Do You Fall Asleep During The Day But Deny You Have A Sleep Disorder? I Did And It Almost Killed Me!

September 25, 2008 by  
Filed under Health & Fitness, Sleep Apnea, Steve Holmes, Wellness

Do You Fall Asleep During The Day But Deny You Have A Sleep Disorder?

Hello, my name is Steve and I have sleep apnea.

My wife diagnosed this more than five years ago, but I was in denial. The only reason I’m alive today is because my doctor died and my wife is VERY persistant.

What you say? – Alive because my doctor died? – How does that work?

Well, it goes like this: I’ve been mostly healthy all my life – the kind of guy who eats anything, does whatever I want, and avoids the doctor like the plague. My family doctor also treated my parents and knew the whole family health history. That means he knew that I’m never sick, so every few years I’d show up to prove I’m still alive. We had this GREAT arrangement, where he’d leave me alone until I asked for help.

In fact, the last time I saw him, I drove to his office to discover it was now an office for Psychiatric Therapy. My self-diagosis on that subject was very positive, and I since I didn’t want another second opinion from my wife, I picked up the cellphone and called my doctor’s number. The reply – after a few giggles from the receptionist – was that they’d moved seven years earlier, and I needed do drive east for a couple of blocks.

As a typical guy, I generally figure that any problem short of broken bones will go away with time, and often, time will mend those too. In fact, I’ve broken ribs on multiple occasions, and the doctor just prescribed pain pills and said “you’re tough and have great chest muscles to holdem in place, so call me in a few weeks if you haven’t gotten any better.”

So, since I was convinced that sleep apnea was just a made-up disease by doctors conspiring to take more trips to Tahiti, and since my doctor wasn’t likely to send the authorities to drag me into his office for a physical examination, my expert opinion was that I was in perfect health.

My belief was that my wife just needed a new hobby – and maybe ear plugs. After all, my dad’s snores could shake the house, but he lived to be 77 years old.

Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on how you look at it, my wife was not deterred from her insistance that I not only snored, but I was continually stopping my breathing throughout the night. I assured her that I just reverted to a more shallow form of breathing during parts of the night. Heck, if I wasn’t breating, I wouldn’t be perfectly fine each morning. RIGHT?

After three years of this verbal dance, I was blind-sided by a need to renew a prescription for a special hand cream. When I called my doctor’s office, I was told that he would not renew my prescription without seeing me in person to prove I was alive and still needed the medication. I said something like: “What? You know my voice. Of course I’m alive, and I’ll need this stuff for as long as I live – if not longer!

How dare my doctor to dare challenge my self-diagnosis! And, given that I was just turning 50, he insisted on checking out my overall health. So, I decided that procrastination was my best friend, and maybe the doc would foget about this unreasonable demand and accidentally fill my prescription.

Well, after a two month delay, I decided to bite the bullet and make an appointment. To my surprise, the receptionist informed me that my long-term, usually reasonable doctor had passed away. My response was to say something comforting like: That’s terrible! … Can someone else fill my prescription?

Natually, no doctor was going to give me a prescription without EVER seeing me in person, and this was an even bigger problem because I had moved to another state two years earlier. This had been fine until then, because of the wonders of the telephone and fax. Now I needed a new doctor in my own community. How unreasonable!

In part 2, we’ll review the joys of meeting a new doctor – in person – at the age of 50.

Part 3 will cover the wonders of spending the night in a sleep lab, and hearing the truth about Sleep Apnea.

Later, we’ll explore the ongoing saga of living [yes, living] life with Sleep Apnea, and how it is actually better than gradually dying in denial.

For those of you who want to know more facts about Sleep Apnea, here is my current definition – minus the Tahiti part:

Sleep Apnea “A condition characterized by temporary breathing interruptions during sleep. The pauses in breathing can occur dozens or even hundreds of times a night.”

Symptoms include:

  • loud snoring
  • a gasping or snorting sound when the sleeping individual starts to breathe again.

Although the individual may not be aware of having sleep apnea, the condition can:

  • disrupt the quality of sleep
  • result in daytime fatigue
  • raise your blood pressure
  • cause permanent brain damage
  • result in sudden death over time

The most common type, obstructive sleep apnea, occurs when the tongue or other soft tissue blocks the airway.

Enough with these boring technical details. We’re still too early in this story to believe this kind of non-sense.

So, if you absolutely need to know more facts before the next installment, go ahead and check out this 5-star book about Sleep Apnea.

For more information about how to get a better night sleep, read my wife’s recent post about Sleep Apnea and many other sleep challenges.

Chronic Insomnia, Stress, Depression, Sleep Apnea: Why Has Getting a Great Night’s Sleep Become an Elusive Dream for Baby Boomers? And What Can You Do to Help Yourself?

September 25, 2008 by  
Filed under Blog, Health & Fitness, Sleep Apnea, Wellness

Can You Get a Restful Night Sleep?

Remember how much you played when you were a kid? Likely you had so much energy you played outside after school, and maybe even headed outdoors again after dinner; coming in only after your parents repeatedly hollered for you to come home. And didn’t they usually have to holler at least three times — because you pretended not to hear them?

Perhaps your favorite games were: “Tag,” “Red Rover,” “Kick the Can,” “Hide and Seek.” Or maybe kickball or softball in someone’s back yard. Then again, maybe you played that slightly more strategic and mentally challenging game, “Mother, May I?”

No matter what games you preferred, chances are:

  • Once you got home, you fell asleep as soon as your head hit the pillow, totally spent.
  • When you woke up in the morning you were alert, refreshed, and ready to get right back into it.
  • Nobody gave any thought to having problems with sleep.

Could Playing “Mother, May I?” Have Anything to Do with Sleep?

Maybe not, but let’s give the question some thought.

In that game, in case you forgot, one kid was the “mother” and the other kids were her “children.” The game started out with the kids all an equal distance away from mother, with their goal being to gain access to her. The first to reach her became the new “mother” and won the game. The “mother’s” goal, therefore, was to maintain her role by allowing some forward motion, while preventing any kid from totally reaching her. The rules, went something like this:

  • Each kid took turns asking “mother” if he or she could take a certain number of steps toward her.
  • It could be something as small as five baby steps, or as large as three giant steps. Your more creative friends might have even jazzed things up by suggesting more unusual options like ballet, backward or bunny steps.
  • The “mother,” in her infinite wisdom, would reply, “Yes, you may,” or “No, you may not.”
  • You and your friends found infinite fun in figuring out the type of steps that might get you across the finish line, but your biggest challenge was in remembering to ask the all-important question, “Mother, May I?
  • If you forgot to ask permission, Mother would force you to go back to the starting line and you had to start all over again.
  • Forgetting to ask permission felt sort of like drawing the “Jail” card in the more sedentary game of Monopoly” (“Go back to the beginning. Do not pass go, do not collect $200”) in that you were highly unlikely to win the game at that point… Take about extreme frustration. Starting over was the worst!

The Games You Play These Days Are Different – And As an Adult, Your Most Extreme Frustration Doesn’t Come From Forgetting to Ask Permission, But Might Possibly Result From Failing to Get a Good Night’s Sleep!

First of all, we all sleep less than we used to, according to a recent Japanese study. The research showed that in 1970 we slept an average of 7.5 to 8 hours a night. In 1990, we slept an average of 7 to 7.5 hours a night.

Nobody knows why this is so, but if you had to hazard a guess, it’d probably be due to our faster-paced “24/7” lifestyle, which offers you less time for play, and in which you have to juggle so many more responsibilities.

But if you want to know how all-pervasive insomnia has become, try gathering together two or three Baby Boomer-aged couples and challenging them to a game of “Truth or Dare.” Or, less dramatically, just mention your recent sleep problems and ask your friends if they have any advice or suggestions.

  • Don’t be surprised if the flood gates open, and you find out that most of your friends are also sleep deprived. Sort of surprising, since you all once thought your sleepless nights would end once your kids were old enough to sleep through the night!
  • The fact is, most Boomers either regularly experience personal trouble sleeping or they know someone who does. Many will even tell you about couples they know who’ve resorted to sleeping in separate bedrooms due to sleep problems
  • If you aren’t bold enough to ask your friends directly, all you have to do is watch TV commercials for a few hours, and you realize you’re not alone when it comes to being challenged to get a good night’s sleep
  • The reasons your friends are losing sleep are many and varied: Everything from snoring to restless legs syndrome, narcolepsy, teeth grinding, night sweats, sleep walking or talking, nightmares, stress, depression and reaction to meds
  • Of course, the pharmaceutical companies suggest all sorts of solutions, but you’re not sure if that’s right for you.
  • And don’t get people started on their fears about sleep apnea and having to wear a mask unless you’ve got a whole evening! That’s a major conversation (Though if wearing a sleep mask can keep you or your spouse from dying of a heart attack or losing your brain function due to oxygen deprivation, isn’t the mask a no-brainer (easy) solution?)

It’s not possible to return to your carefree childhood days when sleep came easily. But, it is possible for you to get a better night’s sleep. And as with your old “Mother, May I?” game, there are dozens of ways you can successfully get yourself to the goal line to win yourself that bliss and energy that comes from experiencing fantastic sleep. Guess it turns out that Mother really did know best…

The first thing your mother would advise you would be to try non-pill solutions first, since all medications have some potential for side-effects. So just like you did with the game, now is when you need to look at the more creative – and successful sleep inducing – steps you can take…

If You Asked “Mother, May I Get Better Rest?” She’d Suggest You First Take These Baby Steps to Improve Your “Sleep Game:” Minor Lifestyle and Environmental Changes

  • Prepare yourself for sleep
  • Follow a sleep schedule, and
  • Get the “sleep vampires” out of your bedroom!

These are solutions that can be extremely effective, and are a great place to start solving your sleepless equation. Here’s how to start:

Take Action to Prepare Yourself for a Better Sleep

Just as your mother had you follow pre-bedtime routine (remember, it probably went something like this: take a bath or wash up, get into your PJs, brush your teeth, story time and prayers, kiss goodnight and lights out) you can still get your mind and body into “sleep mode” with a regular routine that send a message to your brain that it’s time to wind down. Here’s the grown up version:

  • Find ways to relax your body: First, avoid physical exertion just before bedtime. Your goal is to reduce any muscle tension you may have acquired over the day. Try relaxation techniques such as massage, meditation, progressive relaxation, or even taking a warm bath or shower.
  • Unwind mentally: About a half hour before going to bed, stop whatever else you’ve been doing – including watching late night TV – and replace it with an enjoyable low-key activity, such as reading or listening to music. There are even some sleep promoting recordings available, which you might find effective.
  • Drink a glass of warm milk before bed: It turns out there’s a scientific basis for your mother’s old-fashioned remedy. Milk contains tryptophan, a chemical that may promote sleep in some people. And if a solution actually pops into your head while you’re relaxing, make a point to get up and write enough of it down so you’ll remember it tomorrow, then return to bed
  • If you’re hungry at bedtime, try a high-carb snack: It’s harder to sleep if you’re either hungry or overly full. But if you are hungry, select a light snack that is high in carbohydrates, such as a crackers, pretzels or a plain bagel
  • Avoid eating heavy, spicy, or high-sugar foods late in the evening, they activate your digestive system, which keeps you from relaxing into sleep
  • Stop drinking caffeinated beverages after noon: Amazingly, caffeine can interfere with your sleep for up to twenty hours after you consume it. Caffeine is also present in colas, chocolate bars, and cocoa. Even headache remedies and diet pills contain caffeine. Instead try drinking herbal teas or to other energy boosters like ginseng, ginger, and licorice. At night, use calming herbs like valerian, hops, and passion-flower
  • Reduce your alcohol consumption: Alcohol temporarily depresses your nervous system making you sleepy, but it’s rapidly metabolized, which creates a rebound effect just a few hours later, waking you up with a start. So that nightcap you’ve taken for better sleep is actually not a good idea
  • Cut out your cigarette usage: Nicotine alters your energy patterns, locking you into a pattern of stimulation. Perhaps worse, cigarette smoke contains high amounts of carbon monoxide, which replaces the needed oxygen in your body. Both cigarettes and caffeine, can leave you “wired but tired”
  • Consider adjusting your prescription drugs: Many prescriptions, like steroids, asthma medications, thyroid hormone, and decongestants containing stimulants, cause sleeplessness as a side effect. Also, some long-term meds can cause nutritional deficiencies that result in sleep problems. If you adjust the dosage or the time of day these drugs are taken, sleep will often return naturally
  • Don’t get in bed until you feel tired enough to go to sleep: If you find that you’re still awake after lying in bed for 20 minutes, go into another room and do something relaxing, such as reading a book. Return to bed only when you’re sleepy
  • And finally, once you’re in bed, try not to spend time worrying: Don’t allow your mind to dwell on problems – or challenge it to find solutions for them – while you’re in bed. Instead, before going to bed, make a list of problems and “next steps” for the following day

Follow a Regular Schedule

Again, Mother had it right when she tried to keep you on a daily schedule:

  • You’ll find it’s worthwhile to work at going to bed and getting up at the same time every day — even on weekends.
  • Once you make a habit of regular bedtimes and wake-up times, you’ll find that your mind and body become conditioned to expecting to go to sleep at “bedtime.”
  • Once you achieve some success with this strategy you’ll find keeping to a schedule doesn’t seem too confining.
  • Also, plan for regular times to exercise. Ideally, exercise in the morning or afternoon, but avoid exercise in the final four hours before bedtime. (Yeah, getting to sleep’s a lot harder now than when you were a kid!)

Check Your Bedroom for “Sleep Vampires”

When you were a kid, your parents may have helped you eliminate any bogeymen, ogres or monsters who were hiding in your closet or under the bed. These days you can make your bedroom more sleep-friendly by eliminating the “sleep vampires” that are robbing you of your “daily eight.” For example:

  • Block out noise:. Or better yet, eliminate it. Even if you fall back to sleep after noise wakes you, the quality of your sleep is compromised because you need time to get back to sleep. Don’t play radios, televisions, or stereos in the bedroom while you’re trying to sleep, and if sounds “bleed through” your bedroom walls from other parts of the house, silence them as well. If you can’t control the noise, try earplugs or use some sort of white noise emitter to block the sound. This can be as simple as running a fan in your room, or try a white noise machine, which creates a consistent, smooth humming designed to mask other noises
  • Reduce the light in your bedroom: The issue isn’t merely how light affects your eyes. Light also affects the way your brain produces hormones that regulate your sleep cycle. Even a tiny amount of light can disrupt your sleep. Possible solutions: Ask your sleep partner to read in another room; wear a “sleep mask”; use blackout shades or other window treatments to make the room very dark. More on this later in the post…
  • Adjust the room temperature: If you’re physically uncomfortable, you won’t sleep as soundly as you might. Correct the temperature by adjusting the thermostat, your sleepwear, or bedding. Or install a ceiling fan, open or close a window.
  • Hide the clock: If you have insomnia, looking at the clock can make you anxious. Try keeping it out of your line of sight
  • Try banning pets (and children) from your bed: If your dog or cat sleeps in your bed, your chances for sound sleep are jeopardized. Try having your pets sleep on the floor, giving them their own bed in your room, or keeping them in another room. As for any young children or grandchildren who may have wandered in due to their own anxieties, work at getting them to stay in their own beds
  • Don’t talk about problems or challenges you’re facing either at home or work while you’re in your bedroom. Your goal is to get your brain to understand that the bedroom is where you go when you are ready to sleep
  • Don’t use your bedroom for an office or project area: As tempting as it might be to set up your bedroom for multi-tasking, it’s not a good idea. When you use your bedroom for a home office or hobby room, your mind is confused as to the purpose of the bedroom. If space is tight and you MUST allow the bedroom to do double-time, try visually separating your work or task areas from your sleep areas with a partition of some sort
  • Beyond what you do in the room, pay attention to what you do – or don’t do – in or on your bed: Ideally, you don’t want use your bed to watch TV, pay bills, work or read. That way, when you actually get into your bed your body knows it is time to sleep. Sex, of course, is an acceptable exception
  • Finally recognize the impact of your partner’s sleep problems. A bed partner who snores, tosses and turns a lot, talks while sleeping, or gets up often can affect your sleep, even if the activity doesn’t totally awaken you. As mentioned above, earplugs or “white noise” can help. If your partner gets up a lot, make sure he or she sleeps closest to the door. If your partner tosses and turns frequently, consider a larger bed, or even resort to separate beds or bedrooms

You Need to Realize That Your Sleep Problems Are More Than Just a Nagging Frustration, They Are Actually a Health Issue.

When you don’t sleep well, it affects how well you function, how you feel emotionally, and may even affect how well your immune system fights off disease.

Besides that, your health may be affected simply because more accidents happen at night, when our innate circadian sleep patterns would prefer that we are sleeping. Take a look:

  • Every nuclear accident reported so far anywhere in the world has occurred on the night shift, when people are tired
  • Most highway accidents take place between midnight and 6:00 am and are fatigue-related. Their rate is nearly triple that of accidents occurring at noon or 6:00 pm
  • People who suffer from severe sleep apnea have more than twice as many car accidents as the general population
  • Fifty thousand car accidents a year occur because drivers fall asleep at the wheel
  • About 25 percent of American workers have work shifts that are not nine-to-five
  • The most difficult schedule for the body to adapt to is a “swing shift,” the work shift that cycles between the various day-parts. This challenge is similar to “jet lag,” the difficulty the body experiences during travel

Even if you aren’t flying off to Asia or working the night shift, it’s possible that you may have a profound sleep disorder called Circadian Rhythm Insomnia, simply because you live in the city or the suburbs. Why? Urban living there forces you to live and work under artificial light. As a result of unavoidably being exposed to so much light at night, you may actually suffer the same disrupted rhythms and light deprivation that a night worker suffers from. That’s because the natural cycle of the body seems to be about twenty-five hours. (Which is why you get a boost in the fall when we set the clocks back one hour.)

What Can You Do If You Think You Might Be Experiencing Circadian Rhythm Insomnia?

  • Try to work by day under natural light, in an office with windows. If you are an urban dweller, make sure your shades blot out the city lights at night. This will allow your brain the peace of total darkness
  • If you are a shift worker, try to change to an earlier shift. If that’s not possible, try to work regular hours
  • Consider taking melatonin extracts at night. Studies show this may help regulate your body clock. One study of individuals flying to Europe found that of you take melatonin for several days before your flight you can eliminate much of the impact of jet lag. However, not all medical professionals are convinced.
  • A newer treatment for circadian shift problems is simple, safe, and effective: Exposure to light that simulates sunlight. This is the same treatment commonly used to treat seasonal affective disorder (SAD). We’ve now learned that your inner body clock can be selectively manipulated by using bright light

Do You Need to See a Sleep Specialist?

OK, if you’ve removed your sleep robbing activities, put yourself on a sleep-promoting schedule, rid your bedroom of sleep vampires and STILL can’t sleep, you probably realize it’s time to take bigger steps.

Your first step will be to recognize that the sleep problems you or your partner are experiencing could be symptoms of an underlying illness or a complication created by medications you might currently be taking. So if you’re still playing the “Mother May I?” game, you’ll want to call your primary healthcare provider and make an appointment to discuss your situation.

You’ve probably heard that in recent years health-care professionals have become increasingly aware of the importance of sleep. So much so that professionals from a wide range of disciplines — including neurology, pulmonology (lungs), psychiatry, psychology, and otorhinolaryngology (ears/nose/throat) — have developed secondary specializations in the area of sleep. But trying to take a giant step there directly will get you nowhere.

Most certified sleep specialists require referrals from your primary care physician, so that’s why your best plan of action is to see your regular healthcare provider first. If he or she suspects a serious sleep disorder or feels testing would be beneficial, you will be referred to a specialist. And depending on the symptoms you report, that referral can happen lightening fast, so don’t try to bypass the referral step!

You’ve probably realized that some sleep specialists operate free-standing sleep centers sleep centers or sleep labs designed to diagnose sleep disorders while others work from hospitals or clinics. Maybe you’ve even heard that some testing can be done in the comfort of your home.

Where you end up will depend on what sort of issues you’re experiencing. Some centers are geared toward assessing breathing-related sleep problems, such as sleep apnea while other centers address a broader range of sleep disorders, including problems related to

  • Snoring
  • Restless legs syndrome
  • Narcolepsy
  • Teeth grinding
  • Night sweats
  • Sleep talking
  • Sleepwalking
  • Nightmares
  • Stress
  • Depression
  • Medications or other health issues which can impact your sleep

So To Sum It All Up, Here’s the Final Way Sleep Problems Are Related to That Old “Mother, May I?” Game:

There are a lot of ways to get to the goal line – once again getting a good night’s sleep. But your first step, once you’ve tried the suggestions listed above, needs to be to contact your primary care practitioner, and get a referral — the ol’ “Mother May I?” permission — to see a sleep specialist.

And if the worst case happens? If for example, it turns out you have sleep apnea and you’re advised that you ought to wear a sleep mask to bed every night? Here’s the great thing about that: Your neurologist will explain that if you wear the mask, you’re instantly and completely cured.

Which means you’ll have a lot more energy to go out and play with your friends! How wonderful is that!

Baby Boomers Worry: Is It Possible to Keep an Attitude of Gratitude Amidst Hurricanes, Bank Failures, Foreclosures, Rising Unemployment, Lying Politicians and a Plunging Dow?

September 19, 2008 by  
Filed under Anne Holmes, Blog, Spirit & Faith

Keep and Attitude of Gratitude

As you experience the media these days you are no doubt overwhelmed with stories of doom, gloom, horror and despair.

As one normally upbeat and independent Boomer woman recently observed, chain-smoking nervously: I’m worried. All I have to my name is my home, my retirement fund and social security. If things keep going the way they are, I’ll have to take in a roommate, or marry my boyfriend, just to survive.”

With comments like these being expressed daily, it’s no wonder the Pew Research Center reported that America’s Baby Boomers “are in a collective funk.”

The Pew Report Went on to Note That Boomers See Trouble Ahead and Less Progress Over Time…

Specifically their June 28th report said:

Not only do boomers give their overall quality of life a lower rating than adults in other generations, they also are more likely to worry that their incomes won’t keep up with inflation — this despite the fact that boomers enjoy the highest incomes of any age group.

More so than those in other generations, boomers believe it is harder to get ahead now than it was 10 years ago. And they are less apt than others to say their standard of living exceeds the one their parents had when their parents were the age they are now.

Sadly, that report was written before more recent calamitous events, which doubtless have only added to Boomer’s collective angst.

But Is An Attitude of Gratitude Still Realistic, or Even Possible?

The answer, thankfully, is “Emphatically YES!”

  • As evidence, just witness this blog post from Scott W., a gay artist and recovering alcoholic from Texas, who is living through Hurricane Ike with an Attitude of Gratitude.
    • Read his thoughts, and you see proof that you don’t have to be a self help guru, like Deepak Chopra, Joe Vitale, or Jack Canfield to realize the grace that comes from living with an attitude of abundance and positivity. And that gratitude is still possible in today’s world.
    • As Scott W. quotes from Pocket Sponsor:
    • Whatever vexes you currently, imagine for a moment what could make it worse. What can make it worse than that? Again. Imagine it, feel it, and come back to now. If you can make it worse, then you can make it better. Remember this: you are not helpless before your feelings.
  • Alternately, take a look at this post on the power of having an attitude of gratitude during illness. Here, blogger Kimberly Fabrizio reminds us of the value of keeping a gratitude journal (more on that below), where you can keep track of the little things you’re thankful for, even if you’re fighting a life altering illness like multiple sclerosis, as she is. Kimberly reminds you:
    • “When I talk about ‘gratitude’ here, I’m referencing thankfulness for the little things– those times in the day where you just stop and think, ‘Hmmmm… I’m living a great life.’ Sometimes we actually have to watch closely to catch those moments. Other times, those moments are highly noticeable; they jump right out at us.”

Both authors offer you wisdom and hope from their own dark times. Wise words to hold close to your heart.

Here’s More Proof You Can Enjoy An Attitude of Gratitude During These Most Challenging Times of Your Life…

If you want to discover more hopeful stories about people who have triumphed despite overwhelming challenges; you want to read  John Castagnini‘s book (there’s a website, too) Attitude of Gratitude. It’s a series of hopeful stories shared by people who have learned to celebrate their gratefulness for the most painful things which have happened to them, including death of a loved one, cancer, rape, and financial ruin. Can you imagine actually being grateful for any of these?

This is a book that transforms the human experience! In it, you have the opportunity to meet ordinary people and find out how they not only overcame life’s greatest challenges, they lived to become thankful for them. If you’re down and troubled by the world today:

  • If your home has been destroyed by flood, hurricane or tornado, this book shows you there is hope.
  • If you’ve lost your job or your life savings, there is hope.
  • If your heart has been broken and seems impossible to mend, there is hope.
  • If darkness seems to surround you, there is hope.
  • If no one seems to understand you or your pain, there is hope.

The stories in this book are truly amazing. Death, dysfunction and divorce abound and yet the authors – people just like you – triumphed. Not only did they transcend these tragedies, but they actually learned from them and wouldn’t change a thing. They found a greater self waiting on the other side of pain. You can too.

Grab this book now.

Sit down and read any of the one stories in it. You’ll instantly discover why some have called “Thank God I” the most significant contribution to the Spirit of Humanity in centuries. Most importantly, discover how you can be a part of it via the website! A brighter, loving, more inspired life in gratitude awaits you.

Where Were You When You First Learned About the Importance of Having An Attitude of Gratitude? Do You Remember?

I was Probably About Two Years Old When I Was First Exposed, Though As You’ll See, That First Lesson was Somewhat Lost on Me!

As I recall, it went like this:

I’d been visiting my grandmother in Madison, Wisconsin for a couple of weeks, and she’d become exasperated with my toddler behavior, though I don’t recall the specific details.

What I do remember is that she sat me up on her kitchen counter, my tiny two year old legs dangling, stared me down, and advised me that I was going to have to stay there until I’d thought about what a lucky girl I really was, and provided her with three things I was grateful for…

Well, never having heard the term, nor even being aware of the concepts of “luck” or “luckiness,” I was totally stumped. It looked like an endless day was looming ahead of me as I’d be stuck sitting up there on the counter, instead of outside playing in my sandbox

Thankfully Grandma took pity on me, and, good Christian woman that she was, tried to teach me the importance of being thankful for what we have. In the end, she even provided me with my ticket off the counter, suggesting three things for which she felt I ought to be appreciative:

  • “It’s a beautiful day.”
  • “The sun is shining.”
  • “I’m at grandma’s house.”

Anxious to Gain My Freedom From the Countertop, I Agreed These were “Good Things,” Dutifully Repeated the Mantra – And Regained Solid Ground!

Then Disaster Struck My Carefree Life: My Mother Had Been Alerted to My Newly Acquired Lesson:

Just a few of weeks later, back home in Michigan, and equally frustrated with my “terrible twos” behavior, my mother brought up the “gratitude” topic once again.

Things Went a Bit Differently This Time:

  • Mom unceremoniously stuffed my butt in a chair and pushed it into a corner, facing the wall.
  • She told me I had to stay there
  • Again I was stuck until I came up with – you got it – those darn three things I was grateful for.


I was confident. This was gonna be a cinch! Freedom from the punishment chair would soon be mine… all I had to do was remember what Grandma taught me!

So I dug back into the depths of my unschooled memory for the magic words, and carefully and triumphantly repeated them to her, word for word, exactly as I had been trained:

  • Slowly and tentatively I advised my mother of my first reason for having gratitude: “It’s a beautiful day.”
  • Then, gaining more confidence: “The sun is shining.”
  • Finally, success almost at hand, and taking a deep sigh of relief, the last one came out all in a rush: “And-I’m-at-grandma’s-house.”

How Proud I was! Success was Mine! I Had Pulled That Magic Formula from the Deepest Recesses of My Brain!!

So I was Completely Puzzled When the Look on My Mother’s Face Turned from Parental Pleasure to Confusion – And Then Convulsed into Laughter.

  • What was wrong?
  • I’d had been a “good girl”
  • I done what she’d asked
  • Darn it! I’d supplied the magic words. I’d told her what I was grateful for!

Thankfully, These Days, I’m Much More Aware of the Concept of Gratitude. And Why I am Grateful.

But I have to admit that a full half century later, whenever I hear anyone comment, “It’s a beautiful day, look how beautifully the sun is shining,” my mind automatically fills in the third part of the mystic triad: “And I’m at Grandma’s house.”

Then I laugh inside, and thank my mother and grandmother for their early efforts at teaching me the importance of maintaining an attitude of gratitude!

Do You Have an Attitude of Gratitude? How Do YOU Prefer to Express It?

If you haven’t been practicing an attitude of gratitude, take a note from my grandmother, and start by looking for the little things that you’re grateful for, as your day progresses. Then the big things will fall into place by themselves

  • Make a habit of looking for the positive angle in everything that happens to you. View obstacles as opportunities for you to appreciate.
  • Make mental notes throughout the day of the opportunities for gratitude which you discover. Notice how feeling gratitude actually shifts your mindset to the positive.
  • Focus on the wonderful things in life to attract similar encounters in the course of the day.
  • Use positive energy as a magnet to draw even more positive energy.

You’ll Want to Help Yourself Celebrate and Remember These Moments By Writing Them Down in Your Gratitude Journal.

A gratitude journal is a fantastic way to consciously call attention to the things for which you’re thankful, on a daily basis.
By focusing on gratitude, you become aware of these things, you shift your thinking to the positive and you gain a whole new outlook on life.
You can keep the gratitude journal in just about any format. Most people write theirs down on paper or online, but there’s no reason you can’t keep an audio or video journal. Here are a couple of easy ways to keep a gratitude journal:
  • The Gratitude Tracker is a free downloadable tool that resides on your computer. It’s easy to use, and a gift to the online world from Terrie Wurzbacher of Getting Unstuck, LLC. She believes it is the only Gratitude Journal with its own integrated sticky note program. The cool part about this tool is that whatever you write on your sticky note is automatically transferred to your journal. This means you can quickly upload thoughts of gratitude as they come to you, as long as you are online. Once installed, the sticky note pops up every time you open your browser, reminding you to practice an attitude of gratitude on a daily basis.
  • ButterBeeHappy is a free happiness journaling website launched early this year and dedicated to “pollinating populations with Happiness.” Developed based on Harvard research, it promises users that they will be happier by simply jotting down five happy thoughts a doesn’t claim to fix all problems, but our users do claim to feel happier after keeping a journal of gratitude and happy thoughts,” says John Brooks Pounders, 22, a student at the University of Alabama and founder of internet doesn’t have that many truly happy places for people to go to. I am trying to change this, five happy thoughts at a time.”
  • Create Your Own Journal: Start with a blank notebook or journal which you keep by your bed along with your writing tool of preference, so that it’s easy for you to write in it nightly. Why use this instead of the online tools or a pretty book with five lines a day? Well, as you get going with journaling, you’ll find that the five daily items you are grateful for become, seven, ten – even 20. Gratitude journaling is so transformational that once you get into the habit you find that you become grateful for everything! Which means you need more space to write – an actual blank book journal or notebook.  Look for:
    • spiral-bound notebook that opens flat for ease in writing works well, as does a three ring binder.
    • Lined or unlined paper, of any size or color, according to your preference.
    • Space to personalize your gratitude journal with drawings, clippings, photos, quotes or verses you find in magazines, like you might do with a vision board

How Do You Begin Writing Your Gratitude Journal?

It’s best to keep it simple, so you actually make a habit of doing it. Try this:

  • Write down five things you’re grateful for just before you climb into bed.
  • To get your thoughts rolling, review your day and include anything – however small or great – that you realize was a source of gratitude for you that day.
  • These sources might be as simple as the memory of an inviting aroma that came from a bakery you walked past, the colors of the sunset, a kind word or smile from a stranger, even a song you heard on the radio.
  • Make sure your list is personal.
  • Write just a few words about each of the five benefits or blessings.
  • You may be brief at first, but feel free to increase the length of your posts as time progresses.

Remember, If You Can’t Think of Anything Positive to Write, Here’s Help:

Begin by reading John Castagnini’s inspirational book “Thank God I…,” or if you’re in a hurry to get your grateful thoughts down on paper, just start by writing down my original mantra:

  • “It’s a beautiful day.”
  • “The sun is shining.”
  • I’m at grandma’s house.”

After you stop chuckling about “grandma’s house,” you’re sure to come up with many things you’re personally grateful for!

Try it and see!

Bucket List Redux: Is Starting Your Personal Dream List Frustrating You? Or Maybe You’ve Got the List, But You Can’t Figure Out How to “Make It Happen?”

September 16, 2008 by  
Filed under Anne Holmes, Blog, Work, Money & Retirement

Start Your Personal Dream List

Clearly the desire to create a list of things you want to experience before you die; a “dream” – or “bucket” – list is popular with Baby Boomers. It’s also exciting many of you who are a bit older…

After our recent post about making a Bucket List,” one of our readers shared his story of his lifelong dream of sailing a boat around the Eastern half of the United States. He said he’d envisioned the trip this way:

  • He’d start in the Midwest, sailing from the Upper Mississippi River down to New Orleans
  • Then he’d sail out into the Gulf, around Florida via the Intercoastal Waterway
  • Next lap would be up the Atlantic Coast, into the Chesapeake Bay
  • Continue west into New York, down the Erie Canal
  • Onward through the Canadian Heritage Canals and through the Great Lakes
  • Finally he would complete the circle, sailing back to the Mississippi River

Amazingly, He Actually Completed His Dream Trip This Summer, At the Age of 78. Along the Way, He Found Out That:

  • He DIDN’T invent this trip, it’s been done before, and is actualy called the “Great Circle Route,” or America’s “Great Loop”
  • You can’t sail down the Mississippi due to the height of a sailboat’s mast, and the inevitable bridges. (So he had to change the vision an bit, and make the trip in a power yacht)
  • It’s best to have on-board help for navigating the locks and tying up the boat, so this is not a trip to make alone
  • You can’t actually get all the way down to New Orleans via the Mississippi – the opportunities for gas purchase run out
  • The trip took years to plan and arrange, and parts of several years to complete
  • It was the adventure of a lifetime; in fact, sometimes he and his one or two man crew experienced an adventure a day
  • He’s already hard at work on the next item on his dream list… hand-building a sailboat large enough that he can live on it!

The story of this man’s dream trip was so fascinating and inspiring, we will be sharing it with you in an upcoming post. Sign up for our RSS feed or join our email list, so you can make sure you don’t miss it!

Meanwhile, Lots of You Report You’re Excited About Creating Your Very Own “Bucket List.” But You’re Challenged In Two Ways

You’re Either:

  • Feeling a bit anxious over your ability to create a “worthy list” OR
  • Wondering how you can help make your dreams actually happen!

No worries! Read on to find out how you can readily overcome both of these frustrations and go happily on your way, proudly checking experiences off of your very own list

Many People “Get Stuck” After Listing Just a Couple Dreams. Here’s How to Come Up With the Other 95 Items You Want to Add to Your List.

  • First, realize you’re not alone. As intriguing as it is to have a bucket list, many people have trouble building theirs.
  • Maybe it’s because you aren’t used to identifying what you want to achieve in life.
  • Or maybe it’s because you’re unsure what’s realistic to include. In that case, you might decide to put off creating your list until you’re “crystal clear” on what you want.
  • This is NOT a good idea – procrastination never gets anything done – and you might be missing some fantastic opportunities along the way.

So here’s how to get started building a list you can’t wait to launch into…

First, don’t allow performance anxiety to stop you from creating your bucket list, just start.

It may help to tell yourself that you are merely creating a preliminary rough draft. There’s some freedom that comes from knowing nothing is set in stone. You can ALWAYS add, delete, or modify as you go along.

Start by Spending Some Time Brainstorming with Yourself. Here’s How to Get Going:

  • Begin by setting a time for your personal brainstorming session
  • Find a place where you won’t be interrupted, ideally an inspirational place, but that’s not required
  • Provide a notepad and pens, a tape recorder or a computer. Some way to take notes
  • Get seated so you’re comfortable
  • Pour yourself your favorite beverage, tea, coffee, whatever. Gotta keep those brain cells hydrated!
  • Set your kitchen timer for thirty to forty-five minutes. Realize you can spend more time if you wish, but you want to begin with this as a minimum
  • Take a few deep breaths to clear your mind. Relax, focus and prepare to have some fun thinking about wonderful possibilities
  • If possible, play some Baroque music in the background. Pieces like Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons” and Pachbel’s “Cannon” have been shown to slow brainwaves down to the Alpha range, the brain frequency which has been linked to increased creativity
  • Do not criticize or evaluate what you write down during the brainstorming process: you’re trying to open yourself up to possibilities
  • Write down whatever comes into your head, it doesn’t matter how wildly impractical the idea seems
  • Mentally agree to silence your internal critic, that little voice in your head that might be saying: “You can’t do that”; “That’s silly”; “I can’t afford that.”
  • Push the limits on what you currently think is possible for you and think outside the boundaries of your current life
  • Once you get going, don’t stop at 100; write down as many things as come to your mind
  • Later you can sift through the list you created and narrow it down to 100

Give Your Brain a “Kick Start:” Begin By Reviewing this List, Which is Merely a Starting Point… Designed to Get Your Creative Juices Flowing!!

  1. Run in the Boston Marathon
  2. Kiss someone passionately in public (maybe give yourself bonus points if you do this on a blind date!!)
  3. Test drive a Ferrarri
  4. Write a script for a TV show
  5. Set foot on each of the seven continents
  6. Attend the Richard Petty Driving Experience
  7. Volunteer abroad for a month
  8. Visit a real “Blues Bar” in Chicago
  9. Enter and Win a recipe contest
  10. Volunteer at a soup kitchen
  11. Learn to dance the tango (extra “points” for learning in Argentina)
  12. Send a message in a bottle
  13. Speak publicly on something you’re passionate about
  14. Make love on a train
  15. Help build a house with Habitat for Humanity
  16. Learn a new language and practice speaking it with natives
  17. Buy a boat and learn to sail
  18. Be a contestant on a game show, like “Jeopardy”
  19. Serve on a jury
  20. Write that novel you have tucked away inside you
  21. Become someone’s mentor
  22. Sleep under the stars
  23. Attend a state fair
  24. Make bread from scratch
  25. Skydive
  26. Learn to play a musical instrument
  27. Teach others how to do something you love, share the joy
  28. Research your family heritage and document it for your children
  29. Learn to surf and practice your “hang ten” skills at all the best surf beaches of the world
  30. Donate to a favorite cause anonymously
  31. Visit all the European capitals
  32. Cruise America’s “Great Loop”
  33. Spend the night in an historic hotel (maybe give yourself extra points for “experience a ghost?”)
  34. Take a hot air balloon ride
  35. Learn to paraglide
  36. Meet a U.S. President
  37. Start a business
  38. Become a millionaire
  39. Take your grandchildren on a once-in-a-lifetime trip
  40. Dance naked under the Northern Lights during the Summer Solstice (again, give extra points for doing this while summering with the Laplanders in Norway)

Finally: Whatever Your Bucket List Includes, Here’s How to Make Sure The Items On Your Dream List Actually Happen!

In a prior Bucket List post, you read a review of Jack Canfield’s book, Key to Living the Law of Attraction.” There, Jack identified one of his best keys to making dreams become reality: Vision Boards.

Vision Boards are a highly effective tool. Perhaps you saw the movie “The Secret,” where Jack tells the story of how he actually purchased the exact same house he had placed on a vision board a few years prior. And, since he hadn’t realized he had done this, how emotionally moved he was when his young son helped bring this to his attention.

Yes, vision boards work. But if you want to experience “vision boards” on steroids – if you want to REALLY jump start your bucket list and perhaps start living your dreams in as short a time as 90 days – you should actually make your very own Mind Movie.

Of course, the Mind Movies website offers you a series of six free generic mind movies which you can watch twice a day to help you manifest your bucket list.

But, if you’d prefer to create a powerful Mind Movie all your own, with your own visuals, affirmations and music, you can do that, too. So imagine the power of watching a three minute movie twice a day that’s totally created to help you manifest everything on your bucket list!

And it’s easy to do yourself,  because the highly affordable Mind Movie creation kit comes with video tutorials that will help you to quickly and simply build a 3 minute slideshow/movie of your perfect life. Watch your Mind Movie every morning and night to help manifest through the Law of Attraction everything you want to be and everything you want to do.

The Mind Movies Concept Takes Setting Intentions, Creating Treasure Maps, Vision Boards or Dream Boards and Repeating Affirmations to A New Level

If you’re familiar with the concept of the Law of Attraction, if you understand that THOUGHTS BECOME THINGS, you can instantly understand how Mind Movies will help you:

  • Focus on what you want instead of what you don’t want
  • Create positive statements that are full of joy and gratitude and state them in the present tense
  • Remember to have an Attitude of Gratitude
  • Engage yourself in the process rather than just stating the affirmation
  • Take the Necessary Action to Make Your Dream Come True!
When you make a Mind Movie, you are able to take your ideas from the abstract “wish” state into reality in a very short time. Your Mind Movie will help you pull your dream into reality, because it uses visuals and music to helps you align your deepest strongest feeling and emotions and put it all together:
  • The desire
  • Your description of it
  • What it looks like
  • What it feels like

So Here’s to Activating Your “Creative Muse” and Getting on Your Way!

“You’ll be on your way up!
You’ll be seeing great sights!
You’ll join the high fliers
who soar to high heights.”

~ Dr. Seuss “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!”

Real Boomer Women Not Offended By Media Uproar Over “Putting Lipstick on a Pig.” But Isn’t It True You’d Rather Spend Your Time “Wearing” Lipstick and Riding Your “Hog?”

September 12, 2008 by  
Filed under Anne Holmes, Blog, Politics, Travel & Leisure

Lipstick and a HOG

OK, You Asked to Get to the Bottom of This Latest Campaign Silliness So You Can Move On. Here You Go:

According to “Media Matters for Media,” a Web-based, not-for-profit research and information center dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media, here’s what really brought about the US presidential campaign’s latest dither, the outrageous “putting lipstick on a pig” brouhaha:

  • First “The Boston Globe reported that former acting Massachusetts Gov. Jane Swift “led the Republican charge” that Sen. Barack Obama’s “lipstick” comment regarding Sen. John McCain’s policies was ‘an echo of [Gov. Sarah] Palin’s joke during her convention speech.’
  • “But Swift did more than charge that Obama’s statement was “an echo” of Palin’s joke; she actually accused Obama of calling Palin a pig.
  • She “directed media traffic” by opining that, “It was a comment that obviously people in the audience and the press interpreted to be directed at Governor Palin. I interpreted it that way. I found it offensive.”
  • “Then the next day, during an interview with MSNBC’s Norah O’Donnell, Swift backtracked from that accusation.
  • Unfortunatley for you who don’t have time to waste on trivialities, “The Globe reported neither the direct accusation nor the backtrack.” And the story grew huge, as the campaign and the media once again attempted to create inflammatory news rather than report truth.
  • In the interest of truth: Swift is a national member of the McCain campaign’s recently announced “Palin Truth Squad” – set up to counter attacks on Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.
  • No wonder the Public Relations Society of America issued a media advisory, calling on both the McCain and Obama campaigns to commit to the highest standards of ethical practice in every facet of their campaign communications.

It was sort of like watching an episode of Seinfeld, much ado about “nothing”…  Except that the McCain machine engineered the media,  to make you think you were watching breaking news instead of wasting your time over “nothing.” Don’t you hate finding out you’ve been manipulated?

Now, in case you’ve been living under a rock for the last decade, and don’t really know the long political history of the infamous “putting lipstick on a pig” phrase, you can refer to our own glossary definition of putting lipstick on a pig, which reports that it is a “term used by many, generally in reference to someone who may be trying to make something or someone look appealing or attractive when it quite clearly will not work, or will only deceive the dumbest of people.”

And of course, Boomer voters are not dumb, so in the end, the effort didn’t work any better than the earlier and equally ill-conceived “Obama is a Muslim” plan….

But to finally put this story to rest, let’s remember what Barack Obama told David Letterman:
If I had meant my “lipstick on a pig” remarks about Sarah Palin, she’d actually be the lipstick… not the pig.”

Have You, Like Other Boomers, Had Enough with the Spin, Fluff, Innuendo, Incomplete Information, Character Assassination, Unchallenged Reporting of Falsehoods – And Outright Lies That This Presidential Campaign Has Become?

Likely you have. After all, since McCain announced Palin as his running mate, we’ve been subjected to all kinds of silly and sexist media posturing:

  • First there was the obvious spin: “Women want to be her and men want to mate with her,” opined Donny Deutsch on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street”
  • While in an interview with Newsweek, Harvard Business School’s John Quelch said that he thinks of Barack Obama as a new Prius and John McCain as an “old Ford F-150.” Then told Ad Age That McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin was a “good brand extension,” likening it to “putting a red Chevy Camaro in the garage next to his truck.”
  • And later in that same Ad Age article, Bill Hillsman, Chief Creative Officer at Minneapolis’ North Woods Advertising agency said, “Palin for VP may be the best news for the snowmobile industry in the past five years,” adding that her presence on the ticket may induce the “boys with toys” market segment – those independent male voters, outdoorsman who are fishers, campers, hunters and who own 4WD trucks, ATV’s, boats, jet skis, etc., to vote Republican
  • And just before the “lipstick” got smeared, you started reading about Sarah Palin as a fashion statement, with discusisons of her red shoes and frameless eyeglasses, not to mention all the other “news” relating to her fishing, hunting and parenting skills.
  • Yet for weeks, no “solid meat” — Not much real substance had emerged about Palin’s political viewpoints.

Instead of All These References in Terms of “Boys and Their Toys,” Perhaps it is Time to Consider How the “Boomer Girls with Toys” will Respond?

You know: The real-life Boomer women who’d rather wear lipstick and ride hogs than concern themselves with lipsticked pigs. As in women owners of Harley-Davidson motorcycles. What? You didn’t know one in every ten Harley owners is a woman? The company certainly does. That’s why:

  • Their website has a special women riders section, and why the various H.O.G. (Harley Owner Group) clubs offer special events for women, as well.
  • One of the big events at this year’s huge Harley-Davidson’s huge 105th Anniversary Celebration was a women’s ride, in which 300 women grabbed the throttle and paraded through the streets.
  • And why one of the riders, Wisconsin State Senator Mary Lazich, commented, “There’s nothing more relaxing, and nothing more fun than riding; and riding with women.”


Shattering More Stereotypes

You’ve no doubt come to understand that today’s Harley owner is more likely to be a surgeon, a Web site developer or advertising agency art director than a rebel without a cause.

Likely you’ve seen enough Harley riders out enjoying weekend getaways at antique stores and resorts to realize that the typical Harley owner is a married, 44-year-old college graduate with a household income of $70,000.

But perhaps you hadn’t realized how many Harley owners are women.

Regardless, everyone knows Harley-Davidson stands for no-nonsense, for “macho.” It’s as much a part of the world’s image of America as Levi’s, McDonald’s or Coca-Cola. After all, a Harley-Davidson is more than just a motorcycle. It’s:

  • An Obsession
  • Something to Believe in
  • An exhilerating way to Escapethe trivialities of mundane life

Here are some interesting resources about women who own and ride Harleys:

It is fitting that Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based Harley Davidson’s huge 105th Anniversary Celebration took place August 27th -30th, this year: Sandwiched, timewise, right in between the Denver hosted Democratic National Convention (August 25th-28th) and the RNC party in Minneapolis, which took place September 1st through 4th.

Maybe the candidates should have spent more time in Milwaukee? After all, Wisconsin is going to be a highly contested state….

Meanwhile, in order to regain your sanity, Boomer Lifestyle suggests that Boomer Women ignore the meaningless soundbites from both campaigns and the media:  Instead, brighten up your lips and go out and enjoy the fall colors — on a HOG, if you’ve got one.

Maybe if women voters ignore them long enough, the campaigns will return to discussions about issues of substance by the time the autumn leaves have fallen.

After all, the fall leaf shows won’t keep, but after the leaves fall, there will still be plenty of time for political debate before the November election.

Ride On, Ladies!

Do You Have a “Bucket List?” You Know, A List of Things You Want to Do Before You Die?

September 8, 2008 by  
Filed under Anne Holmes, Blog, Work, Money & Retirement

The concept of a bucket list was popularized by the recent buddy flick of the same name, in which two terminally ill middle-aged men, one a corporate mogul, the other a mechanic (marvelously played by Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman) bust out of a cancer ward in order to experience life to the fullest before they die.

If you’ve seen the film, you know the two meet while sharing a hospital room, and don’t initially hit it off, which adds to the movie’s comedy.

Their adventure begins when Freeman, the “mechanic,” tells Nicholson, the “mogul,” about a challenge his college philosophy professor had set forth: to make a list of the top things you’d like to accomplish before you die – and actually experience them.

Before We Know It, They Are:

  • Hitting the tables in Monte Carlo
  • Climbing the pyramids
  • Riding Harleys on the Great Wall of China
  • Stalking wild animals on an African safari
  • Downing obscene amounts of caviar, and
  • Tearing up the road in supercharged cars

All in the name of experiencing life to to fullest before they meet the grim reaper. Thankfully, the movie ultimately sends its two wanderers to the people, not the places, who matter. “Find the joy in your life,” Freeman tells Nicholson before the credits roll. Great advice for all Baby Boomers.

Have You Thought About Creating Your Own List of Ultimate Experiences?”

You know, a list of:

  • Places you want to travel
  • People you want to meet
  • Things you want to do
  • Experiences you want to encounter, maybe even
  • Stuff you want to own

It isn’t complicated.

You simply start a list titled “100 things I Want to Do Before I Die” and keep going until you reach at least 100. It doesn’t have to be a fancy list. (In the movie, Morgan’s list is written on a sheet of yellow notepad paper. And initially he throws it away…)

But don’t throw yours away. The important thing is that you write it down and keep it in a safe place, where you can refer to it frequently. Then if you really want to get serious, go public with the list.

Most likely the first 25 or so will come easy, then the next 75 will probably be a bit more challenging. But don’t let that stop you.

Probably the first 25 things you think of will be basic simple stuff and not too much of a stretch. You know, fairly predictable goals like:

  • Lose weight
  • Drink more water
  • Start an exercise program
  • Plant a garden in the spring
  • Join a club
  • Look up your best friend from high school on Facebook
  • Write a Letter to the Editor of your newspaper
  • Organize your closets… or
  • Make a plan for retirement (Yikes, that last one’s a “biggie,” how’d that get in with the easy ones?)

Then, once the easy stuff is out of the way, you are forced out of your comfort zone and you have to start dreaming. Now you’re listing things that aren’t goals, they are possibilities.

Now You’re On to Things You Would Want to Do if Nothing Stood in Your Way…

Maybe you’ll decide to include popular Baby Boomer legacy-building experiences like:

  • Start a retirement business (there it is again, that concept of planning for retirement; maybe you really ought to work on that one first!
  • Stop procrastinating
  • Write a book
  • Fall in love
  • Learn to be happy
  • Go on a road trip with no predetermined destination
  • Take a hot air balloon ride
  • Get married
  • Go on an Alaskan cruise
  • Witness a miracle
  • Meet the Dalai Lama
  • See the Northern Lights
  • Mend a relationship
  • Buy a Harley and learn to ride it
  • Take your grandkids on a memorable trip – one kid at a time

You Need to Start Your Bucket List Action Plan Now

If you’re not sure how to get your bucket list started, don’t worry. Here’s help! Check out “Jack Canfield’s Key to Living the Law of Attraction: A Simple Guide to Creating the Life of Your Dreams.” A fantastic book, you’ll find it’s also a quick, easy read.

In the book, Canfield, who you may remember from the movie “The Secret,” not only explains the Law of Attraction and how it pertains to your life goals, he also clarifies that crucial part from the movie about how whatever you focus on expands.

Once you understand this crucial concept, you’ll immediately know how to make your “bucket agenda” a reality. (The book also explains why you don’t want to allow limiting thoughts and beliefs to enter your mind.) But here’s the “big stuff” that’s really helpful. The book:

  • Includes easy to use worksheets that help you set goals and come up with your own personal bucket list. (Canfield calls it a “dream list.” But whichever you call it, it’s the same thing…)
  • Introduces you to the concept of creating a vision book and a gratitude journal
  • Provides you with a 24 item list that gives you with the key to unlocking the law of attraction and creating the life of your dreams
  • Is quite simply a fabulous tool for creating your own list, whether you end up calling it Your Bucket List or Your Dream List.

Finally, Canfield’s book explains how to use Affirmations, Visualization, Attitude, Prayer and Action to make your dreams reality!

Can’t beat that!

So grab the book right now and GO FOR IT!


Not that time’s short, but why not see how many items can you check off your bucket list this year?

In the End, You’ve Gotta Say, “Just Do It!”

Start making your bucket list today. If you already have a list get it out, review it and add to it.

After all, you can’t kick the bucket if you’ve still got stuff on your list, right?

So what’s on your list?

Wanna share?

Newly Diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes: Wondering if You’ll Ever Be Able to Enjoy Treats Like Chocolate, Ice Cream, or Granola Again?

September 6, 2008 by  
Filed under Anne Holmes, Blog, Diabetes, Food & Recipes, Wellness

Can You Still Eat Treats With Type 2 Diabetes?

If you’re like most Baby Boomers who’ve suddenly found themselves with newly-acquired Type 2 diabetes, you were probably totally shocked when routine blood work during your annual check-up revealed your blood glucose numbers were “out of whack.” (Sorry, Highly Technical Term)

It Seems Baby Boomers Are More Likely to Develop Type 2 Diabetes

The typical Type 2 Diabetic profile includes:

  • Over 40
  • Sedentary and overweight, especially with excess weight around the middle (“Apple” body type)
  • Hispanic, Black, Native American, or Asian background

The Good News is You Can Handle It – Even the “Healthy Eating” Part!

Here are some helpful tips to get you started on the road to glycemic control:

  • Set goals for controlling your diabetes with your doctor
  • Arrange for some training in how to handle your new challenge. (Many hospitals and clinics now have diabetes education offerings, and many insurance programs cover this)
  • Check out web sites designed to help you manage your diabetes, too. All have great tips and recipes. Here are several good ones:

Be Honest About Your Eating Habits

When you meet with the dietician during your diabetes training sessions, it’s tempting to try to put a “good face” on your eating habits, but best to tell the truth… Your goal is to find out what changes you need to make in your diet in order to keep your blood glucose numbers in control.

  • Don’t worry, most likely you will still be able to enjoy eating many of your favorite foods – but now you’ll learn to use healthy moderation
  • Your dietician will show you that you don’t have to settle for boring food; in fact, you’ll still be able to enjoy loads of foods with ethnic and regional flavors
  • Realistically some foods may have to be prepared differently
  • But amazingly, many of your old favorite treats, like ice cream, chocolate or granola will probably still fit into your healthy new regimen.
  • Apparently it’s not so much about the sugar, as it is about something called the “glycemic index” which measures how fast a food is likely to raise your blood sugar.

Your Dietician Can Best Advise You on Your Situation

Everyone’s specific situation is different, and diabetes is not to be ignored, so this post does not attempt to provide medical advice. But just to prove that you probably will be able to enjoy some of your old favorite foods – in appropriate moderation, of course – here are a handful of diabetic diet-approved recipes for granola. For help with your dietary calculations, all of them come complete with nutritional information.

Remember, Granola isn’t Just for Breakfast (or Hippies) Anymore… Never Was, Actually

You can also enjoy it as an appetizer, a snack, or pack it with you on a hike. The hiking-take-along concept is important; since you’ll most certainly be looking for ways to get more exercise, and a brisk hike accented at the end with a snack like one of these crunchy and naturally sweet granolas can be extremely satisfying!

What a Delicious Way to Reward Yourself for Working Up a Healthy Sweat!

  • Granny’s Old Fashioned Apple Granola
  • Eight Great Recipes for Low Fat Homemade granola

Why not plan to enjoy one of these delicious and nutritional recipes today!

The Shocking Truth About Hip Hop Dancing: Who Knew It’s Actually A Hellaciously Fun, Heart-Healthy Workout That Also Benefits Your Brain?

September 4, 2008 by  
Filed under Anne Holmes, Blog, Health & Fitness, Memory Loss, Wellness

If you’re like many Baby Boomers, you’re always planning to get to the gym “next week” when you life won’t be quite so busy. (Yeah, right.) You probably already know that what you really need to do is to find an exercise program that is so much fun you can’t wait to get back to it. (And of course, it’d be even better if you could do it wherever you find yourself – at home, at work or on the road – without having to buy any expensive equipment). Otherwise, with your “busy-busy-busy” lifestyle, fitting in a trip to the gym falls to the bottom of your to-do list

Maybe the Beijing Olympics Inspired You a Bit?

No doubt watching 42-year old Dara Torres anchor the U.S. women’s 4×100-meter freestyle relay to a silver medal finish encouraged you to find time to get back into a fitness routine. Dara’s certainly a testament to dedication, passion and willpower. Doubtless she motivated millions of Boomers who’ve slipped away from the health benefits of a regular exercise routine.  But for fitness-challenged Boomers, Dara may not have been the most inspirational presence at the recent Beijing Olympics. Nor were the 20 other older Olympians – motivational as they were — who represented other sports, including:

  • John Dane, a 58 year old sailor, whose pursuit for an Olympic berth began 40 years ago in 1968. Dane has teamed with his son-in-law to make the team in the Star event.
  • Libby Callahan, 56 year old pistol shooter and retired Washington, DC police officer, who competed in her fourth Games.
  • Hiroshi Hoketsu, Beijing’s oldest Olympian at 67, who competed on the Japanese equestrian team.

No, For Pure Fitness Inspiration, Nothing Could Possibly Beat Beijing’s “Hip Hop Grannies” – Who Weren’t Even IOC-Sanctioned Olympians!

Did catch the Hip Hop Dancing exhibition led by Wu Ying, a 70 year old Chinese grandmother from Beijing? Her troupe, the Hip-Hop Grannies,” performed on set of the Today show, and were truly amazing. Check it out for true inspiration!!

For The Hip-Hop Grannies, Dancing Proves “50 Is the New 30”

Wu Ying is from a generation that lived through some of modern China’s most tumultuous decades, including the stifling Cultural Revolution era, when western cultural thought and influences were banned. She probably never heard of the Boomer slogan “50 is the new 30,” but she does know the benefits she’s gained from her fun exercise program that she can practice anywhere. And she plans to dance for as long as she physically can, noting:

“I think that dancing hip-hop has made me younger, happier, [and] improved my memory.”

Dancing Also Benefits Mental Health

The physical health payoff from dancing might appear obvious, but there’s more: Regular physical exercise also staves off dementia and improves mental acuity. Just ask the “Grannies:”

  • Liu Jian Zhu, a 59-year-old former pharmacist with the Chinese air force, said dancing hip-hop has been “a breakthrough” for her. “Since I was in the military, my life had been required to be serious and intense,” Liu explained. “It has really changed my life and personality.”
  • Wen Di, 55, used to work as a railroad construction technician, but after retiring just last year she wanted to find something to fill what she called the emptiness in her life. “I saw Wu’s dancing on TV and thought that it was very inspiring.”
  • Says Wu: “We represent a new image, a new fashion for Chinese grandmothers. We develop with time and connect with the world. We don’t just learn our own Chinese culture. We learn cultures from other countries to enrich ourselves and our lives to lead a more colorful and high-quality life.”

How the Chinese Dancing Grannies Got Started

Wu Ying began performing hip-hop routines in 2003, after catching the first National Hip-Hop Dancing Competition on Chinese television:

  • “The competitors were all young people, wearing headscarves, headdresses, hats, and various clothes,” recounted Wu, a retired accountant who was 66 at the time. “I thought that was very fresh.”
  • Inspired by “the look they had in their eyes, the way they moved their fingers, heads and bodies,” Wu thought hip-hop dancing would be perfect for herself and China’s aged and infirm.
  • Wu set out to learn hip-hop dancing at a local gym.
  • She also began looking to put together a five-member troupe to promote hip-hop dancing by touring the country and by performing on Chinese TV.

The Hip-Hop Granny Dance Team soon formed and the Grannies – whose average age was 60 – made their debut in August of 2004 at the Beijing qualifier for the National Hip-Hop Dancing Competition.

  • They faced off against people several decades younger.
  • “They (the younger competition) were professionals.”
  • “We seniors didn’t know much so we were very nervous.”

But their daily rehearsal routines paid off; the women walked off with third prize.

So Now It’s Your Turn to Get Up Off Your Couch and Started Dancing!

Here’s how to start hip-hop dancing in your neighborhood!

  • Download your free Hip Hop Radio toolbar, and start dancing to the hip hop beat from the comfort of your home.
  • Find out if there’s a dance studio near you offering adult hip-hop and sign up. Do it now. Don’t let the grass grow under your feet! (They really wanna be dancing!)
  • Check out this great list of hip hop dancing videos which you can order online and start learning in the comfort of your own home.

And one last parting thought: Wu Ying says the next dance she plans to tackle is break dancing! Think you can keep up with this spry septuagenarian Chinese grandmother?

Powerful Free Visualization Tool: Who Else Wants To Know How To Successfully Harness the Law of Attraction?

September 3, 2008 by  
Filed under Anne Holmes, Blog, Spirit & Faith

Remember When You Were A Kid: Everything Seemed Possible and You Believed That When You Grew Up, You Would Be Able to Achieve Anything You Wanted? Well, It’s Not Too Late…

In the last year, there’s been a lot of talk about a movie called “The Secret,” and how it trains you to use the Law of Attraction to achieve your goals. If you’ve heard much about the “LOA,” you know it involves using visualization techniques to cause a desired result to “manifest” itself.  Maybe you’ve thought about giving visualizion a try, just to see what all the hype was about?  Perhaps you’ve even tried it. If it worked, likely you’re a convert; but if it didn’t work, you probably decided it was all sort of “airy fairy” stuff.  Well, Ryan Higgins from Australia was once in your shoes, but no more. Here’s how he tells it:

  • “I was packing boxes in a factory to make my living. I had to get up at 4 a.m. every morning to drive an hour to a job I hated.”
  • “I felt like a prisoner, chained to that horrible job every day for seven years. I was always there, because I couldn’t afford even a few days off.”
  • “No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t seem to earn more than just enough to scrape by.
  • Every time I paid a bill or bought groceries, I was sweating it out, afraid my credit card would be declined.
  • I wanted so much more, but wishing didn’t pay the bills.”

No shirker, Ryan kept working trying to get to a place where he enjoyed life and had the chance to live the life of his dreams:

Perhaps, like Ryan, you’ve found visualization too confusing or too difficult to do.  Or, in a sort of a self-fulfilling cycle, perhaps you’ve even let a challenge with implementing visualization further impede your visualization process because you quit believing the process will work — and finally ended up thinking, “why bother?” As Ryan explains it:

  • “I tried my hardest to think positively, even repeating affirmations to myself out loud every day.
  • “I think my ‘box packing’ coworkers thought I was nuts!
  • “They weren’t too far wrong, I felt like I was going crazy in that place.”

All of which caused Ryan to feel like a failure, a loser. Sometimes he says he even felt like giving up. Maybe you’ve sometimes felt that way too.

Sadly, Many People Are Visualization-Challenged. Are You?

Hopefully not, because visualization is absolutely essential to realizing your dreams. Most likely, if you have trouble visualizing, it’s because, like Ryan, you haven’t figured out how to keep focusing your mind on your desired outcome:

  • Long enough
  • Strongly enough, or
  • Consistently enough

Once you understand power of the Law of Attraction, you realize that the only way you will ever achieve anything is by “seeing” where you want to go in crystal clear detail. And it’s the consistent “seeing” that sets off a cosmic “chain reaction” and brings your dreams to life. Once this happens, you recognize that:

  • NOBODY becomes wealthy “Accidentally.”
  • Nor do they graduate from college, meet their soulmate or acquire the job of their dreams “Purely by Chance.”

It doesn’t matter how old or young you are, or how big your dreams are: When you mentally “lock in” on an actual picture of your ideal life, you can make anything happen. The movie The Secret makes this abundantly clear, as does this free visualization tool which is edited from clips of that movie.

Happily, Ryan’s Story Has a Happy Ending… Better Yet, He’s Got One For You: A FREE Instantly Downloadable Visualization Tool

Here’s how he continues with his amazing story:

  • “One day I stumbled onto something when I was talking with a friend, who showed me a quote by Napoleon Hill, the author of “Think and Grow Rich”… ‘Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.’
  • “Suddenly it was like everything fell into place, and I knew exactly what was missing!
  • “That one sentence written almost 70-years ago held the secret. I was sure of it. Because here’s what I realized…
  • “Achieving What You Want is EASY when you stop struggling and tap into your Automatic Success Magnet. “

You May Think of Ryan’s New Tool as A “Visualization Board on Steriods,” But He Simply Calls His Product “Mind Movies.”

As you recall, Ryan had been captivated by Napoleon Hill’s famous quote, “Anything the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” He decided to create a vision board using images depicting what he envisioned as his perfect life, which he assembled into a 3 minute slideshow/movie and set to music. Once he’d created his movie, he watched it twice a day – every morning and night – while he continued working at his frustrating dead-end factory job. Watching the movie finally allowed Ryan to focus and actually SEE his dream.

  • So he was finally able to take his dreams from the abstract or “wish” state and into reality in an amazingly short period of time.
  • And these days, with the practice he’s acquired, he’s regularly able to manifest his dreams even faster.

Ryan discovered that the amount of emotion he was able to attach to his desire, combined with the strength of his belief systems aligned with his desire, determined how quickly he was able to see reality rearranging to fit his desire. And this will work for you, too, because: A Mind Movie helps you put everything together—the desire, how you describe it, what it looks like, what it feels like, and the inspiring music align the desire with your deepest, strongest feelings and emotions.

Amazingly, Just 90 Days After He Began Using His Mind Movie, Ryan Achieved Everything He’d Built Into the Movie:

And today, a few Mind Movies later, he is:

  • Debt-free and able to buy the home of his dreams
  • Freed of his J.O.B.
  • Traveling the world, visiting wonderful vacation spots
  • Married to the woman of his dreams
  • Exercizing, eating right and enjoying a healthy body complete with enviable “6-pack abs”

NOW: In a gesture of “paying it forward,” Ryan has created Six Free Mind Movies

Which he’s offering to you — and the world — at no charge. Yes, that’s right! Ryan has created freely downloadable mind movies on the most popular topics for which people seek help:

  • Health
  • Spirituality
  • Money
  • Friends & Family
  • Attracting a woman
  • Attracting a man

Each one features wonderful photos, effective affirmations and powerfully upbeat music. So, follow my lead by downloading these free mind movies now, and see for yourself!

But Here’s Where It Gets Even Better!

The free Mind Movies are fantastic. Watch them twice a day and you’ll see the Universe align for you, just as he did. But what if you’d like a more personalized movie? You know, one made just for you, custom-made with your own personal photos, your own personalized affirmations and the music track of your choice. You can have that, too.

Share Your Personal Visualization Experience And You Might Even Win $5,000!

Yes, because you demanded it, Ryan went on to create the best visualization tool ever! Now, your success with the Law of Attraction will come even faster and easier because it is perfectly designed just for YOU!

  • YOU choose the images that mean the most to you.
  • YOU define the size and shape of the life you want.
  • YOU create your personal Mind Movie
  • YOU begin watching it for a few minutes several times a day.
  • YOU’LL want to watch it, because it’s fun and inspiring.

And when you do, you’ll feel so energized and uplifted, you’ll think you have just uncorked your personal Genie-in-a-Bottle, who grants your every desire. Almost like magic, your heart’s desires become an inspiring movie–the most powerful visualization you could possibly achieve is literally right at your fingertips.

You Activate The Law Of Attraction Effortlessly!

You “dream it, and achieve it;” because your dreams and desires are automatically imprinted on your subconscious every time you sit down at your computer. And that, my friend, is how fast your life can change. Struggle and frustration dissolve, replaced by joy and abundance. Are you getting the picture here? You should be. Because this is how easily…

You Become The Designer Of Your Destiny When You Kick the Law of Attraction into Overdrive

Ryan’s personalized Mind Movie Creation Kit is fantastic. It includes everything you need to create your own fabulous Mind Movie:

  • 6 Disc boxed set delivered to your door
  • Immediate access to his tutorials and members area
  • Neuro-Linguistic essentials for programming your subconscious
  • A FREE 2-month subscription to the “Subliminal Success Accelerator”
  • Suitable for any PC or MAC OS 8 and above
  • Loads of bonuses from legends like The Secret’s Joe Vitale
  • Not to mention a  $5,000 contest, which will be won by the person whose Mind Movie is the most-watched on YouTube…

But there’s so much more, I urge you to let Ryan tell you about this himself!

Here’s the promise he makes:

“What I have to share with you today could be the turning point in your life that will finally open the door to achieving everything you’ve always wanted…and I do mean EVERYTHING. “In fact, I’m going to show you how starting today, you can be on your way to working less, accomplishing more, and enjoying every precious minute of your life…all while making more money than ever before. “I know this is true, because it’s already worked for me, and for thousands of others too.

“Remember, It’s Not Too Late. The beautiful thing about learning how to achieve your goals through visualization is that you can do this right now.” You can start turning your life around today.

  • No matter what you’ve been through
  • No matter how old you are
  • No matter how impossible it may seem right now

So, What Are You Waiting For? Start by downloading the free mind movies and see for yourself! If you’re as impressed as I was, you’ll quickly upgrade to the Mind Movie Creation Kit and create your own custom-made Mind Movies for the ultimate in visualization of your goals.

Are You Still Under the Impression That You Have to be a “Former Hippie” to Love the Delicious and Highly Nutritious Benefits of Homemade Granola?

September 2, 2008 by  
Filed under Anne Holmes, Blog, Food & Recipes

Are You Craving Nutricious Delicious Homemade Granola?

Were you a love bead wearing fan of natural foods in your youth? Not me. Though I attended college in the early 70s, I doubt anyone who knew me then would have legitimately called me a “hippie.”

OK, I studied fashion design as an undergrad, so I had the wardrobe down: tie-dyed tops, bellbottoms and platform sandals. But this was more for comfort (and added height) than for political statement.  No, I cannot claim to be a former hippie.  But I did graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, so I definitely knew a few.

Nevertheless, I began my own “back to nature, back to the land” movement in my mid-twenties, when my (now 30-year old) first child was born.

That Was When I Entered What I Now Refer to As My “Earth Mother” Period.

In the late 70s I determined that I wanted to raise my child to be as healthy, intelligent, energetic and inquisitive as possible.  As soon as my daughter began eating her first solid food, I became fanatical about the quality of the food I served our family. So much so that I – now a budding fashionista who ALWAYS went to work wearing high heeled shoes that properly matched my business-wear, and NEVER spent time outdoors if I didn’t have to – actually :

  • Studied and selected vegetable plants at the local nurseries and planted my first backyard garden
  • Bought the needed equipment to process my resulting home grown vegetable produce (not just a pressure cooker for canning, I invested in a chest freezer, too! Hey, I was SERIOUS!)
  • Devoured books on how to make my own – delicious and nutritious – baby food! (If you went through this same phase, did you also invest in a food mill like I did? Though they might be handly if you’re mashing up food in a restaurant, at home, all you really need is a good blender!)
  • Vowed that foods containing preservatives and refined sugar would not pass her lips!

And Because It wasn’t All About Growing the Garden, I Also:

  • Baked my own bread – using stone ground and whole grain flours and other healthy additives, (like brewer’s yeast and wheat germ)
  • Crafted my own homemade granola, based on modifying a recipe I got from a co-worker who was also in her “earth-mother” phase
  • Shopped for the few snacks I allowed in the house at a health food store. (Remember, “organic” doesn’t automatically imply sugar-free!)
  • Fermented my own yogurt! (This is actually pretty easy – and eliminates all the “trashy additives” they put in commercial yogurts these days. None of us need the “hidden extras” like the seemingly ubiquitous high fructose corn syrup!)
  • Filled up that freezer by buying organic beef from a local butcher – at the rate of half cow at at time!

Like Icarus My “Earth Mother” Phase Soared. And Then Abruptly Fell Flat…

Reality hit me in the face: The fact is, during this same time I was also a full-time wife, employed full time as a media buyer in an advertising agency, and played co-ed volleyball at the “Y” three nights a week! Officer, I admit to operating under the influence of such intense sleep deprivation that I literally felt tired to my bones

I finally had to end my “healthy madness” when our very active son was born. I just didn’t have the time and energy for all of the above while also effectively parenting two kids! Too often I found myself up still up at midnight, washing clothes, preparing that bread, and doing whatever housework got done. Which meant that 5 AM came WAAY tooo soon!

Sadly, the microwaved meal, as well as fast food restaurants and pizza parlors entered our lives shortly after our son’s birth!

As all parents of young children soon discover,  there is just so much time in a day, and EVERY parent has to pick his or her battles wisely:

  • Upon arriving home from work with an interim stop at the daycare, it was taking me ’til 9 PM to have my healthy homemade dinners on the table.
  • Worse, I soon discovered I was losing the healthy food battle at day care, where – horror of horrors – I learned that my daughter preferred to eat what the other kids ate.
  • Stuff like canned spaghetti-o’s, frozen processed chicken “nuggets,” tater tots, and green jello seemed to hold much stronger appeal for both kids than did my home grown beets, life sized carrots, free-range roasted chicken and homemade, sugar-free applesauce!

But There’s Nothing Like a “Reformed Foodie!”

That’s right! I’m back!

Three decades later, I’m again into shopping the farmers markets and buying organic fruits, vegetables and yogurt at the grocery store. (And I’m even toying with the concept of going back to planting a garden and making my own yogurt! But not yet, it’s much easier to let someone else do the work!)

This time, however, I’m working to eat right because I’m concerned about my own health and nutrition. And that’s a really good thing, I say.

Lately I’ve been raving to any friends who will listen about the wonderfully satisfying fresh fruit, granola and yogurt parfait I have been enjoying for breakfast the last few months. It’s a nice quick summertime treat, and a great alternative to hot oatmeal.

The breakfast treat features fresh fruits and my own recipe for homemade oat-y granola. I like to incorporate 2-3 fruit choices, depending on my whim and what’s fresh at the market. You can put together your own fruit combinations, but this easy and satisfying treat essentially goes together like this:

Anne’s Simply Delicious Spiced Fruit ‘N Granola Perfection:

  • Into a large cereal bowl – or if you’re feeling elegant, a parfait glass – layer two to three fruits. If you go with three, try for a colorful variety or a “theme,” like berries, or pie fruits, etc. My favorites are bolded below:
    • 1 freshly sliced nectarine (also delicious with peaches or even a banana)
    • ½ cup fresh blueberries (alternately, could use raspberries, blackberries, strawberries (even cloudberries if you can find them in your market)
    • ½ cup dried cherries (or try other dried fruits, like raisins, dates, dried cranberries or sliced dried apricots or pineapple)
  • Dust the fruits generously to taste with:
    • Nutmeg
    • Cinnamon
  • Continue the layering, with:
    • 8-10 coarsely chopped toasted pecan halves (or other nut of your choice)
    • ½ cup organic granola (prior to making my own, I preferred  Breadshop Natural Food’s Organic Vermont Maple Granola, which is pretty basic: oats, canola oil, maple syrup, but feel free to select a granola you like. Here’s another great granola recipe from Whole Foods Market.)
    • ½ cup organic vanilla flavored yogurt (my current choice is Stonyfield Farm, but I’m seriously thinking about to go back to making my own. No doubt I’ll write about that, soon!)

Enjoy the granola, I’m off to mix up something new but equally healthy and delicious! Any suggestions?