Lime Squeeze
Thank You
Posted: 4/4/2014 | Read More | Post Comment (0)

Thank you to all my family and friends that have reached out to me with good thoughts and prayers.  I plan to fight my stage 4 cancer and become a survivor of this disease. 

Your support has meant the world to me and my family.

XO,

Marie

 
Latest Post
Posted: 11/26/2012 | Read More | Post Comment (0)

Please check out our latest post on the Ricki Lake Show website.  

Here is the link:  Eight-Six Holiday Stress 

 
Congratulations to Olivia Wilder
Posted: 8/10/2012 | Read More | Post Comment (3)

   A  Tangy Lime Squeeze!

by  Jeanne Barrett (August 2012)   

 

 

Congratulations to our August 2012 Lime Squeeze, Olivia Wilder!  An amazing woman by many standards, Olivia is sharing a message of hope, positivity and gratitude, just by living her life! 

Olivia Wilder has many talents. Besides hosting a well-known radio blog show and painting amazing artwork, she is filled with joie de vivre – a true zest for life and living.  “It’s all about attitude,” explains Olivia.  “And having a good character – living with truth, honesty and integrity.” 

Chatting with Olivia is like talking with an old friend.  The conversation flows, there is lots of laughter and much wisdom shared.   Her experiences in life have taught her to follow her heart and she shares many examples of how listening to your intuition can change your life.

When Olivia was 18 years old, she was hit by a car, traveling at 60 miles per hour.  She was sent to the intensive care unit with multiple broken bones.  Olivia was diagnosed with fatty embolism, a condition where 98 out of 100 people die.  “On the third day, I actually died.  I go back to it vividly,” shares Olivia.  “I went towards a bright light, like the sun.  I was standing in the center of light.  An unseen, comforting spirit was calling me to come, gently.  I wanted to go, but wasn’t sure, so, like a typical teenager, I said I was in charge of refreshments for a function on Saturday night.  I heard a huge sigh.”  Olivia tried to open her eyes, but they were thick, as if they had Vaseline coated on them.  She actually saw the doctors and nurses working on her, and heard the doctor say the “time of death” for her.  Suddenly, a nurse walked toward her, saw Olivia’s eyes open and the nurse collapsed.  Everyone in the room stopped talking, except a priest, who kept going.  Olivia said “What?” and everyone was stunned.  “My heart had stopped for 6 minutes and 27 seconds.  I ended up staying in the ICU for one month, the hospital for two months, and needed one year to heal from that accident,” explains Olivia.  Though the accident was traumatic, Olivia knows many gifts have been given to her from that experience.  A week before her accident, Olivia had been given an IQ test and it had come back average.  The test was re-administered after the accident, and Olivia’s IQ came back as genius. She knows that while she was in the light, she was given knowledge of the universe.  Olivia explains, “The knowledge is to be used in a loving, healing manner.”

In 1993, Olivia was married, had a daughter and was living in Arizona.  She was drawn to books about angels and read a book called, How to Meet your Angel.  Shortly after reading the book, Olivia started having people coming up to her thanking her for things and seemingly recognizing her around town.  She became a “pied piper” to animals, having dogs follow her as she was driving home.  She also remembered things from her childhood that no one had talked about.  “I remembered getting my tonsils out at 19 months old.  I told my parents about it as an adult, and they were surprised.  They had never talked about it!”

Olivia shares the experience of meeting her guardian angel, at Christmas time, at a vacation condo in Monterey.  “I had a dream that became more and more vivid,” says Olivia.  “I was in a large room with windows all around and beautiful pillars.  There was a cocktail party going on, and as I looked around, I saw people I knew.  I looked over and leaning on a pillar, about 50 feet away, was a man.  When I looked into his eyes, I felt unconditional love.  I started sobbing.  And my angel, James, said, when he came up to me, "Olivia, dear Olivia. Just know that you're doing exactly what you should be doing, and you are very loved."Olivia then asked if she could call him “James” and he said he’s been called worse!  Olivia opened her eyes from the dream and her face was soaked with tears.  From that point on, James became her constant companion, and still is today.  “Angels are about lightness and joy,” shares Olivia.  “I have had so many experiences where James has helped me.  I would hear a buzzing when he wanted to get my attention.  He always helps me get a parking space! As soon as I think of it, a spot opens up.”  From the simple things in life, to the more complicated and serious, Olivia’s guardian angel has shown her the way more than once.  One night, her high school-age daughter hadn’t come home from a date, and was over an hour late.  As any parent knows, this is an agonizing feeling.  She kept hearing her guardian angel say “Denny’s, Denny’s” over and over.  She didn’t realize at first what it meant, but since it was said over and over, she ended up driving around and found her daughter at Denny’s restaurant.  Another time, in 1996, Olivia was living alone in California.  She decided to try an online chat room and made many friends.  Olivia called herself Gypsy 2.  There was one Scottish lad who would talk to everyone in the chat room, but never to Olivia.  This went on for many evenings.  “He ignored me,” said Olivia.  “I didn’t understand it.  Then one night, James told me to change my name to Angel Baby, spelled, Angel Babee.  I wasn’t sure about it, but I changed my name as James had asked me to do, that night.  I didn’t tell anyone in the chat room that I had changed my name.  Suddenly, the Scottish lad is chatting with me and sends me a private message saying ‘Hi.’ After that, the most amazing thing happened.  The Scottish lad tells me his name and shares that his own ‘angel baby’ was killed by a drunk driver 7 years ago that night.  He had been going to the chat room every night because he couldn't sleep and said that he'd give 20 years of his life to have his ‘angel baby’ back again-- just to tell her how much he loved her.  He also shared that he had never been able to cry.”   Olivia says after that, they conversed and he said he finally cried and that now he can sleep.  After that night, he never went to the chat room again. 

Following James’ advice seems to be the best way for Olivia to live her life.  From advice to go to the movies to making doctor’s appointments, her Guardian Angel has helped her make life-changing decisions.  And the key for Olivia is listening and saying “yes.”  Last year, around the holidays, Olivia unwillingly found herself at the movie, “The Way,” which she originally had no desire to see.  Needless to say, James brought her to the movie, despite her trying to see another movie at the theater.  Of course, it turned out to be her favorite movie she saw last year…and led her all the way to Italy, to attend a silent, spiritual retreat in Assisi!  Getting to Assisi was an adventure in itself, being the trip was rather last minute.  But Olivia found a wonderful woman named Ruth who had room for her, on an eight-day silent, spiritual retreat.  Olivia’s travels included meeting two, kind, helpful women named “Faith” along the way, and a girl named Angela (Angel) on the train, who was drawn to Olivia and had dedicated her whole life to God.

The entire experience at the retreat was a “Godsend” to Olivia, who had just gone through the death of three dear friends and a change of plans for her holidays.  Instead of a family party for Thanksgiving, she had decided to serve food to the needy through the St. Vincent de Paul Society.  And the silent retreat was scheduled over the Christmas holidays.  What Olivia returned with is a gift to last the rest of her life.  “We are so connected electronically in this life.  This retreat was completely disconnected electronically and 100% spiritually driven,” shares Olivia.  “The retreat was in a beautiful villa with wonderful people.  We learned a prayer that we would meditate on every day.  It is: ‘I am Present, I am Listening, and to it I added, I am GRATEFUL.’  We are spiritual beings and saying thank you to God for everything is key.  I thank God for the water in the shower in the morning and thank you for the balance in my life.  So much more has come through to me now that I put God first.  It had opened my channels – I get more intuition, gut feelings, right feelings.”

You can see how Olivia’s life flows.  Her gratefulness is such an important factor in her life.  In 2003, after Olivia's intuition and James alerted her to getting a mammogram, something she had avoided from irrational fear, she found she did have breast cancer that was 8-10 years old.  Thankfully, it turned out to be stage 1, allowing her a lumpectomy/radiation. Instead of thinking of herself as a "survivor," Olivia prefers to look at it as "another chuckhole in the road of life."

Olivia’s wisdom and faith shows her that her whole process of life has been a discovery.  She explains, “I have never made a mistake in life.  Life is a jigsaw puzzle and every choice I have made is a piece of that puzzle.  I love who I am and there have been no mistakes.  It’s not an arrogant comment, it’s just a mainstay in my life for expressing gratitude for everything in my life.  It makes sense to have a life filled with gratitude.”

Olivia, of course, has an amazing career as radio blog host and has been an artist all of her life.  On her blog show, she interviews Hollywood stars – (over 500!) – and most end up friends by the end of the interview.  She shares, “I started my radio show in 2007, after walking on the beach and thinking of things I might have done with my life. Two thoughts came to mind, -- a radio talk show host and a detective!  When I returned home, a couple of weeks later, an ex- boyfriend was talking on the phone and I, as I always did, had put him on speaker phone, and was working on other things. I noticed a long pause, so I quickly picked up the phone and said, "And....?" (quick save artist!) and he replied, "And that's why I think you would make a great radio talk show host! You have a way of saying things that piss me off at the time, but I think about them later, and you're always right! I think you have a way with everyone like that.”  Her other passion, painting, is one that brings her much joy. Olivia explains, “I am a self-taught artist (see more details on http://www.olivia-wilder.com/buyme.html ) - to this day, never have had a drawing lesson, though I did start painting workshops in 1972.  I've always loved people, and love doing portraits and figurative work, but just recently in the past few months have completely gone in a new direction and been doing more abstract/experimental paintings.  I am currently working on a triptych, a series of 3 paintings that will be hung together to create an ongoing scene called ‘Life,’ with the first two completed.  I do commissions and also teach painting.  Most all of my paintings, unless noted otherwise, are for sale, and I encourage people to contact me at my email address if interested.”  Just take a look at the links below to see her artwork and find her radio show!

 

Olivia doesn’t sleep much at night and says,” I don’t want to miss anything! I’m blessed with push-me-through-energy, and am a night owl, often going to bed as the sun comes up!  I sleep about 5-6 hours, and I hate having to do that, because there is so much life to live!”

Clearly, Olivia Wilder is “wild” about life and shares her joy with others daily.  Thank you, Olivia, for being a “lime squeeze,” and for sharing your gratitude for life with us all!

For more information on Olivia, please check out the following websites!

Olivia’s show: 

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/olivia

 

Olivia’s like page on FB: 

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Olivia-Wilder-Times/105619436151353 

 

Olivia’s website: 

http://www.olivia-wilder.com

 

Olivia’s blog: 

http://www.oliviawildertimes.blogspot.com

 

Her ITunes podcast:  

http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewPodcast?id=278756932

 

Twitter: 

http://www.twitter.com/oliviawilder

 

Facebook

 http://www.facebook.com/olivia.wilder

 

 
Congratulations to Robin DeMartini
Posted: 7/16/2012 | Read More | Post Comment (1)

   LIVING WITH LYME

by  Jeanne Barrett (July 2012)  

   

 

Congratulations to our July Lime Squeeze, Robin DeMartini! Robin is a true “Lime” Squeeze.  She is battling a daily struggle with Lyme disease, but is positive, happy and healthy – all while running her own successful Pilates studio!

Robin has been involved in the fitness world since the early eighties, back in Vermont.  At 18 years old, she decided to join an all women’s health club called “Spa Lady.”  She loved riding the stationary bike and says,  “Aerobics looked silly to me, but once I tried it, I was hooked!”  She became certified and starting teaching aerobics on the side.  Back then, Robin also worked as the assistant to the director for a wellness program at a bank, where she worked full-time.  “Preventative care is so important,” shares Robin.  “I started planning smoking cessation classes for employees, weight-loss classes, exercise classes and having various professionals come to give health tips monthly to our staff.”

During this time, she married her husband and they were transferred to California.  She began teaching at Prime Time Athletics in Burlingame, as an aerobics instructor.  They asked her to become certified in Pilates, and her passion was ignited.  “I don’t like pilates, I LOVE pilates,” says Robin.  “It makes the body feel so good.  There’s so much versatility to it and you can train anyone.  The range of motion that the machines give us is amazing.  You can work with anyone.  It’s a joint-friendly, feel-good strengthener.  And you can use the principles of Pilates throughout your whole life.”

It turns out that getting certified for Pilates was a blessing.  A tick bite while riding her horse, brought on a diagnosis of Lyme disease in 2008.  Robin had to give up her aerobics classes, as the lyme disease plants itself in the muscle, and the aerobic activity stirs up the Lyme disease.  The challenges of living with Lyme are many.  There are symptoms of insomnia, a foggy brain, tinnitus, night-sweats and extreme fatigue, which all  mask so many other illnesses.  “I went in to the doctor and explained the tick bite, and was put on antibiotics for four weeks.  Fortunately, I saw to a specialist for Lyme disease, because if you walk into a regular doctor’s office, they won’t use the same tools to test for Lyme disease.  There is a definite misunderstanding about the disease and how to treat it,” explains Robin.  “I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy.  My life now is completely regimented with how I care for myself.  I start my morning with special drops, Chinese herbs, more drops, vitamins and I have to do it again, every two hours.  I take supplements with warm water and have a doctor monitor my blood work.  If I can help one person, that what it’s about for me.  I am not looking for pity, but hoping to share an experience that could be sour, and offer solutions for living with Lyme.”

Robin says that pilates and yoga have been the gentlest exercises for her and have helped to keep her body connected.  She works with a nutritionist and believes everything you put in your mouth counts!  “I eat to live, these days.  I have more of a whole plant diet, eating foods like almond milk, goat cheese and goat yogurt.  I don’t use any sugar and I don’t eat red meat.  All this healthy eating helps with inflammation, caused from the Lyme disease,” shares Robin.   She  also has recently switched to a holistic, homeopathic doctor who specializes in Lyme disease, and that has made a world of difference for Robin.

Robin shares that “attitude is latitude.”  She went through a period of anger at the disease and realized she had to turn her attitude around.  One of her toughest challenges was giving up her morning coffee!  “I mourned it for a year!” says Robin.  Nowadays, her morning ritual starts with green loose tea that a friend gifted her a couple of years ago.  She swears by this tea and shares the link at the end of the story.  By making necessary changes in her life, and teaching others the healing gifts of pilates, Robin has certainly turned a negative into a positive!  Opening her own pilates studio, called “Lavender Pilates,” has been a gift to share her passion and healing with others.

Thank you Robin, for sharing your story and your “Lime” zest for life!

For more information, contact :

Robin DeMartini -  www.lavenderpilates.com

Robin’s favorite green tea -  “Naivetea”    

www.naivetea.com

 

 

 
Congratulations to Christine Taylor
Posted: 6/1/2012 | Read More | Post Comment (1)

   A LIME SQUEEZE WITH A SET OF WHEELS

by  Jeanne Barrett (June 2012)  

 

 

 

Congratulations to our June Lime Squeeze, Christine Taylor!  She is working hard to give people with physical disabilities freedom and improved health. 

Mrs. Christine Taylor is a successful woman.  She is a wife and mother of two children, one son and one daughter. Recently, she made a decision to leave a corporate job, in order to pursue a career making an incredible difference for people confined to wheelchairs.  “I started a career with Ernst and Young, one of the Big Four public accounting firms.   I became a partner and worked for 15 years in the corporate environment,” shares Christine.  In 2010, Christine made a decision to leave the corporate world; partly due to the economic environment, and partly due to her personal desire for a change in life.  She also wanted to have some time with her then 6 and 10 year-old children.  “I thought about if I really wanted to work for a paycheck, or a passion.  I enjoyed my career very much, but was finding it wasn’t as rewarding or fulfilling as it used to be,” explains Christine.  “I left without having something else on the horizon, but knew I needed something different in my life.” 

Christine reflected on the ways she had contributed to life and living, throughout her career.  She wanted to take some time off, be with her children and just enjoy not being on a schedule.  She had a few months of this slower-paced life, when she received a phone call from a start-up company looking for a CFO.  “I went ahead and talked to them and found I was interested,” says Christine.  “Last March, in 2011, I became the CFO for Wijits.  It has been everything I love about working with a start-up – the camaraderie, the fast-paced momentum, the feeling like the company is like a family.  It’s more informal than a large organization.  I worked with Google and Facebook , as start-ups, when I was with my corporate job, and it’s special to be part of team creating a company.” 

And then there is the unique aspect of Wijit.  Wijit is a company that has created a lever for a wheelchair, which makes self-propelling easier for the person in the chair.  The Wijit is changing people’s lives.  People who have muscular dystrophy or partial paralysis in their lower extremities, and are wheelchair bound, now have a way to get around more freely and efficiently.  “There is one client, Matt Ruple, who is featured in a Youtube video on our website,” shares Christine.  “He was diagnosed at 13 with an aggressive neurological disorder.  Over time, he lost the ability to walk.  He is now a successful student at Santa Clara University, who is able to get around campus quickly, thanks to the Wijit.”  For people confined to wheelchairs, using a motorized wheelchair often leads to weight gain.  A push wheelchair is harder to maneuver, and it takes a lot of effort to push to wheels.  Using the Wijit lever, someone like Matt is able to cruise around the campus, chatting with other students, while just pumping the Wijit on the side of the wheelchair.  “He regained his independence.  He felt like he was flying across the campus,” says Christine.  “Matt is getting exercise and it’s changed his life!  He can now have coffee with a friend, and still make it to classes on time.  He can ‘walk’ with a friend.  If you are pushing a wheelchair, you are huffing and puffing.  Now the Wijit is allowing him freedom and a semblance of normalcy.” 

For a look at how the Wijit works, just click on the link at the end of the article.  Christine says she has received video clips of mothers sobbing when their children self-propel themselves.  “This is the feeling I left my other job for,” says Christine.  “Parents are so happy with the Wijit.  They are overjoyed that their child is more independent.  They even say it’s cleaner – their children aren’t touching the dirty tires over and over.”

Creating mobility and independence is the passion Christine was looking for.  Her children are exposed to her job and are helping with the kids in wheelchairs.  It’s also half as many pushes with the lever, than with their hands. Christine shares, “There is so much passion around the Wijit.  We are in a position to touch so many lives.  We are working with U. S. Veterans and the U.S. Paralympic Sled Teams, as a conditioning tool.”

In a great coincidence, the founder of Wijit , Brian Watwood, went to UC Santa Cruz, as did Christine.  She didn’t know Brian at UCSC, but did know him from the business community.  He himself is in a wheelchair, so he knew exactly what those with physical limitations needed.  He has dedicated his life to the development of the Wijit, and he is a member of the National Hall of Fame for Person’s with Disabilities.  “What makes a good company is a strong management team and a good product.  We have both here at Wijit,” says Christine.

Thank you, Christine Taylor, for your dedication to changing the lives of those using wheelchairs, and for your enthusiasm in doing so!

 

For more information about Wijit, please click on:  www.wijit.com

To view Youtube video of Wijit:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=491qe2pCr2c

 
Congratulations to Tamara Maellaro
Posted: 5/1/2012 | Read More | Post Comment (1)

 MAKING SWEET MUSIC TO CHILDREN'S EARS

by  Jeanne Barrett (April 2012)

  

Welcome to our May Lime Squeeze, Tamara Maellaro!  Tamara is inspiring children with a singing gorilla named Billy Gorilly…one story and one song at a time!

As Tamara looks back on her life, there are many things that led her to where she is today.  She has always loved children, teaching, and music – though she didn’t realize back then that those would combine for creating a successful children’s website today. 

Born and raised in Southern California, Tamara was very involved in sports and was a competitive runner.  Music was also always a big part of her family life.  “My father had a drum set, my brother played drums too, and I played flute and piccolo,” shares Tamara.  “In junior high, I quit running and started to focus on music.  In high school, I was part of a concert band that toured Europe and we even made an album at a large music studio in Sweden.”

After high school, Tamara pursued nursing and ended up working in a neo-natal/pediatrics unit.  “I took care of children who came out of intensive care.  I used music with my patients.  I noticed that music calmed them down.”  Even though Tamara wasn’t touring anymore or actively pursing a music career, she was using her musical talents with her patients and noticing a difference with their moods and healing. 

At 28 years old, Tamara met her husband, John Maellaro, a music teacher and composer.  “My husband has a wide variety of students.  He teaches private music lessons for people ages 4 to 90,” says Tamara.  Together, they decided to come up with a website and create educational, positive songs and stories for children.  “We have a love for music and it’s something we can share with others.  We wanted to accentuate the positive in life and use music to teach children.  We like learning, too!  We designed the website, and I do the graphic arts, worksheets and blog posts.  John does the character’s voices, and writes the songs with a colleague, Charles Hardman.  My husband also does the voice for our main character, Billy Gorilly, in an upbeat, classic style.”

The Billy Gorilly website and songs are aimed for children ages 3-7.  Billy Gorilly sings songs and tells stories to kids that encourage cooperation, honesty, responsibility, and tolerance.  The website is a wonderful educational tool for children – with not only music and stories, but coloring pages, puzzles, recipes for kids, and even sheet music!  They offer a family newsletter and the whole website encourages reading and learning through music.

The amazing reach they’ve had worldwide makes Tamara very grateful.  “We have customers ordering the music from Mexico and Canada, and they are using the songs to learn the English language. That’s the beauty of the Internet and social media.  It’s such a nice feeling to know that we can help people from other countries to learn English through our music and characters.  We recently received a thank you note from a library in Australia thanking us for our songs. Each year, we write a library song and donate it to libraries for free.  It’s a small way we can give back,” shares Tamara.  The library songs can also be downloaded for free from their website for anyone to enjoy – they just ask that you give “Billy Gorilly” the credit, and not sell the songs.

The beauty of the business is how Tamara and her husband work together.  They both have full-time jobs, so they do their music business in the evenings together, when they get home from work.  Tamara explains, “We both had parents who worked together.  It’s natural for us to create music together in the evenings.  Working together keeps us together. Billy Gorilly is a labor of love for us.”

Tamara and John are also contributing members of a charity called “Kidz Rock Inc.”  Tamara explains, “This is an up-and-coming charity where we raise funds to get children involved in extracurricular activities.  Our focus in on music and we provide keyboards and lessons for kids from economically-challenged backgrounds.”

Thank you, Tamara, for sharing your story, and demonstrating how healing, educational and inspiring music can be in the lives of children worldwide!

For more information and to download any of Billy Gorilly's music, stories, or activites,  please check out:   billygorilly.com

 

 

 
Congratulations to Vivian Tsai
Posted: 4/4/2012 | Read More | Post Comment (2)

TURNING SOUR LIMES INTO A SWEET SMILE!

by  Jeanne Barrett (April 2012)

 

 

Welcome to our newest Lime Squeeze, Vivian Tsai!  Vivian has faced challenges in her life with grace, beauty and a courage that will inspire our readers. 

Vivian Tsai is an intelligent, funny, adventurous woman with a bright smile and warm heart.  Talking with Vivian fills you with admiration and inspiration, for her amazing attitude and bravery.  Less than one year ago, Vivian was diagnosed with breast cancer.  “Your life can change in an instant.  I had just come back from a vacation in Hawaii with my family and had done a self-check.  It’s so important to be in touch with your body,” says Vivian.  “Going back to September 2010, I had found a lump, but it disappeared.  I went to the doctor anyway.  I found out I had a pre-cancer condition on my right breast.  A month later, I found a lump on my left breast.  You really need to be proactive about your health.”  Vivian’s cancer turned out to be invasive, so she was treated with a masectomy and chemotherapy.  Since the diagnosis, she has joined some amazing cancer therapy groups with other young women battling breast cancer.  Vivian shares, “I know a lot about my cancer.  It’s important to stay engaged and become informed.  I did a lot of research on breast cancer websites and joined age-appropriate groups, like Bay Area Young Survivors.  I wanted to be able to relate to women with similar breast cancer issues, not the 60 to70 year-old post-menopausal breast cancers.”

Facing her fears and moving forward with no regrets has gotten her through these tough times.  She is comfortable talking about her breast cancer and feels the education and networking is an important part of the battle.  “Being informed takes the fears away.  Last year, I lost a friend from colon cancer who was 29 years old.  Since life can change in a moment, it’s important to talk about it.  By talking, it’s like a volcano letting off steam.  Blogging is also therapeutic for me.  With my blog, I wanted to educate people about chemotherapy, and was able to write about the physical aspects of my surgery, which was very healing.  This way, I could share my experience with my family and friends,” explains Vivian. 

Surprisingly, Vivian’s breast cancer is not the hardest thing she has had to face in her life so far.  For some people, a cancer diagnosis can knock the wind out of them.  For Vivian, her attitude is that cancer is treatable, it’s not chronic, and it could always be worse.  “The darkest period of my life was my divorce in 2005.  My husband was an addict and I had no control over our lives.”  When she finally decided to leave him, she got some control back in her life.  She had two small children at the time, so the choice was not an easy one and not a quick decision.  “In the past, no one knew my husband had a drug addiction.  There was some shame involved, but I learned you never really know what is going on in someone’s life,” shares Vivian.  “Nothing derails me anymore.  We can tackle anything that comes our way.  I try not to get down in the dumps.  My motto is to be kind to everyone – everyone is fighting their own battles.”

Today, Vivian continues to live a healthy, positive life.  She credits her two boys, ages 11 and 13 and says they have been “terrific” through it all. She also has support from her parents and extended family and friends.  Vivian also found that weekly treatments by an acupuncturist since September have helped balance her “chi” and have boosted her energy during this time of chemotherapy treatments.  Vivian says, “I felt so strongly about the acupuncture that I asked my friends and family to drive me to San Francisco for treatments, when I wasn’t able to drive.”

 

And in July, she will do the Avon Breast Cancer 39-mile walk.  It is meaningful to her, since it will be almost one-year to the date of her breast cancer diagnosis.  “The whole point is catching cancer early, and not being in denial.  This is the easiest cancer to find – it’s not like ovarian cancer that can be harder to detect.  Be comfortable enough with your own body to care about it.  This will always be a part of me, but it doesn’t define me,” shares Vivian. 

Thank you Vivian, for sharing your amazing attitude and strength through some incredibly challenging obstacles in life!

For more information about Breast Cancer support and Vivian’s Breast Cancer Walk, please check out the websites below:

www.breastcancer.org

 

her2support.org

 

Bay Area Young Survivors, (a support group for breast cancer veterans under 45 years old) - www.baysnet.org

 

Therapeutic blogging at:  www.caringbridge.org

 

Vivian’s page for the Avon Breast Cancer Walk in July:

http://info.avonfoundation.org/goto/eastofordinary

 

 

 

 

 
Congratulations to Ruta Sternbergs
Posted: 3/7/2012 | Read More | Post Comment (26)

LIVIN' LIME OC ANGEL

by Jeanne Barrett (March 2012)

   

 

A warm welcome to a real angel, Dr. Ruta Sternbergs!  Ruta gives comfort to those in their darkest hours – and brings a ray of hope and compassion to their lives.

Ruta has one big heart.  She volunteers with Trauma Intervention Program in Orange County, CA. (aka: TIP).  If you haven’t heard of TIP, it’s a wonderful program where citizen volunteers respond to traumatic events, at the request of police, fire and hospital personnel.  These volunteers comfort those affected by traumatic experiences, so that the first responders (police, fire and emergency personnel) can continue with their jobs.  The TIP volunteer is called away at a moment’s notice, to respond to victims of tragic events and devastating loss.

Ruta grew up in Canada, and started out working as a Registered Nurse.  She obtained a double Doctorate Degree in Psychology, and has always enjoyed connecting with people.  She says her greatest joy has been raising two wonderful children, who are now young adults.  “Several years ago, I had my own personal experience with tragedy that disrupted my family,” shares Ruta.  Because of this event, she decided to attend the TIP training academy and has been a volunteer for the past five years.  “Trauma Intervention Program is really awesome,” says Ruta.  “Almost anyone can go through the training.  They have wonderful resources and dedicated instructors to work with.  During the three-month probation period, new responders are always sent out with a partner.  We go by monthly schedules and we usually work a minimum of three 12-hour shifts.”  At TIP in Orange County, Ruta says there are approximately 100 volunteers, who commit to monthly continuing education.  “It’s extremely well-organized and there is trauma coverage 365 days a year, twenty-four seven,” explains Ruta.  “You can choose your days and shifts.  You are then called by dispatch for natural or unexpected deaths, accidents, victims of crime, or suicides.”  When people ask Ruta about the calls she attends, she usually tells people, “Just close your eyes and think of your worst nightmare.  Those are the calls we respond to.” 

As you can imagine, this takes a special person to put herself in the face of tragedy, to comfort a total stranger.  “If someone who has experienced a tragedy has no one to lean on, you can really make an impact.  In amidst of the crisis, they are left in total grief, and you can connect to that person through their grief,” shares Ruta.  “I am honored to be allowed to share in what could be their darkest hour.”  When asked about a “typical” volunteer day, well, no day is “typical.”  On her first day as a volunteer, Ruta responded to a call where a mother was shot while walking her child to school.  A few months ago, she attended three calls in one shift!  One was for a homicide, the next was for a family whose house burned down, and the last call was a suicide.

Ruta explains that calls can be of different duration.  “If the victim has family, friends or neighbors nearby, the TIP responder may be needed for a shorter period of time.  But oftentimes, other family members and friends need support as well, especially if the tragedy involves a child.  We will stay as long as we are needed.  If our shift ends, we usually continue or don’t leave until the next volunteer has arrived to take over,” says Ruta.

The TIP program was founded in 1985, by Wayne Fortin, a licensed mental health professional, who still travels extensively leading TIP training programs.  There are many affiliates nationwide.  The main concept of TIP is to prevent secondary injuries.  The first injury has already occurred, so TIP is in place to prevent the secondary injury of being alone or feeling alone in a tragedy.  “In some cases, secondary injuries could even feel more devastating and harder for an individual to overcome,” explains Ruta. 

Ruta shares some other amazing facts with us about TIP.  “Each call is individual as we try to address the client's specific needs.  We provide a caring presence and administer ‘emotional first aide’.  We can be the information liaison between the client, medical staff, first responders, clergy and coroner.  We are knowledgeable in additional resources and services once the crisis point has passed. TIP in Orange County has 3 comfort dogs on staff, as well as bilingual responders.  TIP teens are also available to help connect to younger children and adolescence.  TIP can also be called out for natural disasters, public memorial services and major incident events.  Recently, TIP has added  "NODA" (no one dies alone) availability.  If a patient, with no family or friends on hand, is not expected to survive, a TIP volunteer will provide comfort and presence.”

Ruta loves her volunteer work with TIP and speaks very highly of the program.  Still, her proudest moments come from the words of her own children.  “Personally, what makes me happiest is when my daughter tells me she is proud of me and what I do, and when my son says ‘you are the strongest woman I know.’  Then, I know I am in the right place and doing the right thing.”

Thank you, Ruta, for sharing your story and introducing TIP to us at Livin’Lime.  Your compassion is astounding and humbling, and we congratulate you as the March Lime Squeeze!

For more information about the Trauma Intervention Program, please click on:

www.tiporangecounty.org/

 
Congratulations to Valerie Gartner
Posted: 2/19/2012 | Read More | Post Comment (1)

 

 A LIMESQUEEZE WITH STYLE

by Jeanne Barrett (January 2012)

   

  

 

A warm welcome to February’s Lime Squeeze, Valerie Gartner!  Valerie’s love of all things vintage has her heart relishing in the past!

An afternoon with Valerie Gartner is a pleasant nod to days gone by… to the era of our grandparents, and of their grandparents.  She has a whole host of talents: hairstylist, jewelry designer, party planner for girls’ vintage styling parties, and sports coach…not to mention wife and mother!  Valerie is following her heart and giving back in her own stylish fashion.

Nostalgia, whimsy and vintage are what come to mind when talking about Valerie.  As a child, Valerie remembers visiting her father’s sister, who was a hair stylist.  “I thought it was the coolest thing!  I loved getting my haircut there, and she always had antiques and vintage items that I admired,” shares Valerie.  “I also remember going to my great-grandmother’s house.  She had big, bold jewelry and lots of crystal.  You would go into the living room, but you didn’t even sit on the couches.  It was so pretty…oozing with jewels.  I am definitely inspired by my family.”

As Valerie became older, she would go to flea markets with her father on Sundays.  She loved finding treasures.  “Everything has a story when it’s old.  When you buy something new, it doesn’t have a story,” says Valerie.  Her home is tastefully filled with vintage items and antiques.  And her bubble gum pink hair studio is covered with Audrey Hepburn inspired fashion and furniture.

“I am passing this passion on to my children.  My daughter loves going to estate sales,” shares Valerie.  “She recently found a beautiful manger scene, made in Italy, which she bought for $2.50!  I give them $5.00 to wheel and deal with, and they use it sensibly.  They hunt around and find something special.  And they learn the value of a dollar!”

Valerie has recently taken her love of vintage items and turned it into profit for her children’s school.  Last year, she restarted a school rummage sale.  “My mother had run it at the school years ago, when I was in grammar school.  I thought it was so cool and talked to the Vice Principal and we brought it back,” explains Valerie.  “Three of us took the reins and ran it together.  It was a great success, bringing in over $5,500 for the school.”  They did it again in November 2011 and it was another success.  They collect items year round and store them in a pod on campus, as well as in the gym rafters.  “It’s easy and fun…and a chance to earn the school some money, without a huge effort,” says Valerie.

Besides helping the school with the rummage sale and coaching volleyball and basketball, Valerie sells homemade jewelry on ETSY, and hosts parties for young girls through her business, “Style Me Girly.”  All of Valerie’s jewelry is made from vintage earrings, broaches, broken jewelry, and salvaged pieces.  “I make these pieces into rings, necklaces, and bracelets,” says Valerie.  “For the Style Me Girly parties, the girls can wear the jewelry with my collection of vintage dresses and purses.  They can get their hair styled in fancy up-dos.  I’m like a kid in a candy store when I buy the vintage dresses,” laughs Valerie.

Thank you, Valerie, for sharing your passion for the past with us at Livin’Lime and moving forward with your dreams!

 

For more information about Valerie's businesses, please see the following sites:

www.stylemegirly.com/

www.etsy.com/shop/StyleMeGirly

 
Congratulations to Martha Ryan and Liz Vaughn
Posted: 1/20/2012 | Read More | Post Comment (1)

Double Lime Squeezes

by Jeanne Barrett (January 2012)

   

   

 

The new year brings us not one, but two special lime squeezes!  These two amazing women have worked together for 20 years to break the cycle of poverty and abuse for countless families!

Meet Martha Ryan, founder and executive director of the Homeless Prenatal Program, and long-time volunteer, Liz Vaughn.  These two women’s lives have intersected through the common bond of helping homeless pregnant women and making permanent changes for the women.

Martha Ryan founded San Francisco Homeless Prenatal 22 years ago.  “I had heard about homeless women in San Francisco living in shelters, not getting prenatal care.  At the time, I was getting my master’s in Public Health, after living and working in Africa  - but I found the developing world right here in San Francisco,” says Martha.

Martha had been a Peace Corps volunteer, teaching English in Ethiopia.  She had such an incredible experience in Africa that she came home to San Francisco, became a nurse, and went back to Somalia, Uganda, and Sudan, to work in public health.  “We trained women in camps to be health care providers for their families, and taught the women basic health care, so they could, in turn, care for the sick people in their communities,” shares Martha.  “We helped with malaria and tuberculosis prevention.  In 1985, we dealt with four epidemics in six months.  The key was controlling the epidemics not so much through Western medicine, but by training the women themselves on prevention, who could then teach the people in their own tribes.” 

When Martha returned from Africa, she found herself working as a nurse at San Francisco General Hospital.  She started helping women from the Hamilton Family Center, a homeless shelter.  About that time, Martha decided to take a grant writing class, in order to better assist the homeless, pregnant women.  She knew from her time in Africa that she needed to have a plan to help the women, and then teach them to help themselves.  She saw that the women in San Francisco had many issues related to poverty – and that prenatal care was not enough.  

Martha received a grant and started the Homeless Prenatal Program.  Twenty-two years ago, she had 72 pregnant moms, a budget of $52,000, and friends assisting her.  Last year, she had 3,600 families, a budget of 5.3 million dollars, a staff of 68 people, and over 200 volunteers.  More than half of her staff is comprised of former clients.  “I think the most important thing I’ve done in my life is to listen,” shares Martha.  “The former clients that have become staff have taught me so much about what the women need.  A good leader hires to his or her weakness.”

This is where mother of five, Liz Vaughn, comes in.  Liz heard about HPP and decided she wanted to volunteer.  “A family friend wrote to my husband, Greg and I, about 20 years ago, and suggested that we might be interested in helping with the Homeless Prenatal Program,” shares Liz.  “I am drawn to helping women and children, and HPP empowers women to help themselves and their families.”   Throughout the twenty years, Liz has had many lasting relationships with women in the program.  One in particular has lasted 12 years.  “I became a mentor to a certain family.  Our relationship has grown stronger since my own children are older and away at school.  Both of our families are very connected.  I am also involved with fundraising at HPP, but my greatest connection to the women at HPP has been through my role in helping with their prenatal classes,” says Liz.  Assisting with the prenatal classes has allowed Liz to share her experiences as a mother and make incredible connections with the women, which brings Liz great joy.  Liz has mothers who call her from the hospital when their babies are born, and she will show up with gifts and good wishes.  For these mothers, it is wonderful for them to have a “cheerleader” in their corner… someone who has a special connection with them and someone who has encouraged them during this period in their lives.   “As soon as a woman enters the doors of HPP, they will never be judged for anything, but who they are at that moment.  HPP empowers them to succeed, to be good mothers, to find housing and careers, independence, and the opportunity to thrive in motherhood,” explains Liz.  “I see that once judgments are banished, progress and confidence thrive.  It has been incredible to meet these women and see how the change occurs in their lives.”

 

Today, a tour of the relatively new facility of HPP in San Francisco is more like visiting a spa/café, than a homeless help center!  Beautiful photographs of pregnant women in their last trimester, line the walls.  The shots are taken by photographer Keri Vaca.  Keri from Small Miracles Photography gives each mother a photograph of herself pregnant, as a gift.  Martha, herself a married mother with two children, makes sure that each person who comes to HPP is treated with dignity. The pregnant women are assigned a social worker, who guides them throughout their pregnancy, and beyond.  Many women in the HPP program are trained to become community health workers, through a 12- month program.  They attend college, and 96% end up with full-time jobs.  HPP offers all kinds of support and wellness classes for the pregnant mothers and their families – including prenatal classes, acupuncture, yoga, and infant and prenatal massage. The volunteers at HPP even throw baby showers for the women, complete with homemade knit blankets and photo albums of the special day! 

HPP provides a housing program, a home-goods program, and many other programs that address domestic violence, substance abuse and child welfare.  They even have a tax preparation office for the working poor.

“Pregnancy offers us a window of opportunity to help someone willing to change.  I have never met a pregnant mother who didn’t want to give the best to her child.  The common denominator for these women is usually poverty and abuse,” says Martha.  “Our mission is to have a partnership to end the cycle of childhood poverty.” 

 

Thank you, Martha Ryan and Liz Vaughn, for caring enough to make life a beautiful experience, filled with dignity and self-respect, for homeless families!

For more information about the Homeless Prenatal Program, please click on:

www.homelessprenatal.org/

 
Congratulations to Marisol Richardson
Posted: 12/16/2011 | Read More | Post Comment (1)

 A Lime Squeeze Heroine

by Jeanne Barrett (December 2011)

 

 

 

A warm welcome to Marisol Richardson, our Holiday Lime Squeeze!  Marisol has taken some sour moments in life and made them sweeter with her positive attitude!

Marisol Richardson is one hard-working young woman.  She is raising a family, maintaining a busy job and helping family members through health challenges…in addition to focusing on her own health issues.

Talk with Marisol and you’ll find her positive attitude contagious.  She is a stay-at-home mother of two boys, who also works in the music industry.  Her sons, Ryan (age 14) and Brandon (age 4) enjoy having their mom home to help with schoolwork and extra-curricular activities.  Ryan also enjoys his mom’s job: reviewing and promoting bands, like Motorhead and Jane’s Addiction.  “I do music promotions for bands through Capitol Records/EMI.  I’m like a mystery shopper for music.  I review concerts to determine how many people attended and to see how they enjoyed the show,” explains Marisol.  She also has a music blog on Music Junkie Press.  “So many bands just need exposure,” explains Marisol.  “It’s great because my son Ryan started music several years ago, and began learning all parts of music – keyboard, drums, and guitar.  It has been so nice to include him to the concerts.   We recently took him to Las Vegas with us to review Corey Taylor from Slipknot.”

If you think reviewing concerts like Foo Fighters and Rick Springfield for  “work” is cool, it is!  But Marisol has had a tough road to get to where she is today.  Several years ago, at age 35, Marisol suffered a stroke.  Her oldest son was only in kindergarten at the time.  In the hospital, there was one older nurse who recognized signs of a stroke.  Marisol explains, “I was suffering from aphasia – I could hear everything that was going on, but I could not talk.  It was frustrating to hear everything, but to not be able to communicate.” 

After the stroke, Marisol suffered several miscarriages.  One was particularly devastating.  Her baby daughter Julia was born alive at 7.5 months into the pregnancy.  Marisol shares, “We heard her cry, and she lived for about 2-3 hours.  We really went through a bumpy road.  I have met women who have been through similar circumstances.  We have an immediate bond.  It’s a sisterhood that you don’t want to join.”

After baby Julia, Marisol had other miscarriages.  Then she became pregnant with a baby boy, her son Brandon.  She was put on bed rest at 11 weeks, so she moved in with her parents for support.  Her mother had Parkinson’s disease, so they would often joke, “Who is taking care of whom?” 

When Baby Brandon was about five months old, Marisol recognized the first signs of another stroke, and immediately called 911.  Thankfully, she was aware of the signs, and a woman firefighter helped with her son, as Marisol was transported to the hospital.  This stroke left Marisol with many residual effects and she had to use a walker for months.  “I was about 39 years old.  I worked so hard,” says Marisol.  “I even had to relearn how to jump.  I knew what jumping was, I just couldn’t do it.”  This was also a time where friendships proved invaluable.  “My friend Debbie was a saving grace to me, with Brandon,” says Marisol.  “She placed dishes on low shelves and made things easy and accessible for me, as I was using a walker.”

Marisol also credit families from Ryan’s school, St. Matthew’s Catholic School, for helping out at their time of need.  They had meals covered for every evening for months and Ryan spent afternoons and weekends playing with good friends, while other moms made sure he was brought to school and home on weekdays.  One of these amazing moms was Chris Lowenstein, our March 2011 Lime Squeeze.  “I call her my ‘Hero Angel,’” says Marisol.

As Marisol recovered, she learned that she will always be a candidate for strokes.  She takes an aspirin every day and is in tune to the first signs of a stroke.  Marisol says, “It’s so important to know the signs of a stroke.  I remember the story of a 21-year old having a stroke, but she was told it was a panic attack.” 

In the meantime, Marisol and her family moved to be closer to her aging parents.  She and her sisters provided care to her mom and dad, who were both suffering from Parkinson’s disease.  Sadly, Marisol lost her father, (who was her best friend), last September, 2011.  At the same time, her husband Stephen suffered a heart attack.  Thankfully, he is recovering.  Through all this turmoil, Marisol maintains a gracious, positive attitude.  “I could be depressed, but then what?” says Marisol.  “Everyday would be a waste.  My kids are healthy, I’m still married, and we have a family.  We need to be happy just where we are at in life.  Even though I gave up working a regular job, I have a great job right now.  We’ve had some blows, but we’ve made it through every time.  We do believe things happen for a reason.” 

And through it all, the Richardson family has provided so much to others along the way.  In 2005, when Hurricane Katrina hit and the levees broke in New Orleans, Marisol’s son Ryan wanted to gather some of his own items to help the victims.  He felt that God had given so much to him, that he wanted to help others affected by the hurricane.  That little desire to help from a young boy led to a HUGE community effort called “Operation Ryan’s Hope.”  Truckloads of donated items were driven to New Orleans.  The response was so huge that it spread to Southern California and even to other states! (There was even a drop spot for donations in Colorado).  The amount of help was staggering – all started by then 7-year old Ryan, who saw the suffering on TV and wanted to help others.  This is just one example of how the Richardson’s live their lives, despite some difficult struggles along the way.

 

Thank you, Marisol, for sharing your story of hope, healing, and grace this holiday season!

For more information, please click:

Marisol Richardson’s music blog:

 www.musicjunkiepress.com   

Marisol’sTwitter is @MariRichardson

For Stroke Information:

 www.stroke.org

 

 

 
Congratulations to Michelle O'Donnell
Posted: 11/17/2011 | Read More | Post Comment (1)

 

 A Family's Difficult Decision

by Jeanne Barrett (November 2011)

 

 

A warm welcome to our November Lime Squeeze, Michelle O’Donnell.  She is sharing a heartbreaking event in her life, in order to give hope and help to others who may find themselves in a similar situation. 

Michelle O’Donnell has lived in New York with her husband, Manny Fernandez and young son, Tommy, until recently.  (A job promotion for her husband moved the family to Texas in July 2011).  An accomplished writer, Michelle took a break from working when her son was born.  They had enjoyed life in New York, living in Brooklyn, in a neighborhood filled with children and families.  In early 2010, Michelle found out she was pregnant again. They were overjoyed.  But their happiness turned to fear after a nuchal translucency test, in which their baby was diagnosed with Trisomy 18 – a random, but almost always, fatal chromosomal abnormality.  Michelle explains, “It was truly heartbreaking news.  Suddenly I went from being a happy, busy mom planning for a new baby, to a grieving parent who felt powerless in the face of this giant wrong looming over our family.” 

Michelle and Manny started to gather all the information they could about Trisomy 18.  Friends and family began praying for a miracle.  They learned that their baby may not be born alive, or could live for a few days, and then pass away.  The news was devastating.  Even more tragic were the options given to Michelle.   “The hospital, NYU Langone Medical Center, wanted to know if they could schedule an abortion, which I did not want to have,” says Michelle.  “At the same time, I wondered what would happen if I carried this very sick baby to term.  How would we care for her (we learned she was a girl), who would care for us?  The hospital at this point offered us little support and I did not know how to connect with other families—they had to be out there—that had made the decision to keep their terminally ill babies.” 

 

Michelle felt like an outcast.  The doctors did not know what to do with a mother who had decided to keep her terminally ill child.  Michelle wanted to give her daughter a chance in life, even if the life was to be short.  Michelle explains, At first, we had a difficult eight weeks, in which the medical professionals we met didn’t quite know what to make of us, and we sometimes had a chilly reception.  Then we learned about perinatal hospice.  Suddenly, we had a name for what we’d wanted to do, as well as a network of families and professionals to help us get through; in addition to the friends (many in the neighborhood) who were there all along, offering us support.”

 

Michelle had renewed hope after learning about the perinatal hospice group.  They were people who understood that life was precious, no matter how short and imperfect it may be.  My husband and I learned how to make a birth plan for a terminally ill baby, one that would involve only comfort care, not any interventions that might be painful for our daughter and ultimately be useless, as they could never improve her terminal underlying condition.  (They could use up precious moments of a life that might be only minutes long).  And yet, for two writers, we had a hard time actually writing the plan, and never quite finished it.  From the second trimester on, NYU was remarkable with us, surrounding us with doctors and nurses who were really committed to creating the perinatal hospice experience for our family.  The city's only formal perinatal hospice program was at St. Vincent's, which closed in the spring.  The doctor who ran it, Dr. Mary Marron-Corwin, shared her expertise with us, and NYU, and ultimately, I feel NYU did a wonderful job.”

 

Though there were moments of extreme sadness and awkwardness when well-wishers would ask questions about when her baby was due, Michelle was ultimately filled with peace about her situation.  She knew she had support from those who cared for her and felt guided by the people she was meeting along the way.  “Most surprising to me as I look back at the year that saw all this happen, is the deep peace that I somehow felt.  It started soon after I decided to carry our sick baby to term, even though the sadness was still there.  I can't properly explain it, I'm afraid.  I don't want our poor baby to simply have been my transformative moment of self-improvement -- it's not that way at all.  But this deep peace, this love I felt for her, and the chance to let her live out her brief life, it was my comfort.  For me, I sailed on that some days, and it helped on the days when the tears came.” 

 

On August 20th, 2010, little Agnes Rose O’Donnell Fernandez was stillborn, at 8.5 months.  Michelle and Manny had the opportunity to hold her their beautiful little girl and to spend time with her.  She was delivered in a VBAC, and a particularly difficult one because she'd become so twisted up inside me,” shares Michelle.  “She was born with some cuts and bruises and she even needed a couple of stitches, but we were able to hold her and to know her.  Despite the abrasions, she was beautiful. Not the deformed creature at times I'd been scared she'd be.  We spent some time with her in the room, and a photographer from Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep, a group of professional photographers who volunteer their services for families in our position, came to take her picture so we'd have a memory.  We buried her in a family plot in California, in a little coffin that some high school boys in New Jersey made for their community service.”

Michelle has now shared her story with other moms in her neighborhood through an email, (from which her interview for this article was written and shared for Livin’ Lime).  She has since met with moms in similar situations, and offers an empathetic ear and a shoulder to cry on, as someone who understands fear, uncertainty and the untimely death of a baby.  This is a gift Michelle can now share with others.  Her little girl, (nicknamed Aggie) will never be forgotten and hopefully her story can inspire others who are experiencing a challenging pregnancy, and offer some hope and grace along the way.  Thank you, Michelle, for sharing your story with us at Livin’ Lime and for helping other families faced with similar situations.

Author Note: Michelle is my sister, and little Aggie was my niece.  I am ever grateful for the courage and faith my sister Michelle lived and shared, throughout those 9 months.  Aggie was beautiful and will always be remembered as an Angel in our lives.  Michelle is amazing and living her convictions has given faith to many.   Agnes Rose had so many prayers, love and support throughout my sister’s pregnancy.   Both Michelle and her husband Manny showed such courage in the face of so much uncertainty. 

For pregnancy support:  http://sistersoflife.org/

Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep Photography : http://www.nowilaymedowntosleep.org/home/

New York Times’ Article about perinatal hospice:

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/13/health/13hospice.html?scp=1&sq=%22perinatal%20hospice%22&st=cse

 
Congratulations to Marge Cowart
Posted: 10/8/2011 | Read More | Post Comment (2)

Livin' Lime by Giving Time

by Jeanne Barrett (October 2011)

 

Congratulations to our October Lime Squeeze, Marge Cowart!  Marge has spent her life making a difference in her communities… from the Midwest to the West Coast!

This month’s Lime Squeeze is Marge Cowart.  She is a woman filled with wisdom and has spent a lifetime contributing to various causes, in hopes of making the world a better place.  At ninety-six and a half years young, Marge, (she insists on being called by her first name) is still brightening the days of people of all ages.  “My thoughts for a good life are just to be giving of yourself and to be open to younger people. I have a lot of friends who are younger than me,” shares Marge.  She also thinks kind words can make a world of difference.  “Just the other day I was out walking and saw a woman all dressed up.  I complimented her and she just beamed.  That didn’t take much, just to greet somebody and make them smile,” says Marge.

Marge grew up in Illinois, one of four girls.  Her mother passed away while giving birth to her sister, when Marge was 6 years old.  “My aunts stepped up to help my dad after that,” explains Marge.  “My aunts were dressmakers and my mom made coats and hats, but I can’t hold a needle!”  Her father remarried and they survived the Depression Era.  Marge used to walk to school during the snowy winters in Illinois, on a route that took her past a little creek.  “I remember the snow on the trees and later, after I took oil painting classes, I painted the scene,” says Marge.  The painting is hanging in her room, along with a few others she painted over the years. 

Marge says her life of volunteer work really started after her 12- year career in the telephone industry.  “I had married my husband, Gavin, and we had a son.  We had 38 beautiful years together,” shares Marge.  “After a move to California, I began volunteering at Mills Hospital.  I was an auxiliary volunteer, where I started working in pediatrics and eventually moved all around the hospital.” 

Marge continued with volunteering in many ways throughout her life.  She was very involved with the philanthropic organization Delta Chi Sigma, a national sorority out of Indiana.  They would hold fashion shows and rummage sales and all the proceeds would go to an arthritis foundation.  She also was an active member at her local church; as part of the Women’s Guild, the Gregorian Society, and arranged the altar flowers weekly.  “I was a chairperson, along with another woman. We had a group of six who arranged the flowers together,” says Marge.

Most recently, Marge was arranging flowers in her current home, a retirement community.  She walks around the neighborhood to this day, meeting the neighbors, complimenting their flower gardens, and occasionally asking to clip lavender flowers along the way.  “I enjoy flowers so much.  I recently helped some autistic students who would come to the retirement home and arrange flowers with us.  Unfortunately, my arthritis has made it difficult to arrange flowers, so I have had to give that up,” explains Marge. 

Besides volunteering, Marge says there are a few things that have helped her along the way in life.  “It’s important for me to keep up a good attitude, focus on my religion, and to have fun!  I have always enjoyed dining out and I love trying new restaurants,” shares Marge.  “I was part of a group called ‘Dining Around.’  There were eight of us who would try new restaurants monthly.  Now there are three of us left.  And when I took Jazzercise years ago, some of us formed a ‘Gourmet Group,’ and we would do a traditional ethnic dinner at someone’s house each month.”

Clearly, a life of volunteering and a positive attitude have given Marge a lot to celebrate.  She has a keen sense of humor and during the interview shares all kinds of funny stories.  She also says, “If you promise not to look at me, I’ll sing you a rendition of Tony Bennett’s “I Left My Heart in San Francisco,” but I’ve changed the words to “I Left My Heart in Foster City.”   The song is wonderful and quite a tribute to her former home in Foster City, California.  

Thank you, Marge, for continuing to make a difference in your 97th year, with humor, grace, hope, and a large squeeze of positivity!

 

 
Congratulations to Janel Worley
Posted: 9/13/2011 | Read More | Post Comment (2)

  A Lime Squeeze of A Teacher

by Jeanne Barrett (September 2011)

 

 

 Welcome to Janel Worley, our September Lime Squeeze!  As the school year is just under way, we can’t think of a better choice for this September than Mrs. Worley, a teacher with over 30 years experience!

Meet Janel Worley, a kindergarten teacher with a wealth of experience in the classroom.  “I wanted to be a teacher from the time I can remember.  I loved all the school supplies and organizational material that went with teaching,” shares Mrs. Worley.  Though she loved playing school as a child, Mrs. Worley didn’t enjoy going to school very much.  “I didn’t have a very happy school experience as a child.  I learned the basics, but no one was teaching us to be nice, responsible citizens, with good character.  I think that is the most important aspect to teach.  Of course, teaching the subjects of  reading, writing and math is very important, but it is equally important to teach kindness to others.”  Her own experience propelled her to become a primary grade teacher.  She is a beloved kindergarten teacher, who has also spent years teaching 1st, 3rd, 4th, and 6th grades.  Most recently, she has spent the last 16 years teaching kindergarten at St. Matthew Catholic School in San Mateo, California. 

Mrs. Worley is a favorite among parents and children alike.  Her kind manner and love for the children shows through in her teaching skills.  “Though teachers are so important, parents are the primary educators,” says Mrs. Worley.  “You can have the best teachers every year, but without a supportive family foundation, it won’t matter.  Children need to go home and have their education and good people skills reinforced, otherwise it won’t stick with the child.” 

Mrs. Worley gives 110% to her job and the children.  “I give out my home phone number, for parents to call, if they have a need regarding their child,” explains Mrs. Worley.  “I believe it’s important for a parent to be able to calm a 5-year old, and a phone call can help at times, if there is an issue to resolve.”  When it comes to discipline, Mrs. Worley explains that with children, it’s very important to say it gently, then let them know in the next few minutes you love them.  “If I notice some children aren’t focused during a lesson, I will say ‘I have two friends who aren’t watching the board.’  This quickly brings the all the children back to focus.  If I have to talk to a child about behavior, I will make it a point to call on them during a lesson right after, or compliment them for something else, to let them know we can move on and we don’t hold on to anything negative,” says Mrs. Worley. 

Along with a positive teaching style, Mrs. Worley spends time teaching the children how to care for others.  “I want to produce citizens who are going to know they are important and valuable and made in God’s image,” explains Mrs. Worley.  This includes making the children feel like they are part of a family at school.  It also extends to the local community.  Each year, Mrs. Worley has the children spend a few weeks earning some money at home for chores.  They then bring in the money they have earned and take a field trip to the local Safeway to buy food and supplies for the needy in the community.  “The kindergarten children take this field trip with their 5th grade class buddies.  They learn that they may have worked for 6 weeks, but only have four dollars to spend at the store. They have to decide how to best spend that money, and it gives them a lesson on how expensive food and toiletries can be,” says Mrs. Worley. 

Besides teaching children at a young age to help others, Mrs. Worley reminds parents that school is just one part of life.  “People need to be life-long learners.  Some have lost sight of the fact that we are all living longer, so what’s the rush of pushing the kids through school and concepts so quickly and at such young ages,” explains Mrs. Worley.  “Living in the Bay Area is a pressure cooker.  We need to take a step back and slow things down a bit.”  Grading scales have changed over the years, making subjects more challenging for children, as well as more pressures to have them excel in subjects far earlier than in previous years.  “The hurried child is not necessarily better off in the long run,” shares Mrs. Worley.  “We have the rest of our lives to pay bills!  We also have to make it okay for children to make mistakes, and learn the concepts at a slower pace.  Many children need more time to master concepts in the classroom.”

Slowing down the fast pace of life offers much needed perspective and peace for the children and parents.  Much of Mrs. Worley’s job involves also teaching parents to enjoy this time with their children (it goes quickly!) and to take the pressure off of their child.  “Children need more time at home to find their creativity and sense of calm.  I remember my dad saying to me, ‘What are we doing, racing to the grave?’  I remind parents that a B is not a poor grade and a C is not a failure,” shares Mrs. Worley.  

Congratulations, Mrs. Worley, for taking one of the most important jobs in the world and making it sweet and rewarding for children and parents alike!

 
Congratulations to Mary Margaret Eraci
Posted: 8/13/2011 | Read More | Post Comment (3)

 

Lime Squeeze Teacher Shoots and Scores!

by Jeanne Barrett (August 2011)

 

 

Congratulations to our August Lime Squeeze, Mary Margaret Eraci!  Ms. Eraci is a basketball coach who spends her time coaching her team towards positive goals…for basketball and beyond!

 Our Lime Squeeze this month is a Chicagoan named Mary Margaret Eraci.  Ms. Eraci was born and raised in Illinois, among a family of nine.  She grew up playing basketball from a young age and dreamed of becoming a marine biologist.  In 1989, after a study abroad program to Rome, Italy, Ms. Eraci decided to take some teaching courses, in hopes of supplementing her income with teaching down the line.  “I had to pay my own way through college and couldn’t afford graduate school, so I began working nights and taking courses during the day,” says Ms. Eraci.  “I had been working summers at a camp in Wisconsin for children who were wards of the state, as well as inner city children and various parish groups.  I decided to apply for a job at the high school I had attended and right before I left for summer camp, I was offered a teaching job.  It was an opportunity that fell in my lap and I took it.” 

Twenty years later, Ms. Eraci is very happy with her decision.  “Teaching was a goal of mine for down the line, but I had always wanted to be a coach.  The first year teaching, I was offered a coaching job for basketball and I have enjoyed 20 years of coaching the girls at Benet Academy,” says Ms. Eraci. 

Her goal of becoming a marine biologist is in part sufficed through her profession as a biology teacher.  But her passion is coaching basketball and a conversation with Ms. Eraci shows her dedication and love of the sport and the coaching job.  “High school kids need an outlet.  It’s not just all about schoolwork.  Sports provide a chance for kids to work together and succeed together, even if they wouldn’t necessarily be together in the same crowd at school,” says Eraci.  “It’s also a commitment for the kids.  If you commit to the team, I commit to you as the coach.  Abilities vary, but there is no one player more important than another.” 

Ms. Eraci teaches her teams that it is not how long you play or when you go into the game, it’s what you do while you are in the game that counts.  She feel that sports are so competitive these days and she focuses on learning the game and being part of a team, more than the record numbers of wins or losses for a season.  “The important factor is the team and how we work together.  Everyone has to contribute to the team mentality.  We are all given different abilities.  If your height is 5ft. 4 inches, you can’t change that.  But you can make your weaknesses your strong points and try to get to the best level possible,” says Ms. Eraci.  Her motto is to be the best you can be, whatever your playing level. 

Ms. Eraci takes the team beyond the basketball courts and into the local community of Chicago.  “A team works together in many ways.  This past year, for the school Christmas drive, my team hosted a bake sale.  Every player participated in bringing in baked goods and we raised $450 in one day.  We do this every year and it goes towards a big fund to help the needy in our community around the holidays,” explains Ms. Eraci.  “I love that our team wants to contribute in this way.  I learn so much from these girls.  The more I coach, the more I learn.  Winning is important, but I see there is a lot more than just winning the game.”  As Ms. Eraci looks back on her own basketball career, she doesn’t always remember the season wins and losses, but more the coaching styles and the team spirit. 

“Goals are important in life and on the court.  At the beginning of the season, I ask the team to write down their individual goals and their team goals.  It is neat to see how the team changes and bonds over the season and I find joy in the improvement,” shares Ms. Eraci.  

A big squeeze to Ms. Eraci for being a positive coach to young women and inspiring them to dream big and embrace life as a team player!

 
Congratulations to Belinda Arriaga
Posted: 7/7/2011 | Read More | Post Comment (4)

 Bay Area Humanitarian Lime Squeeze

by Jeanne Barrett (July 2011)

 

 

 

Congratulations to our July Lime Squeeze, Belinda Arriaga! As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Mrs. Arriaga is changing lives, one good deed and one conversation at a time!

Meet our July Lime Squeeze, Belinda Arriaga.  A Licensed Clinical Social Worker for UC Berkeley, Arriaga expands her practice to the coast of Half Moon Bay, where she lives with her family.  In talking with Arriaga, you will notice her positive attitude, her smile, and her graciousness right away.   Arriaga has a peacefulness about her that brings out the best in people.  Definitely a plus in her line of work!

At UC Berkeley, Arriaga works at University Village, a housing village for graduate student families.   “Basically the housing is an international village.  I have many students from countries such as Bangladesh, Madagascar, South America - all over the world.  Many are single-parent families who are struggling with not only basic needs, but they are far from home, without their usual support systems nearby,” explains Arriaga.  “As a Social Worker, I provide counseling and social services for the graduates attending school.  Of the 2800 people at the Village, 800 are children.  Most parents cannot work while in the Doctorate Programs and my job is to help support the families in any way I can.”  Recently, this happened to be in a very basic way, when Arriagia discovered that many families were not able to feed their families.   “One student named Koko Mueller found out firsthand how difficult it was to put food on the table.  She decided to ask moms what their needs for food were for a two-week basis.  She then went to the fraternities and sororities and started to ask for donations of these foods,” shares Arriaga.  Mueller devised a list of 50 items that moms needed the most and began the “Bear Pantry.”  Arriaga helps finds the families in need and gives out the food and replenishes the Bear Pantry.  One year later and $10,000 worth of food donated, Mueller and Arriaga completed the first year of their grass roots organization.  “There is so much bureaucracy for food referrals.  And there is always the assumption that people are privileged to be at UC Berkeley and that they don’t need something as basic as food.  But after feeding so many families this year, we know that the need is great and we hope to do more next year.  Another thing we hope to do next year is to provide the children with Christmas presents in December.  This past year, we were unable to gather the funds to provide all 800 children with gifts,” explains Arriaga.

Arriaga spends most of her time helping others.  Not only does she do this in her professional life, but in her home life as well.  She is raising three children, with the help of her husband and her mother.  On the weekends, they spend their time championing for the poor.  “On Saturdays and Sundays, we give out food and clothing to families in Pescadero, through the St. Vincent de Paul Society,” shares Arriaga.  “ We also recently marched in support of farm workers who had lost their jobs at a local nursery, when the nursery fired those with 25 years of experience to hire cheaper laborers, without any benefits.  Even my young children understood that we were marching in support of people who have worked hard to earn a living in our community.” 

Arriaga says that basic human rights have become her framework for living.  “I am currently getting my Doctorate in International and Multicultural Education, with an Emphasis on Human Rights,” says Arriaga.  “It is a human right to have a happy, basic life.  Living on the coast, I have learned to really understand the plight of immigrant farm workers.  I’m a Spanish-speaking therapist, so I decided to give back of my time here where we live.  I provide mental health services once a week to the children of immigrant families.  I try to support them and motivate them to have a better future.  Many have so much trauma in their lives over the years.” 

Arriaga explains the importance of communication between people for a better understanding of each other.  She even lectures occasionally at Santa Clara University for an interpersonal communications course.  “We all have a story and it’s important to be able to understand and value each other’s story,” explains Arriaga.  “When we do that, we are able to communicate better and live together peacefully.”

Just last month, the AlbanyPatch wrote a story about Belinda's latest social work: a mural completed at Golden Gate Fields Racetrack, by the mainly immigrant residents who live and work at the racetrack.  Please check out this story at: http://albany.patch.com/articles/mural-is-bridge-to-services-for-racetrack-residents

If you would like to find out more or donate to the Bear Pantry, please check out:
http://www.ocf.berkeley.edu/~spa/bear_pantry.html

Thank you ,Belinda Arriaga, for being a sweet voice for those needing a “squeeze” of humanity in their lives.  The world is always a better place when people like you are in it!

 
Congratulations to Racquel Labutay
Posted: 6/14/2011 | Read More | Post Comment (5)

 

A Lime Squeeze with a Heart

by Jeanne Barrett (June 2011)

 

 

 

Welcome to our June Lime Squeeze, Racquel Labutay! Originally from the Philippines, Mrs. Labutay is making a difference by saving lives here in the Bay Area… one heart at a time!

Racquel Labutay came to San Francisco from the Philippines in 1987.  She helped raise her two younger siblings, while attending college to become a nurse.  “When I was little, people would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up and out of nowhere, I would say a nurse!  It was like a calling for me.  The thought of it -- helping others, taking care of others, it’s just my nature.  It felt right,” shares Labutay.   Fast-forward several years and Labutay is doing just that: taking care of others on a daily basis and meeting her own needs for a healthy, rewarding life.  “Being a nurse allows me to help people and to meet their needs – not just physically, but mentally, emotionally and even spiritually,” says Labutay.

Labutay is now a wife, mother of her own two children, and a Registered Nurse at a Cardiac Cath Lab in a Bay Area hospital.  She has been a nurse for 19 years and has found it to be amazing, rewarding work.  “This is stimulating work.  When people in the cardiac unit start crashing, we jump into action, compressing their chest and shocking their hearts, in order to save that one life,” explains Labutay.  “Sometimes people demean the title of nurse, and they think it’s the doctor who does the main work.  Of course, doctors do amazing work, but the nurses are the ones monitoring patients regularly and oftentimes have to save lives in a minute.”  She shares a story of a patient resting peacefully after an open-heart surgery.  Labutay had to monitor the patient’s blood pressure, to make sure it didn’t get too high, which would be very dangerous for the patient.  While checking on her sleeping patient, Labutay noticed her blood pressure rising steadily.  She immediately went to her patient and asked her how she was feeling.  The patient explained how she had been thinking of her brother, who was dying of cancer.  Once the patient had a chance to talk to Labutay, and explain her feelings about her brother dying, her blood pressure normalized.  Labutay notes that the patient needed someone to talk with, not just to be given the medications for rising blood pressure.  Using intuition is important, as well as never forgetting that the patient is a person, too.

Labutay knows first-hand about the importance of taking care of yourself, especially while caring for others.  “In my field, we are reminded of our mortality every single day at work.  It’s up to us to make every moment count.  In a split-second, life can change drastically,” shares Labutay.  “If you live your life being reminded of your mortality, you make it count!”  Labutay feels it’s important to nourish your soul in life, no matter what your job is.  “For me, a way to nourish my soul is by cooking.  It’s a form of meditation.  Then, after the quiet meditation of cooking the food, it’s time to feed your family and friends.  You are nourishing them and yourself.  You are reaching souls,” explains Labutay. 

Another way Labutay nourishes herself after working is to get physical.  “In the heart unit, I am always reminded of those clogged arteries and too much cholesterol!  It’s important to eat organic, healthy foods and I often ride my bike to the grocery store.  I found a used bike online with a big basket and I just do my shopping on my bike.  It’s healthy for you, healthy for the environment,” explains Labutay.  “I’m also not motivated by the money in my job.  I think it’s important to get back to basics in life – like spending time with family and friends.  I would rather pass on an overtime day and use the time for cooking an extra meal for a friend in need, offering to babysit for a friends’ child, or taking a family bike ride.”  She shares, “If you meet your basic needs in life and have a simple, healthy life, you find that in the end, it’s your family and friends who count.  How you live your life is important – with kindness, love and compassion.”

Labutay truly lives her life helping others, in both her personal and her professional life.  She is currently also assisting the St. Vincent de Paul Society with her mother, husband and two children, delivering food to the needy. 

Cheers and squeezes to Racquel Labutay, for giving us all a “heart-warming” example of how to live our lives!

 

If you’d like to try some great healthy organic hotdogs in San Francisco, check out Raquel’s favorite sausage joint:  http://www.myspace.com/underdogorganic

Another worthy organization Raquel works with is http://www.kiva.org/.  The Kiva organization is a non-profit organization whose mission is to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty.

For more information about St. Vincent de Paul and how you can help, check out http://www.svdpusa.org


 

 
Congratulations to Laura Johnson
Posted: 5/9/2011 | Read More | Post Comment (1)

Mother's Day is Everyday for Our Lime Squeeze Doula

 by Jeanne Barrett (May 9, 2011)

 

 

Congratulations to Laura Johnson, our May Lime Squeeze! She is a woman making a difference in the most important day in a woman’s life – the day she gives birth to her children!

Meet Laura Johnson, a lovely English woman living with her husband and two young children in the San Francisco Bay Area.  Johnson is a Doula.  A doula is a professional woman who is experienced in childbirth.  She provides emotional support, advice and information to a mother during pregnancy, childbirth, and the post partum period.  “Doula actually means ‘woman’s servant’ in Greek,” explains Johnson.  “Doulas are trained to provide focused and constant care for women in labor.  There is now research that shows women who receive assistance from a doula feel more secure and cared for, and are more successful in adapting to new family dynamics, have more success with breastfeeding, have greater self-confidence, and have less postpartum depression,” explains Johnson.

Johnson’s family lives thousands of miles away, so she didn’t have the support other moms might have with a pregnancy, with family nearby.  “I didn’t have the support of other mothers in my family and at the time, and I didn’t even have many close women friends.  So I hired a doula to be with us for our baby’s arrival,” shares Johnson.  “My doula helped me to have the kind of birth I had hoped for – calm, quiet, laboring at home, until we all went to the hospital together.  She made a huge and lasting impression on me – she shared such an intimate part of my life – the birth of my first child!”

When Johnson’s first child was four months old, she went for training in Danville, California at D.O.N.A. (Doulas of North America).  At this approved center in Danville, Johnson trained with the doula who had delivered her son and Johnson shadowed her as a volunteer doula in Kaiser, South San Francisco.  “My doula, Michelle Welborn, had stood out to me right away.  She acted as my mentor.  How could I resist a women in this profession with the last name Welborn?,” laughs Johnson.  “She stayed with me for 24 hours and was wonderful throughout.  I felt so close with her.  She provided massage, meditation, music and much more!” 

Johnson shares that a huge part of being a doula is arming the client with knowledge.  “I feel it is my responsibility to teach families to face their birthing experience with knowledge.  With my help, they are familiar with medical terms and are prepared to answer questions they may face.  They can anticipate how things might progress.  In a hospital, you may have three different shifts of nurses.  It can be impersonal and frightening for the first time.  It’s my job as a doula to make the experience comfortable and personal, and to offer continuous care,” shares Johnson.

Another component of doula work is flexibility.  A doula is routinely on call from two weeks before a woman’s due date, to two weeks afterwards.  And Johnson often stays with the family, being on call for at least two months after the birth – in person, by phone and by email.  It is a responsibility that requires big commitments from her own family, though she says the kids have always been fine and her husband is very proud of her work.  “Being a doula is truly an honor.  It is such a joy to be with families at such a special time!”

Besides her Doula work, Laura now is involved with a charitable organization called "My New Red Shoes."  The mission of My New Red Shoes is to help homeless children look and feel confident as they start the school year while raising awareness about homeless families. To achieve this goal, My New Red Shoes provides homeless children with brand new clothing and shoes.  It also rallies youth and adults around this effort through volunteer and educational opportunities for individuals, families, schools, corporations and community groups. 

What a wonderful woman!  Johnson is making a conscious choice to be present for a life-changing moment in families’ lives – to honor, celebrate, and support the birth of a child and help those children in need!

For more information and to reach Laura Johnson:

laurajohnson2000@hotmail.com

www.WelbornDoula.com

http://www.dona.org/

http://www.mynewredshoes.org

 
Congratulations to Beatrice Carrot
Posted: 4/13/2011 | Read More | Post Comment (4)

See What An International Lime Squeeze Cooks Up!  

 by Jeanne Barrett (April 13, 2011) 

 

Congratulations to our April Lime Squeeze, Beatrice Carrot!  Mrs. Carrot (pronounced: Carrow)  is using her skills as an Author/Professional Organizer/French Cook to enhance the lives of war-torn children across the globe!

Meet Beatrice Carrot, a French woman who recently moved to the States with her family of six.  “This is our second stay in the United States,” explains Carrot.    “This time, it’s easier to adjust and find our bearings.  We lived here for four years back in 1999, then went back to France for six years, and now we are back again!”  With four children ranging in ages eight to seventeen, Carrot is busy juggling soccer and volleyball practices, karate, two different schools, a career, and promoting a charity.  Her husband travels for his job, which leaves Carrot to also manage the home while he is away.  Luckily, her job as a Professional Organizer has instilled a sense of order in her own life.  “I have written three books,” says Carrot.  “The first two are about organizing your home, (the second being about organizing your home with multiple children), and the third is an easy French cooking book.  I wanted to simplify French cooking, so people could learn to cook at home and enjoy good meals, without a lot of time and without too many ingredients.”  The French cookbook titled, Marre De Preparer Les Rapasi (translated to English as: “Have you had enough of preparing dinner?”) was just published this spring.

Besides being a published author, wife and mother of four, and a Productivity Consultant and Professional Organizer, Carrot is dedicated to a charity that donates more than 95% of its profits to help impoverished children in Cambodia.  “I first became interested in Pour un Sourire d’Enfant (translated in English to ‘For a Child’s Smile’) when their founders came to look for new sponsors in France.  I was touched by their authenticity and I especially liked that they donated over 95% directly to the children and the programs funded for the children,” explains Carrot. 

What makes “For a Child’s Smile” so special to Carrot?  “I have traveled in Southeast Asia and have seen the poverty.  Though I haven’t been to Cambodia, this charity has so many positive aspects.  They are working to remove children whose parents were killed in the genocide led by Pol Pot in the 1970’s, from diving in dumpsters for a living,” says Carrot.  “These children scavenge in dumpsters and sell the scraps for money to buy food.  The children have been raised amidst violence, with no schooling, and have lives that lend to prostitution and drugs.”  One of the ways “For a Child’s Smile” has made a difference is that the charity first bought the children plastic boots, to protect their feet from glass and garbage, while scavenging.  Next, they provided them with showers afterwards, in an effort to ward off disease and infections.  Their ultimate goal, in which they have succeeded, is to remove the children from scavenging altogether, and send them to school.  Carrot explains, “ In order to attract the children to school, the charity gave the families rice in the amount of money they could have made by scavenging the dumpsters.  This way, the families could still eat, while the children were attending schools.  The best news is that the first generation of school children is now coming back with degrees and helping out the others now,” shares Carrot. 

When her first book was published in France, Carrot decided to donate all the proceeds to Pour un Soirire d’Enfant, which has been the recipient of an International Award, (Laureate du Prix des Droits de L’Homme).  “When I first arrived back in the States last summer, I began trying to find a way to get a bigger audience for the charity, here in the United States.  We are working to establish the charity as a non-profit here.  It is already a non-profit in France, but we are looking to establish it here, so that Americans can give proceeds with a tax-break,” explains Carrot.   She also came up with another way to help support the charity.  Carrot teaches French Cooking classes at a local recreation center – and donates all the proceeds to “For a Child’s Smile.”  She also offers in-home French Cooking classes that friends can take together, and again, offers the proceeds to the charity.  “No one will act locally for the people in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, so we need to act globally.  I am using my skills as a French Cookbook author to raise funds and donate the proceeds to this charity.  It’s human – it’s changing lives one at a time,” explains Carrot. 

Congratulations to our International Lime Squeeze, Beatrice Carrot!  Thank you for caring about children living in complete despair in Cambodia, and for contributing towards lives enriched with education and self-worth!

If you would like more information about “For a Child’s Smile” and Beatrice Carrot, please e-mail or visit her websites:

beatrice.carrot@gmail.com

http://www.xamorganizer.com/  

http://frenchcookingforachildssmile.blogspot.com/

 
Congratulations to Chris Lowenstein
Posted: 3/14/2011 | Read More | Post Comment (2)

A Novel Lime Squeeze!   by Jeanne Barrett (March 14, 2011) 

 


Congratulations to our Literary Lime Squeeze for March!

Meet Mom/Antiquarian Book Seller Chris Lowenstein – currently living her dream while delving deep into the past.

Chris Lowenstein has fostered a love for reading since childhood.  She devoured books like Little House on the Prairie and Encyclopedia Brown mysteries.  “I have always loved to read.  When I was a child, in addition to the Laura Ingalls Wilder books, I liked The Borrowers and From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.  By 8th grade or so, I was really into Gone with the Wind.  I loved it and read it two or three times,” shares Lowenstein.   

Lowenstein went on to major in English at Santa Clara University.  Her studies led her to a high school teaching job, where she taught English at Notre Dame High School in Belmont, CA.  Lowenstein loved teaching the young women at Notre Dame, but when she became pregnant and had two children in 2.5 years, she and her husband, Jeff, decided she needed to stay home and raise her boys.  “Besides teaching, there are meetings with the department and faculty that go long after 3pm.  Grading papers and tests also takes time in the evenings and on weekends.  I really wanted to find something where I could work from home, in order to be with my children,” explains Lowenstein.

While at home with her young boys, her mother gave her a book on the history of book collecting.  “The gift sparked my interest.  While reading the book, I realized this is something I wanted to do.  It was completely me,” says Lowenstein.  She started collecting books as a hobby.  The more she collected, the more she realized this could be a business for her, once her children reached school ages. 

In 2003, Lowenstein decided to set a goal.  She wanted her dream to become a reality and recognized how well it would work with her life as a mom.  “I spent four years reading about book collecting, researching book sellers, and becoming familiar with the whole process of collecting books – particularly antiquarian books.  In 2007, I got a business license and started ‘Book Hunter’s Holiday’,” says Lowenstein.  She goes on to explain, “An antiquarian book is a book that is collectible for any number of reasons: its rarity, its age, its desirability or demand for the book.  The demand could either be for who wrote it first, who printed it first, or even something somebody remembers having as a child.”  Lowenstein also shares that part of the fun of collecting is the thrill of the hunt.  Sometimes a rare book is found at a local estate sale or a garage sale.  She likens this to a find on the television show, “Antiques Roadshow.”  It’s a thrill to find a gem at a low price, with great value.

Lowenstein’s story is inspirational to those who are thinking of starting a new career or opening a business of their passion.  She suggests finding a mentor and learning as much as you can about a business, before jumping in.  “I found another bookseller who became my mentor.  And every summer I take a class to learn something new about my business.  In ’07 it was an Antiquarian Book Seminar at Colorado College, in Colorado Springs, CO.  In ’08, I attended California Rare Book School at UCLA.  In ’09, I went for a week long course of Rare Book School at the University of Virginia,” says Lowenstein.  She looked into scholarships and received them, to help offset costs.  She only takes week-long courses, so the time away is not hard on her family.   In order to share what she has learned, Lowenstein started a blog.  She shares information about what she has learned with other potential booksellers and anyone interested in the business.  “When I first started researching, I couldn’t find much information online.  So I started a blog to share information with others.  I wanted to be a resource for beginners in the business,” says Lowenstein.

As Lowenstein respects the history of rare books, she also reveres the history her own family has contributed to her passion for books.  Her mother’s mother loved reading and gave up going to college in order to help support her family.  Reading fulfilled that deep need for completing her education, and her grandmother stressed the importance of reading throughout her life.  Her grandfather’s mother was an amateur artist.  Shortly before her grandfather passed away, he gave Lowenstein a box of her items.  “In the box were 30 different line drawings and watercolor paintings, done by my great-grandmother.  I found one drawing of a Victorian-style girl with a large quill pen.  I thought it fit for my logo and it was another way to incorporate my family.  I wanted to share her drawing, as she never put her drawings up for sale,” says Lowenstein.  That drawing of the girl with the large quill pen is now Lowenstein’s logo for her business. 

Congratulations again to our Literary Lime Squeeze!  She is achieving her goals and living her dreams, while encouraging others along the way.

If you would like to reach Chris Lowenstein, here is her information:

Book Hunter’s Holiday

3182 Campus Drive #205

San Mateo, CA 94403

(415) 307-1046

chris@bookhuntersholiday.com 

http://www.bookhuntersholiday.com 

Blog at: http://bookhuntersholiday.wordpress.com

 
Congratulations to Linda Chandler Smith
Posted: 2/9/2011 | Read More | Post Comment (1)

 Livin' Lime Lifestyle and Spirit!   by Jeanne Barrett (F ebruary 9, 2011) 

 

Congratulations to Linda Chandler Smith!  A talented Spiritual Director and Lifestyle/Wellness Consultant who is taking aim at women’s body issues, turning negatives to positive!

Smith is a bright, friendly woman who changes lives with her positive affirmations and teachings about loving the body you are in and gratefully embracing your life.  She has lived and worked across the country, but currently resides in Palm Springs, CA.  Smith’s credentials are numerous including three master’s degrees, and a Massage Therapist credential. 

“My focus is on bodywork,” explains Smith.  “It’s an area that compliments the intellectual.  It’s clear to me that focusing on your body, mind, heart, spirit and soul is the most important work you can do.  Taking a personal inventory about how you are doing in those areas is crucial to bringing the love and balance back to your life.”

Smith has clients who come to her for spiritual direction and counseling, and she hosts day-long retreats that revolve around creating harmony and balance in life.  “I have people telling me that they feel burnt out from the fast pace of life.  We do live in an age of high-tech, busy, speedy lives.  Sometimes people need encouragement to slow down and restore their lives to a calmer pace.  This is a slow, breath by breath process, and when you have someone guiding and encouraging you, you will find your answers and get to the truth of what is really going on beneath the surface,” explains Smith.

One recent retreat centered on getting a “Spiritual Facelift.”  Says Smith, “There is so much pressure to look good on the outside, but the spiritual journey is how to rejuvenate yourself, so that you can feel good from the inside out.”  Smith says that women in general are feeling pressure from society to have facelifts, get botox shots and lose weight, in order to feel good.  These are temporary fixes, but true happiness comes from being peaceful within.  “People get such a lift from being with a friend and having a good laugh.  Sometimes a lift is as simple as speaking up about something you have been silent about.  This empowerment gives you spunk and can lift your spirits,” shares Smith.  “I like the analogy of a hot air balloon,” says Smith.  “The balloons go up by emptying out the sand bags holding them down.  Maybe we need to let go of some of those heavy things holding us down, like resentment, anger, and fear.” 

Smith shares that if you are unhappy with an aspect of your life, you will be a guaranteed success story if you are willing to delve deeper and heal.  She says a good question to ask yourself would be, “How can I improve the quality of my life?  And how can I get the lift, even if other things in my life aren’t going as I had planned?  This is where bodywork comes in.  And it’s important to address not just one aspect, but the whole gamut of body, mind, heart, spirit and soul.”  What gives Smith great peace is helping others find their way out of despair.  “I think it’s important to take a wise, loving approach.  Find out what’s causing the pain, and then treat it.  Just to be in a loving environment is healing.  Taking a deep breath, shedding some tears… these are all part of the healing process.”  Smith sums it up well. “If you deal with your own issues, you can treat others better and then pass it on.” 

So how does Smith take care of herself, while being a support for others?  She stresses the importance of tapping into creativity and uses art as her own therapy.  “Art and healing are a big component for me.  Art can include watercolor and sketching, but also just taking a walk in nature is a form of appreciating art.  Just arranging some fresh flowers in a vase or taking the time to admire a baby can be an expression of art.”  Smith takes yoga classes regularly, walks and has recently rented space in a large shop.  She calls her small space “Spirit” and is enjoying the creativity of setting up a little shop and selling various items that touch people’s spirit.

Thank you Linda for showing others that adding some lime zest to life can change the course of one's life!  Giving you big #limesqueezes aka "HUGS" of appreciation.

 

If you want to learn more about Linda Chandler Smith’s retreats and spiritual direction, please email LindaLCSmith@aol.com

 

 

 
Congratulations to Barbara Boschetto
Posted: 1/7/2011 | Read More | Post Comment (1)

 Livin' Lime Peacefully !   by Jeanne Barrett (January 7, 2011) 

Peaceful New Year’s greetings to this month’s Lime Squeeze-- Mrs. Barb Boschetto! 

Boschetto is the founder of the California Shop, Living Peacefully, located in San Mateo, CA.  Living Peacefully is a shop that will stimulate your senses and allow you to shop with a purpose.  Boschetto donates a portion of all purchases to the Wounded Warrior Project.  “When I decided to have a business, I found I could not do it unless I gave back to those who gave us freedom,” explains Boschetto.  “This business is not about how much I can make, but rather about how much I can do to make a difference.” 

It all began years ago during the Desert Storm crisis.  “I had three boys, and I was saddened at the thought that they might be drafted into the war.  I felt for the mothers whose sons had to go and serve for our country.  I could actually imagine what it felt like to have your son leave.  I began to send flowers to a mother whose son was serving in the war,” shares Boschetto. 

“I decided I wanted to create a store where people could find peace.  I wanted to pass along the peace – while still respecting those who were fighting for our country and fighting for peace.  You have to walk gently down the road between war and peace,” explains Boschetto.  

Boschetto has been collecting peace signs since the 1970’s.  She has always placed these peace signs in her home, as well as hearts, to represent love.  “When I first mentioned this store to people, they said ‘kids will love it,’ but I have found it’s not all about the kids. It’s for adults of all ages, and a lot of veterans come into the store,” says Boschetto. 

Though the store just opened on May 15th, 2010, the thought has been with Boschetto for some time.  “Seven years ago, I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  Though I am fine today, back then I found that through my experience, I could help others going through the same ordeal.  Sharing my story with others going through cancer brought about healing,” explains Boschetto.  Her support of the Wounded Warrior Project brings about a similar healing.  The project offers counseling and programs to severely injured servicemen and women who are having a tough time of adjusting to “normal” life at home – after combat time overseas.

“By sharing my illness with others, it really helped me with my recovery.  I decided to ride on a leukemia bike ride in 2005.  The ride was to raise money for a cancer – even though it wasn’t breast cancer.  I had gained weight with all the cancer medication and I found the only exercise I could do was bike riding,” explains Boschetto.   “I rode 208 miles from Seattle to Portland, and was the highest earner, raising $17,000 dollars!  Suddenly, instead of getting phone calls about cancer, the calls were about how to get in shape to ride for a cause,” shares Boschetto.  This determination and personal experience with an “enemy” (cancer) showed Boschetto how much hope a “cause,” and a peaceful, positive attitude can help move you forward in life.

Boschetto’s warmth and enthusiasm bubbles over, as she welcomes people to her shop.  “Bring the kids, bring the dog! That’s why we have a concrete floor – it can be cleaned easily!  Everyone is welcome.  And if I don’t have something you are looking for, I will recommend another local business to you, ” explains Boschetto.  From jewelry to clothing, books to ceramics, there is something for everyone in Living Peacefully.  Boschetto’s shop had previously been a dry cleaning business called Bamboo Cleaners, which had operated for 45 years by a man named Mack, who has since passed away.  When Mack’s family heard about the shop Living Peacefully, they came by to check it out.  Boschetto found out that Mack had been a serviceman – a veteran.  She placed a photograph of Mack in her front window of the shop, where he will remain.  His family was thrilled and said he used to stand at the front window and enjoy the people walking by. 

More and more, Boschetto is convinced that her support of the Wounded Warrior Project, through proceeds from Living Peacefully, is “meant to be.” Boschetto also appreciates that .81 cents of every $1.00 donated goes directly to programs for the service men and women.  It is a program started by veterans, for veterans.  “Sometimes we don’t see many vets in wheelchairs here, as they do in other parts of the country.  But they are coming home wounded and they need our help,” says Boschetto.  Sometimes the help is more psychological than physical – though oftentimes it is both.

Thank you, Barb Boschetto, for bringing sweet awareness to the plight of those serving our country, in a peaceful, loving, and fun manner!

 

To check out Living Peacefully's website, please check on this link:   http://livingpeacefullystore.com/

For more information on the "Wounded Warrior Project", please check this link:  http://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/

 

 
Congratulations to Diane Pierce
Posted: 12/1/2010 | Read More | Post Comment (3)

Angels Do Make A Difference!  

 by Jeanne Barrett (December 1, 2010) 

This month, our lime squeeze is an exceptional woman who has raised a family, while taking care of the needy around the world.  Meet Diane Pierce, an angelic mother of three and soon to be mother of 60 children-- ages newborn to 13 years!

What is different about Diane Pierce is that she is moving to Haiti in response to the 7.0 catastrophic earthquake that destroyed the Port-au-Prince area.  The quake affected over three million people, killing an estimated 230,000; injuring about 300,000; and creating one million homeless people.  The Pierce family plans to share a compound with 60 orphaned children in Jacmel, Haiti.  They will be running the orphanage, feeding the children, providing HIV/AIDS prevention education, and they plan to open their own medical clinic at the orphanage.  “Our main mission is to find and rescue orphaned and abandoned children and to give them a loving home,” explains Pierce.  “Haiti is also one of the kidnap capitals of the world for child prostitution and slavery.  We would like to rescue the children and make a difference in their lives.” 

In order to fully grasp the amazing intentions of Pierce and her family, one must know that they are leaving a comfortable life in Koloa, Kauai, to make a permanent move to the third world country of Haiti.  “I grew up in Central America, in a third-world country.  It has always been a part of me to reach out to people who are poor and to assist.  It has always been a big part of my life,” says Pierce.  “I married my high school sweetheart 27 years ago.  He went to medical school and I attended nursing school.  We had three children in 5 years, and had a beautiful lifestyle in Southern California.  Though we had a nice home with all the luxuries, we always had a sense to do something bigger – more purposeful and more meaningful,” shares Pierce.  They decided to put their medical background to good use and began going on medical missions around the globe.

Responding to people in tragedies became the norm in the Pierce family.  They used their skills in the medical field to respond to a number of tragedies, often including their own children in the work.  “We have always tried to do medical mission work throughout our lives.  After Hurricane Katrina, I worked in a pediatrics unit at the Houston Convention Center, to assist displaced people from New Orleans,” explains Pierce.  “My husband went to Indonesia after the Tsunami of 2004 and helped open an emergency room there.  We have assisted in Fiji and recently, in 2009, I traveled to Africa and conducted over 300 pediatric physicals,” shares Pierce. 

On January 12th of this year, Pierce heard of the earthquake in Haiti.  Within days, their phone started ringing and people started asking if they were going to help.  Pierce’s husband went first and opened an emergency room in Haiti.  He met a woman there who asked if he would come back and open a children’s hospital at the site of an orphanage.  In March, 2010, they opened a hospital for the children who were hurt and orphaned in the earthquake.  Both Pierce and her husband returned to Kauai on April 1st – but they realized they had left their hearts in Haiti.  “We returned to Haiti in May, 2010, finished our work there and checked on our patients.  This was it – our hearts were captured,” says Pierce.  “This is when we realized what we were meant to do our whole lives.  We especially love the Haitian children and feel called to care for them.  We are Christians and have always felt that we have been blessed with so much.  We have had the American dream and we haven’t struggled financially, but we have always had a sense that we must do something greater.” 

In Haiti, the Pierce family will be working with the orphans, but will also provide a place where other people can come and serve.  There will be dorms available to groups who want to assist and be a part of the children’s lives – even for a short time. 

Thank you, Diane Pierce, for sharing your spirit of generosity with us, and taking some very sour situations in the world and making them a lot sweeter!

If you would like more information about the orphanage in Haiti, please contact Diane Pierce at: piercediane@hotmail.com

 

 

 
Congratulations to Claire Stone
Posted: 11/10/2010 | Read More | Post Comment (2)

An Inspirational Lime Squeeze -- Just in Time for Thanksgiving!

  by Jeanne Barrett (November 10, 2010)

 

This month, our Lime Squeeze is 19-year old Claire Stone.  Stone is an unusual teenager.  While most young girls her age are planning outfits and parties for the weekend, Claire is busy planning her career in social justice.  Stone credits her tight family background for her drive to constantly assist those in need.   Her altruistic actions range from working with the poor to the desperate.

“I have been helping the poor for most of my life,” Stone explains.  “It is almost like an expectation from my family.  When I was little, we used to pack the seven of us in a truck and bring donations from our church to a Catholic Worker House.  We would set up an assembly line and people would go through the items and take what they needed.  We have also been involved in Interfaith Hospitality Service since I was in third grade.”  Stone, along with her parents and four siblings (she’s a triplet!) would bring dinner to families in need, every two months.  But they wouldn’t just drop off the food – they would sit and eat dinner with the family, providing support and comfort, besides the hot meal.   “Sometimes it would be awkward, but we learned that most of the time, these people were families just like ourselves, who had fallen on hard times.  One family with five children had lost their father, the main breadwinner in the family, and they became homeless.”

Stone has always felt for the underdog in life.  She explains, “Maybe it’s because I suffer hearing loss in one ear and have always been smaller than my peers.”  She has felt a need to stand up for the less fortunate, to give a voice to those who are struggling.  In high school, she began volunteering at a suicide prevention center.  On Friday nights, when most kids were at football games and parties, Stone was working the computers at the center.   “I trained for 40 hours, and worked in a chat room, with pre-teens and teens who were struggling and contemplating suicide.”

Stone continued working at the suicide prevention hotline for a year and a half, completely on her own volition.  No credits at school towards community service hours – she just did the work, as she felt she could make a difference.

Teachers and family have made a difference in Stone’s life along the way.   She first credits her family upbringing and also teachers and school staff.  One family from her high school, the Fullertons, influenced her greatly.  They gave up most of their belongings and dedicated their lives to helping the poor.  They had five children, like the Stone family, and their devotion to actually living the message of helping others in need really resonated with Claire.  “They gave up high paying jobs and decided to live simply and give their lives to the poor.  They currently live in South Carolina and run a charity called “Truck of Love.”

Currently, Stone is a sophomore at a college in Texas.  She hopes to continue helping others and donating her time at a Catholic Worker House in Texas.  “It’s a house where very sick, formerly homeless people live together.  We go in and visit, do yard work and help around the house.” 

Congratulations, Claire Stone, for being in the limelight this month and making a BIG difference in the lives of others!

If you would like to check out one of Claire Stone’s favorite charities, please visit:   http://www.truckoflove.org

 

 

 
Congratulations to Ellen Knopf
Posted: 10/5/2010 | Read More | Post Comment (2)

Say Hello to our Livin' Lime Squeeze-- "Aloha Style"! 

 by Jeanne Barrett (October 5, 2010)  

 

 

 

Meet Ellen Knopf, a sweet, personable woman who charms everyone that crosses her path.   In 1998, Knopf, her husband Bret, and their four children made a decision that changed their lives.   “I needed to unplug from a life that wasn’t my heart and soul,” explains Knopf.   Knopf was busy managing a large apartment building in Palo Alto, California and caring for their young children.   “We decided to move to Hawaii and settle into a slower pace.  We sold our home in Palo Alto and over time, made our home on the beautiful island of Kauai.”  Knopf did receive some comments from people who tried to dissuade her from making the move, saying the schools weren’t the best on the islands and asking how she could leave thriving Palo Alto.  But Knopf had a dream and a plan for her family, so she listened instead to her heart, and knew the slower pace would benefit her family.  She felt she couldn’t afford to NOT take the plunge into a new lifestyle.  “I don’t believe you have to have your kids in the ‘best’ schools, to have solid people,” explains Knopf.  “It’s more than just the schools that make a person.  Just listening to your kids and appreciating your children, works wonders.  Kids need to hear that they are special, from their parents,” says Knopf.  “It’s also ok to just be still at times and do nothing.  Just listen.  Children these days are so overscheduled, busy, and watching so much television, that they have lost their imagination.”

Drawn to the Hawaiian Islands through her family history, Knopf easily settled into the calm pace of island living.  “My mother was born and raised on Honolulu, Oahu, as were my grandparents and great-grandparents,” shares Knopf.  The Knopfs found a home near Poipu Beach, Kauai, and found they loved living near an ocean they could swim in everyday.  Knopf then realized she wanted to share this feeling of  “aloha” with others and they purchased several rental cottages, with the sale of their home in Palo Alto.  “I am one of eight children and I have always enjoyed caring for others.  I love being a mom and I love seeing families thrive.  I became enthused about becoming a vacation rental owner and giving others a chance to unplug from their busy lives and reconnect with their families,” explains Knopf.

Knopf, who goes by the name “Ellie” in Kauai, is known and loved for the special attention she gives to family, friends and vacationers alike.  She offers vacationers a few options for stays in Kauai, all with special touches that bring back the feeling of days gone by in Hawaii.  All homes and rooms are decorated with authentic Hawaiiana décor, and Knopfs’ special touches include fresh flowers, coconut cookies, tropical fruit, and all the items you would need to enjoy a day at the beach. 

Knopf also uses her background as a nurse to assist those staying with her, if needed.  Occasionally, children and adults underestimate the power of the sun on the island.  Or, a nasty case of “swimmer’s ear “ surfaces in a vacationer.  Knopf takes those sour moments and lends a helping hand.  She’ll cut an aloe leaf from a plant in her garden, and slather the gooey juice from the leaves all over the sunburn.  She’ll also direct you to her doctor, if ear drops or antibiotics are needed.  Having someone at your beck and call, with such a caring presence, is the key to a stay at Knopf’s vacation rentals.  She takes the meaning of hospitality one step further, ensuring visitors a warm, safe island visit.

“Giving families and vacationers a chance to enjoy the Island of Kauai fires my spirit and allows me to serve others.  I was taught that families are to be cherished, and as my children have grown, I have received so much joy from watching other families enjoy happy days together,” says Knopf.  The positive responses on her website are a testimony to vacationers love and admiration for Knopf.  Whatever you need during your stay, Knopf will be there to assist you in any way.  “Sometimes people come to Hawaii just once in their lifetime, and I want them to feel that Aloha Spirit, and to take it back home with them,” shares Knopf.

Thank you, (Mahalo) Ellie Knopf, for sharing your aloha spirit with people from far and wide, and for making a sweet choice to change the course of your life!

 

For more information on Ellie Knopf’s vacation rentals, please visit:

 http://www.koloa-landing.com/

 

 
Congratulations to Marilyn Murphy
Posted: 9/8/2010 | Read More | Post Comment (3)

Turning Sour Moments to S-M-I-L-E-S (aka LIMES)!

by Jeanne Barrett (September 8, 2010)  

 

In the limelight this month is an amazing woman who has learned to make sweet moments in life from some sour times.  Meet Marilyn Murphy, a Grief Counselor/Spiritual Director and Part-Time Clown!  Check out her story below.

Originally from San Mateo, Marilyn and her husband decided to make a major move after their children had grown.  “In 1997, our son got married and our daughter moved out.  I had also lost two best friends within months to cancer and I felt we could benefit from a change,” says Murphy.  So she and her husband, at the urging of a nephew, went up to check out Reno, Nevada.  “The move was what I was suggesting to all of my clients.  Live your dreams, be willing to take chances, and let go of  the sight of land for a while in order to reach a new destination.  I knew I couldn’t have clients and suggest they follow potentials, if I didn’t do it myself,” explains Murphy.

 

It turns out the move was a blessed encounter.  Murphy became acquainted with St. Albert’s Catholic Church in Reno.  They weren’t looking to hire at the time, but Murphy’s credentials and personality were just what they needed.  “Marilyn provides solace to those seeking comfort and assurance, in a truly exceptional manner,” explains her boss, Ted Krembs.  

 

Murphy has personally run the gamut of grief.   “I became a hospice caregiver in 1982 after losing my mother, father, sister, and close friends to all kinds of things; many quite devastating,” explains Murphy.   Instead of living in despair, Murphy has chosen to work through the grief and help others through their grieving process.  “The way they all died gives me an even more compassionate heart in dealing with others who are experiencing similar issues,” says Murphy.   She now leads two Grief Support Groups and practices Spiritual Direction.   “The first year after losing someone is just raw grief,” says Murphy.  “The second year you are still grieving, but the group is called Crossroads, as you are in a different stage of the grieving process.”   Murphy’s grief support groups meet monthly and give people a safe place to share their story.  Photos of loved ones are brought to a center table and placed beside a lighted candle.  Murphy’s training came from the Mercy Center in Burlingame, CA, where she attended a “Gift of Grief” course, as well as a summer Spiritual Direction Program.   “Spiritual Direction is walking a sacred journey with guidance.  Everything I do is with a spiritual base,” explains Murphy. 

 

So how does Murphy lift her spirits, while attending many funerals and also aiding in hospice care at her local hospital? “Well, every Tuesday,  you can find me in St. Albert’s Kindergarten classroom reading to the children,” laughs Marilyn. “They are my balance in life!”  She also clowns around a lot - literally!  “I recently started up Clown’s Love again – I am Bubbles the clown and I have a friend, Sunshine,” says Murphy.   Bubbles and Sunshine (Murphy’s friend, Pearl Krupka) brighten the days of seniors in assisted living facilities with antics, balloons, and music from the 1940’s.   They also stop in and visit the children at St. Albert’s School from time to time.

Congratulations to Marilyn for choosing to make a difference in the lives of others through living, listening, and loving compassionately.  

To contact Marilyn Murphy for Grief Counseling or Spiritual Direction, check out the website:

www.stalbertparish.org or call (775)-747-0722 x 102

 

 

 

 
Congratulations to Jane Rowen Lester and Tracey Rowen Irish
Posted: 8/2/2010 | Read More | Post Comment (1)

A Couple of Lime Sweethearts Making A Difference!

by Jeanne Barrett (August 2, 2010)

Jane Rowen Lester and Tracey Rowen Irish are sisters making a huge difference in the lives of children in Southern California.   It all began two years ago, when both Lester and Irish had experiences that affected them, involving children at a local hospital.   For Lester, the call began when she heard of a child battling stage 4 kidney cancer at her children’s school.   Even though she did not know the child personally, she could relate as a mother to what it would feel like to have a sick child.   So she made up a gift bag and took it to the little girl at Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC).   She left the gift bag at the information desk, where she was told how fortunate this little girl was to have so much support.   She discovered not all the children have this much support, and that left an impression on Lester.   Similarly, Irish had a 16-year old close family friend in the hospital with a head injury.  For the five days he was in the hospital, his family would share with Irish how sad it was for the other children who were all alone in the hospital, without family support.  “CHOC admits all children, regardless of their ability to pay for the treatment and accepts them even if they don’t have insurance.  When some kids are hospitalized, their parents can’t always be there,” explained Lester.  Some parents have to continue working to support other family members, while some are single parents, who can’t be at the hospital night and day.

The reality of sick children being alone in the hospital really hit the sisters hard.  Both have children of their own, and the thought of not being there for their children was heart wrenching.  So the two put their heads together and began buying crayons, coloring books, and little toys to give to the children who were in the hospital.  They worked closely with the hospital administration to find what worked and didn’t work for the gift bags.  From this dedication came their non-profit organization called  “inCourage Foundation.”

The two sisters have backgrounds that work in perfect harmony for their nonprofit.  Lester was a lawyer for years and her legal background helped incorporate inCourage as a California not-for-profit company. Irish is an artist, who designed the colorful logo and background artwork for the website.  Irish also designed a coloring book for the teenage children in the hospital.  “We found the older children weren’t interested in the store-bought coloring books that are geared towards younger children.  My second daughter, Brittany, also created some designs in the coloring book for the teens,” shares Irish.  The yellow starfish logo also has special meaning for the sisters.  It represents a well-known “starfish story” – where a man is surrounded by hundreds of starfish on the sand, and he begins to throw them back in the ocean, one at a time.  Another man walks up and tells him he’ll never get all those starfish back in the sea. He tells him not to bother trying to make a difference.  And as the first man picks up another starfish and throws it back in the water, he says, “Well, I made a difference for that one!”

And the sisters are making a difference, one bag at a time.  Since the inception of the program back in March, 2009, they have delivered over 500 bags!  Not only that, they have garnered donations from various companies that have boosted the goodies in the bags.  Toy companies Mattel and Charisma have donated items for the bags.  The newest donations will be coming from the Los Angeles Angels Baseball Team of Anaheim.

“We are constantly working with the hospital to get their input on the bags and upgrade the bags for the children,” explains Lester.  Currently the sisters deliver 60 bags to the hospital every two weeks.  They vary the bags for the age groups of the sick children.  The feedback from the hospital has been great.  Budget cuts have decreased staff and they don’t always have nurses to engage the children all the time.  The gift bags provide great comfort and give the children something to do while they wait for treatment and visitors.

Lester and Irish volunteer their time 100 % for their foundation.  They want the children in the hospital to know that people are thinking of them and care about them, and they want to the parents to know they are not alone.  One bag costs only $10 to make, so a simple donation of $20 ensures that two children are guaranteed bags of creativity and fun. Plus, the generous toy donations really boost the gift bags, so the children get some amazing items.

Thank you, Jane Rowen Lester and Tracey Rowen Irish, for taking a sour situation and making it sweeter!   The simple act of caring for children in need is a beautiful example for all!

 

For more information about the inCourage Foundation, check out the website at: http://incouragefoundation.org

 

 

 

 

 
Congratulations to Darya Mead
Posted: 7/2/2010 | Read More | Post Comment (0)

Let's EMBRACE this Lime Squeeze!

by Jeanne Barrett (July 2, 2010)

 

 

Ms. Mead has many attributes that make her a sweet choice for this month.  She is an accomplished travel writer and television producer who has also been teaching yoga for more than twenty years.  She is a trained Doula and enjoys focusing on prenatal yoga.  She recently left an advertising job with sound benefits to focus on her passions.  “After having kids and turning 40, I needed a reboot for my professional life.  I had loved the work I’ve done in media for many years, but the industry has shifted and my inner landscape had also changed,” says Mead.  

Besides keeping up with two young boys of her own, Mead has begun to make every effort to keep babies around the world embraced in warm blankets of love.  “I felt this visceral need to do work that was meaningful.  Yes, I need to support my family and I do want work that is fun and rewarding, but trying to find the synergy with all my skills and passions was the challenge.  So now I have cobbled together a crazy schedule - writing, blogging, teaching yoga to kids, pregnant moms, adults and seniors, and volunteering for EMBRACE,” says Mead.

Mead is referring to the EMBRACE Infant Warmer Project.  Founded by a team of Stanford and Harvard Engineers in 2009, this nonprofit organization aims to help premature and low-birth weight babies born in developing countries.  The group created a blanket that literally warms at-risk premature newborn babies, giving them a better chance of survival.  Hypothermia is a major cause of death and illness in these babies, and newborns are unable to regulate their body temperature in the first few days of life - so keeping the newborns warm in low-income countries is vital.  Unlike a traditional incubator that can cost up to $20,000, the infant warmer (which looks like a tiny sleeping bag) requires no electricity, is portable and reusable, and is safe for the babies.  Launched in India last year, this nonprofit project goal is to save the lives of 100,000 babies and to improve the lives of almost a million infants in the next five years.

When Mead heard about this project, she wasted no time in getting the word out about EMBRACE.  She emailed family and friends, blogged about the project and sent invitations to everyone she knew to the opening of the movie “BABIES,” which debuted in May 2010 and supports the EMBRACE Project.   And Mead took it one step further – she formed EMBRACE Yoga.  Every Friday, Mead teaches yoga in San Francisco pro bono – and the class money is donated to the Embrace project.  She believes this builds community and her students have “embraced” the class.  Says Mead, “The Bay Area is a hard place to raise a family and stay true to your ideals and passions.  Teaching yoga and working for Embrace creates a mutual balance with the rest of my personal and professional life.  I feel good about what I’m doing, and I want to share my passion with others.  Yoga can be infectious and life changing, and doing work that you feel good about is meaningful and priceless.”

Congratulations, Darya Mead, for making a sweet choice to follow your ideals and help babies in need around the globe!

If you are interested in learning more about EMBRACE, check out the website! http://embraceglobal.org/  

 
Congratulations to Ludette Storozinski
Posted: 6/3/2010 | Read More | Post Comment (2)

Lime Squeeze Mom With A Tangy Karate Chop!

by Jeanne Barrett (June 3, 2010)

 

 

In the limelight this month is an amazing woman named Ludette Storozinski.  To the children at her daycare, she’s known as Auntie Lu – but to most others who know her, she is Sensei Ludette.  The “Sensei” title is one of respect for the high rank she holds in karate.  This title is befitting for a woman who is a karate teacher and a mentor to many.  With the June 11th opening of the movie “The Karate Kid,” martial arts are all the rage for children and adults alike.  But unlike in the movie, a true martial artist works for years to achieve their goals – and in most cases, karate becomes a way of life.  Ideals such as perseverance, patience, discipline, and tenacity are embodied in karate – and in Sensei Ludette.

“I started karate 12 years ago, because I wanted to do a family activity with my children. Life gets so busy and I wanted to do something that we could all do together,” explains Sensei Ludette. “It was intimidating at first, but it helped me with my confidence and it helped me overcome obstacles.”

Sensei Ludette began taking her three-year old son to classes, as well as her twin daughters, who were five years old at the time.  She began classes at the International Self Defense Institute (ISDI) in San Mateo where the four of them began to learn Shaolin Kempo and Shotokan Karate under the guidance of Sensei Todd Jones. “Sensei Todd is always positive.  He focuses on things you can do, and if you are struggling, he finds another way for you to adjust your stance or movement.”

Being a single mother, Sensei Ludette found the karate dojo to be a second home for her, often having her children do homework and eat dinner at the dojo.  In almost six years, the family of four had moved up the ranks together (through ten belts) each receiving the highest rank of black belt.  “If you want something in life, you have got to make it happen. You have to stay positive.”  Five and a half years after receiving black belts, Sensei Ludette and her two daughters became second-degree black belts – which gave them all the title of Sensei. “Martial arts has helped my children get through life and to make good choices, even through the teenage years. It has helped them pursue their dreams and get over any insecurities,” shares Sensei Ludette.

Giving back to the community is just another aspect of martial arts - whether it be through teaching others, (which is a requirement after you receive your green belt at ISDI in San Mateo), or through supporting charities. At the ISDI, an annual fundraiser in the form of a “kick-a-thon” or karate tournament raises money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. “It’s a great cause, as all the money goes towards the children fighting cancer and other diseases.  I love giving back to the kids who need help,” says Sensei Ludette.

And this past year, Sensei Ludette had her own struggle with cancer.  “Karate has helped me to feel normal this past year. When going through such a big ordeal, you need to feel as normal as possible.” Karate helped Sensei Ludette fight her cancer battle and she has kept up with classes throughout the year. “You just have to say you CAN do it!” says Sensei Ludette. She offers this advice: “When your child wants to quit something, it’s your job as a parent to tell them NO!  It’s your job as a parent to have them finish what they started. You wouldn’t let them quit grammar school, so you have to let your children follow through a commitment, like karate.”

Sometimes the most difficult accomplishments are the ones that carry us through life. “Karate is the hardest thing my kids have ever had to do.  It’s taken a lot of discipline.” And it has proved to be one of the best roads taken in Storozinski’s life!

Thank you, Sensei Ludette, for pursuing your dreams, being positive and encouraging others in the process!

If you are interested in learning more about the International Self Defense Institute (San Mateo, CA), please visit www.isdikempo.com

If you are interested in contributing to the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, please visit www.stjude.org

 

 

 

 
Welcome to Jeanne O'Donnell Barrett As Our Lime Squeeze Reporter
Posted: 5/21/2010 | Read More | Post Comment (1)

May 21, 2010

We are pleased to announce that Jeanne O'Donnell Barrett has joined Livin' Lime as our Lime Squeeze reporter.
 
 Jeanne wrote, produced and reported for a nationally syndicated travel show for almost a decade.  She resides in San Mateo with her husband and three children and continues editing and freelance writing.  She enjoys travel, photography and cooking in her “free” time!
 
You can also read about Jeanne on our website.  She was our October 2009 Lime Squeeze!  Look for her Livin' Lime articles starting in June.
 
Congratulations to Helen Bowen
Posted: 3/17/2010 | Read More | Post Comment (0)

A St. Patrick's Day "Lime Green Squeeze"
by Monica Ho Ehlers (March 17th, 2010)

 

It's no doubt that Helen Bowen strives to live a green existence.  She makes sure to buy locally grown, seasonal organic produce to reduce carbon dioxide impact.  As a rule of thumb, her family doesn't eat shiny fruits or vegetables.  "They don't grow on trees," commented Bowen, a lacto-vegetarian of 20 years.

Bowen is also green-minded when it comes to her business, "Ella and Ruby", a gown rental shop in Belmont, California.

 

"It has always shocked me because men can rent a tux but women can't rent gowns or dresses for special occasions.  It speaks loudly to me that these dresses are going to be worn again as opposed to hanging in the back of someone's closet," she explained.

Bowen uses a certified green organic dry cleaner and garment bags made of recycled organic stretchy cotton that is similar to that in reusable grocery bags.  "It's very important that my customers aren't breathing in toxic chemicals and that my business is not adding to the CO2 process."

She makes a consistent effort to reduce transportation costs and pollution--again reducing the CO2 process.  "Recently, I had a request to ship a dress to Oregon and I had to decline because it goes against my ethos of transport," she added.

When a client shops at "Ella and Ruby", it's like being in a showroom from the 50s, where women felt pampered and not rushed.  What a stark contrast to the usual 30-minute visit to a department store, where often times the result is walking out empty-handed.

By the time a client visits "Ella and Ruby" for her appointment, Bowen has already hand-picked a selection of six to eight dresses, based on size, style and the type of event the client will be attending.”  In a shop, you often have to wait in line and grab a size when you see it.  You don't always have that flexibility when you walk into a store.  You can buy a dress for $300 and only wear it once but you can rent the same genre of gown from me for $40.  There's no reason women can't look glamorous on a budget".

Renting a dress allows for one to be more stylishly daring.  "There's no commitment and less of a need for practicalities.  A woman can be more adventurous if she's not purchasing," Bowen said.

As well, "Ella and Ruby" provides a selection of shoes to try on with dresses so clients can get an idea of what they will look like in different heights and styles.

She lives green; she gives green--to chosen charities that are close to her heart.  A portion of each gown rental goes to one of the following organizations on an annual basis: The American Diabetes Association, The American Stroke Association, The Nemaline Myopathy Association, and The Peninsula Boys and Girls Club of San Mateo.

Empowering women on the Peninsula to live fashionably large with a small pocketbook, nurturing the earth and supporting those who help others, thanks, Helen for adding a green "twist" to being this month's "Lime Squeeze"!

 

 

 

To find out more about Ella and Ruby, please check out Helen's website http://www.ellaandruby.net or check out the Facebook Fan Page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Ella-Ruby/196710132065

 
Congratulations to Antonia Hannon Ehlers
Posted: 12/9/2009 | Read More | Post Comment (0)
Spreading Sweet Lime Birthday Celebrations
by Monica Ho Ehlers (December 9, 2009)


Congratulations to Antonia Hannon Ehlers who makes it possible for children to celebrate their birthday!

About 12 years ago, Antonia Hannon Ehlers noticed a surprising trend of children's birthday parties.  As an editor for the local paper, she had covered a few extravagant occasions where parents were spending upwards of $5,000 per event.

"There was such a huge discrepancy in our community.  I knew a lot of families who were not even able to provide a basic birthday party for their kids," Ehlers recalled.

Feeling the need to do something, Ehlers established the Birthday Angels Program in conjunction with the Mid-Peninsula Boys and Girls Club in San Mateo, California that same year in 1997.

"In today’s world, particularly living in the Bay Area, it’s hard for children to understand that there are people in their own community who are really struggling.  We wanted Birthday Angels to be an opportunity to teach kids who had so much, to give back," explained Ehlers. "We strive to provide a special afternoon so that all children are able to celebrate during the month of their birthdays."

C
hildren ages 5 to 14 are invited to a special party held once a month.  There they are given star treatment by receiving presents, party favors and cake.  Ehlers' three children have accompanied their mom to the celebrations since they were toddlers. Now school age, they regularly work at the parties by face painting and helping with art projects.

"Volunteering is so important.  I hope that Birthday Angels has taught my kids to be more compassionate and that it has made them realize that everyone has some sort of struggle in life," she reflected.  "You never know what’s going to happen, and people from all walks of life can hit hard times.  The phrase that comes to mind is 'It takes a village to raise a child.' When the community pitches in as a whole, that community becomes stronger and more productive."


Today, Ehlers feels the program is more crucial than ever.  "Birthday parties are becoming a luxury with more and more families having to cut back. 
Some children don’t have birthday parties at all, and I’m not sure if people realize that," she said.

Students from local participating schools provide gifts and the program welcomes anyone or school who would like to help out.

Thank you Antonia, for making birthdays such sweet celebrations for so many. You're truly Livin' Lime!

For more information on the Birthday Angels Program, contact Antonia at (650) 576-2828 or Executive Club Director of the Mid-Peninsula Boys and Girls Club, Dan Dadoun at (650) 347-9891 Ext. 100

 

 
Congratulations to Jeanne Barrett
Posted: 12/8/2009 | Read More | Post Comment (0)
Bringing "suh-weetness" to the lives of many facing a sour (economic) situation

by Monica Ho Ehlers (October 1, 2009)

 

What went up when the economy fell down?  The amount of families who needed help putting food on the table.  That's when people, like this month's Lime Squeeze Jeanne Barrett literally stepped up to the plate, delivering bags of groceries and food vouchers to the local Safeway to families in her community.  "We fed 500 families in the month of August alone.  There is a great need," said Barrett, the volunteer coordinator for the St. Vincent de Paul's Society at her parish in San Mateo, California.

The program runs seven days a week delivering to families who can request the service once a month.  Barrett, a Bay Area native and mother of three has been involved with St. Vincent de Paul since she was a little girl. "I remember going to serve meals to those less fortunate with my parents during the holidays," she recalled.

Thirteen years ago, she continued her involvement with St. Vincent de Paul through the parish at St. Matthew's with her husband Pat.
 
Before starting a family, she and Pat would deliver food. 
When her kids were little, they would help pack bags of groceries.  Now that the kids are older, the family works together to organize the food locker and make deliveries.  As coordinator, Barrett trains volunteers and plans delivery schedules as well as helping out wherever she is needed.

With regards to the lean economy, she offers a fresh perspective.  "If you make good choices, you can live  a fulfilled life, even with your family. It is important to stop and take a break from the speed of life and just play," said Barrett, who hung out with her kids in the back yard in lieu of signing them up for camps during the summer.

Combining fitness with practicality, Barrett squeezes in walks almost every day of the week.  "We are fortunate to live near downtown.  W
e like to go to the library, park and super market, where the kids pick out produce that I'll cook for the next meal."

Barrett's spirit of generosity is reflected throughout her life, with friends, family and neighbors constantly dropping by her home.  "You are always guaranteed a cup of coffee or tea if you stop by," said Barrett, who often accompanies it with a slice of applesauce cake fresh from the oven.  "Anyone could drop in for dinner and we would easily have a quick pasta dish with pine nuts, spinach, chicken, dressed with olive oil and lemon juice."
  
Her spirit of generosity has brought a smile to so many faces, and food to many in the community.  Jeanne Barrett brings out "sweetness" by Livin' Lime every day!

For more information about the St. Paul De Vincent organization and how you can help, please check out http://www.svdpusa.org/

 
Welcomes Monica Ho Ehlers as Livin' Lime Reporter
Posted: 12/8/2009 | Read More | Post Comment (0)

September 5, 2009

We are pleased to announce that Monica Ho Ehlers has joined Livin' Lime as our Lime Squeeze and Lime Fit reporter.

Monica, a mother of two, has taught fitness for 22 years.  She is the owner of Moms' Gym, LLC, a company that offers P.E.-style exercise classes for families. 



Look for her Livin' Lime articles this month! 

 
Congratulations to Anne Rankine
Posted: 12/8/2009 | Read More | Post Comment (0)

Aussie Supermum Makes A Difference 

by Antonia Ehlers (July, 20th 2009)

 

 

PERTH, AUSTRALIA  –  The word “supermum” is an understatement when used to describe Anne Rankine.  She and her husband, Greg, are “Livin’ Lime” every day by fostering newborn babies.  Their children, Rachel (10) and Jake (8), are fantastic with the precious bundles of joy and have learned some important life lessons of their own.

“The loveliest part of fostering newborns, besides the obvious cuddles and smiles, is the effect it has had on my family,” Rankine noted.  “Rachel and Jake are learning about day-to-day baby care, parenting and compassion for others – the power of love and pride in themselves for helping another human being in need.

“Rachel and Jake have adjusted really well,” she added.   “I’m still trying to get them to change nappies, though!  When the babies go, the kids are very resilient.   They may miss them for a day or two, but they just get right back into life.   We keep a special photo album of our foster babies.”

Anne and Greg met in the United States in 1989 at a summer camp.   Anne worked with children with special needs.   She completed her graduate diploma in education with an emphasis on early childhood studies.   She also worked as a child support worker at a refuge for women and children escaping domestic violence situations.

“When I was 39, I started to have a mid-life review,” she noted.   “I loved my life but knew there somehow had to be more.   It was then that Greg and I decided to attend an information night on fostering services.   We chose to foster for the pre-adoption program 18 months ago and have never regretted a minute of it.   There are so many childless couples on the waiting list.   What a gift they will receive!   I feel honored to be a part of this amazing process.”

The Belmont-raised mother of two moved to Australia 14 years ago and settled in the beautiful Perth Hills.

“I love living in Australia for many reasons,” Rankine said.   “The people are so friendly, the lifestyle is as laid back as you want it to be, and the landscape is diverse.   I also love Vegemite on toast!”

The family enjoys an acre of land and a cottage-style home surrounded by eucalyptus trees, wildflowers, and wildlife.   Imagine waking up to the chatter of kookaburras, parrots, and red-tailed cockatoos.   How about befriending a scorpion, blue-tongued lizard, or kangaroo? 

“Currently, we have our winter crop of broccoli, cauliflower, snow peas, sprig onions, spinach, and herbs,” she said.   “The kids each have a dwarf apple tree in a pot to look after, as well as blood orange and a nectarine.   My lemon tree is my favorite.  The smell of the blossoms can lift my mood any day.”

Now that’s "Livin' Lime" down under, and we are proud to acknowledge Anne Rankine as our "Lime Squeeze" of the month.

 
Congratulations to Monica Ehlers
Posted: 12/8/2009 | Read More | Post Comment (0)

A Mom who manages to SQUEEZE it all in…

by Antonia Ehlers (June 4th, 2009)

Monica Ehlers, Mom's Gym Owner

 

Fitness instructor Monica Ehlers felt guilty when she left her kids to teach group exercise.  She was, after all, MOM.  A friend suggested Monica create a class where families could work out together.  After teaching fitness classes for 22 years, she developed Moms’ Gym and Gym Daddy classes based on the way she played with her own daughters in the park.

 

 “A lot of moms view exercise as one more thing to do on an unending list,” said Ehlers, who was wearing the Livin’ Lime Chocolate Brown Tank when we talked.  “Children are less active these days because technology is so convenient.”  Moms’ Gym addresses both challenges. 

It is a sad fact, one out of every three children in the United States are considered obese.  She and her six instructors teach classes from South San Francisco to Menlo Park in Northern California.  There are several different formats offered to families with children between the ages of 18 months and 10 years old.

The best part is that parents don’t need to find a babysitter to work out – they exercise with their tots, using them as weights while having a ball.

“We use kid-friendly songs and add a fitness twist so everyone can relate on some level.” said Monica, a self-proclaimed goofball. 

“The only thing serious about the class is the workout.”

Games like “Fetch with Yo’ Momma” get hearts pumping as moms retrieve bean bags tossed by their children.  Try doing “Kid Jockey” (lateral squats and lunges) with a 40-pound toddler on your back – that’s serious business!  Monica gets dagger eyes during this portion of the class, however, moms always return… they feel great after the class. 

“My job is to make parents and kids laugh while they play.  Our classes build self-esteem.  The moms leave in a better mood and the kids go home for a nap.”

Monica, we appreciate how you are in the moment, combining your passion and your family. You are a true Lime Squeeze!

For more information about Monica's Mom Gym and Gym Daddy, check out www.moms-gym.com.

 
Michelle Runs the Gamut
Posted: 12/8/2009 | Read More | Post Comment (0)

She Squeezes through Tangy, Sour, and Sweet in 3hrs 57mins

by Antonia Ehlers (April 20, 2009)

Boston Marathon Results
Overall:  14901 out of 22849
Female: 5029 out of 9302
Age 40-44 Female: 972 out of 1644

As she crossed the finish line on April 20, Michelle Ladcani heaved a bittersweet sigh of relief, she ran the event with sprained ankle.  “I feel awesome I did so well with an injury, it hurt for every step of the 26.2 miles,” Ladcani said several hours after the grueling race.

The weather was chilly – 48 degrees with 20-mile-an-hour winds. Ladcani wore a white Lime Tank which she customized with sparkly green and silver.  Michele heard lots of “Go Livin’ Lime!” shout outs along the way with plenty of cheers. In addition to finishing the race in less than four hours, Ladcani raised $2,754 for Brigham and Women’s hospital. Overall, $4 million was raised for charities in this year’s race.

Ladcani’s long-term goals include running a 3:30 marathon and an ultra marathon – as long as she can find a babysitter. The multitasking mother of two children and three stepchildren lives in Belmont, CA. She balances a 35-hour work week as a technology analyst with running 12 miles each week during power lunch hours. While her coworkers munch on quesadillas and chicken wraps at a local restaurant, Ladcani can be spotted in her pink Livin’ Lime tank top and striped track shorts. Most likely, her hair is twisted into a smart ponytail and she is blasting Quiet Riot, Night Ranger or Twisted Sister on her MP3 player.

“I love running because it’s peaceful and I feel like I have some control in my hurried, hectic life,” Ladcani said. “I would love to run Boston again and hope I can do it with my children one day.”

 


Michelle Ladcani is squeezing in every bit of training she can before the Boston Marathon. 

This weekend she is participating in the Mermaid Run of Mountain View (CA).  A half-marathon event comprised of 1000 women competeing in 3 events.  (5k, 10k & half-marathon)

In our efforts to support Michelle, we will donate 10% of all our sales between now the the Boston Marathon to her cause. 

Thank you,

Marie

 
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