Dawn Pisturino's Blog

My Writing Journey

Balancing Body, Mind, and Spirit

When you look in a mirror, what do you see? Two eyes, a mouth, two shoulders, hands, legs, and feet. But you also have a mind for thinking, planning, creating, remembering, and dreaming. You own emotions such as love, hate, anger, despair; and a spirit which searches for meaning and validation.

Even though you can’t see it, you know that your mind exists and is functioning on a day-to-day basis. You are keenly aware of your shifting emotions, even though you can’t touch them. In the face of obstacles, you call upon your inner spirit to face those obstacles and overcome them.

If you were just a body, you would function like a robot performing tasks in a mechanical fashion without deviating from the routine. If you were all mind, you wouldn’t need a body. If you were all spirit, you wouldn’t need this world at all.

Once you recognize that you are made of body, mind, and spirit, you can see yourself as a whole person. You can appreciate the beauty and wonder of yourself. Science has dissected the physical body for centuries and still has not discovered all of its secrets. Psychiatrists have tried to analyze and understand the mind, to no avail. The imagination continues to amaze and delight all of us. The world of the spirit is an infinite frontier yet to be explored. 

When you are living in balance, you are addressing the needs of body, mind, and spirit. You nourish the body with food, the mind with knowledge, and the spirit with faith and hope.

You know when you are feeling out of balance. You know when you are experiencing too much stress. You know when you are not eating right or getting enough sleep. You know when you are feeling lost and empty inside. You know when you are consumed with love or rage. You know when your body craves exercise, your mind seeks quiet, and your spirit needs comfort.

Stop for a moment. Listen to yourself. Your body, mind, and spirit are speaking to you. They are asking to be recognized and nourished. You know already what to do. If in doubt, seek help.

January 22, 2007; June 30, 2022

Published in The Kingman Daily Miner, March 6, 2007

Copyright 2007-2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

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Your Own Best Friend

Once we have made the commitment to achieve a higher level of wellness, there are a few things we need to consider.

First off, making that kind of commitment could be interpreted as selfishness by the people around us.  Our spouses may not want us to go out jogging while they lay on the couch watching TV.  After all, this is an activity that has been shared for many years, and now that situation has suddenly changed.  They may feel abandoned.  They may feel threatened or afraid.  Hopefully, they will get the message and get up and join us.


Our kids may not be ready to give up mom or dad to activities that take us away from them.  They may become more demanding or attention-seeking.  On the other hand, there are many activities in which they can participate.  They, too, can achieve a higher level of wellness.

People who do not understand may try to discourage us.  Since they do not see anything wrong with themselves, they may tell us we are wasting our time.

Secondly, wellness can be costly.  Fitness center memberships and work-out gyms can cost a lot of money, especially if they go unused.  If choosing to buy organic foods, be prepared for a higher grocery bill.  Vitamins and other supplements can also lighten your wallet.

So what is the answer?

Take a moment to consider, “Who is my best friend?”

If you did not name yourself, then you need to reconsider your commitment to wellness.  In order to win on the path to wellness, you must first be your own best friend.  You must first be your own best nurse, doctor*, partner, fitness coach, mother, spiritual adviser, and cheerleader.  You must believe in yourself, your efforts, and your ability to succeed.

Make the choice.  Make the commitment.  Have faith in yourself.  Stay focused on what you are trying to achieve and stick with it.  This is not a commitment to last a day, a month, or a year.  This is a commitment to last a lifetime.

Dawn Pisturino, RN
November 2, 2006; June 29, 2022

Copyright 2006-2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

*Check with your doctor before engaging in exercise that may be harmful to your health. Even yoga and simple exercises can cause injury. Make sure that herbs and supplements do not interfere with your prescribed medications. Watch out for medical scams that promise miraculous cures. Watch out for practitioners who offer questionable therapies. DO NOT GO AGAINST YOUR DOCTOR’S MEDICAL ADVICE. DO NOT STOP TAKING PSYCHIATRIC MEDICATIONS UNLESS ORDERED AND SUPERVISED BY YOUR PSYCHIATRIST. DO NOT USE STREET DRUGS. Being “your own best doctor” means taking responsibility for your health, NOT self-diagnosing, NOT self-prescribing, and NOT self-medicating. If necessary, go to the emergency room and get the help you need.

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Baby Formula from the 1950s Housewife

I was in the beauty salon getting my hair cut yesterday, and all the ladies were on fire about the current national shortage of baby formula. This shortage has been going on for a while but recently worsened with the recall of Similac baby formula products a few months ago. The news media has been reporting on the shortage, otherwise, unless you have babies or grand-babies, you probably wouldn’t know anything about it.

Similac PM 60/40 Lot# 27032K80 was voluntarily recalled by Abbott Laboratories after customer complaints about infants becoming infected with Salmonella (Cronobacter sakazakii) and after one infant died.

My husband reminded me that when the CEO of a baby formula company in China was indicted for producing bad batches of baby formula in 2008 that poisoned 300,000 Chinese infants and killed six, he was executed by the Chinese Communist Party. The formula contained melamine, a toxic substance that was used to increase protein levels.

And I clearly remember the complaints against Nestle in the 1970s when the company urged third world women, particularly in Africa, to stop breast-feeding and use their baby formula products. This turned into a huge scandal which the company is still trying to live down.

Although commercial baby formula products have been around since the 1800s, breast-feeding is still considered by pediatricians to provide the best nutrition for infants. Breast-feeding popularity has gone through phases, however. Post-World War II, breast-feeding lost some of its attraction for middle-class housewives, and more women were in the workforce, so homemade baby formulas became the norm. This held true into the 1960s, when more advanced baby formulas came onto the market. In the 1970s, women’s groups demanded a return to breast-feeding as the more desirable source of nutrition for infants. Today, breast-feeding and formula use go hand-in-hand. Some women are unable to produce enough milk naturally and must supplement with formula. Some babies have special digestive problems or allergies and require special formulas.

**Some women, frustrated with the shortage of commercial baby formula, are making their own based on a 1950s recipe that was the standard for that time. Here’s the recipe, but I am not recommending that anybody use it. All mothers should check with their pediatricians before using it. The formula may not contain all the nutritional requirements that babies need. Infants have a sensitive digestive tract and may develop digestive issues or be allergic.**

In the 1950s, a housewife would make enough for the entire day (24 ounces) and divide it into 6 sterilized baby bottles (4 ounces each). She would refrigerate all bottles until needed.

1950s Standard Baby Formula

13 ounces evaporated milk

20 ounces water

2 tablespoons Karo corn syrup

Heat and cool to room temperature. Refrigerate.

The 1950s doctor would prescribe liquid vitamins and iron for the baby to ensure that he or she was getting the proper nutrition. **Consult your pediatrician before giving vitamins and iron to your infant.**

Feeding Schedule

The normal schedule was to feed the baby every 4 hours, at 6 am, 10 am, 2 pm, 6 pm, 10 pm, and 2 am. I don’t know when Mom got to sleep! But the breast-feeding schedule can be even more rigorous, with baby getting fed every 2 to 4 hours.

The evaporated milk in the formula contained Vitamin D to prevent rickets. To prevent scurvy, baby was started on a solution of orange juice at 3 weeks, with the typical ratio being 1 tablespoon orange juice to 1 tablespoon water. Baby received this solution at least once a day. **(Please consult with your pediatrician before giving your infant juices and solids. The current recommendation is to wait until a baby is one year old before giving him or her orange juice.)** In addition, mom was expected to offer baby boiled, cooled water in-between feedings to prevent dehydration.

A typical baby schedule in the 1950s:

The term “hold out” is confusing, but it apparently means to hold the baby out to facilitate with passing urine, feces, and gas. Fresh air and sunshine were important components of the baby’s day, something which still holds true now. Don’t forget the sunscreen, sun hat, and clothing! I don’t know if anybody puts their baby outside to sleep anymore. I would certainly suggest that mom or another adult stay with the baby, if they do.

The importance of a schedule is to teach kids regular habits, discipline, and responsibility, but later parenting methods called for a looser lifestyle for both baby and parents. Of course, babies are all individuals with their own likes and dislikes. Some babies willingly go along with a schedule, while others don’t. And that’s okay!

Dawn Pisturino

May 12, 2022

Copyright 2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

**REMEMBER TO CONSULT WITH YOUR PEDIATRICIAN BEFORE CHANGING YOUR INFANT’S FORMULA, USING HOMEMADE FORMULA, AND CHANGING THE FOOD INTRODUCTION SCHEDULE (WHAT TYPES OF FOODS AN INFANT SHOULD EAT AT WHAT AGE). THE BABY’S DIGESTIVE TRACT CANNOT TOLERATE SOME FOODS AT AN EARLY AGE OR MAY DEVELOP ALLERGIES.**

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“Wounds I Healed” Anthology Acceptance

I’m pleased and proud to announce that my poem, Boudica’s Soliloquy, has been accepted for publication in the upcoming Wounds I Healed: The Poetry of Strong Women anthology. I want to thank Gabriela Marie Milton (editor), Ingrid Wilson of Experiments in Fiction (publisher), and Nick Reeves for their hard work and dedication in bringing this project to fruition.

As you may have guessed, the poem is about Boudica, the fierce Celtic Queen of the Iceni tribe who reigned in the East Anglia region of Britain. In 60 C.E., she led a revolt against the Romans. Bravely driving a chariot against Roman forces, she fought for the liberation of her tribe and vengeance for the rape of her two daughters by Roman soldiers. Although defeated, she went down in history as a tragic figure and a British folk hero.

For some reason, when I heard about the anthology, Queen Boudica immediately popped into my head. She was a woman who lost everything but died with dignity and honor.

Please visit these sites:

Gabriela Marie Milton (Short Prose)

MasticadoresUSA//Gabriela Marie Milton, editor

Ingrid Wilson, Experiments in Fiction

Nick Reeves

Thank you!

Dawn Pisturino

May 9, 2022

Copyright 2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

49 Comments »

Children’s Story: “Caitlin II”

(Photo by Vitolda Klein, Unsplash)

The next part of the assignment for my children’s literature writing class was to write a children’s story based on the child I had observed. (See previous post.)

Children’s Story: “Caitlin II”

by Dawn Pisturino

I wasn’t surprised when Jenny told me that her parents are getting a divorce. It seems like every kid I know comes from a broken home. Jenny’s parents fight a lot, and I’ve seen her break down and cry in the girls’ restroom because of it. Don’t parents understand how unhappy they make their kids?

She hopes they’ll make it up and stay together, and I hope they do, too. Jenny is a nice girl with a bright future, and I hate to see her so unhappy.

Why do families have to split up? Why can’t they just love each other and stay together?

My Aunt Lucy and Uncle Tommy got a divorce. I never see Uncle Tommy anymore. He moved to the East Coast and got a new job. Aunt Lucy cried a lot, and my cousin Jeremy got into trouble for stealing money from the neighbor next door. After his father left, he was angry for a long time. I haven’t seen him since last Christmas, but Mom told me that he ran away from home one night and got beat up by a local gang. I’m afraid that someday something really bad will happen to him, and I’ll never see him again.

I love my father, and if he ever left, I think I would die. Just the thought makes me want to cry.

It scared me when my little brother got real sick. His face was red, and his skin was hot, and he slept a lot. Mom rushed him to the emergency room, and he had to stay in the hospital until he got better. I didn’t see Mom for a few days because she stayed in the hospital with him.

Dad and I took care of each other, though. We made dinner together every night, and one night, we went out for pizza. I told him all about my classes in school, the new girl who moved in down the street, and the cute boy I met at the library. I was embarrassed to talk about the cute boy, but Dad just laughed and didn’t tease me at all. I really loved him for that.

~

Sunday, May 8, 2022, is Mother’s Day. HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!

Dawn Pisturino

July 8, 2008; May 6, 2022

Copyright 2008-2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

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The Zen of Cats

(from Pinterest)

February 20, 2009: When our fourteen-year-old Siamese-calico cat was peeing on the rug and having occasional bowel movements in dark corners, my husband and I couldn’t wait until she died. Peace at last, we thought. No more litter boxes, no more cat whining, no more scrubbing the carpet. But as the time drew nearer, she seemed to sense that her days were winding down. She suddenly became very affectionate and wanted to sit on my lap for hours at a time. She wanted to be petted and cuddled and to stay near me all the time. She laid with my husband on the couch, hung out with him in the computer room, and slept on top of us at night, even in the heat of summer. But she was losing weight and going downhill fast. I held her in my lap and cried, finally realizing that we were going to lose her one of these days. In spite of her annoying, constant meowing and soiling the carpet, no matter what I did to stop it, I was going to miss her.

It all happened very fast. One day, she could barely walk, and she cried when she tried to stand up. She was sleeping more and more. I didn’t want to accept it, but we finally had to make a difficult decision.

We took her to the vet to have her put down. I held her in a towel in my arms, crying my eyes out. The vet was extremely busy, and it was obviously an inconvenient time for her, but she patiently explained the procedure, agreeing that it was probably the best thing to do. We stayed with our cat throughout the whole procedure, telling her how much we loved her. I hope she understood from the tone of our voices that we truly cared about her. I had lost my temper so many times when she soiled the carpet, I wanted to make sure she knew that we loved her, in spite of the problems between us.

Instead of earning our freedom from litter boxes and gaining peace of mind, we sat in front of the TV set listening for the cat. The house was just too darned quiet. Something had died inside of us, and life seemed very dull. We suddenly realized just how important she was and how much she had dominated our life for the last fourteen years.

After a couple of months, we happened to take our dog to the vet and fell in love with every cat and kitten we saw. Was it time to take the plunge and get another cat? We discussed it thoroughly and ran into the vet’s the next day to adopt an adorable tortoise shell kitten who was obviously the runt of the litter. She was in a cage with a larger black male kitten, and they were cuddled up together like the best of friends. We didn’t have the heart to part them, so we took both kittens.

Were we crazy? We started out with no cats and ended up with two kittens! After a few days, we were in love. How did we ever think we could live without a cat — let alone, two?

After a hard day at work, my favorite way to relieve stress is to curl up in the easy chair with one or two kittens on my lap. My stress just melts away.

Our cats are loving, sweet, funny, and unpredictable. They bring life into the house. And yes, we still have to clean out the litter box. But somehow, we don’t seem to mind so much.

April 26, 2022: After 12 years, we finally had to put our black cat down. He was dying of liver cancer. It was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to do. He was my baby, my special boy, my therapy cat. I thought I was going to die, it was so painful. Even though it’s been a year now, I still cry when I think of him. The interesting thing is that our little tortoise shell cat, who has been hell on wheels, has taken his place in so many ways! She now lets me cuddle her, something she never would allow before. We’ve grown very close. We also have an older cat who is attached to my husband. She always viewed me as competition for my husband’s affection. But, since my little black cat has been gone, she has become much more loving and friendly and sits near me in the computer room and watches me while I’m using the computer. She’s 16 years old, and I always thought she would be the first one to go. But life doesn’t always turn out the way we expect.

Dawn Pisturino, RN
February 20, 2009; April 26, 2022

Copyright 2009-2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

29 Comments »

Meditate with Music

Photo by Max on Unsplash

Meditation doesn’t have to be done in silence. It’s nice to sit there quietly, watching the fluffy white clouds of your thoughts float silently away until your mind turns into one big void of nothingness. But, if your goal is simply to relax, clear away your negative thoughts, and ease your tense muscles, there are scores and scores of musical recordings out there that can meet your goal: New Age, Celtic, East Indian, Native American, Chinese, Japanese, Easy Listening, Jazz, Classical, and more.

Music can alter our mood and our consciousness and take us away into a magical world of peace, harmony, and complete relaxation.

Here’s a classical piece that is just heavenly, written by Jules Massenet, and performed by the renowned violinist, Itzhak Perlman. Give it a try!

May you be blessed with a peaceful, relaxing day today!

Dawn Pisturino

April 7, 2022

Copyright 2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

27 Comments »

III. The Heart in Anguish – a Poem

III. The Heart in Anguish

by Dawn Pisturino

Here in my heart
Is a tiny prayer
That the world would
Grow in kindness and love,
That the pain of a million
Voices would cease,
And laughter run wild
Over all the world.

I closed my mind and heart
Because I could not bear
To hear the tears
Or feel the pain around me.
I lived in a void
For many years,
But nothing changed.
The world remained the same,
Even when I was not.

I lived in the safe world
Of grocery stores and J.C. Penney,
Counting my money,
And learning how to spend it.
I bore my child
And adored my loving husband.
They became for me
My fixtures, my sanity,
The sum total of my life.
But life does not end
With safety and happiness,
For while you are safe,
Others are in danger.
While you are happy,
Others suffer.
And it is not right,
No, it is not right
To shut the door behind you.

A heart in anguish
Is a heart which feels
The pain of a million suffering people
And knows that death is near.
A heart in anguish
Touches the open wound,
Binds the broken limb,
Tastes the salty tears,
And does it lovingly,
Reverently, without fear.
The heart in anguish knows life
And death and suffering,
But lives ultimately, and dies happy.

Dawn Pisturino
1985; March 9, 2022
Copyright 1985-2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

16 Comments »

Happy Groundhog Day!

(Photo from Mental Floss)

Today, we wait with bated breath for Punxsutawney Phil to emerge from his burrow and decide whether to hibernate for another six weeks or to celebrate that an early spring is coming!

This annual ritual was borrowed from the Pennsylvania Dutch (Amish and Mennonite) farmers in Pennsylvania and dates back to the 1800s. Rumor has it that if Phil sees his shadow, we will have six more weeks of winter. If he doesn’t, an early spring is on its way. Allegedly, Punxsutawney Phil’s predictions have a 39% accuracy rate. Not too cool, Phil!

But, whatever he predicts, this fat, over-sized rodent is a fun way to mark the middle of winter. After all, the Spring equinox will arrive no matter what Phil says!

Here’s a cute video by CGP Grey which explains Groundhog Day:

And don’t forget to watch Bill Murray in the hilarious 1993 comedy, Groundhog Day!

Groundhog Day, if nothing else, is a great excuse to party!

Happy Groundhog Day!

Dawn Pisturino

February 2, 2022

Copyright 2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

12 Comments »

People will Never Forget

(Artwork from Parle Magazine [http://www.parlemag.com])

Maya Angelou: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

COVID-19 put the whole world into a panic. There’s been a lot of verbal abuse, finger pointing, bullying, outright lying, extreme government overreach, hysteria, hypochondria, anxiety, hostility, and fear to last a lifetime. Everybody’s life has been upset in one way or another, with no end in sight. We’ve seen people at their worst.

The question is: if the pandemic ended tomorrow, how would we heal the broken relationships, reverse the mistrust that people feel, overcome the lies, forgive the hurtful words and accusations, and unite as a people? The damage has already been done. People turned on each other like rabid dogs. Some people are still expressing their hatred; their desire to hurt others; their need to segregate; their willingness to kill others who don’t comply with their demands.

The long-term social effects of COVID-19 — and the inept and malicious way in which it has been handled — is a mountain we still have to climb. Will you trust your doctor again? Your teacher? Government bureaucracy? The CDC? DHHS? NIH? The president? Congress? Facebook? Twitter? Big Pharma? Corporate America? The twisted media? The unions? Your interfering ex-friends? Your spying neighbors? Your stressed-out boss? Divisive family members? Attention-seeking celebrities? Will you ever trust ANYONE again?

Will you ever feel safe again? Feel healthy again? Or will you live in fear of the next germ that shows up to affect our lives? Will you still douse yourself in hand sanitizer and wash your hands 10 times a day? Will you still stay 6 feet away from everybody, thereby preventing new relationships into your life? Will you keep popping the tranquilizers, sipping the booze, smoking the weed to alleviate your anxiety? Will you suffer from permanent social anxiety and fear as a result of your experience with the pandemic?

What about the children? Will they be able to trust our authority figures again? Their teachers? Their parents? Their pediatricians? Will they have long-term anxiety and lung problems from wearing masks all day? From social isolation? Inadequate learning? Have they lost valuable social and language skills that would have contributed to their success in life?

And who’s addressing these issues? And does anybody really care?

Dawn Pisturino, RN

January 31, 2022

Copyright 2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

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