Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Nick Vujicic- Life Without Limbs

Here's another truly inspirational story. Nick Vujicic was born without any limbs and yet this beautiful young man has turned what could be regarded as a major liability into something extraordinarily positive. He has dedicated his life to inspiring others, and indeed he is doing just that!

Regardless of one's religious affiliation, this young man proves what one can accomplish when one has faith.



In his own words:

My name is Nick Vujicic and I give God the Glory for how He has used my testimony to touch thousands of hearts around the world! I was born without limbs and doctors have no medical explanation for this birth "defect". As you can imagine, I was faced with many challenges and obstacles. "Consider it pure joy, my Brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds." .... To count our hurt, pain and struggle as nothing but pure joy? As my parents were Christians, and my Dad even a Pastor of our church, they knew that verse very well. However, on the
morning of the 4th of December 1982 in Melbourne (Australia ), the last two words on the minds of my parents was "Praise God!". Their firstborn son had been born without limbs! There were no warnings or time to prepare themselves for it. The doctors we shocked and had no answers at all! There is still no medical reason why this had happened and Nick now has a Brother and Sister who were born just like any other baby. The whole church mourned over my birth and my parents were absolutely devastated. Everyone asked, "if God is a God of Love, then why would God let something this bad happen to not just anyone, but dedicated Christians?" My Dad thought I wouldn't survive for very long, but tests proved that I was a healthy baby boy just with a few limbs missing.

"And we know that in all things God works for the best for those who love Him." That verse spoke to my heart and convicted me to the point where that I know that there is no such thing as luck, chance or coincidence that these "bad" things happen in our life. I had complete peace knowing that God won't let anything happen to us in our life unless He has a good purpose for it all. I completely gave my life to Christ at the age of fifteen after reading John 9. Jesus said that the reason the man was born blind was "so that the works of God may be revealed through Him." I truly believed that God would heal me so I could be a great testimony of His Awesome Power. Later on I was given the wisdom to understand that if we pray for something, if it's God's will, it'll happen in His time. If it's not God's will for it to happen, then I know that He has something better. I now see that Glory revealed as He is using me just the way I am and in ways others can't be used. I am now 23 years old [
I think he's actually 24 now] and have completed a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in Financial Planning and Accounting. I am also a motivational speaker and love to go out and share my story and testimony wherever opportunities become available. have developed talks to relate to and encourage students through topics that challenge today's teenagers. I am also a speaker in the corporate sector.

I have a passion for reaching out to youth and keep myself available for whatever God wants me to do, and wherever He leads, I follow. I have many dreams and goals that I have set to achieve in my life. I want to become the best witness I can be of God's Love and Hope , to become an international inspirational speaker and be used as a vessel in both Christian and non-Christian venues. I want to become financially independent by the age of 25, through real estate investments, to modify a car for me to drive and to be interviewed and share my story on the " Oprah Winfrey Show "! Writing several best-selling books has been one of my dreams and I hope to finish writing my first by the end of the year. It will be called "No Arms, No Legs, No Worries!"

I believe that if you have the desire and passion to do something,
and if it's God's will, you will achieve it in good time. As humans, we continually put limits on ourselves for no reason at all! What's worse is putting limits on God who can do all things. We put God in a "box". The awesome thing about the Power of God, is that if we want to do something for God, instead of focusing on our capability, concentrate on our availability for we know that it is God through us and we can't do anything without Him. Once we make ourselves available for God's work, guess whose capabilities we rely on? God's! May the Lord Bless you In Christ, Nick Vujicic ONLY FEAR IN LIFE IS THAT I FORGET HOW GOD HAS LED ME IN THE PAST!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

To Wash Or Not To Wash: Prewashed salads

For some reason I have always felt compelled to thoroughly wash all my fruits and veggies, including those pre-packaged salads, spinach etc. that claim to be pre-washed. Call me obsessive, call me paranoid, but I just have to do it. Perhaps it's because I have had so many gross experiences in my life with food. I've bitten into a plum and had a worm pop out the other end, right in front of my eyes. The same thing happened with a candy bar, when I still ate chocolate. This big, fat green worm popped up as I bit into a Mr. Goodbar! On another occasion, after having eaten half a box of raisins, I discovered a dead moth and realized (to my horror) why the raisins had been so granular. I've found worms in frozen and canned vegetables, flies in my falafel and hairs in my spaghetti, so you can understand why I am so neurotic when it comes to food inspection and cleanliness both at home and in restaurants.


The following photo confirmed why it is still imperative to wash all those pre-washed salad fixings:





If you look closely below the "Fresco, Lavado" you will see the bulging eyes of a frog. Yummy. The email accompanying the photo assumes that the water the spinach was washed in contained polliwogs, but whether the photo is real or a hoax is undetermined, according to Snopes.com. But there have been other similar cases. Either way, it's probably best to wash everything, unless you want extra protein in your salad!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Brain and Memory Food

As one ages, the brain and memory seem to deteriorate (for various reasons), which is not a terribly comforting thought for those of us who rely on our memories for our income. As an actress, one needs to have a sharp memory and ability to focus, but I've found that those abilities have suffered in recent years. This makes my work doubly challenging and painful.

I started to notice a problem with the onset of my Rheumatoid Arthritis. So, I'm not sure if the R.A. is a factor, or whether it's just age, or perhaps a combination of both, but it is not very pleasant. I have found it much harder to memorize and focus, so I decided to do some research into foods and supplements that might aid in sharpening those skills. I found some interesting information on askmen.com. Yes, it's for men, but the information is, I'm sure, pertinent for both sexes.

It lists the following foods and herbs as useful for boosting brainpower:

Eggs: The brain needs protein and Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) and eggs provide plenty of that.

Oily Fish: This is another wonderful source of protein, and EFAs in the form of Omega 3s. "Oily varieties of fish -- such as salmon, sardines, mackerel, and herring -- are high in the EFAs known as omega-3 fatty acids. These good fats are crucial components of our brain cells and improve learning powers and memory."

Soy: This is a good alternative for vegetarians. Full of protein, which ""triggers neurotransmitters associated with memory." Soy is "also valuable for improving verbal and non-verbal memory, as well as mental flexibility."

Gingko Biloba: Takes a few weeks to kick in, but is one of the most popular.

Green and Black Tea: I don't use caffeine so I will not try this, but they claim that it has a positive affect on Alzheimer's Disease. That it somehow seems to "prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine, a key chemical involved in memory that is lacking in Alzheimer's patients." Green tea seems to function better than black tea, however.

Sage: Apparently, sage might increase acetylcholine in the brain; and various studies have shown that the people who took sage did far better on word recall tests than those who didn't.

Rosemary: Is also helpful. It has also been shown to "strengthen mental clarity and alleviate mental fatigue. Studies have shown that rosemary enhanced subjects' long-term memory by around 15%."

B Vitamins: Vitamin B is a factor in brain power and a deficiency prevents acetylcholine from doing its thing. Both physical and mental stress depletes the body of Vitamin B, so it is highly recommended during periods of stress; which of course, is essential for those of us in the entertainment field. Performing can be both physically and mentally stressful, and the rehearsal period is as highly stressful as the actual performing, so needless to say, I do take a Vitamin B Complex. "B vitamins also carry oxygen to the brain and do away with damaging free radicals; this helps to enhance memory and sharpen the senses. You can either take a supplement or increase your consumption of vitamin B-rich foods, including liver, eggs, lentils, soybeans, and green beans."

Iron: Iron deficiency can be the source of many troubles, including fatigue and mental acuity problems. "Iron helps carry oxygen to the brain, and the lack of oxygen associated with iron deficiency can cause brain cell activity to slow down significantly." I have slight anemia, so I am on Iron supplements, but it can also be toxic, so check with your Doctor before you start taking supplements or increasing your iron intake. You can get your Iron from either Iron-rich foods or supplements. I tried with foods, at first, but it wasn't helpful so I switched to a supplement. They say that Vitamin C is important in aiding Iron absorption, so I take my pill with a glass of orange juice.

Water: I had no idea that dehydration was a factor in memory problems! But according to the article on askmen.com the brain is "70% water, this essential fluid is vital for your memory. In fact, water accelerates the functioning of the brain as a whole, and when it is dehydrated, it works at a slower pace. This is particularly true when it comes to memory; a dehydrated brain releases the hormone cortisol, which adversely affects the brain's capacity to store information and create memory.In addition, cortisol causes adrenalin to be released, which prompts the brain to function in a more primary, instinctive way; this also affects our mental functions and memory."

I know I don't drink enough water, so this was wonderful news. I'm going to substantially increase the amount of water I drink daily, and I'm going right now to the health food store to buy some sage and rosemary. I am about to open a show, and I have extreme brain fatigue. I normally buy all my supplements through vitacost.com (see their link on the side-bar) because the prices are so much cheaper, but I need this now. So, off I go. I will let everyone know if it actually works.


UPDATE:

It seems to have worked. I put the sage and rosemary on veggies, and made an infusion of the herbs and added it to my Sleepytime tea. I drank that twice a day. I also purchased a little bottle of aromatherapy specifically for Clarity and focus, and I got through opening week!

Saturday, October 6, 2007