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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.

Kicked Out of the Garden: Interview with Author Kim Taylor



It is my pleasure to host Kim Taylor, author of Kicked Out of the Garden: Embracing Diversity As a Way of the Heart. Kim’s book was published by Changemakers Books, an imprint of John Hunt Publishing, Ltd., my publisher as well. Kim’s book, as well as being the story of how she found faith, is a meditation from the heart, a healing balm. You must read it to experience its richness. Here is Kim in her own words.




What motivated you to write “Kicked Out of the Garden”?

I think my biggest motivation for writing this book was seeing how the people I know and love relate to faith and their religious beliefs. Their faith seemed to be directed so strongly by fear, guilt, and shame.  When I read and thought about what Christ said, I knew these emotions were not of God.  This always made me wonder what we were missing. So much of who Christ seemed to be as he walked this earth was very different from what I experienced in people who claimed to be his followers, myself included.  I began my quest in college when I came to the deep realization that I seemed to have no faith or love, as I understood these two traits through the Born Again Evangelical Church. These two traits are the foundation of Christian religion, and I thought they were so limited in me. I was living my life by the rules I was raised with in the Church. I had been told that if I followed these rules I would find God’s love.  I seemed to find only separation and disappointment in myself. As I stepped away from the rules, I began to experience a freedom and joy that was so new for me, and through that, my love and acceptance finally began to reflect the love of Christ.  And so I wanted to share this with others, hoping that my journey might open them up to new possibilities of faith and, perhaps, to the limitlessness of God. We can only find God’s true nature by looking within ourselves and seeing through our hearts. Jesus said the Kingdom of God is within you. So all that we need to know about the Great Mystery can be found within our body, our thoughts, our feelings.


Your book seemed like a meditation to me. Do you meditate? It also seemed channeled in parts. Would you consider any of it channeled?

Yes, my book is a combination of channeling interwoven with my own experience.  I have always sourced from the Divine Creator and the Christ energy.

And yes… I love to step out of time and into that meditative state. For me I do not follow the general rules that go along with mediation.  I have no set time or steps in how I get there. I can fall into mediation when I am drinking my tea, when I am sitting in traffic, or cleaning my house. It has become a way of life for me, not something that I choose to do and set aside time in the day for. It has become who I am.

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Were you a writer before you started this book?

No, the last time I wrote anything before my book was in college.  I struggled in school. My writing skills never seemed to be able to keep up with my creative mind, so writing was always frustrating for me.  It never came out the way I thought I had created it. All I can say is thank God for computers and spell check.  The computer has allowed me to slow down my creative process, as I am slow at typing, but speed up my writing skills, allowing me to feel my work in a way that hand scribing never could.


Who inspires you?

In my book I talk about how my mother was the biggest inspiration for me.  I love my mom very much, but I saw her go from this amazing spiritual person when she was young to a bitter older woman.  I always wondered why? She lived her life in service to God and Jesus, and yet it did not seem sustainable as she lost so much of her beauty as she grew old. Watching her made me afraid to grow old. Something seemed to be missing.  I wanted to finish my life well, and I did not want my children to be afraid, as I was, to grow old. I had to figure it out for both children and myself.


Who are your favorite authors?

Neale Donald Walsch is one of my top ones.  I love how he makes me think about what I really believe, and Alberto Villoldo’s writing has been very influential in my life.


During author talks, what do people want to know about your book, your writing process, and you?

Most people ask me about my metaphoric interpretation of the Garden of Eden.  When you interpret this passage metaphorically, it is not about eating the apple. Rather, it is about hiding, which causes separation and duality. This state keeps us from knowing our soul and touching other souls. It keeps us from living in our hearts as Jesus did when he was on this earth.  I have found my heart holds the unlimited love of the Creator of all there is.  If I live by my heart, I find the fruits of the spirit flow freely.  Every moment of every day we have the choice to live in the garden by the Tree of Life or out of the garden by the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.  This is a very different interpretation than what I heard growing up.



How did you find Changemakers Books?

So I finished my book when I was still living in Ohio on my farm, and I heard all the horror stories about how difficult it is to find a publisher.  When I moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico, in 2012, the first week I was in Santa Fe I met author Marsha Scarbrough, a Changemakers Books author.  She invited me to send her two chapters of my book. She said if she liked them, she would send them to her publisher.  After reading the excerpt, she asked me to have it edited. I wondered whom I could ask, but the Universe had already figured that out. I ran into an old friend who had been an editor for thirty years. She agreed to work on my manuscript. I sent the edited excerpt to Marsha, and she, in turn, sent it to Tim Ward, publisher of Changemakers’s Books.  He liked it, and coincidentally, he was coming to Santa Fe. We met, and I traveled with Marsha and Tim as he was marketing his book Zombies on Kilimanjaro.  I must say we had a lot of fun, Marsha Tim and I.  And the rest is history.  When you are on your path, it is amazing how everything lines up.  This is what I experienced with my book. The path in many ways was effortless.


DÉJÀ VU! Spotlight Author Shirley Harris-Slaughter

Today I am honored to host Shirley Harris-Slaughter, author of Our Lady of Victory: The Saga of an African-American Catholic Community. She is a fellow member of the Rave Reviews Book Club and a wonderful and supportive member of the Rave Reviews Book Club Twitter community.


Shirley Harris-Slaughter is a Michigan native. She was baptized into the Catholic faith with her family as a child and attended Our Lady of Victory School.  Shirley lived the history growing up in this West Eight Mile Community and is uniquely qualified to write about it. She watched helplessly as her parish lost its history and identity. Her love of history has propelled her to write about Our Lady of Victory, and correct its omission from the pages of history.

She graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration from Cleary University in Howell, Michigan. She is married to Langston and lives in Oak Park.

Shirley is now a proud member of the Rave Reviews Book Club!

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As I started digging more into the records I was delighted to discover things these pioneers did that were truly groundbreaking. To learn that my best friend in high school had a parent who was blazing trails was a bit too much for me to comprehend. Gwen Keith invited me to her home to meet her parents. I would not have dreamed that I would be writing about them one day after uncovering the fact that her father, Luther Keith, was a real estate agent who looked for property for the Catholic Church’s plant expansions in the Detroit area. I always talk about this when I am doing speeches. “That we are where we are supposed to be at any given time in this life.” I believe you were meant to be wherever you are. And how about feeling like you are doing something you know you did before but can’t recall exactly how or when? I think you experience these weird feelings mostly as a child. When you get older it doesn’t come as often if at all. I think we are the closest we’ll ever be to God when we are children.

That’s déjà vu! Sometimes God is talking to us during these moments of awareness as well as uncertainty.



And the saga continues….

Slaughter CoverImage

Book Excerpt

Gwen and I became lifelong friends without my ever knowing of her

father’s contributions to the city of Detroit and Our Lady of Victory. It is not

that she was trying to keep it from me, or anyone for that matter, but her

brother Luther explains it this way. “We just took our father’s contributions

for granted, not realizing he was making history.” Their parents were people

who entertained religious and political leaders in their home.


This is exactly what happened in my own family with our mother. We children

took her gifts for granted, not realizing until it was pointed out by friends

what a talented individual she was. This goes back to what I said initially, that

we do not know our history, and we don’t always know when we are living it

until someone writes about it.


Gwen and I just naturally gravitated to one another when I started my

freshman year at St. Agnes High School (renamed Martyrs of the Uganda and

now closed). I was so shy, and she made me feel welcome that very first day.

She was so nice, and we became instant friends. I don’t know why I chose this

school; I didn’t do any research, and I didn’t discuss it with any teacher or my

friends. I chose it from several options that were presented to me. When I

found out it was an all-girls school, I asked my mother if I could go to Mumford

High School, a public school in Detroit. She said, “No!” So fate brought

me to St. Agnes and into the lives of the Keith family. I am a firm believer

that we are where we are supposed to be at any given time in this life.

Question:  What are your thoughts on being in a place and thinking that you were meant to be there or you felt like you played out that scene before?

Book title: Our Lady of Victory, the Saga of an African-American Catholic Community.

RRBC Seal of Excellence

Genre: Biography; Narrative History

You can support Shirley by buying her book at and supporting her on social media. You can find Shirley at the following websites:


Twitter Handle: @sharrislaughter






To celebrate being the “SPOTLIGHT” Author for Rave Reviews Book Club, I am giving away an AUTOGRAPHED, LIMITED EDITION HARDCOVER COPY of “OUR LADY OF VICTORY: THE SAGA OF AN AFRICAN-AMERICAN CATHOLIC COMMUNITY.” All you need to do is visit my blog and leave a comment on ANY of my posts. The more you comment, the more chances you have to win! (Only 1 comment allowed per day.) The person who leaves the most comments on my blog during my two weeks as “SPOTLIGHT” Author is the winner! It’s that simple! Restricted to US residents only. Thank you again for the support and GOOD LUCK!!