The girls who cried paddle board!


We just keep saying, “this is our last time paddle boarding for the season.”

You are probably sick of hearing it.

If that isn’t bad enough, we also feel compelled to keep sharing our images with you.


The sky was mostly blue and the sun was shining, but the wind was blowing something fierce.  We went out on Sunday to Minsi Lake and once again it was so windy that we spent very little time actually Stand Up Paddle boarding – most of it was “on your knees” paddle boarding. Usually we are up for anything and we find the fun in whatever we are doing when we are on the water, but not this day.  We both looked at each other and said “OK, this is not fun!”    The waves were so big that if the nose of the paddle board was not directly into the wave, the water was coming onto the boards making our pants very wet and our bare feet very cold.

However, we did not let the waves and the wind deter us from searching out the wildlife.  When we first launched onto the lake, we spotted one white swan with 2 swanlings (?).  We never got close enough for a good photo.  Then as we were rounding the corner of the lake, we spotted some white ducks in the distance.  We were very curious to see what they were.  The wind was blowing our boards that way, so we worked our way over to where they were sitting on the water.  Imagine our surprise when this is what we saw …


seagulls?  Yep!  Seagulls.  They were a long way from home.  Hopefully when the wind stopped blowing they were able to find their way back to the Atlantic Ocean!

We made the most of it, paddling our arms off trying to get back to where we launched, laughing and almost crying all the way back.

Our gift at the end of the adventure was seeing a Praying Mantis. They always seem so special to both of us and so we had to look up   the animal medicine for our new totem animal (or in this case, insect) messenger.

can you find her?

can you find her?

 Here is one interpretation:

Usually the Praying Mantis makes an appearance when we’ve flooded our lives with so much business, activity, or chaos that we can no longer hear the still small voice within us. Taking a step back and some simple meditation would be in order here because the external din we’ve created needs to be quieted so that we can come back to our own truth. The Praying Mantis always comes to us when we need peace, quiet and calm in our lives.

Another perspective:

You call me Praying Mantis, because I hold my front legs in the position of prayer. You should call me Preying Mantis, because when I am focused on having something, these same front legs grasp it and hold it securely. That is part of my mystique. Whatever I focus my attention on becomes mine…and then the twist is that I become it, as well.

We both think it is a message for us to take some time to meditate and get still so we can hear the inner voice that is trying to tell us that maybe it really is time to put the paddle boards away for the season! Just joking. We both know that something new is trying to be born and we need to slow down so that we can listen. In the meantime, we hear that today is going to be a great day, so we are headed to Tobyhanna Lake.


Remember this…

…you are the sky. Everything else is just weather.

-Pema Chodron

sky:trees I performed in Sarah Carlson/Dancelink’s UBBH( The Unbelievable Beauty of Being Human), in Bethlehem, PA this past Saturday. The week before the performance I was panicking as I was pretty darn sure I was going to be asked to do a Big Body Story as part of the improvised performance. The key word here is improvised. That means I would be given a word/theme and I would have to Wing it! right there on stage, in the moment., in front of more than 100 people. I was losing sleep, eating too many chips, and wondering if I could somehow cheat or possibly break or sprain a body part to get out of it. I know that sounds a bit extreme, but I really was that nervous.

The morning of the performance, I had a phone call from a young friend reminding me that I did not have to be perfect, I just had to “be me”. At the exit ramp of the highway I had an encounter with a homeless man over coffee and a bottle of water.  A woman at the gas station got into my car by mistake and we had an amazing exchange that culminated in her crying in my arms. And my dear friend, Rita sent me the quote above.

As I got ready for the performance, I pondered the quote and realized that everything  I had created inside of me leading up to the performance was just “weather”.

I had allowed my worry about not getting it right, not being good enough, and not making people laugh, cry and like me, get in the way of trusting the creative process that is alive and well inside of me. I was not trusting that the Universe/God would provide me with exactly what I needed at the perfect moment that I needed it.

My morning was a divine gift. It had all the elements of a great story and when I was called to do the story in the performance, I was calm and centered – I was the sky. The story had been given to me and all I had to do was tell it with beauty and grace – while adding a bit of movement and humor.

I did it!

Now all I have to do is remember – trust the process – one day at a time.

Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Day – October 24th

This has just passed the PA House of Representatives!


A RESOLUTION Designating October 24, 2014, as “Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Day” in Pennsylvania to honor the more than 700 licensed acupuncturists in this Commonwealth.


In order to honor the day, here is an article about the Five Elements and specifically the metal element which corresponds to this time of year.


In Chinese Medicine, there are five elements predominating at specific times during the year. These five elements are Water, Wood, Fire, Earth and Metal. According to the Chinese, there are five seasons, not four – winter, spring, summer, late summer and fall. Each season is then associated with one of the five elements – the Water element is associated with winter, wood – spring, fire – summer, earth – late summer (harvest), and metal – fall. Each element also has organ systems coupled with it, as well as a color, odor, sound, emotion and flavor.

October is the time when we are transitioning from the earth element and late summer into the metal element and fall or autumn. The organs associated with the metal element are lung and large intestine, the color is white, odor is rotten, sound is weeping, emotion is grief, and the flavor is pungent. When an element is out of balance, you or loved ones may notice one or more of these characteristics. You may find that your voice has a little weeping waver to it or that you are feeling very sad while craving foods that have a pungent flavor or you only want to be surrounded by things that are white. The balance of the organs associated with the elements may also be out of balance during their particular season. In the fall, for example, you may find that you develop a chronic cough that lasts until the cold weather of winter sets in, or that your digestion feels off with either frequent or infrequent bowel movements or a lot of gas.

There are several ways to maintain or restore balance in the elements – acupuncture, which uses needles, heat, cupping, moxabustion or electrical stimulation, Chinese medicine, which uses herbs in pill, tincture, or tea form, or lastly, by including specific foods in your diet that support the element and its related organs. Since the season of fall is just beginning, now is the perfect time to work on improving the energy in the organs associated with the Metal element, which are the lung and the large intestine.

In Chinese medicine, they believe that the five elements work together in the body to maintain health and keep the body functioning properly. When any one of the elements is out of balance, all of the other elements are affected in some way. By placing needles along the meridians, acupuncture helps to move energy, either giving energy or taking it away from a certain organ system, in order to restore the balance of the body. For example, if the lung is out of balance in the fall and a person is experiencing allergies, asthma or a cough, an acupuncturist would place needles along the channels to help alleviate the symptoms and bring balance back to the lungs. Herbs can work in a similar fashion and are often selected according to the organ system that they affect. So again, for allergies, herbs would be selected that not only help to support the normal functioning of the lung, but restore balance in the metal element.

Sometimes, acupuncture and Chinese medicine are not appropriate for some people, and so the balance in the elements can be changed through the foods that one eats. According to the five element theory, each element has a particular flavor that is associated with it, and therefore, has specific foods that can stimulate its functioning. The metal element is affected by foods that are pungent. These foods are generally warming (yang) and encourage energy to expand and move outward. Most people may not easily associate foods with the pungent flavor, but some of these foods include green onion, chive, clove, parsley and coriander. Each of the food groups also have foods specific to each element. The chart below gives examples for each of the elements. Notice the foods in red, which are specifically associated with the metal element.     (Sorry, the chart below did not copy correctly.  Lised above the last column should be…)   Wood (Sour)

Fire (bitter) Earth (sweet) Metal (Pungent) Water (salty)
Grains Amaranth Corn Millet Barley Rice Buckwheat Oats Wheat Rye
Legumes Red Lentil Garbanzo Peas Navy Soy Aduki Black Kidney Pinto Green Lentil Mung Lima
Nuts/Seeds Sunflower Pistachio Pine Nut Pumpkin Almonds Black Sesame Walnut Brazil Cashew
Vegetables Beet Dandelion Root Okra Red Bell Pepper Scallion Tomato Cabbage Carrot Parsnip Rutabaga Spinach Squash Asparagus Broccoli Celery Cucumber Mustard Green Onion Radish Kale Mushrooms Seaweeds Water chestnut Green Bell Pepper Green Pea Lettuce String Bean Zucchini
Fruits Cherry Persimmon Fig Orange Papaya Pineapple Strawberry Apricot Banana Pear Mulberry Pomegranate Raspberry Watermelon Avocado Grape Lemon Lime


Including these foods in your diet, especially during the fall months will help to keep the metal element functioning well. However, you may also use these foods when the metal element is already out of balance and there are symptoms that you would like to alleviate. For example, pears can help to calm a persistent cough, while rice is especially good when your bowels are not feeling quite right or you have diarrhea. Each of these foods acts differently on the lung and large intestine. For more information on what each specific food does, you can contact me through email and I will gladly share this with you. Below, you will find several recipes using some of the foods to support your health through the fall season. Eat Well! Live Well – Naturally!

Navy Bean and Butternut Squash Soup

1 pound dried navy beans

2 cans (14-1/2 ounces each) chicken or vegetable broth

2 cups water

2 to 2-1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed (about 5 cups)

1 large onion, chopped

1 teaspoon sage

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

Sort beans and rinse with cold water. Place beans in a large saucepan or Dutch oven; add water to cover by 2 in. Bring to a boil; boil for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat; cover and let stand for 2 hours. Drain and discard liquid; return beans to pan. Add the broth, water, squash, onion, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 1-1/2 to 1-3/4 hours or until beans are tender.

Mash the soup mixture, leaving some chunks if desired. 

Yield12-14 servings (about 3 quarts).

For more recipes:  Click here



 Living with integrity means: Not settling for less than what you know you deserve in your relationships. Asking for what you want and need from others. Speaking your truth, even though it might create conflict or tension. Behaving in ways that are in harmony with your personal values. Making choices based on what you believe, and not what others believe.

~ Barbara De Angelis

Anita has been speaking her truth for a long time and I am trying hard to do the same.  It has never been easy for me.  I hate conflict.  Peace and harmony are always what I am searching for – even when it means that I may be compromising my own wants and needs.  I am working hard at understanding and accepting conflict.  It may be uncomfortable in the moment, but in the long run I know I will be a better person for it.

This is a photo from our last paddle board on the river  – we are hoping it was not our last for the year!  The river is such a magical place – it will feel like a great loss when it is too cold to get out on the paddle boards.  Maybe we will be buying our dry suits so we can paddle all year round.  We will keep you posted!

Big GIrl Panties

biggirlpanties2                          biggirlpanties1

These pictures need some explanation. A little over a year ago I was going through an emotionally challenging time. My marriage was ending, my work life transitioning, and figuring out how to handle living alone while running a house was causing me to crumble. My friend Leah Mann is known for her artistic genius when it comes to combining the sacred with the profane. To help me along my new path, she orchestrated the creation of my “Big Girl Panties.” A group of women that I have worked with out in Seattle, Washington were kind of enough to shed their wisdom when it comes to “getting down and dirty” in crisis, while keeping perspective and composure when necessary!

The panties are decorated front and back and are filled with inspirational quotes, funny sequins (in even funnier places), and colorful reminders of what matters.

Recently I got them out and put them on my chair as I had another wave of, “I just can’t do this anymore!”

I see them daily and they make me chuckle, grin, and breathe deeply.

“Put on your BIG GIRL PANTIES and deal with it”

is an expression I have heard often. The Urban Dictionary defines it as ,” an expression that is used to say “Grow Up, Move On and Be An Adult”  (without whining).

Well, I don’t know about you, but that is just bull___!

I am offering a new definition:

…an expression that means it is time to: reach out to your support system (friends, family, community), tell them you are in need, ask for help, and open your hands to receive the abundance and goodness that will follow.

AND if you need some Big Girl Panties of your own get in touch as I am happy to help you create your own!



I was asked to create a charm for a bridal luncheon. The bride is inviting all of the important women in her life to a special lunch the day before her wedding. There are 30 women attending and one of those women is her mother. Her mother has cancer, and in a very strange twist of fate may not live long enough to sit at the table with her daughter, nor see her walk down the aisle.

I believe in the collective power of healing and prayer. Send some to LuAnn, please.

By the way, the word I chose was GRATITUDE. Let’s spend this day in gratitude for all the people who touch our lives and our hearts, daily!




Surround yourself with the dreamers and the doers, the

believers and thinkers, but most of all, surround yourself with

those who see the greatness within you, even when you don’t

see it yourself.


 ~ Edmund Lee 

We could not resist being out on the river again yesterday with our paddle boards.  It was the end of the year paddle with our friends.  The sun was shining but the wind was blowing.  The water was very choppy.


When we first got down to the water we were a little hesitant  – the water was so rough.  There were actual white caps on the river.  The wind was blowing one way and the river was flowing in the opposite direction.  Anita got on her board and was immediately taken upstream by the wind.


Usually you see us standing on the boards with our shorts and t-shirt.  Not yesterday.  It was a life vest day for sure and a lot of the time we were down on our knees paddling through the waves.

 photo_2 333

(Anita, Leslie from Santosha on the Ridge, and Tom Barwick)

We pushed ourselves through the rough stuff and managed to get to a piece of the river that was more calm.  As the afternoon wore on, the wind began to die down.


22 photo_4

(Gene and Tom)

Two hours later, we were finally making our way back on land.  It was quite an adventure and as always extremely fun!  It is so good to spend time surrounded by people you love. We are hoping that it actually was not our last paddle of the year.  If there is another day of sunshine with slightly warm temperatures, you will know where to look for us – some where on our boards on the Delaware River!