Saturday, March 29, 2014

Schuller-Healthy Family, Happy Life (sneak preview)

My daughter, Christina Sinclair (, Me, My mom, Lanelle Titello

 My third book is now in the final edits and it will be typeset and released before April 27 when I host a booth at "The Healthy Girl's Festival" in Laguna Beach, California.   This book is a small and a practical book which gives you a glimpse into some of my life's health habits while it shares with you how to improve your own.  I so excited that I decided to let you read my introduction.   Stay tuned for the whole thing as it will be out soon!  It will also be available digitally so you can get it as soon as it is out.

Healthy Families, Happy Life Introduction

My son, Anthony was born on November 19, 1987.  He was my second child and I quickly found out that it was a lot more difficult to keep him as healthy as my first child, Christina, who was born in the spring on April 8, 1986. Even though I breast-fed both for several months, Anthony managed to come down with almost every infection and virus that happened to be going around at the time.  From his first sinus infection at just a few weeks old, to his constant earaches, bronchitis, and coughing bouts, he just wasn’t a very well baby.  I later learned that it is tougher giving birth around the fall and winter holidays because it is also at the height of the flu season.  At only a few months old Anthony had a very bad reaction to a DPT shot and from then on I started researching the childhood vaccines and their possible side effects.  There is plenty of research available on all kinds of inoculations and each of us should educate ourselves first before we make the decision to vaccinate or not.  After studying and weighing the pros and the cons, my husband and I decided to not vaccinate our children from that point on. This was our personal choice based on our beliefs about health.  In fact I raised our two youngest children almost 100% medicine-free unless it was an emergency.  I remember one day when Anthony was about eight years old, he fell off of his bike while going over a jump and he ripped his knee wide open.  The injury was severe enough that it required a visit to the hospital.  Before the doctor began stitching his knee he offered Anthony some Tylenol.  I will forever remember Anthony yelling, “Mom they are trying to give me drugs!”  I had to convince him that it was in his best interest to take the Tylenol in this situation.  I told him that in times of emergencies it was okay to take medicine. 
Anthony’s earlier illnesses were only a pre-cursor of what would later develop into a short-lived dependency on “prophylactic” anti-biotics and even worse, asthma medicines.   By the time he was two years old his ear and throat infections would quickly turn into full-blown asthma attacks and twice my husband and I rushed a blue-faced little toddler into the local emergency room.  Trust me when I say that this was very, very scary.
After three years, out of frustration and desperation, my mother's instinct kicked-in and I just knew that there had to be a better way.  I took Anthony off of all medications and at the recommendation of a nurse in my dermatologist’s office; I took him to a chiropractor.  I remember thinking, “it’s non-invasive so what do I have to lose?”  After all, as a teen I had spent years off and on with a chiropractor since I had suffered from back problems.   Little did I know that chiropractic would forever change my attitudes and ultimately (thank God) the health of my family for good, forever.  To this day none of my family has immunizations or medicines.  And…we have never been healthier!  We visit our doctor, who happens to be our chiropractor, once a week. Sometimes a little bit more often if I feel like I am coming down with something and I need a boost in my immune system. And at fifty-eight years old my back is better than it was when I was eighteen.
When it came to raising healthy children, I continued my education by reading all I could get my hands on.  Back then there was no Googling to find out what the experts had to say!  I spent many days at the local library and even more time ordering books via snail mail.   When my children were very young I made the decision to go back to school.  I spent three years studying family dynamics and sociology at a community college.  This program also focused on drug and alcohol treatment and recovery and it has served me well over my many years as a pastor’s wife, friend, parent, and person on planet earth.  When my children were still in elementary school I decided to become a nutritionist so I enrolled in and completed a two-year program through the Trinity School of Natural Health.  Neither of these educational programs were a huge stretch for me since I was constantly bombarded with various people’s problems at church and at home and I had already learned how to feed my family all kinds of nutritious concoctions; especially for Anthony who ended up having many learning challenges in school.   In those days even his pediatrician told me that what he ate had nothing to do with whether or not he could pay attention in school!  Today people find it hard to believe it when I tell them this, especially since his doctor is now very well known for his nutritional advice for children!  How times change!
Needless to say my husband and I also faced the typical challenges that face most families once their kids become teenagers.   Ours was a blended family since Robert brought two small children into our marriage before we went on to have two of our own.  It surely wasn’t easy at times but looking back I leaned on my education, my experiences and some great advice from my mom.  Some days I felt a bit like a really bad psychologist or counselor, other days I relished in the successful results of the many lessons I had learned hosting small groups at church and reading books on parenting.  It’s the hardest yet the most rewarding job I have ever had! 
 I am happy to report that although Anthony struggled all the way through high school he finally learned to work around his learning disabilities and graduated from college on the honor roll. Both he and Christina are now fitness coaches and they adhere to a very healthy lifestyle.  I can’t wait to see how they raise their children.
This is not a book about whether or not to vaccinate, or about whether or not to take medicines.  It is not a book filled with a lot of scientific studies or hard facts. It is a practical book, full of examples that are meant to encourage you to further educate yourself so that you can make better decisions in raising your family, and in life.   This book contains many examples from my upbringing and my life, as well as some stories from a few of the many great clients that I have had the privilege and honor of coaching throughout the years.  My hope is that you will take the time to find out the pros and the cons of various treatments, medicines, life-style choices, and methods of communication for yourself or for anyone you love.  That you will open your heart and open your mind to hearing things that you may already know in fresh and new-fangled ways. The patterns and habits that you develop and hand down to your family and to others, those daily decisions you must make, will have an effect on your family’s overall health and happiness for many years and for many generations to come.

 A Harvard study published in 2005 found that about half of those who filed for personal bankruptcy said health care expenses; illness or related job-loss led them to do so. Twenty-seven percent cited uncovered medical bills specifically, and 2 percent said they had mortgaged their home to pay what they owed.  I have looked at later figures and they come up even higher, around 60% or more declared bankruptcy because of health issues.
Yet other study data, as cited in the New York Times on June 4, 2009 and published in the American Journal of Medicine likely understated the full scope of the problem because the data were collected before the current economic crisis. In 2007, medical problems contributed to 62.1 percent of all bankruptcies. Between 2001 and 2007, the proportion of all bankruptcies attributable to medical problems rose by about 50 percent.  
I bring this up because ill health is a really big problem in our societies.  And guess what?  Healthy habits start when you are young. 
I am always thrilled to take-on a new client who is a school aged child or a teenager.  It makes my job easier and it also gives me so much satisfaction in knowing that I have helped to mold a person’s health habits going forward.  If they use my information as a foundation and build on it, they will live a healthier, happier, and more productive life.  This being said, I want you to know that it is never too late.  If you have decided to read this book then you have decided that your health is important to you.  The chapters included here are short and I also include a practical “how to” list at the end of each chapter.  There is also a study guide in the back of the book to encourage you to meet with others and formulate your health habits going forward.  Last but not least, I have highlighted some things from my childhood and how my mom’s healthy habits have positively influenced my habits.  In most cases, and in most societies across the globe, the mom is the heart of the family.  She is the one who establishes her family’s eating habits, sets it’s mood, and enforces the code of conduct contained therein.    

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “happy wife, happy life” and maybe you’ve also heard, “when moma ain’t happy, ain’t no body happy”.   And the saying “you are only as happy as your happiest child” still speaks to me, even though my children are grown.  Every challenging situation that hurts my children also hurts me.  When they are content and doing well with their lives, I feel the same way.  I know that my mom also experiences similar feelings when it comes to my brother and I.    I would like to add a third saying to the above which can be found in my title, “Healthy Family, Happy Life.”  As a body, mind, soul health and wellness expert I have written this book in such a way that it examines all three areas of our being.  My hope and my prayer for you is that you would discover or rediscover new healthy habits that may greatly enhance the rest of your life.  As a result may you live healthier and happier.

May God continue to bless you and give you many years of great health in body, mind, and soul.   
Donna Schuller
March 2014

*Plan on joining me for The Call on April 15th.  This is a monthly telephone church service held on the 15th of each month at 6pm Pacific time.  All you need is a phone-any phone!  Dial 530-881-1300 and key-in 642848#  This month we will focus on health in body, mind, and soul.  We pray together, read scripture, and take questions from all of you.  You can remain anonymous or you can join in our discussion.  
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Saturday, March 8, 2014

International Women's Day

 Today is international women's day, a day brought to my attention by one of my Soroptimist sisters, who happens to be the President of Soroptimist International,  Laguna Beach.
 As a woman and as the mother of two strong, independent thinking, courageous, and bold young women I decided to post this in their honor.  If you are not a woman and reading this you came from a mom who is a woman.   If you mother is no longer with you maybe you have a sister, a daughter, an aunt, a niece, a friend,  or an employee. Please talk to the young women and girls in your life about valuing themselves.  Let them know that they are not just here on planet earth to make a man happy (although I love being married and so do both of my girls.)  Make sure that you are a good role model and teach all the young women you come in contact with how to live healthy, happy lives by honoring their body, their mind, and their spirit.  Teach your girls to set high goals for themselves.  The sky is the limit. 

 Here's a bit about IWD:
"IWD is now an official holiday in Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, China (for women only), Cuba, Georgia, Guinea-Bissau, Eritrea, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Madagascar (for women only), Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nepal (for women only), Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Zambia. The tradition sees men honouring their mothers, wives, girlfriends, colleagues, etc with flowers and small gifts. In some countries IWD has the equivalent status of Mother's Day where children give small presents to their mothers and grandmothers.

The new millennium has witnessed a significant change and attitudinal shift in both women's and society's thoughts about women's equality and emancipation. Many from a younger generation feel that 'all the battles have been won for women' while many feminists from the 1970's know only too well the longevity and ingrained complexity of patriarchy. With more women in the boardroom, greater equality in legislative rights, and an increased critical mass of women's visibility as impressive role models in every aspect of life, one could think that women have gained true equality. The unfortunate fact is that women are still not paid equally to that of their male counterparts, women still are not present in equal numbers in business or politics, and globally women's education, health and the violence against them is worse than that of men.
However, great improvements have been made. We do have female astronauts and prime ministers, school girls are welcomed into university, women can work and have a family, women have real choices. And so the tone and nature of IWD has, for the past few years, moved from being a reminder about the negatives to a celebration of the positives.

Annually on 8 March, thousands of events are held throughout the world to inspire women and celebrate achievements. A global web of rich and diverse local activity connects women from all around the world ranging from political rallies, business conferences, government activities and networking events through to local women's craft markets, theatric performances, fashion parades and more.
Many global corporations have also started to more actively support IWD by running their own internal events and through supporting external ones. For example, on 8 March search engine and media giant Google some years even changes its logo on its global search pages. Year on year IWD is certainly increasing in status. The United States even designates the whole month of March as 'Women's History Month'.
So make a difference, think globally and act locally !! Make everyday International Women's Day. Do your bit to ensure that the future for girls is bright, equal, safe and rewarding."

**Join me for The Call on March 15th at 6pm PacificTime.  Dial 530-881-1300 and key-in 642848#   You will get that much-needed mid-month inspiration!  

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