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When someone tells me “no,” it doesn’t mean I can’t do it, it simply means I can’t do it with them.
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  Volume No. 17 Issue No. 2 February 2020  

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  Family, health and helping others
  By Leslie Sheley

   Theda Stone and her family moved to Colorado in 2001 to be closer to her husband’s parents, who lived in Monument. Stone said she and her husband, Ian, had always wanted to live in Black Forest because the area reminded them of Maine and New Hampshire, where they grew up.
   
   They found the “perfect home” in Black Forest and today enjoy spending time outdoors, hiking and walking with their dog, Stone said. Family is Stone’s focus, but she is also passionate about health and all-natural products.
   
   Stone said she enjoys cooking and creating healthy, gluten-free meals for the whole family.
   Fourteen years ago, her son Will was diagnosed with Celiac disease. "Back then, they really didn't know much about Celiac, and he was basically a failure-to-thrive baby,” Stone said.
   
   “When he was 3, he asked me if I'd be gluten free with him because he didn't want to be the only one in the family. I said, of course, and have been gluten free ever since.” She said she feels much better being gluten free, and she raised her two younger boys to be gluten free also because it can be genetic and/or triggered by stress and environment.
   
   Eating healthy “keeps us away from a lot of processed food choices and sweets, too,” Stone said.
   
   Seven years ago, other health issues led Stone to begin using cleaning products with fewer chemicals to “lesson the toxic load on my body,” she said.
   
   Four years ago, her sister-in-law suggested adding healthy skin care choices to her lifestyle, and introduced her to Beautycounter. Stone said she has been hooked ever since. “I wanted a clean skin care (product) that would work for me and my family, and it intrigued me that they had products for my boys and my husband,” she said. Stone said Beautycounter provides education on ingredients and product safety. “It’s not just a beauty company, it is a movement to make change to have more protective laws when it comes to personal care products,” she said.
   
   Founder and CEO Gregg Renfrew testified as the only expert witness in a congressional hearing on cosmetic reform in December 2019, Stone said. To share what she has learned with others, Stone has a Facebook site called Safer Beauty for Better Health.
   
   “I was leading a pretty healthy life, but until four years ago, I never thought about what I was putting on my skin,” she said. Making changes doesn’t have to be expensive, she said. “If you want to make changes but want to be economical about it, replace what you are using when it runs out with something cleaner; swap out as you run out for something safer,” Stone said. “It’s progress we’re looking for, not perfection.”
   
   On June 25, 1938, Congress passed the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. It has been 80 years since Congress last voted to regulate cosmetics and protect consumers from harmful ingredients in their makeup or skin care, Stone said. Chemicals are affecting fertility, the onset of puberty; and, in some cases, cancer, she said.
   
   Stone said she relies on the app provided by The Environmental Working Group or EWG.org to stay informed about safe products; the app uses a rating system, with one being safe and 10 harmful.
   
   She said it can be tedious, but start by eliminating products that contain a few of the major chemicals like parabens, phalates, formaldehyde or anything listed with fragrance. She said the FDA does not define organic or natural in relation to skin care products. Look for labels like EWG verified or the leaping bunny logo for safe products. Also look for B corporations, as it is a coveted certification for companies that are transparent about their products.
   
   Stone said clean, high-performance skin care often means higher costs because the ingredients are more expensive, and it costs more to prevent cross contamination. She said the good news is higher quality products last longer — usually because less is needed to be effective. In the end, Stone said the consumer often ends up spending more money on skin care that contains unsafe ingredients.
   
   “You ultimately have to ask yourself what your health is worth to you; and the more you know and educate yourself, the more you will realize you can’t go back to using some of the unsafe products,” she said.
   
   Stone said she has an in-home office where clients try the products. “Too many times, I have had clients say to me, ‘I wish I had known this before I got sick,’” she said. “I can’t save everyone, and so I educate those who are interested in changing their health for the better and understanding what they put on their bodies does matter.”
   
   If the above is not enough to keep her busy, Stone also works with her mom, Barbara Lehman, who lives in Colorado Springs. The two plan, coordinate and decorate for parties and events. Stone said they both have a strong, creative side — and make a great team.
   
   "I'm a wife, mom of four boys, an educator for safe beauty; and my life is busy,” Stone said. “I enjoy every minute because each part gives me a sense of purpose and fills my soul with an abundance of joy."
  
Theda Stone lives in Black Forest and has an office area, where people can visit and learn about all-natural skin products. Photo by Leslie Sheley
 
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  AARP Black Forest
  Black Forest Chapter potpourri — catching up
  By Stanley Beckner

   The Black Forest AARP Chapter presented Jake Skifstad, Shield 616 founder, with a donation check for $1,500 to purchase an armor package designed to protect local peace officers and first responders from rifle threats. The package includes a trauma kit ballistic helmet, plate carrier vest with pouches and rifle rated armor. Shield 616 is a local 501(c)3) organization.
   
   Kent Matthews, MSW, from the Colorado Springs Area Agency on Aging presented a program at a chapter meeting on dementia and caregiving. The program provided basic legal, financial, medical and emotional insights for caregivers. Kent also provided a long list of caregiver support and education agencies in the Colorado Springs area.
   
   Chapter 1100 member longevity badges were presented this fall. Gwen Burk was awarded a 25-year badge, certifying she has been a member in good standing of Chapter 1100 in Black Forest for 25 consecutive years. Five-year chapter member longevity badges were presented to Stephen Blucher, Patricia Dix, Herb Guild, Pat Guild, Roberta Hagmaier and Linda Siebe.
   
   Election of new officers
   The January meeting of Black Forest AARP Chapter 1100 featured the installation of newly elected chapter officers and the reaffirmation of many appointed committee chairs. Outgoing Chapter President Ray Rozak swore in the new officers: Candace Lehmann, president; Raji Verma ,vice president; Patricia Dix, secretary; and
   Anita Wolfe, treasurer.
   
   Cheryl Moyer from H & R Block presented an excellent program at the meeting. She discussed the tax law changes for 2020, including new tax items and issues relating to wills and inheritances.
    
   Individuals who want to give something back to the community as a volunteer can find some interesting and enjoyable social connections with AARP Chapter 1100 in Black Forest. Those interested in visiting or joining the chapter can contact Ray Rozak, the chapter president, at 719-495-6767. The chapter motto is “To Serve, not to be Served.” Additional information on Chapter 1100 activities can be found at https://aarpchapter1100blackforest.weebly.com.
  
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  No fee senior social

   A monthly informal occasion for seniors is the no-fee event. They meet in the Black Forest Lutheran Church Fellowship Hall at 12455 Black Forest Road in Black Forest.
            
   Seniors are welcome at the Black Forest AARP and Black Forest Lutheran Church monthly informal gathering, held at the Black Forest Lutheran Church Fellowship Hall at 12455 Black Forest Road. The social is from 1 to 4 p.m. the fourth Wednesday of each month, and all are invited to socialize, play games, work on hobbies or to simply sit and talk about “whatever.”  Light refreshments are available. For more information, contact Lavonne at 719-494-1276.
  
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  Black Forest Women’s Club

   The Black Forest Women’s Club meets every second Thursday at 10 a.m. at the Black Forest Lutheran Church, 12455 Black Forest Road. The next meeting is Feb. 13; the program will feature Theresa, the founder of Mill Dog Rescue. Coffee and refreshments will be served at 9:30 a.m., and the meeting begins at 10 a.m. Parking is in the back; use the ramp and go in the first door on the right. Visitors and guests are always welcome. For more information, contact Carol at 719-495-3846.   
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