Save Your Life

You may be a really good skier, biker or driver; but you never know what can happen in a split second when another person or object shows up right in front of you.

No time to think, you have to make a quick reaction!

Last June, I was driving through an intersection when out of no where a big 350 truck came barreling towards me. I swerved quickly to the right hoping not to hit the light post, but bang and swoosh! I went into a spin and stopped in the middle of the intersection.

Luckily he hit right behind my door so I only suffered a concussion, arm and shoulder injury. With chiropractic and massage I was able to return to work within a few weeks. I trained really hard for ski season as I’m a ski racing coach and felt so strong when I started my season in November!

Remember you have to react quick.

Just a month ago I was skiing slowly down a trail, when suddenly here came a guy in a red jacket going up! Since I was going faster I jumped to the left thinking I was saving the collision, only thing is he jumped that way too…and we collided. Head on. And hard.

I fell and couldn’t get up. The pain in my leg was so severe I passed out.

I severely broke my leg, a tibia plateau decompressed fracture. I needed trauma surgery. And no walking for three months, no driving for four months.

I know quite a few others who unfortunately lost their life in the same situations. It’s so frustrating.

Now I realize it’s time to RISE.

Part of including Healthy and Fun Choices(R) in your life is learning how to let go of the negative or frustrating moments of life. You can acknowledge them and yes be frustrated, yet try not to dwell on it.

Rather use the accident as a way to complain about the horrible situation, make positive adjustments in your life that will help you in the long run.

With my last ski accident, I’ve decided to get more in shape, leaner, and stronger. I’m working at home and soon with a trainer. My goal is to lose flab and turn it into muscles where I need them.

In addition, I’m taking more time for sleep and healing. I’m really giving myself down time. I’m learning how to sit back and let others help me more instead of me trying to do it all.

And finally, I’m rolling out a new business –a whole health magazine that will share pains, frustrations, healthy choices, and positive change. It will be a source of inspiration of so many.

I have bad days and moments where I get so frustrated, and I just have to laugh at myself and apologize to others. Healing is a crazy experience when you think about it.

If I rise up through this, I’m going to be happier, healthier, and stronger. If you’d like to help, subscribe to this blog!

Summer Camps at FMES

It’s fun to see how all our experiences lead to new opportunities. After directing a variety of camps for the last seven years with other preschools, the 4H, Boys & Girls Club, as well as Healthy & Fun Choices® programs, I am now the new camp director for Franciscan Montessori Earth School at 147th & SE Division Street in Portland, Oregon.

The camps are remarkably different! They bring together Montessori teaching style with exciting topics and studies giving youth the ability to focus and explore during a week long camp. Camps are either half or full day and you can combine half day camps to make a combo full day experience.

To see all the camps and to register online, please visit For additional information, please email me directly at

Meditation for Every Day Life

Meditation for Every Day Life
Guest Post by Ben Stanford

When you have some spare time relax your breathing system, only for a few minutes, there is no need to do anything else besides relax your body. When you are outside of your home either on the bus or train nobody will be aware of what you are doing. Just let it be, close your eyes and focus your mind on the breathing going in and out, do not let the noise from the outside disturbances or the person you are sitting beside effect your focus. Meditation is a simple awareness. The noise of the train or the car rumbling is a part of everyday life and that is ok! Accept this, the noise of the traffic passing is ok. You cannot avoid the truth.

It is better to face it, accept it and live it. Once you start living life with authenticity, all your troubles start to disappear and you are no longer divided. Your voice will have a unity and your body a vibrating orchestra, your inner conflicts will disappear.

Start to do some people watching, watch what they say and do, watch for a clue and find if they are really genuinely happy. Immediately you will be aware they their inner voice is really saying something else. By this you can watch yourself, when you are saying you are happy when you are not. This will cause a disturbance in your breathing. If you said you were stressed or unhappy your breathing would remain natural though by repressing this thought, your breathing is forced down and is no longer in sync with your mind.

Whenever you are together and in tune with your body and mind you will find suddenly you are happy, this is why people like to practice yoga and meditation to create a unison, whose parts are interrelated and not conflicting.

Breathing from the chest
The right way to breath is through the chest, in times of stress the chest can be used for breathing. In times of an emergency your breathing will be shallow and fast. Ordinarily the chest should be used to breath naturally so you can remain calm. If you breath from the chest, you may have tensions in your mind and your chest breathing for meditation may be fast and shallow.

Remind yourself you breath deeply for a few seconds, let your belly come up when you inhale, let your chest go down when you exhale. Let this be a rhythm that become the core of your energy. By creating this harmony you will become more relaxed and create more vitality in your everyday life.
Relaxed attention and meditation
With this technique firstly you have to developed your attention, you should develop a kind attitude only then will this technique before functional for you. So when you have attention you can experience yourself.

When you are in your car or on the bus to work, thing about what you are doing there. Develop your attention, just look and be there. Do not focus your mind on the outside noises or people, be the look, don’t think anything. You are not aware of yourself because there is a wall, every look comes back, everything is reflected, responded to, though you are not there to receive it as your mind is somewhere else. Be there to receive it, you can try this out every day to develop attentiveness.


Letting go of stress at the end of the day
At the end of each night, sit in a comfortable chair or lay in bed and let your head relax and fall back. Release your jaw so there is no tension in your neck and head. Focus on your breathing it should be relaxed, focus on breathing from the mouth, let this be natural it should go in and out lightly. Keep your eyes closed with your mouth open and relax.

Start to feel your legs becoming loose, feel as if they have become like jelly at the joints. Imagine your hands becoming loose and being relaxed no just to check and torso remains. Start to thing about your head, relax your forehead, eyebrows nose, leave it relaxed and calm.

Switch your mind from thinking to feeling and start breathing from the heart. For meditation, this has nothing to do with the physical heart it belongs to the subtle body.  Do this a few times, take 5 deep breaths at once, this will help you shift your body from your mind to your heart. You will become more aware of many things you have not been aware of, move from your head to your heart you will start to feel more relaxed and connected with your body.

Do this for 20 minutes at the end of each day before you go to sleep, try it out for a few weeks and your restlessness will settle. Working with this as apart of your everyday life will help your energy more into an essential part of relaxation, energy will start flowing into your legs, hands, heart and in your head in a more proportionate way.

It’s all in our words

Do our thoughts come first, or our words? Let’s not think too hard, yet realize how important our thoughts and words are, and how they ultimately drive our actions.

By just changing simple words like “I want to” to “I am going to” changes everything.

Dr. Seuss has written several books that get children imagining their next step and seeing the possibilities. For instance, “Oh The Places You Will Go” is a great example of how he allows the reader to get inside the story and become part of their future. We can use his inspiration in writing to inspire our thoughts and word choices.

Here is a simple guide line that can help us lead in the direction of our dreams:

1. Listen to your five senses. This will help you become more aware of them. What is each sense responsible for?

2. Become aware of what words you choose to share with others. Do you say something good they can benefit from? Do you share your concerns or do you blurt more than think?

3. Write about or draw images about what you are focusing on and sharing with others. How do your stories relate to who you are? Do you like the pictures you are drawing or writing about? If not, how can you change your thoughts and words to get yourself to feel better?

As you become more aware, begin to choose the positive words for your thoughts and what you share with others. Positive words include: “you can” “be” “choices”

What words can you change today that will point you in your positive future? Do you use any of these words

In addition to the words we use, the stories we tell ourselves and share with others can also be motivating or limiting. How often do you create stories that limit you? How about motivate you or others?

Vitamin D benefits health!

Just like a plant or tree in nature, Vitamin D helps individuals grow as well. It is just one of the reasons why SUNSHINE keeps us healthy.

Regular exposure to sunlight allows our skin cells to use ultraviolet-B rays to synthesize vitamin D, which has several benefits, including:
1. Allows the intestine to absorb nutrients, including calcium and phosphorus, which equals strong bones and immune system. People that live in sunny environments are sick less often.
2. Prevents weakness of the muscular system and brittle bones.
3. Provides calcium balance in the body that prevents osteoporosis or arthritis.
4. Regulates blood pressure, reduces stress and tension, relieves body aches and pains by reducing muscle spasms, reduces respiratory infections, helps in differentiation of the cells, aids in insulin secretion, helps fight depression, improves overall skin health by reducing wrinkles, makes skin soft, strong, and smooth, and improves cardiovascular strength by providing a protective lining for the blood vessels.
5. Prevents preaclamsia by improving kidney function, cancer by controlling abnormal multiplication of cancer cells, diabetes mellitus by controlling insulin production, hyperparathyroidism by reducing parathyroid numbers, osteomalacia by improving bone and muscle strength, hypophosphatemia by controlling the phosphates in the body, hypocalcaemia by preventing abnormal deposition of calcium, and renal osteodystrophy by regulating calcium content and fibromyalgia.
The benefits of vitamin D can be obtained by increasing exposure to sunlight and including vitamin D rich foods into your diet like fish, cod liver oil, milk, and eggs. Fresh fruits and vegetables are also good sources of vitamin D.

My Shoes

“Coach, my shoes know how to score a goal!” is what Maja said after she scored her first goal in our first soccer game. At the age of 4 and a half, Maja believes her shoes scored not her. Children are amazing on how the can disconnect objects from themselves at such a young age. Their ability to see the shoe as something different than the foot just impresses me because so often as we grow older we see a shoe as part of a foot. We imagine that our clothes or what we wear define who we are. When really, our shoes or clothes are merely just clothes.

I’ll never forget my first date with my husband and the shoes he wore. They were called “zebra shoes” and they had zebra print on the loafers. They were cool and probably made his white pants and grey jacket look very styling, especially for the late 80s.

As parents and teachers, I believe it is our responsibility to give children the ability to be observers rather than individuals that judge. The difference between the two concepts are subtle, yet very important to distinguish.

1. Let go
To observe is to look at something and be aware of it. To judge is to put emotion into what you see.
A technique to separate the two and become an observer, is to practice letting go. By letting go, you simply take an element like your favorite shoes and acknowledge the shoes separate from yourself. Allow yourself to understand that if you didn’t have those shoes you could walk around barefoot or get new shoes. Accept that you may experience sadness, while knowing that the item that is unavailable is just an item.

2. Acceptance
Another way to overcome judgement is to accept. Acceptance allows an individual to connect with the item just the way it is. By recognizing that each item is unique in its own way, just as an individual is too, an individual can diminish their judgements.

Become an observer, consciously watch how you look at others and the world around you. How do you observe? Do you just look/listen/taste/feel/smell or do you place your emotional opinion into it? Try making changes and then see what unveals around you as you become an observer.

Healthy & Fun Choices!™ Camp – What Fun!

We had a wonderful week with 11 campers ranging from age 3 to 10. The Oregon weather held out with sunny days every day, which meant we got to do activities indoors and outdoors. The campers learned about what it means to be healthy by having great conversations about their thoughts, words and healthy choices while they got healthy ideas. Some of the healthy projects included:

• Learning about our big and little person inside of us

• Understanding why we are similar to a banana with a thick skin

• Designing their own snacks like Totems, Pizza Faces, Friendly Veggie Soup and more!

• Exercising their way through a fun and funny exercise stations

• Playing with friends and making automobiles out of hula-hoops and noodles



All the campers had “aha” moments! Some of the best comments were:

“I learned that healthy means eat protein. I also learned that by being healthy, I love my sister.”-Elijah, age 10

“I learned that adults learn from us and that’s why they are so smart.” -Anika, age 5

“Healthy means you eat veggies and fruits more than ice cream.” -Allie, age 3

We did a lot in 5 days and I feel like I am glowing from all the goodness that the campers shared with me. What an inspirational group of kids!!

If your preschool or school would like to have Healthy & Fun Choices!™ in for a camp or a workshop, just call our office at 503-761-4360 or email us.

How to respond and be respectful

My son and daughter were playing on a playground set at a park today in the beautiful sunshine. As they climbed around and discovered the bars, slides and rings, they realized that the children around them were speaking other languages. My daughter shared this story with me and I got her permission to publish this:

One of the boys turned to my daughter and asked her a question. Since she didn’t understand, she just gave him a funny look and then went on doing the monkey bars. Shortly after that the kids got in a group and they all left the play ground. My daughter realized that her look caused a discomfort and that maybe there could have been a better way to handle the situation.

As I listened to my daughter, I thought about all the times when people have asked me questions and I wasn’t sure what to say. Thanks to my daughter bringing up the story, we realized it was an opportunity for us to brainstorm about how we could appropriately respond without making the other person feel silly for reaching out or make you look disrespectful?

This is what we decided:
1. You could comment back in your language by saying: “I’m not sure what you said, I only speak ________”
2. You could smile and walk away.
3. You could do some funny gestures that make both of you laugh.
4. You could get parents to help translate.

In the end, my daughter decided that next time she would try #3 and maybe then they could play together and use their own new gesture-style language as a form of communication. That way, the fun would continue! Next time, what would you do?

The frequency of sound

Have you ever been somewhere when a noise caught your attention? What do you do when your cell phone rings when you are in a good conversation with a friend or your child? How do you select what sounds are more pleasant to you than others?

Sounds are very memorable because they run on frequencies. Certain sounds and words can be on higher frequencies which can last longer in our brain wave lengths, and thus create stronger memory or intensity with us.

Do you prefer the sound of a chime or a whistle? Think about the idea of those two sounds and see if you can feel your shoulders tense up just saying the word whistle. This year, as a soccer coach, I’m going to try out chimes instead of whistles during practice and see how the different frequencies catch and hold attention better than an alarming whistle.

Another important sound is your voice to your child or children. Do you ever raise your voice and notice that it doesn’t help in your communication process? I’ve experienced it especially when we’re trying to get out the door. The funny part is that we’ve noticed how a small tap on the shoulder or silence can actually be more effective than yelling that it is time to go. Additionally, singing chores or making a sentence in a beat like pattern can allow children to grasp and interact with the statement more than just a standard voice or comment. Try it to these sentences below:

“Eat your greens. Eat your ve-gies. Eat your broc-co-li. Oh, yumm yumm 1 – 2 – 3! Let’s see!”

“Create your future by living and loving it today!”

A couple years ago when my son was a baby I realized that the nursery rhymes we teach our children really don’t provide any useful thoughts. So I started writing music and employed some musicians to produce the songs. Unfortunately, the project didn’t get finished, yet I still dream that some day the right people will appear in my pathway and the music will become inspiration to our ears and souls.

In the meantime, check out this fun music that was found online about food…Dr. Carl Winters’ Food Tunes

Here’s the advice for using frequency to your advantage:

1. Listen to what you are saying
2. Be aware of the frequencies you use
3. Make adjustments and watch for positive change
4. Talk about the changes with your family members
5. Allow the changes to become an important part of your self and family culture