Saturday, March 22, 2008


I was talking to a doctor who is a Naturopath yesterday. She happened to mentioned that doctors are now saying that cholesterol should be below 170. Many people are on statin drugs who don't really need to be. She said they are not taking into account that the brain needs certain levels of cholesterol to function, and as people age their cholesterol needs to go up, not down. Ten years from now scientists are going to say "oops, sorry" to all those people in nursing homes with Alzheimer's because their cholesterol was kept too low.

Scary stuff.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Creating Happiness

The pages I read in my scripture/quotes notebook today were all about happiness. I thought it would be fun to share some of the thoughts expressed. It's fun to read through them and see how they relate to each other.

He That handleth a matter wisely shall find good: and who trusteth in the Lord, happy is he. (Proverbs 16:20)

Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. (Proverbs 3:13)

We act according to our principles, not according to our moods, and then our moods go away. (Dr. Dean Black in The Frogship Perspective)

If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them. (John 13:17)

It's the doing that makes us feel good. (Ellen Kreidman in You Deserve to be Happy)

On January 2, 1997 I wrote: "I just realized that I can recognize happiness through unhappiness. I knew that I was not happy with a dirty house or a cluttered kitchen. I knew I was not happy if meals weren't cooked. What I hadn't put together was that I could create my own happiness by doing these things. Just as John 13:17 says 'If ye know these things, happy are ye if he do them.'"

It sounds like a merry heart is a good cure for osteoporosis:

A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance, but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken. (Proverbs 15:13)

A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones. (Proverbs 17:22)

I especially like:

Happy is he that condemneth not himself. (Romans 14:22)

For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he. (Proverbs 23:7)

And going along with the idea that we are as we think, an article that I read this morning suggests that we help ourselves remember the good decisions that we make, by writing them down in a journal. There is a scripture that says: By small and simple things are great things brought to pass. (Alma 37:6) Here's a small thing we can do that can bring big results. It's too easy to remember the mistakes we made and the things we should have done but didn't. Remembering the good decisions that we made will help us to know that we have the ability to make more good ones. And "as you relive your positive moments, you get a boost in feeling good serotonin and endorphins, instead of the heart-hurting cortisol that comes on when you tense up over your frustrations." (Sharon Naylor, "Be Your Own Inspiration," Positive Thinking, Nov/Dec 2006, p. 11)

Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. (John 8:32)


Thursday, March 20, 2008

Spring Has Sprung!

As a friend of mine used to say:
Spring has sprung, the grass is riz.
I wonder where the birdies is?
Well I’m glad that spring has sprung. We suddenly have robins all over the place as if to testify that it really has happened. As Jim’s dad used to say:
'Tis time of spring when poets sing
Of how the bird is on the wing.
But on my word, that is absurd
Because the wing is on the bird!
It's fun to see and hear so many robins. Sometimes we do see a few robins here in the winter, but the past few days it's like they have converged on our area for a musical convention, and I love it!

We also have purple and yellow crocus blooming, and the daffodils have huge buds on them. The maple tree buds are getting bigger and bigger, and it won't be long before the forsythia bushes burst into bloom.

Happy Spring Everyone!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

These Made Me Smile Today

Kirsten would make a good mom. It has to do with the "radar" that all moms develop so that they know what the kids are doing in the next room. I think Kristen came with hers intact. In this case she always knows what is being said in the next room whether or not it involves her. After dinner, Jim and I were still sitting at the table. We gate our little dog, Angie, while we eat because she would be scrounging under the table the whole time otherwise. I don't particularly like to eat with her head in my lap.

Since we were through eating, Jim let her out. Well, I forgot that if I'm sitting at the table, Angie is going to come around just to see if I'm eating. She's always hopeful. Well, our little dog has bad breath and she pointed it my way. I commented about her bad breath and said it was probably from the sardine juice she had earlier, or perhaps it might be from her teeth and gums. And then I said "I wonder if dogs have tonsils?"

From the next room, Kirsten exclaimed "No!"

I don't know why that tickled me so much. It was said in such a matter-of-fact manner that it was really amusing. I giggled about that one for several minutes.

And earlier today I was removing some greens from the steamer basket with a pair of tongs. Jim was standing by the sink. I held up the tongs and said "I wonder if they have tongs in Tonga?" He groaned appropriately. Then about a minute later he said something like "Of course they don't have any in Tonga. Didn't you know that 'Tonga' stands for 'Tong Gone?'"

OK, so it's probably not funny to anyone else, and I admit that we have an amazingly low amusement threshold, but I got some good chuckles out of that too. Well, you would have had to be there I guess… :-)

Friday, March 14, 2008

7 Random Things About Me

Way back on March 6, I was tagged by Jill to list 7 random things about myself. Then I'm supposed to tag seven people to do the same. Well, I don't know of 7 people who have the kind of blog in which this type of thing would fit. I'll tag a few at the end, but Hey ladies, just do it if it works for you.


• I think oatmeal is slimy. The most redeemable quality of oatmeal is its ability to be used in chocolate chip cookies. Another is using it in home-made granola. (Someday I'll share my oatmeal dissertation.) (btw--raisins are never an acceptable substitute for chocolate chips.)

• I feel better and my day goes much better if I'm up by 6:00.

• I think people ought to be able to fly. Wouldn’t that be fun? "Lifter" is a favorite book.

• I can lift one eyebrow at a time, and can alternate them quickly. I practiced really hard to learn this when I was in 6th grade and saw Vincent Zamis (who was in my class) do it. If he could do it, so could I.

• I have a stubborn streak. That eyebrow thing shows it.

• I can wiggle my ears, but not independently.

• I am a bit paranoid about making sure all our bills are paid. It’s too easy for one to get lost if it’s not taken care of right away. I’ve designed a quarterly worksheet that has spots for making notations about all our monthly bills, and tithing. I can jot down the amount and the date paid, so it’s really easy to keep track. This also helps me to be on the alert if a bill amount suddenly changes. Tithing is at the top of the list. There are also spots for savings, and freedom fund so I don’t forget those either.

Before we went to California I could tell by looking at the worksheet that our Vectren bill was already two days past when I ordinarily pay it. I didn’t know if it had gotten lost in the mail, or if I might have misplaced it. I called and paid it over the phone the day before we left, so I didn’t have to worry about it.

I am even more paranoid about paying our utility bills after hearing an electric company horror story. A friend of ours from church suffered a heart attack while in Indiana. He was critically ill. Things were touch and go for quite some time. He finally had surgery and went to his daughter’s house (also in Indiana) to recuperate. During all the hubbub the daughter forgot to pay her electric bill. She had paid it on time for 15 years, but the company cut off her power when the bill became one month late. This was December, and it was COLD outside, and her dad was still quite ill. Even though the daughter explained the circumstances they charged her a $500 reconnection fee because they no longer trust her. AAArrrggghhh

I now tag Helena, Karen, Liz C., Connie C., and Allyson to blog about 7 random things about YOU!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Quite a Storm

We're having a blizzard, but at least it's a quiet one. During "The Blizzard of '78" I remember being jolted awake at 4:00 in the morning with the windows rattling and the wind HOWLING outside and being terrified that it would be coming inside at any minute. We later learned that the gusts got up to 70 mph. That was scary. This is just cold and inconvenient by comparison. It snowed all day yesterday but the flakes were small and still are, and the wind isn't very strong. It's only about 12 mph right now with gusts up to 21. The forecast is for 5 to 8 inches of accumulation during the day. I don't know how much we got yesterday. We do have a drift right by our front door.

Angie, our little yellow dog, had an interesting time when she first went out this morning. The snow was up to her chest and was so deep that she was afraid to come back up the stairs because she couldn't see where they were. Fortunately with a little enthusiastic encouragement from me she bravely bounded up the stairs and into the house. I was glad I didn't have to wake Jim or Betsey up to go get her. (I wasn't about to go get her myself!)

12:00 Noon: Our deck has more than a foot of snow on it. Betsey shoveled a path for Angie to get across the deck, down the stairs and out into the yard. As soon as Angie got down off the deck she left the path and started bounding through the snow. She tried to walk but had to get around by leaping. Jim shoveled a path to the bird feeder.

This morning Jim gave Kirsten and me haircuts, and he's hoping to work on taxes today. I say hoping because shoveling will take awhile. I'm playing catchup on bills and paperwork. I'm grateful for our cozy home.

Well at 4:30 the sun came out, and it's gorgeous. We also got a call right about then that church is canceled for tomorrow.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Interesting Insight about Sarcoid and Breathing

Having sarcoid makes breathing difficult. I've learned that it's more of a problem with exhaling rather than inhaling. Old air gets trapped, so there is not as much room for new air to come in. This results in shortness of breath, and the inability to breathe deeply. It's also a real energy zapper. A few months ago Robin Gentry McGee, who is my Holistic Whole Foods Counselor, told me about a DVD called Asthma QiGong that showed how to do QiGong exercises specifically for asthma and breathing difficulties. I ordered it and have been doing it quite regularly the past few months. It involves deep breathing while moving the hands and body slowly in specific patterns to enhance the flow of energy in the body.

I recently heard a tape in which the author said that when we make improvement in one area of our life, it enhances other areas as well. He went on to say that when we let an area slip, it also adversely affects (dehances would be a good word here) other areas. I've also heard it said that our world on the outside is symbolic of our world on the inside.

OK that's enough background information. Yesterday when I was doing my QiGong breathing exercises an interesting thought came to me. Would decluttering my house also help to declutter my air passages? I rather suspect it would. I would dearly love to hire someone who could help me get organized. I know good principles, I just don't have the energy to put them into practice. Over the years I've worked on letting go of old beliefs, and grief that might be cluttering up my lungs, but I never thought of the energy from the physical clutter affecting my breathing as well. Interesting.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The Urge to Prune

It's like spring cleaning--only outside. That's what pruning is. A few days ago it was actually 67 degrees. I sat on the deck for awhile and soaked up a little sun, and then I went out in front and started to prune our white althea tree. It's a gorgeous tree when it blooms and it really isn't very big, but I made a mistake when I planted it in front of our picture window. Yes, we have a nice view of the tree, but last year we couldn't see out the front window.

For instance, I like to be able to look out the window and see if the flag is down on the mailbox. Last year the tree made that impossible, so I decided to rectify that situation this year. The nice thing about altheas is that they don't bloom until July, so it's OK to prune them now. This is not the time to prune dogwoods, magnolias, lilacs or anything else that blooms in the early spring because the flowers would be cut off. Althea hasn't formed flowers yet, so hack away. This is also a good time to prune burning bushes.

Easy Clean Up

I rather detest cleaning up after a pruning job, so for me it works great to cut one branch at a time and put it into a brown paper sack. The branches I whacked were about 30 inches long, so I hope I didn't take too much off. I didn't get finished because we have rose bushes on either side of the tree and it got to the point where the thorns were grabbing me if I got too close. That kinda takes the fun out of it. It's a bit of a quandary because this is NOT the time to prune roses. Mark Webber usually ways to wait until April 15 in our area, but I usually watch the roses to see when they start to grow. That's when I cut them down to about 4 inches from the ground.

I think I will go out and cut back part of the rose bushes when the weather warms up again, just so I can get to the part of the althea that I can't reach. The poor tree looks really weird right now. It looks kind of like it has a Mohawk haircut on one side instead of in the middle. Very unbalanced--poor thing. I took a picture, but I don't know how to get a picture off the camera and onto the computer yet.

A Fun Experiment

Over the years I've experimented with that althea tree to see if I could get it to bloom more. Putting on fertilizer just makes it bloom sooner, but doesn't affect the number of flowers. Can you guess what makes it bloom more? I've actually figured out a way to make it have 3 times as many blossoms as it would ordinarily have. The last couple of years it has been COVERED with double, white blossoms. One year it was so covered that it became top heavy and actually fell over because we had a lot of rain which softened the soil. That sure scared me. I thought it was a goner, but with Jim carefully tying it up it has fared well.

What makes it bloom more? One word--pruning. I usually start pruning it in January or February. Then after new branches start to grow I just go out and snip off their ends. (The snippings are so small that I just let them fall to the ground.) This causes each branch to send out several new branches. Then after the second set of new branches starts to grow I snip off the ends again. By doing this we end up with lots more branches and therefore lots more flowers. Sound like work? Well, for me it's really not. It's more like a work of art that I really enjoy. We also have 8 dark pink althea bushes along our fence which Jim prunes now and then (every couple of years) with a regular hedge clippers, and that works fine also.

While I'm working I have a lawn chair near by so I can clip a couple of branches and then sit down and rest. It takes awhile, but it still works. So far I've ended up with 4 bags of clippings, and it's been great Fun.