celebrating Valley women
Lifelong learner Lois Bowman cover to cover
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Beauty, nature’s way Local ladies moving to mineral makeup.
20 A lifetime of learning
Lois Bowman proves you can’t judge a book by its cover. your CAREER Find a job you want.
Gear up, girls!
Thrifty holiday gifting.
Feeling left of center? Try meditation.
your VIEWPOINT p. 13
your RELATIONSHIPS Therapy as a tool.
A guide to gluten-free baking. p. 18
your FAMILY Sharing missed advice.
your TABLE p. 5
Hello ladies! This issue celebrates fall 2013 and the proverbial passing of the torch from Alicia Rimel to myself. Hers are mighty big shoes to fill, but — as I promised Alicia — I hope to measure up! As the leaves turn to usher in the new season, breathe deeply and take a moment to appreciate the beauty of nature and in life (“Finding your center,” page 28). Or, channel that job-driven stress into discovering your passion in life and pursuing your dreams (“A job you want,” page 5) — one Valley woman reminds us that it’s never too late to start again! And, as the panic attack-inducing stress of holiday shopping amps up for another gift-giving season, consider thrifting for that special someone (“Holiday gifting: the thrifty way,” page 31). The ladies of the Friendly City share what they wish they’d known before becoming parents (page 13), one local chef dishes about success in the kitchen (“Guide to gluten free,” page 18) and one reporter has a woofing good time palling around with the pups at the local Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (“Find ‘furever’ homes,” page 11).
Area organizations find homes for shelter pets.
Life’s big (and little) decisions. p. 33
your BLOOM p. 16
Meet the staff!
Our cover girl, Lois Bowman, has dedicated her life to the preservation of knowledge and literature — a passion that hasn’t gone unnoticed by those around her, who describe the 77-year-old as a one-ofa-kind, lifelong learner. After hearing her story, we have to agree — but you should read it for yourself (“Lifelong learner,” page 20). As the brilliant colors of fall fade into the grays of winter, we can all get the blues — but don’t take it out on the ones you love most. Local therapists describe the shift from therapy being a last-stitch effort to the tie that binds some couples (“Fighting the good fight,” page 16). I’m sure this time of transition here at Bloom is reflected in many of your lives. We hope this issue brings you solace and insight for the months ahead. Thanks for reading and, as always, keep blooming! Kate Kersey Editor
Kate Kersey, editor Matt Gonzales, staff writer Katie King, staff writer Candace Sipos, staff writer Sarah Stacy, staff writer Kim Potter & Sara Schu, account executives
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Avoid counting down the minutes to the closing bell by finding
A job you want
ARTICLE BY KATIE KING
fter graduating from high school, Luray local Kristie Brown wasn’t sure what job she wanted to pursue.
At her mother’s suggestion, she looked into becoming a medical technician, and decided it was as good a choice as any. “At the time, the medical field was a safe field,” she remarked. After graduating from Rockingham Memorial Hospital’s School of Radiological Technology in 1995, Brown embarked on a 20-year career as an X-ray technician. Though it was never her dream job, Brown says she enjoyed certain aspects, such as helping patients. Unfortunately, over the years, changes in the medical industry left her with less time for patient interaction. Additionally, Brown says she was often on-call, photos.com
If we could play at work, we’d be much happier people. It’s a huge part of what makes you fulfilled in life.
which took a toll on her family. Though Brown was frequently tempted to quit, as a single mother, she was daunted by the idea of starting over. “I was afraid to leave that financial stability,” she explained. However, when she was unable to be present for her son’s 13th birthday, Brown decided it was time for a change. “I realized I was not living my life,” Brown recalled. “I was absorbed with work and chasing that large paycheck.” Brown, who says she “always loved” attending auctions with her grandparents, decided to take a chance on the block. After resigning from her job, Brown left her children with her mother and attended a nine-day training session at the Mendenhall School of Auctioneering in North Carolina. “It was the experience of
my life; I loved it,” she said. “It really built my confidence and made me more determined.” After passing her auctioneer licensing test, Brown opened her own business — Bearfoot Enterprises LLC — in August 2013. She currently has three auctions scheduled and is brokering 30 items. Although things are going “surprisingly well,” she says starting her own company has involved taking a pay cut. “Things have been [financially] tight; we’ve had to cut back,” she admits. For Brown, however, the sacrifices have been worth it. “After I made this change, everybody says I look so happy,” she said. According to career coach Kyle Laver, M.Ed., owner of Harrisonburg Career Coaching, plenty of Valley locals can relate to Brown’s situation.
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“I meet a lot of adults who need help transitioning and figuring out what they’re doing,” she says. Below, Laver and Harrisonburg LPC Ginger Neff share their tips below for making a smooth career transition. Closely examine why you’re unhappy in your current position. Ask yourself if it’s the job you dislike, or if it’s the people surrounding you. While leaving a toxic environment isn’t necessarily a bad idea, Laver points out there are “always going to be difficult people,” regardless of where you work. She recommends trying to repair negative relationships before jumping ship. However, if the job itself is leaving you unfulfilled, then a total career change may be right for you.
While many Americans tend to think of work and play as separate activities, Laver recommends pursuing a career that allows you to blend both. “If we could play at work, we’d be much happier people,” she remarked. “It’s a huge part of what makes you fulfilled in life.” While Laver acknowledges picking a job based on income seems like the responsible choice, she warns it can result in a lifetime of “counting down the minutes.” Additionally, Laver and Neff agree that those who pick careers they’re passionate about tend to be more successful. “Common sense and research tells us that we’re better in fields that we’re good at — identify what you are good at and what you like to do,” suggested Neff.
Follow your passion
Laver advises creating a list of careers that incorporate your passions, then studying the local economy to see which ones are needed. For example, if you love writing, look up the local demand for reporters, technical writers, editorial assistants and English teachers. If moving is an option, study the national economy, as well.
Study the local economy
After you’ve narrowed down your list to one or two jobs, Laver says shadowing someone in those professions is a must. “Often, we get our ideas about jobs from the media — these can be so skewed,” she points out. Before pursuing a new career path, spend a day with someone who holds the position you think you want — you may be surprised by what you learn.
According to Neff, it’s up to career changers “to prove their passion, their energy and their enthusiasm.” If you lack the desired professional experience, prove your dedication by taking a related class, obtaining a parttime internship, starting a blog or joining a volunteer group. “That’s all experience that you’re creating for yourself,” Neff explained. When it’s time to write your resume, Neff reminds job seekers to “identify transferable skills” and “tell about successful projects.” “It’s important to focus on the results you accomplished,” she advised. “Don’t just give a job description.”
Stand out in the crowd
Katie made her own career change not too long ago; she picked up a reporter notebook after a stint in the hotel industry.
ARTICLE BY MATT GONZALES PHOTOGRAPHY BY MICHAEL REILLY
uring a recent afternoon at a Buffalo Wild Wings in Harrisonburg, Jordan Edwards took a break from waiting tables and sat at the bar. It was another long shift for the Ohio native, who has worked as a waitress at the sports bar franchise for the last few years. “I really like this job,” said the 22-yearold. “It’s especially good this time of the year, when the college students come back and, of course, football season.” Edwards grew up watching sports and has been an athlete for years. She played softball throughout high school and even considered playing at the collegiate level. “I decided not to, but I still love watching [softball],” explained Edwards. “I love watching all sorts of sports, especially NCAA and NFL football. My
And into the game favorite team is the Miami Dolphins.” Overhearing the conversation, a nearby bartender playfully chimed in. “My favorite team is the Steelers!” said Amy Mitchell, as she pulled down the lever on the brew tap and poured a beer for a waiting — and thirsty — customer. Edwards smiled at the friendly banter. It’s par for the course in the sports-laden environment, but she feels right at home. Grid iron girls Many of the bar’s female servers and bartenders are loyal fans, die-hard team devotees. Last year, a group formed a ladies-only fantasy football league, which Edwards said was very fun, yet competitive. “I didn’t win,” she admitted.
“Somebody else won, but we’re going to have another one this year.” Edwards is an example of a wider trend: the tremendous rise in female fandom over the last decade. With women constantly shattering stereotypes, whether social or political, so rises the female interest in sports. According to the Journal of Sports Management, in 2008, 42 percent of Major League Baseball spectators were women, which has since risen to 46 percent. In 2010, 45 percent of National Football League spectators were female. In 2012, 36 percent of National Basketball Association spectators were women — a number that is also climbing. Following this trend, those numbers are bound to increase even more in the coming decade.
Getting out of the stands
Cheering in the Harrisonburg High School “Red Sea” are (from top, left) Celia Ehrenpreis, Sydney Little, Meagan Roberts and Mallori Mendez.
B lo o m
This increase in fandom may be linked to the large-scale increase in female athletes and the demolition of stereotypes regarding women in sports. According to the National Federation of State High School Associations, during the 1971-72 school year — the same year Title IX was passed — there were 294,000 female athletes. By the 2011-12 year, that number had risen to 3.2 million, a nearly one thousand percent increase. In 2011, more than 435,000 girls were involved in basketball, 380,000 in softball and 370,000 in soccer. Roughly 1,600 girls representing 421 schools have found spots on football team rosters. Locally, female participation is thriving: Of the 17 sports teams represented at James Madison University, nine are women’s. “You have to give credit to Title IX,” said Shelly Bawcombe, head coach of the JMU women’s lacrosse team. “It gave us the awareness and the opportunity. Now, females have an opportunity at a younger age.” The attraction to sports, whether as spectators or participants, stems from an abundance of reasons. Two of Bawcombe’s players, Megan Protrowicz and Leah Perrotta, grew up playing sports; Protrowicz began playing in the seventh grade, Perrotta in the third grade. “Being from Maryland, I grew up around lacrosse,” said Perrotta, a senior public health education major. “I love the intensity behind sports.”
Taking to the field
Protrowicz nodded in agreement. “The intensity,” said Protrowicz, a red-shirt senior in the JMU school of communication studies. “The intensity that comes with playing sports is great and I love the camaraderie. When one player is down, she is picked up by another. We really feed off each other.” The fight for a spot on the court, field and track was filled with ups and downs. For decades, “femininity” was associated with skirts and high heels, not helmets and cleats. Women belonged in the stands, not on the field. Emily Garrity, a two-time captain for the University of North Carolina’s women’s lacrosse team, touched on stigmas attached to female athletes in the past. “The ‘lack of femininity’ stigma is really starting to fade; it’s not as prevalent as it once was,” said Garrity, who was a member of the 2013 NCAA championship team. “People also think [female athletes] are not as tough as the guys, but we are.” Garrity has a point: Comparing men’s and women’s sporting events, differences in both physicality and competition arise. “Women’s sports have more finesse to it,” admitted Protrowicz. “But I do think the respect for women’s sports has risen, and will continue to rise.” While a place on the field may impact fandom, shifting social constructs may, as well. A young woman’s exposure to sports at an earlier age influences her team preferences. “Most studies on consumer behavior on sports suggest that if you’re a youth, and you’re introduced to a team, you’re identified, or attached to that team,” said Dr. David Shonk, sports management professor in the Sports and Recreation Department at JMU. “For example, my daughter is a huge Washington Nationals fan and that’s because I’ve introduced her to the game.” Edwards developed her love of the Dolphins in the same way: Her father is a big Miami fan. “It’s a family thing,” she said.
Research as to why women began following sports en mass is conflicting. Some have said it stems from social reasons, whether women go see a sporting event to be closer with their families or tag along with a boyfriend because he’s a fan. However, many women resent this notion, saying that they love sports just as much as men do and follow just as fervently, as the numbers provided by the Journal of Sports Management suggest. While at one point, “women” and “sports” were two words that rarely shared the same sentence, times have changed. Research has shown that female spectatorship and participation is rapidly rising to the point where athletic activity is no longer synonymous with men. There is no denying the rise of the 21st century female sports fan. She’s found her place both on the field and in the stands.
On the social side
A sports fan himself, Matt couldn’t be more excited to have ladies rooting for the Jaguars, as well (the team needs all the support it can get).
your BEAUTY akeup — it’s costly to purchase and time-
consuming to apply. Yet the average
woman can’t get enough of it. The appeal is easy enough to understand — when prop-
erly applied, it supposedly enhances natural radiance.
Beauty, nature’s way
ARTICLE BY KATIE KING
PHOTOGRAPHY BY MICHELLE MITCHELL
According to the Worldwatch Institute, Americans annually spend $8 billion on cosmetics. During all this cosmetic shopping, however, women may forget to ask the most crucial consumer questions — are these products actually good for the skin? And, most importantly, are they safe? Dr. Jane Lynch, of Blue Ridge Dermatology in Waynesboro, says makeup ingredients can be “questionable in safety,” as the Food and Drug Administration provides minimal regulation for beauty products. “Avoid anything that has lead, mercury, dioxin and bismuth,” she advises. “Especially be on the look out [for those ingredients] if you are using an imported makeup or shopping in a foreign country.” Licensed Master Esthetician Kim Landis-Hamner, of the Skin and Zen spa in Harrisonburg, agrees that some cosmetics can be dangerous, and recalls a time when a client experienced a hormonal spike after using a product that contained a steroid. “You have to realize if you’re using makeup every day, the chemicals in those products can really be absorbed into the skin,” she warns, adding that it’s crucial to “really know what’s in your product.” Even makeup that’s safe to wear can produce undesirable aesthetic effects. Licensed Master Esthetician Julieta Vazquez, of The Healing Touch Wellness Spa in Harrisonburg, says selecting a foundation that’s too heavy in oil can “clog the pores,” whereas wearing makeup with dehydrating ingredients can result in premature wrinkles. “You have to be careful [when selecting a product],” she says.
Faith Forkovitch of Mount Crawford evaluates the outcome of her mineral makeup make over. With Americans spending $8 billion on cosmetics annually, the question becomes how safe are the products?
For shoppers who aren’t interested in spending a lot of time researching the best products or ingredients, the three professionals agree that a high quality mineral makeup is generally a safe bet. Vazquez, who says she doesn’t care for the feel of most foundations, opts for mineral makeup because she finds it more comfortable. “The mineral makeup is pretty gentle; [when wearing it] you don’t feel like you have lots of makeup on,” she remarks. “[The] skin feels good, you don’t look like a clown, and the skin’s still breathing.” Landis-Hamner, who also wears mineral makeup, said most brands contain vitamins A, C and E, all of which are powerful anti-oxidants. According to Landis-Hamner, antioxidants fight against free radicals, the “little demons” the body creates when exposed to damage. “Every time we’re in the pollution or we consume food that’s deep fried or we spend time in the sun, it creates free radicals on our skin,” she explains. Without the help of antioxidants to minimize the damage, Landis-Hamner says free radicals can eventually “attack our positive cells” and cause a “loss of elasticity” in the skin. Lynch believes mineral makeups can be especially beneficial for those with “very sensitive skin.” “They usually don’t have a lot of the [typical] preservatives, fragrances, and dyes,” she explains. However, Lynch does recommend checking every product for
bismuth or bismuth oxychloride, as even some mineral makeup brands include it as an ingredient. Lynch says the safety of bismuth as a heavy metal is “unclear” and she considers it a common skin irritant. She also warns shoppers to be wary of imposters, which are essentially regular makeups with a “few minerals thrown in.” Additionally, regardless of how safe or gentle a product is, Lynch points out that it’s always possible for an individual to have an allergic reaction, which can cause a variety of side effects, including swelling, stinging, burning, a rash or an outbreak of acne-like bumps. If you suspect you may be experiencing an allergic reaction, she advises immediately removing the makeup with an “unscented, non-soap cleanser” and applying an “over-the-counter cortisone cream” to the affected area. If the reaction doesn’t subside, she recommends seeing a doctor. “Bring along your [cosmetic] products,” Lynch said. “A dermatologist can do a patch test to see what you are allergic to that might be in your makeup.” With her sensitive Irish skin, Katie’s thinking she can get on board with gentle mineral makeup, especially since learning the foundation is available in liquid form.
Powder vs Liquid — which type is best for you?
If you have oily or dry skin ... Though these skin types are opposites, professionals advise both best benefit from a liquid foundation. When those with oily skin cake on lots of powder, it directly mixes with the oil from their pores, causing the powder to clump in an unsightly fashion. On the other hand, dry skin is tighter and more prone to rough spots. When powder settles into these patches, it only draws attention to the problem. If you have normal skin… It’s all about your personal preference, as either liquid or powder foundation should work great for you. If you opt to use the powder, Hamner suggests spritzing your face with a makeup mist to help the powder “set to the skin.” If you have skin with red areas… Some brands offer a redness reducing powder that can be applied before your primary foundation.
Before buying, consider: Twentyfive percent of dogs that enter shelters are purebred. (Source: NCPPSP)
Local groups ensure animals
ARTICLE BY CANDACE SIPOS PHOTOGRAPHY BY JASON LENHART
Find ‘furever’ homes sk Anne Anderson whether she believes adopting pets, as opposed to purchasing them from breeders, is an upward trend, and you’ll likely get a response such as this one: “Depends on the day that you ask me the question,” she said one midAugust afternoon, just hours after an unwanted boxer had been dumped at the Rockingham/Harrisonburg SPCA. As the executive director of the local establishment, which serves as the official animal shelter for both the city and county, it’s easy for Anderson to be encouraged — and heart broken. “Probably the silliest one I’ve heard was the cat didn’t match their sofa,” Anderson said, discussing the host of reasons given for dropping pets off at the shelter. Some seem legitimate; others, not so much. “A lot of times, the pets arrive through no fault of their own,” Anderson said, bucking the notion that shel-
ter animals make for less well-behaved pets than their expensive, purebred counterparts. “I don’t think, in all honesty, that people do realize how wonderful the animals are that we receive.” A black lab mix named Rod landed at the SPCA twice; neither time had he done something wrong. The first time, he was a stray and the person who found him couldn’t afford to keep him. Nine months later, Rod was turned back into the shelter because his then-owner passed away. So far this year, the local SPCA has taken in more than 735 dogs and more than 1,020 cats, not including roughly 70 other pets, such as hamsters, rabbits, gerbils and, yes, a bearded dragon. Of the dozens of cats and dogs at the shelter, about 15 to 18 percent are purebred. Roughly 10 to 15 percent of the SPCA’s dog population is made up of pit bulls, another 20 percent hounds. Lots of border collies, Jack Russells, lab mixes, and Australian cattledogs also make their way through the
doors, Anderson added. “I get so tickled at these pet stores that are doing these design dogs like Labradoodles and Puggles, and it’s like, I have those every single day,” she said, chuckling. “You name a breed; I could probably find it for you.” She emphasized that purchasing pets from profit-driven individuals hurts the entire system. “I don’t think a lot of people realize that every time they purchase from a breeder or a pet store, that they’re enabling that industry to continue,” she said. “[A breeder’s] motive is profit, where our motive is to rehome that animal into the best environment that we can.” One local storefront in downtown Harrisonburg happily is not like the others. Behind its glass hides not rows of clothes, musical equipment or a bar, but free-roaming cats. Cat’s Cradle, a community staple since it took over a South Main Street
Other area rescues
space in 2008, was founded in 1998. The nonprofit is currently caring for roughly 200 felines, about 25 of which live in the downtown building, while the others are fostered out to area individuals. This year alone, the organization has taken in more than 400 cats and placed more than 270 in forever homes. Each year, Cat’s Cradle adopts out roughly 400 felines and helps pay for anywhere from 1,500 to 2,000 sterilizations, not including those performed on the organization’s own cats. “Cat’s Cradle is a very special place,” said Matt Chan, adoption and volunteer coordinator at the nonprofit, as well as its only full-time employee. “We are a very humane organization and we care passionately about the cats. … You know when you adopt a cat from us, it’s coming from an organization that’s very involved in the community.” Adopters also know that the new pet has been not only sterilized, but dewormed, microchipped and tested for common diseases. If potential cat parents are deadset on finding a specific variety, Chan recommends that they find a specialty rescue organization. But before that, he hopes they’ll consider looking past the breed. “There are so many other cats out there that are dying every single day in the community around you,” he said. Chan receives requests to take in about 50 cats each day. “There’s no way I can say ‘yes’ to all of them,” he said, adding that, with the help of social media, people can often re-home cats without help from the nonprofit. On the bully side Virginia Paws for Pits is a Staunton-based nonprofit specializing in re-homing pit bulls and pit bull mixes, as well as so-called “bully breeds.” Page Hearn officially
founded Virginia Paws for Pits in March 2012 after developing a love affair with the breed. When she was 17, Hearn was at a party in Crimora when a dog fighting ring developed. Someone suggested a litter of puppies be added to the mix. Hearn grabbed as many of the puppies as she could. She kept Stoli — now 13 — one of four dogs she currently has, all of which are rescues. That bright-eyed puppy grew into a gentle, familyfriend dog. “He’s perfect,” she said, adding that her 9-year-old son adores him. “He’s great with children. … Stoli loves everyone and everything.” This year alone, Virginia Paws For Pits has pulled more than 170 dogs. The group rescues animals on the brink of euthanasia from shelters’ “death rows.” About 2,600 pit bulls and pit bulls mixes are put to sleep in shelters across the nation everyday, according to Hearn. “I don’t think people are aware of the number of dogs in shelters,” she said. “There are purebreds, everything you can think of being put to sleep in shelters.” Most dogs in shelters across the U.S. are labeled as pit bulls or pit bulls mixes — about 58 percent. Of those, roughly 60 percent are mislabeled, she said. Hearn finds solace in her belief that the nationwide opinion on adopting as opposed to purchasing bred pets has changed. “I definitely think that in the last five to 10 years ... society in general has started to see that it’s a better idea to adopt and not shop, but it [has] a long way to go,” she said, adding that she hopes the government will focus more on regulating breeding instead of breeds.
You wear your heart on your sleeve for the rest of your life.
The responsibility that comes with being a mom.
Grace Weniger Sleep deprivation.
What do you wish you had known before parenthood
How hard it is to develop them as children.
How hard it would be raising a girl.
Compiled by Matt Gonzales
How expensive it is.
Expect the unexpected.
To set their bed times early. Fall 2013
Encouragement COLUMN BY CHRISTINA KUNKLE, RN, CTA CERTIFIED LIFE AND WELLNESS COACH
very day, I am more humbled and amazed by how fulfilled I am as a life coach. There’s nothing I love more than helping clients rise to challenges and thrive with a more resilient spirit, despite adversity. That’s why I broke out in goose-bumps watching recording artist Mandisa’s powerful “Overcomer” video, which captures the raw courage of “Good Morning America” anchor Robin Roberts as she fights an aggressive blood and bone marrow disease, and the struggle of Arizona politician Gabby Giffords, recovering from a lifethreatening gunshot wound. It takes no more than a glance at the daily news or the frazzled faces of those around us to find hardships testing our faith, patience and sanity. Unexpected health problems, financial difficulties, a sudden family tragedy, or difficulty getting along with a friend are a few circumstances that can pull even the strongest among us into the downward spiral of hopelessness and despair. Our words can be a valuable tool to lift people up. Often, that’s easier said than done. Sometimes, we want to help, but in a moment of crisis, we are at a total loss. These practical tips will help you gain perspective quickly, so you can help discouraged people face their situation with hope and a positive outlook. Top off your tank: Since we can’t give away what we don’t have, we must stay empowered ourselves in order to inspire the best in others. Fuel your own reserves first with love, self-compassion and affirmation, so you have plenty to give away. Having (and using) healthy tools to manage our own attitudes and emotions during tough times can help us side-step personal and professional discouragement, making us more available to lift people up through our words and actions. Don’t be fooled: Despite the stories we tell ourselves, everybody’s got something to deal with. Just like those who are hardest to
love are the ones who need it the most, those you least suspect would need a boost are often the ones starving for it. Zip it: Often, being able to talk about the particular problem is just what a discouraged person needs to sort through her concerns and gain the insight needed to deal with the situation. Say “I notice you seem upset. Do you want to talk about it?” Offer your undivided attention without interrupting, giving criticism or dispensing advice. If she needs expert resources to solve her dilemma, ask if she is open to brainstorming solutions together. THINK: Before you speak, ask yourself: Is it True? Is it Helpful? Is it Inspiring? Is it Necessary? Is it Kind? And by all means, if you can’t be kind, please be quiet. Affirm: People need to be reminded of their strengths and past situations they’ve handled successfully to build up confidence. Point out your friend’s personal strengths, such as dependability, friendliness, patience, sincerity and other character traits you value in her. Talk about the positive differences she has made in other people’s lives, and let her know how much she matters. Offer fresh perspective: Never minimize or correct others, saying “Oh, it’s not that bad” or “You shouldn’t feel that way.” Instead, invite them to look for the “Blesson” (the blessing within the lesson.) Bring out opportunities and upsides of dealing with the situation. Help her focus on a brighter future to get past her gloomy present. Rally support: Remind a person who is discouraged that she is not alone — that you are walking beside her. If you’ve been frustrated by a similar situation in the past, be willing to talk about how you were feeling at the time. Don’t assume what she needs, but instead ask “What would support look like to you? What do you need from me right now?” Be the positivity you want to feel: Be the inspiration that reminds someone else the world is not against her. Give her an an-
chor of positivity when her present circumstances seem overwhelming, or if she just can’t imagine her future as being any better. Plant tiny seeds of optimism whenever possible. Seize opportunities: Pay close attention to what’s going on around you. Be prepared to offer a kind word, friendly gesture, or a warm smile to someone in need. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes and always follow The Golden Rule. Step it up: It is pretty easy to encourage someone you like: a close friend, spouse, significant other, child, parent or sibling. Take that extra step and encourage someone you don’t know that well, or even someone you dislike. Find that co-worker who sometimes drives you crazy or family member who seems to know all the answers. Often, people act out because they are looking for attention and affirmation. When you encourage them, they are less likely to need to go looking for it. Because we are always stronger together, I propose a potentially life-changing challenge: What do you say we take collective action to intentionally shine some muchneeded rays of light into the life of someone who needs it? If you know someone who is battling depression, illness or chronic pain; a friend on the verge of walking away from a lifelong dream due to a disappointment or setback; a single mom feeling isolated as she tries to manage alone, or anyone navigating unfortunate circumstances, give her a boost and reach out your hand. A little recognition could make a world of difference in her life. It is so simple to do; act now and encourage someone! Christina Kunkle, is founder of Synergy Life and Wellness Coaching, LLC, creator of the “Synergy Success Circle” and “SOAR,” a HeartCentered Leadership Development Program. To learn more, visit her website at synergylifeandwellnesscoaching.com or call (540) 746-5206.
Illustration by photos.com
The Power of
Not an organization to discriminate based on breed, VPFP has also brought 16 cats into the program this year. Another pet adoption advocate is Cathy Kalimon, who now calls two dogs from the local SPCA her own. “Siri,” short for “Serious,” is a Chihuahua-corgiterrier mix, and “Sundance” appears to be a purebred rat terrier. Though Kalimon lives near the nation’s capital in Maryland, she stays at her family’s cabin in Broadway on the weekends. While she likely had many more options for finding pets in the D.C. area, she decided to give Rockingham-Harrisonburg SPCA a try and hasn’t regretted it. “They were just very kind and very willing to help me with the process,” she said. “I’m very grateful to them.” Sundance had apparently been abused; his collar was implanted into his neck due to neglect. “I wanted him to know that he was safe and that he was loved and that he could have bacon treats anytime he wanted,” she said, laughing before sending this more serious message: “They have enriched my life.”
Annually, approximately 5 million to 7 million companion animals enter shelters nationwide. Of those, 60 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats are euthanized. (Source: ASPCA.org)
Candace’s life was changed when she adopted a pound pup of her own. Sarge, her 8-ish-year-old hound, came from a Virginia shelter three years ago.
Fighting the good fight
ARTICLE BY CANDACE SIPOS ILLUSTRATION BY JASON LENHART
Therapy as a tool
century ago, couples counseling was unheard of. A decade ago — and, arguably, to this day — if both camps could be convinced to rattle their problems off to a stranger, it was most likely done begrudgingly and as a last-stitch effort to save a floundering relationship. Now, search for “couples counseling” and watch as hundreds of thousands of responses scroll, some claiming that the practice is the ultimate relationship savior, while others warn to avoid it entirely. While some local therapists are witnessing an apparent change in attitude about the service — evidenced by more couples coming to therapy and doing so before they reach wit’s end — the professionals emphasize that more partners should take advantage of the deal before the point of separation. Dr. Luanne Bender Long, executive director of the Center
for Marriage and Family Counseling on Campbell Street in Harrisonburg says she believes people are more open to couples counseling than they were even just a few years ago. “I see way more couples now. … Couples realize we don’t have to just grit our teeth and go through life being miserable together.” Long entered the realm of couples counseling at the center in 2004 and said she’s noticed a marked increase in the number of individuals taking advantage of the service since. However, “probably a majority of couples who come, they are in crisis,” she said. Although the therapeutic process is the same regardless for Long, it’s harder for couples to overcome their communicative hurdles the longer they let the issues ride. “After years, it’s hardcore and entrenched,” Long said of couples’ bad habits. “Then, it becomes habitual, because a lot of times, they just don’t talk to one another. We call it the ‘Communication Dance.’ When it’s been several years, it’s harder for them to break that habit.” Couples counseling is on the rise at local establishment such as the Center for Marriage and Family Counseling — which offers income-based payment options.
Dr. Kristy Koser, who owns Aporia Counseling and Psychotherapy PLLC with her husband, Nate, specializes in couples counseling, with the practice taking up about 70 percent of her workload. She sees a “good mix” of those couples who come to her as a preventative measure and those who come only after one partner’s foot is out the door. Sean Slevin, who has owned Transitions Marriage & Family Therapy in Harrisonburg since 2009, said he hasn’t noticed a significant increase in couples counseling clients since he’s been practicing, but he does recognize that more clients come with the change in seasons. For example, in early fall, “the fun of summer’s winding down, the craziness of fall is winding up — that puts some stress on couples,” he said, noting that he sees an uptick during all transitional periods, such as at the end of winter and the holidays. He has also noticed that couples are being more proactive about seeking counseling help, including engaged couples seeking premarital counseling of their own accord. “That’s an encouraging sign,” he said. When one partner’s foot is out the door, the counseling might not prove to be as effective, since the overall motivation to better the relationship is low, he added.
One foot in, one foot out
“You go to the dentist; you go to the doctor; you get your car worked on,” Slevin pointed out. “Why wouldn’t an individual or a marriage need a tune-up now and then?” When laid out that simply, it makes sense that thousands of people find solace through counseling, including couples counseling, each year.
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According to the Mayo Clinic, celiac disease is an immune reaction to eating gluten
a protein found in wheat, barley and rye
your TABLE ARTICLE BY KATIE KING PHOTOGRAPHY BY NIKKI FOX
Guide to gluten free or those who have been diagnosed with celiac disease, even the seemingly simple task of fixing dinner can become overwhelming. When trying to live a gluten-free life, the list of foods — and even drinks — that should be avoided is long and complex. “It can be a difficult diet to follow,” remarked registered dietician Deborah Dunn. “I’ve had some people tell me they just want to give up.” Dunn, who currently teaches nutrition and wellness courses at Bridgewater College, adds that it doesn’t help when others frequently fail to recognize the severity of the illness, and thus may not offer recently diagnosed friends or family members the support they deserve. While some might brush it off, Dunn insists it’s a serious condition. “Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease that affects the digestive track,” she explained. “The symptoms usually can be bloating, diarrhea, stomach pain, fatigue, joint pain or a skin rash.” According to Dunn, a blood test can be given to test for celiac, or in some cases, a physician may order a biopsy of the small intestine. Unfortunately, even once the disease is confirmed, there is no pill or surgery to fix the problem. “Since it’s an autoimmune disease, it cannot be cured,” Dunn said. “But people with celiac can lead long, healthy lives — the treatment is diet.” Since focusing on all the foods that should be avoided can seem depressing, Dunn encourages those with celiac to concentrate on what they can eat. “There are plenty of foods that are naturally gluten free,” she said, adding that any fresh meat, fruit or vegetable is generally a safe choice. Processed items, however, can frequently land celiac suf-
Valerie Ramsey, owner of Fine Flours Bakery, makes a loaf of gluten-free bread to sell at the Harrisonburg Farmers Market. Ramsey shared her step-by-step process for those going gluten-free.
ferers “in trouble,” as gluten can be found in everything from soup and salad dressing to hot dogs and beer. Since the diet is so restrictive, Dunn says those who follow it are at risk for missing out on crucial nutrients. Instead of turning to the Internet for advice, she says those affected should visit a registered dietician. “There’s a lot of misinformation out there,” she pointed out, adding that she’s heard some are even voluntarily going gluten free, believing it’s a weight loss technique. “See a dietician to ensure you get enough nutrients,” she recommends. Harrisonburg local Valerie Ramsey recalls how “overwhelming” it was for her gluten-intolerant husband, Jonathan, when he was first attempting to change
Life with celiac disease
his lifestyle. As a sign of support, she opted to give up gluten, as well. Together, the pair “did a lot of reading” and experimented with different recipes. “[Gluten-free] baking is a completely different ball park,” she said. “It’s so different.” In October 2011, the couple opened a gluten-free bakery — Fine Flours Bakery LLC — out of their home in Harrisonburg. Using a cross-contamination-free kitchen, Ramsey prepares a variety of baked goods, including muffins, scones, rolls and cakes. Below, she shares advice on how to make a gluten-free loaf of bread. Step 1 Choose a heavy, gluten-free grain. Some of the most common flour choices include
brown rice, sorghum, teff, amaranth, coconut and quinoa. Her personal flour-ofchoice is sorghum. “It’s my top pick — using it in the mixture creates a bread that’s closest to wheat bread,” she explained.
arrow root and xanthan gum. At her bakery, Valerie avoids using guar gum, as it’s known to have mild laxative side effects. “People with [Celiac] usually have enough problems with digestive trouble,” she points out.
Step 2 Select one of the following starches: potato, tapioca or corn. While Ramsey says none of the starches “really produce a flavor,” she insists they’re a necessary part of the recipe. “It lightens up the mixture,” she remarked. “If you had those heavy grains and tried to make a loaf [without a starch], you’d come out with a brick.”
Step 4 Pick two “wet” ingredients. While milk and eggs are the traditional choices, Ramsey says those with celiac are often also lactose intolerant. In such cases, she recommends using nondairy milks — such as coconut or rice — and says flaxseed oil can be a great stand-in for eggs.
Step 3 According to Ramsey, this step — selecting a thickening agent — can be skipped all together, provided the baker doesn’t mind extra crumbly bread. For those who want a thickening agent, the three most common choices are guar gum,
Step 5 After combing the ingredients and “really mixing” the dough, place it in a pan greased with coconut oil or butter. Place a cloth over the top, and allow it to proof in a warm location for 25 to 30 minutes. If at anytime, the dough de-
velops “cracks and bubbles” on the top, immediately place it in the oven, as it means the mixture has “over proofed.” If you’re cooking more than one loaf, do not bake them together in an attempt to save time. “Do not cook multiple batches,” Ramsey remarked. “I don’t know why, but when you do the multiple loaves, they come out flat.”
Step 6 Don’t expect perfection right off the bat. “Any gluten-free recipe that you try the first time probably isn’t going to work out,” Ramsey admits. “Be patient and keep trying.” Katie sympathizes with those diagnosed with celiac disease and is glad to have learned more about gluten-free baking.
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Lois Bowman proves you can’t judge a book by its cover
n any given day, Lois Bowman is likely to be found in a long skirt and a prayer veil, surrounded by books. At first glance, one might not assume that the 77-year-old librarian spends her spare time riding miles on her bike, playing the fiddle or talking on ham radio.
But Lois is far from ordinary, and her wise words and quick wit won’t be quickly forgotten when she retires from Eastern Mennonite University after more than a half century on the job. Upon her retirement in June, Lois will be the longest working employee in the history of EMU, having spent 51 years at the institution. But she clarified that it wasn’t out of necessity. “It’s been natural,” she said of her position. “I really like it here, obviously. Nobody forced me to stay until I was 77.”
As a librarian in the Menno Simons Historical Library, Lois has helped expand, catalogue and care for a collection of thousands of tomes, including those housed in the Rare Book Collection. But her love of literature preceded her time at EMU by many years; Lois grew up with books and read extensively, a hobby she’s continued because she says it’s “something that’s just as natural as breathing.” Although reading and collecting books is just one of her many diversions, it has been a central focus of her life — one she credits to her upbringing. “I grew up in a family where books were treasures, and I like to tell people I had my first class in book preservation when I was a small child,” she explains. “I learned how to turn pages; I learned how to treat a book. Books lasted a long time in my family.” Lois’ family would read together, something she continued with her own child, Wanda. And, when Lois’ parents would visit, the three generations read together.
I grew up in a family where books were treasures ... I had my first class in book preservation when I was a small child. I learned how to turn pages; I learned how to treat a book. Books lasted a long time in my family. Bloom
Lois’ love of literature has only been strengthened by her time in the Historical Library. However, her connection to EMU surpasses the countless hours she’s spent among the library shelves. Her mother, Eva Moyer, was a student there, when it was Eastern Mennonite School, which is also where she met Lois’ father, Marion Burkholder. Lois’ childhood was spent in Maryland, but she said it was always understood that the three Burkholder children would go to EMS and Eastern Men-
Love of literature
nonite College — as it was then — if they chose to pursue higher education. These opportunities were a driving factor in the family’s return to Harrisonburg, Marion’s hometown. With the strong family connection to EMU, it seems fitting that Lois stayed after her college graduation. She was hired to work in the Historical Library and as a clerical assistant in the president’s office. It was President John R. Mumaw who encouraged Lois to apply for a scholarship through the Council for Advancement of Small Colleges during the 1960-61 school year. She received one of the awards to attend Harvard University, where she earned a master’s degree in Germanic Languages and Literatures. Despite her adventures to graduate school, Lois knew she wanted return to the Valley. “This was home, and I always wanted to come back here,” Lois said of Harrisonburg. She returned to her alma mater to teach Latin and German, before finding her way to the stacks of the library. Later, she would earn another degree in Library and Information Science from Catholic University in
In her spare time, Lois Bowman, 77, rides her bike, talks on ham radio and plays the fiddle at weekly jam sessions held Monday nights. Until she retires in June 2014, Lois can be found among the shelves at Eastern Mennonite University’s Menno Simons Historical Library.
Washington, D.C., eventually becoming the main librarian in Menno Simons, succeeding Grace Showalter. Because EMU is not exclusive to Mennonite students, Lois has spent years around those of varying faiths, strengthening her open-mindedness toward others. “To me, the important thing is that we have faith in Christ and commit our lives to Him,” Lois said. “That’s what matters … and if we can’t agree on points of doctrine, we still accept each other.” Although EMU has made her more accepting, tolerance was a value she learned during childhood. She says her father, Marion, was a conservative Mennonite, but taught her an important lesson: “Do what you think is right, but don’t criticize others. Accept others.” “That was a good way to grow up,” Lois added. Being raised in a Mennonite family,
Like a mustard seed
faith was always important and Lois was taught to live a life devoted to God and serving others. She says faith is still the most important thing in her life — something she feels she has the responsibility to pass on, especially to her family. “Faith has been part of the daily conversation,” Wanda Harder, Lois’ daughter, said of her childhood. “It was how my parents approached life, and we prayed about things that were happening.” Wanda said faith and service were central in the household, remembering having students living with her family. “We had tenants ... that became like extended family. I was an only child, [but] for Christmas … [there were] eight other people who hung stockings at our house because we adopted them as family.” Lois’ co-workers also recognize the devoted service she extends to others. “One of the things I respect with
Lois is the way she is concerned about others and her sacrificial lifestyle,” Harold Huber, who served as the clerical assistant in the Historical Library for more than 20 years, said of his former supervisor. Harold remembers a time when Lois was taking graduate classes, caring for her parents and coping with the declining health of her husband, Wade. “She was carrying a very heavy load and the way she shouldered all that I respected,” Harold said. Lois’ faith is what has supported her
through many hard times, including her husband’s struggle with diabetes and eventual passing in 2001 due to complications from the disease. “Losing my husband was not an easy thing and he had been ill for a long time before that,” Lois said. “We went through some really rough years.” But she continues to put her faith in God. “My faith means a lot to me, especially now that I’ve been left a widow,” Lois explained. “I realized the only person I have to depend on is God and
He’s always there.” Lois continues to be dedicated to serving others, volunteering with church services at Oak Lea Nursing Home by playing the organ or pushing wheelchairs. During even the most difficult times in her life, Lois has stayed dedicated to EMU, crediting the institution with being a source of strength and inspiration to her throughout the years. Though her open-mindedness has been influenced by her involvement with EMU and the community, Lois also credits the Historical Library for strengthening her own personal faith, surrounding her with books about Mennonite and Anabaptist history — particularly local sects. Lois insists the job shaped her; but it seems she was always well suited for the role. “She’s a people person and she enjoys the interaction with people who come to the Historical Library,” Wanda said of her mother. “She’s very committed to EMU and she loves her job.” But Lois’ commitment stands strong after 51 years because she believes in what the university is doing. Lois says that the important aspects of EMU have remained unchanged: its mission and the quality of education. “I still feel like it’s a really great place to work and I still feel strongly about what they’re doing in the world,” Lois said of EMU. “They send people out of there committed to service and helping people.” But she has also seen EMU change a great deal during her time on campus. The campus, as well as the student body, has grown extensively since Lois first began working at the then-college in 1960. She’s also witnessed EMU grow more liberal; she remembers a time when there were stricter rules of dress and behavior, a time when female students would never be seen in pants.
Lois has also had to adapt to changes in the library. She began working in the His-
Adapting to change
Since the passing of her husband, Wade, Lois Bowman has turned to her faith as a means of support, saying “I realized the only person I have to depend on is God and He’s always there.”
To me, the important thing is that we have faith in Christ and commit our lives to Him. That’s what matters … and if we can’t agree on points of doctrine, we still accept each other.
torical Library long before online cataloguing, when patrons and librarians relied solely on the card catalog. She helped the library transition from typing catalogue cards to entering data online, adjusting to the increase in technology along the way. However, Lois maintains the shelf list and continues to keep a catalogue card for each book in the Historical Library — just as a back up. Her willingness to accept and adapt to change has made the library an open and inviting place for all, especially for Lois’ coworkers. Harold fondly remembers his time working with Lois before his retirement in 2004, recalling the daily discussions the pair would engage in, and how meaningful they always were — even if they toed the line of a tense subject. Cathy Baugh, Lois’ current assistant, agrees. Cathy said Lois has a way of being dedicated to her work, but also flexible and understanding. But it’s her excitement about life that Cathy admires most about her co-worker. “[Lois is] a model of lifelong learning and lifelong excitement to learn new things,” Cathy said of her supervisor. “I haven’t met many women like her.” This excitement is evidenced by Lois’ days, which are filled with activities not typical of women her age. One of which is playing the fiddle every Monday night at the weekly jam she attends. She says she enjoys the fellowship that comes from playing with others and appreciates the welcoming atmosphere. But the Monday night melodies have a much deeper meaning for Lois. “When I started going to these jams regularly, I found music making in a group to be so healing; I think I began to feel like a whole person again,” Lois said of finding fulfilling activities after losing her husband. While Lois just added the fiddle to her instrument list a few years ago, she grew up learning to play the piano and then the violin. Music was always important to her, she says. “I was always a shy person; you wouldn’t know it now, but I was. [Music] was something I felt competent at; it gave me a sense of self-worth,” Lois explained. Her passion for melodies is something Lois credits to her mother, who brought the piano when she married; the instrument became something Lois and her two siblings greatly enjoyed. “We always had the piano, and it was always a special treat when we would go to bed at night and Mother would play the piano,” Lois said. “We’d beg her to play piano after we went to bed, so that way we got to go to sleep to music.” Lois’ mother encouraged her children to play music, too,
A woman of many talents
Determined not to stand idly by as her grandchildren learned to ride bicycles, Lois Bowman made a two-wheeled purchase of her own. This year, Lois has logged more than 1,300 miles.
paying for her daughter’s piano lessons with money she made as a Stanley products dealer. “There’s just something so soothing and restorative ... about music,” Lois said. But music isn’t her only hobby. To stay physically active, Lois rides her bike, aiming for at least 5-10 miles several times a week. She participates in the National Bike Challenge, a competition between workplaces, as an EMU team member. She also rides for Bike Shenandoah, a fundraising organization that benefits missions and charities. Though she rides now for exercise, calling it her “therapy,” it was her two grandchildren who got her back on a bicycle as an adult. “When the grandchildren were learning to ride bikes, Grandma just stood there with nothing to do, and I just couldn’t stand that,” she said, explaining her two-wheeled purchase.
“I’ve heard of people in their 80s still riding their bikes, so I hope I can keep up with this for a long time,” Lois said. This year, she’s already pedaled more than 1,300 miles. When she’s not busy riding her bike, Lois can be found on a ham radio station, which is amateur, non-professional, talk radio governed by the Federal Communications Commission.
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Lois plans to keep up with all of her activities after retirement, having plenty to keep her busy. “I’ve always got goals to work for and I think that’s so important,” Lois said. And she has no plans of slowing down, explaining a motto she lives by: “We don’t quit learning and we don’t quit being active because we get old. We get old because we quit learning and quit being active.” “She’s kind of like the Energizer bunny; she doesn’t stop,” Wanda said. “She will always find things that interest her and challenge her.” But no one can keep Lois away from the library too long. She plans to return to the Historical Library as a volunteer, spending her days cataloguing once again. While Lois says she’s still “working on [herself]” and trying to wrap her head around being retired, her faith assures her that she still has a purpose. “[God] has a purpose for me even though I’m old ... that doesn’t mean I’m done with my life’s work,” Lois said. “Life is good, it just isn’t easy.”
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Given the stigma that lingers around counseling in general, it’s understandable that some people are wary to go if they don’t have any “real” problems in their relationship, while others question its legitimacy. Local therapists are upfront about prospects; basically, partners can see real benefits to counseling, but it’s not magic. “I don’t work miracles and neither does anybody else,” Koser said. “Maybe [clients] don’t end the 15 sessions right where they want to be, but they end them with much more of an understanding of their relationship and much more power over it.” According to Psychology Today’s review of research by Lisa Benson, Meghan McGinn and Andrew Christensen, couples therapy can be effective if it performs in the following five areas: changes the views of the relationship, alters dysfunctional behavior, lowers emotional avoidance, improves communication and promotes relationship strengths. Koser works from the Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy model, an evidence-based model that centers on attachment theory. “[Couples therapy] really opens the door for couples to learn how to be there for each other, to learn how to create safety …
to really allow for the attachment bond to develop,” she said. As long as both partners have a “root love” for one another that leads them to want to make the relationship work, “the chances of repairing things [are] actually very high, because it’s really just a matter of walking out the growth process,” according to Slevin. “As long as folks are at a point where they’re wanting to grow, wanting to change, then I can help them do that.” Long says she focuses on rebuilding a couple’s ability to communicate effectively. The most common issue her clients face is struggling to talk through conflict in a healthy way, she said. Sometimes, when she gets to the heart of the issue, what Long calls the “emotional wounding,” it’s really just about a seemingly insignificant event. Long takes stock in the therapy; after all, the practical tools she teaches clients have worked in her own life. She’s been married to her husband, Rudy, for 39 years. After overcoming a 15year struggle, the couple is doing better than ever. “I do this not because I have all the answers, but because I’ve been down the road,” she said. “I believe in it, or I wouldn’t do it.”
Photo Illustration by Jason Lenhart / DN-R
Therapists such as Dr. Luanne Bender Long put stock in couples counseling. She and her husband relied on it to overcome a 15-year struggle.
Candace has never been to couples counseling, but she will likely go prior to tying the knot, when Mr. Right asks.
Local experts weigh in on
F i nd i n g your
center ARTICLE BY SARAH STACY PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY NIKKI FOX
ith the rush of daily life — deadlines to meet, relationships to maintain, appointments to keep — it’s easy to get lost in thought. But when our minds are consumed by yesterday’s tift or tomorrow’s traffic, we forget to simply experience the present. “Growing up, it is not unusual for us to lose touch with a natural sense of peace that resides within all of us,” explained Holly Robedeau, clinical psychologist and teacher of meditation and mindfulness. When thoughts or expectations lead us away from that natural stillness — from experiencing life as it is in the here and now — we are more easily pushed out of balance. The good news is that this natural peace is always there to return to. One way of rediscovering that place is through meditation.
ages those who may feel disheartened that the act of simply acknowledging that you are distracted or angry is potentially transformative. This awareness is a form of mindfulness.
Weathering the storm
When we’re experiencing what is happening in the moment, we can recognize when an emotion is arising, how it manifests physically in the body and how we react to it. For example, if someone becomes angry, she may experience a tightening in the chest and react by acting out in anger or pushing the feeling away. Rather than simply reacting, meditation offers strategies to stay with a feeling as it arises, to recognize what it feels like in the body and to allow the feeling to naturally pass. Although life will continue to bring stress, we can break the conditioning of the mind and allow for a greater space between what is arising Finding focus and our reaction. There are many branches of “The mind is very conditioned meditation, but the common in the sense that it’s reactive, thread is the intention to bring often [because of] past expean inward stillness through riences — pleasant or unthe use of what some pleasant,” Neely said. teachers call an “anchor.” “[With meditation] The anchor is a home we’re training how to be base of sorts for a medipresent and how to obtator’s attention to reserve ... to see experiturn to when the mind ences and what’s wanders. In insight increasing our suffering meditation — often reand what’s the path to ferred to as mindfulness letting go.” meditation — a comRobedeau gave an exmon anchor is the breath. ample in which an angry By focusing on the person approaches her, breath — following the upset at something Robe— CHARMI NEELY, rhythmic inhale and the exdeau did. Rather than reacthale — the mind becomes LICENSED ing out of being hurt or calmer, and concentration and PSYCHOTHERAPIST offended, Robedeau takes the time stillness can be developed, Charmi to notice the rising emotions, allowNeely, a licensed psychotherapist and ing herself to be aware in the moment, teacher of meditation, explained. so she can respond from a place of mindful“Mindfulness meditation is about how to be ness instead of defensiveness. present,” Neely said, “[It’s about] how to pay attention to “It’s a particular way of paying attention,” Neely said of the direct experience in the moment ... to what is here, to what is arising.” meditation. “It’s non-judging, open acceptance of what is right there in the moment.”
“It’s a particular way of paying attention. It’s non-judging, open acceptance of what is right there in the moment.”
Mindfulness meditation is not exclusive to a specific faith system, as it doesn’t require a set of beliefs. It is simply being aware of what is, and therefore, not bound to a particular religion. “It’s non-denominational,” Robedeau said. “I think meditation is something for all people to try and benefit from.” Although meditation practice is inclusive, people often initially become frustrated when trying to meditate for the first time, faced with the realization of how restless and busy the mind can be. However, Neely says that anyone can meditate and encour-
Robedeau offers some guidelines for beginning a meditation practice. Find a quiet place, and set aside 10 minutes. Trying to meditate for longer at first, especially for those unfamiliar with the practice, can be defeating. Taking 10 minutes from a hectic schedule won’t require reconfiguring an entire day’s demands. Lengthen the practice, as time allows, when you feel comfortable doing so. Find a comfortable position, sitting on a cushion or in a chair, or even lying down.
Holiday gifting: The thrifty way
ARTICLE BY MATT GONZALES
t’s that time of year again. The leaves are changing, the weather is cooling and the holiday season is approaching. It’s a season of joy and laughter, food and family — and stress. While every season certainly has its own stressors, the holidays can be especially difficult — particulary on pocketbooks, because with the change of seasons comes holiday shopping. The season of giving can quickly become the most dreaded time of year, especially for those with an extensive family and a multitude of friends. Trying to choose the perfect gift without breaking the bank often seems hopeless, and fighting the crowds for a sale — let alone a parking space — can be exhausting. Figuring out how to shop sensibly can be a tricky aspect of the holiday season. It can be a stressful time of year — but only if you allow it to be. What many people do not realize is that much of the holiday shopping can be handled without facing the high prices and unwelcoming crowds characteristic of major retailers. There are several options that provide a unique shopping experience for the giver and one-of-akind gifts for those special people in your life. “People underestimate the power of a good antique shop,” says Steve Fraits, a shipping coordinator at Masco Cabinetry, who spends Saturday mornings in his lawn chair as customers browse the antique items he offers at the Shenandoah Flea Market. “There are a lot of local antique shops around here that people do not take advantage of nearly as often as they should, especially during the holidays,” he continued. Not only are there dozens of antique and thrift stores in the area, but these stores are filled with discounted items, including clothes, furniture, shoes, toys — you name it. Michael DelBiondo, store manager at Mercy House Thrift Store in Harrisonburg, says that if you’re seeking a one-of-a-kind item for a sister, mother-in-law or friend, the Mercy House boasts an extensive collection of treasures at a lower price. DelBiondo mentioned one of the bestselling items, which may make a nice gift — glass ware. “Glass ware are one of our most popular items, and they come at a discounted price. A $2.50 item at major retailers will only cost you 50 cents here.” Candles are another popular option. Deb Layman, manager at Tried and True Thrift Shop in Harrisonburg, says, “Our candles are at least half of what you would find at major retailers. We have such a variety of them and they are all new candles.” And, for the do-it-yourselfers, Layman mentioned there are
plenty of resources for those with a knack for arts and crafts. Whatever you’re looking for, Layman says that thrift shops are filled with unique, vintage items. Walking into any thrift shop in the area, you will likely find something for those on your holiday shopping list at a much cheaper price. Take the Mercy House, for example. A set of brand new golf clubs typically sells for upward of $500; at the local thrift shop, there’s a set selling for $1 per club. Unique clothing items for the fashion-focused loved one are always a good choice. Take knee-high boots: At a retailer, a pair costs at least $30. At the thrift store? Three bucks, and they’re likely ones you couldn’t find elsewhere. Furthermore, most people have a number of friends who are required to dress professionally for work. At a thrift shop, suit jackets are as low as $1 and men’s ties sell for just 50 cents each. All books, board games, and puzzles are $2 or less. “These thrift shops are a bargain,” DelBiondo said. “They really are great places to go when shopping for other people.” So, if you’re looking to save some money this holiday season while still wrapping up novel presents for your family and friends, thrift shops are the way to go — the gifts are unique and won’t break the bank. “It’s a treasure hunt,” Layman said. “Some of the [items] you find in here can be very beneficial during the holidays.”
Low cost options
A fan of saving money, Matt may thrift and gift this season. You can’t beat standing out while saving a buck.
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COLUMN BY CANDACE SIPOS ILLUSTRATION BY JASON LENHART
I can’t decide on a title ...
’ve written four drafts for this column. And by drafts, I don’t mean shorter, grammatically horrendous and less thought-out versions of what is before you now. I mean lengthy essays on four completely separate topics. My initial draft was about questioning religion — definitely the most personal of the bunch. So, naturally, I decided it was too controversial and too close to home. Back to the drawing board. For draft No. 2, I wrote nearly 50 inches — in non-newspaper speak, that’s approaching 1,200 words — about the extent to which complete strangers will divulge touchy information to me, such as their deeply-held religious beliefs, personal shortcomings and triumphs and, sometimes, their sadness over a lost loved one, just because I have business cards that say “Staff Writer.” I hypothesized that people are just so suffocated by constant small talk that they’re yearning to say something that matters. When I finally wrapped that one up — with marked excitement about approaching the light at the end of the tunnel and, just maybe, a noticeable pep in my step — I gave it another read-through and decided I wasn’t overly impressed.
... or what to put here So, I threw some more words on a third blank document about my frustration with the generation to which I’ve forcibly been assigned, a cohort full of twenty-somethings with their heads stuck in iPhones. I really pulled out all the stops on that one, chocking it full of references to a speech by Louis C.K., a documentary I recently watched about the world’s happiest people and a mid-September event during which a young man was fatally shot on a train, with nearby passengers completely oblivious to the shooter’s gun-flailing moments prior. I felt pretty strongly about that topic, but, as it turns out, not strongly enough. (Side note: I just went to save this document as “Viewpoint 3” and my MacBook quickly informed me that document already exists. Of course it does.) So, as I’m sitting here surrounded by these varied and sundry drafts, I have two thoughts running around in my head (besides the typical, such as, ‘My dog really is looking fatter than usual. I need to be more strict about his diet.’) The first is this: My editor is a very forgiving woman. And secondly, if there’s one thing that I’m absolutely certain about, it’s that I’m absolutely certain about dangerously close to nothing.
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It’s often best to use a timer. There are applications for smart phones, or simply setting a stopwatch will do. Close the eyes, as it allows for fewer visual distractions. Choose an anchor. As mentioned, the breath is a common option, as it’s a constant. If using the breath, notice the inhale and exhale at the point of the nostrils, the rising and falling of the chest or the expanding of the stomach as each breath is drawn. When you’ve noticed your mind has strayed, gently recognize where you’ve run off to — plans for today, replaying a conversation, imagining what you’ll have for dinner — and return to the present moment, to the gentle act of breathing. When the timer goes off, sit in that awareness and then proceed with your day. Notice how that presence tends to stay with you, even
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when you’re not intentionally meditating.
Patience is a virtue
Meditation is often described as training a puppy. When the puppy is learning to sit and stay, it will get up and run away — over and over. But yelling at the puppy or using physical force is no way to develop a dog that obeys. With kindness, you return the puppy to where he’s supposed to be. When he wanders off again, gently guide him back. The same is true with the mind. The mind, conditioned and reactive, will run off with thoughts and emotions. But being angry with yourself or trying to force a quiet stillness to happen is not the process of meditation. Mindfulness meditation is “a deliberate process that helps slow down the mind, and get the puppy to listen better,” Robedeau said. “When that happens, we have [fewer] thoughts interfering ... and if we can get to that place, even for a couple minutes, there’s great bounty there.” Sarah’s learning to quiet her mind, taking it one moment (and breath) at a time. Creative Coordinated Displays Christmas Decorating Starts Here Great Gift Ideas! Don’t forget your Christmas Sweater!
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I’m one of those people who should never, EVER be asked to make a decision for the group. If I’m meeting you for dinner, don’t bother with your silly niceties such as allowing me to weigh in on our destination. Just decide where you want to eat, and inform me of that decision. It’s not that I’m scared of offending others. If that were true, I would know exactly where my stomach is leading me when all alone. But I can’t count the number of times I’ve been driving toward the U.S. 33 restaurant hub for some Thai food, turned instead into the Arby’s drive-thru to save a few dollars, then — just before reaching the speaker of truth — jerked out of line in search of a food truck. We all have our crosses to bear. I’m a creature of habit out of necessity. There are plenty of restaurants around Harrisonburg where I’m a regular customer but have only tested one or two menu options. Sometimes, I’ll pretend to want to branch out, but I can see the glare of the cashier, and I know exactly what he’s thinking. “Good God, woman, everybody here knows you’re about to order the No. 5, so just do it already.” “I think I’ll take the No. 5,” I say finally. He smiles. He hates me. On the ever-growing list of other customer service associates who also would rather I just stay home is that guy behind the meat counter at the grocery store. That guy who has asked me three times over the course of the past half-hour if I need help, and oh God, yes I do, but I don’t think you can give it to me — now, leave me and
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my cart to lurk in peace. Up to this point, I’ve only addressed relatively minor decisions I make on an almost-daily basis. On a more serious note, I’m also searching for apartments for next year and for grad schools for God-knows-when; you can imagine how those decisions are going. On the latter subject, my thought process is as follows: “So, the application for grad school is roughly $50, on average, per program per school? So, maybe I’ll just apply to a couple of programs at every university up and down the East Coast. I might have to get a second job and dig deep into my minute savings account, but at least that’ll leave my options open.” When I decided to go to college, it was less of a mapout-the-pros-and-cons-educated decision-making process, and more of a geez-I-have-to-make-this-decision-today-so-I’ll-ask-someone-to-make-it-for-me. So, on the day my decision was due, I casually asked my favorite teacher what he would do if — hypothetically, of course — say, for instance, he had to choose between Virginia Tech and George Mason. It took some begging on my part to make him oblige. So, that’s how that happened. Anyway, I know this isn’t our first issue of Bloom for a new year, and it’s therefore inappropriate to announce a New Year’s Resolution in this column. But I will announce an overall improvement I’d like to make in my everyday life, which is — you guessed it — learning how to make sound decisions quickly and on my own. I’m going to start with setting a minute timer and then forcing myself to decide what to make for dinner. Maybe.
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Submit nominations for the next cover girl to Kate Kersey, editor, at 574-6276 or email@example.com. Have you been looking for a
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Name: Sarah Stacy Age: 22 Hometown: Suffolk, Va. Sign: Sagittarius Alma Mater: James Madison University Major: English Minor: Arabic Favorite Color: Black Favorite Decade: 70s Biggest Fear: Being framed for murder (thanks, Matlock). Where you can find Sarah in Harrisonburg: Greenberry’s. Name: Candace “Candance” Sipos Age: 24 Hometown: Prince George, Va. Sign: Virgo Alma Mater: Virginia Commonwealth University Major: Mass Communication, Psychology Favorite Color: Chocolate brown Biggest Fear: Waking up only knowing how to speak an ancient language that nobody understands anymore. Favorite leading lady: Jennifer Lawrence, she’s effortlessly hilarious.
Meet the Bloom staff
Name: Kate Kersey Age: 23 Hometown: Charles Town, W.Va. Sign: Taurus Alma Mater: James Madison University Major: History Minor: Africana Studies Favorite Color: Blue Biggest Fear: Drowning, or spiders Where you can find Kate in Harrisonburg: 231 S. Liberty St. Favorite leading lady: Kate Beckinsale, she’s a saucy minx.
Name: Katie King Age: 25 Hometown: Yorktown, Va. Sign: Taurus Alma Mater: James Madison University Major: History, Political Science Favorite Color: Purple Biggest Fear: Math Favorite decade: 1920s Where To Find Katie In Harrisonburg: Clementine or Barnes & Noble Favorite Leading Lady: Marilyn Monroe, she had a fascinating life and career. Name: Matt Gonzales Age: 25 Hometown: Havelock, N.C. Sign: Sagittarius Alma Mater: East Carolina University Major: Journalism Minor: Sports Studies Favorite Color: Green Favorite Decade: 1960s Biggest Fear: “Man On The Street” Real Biggest Fear: Claustrophobia Favorite leading lady: Sandra Bullock, she’s an ECU alum.
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