Archive for Healthy Living

Color Monthly

Coloring Therapy

No doubt you’ve seen all the adult coloring books, markers, colored pencils everywhere! I’ve even seen ads on TV and QVC for adult coloring books.  So, what is the big deal? Why all the hype?  

Well, have you colored lately? If you have, you know how relaxing and enjoyable it is. Coloring therapy is real, and it’s effective. When we color, studies have shown that we get into a serene state.  In fact, our brain waves are the same when we color as when we meditate.  What a fantastic way to help manage stress and anxiety.

Why should you color?

  • It’s relaxing
  • It’s enjoyable
  • It’s peaceful
  • You can do it anywhere
  • You can spend minutes or hours working on it-you get to decide
  • You can use your creations for any number of craft projects
  • You can form coloring clubs instead of book clubs
  • You can drink wine and color at the same time
  • You can manage your stress

 

One of the problems with coloring books is that it is difficult to color in a big book. What if you could download your pages, print them on your own choice of paper, and then color on a flat surface instead of struggling with a book?  

You should definitely join Color Monthly.  Here’s why:

  • You ‘ll get monthly downloads of coloring pages
  • You can print them unlimited times
  • You get to choose your paper: do you want to print on colored paper, card stock, texture, vellum?
  • Your downloads will be seasonal
  • You can make any number of crafts: greeting cards, tags, scrapbooking, wrapping, envelopes, artwork, etc
  • You only print the pages you like
  • You’ll never run out of coloring ideas

Color Monthly is launching it’s revolutionary, premier membership program tomorrow, February 16, 2017.  This is ground floor and innovative.  If you’d like to get in on the coloring craze, check out Color Monthly.

Its easy to join, it’s only $10, and, as a bonus, you can also earn while you color, if you’d like to maybe have a side biz going.  If you know people who like to color, what a great way to come together!

Please contact me so I can get you a link to join.  I’ll also add you to our private Facebook group.   And….. get ready for the launch tomorrow!

 PennySue Mueller

Penny Mueller
Email: Penny Mueller
www.pennysuemueller.com

 

 

 

Which Essential Oil Should I Buy…Part 2

Is There Really a Difference?

In Which Essential Oil Should I Buy? Part 1, I talked about how essential oils are manufactured, from seed to bottling.  We learned that a lot goes into producing a bottle of essential oil, and that along the way, there are multiple ways that manufacturers and distributors can affect the quality of the oil.

How and Where to Purchase Essential Oils

Now that you know some basics about essential oils, the next step is to find quality therapeutic grade oils. It’s not as easy as you’d think.  I’ve tried over ten different brands of essential oils, and I’m studying to become a certified clinical aromatherapist.  I’d like to think that I’ve learned a thing or two about essential oils, and I’d like to share with you some of what I know.   Read More→

Which Essential Oil Should I Buy?

Why Are Some Essential Oils So Expensive?

Why Are Some Essential Oils So Cheap?

Is There Really a Difference?

People have been asking me what is the best brand of essential oils, so I thought I’d write a post to help clear up some myths and misconceptions about essential oils.

I’ve been using essential oils for several years, and have tried at least ten different brands of essential oils. There are good ones, and there are bad ones.  There are cheap oils, and expensive oils.  Let’s sort through them, shall we?  I’ll show you what to look for in an essential oil, reduce some confusion, and maybe even end up saving you some money, because I’ve wasted a lot of money on cheap oils.  And I will say right up front, that cheaper isn’t better. So, let’s get started.

First off, What are Essential Oils?

Essential oils are the lifeblood of the plant.  Just like we have blood that flowing through our bodies, carrying nutrients to all of our cells, essential oils carry nutrient throughout the plant.

Essential Oils Are A Plant’s Life Blood:

  • Carry nutrients to the plant cells
  • Protect the plant from any form of stress
  • Protect the plant against infection and disease
  • Give the plant its characteristic aroma
  • May be found in any portion of the bush, flower, herb or tree.
  • Just like we can’t live without blood, plants can’t live without this essential part of the plant.

Read More→

Your Natural Medicine Cabinet and First Aid Kit Part 1

Lavender Essential Oil

Lavender (Lavender angustifolia) is generally regarded as the most versatile therapeutic  essence and if you have only one essential oil in your home medicine cabinet, first aid kit, car or purse, Lavender is the one to have.

It is both strong and gentle and can be used “neat” (undiluted) directly on the skin. Beware, however, because as amazing and therapeutic Lavender is, it is also the most corrupted essential oil on the market. Take care to buy True Lavender, Lavendula angustifolia.  Read More→

How to Live a Less Toxic Life in 2015

How to live a less toxic life in 2015

Cook from scratchOf all the conditions, diseases and disorders that I’ve seen over the years, Alzheimer’s disease scares me the most. I work with Alzheimer’s and dementia patients in my job every day.  As the years have passed, something eats at me daily, and that is my belief that Alzheimer’s, Dementia, and Memory Loss can be preventable. I believe that many of today’s diseases are exacerbated by our environment, from the pesticides, herbicides, chemicals in our food, the heavy metals including FLOURIDE in our water, to the chemicals we are exposed to every day from cooking with teflon or aluminum cookware, and the plastic packaging that is EVERYWHERE, and all the ridiculous ingredients in our personal care products that we use every day. Read More→

Is There a Bullying Culture in Wayzata?

Bullying in Wayzata

Last week I wrote a little blog post that asked questions about suicide in the Wayzata School District, the High School, in particular. Never, in a million years, did I dream that my post would cause such an uproar. I had no idea that asking questions of the District or commenting on Wayzata in less than a positive light was taboo.  I also didn’t realize that over the years, the decades, even, people who have attempted to speak out have been silenced.  The silenced stories are heartbreaking and dark. And they need to be told, and they will be eventually.

6337525967_49a46c72c5_mToday, the dust has settled,  the commotion has lessened, and the ‘fallout’ is fading.  After fielding hundreds of comments, now I can reflect. What a learning experience this was! The things I learned are sad, scary,and  disturbing.

Bullying is a culture in Wayzata

and it starts with the adults.  Anyone who would deny that is living in such a delusional rose-colored  la-la land that they are probably beyond help. Bullying is a problem and I will show you.

After I published my blog post last week, the events that followed were  quite surprising. My story begins minutes after I published the letter about suicide in Wayzata when I received a phone call from the principal. He is not a bully and I am not calling him a bully. His words speak for themselves.  He was gracious and we had a nice conversation. While he did not ask me to take the post down, he did say that the reason for his call was because he had been alerted about my blog post and the negative message with which I portrayed Wayzata.

For more than a week I fielded comments and I learned how vicious people are. For a week, I fielded comments. Many were supportive, many were less than supportive. What  caught  me off-guard by the degree of vitriol. A post about teen suicide turned into a three-ring circus by bullies who crawled out of the woodwork like cockroaches and attempted to dominate the conversation.

I read,  re-read, and read again my article  and I do not regret a word that I said in that post. What I do regret is that I allowed comments by cowards with fake names and email addresses. Anonymity allowed people to leave comments  that they wouldn’t have said if their kids knew their identity. Anonymity is a dangerous thing. It affords people the freedom to say horrible, nasty, hurtful, threatening things while hiding cowardly in the shadows. Anonymity allows people to say things in the dark that they’d never say in the light.  Anonymity allows people to forget manners, courtesy, respect, kindness, compassion.  Anonymity allows adults to hide behind their cowardice and  forget that they are supposed to be role models to our kids.  Anonymity makes it really easy to be a bully.

The internet enables bullying like nothing else.

I did not write my open letter to Wayzata under a cloak of anonymity, I wasn’t hiding, everyone knew who I was, yet people thought  it was okay to hide in the shadows, launch attacks at me behind their ‘cute’  and  ‘clever’ user names bogus email addresses. They believed that they had “the right” to comment however they wanted, and that if I didn’t post their comments, I was denying their rights, and they called me gutless.   People hiding in the dark like rats without an identity for all to see came into my blog and demanded rights!  I was stymied.  When I reminded those anonymous  cowards that it was my blog, and my discretion to post or not to post their comments and suggested that if they didn’t like it, they were certainly free to start their own blog,  they called me childish and immature.

This quote is from a commenter to the blog post and she sums  up the  Wayzata bullying culture nicely:

“THIS is depressing as a person who is trying to get through stuff now. It’s like there’s no hope of that mentality ever changing. Timing is everything though, I needed to see it now, and thank you for being brave, its costly! And yes, you’re an adult, so really, like we EVER had a chance as kids. We did not. People are on attack, again, the students are giving their stories, good, bad. It’s the adults that make my heart black and heavy. Here it all is, the way it was, the way it is and dammit( I know, I swear?) the way it will remain until someone wakes the ___ up. Peace to you Penny.”  

Until last week, I didn’t think bullying was this bad in Wayzata

While I feel lucky that some of my kids got through Wayzata unscathed, I am left with a bad taste in my mouth and  am unsure of the future and safety of my last child in the District. As an adult, I can take this ‘backlash’. I have the life experience to handle it, to process it, and deal with it.  I cannot even imagine having to deal with this kind of thing THAT HAPPENS EVERY DAY IN SCHOOL- as a kid. And yet, our kids are being taught that this kind of behavior is okay by the bully adults of Wayzata.  Shivers run up and down my spine as I think about it.

But now, I  have no doubt that Wayzata has a bullying problem,

yet there are people who are quick to deny it.  After all, there are “Respect Retreats”, and they wear orange bullying awareness t-shirts. I’m told by students that they don’t like the respect retreats because they don’t work. Eveyone makes nice for a day, and then they go back to their natural mean behavior. And the t-shirts…..”.lot’s of people wear orange shirts”, I’m told. A t-shirt isn’t going to do anything or change anything”.

This is what Wayzata bullying looks like:

“I’m not saying it is okay [bullying], I’m just saying that you’d be a fool to not expect some type of backlash REGARDLESS of whether this is Wayzata, Tonka, or a small little school in the middle of nowhere. I’m not condoning the 1 or 2 people that can make threats behind a computer screen but I think that you need to realize its not Wayzata’s bullying problem that is leading to this. I also think that you are hypocritical saying that Todays society think its okay to JUST SHUT DOWN anyonethey dont agree with because I feel you are doing the same.”

This was written by an anonymous writer, and my question is how am I being hypocritical when I’m out here, being who I am, asking questions, and demanding people step up?

“You are so hypocritical it baffles me and I can’t believe you haven’t realized your idiotic and ridiculous accusations and your method of conveying them is 100% your fault and you should realize that in todays society (ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD) that if you post something controversial you should be prepared to face the consequences because its inevitable.”
“If you’re going to have the audacity to post something this accusatory then you should be willing to take the backlash that follows. You would think a grown woman would have the maturity to realize this but I guess it takes a college student to attempt to set you straight (which will fail since you fail to recognize any flaws of your argument and only attempt to sadly defend your ridiculous post.”

Is that the same as if you are female and you wear a low-cut dress, you should expect to be raped?

“I can tell you’ve been backed into a corner. Your aggressive, panicked, I-am-right-no-matter-how-disproved-I-am defense is pretty pathetic. Stop protecting your argument and start taking real action as a parent to your children.”

–This was rich…..they even called me “God”—-posted by someone who has so much time on their hands that they took the effort to create the fake screen name “pennyisgod” and bogus email address pennyisgod@god.com—feel free to email him or her!

“I DARE YOU TO TURN ME IN! I was not threatening you. You just have to know what fall out you are creating for yourself. In no way did I ever threaten you or your child. I ask that you find help and peace with this. SO SO sad. AND in case you didn’t read it the first time. BRING THIS TO THE POLICE . Please!  Maybe they can get you help.”
“You are a child. I am not the one looking for press on this as it is obviously your intent. I do have teenagers and 4 well-adjusted children. This is not a threat when I just say STOP. STOP this insane rant and let it go. You are making more and more enemies the longer this goes on. That’s a promise. I feel sorry for your daughter. She’ll be the one who will more than likely get the fall out from your big, insensitive, arrogant mouth next year when school starts.”
“…you are not doing anything but making yourself appear attention-seeking.”
“You are treading on dangerous territory”
“If your intentions were to get your name out there. mission accomplished, but the cost to you dear Penny Sue, I’m afraid for your days ahead
“you’ve mentioned your brother several times. Did you blame his school for his suicide?”

I didn’t get into the bullying that my brother endured his entire life. He killed himself when he was 25 years old.

I simply do not understand how you are sure the school is RIDDLED with bullying, peer pressure, horrifically mean people. This is NOT our reality.”
“shut it down”
“I am embarrassed for you for saying that. I get that you may feel attacked but what were you expecting from this blog post? You sound like a 13 year-old girl, not an adult. When you deliberately attack the school, you’re going to get some backlash. I hope you have the guts to show this comment on your blog but I definitely won’t be surprised if you don’t.”

(I published it)

“No wonder he divorced you! Unwilling to listen to other viewpoints and completely accusatory!”
“You are throwing out guesses as facts and it’s disturbing.”
“So grateful my mother had enough pragmatism to never behave in this childish manner while I was in high school. I would have never learned how to address tough life circumstances if I was being raised by someone who resorted to babbling theatrics.”

And I’ll bet she didn’t teach you that the problem with society is that it is
overrun with sheep and conformists.

Some of us still teach our kids the Golden Rule: Treat people the way you want to be treated. People are fed up. Most of us are just average, ordinary people. We love God, we love our town and we believe in a moral code. We don’t threaten anybody. We don’t go online and cower in the shadows and make threats to people. We have been abused, impugned, lied about. We’re called hypocrits, sensationalists, liars, pompous, ill-informed, poor writers, and childish. We’re the furthest thing in the world from any of that. But some people are called that because they have the guts to speak out, stand up, stand for something, and call for change.

Nobody’s perfect. But I see things in Wayzata careening out of control. I’m just an ordinary person, offering my opinion on my little blog, yet Wayzata is threatened by me? No, I don’t think they are scared of me. They’re angry. They despise that I spoke negatively of Wayzata. They are mad that I asked some questions to which lots of people would like answers. They are mad that some really dark things are coming to light.

What am I going to do about bullying?

Well, I have a lot of ideas, and I’ve already started. First, no more anonymity. I’m not going to stand for bullies. Not on this blog. I learned how immature people really are.  When I stopped allowing people to comment unless they included first and last name, and a verifiable email address, the most interesting thing happened: the nasty comments stopped. Suddenly, without the cloak of anonymity they don’t feel so comfortable and free to insult, attack, threaten. It’s so easy to be a cyber-bully, sitting in your glass house throwing stones. Take away your anonymity, and you aren’t so brazen are you?  Are you afraid of what your children might think if they found out that you were one of the bullies that posted to this blog?

I’m not afraid, because my kids, and their friends, and my friends, and hundreds upon hundreds of kids are proud because I took a stand and spoke up for the voiceless.  I said out loud what a lot of people were thinking.  And again, never in a million years, did I think that writing a blog that asked questions about the suicides in Wayzata School District would be considered a brave thing to do.

How to stop bullying in one step:

Treat people the way you want to be treated.

Do you have a story to tell?  Please leave a comment. Let’s open up the conversation.

 

To comment, a first and last name is required along with a verifiable email address.  If you have been the victim and wish to remain private, leave your comment and I will contact you privately about editing and protecting you.  All comments will remain unpublished until approved by me.

 

PennySue Mueller

 

Penny Mueller
Email: Penny Mueller
www.pennysuemueller.com

 

 

An Open Letter to The Administrators at Wayzata High School

An open letter to The Wayzata High School Administrators, Faculty and Staff

June 5, 2014

EDITED 2/21/17.  This little blog post created quite an uproar when I wrote it almost 3 years ago.  I took my daughter out of the school district after the threats I received.  I was threatened and blackmailed to take this post down.  I eventually took it down.  But today, I’m making it public once again as a tribute to yet another life lost.    This is not to implicate Wayzata, we are far removed from the Wayzata Public School district.  This is not to blame anyone, but to implore EVERYONE to please, be aware of depression. Be aware of everyone around you and how they are doing.  Make them know they matter.  Make them know they are loved.   Put up with their moods and their depression and their inability to get out of bed.  Be there for them NO MATTER WHAT.  Stand beside them and walk beside them until they make it out the other side, till they make it out okay.    We need to stop losing young people to suicide.  WE NEED TO BE AWARE.

This letter is also intended as a public letter to the School District Superintendent, School Board, Wayzata Public Schools faculty and staff, all parents, students, family members, community members of the Wayzata Public School District. The purpose of this letter is to ask you this two-fold question:

How many more lives are you going to allow to be sacrificed before you do something about the suicide epidemic that has swept through Wayzata High School, and, what are you going to do about it?

I’m not asking this question as a knee-jerk reaction to the 2 suicides within 4 weeks, nor as a knee-jerk reaction to 4 suicides within 2 years. I’m asking as a concerned community member and parent of 4 Wayzata Public Schools students who have been in the district from kindergarten through graduation.© Cristina Bernhardsen | Dreamstime Stock Photos I come to you as someone who has more than average experience with suicide. I am a registered nurse, a former school nurse to a major Minnesota High School, and someone who has first-hand experience with suicide within my own family. My daughter is a sophomore at Wayzata High School. One of my other daughters recently graduated with the class of 2014. Each of these girls have now had fellow classmates commit suicide.

Yesterday, yet another Wayzata High School student took his own life. How many more lives need to be lost before you address this?

Today, my daughter and her classmates wanted to talk about it in class. I am appalled at what happened next. Her teacher did not even ask them if they needed anything or if they needed to talk. No, instead, her teacher silenced them, shut down the conversation and refused to address it. Basically, as my daughter described it, it was a perfect summation and reflection of the clueless denial that the administration has and its refusal to address this life and death problem. Today I received an email from the Wayzata Public Schools with a link on how to talk to adolescents about death. Are you serious? A link? Two suicides within a month and that’s all you’re going to do to address this epidemic? You’re going to send out a link? There are lives at stake here. People are dying. Do you acknowledge that? Have you asked the question of WHY? Have you asked the question of What is it about Wayzata Public Schools that has created this culture?

Clearly there is a cultural defect within Wayzata schools that has enough influence and impact as to drive these young people to the point of such desperation to conclude that their only option is to end their own lives. If you are honest, you might be able to see it. I can.

I urge you to ask yourselves about the culture at Wayzata Public Schools and Wayzata High School in particular. Take a moment to consider the pressure these young people are under: the stress to succeed—-not just to succeed, but to excel at beyond a college level, AP classes, Honors programs, academic competency tests, college entrance exams, honor roll, honor society, scholarships, financial implications, awards, letters, metals, accolades.

Yes, Wayzata has high academic standards-the best in the State. Yes, Wayzata is a leader in athletics. BUT AT WHAT COST?

In addition to academic and athletic pressure, there is the entirely new phenomenon of social media, in which a student has absolutely NO WAY to escape. There is no way for a student to avoid it, because it is an ONLINE world now. Yet, what is the school’s answer? Yes, it hands out Ipads to every student, just in case they don’t have enough online time, just give them more inability to escape it. More pressure. More stress.

 

I’m urging you–you’ve got to change something. You’ve got to do something about the culture at Wayzata High School. You’ve got to affect change. You’ve got to relieve the pressure, reduce the stress, and for once, let these kids just be kids. Stop killing them. Please stop letting them die.

Respectfully,
Penny Mueller
Wayzata Parent

ADDENDUM (6/12/14) 

To all readers, there has been an overwhelming response to this controversial blog post. Due to the nature of the comments, I’ve found it necessary to add some rules to keep all conversations on this blog civilized.

The rules for commenting:
1. First and last name are required. No screen names. No more hiding in anonymity.
2. Verifiable email address.
3. If you wish to protect your identity (if you’ve been a victim, attempted suicide, have a sensitive story to tell, etc.) leave your comment and I will privately contact you and discuss editing to protect you yet still share your story.
4. Reminder: this is a blog written by a private individual. Reading it is optional. Disagreements are welcome as long as they are constructive and respectful.
5. All comments published are at the discretion of the editor.

The next blog post will be about Bullying in Wayzata. If you have a story that you’d like to share, I’d love to hear from you. Again, all victims identities will be protected.

do not say anything in the dark that you wouldn’t say in the light

A half cup of ice cream

Who eats a half cup of ice cream?

Let’s face it. We live in a nation of obesity, chronic disease, and countless health problems. In fact, two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese. Think about that: every two out of three people struggle with their weight, which can lead to obesity-related diseases and health implications that cause clinic and hospital visits for which health insurance must pay. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, it was estimated in 2008 that obesity costs the United States $147 billion (CDC). That is a lot of money! That money could be used for education, infrastructure, housing, defense, and the list goes on. The point is that the U.S. has become unhealthy.

Times are changingIMG_4451

Times are changing, habits are changing and people are eating too much.  I’ve heard talk of a ‘fat tax’.  Personally, I don’t believe punishing taxes affect behavior. Take cigarettes for example—there is a huge tax on them…..yet people who want to smoke still are willing to pay the penalty. No, rather than a ‘fat tax’, what we need to do is fix the underlying cause of obesity and unhealthy food choices. Perhaps we should be given a more accurate representation of what we are eating and change the current FDA’s standard of food labels. Read More→

How to make all natural bug bite treatment

My last post was about how to make your own all natural bug spray.  In the event that one or two of those rascals got past the spray barrier that you made, or, if you haven’t had a chance to make your natural bug spray yet, and you’ve fallen victim to some itchy bug bites, fear not.  

You can make your own all natural bug bite treatment that is miraculous!

All you need are some essential oils, some baking soda, or some raw honey.  Easy!

How to make your own bug bite treatmentHere is my recipe for bug bite treatment.  I keep bottles around the house, and one in my purse at all times. This recipe is so easy, that’s it’s almost inaccurate to call it a ‘recipe. Read More→

How to make all natural bug spray

Why would anyone want to make their own all natural bug spray when you can easily buy it at the store?

all natural bug spraySince moving toward a more natural lifestyle, I am always on the lookout  for ways to reduce my family’s exposure to chemicals. I’ve never been a fan of bug spray because I don’t like how sticky it feels on my skin, and I always feel like I need a shower whenever I spray down with bug spray. Since I don’t know exactly what’s in commercial repellents, I don’t know to what I’m exposing myself, my family, and my pets.  

My solution? Read More→