Amaryllis Update

I wanted to share a couple of pictures of how our amaryllis has grown since last week.  The first picture is from Wednesday, January 21st.  The others are from this morning (January 31st)


One of our residents has talked to the plant and and another has reportedly even kissed it; no wonder it is growing so well with all the TLC.  (Neither of these individuals are pictured here.)


Gratitude: A Recipe for Joy

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Guest Post by Kathy Neumann

Do you want a more joy filled life?  There are some things we can do to live life more joyfully and abundantly.  We can cultivate the practice of gratitude, be thankful for the simple ordinary moments, live in the moment, and let go of the fears that rob us of joy.  There is a strong relationship between gratitude and joy.  Have you noticed how grateful people are joyful people?  Look at the sisters here at St. Anne’s – thankful and joyful.

Practicing the attitude of gratitude is very important to having joy, says Brené Brown in her book: The Gifts of Imperfection.  Some ways of practicing gratitude are keeping a gratitude journal (or keeping a gratitude-note jar), doing a daily meditation/prayer on gratitude, and reminding yourself daily of the blessings in your life.  Pay attention and notice the good things that we often take for granted.  When we’re having a busy, stressful, or bad day, stop and say out loud, “I am grateful for __________”

Joy often comes in simple ordinary moments, not extraordinary moments.  Our most precious memories are ordinary moments.  When my daughter was away at college, she once said, “Mom, it’s not the big events, it’s the little everyday things that I miss most.”  It was sitting down to a bowl of homemade soup with family, taking a walk with us, playing with the dog she missed.  Consciously enjoying the simple, ordinary small things and moments in life and gratefully acknowledging this is what life is about.  Our culture dismisses the quiet, ordinary, hardworking men and women.  We equate ordinary with boring or meaningless.  People who have had tremendous loss, for example; the loss of a child, violence, trauma, hold on to the sacred, ordinary, everyday moments to find their joy again.  Live in the moment and be grateful for what is right in front of you.

So what gets in the way of joy? Fear and worrying.  Fear of hard times or losing what we love most.  Fear that something terrible will happen.   Fear or uncertainty of not having enough: time, food, money.  Marianne Willamson said, “Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are.”  When you’re feeling fearful or that you don’t have enough, or aren’t enough, try acknowledging the fear and practice gratitude.  Say out loud, “I’m feeling vulnerable; it’s ok, I’m grateful for _____”   Living in gratitude doesn’t mean denying the sorrows that come but remembering to notice the good around you and balance those hard times with gratitude.

Say thank you to God and to others frequently during the day, and ask God to help you remember to be grateful.  Listen to or read the lyrics to “What a Wonderful World.”  Trees, flowers, birds, seasons, sunshine; our world is pure gift. Thank God even for the “darkness” for it, too, teaches us great lessons and builds character.

Laughter is the Best Medicine!!

The St. Anne's Scoop

Did you know today (January 24) is actually “Global Belly Laugh Day?”

St. Anne's staff know how to laugh! St. Anne’s staff know how to laugh!

Various sources illustrate the benefits of humor.  According to an article by the Mayo Clinic, there are physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual health benefits to laughter.  According to WebMD, the “belly laugh” (the inspiration for this post), can “boost heart rate, improve blood flow, and stabilize blood pressure.”  This same source pointed out that laughter reduces stress hormones and boosts the immune system.

As people age, they need to be more conscious of health concerns.  An article by Senior Homes made some interesting observations related to laughter and health in the aging population.  One emotional benefit it points out is “the release of endorphins, natural feel-good substances that make you feel happy and content.”  These endorphins, according the article, also “have been proven to reduce the perception of…

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Our amaryllis, and other plants, can contribute to mental and physical well-being


This Christmas, we received a boxed amaryllis plant from one of our residents and his sister.  Residents, visitors, and staff all have had the opportunity to watch its shoots grow as it sits on the ledge of our main reception desk.  This little plant adds a little extra stimulation and enjoyment to the dreary winter days; in that way benefits us here.  But that’s just the beginning of the benefits derived from houseplants.

Plants improve air quality and make breathing easier.

One online article reminds us that, through photosynthesis, plants take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen, whereas we humans depend on oxygen for our breathing process.  Having plants can increase your home’s oxygen level.

They can also act as a natural humidifier, releasing about 97% of the water you give them back into the air.  So if you suffer with dry skin or other symptoms caused by dry air, you might want to add some plants to help with this.

This same source also reported that plants were found to lead to decreased “fatigue, colds, headaches, coughs, sore throats and flu-like symptoms” and that there was 70 percent greater attentiveness when the room they are in contains plants.  An article by the Denver Post also notes that plants filter polluted air. also notes that plants may take out airborne contaminants, incuding those that can cause headaches and nausea.  This source reported that plants can “contribute to your feeling of wellbeing” and improve mental health.

According to, plants can reduce cold-related illnesses by more than 30%, increasing humidity and decreasing dust.  Also, because “excess carbon dioxide can elevate drowsiness levels,” plants can help make you more alert.  This same article also notes that plants can help alleviate: headaches, allergies, congestion, and insomnia.

Why Activities? Activity Professionals Week – January 18-24

This week, I’d like to thank our activities staff for their hard work, not only in designing enjoyable activities but also for their efforts in getting people to actually attend.  We find that people sometimes get in a slump and need more than a little encouragement to get out of their rooms, even for things that are really fun and beneficial.  Here, our activity director shares some thoughts:

Why Activities?

By Shelly Mack, Activity Director at St. Anne’s

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Activities are not meant to keep Shelly and Dawn (my assistant) busy.  Activities are for the residents.  There is nothing worse than someone just sitting and staring at the wall day after day, when we have activities every day.  We try to have a variety: spiritual, educational, games of skill, exercises (this is chair exercise meant for everyone but a real struggle to get people to attend.  Exercise is proven to help mobility and prevent falls.  Come Mondays and Wednesdays at 10 a.m., and give it a try!)

Dice games are pretty popular. Also, we are very lucky to have in-house musicians like Sr. Elaine, Chuck Gust and Sr. Christina, plus a guest group of music volunteers.  And of course, there is the ever-popular bingo – this is fun and you get a small prize to boot!  So, here’s a word of advice: let the paint on the wall dry and come give activities a try!

Anyone interested in helping with activities or sharing their talent may call Shelly at (701) 746-9401.

Celebrate Each Life

Sr. Christina M. Neumann

As we approach the National Sanctity of Human Life Day (January 18), I am reminded of the sacredness of the lives we encounter every day at St. Anne’s.  Although this national observance, first initiated by President Reagan, refers primarily to protecting the dignity of the unborn, I would like to extend it to us here.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Hearing of the sanctity of human life is a real reminder to me as a worker at St. Anne’s; it reminds me that each person I encounter is precious, is deserving of my time and utmost respect.  When I see someone coming to the front desk where I work, I need to take a look at how I approach them.  I need to see their life as sacred and put them above my personal agenda at the moment.

This January, as we observe “Celebration of Life Month,” there are different points on which we can examine our efforts.  What are we, as individuals, doing to promote respect for human dignity?  Along with promoting respect for the unborn by prayer, occasionally contacting legislators, and attending the city-wide Mass for Life on January 22, what am I doing in my daily life?  Am I treating each person I meet with love and respect?

Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta has some beautiful, inspiring words that I would like to share, which I think tie into this very well: “I believe in person to person. Every person is Christ for me, and since there is only one Jesus, that person is the one person in the world at that moment.”

Today, after working on this post, I have been more conscious of giving my utmost to each person, resident, visitor, or co-worker. What a difference it can make if we really take to heart Mother Teresa’s words! If we do that, we will sanctify each day in keeping with the “sanctity of human life.”

All in All…

By: Kathy Lieberg, Volunteer & Franciscan Associate

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When I go to St. Anne’s and enter the door
I know that my time there will not be a bore.

The residents will greet me with a smile
so I take off my coat and stay for awhile.

There’s Brian, who always offers a hug
then, there’s Sr. Christina – as cute as a bug.

I walk to the Chapel and get ready for Mass
then, on Tuesdays, at 10 there’s Bible study class.

Some days I hang out with the card playing bunch
then join the sisters for a tasty lunch.

All in all, I have to say
going to St. Anne’s makes my day!