere!  Friends I read with, friends I share a glass of wine with, friends that I cook with, friends I run with, and friends that I can call and vent daily frustrations to-they are great listeners.  How lucky am I?

I have a group of friends that I see fairly often in the course of family life, but we get together 4 times a year specifically to cook.  We share fellowship, prayers, wine, laughs, and, of course, dinner.  It is a group of 12 friends, and 3 of us host one dinner party 4 times a year.  Once a season.  We rotate homes, hosting duties, and menus.  We have been getting together for over 10 years.  The 3 hostesses for the upcoming dinner get together to select the menu.  The hostesses also select the recipes to use.  We used to mail them out, but now we embrace emails and texting.  Each person makes one thing to bring, so we all contribute to each dinner.  Getting together takes some doing because we are all busy working mothers.  But our time together is priceless and so joyful!

At our dinners, we have the recipes printed and ready for all to take home.  I have a binder full of over a decade of fantastic recipes, and refer to it often for some of my most favorite dishes.  When I leaf through the pages of my Four Seasons recipes, not only do I enjoy the recipes, but I also enjoy the warm hearted memories of our evenings together.

Sometimes we have a themed dinner, other times we just make favorites.  The food is always wonderful, but the friendship is the real treat with this bunch.  We love each other, support each other, and our friendship is pure in heart and spirit.  The women in this group are funny, kind, and generous.  Women together supporting each other in family life, faith, and hard knocks makes us unstoppable!  Powerful!  Successful! And we appreciate the gift of the fellowship that we share.  The food that nourishes our bodies.  The love that surrounds us.

It is my goal for this blog to addresses wellness of the mind, body and spirit.  My Four Seasons group is a component of this in my life.  These women definitely contribute to the wonderful quality of my life.  They make it better.  I encourage you to gather a group of friends together.  Eat.  Talk. Laugh. Share.  And be grateful for people that surround you, for food on your table, and for the countless blessings in your life.  The experience is certain to improve the quality of your life, so jump in and start your own version of the Four Seasons group!