Kindnesses Brighten My Day


For those of you that may not know my husband passed away on October 6. It still seems strange writing these words. Every time the phone rings I expect it to be him explaining once again why he is running late. I listen for the door to open and hear him say hello. It is the little things like seeing the apples he had selected at the store in the crisper that bring me to my knees in grief. But the one constant that has helped me is the kindnesses I have been shown from big to little that have helped me get through these dark times. I thought I would check out kindness and what it does for us all not only physically but emotionally and spiritually as well. I found quite a bit of information and the one fact I uncovered that I found very interesting is that it does not have to be something huge to get the benefits. It can be something as simple as holding a door open for someone or smiling at a stranger on the street.

As I explored the health benefits of  kindness I discovered that not only did it have a positive effect on the receiver of the act but also on the doer and observer.  Astounding that one thoughtful deed could impact a minimum of 3 people and a maximum of many more. Many scientific studies have shown that an act of kindness has a positive effect on the immune system and increases serotonin production in the body. Serotonin naturally occurs in the body and helps regulate moods, calms the nerves and assists with anxiety. It is regarded as a “feel good” boost for our body and assists in helping with depression. Research also demonstrates that regular acts of kindness can help with insomnia, chronic pain, and alleviating stress.

In Psychology Today  an article entitled “What We Get When We Give” (by Christine Carter, Ph.D., 2/18/10) states: “People who volunteer tend to experience fewer aches and pains. Giving help to others protects overall health twice as much as aspirin protects against heart disease. People 55 and older who volunteer for two or more organizations have an impressive 44% lower likelihood of dying — and that’s after sifting out every other contributing factor, including physical health, exercise, gender, habits like smoking, marital status, and many more. This is a stronger effect than exercising four times a week or going to church.”  Those are pretty impressive results.

Speaking of my own experience, the kindnesses I have been shown have helped me immensely. Certainly from family and friends but also the random acts of people who did not know me but knew my husband and have reached out. Random acts like the young store clerk I shared my story with as I fumbled in my purse for my money obviously befuddled who gave me a big hug or the man next to me who saw me crying in the car and gave me a big smile. Yes it is the little things that have helped so much. So when you are faced with a dilemma of what to do when an act of kindness may be called for keep in mind it is not necessary for some grand gesture that it is those little random acts of kindness that mean so much.

This week, Tuesday, 10/27/2016 at 7:00 PM Eastern on The Night Shift  we will discuss kindness and all its benefits. I also will be doing as many mini readings as possible to assist you in paying it forward. Join us in the chat room:
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My 5 Stages of Grief


In December of 2013 my husband, Dennis Dintino, was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. We were blessed with a year of remission and another 2 years of ups and downs. On October 6th his battle was over and he crossed over. I met this man when I was 15 years old and we have been married for 45 years. He was my best friend. Now don’t get me wrong we had our ups and downs. He was a workaholic and all I wanted was a 9-5 guy but through the years we adjusted and got comfortable with who we both were. Not an easy journey but one we finally got the hang of.

As I studied the five stages of grief to talk to you about I realized that I have been going through these stages since my husband’s diagnosis. The five stages of grief concept, also known as the Kubler-Ross Model, is based on the work of psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.  She published her book, “On Death and Dying,” in 1969 and based her findings on dealing with the terminally ill.

The first stage is denial. I realize that with my husband’s original diagnosis I pretended it was not true. When he qualified for genetic treatment and went into remission it was easy to deny his diagnosis.  I certainly prayed for that miracle and we were able to go to Italy and take a trip that he had always wanted to take. Discovering his roots and the town his grandfather was born in. Denial was my security blanket.

Second is anger and I was ANGRY! My daughter had successfully battled leukemia but in the process because she was 8 months pregnant we lost our baby grandson. Wasn’t her battle with this disease and that loss enough? Hadn’t my family been through enough? This was not fair I would say as I shook my fist to the heavens.

The next stage is bargaining and I can kind of relate to that. I created a meditation for him that focused on perfect health. I thought about the if onlys. He visited his doctor regularly but he had not had a chest X-Ray. He had given up smoking years ago but should I have pushed him to do that since one of his doctors had recommended it? Would it have made a difference? I really never got into bargaining with God and I never looked at this as any kind of punishment.

Depression follows and boy that speaks to me. After the first year, the cancer cells outsmarted the genetic drug and it was no longer working. My husband had to get chemo again and then a new drug was available. This time there was no denial. I started asking the hard questions outside of my husband’s earshot because he was never going to give in to this. I shed so many tears and then once again he began to feel better. We had dodged another bullet. However in May of this year symptoms began to appear that made it evident the new pill was no longer working. My husband stayed brave. We never discussed his passing. He just would not talk about it. He owned two successful businesses and fought his battle privately. Very few people outside the family knew of his condition. He was a Leo in every sense of the word. As I watched him getting thinner and thinner putting on a brave front for him, I was drowning. I could not cope with his suffering. I did my best but there were days I could not get past being depressed.

Lastly is acceptance and I feel I am in that stage now. The loss for me is heart breaking but I am relieved to see his suffering end. It tore me apart to watch and although he never once complained I could see in every way the toll this was taking on him. I wanted two things for him and that was the he would always be given hope and not be afraid. We were trying one more treatment when he passed and I truly believe till the very end he felt he would beat it. In the hospital room after his death I knew that the shell that was there was not my beloved husband but was merely biology. His soul had moved on leaving the pain behind and he was finally at peace.

This week on The Night Shift, 10/18, 7:00 PM Eastern, 4:00 PM Pacific we will talk about dealing with grief. I have a few stories to tell about signs I have gotten from my husband and my journey thus far. I will be taking your questions in the chat room for some mini readings. I am really looking forward to connecting with you.

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Diffusing Family Tension

I’ve spent over twenty years working with families as a spiritual life coach. Many of my clients divulge painful or embarrassing situations that their families are struggling with, believing there must be something wrong with them since other families they know appear so well adjusted. I assure them that even in the most seemingly normal families there are often veiled matters of concern. Dealing with tension and strife in our family units can present unique challenges. In our social environments we can more easily disengage or remove ourselves from problematic circumstances. But when your sister marries someone who defines the very essence of drama, exiting may not be a logical option. Is there a way families can reduce the amount to tension between them? While we may not be able to completely eliminate it, we most certainly can take measures to make family interactions more enjoyable.

1. Always be polite and cordial to every family member, even those you may not be particularly fond of. Avoid ignoring or showing favoritism as it can easily lead to hurt feelings, jealousy, and resentment.

2. In disagreements, refrain from using the terms right and wrong. Leave your ego out of all discussions and respect each person’s position.

3. Don’t second guess other people’s motives for what they are saying or doing. If you are uncertain, either give them the benefit of the doubt or ask questions to gain further clarity.

4. Avoid engaging in hot topics. If someone initiates a discussion known to evoke intense emotions, redirect the conversation to a more neutral issue. Likewise in regard to fuel-injected statements, those comments that are designed to anger the other person: “You Always…”, “I Never…”, “You have a problem!” “ANY” Words: Always, Never, and You can be toxic in conversations. Ban them from your vocabulary.

5. If you have an issue with a particular family member discuss it with them in private. Do not invite others into the conversation. Respect their privacy. Remember: too many cooks spoil the soup. Be respectful by refusing to gossip or speak unkindly about the individual with others as well.

6. Never interfere with the relationship between one family member and another. If you do not care for someone, at the very least be tolerant of others who still do.

7. Leave the past where it belongs. Do not dredge up old issues or reopen past wounds. Address current issues only.

8. If you find yourself becoming upset with someone, stop and discern what is really troubling you. Very often it has nothing to do with the other party. They may be triggering an unresolved issue within you that needs healing.

9. Whenever possible and appropriate, use humor as a way of diffusing tension. -appropriate being the optimum word.

10. In any situation, we have the option of being an instigator, participant, or healer of family tension. Always choose the latter. Be the voice of reason, the peacemaker, the example for others to follow.

And if for some reason you cannot contribute to the well-being of your family then at the very least do not contaminate it further.

Family members may not always cooperate with your efforts. But remember: you are not here for their approval, you are here to please God. In the words of St. Francis: “Lord make me an instrument of your peace.”

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