Sugar Purge: Week 1

About a week ago I was feeling like dog doo. Everything hurt. My neck, my arms, legs, even my friggin’ hands ached. After a long day at work, I shuffled in the door and collapsed on the couch, so tired I cancelled my plans to go out dancing. And someone who loves to boogie as much as I do has to be in a truck load of pain to skip the chance to shake, rattle, and roll.

As I sat there, legs propped up, massaging tight muscles I began to freak out. I was too young for this kind of pain. Other people my age don’t deal with this. Heck, even my parents didn’t have aches like mine.

So I took stock of my lifestyle.

Now, I’ve been into health foods since my first year of college and was a vegetarian for ten years. Even when I reintroduced meat, it consisted of poultry and fish. My low-fat diet consists of salads, lots of fruits and veggies, and nuts for snacks avoiding fried, processed, or high cholesterol foods. And I’ve worked out my entire life.

But I’ve always loved sugar. As soon as a sweet cookie or smooth piece of fudge touches my lips, I’m a goner. Like a drug, it never satisfies me. I need more. And more. And more. Until finally I’m in a sugar induced stupor.

And Valentine’s week was one for the books. My intake alone must have shot C & H Sugar’s profits up by 20%. Between a class party, chocolate hearts from my students, cake in the teacher’s lounge, and a tub of Hershey’s Miniatures during the staff meeting, I must have ingested five-hundred pounds of sugar.

So I went on-line and did some research. I was surprised to discover that foods high in sugar can cause inflammation. Studies discovered that spikes in insulin trigger biochemical reactions that lead to inflammation. Sugar also  Sugar also contributes to joint pain and stiffness through a process called glycation.  This occurs when sugar bonds with proteins to form compounds called advanced glycation end products which  damage cells in the body by speeding up the oxidative process and changing normal cell behavior.

Aha! Time to make a change.

I began last Saturday with one simple goal. No candy, cookies, or cakes. I did great all weekend  since I don’t keep sweets at home. Work, on the other hand, has so many sweets calling to me I felt as if I were a drug addict in a free pharmacy.

But pain is powerful motivator and I stayed away all week.

So how do I feel one week later? Better! The pain in my hands is gone. The rest of my body feels better and I have more energy.  Neck stiffness I’ll always have, since two discs have degeneratated and last year’s hernia caused damage to a third. Still, even my neck pain diminished. Without mega-doses of ibuprofen.

I’d have to say that week one of my sugar purge was a success. I can’t wait for week two!

Why Do You Write?

Why do you write? Is it because you have stories struggling to the surface of your churning consciousness? Is it that you have memories you’d like to purge? Or is it that you believe, like I do, that art can be a tremendous force for good in the world?

We see so many horrors every day. The murders and cruelty. The bullying. The disdain for those who are different from ourselves leading to divisiveness. Sometimes the news of the world can be overwhelming. I, for one, need to combat these sad aspects of the human experience with joyful expression.

So I write.

Every day I go to a place in my mind and pretend to be a child of eleven, or thirteen, or seventeen. And I try to remember what I was dealing with at that time. What did I want? Which dreams excited my growing psyche? What confused me and made me wish there were mentors guiding my decisions.

Then I become that child and set off on an adventure, hoping to empower my readers. Trying to send a message that each one is absolutely unique with talents they will continually discover. Like I do as my fingers dance over the keys.

That’s why I write.

How about you?


I Love Men: A Poem

I love men.
Their musky scents.

Car grease, salt,

And briefcase leather

Linger in my lungs.


I love how they move.

Purposeful fingers pounding keys

Or the deliberate way they

Place one sturdy foot in front of the other

As they swagger
Across floors.


I love men’s stalwart shapes

Muscled arms, broad shoulders

Carpeted chests

Inviting touch

And nuzzling faces.

Their small hips

And the way belts

Ride just so.
I love the sounds they make.

Dressing for the day.

Snapping buttons, razors buzzing

Water splashing.
And deep voices

Which resonate

Their mesmerizing tune.


(Photo by David Stroup)

“Trash Girl” defies bullies for her environmental actions and is honoured in a superhero cartoon

Children are doing amazing things around the world…

Life & Soul Magazine

A 12-year-old school girl, who has been picking up trash along the two-mile route to and from school and collecting it in the basket of her bike, is defying the bullies that have named her “Trash Girl” and is now encouraging the world to pick up litter.

Nadia Sparkes from Norwich, began the litter-picking mission last year. She took to cleaning up litter after being shocked by the number of discarded cans and bottles she saw as she cycled to and from school in Hellesdon.

In spite of children throwing things at Nadia Sparkes and calling her “trash girl”, she has not backed down in her efforts to help protect and preserve the planet, and has even embraced the name, Trash Girl.

Nadia Sparkes said: “I’m not going to stop doing the right thing because of them, and if they are going to call me trash girl, they can say it with respect.

View original post 217 more words

Closing the Core Wound

What is your wound? Do you have a phrase that plays in your head that blocks success and joy?  Do doubts plague your days keeping you forever wondering if life will ever get easy? I was feeling pretty overwhelmed by life  when I recently attended a workshop titled, “Core Wound Healing” at the Conscious Life Expo in Los Angeles that challenged the attendees to answer just these questions.

What lead me to this course? Well, like most people, I’ve got a lot on my plate. I’m a full time teacher, novelist, blogger, mother, and gym rat who loves every role I fill. Still I often feel like no matter how many novels I write, miles I run, love I send, or papers I grade, it’s never enough. And recently my school had instituted new programs that I had never heard of, much less used before, that I was expected to implement.


So saying that I was feeling overwhelmed would be an understatement. And the real disappointment was that I’d come to view all these former joy-producing parts of my life as chores on an endless check-off list. I had begun hating my life and every aspect of it

Honesty, I walked into  Mark and Shannon Grainger’s workshop full of doubt. I mean, seriously, how is some married couple supposed to help me with a life that was spinning out of control? They couldn’t whisk away that pile of papers waiting to be graded or finish Artania 4 with a magic wand. Still I was impressed by their resume as  inspirational speakers that help their clients overcome negative core beliefs, so decided to give it a try.

After introductions, the first thing Mark and Shannon did was to pass out a handout titled “The 5 Basic Core Wounds.” Shannon then explained that she believes everyone has at least one of these core wounds that manifest as a negative mantra in our minds. These include,”I am imperfect, I have no value, I don’t deserve love, I’m not seen, and I’m not enough.”

I quickly realized what mine was. My whole life I’ve felt like now matter how hard I try, I’m never enough. I remembered being in second grade and having to stay after school for daydreaming, how Mom asked me why I couldn’t be like other kids. I’d felt such shame  knowing I could never measure up to the ones who found it easy to focus in class. The ones who weren’t staring out the window turning clouds into creatures. But I tried. Scrunching my face up in concentration as I practiced row after row of addition facts. Still I kept daydreaming and never got the grades I wanted although I tried really hard to be like other kids. As I grew I got better at waiting to see those creations in the clouds and even got into college, graduated, got married, had two wonderful kids. Still, I found that no matter how many times I volunteered for my kids’ schools, how fast I ran on the treadmill or how many words I typed on the keyboard, it never seemed like enough. In fact, the more I did, the harder I was on myself.

“Now I want you to write about a time your core wound impacted your life,” Mark instructed and our pens scratched furiously over paper.

It was about then I began to feel a little better.

Over the next hour we engaged in meditations, journaling, and group sharing to turn our thinking around. During meditation I forced myself to stay awake and focus on what I wanted. I would  bring back the fun I used to find in my work. As the minutes passed, I found myself envisioning more and more joy. I imagined joking with my students, hugging my beautiful kids, and going to wondrous places in my mind that filled page after page. Toward the end we were asked to create “I am” statements.

I am enough.  I thought, remembering.

I’d forgotten for a while that life is a journey, not a destination and that each step on the path has its own unique joy.

After the class I sat in a cafe and switched on my computer as the screen lit up with the crazy cloud creatures of my imagination. And smiled.

I am a writer and a mom and a teacher and a friend and a dancer and a freaking gym rat.

And I am ever so thankful.



The mute speak in raucous voices

Spewing chocolate éclairs and ice cream

At satiated audiences.


The blind behold paper movie-set flames

Licking the walls of war-torn villages

Where no one lives.


The deaf attend to the muffled sirens

Of disgruntled men in leisure suits

Who cry “Buy!” and “Sell!” into cellular phones.


I see only darkness through my colored contact lenses

As pop bands play, “My future’s so bright I gotta wear shades.”


I tap my foot, sans rhythm, to the minstrel mime blaring silent recordings on a blank tape.


Voices clamor for the sky.

Tears fall on the shadows of shoulders.


While I orate and conversate.

And emit passionate cliches and sublime euphemisms.


But only the mute hear me,

And they can’t respond.


True Art: An Excerpt

“Our world will be saved if their art is true!” Bartholomew shouted again.

Alex reached into his pocket and felt the brown button. Now he understood why it had lead him here and what true art was. When Bartholomew sketched Mom in class, that had been true. His paintings that came from deep inside of him, true as well.

When Mom had gotten sick he’d stopped going to that special place. Well, not any more. It ends here. He broke off a few soda straw stalagmites and swirled them in the water.

The swirling stalactites became paintbrushes as the water turned into a palette of colored streams. Alex dipped a brush into the softest of browns and made two dots on the ground beside him. Then for the peach. And the golden yellow. Her blouse had been aqua. Don’t forget white. Oh how her teeth had shone.

A tiny bit of light emanated from the gold ring. Mom’s fingers began to glisten. Alex reached out to touch her hand and it glimmered, growing brighter until the entire cavern was basking in a warm glow.

Alex embraced his mother. A single beam formed in the center of their chests. Alex took a deep breath. See it. Believe. A fiery rose bloomed between them and thousands of golden rays shot forth.

Just like Alex in Artania, we all forget our unique wonder at times.  But when we remember, man oh man, amazing things happen.