Saturday, July 13, 2019

Surviving the Loss of a Partner - Life Changing on Every Level

Breast Cancer

“I have breast cancer.”  Tears were welling up in Sandy’s eyes as she shared the doctor’s diagnosis.  I felt the warmth of tears as well but with it came an instant firm resolve that we would beat this monster. 

This journey is never one we take alone.  It affects our loved ones deeply.  As we began our five-year journey of surgery, chemo, radiation, and severe pain, Sandy never complained. 

Our journey was one of hope, followed by disappointments.  An emotional roller coaster each time cancer raised its ugly head, each time more aggressively than the last.  I tried to be strong but felt helpless.  Alone, I cried and prayed that God would show me a way to help Sandy, to allow me to bear some of her burdens.  All I was able to manage was to make her as comfortable as possible and to be there for her. I watched her brave battle as cancer slowly and radically gained the upper hand.  I never lost hope; praying and believing for a miracle.

And then.....she was Gone

And then…. she was gone.  Gone.  The battle was lost encountering a new one of extreme pain from that loss.  It seemed even more unbearable.  In a trance-like state, I progressed through the arrangements finding some comfort in fulfilling her last wishes.

The pain was overwhelming and the tears would not be contained.  Would this ever end?  Friends and family tried to help but it was part of the journey I walked alone.  The house was void of Sandy except for the memories.  The furniture, the flowers, pictures, and photos all reminded me of happier times.  What I thought would be unbearable, was more excruciating than I had imagined.

Nothing Eased the Pain

I began attending a Grief Support Group in hopes of understanding the process of grieving with the help of coping tools.  But the pain and the tears remained.  My doctor recommended a change of scenery – rearrange furniture, replace photos, hide the things that trigger pain and tears.  I felt guilty as I collected personal memorabilia and gave them to Sandy’s son, Kevin.  But I knew it was important and seemed to bring some relief.

And Then Sue Walked In

After completing the Hospice Grief Support group, I made a spur of the moment decision to attend the Friday afternoon hospice drop-in. 

Arriving at the same time, I held the door for Sue and introduced myself while helping her with her coat.  I felt a spark that surprised me as we talked and then agreed to meet for coffee or lunch.  Sue was a recent widow and it was her first visit to the support group as well.  We hugged each other good-bye and I felt an inner peace – the healing began.

I waited a week to contact Sue unaware that she was anxiously waiting for my call.  We agreed that the way we met and immediately connected was amazing.  It was as though Sandy and Jim sent Cupid to shoot an arrow through us at the same time.

We are astounded and in disbelief at how two ‘mature’ people in their 70s or 80s could fall in love so deeply.  We were twenty-year-olds once again.  We still grieve at what we lost but rejoice for what we found.
Fred and Sue Stark
Moving Forward is a Choice

Supporting one another we have learned to move on towards closure of the past and a new beginning.  I was there when Sue put Jim’s ashes in the ocean, and she was with me when I visited the mountain site where I had placed Sandy’s ashes.

After one of our recent road trips, I bought Sue a ring and proposed.  We are now officially engaged and planning our beach wedding in Mexico.  Happiness has replaced the pain for which we both are eternally grateful. 
Fred and Sue Stark

Are You Grieving the Loss of a Partner?

I assumed it would take years to recover from the most painful experience of my life.  Both Sue and I believed we would spend the rest of our lives being single.  Newfound love was not in our realm of reality.  Yet….it happened.

Guilt can sometimes try to rob you of that new relationship with questions.  Is it too soon?  Are we too old? 

When love takes us by surprise, it is especially shocking and cannot be explained.  It is a gift; a miracle that continues to hold us in awe.  We believe that if you have suffered this loss – your loved ones want you to be happy again.  You cannot bring them back.  If love comes your way – embrace it fully.  Don’t hesitate. You will be glad you did and so will those who have passed. 

This is a true story told to me by Fred and Sue Stark

Fred and Sue Stark

Fred and Sue Stark

Friday, June 21, 2019

The Only Explanation is that it was a Miracle

When you pride yourself as being organized and knowing where everything is, imagine what it feels like when you lose something of great value.  Last month I shared that my current circumstances were overwhelming on every front and stress can play many games on your psyche to the point of losing focus.  Have you ever experienced arriving at a destination without recollection of driving there?  You may have been so intense in your thoughts that your brain automatically took over for you.  That is the mode I functioned in for ten days last month.

Battered Hope

After a four-day successful speaking tour, I was flying high on adrenalin.  On the first day, I sold out of the boxes of books I had taken for the entire week.   The response was remarkable and many people were encouraged and motivated to make changes in their lives.  

I changed into my traveling clothes, put my jewelry in my purse, got into my car for the long trek home, turned on my phone and what I read caused me to start shaking.  In a couple of words -- I was the victim of fraud, identity theft, and our online business had been shut down.

Shock comes in many different forms

For the next five hours, I sat in my car talking on the phone trying to make sense of it all.  By the time I got home, I was a wreck and my head was spinning.  For the next ten days, I barely left the office trying to salvage the loss, closing bank accounts, and figuring out what to do next.

On day eleven, I had to finally look in a mirror, get dressed and go to work at our store.  When I opened my jewelry box, I noticed that my cherished ring was missing.   Just that one, everything else was there. The last place I wore it was when I was on the tour.  I retraced my steps, called the hotel where I stayed, and searched my car but came up empty.


topaz ring

It wasn't just a ring.  My husband had purchased the center stone four decades earlier.  As a gemologist, he had never seen a natural pink Imperial Topaz before and knew how rare and valuable it was.  He never wanted to sell it so made it into a ring for me a few years ago.  Now, it was missing.  I felt sick.

My friends were praying that it would turn up, and I prayed that the angels would somehow return it to me.  This is where the story takes a whole different turn......

A few days later, I went to our mailbox and the key would not work.  Strange!  I tried a key in a different box and got so confused I couldn't remember my box number.  I tried every key on my key ring.  Nothing worked.

Frustrated, I went home and started looking in my desk drawer for the post office card with the box number on it.  My desk drawer is well organized with pens, business cards, plastic gem bags and everything I need for mailing.

While I was looking for the replacement key and box number I noticed a small gemstone ziplock bag tucked under the scissors and pens in the back corner.  I pulled it out to put it with the other plastic bags and my ring was in it.  That was impossible!  If I had not lost that mailbox key, I probably never would have found it for years.  This is the first time I have reorganized that drawer in probably 15 years.

An additional twist is that I never found that spare key but when I went to the post office to get a new key, the clerk said, "Your key is on your key chain.  Right there!"  Feeling stupid and elated at the same time with people in line behind me, I didn't take the time to tell her the story.  But I laughed all the way home.  Considering my husband had tried all my keys as well, there is NO WAY that key was there earlier.

We will never know how it got there, but I thank God for answered prayer.  This experience spoke loudly to me.  No matter what we go through, God is there to help us.  And He has a sense of humor!

A few days later, standing at the counter in the post office, I heard a voice next to me that I recognized.  It was my son's voice.  He walked out of our lives with his family seven years ago with no explanation and said he would never speak to us again. I looked up to see him with his two youngest ones.  I said, in a chipper upbeat voice, "Hi, how are you?"  Without looking at me he said curtly "Hello."  Then I asked him if these were his two little girls and he said, "One is a boy."  Embarrassed but maintaining my composure on the outside I said, "Oh, yes, I see his face now.  They are both so cute."  

The lady behind the counter had read my book and in this small town would know exactly what was happening.  She looked uncomfortable.  I left, waved good-bye to my two little grandbabies, went to my car and burst into tears.  

I am so thankful that I have two other grands who are in my life.

When my daughter asked him why he wasn't wearing a shirt he replied, "I'm wearing my abs!" 

Welcome to a Fly on the Wall group post. Today six bloggers are inviting you to catch a glimpse of what you’d see if you were a fly on the wall in our homes.

Buzz around, see what you think, then click on these links for a peek into some other homes:

Baking In A Tornado        
Never Ever Give Up Hope   
Menopausal Mother           
Spatulas on Parade           
Bookworm in the Kitchen  
Follow me home              

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Are You Aware of the Toxins in Your Vitamins?

What is the World's Greatest Con Job - #3 - Test your Vitamins

natural vs synthetic vitamins, healthIs there a difference between types of vitamins?  Most definitely!  Is there a way to determine these differences?  Most definitely! The purpose of this series of posts is to bring some understanding to the choices we have when purchasing vitamins.  Synthetic vitamins act like drugs in the body and they are NEVER vitamins and NEVER good for you.  Yet, we blindly accept what the manufacturers tell us -- a lie.

First of all, let's recap last week's post.  There are three types of vitamins:  synthetic, natural altered and natural unaltered.

This is the very basic part of deciding what vitamins to buy and there are many other factors that come into play.  Even if the average consumer knows of the three different types there are to choose from, how do you determine which is which?  If you have not read the first post please do so here. It explains the difference.

food supplements, con job, health, natural

Dr. Timothy O'Shea, author of Conventional Medicine Vs Holistic: A World of Difference points out: Vitamins are not individual molecular compounds.  Vitamins are biological complexes.  They are multi-step biochemical interactions whose action is dependent upon a number of variables without the biological terrain.  Vitamin activity only takes place when all conditions are met within that environment, and when all co-factors and components of the entire vitamin complex are present and working together.  

Vitamins cannot be isolated from their complexes and still perform their specific life functions within the cells.  When isolated into artificial commercial forms, like ascorbic acid, these purified synthetics act as drugs in the body.  They are no longer vitamins, and to call them such is inaccurate."

Wish I Was ALLOWED to List Synthetic Brands Here 

I always offer to research a client's vitamin intake to determine if they are natural or synthetic.  I will do the same for you -- just contact me.

Does it matter where you purchase them?  Yes. Drugstores and grocery stores carry synthetic vitamins. Period.  Do not be fooled by labels.  Most companies try to use the word 'natural' somewhere on their label; whether it be in the name itself or the description.  COAL TAR and PETROLEUM are natural sources so legally the word natural can be used on the label.  If you knew you were swallowing petroleum to improve your health, would you continue?  Would you actually believe that these products could bring you good health?

What about health food stores?  Most of the vitamins sold in these stores are either synthetic or natural altered.  Next time you are in a health food store look around. You will find that many of the vitamins that GROW TOGETHER in nature are isolated and sold separately.  Your body is not made to assimilate them in that state. They are out of balance and your body will reject them.  This also applies to a multi-vitamin. Each ingredient listed must be in balance to how they grow in nature; i.e. zinc to copper ratio.

Pre-Natal and Children's Vitamins are 
Among the Worst

What if I get my vitamins from a medical professional or a naturopath?  You have the right to ask them all the questions I will be listing in this series.  They should be able to answer each one.   Unfortunately, most often they simply do not understand the difference unless they have had specific training in that area.

I have written to dozens of vitamin companies asking them these questions.  I have also asked doctors, nurses, nutritionists, etc. and most do not have the answers. They did not realize there was a difference or what questions they should be asking.  Or they don't care.  Remember, this is a multi-billion dollar industry.

There are practitioners who have taken the time to educate themselves in this field. They know, without a doubt, that the products they are giving their patients will meet the criteria -- and can prove it. 

The second point in last week's post was whether or not there is life in your supplements.  The best test is to ask the company for a picture of the chromatograms.  If the life factor, or live enzyme activity is there - it will be evident. A dead vitamin's picture looks dead.  A live one looks like a picture of a sunburst.

There are a couple tests you can do for fun.  Put one of your multivitamins on a little piece of aluminum foil and bake it in the oven at 400 degrees for about ten minutes. The only change you should see is a slight lightening in its color, the same as you see in raw versus cooked vegetables. More than likely what you will see is a black oozing of a sticky or coal-like substance.  Sometimes it will just be black specks but you should be able to see it distinctly.

Another test is to put your multivitamin into a glass of tepid water. Within 10 minutes, the vitamin should disintegrate and form a volcano.  If it is dead, it will just lie there. Sometimes, the coating will flake off but that's it.

Another is to leave a vitamin on the counter for a few days -- it should start to "grow" and if it gets wet, it will get moldy -- like REAL food.

Bottom line:

The vitamins you take must be bio-available - the ability for your body to absorb the nutrients it needs, when and where it needs them.  Otherwise, why are you taking them?

Question number two

The next question to ask is pretty simple and most people around the world are aware of the seriousness.  Does the company use GMO-free ingredients?  Major supplement producers actually will openly admit that they derive many of their formulas from GMO crops.  Consumers just are not paying attention!

My experience has been that most companies who
distribute vitamins don't have a clue about the source of the raw product.  I know of one such company (which shall remain nameless here) that bottles vitamins for distribution to over 1500 different vitamin companies.  All they do is CHANGE THE LABEL -- the product is all the same crap.

If a company is producing non-GMO products, they will be proud of it and be able to substantiate their raw sources.

I will continue this series next week.  Please let me know if you run the vitamin tests I suggested and your results. Take a look at your labels and shoot your questions back - I'd love to help.

Friday, June 7, 2019

Does it Drive You Crazy When You Can't Fix Something?


How would you complete this sentence?  "I am so done taking care of....?"  What immediately comes to mind?  

When asked that question, my first instinct was I want to stop trying to fix stuff.  This is extremely difficult because I am a fixer.....PERIOD.  Fixers look for problems they can solve.  When they hear someone express a dilemma, fixers' minds are searching their computer brain for an answer.  Then, to make it an even bigger challenge not only do they try to fix it but enhance it.
Winston Churchill

Fixers or rescuers cannot resist the temptation to jump in and try to fix everything.  I used to think that my dad taught me to do that because he was a minister. I observed him counseling people and helping anyone who needed it.  

However, I have recently realized that this is not why I am this way -- it is because my mom got deathly ill after I was born. I spent my youth watching her suffer.  She died when I was a teenager and I felt responsible somehow.  I couldn't fix her so now I want to fix whoever I can.  Guilt drove me to be a fixer.

helping someone

From what I understand, this is not unusual behavior and one of the basic reasons someone becomes a 'fixer.'  They could not fix something of great importance to them so they try to fix any and every problem they encounter!  BAM.  That's it.

Helping people is second nature to a fixer.  People seem to gravitate to them when they have a situation requiring help.  Fixers often choose professions such as a nurse or therapist.  As a health coach, I have helped hundreds of people who wanted optimum health and/or those who were desperate without hope.  It is my passion and I always guarantee results.
crying on your shoulder

But it does not end there.  It doesn't matter what the problem is - from a computer issue to a serious family problem - if I can't help, I will find someone who can.  It motivates me.  It drives me.  And sometimes, it is exhausting or extremely discouraging when my efforts fail.  But I never give up trying.

From the Pearl Jam song:
When something's dark, let me shed a little light on itWhen something's cold, let me put a little fire on itIf something's old, I wanna put a bit of shine on itWhen something's gone, I wanna fight to get it back again
When something's broke, I wanna put a bit of fixing on itWhen something's bored, I wanna put a little exciting on itIf something's low, I wanna put a little high on itWhen something's lost, I wanna fight to get it back again

But the original challenge was:  "I am so done taking care of....?"  And my response would  be -- "other people's problems."   But I know I will never stop.  It is in my genes, inherited and environmentally, to find a way to help.  

Helping without looking for payback

My secret subject was submitted by Tamara at The Three Gerbers

Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week eight brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts. 

Here are links to all the sites now featuring Secret Subject Swap posts.  Sit back, grab a cup, and check them all out. See you there:

Baking In A Tornado                    
Wandering Web Designer             
Cognitive Script                           
The Bergham Chronicles              
Bookworm in the Kitchen                  

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Feeling Good Every Day is Actually an Option

Do you enjoy downtime when you feel sick?  Miss work because of a cold or the flu?  Lack of energy?  Imagine what it is like to wake up every morning and feel good every SINGLE day?

My daughter told me a few years ago that she has zero memory of her mom ever being sick or tired.  I hadn't really thought about it but it is true.  Every day I feel great - I work hard, am rarely tired, eat what I like and never get sick.  

As a health coach for the past 30 plus years, I have been helping people reach their health goals and build a strong immune system.  It is possible.  And not that difficult!

What is the World's Greatest Con Job?

Last month I was asked to be on a National television show to talk about skin and how to avoid getting those awful brown aging spots.  

As we age, many people expect to have skin issues. Dry rough skin. Skin that has lost its elasticity.  Those fine line wrinkles and those not so fine ones.  Skin that has become transparent and lost its luster.  Skin that bruises easily.  Aging spots.
aging skin, synthetic vitamins

Then there is hair.  Thinning hair.  Dry, limp, dull hair.  Hair falling out.  Flaky scalp.  Any of these sound familiar?

These are some simple signs of aging we all expect and are not surprised when they occur. We slap on creams and lotions or have laser treatment in an effort to prevent/cover-up the inevitable. We buy the most expensive shampoo and conditioner thinking they should be superior.  The whole process becomes a workout and rarely produces the long-lasting results we were hoping to achieve. As a health coach, a question many clients ask is "You have such beautiful skin, what's your secret?"

Skin is our largest organ and just like any other organ, we need to take care of it internally. The same goes for our hair.
hair loss, lack of vitamins
Add caption

I have been going to the same hair stylist for several years and almost every time she sees me she makes the same comment.  "Where do you get so much hair?"  Or...."Am I ever going to find at least one gray hair on your head?"

I have to get my hair thinned twice a month because it gets so thick and grows so quickly.  Healthy hair, nails and, skin are a window to internal health.

As a symptomologist, many of the questions I ask a client refer to our exterior.  The reason is simple.  When we are aging on the inside, it shows on the outside.  Looking in the mirror reveals a lot more than just what we see if we know what to look for.

My journey to optimum health started 40 years ago when the specialist told me I had cancer and would surely die without a hysterectomy.  You can read that story here, but essentially I refused to accept that diagnosis.  He yelled at me "Then, go home, suffer and die."  I told him I would walk in there pregnant one day and I did - 14 years later.  

Initially, I had no answers but I was determined to find them.  As a result, I began the education process to fulfill my new mission in life. Teach people to take time for their health today so that they would have health for their time tomorrow.  

As I shared in If Your Health Matters, What are You Doing About it? we can take control of our health.  We can educate ourselves.  We can improve our health as we age.

I get my annual check-up every few years and each time the doctor tells me my stats improve.  As he is aging, he is beginning to ask questions for obvious reasons. "Whatever you are doing, keep doing it."  I haven't had a cold or flu for four decades. I have as much or more energy as most people 20 years younger than me.  I feel the same almost every single day and it's not boring -- wouldn't you love to feel great every day - waking up refreshed after a night's sleep?  I eat whatever I want without worrying about allergies or sensitivities.  

I am not bragging here -- but want to make a point.  You can experience optimum health. You can improve with some patience and a desire to feel wonderful.  It is a matter of seeing it through until you get the results.

I promised you some secrets and the biggest secret is one that is well hidden.  Many of you reading this are probably taking vitamins/food supplements just as I was when diagnosed with cancer 40 years ago.  So, why don't they work as we expect them to work?

There are three types of vitamins.  

Synthetic, natural altered and natural unaltered 

Synthetic:  These are the tricky ones because the label most often will say 'from natural sources' or 'natural' or something similar.  Hang on to your seat belt - here is one of the best-kept secrets:  COAL TAR is a natural source.  PETROLEUM is a natural source.  Synthetic vitamins are made from these wonderful ingredients that are toxic poison to you.  The repercussions down the road are horrendous.  I believe this is the world's Number One Con Job. Millions of people believe they can obtain health and life to their bodies by eating dead, lifeless coal tar.

Before I address a client's issues, I ask them to bring in the vitamins they are taking. On the label, it is easy to find the scientific names for the synthetic properties in these ingredients.  People are always appalled when they see it in black and white.  

synthetic vs natural vitamins

Natural Altered:  These are vitamins that may come from an edible natural source but have been altered.  For example:  The body requires the food (or vitamins) you eat in proper proportion to the way they grow in nature.  In nature, all B vitamins grow together. If a manufacturer isolates one of them, like B12 or B6, they are taken out of balance and will not be assimilated properly.  The results you get from these altered vitamins are close to the same results you would get from medication.  They may help curb the symptoms but they cannot build health.    

synthetic vitamins

Natural Unaltered:  These are the purest form of food supplements that can build health and restore damaged cells.  

But there is so much more

One of the KEY factors is whether or not the natural unaltered supplements you are taking have a life factor. Although scientists have tried, it is absolutely IMPOSSIBLE to build life from death.  If there is no enzyme activity, no life factor - what you take in the front door will exit the back door making little improvement to your health on that trip.

enzyme activity in natural vitamins
Chromatograms show live enzyme activity

Think about it.  What is healthier?  Overcooked vegetables or raw ones?  Now apply that to the vitamins you take.  But, hold on, there's SO much more.

Next week I will share several more components to look for when you are purchasing vitamins to improve your health.  Instead of whining about your health, wouldn't you love to be bragging about it?  

This post could actually change your life and start you on a journey to living well and enjoying it even more.  How would that make you feel?

Contact me for a FREE session to start your optimum health journey

Friday, May 24, 2019

Why Garden? You Just Have To Do it All Over Again

Let's get one thing clear.  I ain't no gardener.  I hate gardening and when someone tells me that it is therapeutic, it makes me wonder.  What is fun about bending over all day in the hot sun, getting sweaty and filthy?  I suppose some people feel that way about housework or any number of things that we consider chores.  

The weeds grow back, the house needs cleaning......

HOWEVER...last week I looked at the flower garden and decided it was time!  It extends around the entire yard and has a million or so different plants.  Almost all of them bloom, including the weeds.

I spent four-and-a-half hours weeding one day and could hardly walk for a day or two afterward.  I found no satisfaction in it and after looking at the yard, it looked as though it hadn't been touched.  That means I have to do it soon - AGAIN.

Can You Tell the Difference?

When the lawn guy cut the lawn, I asked him about weeds vs. flowers and he said, "If you don't like it - get rid of it."  Now that is something I understand, and I predict a whole lot of digging in my near future.  Once I get a half million or so plants out of the way, I'll be able to see what to keep -- like rose bushes and lilac trees.

I thought that spending time in the garden would help with my stress level -- WRONG.  It has been one tough month emotionally which has consumed my time and thoughts.  

Consequently, this month instead of sharing what has been going on behind closed doors, I will share some wonderful and fun pictures of my grands.  No matter what, they make me smile.  

I thank God for a wonderful family and friends.  It sure helps me through those rough patches.  I am blessed and know that a lot of people have to go through incredible struggles and trauma without support.  I believe that is why my talk show is successful.  People are looking for HOPE and ENCOURAGEMENT.  Tune in sometime when you need a boost.

Here are those pics:

Always the Entertainer

Fun Time at the Fair

Easter Egg Hunt in the Woods
What a Wonderful World it Would Be if
Every Little Girl Had a Kind Big Brother

Welcome to a Fly on the Wall group post. Today 6 bloggers are inviting you to catch a glimpse of what you’d see if you were a fly on the wall in our homes. Come on in and buzz around my house.

Buzz around, see what you think, then click on these links for a peek into some other homes:

Baking In A Tornado        
Menopausal Mother           
Spatulas on Parade           
Bookworm in the Kitchen
Follow Me Home