The Second-Handshake: How Relationship Building Equals Business Success BY Jill Schiefelbein

Posted by Editor on
The Second-Handshake: How Relationship Building Equals Business Success BY Jill Schiefelbein

Executives Shaking Hands

If you want to be successful in business, you need to surround yourself with the right people. But finding the right people to surround yourself with is not an easy task. Yes, I realize I was a bit repetitive there. But hear me out.

When we think about surrounding ourselves with the right people, we often think in the perspective of what people can do for us. However, that’s a short-term outlook. The real question you should be asking is: “What value can I bring to people?”

If you approach networking and relationship building in this manner, you’re bound to get a second handshake.

What is a second handshake? I’m glad you asked.

Picture this scenario: You walk into a networking event. Fresh meat. Someone immediately approaches you, reaches out to shake your hand, and says (in one breath), “Hi, my name is Jill, I’m the owner of Impromptu Guru, I do public speaking and communication coaching and consulting. What’s your name and what do you do?” You spurt your scripted answer back. You exchange cards. And you walk away. There is no second handshake.

Now, picture this scenario: You walk into a networking event. You go up to someone who looks interesting. You shake hands and introduce yourselves by name. She says, “Jill, I’m curious, how did you get into doing what you do?” And a conversation ensues—the foundation of a relationship is laid. After about five minutes you’ve learned that you both left corporate jobs to go it on your own. You have something in common. And you both genuinely enjoyed the conversation to the point that when you start to walk away, she extends her hand and gives you a second handshake. Success!

It’s these conversations—these second handshakes—that are the foundation of relationships that can be mutually beneficial. The relationships that allow you to surround yourself with the right people. The relationships that lead to business success.

Learn more about the second handshake, and the two other keys for relationship building by listening to “Communication and Relationship Building” on “Communication Nation” http://www.voiceamerica.com/episode/68213/communication-and-relationship-building

Listen a wide variety of podcast online on VoiceAmerica Talk Radio Live.

Jill Schiefelbein is an accomplished speaker, author, professor, and business owner. She is the owner of Impromptu Guru, a communication consulting company that was named Gilbert Arizona’s 2012 “Rookie of the Year” less than a year after its inception. She is also the host of “Communication Nation,” a business communication talk show on VoiceAmerica’s Business Channel. She works with professional athletes, politicians, business executives, and groups to improve their communication and messaging strategies. Learn more at http://impromptuguru.com

Food as Medicine: How to Maximize Digestion and Assimilation of the Foods you Eat BY MICHELE COLLINS AND ANDRES VERGARA

Posted by Editor on
Food as Medicine: How to Maximize Digestion and Assimilation of the Foods you Eat BY MICHELE COLLINS AND ANDRES VERGARA

chinese herbs, voice america

The food we eat is important not only as a fuel for our physical bodies, but it is also an important resource that can enhance our health and well-being. Traditional healing systems such as Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine classify food according to their healing properties, and some, like walnuts, certain vegetables, fruits, and legumes are even included in the materia medica and used in formulation with other herbs to treat various health concerns. In this article, we will describe how you can support your digestion and assimilation with the foods you choose and prepare. Click here to tune in to the episode of Holistic Healing with Herbs and Chinese Medicine titled, Our Food Can be Our Medicine to hear more about this topic. (link: http://www.voiceamerica.com/episode/67068/our-food-can-be-our-medicine)

What Happens During Digestion and Why Is It Important?
Digestion is an alchemical process. Food is literally transformed into energy and fuel we can use to sustain our physical, mental, and emotional, health. Digestion is also the one of the most important jobs our body performs. It is a complex process that involves many different anatomical organs and structures, including the stomach, the liver, the gall bladder, the small intestine, the large intestine, the pancreas, the esophagus, and the mouth, to name the most prominent. The mouth, for example, is a extremely important part of digestion, as it is the location where food is subjected to an alkaline medium and a salivary enzyme (ptyalin) that helps digest starches by as much as 40%. Practically, speaking, chewing your food thoroughly is key to starting off the digestive processes.

In the Chinese system, the spleen/stomach pair are the organs responsible for transforming and metabolizing food and water into qi and blood the body can use to regulate and sustain itself. The liver/gall bladder plays an important role too, because it detoxifies and filters everything, including any toxins that may be in our food or our environment. In the instance of food poisoning with symptoms like bloating, nausea vomiting, diarrhea, rib side pain, or cramping or pain in the liver area, and/or alternating sweating and chills, the body’s reaction or pattern of disharmony is considered an imbalance between the liver and stomach/spleen.

There is a Chinese saying that provides a lot of information – the spleen likes to be warm and dry, that provides a lot of insight into how to best maximize digestion and assimilation. Any foods that dampen or cool the body’s ability to transform and metabolize foods and thus, weaken the spleen and stomach. Foods that have a cooling and dampening effect on the body can reduce the body’s ability to digest and assimilate your food. These foods include: raw foods such as fruits and vegetables, ice cream and frozen foods, sugar (especially white refined sugar), soy products (unfermented), floury products, and dairy products. Simply put, food has to be cooked somewhere, either before you put it in your body

How Do You Know What Foods Are Right For You?
Chinese medicine classifies food exactly as it does herbs, which is by the organ system it supports, by the energetic effect it has on the body, and by it’s flavor. Foods and herbs both can have a specific affinity for an organ system. For example, milk thistle (silybum marianum) is a tonic for the liver in that it helps improve the liver’s functioning, as well as reduces fibrosis and inflammation of the liver. Lamb is a food that is restorative for the kidneys, particularly the yang aspect (the warming function that also represents a sense of will or purpose) of the kidneys.

Foods and herbs are classified by the energetic effect they have on the body, either a food or herb is dampening (as in dairy products), drying (job’s tears or coix), warming (cinnamon), or cooling (mints like lemon balm or spearmint). You tend to want to treat with opposites, meaning if there is a cold condition like weak digestion (tired after eating, diarrhea, gurgling stomach) you want an herb like fresh ginger, which is warming and stimulating. If the condition is a hotter- natured one like red and inflamed muscles, you would want to pick a cooler herb like yu jin (turmeric rhizome or curcuma longa).

Foods and herbs are also classified by their flavor – salty (kidneys), sour (liver), bitter (heart), spicy (lungs), sweet (spleen). Each of these flavors has an affinity to a certain organ system, offering another way of assessing what organ the herb of food has an affinity for. In a healthy diet, foods with more of a neutral to sweet flavor comprise the majority, while foods with extremes in flavor or temperature are eaten in lesser amounts. However, if there are specific health conditions, foods that tend to be more drying, moistening, cooling, or heating may be incorporated into the diet to re-establish balance.

Sweets Flavor, Sweet Foods, and Sugar Cravings
We want to say a word here about cravings for sweets and for sugar because the concept of sweet that we tend to think of in the west is very different from the way traditional systems classify sweet foods. Sweet foods in any traditional system are nearly all vegetables, meats, and whole grains and legummes. This is the basis of a healthy diet.

In our culture, we tend to equate sweet with sugar and with empty sweets like cakes or desserts, but sweet is really deep level nourishment in the body. It is amazing to witness, but when you have that deep level nourishment you find that you don’t crave sweets like sugar and simple carbohydrates. Also the natural flavor of foods, like fruits and vegetables, tends to be enhanced. Remember that sugar and simple carbs are instant energy and an important way our body communicates with us and lets us know that we are not being nourished, by our food or by our life in general. They represent the easiest and simplest way your body can convert food into energy. We recommend that if you crave sweets, make sure you are eating deeply nourishing foods, particularly fresh vegetables and protein (like sardines or whey protein).

We Don’t Just Digest Food But Life Experiences, Emotions, and Knowledge
The Chinese system does not just address the physical body, and the organs do not just have a physical function. Rather, the organs are the gross manifestations of larger functions of your whole self. The organs are the manifestation of that function that your whole self is performing as part of it’s dance on the physical plane and communication with the life force. So for digestion, the spleen is not simply digesting food, but it is digesting life experience, emotions, and knowledge. For example, when a person is grieving the loss of a loved one, they may feel sad or depressed and have a lack of appetite. Lack of appetite occurs because your being is busy digesting this new life experience, leaving less room and less energy to digest food.

If you are craving sweets or feeling a need to eat to balance emotions, it is important to look at other life practices as well and see where are we feeling malnourished. We call this inner sweetness. Michele has written about her experience quitting sugar and finding inner sweetness and the tools (besides food) that she used. To read more http://spiritrisingherbs.com/?p=52.

Seasons Matter in Choosing and Preparing Food
There is old herbal wisdom that says that what your body needs is often growing outside your back door. Recently this wisdom can be seen in the slogan eat locally. Knowing which food and herbs grow in your geographic area during a specific season offers a way for each of us to translate nature’s wisdom to maximize health. Interestingly enough, herbs that help common ailments tend to be ready exactly when those ailments tend to be most likely to occur. For example cooling and sedating herbs, such as lemon balm (melissa officinalis) and catnip (nepata cataria) are profusely available in the summer season while root herbs such as Siberian ginseng (eleutherococcus senticosus) are ready for harvest in the winter.
The food you eat will vary throughout the year according to the season. This is an intuitive knowledge that makes sense. Cooling foods move the body’s fluids and energy outward and upward toward the surface of the body. Warming foods move the body’s fluids and energy inward and downward much as plants move their energy down into their roots during colder months. Therapeutically warming foods are used in small amounts during hotter months to cool the body down. During colder months, larger portions of warming foods are used to increase the body’s energy and overall warmth.

The warming and cooling properties of foods vary with different factors. How and where foods are produced and harvested, along with how they are prepared and served, and even which parts of the plant or animal are used influence these properties. For example, plants that grow quickly (lettuce, summer squash, cucumber) tend to be more cooling than plants that take longer to grow (cabbage, carrots and other root vegetables). Raw foods require more energy to transform or cook than those that have been cooked and spiced before eating. During the hotter months, we tend to choose more salads and raw foods such as fruits and melons, which are cooling and in season. When the season changes and the temperature shifts, we tend to eat fewer raw foods and gravitate to more soups, stews and baked items, which are warming. These natural instincts are our body’s attempt to harmonize with the changing natural cycles.

Some Simple Tips to Support Digestion
1. Consume neutral, nourishing foods. The majority of food consumed should fall into the neutral range of the continuum, which means vegetables and proteins like legumes, whole grains and some meats. Most of the foods in this category have a “sweet” flavor according to traditional healing systems classification of foods. Sweet flavored foods are deeply nourishing (and are often what the body needs instead of sweets or carbohydrates like breads or pasta).
2. Be mindful of foods that dampen digestion. Foods that have a cooling and dampening effect on the body can reduce the body’s ability to digest and assimilate your food. These foods include: raw foods, ice cream and frozen foods, sugar (especially white refined sugar), soy products (unfermented), floury products, and dairy products. This is especially important in winter when your body is adjusting to the colder external temperatures or when you are sick or have diminished energy.
3. Give your food your full attention. Remember that the body has to digest everything your experiencing in that moment, including your food, your reading material, or your emotions. You greatly help your body by giving it a space to do the work of digestion and not distracting yourself trying to do too many things at once.
4. Have a moment of gratitude for food before eating it. Before you eat take a moment of gratitude for your food and welcome it into your body. We recommend simply smiling at your food before eating it. Everything loves a smile!
5. Limit flour products (anything with flour). Flour creates glue in the digestive tract. You can switch out pasta to quinoa or brown rice pasta.
6. Preparing Meat. To help your body assimilate meat, rub it with rock salt and cook with it fresh ginger root. For red meat be sure to soak it first in water for several minutes.
7. Use herbs to help with digestion. Herbs are a brilliant tool for helping your body assimilate food. Many contain minerals and vitamins or they may help stimulate or facilitate your body’s production vitamin’s or minerals, as well as stimulate the production of enzymes to aid digestion. Bitter herbs (like mugwort or burdock root) are taken before eating to activate the secretion of digestive enzymes. Many culinary herbs (such as ginger, garlic, thyme, cardamon, cumin, fennel, etc.) are carminatives (alleviate gas and bloating), as well as warming and stimulating to the digestive system.

Genetically Modified Foods and Eating Organic Foods
We support local organically grown foods because they have a greater life energy or qi to them, they have not been altered from their natural state and are considered to be more life nurturing than foods that have pesticides. Locally grown organic food is considered to be better as well because eating with the seasons is supposed to promote health, so eating seasonal vegetables will support the organs that have an affinity with each season. Most foods that do not have an organic label or a non-GMO label on them have genetically modified ingredients (GMO). GMO foods have been associated with a number of health problems including birth defects and sterility. They require more pesticides and encourage a food monopoly with Monsanto using “terminator” seeds to ensure that farmers have to repurchase seeds that don’t regerminate. They also have smaller crop yields despite being heralded as a solution to hunger problems. Also because GMO crops are resistant to pesticides they encourage the use of large amounts of pesticides that have negative effects on the environment such as the “dead zone” in the gulf. This type of large scale GMO monoculture agriculture also encourages dependence on fossil fuels.

A recent study shows that GMO foods cause grotesque tumors in rats and decrease their life span significantly (70% shorter for female rats), also caused mammary tumors in female rats. This is from a French study led by Gilles-Eric Seralini of the University of Caen, was the first ever study to examine the long-term (lifetime) effects of eating GMOs. The study was published in The Food & Chemical Toxicology Journal and was recently presented at a news conference in London. These rats had 200-300% increase in large tumors from eating GMO corn which is the same corn in our breakfast cereal, snack chips and corn tortillas. This food also caused the rats to develop kidney and liver damage.
Here are some quotes from the researchers who authored this study:

“This research shows an extraordinary number of tumors developing earlier and more aggressively – particularly in female animals. I am shocked by the extreme negative health impacts.” – Dr Michael Antoniou, molecular biologist, King’s College London.

“We can expect that the consumption of GM maize and the herbicide Roundup, impacts seriously on human health.” – Dr Antoniou.

“This is the first time that a long-term animal feeding trial has examined the impact of feeding GM corn or the herbicide Roundup, or a combination of both and the results are extremely serious. In the male rats, there was liver and kidney disorders, including tumors and even more worryingly, in the female rats, there were mammary tumors at a level which is extremely concerning; up to 80 percent of the female rats had mammary tumors by the end of the trial.” – Patrick Holden, Director, Sustainable Food Trust.

It is important to be mindful of the foods we are eating and select the ones that will best serve our health and well being. The Chinese system offers practical wisdom that can help harmonize our inner state and better utilize the energy of the food we eat.

Michele and Andres have a CD with extended guided meditations for each of the five organs (liver, heart, spleen, lungs, and kidneys) which represent the key functions of the body mind spirit in Chinese medicine. For more information or to order, please contact them spiritrisingherbs@gmail.com or call Andres at 336-508-1121.

Michele and Andres are both very passionate about the practice of Chinese medicine and qi gong. They have studied and practiced Chinese medicine for a combined total of over eighteen years. In 2011, they spent six months studying Chinese herbal medicine in a university hospital setting that emphasized the practice of integrated Chinese herbal and allopathic medicine. Michele and Andres both teach and write about Chinese and herbal medicine, such as speaking for the Natural Triad/Wake Forest Integrative Medicine Seminar Series and publishing in the Journal of the American Herbalist Guild. Michele, a professional member of the American Herbalist Guild (RH) and a Master of Public Health, integrates Chinese, Ayurvedic, and western herbs, nutritional therapy, and qi gong into her practice as an herbalist. She studied with Michael and Leslie Tierra at the East West School of Herbology where she is a certified herbalist. She serves on the board of the North Carolina Herb Association and is a member of the teaching faculty of the Academy of Integrated Medicine. Andres is an acupuncturist, herbalist, and teacher of qi gong, using solely Chinese herbs in his practice. He received his M.Ac. from Tai Sophia Institute in Maryland. He is currently licensed to practice in North Carolina, but has practiced in both North Carolina and Maryland.  He has studied with a variety of well-regarded teachers of Chinese medicine, including Lonnie Jarrett, Dr. Tan, and Bob Flaws. For more information, visit their website at www.spiritrisingherbs.com, their Facebook page at Spirit Rising Herbs,LLC, or email them at spiritrisingherbs@gmail.com. Want to listen podcast online, visit VoiceAmerica Talk Radio

Want Healthy Skin? Just Ask Dr. John Tang

Posted by Editor on
Want Healthy Skin? Just Ask Dr. John Tang

cucumber on eyes, VoiceAmerica, John Tang

Ever wonder how you can improve your skincare and overall wellness without resorting to cosmetic surgery.  Dr. John Tang knows all about it.  He is currently practicing advanced treatments in cosmetic skin care and has his own clinic called Rejuve in Saratoga California. 

Focusing on healthier lifestyles, Dr. Tang looks at his clients internally and externally and decides what factors or issues need improving.  Most of his treatments involve proper nutrition, vitamin supplementation, managing exercising regiments and balancing deficient hormones through bio-identical hormone replacement. Now you might be asking yourself, what does it mean to balance your hormones through bio-identical replacement.  Well, it all starts with a blood test then you and Dr, Tang will evaluate what hormones or vitamins your body is missing then prescribe those hormones to get your body balanced.  Bio-identical hormone replacement is just one of many treatments Dr. Tang offers his clinic.  Some of the other services the Clinic provides are hair removal, hair restoration, reducing the signs of aging like dark circles, fine lines, wrinkles through laser treatments.

Dr. John Tang discovered aesthetic medicine through his family.  His mother and father being physicians encouraged him to pursue a career in medicine.  Dr. Tang’s sister is a dermatologist and his wife practices cosmetic medicine.  For Dr. Tang, his interest in aesthetic medicine all started with his curiosity in bio-identical hormones.  In the beginning of his career he didn’t know much about bio-identical hormones, so he took courses to better understand this subject then developed a passion for it.  As Dr. Tang said “my entire paradigm shifted and the rest is history.”   

When I asked Dr. Tang what are the most common illness or most wanted skin care treatments that clients come into the clinic for he said, “food sensitivities and overall poor gut health.”  While getting to know Dr. Tang a little better I wanted to ask what is his favorite type of exercise was which was playing basketball and weightlifting.  I also asked what his favorite snack food was and he said a bowl of mixed berries. 

Getting to know Dr. Tang and what he does opens the door to new methods in helping skin care without the risk of any surgery.  As Dr. Tang would say “go out and live your life, don’t let life leave you.”

Dr. John Tang is host of Health And Beauty For Life on the VoiceAmerica Network.  Tune in Wednesdays at 4 pm PST on the VoiceAmerica Health & Wellness Channel.


Searching for Innovation BY NANCY LIN

Posted by Editor on
Searching for Innovation BY NANCY LIN

innovation, Nancy Lin, VoiceAmerica 

Image from Harvard.edu

As pace of technology advancement picks up, innovation continues to be one of the most urgent issues for businesses today.  This is what I want to talk about today but first let me tell you a story.

 In 2006 I decided to write a book about my experience in Africa to help raise money for my project there.  The idea of writing books had never appealed to me before but I was willing to give it a try for a good cause.  At the beginning, I had a hard time writing a story or chapter past 3 pages because I was so used to writing business outlines and presentations in bullet points.  I liked to keep things short and to the point.  I knew that, to make it a real book, I would have to elaborate and help people imagine what it was like in Tanzania and what I experienced.  Fortunately, I took a lot of photos when I was there.  By revisiting those photos, I was able to recall a lot of emotions and learnings but it also gave me new perspective on many aspects of the experience that I had overlooked when I was there – enough to fill the whole book.   I realized how much I missed by not being mindful of my surroundings and experiences, and by not taking enough time to observe and reflect on my experience.

 As our workloads expand and our pace of life accelerates, many of us struggle to stay focused and inquisitive as we rush in and out of projects. This is especially challenging for busy executives.  In trying to do more, we may have become less innovative and productive.

 In a 2011 study, researchers found that innovative executives spend 50% more time on discovery activities than their counterparts. Discovery activities include associating, questioning, observing, experimenting and networking. (1) Staying open-minded and present in the moment are critical to these activities.

 Lao-Tzu says, “If you’re present, you are alert, fluid, clear and able to welcome all things.”

 The researchers also found that executives of the most innovative companies, a mere 15% of the companies surveyed, don’t delegate creative work, they do it themselves.  Innovation challenges the status quo so it is easy to understand why leadership from the top is important.  The innovative leadership is probably best exemplified by Steve Jobs who was credited for Apple’s turnaround. In an interview with WIRED magazine in 1996, Steve shared the secrets of creativity.

  â€œCreativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. And the reason they were able to do that was that they’ve had more experiences or they have thought more about their experiences than other people.” 

 â€œUnfortunately, that’s too rare a commodity. A lot of people in our industry haven’t had very diverse experiences. So they don’t have enough dots to connect, and they end up with very linear solutions without a broad perspective on the problem. The broader one’s understanding of the human experience, the better design we will have.”

 Pressed for time, we sometimes fall into the trap of looking for instant gratification and making quick assumptions about what we know and where useful information and new knowledge can come from, undercutting our abilities to be curious and to observe, notice and connect.  To be more innovative, we need to broaden our experiences, develop lateral thinking and take the time to explore each experience without judgment to uncover new insight.

When IDEO, one of the most respected design and innovation firms in the world, was asked to develop a new concept for women’s shoes, the firm invited in a color consultant, a spiritual guide who led barefoot initiates across hot coals, a young mother who was curiously passionate about her thigh-high leather boots, and others from different walks of life to help them broaden their thinking and kick off the brainstorming process. (2)  Doug Solomon who was a former senior executive at Apple and IDEO talked about innovation on the Business Reinvention show earlier this month.

 Steve Jobs had a calligraphy class in college.  What seemed useless and irrelevant helped him with the design of the first Macintosh which was the first computer to have beautiful typography.  The chief engineer for Japan’s bullet train, who is also an avid bird-watcher, borrowed an idea from nature and designed the front-end of the train like the beak of kingfishers to reduce noise and electricity consumption while increasing speed.

 Several years before the launch of iPhone and iPad, the orientation sensor that determines if the user is holding the product vertically or horizontally was already built in Sony’s digital cameras.  It was cool but didn’t seem very useful at the time. The touch-screen feature as well as tablets were also available previously but were attached to clunky keyboards.  Steve Jobs and the designers at Apple identified opportunities by noticing disharmonies and were able to synthesize the features in a new way that made these features more compelling and relevant because they thought enough about the experiences and applications.

 Unlike most high tech products that have to go through a long adoption period when only the very tech savvy use them, Apple’s products are often embraced by millions of users from the beginning.  Apple products show great empathy and in-depth observation of the needs of mainstream consumers. I am amazed by how user-friendly their products and services are.  They are not designed for engineers.  They are designed for the rest of us.   Some of the features may not be new but when put together in a new way, their products transform how we communicate, explore new things and do our work.  It is not really about technology.  It’s about people.  Their products are what IDEO CEO, Tim Brown, calls “functionally relevant and emotionally resonant”.  Steve Jobs brought about not one but four revolutions (Macintosh, iPod, iPhone and iPad), showing that innovative thinking is a mindset and a way of life, not a technique.

 It may sound paradoxical to say that leaders, the custodians of the future, have to act like an adult with great emotional intelligence and think like a child with creative wonderment.  They must be empathetic and courageous.  They must also think broad and non-judgmentally in the beginning but be able to focus on the core ideas and make good judgment when fine tuning the solution in a later stage. It all comes down to the agility to navigate between opposites.  The interchange of perspectives and approaches keeps our mind fresh and creates energy.  Energy is generated when things collide and turn.  When a quiet river drops over a cliff to become a waterfall, it splashes and roars.

Constraints trigger innovation, and agility opens the door to opportunities and renewal. Allow yourself to pause and let your imagination and curiosity run free.  When staying present in the moment, you can discover the future. 

(1)  “The Innovator’s DNA”, HR Week, September 2011

(2)  “Change by Design”, Tim Brown

About Nancy Lin

Nancy Lin is Host and Producer for Business Reinvention on the VoiceAmerica Business Network. The show features innovative companies and trends that have the potential to transform industries and reinvent business models. She brings to her show a strong understanding of business having worked for Yahoo, DHL, Johnson & Johnson and Pepsi in the US and international markets and driven strong growth with innovative business strategies. She is also an executive coach, a business consultant and the founder of Change Agent SF, which helps clients transform the way they look at their businesses and leadership.    Follow Nancy Lin on Twitter at @BizReinvention .

Hope for Family Caregivers Caring for Family Members with Schizophrenia: A Discussion BY Dr. Chris Summerville and Dr. Gordon Atherley

Posted by Editor on
Hope for Family Caregivers Caring for Family Members with Schizophrenia: A Discussion BY Dr. Chris Summerville and Dr. Gordon Atherley

Total Confusion by Tamara Davisson


Image by Tamara Davisson


The article distills a radio broadcast, “Hope for Family Caregivers Caring for Family Members with Schizophrenia”, which discusses family caregiving in Canada’s mental healthcare system. Public policy signals hope for family caregivers caring for family members with schizophrenia, a treatable illness. The hope stems from the importance increasingly accorded to meaningful participation by family caregivers in developing recovery-oriented mental health services. But public policy also signals failure of the mental health system and highlights its inherent inequities.

Public policy presumes that provincial governments will institutionalize ‘family friendliness’. Propelled by pressures on public funds, professions and government-funded organizations cite family caregiving to support their claims for more funding for themselves and their services. The competition for direct funding for family caregiving challenges family caregivers caring for family members living at home.  

Stigma regarding schizophrenia and mental illness in general persists within the healthcare professions. Stigma also results in discrimination that deprives persons living with schizophrenia of meaningful work, workplace accommodation, safe and affordable housing, appropriate mental health services, and adequate income. A stigma of the past, with particularly negative consequences, erroneously labeled schizophrenia as a disorder without hope. We now know that recovery and therefore hope are possible.

The eugenics movement of the first three quarters of the 20th century bequeathed to Canada a social model of disability particularly unfavourable to families as well as family caregivers. It held that some families are subnormal and that the weight of the social problems associated with them poses too much of a burden on social services and government. Today’s social model of disability holds that the agent of the disability is less a matter of mental illness and more one of society’s responding poorly to people with disabilities. But today, an especially harsh social disability arises for persons with schizophrenia who are prisoners of the criminal justice system. Up to 50 percent or more of prisoners of the criminal justice system have diagnosable mental illnesses. A major challenge for them and their family caregivers is the inadequacy of mental health services in the confines of prison wards.

Progressive though the current social model of disability is, it may not yet be sufficiently sensitive to the needs of persons who struggle with disadvantages resulting from stigma; nor is it yet sufficiently cognizant of the value of family caregiving.


High-risk behaviours create worrying challenges for family caregivers caring for family members with schizophrenia. Yet the mental illness is not always the greatest challenge. This arises with the physical, psychological and financial stress and strains for family caregivers. To augment these, families may encounter difficulties in getting the help and services they need and seek.

Family caregivers’ challenges cause them high levels of burden, distress, stress, physical health problems, anxiety, depression, lowered levels of life satisfaction, and diminished quality of life. They highlight their difficulties with the systems for mental healthcare, justice, and law, and with government. They are at greater risk of physical health problems and depression than non-family caregivers or family caregivers caring for persons without mental illness.

In meeting family caregivers’ challenges, the overarching, persisting need is for authentic voice for family caregiving in the mental health system and for meaningful engagement of family caregivers in the planning, delivery and evaluation of mental health services. Given that family caregiving is saving public money, at a time of financial pressure and of public concerns about the effectiveness of public administration, family caregiving is a strongly positive force for moving our society decisively forward.

Dr. Summerville’s message for family caregivers caring for schizophrenia comprises holding on to hope, avoiding pathologizing the family member, considering their caregiving, joining a support group, and taking care of their own mental health.


The authors

Dr. Chris Summerville is one of the 11 non-government directors of the Mental Health Commission of Canada appointed by Prime Minister Stephen Harper. As a family member and a recipient of psychiatric services, he has been the executive director of the Manitoba Schizophrenia Society since 1995 and currently is also the CEO of the Schizophrenia Society of Canada. As a provincial and national leader and advocate, he serves on numerous boards and committees, including The Mood Disorders Society of Canada, The National Network on Mental Health, The Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health, and several ethics committees. With an earned doctorate, he is certified with the International Association of Psychosocial Rehabilitation Services as a Certified Psychosocial Rehabilitation Practitioner (CPRP) and as an Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) trainer with Living Works. He lives in Steinbach, Manitoba. He sees mental illness as an issue not only in health, but also in social justice.

Dr. Gordon Atherley is a broadcaster who for over two and a half years has been Host of ‘Family Caregivers Unite!’ on VoiceAmerica’s Variety Channel. His family caregiving experience includes his first wife who, following what was initially believed to be post-partum depression, developed paranoid schizophrenia early in her career as a physician, and subsequently took her own life by suicide. He is accredited as a journalist by the British Medical Association and Ipsos North America and recognized as such by various Canadian federal and provincial government agencies, boards, commissions and departments. He has been a reviewer for the Canadian Medical Association Journal. His qualifications include the British equivalents of the North American PhD and MD degrees, and LLD, Honoris Causa, from Canada’s Simon Fraser University. His medical specialties prior to retiring from medical practice were occupational medicine and public health.


The present article is based on Episode 125[1] of Family Caregivers Unite! “Hope for Family Caregivers Caring for Family Members with Schizophrenia”, in which Dr. Summerville is interviewed by Dr. Atherley. Noting that family caregiving is increasingly recognized as an essential provider service in mental healthcare and healthcare generally and therefore as a component of Canada’s healthcare system, the authors highlight warning messages in public policy and identify reasons for hope for family caregivers caring for family members with schizophrenia.


Schizophrenia is a treatable illness. As many as 25 percent of persons diagnosed will experience a single psychotic episode and never have another, according to Torrey[2]. Up to 70 percent of persons with schizophrenia live beyond the limitations of the mental illness and go on to experience a quality of life. As few as 10 percent are homeless; 10 percent will take their own lives through suicide; and less than five percent are somewhat more violent than the average person or population.

As a whole, the statistics bear a message of hope. Hope is fundamental to life, to recovery, to living well and also to resiliency. But the statistics also signal that persons with schizophrenia and their family caregivers need consistent and continuing help to meet their constant and critical challenges.

The explicit and implicit messages from recent high-profile policy proposals, such as the Mental Health Strategy by the Mental Health Commission of Canada[3] (MHCC), convey hope for family caregivers caring for family members with schizophrenia and other mental illnesses. But the messages warn that the Canadian mental health system, such as it is, is a failure. The messages highlight the need to do better in addressing the inequities and inequalities inherent in the nationwide mental healthcare system. One especially pointed but essentially hopeful message is the importance increasingly accorded to meaningful participation by family caregivers in developing, implementing and evaluating mental health services. Their participation is necessary for the evolution of effective, recovery-oriented mental health services.

Policy highlights

The Healthcare Council of Canada’s CEO John Abbott, in Episode 120[4] of Family Caregivers Unite!, explains the importance of family caregiving to Canada’s healthcare system. The Council offers an encouraging policy proposal which expressly promotes the value of family caregiving to the healthcare system.

The Globe and Mail Public Health Reporter, André Picard[5], writes that family caregiving – and valuing family caregiving – is an integral part of both primary care and moving care into the community.

Toronto’s University Health Network’s Mary Jane McNally, Senior Director of Nursing, University Health Network and Toronto Western Hospital, in Family Caregivers Unite! Episode 128[6], explains the importance of hospitals’ communicating with family caregivers.

The MHCC recognizes the importance of the role of families in its call for greater voice for family caregivers and increased support for them in a transformed mental health system. One of its many projects, ‘Guidelines for Family Caregiver Services in Canada’[7], reportedly works with the following premise: family caregivers of those living with mental illness have been marginalized, and their role in relation to service providers and the health system is poorly defined. This has made forming partnerships challenging, with the result that family caregivers often report barriers in obtaining the information, skills, services and support that they need to provide care and to maintain their own well-being.

The MHCC by itself cannot bring about its proposals. Its hope is that each provincial government will take up the recommendations, incorporate these in their provincial mental health strategies, and create the necessary means at the local level to institutionalize what can be called ‘family friendliness’. But success in institutionalizing family friendliness within the mental health care system, and therefore in realizing MHCC’s hope, depends on the system’s professionals’ perceptions of and support for family caregiving’s role and value in schizophrenia, and mental illness generally.

In Q4 of 2012, a further challenge for family caregiving began its emergence, propelled by the intensifying pressures on public funds. Professions and government-funded organizations are increasingly citing patient-centred care and family caregiving in their claims for more and better funding for themselves and their services. Thus is competition generated for direct funding for family caregiving, which places family caregivers at risk of being pushed further and further back in the wait-list for funding and direct help, and which reduces the opportunity for them to be valued for their input into resource allocation, policy and decision-making. The competition’s consequences for family friendliness overall are at best equivocal, a particular challenge for family caregivers caring for family members living at home with schizophrenia.

Perceptions of family caregiving’s role and value in schizophrenia

Some service providers acknowledge and even affirm the role of families and family caregiving. But a current reality is the stigma by association regarding schizophrenia, and mental illness in general, which persists within the healthcare professions. This stigma is even more harmful when it is internalized by the families themselves, especially when it is encased by the belief, guilt perhaps, that they themselves have contributed to the cause of the mental illness or exacerbated it. Additionally, the stigma’s harm is increased when the family member blames the family caregiver for being the cause of the schizophrenia.

Persisting stigma causes the role of family caregivers to be under-recognized, undervalued, and unsupported by meaningful engagement in the planning, implementation and evaluation of mental health services provided in the provincial and federal jurisdictions. The stigma also fosters the perspective that such services should be delivered largely or even exclusively by healthcare and social-service professionals because family caregivers are merely ‘informal caregivers’.

The very word ‘schizophrenia’ is loaded with emotional baggage and persistent misunderstandings—one day perhaps we will find a better word to replace it—even to the extent that some members of families cannot accept it as an in-family diagnosis because of their own fear of stigma. Their rejecting it causes tensions that undermine the family and risk alienating the person living with schizophrenia.

Many families say that the worst thing about living with mental illness is not the mental illness itself, but persisting effects of the stigma that they experience in their interactions with the public and with healthcare service providers. One such stigma is the perception of schizophrenia as a form of psychopathology; yet persons with schizophrenia are not psychopaths. Another labels all persons with schizophrenia as violent; yet the vast majority of persons with schizophrenia are no more violent than the population as a whole. But there does exist a schizophrenia subgroup, less than five percent of the schizophrenia population, that is somewhat more violent than the average population. The subgroup comprises persons who have a severe form of schizophrenia, who avoid medication, who engage in substance abuse and who have a volatile personality. The severe form of schizophrenia involves dangerous paranoid auditory hallucinations, as shown below.

The persisting stigma so often results in discrimination that effectively deprives persons living with schizophrenia of meaningful work, workplace accommodation, safe and affordable housing, appropriate mental health services, and adequate income.    

A stigma of the past, with particularly negative consequences, was expressed in the advice given by professionals to persons—and shared with their families confronted with a new diagnosis of schizophrenia—“Go home, your life is over; once a schizophrenic, always a schizophrenic. Take your medications, you’re going to remain unmarried, you’re going to live permanently with your family, and you’re going to be on welfare for the rest of your life.” This stigma erroneously labeled schizophrenia as an inevitably downwardly spiralling, highly degenerative disorder, and as a disorder that is without hope. We now know that recovery and therefore hope are possible.

Social models of disability and their relation to schizophrenia

The eugenics movement of North America bequeathed to Canada a social model of disability particularly unfavourable to families as well as family caregivers. Its social model of disability held that some families are subnormal and that the weight of the social problems associated with these families poses too much of a burden on social services and government. The movement’s biological solution, surgical sexual sterilization, responded to its social model of disability. The major, recently implemented study ‘Living Archives on Eugenics in Western Canada’ explains that, generally, the surgical sterilization of ‘mental defectives’ during this period served an ambitious political agenda, one that promoted a healthy citizenry while minimizing state expenditures[8].


The movement’s social model of disability was influential enough on the public policy of the day to cause the movement’s biological solution to be incorporated in the Sexual Sterilization Acts of Alberta, 1928, repealed in 1972, and of British Columbia, 1933, repealed in 1979. Thus were eugenics boards created and empowered to compel sterilization. And thus was implemented the eugenics movement’s social model of disability.


The Alberta Eugenics Board maintained individual-level files for all of the cases it considered between 1929 and 1972. Grekul, Krahn and Odynak[9] examined the Board’s 861 surviving records. They found that the records included short standardized summaries of all the information the Board would have seen for each case; that the summaries, which pertained to named individuals, included sex, birth date, ethnicity, place of residence, family and medical history, psychiatric diagnosis, and IQ test information; and that most of the summaries also contained standardized forms which recorded the Board’s decision and its recommendation for a particular operation and, if sterilization did eventually take place, the medical documentation of the surgery. They examined the psychiatric diagnosis information recorded in the summaries and found in 55 percent some reference to the patient’s being mentally defective or deficient; and that 40 percent of these cases mentioned a psychotic condition, most often schizophrenia.


Shevell[10],in his analysis of what he terms the ‘Canadian paradox of Tommy Douglas and eugenics’, describes eugenic practice and principles evident in Nazi Germany during the Third Reich. He notes that, in April 1933, passage of the “Law for the Prevention of Genetically Diseased Offspring” resulted in the sterilization of over 400,000 individuals, predominantly those with schizophrenia, intellectual disability or epilepsy. Schizophrenia was thus a wide target for the eugenics movement’s social model of disability.


Today we have a new theory of social model of disability, which holds that the agent of the disability is less a matter of mental illness and more one of society’s responding poorly to people with disabilities. Persons with schizophrenia who are homeless are thus homeless not because of schizophrenia but because society lacks policies for providing affordable homes for people who are poor.

An especially harsh social disability arises and continues to arise in the criminal justice system, as seen below. Persons with schizophrenia who get caught up in the system are more likely to be the victims of violence, especially by gangs, rather than perpetrators of violence, yet all too commonly, persons with schizophrenia are prisoners of the criminal justice system because of the lack of diversion programs such as mental health courts.

Progressive though the social model of disability is, it may not yet be sufficiently sensitive to the needs of persons who struggle with disadvantages resulting from stigma, fear and labels, disadvantages which cause doors to be closed against them and, too often, against their family caregivers, and which result in violence against them. Nor is the model yet sufficiently cognizant of the value of family caregiving.

Value of family caregiving

The value of family caregiving to family members with mental illness is evident in its statistics. Some 70 percent of persons with schizophrenia live with their parents. Their parents are likely to be the first observers to recognize warning signs of relapse and early signals of risky behaviours, such as medications not being taken, or thoughts of suicide. Families can monitor the warnings and urgently call for help as required. The result is prompt care that, as a side benefit, creates substantial savings for the economy.

Absent transfer of adequate resources to family caregivers, substantial, sustained and socially effective savings for the healthcare system will be delivered only partly for schizophrenia. The persistence of past attitudes to family caregiving invites the question of the prospects for governments’ agreeing to give voice to the community of family caregivers in resource-allocation decisions.

Voice is the expression of opinion, judgement, will, or wish of the people or a number of persons. Voice for the family caregiving community would enable it to advocate for policy changes such as enhanced support from the federal government for provincial initiatives – a challenging task in the present financial climate. Complicating the task is the need for resource-based change to extend beyond healthcare, to include housing, child and family services, criminal justice, legal services and other systems that family caregivers can access in helping their loved ones. And challenges arise in the family caregiving community because, relative to those systems, individual family caregivers too often lack essential and urgently needed information that the healthcare system alone cannot provide.  

A renewed mental health system will take creative, visionary and strong leadership that is guided by values. One of the values is respect for families and support for their inclusion and meaningful engagement. Enhancing such values requires sensitivity training and guidelines for policy makers and service providers respectful of the diversity and depth of challenges confronted by family caregivers caring for family members with schizophrenia, and mental illness generally.  

Challenges confronting family caregivers

More and more, families recognize that ‘family’ is defined by the family member and that the family may include people external to the traditional family unit. This creates difficulties with bureaucracy accustomed to dealing with healthcare providers who are licensed, registered or otherwise documented, and still inclined to designate others as ‘informal’ caregivers. 

An especially worrying type of challenge encountered by family caregivers caring for family members with schizophrenia is high-risk behaviours. These create emotional stress for families and family members arising from constant worries that the family member is going to develop high-risk behaviours or is actually engaged in them.

With schizophrenia, the most risky of the high-risk behaviours involve persons’ not taking prescribed medications. The many reasons given for this behaviour include medication side effects and persons’ believing themselves well enough to continue without medication. Related high-risk behaviours include abuse of substances, street drugs and alcohol. Up to 70 percent of people with severe mental illness at some time self-medicate by engaging in substance use, misuse or abuse.  

High-risk behaviours reflect patterns that predate the schizophrenia. If the person was inclined to volatile or risky behaviours, such as unprotected sex, prior to the schizophrenia, he or she will likely exhibit these during the schizophrenia, perhaps in a more complicated form.

High-risk behaviours in the form of in-family behavioural problems can be influenced by the family of origin. If a parent is co-dependent, this characteristic is likely learned from the family of origin. Johnson[11] discusses various ways in which family members respond to crisis and chaos. Some may respond in a co-dependent fashion as a caretaker more than a caregiver, as indicated below. Others respond by escaping the realities and the challenges facing them. These are unhealthy learned behaviour patterns. An unhealthy family system—and many of us do have unhealthy behaviours and beliefs in our family systems—may resist recovery or promote relapse.

Kupferman[12], in her examination of co-dependency, which she defines as a group of behaviours that cause unhealthy relationships, distinguishes between caretaking with caregiving. She sees these as a spectrum at one extreme of which is caregiving, which is healthier than caretaking, which occupies the other extreme. She holds that the healthier and happier a relationship, the more it is caregiving and the less it is caretaking. With a list of context-based comparisons, she supports her view that caretaking is dysfunctional learned behaviour that can be changed.

The most alarming and often most urgent high-risk behaviours occur with paranoid auditory hallucinations. These may take the form of voices which, for example, warn the person living with schizophrenia that a particular individual needs to be killed lest that individual takes over the world as an alien. Though rare, these hallucinations may have catastrophic consequences.

Yet the mental illness is not always the greatest challenge. This challenge may arise with things that generate physical, psychological and financial stress and strains for family caregivers. These things bear heavily on the family, create discords among parents, children and siblings that too often go unaddressed and, as a result, exacerbate the tensions around the home and the illness. To augment the challenges, families may encounter difficulties in getting the help and services they need and seek.

Help for family caregivers in meeting their challenges

Canada’s family caregivers caring for family members with schizophrenia stress their needs for safe, affordable housing, and adequate housing options. Older family caregivers are concerned because, as previously noted, up to 70 percent of persons with schizophrenia live with their parents. Those parents are going to die. With baby boomers reaching retirement, some facing their own ill-health, many will have to downsize their homes and living arrangements. They express worries about where their loved ones are going to live. Such worries have negative effects that include high levels of burden, distress, stress, physical health problems, anxiety, depression, lowered levels of life satisfaction, and diminished quality of life. Evidence exists that family caregivers are at greater risk of physical health problems and depression than non-family caregivers or family caregivers caring for persons without mental illness. Thus is affordable housing a critical pressure point for mental healthcare; however, Canada lacks a national housing strategy.

Family caregivers speak about their stigma, their own risk of mental illness, their work, their burdens, their financial strain, and their stressful difficulties in balancing the competing responsibilities involved in providing family caregiving. They describe difficulties that include conflict with the person they are caring for, inadequate care from the healthcare system for the person living with the mental illness, and the need for respite for themselves and their family members. They highlight their feelings of frustration arising from their difficulties with the systems for mental healthcare, justice, and law, and with government.

Navigating the mental health system is challenge enough, but an even greater challenge exists for family caregivers who have to navigate the criminal justice system as a result of high-risk behaviours of family members. Their immediate need is to find a lawyer who understands mental illness and who knows how to use this knowledge appropriately to defend the family member.

Special programs help family caregivers by diverting their family members from the criminal justice system. Pre-diversion is where the police pick up the persons and deem them to be disturbed or under emotional stress, but without knowing or requiring to know the diagnosis. Under mental health legislation, police are enabled to take such persons directly to a hospital rather than a police station. Post-diversion involves mental health courts, where the person pleads guilty and is not then processed through the regular court system. Attached to the mental health courts are mental health services to get help with housing and drug problems, among other things.

Because studies show that rates of re-offending are reduced by diversion programs, family caregivers advocate for these. North America currently has some 250 mental health courts; Canada has at most 10 to 15.

It is estimated that 25 to 50 percent or more of prisoners of the criminal justice system have diagnosable mental illnesses. A major challenge for them and their family caregivers is the inadequacy of mental health services in the confines of prison wards. In these wards, many of the prisoners with mental illnesses are segregated from the general prison population and spend unreasonably long periods in isolation. Prison-based mental health services are lacking especially in federal prisons, for which provincial healthcare systems do not provide services. A further challenge created for family caregivers involved with the justice system arises from the lack of unified police training across Canada. Some police officers receive as few as two hours training; others, as many as 40 hours.

The needs of family caregivers, as evidenced by family caregivers themselves and by studies of family caregiving, highlight types of help that would facilitate a healthy balance in their lives, and in the lives of their loved ones. Their needs include: information about available supports ranging from biosocial to spiritual; recognition so that family caregivers’ services are utilized meaningfully; validation and response not only from their extended families, but also from their service providers, communities, employers and governments; skills development to help them in promoting recovery and in preventing relapses; respite, time off, help with day-to-day caring activities, and emotional support; and family caregiver-friendly work-place policies that enable family members to go home to take time with their loved ones.

Some family caregivers seek financial advice about savings plans for persons and families with special needs. Family caregivers with sufficient money turn to wealth management services to maximize their wealth to fund future care for their children. Family caregivers who are close to the poverty line or who lack the means to plan adequately for the future need financial support. All family caregivers need answers to their questions about what will happen to their loved ones when they, the family caregivers, die. They need to believe that what is likely to happen to their loved ones will be oriented towards recovery, will be intent on transitioning their loved ones into independent or supportive housing, and will result in something healthier than caretaking confined to an institution.

Schizophrenia is a condition that respects neither wealth, nor upbringing, nor ethnic origin, nor culture, nor faith, nor success. Thus must the mental health system be capable of helping the community of family caregivers and families in meeting all of their schizophrenia-related challenges. And in meeting family caregivers’ challenges the overarching, persisting need is for authentic voice for family caregiving in the mental health system and for meaningful engagement of family caregivers in the planning, delivery and evaluation of mental health services.


At the time of writing, in the Province of Ontario, there are now four certified class actions relating to standards of care and to instances of abuse in government facilities, during recent times, for persons with mental illnesses and developmental disabilities. At the social roots of the actions are principles of human dignity which declare that asylum-like environments are as much a matter of social injustice as they are a failure of healthcare. The class actions remind us that persons with schizophrenia have rights and that social justice for persons with mental illnesses is a priority for the mental healthcare system. The UN’s Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities[13] speaks to the rights and the social justice.

Canada has signed the UN Convention, which brings to Canadians with schizophrenia the right to a quality of care. But even now in some Canadian mental health facilities, some of these Canadians live in wards that resemble barracks. They are not provided with a personal room – a violation of human dignity.

Because the Convention brings persons with schizophrenia the right to patient safety and satisfaction in the care that they receive, shortcomings in standards of care and failures of care have to be taken seriously, addressed and prevented for the future. Seclusions and restraints and related social injustices have to be abolished, as the Convention stipulates. (In the US, many hospitals have moved away from using seclusion and restraint.)

Matters of social injustice lie at the core of the four class actions in Ontario.

Elimination of social injustice will occur only as social prejudices are eliminated. Social prejudices will disappear most rapidly under social pressure generated by a social movement equipped with voice that calls out social prejudices as unacceptable. The social movement will call for support for persons with mental illnesses and for their family caregivers. And, just as persons and their families who are grappling with cancer are seen as heroes, the social movement will call for persons and their families who are grappling with schizophrenia and, for that matter, other mental illnesses, also to be seen as heroes.  

The healthcare system and governments should be the agents of the change that is needed, that is recognised as essential. The change should involve a movement in which more and more Canadians, through their communities, are participating. The change that is needed involves supporting families and valuing their contributions to the healthcare, housing and social systems, and in engaging family caregivers as a community of communities. The more that Canada builds the lives of family caregivers and enhances their capacity, the fewer will be the relapses, the less frequent will be the hospitalizations, and the greater will be the quality of life for the persons and their families, and the greater will be the savings for the healthcare system.

Given that a typical schizophrenia relapse can cost from $7,000 to $10,000, family caregiving should not be viewed a non-profit organization, but instead as a for-profit business because of the money it saves and is increasingly saving for the healthcare industry and for society at large. Given that the cost of mental illness overall in Canada, the overall burden, is some $51 Billion every year, the potential savings are significant. And given that family caregiving is saving the system money at a time of financial pressure and of public concerns about the effectiveness of public administration, family caregiving is a strongly positive force for moving our society decisively forward.

Dr. Summerville’s message for family caregivers caring for schizophrenia

I want to offer family caregivers five key wisdom principles. First, don’t give up hope. I’ve known the devastation, and I’ve known families who just didn’t give up hope. When recovery did happen, they told me that hope is right because hope fuels resiliency. Second, don’t pathologize your family member by making the mistake of attributing everything that the person does to the schizophrenia. Instead, look at the strengths of the individual and celebrate the strengths and the individuality of the person. Third, look at your own caregiving and decide if it is healthy. If it seems to signal dysfunction, examine the family history and deal with its unhealthy parts because these really do negatively impact family caregiving. Fourth, join a family support group. You don’t need to be alone as a family caregiver. You may not need to be a lifelong member of such a group, but within one you can find a safe, welcoming community to engage with, to grieve with, to laugh with, and to share your concerns with. Fifth, take care of your own mental health because it determines how successfully you engage in this loving task of what we call family caregiving.

[1]Hope for Family Caregivers Caring for Family Members with Schizophrenia. 2012-05-29.


[2] Torrey, E. Fuller. Surviving Schizophrenia: A Manual for Families, Consumers, and Providers. (4th Edition), HarperCollins (2001)

[3] Changing Directions, Changing Lives. The Mental Health Strategy for Canada. http://strategy.mentalhealthcommission.ca/pdf/strategy-images-en.pdf

[5] Picard, André. Personal e-mail communication to Dr Gordon Atherley, 2012-05-25.

[6] Hospitals Communicating with Family Caregivers. 2012-06-19.


[7] Unpublished at the time of writing.


[8] Living Archives on Eugenics in Western Canada Project http://eugenicsarchive.ca/

[9] Jana Grekul, Harvey Krahn and Dave Odynak, “Sterilizing the ‘Feeble-minded’: Eugenics in Alberta, Canada, 1929-1972,” Journal of Historical Sociology 17:4 (December 2004): 358-384.

[10] Shevell, Michael. A Canadian Paradox: Tommy Douglas and Eugenics. Can. J. Neurol. Sci. 2012; 39: 35-39


[11] Julia Tallard Johnson. Hidden Victims Hidden Healers: An Eight-Stage Healing Process for Families and Friends of the Mentally Ill. 1994. http://www.julietallardjohnson.com/bookstore

[12] Elizabeth Kupferman. Codependency: Caretaking vs. Caregiving. http://www.expressivecounseling.com/codependency-caretaking


[13] United Nations: Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities http://www.un.org/disabilities/convention/conventionfull.shtml

The Vanishing Corporate Necessity: 7 Strategies to Retain Gen-X Women so Your Company Thrives By Deanne DeMarco

Posted by Editor on
The Vanishing Corporate Necessity: 7 Strategies to Retain Gen-X Women so Your Company Thrives By Deanne DeMarco

Business woman, voiceamerica

 Image from FlurtSuit.com

From Rosie the Riveter to Maggie the Manager:

During World War II, women on the home front kept the factories running and the war effort strong. In the near future, the Generation-X woman could once again be the critical element that keeps corporate America healthy.

Why are Gen-X women so vital? According to projections, fifty percent of the workforce will retire within the next ten years. On top of that, according to the Bureau of Labor, Survey of Consumer Finance, and the Small Business Administration, one in fifteen Gen-X women are leaving corporations, either to find a new company to work for or to pursue their own entrepreneurial endeavor. In other words, older workers are set to leave in droves over the next few years, and the younger workers on payroll today, especially the women, see their jobs as temporary. In order for companies to succeed today and in the future, CEOs need to focus on retention—specifically on retaining Gen-X women.

Who are the Gen-X Women?

Born between 1964 and 1979, Generation-X learned that there was no such thing as job security. They witnessed parents downsized and outsized and losing corporate pensions. This generation quickly realized they were “free agents” in selecting the companies they want to work for. Their moms, the Baby Boomer women, went to college in unprecedented numbers. With the equal rights legislation, affirmative action programs, and NOW (National Organization for Women), Boomer women had high expectations. They believed that they could break through the glass ceiling of white, male dominated corporate hierarchies and soar to new heights. By the 1970s Boomer women were raising children, managing households, and running departments. The duality of trying to balance home and business life led to higher stress and escalated divorce rates. In the 1980s the US divorce rate was at fifty percent, and children of the Boomers (the Gen-Xers) became latch-key children. These children learned about blended families, adjusting to stepparents, and dividing holidays and weekends between Mom and Dad. Boomer parents instilled a belief that their Gen-X daughters would inherit a world of unlimited workplace opportunities—that due to their mother’s hard work they would enter the workplace as equals, have the ability to climb the corporate ladder, and should therefore dream big. So why are the Gen-X women leaving?

1. Unmet Expectations: Parents and university counselors promised exciting, high paying, jobs with good grades and a college degree. Gen-X women entered the workforce and didn’t find the excitement, purpose, high paying jobs, or fulfillment they expected. This generation is not focused on feeding their egos and gaining corporate status as much as feeling a sense of job satisfaction.

Additionally, they believed that the “good old boys club” was dead and that they would enter into a level playing field. They were wrong. As a result, women are leaving the workplace due to discrimination and the inability to get ahead.

2. Sexual Harassment: Legislation didn’t make sexual harassment disappear. In fact, according to the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, from 1992 to 2006, the number of sexual harassment lawsuits has increased by fourteen percent. Gen-X women are those most affected.

3. Children: Gen-X women are having children later in life. Often, when they return to work from maternity leave, neither their job, their responsibilities, nor their clients were protected from takeover by other workers. Also, Gen-X women want to spend time with their family, and they are finding it difficult to balance career and household. They don’t want to repeat the divorce scenarios they witnessed while growing up and would rather earn less and take a less prestigious job so they can spend time with their family.

4. Earnings: According to the US Department of Labor, the average woman still earns $.80 to the $1.00 of a man. And in many cases, men with lower education levels and fewer years of experience still earn $10,000 more a year than Gen-X women.

What Can Companies Do?

The key to keeping Gen-X women on staff, especially as we enter an era of a talent shortage, is for companies to adopt a “We Want to Keep You” attitude. Here are seven strategies companies need to implement to keep this important work group:

1. Equal Pay: Make it clear that men and women receive the same pay for the same work. Unlike the Boomers, who honored company policies of not discussing salary with each other, Gen-Xers talk to one another about salary. That means your Gen-X women will quickly discover if the pay scales are unequal. Pay them fairly.

2. Flex Schedules: With the birth of children, Gen-X women want the opportunity to attend family activities. For them, sequential eight-hour days are not necessarily ideal. Gen-X women want the opportunity to work their hours when it’s convenient for them. This may mean working 7-3 rather than 9-5, working four ten hour days and having three days off, or it could mean coming to the office for half the day and finishing up the work at home.

3. 40-Hour Work Weeks: The Boomers were interested in making a difference and had no problem putting in 50, 60, and even 70 hour work weeks. Gen-Xers are interested in autonomy, a good work schedule, and time off. If they choose to work full-time, they want to work their 40 hours and that’s it. This does not mean they are lazy compared to Boomers. In fact, when they work their 40 hours, they work hard and accomplish a great deal. However, because they highly value life balance, they won’t sacrifice their family for work.

4. Part-Time Employment and Job Sharing: If a Gen-X woman wants to work part-time, consider offering job sharing, where two or more people share the same job. This way, between the two employees, you have the equivalent of a full-time employee’s duties. While many organizations have added this benefit to their HR policies, many Gen-X women are reporting that they are being refused this company-published benefit.

5. Mentoring: Gen-X women want a clear career map. They want to identify how they can make a positive impact on their working world. Therefore, offer mentoring where employees can identify what is satisfying about their jobs and develop career plans. Even though college is over, this group still wants to grow professionally.

6. Focus on the Family: According to the Federal Forum on Family Statistics, ninety percent of fathers are attending the births of their children, and this is the first time since the 1960s that we are experiencing a focus on the family.

Employers need to clearly state, both in words and actions, that they will do whatever they can to help women focus on their family, especially when the employee’s children are in their formidable years. So if an employee has a child that plays softball after school, let her leave work to attend the game. Remember,

Gen-Xers do get the work done when it needs to be done. Therefore, give them the flexibility to actually be a parent.

7. Offer Opportunities Within the Organization: Many Gen-Xers are frustrated about not getting ahead. Realize that people are more willing to stay in jobs where they learn and grow. If you’re not willing to develop your Gen-X female employees, they will look for opportunities with other organizations, or they’ll start their own business and be your competition.

New Rules for a New Generation

With women making up forty-six percent of the workforce, companies can’t ignore the impact women have on corporate America. And if companies want to keep Gen-X women on staff, the organization must change…now. Family leave polices, job sharing, telecommuting, on-site childcare, mentoring, and flexible work schedules are a great first step. The bottom line is that senior management needs to shift their focus from politics and playing games to creating a culture where people want to work, which includes a focus on work/life balance and a sane work schedule. Only then can you stop the brain drain and retain the best and brightest women of this generation.


Deanne DeMarco, “The Gen X Biz Coach”

Deanne  is an international speaker, coach and respected expert on organizations and the changing workforce. She coaches individuals on breaking through career roadblocks. She also trains managers how to be more effective with the changing workforce. Deanne also hosts a radio show on the VoiceAmerica Network.  You can listen to her show Today’s Inspiring Women each week on the VoiceAmerica Empowerment Channel.

To reach Deanne DeMarco go to

www.deannedemarco.com. You can e-mail her at:

Deanne@DeanneDemarco.com, or call her at 708-836-0118

Living in Harmony with the Seasons: A Practical Guide to Food, Herbs, and Meditation by Season BY MICHELE COLLINS

Posted by Editor on
Living in Harmony with the Seasons: A Practical Guide to Food, Herbs, and Meditation by Season BY MICHELE COLLINS

greg peters seasons, voiceamerica

Image from gregpeterslive.com

Each season the natural world gives us important clues as to what is happening within our bodies and how to best adjust to the changing weather.  Traditional healing systems, such as traditional Chinese medicine, provide a structure to help us discern what foods and lifestyle choices will best support us as we cycle through the seasons.  When we heed nature’s cues and allow our life practices to mirror the seasonal transformations, we tend to not only feel better, but are also better able to prevent the kinds of illnesses and disharmonies that typically occur during seasonal transitions and extremes.

On the March 26th episode of Holistic Healing with Herbs and Chinese Medicine, we describe how you can use the seasons to not only understand the types of ailments you are more susceptible to during season change and extremes, but also how you can use nature to guide food and herb choices throughout the year to maximize your own health and well being.  In this article, we provide a quick reference of food, qi gong, and food choices for each season.



Spring is a time of beginnings when energy is starting to ascend after the still, quiet time of winter.  New green buds push their way through the earth with renewed vigor to begin life.  In Chinese medicine, Spring corresponds to the liver and the wood element. The liver functions as our filtration and detoxification system to eliminate toxins, be they environmental, emotional, hormonal, etc.  In Chinese medicine, the liver is responsible for regulating the smooth flow of Qi in the body. It rules the tendons and muscles in the body, and you will often see in folks that have stuck liver Qi that they also have sore muscles, especially of the neck and shoulders. The energy of spring is expansive and ascendant. Here are some tips for navigating spring energy:

  • Eat plenty of Greens which is the color associated with the liver and wood element  – this includes dark green leafies, are perhaps the most excellent springtime tonic food. Kale, bok choy, spinach, swiss chard, dandelion greens (perhaps one of the best), beet greens, mustard greens are all wonderful foods to eat in great abundance.  Also, other green veggies like broccoli and brussel sprouts are excellent. Be sure to cook your greens, either steaming them or sauteeing them.  It is still cold outside, meaning your body may need some extra assistance metabolizing your food.  Cooking them helps your body better digest them.
  • Eat foods that strengthen the blood, such as seaweeds, beets, and berries. Seaweed contain the same minerals found in our blood and are a great blood tonic. Beets are an excellent liver tonic and enrich the liver blood. Berries such as raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, and strawberries are also great blood nourishing options.
  • Herbs that strengthen the blood like goji or lycii berries are an excellent tonic for the liver and the eyes.  They can increase energy levels, libido, reduce blood pressure, lower cholesterol, improve vision, and are high in antioxidants.
  • Herbs that improve liver functioning likeDandelion (taraxacum officinale), milk thistle (silybarum marianum), and chamomile (Matricaria Recutia or German Chamomile and Anthemis nobiles or Roman Chamomile)  are all excellent, easy to find choices. Dandelion root helps remove metabolic waste from the blood, thus supporting liver functioning. The leaves in particular, are have a high content of Vitamin A (almost as much as carrots) and B, C, and G, as well as iron, magnesium, zinc, potassium, manganese, copper, choline, calcium, boron, and silicon.  The leaves are a diuretic can help detoxify the system through urination, while not depleting your mineral levels. Please note that you should avoid dandelion root if you have a blockage of your bile ducts, gallbladder inflammation, or intestinal blockage. Milk thistle aids the liver in processing toxins, as well as reduces liver inflammation and fibrosis.  Chamomile flowers are anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, carminative, and sedative, helping to settle the stomach, relax the body and mind, and can help alleviate digestive upset, menstrual cramps, and tension headaches.
  •  There is a sound meditation in qi gong called the healing sounds.  These sounds can help you release emotions and energy that have been stored in your organs (either recently or a long time ago), consuming useful energy, that can be then freed for other functions. To make the liver sound bring up a green color to nourish your liver.  As you inhale raise your hand palm up, stretching the right hand up slightly higher to give your right side and your liver a nice stretch. As you exhale,  bring your hands down as you make the “Shh” sound, expelling any stored emotions, like anger, frustration, or rage that your liver has been holding or carrying. Then smile to your liver, embracing it with unconditional love and acceptance.


Summer is a time of activity when the energy of nature is at its most expansive.  The light-filled hours of the day extend to manifest in the longest day of the year, the summer solstice.  As winter is the most yin time of year, summer is the most yang, or active time of year.  Nature reaches its zenith and full bounty during the summer, when plants seeded in the spring begin to bear their fruit. The energy that was stored underground during the winter months has not only burst forth, but is now at full bloom, and nature is abuzz with noise and activity.  In summer our physical energy is at its most outward expression, meaning our ability to participate in the external world is at an all time high.  In Chinese medicine, the natural element of fire represents the summer season, which is expressed in the emotion of joy.  Our inner fire is burning at its brightest, mirroring the heat and intensity of summer. Here are some tips for managing summer energy:

  • Spend time outside gardening, walking, or enjoying weather
    • Spend time socializing with friends and family but remember to pace yourself during active times to maintain your energy reserves.  For example: rest during the heat of the day, don’t overdo exercise and outdoor activities, prioritize social activities and tasks, and eat healthily and regularly.
    • Use cooling and drying herbs  – chrysanthemum, lemon balm, mints, catnip, hibiscus, hawthorn berries, burdock root, and chamomile
    • Heart strengthening foods – watermelon, papaya, cherry, mung beans, adzuki beans, amaranth, eggplant, dark green leafies (collards, kale, spinach, chard, etc.)
    • Cook with the fresh herbs from your garden like basil, cilantro, parsley, dill, and oregano can help you to better assimilate your food
    • Use Spicy herbs (chiles and peppers, as well as chrysanthemum and mints) in small amounts, as they help to open the pores and eliminate excess heat from the surface of the body.  An excess of spicy foods and herbs can disperse too much of the body’s heat to the surface, reducing the reserves available for the cooler seasons.
    • Use the Heart healing qi gong sound –  Bring up a bright red color from the center of gravity to fill the heart and nourish the heart. Bring your hands palm up from your navel to over your head as you bring up the red color. Then turn the palms outwards and release hatred, bitterness, predjudice, impatience and intolerance. Make the sound “ha” as you release the negative emotions of the heart. Then smile to your heart unconditional love and gratitude and fill it with love the positive emotion of the heart.



Fall is a time of moving inward as the energy of Summer begins to descend in preparation for Winter.  The cycle has reached it’s peak and it is time to let go of the excess that was generated in the summer cycle and use the heat to warm the insides until Spring.  Leaves turn brown and begin to fall, blanketing the ground in a compost to warm and protect it until Spring.  Fall is traditionally the season to harvest, to hone what you have produced and refine it into a final, mature product.  The days are shortening and becoming darker.  In Chinese medicine, Fall is the time of the lungs, as well as the time for culling what you have produced during the creative fire of spring and summer and releasing what no longer sustains and nourishes you.

Here are some tips for adjusting to the Fall season:

  • Breathing fresh air – be sure to get outdoors and do some relaxed breathing, or do some exercise such as swimming and consciously bring awareness into the breath. Breathing into the center of gravity while relaxing the muscles of the chest is also helpful.
  • Do stretches to open up the chest and the lungs, as well as singing and or playing wind instruments like the saxophone, trumpet, flute etc.
  • Lung healing qi gong sound – Inhale and guide the color white up from your center of gravity to nourish and bathe the lungs. As you exhale, make the lungs sound “Sssss” releasing clearing out any grief sadness and depression which can clog the lungs. Then smile and embrace the lungs with unconditional love and acceptance.
  • Dry brushing the skin (which is considered to be a part of the lung system in Chinese medicine), using a natural bristle brush to lightly brush the skin before showering.
  • Wear comfortable clothes and natural fibers to give more freedom for the lungs to breath.
  • Get moderate sun, avoiding excessive exposure, as it can damage the skin.
  • The virtues of the lung are integrity courage and respect. Being able to appreciate and value yourself and your surroundings is an important way to satisfy and please the intelligence of the lung. Expressing our values nourishes the lungs.
  • Pay attention to the physical aesthetics both in terms of personal appearance and in terms of the home environment to support the energy of lung.
  • Use the Fall to reflect and to be grateful for the harvest of your life and the year and to let go of all that isn’t serving you in life.
  • Eat foods that support the lungs –  pears are good for the lungs. Leafy green vegetables like mustard greens, kale, and green and red cabbage are good for the lungs. Also green and yellow and bell peppers, daikon radish, carrots, yams, pumpkin, squash, figs, sesame seeds, apricots, ginkgo nuts, tangerines and other citrus foods.
  • Eat plenty of mushrooms, like shitake and maitake – they are also good for the lungs and boost the immune system.
  • Avoid dairy as the phlegm produced by dairy can negatively impact the lungs, as phlegm is stored in the lungs and can contribute to congestion and coughs.
  • Use herbs like American ginseng (Panax cinquefoils) – this is a great herbs for the lungs and for strengthening the kidneys as well. Astragulus (astragalus membranaceus) and codonopsis (codnopsis pilosula) are two are other herbs that are excellent for lung health. You can buy astragalus and codonopsis powdered from sources such as Mountain Rose Herbs and add them to soup stocks and foods like oatmeal for added immune support during Fall.


Winter is the time of year when the natural world becomes still, cold, and quiet and retreats underground.  The energy of plants becomes dormant and is grounded and stored deep in the earth in the plant’s roots. The sun sets earlier and rises later, leaving us with longer nights, and more time for rest and stillness.  The energy of the earth is literally going underground to germinate and restore itself.  In Chinese medicine, the element of water is associated with winter and is associated with the kidneys, or what we in the western world associate with the endocrine system.  The kidneys are associated with winter and the water element and are the source of our constitutional or inherited energy, literally our energy reserves.

In Chinese medicine, winter is also the most yin time of the year.  Yin is the feminine energy, the quiet, dark, internal, nurturing, lubricating, moist, energy, often associated with the earth.   This yin transforms to the active, substantial, intensity of the yang, or masculine energy (summer).  Thus, in order to experience the fullness of richness of summer’s intensity, we need to allow ourselves the stillness and quiet of winter.   It is important to remember that we all need regular periods of quiet, as well as activity, be it summer or winter, that winter signals a time to explore these needs in a deeper way than at other points in the year.

Here are some tips for harmonizing winter’s energy:

  • Eat deeply nourishing foods, like soups and stews, being sure t0 get enough protein.  A popular Chinese soup are bone marrow soups, in which the soup is cooked with a cracked bone to add in the deep nourishment of the bone.  Vegetarians need to make a special point to get adequate protein by eating beans and whole grains, and making sure to cook vegetables.  Vegetables such as peas , greens, sweet potatoes, winter squash, and any root vegetables.
  • Use spices to warm up the energy of a dish and aid in digestion.  Spices like garlic, onions, cinnamon, ginger, cardamon, nutmeg, and fennel are all good choices.
    • Get plenty of sleep and rest during this time of year – take advantage of the longer hours of darkness and get enough sleep each night.
    • Take time for quiet, stillness, introspection and reflection, as you will be richly supported during the winter as you undertake these practices.
    • Dress warmly, making sure to cover the lower back (the area over the kidneys) and the back of the neck (wearing scarves).  Chinese medicine teaches that the external wind responsible for colds, flus, and infections enters by a point on the back of the neck known as the windgate.
    • Use herbs that are warming and tonifying, such as lycii berries, angelica sinensis (dong quai), astragalus, ashwaganda, ginger, cinnamon, and garlic are examples of this type of herb.  Herbs that help build and maintain the blood and Qi are especially beneficial (astragalus, dong quai, lycii berries), as well as herbs that strengthen digestion (ginger, ginseng, fennel, cardamom).    These herbs are great to cook with or to make hot teas with and will help preserve the body’s reserves of blood and Qi through the cold winter months.
    • Kidney healing qi gong sound – the healing sound for the kidneys is chuu. Imagine a blue color filling the kidneys from your center of gravity, release fear, fright, trauma and shock. Hug your legs below the knee or put your hands and your knees as you make the sound and release the emotion of fear. Continue making the sound chuu and releasing fear. Then smile to your kidneys, send them unconditional love and acceptance. Then fill with wisdom, a sense of gentleness and stillness.

Additional Resources

Michele and Andres have a CD with extended guided meditations for each of the five organs (liver, heart, spleen, lungs, and kidneys) which represent the key functions of the body mind spirit in Chinese medicine.  For more information on health and wellness podcasts or to order, please contact them spiritrisingherbs@gmail.com or call Andres at 336-508-1121.

Doing it for the Thrill by Kim Kircher

Posted by Editor on
Doing it for the Thrill by Kim Kircher


“Sensation-seekers”, according to psychologists, fill their days with thrilling adventures and novel experiences. Their brains seek more sensation, more of a dopamine kick, more of that optimal flow moment than the rest of the population.

Psychologists have been watching sensation seekers for decades, comparing skydivers to reckless drivers and gamblers, lumping them all together into a wide category of “risk-takers”. Psychologist Marvin Zuckerman created a personality test for sensation seeking, check it out and see where you stack up.

Neuroscientists have recently dipped into the “sensation-seeking” brain and found more enlightening discoveries. I recently interviewed Cynthia Thomson of the University of British Columbia for my upcoming book on action sports. Thomson focused her PhD study on skiers and dopamine. Dopamine is the brain’s way of offering motivation in the form of a reward. It provides that nice kick of good-feeling reverie after we accomplish something big. And it turns out, not all brains handle dopamine the same way. Thomson found that skiers tend to have a variant of the DRD4 dopamine receptor that affects the way their brain handles dopamine. In other words, they needed more thrill to get the same kick.

Where psychologists and neuroscientists diverge is by lumping together athletes and addicts. In Thomson’s initial study, she didn’t separate them either. But she was able to determine the difference in later work. In addition to being sensation-seekers, addicts also score high for impulsivity. This is not so for high-risk athletes. At least not the ones that stick around. Just imagine an action sport athlete that was also highly impulsive. He or she wouldn’t be around long. Involvement in a risky sport, such as skiing, skydiving or surfing requires careful planning and extensive training. Anyone jumping off cliffs without first checking the landing (acting impulsively) isn’t going to live very long. Impulsivity tends to fade as we age, whereas sensation-seeking remains more stable.

I believe that as we get older and log more experiences our judgment overrides our impulsivity. This is evident in my job as a ski patroller and EMT. I’ve seen enough head injuries that I now wear a helmet while skiing. I’ve watched avalanches rip down slopes and break apart trees enough times to choose my line carefully. In many ways, I’ve gained judgment by learning from others’ mistakes. But I’ve also had my fair share of close calls.

My new book project, which I’m calling Crystalized: Finding Clarity on the Edge (but that title probably won’t last, so don’t bother googling it just yet) will take a look at the hows and whys of participation in action sports. I will especially look at my own experiences with dopamine-inducing sports and try to determine where I stack up against the experts. Most of the time I wonder what they have that I don’t have. Why are they able to huck bigger jumps, surf bigger waves, run scarier rapids and overall scare the shit out of me watching them from the near sidelines? Maybe it’s their DRD4 dopamine receptors. Or perhaps it’s their training. Or maybe I’m just a natural born scaredy-cat by comparison.

The best part about this book is the opportunity to interview some amazing athletes and brilliant scientists. I will be sharing some of these interviews here. I will also have guests on my Voice America radio show.

Cynthia Thomson’s research suggests that some individuals need more thrill than others. If so, she posits that skiing and other action sports offer a viable avenue for sensation seeking, rather than the more destructive types of negative risks often associated with the term. Either way, her research shows there could be a genetic link to sensation seeking after all.

As if I needed another reason to go skiing.

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)

Follow by Email