Staying Strong Amidst the Floods…


Living in Oberlin is a good thing…

But for some reason, in the last several weeks, I have had two “almost flooding” incidents.  And another storm is due here this afternoon.  It appears the section of the State Route where I live tends to be a “high water” district periodically.

For many years, as witnessed by my holistic doctor, I have had numerous “water episodes” in my life.  I could, but I will not, go all the way back into my history with water.  Been there, done that.  But what I will say is that water is an important part of my life no matter what.  I drink more than the recommended amount, I love my showers, and I love the beach.

Water is important, and I will continue to love it, but I do want to say, “water” please be kind to me as I stay strong and keep smiling.

Food, Money, Life!

Michael Beckwith Quote for Use with Money!

It all begins with you and the power within.  That may not be clear to everyone…where is that elusive power within that can change how you think about food, how you think about money, just how you think.

Well, it is within you.  Finding it is your first step.  I talk a lot about going within.  Starting with learning to be quiet, not talking, being still leads to more quiet, more listening to your mind, your heart, your soul.  Start with quiet, more and more quiet. That leads to the listening.  We listen to so many outside sources, it is time to learn to listen to ourselves!

We are born with all the wisdom we will ever need; then we get messed up by all the stuff outside of us.  If we can remember we are wise, we can then tap into our instinct, our intuition, our gut feelings and begin to believe in our own inner power.  Now I will be quiet, so you can then be quiet, and begin your journey inward!


In the NOW…

Be Still and Know

Awakening from a very deep dream on a Monday morning–illness, friendship, deception, fraud, and more, I was slow to really awaken.  Now I am up, meditated, and preparing for a morning of work followed by attending Oberlin’s Allen Museum 100th anniversary this afternoon.  Why?

Because it is a part of Oberlin…just like the Farmers’ Market, the Apollo Theatre, Oberlin College, and more.  It is feeding the Spirit as the Market feeds the Body and as the College and Theatre feed the Mind.

It is all a part of Oberlin, it is living in the moment, in the NOW.  I know this is Oberlin,


Off to See the Farmers!


Fresh Produce

Fresh organic produce on sale at the local farmers market. ** Note: Soft Focus at 100%, best at smaller sizes

If it is Saturday, it is the day to walk to the Farm Market in Oberlin!

As the season progresses, there are more and more choices to make…nutritionally and financially.  It is the marketplace where you get to really choose where you are putting your money, and that is putting your money locally!  Keeping your dollars where you live, supporting your community while they support your needs nutritionally.  It is not only the far market, it is a fair market!

Empower Excellence is Changing…

The New Me

Happy Friday…Happy Weekend!  June is here, and it is 3 months since I have moved to Oberlin, but who am I and what is Empower Excellence now!  Empower Excellence remains focused on financial transitions: career, personal, and lifestyle.  It also remains more focused on networking for women as they make career transitions:  the award-winning regional Professional Women’s Connection in Lorain, Cuyahoga, and Lake counties and The Partnering Program as an intro for those new to networking in Lorain County.

But, there is more to Empower Excellence today:  food is directly tied to money.  That is true from the farmer who produces the food, the food entrepreneur from the farmer’s market and restaurant, and each of us making choices in what we eat and feed our families.  Our personal relationship with money affects how we make choices with food, and, consequently, our health.  With my background in helping local food entrepreneurs finding financing as well as helping women make financial transitions, and more so to help folks make healthy financial decisions with food, I have begun my “healthy” venture as a Pampered Chef consultant.  Intentional work in this area will be to work with local farmers through farm markets, with entrepreneurial women in transition to create their own businesses, and through virtual cooking shows as well as traditional “healthy” cooking shows.  Money rules when it comes to food!

And because money rules with food, my affiliation with Pampered Chef, will allow me to work with local nonprofits to raise money for their organizations–food related and others.  This is a different approach to organizational fundraising.

Yes, Empower Excellence is becoming more The Empower Excellence Experience…money affects all parts of our lives.  

 And with that, rounding out the Mind, Body, Spirit experience, Empower Excellence introduces The Practice at Oberlin.  As a weekly program in spirituality, meeting in Oberlin, all are welcome to the non religious discussions and more.

yes, Empower Excellence has evolved into The Empower Excellence Experience, but in many ways we remain the same….


We Are Small Town BUT With a Big Mindset!

THE Oberlin Market 3 20 17

There are a lot of photos of Oberlin I could use, but this one depicts a small part of Oberlin that many never see.  It is The Oberlin Market.  It is the place that is different in Oberlin.  There are many food stories in Oberlin, and this is just one that I really do not know.  I know what the Market sells; I know that The Market is considerably more expensive than alternative markets that are anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes away.  And there you have it:  it does come down to money!  

The relationship between food and money is ever present.  But, in Oberlin, there are not many options.  The IGA which is a wonderful place meets sudden needs, but it is limited if you are a very healthy eater.  And because it is the only grocery store in town, it is more expensive.  The owner is fairly new to town in the last few years, and he is working diligently to provide good food with good service.  His heart is with the town.

In reading a book by David Orr, a local Oberlin resident but also an internationally known author and environmentalist, he speaks of one of the goals of The Oberlin Project dealing with sustainability and the uniqueness of the Oberlin approach.  That is to have 70% of the food consumed in the Oberlin area to be produced in the Oberlin area.  He also talks about the development of a food hub here.  He is exactly right that distribution is also needing attention.

The Outdoor Farmers Market and the unique Indoor Farmers Market, which together provide locally grown and produced food all year round, is a growing concept but one that needs more education on every level since most folks anywhere have not yet learned to eat seasonally.

So, I have touched on a myriad of problems, and I would love to hear thoughts from followers on food and the concept of eating seasonally and food deserts even when we think we are not part of one.  Food, money, forever linked, forever needed.  There is so much more to think about and talk about.  Please join me.

Going Back to the Future…



When I was a child, we had a weekly Saturday morning trip to the West Side Market.  I was never quite sure how the tradition started, but I am inclined to believe that my Grandmother Francesca started it all.  She came to the United States from Poland at the age of 19 from Poland.  She lived a good part of her life in what was known as the Southside, now known in the Cleveland area as Tremont, and she cooked everything from scratch–pierogies, stuffed cabbage, beef borscht, and more.  She liked blood sausage, and she was a good cook!  A staple on our Saturday trips was fresh baked rye bread which we got to sample in the car on the way home.  It was thought that the West Side Market in Cleveland was cheaper than the grocery stores, and, when my father could not have his hands and tools in the dirt in our backyard garden, this was the source for fruits and vegetables.  

Today, I prefer local farm markets all year, which in Oberlin where I live that is the case.  I am in the process of learning to eat seasonally–to eat what is produced locally in each season.  It is a total shift in eating because bananas will be rare since we do not grow bananas in Ohio.  There are other examples as well.  But this is a healthy way to eat, and it is also a less expensive way to eat.  And it is all about eating and having a good relationship with our money.  We pay a premium to buy watermelon and strawberries all year.  Yes, we can buy frozen when we just cannot live without an item, but I am making that an exception rather than the rule.  Right now, the only thing in my freezer are ice cubes!

This is the high season for farm markets in all areas…from now through September.  Learn from the farmers as you learn about the farmers.  Find out what they specialize in and build the relationships.  It is a first step to begin investing in our land and our farmers, and OURSELVES by eating local and keeping our money healthy in our communities while we eat healthy.

Fresh Produce

Fresh organic produce on sale at the local farmers market. ** Note: Soft Focus at 100%, best at smaller sizes

Are you Afraid of Opening Doors to the Unknown….


when we are talking about money and food…

Opening a refrigerator door can be scary.

And you can blame it all on money!

Especially for single parents who routinely do their grocery shopping when the child support check comes; and then, for a very brief time, opening the refrigerator doors is delightful.  Why?  Because it is full of food from the proceeds of the child support check.  But it is also scary because everyone knows the dollars are gone and so is the food before the next check comes.  We talk about food desserts in cities and neighborhoods, but what about the food dessert of another kind in your kitchen?

Lately we are really digging in the dirt about food and its relationship to money.  The phenomenon of the empty refrigerator is really more feminine in nature than masculine.  Men may just go on and do whatever they need to do about an empty refrigerator and feeding hungry mouths:  it is what it is.  Women, on the other hand, worry about feeding those hungry mouths.  I am sure that there are single fathers who also agonize over this, but I can only speak from a woman’s perspective.  

And here is something really interesting.  When I was looking for an appropriate photo of an empty refrigerator, it was interesting that I found many, comical and otherwise, of a man staring into an empty refrigerator.  So I widened my search and looked for a woman and an empty refrigerator.  There were plenty, and most of them were of women CLEANING an empty refrigerator.  In the rare cases of men and women and an empty refrigerator, the man looked with dismay at the woman in the picture while the woman stood there with a helpless look on her face.  The man could have easily been imagined to be saying “Why is there no food?”

What I really want to share today is that opening a refrigerator not knowing that there is or there isn’t enough food in the refrigerator is daunting.  For a single parent raising children, it is a major worry.  It is the reason single parents let their children eat first.  It makes the food go farther if she just says “I am not that hungry.”

Food in this case is all about money.