Posted by: Take Flight | February 11, 2017

Healing Overgrowth of Candida, Part 1


Approximately six years ago I began to experience bloating on a daily basis. Attributing it to hormonal changes, I ignored it. Then the bloat turned into my stomach looking several months pregnant each night I went to bed. When I’d wake up I’d feel dizzy, sometimes with headaches, often with stomach aches, and could barely drag myself through the day.

This began a lengthy health search, several doctors both western and holistic and many tests, to discover I had an overgrowth of Candida. Because it is widely misunderstood, I’d like to share my experiences to help any of you out there who may be suffering from this malady.

For the next several weeks I will write about it weekly to provide you with many resources on how to treat Candida overgrowth. I now have mine under control and have my body and mind back. The good news of going through this challenging journey has been how it positively transformed me. It became a gift to take my health and well-being to the next level. Whether or not you have this condition, I hope this information will be the catalyst for you to improve your health so you can either overcome this or avoid it altogether.

What is the overgrowth of Candida? Candida is part of the normal bacteria we all have in our intestines. Yet when it grows out of control it can become a fungus which can cause havoc by forcing its way into our bloodstreams and emitting toxins like ethanol throughout our bodies. This can weaken our immune system and cause damage over time to tissues and organs.

What are the symptoms of Candidiasis (overgrowth)?

The frustrating, and sometimes even debilitating, symptoms can include excessive gas, stomach bloating/distension, fatigue, headaches, mood swings, constipation, depression, anxiety, and poor memory.

How does Candidiasis occur?

Antibiotics are a primary culprit, though swimming in a chlorinated pool for extended periods of time can also because chlorine has the same effect on the body as antibiotics over time according to Dr. Humiston, The Candida M.D. Other factors such as eating a lot of sugar and carbohydrates and/or drinking excessive alcohol, along with unattended stress levels and/or a diet high in processed foods can all come into play. Here are some powerful nutrition recommendations from Dr. Axe, a notable expert on this condition: Candida overgrowth has been increasing rapidly over the last few decades largely due to the processed diets many people consume in our society along with the faster pace of life that we all try to keep up with. This situation goes undiagnosed often because many doctors are unaware of this condition.

Posted by: Take Flight | January 16, 2017

What Might Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Say Now if Still Alive?


Today we honored Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. an American Baptist Minister who played a pivotal role in the civil rights movement. He candidly expressed his views such as, Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere; and I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.

According to the King Center’s website Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. achieved more progress in his less than 13 years as a civil rights activist than anyone had in the prior 350 years. He is considered one of the most revered non-violent leaders in history. Rather than resorting to violence he advocated the power of words with his solid oratory skills and he also believed in the grassroots movement, along with protests, to bring about significant change. He galvanized people around the idea that men and women from all walks of life, cultures, and religions are all equal in the human family.

Among his many accomplishments: the Walk on Washington which drew 1.25 million to the national mall to inspire action around the civil rights act. There he delivered his famous, “I Have a Dream” speech. Subsequently one year later this social justice activist had helped inspire the Civil Rights Act which put an end to racial segregation in the United States. In 1964 he became the youngest individual ever to win the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize.

What would Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. say now to the political leaders, particularly to the President-Elect Donald Trump if he was still alive at 87 years old? Here are a few ideas of what he might have said:

  • Your words matter. Think before you speak “or tweet.”
  • Look around and see the diverse nation we have become. Everyone deserves respect no matter their race, creed, gender, sexual preference, cultural identity, etc. We’ve worked so hard to get here. Whatever happens we must be tireless with our pursuit of justice and equality for all.
  • We have much work to do with gun violence and all forms of violence in the world. There is a root of anger and hate which we must dig up, look at (attempt to understand), and heal. We cannot blame our fellow man as we are all responsible on some level for the plight of our nation. As a collective we must take full responsibility to bring light into the darkness. We can do this by unifying. March in the larger cities to be seen and heard. Contact our political representatives and make our voices heard.
  • We must honor our Constitution. If we aren’t familiar with it we need to read it. The ideals of freedom and equality must be upheld.
  • Healthcare injustices are the worst kind. Everyone deserves affordable health care. Our objective must be to align with the highest good for our society and ensure that all have access or else we risk mounting debt (personal and also, as a nation).

Unfortunately Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. lost his life at the early age of 39 on April 4th, 1968, when he was assassinated at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. Roots of racism had not been examined nor addressed and in turn we lost a legendary nonviolent leader and activist. May his memory stir us all to speak up and take action.

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” MLK

Resources: Charlotte Observer, January 16, 2016

The King Center’s Website:

Posted by: Take Flight | November 11, 2016

Love versus Hate: Which Side are You on?


Post-election one of my biggest concerns is for the children in our country.  Reports of bullying incidents on the RISE throughout our nation are rampant and alarming. School bullies are likely learning their roles from their parents or guardians with a dramatic increase in racist incidents  amongst adults.

Pictures of Swastikas being spray painted on walls or cars are being shared on social media. News of people being heckled and/or physically harmed for their race, religion, sexual preferences, physical challenges, gender (whatever makes them uniquely who they are) is spreading across our nation. This is NOT the America we are. This is NOT the America we can allow our already great country, thank you very much, to BECOME.

Political differences aside this is about love vs. hate. Which side are you on? If we really want a great country – it’s about showing a lot more love and respect. My heart is hurting from what I’m seeing having grown up in the Deep South with active  Klansmen in my own neighborhood. Lynchings. Unspeakable situations. Race riots. I lived through it. I remember how much pain I felt as I never could understand the level of hate which surrounded me (outside of New Orleans, Louisiana).

CHANGE. Can we accept it?  Life is all about change. Yet the hate inspired incidents are NOT the change which will make our country great. We need to be vigilant because we’re on the precipice of losing our great country if we aren’t. We may need to return to  a Civil Rights Movement and Women’s Rights Movements – on a much larger scale – to protect our fellow citizens.  I’m ready to do what I can. Are you?

As a free country our citizens deserve freedom from other’s judgments for their choice of religion, sexual preference, the race they were born into, especially when they involve  threats. Racism, or the belief that others are inferior, is the foundation for hate and the potential destruction of the democracy we  share.

Finally, we need to take a woman’s right to choose out of politics. It does NOT belong there! The new administration has threatened to take this fundamental right of women away. They also plan to defund Planned Parenthood. Do you realize how many people are served through this organization for other health situations?

Planned Parenthood provides sexual and reproductive health care, education, information, and outreach to nearly five million women, men, and adolescents worldwide in a single year.  80% of services are meant to prevent unintended pregnancy. In fact only 3% of their health services involve abortion.  See more at:

Having an abortion is a personal choice and I’d imagine not one anyone would make lightly. It’s probably one of the most difficult decisions a woman, a couple or perhaps a family could ever make. Why are men (and yes, some women too) allowed to enforce this? What gives them this right? It’s okay to disagree with these decisions. It’s not okay to make a woman’s PERSONAL decision for her. This is another, if more subtle form, of spreading the hate.We need to get the right to choose/pro-life agendas out of politics and focus on what the real issues are.

Bottom line, if we really want to be “great again” – Hillary had it right – we are STRONGER TOGETHER. And that means all of us – every gender, race, religion, sexual preference,  physical challenge, etc………

Posted by: Take Flight | October 31, 2016

Women Deserve Respect


The numerous allegations of inappropriate sexual advances toward women made by Trump reminded me of my experience as a young woman advancing in my career. I am speaking out about this in unity with any woman who has been treated like an object by men. Women Deserve Respect.

At 21 I received a promotion from a rep to a sales manager at a hotel in Houston, Texas.My new long-term accounts included relocation guests and airline employees. Perusing through the files, I noted that an airline hadn’t been called on in a long while. They did business with us years before and there had been no follow-up. I contacted the man in charge and he seemed receptive. We met later that week at his office for about two hours to discuss the possibility.

During our meeting the airline director gestured a lot with his hands, occasionally landing one on my shoulder or on top of my hands. Once he brushed his hand against my thigh. Each time I squirmed. He then scooted closer to me. Since he came from another culture, I gave him some slack.

After much negotiation he reached a decision. My heart beat faster as this airline executive agreed to have me draw up a contract. My boss would be thrilled with this sizeable booking so soon after my promotion.

Then he said, “I need to come out to the hotel to see it again. I’ll sign the contract then, over dinner. How about Friday night?” A chill ran through my body yet I nodded. I couldn’t walk away from this huge piece of business.

During dinner the airline executive continually changed the subject to ask me personal questions. Then he refused to sign the agreement. I wanted to walk out at that moment, but my car was in the shop. I told him I needed to call my roommate to pick me up. Unfortunately she didn’t answer the phone. When I returned he asked where I lived and said, “That’s the way I drive home. I can drop you off.”

We pulled up near my apartment and he asked, “Would you mind if I use your bathroom? I still have a long drive from here.”

I froze for a moment and then said, “Okay.” I didn’t think there could be any harm in letting him use my bathroom.

Not long afterward a short, paunchy, naked man walked out of my bathroom. My heart beat so fast I thought it would leap out of my chest as he walked toward me. Then I jumped from the couch screaming and laughing as I ran into the bathroom. Reaching over I scooped up his pile of clothes and with some super human strength tossed him and his clothes out of my apartment.

The entire time he taunted me with, “Don’t you want my business. You’ll never get the business unless you have sex with me. Women always do. What’s wrong with you?” He then called out names of women who had slept with him in the past, “for the business.”

The next day I shared the story with my male boss at work, and a male sales manager. At first they couldn’t stop laughing. Then my boss said, “Oh men will be men. I should have known not to assign you to any of these important accounts. You don’t know how to handle yourself.”

I handed them the file and soon afterward my resignation.



Posted by: Take Flight | October 19, 2016

United We Stand, Divided We Fall: What Does WE Stand For?


“United we stand, divided we fall.” Simple words and also, powerful, hinging on life-changing. What does this mean for you?

According to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History these words originated in a verse of The Liberty Song in 1768 by John Dickinson: “”Then join hand in hand, brave Americans all! By uniting we stand, by dividing we fall!”

Yesterday I attended an inspiring lecture at the University of San Diego. Jane Anyango, a grassroots peacemaker from Nairobi, Kenya and Dr. Cory Gooding, a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Political Science and International Relations at USD presented on The Politics of Division: Elections in the U.S. and Kenya. What struck me were the parallels drawn from what has transpired in Kenya with post-election violence to what is happening in our current election. There is so much at stake and the lecture highlighted what many of us may be taking for granted, our freedom. Underlying our hard fought liberation, with the “blood, sweat, and tears” of our Founding Fathers is our need to unify to sustain what we treasure. By pointing fingers, especially the middle one, we create distance, not only from one another, but from the ideal we are founded upon.

Both the U.S. and Kenya have “We, the People” as the preamble for our Constitutions. It isn’t “us and them.” In my opinion when we get to this fractioned place, we are in jeopardy as a nation–as citizens of this great country we reside in. Who is “We”? We need to take a hard look at this. Jane shared her concerns about how in the U.S. we seem to be people-based with the candidates rather than issue-based. She has been active in Kenya in trying to get the focus on what candidates can do for the people. In this vein she galvanized hundreds of women to stop the bloodshed of post-election violence in 2007-08 and prevent future violence in the 2013 elections.

What matters is the substance over the “personalities” because in the end we need a true leader. What I am curious about is: 1) Why during the debates does the media not shut down the other candidate to eliminate endless jabber, and at least some of the “mudslinging”? 2) Why do we tolerate the candidates continual smearing of the other rather than speaking directly to what our concerns are? 3) Why is sensationalism so encouraged? (in media and yes, also social media in which many of us are actively engaged)

Dr. Gooding suggested that after we watch the debate tonight, if we choose to watch it, to turn it off afterward. Challenge ourselves not to listen to the pundits with the microphones for what the outcome is. Instead turn within ourselves to see what is valuable to us. Jane shared, “We need to find our own true self and stand by that.” Each one of us is accountable for our choices and our actions. We need to take responsibility.

Posted by: Take Flight | September 14, 2016

Vulnerability = Strength


What does it mean to be vulnerable? Various dictionary definitions from Webster’s to Wikipedia mention it as “being at risk; susceptible to attack.” Alternatively the website, Psych Central, suggests vulnerability is the level of openness we have with others which helps us form key relationships. It’s ultimately the level of trust we assign other people based on our shared experiences.

Brene Brown, a prominent researcher and author, has redefined vulnerability altogether. In her book, Daring Greatly, How the Courage to be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead, she states, “Vulnerability is the core, the heart, the center, of meaningful human experiences.” She describes it as a natural outgrowth of being authentic even if at times it may seem outright scary. Brown refers to this “strength” as being the birthplace of joy, love, creativity and empathy. It’s the place within us where we are willing to try something new with no guarantees which could be a business, a relationship, a sport, travel, or many others. What is it for you?

Many years ago my husband, Jim, and I decided to take a year of retirement in our 40s. We wanted to travel the world, immerse in the cultures of foreign lands, and also climb some of the larger mountain peaks while we still could. This meant giving up our work situations; for him − a well-paid executive pharmaceutical position and for me – a coaching business I’d spent years building. People reminded us of the “risks.” We might spend most of our money and not find work when we returned; we could get parasites or some strange illness from the food; or be robbed or even killed by some uprising.

As Brown states, “Being vulnerable takes courage.” We had to let go of our comfortable lifestyle in exchange for the unknown adventures which called to us. We also had to feel the fear underneath being vulnerable and make a different response to pursue our dream.

By the way, after our 14 months of travels….Jim returned to the corporate world within 2 months; and I started a new business. Our willingness to be vulnerable led us to some of the best experiences of our lives.

The following are five tips to become stronger by being vulnerable. The Minister at The Unity Center, Wendy Craig-Purcell, shared these from the same book above at a recent service:

  • Don’t wait until you’re perfect or bullet proof to enter the arena (whatever that is for you).
  • Know whose opinions really matter and let go of the rest.
  • Show up and be willing to be seen (as in be genuine).
  • Healing requires vulnerability. Be open to doing healing work around any significant relationship you believe needs it.
  • Be willing to pay attention to where you judge others – it may point to where you have shame.

“Life is vulnerable,” Brown writes. She shares that it’s at the core of all of our emotions and it connects us to one another. If we can see vulnerability as a core strength, rather than a weakness, we can then give ourselves permission to be human.



Posted by: Take Flight | July 20, 2016

Reach Deep into Our Hearts



Reach into our hearts – go deep

To the space that never falls asleep.

To the soul of the matter,

Our place of pure perfection,

Where humanity is one.


Where we all shed tears for this world

Its pain and suffering unfurled.

A man in a truck running over a crowd

As if he’s a child with toy soldiers all lined up

With a Tonka truck screaming,

“Whee Hoo

I’m gonna get you.”

The idea that any lunatic can wipe us out

As they lurk in the shadows,

We shout and turn about

To face the demons

And pray them away,

Yet they stay.

There are no answers.

Lives shattered

As if they never mattered

And this is so UNTRUE

Because the “other” is also a part of ME and YOU.


Wherever we live

However we pray, or not,

Whatever color our skin,

We are all the same — women and men!


Please God help us. Guide our way

To welcome in each day.

To trust more especially when evil can be in store.


Give us the might

To keep shining our light

Especially in the darkness,

The blackest of night.

Grant us peace

May the terror – cease.

Help us to reach out to others

Without any druthers.

To love more

And allow our hearts, not fear, to guide us to the “shore.”


art and poetry: by Suzan Tusson-McNeil

Posted by: Take Flight | July 14, 2016

Take Flight


Fly high my dear,
not low
What you are capable of.
It’s time to soar – above
and you will, when you come from LOVE.

For LOVE is the light to follow
it guides you where you must go.
Don’t get hung up on the “need to know.”

Ride gently on butterfly wings.
Life is about relationships – not things.
Reach out, show your colors – take flight
and all that you need will be within sight.

Do this now. Persist. Do not delay.
The butterfly is here to show the way.
Remember what the butterfly has to say:
Life is short and fragile
so go live it in your own style.
Create a life of meaning – make it worthwhile!


Posted by: Take Flight | June 29, 2016

Making Room in My Heart for Me



Loving myself unconditionally is

Standing in my heart of courage.

It’s using my voice

To speak up,

Stand up,

Standing for me

And what I want.

It’s the willingness to confront.

It’s sometimes blunt.

It’s getting to the “heart of the matter”

Not about being “flattered.”

It’s the truth

And standing in the middle of it.

Holding on to my wit

Standing firm – unwilling to sit.

Claiming my voice

As my only choice.

Allowing it out

With no need to shout.

It’s about the song

And how I belong

To community

So it becomes more a part of me.

It’s like the tree

Growing deeper roots.

That’s how I want to be.

Unconditional love is feeling the shaky ground

And not running away.

It’s not about getting lost – it’s getting found.

It’s keeping negative thoughts at bay.

It’s giving my voice – a say!


Posted by: Take Flight | June 14, 2016

Lonely? Connection Cures.


We’ve all felt lonely at some time in our lives. Maybe when we moved to a new home and/or school or perhaps when we began a new job. For many this discomfort is temporary. For others loneliness can become a way of life due to a lack of connection with others.

We live in a shrinking world. In an instant we can reach out to someone across the globe with technology. With hundreds of social media platforms, mobile apps, and digital services to choose from to engage with others, how can we be lonely?

According to a Wall Street Journal article (June 4-5, 2016), “…85% of Americans have internet access and at least 26% say they feel deeply lonely…The rate of loneliness has increased from about 14% in the 1970s to more than 40% among middle-aged and older adults today.”

Why is this of major concern? The Wall Street Journal article (June 4-5, 2016) stated this health situation is riskier than smoking cigarettes or being obese. In spite of this, not much is being done by public health officials to address it.

 A comprehensive study which involved 3 million study participants by Brigham Young University concluded that the likelihood of death increased 26% for those who reported as lonely, 29% for those in social isolation, and 32% for those living alone. Lack of social connection negatively impacts one’s physical health. Their research shows that investing time to strengthen our relationships can help us better cope with stress, improve our immune systems, and also offer more meaning for our lives.

A study by the Oregon Health and Science University followed 11,000 adults over age 50 during a 7 year period for a national study on aging. Researchers found that only face-to-face interaction forestalled depression in older adults. Phone calls made a difference to some people with mood disorders and emails and texts had no effect on anyone. The findings were published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, October, 2015.

If you’re feeling lonely, the following are ideas to connect on a deeper level with yourself and others:

  • Psychology Today, January 28, 2014, suggests to not run away from the feeling of loneliness. Face it and notice how it feels in your body. If you need to cry, do so, it is a purifying experience and you’ll feel much better afterward. Don’t numb yourself with television, video games, alcohol, chores, or other distractions by “keeping busy” to avoid being lonely. Be with what you are experiencing and practice having compassion with yourself. Know that many people feel this way from time-to-time. By becoming aware and accepting your feeling of loneliness, it’s then easier to move through it.
  • Huffington Post, March 26, 2014 recommends resisting the urge to isolate. Put yourself out there. Show up at a meet-up event or other community activity. Meet a supportive friend or family member out for coffee/ tea or a walk. Volunteer for an event or a social cause. Take your laptop to Starbucks. Just show up!
  • Remember that being alone and lonely are not synonymous. You can enjoy solitude and connect deeper with yourself. Read a good book, go for a bike ride, go to a museum or art gallery, or explore a new part of your city on foot.
  • Go to the shelter and adopt a pet. Share your life with a 4 legged friend.
  • Join a gym and try some new work-out classes. See if you can carpool with someone on a regular basis. You might want to have a walking or running partner. Great way to connect with others and get fit too.
  • Keep a gratitude journal. Write down some things you appreciate each day. This helps put the attention on what is going well in your life.
  • Get out into nature. Go on a hike, walk around a park or the local zoo, stroll on the beach, or around the neighborhood. Join the Sierra Club and go on a group outing. Getting outside is nurturing.
  • Buy a sketchpad, some colors, paints or colored pencils (whatever you prefer). Have fun with it. It’s not about being an artist. Allow yourself some childlike play!

Lonely? Choosing to connect with yourself on a deeper level and also, reaching out to others can be your cure.

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