A Time to Remember

The upcoming Memorial Day opens the door to remember the fallen soldiers during our American history. It was initially called Decoration Day, and we have been celebrating since spring 1865. It is a beautiful tradition based on respect for our heroes. It is an American holiday, filled with a deep appreciation of all the sacrifices made and our obtained freedom. That freedom would not have been possible without our heroes, and they deserve our respect and gratitude.

Not taking anything away from this particular day, I felt this year I wanted to expand it to my heroes. We all have heroes in our lives, and they deserve to be honored and remembered. What better way than to place them in the company of our national heroes? Thinking about it, my mother comes into my mind. She was a strong and independent woman who was a master in picking up pieces and putting them together into a new life. I learned a lot from her, although she spent a limited time with me. She lost her mother, my grandmother, at age ten, then her son, my brother, as an infant, finally her husband, my father, when I was ten weeks old. I am sure she didn’t live the life she had dreamed of; no one did who lived during WWI and WWII. But she made the best out of it, and I have a deep admiration for her. To my deepest regrets, I lost her when I was seventeen years old, and I didn’t have the opportunity to talk with her as an adult. I sincerely feel the loss.

I will have my personal Memorial Day celebration, light a candle, and thank my mother for her sacrifices and love. I also will expand my celebration to other heroes in my life and feel deep gratitude.

Please celebrate your heroes in whatever way and fashion meaning the most to you. We all are where we stand because of loving people, supporting us, and assisting in our daily lives and growth. My first memories are from “Kindergarten,” where the nuns tried to instill values and respect into us. It continued during my school years, with some teachers standing out above the expected norm. And then my professional life, filled with amazing colleagues and clients. Yes, I have a vast Memorial Day list, and I feel so blessed. I could light a valley of candles, and in my mind, I see this sea of light that made the life I live possible. Like we wouldn’t have the freedom and independence we so much enjoy without the courage and sacrifice of our fallen heroes, we neither wouldn’t have our present lives without our champions. My ocean of light and my gratitude expands to all of them. I will not visit our warriors in a cemetery but will celebrate them in my heart.

I wish you a meaningful Memorial Day filled with your memories and gratitude.

Silvia Coggin, CPC

Author and Founder of NotJustCooking.com




Light at the End of the Tunnel

Coping with the pandemic has been difficult, but we appear to be slowly seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. With the vaccination program progressing successfully, Americans wearing masks and keeping social distances, the risk of infection is diminishing.

Steve and I have had our second shot, with severe complications for me, but I am so grateful that I am approaching an immunity that will allow me to live a fuller and more varied life. I would do it again, despite the complications I developed. The improved quality of life the vaccine gives us makes it all worth it.

During the quiet and mostly homebound year, there was lots of time to ponder about life. Unfortunately for so many, it was an imposed staying home because of job scarcity, and I hope and wish that this will improve soon. And my heart is heavy and sad, thinking of the significant loss in human life this pandemic has caused. There are no words to describe the pain and sorrow.

Now Americans are slowly climbing out of the hole, and although it will take more effort from all of us to make it a successful endeavor, it is a turn to recover and progress. I do not mind wearing a mask and observing restrictions as they come along, as long as they benefit everyone. Maybe you can focus on the positive aspect that with a successful vaccination program, the virus hopefully will be controlled, as long as we combine it with other safety features like wearing masks and maintaining social distances. I hope this will be the case rather than plunging again into an uncontrolled growth of the pandemic. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be able to place the pandemic into our memory banks?

Yes, life has its ups and downs, but we don’t have to cling to the downs, although it might sometimes seem that there is no way out. There is always a sunrise.

I hope you are traveling through these difficult times, keeping your spirits up and knowing that a better future awaits you. And hopefully, this restrictive period in our lives has allowed you to catch up with projects you wanted to do. I call it a physical as well as a metaphorical housecleaning. I have done both, which allowed me to remain optimistic and full of hope for the future.

I wish you a happy climbing out of the pandemic. Stay happy and healtlhy and trust that all will be well again.

Silvia Coggin, CPC
Author and Founder of NotJustCooking.com



The Gift of Care Givers

After years of struggling to maintain a balance between my disease and Steve’s life, who endeavored to make my life more comfortable at a considerable sacrifice, my health finally required that I have professional home care, and the thought was intimidating to me. Was it because I had to admit that I am getting weaker, or the fear of losing my privacy and independence? With considerable trepidation, I agreed, and to my surprise, I am enjoying the care and attention.

My caregiver is a lovely young woman, a beautiful soul, and a charming companion. I feel like I have a loving daughter with me, someone who cares and likes to see me happy.

People like her seem like angels to me. They put themselves into your shoes, put your interest ahead of their own, and give without restraint or limitation. Having an angel assisting me is like a dream come true. When she arrives in the morning a few times a week, it is like the sun is shining, and her smile touches me deeply, even if it is through her face mask. I was never aware of these selfless and caring people and feel grateful for the pleasure of finishing my life with them. Please do not worry about me. I am still functioning and alert but getting weaker rapidly. I am still learning how to maximize my home care but am getting better at it. One thing is sure: I enjoy every moment of it.

There were times when I thought I would have to move to a retirement home when my need for additional care manifested itself, my husband being a willing but not professional care giver. These last few years took a toll on him, and I didn’t want to increase his burden. Now I know that I can enjoy my time at home to the fullest, and I am grateful. It is like a dream comes true being surrounded by compassion, empathy, and kindness, and no additional burden for Steve. There is no space for feeling sorry for myself, but rather a deep sense of being blessed and grateful.

I cannot express the depth of my gratitude. If you ever had a fleeting thought of “what will become of me and how will I cope?” do not worry. There are angels amongst us who will share their kindness and skills and make your life worth living right to the end. One thing is sure; with their assistance you can enjoy every segment of your life!

Silvia Coggin, CPC
Author and Founder of NotJustCooking.com




Intuition can play an essential role in our lives, and it is worthwhile to be open and listen to it. Don’t discard thoughts and feelings without examining them and evaluating if they are related to anything happening in your life or perhaps to some dreams and aspirations you are harboring.

I have used my intuition for a very long time. My metaphysical studies encouraged me early on, and it became second nature over the years. These days I mostly use it for my health, and it can surprise me.

Recently I suffered tremendous pain due to an enlarged spleen. It was so unbearable that the doctors at the Mayo decided to hospitalize me for a few days to develop a plan to control the pain. My stay started with a blood transfusion of two units in the emergency room, followed by intensive pain management in the hospital. A few days later, I was discharged, and for about four weeks, I was pain-free. It was a real blessing, and I was delighted and deeply grateful. I had forgotten how wonderful a life without constant pain could be. But then, the pain increased progressively, and only more pain medications made me comfortable.

I also became symptomatic for severe anemia, and my CBC showed that I was urgently in need of a transfusion. I received two units of blood at the Mayo Clinic. We returned home, and the next day my spleen pain was gone, like before. I went to bed that night and asked my higher self if there was a correlation between my hemoglobin level and my spleen pain since it happened the second time. I always talk to my higher self, but you can call it anything you are comfortable with. The next morning, I woke up feeling confident that my spleen pain was related to my anemia. This sounded far-fetched, but I believe in my intuition and decided to submit that question to Mayo’s palliative care team during my Zoom meeting. My question surprised them, but after some consideration, they concluded that my intuition might be right because a higher hemoglobin level allows the spleen to work more efficiently. Conversely, a low level puts more stress on the spleen. The Mayo team concluded that it is logical and a possibility, although not clinically proven. I thanked my intuition for giving me that insight. Moreover, it might open a door for me to participate more actively in my care. How? Well, I will keep detailed notes on what medications I take. I’ll have my blood checked more often and have a blood transfusion sooner rather than waiting to become symptomatic from severe anemia. I have to see what the future brings, but not having to suffer so much pain would indeed be a miracle sprouted from my intuition. It is a thrilling thought.

How can you develop your intuition? Try making sure that the last thoughts before going to sleep are something you want your higher self to work on during your sleep to give you more clarity. Lie with your eyes closed, open your mind, and allow your intuition to communicate. I have found that it is a powerful tool.

Silvia Coggin, CPC
Author and Founder of NotJustCooking.com


Mind and Body

Recently I was challenged by an abrupt hospitalization due to severe and intolerable spleen pain. Before I knew what was happening, I was in the hospital emergency room, then transported to a patient room with numerous special teams taking care of me. High doses of intravenous pain medication took the pain away like a dream but left me numb and out of touch. I knew this was only temporary, and that the final regiment would be effective and comfortable. The most important thing then was that the pain was gone.

But I have never felt so strange in my life. It felt like my physical and spiritual body were separated. And the question popped into my mind: “why would people drug themselves, is this what they are looking for”? Sure, problems disappear, and an artificial balance is created, but feelings disappear as well, and isn’t that what allows a human being to enjoy pleasures, feelings, and to grow? Lots of questions went through my mind during that short period of time, and I feel grateful and in awe of the complexity of our mind and body. Here I was crippled with pain and feeling sorry for myself, then I go through a period of complete pain-free detachment, and finally, my whole being comes together again. The image of a dog shaking wildly and bringing all the hair back in place again, that’s in a way how I felt. And it was a heavy shaking!

I am nearly back to my old self, pain-free I would like to point out, and I am grateful and delighted. I am still struggling with some of the drug effects, but they are disappearing rapidly. The doctors at the Mayo did an awesome job, and I am grateful for my blessings; doctors who can perform such miracles are mind-boggling and my gratitude is deep.

The mind and body connection is a miracle. Treat it with respect and be grateful for the blessings it provides. This experience in my life is difficult to describe, but hopefully, I was able to give you a glimpse. It will always be at the forefront of my mind. It made me clearly aware of the need to keep a harmonious relationship between the two so we can enjoy life to the fullest.

Silvia Coggin, CPC
Author and Founder of NotJustCooking.com

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