Carroll County Times

'Christ-centered wellness event' is for women

Lisa Simons, natural chef and owner of Whirled Peas, will demonstrate ways to prepare healthy recipes at the "Ultimate Wellness: Connecting the Dots of Body, Soul and Spirit" event.

After being diagnosed with colon cancer in 2010, Wendy Stauffer had surgery but decided against chemotherapy because of risks associated with her allergies to antibiotics. Instead, she set out on a mission to find alternative paths to better health.

When research revealed numerous exciting options, she said, she wanted to share those with others.

She founded Ultimate Wellness Ministries last spring and developed the Ultimate Wellness event introduced in Hanover, Pa., earlier this year.

The Westminster Baptist Church Women's Ministry announced that it will host Stauffer and other presenters for a Christ-centered wellness event for women. "Ultimate Wellness: Connecting the Dots of Body, Soul and Spirit" will take place May 4 at the church.

There are 14 "dots," Stauffer said, everyone needs to connect: intimacy with God, sleep, sunshine, a positive frame of mind, laughter, fresh air, releasing stress God's way, regularity, exercise, water, emotional wellness, detoxing or avoiding toxins, nutrition and eating real, whole, homegrown foods.

"Everyone [attending] will have different goals, whether it is to get to bed earlier and get more sleep, get more exercise or to eat better. There are 14 dots and everything is interrelated," said Stauffer, a resident of Littlestown, Pa.

Stauffer will speak on "The Secret of Ultimate Wellness: Connecting the Dots" and "A Plan to Connect Your Dots." Each of her 14 points will be addressed by guest speakers who are experts in their fields.

A nutritious lunch will be provided, with a food preparation demonstration called "Cooking Outside the Box" by natural chef Lisa Simons, owner of Whirled Peas in Westminster.

"I've found that people want to know and need to know how to eat in a way that supports a healthy lifestyle," Simons said. "My goal is to empower people to make better food choices and discover techniques in the kitchen that lead to success."

Other presenters include:

Mari-Jan Sieradzki, pastoral counselor and founder of Sanctuary Ministries, Baltimore, leading the experiential session "Releasing Stress God's Way";

Author and Bible teacher Kelley Latta, of Kelley Latta Ministries, Hanover, Pa., with sessions called "Maintaining A Healthy Soul" and "The Power to Connect Your Dots";

Registered dietitian and nutrition coach Michelle Tasker, of Optimal Wellness, Westminster, speaking on "Eating Clean and Cool";

Willa Lefever, co-owner of Sonnewald Natural Foods, Spring Grove, Pa., talking about "Staying Well in a Toxic World"; and

Laura Buckley, fitness instructor and owner of Stretch My Limits, Hanover, Pa., leading "Move It," an interactive session.

There will also be a guest appearance by Millie from the comedy group The Old Biddies.

"I'll share my story and talk about the overall vision of how we need to connect our dots," said Stauffer, "then our speakers will give us specific advice for each aspect. We'll all come back together later in the day to discuss a plan and talk about how we make change," she said. "From a Christian perspective, the first thing you do is to seek God. Setting goals and implementing change is something we all can do."

Event coordinator Cindy Bryson wrote in an email, "I'm excited about this event because women will realize that they can positively impact their health more than they think. We can't do much about the genes we were born with, but we can learn how to better care for this body that God has so wonderfully made. It's His temple; we should be nurturing it so that we can experience God's fullest blessings. That's what He intends for us.

"We often take good health for granted," Bryson wrote, "until we get diagnosed with a serious illness. Yet there is so much we can do as individuals to prevent certain health conditions or improve our current health status. Opportunities are there to bring balance to our lives if we would just take the time."

Describing her journey, Stauffer said, "God put some people in my path who all had a similar passion to see that people became well. It became obvious that my calling was to tell my story and to encourage Christians to become ultimately well in body, soul and spirit. It's all about connecting the dots. God put each of us on this Earth for a reason." She said hers is to tell her story, and to inspire and motivate.

"When you are desperate and you are dedicated to doing it on your own, you have to know God is in control and God has your back," Stauffer said. "I'm just an ordinary person who has had an amazing amount of exposure to this information.

"My pain can be someone else's gain," she said. "It gives it purpose. It's not all about me, but about helping other people."