New traditions…

Change. It’s never easy.

christmas tree lot

(photo credit: Steven Dipolo/Flickr)

Today a BIG change in our Christmas tradition happened.

My family will probably think I’m silly and overreacting about such a seemingly minor change. But I don’t care. I’m mourning the change…despite the fact that it’s medically necessary. Yes…I’m still bummed.

Here’s the deal…we’ve always had a REAL Christmas tree. For 32 years. Beginning with the “charlie brown” Christmas tree we had for our very first Christmas in New Orleans. Seriously, it was pitiful…but it was beautiful to me. We were far away from family…in our new home and simply couldn’t afford a big beautiful tree. My sweet husband had to work Christmas Eve; he stopped on the way home and picked up a free, leftover tree. It was small with bare branches. We didn’t even decorate it. It was perfect!

Shopping for our Christmas tree came to symbolize (for me) the beginning of our Christmas celebration. Through the years we shopped at various tree lots, Boy Scout lots, commercially owned lots, “whoever has the best price” lots. We’ve shopped in in the warm and cold, rain and snow, daylight and dark. We used to be a family of 4 scouring the lot for the perfect tree. We’ve had flocked and evergreen. As the kids have grown into adulthood, we’ve transitioned back to just hubby and I on the hunt. Memories of the anticipation, excitement, temperature, sights, smells, sounds, lights, fires in metal drums, sawdust mixed with evergreen boughs on the ground hold a special place in my memory and heart.

Last year we discovered a new reality. Within just a couple of hours of bringing the chosen tree into our home, my hubby came down with what would become a raging sinus infection. He was perfectly healthy prior to the tree entering our home. He has a history of some pretty nasty, seasonal sinus infections often progressing to bronchitis. We had just never noticed it in relation to the Christmas tree before….but it was crystal clear. The tree was definitely a trigger. So out it went! Immediately!

This weekend, after some supportive, comparison shopping with my daughter…we finally decided on an artificial tree. Purchasing it in a big box…bringing it home to the garage…just didn’t have the same “holiday feel” as picking out the perfect tree on a tree lot. My son helped get it out of the jeep and into the garage; so technically, we ALL were involved in picking THIS tree and bringing it into our home.



New traditions. I sense there are memorable new traditions yet to develop. And hopefully, my husband will NOT be sick over the holidays this year or into the future. Healthy holidays are the plan!

Disclaimer: Christmas is clearly NOT about the tree. I know that. I value that the celebration of Christmas is about the birth of Christ. The Christmas tree in our home is merely a seasonal symbol. I value the traditions which encourage us to focus on the true meaning of Christmas.

Thanks for “listening”…I’m feeling better already! That was a fun trip down memory lane. Perhaps some new ornaments and holiday decor will help with the transition…








May 20th = International Clinical Trials’ Day…who knew?

ilindja001p1I’m a nurse…I work in clinical research and I had no idea today was such an important day in this industry. A little bit of reading and I have learned quite a bit.

While the recorded history of clinical research goes all the way back to Biblical times (Book of Daniel); James Lind, MD, is credited as the first physician to have documented a controlled clinical trial of the modern era. While working as a surgeon on a ship, he was appalled by the high mortality of scurvy amongst the sailors. His description of the trial covers all the essential elements of a controlled clinical trial.

Lind describes“”On the 20th of May 1747, I selected twelve patients in the scurvy, on board the Salisbury at sea. Their cases were as similar as I could have them. They all in general had putrid gums, the spots and lassitude, with weakness of the knees. They lay together in one place, being a proper apartment for the sick in the fore-hold; and had one diet common to all, viz. water gruel sweetened with sugar in the morning; fresh mutton-broth often times for dinner; at other times light puddings, boiled biscuit with sugar, etc., and for supper, barley and raisins, rice and currants, sago and wine or the like. Two were ordered each a quart of cyder a day. Two others took twenty-five drops of elixir vitriol three times a day … Two others took two spoonfuls of vinegar three times a day … Two of the worst patients were put on a course of sea-water … Two others had each two oranges and one lemon given them every day … The two remaining patients, took … an electary recommended by a hospital surgeon … The consequence was, that the most sudden and visible good effects were perceived from the use of oranges and lemons; one of those who had taken them, being at the end of six days fit for duty … The other was the best recovered of any in his condition; and … was appointed to attend the rest of the sick. Next to the oranges, I thought the cyder had the best effects …” (Dr James Lind’s “Treatise on Scurvy” published in Edinburgh in 1753)


Have you ever thought about how new medicines are developed? New medical devices? New treatments?

You guessed it…clinical trials! While this video has a European approval focus…the concept in the USA is the same (in fact often we are working on a trial that has already received approval in Europe but is still in the trial process in the US)…with the final USA approval being with the FDA, the US Food and Drug Administration.

Have you participated in a clinical trial? I’d love to hear your story!




Happy Birthday, Florence Nightingale!

As a nurse, Florence Nightingale is a very important part of the history of my profession.

Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing was born on May 12, 1820. Her most famous contributions came during the Crimean War; by improving sanitation, hygiene and nutrition, she played a major role in reducing the death rate of wounded soldiers from 50% to 2%. She became known as “The Lady with the Lamp” for making her nightly rounds tending to the wounded.

Here’s an interesting video I found on youtube – “Who was Florence Nightingale?”

And then I found this rare recording of the voice of Florence Nightingale.

I am amazed and astounded by the strength of this woman. Lives saved. History changed. Medicine and nursing forever improved.

Happy Birthday, Florence! Your legacy lives on…your lamp is still shining brightly!



working hard at this mindfulness thing…it requires constant readjustment of my thinking…which is the point I believe…

I did a great mediation this morning via myyogaonline…the intention of the meditation was perfect for me today.

“Meditation on Mindful Living” – by Bernie Clark

Some thoughts I took away:

When a loved one talks…listen…really listen.

To live mindfully means to just live.

The purpose of living is not to get the end of our life.

But if we’re not aware of living we are missing our life.

If we’re not aware of our loved ones, they’re not a part of our life.

If we’re not aware of our joy, we’re missing our joy.

Live and love mindfully!



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Sunshine Vitamin – getting yours?

Did you know that Vitamin D is also referred to as the “sunshine vitamin”?

Did you also know that if you aren’t outside for 15 minutes every day – IN the sun – then you are probably deficient in this important vitamin? As humans we are unique because we are able to make our own vitamin D with adequate sun exposure. This vitamin is a critical component for absorbing and retaining calcium and phosphorus…both are necessary for building bone.

As I was reading about Vitamin D and what it does for us today – I noticed the sun was bright and shining. Time for a quick walk!

With Angel on her leash and my timer on my phone set for 15 minutes off we went into the sunshine. When the road turned and I looked ahead at the shady areas I simply turned around to stay in the sun and kept walking. With some uplifting tunes on my iPhone – it was just the break and energizing moment I needed.

Take time for yourself and get out in the sunshine! It’s good for your body and soul!



Health = Wealth

Today is the first day of the rest of MY life!! Have you heard that before? Have you embraced the concept? I am!

I’ve made a commitment to MYSELF this year to get healthier. I’m convinced that Health = Wealth. Without health we’ve got nothing…make that I’ve got nothing.

While visiting family over the holidays, we celebrated the one year anniversary of sobriety for my brother-in-law, Bryan. We are very proud of him! I am confident the journey to that one year mark was not always an easy one! During one of our gatherings, someone offered me a glass of wine…I hesitated because Bryan was present…I didn’t want to make him feel uncomfortable. His immediate response to me?

MY drinking problem has nothing to do with how much YOU drink.

WOW! What a great statement that is…and I need to apply it to MY drug of choice…FOOD!

For years, I’ve allowed myself to be sabotoged by those around me…and it’s time to STOP! I can go out to eat with my family, I can go to someone’s house for a meal…but I, and I alone am responsible for what goes on my fork! So for now on…my mantra to the food pushers around me is:

MY eating problem has nothing to do with how much YOU eat.

As much as I want those around me to be at their healthiest too – I cannot control the choices they make. I can only control what I put on MY fork and into MY mouth!

Beginning today – I’m focusing on :

  • eating REAL, whole, fresh, organic, unprocessed foods
  • eating lots of colorful fruits and vegetables
  • eating foods with plenty of fiber
  • eating foods with healthy omega-3 fats

I am owning the responsibility for what I put on my fork. I challenge you to do the same!

It’s time for us to become the healthiest versions of ourselves possible!



Out with the old…in with the new.

Out with the old. In with the new.

We are in Virginia visiting with family for the New Year’s holiday. We have much to be thankful for and to look forward to in the new year…

  • family
  • love and laughter
  • relationships
  • health
  • new beginnings
  • radiation treatment “graduation”
  • 1st year anniversary of sobriety
  • our daughter’s engagement (yay!)
  • new babies (yes, plural) on the way
  • friends
  • did I mention family?

My heart is full and overflowing! May we all be blessed in this new year and embrace the opportunities that lie before us.

Happy New Year!!



(photo taken from facebook – unknown originator for credit)


Isn’t it beautiful? And healthy too!

After the gluttony of the Thanksgiving Holiday’s…and yes, I tried to moderate myself, but our favorite Thanksgiving foods are not exactly the best choices…I allowed myself to indulge as part of my 85% rule (85% of the time I strive to make healthy choices…allowing for 15% slack). Unfortunately…I find that once I allow myself to indulge…the 85% begins creeping downwards to lower and lower numbers. In otherwords…once I allow myself to eat junk…it’s easier and easier to continue to eat junk. Not good.

Today…I’m refocusing. Refocusing my diet. Refocusing my exercise. Refocusing my gratitude journaling. Refocusing in general.

My “refocus” smoothie:

*vanilla protein powder

*frozen raspberries

*handful of raw organic baby spinach

*1 tablespoon Udo’s oil


Blend & enjoy!

Don’t wait until January 1st to refocus…work on living your healthiest NOW!



Healthy Crock Pot Chicken And Dumplings

Thanks to my daughter, I’ve been exposed to a new website dedicated to healthy crock pot cooking…check out

Healthy Crock Pot Chicken And Dumplings is on our menu tonight…

Healthy Chicken & Dumplings

via Healthy Crock Pot Chicken And Dumplings.


  • Stew Ingredients
  • 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth (no sugar/dextrose added)
  • 1 tbsp. marjoram
  • 1 tbsp.. garlic powder
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts – cut into small chunks
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 large onion – peeled and diced
  • 4 large carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 4 stalks celery, cleaned and sliced
  • Dumpling Ingredients
  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tbsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 cup milk (any milk you typically use is fine. I currently use unsweetened almond milk.)


  2. Step 1 – Pour the broth into your crock pot.
  3. Step 2 – Add the marjoram and garlic powder to the broth and turn the crock pot to high.
  4. Step 3 – In a pan, combine the olive oil, onion, carrots and celery. Saute until the onions are translucent.
  5. Step 4 – Add the veggies and cut up chicken to the crock pot.
  7. Step 1 – In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt. Whisk to blend well.
  8. Step 2 – Pour in the oil and milk and mix with a wooden spoon.
  9. Step 3 – (Be sure the broth is hot before adding the dumplings to the pot) Using two teaspoons, scoop up and round off your dumplings and scrape into your pot. (Just like making drop cookies)
  10. I cooked this on high for about 3-1/2 hours. But if you need to cook it longer because you are leaving for the day (or cooking overnight), turn the crock pot to low and cook until the dumplings and chicken are cooked through. (My guess is about 4-6 hours). It’s important to know how your crock pot cooks here. Every crock pot is slightly different.
  11. Also, the dumplings will look a little odd after they have been cooking at the top of the stew all day. They create a sort of “crust-like” cover. Just break them up with a wooden spoon and stir them into the stew to finish cooking. Simply break one open to be sure it’s cooked all the way through.

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I followed the directions exactly, using organic ingredients and unsweetened almond milk. Stay tuned for our review!

Nutritional Content 1 serving – 1 cup

Calories: 145 Total Fat: 5 gm Saturated Fats: 1 gm Trans Fats: 0 gm Cholesterol: 27 mg Sodium: 269 mg Carbohydrates: 12 gm Dietary fiber: 2 gm Sugars: 2 gm Protein: 14 gm Estimated Glycemic Load: 5

Nutritional Information estimated at Data may not be accurate.

Recipe and Nutritional information shared from

Aim for 85%

“You don’t have to make 100% healthy choices all the time. It’s what you do most of the time — day in, day out — that counts. The healthier you get, the easier and more automatic healthy choices will become.”

#20 on 101 Revolutionary Ways to be Healthy

I am LIVING this right now and it’s so exciting!!

A few weeks ago I began a concerted effort to learn more about where my food comes from, how it’s processed, how it gets to my table and how I can make better choices for my health and my family’s health.

I began making conscious choices about what and how much I eat. I’m choosing organic when I can and certainly choosing “real” foods over processed foods. I’m choosing water instead of other drinks.

I’ve also been ramping up my activity – nothing drastic…walking more, sitting less. Using the stairs instead of the elevator. I’ve made simple changes that anyone of almost any health status could make.

I weighed myself for the first time today in a few weeks and I’ve lost 4.6 pounds!!! All with simple, focused, conscious changes in my life. That’s almost a 5# bag of potatoes!!! GONE!

You don’t have to eat organic 100% of the time. You don’t have to exercise for hours and hours in a given day.

Learn to make better choices. Then be consistent with your healthier choices. Your body with thank you!

Aim for 85%. Here’s to your health…