Magazine UNITED FOCUSED MOVING FORWARD
Be BRAVE Moving Past the Misconceptions with WOGL's Marilyn Russell
The Courage to Listen: A Mindfulness Practice
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CONTENTS EDITORIAL COMMITTEE
CEO & Founder Sisters U Foundation, Inc. www.sistersu.org
Managing Editor - U Magazine Sisters U Foundation, Inc. www.sistersu.org
Christin Smith Myers
Content Editor - U Magazine Positivity Speaker www.christinsmithmyers.com
Director of Administration Sisters U Foundation, Inc. www.sistersu.org
Director of Marketing Sisters U Foundation, Inc. Principal, VoiceMatters, LLC www.voicemattersllc.com
Creative Editor - U Magazine Preserve Stories firstname.lastname@example.org
Marilyn Russell: Bravery, Live and Uncut .................................................5
Linda Reid Recognized as Empowered Woman of the Year; Julianna Rotondo Awarded Sisters U Scholarship .................................. 7
MEET A SISTER
Getting Over Fear with Aimee Hoch ...................................................................... 9
Flexing Your Bravery Muscle with Shine Yoga Center Owner Jessica D'Angelo ...................................................................................11
Take Charge of Your Health: Become Your Own Patient Advocate .......... 13
IN YOUR SPACE
Nourish Kitchen & Catering Opens for Business in Perkasie ....................16
The Courage to Listen: A Mindfulness Practice .................................. 18
An Invitation to Step Into the Woo .................................................. 20
Fashion Editor - U Magazine Owner, Get it Together Mom email@example.com Wellness Editor - U Magazine Owner, FindYes Fitness & Nutrition firstname.lastname@example.org Photography Editor - U Magazine Owner, Heart and Soul Portraits www.hsportraits.com
INSPIRATION FOR U
FOCUS ON U
DID U KNOW?
Copy Editor - U Magazine Sisters U Foundation, Inc. www.sistersu.org Copy Editor - U Magazine Bucks County Women's Journal www.cristeditorialservices.com
Advisor - U Magazine Executive Director, Upper Bucks Campus Bucks County Community College www.bucks.edu
Advisor - U Magazine Administration, Upper Bucks Campus Bucks County Community College www.bucks.edu
Share Your Story ...................................................................................22
Sisters U Monthly Meetings: Capturing an Inspirational Experience in Words and Images .............................................................................23
Third Annual Perkasie Five Alarm 5K and 2 Mile Fun Run Gives Everyone a Chance to Be a Hero ...................................................25 The opinions, beliefs, and viewpoints expressed by the various authors within this publication do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs, and viewpoints of the Sisters U Foundation.
A NOTE FROM OUR FOUNDER While the dictionary defines brave as “having the mental or moral strength to face danger, fear, or difficulty,” I choose to think of being brave a little differently. I see it as allowing myself to listen to my inner being and trusting its guidance. Since the beginning of Sisters U, we have benefited from so many sisters being brave enough to tell their story in a welcoming and safe environment. That experience has allowed the storytellers to explore critical moments in their lives that changed them forever. It allows for the translation of the “noise” of life into experiences that blend together into something beautiful and impactful. It’s not a retelling of our life since birth, but rather identifying those moments that rose up for our response and exploring the decisions we made to
navigate through those critical junctures. Each listener is able to relate to similar experiences, develop a connection, and experience the opportunity to learn and grow. The sharing of stories allows all of us to feel understood and included in the larger human experience. Bravery is very personal and unique to the individual. For some, it is speaking up, and, for others, it is remaining quiet. For some, it is giving in, and, for others, it is standing strong. For some, it is being vulnerable, and, for others, it is being confident. But for all of us, it is being able to trust and remain true to our authentic selves. It is embracing the story of you, the story that cannot be duplicated by anyone else. Who knows what will become of your story, or mine, for that matter? That’s not the point. The point is to tell and share our stories because, long after we are gone,
what we have lived, shared, and learned from will live on as our legacy. Sharing our stories may be the catalyst for the well-being of someone else. I hope you enjoy this magazine full of articles by and stories of local women, businesses, Sisters U members, firefighters, and many others in our community. As you read each piece, I hope you are inspired to be brave and to share your own story. To thine own self be true. All my very best to you,
CEO & founder of Sisters U®
What is Sisters U?
We are not a business group
-but we support professional growth.
We are not a networking group
-but we connect women from all walks of life.
We are not a social group
-but we facilitate authentic friendships.
We are not philosophers
-but we urge women to nd their own inspiration.
Each of us has a story. Come to Sisters U and share yours.
Wine, Woo, & Spirit Night - Friday, July 26th 7:00 PM - 10:00 PM Swim with Your Sisters! (members only) - Thursday, August 15th
Fall Launchpad - Dates TBD (September - November 2019) Headshots with Amy - Monday, October 7th Five Alarm 5K - Saturday, October 26th Story Studio - Dates TBD at Chimayo Gallery Sisters U Monthly Meetings - Third Thursday of every month, 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
CONNECT, EMPOWER and INSPIRE • www.SistersU.org 267-429-3196 • 528 W Market St., Perkasie, PA 18944
For more information on any of these events and other Sisters U activities, please visit www.SistersU.org or email email@example.com.
BRAVERY LIVE AND UNCUT She’s ridden motorcycles, flown planes, and driven ATVs into canyons. She established
her career in broadcasting when it was still a
male-dominated industry. And she continues to
advocate for women, on air and every chance
she gets, with the trademark mixture of wit,
moxy, and optimistic realism that marks her as a
Host of Marilyn Russell’s Remarkable Women and shared morning show host of Frank &
Marilyn in the Morning on 98.1 WOGL, Russell is no stranger to diving into the deep end. In fact,
she’s been doing it her whole life. Photography by Heart and Soul Portraits
Courage is an inside job I want women to know that, to be brave, they only have to look within.
Everything they need is already there. - Marilyn Russell
Roots and Wings
“I guess it’s my Philly roots,” she says. “I’ve always been kind of fearless.” Growing up in Northeast Philadelphia, Russell says she got her “all in” mentality—and a deep reservoir of inner strength—from her mom. Her dad was equally strong willed. “Everyone in the neighborhood knew they couldn’t mess with the head of the Murphy Clan!” The ability to trust herself, knowing she could face and figure out whatever came her way, gave Russell the courage to fly—literally and figuratively. Her adventurous spirit led her to highways and back roads, to flight paths and rocky passes, and, ultimately, to the airwaves. But not without a few bumps along the way. Continued next page SPRING/SUMMER 2019
COVER STORY…continued Calling on Courage
“In my youth there wasn’t anything I wouldn’t do,” Russell says, and acknowledges that her passion for adventure didn’t always lead to the best results. “I almost died in Bryce Canyon.” She’d had to be hauled out of the ravine, wrapped in bubble wrap, after an ATV accident. “That was fear,” she said. But more harrowing than that was the spill she took—slipping on a simple curb this time—when she was five months pregnant with her son. As she was rushed to the hospital, Russell feared she would go into labor.
She’s built her 26-year career in the radio industry in her hometown, and since 2017, has made her home at 98.1 WOGL. The Entercom-owned Philadelphia station plays classic hits and hosts features like Russell’s weekly Remarkable Women program. “I love the way radio reaches listeners,” she says, “and how my company supports that.” According to Russell, Entercom’s distinguishing emphasis on local content cultivates a unique and powerful connection with listeners in each community it serves. And it gives her the platform to engage with the community she loves, entertaining, inspiring, informing—and listening.
She faced both experiences with the same courage which, for Russell, is made up of a “Radio is a two-way conversation with lot of inner strength and a little bit of faith. listeners, live and on-air,” she says. It’s the perfect medium for someone whose “I made a lot of deals with God,” she says. bravery takes shape through speaking. “Plus, I just don’t give up.” “I feed off the tangible energy of a live audience,” Russell says. “I’m really into Bravery Leads to Action talking into a microphone every day, live Russell recovered from the ATV accident, and uncut.” and, while she did deliver her son five weeks early as a result of her fall, faith and inner strength proved to be a winning combination for her. It’s something she doesn’t take for granted.
“I have an extended appreciation that life is a gift,” Russell says, “and that makes me want to give back.” A proud supporter of multiple charities including the American Heart Association, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Laurel House, and Manna, she believes that the only quality needed to make a positive difference is willingness. “Just do what you do. It doesn’t matter that you’re only one person. As long as you’re making a contribution, someone will hear you. Talk to people.” And talk to people she does. Russell’s made a habit of making a new friend every day, from different backgrounds and walks of life. “I try to have a conversation to learn about different cultures. We need to open up cultural boundaries. If we can’t, we can’t move forward.”
The Power of Radio
Russell’s passion for connecting with people through conversation has shaped her professional as well as personal life.
An important part of this conversation for Russell is highlighting the experience and contributions of women. “For me, bravery in its true form is Amelia Earhart packing up her plane to fly across the Atlantic, Rosa Parks, our First Lady of Civil Rights, refusing to change her bus seat...and the perpetual child in me adores the bravery of Moana, choosing bravery over fear and setting sail across the ocean to save her people and their island.” The bravery of women inspires Russell because it is twofold: there is the courage needed to speak up or accomplish something great, and there is the courage needed to do that in a society that hasn’t always provided a level playing field.
Marilyn Russell’s Remarkable Women currently airs Sunday mornings on WOGL and highlights the achievements of women doing extraordinary things in their communities. With guests ranging from CEOs and Broadway actors to authors and founders of charitable organizations, Russell hopes that, by sharing their stories, she will help lift up the voices of the next generation of women.
Bravery for Our Times
As recently as a decade ago, Russell says, “Broadcasting was thought of as a man’s game.” But she’s seen this begin to shift, in her industry and in society as a whole. “The Me Too movement changed everything,” she says. “Until that door opened, allowing women to have a voice, everything was kept inside, buried down deep. This was the tipping point for the century.” For too long, Russell says, women blamed themselves for experiences of victimization, internalizing the misplaced guilt. “But once we realized it was happening to so many of us, that door swung open, and women were able to walk through and share their story.” Russell believes there’s a chance now for all of us to be brave in a new way—for women to tell their stories as they never have before, and for men to listen and join with us in shaping a better world. It’s not a competition but a partnership, and everyone’s voice matters. “We need diversity across the world. If I can’t understand your point of view, and you’re not willing to understand my point of view, how can anything get done?”
Moving Past the Misconceptions
“Over the years, I’ve seen women not One of the messages Russell hopes to speaking up in meetings. Or running non- spread about courage is that it’s not about profits successfully, but not making much being fearless—or about being perfect. money,” she said. “I wanted to create a platform where women could help one “Bravery is about not letting the fear of another and tell their stories.” failure stop you,” she says. “You have to try things. You may not win, but do it anyway, And so Remarkable Women was born. even if you are afraid. It’s more about the Originating as a blog in 2003, Russell doing than the emotion. Be a doer.” took it on-air in 2007, where it became a feature and eventually its own show.
The willingness to try—and even to fail—speaks to another aspect of courage that Russell embraces in her own life. “I remind myself that it’s OK to not be perfect,” she says. “I’ve been doing radio for 26 years, and for me part of being brave is being willing to admit that I am not perfect, and I need to hear other people’s suggestions.” But according to Russell, the biggest myth about bravery is that you get it from somewhere else. “You can be inspired by examples of bravery and benefit from the example of role models,” she says, “but ultimately everything comes from within. If you feel stuck, stop, take a breath, give yourself a little pep talk, and keep going.”
Flying Without a Net
In many, numerous ways, the woman who sits behind a microphone in the Bala Cynwyd sound studio where she broadcasts almost daily is the same woman who rode an ATV into Bryce Canyon, made a career for herself on her own terms, and even walked away from the radio business for a time to put family first. At each point, she’s thrown herself wholeheartedly in the direction of her dreams, flying without a net. And it turns out, Russell doesn’t need one. She’s got the example of remarkable women to inspire her, the passion for making a positive difference to motivate her, and the knowledge that she doesn’t have to be perfect to encourage her. Most of all, she has her own inexhaustible supply of humor and inner strength to lean on even in the most challenging of times. And she’d like women everywhere to know that they do, too. “Courage is an inside job,” says Russell. “I want women to know that to be brave, they only have to look within. Everything they need is already there.” Marissa Polselli is a writer, speaker, lover of words, and proud mom of a rescue dog. She’s the founder and CEO of Wordtree, LLC, a company focused on helping people find their voice and express themselves with joy and authenticity through writing. You can learn more about her at wordtree.net.
Marilyn Russell, host of Marilyn Russell's Remarkable Women (left), poses with Linda Reid, Events Coordinator for Perkasie Borough (right). Photography by Heart and Soul Portraits
Linda Reid Recognized as Empowered Woman of the Year by Sisters U Foundation
“I’m a firm believer that good things happen when lots of people come together.”
Linda Reid is a natural connector. It’s an innate talent that brought her success as a senior project change manager during her ten plus years at Price Waterhouse Cooper in the UK and now serves our region through her work as the events coordinator for Perkasie Borough. Linda’s first project was to strengthen the Perkasie Farmers Market—no small task. “I approached it the way I approach most terrifying things. I’ll draw pictures and break things down and then take the little pieces and think, ‘What is going to make that one piece amazing, and who will make it amazing, and why will they want to do it, and who’s going to like it?’ And then, who will sponsor it, who will bring their children to it, who will love it, cherish it, and beyond.” Linda’s work grew the Farmers Market in size and scope, and in 2016 it received the Award for Excellence from the Pennsylvania Recreation and Parks Society.
The Perkasie Yarn Bloom, an explosion of textiles and color in Menlo Park and throughout town, followed in 2018. Thanks to the efforts of local businesses and members of the community, the Bloom received the Excellence in Recreation and Parks Award from the Pennsylvania Recreation and Parks Society.
The Ten Thousand Flowers Project resulted from Linda approaching local artist Tim Gibson because the Borough needed a mural to combat graffiti. The result was a mural that started a larger movement, putting Gibson on the path to fulfill his dream of creating one giant mural across America. The addition of Linda’s strategic eye to these projects, as well as the Under the Stars Car Show, Fall Festival, and Tree Lighting, continues to help put Perkasie, aka America’s Hometown, on the map. “What I love is when you start a project that’s amazing, what actually happens is usually quite different, and even more amazing. The reason I love my job is because it’s all about community.”
Julianna Rotondo Awarded Sisters U Scholarship
"In building up each other, we lift up the whole community."
The first Best Foot Forward Scholarship, awarded by Sisters U, is presented at Bucks County Community College (BCCC), Upper Bucks Campus in Perkasie. From left to right: Rodney Altemose, Executive Director, BCCC, Upper Bucks Campus; Kimberly Rabago, Director of Administration, Sisters U Foundation; Julianna Rotondo, scholarship winner; and Joanna Bartholomew, Administration, BCCC, Upper Bucks Campus.
Julianna Rotondo, a home-schooled high school student who is also enrolled at Bucks County Community College - Upper Bucks Campus, was recently selected as the winner of the first Best Foot Forward Scholarship presented by Sisters U.
Julianna embodies a spirit of service, as articulated in her scholarship application essay: “In building up each other, we lift up the whole community.” She volunteers at a therapeutic horse riding farm, TaKE Center, for individuals with brain injuries or disorders. There, Julianna helps patients complete their physical therapy activities and also works in the barn. She also actively participates in a community service program of Irish dancers traveling to local community nursing homes to encourage and lift the spirits of the residents. Additional service activities include volunteering at a local drama club to help with costumes and raising money to build a house in Nicaragua in honor of a friend who committed suicide. The scholarship selection committee and the editorial board of U Magazine thank Julianna for her service and congratulate her on this well-deserved award.
MEET A SISTER
I Learned My Vulnerability Is My Strength Getting Over Fear with Aimee Hoch
As a social worker, an advocate for wellness, an entrepreneur, and a speaker, Aimee Hoch feels
privileged to work with people in diverse settings and with a wide range of needs, but at the heart
of everything she does is the desire to empower people to feel and be their best selves.
Aimee has been an intrapreneur, forging new roles within the organizations where she’s worked, and an entrepreneur, founding her own business to help women believe in themselves and their gifts and step into the greatness for which they are meant. She serves as a financial navigator for cancer patients at Grand View Health and is also mother to Sophia and Jillian, wife of Aaron, and dog-parent to Miles.
Who inspires you and why? I’m inspired by so many people—it’s hard for me to choose! My daughters inspire me every day. So do my patients in the cancer program. I’m inspired by all the women I surround myself with. These women are on a journey of creating something meaningful in their lives. I am inspired by everything they’re doing and pursuing and all they’ve already accomplished.
Why are you involved in Sisters U? I started regularly attending meetings in 2017 after visiting a lot of different
organizations. I joined Sisters U because as a group, the women were more concerned about connection than networking. I learn so much. I try to enter every meeting open to learning something from the speaker or another member. It’s also time just for me.
What does being brave mean to you? I think it’s moving forward despite fear, without the worry of success or failure, criticism or rejection, and it’s being able to get back up again if you’re knocked down. It’s going after something even if you know it won’t be perfect. At the core of being brave is being yourself and being true to your values and who you are, honoring your voice and your thoughts. The social worker in me makes me want to add, “It’s being able to stand up for yourself and for others, especially when it’s not popular to do so.” I think about two different types of bravery—one is in the face of danger, and the other is when you’re fearing rejection or failure.
Photography by Dale Schlegel Photography
In a recent meeting, you said, “I learned my vulnerability is my strength.” Can you explain that? Almost two years ago, I was at a business retreat about getting over fear. We were on an obstacle course, and I was hanging onto a log; and I had to get to the next level. It took every fiber of my being (both physically and mentally) to do it. Plus, I was being filmed for a documentary! In that moment, I realized that was the most vulnerable I could possibly be. And I learned I had everything in me I needed to accomplish that. I had been training myself to make the move from being a social worker to a business owner. I had been taking every course and trying to read every book, and, in that moment on the log, I realized I had what I needed inside me. I realized that not being able to do it perfectly and moving forward anyway, and then sharing my struggle and what I went through is actually the connector to other people. No one’s perfect. I realized people Continued next page
MEET A SISTER…continued related to my struggle more than they did to the things that were going well for me. After that a-ha moment, I started relying more on myself and my skills rather than relying on more classes or books.
You were brave on that obstacle course. What was another time when you were brave? When I was only 16, I was an exchange student in New Zealand for a year. To leave New Jersey and go so far away, not knowing anyone, staying with five different families, without cell phones— it’s hard for me to imagine it! That was brave. It turned out to be the best experience and the best year of my life.
What do you teach your girls about being brave? My hope is that I teach them the opposite of what girls and women are so often told, in contrast to the messages we often get growing up. I hope they know that taking risks is good, and they don’t have
I realized people related to my struggle
more than than they did to the things that were going well for me. After that a-ha moment, I started relying more on myself and my skills rather than relying on more classes or books. to be cautious and play it safe all the time. I encourage them to try new challenges without worrying about being perfect. I want them to be themselves and not let anything hold them back.
podcast to life to create a movement where self-care isn’t selfish, to break our cultural narrative around self-care, and to make others think of self-care in different ways that all women have access to (not just a once-a-month spa day). Most importantly, it is about starting the practice of selfcare from exactly where we are, not just focusing on where we would like to be.
You just launched a podcast about self-care. Can you you tell us more about that? Many of us believe that self-care is important but struggle to put it in place on a consistent proactive basis. We live in a culture where busyness and multitasking are rewarded, being overextended is okay, and a constant hustle is praised. Co-host Kim Rabago and I collaborated to bring our idea for this "Fill Your Cup First"
How can people connect with you and learn more from you? My website is www.aimeehoch.com, and I’m active on social media: Instagram: @aimeehoch Facebook: @aimeephoch LinkedIn: Aimee Hoch
Joe Spallone 215-317-8243 firstname.lastname@example.org www.spallonemediaproductions.com Corporate Commercial 10
Live Events Web Promo
Flexing Your Bravery Muscle
I think shame is the biggest obstacle when it comes to bravery. At first, we think it’s fear alone, but shame is a lasting odor. It stays with you. I still have it now at 44 years old. Every time I hear my mother say “Oh, Jessica used to sing” or someone from my past asks “Do you miss it?” I’m right back at that kitchen table.
Jessica D'Angelo Owner of Perkasie-based Shine Yoga Center explains why the hardest posture is walking in the door
I started singing in a select choir when I was in the sixth grade. I loved it. By freshman year, I was taking private voice lessons and singing in choirs all over the district and state. I always had a solo in the Christmas concert; I was always in the musicals with one of the principal roles. I even sang our National Anthem at Phillies, 76ers, and Flyers games. I spent my high school summers at Westminster Choir College’s Vocal Camp, where I received professional instruction at an elite level. You may think it’s brave to sing the National Anthem in front of a stadium of people or to perform in a musical. That wasn’t bravery. That was nerve. Bravery was coming home from one semester away at school and realizing that I was very unhappy. That I knew this was a bad choice. That all the effort my parents and I put in to auditions and voice lessons, not to mention the amount of money spent,
Flexing my bravery muscle in this situation has taught me to respond differently than I did 20 years ago. Sure, I get a little whiff of shame in my nostrils when asked, but the brave statement is now, “That was a big part of my life back then. I’m a different person now.”
Photography by Heart and Soul Portraits
was a mistake. I realized I was no opera singer. I was 18 years old, and I felt like a complete failure.
The Bravery Muscle
I once heard Brené Brown say that bravery is like a muscle—you have to practice at it to make it strong. Although I had sung in front of some of the most well-respected voice coaches of the day, I didn’t think I could find the voice to tell my parents how unhappy I was. My sister was very successful in college, and the expectation was that I would follow the same path.
I was scared to flex my bravery muscle, but there at the kitchen table, I blurted out, “I hate it! I don’t want to go back.” It went as I expected; my parents yelled, I yelled, they were disappointed in me, and I was disappointed in me. I cried. It was not the fear that I was quitting school that had me so rattled; it was the shame.
I actually tried to get myself back into the swing of things by re-enrolling at Westminster, but it was more of the same. It was a bad fit, and, no matter how hard I tried to figure it out, it just didn’t work. Some kids aren’t ready for college, for no other reason than they are just not ready. We want to label it or give it a reason, but the truth is there was none. Music school was not for me. After this failed attempt to rejoin Westminster, I took up sales at the suggestion of my sister, who said I’d be great at it. I took her word for it and put my mouth to use selling cosmetics in the department store. I was good at it. I could talk to anyone, and I had a knack for the sales pitch. “Let me show you one more thing before I ring you up.” I did well. While taking the world by storm one lipstick at a time, I began to work out at a local gym. A friend of mine who was a trainer remarked that I’d be a good personal trainer. Me? This was so far off from where my life was headed at the time. He said, “Why not take the course and see what happens? If you don’t like it, there’s always the Clinique counter.”
Flexing My Muscles for Real
A small chiropractic office was expanding to include a gym, and I had the chance to flex my bravery muscle once again. Continued next page SPRING/SUMMER 2019
BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT…continued I was new at this and very intimidated, but I just dove right in. I suppose that’s brave, but honestly, I needed a job that paid better than the cosmetics counter. I got to run my own space, train people, develop classes, and teach. The teaching was what I loved. My voice was being used for so much more than spectacle! I was making a difference. I was making real connections, and, for the first time in a very long time, I found purpose. The more you flex your bravery muscle, the more the universe seems to throw at it. In 2000, there wasn’t a yoga studio on every block like it seems there is today. Gyms would offer a weekly class. You might hear of classes forming at community centers and schools, but yoga
wasn’t as prominent as it is now. The doctors asked if I thought I could teach a yoga class at the office where I had found work. Me? I was taking classes myself, but could I teach yoga? I decided to be brave and just do it. This was much harder than I thought, but I figured I just needed to practice. I paid more attention in my personal classes to how the instructor was leading the sequences; I read books on yoga. Now my bravery was helping me lead and inspire others. I was performing with purpose. I was giving these people who paid $8 to come to the chiropractic office and take a yoga class with me the self-care they needed.
Now for My Solo Act
I worked for the chiropractor’s office for about five years. I then spent about four years juggling numerous jobs to supplement being a full-time yoga instructor until I decided it was time to get my own gig. It was time to flex that bravery muscle again. I had no business training whatsoever. With $3000 scraped together, I took a lease on a space in Perkasie, where I had made my home. I knew I could teach a class, but I didn’t have any idea how to run a business. When I opened the doors at Shine Yoga Center, my first thoughts were “What am I trying to say?” I wanted a place that reminded me of the first yoga class I took. I wanted the yoga to be attainable without judgments and with an accepting attitude. I wanted people to find their own bravery muscle, to unroll a mat and practice. My center was going to become a place where self-care was not only encouraged but celebrated. At Shine, you can just be. Slowly and steadily, my clientele grew and so did my civic involvement with the town. We started a book club, a lending library, a community garden, and classes that made yoga accessible to people from all walks of life. My skills as a performer surface when I’m leading a chant or complex sequence of postures. I even have a stage at the front of the room.
Photography by Edward Figuli
Bravery is a curious thing.
It's like a whisper. You need to listen to get that bravery muscle to flex. Like yoga, the more you practice, the more natural it becomes. 12
Shine Yoga is now 10 years old. I am so proud of the bravery I see in people who sheepishly wander in to their first yoga class. Our motto at Shine has always been “The hardest posture is walking in the door.” Yoga is an act of bravery every time. You challenge yourself to listen to your body and breath. You come to face to face with limitations and learn acceptance of your body. You flex your bravery muscle in a safe environment. Bravery is a curious thing. It’s like a whisper. You need to listen to get that bravery muscle to flex. Like yoga, the more you practice, the more natural it becomes. Every day, we have the opportunity to be brave. We can try something new, we can attempt a challenging yoga posture, we can speak up, speak out, or voice a concern that may be very unpopular. We can start over. We can say “No, I don’t want to do that.” All of these actions are ways to flex our bravery muscles. Jessica D’Angelo lives in Sellersville with her husband and three cats. She is the owner of Shine Yoga Center in Perkasie and has been teaching yoga since 2001. You can often catch her singing loudly in her car, usually to the classic rock station.
Take Charge of Your Health Become Your Own
Photography by Robyn Graham Photography
I’m a huge Marvel movie fan. I love watching these imperfect heroes in action and imagining what it would feel like to have superpowers. As an introvert more comfortable behind the scenes, I find it both an exciting and intimidating fantasy. Their super strength and unique powers are impressive; but look closely, and you’ll see that it’s sometimes their inner strength, choices, and compassion that make them true heroes. Forget capes and mind control. This is exciting! Because this means that we each have the ability to be our own hero. And one of the most life-changing actions you can take is to use your power to bravely advocate for your health and wellness.
It’s Never Too Late to Become Your Own Hero
Practicing bravery in patient advocacy is something very close to my heart. Having been diagnosed with chronic Lyme disease, I’ve experienced firsthand the struggles and fears that go along with advocating for your health and medical needs. I had no
choice but to learn along the way. What I learned, and the mistakes I made, changed my life.
else, I’d already be symptomatic. There was no need to worry, run tests, or even think about it again.
The year before my diagnosis, I noticed a strange bull’s-eye rash on my arm while my husband and I were cruising the Eastern Caribbean. Never having seen anything like it, I took a picture and went back to enjoying my vacation. Once home, I made an appointment to see my primary care physician. I felt fine, and the rash had faded, but I vaguely remembered hearing something about bull’s-eye rashes and Lyme disease and wanted my doctor to see the photo. I couldn’t get in with her, but did see another highly respected doctor in the practice whose opinion I trusted. Armed with my photo and questions, I voiced my concerns before he assured me that I had nothing to worry about. It was a harmless bug bite. If it were anything
I was skeptical. I wanted to question his assessment but felt it wasn’t my place. He was the expert, and he told me it was no big deal. I thanked him and went home. I chose to forget about it.
Speaking Up Could Have Changed Everything
To this day, I think back to that moment and cringe. It was a moment in which I should have spoken up but instead ignored my gut instinct and remained silent. A moment that, if handled differently, almost certainly would have led me down a more desirable path. Rather than stepping up and being my own hero, I let myself down. Continued next page SPRING/SUMMER 2019
SELF-CARE…continued My fear of questioning authority and desire to avoid being labeled a “problem patient” overshadowed my inquisitive nature. Had I asked additional questions, researched my concerns, and sought out a second opinion, I likely would have avoided the health nightmare that eventually followed. Yet I was simply following the advice of a doctor who’d earned an excellent reputation. But here is why we all need to be more assertive and question even the most reputable doctor: not every doctor is an expert on every medical condition. Lyme disease happens to be a controversial illness. Even today, many doctors are not experienced in effectively diagnosing and treating it. So it’s no surprise that, over a decade ago, I was wrongly assured that there was no cause for concern.
Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late
Had I spoken up and taken immediate action, I might have found useful resources that would have led me to a Lyme Literate Medical Doctor (one who specializes in testing, diagnosing and treating Lyme patients) before my symptoms even surfaced. Had that happened, I might have avoided becoming chronically ill and losing over a year of my life to a health battle.
A Second Chance to Advocate
The illness that I didn’t know was lying dormant in my body surfaced 10 months later. It was like someone flipped a switch, and I transformed from a healthy person to someone who looked and felt like she had narrowly survived an apocalypse. My husband, pale with worry, supported my weight and kept me upright on unstable legs as he guided me into the waiting room of the same doctor’s office where I’d failed to speak up the year before. The disastrous doctor’s appointment that followed was the first of many challenges I would face during the year-long health nightmare that ensued. The doctor, a new addition to the practice who I was seeing for the first time, decided that my gray complexion, vision impairment, severe weakness, trembling, pain and overall inability to function were the result of what he called women’s stress. It only got more infuriating and ridiculous from there. 14
It's Time to put yourself first
by more confidently
prioritizing your health
Speak Up Here was another opportunity to be a stronger, more confident patient advocate. I didn’t waste it. I called the doctor’s office and politely yet firmly expressed my frustrations. Making that call was the first of many increasingly difficult choices I’d have to make as I endured months of hospital stays, emergency room visits, way too many encounters with needles, and appointments with numerous Bucks County and Philadelphia area specialists— all while my health steadily worsened. Doctors repeatedly told me that my illness was all in my head (it wasn’t), that I looked fine (I didn’t), that I needed nothing but anxiety medication (wrong), that I was faking my illness (wrong again), and that I should feel guilty for the expensive tests that the insurance company had to cover (sigh). I advocated for myself when I could, and my husband tirelessly advocated for me when I couldn’t. Our persistence paid off, and I finally found my way to the right doctors, an accurate diagnosis, and an effective yet challenging treatment plan that would eventually get me into remission.
6 Ways to Become Your Own Patient Advocate
You may face similar fears and challenges when it comes to the role you play in your own patient advocacy. It’s time to put yourself first by more confidently prioritizing your health. Adopting these effective and powerful habits will get you started.
Candid communication with your healthcare provider is key to receiving effective care. Don’t shy away from asking questions or voicing concerns. The more openly you communicate, the better your doctor will understand your needs. Any doctor worth having will gladly answer your questions and help ensure you leave your appointment feeling informed, confident, and respected. If something about a situation doesn’t feel right to you, respectfully let your doctor know.
Build Your Dream Team
You deserve doctors who prioritize your health, respect your opinions, and provide you with high-quality care. If a doctor makes you feel like a bother or minimizes your concerns, waste no time looking for a new provider. Other red flags include a
doctor who: has an off-putting bedside manner, is nearly impossible to reach, runs a highly unorganized office with long wait times, refuses to coordinate with other doctors ... it’s a long list. Whatever your reasons, if it doesn’t feel right, it’s time to move on. Do your research, ask trusted doctors, friends, and colleagues for referrals, and make consultation appointments to ensure each doctor feels like the right fit. Aim to build your dream team before you’re in a health jam. This way, if you become ill or injured, you already have a reliable team in place.
Prepare in Advance
Whenever you can, arrive to appointments armed with a list of questions, symptoms, and concerns. Many people become nervous and forgetful at doctor’s appointments (guilty!), so preparing your notes in advance ensures you’ll stay on track and won’t miss the opportunity to discuss what’s on your mind. Remember to write down the doctor’s answers and recommendations.
Choose a Backup
Trust Your Instincts
Understand Your Health Insurance
You have what it takes to become your own hero. The more you prioritize your health, the easier it becomes to step up, speak out, and bravely advocate for your health and wellness. No cape or superpowers required.
In the event that you’re unable to speak for yourself, you’ll want to pull in a trusted friend or family member who can competently advocate on your behalf. Reach out and ask this person if he or she would be willing to step in if and when necessary. Having a backup in place before you actually need one will make things much less stressful should an unexpected situation arise.
Your health plan might offer more than you think. Review your plan thoroughly (preferably when you’re feeling good) and get familiar with your benefits. You might find that you have access to disease, management programs, complementary and alternative medical treatments like massage therapy and acupuncture, and other valuable health resources. This can be time-consuming, but it’s worth the effort. Once you have a handle on it, you’ll be able to more confidently navigate your medical care.
You know your body best. If you’re convinced that something isn’t right, keep seeking answers, and be prepared that those answers might not be what you expected. Be persistent, and don’t give up until you’re satisfied.
Jill Wichner is a copywriter and content strategist whose happy place is showcasing your unique voice and message through strategic storytelling and personalitypacked content. Learn more about her at jillwichner.com. She proudly serves as a board member for PA Lyme Resource Network, a non-profit dedicated to patient support, education, and advocacy.
IN YOUR SPACE Welcome to Perkasie!
New Business Serves Unique Offerings to the Community
Opening a brick-and-mortar location in today’s retail marketplace is no easy task and requires a great
deal of bravery. When discussing their new Perkasiebased business called Nourish Kitchen & Catering,
strong enough to take on the greatest of challenges.
Business partners Christine Hawkins (left) and Alicia DeMarco (right) of Nourish Kitchen & Catering The establishment offers grab-and-go breakfasts and lunches, catering services, a meeting place, cooking classes, and "Girls Nights Out".
Christine and Alicia first met in a local restaurant Christine managed. Years later, when Alicia put an ad on Facebook asking for help with a wedding, Christine messaged her right away. Christine handled the front of the house, so Alicia could be in the kitchen—cooking for 150+ people. As Alicia remembers it, she stopped at one point that evening and said to herself, “Wait, this really works!”
Nourish Kitchen & Catering 619 West Market Street Perkasie, PA 18944 Phone: 267.374.0993 E-mail: email@example.com Web: www.nourishkitchenandcatering.com
Shortly after, the two met at Panera Bread for what they thought would be a lunch where Christine could pick Alicia’s brain about starting a business. It turned into a five-hour conversation. That lunch was the beginning of Nourish Kitchen & Catering—a 50/50 partnership. The seed of their “nourishing” partnership was planted, and Christine and Alicia’s loved ones, children, friends, and clients watered it with support, ideas, and prayers.
Trust the Process
owners Christine Hawkins and Alicia DeMarco seem
to have a synergy between them that is palpable and
Nourish Kitchen’s food is made with love. When they’re cooking, Christine and Alicia aren’t stressed. According to Alicia, “You can tell when something is not made with that love, special attention, and compassion.” Nourish Kitchen & Catering offers grab-and-go breakfasts and lunches, catering services, a meeting place, cooking classes, and “Girls Nights Out”. Christine and Alicia feel that many of their clients have become extensions of their family, making their business very personal. They want clients to feel their heart and soul in every bite they eat and every minute they spend in the shop or on the patio. “We want them to make this as much a home as we are going to make it,” Alicia says. 16
Photography by Heart and Soul Portraits
Christine and Alicia admit there is bravery involved with starting a business. To others thinking about becoming entrepreneurs, they give the following advice.
“Be fearless, truly fearless,” Alicia emphasizes, “but stay true to yourself and don’t compromise or compare yourself to any other business or style. When you stay true to yourself and your conviction, and you know that in your soul, nothing negative can come out of that. I suffered from anxiety for many years, and it wasn’t until I relinquished control of things that I learned how to lean in and allow the energy to flow and go in the direction it needs to go. Just trust the process.” Christine agrees: “Getting rid of toxic relationships is a good first step, business or personal. When you can be brave and stay true to your conviction of self, that can never steer you wrong. The reason this business is happening now and not five or four years ago is because we are both at that point. We trusted the process, and both of us were at the ready point. Leaning in rather than pulling out showed us what we wanted to be when we grew up. It only took 44 years!”
Mirror, Mirror on the Wall…
Biz Start-Up Advice
Who are Alicia’s and Christine’s role models? Their answers may surprise you.
The partners also have other business start-up advice. Christine says it directly: “Jump!”
“I don’t know if I necessarily look up to anyone,” Alicia replies. “I have to look at myself in the mirror every night. If I’m not happy or proud of the way I have conducted myself, spoken of myself, spoken of others… if I’m not following my four agreements, then I’m not being true to myself.” Those agreements, outlined by Toltec author Don Miguel Ruiz in The Four Agreements, are: don’t take anything personally; be impeccable with your word; always do your best; and don’t make assumptions.
And Alicia adds: “Jump and literally talk to as many people as you can, whether they’re in the industry or not, because they may have some piece of advice or a connection to share. Push beyond your self-limitations and don’t stop learning and observing in order to grow. You never know who you will meet!”
“It’s okay to look up to someone,” Christine says. “But, once you put someone on a platform, it will hurt or be a letdown when he or she falls or fails. Rather, admire people for their struggle or perseverance. There’s no time for surface stuff. Be enriched and soul filled, for, if it’s not a ‘hell yes!’, it’s a ‘no!’ Saying no can be empowering. You don’t have to please everyone and explain your decision. ‘No’ is a complete sentence, and, if other people judge you and create opinions of you, it is none of your business. Just focus on the lessons and blessings in every single thing that you come across in life, positive or negative. Give thanks to both sides as that is where the most growth comes from.”
Nourish Kitchen & Catering is now open at 619 W. Market Street in Perkasie. Follow these “soul sisters” on Facebook at @NourishCatering09 to find a rotating menu for online orders. As Alicia says, “We can’t believe the number of people who stopped by to welcome us into Perkasie even before we opened our doors. It feels like the love we put into our food and clients is already spreading rapidly, and we are so excited to share it with even more of the community now that we are open for business!” Sherah Cooney is a feisty go-getter and the Internet Director at Ciocca Ford Quakertown. When she’s not helping online automotive shoppers, she’s live on their Facebook page, @CioccaFordQuakertown, giving helpful tips and advice.
WHAT’S A SECOND OPINION WORTH? A lot—when it comes to your investments. As a Thrivent Financial Associate, I can look at your portfolio with fresh eyes to determine if it is aligned with your goals. No matter which way the financial markets are going, together we’ll determine whether any changes are needed to help keep your investment plan on track. Contact me today for a complimentary portfolio analysis. Vicki Lilley, Financial Associate 528 W. Market St. 2A Perkasie, PA 18944 267-217-2137 connect.thrivent.com/victoria-lilley facebook.com/vicki.lilley.thrivent Securities and investment advisory services are offered through Thrivent Investment Management Inc., 625 Fourth Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN 55415, a FINRA and SIPC member and a wholly owned subsidiary of Thrivent Financial, the marketing name for Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, Appleton, WI. Thrivent Financial representatives are registered representatives of Thrivent Investment Management Inc. For additional important information, visit Thrivent.com/disclosures. Appleton, Wisconsin • Minneapolis, Minnesota Thrivent.com • 800-847-4836 28506 R10-17
PennCommunityBank.com 215-788-1234 Banking | Lending | Insurance | Investments
INSPIRATION FOR U
The Courage to
A Mindfulness Practice John Kabat Zinn, scientist and meditation teacher, describes
mindfulness as a “gateway into the full
dimensionality of being human and
being alive.” What does that look like
for the multi-tasked, over-scheduled woman of today? I know what it isn’t:
It isn’t about doing more. Our psyches and our bodies are maxed out on that
option. The answer is closer to slowing down and being fully where we are.
That can require a multitude of skill sets and choices. The first step is listening.
There are so many messages to hear today that it has become hard for us to listen. Information at our fingertips is the mantra of the modern day, leaving us impoverished in the precious resource of silence. Without silence, there is no listening. One simple action toward cultivating silence is putting the phone down. Silence, however, is not only turning off the phone or TV; although these are necessary for external silence, to step into the “full dimensionality” to which Zinn alludes, we will have to make friends with the internal noise, the din of “do-more” and self-criticism, the tapes of worry and anxiousness that are making it hard for us to hear anything else. Let’s take a step back to the external and see how we can hold a better container for ourselves.
If we want to cultivate silence, we need to create space for it. This comes with healthy boundaries. Yes, my dear sister. We need to learn to say things like: “I would love to meet you for lunch; however, I am overwhelmed right now, and I want to give you my full attention. Can we schedule it in two weeks when I have cleared my plate a bit?” (Pun intended.) Or, “Feel free to text me, but I do not respond after 7 pm. I need to shut off my phone so I can unwind for the next day. I’ll get back to you in the morning.” Start small in reclaiming space for yourself. In the past few years, we have accepted the idea of immediate and constant access, but no one told our autonomic nervous system this, so we are in constant overdrive: adrenals burn through the night, circadian rhythms are upended by late night scrolling, and the cycle of depletion accelerates. We are not built to multi-task. When we switch from one activity to another – say I forgot to turn off my phone and in the midst of writing this article, I respond to a text message, because it will only take a minute – it takes our frontal cortex 11 minutes before returning to the depth of focus we had originally achieved in our single-pointed task. Multi-tasking actually wastes time. Additionally, our brains need to unwind before sleep, re-organizing tasks left undone for the day in order to empty. Writing a to-do list at night and ending it with a few points of gratitude is a great way to shut off the left brain and set the mind toward the positive for a nourishing night of sleep.
Doing Less, Listening More
If we do not regard our time as precious, then talking about boundaries and space for silence will seem unachievable. Rather, if we turn to a page in Kate Northrup’s book, Do Less: A Revolutionary Approach to Time and Energy Management for Busy Moms, she cautions: “Trying to do it all will be your undoing.” She shares her realization that managing her energy and her time by care-taking her top priorities placed her where she needed to be. This means saying “no” or “not now” to what
is not in her current focus; planning out her calendar realistically rather than reactionarily; scheduling downtime with her children as if it had the same priority as a business meeting; and listening to her body above all else. If you are clear on your goals and your priorities, these choices are easier to make. If you are inundated with things to do with no space to hear yourself, you can get caught in the quagmire of pleasing others. If this is the quicksand you are in, let me offer a suggestion: make some time for you and include your body. Self-care is a top marketing phrase and a common promotional hashtag. Rather than purchasing a product, may I suggest getting outside into nature as you cultivate the practice of boundaries and creating the space for silence? Peace, beauty, and silence are all found in nature; they invite awe and a return to ourselves. The inhale of spring’s flowers and the settling of our ragged pace by the lull of running water or rolling waves bring us quite effortlessly to peace. Unplug and reconnect to the ecosystem and community that support our hurried lives. Some call this "earthing". I call this being human. To be fully present, we need to remember our place. We are but one member of this earthly community, and to humbly remember this can bring a great sense of ease and reorient us from the manic feeling that without sending that last email, the earth will stop spinning. Spoiler alert: It won’t. Now when you make the space for yourself and the silence comes, be brave enough to listen to what you hear. Many of us may already know what needs to change (our jobs, our relationships, our work or eating habits) and we may be so terrified of that reality that we keep ourselves busy enough to prevent action. Guess what? It doesn’t work. It delays the inevitable unraveling and adds on the festering layer of guilt and disassociation because we know we are not listening to ourselves.
Listen and Leap
The courage to listen and leap fascinates me; it was the leading question when I interviewed women for a podcast series called Rebirth. The more women I listened
to, the more similarities I heard. What do Marissa Polselli walking out of her corporate office and sitting under a tree until she found her next horizon, which was starting her own successful business; acupuncturist, artist, and author Damini Celebre leaving her established practice to travel across the United States to teach and step into a new space of artistry; or courageous Stephanie Cohen, previous COO of Kremer Eye Care and mother, who loved her work but knew it was time for a change (now co-owner of Mompops) have in common? They all listened. They all heard a voice at a moment of discontent when they knew change needed to happen, and they listened. They were also questioned and criticized by those around them: “What are you doing? How will it work? What if you fail?” Listening is not easy. This is why having a practice of solid boundaries to hear and orient yourself is crucial to living your life, rather than responding to the onslaught of the day’s demands. If you are clear about where you are headed, choices are easier to make. It takes bravery to hold the boundaries and take informed action from there, but, when you do, be sure to celebrate the way you’re developing the muscles to be brave and true to yourself in the moments that matter.
Enjoy and The Rest Will Come
Wait. What about the meditation breathing practices? Isn’t that the basis of mindfulness? I’ll tell you this. If I give you breathing techniques as one more thing to do when your plate is full, they won’t be of much help. You breathe all day long. With your phone off and your eyes watching the sun rise or walking your dog or laughing with someone you love, you will find your breathing exercises (try exhaling just a bit longer than inhaling), the space for silence, the realization of what matters, and the courage to move from there. Kate Brenton, Ed.M., is a speaker, inspired educator, and wellness practitioner who lives bi-coastally sharing an "aloha perspective" on living in balance. Currently based on the East Coast with her partner, son, and ever-wise pup, Ahonui, she’s also the founder of the podcast "Rebirth". Listen or learn more at www.wisdomofone.com (click on Workshops + Wisdom). SPRING/SUMMER 2019
An Invitation to Step Into the
Join Sisters U for an evening of alternative healing experiences at Wine, Woo, and Spirit Night, Friday July 26th in Perkasie I couldn’t breathe.
As my throat closed in, my mind panicked, and my heart raced. I
struggled for air, silently pleading with my body to open my airway
and let me inhale. Moments later,
I couldn’t help but surrender and frantically rooted through my
bag for the small metal cylinder.
I hated using it. I hated needing
it. And yet, I was deeply grateful
as the albuterol puff reached the back of my throat and a rush of
air filled my desperate lungs. I was
grateful, and yet, in that moment, I vowed to find another way.
The bustling of fish markets, the serenity Western medicine was embraced, but of rice paddies, the bubbling of hot springs tradition was never left behind. Being an nestled by sleeping volcanos...Japan filled insatiable learner, I was naturally intrigued my heart and mind with lasting impressions. and dove in head first with questions However, one thing did not fill my heart. and curiosity. What I learned opened the It filled my lungs. Each year the mass of door for my own healing, an expanded blooming cedars high in the mountains career path, and, many years later, an produced wave upon wave of golden empowering event for Sisters U and our pollen which drifted down to the valleys, local community. anointing everything in its path. Whenever a breeze rustled the trees, it stirred up An Answer voluminous clouds of yellow dust that Not long after my scariest asthma attack, overwhelmed my body. As the years went I took a trip home to the States, and on, my allergies worsened and multiplied. I I was guided to what became for me popped antihistamines daily and could have a lifesaving book: Winning the War made myself rich had I bought stock in Against Allergies and Asthma by Dr. Ellen tissues. I sneezed and wheezed and coughed Cutler. In it, she described a little-known and sputtered, and my immune system allergy-elimination therapy which gave devolved until I could no longer deny that me incredible hope. I had asked the asthma had entered my life. Universe for an alternative to steroids and was determined to find one, but this Curiosity was outside my box of comfort. It was Living in Japan, I was an everyday witness a step into the world of “woo-woo” I’d to the old ways of healing: black, foulbeen reading about, but I’d never been smelling pellets for a queasy stomach, a pin cushion before, and it was scary sticky magnets strategically placed for stepping into the unknown. But I had made that vow and so summoned my pain, kind hands teeming with mysterious courage and placed myself in the skilled energy offering relief and restoration.
hands of a Bucks County acupuncturist. I didn’t know what to expect, but less than 10 treatments later my allergies and asthma were a distant memory. I carried my inhaler for years after, just in case, but never once needed it again.
Reading the energy system in regard to health issues
Angel Card Reading
Would you like to venture out and brave a little woo too? A few years ago, as a My healing expanded my curiosity member of the Sisters U programming and inspired me to become an committee, I helped develop one of our alternative healer myself. I was already a most popular events, Wine, Woo, and psychotherapist, but I put my practice Spirit Night. Our intention for this event on pause to study hands-on healing such is to offer an evening of alternative healing as massage therapy, craniosacral therapy, experiences so that our Sisters and local lymphatic drainage, Reiki, Emotional community can step out beyond their Freedom Technique, and much more. normal world, open up to new possibilities, Going beyond the science of traditional and experience new things they may not medicine was exciting, but more than once, have had the opportunity or courage to do people rolled their eyes and expressed their in the past. It is an evening to experiment doubts. However, I pressed on because and learn and dip your toe into the waters I’d not only experienced healing myself, I of alternative healing. Here are some of began having phenomenal mind-bodythe healing techniques our practitioners spirit results with clients. offered last year: One client came complaining of severe pet allergies which were a problem because his wife’s passion was taking in and fostering dogs. I learned that, despite his allergies, he loved caring for the rescues too but struggled with guilt because he was estranged from his children. The conflict of being able to show love to his animals but not his own children was overwhelming, and, after addressing the emotional conflict, his symptoms abated. Months later, I received a call from his wife, who was bubbling with excitement. They’d just driven hours in the rain on a rescue mission, and it suddenly hit her that he wasn’t “sneezy, coughy, or itchy” despite being cooped up for hours with a carload of furry dogs. In fact, she said that he’d had no symptoms at all ever since his healing session. Another client came with agonizing back pain for which his doctor recommended injections and surgery. He wanted to try something different and opted for trigger point therapy and myofascial release. He responded quickly and decided to cancel his injection appointment. Alternative healing, holistic healing, energy healing—whatever name you’d like to give it—offers incredible possibilities. It may not be the right answer for everyone and may not be the solution for every symptom, however, if prescription
Medical Intuitive Readings
medication and surgery are not your first choices, it could be worth braving something new and stepping into the woo.
A non-invasive, gentle therapy that can induce deep relaxation and promote healing
Utilizing a specialized angel card deck, these readings offer support in your spiritual wellness
Integrated Energy Therapy
A gentle therapy designed to support the physical and emotional self
Meet Your Higher Self Mindfulness Meditation
An experience to help you tap into your higher self ’s wisdom and inner knowing
A blend of reiki, five elements of Chinese medicine, and shamanic healing
Strategically placed crystals allowing the chakra energy system to calm and balance
Seated massage therapy to relax muscles and lengthen fascia and relieve stress
An emotion-clearing therapy that supports the whole person
EFT/ Tapping (Emotional Freedom Technique)
Yoga Sound Bath
Brazilian Toe Technique Meridian Therapy
Looking back, I am so grateful for that vow I made. It compelled me to step outside the box of traditional treatment. Had I not “braved the woo,” I may still be relying on that small metal cylinder to keep me breathing.
A technique that releases painful emotion, stress, and past memories and can create new mental and emotional freedom to move forward in life
Light touch to specialized points on the feet to enhance overall health and stress relief
A full-body experience of intentional healing and relaxation utilizing crystal healing bowls
If you would like to join us for this year’s Wine, Woo, and Spirit Night, mark your calendar for Friday July 26th and subscribe to the Sisters U newsletter at https:// sistersu.com/ so you’re notified when tickets go on sale. They go quickly!
Heidi Garis is a psychotherapist, success coach, and intuitive energy healer who guides her clients to get out of their own way, break through their inner glass ceiling, and tap into their possibility, so they can create more ease, joy, magic, and abundance. Learn more at www.TapIntoAbundanceNow.com
Application of gentle pressure to specific points on the feet, so the nervous system calms and the body can be stimulated to repair and recover
Mini acupuncture treatments for stress relief
Past Life Readings
Reading the past to enhance guidance and understanding of one’s current life
FOCUS ON U
our story SHARE
On March 21, 2013, I was the
featured speaker at the first Sisters
U meeting I ever attended. It was a big moment for me, the first time
I was giving a speech outside of
work or a Toastmasters meeting.
What made it even more significant was that, in order to be the
featured speaker, I had to share my
story. That night, I learned firsthand
that Sisters U is all about sharing
stories, as envisioned by founder
Since then, I’ve heard dozens of women share their stories as Sister of the Month. Something truly special happens when someone shares a part of their story, whether they’re a professional speaker or someone who’s never been in front of an audience before. They become vulnerable. They become brave. They connect with others. They inspire.
Just as a good novel must have conflict, a good personal narrative must include the struggle and challenges that the individual has overcome. When you’re thinking about sharing your story, it’s important to reflect on the ups and downs of your life, which often means talking about failures, hurts, or bad habits. This vulnerability can make you feel weak but ultimately makes you strong because, when you own your story, you claim your narrative. Acknowledging where you’ve been helps you determine where you’re going. 22
Photography by Heart and Soul Portraits
It is brave to explore the darkness, and it is brave to share a story from the front of the room. It’s also far more interesting for the audience. At Toastmasters, I loved seeing how people leaned in to listen eagerly when I’d switch from sharing facts to sharing a personal story. Even more, I loved seeing how others would stumble at the start of an impromptu speaking contest, but then find their voice as soon as they started talking about their own experiences or something that mattered to them. Time and time again, I’ve observed that, when people share something personal, the ums and uhs disappear. Speakers gain confidence as they go. They become even braver. If you are a fearful speaker, plan to talk about something you know and something about which you care deeply. The more deeply you care about something, the more interested your audience will be, and the more fluidly you’ll be able to speak, even if it’s a challenging topic.
At Sisters U, I have witnessed countless heartwarming and even life-changing moments as people connect with others’ stories—especially the difficult parts. I remember the encouragement I felt when I shared the story of quitting my dream job as a teacher when it turned out to be not so dreamy. Even though I was talking about a dark time of my life and a difficult decision from more than 10 years prior, I felt people clinging to each word to learn what happened. When you tell your story, people lean in. They want to learn more. They are on a journey with you. They are
rooting for you. As a speaker, you know you are connecting when people are smiling or nodding. You can draw more bravery from that, and this might even encourage you to put your notes to the side and speak from the heart, increasing your eye contact. In most situations, audiences aren’t looking for perfection. They're looking for authenticity.
Authenticity is inspiring. Regardless of whether it’s your intention, someone who has connected with your story will be inspired by your bravery in sharing it. They may even make a big life change because of you. This has happened to me, not only as a speaker but also as an audience member. If the Sister of the Month who spoke on that March evening hadn’t been brave enough to share her mental illness story, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have gone on to seek help in therapy, or even acknowledge that I too was struggling with depression. I also write a blog, and the posts that have resonated the most with my readers seem to be those in which I reveal something personal that inspires others to make a change. Be vulnerable. Be brave. Connect. Inspire. Share your story. In addition to serving as Chief Operating Officer for Combined Resource Solutions, Christin Smith Myers is a speaker and writer on positivity and productivity. She also serves as Content Editor for U Magazine. Learn more at www.christinsmithmyers.com.
DID U KNOW?
Sisters U Monthly Meetings
Capturing an Inspirational Experience in Words and Images
A bright glow shines through
the windows and illuminates the
porch and walkway leading up to
the building at 528 West Market
Street in Perkasie. It’s just before
7:00 on Thursday night, and you can hear laughter and see the
smiles of the women gathering
inside as you make your way up
the walkway towards the light.
You reach out to open the blue
door, feeling hopeful yet a little uncertain, as you are about to
attend your first Sisters U Meeting. The Meeting Space
Suddenly you feel like you’ve become part of that light and laughter as you step through the doorway and turn to the desk at the left to sign in. A woman with bright eyes and curly blonde hair wearing a name tag that says “Shawna” warmly welcomes you. She helps you find your name on a list of attendees who pre-registered through Eventbrite and hands you a name tag. Name tag on, you move past the entryway into a long room with light colored wooden floors and gleaming white tables and chairs. A flat-screen television on the wall at the far end of this long room displays a carousel of pictures from past meetings. There are several groups of women chatting enthusiastically. Then someone energetically dashes past you, expertly balancing a large rectangular tray filled with crackers and cheeses.
There’s Food … and Wine?!
Remembering that you haven’t eaten anything since lunch because you drove to this meeting right after work, you follow the woman who you learn is
named Christine. You introduce yourself and tell her that this is your first meeting and the food looks delicious, and she enthusiastically explains that she runs a business called Nourish Kitchen & Catering in Perkasie that provides food for the monthly meetings.
Getting to Know the Members
You choose a seat, but, before you sit down, a smiling woman walks up to you and reaches out her hand. She introduces herself as Terri, and you feel a warm connection with her even though this is the first time you’ve ever met. You introduce yourself, and, when you mention this is your first Sisters U meeting, Terri’s face suddenly lights as she tells you about her first meeting experience.
Christine tells you, “I like to keep the catering for Sisters U meetings clean and simple. I try to provide a little something for everybody – some fruits, veggies, glutenfree options – as well as a little something “I just knew I had come to a safe space savory and a little something sweet. I also because of how everyone reached out and use in-season items when I can.” made me feel welcome. That stood out to me because being a part of a strong You help yourself to artichoke dip, pita group of women that builds you up is so chips, and a few cookies. Then you notice important, and I do think it’s rare,” she there are a few open bottles of wine on tells you, her blue eyes widening with the table. After the day you’ve had, this the same sincerity you can hear in her is a welcome surprise, so you pour some voice. “It’s also the reason that I regularly wine and then make your way to find attend meetings, because I consistently a seat. The uncertainty you felt before feel like I’m part of something that’s walking in is quickly melting away as you motivating and moving.” realize the organizers of this event seem to have a keen understanding of how to As Terri is speaking to you, a woman make attendees feel comfortable after a named Kim approaches and introduces demanding day. Continued next page SPRING/SUMMER 2019
DID U KNOW?…continued herself. She adds, “What I love about Sisters U is that it’s really about telling your story. I believe it’s so encouraging for women to get their stories out so that everyone can see how relatable we are and also how maybe our story can affect somebody else. My encouragement is to come to a meeting and talk about your story and feel the support you will get from the membership at Sisters U.”
The Meeting Begins … with Deep Breathing and an Agenda
You thank Terri and Kim for welcoming you as you finally settle into your seat. The meeting starts when Karen, Sisters U founder and CEO, welcomes the group and encourages attendees to take several deep breaths. The room becomes quiet as attendees follow Karen’s instructions. As you join in, taking deep breaths, you feel the final stress of the day slip away, and you feel fully in the present moment.
Introducing New Members, Announcements of Activities
Next, Shawna introduces guests and new members. You are surprised to learn that you are not the only first-timer here: there are four other guests, and there is a new member as well. Following Shawna, Kim addresses the group as the Director of Administration, providing a rundown of current and upcoming activities. You hear about a peer group called Money-Wise Women, a series of sessions called Sisters U Story Studio, a 5K, and something called Wine, Woo, and Spirit Night.
Sister of the Month
Up next is the Sister of the Month portion of the evening. You learn that each month a Sisters U member speaks for 10-15 minutes and shares part of her story. Tonight’s Sister shares her experience providing service and random acts of kindness and ends with a quote that resonates with you, “Be somebody who makes everybody feel like a somebody.” While you can’t imagine being brave enough to share your own story, you learn in a conversation with Michelle, a woman sitting next to you, why she chose to share her story as Sister of the Month. “I chose to share my story for a number of reasons, mainly because I knew it would 24
challenge me,” she says. “It’s not easy to stand in front of a group and bare a bit of your soul, but I knew from hearing other Sister of the Month stories that it was another way Sisters U provides a place where we can all learn from each other and know that we are not alone.” Erin, another woman seated nearby, adds why she chose to share her story. “I chose to be Sister of the Month because I like to lead and encourage others by example,” she says. “I didn’t really know what I was going to talk about up until that month when a friend suddenly passed away. I decided that sharing my story about the relationship between myself and my friend was what was best for that time. Interestingly, my story synchronized with our speaker that night, Heidi Garis, who spoke on Navigating the Mystery of Grief.”
During the break before the featured presenter, other women refresh their wine and grab more snacks while you continue your conversation with Erin.
addressing retirement challenges for women, improving self-defense and situational awareness, creating vision boards, preventing sexual abuse in children, navigating the mystery of grief, and much more. They all sound inspiring and educational, and tonight’s speaker, talking about working on the front lines of homelessness and addiction in Philadelphia, is no exception.
When the speaker wraps up his talk, you realize that the issues he discussed affect a surprisingly large number of those in the room. You marvel at how these issues hit so close to home when you are handed a quote card: “The most important thing you can do is show up, listen, and try to laugh. The rest will fall into place.” The quote, attributed to Anna Quindlen, comforts you as you tuck the card into your handbag and get up from your chair to head home. On the way out, Karen, the founder of Sisters U, thanks you for attending and tells you she hopes to see you at the next meeting. Her parting words fill you with the light and the warmth of the meeting space to take with you on the ride home.
“I’ve never experienced being in such a wonderful, supportive group of women before,” she tells you. “We’re from all “I hope you feel empowered and inspired different walks of life, but we come to follow your dreams,” she says to you. together. When you’re at our meetings, I “Every step in your journey is a part of your feel a sense of ‘everyone wants to be here’ story. We’ve got your back, and we are amongst the room. You feel included and here for you all the way.” supported. You feel heard and valued. We connect—it’s a community. It’s a time and As you leave, you know you’ll be back next space for just you in your day.” month. Across the table, Shawna joins in the conversation. “I attend because, as Karen has mentioned many times before at our meetings, this is a place where I can be me. I am not Steven’s wife, I am not Norman and Jack’s mom, I am not Tom and Sandi’s daughter, and I’m not defined by my job or anything that I do. I get to enjoy being Shawna.”
The room quickly quiets down as the featured speaker for the evening is introduced. Each meeting features a different speaker on a variety of topics. A woman named Christin tells you recent speakers have talked about journaling,
For More Information
For more information about Sisters U meetings, as well as the mission of Sisters U, upcoming events, and how to become a member, visit the Sisters U website at sistersu.com. Sisters U can also be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ SistersUUnitedFocused/. Specific questions can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Melissa Kelley is Managing Editor of U Magazine. She enjoys attending Sisters U meetings for the delicious food, time spent with friends, and inspiration from thoughtful presentations. Photography by Heart and Soul Portraits
Third Annual Perkasie Five Alarm 5K and 2 Mile Fun Run Gives Everyone a Chance to Be a
Firefighter Patti Kostrubiak, left, and fire police officer Penny Howells, right, of the Perkasie Fire Company. Proceeds from the Five Alarm 5K and 2 Mile Fun Run will help fund a fire extinguisher training system and accessories as well as firefighter scholarships administered by the Bucks County Community College Foundation. Photography by Heart and Soul Portraits
"If there’s something you want to do, you better do it when you have the chance.” Both Patti Kostrubiak and Penny Howells offer that advice, if not warning, almost simultaneously. Despite coming to Perkasie Fire Company (PFC) from very different places, the women have seen “the worst of the worst” together, which creates undeniable solidarity. Patti grew up in the PFC firehouse—the daughter of the former fire chief and a junior firefighter. Yet, when she turned 18, regulations prevented her from joining, except as a member of the ladies’ auxiliary. It was years later, after a vicious battle with breast cancer, that Patti vowed to complete her firefighter certification. The rules had changed, but, more critically, Patti had changed. She was determined to rise to the occasion, literally, even though it meant climbing a 100-foot stick ladder on a frigid 10-degree day in January. Her daughter cheered her on and got certified right alongside her. Continued next page
Saturday, October 26th, 2019 Bucks County Community College Upper Bucks Campus 1 Hillendale Road, Perkasie Registration: 7:00 AM 2 Mile Fun Run/Walk: 8:00 AM 5K Run/Walk: 9:00 AM Awards/Raffles: 10:00 AM To Register: http://perkasiefd.org/ fivealarm5k.html
COMMUNITY…continued When Penny announced she was adding that one will only see in someone called scenic pathways of East Rockhill Township the duties of fire police officer to her to be a first responder. But this October along the Perkiomen Creek. Showcase already full life as the wife of a PFC 26th gives each of us the chance to be a your products at one of the vendor tables “next responder”—someone brave enough or in a raffle basket. Proceeds from the firefighter and mother of two with a to get involved, whether that means first and second races will help fund a full-time job and college coursework, the running, walking, donating, volunteering, BullEx BullsEye™ portable fire extinguisher response was, “What are you doing that advertising, cheering on, or all of the above. training system and accessories as well as for?” She answered simply, “Because it’s firefighter scholarships administered by my community and I want to help them.” Maybe you remember the inferno that the Bucks County Community College swept through Perkasie when Patti’s father According to a Pennsylvania legislative Foundation. You can be proud that your was fire chief in 1988. Or perhaps you study released in 2018, the number of support will be felt here at home, which were shepherded away from floodedvolunteer firefighters in the state had makes the event a winner for everyone. out bridges during more recent storms fallen from about 300,000 in the 1970s to To register or donate online, please visit: by Penny and her crew. Have you, like about 38,000. In an era of these declining http://perkasiefd.org/fivealarm5k.html these courageous women, overcome numbers, hearing these two impassioned or https://www.pretzelcitysports.com/. something so threatening that you refuse women talk about their cause and the Volunteers/Vendors/Sponsors can contact to be relegated to the sidelines and are upcoming Five Alarm 5K and 2 Mile Fun Tricia Glodowski, Race Coordinator, c/o determined to make every day count Run inspires awe. The pair embodies the Sisters U, 528 W. Market St., Perkasie, PA starting now? Whatever the reason for bond between local firefighters and fire your support of the PFC, connecting with 18944; call/text 267-918-4692; or email police that allows the PFC to respond to email@example.com. your community at this event will be a more than 300 calls a year. celebration of courage for all to share. Tricia Glodowski, Health & Wellness Editor First Responders Count on You at U Magazine, struggled with obesity Be a Hero for Community Rushing to a fire scene before or after for decades before losing 100 pounds and Heroes working fulltime, often not knowing how launching a career as a personal trainer long they will be needed or the precise Join with Sisters U, FindYes Fitness & specializing in weight loss. Her blog and her risks involved (not just from fire and Nutrition, and Bucks County Community business FindYes Fitness & Nutrition reflect debris but also from chemicals, pathogens, College - Upper Bucks Campus, for the her motto: “Even when life says NO, you can downed wires, weather, traffic, and Third Annual Perkasie Five Alarm 5K and still find YES.” criminal elements) takes passion and skill 2 Mile Fun Run. Run or walk along the
Are you looking to make a difference in your community? We would love to have you help us!
Sisters U is in need of volunteers to help with: • Landscaping our front yard • Helping with clean-up after meetings • Performing administrative duties • Joining committees • And much more!
CONNECT, EMPOWER and INSPIRE • www.SistersU.org 267-429-3196 • 528 W Market St., Perkasie, PA 18944
Please contact Kim at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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U Magazine, the official magazine of Sisters U Foundation, Perkasie, Pennsylvania. The theme for the Spring/Summer 2019 issue is Brave. Cont...
Published on May 3, 2019
U Magazine, the official magazine of Sisters U Foundation, Perkasie, Pennsylvania. The theme for the Spring/Summer 2019 issue is Brave. Cont...