Author Archives: Empowering Lightworks

About Empowering Lightworks

Body-mind-soul readings, workshops, energy healing, books, meditations, and visionary art for ascended living in the real world, customized to your nature and needs by author/intuitive/teacher/artist Roslyn Elena McGrath.

Healthy Cooking: Feeding the Fires of Summer, Val Wilson

healthy summer cooking, nutrition for summer, U.P. holistic business, U.P. wellness publication

Summertime, when we are at our most active, is known as Fire Energy Phase according to the Five Transformations of Energy (the ancient study of the energy of food, how it relates to the seasons, and how it feeds and nurtures our bodies). Summer relates to how we feed and nurture our hearts, brain, circulatory system, and small intestines. These are the most active organs in the body, so it makes sense that they are associated with the most active time of the year. The heart provides blood, nutrients, and oxygen to every part of the body and every cell. The small intestines digest the food eaten and transfers digested nutrients to our blood, determining the quality of the blood flowing through our bodies. The heart and small intestines are responsible for the action of the circulatory system. This system helps regulate the temperature of the body. It adapts and makes us comfortable in whatever environment we may find ourselves. When the Fire Energy is balanced, we can feel comfortable in the heat of summer and the cold of winter.

Below is a recipe with ingredients that support our summer needs. Quinoa and corn, the signature whole grains of summer, are small and cook up quickly, giving the body energy to help keep up with summer’s busyness. Cucumber, with its high water content, is cooling to the body for hot summer days. It also contains silicon, an integral part of calcium absorption. Dulse flakes are the dried leaves of sea vegetable dulse that have been chopped very fine. Dulse is known for its high amount of iron, calcium, Vitamin C, E, and B12. Ume plum paste is a traditional Japanese fermented food. It has tremendous flavor and imparts a salty, sour, pungent, bitter, and slightly sweet flavor to the salad, satisfying all five tastes. Ume plum paste also has antibacterial properties and helps alkalinize the body. Ume vinegar is the salty brine created when fermenting ume plums.

Quinoa Cucumber Corn Salad

1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1 cup corn
1 cup peas
3 scallions (thin rounds)
1 cucumber (seeds removed and diced small)
½ cup grated carrot
½ cup toasted walnuts (chopped)
1/3 cup raisins
¼ cup minced parsley
1 T. dulse flakes

Dressing:
¼ cup olive oil
2 T. brown rice vinegar
2 T. ume plum vinegar
2 tsp. ume plum paste

Put quinoa and water in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to lowest possible temperature, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes, until all water has been absorbed. Let sit 5 minutes after cooking, then put in a large mixing bowl. Mix in the corn and peas. The hot quinoa will lightly cook the corn and peas. Let sit for 20 minutes until cool. Add the scallions, cucumber, carrots, walnuts, raisins, parsley, and dulse flakes. Whisk the dressing ingredients together, add to the salad, mix all together, refrigerate, and serve cold.

*Recipe is from Chef Val’s fifth cookbook, Summer Season Healthy and Delicious Cooking, to be released in July 2020.

Chef Valerie Wilson, a.k.a, Macro Val, has been teaching cooking classes since 1997. Visit her website to purchase her cookbook Year Round Healthy Holiday Cooking, set up a phone consultation, or listen to her radio show, http://www.macrval.com. Facebook, Macro Val Food.

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Inner Nutrition: 16 Questions for Mining Your Corona-Impacted Time, Roslyn Elena McGrath

covid reflections, inner work prompted by covid, U.P. holistic business, U.P. wellness publication

I believe this is a very powerful time. As we each deal in some way or another with the challenges presented to us by the current pandemic and world situation, I think there is a mighty potential for greater clarity, commitment, and action aligned with our deepest values for improving our world.

In keeping with this publication’s mission of supporting your health and happiness, the following questions were put together in hopes of helping to bring your needs, values, strengths, supports, and strongest heart’s desires to the surface, or sharpen the clarity you already have about them, in an actionable way. I invite you to journal on them, perhaps even on just three or four at a time, and also to respond to any additional questions that may come to your mind.

For Essential Workers

– How do you feel about going to work?

– How do you prepare yourself mentally and emotionally for your work time?

– How would you describe the atmosphere where you work?

– How are you contributing, or how could you contribute, to its positive qualities?

– What do you value about the work you do?

– How does your work benefit others directly and indirectly? (Consider at least “three degrees” of others—direct recipients, those they directly impact, and society overall.)

– What has been most challenging for you during COVID restrictions?

– What have you learned about yourself during this time?

– What would you most like the world to learn during this time?

– What desires for yourself and/or society have become clear to you or been reinforced?

– What next baby step might you take to move one of these desires forward?

– What traits, skills, and/or experiences do you have that will help you take this next baby step?

– What, if anything, do you think might hold you back from taking this baby step?

– What are three or more things you could call upon, internally and/or externally, to help you handle these potential obstacles?

– What would the value of achieving the desire you’ve pinpointed be, and how would you feel about that?

– Is it worth it to you to commit to continue taking steps toward this goal? Why or why not?

For Others

– What changes in your day-to-day life have been most significant for you?

– What, if anything, have you found most challenging about these changes?

– What has helped you to handle these challenges?

– What, if anything, have you found most positive about these changes?

– In what ways might you reinforce or expand upon these positives?

– How would you describe the atmosphere in your home?

– How are you contributing, or how could you contribute, to its positive qualities?

– What have you learned about yourself during this time?

– What would you most like the world to learn at this time?

– What, if any, mental, emotional and/or physical changes would you like to bring forward as your “regular” day-to-day life resumes?

– What baby step toward one of these changes could you begin or prepare for now?

– What traits, skills, and/or experiences do you have that will help you take this next baby step?

– What, if anything, do you think might hold you back from taking this action?

– What are three or more things you could call upon, internally and/or externally, to help you handle these potential obstacles?

– What would the value of achieving the desire you’ve pinpointed be, and how would you feel about that?

– Is it worth it to you to commit to continue taking steps toward this goal? Why or why not?

 

I hope you find your reflection time useful. Please feel free to contact hhupmag@charter.net, or Health & Happiness’s Facebook page to share your experiences.

Excerpted with permission from the Summer 2020 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine. Copyright 2020, Empowering Lightworks, LLC.

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Gifts from Nature: Benefitting from Mother Nature’s Two Sides, Kevin McGrath

 

nature as teacher, U.P. holistic business, U.P. wellness publication, two sides of nature, covid and nature

Lyrics from an old-time favorite tune, Blue Oyster Cult’s Godzilla, about how nature repeatedly reveals man’s follies, ring in my ear as I venture outside for the first time in quite a while to refresh my being. Frigid temperatures had forced me into greater confinement during this time of self-isolation while our pandemic continues its global tour wreaking havoc upon every unfortunate earthling whom isn’t immune to its often-fatal concoction of body invaders.

Time after time, we humans are lulled into believing we have firm control over nature as we as a species advance with technology and improvements to our systems through new ideas, and upgrades to infrastructure and design. Yet, whether it be flooding, tornado, fire, tsunami, earthquake, volcano, avalanche, or virus to name many but not all, we are never as prepared as we would prefer, and many of the shortcomings of our society are highlighted for all who are willing to see them.

All of the cutbacks our current government has made to reduce costs have ended up costing us way more in the long run, as is always the case when you’re not prepared for something.  Every cause has an effect.

I regress.  A silver lining can be found if we choose to keep our focus positive.  Once the crisis ends, our human folly provides an opening for us to collectively begin anew within a clearer, more beneficial path where smarter choices can be made before the tension and pressures of “everyday normalcy” set back into the global economy, choices that still enable cleaner air and water, where distant mountain ranges aren’t blocked from showing their splendor due to smog from fossil fuel emissions, choices where the good of all is held higher than the good of just a few.

nature as teacher, U.P. holistic business, U.P. wellness publication, two sides of nature, covid and nature

Nature is a great teacher and great teachers are often hard on their students, especially when their pupils are not grasping the main concept. That main concept is simple—take care of nature, or at least take nature into consideration with all decisions.

It’s pretty clear that our natural environment is a central part of the human formula (humanity), even though we try to reduce this fact through “progress.”  We can work with it, or we can continue to work against it, despite witnessing time and time again how the latter doesn’t work.

As destructive and fierce as nature can sometimes be, for the most part, nature is beautiful and healing in its majesty.

Google “healing and nature,” and you’ll get an endless number of studies about improved concentration, decreased anxiety, uplifted mood, improved focus, better sleep and mental health, to helping children with ADD, helping us get exercise, providing us vitamin D, boosting our creative-solving abilities, and assisting us to maintain our weight through better sleep and energy use.  Thank you, sunlight and good old-fashioned fresh air!

For me, and probably for many of you also, I don’t need a study to let me know how beneficial being out in nature truly is, I can just feel it.  It makes me feel happy just to be outside, and I can feel my body sink into a more natural way of being, living as humankind was intended as a part of nature.  Let’s learn the lessons as a people, and stand up for nature for the benefit of all, as we take steps to figure out how to proceed from here as a society.

Kevin McGrath can be found observing nature with respect and reverence in an attempt to learn the lessons it’s teaching.

Excerpted with permission from the Summer 2020 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine. Copyright 2020, Empowering Lightworks, LLC.

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Spotlight On… Joy Center: Interview with Owner Helen Haskell Remien

Joy Center Ishpeming MI, creative sanctuary, U.P. holistic business, U.P. wellness publication

What is Joy Center?

It’s a charming cottage in the woods in Ishpeming that is so much more than a cottage. It’s a creative sanctuary for people in our area and elsewhere to come and play and dream and expand. People can come and participate in various workshops and yoga and dance and energy sessions, and they also can simply pay a small fee and be on their own, or be with other people, and feel safe to explore their creative dreams.

Joy Center opened twelve years ago and continues to expand what it offers. If there’s yoga, you can come early, peruse the books, create a piece of art…. It’s a beautiful place where you can connect with your biggest, highest part, and also connect with the community.

Why did you start Joy Center?

I had a seed of a dream in me thirty years ago. At that time I was wondering if I wanted to be part of the academic world, in an institution, and teach writing, or part of a place in the community where things such as writing workshops could be held in which everyone could be included.

I wrote in my journals in the early ’90s that there should be a place in the community where we can drum and sing and dance and have writing workshops, and have events like ones I loved when I went to Omega Institute and Kripalu, and that I would love to be a part of something like that.

About twenty years ago, I began encouraging people to find their own creative paths. Then in the spring of 2007, I started to feel a dissatisfaction in me, a sense of something growing, that it was no longer enough to teach writing in my house, and yoga in the basement of my husband’s dental office. And in a flash of two weeks, I spoke with my financial advisor to see if it would be possible to create something like Joy Center. I realized, “Oh my goodness, I have land behind my house, separate land on which we could build a cottage house, and it could be that place in the community.” But even then, I didn’t know that it would be the kind of place it would become.

How did you go about creating it?

It was really about claiming my power because I think my husband was scared of doing it. And I said, “I really need to see if we can do it.” Our financial advisor thought it could work, and be an asset, and he added, “I have a builder for you. He doesn’t know how good he is yet. He’s built a garage for us, and he’s awesome, and he’s never built a house yet.”

It was such a fun process working with this young man who put his heart and soul into it, and brought in his younger cousins and brothers to help. We worked together on the design. I learned so much, step-by-step in that process. It was scary to build something I knew in my soul would really be a big thing for all of us. At every step, I couldn’t settle. Though not extravagant—it’s a cottage—it was important to make the place welcoming. And it’s beautiful.

It was important to me to not settle for less than what felt like the right, soulful thing, and I think also to the builder. “I’ll make the counter tops,” he said, working late into the night. “I think you should have them. And you can collect your own beautiful rocks to put in them.” We really co-created together, him doing the actual work, and me doing the dreaming.

Why do you think Joy Center has expanded in the ways it has?

When I built it, I kept expanding my mind. “This will be a place where I will teach yoga. I will teach writing and creative workshops. And other people can offer other creative things. It will extend our home in some way when our kids come back to visit.” I think both I expanded and it expanded. I realized, “Oh, my gosh! There are so many awesome dreams people are having in the community!” And at that point twelve years ago, there weren’t the places available now offering yoga and energy work and so on.

For example, Amber Edmondson and Raja Howe knew they were poets, but didn’t know they were book binders yet. They sold a book at Out Loud, our open mike night, then began offering book-making workshops at Joy Center. And now they have their own shop in Marquette. Kerry Yost had never sung in public until one night at Out Loud, and she just blew everyone away.

People who have a dream can feel safe offering a workshop, singing a song at Out Loud or playing with something they’ve always wanted to do, and maybe later decide to offer a workshop and expand what’s offered at Joy Center, and what people do in this community, and people would love it. Early on, Joy Center took on its own life to be a safe place where people could take a seed of a dream, like I did, and allow it to blossom. Sometimes their offering stays at Joy Center, and sometimes it flourishes far beyond. And I get to play with people that way, and be the person who holds the space and is a cheerleader for peoples’ dreams.

What do people seem to like most about Joy Center?

I think people feel something when they walk into the physical building because it’s really welcoming and beautiful, and is that creative sanctuary. It was built with a really positive, high vibration. In its twelve years, I can’t think of anything that’s gone on there that isn’t high-vibe, so it just keeps building. So many kinds of things are welcomed there, so that energy just keeps growing. People feel safe to really be brave and find parts of themselves they haven’t felt before, or to love themselves more deeply than they’ve loved themselves before. I feel strongly about keeping the boundaries there safe, to keep it clear in that way.

What do you like most about running it?

Truly, it’s all of it. There is a part of me that loves all the things that are offered, and that I can participate in them. It’s brought community to me. I love being the cheerleader. It’s a soul calling. And I love playing at Joy Center. I get to go play in a playhouse!

What do you find most challenging about running it?

The marketing part is not my thing. I’d rather promote by word-of-mouth. So I found a way that feels easy to me and true to who I am with additional support from others. I spend more of my time cheering people on, encouraging them to maybe do a workshop. I may give my dear friends Stephanie Lake and Stacey Willey at Globe Printing the rough draft of Joy Center’s next brochure, or the idea of a poster, and they’ll lay it out beautifully. Stacey helps to get the word out on Facebook. For a long time, my daughter-in-law did a beautiful job of helping with that. And I love my Health & Happiness ad, and the support I get to help me with it. It’s the only place I advertise–it’s perfect for Joy Center, and goes out all over the Central and Western U.P.

What future plans are in the works?

As we hunker into our homes, and aren’t able to go to the creative sanctuary physically, my curiosity and challenge is “How will this time affect Joy Center since the place itself is such an important part of it? How can I use Zoom to make an Out Loud, and then find some richness that Joy Center does beyond these walls, or a poetry workshop by Zoom like U.P. Poet Laureate Marty Achatz did? How will this propel us into the future? Will there be a time that Zoom comes into Joy Center?

I feel like I’m in the middle of the cocoon, and I am learning. Parallel Play–we all did it at the same time and texted and sent photos of our creations simultaneously afterward. It felt like deep connection. So Joy Center has been continuing. I’ve been working on the space, giving it loving physical care. And I’m learning about technology and connecting that way, and how to still have the feel of Joy Center. It’s a beautiful space, and it’s the people and the energy, and that no walls can hold in.

How can people find out about upcoming events taking place?

They can check Joy Center’s Facebook page, and they also can contact me at helenhaskell@yahoo.com about events or if there’s something they’d like to offer here. And they can join our mailing list to receive a brochure on what’s going on, and a letter I write every two months.

Excerpted with permission from the Summer 2020 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine. Copyright 2020, Empowering Lightworks, LLC.

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Positive Parenting: How to Turn Sibling Foes into Friends, Anna Kangas

dealing with sibling rivalry, preventing sibling rivalry, U.P. holistic business, U.P. wellness publication

Sibling rivalry. It often starts at birth. I’ve heard the story many times. Baby number two+ comes along and the used-to-be-baby of the family shows those signs of jealousy—sleep regressions, potty accidents when they’d been trained for months already, tantrums over the littlest things. It’s tough on the whole family. Things have changed. They’re feeling insecure. An older child may even voice it.

Fast-forward a few years and instead of the toddler tantrums, you’ll be hearing “Mom! Billy hit me!” and “Dad, Susie won’t stop copying me!” These issues are really obvious right now when our whole world has been changed. Most siblings would just have a couple of hours a day, plus the weekends spent together…. and at the time of this writing, we are in our homes almost 24/7 in a family togetherness experiment like no other. Yes, there are good things coming out of it. For example, maybe this time can help your kids find their friendship again. “Your siblings can be your best friends” my husband reminds our kids often.

So how can we help them accomplish this? Before we can solve the problem, it helps to look at why this may be occurring. What causes this sibling rivalry, this jealousy, competition, and/or fighting. Is it boredom? Too much screen time? Perhaps. But my gut tells me this: I’d be willing to bet that one of the biggest reasons for our kids acting out is that they are craving attention from us, their parents.

Think about how this rivalry may stem from the time the younger sibling is born—

that postpartum time when the new baby takes up so much of our attention. Add in something big, such as the current state of our world, and this huge feeling of insecurity can add another level of stress. So if you’ve been wondering why on earth they keep fighting so much lately, I’d bet these things have a big part in it. If you’re like me, you’ve been spending too much time tuning into the state of the world. My phone is too close to me, and I’ve been draining the battery too often. One of the ways I know it’s too much is when my kids start acting out.

If you’re experiencing this during the postpartum time, I recommend taking some extra time with the older kids who may be feeling neglected. Keep a basket of books near your couch and sit there while you breastfeed. Involve the bigger kids in caring for the baby. Encourage them, “You’re such a wonderful big sister—look at him smiling at you, he loves you so much!”

dealing with sibling rivalry, preventing sibling rivalry, U.P. holistic business, U.P. wellness publication
Are your children past those baby years? Well. Have you ever heard of The 5 Love Languages? With kids, it’s really easy to find out what they need. Just ask them “How do you know someone loves you?”

They might answer, “When I get a hug.” There’s the physical touch.

“When someone tells me.” Hello, words of affirmation.

“When they play a game with me.” Aha! Quality time.

“When they give me a present!” You guessed it, receiving gifts!

“When they help me with my chore.” And there you have acts of service.

Go ahead; ask your child this simple question. It can go a long way toward knowing how to keep him or her feeling secure, safe, and loved.

I think quality time is extremely important, no matter what your main Love Language is. So start by spending time with your kids, good quality time. Be engaged. Put away the phone, TV, electronics. Take them on one-on-one “date nights.”

Give them the stability, consistency, and love they need. This will build up their confidence, and I’m willing to bet you’ll begin seeing a difference in their attitudes and behavior.

But even with the most stable, loving environment, kids will be kids.

There will be fights. And these stressful times we’ve been living in the past few months are going to show in our kids. They’re feeling the stress, too. So, what can we do for them? How do we help guide them when these fights break out?

As Brian Helminen, a Calumet dad of fifteen and author of How to Raise a Happy Family recommends in his book, “Stay neutral as much as possible and let kids settle their differences.” Stepping in to settle their battles for them every time won’t help them in the long run. As long as they aren’t causing each other major bodily harm (then it’s time to referee), letting them find a solution between themselves is a good lesson. It’s part of growing up—finding the maturity to solve disagreements.

The few times my husband and I had to step in, we chose to referee and bring in the “get-along” shirt.” The two siblings who have been in battle must wear an oversized T-shirt together for a set amount of time. What had started with tears and fighting ends in laughing and smiles as they try to navigate together.

Learning to settle differences is a skill.

And who better to learn it with than the people who love you most, your family members? An unconditional love creates a safe space for kids to be themselves, and grow into responsible adults. Because that’s what we’re striving for, right? As New York Times best-selling author Andy Andrews says, “The goal is not to raise great kids. It’s to raise kids who become great adults.”

I hope these tips help you to find a balance in your family. From learning their love languages and maybe trying a “get-along” shirt, to making an effort to make sure to spend some good quality time with your family, it’s not too late to encourage your children to find the amazing friendship possible between siblings.

Anna Kangas is a full-time homeschooling mom of seven, wife of 10+ years, and owner of Keweenaw Doula Services. She is passionate about supporting families in Houghton and Keweenaw counties during pregnancy, birth, and postpartum.

Excerpted with permission from the Summer 2020 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine. Copyright 2020, Empowering Lightworks, LLC.

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Bodies in Motion: Embodying Empowerment by Becoming More Active in Life, Crystal Cooper

reclaiming our power, physical fitness and overall well-being, U.P. holistic business, U.P. wellness publication

We are in a pivotal time for actively reclaiming our power.

At this decisive point in human history, we have the opportunity to change our direction for the benefit of all. As our current circumstances require, we (at the time of this writing) stay inside our homes and are likely pondering the future. Within this time, we may find a new, ironic sense of liberation. By embracing the need to live more self-reliantly and sustainably, we naturally become more active. By becoming more present in our bodies, rather than trapped in our minds, we can empower ourselves to relieve stress, find calm, restore vitality, and regain our sovereignty.

Though our minds may be full of uncertainty and confusion in these changing times, our bodies know very well what we genuinely need—to live in a comfortable and safe place, eat nourishing food, drink clean water, breathe fresh air, exercise regularly, and get adequate deep rest. The possibilities for revolutionizing our lives may be infinite; however, they all have something in common—action. The action required may vary from meditation on emotional health to intense physical training and more, as everyone’s story will be different. Our authority comes through deciding to make beneficial moves in our lives. By focusing on what we can take action on, energy moves and frustrations neutralize.

By merging creativity, mindfulness, and curiosity, adaptations on movement are vast.

Experimenting with different modalities, as well as developing one, are both admirable approaches for getting mobile. One ancient, well-loved physical practice is hatha yoga. This physical branch of yoga unites the mind and breath with the body through a flow of poses. Both restorative and strengthening, it can prevent injury and support longevity. There are many styles of yoga, making it accessible for all. Another traditional system of coordinated body postures is qi gong, which also focuses on the harmony of meditation, breathing, and movement. Its central tenet is the balancing of energy. It is also a basis for martial arts training. Deep healing can be found within these methods, supporting many other areas of life.

When sheltering in place, or maintaining some restrictions, the significance of moving what we can may become more apparent. Deep breathing, getting the blood flowing, and heating up the body cleanses energy and provides grounding. Fast, exciting activities such as running, bouncing on a trampoline, juggling, and dancing can shake up sluggish outlooks. Strength training, working the whole body, and building muscle can help maintain focus when reality appears chaotic. Physical restrictions can inspire us to focus on what we can do and to creatively employ those abilities. Using our bodies for enjoyment, as simply or indulgently as desired, cultivates peace and exercises our freedom.

We can continue to expand our ingenuity to other, more outward necessities of life. For example, reinventing our transportation can be as simple as walking with a backpack, or as inspired as an electric-assisted bicycle equipped with a solar charging battery and storage racks or luggage cart. By returning to more manual forms of labor, we can supersede convenience by reconnecting with quality skill-building. As we reconsider tasks-at-hand during this time, a plethora of creative problem-solving abilities may be unleashed. To regain the impetus to chop wood and carry water, symbolically or literally, is good work. In mastering one’s actions, the lines between training, work, and play may blur.

reclaiming our power, physical fitness and overall well-being, U.P. holistic business, U.P. wellness publication

Actions such as cultivating our own energy and entertainment, growing our food, and riding bicycles run counter to the practices of the ever-consuming capitalistic economy our society has relied upon, thereby becoming acts of empowerment that resist the old status quo. By focusing inward and nurturing our connection with our bodies, opportunities abound for finding the clarity we need to move forward in harmony and inner sovereignty. Mindful activity is medicinal for our well-being and can also be more sustainable for Earth. And because we are nature and are not separate from it, healing our connection with ourselves simultaneously heals a part of human relationship with Earth.

Regaining control and becoming strong in one area of life can often translate to others.

When you can hold your own on the mat, the trail, or simply within a stressful situation, confidence is built that can be utilized in trying times. By moving through life with a more mindful focus on the body, rather than the mind, toxic stress has less of a chance to build up and create long-term negative effects. This is great for the immune system, and helps foster a more positive mood. Working with this perspective one day at a time can build momentum toward a more instinctual, spirited way of existing.

Each person’s movement will look different; however, the magic is in the sum of the parts, in people coming together. The cornucopia of abilities and resources of a united community creates a powerful, ever-evolving entity. The mightiest feats we can accomplish in the world begin with the work we do individually to dream and create and act from an inspired place. In solidarity with our communities and on massive scales, this intention could help humanity move in a healthier, more harmonious, and unified direction.

Crystal Cooper has called Marquette and the northwoods home for over a decade. An NMU graduate in biology ecology, she enjoys studying plants and writing. Passionate about natural healing modalities as well as personal and global sustainability, Crystal advocates yoga and other resiliency-promoting actions within the community.

Excerpted with permission from the Summer 2020 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine. Copyright 2020, Empowering Lightworks, LLC.

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Senior Viewpoint: Nutrition Essential to Fighting Infection, Dr. Conway McLean, DABFAS, FAPWHc, FAMIFAS

nutrition, infection prevention, senior health, U.P. holistic business, U.P. wellness publication

The attention devoted to sickness and health is omnipresent these days, and with good reason. The pandemic is filling the airwaves and prompting fear in the hearts of many. What we need is accurate information, smart practices. This is where the knowledge of the physician specializing in infectious disease, one who knows the immune system intimately, can be invaluable.

So what specifically is the immune system? It’s the part of the body devoted to fighting off invading micro-organisms that are a part of our world. The complexity and effectiveness of our immune system is nothing short of staggering.

What are the functions of the immune system? This system is critical for survival. Our immune system is constantly alert, monitoring for signs of an invading organism. The immune system functions to keep us free of infection, be it through the skin, a skin structure, or our intestinal lining. Cells of the immune system must be able to distinguish self from something else, i.e. “non-self.”

By now it is well-recognized the COVID-19 virus is more dangerous in the elderly.

A decline in immune function is consistently observed among older adults. Aging is also associated with increased inflammation in the absence of infection and has been found to predict infirmity. The result is seniors are more susceptible to infections and have more serious complications when they get one.

The term for this decline in immune function is immunosenescence. It reflects the deterioration of both components of the immune system—the acquired and the innate. The innate system is the ‘first responder’ to an alien invasion (of a microbe). The cells of the innate system act quickly, but are not specialized. The innate system is generally less effective than the adaptive immune response. The adaptive response is able to recognize a specific invading organism and remember it later, if exposed again.

Scientists specializing in the role of macronutrients, micronutrients, and the gut microbiome are convinced they all play a critical role in the functioning of our immune system. It turns out to be an incredibly complex system, with a multitude of factors and variables. Up until recently, we knew next to nothing about our gut bacteria and its complex interaction with our health and immunity. We do know one crucial part of gut health, not surprising, is our diet. But there are many ways to optimize the effectiveness of our immunity.

Your nutrition can affect the microbes residing in your guts, directly altering your immune response.

The  microbial community in the mammalian gut is a complex and dynamic system, crucial for the development and maturation of every facet of our immune response. The complex interaction between available nutrients, the microbiota, and the immune system seems to be the most important ‘player’ in the fight against invading pathogens.

What does it take to have a healthy immune system?

We know well many micronutrient deficiencies have been identified as contributors to declining immunity. It is believed these could provide opportunities for directed therapies for potentially restoring immune function, creating better health through improved nutrition.

nutrition, infection prevention, senior health, U.P. holistic business, U.P. wellness publication, health benefits of yogurt

Some proffered recommendations: eat yogurt for breakfast! Apparently, the probiotics strengthen the immune system, as revealed by a study on athletes and their colds and GI infections. Yogurt is also rich in vitamin D, which also boosts your immune system.

Vitamin C is well-recognized as an extremely important part of an effective immune system, and a deficit can make you more prone to getting sick. Because your body cannot store it, daily intake is essential for good health. Foods rich in vitamin C include oranges, grapefruits, strawberries, bell peppers, spinach, kale, and broccoli.

Vitamin B6 supports many of the reactions that are integral to immune function. Foods high in B6 include chicken and cold water fish (e.g. salmon and tuna), and green vegetables. Another important vitamin for fighting infection is E, which is a powerful antioxidant. Foods rich in vitamin E include nuts, seeds, and spinach.

nutrition, infection prevention, senior health, U.P. holistic business, U.P. wellness publication, benefits of tea for immune system

Some people think of tea as something consumed in the movies, yet studies reveal alkylamine, a naturally occurring chemical in tea, strengthens the immune system, again, helping it fight off infection more effectively. Honey has centuries of use because of its medicinal properties. Numerous reviews find honey, an antioxidant, acts as a natural immunity booster. So you might want to add it to your tea for both flavor and health benefits.

Another suggestion made by researchers is to eat more garlic, since it seems to stimulate many different cell types essential to the immune system. Ginger, another powerful antioxidant, has antiviral properties, probably a good idea these days. Consume more lemon. Lemon juice is high in vitamin C, and can be used for its antioxidant properties and to prevent the common cold.

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How about a bowl of chicken soup? Thought by some to simply be a comfort food, the dish has a mild anti-inflammatory effect. Ingredients in the classic recipe (chicken, garlic, onion, celery, etc.) have been found to slow the migration of white blood cells into the upper respiratory tract, helping to relieve the symptoms of a cold. Additionally, a compound found in chicken soup called carnosine seems to prevent colds. How about a nice bowl of curcumin? This is a component in the spice called turmeric. Studies have shown curcumin helps to regulate the immune system.

Zinc is known to be an important micronutrient for the immune system. Even a mild deficiency in zinc has been associated with widespread defects in the immune response. Look to fish, seeds, nuts, and broccoli as good food sources. Selenium is a trace element that also has critical functional, structural, and enzymatic roles. Inadequate selenium is associated with a higher risk for a variety of chronic diseases since it is critical to immune function. Foods containing higher levels of this mineral include spinach, lentils, eggs, and fish.

Some recommendations for immune health are related more to lifestyle modifications.

Make workouts a part of your weekly regimen since regular exercise increases the activity of immune cells. Exercise also seems to flush bacteria out of your lungs, reducing the likelihood of an airborne illness. Experts suggest moderate levels of intensity, performed 4 to 5 times a week for 30-40 minutes.

Staying hydrated is required for immune health. Water helps your body produce lymph, which carries white blood cells and other immune cells. Sun exposure is important (although difficult in certain climes) since it is the most efficient way to stock up on vitamin D, an immune system supercharger. Surprisingly little is needed, just 15 to 20 minutes a day, to get the recommended dosage.

Getting the flu shot can improve your immune profile, and has been approved for all adults. Smoking suppresses the immune system generally, so quitting helps lower the risk of infectious disease. Smoking also damages the lining of our “windpipes,” explaining why smokers are much more likely to catch a cold virus.

Because of their effectiveness, nutritional therapies should be getting prescribed in the typical medical practice, though this has been rarely and inconsistently recommended. This therapeutic approach should be utilized more consistently in those demonstrating poor immune function, as well as healthy populations.

Our understanding of the risk factors for immune system dysregulation is far from complete.

We can say definitively that adopting these and related strategies will optimize your chances of reducing or delaying the onset of immune-mediated acute and chronic diseases. In summary, I would say, you have a road map. Your course of action, a plan for better health, can now be laid. Perhaps it is time for positive changes in your routine, and thereby your health. Though giant steps are hard to take, small ones require only a step, and if taken in the right direction, lead to the larger changes you choose.

Dr. Conway McLean is a physician practicing foot and ankle medicine and surgery in the Upper Peninsula (Marquette and Escanaba). McLean is triple board certified in surgery, wound care, and orthotic therapy. He has lectured internationally on many topics. Dr. McLean welcomes questions at drcmclean@outlook.com.

Excerpted with permission from the Summer 2020 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine. Copyright 2020, Empowering Lightworks, LLC.

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Community Improvement: All is Possible, Garee Zellmer

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At the very beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak (already a lifetime ago, it seems), I was participating in a world-wide live, online, interactive, professional development presentation. Four insights came to mind during and after the session. I jotted them down to memorialize these thoughts.

Insight #1 – Every single person (or almost) on this planet is affected by this virus in one way or another.

Joining the session were attendees from all over the world – Australia, Korea, Nicaragua, Israel, U.S., Canada, England, South Africa, Norway… everywhere. During the check- in of the session, the presenter asked us to write a word or two about how we were feeling in that moment, especially in light of the world-wide COVID-19 situation. In the feed visible on the screen, words describing every emotion popped up, from one end of the spectrum to the other.

Insight #2 – We all have different circumstances, and our particular, unique, situation influences how this virus impacts us.

Everyone around the world is being asked to “turn on a dime” to accommodate the change and/or adjust to the circumstances, but to differing degrees.

I thought of my own situation. For the most part, nothing has changed dramatically in my life. My private life coaching practice continues (with a few adjustments), my “retirement” resources are stable, my shopping needs are met by generous friends.

And yet, all I need do is look out the window or zip in and out of the news to see that there are others whose lives have been turned completely upside-down, some losing jobs, some having to make quick changes (such as the grocery industry) to accommodate customers and regulations. It is true around the world.

Insight #3 – Everyone on the globe agrees we have a problem.

I cannot think of another time in history where ONE ISSUE–world-wide–exists that everyone agrees is a problem and requires a cooperative effort to secure a solution.

Insight #4 – ANYTHING is Possible

While it didn’t take long before the bickering and blaming started about where fault lies for the pandemic, in that brief instant, for one tiny slice of time, as a world we felt as ONE, with a shared purpose and objective. Political and geographic boundaries and differences in ideologies, theologies, and affiliations were set aside in favor of finding a solution that benefits all.

Arguments for “we can’t,” “impossible,” “never can happen,” just don’t hold water anymore. No matter the size of the disagreement–from a neighbor dispute over barking dogs to a hundred-year war somewhere in the world–we stand witness that working together toward resolution is possible.

The only question remaining is “Are we willing?”

Garee Zellmer is a professional co-active coach, graduate of the California-based Coaches Training Institute and their internationally acclaimed Leadership Program, and a member of the International Coach Federation.

Excerpted with permission from the Summer 2020 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine. Copyright 2020, Empowering Lightworks, LLC.

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Forsberg’s A New Leaf with Owner Sarah Balding

What’s Forsberg’s A New Leaf all about?

It’s overall a floral shop, but we also carry local gift items from all-local vendors, do event planning, coordinating, decorating, and also have rental items. It’s a one-stop shop for brides and for tourists.

In 2015, we moved into the UpFront building on the corner of Main Street and Front here in Marquette, and we love it! We loved our old location on Third Street, but it’s a new fresh feeling down here. In summer, it’s bustling with tourists. We never had any of the festivals up near our Third Street shop. Now we have Blueberry Fest right at our door ,and a lot of fun things going on.

How has it changed since you started operating the business?

Since I began running it in October, 2017, we’re much more hands-on with the weddings. I combined both of my loves—the wedding industry, providing floral bridal, with also doing the decorating.

Although, of course, it’s different with a younger mind and a younger group of people doing it, I’ve tried to keep the feel of how grandma had it—her style, a lot of her paintings are still in the shop that would be really hard to part with. She loved the artistic-ness of having the local artists featured at the front of the store.

Our family-owned business started in 1969.

My grandma would drive down to the wholesalers in Green Bay and buy the flowers for her orders outright. She was such a pioneer in the business field. She was the type of person that when you came in the store, you did not leave without buying something. Get in there and find out what the people are into, and what they love, and what they might buy that will keep them smiling—that’s what I learned in the family business.

Later, there wasn’t much local artists’ work on consignment in the old store. People would come in and look around, see it’s a flower shop, and leave. We also had friends looking for a spot to put their crafts. Now it’s done a complete 180—they come in and look around, and then go “Oh, you’re a flower shop!”

What do you enjoy most about running Forsberg’s A New Leaf?

It’s the interaction with the customers and the clients. I love putting together someone’s dream of what they’d like, whether it’s the wedding or the floral. Someone comes in and says, “I really love this and this; can you do it?” I really love seeing their face when it becomes a reality. I love the process of working with the brides and grooms, and helping them make the day their own.

What do you find most challenging about running your shop?

Keeping ahead of it all—it’s very easy in a floral business when it’s holiday time for something to fall through the cracks no matter how hard I try. I’ve got a way that I think is helping, but it’s still challenging. You want to be able to do everything for everyone, but when someone makes a request real close to when it’s needed during a busy season, it can be hard to get it all done.

What are your future plans for Forsberg’s A New Leaf?

Growing the decorating and coordinating. I want to enhance and grow with our weddings, and also enhance and grow the floral, to be able to do more high style, the different things the customer wants. I’m always looking to find things we don’t normally get from our wholesalers.

Excerpted with permission from the Spring 2020 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine. Copyright 2020, Empowering Lightworks, LLC.

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Extraordinary Endurance, Chandra Ziegler

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I’m not here to provide any life-changing advice on how to raise kids. The truth is, as parents, we make hundreds of decisions any given day. We answer questions, and ask questions, sometimes straight to our kids, and other times just in our minds. From the moment they wake up until they fall asleep, we’re on duty. There’s already enough people telling us what to do, and what not to do. It can all be very exhausting.

What I will provide is a simple story and some tips on how to stay fit for the marathon of parenting, a feat that truly tests our limits, and one that takes extraordinary endurance.

Should I really give her juice as soon as she wakes up? What kind of habit am I creating? Maybe I should wake them up with nice classical music. Why couldn’t she sleep for a little longer? Do you want to lay back down, sweetie? Why didn’t I douse myself in patchouli? What should I pack in their lunches? No, you cannot wear your pajamas to school. Why are you still in bed? Did you brush your teeth? Do you have your snow pants? Yes, you need to wear a hat and gloves; it’s 3 degrees outside! Check watch…7:07 a.m.

Fast-forward to 8:07 p.m…

I let the older two watch Sofia the First a little longer than they should, which led to them being tired and cranky, and not so kind to one another in the bathroom while getting ready for bed. I could’ve walked away, used a nice, calm voice, remembered to have a sense of humor, or had some empathy… all those great parenting and teaching tricks that I know work, and have used a thousand times. Instead, I got irrationally upset.

Once we all settled down, and I got them to bed, I heard yelling and arguing so I went back into their bedroom. I looked at Emma, who had a thousand things surrounding her and asked, “Emma, look around you! I just don’t understand. Why do you need all this stuff???” And as I watched the tears well up in her eyes, she proclaimed with enough drama to win an Academy Award, “It’s just that I love you so much that I have to build up all this stuff around me to try to replace you, and help me calm down!”

I seriously melted. I embraced her and said how much I loved her and how happy I was that she still loved me even when I yell at her. We were able to rewind the not-so-good bedtime, and end with peace and calm. Thank goodness.

Parenting is hard, and I believe we’re all doing the best we can.

Whether you’re a parent of little kids, big kids, furry kids, or no kids, I know you can relate. While there can be many rip-your-hair-out moments as a parent, there are far more joyous moments and reasons to celebrate. We can become inundated with information, but in the end we just need to trust ourselves.

Children are kind, intelligent, incredibly sweet, far more enlightened than we give them credit for, and simply hilarious. We need to stay in the moment, see the world through the eyes of a child, look for the pearl, and live more joyfully. Since I said I wasn’t going to give any advice, I’ll just call that homework.

Because parenting is the toughest job on the planet, and requires extraordinary endurance, and an exorbitant amount of energy, we must first show up for ourselves. We need to take care of our physical, emotional, and spiritual bodies so we can more fully take care of the precious humans we’ve been gifted. So here are some things to consider doing:

– Rise at 5 a.m. to do some quiet reading or writing or anything else that you love.
– Rise at 5 a.m. to get a workout in to a) train for a marathon, b) burn off the calories from all the Halloween candy you stole from your toddler’s pumpkin or simply, c) stay sane and be a better parent, spouse, and person as a whole.
– Be happy with where you’re at and your decisions.
– If possible, take a day for you.
– Take any help that is offered.
– Get active in the outdoors. It’s good for the body, mind, and soul.
– Give a massage, get a massage.
– Play now, clean later.

7:07 p.m the next day..

Emma tiptoed quietly into Kate’s room as I was rocking her to sleep. She kissed her, squeezed her tight, and said, “You are so beautiful and kind! You will change the world. I just love you so much. You will make the world a better place because you’re so kind.”

The tears rolled down my cheeks. Emma noticed and asked, “Why are you crying?” All I could squeak out was, “I just love you so much.” But in my heart, I thought ‘Maybe I’m doing okay as a mom. Maybe the messages and lessons I’m trying to impart to my children are really sinking in.’ Because you know what? Sometimes it’s hard to tell if they hear what I’m saying.

For instance, how many times have I said, “Put your pajamas on, brush your teeth, that’s enough chips, hands are for helping, stop hitting your sister!” But tonight, I can pause and thank God that the things I’m saying and how I’m living are making a difference.

A child’s love is unconditional, so remember this:

“It doesn’t matter what color you are. The most special thing is that you have someone that loves you.” – Four-year-old

Your spirit is strong and vibrant, so when the going gets tough, tell yourself,
“I can do this. I just have to be brave.” – Six-year-old

You are extraordinary. And maybe you’re not an athlete, or active at all, but trust yourself that you have the endurance it takes to keep going and be the best parent you can be.

Chandra Ziegler is a Yooper wannabe in Crystal Falls with a Minnesota heart. By day, she is a mother of three girls and teacher to even more. By “night,” she runs non-profit Iron Endurance, teaches yoga and painting classes, trains for marathons, and writes.

Excerpted with permission from the Spring 2020 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine. Copyright 2020, Empowering Lightworks, LLC.

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