Thinking Vs. Feeling

In a conversation the other day, a gentleman reminded me of something I learned from Eckhart Tolle’s book “The Power of Now.”

This particular conversation had to do with food choices—specifically, that this gentleman had purchased a delicious doughnut during a weak moment, but after a quick, clear-headed reflection on his weight loss goals, he ultimately decided to throw away 50% of the delicacy and enjoy eating just half of it.

But the technique he used was a really good one, and is applicable to any situation in life. It’s along the lines of “act, don’t react.”

He described imagining himself up on a balcony, literally looking down on himself with his coffee and doughnut. Up on the balcony, he just observes without emotion. He allows his higher-thinking self to assess the situation.

The part of him sitting with the doughnut was caught up in the drama of WANTING the pleasure of indulging. Don’t we all have that one voice in our head that cries out for instant gratification?

But we have other voices in our head, too, constantly. One is always the voice of reason.

One is the inner critic, insisting on negative self-talk. One is the inner cheerleader, encouraging us as we go.

One voice is the judge, continuously making judgments. Sometimes we really need that voice to save us from doing something regrettable! Other times, it’s entirely appropriate to shut that voice down.

I like thinking about the voice of the observer, the one who notices without judgment. Like when I’m trying to meditate, and focus on my breath, and some random thought pops into my head. I just notice it. Mm hmm, that’s me having a thought. Not good timing, thought! Just float on by now, and I’ll revisit you later. Breathe……

Or when I’m tempted to eat some empty calories like a doughnut. I can step back (or up to “the balcony”) and think, Mm hmm, that’s my inner three-year-old demanding gratification. I acknowledge that she wants some attention. What else would help her feel nurtured? Does she really “need” a doughnut? Or does she really need a hug? A bubble bath? An adventure? Someone to talk with to sort something out?

Oh, that’s the inquisitive voice!

Have you ever had a conversation with yourself about getting out of exercise? I’m just not feeling it today. I don’t have time. I’m really tired. I think a little headache is coming on.

Try stepping back and observing. What is really going on? What are you feeling? (I feel like skipping it today!) What are you thinking? (I think it would be a good idea for me to get my heart rate up, and then I think I will feel a lot better afterward. In fact, I think I’ll feel proud of myself! And that’s a really good feeling! I can do this!!)

The great news is that we get to decide which voice in our head to listen to. We get to climb up to the balcony and observe before we make a decision. We don’t have to “react” to the emotion. (This is true, too, for confrontations—in person and on social media!)

I was so happy to have this reminder the other day. I’ve been “thinking” about it a lot ever since!


Category : Blog &Health &Personal Growth

A Tale of Thanks Giving


A few days before Thanksgiving, a friend of mine posted on Facebook that food and volunteers were needed for a massive feast being served for free on Thanksgiving Day for anyone in need—the homeless, the struggling, the folks who lost their homes to Hurricane Matthew and have no where to cook or gather.

I called the event organizer and volunteered to bring a dish and help serve or wipe down tables, or pick up trash or whatever was needed. I decided to bring a deli-style macaroni salad that didn’t need to be reheated to be enjoyed.

On Wednesday, in between clients, I went grocery shopping for supplies. That evening, before and after dinner with friends, I boiled macaroni and chopped fresh celery, peppers, parsley and a summer sausage, made the dressing and tossed it all together before I went to bed. (Everyone knows these things taste better if they “meld” overnight!)

The set-up started at 7 am! On a holiday!! I had promised to arrive by 10:30 to help with any last-minute preparations and deliver my big tray of food, as the luncheon was scheduled to begin at 11:00. A friend gave me a ride to the site—a greenspace downtown that had been borrowed with permission from the school board—so that I wouldn’t have to lug a giant, heavy aluminum foil tray across town from public parking.

Here’s what I found when I arrived:

A dozen or more tables and chairs set up under the trees—all covered with Thanksgiving themed tablecloths with a basket of bread or crackers in the center—and rows and rows of folding chairs beyond the tables.

Musicians and sound system ready to entertain.

Serving tables under tents LOADED with food, with holders and sterno warmers and tray after tray after tray of hot food—turkeys and hams and all the sides, and more sides, and breads and baked goods like pies and brownies and cookies—and even more food stored on tables behind the main serving tables. And helpers lined up behind the serving tables, with gloved hands and smiling faces. I recognized some serial volunteers I had seen at other events in our community—cultural events sponsored by Romanza, for example, or fund raisers for cancer. We have many kind-hearted, service-minded people in our town!

At first there were more helpers than there were people wanting to partake. The main event organizer thanked everyone for coming, a minister said grace, and then the few people who were there to eat lined up peacefully and started through the line.

Soon more people came. Many went through the line twice—once to eat then and there, and once to take something home to eat later or to share with someone unable to make it. Volunteers had brought blankets and socks and bags of canned goods that people could take with them as needed.

One woman shared her story with me as she came through the line. She had lost everything except some clothes to Hurricane Matthew. She couldn’t find a place to rent, so she was staying in a hotel that had cost her $3,000 so far—which she could ill afford. She had to give up her beloved dog. It was overwhelming. She looked drained and said she was just fixing a plate to take with her to work. She said at times she felt like just giving up. I asked if I could give her a hug, and she accepted. I encouraged her don’t give up—hang in there, it will get better! I hoped I was telling her the truth; that things really would get better for her.

As I looked out over the grateful feasters, it occurred to me that many of these people would not be sitting together at a shared table under any other circumstance. How nice, I thought, that people could find common ground and maybe even make a new friend in the face of tragedy and hardship.

I had a long talk with one of the event organizers, who looked exhausted yet shared the pride he felt in working at the commercial kitchen at the St. Francis house, cooking, slicing and shredding turkey after turkey, and ham after ham. I saw the other main event organizer dabbing at her eyes a lot as she thanked volunteer after volunteer for coming, for bringing food to share, for helping.

It had seemed at first like there was SO much food, but just before noon, I noticed that the first round was being depleted, and the stock from behind the serving table was being pulled forward. “I don’t know if they’re going to be able to serve until 2:00 as planned,” I was thinking to myself. And just then, just exactly as I was having that thought, a van pulled up and a woman wearing oven mitts walked up to the tents with two big trays of food and asked, “Where can I set these? They’re super hot!” And the stock was at least partially replenished.

Two things (at least!) struck me about this particular feast. First, it took just two weeks to pull it together! And volunteers came from all over town, like me, just wanting to help. People focusing on others rather than their own Thanksgiving meal. What a great community we live in! It really was kind of unbelievable how much food was prepared, how many tables and chairs and food warmers were somehow collected and employed, how many were willing to give of their time and talents on a holiday, on short notice.

The other thing that struck me is how the event organizers just sort of put an idea out into the universe, and trusted. It really was pretty loose in a pot-luck sort of way—whoever could bring food brought food, and whoever needed to eat showed up to eat, and it all just sort of worked itself out. No one micro-managed. When I arrived at 10:30, people were adding to the serving tables on the fly—put main course here, side dish there, we need one more volunteer to serve water/tea over there. It was controlled chaos, a lot of “we don’t know where to set this, we might need one more table here,” and… poof! Another folding table appeared.

It was nothing short of a miracle. A generous, glorious, selfless miracle. Even the weather was picture-perfect. And remember—there were live musicians serenading people as they worked and ate! It couldn’t have been more pleasant.

I left before it was over. But I am truly thankful to have been a part of it, to have witnessed the very best in people. People willing to give, and people willing to receive. People happy to hang out with folks they probably wouldn’t have had an opportunity to hang out with ordinarily.

But this was no ordinary day. It was an extraordinary day set aside to appreciate our abundance—of food, kindness, gratitude and fellowship.



Category : Blog &Events &Personal Growth

Gratitude Every Day


Isn’t it wonderful that we set aside a holiday to gather together with loved ones, and feast and relax and reflect on giving thanks?

While overindulging on Thanksgiving may not be the healthiest thing for us, it turns out that feeling grateful really is good for our health! Study after study shows that our attitude affects our health just as much as—or maybe even more than—our habits do.

Every year it seems that people enjoy getting in the “holiday spirit,” and we all express how much we wish that spirit could last throughout the year.

Well, maybe it can! At least prioritizing our focus on gratitude is something that can be practiced all year. Here are seven tips for practicing gratitude every day:

Keep a Gratitude Journal. For whatever reason(s), we tend to focus on what goes wrong in life. The simple act of committing to paper all the little, commonplace things we’re thankful for can help us focus on the positive. Spending just a few minutes each day counting our blessings helps shift us out of stressed out, bummed out mode into a happier, healthier state of mind. Even writing every other day is good!

Acknowledge Negative Feelings, Too. While focusing on gratitude does increase feelings of wellbeing, it’s not all about avoiding the “bad” stuff in an effort to stay optimistic 100% of the time. Setbacks are a part of life, and negative experiences and emotions need to be dealt with and processed. In fact, once we get through a hard time, looking back on how we felt and how we handled that part of our journey can actually help us feel more grateful for our current situation!

“Shower the People You Love with Love” (a la James Taylor). Having a sense of connection with others is one of the key ingredients of good health. Dr. Robert Emmons, gratitude researcher and psychology professor at the University of California, Davis, says that “Gratitude really helps us connect to other people. It actually strengthens relationships, and relationships are the strongest predictors of happiness and coping with stress.” He says gratitude, more than any other, is the emotion of friendship.

 When we express appreciation for loved ones, it creates closeness as we allow them to see how much we value them. And it’s a non-vicious cycle, because when others let us know how much they value us, it increases our happiness and gratitude!

Use Social Media Wisely. Thankful people use social media networks mindfully. Dr. Emmons says those who practice gratitude “use whatever cues exist in everyday environments to trigger grateful thoughts. Pictures and information on social media” are very instruments to do so. In fact, research has found that positive images on social media spread faster than negative messages do! 

Of course, it’s very easy to get sucked in to the drama and negative noise. So, Emmons suggests creating a file of uplifting posts that can trigger happy feelings when you need help feeling grateful. We can also use social media networks to reach out to supportive friends when we need to connect.

Remember Little Things Can Make a Big Difference. To practice gratitude every day, it’s important to acknowledge every act of kindness, no matter how small—and pay it forward. Even just a smile or a compliment from you can make someone’s day. And remembering to be thankful for a smile or compliment can make your day.

One study showed that “everyday” gratitude gave romantic relationships a better chance for success, because “daily gratitude interactions” increased the sense of connection and overall satisfaction for both women and men. (It’s pretty nice to be appreciated, isn’t it? It also feels nice to be appreciative!)

Volunteer. It seems it truly is better to give than to receive. Research shows that volunteering can result in lessening depression and increasing feelings of wellbeing. This might be because service to others helps us get in touch with our own inner spirituality, and we feel grateful for the experience. Interestingly, giving helps people feel more gratitude than receiving.

Exercise. In a symbiotic cycle, people who practice gratitude tend to exercise more (and smoke and abuse alcohol less), and because exercise clears our mind and reduces stress, it sets us up to experience more gratitude. Grateful people who exercise have healthier minds and bodies!

I hope you have a very Happy Thanksgiving. And if you enjoy a day of thanks with loved ones, compliments, exercise and so on, I hope it inspires you to consider practicing gratitude every day.

Source: “7 Habits of Grateful People” by Lindsay Holmes on Huffington Post.

Category : Blog &Health &Personal Growth

The Healing Power of Awe


Imagine the sense of wonder you feel when you see something like Niagra Falls for the first time, or feel a newborn baby wrap her tiny hand around one of your fingers, or see a truly astonishing human feat of bravery, or compassion, or athletic or artistic perfection.

Awe is an emotion that has not gotten much attention. (The “big six” emotions that, until recently, have been scientifically studied the most are: happiness, sadness, fear, anger, disgust, and surprise.)

Maybe that’s because awe is sort of difficult to pinpoint and define, or maybe it’s because it was considered to be a luxury item—nice to have, but not as accessible as the common day feelings of fear and happy and sad and mad.

But in 2013, the University of California, Berkeley’s Social Interaction Lab started “Project Awe,” a three-year research project that is finding out how awe is just as basic and important to our existence as the other emotions. In fact, awe is proving to be vital to our health and happiness!

How? First, awe brings us fully into the present moment. Where fear or excitement trip our “fight of flight” response and all the stress hormones that come with it, awe brings us into an attentive state of stillness and appreciation. Studies show that this emotional state makes us more receptive to details and new information, and it causes people to act more generously and ethically.

Second, awe can reduce the level of cytokines, a marker of inflammation that is linked to depression. Many studies are showing that being wowed by the beauty in nature lowers blood pressure and boosts the immune system.

And it doesn’t even have to be a major “wow” moment. Studies are showing that awe IS accessible to all of us, and that the benefits are felt even after “small” transformative moments—looking up at a marvelous starry sky or at the Grand Canyon, feeling genuinely touched by the generosity of others, or hearing a moving piece of music.

Third, awe inspires a feeling of connectedness. We get the sense that we are part of something much bigger than ourselves.

These ideas are shared in an article called “Feeling Awe May Be the Secret to Health and Happiness,” by Paula Spencer Scott (“Parade” Magazine, October 9, 2016).

Here are six things Scott suggests we can do to find awe in everyday life:
Step away from our devices and go outside—gaze at the sky!
Visit a local, state or national park.
Recall a time you felt wonder—describe it to a friend or write about it.
Visit a museum or planetarium.
Get up early to watch the sun rise.
Listen to amazing music, like Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony or a live version of Santana’s “Europa.” Or whatever inspires you, of course!

Much has been written about the benefits of being in nature. I know when I hike or kayak with others, we always comment on the wonder of seeing a majestic bird or breeching dolphin. Haven’t you ever gazed at the beautiful patterns of light and shadows in the trees, or the sparkle of sunlight on water, or taken in a deep breath filled with earthy scents on a not-too-hot breezy day, and just marveled at the glory of nature?

In his article “What Science Taught Me About Compassion, Gratitude and Awe,” Dacher Keltner expands on that:

“What we know is that awe really happens when you transcend the human scale, big or small, and when you’re around things that challenge your current knowledge structures. You go, ‘Oh, I didn’t imagine trees could be so big, or a baby could be so funny, or this person could be so generous, or music could sound like that.’

“We know … that just brief experiences of awe as short as a minute or two [like walking out in the woods] make you more generous, make you more humble, make you more empathetic, make you better at science. We have findings showing that it actually calms down the branch of your immune system called the cytokine system. The cytokine response is the inflammation response, when cells attack pathogens in your body and you feel like you have the flu. It’s good in the short term if you have toxins in your body, but if your cytokine system is always active, it is very bad news for human health. Awe quiets down that system, which is really incredible.”

How about that—awe is incredible!

We know stress is bad for us, and awe is kind of like a switch that can flip us out of fight-or-flight mode and into mindful awareness of something bigger than ourselves. And now we know we can actually cultivate a feeling of awe.

Here’s a link to Keltner’s whole article if you’d like to read more:

Category : Blog &Health &Personal Growth

Coming Soon!


November is shaping up to be a busy month for Holistic Massage & Reflexology!

Art & Gift Show 11/19
As you probably know, in addition to providing massage therapy and reflexology, I also make beaded jewelry. And our resident nutritionist Amanda Perrin makes wonderful miniature tea sets, whimsical castles and huts, dollhouse accessories, and whole dioramas in walnut shells! Together with local artist and author Tina Verduzco, we’re having an art and gift show on Saturday, November 19 from 10-5.

Tina co-authored “Storm and the Mermaid’s Knot” with Meghan Richardson, and will have copies for sale. And if we’re lucky, she’ll also bring a few of her inspired sculptural pieces. Here’s a link for more information about her beautiful novel:

Below is a link with more information about the art and gift show. If it’s a nice day, the Pink Pineapple Boutique might just have a sidewalk sale for us that day. I will donate 10% of my jewelry sales to local hurricane recovery efforts. Mark your calendars for this fabulous day of shopping for unique items, supporting local artists and hurricane survivors!!

Acupuncture to Be Offered on Thursdays!
I am very excited to announce that Michele Rehrer, AP, RM will be providing acupuncture in the office on Thursdays in the very near future. Michele is a Florida board certified licensed Acupuncture Physician. She graduated from Dragon Rises College of Oriental Medicine in Gainesville, FL. She is a Reiki Master and a Qigong instructor.

From her website: “Michele believes that acupuncture gently encourages the body to regain balance by looking at the whole person and gets to the root cause of the disharmony. Michele is focused on providing quality holistic healthcare with the highest level of professionalism and patient satisfaction. It is her philosophy that in order for every patient to achieve optimal wellness, they must be heard. She strives for excellence in listening, gentle needling technique, and encourages patient involvement in their journey to wellness.”

I have been seeing Michele for several months for a variety of issues, and I can highly recommend her skills and encouraging, gentle demeanor. For more information, visit her website: To make an appointment, contact Michele at 352-682-6206.

Foot Reflexology Workshop starting 11/29
Beginning in April, I embarked on a teacher training program in reflexology with my mentor, and the founder and director of the Academy of Ancient Reflexology, Karen Ball. As my final student teaching project, I’ll be offering a full workshop in foot reflexology on four evenings: 11/29, 12/1, 12/6 and 12/8. This workshop is not for credit, but is for me to gain experience teaching. It will be held at my office from 5-9 each evening. The cost is only $25, and it’s very important that students be committed to attending every session in its entirety.

In this workshop, students will learn a little about the history of reflexology, how reflexology works and what conditions it helps, when reflexology is not appropriate, foot anatomy and common foot ailments, the location of more than 30 reflex points/areas in the feet, and how to perform relaxation and reflexology techniques. At the end of the class, students will be able to perform a complete foot reflexology session for the purposes of relaxation. In the state of Florida, you will not be able to provide reflexology for compensation without additional licensing, but you can appropriately and effectively work on friends, family, neighbors and loved ones—and yourself!

The only prerequisites are short fingernails, clean feet, and a willingness to touch others’ feet and have your feet worked on. Class size is limited—if you’re interested, please contact me at 904-377-6696.

Category : Blog &Events &Health &Massage Therapy &Reflexology

The Power of Nature In the Fall


“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.”
— Albert Camus

In northeast Florida, fall doesn’t necessarily begin on the autumnal equinox. At least, not a fall that includes cooler weather and jaw-dropping leaf colors.

This year, like most years, the end of September still felt an awful lot like summer, and Hurricane Matthew reminded us in early October that it was still storm season and the water temperature, like the air temperature, was still very warm.

But by the end of October, the daylight hours grow distinctly shorter, and the air does, to my great delight, finally get drier and cooler.

We still must be patient a bit longer for any glimpse of colorful autumn leaves, but let’s take advantage of this reprieve from the heat to get outside and be happily active and mindful. Here are just a few good reasons to revel in nature this time of year:

Being in nature (even a gentle walk with plenty of time for deep breaths and observation) can improve our mood, including increased self-esteem and feelings of vitality.
Being outside actually inspires us to move more, which boosts cardiovascular health and can lower blood pressure. I know I feel better about exercising outside when it’s not oppressively hot, and my dog acts spunkier, too!
The equinox can remind us to balance light with dark. I don’t know about you, but I love the long days of summer and how energized I feel by the extra hours of daylight. Sometimes I dread the coming winter, the shorter days, and how I feel like I’m ready for bed as soon as it gets dark! But maybe this is not a bad thing. We can learn to love the darkness, embrace rest if we need extra rest, and allow time for ideas and plans to germinate for the spring. Perhaps this year I can learn to love the shorter days as much as I love their longer counterparts.
Autumn leaves remind us to let go. Maybe it’s time to relinquish anything that is no longer working for us, whether it’s mental, emotional or physical. Fall is a great time for cleaning house and giving unwanted items to charity. It can be a great time to give our time and talents to others as well! There have been so many in our community helping those who did not fare well in the hurricane. Even in a calm year, younger, stronger neighbors can help their elders with raking leaves or sprucing up a lawn. I know of knitters who make scarves this time of year, and when cold weather approaches they put the scarves somewhere in nature so that those who are homeless will find them and have an extra layer of warmth.
Fall is a great reminder of the impermanence of things. Some plants sprout in the spring, thrive in the summer, and die back in the fall. Other things come to life in the fall, and that is the cyclical nature of nature. As we watch butterflies and hummingbirds leave and leaves fall on to the ground and decay, we are reminded of the beauty and awe of life, and how important it is to cherish each beautiful moment while we are living it.

Category : Blog

A Reflexology Demo

If you’ve never experienced foot reflexology before, you can view a sample here! It’s a link to a video that shows yours truly doing a demonstration for this year’s Academy of Ancient Reflexology’s certification students.

I’m showing them a protocol I developed to perform an abbreviated session—one whole foot is covered thoroughly in just 15 minutes. It’s a good practice to be able to work on both feet in their entirety in 30 minutes. Sometimes a shorter session is appropriate; for example, for a baby, an elderly or medically fragile person. Sometimes people who’ve never had reflexology just want to try a short session without committing to an hour (though I HIGHLY recommend giving yourself more time to reap the full benefits of deep relaxation and therapeutic touch). Many of my clients have added a half-hour reflexology session to precede their hour massage.

Don’t worry, no one expects you to watch the whole video! But if you’re curious, you can see how reflexology is done: relaxation techniques, thumb walking and finger walking. Slow, rhythmic, alternating pressure engages the part of our nervous system that’s responsible for calming things down. The recipient was VERY relaxed and feeling good after just thirty minutes.

Enjoy, and let me know if you’d like to try reflexology for yourself! I am also certified in hand reflexology, and I have a hot paraffin treatment for hands that’s terrific for arthritic joints and the aches that comes from overuse.


Category : Blog &Health &Massage Therapy &Reflexology

Ten Things I Learned From a Hurricane



I probably should have evacuated.

My house on the north end of St. Augustine is in evacuation zone B, but literally a stone’s throw from the border of the mainland area that doesn’t ever have to evacuate.

Still, I had a total freak-out moment when it looked like we could have a direct hit from a Category 5 hurricane. My house is not concrete block, it’s wood frame, and I don’t have storm shutters. Sure, it was built to the safety codes upgraded after Hurricane Andrew devastated south Florida. But who knows if it could survive a Cat 5?

By the time the evacuation order was given for zone B, thousands and thousands of people from the coastal areas had already made plans to evacuate—from at least as far as Cocoa Beach to northern South Carolina. Hotel rooms were scarce, roads were clogged, gas stations were running out of fuel. It seemed more dangerous to leave than to stay. No one wants to get stuck on the side of the road in a hurricane!

So we stayed. And the house held together, and my nerves held together, barely. I learned some important lessons in my first close encounter with a hurricane, and here they are, in no particular order.

1. Preparedness is key. I wish we had stocked up on D batteries at the beginning of hurricane season. Because in the days leading up to the storm, everyone ran out. And it was stupid to have to go back to the stores every day for 3-4 days for supplies because we thought we had everything we needed, but then we realized we’d forgotten something else.

2. If push comes to shove and you have an actual breach in your structure, you can put stuff in plastic bags and stash it in your dishwasher—built-in waterproof safe! Also, you can use your wash machine as a “cooler” for as long as you can keep adding ice. It has a built-in drain!

3. Stuff is just stuff. What really matters when you think you could lose everything is your life and the lives of your family and loved ones. Being together with my family gave me much strength and reassurance.

4. We really do create more suffering for ourselves than is necessary. Leading up to the storm, while we still had power, I was watching news clips and social media updates on my computer. I understand that it is at times necessary to use fear tactics to get people to evacuate. But at some point, the sensationalism is just crazy-making.

It’s what led up to my freak-out moment. So many what ifs. What if we stay and the house blows apart around us? What if even a small part of the roof blows off—and not only is the house damaged, but the contents? What if I didn’t protect things enough? Should I have lifted everything up off the floor? Should I have covered everything with tarps? What if we really are without power for a long time—did I get enough food and water? What if my place of business is damaged—am I sure I have enough insurance?

I had to take a deep breath and talk myself off the ledge. I asked myself: what if everything is OK? What would THAT look like?

And I realized that if I screened out the noise of worst-case-scenario speculation and looked instead at real data—such as wunderground (weather underground), which is a compilation of weather sites and is JUST DATA with no hyperbole attached—the prediction wasn’t so dire.

In fact, as the hours progressed, the forecast improved. The top wind speeds went from 110+ mph (as suggested by panicky lay persons), to in the 80s, to 75, to 68, to 62 mph. Not quite so scary.

We put the brace on the garage door. We created a couple of small window-free zones in case we needed them. We piled all the food, water, important documents and storm supplies on the kitchen table so we could grab them in a hurry. There was nothing more we could do, and worrying about it wouldn’t help.

Worrying never really helps anything, does it? It just compounds our problems and creates unnecessary suffering. I just kept visualizing everything being OK. And in the end, it was.

5. It’s very strange to be in the midst of a disaster and not be able to know what’s going on because you’ve lost power and internet and cell phone service.

6. I made a smart decision when I bought my house (from my own perspective, anyway) to live a good distance away from any body of water. As much as it is lovely to live close to the beach or a riverfront, it is also risky. Flooding is smelly, nasty, filthy business.

7. We probably should all have our trees assessed and groomed by professionals every year. Even though the winds of this storm weren’t nearly as strong as they could have been, a lot of trees toppled. Some took down power lines. Some crushed cars or buildings. Trees and tree limbs reach a point where they are just ready to go, and it probably wouldn’t be that hard to have them trimmed up and thinned out before storm season starts.

8. It was evident that the county, city, state and beyond had rehearsed for this. Crews came in immediately after the storm and started moving obstacles and restoring power. The National Guard rolled in to help secure areas from looters. A central public field was set up for vehicles including campers for responders to spend the night. Shelters were opened, information was disseminated, roads and buildings were systematically inspected for safety. I have never seen a more well-coordinated effort to help people and get a whole town back up and running.

9. There is so much goodness in people! Sometimes people get angry and lose their patience when stressed, and there are always going to be looters and scammers preying on the vulnerable. But love outweighs ugliness. People reached out to check on each other. People offered to help—neighbors, friends, even strangers. There were literally people driving around to see who needed help, offering assistance to folks they didn’t even know. It’s so important for those of us who escaped damage to help those who need it.

Helpers even came in from out of town. One friend, still displaced from Hurricane Hermine, brought a whole crew in from Cedar Key to help for a few days. Other friends had grown children visiting who, once they had finished helping their own parents, were willing to stay on to help anyone else who needed it.

One food truck offered to cook up their stored food and give it away, thinking that they would provide a free service only for a few hours until supplies ran out. But then more and more people kept coming, donating food to be prepared and given away! This went on for at least 10 hours, and then started up again the next day.

One group sprang quickly into action to organize a fundraiser for first-responders who had themselves lost their homes to disaster.

The stories go on and on. Politics and petty things that usually divide us were forgotten. People’s kindness is astonishing. I saw one fortunate business owner—who survived unscathed—offer to pay the next month’s rent for the less fortunate business next door who flooded and would need some time to recover.

My faith in humanity has been restored.

10. Anticipating the storm, weathering the storm, and then the very next day dealing with a terrifying pet emergency (which, I’m very happy to report, looks like it’s going to have a happy ending), was an emotional roller coaster ride that left me as drained as if I had battled a bad case of influenza. But the best feeling of all (right up there with relief!) is gratitude.

I’m grateful that we made it through the storm with no loss of life, no serious injuries, much less destruction of property than we could have had, great plans that were executed to perfection by the authorities, bonds between neighbors strengthened, hope and determination restored.

I know soon we’ll all “get back to normal,” and we’ll start bickering over nonsense again, but for now, I’m grateful for all the good things that have come out of this storm.

I’ve heard a few people complain about it taking too long to restore electricity, or how city officials aren’t doing everything exactly right (if there is room for improvement, could we just work on that rather than gripe about it?). I reminded one guy that the storm could have been worse. And he said, yea but it could have been better!

But focusing on the negative is a choice, and I’m not willing to go there with the complainers. I choose gratitude.

Category : Blog &Events

Exercise Is Good for Your Heart—and Your Wallet!



Do you need more motivation to exercise regularly?

What if someone offered to pay you $2,500 per year?

That’s what you could, in effect, pay yourself in healthcare savings each year if you exercised on a regular basis. recently reported on a study published by the Journal of the American Heart Association, which found that “On average, someone who met the exercise guidelines paid $2,500 less in annual health care expenses related to heart disease than someone who did not walk or otherwise move for 30 minutes five times per week.

“Those numbers included annual savings of about $400 on prescription medicines and far fewer emergency room visits and hospitalizations for people who regularly exercised.”

Even those who had already been diagnosed with a heart disease or had multiple risk factors saved significantly on health-related expenses.

There were more than 26,000 persons in the study, and researchers were involved from universities and hospitals around the country. In trying to look at costs related to inactivity, they decided to limit the scope of the survey to expenses related to cardiovascular disease.

Which probably means that people who exercise regularly save even more— because they’re not developing Type 2 Diabetes or certain kinds of cancer, they’re not missing work, etc.

And here’s the best part: all we have to do to improve our health and save $2500 (or more) per year is engage in moderate exercise for 30 minutes 5 days a week!

Just a half hour a day, five days out of seven, of moderate exercise like brisk walking, gentle bike riding, or raking leaves.

Fall is a great time to get moving. Even my dog is friskier as the weather cools off! If you’ve fallen off the exercise wagon during the dog days of summer, start up again with just 30 minutes of moderate activity. You’ll feel better, and you can take that to the bank!


Category : Blog &Health

Holistic Massage & Reflexology Moves and Adds Therapist

Julie Wesling, LMT has moved her practice—Holistic Massage & Reflexology—to a new location at 2820 US 1 South, Suite J, in the Century 21 office complex.

Joining her in the new location is registered dietician Amanda Perrin RDN, LDN, with her nutrition consultation practice, Peace of Nutrition.

Seasoned therapist Shawn Nerveza, LMT will also be offering massage therapy at the new location.

“We’re very excited to have more space,” says Wesling. “And, between the three of us, we can offer relaxation, therapeutic and medical massage therapy, reflexology, and nutrition counseling to clients virtually 7 days/week.”

The office plans to hold classes as well. The first one will be a foot reflexology workshop open to the public over 4 evenings in late November and early December.

An open house is planned for Monday, September 26th from 5 – 7 pm. Everyone is invited to stop by to check out the new space and enjoy refreshment and networking!

For more information, contact Julie Wesling at 904-377-6696 or [email protected]
MA 56383 MM 38038







Category : Blog &Health &Massage Therapy