Wishing you a healthy and happy 2015!
A photo blog of some images seen above from 2014. Enjoy.
Wishing you a healthy and happy 2015!
Have you ever felt like you have spent your last emotional penny? Mentally, emotionally, and/or psychologically you were flat broke-desperately in need of a sizeable deposit? Writer, Cheryl Strayed, recounts how the loss of her mother, the only parent she depended on, took such a withdrawal from her soul that she turned to hard drugs and casual sex to dull the pain. Strayed, however, bravely trusted her instinct to walk the Pacific Crest Trail, alone-not knowing where it would lead her. Each step literally and metaphorically was an attempt to become whole again. What struck me most was how nature, not modern medicine, provided the antidote to her suffering. Wild, Strayed’s best-selling memoir is now also available in a newly released film version. Treat yourself. I’d love to hear what you think of it.
The protagonist, Jill Bradley, in my debut novel, I Know You’re There, also flees to nature after loss, betrayal and a traumatic life event leave her clinging to the planet by her fingernails. Bradley, impulsively heads to a remote Caribbean island where the lure of sand, salt and the sea offer her comfort. The science of water and its healing ability is now being validated. Dr. Wallace J. Nichols has compiled his research and that from other experts in his new book, Blue Mind: The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do. If you’ve ever wondered why you are drawn to the ocean, a lake or warm bath, you’ll love his book.
As our planet becomes more populated and filled with more technology, perhaps we have under appreciated what was commonly available to us. Quiet forests where trees older than we serve as a reminder that there may be storms we may have to endure. Where the radiant-orange sunrise reminds us the world does not stop to wait for us. And the blooming of our favorite spring flowers tell us life is full of renewal and magic.
Do you find peace in nature? Share your favorite ways to connect.
#Wild #BlueMind #Nature #Healing
It’s not easy being jolly on demand. It’s especially hard if you are one of the millions who travel over the river and through the woods to get to your holiday destination. Add some sleet, snow, traffic, and airport delays and you’ll be looking for the rum to add to your eggnog.
Most holidays-religious or not, include gathering. With over 7 billion people on planet earth and counting, perhaps it’s time we rethink all gathering at once.
Enter create your own holiday! This year we gave Thanksmas a try. The urban dictionary defines Thanksmas as the celebration of Thanksgiving and Christmas with family that will not be able to be together at Christmas. We coordinated with our family in the north to find a day that would be convenient for everyone to gather. We found a random Sunday in December. There was no shortage of food, cheer and joy. There were no traffic jams and no kids cranky from being over shuffled from house to house. Even Mother Nature seemed to go with the idea as she gave us the gift of a clear, sunny day.
If you decide to venture out on the holiday this season, I wish you well. Be sure to look both ways, you don’t want to get run over by a reindeer.
What do you do to make the holidays more festive?
Did you know that you can send an ebook as a gift? It will be much less expensive than sending a print book. You can also schedule when to send it. Why not make a gift list now and start jotting down the perfect book to send them this holiday season?
Beat the crowds and shop from the comfort of your computer when you have time. All you need is the gift recipient’s email and what type of e-reader they have. Most tablets allow users to download an app for Amazon or Nook.
For those looking for a women’s fiction book, check out the first in my two-part series, I Know You’re There. I’ve included the links.
I Know You’re There for Amazon
I Know You’re There For Nook
iBooks: You can send ebook gifts via iBookstore as well. Here are the instructions how: http://bit.ly/1xXD2ME
The marines have a saying, “Once a Marine, Always a Marine.” I believe this is true for nurses as well. While some nurses make a lifelong career out of it, others of us do it for a season of our life.
Best-selling author, Sue Monk-Kidd, was once a practicing nurse. Monk-Kidd left nursing to pursue a passion for writing in her thirties. Lucky for us readers, she did! She is probably best known for her novel, The Secret Life of Bees, which went on to be a film. Her latest book, The Invention Of Wings, a historical fiction piece, excavates the horrors of urban slavery and takes on women’s oppression. It, too, is a best seller and was selected to be on the coveted Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 List.
When I was a novice nurse, I remember the buzz about a nurse named Echo Heron. Heron wrote a book that hit the New York Times Best Seller List: Intensive Care: The Story Of A Nurse. That was a big boost to the profession back in the late eighties. We felt heard. Heron has gone on to publish several other books including a medical mystery series featuring a nurse protagonist.
Paula Stokes, has stepped away from her role as an Oncology nurse to focus on fulfilling contracted books. Her latest novel, The Art of Laney, can be found in the YA section of online and brick and mortar bookstores. She reports she is also teaching a continuing education class to aspiring nurses and may consider Psych Nursing in 2015.
Robin Bridges currently practices as a certified pediatric nurse. When she is not taking care of today's youth, she is writing for them. As she describes on her twitter page, "I write about the undead, dark fairies, and other spooky things."
Joanne K. Singleton, has an accomplished list of degrees after her name: PhD, RN, FNP-BC, FNAP, FNYAM. Somehow she has managed to also add the title of ‘author’ this year while working as a nursing profesor. Her newly published novel, White Beret: The Story of an Urban Nurse, is Set in a major New York City hospital. The book gives an insider’s look into life and death struggles on a pediatric unit during one crucial day for young patients, their families and the nurses who put their lives on the line to care for them.
New to the book world is nurse blogger, Kati Kleber. Kleber’s blog, Nurse Eye Roll, (don’t you love the name!), has thousands of followers. Her light, supportive nature is captured in her new non-fiction book, Becoming Nursey, From Code Blue To Code Browns, How To Care For Patients And Yourself, has already hit number one on Amazon’s “New Release, Nursing” list.
As for myself, no one was more surprised than I to see my written words published. What started as a cathartic way to deal with the intense nature of nursing-writing vignettes about patients in private, led to some of my essays being published in a collective work, Touched By A Nurse. To be honest, I thought my publishing days were over. I left nursing after thirteen years to pursue other interests, one of them being gardening. As I designed gardens in the quiet of nature, I was nudged internally to write a novel. I fought it until it won and found its way out. My first novel, I Know You’re There, features a nurse protagonist who gets in a fatal accident after doing a double shift. Then came its sequel, By The Sound Of The Crow. Who knew?
Nurses are ideal for the book world. Whether they are telling stories, or sharing wisdom, they have had unique access to the moments that connect us all as humans. Perhaps through their writing they continue to heal and help others feel better. Or maybe just enjoy a good read.
Learn more about these nurse authors:
Joanne K. Singleton
Check out the 'Nurses Who Write' Pinterest Board: Link
Do you know of some nurse authors that should be added to the list? Have you considered writing yourself? Please feel free to leave comments. :)
Haiti is the poorest country near the United States. The amount of need there can seem so devastating we may just want to ignore it. How can I, one person, possibly help?
Enter Nick and Gwenn Mangine. I became aware of the Mangines at a church service in North Carolina. Gwenn gave the message that day. She was introduced by the pastor who explained how the couple got a calling one day that they should go to Haiti to help the children there. No one in the audience even shifted in their seat for the next half hour. The Mangine’s story of how they ventured to Haiti and adopted several orphans with the help of the church was riveting. The commitment that they made to raise these children as a family felt daunting to me. Imagine picking up, leaving your friends, family and all the conveniences of living in America and going to Haiti! Gwenn didn’t sugar coat the new life she and her husband chose. It came with many hardships-guns, difficult social issues the kids came with, disease, and mental trauma to name just a few.
This sermon was a few years ago. The Mangines and their large family are still together and making great strides! You can learn more about them at www.joyinhope.org.
The issues facing the orphans in Haiti struck a chord in me that has not gone away. I’ve tried to bring attention to their plight in my new novel, BY THE SOUND OF THE CROW. Most of us will not have the courage, nor will to go to the extreme that the Mangines did to help those in need in Haiti. Perhaps, however, we can pitch in a little to help and make it a lot.
Do you write book reviews? In today's world, many of us rely on other's opinions before we make a decision to purchase something, go somewhere, or eat at a certain restaurant. Think Yelp, TripAdvisor and Amazon. Why not? Isn't the opinion of our peers more reliable than the ads and solicitations that are thrust upon us?
Have you ever read through a book's reviews before choosing whether to not to read it? Many readers do. Let's face it, reading takes time and if you purchase the book, money. Don't we all want to make the most of both of those?
You do not have to be a New York Times book reviewer to write a review. I wrote a blog (http://bit.ly/1uvvqzI) for everyday readers with some tips that might help. Basically, pretend like you were talking to a friend. What would you say about the book? Would you recommend it to her?
Writing book reviews not only helps other readers make reading choices good for them, it helps authors too. I greatly appreciate the reviews of my debut novel for several reasons:
a) Who doesn't like to hear that someone appreciated something you created? Whether that be a book, a meal or the child that you carried in your womb for nine months.
b) Reviews inspire me to keep writing.
c) I learn how to improve my writing with constructive criticism.
So please, if you haven't already, consider writing a review for my debut novel, I Know You're There.
These are the three sites I recommend to do so:
Barnes & Noble
I hope that you will not only do this for my books, but all of your favorite authors. Personally, if I don't like a book, I generally choose not to rate it at all, rather than give it a bad review. Silence is often a gracious way of saying no thank you.
Librarians, teachers, and nurses: three noble careers that are dominated by women. What makes being a librarian such a noble professional, highly regarded by the communities they serve? I offer three reasons.
We all had at least one, probably a few, school loudmouths and bullies. The library was always a safe place in school because the librarians made it that way. If you didn’t shush after a stern look and a “Shhh”, off to the Principals office you went. According to a Pew Study done in 2014, having a safe, quiet place to go to is highly revered by young and old alike.
Two: They Could Google Before There Was Google
Librarians never needed Google. They probably still don’t. They had the Dewey Decimal System and memory with greater storage capacity than the latest Apple Mac. Ask them for a suggestion of a novel with a happy ending that includes vampires, they’ll show you a few. Remember having a report to do for social studies on the customs of Africans? The librarian could show you how to find that in one of those heavy encyclopedias that you thought were only there collecting dust.
Three: They Educate Us Long After We Leave School
Internet? E-Readers? Lost Your Job? Librarians have your back. They seem to know what current trends need to be addressed head on. They schedule speakers, workshops and personal one-on-one sessions to help keep us up to speed.
I was recently speaking to one of my local librarians about the global issues facing whales and dolphins. I offered to donate books and videos including Blackfish, The Cove, The War on Whales and others highlighting the issues facing cetaceans. She agreed to do a special display in the library.
Perhaps we should say thanks more often to those librarians who quietly go about their job. Not all Superheroes wear capes.
What made me want to convert to vegetarianism? As I wrote in an earlier blog, three main reasons: health, love for animals and environment. I grew up in a meat and potatoes with a side of vegetables home. On occasion we would mix it up with a pasta dish. So, this was no small change. How am I doing? Do I feel better? What tips would I share? Glad you asked.
How am I doing with vegetarianism?
Much to my surprise, I’m doing very well. I thought I would miss roasts and beefy stews in the colder months, hamburgers on the grill in the summer. There are, however, some good substitutes for these staples-I have grown to love beans. I have allowed myself some occasional seafood-mainly wild caught Alaskan salmon, as I have not yet mastered the art of cooking tofu and other meat substitutes. Also, I want to make sure I get my omega-3’s in. So if that technically makes me a pescatarian, so be it. I’m still happy that I am moving in a healthier, kinder eating direction.
Do I feel better?
Absolutely! You know that saying, ‘You are what you eat?’ Well, I no longer feel like my guilty indulgence, a homemade jelly donut. It’s amazing how much our bodies thank us for putting in the premium fuel it needs to keep us running. I have more energy; don’t feel like a monk seal after a big meal and my skin looks healthier.
Thinking of giving vegetarian a try? Or just want to eat healthier? Here are a few of my tips. I hope that you will share yours in the comments section.
1. Saturday Morning Farmer’s Market Run
First thing Saturday morning, I am at my local farmer’s market. I get there early to have the first choice of the best seasonal fruits and vegetables they offer. Since I strive to be a vegetarian rather than vegan (maybe that will come later), I also pick up locally made goat cheese, sometimes homemade whole grain bread and eggs. As hard as I try, I am a sucker for good homemade pie-especially strawberry rhubarb. Lucky for me, they only make those in the spring!
2. Trader Joes
Love this place! I wish they would become a publically traded company and would replace the pharmacies on every corner. With just 10 or so aisles of items to choose from, they are stocked with the essentials. I don’t find myself being lured into buying ‘Buy one get one free’ items that I don’t need. They offer a good selection of organic frozen fruits and vegetables, a great selection of nuts including ones that are salt free. Trader Joe’s is my next stop after my Farmer’s Market run to fill in the gaps. Then the rest of my Saturday morning is generally spent making a few different meals, soups, and muffins.
If it isn’t already made, and I’m hungry, I have a tendency to run out and buy something already prepared. But when I make meals out of all the scrumptious items that I pick up on Saturday morning, I’m delighted to eat what is at home.
3. Green Smoothies
If you don’t already have a high-powered blender, this will be the best investment you can make in yourself. I balked when my husband, who is not a big spender, purchased a $500 Vitamixer. Let’s just say, I’ve been eating crow ever since I churned my first green smoothy in it. Many mornings, because I am not a big salad eater-unless someone else makes it, I blend healthy greens (usually spinach or kale), fresh berries (get those antioxidants in) and half a frozen banana. Most often they are blended with just water, but sometimes I add coconut water, plain non-fat yogurt or ground flaxseeds. Experiment with different ingredients until you find a concoction that you enjoy. Then, make a whole blender of it in the morning and sip at it all day. If you don’t feel more vibrant, I will be very surprised!
4. Find Vegetarian friendly restaurants
For the most part, I avoid all fast food restaurants. If it isn’t the fat, the salt loads will give you a heart attack. There are a few exceptions, because there are those times when life gets hectic and you need to give yourself a break somewhere. Chipoltes is one such place. If you get any of the meals without the meat, they are tasty and satisfying. I wish I could say there are a lot of choices when looking for vegetarian friendly restaurants. I have only found a few that actually serve tofu, tempeh and seitin dishes. These meat substitutes are actually really tasty when prepared well. I still need to learn how to cook more with these ingredients. If you’re craving a good burger, you won’t need to go out. Pick up the Chipolte Black Bean Burgers at Costco. They are delicious and hearty!
5. Get a Physical Exam
Before you start on your healthier journey, I highly recommend you get a full physical from your primary care provider. Be sure to share with them what you plan on doing. Ask to have all the blood work done that might be altered by a new diet so you know what your baseline is. If you have any abnormal blood work, like an elevated cholesterol level, you may be very pleasantly surprised with the improvements you can make just by adding more vegetables, fruits, and healthy meat substitutes to your meals. If need be, also consider getting some tips from a registered dietician. Each of us is made uniquely and may require special consideration to optimize our body’s functioning.
So, what do you think? Ready to try becoming a vegetarian? Do you have some healthy eating tips that you would like to share?
This Friday crowds of school-age kids will haunt American neighborhoods in search of sugary delights. As they approach each doorway, while their parents watch from the street curb, will they be greeted by junk or a treat? As each homeowner opens the door with a bowl full of candy for the kids to stuff in their Halloween bag, will they be delighted by junk or a treat?
If you live in America, you surely have had to weave through Halloween décor, costumes and bags of tantalizing candy at any box store-probably since August. The American Retail Federation estimates that over 7.4 billion dollars will be spent on Halloween items this year. That’s a lot of STUFF.
I get it. We’re busy. It’s easier to buy that blow up pumpkin for the front yard and a plastic skeleton to hang on the front door. We may not be as creative as Tim Trudgeon, who creates unique pumpkin faces from his woodworking tools, but what happened to the joy of pumpkin carving? Lining the kitchen table with newspaper, tracing a face with a pencil and carving the kind or scary eyes with a knife? Scooping out the pumpkin seeds, getting your hands all gooey and then roasting the seeds in a warm oven for a snack? When the trick or treaters are bellowing with tummy aches on November 1st from eating too much candy, what will become of the store bought decorations? Will we groan that we need to store the scary spiders and plastic bag ghosts with the other holiday decorations? Or will we toss them in the garbage, adding to our already polluted planet? For those who choose the pumpkin carving route, they can be simply tossed in the yard to compost. Some will get lucky and get a pumpkin surprise next year as leftover seeds germinate.
Long gone are the costumes with a plastic mask that makes you sweat so much you end up wearing the mask on your head instead of your face. The thin rubber band tangling in your hair or breaking leaving you no choice but to stuff your disguise in your candy bag. Today’s store bought costumes are as ornate as those worn by Disney characters. I have no doubt that homeowners will see a lot of Frozen characters this year in addition to the popular superheroes. But, oh the joy, when the door is opened and a unique, handmade costume appears! Looking for inspiration? Take a gander at the creations of people who march in the annual Hillsborough, North Carolina Handmade Parade.
Now it’s your turn to vote. Junk or Treat. Whichever you pick, I wish you a Happy Halloween!
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