Archive for the ‘health’ Category

What if We Believed Jesus? Part 2

January 17, 2016

“So my counsel is:  Don’t worry about things–food, drink, and clothes.  For you already have life and a body–and they are far more important than what to eat and wear.  Look at the birds!  They don’t worry about what to eat–they don’t need to sow or reap or store up food–for your heavenly Father feeds them.  And you are far more valuable to him than they are.  Will all your worries add a single moment to your life?”  Matthew 6: 25-27

If we really believed this, if we really trusted God to take care of our needs, how differently might we live?  The area where most people worry is  money and whether they will have enough to meet today’s bills and what might the future hold for them financially.  Obviously, money is another synonym for food, drink and clothes.  If we quit worrying, just do what we should and then go on and live, we might have more time, better health, and more fulfilling lives.  If we don’t constantly worry that we won’t have enough, we might be a whole lot more generous toward God’s work and the needs of others.  We might actually enjoy providing some pleasure for those who might not otherwise experience it, like taking some disadvantaged kids to a movie or kid’s museum or the like.  We might make more memories for our own family–spending money on travel to see them oftener, for instance.  We might quit hoarding, thinking there could be scarcity in our future.  Some people have developed hoarding into a fine art, but when you think about it–if we do have a national crisis with severe shortages, do we want to try to protect our stash with a gun?  Do we want to shoot starving people who want to steal from us?  Yet the doomsday hoarders have to ask themselves this question.

If we really trusted God to take care of us, would we spend all our time and money on vitamins, supplements, exercise programs, health scans, etc?  Or would we just do what God asks:  eat reasonably, exercise reasonably, and sleep reasonably?  All the worry about maybe getting cancer or cardiovascular disease, ignores the fact that most of us eat too much, exercise too little and have entirely too much stress in our lives.  Fat cells and stress are the toxic combination that cause all kinds of disease.  And some of the stress is because we worry entirely too much over money.

Another thing to believe Jesus about is that life is the most important gift–not things of any kind.  Jesus was the ultimate minimalist.  He traveled as an itinerant preacher, and likely had nothing but his coat–no home, no mode of transportation, no suitcase.  We would all have to go a very long way to be real minimalists.  Yet I have known people in ministry who go almost that far–don’t own homes or cars, use the library for reading and computer time, don’t have tv, maybe have a cell phone, but almost no material possessions except the bare necessities.   Without exception, these people are at least as happy as the ones who have every convenience and a lot of luxuries.

Seeking security in money requires chasing the promotions, climbing the career ladder, being competitive, and putting in more time than anyone else.  If we could work hard 8 hours a day, then leave the job at work, how much more time would we have for prayer, thought, relationships, exercise, and enjoyment of God’s creation?  How much less stress would we have?  How much more quality of life?  How much better health?

 

Yoga, Prayer and the difference.

January 6, 2012

“Yoga is about clearing away whatever is in us that prevents our living in the most full and whole way.  With Yoga we become aware of how and where we are restricted—in body, mind and heart—and how gradually to open and release these blockages.  As these blockages are cleared, our energy is freed.  We start to feel more harmonious, more at one with ourselves.  Our lives begin to flow—or we begin to flow more in our lives.”    quote by Cybele Tomlinson.

 I read this quote today on the facebook page of a friend who has been going through a lot of soul searching.  It sounds good, but its really so very, very limited.  Its ultimately all about self, and no one else.  The human condition is such that we are limited and we are lonely.  We can’t solve our problems all alone.   Our problems with our loneliness and limitedness can’t be solved by a limited, lonely self.  Someone once quipped they couldn’t run from their problems because “wherever I go, there I am.”  The self is so constant it becomes a pain.  “Otherness” is as necessary to us as the air we breathe.  Its not so much whats in us that prevents us living a full and whole life, its the need for more than what is in us.  We have to open up.

Rather than Yoga, prayer opens the heart, mind and emotion to the great Other.  The best part of that is this  Other is the only One who has the power and wisdom to truly help us.  No one understands us like God, for He knows us better than we know ourselves.  As we pour out our hearts in prayer, we not only see ourselves more clearly, but we see answers to what we are seeking.  By opening up to Him, we learn to appreciate and love Him back.  This gives us the energy to love others and to have compassion for them.   “We love because He first loved us.”  I John 4:19

Caribbean Chicken Salad

July 6, 2011

O God of Peace, we praise you and give thanks for your gentle, guiding calm in our lives. We give thanks for safety, food, shelter, and nations where we are free to pursue those things.

Caribbean Chicken Salad

Marinate chopped chicken breast in favorite marinade.

Stir fry chicken and allow to cool.

Arrange greens on plate.  Put 2 tablespoons of pico de gallo in the middle.  Arrange chunks of fresh pineapple and slices of orange around pico.  Put chicken on top of pico and crush some “hint of lime” tortilla chips over all.  Pass dressing around the table.

Dressing:

1/4 cup dijon mustard

1/4 cup honey

1 1/2 TB sugar

1 1/2 TB oil

1 1/2 TB white wine vinegar

juice of a whole lime.

Shake together and put in small pitcher.

Enjoy this refreshing summer salad with rolls, flatbread or other bread, tropical fruit punch or tea.

Evolution and Survival of the Fittest

March 24, 2011

Something about the theory of human evolution just doesn’t make sense.  If a key component is “survival of the fittest”, it would seem those who survive are those who are most self interested.  Yet this doesn’t fit what we see.  There are so many people who are truly interested in the welfare of others, who sacrifice for others, you would think they would not be surviving.  Yet if those other-centered people also love and trust God, they seem to be really thriving.  They are happy, optimistic and healthy.  Those who sacrifice for others out of some sense of duty, rather than love, suffer compassion fatigue and burn out.  They aren’t thriving.  And those who live solely for self eventually wind down and suffer “self fatigue”.  They aren’t thriving either.

Medicare

March 24, 2010

I have been really upset the past couple days.  On the heels of healthcare reform, I get a letter that I must find a new doctor.  Now, if you know anyone on Medicare who has to find a doctor, you know that is not an easy thing today.  Medicare reimbursement to doctors and other providers is so abysmal, a lot of doctors no longer see new patients.   If I find a doctor at all, the next issue will be finding a specialist if I ever need one.  This is just the beginning.  The other problem is the $500 billion in Medicare cuts at a time when the number of patients is rising.  The architect of how to do the $500 billion in cuts is the same British man who invented the National Health Service agency called “N.I.C.E.”  This is the board who decides how many “quality years” (QALY) you have left, and whether you will receive medical care.   This is the board who advocates no treatment at all for the sickest, and is the direct cause of thousands in England being put to death by dehydration while in a morphine induced coma (so their families can’t quite figure out what happened).   Looking at all this, and being without a physician, I realize I am “of an age”, and it scares me.  If I get sick, I may have to do my duty and die.  Actually, it will likely be decided for me.

After stewing for hours over what is happening to the old and the sick under Medicare (and likely to quickly get worse under “Obamacare” due to the consultations with N.I.C.E. by the Obama administration,) I had a change of thought.  I’m not going to put my hope for life or health in the government.  So many in our nation look to the government instead of God.  So many count on the government to come through for them for their income, house, disaster relief, healthcare, etc., etc.  But the government does a very bad job of being god.  However, the good news is:  God is still on the throne.  Unlike my doctor, God doesn’t leave the area.  He doesn’t take vacations, he doesn’t retire, and in fact, he never sleeps.  He doesn’t miss a thing.  Furthermore, I belong to God.  It is He who protects my health and well being.  As long as He has something for me to do on this earth, I’ll be alive to do it.  I won’t live one day less that He has planned for me, no matter what the government thinks.  When He comes for me, it will be on His timetable, and if He chooses to let the government be the instrument of my demise, well, we all go by some means.  It will still be God’s will, God’s plan, and God’s time to come for me.

Healthcare Reform

March 23, 2010

All who are cheering our new healthcare reform ought to be studying the National Health Service in England.  In particular they ought to be looking at one of the many bureaucractic offices set up to run the Health Service “fairly”.   N.I.C.E. is the acronym for National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence.  In reality it is set up to determine such things as how many quality years a person has left.  QALY (Quality Adjusted Life Years) puts you in your proper place in the rationing queue.  If you are an older person, or if you have a condition which someone from N.I.C.E. determines as causing your quality of life to be less, your QALY score is lower, and you either wait longer for care, or you don’t get it at all.  N.I.C.E. also determines such things as whether the NHS should offer certain treatments to anyone at all.  If a treatment helps some people, but not enough people, it is taken off the schedule completely and no one gets it.  Its not cost effective to use it for just a few.  So now everyone’s worth is determined by their QALY score and the cost effectiveness of treating them.  In fact the Brits call N.I.C.E.  by other names such as “National Institute of Cost Effectiveness” and “Nazi Institute for Commoner Extermination”.  The two men most instrumental in setting up N.I.C.E., Sir Michael Rawlings and Simon Stevens are both working with the U.S. government to determine the most efficient ways to run Medicare.  Sir Michael Rawlings has had video conferences with our health bureaucrats, and Simon Stevens is now living in the U.S. and advising Medicare.  In the Healthcare Reform package which just passed congress is a plan to save $500 billion from Medicare over 10 years.  This is supposed to help finance the reform. Mr. Stevens, one of the architects of N.I.C.E., is architect of that part of healthcare reform.  Nancy Pelosi hailed Healthcare Reform as being a historical landmark like Medicare.  Medicare looks like it will soon be a plan senior citizens will wish they could escape.  Although the quote was frequently thrown at us that Europe has better health statistics than we do, England does not.  England’s cancer survival rates trail ours by 10-20%, and so do their cardiovascular survival rates. That is despite Britain having had universal healthcare for 60 years.  As my own father used to say, “Everything costs something.”  Nothing is free.  If we want to give free health insurance to people who by choice do not work full time, and have the taxpayers cover it, something else has to give.  I just can’t champion Medicare when I paid into it for 40 years of my working life and now can’t find a doctor who will see Medicare patients because of its abysmal reimbursement to doctors.  Our new healthcare reform model is mirroring the British model, which has been a complete failure.  Wake up America, and keep your sense of urgency until November when we have another chance to elect a new congress and do healthcare reform right.

A Prayer on my 50th Birthday

February 19, 2010

I wrote this prayer on my 50th birthday.  That was quite a few years ago now, but I found it again and want to share it.

Dear Lord, my eternal friend,

Here it is, my 50th birthday.  While I’m not having a full-blown mid-life crisis, I have a lot of mixed feelings about this birthday.  It’s reminding me how short life is, and how little I have accomplished.  When I look at all the youthful dreams I had of what I wanted to do for You, I wonder if I ever will do anything really significant in the time I have left on this earth.  Why does all this matter?  Well, I guess I just want, somehow, to pay you back in some small way for all you’ve done for me.  Love needs a response, and I’m so aware of how much You have loved me.  I want to love You back, and I don’t know how to do that except to love Your people and do good things in this world.  Yet, my love for You is so small, my expressions so inadequate, and I always fall so short of what I intend to do for You.  This love is so much about Your giving and my taking.  What else can I say but thank You.

Thank You for making me.  Thank You that I was created to live here and to know the experience of human life.  Thank You for letting me know You from an early age so that I wouldn’t spend most of my life running away from You in fear, as so many people do.  I can only imagine what that must be like.  Thank You for being there during the saddest and loneliest times of my life, and for letting me know in small, yet personal ways, that You were there for me and heard my prayers.  Thank You for being a God who always listens.

Thank You for giving me sight, hearing, a mind to think clearly, the ability to move freely, and days that are mostly so free of pain that I take my body for granted.  Thank You for the freedom from disease that allows me to serve You with more opportunity than a lot of people have known.

Thank You for the people You’ve given me to live with.  Thank You for good parents.  They were people who loved and respected You, and who gave me a wonderful heritage of their wisdom and strength.  Thank You for a husband who’s the perfect partner for me.  He has taught me more than any human, been there through thick and thin, and filled every empty place.  He has led, supported and loved me for years.   Thank You for the gift of children.  Loving them throughout their lives has been so completely satisfying.  You’ve taught me more about Yourself through the experience of parenthood, for You are the Great Parent.  Thank You for being a partner in our parenting–the largest share of the partnership.  Thank You that despite all my failures as a mother, these children have turned out well.  Thank You for being all they needed and all I wasn’t.  Thank You for the wonderful relatives and friends who have graced my life through the years, whose presence seen and unseen, has been a source of joy and comfort.

And so Lord, what about the future?  I don’t know how many years or days You plan to leave me here.  I know I still have dreams of doing a lot of good things–things I hope will please you.  If the past is any indication though, I’ll fall far short of what I hope to do.  What can I say, Lord, but take me and use me.  Since You always do the lion’s share of whatever we accomplish together, then You please pick what we will do.  I realize there’s going to be three of us in whatever You plan, for You are always thinking about my dear husband, and making plans for us as a couple.  I want to say yes to all of it, Lord.  Use us Lord, and let me serve my sweetheart, as well as You, for all the days You grant us together.

I know some things will change in the future.  If I live long enough here, my body will wear out.  I dread that Lord, and I dread losing, one by one, my abilities to serve You in this world.  Help me to face my limitations with courage.  Help me depend on You.  You have things to teach me, even in my physical weaknesses.  Help me to focus on what I can do for you, not on what I can’t do.  Help me to realize that my weaknesses are blessings, if they force me to depend on you more.  They will make us closer.  And after all, what’s more important than becoming closer to you, if I am soon to see you face to face and live with you forever?

Lord, I’m thinking less now about how many things I can do that spread far and wide.  I’m thinking about what things I can do that will live after I’m gone.  I want my grandchildren and great-grandchildren to know what a wonderful friend You are, how totally trustworthy You are, and how You help them in every way.  Please show me ways to do that Lord.

Last of all Lord, we will make a final journey together.  I know it will come sooner than I think, even if I’m quite old when it comes.  Just as You’ve never left me in life Lord, I trust You’ll hold my hand and walk me through the final passageway.  It will be light then, Lord, and I’ll finally see Your face, which has been in the shadows all these years.  I hope I will also see the faces of all those I’ve known and loved.  If You grant me a last request Lord, it would be that everyone I’ve known would unfold their arms from across their chests and take Your hand.  Give them whatever they need to be able to do that, Lord.

What can I say now Lord, except You are truly the beginning and end of everything.  You are the Love behind all that is good.  Help me complete all I lack in loving You.

Sensing Something Wrong

October 7, 2009

When I was a young woman I worked the night shift for a couple of years.  Then I switched to the day shift, and after a couple weeks transition I was amazed one day to realize how good I felt.  I had so much energy and such a sense of well-being compared to a few weeks earlier, I was finding it hard to believe I had once taken feeling bad for granted.  Sometimes you feel so bad for so long you don’t realize how sick you are.  Our society is like that.  We are living thoroughly unhealthy lives in every area of life.  Our dietary habits are unhealthy.  Our sleep habits are unhealthy.  Our minds are full of disturbing junk.  Our relationships are unsatisfactory and sometimes on life support.  We lack nourishing family and community.  Our spirits are so parched we’re crying out.  Yet we’ve come to accept all of this as “just the way it is.”  We aren’t what we were made for nor enjoying what we were meant to be.  God save us.

Whose Needs

October 7, 2009

Whenever we hear the case for a government program, we hear sad stories of individuals in distress.  The argument goes that a new government program would be the answer to the person’s problems.  In reality though, there never is a program or a system that fits everyone.  There are always exceptions.  The other reality is that in a country where the government has a program for nearly every problem, the individual hard cases are still hard cases.  They are hard on the program, on the government and on the taxpayers.  Therefore in some European countries, caregivers are being taught they have a responsibility to the society as a whole that is greater than their responsibility to their patient or client.  This really sets professions on their ears when their very reason for existence is healing and helping.  Its creating an identity crisis of mammoth proportions when the healers are told that healing may not be in society’s best interests.  The great irony is that individual hard cases which supposedly justified massive governmental intervention have been the same cases that governments now don’t want to treat, pleading hardship to the society.  There will always be a conflict between individual needs and societal needs.  You can’t balance on the knife edge between them.  It always requires facing up to the society’s ultimate values: the sacred value of each individual life, or the sacred value of the society not to overstretch its economy.

Loving to be Happy

September 22, 2009

If you want to be happy, indeed if you really want to live life to the fullest, you have to love, love, love.  Dr. Smiley Blanton once said “Love or perish”.  We have to love God, love our neighbors, and love ourselves.  Everyone is familiar with the saying of Jesus that the greatest commandment is to love God and to love your neighbor as yourself.  What people aren’t familiar with are the last words of this quote.  The last words are “do this and you will live.”   If we love God, we will grow closer to Him.  As we do that, we begin to realize how much He loves us.  That gives us the confidence and esteem to be able to love ourselves.  As we provide for our legitimate needs, we fill our internal well to be able to give love to others.  All this love coming around through God, us and others and around again is the source of life.  This love is like water to a thirsty plant, like rain to the desert, like sunshine in a dark and dreary place.  Just as we would say our well watered plants are “growing happily”, our well watered souls are growing happily too.  And we are living, really living.