Sunday, June 21, 2015

Happy Father's Day

Wishing all the dads out there a Happy Father’s Day and thanking them for good advice.

My children, listen to your father’s teaching.
    Pay attention so you will understand.
2 What I am telling you is good.
    Do not forget what I teach you.
3 I was once a young boy in my father’s house.
    I was like an only child to my mother.
4 And my father taught me and said,
    “Hold on to my words with all your heart.
    Keep my commands and you will live.
5 Get wisdom and understanding.
    Don’t forget or ignore my words.
6 Use wisdom, and it will take care of you.
    Love wisdom, and it will keep you safe.
7 Wisdom is the most important thing. So get wisdom.
    If it costs everything you have, get understanding.
8 Believe in the value of wisdom, and it will make you great.
    Use it, and it will bring honor to you.
9 Like flowers in your hair, it will beautify your life.
    Like a crown, it will make you look beautiful.”

10 "My child, listen and accept what I say.
    Then you will have a long life.
11 I am guiding you in wisdom.
    And I am leading you to do what is right.
12 Nothing will hold you back.
    You will not be overwhelmed.
13 Always remember what you have been taught.
    Don’t let go of it.
Keep safe all that you have learned.
    It is the most important thing in your life.
14 Don’t follow the ways of the wicked.
    Don’t do what evil people do.
15 Avoid their ways. Don’t go near what they do.
    Stay away from them and keep on going.
16 They cannot sleep until they do evil.
    They cannot rest until they hurt someone.
17 They fill themselves with wickedness and cruelty
    as if they were eating bread and drinking wine.
18 The way of the good person is like the light of dawn.
    It grows brighter and brighter until it is full daylight.
19 But the wicked are like those who stumble in the dark.
    They can’t even see what has hurt them.
20 My child, pay attention to my words.
    Listen closely to what I say.”

Proverbs 4:1-20 (International Children’s Bible)
My dad, eating bread but not drinking wine, surely giving good advice to my brother and sister back in 1952. 

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

What has inconvenienced you?

If you know me at all, have read many of my blog posts, you know that sometimes I’m unconventional. I don’t always look at the world the same way as other people. I can find humor in inappropriate instances and sorrow in comedy. And having had my world ripped to shreds by my sister’s cancer, I came to the edge of that reality, peeked in but was spared, while my sister, my best friend, was not.

In Yvonne’s great memoir of her own cancer journey, she allows the reader to peek over the edge as well. And she doesn’t hold anything back. She thinks like I do and I can appreciate that, such as her great concern over not shaving her armpits the morning of her breast exam. Now, come on, women, haven’t you all had the same fear! And never told anyone before.

Yet, Yvonne writes with beauty and poise. And shares all of her pain, the physical and psychological. Many of us women can tell ourselves that losing all of our hair is no big deal – every time I get mine cut, I am tempted to ask my hairdresser to just shave it off – but I think everyone of us is attached to our hair in a way that even we don’t understand.

Of course, we are even more attached to our families, our loved ones. We would willingly take on any and all pain and fear if we could only spare them. But sometimes that just can’t happen, but life goes on.

So, if you are facing the cancer journey, have a love one who is, or just want to read about another strong woman’s journey, read “An Inconvenient Year”.  

(A side note, Yvonne is writing from Dublin, Ireland, so some of the words and grammar she uses may not be familiar to American readers. For me that took nothing away from the story, only made it that much more real.)  

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Another Wise Proverb

6 Go watch the ants, you lazy person.
    Watch what they do and be wise.
7 Ants have no commander,
    no leader or ruler,
8 but they store up food in the summer
    and gather their supplies at harvest.
9 How long will you lie there, you lazy person?
    When will you get up from sleeping?
10 You sleep a little; you take a nap.
    You fold your hands and lie down to rest.
11 So you will be as poor as if you had been robbed;
    you will have as little as if you had been held up.
(Proverbs 6:6-11New Century Version) 

Half of my front yard has been taken over with ants. The ground is mushy when you walk over it because it is solid ant homes. They are productive and I am lazy in my efforts to eradicate them. Reading this, I am indeed feeling pretty lazy. Those darn ants. I even took a nap yesterday, first time in a long time. Hmm? Not good. But isn’t there another proverb, somewhere, that says something like, “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” Not in the Bible anyway. 

I still believe, however, that the writers of the Bible knew what they were talking about and that their words were inspired by God. Rest is okay and is necessary to productivity. Laziness however crosses the line.  

How productive will you be this week? 

Friday, June 12, 2015

No Photo Friday - Bicycle

I’ve shared a few photos from my youth, and there aren’t too many left. I have many more pictures from my childhood, but they are all only snapshots in my head, vivid memories of a time long past. Today’s picture is of Daisy.

Growing up, I never thought of us as being poor. We had everything we ever wanted. We went on a camping vacation every year, Mom drove a decent car, Dad had a truck. I wore mostly hand-me-down clothes because that’s just how it was. And I didn’t have a new bike until I was a teen-ager because my old bike worked just fine.

Her name was Daisy. I think Dad picked her up at the dump. She wasn’t fancy but she had all I needed - two wheels, a frame, a seat and handlebars. I’m pretty sure she even had fenders. Her original color was tan or orange or something else non-descript, but one summer I found some old paint in the garage and colored her cream. 

From Day 1 she had a problem with her chain. It slipped more than it stayed on. I knew nothing about bikes at the time, but in retrospect, it should have been an easy fix. Dad was incredibly mechanically-inclined so why the chain could never be made to stay on is beyond me. Maybe because I never complained about it. Daisy was small enough that my feet just reached the ground, so I would push along without using the pedals. As her chain became more persnickety, I was growing taller so my feet hit the ground that much easier.

She would always take me where I wanted to go and since we lived in the country, I rode her mostly through our trails in the woods. Occasionally I would let her take me down the road down the hill past our house – a scary proposition, as a single-speed bike with no chain meant a bike with no brakes.

Ahh, but I was a kid. We knew no fear back then. All we knew was the freedom of summer and having two-wheels under us.  

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

What are you Weight-ing for?

This is only to be eaten as a reward and not as a nightly snack, even if the red fruit makes it look healthy. 
Working in the medical field, I would have to say that the number one health issue affecting our patients is obesity. People who are overweight are at a much greater risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, arthritis, and in my opinion, mental health issues such as depression. Statistics say that a loss of just 10% of your total body weight can decrease these risk factors. That means if you are 200 pounds, losing only 20 pounds will make a difference. To which you are probably saying, “but I can’t even lose 20 pounds.”

My Story

I really hate talking to patients about their weight. I know the first thing are thinking is, “but you’ve never been overweight, you have no idea how hard it is to lose.” (Or maybe they aren’t, and I haven’t looked in the mirror lately!)

But I used to be skinny, weighing a lot less than I do now. I ate a ridiculous amount of sweets and a big bowl of ice cream every night. I also had a metabolism to keep up with it. I’m not so young anymore, and if you read my blog last Friday, my body can’t keep going like it used to. The more anyone slows down, the more those calories cling to you.

It wasn’t easy, but I lost five pounds this winter. I know, that’s not much, but that still didn’t mean it was easy, so I get it if it isn’t easy for you either.  But I don’t want to gain it back again, so every day I am on that scale and if a half pound finds me, I know there will be no snacking today.

Your Story

So where do you even start? I wouldn’t suggest any kind of diet, fad or otherwise. No one can stay on a “diet” for the rest of their life and to lose the weight and keep it off, you have to do this the rest of your life. If you can make one of those diets work to lose the weight and then switch to life-long life-style changes, good for you. But the pounds will jump right back on if you don’t do something.

Cut back on portions, use a smaller plate if you have to and no second helpings. Add more vegetables and a few less meats and breads. Cut out red meat completely if you can (my biggest saving grace – I just do not like the taste or texture of beef, it is just yucky). Cut back on sugars, candies, chocolates, but if you live for these things like I do, you have to allow yourself just one little treat once in a while. Remember, you are going to do this for the rest of your life. Can you really give up the goodies forever?

Helpful Hint

I know I just said that I weigh myself every day. That is okay if you are at or near your goal. If you still have a lot to lose, weigh yourself once a week and pick a day when you know you will be thinner. If you can’t help but cheat on the weekends, wait until the end of the week to weigh in. If you shoot pool or throw darts on Wednesday and know you will have a few drinks that one and only night of the week, weigh yourself the night before.

One Last Thought
 When you go to the doctor and they tell you that your BMI is too high, don’t let that bum you out. BMI is the ratio between your height and weight. According to the BMI chart, which some supposed expert made up, you have to be nearly anorexic to have a BMI which does not put you in the overweight category. Even most of the medical people I know feel this number is too low. So ignore it. You have to set your own goal and work towards it; don’t let some random number dictate to you who you should be. 
Lots of these should be on your plate, except maybe the green tomatoes, which I have heard can cause a bellyache. 

Sunday, June 7, 2015

be anxious for nothing

Here are a few more Proverbs for your enjoyment and enhancement! All are taken from the 12th chapter using the New International Version of the Bible.

Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge,
    but whoever hates correction is stupid.

The Bible doesn’t pull punches and isn’t afraid of being politically incorrect. Let’s just call stupid people stupid.

A wife of noble character is her husband’s crown,
    but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones.

I can totally picture a hen-pecked husband, perhaps a husband from a sit-com who has an overbearing yet lazy wife. She sucks the life right out of him.

The righteous care for the needs of their animals,
    but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel.

It always makes me smile to think that God is a proponent for animals. If He cares about them, He certainly cares about all of us.

Anxiety weighs down the heart,
    but a kind word cheers it up.

I know so many anxious people. Every day, at my job in the medical field, I have patients tell me their blood pressure will be elevated. “Why do you say that?” I ask. “Because it always is,” they answer me sincerely. To which I tell them to go to their happy place, take a deep breath and just relax. Don’t let your worries weigh you down. Just think happy thoughts. 

Which reminds me of this verse.

 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. (Philippians 4:6,New King James Version)

Friday, June 5, 2015

Not-so-Fit Friday

My Story

When I decided to take up running two years ago, my Achilles heel immediately started hurting. I bought me new shoes and some heel orthotics and the pain settled down. When I started running in earnest this spring, after a winter of easy running on the treadmill, that Achilles started acting up again. I bought new orthotics. I also made an effort to switch off running on each side of the road, since it was just my left heel and if you have ever looked at a country road, it slopes off to each side. Which means if you only run on the left side of the road, the side facing traffic like you are supposed to, your left leg is always running on lower ground than your right one, which can cause various problems. It may not seem like a big deal, but trust me, you will feel it.

With these few changes, the heel continued to ache, so I consulted my running coach (Ok, he’s not really my running coach, but he’s a doctor who runs, so he should know what he is talking about). He thought the things I had tried already were reasonable, and his next suggestion was to buy new shoes.

Argh! I am cheap and the old shoes looked just fine. Until I bought the new shoes. Then you could see the wear. Unfortunately, the new shoes still didn’t make a difference. I decided I would just power through. The heel didn’t hurt when I was running, it only ached at night and I could barely walk on it in the morning until I got I stretched out. But I am a bullhead.

Then the hip started. I suppose it could be from favoring the left heel, but the right hip started aching about a week ago. No big deal, just that ache that keeps you awake at night. Until yesterday.

It was okay when I got up, but then after sitting in an hour- long meeting first thing in the morning, I could barely walk on it. I took some ibuprofen and kept walking on it until it stretched out. It was even good enough that I went for a half-mile run on it last night.

Then about two hours later it really locked up on me. Hubby’s like, “are you sure you don’t need to go to the ER?” as I limped around from piece of furniture to piece of furniture.

Argh! I managed to sleep okay and it only hurt a little when I rolled over. Today, it’s not that it is even that painful. I just plain cannot walk on it sometimes. I may have to rethink the whole running thing and go back to aerobics and calisthenics.   

Your Story

You may be tired of hearing it, but there’s a good reason why the experts recommend you see your health care provider before starting an exercise routine. If you are fairly healthy already and don’t have any medical conditions, you are probably okay to start working out as long as you start slow and listen to your body. If however you are overweight or have a sedentary lifestyle or any medical condition whatsoever, you really need to get checked out before you even buy that first pair of running shoes.

Once you get a clean bill of health, pick a couple activities (such as biking and swimming) that you enjoy and switch off. Your body will appreciate it more and you have a better chance of sticking with it. And if the first activities you pick turn out to be ones you can’t tolerate (such as running on a bum heel and a bum hip), find something else. Just don’t quit!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Congratulations, Graduates.

Thirty-five years ago on June 1, I walked across the stage in the gym of THS and received my high school diploma. Shortly prior to that, I was up on that stage as the salutatorian giving the salutatory speech. I don’t know if I still have it around here somewhere or not, but the gist of it was that we are learning from the moment we are born until we take our last breath. And the culmination of a high school education is just the tip of the ice berg. Or some sort of rambling thing like that. How many different takes can there be on a graduation speech?

So, here I am in our front yard that morning with faithful Mac.
 Me with Lori and Brenda. Lori was the valedictorian, who gave the valedictory. (Where do they come up with those words? Or better yet, the mortarboard hats?) 

Congratulations to all of this year’s graduates!