Parish Nurse Health Tips April 8, 2018

HT 04-08-2018

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans you give you hope and a future.”

April is Autism Awareness Month, and I am focusing today on helping us to understand this complex and broad spectrum of health.  The poster I put here says in a few words what I am seeing as I talk with, walk with, listen to, hug, pray for, and search for ways to help our faith family make a difference in the lives of those among us who have some form of the autism spectrum disorder that challenges parents, grandparents, teachers, friends, pastors, and the medical community!

In 2014, the CDC estimated the prevalence in the U.S. to be present in one of every 68 births – now considered to be the fastest growing developmental disability.

This has opened opportunities for us to consider how to help families facing a lifetime of supports for their children.  The autism diagnosis affects every member of the family in different ways.  Many times in my observation of support group activities, I have been simply amazed and blessed at the broad spectrum of interactions and the wide age range of those who are making a difference in someone’s life.  My own mother became a caregiver for a great grandchild when she was in her 70’s and he was just entering school.  I recall being so moved by the ways she could help him decompress before bedtime.  They would sit on the floor together with their cup of sleepy time tea and honey and share stories, sing, draw their feelings, and she would sense when he was ready to walk together to the softly lit bedroom with a west facing window.  He would tuck in, say prayers, and look out of the window to find the bright planet, Venus and sleepily say, “Good night Venus”, “Good night God”….the memory of that calm dedication helped me through the glorious years of child rearing.  I still find myself looking for Venus and saying “Good Night…”

Finding time for prayer and attending worship also helps many families handle the challenges of autism, and provides a safe, inclusive environment for both the child and family.  I would like to hear stories of ways our faith family has found strength and coping skills in dealing with this very challenging disorder.  Please take a few moments to write your small story about a moment and your way of making it positive for you and your child.  I am looking for ways we, as a faith family, can reach out with understanding and support to those who need us to live the faith we have been taught and help these young people grow in the image of their creator.  Are there any favorite scripture helps you use?

Stay tuned.  I will have more to share next week.  May God keep you walking to Jerusalem! (We have a ways to go!)

Cynthia Rutan, RN, Parish Nurse at Peace Lutheran Church and School

Parish Nurse Health Tips April 1, 2018

HT 4-1-18

Health Note for April 1, 2018
A blessed Easter to each of you! I am so uplifted by the beauty of the church, the flowers and trees in bloom, and the beautiful music from our musicians as well as our congrega-tion. The joy of the Lord is evident in our actions! Soon the weather will warm and new life will spring up everywhere!
David and I will be traveling later this year to Bethlehem on a pilgrimage with a LCMS parish health team. Our LCMS Parish Nurse in Bethlehem shared thoughts on how Easter is celebrated there that I would like to share again with you.
“Similar to Christmas, in our country we usually celebrate Easter in different dates according to different calendars. This means that: the Catholic, Evangelical, Lutheran churches celebrate Easter on one day, where the Greek Ortho-dox, Syrians, Armenians celebrate Easter one week later. Easter celebrations are on different levels – special sweets and biscuits, home decorations, eggs, etc. Spiritually, people may fast before Easter according to their church cus-tom, and usually there are several extra church events and activities such as special bible study sessions, concerts, etc.
Usually people get the advantage of having permission, so they have an opportunity to visit their relatives, friends and different places in Jerusalem and other areas.”
As we at Peace join family and friends in worship and celebration events, I am particularly mindful of the freedom to travel and stay connected to our family and friends – something she and those in the walled city only experience a few times a year.
Her closing comments sum it well: “I pray that we all have resurrection in our life not only now or this season, but all the year around, so that whoever meets you sees the light of Jesus in You.”
Jesus is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! Alleluia!
Cynthia Rutan, RN, Parish Nurse at Peace Lutheran Church and School

Parish Nurse Health Tips March 25, 2018

HT 3-25-18

Health Note for March 25, 2018
How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation Isaiah 52:7
Spring has arrived! We can finally get a chance to wiggle our toes in the sand or garden soil without freezing, and we can dig out those summer sandals, but, “oh my!” our feet are in need of attention!
It is hard to walk all the way to Jerusalem with achy feet, heel pain, cramped toes, nails that are turning white from being in tight shoes all winter, severe pain that occurs under the smaller toes; the list goes on.
Paying attention to your feet can be the smartest thing you do. Many health conditions can manifest with foot problems: gout presents with redness and swelling and very painful area on the foot, diabetic problems can cause sores on the foot, athlete’s foot can cause serious infections if not treated. Ingrown toenails can cause serious infec-tion. Claw foot is another problem that can be caused by shoes that are tight and pinch your toes or by a disease that damages nerves, such as diabetes, alcoholism, or other neurological disorder. Your toes will be bent upward as they extend from the ball of the foot, then downward from the middle joint, resembling a claw. They may respond to stretching and exercises of the toes or you may need special shoes or even surgery. Clubbing of the toes is an-other condition that causes discomfort and should be brought to the attention of your care provider. Lung disease is the most common underlying cause, but it also can be caused by heart disease, liver and digestive disorders, or certain infections.
If you feel like you’re walking on a marble, or if pain burns in the ball of your foot and radiates to the toes, you may have Morton’s neuroma, a thickening of tissue around a nerve, usually between the third and fourth toes. It is eight to 10 times more common in women than in men. It is caused by injury or too much pressure on the toes. Again, paying attention to our feet, wearing the correct type of shoes, seeing your care provider when symptoms occur can ultimately prevent more serious problems.
With care, your feet can help us bring good news; we can make it to Jerusalem by next week if we all work together. How beautiful that would be!
Blessings to you as you walk with the Lord in prayer and thanksgiving…with healthy feet!
Cynthia Rutan, RN, Parish Nurse at Peace Lutheran Church and School

Parish Nurse Health Tips March 18, 2018

HT 3-18-18

Walking is hard work!  At least that is what many have said about our Walk to Jerusalem effort.  My response has been to ask…”Why is it hard?”  The answers are revealing of our level of commitment, and I am asking you – do you approach your commitment regarding your health and your faith in the same manner?

“My feet hurt, my legs are tired, I don’t have time to walk/exercise.”

Do these sound familiar?  Our life/faith commitment only comes into No. 1 priority status when there is a crisis in one of these categories.  I am in prayer that we learn to commit to strengthening these very important areas daily rather than when a crisis hits.

I have several walking record cards in the narthex and a sheet on the Parish Nurse bulletin board to record your daily progress in exercise/walking/faith building activities and more during Lent.  It is exciting to see the miles add up.  Begin your day with a devotion, include prayer time for those who you include on your prayer list, buy an extra can of food for our food cupboard, practice some form of exercise for 20 minutes, eat healthy choices and smaller portions, and you have already added miles without taking a step out the door!  We are working on our spiritual health as well as our physical health!

Our school Jump Rope for Heart has added lots of miles this week, our school basketball teams have added many miles to our trip, and the weather has been good for walking or doing 20 minutes of yard work.  Have I given you motivation?  We have a long way to go, so let’s get busy.  Let’s arrive in Jerusalem by Easter!

This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice   …And walk in it!

PS: You are earning a mile credit by worshipping with us today and even more when you attend Bible study!


Cynthia Rutan, RN, Parish Nurse at Peace Lutheran Church and School


Parish Nurse Health Tips March 11, 2018

HT 3-11-18

Where am I Going?
I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Phil 3:14
Are we there yet? Are we really going to Jerusalem? How much longer before we get there? Are you sure we’re heading in the right direction? These questions, I am sure, will bring to mind memories of past journeys traveled as a child or with children. Most of us know what it’s like to be the child and the adult in such a situation. As a child, we must trust that the adult really knows the way. As an adult we must press on toward the goal, knowing that if we follow the map and continue to travel, we will eventually reach our goal. Having a goal really does help us to continue until we reach the prize or the destination.
Your physical goal this week may be to walk 2 miles – or 5 miles- or 50 miles (cross country and marathon runners take note!). Having a goal helps us to continue on. Our school students are competing in Jump Rope for Heart this week —each one has a personal goal. Peace basketball team is turning in impressive tally in their physical activity miles. Your spiritual goal may be to read the Word of God daily, pray daily or memorize a Bible verse – the one above or another one that might be helpful to you. The deeper spiritual goal may be to have a deeper personal relationship with Jesus, to confront each other in a kinder more loving manner or to forgive someone. The ultimate spiritual goal is to become more Christ-like in our everyday encounters with people and society.
Thoughts for your walking this week:
♰ Do I have physical and spiritual goals for this week?
♰ Do I have physical and spiritual goals for my life?
♰ What is one thing I can do to help achieve my physical goal?
♰ What is one thing I can do to help achieve my spiritual goal?
Don’t forget to give me your miles for the week and pick up a card to jot down these thoughts and record the com-ing week’s activity. Press toward the goal!
Cynthia Rutan, RN, Parish Nurse at Peace Lutheran Church and School

Parish Nurse Health Tips March 4, 2018

HT 3-4-18

In March we will focus on Nutrition Month in our health topics.  In our community we are seeing much growth in development of housing and renovation of commercial developments.  As I begin preparation for my Lutheran Parish Nurse International pilgrimage to Bethlehem the end of this year, I am recalling my experiences in the settlement camps there several years ago as we visited the “homeless” refugees who have been moved out of their homes for many reasons around Bethlehem and Jerusalem.  The hardships there are similar in many ways to what we are seeing in our serious problem with hunger and homelessness.   Lots of homeless have been moved out of areas to make way for development.  This has created a greater awareness in the need to find ways to share God’s love to those who are hurting.

As we are SLOWLY (I am waiting for a huge post of miles on our WALK TO JERUSALEM BY EASTER!) walking to Jerusalem this month, let’s reflect:

Worldwide, there are millions of children under the age of 5 who die every year, the vast majority of these deaths are hunger related.  We read about the many problems in developing countries every day, but we seem to slide past the issue of hunger and homelessness in our own communities.

We give food bags to those who show need in our families and our community.  At LEST, our school was recognized for their huge ingathering of food items for our local need.  We help with local food service kitchens for the homeless.

Have you taken the time to look at the ways you can help this growing need in our community as you walk to Jerusalem?  For every 2 items of canned food you contribute to our food pantry, you earn 1 MILE!  The basket is empty!  Let’s fill it and fill in the mileage.

Healthy living miles can be earned using the 5-2-1-0 model:

¨ 5 or more fruits and vegetables servings daily

¨ 2 hours or less of recreational screen time

¨ 1 hour or more of physical activity each day

¨ 0 soda and sugary drinks——more water and low-fat milk

God has done so much for us.  He supplies our every need, in body-mind and spirit.  May we who have been so blessed, share of our abundance with our brothers and sisters in need.

Need more information?  I will be available at the end of services today and at the potluck to share more!

Cynthia Rutan, RN, Parish Nurse at Peace Lutheran Church and School


Parish Nurse Health Tips Feb 25, 2018

HT 2-25-18

We are walking!!   Yes, it is cold outside.  Yes, we are really

busy this time of year.  So…Why Walk?

Walking is mentioned almost 250 times in the Bible.  We were built to stand tall.  Our joints need to move to maintain good range of motion.  Every day I read in my nurse posts about the benefits of walking. “The benefits to heart health are compelling.  Regular walking can prevent depression, lengthen lifespan, lower stress levels, relieve arthritis and back pain, strengthen muscles, bones and joints, and improve sleep.”  (

A walking program has physical benefits while also drawing us closer to God by adding an intentional reflective or devotional element.  Stepping away—literally—from the demands of our daily routines to walk, reflect and pray reminds us that God created us and wants to come near to us. Our goal…travel the many miles to Jerusalem by Easter.

The Parish Health Bulletin Board in the fellowship wing hallway has information on ways you can add miles to our trip even if walking is not an option, so I will accept no excuses!  Each week I will pick a name from the folks who turn in miles to me on the tally slips in the narthex, and that person will receive an incentive award for their effort!  Wow!  Let’s get going!

Focus for this week in your walk thoughts:

Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus. Philippians 2:5

Patience is the virtue for healthy living we will ponder as we walk:

¨ What does patience mean to you?

¨ What does it mean to lose your patience?  What kinds of things make you lose your patience?

¨ How can you be more patient with others?

¨ It is hard at times to make healthy changes in our lives and stick with it.  How can you be more patient with yourself?

Prayer: I pray that we begin our “walking”  journey to Jerusalem learning to have patience with others when they don’t do as we think they should.  Help us to have patience as we work to progress in our physical activities in our walk to Jerusalem as well as our emotional activity and spiritual experiences in faith growth. Amen

Cynthia Rutan, RN, Parish Nurse at Peace Lutheran Church and School