November 08, 2010

Real Stories: Black Women Live On

Former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice has a new memoir Extraordinary Ordinary about the segregated South and the force of family love on her life. Her memories are America's too as she grew up in Birmingham, Alabama when bombing bloodshed propelled the civil rights movement when survival demanded perseverance, resistance and equanimiity. Condi notes that while there has been remakable progress since those days, challenges do persist as many are trapped in zip codes by poverty and race hindering their educational opportunity, employment possibilities as well as living standards.

Professor Rice notes that she prefers the term 'black American' because "African-American mocks the immigrant narrative" saying that her ancestors were enslaved to come to this country and are a significant part of America's beginning and founding population. Condi's story is American history with lessons about race, gender and the generational legacy of being extraordinary.

June 01, 2010

Spending the Night with Ivan: Revisiting Lessons in Storm Survival

It’s the first day of  Hurricane season.  My urban life experiences never gave me reason to be concerned with weather patterns beyond the four seasons of the New York City atmosphere.  Yet, my grandmother was born and raised just off the Savannah River, she demands that all the electricity be shut off and sits still away from closed windows in her home when loud thunderstorms come, she says "hush now God's talking" eventually she gets around to her own storytelling of lighting strikes, flooding and lives lost.  She pays attention when joint pain, sudden stiffness and an inner sense indicate that a storm is coming soon.  The changing temperatures and severity of recent natural disasters around the world have me now following weather patterns. My fascination turned compulsion is also driven by a personal experience embedded in my psyche, a long summer night in a catastrophic hurricane. It changed my world perspective and awakened something within me.
My field report published in The New Physician magazine conveyed early reflections on the traumatic experience as I was in the first days of medical school when Ivan hit. While many years have passed, a residue of emotions and feelings still surface under the right conditions.  The sudden approach of certain hues of grey in the sky, the hint of a sweet smell of moisture in the air, winds whistling gently stirring trees refresh my memories.  It was a warm, clear, blue sky day filled with sunshine when the forecast of Hurricane Ivan was announced and in the early hours looking at the dopplers on CNN, we thought the storm might pass even with technological and sensory intelligence to the contrary. Within moments, the daylight disappeared, darkness emerged and the power failed soon thereafter.  Category 5 Hurricane Ivan results:
“Catastrophic damage to Grenada and heavy damage to Jamaica, Grand Cayman, and the western tip of Cuba. After peaking in strength, the hurricane moved north-northwest across the Gulf of Mexico to strike Gulf Shores, Alabama as a strong Category 3 storm, causing significant damage. Ivan dropped heavy rains on the Southeastern United States as it progressed northeast and east through the eastern United States, becoming an extratropical cyclone.”
The ear-popping pressure systems created by the wind should not be underestimated, it’s hard to imagine that you can be physically blown away.  The effect of continuos downpours with rising tides, water can trigger a real threat to life.  Storm surges, high winds, tornadoes, and flooding are the hallmarks of hurricane hazards.
Storm stories make me shiver, but The Moth Podcast of Deborah Scaling Kiley's storytelling “Lost at Sea” is struck with true meaning on what survive storms means in finding purpose in life. You can listen also at http://bit.ly/96gNjO  

She's author of The Sinking and No Victims Only Survivors: Ten Lessons of Survival and a survivor of a near-death shipwreck and shark attack. 
I still love spending time by the sea as well as swimming, returning to the water again has been a healing process of overcoming fears, letting go of control issues and finding the power of simple pleasures in life. I’ve been meaning to watch the Disney nature movie documentary Oceans to review the amazing cycle that water and wind work to produce in our natural weather system. Our encounters with nature can speak into our situations with truth and purpose so that we can see beyond our lives and look into the world finding purpose as well meaning in life.

Final note - Preparing for the Unexpected
I teach the American Red Cross course “Preparing for the Unexpected” and have been certified in the American Medical Association's Basic and Advanced Disaster Life Support courses.  You should do what you can to prepare. Here are some tips you can follow:

Family Disaster Plan
  • Discuss the type of hazards that could affect your family. Know your home's vulnerability to storm surge, flooding and wind.
  • Locate a safe room or the safest areas in your home for each hurricane hazard. In certain circumstances the safest areas may not be your home but within your community.
  • Determine escape routes from your home and places to meet. These should be measured in tens of miles rather than hundreds of miles.
  • Have an out-of-state friend as a family contact, so all your family members have a single point of contact.
  • Make a plan now for what to do with your pets if you need to evacuate.
  • Post emergency telephone numbers by your phones and make sure your children know how and when to call 911.
  • Check your insurance coverage - flood damage is not usually covered by homeowners insurance.
  • Stock non-perishable emergency supplies and a Disaster Supply Kit.
  • Use a NOAA weather radio. Remember to replace its battery every 6 months, as you do with your smoke detectors.
  • Take First Aid, CPR and disaster preparedness classes.

For additional details visit www.hurricanes.gov/prepare

May 26, 2010

Wellness Wednesday: National Senior Health & Fitness Day




Today is National Senior Health and Fitness Day, consider reaching out to your folks and encourage them to get going while showing your loved ones some gratitude as they were your  first coaches, who encouraged your very first steps in life.  Over 100,000 older adults across the United States will participate in health promotion events.  Consider taking a walk or getting some exercise with a mentor, family member or friend.  Encourage the elders around you to stay active.   I think it's extraordinary that after a long battle with illness, my mom is recovering and resuming her active lifestyle while taking on new habits to improve her health.  She's riding her bike to work today. I've already gone for a 3 mile walk today.  How about you?  

What's on your wellness agenda today - be intentional, make up your mind to take 30 minutes for a walk, run, yoga, stretching or go for a swim.   May there's a Zumba class with your name on it.   It's Wellness Wednesday.



May 02, 2010

Creative Space: It's in Your Brain

Everyday life requires creativity
Creativity involves a mental process that allows you to generate new ideas. While we think of artists as the creative experts of our time, everyday life requires creativity. Seeing a persistent challenge with new perspective may offer a new reality takes creative effort. Your time, energy and brain can be consumed with tasks on to-do lists, everyday routines interruptions and then there are the distractions brought on by this new world of social media.


If you want your creative energy to flow you may have to give up time-consuming unproductive efforts. You'll have to make the decision to allow time in your day when you can awaken the centers of your brain. Not easy. Yet, if you pay close attention the reward of freeing your brain to be creative will yield dividends like solving problems by generating new worthwhile ideas.  You may become an asset in your workplace, family and improve your own life by using the power of creativity.

Lessons in Creative Innovation
Recently, I listened to Steve Jobs, founder of Apple and Pixar Animation discuss his creative process.  Steve learned early on the power of connecting to creativity in shaping his life.  





The massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico spreading from the coasts of Louisiana and moving toward Florida will in the days ahead require creativity in the cleanup, restoration and renewal in these waters.  Furthermore, the floods of Nashville will need creative expertise from city planners to rethink infrastructure while others will work to find solutions for those who have been devasted.  In the same manner, new health care reform legislation demands that physicians think about the implementation and delivery of better medical treatment and healing using the tools of creative innovation.


Creative Innovation: A Scientific Understanding
Throughout time scientists and physicians have been innovators using their imaginations and curiosities in making new discoveries with or without laboratories. As described by Herman Helmhotz in 1826  the stages of creative innovation involve four stages: incubation, illumination, preparation and verification.   In short, you should know that your thought processes activate pathways or circuits in your brain that empower creativity whether you are a musician, writer, medical student, business executive, physicist, graphic designer or running a household. You have pathways for creativity in the core of your being.  Creativity is a life force for your well-being and health.  Creativity is meant to help you be the best person you can be and also allows you to have an impact in the world.


Here are a few of my suggestions for your creative time:
  • Declutter your brain - write down your to-do list 
  • Take "down time" everyday to allow for creativity - no phone calls, twitter, or social networking
  • Keep a creativity journal. 
  • Create different physical spaces in your office, home 
  • Take a creative walk or sit by the water 
  • Be persistent - push away distractions and be present in the moment.
Share your suggestions in creative innovation by leaving a comment.

April 27, 2010

Lessons in Tenacity, Hope and Change





Civil rights leader Dorothy Irene Height will be laid to rest following funeral services at the National Cathedral on Thursday. Pictured above on the left Dr. Height, 98 lived a long life and worked hard for racial justice and gender equality in America.  Her memoir Open Wide the Gates of Freedom begins with this phrase:
“Mighty women have been with and for us from the beginning of time.  This is patently true or as a species we would have become extinct centuries before we learned how to use fire or store water.”
During the 1964 Freedom Summer Dr. Height worked to organize “Wednesdays in Mississippi” by mobilizing women across the nation to engage in dialogue about their fears of and hopes for change. A stalwart activist and politician, she continued serving in many leadership roles including President of the National Council of Negro Women and President of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.  Dr. Height collaborated with First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt on human and civil rights, President Eisenhower on public school desegregation and President Johnson to appoint African American women to cabinet leadership roles in government.  Her work has been honored by President Bush, President Clinton and President Obama.  Do you get the gist of her purpose and labor in this life?  Dr. Height’s work spans half a century, she continued worked long days burning midnight oil well into her eighties.  Progress takes time and change is hard work.
A global thinker and mobilzer, Dr. Height offers a blueprint for living with purpose in our lives.  We must continue to take on civil and human rights and through her legacy knowing that tenacity and hope remain at the root of progress.  Above, on the right is a picture of Katie Washington she just became the first African-American woman to be named valedictorian at University of Notre Dame.  From a close-knit nurturing family in Gary, Indiana Katie’s story is starts like Dorothy’s one of humble beginnings.  Dr. Height’s efforts have opened new doors and Miss Washington has worked to make these opportunities her reality. She’s headed to Johns Hopkins School Medicine and will go on to become a physician-scientist making progress in medicine and beyond.  
Share this story with young people in your life.









 "I want to be remembered as someone who used herself and anything she could touch to work for justice and freedom.... I want to be remembered as one who tried." Dr. Dorothy Height #quote via Bishop Vashti McKenzie

April 06, 2010

Weighing-In



I have to decided to join forces with a friend in the challenge to focus on making some lifestyle choices and setting goals to help with my weight loss plan.  Over the next eight weeks, I plan to walk and run for a total of 100 miles.  I will continue this activity 2 to 5 miles at a time, going a distance of 12 to 15 miles a week.  From past experience, I know that some weeks and days will be better than others. Staying on course and pushing through the hard times is important.

I'm doing this with a friend whose life is so different from mine that I wonder how well this will work.  We are sharing the same goal, but how she gets there will be vastly different from my plan.  The idea is that we will stay on the path knowing that we can support each other through this stretch of the journey.

I'm a self-confident woman who is committed to living a healthier life by finding balance in doing things that I enjoy. I like outdoor running and walking whether on a nature trail, at the beach or moving through an interesting city neighborhood. I do not like the treadmill, but in the rain it's an option. 

Water activity is another joy. I'm planning to go water aerobics in the coming weeks, but in the meantime will start a strength-training regimen along with the walking and running.

I have made up my mind to keep moving.  What about you?


March 25, 2010

I'm Reading


This week, I'm reading Edwidge Danticat's Brother I’m Dying.  A 2009 MacArthur Fellow, Danticat is a brilliant storyteller. She uses the power of creative nonfiction to bring you closer to the stories unfolding offering layers of complexity.  I have already shed tears.    The stories about Haiti's recent earthquake have faded from the media. Ruins remain.  Catastrophic devastation in Haiti is better understood in it's historical context. Brother I’m Dying delivers a paradigm to help us help Haiti. Danticat's storytelling about her family is about Haitian culture and life. Listen to Edwidge and maybe you will read her books.       




March 24, 2010

Rhythms for life: Step By Step



I'm a steady walker who has taken to jogging more and more.  Some days  I walk more than I jog as I'm intentional about keeping a healthy stride.  I set goals.  Taking out 30 to 45 minutes a few times a week to walk or jog  has helped me find balance for healthy living and rhythms for life.


 I use the Nike+ pedometer system with my iPod  to keep track of my distance and pace while listening to all kinds of music motivating me to press on.  Parks, beaches, trails even city walks make my long distance efforts more enjoyable. There are a few places that I return to over and over again.   The sunshine offers an open invitation to get moving outdoors.  I do have tough times with staying on course, but have noticed that early spring through late fall offer me the best of times.  


I'll set new goals and find new places to enjoy this season.  New challenges and paths await. 


Whether you are making time to go for a leisurely walk or more ambitious run the benefits to your mind and body make it a worthy pursuit.  Early morning offers the dew and sunrise that can be a refreshing way to start the day.  Starting out just before dusk can yield the quiet needed after a long day.  Some weekends I get to enjoy the park in the afternoon as it fills with families and friends sharing good times. When you are outdoors think about safety.  


Let's keep moving!

March 23, 2010

Sisters in Medicine: Healers

America will change with health care reform, but there is more work to be done. I had the opportunity to go to a lunch time talk with Bylle Avery, she's a long-time community organizing activist and founder of the now Washington, D.C. based Black Women's Health Imperative.  Her enriching and inspiring talk for a small diverse group of physicians, women in ministry and others working in communities throughout New York City was just the motivation I needed.


This talk was part of a day long program "Raising Women's Voices for the Health Care We Need." Dr. Avery was reflective and also gave her perspective on the current issues that women continue to battle, while there have been some victories there is still more required.  She offered story-telling and lessons in self-care for women. Her reflections on the women's movement revealed even more of the need for women to keep pressing on collectively to work for change in America because far too many don't have the access to opportunities that allow for healthy living. 


The afternoon continued with a talk by Dr. Janet Taylor, psychiatrist and health strategist on "Fighting the Blues" and stress management tips.  She clarified the difference between "the blues" and major depression.  Do you know the signs of depression? Check out this screening tool to help yourself, your loved ones and those around you who may be suffering from depression.  Seek professional help if you have more than "the blues" and encourage those around you to do the same if they seem a little more than blue. Here's a glimpse of statistics of the statistics:


We also talked about the effects of chronic stress on the mind and body, you can visit my previous post on this topic.  Dr. Taylor discussed self-help strategies to help reduce stress by :
  • using coping strategies
  • identifying your sources of support
  • creating downtime for yourself
  • understanding "No" is a complete sentence
  • living your own values
  • getting out of abusive relationships
  • exercising regularly
  • practicing relaxation and meditation techniques
It's great to bear witness with sisters in medicine and those who are committed to healing for themselves and our communities. A new day is here and there more resources available to help those who need it and that's good news. 

March 22, 2010

The Long Position

Health reform in America brings a new day. The passage of a new bill by Congress and the signing on Tuesday by the President will bring changes health for many lives in America.  The year-long process has been like nothing we have seen in the history of American politics.  From my view, I believe the long position has to be an option for those who have worked so hard we must continue on.


One piece of legislation will not yield the full effect so there is more work to do.  Yes, we will celebrate on Tuesday when President Obama will sign legislation into law in the morning, but the Senate will begin their debate in the afternoon on the reconciliation legislation. This process will take time. 


Don't give up because there are more challenges, change is hard work.  The problems in health care are tough, complicated deserving the long view beyond the political election cycle.  Just like the battle for survival in many chronic diseases and prolonged illnesses there have to phases in treatment and it takes more than one dose to cure. Additional efforts are required, healing takes time.


In the financial market taking the long position is considered practical in investing where you hold your on to your position (in a security, bond, or future) to to maximize profitability.  Those who have invested their support in health reform need to continue to hold on until more work is done to yield the full benefit.  Even when though we cant' see a clearing or the end in sight we should continue trust the process. Tenacity is the tool we need for progress.


We don't want to just treat America, we want to heal America. Let's keep on working.  

March 21, 2010

Come Sunday

11:30 am:  I'm hopeful about this Sunday as an important milestone for health reform in America is here.  In the hours ahead the United States Congress will focus on passing legislation to change the course of health in the lives of people across the nation.  I'm saying my prayers, calling my Congressman and watching it all unfold while dealing with more personal matters of health care in my own family.


11:30 pm:  Planning, mobilizing and working for change, has resulted in change. There is progress with both HR 3590 the Senate health bill and HR 4872 the reconciliation bill passing that includes student aid reform too.  There's still more work to be done, but this is progress. HR 3590 goes to the President's desk and HR 4872 moves over the Senate. 

My colleagues and I at the American Medical Student Association have pressed forward in this movement and together, we are shaping the future with advocacy and activism the fourth dimension of medicine after patient care, teaching and research.

You can find details on both bills at www.amsa.org/hcreform  and look at how Representative voted on HR 3590 at the House website or at the New York Times 


Thanks to Farheen Qurashi, AMSA's JRL Legislative Director  and the AMSA National Health Policy team team for leading the way in teaching us all how to stay involved.  I serve on AMSA's national leadership team as grassroots organizing coordinator on the student life committee.








March 20, 2010

A medical emergency - calling for health care reform

It's a judgement call to ask for help, to know and acknowledge when a situation is beyond your control or resources. Last night, I was in the kitchen trying out a new recipe of chickpeas and spinach when my mother told me about about an unrelenting sharp pain she was having, she said that it was severe and interrupting her ability to breathe. I made her comfortable then I called 911. In a parental tone she was challenging my actions trying to downplay the episode. As I was dialing she voiced her fears, "I wonder if my health insurance will cover this?" was the first question mom asked as I continued to hold for the 911 operator. As I went through a few simple questions about my mother's present condition and history of illness with the EMS operator it became clear to me that my judgement call was clearly a good decision. She was rushed to the hospital.


Learn the signs so that you can respond in emergency situations by knowing when to call for help.


While my mom continues an ongoing battle for her health, I will continue to advocate for health care reform and continue my training to become a physician in family medicine.  My mom's story like so many other stories I know is an American story of hard work as she has been gainfully employed for half a century. She maintains a healthy and active lifestyle that is complicated by stress.  We are working together to establish new habits and learning to make better lifestyle choices, change is hard work.


While she continues with medical treatment, we hope and pray that healing will come.


In the meantime, I hear the voice of Civil Rights Leader Fannie Lou Hamer  crying out to us "I am sick and tired of being sick and tired."  


Health care reform in America has chance this weekend. I have hope. One of the most important lessons we can learn from the Civil Rights Movement is that unrelenting public pressure can keep the focus on health reform until there is justice. It's a battle worth fighting for now and in the days ahead until there is justice.










March 18, 2010

Time Out with a Friend

What does time do to our friendships?  When one of my dearest childhood friend keeps coming to mind it prompts me to call her  When we chat or have a chance to see each other my friend and I quickly establish the common ground required to have a meaningful conversation about the trajectory of our lives.  


I remember playing and sharing our dreams.  Now we laugh hard about how different our lives turned out.  When we share it's from a special place in our history of growing up that we can discuss the present and our hope for the future.  In growth and development the American Academy of Pediatrics states that "making friends is one of the most important missions of middle childhood -- a social skill that will endure throughout their lives."


"Besties" is the new term for those real friendships that you make along the road in life.  When I talk with my dear friend, we usually take a moment to go back in time.  While we get to chuckle about the awkward years of our youth other times have allowed for truth-telling that heals.  


We still speak our minds,
we still hold each other's dreams
we still hope and trust 
we still share and 
we still take time out to be friends


We need relationships in our lives that allow for healing so that we don't remain entangled in the vestiges of hurt or brokenness.  Relationships that help us dig out, free us from self-harm and/or give us hope have real power to change the world.

March 17, 2010

Plan, Study, Do, Act - More on Time Management

The plan, do, study, act (pdsa) model is an approach and tool that while used with organizational teams is a change management approach that can work on a personal level.  In this model you have what seems like rigid frame, but it can help spur creativity in moving a concept or vision toward reality.  



The origins of PDSA have a rich history with well-known innovators. PDSA is an outgrowth of the plan, do, check and act (pdca) model developed by Dr. W. Edwards Deming the father of modern quality control and the Shewhart Cycle (named after Deming's collaborator from Bell Telephone LaboratoriesWalter A. Shewhart). It's a tool that corporations and organizations utilize to bring great minds together to do new things and change the world.


Whatever your dream or idea it's worth writing it down as the power of the pen (or the keystroke at the computer) connects your thoughts to a physical experience.  Let the vision ruminate and grow within. Discuss your plan with different kinds of people including mentors, critics, friends and family.  If you believe in the power of your dreams and trust you imagination as agent of change the possibilities abound.  Excitement and energy levels may wax and wane with each phase of a new effort, but the tenacity to keep at it is a strength that can be empowered with a plan.







March 16, 2010

Time Management - "I'm Busy"

I often hear people make the vague statement "I'm busy" as a reason to reject another commitment or engagement.   When people tell me they are busy, I try to listen closely to hear more.


Life can be full and overwhelming. Just moving through the routines of the activities of daily living can be time consuming, yet these mundane tasks help to shape the quality of your life and determine how well you function. Getting adequate amounts of sleep and rest each day is a goal worth setting in your time management plan.  It takes time for your body and mind to adjust to new schedules and demands so you should consider the cost when adding new activities to your schedule or workload.  Are you an early bird or a late night owl? Do you need a nap during the day? What are your highest and lowest points of the day? Understanding the answers to these questions may help you to become more productive and effective with time management.


One of my favorite talks on time management is "The Last Lecture: Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams" by Randy Pausch. It's a candid talk about pursuing life with your God given dreams and working creatively to make them a reality. He offers practical lessons for example, understanding the "Four Quadrant To-Do List" to help you prioritize tasks by showing you how to put more focus on the what matters most in your time. 


I have read a few other helpful books on time management and will share more in future posts. Time management strategies can help you find balance in your life and improve your well-being.

March 15, 2010

Stress

On Sunday evening, I arrived at the LAX airport to find madness and mayhem.  The biblical weather in the northeast challenged the airways resulting in delayed travel plans for many frustrated and fatigued passengers, my flight was overbooked too.  The tense moment gave way when I decided to give up my seat in exchange for a few extra days in southern California that came with hotel accommodations, meals, a rebooked flight at no additional cost along with a travel voucher for my next round-trip.  While I have a long to-do list, I decided not to move according to the travel itinerary, but to embrace the change in plans. 


To my surprise, the hotel was green, stellar and lush with super healthy organic food choices on the menu. I did the things I was supposed to do and it was a productive time. I also tended to a few business matters.  In the evening, I went to Manhattan Beach, a seaside town in the California. Wow! I had great time and got a better glimpse of life on the west coast. I'm flying out tomorrow and the weather is clear from here to JFK so glad I'm glad that I had the opportunity to wait out the storm.  


Stress will come in your life, it's a reaction to emotional or physical threats (i.e. stimuli) that can be actual or imaginary. Learning to find some peace of mind if only for a few moments whether through prayer, meditation, going for a long walk or just sitting still for a few minutes will help you establish your peace baseline so that when stress emerges you know and can act to remedy the situation.  Stress releases the hormone epinephrine in your body and this adrenaline rush works effectively to raise your blood pressure, increase your heart-rate and open your airways to prepare you for an immediate response to a threat. Prolonged stress is not good for your health, it makes managing chronic disease more challenging as it counters the healing process and hinders our immune response system. Cortisol is another hormone is elevated during stress and it works to relax and return the body to homeostasis it's natural place of balance, but prolonged elevated cortisol levels may alter metabolism and hinder weight loss.  You can be eating a healthy reduced-calorie diet, getting exercise, but if you are stressed out by work, family matters and life issues the stress hinders your weight loss efforts. You may also become fatigued and drained, which may lead to irritability.


Do you gauge the stress in you life?  Try taking a simple stress test. It's helpful to check-in with yourself and to see how well you are responding to stressors in your life and how well you are managing stress. Don't be afraid to seek professional help about stress and employing strategies that help with life balance.


Mondays can be filled with stress, many people find themselves restless and don't get a good night sleep on Sundays due to fear and anxiety about the week ahead.  Stress does real harm to the body, mind and soul and it should be addressed.  Do you have stress-reducing techniques built into your life.  Are you prepared for the unexpected? It's takes knowledge and work to navigate change and negotiate stress in our lives.  Stress will come and so the physiological flight-or-fight response is well worth studying.


The lesson I learned from this situation is that if you can deal with a change in plans you may find unexpected opportunities that fulfill your needs and allow you peace of mind, less stress and balance in life.

March 14, 2010

Sundays

Sunday is a day when I relax, spend time with family and friends. First I attend worship services where the inspirational message of the sermon, fellowship and singing as well as dancing from the pew offer a high spirited time. I take time to reflect on the week gone by and anticipate the days ahead.  Some Sundays I go for a long walk, take time for some writing and/or reading.  Other Sundays, a long talk with a good friend will do.


Last Sunday, I had a chance to visit the New York Botanical Gardens with a friend to see the exhibit of the spectacular display of orchids.  Orchids bear beautiful flowers yet there elements are tough.  Orchid plants withstand seasons to bloom and bloom again. Did you know that the orchid genus Vanilla yields the flavor used in cooking. It was a brisk day, but worth the trip to share and discover in nature.  This Sunday, I've just finished up with presenting at a medical convention and now sit outside in the warmth of the sunshine to write, here and now.

My time and schedule continues to change with the demands of medical training and related pursuits.  It's not always easy to find balance. I try to keep my appointment to check-in with myself and God on Sundays about my dreams, hopes, desires, needs. There are some Sundays when sleep and rest are the best remedy and this may be especially true as today is time when many of you will "spring forward" for daylight savings time.

What do you do for self-care and wellness?  Did you have a good Sunday experience? Please share.

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