Health Care Empowerment

Have you ever felt powerless in a health-care setting?

My guess is, we all have.

Whether your visit concerned your own health or the health of a loved one, it’s likely that a combination of worry and doubt (How will I know if I’m getting the best care?) left you feeling vulnerable and defenseless.


Doctor Dan the Bandage Man by Helen Gaspard, courtesy of Little Golden Books via Kilmer House

My gut reaction to this topic drew me to a recent article by Dr. Lissa Rankin published on the MindBodyGreen website.

Dr. Rankin offers tips to help take charge of your health care by being “empowered,” but not “difficult.”

We’ve all heard the adage, “You’ll catch more flies with honey than vinegar.” During a stressful visit to a medical facility, it can be extremely difficult to communicate with personnel without losing your cool.

But Dr. Rankin assures us that speaking up calmly and kindly is often the key to getting attention. That takes true empowerment. Believe that you have every right to know what’s going on—because you do—and voice your concerns with both conviction and compassion.

Of course, there are instances when it makes sense to pack up and take your health concerns elsewhere.

“If your doctor is an ego maniac, I don’t care how skilled your doctor is—find another doctor,” Rankin advises. “If your doctor considers you difficult any time you question an order or ask for a second opinion, your doctor cares more about being in control than doing the right thing. As a physician training other doctors to partner with patients, I guarantee there are wonderful physicians who welcome the partnership of empowered patients and their families.”

Want to learn more? I encourage you to read the full article, “Are You Fed up with Health Care?”

Remember, our bodies, and our wellness, belong to us.


  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Thank-you for posting this important issue today! We all need to be our own best healthcare advocates. We would never buy a property without asking questions and doing our own research, so why would we just turn over our health decisions to someone? In my professional career of nursing, we nurses advocated for our patients every day, but that cannot take the place of a person advocating for them selves. A precept of nursing care is to first listen to the patient and believe what that person is telling you. Nurses encouraged patients to talk about their concerns and questions which we would pass along to the physicians. But, nothing takes the place of a person directly asking for answers and insisting that they be given. Healthcare is best achieved as teamwork with all of the team bringing together information. And at the heart of every team is the patient and the patient experience. If we don’t get that right, it is easier to have lesser positive outcomes. For hundreds of years, people placed physicians in a strata of all knowing and felt they should never question the information they were given. Medical schools perpetuated this all knowing persona attribute making the communication between patient and doctor almost non-existent. The good news today is that medical schools are teaching differently, and healthcare teams include nurse practitioners and other healthcare professionals working together. It is not a perfect system yet, but it is light years ahead of how healthcare used to be delivered. And more and more patients and their families are taking charge and demanding understandable information. It is a good thing!!!

  2. Terry Steinmetz says:

    I agree with Dr. Rankin. I have such difficulty living in a small rural community getting my health care physicians to work with my natural medical doctor. I will be trying to find another doctor soon that will work with my ND. I try to explain how I feel about certain issues and usually end up getting blank stares or the “shaking of the head”. As a nurse & a soon-to-be naturopath, I wish to seek all medical options. I try to be as polite as possible. (that makes my b/p go up, but…) I love my ND.

  3. Judi says:

    I question everything my Drs order….Nicely but firmly. I won’t be bullied into doing something or taking something I haven’t had time to research or ask questions about. Most of the time they smile and shake their heads,,,,but usually sit back down to discuss the issues i have,,,They tease me about not trusting them but are very good about talking it out…

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Creative Sayings

Have you seen this list buzzing around on the Web?

Image courtesy of Steampunk's Facebook Page

Image courtesy of Steampunk’s Facebook Page

The ideas are simple and straightforward, but it’s refreshing to check in once in a while to see which ones you’re engaging in—and to try a new one now and then.

You know, to keep things fresh.

I recently heard a saying that could well be added to this list:

Perfect is the enemy of done.

Whenever I find myself nitpicking at details too obsessively, I plan to remind myself of that one.

How about you?

What simple tasks or sayings fuel your creative efforts?

  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Be patient with yourself and others.
    If it is not working out, put it down, and take a second look tomorrow. ( My Mom’s wisdom for teaching impatient me how to sew!!)
    Everything doesn’t have to happen now!
    All good things are worth working for.
    Always smile at others and say hello. The world turns better with a little kindness.

    These little reminders for better and fuller living are fun to contemplate and list. The hard part is doing them in the heat of the moment when you have an impatient streak like me! Ha!!

  2. Terry Steinmetz says:

    “Have no regrets.” I use this one a lot. If I’m wondering about whether or not to do something that I might enjoy, or want to see or just do, I ask myself “if I don’t do this or if I do do this will I have no regrets?” I find this helps me get my priorities straight. Life is too short & I want to always say, I have NO regrets!”

  3. I do quite a few of these already. I think the hardest ones are ” quit beating yourself up” and ” don’t give up”. Both are hard when you aren’t seeing any results from your efforts. But every night before bed, I visualize the life I’m trying to create with my creativity. So I think another important item is “visualize success”.

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Eagle Flight

Do you need a little lift today?

Well, what if I were to tell you that I could lend you a pair of wings


that would carry you right up over the breathtaking landscape of the French Alps?

Too good to be true?

Just watch:

Go ahead.

Watch it again

(and again).


Is it “real”?

I can’t say for sure, but it convinces me that flying on the back of an eagle feels fabulous.

The footage, uploaded by YouTube user Srachi, was recorded using an action camera attached to the eagle’s back (presumably placed there by a fellow versed in falconry). According to the video’s description, the flight took place near Chamonix-Mont-Blanc in southeastern France.


  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Oh, la,la!! What a ride that was!!! Eagles in flight are just breathtaking to watch. We saw the most beautiful Sea Eagles in Norway in some of the fjords. It is amazing to me that they can spot prey from so high up!

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turtle tears

What do butterflies and turtle tears have in common?

Funny question, I know, but it’s more than mere nonsense.

It turns out that butterflies sip turtle tears to satisfy their need for salt.


Photo courtesy of Lufonz via Flickr, CC BY-ND 3.0

Who even knew that turtles cry, right?

Apparently, it’s not out of sorrow, though—simply an eye-moistening matter.

Even so, there’s something rather fairytale-esque about seeing a butterfly drying a turtle’s tears.

But bees?

Continue reading

  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    This is very interesting! Who would have ever known what was really going on? It is always so amazing how intricately we are all connected in nature. Nothing goes to waste!

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Museum Day Live

Are you a museum lover?

Art, history, science … there’s so much fun stuff to explore within the hallowed halls of our nation’s museums.

Photo by Ingfbruno, CC-BY-SA-3.0, vvia Wikimedia Commons

Photo by Ingfbruno, CC-BY-SA-3.0, vvia Wikimedia Commons

And, it just so happens that September 28 is National Museum Day. This tidbit of trivia also comes with a sweet deal: free admission.

Photo by Paul Duke , CC-BY-SA-2.0, via Wikimedia Commonsvia Wikimedia Commons

Photo by Paul Duke , CC-BY-SA-2.0, via Wikimedia Commonsvia Wikimedia Commons

It’s true!

The Smithsonian Institution is sponsoring Museum Day Live, in which participating museums across the country invite visitors to download tickets (one is good for two people) and explore their exhibits for free.

Tickets and a full list of participating museums are available on the Museum Day Live website.

Will you be including a museum in your plans this coming weekend?

  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Museums are such treasures in our cities and communities. No only do they always have something worth learning about, they usually have wonderful small restaurants where you can get a bite to eat and sort of make an outing from the event. Their gift shops are also great places to pick up a nice card or gift for someone special as well.

  2. Elizabeth says:

    “Are you a museum lover?”

    A resounding, Yes! is in order here. I’ve been to/through more than a few museums & I must say the Smithsonian is a must see ~if you truly enjoy museums ~ they have something for everyone there.

    There is the infamous Hope Diamond (along with an outstanding gemology section).

    Humungous & itsy-bitsy fossils & dynamic sculptures.

    Paintings so grand & rich in color & emotion that I could spend days looking at & never tire of seeing.

    Hmmm, so I’m a little bit partial to The National Gallery of Art;-) But there are plenty of nice museums right here in the USA!

  3. Kim Platt says:

    How can anyone not love a museum? When I was growing up, we went to the one at Michigan State University a lot. Totally rich with history. I haven’t been there in what seems like forever and a day. Everyone needs to get out there to a museum whenever they get a chance. Very educational and fun.

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Picture this…

Sandra Bullock riding a bicycle with a chicken on her handlebars.

I mean, hey, who hasn’t done that? (Confession: I haven’t, but I want to now.)

Most of us chicken lovers can’t claim super-celebrity status (outside of our own households, anyway).

Photo by Angela George, CC-BY-SA-3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Photo by Angela George, CC-BY-SA-3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

But fame hasn’t stopped Sandra from sticking to her farmgirl roots.

She tells it like it is.

And, according to a recent article in Vogue, chickens are IT.

“Back in California, she keeps chickens named for comediennes: Carol Burnett, Wanda Sykes, and a Phyllis Diller, until she was revealed to be a rooster and rechristened Phil Diller,” reveals interviewer Jason Gay.

Rest assured, her California chickens are not a flight of fancy. Sandra has a history with hens, a longstanding rapport with roosters …

“When I was like 12, I had a chicken named Colonel Sanders and he was not a chicken chicken,” she told Dennis Hensley a few years ago. “He liked people. He would stand on the top of your handlebars while you were riding your bike through the neighborhood.”

Can’t you just see it now?

Something a bit like this:


Photo courtesy of Nana & Baba



  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    This is a great testimony that chickens do have personalities and capable of interacting with humans. It just reinforces the need to keep pushing for better laws regarding chicken and egg production!!

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DIY High Fructose Corn Syrup

When I first saw this, I scratched my head and wondered … why?

Well, what I’m about to show you may not be at the top of your Christmas list,

but it has a certain novelty all the same.

Take a look:


Photo courtesy of Maya Weinstein via Co.EXIST

Your eyes do not deceive you.

This lovely wooden case indeed contains an undeniably artisan make-your-own high fructose corn syrup kit.


Photo courtesy of Maya Weinstein via Co.EXIST

It includes hard-to-find ingredients such as Yellow Dent #2, glucose isomerase, and sulfuric acid.

Nope, you won’t find those in the baking aisle, girls.

This kit is more “chem lab” than “kitchen.”

You’re wondering, too, aren’t you?

Why on earth would I want to make this sordid sweetener?

As you may have guessed, this is more of a tongue-in-cheek affair, but it doesn’t come without a dose of seriousness.

“The Kit provides the user with a way to directly interact with an ingredient that is typically only produced in large-scale factories behind closed doors,” explains designer Maya Weinstein. “The kit allows everyone to be a citizen food scientist and take control of the mysteries behind industrial food production.”

See what I mean?

Weinstein says that her kits could be used to educate both kids and adults about how processed foods are fabricated, while simultaneously satisfying the mad scientist in us all. “It’s really meant to show you something that you don’t already know—what industrial products are made of.”

It might make a crafty Christmas gift after all!

Weinstein is also contemplating a cookbook with recipes for other industrialized ingredients like food dyes and MSG. Watch her unconventional cooking show below. Do you think it has a chance on the Food Network?

  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    When you see the actual parts of high fructose syrup , it is truly disgusting looking! Can you imagine what a cigarette kit would look like with little vials of arsenic, lead and other heavy metals ? Not to mention carbon and tar in vials too!! It might change a few teenager minds who are among the fastest growing group of new smokers!

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Gnome Homes

Well, after years of being snubbed in jolly old England, it’s no wonder that a handful of red-capped garden residents might find pleasing refuge in the unsuspecting green spaces of Overland Park, Kansas.


Photo by Sassy Gardener via Wikimedia Commons

The Midwest is famous for its hospitality, after all.

But who are these mysterious immigrants?

Perhaps we’ll never know.

They aren’t answering their doors …


Photo courtesy of

According to news network KSHB in Overland Park, “Gnome homes are popping up all over the city.”

That’s right, gnome homes.

Continue reading

  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    In my Mom’s last few years, her creeping senility was most evident when she took out a book my sister gave her of gnome homes. She was 100% sure that they existed and could be found deep in the forests if you just went out to look! I remember her showing me her favorite pages with excitement about how they lived in trees and other underground locations. Really Mom? Yep, she was sure. For her, it was like finding out that Snow White and the 7 Dwarves really did exist as shown in the old Disney film. But at age 93, maybe she was on to something the rest of us thought was crazy! If you never actually see them in person, then who put up that red door in the tree base? Maybe I should take a closer look!

  2. Melissa says:

    My gnome collection began a few years ago with a small, hand-carved and painted wooden gnome passed down to me from a relative. Gerald kept dutiful watch over the house plant on my dorm room windowsill until I graduated college. When my husband and I shared our first Valentine’s day as a married couple, he bought me Klaus, a flower-clutching concrete heavyweight who hangs out in the garden. Later came Frank, who met an unfortunate end on the shed floor, and Pierre, the beardless gnome who hides under my potted plant. Viktor rounds out my collection and welcomes all visitors who grace my porch.

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When I Grow Up …

Professional photographer Jaime Moore, feeling the influence of mainstream girls’ adulation of Disney princesses, decided that when her daughter turned five, she wanted to celebrate her birthday a bit differently …

And I love it!

Here’s her daughter, Emma, all gussied up (or down!) as real, strong female heroines throughout history, in his photo series titled “Not Just a Girl.”

Susan B. Anthony


” … forget conventionalisms; Forget what the world thinks of you stepping out of your place; Think your best thoughts, speak your best words, work your best works, looking to your own conscience for approval. I had rather … make history than write it. Failure is impossible.” – Susan B. Anthony

Amelia Earhart


” … now and then, women should do for themselves what men have already done—occasionally what men have not done—thereby establishing themselves as persons, and perhaps encouraging other women toward greater independence of thought and action. Some such consideration was a contributing reason for my wanting to do what I so much wanted to do.  – Amelia Earhart

Coco Chanel


” … in order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different. Life isn’t about finding yourself, it’s about creating yourself. A girl should be two things: Who and what she wants … ” – Coco Chanel

Helen Keller


“Be of good cheer. Do not think of today’s failures, but of the success that may come tomorrow. You have set yourselves a difficult task, but you will succeed if you persevere; and you will find joy in overcoming obstacles. Remember, no effort that we make to attain something beautiful is ever lost. What I am looking for is not out there, it is in me.” – Helen Keller

Jane Goodall


“My family has very strong women. My mother never laughed at my dream of Africa, even though everyone else did because we didn’t have any money, because Africa was the ‘Dark Continent,’ and because I was a girl. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” – Jane Goodall

Emma for President, 2044!


  1. Laurie Dimno says:

    Simply awesome! Thank you!

  2. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Way to go Jamie Moore! What a wonderful way to celebrate a birthday with his daughter by showing her about other strong and amazing women and allowing her to take on a bit of history learning with dress-up. We often get swept up in the glam of Disney when there are so many other beautiful ways to celebrate. I once attended a weekend with Jane Goodall at my younger daughter’s college and she was so beautiful and strong as she shared her adventures and insights with all of us. Her work with gorillas has changed the science of what we know and understand about these giants of the forest. Jane is small and slight in stature and when she speaks about her life’s work, it is simply inspiring!

  3. Cinda Hammons says:

    I absolutely LOVE this idea! And what a beautiful, strong woman this little girl will become!

  4. Michelle Kirby says:

    I’ve seen this before & I love it. Glad to see it again.

  5. Karlyne says:

    Disney princesses are ok – when you’re watching a Disney movie! But I agree that they should not be obsessive role models, and I love these pictures! We had a Teddy Roosevelt Happy Birthday Party one year where everyone came dressed as their favorite historical characters. I think we need to do it again!

  6. Cheryl Shipley says:

    I totally approve. What a darling girl and some great role models for her.

  7. Terry Steinmetz says:

    I love the fact that this is a way to view a life. My grandgirls have great role models in their mom, their aunts, and me to show them who they can be! The youngest one wants to be a fireperson. The older one wants to discover something that will help others to have a better life. How awesome is that?

  8. madeline Langley says:

    Yes! I applaud the mother of this 5 year old!

  9. Deanna Forliti says:

    Thanks Steph. Helen Keller was such an inspiration for All of us. Would love to have birthday cards for all of my girls like this one.

  10. Pamela Polk Lokteff says:

    Just loved the Photos! such a creative idea! i’am so having her take photos of my Grandaughters!

  11. katy says:

    Love these and such a great idea. I also read the quotes to my daughter….told her they were words to live by 🙂

  12. Marilyn says:

    Great idea. Emma is a cutie.

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Ever been in a stinky situation?

Yes? Well, have I got a product for you!!!

No? (Me neither 😉 )

For those who answered yes, enjoy this solution to all things, er, dairy-err.

You know for your husband … boyfriend … brother … or dad … *ahem.

  1. Alice - Farmgirl #12 says:

    HaHa! Thank you for this! I actually saw a bottle of Poopurri at a Hallmark store many years ago. I didn’t buy it, but to this day I recall the pleasant scent and wished I had bought a bottle just for the pretty scent as well as the curiosity factor! Anyway, I never saw it again and forgot the name – now I have the info! Thanks!

  2. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Hahahahahaha!!!! This is terrific!

  3. Nan Roberts says:

    AHAHAHAHAHAHA I love it. And she’s so good! What a perfect, uh, delivery! Thank you.

  4. Kay (Old Cowgirl) Montoya says:

    I wonder if you could print what is in the picture. I could not get it.
    Thank you

    • Ace says:

      Hi Kay! This is a video, so there are no pictures to print in this post. Maybe you are referring to another post? Let me know how I can be of help. 🙂 -ace

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