Train Your Brain to Be Happy!

Train your brain to be happy by writing down 3 things you are grateful for everyday. It might be hard at first but by the fourth week you find yourself seeing the positive around you with greater ease. That’s the message of this 12 minute LOL talk. Shawn talks fast and a little pressured, like he’s on prednisone or a LOT of coffee, but he’s so funny, smart and charming you get over it. Give it a listen.

The Rise & Fall of Weight Gain On Prednisone

Ten weeks ago I was put on prednisone to treat a relapse of nephrotic syndrome. Ten weeks ago I weighed about 145 pounds (I’m 5′ 2″) and was lamenting (whining?) about how hard it was to lose those last five lousy pounds.


How I long for those days!!! Since being on the prednisone I have gained close to twenty pounds. That’s up two dress sizes in two months. I am not here to bitch and moan, although it kind of looks like I am. I would not insult you like that! Many, many people have much worse health problems than I do and more difficult weight issues than I do. It’s not the degree that’s important. It’s that we all have more in common in our pain and discomfort than not.

On another day I will write about how we reflect on our own story in comparison with other’s, the good and the bad about it, when doing so uplifts us and when it only makes us feel worse. But that’s not for today.

Today is for anyone out there who not only struggles with weight, but struggles with weight on medication that tries its hardest to make you pack the pounds.

Because how we look does make a difference in our self-esteem. As much as I sincerely love and try to practice the “I love the inner me” message, I also like how I looked and felt in a size 8 pencil skirt.

On another day I will write about acceptance. Meaning, there’s been a shitload of ‘nothing I can about it so I better learn live with it in serenity ’cause getting mad just makes it all worse.’ But that’s not for today, either.

Today is meant to inspire us to do what we can to stay in control when the weight-gain undertow is pulling us out to sea.

As much as we hate prednisone, we are grateful for it. We take prednisone for the treatment of inflammation, asthma, arthritis of all kinds, inflammatory bowel disease, sarcoidodis, lupus, kidney disease, skin problems, allergies and more. Without it we would be dealing with a heck of a lot more discomfort than extra poundage.


More From Dr Brené Brown: On Authenticty

However afraid we are of change, the question that we must ultimately answer is this: What’s the greater risk? Letting go of what people think, or letting go of how I feel and what I believe and who I am? e. e. cummings wrote, “To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody but yourself means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight and never stop fighting.” I’m convinced that choosing authenticity is one of the most courageous battles that we’ll ever fight.

~Dr Brené Brown, Take a Risk and Put Your True Self Out There

The Power of Vulnerability

Ever think, “OMG! That’s my life! How the heck did they know?!” That’s how I felt when I saw this video. Feeling vulnerable lately I was astonished to find this TED talk of Dr Brené Brown speaking about her research on shame and vulnerability. She speaks directly and vulnerably (is that a word?) with intelligence and humor. That’s enough of an introduction. Take a look for yourself.

Here’s a bonus follow-up video Dr Brown did after the first one went viral. Two quotes I’ve got to share:

“Guilt is: ‘I did something shameful.’ Shame is: ‘I AM shameful.” Nice nutshell for two abstract concepts, guilt and shame, that we struggle to distinguish and struggle with, period!

And “Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change.” Dr Brown herself is a living example of how that works.

Mike Wallace & Depression

Mike Wallace always seemed really old. His face was craggy, his voice rough and deep. He was on 60 Minutes, a news magazine show that seemed to be an old person magnet. Sadly in our culture it’s easy to dismiss old people as not relevant. It wasn’t hard for me to forget what a pioneer Wallace was, and not just in journalism.

Upon his death at 93 years old, I read a few articles about Mr. Wallace.

At his lowest and most desperate, a bottle of pills and a suicide note seemed like the only answer for the legendary journalist Mike Wallace.

Whoa! That got my attention. Mike Wallace was not known for being warm and cuddly, weak-willed or a pushover. His reputation was made for yanking people in power under a glaring light; holding them to accountability. He asked the uncomfortable questions most of us were thinking but were too intimidated to ask. I did not know he ever experienced the dark desperation of major depression.


Video: How Animals Keep Me Sane!

Enjoying the Gift of the Holiday!

In my inbox this morning was this quote brought to me by Elisha Goldstein, author of The Now Effect:

“In between stimulus and response there’s a space, in that space lies our power to choose our responses and in our response lies our growth and our freedom.” ~Viktor Frankl

Holiday’s, whatever you celebrate, Passover, Easter, the Spring Equinox, give us that space. They are a time to pause. I love that about holidays.

When I take time to observe a holiday whatever is pressing on me, worries, decisions waiting to be made, tasks needing attention, it can all wait. I give myself permission to enjoy just being. I hope you will too! Have a happy, peaceful day!

Photo courtesy Sofia Francesca Photography

Q: When Is Having a Chronic Illness a Good Thing?

Editor’s Note: Struggling with my own chronic illness issues lately, I’ve found it difficult to admit that sometimes it can get the better of me. Having the energy to write has been a challenge. My mind badgers me to post something or else I’m guilty of neglect. Neglecting the blog, readers, my integrity. As we know, it is sooo easy to think the negative about ourselves. When I went cruising into the archives to look for inspiration, I found this post. As soon as I read it again, my mind settled into a more peaceful place. I hope it you find it helpful, too.

Q: When Is Having a Chronic Illness a Good Thing?

A: When it makes you a better, deeper, more thoughtful person.

Yesterday my friend Mary Cimiluca sent me this note. Ironically I had been looking for this very quote for a month! Or maybe it wasn’t irony. Maybe it was one of those cosmic, spiritual connection things! Now that gives me goosebumps! Whatever it was, I was very happy to receive it. Mary is the Producer and Writer for the Website and Facebook pages for the Viktor Frankl Movie, Victor & I, a very cool and needed project documenting the genius of Dr. Frankl. It is amazing she had any time to write me at all!

With her permission, her message…

” I thought you might enjoy this quote a friend sent me today since like me, you have talked about living with chronic illness…this is  from the book, “The Unquiet Mind” by Kay Redfeld Jamison… In her epilogue she writes, given a chance whether to choose her illness or not, she says that she would (and now I quote her):

‘…Because I honestly believe that as a result of it I have felt more things, more deeply; had more experiences, more intensely; loved more, and been more loved; laughed more often for having cried more often; appreciated more the springs, for all the winters; worn death ‘as close as dungarees,’ appreciated it – and life – more; seen the finest and the most terrible in people, and slowly learned the values of caring, loyalty, and seeing things through.’ “

Many who struggle with chronic illness, or care for someone who does, feel the same way. Can you relate to this quote? Please share your thoughts.

Happy April Fools Day!

For sure I am not a fan of practical jokes. Too often the poor victim is just that, a victim and not really in on what’s so funny and made to feel like a moron. April Fool pranks when done with finesse, can be fun because for a moment we wonder, is this for real? And when we realize it isn’t we can laugh because the joker let us in just enough that we don’t feel like complete idiots. That’s the art of a good April Fool’s Prank.

Just for fun, because we always deserve something just for fun, here’s an example from the gallery of famous Google April Fools Jokes of past years.


Do you have a favorite April Fool’s Day joke? Do you enjoy them? Hate them?

More on April Fools Day pranks:

A Round up of All Google’s April Fools Day Jokes

April Fools Marketing

Report of Discovery of Beethoven’s 10th Symphony by NPR


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