How hard is it to wear a mask until this Corvid-19 pandemic is under control?
Apparently, very hard for some of the uncaring of the world! Maybe that is a little harsh. Let’s say that not all unmasked people are uncaring, but simply feel healthy, confused over statistics given out by authorities, or haven’t given it too much thought because they feel invincible. They also think the masks are a “pain to wear, especially during the summer in hot weather and difficult to talk through! I agree, but this is not the point. Health, life or death is the point.
People all over the world have designed their own masks. Whether they are effective or not is debatable, but they are definitely creative! At least they are wearing them.
Even the little children of Kenya know there is something that might hurt them and try to construct a mask to ward off this disease. Kindness is needed by so many people. Perhaps someone from the U.S.A or another part of the world could send them a large supply of real masks. (Photo and contact for Lorenz Omondi in Kenya)
Further reasons may vary for not wearing the mask. Some think that they DO NO GOOD. This has not been proven…so the encouragement to wear them has been mainly left up to individual responsibility.
Now, because many people have not been responsible, it is becoming more mandatory to do so. Why be so cocky about doing something so simple? We are fighting an enemy that we can’t see… an invisible virus? Who made any of us ALL-KNOWING and arrogant that we can put ourselves and others in more danger than is necessary? There will be much more that we will know after the virus is gone. Nevertheless, there may be more to come….and then will we debate the mask issue all over again? Give me…and us a break!!!
What then is the reason for not wearing a simple mask during this pandemic?
IT IS SELFISH, DISREGARD FOR LIFE!
It is hard also to imagine that Covid-19 parties among the young is not a prescription for disasters waiting to happen. Also, We might as well stop looking at the figures…for their validity comes and goes depending who is counting. Some places get their reporting figures correct…others don’t. The results of testing are also taking far too long. A person could be negative one day, exposed the next, and positive before the first results even get to them…whatever the findings.
We also might as well stop thinking that we are the ALL-KNOWING when it comes to deciding what is right for the most vulnerable, people around us, our families and ourselves…except to protect them the best we can. For now, wearing the face mask is what we are being ask to do. We are not asked to do some monumental task…just put it on the face and around the ears!
It is not too much to ask all people, old and young, to be more cautious and decide that it is not worth playing Russian Roulette with the lives around us. When this is over, you can ditch the mask and hope to never see it again!!
Ever hear a verse from the song, Russian Roulette?
“As my life flashes before my eyes
I’m wondering will I, ever see another sunrise?
So many won’t get the chance to say goodbye
But it’s too late to think of the value of my life”
( Charles Harmon / Shaffer Smith/ Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group)
The “Value of Life” is extremely important to Christians and many other religions. However, even with some Christians, I think they have not thought through their actions when it comes to being considerate of others. Each person will make the decide if they MASK OR DON’T MASK.
Sometimes governments seem to actually loose their heads over the issue of masks. It was hard to believe that in Oregon there was a mandate that only white people had to wear masks. This was quickly reversed after the outcry. No wonder people put little faith in a great number of elected officials.
A week after issuing an order that required only white people to wear masks, leaders in Lincoln County, Oregon, have reversed the policy because of “ horrifically racist commentary” according to the county’s website. (The News Tribune)
What are some of the thoughts on TO WEAR OR NOT TO WEAR?
The CIDRAP, which is the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, wrote an article adding to the doubt of how effective the masks might be. Since no one really knows at this point, there were requests to remove the article from the website. The reasons were as follows:
(1) We don’t truly know that cloth masks (face coverings) are not effective, since the data are so limited.
(2) Wearing a cloth mask or face covering is better than doing nothing.
(3) The article is being used by individuals and groups to support non-mask wearing where mandated.
(4) There are now many modeling studies suggesting that cloth masks or face coverings could be effective at flattening the curve and preventing many cases of infection. (Article from U. of Minnesota/ Dr. Brosseau and Dr. Sietsema experts on respiratory protection)
The other day, because of boredom from staying at home, we decided to go a favorite restaurant. Our policy has been about once a week to find a good place that we expect are following good health practices and support these people who are working hard to keep their businesses from going under.
Expecting to see the usual spaced seating, which is required, we were amazed to see that none of the servers or the owners were wearing masks at the place chosen for this week. As we gave our order and were served, the “required distancing” was hard to maintain…but would have been a little more tolerable if they had on their masks. What was the story here?
Later, the restaurant was called and asked their policy on mask wearing. They said they do not wear masks, but do “social distancing.” This, of course, is actually impossible to maintain when leaning over the table to serve the food.” The restaurant employee was told, “The masks are for your protection from the public as well as the public from your employees.”
It would be unfortunate for this restaurant to lose customers because of their policy. Until the virus is under control or they change their policy of “no masks for employees,” we will not be back. It is a guess that others will make the same decision. It is simply the respect for each other…and good business sense in this difficult time.
Maybe that is the word I am looking for….RESPECT.
Recently I read an article about Dr. Michael Saag in Alabama. He is a survivor of the virus that he contacted on a trip out of town. This is what he had to say, in part, about people choosing to disrespectfully NOT WEAR MASKS. Remember, he is speaking from personal experience about the sadness of this disease because he has experienced it.
“For Saag, the fight is personal. In early March, both he and his adult son came down with the virus after a trip to Manhattan when the epidemic was raging there. First came a cough, followed by fever, a headache, body aches and what Saag called “fuzzy thinking,” or an inability to concentrate.
“The mornings I’d feel fine, thought I was done with it. And then every night it would come right back as if it was just starting all over again,” he said. “The hardest part of the night was that feeling of shortness of breath and not knowing if it’s going to get worse.”
During eight suffocating nights, Saag wasn’t sure whether he’d survive without a ventilator. It never came to that. He is now fully recovered and feels closer than ever to the people he treats.
“When I talk to a patient and I say, ‘Hey, I’ve had it too,’ it’s like we’re connected in a way that I really, honestly haven’t felt with patients ever before — and I’ve been doing this 40 years,” Saag said.
Outside the examination room, Saag has participated in news conferences and done media interviews to encourage basic public health practices, but he knows many people just aren’t listening.
He said it is disheartening to see a widespread disregard for safety measures and worries about Alabama’s future at a time when the virus is posing more of a threat than ever.
“I’m just thinking, `Oh, my goodness. We’re going to be in trouble very soon,’” Saag said...
Dr. Michael Saag spends much of his time treating patients fighting for their lives and working with colleagues who are overwhelmed and exhausted by the relentless battle against the COVID-19 pandemic.
But he enters a different world when he walks out the door of his Alabama clinic: one where many don’t wear masks, keep their distance from others or even seem aware of the intense struggle being waged against a virus that has cost hundreds of thousands of lives nationwide and made so many — including the doctor — seriously ill. The disconnect is devastating. “It’s a mixture of emotions, from anger to being demoralized to bewilderment to frustration,” Saag said (Article by Jay Reeves with Associated Press)
What Dr. Saag is experiencing in Alabama is true in most states…certainly in mine, which is Florida. The lack of concern by young families and the lack of being an example to their young families, especially the teenagers, is truly amazing…until they experience what Dr. Saag has experienced…or they lose Grandma or Grandpa. The story then becomes personal.
How important are your children and grandchildren to you? After you are older and there is another pandemic, how will they protect you…and their families?
IS IT TOO MUCH TO ASK to simply have a mask in the car for everyone to use for a short while when in public?
WEAR THE MASK! IT WON’T KILL YOU…BUT THE VIRUS MIGHT!
While you are home and enjoying the pleasure of a “mask free” existence, here is a special relaxing video for you to hear and count your blessings. God bless you and be well.
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
For your pleasure:
Do we have any idea what is happening in the concrete jungles of the world? Hardly! We only hear the names of big cities…Paris, London, Moscow, New York….and more. What is actually happening in these great metropolises is anybody’s guess. They are only names…without real understanding of the hard working people in their midst.
In these great cities of steel and stone are real people who are trapped in a cycle of over-population, rising costs, air pollution and the rush for investors to take every inch of land in order to build…and build. These great towers rise high and gleam in the sky…the symbol of wealth and prosperity….or DOES IT?
Take a look at our large cities and you might get an answer if you have something to compare the life of those living there and the lives of others around the world. It could make us decide that life in many American towns, even with the great improvements that need to be made, is good and should be appreciated. We must not forget that for most our blessings are great! Perhaps this blog will help us put things into perspective.
You are going to have the opportunity to follow the lives of some select people in a towering city of gigantic, concrete high rises and see what things are really like….HONG KONG. This story can be played out in any large city in the world as desire for more and more constitutes the creed in the world.
But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 1 Timothy 6:9
Hong Kong is by far the largest source of foreign direct investment in China, totaling U.S.$76 billion by the end of 1995. Mainland money is also pouring into Hong Kong, with Chinese companies investing as much as U.S.$60 billion in the territory in recent years. (Rand)
WHAT IS THE PROBLEM…IN ALL THIS PROSPERITY?
“In glitzy and prosperous Hong Kong, thousands live in conditions deemed an “insult to human dignity”. Low-income residents who can’t keep up with soaring property prices have no choice but to cram into homes barely bigger than a coffin or wire cage. More than 200,000 Hongkongers survive in the cramped and squalid conditions of so-called coffin houses and cage homes. “(RT documentaries)
A BRIEF HISTORY OF HONG KONG and ECONOMIC IMPORTANCE
Starting out as a farming fishing village and salt production site, it became an important free port and eventually a major international financial centre. The Qing dynasty ceded Hong Kong to the British Empire in 1842 through the treaty of Nanjing, ending the First Opium War. (Wikipedia)
The treaty of Nanking in 1842 ceded Hong Kong to the British. Their big ships and military might meant China had little choice at the end of the first opium war. It was given to them in perpetuity. … It was this, the New Territories, that in 1898 the British pledged to give back in 1997 (Newsweek)
Hong Kong exists as a Special Administrative Region controlled by The People’s Republic of China and enjoys its own limited autonomy as defined by the Basic Law. (Investipedia)
The cause of the 2019–20 Hong Kong protests was the proposed legislation of the 2019 Hong Kong extradition bill…and demands for democratic reform…and the fear of losing a “high degree of autonomy” in general. (Wikipedia)
Hong Kong is officially known as the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. Hong Kong has one of the world’s most thriving economies and is a hub for international trade and investment. A cosmopolitan city, Hong Kong weaves Western and Asian influence into a world-class center of business, culture, and trade. (Hong Kong Atlanta)
One would think that the power and influential of Hong Kong would have economic problems figured out for the workers of this vast empire. However, the desire for wealth doesn’t mean that the average, working citizen can live with any dignity. The economy of any nation is extremely important, but the workers who are the steam behind the engine must not be overlooked.
I’ve asked why most of the workers in our country and others are the poorest of the poor…the most vulnerable to disease that spreads to others? Why are they mostly the only ones willing to work? Why, even during the pandemic in the U.S., did many of these workers, mostly Spanish or Asian, continue working in the slaughter houses while others collected unemployment, refusing to return to work as long as the government paid out?
The answer is simple…they did not want to lose a job that was their only life line. This is also the reason for the workers interviewed in the video below. We must not forget that Hong Kong is still under the thumb of communistic China. You will see in one episode where the men refused to be photographed in fear of losing the only thing they had…a job and a tiny place to live, not much bigger than your average large dog cage in the USA. Fear is a great motivator in survival.
Governments and companies should look seriously at the Holy Scripture and its promises to the worker in Psalm 128:2. The worker is promised something from God if the bosses over them do not interfere.
“You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you.”
God rewards those who work hard. They deserve to be rewarded and blessed with a good and decent life. Authoritarian powers often cancel out God’s purposes. The world will suffer and men’s actions and greed will eventually be held accountable…not only in the East…but the West.
“You shall not oppress a hired servant who is poor and needy, whether he is one of your brothers or one of the sojourners who are in your land within your towns. You shall give him his wages on the same day, before the sun sets (for he is poor and counts on it), lest he cry against you to the Lord, and you be guilty of sin. Deuteronomy 24:14,15
This video, “Trapped inside Hong Kong’s cage houses” proves what over-crowing and rising costs leads to completely being trapped for these Hong Kong’s workers. When watching this, keep in mind that the same thing can happen in any large city in the world today.
Turn on your sound.
We may be worrying about the silent killer lurking within the person just around the isle from us in the grocery store. Have they been exposed to the virus or not? Why do they think they don’t have to wear a mask? Don’t they care about the most vulnerable who also must grocery shop?
We fill our grocery carts with those most “essential” items. What do we have on hand? Will the store run out of these basic things…like flour and SUGAR! We most likely will reach for the SUGAR because we can’t be out of that when we decide to bake our next cake or cookies. My husband loves the Hershey chocolates, wrapped in an individual treat size. Can’t go home without those!
We all know that ONE, tiny wrapped chocolate is never enough. Why is this? Self control may not be a strong point in our makeup…but there may be something chemical that makes us reach for just one more…one more…oh…just one more won’t hurt!…or will it? Believe me, I know from experience how difficult it is to turn down any great dessert…as probably you do also unless you are very disciplined. For some, “THE SWEETER, THE BETTER” as we found out one time when a friend brought us an extremely sweet apple pie. It is a shame to say that it went into the trash. I have found, however, that with some recipes that call for 2 cups of sugar, it really only needs 1 cup to not change the taste.
I also know that the body will adjust to the craving for sweets after a person stops eating these delightful, enjoyable treats. When I was teaching in Mongolia for two months, we ate primarily Russian food. After all, when Russia invaded and occupied Mongolia, they commanded a change in almost everything. That is called “Re-education.” Actually, in their case, reeducation is a euphemism for brainwashing efforts aimed at instilling certain beliefs in people against their will. (word finder)
The Russians removed Mongolian religious temples, required students to learn in their schools the Russian language. Of course over 70 years of occupation, Russian food became the main food of choice…except if the Mongolians were out on the Steppes near the Gobi and no one knew that they were eating “Mongolian style.” I also had the privilege of seeing a Mongolian Ger (tent) out in the countryside and being served REAL Mongolian BBQ. These very hospitable people also enjoy their National Drink of Airag (mildly fermented mare’s milk…an acquired taste is necessary for outsiders) and Buuz, a dumpling.
While I was teaching English to my Mongolian students, I ate less because eating borscht (beetroot and tomatoes) or Kasha (type oatmeal) was not my favorite. I lost 25 pounds. On returning to the States, my dear husband sent me out to buy new clothes…which was a real loving gesture and my Mother took one look at me and said, “I have my daughter back.” That hurt…was I that fat? I guess so…but now it felt like I was skin and bones.
I say all that because after coming home, when I ate my first, small piece of chocolate, it tasted like I had just put a whole sugar bowl in my mouth!! It is also amazing how quickly that problem went away. The brain knows the chemical is back.
Chocolate has a chemical called serotonin. What exactly is serotonin? Some call it the “happy.” chemical in the body. Everyone wants to be happy…right…but at what cost?
As a neurotransmitter, serotonin helps to relay messages from one area of the brain to another. … This includes brain cells related to mood, sexual desire and function, appetite, sleep, memory and learning, temperature regulation, and some social behavior. (Medical News Today)
What are some of the other chemicals in our basic chocolate?
Chocolate has a significant amount of sugar. In addition to sugar, chocolate also has two other neuroactive drugs, caffeine and theobromine. Chocolate not only stimulates the opiate receptors in our brains, it also causes a release of neurochemicals in the brain’s pleasure centers…Theobromine, formerly known as xantheose, is a bitter alkaloid of the cacao plant, with the chemical formula C7H8N4O2. It is found in chocolate. (Article by Thomas Carguilo)
Now we know the chemistry behind one of our favorite foods. Like all things, what should we decide to do about it? Moderation…or throw all advice about sugar out the window? I’m sure we probably will choose the moderation path because of the terrible dangers of diabetes, high cholesterol or tooth decay. How about you? (Maybe watch the video before making that big decision.)
What does the Holy Scripture say about our bodies?
For you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. Corinthians 6:20
CAN WE LEARN SOMETHING FROM HISTORY ABOUT FOODS?
VIDEO: The following short, 10 minute video, is a great history lesson about the time of The Tudors and their total misunderstanding about sweets…in particular SUGAR. It is quite informative…and the young lady who narrates is quite impressive…or some would say “really cute.”
She is Dr. Suzannah Rebecca Gabriella Lipscomb, a British historian. She was appointed to a personal chair as Professor of History at the University of Roehampton in 2019. One man said, “If she had been my history teacher, I would have paid more attention.”
By the way, don’t make this “required reading” for your wife, husband or friend if you are into all things healthy, as I would hate to loose a reader or start a family dispute. So…sit back with your cup of hot chocolate and enjoy!
Because the world needs comfort and courage, it is good to remind ourselves what the Holy Scriptures have to say…especially as many places of worship are temporarily closed.
If you are Jewish, you will want to remember the words of your prophets in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament).
If you are Christian, you may want to remind yourselves of both the words in the Old and New Testaments.
Other faiths have words that are meaningful to them, but for now, we, at Boyer Writes, can only say,
“Be blessed…be strong…and comfort yourselves and others because God is near!”
From the Hebrew Bible and Old Testament
“Let your steadfast love comfort me according to your promise to your servant.”
“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”
“Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.”
“It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”
“Sing for joy, O heavens, and exult O earth; break forth, O mountains, into singing! For the Lord has comforted his people and will have compassion on his afflicted.”
From the New Testament:
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort.”
—2 Corinthians 1:3
“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”
“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
This tender picture shows that even our pets can give comfort in the time of difficulty.
Background music of peace and calm: Turn up sound
My last blog was in honor of a dear friend who passed away five years after brain surgery. It led me to think about those who were more fortunate to live a very long, productive life…even to 100 years or more.
One of those centenarians was 107 years old Raffaella Monne from a village in Sardinia. She had a great statement, which is part of a very interesting book called The Blue Zones by Dan Buettner. This is what she said that she would like to tell people today:
“Life is short. Don’t run so fast you miss it!”
National Geographic was part of the research on why some people live longer in different parts of the world. All these so-called “Blue Zones” had several things that were important to them:
- Diet: Mainly of home-grown vegetables, nuts, fish and sometimes meat. They were not strict vegetarians.
- Strong family and friend support system…taking time to chat and relax.
- Worked hard and walked a great deal, but slowed down to take a daily nap…less stress was important
- Strong faith in God and belief system
- Let the past be the past and live happily…with something interesting to wake up to each day.
Throughout the book, the American or Western lifestyle is challenged because of not only our unhealthy lifestyle, but the stress that brings on pre-mature disease and death. It is not hard to look around us at even the young who are carrying loads of fat on their bodies.
In the parts of the world that had a history of longevity, as soon as the Western-style businesses with fast foods became part of their lives, the death rate began to go up. I highly recommend that for a more thorough understanding of the things listed above, that you give this book a read. I am grateful that a friend recommended it to me. The Blue Zones
Dr. Amit Sood, MD of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. had this to say about missing life. “A Mind in Hurry hurries past the present. I am in a hurry when I am getting late. I am in a hurry when I am on time. I find myself hurrying even when I am before time. Hurry for me has become a habit.”
Determine to slow down…for it could be the best thing you ever did. Take a moment to look at the beautiful clouds, a rainbow, a bird on a branch, a small colored leaf or a child’s sweet smile. Say a prayer to God and thank Him for all these things. Breathe a fresh breath of life.
Raffaella, of Sardinia, had wisdom beyond her 107 years…for not missing life. We could call her short statement a God-sent, for we all would like not to miss the good things that life has to offer… simply by rushing around too fast to even notice.
“Life is short. Don’t run so fast you miss it!”
Music for a stress-free living from Boyer Writes
She is a redhead, filled with enthusiasm and a love of life. She was my neighbor in Virginia. Little did she ever dream that she would have that lovely red hair pulled back 5 inches from her forehead to her ears, to allow doctors to make an incision and remove a large brain tumor. This is her true story, written in her own words, to give encouragement to anyone facing a similar situation. It is not an easy story to tell, but one that should be passed on to those who may lack courage or have difficult decisions to make in this regard.
Looks Can Be Deceiving by Patricia Paige
“When we meet someone for the first time, we immediately become aware of their appearance. We notice their height, their hair or their eyes. One such example is found in First Samuel Chapter 16. When Saul had lost God’s favor to rule over Israel, He sent Samuel on a specific mission. He traveled to the home of Jesse, and from his sons, God told him he would find “the chosen one.”
As Samuel looked at Jesse’s older sons, he considered their height and strong features, but God rejected all of them. He told Samuel that God does not judge someone by their outward appearance. He looks upon the heart. Samuel sent for Jesse’s youngest son, David: “And, the Lord said, Arise, anoint him; for this is he.”
When you look at me, you might notice my red hair, my blue eyes or my smile. Sometimes, looks can be deceiving. What God knows, but you cannot see, is that in August 2014, I had surgery to remove a brain tumor.
I’ve had headaches most of my adult life, including migraines. I didn’t believe the headaches I’d been having for the past several months were any different. These headaches would always completely disappear. My journey began quite uneventfully on a beautiful day in June. When I’d awakened that morning, I’d felt really energetic. Except for this morning, my hearing was muffled. Have you ever been swimming underwater in a pool? You hear the voices and laughter, but the sounds seem diminished. I continued my busy day. After accomplishing a few errands, I’d purchased groceries, and prepared an early supper. However, throughout the entire day, my hearing remained muted.
After my husband and I had eaten, I’d filled a plate and popped on the travel lid. My purse and keys were on the counter. Suddenly, I felt nauseated and started having stomach cramps. Later, I would look back on this event and realize this was God’s divine intervention in my life. If these symptoms had not occurred exactly when they did, I’d have been driving down a four-lane highway.
Thankfully, I’d gone into the small half-bath near the kitchen. Nausea only worsened as did the stomach cramps. When my massive seizure began, I was close enough to the wall to lean my head against it. Honestly, I don’t believe I could have remained upright at this point. My next symptom was extremely bright, revolving lights. Have you ever been to a carnival where colored lights are pulsating and blinking in a circle?
I never lost consciousness, but believed my head was literally going to explode. Searing pain raged throughout my entire skill. On and on the cycle continued with nausea, severe cramping, blinking lights, and headache. Several times I thought I was going to die. It would have been a release from the excruciating pain. I am so thankful to my husband for placing cold, wet washcloths on my forehead and back of my neck.
Why, you ask, didn’t my husband call for an ambulance? My symptoms were waxing and waning, so we both assumed it would be over any minute. Besides, some of our friends had recently suffered a nasty stomach bug, which had included a severe headache. A similar illness perhaps? As suddenly as the symptoms had appeared, they disappeared. I felt completely normal again. I could walk and talk without any problems. My speech and balance were fine.
However, this experience troubled me. Were these symptoms of something more serious? I phoned the office of a neurologist I trusted and had known for several years. In the meantime, I went to my family physician. My vital signs were within the normal range. When I described this frightening incident, he expressed concern. I told him of my upcoming appointment with neurology. He was relieved I would be seeking additional medical treatment.
My headaches were becoming worse; occurring more frequently. The neurologist thought I was having “cluster headaches.” She also ordered an MRI (brain scan) to rule out anything else.
Returning home few days later, I had a phone message from the neurologist. She asked that I return to her office early Monday morning. This was Friday afternoon so I knew it wouldn’t be good news.
“You have a brain tumor” are words you never want to hear from your doctor. My suspicion had become all too real. I just sat there and didn’t respond. I was in shock. She asked if I’d heard what had been said. She asked again. I shook my head signifying I understood. I sat motionless; silent.
She showed us an x-ray of the tumor. It was a moderately large Meningioma. This type of tumor grows within the first three layers (the meninges) that are located between the skull and the brain. Although they are usually benign, I would require surgery to remove it. When she asked where I wanted to go to, I asked, “Where would you send someone in your own family?” That’s how I was referred to the Chief of Neurology at a hospital accredited as a Level I Trauma Center.
The next few days were a blur. My headaches were more intense, and I was increasingly sensitive to bright lights. I’d wear my sunglasses even indoors. My family continued to be supportive, encouraging and funny. Hey, look, our daughter would say, “Mom’s wearing sunglasses in the house. She must think she’s a Movie Star!”
The following information is taken from a Facebook post: “Last night, I read the pathology report on Mom’s tumor. It gave the exact measurements. I used a ruler, pen and paper and made a sketch. Then, using the materials at hand, I fashioned a replica of it using many, many rubber bands. If you’ve met my Mom, then you know that she’s a short, small-boned, cute, redheaded woman. What I’m trying to explain is that this tumor is HUGE! No wonder Mom is keeping a bad headache.”
Two MRI’s and two neurologists have now confirmed that this tumor is indeed a benign meningioma . Next week, I have an appointment with the doctor who will perform the surgery. With his guidance, we’ll formulate a plan.
The surgeon was very professional, yet more than willing to take the time to answer all our questions. In my prayer time, I’d made a request of God. I’d asked Him to put me in the hands of Christians during my surgery. No one, not even my family, knew about my request. On our way out of the office, one of the associates touched my shoulder. She said, “You’re going to be fine. I’ll be in the room during your surgery, and I’ll be praying for you.”
Relief! Precious, wonderful relief. We were in the hallway before I broke into tears. My husband hugged me and said, “It’s going to be okay.” I explained the petition I’d made earlier. This is God’s way of showing me, “He’s got this!”
We were told to check the surgery schedule as we exited the hospital. The doctor who’d be performing my procedure did not have an opening until the middle or latter part of September. This was the first week in August. Waiting several weeks seemed like a very long time. I remembered that Almighty God held me in the palm of His Hand, and I was at peace.
I was on a “prayer chain” at my home church as well as several others throughout our community. These Christians were asking for my healing, and for the grace to see my family through this journey.
My health continued to deteriorate. My painful headaches were even stronger, and my energy level was beginning to drain. By now, I was unable to accomplish even the simplest of household chores. I began noticing that my balance was affected. Most days, I walked like I’d been drinking. I’d hold on to walls and furniture to prevent myself from falling.
One day I received a phone call from the hospital. It had only been two weeks since my appointment. The woman on the phone worked with the neurosurgery scheduling department. She asked if I wanted to have my procedure performed on August 22. Talk about a no brain-er (excuse the pun!) Absolutely!
As my husband and I sat in the surgical waiting room, we were joined by our daughter, granddaughter and grandson. This was the quietest my family has ever been. Usually we’re talking, teasing and laughing.
A nurse came to take me back, and told my husband and daughter they could join me after I was prepped. The hugs with my grandchildren were bitter-sweet because of the seriousness and uncertainty of brain surgery. Of course, I didn’t want to leave my family, but I knew where I’d be spending eternity. And, this was incredibility comforting. My family sat beside my bed. None of us knew what to expect. We were in a holding pattern similar to an airplane waiting for take-off.
My surgeon joined us and inquired if we had questions. The anesthesiologist arrived and introduced himself. Did we have questions? He then asked if they could pray for us. I don’t remember the words he said, but I knew they were heartfelt. It was surreal. Never before have I been so grateful to be a Christian surrounded by other believers.
According to my daughter, my surgery went well. Because I’d bled more than expected, I’d received two units of whole blood. I’d be in recovery, then ICU for several hours, transfer to a room, and finally discharge. That was the plan. In life, things do not always go as we’d anticipated.
When I first became aware of my surroundings in ICU, I was unable to speak. For a woman who has been extremely verbal all of her life, this proved to be difficult. As the hours passed. I became increasingly angry. My anger was not directed at God. My distress was due to my circumstances. I remember clenching my fist into a ball and pounding it on the bed. This could not have been beneficial especially since this was the arm where the IV was attached. I began shaking inside and sobbing. Tears were running uncontrollably down my cheeks. None of the nurses could tell us why this was happening.
Later that night, our daughter phoned a friend who teaches speech therapy at the college level. She explained that my condition was called expressive aphasia. This occurs when there is a disconnect between the brain and the mouth. The words I was trying to express were simply stuck in my brain. Apparently, when the brain is touched, interesting things happen.This would improve with time.
My tumor had grown from the left side of my skull toward the right. In fact, it had wrapped around the large cranial nerve in the middle of my skull. Think of it like an octopus whose tentacle is holding on tight. While my surgeon was unable to completely remove this part of the tumor, he’d gotten into close proximity. My brain needed to rest and reboot.
Because I couldn’t speak, the nurses brought pad and pen and asked that I write down what I wanted to say. I held these items in my hands, but I couldn’t write words. All I could do was to make attached ovals in a solid row. Row after row after row. Finally, I stopped trying.
I spent two days in ICU before transferring to what they referred to as a “step down” room. I’d stay there for the remainder of the week. At this point, I’d transfer to an inpatient rehabilitation center near the hospital. This was an intensive 7 day a week program focused on physical, occupational, and speech therapy. In the beginning, each of these were challenging. I had deficits in all three areas.
Occupational therapy proved to be extremely difficult. When offered a child’s large-piece puzzle with wooden handles to grasp, I managed to put together only three pieces. Twice daily the therapist would encourage me to work with my hands to improve eye/hand coordination. Problem-solving skills slowly started to improve and were more consistent.
Physical therapy concentrated on regaining my equilibrium, muscle strength and stamina. At this point, I was using a walker with attached wheels. Therapy incorporated the use of large balance balls, safe places to walk for short distances, exercises and stairs with railings to prevent falls. We had all learned and mastered these skills in early childhood.
Obviously, speech would be problematic. It would take time not only to learn how to communicate, but how to lessen the disconnect in my brain. Because I’d always gestured with my hands when I talked, occupational therapy was the missing link in regaining my speech. These therapies would continue when I returned home.
During this entire time, my vision had been extremely blurred. It was like trying to visualize objects or people through a thick fog. I was also experiencing drowsiness and fatigue. I’d accepted these as side-effects of my surgery. Thankfully, they were not!
The high dosage of seizure medicine they were giving me to keep my brain calm was reacting negatively with a muscle relaxer. I’d used it to relieve muscle spasms due to Fibromyalgia. I had not taken this particular medication in over a year, and then only once or twice daily. However, my medical chart showed I was taking it three times daily. I explain this in detail as a precautionary tale for others. Review your medical records carefully with your primary care physician to correct any discrepancies before you are hospitalized. In any case, it is of utmost importance that your medical records are correct.
Arriving home, there were other obstacles. Patience has never been one of my strongest virtues especially when I’m in a hurry or stressed. It was difficult to remain calm, breathe slowly and deeply, then retrieve the actual word I wanted to express. Sometimes, I’d become angry and raise my voice. My poor husband was the target of all my see/saw emotions. Thankfully, he is a Godly man who really loves me. I’d say an entirely different word than the one I’d intended. Sometimes I’d just point to an object and call it a thing-e. Occasionally, this still happens.
When I first began my journey back to health, I did not realize it would take this long to recover or be so life-changing. These were the times that I found solace in the writings of Corrie Ten Boone: “When the train goes through a tunnel, and it gets dark, you don’t throw away your ticket and jump off. You sit still and trust the engineer.”
I’ve always had empathy for people with cerebral palsy or those who have had traumatic brain injuries or strokes. Until my experience with expressive aphasia, I did not fully understand how challenging it is for them to try to speak. Now I do. Those words and thoughts remain locked deep inside their brains. Every day, they ride on a roller coaster of emotions. These brave people endure disappointment, frustration, anxiety and depression.
As a believer, I did not expect my life to be any easier because of my profession of faith. I did trust in God’s promise to never leave me. He is faithful as we continue to walk together down this crooked path called life.
I accept that everything that comes into my life is allowed by a good God. Why does He choose to heal some people and not others? I can’t answer that question. He alone can see into the future. God already knew I’d have a brain tumor, surgery and difficult recovery. I believe He has a plan and a purpose for each of us. I’m using the miracle God granted me as a testimony. It is my desire to provide inspiration and encouragement for those facing a similar or other serious surgery.”
Note from Boyer Writes in 2017: God made a way for Patricia Paige to survive her brain surgery through prayer, family support and the medical team that skillfully brought her through to live a productive life. She is most grateful that the doctors understood her feminine concerns and left her red bangs to be brought forward so that people would not even notice that she had gone through such major surgery.
Whatever your challenges may be, give yourself to our Lord and ask Him to make a way for you to come through your difficult circumstances.
Boyer Writes footnote in 2019: Patricia Paige was a pen name for a lovely person whose real name is Wanda Robinson. She wrote about this part of her life a number of years ago. God made a way, through doctors and support of family and friends, for Wanda to have five more years of life. In 2019, she went to be with her Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ and her wonderfully supportive husband, Wade. It is in her honor that I re-post her writing.
As of today, Hurricane Dorian has stayed almost stationary, only moving slightly, while pounding the people, buildings and all on the Bahamas for 45 straight hours. It may continue to move up the Eastern coastal areas of the United States with great concerns for many. We are totally grateful to the hundreds of workers with their fully equipped trucks waiting to restore power, as needed. These have come from as far as Canada to Daytona Beach, Florida. The Red Cross and other first responders are coming to help.
Keep all those who are suffering today in your prayers while we, in the inland areas, move around mostly in comfort and safety. The bands of rain continue to blast as the hurricane passes.
It is not only the devastation of any hurricane for the humans in the path, but also the animals. One woman in the Bahamas decided to do something about this. This short video tells of her compassion.
Click for short video. Turn on sound
If you are one of our readers and not in the U.S. and would like to see what has been happening in the Bahamas, here is another link.
My recent blog was on depression and the search for help in a society gone totally beyond the limits of real sanity was formidable. I was amazed at the clicks on this particular blog worldwide. This must say something about those who find this topic a need in their lives. Today, I want to post the opposite of stress…and that is stress release. How does music play a part in healthy bodies, mind and even our souls?
Recently, I saw a video on those suffering with early dementia and Alzheimers. The therapy was in music. Singing brought the memory of words flowing out of the mind. Even the faces of the people dealing with this very difficult condition were filled with a happiness and joy as they sang.
A good article is by Cassandra Shepherd on the neuroscience of singing.
“The neuroscience of singing shows that when we sing our neurotransmitters connect in new and different ways. It fires up the right temporal lobe of our brain, releasing endorphins that make us smarter, healthier, happier and more creative. When we sing with other people this effect is amplified.”
I am convinced that music is either grating or a soothing medication. How often do we try to enjoy a meal at a restaurant and the music is too loud with little melody and sometimes ridiculous words. So much for the peaceful, relaxing meal. Forget a healthy, mentally stimulating conversation. Don’t be afraid to ask kindly a server to lower the music. After all, you are the customer who will either return or not.
Words, sounds and life, in general, can bring on stress, which we must fight each day. Determine to make your life different as well as those who are around you. Tell a waitress or friend that they are doing a good job or that they have a great smile. They won’t forget it and you may have just given them the thoughts to live a happier day. This has nothing to do with music, but the power of kind words also is a stress releaser.
A suggestion for your peaceful day is to intentionally fill your space with lovely music. If you can only listen, then do so. If you can see beautiful pictures to go with the music, absorb that also. Here is one of my favorites.
One of the best writings that I have seen describing “Depression” is by Sarah Loucks. She doesn’t write about what to do about depression, but there will be some suggestions after you read this down to earth, graphic description. Keep an open mind.
Sometimes all we want or need is quiet…rest…and PEACE. In today’s world, there is no real peace unless we actively look for it. We have to make a peaceful place to be quiet, wherever that might be. Therefore, I ask you to find that place and remember the promise given and the beauty of the world through the music that is shared with you now. Rest…my friend….rest.
“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7)
Click Video (Turn on sound…and relax)
Tomorrow is the beginning of “Early Voting” in my state, USA. Many people think it is important who is in government control (local or national) and others could care less. We better care if we have learned anything from history.
I write about this not to promote one candidate or another, but reflect on what history may teach us on government and control… if we pay attention. The problem is that we rarely connect past history with the potential present or future history and what it may look like. Therefore, we will take a look at past history and hope that our skin does not crawl…but it will.
Did you know that one of the most famous names in our USA Supreme Court was responsible for the cutting off many individual rights during the early 20th century? Here’s his picture…Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
Why was this esteemed man important? He had a great deal to do with the philosophy of Eugenics. Here is what he said on the matter of a court case from Virginia entitled Buck v Bell in which he voted Yes to enforce the following:
Buck v. Bell
(from Wikipedia) “In 1927, Holmes wrote the 8–1 majority opinion in Buck v. Bell case that upheld the Virginia Sterilization Act of 1924 and the forced sterilization of Carrie Buck who was claimed to be mentally defective. Although later scholarship has shown the suit was collusive and Carrie Buck was probably of normal intelligence. The record before the Supreme Court showed only that she had received a proper hearing in which she was represented by a competent guardian, and was able to press her suit in the federal courts. She apparently had received the procedures required by due process of law in ample measure. The argument made on her behalf was principally that the statute requiring sterilization of institutionalized persons was unconstitutional, itself a violation of what today is called “substantive due process”. Holmes repeated familiar arguments that statutes would not be struck down if they appeared on their face to have a reasonable basis. In support of his argument that the interest of “public welfare” outweighs the interest of individuals in their bodily integrity, he argued:
(Quote by Judge Holmes) “We have seen more than once that the public welfare may call upon the best citizens for their lives. It would be strange if it could not call upon those who already sap the strength of the State for these lesser sacrifices, often not felt to be such by those concerned, to prevent our being swamped with incompetence. It is better for all the world, if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime, or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind. The principle that sustains compulsory vaccination is broad enough to cover cutting the Fallopian tubes … Three generations of imbeciles are enough.”
Although the opinion and eugenics remain controversial, the decision in the case still stands. Sterilization rates under eugenics laws in the United States climbed from 1927 until Skinner v. Oklahoma, 316 U.S. 535 (1942). While Skinner v. Oklahoma did not specifically overturn Buck v. Bell, it created enough of a legal quandary to discourage many sterilizations…”
“A historical marker was erected on May 2, 2002 in Charlottesville, Virginia where Carrie Buck was born. Virginia Governor Mark R. Warner offered the “Commonwealth’s sincere apology for Virginia’s participation in eugenics,” noting that “the eugenics movement was a shameful effort in which state government never should have been involved.” (Paul A Lombardo U of V School of Medicine)
We are hearing words that will make the hair stand on the back of the neck: FORCED STERILIZATION… THE INCOMPETENT or the first use of the word “Moron” (feeble-minded or perhaps mentally ill)
This was what Eugenics was all about…getting rid of the undesirables. It came in the form of our first emigration policies and restrictions, the mental institutions where many ended up whether they were actually insane or not. It also had to do with racism. Even the histories of citizens were stored in locked vaults by the government. These could explain inherited traits and pinpoint those who would be considered “unacceptable”.
Perhaps we should think twice before we give over to any organization our DNA to do with as they like. Any authority may decide to act upon this greatest of our identity. Take for instance the controversy of 23andMe, a DNA test group.
” …23andMe’s Personal Genome Service is much more than a medical device; it is a one-way portal into a world where corporations have access to the innermost contents of your cells and where insurers and pharmaceutical firms and marketers might know more about your body than you know yourself. And as 23andMe warns on its website, “Genetic Information that you share with others could be used against your interests. You should be careful about sharing your Genetic Information with others.” (Charles Siefe in Scientific America)
One may ask, what about the good parts of having DNA used by the police investigators to find killers or rapists who may have been Cold Cases for years? Of course, this technology today can be celebrated for bringing the guilty to justice as we heard about recently on 60 Minutes. However, we must not forget that there are few standards set in the use of DNA and someone who is calling themselves DNA professionals could also make mistakes or prove to be using the knowledge for less than good to an individual…criminal or not. Could these same people be brought in to court as a witness with authority? Caution may be the best word. How important is your lineage to you?
Under President Wilson, the belief in Eugenics for the nation flourished. Some of the terms used are everyday words to us today because of the government efforts in years past to make lawful things that we might question today. The public can be coerced and made from advertisements to think that the government knows best. That is precisely why we should look at the people we put into office very, very carefully. Is individual liberty a priority to a candidate…or does he or she thinks that government knows best and can be the solver of all problems? When would they think, you, the citizen is the problem…for whatever reason.
Shown here is President Wilson, a eugenics sign, and a family that was found to have good lineage…having won a contest as “the best”.
We could go on with many eugenics topics in history: immigration restrictions, unfit individuals, compulsory sterilization, euthanasia programs, fit baby contests and family fitness under eugenics, planned parenthood promotions and how we as a nation promoted racial superiority as did Germany during WWII.
What a nation can do in plain sight can be terrifying if we are looking away or turn a blind eye. (More information on Eugenics)
Yes, it matters who is in power in your local, state, or national setting. Do your homework. Your human rights are at stake…as in past years and in the future. See how they have voted in the past that effects your life and more importantly your freedoms.
“The Eugenics Crusade” The American Experience PBS
The following article was written by Rolf Dubelli several years ago. At that time he had stopped watching or listening to the news about four years. He had a number of good things for us to think about and that is why I am passing it on today. I think the one reason I began thinking about it was when one of my neighbors said that the news was so bad that if she could “leave this country” she would do so. I thought to myself at the time….”just where would she go?” The news is bad all around the world. She did have a good idea though…that maybe she would turn off the TV channels and just listen to “easy listening music.”
Anyway, this is what Mr. Dubelli had to say. You may decide he is right…or disconnected somehow. In any case, it seems to have made him happier. Perhaps it is worth a try. If the world should blow up while you are “out of touch”, I’m sure someone will let you know.
Article by Rolf Dubelli
“In the past few decades, the fortunate among us have recognized the hazards of living with an overabundance of food (obesity, diabetes) and have started to change our diets. But most of us do not yet understand that news is to the mind what sugar is to the body. News is easy to digest. The media feeds us small bites of trivial matter, tidbits that don’t really concern our lives and don’t require thinking. That’s why we experience almost no saturation. Unlike reading books and long magazine articles (which require thinking), we can swallow limitless quantities of news flashes, which are bright-colored candies for the mind. Today, we have reached the same point in relation to information that we faced 20 years ago in regard to food. We are beginning to recognize how toxic news can be.
- News misleads. Take the following event (borrowed from Nassim Taleb). A car drives over a bridge, and the bridge collapses. What does the news media focus on? The car. The person in the car. Where he came from. Where he planned to go. How he experienced the crash (if he survived). But that is all irrelevant. What’s relevant? The structural stability of the bridge. That’s the underlying risk that has been lurking and could lurk in other bridges. But the car is flashy, it’s dramatic, it’s a person (non-abstract), and it’s news that’s cheap to produce. News leads us to walk around with the completely wrong risk map in our heads. So terrorism is over-rated. Chronic stress is under-rated. The collapse of Lehman Brothers is overrated. Fiscal irresponsibility is under-rated. Astronauts are over-rated. Nurses are under-rated. We are not rational enough to be exposed to the press. Watching an airplane crash on television is going to change your attitude toward that risk, regardless of its real probability. If you think you can compensate with the strength of your own inner contemplation, you are wrong. Bankers and economists – who have powerful incentives to compensate for news-borne hazards – have shown that they cannot. The only solution: cut yourself off from news consumption entirely.
- News is toxic to your body. It constantly triggers the limbic system. Panicky stories spur the release of cascades of glucocorticoid (cortisol). This deregulates your immune system and inhibits the release of growth hormones. In other words, your body finds itself in a state of chronic stress. High glucocorticoid levels cause impaired digestion, lack of growth (cell, hair, bone), nervousness and susceptibility to infections. The other potential side-effects include fear, aggression, tunnel-vision and desensitization.
- News increases cognitive errors. News feeds the mother of all cognitive errors: confirmation bias. In the words of Warren Buffett: “What the human being is best at doing is interpreting all new information so that their prior conclusions remain intact.” News exacerbates this flaw. We become prone to overconfidence, take stupid risks and misjudge opportunities. It also exacerbates another cognitive error: the story bias. Our brains crave stories that “make sense” – even if they don’t correspond to reality. Any journalist who writes, “The market moved because of X” or “the company went bankrupt because of Y” is an idiot. I am fed up with this cheap way of “explaining” the world.
- News inhibits thinking. Thinking requires concentration. Concentration requires uninterrupted time. News pieces are specifically engineered to interrupt you. They are like viruses that steal attention for their own purposes. News makes us shallow thinkers. But it’s worse than that. News severely affects memory. There are two types of memory. Long-range memory’s capacity is nearly infinite, but working memory is limited to a certain amount of slippery data. The path from short-term to long-term memory is a choke-point in the brain, but anything you want to understand must pass through it. If this passageway is disrupted, nothing gets through. Because news disrupts concentration, it weakens comprehension. Online news has an even worse impact. In a 2001 study two scholars in Canada showed that comprehension declines as the number of hyperlinks in a document increases. Why? Because whenever a link appears, your brain has to at least make the choice not to click, which in itself is distracting. News is an intentional interruption system.
- News works like a drug. As stories develop, we want to know how they continue. With hundreds of arbitrary storylines in our heads, this craving is increasingly compelling and hard to ignore. Scientists used to think that the dense connections formed among the 100 billion neurons inside our skulls were largely fixed by the time we reached adulthood. Today we know that this is not the case. Nerve cells routinely break old connections and form new ones. The more news we consume, the more we exercise the neural circuits devoted to skimming and multitasking while ignoring those used for reading deeply and thinking with profound focus.
- Most news consumers – even if they used to be avid book readers – have lost the ability to absorb lengthy articles or books. After four, five pages they get tired, their concentration vanishes, they become restless. It’s not because they got older or their schedules became more onerous. It’s because the physical structure of their brains has changed.
- News wastes time. If you read the newspaper for 15 minutes each morning, then check the news for 15 minutes during lunch and 15 minutes before you go to bed, then add five minutes here and there when you’re at work, then count distraction and refocusing time, you will lose at least half a day every week. Information is no longer a scarce commodity. But attention is. You are not that irresponsible with your money, reputation or health. Why give away your mind?
- News makes us passive. News stories are overwhelmingly about things you cannot influence. The daily repetition of news about things we can’t act upon makes us passive. It grinds us down until we adopt a worldview that is pessimistic, desensitized, sarcastic and fatalistic. The scientific term is “learned helplessness”. It’s a bit of a stretch, but I would not be surprised if news consumption, at least partially contributes to the widespread disease of depression.
- News kills creativity. Finally, things we already know limit our creativity. This is one reason that mathematicians, novelists, composers and entrepreneurs often produce their most creative works at a young age. Their brains enjoy a wide, uninhabited space that emboldens them to come up with and pursue novel ideas. I don’t know a single truly creative mind who is a news junkie – not a writer, not a composer, mathematician, physician, scientist, musician, designer, architect or painter. On the other hand, I know a bunch of viciously uncreative minds who consume news like drugs. If you want to come up with old solutions, read news. If you are looking for new solutions, don’t.
- Society needs journalism – but in a different way. Investigative journalism is always relevant. We need reporting that polices our institutions and uncovers truth. But important findings don’t have to arrive in the form of news. Long journal articles and in-depth books are good, too.”
Mr. Dobelli says, “I have now gone without news for four years, so I can see, feel and report the effects of this freedom first-hand: less disruption, less anxiety, deeper thinking, more time, more insights. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it.”
( Credit: This is an edited extract from an essay first published by Dobelli, The Art of Thinking Clearly, Better Thinking, Better Decisions by Rolf Dobelli)
It’s a subject no one wants to approach. Why? It’s too final… too disturbing…too somehow “unreal”. Yet, everyday someone is saying to his or herself, “I just can’t go on. It is just too overwhelming!”
It is real to them, but probably not to those around them. How could they do such a thing? How could they even think such a thing?
When a high-profile person with everything to live for, such as Anthony Bourdain, commits suicide, the news media gives out briefly a phone number (listed in this title) and begs the watcher to call “if you feel that you are having dark thoughts.” This is good advice, but reaching out for help is usually before a person gets to the place of extremely dark thoughts which leads to irrational thoughts.
Mental health and how to deal with depression as well as other problems needs to be readily available and taught by parents, schools, churches and other institutions. The afflicted person needs to see the possibility of a light at the end of the tunnel. Mostly, they have to be given HOPE and support.
So often those who don’t think there is a light or can’t see there will be something better waiting for them just around the corner need intervention before it is too late. Families who suspect dark thoughts have to reach out. Parents may think that their teenagers are “just going through a growing up stage.” All phases of mental anguish should be taken seriously. When you see a problem, give the person the opportunity to talk and know there is help and most of all… that they are loved by you and by God.
Conversations and questions cannot be too late. According to the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention, these are some of the statistics that we would rather not think about…but should!
- Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S.
- Almost 45,000 Americans die of suicide each year
- Men die by suicide 3.53x more often than women.
- On average, there are 123 suicides per day.
- White males accounted for 7 of 10 suicides in 2016….highest in middle-aged white men
Mental illness and depression can hit all people regardless of age or skin color. We all know this is true and that statistics will not fix the problem.
- Based on the 2015 Youth Risk Behaviors Survey, 8.6 percent of youth in grades 9-12 reported that they had made at least one suicide attempt in the past 12 months.
- Girls attempted twice as often as boys (11.6% vs. 5.5%) and teens of Hispanic origin reported the highest rate of attempt (11.3%), especially Hispanic females (15.1%) when compared with white students (6.8%) and White females (9.8%)
- Approximately 2.8 percent reported making a suicide attempt that required treatment by a doctor or nurse.
What are the warning signs of someone who may be suicidal?
- Talking about suicide, hurting themselves, death, or dying
- Seeking access to firearms or pills
- Withdrawing from friends, family, and society
- Having severe mood swings
- Feeling hopeless or trapped
- Increased use of alcohol or drugs
- Sleeping all the time or having issues with sleep
- Uncontrolled rage or agitation
- Self-destructive and risky behavior
- Giving away personal belongings
- Telling people goodbye for seemingly no reason
People who suffer from a mental illness, alcoholism or drug abuse, a family history of suicide, history of trauma or abuse, terminal illness, chronic pain, social isolation, or a traumatic life event such as loss of a loved one may be at an increased risk for suicide (credit: Jenae Sitzes)
There is help for you or someone you know. Believing in the LIGHT at the end of the tunnel is God’s way of showing you that He has something good for you!
God has a plan for your life. Reach out for the help you need!
Perhaps you missed the arrival of Moke at the Smithsonian Zoo in Washington, D.C. Who is Moke, you may ask, and why is this birth important?
Western lowland gorillas are critically endangered with only an estimated 100,000 left. Calaya, a western lowland gorilla, who has just given birth to her first offspring, a male named Moke, at the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington, DC. The arrival of Moke, which means “junior” or “little one” in the Lingala language of Africa, is the zoo’s first such gorilla birth in nine years. (Credit BBC news…Smithsonian)
This is what we learned from two videos posted below. Be sure to watch both. In fact, I would recommend to gather around your young children and let them see the miracle of birth…for it should not be a mystery.
Video 1: History of Calaya and the silverback gorilla who is the father of Moke
Video 2: The actual birth of Moke
As I watched this birth video, it was impressive to see her so gently clean her newborn and tenderly lay it in the hay. It appears that she will be a good mother.
We wish the new mother, Calaya, and her new baby, Moke, the best of health and long life.
Occasionally, I will be going toward the altar at church and will see an elderly person waiting quietly in the pew for the minister to bring to them the Holy Communion. They are usually frail and do not feel that they can walk on their own very well. I am reminded of what my husband, who is also a priest in the Episcopal Church, often says about the elderly…“If they have lost the love of their life or have no family close by, they rarely have the human touch…the hug…the warmth of another human.” Knowing this, I might reach down and pat her (or him) on the shoulder and take their hand, without saying a word just so they know there is a touch in their life.
On researching this need for human touch, I found out the following:
“Upon birth, some babies require a little more attention at hospitals before they can leave with their parents to begin their life. Babies who receive stimulation in the form of touch have shown to grow and gain weight at rates faster than those who lack touch. They also experience fewer health issues in their first year. The simple act of a touch can lower stress levels (specifically the stress hormone cortisol) and regulate a proper body temperature in a baby’s body through the release of hormones.
The connection was realized upon finding out that children who grew up in environments such as orphanages, with less contact and engagement, had higher hormone levels compared to children raised with parents. In turn, this difference in environment can lead to many issues later in life – from a struggle to bond and behavioral issues.
However, some of the damage caused by touch deprivation can be reversed due to a change in environment – a study done in Romania in the 1980’s supports this, showing that in children aged six to twelve, those who lived in an orphanage for eight months or more possessed higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol compared to those who lived in an orphanage for four months or less.” (taken from Youngzine..Renee)
When my youngest son was born, he had to stay in the hospital for several days because he was under-weight. As I went to visit him daily, I would often walk in and find him being rocked by a nurse or nurse’s helper. They called him their “Little Cowboy” because his hair had little sideburns. Seeing that he was being loved meant so much.
I also learned the truth about the need for touch and human development when I was teaching at a University in Ukraine. I visited two orphanages. One was State run and the other was a Christian run home for children. The children in the State-run orphanage did not smile. When we put them on our laps to try to talk with them and hug them, they did not seem to know how to respond. Nothing brought a smile to their faces. On arriving at the Christian orphanage, the atmosphere was completely different. The children were laughing, hanging onto their adult workers and seemed well adjusted in so many ways.
Recently my husband posted a video about a man who has made it his mission to give the tiny, often sick or premature babies the human touch they need. I’m going to share this video with my readers today because it is the life story of a senior person giving of himself to a new life on earth. He is making a difference.
Let this video touch your heart and think of reaching out yourself to someone who may need a “touch” of love.
Turn up sound
The couple you are going to meet has decided to meet life head-on. They have faith that could have been shattered, but they didn’t allow it to happen. Serving his country, the unthinkable happened. He would be blind for the rest of his life. Hear his story and the words of his beautiful wife. Be inspired and realize that at times the joy we receive in life has to be worked for. This is how they are finding their joy.
(Detroit Free Press)
Having had five Golden Retrievers in our home over the years, we know the love that these dogs can give is amazing. They are gentle, loving and caring…with a temperament that can reach out to the most broken of humans.
The pictures below were made by Jim Dalrymple II at a hospital in Las Vegas. A Christian group from the Lutheran Church Charities trains dogs in a number of states to be comfort dogs. (LLC K-9 Comfort Dogs)
A thank you to them and the dog’s owners who care enough to go to places where people have gone through a crisis, as in the terrible shootings in Las Vegas, in order to bring about quicker healing.
My last blog was about stress in today’s society. This was about our modern, rich society that does not know how to budget time, relax enough…and perhaps even has difficulty with being THANKFUL.
This is a very short blog because I want you to concentrate on the video. Afterward, be truly THANKFUL for all that you have. TEACH YOUR CHILDREN TO BE THANKFUL. Shakespeare in his character, King Lear, Act 1, reminds us of the following when it comes to thankless children: “…How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is to have a thankless child!”
If you are a complainer, STOP complaining after viewing the videos below. You have very little if anything to complain about.
We all have so much and rarely think about or realize that some countries have street children who have nothing and very little hope for the future. To them, it is no problem to lie or steal. It is how they survive. They do not know if they will have the next meal. If you were in this condition, you would probably do the same. I am appalled to learn that Ethiopia has only one major soup kitchen for thousands.
Jeremy Snell writes about his experience in Ethiopia: ” Korah is one of the poorest slum areas in all of Addis, Ethiopia. It was once considered the outskirts of the city and was the place where all the outcasts (the sick, lepers, homeless, and unwanted) resided. It is hands down the worst living conditions I have ever witnessed. They have no clean running water, and their streets are a mixture of mud, feces, and trash….One of the most astonishing things about Ethiopia is the number of kids and people who make their living cleaning mud and dirt off of people’s shoes. I don’t really know how to feel about it all. The other day, I got my shoes washed by a street kid down the road from where we are staying.. they charge 3 burr per cleaning.. which is equivalent to 25 cents.. and my shoes have never been cleaner. It’s probably one of the most humbling experiences of my life. I can’t even imagine having to do that for a living. This young boy was working near the university we were visiting. Poverty is such an indescribable idea to grasp. I don’t think it’s something we can truly understand unless we’ve experienced it.”
In comparison, you are not only rich in possessions and food, but you are truly rich in your soul if you are thankful. Stop now…and thank God. Do what you can to support legitimate help organizations. Samaritan’s Purse is a worldwide relief Christian organization. Click here to see all their videos on efforts to help.
If you can’t wrap your mind around the street children of Ethiopia because it is too far away from your existence, then think about your fellow Americans who in a blink of an eye lose everything they have worked for during a life time. All need your prayers and help.
The Street children of Ethiopia video:
Addicted people must WANT to change their lives more than anything in the world. A friend of mine recently knew that for years of her life she had been addicted to tobacco. She had attempted to quit smoking many times and failed. Finally, she made the decision to give herself a hope for long life. She wanted to see her grandchildren grow up and be there for their special days. With determination and encouragement, she stopped smoking and has been smoke-free for over six months. We know that it takes courage and the “want to” to make it happen.
The man, shown above is Donald Gould. He was once a Marine, but became addicted to various drugs after his wife died and his baby boy was taken away by authorities, because he was unfit to raise a child. That baby was adopted into a loving, Christian home. Donald became homeless and lived on the streets.
He had one talent…the gift of music and could play the piano was ease and beauty. While living in Sarasota, Florida, he was given a chance to roll out a piano on the street and play where people passing by in this beautiful city could hear him. His story is one of determination, but it is also the story of the caring people around him and those internationally that wanted to see him lick the terrible addiction. It is a one of the most serious health problems in our country and the world today. It is a fact that without help to recover, these addictive drugs will suck the life completely out of its victims. Our military vets are known to greatly suffer from addiction and find themselves without employment and no place to call home.
Through rehabilitation, therapy and opportunities made available to him, Donald found a new life and an outlet for his talent. One of his greatest heartaches was losing his baby boy.
The adoptive parents of his son, who had just graduated from high school, made it possible for Donald to reconnect with his once lost son. They said that they all prayed about it and believed it was the right thing to do.
A contract to make an album of his music soon followed and he was asked to play the National Anthem at a football game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Minnesota Vikings. Donald had been given a great and special gift…a chance to start a new life.
If you are fighting addiction, know that you can ask for help. You will also be given the chance to fight the bondage that is making your life one of misery…giving you a chance at a new beginning. You, however, must truly want it! Everyone has some God given talent. Yours may not be music or the ability to play the piano like Donald, but you will find the talent He has given you. Go for it!
Boyer Writes introduces you to Donald Gould and his story. (Turn up sound) At the end of the video are a couple more updates on Donald that you may want to watch: When he played for the NFL game and his first contact with his son.
“It is not what the world holds for you, it is what you bring to it.”
(spoken by Anne in Anne of Green Gables)
Anne of Green Gables is a 1908 novel by Canadian author Lucy Maud Montgomery. The main character, Anne Shirley,is an 11-year-old orphan girl who is mistakenly sent to Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert, a middle-aged brother and sister who had intended to adopt a boy to help them on their farm in Prince Edward Island. The novel recounts how Anne makes her way with the Cuthberts, in school, and within the town.Since its publication, Anne of Green Gables has sold more than 50 million copies and has been translated into 20 languages. Montgomery wrote numerous sequels, and since her death, another sequel has been published, as well as an authorized prequel. The original book is taught to students around the world. (Wickipedia)
The story of the unbridled enthusiasm and joy in living is portrayed in the mini series produced from the book. It shows the contrasted living tween Anne and Katherine Brooke who is one of three teachers at Summerside High School during Anne Shirley’s time there.Katherine was bitter and determined to believe that no one in the world loved her or cared about her. Persistently, Anne shows her this is not true. Throughout the story, Katherine stabs Anne with sarcastic remarks, showing her determination not to be happy.
Nevertheless, Anne is always perfectly honest in her assessment and eager to find the best in people gives this description of Katherine in a letter to her friends back home.
“She isn’t pretty but she might make more of herself. She is dark and swarthy, with magnificent black hair always dragged back from her high forehead and coiled in a clumsy knot at the base of her neck. Her eyes don’t match her hair, being a clear, light amber under her black brows. She has ears she needn’t be ashamed to show and the most beautiful hands I’ve ever seen. Also, she has a well-cut mouth.”
How often we all choose a pathway in one direction or another. We choose to be upbeat or discontented and sour. Perhaps as important as the characters of this story of Anne of Green Gables is the the story of the author who wrote it.
L.M. Montgomery, the author of Anne of Green Gables, was born 140 years ago. The Canadian writer published 20 novels, many of which are still read around the world. But while her most popular creation, Anne Shirley, finds love and happiness, Montgomery herself wasn’t so lucky. Her life was full of loneliness, suffering, and disappointment. In fact, her writings were often hidden because the disapproval of relatives and her own life story was one of great difficulty, especially with her husband, Ewan, who was mentally ill.
“In 1919,Ewan had a mental breakdown. He suffered from “religious melancholia” and believed that God had predestined him to hell. He would spend days groaning, sobbing, singing hymns, and howling uncontrollably. Sometimes he would stare at the wall for hours, “hair bristling, blue underlip hanging, eyes glaring, face livid,” Montgomery wrote.She felt pressured to hide the illness to protect his job as a minister and the family’s reputation. “No one must know,” she wrote. “For Ewan’s sake, and the children as well as my own, what his trouble is. As long as I can keep it secret.” The illness continued for the rest of Ewan’s life.
Today, we know that facing mental and emotional illness is a treatable disease. One can get help with problems that Montgomery faced. Perhaps her writings about Anne were an escape from the real problems she, herself, was facing. Nevertheless, the story has resonated throughout the years and gives hope to all those who have difficult circumstances as both Anne and her creator, Montgomery, faced. The enthusiasm of Anne in Montgomery’s story gives all of the reason to desire that our personalities, in any generation, will bring to the world and the people around us the joy of living…regardless, as she said, what the world holds for us.
“It is not what the world holds for you, it is what you bring to it.”
Video: 3 outstanding performances from Anne of Green Gables (Turn on sound)
There is probably nothing sweeter than honey. One may find it interesting that honey is compared to sweet or pleasant words. The benefits are extraordinary for the soul and for the healing of the body, according to Proverbs 16:24.
“Pleasant words are like a honey comb…sweetness to the soul and healing to the body.”
What we say and how we say it may actually effect our health. We know that angry words fill the body with stress. Resentments, even if not verbalized, can do the same. When you feel like striking out or blistering someone with your words, try saying something totally different…a complement or something caring. See if your whole body seems to relax.
The purest honey is from the honeycomb. Its ingredients include water, pollen, fructose, glucose, organic acids, proteins and enzymes. As to the benefits of honey or the honey comb on the body, I found this interesting:
“Called the “nectar of the gods” by the ancient Greeks, honey is enjoyed by many today, not only for its health claims, but also for its sweet taste. The healthiest honey is honey straight from the honeycomb, and it is harvested for many uses.
- Chewing Honeycomb helps allergy symptoms.
- Raw honey straight from the comb can help with scarring of the skin, skin infections and as a moisturizer.
- Honey is filled with the main amino acids , B,C,D, and E vitamins as well as essential enzymes.
- It is a fat fighter because it boosts metabolism and is an instant energy boost.
- Honey cleans the blood vessels and aids digestion.
- As a home remedy, it has been used for years for athlete’s foot, arthritis pain, yeast infections, hangovers, sore throats, insomnia, and cuts and burns. “
The importance of the bee is in our sayings: “Busy as a bee” To get from the flower to the hive that they have made with such care…produce the honey and give mankind and animals a wonderful, sweet food is remarkable in deed. See the video below on our honey industry…and remember to keep your words pleasant and sweet …for your health’s sake and those around you.
If one looks up the word, TRUST, used as a noun, it has to do with confidence, belief, faith, certainty, assurance, conviction, credence, or reliance. I’d like to start with the word, “assurance”. Can we really be assured that we can trust someone or something to be all those words? Confidence is a very strong word. It gives the feeling that we do not need to doubt because there is total confidence.If the truth be known, there is probably a little doubt in any of these words that we equate with trust.
- Think about this for a moment. We get in our car and drive somewhere in the world. Here, in front of us in a bridge…perhaps like this one below if we happen to be driving in China, which is not recommended. While we are on the subject of bridges…made by human beings; constructed by human beings; maintained by human beings…we might also be driving across the Millau-Viaduct Bridge in France. This is not for the faint of heart or those who have a fear of heights, because this is considered the world’s highest bridge.
We get to the airport and once again we are asked to trust: Trust that the security has been checked correctly and thoroughly; trust the pilot has not had a rough night; trust that the mechanics have performed their duties for our safe flight.
I remember getting on a Russian airlines, flying out of Ukraine at a small airport. The attendant at the gate checked my ticket and passport and we boarded. The flight crew decided that the runway would be safe enough to take off with holes in the runway and weeds growing out of big ruts. Having a second thought, he moved the plane over on the grassy area, gunned it and took off… while from inside I watched a very large screw dangle over my head. Immediately I wondered who serviced this plane? Looking at the man next to me, from Amsterdam, I asked, “Do you think we’ll make it?” He answered, “I trust we will.” Oh my, his trust was better than mine. This is only an example of how trusting we are with our lives. If we were not, we would surely miss the adventure that goes with seeing the world and exploring new places. Even staying at home in our bed has its risks. A man in Florida went to bed; a sink hole opened up and swallowed the whole house. (This is true.) As far as I know they never found him because the sink hole was so deep and this is his grave to this day.
Another one of the words about trust, is “reliance”. Almost everything in our lives has a reliance on others to do the right thing. We eat at a restaurant and we rely on the fact that the kitchen is clean and not filled with cockroaches or that the food has been properly refrigerated so that we don’t have an evening of agony from food poisoning. I usually check out a new restaurant’s bathroom…for a dirty bathroom usually means a dirty kitchen. This is not for certain, but possible a good connection. It has not worked a few times and tainted food does mean “I think I’m going to die!” We also rely on those who grow our food to not have a sewer ditch right next to where our vegetables are growing soaking up the water nearest them. Hopefully as you read this, you are not going soon to your next meal. Trust me…wait a while.
Saying the words, “Trust me” is something we often hear someone say. I think they mean that we can have confidence in what they are saying or doing. It is a glib statement that carries little weight…yet we do often “trust”…regardless.
All in all, to trust is a very scary thing. Even in relationships, we marry the person who promises to love us always. Many know that those trusts can be broken. For those who have found the person who also makes their way of life a trust-worthy one, we are most fortunate indeed.
Some of the people we trust the most are those in the medical field. We want to be certain that the nurse or the lab technician is careful to give the exact test asked for by the doctor as well as the correct results. When it comes to diagnosis, this is critical. Our physicians must have up-to-date training and knowledge as the average person must trust their opinions and proper treatment.
The family of the elderly must be certain that their loved ones are going to be cared for properly when they can not care for themselves. More than once I observed, when my Mother was in an assisted living facility, that she had to trust herself to be given the proper medicines. I had to step in, as her advocate, to assure that mistakes were not being made with her. Either the nursing attendants were overwhelmed with work or were simply careless when passing out the little cup with several medications. Once my Mother said, “No, no I don’t get that one.” It is sad to think of those who are in wheelchairs and mentally unable to challenge those whom they should be able to trust.
Even in faith, we are asked to trust. One of my favorite verses from the Holy Scriptures is Proverbs 3:5, 6. “TRUST in the Lord with all your heart. Lean not to your own understanding, but in all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths.”
Back to the people we trust everyday: the restaurant owner, the engineer, the pilot, those responsible for our safety around the world and in our homes…those who care about us enough to protect us, I have one thing to say. Do your jobs diligently and even in the smallest details! Your job may not be important in your own eyes, but you may be a life saver to others. There are people out there trusting you. Never forget it.
“Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters.” —Albert Einstein