Thursday, January 31, 2008

Winter in the Country

My first painting on canvas, done in acrylics, and inspired by a photo in West Virginia magazine


I have been attracted to reiki but never experienced it. I was signing up for a class but had to cancel because it was just after Husband had his heart attack. I made an appointment for a treatment next month and am excited to experience it.

" Reiki is a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing. It is administered by "laying on hands" and is based on the idea that an unseen "life force energy" flows through us and is what causes us to be alive. If one's "life force energy" is low, then we are more likely to get sick or feel stress, and if it is high, we are more capable of being happy and healthy.

The word Reiki is made of two Japanese words - Rei which means "God's Wisdom or the Higher Power" and Ki which is "life force energy". So Reiki is actually "spiritually guided life force energy."

A treatment feels like a wonderful glowing radiance that flows through and around you. Reiki treats the whole person including body, emotions, mind and spirit creating many beneficial effects that include relaxation and feelings of peace, security and wellbeing. Many have reported miraculous results.

Reiki is a simple, natural and safe method of spiritual healing and self-improvement that everyone can use. It has been effective in helping virtually every known illness and malady and always creates a beneficial effect. It also works in conjunction with all other medical or therapeutic techniques to relieve side effects and promote recovery.

An amazingly simple technique to learn, the ability to use Reiki is not taught in the usual sense, but is transferred to the student during a Reiki class. This ability is passed on during an "attunement" given by a Reiki master and allows the student to tap into an unlimited supply of "life force energy" to improve one's health and enhance the quality of life."

"Reiki practitioners channel energy in a particular pattern to heal and harmonize. Unlike other healing therapies based on the premise of a human energy field, Reiki seeks to restore order to the body whose vital energy has become unbalanced.

Reiki energy has several basic effects: it brings about deep relaxation, destroys energy blockages, detoxifies the system, provides new vitality in the form of healing universal life energy, and increases the vibrational frequency of the body.

The laying of hands is used in Reiki therapy also as in spiritual healing. There is a difference though. In spiritual healing, a person with a strong energy field places his or her hands above a particular part of the recipient's body in order to release energy into it. So, here the healer is the one who is sending out the energy. In Reiki, however, the healer places the hands above the recipient; however, it is the recipient that draws the energy as needed. Thus, in this case, the individual being healed takes an active part in the healing process as opposed to having a passive part in spiritual healing. The individual takes responsibility for his or her healing. The recipient identifies the needs and cater to them by drawing energy as needed.

Although there are a few positions in which the practitioner is in contact with the patient (such as cradling the head), most Reiki treatments do not involve actual touching. The practitioner holds his or her hands a few inches or farther away from the patient's body and manipulates the energy field from there"


Wednesday, January 30, 2008

UFO Hunters on the History Channel debuts tonight

"The new HD series is a spin-off from the network's hit program "UFO HUNTERS" which premiered in 2005. UFO HUNTERS premieres Tonight at 10PM/9C on The History Channel®.
The team's access to UFO evidence is unparalleled and their expertise allows them to quickly identify bogus claims of UFOs. Together, they use eyewitness accounts, scientific experimentation, documents recently released through the Freedom of Information Act and footage that has never been seen before on television to piece together compelling — and at times chilling — evidence of UFO phenomena. Join UFO Hunters Bill Birnes, Pat Uskert, Dr. Ted Acworth, and Jeff Tomlinson as they separate fact from fallacy."

Sunday, January 27, 2008

" If you follow no other truth, follow the truth that within your being is called joy. If you follow that, you're always going to be right where you need to be, and you will always have life within your being." - Sheradon Bryce

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Rate Your Life

This Is My Life, Rated
Take the Rate My Life Quiz

John Rich's House and Fontanel

That house wasn't John Rich's house.

It's the Plowboy Mansion, former known as Fontanel, is or was the at one time the largest long home in America. Barbara Mandrell built it. According to one article, "It's become the place for Big & Rich and their pals to party, play music, hang out and have target practice."

Hmmm..... I just googled "Fontanel", and apparently a fontanel is the soft spot on a baby's head. So why did they name that huge house fontanel I wonder???

And according to this real estate listing:

It's for sale for $14 million. 27,000 square feet on 136 acres.

I'll tell you one thing, I almost cried last night when I saw the indoor pool and the wall of glass in front of it. Amazing.

Anyway, this article says a developers bought a majority interest in it from Big & Rich's managers, who bought it in 2002 at auction for $2.1 million!! Barbara spent $6 million building it and tried to sell it for $7 million but ended up auctioning it off. The developers are planning to sell it.

Oh Fontanel has its own website - I see, the developers are selling off the subdivided lots and creating a "private rural community". Very interesting.

John Rich's house is horribly ugly - very "modern" I guess.

Okay I know beauty is subjective. I love log homes so that's why I like Fontanel. Those who like modern may think John's real house is beautiful.

That's not even a real picture of it, it's an artist's rendering. I don't even know if he ever finished building it.

Gone Country

John Rich's new celebreality show, Gone Country, premiered last night. And OF COURSE I'll watch it. I heart celebreality AND John Rich!

Basically, John Rich takes several (has-been) celebrities: Dee Snyder of Twisted Sister; Carnie Wilson; Sisqó; Bobby Brown; Maureen McCormick; Julio Iglesias Jr; and Diana DeGarmo (American Idle), lets them live in his (incredible) house, and tries to turn them into country music stars. Sort of.

"Gone Country uproots these seven musical celebrities and moves them into a Nashville mansion together to embark on a two-week adventure, hosted by singer-songwriter John Rich. Each celebrity will be paired up with some of Nashville's finest songwriters in an attempt to prepare them for a career in country music. In each episode, the cast competes against each other in challenges that will test them musically and physically to adapt to a country music lifestyle, both on and off the stage. At the end of the two weeks, the artist who is most prepared to impress a country audience, as determined by Rich, will record and release a song."

John arrived on a helicopter after they had settled in the house. I don't know if his coat was real or faux fur. He recently made news when PETA emailed him after he wore a fox coat on the CMA awards. He said he would be glad to wear faux fur if any of the designers PETA referred him to wanted to send him a coat and he would tell everyone it was faux. I don't now if that ever happened.

I like his style. Country pimpin'. LOL. John does love his bling!!

HDL, Triglycerides and the wonders of Omega-3


Two of the things my doctor told me to focus on was increasing my HDL (the good cholesterol), which is too low, and lowering my triglycerides. She recommended olive oil, almonds, fish oil supplements and exercise for the HDL, and watching carbs for the triglycerides.

I never understood the different between HDL and LDL until I got Dr. Weil's Healthy Heart Kit. The HDL carries the excess LDL back to the liver, so you need a lot of it. Women should have an HDL level of at least 50, and mine was only 35.

Along with exercising and losing weight, ways of increasing HDL include taking niacin, quitting smoking, avoiding trans-fat (reduces HDL!), having 1-2 drinks of alcohol per day, adding more fiber to your diet, taking fish oil supplements, reducing stress,

Triglycerides store fat and are used by the body to create energy and serve as building blocks for cells. Triglycerides come from the fats in food but also are made in the liver from carbohydrates and proteins. High levels of triglycerides in the blood can be a serious health problem and a risk factor for heart disease. For most people, a normal level of triglycerides would be under 150. I think mine was 155. Looking at that number along with my other numbers, lifestyle and family history, puts me at high risk of diabetes and heart disease.


The AHA recommends eating fish twice a week for omega-3 fatty acids. They recommend eating tofu and other forms of soybeans, canola, walnut and flaxseed, and their oils. These contain alpha-linolenic acid (LNA), which can become omega-3 fatty acid in the body. They recommend fish oil supplements for people with heart disease or who need to lower triglycerides.

Fish oil contains two omega-3 fatty acids -- eicosapentaenoic (EPA) and docosahexaenoic (DHA) acids. Benefits attributed to omega 3 include: reduces risk of heart attack, stimulates blood circulation, lowers blood pressure (I am also borderline there), significantly reduces triglycerides, reduces risk of stroke and raises HDL at least slightly. I think those things are pretty well agreed on. But in addition, omega 3's may also relieve or improve depression, anxiety, back pain, arthritis, inflammation, joint pain, ADHD, asthma, ecxema, schizophrenia, Alzheimer's, painful menstruation, reduce body fat and prevent cancer and eye disease.


I was already taking a fish oil supplement, but only one a day. And I wondered what the difference was between my Rite Aid brand fish oil and Husband's prescription fish oil.

The main thing to look for in fish oil supplements is the amount of EPA and DHA, and making sure it is refined to remove toxins and such. One of the best brands of OTC appears to be Dr. Sears' Zone Omega Rx. I would like to take the Zone one, but it's $50 a month and I am not sure whether it is worth that. That's not right. I do think it's worth that. But I'm not sure I can justify spending that. So I'm taking the $9 health food store brand. I just compared the Omega Rx to the prescription Lovaza fish oil and it has the same amount of EPA/DHA.

The IFOS (International Fish Oil Standards) has a voluntary program where they will test fish oil and rate it and they have a list of who has received their 5-star ratings. his category is specifically for ultra-refined super concentrate fish oils with a minimum 60 per cent combined EPA/DHA concentration and is based on Nutrasource's 5 Star Rating Program. A Star is awarded for each of five areas:

Star 1 - Product Passes All CRN/WHO Testing Categories
Star 2 - Product Tests Show Minimum 60 per cent EPA plus DHA combined concentration
Star 3 - Oxidation Level Less Than 75 per cent of CRN Standard
Star 4 - PCB Levels Less Than 50 per cent of CRN Standard
Star 5 - Dioxin and Furan Levels Less Than 50 per cent of WHO Standard

The Zone's Omega Rx is one of the brands that has a 5-star rating. Dr. Andrew Weil also sells fish oil supplements and his have the same rating.

This page has a list of brands that have received the 5-star rating:

PLEASE NOTE taking fish oil in very high doses (over 3 grams i.e. 3000 mg.) can be harmful.

More Info/Sources:

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Embracing midlife

Yesterday I received in the mail a package from OneSpirit. Another book I forgot to tell them not to send me! But when this happens, I always take into consideration that it might be something I need to read. This has been true many, many times over the years with various book clubs. I truly believe that when you are ready, the teacher will come. And teachers come in many forms, including books.

I actually thought it was going to be the Dr. Weil Healthy Heart Kit, which I got from Amazon. But I was surprised and pleased to see it was actually The Age of Miracles: Embracing the New Midlife by Marianne Williamson! Along with a meditation CD!! I love her work, and she has touched me deeply in the past.

I just saw this book mentioned somewhere - I don't even recall where - and thought of getting it. And here it is, delivered straight to my door. And I happen to be entering (or in) midlife. So.... I guess it is for me! Although it would make a GREAT gift too. But I have a feeling I'll be keeping it.

Anyway, here's the blurb about the book:

"The need for change as we get older—an emotional pressure for one phase of our lives to transition into another—is a human phenomenon, neither male nor female. There simply comes a time in our lives—not fundamentally different from the way puberty separates childhood from adulthood—when it’s time for one part of ourselves to die and for something new to be born.

The purpose of this book by best-selling author and lecturer Marianne Williamson is to psychologically and spiritually reframe this transition so that it leads to a wonderful sense of joy and awakening.

In our ability to rethink our lives lies our greatest power to change them. What we have called “middle age” need not be seen as a turning point toward death. It can be viewed as a magical turning point toward life as we’ve never known it, if we allow ourselves the power of an independent imagination—thought-forms that don’t flow in a perfunctory manner from ancient assumptions merely handed down to us, but rather flower into new archetypal images of a humanity just getting started at 45 or 50.

What we’ve learned by that time, from both our failures as well as our successes, tends to have humbled us into purity. When we were young, we had energy but we were clueless about what to do with it. Today, we have less energy, perhaps, but we have far more understanding of what each breath of life is for. And now at last, we have a destiny to fulfill—not a destiny of a life that’s simply over, but rather a destiny of a life that is finally truly lived.

Midlife is not a crisis; it’s a time of rebirth. It’s not a time to accept your death; it’s a time to accept your life—and to finally, truly live it, as you and you alone know deep in your heart it was meant to be lived."

The meditation CD (2-CD set) is Meditations for a Miraculous Life:

"Jump-start your spiritual progress and experience an abiding sense of peace by listening to this 2-CD program by best-selling author and lecturer Marianne Williamson. Honor your need to cultivate quiet and become grounded in deeper serenity by practicing these customized meditations for different aspects of your daily life: work, finances, health, relationships, and more. When you start and end your day with positive energy and spiritual reflection, you’ll find that your life will truly change for the better.

Marianne guides and inspires you to bring your healing spirit to bear as you release stress, anger, and pain; find fulfillment through your work and forgiveness in your relationships; and feel the deep, enduring love that is your birthright. The more you practice these empowering meditations, the more you’ll become attuned to your inner self. From there, the possibilities for self-growth and a uniquely miraculous life are infinite."


Monday, January 21, 2008

Herbal remedies for menopause

The vitamin I take is Rite Aid's Whole Source for Women. It includes several herbs, including black cohosh, ginkgo and dong quai. You should discuss all supplements with a doctor before taking them, as they can interact with prescriptions you are taking (for ex., you are not supposed to take St. John's Wart if you are on an antidepressant)

"Alternatives to Hormone Therapy
Herbal Products

Black cohosh
One of the most common herbs found in over-the-counter menopause supplements, black cohosh appears to relieve hot flashes and improve mood in some women. This Native American herb is also sold as Remifemin. Black cohosh doesn’t appear to have estrogenic effects, although some controversy persists about this. It does not cause vaginal bleeding the way combined hormone therapy does. Side effects include stomach upset, low blood pressure, or reduced effectiveness of estrogen therapy if the two are taken together. Several incidents of serious liver toxicity have been reported, possibly as a response to contamination or to the herb itself. No long-term studies have been done.

Red clover
Also known as Trifolium pratense, red clover is a medicinal herb originally used by Native Americans to treat whooping cough, gout, and cancer. It’s also taken as a cancer treatment in many other parts of the world, and it’s found in herbal preparations for skin irritation. Red clover extract has been promoted for relief of menopausal symptoms, namely hot flashes and vaginal dryness. Proponents claim that its effectiveness comes from its estrogenic effects. But research results have been disappointing. Two studies published in the journal Menopause found red clover to be no better than a placebo for treating hot flashes or vaginal dryness. Red clover is on the FDA’s GRAS (generally recognized as safe) list, but its long-term use has never been studied.

St. John’s wort
For many years, St. John’s wort has been used to treat mild to moderate depression. In studies, it has been shown to be more effective than placebo when used on a short-term basis — two months or less. A long-awaited study reported that St. John’s wort is no more effective than placebo in treating major depression. Side effects include gastrointestinal problems and sun sensitivity. In addition, it can diminish or over-enhance the effects of prescription medications such as indinavir (Crixivan), warfarin (Coumadin), digoxin (Lanoxin), theophylline (Uniphyl, Theo-24, others), cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune), and oral contraceptives.

Ginkgo biloba
Studies have shown that ginkgo biloba may produce limited improvements in memory and social interactions in people with Alzheimer’s disease. Some experts believe it may be useful for women with perimenopausal or postmenopausal memory problems, but there is no conclusive evidence to support such use. Ginkgo may cause stomach upset, headache, skin reactions, and prolonged bleeding. Caution is urged if it’s used with anticoagulant medication. Ginkgo has been linked with bleeding in the brain when used with the anticoagulant drug warfarin. Experts also recommend that it not be used for two weeks before surgery because of the increased bleeding risk.

Used as a sedative for centuries, valerian may help some women bothered by menopause-related sleep problems. It has been shown to decrease the time it takes to fall asleep and improve the quality of sleep. It may cause headaches, excitability, and heartbeat irregularities. Valerian should not be used with other sedatives, and its odor has been compared to that of old socks.

Studies have shown that kava is more effective than placebo in relieving anxiety, but the scientific strength of these studies has been called into question. Kava has been linked with liver failure and cirrhosis in reports from Germany, Switzerland, and the United States. It has been banned in several European countries and Canada but is still available in the United States. Additional side effects include gastrointestinal upset, headache, and agitation or sleepiness. It may enhance the effects of other central nervous system depressants and anticoagulants.

Despite its prominent place in traditional Chinese medicine, ginseng has not been found effective in treating hot flashes or any other symptoms associated with menopause. It comes with a list of side effects: insomnia, high blood pressure, prolonged bleeding time, and low blood sugar reactions if used with insulin.

Dong quai
Another common component of traditional Chinese medicine, dong quai has been used to treat a number of gynecological conditions. In one placebo-controlled study, it was not proved effective in relieving hot flashes or other menopausal symptoms, but critics of this study point out that Chinese herbs are not usually administered alone as in this study, and beneficial effects may result only from a combination of herbs as used by Chinese practitioners.


"Forget mistakes. Forget failure. Forget everything except what you're going to do now and do it. Today is your lucky day." - Will Durant, 1885-1981 (American Philosopher, Historian and Author)

Friday, January 18, 2008

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Monday, January 14, 2008

UFO over Texas

"STEPHENVILLE, Texas - In this farming community where nightfall usually brings clear, starry skies, residents are abuzz over reported sightings of what many believe is a UFO.

Several dozen people — including a pilot, county constable and business owners — insist they have seen a large silent object with bright lights flying low and fast. Some reported seeing fighter jets chasing it.

"People wonder what in the world it is because this is the Bible Belt, and everyone is afraid it's the end of times," said Steve Allen, a freight company owner and pilot who said the object he saw last week was a mile long and half a mile wide. "It was positively, absolutely nothing from these parts."

While federal officials insist there's a logical explanation, locals swear that it was larger, quieter, faster and lower to the ground than an airplane. They also said the object's lights changed configuration, unlike those of a plane. People in several towns who reported seeing it over several weeks have offered similar descriptions of the object."

More here: Dozens in Texas town report seeing UFO

Sunday, January 13, 2008

"Everything in life is most fundamentally a gift. And you receive it best and you live it best by holding it with very open hands." - Leo O'Donovan, Jesuit Priest and Professor

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Olive Oil

I am going to start substituting olive oil for a lot of things - it looks like good stuff!

"Choose Olive Oil as a Healthy Alternative
Cook as the Mediterraneans Do
-- By Laura Bofinger, Staff Writer

Would you be surprised to learn that you CAN feel good about fat in your food? Here’s a refresher on one source of fat – olive oil – the healthier oil of all oils and the natural juice of the olive fruit. Its most talked about benefit may be its ability to reduce the risk of heart disease by controlling LDLs (the bad cholesterol) and raising HDLs (the good cholesterol). But the list of benefits continues, and it just may prompt you to replace your use of margarine, butter, and vegetable oils with the favorite flavor of the Mediterranean.

The people of the Mediterranean have enjoyed the benefits of olive oil in their diets for thousands of years. Today, researchers have found evidence to support many of the healing claims assumed since ancient times. In addition to preventing heart disease (due to cholesterol control), olive oil is tolerated well by the stomach and has a positive effect on constipation. Olive oil activates the secretion of bile and pancreatic hormones and lowers the incidence of gallstones. It may be linked to reducing the risk of colon cancer and rheumatoid arthritis, as well as with lowering high blood pressure.

Olive oil is also rich in essential vitamins such as vitamins A, B-1, B-2, C, D, E, and K, as well as iron. Its high content of antioxidant substances not only discourages artery clogging and chronic disease, it also prevents damage to blood vessels and cells by attacking free radicals. This effect may also play a role in slowing down the aging process of cells and tissue. The “beauty oil,” as it’s been called, can also claim to soften and firm skin tissue, giving it more luster.

There are so many types of oils, even among the olive variety. What is the difference? Oil from animal fat contains saturated fatty acids, which increase blood cholesterol levels. Oil from plants, seeds, nuts, and vegetables contains polyunsaturated fatty acids, which lower both LDLs and HDLs in the blood. Olive oil contains monounsaturated fatty acids that control LDL levels while raising HDL (the good cholesterol) levels.

When it comes to the breakdown of olive oils specifically, here is what you should know. Extra virgin is touted as the best of olive oils because it is the least processed. It comes from the first pressing of the olives. Virgin olive oil adds a second pressing of the olives; pure olive oil is more processed through filtering and refining; and extra light olive oil is the most processed with only a mild olive flavor. Anything called light olive oil may contain other vegetable oils.

If you think you might be an olive oil convert, congratulations! But a few words of caution are in order. Always keep your bottle of oil out of light and away from heat to prevent it from becoming rancid. Perhaps more importantly, remember that although olive oil can be a healthy ingredient, it is still a fat containing 9 calories/gram. So as with all fats, watch your intake."

Schick Intuition Plus Razor

You know those razors that have the shaving lotion built in? I would never have thought those would be any good and never would have bought one. But I got a sample in the mail and now I'm hooked!! The Schick Intuition Plus razor is GREAT. I can shave my legs in about half the time. I really loved my Venus Divine, but this is good enough to make me give it up.

Clearing Clutter

I am constantly bombarded with messages about clutter. I really want to get mine under control!! If I'd get off this computer maybe I could!!!!

"It wasn't always clutter.

Once upon a time (maybe just last year?) it seemed like good stuff. It may have been fun to dream about, shop for, or receive as a gift. It may have been delightful to use, lovely to look at, or both. But that was then.

Now it's all just...too...much.

Clutter is like guests that become pests: overstaying their welcome, taking up room in your life while contributing nothing but complications and chaos. But the objects clogging your home aren't clutter's only manifestations, just the most visible ones. There are also the clutter intangibles: stuff that overwhelms your mind, weighs down your heart, and suffocates your spirit.

If you've been yearning to lighten your load, here are some simple steps to get you started--and keep you going.

Start With Your Heart
You don't have to be clinically depressed or grief-stricken to experience a malaise born of sadness, stress, or sensitivity to the suffering of others. When you're weighed down by a heavy heart, moving forward can seem like a colossal effort.
So, how can you leave behind the heaviness while keeping the fullness of feeling? That is the challenge. A few ideas to help lighten your heart:

Don't set unrealistic goals. Eliminate one source of guilt: for example, if you have a habit of breaking your new year's resolutions, either don't make any new ones or "only make resolutions consisting of a small step or steps towards your goal," suggests Dr. Gottlieb. Otherwise you may be setting yourself up for failure.

Cultivate an attitude of gratitude and giving. A grateful and generous heart has space for peace. By making a conscious effort to count your blessings on a daily basis and to help others, you may feel your heart lifting as the weight of last year's heartbreak slips away.

If you can't forgive, at least forget. The conventional wisdom is that forgiveness is necessary for inner peace. But that's not always true. If you are weighed down by a burden of anger that flares up when you think of forgiving its source, perhaps it's time to learn "forgetness" instead. This isn't to say you should completely forget--after all, "those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it"; it just means you can choose not to let grudges and grievances color your outlook or intrude on your thoughts.

A Load Off Your Mind
When your mind is overloaded, overwhelm becomes a chronic condition. There are two main contributors to mental clutter: stuff to remember (to-do's and information) and stuff to forget (worries and annoyances). ... .

You don't have to take up meditation (or medication) to achieve an uncluttered mind. One of the simplest ways to clear your muddled head is to download your thoughts onto a page. Stuff to remember belongs on lists (to-do's) or in systems (information); stuff to forget can be safely jettisoned by way of journals or less structured repositories, such as scrap paper.

Writing things down is not only a method for managing mental clutter--it's also a healthy habit. Studies have shown that "cathartic writing" can lower blood pressure and increase the level of disease-fighting lymphocytes in the bloodstream.
From Clutter to Clarity
Wouldn't it be nice if you could simply wave farewell to your clutter guests and watch them vanish? Good-bye, piles of paper! Adios, stacks of videos and books! Ciao, mounds of useless gifts and mountains of memorabilia!

Unfortunately, letting go of clutter usually isn't so painless. But it can be less painful--and even exhilarating--if you:

  1. Recognize clutter for what it is. Tangible clutter is anything that currently creates stress for you because of its appearance, condition, location, arrangement, and/or quantity. Having too much of a good thing can create just as much clutter as keeping lots of not-so-good things.

  2. Remind yourself that most things are replaceable, but time isn't. In most cases, once you've let go of something you won't miss it--contrary to the popular belief that "as soon as I get rid of something I'll need it." If you do end up regretting getting rid of anything, don't worry--you'll likely get over it. However, if you often find yourself grieving over the loss of something that was never alive to begin with, seek counseling.

  3. Deal with paper clutter and non-paper clutter separately. Going through piles of paper often requires more focus than what's needed for dealing with other kinds of clutter. (Note: The IRS offers guidelines on how long certain records must be kept. Visit or call 1-703-487-4608 and request Publication 552. ) Group similar items together (e.g., paid bills, receipts, and statements; toys and games; office supplies and stationery, etc.) to help you see how much of each type you've accumulated; then tackle each category separately.

  4. Make it easy to discard or donate. Before you start plowing through your stuff, get some roomy boxes to use for donations and discards (be sure to label them). It’s easier--and quicker--to toss stuff into boxes than to struggle with floppy bags or tiny wastebaskets.

  5. Deadline it. Clutter will usually stay put until one of two things occurs: you're finally ready to deal with it because you just can't stand it anymore, or you have a real deadline--houseguests; a party; moving. Generally speaking, a deadline is more likely to generate action than anything else.

Uncluttering your life goes beyond just getting rid of excess stuff. It's really about letting go of whatever is weighing you down and keeping you from soaring towards your dreams. If you let go of what you can do without, you may be amazed at what you can find within."

Copyright © 2002 Harriet Schechter. All Rights Reserved.

Full article here: From Chaos to Comfort: Unclutter Your Home, Your Head and Your Heart

Friday, January 11, 2008

Healthy Heart Kit

Coincidentally (or not, since I don't believe in coincidence when it's something like this), my selection of the month on One Spirit Book Club is a "Healthy Heart Kit". It's cheaper on Amazon so I'm going to get it there instead.

"It's a given that diet and lifestyle affect heart health. But recent studies show that your emotions as well as Mindbody practices such as guided imagery and meditation have an equally powerful influence. Now, building on the success of his earlier interactive kits, Dr. Andrew Weil presents a comprehensive approach to heart health, with The Healthy Heart Kit. Featuring medical experts Stephen Devries, M.D. (a pioneering preventive cardiologist specializing in integrative approaches to heart health), Erin Olivo, Ph.D. (clinical psychologist and director of the Integrative Medicine Program at Columbia University), and Martin L. Rossman, M.D. (founder of The Healing Mind and a leader in the therapeutic use of guided imagery), The Healthy Heart Kit offers a truly comprehensive action plan for lifelong wellness that includes: * Dr. Weil's Anti-inflammatory diet, emphasizing omega 3-rich foods, healthy carbohydrate choices, and delicious variety * New advances for heart health by Dr. Devries, integrating the latest science with an emphasis on natural approaches * Dr. Olivo's best exercises for optimizing the nervous system--mindfulness, stress release, and lovingkindness * Guided imagery--proven medically effective in study after study--in a 30-minute healing session with Dr. Rossman Combining all these strategies in one convenient program, including a 56-page workbook and thirty-five useful cards, provides an excellent way to begin a lifelong regimen for heart health."

I believe that we draw things to us that we need. I can't help but think I'm supposed to have ethis. And I love Dr. Weil anyway.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Garlic & Herb Baked Chicken

New recipe added to my recipe blog:


I love my Flavia desk calendar. Today's message:

Inspiration is another kind
of love. It is life reaching out
to you and inviting you to dance.

Escape Horses

On the way home yesterday it was dark and as I was driving through Pinch and I saw something in the road coming toward me that didn't look like a car. At first I thought it was a horse-drawn carriage and wondered if there was a parade (they have parades in this little town sometimes). Finally I was able to tell it was two riderless horses just trotting through the middle of town, with two men chasing after them. They looked like they were enjoying themselves (the horses, not the men). There are at least two barns in the area I think, and another recently burned down. My boss keeps her horses at one of them but they didn't look like hers.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

25 Resolutions for Happiness

"The anniversary theme of Life Lessons created an excuse to write down the lessons I have learned, but sometimes forget to use. I’m pledging to renew my commitment to living them, and offer them in the hopes they might help you, or they might inspire you to remember your greatest life lessons."

  1. I will make happiness a worthy goal, for achieving it is entirely within my power.

  2. I will use my feelings to tell me when things aren’t working for me.

  3. I will let go of what I cannot change: other people, the past, the future.

  4. I will focus on what I can change--my thoughts, beliefs, expectations, and behavior, which will change how I feel.

  5. I will appreciate the moment.

  6. I will focus on what I have so that I experience abundance, remembering that unhappy people focus on what they want, and they feel deprived.

  7. I will be grateful.

  8. I will believe that all people are equally valuable and worthy by virtue of being human, and that makes me valuable and worthy.

  9. I will accept others as they are: valuable, loveable, unique and worthwhile.

  10. I will stop assuming I know what others think and feel.

  11. I will not judge others (or myself) because it is harsh and destructive.

  12. I will let go of my Shoulds.

  13. I will remember that other people’s actions are almost always about them, not about me.

  14. I will communicate, ask questions and listen.

  15. I will be curious.

  16. I will lower my expectations.

  17. I will remember that “being human” means being imperfect and making mistakes.

  18. I will take chances.

  19. I will live my values.

  20. I will remind myself that “I don’t know” is a good answer.

  21. I will listen to my body.

  22. I will remember to breathe.

  23. I will get enough sleep.

  24. I will remember that if I ask for what I want and accept what I receive, I will get what I need.

  25. “Serenity is not freedom from the storm, but peace within the storm.” I will live by this motto.

Expounded on here: 25 Resolutions for Happiness: What I’ve Learned…So Far, by Molly Stranahan, Psy.D.

© Copyright 2006 Molly L. Stranahan. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, January 07, 2008

"One's philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes. In the long run, we shape our lives and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And, the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility."

- Eleanor Roosevelt

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Heart Healthy Food Links

Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes Diet (calculate the amount of fat and calories you should be eating, learn how much of each food group to eat, neat "create a diet" activity that can help you make food choices and plan meals, tips for eating out, etc.):

Heart Healthy Recipes:,2495,FOOD_19756,00.html

Heart to Heart

Thursday morning at 6:30 a.m. I took my 49 year old husband to the emergency room with chest pains radiating into his arm. I was in denial all day, but so were the doctors. Every time they ran a test they said "we don't think it's his heart but we are doing this just in case" and most of them came back okay. But they kept him for observation. I got home around 7:30 pm and was talking to him on the phone at 8:00 p.m. when he saw a cardiologist for the first time. He came to tell him the last set of enzyme tests was high and they thought he'd had a mild heart attack. I found this out at 8:30 pm, home alone, and of course my husband was alone in the hospital with all night to let it soak in. It was a shock to both of us.

On Friday evening he had a heart catheterization and Dr. Gharib found a small artery that was 99% blocked. They cleaned it out and inserted a stent. I got to bring him home today, which is Sunday.

It was stressful and scary and a huge wake up call for both of us. I guess these bodies aren't going to just take the abuse we have heaped on them over the last 40+ years. We were very lucky it was a minor heart attack and it caused only minor damage to the heart.

We are committed to living a healthier lifestyle. We don't want to go through anything like this again.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year

Wow it's a brand new year! Hard to believe it already 2007 seemed to just fly by. Overall, 2007 was a good year for us. We didn't have too many difficulties.

I worked at the same place all year :). Changed positions briefly but by the end of the year was back in the same position I started in. I enjoyed my job for the most part. I got a nice raise in the summer, and a fun bonus at Christmas time.

I enjoyed walking in the springtime, until I hurt my knee. I never got back to my walking regime after my knee surgery, which I had in September. The surgery was unpleasant, but I enjoyed the brief time off work afterward.

My relationship with my husband stayed strong.

My friendship with my 3 closest friends in "real life" deepened, and I also became closer with some of my "online" friends. One of my friends became a grandmother.

We took a trip to Boone, North Carolina, and our regular vacation trip to the Potomac Highlands. We visited Harrisonburg, Virginia, for a family reunion and along the way went to my favorite place of the year, the drive-thru safari in Virginia. My Mom and Sister and I went to Pipestem for our annual Mother's Day trip.

I stopped making jewelry and closed my jewelry/web design business halfway through the year.

I took up painting.

I spent a lot of time on my spirituality. I meditated on a regular basis. Got my friends interested in spiritual growth again. Through Hay House Radio discovered some wonderful people like Denise Linn and John Holland that taught and inspired me. Made a step toward my desire to create a women's circle with my close friends, although it's still not exactly what I wanted, it is a step in that direction.

My brother moved away but moved back on the last day of the year. My nephew Ely was born, and I got a new "niece" in my sister's dog Franki ;). My nephew Nick entered high school, and my niece Maddie entered middle school. I learned more about my father's side of the family and our connection to the coal wars of West Virginia, and saw the place where he grew up for the first time.

The number of cats remained the same until the end of the year, when Eb (short for Ebony), a black stub-tailed cat, decided he wanted to live on the back porch too. He's not a full-time resident. We're trying to socialize him and would like to find him a home, but I am not sure that is realistic.

We hit a deer and had to say goodbye to our 2003 CRV, and with the insurance money purchased a new 2007 CRV. Two of my girlfriends got new CRV's at the same time.

Overall, I think it was a good year. I don't generally make resolutions. But in 2008 I would like to:

  • work on making better food choices and start walking again;

  • work on decluttering, cleaning and beautifying my home;

  • spend more time with my aging parents and in-laws, as well as my niece and nephew;

  • take a trip to Florida to see Aunt B;

  • continue in my spiritual growth and learning, starting with taking a reiki class; and

  • spend more time in nature, even if it's just getting back to gardening.

Here's to a great 2008!


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