Mastering Mindfulness

Reducing Stress through Meditation

Mtn Living Mag September 2009

IMG_1134e-WSarah held a raisin and explored it with her nose, eyes and hands before putting it in her mouth. There, she noted the fruit’s lumpy shape before chewing through its firm skin to the fleshier inside. Finally, she swallowed it, reflecting on the sweet taste. “It sounds simple enough when you describe it (the class exercise), but each member of the group agreed that we’d never experienced anything quite like it,” she assured me. This was practice in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). Continue reading “Mastering Mindfulness”

Precious Pets With Purpose

Pet Therapy Benefits Cy-Fair Residents of All Ages

mag bar Fall 2009

Eric Harris sits with an open book in his lap, but doesn’t say anything. Bonnie, the collie, snuggled next to him on a blanket in Matzke Elementary Library, waits. She noses the boy’s arm to read. Eric pats the dog, his grin grows, and he begins. Reading is an adventure in itself, but when a child shares the story with a four-legged friend, they’re more eager to embark on it. That’s the point of BAK-PAK Critters Reading Program. Canine Behavior Specialist Mary Kegarise created the buddy system to encourage confidence and skills as children cozy up for reading. And Cy-Fair residents of all ages, from kids to seniors, are getting the opportunity to experience the positive impact it can have on their lives. Continue reading “Precious Pets With Purpose”

Eastern Meeting Western

Integrated Health Embraces Both Horizons

Mtn Living Mag August 2009

Eastern-Meeting-Western-wOh, my aching sacroiliac. My back’s SI joint had been shooting pain through my most basic motions: sitting, standing and sleeping. Like most people, I made a doctor’s appointment. The physician only took care of backs and wouldn’t even glance at my sore knee. “Might they be related?” I asked. After an evaluation, an MRI and physical therapy, I was released, and I guess, pronounced well. Except, I wasn’t. To pursue it further, I needed a pain management specialist. The tests said all my healthy individual parts should be working, so why the twinge? Continue reading “Eastern Meeting Western”

Tiny Treasures

The Work of a Baby Rocker and the Special Care Nursery

Mtn Living Mag July 2009

Don Rhodes exudes a gentle calm. It could be the grandfatherly grey hair or tempered voice. Seated in a rocking chair, Rhodes shelters a premature infant in a red and white crocheted cap and hums. “I put them over my heart. The vibrations come through my chest to soothe them,” he says.

Rhodes has been putting babies and parents at ease for nine years. “I always tell any moms or dads I see in the nursery that I’m healthy, and the baby is in good hands. I think about how they might feel if they came around the corner and saw a strange man holding their child.” Continue reading “Tiny Treasures”

Strength in Partnership

Reinforcing Relationships Through Counseling

Mtn Living Mag April 2009

Two men stand side-by-side and work under the hood of a nearly-restored muscle car. Their eyes never meet as one talks about his teen-aged son and the other about his mother-in-law coming into town. From the driveway to the kitchen, a similar conversation plays out between their wives. The women wrap their hands around coffee mugs. Their eyes scan one another for subtle clues as they chat face-to-face. Continue reading “Strength in Partnership”

Signs of Life

One Class Teaches Baby Talk with Hand Signals

Mtn Living Mag November 2008

babysignA couple took their fourteen-month old son to an animal fair where the little boy especially enjoyed the snuffling pigs. A week later, the family walked by that same area with their son in his stroller. He began pushing at his nose—the sign for a pig. The parents looked at each with wonder. The pigs were long gone, but their son remembered them.

“Observant little babies take note of everything,” said Tami Nicholson, a certified Baby Signs instructor. “With signs, you can know what they’re thinking about at a particular moment.” There’s no guessing what that tearful face is asking for at 2 a.m. If she squeezes her fist—simulating udder action—she wants milk. Continue reading “Signs of Life”

Moving the Midriff

Getting Physical and Spiritual with Belly Dancing

Mtn Living Mag October 2008

Before I walked through the door of my first belly dancing class, I wondered, would the women be wearing yoga pants like me or would they be splashed out in vivid costumes with jangling doo-dads? I discovered most of the dancers dressed the part. And they invited me to join in! Instructor Hilary Giovale pointed to a basket of accessories where a ruby chiffon hip scarf fringed with clinking coins caught my eye. Just that fast, I was ready to shimmy and swivel. Continue reading “Moving the Midriff”

A Literary Legacy on Bark

Illiterate Basque sheepherders told of their lonely, dangerous work with carvings on Inner Basin aspens.

1470191_10152041717170169_939949830_nSpecial to the Daily Sun
Monday, August 25, 2008

When Santiago Parra carved his name and the date, 1970, into an aspen tree on the Inner Basin Trail, he marked the end of an era. Parra made his lines thin and neat. As the tree grew and stretched, his marker would remain attractive, legible and a witness to his having herded sheep near Lockett Meadow. Continue reading “A Literary Legacy on Bark”

4,000-Strong Walk for a Cancer Cure

Ann Eagan is an inspirational co-chair for Saturday’s Climb to Conquer Cancer, but she didn’t do it alone.

1470191_10152041717170169_939949830_nSpecial to the Daily Sun
Sunday, August 17, 2008

The American Cancer Society reminds us in its ads that cancer touches everyone.

Even me. We all saw the commercial. A woman trudges uphill to the narration, “I can do this, I can do this …”

I’d seen the ad 50 times and wondered — something was familiar about her.

The woman is Ann Eagan. She was also co-chair for Saturday’s 20th anniversary Climb to Conquer Cancer, a cancer survivor and — come to find out — an old college friend.

“Until 2007, I climbed simply for friends, family and co-workers,” Eagan said. “Then, I was diagnosed with intravascular lymphoma.” Continue reading “4,000-Strong Walk for a Cancer Cure”

Working wonders: Senior citizens contribute to workforce

Seniors provide an experienced, flexible labor source

1470191_10152041717170169_939949830_nSpecial to the Sun
Monday, August 11, 2008

Sandy Abbajay, at 70 years young, helped set up and establish Linens ‘n Things at the Flagstaff Mall Marketplace last October. It took 10 days and untold truckloads of goods, but fortunately, she had the dedicated assistance of another senior, Verna Johnson.

“I just can’t sit,” said Abbajay. “And besides, you can never retire from life,” she added, laughing. A few years ago, Abbajay made the decision to move across the country. The fact that her children objected to her driving off to explore future options just steeled her resolve. She put her life in storage and her retirement from 20 years as a manager on hold. Continue reading “Working wonders: Senior citizens contribute to workforce”