Parish Nurse Health Tips for April 30, 2017

Parish Nurse Health Tips 04-30-17

Dandelions!!!!!!  Okay, I know you are thinking…”What do dandelions have to do with health?”  As I walk my neighborhood and my own Japanese garden, I see the invasion has begun once again.  I reach down to pull one hoping that I can get the whole thing with my bare hands, and cheer when the root comes out in one piece.  But, the flower has already gone to seed and as I successfully get the plant out of the ground – you guessed it – the fuzzy seeds fly everywhere!  Next crop has already begun!

What does this have to do with health, you ask???  We are in the spring season of sneezing, sneezing, sneezing — allergies, sinus infection, cold—you name it.  As I watched the dandelion seed puffs fly through the air, I saw a clear visual of what a sneeze does!  Those germs are now successfully rooted wherever they landed.  Another person, a piece of food that someone next to you eats, a book that is shared in the pew, all can harbor a sneeze germ, and now it can cause someone else discomfort.

I know a wonderful way to prevent this!!!  Not the sneezing, but the spread of germs!  Yes you have seen it on posters, you have heard it in classrooms, you see it demonstrated when someone else sneezes, and you even see the posters above the sink in our bathrooms.

℞ Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze

℞ Sneeze/cough into your elbow if you have no tissue handy!

Well, that was easy!  We could single handedly prevent the spread of germs and stop someone else from getting sick or suffering needlessly.  I hope each of you will be a warrior in the army of germ eradication, and make sure that not one germ from a sneeze gets away from you.  It will successfully die in a tissue or be trapped in your elbow where it won’t spread as rapidly to another unsuspecting host.  Help me stamp out the spread of the springtime germ invasion.  Think of the dandelion seeds blowing through the air and sticking firmly anywhere they land.  Make sure you prevent the spread of your germs from a cough or sneeze.

Now you know the connection between dandelions and healthy habits.  I hope you will spread the word –not the germs!

Live a healthy blessed week sharing His word, not your germs!

Cynthia Rutan, Parish Nurse at Peace


Parish Nurse Health Tips for April 23, 2017

Parish Nurse Health Tips 04-23-17

The Lenten season walk to the cross of crucifixion was a long journey physically and mentally for all of us, and I am aware of many prayers and praise moments as we all have experienced some of the same feelings that Jesus and his followers were experiencing , albeit in a different setting that today provides.  Last week was such a joyous expression of celebration as we raised our voices loudly to proclaim “He is risen, He is risen indeed!”

This week my hymn of prayer walk focus is number 685 in our hymnal “Let Us Ever Walk with Jesus.” The hymn writer tells us many words of encouragement to keep our focus on the resurrection of our Lord:

👣 “Follow His example pure” gives us focus even in a world that continually tries to deceive us and lure us to sin.

👣 “All discomforts that annoy Shall give way to mirth hereafter.”

👣 “He will free us from destruction, Give us immortal breath.”

These are but a few of the words of encouragement in the hymn verses, and I encourage you to carry the words with you as you walk or do your daily devotion, to continue to walk close to our Lord in His will for us.  The Bible verses in very small print at the bottom of the hymnal page 685 further encourage and tell us of His ever present help and strength.  Study them as you walk, and apply them to your daily struggles and strengths.

He is risen!  “Let us also live with Jesus.  He has risen from the dead that to life we may awaken.  Jesus you are now our head.  We are Your own living members…” (vs. 4)

Keep walking with Him.  He will not abandon you in your struggles and will celebrate your victory with Him as you grow in faith toward life eternal.  Please contact me if I can be of help to you in your walk.

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



Parish Nurse Health Tips for April 2, 2017

Parish Nurse Health Tips 04-02-17

For I am like a tree whose roots reach the water,

whose branches are refreshed with the dew.

Job 29:19 (nlt)

There is such pleasure in the spring season as we begin to see plants coming back to life, and as Christians we are being given a beautiful reminder of Easter and the resurrection of Christ.

The season also holds healthy feelings and emotions out for us to experience.

As I walked with someone through the hallway entrance of a hospital recently, I was moved by the many ways the décor and design created a plethora of senses.  A waterfall gave a calmness to the nervousness the person with me was feeling.  We stopped for a minute in front of some beautiful art displayed in paintings and sculpture, and her comment was, “I feel better already, and I am not even with the doctor.”

When you are stressed, do you find nature is helpful to you in reducing that stress?  Walking on the beach, hiking an easy trail in a wooded park or campground, going for a drive to see the spring flower displays in our northern bulb farms, experiencing the soothing scents of lavender at the farmers market booths, you can see stress relief before your very eyes!

Many businesses as well as parks and other recreational areas are seeing the benefit of nature to reduce stress in our lives.  I really enjoy ending a day of stressful encounters just sitting on a park bench overlooking the water watching the gulls, ferry and other boat traffic and a beautiful sunset on a clear day.  The brief respite this creates immediately decreases stress levels, lowers the blood pressure, and begins to ease the pain of the life experiences we have or have seen others experience.  Even something as simple as spending a few minutes in your yard or living surroundings at a park or nursery or other display of nature can benefit you in your ability to re-focus on the beauty of God’s creation and strength you can find in it.

Job struggled through his life, but he was able to gain an understanding and strength from God to endure all that he experienced in his struggles, and we can do likewise.

I pray that each of you take a few moments to look around you as you walk your daily journey, and stop to pray a pray of thanks for all our Lord and Savior has given to us in His death and resurrection.

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



Parish Nurse Health Tips for March 19, 2017

Parish Nurse Health Note for March 19, 2017

As you read this you will be one day away from celebrating the first day of spring!

Last week I celebrated spring a little early when I woke to bright sunlight and NO RAIN on Thursday.  I couldn’t resist and went for a short walk reveling in the beauty of sunshine and spring like temperatures.

You all have heard me say how good walking is for our health, so I am going to share some benefits that I have found to be very true.

👣 Walking improves our cardiovascular fitness

👣 Walking helps to prevent bone loss

👣 Walking helps strengthen and tone muscles that support the spine and will help reduce the nagging lower-back pains we all experience after sedentary winter days.

👣 Walking helps to keep us at a healthy weight by burning calories

We have folks walking with headphones in our gym on school day mornings.  I plugged my cell phone music into my hearing device and kept time with the music as I walked in the sunshine.  We can set distance goals such as miles to our vacation destination. I’m going to track miles to my Parish Nurse Coordinator Retreat at Mt. Angel, Oregon next month and see if I can get there before retreat. I already have 52 miles this month!

Many folks walk their pet at least twice a day, and I see moms pushing strollers on a daily basis with their young ones.  I have a six week “Walk with Jesus” devotion book that is very helpful for both exercise and eating patterns while daily studying the walk through the Bible.  I have two copies to share and pass it on, so see me if you are interested.  The important thing is to WALK.  Get exercise, get healthy, get out of that recliner and enjoy our beautiful season of spring. As I was walking, the hymn verse “Just a closer walk with Thee” popped into my singing head.  Just for fun, let’s see how many songs in our hymnal talk about walking with Jesus.  I’ll have a paper on the Parish Nurse bulletin board in the hallway for you to list your finds!  Ready, set, GO!

Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him,

Colossians 2:6 ESV

Cynthia Rutan, RN, Parish Nurse at Peace



Parish Nurse Health Notes for March 5, 2017


In recent years I have promoted several ways to spend the 40 days of Lent exercising in many ways.  Our goal has always been to motivate our faith family and others to become more physically active as well as experiencing faith growth through focus on weekly Bible verses, devotions and prayer.

This year I am using a six week devotion book “Walking with Jesus” published by Church Health/Memphis, TN. that is designed to help us make small changes and simple lifestyle improvements in health and faith growth through increasing activity level, adding more vegetables to daily meals and more water to daily fluids as I also spend time in meditation and prayer to help me Walk with Jesus.  Along with this, the readings through the hymns in our hymnal that were provided to us in the bulletin are a wonderful way to look at scripture through the music that I love in our Lutheran heritage.

I am especially aware of the importance of working to maintain healthy diet and appropriate exercise for my health – brought home in recent weeks with the sudden death of my 49 year old son only 2 months after a diagnosis of colorectal cancer, stage 4.  Recent articles in the news and in my nursing publications have brought the seriousness of this deadly cancer and the dramatic increase in the disease in folks under the age of 50. A recent publication showed that 11,000 people in their 40’s and 4000 under 40 were diagnosed in 2013, and the statistics are even more staggering in recent years.  With the month of March recognizing the importance of awareness of the symptoms and appropriate screening, I am urging our younger men and women, as well as those over 50, to talk to their doctors about getting screening and know the symptoms of this silent but deadly disease.

In 1 Corinthians 10:31, we read So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.  I pray that whatever you do in your Lenten walk with Jesus, you remember that your body is God’s temple and we are tasked with the care of it during our journey on earth.

See me if I can help you find Lenten meditations or ways you can work toward better physical and spiritual health.

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


Parish Nurse Health Tips for December 11, 2016


Parish Nurse Health Note for December 11, 2016

The music, the displays, the beautiful decorations … all these things are a huge part of our Advent season in our environment.  The spirit of giving is in the air, and the laughter and smiles from the children as they successfully perform the Christmas story each week is a catching feeling that we are all experiencing in some way.

With all the health issues in my family recently, it is sometimes a real chore to find the strength to laugh, to smile, to feel the joy of the season, and then The Lord sent some humor and laughter my way, at the Parish Nurse Christmas Tea this past week.  I realized how much better I felt after hearing a rousing presentation full of joy and laughter from a story teller who turned her own very difficult life experiences into a story of love, laughter, and healing.  We laughed, we saw similarities in our own life experiences, and we left with a heart filled with love and good fellowship (and a red nose prop in case we needed to act out a bit!).

Psalm 4:7 ESV says: You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound.

In Luke 6:21 we read: ”Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.”

As we continue our Advent journey, I am encouraging each of you to keep a journal of your health journey in the midst of all the celebrating.  Traditions and celebrations keep us moving and busy, but that can sometimes keep us from our daily walk in whole health in our faith journey.  Jot down thoughts each day, just a few words are okay, that express your day or few days if you miss a couple days.

A great prescription for health and happiness can be found in Proverbs 16:24 ESV: Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.

So, as the shopping, baking, children’s programs, special activities, snow and ice, and more, start to bring on the frowns and the high blood pressure, colds and flu that go with the pressure of the season … turn to the Bible for your strength and turn your life into stories of joy and laughter that will weave a quilt of a wonderful earthly journey.  And if you see me with my red nose prop, you’ll know that it is time for a joyful heart and a smile to grace the day!

Cynthia Rutan, RN, Parish Nurse at Peace Lutheran,





Parish Nurse Health Tips for October 23,2016


Today I am celebrating a moment of joy in my life … my mother celebrates 97 years of life!   I am very blessed to have shared many moments of her life, and still have her close to me to continue the sharing.

This month our family has also been given a jolt involving a serious cancer diagnosis for one of our loved ones.  As I pray and walk through this very difficult time, I am reminded of the many in our faith family who have been in my shoes with cancer and its devastating pain and disruption to our life journey.  October is being recognized as Breast Cancer Awareness month, and as I celebrate quietly my 6th year of being cancer free after my own bout with breast cancer, I am acutely aware of the many other types of cancer that both the men and the women, the young and the older members of our congregation have been dealing with in recent years and are dealing with it now.

Cancer is not just the flu, or a cold, or a scratch or minor injury.  It is a diagnosis that has far reaching impact on everyone who is involved in the care and support of the person with the diagnosis.  The care-giving needs, the financial needs, the education and treatment needs are very complex and have a long lasting effect on everyone.

This month is a month of cancer awareness, and not just breast cancer.  We are a society of “do it later” or “when I get around to it” folk.  I pray that we step out of that frame of mind long enough to take charge of our life in a way that is God pleasing.  For many, it is already a diagnosis, and we need to be very much in prayer and support for those who are journeying through it, but I urge each of you to not stop working toward healthy life style, healthy habits and healthy spiritual life that will be of help to you as you live your earthly journey.

Look around you.  Encourage each other!  Bring healthy coffee hour snack food.  Remember to drink plenty of water each day.  Pack healthy lunches for your children and yourself.  Watch your salt intake.  Find ways to get 15 minutes of good exercise in at least twice a day – even armchair aerobics are a start!  Let’s start today to present a new image of healthy America, and show all our friends and family that we care about the body given as a gift from God.  What a wonderful legacy that will be to pass down to the generations to come!  Start now!

In living our health, may we be encouraged with these words, 13Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 14As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, 15but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, (1 Peter 1:13-15).  I firmly believe that He who began a good work in you will carry it to completion. (Philippians 1:6)

I pray for each of you, and I ask for you to pray for me and my family, too.  We are blessed in the Lord, and I feel His strength through your prayers.  Celebrate your life in Christ!

Cynthia Rutan, RN, Parish Nurse at Peace,