Category Archives: family

Forks Over Knives

I got into a discussion about food recently and why it’s not good for you.  Hmmm.  I like food.  I think the basic food groups are chocolate, chocolate, chocolate and coffee.  Works for me.  Or rather, it did.  I had been lamenting the fact that I just didn’t feel good anymore.  My joints hurt, I had indigestion, food just didn’t taste like it should any more and don’t even get me started on how much it costs just for a simple burger meal at a fast food restaurant.  On top of that, I had gained a LOT of weight in the five years since I retired and I wasn’t liking it one bit.  I live at the beach and I wouldn’t be caught dead in a swimsuit right now.  Talk about the proverbial beached whale.

So, I’m talking with a friend and she tells me about a video she thinks I should watch –  “Forks Over Knives”.  She gave me  a few highlights from the video and so intrigued me that last week, I requested the DVD from my library.  I’m cautiously glad I did.  On Friday night, my husband and I sat through the video and then proceeded to have a huge discussion about food.  The definition as I see it for FOK is to eat only a whole-food, plant-based diet.  No meat.  Ever.  Further, the claim is made “that most, if not all, of the degenerative diseases that afflict us can be controlled, or even reversed, by rejecting our present menu of animal-based and processed foods.”  (Before we go any further, here’s the website: http://www.forksoverknives.com. There’s a link to the synopsis of the video that explains in detail the “personal journeys of a pair of pioneering yet under-appreciated researchers, Dr. T. Colin Campbell and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn”. The video was shot in the United States, Canada and China.)

It’s not that we don’t believe in the premise of FOK, but we do like meat.  So, we may be doing some tweaking to the meal plans.  I don’t mind giving up beef, but I do love poultry and some fish, occasionally.  Still, one of the best lines of the video was this (I have to paraphrase here:) If it walks, squawks, swims, has eyes and a mommy and daddy, don’t eat it.  Well, that takes care of beef, pork, poultry and fish.  Hmmm.  The filmmakers did on-the-street surveys, asking people questions such as why do people eat meat or drink milk.  Without exception (at least in the video), the answers were “protein” and “calcium”.  But the argument is that a whole-food, plant-based diet will give you everything your body needs to nourish and sustain it. 

According to the website, there is a book and a cookbook that go along with the video.  There’s also a book written by Dr. Campbell titled: The China study : the most comprehensive study of nutrition ever conducted and the startling implications for diet, weight loss and long-term health.  Dr. Campbell worked at length with the Chinese to identify areas in China that had exploded with degenerative diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers never heard of before in that area and the implications based on the western-style diet the Chinese had adopted.  I’ve requested that book from my library as well.

My husband and I haven’t signed on to do anything, we’re not supporting anyone or anything, and we haven’t been compensated in any way for this little essay. But after watching the video and hearing some of the statements and statistics presented, we’re willing to venture forth into this diet, a little at a time. Our next step is to research the whole-food, plant-based diet in more detail for foods that we can fix and that are readily available for us in our area of the US. I like market research, especially if I get to eat the research. So, I’ll keep a short diary of what we’re eating and get back to you on that.  I should also mention that to go along with this new life-style eating change, my husband and I have joined the local YMCA so we can ramp up that exercising everyone says is so necessary – but that’s another topic for another day.

As an end note, I want to thank those who have emailed me and called me about my dad’s recent stroke.  Thank you.  He’s home now under good care and doing far better than any of us had thought he would.  He has no physical ailments other than tiredness but he has lost some of his short-term memory.  That can happen with a thalamic stroke.  He’s doing mental exercises, working and using cheat sheets.  When I spoke with him yesterday, he said he could be talking to someone and forget why they were talking.  I told him he was describing me.  I’m so very grateful he’s alive.

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Filed under Books and reviews, Cooking, diets, DVD, exercise, family, food, health, Life in general, research, studies, video

Grateful

Even though Thanksgiving Day is still a few weeks away, I am so very grateful right now.  My dad was hospitalized this weekend with a thalamic stroke that confuses me.  He had just celebrated a birthday on Wednesday when he started feeling poorly.  By Friday evening, my stepmother had grown increasingly concerned with his erratic behavior and distracted talking, so she called his doctor and got him admitted.    He’s still in hospital, and for now, I’ll rely on my sister who lives in his area to help me stay informed, rather than make the long trip.  If she asks, though, I’ll be in my car before my husband can shut the door.  I’m grateful, so very grateful he’s still alive. I’m even more grateful that my stepmother, who is going through her own special health scare with a three-weeks-removed mastectomy, was on the phone with the doctor and getting him admitted before anything else could happen.  Thank you, Connie.

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Filed under dads, family, health, moms, sisters

Windows and Books

When I was a child, we used to do this thing called “taking a Sunday drive”.  I remember riding in the back seat, looking out the car windows and into the windows of houses we’d pass by.  I would wonder about the people in the houses – who were they, what kind of lives did they lead, where did they go when they weren’t home.  And if I saw the people through the windows, I’d wonder if they saw us.  Driving was kind of invisible – like the lives inside the windows of the houses.  Now, I’m all grown up and guess what – I still wonder about those houses and the people in them.  We don’t do the “Sunday drive” any more – it’s more the “get there and back as quick as you can” thing.  Unless we’re going to the beach.  Then I enjoy the drive.

But here’s the analogy between books and windows.  Windows keep me guessing.  Books give me knowledge.  I actually get to know the people in the “book windows” – their names, their families, their lives.  Sometimes with serials, I’m permitted a longer perusal – I get a little more involved, like hearing their thoughts and seeing the consequences of their actions and their reactions to the same.  It happens whether the characters want it or not.  Books are my windows into the lives of strangers – safer and much more informative. 

Happy Monday!

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Filed under Books and reviews, family, Life in general

Full Disclosure

I pre-ordered Dee Henderson’s latest novel, “Full Disclosure” from Amazon several weeks ago for my Kindle and promptly forgot about it.  So I was pleasantly surprised to see it on my Kindle yesterday, the day it was released.  Of course, I started it while eating breakfast.  Dee Henderson is a prime example of why I’m a serial reader and why I re-read her novels, not once but several times.  I now have 12 of her novels – all of the O’Malleys and the Uncommon Heroes series and this one.  So it was a delight to see how she tied all of these novels together.  I LOVED it.  A fictional novel of fictional characters who have fictional novels written about their lives!  I liked reading about previous characters and the fringes of their lives, and how they continue to interact with each other.  Six degrees of separation!  It’s a hard thing to finish any book and  realize I’m not privy to how their lives will continue.  I KNOW it’s fiction, but for a short while, they are my neighbors, friends and co-workers, allowing me a brief window into their lives.  It’s a joy to see they live on, somewhere.

Paul Falcon, an FBI agent, and Ann Silver, a cop, who just also happens to be a Midwest Homicide Investigator (and doesn’t THAT just ring my bells!), who get involved professionally and personally over a series of homicides.  Both, it turns out, are believers in Christ, both have very personal relationships with God, and both use that relationship with God to guide them in their lives.

This is a good read, either as part of the two previous series or as a stand-alone novel.  It’s wonderfully told with the message of a personal relationship with God woven throughout.  I’m surprised to find out it’s been several (5?) years since Ms. Henderson’s last piece of work, but I sincerely hope she continues this story with more of the O’Malley and Falcon families.  Now, I find I’ve got to go back and re-read all 12 of them again, in order and soon!

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Filed under Books and reviews, Dee Henderson, family, Life in general, Religion, romance

Happy Birthday To ME!

And it’s been a good start already with well-wishes from friends through snail-mail cards, email and Facebook posts!  After all, you turn 60 only once in your life, so MAKE IT COUNT!

I started celebrating Friday, (of course since it’s the official weekend starter-upper) with a box of two dozen beautifully decorated cookies sent by my Memphis sister, from a wonderful bakery in Germantown, Tennessee – Karen’s Cookies and Cupcakes – YUMMY!!  We’ll be noshing on those for a while – especially today.  I also received a gift card to one of my FAV book stores.

Then, Friday afternoon, a huge box appeared magically on my front porch.  The thing looked like a coffin turned on its side.  Well, that’s the first thought that went through my mind.  But we wrestled the box inside.  Surprisingly, it was rather lightweight.  And inside is…..a beautiful acoustic Yamaha guitar!  Oh. My. Word.  My parents had given me one many, many years ago, and I had attempted to learn it when I was much younger.  But, I had finally given up and given it away – you know how it is – life got in the way.  It was probably my one regret, that I hadn’t stuck it out.  So, now I have a second chance to learn a beautiful instrument.  Thank you to my wonderful sisters and brothers-in-law (AND nieces!).

Now, we’re heading out for morning service and then my wonderful husband is taking me out for dinner ( right across from my FAV book store!) and then home for dessert (cookies and ice cream, of course!!)

So, as a birthday present to me from you, y’all have a wonderful day!!!

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Filed under BAM and B&N, birthdays, brothers, cupcakes, family, Life in general, nieces, sisters

Signs of a Well-Ordered Life

My husband took me to a yard sale today.  It was held in one of those places that rent large storage bins by the month for folks to hold all the flotsam and jetsam of their well-ordered lives.  Boy was I surprised.  These aren’t the typical yard sales I remember growing up or going to estate sales on weekends looking for that rocker I couldn’t live without.  These are full-blown retail outlets working out of these storage bins.  They even had those cutesy signs hanging outside with huge industrial fans blowing so you couldn’t hear yourself think or hold a conversation with the owner.  They were needed – those tin cans got hot inside.   It was fun seeing some very old things like the old Coca-Cola cold soda machine from the 50s, so very similar to the one my grandparents had in their little mom-and-pop store in Chattanooga.  It was heartbreaking to see the tiny bits and pieces of glassware and jewelry they were trying to sell, because my life is cluttered just like theirs, and I wonder what I would do with all my treasures.

I should have taken pictures, but I somehow don’t think the store owners would have appreciated it.  It’s hard to put into words what seeing all this stuff did to me.  I don’t need any more dishes or crockery or knickknacks or furniture or clothes.  Now, books.  Whole nother story.   When my husband pointed out a slew of books on the back table in one of the booths, of course I checked it out.  In fact the sales lady and I got so involved in our conversation that my husband interrupted, saying call me when you’re free, I’ll be in the next aisle.  I bought 3 books.

All this made me think what the purpose of these storage areas has accomplished.  There must be thousands of them strung across America, helping us organize and re-organize our lives.  I know when my grandmother passed away, my youngest sister stored some of Granny’s furniture in a storage bin, until she could either sell it or assimilate the pieces into her home.  When we moved south from West Virginia, we used one for a short time until my husband could build another shed on our lot to hold the things we thought we needed to make our house a home.  Now his shed is built and we’ve emptied our storage bin.  But all the stuff that was in the storage bin is now in smaller totes, and still in a storage bin (his shed).  We walk out there occasionally, stare at them and wonder what’s in them, saying one of these days, we’ve got to clean them out.  There’s just something wrong with this picture.  I know I’ve got too much stuff, but I’m just not gonna rent one of those storage bins and sit there and try to sell my stuff.  No, I’ll just leave it all for my grandchildren to sort through.

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Filed under Books and reviews, family, Life in general

Happy Fall, Y’all!

This morning is the perfect example of why we relocated to very sunny, southern Alabama.  It’s 66 degrees under that pretty blue sky we’ve come to expect for this area and the daytime temp should be in the low 80s with low humidity.  Gorgeous.  The cat’s even enjoying the screened porch, having been cooped up inside because of the smothering humidity and blistering highs of the past summer months.  It’s lovely to open all the doors out to the porch and enjoy that cool breeze wafting through.  We so enjoy these days.  We read all the Facebook posts from our friends back north in Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, touting the beautiful fall and crisp temps they are having, but we haven’t been living here long enough to get nostalgic about those places.  After all, having lived in some of those places ourselves over the years, we’ve got lots of pictures we could pull out to refresh our own memories.

But, it’s really winter that brought us down here.  My husband simply got tired of shoveling snow at our home in West Virginia.  So, we sold the house and moved south, me anticipating living closer to family in Tennessee and he looking toward the beaches.  Well, we overshot my mark and ended up fifteen miles from the beautiful Gulf of Mexico.  I don’t regret it one bit.  I found out those highways that brought us down here, take us back north just as easily.

We might not get those beautiful fall colors down here, but we compensate for them by the much more temperate climate.  And that was the significant draw for us.  We still anticipate those cold spells – I still have my heavy parka – but we know those spells will be shorter.  So, Happy Fall, Y’all, wherever you are!

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Filed under family, Life in general, pictures, seasons, weather