Monday, July 6, 2009


I am embarrassed and disappointed by many of the citizens of my home state, Oklahoma. They continue to wrap themselves in the American flag and spout "American values," along with God, mom and apple pie. Of course those values do not include "freedom of religion," "liberty and justice for all" and "give us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free."

Unfortunately, I recall, all too vividly, the recent presidential campaign's red-meat slinging, Christian right-winged speeches of Sarah Palin. To add insult to injury, 65 percent of our state voted for her and her side-kick, McCain. At least there was the 35 percent, myself included, who cast their votes for our intelligent, forward-thinking, current president, Barack Obama.

To top it off, our state's primary newspaper is a Republican propaganda rag, in all its ignorant and rabid glory. It rarely contains anything of positive merit on our current administration and its heroic efforts to retrieve our nation from the brink of economic disaster.

Instead, I was horrified to see on yesterday morning's front page that a city in our state is proudly hosting a visit by the disgraced, former president, George W. Bush. God help us. Send him back to Texas, with his chain saw in tow, and leave us alone. In eight years, he managed to dismantle our nation and drain its wealth into his and his cronies' pockets, that 0.1-to-1.0 percent of our nation's populace.

You might note, I did not say our "nation's elite." There is nothing elite about greed, corruption and theft. Those behaviors issue from the lowest of the low, the ever-present Robber Barons. Unlike Madoff, they have yet to receive their somewhat just due. (Madoff got off easy.) However, they have polluted and drained their pond so sufficiently that they are beginning to be exposed in all their devious machinations.

Despite my disappointment and embarrassment with the persistent behaviors and attitudes of many in my home state, I am now very proud to be an American. For the first time in my life, 62 years worth, I see hope for health, harmony, prosperity and peace for all the world's beautifully diverse peoples.

So, I will continue to recycle our state's newspaper, which I only receive for news of local events, and read more enlightened national publications, which I will also recycle. I will also work at changing my attitude toward my state's 65 percent. Because, bless their hearts, they don't know any better.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


I am appalled and embarrassed by Oklahoma's current immigration laws. I am reminded that we are all immigrants or their descendants. Some of us just came more "legally," whatever that means, and more recently than others.

Some individuals proudly hold themselves forth as descendants of the Mayflower's Pilgrims, illegal immigrants. They didn't apply to the Native American citizenry for admittance to this country. As the descendants of these Pilgrims and the immigrants who followed spread from the East to West coasts of this country, they didn't ask permission of its inhabitants to steal their land or destroy their food supplies.

We fought a war to steal Texas, New Mexico and California from Mexico and the Mexican people. Our Southern borders once belonged to the very people who we now deny admittance.

To say the least, Henry David Thoreau would have been quite vocal about Oklahoma's immigration policies. In opposition to the Mexican War (c. 1846-1848), Thoreau refused to pay his taxes and spent a night in jail. In his treatise,Civil Disobedience, he wrote, "Unjust laws exist: shall we be content to obey them ...?" If the law "is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law." He went on to write, "Ours is the invading army ... If a thousand men were not to pay their tax-bills this year, that would not be a violent and bloody measure, as it would be to pay them, and enable the State to commit violence and shed innocent blood."

Likewise, I applaud the Catholic Charities' stance that Oklahoma's House Bill 1804 is "immoral."

I have Mexican family members. In my experience, the Mexican people are honest and hard-working. They are often devout Christians, and their families and children are cherished.

Likewise, I have many friends who are immigrants from countries such as Jordon, Morocco, Vietnam, Cambodia and Afghanistan. They bless my life with their heritages and customs.

Americans are a rich blend of immigrants. Our strength is founded in our diversity. Let us not forget from whence we came. Let us dare to live our lives with open arms to all of our brothers and sisters.


As we were concluding my recent eye examination, the optometrist cavalierly remarked that I had only the slightest beginnings of cataracts but, when I needed my cataract surgery, I could have XYZ adjustments to my replacement lenses.

I promptly remarked that I didn't plan on needing surgery until I was ninety-five and, since I was checking out of this hotel at ninety-seven, there was no point in bothering.

The optometrist lamely laughed and said, "Oh yeah, that's positive thinking." However, he persisted in referring to my future cataract surgery. Since I know he gets a kick-back from the surgeon he refers his patients to, I felt he was licking his chops in anticipation.

Well, I certainly do believe in the power of positive thought. It is a proven fact that our bodies hear everything we tell them and respond in kind, and I have no intention of having cataracts. How's that for positive thought.

Sunday, April 19, 2009


I once had a dentist with a big, new, fancy office with lots of gadgets. He hopped back and forth between patients, treating two, three or more simultaneously. I felt like an open mouth on a conveyor belt.

The dentist had an overhead television in each treatment room for patients to watch while he hopped. If I asked a question, he usually selected a program for me to watch about crowns, root canals or whatever.

I just wanted him to talk to me and feel we had connected on a personal level before he performed a procedure in my all too vulnerable mouth.

As I finished the visit, my bill certainly reflected the dentist's desire to quickly pay for his new building and machines.

I now see Dr. Duong, who practices in a simple, bare-bones office building. He has a gentle, kind manner and takes time with each of his patients. As we talk, I feel recognized as a human being and not just another mouth on an assembly line.

Dr. Duong is Vietnamese and came to the United States as a young boy. He was one of the boat people. His life has not been easy, but he has worked hard and lived frugally. He, his wife and two small children occupy a modest home next door to the clinic.

As I pay my bill, I feel grateful for the service Dr. Duong provides. I am also glad that I am not financing a bunch of new gadgets.


On my yearly visit to the optometrist, I noticed once again his offices had been redcorated and fancified. Since I had started with him in a bare, white-walled office in a strip mall, I realized he is making entirely too much money.

My visit began with his assistant trying to sell me an additional exam on a machine that made pretty pictures. Since I know my eyes have changed very little over the decades, I refused. As if I had committed a heinous crime, I had to sign a paper stating my refusal. I figured if he can't see my retina and optic nerve well enough with his ophthalmoscope, he needs to hang up his white coat and call it a day.

During the examination, he told me about his wife's spa, located next door, and all of the services it provided. On leaving his office, I felt as if I had visited a used-car lot.

More toys in medical offices don't improve health care. They just increase revenue. In the United States, we pay more for health care than do our European counterparts, without any significant improvement in health or longevity. Escalating medical costs in the U.S. have reached such epidemic proportions that many people are going abroad for their medical needs and, believe me, if I ever have a serious illness, I'll be country and health care shopping.

Give me a break. All I want is the bare-boned basics in health care. Give me the plain, white-walled offices without the bells and whistles. Then, I will feel more confident that my visit doesn't support the practitioner's decorator and spa.

Monday, April 13, 2009


Bush's swan song of greed, corruption and deceit was perfectly orchestrated to usher in a new era of governmental and corporate transparency and accountability.

The dirty laundry of Madoff and others is hanging for public display, and the grass roots of America are rightfully enraged.

Bankers have been caught with their hands in the till, gorging themselves with bonuses as businesses go under and homes are foreclosed.

AIG perpetrated insurance fraud and proved what many have long thought, "Insurance is organized crime." Rather than insuring a business protection from themselves, the neighborhood thugs, they insure against the next roll of life's dice. However, if that roll isn't to their liking, they stamp it, "CLAIM DENIED."

Meanwhile, the "Big Three" American automobile companies, in bed with the oil companies, have ignored global warming and continued to perpetuate our dependence on foreign oil as they built more big-butted trucks, SUVs and consumerism's biggest rolling box, the Hummer. Only after being amputated from the governmental tit by the Obama administration are they becoming "enlightened or die" to the beauty of smaller electric or hybrid vehicle.

In the aftermath of unregulated capitalism and our country viewing reruns of the "Great Depression," only now is our Congress and its constituency willing to implement the long-needed retooling of America. What a perfectly orchestrated setting for an intelligent, socially-conscious individual of integrity, like President Barack Obama, to take the helm and steer our nation's passage into new and uncharted waters.

Friday, March 27, 2009


I am a self-confessed recycle junkie. On my morning walks, I look like a bag lady as I pick up trash and recyclable objects. Even though I drink only tap water, my recycle bin looks like I am a big boozer and drink every kind of bottled or canned liquid on the planet.

On trash days, I can be found routing through the trash barrels of those who do not recycle to obtain their treasures for the next available recycle bin.

To diminish my environmental footprint, I live in a small, greenly-remodeled, inner-city home, within walking distance of my shopping needs. My neighbors are hard-working folks, without pretensions or airs. We also have many homeless walking through our neighborhood and, as they see me digging through the trash, they think I am one of them - and I am. As I gather plastic containers, they often ask, "How much do you get for them?" I tell them, "Nothing," and they look disappointed. Their income often comes from the sale of aluminum cans.

One day, as I gathered collectibles from the trash barrel near my grocery store, a man sat on a nearby bench. He obviously hadn't shaved or bathed in the recent past, and his clothes had gone many a day without seeing water. He looked like he could use a helping hand. I offered him money. With dignity, he said, "No, thank you. I'm in the recycling business too."

To say the least, I am passionate about recycling. It is one thing each of us can do to safeguard the planet for future generations. If we recycle all items no longer in use and the packaging in which our purchases are contained, we would add less to the world's trash heaps and diminish the toxic pollution entering the soil and atmosphere.

For your health and the health of the environment, consider buying fewer items packaged in plastic bottles and aluminum and tin cans. These containers release toxic chemicals into their contents. Besides, fresh and frozen juices, fruits and vegetables are much higher in nutrients and are often packaged in biodegradable cardboard containers. In addition, tap water is free and is actually held to much higher quality standards than bottled water.

Recycling decreases the consumption of energy generated by fossil fuels, thereby decreaing emissions of the global warming pollutant, carbon dioxide. Also, when recycled materials are used instead of harvesting and processing virgin raw materials, it conserves natural resources. It also reduces the pollutants derived from the amount of waste that must be burned or buried.

In the search for precious metals, mining companies have destroyed natural ecological systems, gutted mountains and ripped enormous holes int the Earth. Recycling of aluminum food containers, foil and cans diminishes this rape and pillage and reduces energy consumption by 95 percent. Recycling steel has an energy savings of 60 percent.

Recycling plastic has a 70 percent energy savings. Statistics show that about 1.5 million gallons of oil - enough to run 100,000 cars for a whole year - are used to make plastic water bottles. In addition, transporting these water-filled bottles also burns thousands of gallons of oil. Even worse, only about 10 percent of plastic water bottles are recycled. The remainder is deposited in landfills where it takes thousands of years for them to decompose.

As plants consume carbon dioxide and water and harness the sun's energy to produce stems and leaves, they release oxygen. According to the National Resources Defense Council, forests could help save us from global warming. Currently, worldwide, mass deforestation accounts for over 20 percent of the annual greenhouse gas emissions. Recycling sheets of paper, envelopes, newspapers, magazines and cardboard boxes has a 40 percent energy savings and can help prevent deforestation. Furthermore, when we purchase tissues, toilet paper, paper towels and other paper products made with recycled paper, we help save forests.

Each year in the United States, 100 billion plastic bags are used, consuming 12 million barrels of oil. Recycle bins for plastic bags can be found at Wal-Mart and other grocery stores. Or, better yet, don't use plastic bags. Every item manufactured requires and energy expenditure and its associated by-product - pollution. Carry your own cloth bags. China, Taiwan, Australia, and many European countries have outlawed the use of lightweight plastic bags. In the United States, only San Francisco has followed these countries' lead.

There is a 30 percent energy savings in recycling all forms of waste glass. Along similar lines, compact fluorescent bulbs (CFL) use less electricity and therefore effect less greenhouse gas emissions. Because they contain a small amount of mercury, inquire in your community for recycling locations.

Lastly, our quest for the newest, latest model of electronic gadgetry has created a staggering amount of extremely toxic, high-tech trash. There are many hazards of dumped or inappropriately recycled "e-waste," which contains arsenic, beryllium, lead - a neurotoxin, and cadmium - a carcinogen that damages lungs and kidneys.


CELLPHONES: Donation bins can be found at electronics stores, wireless carriers and libraries.
BATTERIES: Often retail stores selling rechargeable batteries will accept used ones, including small, sealed, lead-acid batteries.
COMPUTERS: Many companies refurbish and resell computers. Most makers accept their brand with the purchase of a new one, and the National Christina Foundation connects computer donors with the needy.
PRINTER SUPPLIES: Spent toner cartridges can be refilled or traded for discounts. Collecting used cartridges can be a profitable fundraiser. Many manufacturers include postage-paid envelopes for consumers to return empty cartridges.

To recycle televisions, radios and stereo equipment, inquire at your local distributor and your city's recycle centers.

Our health and the health of our children and the children of future generations depend on the health of the planet. As your hand reaches out to throw an item in the trash, ask yourself, "Can this be recycled?" If the answer is yes, hotfoot it to your recycle bin. While you are at it, separate your recyclable materials. Nobody likes going through the trash of others. But, if you don't recycle, I or one of my friends may be checking out your dumpster.

Monday, March 23, 2009


With our nation war weary and nearing financial collapse, on November 4, 2008, I cast my vote, along with the grassroots of America, to make a change, and "Yes, we can," reverberated across this country. For the first time in decades, especially after the debacle of the Bush years, intelligence, ethics, responsibility and accountability arrived in Washington in the form of our new president, Barack Obama, his family, staff, advisers and cabinet members.

For years, the financially "elite," executives of banks, financial houses and many mega corporations, have bought media coverage to sell us goods, ideas and politicians that catered to their greed. Well, their laundry is now hanging on every economic page in America, and the investigators have yet to find their underwear.

In the 1990s, General Motors destroyed its fleet of all-electric EV1s, which were considered by many as the most efficient American car ever made. Were they destroyed because the automobile and oil industries were bedfellows and stood to lose too much money? With GM and oil prices in the toilet, their day of reckoning is at hand. "Restructuring" is a very polite word for what is about to happen.

Most often, war is based on greed. Bush, Cheney and crew sent another generation of Americans to be maimed and slaughtered for "God and Country." However, many believe our "leaders" sacrificed our nation and its young to protect and propagate the financial interests of people who, like themselves, are and were heavily vested in Middle Eastern oil and companies that contract military services and sell war weaponry.

But the tide has turned. The scrutiny of Obama and staff has turned to government contracts and their associated fraud, bribery, massive cost overruns and absence of oversight. Currently, over 140 investigations are ongoing regarding contracts associated with governmental activities in Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan.

President Obama has also pledged to end all combat operations in Iraq by August 31, 2010 and begin a new era of diplomacy in the Mideast. What a concept - diplomacy, instead of the old John Wayne mentality, shoot and ask questions later.

What a welcome sight to see money being allocated for education, for environmental and human health and for rebuilding the infrastructure of our nation. In spite of this most recent Wall Street fiasco, we see attention being directed toward the inhabitants, jobs, homes and businesses of Main Street and Your Street.

For a change, we hear of plans for the wealthy to pay their fair share of taxes. Warren Buffet recently commented that he should be taxed at a higher rate than his secretary. Currently, the converse is true.

Sweeping across our nation is the sound, "Yes, we can make a difference." "Yes, we can promote the health and higher good of all humankind." "Yes, we can, one person at a time, heal our planet."

Monday, March 2, 2009


Our bodies hear every thought we think and respond in kind As I began to understand this fact, I left my work as a pathologist and retrained in psychiatry.

On my departure from pathology, I had spent more than a decade peering through a microscope at body tissues on a cellular level and diagnosing cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. I was ready for a change.

Prior to this decision, I studied the works of Louise Hay and Drs. Bernie Siegel and Gerald Jampolsky. They described miraculous recoveries from often fatal illnesses through the healing power of love, prayer and positive thought and concluded that we can regard any life-threatening illness as a spiritual wake-up call to examine our thoughts and belief systems.

Likewise, I had studied many enlightened masters who had long held that the mind and its thoughts controlled the body. In recent years, cell biologists began to unravel the biological mechanism of this ancient truth.

In his book, The Biology of Belief, Dr. Bruce Lipton describes how our beliefs and thoughts about ourselves and the world around us determine our health. He describes each person's body as an orchestrated ballet composed of trillions of cells, with each cell being extremely sensitive to the mind's thoughts, perceptions and feelings.

For years, conventional scientific thought held that each cell's brain was hard-wired and resided in its nuclear DNA. However, cell biologists observe, in the absence of a nucleus, a cell can live, grow, move and communicate normally for over two months. Therefore, the nucleus cannot be the brain of the cell.

Lipton emphasizes the cell's nuclear DNA has no intelligence and is not the source of life. The DNA's only function is to provide the blueprint sequence for the cell to assemble the 21 essential amino acids to form the 70,000 proteins necessary for the construction, maintenance and health of each cell of the body.

Cell biologists have determined the brain of the cell is its outer covering or cell membrane, and this membrane responds to the human mind's thoughts or beliefs.

Based upon the cell membrane's receipt of a signal or thought perception, it relays a message to activate the genetic DNA necessary to produce proteins to maintain the cell under the human mind's perception of its environment.

In addition, genes cannot self activate so for example, a "cancer gene" cannot turn itself on. The gene's activation is secondary to the cell membrane's response to the human mind's thoughts.

For instance, I frequently hear people describe their various illnesses - such as ulcers, heart disease, diabetes and cancer - and offer as fact, "it runs in my family," as a reason for their illness. In doing so, they take little or no responsibility for the impact of their own thoughts and behaviors on their bodies.

Cell biologists have also demonstrated that through our belief system and our thoughts about our internal and external environments, the body's cell membranes can select and even effect a rewriting of the genetic code to produce the protein necessary to respond to our thoughts about our world.

So our thoughts and perceptions control the behavior of each cell in our body, the expression of each of our cell's genes and can even change the genetic coding within each cell. Translated, our thoughts create the physical state of our bodies.

Lipton's research is astonishing in its impact and validates what the healing community has long observed to be true. The human mind is extraordinarily powerful, and what we choose to think and how we choose to perceive our world determines the behavior of every cell in our bodies in every moment of every day of our lives.

This information is the basis of Lipton's disclosure that 95 percent of cancer is related to our thoughts about our environment and not to heredity.

When we live angry, fearful, stress-filled lives, every cell membrane of each of our bodies' trillions of cells receives signals based on these negative thoughts. Our bodies respond by going into a "fight or flight" mode, which shuts down our immune system and our bodies' potential for growth and health.

Every day, billions of our bodies' cells wear out and must be replaced. When we choose angry, critical or frightening thoughts which result in similar feelings and actions, our bodies' healthy processes of growth, repair and replacement of those worn out cells or parts of cells is suppressed, and our bodies deteriorate.

Lipton also writes that loving and kind thoughts and actions and looking for the positive affirming aspect in all of life's circumstances promotes growth, repair and replacement of cells and enhances our cellular genetic makeup. In essence, our bodies are continually recreating themselves based upon our belief system. So, if we perceive our environment as nurturing and supportive and ourselves as healthy, strong, vibrant beings through all the years of our lives, that is the message our bodies' cells will receive and create.

What we think, which results in our feelings and actions, sends signals to every cell in our bodies. Depending on what we choose to think, our bodies' cells receive life-enhancing signals generated by loving and peaceful thoughts or the toxic, destructive signals generated by thoughts that create anger, fear and self-hate.

When we pollute our bodies with negative emotions, the cell membrane's translate these signals into susceptibility to infections, autoimmune disorders and cancer. In other words, toxic thoughts create toxic feelings that destroy us emotionally, spiritually and - finally physically.

The research of Dr. Masaru Emoto, on the simple water molecule, completes the picture. Seventy percent of the adult human body is composed of water. In his book, The Hidden Messages in Water, Dr. Emoto provides evidence of the impact of our words and thoughts on the crystalline structure of water.

With water exposed to word or phrases, either written or spoken, such as "Love," "Gratitude" or "You're beautiful," it forms beautiful, balanced crystals. The same is the case if the water is exposed to the music of Beethoven, Mozart or Chopin. Whereas, under the same conditions, if the water is exposed to the words "You fool," "Hate," "War" or heavy metal music, the crystals are malformed and fragmented.

Emoto's and Lipton's works emphasize the body's exquisite sensitivity to every thought, spoken or unspoken. Often, we pollute our minds, bodies and spirits with self- or world-negating words or thoughts, which generate similar actions and feelings. Along the same lines, we place ourselves in situations filled with chaos, anger and negative information blasting from radios, computers, televisions and people. Our subconscious minds hear and store this information as fact, and our bodies respond in kind.

Too often, we walk through our lives in hypnotic states induced by our childhood belief systems and media programming. Illness or "dis-ease" is a spiritual and emotional wake-up call to examine our thoughts, the company we keep and the information we allow our minds to internalize.

My work over the last 20 years continues to validate my decision to leave pathology and become a psychiatrist, and I continue to enjoy helping people choose happier thoughts that create healthier bodies.


I grew up on a farm, where we lived off the land and raised cattle. At various times, I slopped hogs, fed chickens, gathered eggs, brought in the cows for milking and worked in the fields. I also helped my mother tend and harvest the garden and can or freeze its produce. As a teenager, I cooked the meals while the rest of the family baled hay.

Much later, I lived for five years in Alasha and spent time in the rugged Bush, where I was definitely back to basics. I lived in a log home with electricity, propane for cooking and a wood stove for heat. I had no indoor plumbing. Instead, I hauled water and had an outhouse for necessities. Believe me - at 20 below - I made quick night-relief runs. However, on my return trips, I often saw an aurora borealis.

In the Bush, warm clothes and food, shelter and a hot bath are premium commodities. With no plumbing, water was heated in a large pot on the stove, and bathing often consisted of a dishpan of hot water.

While in Alaska, my life was synchronized with the ebb and flow of the seasons.

During the sun-drenched summers, my garden abounded in cabbages, cauliflower, broccli, rhubarb and potatoes.

In the fall, I gathered wild blueberries and low-bush cranberries. Bears like berries. I kept a watchful eye.

Also, at this time of year, most Bush residents fish for salmon and hunt moose and bear. Being generous, they shared.

By winter, I had a full pantry and stockpile of wood. When the snow settled in, I sewed in my spare time and made quilts by hand. I was peaceful and content.

Alaska taught me that my needs are few. On my return to the Lower 48, I bought a farm and lived off the grid in my RV. On the farm, my main crops were brush and stray dogs. I kept hens for eggs and a rooster for his morning wake-up call. To avoid the dreaded laundromat, I often washed my clothes by hand and dried them on a clothesline.

During my first summer on the farm, I converted an old cow pen into a garden. The manure from the previous occupants worked its magic. The soil yielded an abundant growth of lettuce, onions, squash, green beans, peas and okra.

While in the Bush, I visited many delightfull simple homes built by their owners. I wanted to do the same on the farm. With hammer in hand, nail by nail and board by board, I did.

Simple ammenities are taken for granted in our society. We rush hither and yon in our quest for activities and possessions, living in the fantasy they will make us happy. However, the ancients taught that happiness could be found in the ordinary stuff of life.

In the United States, we have created an instant and disposable society that pollutes the Earth and squanders Her resources. We have invented a plastic and cellophane existence, with instant food, instant houses and instant messaging. By doing so, we deprive ourselves of the substance of life, such as preparing our food, building our homes and working with wood, metal and the soil. In this lifestyle of instant gratification, we are in disharmony with the Earth and estranged from Her healing and life-sustaining power.

A few years ago, I moved into the city. I now live in a small, greenly-remodeled, inner-city home, within walking distance of my shopping needs.

Last summer, I started an organic garden. The soil was enriched from my compost, and I added a special blend of organic fertilizer. I had a bountiful harvest of green beans, okra, beets, tomatoes, potatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, cantelope and herbs. I canned green beans and froze herbs and other produce. I munched on them all winter and am now preparing for spring planting.

There is a wealth of information on green building, organic gardening, renewable energy sources and recycling. In or out of a recession, one person at a time, we can make a difference. By choosing to fulfill our basic needs, not our wants, each of us can help heal the planet.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


At 62, I am a mother of three and a grandmother of six. I am a member of the silent majority who has been silent far too long. It is my turn to be heard.

As a college student, medical student and young mother and physician, I was too busy to find my voice, let alone speak it. Besides, in my training as a pathologist and later as a psychiatrist, I was schooled to censor all verbiage, lest it offend or rain down legal wrath upon my head.

In social circles, I often heard others pontificating drivel, I remained quiet. I felt any comment I made would fall on deaf ears or summon an attack, and I wasn't willing to waste my energy.

In 1997, with children grown and grandchildren on the horizon, I lived off the grid and, with hammer in hand, I built my own home. On a very cold January day, I was sitting in bed quilting, attempting to stay warm. Suddenly, a short essay came to mind, and words began to gush through me and onto paper. It was as if the cosmic computer button had pressed print.

My motto became, "Let it rip," and I did. Over the following years, I wrote three books on holistic healing, art and women's history.

Making the usual rounds of query letters to agents and publishers, I accumulated a stack of rejection letters. It seems I needed to be well known, or known by the right people, to be published.

Mustering my courage and resolve, I decided if artists could buy their own canvas, I could buy my own paper. In 2006, with the help of two professional stay-at-home mothers, I self-published.

In 2008, I released another adult nonfiction and six children's books. My readers have been few, and the literary world has yet to fall at my feet.

Disheartened, I have pondered the question, "Why write?" Finally, the proverbial light bulb went off, and I realized it is not so important that I am read. What is important is that I write.

For years, I have admired such artists as Georgia O'Keeffe and Grandma Moses. In their tenacity and perseverance, they held true to their inner visions, and I must do the same. There is freedom in anonymity. When no one is looking, I can really let it rip.

Monday, February 9, 2009


We Americans are a society of gluttonous consumers.

We consume far more than our share of the world's resources, as we live in large homes, which drastically exceed our needs. We then proceed to consume diminishing energy supplies to heat and cool our warehouses of lavish furnishings and electronic gadgets.

We drive automobiles that guzzle gas at one end and belch pollution from the other, while much of the world's population walks or rides bicycles. Of course, the latter are far healthier forms of transportation for the human body and the world's environment.

In our gluttonous consumption of food, others starve, and our girths expand, our arteries harden and our blood sugars skyrocket.

We Americans consume a lion's share of the world's goods and spew forth a similar share of the world's pollution.

In contrast, countries like Chad experience the effects of diminished rainfall, a direct result of global warming. Since 1973, Lake Chad, previously one of the world's great "inland seas," has shrunk by 90 percent. Without water for fish and agriculture, people starve. In empty river beds, women and children dig for muddy water to drink and with which to wash. With diminished crops of maize and sorghum, they barely subsist.

With nominal donations, organizations, like Heifer International, help the people of Chad and similar countries help themselves. With gifts of tools, education or a lamb, goat or heifer, people can grow crops and raise animals with which to nourish their bodies and earn money to send their children to school.

We, the members of a gluttonous society, don't need another bauble with which to adorn our bodies, homes or vehicles. We can choose to use our financial resources for the good of all humanity. One person at a time, we can trim the fat in our lives and help others live.