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Archive for July, 2010

Thankful

My little boy, Alexander, got very sick this weekend – got into some  significant respiratory distress and ended up in the hospital for a couple of days. Turns out it was walking pneumonia, caused by the Mycoplasma pneumoniae bacteria, easily improved with some antibiotics. He came home earlier this evening, and as I thought about the weekend, tears sprang to my eyes as I thought of some things that made me very thankful…every one of these factors could very easily have been VERY different….

  • I am thankful that we took him to the urgent care clinic when we did, rather than postponing it until his symptoms were worse (as might have been my tendency) since it was time for me to leave for work, and I had to call and tell them I would be late. I grew up in a home where illness was downplayed. I generally think this is the best approach, but when I do take the children to the doctor, I am usually thankful I did, for is often turns out to have been quite necesary. So, I’m glad we went when we did – I shudder to think what might have happened if I had gone on to work, and he had gone on to bed by himself….
  •  I’m thankful for the doctor in the urgent care clinic whose gentle but decisive care took control of the situation in a very timely manner.
  • I’m thankful that Alexander was admitted to the same hospital where I work – familiarity with the environment and the staff is wonderful in times like these…he quite nearly ended up at the other local hospital, where we would have known no one, and had no liberty to help with his care.
  • I’m SOOOOO grateful for dear friends who were loving and supportive – and wouldn’t take “No” for an answer! Thankful for friends and family who checked on us – not once, but frequently, ensuring that no need was neglected.
  • I’m thankful for health insurance. For many years, our access to insurance was very sporadic, and our financial situation was less than comfortable. It is doubly distressing when concern over a loved one is compounded by dread of the financial impact of their care.
  •  I’m most  thankful for the prayers of the friends and family mentioned above, and most thankful to the Father who, in response to those prayers, turned the situation around in a way that only He can.

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Patina

The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines patina as “a surface appearance of something grown beautiful especially with age or use” or “an appearance or aura that is derived from association, habit, or established character.”  Some other places define it as a superficial coating produced by oxidation, which is scientific, but not relevant here.

I wanted to talk about silver. New silver is pretty. Old silver that has been used and loved is gorgeous. That soft, glowing sheen cannot be reproduced artificially.

I love people that have a patina about them.  I love people that have been through a few crises and emerged with a glow of character that cannot be artificially reproduced.

As I age, and grow, and change, and go through a few crises…I want to develop this patina….

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Goethe

Lose the Day Loitering

Lose the day loitering, twill be the same story

Tomorrow, and the next more dilatory,

For indecision brings its own delays,

And days are lost lamenting o’er lost days.

Are you in earnest? Seize this very minute!

What you can do, or think, you can, begin it!

Only engage, and then the mind grows heated;

Begin it, and the work will be completed.

 

 

Example

Like the star

Shining afar

Slowly now

And without rest,

Let each man turn, with steady sway,

Round the task that rules the day

And do his best.

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Been reading French Women for all Seasons by Mireille Guiliano, the author of French Women Don’t Get Fat. While I have not read her previous book, its premise is obvious within the first couple of pages of Seasons. FYI, I don’t read diet books at all, and don’t much believe in dieting, per se.  Seasons is not a diet book.  Mireille skillfully articulates many of the thoughts I’ve had about eating and living for many years. I appreciated the clarity that this book brought to my ongoing quest for a better quality of eating and living. I highly recommend this book and the way of life it suggests. I just had to share some of these things with you!

Eat to fuel your life, don’t exercise to offset your eating…The key is to eat moderately and have an active life. This eliminates the necessity for the demeaning cycle of overeating followed by fanatical exercising practiced by far too many people.

50% solution – this idea calls into question the amounts we eat and causes us to consider the question “Can I be satisfied with less?” From personal experience, I can say this is true. By cutting portions in half, or reducing by half the amount of sugar in our coffee, for example, one can reduce calories, and introduce a greater appreciation for taste. As Mireille states, sometimes you do want more than half of the portion, but if you eat only half again of what is left, it may be enough to satisfy you.

Eat seasonally and locally as much as possible. The premise here is that food is more enjoyable and appreciated when its availability is temporary. This gives you the peak experience for each food – picked and sold when ripe and in season, it can be savored and anticipated in way it is not when partaken of year round.

Balance your eating over a couple of days. Living moderately doesn’t mean that you will never eat a large meal, or enjoy the occasional indulgence. However, this is not damaging if you balance it with moderate eating the rest of the time.

Make room and time for small indulgences – life was meant to be enjoyed!

Dress according to your personality and body shape rather than the dictates of fashion.

I also loved what Mireille said about vacation and travelling – a change of scene should give us new stimuli. Rather than becoming the intellectual equivalent of a vegetable while on vacation, use it as a time of mental simulation ….. think of something else rather than stop thinking altogether! New landscapes, cultures, and foods give us the opportunity to rest our minds from our usual surroundings, providing refreshment through change. I thought about this a lot on our recent vacation. It was tiring, but I felt so refreshed when I came home – having enjoyed times with people I rarely see, eating foods that I rarely can find living in the south (cabbage rolls, Vachon cakes, and pierogies!), and finding tranquility while hiking in the Rockies. Vacationing doesn’t have to mean vegetating. Change is as good as a rest.

Great book. Lots of great recipes and little snippets of advice. I think I need to own a copy….

 

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