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A Message from Kristi Horner Courage to Caregivers

We have several topics to discuss this week – all wrapped up in creative expression. There are so many methods of creative expression: art, music, writing, dance, visual arts, drama, crafts, etc. What’s common about all of these is that they let you translate your feelings and emotions into a medium that you can share with others or keep private if you wish.

Doing something creative can change our perspective, point us down new paths, influence our problem-solving, inspire us to take risks, and much more. When we’re being creative, we might find that we feel less depressed, less stressed, more engaged, and more able to control our emotions. Feelings can be messy and sometimes irrational, but it’s healthy to express your feelings in a creative way that leaves you balanced and in control.

Many people find that creating, viewing, or discussing art can help them release or express their feelings. Art can be a healthy outlet to highlight awareness of hidden feelings and a way to communicate something that may be difficult to put into words. Reflecting on art can provide greater insight and understanding, and by sharing art, the viewer validates the feelings of the artist.

Music is also a powerful form of creative expression. Whether you’re listening or playing, music can transport you back in time, influence your emotions, set a scene, or inspire you to take action. It can console you in times of grief or loneliness, allow you to release anger in a healthy way, bring peace and calmness to your life, or encourage you to move your body. When words aren’t enough to encompass the intensity of your feelings, music can help.

The choice of creative expression is highly personal, and it includes self-reflection and self-discovery. Journaling is a creative and safe way to gain greater insight about your deepest thoughts and feelings, your most difficult challenges, what brings you joy, and what makes you uncomfortable. By writing about these things, you have the opportunity to dissect, analyze, and reframe them into something that makes better sense or presents new solutions. You gain greater perspective, insight, and understanding of yourself and others.

Whatever way you decide to create, remember the words of Henri Matisse: “Creativity takes courage.” Creativity is not about drawing inside the lines, hitting the perfect note, or finding the right words. It’s about having the courage to take chances and make mistakes. And COURAGE is important to us. It’s part of our name.

So, get out there today and try something new. Take a RISK. Be brave, bold, courageous, and CREATIVE with your day.


Kristi Horner
Founder and Executive Director
Courage to Caregivers

PETS by Kristi Horner (Courage to Caregivers)

“Have you ever thought that your relationship with your pet is one of the best in your life? Pets provide simple, supportive, confidential support without criticism, advice, or conflict. They provide unconditional positive regard and make us feel needed, wanted, and valued.” – Shawn Burn, PhD

This week’s topic is a fun one – it’s all about how much we gain from having a pet. Just think of all the physical, mental, and emotional benefits we get from pets. Pets have an incredible ability to calm and soothe humans. They don’t judge, they provide unconditional love, they are a source of empathy and companionship, and they’re great to have around during a pandemic!

If you don’t have a pet, there are many reasons to get one. Having an animal friend can help you increase your activity level, get out of the house more, be more social, and get rid of that lonely feeling. Pets are great listeners, and they can be great motivators to help you meet your goals. For example, if you need more exercise, try walking the dog a few more times each week. Or if you just need more self-care time, maybe some extra snuggles will do the trick.

If that’s not enough, here’s a list from Paws for People of some of the therapeutic benefits we get from the simple act of petting:

  • Produces an automatic relaxation response
  • Stabilizes blood pressure
  • Reduces the risk of heart disease, heart attacks, and stroke
  • Improves cardiovascular health
  • Slows breathing in those who are anxious
  • Releases hormones such as phenylethylamine, the same effect as chocolate
  • Diminishes overall physical pain

And there’s more. According to HelpGuide, studies have shown that:

  • Pet owners are less likely to suffer from depression than those without pets.
  • People with pets have lower blood pressure in stressful situations than those without pets.
  • Playing with a dog or cat can elevate levels of serotonin and dopamine, which calm and relax.
  • Pet owners have lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels (indicators of heart disease) than those without pets.
  • Heart attack patients with pets survive longer than those without pets.
  • Pet owners over age 65 make 30 percent fewer visits to their doctors than those without pets.

Perhaps most important of all, Shawn Burn notes that “the emotional bond between people and their pets is particularly therapeutic because it’s nonjudgmental. Your pet won’t judge you for wearing sweatpants 24/7, being grumpy, or having that extra glass of wine.”

In other words, pets will accept you for being YOU.

Kristi Horner
Founder and Executive Director
Courage to Caregivers

MY VOICE and I WILL CONTINUE TO USE IT

Three weeks and one day is the last day you can make a difference and VOTE Blue!  I am asking you if you have not voted yet, and if you haven’t requested an absentee ballot to consider early voting, call your local board of elections and get the information you need to make a change.

We have lived with Trump for 4 years and he made promises and he could have followed through on them but he spent so much time talking about his PLAN but never offered US the American people what that entailed.  He gave us a tax break and took it back the following year when we paid our taxes, yet he has not paid his taxes!

Talk does not take care of the American People, you and me.  Talk, discussion, weighing options, and listening to what the average Joe needs is what our President and the House of Representatives and the Senate should be responding to.  Trump created such commotion in building a wall that is now crumbling and falling!  What a waste of money that could have been on Health Care and or Job Creation.

Trump walked into the Oval Office with a strong economy, he made the economy worse for the average Joe but kept his cronies gaining wealth that was not shared!  JOBs, let me tell you that the JOB market even before the Pandemic was meek.  If you or someone you know what looking to garner a job (not even career) to put food on the table and roof over your head it was not easy, why do you think so many of us are working multiple jobs with no benefits, including sick days.

If Trump didn’t make the promised changes he eluded to over the last four years why do you think the next four years will be any better.  Get a grip Trump and his cronies do not care about US.  If Trump cared about you, and your well being he would, he would have listened to the scientists.doctors and would have shared REAL Information with us from the get-go.  He has not taken the precautions that he needed to take and he continues to go out in public without a mask and not socially distancing, well making ‘fun’ of those of us who are trying to reduce this Pandemic!

I won’t even discuss his need to outbalance the Supreme Court and yet says he must do this because the Dems will do it if they win.  The American People 52% to 44% believe the Supreme Court decision should not be made until after the Election.  Why is he in such a hurry, have you caught on to his garbage yet?

Check this out and see the Republicans backing Biden https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/18/politics/republicans-supporting-biden/index.html

Also – “The last living former Republican president, George W. Bush, has said he won’t back Trump. Nor will his brother Jeb Bush, the former governor of Florida who was mercilessly ridiculed by Trump when they fought for the GOP nomination in 2016.”  https://www.forbes.com/sites/andrewsolender/2020/09/27/all-the-republicans-who-have-endorsed-joe-biden-for-president/#3bc762557340

Consider the facts, Trump wants to cut or eliminate SS – if you are a senior or if you are approaching age 65 or know someone – do they have enough money to survive even one year on SS?  What if they were to have less or none?  Are you going to support mom and dad, your grandparents, or your neighbor next door?

Biden and Harris have a plan https://www.forbes.com/sites/johngoodman/2020/09/28/the-bidenharris-economic-plan/#28cb2dcc73ce

Yes, Biden will raise taxes for those that can afford it- if they earn 400,000.00 dollars or more a year.  If you earn less like many of us – guess what our taxes will NOT INCREASE.  Taxes are necessary without them infrastructure cannot be maintained or improved.

Make a plan now – VOTE Blue – If you have an absentee ballot if possible take it directly to your board of elections, I am taking mine to Summit County here in Ohio today.  My son, husband, and I have completed our absentee ballots and I will take them all sealed to the DropBox, and I will track them to ensure they were received and ready for counting.  If you cannot deliver them personally mail them and track them.  If you can get someone to drive you to your Board of Elections – not your precinct, accept the ride to place it in the dropbox!

Please note – if you do not want Trump – a vote for anyone but Biden supports TRUMP – help bring the United States back in line with the needs of the Average Citizen – do not be bullied!

Mental Health Awareness Week

First, I want to remind you that this is Mental Health Awareness Week, and Saturday, October 10, is World Mental Health Day. Show your support for those living with mental illness by keeping the conversation going and working to end mental health stigma and discrimination.

As we begin the month of October, our new theme is outside interests, and this week’s topic is hobbies. During this global pandemic, and perhaps as a caregiver in general, how often have you found yourself asking, “Who has the time for fun or outside activities right now?” But that’s the point. It’s so important to set aside time for YOU, to do an activity that you enjoy, with no connection to caregiving. Having outside interests, such as a hobby that brings you joy, can help you relax, reduce stress, and expand your horizons.

One of the silver linings of this pandemic is that it has given many people the opportunity to pursue outside interests and hobbies – pandemic pastimes! Here’s an article on how hobbies have helped people stay positive during lockdowns.

People are finding the time to do many things, such as completing old projects, updating photo albums, discovering new possibilities in the craft bin, renewing their love of photography, singing, or journaling, or even finishing a jigsaw puzzle. Some have turned a love of sewing into sewing masks. Others have used their talents in the kitchen to provide baked goods for frontline workers. Maybe you dedicated some time to de-cluttering and were able to donate some clothing or gently used items to someone in need.

I have a lot of hobbies, but one of my favorites has always been gardening. Spending time outside in my garden in any season connects me with the earth. I love the fresh air, sunshine, and just digging in the dirt!

Sometimes, the smallest things can give you the greatest joy. We love this concept of finding micro-joys, shared by Thrive Global. “The secret to micro-joys is that you are aware and tuned in enough to appreciate them around you. To find the joy, you have to simply be present and ‘smelling the roses,’ even for just a moment.”

So, if you’re looking for a new hobby or outside interest, start by thinking about what brings you joy. What are those things that bring a smile to your face and make your heart sing when you just think about them? What fills YOUR soul?

Kristi Horner
Founder and Executive Director
Courage to Caregivers

there’s never enough time in the day Kristi Horner

I’m always hearing from caregivers that there’s never enough time in the day to do what needs to be done, not to mention setting aside time for self-care. It’s true that the “to do” list for caregivers can seem to be never-ending, and that can lead to additional anxiety and stress.

But let’s take some advice from interior designer Amanda Gates: “Exhaustion is not a status symbol or a badge of honor. Stop the glorification of busy, and learn to nurture your soul.”

Trying to multitask can make it even worse, resulting in lower productivity and less efficiency. When you multitask, you are actually shifting your attention from one task to another, which makes it difficult to tune out distractions and actually slows down your mental processing.

That’s why time management is so important to self-care. The ability to plan and control how you spend your time can be critical in helping you accomplish your goals, and this can help reduce your feelings of frustration and stress.

So, here are some simple tips that may help you manage your time more effectively:

  • Use a “to do” list or a weekly/monthly calendar/planner.
  • Prioritize.
  • Break your lists down into small manageable tasks.
  • Identify your distractions, and then manage or eliminate them.
  • Take breaks.
  • Strive for progress, not perfection.

It also may help to think of time management as being composed of three elements: setting goals, prioritizing tasks, and planning.

Where would we be without goals? Our goals reflect our personal vision for what we aspire to do, to be, or to become. Without goals we might just be wandering through life. I believe your goals need to start with your “why” – your passions and your vision for your life. When you truly know your “why,” you’re apt to make better decisions on how you spend your time.

Once you understand what’s at your core, in your heart and soul, it becomes easier to prioritize so that you’re spending most of your time on what’s important to you. Prioritizing your “to do” list helps you plan better, and if you have your calendar and due dates under control, it’s easier to prioritize what you need to do today.

Finally, remember that one of your priorities should always be YOU. If that’s not the case, then it’s time to re-prioritize. You should always have a place on your “to do” list, and why not at the top?

Kristi Horner
Founder and Executive Director
Courage to Caregivers

#AGE Magnificently (AGEMARCH.ORG)- Barbara Rose Brooker

As I borrow the tag line from AGEMARCH.org and the founder, Barbara Rose Brooker, #AgeMagnificently, I challenge you to become the best YOU.  By becoming the best versions of ourselves we allow ourselves to be open to the opinions of others and dialogue rather than argue or fight!  We are all products of our environment, we bring to the table not only cultural differences but the interpretations of the culture we have (and are) experiencing.

My Jewish upbringing as a Conservative Jew is not necessarily the same as another who may identify as the same.  Growing up my parent’s kept a Kosher home, however, on Pizza nights we all sat around eating Pepperoni Pizza off Paper Plates because my parents created their personal interpretation of the Kosher Laws.  However, my Baube and Zayde would have said we were creating a ‘SHANDAH’ or a SCANDAL!

Whether my parents were right or wrong in the eyes of my maternal grandparents, they chose to create their version of keeping kosher.

Today we are living in a global society full of tags – we all need a tag line to be identified and often the tag lines do not give us enough information.  They are often like sound bites that do not give us the whole story.  However, #AgeMagnificently provides us a picture that with AGE comes Magnificent if we choose it.

To be magnificent means to be “admirable in action; displaying great power or opulence, especially in building, way of living, and munificence. Magnificent(adj) grand in appearance; exhibiting grandeur or splendor; splendid’ pompous.”  However, leaving out pompous, we can be admirable in our actions if we accept that all people are created with goodness, some may need a little more guidance than others.  Opulence does not necessarily reflect wealth but the rich and kindness of one’s personality.  We can all build a world of fairness that will lead to the growth of FAIRNESS!  We can walk straight and tall with our heads held high without stick our noses in the air, avoiding the truth.  Facing the truth is not easy but no one said that change was easy!

If we age magnificently from birth we will no longer be judged by a number, a color, gender, sexual preference, or no preference.  Our religion will be accepted and our traditions will not be frowned upon.  We will be the BEST of OUR BEST while lending a hand to someone who may appear to be different.  It is time to accept differences and come together.

It is time to make a Change – Do it!


 

Terri-Lynn Pellegri Writes 6/14/20

Believe
I have to believe that we are all connected and continue to be, even when our bodies are no longer here…when we cease to breathe and our flesh is no longer alive with blood pumping through our veins. I have to believe that we somehow still communicate, have interplay, that our energies relate to one another in ways that we are not aware of. I have to believe that we all matter and that it matters what we do and how we live, and that we live. I mostly have to believe that loving matters, and that the energy that love generates, that our caring for one another, and our support for each other is necessary. I have to believe that the space in between one human being and the next is not a void or a distance…but an invisible glue that is our human connection. #saratoga #saratogasprings #love #lovematters #brother #create #creativephotography

Sharon Allen DeMakes thanks for this POEM

First they came for the communists

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me

And there was no one left to speak for me.

– Pastor Martin Niemoeller

Am I in a TIME WARP?

Saturday, May 2, 2020
It Should be Kentucky Derby Day

It’s another Saturday in this new Pandemic World.  I am fortunate to have somewhat of a schedule for newclevelandradio.net during the week, recording and preparing podcasts.  However, most weekends seem to zap me of energy as the days drag on with little to do.  However, today is different.  My husband and I did some closet cleaning in the studio/office this morning as we are attempting to do some reorganization.  Now if you have ever been in the home studio I will tell you that my husband is a pack-rat, not a hoarder.  I think we have three or four end of life computers in the closet and one set out in the room.  As my hubby would say, you never know we just may need parts from one to fix another.  Did I mention parts that go back to a Commodore 64?  If you have no idea what that is, you are very young indeed.

Additionally, I have two podcasts today and both should be fun and interesting.  The first is with Just4theSpellofIt.com, lead by Gary Moss my big brother.  Isn’t it interesting that we call an older sibling our big brother or sister, and the truth is I am as tall as he is or maybe taller?  Gary’s podcast is all about words and Scrabble™, yet the techniques he uses teaches and creates to become a better Scrabble™ player, any one of us can use to become better at anything we want to achieve.  The second is with Rick Bolton, musician extraordinaire.

Currently, I am trying to achieve patience with the #StaySafe #StayAtHome orders.  I agree with the orders and I would rather be safe and struggle financially than get this horrid virus and possibly die.  I understand the need to get back to work, earn a living, and feel accomplished at the end of the day, but COVID19 has invaded us and it will linger and combust again in the Fall.

Earlier today I posted ion Facebook that I feel like I am in a time warp, that each day is the same, nothing changes, and yet the slogan #WEAREINTHISTOGETHER continues to play through the media.  Together but alone and that is what is warping my senses.  I need to chill and breathe and make it to the tomorrow and the many days after that when it is safer to spin out of this feeling.

Have a Happy!

Dear Sue, Liz and all affected by COVI19

An open letter to my niece Sue (and to all of you too.)

Life is not fair you say, and at times I must agree with you but there are somethings we are responsible for in keeping the deck clean and cutting it fairly.  Sue, your zayde used to remind us when we complained of kvetched (no I am not insinuating you are,) that we have to choices in life to live or to die.  The luckier we are to live through the SHIT STORMS provides us with wisdom to make tomorrow (or today) a better day.

COVID19 is nondiscriminatory, although if you ask the male or Afro-American segments of this global pandemic they might disagree.  However, we have seen the very young as well as the geriatric community become infected, and most recover but millions are still dying.  All we can do to survive is to follow the #STAYATHOME rules, #WASH_OUR_HANDS, #WEAR_A_MASK, so we stay out of harm’s way.

You are one of the lucky ones.  I know MS is not a “walk in the park” immune disorder.  However, you have fought it with all your might and we are blessed you are still here to shout and scream about life not being fair.  As the mother of twins both born on the spectrum, you have given them life beyond birth.  You believe in their strengths and they have developed into young adults who we can all be proud of.  It has not been easy for you or them but nothing in life that comes easy reaps the rewards.  Your loving husband Joe also has medical ailments that put him at high risk for the virus.  Although we may not remind you of our concern and love is not to say we are unaware and non-caring.  However, as he follows the protocol we know that is all you and he can do at this time.

When I say you are lucky, you found a sister, best friend with Liz who is a second mom to your children.  Often when we get divorced like the two of us, it is not common to hear that both moms are friends.  But you with your heart of gold found the good in Liz and she in you.  I truly admire the two of you for the relationship you have.  Both you and Liz have made the lives of your children better for it.  I can’t thank her enough for helping both Wylie and Hayley transition through this as she did.  You are one blended family!

Another lucky star or stars in your life is finding your birth family and developing a relationship with them.  Not everyone is as blessed to find their birth parents and siblings but you have and you all embraced each other when often the opposite is the result.  The parents who raised you encouraged you to follow the path to seek your birthright and now you have a circle of life embracing you.  (I could go into what seems like Millions of Friends, but that for another time.)

However, yesterday, when Liz tested positive for COVID19, life felt unfair and you lashed out at those who don’t want to believe in the FACTS of this insidious disease.  I applaud you for telling people how sad, frustrated, and anxious you feel! When this hits close to home especially to a front line worker (Liz is a nurse,) it seems even more unfair.  However, we have no control and all we can do is feed Liz positive vibes, keep her family (her daughter, the twins, and her husband,) in our special prayers and thoughts.  As a cancer survivor, she is at a higher risk, but as a survivor, she has the will and stamina to get well again!

Isn’t it time for all of us to wisen up and realize if we do not prepare for the worst when it happens, and it will, we will be blown away in the wind.  The devastation from COVID19 could have been so much less if some in our government would have had the BALLS to get involved in stopping or slowing down the spread of this horrific disease.  However, DJT did not, he, in fact, called in “Fake News.”  Now we are living and struggling with the fallout.

To Sue and All, we cannot allow this to define us, we must define ourselves and become the best of our best.  That includes taking all the safety precautions to keep ourselves and others safe.  I ask you to keep Liz, and all the VICTIMS of this VIRUS close to your hearts and let our energies help to send healing powers.

I am adding Liz to my list of those I know who have recovered because, #IBelieve