Category Archives: health

Wassup Wednesday – 8 — A little late

Beginning with a Book:  I started reading Simply Christian by NT Wright over last weekend. Chapter 1, “Putting the World To Rights,” talks about our longing for justice in the world.  To me, it seems Wright is talking about the void we all feel that there has to be something–someone who can straighten out the mess we’re in.  Of course, as Christians, that person is Jesus.  Wright talks of our need to be passionate about justice as Christ is.

So far, I am finding it compelling, though there is an underlying current that is a little off-setting to me.  I can’t put my finger on it exactly, but the rest of the book might balance out that feeling.  More to come.

I am still reading HP3, but I really will finish it this week!

Food:  We’re still low-carbing in a sense, but not with as much gusto.  My lagging creativity coupled with the expense of eating more meat and veggies is causing us to rethink.  So now, we are trying to limit our carb intake to supper time to allow for some pasta or bread.  We are also trying to keep our portions in control and continuing to not snack.

I am also trying to bake some bread that is more healthy and even a bit less expensive than the store-bought kind.  Some friends here told me about a book called Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.  I haven’t actually seen the book yet, but I found some of the concepts at the Mother Earth News website, and I am trying it for the first time tonight.  I’ll let you know how it turns out.  It certainly sounds like a good idea!


Exercise: All of my efforts this year have been a failure on the exercise front.  So I started a much more reasonable walking program this week that I might actually stick to.  It is based on the program in this book: The Complete Guide to Walking.

Kids:  Regular season games of football end this weekend.  W00-hoo!  It sounds like the post-season will end within 2 weeks.  Can I hear an Amen!?

And, in honor of Nevin’s upcoming 12th birthday on Tuesday, I leave you with this photo:

What’s Running through My Mind

My friend Jennifer wrote a great post about her efforts to become more physically fit and her attempt to tend to her spiritual health as well.  Finding balance in this life is hard–whether you’re a mom or a mogul.  The distractions of the world are always beckoning, and spiritual pursuits can fall by the wayside.

In recent posts here, I have talked about my own attempts to become more physically healthy.  So far, I am forging ahead with my walking efforts, and eventually, I hope to be running part of the time.  However, I have really allowed my spiritual exercises to wane over the past couple of years.  I pray quite a bit because there is just so much to pray for in this life.  But reading Scripture and listening to good teaching hasn’t been as much a part of my life as I would like.

So in an attempt to feed my mind with some spiritual food today, when I was going out for my walk, I dug up my husband’s old sermon tapes from his years as a pastor.  Yes.  I said tapes–cassettes–you know that horribly ancient and inferior technology.  We don’t have a lot of Mark’s sermons on mp3s or even cds, but that’s ok.  We don’t have a great mp3 player or cd walkman either.  But I do have my old cassette walkman from the Dollar General.  I popped the tape into the walkman, and, well, I walked.  I was so encouraged by Mark’s sermon on Luke 8:19-24, that I am planning to go through all the sermon tapes we have.  I was struck by how I have not taken advantage of this great resource for biblical teaching that I have in my own house.  And, while I love my husband’s preaching and teaching, we also have many other recorded sermons and lectures with lots of biblical content.  So it may take me a while to get through all that we have!  (Sidenote:  some of Mark’s sermons and articles and articles by other good teachers/pastors can be found here.)

God used my friend Jennifer’s post to convict me of my need to find ways to make spiritual pursuits a more consistent part of my life.  Then, when I listened to Mark’s sermon, I was convicted of how I don’t appreciate how blessed I am (and we as a Christians in the US are) to have so many good Christian resources at our fingertips.  I should be so much more a woman of theWord than I am when there are so many ways for me to receive teaching available to me.  So I am praying that I will be more bathed in Scripture and that my life will reflect back Christ to the world more than it has.

Honestly, I have spent my entire life surrounded by Christians and good teaching, and I have always struggled with making the time to read the Bible and pray regularly.  So this is nothing new.  But it seems that just as I have to keep picking myself up off the ground regarding my physical nurturing, I need to  keep doing the same with spiritual pursuits.  Thankfully, God is gracious to forgive us our sins.  He always welcomes us to Himself with open arms.  Repent, be forgiven, and live for Christ.  This is the pattern of the Christian life–isn’t it?

Marathon Training — Nah

Yesterday, a friend from church said, “I heard you’re training for a marthon, now.”  I think this friend knew this wasn’t really the case, but I still answered him, “Hah.  No.  I am just trying to do what the marathon runners recommend to out of shape people who want to train for a marathon.”  Then I told him of my modest goal that I mentioned in my last post.

So, here’s what I did since Friday.  On Saturday, I was unable to go on a walk–unable in the sense that I was barely able to move to accomplish all the wife, mother, bookkeeper  tasks I had on my to-do list.  You see, on Friday, I went on my 30-walk, as recommended.  I clocked it with my car at 1.8 miles. Then about 3 hours later, I went on a more leisurely 1-mile walk with Evangeline and our dog, Simon.  For one who has done very little exercise in a long time, this is apparently how to make every part of the body ache the next day.  Sunday was Easter, and we were away from home all day.  I could have walked with friends who went out for an afternoon stroll, but I didn’t have the right kind of shoes with me, so I declined.

I was determined to get back on track today with the new regimen.  So I set the timer on my phone and headed out for 15 minutes and then turned around to return.  I  made it a little further than on Friday, so I feel confident it was 2 miles.  My 5’11’ son accompanied me on this walk, and I was struggling to make it up a slight incline on the way back.  I think I walked at a faster pace to keep up with his longer stride, so coming up that little hill about did me in.  However, since Calvin was with me, pride kept me from calling Mark to come get me in the car.

Will my blog become a journal on how my walking-someday-to-become-running is going?  Maybe part of the time.  Will it be about my training for a marathon?  Nah.

We’ll See

My friend from our Seattle days, Lindy, is a runner.  She does marathons, etc.  A few years back, my then seminary-wife friend, young  Jessie, ran a half-marathon here in St Louis.  Now I see that my friend from Atlanta, Jennifer, is running in 5ks and 10ks.  I am always impressed when I learn about their achievements, and I always encourage them.   I have lots of other friends who run for exercise, too.  But at my size and with all the failed exercise attempts of my life, it seems running is not for me.

Well, I have been thinking about it alot, and I finally asked Lindy what she would recommend for someone like me who is way overweight who would like to start running.  She recommended this book:

 I ordered the book used from an amazon seller, and last night when I was killing time at Borders, I read the first chapter.  It was inspiring. The author, John Bingham, was 43, a smoker, overweight, etc., when he started to run.  He advocates walking and interspersing short runs until you run out of breath throughout your walk to get started.  He writes a column in Runner’s World magazine, and I looked at that last night, too.  The starting program in it advocates just walking 30 minutes 3 days a week, and on the opposite days going out to walk and interspersing it with running.

I’ve read a lot of inspirational diet and exercise books before.  I have participated in a lot of diets and exercise programs before.  I have even lost lots of weight before.  But here I am years later with nothing to show for it.  It might be that I will start this and not keep with it.  It might be that I will start it, and I’ll be able to run, but I’ll lose no real weight.  However, if I don’t give it a go, I’ll never know.

So, here’s my goal–to be able to go on a hike with my 4 kids at a local state park by my birthday toward the end of July without being winded.   I don’t think it is too lofty, and it gives me a motivator.  We’ll see.

Good News & Other Stuff

Since I have been known to bemoan life on my blog, it seems I should also report some good news . . .

Remember this:

When Charis broke her arm on the playground at her school.  I rushed her to her pediatrician first, too see if a trip to the ER was necessary.  The pediatrician told me to take her to the ER–cost for that visit after insurance discount – $49.  So off to the ER we went.  After 8 hours, we were finished, she had a pink cast, and I was wondering how in the world we would pay for this day of fun!  Then the bills started to come–cost for the ER and after care after insurance discount–$2500.00! I started calling the several billing agencies involved in the care for this minor injury, and I told them I would pay $25 a month until it was paid.

Then in February, the principal from the school contacted me, and told me I could fill out some forms to see if the injury would be covered they their accident insurance.  I called all the billing offices again, asking for itemized bills, filled out the lengthy form, and prayed that it wasn’t a waste of my time.  Last week, I got a response.  Over $1500.00 has already been paid, and after I send in more itemized bills, it looks like it will all be covered by the school’s accident insurance!!!!! Praise God!!!!  I am so thankful for this blessing.

Other Stuff

We are really blessed by the school that our children attend.  Last week, we found out that the church that started the school and has housed the school for over 25 years has decided they can no longer afford the building they are in.  They are selling the building where the school meets, and they will not be looking for a building to accomodate the school.  This is significant because they have offered the building to the school at no cost for all these years, and it has kept the tuition very reasonable.  Our tuition for 4 children there is less than the cost for 2 at many other local Christian schools.  The school board does not want to close the school, so they are looking for a new location.  They asked that all the school families give them 60 days to investigate possibilities before we start considering other options for our children for next year.

I don’t know that we would be able to send the kids back next year even if they do find a new location.  However, this school has been a great place for our children, and we appreciate its ministry very much.  So if you think of it, please pray for this little Christian school in South St Louis County to find an affordable place to relocate and to have enough families to keep going next year.  Also, pray for the church that has supported the school for so many years.  They are entering a time of rebuilding and praying for growth.  They have given selflessly to the community through the ministry of the school, and I am praying that God will bless them for their faithful service.

Something to Sing About

Call it irony if you like.  On my way to choir rehearsal tonight, I was listening to NPR when I heard this commentary on what we can learn from opera during the current economic bad times.   I laughed out loud as Marc Acito, a music commentator (and professional musician) talked about all the bad news presented in opera and how the protagonists just sing about their troubles.  Here’s a quote from the commentary that I could most relate to:

“Or, if you think you’re working too hard just to keep up, remember The Barber of Seville. When he sings “Figaro, Figaro…” it’s not because he likes the sound of his own voice. Well, actually, most baritones do sing because they like the sound of their own voice. But in this case, he’s actually complaining about how he has to be in so many places at once. “Figaro qua, Figaro la, Figaro qua, Figaro la, Figaro su, Figaro giu, Figaro su, Figaro giu.”

It’s no exaggeration to say Figaro’s overwork is what led to the French Revolution.”

If you take the time to follow the link, take the time to listen to the short audio file of the commentary.  It is much more entertaining spoken than written, plus you get to hear Mark Acito sing excerpts from the operas he describes.

The commentary on opera made me think of country music, too.  Think of all those “my wife left me, my car died, and even the dog has left” country music songs.   And, of course, there’s always “the blues” for crooning about bad times.

Hearing this piece reminded me that music is a great tool for dealing with stress.  It soothes the soul, even when it seems like nothing can help.  It also made me laugh, and we all know humor is a great balm for emotional and psychological ailments.

The Quest for Affordable Health Insurance

People with health insurance provided via their employer need to realize what a blessing they have.

We have paid for our own health insurance in one way or another for most of our married life.  For the last 4 years, we have had basically what amounts to a “safety net” policy.  For $350 a month, we get an entrance card to the doctor’s office (also known as an insurance card), a negotiated physician’s discount, and, well, that’s about it.  We have a $5000 per person yearly deductible and a maximum family out of pocket expense of $10,000.00.  Practically, this amounts to us paying for our own medical expenses and not going to the doctor unless we are desperate. 

To be honest, $350 a month is more than we can afford.  So, yes, we tried applying for Medicaid—at least for the kids.  We were denied because we make too much.  Also, to qualify we are supposed to let the kids go without coverage for 6 months first.

I was just putting up with the expense of insurance for what seems like nothing in return until Charis broke her arm.  It wasn’t a severe injury, but we now have over $2500 in medical expenses because of it.  This motivated me to investigate our insurance options again.I have a new option because of my new job.  I can get group coverage through my employer.  However, it is way beyond what we can afford.  For just me, it would be $639 per month.  To add Mark and the kids, it would be over $1300 per month.  So I called Anthem BC/BS to see if we could get coverage for just the kids, and Mark and I could keep the crummy coverage we have.  Well, because one of them has a pre-existing condition, they could only cover 3 of them.  To cover three of the children, the best policy is $311 per month.  The worst coverage is $188 per month.  Then we would still have to continue covering one of the kids under our crummy policy.  At this point, we must keep what we have and pray that God continues to keep us from any tragic illness or accident.

I am not in favor of government health care, but I certainly understand why many are.  I think, with the economy failing, many more people will have to pay for their own health coverage.   More people are getting laid off.  So there will be more people losing health insurance altogether.  If they do find new jobs, they will quickly see that companies who are scaling back on expenses don’t offer the same quality benefits that they used to.  As this happens, more people will find themselves faced with the situation we have dealt with for years.

Something has to change in the insurance industry and with medical providers if people are going to be able to manage just living from day to day. 

Of Luffas and Dandruff Shampoo

Readers of my blog have been scant for some time, but I guess the “Tears” post was a little too much for anyone to comment on.  Oh well.

The big news is: Charis has her cast off.  Eight weeks in a cast, and I didn’t post one picture of her.  That is because the only ones I took were on my stupid phone which will not allow me to upload photos to my computer.  Since we are too cheap (or broke) to pay for the upgrade in service to be able to send the photos from my phone, I really shouldn’t take pictures with it!

After the cast was removed, her skin underneath was GROSS!!!!  It was so dry and flaky, I didn’t want her on me.  Even after using a luffa on her arm, it was flaky.  Then at her glorious bath last night (glorious because she could actually be in the tub long enough to get really clean), I had a revelation.  I thought, “If dandruff shampoo works on dead dry skin on the skalp, perhaps it will help remove the dead dry skin from her arm.”  So I used dandruff shampoo and the luffa on her arm, and it made a huge difference.  The flakes all came off.  Now her skin is rough, but we are putting lotion on it whenever we can.  It will be back to normal soon.  Long sleeves were in order for today so the dry skin won’t distract her to much at school.

The Wounded Princess

Many of you know that our Charis fell on the black top near the playground at recess about 2  weeks ago.  This past Sunday was the first time I had the opportunity to take a picture of her with the cast.  This was taken at our church’s annual Harvest Party:

As you can see, she’s pretty happy with life despite the large pink cast.  After having the bone set and the cast put on, she has barely missed a beat.   She did say to her teacher last week, “I don’t know how all those misquitoes are getting into my cast.”

Praise God for Pseudophedrine

I am an allergy sufferer.  I am also prone to sinus infections, especially this time of year.

I had a doosey of a cold/laryngitis thing right at Christmas time, and last week, another cold arrived on the heels of that.  I ran out of pseudophedrine last week, and I have been without it for about 5 days because stopping at the drug store to purchase more has not been convenient during any of my other errands.  Each night I would curse myself for not taking the time to stop because my head would be throbbing.  Then I would wake up with more sinus pressure than I have had in quite a while.

I rue the day that meth labs complicated the lives of sinus ailment sufferers. For the last couple of years, those of us who depend of pseudophedrine have had to show go to the pharmacy counter and ask for the pills that give relief to sinus pressure.  We have to show our drivers licenses and sign either a form or a terminal so that a record can be kept of how much of the stuff we buy.

I appreciate the fact that the government wants to keep meth labs under control, but if I wasn’t required to sign for the stuff, I could have picked some up in the grocery store aisle the other day.

Despite my complaints, I am still thankful that I can still buy pseudopherine.  I bought my supply at lunch time today, and now, less than 90 minutes later, I am at last breathing normally.  Praise God for Pseudophedrine!