The Soldier and the Squirrel introduces children to the Purple Heart

through a loving story of a friendship between a newly wounded soldier

and Rocky the squirrel with his backyard friends. This story began as a

blog during my first year in bed after my incident. With much

encouragement, it is now a book and has been placed in the

Ronald Reagan Presidential Library & Museum. Please watch the video

on the About page to learn for the Soldier & Rocky are changing children's






Glorious Rejoice Dots Glitter





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Exerpt From 'That's A Wrap' By Lou Gideon

My best friend, Lou Gideon, passed away last week after a battle with breast cancer. In processing this loss, I have found myself searching through old emails, grasping with all of my heart for lost moments with the sister I never had, who has now become the angel I will never know - until it's my turn to reach the sky.
Lou wrote a wonderful book she produced independently with how-to's regarding exquisite head-wraps with beautiful fabrics. But the best part of the book was when she simply wrote from her heart about the very human experience of battling cancer.

Here is a small taste of the Lou that altered everyone's life she touched. She was Jesus in a skirt. Our friend Marla coined the phrase WWLD. What would Lou do? I ask myself this question too many times a day.

Excerpt from That's A Wrap, complete with almond milk recipe ;0):

I’ll admit it: before I developed cancer, I was always concerned with trying to lose a few pounds. Always. I once read that Dolly Parton said she could “go into a restaurant skinny and come out fat.” That was me—one meal away from Tubsville, with a waistline that could expand faster than a bag of Orville Redenbacher in a whirring microwave.

Oh, I never really had a period in my life where I was anywhere near what a doctor would label “obese.” But does a doctor’s opinion really hold any weight (pardon the pun) when it comes to looking good in a pair of skinny-jeans? I ask this because, from my experience, it seems to me that doctors actually prefer that we tip the scales at about five to ten pounds heavier than “sexy.” You know what I’m talking about; those few extra pounds that constantly tempt us to ask our mates, “Do I look fat in this?” which usually elicits either the all-too casually tossed “no,” or even worse, the ever-dreaded “you look fine.” Translation – “Gad, your butt is enormous,” because anything less than the equivalent of “hot dang, woman!” makes us feel downright frumpy. Am I right?

So in my ongoing quest for svelte, I often chose foods that valued “thin” over “healthy.” Diet Dr. Pepper? Bring it on! That third cup of coffee? Let’s see – lots of energy for only a few calories... pour away! A fat-reduced frozen entrée for lunch? It’s got little clumps of broccoli underneath the orangey-looking cheese on the cover-photo. Go for it!

It naturally follows, then, that when I was diagnosed with cancer, the thought occurred to me—and I’m really revealing my “shallow factor” here—that at least I wouldn’t have to worry about trying to lose those “freshman ten” anymore (which, over time, had morphed into the menopause ten, but the first one sounds so much zippier, don’t you think?), because women with cancer were thin, right? At least, they were in the movies.

So just imagine my shock when I asked my oncology nurse how much weight the average chemo-patient loses, and she murmured, “Oh, I’d say it’s a ten to twenty pound change. But it’s normally a weight gain. Not a loss.”

What? A gain? But what about all those Lifetime stories where the heroine might be bald and whose dark circles would rival the black anti-reflective patches worn by any Dallas Cowboy on game-day, but hey—her silhouette looked runway-ready! What about her?

Oh, now, don’t judge me here, as I was only hoping to find a silver lining in the rapidly approaching chemo-clouds. But instead, what I got was an extra-harsh jolt of turbulence. Now I could look forward to both cancer and to packing-on the pounds. This was really beginning to suck eggs.

And all to soon, I found that she was right. With the vast amount of chemicals causing radical changes to my body, along with growing fatigue, emotional stress and the fact that my taste buds were so skewed they only found foods either terribly sweet or carb-laden to be acceptable, it was indeed, a challenge to maintain my normal weight during my four months of chemo.

But surprisingly enough, as I emerged from that turbulence, battered and bruised, I found myself looking at what soon proved to be the silverest of linings; a subtle change in my attitude, in that I now valued “health” over “thin.” It sounds like a small change, doesn’t it? It was. But what a surprise for me, when I realized that this little “adjustment” has freed me, completely, from ever worrying about my weight again.

And it feels so good – so energizing to live this way that I want to share the diet-styles I’ve learned along my journey through anti-cancer-land with you. You don’t have to have gone through a health-challenge to enjoy them. You only have to own a body and have the desire to feel your best!

So we’re going to start out with something that I begin my day with every day – nut milk! It’s a simple, easy change that carries a powerful punch, as it replaces your dairy with something that’s actually really, really good for you!

FUN FACT: Do you know that over 40 million Americans are lactose intolerant? And even for those who aren’t, they’re very likely drinking milk laden with hormones and other nasty stuff!

Now some of you, I know, are already drinking store-bought brands of soy, almond, rice, or a variety of other kinds of alternative milks. I was, too, for a while and I thought I was being soooooo healthy doing this. But then I found out that there are sugars, preservatives and all sorts of creepy additives that they put into those products. Rule of thumb: If it’s on a shelf in a box or a carton, it’s probably not the best thing for your body, okay?

But when you make your own nut milk—which takes about five-minutes and can keep for up to five days—you’re getting all of the good and none of the bad. And it’s absolutely delicious!

I like to make mine with walnuts (which are an amazing brain-booster as well as an anti-aging food because of all the Omega-3’s. Check it out on Google!) even though I don’t really care to eat walnuts whole, as I find them a bit bitter. But the nut milk is great! Go figure. And speaking of figure, I drink about a cup per day of this stuff, and I haven’t ever found it to make me feel the least bit “fluffy!”

You can also make it with almonds, but you don’t get near the nutrition because so many of the raw almonds in the states are now pasteurized. Cashews are another choice, but they are quite fattening…so just keep that in mind when you’re spooning it over your oatmeal or into your morning beverage. (BTW, cashews are the only item on my menu these days that I even have to give a second thought to, calorie-wise.)

Okay, back to the walnut milk (or whatever kind of nut’s you’ve chosen. It’s all the same in how you make it). I purchase my nuts in bulk, as they’re so much less expensive that way.

Take out one cup of walnuts, cover with water and set aside to soak from one to twelve hours. (I’ve made milk without soaking, but since soaking removes some of the tannins, it makes them blend more smoothly)
Drain, rinse and then combine with three cups of (filtered) water in the carafe of a blender and blend for at least two minutes. It makes it really creamy!
Pour through a strainer, which you can purchase online for $7.50 at Vermont Fiddle Heads:
or even through a mesh coffee filter, but I find the strainer is the best way to go as it’s easy and the strainer lasts practically forever.

You can add a little stevia or agave, perhaps some almond or vanilla extract if you like, pour it into a Mason jar and you’re done! I promise you that once you’ve done this a couple of times, you won’t think twice about making it, it’s so easy and delicious.

Simple change – simply marvelous results!

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