Healthier Living with Chronic Conditions

Healthier LivingI recently attended a training to be certified to teach the Stanford University Chronic Disease Self-Management program.  I have been wanting to teach this class for several years.  I was excited to learn that I would not only get to attend the training, but that I had an opportunity to attend at no cost and that it was being held in my hometown.  Normally the course is held at Stanford and it was going to cost the hospital around $1500 to send me.  What a blessing!

The training was much more valuable than I expected.  I learned the practical aspect of how to teach the class.  I also learned what a powerful tool this could be to help others become better self-managers.  It all revolves around giving people the tools they need and empowering them to take charge of their own lives.

Throughout the training we not only learned how to be instructors, but we also learned the same things a participant in the class will learn.  We were expected to participate and set action plans.  We reported our progress and encouraged each other and helped each other identify barriers and come up with new solutions.  We left the class with a certificate and with motivation to become better self-managers ourselves.

The subjects covered in the Healthier Living with Chronic Conditions class are 1) techniques to deal with problems such as frustration, fatigue, pain and isolation, 2) appropriate exercise for maintaining and improving strength, flexibility, and endurance, 3) appropriate use of medications, 4) communicating effectively with family, friends, and health professionals, 5) nutrition, 6) decision making, and, 7) how to evaluate new treatments.If you are dealing with a chronic condition or if you care for someone with a chronic condition, I recommend you look for a class near you.  Check with your local Public Health Department for more information.  If you are in the Red Bluff, CA area you can call 1-888 – 628-1948  for more information on class dates and times.

Are You A Frustrated Perfectionist?


All my ducks are not in a row

I was called a frustrated perfectionist once.  My response to them was WHAT?!?  I feel like I am the opposite of a perfectionist.  My natural tendencies lean towards lazy and sloppy.  My husband can attest to the fact that I love to start things and not finish them.  I have piles of paperwork around the house that “I’ll get to later.”  I have books and magazines I plan to read, projects I intend to finish, and ideas of things I’d like to do.  I am always attempting to organize the flow of paperwork in my office and time and time again it gets away from me.

The person had to explain what they meant by “frustrated perfectionist.”  He described me as someone who tends to see things as too big to tackle so I just don’t tackle them at all.  If it can’t be perfect then I might as well just let it sit there.  My intentions are good…I’m going to organize my stuff, I’m going to finish that quilt (by hand, mind you), I’m going to make nice little chore charts for my kids like I see on Pinterest and teach them all about how to handle their money. Meanwhile, it all seems so daunting so I plant my crops on Farmville and check Facebook statuses just one more time.

You may have things in your life that seem so daunting that you just never start.  Exercise may be one of those things for you.  I know it used to be for me.  You’ve read the guidelines – at least 30 minutes of exercise per day, five times per week.  There are some variations of the guidelines depending on who you’re listening to, but the bottom line is we should be moving more.  Our modern conveniences have allowed us to become a very sedentary society.  The scientific evidence is there.  Most of us do believe that exercise is good for us.  It improves our mind, our emotions, our bodies, even our libido.  So, why wouldn’t we want those benefits?  The truth is, we do want them – if those benefits came in a little yellow pill we would all run down to the drugstore and buy it.  For some of us, it is one of those frustrated perfectionist moments.  You may have friends that actually enjoy running and you think that is never going to happen for you.  You may get winded just walking to the mailbox or doing chores in the yard.  You can’t imagine doing strenuous exercise for 30 minutes almost every day.  So you choose to do other things.  You put it off another day.  You read another article or join another Facebook group to motivate you.

Maybe the trick is to just take it a chunk at a time.  Take the daunting task apart into bite size pieces.  Start with 10 minutes.  You have 10 minutes you can spare, right?  Commit today to walking for 10 minutes.  Or doing some bodyweight exercises for 10 minutes.  Right in your own home – no gym membership necessary.  Play a game of basketball with your kids.  Anything – just move for 10 minutes.  Then commit to doing that again tomorrow.  You may not be training for a marathon, but you are starting a healthy habit that can change your life.  Comment below and let me know what you are going to do with your 10 minutes today.


Getting the Most out of Every Season


seasonsDo you ever find yourself experiencing more than one season at a time? It sure has been that way here in Northern California recently.  One night in December we got 5 – 6 inches of snow.  It is usually chilly here in December, but it rarely snows.  Even when it has snowed in the past, we didn’t get much.  This was quite a storm.  The temperatures hovered around 22 degrees for the next few days.   I remember one comical moment when my husband told me how cold it was and all I could say was, “WHY?”  I know the question didn’t make any sense, but neither did the weather.  We had to go out and buy heavier jackets for our kids because we just weren’t prepared for temperatures that low.  By the next week the temperatures were right around 70.  I remember marveling at the fact that the boy who needed a jacket the previous week was now heading to the store with me in a tank top and shorts.

I was reminded of this situation when I was listening to a sermon from Elevation Church about seasons. Just like our weather can be like more than one season, our lives sometimes feel like two seasons at once.  We can be dealing with the death of one family member while celebrating the birth of another.  Sometimes things are going great in one area of our lives and terrible in another.  A person may be having great success in business and the future looks bright, but when that person goes home he has to face the failure of his marriage.

The beautiful thing is that God is with us through it all.  There is something to be learned in each season if we strive to do more than just “survive” it.  Sometimes I breeze through the nice seasons and I don’t take the time to learn and grow and be grateful.  Then I try to just get through the tough season and hope things get better soon instead of taking the time to learn and grow and be grateful.  Each season of my life has something to teach.  Each season is an opportunity to grow.  This year I want to start paying attention to life.  I want to see lessons in everyday events.  I want to learn and grow and be grateful in whatever season I find myself.

How do you weather the seasons of your life? I would love for you to leave a comment and let me know!

Vegetable of the Week – Parsnips

ParsnipsWe tried a new vegetable last week – parsnips.  Parsnips look like  giant white carrots.  I had no idea how they tasted but I found a recipe that included a horseradish butter herb sauce that sounded yummy.  I cut them into matchsticks, but I think next time I’ll just slice them – much easier.  My husband and I really liked them.  The horseradish flavor of the sauce was very mild.  Prep time was only about 10 minutes and cooking time was 30 minutes.  I served them alongside green beans, fruit salad made with greek yogurt and BBQ Tri Tip.  It was a wonderful dinner full of real food & loaded with nutrients.  Next I think I’ll try mashed parsnips now that I know we like the flavor.

Parsnips are high in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber.  They can be eaten raw but they are sweeter when cooked.

Roasted Parsnips


3 parsnips, peeled and sliced or cut into matchsticks
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/3 cup chicken broth
2 teaspoons horseradish
2 tablespoons butter
1 chopped green onion
1/2 clove garlic
2 teaspoons chopped parsley


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Place cut parsnips in an oven-safe dish and season with salt and pepper.  Add chicken broth and cover dish with tin foil.  Roast in oven for 30 minutes and then check for tenderness.  They may take up to 40 minutes.  While parsnips are cooking, mix the remaining ingredients.  When parsnips are tender, drain the chicken broth and mix in the horseradish butter.  Enjoy!

If you liked this post, check out my other posts about our new vegetable adventures:

Easy Ways to Eat More Vegetables

How to Get Kids to Eat More Vegetables

Vegtable of the Week – Rutabega

Vegetable of the Week – Bok Choy

Parmesan Vegetable Bake


Empty Shelf Challenge – Read More in 2014

Empty Shelf

Empty Shelf

I joined an interesting challenge for 2014.  The challenge was presented in a blog post by Jon Acuff and it involved emptying a shelf and spending 2014 filling it up with books you have read. Since I read in so many different ways: physical books, audio books, eBooks, books on Kindle or Nook, I thought emptying an actual shelf would not show off all the ways I consumed reading materials.  So I started a Pinterest board where I can post the books I’m reading.

Another of my goals is to write more in 2014 so I can combine these goals and write about the books I read and review them here.  Reading is one of my favorite pastimes.   I love to read books that spark my imagination, books that inspire, books that teach me something new, books that make me a better person, books that make me think. Right now I am reading Wheat Belly on my Nook, Celebration of Spiritual Disciplines in hardback and I am listening to A Storm of Swords (Game of Thrones Book 3) in audio format. As you can tell, my interests are varied.  I can’t wait to see how many books I can enjoy in the next 365 days!

If you are interested in joining me in the Empty Shelf challenge, please let me know in the comments below.  I would love to hear about what you are reading.  I would love to follow your Empty Shelf Pinterest board if you post the link in the comments.



500 Words Per Day for 30 Days

Writing 500 words per day

Writing 500 words per day

I joined a challenge for the month of January 2014 to write 500 words per day.  I want to be a better writer and the only way to be a better writer is to WRITE!  The challenge came from writer Jeff Goins.  You can read more here.

Getting better at writing means that I will be better at my job (I am a nurse educator) and it will make this blog more interesting to read.  Writing is therapeutic.  Some things I write may never be seen by anyone else.  Some days I will be writing to check things off my to do list (“write blog post”), other days I may be writing to get something off my chest.  The bottom line is that I will write.  I did my first writing yesterday, January 1 and it was easy to get out around 350 words.  Then I had to push myself to keep going.  I am going to have to be focused to meet this goal.  This morning, because the kids are out of school, I would have been able to “sleep in” a little longer, but I set my alarm early in order to meet my goals.  I was able to get some ramblings down on paper, write a new blog post, edit a blog post and organize my thoughts.  It feels great to have so much accomplished before anyone else in the house is out of bed.

Are you a writer?  Do you want to be a writer?  Then write! Even if you want to just journal for the next 30 days – join the challenge.  If you will be sharing your writing publicly, put the link in the comments so I can follow along.