Dec 31, 2013

Integrity in the New Year

"Integrity is the ability to listen to a place inside oneself that doesn't change, even though the life that carries it may change." Rabbi Jonathan Omer-Mann

There are other definitions of integrity, but this one is well suited.  If each of us would continue to listen to the Soul or Inner Self, or whatever you prefer to call it, then integrity would abound.  There would be no question of what is the right thing to do; we would be unerringly guided by Source.  So, today let us take the time to listen so that we can know what is the best course of action for us.  This may not, indeed -- often is not, what others might think we should do.  To follow one's own true inner guidance is to be a blessing onto the world. 

As 2014 begins today, let us listen to our own integrity and allow it to guide our actions.

Dec 30, 2013

End of Another Year

"Like Joseph, (from Bible) I have the opportunities to either accept others as family or cast them out." Rev Rachel Simpson

Rev Simpson is referring to what is cited in the Bible -- that Joseph accepted Mary as his wife and took her into his home.  He did not have to.  Indeed, the cultural practices at the time discouraged what he did.  We have the same opportunities, daily.  We can either treat others with dignity and respect, or shun them.  We can also be assured that sometime in our own lives we have been both accepted and shunned.  There is much power in accepting others and extending love to them.  Let us practice accepting and loving ourselves and others.

Dec 29, 2013

The Now

"If all I have is Now, where will I look for Joy?  . . . . . all I need is right where I am." Mark Nepo

As humans we look around and strive for better situations, better relationships, better people -- we are often busy wanting something just out of our reach.  What if, instead, we look around and are happy with our own circumstances and the people within those circumstances?  What if we look around and practice gratitude for what we have in our lives.  Yes, it is human to dream about having things better; but it is also important to be grateful for what we have.  In fact, I think that is how things do get better for us -- being grateful for what we already have.  What, as caregivers, can we be thankful for today?  I am thankful that the person for whom I provide care is resisting his disease less, which makes him far more pleasant.  I am grateful for our clean air and water, and the freedoms we enjoy, and the opportunities for health and happiness available. 

Dec 28, 2013

Reflecting On One's Life

"An unexamined life is not worth living." Socrates

This time of year is a time people take inventory of their lives.  It seems a natural thing to do with the calendar demarcating an ending point for us.  Some people then set goals for how to live differently in the New Year.  Taking inventory is a good habit.  How has this year been for you?  Have you shown up in situations as you would like?  It seems it is a fine balance between being too hard on ourselves and recognizing that there is always an opportunity for improvement.  As I reflect back on 2013, I feel good about the choices I have made.  I also see that I can include more fun in my life.  My life is overly full of commitments, so I can choose to either make the commitments fun -- or, eliminate some of the commitments.  I have chosen to have fun with the process of discerning what commitments stay and how to have fun with them and which commitments have reached their expiration date. 

Dec 27, 2013


"To embark on this glorious challenge, you must leave the known and jump away from the familiar, the status quo, to discover who you truly are and can be." Judith Wright

It is true that to become fully who we are we must leave the familiar.  We all know people who stay in very difficult situations and we may wonder why they stay -- I would suggest that people stay because it is familiar.  It takes courage to leave unsatisfying relationships and situations, but -- to become who we are capable of being -- leave we must, when we discern that is what is the right thing to do.  And, what does this have to do with caregiving?  We may not be able -- or even want -- to leave the caregiving situation, but I think that within that caregiving we need to find ways to leave the known.  Perhaps that is in providing the caregiving in the way that best suits you -- and not all those people who think they know how you should do it. 

Dec 26, 2013

Developing Our Potential

"To assert our individuality is to rise above the law of averages into that more highly specialized use of the Law which brings freedom rather than bondage, joy in the place of grief, and wholeness instead of sickness." Science of Mind, p 417

How do we 'assert our individuality'?  It seems to me that asserting our individuality is a life-long process.  Public schools and families-of-origin too often squelch our individuality. Most of us have heard, "Who do you think you are?!", when we try to be more than what we were yesterday.  Those around us are often most comfortable when we do not change from who they can expect us to be; and, yet, change we must -- or die.  Yes, really die.  Perhaps not in the body, but most certainly in the spirit.  Our life quest is to become fully who we are capable of being, and that takes us to our most wonderful selves.  It is important that we have people in our lives who support our becoming fully ourselves. 

Dec 25, 2013

Merry Christmas

"For unto us a child is born."  Luke 2:11

For Christians in the world, today is the celebration of Christ born among us.  I am reading Killing Jesus by Bill O'Reilly and am struck by the cultural climate into which Jesus was born.  As he lived out his life, he seemed to have a unique acceptance of himself and others.  The more accepting we are of ourselves and others, the more compassionate we can be, as reflected in Brene' Brown's research.  Today on this day of celebration let us be compassionate toward ourselves, let us expect and accept the best life has for us, and let us laugh and enjoy those we love. 

Dec 24, 2013


"In cultivating compassion we draw from the wholeness of our experience -- our suffering --, our empathy, as well as our cruelty and terror.  It has to be this way.  Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded.  It's a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others.  Compassion become real when we recognize our shared humanity." Pema Chodron

Compassion comes from two Latin words which mean "to suffer with".  It is very different from sympathy -- where we remain above the person who is hurting and feel sorry for them.  Compassion is like empathy:  it involves walking in the other's shoes.  Compassion takes great courage because we have to know ourselves so well and to recognize our capacity for doing both good and bad in order to stand with another person and understand their pain.  Most of all it is important to have compassion toward ourselves.  We are human after all.  Fallible.  Imperfect, but also beautiful; and we are made all the more beautiful when we own all parts of ourselves and all the ways we are capable of acting. 

Dec 23, 2013


"Courage is like -- it's a habitus, a habit, a virtue: You get it by courageous acts.  It's like you learn to swim by swimming.  You learn courage by couraging." Mary Daly

Courage is such an important quality to develop in life.  It includes compassion because true courage requires that we say 'no' to people when it is in our best interest.  True courage means we choose our own path rather than pleasing others.  It takes courage to do this because belonging is such a primal need that ancient tribes used it to punish people, and punish it did --- as exclusion from the tribe meant certain death.  But, it does not mean our death any more, and we must stand in our own truth and speak up for ourselves, rather than relinquishing to others.  As caregivers we will have people who will strongly oppose whatever action we take -- of that we can be sure.  Since we cannot possibly please all of them, let us please ourselves.  Let us make our decisions with integrity, with an eye for what is best for all people involved, and then let us not allow others to dissuade us. 

Dec 22, 2013

Living in Love

"In this world, hate never yet dispelled hate.  Only love dispels hate.  This is the law; ancient and inexhaustible."  Buddha

In this season, considered to be holy by several major religions, we are told to love.  And, here the Buddha tells us that only Love has power over hate.  We have seen people whose lives have shown this to be true:  Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa.  It is difficult to love those people who have caused us harm, but that is what we are called to do.  Into what situation can you infuse Love today?

Dec 21, 2013

Taking Action

"If you come to a fork in the road, take it." Yogi Berra

In the decision-making process, many people have trouble take a crucial step:  taking action.  They will talk, and talk, and talk, and plan, and set goals --- but they will not actually take the action that is necessary for them to meet their goals.  It is astonishing how many people talk their whole lives about how they could do this or that, but they never actually take the steps.  Perhaps that is what Yogi Berra means in the above quote.  When we come to a point of decision, do something.  Take one path or another, but at least take a path.  It is my believe that the Universe or God or whatever you are comfortable in calling the benevolent force will bless whatever path we take, but we must take one of the paths -- and continue on it. 

Dec 20, 2013

Expecting the Best

"By expecting and accepting the best, we are symbolically documenting the opulence of the universe." Lloyd Barrett

Many of us have been raised to settle for something less than what we might really want.  We have been raised to disbelieve that we deserve the very best.  We think that the very best is reserved for the likes of Oprah, but that is a disservice to ourselves and the universe.  We may never make a mark on the world as Oprah has, but we can make a mark on our own smaller world.  We do have an impact, wherever we go -- and that impact is either a blessing or not.  It is important that we come to know our own power, and part of that is expecting and accepting the best.  Yes, you deserve it.  You really do deserve the best.

Dec 19, 2013

Seeing With Love

It is only with the heart that one can see rightly....
--Antoine de Saint Exupery

It is so easy in human relationships to have misunderstandings, feelings which are ruffled, without ever meaning to offend.  Perhaps the only way to deal with communication in relationships is to see with the heart.  That means to turn the mind off, the judgments, the analyses, the justifications.  It means, instead, to see with the heart which is to see with pure love.  Most of us are doing the best we can at any given time --- let us give each other credit for doing the best we can. 

Dec 18, 2013

Everything Is Holy

"There are only two ways to live your life.  One is as though nothing is a miracle.  The other is as though everything is a miracle." Albert Einstein

This is a season that is considered holy by some of the great religions, and what does it mean to be holy?  One definition is:  exalted or worthy of complete devotion as one perfect in goodness and righteousness.  What if we lived as if we considered life holy:  perfect in goodness.  If we are honest, isn't most of our life good?  We have a sun which rises every morning and makes life on this earth possible with its warmth.  For those of us who have relatively clean air and water, we can be most grateful.  If we have shelter, that is a state of goodness.  How might our lives be different if we lived them as worthy of complete devotion -- devoted to developing our own potential and living life to its fullest? 

Dec 17, 2013

Making The Best Of It

"Make the best of it. When you make the best of whatever you're focused upon, your future will be better than your now. If each moment you're making the best of what-is, no matter what it is, you make the best of it; make the best of it; make the best of it—your future just gets better and better and better, and better."  ---Abraham

I have sometimes thought it was a flaw to "make the best of it", and it is lovely to read that it is an asset.  And, what better advice could we, who are caregivers, get but to make the best of it.  Life has served up this circumstance that has created us being caregivers for someone else.  Our response, as caregivers, could be bitterness, anger, self-pity, etc.  How much better to know that life does contain challenges --- they may be purposeful in that they can help us develop spiritual muscle ---, and a wonderful response is to make the best of it.  It is a waste of time to think, 'why me?'.  It is far better to observe that we now have someone with dementia for whom we have some responsibility, and how do we make the best of it?  So, how do we make the best of it?  By looking for the good, by looking for the reasons to be grateful, by looking for the positive versus the negative, by providing respite for ourselves, by monitoring our own health, by being compassionate toward ourselves and the person with dementia.  How do you make the best of it?

Dec 16, 2013

Finding Good In Everything

"And this, our life exempt from public haunt, finds  . . . books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything." William Shakespeare

Ah, yes, that is how I find nature.  People think it is strange that I choose to live in the woods amid the trees beside a babbling brook.  I love it.  Not so much the volume of work in the winter with snow removal, but all else.  I love the silence, the solitude, the beauty; and from this beauty comes the sermons I give at a local spiritual center and the writings I do.  Do you have a chance to interact with nature in this way?  I hope you do because the greenery is good for the soul.

Dec 15, 2013


"Anything you can do from the soulful self will help to lighten the burden of the world: anything.  You have no idea what the smallest word, the tiniest generosity can cause to be set in motion." Clarissa Pinkola Estes

Research tells us that acts of kindness benefit not only the person bestowing the kindness and the person receiving the kindness, but anyone in proximity who witnesses the acts of kindness, and I think perhaps we do not even need to witness the kindness -- because the good energy of an act of kindness can flow out and onward benefitting us all.  A smile given to someone who is having a less-than-perfect day, letting someone merge in front of you in traffic, holding the door for someone who is carrying something, acknowledging those people who may be disenfranchised:  the poor, the people of other races/religions/genders, children, the elderly, passing along information that may benefit someone else (I think that I sometimes happen to come upon information that is given to me only to pass it on).  The acts do not have to be big; as small acts of kindness can accumulate and impact the world.   An act of kindness I like to do this time of year is to put new $20 bills in envelopes for those who have provided service to me:  the refuse collector, the mail deliverer -- anyone who provides me a service but with whom I rarely interact.  What acts of kindness do you do?

Dec 14, 2013

Doing Our Part

"Go your way step by step.  Now is the appointed time to do your part." Letter of the Scattered Brotherhood

So, what is our part?  Perhaps you, like me, have pondered that.  I think doing our part means speaking up when the truth needs to be said, I think it means practicing tolerance and nonjudgment, I think it means working in support of those things we believe in. We are all familiar with the famous saying that evil can happen when good people do nothing.  That is what it means to do our part:  Do something, say something in the face of evil, and evil is anything that diminishes life.  Doing our part is comprised of small acts for most of us.  It includes such things as:  recognizing those people disenfranchised by society, practicing compassion, doing our part to enhance the good in the world.  What one thing can you do today to do your part? 

Dec 13, 2013

Being Happy With Ourselves

"It is not easy to find happiness in ourselves, and it is not possible to find it elsewhere." Agnes Repplier

How very true.  The lack of tolerance in the world, I believe, stems from the basic lack of tolerance for our own imperfections.  The happiness and joy and peace we can find in the world is in direct proportion to the happiness, joy and peace we can find in ourselves.  That is what I think Shakespeare meant when he said, " To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man."   Healthy love of self is the basis for our tolerance of others and for our own peace and well being.  What do you love most about who you are?

Dec 12, 2013

Medicare Premiums

"Medicare Part B premiums for 2014 will remain the same at $104.90, and the annual Part B deductible will stay unchanged at $147." Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services

Good news for all of us.  We, who are caregivers for someone with dementia, have enough increased expenses with additional medications, mobility devices, medical services not covered by Medicare, and whatever form of respite care we provide for the person with dementia.  It is good news, indeed, that at least our Medicare premiums and deductible amounts will remain unchanged. 

Dec 11, 2013


 "He who marvels at the beauty of the world in summer will find equal cause for wonder and admiration in winter  . . . . In winter the stars seem to have rekindled their fires, the moon achieves a fuller triumph, and the heavens wear a look of a more exalted simplicity."  John Burroughs

I know we are not in winter in the northern hemisphere according to the calendar, but as I look out the window, it seems winter to me.  We have already had record-setting snow levels in October and unusual cold this December.  That means slick roads, snow to shovel and plow, warm clothing to find and put on --- it also means exquisite stars at night.  The cold, crisp air allows the stars to seem almost within reach.  The snow on the trees during the day sparkles like gems.  So, the good and the bad of winter; just as in everything.


Dec 10, 2013

Our Spirituality

"We are not human beings having a spiritual experience.  We are spiritual beings having a human experience." Teilhard de Chardin

An interesting concept to consider.  Is it possible that we do not fully appreciate our spirituality?  There are some who believe that we are sparks of the Divine.  If that is so, then it is important to acknowledge, honor and develop that part of ourselves.  In this season of holy days for major religions, let us consider how we can more fully develop our own spirituality.  If spirituality is something you are not comfortable, then in what way can we more fully develop our potential as humans.  It seems to me that the two things are saying much the same thing. 

Dec 9, 2013

Focusing on the Solution

"So many times in life we focus more on the difficulty than on the solution.  It is vital that we have a balanced knowledge of who we are and what's important so that we are able to separate the truths from the frustrations of life." Jack Sacco

In order to know what's important to us, we must know what our values are.  So many times in life our frustrations are caused by our actions not being in alignment with our values.  What is important to you?  What is important to me is my own spiritual growth, enjoying a well-rounded and healthy life, and making time for relationships that are important to me.  I reevaluate often to make sure that the way I am spending my time and talents is in activities that align with those values.  I let go of activities that do not align with those values.  People are sometimes frantically busy, and it seems to me that excess activity is to avoid really considering one's values and aligning one's behavior with those values.  In this Advent season, let us consider what is truly important to us; and let us schedule our time in allocations to what is important to us.  This is one way to have less frustrations in life.

Dec 8, 2013

Daring to Live to Our Potential

Nelson Mandela is a wonderful example to us of what a difference one person can make.   I think he is so right in saying that our real fear is in living to our own potential, but it is only in living to our own potential that we can free ourselves and be a model to others for their own freedom.   Today, are you willing to risk living big?  Are you willing to let your own light shine?  Let us support each other in doing so.  We all benefit.

Dec 7, 2013

Good Sleep Habits

"To sleep, perchance to dream." William Shakespeare

"70 million Americans have sleep disturbances." Dr. Safwan Badr.  Consequences to inadequate sleep are health problems, moodiness, poor judgment, cardiac disease, and automobile accidents.  Some people believe they are 'night people', but research says that only about 2% of the entire population are really persons who prefer being awake at night.  "1/3 of apnea patients could be cured by losing weight." Mayo Clinic   So, are you a person who has trouble sleeping (and the stress of caregiving can certainly be a deterrent to quality sleep)?  Some suggestions are:  do not do anything electronically for an hour or two before bedtime.  Create a routine and go to bed the same time every day.  Darken your bedroom -- especially do not put your cell phone or ipad beside your bed so that you can check it one last time. 

Dec 6, 2013

Healing From Past Hurts

"Looking back, I wonder whom I should thank and whom I should forgive.  What I believe has healed me and my life is not forgiveness, but a change in my perspective." Bob Luckin

The context within which the above quote comes is Bob Luckin reminiscing about his life and realizing that some of what seemed to be the worst things at the time, were -- in reconsidering -- events about which it was hard to decide if they were good or bad.  He says that he was abused by his father growing up, and then worked as an attendant in a hospital in which his father was a long-term patient, which motivated him to go back to school and get training in the field of mental health.  So, were the events good or bad?  They all led him to what he decided was his path in life.  So, too, in each of our lives are the good and the bad comingled.  I know in my life a devastating end of a relationship led me to significant spiritual growth and the training I now have in psychology.  I now consider the end of that relationship to be a blessing.  What events in your life may have been blessings in disguise?

Dec 5, 2013

7-Minute Workout

"The 7-minute workout hit the fitness scene last year and quickly went viral." Katherine Pushkar

Rapid bursts of intense exercise have shown to have benefits comparable to traditional, more time-consuming programs.  It consists of twelve 30-second moves broken up by 10 seconds of rest.  Pushkar offers a tip:  download an app to keep you on task.  She used   

For those of us who are caregivers and other busy people, time is of the essence, and finding time to exercise can be difficult.  This program may be an option for all busy, health-minded people. 

Dec 4, 2013

Enjoy That Piece of Pie

"Even if you're watching your weight, you should consider eating what you want this holiday season."  Health section of Time Magazine, December 9, 2013

According to a Canadian study putting food on a do-not-eat list only increases your craving for that food.  An Israeli study found that eating a little bit of something sweet every day helped dieters lose weight.  It seems prudent to adopt the lifestyle of moderation.  Eat nutritious food, but do not deny yourself an occasional treat.  The holiday season is stressful enough without severely restricting what you eat. 

Dec 3, 2013

Increasing One's Joy

"With these simple solutions. you'll make room for what the season is all about:  joy." Bari Lieberman

Lieberman suggests these strategies to increase your joy:
1.  Use mantras to stay in the moment -- such as, "I let go of expectations. I am grateful. I forgive you."
2.  Reboot your metabolism with some form of exercise.
3.  Know when to take a time out.  Excuse yourself from upsetting conversations.
4.  Focus on the upside of things. 

Dec 2, 2013

5 Ways to Lower Blood Pressure

"If you don't have high blood pressure now, odds are you will." Caroline Hwang, Prevention Magazine, December 2013

These suggestions come from David Katz, MD, director of Yale University's Prevention Research Center and author of Disease-Proof:  The Remarkable Truth about What Makes us Well:
1.  Eat low-fat, low-sugar yogurt.  People who ate 6 oz of yogurt twice a week over 14 years were 31% less likely to develop high blood pressure.  I personally prefer plain (no flavoring or sugar) Greek yogurt. 
2.  Lift weights.  Women who lift weights cut systolic blood pressure by 5 points and diastolic by 9 points.
3.  Drink faux red wine.  Nonalcoholic red wine lowered blood pressure by 5.8 points after 4 weeks.  Any antioxidant-rich food may also be effective.
4.  Enjoy a little sun.  He suggests exposing arms and legs to the sun about 15 minutes 3 days a week.  If that does not work for you, take a Vitamin D supplement.
5.  Hang out with friends.  Loneliness boosts blood pressure, so take friendships seriously.

Dec 1, 2013

Importance of Friendships

"A new study suggests that time spent with loved ones may help your body fight inflammation.  People with fewer social ties had significantly higher risks of dying of heart disease and cancer." Yang Claire Yang, PhD

As caregivers it is difficult to make time for meaningful friendship time.  I do have a group I meet with for breakfast once a week, when time allows, which supports me.  The group discusses divergent and interesting topics and allows for divergent opinions.  That is a rare experience --- the safety to truly express oneself.  Each of us needs relationships in which we can express our opinions and have them held in confidence and accepted.  That does not mean that everyone needs to agree with our opinion, but that they listen and allow our opinion --- without shaming or trying to change how we think.  Do you have a friend who does this for you?  You deserve it, and we all need it.

Nov 30, 2013

Avoiding the Flu

"Tis the season for handshakes, and with recent news about the threat of antibiotic resistant infections, you might be looking for a powerful weapon to protect yourself from the superbugs lurking among us.  Good news:  Simple soap offers your best defense." Jean Patel, PhD, deputy director of the CDC

What good news!  It does not even have to be antibacterial soap, which in its wide use may be contributing to the increase in antibiotic resistant bacteria.  Just plain old soap and water.  It is important to wash our hands often and long enough -- at least 20 seconds is recommended.  It is important to wash our hands before we eat, after using the bathroom, after blowing our noses, and when preparing food.  If we each wash our hands thoroughly, we will help protect ourselves against the flu. 

Nov 29, 2013

Moments to Remember

"You will find as you look back upon your life that the moments that stand out, the moments when you have really lived, are the moments when you have done things in a spirit of love." Henry Drummond

The above quote is a good reminder for anyone, and maybe especially for caregivers.  Whether you volunteered for caregiving or are doing it out of obligation, it is important for our own well being and that of the care receiver to do the caregiving out of love.  That does not mean that we neglect our own needs and wants, but it does require us to be respectful and gracious and patient, always.  Yes, always.  If you find that it is hard to do that, perhaps you are not getting enough breaks to replenish yourself.  Replenishing yourself is imperative.  It must be our top priority.  We have nothing to give if we do not fill ourselves up first.  So, the spirit of love starts with ourselves and then extends out to all those with whom we interact, to include the care receiver. 

Nov 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

"The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts.  No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving. " ~H.U. Westermayer

That puts things in perspective!  Even with all those deaths, the pilgrims set aside time to be thankful.  That is good modeling for us.  Yes, of course, we all have difficulties in our lives; but we also have much about which to be grateful.  Today I am grateful for you readers, for my family and friends, for good health, for adequate resources, for clean air and water, for peace.  What are you most grateful for today?

Nov 27, 2013

3 Eating Rules to Consider

"Your body burns more calories digesting protein than it does fat or carbs." Dr. Louis Arrone

According to Dr. Arrone:

1.  Eat more protein, such as lean red meat, chicken, fish, tofu and beans.
2.  Have a morning meal.  Eating in the morning jump starts your metabolism for the day.
3.  Snack often.  Do not go more than 3-4 hours between eating.  Snack on whole food carbs and protein -- such as peanut butter, or an apple and cheese.

Another suggestion for weight control is to get adequate sleep.  Skimping on sleep raises levels of appetite stimulating hormones, such as cortisol.  Especially in this busy holiday season -- and the always-busy days for caregivers --- eat nutritiously and often and get adequate sleep to preserve our own health. 

Nov 26, 2013

Our Talk Reveals Us

"So, the question isn't 'What do I say?', but 'What does what I say, say about me?'" Jack Sacco

We have all heard the old adage that brilliant people talk about ideas, average-minded people talk about things, and dull-minded people talk about other people.  What we do talk about tells a lot about us.  One reason I enjoy a water aerobics group I attend is that they never talk about others, and they are always welcoming and inclusive.  We have all been in groups in which when one person leaves, the other people discuss that person.  I realize that this is the reason I enjoy a group I meet with.  We talk about any and all sorts of ideas, but we do not talk about people.  Our words carry tremendous energy.  Wayne Dwyer says the words "I am" carry so much energy that we should only put something very positive behind them -- such as, I am grateful or I am healthy.  Let us use our words to support ourselves and all life.

Nov 25, 2013

Noticing the Good

"Always be grateful for the good things that have already happened to you, and the goodness will grow within you and around you." Yogi Amrit Desai

Another person advising us to look for the good in our lives and to be grateful.  This advice comes from so many sources, it might be good for us to pay attention to it.  I was listening last night to a snippet of Dr. William Glasser's book, Positive Addictions, and he says something similar.  We can train ourselves either to develop positive behaviors or negative ones.  It really is our choice.  Looking for the good, and being grateful for it, will support our physical, mental, and emotional health.  Looking for what's wrong will support our anxiety.  Today, let us look for and be grateful for what is right in our lives. 

Nov 24, 2013

Eating to Feel Good

"Food is a huge part of staying well."  Travis Stork, MD

We have all heard the old adage, you are what you eat.  According to Dr. Stork, there is new research which supports the age-old idea, that what we eat helps us be healthy or not.  To help ward off colds, eat tuna, halibut or turkey to get enough protein and selenium.  Fish also contains omega-3 fatty acids which help boost moods.  Yogurt, cheese and other fermented foods all contain beneficial bacteria and probiotics which can help keep one's immune system strong.  A recent Swedish study found that having a daily probiotic drink cut workplace illness by 55%.  Kale, spinach, yams, pumpkin and carrots all provide us with vitamin A to help keep mucous membranes moist and healthy. 

Nov 23, 2013


"26% of the time our minds are wandering.  That's not a bad thing -- daydreams that you find interesting and engaging can up your happiness level." research from Frontiers in Psychology

It is said that Einstein's greatest ideas came from dreams or daydreams.  It may very well be that our minds and moods are improved when we daydream -- as long as we are thinking happy thoughts.  Many teachers tell us to be present to the current moment, but it may also be true that to dream of how we want live to be is good for us too.

Nov 22, 2013


"The fullest work that God ever worked in any creature is compassion."  Meister Eckhart

Some people believe that compassion is the basis of true religion.  Certainly, if we do not have compassion toward ourselves and others, we have missed the point of religion -- most of which have at their heart a version of the Golden Rule:  Do Unto Others As You Would Have Them Do Unto You.  Compassion is an emotion that bathes us in vibrations of good.  Compassion toward oneself, and compassion toward all other life. 

Nov 21, 2013

Fullness of Life

"In the midst of your wounds, I have seen your glory, and it dazzles me." Jean Houston

I have had the good fortune to hear Jean Houston speak in person.  A brilliant and compassionate woman.  Do you see your character flaws as detractions, or do you see them as part of what makes you uniquely who you are?  This does not mean that we do not work at correcting and transforming those character flaws we each have, but what would be the harm in seeing the richness they bring to our personality?  Perhaps you tend to be anxious.  Can you see that as adding to the compassionate person you are?  If you were not anxious, you might be less likely to notice what needs to be changed in the world.  As we evolve as humans, we do integrate those unwieldy parts of ourselves by befriending them; but even then, we will not be perfect human beings.  So, let us revel in our glory -- in the wonderful mix of attributes that make each one of us unique and wonderful human beings. 

Nov 20, 2013

Self Love

"Take special moments many times every day, and see yourself in brilliant vision." Christian D. Larsen

How do you see yourself?  When you catch a glimpse of yourself in a mirror or window, do you smile and think how wonderful you are?  Or, do you notice the wrinkles, the poor posture, the body shape you judge to be negative?  Self regard is extremely important in life.  Not self adulation, but positive self regard.  If you are not your own best friend, who do you have on your side in times of trouble?  Of course, if you are spiritual you can say that you have God or a Higher Power on your side; but this is an important consideration --- if you do not have your own back, who will?!  Most of us are well trained by the people and institutions in life to have some self disgust.  Let's eradicate that.  It is a disservice to ourselves.  Who have you been able to count on in your life?  If you do not name yourself first, then it is time to do the work to make you the person you can most count on.  This does not negate spirituality.  Many of us belief that a benevolent being also supports us, but we need also to support ourselves.  You deserve it. 

Nov 19, 2013


"I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free." Michelangelo

Is that the way true creativity is?  Too many times I have struggled to make something look just right.  Perhaps that is the wrong approach -- perhaps the best approach is to see the beauty and just uncover it.  That can be said for our lives as caregivers too.  Do we struggle to make things just right?  Or, do we see things as right and let them unfold?   Really.  I think this is a way we can approach caregiving.  Things are right just the way they are.  How can I be among this rightness? 

Nov 18, 2013

Day of a Caregiver

"On a recent morning, I helped Mom and Dad get out of bed, teeth brushed and dressed.  I cleaned Mom's glasses and got Dad settled with music.  I administered medications, fixed breakfast, cleaned the kitchen, scheduled doctor appointments.  This was all interspersed with work for my own job." Amy Goyer

This will probably sound familiar.  The list of things we need to do.  Even if the care receiver is in a care facility, there are still the visits, the washing the eyeglasses, scheduling and taking to appointments, managing prescriptions, managing clothing issues, managing mobility issues, managing well-being issues.  The list goes on and on.  All of this while we are also managing the events and needs of our own life:  auto maintenance, financial matters, our own appointments and health needs, home and yard maintenance, laundry, etc., etc. etc.  It is because of these lists of things for which we are responsible that we must make sure our own well being is at the top of the list.  What one thing can you do for yourself today that will make you feel better?

Nov 17, 2013

Self Care

"I see a lot of patients (in the ER) who got sick because they're taking care of everybody else -- aging parents, spouses, children -- and putting their own health last."  Dr. Travis Stork

Easy to do for those of us who are caregiving -- putting the needs of others before our own.  The consequence of that can be our own health decline.  Whether you are caring for young children or an aging family member, it is critical to manage your own health.  I have seen far too many cases of caregivers who die before the care receiver or suffer irreversible health damage because of caregiving.  So, what can we do to protect our own health?  The same tried and true measures:  adequate sleep, exercise, nutrition, fun, relationships which support us, and relaxation.  In what way can you meet your own health needs today?

Nov 16, 2013

Damage of Stress

"Handling stress badly can result in ripple effects on your health." Dr. Sanjay Gupta

We all have stress in our lives, but we each handle stress differently.  Also, there are periods in our lives where we are encountering much more stress.  High stress events include marriage, divorce, death, job promotion, job termination, and caregiving --- to name just a few.  Stress can trigger brain changes that cause us to think less clearly and have memory lapses.  If I forget where I put my car keys, I know I am experiencing too much stress.  Some ways to handle the stress we do have in our lives is by exercise, prayer or meditation, talking to a trust person who can help give us insight, and watching a movie which is lighthearted. 

Nov 15, 2013

Creating Routines

"Creating routines can set you free."  Maria Mihalik

A person may think that habits or routines are confining, but in many ways they can set us free.  When we do something enough times (some psychologists say daily for 30 days), it becomes habit:  something we can do without thinking.  Take brushing our teeth or driving.  We do not have to think how to brush each tooth and in what direction or how to navigate that left-hand turn; we have done these things so many times they are automatic to us.  That is good news, so is the fact that we can make any new behavior a habit.  If we want to worry less, we can train our minds to dwell on the positive aspects of our lives.  If we want to eat better, we can practice buying and eating food that is good for us.  Research says that doing something regularly for about 30 days makes it an automatic behavior for us.  What new behavior can you bring into your life as routine, as a habit?

Nov 14, 2013

Avoiding Radiation

"Ionizing radiation, the type used in CT scans and x-rays, can damage DNA and cause cancer.  The case with weaker, nonionizing radiation is less clear and more controversial; I do think we should be careful."  Dr. Andrew Weil

The nonionizing radiation that he speaks about comes to us from the scanners at airports and cell phones.  Probably most of us who are caregivers do not fly often enough to worry about the scanners at airports, but we may very well use cell phones.  Dr. Weil suggests using landlines when we can or an earpiece or holding the phone away from the body.  Texting, instead of calling, also emits less radiation.  These are just some simple ways we can protect our health. 

Nov 13, 2013

Coping With Stress

"Caregivers report unusually high levels of stress in balancing caregiving with work and other life responsibilities."

It is indisputable that caregiving is stressful, so how do we handle the stress?  Massage is one documented way, as it releases cortisol and other stress hormones from the body.  Cognitive Behavior Therapy is another evidence-based way to deal with stress, and you can find a licensed therapist who is trained in CBT by checking around and interviewing potential therapists.  Exercise can slash stress in half according to some studies.  Yoga has been proven to improve people's level of well being, as has been meditation.  Any of these suggestions are safe and could improve one's overall health and well being. 

Nov 12, 2013


falling leaves
hide the path
so quietly
~John Bailey, "Autumn,"  a haiku

Leaves are falling, and snow is falling here.  What is happening where you live?  I live in an area which has a variation of warmth and then cold; not like the areas where winter sets in and stays relentlessly.  Where I live we have Chinooks, warm winds, which can bring in degrees of 60 or more Fahrenheit.  That gives us lovely respite from the cold, but it also provides a lot of icy surfaces underneath one's foot.  Still, fall is one of my favorite seasons.  It seems a time for introspection, a going within, a time to 'harvest' the work already done in the interior world.  I love the fall colors, the crisp blue sky, the nip in the air.  What do you like about fall? 

Nov 11, 2013

Happy Veteran's Day

I want to personally thank each and every one of you who in any way has supported individual freedom in this world.  Freedom is such an important human right.  The right to peacefully assemble, the right to freedom of speech and privacy of personal matters, the right to worship - or not - as we desire, the right to vote and determine our leaders.   For all of these personal freedoms, I am grateful; and I am so grateful to those persons who in any way served or supported people who served to preserve these freedoms.  Thank you.

Nov 10, 2013

Loving What You Do

"The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it." ~~Steve Jobs

We have all heard variations of the above advice.  Whenever I hear it, I am wistful -- as I am not sure I have ever loved the work I was paid to do, although my work has brought me considerable satisfaction.  And, now we are caregivers.  Can we love the work that caregiving is?  How does one "love the work we do?"  I confess that I am not sure, but I do know how to make the best of a situation.  I do know how to treat others with respect and aim at seeing the best in every situation.  I do consider it an honor to walk along side someone who is exiting this life via dementia.  What can you find about caregiving that gives you satisfaction?

Nov 9, 2013

Adequate Sleep

"They call it beauty sleep for a reason:  Those who slept 5 hours a night for a month had twice as many wrinkles as those who slept for 7 hours a night."

As caregivers, it may be hard to get enough sleep.  Parents of young children often are sleep deprived; so, too, are caregivers and many older persons.  For some reason, sleep is more elusive as one gets older.  That is compounded when the stress of caregiving also interferes with sleep.  Sleep is important.  Some recommendations are to not use something lighted, such as a tablet or the computer, for an hour or so before going to bed.  It is also good to have a routine, not use alcohol to help you sleep, and to have the bedroom cool and comfortable.  I sometimes take a magnesium supplement, Calm, dissolved in water to help me sleep.  What helps you sleep?

Nov 8, 2013


"Practicing yoga for 20 minutes a day is better than aerobic exercise for increasing your focus and your ability to learn new things." U. of Illinois study

The older we get, it seems the more the need for flexibility and strength exercises.  The mat in my shower slipped under my feet recently (I bought the mat to prevent slipping!!!), which reminded me how important it is to prevent falls.  Yoga and other types of exercises help with the diminishing balance we have as we get older.  In addition to keeping our balancing skills sharp, we also need the core strength to move our bodies and the flexibility to do the things we want to do.  It is often necessary for me to assist the care receiver out of chairs, and that takes strength and balance.  What do you do to improve your balance, strength and flexibility?  Water aerobics is a favorite way of mine, and I find that I get lots of opportunity for snow shoveling --- which can help with strength.  When I am shoveling, I choose to enjoy the beautiful blue sky, clean air, sunshine, birds singing, and the creek babbling along --- that way, it is exercise; not work. 

Nov 7, 2013

Open Enrollment

"The deadline to choose your 2014 Medicare insurance coverage is December 7, 2013."

It is time once again to go online to check on the price of prescription drug plans.  Every fall I go to the government website (listed above) and check for both the care receiver and myself to see if changing prescription drug insurance plans would save us time and money.  For the first time, I am opting to stay with the plans we have.  There would be a slight savings in money to switch, but that would be offset by changing to pharmacies that are less convenient.  It did not take long to check.  You just go to the official Medicare website ( and follow the links for Open Enrollment.  I have created a list of current prescriptions in previous years, so those are saved and that saves time each subsequent year.  The website then brings up comparison costs for different insurance plans in your area for the prescriptions you have listed.  Very neat.  It is nice to have one more thing taken care of. 

Nov 6, 2013


Psalm 69:30  I will praise the name of God with song, And shall magnify Him with thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is a Holiday celebrated in the U. S. and Canada.  Other countries have harvest celebrations with November being a time to bring in the crops in many geographic areas, and - in doing so - it is a time to be thankful.  Thankful for the blessings in our lives.  Some people in some parts of the world are working such long days that they may not have the leisure to reflect on thankfulness.  I heard recently that some people in China work from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.  If Maslow was right, we need to have our basic needs met before we can be self-reflective.  What are you thankful for today?  I am thankful for the blue sky and clear air.  I am thankful that I finally have my snow plow dug out from the earlier heavy snow after paying someone and spending time shoveling myself.  I am thankful for family and friends and good health. 

Nov 5, 2013

Avoiding the Flu

"The flu season is about to being, and you know what that means -- get a flu shot and do what you can to stay healthy.  And don't forget to boost your body's immune system with these natural flu-fighting foods".  AARP Bulletin

Black-Eyes Peas are rich in zinc, and so are pinto beans, peanuts, roasted pumpkin seeds and wheat germ.  Carrots are rich in beta-carotene.  Other sources are dark green vegetables, sweet potatoes, pumpkin and winter squash.

Green, black and oolong tea all contain compounds that reduce the risk of flu.  Yogurt, with probiotics, strengthen the immune system.  If you do not like yogurt, try cottage cheese, kimchi or sauerkraut.  Tomatoes and other vitamin-C rich foods help our body's natural defense system.  Mushrooms are nutritional powerhouses which heighten the body's resistance to viral infections.  Almonds are a rich source of vitamin E, which can help your body fight off infection.

In addition to getting the flu shot, be sure to get enough sleep, eat right, have fun every day, and exercise. 

Nov 4, 2013


"An unexamined life is not worth living."  Socrates

Most mental health people support the idea of self reflection -- time spent in examining one's motives and actions.  Some people spend very little time considering their lives, and perhaps others spend too much time -- turning examination into self absorption.  It is important to consider one's beliefs, one's motives and one's actions in order to live a fully conscious life.  One way to do that is to consider what triggers us; what actions cause us to react.  By considering our actions we can become more congruent in life, more true to ourselves.

Nov 3, 2013

How to be Happy

"The grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love and something to hope for." Joseph Addison

We who are caregivers certainly have something to do.  Do we also have something to love?  Perhaps for you it is the caregiving.  Perhaps it is a hobby, a talent, an interest.  What do you love doing?  I love treks in nature, time with people I love, serenity and peace, time to connect with my Higher Power, writing, and oil painting.  And, what do we hope for?  I hope for world peace, good health and prosperity for all, friendship and something of interest to do.  What do you hope for?

Nov 2, 2013

What do you love?

"Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love.  It will not lead you astray." Rumi

I once heard Deepak Chopra say that he told his children to follow what they loved in choosing their professions, not what they thought they should do.  How few of us have that kind of counsel, and perhaps few of us have that kind of financial support.  What would you be doing if you were really doing what you love?  For many people, especially women, we are cultured out of knowing what we love.  Our societies often shape us into service to others, rather than following our own heart.  I have often wondered what work I would have done if I had had the encouragement to do what I loved.  But, it is never too late.  Today, what would you be doing if you were doing what you love?  What a celebration if you can say you already are doing what you love.  For the rest of us, it is something we can start.  Right now.

Nov 1, 2013

Our Life Perspective

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." Anais Nin

An interesting concept.  Does life expand or contract depending on our courage?  Probably it does.  Do we keep ourselves in a narrow, limited life because of fear of breaking out?  Many do.  Or, do we live life with an open heart - knowing that all is well, and that life is good?  Do we seek new experiences, new friendships?  I recently heard someone say that the safest way to live life is with an open heart:  trusting, really trusting, that life is good and that all is well.  It seems a good place from which to live.  What new thing can you try in your life today?  I think I will try an entirely new food. 

Oct 31, 2013

Our thoughts Define Us

"For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he . . . . " Proverbs 23:7

Even in the Old Testament we find the advice that we are what we think.  We create our lives based on our thoughts.  Do we think people are out to get us?  If we do, that what is more likely to happen to us.  That does not mean that we skip like Pollyanna naively through life.  But, we can expect people to be good to us, and they usually will be.  We cannot control all of our thoughts, but we can direct them to the positive.  We can look for and notice the good in our lives.  We can appreciate the positive aspects of our life and the people who share it.  We can focus on the good, or we can mire ourselves around in the negative.  I have found myself lately thinking with gratitude about the life I have had with the person who now receives my care.  Whether we notice the good or the bad in our lives is our choice.  What do you choose?

Oct 30, 2013

Intensive Care and Dementia?

"75% of patients leave intensive care with some type of dementia." NBC News

Despite age, people who are in intensive care can leave with permanent damage to their brains, caused by being sedated, from infections, and from medications. Sobering news and something to consider if any of us needs to go to the hospital for surgery or accidents.  Hospitals are trying to prevent this after the study came out, but sedating people less and getting them up and walking sooner.  But, this is something for us to consider if the person for whom we provide care or we ourselves end up in the hospital.  Part of being a caregiver is watching for and preventing any potential further damage.   

Oct 29, 2013

Blessings Within Challenges

"I have never felt a pain that didn't bear a blessing." Gene Knudson Hoffman

Of course, that does not mean that the challenge or painful event is the blessing.  Joseph Campbell says that challenges are a part of life and that we must accept that.  I agree.  To believe that we will not have challenges, that everything will go our way, is to set ourselves up for disappointment.  But, within those challenges, we can find gifts of insight.  With caregiving, I have found that it has been good for me to find balance between meeting his needs and my own.  I have seen people do the opposites:  either abandoning the person who needs caregiving or devoting their whole life to caregiving and giving up their own health.  There is a middle way, and that middle way is meeting our own needs while also helping the care receiver meet his or hers. 

Oct 28, 2013

Ways to Be Happy

These tips are taken from a Mayo Clinic newsletter and are intended for people who are dealing with cancer, but I don't think it matters what illness one is dealing with -- finding ways to be happy is critical.

  • Focus on the positive. Think about the good things that are happening at the moment.
  • Spend quality time with the ones you love. Go for a walk with someone you enjoy, make a phone call and laugh with a friend, go to a movie, or arrange a lunch outing to get your mind back on the things that matter most.
  • Reflect on who you are. What makes you unique and special? This well help with your sense of purpose and belonging.
  • Remain present in each moment. Take time to feel, see the beauty around you, breathe deeply and enjoy life.
  • Oct 27, 2013

    Gratitude is Powerful

    Expressing and receiving gratitude and appreciation in your relationships can help ensure a strong and meaningful bond." a study in Emotion

    It is important to me to be appreciative.  Abraham says that appreciation is at the highest vibrational level of the emotions, along with joy and freedom.  Not only in relationships, but in all situations I try to see what there is to be thankful for.  It is a very powerful way to live.  We are healthier in our minds and bodies when we are approaching life from the point of view of gratitude.  Today I am grateful that I got all the tasks on my 'to-do' list done, I enjoyed time with the person for whom I provide care and bought him the things he wants for his personal care, and I enjoyed the wonderful weather this fall has brought.  What are you grateful for today?

    Oct 26, 2013

    Caregiving Stressors

    "Caregiving may include activities that range from emotional support and companionship to activities of daily living, such as personal hygiene and health care needs.  Caregivers often take on other tasks, including managing finances, scheduling health care related appointments, helping children with educational needs and doing daily chores such as grocery shopping, cooking laundry and home maintenance.  To avoid being overwhelmed by the responsibilities of caregiving, it is important to balance the demands in your life." Mayo Clinic literature

    So, how does one balance all of those responsibilities?  One thing that helps is to be aware of the additional stressors in our lives now.  These stressors include:  additional demands and responsibilities, adjustments to our own lifestyle and future plans, routine and unexpected frustrations in the daily life a caregiver, and the personal loss and grief that led to us becoming a caregiver.  We need to address these stressors.  It is NOT selfish to focus on our own needs and desires. 

    Oct 25, 2013

    Walking and Being Present

    "Match your steps to your breath to pull yourself back to the present moment." Michele Stanten

    In order to keep your mind from wandering when you are walking, Michele Stanten suggests that for 4-8 steps you inhale and then you exhale for the same number of steps.  This would be an easy way to stay present.  On my walk today I was present enjoying the beautiful colors of the fall foliage, and then I would notice that I was thinking of the many things I have to do.  Our human minds tend to return to tasks, planning or worry.  Anything we can do to keep our minds present and not in redundant thinking benefits us in our bodies. 

    Oct 24, 2013

    Caregiver Self Care

    "Nearly 49 million Americans provide care to older, chronically ill or disabled adults." National Alliance for Caregiving

    Self care for the caregiver is absolutely critical.  If we do not take care of ourselves, the disease of the person for whom we provide care will kill us too.

    Ways to arrange self care:
    Share the care.  Arrange with family or pay someone to come in to provide services.
    Stay informed.  We are better advocates for the care receiver when we are informed.
    Be healthy ourselves.  Keep your own medical appointments.  Get enough sleep, eat well, exercise.
    Have support.  Either join a support group or have friends and family who support you emotionally.
    Stay connected.  Make sure you continue to have social connections.
    Take time for yourself.  Really.  Take time to have fun, be relaxed, enjoy life. 

    Oct 23, 2013

    Different Types of Dementia

    "Dementia is a word that encompasses many conditions, all of which have in common a deterioration of mental functioning." Dr. Donohue

    Some characteristics of the various types of dementia include memory loss (although this is not the most prominent feature in most people with Lewy Bodies Dementia), an inability to solve simple problems like balancing a checkbook, becoming lost in familiar places, struggling to express oneself with the right words, the incapacity to deal with unexpected situations.  Personality changes are very common.  Alzheimer's disease is the leading cause of dementia, followed by Lewy Bodies Dementia.  Other types of dementia include Pick's Disease, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, frontotemporal dementia, vascular dementia, and others.  Each of these dementias has as a characteristic deterioration of cognitive functioning, but that deterioration may look very different from person to person.   

    Oct 22, 2013

    Lewy Bodies Dementia

    "Men are more likely than women to be affected by Dementia with Lewy Bodies.  The age of onset usually is between 50 and 70, but people as young as 20 and as old as 90 have developed the disease." Mayo Clinic literature

    I continue to be amazed that so few people understand what Lewy Bodies Dementia -- or Dementia with Lewy Bodies, is like.  Even professionals will say to me, well, he probably has short-term memory problems, doesn't he?  No.  Not really.  Neither short or long-term memory difficulties are particularly typical of DLB (Dementia with Lewy Bodies).  What is typical incudes:  problems with comprehension, motor movement, judgment, impulse control, significant variations in lucidity, visual hallucinations, delusions, difficulty expressing oneself and understanding language, inability to solve problems, loss of insight.  People who do not understand the characteristics of DLB can be misled into thinking there is not a significant problem with cognition because the person with DLB remembers who they are.  There is much more to effective cognition than remembering who a person is.  We who are caregivers for someone with DLB seem to need to continue to educate others, and to help others not minimize the challenges faced by the person with DLB.

    Oct 21, 2013

    Changing Tires

    As a caregiver for someone with dementia, you probably do a lot of driving.  Driving the person to appointments, driving for groceries and other items.  Something that all people should be able to do in an emergency is change a tire.  My car is relatively new with good tires, but, still, I have had 3 flat tires in the last couple years -- all when I was alone.  Most women do not have the strength to get the lug nuts off the tire that have been put on with a power tool, but with my most recent flat tire (in my own driveway), it occurred to me that all I needed was more leverage on the tire wrench.  I dismantled a pipe from our greenhouse frame, and it worked perfectly over the end of the tire wrench and gave me enough leverage to remove the lug nuts easily.  I am not advocating that we change our own tires.  I had called a service to come change the tire for me, but they had not arrived after some time -- so I changed it myself.  A good thing to know how to do in an emergency.

    Oct 20, 2013

    Five Components of Health

    "Most people think that diet and exercise are the key components to staying healthy, but there really are five components to maintaining your health long term." Dr. Eric Kuyper

    Dr. Kuyper suggests the following five things:

    1.  Healthy thoughts.  This one I agree is crucial to good health.  Research indicates that most of our thoughts are negative or redundant.  We can train our minds to have more positive thoughts.
    2.  Balanced nervous system:  He suggests that since the nervous system is responsible for the body's functioning and health, that we can think with kindness toward our nervous system for maintaining body health.
    3.  Quality nutrition.  Food is fuel, and we benefit from eating foods that give us adequate energy. 
    4.  Regular exercise.  He suggests that there is not one exercise that is the perfect solution, but, instead, that movement of the body IS the solution. 
    5.  Toxin elimination.  We can avoid taking in some toxins by watching what we eat, and we can make sure we have good bowel habits.  

    5 Steps to a Healthier You

    "Most people think that diet and exercise are the key components to staying healthy, but there really are five components to maintaining your health long term." Dr. Eric Kuyper

    Dr. Kuyper suggests the following five things:

    1.  Healthy thoughts.  This one I agree is crucial to good health.  Research indicates that most of our thoughts are negative or redundant.  We can train our minds to have more positive thoughts.
    2.  Balanced nervous system:  He suggests that since the nervous system is responsible for the body's functioning and health, that we can think with kindness toward our nervous system for maintaining body health.
    3.  Quality nutrition.  Food is fuel, and we benefit from eating foods that give us adequate energy. 
    4.  Regular exercise.  He suggests that there is not one exercise that is the perfect solution, but, instead, that movement of the body IS the solution. 
    5.  Toxin elimination.  We can avoid taking in some toxins by watching what we eat, and we can make sure we have good bowel habits. 

    Oct 19, 2013

    Home Maintenance

    "No matter where you live or with whom, something in your home is going to need to be repaired at some point." Jenna Mann

    Jenna Mann gives some tips to people who need to maintain a home, and we who are caregivers may have depended on the care receiver for some of those tasks in the past.  One Jenna suggests we can do ourselves:
    Replacing the furnace filter.  First look at the filter now in your furnace for size, and go to the hardware store to purchase a new one.  I always buy two, so that I can change it again without a trip to the store.

    Oct 18, 2013

    Having Fun

    "A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men." Roald Dahl

    Humor and fun are so good for the body and the soul.  I was recently waiting for a public bathroom to become available, and I began to dance.  I realized that I was just purely enjoying being with myself, so much so that I was dancing.  There was a recent YouTube that went viral of a woman standing at a bus stop dancing to her own music in her headset.  I did not have a headset or music, but I don't think you need music to dance.  I heard Eckhart Tolle once say that instead of being irritable about standing in line waiting, one can consider spending the time just enjoying oneself.  Great advice.  The same amount of time will pass.  Do you want to spend it enjoying yourself, or being irritable at having to wait?

    Oct 17, 2013

    Dwelling in the Present Moment

    "Breathing in, I calm my body.  Breathing out, I smile.  Dwelling in the present moment - I know this is a wonderful moment." Thich Nhat Hanh

    A very simple meditation.  Breathe in.  Breathe out.  Be aware of the present moment.  Not the list of things you have to do, or the conversation you had last night, or the presentation you have to prepare.  Just the present moment.  That is where the breath is.  That is where life is.  Relax into the present moment.  That is also where health is.

    Oct 16, 2013

    Time to Reflect

    "Why should I not sit, every morning of my life, on the hillside, looking into the shining world?" Mary Oliver

    I love Mary Oliver's poetry.  Perhaps each of us can think of many reasons we cannot sit every morning on the hillside looking at the shining world.  Inclement weather was one of the things that popped into my mind; and, of course, there is the long list of things caregivers have to do.  But, perhaps Oliver's meaning can be on a level that is not literal.  What if we have the attitude of the world being shining?  What if we take time every day to enjoy the life we have been given?  Buddhist wisdom tells us that it is rare that we were born into this lifetime as human -- let us then appreciate that gift.  Rather than finding things wrong with our lives; let us find things that are right.

    Oct 15, 2013

    The "to-do" List

    "Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is a nobler art of leaving things undone." Lin Yutang

    An odd way of looking at things, if you - like me - often have a 'to-do' list that I am trying to complete.  We who are caregivers have so much to do.  Handling the responsibilities in our own lives, while also handling life's necessities for the care receiver.  Perhaps the thought of leaving anything undone is unsettling, but perhaps it would be good -- especially for those of us who are caregivers and who manage so many things in a given day.  What could you cheerfully leave undone for today? 

    Oct 14, 2013


    "Having lots of ways to connect is important especially during midlife." Irene S. Levine, PhD

    According to Levine there are many perks from friendship.  A study at PLOS Medicine indicates being socially active increases our survival from disease by 50%.  Having good friends increases levels of progesterone, a hormone linked to lowered stress.  People who have 10 or more friends they socialize with have better mental health than those who have fewer friendships.  Friends who have common values, such as eating well and exercising, can help us maintain our own healthy lifestyle.  Do you have an adequate number of good friends in your life?

    Oct 13, 2013

    Preventing Breast Cancer

    "The fact is we've done a great job of increasing awareness of breast cancer, but prevention should be the goal for the next decade." Marc Hurlbert, PhD, director of Avon Foundation Breast Cancer Foundation

    So, how do we prevent breast cancer?  Good lifestyle habits help.  Exercise seems to change the way the body handles estrogen (U of Minnesota study).  Even a few hours a week can reduce our chances of developing breast cancer.  Over 30 studies indicate that women who exercise moderately to vigorously for 3-4 hours a week reduce their risk of developing breast cancer by 30-40% (study at U of North Carolina).  Women with higher levels of carotenoids -- micronutrients obtained from eating fruits and vegetables -- are less likely to develop breast cancer.  Berries, in particular, seem to help the body ward off breast cancer.  Preventative screenings, like mammograms, also are good practice to support our health. 

    Oct 12, 2013

    Giving Our Brains a Break

    "Most of us struggle to shut off the inner static long enough to complete a task, enjoy a conversation or write a single email.  Humans evolved this way -- to be productive and stay on high alert -- for a reason.  Survival.  The brain's limbic system is wired to scan for danger signals, always focusing on warding off what could happen."  Gail Saltz, MD

    So, what is the best way to give our brains a break from this constant scanning for danger?  Mindfulness, living in the present moment, relaxation, meditation, and forays into nature.  One person uses a timer.  She sets the timer for five minutes and focuses on the task at hand until the timer goes off.  Our brains need a break from the multitasking that most of us are very good at doing.  I use walks in nature.  As I walk I deliberately look at the scenery around me.  The fall colors are already appearing where I live, so that gives me variety and added pleasure. 


    Oct 11, 2013

    Power Snacks

    "Top trainers recommend these hunger-killing snacks."  Health magazine, October, 2013

    Sardines have loads of calcium and fish oil.  Greek yogurt with berries.  I would recommend that the Greek yogurt be plain, not with added sweeteners.  Greek yogurt has both protein and calcium, while berries have antioxidants to help our bodies eliminate toxins and remain healthy.  One trainer recommends a nutrition bar called, 22 Days Nutrition Bar, which I have never tried.  Almonds and apples deliver good fat, protein and fiber.  These snacks can be kept on hand and eaten without much preparation, which makes them even more attractive.

    Oct 10, 2013

    Longterm Weight Management

    "The people most successful at maintaining appropriate weight simply move more." Holly Wyatt, MD

    Even fidgeting can help with weight control, but for cardiovascular health and healthy bone structure, we need more vigorous exercise.  According to a recent study from Stanford, people who eat well and exercise have the most success at maintaining a good weight -- and being healthier overall.  This study recommends 60 minutes per day, which can be broken up into 10 minute segments.  Muscle burns twice as many calories as fat, so we also need to have resistance training -- which is using weights or one's own body to build muscle.  Mediterranean diets help to maintain weight.  These diets include lean protein, lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats - like olive oil.  It takes more energy to digest these types of food, which can help us burn 20% more calories just by what we eat.  As caregivers we may feel too busy to exercise and prepare the right kinds of foods, but I would challenge us:  can we really afford not to?! 

    Oct 9, 2013

    Late Night Snacking

    "8:00 p.m. is the time of day that cravings are most likely to strike."  Study cited in October Health magazine

    Instead of trying to resist these evening cravings, choose something healthy instead.  Air-popped popcorn or fruit and vegetables are a good choice.  My daughter introduced me to a ready-to-eat popcorn that is tasty, Skinny Pop, with just 39 calories per cup and no trans fats.  It is not as good as fresh, hot popcorn, but it is convenient and tasty.  I often have a small bowl in the evening.  I also might have a small handful of nuts.  A recent Danish study showed that people who ate 25% of their total calories from protein lost the most weight in a diet program, versus people who ate just 12% protein.  Good sources of protein are Greek yogurt, nuts, lentils and cooked salmon.

    Oct 8, 2013

    Avoiding Disease

    "We know that eating well, exercising and not smoking fend off illness, but don't forget the importance of sleep, managing stress and love." David Katz, MD

    Eating well, exercising and not smoking can fend off 80% of illnesses, according to Katz; but we also need to make sleep a priority.  Stress is inevitable, but we can learn to vent when we feel stress, and physical activity is one of the best ways to handle stress.  People with meaningful relationships are less likely to have heart attacks or cancer, and are more likely to recover if they do develop these diseases.  It is important for us to give love and receive love every day.  From where do you receive love? 

    Oct 7, 2013

    Brain Boosters

    "94% of people volunteering said it improved their mood." survey by United Health Group and the Optum Institute

    According to the author of Your Best Brain Ever:  A Complete Guide and Workout, Cynthia R. Green, Ph.D., as we age we become less able to sustain our attention and remain nimble in our thinking.  She says that even 10 minutes a day doing certain things can improve these brain functions. 

    Ways to boost your brain functioning include:

    Wear your watch upside down.  This challenges the brain to process information in a new way.
    Play jacks.  This requires a person to stay focused and think quickly and nimbly.
    Doodle:  Because most of us use language so much, doing something that requires visual skills causes a different area of the brain to function. 

    Oct 6, 2013

    Yoga for Back Pain

    "A weekly yoga class with some additional practice decreased back pain and the need for medication." Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine

    If you, like me, are now helping the person with dementia get up out of chairs, then we would benefit from activities that protect our backs.  The above study is based on pain reduction, but I am more interested in preventing pain.  Yoga is one wonderful way.  Tai Chi is another.  Any way we can exercise and develop tone in our core muscles helps to support our backs.  Proper lifting is yet another way to prevent back problems.  I have been told by physical therapists that it is important to not lift and turn at the same time (a problem I have with snow shoveling).  When helping my care receiver out of a chair, I work with him, stand straight with feet at least hip-width apart, and lift with him helping by using at least one hand.  What works for you?

    Oct 5, 2013

    Vitamin D and Eczema

    "Scores of recent studies link getting enough vitamin D to eczema symptom improvement.  I recommend that my adult patients take 2,000 IU of vitamin D a day." Peter A. Lio, MD

    Recent studies also suggest that acupressure and acupuncture can distract the nervous system from the itch of eczema.  Hypnotherapy has also been proven in studies to help people with the pain and itching of eczema.  Massage with natural oils is also helpful, and Dr. Lio recommends sunflower seed oil.  These are ways not only to relax, but to benefit the skin.

    Oct 4, 2013

    Natural Remedies for Colds

    "Low humidity dries out nasal passages, making it harder to trap and eliminate the micro-bugs." Tieraona Low Dog, MD

    Tieraona Low Dog recommends using a humidifier, but make sure you keep the humidifier clean, so that it cannot harbor something like Legionnaire's Disease.  She adds five drops of oregano, eucalyptus or peppermint essential oils to the humidifier's reservoir to reduce germs and freshen air.  Steamy baths and showers help too.  Drip 10 drops of essential oil into the tub or onto a washcloth placed on the shower floor.  Breathe deeply.  She recommends peppermint oil to relieve headaches caused by congestion, eucalyptus as a decongestant, and oregano which she says is a proven antibacterial and fights sinus infections. 

    Oct 3, 2013

    Wi-Fi and Cell Phone Use

    "An increasing number of people claim to have health issues as a result of being in the presence of cell phones or Wi-Fi.  Electromagnetic sensitivity has been associated with a wide range of symptoms, including insomnia, headaches, fatigue, poor concentration, irregular heartbeat, and dizziness." Dr. Andrew Weil

    Dr. Weil suggests keeping cell phones, routers, and electrical appliances at a distance from people.  Use an earpiece and hold your cell phone away from your body when using it.  Keep routers out of the bedroom - because you spend the most time there - and place appliances at least a foot away from your bed. 

    Oct 2, 2013

    Feeling Emotions

    "Feel your emotions and in 90 seconds the feeling will dissipate." Mary Shields, PhD

    Mental health professionals have for a long time recommended feeling one's emotions; not stuffing them.  In many societies, feeling emotions are discouraged.  We are supposed to, "buck up", "just get over it", "act our age".  We get many directives recommending that we ignore our feelings.  Ignoring our feelings is a recipe for illness.  Feelings are normal.  It is important to feel them.  We do not need to act on them, and in many cases it is better if we do not, but it is so important to feel them.  And, as Mary Shields says, if we feel them for 90 seconds, they will be gone.  Let's try it.

    Oct 1, 2013

    Michael J Fox Show

    I just happened to catch the Michael J Fox show.  He plays a character with Parkinson's Disease, which, of course, he actually has.  It is a very courageous portrayal.  There is even humor; where someone wants his autograph for his relative who has Alzheimer's Disease -- to which Michael J. Fox replies that he has Parkinson's.  The other person says 'well, yeah, whatever.'  What an accurate depiction of the misunderstanding of dementia, Parkinson's and other neurological disorders by many people.  It is worth watching -- as it depicts to some degree what the person with the disease and his family face. 

    Sep 30, 2013

    Vitamin D

    "There was a 25% jump in blood levels of vitamin D in people who popped the probiotic lactobacillus reuteri." Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism

    Those of us who live in the northern hemisphere tend to have low vitamin D levels because it is difficult to get enough sunlight to produce the vitamin D in our bodies.  This is good news that there is another way to boost those levels.  However, I checked the probiotic I have in the refrigerator and it does not say lactobacillus reuteri; it says just lactobacillus acidophilus -- so apparently not all probiotics contain the same bacteria.  This might be worth checking out if you have been tested and told you have low levels of vitamin D in your blood. 

    Sep 29, 2013

    Telling the truth is an important thing to do in life, and I some times wonder how telling the truth compares to what Abraham recommends -- that we never resist anything.  Can we tell the truth without resisting something or someone?  That is a balance.  Perhaps the best way is to tell "the truth" without having to show someone else they are wrong.  Dysfunctional systems flourish in secrecy and in denying the truth, with truth being defined as the basic facts.  It is important in those cases to speak the facts when not doing so is affecting us personally.  Whenever anyone is being affected adversely, it is our ethical obligation to speak the facts about that.

    Sep 28, 2013

    Fall Colors

    "The archangel Rafael's name means "Healer of God", and this archangel is gateway to fall."  Joan Borysenko

    The colors have already started to change here, and the days seem so much shorter.  The dark evenings seem to come especially early.  According to Borysenko, fall is the perfect time to be introspective.  The energies of fall help to bring unconscious matter to consciousness.  It is also a time of healing between opposites.  Where I live always has a gorgeous fall.  It is a wonderful time to get out in and nature and spend some time in meditation.

    Sep 27, 2013

    Brain Food

    "Noshing on the best brainy foods can lower your risk of dementia by a whopping 70 to 80%" Neal Barnard, MD

    These brain foods are:

    nuts and seeds
    colorful vegetables
    vitamin B12

    An easy way to protect our brains is to eat these foods and take this supplement.

    Sep 26, 2013

    Homemade Sanitizer

    "Avoid harsh chemicals and make your own hand sanitizer." Sarah Snow, green-living expert and author

    1/2 cup pure aloe vera gel
    1 1/2 teaspoon witch hazel
    15 drops tea tree oil
    5 drops lavender essential oil

    I like to keep hand sanitizer in my purse, and this sounds like a lovely recipe. 

    Sep 25, 2013

    Open Minds

    "The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it."  Terry Prachett

    An amusing truism.  I like to maintain an open mind, and I have often been puzzled when people then try to convince me of their way of thinking.  Sometimes I have wondered if having an open mind can be misperceived by some as being weak.  It is not weak.  Having an open mind is the only way we can live life and learn by our experiences.  It does not mean that we do not have our own ideas and values; it does mean that we are willing to listen to your ideas --but,  listening to other's ideas does not mean we will adopt them.  It is just that people with open minds want to make sure they have considered all sides.  Having an open mind is a healthy way to live.

    Sep 24, 2013


    "Religion is belief in someone else's experience. Spirituality is having your own experience." Deepak Chopra

    Someone quoted Deepak Chopra as saying, "Religion is for people who want to avoid hell.  Spirituality is for people who have already been there."  I'm not he actually said this, but it is an amusing truism.  People who are spiritual do seem to have integrated the unsavory aspects of themselves -- which is a journey all evolving souls must make.  A truly spiritual person is not going to say something incongruent from his/her behavior, because the soul journey enables one to be congruent in words and actions.  Is your experience internal and intimate with God as you understand God?

    Sep 23, 2013

    True Peace

    "True peace is not the absence of war; it is the presence of God." Loveless

    I read recently that Alfred Nobel made a fortune from his discovery of dynamite, and by his discovery, war was changed forever.  When Nobel died, he put in his will the creation of what we now know as the Nobel Peace Prize.  Interesting!  He made his fortune in something used for war, but he left his fortune to those who promote peace.  There are wars of some type going on across our planet every day.  Even in our own lives we may be 'at war' with an agency, a neighbor, a policy.  Does this serve us?  As was said in a recent blog, Abraham recommends, instead, that we align ourselves with what is right.  Aligning ourselves with what is right feels better, creates more harmony, promotes health of ourselves and others.  In what way can you align yourself with what is right in your life today?

    Sep 22, 2013

    How We Spend Our Time

    "It is not the thing on which we spend the most time that moulds us, but the thing that exerts the greatest power.  Five minutes with God and His Word is worth more than all the rest of the day." Oswald Chambers

    Whatever/Whoever one thinks of as God or the Divine or Source is powerful, and we are better people for spending time in reflection and quietude.  A day, and one's life, is different if we make spending time with God - as we understand God to be -- a priority in our lives.  But, I also think that the thing we spend the most time thinking about does mold us.  If what we spend our time thinking about is peace and well-being, that is reflected in our personality, our bodies, our relationships.  If what we spend most of our time thinking about is worrying or judgment, our bodies will be uptight, our countenance will be dimmed, and our relationships will be tense.  Our choice.  For the best balance, it seems to me, spend some time in quietude every day, and for the rest of the day train your mind to think positive thoughts.

    Sep 21, 2013

    Aging and Creativity

    "Not all intellectual functions are preserved with age, but as processing power declines the brain can compensate in ways that actually enhance creativity." Jeffrey Kluger in article in Time, September 23, 2013, The Art of Living

    This article stresses the benefits that more mature brains have in the area of creativity.  It cites as examples Grandma Moses, Frank Lloyd Wright, Benjamin Franklin --- all of whom had some of their greatest work in their later years.  The article also reminds us that happiness contributes to a longer life and reduces the chance of illness.  It is good for us to remember that happiness is a choice.  People in very similar situations can either be miserable or happy --- it is personal choice.  Volunteer work also contributes to lower mortality rates; and we, as caregivers, may feel we do quite enough 'volunteering' in the role of caregiver, but I find that other ways to volunteer benefit me.  There are many examples when we look around us of people who are producing notable works of creativity in their later years.  Let's be one of those people.

    Sep 20, 2013

    Top Regrets of the Dying

    "1.  I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me." Bronnie Ware, palliative nurse interviewing people who were dying

    The above quote was the most frequently expressed regret of the five regrets expressed by people who were dying, according to an article in  The other four regrets were:
    2.  I wish I hadn't worked so hard.
    3.  I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings.
    4.  I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends. 
    5.  I wish that I had let myself be happier.

    No mention of more money, or sex, or adventure trips.  Just simple wishes that the person had been truer to him/herself and spent more time being happy and being connected to other people.  We can learn from these people who were dying.  We can do these things, so that we do not have them to regret. 

    Sep 19, 2013

    Regrets of Those Dying

    "A palliative nurse who has counseled the dying in their last days has revealed the most common regrets we have at the end of our lives. And among the top, from men in particular, is 'I wish I hadn't worked so hard'." Bronnie Ware, an Australian nurse/Susie Steiner,

    I already wish I had not worked so hard in my life, and it is something I say to Dwane -- we both have worked so hard.  I wish we had taken more trips, and I am so grateful for the ones we did take.  I wish we had played more, gone boating more, spent more time having fun.  Both of us were so oriented to working -- both inside and outside the home.  Our home always looked nice as a result, and we are able to pay for Dwane's care because of our continuing to work for pay and our careful stewarding of the money.  But.  I wish we had traveled more.  I wish we had planned more fun in our lives.  Now, when I see Dwane, I try to always schedule some fun -- even if it is just going out for an ice cream cone.  A balance of fun and work and recreation and socialization:  a well balanced life seems the ideal.

    Sep 18, 2013

    Avoiding Conflict

    People who fight fire with fire usually end up with ashes.
    --Abigail Van Buren

    There are so many opportunities for conflict.  Injustice is hard to ignore.  I am reminded of Mother Teresa's words when asked if she would attend a demonstration against war.  She is said to have responded, "No, but if you have a demonstration for peace, I will attend."  A big difference.  We have the war against drugs, fight for gun control, actual wars on the grounds in some areas, fights in football stadiums among fans (amazing!!! -- it is, after all, just a game.)  It can be tempting to join the fight against something, but I think that is a pitfall.  We are better served, instead, by putting our energies toward something that is going forward, rather than against something we want to change.  Feel the difference.  Fighting against something is struggle.  Being for something is ease.  I listened to an Abraham dvd recently, and they said that to be in a position of opposition ALWAYS puts us upstream --- working against the natural flow of our lives.  So, for today, let us be for peace, for harmony, for well-being.  Our support of those qualities will increase them in our lives.

    Sep 17, 2013


    "Only time can put the past in perspective, and only when the past is behind us, and not before us, can we be open enough and empty enough to truly feel what is about to happen." Mark Nepo

    Mark Nepo talks about how the nautilus builds another spiral onto its shell in which to live; the rest of the shell is filled with gas to help the nautilus control its buoyancy.  The nautilus can be an example of how to live.  We need to learn the lessons life has to teach us.  We hold these lessons in our hearts, but it is only in living present to the moment that we can really be alive.  Like the nautilus, the past can serve us.  The past can give us buoyancy to live the present.  We cannot turn the pages of life until we learn the lesson from what is on that page.  Having learned that lesson, we store the lessons softly in our heart, and this enables us to live more fully in the present. 

    Sep 16, 2013

    Happier as We Get Older

    "One has increased emotional well-being as one ages." Stanford University

    Even with aches and pains, the research says we get happier as we get older.  Our marriages also get better, and our relationships get deeper and richer.  We have less emotional swings.  Volunteering is the single most consistent predictor of cognitive well-being in people over age 72, according to research done by Case Western Reserve.  These are all ways we can continue to experience happiness, cognitive health, and well being as we progress through life.  Volunteering not only gives us social outlets, it also can give us a sense of meaning. 

    Sep 15, 2013

    Peace Begins at Home

    "Peace is not the absence of demand, disturbance, suffering, it is the presence of good will." Sister Genevieve Glen

    When I was a young mother, it occurred to me that the atmosphere in the home was dependent upon the person most in the home, and at that time, that was me.  Of course, those people coming into and out of a home also affect the atmosphere, but as the host or hostess of the home, we can set an atmosphere of utter respect, peace, calmness and good will.  Part of that peace is the elimination of any negative talk.  Negative talk is very draining on the spirit.  Negative thoughts are draining on the person who has them, but negative talk is draining upon the whole atmosphere -- and it must not be tolerated when the focus is on good mental health.  Negative talk is toxic to all within earshot.  Let us commit to eliminating negative thoughts and even more importantly, negative talk. 

    Sep 14, 2013

    Happy as We Grow Older

    "Aging is associated with increased levels of emotional well being".  Stanford University

    This may seem odd, as we all have known older people who spend great amounts of time complaining, but the research indicates that as we age, we enjoy more emotional well-being.  It makes sense.  As we mature, gone are the emotional dramas that seem to accompany the younger ages.  We seem to have our priorities more clearly in mind.  Little things may not bother us as much as they used to.  We may no longer put an emphasis on achievement.  We may have more time for creative expression, with the children raised, and we may have more freedom from work schedules.  Whatever the reasons, the research is clear:  we are happier as we grow older.  What are your happy about right now in your life?

    Sep 13, 2013


    "Logic will get you from A to Z; imagination will get you everywhere." Albert Einstein

    The above quote seems a funny thing for a man so renowned in science to have said.  But I have also read that Einstein's greatest inspirations came from flashes of insight.  Einstein is also the person who said that all he really wanted was to know the mind of God, and it seems that he placed a high value on imagination and inspiration.  There are currently teachers who recommend that we imagine our future lives the way we want them to be.  Especially before going to sleep, if we imagine how we want our lives to look, the effect is powerful.  Speaking in encouraging manner about ourselves and others helps us to create the lives we want, and then to imagine the life we want - like movies in our mind - brings this life more into reality.

    Sep 12, 2013


    Real love pours itself out upon the object of its affection, without demanding any return.
    --Florence Scovel Shinn

    The above author wrote a charming book, The Game of Life, which teaches positive thinking long before it became more mainstream.  Have you had the experience of real love?  When I am with my granddaughter, I know I am experiencing real love toward her and receiving it back.  She effuses happiness and love.  With adults, we may have learned that it is not safe to pour our love out.  By the time we are adults we will have had some people hurt us and reject the love we poured upon them.  That is just part of the life of being human:  to experience rejection of our love.  Let us not let those experiences lead us to misunderstand and hold back on loving.  Real love is poured out and has no expectations.  Real love heals us.  Let us risk really loving ourselves and others..