Anxiety at the Clinic

The clinic was crowded that day, so I had to sit in the only available chair, the bariatric chair.

(This is an oversized chair).

I noticed that I was staring at a vending machine, selling an assortment of chocolates and sugary snacks.

To the right of this machine was another vending machine, selling soda.

To the right of this machine was a colourful wall display and pamphlets entitled : DIABETES CARE.

Several young children were crying loudly. They were not crying because they were ill, but because they wanted some candy from the machines, and their moms did not have any change.

The irony of sitting in the bariatric chair while gazing at the snacks was too much for me, and I started to laugh to myself.

This caught the attention of other patients, so I turned my gaze to the left. A television was turned on to the local cable station, and obituaries were being displayed.

By now my anxiety had reached a very high level. I told the receptionist I needed to reschedule my appointment, and I left the clinic. It was my first experience at the outport clinic.

As Christians, we should be role models for physical health and fitness.

Although our spiritual health, of course, needs to be considered first, Christ chose to live in a physical body for 33 years.

We also believe that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, and our faith clearly teaches the resurrection of the body. Our physical selves are fearfully and wonderfully made.

Christ told us to love God, and to love our neighbours as we love ourselves. And, loving ourselves always involves nourishing ourselves, and our loved ones carefully and wisely.

As we age, our immune system weakens, and thus we need to pay extra attention to the wholesome food that we eat. As our metabolism slows, we generally require smaller portions to maintain our ideal weight. And, maintaining our weight helps us to age gracefully.

As the years passed, my husband and I were instrumental in bringing about some needed changes at the clinic.

May the Lord grant us the grace to love and cherish our physical selves, especially as we face the passage of years.

The photo, courtesy of iStock, shows snacks similar to the snacks in the clinic.

Amsterdam, The Netherlands – February 14, 2019: Vending machine with all sorts of snacks, located at the station of Amsterdam Bijlmer Arena

One Small Step…

Great News !

I am delighted to learn that our government has taken definite action to improve the health of our residents !

For many years, according to Statistics Canada, Newfoundlanders have been Canada’s ‘plumpest’ Canadians, with the highest rates of obesity, heart disease and diabetes. ( We are also Canada’s friendliest folks).

To combat our soaring healthcare costs ( healthcare is free to everyone), residents must soon pay a tax of twenty cents per litre on sugary drinks, such as Coke and Pepsi.

This is a wonderful first step to help educate the public how harmful refined sugar can be to our health.

I had an early education on the damaging effects of sugar.

My loving father never ate refined sugar. No cookies, cakes, etc. He was fit and slim throughout his long life.

It was conflicting for me, as my mom was a fabulous baker, but looking back now, I can see the wisdom in my father’s decision.

Refined sugar causes inflammation in the body. As such, it has been shown to aggravate many chronic diseases, such as arthritis, which many older adults gradually develop.

We are wise to limit refined sugar in our diets.

I am proud of our government.

Christ followers, who are aware of the body being a temple of the Holy Spirit, should be most aware of lovingly nourishing our precious bodies.

May we choose carefully what we eat and drink.

Photo courtesy of CBC NL

Evidence

Do you notice evidence of climate change where you live ?

We’ve been waiting eagerly for icebergs to arrive.

Usually by this time we have several glacial giants, which have floated down from Greenland, sitting behind our house.

We live in what is known as ‘Iceberg Alley’ .

However, the media announced recently that this year, Newfoundland would see no icebergs.

Climate change has caused the oceans to warm, and, if this continues, within several decades, icebergs may all melt before they reach this far south.

Although all of us are doing our part to re-cycle and to be aware of the effects of pollution, we know that the world is a global community, and the pollution created by major polluters (I won’t mention them) affects all of us.

Truly we are a global family, and when we fail to co-operate, all of us are affected.

Many of us will miss the icebergs, and the ice floes, smaller chunks of ice.

However, our village can relax, knowing that no hungry polar bears, who sometimes drift south on the ice floes, will arrive here, to land, and look for food.

Our earth is in trouble, and so we pray, as we always do, for God’s mercy :

‘For the sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us, and on the whole world’. (from the Divine Mercy Chaplet)

Photo courtesy of Greg Locke, Reuters.

EVOO ?

Have you ever researched something and ended up with more information than you wanted ?

I was browsing a recipe that called for 2 tablespoons of EVOO. I had not heard of this before, and thought it might be an oriental spice.

When I researched this, I realized that EVOO stands for extra virgin olive oil, a staple in my kitchen.

Acronyms can be confusing sometimes (LOL).

As I researched further, I learned that for many years, EVOO has been subject to food fraud, since unscrupulous merchants have mixed less expensive oils such as corn oil together with olive oil, and have sold the oil as EVOO.

Italian crime organizations have been involved, and charged, in recent years, with marketing EVOO that has been tampered with.

As I read further, I learned that the European olive oil market has lost billions of dollars in recent years because olive trees have been killed due to a plant disease called Xylella fastitiosa.

This plant plague is also threatening olive trees in other European countries.

Olive oil is often mentioned in the Bible, and its health benefits are well-documented.

I had new respect for my bottle of olive oil after reading all this, and it helped me once again not to take any food for granted.

I may start using olive oil from California.

After all this research, knew I needed to relax.

I am going to make that recipe I was browsing, that calls for EVOO.

Photo by Sally

(EVOO should be stored away from sunlight)

Wondering About Ruth

Do you remember visiting a restaurant that particularly impressed you ?

I fondly recall the tastefully presented food prepared with the freshest of ingredients at Ruth’s Field Restaurant.

It has a relaxed charming ambiance, kind servers, and is family-run.

Ruth’s Field Restaurant is in the Palestinian Territories, in the West Bank.

I remember feeling apprehensive as I crossed through one of the numerous Israeli checkpoints that lead into the area. I regretted not wearing a headscarf, since covering my hair would have shown greater respect to the local culture.

Once inside the restaurant, however, everyone felt welcomed and well-cared for.

I have been wondering about Ruth’s family and patrons during the recent conflicts in the Middle East.

Just like you, I feel saddened by the conflict that has been re-ignited, and I feel particularly upset knowing how innocent civilians like Ruth may be suffering.

We are told in Psalm 122: 6, to pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

We are also told by Christ to love our neighbours as ourselves.

Who is our neighbour ? Everyone is our neighbour.

God always is aware of the attitudes we have about our neighbours. He reads our hearts.

As always, through Jesus, the Prince of Peace, let us pray for lasting peace.

Photo courtesy of iStock

Selection of Middle eastern or Arabic dishes. Falafel, hummus, pita and muhammara. Top view

Mother

What emotions do you experience when you hear the word ‘mother’ ?

Many of us experience feelings of warmth, admiration and gratitude as we think of our moms, yet, for others, this word brings with it many mixed and ambiguous feelings.

Some mothers who experience addictions, mental health issues, or those who are selfish may be unable to consistently provide the love, nurturing and care that their child needs and deserves.

Whatever type of mothering we have experienced, Mary, mother of Jesus epitomizes the perfect mother.

She was the chosen spouse of the Holy Spirit and gave birth to the Saviour of the World. She stood by him while he was on the cross, and was his first disciple.

Christians vary considerably in their views regarding Mary. Some denomination mention her only at Christmas time, when the story of the nativity is told.

Other Christians revere and honour Mary continually, although they do not worship her. She is considered blessed among women, a nurturer to everyone, and the Mother of the Church.

There is one well-known Christian who maintained a devotion to Mary throughout his whole life. He was Martin Luther.

On ‘Mothers Day’ , let us pray for women who desire children but cannot conceive, for mothers who choose not to give birth to the children in their wombs, and who suffer ongoing feelings of guilt as a result, for women who find motherhood difficult, and for moms who sacrificially choose to raise their children, and who find great fulfillment in nurturing.

I pray too, through an act of God, that Mary, Mother of Christ could intercede to help unite Christ’s followers throughout the world.

Photo by Sally

No Explanation

Are you amazed at constantly evolving technology ?

Since much work can done from home now, our government has started an advertising campaign hoping to attract more permanent residents to our part of the world.

The air is pure here, people are super friendly, and compared to large cities, housing costs are relatively low.

Admirably, our government also enacted extreme measures to protect us from Covid. We decided to protect each other by following guidelines carefully, and through God’s mercy, few of our residents have been sick with the virus.

It is a mystery to me how I can tap on my little iPad with my right index finger, and my words can reach the rest of the world ! Reading other bloggers’ posts is a highlight of my day.

I don’t know how the internet works, and many forms of technology are way too complex for me to understand.

Similarly, we cannot understand all of God’s mysteries, because He chooses not to reveal many things to us. And so, we accept many things on faith alone. Our faith is God’s gift to us.

In his 1941 novel ‘The Song of Bernadette’, Franz Werfel wrote some words that I often ponder. He wrote:

‘ For those who believe, no explanation is necessary. For those who don’t believe, no explanation is possible’.

Photo courtesy of CBC NL

Guilty or Not ?

Seals swim by our house sometimes after the ice floes come down from the Arctic.

There are over 7.6 million harp seals off the coast of Newfoundland this year, and their numbers are increasing rapidly .They give birth to their pups on the ice, and leave them there after only a few days of care. Then they head back out to sea to mate again.

Fishermen dislike seals, since they claim that seals are eating up all the fish, and small crabs too.

The fishing industry is threatened, livelihoods are at risk, and some small communities are in danger of being shut down.

However, frequent government studies maintain that seals are not responsible for the decline in fish. They blame the lack of marine life on pollution, overfishing, and climate change.

The debate rages on.

We remain neutral in the discussion, since we are newcomers to the island. We enjoy watching the adult seals as their glistening bodies glide through the water.

What is clear, however, from numerous research studies, is that saltwater fish are slowly becoming extinct.

A recent comprehensive study released by Dalhousie University reported that the oceans may be empty of fish by 2048, only 27 years away.

What should people think about this?

Collectively, I’m sure that we feel a sense of remorse for the damage that humanity has done to God’s creation.

However, we should not blame the seals for the disappearance of fish.

The blame for the slow death of the oceans rests on humanity.

Seals only do what seals do – they eat fish.

Photo of harp seal pup by Karen Su.

Incorrect ?

Do you think it’s important to be ‘politically correct’ these days ?

We may be considered to be ‘politically incorrect’ out here in our little outport, but we don’t care.

I was shocked when we first arrived, and a lovely young waitress brought my husband his dinner at a charming restaurant.

She said : ‘Here you are, my love’, as she set his plate down.

I glared at her ! I thought that she was being flirtatious with my husband, as he is very handsome, but this was not the case.

Everyone here calls each other words of endearment like : ‘my love, my darling, my dear, my honey, or occasionally, ‘sugar’.

Sometimes I am also called ‘my angel’.

This is the rural Newfoundland way, and it often surprises visitors that we speak to each other , and to strangers using these terms.

This is part of the genuine kindness and friendliness of rural Newfoundlanders.

However, I also warn our community members who are visiting mainland Canada never to call a stranger ‘my darling’. This would be considered seriously politically incorrect, and could cause trouble for sure.

As I researched this post, I found that, sure enough, a growing number of people live in a state of being ‘chronically offended’. When surveyed, people reported feeling demeaned and patronized if a stranger called them ‘my dear’. However, the endearments we regularly use around here are not influenced by whether or not they are politically correct. These terms are a longstanding part of our culture.

Life is slow-moving out here, and gentle. And yes, it’s true, many of us are not quite sure what ‘politically correct’ means, anyway.

I am happy to live in a place where people so kind. Our island’s official motto is Matthew 6:33 – ‘Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God’.

Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

P.A.P.A.

It is the most dangerous activity that many of us do on a regular basis.

Controlling a piece of complex machinery weighing over a ton is an awesome responsibility !

As a newly-licensed teenager, I had a car accident. I was innocently driving through a green light at an intersection, when a driver ran a red light and smashed into my car.

I was unhurt, but it was an early lesson teaching me that drivers do not always do what they are supposed to do ! The rule ‘never assume’ certainly applies to the skill of driving.

Over the years, I’ve created the P. A.P. A. guidelines for defensive driving.

P – I pray before driving. Jesus tells us that without Him we can do nothing. (John15:5). I always ask for the Lord to guide me as I drive. I bless myself with the sign of the cross before I start my car.

A – Anticipate areas where extra alertness and caution is required. Insurance studies show that intersections are risky areas. ( As I found out.) As well, increased risk occurs while making left-hand turns. I try to plan my route to avoid making this type of turn. Companies such as UPS and FedEx caution their drivers to avoid making left-hand turns whenever possible.

P- Prepare carefully to avoid distractions. I caution my passengers not to try to converse with me while I’m driving. I love conversations, but not when I’m behind the wheel ! I am notoriously bad at multitasking, and I suspect that many people are. I concentrate best in silence.

A- Always be receptive to new technology. I confess that I was apprehensive about the new vehicle we bought because it has many new features and gadgets that I’ve never used before, but as I gradually adjusted to them I see that these new features can increase driving safety.

Vehicles are constantly being upgraded, and it is likely that within our children’s lifetimes , self-driving cars may become the norm.

As we age, our brains lose neurons, and this can slow our reaction times. However, there is much we can do to maintain good reaction times. I play a variety of online brain-training games. Lumosity is the program I first used, but there are several other programs available. Being physically fit helps to maintain our reaction times as well.

So often we are told to drink lots of water and stay well-hydrated. This advice is worth repeating. As we age, our sense of thirst declines. Lack of proper hydration results in increased skin wrinkling, moodiness, and slower reaction times.

No one wants to be wrinkled and moody.

I wear driving gloves to remind me to pay close attention to my surroundings when I drive. When cars were first invented, all drivers wore gloves. That is why cars still have ‘glove compartments’.

Let us continue to pray for everyone entrusted with the responsibility of driving.

Photo by Sally