Friday, February 21, 2020

Flashback Friday - Rolling Along

 Does anyone remember going to a roller rink as a kid? Or do kids still go roller skating?

When I was in school, we had a few outings to roller skating rinks, mostly to a place called Crystal Rock, about a half hour drive away. Quite a few times, I went there with different friends as well.

I was awkward, shy, and introverted, with very low self-esteem. I never talked to anyone who wasn’t a trusted friend or family member, and I could barely even look at a boy.

One time, I tagged along with my sister and one of her friends when they went roller skating. My sister’s friend’s little brother (let’s call him L.B.) tagged along too. He was in my grade (which had to be seventh or eighth at the time).

All was well, everyone was out roller skating, doing the things the DJ asked. You know – skate in one direction, then the opposite, then just girls skate, then just boys. Then couples. Hmm. Well, of course, I was going to sit that one out. Until L.B. sighed and offered me his hand. I thought, seriously? Am I maybe not totally repulsive to everyone of the opposite sex?

We skated around the rink, hand in hand, one time, until, as we were coming around the far turn, one of the wheels on one of his skates came off. I kid you not. I can still see that wheel careening into the wall.  L.B. immediately let go of my hand and somehow coasted to the wall on one skate. (If it had been me, I would have fallen and died, right there, in the middle of the floor.)

Yup, I think that was it, the last time in my entire life that I roller skated as part of a couple, for one entire lap around the rink. (Though I did finally realize that I'm not as repulsive as I thought.) 

Crystal Rock Roller Skating Rink has been sitting empty for many years, up for sale off and on. I always wanted to go back, to explore, dredge up those memories.
 Then, not quite three weeks ago, it collapsed, no doubt from the years of neglect and the weight of snow. Such a sad ending. But memories will always keep rolling along.  
(And I never would have had these pictures if Hubby hadn't broken his arm a few days later, requiring me to drive him past here on our way to the orthopedic surgeon.)

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Power of Prayer and Your Health

     Over the last couple of Wednesdays, I’ve been writing about different natural remedies for various maladies. The power of prayer just dawned on me yesterday, but since I am pressed for time this week, I haven’t been able to research this one. So, I don’t feel I can add this post to my series on “Natural Remedies – Coming to the Clinic”. I’m still going to share it though.

If you know me personally or have been following this blog, you know that I am a Christian so naturally, prayer is pretty important to me. I would hope it is to all believers. But what about people who believe in a different higher power, a deity other than the triune God of the Bible? Or people who don’t believe in anything at all?

Here are just a few statistics from an article I found on WebMd ( :
*      *Hospitalized people who never attended church have an average stay of three times longer than people who attended regularly.
·           *Heart patients were 14 times more likely to die following surgery if they did not participate in a religion.
·            *Elderly people who never or rarely attended church had a stroke rate double that of people who attended regularly.       
·            *In Israel, religious people had a 40% lower death rate from cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Interesting. But despite my strong Christian beliefs and my belief that God hears my every prayer, I also think there’s more to prayer than what we call religion. Here’s why.

If you are on Facebook, you’ve surely seen someone post about a tragedy in their family or about their own sudden serious illness. Everyone posts back that they are praying for the situation, sending happy thoughts. Emojis of hands held up in prayer abound. Are all those people really out there praying or did they just post those things to support the Unfortunate Person? And does it matter as long as that U.P. thinks everyone cares? Know what I’m getting at?

Maybe the U.P.’s situation doesn’t get better, but at least they feel better. And once they feel better, maybe they can move on, they can deal with what life throws at them, because they think that others care.

My other thought, because I am a child of the original “Star Wars” series, is that I can’t deny that there might be something to the Force. That energy that is created by all like-minded people which reaches out and affects our lives. Or maybe that energy which God takes and lovingly hands back to us.

How does any of this affect our health and our medical conditions? Only God knows.

Ok, that’s it for my ramble. I know there is research out there that supports prayer and a belief in a Higher Power as a supplement to traditional medicine. You can do your own online search. But I think the thing to remember, as with any non-traditional form of treatment, is that prayer needs to work with your traditional health care provider. I think God gave us doctors and modern medicine for a reason.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Brotherly (and Sisterly) Love

     “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
(John 13:34-35 New International Version)

Last week, I explained a little bit about Eros love. Today, I’m going to go into Phileo love.

Phileo (or philia) is Greek for “brotherly love”, an emotional bond found in deep friendships. In the Bible, phileo means showing love, care, respect and compassion towards all people but is also what brings fellow believers together. Throughout the Bible, the followers of Jesus are reminded to show love towards others, and particularly to other Christians.

 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. (Romans 12:9-10 New International Version)

As mentioned here a few weeks ago, this word is where the city of Philadelphia gets its name and why it is called the city of brotherly love. But that name wasn’t chosen just because it sounded good.

Back in the late sixteen-hundreds, King Charles gave William Penn a large amount of land to establish a colony. William, a Quaker, believed in equality, religious freedom and brotherly love. When he settled his new city, he named it Philadelphia because he so believed in the importance of showing love to our fellow mankind.  

 Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. (Hebrews 13:1-2 New International Version)

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Guided Imagery - Natural Remedies, Part 3, Coming to the Clinic, Part 14

  Last Wednesday, I shared a quick overview of the many different types of meditation there are. I didn’t say much about guided meditation because I planned on telling you about a similar method this week.

I mentioned last week that I felt I just never got into what we think of as “mediation” – the one way you repeat “oohm” and go to a magical place in your mind and body. I’m sure it works for many people but not so much for me.

I tried a few mediation tapes (yes, that was before CDs and way before Youtube videos), but I found them a little annoying – like I can’t visualize that stuff. For example, on one the lady narrating was telling me to imagine I’m holding a large metal bowl and running a metal spoon around the edge of it and imagine the sound it makes. I listened to that tape a dozen times trying to figure out what I was missing. I never got it.

But somewhere along the line, I figured out how to use guided imagery and it started with these bald eagles in Alaska.
When I was a junior in college, over Christmas break, I went to Alaska with my aunt to visit my cousin who lived in Juneau. One day we took a ferry ride to Haines, which is known for its huge population of bald eagles. In the fall and early winter, they feast on spawning salmon in the Chilkat River. Yes, all those black spots in the sky and on the ground are bald eagles. Incredible, huh?

But then when we were back in Juneau, driving past the city landfill, we’d see a dozen or so bald eagles scavenging the garbage. Kind of like seeing one picking at a roadkill here in Wisconsin.

Flash-forward to the years when I used to get frequent migraines. I’d lay in bed, relax as much as the pain would let me, and imagine those bald eagles (in miniature) plucking the pain out of my brain and flying off with it. It worked, almost every time, and I’d be able to fall asleep and wake up in the morning pain-free.

I’ve tried the same imagery for other kinds of pain and the results have varied. I think it depends on what kind of pain I’m in, where it’s at and what’s causing it. But headache? I got that monster beat.

Anyway, what can guided imagery do for you?
1)     promote relaxation
2)     reduce problems related to stress
3)     lower blood pressure
4)     calm breathing and heart rate
5)     help to reach goals such as weight loss, smoking cessation and even athletic and academic goals
6)     manage pain
7)     help to maintain hormone balance

How does it work?

The mind is a powerful tool and can be used to heal an ailing body. By using words and images, your mind can move your attention away from the worry, stress and pain you are experiencing and help you find your own natural powers of healing.

With guided imagery, you can use your imagination to "create the state you want." What your mind thinks has a tremendous effect on the body, so we need to change the way our minds think to help our bodies do what we want.

Our bodies aren’t always going to respond how we would like; life is just not that easy. But there are no risks to trying something like guided imagery and you might find enough benefit to make those few minutes to a half hour worthwhile.

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Yes, This is Really in the Bible

He: How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful! Your eyes are doves.
She: How handsome you are, my beloved! Oh, how charming! And our bed is verdant.
(Song of Songs 1:15-16, New International Version)

Last Sunday, I had thought about doing a series of blog posts on the four different types of love that are in the Bible. Then I thought better of it. But oddly enough, one of the commercials during the Superbowl last Sunday night showed those four kinds of love. I think that was God saying, you can do this, Chris.

So I thought I would tackle, what for me, is the hardest one of the four to write about. Eros, the romantic and even sensual love.

Solomon’s Song of Songs in the Old Testament is an entire book of the Bible dedicated to the love between a man and a woman coming together in marriage and then consummating that union. Honestly, there are some really carnal lines in those pages.  

I think it’s difficult for most of us to comprehend that God intended for us to have sex, and not just for making babies. He gave us the gift of marriage and with it all the joys and pleasures it brings. His plan was always for a man and woman, once joined in marriage, to have a physical relationship, pure and beautiful.

Where that plan falls apart is when we sin by using this gift of sex outside of marriage. But that is a lecture I’m not going into here; that’s not what this is about.  

  As soon as I had left them,
    I found the one I love.
I held him and would not let him go
    until I brought him to my mother’s house,
    to the room where I was born. (Song of Songs 3:4, New Century Version)

(Here's the links to that Superbowl commercial:

Friday, February 7, 2020

Derailed Again

     After the less than stellar 2019, I was hoping this year would be better. January got off to a good start, other than all the snow that fell and the power going out (one more time!) on the 2nd. Luckily it was for only a few hours that time (for a change), but it still made me kinda think – yea, 2020 is not going to be better after all.

We got through the first month of the year though, with only a smattering of deaths among friends, family that was not immediate family and many of my patients from the clinic where I work. Even got through the first two days of February before I starting coming down with a cold.

Then this Wednesday, just after I got back from lunch, Hubby called to say he had fallen on some ice and thought he broke his elbow. I thought he was being dramatic. I sighed and hemmed and hawed a moment, then told him to come on down to the clinic, to check-in for an x-ray and then I’d work him in with his doctor (because being a family member of someone who works there can usually get you an appointment when you need and if that’s not far to the rest of you who do not have any connection, all I can say is I’m sorry, but that’s life).

After Hubby had his x-ray, one of my co-workers put him in a room. I saw the x-ray before the doctor did, and even to my relatively untrained eye, I could see a fracture in his ulna bone, with a 7 to 8 mm gap between the two jagged edges of the bone. Again, with my untrained eye, I was pretty sure that would never heal without surgical intervention.

So, once again, life has been a bit derailed. Hubby will be having surgery a few hours after I post this. It’s an outpatient procedure and we won’t know exactly what the surgeon is going to put in to pull that bone together until he sees what it looks like inside. We should be home, though, by early to mid-afternoon, so I’ll post an update on Facebook then.

Until then, hope you all have had a better week than we have.
He may be a goof-ball, but he's my goof-ball. 

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Meditation - Natural Remedies, Part 2, Coming to the Clinic, Part 13

     When I was a kid – you know, back in the sixties and seventies – Transcendental Meditation was all the rage. I thought it would be so cool to do that, repeat your mantra or even just keep saying “ooohm” and journey in your head to a different plain. All I ever accomplished was to fall asleep.

I never figured out what meditation was, and yet here I am, about to tell you all about it.

First of all, there are all sorts of activities which can be referred to as meditation, all of which are to have the goal of getting you into a relaxed state of being and finding inner peace.

Transcendental Meditation is a trade-marked form of the practice, but mantra meditation is similar because you are also repeating a word or your mantra as a way to relax. In mindfulness meditation you just let your mind wander, supposedly, which means I’m practicing nearly all the time. That makes it sound like mediation is beyond my grasp. But luckily there are even more kinds of it.

In guided meditation, you imagine sights, sounds, and anything else your senses can conjure up to take you to a place of relaxation. I actually have used guided imagery quite a bit, so come back next week and I’ll tell you all about it.

One thing I have already told you about is yoga, which can also be used as a form of meditation, along with things like Tai Chi and Qi Gong. (I know, right?)  

So pretty much any practice which leads to a deep state of relaxation in both body and mind (without using any external junk like drugs or alcohol). But what can all this relaxation do?

Some of the emotional benefits can be:

1)     Acquire the ability to handle stress better
2)     Increase self-awareness
3)     Reduce anger and other negative thoughts and emotions
4)     Increase imagination and creativity
5)     Increase patience and tolerance

Can meditation help with physical ailments? Science has proven that many of our medical conditions are directly related to our emotional well-being, the whole mind-body connection. Some of these disorders include:

1)     Asthma
2)     Depression
3)     Chronic pain
4)     Elevated blood pressure
5)     Heart disease
6)     Cancer
7)     Irritable bowel syndrome
8)     Insomnia and other sleep disorders
9)     Headaches

As with any other natural remedies, meditation is not a replacement for traditional medical care. Talk to your health care provider before using meditation if you have any of these conditions or other health problems. (Ok, I just have to say that to cover myself. I work in health care, so I actually think your provider might look at you like you are nuts if you ask them if you can start meditating.)

I think the key to meditation is the component of relaxation. However you do it, sit back, get comfortable, maybe listen to some soft calming music, think about whatever you need to that helps you relax, take a few deep breaths and go to your happy place. Like, really, it should be that simple. 

Try it and let me know.