Finding Joy vs. Happiness During Challenging Times

Today’s Caregiving Post

Out of a Great Need


I wanted to share a great resource for understanding the difference between happiness and joy found at

Joy is a Choice Purposefully Made

There’s a difference between joy and happiness. But what that difference is, is difficult to definitively define. For every person who says joy is an underlying truth that good or bad circumstances can’t dictate, and happiness is rooted in circumstance, there will be others who think the opposite.

Despite the different perspectives, the idea that holds greater sway today is that happiness depends on external factors to exist. Happiness happens to us. Even though we may seek it, desire it, pursue it, etc., feeling happiness is not a choice we make.

Joy, on the other hand, is a choice purposefully made. Joy is an attitude of the heart and spirit, present inside of us as an untapped reservoir of potential.

It’s possible to feel joy…

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Nutrient Dense Meals


As we make our way through sheltering-in-place, we’ve been focusing on eating nutrient dense foods in order to boost our immune system.  My husband had some difficulty finding fresh produce during the first couple of weeks but it is currently not an issue (he does the grocery shopping for our family).  I did have trouble finding many grains and beans but was able to order some from a variety of grist mills across the country as well as Rancho Gordo Beans.  Understandably, shipping took longer than usual but we were thrilled when they arrived.  While my diet is primarily plant based, I am now eating fish on occasion with my rheumatologist’s recommendation/encouragement…my diet is still roughly 95% whole food plant based.

My lungs and heart health continue to slowly improve.  I can go without oxygen most of the day (while at home) but still need to wear it at night.  I always also use oxygen while running errands (before sheltering in place) and driving.  I can’t tell you how much I appreciate NOT hearing my oxygen concentrator running 24/7 running for several hours at a time…especially while sheltering in place.

We will continue to fortify our immune systems while sheltering in place and nutrient dense meals help tremendously.

Prepping Salad Bowls:  Carrots, Cabbage, Mushrooms, a Variety of Peppers, Corn, Black Beans and Tomatoes to be Added to a Bowl of Salad Greens Before Serving



Before Sheltering In Place

Posted on my caregiving blog this morning. ❤

Out of a Great Need

harvey dunn

Before sheltering in place, I began re-reading Willa Cather’s books.

I have a fondness for historical fiction, especially when it explores the resiliency of men and women facing especially difficult challenges…turning adversity into opportunities to improve their lives and the lives of others…not Pollyanna’s or wide-eyed optimists…but indefatigable people who are able to maintain a sense of integrity and altruism in the midst of the storm.

I was also reviewing our family’s genealogy prior to this pandemic.

One piece of recorded family history speaks so clearly as we experience this unprecedented situation…a handwritten memoir recalling how some of my family members dealt with the extreme difficulties they faced while homesteading.  It makes it very clear that family members who focused solely on themselves and their immediate needs negatively impacted the wellbeing of their families and community as well as future generations while other family members who made family and community…

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Mental Health Wellness Tips for Quarantine

A post from my caregiving blog. ❤

Out of a Great Need

mentalhealthAnna Marshall, a close friend of my mine, is a Marriage and Family Therapist Intern.  She sent these Mental Health Wellness Tips for Quarantine my way.  Thank you, Anna.



1. Stick to a routine.  Go to sleep and wake up at a reasonable time, write a schedule that is varied and includes time for work as well as self-care.


2. Dress for the social life you want, not the social life you have.  Get showered and dressed in comfortable clothes, wash your face, brush your teeth.  Take the time to do a bath or a facial.  Put on some bright colors.  It is amazing how our dress can impact our mood.


3. Get out at least once a day, for at least thirty minutes.  If you are concerned of contact, try first thing in the morning, or later in the…

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Part II: Caregiving Through This Current Crisis

Part II of my blog posts on my caregiving blog. ❤

Out of a Great Need


Prior to the Covid-19 Crisis, I had also been preparing caregiving/self-care tips on behalf of our loved ones for a brain health advocacy organization (I have been a primary caregiver for over a decade and a brain health advocate for seven years).  I am sharing some of these tips received by friends and loved ones, young and old, living with brain illnesses (revised a bit in order to pertain to this current health crisis) as I feel they are also beneficial as well.  The most important tip is the one below in bold font.

Let me know I am loved in words and in action.  Please say, “I love you,” every single day even if I don’t reciprocate or respond.  Please keep telling me I am loved. 

  1. Please do not try to over analyze me.  Please do not blame anyone for my anxiety.  Allow me healthy and safe personal space. …

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Caregiving through Current Crisis

Sharing my current caregiving/self-care blog post. ❤

Out of a Great Need


Prior to the Covid-19 Crisis, I had been preparing caregiving/self-care tips for a brain health advocacy organization.  I am sharing some of these tips with you today as they apply to caregiving/self-care through this particular situation as well.

  • Draw inspiration from others. Take time to gather information from vetted medical and news sources.  Be very selective.  Speak to family and friends who have experienced caregiving through challenging illnesses or through a crisis.  I also encourage every caregiver to meet with a therapist as they take on their new role.  I am personally speaking with my cognitive behavioral therapist remotely (over the phone) as needed as I provide care for a loved one with a severe brain illness while managing my own health issues through this situation.
  • Be mindful and grateful. Mindfulness helps me tremendously as I work to release stress. I focus on what truly matters with gratitude at the…

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Buying Products Online


I have been purchasing some products on line and wanted to share some of my favorite sites for foods and beverages that accommodate a whole food plant based lifestyle.  Please understand they are all experiencing high volume sales with our current situation re: Covid-19.

Stay healthy…stay strong…stay hopeful. 🙂

Bluebird Grain Farms

Rancho Gordo Beans


Bob’s Red Mill

Good Earth Tea

Rancho Meladuco Dates


There are a lot of wonderful independent grist mills online with grain products available.  Here is one that I have been happy with.

Anson Mills


Providing a Sense of Direction

My recent caregiving post. ❤

Out of a Great Need


I was very fortunate to work with an outstanding leader and mentor when I was a young woman.  He was the general manager of a fast food restaurant where I worked as a shift manager while working my way through college.  My husband was also shift manager at the same restaurant (that’s where we met) and considers him to be a mentor as well.

One of the greatest lessons I learned from him had to do with facing obstacles/problems.  He was not one who tolerated a lot of complaining.  He was always focused on resolutions.  He would encourage us to address an issue on our own but if it was especially challenging, we needed to come to him with a couple of possible solutions before addressing the problem with him.

That being said, I have family members who are struggling with anxiety because of the coronavirus.  Most recently our…

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