Tag Archives: holistic wellness in MI’s Upper Peninsula

Creative Inspiration: I Know You’ll Be Okay, by Gala Malherbe

holistic wellness in MI's Upper Peninsula, empty nest, winter poem, mother's love for son

Cold snow squeaks under tires as we turn into the empty parking lot after dark.
We wonder where everyone could be, think briefly of an entire city choosing other things.
I reach high into roof box, deliver skis and poles to arms smaller than my own.

We stoop to connect boots, fumble to connect mittened hands, breathe the tight cold air of night.
Light poles illuminate white alley through trees. Glistening tracks lure us from brightness to dim
and back again. I follow you, watch you enter and exit each puddle of light, each stretch of darkness.
Our skis swallow reflection, our poles punch rhythm beside us.

Silent, we stride, scale familiar grades, own this space, this secret time. The memories intertwine:
the morning we swished through ankle deep powder, sliced first tracks into palate of freshness,
the time, winter still young, we skirted around dirt, skated across ice, too eager to stay home,
the chocolate chips we pulled from pockets, frozen solid, chewing palmfuls as we rested.

I remember carrying you on my back, your weight pulling me as you bobbed from side to side,
the way you squealed from your perch as we descended, grunted with effort as I climbed,
the way your sister skied ahead as I fiddled with your pack and wasn’t afraid of the darkness,
of the forest, of herself, the way her small song parted colossal hemlocks and pines.

I taught you to mount the hills yourself, legs spread leaning. My hand on your bottom
holding you steady, an awkward pair, we trudged to the top. I held you tight under snowsuit arms,
steered us down, our bellies dropping, your miniature skis floating over snow between mine.

Tonight, we pause at the top of a hill. You step from the edge and let yourself go.
I watch your perfect silhouette glide and shrink into the night, beneath stars and moon,
beneath my giant love for you.

Gala Malherbe lives in Marquette, MI.  She enjoys writing about her children, her connection to nature, and the struggles and resilience of the human condition. 

Reprinted with permission from the Winter 2019-2020 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine. All rights reserved.

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Holistic Animal Care: Two-Way Gifts of the Human-Pet Bond, by Jenny Magli

human-pet bond, mutual benefits of pet ownership, holistic animal care, holistic wellness in MI's Upper Peninsula, U.P. holistic businesses

I love my animal companions to the moon and back, and I think they feel the same way by the affection, trust, compassion, and unconditional love they show me. Over the years, I have been blessed with many dogs and cats usually living well into their golden years….thankfully. Each one has held a very special place in my heart. They have all been rays of hope, and have helped see me through much of the wonders and heartache that life can bring. The bonds we have shared have truly been remarkable. I truly feel blessed, and firmly believe that my life has been fuller just by being in their presence! They give us a sense of purpose by addressing their needs and care. They’re good for the body, mind and soul!

Pets play a very important part in the lives of many.

Studies have shown that benefits of pet ownership include helping to calm us, improving cardiovascular health (lower blood pressure), improving immunity, and helping us reduce anxiety and stress. Having a pet can help improve self-esteem, and typically causes us to increase our levels of physical activity by engaging in walks and playtime. Socializing becomes a bit easier when we’re out and about with our critters as others tend to enjoy seeing and visiting with animals and their owners.

Pets provide unconditional love, and taking care of them can give us a sense of purpose. Animals’ pack instincts reflect strong social bonds for survival, so it’s no surprise they show concern for all the humans and/or other household pets as part of their family in return. Face-licking, jumping, tail-wagging, lap-sitting, and snuggling are just a few of the ways animal companions show affection to us. Barking at and being alert to strange noises and people coming to the door are a way to show protection for their family. Greeting us (their people) at the door after being away is an especially heartfelt sign of affection.

Given all the many positives of pets, it’s understandable that more and more pets are being trained in pet therapy to attend to the needs of humans and vice versa. These special service animals are being incorporated into nursing homes, hospitals, hospices, and even used in disaster relief! Pet support and assistance animals help those with all sorts of needs, such as PTSD, depression, and loneliness. Some pets can even be specially trained to assist those with disabilities, such as guiding the blind, alerting the deaf, and even pulling wheelchairs! The list goes on and on. They can also be trained to help recognize oncoming seizures, epilepsy and diabetic issues, etc.

And our pets receive more than simply food, shelter, and vet care in return. For example, according to Dr. Brian Hare, a professor of evolutionary anthropology at Duke University and a leading expert on canine cognition, simply staring at your dog, as well as petting and playing with him or her, raises both your oxytocin levels, helping each of you feel good and strengthening the bond between you.

But before you decide to get or add a pet, please make sure you are able to care for it completely.

It’s important to consider the needs of certain breeds as well. Some require lots of exercise (Can you accommodate that?) and others require very little. Keep the temperament of the animal (breed) in mind as well. Do you have the energy, strength, and time to give to an animal? Are you financially able to afford food, grooming, and medical care? Please consider pet ownership carefully before bringing an animal into your home. The overall goal is to offer them a comfortable “forever home” and to find a long-lasting, loving partnership for you both!

*Readers are reminded it is entirely of their own accord, right and responsibility to make informed and educated decisions/choices with their pets’ 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, Healing Touch for Animals (Level 2) and NES Bioenergetics Practitioner. Consultations are done over the phone and via email. To contact, call (906) 235-3524 or email at 1healthlink@gmail.com.

Reprinted with permission from the Winter 2019-2020 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine. All rights reserved.

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Senior Viewpoint: Is AARP for You? (Part 1), by Lucy Jeannette LaFaive

senior viewpoint, holistic wellness in MI's Upper Peninsula, AARP activities

I’ve been a member of AARP for 19 years now. I’ll be honest-the reason my husband and I joined was for the discounts motels and other businesses offer AARP members. Over the years, I have come to really appreciate many of the other benefits of membership.

I have recently become interested in finding out more about AARP. I discovered it offers much more than I realized. AARP (formerly the American Association of Retired Persons) no longer just focuses on retired people. Membership is now open to anyone fifty or older. AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, social welfare organization whose focus is to empower older Americans to live their best life.

Besides the parent organization, AARP has an affiliated charity, AARP Foundation, and a for-profit, taxable subsidiary, AARP Services, Inc. Most of us have seen the ads for insurance and other products endorsed by AARP Services, Inc. Many people incorrectly assume AARP sells insurance and other products. AARP is paid by insurance companies and other businesses for using its name. AARP uses these funds to supplement its membership dues in order to be able to cover the services it offers AARP members. AARP provides members with information, advocacy, and community service opportunities. In this article, I’ll explain the information and legislative advocacy portions of AARP membership.

AARP provides educational information to members in its magazine, bulletin, classes, and online at http://www.aarp.org.

Topics include Social Security, Medicare, health and wellness, member stories, celebrities, fraud, finance, travel, books, movies, entertainment, driver safety, and more.

Personally, I have come to rely on AARP’s help in navigating the world of Medicare and Social Security. I learn a lot about both just from reading AARP’s magazine and bulletin. Its columnists have provided me with very useful information that I didn’t get from talking to Social Security office personnel.

AARP’s in-person classes and events rely on volunteers to organize, plan, and schedule them. Currently, the U.P. has two very dedicated volunteers from Escanaba-Sally and Jimmy Bruce. The Bruces, age seventy-five, have been volunteering with AARP for 18 and 12 years respectively. They are members of the Michigan AARP Executive Counsel, which helps set AARP’s priorities in Michigan. Sally and Jimmy Bruce have each received the Shining Star Award in recognition of their volunteer service to AARP in 2002 and 2005, respectively. Sally Bruce recently received an award from UPCAP, the U.P. Area Agency on Aging, and the Michigan Long Term Care Ombudsman Program (MLTCOP) for her 33 years of service advocating for elders of the Upper Peninsula.

With the help of local volunteers, the Bruces have organized events in the U.P…

such as Movies for Grownups, fraud presentations, and a yearly AARP table at the Upper Peninsula State Fair in Escanaba on Senior Day. They have also organized free social events in Escanaba and Marquette for anyone fifty or older. In May 2017, the Bruces organized A Taste of AARP at the Bonifas Arts Center that included wine tasting, singing, line dancing, hors d’oeuvres, a chef’s demo, and presentations by Michigan AARP state director Paula D. Cunningham and AARP Associate State Director of Government Affairs Melissa Seisert.

Another A Taste of AARP event was held at the Holiday Inn in Marquette during November 2017. This past July, AARP On Tap was held at the Upper Hand Brewery in Escanaba, which included beer, hors d’oeuvres, and AARP presentations. The Bruces are currently looking for another U.P. brewery willing to host AARP On Tap in the future.

The Bruces have also helped the AARP Michigan Office with events such as hosting the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency to present information about veterans’ benefits in the U.P. Another U.P. Veterans event is being planned for 2020.

Many educational, entertainment, and outreach programs are available similar to the ones the Bruces have organized, and more. To look up activities available in Michigan, go to states.aarp.org, then select Michigan and search for your area. However, to help make such events happen, volunteers are necessary. If you are interested in volunteering to help bring more AARP programs to the U.P., contact Sally Bruce at sallybruce62@gmail.com or 906-786-3827.

AARP also works as an advocate for older Americans both legislatively and within the legal system.

As a non-partisan advocate, AARP lobbies for legislation benefiting older Americans in Washington DC and in each state. Michigan’s state office is in Lansing about two-and-a-half blocks from the Capitol, making it easy for AARP to stay in touch with what’s happening legislatively in Michigan that will affect its older citizens. Currently, the priority is to reduce prescription drug costs, and to make it possible for citizens to get lower-price drugs from Canada. Expanding advance practice nursing and tele-health are also priorities to help make healthcare more widely available, especially in low-income and rural areas like the U.P. AARP has also lobbied for family caregivers, and supported the passage of bills in Michigan in 2016 and 2018 that help family caretakers care for their loved ones more effectively.

Legal advocacy is conducted through AARP’s affiliated charity, the AARP Foundation. To read about AARP’s affiliated charity, the AARP Foundation, and the work it does to promote economic opportunity, social connectedness, community service opportunities, and legal advocacy, see Part 2 in the Spring 2020 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine.

Lucy Jeanette La Faive is a stress reduction, relaxation, and empowerment specialist living in Marquette. She loves to share her tools for joyful living in classes, workshops and presentations. For more information, call (906) 225-1059.

Reprinted with permission from the Winter 2019-2020 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine. All rights reserved.

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