Welcome The Return of the Stoop

By: Lisa Wright Burbach

There was nothing more refreshing than the coolness of the shade on Irma Burrell’s porch. (Confession: I don’t know if it was spelled Burrell or not, it was pronounced Burl and there is a very distinct accent where I’m from sooo, it’s a guess). I can remember running my hands through the cool, almost cold dirt on the ground beside the porch and how it was such a contrast to the sweltering hot southern summer day.  It was heaven.  The other thing that happened there was better than any newspaper…I mean ya’ll….folks can talk!!   The neighbors gathered and in a short minute everyone was up-to-date on the latest scandals (but don’t say I said so), garden news, marriages, babies, and the mundane too.  This was true of any porch or stoop when I was a child.  What it was, was community and also a way of life.

As we are finding ways to deal with the Stay at Home orders during this Covid-19 crisis I have been pleasantly surprised at the things I’m starting to see that are throw backs to the past. I saw children drawing with chalk in the driveway, kids throwing the ball in the street (siblings – not breaking social distancing) and I saw young kids riding bikes in the street and on the sidewalks!! The craziest part was there wasn’t a parent in sight!  They just sent the kids out to play!!!  Today’s helicopter parents would never have done that a month ago, but today they relaxed and the kids are just being kids, unplugged, active kids. I’m sure the parents were watching, for those of you who are worried; the kids were fine.  Really. I’m also enjoying seeing the exchange of recipes and garden tips. People are playin’, bakin’, makin’, and growin’.

The other thing I’ve loved seeing is how many people have placed a chair on their front porches or plopped their fannies right down on the steps of the front stoop.  They are people watching, waving, and “hollerin'” to each other; they are building community and making some sort of connection.  In the 8 years I’ve lived here I personally have never seen most of the neighbors I’ve seen lately and I’m outside a lot.  I’m waving’ to every single one like some I’m Gomber Pyle! I have no intention of stopping either-“Hey Andy!!!”.

The front porch/stoop used to be a standard part of life, but after World War 2, we gradually moved to the suburbs and moved to “private” backyards and life began to change.  It isn’t all bad, it’s just different, but I have miss seeing people on the porch. 

When I was a kid the stoop was a part of community, first of all it was too dang hot inside! We had to sit outside in the cool of the evening  or sweat inside. During the day we might take a break and sit outside with an ice cold glass of sweet tea of course. We would people watch, waving to anyone who walked by and chatted. We might shell peas, hull butter beans, or mend things while we were at it. Double duty. It was slower, calmer, and could help wash the stress of life away; if only for just a moment.

Life happens on the stoop!

I for one, welcome the return of the stoop. I welcome a time when we can relax and kindly wave at our neighbors. I welcome the community that develops from it.  When I was a kid this type of connection was our lifeline.  We didn’t have the internet, Netflix, little computers in our pockets.  You watched the nightly news, read the paper, had back yard cookouts, and got news from the neighbors.  You also couldn’t binge watch, that, I confess I’m glad to be able to do occasionally-truth be told!  If you didn’t tune in Monday at 8:00 PM, or whenever your show was on, and watch that show then you didn’t see it, ever.  We talked about those shows on the stoop too. We also couldn’t get away with anything!  If you misbehaved 4 doors down the news traveled to your home faster than you did!  Nothing escapes the stoop and chances are your mommma or grandmomma was waiting for you on that same stoop!

As you go through this Social Distancing time bring that chair out front or plop your fanny right down on the steps of your front porch or stoop and don’t forget to wave and smile and say hello and welcome the return of the stoop.

A Time to Talk by: Robert Frost 

When a friend calls to me from the road
And slows his horse to a meaning walk,
I don’t stand still and look around
On all the hills I haven’t hoed,
And shout from where I am, “What is it?”
No, not as there is a time to talk.
I thrust my hoe in the mellow ground,
Blade-end up and five feet tall,
And plod: I go up to the stone wall
For a friendly visit. 

Or maybe holler from the stoop! “Howdy”, then take the time to talk; 6 feet apart of course.

Let's get dressed – Salad Dressings

By: Lisa Wright Burbach

I used to be intimidated by the idea of making my own salad dressing; it just seemed complicated. One day I just gave it a go and I’ve never looked back! I make all of our dressings now! Right now, during this time of Social Distancing and runs on the grocery story it’s handy to have a few good recipes in your back pocket too!

Homemade salad dressing are healthier and you are in control; no artificial ingredients, low or no sugar, just full rich flavor and they are just plain easy to make!

Health note: Keep in mind that most salad dressing are largely fat so the calories do add up. 1 gram of fat has 9 calories, over double of 1 gram of carbohydrates or protein! Enjoy, but moderation and learn to love the taste of all those yummy veggies!!

Here are a few of my “go-to” recipes:

Basic Vinaigrette – Hugh Acheson

Bit of a fan girl!!! But even if I wasn’t this is your base, your starting point! From here you can go crazy when it comes to vinaigrette once you master your base.

  • 3 Tbsp Red Wine Vineagar
  • 1 Clove Garlic, minced
  • 1 Tsp Dijon Mustard
  • Kosher salt (did you know it matters? kosher salt is flatter and melts differently, among other things)
  • 3/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Shake well and use. See the link above for yummy things you can add to it.

Ranch – Simple

  • 1/4 Cup Mayo
  • 1/2 tsp Dill
  • 1/4 tsp garlic

water to thin and a pinch of salt

Ranch Dressing – More involved, from my sweet friend Gail

  • 1/4 Cup mayo (can use lite)
  • 1/4 Cup sour cream (can use nonfat)
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • 1/2 tsp minced onion flakes (I usually use fresh onion)
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1 Clove garlic, minced
  • 1/3 Cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • Buttermilk to the consistency you like

Mix, cover & refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.

Dijon Dressing

  • 2 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
  • 2 Tbsp Honey
  • 1 Tbsp Rice Vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp Mayo
  • Salt and Pepper

Mix and enjoy

1000 Island – Simple

  • 3 Tbsp Mayo
  • 1 Tbsp Ketchup
  • 1 Tbsp Sweet Pickle Relish
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 Tsp minced Shallot
  • Drop of Hot sauce

Mix and enjoy

For a more complex 1000 Island try this one from Kitchen Treaty

Ginger Dressing – from my friend Gail

  • 1/4 Cup Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp Lite Soy sauce
  • 1 tsp Sesame oil
  • 1/8 tsp Red pepper flakes
  • 1 clove garlic, minced

Shake and serve

Here are some more for you to enjoy!

Curry Vinaigrette – Eric Ripert

Canal House Classic Vinaigrette

Smokey Orange Vinaigrette – Bobby Flay

Garlic Vinaigrette – Alices Waters

Creamy Mustard Vinaigrette – Thomas Keller

Momofuko Octo Vinegrette – David Chang

Caesar Dressing – do not be scared of the ingredients, you’ll be fine.

So let’s get dressed! The salad at least! Share your favorite dressing recipe with us.

Why Common Household Cleaners are Bad for Us and the Environment

By: Van Burbach PhD, PG Environmental Consultant

Many people have the idea that since cleaning products are used to clean our homes of dirt, germs, and filth to give us a “clean” living environment, that they are safe for us and our planet; but this is not the case.  Many common cleaning products you can find on your grocery store shelves, and possibly under your own kitchen sink, are extremely toxic and very harmful both to human beings and to the environment.  

Links between use of common household cleaners and asthma and other respiratory illnesses have been well established.   In 2018, the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine published the results of a 20-year study by scientists at the University of Bergen in Norway which found that using cleaning products can be as harmful to women’s respiratory health as smoking 20 cigarettes a day.  Also, household cleaning products are responsible for nearly 10% of all toxic exposures reported to U.S. Poison Control Centers, many of which involve children. 

But these cleaners are also very harmful to the environment outside of our homes.  The all-purpose cleaners, hand sanitizers, laundry detergents, dishwasher detergents, and other cleaning products we use get washed down our drains and into our sewer systems.  They are often treated at wastewater treatment plants: but most wastewater treatment plants are not very effective at removing the toxic chemicals from these products, so they end up released into our lakes, rivers, and drinking water supplies.  A 2002 study conducted by the United States Geological Survey tested streams across the United States and found traces of detergent in 69% of the streams, and disinfectants in 66% of the streams.  

Common household cleaning products often contain hundreds, and in some cases thousands, of chemicals, many of which are known to be toxic to humans as well as to fish, birds, plants, and other living organisms.  Some are also known carcinogens.  Many others of these chemicals have not been studied thoroughly enough to know what their possible toxicological impacts might be. 

One group of chemicals of concern are phosphates, often found in laundry and dishwasher detergent.  When released into a lake or stream, phosphates act as fertilizers, promoting growth of algae that decrease the water’s oxygen content, killing fish and reducing biodiversity.

Another group of chemicals of concern are alkylphenol ethoxylates (APEs), which are surfactants that are added to many laundry detergents, stain removers, all-purpose cleaners, disinfectants, and degreasers.  Some APEs break down into nonylphenol and octylphenol, which are more toxic and do not readily biodegrade.  APEs have been shown to mimic the hormone estrogen, and their presence in water may be harming the reproduction and survival of salmon and other fish.

It is not just the chemicals in our cleaning products that are the problem.  The packaging those products come in can also have a very adverse impact on our environment.  The proliferation of single-use plastic containers has caused major problems for landfills and recycling programs cannot keep up.  In 2015, the EPA estimated that only 9.1% of plastic waste generated in the United States was recycled, and since China stopped accepting our recyclable waste, that number is probably lower now.  All the excess plastic waste has caused a global crisis as these plastics end up in our waterways and eventually in our oceans.

Shaklee has been a pioneer of non-toxic, earth-friendly cleaning products since the 1960s.  Shaklee Basic H was one of the first official Earth Day products, and has been used by Jacques Cousteau, the Biosphere II project, the Whitehouse, and many environmental organizations and programs.  Today, Shaklee is proud to offer a full line of household cleaning products that are free of toxic chemicals and are safe for you, your children, and the planet.  And many of our cleaning products are concentrated, reducing the amount of plastic waste created.  One bottle of Basic H2 can replace as many as 5000 bottles of other cleaners, keeping thousands of plastic bottles our of our waste stream.  And you don’t have to sacrifice performance, as Shaklee cleaning products are amazingly effective.  Check them Out.

Dr. Burbach has extensive experience in: hydrogeologic site investigation; environmental assessment of industrial sites, underground storage tank sites, and solid waste facilities; compliance monitoring; remediation of impacted soil and groundwater; and geophysical investigations. Including remediation of pesticides, metals, and hazardous waste. 

Dr. Burbach has designed and implemented Corrective Action Plans involving groundwater pump and treat systems, air sparging, soil vapor recovery, soil venting, soil excavation, phytoremediation, aggressive fluid-vapor recovery, multi-phase extraction, ex-situ bioremediation, enhanced in-situ bioremediation, and monitored natural attenuation. Currently, Dr. Burbach oversees compliance monitoring of soil, groundwater, surface water, leachate, landfill gas, and treatment systems for several soil waste sites in Virginia and North Carolina.

The Weird Place of Peace after Trauma

by: Lisa Wright Burbach

I want to start by saying that I’m not a professional counselor or therapist. I’m just someone who is reflecting on my own personal journey, hopeful that it may help someone else in theirs.

I love life, I am someone who finds joy in the tiniest things; I’m a pretty forgiving person and able to let things go fairly well. I mean, I’m not perfect soo-I have my moments. Like that guy who drives really slow in the fast lane= grrrr!!! But, really…I love the sun on my face, to hear the wind in the trees, birds singing, to feel the grass under my bare feet, I love simple things. I always have, even in the midst of trauma, disappointment, abuse, and difficulty. This is a great blessing to me as I feel it has made a journey of healing more accessible for me that it may have otherwise; but, it’s still a journey and it ends in a weird place of peace.

Sometimes people say things like “Well, you could never understand because your life has been so easy”. The lesson here is to never let seeing someone who walks in the joy of today make you think that they have never walked in the darkness of yesterday. I do understand, but I walk in peace after trauma, which leads to the joy of today. The key is to overcome, grow, change, and heal.

Remember, it’s like your momma said, “You don’t know what their life is like until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes”.

I think that we assume, and don’t appreciate what someone feels after the trauma is behind them. We assume their life is amazing now! I think this is where a different level of pain is experienced, one of mourning, facing reality, and then acceptance. It is a journey and a process.

I’ve experienced challenging and difficult injustices and abuses in my lifetime and when I was in the thick of it, I just survived. One day at a time. There often isn’t time or energy to acknowledge the pain, fear, and anguish associated with life or accept the reality that the act of surviving is exhausting and withering. Plus the fact that I didn’t want to face it, it was too harsh. I just lived day to day, but then for me and for many of us the trauma is over, then what? It is a weird place of peace. It’s unfamiliar and foreign and can feel like something is wrong. It isn’t, it’s just different.

Here is a great example of when “right” feels wrong. As many of you know I am a Shaklee Independent Distributor; well a couple years ago Shaklee came out with a new probiotic and we got a free bottle at conference. I started taking it right away. About three days into conference I stood in the hotel room rubbing my stomach and telling my husband something was “wrong”. “No…wait…I think this is normal!” I’ve had a sort of jumpy stomach my whole life and it was the first time in my life I didn’t “feel” my stomach/gut. It was weird. Normal felt weird. It was such a crazy realization that that was a good thing! it was great! When we go from constant trauma to a place of peace I think it’s just like that.

Let me start by saying that I didn’t just go from trauma to peace overnight, it was a journey and hard work. I started by making changes and then through counseling!! A good therapist is the best thing you can do for yourself. Someone who is removed from the situation who can help you see that what you’ve been through is wrong, hard, painful…__________, you fill in the blank. Then they will walk with you through to the other side which looks like healing and peace after trauma.

Note: if your therapist or MD suggests medication, be open minded, be willing to get help. I recommend that you discuss options with a doctor about natural ways to help you as you walk through healing. Ask what could I do instead of what can I take. It’s possible exercise, mindfulness, prayer, walks, and supplements will be enough to support you through the healing. It’s also possible medication will be needed. It’s OK.

A big factor for me is my spiritual life; it’s important to me and my faith has carried me through many tough spots. You may not consider yourself spiritual, but here is an interesting fact “People who pay attention to their spiritual side have lower rates of cardiovascular disease, depression, stress, and suicide, and their immune systems seem to work better … To a certain extent, adherence to a religion allows them to relinquish the stresses of everyday life to a higher power.”—Dan Buettner, Blue Zones]

Today, I have a great life; it isn’t free of trouble, no one has an “issue” free life, but mine is full of normal issues, like “OMG, please don’t make noise when eating!!!!” Or “Yes!!! I have more questions!!! It’s like you never met me!!” However, I have found that now that my life is really good and trauma free, I am gradually recognizing the reality that I once lived in, to a greater degree, and it was awful. It was much bigger than I allowed myself to see, but now I do. It’s sad and painful and it could potentially rob me of my joy. I have a choice, I can live in fear or live in peace after trauma, my new reality. I can embrace peace, and for the most part I do.

I’m not unmarked by my past, no one truly is, and as a result I am more aware of how fragile life is and how a “good thing” can be over in an instant. As I continue to heal in my heart and mind I am faced with realities I once ignored because I couldn’t bare to look at them. As I feel safer and safer I can look at them now, but in a way that doesn’t re-injure me. And I have to remember the good things that exist every single day and that if I live in fear of losing it all then I can never fully enjoy it.

Another example: When we married 8 years ago, my husband had a lot of crystal, china, etc. and he was tempted to store them in the attic, so they wouldn’t break, but my approach is different. I believe that hiding away is like not having it. so if it breaks, what’s the difference? I think that using things is more honoring to the memory of the ones who gave it to us. So…we use it all. Actually I sometimes serve Sloppy Joes on china because I believe the dinner table should be embraced and that is the heartbeat of the family. Oh…anndddd one day the china cabinet shelf broke and 40 plus pieces of crystal broke. Ummm, yeah..so that happened. You know what? Life went on. Fear of losing is like that, if I live in that fear I never really experience what I have.

Enjoy the peace, embrace the peaceful time, and live it!! For me, I takes living in and embracing the peace after the trauma to really heal and grow. – It might take more counseling and that’s OK. If you need help, please pursue it!

Like I said, I’m not a therapist, but as a Health Coach I wanted to speak into this, our emotional life, a little and the impact it has on our physical health. Living in ongoing stress and anxiety destroys our body and mind, weakens our immune systems, increases the risks of serious health issues, and shortens our telomeres, thereby potentially shortening our lives. – It’s serious!

Wellness is made up of all the different parts of our lives, and works sort of like a wheel on a bicycle.  When one area is out of balance it is like having a flat tire or dented wheel and our wheel doesn’t spin easily, causing an unsteady ride and even a fall.  When our life is in balance, our wellness wheel is round, spinning freely.

​The World Health Organization describes Health as: Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.

​When our mind, body, and spirit are in order we are in a state of wellness or health. When this happens, we can find peace after the trauma.

If you are in the midst of trauma, abuse, addiction, or other serious issues here are just a few resources. I recommend looking into your local resources such as counseling, career help, financial help etc. There is always someone who can help those in need. No battle is meant to fight alone. I also encourage you to survive, to live, to heal. If you are like me and your battle is over and it feels “weird”, embrace it and enjoy the weird place of peace that comes after trauma.

The Hotline.org – National Domestic Violence Hotline

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Substance Abuce and Mental Health Service Administration

Pure Hope, Formerly The National Coalition for the Protection of Children & Families

Alcoholics Anonymous

This blog is not meant for therapeutic purposes, medical, or other treatment etc.

Hi, I’m Lisa and I’m an Independent Shaklee Distributor and Certified Health Coach. My absolute joy is partnering with people to realize their own self value. I believe that as we love ourselves we are loving to ourselves and from there we are more able to eat well, exercise, and take care of our physical selves. It is my goal to touch the lives of others and help people live healthier lives longer!! Through Shaklee I have an excellent partner that shares my passions of environment and health and I look forward to sharing that with you. 

Living the Green Life is Kinda Hard

By: Lisa Wright Burbach

We live a pretty Green life; we reduce, reuse, and recycle. We use non-toxic cleaners, cloth napkins, rags in place of paper towels, use greener light bulbs, etc. and yet there is so much more we could do. 

Many of you know that my husband, Van, is an environmental consultant, and this means it’s a big deal in our house. This is the man that needs extra time to take the trash out to sort through it all to make sure it was done “right,” in our house, it matters.

This past month we looked around and saw much more that we could do right here at home. We committed to reduce and reuse first and to see how little we could put in our trash and recycling bins. I have to be honest it is kinda hard.

The first thing we did was use the GSO Collects app, an app our city has that helps you know which items are accepted in our recycling program and which items are not, as well as what your trash days are and other city information. It is a great app! AAAnnnnnd it showed us that we have been recycling incorrectly. Many of the items we thought could be recycled, can’t be and they must go in the trash. Check with your city to see if they have an app, if not visit your City’s website for recycling regulations for your area.

The first time I had to place a plastic clamshell container, the kind used for greens, in the trash can, it felt wrong. We’ve been trained to think that when we recycle, we are doing a good thing. We are doing a better thing, but not necessarily good. Did you know that less than 10% of the world’s plastic has actually been recycled!! The prediction is that by 2050 there will be 12 billion metric tons of plastic in landfills. Clearly, dropping it in the recycling bin isn’t the best option.

As a couple, we decided to make some changes to live a Greener Life.

  1. We have an online business but decided to cut down on the other items we buy online. It helps us support local businesses and cuts down on extra packaging and fillers.
  2. Tissues must go in the landfill and are part of our deforestation problem. I’m trying to switch to hankies, yep…old school handkerchiefs – pretty ones of course,Van uses plain old white ones. Yeah..ewww.. but I’m finding that if I keep them on hand and treat like a tissue, it works well. If I’m home, I drop the dirty ones in the laundry bin, If I’m out, I have a little pouch for dirties, and when I get home, I drop it in the laundry.
  3. The most challenging thing has been produce. I hadn’t paid attention to how few items are available in bulk, and in one “natural” store in town, even the bulk items were in plastic bags. The Farmer’s Market is a good option and we get to support local farmers and benefit from the additional nutrients found in local, seasonal produce.

Ding Dong..Please excuse this interruption: DANGIT! Dangit!!! As I’m writing this, we did Chinese take out, and it came in a styrofoam container as well as a big ole plastic one! SHOOT Man, Poop!!(my most frequent swear word)! See, it’s kinda hard! It just didn’t cross our minds; all we thought was “I’m tired, let’s order Chinese!”. Ugh!!

Somewhat humbled and chagrinned we now resume our original blog post already in process:

4. Leftovers or fresh food for lunch. In addition to my own business, I work part-time outside the home, and it is quick and easy to bring a frozen meal. By making my lunch or putting leftovers in glass containers, I not only cut down on little plastic containers and boxes but also provide a less processed and more nutritional lunch for myself.

5. We own a set of Melamine dishes, yes…plastic. But we plan to use them til we die. We use them for picnics and eating outside during nice weather rather than using disposable items. Had we bought them this year, we would probably have found another unbreakable option, however, we have them, so we use them. *Do not microwave plastic because of the risk of releasing harmful chemicals into your food.

6. Guys- You might want to skip this one. Ladies, I use the cup, and it is aaahhhmazing! I don’t know how I lived without it. Truly-for real!! Life-changing and I also use reusable pads – not so much for “theennn”, but well-shoot a couple of kids out of there, and let’s just say that jumping on a trampoline or sneezing will never be the same! #truth. I have tried several different brands and personally like the Glad Rag pads and Lily Collapsible cup. I also use reusable makeup remover rounds.

Did you know that roughly 20 billion sanitary napkins, tampons and tampon applicators are dumped in landfills yearly in America?!!

7. We compost. We keep a tiny little trash can just for food scraps, and when it’s full, we toss it into our composter.

8. We use reusable grocery bags, carry reusable metal water bottles, and take bamboo cutlery with us when we go out and straws? I just drink from the side of the cup-whhaaat? weird right?! But if I need to, I have metal straws too.

9. Toilet paper! Yep…going there too – haaa going eh-hem…Toilet paper is a significant cause of deforestation, is sprayed with harsh chemicals, and companies are using less recyclable goods in the product, increasing the need for virgin wood. 

We use Who Gives a Crap, (use the link and get $10 off and we get $10 off) which is made from bamboo and is surprisingly soft and umm…capable. Personal review: the Premium 3 ply is soft and wonderful, the Recycled 3 ply doesn’t meet our soft test. 

There are options out there such as the bidet and cloth wipes-Family Cloth; think reusable baby wipes for everyone. I have a friend who uses the wipes and said that her tushy is so much happier now. I’m not quite ready to go there, but applaud her choice.

Here is an environmental ranking of some of your favorite toilet papers by Greenmatters.com.

10. We use beeswax wrap, reusable lunch baggies, mason jars and other reusable items for storage in the kitchen.

I’m just scratching the surface of things we could do to live a more green life; we could have a garden, plant more trees, walk more, carpool…the list is endless, but little by little, we are making changes and trying to make a difference and educate others to do the same.

Why? Some people feel like it isn’t vital, but it is. For example, fish already have little bits of microscopic plastic in their flesh, babies have PFAS in their cord blood and breast milk, allergies and other issues are on the rise and we only have so much room on the planet. Those are just a few things! It is vital!

I believe we are meant to be stewards of this planet, doing our best to care for it and make a safe home for us all, but I’m the first to admit that living the green life is kinda hard, but it’s worth it.

Hi, I’m Lisa and I’m an Independent Shaklee Distributor and Certified Health Coach. My absolute joy is partnering with people to realize their own self-value. I believe that as we love ourselves, we are loving to ourselves and from there we are more able to eat well, exercise, and take care of our physical selves. It is my goal to touch the lives of others and help people live healthier lives longer!! Through Shaklee I have an excellent partner that shares my passions of environment and health and I look forward to sharing that with you. – Living the Green Life!

Harmony – #wordoftheyear

By: Lisa Wright Burbach

Harmony: According the American Heritage Dictionary, Harmony is: An orderly or pleasing combination of elements in a whole: color harmony; the order and harmony of the universe. A relationship in which various components exist together without destroying one another: different kinds of fish living in harmony. A relationship characterized by a lack of conflict or by agreement, as of opinion or interest: family harmony.

Another word heard used to define harmony is tranquility.

Every year I choose a word of the year, something that I will work towards, something that I want to grow and nurture in myself. This year I chose the word Harmony. I have always thought of this as a personal word, one for my own benefit during the year, but then I heard a friend talk of her word of the year and how she works to make that word effective/impactful to all she comes in contact with. She asks herself “Does my decision right now live up to my word of the year for all involved?”. I thought this was brilliant and much more loving than using it just for personal growth. I love her humility and wisdom in this choice.

Here is my intention for my word this year:

Will this action/decision/word create Harmony in me? It will mean that I won’t put myself down, allow negative self-talk, or argue with myself unproductively. I will believe in myself and look for tranquility to be the outcome of my choices.

Will this action/decision/word create Harmony with my Husband? This is actually the easiest one, we rarely argue or even disagree, but there is always room for improvement. It will mean that I will listen more deeply, I will hear his heart and respond with empathy, compassion, and love to a deeper level. I will be his champion and create an atmosphere of harmony – “a pleasing combination of elements as a whole in our lives”.

Will this action/decision/word create Harmony with my family? I have grown children and I am a grown child; this greatly changes dynamics. It means that to my children I am simply an opinion, and to my parents they are simply opinions. I don’t mean it rudely, but I mean there is no expectation of “obedience”. We should respect their options and work towards harmony. It is possible to disagree and still maintain harmony. This is the “various components exist together without destroying one another.” I will allow them to be them and I will allow me to be me, with no strife, resentment, or discord. We will have healthy boundaries and mutual respect. Of course I can’t control the mutual part, but I can control my side and I will chose to respect and watch joyfully as each person thrives as themselves. I will also know when to let go.

Will this action/decision/word create Harmony with this I do business with: customers, clients, business partners etc.? I love working with my customers, helping them create healthier lives and find joy. I will listen without judging, I will create an atmosphere of motivational interviewing, where I ask questions, reframe, and help them see successes. I will support them in their decisions and be there for them. I may sell vitamins or skincare, or cleaning products etc., but I will do this while creating a safe, encouraging, motivating atmosphere being a mentor, coach, or friend not just a salesman. For me their hearts are my primary goal, the act of becoming a customer is just an open door for relationship.

Will this action/decision/word create Harmony with my friends and all those I come in contact with? I will ask myself this question, learn to pause more, and be OK with silence if I can’t 100% say I will help foster harmony.

Will this action/decision/word create Harmony with Nature: I will remember that the earth is our to share with each other and I will reduce and reuse before considering recycling, I will educate people to make wise choices and I will remember it is an act of stewardship. One who manages another’s property, finances, or other affairs. – American Heritage Dictionary. In this case the Earth. I will enjoy nature, be in awe of the things I see and I will stop to breathe it in and listen. I will walk and spend time outdoors, and I will learn from what nature tells me. I will be in awe of the one who created it all.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand that there are times when we disagree, when we will never see eye-to-eye on a topic, that’s part of life. Living in harmony says that I will rejoice for you and find peace with you even in those places. I am embracing that I don’t have to be right and I don’t even have to be understood, but I should seek harmony.

I have great expectations for peace, tranquility, and joy this year and repeatedly asking myself “Will this action/decision/word create Harmony in this situation!” I can help create a space where my expectations can be a reality. If the answer to my question is “no,” it will compel me to step back and find a better way, one that will create harmony, or whatever the current word of the year may be.

Quotes for this year:

Romans 12:8 NIV– If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

Marcus Aurelius -He who lives in harmony with himself lives in harmony with the universe.

Sallust – Harmony makes small things grow, lack of it makes great things decay.

Deepak Chopra – Give up being right. Instead radiate peace, harmony, love, and laughter from your heart.’

Forrest Shaklee – Think then, of the happiness you may produce for this moment, for what you think, you look; what you think, you do, what you think you are.

Hi, I’m Lisa and I’m an Independent Shaklee Distributor and Certified Health Coach. My absolute joy is partnering with people to realize their own self value. I believe that as we love ourselves we are loving to ourselves and from there we are more able to eat well, exercise, and take care of our physical selves. It is my goal to touch the lives of others and help people live healthier lives longer!! Through Shaklee I have an excellent partner that shares my passions of environment and health and I look forward to sharing that with you.

#harmony #wordoftheyear #tranquilty #healthyliving

Why Should we Meditate?

By: Lisa Wright Burbach

Meditation; the Oxford Dictionaries defines meditation as “Think deeply or focus one’s mind for a period of time, in silence or with the aid of chanting, for religious or spiritual purposes or as a method of relaxation.” 

For many of us the idea of focusing our mind seems impossible, but I want you to think of it like any other exercise; with practice you get stronger and better.  In the words of Dr. Hedy Kober, a neuroscientis. “It did to my mind what going to the gym did to my body — it made it both stronger and more flexible,”.

Before we look at why we meditate, let’s look at how.

How to meditate:

In the beginning I recommend finding a quiet place to meditate.  As you get better at it you will find the ability to meditate in the midst of chaos and be able to use it as a tool to center yourself, but for now pick a quiet place and avoid distractions.

  1. Close your eyes; this helps with distractions
  2. Breathe naturally.  Breathing exercises are another component of meditation, but to start off with focus on just learning to still your mind.  As you breathe normally observe your breathe.  Observe the sound and the feel and feel yourself relax.  As you become more experienced you can add in deep breathing practice.
  3. Once you are settled in you have options of how you want to meditate. 
  • I often meditate  prayerfully, just being calm and aware. As I relax more I begin to let my mind calm down and feel my body release tension.
  • You can focus on your body, recognizing areas of tension. Try a different position if you need to and give yourself permission to relax those areas.
  • You can focus on your breathe paying attention to how it feels and sounds.  When your mind wanders this is a great way to bring your mind back into focus and off of the world around you. Listen to the sound in…out…in…out.
  • You can focus on your emotions, do you need to let things go. How do you feel?

These are just a few ways to get you started.  I encourage you to do some research and find a method that works for you.  Keep in mind even 1 minute of meditation has benefits.

Why should we meditate?

The body of evidence on the importance of meditation is growing rapidly within the medical community and mental health communities and we are all starting to pay attention and you, the every day average Joe or Jane can do it!  Here is some of what science is finding:

  • lower blood pressure
  • improved blood circulation
  • lower heart rate
  • less perspirations
  • lower respiratory rate
  • less anxiety
  • lower blood cortisol levels
  • more feelings of well-being
  • less stress
  • deeper relaxation
  • decreased heart rate and strength of contraction of the heart muscle
  • less oxygen demand, lessening workload on the heartdecreased rate of breathing
  • increased lung capacity
  • better digestion
  • increased hemoglobin (ability of blood to carry oxygen)feelings of calm and tranquilityhealthy immune system
  • May help with addiction, eating disorders, cognitive function and more!

These seem like excellent reasons to meditate!  Remember health is not just what you eat and how you move, but how you think and act or react as well.

Here is a great scientific look at meditation from Huffington Post.

Lisa is and Independent Shaklee Distributor and received her Health Coach Certification from the Dr. Sears Wellness Institute, founded by world-renowned physician and author, Dr. William Sears. The Institute is a leader in science-based health and wellness education that focuses on the four pillars of health; Lifestyle, Exercise, Attitude and Nutrition (L.E.A.N.). A certification by the Dr. Sears Wellness Institute is obtained only after completing the extensive course work and meeting all requirements. Once certified, a Health Coach possesses the knowledge, tools and resources to make a positive difference in the health of others.   To learn more visit http://yieldingaction.com

Van and Lisa are also Independent Shaklee Distributors. Shaklee was Green when Green was just a color! Everything we do has been designed In Harmony with Nature®. Discover our difference.

Stress Relief Complex:

Non-drowsy formula designed to support a calm, more relaxed state*

Helps relax the body and mind with a blend of clinically tested L-theanine, ashwagandha, beta-sitosterol, and L-tyrosine and promotes alertness while enhancing the body’s ability to adapt to stress.*

Getting Dirty about Cleaners

I used to be a huge fan of cleaning products, I loved the smells, I loved bubbles that talked, I loved trying new ones that came out, I mean I was a household cleaner addict. Well and office supplies, but I feel OK about that one-I mean there is nothing like a clean piece of paper and a new pen- right?!! Sorry, I digress-Then I made the switch to green cleaners and I will never go back. (I’m also a fan of clean and orderly – It just makes life peaceful)

Let’s get to the dirty about cleaners.

  • Chemical pollutants have been found to be 2 to 5 times higher inside our homes than outside.
  • Statistics show that common household cleaners give off fumes that can potentially increase the risk of children developing asthma.
  • 25 million children suffer from asthma.
  • 1 in 10 school-aged kids have asthma.
  • in one decade, there has been a 42% increase in asthma ( 29% for men, 82% for women ). The higher rate for women is believed to be due to women’s longer exposure times to household chemicals. [Center for Disease Control]
  • According to the California Environmental Protection Agency Air Resources Board, indoor air pollution consists of toxic gases or particles that can harm your health. These pollutants can build up rapidly indoors to levels much higher than those usually found outdoors. This is especially true if large amounts of a pollutant are released indoors. Moreover, “tighter” construction in newer homes can prevent pollutants from escaping to the outdoors. When we clean our homes we produce large amounts of these chemicals. Picture yourself standing in your shower surrounded by chemicals. Did you know that a person who spends 15 minutes cleaning their shower can inhale 3 times the acute exposure limit?
  • Women who work in the home have a 54% higher risk of dying from cancer than women who work outside of the home because of their increased exposure to household chemicals. [Toronto Indoor Air Conference of 1990 from a 15+ year study]
  • 150 chemicals routinely found in the home have been connected to allergies, birth defects, cancer and psychological disorders. [The Consumer Protection Agency )
  • A recent study found that using regular spray cleaning products for 20 years had the same respiratory impact as smoking 20 cigarettes a day.
  • Harmful VOC’s; That “clean” smell you smell – yep, that’s them. They are in things like aerosol sprays, Oven and appliance cleaners, Air fresheners, Dishwashing liquid and detergent, Carpet and upholstery cleaners, Bleach, dryer sheets and more.

Side note – one of the worst chemicals in your home are dryer sheets

  • Studies are showing that some of these chemicals are bioacumalitve, they never leave our body. Once such worry is pfas. Scotchguard, water repellent clothing, nonstick cookware, some cosmetics, products that resist grease, water, and oil.
  • Research is being done now, but pfas are already showing up in cord blood and breast milk! It will never leave their systems.

Potential Health Issues from Indoor pollutants like household cleaners:

  • Respiratory irritation
  • Bronchitis
  • emphysema
  • Eye, nose, and throat irritation
  • Respiratory infections in children
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • More serious health issues can occur

I could go on, the data is scary and voluminous. So what can you do?


By planning ahead, making small changes, and taking safety precautions you can limit your exposure.

  • Paints, glues, and cleaning agents should be used outdoors when possible. If used indoors, adequate ventilation should be available.
  • Restrict smoking. Cigarette smoke contains many toxic pollutants that are harmful to both smokers and nonsmokers and should be restricted to outdoor areas.Use appliances properly.
  • Wood-burning stoves and fireplaces should only be used to burn wood that is properly sized and aged so as not to give off toxic fumes.
  • Pay attention to and select building materials and furniture carefully. Some types of plywood and particleboard can emit significant amounts of formaldehyde or other gaseous pollutants. Try to avoid these types of products.
  • Practice good housekeeping. Frequent housecleaning removes dust and molds to help maintain good indoor air quality.
  • Provide adequate ventilation. You can increase ventilation by opening doors and windows.
  • Use kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans that are vented to the outdoors to remove pollutants.
  • Eliminate use of toxic chemicals at home; opt for natural substitutes.

List from Shaklee.com

By choosing products that keep the health of your family and the environment in mind you are making a wise and green choice, Be a label reader, just because it says “Green” on the label doesn’t mean that it really is. Be a wise consumer and do your research.

So why did I go green with my cleaners? I care about my family’s health and the environment. It took a while to learn that clean doesn’t smell and my cleaner is concentrated and lasts a looooong time, so I had to get used to not always checking out the cleaning aisle. A side effect of eliminating those toxic chemicals is that now I can’t stand to walk past that section of the store. The smell is awful and my body is much more aware of the danger. I’d say that’s a good thing” Wisdom of the body. If a clean home and clean earth is important to you too can #maketheswitch

Obviously I’d love for everyone to use Shaklee Get Clean Cleaning Products, but even if you don’t I hope you have been convinced to have a healthier home and eliminate toxic cleaners and products from your home. #maketheswitch and tell us about it. Please feel free to comment or email me at lisa@yieldingaction.com. Visit our Facebook page Yielding Action or Instagram @yieldingaction.

Happy Safe Cleaning!

Would you like to learn more about Shaklee Get Clean?

Laundry, kitchen, bath, and more: Let’s get every nook and cranny spick-and-span. And let’s do it right—with products that are safe around your little ones, powerful against even the most stubborn dirt, green for the planet, and smart on your wallet. You would spend $3,400 for ready-to-use cleaners to get the same amount of clean found in the Get Clean Starter Kit!*

One Kit, One Tree. Shaklee and American Forests® will plant one tree for every Get Clean® Starter Kit we sell.

Get Clean® offers cleaning choices that are safe and green

Email me at lisa@yieldingaction.com to learn more.

Van is and environmental consultant and Lisa a Certified Health Coach and have been Independent Shaklee Distributors for nearly 8 years. Learn more about their stories at https://pws.shaklee.com/yieldingaction/about/

Are you a good Garbage Disposal?

Our bodies are complex, and sometimes it can be hard to cut through all the scientific/medical jargon to truly understand what is going on. So, get ready for the simplest, most non-jargony explanation of aging you’re ever going to see:

Dr. Sears has what he calls his “sticky stuff/garbage disposal” theory of aging. Aging has two main causes: too much sticky stuff (garbage) accumulates in the body, and the body’s garbage disposal system weakens (immune system) so it can’t get rid of the sticky stuff. Health, therefore, is simply keeping the sticky stuff out of your body and strengthening your garbage disposal system.

The longer we live, the more garbage gets into our bodies through the food we eat, the air we breathe, and the stress we store. As we age, our body’s garbage disposal system (immune system) weakens. The garbage that accumulates in our bodies causes the sticky stuff to build up in our tissues. People who maintain their garbage disposal systems and put less garbage in their bodies age better than those who do not.

Three Types of Garbage: 

Oxidation: The first type of “garbage” is Oxidation. Our bodies are oxygen-burning machines. Every minute, millions of biochemical reactions throughout the body generate exhaust called oxidants, or free radicals. An easy way to think of oxidation is to think of “rust.” Trillions of times a day, this “rust” or free radicals attack our cells and tissues like little hammers.

Inflammation: The second type of “garbage” is inflammation. Inflammation literally means the body is on fire. Inflammation is the process which results from chemical messengers repairing wear & tear in the body. When the body is healthy its repair system is able to handle all of the wear & tear. Just as a well-maintained road stays smooth because the wear and tear is fixed as it occurs, a body stays healthier longer if repairs are done on a regular basis. But when the wear and tear overcomes the body’s ability to repair the damage, excess inflammation occurs. This excess inflammation is the primary cause of unhealthy aging.

Glycation: As we get older, our cells become less sensitive to insulin, this is called insulin resistance, which leaves a higher level of glucose in the bloodstream. This excess sugar in your blood attaches to proteins, changing their structure and making them stiff and sticky. These are called aging proteins, the medical term we use is “AGEs” which stands for Advanced Glycation End products. AGEs become a sludge in the tissues of your body preventing healthy growth and repair of new tissues. Common places for glycation to occur is in the linings of the arteries – causing heart disease and in the collagen in the skin – which causes wrinkles.

To learn more about “sticky stuff” and how to keep your body running smoothly schedule a Prime Time workshop with your friends or group or email me at lisa@yieldingaction.com.

Copyright: Dr. Sears Wellness Institute

Begin your journey to a leaner, healthier you!

Save 20% off∞ the Shaklee 180® Shake It Off Bundle when you combine it with the Prove It Challenge™, Vitalizing Plan, or Life Plan™ for the biggest challenge for the new year: Feel amazing, have more energy, and achieve a healthier weight in 2020.

Lisa is an Independent Shaklee Distributor and received her Health Coach Certification from the Dr. Sears Wellness Institute, founded by world-renowned physician and author, Dr. William Sears. The Institute is a leader in science-based health and wellness education that focuses on the four pillars of health; Lifestyle, Exercise, Attitude and Nutrition (L.E.A.N.). A certification by the Dr. Sears Wellness Institute is obtained only after completing the extensive course work and meeting all requirements. Once certified, a Health Coach possesses the knowledge, tools and resources to make a positive difference in the health of others.

The information in this blog is educational and not meant to diagnose, treat, or mitigate symptoms.

Want to get more technical? Check out my monthly HealthQuest. Note, the data changes each month so click the link each month for new information.

Pills and Skills

What happens when people visit the doctor these days? Patients enter the doctor’s

office, get pills but no self-help skills, leave the doctor, pop the pills and return next

month for a stronger dose…and everyone just gets sicker. Does this sound familiar to


Prescription ads tells you to “Ask your doctor if this pill is right for you,” but how

often do you ask? Knowing what you’re putting in your body is important, so keep

these points in mind

  1. Different individuals require different dosages. Pills are designed and tested on averages, but that may not always represent you.
  2. Beware the cocktail effect of pills. Pills can be partnered unsafely with other drugs It’s not uncommon for people, especially as they age, to be on multiple prescriptions, but using drugs in combinations is not the way they were tested and approved. If this “cocktail effect” has never been tested, no one knows how it’s going to affect you.
  3. Is it the drug or the disease? When a person is on a variety of pills to treat different highs and lows, it’s incredibly difficult for a doctor to sort out which of the patient’s symptoms are due to the underlying illness or due to the side of effects of the pills.

So, what’s a person to do? Abandon pills? No, absolutely not! But what we, as patients need to learn is the “Pills-and-Skills Model of Healthcare.” As Dr. Sears says, “the best way to lower your pill bill is to raise your self-help skills .” The Pills-and-SkillsModel means changing your mind-set from “Doctor, what can I take?” to “Doctor, whatcan I do.”

This means, rather than listening to the pharmaceutical ads saying “Ask your doctor if this pill is right for you”, ask your doctor “What can I do to change my health and health outcome?”.

My doctor said that only about 5% of patients actually do this and make the change. Let’s change those numbers! It will require work; eating healthy foods, moving more, socializing, stress relief, and more, but those are lifestyle changes that you can learn to enjoy and is much better than living with possible side effects from medications and a shorter healthspan. You can make the change!

Do you need help making these changes? Let’s talk. Schedule a coaching session and let’s make a plan. Schedule.

adapted from Dr Sears Wellness Institute with permission

In addition to exercise and healthy diet supplementation can help fill the gaps. Ever wonder about supplementation? With a little research, you can find out which supplements are backed by clinical research and studies. Some companies also take it upon themselves to test and screen their products for safety and efficacy while others take it for granted. For example, Vitalizer™ is backed by 12 clinical studies and one of the largest nutritional supplement studies, The Landmark Study. And like all Shaklee products, the ingredients in Vitalizer are quality tested and screened for contaminants to guarantee the safety of the product.

Whether you are trying to be the healthiest you can be or address specific nutritional needs, vitamins can give you the nutrients your body may be missing. Find out which supplement is best for you!

Van and I are Independent Shaklee Distributors and love helping people live healthier lives. feel free to ask us questions – lisa@yieldingaction.com or visit our website at https://pws.shaklee.com/yieldingaction