Being Real

Four from our little church went to the home of some members who would probably be classified as poor. They were having a neighborhood cookout – in a “poor” neighborhood.  About 20 hungry people of various skin colors showed up, and we had a great time.

Afterward, the youngest of us – a recent college graduate – remarked that he had noticed that poor people are open and honest.  They have very open and real conversations.  That sparked a conversation about middle class and upper class (rich) people.

Most middle class people, we concluded, are not as real and honest and mostly talk about each other.  The difficulty of climbing out of the middle class is that everyone else in the class is working hard to pull each other down in their own effort to climb up.

The student then said he’d never really hung out with any upper class people.  I shared that in my experience most upper class people are not very real and honest (they work hard to give the impression that they are doing great) and in conversation they talk about business, philosophy, politics, and society subjects.

Hmmmm. Interesting. What do you think about our observations?

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Osama Bin Laden

While driving in the backcountry of Alpine Ranch, my friend, Don, said to me, “Chuck, Christians and Muslims are a lot alike.”  I replied, “Yeah?  How’s that?”  “Neither of them have read their book,” he said with a smile.  I grinned back at him and said, “You’re right.”

Then he said, “If Muslims read their book, they’d all be terrorists.  And if Christians read their book, they’d be a lot nicer.”  This time I laughed.  He is correct, no doubt.

Have you read the Koran (Quran)?  I have.  It’s an intriguing book.  The Koran often advocates death to “the Great Satan” and killing “people of the book.” Many modern Muslims believe the United States to be “the Great Satan.”  They also believe that “people of the book” refers to Jews and Christians.  Osama Bin Laden did read his book.  No doubt, he truly believed he was an instrument of Allah.

Oh, and no wonder the troops encountered female human shields in Mr. Bin Laden’s compound.  The Koran treats women as chattel – to be used and of little value.  Yes, Osama read his book.  God, have mercy.

Workout – Exercise

As a high school athlete, I learned the discipline of repetitious exercise.  If I did few reps (repetitions), I received little benefit.  If I continued the repetitions until it hurt, I gained much.  No pain, no gain.

Now, I know that I need to walk, jog, do upper-body exercises until two things occur – pain and sweat.  The pain brings better muscle tone, greater strength, and more stamina.  The sweat helps my body eliminate toxins.  Do it until it hurts.  Sweat.  It’s that simple.

Me after many, many reps (just kidding)

Diverticulitis

A family member and friend died several years ago from colon cancer.  It was horrible.  He apparently had a cancerous appendix and did not know it.  Although the problem began when his appendix burst and spread cancer cells throughout his abdominal cavity, the doctors also implicated severe diverticulitis.

As I understand the disease, it is caused by the rupturing of tissue sacs that form along the wall of the large intestine.  When food, usually processed starches (white bread, pastries, etc., white rice, and other similar foods), get stuck in the folds between these sacs, they can eventually cause infection which leads to the sacs rupturing.  Treatment for diverticulitis usually involves antibiotics and a low-fiber diet until healing occurs, then a high fiber diet for the future – if the condition is not severe.  If severe, advanced diverticulitis occurs, a difficult surgery is usually the only help available.

“None of this is comfortable to talk about, but yet thousands of people suffer with this condition, especially in industrialized countries where diets are often made up of refined or processed foods, and severely lacking in fiber. This really can become another strong reminder for us to watch what we eat and make sure to balance our diets with healthy doses of fiber, water, and other colon-cleansing foods to ensure a healthy digestive system. The ‘preventative method’ sure beats the heck out of having to undergo a treatment for diverticulitis.”  (http://hubpages.com/hub/treatment-for-diverticulitis).

While watching my friend and relative suffer through this long, painful illness – then death – I determined to eat right and avoid that kind of agony.  I have enough problems without asking for them.

The Role of Exercise

Yes, physically we are what we eat, but to physically healthy, we must also exercise.  Sometimes, when I’m feeling tired and gloomy, I can go for a brisk walk and, “ouila,” I become energized and my attitude drastically improves.

When I don’t exercise, I sometimes go for a mental trip – not a healthy one – a guilt trip.  I’ve learned that even a 10-minute walk can make a big difference.  A 2-minute walk is much, much better than no walk (and they prevent so many guilt trips).  Mini-exercises, I call them.  Longer walks are better, and upper body exercises are important too.  Admittedly, it is not always easy to exercise.  The day goes by so fast.  The best thing for me is to exercise in the early morning.  But, that means getting up earlier.  It’s a struggle, but, hey, we’re worth it, right!?  Happy exercising.

Diet and Health

Noticing a new limp, I asked a friend, “What happened?”  “It’s just gout,” he replied.  “Ouch,” I said.  “I understand that gout’s painful.”  He affirmed that rumor.  Then he went on to tell me that it is hereditary.  In his family he had inherited a predisposition to gout, and his brother had inherited a predisposition to diabetes.  I told him I was sorry.  He said, “Oh well, both are controlled by what we eat, so we just watch our diets.  I just got off my diet, and I’m paying the price!”

He had a good attitude about it, and he knew how to avoid the unnecessary pain and illness.  In truth, having inherited a predisposition to gout (or diabetes) might have been a gift.  It forced him to eat more healthily.

Years ago I had to do the same thing, and I am grateful and much more healthy than I would have been.  Watch what you eat, friends.  I want you to be healthy and be my friend for a long time!

We Are What We Eat

Many years ago both my father-in-law and mother-in-law received serious health diagnoses.  She was hypoglycemic, and he had serious blood pressure issues.  Both were in otherwise good health.  Neither were overweight, but both were instructed to change their diet.

He was instructed to monitor his blood pressure–taking readings before and after meals.  He soon discovered that anytime he ate any form of a favorite food, pork, his blood pressure spiked.  Bacon, sausage, ham, pork chops – all had the same effect.  He discovered the same result from adding salt to his food.

She was monitoring her blood-sugar levels.  She also had to change her diet.  She had to avoid meals high in simple carbohydrates and she had to avoid concentrated sweets such as candy, table sugar, soft drinks, cookies, cakes, and ice cream.  There were other dietary changes too.  Basically, she switched to a very healthy diet – one we all should probably follow.  If she didn’t eat right, she had sinking, almost fainting spells.  Hypoglycemia can be serious.

So, as an observer of all this, I thought to myself, “Why should I wait until I have health problems to change my diet?”  I decided to make some drastic changes to the way I ate.  Then, years later, when my brother died, I had already made the changes the coroner recommended I look into.  I am amazed at the number of maladies that can be remedied by eating healthier.

Blue Genes

A devastating telephone call came that Sunday morning.  Nick was dead.  Nick!  Age 34!  Dead?  He was on a business trip in Amarillo, Texas and staying in a extended-stay motel suite.  So,  an autopsy was required.  A few days after the funeral, I went to Amarillo to get some information and closure.  One stop was the coroner’s office.

The coroner was a very nice man.  He told me the same thing I’ve heard on some of the CSI-type television shows, “We can tell a lot about a person from an autopsy.  Let me tell you what I learned about your brother.”  He told me that Nick had obviously enjoyed life to the full.  I fully affirmed that.   He said that Nick obviously enjoyed eating well.  That was for sure.  Nick and his buddies consumed sumptuous feasts regularly.  The doctor (coroner) added that although Nick died at age 34, he had lived a full life.

Then he told me that Nick was in excellent physical condition.  I affirmed that, telling the doc that Nick was even working out regularly in a local health club while conducting his business in Amarillo.  “But,” the doctor continued, “your brother did have a serious health problem that he probably didn’t even know he had.”  “What was that?” I asked.  He said that Nick had hyperlipidemia–a pre-disposition to building up lipids in his blood vessels.  In fact, the artery going from Nick’s heart to his lungs was completely occluded except for an opening the size of a pin point.  Apparently a blood clot broke from a previous ankle wound and found it’s way to that pinhole opening in Nick’s artery.  The doc said this traumatic event would be like being hit in the heart with a sledge hammer.

“The good news,” said the doc, “is that he died instantly, in his sleep, and felt no pain.”  “The bad news,” he continued, “is that this condition is genetic and is passed through the males in the family.  Your Dad, you, your sons, if you have any, are at risk.”  The sad news,” he went on to say, “is that all this could have be prevented with a change in diet.”  “You and your Dad and son(s) must do whatever is necessary to ensure that you eat healthily.”

We could have become blue over our genetic dilemma – “blue genes.”  We could have moped and complained.  Or, we could change the way we ate.  We did the latter.  I want to live a full life.

Fathers

Children desperately need fathers healthily involved in their lives. My son-in-law, Garth, is a great example of a father.  He shares responsibilities for staying with Katelyn, his 1-year-old-daughter while Kim, his wife, gets some “free” time.  He shares responsibilities for changing diapers, feeding, bathing, and getting up at night when Katelyn wakes up upset.  He talks to her all the time, continually telling her how wonderful and beautiful she is.  Thank God, for Garth.

Fathers who accept their parental responsibilities are all too rare.  As Katelyn gets older, Garth will be responsible, along with Kim, to provide age-appropriate discipline for Katelyn.  Parents, if they love their children, do provide wise, appropriate discipline for their children.  If they do not discipline their children, they prove that they don’t love them.  Love isn’t a feeling.  My friend, Keith, says, “Love is a verb.”  Administering fair, wise discipline to children is an important aspect of loving our children.  Fathers, please love your children.

HUGS

It’s wondrous what a hug can do,
A hug can cheer you when you’re blue.
A hug can say, “I love you so,”
or, “Gee! I hate to see you go.”
A hug is, “Welcome back again!”
and, “Great to see you!” or
“Where’ve you been?”
A hug can soothe a small child’s pain
And bring a rainbow after rain.
The hug! There’s just no doubt about it,
We scarcely could survive without it.
A hug delights and warms and charms,
It must be why God gave us arms.
Hugs are great for fathers and mothers,
Sweet for sisters, swell for brothers,
and chances are some favorite aunts
love them more than potted plants.
Kittens crave them. Puppies love them.
Heads of state are not above them.
A hug can break the language barrier,
And make the dullest day seem merrier.
No need to fret about the store of ’em.
The more you give, the more there are of ’em.
So stretch those arms without delay
and give someone a hug today.
Author Unknown