nurture

How to Stop Beating Yourself Up Over Weight Gain

This week’s Self-Care Sunday post continues the back-to-school theme. I confess, August isn’t my favorite month. And not just because it’s hot. Plump and Missing Tail Feathers An odd-sounding hummingbird zoomed in to the feeder and spread its tail feathers wide—what few he had left. His plump body looked like he’d visited the feeders repeatedly over the past few weeks. Maybe more often than he should. I snapped photos of him and his sorry tail, and thought about how I…

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3 Surprising Reasons Why Birding Can Help You

Birding and Alzheimer’s Prevention During my impressionable growing up years, my mom ran a respite care business in our home. The ladies she cared for introduced me to the problems with aging: forgetfulness, fading memories, and loss of dignity through dementia and Alzheimer’s. I didn’t know many kids my age who could identify ‘Alzheimer’s’ as a proper noun, and not a Southern rendition of ‘Old Timer’s.’ Ever since those days, I thought that memory loss and odd behaviors went hand-in-hand…

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The Importance of Speaking Well of Your Children

Self-Care Sundays For the next eight months, I’ll continue the MAPS theme from my Write 31 Days Challenge. I strongly feel that in our self-indulgent culture, we often lose sight of the difference between nurturing ourselves and indulging ourselves. Occasional indulgence won’t hurt anyone, but a steady diet of indulgence that overlooks actual self-care can leave us feeling empty and confused. The acronym MAPS stands for Mental, Academic/Artistic, Physical and Spiritual—the four areas of our lives that we need to…

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The True Meaning of Surrender

Feeling Like Jonah Now I know how Jonah felt. When the dean of students sent out a pleading email asking for all female employees to gather at the girls’ dorm, I shuddered. She needed our help to eradicate an invasion of…lice. I’ve lived through three personal lice invasions when our girls were still in elementary school. They brought it home twice, and I brought it home once. I got it from students at the public school I worked at when…

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Let Light Transform You From Bleh to Beautiful

I love hummingbirds—small, speedy, colorful and difficult-to-photograph birds that measure from 2.75 inches to 5.5 inches in length. These measuring-spoon sized avian acrobats act like California Condors when defending their territory from foreign invasion (i.e., other birds approaching ‘its’ feeder). I feel tired just watching a hummingbird. Their hearts can beat up to 1260 times per minutes (a cardiologist’s nightmare). They excel in foreign acquisitions (they build expandable nests out of insect and spider silk). A hummingbird can consume up…

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Six Ways to Simplify Your Mornings

Night Owl or Early Bird? Do you love to wake up before the sun? Maybe you prefer to stay cocooned under the covers until the last minute. Either way you can simplify your morning routine so that you’ll have more time for what you love best. Personally, I enjoy waking up before everyone else and having quality quiet time. But getting up early doesn’t insure that I’ll have time alone if I don’t take a few steps to simplify my…

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Ten Ways to Sneak Healthy(er) Habits into Your Day

The Problem with Denial “Lie still,” the radiation tech told me, “and whatever you do, try not to swallow!” Dread built in me as the motor on the CT scanner whirred and I slowly slid into the tube. The tech’s warning to not swallow immediately made me swallow convulsively. Again, and again. My mouth went dry and I struggled to produce saliva for a surreptitious swallow. I hoped that the tiny swallows wouldn’t completely mess up the CT scan, because…

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Every Traveler Needs a Copilot

co-pi-let•noun: a pilot who helps the main pilot operate an airplane, helicopter, ect. Siri as Copilot “I think you missed the exit,” I said, as we flew down the highway. Sure enough, a second later Siri went through her ‘recalculating route’ routine. Pedro looked at me and grimaced. Even though Siri had plotted a route and given verbal cues at each stage of the game, he hadn’t tuned in to her promptings. Which goes to show that we can easily…

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Why Academic and Artistic Wholeness Matters

ac-a-dem-ics • noun: courses of study taken at a school or college art • noun: the conscious use of skill and creative imagination The first part of this series focused on mental wholeness—how to achieve it and why it matters. That constitutes the M in the MAPS acronym. The next section focuses on the A—academic and artistic wholeness. What is Academic Wholeness? Academic wholeness matters because our brain, like a muscle, needs exercising. Learning shouldn’t end with high school, or…

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The Importance of Taking Care of Past Trauma

Epigenetics • epi-ge-net-ics noun: the study of heritable changes in gene function that do not involve changes in DNA sequence For the past week I’ve written about ways to nurture yourself. The first point on the map consists of seeking mental wholeness.  Trauma Can Change Your Genes Did you know that trauma can change your genes? Changing your jeans—good. Changing your genes due to trauma—not so good. Scientists have discovered that changes in our gene function can happen outside of…

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