Thursday, December 27, 2012

Foot Reflexology Chart

Here's a handy dandy foot reflexology chart that I found on Facebook. My cousin travels to China frequently on business,  and one of his first stops is for a foot reflexology session.  He swears by it. One of these days I will try it out, but for now I am extremely happy with acupuncture.

What is it? Wikipedia explains Reflexology (which also includes hands and ears) this way:

The Reflexology Association of Canada defines reflexology as:
"A natural healing art based on the principle that there are reflexes in the feet, hands and ears and their referral areas within zone related areas, which correspond to every part, gland and organ of the body. Through application of pressure on these reflexes without the use of tools, crèmes or lotions, the feet being the primary area of application, reflexology relieves tension, improves circulation and helps promote the natural function of the related areas of the body."

Reflexologists posit that the blockage of an energy field, invisible life force, or Qi, can prevent healing. Another tenet of reflexology is the belief that practitioners can relieve stress and pain in other parts of the body through the manipulation of the feet. One claimed explanation is that the pressure received in the feet may send signals that 'balance' the nervous system or release chemicals such as endorphins that reduce stress and pain. These hypotheses are rejected by the general medical community, who cite a lack of scientific evidence and the well-tested germ theory of disease.

Naturally, Western medicine will categorize anything it can't explain as bogus, but if it works why not give it a try. It's not as if it can harm you.


Firmly press  the affected point with thumb for 5 seconds and then release for 3 seconds.  Repeat for 2-3 minutes for 5 to 10 days.

Source of chart and instructions: Sungazing Facebook

Monday, December 24, 2012

Priorities- Happy Holidays 2012

While some kids are thinking about what Santa will bring them on Christmas eve, others realize that there are priorities much greater than receiving the latest X-Box under their tree.

Chase Branscum from Owasso, Oklahoma, was turning eight, and instead of turning his party into an opportunity to make out like a bandit, the young boy decided to turn his celebration into a Toy's For Tots drive.  Around 100 people showed up with around 500 presents, all of which will be donated to the community through the Marine's Toys For Tots programme.

Then there's Bethany Arnold who told Santa that the only thing she wanted for Christmas was her dad home from Iraq, a contractor working on that country's electrical infrastructure. She had only seen her dad for 2 weeks in 2 years. The following video is from last year, but try watching it without grabbing for that box of Kleenex.

Both these kids are wiser than many adults, they know what's important in life, and it's not material things.

During this holiday season what's important is family and giving.

Happy Holidays to you all.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Mayan End of The World Charity Game: Wheel of Destruction

It's 5 days until the end of the world (December 21), at least according to the Mayan calendar. So, here's a fun game you can play while earning money for various charitable organizations.

Fashioned after the Wheel of Fortune, this one is called the Wheel of Destruction. 

Can the much anticipated, possibly over-hyped, world-ending 2012 Mayan Apocalypse raise awareness for disaster-preparedness? Yes – so much so that we’ve made a fund-raising game around the much bally-hoo-ed Mayan End of the World.

Just log on (via Facebook or your Twitter account), choose your charity and match three-of-a-kind as you spin the Wheel of Destruction. When you match three destructors, you’ll see a wacky world-ending simulation and, more importantly, the good folks at WoD will make a donation to your chosen charity to help prepare for and relieve actual disasters.

How much money you raise for charity depends on what destructor you match three times:
Though we loathe to tempt Fate, we’re almost completely sure that the 2012 Mayan Apocalypse is a myth. But either way, play Wheel of Destruction and mankind will be better prepared for survival.

Note: you will only be allowed to play for charity once per day (from 12:00 am to 11:59 pm EST) but you can practice as much as you want. A total of $3,000 will be donated among the various charities on approximately December 28, 2012.

The only drawback is having to sign in with either Facebook or Twitter.

Click here for the game on

Here's a little low down on the history behind the Mayan Apocalypse from their website.

Mayan Apocalypse 2012

The countdown to the apocalypse is on. The ancient Mayan Long Count calendar allegedly marked as the end of an era that would reset the date to zero and signal the end of humanity. But will it?

The end of the world theories stem from a stone tablet discovered in the 1960s at the archaeological site of Tortuguero in the Gulf of Mexico state of Tabasco that describes the return of a Mayan god at the end of a 13th period.

"The Maya are viewed by many westerners as exotic folks that were supposed to have had some special, secret knowledge," said Mayan scholar Sven Gronemeyer.

The blogosphere exploded with more speculation when Mexico’s archaeology institute acknowledged on a second reference to December 21, 2012, on a brick found at other ruins. “Human beings seem to be attracted by apocalyptic ideas and always assume the worse,” Gronemeyer said.

Believers have taken the end-of-the-world fears to the Internet with hundreds of thousands of websites and blogs.

Friday, December 14, 2012

The Vegg- Vegan Egg Yolk Now Available

Was poking around my Facebook news feed and noticed something had posted about a vegan egg yolk. Yes, there is now a vegan egg yolk called The Vegg which is available to veggie consumers, worldwide, it seems. I eat eggs, so I'm not sure I'll try it, but for those who love eggs and refuse to eat them, this might be a nice alternative for baking.

Apparently it's a powder you mix with water and it turns a thick, yellowish yolky color. It looks kind of yucky, but if you're baking with it, who cares.

There's a list of places you can buy/order it from including some online sources, and their website lists some yummy looking recipes using the product. The website also mentions that if you buy the product between now and 2014, the company will donate 10% to Compassion Over Killing.

The ingredients for all you label lookers:

 Nutritional Yeast Flakes, Sodium Alginate, Kala Namak, Beta-Carotene
Blend contents with one liter of water. (For Vegg users who wish to not mix all at once, use this conversion: Blend 1 teaspoon of The Vegg powder with 1/4 cup water equivalent to about two to three yolks!)

I had to google Kala Namak, since I had no clue what it was. Apparently it's an Indian black mineral salt used in cooking, that actually is more grayish pink in color and has a sulfurous taste, like hard boiled eggs, hence the use in an egg alternative.  It's also apparently used in Ayurvedic medicine for high blood pressure, and is said to help with flatulence and heartburn.

However, the sodium alginate (derived from brown seaweed) might be problematic for some.

If you purchase the Kala Namak salt through Amazon, I get a few pennies. In fact if you purchase anything from any of the sponsors on the right, I get a few pennies.

Please note, I get nothing from The Vegg other than satisfaction from sharing some interesting information.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Mistletoe Extract Potential Colon Cancer Cure

Photo: Wikipedia
When I think of mistletoe, I think of Christmas, and songs like "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus (underneath the mistletoe)", because that's all it's good for, right? Snatching a loving kiss from your sweetie underneath a hanging piece of Mistletoe. Wrong. I wasn't aware that Mistletoe actually had any medicinal properties, but it does, and it's a biggie.

Australian scientists at the University of Adelaide have been experimenting with Mistletoe extract and have found that it has huge potential for helping with colon cancer, either as a complementary holistic treatment along with chemotherapy, or even as an alternative healing modality.

What's amazing is that it was a student, Zahra Lotfollahi, who discovered the efficacy of Mistletoe extract while working on her Honours research project at the University of Adelaide. Comparing three different extracts in conjunction with chemotherapy on both colon cancer cells and healthy cells, she discovered that one in particular from the Fraxini species- grown on ash trees- was able to kill cancer cells better than chemo, and without the harsh side effects.  Lotfollahi said:

"This is an important result because we know that chemotherapy is effective at killing healthy cells as well as cancer cells. This can result in severe side effects for the patient, such as oral mucositis (ulcers in the mouth) and hair loss."

"Our laboratory studies have shown Fraxini mistletoe extract by itself to be highly effective at reducing the viability of colon cancer cells. At certain concentrations, Fraxini also increased the potency of chemotherapy against the cancer cells.

"Of the three extracts tested, and compared with chemotherapy, Fraxini was the only one that showed a reduced impact on healthy intestinal cells. This might mean that Fraxini is a potential candidate for increased toxicity against cancer, while also reducing potential side effects. However, more laboratory testing is needed to further validate this work."

According to her supervisor, Professor Gordon Howarth:

"Although mistletoe grown on the ash tree was the most effective of the three extracts tested, there is a possibility that mistletoe grown on other, as yet untested, trees or plants could be even more effective.

"This is just the first important step in what we hope will lead to further research, and eventually clinical trials, of mistletoe extract in Australia,"

Howarth claims the extract has been available in Europe and other countries overseas, but not in the the United States or Australia, hence the need for research. I'm sure much has to do with big pharma, since there's not any money to be made with natural alternatives, but hopefully something will come of this.

Although lung and bronchial cancer is the number one cancer killer in the West, colon cancer comes in second.

Some fun facts on Mistletoe that I had no clue about:

1. It's parasitic. Like a fungus, it grows on trees and shrubs. "As it grows, it burrows into its host, and draws nutrients from the tree", a little like a vampire.

2.  It can be slightly toxic to humans, so not something you'd want to munch on.

3.  Using Mistletoe as a holiday decoration pre-dates Christianity, and was considered  a fertility symbol.
According to legend, Baldur, the god of light, began to have terrible nightmares that he would soon be killed. To ease his mind, Baldur’s mother, Frigga, undertook a journey to make everything in heaven or Earth – plants, animals, weapons, and so on – swear an oath not to harm Baldur. Because her son was so universally loved, everything she asked gladly made this promise. Unfortunately, the goddess overlooked the humble mistletoe. Realizing Frigga’s mistake, Loki, the god of mischief and fire, fashioned a spear of mistletoe and tricked Baldur’s blind twin brother, Hodur, into throwing it at the light god. The mistletoe pierced Baldur’s heart, killing him and bringing darkness to the world. Being magical, the gods were eventually able to resurrect Baldur. To celebrate his return, Frigga declared that mistletoe would be a symbol of love, and commanded gods and humans to kiss beneath its leaves in memory of her son. Some versions of the myth, though, say Loki foiled the gods’ attempt to restore Baldur to life. In this case, it is prophesied that the light god will return at Ragnarok, the destruction and rebirth of the world, and the mistletoe kiss is a foretaste of the joy that is yet to come.

And more fun facts.

This is good news, now we just need the FDA to approve it. Of course that means it will be available, if at all, when I'm dead and gone.

Sources: Newswise

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Generosity: NY Police Officer Who Gave Homeless Man Boots Goes Viral

'Tis the season of sharing and giving, although that sentiment should be something we think of year round. So, in that spirit of giving, here's a story to warm the cockles of your heart, and it's the epitome of what sharing, without expectations, is all about.

Jennifer Foster, an Arizona woman, was walking with her husband in Times Square- the heart of New York City- on a cold November night when she encountered a police officer engaged in a random act of kindness.  She snapped a photo with her cell phone of the officer with the homeless man he was helping, and this is how she describes it:

Right when I was about to approach, one of [the NYPD's] officers came up behind him. The officer said, ‘I have these size 12 boots for you, they are all-weather. Let’s put them on and take care of you.’ The officer squatted down on the ground and proceeded to put socks and the new boots on this man. The officer expected NOTHING in return and did not know I was watching. I have been in law enforcement for 17 years. I was never so impressed in my life. I did not get the officer’s name. It is important, I think, for all of us to remember the real reason we are in this line of work. The reminder this officer gave to our profession in his presentation of human kindness has not been lost on myself or any of the Arizona law enforcement officials with whom this story has been shared.

Foster emailed the NYPD about what she witnessed, they asked her for a copy of the photo, which they posted on their FaceBook page, and from there it went viral. They eventually discovered the identity of the officer, who thought nothing of what he did.

[Larry DePrimo] readily recalled the encounter. “It was freezing out and you could see the blisters on the man’s feet [...] I had two pairs of socks and I was still cold.” They started talking; he found out the man’s shoe size: 12. As the man walked slowly down Seventh Avenue on his heels, Officer DePrimo went into a Skechers shoe store at about 9:30 p.m. “We were just kind of shocked,” said [store manager] Jose Cano [...] “Most of us are New Yorkers and we just kind of pass by that kind of thing. Especially in this neighborhood.”

Mr. Cano volunteered to give the officer his employee discount to bring down the regular $100 price of the all-weather boots to a little more than $75. The officer has kept the receipt in his vest since then, he said, “to remind me that sometimes people have it worse.”

Officer Larry DePrimo, at the young age of 25 already knows the true meaning of compassion, empathy and generosity. He has been a police officer since 2010, and deserves kudos for his inspiration to a world sorely lacking in compassion and generosity.  The NYPD post has, to date, 458,000 'Likes',  well over 160,000 'Shares', and over 34,000 comments.  Many people have mentioned they wished all police officers were like DePrimo, but that's not what they should be focusing on.  Any one of us can do what DePrimo did.  And it doesn't take much money. If you have little  to spare, donate your time. Or offer someone a cup of coffee like DePrimo did with the homeless man, though he says:

 “as soon as the boots were on him, he went on his way, and I just went back to my post.”

It really doesn't take much to be kind, after all, we are our brothers keepers.

Sources: New York TimesPetaPixel

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving 2012

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays.  Not so much because of the food- though I do look forward to my Tofurkey and tofu pumpkin pie, plus all the fixings- but because it's a day to count my blessings.  Of course, this is something we should do every day of the year: a gratitude journal is a good way to take stock of the good things in our lives. 

Even when we don't feel so blessed, when things aren't necessarily bountiful in our lives, there is always something we can be thankful for, if only the fact that we are still breathing.

I am blessed to still have my loving and generous parents and sister. Some wonderful friends. My creative work that hopefully blesses others. A roof over my head. My health issues under control. And a myriad of other blessings, too numerous to get into.

I wish you all a blessed Thanksgiving!!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Keys to Happiness- 12 Things Happy People Do Chart

Not much I can add to this, other than don't take anything for granted.  

Striving for all 12 would be optimal, but at least try.   You get an A for effort, and if you keep at it, eventually you might find yourself happy.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Five-Second Rule Is Bogus!

I think most everyone has heard of the "five-second rule"- whether you actually use it is another story. It's that rule people follow thinking it's perfectly okay to eat something that has fallen on the floor as long as it doesn't sit there for more than five seconds. When you really think about it, I'm not sure why anyone would believe that something that has fallen onto a filthy floor might somehow be safe to eat simply because you have a speedy reaction picking it up. I will admit, there were times when a precious, costly supplement fell on the floor and I'd snatch it up, wipe it off and slug it down, but not anymore. After I had some digestive issues, unrelated to the Ulcerative Colitis- some nasty bacteria that I needed to use heavy duty antibiotics for- I decided it wasn't worth the risk, even if that wasn't how I picked up the nasty bug.

As it turns out, that five-second rule is totally bogus, so you might want to reconsider picking up that delectable piece of chocolate that fell on the floor and just chuck it into the garbage.

You see, scientists from various institutions, including S.C. Clemson University food scientist Paul Dawson, have conducted research and found a whole bevy of buggies can collect on food items in less than five seconds.

San Diego State in conjunction with Clorox also did some research, and it's not just dirty floors we have to worry about:

...dried fruit can pick up dangerous bacteria in under five seconds, while pasta can pick up dangerous bacteria in just three.

To come to their conclusion that the five-second-rule is mere myth, the group dropped baby carrots on different surfaces, including a countertop, a kitchen sink, a table, a high chair tray and both a carpeted and tiled floor, according to ABC.

The group found the countertop to be the dirtiest surface, followed closely by the carpet and tile floor.

"We wanted to know if there was any truth to the theory that bacteria need time to attach to surfaces of fallen food or commonly dropped items like sippy cups," Dr. Scott Kelley, Associate Professor of Biology at San Diego State University, said in a statement. "Unfortunately, for those of us who lived by that rule, it looks like a total myth – five seconds is all it takes."

Discovery Channel's Mythbusters conducted its own experiment.  And they say toilet seats are cleaner than floors. Ick.

Watch the video here.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

A Man, His Dog And Kindhearted People: Donations pour in for John Unger and his arthritic dog Schoep

The story of John Unger and his arthritic dog Schoep brought tears to my eyes the first time I read about it. I'm sure you all remember photographer Hannah Stonehouse Hudson's now famous photo of Unger lovingly holding his floating 19-year-old dog Schoep in Lake Superior after it went viral back in August. This act of loving kindness by an owner who obviously will do anything to relieve his beloved dog's pain is heartwarming in a world that can be hard and cruel.

But not only is the love for his dog to be commended, but the outpouring of love from total strangers has been overwhelming, and reaffirms one's faith in humanity.
Ever since that photo was posted on the internet, Unger has a newfound celebrity status. Mail from all over the world fills his Bayfield home. The letters and gifts come from complete strangers, but in every package, he finds an instant connection because all that mail is from someone who cares about Schoep.

"It's amazing. Because we've opened up our lives, people are opening up theirs to us," said Unger.

All write about the photo that captures the commitment of an owner trying to relieve the pain of his aging pet. The water helps relieved the pressure on the dog's arthritic joints.

And the wonderful news is that Schoep seems to be getting better.

"He has a much better life. He is not in pain as much, and he's enjoying himself again," Unger said.

One of the many gifts he received was from a woman in California who shipped a Tempur-pedic bed for Schoep, which has been a Godsend.

"He's sleeping through the night, which is huge. He would get up at least four times a night," Unger said.

Unger has received other gifts including supplements and donations to Bay Area Animal Hospital, the vet who takes care of Schoep.

"One person donated three times over three days. She just kept calling, wanting to give more," said Pam Lightner, a receptionist at Bay Area Animal Hospital.

Nearly every day, for the last several weeks, the vet clinic receives correspondence from all over the world from those who aren't ready for an 18-year partnership to end.

"Without treatment it was time to say goodbye to Schoep," said Erik Haukaas, Schoep's veterinarian.

More than $10,000 has been donated. The money pays for a weekly laser therapy to stimulate old cells in Schoep's body. The cells then reproduce faster, reducing swelling and pain.

"This is the best response I've ever seen with these treatments," said Haukaas.

The treatments have made Schoep's life much more bearable, and he can now walk better than he has in a long while. But Unger still takes his doggy to Lake Superior for their special floating time together, and watching the video below brought tears to my eyes once more.

Unger believes the photo gave Schoep a longer lease on life.

"Had this not happened, he probably wouldn't be here anymore."

Once Schoep passes on, whatever money is left will go towards establishing a Schoep legacy foundation to help other sick dogs in need.

WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Is That Arsenic In My Rice- New studies find high levels in rice products

I love rice- it's easily digested, one of the least allergenic foods that exist, and just plain yummy. I love the chewy, nutty flavor of brown rice, the aromatic taste of basmati, and there's nothing like a good, creamy rice pudding. And since some think that too much soy is not good for you, I have taken to using rice milk with my cereal. Now all that might change since we are now being told that rice has arsenic levels that, in some cases, exceeds what the FDA claims is okay for a quart of water. That's not good, since arsenic is a poison that in large quantities can kill (think that old dandy play "Arsenic and Old Lace"). It can also cause cancer, skin and nervous system problems, along with stomach troubles (including nausea, vomiting, pain, diarrhea), diabetes, anemia, high blood pressure, blood vessel damage among other things.

Oddly enough it occurs naturally in our soil, and although the FDA has standards for the amount of arsenic allowed in water, it does not set limits for food.

We are privy to this information after studies were conducted by Consumer Reports, the FDA and the state attorney for Illinois, Lisa Madigan.  All the studies found high levels in all the foods that were tested from children's rice cereal products to brown rice syrup to, yes, my rice milk.

Although some are saying we shouldn't worry yet about the amounts we eat (that's mostly the rice industry and the FDA) others are saying we need to limit the amounts we eat.  Lisa Madigan said:

“First and foremost, I want to warn parents that every rice cereal product we tested contained arsenic. These results are shocking because rice cereal is often a baby’s first solid food. “Parents and caregivers should moderate the amount of rice products they feed their children.”

And if you think buying organic will make a difference, think again.  Arsenic was found in both organic and non-organic products.

Consumer Reports has this advice about eating rice:

Test your water. If your home is not on a public water system, have your water tested for arsenic and lead.
Change the way you cook rice. Boiling rice with more water than you need and draining it afterward removes about 30% of the inorganic arsenic. Try using a ratio of 1 cup of rice to 6 cups of water.
Eat a varied diet. Some vegetables accumulate arsenic when grown in contaminated soil. To help, clean vegetables thoroughly, especially potato skins.Eat other grains. Wheat and oats have lower levels of arsenic than rice. For those who need to eat gluten-free, quinoa, millet, and amaranth may be better options.

For more information on the subject, and to find out which are the worst offenders read this Consumer Reports article. Some of the worst:

“Among all tested rice, the highest levels of inorganic arsenic per serving were found in some samples of Martin Long Grain Brown rice, followed by Della Basmati Brown, Carolina Whole Grain Brown, Jazzmen Louisiana Aromatic Brown, and Whole Foods’ 365 Everyday Value Long Grain Brown"

I actually eat cereal every other day, so I think I will also buy some soy milk and alternate using that with the rice milk.

I'm not a happy camper.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

How You See Yourself Versus How Others See You

We are always so worried about what others think of us, how they see us, how they feel about us when the only thing that really matters is:

A. how we see ourselves

and more importantly,

B. how our Creator sees us.

Who cares what others think? There will always be people in your life who will stifle your growth by telling you that something can not be accomplished- that you aren't pretty/handsome enough, talented enough, smart enough, or strong enough- but as long as you believe you are, that you believe in yourself, you can achieve anything.

First you have to cultivate those feelings of self worth, and know that with faith anything is possible, regardless of outer circumstances.  I remember a woman I used to work with, a long time ago, had just visited Hawaii and decided she wanted to move there. She was told that it was almost impossible to get work in Honolulu, but this woman refused to listen to the naysayers and popped off a bunch of resumes. She received at least 4 or 5 job offers and  moved to Hawaii.  She had so much faith in herself and her abilities her dream came true.

The place to start is by learning to love yourself. Look in a mirror and forgive yourself for all your faults. Then, as hard as it might be, write down all the positive things about yourself. Every little thing matters. Focus on the good things. Daily. Affirmations are great, as are meditations like the one below.

Some good affirmations to use:

I love and accept myself as I am
I love and respect myself
I accept myself completely
I am loved and lovable
I am a wonderful person
I am strong and capable
I am loving and kind
I can accomplish anything I set my mind to
I can accomplish anything through God's love

There are endless amounts of affirmations you can use, but remember to always state them in the affirmative, and as if they are already true.

Be the best person that you can be, and everything else will fall into place.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Successful Versus Unsuccessful People- chart

I found this chart which identifies what the difference is between successful and unsuccessful people on Facebook and thought it was worth posting.

They're great things to aspire to, even if you manage only a few.  And though it might make the difference between whether you are successful or not, it will definitely make you a better person.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Bananas Just As Helpful As Sugary Sports Drinks

Although I still have yet to try it, some people claim that bananas are a great alternative to chemical teeth whiteners. Apparently the inner part of the banana peel rubbed on your teeth can make your teeth whiter.

Now some researchers at Appalachian State University have discovered that bananas are actually as helpful as carbohydrate type sports drinks like Gatorade, without all that sugar, and other additives. It's certainly a better choice than grabbing a bottle of unnaturally blue colored, sugary liquid. Dr. David C. Nieman of  the Human Performance Lab at the North Carolina Research Campus at Appalachian State in Kannapolis said:

"We wanted to see which was more beneficial when consumed during intense cycling -- bananas or a carbohydrate sports drink.  We found that not only was performance the same whether bananas or sports drinks were consumed, there were several advantages to consuming bananas."

Trained cyclists were the guinea pigs for the study, one group was given a carbohydrate drink the other  some banana:

For the study, trained cyclists consumed either a cup of carbohydrate drink or half a banana every 15 minutes during a 75-kilometer simulated road race lasting 2.5 to 3 hours. Blood samples taken from the cyclists before and after the exercise were analyzed at the NCRC Metabolomics Laboratory for more than 100 metabolites -- molecules associated with metabolism.
Unlike the sports drink, the bananas provided a much healthier alternative, and a few additional benefits that the drinks did not.

The bananas provided the cyclists with antioxidants not found in sports drinks as well as a greater nutritional boost, including fiber, potassium and Vitamin B6, the study showed. In addition, bananas have a healthier blend of sugars than sports drinks.
"Bananas come prepackaged with fiber, nutrients and antioxidants," said Nieman, adding the research translates to any exercise.
"The mode of exercise is not the issue. I think there are a lot of athletes who don't like the thought of drinking carbohydrate sports drinks, which are essentially flavored sugar water," he said. "This type of research shows that you can have healthier carbohydrate sources before and after exercise that will support athletic performance just as well as a sports drink," Nieman said.

I know which I would choose, if I was heavily into sports, which I'm not.

It should be noted that the study was funded by Dole, but even so, why wouldn't you choose a healthy banana over Gatorade?

Source: Science Daily

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Whiten Teeth With Banana Peel

I love finding natural, alternative ways to deal with certain issues, and although I haven't tried this particular method of whitening teeth, it certainly can't do much harm. And the best part, it only costs the price of a banana.

People love having bright pearly whites, but many things can cause stains including certain foods, smoking and caffeine. There are a myriad of ways to whiten yellowing teeth- from expensive treatments at your dentist, to cheaper over-the-counter DIY processes. But those can cause problems from stripping the enamel on your bicuspids to sensitivity. One woman even comments about its addictive nature, and the potential for chemical burns and leaving your teeth even yellower.  When you think about it, the idea of putting chemicals in your mouth that  you could easily swallow isn't such a good idea. 

So, here's the banana treatment.  Again, I have not tried it so I can't vouch for its efficacy, but it might be worth a try.

The instructions on E-How suggest that you can either brush your teeth first (preferably with a natural toothpaste) or after, but I would recommend brushing after to prevent plaque build-up from food deposits.  In fact, I would also floss after the banana peel treatment, and then brush your teeth. They suggest using a ripe banana since ripe ones have more potassium. Apparently its all the minerals including the potassium, manganese, and magnesium that help with the whitening.


1. Peel a banana as you normally would. Save the fruit to eat later or freeze in chunks to use in  smoothies.

2. Cut a piece of banana peel and start to gently rub the soft inside part (where the peel meets the fruit) against your teeth for about 2 to 3 minutes.

They also recommend doing this twice a day, morning and night.

If anyone has tried this, I would love to know what the results were. If I decide to try this, I will update you, as well.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Wipe Away Worry About "What-Ifs"

Worry is probably one of the most common debilitating problems for humanity, and something most of us battle. I remember decades ago I was needlessly worrying about two projects I was interested in, neither of which I had yet been offered,  and a very dear friend told me "there's no point in worrying until it's a problem", and he was so right. What was the point in wasting all that energy angsting over which project I would choose, when I hadn't been presented with the choice yet?  As it turned out, I never had to make the choice.

His wise words stuck with me, and I try to remember them  when I am in a similar situation.  Until something becomes a problem, until you have an actual choice to make- why worry. Most of the time, and I'd say more than the 40% mentioned in the above chart, it  never becomes issue. Furthermore, by worrying about a situation, since "worry" is a negative energy, are you potentially creating a negative situation by focusing on it?  Thoughts are energy, make them good, positive ones.  Find books that deal with positivity. Check out YouTube videos. You can get over it, or at least reach a point where you don't worry about something that isn't an issue, yet.

Here are some great tips to deal with worry.

Keep telling yourself, this is not a problem. And breathe. Deeply. And if you are a believer, "Let go, and let God."

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Hold My Hand- Story of trust

Found this on Facebook and thought I would share.

There's something very comforting about holding a hand, especially someone you love and trust.

Enjoy the sweet story with a moral.

Hold My Hand- Passionate Parenting

A little girl and her father were crossing a bridge.

The father was kind of scared so he asked his little daughter, ‘Sweetheart, please hold my hand so that you don’t fall into the river.’

The little girl said, ‘No, Dad. You hold my hand.’

‘What’s the difference?’ Asked the puzzled father.

‘There’s a big difference,’ replied the little girl.

‘If I hold your hand and something happens to me, chances are that I may let your hand go.
But if you hold my hand, I know for sure that no matter what happens, you will never let my hand go.’

Moral of the story:

In any relationship, the essence of trust is not in its bind, but in its bond.

So hold the hand of the person who loves you rather than expecting them to hold yours.

Source: Passionate Parenting Facebook

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Managing Chronic Pain With Exercise Using Stretchy Bands

For those of us dealing with chronic pain, sometimes we're just too sore to work out, and yet that's the one thing everyone recommends to help with pain management. Both holistic and allopathic doctors will encourage you to find some form of exercise to get those joints and muscles moving.

So when I found this series of exercises on Real Age, I thought I would share. This way I can also easily access the video. It's a 17 minute work out with bands. If you've ever been to a physical therapist you could probably use those stretchy bands they give you to practice with at home. I still have mine from when I first got sick with the arthritis and my shoulders froze and I had to go to PT three times a week. 

Remember, though, to check with your doctor before you start any exercise programme.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Watermelon Good For The Summer and Your Health

It's summer, and hotter than heck most everywhere in this country, so what better time to bring out some luscious, juicy watermelon. Most people think of watermelon (Citrullus lanatus) as a wonderful and refreshing fruit to add to picnics and bbqs, but guess what, it's actually considered a vegetable, akin to cucumbers, squash and pumpkins. 

You know what else? It has some amazing health benefits.

Chock-full of vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium, lycopene, beta-carotene (and a myriad of other minerals and nutrients) it can help protect the body from viruses, bacteria and parasites. Because of the potassium component, it has been known to help control blood pressure, and possibly prevent kidney stones. The vitamin C and beta-carotene are helpful in preventing cancer and heart disease.
The lycopene is good for prostate, breast, colon and lung health, reducing the risk of cancer. And all the antioxidants are also helpful with asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammation and prevention of macular degeneration.
This is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of how good watermelon is for the human body, and why most anyone would benefit from enjoying a slice or two.

Although it is high in sugar, it's mostly water and fiber and is still considered a low-calorie, fat free, great-for-dieting kind of food.

So cut some up and enjoy!  I know I will.

This article on Care2 has a slew of interesting information on watermelon, including how to pick a good one.

And though it has nothing to do with eating watermelons, per se, read what I wrote about Wally Amos' inspiring "Watermelon Credo".
Sources: Healthmad, Organic Facts,

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Kindness- It Only Takes A Moment- Singapore Kindness Movement

Flash mobs seem to be the latest fad, and they're a global phenomena.  I first discovered their existence on a TV commercial ad not so long ago. So much for being in the know. But since then, there has been a plethora of flash mob activity, some bad- like the recent Jacksonville, Florida spontaneous flash mob that all but destroyed a Walmart, and then there's the opposite out of Singapore:

Singapore's on a mission to make people kinder and gentler, and so they established  "Singapore's Kindness Movement" (SKM). SKM recently gathered some 85 volunteers to create its "Kindness Only Takes A Moment" campaign, and filmed it.
Singapore, 19 July 2012 – There’s always time to make someone’s day. That is the heart of this year’s kindness message that began rolling out on 5th July.

Continuing from last year’s theme, “Say thanks, make someone’s day!” the new direction encourages the public to re-examine how they’re actually spending their time. In the 2012 Graciousness Index, a lack of time was the most often cited excuse for not being more kind or gracious to others.

The Singapore Kindness Movement (SKM) draws attention to some of the things that Singaporeans spend a lot of time on: mobile phones, browsing social media pages, playing computer games and mobile apps. The idea is then put forward that it does not take a lot of time to do something kind or gracious.

The Index also revealed that graciousness ratings are generally lower on public transport, public eating places such as hawker centres and food courts, as well as on the road. Accordingly, these public spaces are a focus area for this year’s campaign.

Each day, millions of commuters make use of the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) and bus services. The SKM is encouraging the public to make the most of this daily commuting time to make someone’s day.

For instance, one MRT station wall mural illustrates a popular mobile game with the following message, “Scrambling for words: 2 mins. Giving up your seat: 2 secs. If there’s time for distractions, surely there’s time for gracious actions.”
It's so true. All it takes is a moment, to smile at someone. Say hello. Open the door. Give a compliment. Let someone go ahead of you at the cashiers in a grocery store. It's the little things that count.  My 87-year-old dad told me that the postal carrier (a woman) offered to help him move this huge stump in our front yard. He refused, but was touched by her kindness.
The Singapore "Kindness" movement began back in 1996 when the Prime Minister at the time, Goh Chok Tong, proposed that Singapore become a more 'gracious' society by the 21st century. Current Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong is the patron of the movement.

SKM'S Mission Statement:

Mission of SKM

To help build a gracious Singapore, the Singapore Kindness Movement aims to encourage the individual to internalise courtesy, kindness and consideration. Our mission statement is:
To inspire graciousness through spontaneous acts of kindness, making life more pleasant for everyone.
Objectives of SKM
- To encourage all Singaporeans to be kind and considerate.
- To create public awareness of acts of kindness.
- To influence and raise the standards of behaviour and responsibility.
I love this. I think every country needs to adopt the same kind of movement.

Poke around the website, there's some good stuff there.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Take The Time To Love- Thai Insurance Video

I found this very touching video on Facebook. If you can get over the fact that it's actually for a Thai life insurance company, it has a very important message.

Take the time: to love more. To take care of our own, to tell them we love them more often, because we never know when our time is up.

This is a one box Kleenex video.

The Facebook page had this quote along with the video:

“When you grow up you can do whatever you want to do, when you do something, make sure you do it well... Never give up; it is stunning how far you can get if you don’t give up.. Never forget how much I love you." ~ Robin Sharma’s words to his kids each night

Source: Success Nation

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Eat Non-Dairy Ice Cream and Donate to Charity

I received an email this morning from Vegetarian Times about So Delicious® Dairy Free frozen dessert teaming up with Brees Dream Foundation, so I decided to look into it. I love finding mutually beneficial opportunities to donate to good causes, especially for those who don't have that extra cash to give.  In this case you get to eat delicious So Delicious products, and for each non-dairy goodie you buy between July 1st and August 31st So Delicious will donate a portion of the net sales (0.75% ) to the Foundation.  There is no cap and they expect the donations will reach at least 50,000.00. It will depend on how much we buy.

I can vouch for So Delicious: since I don't eat chocolate, I have only tried their Soy vanilla frozen dessert (which is yummy), but some of their other flavors sound incredible. Chocolate Obsession. Mint Marble Fudge. They've got sandwiches and fudge bars.  The also have a line of coconut milk products, including a coconut milk ice cream in coconut, vanilla and mango that I have tried, all of which are to die for. I've also tried their strawberry coconut milk yogurt drink, and their soy and coconut milk. And the great thing is you can get coupons on their website.

The campaign is only good on the frozen treats, but the other products are worth a try if you are lactose intolerant, or choose not to eat dairy.

I decided to check out Brees Foundation because I know nothing about it.  It was apparently founded by New Orleans Quarterback Drew Brees and his wife Brittany:

The Brees Dream Foundation was founded in 2003 with a mission to improve the quality of life for cancer patients, and provide care, education and opportunities for children and families in need.

Brittany and Drew Brees and the Brees Dream Foundation have collectively committed and/or contributed more than $11,000,000 to charitable causes and academic institutions in the New Orleans, San Diego and West Lafayette/Purdue communities. Some of the Brees Dream Foundation’s most recent commitments include:
  • Partnering with Nike and the Allstate Sugar Bowl to support the City of New Orleans and Mayor Mitch Landrieu in providing funding as part of $23 million in improvements to transform Joe Brown Park into a world-class, regional park to enable children and families to be healthy and active.
  • Contributing $1,000,000 in funding for the renovation project at the American Cancer Society Patrick F. Taylor Hope Lodge.
  • Contributing $295,000 for the “Peek-A-Boo Camera Project", which will include 51 cameras at Ochsner Medical Center (42 NICU, 6 LDR and 3 antepartum).
  • Contributing $100,000 to complete funding for the GW Carver Field of Dreams.
  • Contributing a total of $150,000 equally between KIPP Charter Schools and Teach for America.
  • Contributing $80,000 to Rady Children’s Hospital San Diego.
  • Contributing $50,000 to the Second Harvest Food Bank of Greater New Orleans and Acadiana.
  • Contributing $50,000 to St. Michael’s Special School.
  • Contributing $125,000 to Tad Gormley Stadium Renovation.
  • Contributing $50,000 to the Purdue Athletes Life Success Program.
  • Contributing $35,000 to the San Diego Armed Services YMCA.
  • Contributing $50,000 to the New Orleans Ballet Association.

What I like about them is that they have donated to everything from the arts to the military. I couldn't find any information on any of charity ranking websites, but that doesn't really mean anything.  Drew seems to be one of the good guys.

In case you are wondering, this is not a paid sponsorship, I just want to share a good thing.

For other free, fun and easy ways to give to charity, check out my other post.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day 2012

Wishing all you daddies out there, a blessed father's day.

Enjoy your special day!

I am so blessed to still have my lovely old pops around. Here's a little something for those who don't have that blessing.

Monday, June 11, 2012

12 Symptoms of Spiritual Awakening

Another wonderful find from a friend's Facebook page.

It comes from some kind of twelve-step/recovery programme, and it has some gems that we should aspire to, if we're not already there.


1.  An increased tendency to let things happen rather than make them happen.
2.  Frequent attacks of smiling.
3.  Feelings of being connected with others and nature.
4.  Frequent overwhelming episodes of appreciation.
5.  A tendency to think and act spontaneously rather than from fears based on past experience.
6.  An unmistakable ability to enjoy each moment.
7.  A loss of ability to worry.
8.  A loss of interest in conflict.
9.  A loss of interest in interpreting the actions of others.
10. A loss of interest in judging others.
11. A loss of interest in judging self.
12. Gaining the ability to love without expecting anything.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Helping Others- Track Star Meghan Vogel Carries Rival Across Finish Line

It was a brutally hot day, and a junior at West Liberty-Salem High School in Ohio, Meghan Vogel (17) was coming in last in the 3200-meter race at the 2012 Ohio State Track Meet. She had already won the 1600-meter (2 miles) race that day. As she ran the final lap she encountered another racer, Arlington High Schooler Arden McMath (16) who had collapsed under her uncooperative legs. As Arden attempted to get back up Meghan came from behind swooped her up and helped Arden to the finish line 30 meters away. Not only did she help Arden finish the race, she actually pushed her forward so that she finished 14th, instead of last.

It's not often that you see people putting others before themselves, especially those of such a young age. Meghan could have just let Arden sit there on the track, they were from competing high schools, after all. Or she could have helped the girl to the finish line but jumped in front to place 14th instead of last. But Meghan did what was right: helping someone in need. It's too bad more people don't do that, because bottom line, when we cross the 'finish line' of life we will ultimately be judged by our actions, how we have served others, not how many awards or medals we have won, or how much wealth and material things we have accumulated over a lifetime.

People are praising her for her good sportsmanship, but it's way more than that.

Good for you Meghan. You will be rewarded in many ways.

Source: HuffPo

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Censorship Of Alternative Healing Health Blogs

Just like allopathic (Western) medicine, alternative healing modalities help some and not others. It's just a question of experimenting to find out what works best for our particular constitution. I have two major health issues I was diagnosed with- Rheumatoid Arthritis and Ulcerative Colitis- both of which I  have under control through diet, herbs and supplements. They have less side effects (homeopathy has none) and are usually less expensive than some western drugs that are riddled with major side effects, including death.

I started this blog to share with others my pathway to healing, and to let people know that there are alternatives to conventional medicine- whether you use it as a complementary method of getting better (along with your Western meds) or simply by itself.

Unfortunately, there's no money to be made by the pharmaceutical companies (with all their lobbying efforts) on herbal remedies, so there isn't much support for them. Even my Rheumatologist shared that information with me after he witnessed how well I was doing exclusively on herbals etc. And, oftentimes, government agencies and major medical associations try to regulate what kind of information gets out to the general public. They are not fond of those of us who have found  non-traditional ways of healing, and will sometimes try to censor us.  Fortunately, I have not encountered any problems- yet, but blogger Steven Cooksey has. 

Steven has Diabetes and after embarking on a low-carb Paleo "style" Diet, now has it completely under control solely through diet. No more insulin shots four times a day, no more diabetes-related ailments- whatever he is doing has helped him, and he  has shared all that information on his blog. It is not a diet that I would use, since it focuses on a lot of meat and very low carbs, but it worked for him, and might for others.  He  has also been highly critical of the American Diabetes Association (ADA), and as a result was targeted by the North Carolina Board of Dietetics/Nutrition for  "violating the law by giving dietary consultation without a license."  He was forced to make some changes to his blog, but is now suing the agency  for censorship.

Who knows if he will win, but it's important that he at least try.  Some of us just want to help others find a safer way of healing their dis-eases, and we should not be censored by our government.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Ah Love! Isaac Lamb's Viral Live Lip-Dub Proposal

Sometimes I come across something that is too good to not share, especially when it deals with love.

Isaac Lamb, a Portland, Oregon actor, staged one of the most touching marriage proposals I have ever seen:  he decided to surprise his girlfriend- choreographer Amy Frankel - by enlisting 60 family and friends to a live lip-dub proposal. Choreographed to the song Bruno Mars' "Marry Me", he had his brother set her up in the back of a Honda CRV and the show began. All you romantics out there will need a Kleenex.

There have been some comments on Youtube, and elsewhere, claiming it's a Honda commercial, but no, this is absolutely for real. Lamb had no clue it would go viral, but it now has well over 1 million views. 

It's just very sweet, and there is nothing better than a good dose of love!


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Change Your Attitude, Change Your Life

I received this a long time ago while it was making its email rounds. I'm not sure who wrote it, and whether it's based on an actual person, but it's wonderfully inspirational. It's all about choosing to see everything that happens to us in a positive light.

That's the amazing thing about life. We do have the power to make our lives good ones, regardless of our circumstances, and it all has to do with attitude.

We always have the choice to see the cup half full, or half empty. Make the right choice.

John is the kind of guy you love to hate. He is always in a good mood and always has something positive to say. When someone would ask him how he was doing, he would reply, 'If I were any better, I would be twins!'

He was a natural motivator.

If an employee was having a bad day, John was there telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation. Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I went up and asked him, 'I don't get it!' 'You can't be a positive person all of the time. How do you do it?'

He replied, 'Each morning I wake up and say to myself, you have two choices today. You can choose to be in a good mood can choose to be in a bad mood. I choose to be in a good mood.' Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or...I can choose to learn from it. I choose to learn from it. Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept their complaining or...I can point out the positive side of life. I choose the positive side of life.

'Yeah, right, it's not that easy,' I protested.

'Yes, it is,' he said. 'Life is all about choices. When you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice. You choose how you react to situations. You choose how people affect your mood. You choose to be in a good mood or bad mood. The bottom line: It's your choice how you live your life.'

I reflected on what he said. Soon hereafter, I left the Tower Industry to start my own business. We lost touch, but I often thought about him when I made a choice about life instead of reacting to it. Several years later, I heard that he was involved in a serious accident, falling some 60 feet from a communications tower. After 18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, he was released from the hospital with rods placed in his back.

I saw him about six months after the accident. When I asked him how he was, he replied, 'If I were any better, I'd be twins...Wanna see my scars?' I declined to see his wounds, but I did ask him what had gone through his mind as the accident took place.

'The first thing that went through my mind was the well-being of my soon-to-be born daughter,' he replied. 'Then, as I lay on the ground, I remembered that I had two choices: I could choose to live or...I could choose to die. I chose to live.'

'Weren't you scared? Did you lose consciousness?' I asked.

He continued, '...the paramedics were great. They kept telling me I was going to be fine. But when they wheeled me into the ER and I saw the expressions on the faces of the doctors and nurses, I got really scared. In their eyes, I read 'he's a dead man'. I knew I needed to take action.'

'What did you do?' I asked. 'Well, there was a big burly nurse shouting questions at me,' said John. 'She asked if I was allergic to anything 'Yes, I replied.' The doctors and nurses stopped working as they waited for my reply. I took a deep breath and yelled, 'Gravity'' Over their laughter, I told them, 'I am choosing to live. Operate on me as if I am alive, not dead.'

He lived, thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because of his amazing attitude...I learned from him that every day we have the choice to live fully. Attitude, after all, is everything.

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.' Matthew 6:34

After all today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Hazards of Reusable Grocery Tote Bags

Many people are trying to be eco-conscious and 'green' minded these days so we tag along our plastic or cloth reusable grocery tote bags to our local grocery store, Whole Foods or farmers market hoping to save the landfills from more paper (or plastic if the store still uses it).  But something many people don't realize is that those good intentions can also jeopardize our health. Most of us don't know (I certainly didn't) that those bags can be incubators for food borne illnesses, and that it's very important to clean and disinfect the bags often.  According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, only one in six people do it regularly. Apparently, this is non-negotiable if you want to make sure you don't cross-contaminate food.
"I think a lot of people are trying to be mindful and eco-friendly by using their totes and they are not realizing that a lot of cross-contamination with the foods they are buying is actually happening directly because of the totes and the canvas material that they are made from," said Registered Dietician and Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics national Spokesperson Marjorie Nolan.
Food can make you very sick if you are not careful about how you handle, prepare and store it. I guess we can now add reusable grocery bags to the equation.

Nolan explains the different ways that we can contaminate our bags, that I frankly never even thought about.
"One is as simple as setting your bag down on the floor or on dirty counter tops," Nolan said. "Also, when you think about perishable goods, they sweat especially in the heat or the summertime when you are transporting your groceries. So the sweat from dairy products or eggs as well as meats, especially raw meats is highly contaminable."

Okay, so now we know how, what can we do to prevent it?

It's recommended that you wash the bags, often, with soapy, hot water, by hand or in the washing machine. You might even want to use a bleach, or disinfectant on the inside of the plastic ones.

Disinfect the areas you place the bags, i.e. kitchen counters.

Wrap all meats, fish etc in thick plastic bags before you put them in your tote, you might also want to double plastic bag them. Of course, that kind of takes away from the whole attempt at being eco-friendly, but better safe than sick. And it's even more preferable if you relegated one bag solely for raw meat and fish products. I'd disinfect those particular bags immediately after use.

The website Home Food Safety also recommends not leaving the totes in your car, which I do.

Lots to think about.  Off I go to retrieve my Costco coolbag from my trunk to disinfect it.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Herbs For Sunburn Relief

Summer is almost upon us, at least for those in the Northern Hemisphere; although this year- for some- it already feels like summer. With the hot summer months come vacations and those lazy days hanging out in the sun in your backyard, or at a park or pool, or on a towel on a sandy beach. Some sun is good, we need daily doses to stock up on our Vitamin D which is a very necessary preventative for many diseases, but too much can create all sorts of health issues from sunburn to skin cancer to premature aging.

The average person only needs about 10 to 20 minutes a day of sun between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. However, the actual amount needed depends on where you live, and your skin type.  Fair skinned people need far less, maybe a few minutes of midday sun, whereas very dark-skinned people need up to 4 times that amount of sun exposure a day.
So how do we get enough Vitamin D without getting a sunburn?  Using sunscreen actually prevents your body from absorbing Vitamin D, so your best bet is to sit in the sun for however many minutes your body needs to soak up the D and then slather on the UV protection for the rest of your sunbathing day. 
But if you do happen to turn lobster red, like the little girl in the Coppertone ad, there are some natural ways to help relieve pain of sunburn:
Take a cool shower or bath to stop the heating process, then gently rub one of the following into your skin:

ALOE VERA GEL-  soothes and heals the inflammation- cut open a leaf if you have a plant, or apply a store bought gel for relief,

CHAMOMILE TEA-  is great for skin irritations, so boil some tea, cool off and then apply.

GREEN TEA- the quercetin, Vitamin C and antioxidants in green tea help heal the skin. Again, apply cooled off tea to your skin.

WITCH HAZEL- also helps relieve sunburn. Apply with some cotton onto the burned area.

Here are some other home remedies for sunburn.

I have never had the patience to sit in the sun, so have never had to deal with a sunburn, but the above remedies seem relatively harmless.

Remember, if you have a severe sunburn, go see your health practitioner.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day 2012- Proctor Gamble Best Job ad

This wonderful Olympic Games 2012 ad is in honor of mothers- the hardest but best job in the world.

So, for all you mothers out there, Happy Mother's Day! Thank you for all your sacrifices, encouragement, love and nurturing.

Cross Posted on Confessions of a Closet Republican

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Lesson On Patience: The Taxi Driver and The Old Lady

This story has been making the rounds on Facebook.  I'm not sure if it's true, and I rather doubt it is, but whether it is or not, it's a wonderful reminder about the importance of patience, particularly with our older generation. And how we can make a difference in someone's life by being kind, loving and patient.

As they say, patience is a virtue.

UPDATE 9/12: When I first googled this, I couldn't find any articles that referenced an actual author, they all attributed it to an anonymous writer. Thanks to the two readers below, it turns out that the story was written by Kent Nerburn in his book Make Me an Instrument of Your Peace and was actually an encounter he had as a graveyard shift taxi-driver in Minneapolis, MN in the late 1980s.  His full version of the story is published here on Huffington Post.

I arrived at the address and honked the horn. After waiting a few minutes I honked again. Since this was going to be my last ride of my shift I thought about just driving away, but instead I put the car in park and walked up to the door and knocked.. 'Just a minute', answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor.

After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 90's stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940's movie.

By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets.

There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.

'Would you carry my bag out to the car?' she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman.

She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb.

She kept thanking me for my kindness. 'It's nothing', I told her.. 'I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother to be treated.'

'Oh, you're such a good boy, she said. When we got in the cab, she gave me an address and then asked, 'Could you drive through downtown?'

'It's not the shortest way,' I answered quickly..

'Oh, I don't mind,' she said. 'I'm in no hurry. I'm on my way to a hospice.

I looked in the rear-view mirror. Her eyes were glistening. 'I don't have any family left,' she continued in a soft voice..'The doctor says I don't have very long.' I quietly reached over and shut off the meter.

'What route would you like me to take?' I asked.

For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator.

We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl.

Sometimes she'd ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.

As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, 'I'm tired. Let's go now'.
We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico.

Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her.

I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.

'How much do I owe you?' She asked, reaching into her purse.

'Nothing,' I said

'You have to make a living,' she answered.

'There are other passengers,' I responded.

Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held onto me tightly.

'You gave an old woman a little moment of joy,' she said. 'Thank you.'

I squeezed her hand, and then walked into the dim morning light.. Behind me, a door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life..

I didn't pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly lost in thought. For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk. What if that woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient to end his shift?  What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?

On a quick review, I don't think that I have done anything more important in my life.

We're conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments.

But great moments often catch us unaware-beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Herbert and Zelmyra Fisher- Recipe For A Long, Good Marriage

Marriage is not easy, that's why so many end in divorce.  So, imagine being married for almost 87 years!  That's how long Zelmyra and Herbert Fisher of North Carolina had been married, before Herbert passed away on February 27th, 2011. 2008 Guiness World Record holders for the longest marriage, Zelmyra was born in 1907 and Herbert in 1905.

On Valentine's Day 2010, they spent time on Twitter giving relationship advice, and what great advice it was:

1. What made you realize that you could spend the rest of your lives together? Were you scared at all? H Z: With each day that passed, our relationship was more solid and secure. Divorce was NEVER an option – or even a thought.
2. How did you know your spouse was the right one for you?
We grew up together and were best friends before we married. A friend is for life – our marriage has lasted a lifetime.

3. Is there anything you would do differently after more than 80 years of marriage?
We wouldn’t change a thing. There’s no secret to our marriage, we just did what was needed for each other and our family.

4. What is your advice to someone who is trying to keep the faith that Mr. Right is really out there?
Zelmyra: Mine was just around the corner! He is never too far away, so keep the faith – when you meet him, you’ll know.
5. What was the best piece of marriage advice you ever received?
Respect, support and communicate with each other. Be faithful, honest true. Love each other with ALL of your heart.

6. What are the most important attributes of a good spouse?
Zelmyra: A hard worker and good provider. The 1920s were hard, but Herbert wanted  provided the best for us. I married a good man!

7. What is your best Valentine’s Day memory?
Zelmyra: I cook dinner EVERY day. Herbert left work early and surprised me – he cooked dinner for me! He is a VERY good cook!
Herbert: I said that I was going to cook dinner for her and she could relax – the look on her face and clean plate made my day!

8. You got married very young – how did u both manage to grow as individuals yet not grow apart as a couple?
“Everyone who plants a seed and harvests the crop celebrates together” We are individuals, but accomplish more together.

9. What is your fondest memory of your 85-year marriage?
Our legacy: 5 children, 10 grandchildren, 9 great-grandchildren, and 1 great-great grandchild.

10. Does communicating get easier with time? How do you keep your patience?
The children are grown, so we talk more now. We can enjoy our time on the porch or our rocking chairs – together.

11. How did you cope when you had to be physically separated for long periods of time?
Herbert: We were apart for 2 months when Z was hospitalized with our 5th child. It was the most difficult time of my life. Zelmyra’s mother helped me with the house and the other children, otherwise I would have lost my mind.
12. At the end of bad relationship day, what is the most important thing to remind yourselves?
Remember marriage is not a contest – never keep a score. God has put the two of you together on the same team to win.
13. Is fighting important?
NEVER physically! Agree that it’s okay to disagree, and fight for what really matters. Learn to bend – not break!

14. What’s the one thing you have in common that transcends everything else?
We are both Christians and believe in God. Marriage is a commitment to the Lord. We pray with and for each other every day.
Asked what the secret was to their long marriage, Zelmyra said:
“No secrets. There isn’t any secret. It was only God that kept us together.”

God, their faith, love and selflessness, the recipe for a good marriage.

They have five children, all of whom Herbert put through college, through hard work and diligence.


The Power Of Words- Video

We all know that our thoughts shape our lives- that if we think negatively, we will draw negativity into our lives, but if we think positively, we will draw all that is positive into our lives. But what about words? It's important to know that they too impact our lives.  They not only have the power to shape what happens in our own life, they can also effect others.

The following video illustrates the power of words, and how simply changing a word or a phrase can change our lives.  Originally an award winning short film by Spanish filmmaker Alonso Alvarez Barreda entitled "Historia de un Letrero" (The Story of a Sign), this is an English language homage to the 2008 Cannes Film Festival winner by Andrea Gardner and her Purplefeather online marketing company.  And though the video seems more skewed towards how words can change perception with respect to how others see us and how we present ourselves to the world from a business perspective (she is a content specialist, after all), I think it is also applicable to life in general.  Gardner has also written a book "Change Your Words, Change Your World" which I think I'm going to buy. Amazon says of the book:

With honesty and warmth, Andrea Gardner shares her own ups and downs on her journey to changing her words and her world, and provides the inspiration and tools that you need to find your own true purpose and transform your life to match your dreams. From attracting prosperity and improving your relationships, to finding your true purpose and serving the world, Andrea touches on a wide variety of themes, and helps you laugh at your failings with love, and then pick yourself up and carry on to the wonderful life that you truly deserve. This is a light and entertaining read, but it contains a very powerful message that may very well change your world for good.
I'll let you know what I think. In the meantime, enjoy the video.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Ben Comen Story- The Power Of Determination

Young Ben Comen has cerebral palsy, but his physical limitations have not stopped him from going after his dreams of cross country running.  This is a wonderful video about determination, and how with the love and encouragement of family, friends and teammates (of his cross country team) you can accomplish anything.  Ben doesn't compete against others, he competes against himself.

What a lovely, inspirational young man.

Grab your kleenex tissues.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Choose Your Words Wisely

I'm not sure people realize how their words can adversely affect others, especially a child. The vulnerable little minds of chilren can be either negatively or positively impacted by what we say to them. Positive words can encourage and help children thrive into adulthood. Negative words can sit there for the rest of their lives, influencing and affecting how they see themselves and their world, and ultimately how their life plays out. Some children are strong enough to rise above the onslaught of negative talk, but others will just succumb to it.  Tell a child he's stupid and, more often than not, that's what he becomes. Tell a child he can succeed and, more likely than not, he will.

I grew up during a time when 'reverse pyschology' was de rigeur. It worked for me because I was a willful, stubborn child (and young adult) and I wanted to prove people wrong. I remember my mother used to tell me I would never graduate from college, my university counselor told me the same thing- so to prove them wrong, I graduated from college- with honors. But for some, those words might have  prompted them to just give up.

Build up children by encouraging them, telling them how clever and talented they are, how they can accomplish anything they set their minds to. Tell them how much they are loved and appreciated. You will be doing them a great service.