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MY SOCK MONKEY PICKS AT:  Sock Monkey Paintings and More!

Feb-Apr 2004

My children are so joyful. They are easily lost in the moment so I try not to rush them to and fro. When we have a destination, we try to leave early so there is plenty of time to enjoy the journey. Little things bring big smiles. New discoveries bring wide eyed amazement. Small adventure open up whole new worlds. I hope they hold onto this joy.

For now, they rely on me and my hubby for their well being and happiness. But as they grow older and more independent, they make more and more choices for themselves. Each choice can move them toward happiness and satisfaction or away from it. As I guide them to make choices that are right for them, I have high hopes that they will live joyfully.

I want them to know that to live passionately they do not need to have flashy, high profile lifestyles. They do not need to be jet set travelers or extreme sport adventurers. Instead they need to have an understanding of what is important to them. Their passions are determined by their own priorities and style.


Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts. - Albert Einstein

We all have limited resources, including limited time and money. How we choose to spend our resources can profoundly affect on our lifestyle. Knowing our personal priorities is important when making choices that are right for us.

While you may never have thought long and hard about your personal priorities, you still probably have a sense of what they are. Faith and family top my list, but your list will be as unique as you are. Consider writing down your personal priorities to bring them into focus. Once our personal priorities are clear, making choices which affect our lifestyle should be a little easier.

Take the path which lets you remain true to our own style.


Style is more then just the clothes we wear or how we decorate our homes. It is a distinct manner of expression which affects almost every aspect of our life. Finding our own style is a lifelong search for beauty and happiness.

Everyone has their own unique style, but not everyone knows how to express it. It is very common these days to be enticed by and adopt styles defined by the media or popular designers. While these pre-packaged styles may be quite nice, they most likely do not truly and fully reflect your unique style.

Some people easily fall into their own style, but the majority of us need to explore, discover and just live life before we understand our own definition of beauty. Also, as we move through life, our definition of beauty changes and evolves.

Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful. - William Morris

Making our home a beautiful refuge which reflects our style is essential to soulful living. Surrounding ourselves with beautiful collections is one way to bring style into our homes (more...). Our home should be a sanctuary that restores us. Time spent inside our sanctuaries eating, sleeping, bathing, and performing daily chores should restore us. Time spent with family and friends should restore our body, mind, and spirit.


While we may feel guilty about spending resources on ourselves, it is actually one of the most important things we can do for our family and loved ones. Keeping ourselves strong physically, mentally, and spiritually, makes us a better wife, mother, sister, daughter or friend. It makes us a better husband, father, brother, or son. It makes us better able to offer our comfort and support when loved ones are in need. It is essential to a happy life.

Taking care of our physical self is not just an act of vanity. While we may feel it is shallow to judge people by appearances, it is an inherent tendency of humans to use their senses to compare and make choices based on what is visually appealing. Furthermore, physical appearance covers more than just good looks. It is a reflection of personal hygiene, self care, health and vitality. How we present ourselves to others not only has an impact on how they see us, but also on how we see ourselves. Feeling physically attractive and being physically fit can positively affect other areas of our lives as well. As published by the National Academy of Sciences, recent studies show that staying physically fit can also improve cognitive performance.

The care of our cognitive self includes emotional balance and stimulating our mind. It is important to balance our emotions. While each of us has stress and fears, they should not prevent us from living life. In times of emotional turmoil, support from loved ones, time alone, and emotional releases can help us find balance. Acceptance and forgiveness may also be needed to achieve emotional balance. Once our emotions are balanced it is important to find activities that stimulate our minds. We can stimulate our minds in many ways, including reading, puzzling, and learning. Learning is a life long endeavor which can keep us young at heart.

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed. - Albert Einstein

The care of our spiritual self can be achieved in many different ways. Attending church, meditating, and yoga are a few that easily come to mind. Artistic creativity can also be spiritually satisfying.

After focusing our time and energy taking care of our needs, it is important to build upon the special relationships in our life.


We are social beings. Having meaningful bonds with others is also essential to a soulful life. Trust and affection grow with enjoyable time spent together. Trust and affection grow with honest and open communication. Trust and affection grow from care, comfort and support.

A balance between time with ourself, time with our family, and time with our friends is important.


I believe that a simple and unassuming manner of life is best for everyone, best both for the body and the mind. - Albert Einstein

Balance is important in all aspects of our life. Balance is beautiful. Great artists, designers and architects attain beauty through visual balance. A beautiful musical composition is also well balanced. We are inherently drawn to balance so even untrained eyes and ears notice when the balance just isn't right. Attaining balance in the different aspects of our life can lead to a more fulfilling life.

Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler. - Albert Einstein

Balance is easier to achieved through simplicity. Simplicity is not deprivation, but removing the irrelevant. Simplicity is removing unnecessary items from our life, so the important items are not lost in the clutter.

It is easy to lose your way when you don't know where you are going. Define your priorities and define your style. Seek beauty and be joyfull.

(revised: 12/2004,2/2005,4/2008)

May 2004

When my son was ill for the first time, I relied on advice from my mother, my older sister, and an advice nurse to decide if a trip to the doctor was needed. I also relied on the Healthwise Handbook A SELF-CARE Guide For You by Donald W. Kemper which was given to me by my health insurance company. Several years later, my new health insurance company gave me an updated copy of this handbook. I have consulted this book many times and it has become an invaluable resource for me when a family member is ill. Each listed illness has a short description of the illness, a Prevention section (if applicable), a Home Treatment section (if applicable), and a When to Call a Health Professional section. After consulting this handbook, I am more aware of what symptoms require professional care and more confident in treating minor ailments at home. When it comes to the health of you and your family, there are many things you can do to prevent and treat illnesses in your own home.


According to the National Center for Infectious Diseases (NCID), one of 12 Centers, institutes, and offices within Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, (CDC):

"The most important thing that you can do to keep from getting sick is to wash your hands. By frequently washing your hands you wash away germs that you have picked up from other people, or from contaminated surfaces... "

For more information on the basics for preventing infectious diseases, the NCID has an excellent resource: An Ounce of Prevention: Keeps the Germs Away.

A well balanced diet is also important in staying healthy and preventing illnesses. Visit for government recommended diet information.


Note that all information in this article is intended for general knowlege only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for a specific medical condition. You should seek prompt medical care for any specific health issues and consult your physician before starting any new fitness regimen.

To help manage my families health, I started a health log for each family member. If they get sick I log in the date, symptoms, and temperature readings. I also log in medicines taken and times they are given. If a doctor visit is necessary, I log in date and advice given.

The internet is chock full of advice and information. But when it comes to medical advice (or any other advice), it is important to evaluate where the information is coming from and decide if you trust the source. My favorite medical information sites are and Information and knowledge is a wonderful thing, and it is empowering to be well informed about your illnesses. I recently needed to go though a few outpatient procedures, and while the doctor did his best to fill me in on what they would be doing, it all happened so fast. I found most of the information about the procedure on-line and it took the mystery out of the operation. It gave me comfort to know how the procedure worked, and I was able to go though it with minimal anxiety.


My Healthwise Handbook lists several home treatments to relieve cold symptoms including:

  • getting extra rest
  • drinking plenty of fluids
  • taking pain relievers for aches
  • hot showers for stuffy noses
  • warm water gargles to prevent sore throat

    These widely accepted home treatments can be combined with traditional folk remedies.

  • B.R.A.T. Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, and Toast, is a nurse recommended remedy for diarrhea. My son's nurse told me B.R.A.T. the first time I took my son in for this stomach ailment, and it has stuck with me throughout the years. While this restricted diet has recently been questioned, because it does not provide long term nutritionally needs, I still like to use these easy to digest foods for the short term along with Pedialyte.

  • Caffeine is a well known folk remedy for headaches.

  • Chicken soup is a well known folk remedy for colds. Dr. Stephen Rennard, M.D., Larson Professor of Medicine in the Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine Section at UNMC, had his chicken soup research officially published in the October 17, 2000 issue of CHEST, a peer-reviewed journal of the American College of Chest Physicians. The study was titled, “Chicken Soup Inhibits Neutrophil Chemotaxis In Vitro.” and supported that "chicken soup may contain a number of substances, including an anti-inflammatory mechanism, that could ease the symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections." In this laboratory study 5 commercially prepared chicken soups, including Campbell's Heathy Request Chicken Noodle performed better then the featured homemade soup at inhibiting Neutrophil Chemotaxis.

  • Honey is a well known folk remedy for coughs. In a 2007 study it was found to be as effective as over the counter remedies. The suggested dose was two teaspoons before bed. While honey may be a good choice for some children, remember that honey should not be given to children under 12 months of age!

  • Mint (in hard candy form) is a well known folk remedy for nausea.


    For some ailments, relief is found with medication. When I was younger, I use to not like to take medicines. Now, I realized that sometimes one little Tylenol, can save me from hours of throbbing pain. I still try not to take any more then necessary and always check and double check the proper dosing. Never take more then directed! The right medicine will give you comfort and relieve symptoms and pain. If you are taking a pain reliever, remember they are most effective when taken before the pain gets severe.

    Visit your doctor. If your illness needs professional care, don't put it off. Go see your doctor right away.

    All information is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. You should seek prompt medical care for any specific health issues and consult your physician before starting any new fitness regimen.

    (revised 4/2008)