DSW Ministries: BlogGungor and the Bible Myths Subscribe To My Blog (RSS)(Click this icon to Subscribe)


Posted on August 10, 2014
I was trying to figure out what to post for my next blog entry when I read about the newest controversy in the Christian circle. Maybe you've heard about the blog that Michael Gungor posted about his beliefs about the Bible, and more specifically, Creationism. If you want to read for yourself what the commotion is all about, you can read it here at this link.
As a Christian and a musician, I felt it was important to address what Michael Gungor says on the subject of the Bible. I am a fan of his music myself. I sing one of his songs "Beautiful Things" during my performances. That may change now with the new findings. I don't want people to think I agree with this fellow's Christian beliefs. I don't understand how he can sing," You make beautiful things out of the dust", when he doesn't even believe it. God made Adam from the dust of the earth.
Gungor, or any other Christian, can believe whatever he wants according to his own conscience. But if you are in the public view in any fashion, you have a responsibility to be an example to those who are looking up to you. Whether you like it or not, you are a leader if you are up on the stage performing. If you are a Christian, you are still responsible for being a good witness for the Lord Jesus Christ you serve. Forget those basketball players who make statements that they aren't role models. Like it or not, they are either a good role model or a poor one.
With that being said, I have a problem with the manner in which Gungor expressed his beliefs. He was making fun of Christians who believe in the Genesis account. He used humanism to defend his position instead of the Bible. He called the Bible a bunch of mythical stories. He was arrogant and disrespectful in the way he defended his position. He came across to me as someone who didn't read his Bible or study the Bible for himself. He made inaccurate statements about the Bible. I'm sorry, but whoever his pastor is should hold him accountable for his words and actions. His target audience is young people. The last thing you want to do is create doubt in young people's mind about whether we can trust the Bible. They have a hard time in that stage of life discerning truth. Churches are canceling their shows because they probably don't want a Christian band planting seeds into their congregation's mind that the Bible can't be trusted. At least keep your mouth shut because you are not helping the cause of Christ.
If you want to talk about your beliefs, do it in a respectful manner. Actually research the subject yourself instead of listening to what the media, or Facebook, or Oprah tells you is the truth. Since when is the world our final authority? Christianity is from the Bible. Jesus dying on the cross for our sins, heaven, forgiveness, and grace are from the Bible. You can't have a cafeteria style kind of Christianity that chooses which parts of the Bible are true. Either you believe the Bible is the Word of God, or you don't. It doesn't mean you understand everything in the Bible. It doesn't mean you have to like everything in the Bible. Most of the critics claiming the Bible isn't true have not read the Bible or studied the Bible for himself/herself. So I say to you, start reading and studying your Bible! Discover truths for yourself. Know why you believe what you believe. Start memorizing verses. Have an answer for those that ask questions about your faith. Don't quote unbiblical sources. Use Scripture.
So back to what Michael Gungor believes, I don't agree with his beliefs, obviously. I am a creationist, and I don't apologize for that. I believe in the inerrancy of Scripture. I have a Bible college degree and I have had the opportunity to study Scripture and biblical theology in depth. I still read and study the Bible on a regular basis. I can defend what I believe with Scripture and logic. I don't appreciate Gungor saying that no "reasonable person" takes the Bible literally. There are plenty of scientists that do. He is insulting those of us who are educated and believe in a God who created man and this world in 6 days. Yes, I also believe in the account of the worldwide flood in Genesis. Is it a pleasant thing to think about? No, but God said it happened. Moses parting the Red Sea. Joshua and the Walls of Jericho. The Birth of Christ. The Healing of the Sick. Raising Lazarus from the dead. Jesus dying on the cross. Jesus risen from the dead on the third day. Picking and choosing which parts of the Bible you are going to accept is a slippery slope. If you don't believe the Genesis account of creation, then why would you believe in Jesus and his death, burial and resurrection? I admit, I don't understand everything in the Bible. There are some difficult passage of Scriptures. There are some unpleasant parts of the Bible. But that doesn't mean we lump everything together as myths. If you don't believe in the Word of God as truth, then you might as well give up on Christianity all together. Go find another religion that is formed from man made rules, salvation by works, and gods made out of gold or bronze. Otherwise, seek God and ask Him to show you the truths in His Word. Get in that Bible and start studying. There lots of resources out there to help you.
Gungor says that the Bible says the world was flat. That is incorrect. The Bible says in Isaiah 40:22," The Lord sits upon the circle of the earth." Columbus sailed around the world because he believed what the Bible said. The rest of the explorers in his day were afraid of falling off the earth. Job 26:10 speaks of the circular horizon on the face of the waters. Science believed in bloodletting as a medical practice. The Bible says that the life of the flesh is in the blood.
My husband and I don't agree on some things in Genesis and in Revelation. I won't get into that with you here. But the point is, he has enough sense to have Scripture to support his position. "What about this verse? This is why I believe this way." He doesn't quote a scientist, or secular humanists, or any other worldly source. He reads his Bible, and the Lord speaks to him. We discuss things we disagree on and maybe we can learn something from each other. At minimum, we can see where the other person is coming from. It is done with respect and love. Are we going to change each other's minds? Probably not. That isn't the point. We are both seeking the Lord and the truth from His Word.
Some things to keep in mind:
Jesus and the apostles quoted from Genesis, and mentioned people in the Old Testament. If you don't believe Jesus, then who are you going to believe?
The lineage of Jesus Christ is mentioned in both Gospels all the way back to Adam. These are real people in the lineage, not make believe.
One of the laws of thermodynamics states that when you make a copy of something, such as reproduction, you lose information. The law of entropy says the world is in a constant state of decay. Things don't get better, They get worse. That is a scientific fact.
If you want to have a conversation about these things with me, I will be glad to share with you what I've learned. I used to be an evolutionist, and then studied creationism as an adult. Like I said, I don't tolerate anyone being disrespectful.
If you want to explore on your own, Answers in Genesis is a great resource to use when studying the authority of the Bible, Creationism, Noah, and any other Biblical subject. They have done real research on these matters. Check out their website and their response to Gungor here. They have invited Gungor to come to the Creation Museum, offering free lodging, free tickets to the museum and a question and answer session with Phd scientists who are Creationists. I hope they take the generous offer. I would. If you haven't really researched creationism vs evolution for real, then you don't really have a leg to stand on when debating someone on the subject.





© 2014 DSW Ministries

posted by Diana Winkler on 08/18/2014

The Unemployment Rollarcoaster Subscribe To My Blog (RSS)(Click this icon to Subscribe)

Unemployment is the rollercoaster ride you never want to be on. It is one of the most demoralizing events in someone's life. In this day of uncertainty, we are glad to even have a job, any job. We go to work each day, giving 8 hours or more of our time, in order to keep the electricity on. If you are one of those fortunate few who love the job you have, it is easier. For the rest of us, we put up with the stress, anxiety, irritations, overtime, and long commute because we love our families. Personally, I am very fond of eating and sleeping with a roof over my head, so that's my motivation. Ha-ha.
I finally had a job I liked, that was close to my home, and enjoyed my coworkers. My manager was really awesome and fair. Life was good. It was a temporary job, or what they call a contractor position, but I didn't care that much about it, as long as they paid me. I'm cruising along, doing my job, doing a good job as far as I know, and feeling valued as a worker. Then the day came when the rug was pulled out from under me. The temp agency called and said that my assignment had ended. What? NO! I loved that job! How could this happen? There were no real answers to my questions. I don't think I will ever know. That whole thing went down really bad. My belongings were still at work. They weren't picked up until a week later, and some things were missing. Without my knowledge, my direct deposit was cancelled for my last check, and it was sent to me by mail. All the bills I had set up for auto pay bounced. I had to borrow money from my parents and friends at church so I could put gas in the car and a get a few basic groceries. I was thankful for family and friends who cared about us.
I haven't been unemployed since 2007 when I went through my divorce. My unemployment checks took 5 weeks to show up due to some technicality with my name. They still had me under my previous married name. Have you ever tried calling the unemployment line? You can only call on your designated day. You wait on hold and then the line disconnects you. You never get to talk to anyone. It is so frustrating!
Have you ever been to a food bank? I am not too proud to ask for help, but going to the food bank is an experience. Our church actually has a food bank that I volunteer at on a monthly basis. Unfortunately, the shelves were bare when I needed a basket, so I looked for other places for help. I found lots of assistance in my city. Some would give you a basket for the asking. Others had you qualify for it with proof of address, an interview, and waiting a couple hours. Some just have canned goods; others have meats, fresh vegetables, toiletries, pet food. I am grateful that these places exist. I didn't feel guilty or ashamed for being there because I have donated many groceries and time at our food bank for someone else to benefit. I guess we all need help sometimes.
Thankfully, Brian was able to ask for overtime at his work. We cut our expenses drastically and made a food visits to the food banks to make all our basic bills. We switched to a Wal-Mart cell phone plan too. I really hate Wal-Mart, but when you want to keep your cars and your house, you don't have any room for principles of capitalism or boycotting things you don't care for. We didn't eat out at all unless a friend or family member treated us. We were making it, but just barely.
We had just bought our house a couple of months before. We depleted our savings and maxed out on our credit cards just to get into the house. We didn't plan it that way, but if you have ever moved or bought a home, your expenses always exceed those that you budgeted. The moving company took longer than expected to move our stuff. We had way more stuff than we thought. When we got in the house, we had to change all the locks. There were no thresholds on the doors. No hardware in the bathrooms, like a toilet paper holder, towel rack, or shower curtain rod. No screens on the windows. There was a robbery down the street from us. We decided to get an alarm. The roof leaked twice from a faulty plumbing job in the attic. We discovered we had a tick and scorpion infestation that the previous owner didn't tell us about. We had to treat the yard and the house for three months to get rid of them. All of these expenses, although seemingly small, add up.
So that is why we didn't have any savings left when I lost my job. We looked at our finances and saw that if I didn't get work soon, we would have to sell one of the cars. I wanted to avoid that since it is much harder to get a job with only one car or taking public transportation. I had just gotten a letter in the mail from my old employer, stating I had some stock shares with them. I didn't know I still had them since I haven't worked for them in 3 years. I called to cash the stock in, thinking I was only going to get $150 out of it. Any amount would help us. It turned out to be 150 shares of stock! I was blown away. I cashed it in and then called my husband to tell him the great news. We had enough money to pay our bills until I got another job. It was good timing on God's part because we probably would have spent it on more stuff for the house! So, that was an unexpected surprise.
Then comes the emotional part of unemployment. It is bad enough that you're scrimping and reusing stuff, and eating Ramen noodles for three months. It is worse dealing with the job hunting. The rejection. Putting out tons of resumes and applications and hearing NOTHING. Going on interviews, and knowing you're qualified, and saying all the right things, and then you don't get the job. I had one job I interviewed for three times, and then they didn't offer me the job. I got an email saying I didn't have the experience they were looking for. Really? They couldn't figure that out from the first interview? It took them three encounters to come to that conclusion? I knew it was baloney. I was swimming in experience- 7 years of it. It is insulting, that's what. I had several interviews just like that one. You really start getting a complex from it. You know you have skills, qualifications, and integrity, so why is no one hiring you?
People think it is fun to have all that time off. Think of all the things you would have time for! Well, that's not really true. Your job right now is to get a job. Period. Not to take a vacation, not to hang out with friends all day (unless you are talking about job leads), and not to spend the day sleeping or even worse-on Facebook. If you don't get a job, you will be evicted. They will repo your car. Your credit will be trashed. That hangs over your head all day and all night. So, I was in front of that computer looking for jobs, networking, filling out applications, sending out resumes, going on interviews, and making trips to the job center at the unemployment office. When my husband was home, we would watch TV, but I was still doing job hunting on the laptop.
I got plenty of emails and phone calls from college recruiters who wanted to know if I was going back to school. I had gobs of education, and all acquired without a student loan, thank you. What I need is a job! I also got calls from every insurance company and MLM on the planet. When they find out you are out of work, they come out of the woodwork, flooding you with emails and calls. First of all, I hate insurance. Secondly, I hate selling. Thirdly, I don't want to invest money into a business. I just want to go to work and come home to my family. Financial stability is a myth in the MLM industry. It is not a free ride. You work 80 hours a week to get the business off the ground, and then to stay afloat, you have to make sure the customers and agents under you are working hard doing their part. If not, there goes your house of cards. How do I know this? I have done several MLMs and I have had a few businesses myself. Yes, I failed at all of them. I am not cut out to be a salesman. I'm not good at marketing, and that is what it requires. There are those that thrive on that kind of environment, and I applaud them. But it is not for me.
I would get calls from temp agencies wanting me to take job assignments from my previous employer, for entry level pay. I left this particular employer for a reason. Working conditions were terrible. I didn't want to go back there as a temp worker for half the pay. No thank you. The agency got pretty rude about the whole thing, not understanding my point. You just have to politely decline and move on.
I decided to take a temp job more recently because it was better than unemployment. It was an hour drive over at Metro Center, and it was a pay cut. But I took it because I was tired of not having any money. I wish I hadn't taken the assignment because it was awful, but it was too late now. I had to go through two background checks and three drug tests. I wasn't given a security badge, a desk, or computer access for 5 weeks. I had to be escorted everywhere I went. There was not any training. The computer systems would crash every day. None of the supervisors knew what was going on from day to day, and weren't on the same page. The folks there were very nice, and I made a few friends. But the commute was really a trial. I was late home every night from being stuck in traffic. Fortunately, the job didn't last forever.
I was waiting on a permanent job offer for the last month for a Senior Technician in Tempe. It would mean a higher salary, close to home, and it is a great company. The interview process is very extensive. I had an interview with the recruiter. I then had an interview on-site with the VP and the manager. I then had an interview with HR. They had me complete the background check before the job offer. That took three weeks. My college doesn't exist anymore, so I had to provide my high school info to verify. Then they couldn't verify one of the previous employers because the employer's records didn't go back that far. I had to provide W2s from 2006, 2007, and 2008. I had to get them from my ex-husband because I was still married to him during those years. Thankfully, he is a packrat and had copies of our joint tax returns. I then waited another week before the recruiter called me. She wanted to set up another interview with the manager. I did another phone interview with the manager and the recruiter. They said that they would be making the final offer by Friday.
I volunteered on Friday to help one of my friends paint her house while I waited for the phone call. It was a lot of fun to chat with the ladies and it was better than sitting around at home waiting for the call. At 3:00, the call finally came! The offer was for four more dollars than I had made at my last job. I have full benefits, free healthcare, and 2 weeks of vacation, sick days and a 401K plan. I start on December 9th. When God does something, he sure does it in a grand fashion! It was more than I ever expected. We have to survive on unemployment funds for about a month until I get paid, but I can eat ramen noodles for a while longer knowing I have a good job ahead. My husband won the HotWheels race at work that day too, and won $50. We have money to go out to eat and celebrate!
So it was a long time waiting for that job. It seems that God does answer our prayers, but he does it in his time. I'd like to say I was patient, but I wasn't. Yet I am still grateful for the things he is doing in my family's life. So, if you are trying to survive unemployment, I hope my story will encourage you to hang in there. Let me know if there is anything I can do to help.

posted by Diana Stimmler Winkler on 11/25/2013

Insider Tips for the Pharmacy Subscribe To My Blog (RSS)(Click this icon to Subscribe)

Whenfs the best time to get my prescription?

First of all, the worst time to come into the pharmacy is on Monday mornings, and the day before a holiday. If you can avoid filling prescriptions then, you will have a shorter wait and a happy pharmacist. If you donft have any choice, drop the prescription off and come back in an hour. When is the best time to fill a prescription? Weekend afternoons. During the weekday, the best time is the afternoons between 2:00 and 4:00.

Which is better, brand or generic?

I will be the first one to tell you that I use generics all the time. All the pharmacists I work with also use generics. Unless you have a really good reason, you should use generics too. Donft listen to the propaganda you hear on the TV or the internet. By law, generics must have the exact active ingredient in their product, and it must pass rigorous testing to get FDA approval. The active ingredient in the generic works exactly the same way as the brandfs ingredient in your body. So, what is this stuff you hear from people that say they canft use the generic? The inactive ingredients in a pill that make up the pill shape can be different than the brand: fillers, colors, flavors, stabilizers, and preservatives. For example, the brand may use corn filler in their inactive ingredients, and a generic manufacturer may use wheat flour or soy. For most people, that isnft a problem, and they take the generic for years. The only time when there is a problem is when a person has an allergy to one of the inactive ingredients. I have an allergy to soy, wheat and gluten. My body may have a harder time metabolizing the drug because of the allergy I have. I would need to find a manufacturer that doesnft use those ingredients. The brand name drugs have ingredients that people can be allergic to as well. You need to choose whatfs best for you, but donft insist on the brand for the wrong reasons. You are just paying extra for a trade name. I will say that certain classes of drugs you need to stay consistent with one manufacturer: thyroid medications, seizure medications, anti-depressants, and transplant medications. People on these drugs have a tendency to be sensitive to any kind of changes with inactive ingredients. So, if you are stable on a drug, whether itfs brand or a generic, donft switch around. If you stick with the same pharmacy, that shouldnft be a problem.

Donft pharmacists make a lot of money off my prescriptions?

Technically, no. If you saw the books for a typical retail pharmacy, the profit margin isnft that high. We make money by doing a lot of volume. We pay for a drug from a distributor. Your insurance company contracts with pharmacies on how much they are going to reimburse us for filling your prescription, after you pay your copay. Sometimes it is less than what we paid for the drug. If you have Medicare, Medicaid, or state assistance, you donft pay a copay, and then we get reimbursed $2 for a $100 drug. Our tax dollars pay for that. We then have to pay the staff, buy the supplies to fill your prescription, and utilities etc. Where do we make our money? Brand name drugs, narcotics, cancer drugs, and immunizations. We get a lot of pressure from corporate to sell flu shots because we make money on them. Mail order pharmacies make a lot of money because of the volume they do.

Should I use retail or a mail order pharmacy?

Well, that decision might be made for you. Some insurance companies require you to use mail order for maintenance medications. My particular insurance company lets me use any pharmacy I want. If you just get antibiotics once in a while or like the face to face interaction with your pharmacist, then use retail. It may cost you a few bucks more than mail order. Even when I worked for a mailorder I never used it. Herefs the scoop on mailorder if you use it.
* Machines instead of humans count the pills and everything is done on an assembly line, which saves money, but it can be less personal than a retail pharmacy. They do millions of prescriptions a day vs. hundreds. Thatfs why you can get three months supply for the price of two months.
* Mail order is great if nothing goes wrong. When something happens, it is usually a headache to fix it. So you have to weigh the pros and cons.
* Never have your doctor fax or call in your prescription to mail order, unless you have no choice. Why? Because if the prescription is wrong, it will cause a delay to verify it. If you receive a prescription at your home, and itfs wrong, you will still have to pay for it. Even if it was the doctorfs mistake, the pharmacy will not give you your money back without an act of congress. The only time you will get money back for an incorrect prescription is if the pharmacy made an error in data entry or dispensing the wrong drug. Period. Go to the doctorfs office and get your paper scripts yourself and check them before you mail them in! If you donft understand whatfs on the script, have someone in the doctorfs office read it back to you. It will save a lot of heartache!
* When you do get the prescription in your hands and you are ready to send it in, be sure you send the original. Make a photocopy to keep for your records, but do not send the copy. They cannot fill a copy of a prescription! Do not fax it in either! Only the doctor can fax it to the pharmacy. Have your order form filled out completely or it will cause a delay! If you donft have a form, go on their website and print one out. Make a copy of your order form so you know what youfve sent. If you want rush delivery, mark it very clearly on the form. If you want brand only, write it clearly on the form! Do not write on the prescription part itself. The only thing you can fill in is your name, address, date of birth on the top.
* Donft do automatic payments for mail order. It is better to either be billed, or to send a check each time. You can also put your credit card info on your order form. Just donft let them put it on file. Why? Not because of fraud, but because again, if there are any mistakes, and no one catches them before it is shipped, you will be charged for the medication. If you havenft been compliant with the medication schedule and you have extra, they will ship it to you anyway.
* It takes 10 days to get your medication once you mail in your prescription. Plan ahead. If you need it sooner than that, you will have to pay for overnight shipping or go to the retail store. In mail order, there is no such thing as an emergency. Emergencies are taken care of by hospitals and retail pharmacies. These drugs you get at mail order are maintenance drugs, so you are on them every day for a longtime. Plan accordingly. When you got 10 tablets left, then you call for your refill. Donft wait until you have 2 left! Lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on their part.
* When it is 120 degrees here in Phoenix, we still have mail order. I used to get calls all the time about pills sitting in hot mail boxes and supposedly ruined by the heat. Itfs hogwash. Tablets and capsules are very heat stable. They are manufactured under intense heat and pressure. They can withstand over 200 degrees. It does not affect the medication for short periods of time. Now, you canft store medications that way. But for being in a car or a mailbox for a few days isnft going to hurt them one bit. Pills are shipped all over the world from manufacturers to get to your pharmacy. They are tough. Now insulin, eye drops, creams that require refrigeration are different. They have to be shipped with a cold pack.

What do I do if my insurance wonft pay for my medication?

You have several options:
1. If you can afford it, pay cash for it. Most of the time, drugs that the insurance wonft pay for are expensive. Most pharmacies, if you have a working relationship with them, will give you a discount for paying cash, about 10%. Talk to the pharmacy manager. You can also get a lesser quantity until you get some more funds.
2.Ask your insurance company what drugs are on the formulary. Ask the doctor if the formulary drugs are appropriate for your therapy so you can switch to the formulary drug.
3.You can get a prior authorization or a formulary exception, even a co-pay exception! You ask your doctor to fill out the form and send it in to the insurance company for review. They must give a reason why you have to take the expensive drug instead of the formulary cheaper alternatives. Depending on your plan, it takes from 3 days to a week to get approved or denied. If you havenft tried the formulary alternatives, or have a good reason why you canft take them, then donft bother applying for prior authorization, because it will be denied. Contrary to popular opinion, those of us in the prior authorization department WANT to approve your prescriptions! We fight for you! Unfortunately, the insurance company gives us the rules for approving the requests. If you donft fall under the guidelines, we have to deny it.
4.For doctors, nurses, and medical assistants: If you want your request to be approved quickly, then herefs what you do. I work in the PA department, and these are the things that delay the request or tie our hands!
* Illegible handwriting! If you canft write neatly, then get someone who can! If I canft read it, then I have to call and verify information. That takes time.
* Return phone calls right away. We have time limits to approve the PA. If we canft get the information in time, it will probably be denied.
* Fill the PA form out completely. I have to have a diagnosis, drug, strength, correct dosage, day supply, and all the drugs the patient tried and failed. Leaving blanks doesnft help your case. I have to call and ask you to provide that information. If youfre not sure what we need, send the chart notes. Donft send 12 years of chart notes, just the last year or two at the most.
* Third, Itfs helpful to provide the pharmacy info so they receive the approved fax and can fill the medication for the patient right away.

1.So what happens if my PA is denied?

Most people donft know this, but there are levels of appeals.
¡ You have your first level of appeal.
¡ The next level is a doctor peer group appeal,
¡ The third level is to go to court and have a judge look at your case. This costs money.
¡ Medicare patients have another level on top of that to have CMS (Medicare) itself look at your case. Very rarely does it make it to this level because it is very expensive.
¡ Each level requires the doctor to submit the information each time. It is not automatically forwarded. It is very time consuming, but itfs there for you if you truly need it.

2. If youfve exhausted those options, you can try to get into a patient assistance program. I worked for Glaxo Smith Kline Patient Assistance Program years ago. You can get your medications for free if you qualify. Most major drug companies have these programs if you search on their website. You can also Google gPatient Assistance Programsh, and it will come up with a list of numbers you can call.
3. Some drugs also have coupons for name brand drugs, either discounted or free. You can search for those online too. Some drugs that I know offhand that have coupons are Asacol, Lipitor, Androgel, Dexilant. There are many more, so try and see if there is one out there for your drug.
4. How about those drug discount cards? You have probably seen the commercials for them. They are definitely worth trying them to see if they help. They can save you anywhere for 10%-50% off the cash price of a drug. They are free for the asking. The doctors, pharmacists, and drug reps hand them out, so ask your healthcare provider for one.

What about getting my prescriptions in Canada or Mexico?

I can understand the attraction to getting your prescriptions from a foreign country. Before I went into the pharmacy, I thought about getting some drugs from Canada. But I have researched it thoroughly and I advise against it. Herefs why:
1.It is illegal to bring prescriptions into the US that you donft have a prescription for. I live near Mexico, and people go south of the border to get antibiotics, which donft need a prescription in Mexico, and then bring them home to the US. The problem with that is, in the US, you must have a prescription to have antibiotics. As long as you take it in Mexico, youfre fine. Once you bring it to the US, you are breaking the law. You probably wonft get caught unless someone searches your bags. But thatfs not all. Without a doctor to verify whatfs wrong with you, you can take antibiotics that will actually make your illness worse. Most people take antibiotics for a cold or flu. Itfs useless. It only kills bacteria, not viruses. All antibiotics will do to you at that point is to mess up your intestinal track, and weaken your immune system.
2.Another important point is that with these Canadian mail order companies, you donft know what youfre getting. There is no FDA outside the States to confirm the safety and the actual ingredients of the drug. There has been a lot of fraud lately with these online companies selling unsuspecting folks bogus medications that donft work, ripping people off.
3.Bad news is that if anything goes wrong with these drugs, like boil-like side effects, turning you into a swamp thing, growing two heads, or even death, you have absolutely no rights to sue anyone! In America, you can sue anyone for anything. Not in foreign countries. You wonft get your money back, you canft sue them for whatever the drug did to you, and the police arenft going to arrest anyone for sending you bogus drugs. You are not a citizen of that country, so you donft really have any rights. So you have received fair warning. Of course, I canft tell you what to do. I can only give you the information to make an intelligent decision. The only exception I would make to this rule is if you have an incurable disease, and you have no chance to live, but you want to try an experimental drug. Fine. You have nothing to lose. They will probably have you sign your life away anyhow before the trial starts, but if you think it is your last hope, then go ahead.

Should I use medications after the expiration date?

The expiration date is the maximum time frame manufacturer guarantees the potency and safety of their medications. If you take medication after that date, you are on your own. Drugs deteriorate over time. It probably wonft work if you take an expired drug, so why take it? It may not be ineffective the day after the expiration date, but it is hard to say when exactly that time is. That is why drug companies put a date on their product to protect them from the liability. They know their product is good for a shelf life of 3 years under proper storage conditions. Some drugs deteriorate so much that they are harmful to the body. So, if you are trying to save money by stockpiling medications, fine. But I wouldnft take them too long after the date to be safe. Get a fresh batch of medication that will actually help you for sure! Make sure you store your medications properly! If you are on insulin, antidepressants, seizure meds, heart meds, and transplant meds, donft ever take expired anything!

Where are my drugs manufactured? I want a drug made in the United States!

I got this call all the time in mail order. Mail order uses one manufacturer per drug in order to be as efficient as possible, and to be able to negotiate the best pricing. I got calls all the time asking to switch to a particular manufacturer because they only want to get drugs made in the US. Well, I hate to break it to you, but most drug manufacturers have factories in foreign countries in order to get the cheap labor. Welcome to the modern world. I understand the concept of buying Made in America products. I try to buy American whenever I can, but it is almost impossible to do this 100% because we live in an international commerce now. Our toothpaste, makeup, tires, clothes, toys, and even food is made in a factory overseas. It is hard to avoid. Even John Deere tractors have Kawasaki engines in them. So, back to drugs. Are the drugs safe? Well, the FDA is required to inspect factories in the United States, as well as overseas. It is done randomly. Some factories have been inspected and there were contaminants in them. They are shut down, if thatfs the case, until they can pass inspection. U.S. factories have been shut down before for not passing. Then we have drug recalls, which are lots of fun. You may have noticed you canft get Tylenol brand, Excedrin, or Theraflu for the last two years. Thatfs because there was a drug recall. (From what I know, it was not concerning a safety issue.) As far as oversees factories, I think the highest violations for contaminants have come from China, not only with drugs, but food and toys. I would probably avoid anything made in China to be safe. Most major drug companies have factories in Mexico, Philippines, India, Europe, the Orient, and the US.

What about vitamins? What kind should I take?

First of all, I am not a doctor, and cannot advise you on what you can take. But my opinion is that everyone should take at least a multivitamin, calcium, and omega 3fs like fish oil. Our soil is depleted of nutrients. By the time it gets shipped to you in a truck, it has lost more nutrients. When you cook it, it loses nutrients. So I know that people donft get enough nutrients in their bodies to fight disease, repair the body, and give needed energy. Disease is pretty much caused by not enough nutrients to the cells, or toxins attacking the cells. Our environment has toxins everywhere: Food, water, air, cosmetics, personal care products, carpet, insulation, mold, and allergens. Antioxidants in your food help protect the cells in your body from the toxins that damage them. Simple as that. Get a water purifier you can afford, buy organic produce as much as you can, get an air filter if you can, and take your vitamins.
¡ Always tell your doctor and your pharmacist what vitamins you are taking! Some vitamins may interfere with certain medications! Like warfarin and garlic you donft want to mix.
¡ Donft bother with cheaply made vitamins like Centrum. You get what you pay for. Try to get a pharmaceutical grade vitamin instead. Brands I use are Jarrow, Garden of Life, Carsonfs. Nature Made is a great brand for an affordable cost. They have an outside lab that tests their vitamins to make sure that they have what the labels say. Trader Joefs is also a great place to get affordable vitamins. I buy most of my supplements from my naturopathic doctor instead of the grocery store because we are working together on my health.
¡ It is good to find a doctor who will work with you on your supplements. Be wary of doctors who donft want you to take supplements at all. Vitamins have a legitimate place in your care.
¡ Donft take a vitamin supplement unless you know what it is for, what the interactions are with your medications, and how much you are supposed to take to get the right therapy. Do some research. Talk to your doctor.
¡ Donft self diagnose. Donft take the latest supplement just because it is on Dr Ozfs show, or on Oprah. Web MD is great, but donft replace sound medical advice with internet misinformation. The internet has a lot of contradictory information. Dr Andrew Weil has a great website that is a great resource for natural living, nutrition, supplements, recipes, and Q&A. Dr Weil is an integrative medical doctor, meaning he uses the best of both worlds of medicine.
¡ What about those that say vitamins gets excreted out by your urine? Well, that goes back to quality supplements. Cheap vitamins donft get absorbed by the body. My urine is not yellow, and I take about 10 supplements. It is also how much water you drink. If you are dehydrated, you are going to have dark yellow urine. You should be drinking a lot of water with your supplements. Some supplements need to be taken with food. Read the label.

So there you have it from an insider! Be sure to check out my previous post to learn what to do and not to do in the pharmacy! If you have comments or questions about the pharmacy, ask, and I will try to give you a straight answer. I hope this blog has helped you to be a more informed consumer.



posted by Diana Stimmler Winkler on 08/01/2013

Boundaries! Subscribe To My Blog (RSS)(Click this icon to Subscribe)

There is one area of personal evolution that can make or break your self-esteem and your ability to have healthy relationships. Itfs the ability to set and implement healthy personal boundaries. Personal boundaries are the imaginary lines we draw around ourselves to maintain balance and protect our bodies, minds, emotions, and time from the behavior or demands of others. They provide the framework to keep us from being used or manipulated by others, and they allow us to confidently express who we are and what we want in life. Personal boundaries allow us to be in the driverfs seat of our own lives. At the root of personal boundary issues is fear. (Isnft that the root of most issues?) Itfs the fear we wonft be loved, that we arenft good enough or deserving enough just as we are.
Here are some signs of weak personal boundaries:
¡Saying no when you mean yes, or yes when you mean no.
¡Feeling guilty when you do say no.
¡Acting against your integrity or values in order to please.
¡Not speaking up when you have something to say.
¡Adopting another personfs beliefs or ideas so you are accepted.
¡Not calling out someone who mistreats you.
¡Accepting physical touch or sex when you donft want it.
¡Allowing yourself to be interrupted or distracted to accommodate another personfs immediate wants or needs.
¡ Giving too much just to be perceived as useful.
¡Becoming overly involved in someonefs problems or difficulties.
¡Allowing people to say things to you or in front of you that make you uncomfortable.
¡Not defining and communicating your emotional needs in your closest relationships.
For anyone accustomed to being accommodating and compliant, the process of setting and implementing boundaries may feel threatening and unnatural at first. But as you begin to stand up for yourself and your boundaries, you will feel increasingly empowered and confident. You will like and respect yourself, and others will be attracted to your authenticity and self-confidence.
So herefs how to start creating and implementing your personal boundaries:
1. Mind Shift Begin with the mind shift that having personal boundaries is OK. It doesnft mean you are selfish or unloving. It is both completely acceptable and absolutely necessary for healthy relationships. Understand that self-worth comes from defining your life as you want it to be, not from the acceptance or identity of others.
2. Define Sit down and think about how you have been allowing others to take advantage of you and how you might be accepting situations that are really unacceptable to you. Make a list of things that people may no longer do to you, say to you, or do around you. Decide how you need physical and emotional space. Define your values, belief system, and outlook on life so you have a clear picture of who you are and how you want to live. Get very clear on that.
3. Communicate Sit down with the people involved in crossing your personal boundaries and kindly communicate your mind shift. Let them know you have spent some time thinking about what is important and acceptable to you and what isnft. Let them know how they have crossed your boundaries in the past, and ask them to respect and support your new boundaries.
4. Expect Expect that this conversation will feel uncomfortable and difficult, especially if you are a pleaser. There may be some defensiveness and push-back from those involved. Thatfs OK. Theyfll get used to your new boundaries over time. You will find you attract new, supportive, and healthy-minded people in your life. Whatever you do, donft compromise your values, integrity, and self-respect simply to keep someone in your life. Your soul canft sustain that.
5. Reinforce It may take some time to train yourself and others around your new boundaries. Continue to reinforce them so that you are taken seriously and respected. Practice saying no when you are asked to do something you donft want to do. Create a plan for times when someone crosses your boundaries. Let them know what they are doing. Ask them to stop immediately. Walk away from any push-back or negative comments without acquiescing or getting angry. Over time, you and the other person will realize you are serious.
6. Reward Be sure to acknowledge and reward those who are supporting and respecting your personal boundaries. Thank them and let them know the positive impact it has had on your life. This will motivate them to continue their behavior.
7. Reciprocate Remember that respecting boundaries goes two ways. Examine your own behavior and words to see where you might be crossing another personfs boundaries. Work to change those behaviors so that you are reflecting the respect and support you want for yourself.
8. Stay Flexible Therefs a difference between healthy boundaries and rigid boundaries. You donft want to be a controlling or dictatorial person. Thatfs not the goal. The goal is a healthy relationship with those close to you, balanced by a sense of understanding, mutual support, and give-and-take.
9. Be Patient If you have had weak personal boundaries for years, be aware that this change doesnft happen overnight. Disengaging from the emotions and beliefs that led you to weak boundaries requires practice, and sometimes it requires the support of a counselor.
10. Believe in yourself and your value as a unique individual who is worthy of love and respect. Trust your instincts and feelings about what you do and donft want in your life. Donft allow others to define that for you.

When you define and implement personal boundaries in your life, you will find that fear diminishes significantly. You will feel more empowered and self-confident because you are communicating your self-worth to those around you. The more you practice holding fast to your boundaries, the more love, respect, and support you will find in your life.

Source: Live Bold And Bloom.com



posted by Diana Stimmler Winkler on 07/25/2013

Is Too Much Stuff A Burden? Subscribe To My Blog (RSS)(Click this icon to Subscribe)

All our lives, especially in the pursuit of the American Dream, we seek to work and accumulate material possessions and live a comfortable life. There is nothing wrong with this dream per se, but sometimes we forget that too much stuff can be a burden.
Or maybe you don't think you have very many things. You say, Diana, I don't have anything! Are you sure about that? Most of us Americans, even the poor ones, have more money and possessions than the rest of the world. Most of us have a roof over our heads, clothes on our backs, and food in our tummies. Hopefully you are gainfully employed. If not, you may be on unemployment insurance, although it is not very much. I assume you don't live in a mud hut, having to walk ten miles to get water everyday.
Brian and I are recent homeowners. The process to buy a home is exhausting and expensive. And I hate moving. We were in a two bedroom apartment that was very cluttered because of lack of space. Extra stuff was stored in the second bedroom all the way up to the ceiling. We probably would have stayed in the apartment if they didn't raise our rent every year. But we were also getting more music equipment, and the neighbors were probably not thrilled with the music booming above them. So we moved.
The buying process was a whirlwind. From the time we started looking for a house, until the closing date, was a 30 day period. My husband wanted to move before it got hot out. Those of you outside of Arizona that don't know, it gets to 120 degrees here in the summer. And we are on the second floor. Moving furniture down a flight of stairs isn't fun. So, we were supposed to have a garage sale or sell stuff on ebay, or give things to charity, but we didn't have enough time. We were signing papers, meeting with the realtor almost every night for something, and then we weren't sure if we were going to get the house until 10 days before we got the keys. We spent every waking moment packing. We ran out of boxes, even though we had tons of boxes given to us. We spent a lot of money on bubble wrap and 8 rolls of tape.
The big things aren't the problem. It's the miscellaneous stuff you have no idea what to do with. At first, you dutifully label every box with the exact contents. Then the last day or two, you are so tired, you don't care. You just throw it in any box to get it moved.
We tried to have the apartment packed for when the movers came. The furniture was wrapped, and boxes were organized neatly. We budgeted $500 for four hours, thinking that was going to be enough time. It wound up to be 6 hours to get the heavy stuff moved. We then had to go rent a U-Haul for $60 to pack up the rest of the small stuff. Then we had our two cars full of stuff. It took 3 days to move. I kept thinking that two people without kids shouldn't have that much stuff.
Then came the unpacking. We have a larger house, but we have most of the boxes in the garage until we can slowly go through the boxes and get them unpacked. Just unpacking the paper stuff was enough to drive anyone crazy. Brian had stuff saved from 2008. Boxes of stuff that contained items he should have gotten rid of 10 years ago. I had collected toiletries over the years, enough to open a beauty supply store. I am giving most away to the shelter in the city.
So, that means we will be unpacking for 6 months. That Bible verse that talks about laying up treasures in heaven wasn't kidding. Just think about what you have to do with every item that you buy:
1. Clean it/Dust it
2. Fix it when It breaks
3. Store it
4. Guard it so it isn't stolen
5. Sell it or give it away when you don't want it anymore.
6. Look for it when you misplaced it.
7. Make payments on it if it isn't paid for in full
8. If it's alive, you gotta feed it, water it, weed it, fertilize it, prune it...
9. Insure it
10. Figure out who will get your stuff when you die. That will make your head spin.
Again, there is nothing wrong with having things. They can be tools. I have a lot of music equipment, obviously because we are musicians. I have a lot of sheet music and CD's for the same reason. Those are tools associated with my performances. It's great to have these things, but I have to pay extra insurance on it. I also had to buy an alarm system in case someone decides they want my equipment. Just something to think about.
I used to sew for a living and tailor all my clothes. It was a fun and crative outlet. Now, I barely have time to fix a button on a shirt. So I have gone through my sewing gadgets and fabric and have given a lot of it away.
My book collection is another matter. I am a bookworm. I used to have an entire room of books overflowing. It was hard to part with some of the books, but I didn't have the room anymore. Now I have narrowed it down to a repectable 5 bookcases of my favorites. I don't have an e-reader, in case you were wondering. But I haven't had time to read lately. I will hopefully get that time when things get organized and packed!
I am giving away a lot of things I don't use. I don't bother with garage sales anymore because it's a waste of time. I will use ebay when I have something valuable. It sure clears my mind when I don't have all this clutter around. I can enjoy my family instead of maintaining my stuff. I encourage you to take a look at your home and see what you can eliminate or sell or give away. Maybe be a blessing to someone else that doesn't have as much as you do.
Spend some time with your family, or doing something you love, instead of taking care of your stuff!



posted by Diana Stimmler Winkler on 05/27/2013

What NOT To Do At Your Pharmacy Subscribe To My Blog (RSS)(Click this icon to Subscribe)

As some of you know, my day job is working in the pharmacy world. I thought I would dedicate some blog space for showing you what to do and NOT to do at the pharmacy in order to get the best service!
* Are you one of those patients who show up at the pharmacy on Monday morning with 10 scripts, 5 of which are controlled substances, and expect them to be done in 10 minutes? Monday is the busiest day at any pharmacy. If you can avoid coming in Monday mornings, then we would love you for it. Another option is to drop off your prescriptions and come back later in the day. Keep in mind, each prescription takes about 7 minutes to process from one end on the counter to the other. That's only if there is no one ahead of you, and it isn't Monday. Controlled drugs take twice as long. The above scenario is about a 45-60 minute wait. Take ye note.
* Are you the patient who gets mad at the pharmacist because your insurance won't cover your drug, or charges too much for it? Contrary to popular belief, the pharmacy has nothing to do with what your insurance company charges you, or what they cover. Your pharmacist will love you if you are informed about your own healthcare plan, and to call your insurance company to see what's going on. Pharmacies do not have the luxury of time to sit on hold and talk to your insurance company for you. We would love to, but with all the other patients waiting and the phone ringing off the hook, it wouldn't be fair. If you pay cash for your prescriptions, be a fair negotiator. The pharmacist does not make the prices. Those are set by an agreement between the drug distributor and the corporate office. At the most, a pharmacist can discount 10% off the retail price. Otherwise, he will lose his job. So, smile and say thank you. he will try to help you.
* Be courteous! Don't expect the pharmacy to put your prescription in front of everyone else's! Throwing a temper tantrum like a two year old because you are told the wait is a half hour will not help your case. This is not the emergency room. If you have an emergency, then that is where you need to go. You are no more important than the mother with the sick, crying baby, or the elderly gentleman who is waiting for his diabetic meds. Wait in line without complaint and play nice!
* Please don't come to the pharmacy counter with your red eyeball, and falling out of the socket, and ask the pharmacist if there is something over the counter that you can put on it. No! Go to the doctor! This is your precious eye sight we're talking about! We are pharmacy professionals, not doctors. We cannot diagnose or prescribe for you for legal reasons! The only role we have is about your drug, how to take it, and side effects. Oh, and we cringe when customers pull up their shirts/pull down their pants and show us an oozing, smelly, mysterious rash and ask us what to put on it. First of all, we don't want to see it. That's why we are not doctors. Secondly, if we recommend something, and your body part turns into lizard skin, then you're going to be suing us for it. And then you wouldn't like us anymore.
* Then there are always the customers who pull up in their BMW, dressed in Prada, and plop their $400 purse on the counter to pick up their free state subsidized medications. I work in an affluent neighborhood. I see it every stinkin' day. All day. And we can't say a thing about it either. And we won't. These are patients taking advantage of the system that was put in place for those that really need it! So, don't tell me about your European second home while I am filling your 6 prescriptions, that I have to work all day to pay for, in addition to paying for my own medication! If you have the things I am mentioning, then you don't need free medicine! Think about it. Save it for someone who really needs it. I understand that times are tough for a lot of people these days, but you'd better be demonstrating a need if you're coming into my pharmacy with fancy duds flashing a MercyCare card.
* The one kind of customer we see a lot nowadays is the pharmacy hopper. You've seen those signs in every pharmacy for $25 gift cards for transferring your prescription to their pharmacy. That is a nice incentive for trying out a pharmacy, and that is what it was designed for. But there are those that make a living out of transferring their prescriptions every month to another pharmacy just to get the $25 coupon. And they make a lot of work for us in the pharmacy, and we make very little money off it. Do you know why? It takes a lot of time for us to get on the phone, wait on hold to get the transfer, and then add a new patient into the system, figure out why their insurance isn't working, and prepare their prescription. We try to deliver fast, accurate, and our super friendly service in order to win the business, and then the customer transfers out to another pharmacy next month. We probably made $2 off the prescription after we gave out the $25 coupon. Now, I will tell you how to get the best service at a pharmacy: Be loyal to one pharmacy! Find one you like and stick with them! Your pharmacist gets to know you and better understands your needs. Loyalty is rare today in the pharmacy. My pharmacist has customers who have been coming to our pharmacy for 20 years! They come to see HIM. And let me tell you, he trips over himself to serve them because of that loyalty! If they are in a tight spot with their medication, he will help them out because he knows them. The customers trust him. If you want a pharmacy experience like that, ask your pharmacist how they are doing, bring a small gift at Christmas. Show sincere appreciation for the work that he does for you. If you have a legitimate complain about something, work with your pharmacist to resolve it. He will want to keep your business if he can.
* Don't ask us to cover for your affair, your venereal disease, your unplanned pregnancy, or herpes. Yes, there are certain privacy laws that prohibit us from disclosing your personal information. But if your spouse finds your bottle, and calls us up anonymously asking what the medication is for, we're going to tell him/her what it's for. It isn't our problem that you didn't tell your spouse about the disease you gave her from that illicit affair you had. Not our fault. Don't put us in an uncomfortable position because we are not going to lie for you. Do your sneaking around on the other side of town and keep us out of it.
* Don't ask us to run Fluffy or Max's prescription under your insurance plan, because the auditors and the Board of Pharmacy will come to take us away for fraud. Same goes for putting your name on your non-eligible daughter's prescription and running it under your insurance. Ain't gonna happen. You think I'm kidding about these scenarios? It happens all the time. Don't do it.
* I know that cell phones are now a part of our culture now and pretty much unavoidable, but if you want good service at the pharmacy, then get off your phone at the counter! Not only do we hate hearing your soap opera life being broadcast as loud as can be, the people in line behind you loathe it too. And think about this: You are not at Mc Donald's! Stop treating it as such! We are healthcare professionals giving out medication that could either help you or KILL you! Our job is to verify who is standing there in front of us, verify the drug, ask you to pay for the drug, and then counsel you on the medication. If you are on your phone, then it is very likely you are not paying attention when this is going on, and then you get the wrong drug. I need your full attention, so get off your phone. Your life may depend on it.
* Are you that patient that always waits the day before vacation before ordering your refills? And then you find out there aren't any refills, so we have to contact the doctor for a renewal of your prescription. You call every hour to see if the doctor responded, and you get mad at the pharmacist because the doctor hasn't called back. Your plane leaves in an hour and you don't have your meds. Well, guess what? Unless you are going to the Sahara Desert or the North Pole, there should be a pharmacy where you'll be going. If you forgot your medication at home, or waited until the last minute to refill them, your doctor can call in a prescription to any pharmacy. Your insurance might not let you refill it early on top of all that, but you can call your insurance to get a vacation override. It pays to plan ahead. And don't forget to get your pharmacist a souvenir for helping you out.
* And lastly, we no one likes jerks. Pharmacies have to deal with everything on the above list every single day. We work through lunch. We hold our bladder for hours. We get yelled at, blamed, spit on, insulted, abused all for just doing our job. We are usually juggling customers at two ends of the counter, answering a phone that never stops ringing, and the fax machine spitting out prescriptions all day. We have to deal with broken down equipment, being understaffed, and pressure from corporate to sell more flu shots and process more prescriptions. Give us a break. Be kind. We want you to get your prescriptions. If you don't, then we don't get paid. We are going as fast as we can. Be patient. Be understanding. We will love you for it.
Stay tuned for next month's blog for part 2: Helpful drug related tips for you!

posted by Diana Stimmler Winkler: on 01/12/2013

Singin' and Wheezin' Subscribe To My Blog (RSS)(Click this icon to Subscribe)


As singers, we know that our instrument is an extension of our body. It is quite different than someone who plays a guitar, because our voice is subject to our health, our diet, our stress level, and environment. If I am a guitarist and get sick or have asthma, I can probably suck it up to get through a gig or performance. It isn't ideal if you don't feel good, but at least you can play. With singers, if I can't get enough air, then I can't sing. Period. No one likes to hear someone squeek out a melody or gasp for air after the first song. I would like to include those that play a wind instrument, like a trumpet, trombone, flute, horn etc. You are another group that needs air to play your instrument. So, what are we to do? Since I had an asthma flair up this last couple of weeks, I wanted to pass on some tips that have helped me get through.
I didn't grow up with asthma. I didn't get diagnosed with it until about 4 years ago. I never had allergies until I moved back to Phoenix area in 1999. I lived in the Phoenix area as a child, but don't remember having either allergies or asthma at all. It is probably from the fact that Phoenix is more polluted than ever before. The air is so very dry too. It used to be people came to Arizona to cure asthma because of the dry heat, but that has all changed now. We have plants that are imported here that are not native to Arizona. We have more pollution, and dry air. A big combination for asthma and allergies. So, depending where you live, you may be worse or better off than me. I went to Lake Tahoe one year when I had asthma real bad, and it all but disappeared when I was there. The air was so clean! When I flew back to Phoenix, I started wheezing again. I wish it wasn't so cold up there. I would live in Tahoe!
So, the traditional options for asthma sufferers are good ol' fashioned drugs. Ahem, The legal kind. I work in a pharmacy during the day, so my knowledge of medications are more substantial than most people. I usually know more than the doctors, and drive them nuts! haha! The more I know about drugs, the less I want to take them! Anyway, here are some of your options:
Advair: an inhaled steroid. You take it twice a day. It reduces the inflammation in your lungs. Not a rescue inhaler though! I usually take the advair twice a year until my symptoms go away. I don't have asthma all year long. You may have to take it all year long depending on your situation. Keep in mind, longterm steroid therapy might cause weight gain and horseness. Watch out for that.
Proair: This is your rescue inhaler. Sometimes I use it 2-3 times a day. Sometimes never. If you are using it more than a few times a day you need to go to the doctor and get a better longterm treatment plan.
Ipratropium and Albuterol Nebulizers: These are one of those drugs you need a fancy machine to use. I only use it during my worst days because it takes a good 10 minutes to inhale a vial of medication on the nebulizer. Tastes nasty too. But it works.
Then you have the allergy meds.
Singulair: It is an allergy med that blocks the chemicals your body releases when exposed to an allergen. These chemicals cause swelling in your lungs and airways, which can trigger asthma symptoms. My doctor told me that the post nasal drip I have every day from allergies, contributes to my wheezing. This is not a rescue drug either. The only thing I would caution you about with this one is that it messes with your sleep and moods. I do not take this drug personally because I had issues with mood fluctuations and sleep problems. I'd rather deal with wheezing. Most people don't have any problems with it. Be sure to tell your doctor if you have a history of depression, melancholy, or nightmares. The good news is that it just went generic, so it is cheaper.
Flonase: Is an inhaled nasal steroid. You use 2 sprays in each nostril before bed. Doesn't smell good. It takes a couple of weeks for it to work, so be patient. It helps with the nasal allergy symptoms. I tried this med and it didn't help me that much, but for most people, it works well. Comes in a generic. Another similar drug is Nasonex, but it doesn't have a generic, so it would be pretty expensive.
There are many other allergy and asthma meds out there to try. These are what I use. I'm not a doctor, so this isn't medical advice. I am sharing what has worked for me. You can then talk to your doctor about what is best for you. You can research other meds by going onto www.drugs.com or www.webmd.com
Non Traditional Methods for Treating Asthma.
I have a Naturopathic doctor as well as an Allopathic (conventional) MD. I have learned a lot about how my body works from my naturopath and how to treat my asthma without drugs. It is not quackery, as I can see some of you rolling your eyes. A lot of it makes perfect sense, so hear me out.
Adopt An Anti-inflammatory Diet.
Asthma simply is a disease of inflammation of the lungs. If you decrease the inflammation in the body, then you will avoid many health problems related to it, like heart disease, Alzheimer's, cancer, arthritis, and lupus.
Some foods to avoid: Red meat, dairy products, high sugar content, processed food, and white flour. Am I telling you you have to give up all these foods? No. But when your asthma is really bad, you may want to eliminate these foods until you feel better. I don't drink any milk products at all because I'm allergic to milk anyway. Sometimes I eat cheese. When I have a flair up, I cut out the cheese. It makes a difference for me.
Foods to include more into your diet: Fish,(like Salmon), olive oil, colorful fruits(berries) and vegetables,(broccoli), whole grains, nuts (like almonds), asian mushrooms, ginger, cinnamon, tumeric, green tea, white tea, and good quality dark chocolate.
Check out www.drweil.com for more information on the Anti-inflammatory diet.
Supplements To Try
Vitamin D3 is a great supplement if you has asthma. Take 5,000 IUs every day. Reduces inflammation in the lungs and increases immunity.
Fish oil is recommended for many health benefits. If you don't like to eat fish, try taking some fish oil capsules. If you're worried about the smell or after taste, there are many products that don't have that burpy problem. Carson's is the product that I use. I take 3 capsules a day, but I also eat fish regularly.
Garlic has lots of health benefits too. It has antiviral and antibacterial properties, and it is an anti-inflammatory, and cholesterol lowering herb. There are plenty of odorless garlic products out there too. I use Kyolic brand, but I also cook with a lot of garlic too.
Don't forget to take a good mulivitamin, calcium, and probiotic for overall health. Don't buy cheap vitamins like Centrum. Get pharmaceutical grade supplements. You get what you pay for. Brands that I use are Garden Of Life, Jarrow, and Vital Nutrients. You will tell the difference. If you can't afford the expensive vitamins, the middle of the road would be Nature Made and Trader Joe's brand or Sprouts brand.
Lots of Clean Water
You're thinking, what does water have to do with asthma? A lot actually. If you are dehydrated, your body can"t get rid of the toxins and mucus in your lungs. Most of us are not drinking enough water, and consume too much caffeine. Your voice depends on moist vocal chords. Drink more water and less coffee and soda.
Get Enough Sleep
Some of you are like zzzzzzzzzzzzz or skipping over this part. But don't! You may think that the subject of sleep is boring, and unrelated to the subject at hand, but it does make a huge difference! Lack of sleep leads to stress. Stress leads to inflammation! Sleep is the time when your body heals, recharges, and burns fat.(The fat part is a bonus.) Don't short change your sleep for anything! Melatonin is great for getting to sleep with out taking a typical sleeping pill. If you have sleeping problems, get some help for that. Your voice isn't going to sound good on four hours of sleep.
Exercise
I have some exercise induced asthma, but it doesn't stop me from being active. I have my inhaler nearby and try to exercise indoors away from allergens. Exercise increases lung capacity, even for asthma folks. You don't have to run a marathon. Just get your heart rate up and do something you enjoy every day. It also activates those feel good hormones that we all like so much! Yoga and Pilates are great for increasing breath capacity. Swimming is great too, but avoid chlorinated pools if you can.
Vocal Exercises
I'm going to assume you do vocal exercises regularly, but if you don't, I would highly recommend a regular routine. Either practice with a vocal coach or use a program you can buy online to do on your own. Working with your voice every day will increase your lung capacity, and help you to gauge the extent of your asthma from day to day. Pick exercises that work your diaphragm. Blowing up balloons is a great exercise. Volunteer at a bunch of kids' parties! lol Swimming games that require you to hold your breath are fun to do with the kids too. Be mindful of the chlorine in the pools. Amazon has a lot of books and CDs with breathing exercises. The best program for you depends on your vocal ability and what genre you sing. Read the reviews carefully to pick the best one for you.
Use A Humidifier
This has made a big difference for my breathing. Obviously, I live in a very dry climate. You may not want a humidifier if you live in Florida. I put mine on at night before bed and it keeps my lungs and throat moist. I got mine at a thrift store for $5, but you can buy one at Walmart brand new for about $30.
Shower Before Bed Instead Of The Morning
During allergy season, you go outside and all the environmental stuff gets on your hair and clothes. You bring it into the house. You lay in your bed and put it on your pillow. You breath it in while you sleep. A viscious cycle. If you take a shower, wash your hair and sleep in clean sheets, you will have an easier time with breathing. Don't sleep in the same t-shirt you wore that day. If that isn't practical for you, at least get a wet washcloth and wipe down from your head to your feet to get all the allergens off you before you go to sleep. Wash the sheets in hot water if you don't already.
Buy An Air Cleaner
I have an Ecoquest that I've had for years. Not cheap, but it is easy to maintain, and has worked for me to keep the indoor air clean. You can find some good ones with a Heppa filter online that fits your spending budget. Try to get one that you don't have to buy replacement filters for. It gets costly. Ebay is a great place to shop for them.
Dust And Vacuum Regularly
Most allergy and asthma sufferers already know to keep the homes free of dust and allergens. I don't have pets, so I only need to dust once a month. The carpet holds a lot of allergens, so keep it vacuumed every week, and shampoo every few months. Getting rid of carpet and switching to hard floors is key if you can do this.
Stay Away From Chemicals
Stay away from bleach, air fresheners, cleaning chemicals, and smoke filled rooms. I use Simple Green for pretty much everything. Vinegar and water for glass. You may not like green cleaners, but Simple Green works pretty good for all my chores with no toxins. Chemicals are a huge asthma trigger.
Stay away from smokey rooms. Dana Reeves, wife of Christopher Reeve, died from lung cancer. Although she was a non smoker, she sang in smoke filled bars and nightclubs. Arizona is a smoke free state now, so I don't have to deal with smoking sections in restaurants. I also don't perform in venues where smoking is still permitted, like bars or American Legion Halls. I don't have family or friends that smoke. If I meet someone that does smoke, I ask them not to smoke in front of me. They are usually compliant with the request when I tell them I can't breathe! If you smoke and you're a singer, I don't know why you're even reading this. Obviously you shouldn't smoke. I am hoping you are at least trying to quit. There are many new methods out there to quit smoking, so don't give up!
Use A Netipot Everyday
I discovered nasal irrigation years ago, and I have been using a netipot ever since. It has done wonders for my asthma, allergies, and overall nasally discharge issues. If you don't know what a netipot is, basically it is a teapot looking device that puts warm saltwater up one side of your nostril and comes out the other nostril. You may be thinking that I'm nuts, and that it sounds really gross, but hear me out. It's not as bad as it sounds. Easy and painless, I assure you. It has really made a difference in my health. I urge you to give it a try. I don't use a traditional netipot. I have a product called Sinus Rinse made by NeilMed. You can find them in almost any drug store. If not, they have a website to order from online. It is like a squirt bottle, similar to those Ocean saline bottles. The kit comes with measured saline packets that you pour into the bottle, and add purified warm water to the indicated line to get the correct mix. I usually take mine into the shower with me because it is easier. You put the squirt bottle up to one nostril, tilt your chin DOWN to your chest. As you exhale through your mouth, you squeeze the bottle gently so the water goes up your nostril. It will automatically come out the other nostril. Blow your nose gently. Then proceed with the other nostril. It is important to follow the instructions for dilution. Shake the bottle before using or the water will burn! Don't use tablet salt either. If you want to try the SinusRinse for free, NeilMed has a facebook page, and they give away free starter kits. The refill salt packets are pretty cheap to buy. Let me know how it goes.
Don't Sing When You're Sick
There are very few times in my life when I sang when I was sick, and I regretted it. But sometimes the show must go on. If you get sick or get an asthma flare up right before a performance, you have to decide if you can afford to cancel it or get someone to take your place. If I have a cold, a sore throat, and coughing, I have to cancel. Singing when your vocal chords are probably inflammed or raw will give you vocal problems down the road. Polups and nodules on your vocal chords are not worth any performance. Look at famous singers who had to have vocal chord surgery because of abuse to the voice. Julie Andrews can't even sing anymore. She acts more and writes children's books now. It's a shame. I loved her voice.
When You Must Sing With Asthma
If you just have trouble breathing, but you don't have a cold or infection, then there may be some emergency steps to get you through. Be sure you're taking all the asthma medications above that you've been prescribed. Adopt the anti-inflammatory diet right away. No caffeine. Tons of water and warm decaf beverages. Extra sleep. Do your warm-up exercises for your voice as usual. (I sure hope you do warm up exercises!) Eucalyptus Oil sprayed onto a tissue and inhaled works well to open up your breathing. The oil is found in health food stores. There is also a product called Bronkaid that I use as a final resort. It is a bronchodialator in pill form. Similar to the Primatene Midst Spray, but they took that off the market. It takes a half hour for the Bronkaid to work, so plan accordingly! It is not to be used longterm! It has ephedrine in it with the brochodialator. It doesn't require a prescription, but you have to sign for it at the pharmacy counter. I was able to breathe almost normally to get through a performance. Make sure you drink a lot of water with it because it dries you out. Your voice will crack if you don't have enough water with this stuff. Also, take it with some food or light snack. Your heart will race a little. You'll feel almost euphoric on this stuff. That's the epinephrine talking. If you have any heart problems, blood pressure issues or thyroid disease, talk to your doctor first before taking this!
So this is pretty much how I live with asthma with my singing. I sing on a regular basis, and usually do pretty good. I'd like to hear what you do to cope with your asthma! I also want to know if you have applied anything in this blog that has helped you.


posted by Diana Stimmler Winkler: on 10/28/2012

Lots of changes Subscribe To My Blog (RSS)(Click this icon to Subscribe)

A lot has happened in the last couple of months! My hours have been cut at work, which makes it harder financially to finish projects, but I have more time to write some music!

I have been taking some performance lessons this summer to learn how to communicate better with my audience. I have learned so much from my couch! I get a lot of new opportunities to sing in front of audiences and make new music friends as well.

I am meeting with The Sojourner Center soon to talk about me using my using at the shelter! I am excited, because this is the core of my ministry. I will keep you posted on that.

I turned 40 this year! I feel really great. I have always wanted to learn how to play guitar(I play piano), but I thought I was too old. Well, I decided that I was going to learn anyway! So my hubby and my Mom bought me a Yamaha acoustic for my birthday. I have learned 8 chords, but my fingers are still real sore, so I can't practice longer until I get my callouses. But I am having fun.

My hubby turns 50 this year and he has decided to learn the bass guitar too. He plays the drums. So, we have a piano, drums, an acoustic, and a bass guitar in the house.

I bought a couple of new books this summer to get better at songwriting. I needed help figuring out those chord progressions. I plan on putting those into good use soon for a song or two.

Hop you are having a fun summer!
Bye for now

posted by Diana Winkler on 07/19/2012

12 Traits Of An Abusive Relationship Subscribe To My Blog (RSS)(Click this icon to Subscribe)

I am sharing an article from Crosswalk.com about abusive relationships in the church. I have experienced many of these things myself in my first marriage. This is basically the message that I plan to take with me in my music ministry to the church body and local community.

Written by Laura Petherbridge, Crosswalk.com Contributor

"My boyfriend is jealous. He gets furious when I won't dump my friends and spend all of my free time with him," the weeping woman shared with me. "I was so thrilled to have a devoted boyfriend that I ignored the warning signs of abuse. I convinced myself that he loved me, and that things would get better with time. I was wrong-completely wrong."
After 20 years of ministry I frequently hear this cry from men and women who are in a bad relationship. Christians often believe that domestic violence, abuse and manipulation doesn't occur within the church, but nothing could be further from the truth. Sometimes men are portrayed as sadistic; however women can be equally dangerous. In an attempt to help singles avoid a destructive relationship or a painful marriage I offer insight on how to detect a toxic, abusive person.
An abuser is typically:

1. Charming. This person quickly smothers the other with gifts and praise. He/she immediately pushes for an exclusive relationship using phrases such as "I can't live without you" or "I'll kill myself if you leave." A clear indication something is wrong. Sometimes a person will stay with an abuser out of pity or fear, not love!
2. Jealous. He/she views others as a threat to the relationship and relentlessly accuses you of flirting. "I know you are having an affair." The irony is that the abuser is usually the cheater. The abuser never allows any plutonic friends of the opposite sex.
3. Manipulative. Abuse and manipulation go hand-in-hand. This person easily detects vulnerability in others and uses it as a weapon to control, belittle and demean the victim. "You are weak and ugly; no wonder you were abused as a kid." Abusers usually have poor self esteem, and the only way to make themselves feel better is to put others down.
4. Controlling. Constant checking on the whereabouts of the victim is a common trait for the abuser. "I check the mileage on your car. So don't lie to me." A male controller often refuses to let his girlfriend have a job, she might "meet someone." Constantly calling on the cellphone to check up on them, or following the victim is a common control tactic.
5. A Victim. An abuser doesn't take any responsibility for his/ her poor choices. They are never at fault. When she loses her job, or he gets into a fight, someone else is to blame. "You make me hit you" or "I drink because you stress me out."
6. Narcissistic. The whole world revolves around the abuser and his/her needs. This person is invigorated by the fact that the victims "walks on eggshells" and live in fear of the next outburst. It is usually over something very petty.
7. Inconsistent. Mood swings are a common trait for an abuser. One minute he/she is happy and sweet, the next they are pounding a fist or throwing a tantrum. Some are bi-polar, and may benefit from professional treatment or medication, but many will not admit they need help.
8. Critical. Verbally assaulting others is a way of life for the abuser. "You are a stupid, fat, disgusting tramp. You can't ever leave me; no other man would have you" or "Ha! You call yourself a man. You are nothing but a mama's boy."
9. Disconnected. Isolation from family and friends is a key goal for the abuser because it forces the victim into total submission. "Your family causes too much trouble for us. I don't want you seeing them anymore." Family members can usually see the abuse happening when the victim doesn't. That's one reason why the abuser doesn't want them around to blow the cover.
10. Hypersensitive. The slightest offense sends the abuser ranting. Everyone is out to "get him/her." "My boss had it in for me; I bend over backwards on my job but I still got fired." Always negative about everything around them.
11. Vicious and cruel. A significant number of abusers harm children and animals as well as a partner. Intimidation and inflicting pain fuels his/her power. "If I can't have you, no one will" or "I just pretended to love you so that you would sleep with me." An abuser even threatens harm to him/herself as a means of keeping the victim compliant.
12. Insincerely repentant. He/she will swear to never "behave like that again." But unless an abuser receives professional help and solid accountability it's unlikely the abuse will disappear. A severe wakeup call is needed before this pattern of behavior is broken.

After marriage these behaviors typically escalate, therefore it's crucial to recognize the warning signs now. Tell someone you can trust, and get help. And don't believe the lie that it's not abuse until he/she hits you. Abuse is about control! You can make someone's life miserable without laying a finger on a person.

When an abuser loses control they often react with rage and the abuse intensifies. Therefore, make a plan before breaking off the relationship. Contact a counselor or local domestic abuse hotline and/or safe house in your community. Do not let the abuser know you are planning to leave!

24 hour national hotline 1-800-799-SAFE

Legal Advocacy line 1-800-782-6400

This insight is for church leaders. In my 20 years of ministry I've watched numerous abusers deceive and manipulate the church. He/she often knows exactly what to say and do to get the church "on their side." Although Christians are called to be loving and kind, we should not ignore toxic, sinful behavior. That is neither love or compassion. Churches need to stand behind victims and not tolerate abusive behavior from anyone!

Copyright © 2009 Laura Petherbridge. All rights reserved



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posted by Diana Winkler on 05/28/2012

Interview with my Indie friend Chris Burton Jacome Subscribe To My Blog (RSS)(Click this icon to Subscribe)

I've been working on a new song for the next album. You may know the song already, Via Dolorosa. I wanted to put a new spin on it and make the arrangement fresh and original, so I partnered up with my musician friend Chris Burton Jacome. Chris is a flamenco guitarist, and a very good one at that. We did a jam session to decide what we wanted to do with the song, and then the following week, we did the recording of his guitar tracks. I am going to lay the vocals down later. This is going to be all in Spanish for the album, but I am also going to do an English version that will be available in MP3 only.

I asked Chris if he would allow me to interview him, so you could learn all about him and his music. He graciously accepted. So, here is the link to watch the interview at your leisure. I am no Barbara Walters, but we had a lot of fun! This is on my video section also.

http://youtu.be/eHyZlmdAR5I

Here is also a video of him being featured on Cox Cable station.

http://www.cox7.com/flamexico

The song will be finished in June, so stay tuned for the release!


posted by Diana Winkler on 03/25/2012

New Single! Subscribe To My Blog (RSS)(Click this icon to Subscribe)

During our church's 100 year anniversary, I have been asked to tell my story of domestic violence for our Storyteller Series. I will then be singing the latest song that I wrote about domestic violence with my husband on the drums playing with our church band! This will be the first time anyone has heard the song, outside of my music team.

I am so excited about this new beginning to my music ministry! I just got a new job that will allow me more time to devote to music right now. My husband and I are starting the support group at church and reaching out to our community. This is a great start to getting the ball rolling. I am relatively new to the church, so they have only heard me sing a few times. I have been trying to get to know the folks at my church and develop some great relationships. So far, I have been surrounded by supportive people in the choir and the other ministry I am involved with called Chanenai House. It is basically a food bank and a thrift store that is free of charge to the community. Brian, my husband, has been starting to be a substitute drummer for the band until we start a third service that is more of a blended music style. He hasn't played drums in a few years for several reasons, but he is thrilled to be playing once again for the Lord. God has been so good to me and Brian, giving us great jobs, a wonderful church, and each other to love.

I am curious as to what everyone will think of the song, since it is not my usual genre. It is the first time I will be singing Blues in public. My husband got me hooked on Ruthie Foster and Keb Mo. I have worked really hard on my songwriting this year, and hope to do more this year. I will be posting the song on IndieHeaven, iTunes, YouTube soon, so please let me know what you think of it.

posted by Diana Winkler on 02/27/2012

New beginnings! Subscribe To My Blog (RSS)(Click this icon to Subscribe)

Happy New Year to you all! Lots of exciting things planned for 2012 in my ministry!

The first being, this blog is going to be switching to a more domestic violence awareness slant instead of a specifically a music slant. I'll be bringing news of interest to this blog and make it more interactive.

The second change is that I will be preparing to do house concerts sometime in April. Stay tuned for more details, but if you would like me to do a concert in your home with 20 of your friend, give me a call. The host gets to pick the songs and gets some free gifts along with it.

I am currently recording the next album to be completed in the spring, Lord willing. It is going well so far, and I'm excited to share with you this new music of mine!

posted by Diana Winkler on 01/15/2012

A really great article about Bobby McFerrin! Subscribe To My Blog (RSS)(Click this icon to Subscribe)

Yes, the guy who sings "Don't Worry, Be Happy". Stumbled upon a great article. There is more to this musician than meets the eye! Enjoy.


Sing Your Life

Vocal genius Bobby McFerrin likes to get stage fright and hates people who suck the fun out of Mozart

By Adam Cotton

"Musicians can get so caught up in the seriousness of music-making. They forget that Mozart was a really joyful man--he had a lot of fun," says Bobby McFerrin by phone from his Philadelphia home. "Musicians play for a living. Remember that, to think of that word, play. We play our instruments. We play music."

Anyone who's seen McFerrin perform knows that he is indeed very serious about having fun. And it's undeniable that his merriment is very contagious.

McFerrin, who performs Monday at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium, is a phenomenon in the music world. A 10-time Grammy Award winner, he is the world's foremost vocal innovator and improviser, a highly sought after classical conductor and a passionate spokesman for music education, not to mention the creator of one of the catchiest songs of the 20th century, "Don't Worry, Be Happy" His collaborations with Yo-Yo Ma, Chick Corea, the Vienna Philharmonic and Herbie Hancock have established him as an ambassador of both the classical and jazz worlds.

Not your everyday singer, McFerrin has an incredible four-octave range (that's 48 keys long on a piano) and a vast array of contrasting vocal techniques. His explorations as a vocalist and composer have combined jazz, folk, rock, spiritual, choral, a cappella, classical and a multitude of world music influences.

How Can I Keep From Singing?

McFerrin, born to opera singer parents in New York in 1950, was vibrating in song long before he saw the light of day. His father was the first African American male soloist at the Metropolitan Opera. At home, his parents would sing, teach and entertain guests with jazz standards. McFerrin, who was taking music theory lessons by age 6, mischievously enjoyed hiding under the piano while his dad was teaching, listening to the strange dulcimer-like poundings of notes from beneath the soundboard. Growing up, he learned piano, clarinet and flute.

It wasn't until age 27 that he was suddenly struck with the idea of being a singer. Soon after, he was inspired by the completely improvised solo concerts of pianist Keith Jarrett.

"I came up with this crazy idea just to walk out on the stage with no band at all and just start singing whatever came to mind," says McFerrin. "I actually fought the idea for a while because it seemed almost too radical."

In 1983, however, when he did his first tour of Europe as an unaccompanied vocalist, he did in fact walk out on stage with absolutely nothing prepared. By '88, he had a solid following and a few Grammys under his belt, but was still somewhat unknown to the general public. One day in the recording studio, he became frustrated while working on a track and decided to take a break. On his break, he wrote some lyrics and improvised a light-hearted melody to take his mind off things.

The result, "Don't Worry, Be Happy," wasn't even supposed to be on the album. Completely finished in less than an hour, the song catapulted him to worldwide recognition. Surprised by this grand reception, he did the exact opposite of what was expected of someone with their first pop hit: he turned down numerous big-money offers, dropped out of the public eye and went back to his house to spend time with his family and take conducting lessons.

In 1990, he made his first appearance with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, conducting Beethoven's Seventh. By 1994, he had been named creative director of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and was being invited all over the world as a guest conductor.


If It's Nerves, It Must Be Showtime: McFerrin finds it so important to be nervous in front of his audience that he actually stopped performing for a while when he got too comfortable.

Even Vocal Superstars Get the Jitters

Along with the orchestral gigs, McFerrin has kept touring as a solo improviser, always making his audience a part of the show.

"When I'm riffing along on something, and I find something that I think the audience can help me out with, I generally give them that part," he says. You'd think going onstage with absolutely no clue what he's going to do in front of a large crowd of people who paid good money to see him might be a little nerve-racking, and well, actually, you're right.

"I'm always nervous," admits McFerrin, "and I wanna be, because that means I care enough about what I'm doing."

He says there was actually a point in his career where he stopped getting nervous, "and so I stopped performing for a while so that I could get the jitters back, because I felt like I wasn't giving a hundred percent."

So, what goes through his head when he's up there?

"I don't think about anything during my concerts," he says, "nothing at all except the music that I'm doing. I try not to think about the audience. I try not to perform, you know. I try only to sing, to be as relaxed as possible about it, to be completely nonchalant and naive about the whole process, without really thinking about what I'm doing, why I'm doing it. I don't have an agenda, you know what I mean, nothing like that. I fight those kinds of thoughts. I fight them off like I'm trying to keep an enemy out of my house. I think that they just get in the way of musical integrity."

McFerrin sees himself and other musicians as being here "to lift the spirits of humanity, to feed the soul. That's what our main job is." A strong believer in the healing power of music, McFerrin sees his performances as opportunities for the audience and sometimes even the performer to rise above and transform emotions and even physical symptoms.

"I like to think that our task as musicians is transcendence," he says. "When you're performing in front of people, you don't want them to leave the same way they came in. You know, sometimes when you go to a concert, your heart is closed for one reason or another, you had a fight with your spouse, you just got fired from your job, one of your kids is sick, they cancelled your favorite TV show, who knows. So you're dragged to this concert kicking and screaming, and then all of a sudden something happens, and you're completely changed."

But what if it's McFerrin himself who had the bad day before the concert?

"I think I'd rather [perform]," he says, "than sit around and mope and feel sorry for myself, or have my own pity party or get trapped in my own emotions. When I'm confused or angry or upset or something, when my temper is a little bit unbalanced, singing is a really good therapy for me."

McFerrin, who has been married to his wife Debbie for almost 30 years and has two sons, says that beyond everything else, he values his family life and being a normal guy and doing normal things in his off time, which he makes sure he has plenty of.

"You know, when you're a celebrity, people just love you, but they don't know you. You go out there and they just love you to death, you know, you're applauded up and down. You lift up a glass of water to take a drink, and they applaud that. You take off your shoes and they applaud, you know, its just incredible!" he says. "It's a crazy, crazy unrealistic life. Your family is what's real, what's supporting you. They know all of your quirks and annoying little habits and they put up with you on a daily basis."



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Bobby McFerrin performs Monday, April 19, at 8pm at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium. Tickets are $30/$27 adults, $25 students and seniors with ID, $50/$45 gold circle, available through the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium box office at 831.420.5260 or Ticketmaster at 408.998.8497.
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From the April 14-21, 2004 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.
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For more information about Santa Cruz, visit santacruz.com.


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posted by Diana Winkler on 12/28/2011

Collaborating Subscribe To My Blog (RSS)(Click this icon to Subscribe)

I'm really enjoying the time I'm spending with a few collaborators and writing music. I'm working with Dude Lovett in Australia to do the demo for my blues song. Isn't technology wonderful that we can work with musicians on the other side of the planet! I was at Robert Tripp's house yesterday working on my Facebook song. He is local here in Phoenix. He has a lot of great musical talent to bring to the table. I'm working on a classical sacred piece with our very own John Vitz over in California. I just love his music. I'll be working with other great artists sometime in the near future, like Ray Sample, as soon as our schedules line up.lol. My friend Chris Jacome, flamenco guitarist, may help me on an arrangement on a Spanish song I'm doing. Exciting times! It is tough aligning our schedules up, and balancing my job and church service, but it is sure fun!. Anyone else want to work on songs together? Drop me a line.

posted by Diana Stimmler Winkler on 10/24/2011

The Leeland Concert! Subscribe To My Blog (RSS)(Click this icon to Subscribe)

My husband and I got a chance to go to a wonderful concert with the band Leeland. We bought the VIP tickets so we got to go to the Meet N Greet, as well as premium seating.

When my husband and I got married, our music collections married as well. I introduced him to some of my favorite artists, and he introduced me to Leeland. We were driving to church one night, and my husband said that I had to listen to this CD of this band Leeland. I guess they call their music style Progressive Christian. I've never heard anything like them, so I don't know who to compare them with. So, he put the CD in, and immediately it got my attention. The vocals were phenomenal. The lyrics were so profound and spoke to my heart. I have never heard anyone blend so well together since the Lennon Sisters. Brian said that the lead vocals were two brothers. I just sat there listening, amazed. I liked every song on the CD, which was rare for me. My favorite song that they sing is Villa Dolorosa. They also had this worship song that came on, called How Wonderful, and the tears started streaming down my face. God had shown up in that car! I put my hands up just praising along with them. Carried To The Table was also very moving. So, it was then I immediately became a fan. I bought all their CD's after that. They just came out with a new album, The Great Awakening. The concert was to promote the new album, and we got tickets!

The day finally came, and we drove over to the church during a Monsoon storm. It hailed! We waited in the Green Room for the Meet N Greet. All four of them soon came out and introduced themselves, and opened up the floor for questions. The leader singer and guitarist is Leeland Moorling, with his brother, Jack, on the keyboards and background vocals. Their sister, Shelly, just joined the band as the bass player. Their longtime good friend, Mike Smith, plays the drums. One of the band members left to join the military and is now fighting in the Middle East.

So we found out during Q&A that they grew up in Texas in a Christian home, with musical parents. They traveled around the country with their parents ministering to churches. It looks like the family talent stuck with all of the Moorling siblings. They travel around the country together, and their parents are only a phone call away to give them feedback and support on their music. Leeland said, "If Mom cries during a song, it gets on the album." I thought that was great!

They are all married with families. Shelly is engaged. I really liked the way they kept their relationships with God first on the road. They told a story about how they are getting comfortable praying on airplaines. They have the Bible open on their laps, with hands up in the air, and eyes closed in prayer. Jack said that it is very easy to just sleep on the plane instead of spending time in the Word, but Leeland is always setting the example for the rest of the band.

The question that I had for them was about songwriting. I asked them if they had a formula that they follow. Leeland said that some people are good at lyrics, and some are good at melodies. He happens to be good at melodies, and he records ideas on his iphone all day. He has been to Nashville and had some good instruction from musicians there as well. He added that it is always good to have someone give you feedback on your music. They said they have written some bad songs too, but Mom is very honest to let them know if it needs work. Jack says a lot of music ideas come from preachers. The pastor says some phrase that speaks to him, and he goes home and writes lyrics for it. Sometimes during prayer or bible reading, God will give them a song idea.

The last part of the meeting was focused on their charity work with Food For The Hungry. Leeland encourages everyone to take their children to another culture to see how the rest of the world lives. The band has taken many trips abroad visiting the fruit of the Food For The Hungry ministry, and serving in any way they can.

The concert was about to start, so we were ushered over to our premium seats. Third row center, baby! I have some awesome videos of them singing. I will post them as soon as I can figure out how to convert the file smaller. They sound just as good in concert as they do on the CD. Leeland was jumping around all over the stage. His joy was very contagious. He really believes what he sings, and it comes across with a lot of passion. One thing he said during the preaching time was that worship is what you do everyday of your life. It is not coming to church and singing, contrary to popular belief. Your life is your worship. Leeland said if his life doesn't line up with what he is singing on the stage, then God doesn't need him up there singing. The praise is in vain.

The new songs from The Great Awakening were not a disappointment! The song The Great Awakening was taken from an out of print poem from that time period: "One man wakes, awakens another. Second one wakes his next door brother. Three awake can rouse a town. And turn the whole place upside down. Many awake will cause such a fuss. It finally wakes all of us. One man wakes with dawn in his eyes. Surely then it multipies." There are 11 more awesome songs on the album to go with that one!

We got two T-shirts on the way home, and we just downloaded the digital album this evening. It is hard to believe, but I am a bigger fan than I was before I went to the concert. If you would like to checkout Leeland yourself, the website is leelandonline.com

posted by Diana Stimmler Winkler on 09/23/2011

Songwriting Subscribe To My Blog (RSS)(Click this icon to Subscribe)

It's been an exciting month so far. I have been working hard on a song that is the basis for a new ministry I plan to start soon. It was hard getting started, but once I sat down to work, the ideas started to flow. I am fortunate to have my husband Brian to help me out. He is such a blessing. He is really good at the rhyming stuff, and coming up with the meter of the song. I'd ask him to give me something good when I get stuck. He has written music before with his band. One of them may be featured on my next album. This song is about domestic violence in the church. Not your feel good song, but it needs to be written. Brian came up with an idea to make it a blues song. I have never sung blues in my life, but I thought it was a good idea. I had to go get some help from my music leaders at church, just so i get the beat right and it sounds like an actual blues song. I got a melody line and some chords to start me off. Anybody play harmonica that can lend their talents? I will keep you updated on the song. I'm going to have it evaluated at the Christian Music Summit in October. I am wondering what they are going to think about the song. I just bought a brand new microphone to record with. If I can get the recording sounding good, I will put it on IH.

I just started serving in the music ministry at my new church. It is hard to find a church that you fit in. Everyone is real easy going and laid back. They have put me and my husband to work serving in the music. I just put some video up of our adventures so far. Hope you are having a good week!

posted by Diana Stimmler Winkler on 08/28/2011

Featured Artist Interview: Bruce Frye Ministries Subscribe To My Blog (RSS)(Click this icon to Subscribe)

As some of you know, I am starting to get into some songwriting, finally. It is not something that comes naturally to me, so I've been asking some fellow artists how they write their songs.

I had the blessing to be able to go to Bruce Frye's concert recently and talk with him afterwards. For those of you who don't know him, he was in the country music scene for many years, living a life of drinking, worldliness, and hopelessness. Then he met Jesus, and his life was never the same. He travels all over the country giving his testimony and the Gospel through song. It is obvious he has a great burden for reaching the lost for Christ. His delivery is so tender and compassionate. And his songs can touch your heart way deep down, or they can make you laugh until your sides hurt. In my opinion, he is one of the best Christian songwriters I know. Here is our conversation that evening:

Diana: It's great to see you again, Brother Bruce. I wanted to ask you about your songwriting, if I could.

Bruce: Great to see you again too. Sure, I'd love to.

Diana: My husband and I are musicians too. I normally sing other people's songs. And you've been really great sending me your tracks so I can sing your songs too.

Bruce: You're welcome.

Diana: Well, I think your songs are so well written. Do you have a formula for writing songs? Or does it come naturally? I would like to start songwriting, and I am having a hard time getting started.

Bruce: Well, writing songs is like a tree. You start with the tree trunk,the main idea, and then you develop a song into tree branches, the details.

Diana: Your songs flow so nicely, and they don't have any stupid rhymes. haha

Bruce: Well, I don't know. I guess that part comes naturally to me.

Diana: You've been doing this for a long time, I know.

Bruce: I started playing the guitar real young, and I was always into poetry. Eventually those poems turned into songs.

Diana: Are there any resources for Christian songwriters to learn how to write good songs?

Bruce: Actually the Nashville Music Association has some recommendations on their website. Or you could take some kind of class in basic songwriting.

Diana: I've asked some of my other musician friends how they get a song, and one of them said,"I wake up in the middle of the night, and God gives me this song! And I write it down on a napkin by my bed." Well, that doesn't help me too much! haha

Bruce: I just write down some ideas that the Lord gives me throughout the day or week. I have actually written some pretty bad songs. I threw out one a little while ago. haha.

Diana: Well, that makes me feel better! I was thinking of writing a song about Facebook. I'm addicted to Facebook, brother. You're familiar with it?

Bruce: Yes, I am. That would be a good song. As Pastor Kenny Baldwin says," You need to get your face in The Book, and get your face off the Facebook."

Diana: Oh, you know Pastor Kenny? I went to college down there in Fairfax, and I know the Baldwins at Crossroads Baptist, and the Calverts at Fairfax Baptist Temple. Do you sing there often?

Bruce: Yeah, every once in a while.

Diana: Can I send you a copy of my Facebook song when I am done, and then you can let me know what you think?

Bruce: Sure, that would be great.

Diana: Thank you for talking with me tonight. It was good to see you again. I hope you come to Arizona again soon. God bless you.

Bruce: Thank you for driving here all the way from Scottsdale. God bless you, kind folks.
******************
If you want to check out Bruce's website and hear his beautiful music, here is his address:
http://www.brucefrye.com/

You'll be blessed!

If you would like to be a featured artist on my blog, drop me an email!

posted by Originally posted July 23, 2011 on 07/30/2011

Common vocal questions Subscribe To My Blog (RSS)(Click this icon to Subscribe)

Hello, my musical friends. I hope you are all having a great summer so far. We just bought one of those karaoke machines this week, and it has been a blast singing a bunch of goofy songs to blow some steam. I have never sung karaoke before, which is funny, because I sing in front of people all the time!

I thought I would take this blog opportunity to answer some vocal questions from my supporters. They are the most common questions I get from over the years teaching music. Perhaps your question is here. If you have a question that isn't addressed here, go ahead and ask in the comments section, or send me an email. I will answer it promptly!

So, speaking of singing, here are some common vocal questions:


1. When I sing, my throat hurts. How can I prevent this?

That's a good question, and an important one. The first step is to find out what your range is. You can use a piano and play the notes to see how far down you can go, and then see how high you can sing up the piano without strain. Get a pianist to help you if you need. Write your results down for future reference. Do not sing higher or lower than your natural range. That will eliminate most problems with the throat. If you want sing something that is out of your range, change the key signature to accommodate your correct range. I know everyone wants to hit those high notes, but not everyone was born with those kinds of vocal chords. Accept it. It is not worth damaging your voice.

Another major problem that causes throat pain is tension in the throat area. When you sing your throat should be relaxed at all times. Closing your throat and constricting it to get a rough sound is not going to serve you in the end. First, try yawning to get the throat relaxed. Open your mouth wide for the upper and lower extremes of your range. It does take some adjustment to avoid tensing up your throat, but keep practicing.

Never sing when you're sick! Your throat is enflamed. Rest! Make sure you are drinking enough water and getting enough sleep. Your voice is a physical instrument. Take care of it.

Also read the question below about breathing correctly. That plays an important part.

2. How can I get over stage fright?

Your question is a very common one. Every performer has some stage fright to some extent. They just learn to live with it. Most people are surprised to find out I have some stage fright, even though I have sung my whole life. How do I overcome it? Well, most of it has to do with being very well prepared. I practice a song until I can sing it in my sleep. That helps with confidence. The other thing to keep in mind is that your audience wants to hear what you have to offer! You have a gift to bless others. One thing I do is to find someone in the audience that I know is very supportive of me. Seeing a smiling, familiar face really helps if you have some nervousness. Ultimately, if God has given you a ministry, He will be able to help you through the nerves. The more you get up there and sing, the easier it will become. The nervousness won't go away completely, but it will be manageable.

3. I've been told I can't sing a tune in a bucket. Can I learn how to sing? Or is there no hope for me?

I get this question a lot. There are those that are born with natural talent, and those that have to work a lot harder at it. I believe that everyone can learn to improve their singing voice. It depends on how dedicated the person is to practicing and following instructions. You're going to have to work harder than the guy next to you to meet your goals. I have taught students that sounded like alley cats before they had training. They made some great progress. There are physical techniques to singing. If you follow them, you will improve. Now, you have to keep things in perspective. Not everyone is going to be the next Pavarotti, but he/she will be able to hold a pitch and sing a pleasant tune that people enjoy listening to. Being a professional musician is not everyone's calling, but everyone can enjoy music in their own corner of the world. By the way, I could always hold a pitch and I liked music, but I had to work very hard to get to where I am musically. I was not born this way. I would say I was a late bloomer. So, if you want to sing, get some training, work hard, and have fun!

4. I want to sing just like [insert favorite singer here]. How can I accomplish that?

First of all, I want to say that each one of us is unique. God created us to be special. I want to encourage you not to copy or imitate another singer, but to be yourself. Set your own style. The music world is full of copycats. They don't make their own impact on the world, which is a tragedy. I once watched a David Foster special on public television. There was this young girl on the show that sang a Whitney Houston song. Now she did a good job. She was technically perfect in her execution. Do you want to know what was wrong? She sounded exactly like Whitney Houston, down to every nuance and embellishment. What she did was copy another person without making the song her own, and giving the audience the blessing of her own unique gifts. Don't make the same mistake! Sure, get inspiration from others, but go higher! The best musicians in the world are successful because they are different!

5. I run out of breath and get tired by the end of the song. How do I get more air?

You are having problems with your breath control. Breathing correctly is 80% of singing. The other 20% is diction, placement, posture etc. The good news is that everyone can increase breath control. You have to master what we call diaphramatic breathing. Most singers who aren't trained, breathe high up in the chest area, and then you see the shoulders rising (What I call "toaster shoulders"). Instead, you need to direct the air down towards the belly button area. You know all that sucking in your abs stuff? Well, forget that. You want that tummy to stick out! And then you have to ration the air you took in. Resist the urge to let all the air out at once like a balloon gone crazy. Anticipate when you are going to need extra air, and times when you don't need as much. There are exercises to increase your air capacity, but be patient. It takes time to improve. Just be consistent. Blowing up balloons is great. Swimming under water is great practice. Traditional vocal exercises like scales are helpful too.

Other things to keep in mind, stand up straight. Get plenty of exercise. Stay away from smoke. I hope you don't smoke! If you have asthma, get to the doctor for treatment.

6. I see all these young kids sing very professionally and become famous. Can my child do that too?

You're probably talking about little Jackie, and other kids from America's Got Talent. Your child certainly can! Don't be surprised with the recent turnout of young talent all around us. There have always been young musical geniuses out there (Michael Jackson, Mozart). I knew plenty of kids growing up that were very talented and young. Children are capable of great abilities if they are encouraged and put near positive influences. The difference now is the internet. We have YouTube and social networking. People have access to talent competitions on TV more than any time in history. So, now these little gems have opportunity to show themselves now, when in the past it was much harder to be seen.

So, if you want your little darling to sing, I have some advice for you. Do not force your kid to sing for your own agenda. It has to be the child that wants to do this. Take the child to a proper vocal teacher to make sure the child doesn't damage his/her delicate voice. Encourage your child in the right way with the proper attitude. Humbleness and graciousness are good qualities to have. Make sure they know that they are not always going to win, and not everyone is going to like their singing, but that's ok. Emphasis should be on having fun, character, and integrity. Too many sweet little girls with great voices get corrupted along the way. I won't name any names. God has a plan for your little one. Keep that in the forefront of everything.

7. I want to increase my range, but how can I do that without damaging my voice?

Increasing your range can be done, but with a few cautions first. Keep your goals attainable. Trying to do that freakish whistle like one particular artist is not a good goal. For one, it is a whistle, and secondly, it is very rare to have that. If you can hit an A natural right now, and you want to reach a B, that is more realistic and attainable. You must first have the foundations of singing mastered before you attempt to increase range: Breathing properly, correct diction, keeping your throat open and relaxed, and good posture. Make sure you warm-up your singing muscles with some breathing exercises and scales. Singing on an AAH sound first, go up or down the scales and try to gradually go toward your goal one half step at a time. Do not force it. Stop when you feel any discomfort. With consistent practice using correct techniques, you will be able to increase your range.

8. With so many voice teachers out there, how do I pick one that is the best?

Excellent question. Yes, there are a lot of voice teachers out there. Some good and some bad. The biggest thing to consider when choosing a teacher is making sure they sing the style of music that you want to sing. That may sound obvious, but I have found out the hard way that there aren't many teachers that sing my particular style of music. The second thing to consider is the teacher's experience. Does your teacher sing or perform right now? It doesn't do any good to have a teacher that doesn't sing regularly in some fashion. Do you like his/her voice? They must be able to demonstrate the techniques to the student. Also, an important consideration is their personality. That may sound trite, but it is really important. I was afraid of my first teacher. I could do my songs and piano pieces perfectly until I got in front of my teacher, and then I was a mess. My second teacher I was more comfortable with on a person level, and so I think I did better with my lessons. Never choose a teacher that is mean, rude, pushy, negative, just because he/she is a famous or well known teacher. It's not worth it. Last comes the price. Don't choose on price, but don't overpay. Lessons can range from $20-50 an hour, depending on a few factors. Don't pay more than $50 an hour for anyone. There are teachers that like to teach and who are affordable. A degree isn't necessary to teach, but it may increase the price of lessons, so keep that in mind.



So there you have it. I hope I answered all your questions thoroughly. Feel free to ask me more details if you need. I'm going to go sing some karaoke with my hubby!

posted by Originally posted July 9, 2011 on 07/30/2011

Some great websites Subscribe To My Blog (RSS)(Click this icon to Subscribe)

Hello, everyone! This is the third edition of my music blog. I've decided to compile a list of my favorite music websites for you. You may already be familiar with some of them, and some maybe you're not. I tried to have a good variety of stuff, but obviously I may leave something valuable off of the list. If there is a website that you would like to add to the list, please do. It would benefit all the readers. Let me know if you find any of these links useful to you. Here they are, in no particular order:


www.globalmissionsproject.com

This is a site run by Camp Kirkland. He takes musicians on missions trips all over the world. He uses the music to bridge the culture and language barriers to bring the Gospel to many countries. You can use your talent as a musician and go on a trip or you can donate to send someone else. If you aren't familiar with Camp Kirkland, he is a Christian music arranger and orchestra leader. Many church choirs and orchestras use his arrangements in music in worship services. A very talented man who loves the Lord.

http://songwritinglab.com
I've been using Songwriting Lab for a short time. Just beginning to write my own songs. They have exercises and tips for songwriters. You can sign up for a tip of the day too. Pretty cool.

http://www.parttimemusician.com
Another general musician's blog.

http://www.makingmusicmag.com
Making Music Magazine. A general music magazine with tips and articles for all kinds of musicians.

http://indieconnectmagazine.com
Indie Connect is a wonderful resource. Videos, articles, advice for the Indie musician. There are a lot of free stuff on here, but if you become a member, it is $100 a year. Then you get access to the really good stuff.

http://diymusician.cdbaby.com
DIY musician is a great website for musicians. Has all kinds of advice and interesting blog topics.

http://www.creativesoulonline.com
Artist development, consulting services for Christian artists. Based in Nashville. They have a Facebook page as well.

Websites for Gigs/jobs:
http://www.gigmaven.com/about
https://www.gigsalad.com/join
http://www.gigs4all.com/login/register-form.php
http://splitgigs.com/ You can trade gigs with someone. They do your gig one night and then you do their gig. Sounds like a neat concept.

http://www.lifewayworship.com/
This is terrific site for worship leaders. You can plan a whole service with the tools. You can get the lead sheets, tracks and the words to just about any song out there, traditional or contemporary. Each song you download is $1.99. They have a free planner, as well as a pro version that they charge you for. Sounds great if you really want to sing a song on Sunday and you don't have the music for it.

http://www.stagedooraccess.com
This site has a songfinder, vocal exercises, audition tips, song accompaniments, and a bunch of other neat stuff. Some of the features require you join a membership.

http://easysonglicensing.com/licensemusic.htm
I have used this service myself on my first album. Their prices were very fair and the service was quick. A lot easier than doing it all myself.





posted by Originally posted May 29, 2011 on 07/30/2011

A Ministry Or A Job? Subscribe To My Blog (RSS)(Click this icon to Subscribe)

I have a question for you. What is the difference between having a ministry and having a job/career? Are they the same thing? Are there cut and dry distinctions? Let's try to toss around some thoughts about it and some examples.
Now, the context we're talking about is pertaining to music specifically, but it could include other categories for the purpose of this definition. Music ministry comes in many categories besides singing or playing an instrument. You have music writers, arrangers, choir leaders, orchestra leaders, music teachers, theatre owners, music engineers, radio stations, and many others. I would say first, anyone that is in the music ministry, or any ministry, would have a calling from God. God has given you gifts, abilities, desires to use for His purpose in this world. Without a calling from God, I would dare say it isn't truly called a ministry. A job is usually based upon a need for paying the bills and feeding your family. You can choose the kind of work based on your skills and experience. What one person would call a ministry, another would call a job. There are plenty of times someone in church begged me to serve in a particular ministry because there was a need and no one was available to do it. (The nursery comes to mind.) Now I like kids, so I took it seriously and did a good job, but I don't feel particularly "called" to the nursery ministry. We all know some people who are.

On the other side of the coin, we recently had Camp Kirkland visit our church recently. He is a church music arranger and orchestra conductor. He organized a concert for a local charity fundraiser in Phoenix. What an experience! Camp travels all over the world with a choir and orchestra performing Christian music that he has arranged. What passion and exuberance! He leads us into worship with the Creator. His is quick to give the Gospel and the honor to God between songs. Wow, he blessed our hearts. There is no doubt about the calling of God on his ministry. He would agree with me that he can't imagine doing anything else.

What about pay? Many music ministers serve without pay, but there are those who do. It varies on a lot of factors: the size of the church, how many students you teach, or if you perform on a stage in front of a huge crowd, etc. Whether you get paid or not doesn't really define if you are a minister or not. I know that I have experienced both. I don't have a problem singing for free if I feel that's what God wants me to do. But, getting paid is nice too. I was on staff at a church once. I left a solid high paying job to work at the church because I wanted to be in "fulltime ministry". I made peanuts, but I was hoping that I was making a difference in the world for the Lord. I've taught voice lessons in my home for 11 years. I really enjoy it so much that I work for peanuts too. I don't charge anywhere near what the other voice teachers in my area charge. Know why? Because when I first started teaching, my first students were not able to afford lessons at all because they were poor. I bartered with them. I had my kitchen floor waxed, the car detailed, the grass cut, and laundry folded in exchange for lessons. The ones that could pay, I made it low enough to compensate me for my time, but I sure couldn't pay rent with it. It was more like extra spending money. Bottom line is that I didn't want Christians in my church to go without learning music because of financial reasons. Now, God led me to do that, but not all teachers choose to work that cheap. When I'm not teaching or doing concerts, my ministry is singing in my home church as a volunteer.

What else does a ministry have? It has a purpose and direction. What are you doing with that music? Why are you doing it? What do you plan to accomplish with your music ministry? Hopefully, all you music ministers out there agree that your goal is to glorify God, be a blessing to others, and give the Good News to those that are seeking. What is your reason or purpose for going to your job? For most, it is to pay the bills, get health insurance, and have something productive to do with their time, higher status, a better lifestyle, or to have a creative outlet. Certainly, there are those that are in the "secular" workforce, and they perceive their jobs as a ministry. That is awesome if that is the case! I'm sure you are like an oasis in the desert with your testimony and witness to others. Of course, the music ministry may provide these benefits as well, the best of both worlds.

Ministry is always a challenge no matter what kind it is, and music is no exception. It is hard to please everyone with the different music genres out there in Christian music. No matter what you do, someone isn't going to like what is going on. Some days in the ministry, the problems that are going on may make you want to quit. If it was just a job, you could walk away, and get another job that pays better or treats you better, whatever. Now if God has called you to a particular ministry, you are more apt to stick it out through the tough times because you know God has a purpose and a plan in it all. I'm not saying it's easy. Believe me, I've been there. But I keep reminding myself that I am here to serve and be a blessing to others, instead of getting served. In closing, one thing I noticed is that when I'm singing for the Lord, I don't really care what popular opinion is anymore.

So, how about you? Are you treating your ministry like a job? What has God called you to do? What are the challenges you face?

Keep sending those stories about your veterans! (See previous post) I am working on a couple of them right now into a draft for a song, but it's not too late to submit yours.

posted by Originally posted April 3, 2011 on 07/30/2011

Be a part of my next album! Subscribe To My Blog (RSS)(Click this icon to Subscribe)

As some of you know, I'm working on a second album this year. I am having a hard time making up my mind as to whether I'm recording a Christmas or a Patriotic album. I collect Christmas music, and I'm one of those people who listen to Christmas music in July! So, obviously that would be another big album with lots of songs. Yet when the 4th of July and Memorial Day comes around, I'm very patriotic-minded. I can't make a final decision yet. Hey, maybe I'll do both holidays! We shall see. It is still early yet.

I am starting on the songwriting process right now. It is easier for me to come up with a patriotic song than a Christmas song. I have a lot of relatives that fought in wars, and served in the military. I am thinking of doing a song or two made up of stories told by the veterans I know. If anyone would like to submit a story about a veteran you know, I would love to include him/her in the album. If I use your story in one of the songs, you will get a free download of the song when the album is released. Be sure to email it to me instead of putting it on the website: dianastimmlerwinkler@yahoo.com.

If you want to help me decide on my project theme, vote for one or the other holiday. You can also tell me which are you favorite songs. I'd like this next album to involve my fans!

posted by originally posted March 23, 2011 on 07/30/2011

Starting things up! Subscribe To My Blog (RSS)(Click this icon to Subscribe)

So, what are we going to talk about on this new fangled blog? Well, since I'm a Christian musician, it will mainly be focused on Christian music genre, but once in a while we may talk about other styles or genres of music.

I plan on talking about what's going on in my music world: recording, songwriting, vocal technique, music culture, news, church ministry, and worship. I plan on having contests, taking polls, and conducting interviews with other artists besides myself. I want this to be a positive place to be, but sometimes a little criticism might come up here or there. Most of all, this is a place for my fans to get to know me, and for me to get to know you better! I will try your make it worth your time.

Everyone is welcome to post here, and voice his or her opinions, as long as it is done in a respectable way. I will not tolerate profanity, or any kind of mean/unkind behavior here. Those kind of posts will be deleted and the poster will be blocked from further posting.

So, with those thoughts, come on in and introduce yourself, if I don't know you already, and tell me what kind of topics you want to discuss on the blog.

posted by original post from march 2, 2011 on 07/30/2011

Welcome Subscribe To My Blog (RSS)(Click this icon to Subscribe)

I've been told by many of my musician friends that I'm supposed to have a blog for my music fans. Sure, I've got plenty of things to say and I'm sure you have comments to add to my blog. I've seen your Facebook posts. So, as soon as I figure out the intricate technical stuff pertaining to the blog, I will post away! Has anyone else done a blog before?

posted by orginal post from March 1, 2011 on 07/30/2011