Health, Harmony and Happiness

While closely examining my own personal health over the years with viral arthritis and autoimmune disease, I have been inspired to add to my website about human health - reminders of things that we can do to help us to live healthier, happier and possibly even longer, lives.

Here are some of my favorite places to find “health and happiness” in Ames, Iowa:

  • Wheatsfield Coop – great fresh, local, organic foods as well as health supplements, fish oils, vitamins, herbs and non-toxic cleaning products
  • Farm to Folk – One of a number of CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) organizations in the area where you can get fresh produce straight from the farmers.
  • Ames Main Street Farmers Market – Saturday mornings through the growing seasons, more than vegetables, a wide variety of earthy and artistic fun.
  • Family Martial Arts Center – I recommend them not only because they gave me my black belts in Taekwondo, but because over the years, I have been impressed by their message, especially to the children – “if you are in a fight, you have already lost”. Great exercise for mind, body and spirit!
  • Ames Yoga Center – Ruthann Hadish offers exceptional yoga classes and now has qigong available too. Massage therapists, and a sweet little yoga store round out the health-giving offerings.
  • Ames Parks and Recreation – Over the years, our family has enjoyed a number of class offerings here at friendly prices. Most recently, since Taekwondo hasn’t meshed well with my “condition”, I have discovered a fabulous Tai Chi class and Karen Bates’ Gentle Yoga was just the thing to keep my joints limber when I could not handle an extended “downward dog” with my arthritic wrists. The ladies in this class (where are the men??) were so incredibly inspiring. What a great way to maintain your balance, strength and flexibility.
  • Prairie Flower Children’s Center – a wonderful place for preschoolers, but so nurturing for their families as well. Learn how to simplify your home and life, create hand-crafted toys for your children and teach them to value time in nature.
  • Iowa Wildlife Center – Another organization that is good for the soul. The vision of a wildlife rehabilitation center with nature educational opportunities as well.
  • Story County Conservation – Many offerings for nature exploration, summer camps and programming at McFarland Park all year round.
  • My own backyard – I feel so much better when I take some time for myself outside in the garden, playing with my herbs, or just sitting quietly watching the wildlife. It’s amazing what you see & experience when you take the time to slow down and live your life!

I could get really carried away here, but two of my favorite things are learning about herbs and connecting children with nature and animals - getting away from computers! So don't spend too much time here, get outside and get some fresh air.

  • – a fun free newsletter and amazing course offerings and membership site ( for learning about herbs.
  • Wilderness Awareness School – An online nature store with the best in field guides, books, audiobooks – all nature oriented. Offers a naturalist home study course ( that is great for anyone wanting to enhance their connection to nature, great for high school students & older. Creators of the book "Coyote's Guide to Connecting with Nature" by Jon Young. They also have great children’s books and resources.
  • Children and Nature Network - An organization dedicated to "a world in which all children play, learn and grow with nature in their everyday lives." Inspired by the books by Richard Louv: "Last Child in the Woods" and "The Nature Principle."