Are You Losing Sleep Over Money?

A recent survey found that 68% of women and 56% of men are losing sleep over at least one money issue. 
While most respondents were concerned about saving enough for retirement, many also worried about healthcare, debt, education expenses, and even paying everyday bills.
While you might think that being wealthy means never worrying about money, you'd be wrong. Another survey of Americans with a net worth of over $1 million found that millionaires are deeply worried about protecting their families and losing their wealth.
Wherever you are in life, if money worries are causing you stress, please give our office a call so we can help to alleviate these concerns.

View my profile on LinkedIn
Like me on Facebook


From the crest of the hill two buildings came into view. On the left-hand side, there was an old gas station with a message painted on its roof that read: Howdy Folks, Welcome to Cow Town.

Then, on the right, a sturdy brick building sat surrounded by thick walls, with an arch above the gates bearing the sign: Home of the Good Shepherd. My mother pointed it out each time we rode by, referring to it as the convent.

The gas station was not slick or modern. It was a clapboard building with a screen door, perpetually loose and hanging by a crooked hinge. The only pump out front, a large round device, looked out of place and not gas station-like at all. When I think of the building now, I remember that it was a grey weathered wood that had been beaten by the seasons and had not seen a coat of fresh paint in years.

Childhood Memories
By the time I was ten years old, Denver was stretching its gangly legs into the plains, and the plains became suburbs. The once solitary buildings that had sat in the middle of those open spaces were now surrounded by commerce and tract homes. I don't know when the gas station came down. I was probably a teenager by then. It didn't make much of an impact except for the fact that I missed the sign on its roof: Howdy Folks, Welcome to Cow Town.

The convent is still a ghostly memory. Before my husband and I moved to Oregon, I drove by where it used to stand. The building holds a piece of family history, a story that I never forgot, so when it was gone, I mourned its passing as if it were an old friend.

I didn't want to forget what it looked like and what it meant in the scheme of things. Seeing a hotel in its place made my heart ache for the sometimes-difficult truth of life that everything changes and ends.

Family Memories
My mother told me a story of being a little girl, and her family falling upon hard times; farmers who had hit a snag, a father too involved with Jack Daniel's and a lack of money to support three daughters. She recounted the memories of her parents fighting, doors slamming, bottles breaking and the confusion of it all.

She and her sisters were packed up and taken to the Home of the Good Shepherd, where they lived for several months until the family got back on its feet. It is a homesick story of missing her parents, a sense of being adrift in the unknown.

Oh, if I could have changed those difficult times for her and taken her pain, I would. But the other part of her story is that there was a swing set at the convent and she loved to swing, pumping her legs as hard as she could to get higher and higher into the air until she could see over the convent walls out onto the land that butted against the Rocky Mountains, hoping to catch a glimpse of another world.

Longing and discontent would become familiar themes throughout her life. At night, she said, a train whistle would sound in the distance and she would lie in bed imagining where it could take her.

The Past Defines Us
Sometimes there are things that we don't even notice are gone. And other times, we see the translucent outline of what once was, because of the history it embodies, because of the story it keeps alive in us. The past informs who we are.

At the crest of the hill, there is no longer anything remarkable. The convent and the gas station are long gone. I have tucked them into a memory in my heart where I hold onto the vision of the little girl who managed to soar so high on the swings that she caught the vision of hope and dreams beyond the convent walls.

Memories of places can hold powerful emotions for us for us. What places do you remember from when you were little that are no longer there or are now something else? 

5 Calming Herbs to Soothe Anxiety

Healing herbs have played a part in both traditional and non-traditional forms of medicine dating back at least 5000 years. They have been used by physicians and healers of various cultures and civilizations throughout time to soothe the nervous system and protect the body from stress and anxiety. Whether you have a full-blown  anxiety disorder or just fleeting moments of unease, you might benefit from experimenting with calming herbs - taken either as a supplement, consumed in tea, or used in  aromatherapy.

In the last few months, I have combined a few of the herbs below in my tea when my anxiety peaks throughout the day and also as a sleep aid before I go to bed at night. I am not advocating that you use herbs to replace anxiety medication. However, they can be a nice supplement to what you're already taking. For mild symptoms, they may be all you need. As always, please consult with your doctor to make sure they don't interfere with any medications and are safe for you to use.

1. Chamomile
Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) is one of the most ancient medicinal herbs and is used to treat a variety of human ailments such as hay fever, inflammation, muscle spasms, menstrual disorders,  insomnia, ulcers, wounds, gastrointestinal disorders, rheumatic pain, and hemorrhoids. Widely regarded as a mild tranquillizer and sleep-inducer, its sedative effects may be due to the flavonoid, apigenin that binds to benzodiazepine receptors in the brain. Chamomile extracts exhibit benzodiazepine-like hypnotic activity as evidenced in a  study with sleep-disturbed rats. In a  study at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center in Philadelphia, patients with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) who took chamomile supplements for eight weeks had a significant decrease in anxiety symptoms compared to the patients taking placebos.  Chamomile is used extensively in cosmetics and aromatherapy and is popular in the form of herbal tea - more than one million cups per day are consumed!

2. Lavender
Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia or Lavandula officinalis), which is known for its beautiful fragrance, has been used as a remedy for a range of ailments from insomnia and fatigue to  depression and anxiety. The name lavender comes from the Latin root lavare, which means "to wash," possibly named for its popular use in baths-an ingredient in soaps and shampoos-to help purify the body and spirit. In a 2010 double-blind randomized  study, lavender was shown to reduce anxiety symptoms in people with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) as effectively as lorazepam (Ativan). In another  study, the use of lavender essential oil helped reduce test-taking anxiety among graduate nursing students.

3. Passionflower
Native Americans are the first people known to use passionflower (Passiflora incarnate or "maypop") for medicinal purposes. It was originally used primarily to treat the conditions of "restlessness" or "hysteria;" settlers across America spread its use as a sedative.  Researchers believe passionflower works by increasing levels of gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain, which lowers the activity of some brain cells and makes you feel more relaxed. In one  study published by in the Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics, passionflower was as effective as the drug oxazepam (Serax) for treating symptoms of anxiety in people with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). While it didn't work as quickly as oxazepam, it produced less impairment on job performance than the drug. Another  study showed that patients who were given passionflower before surgery had less anxiety than those given a placebo, but they recovered from anesthesia just as quickly.

4. Lemon Balm
Lemon balms (Melissa officinalis) is a member of the mint family and has been used as far back as the Middle Ages to combat stress and anxiety, promote sleep, and improve digestion. Used with other calming herbs,  studies show that it can be an effective sedative, soothing anxiety and aiding sleep. In a double-blind, placebo-controlled  study, 18 healthy volunteers received two separate single doses of a standardized lemon balm extract (300 mg and 600 mg) or placebo for seven days. The 600 mg dose of lemon balm increased mood and significantly increased calmness and alertness. Another  study documented the effectiveness of a lemon balm along with other herbal preparations to reduce anxiety. When the participants used the lozenges, they demonstrated marked increases in alpha wave activities that are associated with relaxation.

5. Valerian
Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) has been used since the second century to treat insomnia and anxiety, although it became popular in Europe during the 17 thcentury. Scientists believe that, like other calming herbs, valerian increases the amount of gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain, similar to drugs like alprazolam (Xanax) and diazepam (Valium) which relaxes the brain. The studies on Valerian as a sleep aid are  inconclusive. In one  study, Valerian was not shown to be appreciably better than placebo in promoting sleep or sleep-related factors for any individual patient or for all patients as a group. However, in another randomized, double-blind  study, 75 participants with documented insomnia received either 600 mg. of valerian extract or 10 mg. of oxazepam for 28 days. Those who took Valerian had the same improvement in sleep with fewer side effects as the oxazepam group.

Charming Clydesdale horse roams halls at nursing home cheering residents

You can't bring a horse inside a nursing home!

But when you do, it just might go viral because it's so darn cute.
In a photo posted on Reddit last week, a Clydesdale horse gently approaches an elderly woman in a wheelchair, which happens to be in the hallway right outside her room in the Village of East Harbor Senior Living Community.

That Clydesdale's name is Renee, affectionately known as Neigh-Neigh, and she warmed the hearts of every senior citizen in the nursing home, according to administrator Carolyn Martin.

"It was pet therapy on steroids," Martin told TODAY.

Some people on the nursing home's staff said that it couldn't be possible to bring the Clydesdale into the nursing home.

But bringing a horse inside was exactly what she needed to do for this group, as many of the seniors living have mobility issues preventing them from going outside.

Martin contacted Chamberlin Pony Rides in Michigan, who put her in touch with one of their contractors, Maggie Provenzano.

Provenzano had never brought the horse inside before, but Martin said she was certain they could make it happen.

All it took was a little patience to put the plan into motion - someone following the horse with a bucket.

The event turned out to be "one of the most moving days we've ever had," Martin said.

Neigh-Neigh brought everyone out of their rooms, even those who rarely go to activities or come out to socialize, Martin said.

The emotional encounter between the horse and the seniors was scheduled to be an hour long.

But once Provenzano saw how much they all benefited from meeting Neigh-Neigh, she stayed for two and a half hours, making sure that Neigh-Neigh met each and every person.The horse even put her head in some of the seniors laps.

One woman in memory care, the section of the facility that helps manage dementia and Alzheimer's disease, became visibly excited as Neigh-Neigh approached her, and they put their heads together.

The unique therapeutic experience brought tears to many of the residents', family members' and staff members' eyes.

"Everybody was just so moved by the experience," Martin said. "It was almost like she just knew."

Fun Facts about May

  • It is the third and last month of the season of spring. 
  • The birthstone of May, the emerald, symbolizes success and love. 
  • May in the Northern Hemisphere is similar to November in the Southern Hemisphere. 
  • May was once considered a bad luck month to get married. There is a poem that says "Marry in May and you'll rue the day". 
  • In Old English May is called the "month of three milkings" referring to a time when the cows could be milked three times a day. 
  • The Kentucky Derby, the world's most famous horse race, is held on the second Saturday of this month. 
  • The month of May is devoted to the Virgin Mary in the Catholic Church. 
  • The last week of May is Library and Information Week.
Your #SpreadTheHealth Challenge: Nourish Yourself

Drink more water.
Staying hydrated can stave off fatigue, beat brain fog, and even keep your metabolism humming. Pick a daily sip count, and use a water-drinking app (like  Waterlogged) to hold you accountable. The benefits are so worth the extra bathroom trips. 

Make a daily soup-or-salad rule.
Swap your sandwich for a cup of minestrone, or pass over the pasta for a bowl of hearty greens. Soups and salads make it easy (and delicious) to sneak in more vegetables. And because they're loaded with water and fiber, they'll fill you up for fewer calories. 

Pack clean snacks.
Having healthy nibbles on hand means you're less likely to fall victim to the vending machine. On the weekend, put together healthy grab-and-go snack packs that you can toss into your bag all week long. Think fruit with string cheese, nuts and seeds, or sliced veggies with hummus.

Vegetarian Taco Salad

Nobody will miss the meat in this colorful, zesty vegetarian taco salad. The rice and bean mixture can be made ahead and the salad quickly assembled at mealtime. 

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1½ cups fresh corn kernels or frozen, thawed
  • 4 large tomatoes
  • 1½ cups cooked long-grain brown rice
  • 1 15-ounce can black, kidney or pinto beans, rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1½ teaspoons dried oregano, divided
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • ⅓ cup prepared salsa
  • 2 cups shredded iceberg or romaine lettuce
  • 1 cup shredded pepper Jack cheese
  • 2½ cups coarsely crumbled tortilla chips
  • Lime wedges for garnish

  1. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and corn; cook, stirring, until the onion begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Coarsely chop 1 tomato. Add it to the pan along with rice, beans, chili powder, 1 teaspoon oregano and ¼ teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until the tomato cooks down, about 5 minutes. Let cool slightly.
  2. Coarsely chop the remaining 3 tomatoes. Combine with cilantro, salsa and the remaining ½ teaspoon oregano in a medium bowl.
  3. Toss lettuce in a large bowl with the bean mixture, half the fresh salsa and ⅔ cup cheese. Serve sprinkled with tortilla chips and the remaining cheese, passing lime wedges and the remaining fresh salsa at the table.