Listen to the audio for this podcast here.
Host: Welcome to the Lifelong Wellness podcast where we talk to wellness professionals from so many walks of life from around the world and get their insight into living healthier. I’m your host, Wes Malik. Before we get to today's guest, a little bit about the current situation that we are facing around the world. I would like to give you a quick update and some very important information that could be helpful for you and your family. First off, the disease that we are facing is a large family of viruses called the Coronaviruses and some cause illness in people and others cause illness in animals. Right now this particular disease is that we are afflicted with is called COVID-19 from the family of Coronaviruses. It’s a new disease that hasn't been previously identified in humans and really animal coronaviruses can infect people and more rarely these can then spread from person to person like COVID-19 through close contact. They’re having two other viruses or specific Coronaviruses that have spread from animals to humans like this and they are SARS Coronavirus and the MERS Coronavirus, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus and the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus. Now, the symptoms of these are quite elusive. The symptoms include fever, cough, difficulty breathing, and pneumonia in both lungs. And in severe cases, which is 1 to 2%, an infection can lead to death in certain people. Now, currently, your local government, your state government, your provincial government, your country's government has probably laid in place an action plan that might include school closures, that might include self-isolation, that might include some various measures, from very normal measures to extreme measures, such as banning travel across borders or to other parts of the country. Now, many countries have different laws, you know, for their current situations such as Italy, South Korea, China, and other countries. In the US and Canada, many states and pretty much all of Canada has close schools for the next three weeks or so. As of today's recording which is the 18th of March, some states such as California and some provinces in Canada such as British Columbia have closed school indefinitely for the summer break and will probably reopen after the summer break. This information is changing on a day-to-day basis and is very advisable that you check with your local government about what is going on. Stay aware of what is happening. If they advise you to stay home, I think it is very prudent that you do. Now, coming to information about the Coronavirus and COVID-19, one of the best sources for information is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and their website is cdc.gov where you can learn more about COVID-19, steps to prevent illnesses such as not coming to close contact, keeping your area clean and sanitized, washing your hands correctly, which we covered in the previous podcast and other very important information. Another fantastic area to get information about COVID-19 and Coronavirus is the World Health Organization. Now you can find their website at who.int that's W-H-O dot I-N-T. There you can find the country and technical guidance for COVID-19 for your specific country, doesn't matter where you're living in, the different emergencies and different health topics, find public advice, situation updates, media resources, and of course different articles including FAQs and myth busters, which will give you a very fair and very good idea of what to expect. My personal advice to all the listeners out there listening to the Lifelong Wellness podcast is to take the authorities very, very seriously. If they ask you to do something, do it to your best and complete ability. If they ask you to stay home then make sure that you actually stay home and not using this time to go shopping or do anything else, just as for an example. So try your best to follow the advice your local authority, state provincial and government as a countrywide authority gives to you and stay updated with these websites that I previously mentioned. I’m very confident in our government's abilities to safeguard our health and our way of life and I do believe personally that a lot of you, and I, of course, will be facing turbulent at different times and we will have to adapt. I do believe that the next three weeks to the next three months will be critical and that we pay attention to whatever the authorities say and hopefully, we’ll all come out of this unscathed. Today's guest is a very mature and very well-lived person. Her name is Joyce Fields. Although she started as a stenographer, she worked her way up through different careers and all these positions that she worked in led to her becoming an author and writer from 1982 onwards, when her first piece was published. She's a great writer and she's got a great outlook on life and I'm so happy to be talking to her today. Let’s speak to Joyce Fields. Joyce, welcome to the Lifelong Wellness podcast. How are you today?
Joyce: I am too blessed to be stressed, Wes. That's my typical response to that question.
Host: I love that! That is such a great attitude towards life. Have you had that attitude for a long time or is this something new for you?
Joyce: Well, the saying puts it into the context for me, but that that's been my whole attitude my whole life. I think that we all are too blessed to be stressed. Everybody.
Host: I think so, too. We just don’t realize it that we have to count our blessings. Joyce, you have been writing for quite a long time and your first book Line of Serenity came out in the mid-90s. Tell us a little bit about Line of Serenity.
Joyce: Well, that book came about because I’m the oldest of seven and our parents, we think that our parents did a fabulous job of raising us. There has never been any sibling rivalry in our family and I wanted to capture the way that we were raised, the way that our parents raised us and so that was the first book that I wrote was Line of Serenity and I had the manuscript all finished in about 1997. And I didn't know what to call it and my husband and I were having a conversation and he said, “All you have is that line of serenity running through you”. So, that really piqued my curiosity and I wonder what was he talking about? I never even heard it described like that before. And so the first, maybe 15 to 20 pages, he wrote for the book. And he said that he adored my parents and, they're both gone now. And my brother who died in 2013. He had lung cancer, was his best friend. My husband…(laughing) That was how I met my husband.
Host: Oh really?
Joyce: We were 13 years old.
Joyce: And we’re both 76 now. (laughing)
Host: Wow! That’s amazing. (laughing)
Joyce: So, when he said “All you have that line of serenity running through you”, I didn’t know what he was talking about so he wrote the first 15 or 20 pages. And he describes what he sees as this line of serenity running through each one of us, beginning with my parents and then we went all the way down through my youngest sister who is 66 years old. And so he's known her since she was three. (laughing) And so I wrote the book and it truly did capture the way that we were raised. It’s 167 pages and it's 22 pages of recipes because food is a huge part of our family, always has been and probably always will be, and 20 some pages of pictures of our ancestors. So, further down the line somebody would say, “Oh! This little girl looks just like Grandma Rose or Aunt Yetty” or whoever. You know, so they have their pictures in their so they can see what their ancestors look like because they could have some babies and they could just look like our ancestors. So, that's how that came to be.
Host: So, what kind of recipes are in your book?
Joyce: Oh, wow. (laughing) Okay. Now, I have recipes in two of the books. Line of Serenity and also The Best Way to Keep a Man is to Let Him Go has recipes in it as well, the same recipes. So, the recipes apple pie, these are my recipes.
Joyce: Banana pudding, Aunt Yetty's pound cake., Now that’s a recipe that's been in the family for 50 some years.
Joyce: Aunt Yetty's pound cake, lemon cream pie, pineapple or cherry cream cheese pie, that's my husband and my son's favorite. They salivate when I make that. Spaghetti meat sauce, lasagne, chili macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, pepper steak, skillet chicken and rice, I made that one up as delicious. Tuna salad, oven-fried chicken, beef stew, top of the stove chuck roast. I put my chuck roast on the top of the stove, I don’t put it in the oven.
Host: Oh really?
Joyce: Yes. Meatloaf, chicken and dressing, cornbread, dried beans or peas with smoked turkey, greens or cabbage with smoked turkey and the last recipe is sautéed cabbage, which I love.
Host: You mentioned you wrote another book, The Best Way to Keep a Man is to Let Him Go. What an interesting title. I love it.
Joyce: (laughing) You know, my mother-in-law, she's gone now, too. She told me that when I was 15 years old and I was…We didn’t say dating, I was going with her son so he was my boyfriend at that time so she told me that. My mother actually modeled it for me. I never…Well, “let him go” doesn't mean quit him or leave him or put him out.
Joyce: It means be secure enough within yourself that you don't worry about where he is when he's not with you. These young girls now calling him, texting him every half an hour, they want to know where he is, what he's doing, when he's coming back. You don’t do that. (laughing) And so this book tells girls, you know, it really puts them in touch with reality as opposed to fantasy.
Host: So you’ve seen social norms change in another way people have relationships change, you’ve seen recipes and food change and people's lifestyles change for so many years. If you had to write these books over again would you do it differently this time? Maybe add some more wisdom for today's generation?
Joyce: No. I can’t think of anything that I would do differently with them. Over time, you know…It’s almost like, my husband has a saying, “The picture’s the same but the frame is different”. And so people get confused by looking at the frame and they're not looking at the picture. The picture has not changed.
Host: So, it’s the same.
Host: Alright. Joyce, you have led a very interesting life and we’ll get into that as we get into the podcast for the next, you know, 30 minutes, 35 minutes or so. But tell us, what is the secret or key to your health? How do you live healthy? What does living healthy mean to you?
Joyce: Well, it really means eating the right foods. You know, I have a book called Back to Eden is a very, very old book. And it says that for everything that can go wrong in human beings, there’s a cure in nature. Food. And so I'm really concerned with them, they’re destroying the rain forest and there are plants in there that haven't even been discovered yet that can be helping to, you know, with our health. And so I'm like, I call it “God stuff”, fruits and vegetables and herbs, those kinds of things. And that's what I do. I use a lot of food as medicine for herbs or oils, everything.
Host: For example, what do you use? Give us an example of what you use?
Joyce: Okay. Well, I do a green drink practically every day and that consists of spinach, broccoli sprouts, I'm thinking now what I'm putting in it as I'm going along here. Turmeric, cinnamon, garlic, fresh garlic, and fresh ginger root and I put carrot and orange juice, a mixture of carrot and orange juice, and that's what I use.
Host: And this is everyday?
Joyce: Just about everyday.
Host: What does it taste like?
Joyce: It doesn't taste good. Now, my husband, his tastes much better because he puts fruit in his. I don’t put fruit in mine. I’m a breast cancer survivor, too. So, the wheatgrass and the broccoli sprouts all of those things are supposed to be good for your health.
Host: Tell us about your battle with breast cancer. And tell us, did you make any changes to your living your lifestyle or your diet going through that?
Joyce: Let's see. In 2011, that's when the doctor found the lump in my right breast and I had stage II and I had the biopsy and all of that. I couldn't wait to have surgery. I was so…(laughing) I was so excited to have surgery. My blood pressure…My husband could not believe it when I was getting ready to go, they took my blood pressure. It was 123/53.
Joyce: (laughing) And so, I felt like I had been invaded by an alien. So, I just wanted it out of me. I had, you know, I was very happy to go under the knife.
Host: Okay. Did you make any changes to your diet?
Joyce: I made a whole lot of changes to my diet. Now basically, I just started eating organic foods. It’s very expensive to eat organic, but I saw a statement that really put it into perspective. It said, “If you think eating organic is expensive, try pricing cancer”.
Host: Right. The trade-off, yes.
Host: Something to think about. And has eating organic helped you? You feel?
Joyce: Well, I think it has. But you know, it…I don't know, Wes. It’s about when we eat, when we buy foods, we don't know if it's really organic or not. It’s labeled that way…
Joyce: …but we have to trust that it is. So, that's all you can do. And just eat a lot of vegetables and fruits. I don’t eat as many fruits as I should but my husband eats a whole lot of fruits but I love vegetables.
Host: You also went through a stroke.
Joyce: Yes I did. They put me on tamoxifen and one of the warning signs is stroke. So, I had the surgery in August of 2012, I mean of 2011. I have my last radiation treatment, the date is going to blow you away and the time. I had my last radiation treatment on 11-11-11 at 11 AM.
Host: Is that your lucky number? (laughing)
Host: Okay. (laughing) That’s quite remarkable.
Joyce: That was in November…
Joyce: …when I have my last radiation treatment.
Joyce: And then in April, on April 2nd, I had stroke.
Joyce: It only affected my speech. It did not affect any of my movements, you know, in my legs, my arms, hands or anything like that. It affected my speech. And even to this day, I can tell that I have a stroke because when I talked to my English professor, my college English professor, she has since passed on but we had a very, very long relationship, from 1970 until maybe 2000 or something like that. And every time I wrote a book I would send the manuscript to her because she would like, she would write in the margins, all the good things that she had to say about what I wrote and all that other stuff. And I still have them when she would write about whatever I said.
Host: I see.
Joyce: And so, when I talk to people they say that they can't tell that I have a stroke but my college English professor had her way of saying it. And she said that before the stroke, I was proficient in English in the English language probably like a 12. (laughing)
Joyce: Then I had the stroke and it brought me down to where everybody else was at 10. (laughing)
Host: Okay. So, it had an impact on your writings.
Joyce: But I can tell because it's almost like a funnel. All the words coming in and only so many can get out of my mouth.
Joyce: So, I have a whole lot of stoppage in what I'm thinking and what's coming out of my mouth. So, I can tell but most who talk to me can’t tell.
Host: What I like to know is, how did the stroke change your life and change your habits? And what did you do differently after the stroke?
Joyce: Change anything because the stroke was caused by the medication. So, I'm not aware that I changed anything. I pretty much had a positive attitude all along. That's the way that I was raised. And you know, my mother died when I was 33 years old.
Joyce: I never, ever saw her mad, over-the-top angry or really upset about anything.
Joyce: Never in my whole life and I’m 76 and just recently within the past, maybe a month or so, I asked my siblings. I said, “Do you remember seeing Mama mad, over-the-top angry or really, really upset?” And all of them said no and that amazed me. I never saw her angry. And that is really the way that all of my siblings are. We very seldom get over-the-top angry. So, my mother and my father, I never saw him like that either. So, they passed that on to all of us.
Host: Do think it's a genetic thing or did you learn it from them?
Joyce: Genetic or did I learn it? I think that we learned it from living it.
Joyce: Yes and that is one of the things that I say in Line of Serenity. One of the chapters is called “The Calm” because that's what I remember the most. We had seven kids, two parents and a Doberman pinscher puppy and the house was just totally calm. You never, you know, it’s just amazing the way that our parents were.
Host: You, along with your writing, you have had a wonderful career, you belong to a huge family, you got kids of your own, of course. You have is seven siblings, six of them still around, I believe, and you lived a very, very full life, we’ve been communicating via email since last couple of days, we’re FaceTiming right now, the age difference between you and I is about 30 years. So tell me Joyce, what do I have to look forward to, hopefully if I make it to your age and hopefully I’m as sharp and smart as you are by the time I'm 76, what do I have to look forward to and what advice would you give me for the next, for my next 30 years?
Joyce: Well, I think that, you know, I have a book of quotes as well, Wes. It’s called My Simple Quotes To Live By. And I coined my first quote when I was 15 years old. I didn't know that I was coining a quote. The middle school that I graduated from asked the graduating class to leave behind some words of advice for the students that would follow us and I wrote…Now, the reason why I know that I wrote this is because one of my former classmates sent me the school paper and is in the paper that I said, “Never lose your hope and faith”. And that quote has carried me from the time I was 15 all the way to today, when I'm 76. I have never lost my hope and faith and believe in yourself and believe in the universe. Believe that there is a power greater than you. I don't care what you call it, Jesus Christ, God, Jehovah, whatever you call it. There is a power greater than you.
Host: How about the other quotes from your book? What other quotes do you have?
Joyce: This one I put on social media regularly, just about every day. And I coined this one in 2013, I think it was. I entered it into a contest and it was chosen out of over 5000 quotes, 1 of 12 for women's 2013 calendar. And that quote states, “It’s better to die chasing a dream never caught, than to die never having chased the dream” and I put that on social media to encourage people to don't allow naysayers or doom and gloomers to quash their dreams. Don't allow them to do that. It’s better for you to die chasing it than never catching it. Then they die laying on your deathbed, regretting that you didn't chase it.
Host: Joyce, talking to you I’ve learnt you have three published books and I'm sure there must be more.
Joyce: No, I’ve got ten books published.
Host: What are the other seven about?
Joyce: Oh, okay. So, we talked about Line of Serenity and…
Host: The Best Way to Keep a Man is to Let Him Go. I want to read that book, I like that. Then you have My Simple Quotes To Live By.
Joyce: Yes. I also have A Breast Cancer Journey to GREATER JOY! Taking the fear and mystery out of a breast cancer diagnosis!. I have Dear Bully: A Collection of Poems about Bullying. I’m on this campaign now to try to lessen bullying and I've got…It’s on YouTube it’s called The ABC Gang. I started it on February 1st, so every Sunday.
Host: This year?
Joyce: Yes, this year.
Joyce: I just started it because we’re not doing enough as a society to diminish bullying. As a matter of fact, we’re doing crap to almost make it explode.
Joyce: It’s just absolutely amazing to me. And so The ABC Gang is called the ABC Gang, Anti-Bullying Children. A-B-C. It’s on YouTube, The ABC Gang 02012020. You go to YouTube and put that in and then you can put the date in for any of the following that. Every Sunday I post it.
Joyce: My Simple Quotes To Live By, Mother's Dozen: An Easy Recipe for Raising Great Kids!
Joyce: The foreword was written by a minister who calls it, who says that I systematize the way the children can be raised, so I'm trying to find that one Mother’s Dozen. The Limitless Golden Rule: 21 Ways to Use the Golden Rule in Your Life, and Jet Black and Her Seven Friends, that's a fairytale.
Joyce: So, I think we covered all of them now. Oh! The Vision: Telling Kids That They Can Make the World a Better Place.
Host: It’s a very optimistic, very positive message books you have.
Joyce: Very much so.
Host: Are they available to buy or read on Amazon or?
Joyce: You can get all of them if you go to goodshortbooks.com. All of them are described there. There are 11 books there. My sister wrote one about dogs and if you like dogs you would absolutely love her book.
Host: I love dogs.
Joyce: We’re both retired executive assistants.
Joyce: And so, we write well (laughing) So, you don’t have to be worried about sentence fragments or, you know, any kind of dangling participle or anything like that in our books. We learn how to do English and grammar skills well. So, there are 11 books there. But you go to Amazon.com, you have to know the title of the book.
Joyce: But if you go to goodshortbooks.com, all of it is linked up to Amazon. So, you click on the book that you want to order and then it will take you to Amazon to order it. And the books range in price from $7.99 to $12.99. We’re not trying to break people and we want them to enjoy the books.
Host: Joyce, what are you going to be working on in the future?
Joyce: I don't have a clue. (laughing) I don't know because if you told me I would've written 10 books, I would’ve looked at you like you were from Mars or somewhere. Because I didn’t know that I was going to write these books.
Joyce: So, that's the way that my life has been guided. The universe just carries me along.
Host: Whatever will come, will come and we’ll find out what will come next from Joyce Fields in terms of a book. That's fantastic.
Joyce: Okay. Alright but I’m posting on social media. I’m posting on Facebook, I'm posting on Twitter. My handle on Twitter is @goodshortbooks and, let's see, Facebook is just Joyce Fields, I think. And LinkedIn, I’m thinking it's Joyce Fields as well. I don't think that they have handles on LinkedIn, but I’m on social media and Twitter. It’s @goodshortbooks.
Host: Joyce, before I let you go. Lot of people are facing a difficult time right now and I'm sure you have a wonderful uplifting quote for the nation at this time.
Joyce: Well, you know, this too shall pass. Nothing is permanent including us. So, this too shall pass. You know, just weather the storm, you know, just hang tough no matter what life throws at you. You got to hang tough. Show the universe that you can take it.
Host: Joyce, thank you so much for being on the Lifelong Wellness podcast. I hope you and your family remain safe in California and you weather this like all our listeners who are weathering this time right now. Thank you for being with us.
Joyce: Yes. Thank you, Wes.