Boy in prayer

About a month ago, I was waking up the kids to get ready for school and found Zach standing in the middle of our lawn. I watched him for awhile wondering what in the world he was doing. Is he peeing, I wondered? He is so his father’s son, I thought. But he kept standing there for a long time. Geez, he really had to go. Then I realized what he was doing. He was facing east towards the morning sun…praying. The vision and act melted my heart. Sweet sweet kid I have. He walked in, his face seemed to be glowing although I realized this was probably my imagination, and he said, “It’s going to be a good day.”

IMG_3343_2The thought or act to pray makes some people uncomfortable. To me, it’s about being thankful and appreciating the good in our lives. Prayer is recognizing and acknowledging it. This is what I have taught my kids, apparently better to Zach then Amélie. Amélie said to me not long ago,”Praying doesn’t work. I pray and ask for things and they never come true!” Oh how she makes me laugh! But she is not alone. People think praying is about asking for things they want. And maybe it is…to some. To me, it’s about realizing what I have and never ever taking if for granted. It’s so easy to overlook what we do have and focus on what we don’t. To me, it comes down to a few simple but  important things in life (THE most important in my opinion)…health, our loved ones (family & friends), food & water and a roof over our head. Because without those, what do we really have? After all, there are SO MANY people who don’t have those things!!

I do pray for others. I had a powerful experience when I was in my late 20’s. I had a friend who was dying from cancer. I told my sister how he was close to the end and the end was pretty miserable. I’ve always turned to her for spiritual guidance. I will never forget what she said, “Never underestimate the power of prayer.” So after a late night in NY,  I went home that night and said outloud, “Please don’t let him suffer anymore.” I really didn’t know who I was talking to or asking this of and felt mildly awkward but I felt helpless and wanted to do something, anything. I got a call the next day that my friend had passed that night. Now I am NOT suggesting that that was my doing but it did have a feeling of a prayer answered and turned me into infinite believer about the power of prayer.

I also reflect a lot on the Native American ceremony that my sister put up for Lance towards the end of his life. 40 people sat 14 hours in a tipi all night long who didn’t even know Lance or I and prayed for us. I don’t know what they prayed for but what I do know is even after losing Lance, my life has still had a lot of blessings. I have often wondered, did those people pray for me and my kids too? Did they pray that things would be okay for us, that we would be looked after? Did they pray for Lance to have a peaceful passing? How did this tragic situation show some rays of light? Was it prayer? I believe it was.

And I notice that when I live my life in gratitude, appreciating all the good things in my life, that there is an overall feeling or attitude I carry with me for the day that inherently feels good. I hope, that if this is not something you have ever done, you’ll try it. After all, what do you have to loose?



At one point in my life I was rigid…no sugar, no alcohol, no caffeine, no meat, no this, no that, no nothing. Recently, I was at a dinner party when a friend asked me what my new health regime was. I wondered for a second if I should make something up but the truth is I haven’t had one. So that’s what I told her. She kind of stared at me in shock. I guess I’ve always been somewhat of a health nut. Starting at 12, I gave up meat and was vegetarian for 32 years (up until 2 years ago when I ate a big fat grass fed steak). I’ve tried all sorts of health regimes from vegetarian, to micro-biotic, to Ayurvedic, to giving up gluten, dairy, sugar, caffeine, alcohol. I’ve juiced, i’ve grown wheat grass, I’ve explored all the super foods. But what I’ve finally come to the conclusion after all these years, especially the last couple ones, is being rigid, isn’t great either and potentially has the opposite affect of what I was trying to achieve…an overall healthy lifestyle.

While I still do believe in drinking lots of water, and limiting your sugar intake, and eating lots of organic vegetables, what it comes down for me now, is moderation and variety. I went years eating the same lunch every day. While it was healthy, I think eating the same thing over and over again isn’t good for you either. Actually some say that eating the same foods day in day out can make you allergic to that particular food. These days when it comes to eating, you can get totally paranoid about every food out there. Rice has arsenic, GMO’s galore, gluten is going to kill you, fish is contaminated, tuna has mercury, and what’s up with farm raised fish? The list goes on and on. Even the water you drink. Start researching water filtration systems and it makes your eyes cross. You can find any evidence out there to support any argument or scare tactic about our food these days. It can make you crazy!

I am completely supportive and can more than relate to people who eliminate foods from their diet due to a health issue or illness. But from my experience, being a relatively healthy person, questioning everything I put in my mouth wasn’t great for my mental health either. I was working myself up into a frenzy…not enjoying life because I was too busy being rigid. Can’t have this, can’t have that, that has gluten, that has potential toxins. In the last couple years I’ve loosened the reigns a bit. Like I said, I ate my first steak in 32 years. Damn that was good. I have a glass of wine occasionally after an almost 10 year hiatus. I deprived myself of coffee for 6 years. Now I indulge in a cup of joe every morning with half and half. I eat goat cheese, seafood, the occasional wild salmon, meat from time to time. I try to mix it up. The one thing I will still preach and stand by is veggies and lots of them…after all it is part of my blog name 🙂

For shock value, here’s what I had for lunch today…a BLT (with avocado).


Wintry treat

32When I traveled in India, I had a ritual early in the morning (around 5am) and again in the late afternoon of going to the chai wallah to get a cup of chai…which was super decadent, full of rich, creamy buffalo milk, lots of caffeine and sugar, all for a few rupees (around 10 cents). Locals would gather around the wallah brewing a giant batch of chai waiting for him to finish. When it was practically boiling over, he would pour in our little cups (I would wonder for a split second if the cups had been washed but quickly didn’t care. It was that good) and the batch would be gone in a matter of minutes.

Well on this wintry day in Boulder, here is my caffeine free, sugar free, dairy free, more than a few rupees (not free), health freak version of that delicious Indian chai. And it is still delicious….

First, I want to say…DON’T BE INTIMIDATED! I read a NY Times article recently that said during a time when people are watching cooking shows obsessively and reading fancy food blogs, instead of being inspired, people are becoming so intimidated that they are either getting take out or going out for dinner more than ever. How ironic!

This recipe might at first sound like more work than it is (and it does involve making your own almond milk) but really the most time consuming part of this whole process is just gathering the ingredients so don’t get discouraged if you don’t have all the ingredients in your kitchen right now. Shop, stock up and I promise it will be easy from then on and if not, I’ll personally come over and make it for you.

The best thing to know about chai is you can’t screw it up so just experiment. Just play around with the different spices and see what you like the most. I make a big batch so it will last me for 3-4 days.

The other good thing about chai, if you make it decaffeinated and sugar free, it has a calming, stress-relieving, grounding effect (according to Ayurveda).

Chai spices: (there are so many variations, you can use a few of these spices or all of them…whichever ones you gravitate towards..mix up 2T of each spice in a bowl and then you can measure out 4-5T from that and you will have left overs for the next time (except for the fresh ginger of course).
fresh ginger
cinnamon sticks
green cardamom pods
star anise
black peppercorns
fennel seed
orange peel

  • Boil 6 cups water, add about 4 to 5T of whichever spices you choose, reduce heat and simmer for a minimum of 15 min or as long as you want.
  • Remove from heat
  • Add 3-4 Tulsi tea caffeine free tea bags and steep for 10 min.
  • Strain and store in a mason jar.
Almond milk
  • soak 2 cups almonds (cover the almonds with water… leave uncovered for 12-24 hours).
  • rinse almonds
  • put almonds and 4 cups of water in a vitamix or blender, add 2-6 medjol dates (ok so i lied, there is sugar) and blend on high for at least 2 minutes
  • strain through a cheese cloth (you can order online, get at Peppercorn if you are in Boulder or any kitchen store), squeeze with your hand all the milk out into a bowl…you need a little muscle for this process (just a little…my daughter does this part for me).
  • add a pinch of salt

I put both the chai and the almond milk in mason jars and store in the fridge.

When I want my daily cup, I heat up the tea on the stove and this is the best part…steam up the almond milk in my Nespresso (which is one of my favorite kitchen splurges) and voila…it’s yummy.

You can also just add the almond milk to your tea and heat it up together.

Lastly, if you have to sweeten it (I am sort of anti-sugar and think it’s evil and the root of many health problems but I realize i’m extreme on this topic), add a little honey or maple syrup.

IMG_5749Or if all this still feels overwhelming, come over and I’ll make you a cup 🙂

The truth about my last 2 1/2 years

I feel like I have some summarizing to do of what these last 2 1/2 years of my life have been like before I can move on to more uplifting topics. I don’t know about the 5 stages of grief…if there’s really a text book way to grieve. I only know what I have experienced. And here’s a breakdown (no pun intended) of the past 2 1/2 years.

The first 6 months…
SHOCK: I just couldn’t believe it. Lance died. How did that happen? It was unfathomable. It wasn’t supposed to be this way. He was super human. He was supposed to survive. I really wasn’t ever going to see him again? My kids lost their father? These were some of the thoughts that swirled through my head day in and day out. And nights were horrible. I didn’t want to go to bed. Alone. I was lonely!! I looked for every escape imaginable mostly in the form of my cell phone. After all that Lance had done to eradicate himself from the ever addicting cell phone, it had become my life line. Anyone out there? Anyone up at midnight to tell me I’m not alone. ANYONE??? I even would text Lance and tell him I missed him. Sometimes I would watch videos of him, almost obsessively, trying to will him out of the computer and come to life. It just wasn’t possible I wasn’t ever going to see him, touch him, hear his laugh again.

Mornings were no better as I woke up feeling like there was a ten pound brick on my chest, it felt so heavy! Thank God for my kids…they have always brought me love and joy, even through my hardest days. Plus I had to be there for them. They had lost their father. I had to be present but sometimes I was so distracted. It was so hard to concentrate on anything. I was so racked with my own feelings of loss and shock. Even being through this every day with my kids, I couldn’t imagine what it’s like for a 7 & 9 year old to lose their Dad. The kids and I lit candles and chanted every night together for 40 days straight to release his spirit. Even when it was over, we still wanted to chant. It was our connection to him. We talked about him daily. We still do.

ESCAPE: Six months after Lance passed, a man came into my life. I know to many that seemed soon. I didn’t care what people thought. I knew what I had been through. How I had been on this journey for two years straight. Day in and day out. How there was nothing I wanted more than for Lance to survive. But he didn’t. I wanted to laugh, to have some fun. Unconsciously I wanted to escape my pain, my life even. And I did. It was a bit surreal. This pain was being lifted by someone bringing lightness into my life. I was being reminded that there is joy, happiness, even elatedness still to be had.

THE WORST: By one year, my support team for the most part had gone on with their lives (accept of course my die hard friends). That is normal and to be expected. You can’t always have people around checking up on you. Life does go on. But some people expected me to be moving on too (or at least it felt that way). I guess from outward appearances it seemed like I had. But grief grabbed me and took me down. I felt this emptiness, this loss so deep that I still can’t put it into words. I was so devastatingly sad and lonely sometimes. As the second year reared it’s ugly head, I couldn’t believe that this was really how life was going to be. It really was going to be without Lance. He wasn’t coming back. Certain random holidays I just wanted to hide. Father’s day, Memorial day, the 3 day holidays where everyone is with their families, their dads, their husbands. Our anniversary was so painful(!)…I thought we were supposed to be married for 50+ years? I started realizing that everything in my adult life was and had been about Lance. My dear, wild, mad scientist, father/husband/friend was gone and everything I dreamed about in my future was about us. It was debilitating. Humbling. I realized escaping grief was unavoidable. I couldn’t believe I was really going to have to let go of this man. We were Lance and Nance. Who was I without Lance? Ugh.

 For the first time in 4 years (since Lance was diagnosed), I am starting to dream again. Big dreams. The letting go process continues. I realize it’s an ongoing process. We (my kids and I) still have our hard days. But I don’t wake up with that brick on my chest and the man that showed up is still with me, and we are starting to create a future together. My kids, now 10 & 12 are thriving in school and with their friends and their sweet, loving compassionate hearts continue to grow. We still talk about Lance daily. Sometimes even talk to him. He will always be a part of us. I see many traits in my kids passed down from Lance. The wicked smart, life loving, adventure making, risk taking man will always be with us. We just have to tap into our hearts. He’s there.

Love, Nance


I’m back…

Sunset jumpAfter 2 1/2 years of falling off the radar, I’m starting up my dusty ole blog again. I know I don’t need to give any explanations of why I fell off the radar but at the same time I’ve questioned how long I can live in the “I lost my husband” fog? Not to others, but to myself. For 2 1/2 years I’ve been questioning what is my life’s purpose. Many of my friends would look at me compassionately, “You just went through something so heavy. Don’t worry so much. It will come.”  It would make me feel better for a day but then the very next day I’d be back to wondering what in the world I was doing with my life. As if raising two children isn’t enough…and why isn’t it?

It took me awhile to realize why this was such a prevalent theme for me. I had my whole life figured out and Lance was part of it all. So after the initial shock phase of losing Lance wore off and the second year reared it’s ugly head, I was COMPLETELY lost. I realized all the dreams I had, were wrapped up with Lance…every detail of my life had been planned out, all the way up to getting old and grey (yes I was a planner) and Lance was a part of every decade. Thus began the painful process of letting go. Ugh! Even as I write this my eyes are filled with tears. Letting go is a long and ongoing process…

For anyone who read my blog while Lance was sick knows that writing was my outlet. My catharsis. While this might not be my life’s purpose…it is an outlet for me. I like sharing whatever wisdom I can impart. I am not a nutrition expert, or a health expert, or death expert or a grief expert, or an expert on life or any kind of expert for that matter, I just have my experiences. I speak and write from those and from my heart. Anyone who knows me, knows I am an open book. So I am going to share…whatever inspires me at that particular moment.

And maybe, just maybe, I will find my life’s purpose along the way.


One year

La Veta, CO

Today, June 8th, marks one year since Lance passed. I wanted to take a moment  to remember the man that was, in my humble opinion, one of a kind. When I wonder if I am being biased, I am quickly reminded by any number of people that Lance truly was a unique individual. What consoles me when I think of Lance’s life being cut so short is he truly lived the life of five people combined. From the countless countries he traveled, to the volumes of books he read, to the mountains he skied or hiked, to the way he approached life with wonder and adventure, to the way he would embrace something and turn it into gold. It makes me feel less sad and instead, inspired and proud. Proud to have been blessed by someone with such an adventurous spirit, with so much life, so much pizazz.

Lance will always be a significant being in my life.  He is the father of my children. He was the boy I met on a hot May day in 1990 at a Grateful Dead show. When I feel sad, sad for myself, sad for my kids and sad for Lance, I run through the list of all the things Lance accomplished. How he lived so fully. How we should all be so brave to live a life without fear, with so much passion, so much wonder for the world and the guts to tackle anything. Lance- wherever you are, you inspire me and give me strength. The things that I used to be afraid of, I no longer fear, and I have you to thank for this gift of all gifts.

The kids and I are spending this day thinking of all our good memories of Lance. Reminiscing about all the times we had, and all the things we loved about him. How even though he is not with us in physical form, he will always be with us in spirit. As this one year anniversary is symbolic in many ways, I look at it as not only a time of reflection and remembrance but the beginning of a new chapter. Looking at it how Lance would…as one big adventure. Attempting to move on but never forgetting the husband, the father, the son, the entrepreneur, the friend, the traveler, the reader, the barefoot runner, the wonderful man that was Lance Gentry.



This might be my most boring post but it might also be my most important.

The cover story for consumer reports this month is something I’ve been wanting to write about for a long time. The example it gave was identical to mine. Without going into details, I’m talking wills, beneficiaries, guardians, and life insurance. I’ve talked to too many people that were like us or even worse. It’s a new year so this is a perfect time to get your affairs in order…here is what I learned from my experience.

Lance never took the above topics seriously. In fact, ironically, we did our first will just a month before Lance was diagnosed…8 years after our first child was born. That’s 8 years too late. I forced the issue in 2010. I remember sitting in our living room, our lawyer came to our house, it was December 2010 and Lance sort of thought it was a joke. He was in many ways appeasing me. He just never thought the worst would happen. I do not say this to criticize Lance at all, more to set the tone of how casual one can be about things that can actually happen. Do this for your loved one…make the process as easy as possible on the one who is left behind. Be really conscious whom you choose to be the guardians of your children, the beneficiaries of your assets and update regularly!!! Grief on it’s own is enough. To deal with unpleasant issues on top of it, is just plain hard and can be completely preventable.

Since my experience, I have learned we are not alone. I have talked to tons of people who don’t have wills, life insurance or guardians. I can not emphasize this enough…besides being a major hassle, it strains relationships. We’ve all heard the stories. Wills, guardians and beneficiaries change all the time.  It’s super important to take these issues seriously. Consumer reports quoted 86% of people have not updated their wills and beneficiaries. That means that many of you reading are among those people.

In my case these things were never talked about once Lance was diagnosed. It was too painful. We were trying to stay positive. What message would I be giving Lance if on one hand I am his biggest cheerleader and on the other hand checking with him to make sure everything was in order? I just couldn’t do it. These topics are MUCH EASIER if you do them when you are both healthy. I did what I could do on my own making sure things were in order but some stones were left unturned and it was messy afterwards. Small oversights can have a big impact.

I also wanted to touch on life insurance policies. Figure out what your life costs and how much you reasonably could live on minus your spouse. Certain dollar amounts might seem like a lot more than the reality…especially with inflation. Talk to a financial advisor.

Also one last thing, have all assets: houses, cars, anything you own in both your names or in a living trust. You will avoid probate if you do this. That means a lot of time and money saved.

I have hesitated writing this blog because it brings up personal issues but I’ve also wanted to share my experience so people can do everything to prevent any hassles for the one left behind. I am redoing my will, going over it with a fine tooth comb and will update it every year if need be. I cannot stress these issues enough. It will save time, money, relationships, stress, arduous paper work and give you the time you need to focus on what’s really important should you ever be put in this position.

So in the words of my friends Kristin and Jon Hatch…”get ‘er done.”
PS: Consumer Reports article:

PPS: A timely article in the NY Times from yet another young widow.



I remember writing my holiday post last year and being so full of hope. Fully convinced that Lance was beating his diagnosis and having no insight that a year from now, I would be sending holiday wishes minus one very important being in our lives.

December 8th was 6 months since Lance passed. 6 months! It was a milestone that hurt to my core, made my heartache and made me cry for the majority of the day. However, as with all anniversaries, birthdays, and holidays I’ve experienced so far, I came out the other side still thankful for all that I still have.

One thing I have realized throughout these past 6 months is I have never lost that hope. I am still full of hope for my future, my kids future, and for our lives. And I am grateful. I may not be grateful for Lance dying but I am grateful for how he died. I am grateful that he didn’t suffer and I am grateful for the support I have had throughout and since his death. For the way my kids and I can talk about Lance on a daily basis with a laugh, a smile, a tear.

Lance resides not in physical form but in our hearts. That is something I focus on during my hard days and it reassures me in a way that nothing else can. After a solid 6 months of walking around in shock that Lance was gone, every morning, thinking “Really Lance? Did you have to go? Are you really gone?” I have turned a corner of accepting that this is true and that my kids and my life continues. He is with us always…sometimes in actually forms (a hawk) and ALWAYS in our hearts. This has been my greatest lesson of 2012.

I can say without a single doubt, I am ready to say goodbye to this past year. I have felt this need to get this year behind me but a part of me is exploding with things I want to share. I’m ready for what the future holds, to be grateful for every day, to continue to share my story, my lessons, to grow and be open to whatever is in store for me.

Even through all this, I’ve never lost the feeling that there is still magic to life. This isn’t what I would have wished for myself or my children but this is our lives nonetheless. I was reading a book called Dream New Dreams recently. The author who also lost her husband at a young age said she learned “not to look at today through the lens of yesterday, which made the promise of tomorrow all the more magical.” Amen.

photo copy

I was hiking with two close friends last weekend and I took this picture. I felt like I was that mountain peaking out from the mist. Getting my head out of the clouds so to speak. I hope it continues to emerge.

So with a renewed sense of hope for what the future holds and gratitude for all the love I have in my life, I wish you a loving, tender, peaceful new year.



Giving Back

Zach, Amélie and Lakota kids on the Pine Ridge reservation

For a long time now, I have been on the receiving end of a lot of generosity. I have often wondered how in the world I could reciprocate and felt lost at how to do this. I finally realized while giving back directly might not be needed, giving back indirectly is definitely needed. One morning a few weeks ago, the executive director of a non-profit called Conscious Alliance invited me and the kids to go help feed 850 families on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. This was not totally random. Lance had been on the board of Conscious Alliance (, which helps Native Americans in some of the most impoverished communities in the country.

This was a symbolic pilgrimage because it felt like a way of honoring Lance (he had been there too) and doing something meaningful and eye opening for the kids. Pine Ridge is the poorest reservation in the country. It’s population is 30,000. The average lifespan is 50 years old. 80% of the people are unemployed. The people are riddled with diabetes, heart disease, and alcoholism. People live in total destitution and hunger. They live in a world of no hope. A world that was taken away from them with no means to make money. It is just plain sad. Nothing like perspective to give your life a lot of meaning.

The awesome Justin’s Nut Butter team.

Our job? To bag and distribute 850 turkeys (brought up from Boulder in a huge penske truck) as well as veggies, potatoes, corn, stuffing and of course Justin’s Nut Butter. We did this both by people coming to us and by driving and delivering door to door. The Chief and his wife have been doing this for 16 years.



I’ve been to my fair share of third world countries but this felt somehow sadder than anything I have ever seen. Somehow the people in India don’t feel as if they have completely given up hope but this is what it felt like on Pine Ridge. And it’s right in our back yard…right here in our very own FIRST?! world country.

Amélie delivering a turkey and food

My kids LOVED this opportunity. In fact, Amélie could have stayed for a week. They loved the communal feeling of working together. They loved interacting with the people…just trying to make a small gesture of kindness. It made them feel good. It made me feel good. Nothing like community work to get you out of your head.

Lance and I had a shared dream of exposing our children to eye opening experiences and give them perspective on how many people in the world live. One thing I have promised myself is I will make this dream come true.

I greatly encourage you to go out and help. It can feel defeating to see the disparity of a situation but if we were ALL doing a little bit here and there, it could really make a difference…and you don’t have to go all the way to South Dakota. I am sure there are plenty of opportunities right in your home town.

I felt honored to be asked to go to Pine Ridge, grateful to be with the Conscious Alliance and Justin’s Nut Butter teams and humbled for the individuals who opened their homes and allowed us to help.



Back in business

Some people have advised me to take it slow this year. Sit around and grieve all day? Trust me, I cry enough. Before Lance was sick, I was a life coach for seven years. Back in January 2011, Lance became my sole subject, my passion, my everything. Now I am ready to return to work, I’m inspired and I’m on a mission. My mission is not only to encourage people to eat more healthy but to live their lives more healthily: body, mind, spirit.  I want to share my knowledge (which I will continue to do so on this blog) of the many many different lessons Lance and I learned throughout his illness but I am ready to do this one on one as well. Throughout this process, I realized my true passion is helping people change their lives for the better.

I have some strong opinions and convictions of why this happened to Lance. I believe illness is a combination of a perfect storm, habits that are not serving one both physically and mentally. Lance believed this too. There are too many illnesses out there, cancer raising exponentially over the decades, and what about auto-immune diseases? They seem rampant.

BUT THAT’S NOT ALL. I feel equally if not even more passionate about how people are living their lives NOT just what they are putting in their bodies. My mission is to help you live your life the best you can every single day, right NOW!

Some people start a foundation to raise awareness towards the illness that took their loved one. For me, the best way I see of honoring Lance, is sharing what I’ve learned in order to raise awareness on a healthy lifestyle. I want to help you change. It takes EFFORT to have a balanced life, to eat healthy, to live your life in the most fulfilling way…But guess what? You have me! Someone to be accountable to, to champion you, to give you the occasional kick in the pants and of course love and compassion along the way.

So this is to say, I am officially back in business although it will be much more focused on health, wellness and life choices.  I will listen, motivate, and encourage you to change. Everyone has heard the expression “if you had a year to live…” but the truth is we are closer to our death every single day even if we are lucky enough to live to be 80. So my message is CHANGE NOW!

While I don’t have an official website yet, if you are interested, please contact me at and as always please post words of encouragement on the blog.

“A year from now you will have wished you started today” –Karen Lamb

Love and health,
PS: I wanted to share my first published article in Elephant Journal and stay tuned for videos coming in the near future.