Showing posts with label healing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label healing. Show all posts

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Where the Blind Horse Sings - Book Review

To be in a place of sanctuary is a true blessing.  To be the sanctuary that another individual needs, whether human or animal, is one of the greatest privileges in life.  To know beautiful beings who have helped transform others, and themselves in the process, is often the impetus for ordinary people to become extraordinary instigators of deep community, deep healing, deep peace, and deep joy.

Reading about Kathy Stevens, and her Catskill Animal Sanctuary (CAS), was more than enough to convince me that sanctuary is something that rescue animals gift to their extended human family.  Through a series of moving vignettes, Stevens illustrates the often unexpected intelligences (including emotional intelligence) that farm animals possess and use in relationship with one another and their humans.  

Who knew that an ornery, previously mean cockfighting rooster could come to crave human contact (eventually choosing to sleep in bed with his rescuer)?  Paulie knew.

And what gives with Rambo (a former sheep terrorist known for inflicting bruises on the unsuspecting)?  When and how did he become the early alert system for animals in peril?  Was this altruism in action?

You will meet a fire survivor (Dino the pony), a duck afraid of water (Petri), a goat found wandering in Manhattan (Oliver), and a blind horse afraid to move even one inch (Buddy).  There will be pigs, cows, rabbits, and a yellow lab named Murphy.

Mostly, there will be love—the kind of love that enables animals and people to live in harmony with those much different from themselves (at least on the surface).  

Where the Blind Horse Sings is a call to compassion.  It will speak to anyone who wishes to offer up sanctuary as her gift to the world.  

Reading this may change the way you see animals and your relationship with them.  It is likely to cause reflection about the sensitivities, the emotions, and the personalities of animals.  

Finally, for anyone at a crossroads in life, just as Stevens was before launching Catskill Animal Sanctuary, this book may raise the following questions: What do you love?  What do you do best?  What do you believe in?  What makes your heart sing?

Learning to move forward without fear made Buddy's spirit sing.  His story brought me to tears.  It also inspired me to move beyond those things that stood between me and my song.









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Sunday, November 22, 2020

5 Health Related Gift Ideas

Review of 5 Health-Related Gift Ideas

Especially during Covid times, health-related gifts are something to consider.

Some people may have had enough thinking about Covid and prefer not to be reminded of it via gifts. However, these items are practical beyond this crazy time.

Here's a List of Health-Related Gift Ideas

Product Page Featuring the Items Listed Below Is Here

1. A Pulse Oximeter

We recently bought a pulse oximeter; it's similar to this one. Ours requires two AAA batteries. After watching endless news reports on how tracking your oxygen levels with Covid is wise, I decided we needed to have one on hand. According to medical experts, Covid may cause your oxygen levels to drop quickly, so tracking is important. Fortunately, so far we've avoided the Covid nightmare here (knock-on-wood), but just to be safe, I ordered one. 

2. A Blood Pressure Device

Several people in my family have one of these on hand. I decided, yep, time for us to get with the program. I have the blood-pressure monitor app on my phone; however, it's a bit awkward. The Health App is handy when you're on the road, but an actual blood pressure device is nice to have in the home. On the above product page, you'll notice they range in price from lower to higher.

3. Face Masks

One year ago, would we have ever considered face-masks as a gift-thing? The world is slipping off its axis or something. Most of us have masks now, but a lovely gift idea is personalizing it to the user's taste. I would love something that fits my personality and likes. I'm too busy to hunt for them or make them; I need someone else to do it for me, lol.

4. Air Purifiers & Humidifiers

Not just during Covid times, but all year round, an air purifier serves a valuable purpose; it cleans the air. Since most of us resist purchasing what we consider 'extras,' this item makes both a thoughtful and practical gift. Who wouldn't love to get one of these? When you visit the product page (link is above), you'll notice they can be a bit expensive depending on the one you choose. When pooling resources, this makes a quality gift.

If an air purifier is out of the price range, consider a small table-top humidifier. They're especially useful for apartment dwellers. We purchased several a few years ago and gave them out as gifts. They were very much appreciated.

5. Adjustable Thermostats

We have one, as most people do. If a loved one or friend doesn't happen to have an adjustable thermostat, consider it a practical gift. Check out the Google Nest Auto Learning Thermostat as well. Ours is a different brand and not self-learning, but we use it for both heat and air conditioning. I have various times of the day stored at different temperatures. Very handy. Highly recommended.

Build a Personalized Health-Related Gift Basket

Consider making a health gift basket with cold and flu products, a thermometer, masks, healthy juices, boost, bandaids, vitamins, candles, creams, and lotions - throw in a book or two.

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas <3

P.S. - I'm not a doctor or medical professional - These recommendations are strictly my personal suggestions.





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Thursday, August 6, 2020

The Garden of Small Beginnings - Book Review

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Let's start with the harvest here.  Lest you think this is going to be a book about a widow who has had a breakdown after her husband's untimely and tragic death, and who is still struggling with that loss, let me assure you that this is a book where the reader reaps joy.  I found The Garden of Small Beginnings, by Abbi Waxman, to be a brilliantly written, and delightfully humorous, take on how we get through the gritty times in life.

It's not often that a book begins with whale genitalia.  This is when you know this is not going to be your grandmother's gardening guide.  No... not at all.  This is where the irreverent humor and quirky cast of characters begin to emerge.  

You see, Lilian Girvan is a textbook illustrator.  And sometimes, though perhaps not every day, you are called upon to draw things like a whale's, ahem, penis.  Am I allowed to use the word penis in a book review?  This is surely a first for this reviewer.  

Anyway, getting back to Lilian.  On the day of her infamous illustrating assignment, she is called up to meet with her boss.  Lilian has been assigned a plum project designing the illustrations for a series of vegetable guides.  In order to garner favor with an important client, Lilian has been volunteered to take a Saturday morning gardening class at the Los Angeles Botanical Garden.  This is where the plot (literally) thickens.

Over the course of six weeks, lives will be changed in beautiful and unexpected ways by an eclectic crew of aspiring gardeners.  Though this is not a gardening book, per se, it is a book about how we grow from loss, and grief, and other heartbreaks into who we will become in the next season of life.

I loved this book's characters and witty banter.  Lilian's young children are sheer delight.  This is my favorite kind of read: so well-written, clever, funny, and full of heart.  Highly recommended.





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Sunday, April 5, 2020

5 Funny and Inspiring Things to Help You Smile During Crazy 2020

The Wild Ride that is 2020
Focusing on the good, that's what I've been doing through this global pandemic. However, I understand the difficulty for those struggling with illness and loss and certainly don't mean to minimize that pain.

I want to share some of the humorous and inspirational videos I've recently come across. I hope they fill up your soul during this crazy time.

1. Humor - Pluto Living

This video series by a creative Canadian has gone viral and for good reason! It's hilarious, cute, and addictive. She's developed quite a global following in a short time. Here's her most recent video post, you're going to love it! I've watched this one about ten times already. You can follow Pluto Living on Facebook and Youtube. Check out Pluto's hilarious video on Cats - omg, that one cracked me up.



2. Inspiration - Don't Give Up on Me by Andy Grammer, Featuring the PS22 Chorus

You may have seen this video come across your Facebook timeline. If you haven't, you're in for a moving experience. Whenever I need my faith renewed, I watch the faces of these beautiful little kids singing with Andy Grammer, and I'm reminded that yes, the children will indeed save us. Take a few minutes and watch - your cup will runneth over.



3. Hilarious - Sebastian Maniscalco, The Best Comedian Evah!

Several years ago, while watching a late show, this comedian I had never heard of, did a skit that left me rolling on the floor with tears of laughter running down my face! Right then and there I googled him and watched a full show. Again, tears of uncontrollable laughter ensued! I highly recommend following him and watching his skits and full performances. We saw him live in Toronto a few years ago and no surprise, he was fantastic. The 19,000 seat stadium was filled to the rafters! If you have an Instagram account, follow him: His family posts during quarantine are entertaining. The video below is a full show from 2013. He's created much more humor since then! Enjoy.



4. Spiritual - Off The Left Eye

Each night I listen to spiritual videos from Off The Left Eye. This isn't for everyone, but for me, it brings comfort. They exam the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg (1668-1772), a Swedish Christian theologian, scientist, philosopher, and mystic. His ten thousand pages of records about his visit to the other side while alive are broken down in video chat format. If you're seeking answers, this will help. Here's one of their brief inspirational videos on humanity.


5. Funny - Memes Are Saving the Day

You've seen many comical memes about quarantine and this terrible virus by now. One of my favorites from Boo *F Hoo is, "2020 - Written by Stephen King, Directed by Quentin Tarantino" (lol!). I even find myself wanting to create them now! Read the memes, share the memes, spread the humor.

2020 is turning out to be about mind, body, and spirit. All the best to you and your family. Stay safe during these challenging times. Blessings.




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Thursday, August 15, 2019

How Your Mind Can Heal Your Body - Book Review

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Every once in a while you come across a book that reawakens the intentional use of a power you had forgotten you possessed.  Anyone dealing with chronic illness, pain, a life-threatening disease, or another condition seriously impacting quality of life could benefit from reading How Your Mind Can Heal Your Body.  This is a book I would also recommend to those who support others who are experiencing critical health challenges.

Anyone interested in the mind-body connection is likely to find something of value in Dr. David Hamilton's examination of the enormous healing capacity we hold within.  My hope is that today's book review will encourage the one reading this who is searching for a way to positively deal with an issue that is making life difficult or less satisfying than it could be.

The mind: Do we even have the slightest inkling of what it is doing for us at this very moment?  I hadn't gotten very far into this book before I was completely captivated.  As I write this review, and as you read my words, we are changing the very structure of our brains.  Every thought we are having is reshaping the most marvelous instrument ever created.  We are becoming something new even as we share this experience.

Starting with a review of applicable medical research, Hamilton provides the fuel to launch us into a place of wonder.  The studies he shares took me well beyond my earlier Psychology 101 introduction to the Placebo Effect.  I was especially intrigued by those control group participants who knew they were taking a placebo (a substance that has no intended therapeutic effect) and yet did nearly as well physiologically as the group getting the real medication.  This was something entirely different from the psychological effect of believing in a new treatment.  This was the mind actually healing the body without the assistance of any external chemicals.

You won't be surprised when I say this is not a beach read.  I found that I needed a change of pace after wading through the introductory chapters.  There was much of interest, but it was a lot of information.  Right when I was about to skip ahead, the author shifted gears and moved on to what it looks like to heal the body with the mind.  The profiles of individuals who used the mind to help shrink cancer tumors, to gain strength and mobility after a stroke, and to activate the immune system are the types of stories I find interesting.

It's all about visualization.  The brain doesn't discriminate between what is real and what is imagined.  In other words, what becomes real to the brain is what we imagine, and what we think becomes the basis for regenerating cells within our mind and body.  The good news is that we can experience regeneration every day of our lives.  This isn't a process that shuts down when we reach a certain age.

As an athlete, I was taught the importance of visualization.  Most of us have watched Olympic athletes, during their competition warm-ups, go through a visualization exercise (imagining the race, or gymnastics routine, and every move they will make).  I never really knew exactly why that worked or how the benefit came about.  Reading this book provided me with a better grasp of the why.  It really was astonishing to learn how imagery can elevate performance and strengthen muscles before they are even used.

For those of us who have worried at times about the health inheritance from our parents, there is encouragement about how we can use the power of the mind to impact whether or not certain DNA switches turn on or off.  We don't have to accept that it is inevitable that we will suffer from the same poor disease outcomes.  Where once we felt doomed by our DNA, we can now experience a greater sense of hope, knowing that we are not powerless.

There are many mind-body connection books from which to choose.  I felt this was a worthwhile read.  It set the stage for taking my learning even farther.  Anything that keeps us on the path to healthier living is worth the investment of time and energy.  I'm glad I read How Your Mind Can Heal Your Body.  It reminded me that there is more I can do to be an active participant in my own healing.  It also caused me to celebrate the wonder of the mind and to feel a sense of gratitude for what I have been given.  What more can you ask from a book?









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Thursday, April 11, 2019

Dog Medicine - How My Dog Saved Me From Myself - Book Review

Dog Medicine - How My Dog Saved Me From Myself - Book Review
Dog Medicine by Julie Barton
Most of us have so much going on in our own lives that we seriously question reading a book that will immerse us in someone else's unrelenting anguish.  Why would we want to do that?  We already know from reading the reviews that Dog Medicine is going to make us cry.  When reviews use words like raw and brutal honesty, we know we are in for a read that will demand something from us.

Perhaps that is the point.  Could it be that the demanding, heart-wrenching accounts most grow our humanity, our compassion, and our capacity to connect with others in the ways that are most authentic and useful?  In a genre overflowing with I-was-saved-by-my-dog books, what does it take to transcend it — the genre and what cynics would say is the same old, same old story?

Well, here's the thing: this story matters because Julie Barton and Bunker matter.  Without Bunker, the author's Golden retriever puppy, Julie would surely not have lived to write this book.  And this book needed to be written just as much as we all need to read it.

When initial therapies failed to lift Barton out of the deep, dark depression unleashed by long-term childhood trauma, it took the powerful medicine of Bunker—his unfailing solace—to bring Julie back from the brink.

It is in how the author captures the first glimmers of healing that this book soars.
Perhaps what began to save me was that I started creating this sacred, safe space where he and I met.  In this space, there was no ridicule.  There was no doubt or loneliness.  There was no sorrow or anger.  It was just pure, beautiful being.  It was looking at the world with wide-eyed, forever hopeful puppy wonder.
Could it be that we share in vicarious healing in reading about the transformation brought about by the kind of love that can only be known in relationship with a dog that has chosen his human?  Ultimately, I chose this book because I cherish my animal relationships and the healing they bring me.  I deeply related to the purpose Barton found in caring for a dog with special medical needs.  When Julie's broken psyche bound up Bunker's broken body, the result was a unified whole that the two of them could not have found by any other means.  We are all broken in ways that call for us to find our healing in offering up the gift of compassion... in being the sacred space needed by another.

Given my recent launch as a therapy dog team member, I found inspiration in knowing that, like Julie, the good medicine in my life, in the form of my dog Finn, will make itself manifest in the lives of those who enter the sacred space he and I share.  For what is the sacred, if it is not that which exists to bless others?

It is my hope that Julie and Bunker's story will bless you in whatever way you most need at this point in time.  I will close here with a reviewer's blurb that I found compelling when deciding whether or not to read Dog Medicine:
Read it for the voice, read it to savor the power of love, read it to enjoy an inspiring, hopeful story, read it to learn about healing, read it if you're depressed and want to get better, read it if you're happy and want to stay there.  Whatever else you do, read it.  ~Peter Gibb
Yes.  Read it and savor the power of love.




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The Review This Contributors

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Review This is Dedicated to the Memory of Our Beloved Friend and Fellow Contributor
We may be apart, but You Are Not Forgotten

Susan DeppnerSusan Deppner

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