Sherry's Story

Sherry has a great story.  She has been diabetic for years and she has made some massive changes!   "I have been on a lifestyle change. It has been a year following a ketogenic food plan.  When I started this journey Read more

Pharmacy to Farmacy

Many of you may know Erin-- the fabulous Pharm D that worked in our office a few years back.  Erin is a phenomenal gal and we embarked on the journey  into natural medicine around the same time.  As we both Read more

When Should I Take My Supplements?

If you are like me -- you are just starting to realize why it is important to add supplements to your diet.  Even if we are eating a clean, healthy and unprocessed diet;  the mineral content of the soil Read more

Natural Tips for Avoiding Colds

This cold and flu season is still upon us and unfortunately, many patients are still being plagued by these nasty viral symptoms.  Here are a few tips to try if you feel like you are coming down with something. Of Read more

More Homemade Salad Dressings

Blackberry Balsamic Vinaigrette 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar 1/4 cup avocado oil or extra virgin olive oil 1 tsp local honey 1/3 cup blackberries   Process all the ingredients together in a blender and then season with ground pepper and sea salt The beauty of this recipe Read more

Healthy Mayo and Ranch Dressing

This stuff is a must -- If you read labels these days you will be hard pressed to find a mayonnaise or salad dressing that doesn't contain some type of vegetable oil.  Even the commercial mayos that advertise to Read more

Cauliflower Crust Pizza

So I got a little wicked crazy this weekend and decided to splurge on some pizza.  We do gluten-free carry out around here sometimes, but my future son-in-law inspired me to make my own cauliflower pizza crust. He made Read more

Pumpkin Chai Smoothie

Here's a throwback post that is certainly appropriate for this October weekend.  This smoothie matches the season and will be a great way to start the lovely fall day. Thanks to Smoothie Queen Amy for this great recipe I can't wait Read more

Benevolence

“One bead at a time”

I frequently ponder inequality in the world.  It bothers me that I’m not working harder to change it.   Somebody’s baby’s going hungry while we are still eating out.  I understand consequence for negative choices but I can’t rationalize being born into despair.  Recently, a patient of mine traveled to Haiti on a mission trip.  She shared some interesting stories…

“The Haitian village that we worked in was a very close-knit community.  Women are the primary caretakers of the children and most of what they know is passed down from the older women of the village.  Unfortunately, this includes a ton of what we would call “old wives’ tales”.  Because of the lack of financial resources, women must breastfeed.  They simply cannot afford to buy formula.  However, young mothers will often be influenced by older women that their milk is “bad”.  They believe if a mother cries a lot (due to postpartum depression) while she is nursing her baby, that the tears will create a vacuum that literally sucks her milk up into her head where her brain will then poison the milk when it travels back to her breasts.  Young mothers, not wanting to poison their babies with breast milk, will sometimes feed them a watered-down inadequate supply of formula leading to malnutrition.  Or they will try to feed them baby food instead of milk when they are much too young to digest it well which leads to diarrhea

The Haitians are in dire need of basic nutrition and health classes.  But I think it will take patience and consistent teaching over years — maybe decades — before it overcomes the old wives’ tales and superstitions they have been taught.”—–Denise

This year at Christmas, our office decided to forgo the annual secret Santa gift exchange and donate to Gleaner’s Food bank.   I was then stricken with the decision of what to give the office staff that would follow this “give back” theme.  I found a great local chapter of Amani Organization that solved my dilemma.

The Amani Children’s Foundation partners with New Life Home Trust to care for abandoned and HIV+ infants and nurses them back to health.  Since 1993, New Life Homes has rescued over 1200 infants.  OurIndianapolischapter sells beads and Kenyan market items to raise money to support these foundations.  The beads are made by Kenyan women at the Kazuri Bead Factory.  These beads are then brought to theUSand crafted into jewelry, key chains and novelty items.  100% of the proceeds go back to these hard-working Kenyan women to nourish and clothe their families.  Thanks Indy Amani for opening the local chapter in 2009.  More importantly, thank you for easing my mind when buying a gift for someone that isn’t starving.  At least it gives me a morsel of integrity.  This is my baby step to alter inequality, contributing to help feed infants hatched into desperation.

What a difference it makes!
Visit Amani’s site today and online ordering is now available!
 
Posted on by Angela in Benevolence, Call to action, Charity, Crafts, disease, Family, Mind, Spirit 1 Comment

Get Real

Everyone has a story.  A life changing moment when they undergo hardship and change their perspective on life by developing a new sense of identity.  Seth Godin calls it the “flipping point”.  Alcoholics Anonymous calls it “rock bottom”.  I simply call it my story–or your story—- Something that happens to make you change the way you think about things.  Certainly it can happen several times in life —and probably should as we all continue to evolve as people and adapt to our surroundings.

My good friend Katie decided to share her story and discovery of her life mission.  Katie writes,” 10 years ago when I was on bed rest for my daughter, Molly, my entire perspective on health & life changed drastically. I already shared with you my Juicing love 🙂:) but wanted to share with you the rest of the change. Having been a public school teacher & cheerleading coach for 10 years I knew girls needed women who had “been in their shoes” to come alongside them and be transparent about life. Thus, began a ministry I started for girls, Get REAL in Christ (Get REAL inC). www.getrealinc.org We have programs for girls from grades 1 and up.

In Sept. we partnered with the Indiana Fever for an event which opened an exciting door for us. Former Victoria’s Secret Model, Kylie Bisutti, has joined our team and wants to be a voice to girls on respecting themselves & help us empower other women to come alongside girls and start Get REAL groups in their communities.”

I encourage you to check out the Get Real site!  Katie is an inspirational person that empowers herself against disease and is constantly reaching out to help others!

Posted on by Angela in Benevolence, Body, Call to action, Diet, disease, Exercise, Mind, Nutrition, Spirit, Whole Food Leave a comment

New York, New York

 

New York—a place of culinary delight, the city that never sleeps–and unfortunately today, shut down and holed up because of hurricane Sandy.  Well she may have been worthy of “Greased Lightening” but this kind of disaster is not welcomed with a Pink Lady slumber party!  Our best wishes and tons of positive energy being sent to all those suffering the effects of Hurricane Sandy right now.  It also prompts me to say ” Are you living the best life you can?”  Did you actually wake up this am grateful for shelter, food, and health?  I didn’t and I feel convicted saying that.  We should all strive for happiness every day–this day could be our last —  Simply become who you are and get on with your happy self!

Posted on by Angela in Benevolence, Body, Call to action, Spirit Leave a comment

A Loyal Son’s Farewell

This tribute is in honor of one of my favorite patients whom recently lost her battle with ovarian cancer.  She was an incredible woman and the kind of person that really touches lives, including my own.  Her children are both patient’s and friends of mine and I wanted to share this with you.  I can think of nothing better than to have my son or daughter feel this way about me after I have passed.  Her kids may have lost her here on Earth-but, they will never lose the character and integrity that she gave them.

 

Her son writes the following final tribute after putting her to rest yesterday—

 

“Mom was a charter member of St. Susanna. Like many good Catholic mothers she was involved in choir, fundraising, Women’s Club, festivals, and other church activities, while being a devoted mother, daughter, and wife. So like many good Catholic families, when a special dessert or covered dish appeared in the kitchen, and we asked “Is that for us?” the frequent reply was, “don’t touch that, it’s for church.”

• Mom’s devotion to family was very real. She and Dad not only made sacrifices for their offspring, but each remained attentive to their respective parents. Mom remained a constant companion to her folks when they were in good health. When her parents and her husband, Ed, fell ill later in life, she was the consummate caregiver until each passed on.

• Mom’s move to Plainfield marked a totally new phase in her life. Despite being in her 70s, the change in surroundings from rural Mooresville to “city life,” brought her a lot of new and renewed friendships, closeness to church, and a remarkable range of new activities.

• Her outlook was a mixture of a mature experience and youthful enthusiasm. When she first moved to Plainfield, someone asked if she would like to transport the elderly. Despite her generosity, she hesitated, because she wasn’t sure she could spend so much time with “older people.” She was committed to physical activity going to water aerobics several times weekly until a few years ago, and recently renewed her interest in card playing, joining a euchre group in the area.

• In addition to continuing her regular attendance at Notre Dame games, and her relish of the pregame tailgating, she added the occasional Colts home game, and opened a new era of travel. As a child and younger adult, she had already seen much of the US with parents and us kids. She began traveling with St. Susanna friends to Great Britain, Ireland, Hawaii, and the Mediterranean.

• When the role of tour guide became too much, she enlisted her son Ed to be her chaperone for her continuing excursions to the Emerald Isle, around  7 or 8 in total. She reasoned that there were 1000 pubs in Ireland, and we still had most of them to visit. As recently as last fall, she was considering another trip.

• Until two years ago, when her health was beginning to decline, she still served as an ombudsman for the needs of her adult children and extended family. Our medical needs, transportation issues, and especially our day-to-day problems were never too much for her to try to handle.

• During her final years, Mom never lost her optimism, nor her acceptance of God’s will for her. As each of us is called upon to be Christ’s human presence to one another, Mom was a great example of that calling to her family and all who knew her well. Mom was not above human frailties, but our memories of her are of her unqualified love.

• Christmas was a shared passion with the rest of the family. Mom celebrated Christmas from Thanksgiving to the Epiphany and often beyond. Even when she was physically able to do much of the work, it took weeks to do all the decorating, cookie baking, shopping, and churchgoing.  Midnight mass was followed by a great breakfast in the wee hours of the morning, and she had her last yuletide gathering earlier this year.

• The church raffle/dinner/auction was an annual observance for Mom. She attended enthusiastically each year, and this year (not surprisingly) we bid successfully for a number of items intended for this coming Christmas. It was a standing joke in our household, from January on, “Do you know, it’s only *** days until next Christmas?”

• Throughout her life, even in recent months, her dry and sharp wit remained. There were a range of family inside jokes and sayings, and the slightest hint would raise Mom’s eyebrow and prompt a mischievous look.

• As we reviewed her photos and other memorabilia of her long and rich life, we were struck by one overriding impression, that of her goodness, her strength, her gentleness, and of a life well lived.”

 

A dear friend of mine shared this with me as well—hope this helps Ed!

~DEATH~
WHAT A WONDERFUL WAY TO EXPLAIN IT


A sick man turned to his doctor as he was preparing to

Leave the examination room and said,
‘Doctor, I am afraid to die.

Tell me what lies on the other side..’
Very quietly, the doctor said, ‘I don’t know..’
‘You don’t know? You’re, a Christian man,

and don’t know what’s on the other side?’
The doctor was holding the handle of the door; 

On the other side came a sound of scratching and whining,

And as he opened the door, a dog sprang into the room
And leaped on him with an eager show of gladness.
Turning to the patient, the doctor said,
‘Did you notice my dog?
He’s never been in this room before.
He didn’t know what was inside..
He knew nothing except that his master was here,
And when the door opened, he sprang in without fear.
I know little of what is on the other side of death,
But I do know one thing…
I know my Master is there and that is enough.’

Posted on by Angela in Benevolence, cancer, Charity, disease, Family, Guest Blog, Mind, Spirit Leave a comment

Whitney’s Tribute

So I’m questioning myself after my 18yo’s graduation today , in which I found pride and faith once again;   Why did Whitney Houston lose her faith?  She claimed that she found the “greatest strength to love herself ”  but,  she lost it when she allowed herself to succumb  to her disease.   As I honor her and miss my childhood memories of singing her greatest tunes –I pity her for letting life and “outside forces”  bring her down.  We all need to remember that we are warriors –crusaders and not the victims of life.  We are “smart, kind, and important.”   The diseases we bring upon ourselves are only the results of letting others that are more worldly become the winners. Please trust your inner Angel and remember that life is a journey –it doesn’t have to be a battle.  Ask your higher power each day to make you attentive to all the signs that you may be given.  I thank my id, ego, and superego daily these days for allowing me to find my “greatest love of all” –myself.

Posted on by Angela in Benevolence, Body, Call to action, Diet, Family, Mind, Weight Loss Leave a comment

The 2012 Mother’s Day Anthem!

Thanks Dee—

I had a wonderful Mother’s Day–I spent it laughing with true belly laughs doing mundane chores with my kids and family.  I appreciate the blessings I have been given and especially take the time to think about them on these holidays! I’m lucky that my Mom is there to support me and not afflicted by disease— however, many people are and are not so lucky.  I am more than thankful that Dee is a fabulous mom despite her woe for her own mother’s ailments.  She has learned from the best example that keeping God or Kindness as your king will always lead you in the right direction.

Dee writes today:

“Mother’s day anthem for 2012.  It was a great day. All that ever matters to me is getting to spend time with my mom and my daughters. Over the past few days, I’ve been in touch with my brother and sister more than usual and we were all three reminded of how close we are and how great our appreciation is for our mom. She currently lives in a nursing home after suffering a stroke when a brain aneurysm ruptured 20 years ago. She is wheelchair-bound and after surviving breast cancer a year and a half ago, she also was admitted to and then discharged from hospice for failure to thrive.

Today’s visit with her was, at her request, lunch at Bob Evans. She ordered a side dish of sausage gravy and biscuits, only eating half. From the time we picked her up she started thanking us for the “treat.” Then she stated and reiterated how blessed she is, for having a good home with fun activities, good food, and a lot of friends.  When I walk into a nursing home and look around, just being there briefly is more than I care to be there. Her food is ground up in a food processor to make it easier to chew and it seems to be bland and flavorless. People around her moan and call out into thin air. And even though it is a very clean place, relatively, it sometimes smells like an outhouse.

God actually, is everywhere, often in the shape of mothers!

And yet, my dear mother whose left breast is missing, and has no use of one leg or hand, is perpetually blessed. I’m blessed just to know her.”

 

I read a post on Facebook the other day–it said that giving up complaining is one of the 15 things that will make you truly happy.  Apparently your mom is a step ahead of the rest of us.  My father had a stroke a few years ago and was fortunate that it did not leave him paralyzed.  It did affect his balance and he had to spend a few weeks in a rehabilitation center.  It was a difficult time for all of us and we are blessed that he is doing well now.  I think my vow in honor of your mom tomorrow will be to go an entire day without complaining about anything.  It may be rough and I may have a really interesting post for you tomorrow –but, I will try.  The best way to change the world is to change yourself!

Posted on by Angela in Benevolence, Body, cancer, disease, Guest Blog, Mind Leave a comment

The Richest Gift—Family

 

This post is for Mother’s Day.  It is also for the value of family and remembering what is actually important in life.  Dee wrote a post last week that may have kept me out of  jail for considering inflicting some serious harm to a few of my selfish family members.   I texted my mom in my frazzled state (Yes, she is totally awesome and knows how to text) and asked her if I was on the verge of insanity?—she replied, “step back and put things into perspective.”  Thank God for my family and friends that are all consistently there for me!  And thank you Dee for putting perspective back into this crazy world.   Sometimes, you have a “horrible, terrible, no good, really bad days”  just like Alexander–but, that is no excuse to throw in the towel or move to Australia!

Dee wrote:
It’s lunchtime and I just returned from a meeting, so I’m at my work desk. Over the past couple of days, I have been corresponding with my sister Jody and my brother Bil via emails. Simultaneously, I have been conversing with my two teen daughters through text messages and arguing with my husband in a Google Chat. And in my work world I am discussing relatively trivial matters with co-workers and acquaintances while logging hours on a timesheet until 5 o’clock rolls around and my real life begins. I’m fortunate to have a job that I really like, fortunate to have a job at all, and a vehicle to get here and a home to return to. But, in the last couple of days, my brother and sister have given me the richest gift: a reminder of the inherent love that we were given for family and the appreciation of character traits that our parents instilled. This month is Mother’s Day, and Father’s Day next month. There are no words to describe the kindness and love of life my mother has. As a Christian, I know that my joy should never come from my circumstance but rather from the knowledge that I am God’s child and am promised eternal life. My mother has been subjected to nearly tragic medical traumas, and yet she is joyful. She’s in a wheelchair with physical disabilities and mental deficits, but she exudes love and compassion. Our father, the earthly one, is one of the strongest men I know. Even as I’ve grown up and have moved away from him, I don’t think there is any human who has the capacity to make me feel safe the way that my dad would or could. It’s like being a little girl and watching him lift something beyond my ability in amazement.And as for my sister and brother, they are a constant source of showing me in life, what Jesus would do. That’s really what I believe my purpose is, to find ways every day to help whoever God puts in my path. Whenever I see a kid with a broken down bike or offer a kind word to an elderly woman, I stop and thank God for letting me be in the right place at the right time. Jody and Bil are just like that, walking the walk, selflessly. I love you guys, so much.P.S. Dad called me today. It was the first call he made to me in about two years. Thank you.
Posted on by Angela in Benevolence, Call to action, Charity, Mind, Spirit Leave a comment

For Joe and my superhero Amy

Lucy and Ethel or The Lone Ranger and Tonto, never mind the gender…the common denominator is simple: 100% True Friendship. Funny how in life we all can relate to side kicks. My ‘side kick’ happened to be my best friend Joe Griffith : aka “Superman Joey”. Joe was my very best friend in the whole world. I don’t even think our family and friends really understood just how much time we spent together. We could hang out all day and night … return home and still talk for endless hours on the phone till the wee hours of the morning. Joe was my confident,my partner in crime, my side kick Superhero. I knew no matter what circumstance he would be there for me. He was funny,caring, and so full of life. Joe was a devoted son,brother, and friend who volunteered in the community. We shared the love of film,art, and cooking together. He had this gap between his teeth that always bothered him greatly, but to me- it was the one thing that set him apart. It brought out his radiant smile and warm deep brown eyes. He had good morals, strong character, and loved God. When he smiled you could feel his heart full of joy and love. We laughed ,cried , and did just about everything together until I got the call one night that would change my life forever. The phone call that ended up making me a stronger woman in the fight for suicide prevention and awareness. I was supposed to go walking with Joe hours before he took his life. He left me a voice mail asking to do dinner later instead of a walk. I often wonder what if I would of been there to intercept that call – would our conversation at that dinner or on that initial walk made a difference? Why or how did I (his best friend) not see any signs of depression or anxiety? What did I do wrong? Was it my fault? It has been 3 years since Joe’s death – I still find myself asking these questions at times but know I will never have an anwser. I also know I had no control of Joe’s actions. I know survivors of suicide must face and ask these same questions. I can understand that deep pit in their stomach the moment when they hear their loved one is no longer with them. It is in that moment of silence and emptiness we die a little inside ourselves too. We feel empty … our loved one and “sidekick” is gone, forever gone and it is a very lonely feeling that attacks our entire body. After Joe’s death I found a letter I had never read before that he wrote to me. I found it one day in a stack of my favorite dvd’s we had been going through before his death and knew it was his way of telling me he loved me, he was with God…and he was okay. People often told us we were like Superman and Wonder Woman – attatched hip to hip trying to make a difference somehow with or without capes in the community. Whenever I was working on a charity event, I could always count on Joe being my number one supporter. He would participate in walks or help me get wonderful donations. I knew after reading the letter, there were many Superman Joey’s out there in the world who brought joy and love to their friends and family. After Joe’s death I realized my own friends became distant and the stigma of Joe’s suicide was a major part of the battle. I registered for my first Out Of The Darkness Walk and realized there were other survivors who understood exactly what I had been going through. A core group of Joe’s friends walked the first year. It was just what we all needed to get through his tragic death. It opened my eyes to be stronger and understand more the importance of suicide awareness and prevention. Unfortunately, the following year I could not find anyone to walk with me. Friends and family members simply just could not make it. I was stunned and a bit numb. Why wouldn’t anyone take time out to walk for someone who showed so much love to them..or just walk in support for such a huge loss? I heard friends were still angry at Joe and some were ashamed to be associated with suicide. Could it really be because of the stigma associated with suicide? I decided to volunteer and run the merchandise booth that year even if it meant going by myself. I felt so alone that day. I pretty much knew no one, had a huge pit in my stomach, and was missing my best friend terribly. I remember I walked up to the registration tent and was greeted with much love and support from other volunteers and staff. I knew then I was right where God wanted me to be. They say God works in mysterious ways – well he does. I was working the merchandising booth when a survivor came up to me to ask if I had seen the Superman and Wonder Woman? I had no idea what they were talking about and all of a sudden in the middle of a crowd of hundreds I see a red cape flying in the wind. I think to myself – “Out of ALL of the Superheroes …My Superman Joey is here at this walk – Unbelieveable!” I made my way to the people who were dressed in the superhero costumes and explained my situation. Within minutes the man dressed as Superman immediately grabbed and hugged me as he shouted he was walking in honor of Supermen Joey today! Was this real? Was this a sign? It was then at that very moment when I felt that Joe was there in spirit. I was not alone anymore.That feeling of spirit was spread all around the walk that day and it was as if I could feel other survivors celebrating their own loved ones too. Their loved ones may not have been there physically but they were living within us each in our own special ways. In every word, in every song, in everything God creates… their spirits live on. I ended up not being alone that year after all, it was then that I wanted to make sure no one should have to ever walk alone. This year I am very proud to be a committee member of the walk .Our local AFSP Indiana Chapter is also going to have volunteers as ambassadors at The Out Of The Darkness Walk for those who may not have anyone to walk with. I never imagined I would be so passionate and such an advocate for a cause that still has such a strong fight and stigma. I am not a Wonder Woman or a superhero by any means nor was Joe. We were just two best friends, two side kicks who will always have a forever bond and now a message. The message is simple – we all need to keep educating. AFSP has paved the way for us all to speak openly and honestly about suicide prevention and awareness. I lost my best friend, my side kick , my own Superhero to this horrible illness. I never saw the signs. I never dreamed this would happen to me. Most importantly, I never thought this would of happened to Joe. I miss his touch, I miss his voice, I miss that silly gap between his teeth that made his smile so bright. The message is simple: The more we educate others – the more we will continue to make a difference. We must remember that every walk does matter …every voice does speak volumes …and every minute counts.

Posted on by Angela in Benevolence, Family, Spirit, Suicide, Uncategorized Leave a comment