Letter from Publisher, May 2015

Serving as publisher of Natural Awakenings of Bucks and Montgomery for nearly three years has been an amazing and rewarding experience for which I will always be grateful. Working with you has filled my heart and expanded my mind.

headshotAs with any business venture, a candid evaluation of the current situation points to what’s necessary in order to keep growing. When I reached a point where I saw that in order to take the magazine to greater heights, I also realized that I’d need to accordingly make some big changes in my life.

After assessing what would be best for our community of readers, I decided that it was time to open the door to another passionate and open-minded individual able to lead the charge. I’m pleased to share the good news that with this issue I am passing the torch on to a new publisher, Karen Meshkov, of Wyncote. Please join me in warmly welcoming her.karen meshkov

Many of you have asked about my own future plans. At the moment, I plan to have a fun-filled fantastic summer with my family. Beyond that, I expect to play a different role in the holistic arena because once you’re “awakened”, there’s no turning back.

With your steadfast support, this magazine is now poised to move to the next level of expanded service. Thank you for inviting us into your lives and infusing it with the energy and personality of the Bucks/Montgomery community. Thank you for how well you’ve loved us and for continuing to support Karen as you have me.

To the future—Salut!

More from The Publisher

Letter from Publisher, April 2015

“The single greatest lesson the garden teaches is that our relationship to the planet need not be zero-sum, and that as long as the sun still shines and people still can plan and plant, think and do, we can, if we bother to try, find ways to provide for ourselves without diminishing the world.”
~ Michael Pollan, The Omnivore’s Dilemma

I have one area in my yard that gets sufficient sun for a proper garden and it was infested with termites a few years ago. The bugs ended up coming into my house and swarming, which put me off cultivating that particular plot.

So, following the dictates of my Earth-loving heart, each year since, I’ve been experimenting with different techniques and plants, with greater or lesser success. Adhering to Pollan’s perspective, I figure that with each attempt I’ve been nourishing and providing for myself without, in this case, cutting down trees simply to gain more sunlight. The satisfying solution that’s surfaced is a countertop aquaponics tank where microgreens flourish, currently being fertilized by a lone guppy plus a vertical indoor garden with eight pockets of succulents and a grow light.

In this month’s issue, we speak with Ken Hay and Fritz Ege, co-owners of Greenology Organic Living. Their new spring offerings for sustainable living include a way to grow herbs from hanging moss balls. I’ll be stopping in to discover and learn more.

Exploring the concept of employing nature as a tonic, prompted by Christine MacDonald’s feature article, “Nature’s Wisdom,” I visited Paxson Hill Farm, in New Hope. There I met with horticulturist, Bruce Gangawer. Several lambs on the property were just a few days old and my first-ever opportunity to experience the serenity of holding them was breathtaking and surreal. It brought the essence of nature’s vital renewal home to me once again. The rural property’s Whispering Bridge and Hobbit House provide other enticements.

This month, I invite you to explore more local farms, grow your own inspired garden and explore how you and your family can live more sustainably, in harmony with Mother Earth.

Love, grow and live well,

More from The Publisher

Busy Family with No Time to Cook? Look No Further

by Audrey Chen

Healthy Cooking in a PinchLocal health coach, fitness trainer and busy mother, Sheila Royce Garcia, has written a cookbook created for the busy family, called Healthy Cooking in a Pinch: the Family Cookbook on How to Create Delicious Meals on Busy Days. Not having time to cook doesn’t have to mean empty calories, as she presents nutrient-rich foods, many with time-saving tips.
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Letter from Publisher, February 2015

This year has already brought many wonderful gifts, including beautiful mandalas arriving in my life. The first appeared when my sister from California presented a hand-painted art mandala she purchased during her trek to Base Camp at Mount Everest in the Himalayas. Within a few days of my receiving this mandala, I also became aware of a visiting group of Tibetan monk refugees from India’s Drepung Gomang Monastery (DrepungGomang.org). They were creating a Medicine Buddha sand mandala at the Sun Dog Yoga studio, in Doylestown. Grains of colored sand were painstakingly hand laid into place over a pre-planned sketch for an exquisite result. These may be created over a period of days or even months.

headshotWe were very fortunate to witness both the completion and ultimate deconstruction of the sand mandala. My children were mesmerized by the project and happily received a blessing by one of the monks. The deconstruction acts as a metaphor for the impermanence of life. Afterwards, the sand was swept up and placed in an urn. Part of the sand was distributed to the audience and the remainder was carried to a creek, where the flowing water signifies how the blessing is carried and spread throughout the world for planetary healing. Continue reading

Letter from Publisher, January 2015

Hello 2015! Welcome to the opportunity to turn a page and invite a new year of progress. January, the birth month for both my mate and me, feels symbolic. In my travels this past year, I’ve encountered many themes and observed some common threads related to everybody’s aim to live ever better going forward.

headshotI like to preserve key thoughts that resonate with my goals on slips of paper (or whatever comes to hand) in a jar. Perhaps you journal yours. Authors tend to assemble theirs into articles or books. Most of the statements I keep are positive, others not so much. I bet you can relate. Continue reading

Natural Awakenings BuxMont’s 5th Anniversary Issue Coming Soon

In February, Natural Awakenings of Bucks, Montgomery and the Main Line will celebrate its fifth anniversary. To celebrate, the magazine is looking for local businesses and organizations interested in being part of this special issue.
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Letter from Publisher, December 2014

Every December I find myself surprised that another calendar year is already coming to a close. Why is that I wonder. I hope that it’s because I’m living so much in the moment that I haven’t noticed the passage of time. I chuckle over Dr. Seuss’s quip: “How did it get so late so soon?”

headshotAs I reflect upon 2014, I rejoice in how family members have grown, kids’ accomplishments and my own progress. Recently, I had the honor of being part of the Bucks & Montgomery County 2014 Class of Forty Under 40 community leaders named by The Bucks County Courier Times and The Intelligencer. Grateful for the distinction, I am particularly glad for the opportunity to meet other nominees and winners doing good things in our community. Continue reading

Getting a Non-Toxic Night’s Rest

by Audrey Chen

We spend up to one third of our life sleeping. Shouldn’t this sleep be the healthiest it can be? Mattresses can be a very large source of chemical exposure and have been linked to health problems such as allergies, asthma and fertility problems/hormone imbalance.

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Avoid Slow Cooking Toxic Chemicals

by Audrey Chen

vitaclay spotlightAfter its introduction in the 1970s, almost every household in American had at least one Crock Pot or electric slow cooker. The appliance is easy to use and easy to clean. The convenience of quick preparation of food cooked in one pot and the promise of a hot meal ready at the end of a long day at work is highly attractive.

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Letter from Publisher, November 2014

“Stress is caused by being here, but wanting to be there.”
~Eckhart Tolle

Too often we find ourselves racing toward some elusive, preconceived end-all or be-all finish line. We believe that if we reach this place that we’ll be happy. Yet what happens when we reach it is that we envision a further step that surely will do the trick. It seems there will always be another “there” we’d rather be.

I know that I frequently get caught up in anxious or stressful feelings because I’m thinking ahead to the magazine’s next issue or a goal for the coming year or trying to figure out what my growing kids need to do and where they need to be to feel happily nurtured. We all know how, when we’re sucked into a spiral of repetitive thoughts and unfinished tasks, it’s impossible to be present in the moment, the precious moment of “now” that is all we really have. A thought-provoking definition of eternity is “now… now… now… now.” Continue reading

Making Homemade Yogurt is Easy

by Audrey Chen

Yogurt has long been touted as having sundry health benefits that make it a smart addition to any daily health routine. It contains protein, fiber, probiotics, vitamin D and calcium, as well as many other vitamins and minerals.
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Letter from Publisher, October 2014

Following a trip to a local orchard with family and friends, I posted this funky photo on my Facebook page, and it wound up inspiring this month’s letter. I’ll kick it off with a quote by Benjamin Franklin, “The rotten apple spoils his companion,” popularly recast as “One rotten apple spoils the bunch.” Clearly, the disappointed look on my face stems from the sadness of selecting a rotten apple, a great surprise in an age when we expect to easily put our hands on an unlimited supply of perfect fruit at the grocer’s year-round.

I rejoice that I was able to quickly move on to find many perfectly good apples that day, which brought to mind the question: Wouldn’t it be wonderful if it were just that easy to move away from a rotten situation in life and pick a good one instead? Our diet is a formidable place to start on improving how we feel, as Dr. Andrew Weil explains in Andrea Schensky Williams’ article, “America’s Evolution into Integrative Medicine,” on page 16. Continue reading