Author Archives: Empowering Lightworks

About Empowering Lightworks

Personal growth & healing appointments, workshops & art custom-tailored to your nature and needs by artist/healing Roslyn Elena McGrath to help you more fully shine your light.

Spotlight On… Dr. Sarah Derenzo of Vitality Chiropractic & Wellness

Tell us about Vitality Chiropractic & Wellness.

It’s a wellness center incorporating everything from chiropractic and nutrition to massage therapy, cranio-sacral and muscle-based therapies. People can choose to take it all in or just come in for chiropractic care, depending upon their health goals.

My main focus is chiropractic care, which is based on the body’s innate intelligence. Everyone is born with the ability to heal their body themselves. When you have a paper cut and mom kisses it and puts a Band-Aid on and it heals, it’s not the Band-Aid and the kiss that healed it, it’s your own body. That healing is organized by the nervous system, the communication from brain to body through our nerves. Chiropractic is all about removing interference from the system so the body can heal to its best potential. Then we support that with whatever services might be needed, whether that’s nutrition, so your body has the building blocks to heal itself more thoroughly, or fascia care because you have scar tissue that’s inhibiting the way you’re moving. We’re looking at the whole body and getting it to a place where it can create its best healing.

I have a wide variety of training, from trigger point type work to fascia release, either hands-on or with a metal tool. I’m also trained in using kinesio-tape. I work with a very light, gentle touch. My care is not the same as most traditional chiropractors. There’s no force—no rapid twisting, no ‘snap-crackle-pop.” I utilize all of these tools to release the body—the fascia, the muscles, the bones in misalignment, and the body as a whole, which can leave people a little bit more sore because they’re going through all these layers, but they tend to get better results and hold on to care much longer.

What prompted you to go into this field?
I actually didn’t know what chiropractic was. My first degree was in Medical Office Specialty- which is billing, coding, medical transcription. My husband and I had relocated to Wisconsin for his job, and I found a position with a very large chiropractic office. I slowly began to fall in love with chiropractic as I watched patients heal without surgery, without medication, by their own bodies’ abilities. Gradually, I became more hands-on with them, doing therapies and histories and taking blood pressures as a chiropractic assistant, then as an x-ray technician.

I was probably about twenty-three when I herniated a disc in my lower back by very stubbornly moving furniture all on my own. Instead of going to the emergency room and getting pain killers, I chose to go to the chiropractors. They helped me heal completely without taking anything more than ibuprofen and it was amazing! After seeing how they could help me heal from something so severe, I knew this was something I needed to do.

I went to Palmer College of Chiropractic, which teaches one of the largest varieties of techniques available. You learn seven different ways of moving any one bone, plus they offer thirty different electives. So I have a base of a dozen different techniques I draw from, such as Gonstead, Diversified, and Thompson. I don’t practice from any single technique; my chiropractic draws from all of them as well as my soft tissue techniques and energy healing–LaHo-Chi, Reiki, Angel Light. My method is very different from person to person, based on what’s needed and what each body best responds to.

What have you learned from having this practice?
I’ve learned how incredibly powerful our healing capabilities are. When I started my practice in July 2016, I was using force chiropractic techniques. The more I introduced light touch, muscle, fascia, and cranial work, the faster patients’ pain went away, the longer the pain went away, and the more they were getting results like better energy, easier movement, and increased stamina in their workouts. The more I relied on their bodies to do the work and really communicated with their bodies versus forcing the body to move and hoping it accepts that force, the more I saw great results. I’ve moved to completely non-force tonal techniques, working with the tone of the nervous system, and my patients love it. A lot of my patients are scared of the “snap-crackle-pop.” My practice offers a safe space where they don’t feel intimidated or worried.

What do you enjoy most about your work?
I love being hands-on. Fifteen minutes is usually standard for a chiropractic appointment. Mine are a half-hour because we’re working head to toe. That gives us time to talk. Some say nothing; they just completely get in the zone, sometimes even snoring. Other times, we talk about anything and everything. That might include what’s going on in their lives and with their health. That might mean talking nutritional strategies. That’s what I love the most: when we can take the time one-on-one to dive deep into their health and healing, and discover what else we can do to support their health nutritionally and emotionally, so it’s not only about coming in and getting adjusted.

What are your biggest challenges with your work?
Leaving my work in the office. Being in a small community, I see my patients everywhere. If I see a patient who’s hurting and there are no openings, it’s hard not go in on off hours to help her, and sometimes I have. But I realize my family and my husband need time, and I need time to be the best caregiver I can be.

What are the latest developments in your practice?
The care I give is always evolving. The more I learn, the more I can bring to the table for my patients. Recently, I traveled to Minneapolis for training in network spinal analysis. I’ve been incorporating these new techniques and seeing some great results.

We’re looking at how to offer some deeper-dive sessions, especially for my auto-immune and inflamed patients. They can get in a cycle where they feel better after some care and then inflammation creeps back up. We’re looking at ways to break those sorts of cycles, which might mean more intensive care kinds of sessions and incorporating more things into their care.

What are your hopes and plans for the future?
We’re thinking in the next year or two we’ll expand our team. Our schedule has been beautifully full, so I have started putting feelers out for a second chiropractor and maybe a second massage therapist, so we can serve more people and make it a little easier for them to be scheduled at times convenient for them.

Next year, I’m taking leadership training in California and training in Colorado next fall where I’ll immerse myself in all the different non-force, tonal chiropractic techniques available.

What else do you think people should know?
Chiropractic is really for everyone–the brand-new baby, pregnant mama, children, adults, elderly, athletes. Everyone can benefit from it. The birthing process can be traumatic to the infant’s spine and back, so getting those into alignment early on allows that baby to be its healthiest and heal to its fullest. That can affect things like lodging with breastfeeding, colic, and more. Chiropractic releases your healing ability, so it’s really for everyone.

Excerpted with permission from Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine, Winter 2018-19 Issue, copyright 2018. All rights reserved.

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Positive Parenting: Pet Care for Kids, Jenny Magli

Caring for family pets is a big responsibility! Pets need patience, love and attention, food and water, grooming, exercise, playtime, and medical care throughout their lives. Sounds a lot like what we all require, especially kids! So with that, it is important to remember that as kids are learning responsibilities in life, they also must learn that pets are living creatures that deserve to be treated kindly and with compassion, and that they are a lifetime commitment. This can be very time consuming, but well worth the effort. The level of responsibility you teach a child certainly depends on their age. How much responsibility do you think he or she can handle? What would be age-appropriate and considered safe for him or her to do? Overall, as a parent, you are responsible for supervision in pet caretaking by making sure the pet is well cared for.

Here are some points for promoting positive pet care:

  • If there is already a pet in the home, kids will have an idea of what it takes to care for one, but still may need oversight in overall pet care. If a pet is not yet in the home, it can be helpful to start with a “pretend animal” and teach kids the basics of care that way first.
  • Help kids understand that sometimes pets do not want attention, and give examples of what that looks like so they can be respectful of that.
  • Some pets like hugs and some don’t, so it’s important for kids to understand acceptable ways to show affection.
  • Teaching a gentle, calm approach with pets is important.
  • Sometimes it’s important to leave pets alone. This is especially true when they are not feeling well, or they’ve had an eventful day.
  • Teach kids how to interact appropriately with new animals. This includes animals they meet when you’re out around town. When you come across people walking their pets, always ask the owner before approaching an animal. Remind children they must always be respectful, gentle, and cautious when meeting new animals.
  • Make it easy for kids to complete their tasks. For instance, you can draw out instructions and tape to a food container so they know how much to feed the pet.
  • Children can easily become overwhelmed when too much is required of them, so finding a balance that keeps them enthused and participating without feeling overwhelmed is key.
  • Reward smaller kids with a daily “star” for their efforts in helping with a pet-related chore. Children need praise and reward for completing tasks. Positive reinforcement promotes positive results.
  • Offer an allowance of sorts for helping with pets. This could be in the form of a “point system” where a certain number of points are given for specific chores that can be cashed in later for various things.
  • A most valuable tool in teaching kids to be responsible pet caretakers is to set an example by fulfilling this role well ourselves!

Note: There are many books available on teaching kids how to interact with animals.

*Readers are reminded it is entirely of their own accord, right, and responsibility to make informed and educated decisions on their pet’s health care. Jenny Magli disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

Jenny is a Certified Natural Health Consultant for pets and their people, and an Animal Iridology, Healing Touch for Animals (Level 2) and NES Bioenergetics practitioner. She is available for consultations and presentations. She can be reached at (906) 235-3524 or 1healthlink@gmail.com.

Excerpted with permission from Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine, Winter 2018-19 Issue, copyright 2018. All rights reserved.

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Community Improvement: Health & Happiness’s Annual Donation Recipient—Superior Child Advocacy Center

Imagine you are a child being sexually abused by someone you thought loved you. How scary that would be to tell someone. Now imagine the perpetrator told you that if you told someone, he or she would kill you, or kill someone you love.  Imagine the tormented life you would have as that child.

Imagine how much courage it takes for you to report this. Now imagine having to summon that courage repeatedly. Typically, a child must share his or her story and respond to questions several more times after the initial disclosure – once each to the police, Child Protective Services, a medical professional, and a prosecutor, and in several different, coldly official types of locations.

Superior Child Advocacy Center (SCAC) will prevent that by being a one-stop, more welcoming hub for child sexual and physical abuse investigation. As volunteer Hannah Syrjala explains, “It’s not a scary police station, not an interrogation room or intimidating courtroom. The child will be able to come into a soft space and talk to just one interviewer – there are no cops there, no lawyers. Everyone on the team–Child Protective Services, a counselor, medical professional, and law officer-observes the interview from another room, so the child only has to tell his or her story once rather than living it over and over again.”

“Keeping the process to one forensic interview limits further trauma to the child, strengthens the case as a whole, and streamlines how the child gets the different services he or she may need,” adds volunteer and Marquette County Assistant Prosecutor Jill Simms. “The interviewer is specially trained to ask the right kind of questions to get the information needed for an arrest and conviction, and to help the child move forward. A multi-disciplinary team will continue working on each case, assigning services for the child as necessary.”

Studies have shown that without proper intervention, children who are abused are likely to become abusers themselves, or continue to be victims, with poor life skills and increased likelihood of experiencing mental illness and/or drug addiction. “SCAC’s goal is to nip that in the bud to better their lives and prevent future turmoil,” say Simms.

The initiative to create SCAC was begun a couple of years ago by Marquette County Prosecutor Matt Wiese. Wiese explains, “MI law requires that we have a social worker, law enforcement, and medical personnel all address child physical and sexual abuse cases. We’ve learned having a child advocacy center is the most effective way to implement these requirements. It’s been proven to be the best approach in many communities, increasing accountability for perpetrators of child abuse, and decreasing the amount of times children have to appear in court.”

Currently, Delta is the only U.P. county with a child advocacy center. And with an increase in such cases, handling them as sensitively and effectively as possible becomes even more crucial. Prosecutor Wiese says, “We have already been seeing approximately thirty felony cases against children a year, and that’s just counting those under thirteen. The forensic interview room we’ve been using is woefully inadequate – it’s not soft or welcoming. It’s in the courthouse building, next to a stairwell. Children are often distracted by the sounds of people walking by, and by any movement or sounds from the other side of the one-way mirror. Plus we have no ability to record the interview. The center will create a one-stop place with trained professionals in a friendly environment. Digital and audio recordings of the interview will be made. Everything disclosed is captured evidence showing the interview was done appropriately, without leading questions. There will a physical examination room with a trained medical professional who knows how to look for evidence of both sexual and physical assault injuries.

Eventually the center’s services will include education and prevention programs, and may be extended to adjacent counties. However, the biggest need right now is financial. A rent-free initial location has been secured thanks to Trace Holistic Center, which will begin providing forensic nursing for sexual crimes against both children and adults in 2019.

At least $12,000 of the $50,000 goal for Superior Child Advocacy Center’s set-up and first year of operation needs has been raised so far. Grant applications are in process and fundraisers have been organized to pay for expenses such as recording equipment and cameras.

This holiday season, a “Wish List Christmas Tree” will be up at the Marquette County Courthouse. Community members will be able to choose an ornament specifying a needed supply to donate, such as paper, ink, staplers, and so on. SCAC’s future needs include volunteers, installation of recording equipment, furniture, paint, and electronic donations.

Another enjoyable and also healthy way to donate is by participating in the “Lead the Way 5K” scheduled for April 13, 2019.

A healthy, caring community must support the health of our children, our future adults. As Acting Board President of SCAC Dianne Heitman implores, “Please help us to help physically and sexually abused children take back their lives.”

To stay updated and learn more about SCAC, and how you can donate or volunteer, you can visit http://www.superiorcac.org or the Superior Child Advocacy Center Facebook page.

Excerpted with permission from Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine, Winter 2018-19 Issue, copyright 2018. All rights reserved.

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What Is… Your Powerful Question? John Olesnavage

Like many others, I have always been fascinated by and drawn to those who achieve what the rest of us just dream about. And, from an early age, I suspected there must be a common denominator, a secret sauce. They could not all be geniuses, right?”

I first met Dr. Clark Moustakas in 1994 when I enrolled in graduate studies. By then he had published over twenty books, and co-founded a graduate school of psychology which continues to thrive today as the Michigan School of Psychology in Farmington Hills, Michigan.

During our first one-on-one supervision meeting, I respectfully asked Clark how he did it all. With a beguiling smile that seemed to say “I know, and you can too,” he stated that he simply followed a single question “each-and-every day.” Momentarily stunned by his humility and directness, I asked him what his question was and he replied, “What is loneliness?” I already knew that his 1961 book, Loneliness (most recent version: Hauraki Publishing, 2016) was the title of his most revered and best-selling book. But now I understood that his book was not just the result of his writer’s craft; it was a window to his essence and meaning. Pursuing the question of loneliness enabled him to move beyond his perceived capabilities, and made impossible things possible.

In that moment, I also knew he was handing me the secret sauce and the recipe for living a self-actualized life. What he did not hand over was a process for finding a life-transforming question, but my search was on. Some months later, my question arrived quite unexpectedly, and my deer-in-the-headlights reaction convinced me it was “mine.” That same question continues to drive me today. It is the intuitive lens I use to examine life, and a bridge to a purposeful life.

My question,“What is boundary?”, was embedded in every nook and cranny of my life story, waiting patiently to be discovered. Pursuing an answer led me to numerous insights and further discoveries. My own research kept pointing to the fact that boundary was co-created, meaning it involves at least two people and a certain mutuality. This goes counter to the commonly accepted notion that boundary is a wall we build on our own. We can (and sometimes do) try to build these kinds of walls, especially when we are fearful, but they can become obstacles to real growth. My research also revealed that a healthy boundary is both flexible and whole. A boundary that has lost its flexibility through trauma, grief, or addiction produces feelings of being stuck. Holes in our boundary fabric produced by trauma, loss, etc., affect our ability to form healthy connections with others. In my work with clients, I found that various forms of play can restore flexibility, and integrating mind, body, and spirit creates the balance needed to repair boundary tears.

Finding a Powerful Question is not therapy, although it can lead to healing and truth. As in the case of Dr. Moustakas, it is stepping onto the same playing field as Albert Einstein and others who have achieved historic breakthroughs. In his biography of Einstein, Walter Isaacson noted that at age sixteen, Einstein had a single question that inspired him throughout all of his discoveries-“What would it be like to ride at the speed of light next to a beam of light?” (Isaacson, 114) Dig a little into the lives of Steve Jobs, Martin Luther King, Jr., and John F. Kennedy, as I have, and you will find the Powerful Questions that drove each of them.

In 2011, I had the opportunity to help a group of fifteen entrepreneurs discover their Powerful Questions. That effort produced some amazing results, and created programs that continue to have a positive impact in Marquette, Michigan. One such effort was Start the Cycle, a bicycling program that offers area youth a chance to train for and compete in a strenuous mountain bike race. That program began when a local entrepreneur, Curt Hewitt, and I asked what impact mountain biking might have on at-risk youth. Another entrepreneur in the group, Laura MacDonald, saw this as a perfect fit for her Powerful Question, “What is legacy?” Under her leadership, Start the Cycle has expanded, serving hundreds of area youth since 2011. I detail Laura’s story and similar achievements in my just-released book, Ask* your Powerful Question. In 2017, I had the opportunity to introduce Powerful Questions to graduate students at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology in Hales Corners, Wisconsin. It was valued enough that it is now a course in the school’s Master’s level curriculum for lay students.

People ask me “Is this a spiritual approach? An entrepreneurial one? Or some sort of therapy?” If by therapy you mean finding out what is authentic and passionate in yourself, the answer is a resounding yes. If you are a seeker of any sort, be it spiritual or entrepreneurial, a Powerful Question will reveal what you truly desire most. Traveling this path is stepping up to the specialness of you. I cannot say it any better than Plato did in 399 B.C., “An unexamined life is one not worth living.” Find your Powerful Question, and let it lead you to the purposeful, passionate life you were born to live.

John Olesnavage, a resident of Big Bay, Michigan, is a psychologist, educator, and author who follows his own Powerful Question “each-and-every-day.” In addition to Ask* your Powerful Question, John also wrote Our Boundary, a book describing his ground-breaking, boundary-based approach to counseling.

Excerpted with permission from Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine, Winter 2018-19 Issue, copyright 2018. All rights reserved.

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Healthy Cooking: Apples & Sweet Potato—A Sweet Deal, Val Wilson

Want to do your heart a favor? Try eating more apples and sweet potatoes. The natural sweet taste of the sweet potato mixes very well with apples to create a delicious dessert. Both are a great source of potassium to help your heart stay healthy. Potassium can help lower blood pressure, reduce stresses on the heart, and aid regulation of your heart rhythm and muscle contractions. Manganese is another mineral shared by both. It helps produce collagen to promote healthy skin and bones. Plus, both apples and sweet potatoes are high in Vitamin C, E, and B. 

Apple Sweet Potato Pie 

Filling
4 cups apples (peeled and cut up)
2 cups sweet potato (peeled and cut up)
1/2 cup brown rice syrup
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. cloves
1 pinch sea salt
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup arrowroot

Crust
1/2 cup olive oil
1 pinch sea salt
2 T. brown rice syrup
1/2 cup water
3 cups oat flour 

To make the crust, whisk together the olive oil, sea salt, brown rice syrup, and water. Stir in the oat flour until you have firm dough that will hold together. Divide dough in half and form two round discs. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for a couple of hours, until cold. Roll out one disc of dough at a time. Place the dough in-between two pieces of plastic wrap, and roll with a rolling pin. Put in an oiled pie dish.

To make filling, put all filling ingredients in a sauce pan. On low heat, slowly heat the filling, stirring a couple of times to mix all the ingredients together. The filling will thicken as it heats on the stove. Once the liquid has thickened, pour into pie crust. Roll out the other crust dough, and place over the top. Pinch the sides of the crust together, and poke a couple of holes in the top crust. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour. Let cool before cutting. 

Chef Valerie Wilson, a.k.a, Macro Val, has been teaching cooking classes since 1997. Visit her website to purchase her new cookbook, Vegan Cooking with Kids, set up a phone consultation, or listen to her radio show, http://www.macroval.com. Facebook, Macro Val Food.

Excerpted with permission from Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine, Winter 2018-19 Issue, copyright 2018. All rights reserved.

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Defusing Explosions at Home & Work, Megan Keiser

Anyone working in the customer service industry can tell you one of the hardest parts is dealing with the irate customer, that customer who has seemingly saved up every ounce of disgust, annoyance, frustration, and disdain so it can be sent flying at the next unsuspecting customer service representative to answer with “Thank you for calling. How may I help you today?”

In the contact center world, defusing an upset caller is especially challenging. Great care is taken by the representative to respond effectively and appropriately to an irate customer. Not surprisingly, the same tools used to defuse angry customers can also be applied to our everyday lives in our interpersonal relationships, whether with a spouse, relative, friend, coworker, or child. Skills such as empathy, active listening, non-emotionally driven responses, and blame avoidance have a big impact in determining whether an interaction blows up in a fiery explosion, or cools off and gets snuffed out.

The first step of defusing is always to acknowledge what the upset party has stated and offer empathy. Empathy is a powerful tool. It’s the ability to place yourself in another person’s shoes to truly feel his or her frustrations as your own. Empathy is internalizing the feelings of the upset party and taking a moment to find commonalities you can share on his or her perspective of the situation. For example, the holidays are a time of joy and merriment, but can also be a time of high expectations and increased stress. Let’s say your sibling has taken on the role of holiday host for the first time and things are off to a rocky start (the turkey isn’t cooking properly, the kids are fighting mercilessly, and tensions are already mounting between Aunt Judith and Uncle Bud) and your sibling lashes out at you for not taking on the role yourself. Your first reaction might be to respond with, “You should calm down!” But remember to put yourself in your sibling’s shoes. Ask yourself, “How would I feel if I were responsible for hosting a lovely, harmonious holiday event and everything felt like it was falling apart?” A more appropriate response utilizing the tools of acknowledgment and empathy would be to respond with, “I can see you have a lot on your plate. What can I do to help?” Situation defused.

Second, active listening and asking follow-up questions are other critical elements related to our ability to demonstrate empathy appropriately. When we practice the art of active listening and asking follow-up questions, we show the other person we truly care about what he or she has to say and allow ourselves the opportunity to truly understand the issue. One of the biggest reasons people tend to get upset or stay upset is that they aren’t feeling heard. From their perspective, they are shouting and repeating the issue over and over again, but the person they are speaking with just isn’t acknowledging their concerns. This leads to great frustration. Practicing active listening allows you to truly hear what the root problem is, and asking questions allows you to further clarify and understand details that weren’t originally mentioned. In his book The 4 Essential Keys to Effective Communication in Love, Life, Work – Anywhere! author Bento Leal suggests that we “listen through the words to the essence of the message.” We can tune in to the essence of the message by noting not only the spoken words but also the look of frustration, anger, or worry written on another’s face, in their body language, or in their tone of voice. Reading between the lines like this may also help you identify the underlying cause of the frustration, even when it may not be apparent to the upset party themselves. Situation defused.

Third, ensure your own emotions aren’t impacting the words you choose to speak when responding to an upset individual. When being unfairly attacked or blamed for things, it is common to want to react to those comments by counter-attacking and immediately firing back some hurtful or accusatory statements. In his book If It Wasn’t for the Customers I’d Really Like This Job, author Robert Bacal urges us not to get trapped in the “Crisis Cycle,” the unending loop of abuse and attack. To break this cycle, don’t take the bait. Before responding, take a deep breath or two to ensure your logical brain has time to weigh in prior to your emotions driving your responses. Other tips include using the upset person’s name, responding calmly but firmly, and refocusing on the actual issue. Actively listening, acknowledging, and repeating back what the upset party has stated gives your logical brain time to process. When we couple active listening with empathetic responses, we avoid responding with hurtful statements and stop the crisis cycle. Situation defused.

A last tip is to avoid getting looped into the crisis cycle by avoiding blaming statements or “you” statements anytime you are defusing. Using words such as “you” or “your” are likely to escalate a conversation rather than cool it down. For example, responding to a complaint with “You are the only one complaining about this” won’t defuse a situation. A more helpful statement would be, “I haven’t heard this complaint before; I would like to understand more about it.” “I” statements are generally much more effective when working through a heated issue. Situation defused.

These are just a few simple tips from the contact center world to defuse those tense situations. Putting these tips into practice will help enhance your interpersonal relationships, and ultimately lead to more respectful, fulfilling relationships. Remember to channel your inner customer service representative when you need to defuse.

Megan Keiser is the Human Resources Manager for Superior Contact, a business offering outsourced contact center services. She is a member of Superiorland Toastmasters, focused on communication and leadership skills, and is certified to administer and interpret the EQi-2.0 and 360 emotional intelligence assessments.

Excerpted with permission from Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine, Winter 2018-19 Issue, copyright 2018. All rights reserved.

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Supercharge Your Holiday Shopping, by Steve Waller

This year, shop with a passion that does more than merely make your loved ones smile. Supercharged gifts make a difference in the world. Yep, you can help save the world by shopping!

Gift family and friends battery-powered appliances that replace as many gasoline engines as possible. Today’s lithium batteries are super-powerful, charge fast, and last a long time. Many simply have not tried the newest battery-powered products. Some gas guzzlers stubbornly refuse. In the old days, batteries were weak and unreliable, and those memories can prejudice fossil fuelers against batteries. But that’s changed. You can initiate change, and they will love the results.

Amazing battery-powered products step up modern living—more power, less weight, simple operation, reliable, convenient, great for the economy, quieter, less maintenance, lower operating cost, a healthier environment, and a brighter future. Wow!

Once you’ve committed to supercharged gifting, you can help those stuck in old fossil-fueled habits transition to newer, cleaner, easier, better ways to live. Your gifts cause the spark, but there is a specific strategy to follow.

Be smart about battery appliances. Learn if your giftee already has large battery powered appliances, such as walk-behind lawn mowers and/or snow blowers. If they do, and they are happy with them, go to Step 2 below. If not, opportunity awaits…

Step 1: Start with the biggest appliances. Quality walk-behind lawn mowers and/or snow blowers are more expensive, but they usually come with two batteries and a charger that you only need to buy once. The highest battery voltage is best. One battery charges while the other is working. The newest technologies should fully recharge a battery in about half an hour, faster than it takes to use up a charged battery, ensuring you’ll never run out of juice. And the same batteries can be used on other appliances.

Step 2 – If your giftee already has two batteries and a charger, shop for other gas replacing appliances that use the same batteries as those in Step 1 but this time, buy the appliance “tool only,” meaning without a battery/charger. New appliances without batteries are much cheaper. Objective – recycle all those gasoline engines.

If your giftee has no need for a mower or snow blower, consider any gasoline-powered product they might use regularly – leaf blowers, hedge trimmers, string trimmers, powered pole saws (for pruning trees), even chainsaws! Battery chain saws have amazing power, run quieter, and one battery lasts about as long as a tank of gasoline. Buy the first appliance with a battery (eventually two) and a charger, then add “tool only” items to the tool collection.

How do your gifts save the world? The International Panel for Climate Change, made up of thousands of the world’s climate change experts, published its most conclusive report last October (http://www.ipcc.ch/report/sr15/) that finally specified the dire consequences from burning fossil fuels. It states what needs to change and how much time we have to succeed. The bottom line is we must transition away from fossil fuels ASAP, and the transition must be completed in only ten years (by 2030)! Problem is, the report was almost ignored (again), so many don’t or won’t realize the need to change (https://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/full.html).

Hiking boots, skis, or snowshoes are healthier than gas-guzzling ATVs and snowmobiles. Swimming is healthier than a jet ski. Selling expensive recreational gas-guzzlers (and the truck that pulls them) frees cash for solar panels. In a household with two cars, one should be a plug-in electric. That is what has to happen. Supercharged shopping for a better future is the most admirable and valuable gift you can give. Do it.

Steve Waller’s family lives in a wind- and solar-powered home. He has been involved with conservation and energy issues since the 1970s and frequently teaches about energy. He and a partner own a U.P. wind/solar business called Lean Clean Energy. He can be reached at Steve@UPWallers.net.

Excerpted with permission from Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine, Winter 2018-19 Issue, copyright 2018. All rights reserved.

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