All posts by heidi

Fathers Can’t Always Fix It

My father didn’t tell me how to live. He lived and let me watch him do it.

–Clarence Budington Kelland

Fathers in our culture are given the role of Mr. Fixit, like the repair fox in Richard Scarry’s children’s books. They are expected to be the family adviser, problem-solver, protector and provider. They are expected to keep their children safe. If their children get sick, they are expected to help fix it.

These expectations are enormous and completely unrealistic. Some things simply can’t be fixed. Even Mr. Fixit repeatedly fails in his role of repairing.

When we lose a child, we agonize. “What did I do wrong? Why couldn’t I have fixed it?”

This spring, the cardinal nest next to my porch provided an example for me of some things that simply can’t be fixed–even by devoted fathers.

Sometimes, I caught glimpses of the father cardinal standing next to the nestlings, probably feeding them.

I later learned male cardinals typically protect their territory and provide food for the little family. They even feed the mothers, calling them away from their nests for dinner.

This father clearly was doing his job, because his ugly nestlings grew rapidly.

About ten days after hatching, one of the fledglings perched on the edge of the nest. It had no tail feathers, and simply sat there awhile. Frankly, Fledgling 1 reminded me of a human teenager daring to take off on its own with no parental control.

Mother and Father chirped madly nearby.

As I continued with my day, Fledgling 1 disappeared. My son and I looked around for it a few times, but never saw it again. What became of the bird? Did one of the feral neighborhood cats catch it? It’s quite possible—only 15 to 37 percent of cardinal nests produce fledglings, and Fledgling 1 was quite vulnerable. The dangers were real and close. The parents had no say in what their offspring chose to do or not do.

The next day Fledgling 2 perched on the edge of the nest for a while. Later in the day I saw it hop from branch to branch around the shrub.

As I approached, both father and mother took turns flying at the bush and creating a ruckus, flapping madly and chirping with piercing volume. Both did their absolute best to lure me away from their remaining baby. Neither succeeded.

The next day, cardinal chirping slit the air from high in a nearby pine. And then it ceased. Fledgling 2 most likely made it into adulthood.

The parents provided a home, nourishment, and every attempt at a safe environment. Yet perhaps one of the two didn’t make it into adulthood. It is not the parents’ fault. We must accept that we are not in charge, ultimately. We do not control the choices of our children, nor any diseases they might endure. We can provide and influence and plead, but in the end, some things can’t be fixed. All we can do is our best.

May you find peace in the example you set for your loved ones.

Thriver Soup Ingredient:
Hear a cardinal chirp on this page https://birdsna.org/Species-Account/bna/species/norcar/introduction and watch a father cardinal feed his young here: https://americanexpedition.us/learn-about-wildlife/northern-cardinal-facts-information/

Source:
https://www.wild-bird-watching.com/Cardinal.html

Going ’Round the Mulberry

Here we go ’round the mulberry bush, The mulberry bush, The mulberry bush. Here we go ’round the mulberry bush so early in the morning.

English nursery rhyme

I grew up hearing this song and assumed mulberries grew on bushes, like raspberries and blueberries.

Nope. They grow on trees. My sister and I discovered this two summers ago on Long Island, where we saw a man picking what looked like long raspberries off a tree. A tree? What was he eating?

Mulberries.

Oh, we crammed our mouths with their luscious juiciness until we couldn’t reach any more. So sweet, so ripe, and no exterior seeds.

This past week my friend Laura and I took a walk and she identified a mulberry tree. I didn’t know they grew in the Cincinnati area. We filled a bag with what we could reach.

When we met again, she arrived holding a bag filled with fresh, ripe mulberries she had picked. What a treat! And then we found more. I’m in mulberry heaven.

Fortunately, mulberries have great nutritional value. According to https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/fruit/mulberries.html, they can improve digestion, reduce cholesterol, aid in weight loss, increase circulation, build bone tissues, boost the immune system, prevent certain cancers, slow down the aging process, decrease blood pressure, protect eyes, and improve metabolism.

That’s a pretty nice list of benefits. Makes me want to go ‘round a mulberry tree and pick more. Just need a ladder to catch those ones up high…

Thriver Soup Ingredient:
To find mulberries, check your local farmers’ markets or look for dried varieties in stores.
https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/fruit/mulberries.html includes nutrition facts.
Research on “Composition of anthocyanins in mulberry and their antioxidant activity
Look up effects of mulberry extracts before considering using them.

Jacqui Roell, 2018 Unsung Hero

Heidi Bright, 2017 Unsung Hero, with Jacqui Roell, 2018 Unsung Hero.

Jacqui Roell, RN, BSN, who believes Thriver Soup saved her life, earned a 2018 Unsung Hero Award from Cancer Family Care.

A registered nurse for more than 25 years, Jacqui became the patient during 2017 with a breast cancer diagnosis. During her chemotherapy and radiation treatments, she used many alternative therapies, which she said allowed her to recover quickly.

She calls herself a living testament to how complementary therapies can benefit cancer patients before, during, and after medical treatments. “They can actually decrease, and in some cases remove, the need for many medications by allowing your body to heal itself and maintain its healthy balance naturally.”

Jacqui is an aromatherapist, a reflexologist, and a Reiki practitioner. She is adding healing touch, crystal therapy, and herbal supplementation to her business. She also is active in several cancer care and advocacy groups, including Pink Ribbon Girls and Cancer Family Care.

Jacqui was nominated for the award by her mother, Marilyn Seilkop, a fellow cancer survivor. Marilyn wrote, “She is a passionate advocate for patients and their families. In addition to interviews on local TV stations, Jackie is a frequent speaker at cancer care events she is a mentor for cancer patients and a hero to all who meet her.”

Jacqui’s Holistic Soul Wellness website is https://holisticsoulwellness.com/

What is your favorite complementary form of treatment?

A Mother, a Brother, and a Hard Holiday

I don’t know what it is about food your mother makes for you, especially when it’s something that anyone can make – pancakes, meat loaf, tuna salad – but it carries a certain taste of memory. 

–Mitch Albom

In 1972, my mother was diagnosed with end-stage breast cancer. She surprised everyone by going into radical remission for seven years.

When the cancer came back, we didn’t know for awhile, but I felt a sickness in my belly on the morning I watched my mom and dad drive off for a trip south. About three hours later I got a call… she had stumbled and fallen—the result of a growing numbness in her spine, which turned out to be the return of the cancer. At the time, I was a teenaged college student. None of us had much of an idea what to do, think, or expect—especially my younger brother, who had just become a teenager.

This time the doctors predicted she would live six months. She got Prevention magazine (the only health magazine she probably could get back then), ate better food, and saw a hypnotherapist. Her goal was to live long enough for my younger brother to remember her.

Remarkably, she lived another three years.

She unknowingly taught me to explore options. Perhaps she helped save my life with her example.

All of us came to see her days before she passed. After a short visit I had to get back to Kansas if I wanted to keep my job. There was no hospice. After all us out-of-towners left, she crossed over, alone, in a hospital bed.

I remember the terrible phone call, the endless drive back to Iowa, and the torturous days that followed, like it was yesterday. This was my first real exposure to death.

Of course, I have lost many more people during the intervening 34 years, including my firstborn son.

This spring I listened to some old copies of cassette recordings from my childhood Christmases. With a heavy heart, I realized I had forgotten the sound of my own mother’s voice. I knew by the spoken words it was her, yet the timbre of her voice had faded from my memories.

The taste of her cooking had not. My younger brother was able to visit me this Mother’s Day. His memories of her were far more hazy, yet he remembered certain dishes that gave a feeling of comfort and belonging.

Together we made corn fritters, hamburger pie, Barb-b-cups, cheesecake, springerle cookies, and peanut brittle—unfit food we normally never eat. It brought a feast of memories and even some laughter. My younger son enjoyed the eats.

And I was able to glide busily and deliciously past my third mother’s day without my firstborn son. I appreciate this gift.

What did you do to mark Mother’s Day this year?

Source:
https://soyummy.co/mothers-day-quotes-food-moms-best-cooks/

Shannon Villalba an Unsung Hero

Shannon Villalba earned a 2018 Unsung Hero Award from Cancer Family Care. She founded HIME Wellness in Cincinnati, Ohio, to connect complementary health practitioners with those seeking care. With Heidi Bright, 2017 Unsung Hero.

Shannon Villalba was sick for six months before she heard the words, “You have cancer.” As a result of those three words, she resolved that she would hear the words, “You have no evidence of disease.” And she did. Five months later.

Shannon promised herself she would do what it took to help heal her body, so she used a variety of complementary and holistic medicine therapies in addition to traditional chemotherapy and radiation. She says she is grateful this strategy worked for her, and she realized that there are many other patients who could benefit from these strategies as well. She took a look around and noticed that many of these types of practitioners were hard to find. That’s when she decided to create HIME Wellness – Healing through Inspiration, Motivation, and Education.

HIME Wellness is a company that educates the community about holistic and integrative medicine by showcasing the expertise of its practitioner members. Shannon wholly believes it is her purpose in life to assist others with their wellness journeys and to inspire them to help others as well. Together we can make a difference in the way we approach our healthcare today.

She enjoys learning about what types of therapies are available, and connecting the practitioners with those who are seeking their services. Each month she hosts a big event with speakers such as integrative doctors, chiropractors, holistic nurses, physical therapists, and energy therapists. HIME also features demonstrations of various types of therapies.

She says it feels great to see so many people who are open to these types of therapies, and then hearing them say, “This is exactly what I am looking for to help me heal!”

Additionally, at every event, HIME Wellness gives back to various charities such as the Pink Ribbon Girls and the Women’s Health Initiatives Foundation.

HIME also offers classes and resources for those searching for answers.

Shannon clearly loves being able to pay it forward by helping others in any way she can. With the blessing of a second chance at life, she is choosing to live it by serving others. She expresses gratitude because she will never know if something she does makes a difference to someone she’s never met, because the end result is all that matters to her. If someone is inspired and motivated to take charge of his or her own life and health, that’s what she wants.

She says she fully believes that inspiration through motivation and education is the key to eliciting change. The more people know about healthcare therapies, and the more people are motivated or inspired by stories about health journeys, the better we are as a society.

Shannon’s mission is to inspire others through teaching them to take charge of their lives and change them for the betterment of the human race. She does this one step and one day at a time, whether it’s inspiring someone by telling about her own cancer journey, or by connecting someone with a class, a blog post, or a bit of knowledge.

Each day Shannon knows she can accomplish this mission through those she is meant to help, who in turn will help others, and that makes all the difference. Shannon lives the unsung hero honor each day.

Remember the Rachels on Mother’s Day

Rachel weeps for her children, refusing to be comforted, for they are dead.

Matthew 2:16-18, New Living Translation

Rachel was an early biblical character who died giving birth to her second son. She was buried by the road to Bethlehem. Bethlehem would later become the birth location for a king, according to Matthew’s gospel. And Herod, the jealous and frightened ruler at the time, sent his soldiers to kill all the male infants and toddlers near Bethlehem to remove this new threat. One cannot imagine the kind of imperishable grief such an act would produce on a vulnerable population.

This story is part of the birth narrative of Jesus. When was the last time you heard a preacher talk about this trauma in connection with the nativity story? It seems to me that mothers who grieve their children appear easily overlooked.

The world is full of Rachels who weep disconsolately for their deceased children. My friend Joan just lost her daughter to diabetes.

With the current opioid epidemic, mothers who are cancer patients need to be wary. I was told in 2011 to “stay ahead of the pain,” and was sent home with a month’s supply of what I now realize were heroin pills. Recently I talked with a cancer survivor who also had leftover opioids and a teenaged son at home. I urged her to get a digital lockbox or return the pills to a pharmacy. Even if her son doesn’t find or use them, a friend of his might. Then the treacherous slide into heroin overdose begins.

If I ever doubt myself as a mother fighting for her children, all I have to do is look at this Mother’s Day card my deceased son made for me about ten years ago. I’m seen as firm with my words and my sword… with a kind smile on my face, all centered in a heart glowing with love.

I’m hardly alone. Even my son’s memorial garden was just visited again by Rachel’s weeping. A mother bird in the sweet gum tree had fought valiantly for her eggs, evidenced by the circle of feathers; but her efforts simply weren’t enough. The nest fell to the grass and her babies were hungrily consumed.

Mother’s Day is approaching. Ugh. For me, and for perhaps hundreds of thousands of mothers, this time on the calendar is a terrible reminder of broken hearts and empty arms. Despite all we do, sometimes we still lose our children. Some mothers lose their only children—I know two such women who lost theirs to heroin. I have heard of one woman who lost all three of her children to heroin overdoses. Losing your children is bad enough. Add on the stigma of death to drugs and you have an unfathomable nightmare.

I am most fortunate that one of my brothers will be here and we will spend the day making and eating delicious meals our mother made when we were growing up—a time of innocence. My younger son will get to indulge with us. (He loves to tell me there’s no food in my house.) Foods I typically now avoid, yet that give comfort and solace to an empty heart. Corn fritters, hamburger pie, cheesecake, springerle. I’ll still be weeping for my child, as I do nearly every day, yet with social support I also will have some consolation.

Thriver Soup Ingredient:

Mothers fight for their offspring, though not always successfully. Many of these mothers are single. It can be such a lonely time, especially with the isolation that can come from losing a child to drugs.

On Mother’s Day, please pray for or send positive intentions to the Rachels everywhere. Those who have suffered heavy losses need comfort and love—a kind word, a simple text, a card—something to let them know they are not entirely alone.

Message in a Cardinal

If a bird’s nest chance to be before thee in the way, in any tree or on the ground, with young ones or eggs, and the dam sitting upon the young, or upon the eggs, thou shalt not take the dam with the young;

Deuteronomy 22:6, JPS Tanakh 1917

The compassionate act for a hungry person of ancient times was to take only the eggs from a bird’s nest and leave the mother. This created benefits: humans had food and birds could again reproduce, making more human food.

Fortunately I can walk to a store open 24 hours every day and get a variety of foods to eat. I don’t need the eggs in the nest by my porch to satisfy my survival needs.

The cardinal nesting by my side door probably is the one that tried to create a nest on my porch light. Hanging from this light fixture is the beautiful wind chime given to me by Kay so my deceased son could make it sing for me.

Perhaps the mother bird gave up when the door kept swinging open and shut, open and shut. So she moved to the tree next to the porch. As close as she could get without the constant disturbance.

Her nest cradles two eggs. I enjoy seeing her as I walk by.

How did those eggs get out of her little body?

How does she know to sit on her eggs? The sea turtle lays her eggs and abandons them, returning to the sea.

How does she know to leave the eggs alone? If she were human, I imagine she’d be neurotically inspecting the eggs, rolling them around, listening for any sounds.

Nope. She sits calmly, quietly, still as stone. Watching. Waiting. Being.

She makes me wonder about my way of being as a mother. I was anxious, wanting everything to work out perfectly for my two offspring. Instead, one turned to drugs, and three years ago lost his life.

Would I blame the bird if one of her eggs broke, or if a hatchling fell out of the nest, or if a creature ate one? Today I found a broken robin’s egg on my driveway, not five feet from the tree where the cardinal nestles. This is life. These things happen. We do not control outcomes, especially with terrible illnesses like cancer and addiction.

James Hillman (American psychologist, 1926 –2011), in his book The Soul’s Code, calls the inordinate self-blame of grieving parents “the parental fallacy.” It is false to think we have enough control to manage every outcome. We can try and influence, yet ultimately, it is not up to us.

Perhaps this is why the cardinal tried to build a nest right above my son’s wind chime and the robin lost her baby. Maybe it’s a message, like, “It’s not your fault, Mom. You did everything you could. Sometimes terrible things happen. And I am near you now, singing through the wind chime, watching you through the eyes of a bird nesting by your door.”

They are reminders to have compassion for myself, as I have compassion for these mother birds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mandarins a-peeling against cancer

I have picked a lemon, and with it / An orange and a (fragrant) mandarin.

Gathering with care these (precious) things, / And while gathering I said with care:

“Thou who art Queen of the sun and of the moon / And of the stars–lo! here I call to thee!

And with what power I have I conjure thee / To grant to me the favour I implore!

Aradia, by Charles G. Leland

 

Fresh, fragrant mandarins are precious, full of flavor, and full of power.

The magic lies in their peels—which are quite edible and contain potent anti-cancer properties (see links below).

Also called clementines and tangerines, these citrus fruits are fresh and sitting in grocery stores now.

If you have a high-speed blender, mix two whole mandarins (peel on) with a quarter cup cranberries (at this time of year, try frozen, not the packaged sugary snacks), a little raw honey and/or stevia, a quarter cup raw/soaked-in-salt-water pecans, and coconut butter. Blend. Mmmm! Add chia seeds if desired.

Taste the fragrance, ingest the power.

Sources:

http://www.sacred-texts.com/pag/aradia/ara07.htm

https://www.livestrong.com/article/310997-can-you-eat-clementines-with-the-peel/

http://www.orthomolecular.org/library/jom/2006/pdf/2006-v21n01-p34.pdf

https://www.healwithfood.org/health-benefits/mandarin-tangerines.php

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19116217

Annie Appleseed video of “Subduing the Cancer Dragon” now live

Heidi Bright offering healing solutions during the 2018 Annie Appleseed conference

The video of my live talk, “Subduing the Cancer Dragon: The ABCs of Creating Conditions for Healing” during the 2018 national Annie Appleseed Complementary & Alternative Cancer Therapies conference, is now on youtube: “Subduing the Cancer Dragon”

Discover 3 key ingredients cancer patients need to improve their chances of survival. Important attitudes, behaviors, and major life choices that can help you thrive beyond cancer will be explored during the presentation.

In radical remission since 2011 from highly aggressive end-stage sarcoma, I share genuine hope and realistic options with listeners. I earned the 2014 Voices of Women Award for outstanding achievement in personal growth and transformation from Whole Living Journal, and the 2017 Champion in Cancer Care and 2017 Unsung Hero awards.

My third traditionally published nonfiction book, “Thriver Soup: A Feast for Living Consciously During the Cancer Journey,” is physician-endorsed with 250 practical healing solutions. http://thriversoup.com/book/

Power Up Your Spiritual Vibration Tues Apr 17

Find out how to “Power Up Your Spiritual Vibration with Energized Food” at 7 p.m.  Tuesday, April 17, at 4251 Hamilton Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45223

Discover simple ways to super-charge your spiritual life with high-vibrational foods. Learn how to select more enlightening edibles to thrive on every level. Take home easy pointers for preparing power-packed provisions to raise your consciousness.

Heidi Bright, in radical remission since 2011 from highly aggressive end-stage cancer, shares meal solutions she learned during years spent regaining her health. She earned the 2014 Voices of Women Award for outstanding achievement in personal transformation from Whole Living Journal and a 2017 Unsung Hero Award from Cancer Family Care. Her third traditionally published nonfiction book, Thriver Soup: A Feast for Living Consciously During the Cancer Journey, is physician-endorsed with 250 healing solutions.

Where: Revelation Spiritual Church Bldg., 4251 Hamilton Ave. Cincinnati 45223
(Look for the BIG WHITE SIGN in front yard, directly across street from BIG GREEN & WHITE SIGN for a dentist.)