December 2018 Evolving Magazine

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December 2018 ~ Vol. X, Issue 10 KANSAS CITY




Tips for Thriving During the Holidays Overcome Holiday


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Dear Friend,

Every year I experience a sort of melancholy during the holiday season. For me, it starts with daylight savings time and the change of the weather. Overnight, my cooking evolves from salads and fresh to soups and stews and comfort and warmth; my body, I think, trying to replace the vital essence of the sun with nutrients that soothe the senses. With the rate of depression during the holiday season, I suspect I’m not alone. The changing weather creates an enforced hibernation of sorts, a going within, a period of reflection and introspection that can at times feel uncomfortable. Add to that the pressure of family functions (and dysfunctions), stress induced from trying to buy the perfect gifts, so much to do and see and be when all we really want to do is stay indoors, cover up with a blanket, and drink hot cocoa. Which leads me to think that perhaps the holidays themselves aren’t all of the “problem.” It could be that going against our nature, our instinct and desire to stay in and create comfort through warmth, this need to go/do/be during the holidays, contradicts our intended state during the winter months. The pressures of family and parties and feeling like we must be cheerful and gay only exacerbate the problem. Perhaps awareness is the answer. If we realize the fundamental need, the body’s desire to go within during the quiet winter months, I believe we can honor and allow this process of natural growth. Wishing you all a joyous, reflective, and healing winter season.



5 Tips for Thriving This Holiday Season 11

Loneliness During the Holidays 12

Jill Dutton 8

Stay Connected all Month! *Read the magazine online: *Like us on Facebook: *Follow us on Twitter: @EvolvingMag

Mai Nguyen's Pho Ga (Chicken Pho)

Departments Publisher Jill Dutton 913-944-1298

Editorial Assistants Judy Kirkpatrick Chrisi Spooner Polly Swafford Print Design/Layout Jill Dutton Angela Yuriko Smith

Web Layout/Design Christine Lamb Advertising Karen E. Cowdry Jill Dutton Monthly Columnists Emily Akins, Jude LaClaire, Aluna Michaels, Nancy Russell, Brandi Schoen, Suzette Scholtes, Angela Watson Robertson

Journey to Wholeness Eating Well in KC Holistic Health Wisdom Within Revelations Horoscope Events

4 6&8 9 10 12 & 13 17 19


EVOLVING© 2018 all rights reserved. The opinions expressed are those of the authors. The articles in EVOLVING are not meant to represent any form of medical or psychiatric care. No portion of the publication may be reproduced without express written permission from the publisher.


Elmari van der Westhuizen is an Intentional Creativity Practitioner, which means that art making is done with intention and mindfulness, and through symbol, paint, music, writing, and prayer it becomes a sacred soul journey. Her passion is to teach and guide women into re-membering their own inner strength, beauty, and power. 816-536-0024


Journey to Wholeness

The Greatest Gift of All BY JUDE LACLAIRE, PH.D.


he season of gift giving brings up the question, “What is the best gift for loved ones, friends and colleagues?” This made me think a lot about the most helpful gifts we could give at any time of year or in any situation. A recent article suggested that parents should not give children allowances, but they should give them money for household chores, and further that the child should ‘choose’ these chores. Then they would budget their money with good financial guidance. The budgeting part is sound advice. world where everyone wants to The money for chores advice is feel needed.” very questionable. What are we really talking Alfie Kohn writes in “Science about? Dell’Antonia continues, Confirms It: People Are Not “Psychologists often distinguish Pets” (NY Times, 11/28/18), “Case between intrinsic motivation in point: the discovery that when (wanting to do something for its we are rewarded for doing own sake) and extrinsic something, we tend to lose motivation (for example, doing interest in what ever we had to do something to snag a goody). The to get the reward,” and “The first is the predictor of highconclusions that rewards quality achievement, and it can frequently kill both interest and actually be undermined by the excellence have grown more solid second. Moreover, when you in the promise people intervening a reward, they decades.” often perform Another more poorly as “Even though many author, KJ decades of research and a result.” Dell’Antonia Even though states in “Happy many decades lived experience tell us Children Do of research and that rewards and Chores” (NY lived Times, 8/19/18), tell punishments are not the experience “For starters, us that rewards chores are good and best determinant of for kids. Being a teaching any sort of skill punishments part of the are not the best routine work of or value, we continue to determinant of running a teaching any persist in this fallacy of sort of skill or household helps children develop value, we thinking and acting.” an awareness of continue to the needs of persist in this others, while at the same time fallacy of thinking and acting. contributing to their emotional The popular dog behavioral well being. Children who consider guru, Cesar Milan, disagrees with themselves necessary to the family the reward/punishment idea. He are less likely to feel adrift in a suggests that dogs should have, 1.

appreciation of the meaning and use of money. She modeled caring by doing so much for us, our neighbors, and people in need in the community. I did volunteer work during high school. All of us have careers as people giving to the community, supporting our families and others. Perhaps, the one lesson I had to learn as an adult was how to care for myself. The opposite result seems to be occurring now. In “Happy Children Do Chores,” the author writes, “Richard Exercise (an hour a day), 2. Weissbourd, a Harvard Discipline, (in the form of rules, psychologist and colleagues boundaries limitations taught in a surveyed more than 10,000 non-abusive manner), and students from 33 middle and high 3. Affection. Dogs already have a schools around the country and hard-wired intrinsic motivation in found that almost 80 percent said that they want to please us. they valued their own happiness So, how do we tap into the over caring for others. Most intrinsic motivation of children or thought their parents would adults? Let’s really think about agree.” This statistic should give what motivates you the most in us pause to rethink our approach your day-to-day life? Another to motivating children or adults. good question is what taught you Let’s think carefully about how this? we motivate others or ourselves. One of the many lessons I Let’s give the year round gift that learned growing up was from my keeps on giving! mother’s philosophy of allowances. She let my siblings and me know from the beginning, about age seven, that our allowance was not a reward for doing chores, but a tool to help us Jude LaClaire, learn to manage money. She told Ph.D., LCPC is a us that we were all part of the counselor and family and would be expected to educator at the do our part for the family. Then Heartland Holistic our allowance was to be used to Health Center. She cover things like school supplies, is the author of the gifts, or other necessary “Life Weaving Education expenditures, also to save (had Curriculum” that teaches creative, bank accounts from about age 10) effective, holistic problem solving. and then, to spend as we wished. For counseling appointments, This was done with ageseminars, speaker’s bureau, or appropriate expectations. As information on Neurobehavioral adults I think we all have a good Programs and Imago Couple’s balance of awareness of the needs Therapy, call 913-322-5622 or of others, working as part of a; team, responsibility to others, giving to others, and a healthy


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Eating Well in Kansas City

Nutrition Basics for Managing Chronic Pain BY ANGELA WATSON ROBERTSON


s a health coach, I’ve seen firsthand how the foods we eat can be a remedy, at least to some degree, for chronic pain. The truth is, we can change our body chemistry every time we eat. If you have been living with and trying to manage pain, I encourage you to consider that the foods you eat are just as important as the medications you take. When approaching pain management in this way, you don’t have to be a doctor or pharmacist to know what to do for yourself. You can take your health into your own hands by discovering what foods and supplements support your health recommend taking a minimum of and then modify your behavior 500 mg daily for back and joint accordingly. pain. You can find it in powder, tea, liquid, or capsule form.


An anti-inflammatory diet is often considered to be a helpful part of an integrative approach to pain management, along with exercise, stress management, and alternative therapies such as acupuncture. According to, inflammation is a natural process in the body that defends against disease; however, chronic inflammation can lead to heart disease, strokes, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and even depression. You can find information about the anti-inflammatory diet in numerous books and on various websites, but the primary idea is to avoid sugary, refined, and processed foods and replace them with whole, nutrient-rich plantbased foods. The specifics will vary depending on the severity of your pain and overall health, but in its strictest form, the diet may involve eliminating dairy, red meat, simple carbs, such as sugar and flour, and most grains, including rice, corn, and wheat. Instead, focus on whole fruits, vegetables, and animal proteins such as fish and chicken in moderation.

Supplements TURMERIC Part of the ginger family, turmeric is a root that has been known to reduce inflammation. I

GLUCOSAMINE & CHONDROITIN Glucosamine and chondroitin are part of what makes up the cartilage in your body. These supplements are also helpful for joint pain and are often sold together. Though evidence is conflicting, many of my clients have found relief by taking these daily. VITAMIN D Recent studies have shown that high doses of vitamin D can help reduce pain. According to a 2011 study of breast cancer patients, vitamin D eases chronic pain because it limits how much inflammation can take place. This is because vitamin D is a key nutrient that prevents the immune system from responding excessively, leading to chronic inflammation, also known as pain1. I recommend taking at least 5,000 iu of vitamin D per day for pain; however, it is important to work with a doctor and get regular blood work if taking high doses of vitamin D for long periods of time. DHA/EPA (FISH OIL) New research shows that essential fatty acids, DHA and EPA, promote a class of compounds called resolvins, which restore nerve and immune cell function to normal in a timelier manner, thus getting rid of excess pain2. I recommend taking two to three

all” for you. Instead, you may find a blend of several to be the right solution for you. I recommend working with a nutritionist, health coach, or dietician when making significant changes to your diet, especially if you have chronic health issues. It’s also important to first understand what is causing your pain to know best what supplements or alternative medicines may be effective. I suggest working with an integrative or functional doctor in tandem with an acupuncturist and/or chiropractor to diagnosis the root of your pain. If you are taking prescription medications, grams daily, which was shown in a always check with your doctor 2012 university study to be before starting any supplements. therapeutic for 380 arthritis There is currently no scientific patients who took this dosage for evidence to support the uses of more than three months and CBD oil and Kratom for pain, so experienced a reduced need for please do your research and use NSAID (aspirin, ibuprofen) caution. drugs3. References: CBD OIL Rastelli, A.L., Taylor, M.E., Gao, If you have chronic pain and have F. et al. Breast Cancer Res Treat tried the above with no relief, I (2011) 129: 107. https:// also recommend researching the benefits of cannabidiol (CBD) -6 oil—one of the 104 chemical compounds known as pubmed/21963090 cannabinoids found in the Lee YB et al. “Omega-3 marijuana plant, Cannabis sativa. Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids and Because most CBD oil is sold the Treatment of Rheumatoid without tetrahydrocannabinol, or Arthritis.” Archives of Medical THC, the main psychoactive Research. 2012 Jul; 43(5):356-62. compound in the cannabis plant, Epub 2012 Jul 24. you get the benefits without the “high” you have heard about. KRATOM Kratom, or Mitragyna speciosa, is a tropical evergreen tree in the coffee family native to Southeast Asia. Kratom contains a chemical called mitragynine, which works like opioids such as codeine and morphine to relieve pain. Because of this association, many people are nervous about its use; however, I have known many people to benefit from it without side effects.

Important Notes Remember to use a holistic approach when dealing with chronic pain. Most likely, no single one of these recommendations will be a “fix


Angela Watson Robertson, MBA, CIHC, INHC, a.k.a The Reinvention Warrior, is a well known nutrition blogger and health coach who teaches you how to transform your life starting with the food you eat. She has created simple, effective tools to help you reinvent every area of your lifefrom health, career and money to relationships, spirituality and sex. Find her free wellness tips, nutrition courses, and coaching programs at Connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, and Twitter.

Evolutionary Soul Guide

Laura Wolf

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Eating Well in Kansas City

Pho is Food for the Season BY MARY T. NGUYEN


his is my favorite time of year. I love the overlapping conditions of late fall and early winter. The crunch underfoot as you walk outside from stomping on fallen leaves or perhaps, if lucky, an early snowfall. The cold encourages a stillness indoors and out, while the holidays bring families together. It motivates you to seek warmth, both literal and figurative. The quest for comfort reigns supreme. And in my family nothing brings comfort like pho. Pronounced "fuh-uh," pho is a Vietnamese soup consisting of primarily meat, rice noodles, herbs, and broth. Despite its simple presentation, the broth has a rich depth of flavor that enrobes

the soup's components as it’s slurped from the bowl. That flavor comes from hours of simmering herbs and spices in a rich broth of boiled meat and bones and fills not just your kitchen, but entire home, with the smell that is 100 percent the essence of warmth. And because those spices include a lot of what might be considered traditionally autumnal (anise, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, and clove). Actually, the smell of these spices has never been seasonspecific for me. The "pumpkin spices" could fill our house growing up at any time of year; thinking about it now I wonder if my mom made this meal when meat was on sale, since the quality of the meat is essential to the flavor of the broth. And with this soup, the broth is key.

When my brothers and I make this dish, we try to use local freerange chickens raised on natural feeds. These chickens tend to be more nutritious and the meat and bones contribute more flavor when simmered. You can find quality chickens and other meats from producers at winter farmers markets or at local butcher shops such as Broadway Butcher Shop (midtown Kansas City) or Local Pig (soon to be located in the River Market area). It is served with a buffet of additional elements that the diner can opt to add or not to make it more herbaceous, spicy, crunchy, salty. In spring and summer, many of the accoutrements can also be grown yourself or purchased from local growers. These include Thai or cinnamon basil, cilantro,

Broth ingredients: One pound of chicken wings One whole fryer chicken, butchered One Vidalia onion, peeled and halved One three-inch piece of ginger root, sliced lengthwise into thirds Fish sauce Rock sugar Four black cardamom pods, split open 8 cloves One 2-inch cinnamon stick 1/2 tsp. black peppercorns 1/2 tsp. fennel seeds 1/2 tsp. coriander seeds Four star anise pods Chicken bouillon

Mai Nguyen's Pho Ga (Chicken Pho) Serves: About 6 Cooking time: Active: about 30-45 minutes Inactive: 4-6 hours Equipment: Large stockpot Small saucepan Small sauté pan Fine mesh strainer Tea/spice sachet

For serving: Two packs of banh pho noodles White pepper Half a Vidalia onion, sliced razor thin Chopped scallions Garnishes: Jalapeno slices Limes Bean sprouts Thai basil Cilantro Hoisin sauce Sriracha/Chili sauce First, parboil the chicken: Fill stockpot about 2/3 with water and bring to a boil. Place all the meat in and return to boil. Boil, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Remove chicken and set aside. Discard water. Rinse pot. EVOLVINGMAGAZINE.COM

scallions, jalapenos, bean sprouts, and white onion. Others include hoisin sauce, fish sauce (nuoc mam), chili sauce, and lime. I hope this dish brings as much warmth to your home and heart as it does mine.

Mary T. Nguyen is the communications manager of Cultivate Kansas City, a homegrown nonprofit that builds foods, farms and community for a healthy local food system for all. Her favorite vegetable is the carrot. Her favorite fruit is lime. Learn more about Cultivate Kansas City at

In small sauté pan, brown cut sides of onion and ginger. This may also be done under the broiler or over the flame of a gas range. Place charred onion and ginger in small saucepan with a little water and cover with lid. Toast spices in pan until just fragrant (3 to 5 minutes). Place spices in sachet and add to saucepan with onion and ginger. Fill stockpot with 5 quarts of water. Bring to boil. Add onion and ginger. Return to boil. Add chicken. Bring to a boil. Add spice sachet. Reduce heat so water is just simmering (too high a heat and the chicken will break apart). Let simmer, covered with lid, for about 2 hours. Remove large chicken pieces—but not game hen or wings, which will cook to flavor the broth. Shred chicken and set aside for service. Let broth remain simmering, covered, for at least four hours and up to overnight. Add one piece of rock sugar (about a 1-inch piece). Add fish sauce and bouillon to taste. When ready to serve, prepare banh pho as directed on the package (usually boil in large saucepan for a certain amount of time). Divide noodles into bowls. Add shredded chicken, slices of onion, scallions and dash of white pepper. Ladle broth into bowl, submerging noodles, through a mesh strainer (to catch particulates; broth should be "clean.") Serve while piping hot, with garnishes on the side. Add garnishes to taste and enjoy the warmth!

Holistic Health


Broken Brain: Heal your body, heal your brain BY NANCY RUSSELL, M.D.


re you struggling with symptoms of: anxiety, depression, brain fog, traumatic brain injury, memory loss, or Alzheimer's? Your brain could be at serious risk. The Broken Brain docuseries shows you how to protect, change, and improve your brain. The series presented cutting edge information where world-class leaders on brain health come together to share in layman’s terms. Mark Hyman, M.D., leading functional medicine physician and nationally known author, was the host of the Broken Brain docu-series. Dr Mark Hyman’s journey began when his health went down hill and he felt like he was suffering from symptoms of dementia, ADD, and depression all at once. He struggled to get well as he went from doctor to doctor to doctor. He was labeled with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, depression and stress; was given anti-depressants, anti-anxiety medication, and ADD medications, but he did not get well. After researching his issues, he discovered the work of Dr Jeff Bland and Functional Medicine. Dr Hyman worked with a functional medicine doctor to get to the root of his problems by taking a detailed personal, environmental, and nutritional history—and then performing alternative testing and evaluation. His new physician discovered that he was mercury toxic, mold toxic and had hidden infections. So Dr Hyman basically peeled the onion of his story using the roadmap of functional medicine and was able to get to the bottom line of how to get better. It was a powerful process for him to discover a whole new way of thinking about his brain. He realized that nutrition played a very important role in healing. As Dr Hyman learned more about functional medicine, he realized he was looking at how the body effects the brain. Once he

and take one tack out, you don’t necessarily get 50 percent better, you have to find the other tack! It is a process and it takes time and working together for your very own solution. To give an example of a dementia patient that presents to the physician: the work up starts with nutrition and looking for nutritional deficiencies, especially vitamin D, vitamin B-12 and magnesium. Next, assess the gut (or gastro-intestinal health as some functional medicine physicians call the gut, the second brain). Assessing for digestion, absorption, metabolism, good and bad bacteria, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, candida or other yeast overgrowth, and parasites can help get to the root of the problem. Also checking for food allergies and sensitivities and treating with an elimination and four-day rotation diet. Other areas that need to be addressed are brain neurotransmitters, hidden infections, and hormonal health— especially thyroid and sex hormones. This is a complex evaluation and your input is important. started treating patients for their products, stay hydrated with good Educate yourself and take physical problems, their mental water, eat whole foods and less action steps to improve your problems got better. So he began processed foods, eat healthy fats lifestyle today and you can be by treating the foundation of such as olive oil, coconut oil, nuts proactive and prevent many health. There may be and seeds, avoid vegetable oil, chronic health problems, despite psychological issues, trauma and/ corn oil, soybean oil, and eat your genetic make-up. Your genes or stress, but those are much plenty of vegetables, especially may “load the gun” but it is your easier to deal with once you’ve leafy greens. If you change your lifestyle that pulls the trigger. The built the foundation of health. diet, get plenty of sleep, start an first step is to minimize sugar and Everything we put in our body exercises regimen, work on stress, processed foods. Begin your and subject our body to can affect relationships, and spirituality and journey to optimal health today. our whole health. Functional can’t find optimal health on your medicine starts with having a own, seek help. healthy soil to nourish the body so Functional medicine physicians you can create a foundation to and practitioners get to know you Nancy Russell, M.D., reset and heal your body. The as an individual, strive to get to is a holistic Internal foundation is based on very the root of your problems, and medicine physician, simple principles; nutrition, work together with you in a blending traditional and exercise, stress management, partnership. A personalized alternative medicine in sleep, and relationships. All form program to health and wellness her Kansas City the basis of creating a healthy can start you on the road to human, and if you don’t get those success. It is like peeling the layers northland practice for over 30 years. For more information on supported, the rest of it may not of the onion or finding the pieces getting to know Dr. Russell, visit her work. of the puzzle—or as Dr Hyman website, or Nutrition principles to follow suggests—finding all the tacks in call her office at Nurturing Optimal are to minimize sugar and flour your body. If you have two tacks Wellness at 816-453-5545. EVOLVINGMAGAZINE.COM

10 Wisdom Within

How to Ease Holiday Stress BY SUZETTE SCHOLTES


he average American spends about 42 hours a year on holiday activities. That averages about a week of shopping, wrapping, attending parties and traveling. Often these activities get squeezed into our current busy schedules. The two top stressors, according to a survey, are chaotic schedules and money concerns. Women tend to feel a bit more stressed than the guys, and parents feel more stress as they plan for their children. Our holidays are a chaotic and noisy. I enjoy cooking and carrying on the traditions. Our table now hosts grandkids and various nephews and nieces who keep the party even more fun. holiday showcase because we love Over the years, we have designed decorating. We get it done, then family guidelines. They keep the kick back and enjoy the beauty. heart open and the joy abounding. They help create boundaries of Rule 3—Delegate & Plan respect, caring, and gratitude for one another. It’s my Christmas day to enjoy especially as host. Many families Rule 1—No Whining in share the tradition of “bringing something.” We plan the menu, the Kitchen assign the dishes, and delegate. When asking for help, use such Actually the no whine rule language as “Are you willing to applies to the whole house. We established this family rule years make a pecan pie?” That way we allow the other person to feel ago when paying for vacations. empowered to make their choice. Why should one spoiled apple ruin the whole bunch? If some get It opens you to negotiate. Maybe in a “mood,” they are expected to they bring something storeisolate themselves, deal with it, or bought. We do our best to foster an environment where each leave. No negative vibes are family member feels valued and allowed near the food. honored.

Rule 2—Eliminate My sister, Jeanette, loves to write out Christmas cards while I’m “not fond” of that task. The stress management gurus advise us to cut down or eliminate obligations or tasks you do not enjoy. Do what you prefer best you can! Our house looks like a

Rule 7—“Need to Do For You” lists

Rule 5 – Keep Your Routines Best we are able, we keep our commitments to exercise, eat right, and get plenty of sleep during the busy holiday months. It’s a paradox, truly, that the shortest day of the year, winter solstice, is December 21. Our ancestors cozied up by the fire, roasted chestnuts, and went to bed early. Sounds good to me!

Rule 6—Go for Real Foods

Inevitably, at this time of year, you’ll be tempted with sugary, empty-calorie “treats just about wherever you go. But to be your most energetic, focused and happy self, it’s best to eat foods that grow on trees or on the ground (vegetables and fruits) and to Rule 4—Budget choose healthy fats (such as olive We know this one. Why pay l8 oil and flax seeds), lean protein to 20 percent after the holidays on (such as fish and organic chicken), charges you made? If you don’t and legumes, nuts and seeds. have it, do not spend it. This creates lot of anxiety in January and is not a loving choice to make.


Writing down all that you have to do during the holidays will help you realize how do-able your tasks are. Be realistic as to what you put on your lists. Then start tackling one item from each list in turn. For example, after buying gifts for your mom or significant other, take time to work out, too. By alternating between lists, you won’t feel deprived, because you’re being good to yourself .When you practice extreme self-care and put yourself first, you are then fully available to others without resentment. Every January Ma and I would sort out her closet, looking for stocking caps for the big snow coming. We would find wrapped Christmas gifts lost in the jumble of old sweaters, unmatched socks, various colored mittens, and yellowing baby books. She usually let me have the gifts for helping her. I knew they were 29 cent panty hose from the budget store. Yes, she gave us panty hose for Christmas! And for that matter, Mom loved the holiday so much, she seldom felt much stress. Suzette Scholtes’ nonfiction writing won the prestigious “Writers Digest” award. Her passions are writing and yoga and she feels one needs a sense of humor for both. She founded The Yoga School of Therapeutics where she manages one of the region’s prestige teacher training programs. 10400 W. 103rd Street, Overland Park. 913-492-9594.

Feature 11

5 Tips For Thriving This Holiday Season


uckle your seatbelts, the holiday season is here. It’s time to spend too much, eat and drink too much, and get entangled in an elaborate web of travel hassles, shopping mayhem, and layers of emotionally-infused expectations. Or perhaps you’d like to choose something different this year? What if thriving–that is, happily flourishing while not getting sucked into a vortex of drama-laden hustle, bustle, and checkbook woe–was on the top of your holiday list instead? To have something different, you have to choose something different. So, for this season of merriment, you may want to begin with the radical idea of putting you and your happiness first. It sounds obvious, but it may not seem easy to do. Here are 5 great yet easy ways you can thrive by making your happiness top priority this holiday season:

all directions. Go out as far as a mile… then a thousand miles… ten thousand, a hundred thousand. Keep expanding further out than you’ve ever allowed your awareness to go. Notice that there are no edges to you. You are infinite. How often do you make yourself smaller or more contracted as a way to navigate challenging situations? The holidays are riddled with potential hassles and emotional upheavals that can be a quick trigger into that kind of constrictive strategy. But there’s little room for your joy when you’re tied in knots. Practice expanding out and acknowledging your magnificence. From that place, no matter what drama or challenge comes your way–whether wrapped in the season or any time of year–you don’t reduce yourself in the face of it. It’s a way to get tremendous perspective and enjoy infinitely more room for happiness, too.


you have a sense of being lighter or heavier. When you sense lighter, it’s an expansive choice. Heaviness cuts off your happiness, which is perhaps the most expensive choice of all. To thrive, choose light. There are countless ways to enjoy the season without a hefty price tag. However, if there are options that are light and exciting for you, but outside what you feel you can afford, check out tip number three.

attempting to make them happy? Whether it’s finding the perfect gift, tagging along for traditions you don’t actually enjoy, or behaving however someone else has determined you should, when you’re compromising you to try to make someone else feel good, no one wins. What if this year you let go of your points of view about what anyone else is choosing or trying to fix anything? What if allowing others to just be miserable is paradoxically what creates more 3. Allow possibilities you happiness? Perhaps your choice haven’t considered for happiness will be the No matter what your plans are– inspiration they need to makes or you’d like them to be anywhere some changes too. What a gift! you’ve decided what can or can’t be is where you’re cutting off 5. Ask for more! possibilities. We’re living in Did you reject the idea of magnanimous universe beyond asking for more as soon as you measure; there are always other read it? Well, let’s revisit: You’re possibilities. Notice where you’re an infinite being living in a concluding, and get curious what magnanimous universe. There’s else is available. no end to what’s available and no Conclusions look like a lot of measure to the happiness possible things. It’s common to think, for for you. Why would asking for 1. Acknowledge how 2. Choose expansive, not example, that you can’t afford more for yourself be anything magnificent you are. expensive. something you want. What if you’d ever reject?! This isn’t an exercise in So now you’re more expansive, instead of that conclusion, you When you allow yourself to inflating your ego, but an but your bank accounts may not allow yourself to be curious and have what truly delights you, how invitation to be truly present with be. However you like to indulge ask, “What would it take for me to does that affect everyone around who you actually are. We’re so your merriment, whether with have this with ease?” Does you? Have you noticed how they adept at defining ourselves trips, dining out, or filling concluding or asking make you get happier too? Asking for more according to identities within our everybody’s stockings with feel happier? isn’t necessarily about stuff– families or communities, yet roles, goodies, anticipating seeing red What else is truly possible that although it can be–it’s about labels, and titles are just ways you when it’s all over can really you’ve never considered? Try acknowledging what you’d like to relate to the world. They aren’t hamper the joy in it. asking! have as your life that will allow who you are. An outside-the-box yet simple you to thrive. What if you Who you truly are is way to choose which festivities 4. Let others be miserable if choosing to ask for more–to be exponentially more vast than you attend and what gifts you buy, they want to be. happy–is the greatest gift you you’ve ever imagined–even if is to forget all the reasons and It’s easy to fall into trying to could give everyone? you’ve really invested some time justifications for why you do or make other people happy, With your happiness as your in imagining! To explore the don’t, will or won’t, and to tap into especially around this time of top priority, thriving effortlessly magnificence of you, close your what you know instead. Ask year. Is that a light choice for you? follows suit, even during this eyes and allow yourself to become yourself, “If I choose this, will I Does it contribute to your season of heightened stress. aware of your body as well as the feel happy?” happiness? Practice these simple steps, and space outside of your skin. Now, Without trying to gauge your How many holiday seasons watch your days be merry and expand your awareness much happiness or figure out anything, have you spent tending to other bright. And may all your holidays further out beyond your body in just ask the question and notice if people’s expectations or be light.

Clementine Mitchell is facilitator and coach who works intimately with individuals and businesses to generate possibilities for exponentially more expansive futures. Integrating the tools of Access Consciousness™ with over twenty years experience exploring dynamic change in private practice and within multiple industries, she invites you to engage your inherent awareness and to own your unique capacities for creating a truly joyful life and living. For more details, visit or accessclementine.


12 Feature

Loneliness During the Holidays BY TRACI L. BRAY


ave you experienced a significant holiday on your own? If you are extremely peopleoriented, likely not. If you’re introverted, possibly you have endured an otherwise celebratory day in solitary quiet and comfort. Then there are those who are in either of the previous camps who have: · Insufficiently planned, or lack a plan · Sincerely are absent of awareness of holiday approaching. Thus, the holiday passes as just another-day, or, so they say. In writing this article, randomly over time I asked people during the early Fall about their most meaningful December holidays. Among the many interesting stories were: A single woman told me of a Christmas that included no plans for being with people. This approach had gone on for several years in a row. It had become routine, albeit a routine with a slight edge of discomfort. But this particular year she was invited to join a friend, his partner ,and their extended families for a Christmas Eve dinner. Uncharacteristically, she agreed, reporting that that Christmas was one of her best ever. In contrast to decades of her family Christmas’ consistently contentious doings, this meal filled the dining room with laughter, memories, and of wishes to come. In turn, I knew one of the hosts of this particular function, and asked, “What was the primary element you considered in including her in your celebration?” The host replied, “We’ve known her for more than 20 years. Over and over she spends holidays, birthdays, and likely most days alone. We respect her solitude, yet it was we who wanted to experience the joy of her. She always has added an element of the joyful ‘unknown’ to our home.” Another woman startlingly reported a holiday season following a bitter break-up with a long-term boyfriend. She was planning on remaining in her

chosen city of residence, hundreds of miles from her birth family’s Hanukah plans. Bearing the happiness and depth of celebration that traditionally surrounded those plans was something she did not think she could bear. A friend of hers, astute to her circumstances, included her in his family plans. In total candor she said, “Had I not attended that gathering, I truly fear for what might have become of me.” In years of retrospect she continued, “As I look back on that time, my anxiety was dramatically high and rapidly increasing. I had always demonstrated a sense of personal balance and well being. This was the first holiday season I had been without a partner in more than 20 years. I felt like a total, barren failure—no spouse, and no children produced. I saw myself at that time as negligent in even being able to hold onto a partner for a sustained time. For the first time ever, suicide entered my thinking as a potential solution to my negative self-perceptions.” Her choice to attend, and furthermore, enjoy, the gathering, she credits as having signaled her choice to move forward with living. At the same above-mentioned get-together, a middle-aged man was in attendance by invitation, and not a family member. He had recently revealed his new approach to live as an openly gay man. His parents and two of his three siblings had informed him in no uncertain terms that his presence at their family’s celebration was not welcomed. That was, it was not welcomed until, “…things settled down some,” regarding his announcement. He credits the social invitation as a hopeful sign that people who loved him regardless of his life choices, were present and active in his life. That holiday celebration, a decade-plus later, is the one that he includes as most, “…deeply memorable.” In contrast, when the couple hosting the event above was asked if there was a triggering moment when they decided to invite their female friend suffering the breakup to partake in their holiday, the reply was, “We both agreed that

something felt different—or more commitment, can be more importantly—off. We act on those greatly appreciated. A moments, not at all needing to volunteer recruiter once told know the why of it, and insisted me, “The last Friday in June,” on including her.” The decisions with the emphasis on the to invite, and to attend, were word ‘day,’ “was when we clearly life-saving. Regarding the really needed them (the man, the other host implored the, volunteers); not on “…hateful and hurtful reception he Thanksgiving DAY.” received from his family,  Inclusion in thought/ regardless that he expected it, was prayer in-fact devastating. We were  Organize a Giving Event delighted to have him join us as of supplies, like a ‘shower’ we have always loved him as our among employees, friends, or friend. His presence enriches our family. lives,” as they looked at each other continuing, “…and the lives of our As a psychic Medium (one who children.” connects with the dead and has the ability to ‘see’ past/present/ At this time of year, a plethora future), I often channel messages of lovely stories exist about for my Facebook followers. A inclusion of the disenfranchised: channeled message is one where I · Homelessness – Homeless ask Spirit (the dead, Angels, for Christmas by Daniel W. Bates guides, teachers, etc.), for words · Imprisonment – The 5 Best that focus on a particular topic. In Items to Send to Your Loved One closing, the following is what I in Prison by Christopher Zoukis received when I asked for · Military and/or those serving comment on gratitude: at war, Silent Night: The Story of the WWI Christmas Truce by “When one has things so Stanley Weintraub together that they just cannot fall · The Impoverished – Charles asleep, self review must reflect on Dickens’, A Christmas Story the benefits to the recipients of · Those Grieving – The 13th their achievements and good will. Gift, by Joanne Huist Smith. If there are none, further selfReading or sharing these review is most necessary. For materials promotes the spirit of most of your people, giving comes giving and of gratitude. Self naturally, be it through words, reflection is a bonus opportunity, deeds and service, or through particularly effective if used in thoughts. Congruent, in-sync planning for the new year to come. motion of ‘give’ is simply what makes your World go ‘round. A variety of ways to show ‘Receive’ is equally a piece of that gratitude include: quotient.”  Give Money – depositing a five-spot or a $50 bill in the red kettle can be very Traci Bray, BS, satisfying from the MA is a psychic perspective of the giver, and Medium residing in well-used by the recipient Kansas City. She organization serves as a  Volunteer Year-Round – Certified Research volunteers at the holidays of Medium with the Thanksgiving and in coveted December can be viewed as Windbridge Research Center in ‘pesky’ at times by Tucson, one of five organizations in the organizations, believe it or world using Mediums for study. She is not. Training and organizing available for in-person and phone a throng of enthusiastic onesessions, as well as for groups. Find occasion time donors can be more about her at https:// overwhelming for personnel She posts nearly already stretched. Thus, daily at choosing another ‘time,’ or TraciBrayMedium even better, ongoing


Spiritual Horoscope 13

December Horoscope SAGITTARIUS (NOV. 22 – DEC. 21) Happy birthday Sagittarius! Mercury moves direct and shifts into your sign. It’s great for focusing on passions, imagining dreams, setting goals, and taking action to make everything reality! The New Moon helps you be eager, and also to prioritize your first steps. Stay organized; do first things first, and watch results blossom! This can be in work, relationships, or any area. Pay close attention to dreams for guidance. Let meditation open your mind as wide as possible so you’re able to perceive your unlimited divine good!

CAPRICORN (DEC. 22 – JAN. 19) You don’t have to do everything on your own, Capricorn! You are a loved and valuable part of the Universe and can ask for help and favors. Meditate on receiving goodness into your life, just because you exist. See love filling your head and joy filling your mind. Visualize financial abundance, good health, harmonious relationships, or inner spiritual peace. This month’s New Moon is a bit bumpy, so be kind and gentle with yourself. Observe how you pick on yourself and just cut yourself some slack! AQUARIUS (JAN. 20 – FEB. 18) It’s an amazing career month! You can get a fulfilling new position or assignment. You can work with a colleague who becomes a true friend. Spiritually, you could achieve a goal you thought was out of reach. Meditations deepen. You’ll overcome an old emotional pattern that interferes with serenity. You’re able “walk your talk” better. You’ll also be an inspiration to others, both at work and in your life in general. Lots of family healing is evident during holiday gatherings! PISCES (FEB. 19 – MARCH 20) Like Aquarian pals, it’s a great career time! Beware of coming on too strong, or even getting anxious about these shifts. Mars makes you confident but can become a “fight or flight” response. Center yourself with meditation, knowing you deserve you abundance and can handle any work challenges with poise.

Dealing with family poses similar issues of balance. Even if you know you’re right, decide whether it’s worth a confrontation. Take a breath and see if the person is open for gentle advice. If not, just surround them in love, while maintaining healthy boundaries! ARIES (MARCH 21 – APRIL 19) As emotions intensify in relationships, beware of starting arguments. It’s an unconscious way to create breathing space. Instead, be aware and honest, taking time for quiet reflection. Meditate on feelings of vulnerability and allow them to flow over you like a wave. You’ll feel stronger, more loving and trusting. Remember that with growth there’s risk. With Mercury turning direct, you might want to delve into spiritual study like yoga, creative manifestation prayer work or a new form of meditation. If you feel bored, push ahead anyways since an inspiring breakthrough is right on the other side! TAURUS (APRIL 20 – MAY 20) Healing happens in relationships. Meditate to forgive old hurts so you’re open to new love. Current partnerships also feel renewed because of your release work. Communication will be profound, bonding and inspiring! Connect with a trusted friend about how you might mismanage money when you’re emotionally frustrated. Just being transparent about this hidden issue can cure it. During holidays, you can heal awkward family bonds so things feel “normal” again!

GEMINI (MAY 21 – JUNE 20) It’s a month of balancing work and relationships. During such a busy time, be sure to continue self-care. Eat well. Rest. Meditate and breathe! Geminis can get high on activity, then suddenly become overloaded and crash. Be kind to those close to you, since the New Moon can make you snippy. On a positive note, you can get a great new job or project that inspires and excites you. Again, keep breathing! Treat yourself to massage or other bodywork. Yoga will be especially soothing, so try even five minutes a day! CANCER (JUNE 21 – JULY 22) It’s a great relationship month! You can start a new loving connection, or heal a current one. Bonds with kids get better, and you’ll have surprising closeness with extended family. Make sure to curtail your obsessive caretaking for holidays (or ANY day!). The New Moon squaring edgy Mars can make you feel unappreciated. If you feel that way, check if you’re doing too much. People love you for who you are, not for what you do, sweet Cancerian friends! Likewise, love yourself for simply being you! LEO (JULY 23 – AUG. 22) This month brings deeper trust and intimacy in your closest relationships. First, however, you’ll need to meditate or reflect on roots of abandonment and rejection fears. When you’re defensive or edgy, pause and see from where your reaction is arising. Imagine your ego melting away as it is compassionately and lovingly held by your heart. Even longstanding childhood issues can heal. Also, money breakthroughs happen as you have conscious awareness about old patterns and triumph over those as well! VIRGO (AUG. 23 – SEPT. 22) Venus, the planet of love and harmony, blesses and soothes your mind this month. Practice thoughts of gratitude and compassion. Of course, family dynamics can be triggering, so holiday gatherings will be abundant with “spiritual growth opportunities" that test the level


of kindness in your mind! (You normally don’t say your critical thoughts aloud!) More importantly, be sweet to yourself. Constant critiques are not “self-improvement”, they are self-attacks! Be self-accepting no matter how justified it feels to pick at your “flaws”. What a great holiday gift to give to wonderful you! LIBRA (SEPT. 23 – OCT. 22) Meditate on your beauty, both inner and outer. You’re very hard on yourself about appearance and body image issues. Practice saying kind things to your body. This can help prevent overeating during holidays. Don’t abuse yourself in the name of “fun” while thinking January will bring discipline and deprivation. Also, dwell on your innate kindness. Feeling self-love helps you forgive others for their “issues”. Also, you can have quite an abundant financial month! SCORPIO (OCT. 23 – NOV. 21) Venus, the planet of love, moves back into your sign after being retrograde! You’ll have renewed confidence in relationships, finances and your creativity. Meditate on what a good friend you are. Do you know how valuable you are to others?! Sometimes, however, when connections deepen, you cause disruption by arguing. Observe yourself if you feel restless or irritated. Take a breath and admit your vulnerability to your loved one. You’ll be amazed at the healing that occurs within yourself and between the two of you!

Aluna Michaels is a second-generation astrologer. She also holds a Masters in Spiritual Counseling and has been teaching and consulting for more than three decades. Her book “Spiritual Gifts of the 12 Astrological Signs” is now on Amazon in Kindle version and as an E-book on her website. Aluna is available for appointments in her home, by phone or Skype. Call (727) 239-7179 (no texting please), or text (248) 583-1663 or visit


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