Wednesday, February 24, 2010


In keeping with February’s love theme, I’ve bypassed the chocolates and flowers, as much fun as those are, and skipped right into a double portion of the kind of love that equips us and builds us up to serve one another in Jesus’ Name and for His sake. This last Woman to Woman® show of the month will hopefully refocus our critical eyes from looking in the mirror after seeing the size two model on a magazine or hearing friends’ sighs about their thighs. You'll take a journey with Michele Perry, a Florida kid born with a few challenges -- that is -- if you consider one leg, one kidney, and a missing hip a challenge. She survived 23 surgeries before the age of 13. And now, fast forward to the present, she lives in the Sudan, filling a house with orphans, handpicked one by special one. “Love Has a Face” is the remarkable story resulting from Michele’s request for God to show her how to love with His love. It will help you discover how to be fulfilled and better use His gifts in the way you live your life, too!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Love Gifts

Recently, I drove in downtown Chicago’s rush hour traffic with Sheila Simon. She’s the daughter of the late Illinois State Senator Paul Simon and his wife, Jean. Speaking over the din of heavily congested traffic, our conversation dealt with “love gifts” our moms gave us without our knowing it at the time. Sheila remembered how for a year or so after her mom died she’d pick up the phone to call her about something. Sound familiar? If not, it probably will some day. This sort of thing happened to me, too. It used to make me wistful, even sad, until I reminded myself to simply be thankful she was my mom and that she was now in heaven. But Sheila added a different spin, which I liked very much.

She said that while she missed her mom terribly, every time she’d think, I have to tell mom about this, she’d also think how great a lesson it was that her mother taught her to share and connect events and ideas with others. She now treasures her ability to “connect” with people -- whether it’s through teaching writing to law students at Southern Illinois University, or playing her banjo for fun with her husband and children. It’s a connect love lesson I hope to intentionally pass on to my children, now that Sheila has articulated it so nicely.

Speaking of connections, this week on Woman to Woman® I’ll interview specialists at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., about heart disease, the number-one killer of women. That fact is finally sinking in. We can ignore it, panic, or choose to take better care of ourselves. It turns out it’s really pretty easy to live better and longer when you do a few simple things. These heart-health experts speak to your head and your heart. Dr. Virginia Miller is a research scientist and Kathy Zarling is a cardiovascular clinical nurse specialist for high-risk CAD patients. Kathy is a parish nurse too. Both women discuss the calming influences that make for better heart health, as well as things to do and not to do to our bodies. Tune in for a heart tune-up with this latest information for women.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Love Tips

Love Tips from my Woman to Woman® guests over the years:

· Sleep helps your love life because you’re more loving when you’re well rested. You’re more lovable, too! That’s 6-8 hours, preferably with the same start and finish times each day. The big problem with our staying up later and later is that we reset our internal clock to have to stay up until the new set time, whatever that may be.
· Unwind and unplug 15-30 minutes before bedtime. Keep technology, like laptops or TVs, out of your bedroom. Your brain is in overdrive if you’re connected 24/7. You can break the addiction once you remind yourself how good it is to be well rested. It’s self-reinforcing, but it takes a week or so of tuning out before bedtime for you to really feel the effective. There’s a scientific reason you can’t get to sleep right after working online. It’s called “cognitive stimulation” and it revs up the electrical activity in your brain. As the neurons begin to race, you’re getting the exact opposite of what you want -- to be able to drift off into peaceful slumber! Cortisol, the stress hormone, is released…and off we go to the races, not to sleep. Ok…as if that weren’t enough, factor in the light from your computer or TV screen. Your retina picks it up and passes it through to the hypothalamus (the brain area that controls some of your sleep activities) and slows down the release of the sleep inducing hormone, melatonin. I know, melatonin is available in pill or liquid form, but I’ve been told by sleep deprivation experts to try turning off the technology and see what happens with a little of your natural melatonin instead!

I’ve fallen into most of these traps and am much happier and fully functioning when I follow these tips. When you say “Night-night!” -- mean it!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Heart Disease

What if your doctor sat you down and asked you, “Hey, did you know that carrying a broken heart -- a hurting heart over something or someone -- can actually increase your likelihood of heart disease?” On this week’s Woman to Woman® you’ll meet two couples whose doctors consider them “miracles.” It seems the best love stories mix romance with some crisis that threatens to tear that love apart. Often love’s passion burns brightly at first but can fade, even go out, in the face of difficulty. Miraculously, Lt. Col. (Ret.) Brian Birdwell survived the 9-11 terrorist attacks in 2001. He was working in the Pentagon when the hijacked American Airlines Flight 77 collided into it. He suffered burns over 60 percent of his body with nearly half being third degree. This resulted in more than 30 operations. He and his wife, Mel, share their hope through the message of Christ’s love and sovereignty.

Also, Gary and Carrie Gobble have a love story that will take your breath away. They summarize it like this: we met, we fell in love, and we’re living happily ever after! All that rests on the fact that Gary has received a double lung transplant and was mentoring others who were waiting for theirs, including Carrie. She, too, has received a double lung transplant, but their story certainly didn’t end there. They’ve now been married for four years. This show is bound to inspire as these couples have discovered a love to treasure through heart-wrenching tragedy and enormous challenges. Both the Birdwells and the Gobbles know true love will always finds a way.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Heartbreak Hotel

. . . don’t check in there! It’s not a literal hotel, of course, but it’s a place where our emotions can get stuck if we don’t check out fast. Did you know that heartbreak over a love gone wrong in a struggling or even in a broken friendship heightens our risk of heart disease? According to a 12-year study conducted by Roberto De Vogli, Ph.D., people in such relationships were 34 percent more likely to have a coronary event. One conclusion was that having more friends was not always an optimal situation. What counts is the quality of our friendships. Low-stress relationships are apparently heart-healthy. Add those to your daily menu!

What fascinates me is the bad heart connection that accompanies bad relationships. I think it’s because we try to work out the challenges in our heads by replaying the communication that didn’t work in the first place. In so doing, we experience the same negative responses we had in the actual event, over and over again. These responses can include depression, resentment, and anger -- emotions known to increase the possibility of heart disease. Men and women are both susceptible, and age and income/social status are not factors.

It’s all the more reason to ask God to help us forgive, even as He forgives us for Christ’s sake, and then move on by putting the matter in God’s hands. Then we’re free to nurture other healthier relationships waiting to happen. To help with matters of the heart, we’re bringing you some fabulous Woman to Woman® shows this month. You’ll love “Safe Haven Marriage” with father-daughter team, Arch Hart, Ph.D. and Sharon Hart Morris, Ph.D., who nail it on understanding your marriage in a whole new way. They teach us how to become emotionally connected with our spouses and how to turn “war zones” into “safe havens”! Tune in and build a relationship you want to come home to!