For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function”   (Romans 12:4)

The National Wellness Calendar indicates a number of areas of focus for October.

October is Eye Injury Prevention Month, also National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and National Medical Librarians Month.  Let’s take note of each of these areas of wellness.

Have you had your annual eye exam, assuring your sight is the best it can be?

Are you wearing protective eye wear when you do craft, home, or outdoor tasks?

Are your eye drops recommended by your eye Doctor?  Some can damage rather than heal.

Ladies, have you had your annual mammogram?  Recent information from the National Cancer Institute indicates not EVERYONE needs as frequent a screening.  Check with your Physician about your individual risk factors, genetic concerns, age, and overall health as you plan your mammogram schedule.  High Risk individuals often benefit from breast MRI as well as mammogram.  Be sure you know what is best for YOU!!

Breast health responds well to daily exercise, stress management, and low fat meal planning.

Be sure you are doing your monthly self breast exams without fail.

Honor your local Medical Librarians:

Check out the wonderful new Medical Library at VVMC (located just behind the gift shop) where the Librarians are helpful in finding the latest and best information for your needs.

Check out online information and

Our church librarians have new and interesting web sites and information about new cancer treatments and awareness. Be sure to talk with them.

Wellness awareness and illness prevention is such an individual thing, but ‘as we are one body with many members and not all members have the same function’,  so there are many theories and methods of attaining wellness and we need to be educated consumers.


Alice Stephenson BSN,RN,PN

Parish Nurse Consultant


September focus is “Generosity”    ‘lay up  treasures in heaven’

While on my summer travels I read a most interesting book, “THE HAPPINESS PROJECT” by Gretchen Rubin.   Educated as a lawyer, having worked as a clerk for Sandra Day O’Connor, Gretchen researched ways to be “HAPPY”.  Many of her ideas are noteworthy, but one caught my attention.  Encouraging her readers to learn to “Spend Out”.  The premise  of ‘spending out’ is to be generous with our abundance, time, gifts, dreams, and caring.  So often we have items, ideas, or time that we carefully ‘save for another, better time’.  How many of us have items we own that we ‘save for special’ or time on our hands that we hold in limbo, or finances that we ‘save because we might need it later’!!  The stories of those who ‘wait until it’s too late’ to share or give and never get to see the happiness or joy they might have given another.  Our Lord invites us to not ‘lay  up treasures’ and to give with enthusiasm, not always meaning our tithe or our volunteer time.  Our United Methodist tradition asks of us to give of our ‘time, our talents, our gifts, and our service’.  Have we put this into too small a box?

My mother had a silver spoon collection. Her aunt had given her  a unique silver spoon for every birthday as she grew up.  Mother had also inherited spoons from her grandmother, mother, and mother-in-law.  A box of about a  dozen of these were among the ‘treasures ‘my sister and I diligently polished at least once a year, putting them carefully back in their box  for  that ‘special occasion’ when dessert or beverage spoons were needed.  When my Mother died, we found in the bottom  of a drawer, several more boxes filled with silver spoons.  None of these had I seen, and I thought I knew all of her ‘treasures’  having moved her several times in recent years.   What a surprise to find beautifully  sculptured spoons, ones with special messages engraved, and slender demitasse spoons.  She was ‘saving them for special’!!  I have taken these spoons out, put them on spoon racks in my kitchen, and try regularly to polish and use them.  Guests notice this fun collection and pour over the variety and uniqueness of each one.  I hope I am ‘spending out’ by sharing this collection.

Have you a time of day that tends to be ‘down time’ or time wasted when  you might call a friend, write a note, record a story for a grandchild, e-mail a soldier, or talk with a neighbor?   Have you items in you possession that could be used by a shelter, single Mom, or a family member?  Do you have clothes  or linens, or office supplies that you ‘save for special’ that would make you or another smile or would increase enjoyment?   Do you keep a change jar that just adds up and sits on a shelf that could be donated to the backpacks for hungry children or put into a fund for a scholarship?  Have you books that you have read that just   sit on your shelf that might bring happiness to another.  Do you have creative  or  loving ideas that if shared could benefit another?  (Just look what happened to the ‘Jesus Bracelet’ project at Sedona UMC that mushroomed into a great fund raiser). Do you have time to pray ?  Make a prayer list and pray specific  prayers for others.

Gretchen Rubin states that those who give or are charitable tend to become more  wealthy, whether it be in funds, joys, or  emotional or spiritual wealth.  The old saying “The More You Give the More You Receive” holds  true of ‘spending out’.   HAPPINESS IS MADE OF THIS!!

Alice Stephenson BSN,RN,PN

This recently came across my e-mail and is the BEST WELLNESS NOTES for July I could think of.   May we all live by these mind-body-and spirit suggestions.


An Angel says, ‘Never borrow from the future. If you worry about what may happen tomorrow and it doesn’t happen, you have worried in vain. Even if it does happen, you have to worry twice.’

1. Pray
2. Go to bed on time.
3. Get up on time so you can start the day unrushed.
4. Say No to projects that won’t fit into your time schedule, or that will compromise your mental health.
5. Delegate tasks to capable others.
6. Simplify and unclutter your life.
7. Less is more. (Although one is often not enough, two are often too many.)
8. Allow extra time to do things and to get to places.
9. Pace yourself. Spread out big changes and difficult projects over time; don’t lump the hard things all together.
10. Take one day at a time.
11. Separate worries from concerns. If a situation is a concern, find out what God would have you do and let go of the anxiety. If you can’t do anything about a situation, forget it.
12. Live within your budget; don’t use credit cards for ordinary purchases.
13.. Have backups; an extra car key in your wallet, an extra house key buried in the garden, extra stamps, etc.
14. K.M.S. (Keep Mouth Shut). This single piece of advice can prevent an enormous amount of trouble.
15. Do something for the Kid in You everyday.
16. Carry a spiritually enlightening book with you to read while waiting in line.
17. Get enough rest.
18. Eat right.
19. Get organized so everything has its place.
20.. Listen to a tape while driving that can help improve your quality of life..
21. Write down thoughts and inspirations.
22. Every day, find time to be alone.
23. Having problems? Talk to God on the spot. Try to nip small problems in the bud.

Don’t wait until it’s time to go to bed to try and pray.
24. Make friends with Godly people.
25.. Keep a folder of favorite scriptures on hand.
26. Remember that the shortest bridge between despair and hope is often a good ‘Thank you Jesus .’
27. Laugh.
28. Laugh some more!
29. Take your work seriously, but not yourself at all.
30. Develop a forgiving attitude (most people are doing the best they can).
31. Be kind to unkind people (they probably need it the most).
32. Sit on your ego.
33. Talk less; listen more.
34. Slow down.
35. Remind yourself that you are not the general manager of the universe.
36. Every night before bed, think of one thing you’re grateful for that you’ve never been grateful for before. GOD HAS A WAY OF TURNING THINGS AROUND FOR YOU.
‘If God is for us, who can be against us?’

Offered by Alice Stephenson BSN,RN,PN

Parish Nurse Consultant


“To every thing there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.”  Eccles. 3:1

March is “Make A Will” Month!! What a great time to think of the ‘seasons’ of our life and make certain we have our ‘ducks in a row’ for our Life Planning.  No matter what our age, anyone over 18 should have a will and a life plan.  Great grief and stress can be avoided if individuals make their own decisions about their future, their possessions, and their desires.   I can hear you saying,” Oh, I made a will years ago so that’s all done”  or  “I don’t need a will, I’m too young”  or “I think my family knows what I want”!!!  All of the above statements have led to families being torn apart, wishes not carried out, and great confusion when things might be stressful enough.  Your documents should be updated every 5 years or whenever things change in your life.    SO—Now is the time to think of your LIFE  CARE PLANNING  and get the job done.

?  Find updated Life Care Planning forms at the Arizona Attorney General’s Office (call 1-800-352-8431   or online at )  Ask for Life Care Planning Forms.

?  Discuss the forms with family, pastor, or lawyer if you have questions.  You do NOT have to have a lawyer to complete these forms.

?  Always make several copies of completed forms and make sure family, your agent , your Doctors, and Hospital have copies.  Always keep copies for yourself readily available.

?  Forms include: Durable Health Care Power of Attorney which chooses whom you would have make your health care decisions if you are unable to do so. This is known as your AGENT ( spouse, friend, family member with heathcare experience, or any trusted person); Durable Mental Health Power of Attorney chooses one you wish to make decisions about your mental health care if need be. Living Will (End of life care) lets you decide exactly what you do or do not wish to happen at the end of your life. Discuss this with your Parish Nurse or a Health Care Professional if you have questions. Letter to my agent allows you to notify your chosen agent of your wishes–making sure that person has a copy of your forms. Pre-Hospital Medical Directive (DNR) must be on orange paper!!  Especially important if on hospice care or wishing no extreme measures be done.

?  An additional form is FIVE WISHES which is available from your Parish Nurse or online. This form allows additional wishes added to your Living Will.  It is wonderful comfort information for your caregivers.

?  Also included in your planning should be your Will or Trust that make certain your money and tangible property is distributed the way YOU wish it to be.  This also helps avoid costly probate and legal fees.   It is wise to consult an Attorney  or Financial Planner for this plan.  A great resource is the book “A Will Is Not Enough in Arizona” by Pohl & Morris.

Prayerfully consider and get your plan made in March.

Alice Stephenson BSN,RN,PN


Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God” –1 John 4:7

February is National Heart Month. As I write this, I an overwhelmed with the news about the Tragedy in Tucson!! The sadness, grief, and disbelief bring us right to the heart of the matter—”Beloved, let us love one another”!! Where was the LOVE when the young man’s anger was not noticed and treated; where was the LOVE when politics became a battle of anger; where is the LOVE when we cannot communicate in polite, discourse and LISTEN to one another? We could stop with our questions, yet I see answers abound—The LOVE was in the heart of the young man who held an injured friend; the LOVE was in the servant who provided CPR to a dying child; the LOVE was in the hand of each public servants who cared for the injured; the LOVE can be in our hearts as we pray for the grieving, injured, and for forgiveness from GOD for the angry confused young man and his family. “Love is of God” and we must let it prevail.

For February, I encourage each of you to update your skills in Emergency Procedures. If you are an Usher, Greeter, Sunday School Teacher, or Volunteer Visitor–it is impairitive that you update CPR to C-A-B!! From the American Heart Association comes the update: “2010 Guidelines for CPR and ECC (Emergency Cardiovascular Care) update the 2005 guidelines.

Stop into your local Fire Station to arrange for updated instruction.

  • When administering CPR , immediate chest compressions should be done first.
  • Untrained lay people are urged to administer Hands-Only CPR (Chest compressions only)
  • AHA is re-arranging the ABC’s of CPR (Airway-Breathing-Compressions) to CAB (Compressions-Airway-Breathing).
  • The 40 year plan of ABC’s delayed the essential circulation of oxygen-rich blood through the body.
  • Changing the sequence to C-A-B for adults and children (excluding infants) allows all rescuers to begin chest compressions right away for anyone who is unresponsive and not breathing normally.
  • Call 911 and push hard and fast on the center of the chest until professional help or an AED arrives.
  • Chest compressions, started immediately, should be a little faster, at a rate of 100 x/minute.
  • Rescuers should avoid ‘leaning’ on the chest between compressions to allow full ventilation.
  • Rescuers should avoid stopping chest compressions and avoid excessive ventilation.

Another consideration for February is to be certain you have had your flu immunization.

CDC Recommends every person 6 months or older receive an annual flu vaccine. Recognize the symptoms of flu;Cough or sneeze into your elbow or a tissue you throw immediately in the trash;

Wash hands often & use antibacterial gel frequently (before serving communion, after shaking hands, & before eating); and stay home if you have flu-like symptoms.


Alice Stephenson BSN,RN,PN


Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them….” Romans 12:6 (RSV)

January is a time for new beginnings. How often have we started the new year with “This year I am going to do……!!” We look at where we were in the past and strive to make changes that will create a new or better focus as we begin again. Often these new goals are unrealistic and by March we realize we are either discouraged, frustrated, or back in an old rut. How about taking a look at our ‘forecast’ in the light of our individual gifts, the grace given us, and the timing in our lives—-and feel more satisfied with the outcome of our planning.

  • What are my gifts? Am I clearly using the talents, abilities, time, and capacity that God has given me? Several in our family of faith are facing changes in their lives brought on by facts of age and health. No longer being able to drive the car; no longer having vision to accomplish tasks that once were easy; finding rehabilitation from an injury or illness has changed the energy and time allowance needed for meetings or committees; or areas of service are requiring reevaluating the ‘gifts’ that now can be used in a different way. If I enjoy visiting but cannot drive to visit another—-why not establish a schedule for phoning those who are lonely or needing encouragement. If I cannot physically perform active duties within my community or church—–why not ask others to come to me—-invite members of the youth group to stop by and record my stories of my personal history; volunteer to fold bulletins or stuff envelopes or sort quilt pieces that can be brought to me; take the time to write out how I performed previous duties and preserve methods of getting jobs done well for the ‘next generation of workers. If time restraints do not allow me to do activities I once did—-because of change of work schedule, change of learning schedules, retirement and travel interfering with volunteer schedules, or energy levels no longer allow use of a gift—– I can take this time to reevaluate what time and talents I can offer and change my course to the benefit of all.
  • Grace given to us–! Am I altering the course of my activities and needs with prayerful guidance? God has given me the grace to endure—-whether it be change, pain, energy levels, loneliness, grief, or facts with which I am faced. Refocusing my outlook with the healing help of prayer may open many new windows of opportunity when a door closes . When I look for God’s purpose for my life, listen thoughtfully to His counsel, and heed the nudges I am given—whole new vistas may open to me.
  • Let us use them….. Am I looking at what I CANNOT do and not seeing what I CAN do? I am reminded of my precious Mother, who at age 92 with severe macular degeneration and weakness from her fight with cancer, was feeling discouraged that she could not ‘do anything anymore’. She was a DOER and feeling unproductive was depressing to her. We started a list of WHAT I CAN DO. The most prominent thing on that list was SMILE!!! She could still smile though her day in all of her contacts with caregivers , friends, and family. At her passing the following year her tablemate in her Assisted Living setting came to me and said, “I will so miss Emma’s smile—-it brightened my every day!” The remaining gift she was able to use with God’s grace!!

Whether we are young, old, or in between we have been given wonderful gifts and talents that with the grace of God’s guidance we can adapt and grow and use them to the best of our ability.

May your New Beginnings in 2011 shine forth!!

Alice Stephenson BSN,RN,PN

Parish Nurse Consultant


She will give birth to a son. And he will be called Immanuel.”(Matt. 1:23)“The name Immanuel means God with us”

(Isaiah 7:14)

December is all about “God With Us”!! As we busily prepare for our celebration of Christmas–observing the Advent customs of our faith, and thinking about giving—-we must keep in mind each day that the “reason for the season” is that God came to be with us!! What would God have us do to truly CELEBRATE His being with us?

Let’s think about the possibilities of celebrating the Father–Son–and Holy Spirit being our focus each day:

  • Celebrate with Light. Really enjoy those lights on the front of your home—stroll under the stars and be thankful for the light and how it illumines every part of our life. Sit quietly beside your lighted Christmas Candles —taking a deep breath and letting out the stress , worry, and guilt that often accompany the flurry of giving.
  • Celebrate the Peace . Make the manger scene on your mantle the focus rather than the plates of cookies and busy parties. Let the peaceful scene of mother/baby/humble setting/ and caring visitors draw us into that miracle—doing all we can to create small (or large) miracles of our own within our home, church, & community.
  • Celebrate the Hope. As we listen to the music and enjoy the comforts and blessings of our traditions, let us each be hopeful about our relationships, our health, the news we listen to, the challenges we face, and the strife in our world. By carrying a hopeful, positive attitude in our heart and mind, we are creating great energy toward change and peace in our world.
  • Celebrate the JOY. Make every gift be one that brings you and the receiver joy. Fill your heart with joyful music and sights and sound. Bake every cookie and treat with the joy that the scents and flavors bring . Greet those you meet with joyful words (not negative or “I’m so rushed” conversation). Let the spirit of the Christ Child walk with you every step of this Holiday Season.

As an e-mail from a friend this evening states:

Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.

Live simply, love generously, care deeply, speak kindly,

and leave the rest to God.

Have a Blessed Holiday Season

Alice Stephenson BSN,RN,

Parish Nurse Consultant