August 7, 2018

Reconciling Humility and Self-Worth in the Age of Ego

Recently, I had to reframe my ideas around humility. To me, humility was connected to the “fallen” trope we’re told as Christians in both Catholic and Evangelical circles. We are broken. We come into the world broken, marked by original sin. We have fallen. We are inherently disposed toward evil. We need fixing. Jesus needs to fix us.

Humility is meant to acknowledge this lowliness, to recognize our innate brokenness so that we can open ourselves up to the healing power of Christ. Turn to any Christian radio station, and you’ll hear lines like, “Help me want the healer more than the healing,” as if Christ died only so we may swallow more pain.

I no longer believe this idea defines the true meaning of humility.

May 15, 2018

Again and Again | Ruminate Magazine Blog

Before I moved to San Diego from Portland, Oregon, I kept a letterpress print above my desk with the words, “Always We Begin Again – After St. Benedict.” It is a beautiful print created for the 10th Anniversary Issue of Ruminate, but also pairs nicely with Ruminate's Issue 31, also titled, Always, We Begin Again.

I could see the print from anywhere in my bedroom. It was directly in my line of sight when I woke in the morning and above me when I worked at my computer.

Walk through any Home Goods or Target, and there are thousands of proverbs and platitudes printed on crisp canvas or restored wood. Some are more cliché than others. They remind us of who we are, and in little ways, of what occupies our minds and hearts. In a house with a “But first, coffee” pillow on the sofa or a “Write like a motherf---er” mug on the coffee table, you have some insight into the values and hobbies in that home.

May 9, 2018

How to Make the COOLEST DIY Sugar Scrub [VIDEO] | ACHS Health and Wellness Blog

Every year, Mother’s Day takes me by surprise. I get so hyped up for spring and summer, I forget…I need a special gift for the incredible woman who made this wonderful life possible. Mom! 

Are you in the same situation? It’s okay. Breathe. You still have four days until Mother’s Day (Sunday, May 13). Let the #DIYLife soothe your stress, and give Mom an intentional, wellness-themed gift she’ll love: The “I’m a Cool Mom!” Sugar Scrub!

September 7, 2017

Suffering: Whispers in the Noise | Ruminate Magazine Blog

We’re hurting. So many people in so many places are hurting.

I have this device in my hand, glowing blue. It updates me every minute, every second, and tells me: People are suffering. People are upset because people are suffering. More people are suffering.

I sometimes feel like I’m in a closet with boulder-sized speakers blaring white noise. And under that white noise is a soft, quiet whisper—Help me—through the crackle. But my ears are blown out, and my head feels like a grape crushed under foot. I’m incapacitated.

July 6, 2017

How to Add More Play Into Your Wellness Routine | ACHS Health & Wellness Blog

Even for adults, play is extremely beneficial to our health. While some dismiss play as “just for kids” or “immature,” researchers agree that play is healing, stimulates creativity, and cultivates healthy emotional intimacy.[1]

But how do we define “play?” Essentially, you play when you focus on the experience, not the goal. For example, when you’re playing water basketball with the kids, you’re not focused on building muscles in your core or legs; you’re focused on the game, on the water, on the funny face Joey just made during his slam-dunk. When you challenge your husband to a dance-off, you’re not focused on building endurance; you’re focused on shakin’ your booty to the beat.

June 6, 2017

The 14 Best Wellness Books to Read this Summer | ACHS Health & Wellness Blog

A proud beach bum and bookworm, summer is my season of choice. Hand me a beach chair, some herbal iced tea, a good read, and I’m blissed out.

If you’re like me, reading stirs your soul because you can actively feel yourself growing, learning, discovering. It gives you rest from all the hustle and bustle of daily life and lets you nourish your spirit and mind.

With summer fast approaching, I thought I’d poll our expert holistic health faculty—naturopaths, herbalists, nutritionists, nurses, and more!—for their recommendations for the best wellness books to read this summer.

June 1, 2017

Minimalism, Mindfulness, and Movement | Ruminate Magazine Blog

Twice in the last five years, I moved across the country. The first time was from Florida to Portland, Oregon. The next time, and most recently, from Portland to San Diego.

Both times, I sold my things and packed only what I could fit in my Suzuki. Both times were a burning cleanse. The feeling of dead, sunburned skin falling away and exposing the new­­. Pink, fleshy, raw. Sensational.

Spring 2017 

Notes on the Nucleus | Crazyhorse

On March 11, 2011 at 2:46 P.M., a magnitude 9.0 earthquake hits Japan. Minutes after, the nuclear reactors running at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant begin their automatic emergency shutdown....

Winter 2017

Echolocation | The Cossack Review – October Poetry Prize Finalist

"The finalists, whose poems will also be published in Issue 7, are Jane Medved for her poem 'Into and out of all the iridescent cities of war,' Renee Long for her poem 'Echolocation,' and Sarah Ann Winn for her poem 'Eighth Ocean Algebra.'"


How to Save Your Life: A Blog Series by Renee Long |

You want to start a blog. You want to have a regular writing routine—something to hold you accountable. Your writerly, daily vitamins.

Rilke’s words, You must change your life, keep repeating over in the mind. To keep both flexibility and structure, you choose a two-pronged blogging approach.

November 10, 2016

How to Thank a Veteran... Holistically!

Veterans Day is an important day in the U.S. Here at ACHS, we really value the chance to let our veterans and military servicemembers know how much we appreciate them and their service. 

But sometimes, knowing how to say “thank you” can be difficult. But there are many ways you can make a tangible difference for the veterans in your life. I spoke with ACHS military family staff members, and they had wonderful suggestions for how to support our veterans.

Here are five ways you can holistically thank a veteran this Veterans Day:

October 19, 2016

Why We Want to Work at these 6 Spa Venues (And You Will Too!) | ACHS Health and Wellness Blog

By Renee Long & Lauren Shapiro

It’s easy to fall into habits. We all do it sometimes. We rely on the familiar. And, that can serve us in many situations, but maybe not when we’re trying to shift direction in life. When you want to grow and try something new, you have to look past the familiar so you can recognize new opportunities. This is as true for corporate executives as it is for spa professionals.

Maybe you’re the world’s best customer service rep and you want to work your way into holistic spa management. Maybe you’ve relocated and are trying to break into the local spa scene. Or, maybe you’re a spa professional looking to make some new connections. Wherever you are, there are options! 

Here are 6 alternative spa venues we love that you might be overlooking: 

August 2, 2016

Email Marketing: 5 Painless Tips for Writing Outstanding Emails | ACHS Health and Wellness Blog

The dreaded email overload. It can plug up your workday flow, overwhelm you into leaving your desk, and prevent you from getting real work done.

We’ve all experienced this phenomenon. So if you’re thinking about using email marketing for your holistic health business (or any business, really), remember: send email that stands out in the inbox deluge.

As you’re getting ready to use email marketing for your business, keep these simple guidelines in mind:

August 2, 2016

More Than Herbs and Oils: How My Dog Saves My Life

When you think “holistic health” or “alternative medicine,” most likely your mind goes straight to images of herbal tinctures, essential oil blends, Tibetan bowls for Reiki, or flower essences. The image of a fluffy Chihuahua mix or labradoodle is the last thing prancing into your head.

But as someone who has seen measurable mental and physical health benefits after adopting an Emotional Support Animal (ESA), I’m here to tell you: complementary alternative medicine (CAM) is more than herbs, oils, and acupuncture.

July 7, 2016

How Blogging Saves My Life | Ruminate Magazine Blog

I was never one for setting a strict writing schedule. Setting personal deadlines hasn’t really worked for me. Even enticing myself with a reward has proven useless. As fellow Ruminate blogger Sophfronia Scott says, “I suppose I’ve come to an age where I don’t deny myself simple pleasures in order to have a dangling carrot hanging out in front of me.”

There’s no reason to deny the little joys in life—like a trip to the coast or purchasing a fresh new book. For the cost it takes to write, a finished essay or poem or story is reward enough.

So then, where is the motivation? How does work get done?

July 4, 2016

Fruity Herbal Ice Pop Recipes [Video] | ACHS Health and Wellness Blog

By Renee Long & Tiffany Stout

As the temperature spikes and the sun stays out late into the evening, our herbal gardens ripen and we know summer has made its long-awaited return.

With the heat of summer comes the temptation for icy sweet treats; synthetically flavored ice cream, slushies, Italian ice, and other sugary products abound. But while you “chill out,” it’s nice to have yummy, healthy, holistic alternatives to the sugary temptations of summer.

Enter fruity herbal ice pops!  

February 13, 2016

The Mindfulness of Winter Trees | Ruminate Magazine Blog

This morning was one of those hectic mornings I was tempted to forgo my required ten minute break. To keep going, moving, working, doing, multitasking. To not sacrifice a minute lest my attention slip. To forgo a moment to allow my mind to breathe and my body to unclench.

December 21, 2015

5 New Year's Resolutions for People Who Hate Resolutions | ACHS Health and Wellness Blog

Let’s be honest. How many of us have actually kept a New Year’s resolution? If you’re one of those rare people who have quit smoking or developed a solid workout routine because of a resolution… kudos to you! Please send us your motivational secrets!

November 12, 2015

Delicious Herbed Pumpkin Soup | ACHS Health and Wellness Blog

It’s gourd season! Squash, including pumpkins, are ripe and ready for harvest season. Plus, when the weather turns cold here in Portland, my body craves the warming, nourishing goodness of soup.

July 02, 2015

Works with Soul: An Interview with Brian Doyle | Ruminate Magazine Blog

Mink River and Brian Doyle’s work—including his two other Oregon-inspired novels, The Plover and Martin Marten—have become critical in my adapting to and understanding of life in Oregon.

April 23, 2015

If You Do One Thing for Your Holistic Health Career, Do This | ACHS Health and Wellness Blog

Get involved. Yup, that’s the secret. Get out there by attending events and conferences in your industry or field of interest.

April 03, 2015

DIY: Naturally Dyed Easter Eggs | ACHS Health and Wellness Blog

As a wellness warrior, you’re probably making an effort to incorporate natural products into all areas of your daily life—including fun holiday traditions like dying Easter eggs for decoration or your family’s big Sunday Easter egg hunt.

We were really psyched when we read this article from the BigSisLilSis blog on using natural coloring, flowers, and leaves to create beautiful designs on Easter eggs. We decided to spend a Saturday turning Renee’s kitchen into an all natural DIY dye factory to make gorgeous naturally dyed Easter Eggs.

January 20, 2015

The Year I Stopped Writing | MFA @ FAU Blog

When does a writer cease being a writer?

For the last year and a half, I've lived in Portland, Oregon, working as a social media and communications specialist for a small business. I've written more professional copy in the last year than I did in my final year of graduate school in 2013. I also journaled more and read more books in 2014 than any other year of my life (including that one angsty year in sixth grade when I filled an entire Five Star notebook).

August 6, 2014

How to Make a Luscious Herbal Moisturizer | ACHS Health and Wellness Blog

By Renee Long and Kelly Johnson

Skin, being the largest organ in the body, protects you, insulates you, and connects you to the world. With harsh, cold weather in the winter and exposure to damaging UVA/UVB rays in the summer, your skin takes a beating all year long. Doesn’t it deserve a little extra TLC?

Both oily and dry skin needs to be moisturized to protect from the abrasive environment and to replace the moisture loss that occurs naturally as we age. Emollient herbs are not only great for preparing herbal teas, but their high mucilage content also makes them ideal for use in lotions and creams.

Almonds, avocado, borage, chickweed, rose, and comfrey root will all smooth, soften, soothe, and fortify facial skin. We love DIY projects and homemade products, so this past weekend we made one of the recipes from NAT 101 Nutrition, Bodycare and, Herbalism. It turned out to be so gorgeous that we wanted to share this step-by-step recipe for the ultimate, DIY herbal moisturizer with you!

June 09, 2014

6 Signs You Should Become a Holistic Nutritionist | ACHS Health and Wellness Blog

Why do you do what you do?

This was the question asked by the keynote speaker, Jim Roman, at the NANP Conference & Expo a few weeks ago to a room full of holistic nutrition professionals, students, experts, and me. I’m a writer, inbound marketer, artist, locavore/foodie—and I wouldn’t call myself a nutrition expert, but the question still struck me.

Why do you do what you do? At first, it doesn’t sound too scary. But when you start to reflect on the why—the core motivation for why you get up in the morning, why you’re on the path you’re on—the question becomes deeply personal. It can shake you up.

November 13, 2011

Floating On | MFA @ FAU Blog

In the never-ending attempt to compartmentalize and label the “self” with an identity, I think “Graduate Student” or “Composition Teacher” are sometimes placed before “writer.”