Finding the Gifts

Hardships. Poor health. Relationship troubles. Financial difficulty.

These are weighty issues for sure, but not insurmountable…if you look for the gifts in your life.

Lee Kaplanian, host of Finding the Gifts, heard Tuesdays from 9:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Alternative Talk 1150, has had her share of ups and downs in life. Regardless of her struggles, she eventually came to her personal mantra of always looking to the gifts in her life. No doubt, her more recent positive attitude, is the greatest tool against what has been her biggest hurdle in life – dealing with chronic rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

“For the past few years, I have been working on personal development because my victim mentality about RA wasn’t working. I began to see there are more positive advantages to thinking healthy rather than thinking like a victim. I started looking at what gifts are in RA, and realized something positive had to come from all this negative stuff,” said Lee.

Lee’s past experience in blogging, public speaking, charitable endeavors and business marketing have coalesced into her latest venture of hosting a radio show in the nation’s 14th largest market.

“My show is a two-way conversation – I want to hear from my listeners and what they have to say. I bring on guests who have had difficult situations and talk about how they found the gifts in them. I research different ways to deal and cope with difficulties, giving listeners options to find what works for each person as a start in creating their own solutions,” Lee said. Adding, “It gives me an opportunity to share my experiences and what I have learned over the years. I also learn from others about their experiences. Sometimes knowing one is not alone makes a big difference.”

According to Lee, it may be uncomfortable or it may take time for it to become apparent, but with a shift in perspective and a willingness to release the victim mentality, anyone can begin to see a difficult situation as a gift.

“It helps to talk to someone who understands and has lived with the situation or one similar – there is no need to explain because I get it,” said Lee, who asks listeners to call in each week for their chance to be heard and pointed down a path to healing.

Besides Lee, as host, listeners will hear her expert guests share their stories of gifts from interesting situations, as well as advice and humor. In short, Finding the Gifts becomes a conversation where listeners can learn from the show and each other.

“I am a ‘what you see is what you get’ kind of person. I don’t pretend to know all the answers – I don’t even know all the questions. When I don’t know about something, I will tell you. Personal experience of over 40 years of rheumatoid arthritis, dealing with my mom’s dementia, an ability to empathize and understand, and a desire to be of use to those dealing with arthritis or other chronic illnesses has led me to this radio show.”

Born in San Pedro, CA, Lee moved to Seattle when she was seven. She graduated from Highline High School in Burien in the mid 60’s and then went to Highline Community College for two years, followed by two years at Burnley School of Professional Art. She met her future husband in San Francisco in 1968, went to Australia in 1969, and came back to the United States in 1970. Shortly thereafter, Lee was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis.

“I had no idea what it was – I soon learned.  For the next 34 years we moved many times as my husband was promoted or went to another company. I had many doctors, some great, others so-so and some who had little bedside manner, but knew their stuff,” she said.

In 2002, her husband retired and they came to live in Seattle – in the very house where she grew up. He is now in his 5th retirement.

“Our life keeps changing and I find myself continually growing mentally, emotionally, physically and Spiritually. As a result, I now see RA in a different way, looking for the gifts and seeing the positive in it. I created a blog to explore what the gift is in having Rheumatoid Arthritis for over 40 years. Rather than whine about it, I now turn what seems like a negative, into a positive as a way to be of help and encouragement to others with chronic illness,” Lee said, and then adding. “I would love to continue to play victim and feel sorry for myself, but it doesn’t wash any more – facing the reality is not always easy.”

Be sure to get your attitude adjustment every Tuesday from 9:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. during Finding the Gifts.

For more information, log on to