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Rave Reviews Book Club’s Spotlight Author Sherilyn Powers

Today it is my pleasure to host Rave Reviews Book Club’s Spotlight Author Sherilyn Powers. In today’s post Sherilyn focuses on the phenomenon of “morphing” as it applies to allergies and sensitivities. It is a phenomenon with which I am all too familiar. I first heard about this so-called morphing in relation to allergies and sensitivities at the Environmental Health Center-Dallas, where I learned that when someone is sensitive to a food within a particular food family, it may not be long before that person develops sensitivities to other foods in that same family. To counteract this tendency for sensitivities to evolve, Dr. Rea, the center’s founder, recommended a four-day rotational diet to his patients. I followed this diet for about four years until I became so well after following Dr. Rea’s treatment program and receiving energy balancing from the healing team at A Healing Place in Richardson, Texas, that I was able to return to my normal eating patterns, based on a heart healthy diet with organic foods whenever possible and filtered water always. So … are you curious about morphing? See what Sherilyn has to say about it. While you’re at it, support her on social media and visit her website. You will find links below.

Sherilyn Powers image (1)

Sherilyn Powers is the author of I’m Not Crazy I’m Allergic! In her book Sherilyn explores how exposure to seemingly harmless foods and substances could be related to reactions like panic attacks, depression, uncontrollable crying, brain fog, body aches and pains and many more.

I'm Not Crazy I'm Allergic by Sherilyn Powers

Morphing reactions?

Speaking to people with allergies every day, I’ve come across a very interesting phenomenon:  allergies/sensitivities that “morph” or change seamlessly. Sometimes so seamlessly that it takes a long time to realize it has happened.

And by “morph,” I’m don’t mean a worsening of reactions, though this can happen, too, but actually a change in the type of reaction and even the form of the food to which they react.

For example, a lot of people I know can’t drink milk. It gives them stomach aches, excess mucus and even diarrhea, to name a few symptoms. These people have no problems with yogurt, cheeses or even ice cream, so they don’t consider themselves allergic to dairy, just lactose intolerant.

It gets interesting, however, when suddenly someone’s reactions evolve from just reacting to milk to reacting to the next food up the line, which seems to be yogurt or ice cream. These new reactions can present with symptoms similar to those they had after drinking milk, or they can be totally different.

After that the softer cheeses, and finally hard cheese, can also provoke reactions.  Once that happens, dairy can sometimes no longer be tolerated at all, and drinking milk may cause debilitating reactions where it once only caused a bit of mucus.

I found the same type of thing happened to me with gluten.  Before I found out I had Celiac disease, I had a lot of very interesting reactions to gluten. I had eaten it my entire life and had never known it was the cause of my so-called “IBS” (irritable bowel syndrome).

When I finally started to suspect a wheat allergy (I knew nothing about Celiac disease at the time), I noticed I had lesser reactions with some gluten-containing foods than others (e.g., spelt and kamut), and I found I could more easily eat foods prepared one way rather than another (toast vs bread, for instance). At that time, I had no idea that gluten was a factor. I just knew I tolerated certain foods better than others. It was after I was diagnosed with Celiac disease that I was able to put it all together from my notes.

How many people would have noticed the difference between how they felt having milk and cheese or eating toast and then eating bread?  I probably would have missed it, too, but I had been sick and had eaten nothing but toast for a week. I went from that to eating an untoasted sandwich and my throat began to swell up. That rather caught my attention.

This doesn’t happen with everyone, but I’m using these examples to point out that allergies/sensitivities are not static. Just because drinking milk makes you sneeze one day, it does not mean that it will still make you sneeze three years from now, or that only milk, among all dairy products, will elicit a reaction.

When you are trying to discover what your allergies and sensitivities are, don’t forget that cooking and processing foods can sometimes not only change your reaction, but also can influence whether you have a reaction at all.

Sherilyn Powers’ contact information:


Twitter: @SPowersINCIA





Kathryn C. Treat: Daughter, Sister, Wife, Mother, Grandmother, Author, and Loving Friend. RIP

A year ago today Kathryn Chastain Treat died suddenly of a cerebral hemorrhage. I published this post in her honor after I heard the sad news from one of her daughters. To mark the first anniversary of Kathy’s death, I am re-publishing my 2014 post.

Nothing prepares you for sudden loss. Not training, not faith, not personal fortitude. When loss occurs suddenly, the first reaction is disbelief, followed by a nearly all-encompassing paralysis of thought. At least, that’s how it was for me when Kathy Treat’s daughter Laura told me of her mother’s sudden death this weekend due to a cerebral hemorrhage. How could it be otherwise? A person I had known as a vibrant fully engaged human being, someone who had been a dear friend to me for over twelve years, was suddenly gone. And the only thing I could think of in that moment, the thought that was repeating in my mind, was that I had to write about her. That thought drove me to my computer.

Book Cover

Kathryn Chastain Treat is the author of Allergic to Life: My Battle for Survival, Courage, and Hope. In her book, Kathy shared her years-long battle to recover from mold exposure in her workplace and detailed the various treatments she underwent, some of which worked and some of which did not. If there were dominant themes that tied her story of illness, survival, and triumph together, they were her out-sized courage and her decades-long quest to educate doctors, nurses, and other medical personnel about multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS). And she was a great guide and friend to others with MCS. In her blog posts, she shared information about the various treatments that had worked for her and others, pointed a finger at the sources of pollution— industrial, commercial, and personal—that harm all of us, not just the chemically sensitive, and supported other bloggers who were helping to shine a light on the environment and health, as well as the increase in the incidence of MCS. She was also a loyal and dedicated member of the Rave Reviews Book Club, who served as the club’s first Membership Director until illness and the loss of her father required she take a less active, but still utterly engaged, role. Finally, and certainly most important to a retelling of who Kathy was, she was a devoted daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother, and friend.

I met Kathy in January 2003 at Dr. Rea’s clinic, the Environmental Health Center-Dallas, under what were trying circumstances for both of us. I had been in Dallas since October 2002 under treatment for chronic and acute exposure to type II pyrethroid pesticides, which are still considered in the United States to be safe for people and pets. Kathy, who had initially been in treatment at Dr. Rea’s clinic for mold exposure in 2002, had returned to Dallas to have her uterus and ovaries removed in January 2003, an ordeal she wrote about in detail in her book. While a hysterectomy is stressful and debilitating for most women and recovery is not easy, Kathy’s was made even more so by the knowledge that her uterine and ovarian tissue contained high levels of trichothecene mycotoxins, toxic secondary metabolites or byproducts of mold.

Despite the obstacles to recovery Kathy encountered and the debilitating bouts of dizziness, compounded by anaphylactic reactions to medicines as well as to the testing of antigens that would eventually bring her allergic reactions under control, she remained determined to help herself and to be a friend to the other patients she met at the clinic and the Regina Coeli apartments, where we met.

As people do when they are joined in adversity, Kathy bonded with several patients, and I was one of those fortunate to meet and bond with Kathy. As she recovered from her surgery and became stronger, we shared the time we were not testing at the clinic, sitting in my apartment and not Kathy’s because in addition to MCS I had also unmasked for sensitivity to electromagnetic fields. In my apartment I was furthest from the strongest sources of EMF radiation in the apartment building, and I could manage best there. Kathy, considerate and thoughtful, made it her business to learn about EMF sensitivity and helped me with tasks I could not manage on my own.

One of those tasks was washing and drying clothing. I needed to avoid going into the laundry room when the washers or dryers were running. Since there was no schedule for use, invariably I found myself having to move my clothes to the dryer or take them out when someone else was already running a wash or dry cycle in another machine. I had been depending on friends I had made at the apartments, but finding someone at the right moment wasn’t always possible. Kathy said that Regina Coeli needed to have a laundry room schedule, and I agreed. We sat one afternoon working on a grid by two-hour time segments for the use of the washers and dryers in the laundry room. Later that evening when we had finished, I presented the grid to Earl Remmel, the proprietor, who loved the idea and hung up a grid-like sign up board in the laundry room for residents to fill in. EMF exposure problem solved! And it was Kathy’s idea.

When it was time for me to leave Dallas for an environmentally safe house in Santa Fe, Kathy and another friend, Anne, helped me pack up to leave. I had been in a healing crisis and was in too much pain to do much of anything except rest. In Santa Fe, Kathy and I kept in touch while she was in Dallas and after she returned home to Merced. Since I was still recovering from EMF sensitivity, we could only exchange handwritten notes. It was not until a few months later that I could begin to have telephone conversations, albeit short ones to limit my exposure to EMF.

As I healed from EMF sensitivity with help from Deborah Singleton and the healing team at A Healing Place, I could once again use a computer and speak on the telephone for longer periods. Then Kathy and I could exchange emails about the book I was writing and Kathy’s plan to turn her journal entries into the story of her battle with mold exposure. Kathy was one of my biggest supporters as I was dealing with the various stages of editing and proofreading with my publisher. In turn after she had decided to self-publish and had entered the editing process through a friend of her daughter Laura, we explored the many avenues to publication.

Kathy published Allergic to Life: My Battle for Survival, Courage, and Hope in August 2013. She planned and cooked for her launch party, choosing an outside setting, one that would make it easier for her to be in a large group of people. If everyone followed her request not to wear scent, then she could mingle easily and not be exposed to the outgassing of materials as she would have in an indoor setting. The party was a success, of course.

In December 2013 Kathy told me of a new online book club, of which she was to be a founding member. The brainchild of Nonnie Jules, Rave Reviews Book Club would promote Indie writers and their work. Although I was published by a small publisher in the UK, Kathy said I would be welcome, and she urged me to join. I am glad I did. RRBC has been incredibly supportive on social media and is a home away from home for beginning and seasoned writers. Their promotional activities have brought me and other writers followers on Twitter, Facebook, and WordPress and increased sales.

The fact that I have a WordPress blog at all is due to Kathy’s guidance and help. When my book website was hacked and used as a phishing site, it had to be taken down.  After working with a young computer geek for several weeks to try to restore it, I realized that it was a lost cause. Kathy volunteered to guide me in setting up a WordPress blog. She helped me style my page, connect it to social media with the right widgets, and taught me in telephone conversations how to edit and post. Within a day my blog was running, and I began posting.

Kathryn and her husband, Rick.

Kathryn and her husband, Rick.

Just as she was a loyal friend to me and to others, she was devoted to her family. And they figure prominently in Allergic to Life. Anyone who reads Kathy’s book will learn of her devotion to her parents, sister, husband, children, and grandchildren. She writes movingly of her feelings when she was in treatment in Dallas and had to miss birthdays and other celebrations with her daughters back home. Her family returned that devotion and love in many ways. They were supportive of Kathy while she was in treatment in Dallas and at home. Kathy shared photos of family holidays in her blogs, where her family wore Tyvek suits to protect Kathy from mold exposure. They de-scented themselves for her and made their homes as environmentally safe as they could so Kathy could visit. Kathy and I had heard stories from other clinic patients whose families were not supportive and made no effort to help the person in treatment. We had both felt so grateful that our families had stood by us through treatment and afterwards.

Kathy was an ordinary woman who walked an extraordinarily difficult path with courage and determination. She mastered the technical terms of the health consequences of mold exposure and educated those who would listen. She was a role model for me and many others. Her kindnesses and achievements will not be forgotten.

Kathy, I will miss you, my dear friend and fellow author.

In Loving Memory of Kathryn Chastain Treat


Kathryn C. Treat passed away on Sunday, December 21, 2014, at 2:20 a.m. (California time).  On Friday, December 19, after having a wonderful time at the Rave Reviews Book Club’s virtual Christmas party, in a virtual chat room with her fellow RRBC VIP Lounge members, Kathryn said that she was not feeling well and was going to leave.  Shortly thereafter, she suffered a hemorrhagic stroke and then lapsed into a coma.

Kathryn was an honorary board member of the Rave Reviews Book Club, where she served as Membership Director from December 2013 until September 2014.  Kathryn is the author of ALLERGIC TO LIFE:  MY BATTLE FOR SURVIVAL, COURAGE AND HOPE  She inspired and encouraged many with this book, so if you have not had the pleasure of reading it, please head to Amazon and get your copy.

Book Cover


Kathryn was a dedicated member of RRBC until her passing, and she was one of the most supportive members the club had…not just to one, but to all.  Kathryn leaves to mourn her husband, her mother, her sister, her two daughters, a son-in-law and three grandkids (whom she adored more than life), as well as her entire RRBC family.

Let us remember Kathryn and honor her memory by always being kind to one another and by always offering our support to another.  It’s what she did.  It’s how she lived.  It’s who she was.  In honor, many blogs across the world are memorializing Kathryn today with the same post that you see here.  If Kathryn touched your life in any way, please share your memories and comments below.  Since everyone who knew Kathryn may not yet know of her home-going, we ask that you also share this page on all your social media forums.

We have erected a memorial page on the Rave Reviews Book Club site that will remain.  Please stop by to leave your comments and memories of Kathryn, so that her family will get a sense of just how loved she was by so many.


PS:  As a member of the Rave Reviews Book Club and someone whose life was touched by Kathy, I am participating in the worldwide blog today as Kathy is laid to rest. My thoughts are with her family, and I send them love. In an earlier post I wrote about Kathy and her courageous fight both to educate others about multiple chemical sensitivity and to survive a workplace mold exposure that had turned her life upside down. You can access it here: Click.


Good News? and Bad News About Pesticides in U.S. Waterways


In a New York Times article on September 12, 2014, Michael Wines reported the results of a study by the U.S. Geological Survey that collected data on pesticides from 1992 to 2011 at over 200 monitoring locations. The bad news is that the study found pesticides and herbicides in nearly every waterway in our country.

The good news, however, and decidedly the good news is for only two types of waterways, is that levels declined from the first decade of the study to the second in agricultural streams and other streams other than urban streams. As Wines writes: “From 1992 to 2001 17 percent of agricultural streams and 5 percent of other streams had at least one pesticide whose average annual concentration was above the maximum contaminant level for drinking water. But in the second decade, from 2002 to 2011, the survey found dangerous pesticide concentrations in only one stream nationwide.” And the reason for this decline? Regulations to control the monitored pesticides forced manufacturers to focus elsewhere.

Before you start celebrating, however, you should know that, as Wines points out, this decline was a decline in name only. In fact, as the use of pesticides became more heavily regulated, manufacturers turned to substitute chemicals. In urban streams, pesticide levels above the threshold for aquatic life jumped from 53 percent in the first decade to 90 percent in the second. Part of this jump was attributed to two pesticides—fipronil and dichlorvus, both heavily used in household products, such as flea collars, roach killers (fipronil) and no-pest strips, and dog de-wormers (dichlorvus). As the use of other pesticides became more heavily regulated, manufacturers turned to fipronil and dichlorvus as substitutes. Thus the sudden increase in those pesticides during the second decade. Furthermore, the U.S.G.S. study did not monitor pyrethroids or glyphosate (brand name Roundup).


Although I have no experience with Roundup, I can speak to pyrethroids from firsthand experience. In Intentional Healing: One Woman’s Path to Higher Consciousness and Freedom from Environmental and Other Chronic Illnesses, I described my acute exposure to deltamethrin and delta dust during a visit from exterminators. Let’s start with some background: Type II pyrethroids, such as deltamethrin and permethrin, are sold to the public as safe for domestic use. Safe for children, pets, the elderly, for humans in general. How do they work? They attack the nervous systems of insects through sodium-ion channels. The principal effects of pyrethroids as a class are various signs of excitatory neurotoxicity.

Humans, as mammals, have many more sodium ion channels than insects. And the symptoms I experienced when the exterminators started working—tachycardia, inability to organize my thoughts, breathing difficulties, burning that began in my scalp and spread throughout my body— seemed to indicate that my nervous system was being affected. I later found out at the Environmental Health Center-Dallas that my nervous system had, in fact, been affected. Despite the assurances I had received that pyrethroids are safe for humans, I was harmed by them. Just as the nervous systems of insects are attacked by pyrethroids so, too, was mine.


What does the EPA have to say about pyrethroids? The EPA has found no harm to human beings, situational harm to pets (that is, if products are not used correctly), and a great deal of harm to aquatic organisms. The following was copied directly from the EPA website:

Pyrethroids are highly toxic to aquatic organisms. Because the pyrethroids can accumulate in sediments, risk to sediment-dwelling organisms is an area of particular concern. Recent water quality monitoring efforts in California have identified pyrethroids in sediments of water bodies adjacent to residential/urban areas. These monitoring data, coupled with additional pyrethroid-specific data submitted to the Agency, highlight existing concerns regarding residential uses of pyrethroid pesticide products and movement into non-target areas through runoff or spray drift that may occur during applications.

To reduce exposure to water bodies from non-agricultural and agricultural uses of pyrethroids, the Agency deployed the following labeling initiatives.

Environmental Hazard and General Labeling for Pyrethroid and Synergized Pyrethrins Non-agricultural Outdoor Products – Revised February 2013 – To reduce exposure from residential uses of pyrethroids and pyrethrins products, EPA implemented a 2009 labeling initiative, with minor revisions in 2013, requiring revised Environmental Hazard Statements and general Directions for Use for pyrethroid and pyrethrins pesticide products used in non-agricultural outdoor settings. The label statements spell out good stewardship and best-management practices and clarify how these types of products are intended to be used.

These label statements serve to reduce the potential for runoff and drift to water bodies that can result from applications of pyrethroid end-use products in residential, commercial, institutional, and industrial areas, applied by both professional pesticide control operators and residential consumers.

Pyrethroid Spray Drift Initiative – In the reregistration process for permethrin and cypermethrin, the Agency determined that the existing spray drift language for pyrethroid agricultural products needed to be updated to comply with FIFRA. Because of similarities in use patterns, and concern for exposure to aquatic resources, the Agency believes that this updated label language is necessary for all pyrethroid products used on agricultural crops. In a letter from the Agency (PDF) (6 pp, 75k, About PDF) dated February 21, 2008, registrants were instructed to incorporate the revised spray drift language onto their agricultural labels, and submit the amended labels to the Agency.

Do you now feel protected from toxic runoff? I don’t.

It may be the height of folly, or just another example of the hubris we exhibit toward our place among living organisms, to think that a substance that is deadly to any living creature will not pose dangers to ourselves. I know I am not a lone case. Since the incident in our home in 2002, I’ve met many others who were harmed by pesticides thought to be safe for humans. At the Environmental Health Center-Dallas, thousands of patients have been treated for exposure to toxic chemicals. And the EHC-D is only one of hundreds of clinics and medical practices around the world devoted to treating people who have been exposed to toxins.

If we want to safeguard the environment for ourselves, our families, and the generations that follow us, we need to adopt a new way of thinking about unregulated and regulated pesticides, herbicides, and chemicals. If we think that everyone who uses chemicals will do so in a responsible way, then we are closing our eyes to human nature. If we accept that the substances used to kill insects won’t harm us or our children, if we believe that the pesticides and herbicides we spray on agricultural fields that eventually work their way into our water systems won’t harm aquatic life or the animals (ourselves included) that eat fish, then we will continue to degrade ourselves, the earth, our oceans, and every living creature.

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If, like me, you want to regulate strongly the manufacture and use of chemicals by supporting the watchdogs who work to protect us, then get involved by following the work of organizations that inform us and petition for legislation to protect us. Here are just a few of those groups:

The Environmental Working Group—

The Sierra Club—


Mother Jones—

Earth Times—

Environmental Health News—

Through these organizations, you’ll have access to the latest environmental developments and political news related to the environment as well as to online petitions so that your voice can be heard. I urge you to take a stand. Speak up for the earth and all of her children.

My thanks to Google free images for all but the last of the visuals in this article. I photographed this nature scene in Sherwood Gardens in Baltimore during one of my meditation walks.


Kathryn C. Treat, Author: Has Life Passed You By?


As  a member of the Rave Reviews Book Club, I am always happy to support a fellow member’s RRBC blog tour. Today I have the pleasure of hosting Kathryn C. Treat, author of Allergic to Life: My Battle for Survival, Courage, and Hope. Kathryn is the RRBC Membership Director and a very dear friend. We met in 2003 at Dr. Rea’s clinic, the Envrionmental Health Center-Dallas, where Kathryn was treated for mold exposure and I, for pesticide poisoning. We bonded then and have been friends ever since.

Kathryn’s book shines a spotlight on multiple chemical sensitivity and the precautions that must be taken to avoid further exposure. Her story is one of determination and courage. You can support Kathryn by purchasing her book on Amazon or Barnes and Noble and following her on Twitter, Google, and Facebook. Better yet, join Kathryn at Rave Reviews Book Club. It’s an experience you won’t want to miss. Tell them Kathryn sent you. Here is Kathryn in her own words.

Book Cover


“I pray to God for answers. I ask for His support and encouragement. If I have to live in this pain, in this bubble, in this life of isolation and loneliness the rest of my life, I don’t know what I will do.

Recently I was in contact with a friend who is also a mold survivor.  We talked about isolation.  In fact isolation seems to be a general topic and matter of woe among fellow mold sufferers and those suffering from Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS).

I soon began to realize that once my life had changed and I was no longer able to attend indoor functions, be among large crowds, go shopping or out to lunch, I also wasn’t being called or visited.  A majority of my treatment took me far away from home to Dallas, TX.  The longer I was there, the less I heard from others.  It was hard going through all that I went through by myself.  I thought when I finally came home, I would be totally well and everything would be the same as it always was.  I soon began to realize what it must feel like for a soldier to return after many months away at battle.


I also began realizing what soldiers must feel like after returning from an extended tour of duty. How do you assimilate back into your life? Things keep going on and moving forward but you aren’t there to participate in the moving forward. People carry on conversations but you feel like you were dropped in the middle of a story without access to the beginning. So you just sit there, and you listen but don’t speak.

Things were different when I returned home.  I was still sick and still not able to visit in the homes of friends or go out.  So much had happened after being gone for almost a year (2003) that I felt lost in conversations.  Someone would talk about something that had happened and I wouldn’t have the faintest idea what they were talking about because I hadn’t been there, hadn’t been involved in life at home and hadn’t witnessed changes that took place.  In this depressed state I wrote:

Life Passes Her By

She sits and stares out the window and she doesn’t recognize anything

Life has passed her by and nothing is the same

Where was she when all this happened?  She was here but

Life passed her by

Buildings were built and buildings were torn down

People arrived and left;

People were born and others died

Life passed her by

People divorced and others married;

People found new jobs and new hobbies

Where was she—she was there but she did not participate in life

It passed her by

She reaches out but touches nothing;

Life is just past her grasp

She stretches and bends and tries again

But life passes her by

She talks to people but it is a jumble to understand what they say

The life she missed is just out of her reach

Life passed her by

Life may pass us by but we can choose to keep letting it pass us by or we can choose to find a way to stretch a little further and grab hold of it.  We can choose to find a way to participate again.  Is life passing you by?  What can you do to reach and grab hold of it?

Kathryn and her husband, Rick.

Kathryn and her husband, Rick.

Allergic to Life can be purchased at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.  Signed copies may be purchased at Kathryn’s website.

Connect with Kathryn:




allergictolifemybattle or BeMyGuest

On the Cusp of Change: Guest Blog Post on the Forces of Transformation



Today I am reblogging a post written by my publisher, Tim Ward. Tim is the author of Zombies on Kilimanjaro: A Father/Son Journey Above the Clouds, What the Buddha Never Taught, Arousing the Goddess, and Savage Breast.

For over twelve years I have been living with and observing the transformation Tim writes about. Those of us who have been watching this process unfold view the societal shifts, the intranational conflicts, and the natural disasters of the past decade as the natural consequences of the individual transformations that are taking placing within us all, from head-centered living to heart-centered living. This is the transformation that I have been writing about in my blogs—a transformation from a third-chakra orientation (will center) to a fourth chakra orientation (heart center).  If we see the earth and humanity as energetic entities, it is easy to recognize how their energies can intersect and influence each other. The changes that come from within us fuel the changes that we see around us. How many times have you heard from relationship counselors that if you want to make a relationship better, you cannot seek to change the other person? You must seek to change yourself. Change that comes from within is lasting change. As more of us view ourselves as citizens of the world with a collective responsibility to ensure a wholesome earth environment for our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, we can raise our voices for clean air and water, responsible and sustainable farming, and equitable sharing of natural  resources.


Thank you to Esther-Maria Lindner for this representation of the Hopi prophecy.

Thank you to Esther-Maria Lindner for this representation of the Hopi prophecy.

Guest Post by Tim Ward:
On the Cusp of Change

I believe we are living on the cusp of massive planetary change, upheaval that may rival the six great extinctions of previous eons. While previous cataclysmic shifts were caused by events such as asteroids, this one is different for three reasons:

1. It is being caused by a single species – us.
2. It is happening in slow motion (relatively speaking)
3. The cause – us – is not a blind force. We have the power to change its trajectory.

In my other job, I’m a communications advisor for international development and environmental organizations. In this capacity, I am constantly studying the drivers of human change – how to create it and how to direct it. What we’ve learned is that awareness of a problem alone is seldom enough to get people to work together to solve it.

You need three ingredients:

First, the problem has to create dissatisfaction with the way things are. Sometimes this can be through a vision of a better future or a greater opportunity that can be realized through making a change. More often, though, dissatisfaction comes when we realize our current path is going to lead us to more suffering than we can tolerate. A toothache is a great example. I often put off going to the dentist, even though I know it’s important. But when I feel a stab of pain in a tooth, I make an appointment, because I know more suffering is coming if I don’t deal with it. That’s human nature.

Second, you need realistic hope that if you do act, things can be different. If the problem is overwhelming, it’s easy to fall into despair and apathy. I go to the dentist because I know he can deal with my tooth and make the pain go away. If I knew I had terminal cancer, well, what would be the point of going to the doctor for check ups? Hope is what moves us towards the future we want and makes us ready to work for it.

Third, you need a sense of urgency. Without urgency, we keep putting things off, even important things, figuring we will eventually get around to them, but we never do. I have a basement closet in need of emptying out that can testify to this fact in my own life.

When it comes to the planet’s impending, human-caused catastrophes, we actually have a perfect mix of these three ingredients: dissatisfaction, hope and urgency. For example, with climate change, we are already seeing the effects of increased hurricanes, droughts, floods and sea level rise. We know the pain is going to get worse. We have the hope of solar, wind and other clean energy technologies. My environmental clients stress that just by switching to today’s current green technologies (never mind future breakthroughs) we could reverse the trends of Climate Change. Finally, climate scientists believe we have a window of about twenty years to make it happen. After that, melting icecaps and permafrost, dying rainforest and a host of other drivers will take Climate Change out of our control, spewing massive amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and putting us on a path of no return.

This is one of perhaps a dozen or more areas where we as a species are facing global disaster, but we have the choice, the power, and the motivation to make the change.

Now is the moment for change makers, agents of transformation, catalysts, and visionaries to raise their voices and inspire humanity to choose the future we want – not the one we are headed for.

And this is the purpose of Changemakers Books, to provide a platform for Changemakers to share their practical wisdom, to show us a better path, and to motivate us to act.

I believe change happens from the inside out and the outside in, and so some of our authors focus on the spiritual and psychological dimensions of transformation for the individual, while others focus on moral and social transformation for all humanity. These must go hand in hand.

In fact, it is my belief that no one approach has the sole right answer. So I encourage my authors to connect and interact with their readers, and to help each other by promoting other authors’ works through their own social networks. It’s my intention that as Changemakers Books expands, it will draw to it Connectors – bloggers, journalists, radio hosts, TV producers, academic institutions, and other publishers so that we can create an ethos of conscious transformation large enough to move humanity into the future that could be, if we choose to make it so.

Tim Ward
Changemakers Books

Killing What We Love: The Need to Bring a New Consciousness to How We Live on the Earth

A recent article in the New York Times by Michael Wines reported on the collapse of honey bee colonies around the world. So called colony collapse disorder, which began to be reported in 2005, has pushed annual die-off rates from a norm of 5 to 10 percent of bees in a colony to 40 to 80 percent in some cases.


As someone who sees the earth and everything on it and in it as sacred, a part of the divine consciousness manifested, I was greatly concerned when I first read about this phenomenon in Wines’ article. I was even more dismayed to read further that beekeepers and environmental and consumer groups were convinced that these collapses could be traced to the growing number of pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides used to control insect infestation, in particular to a class of pesticides called neonicotinoids, so named because they are derived from nicotine. Neonicotinoids, or neonics, began to be used widely in 2005, thus the suspicion that the colony collapse disorder is linked to their use.

imagesFDTLAUIWTo help readers understand the importance of bees to agriculture, Wines draws attention to the impact of pollination on annual harvests of fruits, vegetables, and nuts: “Fewer bees means smaller harvests and higher food prices.” For more information, you can check out “Mystery Malady Kills More Bees, Heightening Worry on Farm,” Michael Wines, New York Times, March 28, 2013.

What moves colony collapse disorder from a concern of limited stakeholders to that of our society at large, however, is the fact that neonicotinoids are only one of many pesticides judged acceptable for use on our food supply and in our homes, all of which do have toxic effects on people and pets, separately or in combination with the other “safe” toxins to which we are exposed in our foods, homes, gardens, water, personal care products, and even in the air we breathe.


In his April 13 article in the New York Times, Think Those Chemicals Have Been Tested?, Ian Urbina brought attention to the use of unregulated chemicals in personal care products and paints, as well as on clothing (stain-resistant treatments) and furniture, mattresses, in particular (fire-retardants).Urbana explained that the burden to prove or disprove safety is on the EPA, which doesn’t have the resources to monitor the 85,000 industrial chemicals now in use. He cites the fact that of all the chemicals in use, the EPA has succeeded in banning only five: chloroflurocarbons, dioxin, polychlorinated biphenyls, hexavalent chromium, and asbestos. Yet scientists report that babies are being born with a myriad of synthetic chemicals in their blood.

If you haven’t yet gotten the point that we are unprotected from unregulated chemicals, then watch this video of interviews with Linda Chae, researcher and consumer advocate, and then go to her website for more information on what is poisoning us every day. Note: If you are concerned about the use of triclosan in everything from household detergents to shampoos, Chae’s video will provide the information you seek.

What can we, as consumers and parents concerned about the health and safety of our children and ourselves, do to shine the light on the unregulated and inadequately tested chemicals in our environment? Plenty. And in a positive way that will enhance our energies and set a good example for future generations.

  • First, buy products that are safer for the environment. Many supermarkets now sell more eco-friendly products, such as Seventh Generation. Here is a link for Seventh Generation coupons. If you don’t live near, or can’t drive to, a supermarket that sells organic or non-toxic/less toxic cleaning and gardening products, you can buy them online. Just enter key words such as “environmentally friendly,” “ecofriendly,” “organic,” “non-toxic,” or “less toxic” products. Buy from manufacturers that recognize environmental concerns and produce products that are safer for us, our children, and the earth.
  • Second, check out the shopping lists online at the Environmental Working Group’s website for advice on what organic fruits and vegetables are must buys and learn which conventional ones can be safely eaten. Buy as much organic produce as you can afford.
  • Third, support grassroots efforts to clean up neighborhood parks and schools. Lobby for nutritional lunches and work actively to keep cell phone towers away from schools to shield children as they grow to maturity. Call for environmentally friendly cleaning products, paints, grouts, and sealers to be used in schools and community centers.
  • Fourth, contact your state senators and encourage them to vote for legislation that would mandate that manufacturers demonstrate the safety of chemicals before they can be sold.

Last, take all of these steps with a positive attitude and love in your heart. Join your energies to the energies of those who seek change through positive means. When you keep positive thoughts around you, you attract the positive. Take a deep breath, send negative thoughts into the earth surrounded by light, and keep your heart open.

Instead of allowing what we love to be harmed by unregulated chemicals, let us join with the new consciousness of living on the earth with respect for everything on it and in it. All life is sacred. We are all connected. If we allow chemicals to harm the insect life on our planet, we allow ourselves to be harmed as well. If we continue to buy and use products that harm the environment, we harm ourselves and our children and grandchildren. Change the way you live on the earth, and preserve earth for future generations.

Make every day Earth Day!




My Writing Process Blog Tour and Giveaway

 In conjunction with “My Writing Process” blog tour, I will be giving away a $10 Amazon gift card to one of the readers of this post who leaves a comment. Here is how it will work. At the end of this week, I will write the name of each person who has left a comment on this blog on a slip of paper. All slips will go into a hat, and I’ll have my husband draw a slip from the hat. An Amazon gift card worth $10 will go to the person whose slip he draws, so be sure to leave your email address for possible delivery. The giveaway will close at midnight on Friday, April 4, 2014.

My Writing Process Blog Tour.

I was fortunate to be asked by my friend Kathryn C. Treat, author of Allergic to Life: My Battle for Survival, Courage, and Hope, to join “My Writing Process” blog tour. Kathy and I met in 2003 at the Environmental Health Center-Dallas. Our friendship began as we supported each other through the rigors of testing and treatment at the Center and developed long-distance by telephone and email. Little did we know, all those years ago, that one day we’d support each other as authors. I have admired Kathy’s strength and determination to recover from environmental illness. She applies those same qualities to her new tasks as an author, and she has taught me a great deal about social media and promotion. I have her to thank for my WordPress site, which she helped me construct after my book website was hacked. To find out more about Kathy and her journey through environmental illness, you can check out her website or her blog. Here, thanks to Kathy, are my thoughts on my writing process.



What am I working on?

From 2004 through 2012 while we were living in Santa Fe, New Mexico,  I visited Navajo country, the Jicarilla Apache reservation, and Northern New Mexican pueblos, attending sacred dances and visiting sacred sites in a three-state area. On many trips, I was fortunate to have the company of my friend Christine Gregg, a sacred pipe carrier and sweat lodge keeper, who is a member of the Katala Okolakiciye, a traditional Lakota women’s society. Sometimes, Christine’s apprentice, Esther Maria Lindner, accompanied us. On one of our trips we traced the journey of the JemezSummer 2010 and Emma 005 maidens, who were sent by their elders under cover of night into Navajo country. This is only one of the historical events I researched for a book I envisioned that would tell the story of a remarkable Navajo headman who lived in the first half of the nineteenth century and played the dual role of encouraging his people to go into captivity and then, through negotiations with one of the U.S. Army’s ablest generals, of leading his people out of captivity, not to a U.S. Indian reservation but to their homes within the sacred boundaries of Navajo country. I am developing this story line now. At the same time I’ve been developing the theme of the Authentic Self–Higher Self or Soul–through my blog posts, sharing what I’ve learned about getting in touch with that side of ourselves through breathing and visualizations and developing awareness of the human energy system.

Jennie and Christine at Angel Fire

Jennie and Christine at Angel Fire


How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I wear many hats as a writer. While some of my blog posts fit neatly into the bodymindspirit genre, many of the topics I choose to pursue identify me as a writer in the field of public health, a calling I’ve followed since 1989. Whereas in earlier years I wrote and worked with experts primarily in the fields of substance abuse and cardiovascular disease about topics assigned to me through the consulting companies for which I worked, now I write about the environment and its effects on health, not surprising since my health was affected by exposure to environmental toxins. I still accept commissions for public health and medical science editing with my husband, Roger, who is a retired physician and epidemiologist. We’ve had the privilege of supporting the Initiative for Vulnerable Populations, based at the University of California Berkeley, editing journal articles, a book chapter, presentations, and press releases.

Why do I write what I do?

I write to make a difference–a difference in the lives of the people I reach, a difference in the fields of public health and medicine through facilitating the communication of ideas and findings from research. I write about things that matter to me greatly. Isn’t that a part of man’s need? To make a difference somewhere? Or at least to think we are making a difference, part ego and part Authentic Self, reaching out to fellow travelers.

How does my writing process work?

My process varies with what I am doing, but usually the basics include (1) an idea or concept, (2) research, (3) consultation with an expert, if appropriate, (4) a rough draft, (5) review by others, and (6) final draft. For my next book I am venturing into historical fiction, with lots of room for imagination, but even for that work, a retelling of the life of Barboncito and his ancestors, I spent years researching and visiting the areas to be included in the settings.

That’s it for my writing process. Now I have the pleasure of nominating another writer whose work I’ve been following. Remember to check her blog on Monday, April 7, 2014. Here she is in her own words:

Meglena Ivanova

10154390_824339720913663_1921104990_nMy name is Meglena Ivanova. I’m Bulgarian author, blogger and essayist. I live in NYC with my husband, bearded dragon /lizard/ and abnormally strange cat. When I’m not writing, reading or blogging, I enjoy gaining insights into the psychologies of other cultures and times. I’m also into dancing, movies, and Apple products. Occasionally I like to write short (usually about mystical, mythological creatures and old but sacred objects that are described in ancient legends) fiction stories.

Cover-1Where people can find me:

•        Website

•        Blog –

•        Twitter

•        Facebook 

•        Google +

•        Linkedin

•        Pinterest –

•        Goodreads

•        Smashwords

Are You Thirsty? Conserving A Precious Resource for the Generations That Will Follow Us

images[2]When you are thirsty and nothing else will do but a long cool drink of water, do you walk into your kitchen and fill a glass with water from the tap? If you are like many Americans, getting a drink of water from the tap is a reflexive action, a no-brainer. How many of us, however, give thought to where our water originates, how much water we use, and whether water is a finite commodity? If you live in a drought-stricken area or in one of the states where dwindling water resources have made the news, then water issues and questions related to them assume a new importance.

In August 2012 we moved back to Maryland after about fifteen years away, the last nearly ten years in New Mexico, a state that has experienced droughts on and off throughout its history. We lived in a mountain community where groups of homeowners formed water-sharing groups, each with its own well and well master. It was a new experience for us, who had lived most of our lives on the East Coast and depended for the most part on municipal water systems. If we thought about water at all before moving to New Mexico, it was  only when the water supply was cut off for repairs. Being without water was not something we thought about much at all.

In New Mexico, however, water, water delivery, and water conservation were foremost in the minds of most New Mexicans, including those of us who lived in our small community. Repairs to and maintenance of our water delivery systems were very costly, and vigilant monitoring of the infrastructure and cooperation with our water-sharing partners were crucial to ensuring water delivery for us all.

Although we are now living in Baltimore and water delivery is handled by the municipality and the management of our condominium association, water has been on my mind. More states are now reporting water shortages or predicting future shortages. In Ottawa County, Michigan, which is near Lake Michigan, dwindling groundwater resources have become an issue for rural homeowners and farmers. Michigan State University researchers report that one of Ottawa County’s aquifers is losing groundwater faster than it can be replenished.  See Jeff Alexander’s October 12, 2013, comprehensive article in Bridge Magazine for details. The U.S. Geological Survey, Government Accountability Office, has reported sharp drops in groundwater levels across the U.S., and the  Ogallala aquifer, the largest in our country supplying eight states, illustrates the drop off dramatically, according to Nathanael Massey and ClimateWire in Scientific  American, May 30, 2013 . As explained in this co-attributed article, the aquifer’s rate of depletion rose rapidly between 2001 and 2008 and in many areas water table levels have fallen 160 feet since the middle of the twentieth century.


Dropoffs in groundwater and reservoir levels have been reported around the world. In When the Rivers Run Dry: Water–The Defining Crisis of the Twenty-First Century author Fred Pearce explores in great detail the water crises facing the Middle East, China, India, Australia, and Russia, as well as the American Plains and the Southwest. He presents a well-researched argument that the great dams and reservoirs built with pride all over the world are the source of many of the crises, cutting off downstream farmers, municipalities, and individuals from a precious resource that if approached differently should be easily renewable. He points to evaporation rates peculiar  to reservoirs as the source of avoidable water losses, including a quarter of the average flow of the Nile River into the Aswan High Dam, and more than six feet of water evaporation annually from Elephant Butte, which is fed by the Rio Grande River, as well as from Lakes Powell and Mead, which are fed by the Colorado River.


In India reservoirs lose five feet a year, and in Australia they can lose ten feet annually. Fortunately, for us and the planet, as Pearce explains, far-thinking individuals around the globe have taken up rainwater collection activities and turned to traditional water harvesting methods that return water to aquifers and terraced natural holding ponds to provide irrigation for farming.

What can we as individuals do to conserve water for our grandchildren and the generations that will follow us? Plenty. Here are some water-conserving tips and projects that individual homeowners, as well as far-thinking apartment managers and condominium dwellers can implement.


images3JPKL5JR1. Investigate rainwater collection systems that are appropriate for your living arrangements. Whether you live in a single-family home or a high-rise building, systems can be put in place to collect rainwater for use in flushing toilets, watering trees and plants, and if sophisticated enough and built with the right materials, they can provide potable water as well.  For information on what is needed to set up your own system, check out the website of The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. Their rainwater harvesting group seeks to teach Texans, who live in one of the thirstiest states in our nation, to harvest rainwater, thus providing a renewable source of water to individuals and communities, as well as a means to control runoff after storms.

2. Implement water-saving strategies in your home or apartment. A few simple ways everyone in your family can contribute to saving water for future generations, as well as cutting down on costs, include the following.

Don’t let faucets run continuously. That means, and we’ve all heard this suggestion before, don’t let the faucet run when brushing teeth, clearing dishes to go into the dishwasher, or washing dishes by hand. Instead:

  • when brushing teeth, fill a glass with enough water to rinse two or three times, instead of allowing the precious resource to run down  the drain, joining the runoff returning to the water treatment facility to be reprocessed with your taxpayer dollars, as the Great Yogi would say, “all over again!”
  • when clearing dishes to go into the dishwasher, fill a small cereal bowl with enough water to keep a sponge moist and after scraping plates, clear them further with a swipe from the moistened sponge
  • when washing a few items by  hand, use a sponge as a receptacle for liquid soap and water, squirting a very small amount of soap onto the sponge followed by a splash of water; wash the item to be cleaned with the soapy sponge, then run the water only long enough to clear the soap.

imagesB56UGC3NLook for leaks. If you live in a single-family home, check both inside and outside. We learned the hard way in Santa Fe when we were away from home during a period of sub-zero temperatures. Although we had left the heat on low, the unusually cold temperatures froze two areas of copper piping in the walls, and from two small leaks all of the water was drained from our holding tank. We returned to a house without water and had to wait until plumbers could get up the mountain road to find the leaks, tear out sections of the walls, and make repairs. We then had to wait until spring for our contractor to remediate for mold, restore the drywall, paint, and install new heaters in strategic areas within and under the house to prevent freezing in future. If you live in a condominium or apartment, leaks can affect not only your unit but also your neighbor’s. Check faucets and piping under sinks as well as runoff devices for HVAC units.

Attend to running toilets. A toilet is said to “run” when water leaks from the toilet tank into the bowl. A running toilet wastes many gallons of water every day. Simple fixes include adjusting the tank ball or freeing the flapper by jiggling the handle. Check home improvement sites on the Internet for detailed instructions. One site I found helpful was Don Vandervort’s Home Improvement Tips.

Turn off the water to your house or unit if you are going to be away for an extended period of time. We, again, learned the  hard way to drain the water from the pipes in our Santa Fe guest house in the winter and shut off the water valve to avoid freezing pipes in winter. This step is equally important if you leave your condominium for a lengthy period.

The future does not have to look grim for our grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and the generations that will follow. If we all take steps, even the small ones outlined above, we can promise them perhaps not a thirsty rose garden but maybe a less water-dependent xeriscape that is pleasing to the eye.


My thanks to Google Images, Free Range, and Morguefile, all great sources of free images for bloggers, artists, and graphic designers, as well as the photographers who donated their work, for the images used in this blog. 

I’ve Been Honored with a Liebster Award for Blogging!

Wow! My wordpress blog debuted on January 19, 2014, and I’ve just been nominated for a Liebster Award by Meglena Ivanova. Many thanks to Meglena for this honor!

The Rules:

You must link back to the person who nominated you.

Answer 11 questions from the person who nominated you.

Nominate 11 new bloggers and ask them 11 questions.

You cannot nominate the person who nominated you.

You must let the people you nominate know they have been nominated.

Here are my questions from Meglena:

photo_1072_200602141. What is your biggest goal in life? My goals  have changed as I moved from childhood into young adulthood, then adulthood, and now my senior years. I suppose they were all achievement oriented in the beginning. With maturity and a spiritual awakening, they’ve become more process oriented. So if I were to choose one process-oriented goal, it would be this: to interact with everyone I meet through my heart.

2. What’s your dream job? I am in my dream job. Writing gives me joy andjhp4f226e8a425f81.jpg contentment.

3. Would you rather follow your heart or your head? No contest: my heart every time.

4. If you are allowed to do just one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be? Write, write, write!

5. What do you think of this expression: Where there was fire, ashes remain? If one thinks of fire as purification, what remains is the purest essence of what was. It reminds me, of course, of the phoenix that rises from its ashes, the process of birth and rebirth—much like reincarnation of the soul that returns to complete lessons not fully learned in previous lifetimes or the spring summer fall winter cycle of nature.


6. What’s the best gift you’ve ever given and what’s the best gift you’ve ever received? The best gift I’ve ever given was to an organization for research in women’s health. I set up a template for writing a grant proposal. Not only did that approach win the research money that first year, but every year thereafter. The best gift I’ve ever received was when my son was born. I had been trying to have a baby for several years. After miscarriages and several interventions, a healthy child was born, for which I shall be forever grateful.

7. What ability or skill do you most wish you had (that you don’t have already)? I do not have a quantitative bone in my body. I would love to understand mathematical and statistical concepts.

8. If you could vacation anywhere in the world, where would you go? Straight to Italy, touring north to south and west to east, tasting all of the regional specialties.


9. What would you do without electricity for 3 days? Isn’t that what some residents of NYC had to cope with after Hurricane Sandy? A younger person might answer this question in a different way. As seniors, my husband and I would have to consider a number of safety issues related to leaving and returning home, since we live in a fourth-floor condominium.  Since we exercise regularly, access would be manageable. Food during the three-day period would take resourcefulness, but I’m sure we’d work things out. Work would be difficult, especially if I were working on  something with a deadline. For entertainment, I’d do what I love to do when I’m not writing, that is, read. I’m never bored with good reading material around.

10. What is your favorite book/author? Hands down, it is Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley. I’ve re-read it every year since it was first recommended to me.

11. What’s the biggest problem facing the world right now and if you alone could solve it, how would you do it? Lack of regulation of the manufacture of chemicals is one of the biggest environmental issues the planet faces. Solving this problem would take the combined forces of researchers and governments in every nation. If, therefore, I ruled the world, I would mandate that every chemical be tested for environmental safety, that is, safe for the air we breathe, the water we drink, the animals and fish we depend on for sustenance, the fields we plant, the food we grow.

I nominate the following bloggers for a Liebster Award:

1.  Kathryn Treat

2.  Natacha Guyot

3.  Joe Abbate

4.  giftfromtheheartshareandcare

5.  Danica Cornell

6.  Nonnie Jules

7.  Stella Wynne

8.  JV Carr

9.  Darlene Craviotto

10. Shirley Slaughter

11. Molly

Congratulations to all my honorees. I selected you because your blogs inspire me in many ways. Don’t stop writing about what matters to you most. You have an avid follower in me.

To claim your award, please follow the rules above. Here are your 11 questions:

1.  Who are your role models in your professional life?

2.  Who are the people who have inspired you in your personal life?

3.  Choose one thing in your life for which you are immensely grateful.

4.  Give one example each of how you make the chemical, emotional, mental, and physical environments in your home safer for you and those you love.

5.  Choose one person in your life to whom you can tell almost anything without fear of judgment.

6. If you could choose another profession, other than the one you are in, which would you choose?

7. How would you like to be remembered?

8. What do you do for recreation?

9. What is your favorite family game, i.e., something you play or played with your children?

10. Who is your favorite poet?

11. Is there a song you like to sing?

That’s it, everyone. Have fun claiming your award.

Thank you, again, Meglena for nominating me for the Liebster Award.