Friday, January 8, 2016

National T.V. In A Bikini?

"Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Proverbs 4:23

Coincidence?  Fate?  I don't much believe in coincidence.  Could it be fate. Maybe.  All I know is a few days after deciding I would be focusing on "soul matters" as I laid out my New Year's goals this year, I was once again contacted by the t.v. news magazine, Inside Edition.
The first time they reached out to me was in May of 2014.  It was right after my book "Healthy Family, Happy Life" came out, just before Mother's Day, less than two weeks before my daughter's baby was due.  They saw a photo of my daughter, myself, and my mom while scouring the internet for subjects and decided we were the perfect ones to fly to New York City for an appearance on their show.  The focus of that show was Mother's Day,  featuring three generations of health.  My book was on health, and I guess they were impressed that we all looked attractive and to be in good health. They also read that my mom is still an avid tennis player and that I exercise on a regular basis.  My daughter is a fitness instructor.  I'm always excited to get message of "Healthy Family, Happy Life" across to a national audience so it was disappointing to have to turn them down (the first time) because my grandson was due any day so obviously my daughter, Christina was grounded.
 Fast-forward three days ago, a week or so after deciding I wanted to focus on soul matters.   The same Inside Edition producer contacted me to say they were doing a segment on healthy, fit grandmothers and their daughters.  At first I was "all over it" so I agreed to talk to Christina and get back to the producer the next day.  Oh wait!  They said, "we want you both to appear on camera in a bikini!"
 As I went to bed that night I was filled with anxiety.  I thought and prayed about why.  Many episodes of my life flashed through my mind:  all I've learned about body image, health emanating from the inside-out, and the lies we tell ourself about the importance of looks.  The best way for me to explain the rest of what happened is to share my emails to her so I'm copying and pasting them here: 
"Hi ___,
If this piece the producers are working on is about grandmas and health what would the purpose be of showing us in bathing suits?  Health is so much more than physical looks and I don't see myself as promoting only the beauty aspects of such.  To be healthy one needs to love who they are: body, mind, and soul and there is so much that goes into teaching our daughters and grand daughters just that.  Our lives are filled with images of celebrities and people we are taught to emulate and look up to and yet many of the ones we put on a pedestal are not healthy in mind and soul.  You know the saying, "beauty is only skin deep."  I believe that (edit: it is deeper) and as a daughter of a professional model and a model myself when I was younger it is a hard emotional barrier for even me to break-through.  It's what I was taught: the importance of being pretty, being a homecoming princess, a pageant winner, a good-looking person.  The main focus was on all of that and I've spent years and hard work on myself to break through.  I feel I'd be going backwards and giving the wrong message to young people if I just showed-up in a bathing suit and talked about how my body is okay at (nearly) 60.  I have lots more thoughts and I'd love to pursue this if you want to.  I am interested in promoting the right message about total health: body, mind, soul.  
Sincerely, Donna"

Well, I didn't get the response I wanted but she did say we could wear whatever we wanted and they would do a B-roll shot (t.v. jargon for bankroll, as in is supplemental or alternative footage intercut with the main shot)  My next email was similar after I literally broke down in tears when I told my husband how much I disdain the idea of me or of any woman being portrayed as just a pretty face (or body).  Do you ever feel like people aren't interested in the real you?

Here's what I wrote next:
 "I'm not trying to be difficult but I'm passionate about the message of health and fitness and disseminating it the right way. 
I don't want to pose in a bathing suit.  This is not the message I want to promote.  I have no problem talking on camera about why not.  I think the message that fitness is about bikinis is not healthy although I'm happy that I can still wear one!  
 Most women feel like they are not good enough, thin enough, pretty enough, smart enough, rich enough, etc. There is a myriad of other misconceptions concerning health and happiness.  I think that in and of itself is a strong message. I'm not your average 60 yr old and I never want people to think I'm the norm.  I don't mind wearing stylish leggings or anything else. What if the interviewer asks why I chose not to wear a bikini ?  What about highlighting a grandma (or two) who will wear one and one who won't?  Again, the interview is on health and fitness.  Nutrition for the body, mind, soul.   I really want to do this but I don't think wearing a bathing suit on camera is good for my message or for anyone. 
Sincerely,  Donna"
Needless to say, I'm not doing the segment.  "They have plenty of Grandmas who really want to appear in a bikini." (of course they do) 
I'd be lying if I didn't admit that I relished the idea of gaining new clients;  I love helping people with their health issues, which would also help to ease my financial woes.  And of course the increase in my book sales would have been great.  But I said, "no."
 Call it integrity, standing up for what I believe, a tap on the shoulder by God, years of research writing and learning; whatever.  I know I made the right decision.  I also know that distributing and encouraging the message of real health is an uphill battle, but I rarely take my athletic shoes off so I'm ready for the climb!  
Do you ever feel like people aren't interested in the real you?  I'd love to read your thoughts.

Contact me via email at

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Heartfelt Things in 2016

"Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it."   Proverbs 4:23

 This year I need to focus on "soul matters."  I've had some "stuff" come up from the past and I know I need some work.  For the next month or so I will be incorporating some of my previous (revised) posts on goal-setting as I also try to work out how to sort out my personal new year's goals. At the same time I will hopefully allow my challenging or painful experiences from the past heal and propel me to a better version of me.  I've done this "work" before but there's another layer needs peeling away so bare with me as I share with you. I believe that matters of the heart and soul are the most important ones.  Many people focus on the physical aspects of health when in reality ever bit of health emanates from the soul.  Everything about us hinges on how well we are spiritually and emotionally. 
It's January 6th today and technically it's the last day of Christmas.  If you've left your decorations up it's okay!  Today is known as epiphany or "Three Kings Day."  Most of us celebrate Christmas only on December 25th and then we can’t wait to take down the tree and box-up all the great things that go along with it. This year I flew out on December 30th and since I knew I wouldn't be home until later in January I went ahead and took everything down early.  I really feel cheated because I enjoy looking at my kids and grandkids' stockings, as they increase in number each year.  I love the sparkling lights that I leave on until late every night, the manger scene, special candles, and all the nutcrackers who stand guard around my living room.  
 I think there is a lot to be said for relishing and hanging on to the enjoyable things in life.  After all most of us run at full-speed most of the time and that’s just not good for any of us! Soul Matters means paying attention and knowing when we are "out of whack."
This year I’m going to give you eight goals to strive for which aim to encourage your health and wellness in 2016 and beyond.   I know I want to lead a vigorous and fulfilling life emotionally, physically, and spiritually and I'm willing to do the work to get me there.  My topics over-lap with some of the things I cover in my newest book "Healthy Family Happy Life" but I hope you'll find a few new take-aways as there is always so much more to learn about leading a healthy and a happy life!  
Here’s a list of what I’ll be writing on over the next several weeks.  Hopefully these simple things will help you feel more blessed, thankful, and productive.  A personal goal of mine is to help you nurture and build an awesome environment for personal growth and well-being as you focus on how to:
1    Be curious-new studies show why asking questions or learning something new is good for you.
2    Be generous-how giving back promotes long-life and a sense of purpose.
3    Be grateful-learn to concentrate on what all you do have.  Being aware of things around you.
4   -Be healthy-helpful tips for being all you can be in body, mind, and spirit.
5    Be present-when you are with a person be with them.  Also... "digital detox."
6    Be intentional-how to schedule and make time for those you love and the things you want to do.
7    Be you-authenticity is the way to go, even when it's difficult to fit-in to popular culture.
8    Breathe-discover ways to decrease your stress levels with proper breath.   
What are you hoping to achieve in 2016?  I’d love to hear more about what you're up to so please keep in touch with your comments and your ideas.     * If you are interested in my book you can contact me here and for a suggested donation of $10 plus shipping I will sign one and send it to you.

To reach me you can write to me at:

Saturday, December 12, 2015

The Advent Wreath

Just put this all together from a local fabric store here in SJD, Mexico.  We light it tomorrow at The Gathering

It's not too late to make an Advent Wreath this year.   I did this with my family almost every year as my children were growing up.  We would take turns reading a devotion that was specific to that week and then we would light the appropriately colored candle.  On Christmas Day we would light the center candle which is the Christ candle.
  There are many sites available where you can find and download the information you need to learn the significance of each candle.  You can find the devotions and more so you can start this great family tradition.  It's fun and it will teach everyone the right way to prepare for Christmas.

To reach me you can email me at:

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Giving Starts At Home

Giving Tuesday is today.  I'm not sure how many years we've been doing this but it's a great idea.   As I was watching a morning news/talk show this morning I heard a guest talk about ways to give back  Although most of her ideas were great there was one area she didn't even mention.  Loving others and giving back is so important and I feel strongly that giving begins in your own home, with your own family.  With this thought in mind here is my list of how to prioritize your giving on Giving Tuesday (and any day, really!)

~~Love and give to the one you're with.  If you aren't accustomed to taking time alone with your significant other, set aside a day, right now,  so you can really talk and be present.  As a busy woman and a Grandma I realize that there are sometimes days where I go without really "hearing" what my husband is saying.  I regularly need to be intentional and make a date day or date night where it's just the two of us alone.  The same goes for your children.  They are second only to your spouse.   Giving starts at home.

~~Offer your heart.  Extend one of your most valuable possessions to others in your family-your time.   Ask if you can pick a grandchild up at school.   Take a day off of work to take them to the beach or to the park.  I babysit my youngest grandson several times a week.  He keeps me grounded and focused on what it important-"and the greatest of these is love." 

~~Reach out to your (very) extended family.  Early last year I found out that my cousin's 11 year old daughter (my second cousin) had cancer.   Instead of focusing energy on strangers in need (there are plenty), I try to put her needs first.  She's my cousin, after all.  

~~Carry a bag of food in the trunk of your car.  The next time you see a homeless person or someone who is carrying a sign that says, "I'm hungry,"  hand them the bag of food.  You'll know right away if they really need it. 

~~Give some time to a local charity.  Even if it's just a day a month.   *Remember-shelters and other places that care for the needy are overrun with volunteers this time of the year and when January hits it's back to "business as usual" (as people flock to the gym!)  One solution might be to call today to schedule a time to volunteer beginning after the first of the year.   Ask the charity what they need.  Don't assume they need clothing when what they really need is basic food and/or hands to prepare it.
Helping children learn to read is a great way to volunteer.  

~~There are many international mission projects that are worthy of your time and money but if you have U.S. Veterans who are sleeping on your city streets it might be more important to focus on getting them in warm shelters.  Call your city and ask until you get an acceptable answer. 

~~Remember your church, place of worship, or other faith-based charities.  Mother Teresa once said that the most important needs of people are emotional ones. (paraphrase)  Remember how important your pastor's words of encouragement are.  Inspiring words of hope can change someone's outlook on life which has a direct impact on their family, their co-workers, the people they encounter on a day-to-day basis, and their world.  

~~Diversifying and giving a "little here and a little there" is a great idea.  The more you give the more rewarding your life will be.  Remember you can never out-give God.

*Join my husband and I on THE CALL which is coming up again on December 15th at 6pm PST.  Dial 530-881-1300 and key-in 642848# when prompted.  Join us every month only on the 15th at 6pm PST

For more information about our minstry click HERE. 

To reach me you can email me at: 
If you need a pastor you can reach my husband at:

Monday, November 23, 2015

Eat Some Real Food For Thanksgiving

"Let food be your medicine, and medicine your food."  Hippocrates
         With Thanksgiving only 3 days away the holidays are officially upon us! Although 
         Thursday is a day for feasting and giving thanks it's important to remember that flu season and 
          New Year's resolutions are right around the corner too.  In order to keep your immune system
          in tip-top shape, go ahead and indulge in a bit of pumpkin pie but remember to eat some real 
          food too.  Not only will you feel better and strengthen your body against the flu you won't
          outgrow your clothes in the next six weeks either.                 
With a food system and dietary guidelines that promote obesity and actively prevents optimal health by restricting critical nutrients, is it any wonder Americans are struggling? If you're at all concerned about your health, nutrition is paramount, and you’re simply not going to get what you need from a boxed concoction of processed ingredients.
So, first and foremost, you have to realize that a healthy diet equates to fresh whole, preferably organic foods, and foods that have been minimally processed. I advise spending 90 percent of your food budget on whole foods, and only 10 percent (or less) on processed foods. If the food meets the following criteria, it would fall under the designation of "real food," which is the very foundation of good health:

  1. It's grown without pesticides and chemical fertilizers (organic foods fit this description, but so do some non-organic foods)
  2. It's not genetically engineered 
  3. It contains no added growth hormones, antibiotics, or other drugs
  4. It does not contain any artificial ingredients, including chemical preservatives
  5. It is fresh.  I prefer lettuce, kale, and other produce not in plastic bags.  Although they take a bit more prep time, they are cheaper and usually fresher.
  6. It did not come from a concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO)
  7. It is grown with the laws of nature in mind (meaning animals are fed their native diets, not a mix of grains and animal byproducts, and have free-range access to the outdoors)
  8. It is grown in a sustainable way (using minimal amounts of water, protecting the soil from burnout, and turning animal wastes into natural fertilizers instead of environmental pollutants)

If you want to stay fit and keep healthy in body, mind and soul you must respect and honor your body by feeding it real food.  Real food is food that is closest to the way that God made it.  It is nutrient dense and thus more satiating than "fake" fast, processed food.  Once you start eating real food you will stop craving so much junk food and your waistline will show it too!   Remember...
 "Your body is the temple of the holy spirit"   1 Corinthians 6:19 

Have some fun on Thanksgiving. Eat "stuff" that's not on your normal daily menu.  Get back into good habits by Monday by resisting all that junk that comes to your office or is delivered to your house over the next several weeks.  Use discipline and restraint.  Your body, your mind, and your soul will be healthier for it and you'll be happier too. 

Join me and my husband, Dr. Robert A. Schuller on the 15th of each and every month at 6pm Pacific time for "The Call".    During our hour together we explore different topics from a Christian perspective and help pass along great information about body, mind, and soul health.  To access the call just dial 530-881-1300 The access code is 642848# * Make sure you call at 6pm Pacific time and only on the 15th of each month. 

To contact me email: