Life Lesson

Chasing Lost Mail…what you can do!

Chasing lost mail _edited-1

Mailing carefully selected gifts or greeting cards with personal notes for delivery to those we care about is something most all of us do at some point during the year, especially during the holidays. Companies depend on mail services to conduct business from sending corporate documents to fulfilling customer online and phone ordering. Even though we may consider ourselves to be a “paperless” generation, USPS alone reports 2015 revenue of 68.8 billion with 154.2 billion of processed mail, which proves our dependence on a trustworthy mail service. Not all mail, however, reach intended destinations. This past December I personally heard about a number of mailed packages missing, even with tracking numbers. These lost parcels represent service through USPS, UPS and FedX. It didn’t matter which service carrier was used. Packages went missing. After doing an internet search, missing and lost mail appears to be more common than I thought.

In fiscal year (FY) 2014, the MRC received 88 million items and processed 12 million of those valued at $25 or more. It returned 2.5 million items to customers — a resolution rate of 21 percent of researched items, or 3 percent of total incoming items. Office of Inspector General 

Reading this post you might also be nodding your head “yes”, having experienced lost mail this past year, especially over the holidays. One of my packages mailed on December 8th become MIA when tracking stopped a few days later. The package was finally located January 5th and redirected to the Mail Recovery Center (MRC) in Atlanta, Georgia. MRC is the USPS lost and found center hoping to reunite package with intended recipient.  Tracking a lost package is frustrating especially when having to endure excruciating on holdfrustration-clipart-frustration-clipart-287x187 waiting time to speak with a customer service representative and the end result…hearing what you already know! This post explores how a package can get lost and what we can all do to minimize the risk of lost letters and packages through the mail system.

How did the letter/package get lost?

damaged-box shipping
After speaking with USPS 3 times (average hold time being 1 hour!) listed below are some common reasons parcels can get lost.

  • Damaged package by USPS machines or personnel and the label becomes illegible or separated from the package.
  • The parcel box wasn’t sturdy to handle travel.
  • Letter or parcel slipped behind USPS machinery.
  • Address error made it undeliverable.
  • Intended recipient moved without leaving a forwarding address.

Ideas to reduce the risk of lost mail? 

  • Double check recipient current address. Nine digit zip code search, Click Here.
  • Place a clearly instructed note in the package indicating sender and recipient name, address, and contact information. Placing the note inside a zip lock bag for extra protection would be ideal. If the package label is damaged, the information needed to redirect the package is provided should the box be unintentionally ripped open or opened by mail carrier personnel/inspectors.
  • Invest in a new box instead of reusing a box to be sure it is sturdy. Use packaging well boxed shipping box brown-027_2048x2048tape to be SURE the box (bottom and top) is well taped and secure, including all the corners. The tape should be flat and not protruding beyond any corners that might easily get caught in machinery.
  • If reusing a box, remove all previous labels and black out with a permanent marker any pre-existing bar codes that often are on the sides and bottom of a box.
  • BOLD PRINT in clear visible font the addresses (return and send to) and fully clear tape the labels on the parcel or use a bold marker and write addresses on the box itself, clearly. Place clear package tape over the handwritten SEND TO address and RETURN address. This water proofs the ink and may prevent the risk of paper tear, damaging the entire label.
  • If the value of the parcel is over $25, avoid ground shipment and consider sending priority mail, signature required or registered and insure the contents. The more paper tracking on your package the easier it will be to locate if lost.
  • All sensitive documents, monetary contents or special non – replaceable items, send overnight or two day, fully insured, signature required or registered mail. Avoid mailing cash.
  • Follow the tracking of your parcel and if, after a few days, you don’t receive a tracking status update, contact your local carrier immediately.

What to do if your parcel is indeed lost?

  • Create an online account through the carrier of your lost parcel be it USPS, FEDX or UPS, or other carrier, if you haven’t already done so.
  • File an online missing mail claim through “search request” then contact your local mail carrier service by phone or in person for next steps they would recommend. Below are hyperlinked carrier online resources. When a search request claim is made and also when you connect with your local post office, ask for update notifications through text and email.


  • If the package has been routed to USPS Mail Recovery Center, it will join many other parcels deemed “dead mail” because the sender and recipient address information has been destroyed. How could the tracking number be in tact and yet the address label missing? Good question and no one I spoke with could give me an answer. It has been over 10 days since my package was routed to MRC and although I check tracking status daily, receipt at MRC has yet to be confirmed. Once checked in at MRC, it is my understanding it will be inspected by a qualified USPS inspector who will login the tracking number and at that time my missing package claim will meet with my lost package. The inspector will then match content description to what is in the box. If the descriptions match, they will follow the mailing instruction on the missing package claim and forward the box. This process could take anywhere from 4-6 weeks, or longer.

Can parcels be a victim of carrier theft?

Yes, although not a significant factor in lost parcels at USPS. When there is suspicion of theft by USPS personnel they are, apparently, quickly discovered and criminal charges are filed. According to the USPS Office of Inspector Attorney General

It is the job of OIG special agents to identify dishonest employees and take proper investigative steps to have them prosecuted and removed from the Postal Service. During the reporting period from October 2014 through September 2015, OIG special agents conducted 1,607 internal mail theft investigations, resulting in 493 arrests, 1,220 administrative actions, and approximately $478,000 in monetary benefit for the Postal Service.

The risk of mail delivery mishaps still exists even with modern technology increasing the efficiency of postal operations. Moving forward the question I ask myself as I get ready to ship another package…”What can I do differently to reduce the risk of a lost package?” Following suggested ideas noted above is on my TO DO LIST before I head to the post office. My hope is that the US Postal Service and all mail carrier services will also strive to continuously improve internal operations. Regardless of how paperless we become, we will always need to depend on mail delivery services.


Life Lesson

Your Living Trust…details you need to know

Modify - Trusting Your Living Trust

Many of us have Living Trusts to protect assets, which, upon our death are then inherited and able to pass directly to heirs instead of requiring a lengthy and costly probate process. The protection that a Living Trust provides, however, depends on your diligence, feeding (funding) into it all assets accumulated through the years. Most often homes are the largest asset in a Living Trust and yet, they can be inadvertently left out.

Recently a friend and her family were caught by surprise after the mom passed away. Believing all financial affairs were in order through the family Living Trust, they discovered the home was not included (funded) as an asset. This fact became known during the home sale, which invalidated the real estate transaction. The family sought legal counsel with the understanding that California probate might be inevitable. Probate could take anywhere from 3-8% of trust assets in fees and accumulating costs as well as up to a year or longer to settle. Why was the residential property left out of the trust?? After sharing this experience with her friend who was convinced her own home was definitely in Living Trust, both were surprised to find it is not! What can you do to protect your family assets? The following explains the purpose and process of a Living Trust, reveals common circumstances preventing property from being in a trust and shares how to determine if property(s) assets are funded and next steps if, perhaps, not.

This blog post is not intended to provide legal counsel. The information shared below is to encourage you to pursue professional legal guidance in your residing state to ensure your assets are protected.

A Living Trust is a contract between the trustmaker (a person who created the trust instrument also known as a settlor, grantor, or trustor) and the trustee(s) who hold and manage property for the benefit of named beneficiaries. A Living Trust includes a set of directions for asset management if the trustmaker is deemed mentally unstable or for asset distribution upon death. Revocable trusts can be changed without beneficiary approval and irrevocable trusts require notification and approval from the trustee(s) and beneficiaries. Trusts are funded by transferring title of assets to the trust. An estate attorney in your state will qualify your need for a Living Trust. Living Trust, Chapter 5, American Bar Association

When is property(s) inadvertently not funded (not included as an asset) in a Living Trust?

  • Forgot to include property/home residence in the Living Trust and therefore the title to the property wasn’t changed. This can easily happen when a) living in an existing home while a Living Trust is being created and b) first time homebuyer while having an existing Living Trust.
  • Purchasing a new home and assume since prior home was in the Living Trust, the new residence automatically will be, too. A deed for title transfer to the Living Trust will be needed or the new home will not be funded to the trust.
  • Refinancing home mortgage requires the property first be removed from the Living Trust. After refinancing is complete, a Deed for title transfer back to the Living Trust is needed or property will not be funded back to the trust.
  • Trustee passes away before the property is funded to the Living Trust.
  • Incomplete paper work that did not successfully complete title change.

Not sure about property(s) title or discover property(s) is not in your Living Trust?

  • Check your property tax statement. Does the title reflect the name of the Living Trust?
  • Review your Living Trust. Is your property(s) listed as an asset in the legal document? And, if property was purchased before your Living Trust was created, do you have the Transfer Deeds and Preliminary Change of Ownership Reports (PCOR) verifying property funded to the Living Trust?
  • Contact your estate-planning attorney ASAP for legal guidance to verify that property is funded as an asset in the Living Trust and next steps, if it is not.
  • California Residents ONLY – If you are a beneficiary and upon death of the trustmaker/trustee(s) discover property was not funded in the Living Trust, legal counsel might suggest filing a Heggstad Petition preventing costly and lengthy probate by proving trustmaker intent. A judge’s favorable ruling of the Heggstad Petition would allow property to be a covered asset in the Living Trust. California is the only state to offer a Heggstad Petition. The probate legal process of other states, from what I can discern simply from online research, is not as complicated, costly or time consuming as California and therefore something like a Heggstad Petition is considered not necessary.

Filing a Heggstad Petition

A Huge Change In Trust Funding Implications and Heggstad Petitions

While researching this topic about Living Trusts I discovered that when moving out of state, legal counsel should review your pre-existing Living Trust. Certain circumstances such as moving from a community property state to a common-law state may require revisions or a new Will/Living Trust and Health Directive(s) created in your current residential state. Community property states include; Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin. Alaska is known as an opt-in community property state. Having moved out of California a few years ago, I’ll need to schedule a meeting with a local estate-planning lawyer!

“Finally, though a living trust you write while living in one state remains valid if you move to another, it’s a good idea to check with a lawyer familiar with the statutes of your new state to see whether the trust should be revised to account for differences in the law, especially if you’re moving from a community property state to a common-law state or vice-versa.” Living Trust, Chapter 5, American Bar Association, bottom of page 6  

Whether you have a Living Trust and/or are beneficiaries in a family trust, to protect property assets and avoid probate check that all intended assets are funded and seek legal counsel if you have any doubts. Simple and proactive steps you take today will prevent unwanted surprises during those emotionally difficult times when a loved one passes away. A successful Living Trust depends on you to provide the care and attention it needs by being diligent and feeding (funding) assets into the trust when accumulated. If you want peace of mind, be this person!


How Much Does it Cost to Settle a Trust After the Trustmaker Dies? The Balance, by Julie Garber, Updated October 9, 2017

Living Trust, Chapter 5 American Bar Association About Living Trusts,The Denver Post, April 3, 2011

Do You Live In A Community Property Stateby Lisa C. Johnson, Esq.
Freelance writer


Target Change!

Target Change_edited-1Making New Year’s resolutions offers a great opportunity for setting self-improvement goals. Some of us look forward to making resolutions each New Year but often struggle to stay on track. Many of us don’t make resolutions either because of a lack of interest to do so or previous failed attempts. It’s not uncommon for enthusiasm to wane within weeks of the New Year, however slight modifications in how we practice goal setting can make a difference between success or failure. The purpose of this post is to inspire readers to engage in annual resolutions. Let’s look at the history of resolutions, the statistics that indicate a different approach is definitely needed, and how to target change simply through positive modifications.


New Year’s Resolutions have been the cultural norm dating back 4000 years ago, when Babylonians made promises to follow through on financial commitments to their king. A similar practice is recorded in 46 BC when Romans committed to good behavior in the coming year. They honored their god, Janus, (month of January is named after), who symbolized looking back at the year just passed and looking forward to the coming year. Self-improvement resolutions we practice today resemble that of which originated in the Protestant faith – Methodism in 1740 AD, however such goals were spiritually focused at that time. Today only about 45% of Americans participate in making New Year’s resolutions.


Research conducted January 2017 and data shared by Statistic Brain notes that 37.8% of people in their twenties achieve resolutions each year while 16.3% of people over 50 achieve their goals. US News reported in December 2015 that 80% of New Year resolutions fail. These facts are not to discourage you but to encourage you to modify how you practice setting goals for the 2018 New Year, taking a different approach for a greater chance of success. Adjusting the practice is especially important if historically you include yourself in these disappointing statistics. If a plan isn’t working, modify the practice instead of getting frustrated or giving up. It’s amazing the impact slight modifications can make. If resolutions have failed you in the past, start by calling them something else to remove the negative stigma. How about calling your New Year goals, Target Accomplishments? Target Change? Or, choose a title that works uniquely for you! Just using the word TARGET keeps me focused!

Modifications – A Positive Approach

Regardless of goals that may change year-to-year, ingrained thinking and habits will determine whether you succeed or fail. Often, just feeling restricted can lead to failure. The mind will also embrace the last instruction you give it. For this reason it’s important to articulate your goals, written and verbally, in a positive way. Instead of declaring what you want to give up, let your goals speak to what change you want to experience. Here are some examples that illustrate how to modify target changes for a positive planned and effective approach.


A good friend of mine recently shared her New Year’s resolution, blog image Clock_lede1300NOT BE LATE. Just a week into 2018 and being on time has been a struggle. After speaking about the goal and the challenges she faces, here is a modified approach.

  • Positive Affirmation Be On Time replaces Not Be Late.
  • Challenge – “I take on last minute distractions that eventually make me late.”
  • Solution – Be fully ready to leave 15 minutes BEFORE you need to leave.
  • Another Challenge – Then I get antsy and find something to fill the 15 minutes.
  • Another Solution – Have your mail, favorite magazines or a book set aside JUST for this 15-minute fill. Set your smart phone to remind you a few minutes before you need to get up and get out.
  • Response – “I think this might work!”
Blog exercise Target Change bbd6dc606e4787cb9d072eb21dd7ade5

Here is an example about smoking from my own personal experience, many years ago. Saying I’m going to “quit smoking” made me feel as if my goal was about restriction and not choice. My attempts to “quit smoking” therefore always failed. At that time I decided to change what wasn’t working and modified the approach to achieve being smoke free.

  • Positive Affirmation Be Smoke Free replaces Quit Smoking.
  • Challenge – Fear…I don’t want comfort food to replace smoking!
  • Solution – Determine in advance what will replace cigarette time. Coffee became my replacement with health and exercise, my focus. I did drink a lot of coffee which eventually tapered off. Today, catching up on email, walking around the office, stretch and breathing exercises, herbal tea, etc could fill this space. Just know, it’s important to have a new healthy habit replace the cigarette habit to avoid the void!
  • Another Challenge – I’m restricting myself and this makes me crave cigarettes even more!!
  • Another Solution – Embrace this truth…it’s about choice and not restriction. I kept a pack of cigarettes in a drawer with a lighter. I was no longer restricting myself because I knew I had access at any time BUT was choosing daily to be smoke free.
  • Response – 1989 marks the year I successfully became smoke free without succumbing to temptation and cravings.

I have not been feeling as energized as I would like. Drinking a ½ glass of wine each night soon became a full pour and eventually on some nights, 2 glasses, through the month of December with all the holiday social gatherings. Alcohol is the trickiest and easiest slippery slope, pulling you down without warning! Here is my 2018 New Year’s Target For Change.

  • Positive AffirmationDaily 4PM Tea Time replaces Quit Weekday Wine Time
  • Challenge – Finishing the day with a glass of wine gives me permission to conclude the day and relax!
  • Solution – Exploring and investing in premium herbal teas that I can serve in a fancy IMG_1102cup, special just for me, is a great substitute. Some teas provide that soothing and relaxing feel, too!
  • Another Challenge – I’m restricting myself when out with friends who are having wine.
  • Another Solution – I can order wine too, but instead, choose herbal teas when out with friends Monday through Friday.
  • Response – First week has been a success! I feel great choosing weekday herbal teas and weekend wine. I am already sleeping better and far more productive and energized during the week!

Below are simple steps to summarize how to target change. Accomplishing any goal is most often about changing behavior, habits, and thought patterns.

  1. Identify the change you want to see in 2018. This might include exercise, better eating habits, being smoke or alcohol free, improve finances, expand socially, thriving in relationships, increasing quality personal downtime, planning a needed vacation, furthering education, pursuing spiritual growth and perhaps offering or accepting forgiveness and seeking emotional and/or physical healing, etc.
  2. Articulate your target change based on the simple practice the examples above illustrate.
  3. Anticipate temptations and plan your responses, in advance, so surprises don’t become a distraction.

2018 can be the year we change the trend on New Year’s resolutions! Focus on the target change you want to achieve stated in a positive affirmation. Anticipate challenges and temptations that could get in the way and prepare responses in advance. By following these simple modifications you have a good chance of celebrating achieved resolutions at the end of 2018! Inspire others and share your experiences. I welcome you to share your success in the blog comments. Best wishes!!

Additional Resources


Target Change In The New Year!

Target Change_edited-1

Happy New Year!! 

The start of every New Year feels like the best time to set new goals and refresh resolutions, which is really a misnomer since this is possible throughout the year. After many New Year’s resolutions my success rate is less than impressive and I’m not alone. “By the second week of February, some 80 percent of those resolution-ers are back home with a new kind of remorse staring back at them in the mirror – the remorse of disappointment.” (US News 12.2015) Recently, I realized, resolutions should be about targeting change rather than simply declaring idealistic goals. Just this simple change of wording from resolutions to targeting change already makes me feel as if I have an excellent chance for positive accomplishments in 2018 because of how I might be led to approach the practice differently. You might feel the same.

Stay tuned for this year’s first published blog, which will be posted next Tuesday, January 9th titled Target Change!!  

Best wishes to all in 2018! 



Pruning The Holidays!

The holiday season is here and it’s OK to alter plans and refine your calendar if the days ahead look overcommitted and you’re feeling under-joyed!! Give yourself permission to modify or delete some of the tasks you might already have on your growing list. There are articles online about how to best manage the holiday season. Below are my top suggestions to make the next few weeks easier on you and your family.

Ideas to consider

  • Purchase holiday cookies (or at least to cover half your planned baking) for school, church, or other organizations including your own parties.
Candy Melts to decorate the cookies.

Note: Want to keep the holiday tradition of decorated cut-out cookies? Consider using Candy Melts available in many colors. Tried this yesterday and cookies came out great. Candy Melts are available at stores such as Walmart and Michael’s. Amazon offers a great assortment of colors. Very easy! Used microwave for melting. No food color gel mess with powdered sugar and corn syrup. Only difference is there is no glossy finish. Benefit is the candy melt colors dry quickly. Suggest melting in small batches and one color at a time. Example: melt the green and do all the Christmas trees first. Fast, easy, and cookies came out great.

  • Send eCards instead of mailing greeting cards and only mail to those who don’t use email. You can include eGift cards with those of whom you exchange gifts, especially kids who like choosing their own. I use Punchbowl. Other eCards are Hallmark, Blue Mountain, and American Greetings. Internet search eCards for a number of other options.
  • Entertaining at home or potluck to a party – purchase a deboned honey baked ham and quarter it as shown in the photo or buy already prepared appetizer platters and dips.
    Boneless Honey Baked Ham
  • Gift giving among large families or friends – consider Kris Kringle/Secret Santa instead of purchasing gifts for everyone in the group. The Elfster website will organize it for you!
  • Replace gift-wrapping with holiday bags.
  • Simplify gift giving that shape fond memories…movie tickets, a play, concert, zoo, museum or a January lunch or dinner out.
  • Prioritize and consider only one holiday party per week/weekend and kindly decline those you are not able to attend.
  • Schedule downtime for yourself or with family and friends. Snuggle on the sofa with a good book, enjoy holiday music, hot cocoa, tea or your favorite strong coffee brew. Watch a good holiday movie with friends or family. Play board games or cards. Drive through the neighborhood (with popcorn!) looking at festive landscapes!! If downtime is not scheduled, it probably won’t happen.

Consider pruning this holiday month! Making life simple this festive time of year will inspire you to prioritize your calendar, simplify greeting cards as well as gift giving and schedule downtime! May the next few weeks be special and memorable! And, be safe! May the joys of the holiday season be with you!!

I’ll be taking a break for the remainder of December to celebrate the Christmas season and will catch up with you in 2018!!

Happy New Year!! 

Life Lesson

Planning For A Healthy New Year? READ those labels!

Approaching the New Year in just 6 weeks, this is the time many set healthy habit goals to prepare for the coming year. Often this includes exercise either at the gym, home or outdoors and better eating habits along with purchasing vitamins and supplements. Before you head out to fill your cabinet with bottles of tablets and packets, here are some facts you should know.

“Dietary Supplements can be beneficial to your health — but taking supplements can also involve health risks. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not have the authority to review dietary supplement products for safety and effectiveness before they are marketed.” Food and Drug Administration

Vitamins and supplements can pose a danger and be toxic. PLEASE refer to your physician or a licensed certified nutritionist before taking any vitamins and supplements. The reason your friends, family members, coworkers and acquaintances might be taking certain supplements should not be your reason. If someone is trying to convince you to take or buy a supplement pack and discourages you from talking with your physician or nutritionist, this is a great reason to say NO, THANK YOU. Especially, be very careful taking supplement products that promote weight loss or are used to build muscle. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal, New Evidence for Critics of Weight-Loss and Sport Supplements warns about liver damage and states…

“Dietary supplements make lots of claims and consumers often believe them: The booming U.S. industry has grown from $9 billion in sales in 2007 to $15 billion this year, according to Euromonitor International, a market research firm. But a new study gives ammunition to critics of the supplements and their potential health risks. The study found two banned stimulants and two previously unknown and little-studied substances in six weight-loss and sports supplementssold in the U.S. The researchers defined “banned” as “ingredients for which the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had taken enforcement action to remove from dietary supplements prior to August 2016 (when the samples were purchased).”

Often, the vitamins you are already getting through food may be providing the essential vitamins you need. “But the combination of whole foods, supplements, and fortified foods raises safety concerns with experts. Eating fortified foods while also taking supplements can cause a person’s diet to exceed safe upper levels and potentially lead to a toxic buildup.” Webmd Only a physician and/or licensed certified nutritionist, often through the results of blood tests, can accurately discern what vitamins and minerals you might be lacking. Also, some supplements already contain vitamins other than the primary name listed on the label. It is very important you read the ingredient labels and small print before adding to your daily intake, to avoid duplicity. Here are a few examples.

I was taking ZINC as a supplement tablet. Then I started taking Ocuvite for eye health. I realized after reading the ingredient label, Ocuvite already has 40 mg of Zinc. I was exceeding Zinc daily recommendations and didn’t realize this for a few weeks. WebMD indicates the side effects of Zinc here.

Another situation came up where an individual I know began taking an IRON AID daily tablet. Within a week symptoms of delirium, rash, stomach issues suddenly came about. After reviewing all medications including supplements, discovered the IRON AID included 400 mcg of Folic Acid, which is not good when already taking a daily Folic Acid supplement of 1000 mcg. Toxic level of Folic Acid is noted at 1200 mcg daily and this individual was consuming 1400 mcg daily. Once taken off Folic Acid all symptoms disappeared within a week. Click here about Folic Acid and its side effects.

Below is a listing of common vitamins and toxic side effects possible (taken from the noted hyperlinked “article here” resources) when exceeding the recommended maximum amounts. New findings also suggest that the body doesn’t always flush out the excess of water-soluble vitamins. Therefore, even water-soluble vitamins pose a toxic risk when exceeding recommended amounts. In addition to these risks, taking vitamins/supplements may interfere with prescription medicine including over-the-counter blood thinners.

Almost 60,000 instances of vitamin toxicity are reported annually to US poison control centers. According to National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data, in 2003–2006 33% of the United States population aged 1 year and older took a multivitamin supplement in a given month.  In a 2009 survey, 56% of US consumers said they take vitamins or supplements, with 44% saying they take them daily.   Vitamin Toxicity, December 21, 2016

Vitamin A – “Acute symptoms drowsiness – irritability, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, increased brain pressure. Chronic – blurry vision & changes, swelling and pain of bones, poor appetite, dizziness, nausea and vomiting, sensitivity to sunlight, dry rough skin, itchy peeling skin, cracked finger nails, cracked skin around mouth, mouth ulcers, yellow skin, hair loss, respiratory infection, confusion.” Article here.

Vitamin B Family

B1 – “Blue colored lips, chest pain, feeling short of breath; black, bloody, or tarry stools, or coughing up blood or vomit that looks like coffee grounds, nausea, tight feeling in your throat, sweating, feeling warm, mild rash or itching, feeling restless, or tenderness or a hard lump where a thiamine injection was given.” Article here.

B2 – “Sun-induced eye damage, itching or numbing sensations, and orange-tinted urine.” Article here.

B6 – “Nerve damage, decreased sensation to touch, temperature, and vibration, loss of balance or coordination, numbness in your feet or around your mouth, clumsiness in your hands, or feeling tired, nausea, headache, drowsiness, mild numbness or tinkling.” Article here. 

B12 – “Restenosis (reoccurrence of narrowing of a blood vessel) after stent placement, high blood pressure, acne, rash, itchy or burning skin, pink or red skin discoloration, facial flushing, urine discoloration, numbness, nausea, difficulty swallowing, diarrhea, increase in blood volume and red blood cells, low potassium levels, gout flare-up.”    Article here.

Vitamin C – “Diarrhea nausea vomiting heartburn abdominal bloating and cramps headache insomnia kidney stones.” Article here.

Vitamin D – “Buildup of calcium in your blood (hypercalcemia), which can cause poor appetite, nausea and vomiting. Weakness, frequent urination and kidney problems also may occur.” Article here.

Vitamin E – “If you have a condition such as heart disease or diabetes, do not take doses of 400 IU/day or more. Some research suggests that high doses might increase the chance of death and possibly cause other serious side effects. The higher the dose, the greater the risk of serious side effects. There is some concern that vitamin E might increase the chance of having a serious stroke called hemorrhagic stroke, which is bleeding into the brain. Some research shows that taking vitamin E in doses of 300-800 IU each day might increase the chance of this kind of stroke by 22%. However, in contrast, vitamin E might decrease the chance of having a less severe stroke called an ischemic stroke.” Article here.

Iron – “Symptoms of an iron overdose include nausea, diarrhea, black stools, vomiting blood, a metallic taste in your mouth, stomach pain, fever and headache, which sometimes but not always occur within an hour of taking too many iron supplements. If you don’t get treatment, more severe overdose symptoms may include dizziness, chills, drowsiness, and pale or flushed skin, fast or weak pulse and low blood pressure.” Article here. 

Folic Acid – “Less serious side effects include digestive problems, nausea, loss of appetite, bloating, gas, a bitter or unpleasant taste in the mouth, sleep disturbances, depression, excessive excitement, irritability and a zinc deficiency. More severe signs include psychotic behavior, numbness or tingling, mouth pain, weakness, trouble concentrating, confusion, fatigue and even seizures. An allergic reaction to folic acid may cause wheezing, swelling of the face and throat or a skin rash.” Article here.

Magnesium – “Doses less than 350 mg daily are safe for most adults. When taken in very large amounts, magnesium is POSSIBLY UNSAFE. Large doses might cause too much magnesium to build up in the body, causing serious side effects including an irregular heartbeat, low blood pressure, confusion, slowed breathing, coma, and death.” Article here. 

Do older and inactive individuals require less vitamins? Well, this is not actually the case. As we grow older we tend to consume less calories, which means less food and therefore less vitamins from the foods we eat. This would indicate vitamin supplements may be needed. This article explains…Nutrition Over 70; A guide to Senior Dietary Needs. Published findings and talking with friends and family, however, ARE NOT to replace conversations about vitamins and supplements with a physician or their referral to a licensed and certified nutritionist.

There are no health risks when the body absorbs vitamins through a balanced diet of whole and natural foods. There is, however, a greater risk of toxicity from vitamins through dietary supplements and fortified foods. Best way to plan for the New Year…make an appointment with your General Practitioner, if you haven’t already. Discuss your physical fitness goals and review your everyday eating habits along with vitamin and supplement needs. AND, READ THOSE LABELS! Just because a bottle labels a certain vitamin doesn’t mean it doesn’t also contain other vitamins. Duplicity of vitamins can be toxic!

Additional Resources

What are the Most Toxic Vitamins? by LAURA KENNY


Thanksgiving – Past, Present, and Future

“Gratitude is the inward feeling of kindness received. Thankfulness is the natural impulse to express that feeling. Thanksgiving is the following of that impulse.” Henry Van Dyke  (1852 – 1933)

Thanksgiving kicks off the holiday season and family customs! It is, however, a day that stands alone in its own rich meaning and tradition. My hope is that the significance of this special holiday does not become extinct over time…each year the enthusiasm and holiday rush comes too close to leap-frogging in front of our country’s celebration of thankfulness. Below is a brief refresher list of Thanksgiving historical facts. Following, is the Thanksgiving I enjoyed growing up along with a unique idea; Thanksgiving Gift Boxes we shared with our son from the time he was 8 years old until he went to college. Although he is now 25 years old, we are bringing these ornamental gift boxes back and sharing the idea with you.

Historical FactsSource

Thanksgiving Day, American public holiday, fourth Thursday of November that began as a harvest festival. “First Thanksgiving celebrated by the Pilgrims after the first harvest in the New World, October 1621, lasting three days attended by 90 Native Americans and 53 Pilgrims.

Thanksgiving has been celebrated nationally on and off since 1789 and became a federal holiday in 1863 when President Abraham Lincoln stated…”Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwellers in the Heavens.”

The New England colonists were accustomed to regularly celebrating “thanksgivings”—days of prayer thanking God for blessings such as military victory or the end of a drought.


I live a few states away from the location where Thanksgiving was always celebrated at the home of my Uncle, Aunt and cousins. Each year, however, when I awake to the excitement of watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade, cooking and baking, it’s those family get-togethers growing up that tug at my heart and fill me with awesome memories; the amazing aroma of turkey in the oven with many courses being prepared including pasta and, yet to ever experience again, my Aunt’s incredible 3 meat stuffing! Traditional desserts covered the entire dining room table, too. It’s especially the conversations, old stories and laughter shared, which embellish those sweet memories. As families grow we become a generation spread out across many miles. But, time and space is graciously fluid when we can bridge holiday past with holiday present through such love filled reminiscences.

Time is “Too slow for those who Wait, Too swift for those who Fear, Too long for those who Grieve, Too short for those who Rejoice, But for those who Love, Time is not.” Henry Van Dyke (1852 – 1933) American author, educator, and clergyman 

Christmas 2000

Our own unique tradition began in 2000, when my husband, son, and I created Thanksgiving Gift Boxes. As shared in the blog post, Thriving Relationships, 1999 was a difficult year. To celebrate our renewed marriage and promising future in 2000, we identified heart-felt gifts from God, life transforming, which blessed us. The questions that led to “gifts”…In what way do we feel especially blessed this year? OR What gift (God’s grace and mercy) carried me through this past year? Here are some examples…forgiveness, emotional healing, physical healing, unconditional love, patience, perseverance, humility, faith, trust, joy, answered prayers, family, spouse, parents, good grades, genuine friendships, sports, extended family, church family, etc. The goal…choose one significant gift that was a blessing throughout the year. In 2000, though, our tree was FULL of boxes feeling generously blessed through a challenging year.  I’m excited that I found the photo to share with you! The ornament boxes hanging on the Christmas tree inspire the sentiment of thankfulness from Thanksgiving to Christmas and New Years.  fullsizeoutput_4101This year my gift box reads trust. May you enjoy these gift boxes with your family as much as we have throughout the years. How to make the boxes? Plain paper with colorful ribbon can be used or festive wrapping works, too. Labeling standard size gift boxes to place under the tree is another option instead of hanging as ornaments. Small size (jewelry) gift boxes can be found at Michael’s, Walmart and Amazon.

Thanksgiving Thanksgiving 2017.jpegis a holiday connecting the tradition of our country’s past to what we are presently grateful. Often these blessings are not tangible. Helen Keller perfectly states, “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart.” What has touched your heart this year? What challenges have you overcome or generous blessings received and enjoyed? Wishing you a Thanksgiving reflecting heart-felt memories of yesteryear, gratitude of present and being filled with hope for a future paying forward tradition and blessings, being a gift to others.

And, with deepest gratitude to our military who have served and are serving our country today, especially those not able to be with their families this holiday, deployed or lives lost. We are grateful for YOU and your families, the gift of freedom of which comes through such selfless service. Thank you!!

Happy Thanksgiving!!