Tag Archives: maineblog

January 2020; Happy New Year!

Hello and Happy 2020! I skipped over a “Best of 2019” post but will recap and say it was a wonderful year; I think the very best yet for many, many reasons. And 2020 is off to a great start; all these pictures were from our galavanting around Maine and also a few from a weekend in Vermont visiting family.

I think at the start of this new decade I am feeling extra nostalgic for the happy/special things of the past/that have led up to all the wonderful things of the present, and in the context of this blog world/onlinedom I found myself wondering what happened to Fran, aka narf77. She was a longtime commenter and garden blogger and we fell out of touch and with the terrible fires down under (including where she lives in Tasmania) I am hoping her and “Stevie-boy” and her dogs, chickens, garden are ok. Probably (hopefully) she is just digital detoxing and immersed in real life/elbow deep in the dirt but if any one out there in blog-world knows where to reach her please post in the comments! I was thinking about her because over the past year I really got out of my comfort zone and connected more with people via social media. It seemed super important to do; so that I understand the whole social media thing in the context of healthcare (and I wrote a few posts about that last year). But aside from it being educational, I also ended up connecting with so many kindred spirits and special people many of who I’ve connected with in real life. And so I sent people many long-winded messages, commented, “liked” and “shared” and I remembered how good it made me feel when Fran would comment on my long-winded posts about deer fences and squash bugs and life. People who make me feel really warm and fuzzy; those are the people I’m striving to be more like (and to connect with!)

I heard on the radio the results of some survey that said the average person hasn’t made a new friend in 5+ years and vowed to never be like that (at one point in the past I used to joke I had a “no friendship policy” I thought I was “too busy”/satisfied enough with my own family and a couple close friends and also didn’t want to get my feelings hurt/didn’t see the incredible value of really connecting with others. As it turns out there’s always room for new friends and there are tons of kind, warm and nonjudgmental people out there! Though you definitely have to “put yourself out there” and also make sure you let people know you’re not selling anything lol as a lot of social media is people making connections with the ultimate goal of selling something. Which I realized that was kinda what I was doing when I first joined Instagram via my practice; I thought I was trying to “network” to promote myself but quickly realized no I didn’t want to sell anything I just wanted to share love/health info and make some friends! And in making new friends I also more deeply appreciate old friends; including all of you who have followed along with this site for the past 7 years!! So thank you sincerely for reading/following along and I hope this decade is off to a great start for you!!! Much love to you!!!

Hello Fall!

Hello all and hello fall! I am really getting outside of my comfort zone here and this is my first post done from my cell phone! I’m so modern! Haha but I figure if I may post more often if I can figure out how to post from my phone :)!

This is an important time of year to spread awareness of the severity of Vitamin D deficiency (and not just in Maine/New England; this is becoming a problem in more southern regions too (too much indoor time)!

Maine has some of the highest cancer rates and I am shocked that more providers have not considered the connection/that there are not more studies looking at the relationship between vitamin D and cancer rates (as Maine has some of the lowest vitamin D rates and the highest cancer rates). If there’s one thing I’m an expert on its disease PREVENTION! And vitamin D is a huge part of that.

In Maine (and New England) the sun’s rays (even in summer) are not at the proper angle to synthesize sufficient quantities of vitamin D. Supplementation is a must in Maine and other northern latitudes.

Even if kids/people are drinking vitamin D fortified milk, I typically still recommend supplementing. The classic 50,000IU once weekly prescription doesn’t make much sense to me; a robust DAILY supplement with occasional booster dosing is more effective in my clinical experience. Vitamin D is crucial in strengthening immune health.

Your immune system isn’t just there to keep you from getting sick. Neurologic and psychological health are DIRECTLY related to immune function. Vitamin D is also important in connective tissue function and required for calcium absorption. Vitamin D is CRUCIAL in decreasing inflammation (and inflammation plays a role in every disease!).

Want to hear something crazy?

When I did my doctoral education and training to become a nurse practitioner in St. Louis, Missouri, the local labs referenced a “NORMAL” Vitamin D level as 30-100. In Maine, several major labs list the “NORMAL” reference value as 25-50!!


Do you know why this is? Because Mainers are so Vitamin D deficient, it is just considered a normal finding to be depleted. Labs often create “Normal” ranges based on population data. So if an entire population has a problem (hello high blood sugar, and deficiencies in magnesium and vitamin D); it might get entirely overlooked!!!!

To make it worse, ADEQUATE supplementation is often overlooked! If you want to speed healing time, decrease joint/arthritis pain, avoid colds/boost immune function, prevent osteoporosis, prevent fatigue/depression for yourself/your children/family, optimizing your Vitamin D level is crucial!

Talk to your practitioner about Vitamin D today! Also, be empowered to question the “normal” lab values (and this goes beyond Vitamin D levels!). I was taught by physicians/practitioners that Vitamin D levels above 60 or even above 80 are required to combat many issues directly related to Vitamin D deficiency.

Ok so that’s the PSA of the day! Now to share some pictures of the beautiful transition from summer to fall!

Our sunflowers are falling for fall!! :)

Post swim! Swam twice (well at least dunked under!) this week without a wetsuit! But water is definitely starting to cool down!

Dorian waves (we only watched! Big waves!!)

This last pic is from late summer and I just love it; we went to the beach so much this summer and even though it was a busy/pretty intense summer there was also a lot of THIS💙!! Farewell to summer and hello to fall!! Thanks for visiting!!!



Nous Sommes Bleus

There are people that go on adventures and then there are adventurers.

John Patrick Sullivan, or Sully, as we knew him, was a true adventurer. He was a very rare person; a leader with a booming voice and commanding presence. Strong and practical, swift and kind.

Sully wanted all of the Unicorn community to come together; to raft, to celebrate, to reconnect (the company was sold in 2003). We were so excited to get up to the rivers and see familiar faces we hadn’t seen in years (17 to be exact).

This summer Sully suffered greatly and died. A tragedy no one could have seen coming. Sully was that immovable force of nature that we all knew and loved, how could he be gone?

The Unicorn 40 Year Bash he conceived of became his memorial. His true love Beth carried his ashes down the Penobscot, down the Kennebec and scattered them into the Dead. His ashes were spread in each of these rivers that were his home. Greg took Harry (our 13 year old) down the upper Kennebec and got to guide the raft (thank you Matt and Monique 💙) through Magic, as Sully had taught him 20 years ago. They watched as Beth spread his ashes at Cathedral; a hallowed and breathtaking place on the Kennebec River.

I walked the steep steps down Carry Brook with baby Peter and Eily (and Adrienne!) and we joined up with the trip, this beautiful procession of rafts pulling up as we descended down. It was like every boat was synchronized with the type of harmony Sully always exuded. It was a great, great, great day on the river. Each person was having their own unique adventure; but we were ALL there together for him, in his memory. It was such a powerful and overwhelming trip. Extremely sad and extremely beautiful.

There is no promise of what we dream of, however pure and beautiful; or what tomorrow holds. When a dream is dashed; by death, or by some other sudden and awful detour, can we find guidance by stopping and looking at the intense beauty surrounding us?

Shall we Gather at the River

Shall we gather at the river,
Where bright angel feet have trod,
With it’s crystal tide forever
Flowing by the throne of God?

Yes, we’ll gather at the river,
The beautiful, the beautiful river;
Gather with the saints at the river
That flows by the throne of God.

On the margin of the river,
Washing up it’s silver spray,
We will talk and worship ever,
All the happy golden day.

Ere we reach the shining river,
Lay we every burden down;
Grace our spirits will deliver,
And provide a robe and crown.

At the smiling of the river,
Mirror of the Savior’s face,
Saints, whom death will never sever,
Lift their songs of saving grace.

Soon we’ll reach the silver river,
Soon our pilgrimage will cease;
Soon our happy hearts will quiver
With the melody of peace.

Robert Lowry

The rivers to me mean life. Back in 2002 I became a raft guide and I found God (again), love (Smoochie), and a wonderful family, community, and home. Those waters are healing. They are part of me, part of my home here in Maine. I was not born here, but I was born again in those rivers and Maine is my home.

For the Lamb in the center of the throne will be their shepherd. He will lead them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.'” Revelation 7:17

I really pray Beth can remain strong, steadfast and kind (like Sully) in this heart wrenching pain. I think some sadnesses are meant to linger forever. I don’t think that type of grief is ever supposed to disappear. I think we are supposed to face it, let it take over us and change us; make us strong, swift and pure. Rest in Peace Sully.

John 16:20

Truly, truly, I tell you, you will weep and wail while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy.

Heading down to the river.

Greg and Chris Hewke reunite at the dam

Unicorns as far as the eye can see; all of these rafts (including the one already in the river in the above picture) were filled with Sully’s friends and family. Some also swam the river sans boat.

Baby Peter braved his first class III whitewater (black brook rapid) and then snoozed the rest of the way down the fast but calmer waters of the lower Kennebec.

Our little (and big) future raft guides.

Greg helping me paint a Cornoslavakian flag to fly at half mast before the trip (P-Roy’s idea!). Cornoslavakia= the realm of the corn, as in Unicorn.

Greg and P-Roy

Farewell Sully