Healthy Concepts

When you hear that someone is a certified nurse midwife (CNM), what comes to your mind? For many people, they think that CNMs only see pregnant women and deliver their babies in the patient’s home without the use of pain medication. While this is true, CNMs have a very broad scope of practice that many people are unaware of. While CNMs do provide labor and birth care, prenatal and postnatal care, and breastfeeding support, CNMs also provide services for contraception, annual wellness exams and menopause. Some CNMs practice in-home deliveries while other practice in a hospital setting. CNMs have a bachelor of science in nursing degree and a master of science in nursing. After schooling is complete, CNMs are required to pass and obtain certification from the American Midwifery Certification Board. CNMs can also prescribe medications.

There are many things that make a CNM different than a medical doctor (MD). CNMs are experts in low risk pregnancies. CNMS take their time with patients to really get to know them. CNMs like to educate patients and really find out what they want out of their health care experience, whether that is for pregnancy or another stage in their life. When it comes to pregnancy, we offer very individualistic care. Not everyone is going to have the same birth experience but we want to make it the best experience for the woman. We work with women throughout their pregnancy to create a birth plan suited to their needs. Another thing that makes CNMs different from MDs is the amount of time we spend with women while they are in labor. As soon as a woman is admitted to the hospital and are uncomfortable, CNMs like to be at their bedside providing continuous labor support. CNMs honor normalcy and like to avoid interventions during labor if possible. We encourage the labor process to happen naturally. While we support women who don’t want any pain medication or interventions, we also support a woman’s decision for wanting something for pain relief. What’s most important to CNMs is that the woman is happy with how her labor and birth process went.

CNMs are independent providers but we also collaborate with MDs. There is always an MD on call to back us up in the case of an emergency or even just a simple question that we want a second opinion on. There are some situations that a woman who has been seeing a CNM does need to transfer care to a MD. This would include: twin or multiple gestation and the use of insulin to manage diabetes, to name a few. In the event that a woman needs delivery via a cesarean section, an MD is brought in as the primary surgeon while CNMs are able to assist during the surgery.

What I enjoy about my job is that I am able to care for women across the lifespan. I enjoy getting to know women and see them transition through the different stages of their lives. Being a part of the birth of a child is a life-changing moment for women and their significant others. It’s a moment that many parents will never forget, and knowing that I was a part of that experience is so rewarding. Unfortunately there are some sad experiences that CNMs have to handle, but being able to be by a woman’s side throughout everything, whether happy or sad means a lot to patients and their families. Even though I may have many sleepless nights while I am at the hospital by a woman’s side, I wouldn’t change anything. Being a midwife is so rewarding; I consider it a privilege to be by a woman’s side not only through the labor and birth process but throughout her entire health care experience across the lifespan.

 

Tomorrow is a new day, a new beginning...

We’ve all heard the above phrase before. If not verbatim, in some fashion. It’s the belief that every single day, each moment, there’s the potential for a fresh start.

When I think of that in the terms of our seasons, spring is the sure winner in the race to encompass this thought. The weather, especially in Northeast Wisconsin, shifts things. And not just in the form of growing grass, blooming flowers and rainy days — although it’s hard to beat!

We seem to awaken too.

There’s a renewed sense of life that surrounds the first days of spring that make them so sweet. Winters are often long, dark and draining, and we yearn for the warmth and fresh start that spring brings. It’s a dream realized.

Kaldas Center for Fertility, Surgery, & Pregnancy, S.C. isn’t a stranger to the concept of struggle and seeing a light at the end of the tunnel. In fact, they are that light. They’re featured on page 34 and provide precisely what is quintessentially March: a hopeful, bright and fresh start for so many.

Happy spring!

grace_signature

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When it comes to someone’s dream — an aspiration; goal; aim — there’s usually a whimsical aspect, something that makes it so significant and worth wishing for that it’s catapulted into a category of its own. When it is said to come true, it can also symbolize that it wasn’t easy. Trials and tribulations sometimes make the actualization of those desires even sweeter.

Motherhood is one of those dreams.

Kaldas Center for Fertility, Surgery & Pregnancy, S.C. knows this all too well. Founded by Dr. Rami Kaldas, the area clinic is world-renowned for its compassionate and well-versed staff in all avenues of women’s care.

He along with provider, Dr. Donald Menya, are known for their unique approach when it comes to traditional women’s health. There’s nothing customary about their treatment philosophies or their drive to go above and beyond for their patients, who are naturally considered a part of the family.

“It is one hundred percent about the whole person,” Dr. Kaldas explains. “At the Kaldas Center, we wed medical knowledge, the individual, seeing the person as a whole and a hefty dose of a lot of common sense. We’ve got to know how a person’s symptoms fit into their life.”

When their lives include symptoms like pain, discomfort and the interruption of everyday tasks — not to mention the inability to get pregnant — Kaldas Center is determined to relieve and give new and lasting hope to help put dreams in reach.

It’s a passion, a spark that’s in the air at the Kaldas Center that is undeniable whether you’re currently struggling or have seen the light.

“I have so many favorite parts of my day because I have such an incredible team here,” Dr. Kaldas says. “But it’s when the shingles fall from people’s eyes, it’s that ‘I once was blind but now I see’ element that I love.”

The joy of motherhood in reach

When it comes to a woman’s path to motherhood, no journey is exactly alike. In the same vein, each woman and their body is unique, but among those struggling to get pregnant, Dr. Kaldas declares that their infertility is likely due to the same, sole condition.

“If someone has not become pregnant in over a year and everything else — the husband or boyfriend being checked, the other labs — is fine, I truly believe that it is endometriosis unless proven otherwise.”

The chronic condition affects one in 10 women. Dr. Kaldas simply describes endometriosis as “uterine lining gone bad, wreaking havoc outside the uterus,” and attributes it to being the cause of more than half of all infertility cases. Cells that normally grow inside the uterus grow outside of it, resulting in the body’s immune response blocking pregnancy from occurring. This creates inflammation, scarring and pain.

The Kaldas Center is the no. 1 clinic in Wisconsin to excise endometriosis using a laser, removing the problem all together rather than removing surface tissue one visit at a time. They are the experts in this technique.

“(Education) has become a mission and a gospel because we’ve seen so much nonsense. And on top of that, fertility cycles and medication are expensive. We want people to find us sooner rather than later because they go through so much.”

Created in an effort to educate women about the diagnosis, how it affects fertility and quality of life, and what can be done to help, Endometriosis Awareness Month every March is the perfect opportunity to discover and learn about the disease, as well as show support to those living with the diagnosis.

“We would not do what we do if we did not love life, love our patients and love to make their dreams a reality. It is not a job we are doing. It is a calling.”

—Dr. Rami Kaldas

From their perspective...

Dr. Kaldas sees not only multiple cases of endometriosis on a regular basis, but the women who are living with it every day. One of his most admirable approaches — seeing, hearing and believing in his patients as individuals — allows him to help educate others about what they’re going through. In his words, here are six things women with endometriosis want you to know and ways to support them.

1. It’s not all in their head. When women complain they have pain that’s amplified during her period it’s easy to assume they’re overreacting or making up their pain. That’s very false.

2. They can’t “just relax.” If a woman is experiencing pain, it’s a concern. However, if the pain is associated with her period then she is told she just needs to relax. Unfortunately, relaxing isn’t a cure for endometriosis. Don’t tell your friend or family member to relax — ask them if there’s anything you can do and offer your support.

3. Not all endometriosis pain is the same. Not all cases of endometriosis are the same. It truly varies from patient to patient. Never assume that someone with endometriosis can just take medication or have a surgery. It might not be the best option for everyone.

4. Killer cramps are not normal. Yes, many women experience cramps during their periods. Menstrual cramps are a common symptom. However, if her cramps and menstrual pain are affecting her everyday life – that’s not OK. Something is wrong and she deserves support and compassion until she finds comfort through a treatment that works for her.

5. There is no cure. Endometriosis can be managed with medication and therapy; however, we know the best way to relieve pain and give people their life back is to excise the endometriosis. We are experts at excising endometriosis.

6. They don’t want your pity. If you learn your friend or family member has endometriosis, don’t give them pity. Offer them support. Say “I’m here for you” and offer to listen. Respect that they might need to rearrange plans or need extra support.

“Traditional women’s care is missing something. It’s missing the “i” in “patient.” Care focused on the woman is the only care that will truly work. Every patient is different. Life experiences can change treatment options. One solution does not fit all, and we adapt to the needs of our patients.”

—Dr. Rami Kaldas

Could you be experiencing symptoms of endometriosis?

Symptoms include:

  • Excessive pain with periods
  • Frequent pain during intercourse
  • Pain/diarrhea with bowel movements
  • Inability to become pregnant in over a year
  • Abnormal bleeding

“Dreams can come true,” Dr. Kaldas says. “We have dream jobs, and with insight, patience, perseverance and skill, we will help our patients dream the impossible dream.”


Dr. Kaldas recognizes that the Kaldas Center’s ability to treat endometriosis efficiently comes from their technology and commitment to their art. Helping spread that message to those who need it is what it’s all about for them. 

The Kaldas Center is located near the Appleton International Airport and just south of the Fox River Mall, conveniently between College Ave and Prospect. This ideal location offers easy access for clients traveling from in and out of state while the warm and welcoming space provides comfort and privacy in a quiet setting.

701 S Nicolet Road, Appleton • 920-886-2299 • www.kaldascenter.com

We live in an area where having a great looking lawn has its challenges. The seasons are awesome, and in Wisconsin, we see our fair share of each of them. With spring just around the corner, our thoughts turn toward spending more time outdoors in nature. Much of that outdoor time is spent in your yard. We work out there, grow our gardens, play with our children or grandchildren, heck we even eat out there. Your lawn makes up the majority of your property in most cases. We all want that lawn to look great, thick and green, but what about weeds? Weeds are considered a nuisance and usually not welcome in our lawn. This is where I like to pose a question to those weed haters out there. “If you got to choose a dandelion-free lawn this year, but there is a pretty good chance walking across the lawn could cause you or your family to develop cancer, would you take it?” That’s easy, the answer is no, right? Yet, many who answer no will still use a chemical lawn service, or worse yet, put chemicals onto themselves! This year, take steps in creating a healthy yard. It is not as tough as you think, and not as expensive.

Autism and lawn chemicals

The reason I started my organic approach to lawn care is named Grayson. My son was diagnosed with autism at an early age. According to Autism Speaks, “a new study finds increased rates of autism among the children of women who lived close to pesticide-treated fields during pregnancy. The association was strongest when the exposures occurred during the second and third trimesters.”

The $ cost of organics versus the "cost" of chemicals

One thing people always ask us is, “Why are organics so expensive?” That is a good question, because they really shouldn’t be. Sure, you do need to apply more fertilizer to reach an adequate amount of nitrogen. Nitrogen is basically what keeps lawns healthy and green. Chemical companies can reach insane percentages of nitrogen with ease, but we really can’t. We also wouldn’t want to! Artificially increasing nitrogen rates can cause the grass to grow too fast, making it very susceptible to disease and insect infestation. Once your lawn starts to show these ill effects, the chemical guys will call up again with another high dose of dangerous chemicals to treat the problem they caused. This means you will end up spending more money in the long run on using chemicals. The real “cost” is the lives these chemicals end and the illnesses that can and will occur. Did you know your dog is five times more likely to get cancer if you use chemicals on your lawn? According to www.whygoodnature.com.

Listen, organics take time. We feed your lawn and treat your soil naturally. By adding seed in the spring, we can thicken your lawn over time. The environment will take care of the rest. Your lawn is its own eco-system. Certain insects take care of other insects naturally. Disturbing that process by killing everything that moves is not the answer. By the way, you know what else moves across your lawn? You do, your kids do and even your dog!

Organic lawn care is not only better for the environment, but it’s better for your kids, it’s better for your pets and over the long term, it’s better for Wisconsin! You need to create a sustainable lawn, and that is not achievable with chemicals. Chemicals do nothing to thicken your turf, so when you stop using them Mother Nature will fill those bare spots with weeds!

Sustainability takes time

Organic fertilizers work with nature feeding and building the soil — not against it like synthetic fertilizers. Over time, you’ll find that your soil and lawn become healthier.

The plans that the chemical lawn companies use is pretty much all the same. They do not take soil samples to find the root cause of the problems. They may say they have a customized plan, but it’s simply not true. Face it, what’s on the back of their trucks is going on your lawn, your neighbor’s lawn and even the lawns fifty miles away. They purposely do not try to thicken your lawn because a thick lawn has less weeds, and they are in the business of killing weeds. That’s it. 


References: “Why Organic Lawn Care In Ohio?” Why Good Nature. https://www.whygoodnature.com/why-organic.

“More Evidence Linking Pesticide Exposure to Autism.” Autism Speaks. https://www.autismspeaks.org/science/science-news/more-evidence-linking-pesticide-exposure-autism.

"Organic lawn care is not only better for the environment, but it’s better for your kids, it’s better for your pets and over the long term, it’s better for Wisconsin!"

I first became enthused with nutrition and alternative medicine in 1972 when I listened daily to Adelle Davis on our local KFIZ radio station. Few know of her legacy today; however, she was the most famous nutritionist of the postwar decades. Adelle helped to shape Americans’ eating habits and their child-feeding practices. Her book, “Let’s Have Healthy Children” influenced my life and changed my eating habits as I was in my first trimester of my second pregnancy.

The closest option to shop natural foods and supplements was the Kitchen Korner Shoppe in Oshkosh where I spent my entire grocery allowance. In 1980 I took a job at GNC but continued to shop in Oshkosh. After two years of corporate baloney, I managed to start my own business with the intent and mission “to provide quality food at affordable prices.” Sun Valley Natural foods opened its doors April 4, 1982 on the corner of Arndt and Main Street. In 1984 the business name was changed to Village Market Specialty Foods and was relocated in the Cobblestone Square on South Main. Finding a better exposed location in 1987 on the corner of Johnson and Seymour, I grew the business for five years before relocating to 39 W Scott Street in 1993.

In 2000 I received a call urging me to purchase the Kitchen Korner Shoppe in Oshkosh because the owner was retiring. Seven years later — after two name changes and relocating — I sold my second store to an employee who now owns five health stores in Wisconsin. My big move came in 2010, moving the Village Market from a traditional 1,500 square foot store to over 8,000 square foot store to my current location: 806 S Main Street.

I experienced the era of Prevention Magazine, exercising with Jack LaLanne and the discovery of beneficial potent antioxidants along with many other super foods and nutrients. Looking back at my growth, it was around 1990 when oat bran became a popular choice for lowering high cholesterol. For the first time people were aware of their cholesterol numbers. The public demanded more healthy food options and manufacturers responded. The media took off educating the public and people soon had access to the internet.

Whew, I weathered the storms and am finally in a location where I can grow and offer even more to my customer base. We now have a monthly newsletter and a newly remodeled space for workshops and classes. I look back and see I was a bit ahead of my time in Fond du Lac, and find it gratifying to have gone from one employee in 1982 to over 22 employees. We have also grown to offer a variety of inventory built on customer demand and an explosion of health trends. My department managers have access to order from over 200 suppliers, including local vendors, keeping our inventory specialized, continuously updated, and allows us to offer unique and affordable products.

We offer probiotics, immune and nutritional support, natural body care items, essential oils, local and exclusively certified organic produce, local maple syrup, and honey. We cater to all types of diets including paleo, gluten-free, vegan, non-GMO, organic, fair trade and more. My kitchen staff is creative and listens to our customers providing Grab N’ Go foods including salads, sandwiches, bakery items, smoothies and hot soup all made with quality ingredients.

Village Market Specialty Foods provisions a diversity of beneficial fare to meet the diverse needs of the community plus so much more!


Village Market Specialty Foods

806 S Main St, Fond du Lac

920-922-2265

www.villagemarketfdl.com

www.facebook.com/VillageMarket.FDL

“Our deep respect for the land and its harvest is the legacy of generations of farmers who put food on our tables,preserved our landscape and inspired us with a powerful work ethic.” —James H. Douglas, Jr.

Another month has gone by and we are getting closer to the day when the Wisconsin growing season will begin. Soon the days will be staying lighter longer and we will be spending more and more time outside breathing in the fresh air. It is also time to start thinking about food — and by that we mean fresh, locally sourced food from our hard working farmers! Last year Nature’s Pathways ran a series promoting Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). According to the FairShare CSA Coalition based in Madison, “(Community Supported Agriculture) is a partnership between farms and consumers that keeps independent businesses thriving, helps families eat seasonal, local produce, and charges farmers and consumers with the responsibility of building a strong, equitable food system.”

Benefits for the CSA farms:

  • Better cash flow, allowing them to use the money to buy seed and help with the expense of the upcoming growing season.
  • The ability to market their products before their days are spent from sun up to sun down in the fields.
  • They get to know who is purchasing their food and what they like.
  • Strengthens community by bringing people together.
  • Strengthens the local economy.

Benefits for the CSA members:

  • Freshness, freshness, freshness! Produce is usually picked the day of delivery and transported less than 30 miles to the consumer.
  • More nutritious food. Studies have shown that plants start losing vitamins and minerals within 3 days after harvesting. Most produce in the US is picked 4-7 days before being shipped.
  • Getting to know who is growing their food and the methods used by each farm.
  • Since most farms are small, sustainable farms tend to offer more heirloom varieties, which are not genetically modified.
  • Less packaging waste to dispose of. Produce does not come individually wrapped in plastic.
  • Trying new food, and cooking at home!

When you eat from your CSA box that means you will be eating food that is in season, at its nutritional peak. It is also one of the best ways to step outside your comfort zone and try new foods. Let’s face it, even when you go to the local farmers market you will automatically gravitate to purchasing the items you are familiar with. Your CSA box is one of the best ways to get out of that same old rut and try new foods. You will have to dust off that cookbook, check out recipe sites online, or better yet, talk to the farmer who gave you that funny looking, bumpy squash to learn how to prepare it. Only then will you find out how amazingly sweet it is and if you like it better with butter and cinnamon, or salt and pepper. You will be amazed at how many new foods you and your family will come to love!

One of the other benefits we often forget about is that when you have fresh food in the house you have to figure out how to cook it and that means preparing more meals at home. You won’t be reaching for the high fructose corn syrup or the benzoic acid or sodium benzoate to sprinkle in your dish. Chemicals typically found in commercial foods to maintain a long shelf life contain more harmful chemicals than we ever thought possible.

We would like to you carefully consider the food choices you make for you and your family and strive to give them the most nutrient dense and freshest food available, which will mean locally sourced food. And remember, fresh food tastes better!

We need your help!

Nature’s Pathways wants to highlight area farms that offer farm share programs to share the wealth of nourishment with our readers!

If you are a local farm that participates in farmers markets and/or offers a farm share program, and are interested in being featured in Nature’s Pathways Magazine, please email Karen at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">.

 

Check out these local CSA farm share programs!

FARM:

Where to find:

Types of Shares:

Featured Items:

About the farm:

Brookside Farms

5027 Hwy 41

Abrams

920-639-6100

www.brooksidefarmsllc.com

Green Bay Farmers Market on Wednesdays and Saturdays Full, Half, Create-your-own and Sweet Share (honey and maple syrup) Wide variety of vegetables, apples, melons and herbs. Egg shares and canned shares available, too We have a semi-load of beehives and produce raw honey and maple syrup. Organic practices are adhered to utilizing heirloom and non-GMO seeds whenever possible.

Field Notes Farm

1579 Church Street, Stevens Point

262-224-6027

fieldnotesfarm.com

Downtown Appleton Farm Market, Saturdays 8 a.m.-12:30 p.m.;

Future Neenah Farm Market, Saturdays 8 a.m.-noon;

Downtown Stevens Point Farm Market, Saturdays 8 a.m.-1 p.m.

 

Every week and every other week pick-up options.

Regular size starting at $285 and Micro shares starting at $145.

Household staples - carrots, lettuce heads, tomatoes, peas, zucchini, green beans, squash, onions and more. Also, apple cider, apples and herbs! We are a certified organic  and worker cooperative farm that takes pride in farming with a focus on soil health, building community and transparency. Each share features a newsletter with a story from the farmers, a list of the share's contents and simple recipes. We also have an orchard of peach, plum, pear and apricots. In the fall, we press apple cider to be fermented. We have a 5-month payment plan for our shares. Pick up sites in Appleton, Neenah, Amherst, Stevens Point and Plover.

Fox Cities Farm LLC

W2594 County Road JJ,
Kaukauna

920-585-4315

www.foxcitiesfarm.com

Downtown Appleton Farm Market - Saturdays, Neenah Farmers Market - Saturdays, on-farm store

Full Share every week, Full Share every other week, Fall Add-on Share

A variety of staple vegetables/fruits, occasional heirloom/odd varieties, varieties selected for flavor, canned items, recipe suggestions

Small farm located two miles east of Appleton North High School. All crops/tree fruits produced using organic growing methods focused on soil health. Items from other local farms added for CSA box diversity. Our small orchard of fruits/berries is beginning to bear, and we are adding more perennial fruits every year. On-farm store offers produce, pork, poultry and eggs. All animal products are pasture raised.

Park Ridge Organics

N8410 Abler Road,
Fond du Lac

920-979-9658

parkridgeorganics.com

Downtown Appleton Farm Market - Saturdays 8 a.m.-12:30 p.m. (our stand is on College Ave. in front of McKinney Photography).

Our on-farm store is open Monday to Saturday from June through October.

Full, Half and Quarter Shares offered every week for 20 weeks (June through October). Late season shares (November and December), Winter Storage shares (January and February).

Vegetables, mushrooms, eggs (available for farm pickup only), pasta and herbs.

Park Ridge Organics has been certified organic since our beginning in 2003. It is a second-owned farm providing produce to over 300 members each season. Our farm grows high quality produce and takes strong measures to ensure food safety. With over 14 years of growing experience and soil management, our produce flavor is exceptional!

The G Farm

9328 Manu Road, 
Larsen

920-268-2856

www.theg.farm

On farm each Saturday and Sunday 9 a.m.-1 p.m.

Online sales delivered Tuesdays.

Possibly the Neenah Farmers Market.

8 pounds with or without eggs, or 16 pounds with or without eggs.

The first Tuesday of each month you will receive your share of pastured meats delivered right to your door. Beef, pork, chicken and turkey are included in the share. Check online to find our food shed or delivery zip codes (in the FAQ section).

We raise animals as they were intended to grow in nature. Cows do not get grain, they do not have a crop. Chickens, pigs, turkey and all of the other animals are raised on pasture and each serves a purpose in building the soil and the ecosystem on The G Farm. Stop by the farm and learn about your food, your farmer and the systems these animals are raised in.

Triple B Produce

E6501 Mickel John Rd, 
New London

920-427-9435

www.triplebproduce.com

Shares can be picked up at the farm and we also deliver to Waupaca, New London, Shopko in Appleton, Anytime Fitness West and Bulk Food Store in Greenville.

Full, Half, Bi-weekly Full share, Egg Share.

Green beans, beets, peas, sweet corn, kale, potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, broccoli, leeks, peppers, kohlarabi and more!

We practice companion planting, which is a natural way to produce bigger and better harvests. We offer eggs and pick-your-own beans, tomatoes and cucumbers. Our shares are available for 14 weeks during the growing

season.

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Most of us have probably heard of the term “wellness.” What does it really mean? Wellness can be defined as an active process through which people become aware of, and make choices toward, a more successful existence. Wellness includes so much more than just eating nutritious foods and exercising. Wellness uses a holistic approach and is a constant balancing act throughout life. There are seven dimensions that encompass wellness. When all seven of these dimensions are in balance, we arrive at our optimum wellness. However, it takes some time to understand these dimensions. They include emotional, occupational, physical, spiritual, intellectual, social and environmental.

Emotional: Realizing your limitations, dealing effectively with stress, accepting the wide range of emotions in yourself and those around you, expressing and managing feelings throughout the challenges of life, and being optimistic rather than pessimistic. Having a good work/life balance. Enjoying life. Accepting mistakes and learning from them.

Occupational: Choosing a career that is rewarding and allows us to grow. Choosing meaningful work that allows us to use our gifts and talents to benefit those around us. Feeling as though you are doing what you are meant to do can deepen your sense of purpose.

Physical: Realizing the importance of regular physical activity and eating nutritious foods. Avoiding drugs and alcohol, regular visits to the doctor, and knowing your body’s warning signs when something is wrong. Appreciating the connection between eating well and staying active, and how it makes us feel good. Increased self-esteem and confidence are the benefits of taking care of ourselves.

Spiritual: Understanding the purpose of our existence. On the path to understanding our spirituality, we will find that our actions go hand in hand with our beliefs and values. Becoming open minded and tolerant of the beliefs of others. Staying true to ourselves. Practicing mindfulness by living in the present and not obsessing over things in the past or future.

Intellectual: Always being open to learning more and building our skills so we are constantly growing. Reading books about personal interests. Keeping up to date on what is going on around us. Spending time with people who we learn from. Taking care of problems with the information that is available to us in a timely manner, rather than wait and worry.

Social: Contributing to the community around us. Surrounding ourselves with positive people. Building strong relationships with others throughout our lives. Spending quality time with family and friends. Appreciating people from other backgrounds and cultures.

Environmental: Doing our part to make a positive impact on the environment, starting with ourselves and our homes. Having an appreciation of nature and its preservation. Volunteering time to help clean up the environment. Being aware of our surroundings and the limitations of the Earth’s natural resources. Living in harmony with the Earth.

One of the best ways to experience almost all seven dimensions of wellness at once is to volunteer your time to a good cause. There are social, physical, spiritual, emotional and environmental aspects to this experience. Giving of your time to help others can be extremely purposeful on the journey to wellness. Visit the Volunteer Center’s website, voluteercenter.net, to find a volunteer opportunity that fits your needs.

Being well is all about the prevention of disease, rather than treating it after it happens. By understanding and applying the seven dimensions of wellness, we can live healthier, more balanced lives. 


References: “The six dimensions of wellness.” National Wellness Institute. http://www.nationalwellness.org/?page=Six_Dimensions. 2017.

“Seven dimensions of wellness.” University of California Riverside. https://wellness.ucr.edu/seven_dimensions.html. 2014.

 

Health insurance planning in retirement begins for many of us as we approach age 65. This is also true if we want to keep working.

At age 65, we are entitled to Medicare, a government sponsored health insurance program that has been around since July 1, 1966. Medicare Part A Hospital insurance, and Medicare Part B Medical insurance can offer you better benefits at lower cost.

Your decision to enroll into Medicare at 65 is separate from electing your Social Security benefits. For example, you can get Medicare at age 65 and continue to work without electing Social Security benefits.

When To Enroll

You can enroll into Medicare Parts A and B three months before your 65th birthdate month and your coverage would begin the first of the month you turn 65.

What Does It Cost?

If you or your spouse worked and paid into Social Security and Medicare for 40 quarters, or 10 years, the Medicare Part A Hospital insurance cost has always been zero or no cost. The cost or premium for Medicare Part B Medical insurance has increased from $3 per month in 1966 to the current cost of $134/month. Your Part B premium can cost $187.50 to $428 if you are a higher income earner (>$85,000 single or >$170,000 couple) under Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount. Since 2011, the IRMAA requires higher income earners to pay higher monthly premiums for Medicare Parts B and D.

Part D Drug Coverage

In 2006, Medicare added Part D for prescription drug coverage. Part D plans are supported by the government, but purchased from private insurance companies. Part D premiums start at about $20 per month in 2018. The Part D IRMAA adds $13.30 to $74.80 to your monthly Part D premium.

Part C Plans

Medicare offers you great coverage with many options and protections. With your enrollment into Part A and B, you also have an option to buy a Medicare Part C plan. These private plans, also known as “Choice” or “Advantage” plans, are government contracted to provide you your Part A and B benefits. Many Part C plans also include Part D for drug coverage along with extra benefits to keep you well. These plans begin at no extra cost or premium over your Part B monthly premium.

MSA Plans

Another option is a Part C Medicare Medical Savings Account plan. These plans follow the same concept of HSA plans. Any balance left in your MSA savings rolls over each year.

If your employer group medical plan costs you more than $134/month, you would want to take a look at your Medicare options to see if you can get better coverage at lower cost from your new entitled Medicare benefits at age 65. 

There is transformation going on that is picking up speed! A variety of spiritual schools of thought, and now science as well, have been using a range of methods to make the shift from living in the brain to residing in the heart. These methods include meditation, yoga, breath work, nutrition, movement, connecting with the Earth, and our Higher Self — to name a few. Much of our modern society, however, approximately 2,000 years ago, left the realm of the heart and had given credence and value only to the brain. Looking for answers, guidance and connection here has proven to be incomplete. We are now being called to come back to the wisdom and guidance of our hearts. Cause for celebration!

The power of the heart is stunning! “The Institute of HeartMath was the first in the world to discover that the heart produces the largest energy field coming from the human body.” It has two torus shaped energy fields/vibrations, one inside the other. This magnetic field has been found to measure around 8-10 feet in diameter and is “believed to be generated by the sacred space of the heart.” Our heart holds wisdom, memories, dreams, love and intuition. Experiences of love, self-compassion, acceptance, joy and forgiveness raise our vibrational field. This affects how we experience our life and it also affects others around us.

According to numerous mystics, masters, saints and spiritual leaders coming back to our “original language,” the language of the heart, requires us to connect with Mother Earth, Sky, our Higher Self and Great Spirit/God. Without this, our heart space will feel untouchable. It is a profound reconnection on many levels!

Daniel Mitel discovered The Heart Imagery method: A. Get in a comfortable position with your eyes closed, B. Take three breaths in and out, imagining all your troubles floating away, C. Imagine your body is a house, with your brain being the attic. Travel down flights of stairs to your heart space. You will find a door there. Go through it and close the door behind you, D. See, sense, feel the love and power coming from your heart, E. Be with this, connect, listen. Listening takes you to a place of knowing, closeness; to self and others.

Sonia Choquette, author of “Traveling at the Speed of Love,” says that even though we are all traveling through life together we each get to choose our own way and speed of traveling. She strongly encourages us to choose traveling at the speed of love. She also emphasizes that love lifts everything above the vibration of fear.

Quick checklist to see if you are in Love more or Fear more:

LOVE

  • Relaxed
  • Present
  • Forgiving
  • Patient
  • Humble
  • Receptive
  • Accepting

FEAR

  • Tense
  • Distracted
  • Begrudging
  • Impatient
  • Arrogant
  • Tuned Out
  • Rejecting

Reiki, meaning life force, is another helpful ancient energy technique that supports the journey to your heart. Our body has an energetic/spiritual system with energy centers, chakras, which are connected to various multidimensional functions. In regard to coming back home to our hearts, the third and sixth chakra are key centers. The third chakra is the heart chakra, unconditional love. The sixth chakra is the third eye, our intuition.

Dunvalo Melchizedek lovingly reminds us that “learning to go back into the heart isn’t just a spiritual matter… we have forgotten what it is like to be free, to fly!”

I wish each of you an amazing journey of coming back home to your heart. Be free! Fly! Celebrate!

The value of a solar electric system is in the eye of the buyer. Some buyers are most interested in the environmental benefits of solar. Others place the highest value on the energy security of solar. Certainly, both of these bring value to the solar electric system owner. But in many cases, the homeowner will place the financial benefits at a par, or above the former. As with other purchases, a cash purchase will perform better financially than a transaction that is financed. However, there can be a lot to be said for smart financing. It all depends on your financial situation and your values.

In the solar financing market, there are more creative opportunities for commercial installations. Here are just a couple examples.

Commercial

Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE)

PACE is an innovative program that enables commercial property owners to obtain low-cost, long-term loans for energy efficiency, renewable (solar) energy and water conservation improvements. Projects financed using PACE can generate positive cash flow upon completion with no up-front, out-of-pocket cost to property owners. The term of a PACE Financing for solar may extend up to 30 years.

PACE Financing allows the commercial property owner to take advantage of the 30 percent Federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC), Accelerated Depreciation (MACRS), as well as any available Focus on Energy grants.

As of 2/1/18, there are 27 Wisconsin Counties that have approved PACE Financing, including Outagamie, Winnebago, Brown, Waupaca and Portage. For more information, go to www.pacewi.org.

Tax equity financing

For businesses that are unable to realize the 30 percent ITC or MACRS (such as tax-exempt organizations, nonprofit organizations or businesses that have little or unpredictable tax liability) there is another financing tool that brings much of that value back to the organization. It is frequently referred to as tax equity financing. Here in Wisconsin, Legacy Solar Cooperative of Madison is one of several organizations that works with tax equity financing.

A typical model is comprised of “special purpose LLC,” which is made up of a tax sponsor, a system host and a financier. The tax sponsor is a person or organization with ample tax liability to be able to take advantage of all the tax benefits of the solar project and puts up 40 percent of the project cost. The host is the owner of the facility that the solar system is connected to and realizes the value of the solar generated electricity. The 60 percent balance is financed and repaid over a six-year period. See www.legacysolarcoop.org for more.

Residential

It seems like everyone knows that in California, leasing solar electric systems is very popular. However, in Wisconsin, the leasing of solar is technically not allowed under current regulatory statute.

So in Wisconsin, home equity lines of credit (HELOC) have been the best way to finance solar systems on homes. There are other “un-secured” financing options, but for those with available home equity, this is the most popular way to finance. Here is the financial performance on a HELOC for a $15,000 solar electric system, assuming:

  • Solar generated energy: de-rated by .5 percent/year
  • WeEnergies electric rate: 13.11¢/kWh, includes a 3 percent annual escalation
  • 10-year HELOC is at 6.09 percent
  • Focus On Energy Incentive: 12 percent installed cost, $2,000 cap
  • Federal 30 percent tax credit: 30 percent Installed cost less Focus Incentive

    Year

    Solar Generated Energy (kWh)

    WeEnergies Electric Rate ($/kWh)

    Annual Solar Energy Value

    10-year HELOC annual payment

    Focus on Energy Incentive

    30 percent Federal Tax Credit

    Cumulative Cash Flow

    2018

    7,550

    $0.1311

    $990

    $2,006

    $1,800

    -

    $784

    2019

    7,512

    $0.1350

    $1,014

    $2,006

    -

    $3,960

    $3,752

    2020

    7,475

    $0.1391

    $1,040

    $2,006

    -

    -

    $2,786

    2021

    7,437

    $0.1433

    $1,065

    $2,006

    -

    -

    $1,845

    2022

    7,400

    $0.1476

    $1,092

    $2,006

    -

    -

    $931

    2023

    7,363

    $0.1520

    $1,119

    $2,006

    -

    -

    $44

    2024

    7,326

    $0.1565

    $1,147

    $2,006

    -

    -

    $(815)

    2025

    7,290

    $0.1612

    $1,175

    $2,006

    -

    -

    $(1,646)

    2026

    7,253

    $0.1661

    $1,205

    $2,006

    -

    -

    $(2,447)

    2027

    7,217

    $0.1711

    $1,235

    $2,006

    -

    -

    $(3,218)

Over the 120-month loan, this investment costs $3,218 or $26.82/month. Would you pay an additional $26.82/month for a solar electric system?

While cash is king, financing solar can be a wise path to a cleaner and more secure energy future. Yes, solar can be a wise investment, even when you borrow capital.

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