July, 2012

“ Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. ”   Isaiah 41:10 (ESV)

LOSS  is not a very  happy summer  thought, but many of us are or have recently experienced loss.   This can enter our experience through death, illness, change in relationships, loss of a pet, Job loss or change, move to a new community, moving on to a new grade, having a new diagnosis of illness, change in health or activity status,  financial change, or other ways.  No matter how we are faced with loss it gives us a challenge.    Some losses are not even negative ones.  The loss of a nagging habit,  loss of an abusive or difficult relationship,  or loss of a stressor  can still give us pause to shift  gears and strive for new beginnings.   God has assured us that we are never alone in these losses and that we will be strengthened, made more aware, upheld, and guided in a positive manner.   The trick is to LOOK for God’s guidance and SEEK to take care of ourselves as we heal and head in new directions.


From a wellness point of view  loss , grief, and change prompt us in numerous ways as follows:

  • Face the loss of grief head on, look at it clearly and identify how it affects us
  • Connect with our spiritual  source ( God) and pause to listen for guidance
  • Communicate the loss through prayer, journaling, conversations with friends or pastor, meditation, music, phone, or internet.
  • Seek support through the above methods,  loca l grief support groups,  reading, or other support systems that allow for working through the grief steps and seeking new directions.
  • Focus on personal wellness.   Be aware of eating wisely, avoiding smoking or drinking or drug support, including a daily multivitamin to counteract the effects of stress,  encourage adequate sleep and rest,  exercise,  include spiritual support in each day  (Bible reading, prayer, & meditation)
  • Reach out to others for support, resources, and guidance.   Make  positive responses to invitations, calls, offers for help, and use of local resources. 
  • Study the steps of grief:  shock & numbness; denial & withdrawal; acknowledgment and pain, and finally adaptation and renewal.    Know the path through these steps needs to be taken before complete healing occurs. (stages may not be ‘in order’ or may need repeating).
  • Look up,  be open to laughter,  allow the tears, make the goal be a return to love and life!!


Great resources for dealing with loss include the following:

  • “How to Survive the Loss of a Love”,  McWilliams, Bloomfield, & Colgrove
  • “Life after Loss”,  Bob Deits
  • “Good Grief”,  Granger Westburg
  • “Necessary Losses”,  Judith Voirst
  • “The Fall of Freddie the Leaf”,  Leo Buscaglia



Alice Stephenson BSN,RN,PN

Parish Nurse Consultant


“This will be a sign for you—“  Luke  2:12

April is National Stress Awareness Month, National Child Abuse Prevention Month,  and April 4th is National Day of Hope.    These reminders   give us pause for thought as we enter a new month—EASTER month—when we renew our faith with celebration.   Our religious holidays  prompt   different emotions within our Mind-Body-and Spirit.  Christmas gives us HOPE,  Pentacost  lights a fire in our heart, Lent encourages us to recall sacrifice,  and Easter gives us the JOY of Resurrection.   Each is a ‘sign’ for us to react in a different way.    I recently read a statement that said,


I was driving down Cornville Road and encountered the series of  “Burma Shave Style” signs meant to jog the  mind to action.  They read as follows:

WELCOME TO CORNVILLE:  “WELCOME”  stood out as the directive.   We can welcome Jesus into our life as our guide, friend, mentor, and sustainer.  We welcome new neighbors into our family of faith with enthusiasm.   We welcome new habits that improve our health and well being.

A QUIET PLACE:   “QUIET” is a directive.    Find daily time of quiet.  Seek quiet to renew our mind, body, and spirit, as only that ‘pause that refreshes’ can.   Take a time of quiet to listen to others and to God  speaking just to us.   Reflect in quiet to relieve stress,  reorganize time,  remember, and renew.

PLEASE SLOW DOWN: “SLOW DOWN” can be our directive.   In our lives of rush, speed, quick interaction, and everything run by the clock, taking time to slow down can be a life saver.   Taking a deep breath  and backing off our pace allows reduction of stress,  awareness of actions, and  safety.

TO A LEISURELY PACE:  “LEISURELY” gives us directive.    Leisure is defined as, ‘freedom from demands of work or duty; free time to enjoy rest, hobbies, sport, etc.; unhurried ease’.   Incorporating leisure into each day allows release of stress,  improvement of health and wellness, improvement in our relationships with family and loved ones, and time to celebrate hope.

Be alert to the signs around you that will prompt you toward mind, body, and spiritual wellness.

Alice Stephenson BSN,RN,PN

Parish Nurse Consultant



“In Him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind”   John 1:4

This Lenten Season we may NOT be encouraging you to “Walk to Jerusalem” or even to ‘give up’ an unhealthy habit as we have in past years.   This season, let us look at HIM as life and how Jesus giving his life allows us to make our light shine.   Our light can shine more brightly if we work toward living a healthy life.

Excerpt from ‘Prayer Prescribed’ a new book by Dr. Anne Borik (author of SignChiDo) states:

The path to preserving your health and well-being is not about the absence of anything. Health is not the absence of illness; it is being healthy mind, body and soul. Losing weight is not about the absence of food; it is eating the right foods. Life is not the absence of death; it is living with your entire being. Therefore, in order to live a healthy life, you must be alive and do the things that keep you alive–Breathe, Move, Eat, be Positive and Pray.

  • BREATHE:   Right now take a deep, cleansing breath.  Sit or stand straight upright; Inhale through your nose while raising both arms to shoulder level in front of your body with palms turned upward.   Exhale through your mouth as you turn palms downward and lower the arms together to below waist level.       Practice this three or four times.  This increases oxygen to your brain, decreases blood pressure, relaxes your muscles, and stretches your lung capacity.
  • MOVE:   Some of you will want to put on your pedometer and work toward the 10,000 steps per day that is recommended by the American Heart Association for healthy exercise.   Some may just walk twice to the mailbox and back—then next week make three trips, etc.   Some may prefer to sit in their chair and just do range of motion of each limb and joint of the body.   JUST GET MOVING and feel the healthy benefits.
  • EAT:   We mentioned last month the increase of fruits and veggies.   Try for putting a RAINBOW of foods in your body each day.  Red berries or tomatoes, Orange carrots or peppers, Yellow tomatoes or squash, Green leafy veggies or peppers, Blue berries or grapes, Violet fruits or eggplant.    Be creative and enjoy the healthy feeling.
  • BE POSITIVE:   Greet the day with a “What a beautiful morning” statement; tell someone you love them or write a note of a happy memory; encourage positive thoughts and counteract negatives around you.  THINK HAPPY.
  • PRAY:  Share your day with God.  Tell HIM your gratitudes, your fears, your wishes, your needs, your wants, and your feelings.   Incorporate prayer in your morning, noon, & night.  Find a new prayer and post it where you can see it and repeat it daily.



Alice Stephenson BSN,RN,PN


“Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.”  Isaiah 60:1

JANUARY:  A new year, a new month, a new start!!   Light shines on the newness before us with encouraging brightness.   My husband and I begin the New Year with a group of RV friends, out in the desert, around a roaring campfire.   We say goodbye to the old year, old thoughts, unfinished goals, and sorrows, and look ahead with the firelight shining brightly on our future.    It is a time of starting a new calendar, setting new goals, (sounds better than ‘resolutions’), and making new plans.   Let each of us “ Arise, shine; for ‘our’  light has come”  in the form of the baby Jesus, who came to  shed light into each of our lives , illuminating the darkness that might dim our positive outlook, forward thinking, and  bright NEW YEAR.   How can we use this light to build a better, more healthful, brighter year ahead:

  • Do a brief meditation:  Close your eyes, sit comfortably, and breathe deeply.   Envision the Christ Light brightening your heart, then allow that light to travel  throughout your entire body—limb by limb, organ by organ, —lending the healing, energizing power of Christ’s love to clear out the darkness, pain, obstructed areas,  and dimness from your mind, body, and spirit. Allow the light to flow freely as you breathe  deeply and sit quietly for a few moments.   As you open our eyes, may you feel the refreshing power of LIGHT throughout your being.
  • Assure you are being outdoors in the light for several periods each day.  If it is a dull, dark, day turn on all of the lights in your room  and spend more time in the light than in dull areas.
  • Allow light to shine FROM you each day.   Make a conscious effort to greet everyone you meet with a smile (and yourself in the mirror) letting the Christ Light within you shine out to others.  Know that if the only positive activity you might do is your smile, you have witnessed to another.
  • Fill your plate with ‘light and bright’ foods.  Include oranges, lemon, yellow and red peppers, a rainbow of colored fruits, vegetables, and fluids in your daily meal plan.   Set the goal of 5 to 9 servings of fruits and vegetables in EACH daily intake.   (make a list & check off the numbers!!)
  • Lighten your step!!   Take out a walking stick and take a daily walk, making your stride longer, your head held high, and breathing freely as you try for at least 30 minutes of walking daily (it can be in spurts or even with a walker or pacing in your chair).
  • Shed light on your words.     Try for communicating more positive thoughts than negatives; using uplifting words; speaking kindness; encouraging another; and brightening your own outlook.
  • Share your “light” each day.   God has given you special gifts within your heart, mind, and soul. Use those gifts to the best of your ability and avoid ‘hiding them under a bushel’.  Let your light shine!!

Begin 2012 as the beacon of God’s Love!!

Alice Stephenson BSN,RN,PN

Parish Nurse Consultant


Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ?”  I Corinthians 6:15

November is Diabetes Awareness Month!!  In considering the needs of those of us who deal with Diabetes in our life or the lives of those we love, it bears repeating information recently seen in our local newspapers and physician offices.   “WHAT’S ON YOUR PLATE” (the new USDA dietary guidelines)  is such an important tool in caring for Diabetes, related Heart Disease, Blood Pressure issues, Weight concerns, and so many other wellness matters.   Knowing that choices we make on a daily basis of what we put on our mealtime plates will ultimately have a bearing on our health concerns, motivates us to find a simple method of making those choices.    The “MY PLATE” format gives us clear directions of how our healthy meal plan should look and gives us visual cues to help understand portion sizes.   Check out additional information at  choosemyplate.gov  .    Keep in mind for each that you  think about how much food you put on your plate, cup or bowl.   Look more closely at your serving sizes and include foods from each food  group in each meal.  Removing the word “DIET” from you focus and realizing for a healthy meal plan you can eat the things you like, you just need to eat them ‘smarter’.    Some tips that may help include:

  • Make half your plate fruits and vegetables        Breakfast can even include a veggie omelet or low salt V-8
  • Make at least half of your grains ‘whole’ grains.    Become a label reader and avoid the processed foods.
  • Switch to skim or 1% dairy products
  • Vary your protein food choices.    Twice  a week make seafood the  protein on your plate and include more beans and peas, nuts, and eggs.
  • Cut back on sodium and empty calories from solid fats and sugars
  • Make sure you are moving 30 minutes each day.  (even the chairbound can do this!!)

This is all things you have heard over and over in life,  but as we look at becoming God’s WELL children, make this the month you begin to make changes that benefit your health and wellness.

Alice Stephenson BSN,RN,PN

Parish Nurse Consultant

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 nbcamquestions@yahoo.com and  www.nbcam.org

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