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Motivating Myself for Health

This past Friday was a Red Letter Day for me. Short story: I had a breast MRI and I do not have breast cancer! Long story: I am taking steps to sustain my health.

In mid-December I decided to look ahead at what changes I wanted to make for the New Year. I was also inspired to refresh my health goals because I’m going to be working as a health coach this year at a new clinic called Northwest Memory Care in Ashland, Oregon. Dr. Deborah Gordon and our team are committed to helping patients make changes based on the Bredesen Protocol, to prevent or reverse Alzheimer’s. Exciting stuff!

I found myself making an informal survey of diets—Ketonic, Paleo, Blue Zones, Heart Healthy, etc. and was amazed at the amount of information I found. And of course, everyone swears by whatever diet they have done. It is so human to want to find One Answer!

One diet I read about in a book my doctor gave me, written by Dr. Esselstyn from the Cleveland Heart Clinic, said to eat a plant-based diet but to avoid avocados—while another doctor I respect and admire strongly advocated for avocados as being a source of good fat. When I asked my fitness trainer at the YMCA about whether or not I should eat avocados he said, with great passion and a chuckle: “It’s not about the avocado!”
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Empty Nesting with Curiosity and Compassion

This week my first ad on life coaching for empty nesting appears in the high school newspaper, which my daughters edited five years ago. The lessons of that time of life are still fresh for me. I want to help others as they move through the pain and loss of their kids going away to college, or moving out into the world in other ways.

In the book “Rising Strong,” Brené Brown, a shame researcher and storyteller, writes about loss, longing and feeling lost. Loss. Longing. Feeling lost. Each deserves its own period in my book; these are big concepts. Brown highlights the importance of really feeling the grief connected to transitions and how awkward and uncomfortable this experience is when we really take the time to feel it. Brown interviewed a father who was going through empty nesting:
“Everything was off . . . nothing felt normal. I wasn’t sure where to park my car at our house. He had his car with him, but I still left his space open. Setting the table for dinner was strange; walking down the hall past his room felt painful—we were completely lost and at the same time happy for him ad proud of his accomplishments. We didn’t know if we should laugh or cry. We’ve done a lot of both.”  


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The Gifts of a Quarter Century

My husband gave me packs of Kleenex for our 25th wedding anniversary. While this may not seem like much for a silver anniversary, it speaks volumes of his kindness.

James noted that I asked for a tissue a few weeks ago when I was driving in his car. He went online, found Kleenex packs that had a cool design and ordered them in time for our special day. I couldn’t believe that he remembered this seemingly insignificant need but that’s just the kind of guy he is. That is just the kind of relationship that we’ve created over this past quarter century.

Accepting of the past. Rooted in the present. Hopeful for the future. 


These words are written on the back of my business card. These words are the basis for my marriage.

As I celebrated our anniversary this week, I felt a deep satisfaction in getting this far, surviving the ups and downs and navigating successes and failures. I know from past experience that marriage is not an easy path. I saw my mother marry and divorce four times and my father three. There are many ways to explore and experience the institution of marriage.

Our wedded bliss includes the raising of two healthy daughters, national and international moves and the start of a dozen companies. We celebrated first days of kindergarten, middle school, high school and college as well as graduations. We learned to ride horses as a family. We created a ranch with my father—“Grandad”—and learned to incorporate animals, weather and the outdoors. We have experienced hundreds of family dinners and family meetings. We have learned to appreciate and love each other, resulting in a high level of intimacy.

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Graduation Day and Hope

My 22-year-old daughter, Ella, recently got her first full-time job. Of course my husband and I, Proud Parents, are excited. When I posted the news on Facebook, it received almost 80 “likes” in a 24-hour period, the biggest response I’ve ever had on social media.

Youth and inspiration.  Hope and possibility.

Ella seemed perplexed at my delight and the tears in my eyes when I showed her the response. She hasn’t yet even finished the paperwork, not yet set foot in the office. I explained that my friends, most of whom are in their 40s, 50s and 60s, love to see and encourage youth. To see our children and their friends succeed, make good, pursue excellence, contribute to the world.

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One More Graduate


Ashland's newest life coach treated to a little 'Pomp and Circumstance' by her friends and family


By Janet Eastman
Ashland Daily Tidings

Renée Alice Riley-Adams, otherwise known by her initials "RARA," celebrated her graduation from life-coach school on Saturday in the most unusual way: For once, she followed tradition.

In a purple cap and gown with a bright-orange stole, she swayed to the sounds of "Pomp and Circumstance" as she passed by applauding family members and friends lining the long driveway of her Ashland home.

Riley-Adams, 53, never participated in her previous graduation ceremonies.

Not at Los Altos High in California, because she had been kicked out of her mother's house when she was a sophomore. She later received her diploma without ceremony while living with her dad in Victoria, British Columbia.

Instead of walking with her class after she earned a bachelor's degree in history from the University of British Columbia, she took a motorcycle trip across Canada and Europe.

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Building a Relationship with Uncertainty

Sitting on the back patio at my father's house, during his memorial, reflecting.
I love June. It is the time of weddings and graduations. A time of beginnings, surprises, freshness, and strawberries. And with all those good things, there too, is loss.

Last year at this time, I was planning a memorial for our family and the community to bid farewell to my father. It was a smallish affair, 60 people or so. The food was delicious, the wine mellow. My father would have loved to attend; he was quite a connoisseur. He, like his mother (my grandmother), loved good friends and good food, especially when they came together for special occasions.

At that ceremony, where we celebrated my father’s life, we wandered through his home and gardens, reflecting upon the good times. We built this ranch together over twelve years; there were many outside projects, ranch meetings, dinners and family meetings. We were a cohesive unit; we spent time together and we did stuff together. We all miss my father’s love for beauty, hedonistic delight, mental figurings, and his big heart and warmth. It was a loss we all knew would happen though I think one can never truly be ready.

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