Category: Health/sickness

Affluenza

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So, I heard a term today that just made me laugh out loud.  It is called affluenza.  This is not a joke.  It is an actual psychological diagnosable condition and to me it says a lot about how out of wack our society has gotten.  How can something so obvious be a cause for debate and study? It’s another one of those scientific endeavors that can be summed up in old colloquial sayings such as “Money doesn’t buy happiness”.  Listen to the wikipedia definition of affluenza and tell me if you don’t think it is crazy:

affluenza, n. a painful, contagious, socially transmitted condition of overload, debt, anxiety and waste resulting from the dogged pursuit of more. (de Graaf [1])
affluenza, n. 1. The bloated, sluggish and unfulfilled feeling that results from efforts to keep up with the Joneses. 2. An epidemic of stress, overwork, waste and indebtedness caused by the pursuit of the American Dream. 3. An unsustainable addiction to economic growth. (PBS [1])

This isn’t just overspending.  No it is a contagious socially transmitted condition of overload and debt! So now if we are in debt it isn’t our fault, merely the cause of a contagious condition we inherited- like strepp or AIDS. Watch out my friends!  Watch out for your children!  Affluenza may spread!

I certainly hope that Congress doesn’t hear about this condition or they might start claiming bouts of affluenza caused them to vote for the spending bill!

I hate to sound preachy on this blog but to me it is things like this that show how far off track our country has gotten from the religious foundations it was started with.  Affluenza wouldn’t happen if you had a society based on brotherhood (and sisterhood), charity, freedom, independence and faith.  It’s no accident that Jesus said ” It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God” (Matthew 19:24).

Now, I came from a family with a middle to high class lifestyle.  I certainly got everything I needed and most of the things I wanted. However, we never suffered from affluenza because my parents had us grounded in Christian values- focusing on service to others, the importance of family and the value of hard work. I could list lots of examples of how my parents demonstrated to me that money was not the purpose of life.  One example is how my father has always been an avid home teacher.  Home teaching is a program in our church of visiting fellow members and helping them in anyway possible.  Many good home teachers still do it out of obligations or duty- not my dad.  He loves it!  He loves getting to know and serving people and most of them become his life-long friends.  He’s even spoken at some of their funerals. For the record, my mother is also a diligent visiting teacher.

Another example is how both of my parents were always opening their home to friends.  For instance, we had a number of foreign exchange students and visitors while I grew up.  This enriched all of our lives and created great relationships all over the globe.  Another memory I have is of our friends always being welcome to eat with our family.  We had family meal every night.  Even when I was in high school and my parents had two little ones and I was busy with activities, I still remember eating together most nights.  Often one of my friends, or my brother’s friends would join us for dinner.  They were always welcomed as one of our family.  My parents weren’t perfect but in simple ways they taught me how to serve others and keep a heart free from greed.

As my sister and brother have gotten married they have also been good examples of reaching out to others and cultivating a non-materialistic home.  My brother is passionate about many causes and has allowed friends to stay at their home, sharing meals together.  My sister is great about giving of her time to other young mothers around her.  She was just telling me yesterday about a small act of service she had planned for two of her acquaintances.  She found out they were traveling with kids and decided to make them little kits to help the kids with the journey.  It is such little acts of service that keep each of us grounded in what matters.  Our country needs the same grounding.  We certainly don’t need an excuse for our excesses like an affluenza epidemic.

I served my mission in Indiana and while there I met one of the richest ladies I have ever known.  Her name is Sister Mary Turner.  She lived in a tough part of Indianapolis and had very little material possessions.  She actually lived off of social security and some welfare assistance from the church.  Because she loved the missionaries she had a strong desire to feed all of us every week (4 elders, 2 sisters) but she refused to use any assistance or welfare money to do this.  So to make a few extra dollars she started gathering soda pop cans and then turning them for cash. Eventually her neighborhood and our ward (congregation) joined in and everyone had a stash of cans to help Mary Turner feed the missionaries.  With the few dollars she got every week she would then go to Aldee’s (a discount store in the midwest) and buy whatever was on sale.  This usually led to some odd meal combinations including spaghetti and mashed potatoes or french fries and egg rolls.  After the meal she would usually have some type of food gift for us such as a gallon of milk or a half gallon of ice cream.

I will never forget this sacrifice made in my behalf.  She did not have to feed us.  There were others who would have gladly done so, but she wanted to give to a cause she loved.  The entire cycle of her money from creation, to spending, to giving was based on Christian values. It is a great example of charity and a wonderful way to live our lives- full of worry about how you can afford to help people, not how you can compete with the neighbors.  Mary Turner suffered from the opposite of affluenza- giveluenza! Something our country could use a lot more of and that our leaders could work to develop.

In my life I try to do at least one day of community service a month.  This has just started but already I have had some neat experiences including delivering cookies to the lonely and working at Festival of Trees for Primary Children Medical Center. Such endeavors have not only brought me happiness but hopefully helped others in my small way.  They also keep me grounded in what matters and in the community I love. I think we need to write a similar prescription for anyone suffering from affluenza- find someone to serve, look at a neigbor as a friend not an enemy, and help someone accomplish their dreams.   This is what makes life great not money!

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Dieting is so miserable at least I found this funny

My friends, I am once again dieting.  This time the main reason is to help boost my gall bladder health.  While that might sound odd, I have good reasons. My nurse friend keeps pointing out that my gall bladder might be heading for problems.  This would not only be painful but since I only have a high deductible insurance plan I can’t pay for surgery right now.  Hopefully everything will be fine but in the meantime I am trying to stick to a diet I found on a website for gall bladder problems and praying that will solve the problem.  I figure it couldn’t hurt.  The main things it suggests are items high in amino acids such as grapes, celery, berries,  carrots, fish (it says wild fish but I can’t afford that) soy milk, prunes (yuck!)  and whole wheat breads- yummy, hah….not so much? At the same time you are to avoid dairy (except for yogurt and cottage cheese), meats including fowl, pork and beef, nuts and oddly all cabbage type vegetables.  In general low fat is supposed to be good but omega 3 fatty acids such as fish oils and olive oil are recommended.  The diet is big on organic foods but again those get into money.   All fast food is out- especially anything that is fried.  I have also been working on the wii fit to try and get in shape.  That blasted animated trainer is killing me!

Anyway, I have been trying the diet this week and am doing okay.  I’m on week 2 of consistent work on the wii fit.  I wish I could say I never messed up but there has been an improvement from weeks previous.  Today I started out strong with a turkey (just one slice) sandwich with lettuce, tomatoes and mustard.  On the side I had some a few corn chips without trans fats and some strawberries.  This was pretty good.

Unfortunately things went down hill from there.  I met up with a friend for a late lunch (my hair stylist Grace who got me sweet deals on a new flat iron and hair product).  I loved chatting with Grace but the Cafe Rio meal was definitely off the diet. I did try to minimizing the damage by only eating half and getting half chicken/half pork instead of just pork.  I also got the burrito without any cheese.  I haven’t quite figured out how to stay on a diet and be social and have fun.  I felt like I did the best I could but still feel frustrated.  Any tips? Be nice!

The other confession…I had some ice cream later on in the evening.  In my defense it was lower calorie ice cream (6 grams fat for 1/2 cup), but still I shouldn’t have.

At least I am trying, and I mean to keep updating my blog regularly with how I am doing.  Any motivation you’ll can give me would be great.  I really don’t want to have  surgery for my gall bladder, and I want to be healthy.  I suppose I should celebrate the small victories and keep pressing forward.

I did have a nice phone call from Miriam and a pleasant visit from my Uncle Tom today.  Plus the lunch with Grace- so I would say I did pretty well socially today! Still, I felt a little discouraged on the dieting front.  However, this made me laugh.  I think it encompasses dieting to a tee.  At least I didn’t end the day eating cheesecake from the freezer!:

This is a specially formulated diet designed to help women cope with the stress that builds during the day.
BREAKFAST
1 grapefruit
1 slice whole wheat toast
1 cup skim milk
LUNCH
1 small portion lean, steamed chicken
1 cup spinach
1 cup herbal tea
1 Hershey’s kiss
AFTERNOON TEA
The rest of the Hershey Kisses in the bag

1 tub of Hagen-Dazs ice cream with chocolate chips

DINNER
4 glasses of wine (red or white)
2 loaves garlic bread
1 family size supreme pizza
3 Snickers Bars
LATE NIGHT SNACK
1 whole Sarah Lee cheesecake (eaten directly from the freezer).

dbrn159l

One last comment- I am very sad Jorge got voted off Idol.  I thought he would last longer.  I am a big fan of Danny and that’s pretty much it.  I think all the girls are bad except for Lil.  I can’t believe Megan  Corkey stayed on after her song.  It was terrible. The judges were definitely too soft on her and too hard on Jorge.  Oh well!  That’s a reality singing competition for you!

Getting Ready for a Cruise

I don’t know if I have mentioned it on this blog but I am going to have an interesting experience next week- I am going on a singles cruise!  Being that I live alone and work primarily alone the opportunities for me to meet new people are few and far between (plus, my ward has a 3 to 1 ratio and nearly 200 people!).  A friend of mine went on the singles cruise a couple of years ago and really liked it (ironically she was engaged when she set sail!). Anyway, I got an email from the Sandy institute (institute is kind of like LDS  Sunday school for youth) announcing the 2009 cruise.  This year the cruise happened to land on my birthday week.  Yes, I am turning 28 in a week.  I know it is only a year older than 27 but for some reason it feels much older to me.  It’s like I can feel 30 breathing down my neck.  You know next June is my 10 year high school reunion!  Crazy!

The other benefit to the cruise is how affordable it is- 6 nights for $512! In addition, I had a free airline ticket because I had volunteered my seat when I flew to Hawaii in April.  This means I can go on a long trip for very little.  I might spend less on the cruise than I do in my regular life! The other advantage is that it gives me the opportunity to see my friends in Southern Cali. I am going to spend 4 days with my friend Raelene after the cruise and I will get to see my good friend Emily (and I will get to see her newbaby- yeah!). I love getting together with old friends and reminiscing.  It is the best!

It will probably be a long time before I get to blog again but I wanted to write about this upcoming cruise.  It is interesting because on one hand I am excited but on the other I am a little nervous.  I think it is easy to think that as soon as I leave the world is going to fall apart.  How is everything with the properties and my other work going to get done if I am not here? I wish I could have the European sensibility of vacation as a right- as an essential part of life.  In Europe they close down for siestas and take weeks off at a time every year.  In America we see it more as a luxury, even a burden at times.  Do you’all ever feel that way?  This cruise is especially scary because I will be uncontactable for most of the time.  I will not have my normal crutches of internet and cell phones. I am not even going to bring my computer!  I am giving it to Jim and my dad who are going to take over my work while I am gone. I haven’t been on a trip without my computer since my trip to Japan in 2005 because before this job I needed it for school and other responsibilities.  It is going to be very weird and kind of scary.

On the other hand, I think this exhile is the part of the vacation I am looking forward to the most.  I am treating this cruise as a spa week, and I hope I will emerge energized and rejuvenated.  I have had so much sickness lately and I want to get healthy so badly.  I need an opportunity to become %100 well.  I also need some time to think back on the last year- think of the growth, learning and mistakes I made.  2008 was a year of healing for me and it is appropriate that I have some time at the beginning of 2009 to digest those experiences and make it a year of growth and strength.

Plus, who knows I could meet someone nice…stranger things have happened on a singles cruise!  There are over 160 LDS singles going (don’t know the guy/girl ratio but that doesn’t matter too much).   I just want to meet someone that I can talk to.  Someone I think is interesting and has a good heart.  I also greatly value education and responsibility.  I want someone that has direction, motivation, and inspiration in life.  Is this too much to ask? Sometimes it feel that way.  When it comes down to it, I want to fall in love.  I want the butterfly’s and the excitement, and I don’t think I should settle for anything less.  Is he going to be perfect?- of course not; but I still think I should be in love with the boy! I know the church doesn’t believe in fate, but my opinion is that while there may not be one person in the world for me, I don’t think there are hundreds floating out there.  I think there are a select few people in the world that I could actually be married to and be happy.  Really it is amazing as many people get together as do.  The chances are out of this world, but somehow it happens. Maybe someday it will happen to me.  Until then I will enjoy my cruise and try to put the nerves out of my head!  Any suggestions or thoughts on this post are most welcome.  I may not be writing again for a little while. We will see.  Bon Voyage!

dpan2098l

A little sick

So friends, I realized today one of the downsides to living by yourself.  Dash it all there is nobody there to get you medicine when your tummy aches.  It’s odd that something like that would make me feel lonely but I can’t pretend that it didn’t.  Now I wasn’t seriously ill or anything just a bit of a sour stomach and yet I had to drag myself out of bed (and to be quite honest away from the TV- lots of premieres tonight) and go to Harmons to buy stomach meds (a little embarrassing- the kind of shopping where you have to add a few items that you don’t really need just so it isn’t clear to everyone in line what ails you.  At least my cashier didn’t have to check prices on anything.  That is the worst! Then it is like sharing with the whole store.  Hey, Rachel’s buying….You can’t be too careful.  After all it’s a small neighborhood.  I might see these people again!).

So, I am sure you did not start reading my blog to hear about my exciting trip to the store.  I mention it only to say that with all my tough single talk there are moments when I wish I had someone there to, in this case, by me meds and tell me that everything is going to be fine in the morning.  When I was visiting my sister last week my niece asked me “Rachel, why don’t you have a husband?”.  I told her simply that “I haven’t fallen in love yet and you can’t have a husband until you fall in love.”.  (Unless you marry for money but why scar the child with that notion!).  Anyway, I really believe what I told Isabel and until I feel that way I guess I will just have to live with buying my own medicine and using my prayers to tell me that everything will be Okay in the morning- and thank goodness it usually is.

Short entry today friends.  Afterall, I’m not feeling well! By the way, any of you Indiana folks I am coming for a visit!  I am working in Grand Rapids for Oct 6+7 and will be in Indiana 8-10th. I will try to contact everyone I can to get together but I’ve lost a lot of phone numbers.  Rachel.

At least I don't look like a smurf
At least I dont feel like a smurf