Sunday, August 29, 2010

Labor Day--A Holiday Read

It is the last holiday of the summer in the U. S., the last time to squeeze in a trip, a party, before settling down to autumn and winter. In a troubling economy many of us are opting to stay home. Whether you are staying home this Memorial Day or are laying on the beach, I would like to suggest a book for those who like to dream.

There has been a faithful following of the works of Madeleine L'engle since the 1960s. Her most popular trio was A Wrinkle in Time, A Wind at the Door, and A Swiftly Tilting Planet. Yet in 1986 she added to this trio with a 4th book, Many Waters.

I bought a copy of all 4 books to read to my son back in 1992. We had a bedtime ritual that involved reading together before sleep. We moved about 4 times during that year so I thought the reading ritual was quite important. He enjoyed the first three books which I had also read as a pre-teen. The 4th book, however, was new to me and we never got around to reading it.

--And so the book lay in my bookshelf all these years.

I buy books for my classroom faster than I can read them, but this summer I did put a dent into that reading list . Many Waters was a magnificent discovery, a book that can cause and adult to wonder what if as well as a teen.

Though it was the 4th book in a series, the time frame is
between A Wind at the Door and A Swiftly Tilting Planet. If you are not familiar with these books, Many Waters is a strong stand alone book.

The twin brothers, Sandy and Dennys Murry, are the children of 2 scientists and are accustomed to their parents bringing experiments home. Unlike their brother and sister, the twins, aren't interested in these experiments and, up until this point, have avoided the adventures of their siblings. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, they miss seeing a warning sign on the lab door and are accidentally transported to a desert where small mammoths and virtual unicorns are as natural as lizards and puppy dogs in our world. Angels converse with people and stars sing at night time. --But times are changing and a massive flood is coming.

The Murry twins must find out where they are and find a way home--if there is a way home.

This book kept me trapped in its magic, long after I had turned the final page. "What if", I kept thinking, "What if Madeleine L'engle was onto something."

This was, without a doubt, the finest of the four books.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Listening to the Positive

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People are funny. Well, you have to look at them with your sense of humor intact or you'll simply become frustrated.

I completed my first real week at the Wellness Center. I stayed faithful to my goals. When I walked on the scale--one of those giant things they use in a vets office--I noticed that my weight fluctuated from one day to the next. By the end of the week, however, I was 3 pounds lighter than the week before. It wasn't a lot, but I hadn't really changed my eating habits all that much, so I was satisfied. After all, the exercise program is about a lot more than losing weight. I have felt miserable for so long, I just want to feel good again.

I did exercise and show some restraint so I felt good about the results.

I mentioned the 3 pound loss to someone close to me. This person's response was, "That was probably fluid loss. Take a drink of water and you will get that all back."

Isn't it funny how some people respond with only negativity? To keep those people in your life, you have to learn to take their comments with a grain of salt--or maybe sugar.

I used to be that way, but I was in a dark place back then--very unhappily married. When I became happier, my attitude improved.

Anyway, I can't let this person's negativity get me down. I should also avoid drinking 3 pounds worth of water.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Setting Goals

May through August I felt like that guy on Office Space. Fan of the movie, know who I mean. A guy who hates his job goes to a psychiatrist and explains that each day at his job is worse than the day before. That means, on any given day he is living the worst day of his life.

When my doctor said I had to wait till I was worse before doing anything to get better, I battled a wave of depression. My future was to live each day feeling worse than the day before.

Then another doctor told me what I didn't want to hear. I had to do the best I could with the cards I was dealt. He gave me two specific things to do. 1) Take healthy body classes at The Wellness Center--formerly The Hope and Healing Center and 2) Start an exercise program several days a week at the center.

I assumed this would be like attending any other health spa or gym. I've been to gyms that give you a set of machines to work on and you are miserable afterward. Instead, I had trained professionals who worked out a program tailored to my needs.

Today I attended a class on setting goals. This is what I learned:

One should have short term goals that lead to a long term goal. That way you can periodically evaluate your success or failure.

Goals should also specific so they can be measured. Otherwise how can you monitor your behavior and see if you are on target?

The instructor didn't ask to see my goals but I will post them here.

I intend to work the water program at the Wellness Center 2 days a week & take a class, walk, and use the hand bicycle on Saturday. As an alternative I will walk at home.

I will have healthy, low calorie snacks in the evening (at least 4 evenings a week) instead of high calorie, unhealthy snacks.

I think these 2 goals can be easily measured. I hope they will be 2 steps toward the long term goal of regaining a healthier body.

I hope it will work. Wish me luck.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Hope & Wellness

My 6 month physical was Friday. When you are my age, the last thing you look forward to is a physical. I feel like an old car with a mechanic who is bound to find something wrong.

Still, I made a New Years resolution and this blog is supposed to keep me honest. I wanted to do 2 things this year, improve my physical health and my financial health, too. I'm halfway through 2010 and it appears that I keep banging my head into a brick wall on both accounts.

--But I haven't given up on either goal. I found a venue for advertising the business I want to start, but the space I thought for the past 6 months that I might be able to rent, just pulled out of the deal. I am still looking and perhaps soon a new space will be found.

On the health issue: I haven't felt well for about 5 years, though now I realize that I had symptoms for much longer. Doctors gave me a clean bill of health time and again. Then there was a breakthrough. I had a diagnosis. I was sure that would mean that I would soon have a treatment or a pill and would begin to feel better.

Unfortunately, that was not going to be the case. At this point, there is no medical intervention that can be done. I was crushed, feeling that each day would be worse than the last until I was so ill that I could receive necessary treatment.

Fortunately, my doctor threw me a life saver--but not before giving out some tough love. He said that, for whatever reason, my body was flawed and my only choices were to work with the cards I had been dealt or to do nothing and continue feeling miserable and helpless. He suggested I join the center's wellness program. This would be a time consuming program involving health classes and an exercise program.

Take the cards God gives you. That was the advice I told my son about 15 years ago when he struggled to read and found he had dyslexia. I told him that I didn't know why he was made this way and had to struggle so hard to do what others found so easy.

Now my own words had come back to haunt me. These are the cards I am dealt. To fight the depression maybe I can build up some endorphins with exercise--perhaps stimulate my metabolism at the same time.

Can I do it? Can I find the time and the energy to do what I need to do? School starts next week. The first few months of school are the hardest.

Maybe posting this blog will help.