Local author pens book featuring stuffed bear for sick children

Check out an article by Cory Fisher about Toby Bear Stories in The Union.

Author Lisa Boulton reads a book with children surrounding her.In 2009, Lisa Boulton went in for a routine check up and within a matter of minutes, her life would never be the same.

The doctor found a lump in her breast, and after further tests, she was diagnosed with cancer. Her mother had died of breast cancer 25 years earlier.

“I was thrown into another world in a matter of days,” Boulton said. “My path changed and suddenly I had to learn how to beat this.”

Her life became a series of trips from Nevada City to Oakland surgeons for routine treatments.

Once a portable catheter was surgically imbedded into her chest for chemotherapy, Boulton discovered that seat belts were incredibly uncomfortable.

When her cousin Toby heard about this, he bought a little brown bear at Foothill Mercantile that could serve as a cushion from the seatbelt.

“It was so thoughtful — Toby and I have a lifelong bond — he called me routinely while I was sick,” said Boulton. “I had no work and no money. I was single, and it took all of my resources to get through this.”

Investing fully in her fight to save her own life, Boulton shifted to an all-organic diet rich in nutrients and began to practice meditation, yoga, breathing exercises and visualization. It helped.

“Through my interactions with other people who were ill, I noticed one common thread — stress,” said Boulton. “Then one day, a thought came to me. Wouldn’t it be great to share some of these healing techniques with sick children?”

That was “the call,” said Boulton, and just as quickly the fuzzy brown bear from her cousin became the vehicle for her mission — to help children with serious illnesses understand there is more to healing than medicine.

She would write stories for children who are ill, featuring the brown bear — whom she aptly named Toby.

In collaboration with photographer and illustrator Lisa Redfern, “Toby Bear and the Healing Light” was published in 2012 by Little Mountain Publishing in Grass Valley.

Sick child holding Toby Bear.“Children often hear inner voices saying ‘I’m sick, I’m not good enough or smart enough’,” said Boulton. “But I tell them they can write their own new story and change the course of their lives. I teach them to stop, breathe and picture themselves filled with white light. I teach them the power of healing thoughts.”

The book features the journey of “Toby Bear” from a local toy store into the arms of a sick child who is hospitalized.

Photo illustrations are set in businesses and houses throughout Nevada County — including Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital.

In the book, Toby whispers affirmations into the little girl’s ear, about being filled with white light and to “think about feeling better … think about feeling happy … think about feeling loved.”

Toward the end of the book, Toby and the little girl practice simple yoga poses to gain strength.

“Toby Bear and the Healing Light” is now on sale at The Book Seller in Grass Valley, as well as Harmony Books and Inner Path in Nevada City.

When Maryellen Beauchamp, Nevada County’s Public Health Nurse Case Manager for California Children’s Services, heard about Boulton’s book, she ordered copies to give as gifts to the age-appropriate children in her program.

Beauchamp oversees and orchestrates multifaceted medical assistance for nearly 300 Nevada County children with severe health issues.

These can range from growth plate or skull fractures, endocrine, neurological, orthopedic, and metabolic disorders to cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy and premature infants.

These families are often required to make long drives to special care units at the likes of UC Davis, UC San Francisco and the Stanford University Medical Center.

“I like that the story features Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital — the place where the journey with California Children’s Services begins for many of our families,” said Beauchamp. “It is also a plus that the Nevada County Public Health Department could partner with the local women who created the book. You can’t get well with doctors and medicines alone — it takes the right attitude to make it all work.”

Given the positive reception of “Toby Bear and the Healing Light,” Boulton says the new book is just the first step for the little bear.

She is now in the process of organizing a crowd-funding effort to provide actual, cuddly Toby Bears for hospitalized children to go along with each book.

“My goal is to get Toby into the hands of kids everywhere,” she said. “It brings tears to my eyes when people ‘get’ this book. All the superfluous stuff falls away when you’re sick. This project has given me a sense of passion — I feel vital and alive. Really, it’s all about love.”

Click here to read the original article in The Union.

Epiphany, Meditation…and beyond

Lisa Boulton
My epiphany occurred when Josh passed out in the chemo treatment room. I realized I was going to be ok looking down at my motionless 210 lb son on the floor in front of me. It jolted me out of my self-pity. The doctor said “the chances for survival are 96% for breast cancer, when it’s caught in time”. I didn’t really hear him, but then he also said that “we often don’t hear anything else after the C word”. He was right, fortunately I took a friend with me to everything, every visit, every treatment, every surgery…she took notes and reiterated everything to me afterwards. Still, I was a victim until that moment in chemo. I was constantly saying to myself, and probably everyone else, “why me”? When I fully realized I was going to be ok, I also realized that I had far more power to control things in my life. Thanks to the entire emergency that ensued when Josh passed out and stopped breathing at my feet…on the floor of the treatment room in the hospital.

Until then, when I was practicing the “white light” meditation my friend Hobbs had taught me, I wasn’t going past the initial visualization of being filled with the white light. It was good and helped me heal, but I didn’t know there was more. I kept doing it, and one afternoon at my friends’ house in the bay area, during radiation treatments, I went deep. I had no idea meditation was anything like the experience I had that afternoon. I was on the bed as usual, with a pillow under my legs and several under my head; I called it my “in the hand of god” position. I literally felt like I was “in the hand of god” when I meditated. I’m not religious, but I am spiritual and I felt like being “in the hand of god” was somehow a good place to be when one is tuning into the universe for healing and understanding more about life.

As I did my usual breathing and visualizing…I gave permission to the little voice/chatter in my mind to come back later. This permission must be done in a loving way, never get irritated or it will pull you fully out of meditation. Give yourself loving permission and it works. The voice disappeared and I went into a space of quiet between the chatter. As I breathed in and out slowly, calmly…I felt lighter, glancing at my legs and feet I began rising out of my body, looking down on myself. I thought I was awake…but I was still in the meditation. My body was composed of millions of crystals, sparkling with a million different luminescent colors. I was in awe of the moment and at the same time I was completely comfortable being all crystals, as though I was looking at my true self.

In pieces, my body slowly began to disappear. Curiously…I looked up, I could see the crystals rising up and becoming part of the room, then going past the room and becoming part of the space outside the house, the trees and roof were visible. Then I began moving past the house and into the sky. Slowly the sky began to darken as I got higher and higher, I was becoming a part of everything….even space, deep blue space. I felt euphoria unlike anything I could put into words. I was completely in control of the experience and knew I could come back any time I liked. I was experiencing the existence of literally everything, a deep truth of who I am, who we all are. There was no time, no separation, just a hum or vibration of life. I have no idea how long I was in that state. When I came gently back into the room and into my body, I felt more rested than I have in years. I remembered every detail…and I knew I could go back there whenever I wanted. Meditation became easier after that, I knew where I was going. And if I chose…I could go deep.

Healthy Cookware – ManPans

Redfern: Choosing healthy and environmentally cookware turned out to be a longer process than I initially anticipated… From toxic fumes to ingesting PTFE /PFOA’s (harmful chemicals in teflon), by researching the pros and cons of cookware, I learned a lot more than I wanted to about how bad (from a health perspective) that my old pans were!

An understanding of your cooking surface, the types of foods you cook and your cookware usage patterns need to be taken into consideration when choosing new or replacement cookware.

I discovered ManPansman pans around Christmas time of 2012 and I still love using them every day.

For more detail, research notes, and video demonstrations, click here.


Favorite Book Launch Party – May 19th – Center for the Arts

Join us for our book launch of Toby Bear and the Healing Light… at The Center for the Arts!

  • Reading corner for kids with the Author
  • Healing Words Campaign Kick-Off, add your Healing Words and be a part of our campaign!
  • Complimentary Organic Refreshments
  • Author will share how the book began… her personal story
  • Have your photo taken with Toby Bear and be on our website!

At the Center for the Arts in Grass Valley

Toby Bear Enjoys the Window Seat at Harmony Books!

Taking in the view on Broad Street at Harmony Book…Toby Bear tries out the window seat! He’s having a wonderful time watching people and sharing his story. He also found a great cookbook to use when he makes healthy, yummy foods at home. He was thinking that cooking with kids can teach them that healthy foods can be fun and taste very good. He made Clementine Coconut Sorbet last night and it tasted just like a 50/50 bar…but way healthier! He’s asked me to ask you to share your favorite recipes on his Facebook page; he plans to share his too! Stop by Harmony Books and see what Toby Bear is doing, he’s having a great adventure…and wants’ to share it with you!

Harmony Books in Nevada City, CA

Children Most at Risk with GMO Foods

Here’s an article I read just this morning from The Institute for Responsible Technology.  It may interest you if you don’t know about GMO foods and how they affect the  health of you and your family. Watch the film called “Genetic Roulette” and find out about the many illnesses genetic engineering is causing in our kids and ourselves. I cannot recommend it enough….please check this out.

What is a GMO?

This process may be called either Genetic Engineering (GE) or Genetic Modification (GM); they are one and the same.

A GMO (genetically modified organism) is the result of a laboratory process where genes from the DNA of one species are extracted and artificially forced into the genes of an unrelated plant or animal. The foreign genes may come from bacteria, viruses, insects, animals or even humans. Because this involves the transfer of genes, GMOs are also known as “transgenic” organisms.

Where are they?

In your food! First introduced into the food supply in the mid-1990s, GMOs are now present in the vast majority of processed foods in the US. While they are banned as food ingredients in Europe and elsewhere, the FDA does not even require the labeling of GMOs in food ingredient lists.

Although there have been attempts to increase nutritional benefits or productivity, the two main traits that have been added to date are herbicide tolerance and the ability of the plant to produce its own pesticide. These results have no health benefit, only economic benefit.

What foods are GM?

Currently commercialized GM crops in the U.S. include soy (94%), cotton (90%), canola (90%), sugar beets (95%), corn (88%), Hawaiian papaya (more than 50%), zucchini and yellow squash (over 24,000 acres).

Products derived from the above, including oils from all four, soy protein, soy lecithin, cornstarch, corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup among others. There are also many “invisible ingredients,” derived from GM crops that are not obviously from corn or soy.

Why should you care?

Genetically modified foods have been linked to toxic and allergic reactions, sick, sterile, and dead livestock, and damage to virtually every organ studied in lab animals. The effects on humans of consuming these new combinations of proteins produced in GMOs are unknown and have not been studied.

Crops such as Bt cotton produce pesticides inside the plant. This kills or deters insects, saving the farmer from having to spray pesticides. The plants themselves are toxic, and not just to insects. Farmers in India, who let their sheep graze on Bt cotton plants after the harvest, saw thousands of sheep die!

Herbicide tolerance lets the farmer spray weed-killer directly on the crop without killing it. Comparative studies on the toxic residues in foods from such crops have not yet been done.

Pollen from GM crops can contaminate nearby crops of the same type, except for soy, which does not cross-pollinate. In fact, virtually all heritage varieties of corn in Mexico (the origin of all corn) have been found to have some contamination. Canola and cotton also cross-pollinate. The long-term effects on the environment could be disastrous.




GMO Health Risks

Environmental Dangers

Best Ever Organic Pumpkin Muffins

During the last snowfall I got motivated to make muffins. So I rummaged around and found a can of organic pumpkin purée that I didn’t use at Thanksgiving. Yay! Try this recipe if you love muffins and want something that’s full of flavor! It’s super easy and it’s been my favorite for years. Enjoy! And use organic!

¾ cups honey
1 cup oil (California olive oil is best)
3 eggs
2 cups pumpkin purée (organic)
3 cups flour ( I use ½ whole wheat & ½ white, King Arthur’s Flour*)
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
½ cup raisins or cranberries ( I use a bit more than ½ c., organic)
½ pine nuts or walnuts…or both! (I use a bit more than 1/2 c., organic)

Mix honey & oil in a large bowl, beat in eggs one at a time, beat in pumpkin purée. In separate bowl, combine dry ingredients, not fruit & nuts. Stir dry ingredients into pumpkin mixture till well mixed. Stir in fruit & nuts gently. Pour batter into muffin tins, try to use natural or un-dyed parchment muffin cups (the “If You Care” brand are the best), or coat the muffin tin with butter first. Bake in preheated oven at 325 for 45 minutes. Check muffins about 10 minutes before they’re done as ovens may vary in temp. For a special delicious coating, sprinkle toasted coconut sugar on top before baking, this makes them gently brown and glisten with a touch of sweetness. Remove from pan and cool on racks. Makes about 2 doz. Muffins.

Enjoy hot from the oven with just a touch of butter!

*King Arthur Flour is not bromated. Bromine is a chemical additive found in most flour.





Eating for Cancer Health – Fresh, Organic, Omega 3, Non GMO Foods

To start…think organic, think healthy. No more artificial colorings and flavorings that most pre-packaged foods contain; look at the labels. Use organic whole grain breads and omega-3 eggs. Eat lots of dark leafy green veggies as well as a rainbow of colorful vegetables. Use natural juices and add a little water. And drink more water while reducing the amount of juice you drink. Don’t drink any sodas, they contain no food value, lots of sugar and coloring. It’s important to know that sugar feeds many tumors. Don’t use GMO foods; studies have shown they are harmful to our bodies, causing tumors in lab mice. Start buying fresh veggies and make more meals at home. It’s fun to have a family cooking day and make main dishes that you cut up and freeze for the week ahead. I make lasagne, enchiladas, soups and meatballs that I keep in the freezer for those busy days when I don’t have the energy to cook?

For great recipes check out Chef Hobbes!


Pumped Up Carrot Pudding

Food for Thought

While rummaging through stacks of papers on my desk I found some great recipes that I gathered while on chemo. So this is the first in a series of recipes and links that can add delicious change to your new and redesigned diet.

Food plays a major role in helping us become healthy. “You are what you eat” as the saying goes! So take the time to read labels and learn more about that next bite going into your mouth, while it may taste great…it may not be what you thought and that can have a big impact if you’re going through treatments.

As you already know a good diet always has a positive impact on your health no matter what you are coping with or where you live. This recipe is great during the holidays too!

A tip from Chef Hobbes

Stay away from oils that are derived from corn, soy, safflower and canola. The only oils/fats you should be using are olive oil, coconut oil and butter. Organic is best!

Pumped Up Carrot Pudding

1 1/2 cups carrots/or use pumpkin!

1/3 cup cold water

1/3 cup orange juice

2 tsp. agar agar

3/4 cup boiling water

1 TBS ginger, minced

1 ounce vanilla protein powder ( about 1/4 cup)

1/3 cup coconut milk

1 tsp. vanilla extract of maple extract

Pinch of salt

2 tsp. honey, or agave, to taste

1 TSB unsweetened coconut flakes

2 TBS currants

2 TBS almonds, macadamia or walnuts. Toasted and coarsely chopped

Steam carrots until very soft and set aside to cool. Place cold water and orange juice in a small saucepan and add the agar agar. Warm over low heat until agar is completely dissolved, then stir and cover.Remove from the and let stand for 2 minutes. Transfer to a blender or food processor and blend on low until frothy, about 30 seconds.

Add the boiling water, cooked carrot, ginger, protein powder, coconut milk, vanilla or maple extract, and salt. Blend until very smooth and creamy, scraping sides with spatula. Taste and adjust sweetness with honey or agave and blend again.

Mix in flaked coconut and currents and pour into a container or individual serving cups. Cover and chill for at least 4 hours. Before serving, sprinkle with toasted nuts.

Fear for My Son Made Me Stronger than Cancer

The most life changing event, for me, was hearing the words, “You have cancer.”  But it was a mother’s instinct to protect her child that changed my ‘victim’ attitude into a feeling of strength and control over the situation.

The day began when Josh drove up from LA for a visit (red-head on the right in the photo), and took me to the hospital, giving my friend a needed break.

I was used to chemo by now after three months…and I didn’t realize that my son was not. He sat down next to me in the treatment room while the nurse drew blood out of the port-a-cath in my chest. It didn’t bother me anymore to see blood coming out through the long tube and into a vile for my usual blood test. I glanced over at Josh to see his eyes had rolled back into his head and were white! He was stiff as a board! I grabbed his arm in an effort to wake him up – there was no response. I turned to the nurse in a panic and  yelled, “What’s wrong with him?!” She took one look and called the other nurses in a commanding voice. Then she told me to hold the hooked needle with my hand on my chest and leapt to Josh’s side. With the help of the other nurses she slid him to the floor. He was unconscious and not breathing. My 6’2″ 220 pound smart, capable son was on the floor in front of me and I was terrified!

As the nurses got him into position to start CPR, I grabbed his leg on the floor at my feet, and kept repeating, “Josh, Josh…it’s OK, I’ll be alright!” I realized that he had passed out because he saw his mom in the treatment room, bald like his grandmother just before she died. I wanted him to know that everything was going to be OK. There was a 96% survival rate for early breast cancer. As the crash cart from emergency flew into the room with two doctors…he went into convulsions…..and then came to.

Looking embarrassed, he said, “Oh my god, I’m so sorry.” One nurse brought him a pillow, and another said, “Don’t worry, it’s OK. Stay right here for a few minutes until the blood comes back to your head.”

When I realized that the danger to my son had passed, I felt a great sense of relief –  like never before. I knew then, that Josh was more important to me than anything I could experience – that all my sons were. In that instant I stopped feeling like a victim. I truly knew, right to the core of my being, that I was going to be OK.

Later that day I told him, ” Thank you for passing out and scaring me.”